Resist Gossip

“Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people.” – Eleanor Roosevelt

Let’s be done with gossip. 

Gossip is not beneficial, it is not positive, it is not kind; it’s damaging, it’s negative, it’s hateful.

There are members of my extended family (and I know it doesn’t stop there) who treat gossiping with all the seriousness of their life’s purpose and it is beyond disturbing. My hands are not clean either, I’ve gossiped and it is thrilling when you’re right in the middle of gleaning and spreading all the juicy details, but it’s bad behavior and a bad habit. Bad habits are best dropped before becoming bad character.

I love my daughter and I do not want her growing up judging or disparaging others.  One of my resolutions is to stop gossiping and I invite anyone who’s reading this to join me. 

It’s time to stop; resist gossip.

I created this sticker, that can be purchased here and used as a reminder!

How to Dry Mint Leaves for Tea

Welcome back friends! Let’s get cozy and have a cup of tea! 

I am fortunate enough to own a spearmint plant that has flourished in its container and I want to show you how to harvest, dry and brew your own spearmint tea!

Beyond being a warm and comforting beverage, spearmint tea has numerous proven and/or potential health benefits, including:

  • Fighting bacterial infections. 
  • Relieving digestive upsets.
  • High in antioxidants.
  • May aid in balancing hormones.
  • May lower blood pressure.
  • May lower blood sugar.
  • May help reduce stress.
  • May help relieving arthritis pain.
  • May improve memory function.
INGREDIENTS
  • Mint leaves
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Trim the mint back, then pluck the best leaves from the stems. If you do not want or need to trim the mint back, you could also pluck the best leaves directly from the plant.
  2. Wash the leaves thoroughly with fresh water, then place them in a salad spinner to remove any excess water.
  3. Line a baking sheet with with a baking mat or parchment paper and spread the mint leaves on the prepared baking sheet. Be careful not to crowd them.
  4. Turn your oven on to it’s lowest setting (for many this will be 170F). 
  5. Place the mint leaves in the oven and bake them until dry. This could only take 10 to 15 minutes, but it varies by oven strength so keep an eye on them! They will be curled and make a dry rustling sound when nudged with a utensil.
  6. Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool.
  7. You can store the leaves in an airtight container or brew some tea right away!
  8. Use an infuser and keep the leaves whole or grind them up. If you do grind them up, smaller pieces will make their way out of the infuser and float around in your tea. This isn’t a bad thing, just personal preference!
  9. Enjoy!

Homemade Comforting Cinnamon Roll Recipe

Welcome back friends! Who would like some warm and comforting, homemade cinnamon rolls on one (or more) of these cold winter mornings? Maybe at a table with some coffee or tea and a good book? Or maybe a good movie or show? I know I do, so let’s bake some!

INGREDIENTS

DOUGH

  • 1 cup of warm milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons of instant dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup of salted butter, softened
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup of granulated sugar
  • 4 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1 teaspoon of salt

FILLING

  • 1 cup of brown sugar, packed 
  • 1/2 cup of salted butter, softened
  • 2 tablespoons of cinnamon
  • 1 cup of heavy cream, divided

TOPPING

  • 1/3 cup of salted butter, softened 
  • 6 ounces of cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups of powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Pour the warm milk into a large bowl and sprinkle it with the yeast.
  2. Add the butter, eggs and sugar, then mix until well combined.
  3. Add 4 cups of the flour and the salt, then mix until well combined.
  4. Scrape the dough off the beater blade and knead for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and smooth.
  5. Spray another large bowl with cooking spray and use a rubber spatula to remove the dough from the mixer bowl and place in the greased bowl.
  6. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes to an hour).
  7. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. In a medium bowl, combine the soft butter, brown sugar, cinnamon and 1/2 cup of heavy cream; mixing it until well combined, then set it aside.
  8. Once the dough has risen, sprinkle a pastry mat generously with flour, and turn the dough onto the mat. Sprinkle the top of the dough with more flour.
  9. Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough to about 24” x 15” rectangle (though it does not have to be exact).
  10. Use a rubber spatula to smooth the filling over the whole dough rectangle.
  11. Starting at the long end, roll the dough up tightly.
  12. Cut the roll into 12 slices and place in a greased 9×13” baking pan.
  13. Cover the pan and allow the rolls to rise for 20 minutes or until nearly double.
  14. Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
  15. Warm the remaining 1/2 cup of heavy cream until the chill is off, then pour if over the risen rolls, allow it to soak in and around.
  16. Bake for 20 to 22 minutes, until gold brown and the center rolls are cooked through. Time will vary so keep an eye on them! If they are getting too brown, cover with aluminum foil.
  17. While the rolls are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a large bowl combine the cream cheese and butter, blending well.
  18. Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar, then beat until combined.
  19. Spread the frosting over the cooled rolls.

*To save time in the mornings, you can also prepare the dough the night before. Make the dough and proceed to the second rise when the rolls are in the pan. Once risen, cover them up again and put them in the refrigerator until morning. In the morning, remove them from the refrigerator and allow them to sit for about 30 minutes before baking.

Happy New Year 2023!

Happy New Year Friends! I wish you all the best and sincerely hope all your hopes and dreams for 2023 will come to fruition. These last few years have been rocky, to say the least, but its a time for fresh starts and new beginnings, so let’s make the most of it!

I believe in making resolutions; they give you the focus to complete certain tasks. Resolutions can be made any time of the year, and should be in some cases, but it’s traditional to make them for the fresh start of a new year and it’s all in good fun!

I’ve set 12 resolutions for 2023, check them out!

  1. Expand my garden.
  2. Go greener.
  3. Organize the whole house.
  4. Play and complete 12 video games.
  5. Read and complete 12 books.
  6. Re-carpet the living room.
  7. Re-floor the main areas of the house.
  8. Resist gossip.
  9. Send anniversary and birthday cards out on time.
  10. Set aside 1 hour a day to work on my dreams.
  11. Set aside times of the day for intentional screen-time.
  12. Take Zoey to Disneyland.

Homemade Hot Cocoa Mix Recipe

Welcome back friends! Who wants some warm and comforting hot cocoa on a cold winter morning or evening? Maybe with some homemade marshmallows and a good book or movie? I know I do, so let’s make some mix!

HOT COCOA MIX
  • 3/4 cup of natural unsweetened cocoa powder 
  • 1 1/2 cups of dry nonfat or whole milk powder
  • 1 cup of powdered sugar
  • 3/4 cup of white chocolate chips
  • 1/4 teaspoon of salt
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Whisk together the cocoa powder, milk powder, powdered sugar and salt in a large bowl, then add the white chocolate chips and stir again to evenly distribute them.
  2. Add the mixture to a food processor and pulse until everything is finely ground and smooth.
  3. This dry cocoa mix can be store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
  4. To make hot cocoa, put 1/4 to 1/3 cup of the cocoa mix in a mug and stir in 1 cup of hot milk (whichever milk you prefer).
  5. Top with whipped cream or miniature marshmallows, if desired and enjoy!

Homemade Peasant Bread Recipe

Welcome back friends! Who wants some fresh, oven baked peasant bread to enjoy on one (or more) of these beautiful autumn mornings? Or afternoons? Or evenings? Honestly, anytime is the right time for freshly baked bread!

So let’s bake!

HOMEMADE PEASANT BREAD
  • 4 cups of flour
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 2 teaspoons of sugar
  • 2 teaspoons of yeast
  • 2 cups of lukewarm water
  • Butter, for greasing
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Whisk together the flour, salt, sugar and yeast, then add the warm water and stir until well combined.
  2. Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise for about 1 1/2 to 2 hours or until doubled in volume.
  3. Grease two bread pans with the butter, then set them aside.
  4. When ready, remove the cover from the bowl and using two forks gently pull the dough away from the sides of the bowl, then use the two forks again to split it in half down the middle.
  5. Transfer each half of the dough into a greased bread pan.
  6. Cover each pan and allow the dough to rise again for 20 to 30 minutes.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350F.
  8. Transfer your baking vessels to the oven and allow them to bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden all around.
  9. Allow to cool in the baking pan for at least 10 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack to finish cooling.
  10. Enjoy!

Homemade Buttery Tortilla Recipe

Welcome back friends! 

Who wants some warm, buttery and freshly made tortillas to use for breakfast, lunch or dinner? 

I know I do, so let’s make some!

BUTTERY TORTILLAS
  • 3 cups of flour 
  • 1 tablespoon of baking powder
  • 2 teaspoons of salt
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 cup of water
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Add the flour, baking powder and salt to a large bowl and whisk to combine.
  2. Melt 1/2 cup of butter in 1 cup of water and stir until well combined.
  3. Gently pour the butter and water mixture into the flour mixture and mix with your hands until a dough forms, then knead that dough into a smooth ball.
  4. Put the dough ball back into the bowl and cover it with plastic. 
  5. Allow the dough to rest for 10 to 15 minutes, then remove it and separate it out into smaller balls of dough.
  6. Transfer them back into the bowl, cover them with plastic, and allow them to rest for another 10 to 15 minutes.
  7. Pre-heat your pan or skillet to a medium heat.
  8. On a lightly floured surface, roll out a ball of dough into an 8 to 10 inch round.
  9. Place your tortilla in the middle of the pan.
  10. When bubbles form, flip your tortilla and cook for an additional 30 seconds, then remove it from the heat.
  11. Repeat steps 8 through 10 until all of the tortillas are cooked!
  12. Enjoy!

DIY – Tissue Paper Flowers

Part of the fun in raising Zoey is making things that delight her; I want to create fun, educational crafts for her that are made with love and will be loved! 

This week we’ll be creating paper marigolds in honor of their color and beauty, but also to begin educating Zoey on their significance this time of year. 

These supplies and instructions create two large paper flowers, but you can multiply and create as many as you like in as many color variations as you like!

SUPPLIES
  • 4 green pipe cleaners
  • 5 sheets of 20” x 20” gift-wrapping tissue paper (or similar)
  • Scissors
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Layer and align the 5 sheets of tissue paper, then fold them in half and crease.
  2. Cut along the crease line so you now have two groups of tissue sheets, 10” by 20” each.
  3. Keeping each group of tissue sheets layered and aligned, pleat the paper in an accordion fold.
  4. Holding the accordion fold closed, cut a half-circle shape from each end. (You could also cut a point or zig-zag)
  5. Holding the accordion fold closed, wrap the top of a pipe cleaner around the middle of the paper and twist it around itself to hold it in place. This will also act as the stem.
  6. Fan out the paper, then gently separate the first layer of paper from the rest, and move it up to form the top layer of petals.
  7. Gently separate the rest of the paper layers and fluff out your flower.
  8. To bolster the stem a bit more: Secure a second pipe cleaner around the existing pipe cleaner where it meets the flower, and wrap it around the existing pipe cleaner down to the base (start back up if you have extra).
  9. Repeat steps 3 through 8 with the second group of tissue sheets.
  10. Enjoy!

Homemade Pumpkin Bread Recipe

Welcome back friends! 

Who wants some fresh, oven baked pumpkin bread to enjoy on one (or more) of these beautiful autumn mornings? Maybe at a table with some coffee or tea and a good book? 

I know I do, so let’s bake some!

PUMPKIN BREAD
  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon of baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon of baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon of ground nutmeg
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon of salt
  • 3⁄4 cup of unsalted butter, softened
  • 2 cups of sugar
  • 2 large of eggs
  • 1 15-oz can of pumpkin puree
  • Powdered sugar (optional)
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Set an oven rack to the middle position and pre-heat it to 325F. 
  2. Grease two 8 x 4-inch loaf pans with butter, then dust with flour.
  3. In a medium bowl, combine the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg and salt. Whisk until well combined, then set aside. 
  4. In a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar on medium speed until just blended. Add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition and continue to beat until very light and fluffy, then incorporate the pumpkin.
  5. Slowly add the flour mixture to the pumpkin mixture and mix on a low speed until well combined. 
  6. Divide the batter evenly into the two prepared pans, and bake for 65 – 75 minutes, or until a cake tester inserted into the center comes out clean. 
  7. Let the loaves cool in the pans for about 10 minutes, then turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely. 
  8. Place powdered sugar into a sifter and lightly dust the top of each loaf.
  9. Enjoy!

Homemade Halloween Cookies with Reese’s Pieces

Welcome back friends 

I have some chocolatey, peanut buttery halloween cookies for you!

You may have heard that you can make cookies with boxed cake mix and this recipe does just that, but with a boost of unsweetened cocoa powder and Reeses Pieces! They are delicious; rich and not too sweet. If you’re looking for something tasty to bake for yourself or someone(s) you love, please try these and enjoy!

HALLOWEEN COOKIES
  • 1 box of devil’s food chocolate cake mix
  • 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 3/4 cup of butter, softened
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 cups of Reeses Pieces candy
INSTRUCTIONS
  • Pre-heat the oven to 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Open the cake mix and pour it into a large mixing bowl.
  • Measure 1/4 cup of unsweetened cocoa into the dry cake mix and stir gently to incorporate.
  • Add the softened butter and eggs into the dry ingredients and mix until a thick dough forms.
  • Divide the Reeses Pieces: stir one cup into the cookie dough and place the other cup into a separate small bowl.
  • Roll the dough into 1 to 1 1/2 inch balls, then dip the top of each dough ball into the small bowl of Reeses Pieces. Lightly press the Reeses Pieces on top a little more firmly into the dough if needed but don’t squash the dough ball and place it onto the baking sheet.
  • Place the baking sheet into the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes depending on the power of your oven.
  • Bring the cookies out of the oven and allow them to cool on a rack for about 5 minutes, then transfer the cookies to a cooling rack for another 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Enjoy!