Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Peppermint Sugar Scrub

I was big on the homemade gifts this year for Christmas.
I took this body scrub recipe I made for my friend's baby shower party favors, and changed the extract to peppermint for a festive holiday gift!

I love these body scrubs.  They are great for softening hands, feet, (legs...arms...!), face (avoid eyes, especially with peppermint), and I love it for my lips, too!

Peppermint Essential Oil

Just mix up the coconut oil, granulated sugar, and essential oil, and pour into jars!

I found these cute tins at The Container Store, but I also used some small 4oz mason jars (which proved to be a bit easier to open, too)

Add some twine, cute, little labels, and you've got a great homemade gift for Christmas, or any occasion!!

Saturday, January 17, 2015

Christy's Mexican Cauliflower Soup

You guys, my sweet, adorable, amazing sister made the best soup! And she is here to share it with us. 
Thanks Seester!

Hello everyone!!!! Mini-Amy, here! Aka the soux chef and random hand model in Amy's blog posts :)

Alright, so clearly my sister got the crafty and cooking genes, but every now and again I happen to stumble into a happy accident of a good meal creation. And today, I decided to share my weird yet actually really awesome dinner idea!

So I think (I hope...) we're all guilty of doing this: have you ever had one of those meals where you just throw a bunch if stuff together and you'd feel kind if embarrassed if anyone else was seeing the random mix of leftovers and cheese concoction you were eating? Well! I had this experience, only...the result was kind of amazing. AND healthy! 
So I will call this...Mexican cauliflower soup. Stick with me here, it's good. And it took me about 10 minutes start to finish. Hooray!

 In a blender, mix: 
chicken broth, cauliflower florets (steamed and cooled), about half a tablespoon minced garlic, one slice of jalapeƱo, about one and a half tablespoons of butter (or some butter-like substance) and *the key random/awesome ingredient* red enchilada sauce!! Blend until soup consistency - slowly pour in a little more broth until you get the consistency you want.

Pour into a pan and heat over low heat. While this is warming, prepare some sort of rice or quinoa - I used trader joe's microwaveable brown rice. Cook accordingly. Scoop a couple large spoonfuls into a bowl, and pour the heated soup over the rice and stir until they're mixed.

Lastly...the toppings!!! I added some canned kidney beans that I warmed up, a dollop of sour cream, and those little wonton salad toppers (told you it was random!) but SO delish!!!

(...okay okay I added some bacon bits too. And it was a solid choice.)

Mix together and enjoy!!! You're eating vegetables, brown rice, and protein in the beans - but it's a lot more fun! Hey, and if you dull down the spice, could be great for the kids too!

Ta da!!!

Monday, January 12, 2015

Best of...Healthy Recipes for the New Year!

I'm not big on New Year's Resolutions, or big drastic changes, but I always try to get back to eating healthy after a few days of overindulging; and that cycle happens quite frequently over the holidays!

Check out these healthy recipe favorites - perfect for starting off a new year!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

Sparkly Vanilla Bean Fudge {Free Printable Thank You Tag}

So, at my New Year's Day Brunch, I sent all my lovely guests home with some homemade vanilla bean fudge! It is super easy to make!
I did have some real vanilla bean pods "lying around" from making homemade vanilla extract (So many things to tell you about!! One at a time!), but you could just use the vanilla extract, or buy this awesome vanilla bean paste!

I used this Fudge Recipe, the vanilla bean one, and omitted the messy caramel sauce layer, as I wanted these to look nice and neat in their little bags. (But don't get me wrong, it sounds amazing with that part, too!) You just melt white chocolate and canned sweetened condensed milk (No one ever said this was healthy fudge...) together, and then add the vanilla beans, vanilla extract, and sea salt. I mixed the salt in, but you could sprinkle on top if you want.

BUT, don't let me forget the BEST PART.
I added glitter.
Yup. You're welcome. It was amazing.

Per this post here, I bought (and am obsessed with!) edible glitter dust in the baking section of Michael's, and sprinkled it all over the fudge!
Can you say All Dressed Up for New Year's?! Everything New Year's needs some sparkle!
I love all the pearl dust colors - especially the gold, white, and silver. So fun!!

There is a technique, too. If you actually sprinkle it between your fingers, it will clump and be too thick. What you really are better off doing, a la Tinkerbell, and it does kind of glitter the whole kitchen... (Not a bad thing), is put a little bit in your palm, and blow it gently over the tops of the fudge. It makes a much finer, more delicate layer of sparkle! Yay fairy dust!!

I cut my 8x8 pan into 36 small squares, and put 4 in each gift bag as a little take home treat.
If you are keeping these for awhile in a really warm house, you may want to keep them in the fridge until a few hours before you hand them out. Your call - they don't really melt, but they do soften, and I didn't want them to be messy. I also didn't want them cold or rock hard, though. See how it goes!

I made these little labels to add to the gift bags, in keeping with my New Year's theme.

Here is the file: I think you can save this image/photo, and then print some for yourself! I did 9 to a page when I printed them.

Hope you all are having a great New Year!

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Happy New Year! - Hawaiian Roll Caramel Bread Pudding

Hi guys!
Sorry I have been away for awhile, enjoying the holiday season.

I stayed in this year on New Year's Eve, and instead, hosted a New Year's Day brunch!

It was so much fun having friends over to celebrate the new year.  Guests were encouraged to:
"Come in your cozy pajamas or sweats, come in last night's sequined ensemble, or, heck, even wear that ugly Christmas sweater one last time!"

We had one of those great travel Starbucks coffee things!

A Mimosa bar, and an awesome Bloody Mary bar my sister put together for me!

I made these omelet muffins with a cheesy hash brown crust!

And I think my favorite part of the brunch was a bread pudding I made with Hawaiian rolls!

Hawaiian Roll Caramel Bread Pudding

I used Paula Dean's recipe for bread pudding, because... butter.
I omitted the pecans, and skipped the raw egg and brandy in the sauce.
And I replaced the Italian bread with torn up Hawaiian sweet rolls!

You can find the original recipe here.

I served this with a homemade whipped cream.

I also sent friends home from the party with homemade vanilla bean fudge!

Stay tuned for that recipe, and a link to my printable Thank You tags!

Happy New Year, friends!!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving! - A Leftovers Recipe

Thanksgiving is one of my favorite holidays. What's not to love about family, fall weather, and food, food, and more food?! The cranberries! The stuffing (dressing?)! The pies! (The wine!).
I can't wait!

I am posting my Thanksgiving Leftovers Grilled Cheese recipe again, was just.that.good!

Click here for the Full Post

I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday!
I will be relaxing with my family in the Northern California forest.

Also, I leave you with this.
You're welcome.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

A New See's Candies Store Opening - PLUS a Giveaway!!

When See’s Candies invited me to another local store opening, I jumped at the chance. …You don’t turn down free chocolate!

Earrings - Nickel & Suede

My sweet friend, Lauren, from Imperfect & Fabulous, came along, too and we explored this sneak preview of the new store at Fashion Island, in Newport Beach, together!! (It's right by Macy's, guys. - Super convenient to quickly park and run in for a treat or gift!)

See's Candies has been around since 1921, and the all black and white stores are modeled after the real Mary See's kitchen, which all consist of my fave black/white large tile floors!

 Every guest that walks into a See's Candies store is offered a free sample! How's that for customer service?!

Also. Ready to have your mind blown?  I was handed two candies to eat at once. Strawberry Cream and Peanut is like a peanut butter and jelly sandwich!! OMG it was truly so, so amazing!

See's sells over 26 million pounds of chocolate a year! Total win for all those gift recipients.

Which See's Candies chocolates are your favorite??
Two of the top sellers are MY fave, the Bordeaux, and also the Scotchmallow.

I love that See’s has these events in the fall because that means…Seasonal Pie Truffle samples!!!!

The Pie Truffles are glorious! And you can buy a whole sampler box of them, for yourself or someone special on your Holiday shopping list.
Another thing I found existed this trip - Milk chocolate Bordeauxs...without the sprinkles! OMG, my dreams are coming true, you guys!

At this fun pre-grand opening event we got a behind the scenes tour, and even got to (race!) to fill our own boxes of candy to take home!

Now it is your turn to check out the store!
One lucky reader will win a $25 Gift Card to See's Candies!! You can give the gift card as the perfect gift! Or, you can use it to go shopping for yourself, or pick up some Holiday gifts for others!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure:  I was invited to a media event hosted by See’s Candies.  All opinions and points of view are my own.  Please visit the Rafflecopter link above for a full giveaway disclosure.