Hair Braiding Styles

First and foremost…this is NOT something I did whatsoever and want to make sure you all are aware of it. I promise I will get some of my own how to’s up…because embarrassingly, I only have one so far….yikes!

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I am so glad I came across this on the interwebs. I have so many people in my chair who want to do something with their beautiful long locks and are bored just having it hang so I love giving my recommendations of other techniques to have fun and try something new! I have honestly tried myself these all and it’s fun for especially summer to get your hair off your back. You don’t need super long hair to do these styles either ( it makes it just a little bit easier though). Anyways, love this website, Refinery29. (Once you click that, it will take you directly to their tutorials). Hope these ideas help!!

 

Moms Homemade Mint Brownies

I was hoping to get this post up before St. Patricks Day but these days, getting certain things done on time isn’t always going to happen (I have been realizing more and more lately). So if you still want to celebrate or if you want a yummy new brownie recipe, I’ve got it.

These brownies are quite scrumptious. My beautiful mama would make these occasionally for the family and it’s one of those special desserts as a child and now, as an adult, I have never forgotten. I love peppermint/ mint desserts or anything with mint ( I should say) so I love these ones! So will you too if you enjoy a nice fresh mint flavor.

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Here is the recipe, and enjoy!!

Moms Mint Brownies

1st layer

1 c. granulated sugar

4 eggs

1/2 c. melted butter

1 can hershey’s syrup (16 oz.)

1 c. flour

1/2 tsp. baking soda

Using beaters, combine all ingredients in a large bowl. Beat until well blended. Bake 20 minutes in greased baking sheet at 350. Cool 10 minutes and then refrigerate 20 minutes.

2nd layer (Mint filling)

1/2 c. margarine

2 c. powdered sugar

2 TBL. water

1 tsp. peppermint or mint extract

4-5 drops of green food coloring…or a little dap of Wilsons

Using beaters, mix together well. Spread over 1st layer and refrigerate 20 minutes.

3rd layer (chocolate top)

1/2 c. butter

1 c. chocolate chips

Melt on stove top and cool for about 15 minutes after everything is smooth. Spread over 2nd layer and refrigerate for 5 minutes. Cut into little squares. (Should cut nicely). No need to over cool and no need to refrigerate after.

My little guy loves to help and wanted to include these gems of his in the pic. Legos and the hulk. They were also our helpers in the making.

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And nothing like some chocolate syrup involved too…I may need to change this recipe to dark chocolate though next time. That is one of our favs in this family. So for sure, you can definitely substitute milk chocolate to dark chocolate!

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1st layer…the brownies.

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2nd layer…mint filling.

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3rd layer…chocolate frosting

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…and you’re delicious finished product!

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Car Seat Canopy…thing.

Let me just explain one thing before I start explaining what I am posting.

For one, I am in no way a good seamstress. I took a few classes in my beginning stages of high school & stopped after that. Not because I didn’t enjoy it but because I just didn’t keep up with it. I started sewing a few things here and there recently and now I realize…when I have time…that I want to keep up with some few projects I have in mind.

There ya have it. Had to just explain that before I move forward. So, yes. The car seat canopy. First of all, I never see these out and about around where we are from. Only when I am at my church, is when I see them. I was slightly confused I remember when I saw it. Some lovely mama while back was carrying something with fabric over something large and I thought, what the heck is being suffocated underneath that? All the sudden, some of that fabric was pulled back and there was a baby…sleeping soundly in the carseat. Then it all came together. What a smart idea! I never made or had one with our first child, but now…oh yes, forgot to mention somewhere in this blog, we are expecting #2 this spring (hooray!!!), I thought I should try this out and make one. For one, it seems as though it would be nice and cozy. Two, keeps random strangers away for wanting to come touch your little ones faces. Cover those little babes right up and hopefully no one will try opening it. (Is it acceptable to somewhat lightly tap some strangers hand you don’t know if there is an attempt? Just wondering. Not that I would…well, maybe).

What do you all think? I still feel like I may be suffocating my child but I do like the idea of this. I am assuming you all have heard of Pinterest. If you haven’t…well, I don’t know what to say to you then. It’s not good. I found this girls blog on there & a pretty simple tutorial. So first off, thank you Pinterest for directing me & secondly and most importantly, thank you to Creatively Christy!  ( very fun blog if you ask me).

I will leave the directions all credited clearly to her. Click on the link, go check that out!

::Red Velvet Cupcakes::

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Let me first tell you, that little helper of mine couldn’t wait to get his hands on one of them. (Can’t ya tell)? How could you not want a cupcake though? Especially one with a nice cream cheese based frosting dolloped on the top? I know I couldn’t resist. Sorry to all those on the New Year resolutions of healthy eating…but hey, that’s what working out is for right??

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So yes. Red velvet cupcakes. That is what we baked in the kitchen today. It made me think of Valentines day already…I am going to hashtag only once for no complete reason…#howcrazyamI??? I just can barely believe we are in the mid of January already! Freezing cold over here…which I guess for us, it’s that time of year.

If you’re looking for an easy, yummy dessert to hand out…or make for yourself. Or your family. Or your significant other for Valentines day, here it is!

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Red Velvet Cupcakes

Yields: 24 cupcakes

Ingredients

  • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cocoa powder
  • 1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
  • 1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
  • 2 large eggs, room temperature
  • 2 tablespoons red food coloring
  • 1 teaspoon white distilled vinegar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • For the Cream Cheese Frosting:
  • 1 pound cream cheese, softened
  • 2 sticks butter, softened
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 4 cups sifted confectioners’ sugar
  • Chopped pecans and fresh raspberries or strawberries, for garnish

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line 2 (12-cup) muffin pans with cupcake papers.

In a medium mixing bowl, sift together the flour, sugar, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder. In a large bowl gently beat together the oil, buttermilk, eggs, food coloring, vinegar, and vanilla with a handheld electric mixer. Add the sifted dry ingredients to the wet and mix until smooth and thoroughly combined.

Divide the batter evenly among the cupcake tins about 2/3 filled. Bake in oven for about 20 to 22 minutes, turning the pans once, half way through. Test the cupcakes with a toothpick for doneness. Remove from oven and cool completely before frosting.

For the Cream Cheese Frosting:

In a large mixing bowl, beat the cream cheese, butter and vanilla together until smooth. Add the sugar and on low speed, beat until incorporated. Increase the speed to high and mix until very light and fluffy.

Recipe adapted by Food Network

Whats your NYE style for 2013?

Can you believe in just a few days we will be ringing in the New Year to 2014????? I cannot, this year has flown by. I am excited for whats in store for 2014 for us. Lots of fun things happening. What is everyones plans? Typically, parties- large or small. Going out for the night, going to a friends house, keeping it local at your own home?

For us, we are bums. We enjoy just staying put. Banging on pots & pans, letting off sparklers, sometimes even falling asleep before midnight…(whoops) and sipping on my favorite…NA Sparkling Cranberry Juice. Its delicious. Really.

So with that, it is fun to get spruced up a little bit. Not necessarily like you’re headed to the Grammys, which would be fun, but just to do a little something. I have some fun hair styles, make up ideas & fashion ideas to get your brains working. Yes, even if it is just you and your significant other at home, or the kids are in bed, it’s okay to get dolled up somewhat. But staying in your pajamas is completely understandable too!

Enjoy!

Pumpkin Brownies {with ganache}

Oh boy. It’s that time of year already. Food, family, shopping, crazy filled grocery stores, decorating, baking, then eating a ton. Personally, I love it. I love the excitement in peoples eyes…except for those who are crazy shoppers getting the ‘deals’. They scare me. (Random note, that’s why I avoid black friday and only check things out online. )

So anyways, back to this scrumptious dessert everyone should try making. That is, if you enjoy chocolate, pumpkin, and more chocolate. Sometimes, you just have to indulge…Follow this awesome blog, My Baking Addiction. AHHHmazing recipes on here. Since it is November, I always like to bake with pumpkin somehow. I first saw the pictures, and then I read the ingredients and had to try this. Hopefully you will too!

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Pumpkin Brownies

Yield: 12 brownies          Prep Time: 20 minutes        Cook time: 30-35 minutes

Ingredients:

4 ounces unsweetened chocolate; coarsely chopped
3/4 cup unsalted butter, cut into cubes
1 1/4 cups sugar
3 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup Gold Medal all-purpose flour

For the Pumpkin Swirl

4 ounces cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons pumpkin pie spice
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

For the Ganache

4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream

DIRECTIONS:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line an 8×8 inch baking pan with foil and spray with nonstick cooking spray.

2. Microwave chocolate and butter in a large microwave-safe bowl at medium (50% power) for 3-4 minutes or until butter is melted. While the chocolate is melting, prepare the pumpkin layer. In a medium bowl, combine cream cheese, pumpkin puree, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and vanilla. Beat with an electric mixer well combined and smooth. Set aside.

3. Once the butter is melted, remove the bowl from the microwave and stir until chocolate is melted. Whisk in sugar, eggs, vanilla and salt. Gradually add in flour; stir until just combined.

4. Spread 3/4 the batter into prepared pan. Spoon pumpkin filling by tablespoonfuls evenly over batter. Spoon remaining brownie batter over filling. Use a knife or wooden skewer to cut through the batter several times in different directions to create a swirled pattern. Bake in preheated oven for 30-35 minutes – do not overbake

5. Remove to cooling rack to cool completely. Before serving, prepare the ganache.

6. To make the ganache, pour the chopped chocolate into a medium mixing bowl, set aside. Pour the heavy cream into a microwave safe measuring cup (Pyrex) and microwave on high for about 1 minute or until bubbles begin to form on the surface. Take care to not overheat because the cream will boil over. Pour the hot cream over the chocolate and allow it to sit for about 3 minutes. Use a small whisk to combine the mixture into a smooth chocolate glaze. Spoon the ganache over the brownies.

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Sourced from: My Baking Addiction 

Fall Fashion Favs {Ankle Boots}

I need to get me some more of these.

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They are everywhere so I don’t feel I need to help guide you where to go, but I still will.  TJMAXX, Macy’s, DSW, Anthropology, Target, Ubran Outfitters, they are everywhere. Those were just a few that came to mind if you needed a push… Love love love. Skinny jeans, my favorite is when they are rolled up. To cute skirt with tights, dresses. Whatever it is, they are cute with anything. Here are some cute finds.

 

Sweet Potatoes (With Honey & Rosemary)

I feel I’m always at the grocery store. Whether it is for some random ingredient I forgot, or just being lazy and not planning out my ‘weekly’ meal plan I feel everyone does…which is smart. I just don’t think like that. Anywho, this is so random but I was grabbing my normal things I needed from produce and saw the sweet potatoes and wanted to make something with that…and I made it happen. This goes excellent with one of the recipes I shared, Roasted Pork Tenderloin. It was yummy. Plus, I love roasted veggies. So I couldn’t go wrong. Thanks again to Fork Knife Swoon for sharing this!

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Sweet Potatoes (With Honey & Rosemary)
2 lbs sweet potatoes, cut into 1-inch chunks
2 tbs olive oil
2 tbs honey
4- 6 sprigs fresh rosemary
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly-ground black pepper

1. Preheat oven to 400º.

2. Place sweet potatoes in a flat layer on a 9-by-13-inch baking pan or rimmed baking sheet. Place rosemary sprigs on top of sweet potatoes. Drizzle with olive oil and honey. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

3. Roast, stirring occasionally for 35 to 45 minutes or until sweet potatoes are fork tender. Serve hot.

Roasted Pork Tenderloin with Orange Herb Sauce

Who is ready for fall?? I kinda am. I can’t wait to bring out my favorite fall recipes. (I will probably regret saying that because I love the sunshine and the heat). Well, I had to bust one out since its been somewhat cooler in our neck of the woods.
We love roasted pork tenderloin. This marinade/ sauce was excellent with this as well. If you really like rosemary too, this is a winner.

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Roasted Pork Tenderloin (with Orange Sauce)

Ingredients
2 1/2 lb. pork tenderloin, trimmed
kosher salt and freshly-ground pepper to taste
For the marinade:
1 cup fresh orange juice (about 3 oranges)
1/2 cup olive oil
1/4 cup apple cider vinegar
1 tbsp fresh garlic, minced
1/2 tsp cinnamon
2 tbsp fresh parsley, minced
1 tbsp fresh rosemary, minced

Instructions:
1.Make the marinade. Combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and stir until well combined.
2.Cut the pork into 4-5 equal pieces. Pour the marinade over the meat and let marinate for at least an hour and up to 4 hours in the refrigerator. Before cooking, let the pork come to room temperature, about 30 minutes.
3.Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the pork to the pan, reserving the marinade, and cook until browned, about 3-4 minutes per side.
4.Transfer the skillet to the oven and cook until the pork is cooked through but still slightly pink in the middle, about 25-35 minutes. A meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the meat should read at least 155 degrees.
5.While the meat is roasting, heat the reserved marinade in a small saucepan over medium-high heat. Bring to a boil for 2-3 minutes, then turn the heat down to low and let simmer until the pork is done.
6.Remove the pork from the oven and let rest on a cutting board, loosely covered in aluminum foil, about 10 minutes. Cut into thin slices and serve warm with the orange sauce.

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From Fork Knife Swoon ( go check them out)!

BBQ Chicken Salad

Salads are one of my favorites to eat. From green salads, to fruit salads, to pastas, so good. Everyone has some favorite recipe that is a salad…how couldn’t you??
Well, with this BBQ Chicken salad, I did something that I embarrassingly have to admit I’ve never done before. I’m embarrassed…you can laugh. I’ll tell you…I’ve never started a charcoal grill in my life. Until recently. Recently, as in until now for this recipe. (I have my amazing grill master husband to thank for being my teacher). How sad is that? So enough about that, you can think that’s unacceptable….
Anywho, I love salads that involve corn, cherry tomatoes, avocados. My poor family I hope won’t get sick of these ingredients. I hope their eyes don’t roll when they see that on the dinner table…(and if they do, too bad)!

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So if you’re in the mood for a yummy summer BBQ salad, this is where it’s at! This did have a yummy corn recipe for this salad that I didn’t get to make, but next time I will make a point to do so…one more thing, don’t save any leftover dressing…I forget how avocados look like something bad happened when left out too long.

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Ingredients

2 – 4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
BBQ sauce (homemade or your favorite store-bought variety)
Canola or vegetable oil
Kosher Salt
Freshly ground black pepper
1 large head of lettuce (any variety will do), rinsed, dried, and torn into bite-sized pieces
Spicy Southwest Corn
1 (15 ounce) can black beans, rinsed and drained
2 ripe avocados, diced
1 pint cherry or grape tomatoes, halved
For the Avocado Dressing
1 ripe avocado, mashed
1/2 cup plain greek yogurt
1 lime
1 clove garlic
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
Instructions

Preheat grill to medium. Lightly coat chicken breasts with a little drizzle of canola oil and season liberally with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Grill, with the lid closed, approximately 5-7 minutes, then flip and baste cooked side with bbq sauce. Cook for another 5-7 minutes, or until cooked through and a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the breast registers 155°F (it will continue to cook while resting). Remove from grill, baste with a bit more bbq sauce, and let rest for 5-10 minutes. Slice chicken breasts into bite-sized pieces.

Layer each bowl with lettuce, a hefty spoonful or two of Spicy Southwest Corn and black beans, anywhere between a half to a whole sliced chicken breast (we normally do half), a 1/2 of avocado diced, and a handful of halved tomatoes. Drizzle generously with the Avocado Dressing.

For the Avocado Dressing
In a food processor, purée the avocado, greek yogurt, juice from 1/2 of the lime, and garlic. Drizzle in olive oil and fully combine. Season with Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper. Taste and add the juice from the other 1/2 lime if needed.

Recipe from Shared Appetite