Welcome back friends! With the release of Hogwarts Legacy, I am in a Harry Potter kind of mood, and craving some Harry Potter food!
Wowee, Butterbeer is sweet! It best enjoyed with something salty to counteract just how sweet it is! Another way to counteract the sweetness is to leave the whipped cream plain, no added sugar or sweetener, just the whipped cream. If you mix the whipped cream and the butterbeer it creates a perfectly balanced bite! Not too sweet!
Let’s make some!
1⁄2 cup of butterscotch syrup
1⁄2 tablespoon of butter, melted
1 cup of cream soda
Heavy whipping cream
Measure and pour the butterscotch syrup into a bowl.
Add the melted butter to the butterscotch syrup and whisk gently until combined.
Measure and pour the cream soda into the butter, butterscotch mixture and whisk gently again until combined, then set aside.
In a separate mixing bowl, whip the heavy cream until it forms stiff peaks.
Pour the butterbeer into mugs of your choosing, leaving room for the whipped cream topping.
Top the butterbeer with a few dollops of whipped cream and enjoy!
My little girl hasn’t quite reached the age of exchanging multitudes of valentines amongst her classmates and/or friends so I thought we would create a few fun pieces of artwork instead! These heart handprint paintings are the perfect Valentine for moms, dads, grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles; the sky is the limit!
Let’s have some fun and get painting!
Small mounted canvas (large enough for a handprint)
Foam paint brushes
Heart shaped paper, small
Select the colors you would like for a background, this can be one or more dependent on your preference.
Squeeze dots of the background paint color(s) you selected on the canvas in any pattern you prefer. I was going for a gradient look so I arranged my dots from light to dark.
Using a a foam paint brush, you and your little one can spread and blend the paint over the canvas in back and forth strokes.
For a completed look, paint the edges of the canvas if you have not already done so, then set it aside and allow it to fully dry.
Print and cut a heart out of paper and use sticky tape to attach it to the dry canvas.
Select the colors you would like to use to create the handprint, this could be one color or more, we did six, one for each finger and another color for the palm!
Using a different foam paint brush for each color, brush the colors onto your little one’s hand. Gently press the painted hand down on the canvas, aligning the heart under their palm.
Gently pull the hand away, then peel away the heart if it did not come off onto the hand.
If needed, use a small paint brush to touch up the edges of the heart, then allow the painting to dry.
Welcome back friends! Who would like to celebrate love and create some bittersweet fudge, sprinkled with a little salt this Valentine’s day? Usually I crave a sweeter chocolate, but this fudge has just enough sweet to cut through the bitter dark chocolate taste and if you add a little salt on top? Pure delicious!
Let’s make some!
16 ounces of Baker’s unsweetened chocolate
14 ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
2 teaspoons of vanilla
Kosher salt (optional)
Line an 8 or 9 inch square pan with foil.
Break the chocolate down in to smaller pieces and place it and the sweetened condensed milk into a double boiler.
Melt the chocolate into the sweetened condensed milk, stirring to incorporate.
Once the chocolate is melted, add the vanilla.
Remove from the heat and spread the fudge on the bottom of the prepared pan. Sprinkle Kosher salt over the top of the fudge if desired.
Refrigerate for two hours or until firm.
Use foil to lift fudge from pan before cutting into pieces. I used a heart cookie cutter to create heart shaped fudge pieces for my Valentine(s).
Welcome back friends! Who would like some rich and savory carrot and tomato soup on a cold afternoon or evening? I know I do! This soup is tangy and delicious, pairing well with toasted bread or grilled cheese sandwiches!
Let’s make some!
3 tablespoons of olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
1 large yellow onion, diced
1 1/2 lb. of carrots, peeled and cut into medallions
1/4 teaspoon of black pepper
1 teaspoon of ground cumin
1 1/2 teaspoons of kosher salt
2 cans of whole peeled tomatoes (28 ounces each)
1 teaspoon of dried basil
1/2 cup of plain greek yogurt
Warm the 3 tablespoons of olive oil in a dutch oven or large soup pan over medium heat.
Add the garlic and onion and cook for about 5 minutes or until the onions begin to turn translucent.
Stir in the carrots, black pepper, ground cumin and kosher salt and cook covered for about 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.
After about 10 minutes have passed, add the the whole peeled tomatoes with their juices and the dried basil, stirring well to incorporate.
Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce to a simmer and cover for about 20 minutes or until the carrots are soft. This may vary per oven, so keep an eye on them!
Once the carrots are soft, remove the soup from the heat and use an immersion blender to carefully blend the soup until smooth.
Stir in the greek yogurt and then use the immersion blender again to smooth it in.
“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.
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.
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.
Wash the leaves thoroughly with fresh water, then place them in a salad spinner to remove any excess water.
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.
Turn your oven on to it’s lowest setting (for many this will be 170F).
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.
Remove the tray from the oven and allow to cool.
You can store the leaves in an airtight container or brew some tea right away!
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!
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!
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
1 cup of brown sugar, packed
1/2 cup of salted butter, softened
2 tablespoons of cinnamon
1 cup of heavy cream, divided
1/3 cup of salted butter, softened
6 ounces of cream cheese, softened
2 cups of powdered sugar
1/2 tablespoon of vanilla extract
Pour the warm milk into a large bowl and sprinkle it with the yeast.
Add the butter, eggs and sugar, then mix until well combined.
Add 4 cups of the flour and the salt, then mix until well combined.
Scrape the dough off the beater blade and knead for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the dough is elastic and smooth.
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.
Cover the bowl and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size (about 30 minutes to an hour).
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.
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.
Flour a rolling pin and roll the dough to about 24” x 15” rectangle (though it does not have to be exact).
Use a rubber spatula to smooth the filling over the whole dough rectangle.
Starting at the long end, roll the dough up tightly.
Cut the roll into 12 slices and place in a greased 9×13” baking pan.
Cover the pan and allow the rolls to rise for 20 minutes or until nearly double.
Pre-heat the oven to 375F.
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.
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.
While the rolls are cooling, prepare the cream cheese frosting. In a large bowl combine the cream cheese and butter, blending well.
Add the vanilla extract and powdered sugar, then beat until combined.
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 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!
Expand my garden.
Organize the whole house.
Play and complete 12 video games.
Read and complete 12 books.
Re-carpet the living room.
Re-floor the main areas of the house.
Send anniversary and birthday cards out on time.
Set aside 1 hour a day to work on my dreams.
Set aside times of the day for intentional screen-time.
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
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.
Add the mixture to a food processor and pulse until everything is finely ground and smooth.
This dry cocoa mix can be store in an airtight container for up to 3 months.
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).
Top with whipped cream or miniature marshmallows, if desired and enjoy!