Staying Smooth: Moisturizing & Exfoliating Body Scrub!

Recently I posted a photo on Instagram of some of the body scrub I whipped up. I love making body scrubs, balms, and lotions. Anything I can make at home with all natural ingredients is a plus in my book.

I dislike commercially available scrubs, so often they contain silica or other “micro-beads”. They are often times not biodegradable, and they end up in oceans and streams, harming wildlife.

Screen Shot 2017-08-21 at 9.05.43 PM.pngI got quite a few DM’s asking for the recipe, so I thought I would share it.

All of this stuff I had in my house already, so you may have to go out and grab some ingredients, or just make a few substitutions, depending on what you have on-hand.

I’ve linked to some of the ingredients on Amazon (prices may change, and if you buy something from one of my links, I *might* get a small commission). Then you don’t have to leave home to shop!

This recipe makes A LOT, so, be prepared with a large container with a lid (I used a plastic coffee canister that I sterilized).

 

Moisturizing & Exfoliating Body Scrub

Ingredients:

Directions:

  1. Mix all of the liquid ingredients together in a bowl, set aside.
  2. Mix all of the dry ingredients in a second bowl, set aside.
  3. Add wet to dry ingredients slowly, stirring well.
  4. Store in a container with a lid, scoop out with a clean hand (or spoon) into another cup/container as needed.

If mixture feels too wet, add up to an additional 1/2 cup of salt (your choice: sea or table).

If mixture is too dry, add up to 1/2 cup coconut oil.

 

 

Healthy, Frozen Fruit Pops!

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It’s summer and my kids would eat popsicles 24/7 if I let them. Most commercial popsicles (or as they are sometimes called, frozen dessert confections) are full of sugar and artificial ick. A few months ago my dad bought me a package of Zipzicles on Amazon. Zipzicles are long, skinny zip top freezer bags that can be filled with whatever you’d like and frozen. Think DIY Otter Pops.

What I really like is that you can be creative, use what you have on hand, and create healthy and fun treats with your kids.

Here are two recipes that the kids and I came up with. If you follow me on Instagram, you may have seen this pictures recently.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 7.46.47 AMMixed Berry Pops

Makes about 12 pops

  • 2 cups mixed berries (use whatever you have, I used 1.5 cups of strawberries and 1/2 cup blackberries)
  • 1/2 c water
  • 2 t. honey

Place all ingredients into the blender and blend until smooth. Use a small funnel to fill the zipzicle pouches. Place all Zipzicle pouches into a cup or larger zip top bag and place in freezer. Ready to serve in approx 4-6 hours, or as soon as frozen solid.

Screen Shot 2017-06-23 at 7.46.35 AMTropical Pops

Makes about 20

2c frozen bananas
2c frozen Strawberries
1 pkg frozen mangoes
2c Orange Juice
Blend together, pour into Zipzicle pouches ( I use a funnel). Store in freezer until it’s time to consume.

They are so good, and no extra sugar is needed, because the bananas are so sweet.

Next, I think we’ll be making Bachelor Mousse treats. I think it will freeze well, and everyone loves fudgsicles!

For your convenance, Zipzicles can be purchased here (affiliate link), but you can also find them at Bed, Bath, and Beyond.

What would you put into your Zipzicles?

Practical Ways to Help New Parents…

Having had two kids, I can tell you that nothing is more helpful than having food to eat in the first few weeks after giving birth. Having a baby is stressful, especially if it’s your first. You can take all the classes in the world, do as much prep, but when it comes down to it, you spend the first few weeks tired, stressed, and weary.

Having a few extra hands and a hot meal you can eat one handed (especially something you can eat while breastfeeding) is worth it’s weight in gold!

Recently a friend and his wife welcomed their little girl. Hubs made up a batch of his new baby calzones. He makes them for everyone of our friends that is having a baby. They freeze well, re-heat quickly (and well), and you can eat them one handed.

Thanks to Kasandrinos Olive Oil and UsFamily Guide for the opportunity to sample this olive oil for free! I’m not usually a big Olive Oil fan, Kasandrinos Olive oil has a light flavor that works really well in Calzones! I also like that it has an easy to pour spout inside the bottle!

We use the Pizza Crust Recipe from Mark Bittman’s How to Cook Anything. You can find the recipe here.  One Pizza Crust makes 4-6 small calzones.IMG_2064.jpg

As the dough rises, we prep the rest of the ingredients. Sauce, cheese, meats, veggies.

I use canned tomato sauce and add Italian seasoning, red pepper flakes, a pinch of parmesan cheese, salt, and black pepper. No added sugar.

Some of the most popular ingredients around here: pepperoni, sausage, onions, bell peppers, ground cooked beef, sliced chicken breast, goat cheese, mozzarella, bbq sauce (instead of tomato sauce), cheddar cheese, ham, green chilis, meatballs (I usually make them little or slice them up), pretty much anything in the fridge!

Once the dough is ready, it is portioned out, rolled and then the magic happens!

For small/hand held sized calzones, use 1/2 cup cheese/toppings and 2-3 T. of sauce. Fold over and crimp the edges shut, and place on a cookie sheet that is either sprayed with Pan or use a silicon baking mat. I have these and I love them!

Larger Calzones need almost double the amounts above.

Bake at 450 for 10-20 minutes, depending on size.

Before and after baking!

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Here is the result of a few hours work. They were delivered the next day, ready to be frozen and enjoyed at the new mom and dad’s leisure!

If cooking isn’t your “thing” here are a few other ways to help the new parents in your life:

  • Bring them their favorite coffee drink, and something to eat.
  • Offer to hold/watch the baby while they take a shower/take a nap/have 5 minutes alone.
  • Fold/put away their laundry.
  • Wash their dishes.
  • Take out the trash, or if trash day is the next day, take their cans down to the street (then the next day, stealthily put them back).
  • Be there. Honestly, it can be lonely if you are a new parent. It’s not like you are taking your new baby all over town. You are just trying to get the hang of having a new family member. Sometimes it’s just nice to have someone to come hang out with!

Kasandrinos and Us Family guide provided us with a free bottle of olive oil in exchange for this post. All opinions are my own. I was not financially compensated.

Recipe: Lemon Garlic Spaghetti Squash Casserole

file000382147880.jpgWe love Garlic. It’s a good thing that hubs and I both like it, because otherwise this recipe wouldn’t go over too well.

This is my spin on the Spaghetti with Garlic White Wine sauce found here.  It appeared in hubs Facebook feed one day several months ago, he sent it to me, and we’ve been tweaking it to make it our own ever since.

To make it a little healthier, I added in 1 large spaghetti squash. If you’ve never cooked one, I write about it here. It’s super easy to cook, and it’s very yummy

Lemon Garlic Spaghetti Squash Casserole

Ingredients:

  • 2 large white onions, cut into quarters and layers separated
  • 1 T Olive Oil
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 large lemons, zested and juiced
  • 4 T butter, divided
  • 6-8 cloves of garlic, minced (you can use more or less)
  • 1/2 t. red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 c. white wine
  • 1/2 T Thyme (I usually have it dried in my spice cabinet, but if you have it fresh, use 5-6 springs)
  • 1 c. Grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 1/2 c chicken broth (or pasta water)
  • 1 large spaghetti Squash
  • If you want to add pasta to this dish, you’ll need 1/2 lb spaghetti, 8-10 cups water (to cook pasta), and salt (to salt the water)

 

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.

Prep spaghetti squash (scoop out the stringy parts and seeds) and bake at 350 for 30-45 minutes.

Toss cut up onions in oil, salt and pepper. Bake in a baking dish covered for 20-30 minutes, uncover and bake an addition 10-15 minutes.

IMG_3202.jpgAfter the squash is done cooking, allow to cool for about 10 minutes, or until it’s easy to handle. Scoop the “meat” out and set aside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Baked onions, cooling, along with the butter needed to finish the recipe.

After onions are done baking, set aside.

If you are cooking pasta, start the water to boil and cook pasta as directed.

Zest and juice the lemons, set aside.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Heat half the butter in a skillet. Once melted, add the minced garlic and cook on medium for 5-ish minutes until fragrant (watch out, it burns really easily). Add red pepper flakes.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_3200.jpgAdd Lemon juice and wine, turn up the heat for a few minutes. You’ll want to cook off the alcohol, so about 5-10 minutes at medium high heat. Add the baked onions.

Add 2 T. chicken broth (or pasta water), and the remaining butter, and the Thyme. Once the butter is melted, turn off the heat.

Add the spaghetti squash and/or pasta into the skillet, and gently toss to coat. Add lemon zest, and half of the parmesan cheese. If the mixture becomes too thick, add more chicken broth or pasta water a little at a time.

Top with any additional cheese, thyme, and/or pepper flakes.

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Here is an extra step that makes it a little better (IMO) but isn’t needed: Place skillet under the broiler for 3-5 minutes, until the cheese on the top is brown and bubbly.

I have made this recipe with both pasta and spaghetti squash.  This last time I made it, I used only 1 serving of whole wheat spaghetti, mostly because I prefer the way it turns out when it has the pasta water in it, instead of the chicken broth.

*If you are a vegetarian, feel free to substitute in veggie broth.

**This recipe can be made with GF pasta.

 

Recipe: Oatmeal Mix

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We love Oatmeal, but most instant oatmeal is full of sugar and isn’t really good for you (no fiber, lots of sugar, mystery ingredients).

Determined to save money and get us to eat better, I set out to concoct a batch of oatmeal mix.  After months of trial and error, here is the final result:

Oatmeal Mix

Makes 40 1/2 cup servings

Ingredients

  • 15 cups old fashioned oats (that’s 1 large canister)
  • 3 2/3 cups nonfat dry milk powder
  • 1 cup flax seeds, milled
  • 1 cup Hemp Seeds (I like these)

Directions

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all of the ingredients.
  2. Store in a large air tight container for up to 6 months.

Directions for cooking the mix:

1/2 cup mix to 1 cup water, cook on the stove together until the oats are cooked (2-3 minutes). Or mix together and cook in the microwave for 2 minutes and let stand for a few minutes.

 

Add dried fruit, powdered sweetener, spices/herbs, what have you to make it your own!

Buffalo Chicken Cheesy Monkey Bread

Sunday was the closing night of my husband’s production of To Kill A Mockingbird, and the end of a run means CAST PARTY!!

I wanted to make something that most everyone would enjoy. After watching countless Tasty Videos on Facebook and scouring our pantry and fridge, I came up with a modified version of this Cheesy Bacon Monkey bread.IMG_1833.jpg

We are currently without bacon (I know a high crime!), so I opted to modify the recipe and use Oscar Mayer Carving Board Buffalo Chicken instead. IMG_1821.jpg

Buffalo Chicken Cheesy Monkey Bread

Ingredients:

  • 2 tubes biscuit dough (10-12 biscuits per tube) rolled out
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese, grated
  • 12 slices Muenster cheese, cubed and separated
  • 1 Package Oscar Mayer Carving Board Buffalo Chicken, chopped
  • 1 stick butter, melted
  • 1 clove garlic, minced (or use the preminced garlic in a tube)
  • 1 Tablespoon dehyrdated onion
  • black pepper, to taste

Directions:

Spray a pie plate with Pam or your favorite spray release, set aside.

Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.

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Mix the melted butter, garlic, onions, and pepper in a small bowl, set aside.

 

 

 

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Open the rolls of biscuit dough, separate and roll out the dough.

 

 

 

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In the middle of each biscuit, drop 1T of cheese and 1 T of the chopped meat.

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Roll and pinch the dough into a ball keeping the cheese and meat in the middle of the ball.

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Dip the ball of dough into the melted butter, and place into the pie plate. balls should touch each other.

Repeat until all of the dough has made into balls.

Pour 2-3 Tablespoons of the remaining melted butter over the balls.

IMG_1832.jpgTop with remaining cheese.

Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes.

Serve hot with extra buffalo sauce and ranch dressing.

Try really hard not to eat all of the yummy little balls before serving at your party. It was really hard, those things are crazy delicious.

 

Quick Recipe: Easy, Healthy Brownies!

IMGP8542.jpgIn the search for healthier yummy recipes to feed Lil’ Man, I stumbled upon a recipe for black bean brownies. Ok, so stop making that face and read on. Oh, and this one is GLUTEN FREE!!

I read the recipe, and a bunch of comments and did some more investigating online and made a few tweaks to the recipe and got to cooking.

Ingredients:

  • 1 15 ounce can of black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3 eggs
  • 3 T. sugar free applesauce
  • 3/4 c. cocoa powder
  • 1 T. Hazelnut extract (You could use vanilla)
  • 1 1/2 c brown sugar, lightly packed
  • 1 t. instant coffee crystals (optional)- I used 1 t. of very strong coffee instead.
  • 1 C. chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Grease a 8×8 baking dish. I used an 8 inch round baking dish.
  3. In a blender, combine all of the ingredients EXCEPT the chocolate chips. This is important.  I didn’t do this!
  4. Pour batter into greased baking dish and top with chocolate chips. Bake for 25-35 minutes.  The brownies are super fudgy. If you want cake-ier brownies, add a pinch of baking powder.

 

If you like your brownies really sweet, add 1/4 c. white sugar. I like my desserts not super sweet, so I opted to use a little less sugar, and I’ll top mine with a scoop of ice cream- Yum!

They are not bean-y.  If I didn’t know they had beans in them. I wouldn’t be able to tell.  They are very moist, fudgy brownie. And if you use a flax egg and vegan chocolate chips, you’ve got a yummy vegan recipe!