Saturday, December 18, 2010

I'm Dreaming of a Green Christmas

I must confess, I have for a few years now yearned for a more eco friendly lifestyle.  I was prompted by a wonderful book I read titled "Serve God, Save the Planet".  I will not try to make excuses about why I am so stinking slow in making progress in this area I will simply try, one small step at a time to do better.

My first step.....finally I am recycling, I know that is pathetic.  We have never had curbside pickup, oops that was an excuse, but now our town does have a dropoff site not far from me.  I have been reducing for a while but that's relative I know.  Reusing I'm pretty good at as long as I'm not expected to wash ziploc bags, that I will not do, sorry.

My quest for a Green Christmas starts with this.....our tree.  After searching very long and hard I finally found a potted tree worthy enough of my decorations.  Okay honestly it is terrible, my poor kids and hubby are NOT happy with the tree.  However, my plan is to keep it on the patio all year and groom it, then bring it in each year.  Eventually it will be glorious.  Her name is Bertha, named by Jackson, and I am hoping she becomes a shining star on our quest towards being "green" Greens.
My favorite ornament.

Friday, December 17, 2010

Louisiana Snowmen Sugar Cookies

Corbin celebrated Christmas with his class Wednesday and these were our contribution.   I saw a picture of these on and had to recreate.  We have actually had a little snow in Louisiana a couple of times in the last few years but when we do it is quickly melted.  This recipe is perfect for those of us that don't like to spend hours decorating cookies, the imperfection of the snowmen is what makes them so perfect.

Louisiana Snowmen
1 1/2 cups softened butter
2 cups white sugar
4 eggs, try to allow them to come to room temperature
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
Cream butter and sugar together until fluffy and smooth.  Add eggs and vanilla.  Mix flour, baking powder, and salt then add to creamed mixture.  That is the easy part but to get perfect cookies follow the rest of the instructions carefully.  

30 large marshmallows

I do not chill my dough ball.  Very liberally flour your work surface, I use a big marble slab.  Place half of your dough on the counter and cover with flour.  Press out a square until it is 2 inches thick.  Flour your rolling pin well and begin rolling.  Try to keep your shape somewhat uniform.  Roll until they are 1/4 inch thick.  I use a 3" diameter round cookie cutter but use whatever you like.  Cut and use an offset icing spreader to very carefully move to a parchment paper lined cookie sheet.  Place leftover dough to the side to be rolled again.  Continue with other half of dough.  Cover with plastic wrap and place in fridge for a minimum of 30 minutes, I put them in overnight.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Bake aprox. 12 minutes, be sure to use a timer, overcooking is death to a cookie.   When cookie is done place a large marshmallow a little off center and place back into the oven for about a minute or until the marshmallow starts to barely puff.  Take it out and use your fingers to lightly press down just a little.  Ice these while they are still warm.

Sugar Cookie Icing
I like this recipe b/c it is so easy to adjust the consistency
4 cups confectioners sugar
4 tablespoons milk
4 tablespoons light corn syrup
1 teaspoon almond extract
Food coloring
Mix everything together except food coloring.  Drizzle white icing over entire cookie using a spreader to move it around if necessary.  Allow to harden, will probably take 30 minutes to an hour.  Next add a little powdered sugar to icing to make a bit thicker and color a little with red and little with black.  Use a ziploc or piping bag with a little hole snipped to pipe on the red scarf and black face and buttons.  Allow to dry before packaging.  

*Advice for baking perfect sugar cookies*
You do not want brown edges or a brown bottom.  If you look at the top of the cookie it should not be shiny, like raw dough, just a matte finish.  I know that sounds crazy but trust me on this.  Let them cool completely on the pan, never move your cookies to a cooling rack.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

We are what we create.

I heard a statement recently that really struck me as truth...."you are what you create".   I began to think of how it applies.  Years ago I would not have considered myself a very creative person but even then I was creating.  I was creating meals, a home for my family, friendships, etc..... we all create.  I couldn't help but to think of the people, at times myself included, that create chaos, drama, stress and determined that I do NOT want to be that kind of creator.  I have so many creative intrests that I want to pursue and have to a small extent but more than anything I want to create a peaceful home that my family can retreat to.  I want to cultivate a loving spirit that my husband never dreads spending time with.  I want to create a countenance that my friends are drawn to.  Even more than those I want to allow the creator of the universe to create in me a clean heart that comes from knowing and living for Him.

A few things I have created.

Chocolate Strawberry Cheesecake

Shrimp and Grits, I'll try to post this recipe soon.

My daughter in laws lingerie shower.

A healthy summer dinner for me and my love.
Okay I didn't create this alone but I am soooo thankful for a loving, fulfilling relationship!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Kombucha Tea

As some of you know, although I love good food and often post not so healthy recipes, my family puts effort into our health.  Matter of fact I am a few weeks away from opening my own little "health" store.  A quaint little place filled with herbs, vitamins, natural bath products, and all the information you care to hear from me.  One of the things I use to promote good health is making and teaching others to make Kombucha Tea.  This is a crazy tea made from a bacterial mushroom thingy, don't worry it's the good bacteria.  Loaded with probiotics, enzymes, and other good stuff.  Google it and you will find a wealth of info out there.  It tastes like nothing I have ever had before, I guess it would be closest to a light sparkling wine.  Don't worry it has less than 1% alchohol, you would have to drink a gallon to be affected very much.

All your neccessary ingredients.

First you need a "scoby".  Don't go and buy one like I did for $20 puleeze.  Simply buy a bottle of mass produced Kombucha pour it into 2 or 3 mason jars, cover with a coffee filter and put just the ring around.  It needs air.  Let it sit in a dark closet for a week or so and you should see a film forming on top.  You now have a "scoby".  Yummm, haha.  Not really I know it sounds gross.

The grape juice I love to add.

Get a gallon glass container, a pickle jar would work or you can look at the pics for what I use which I bought at Walmart.  Make a gallon of sweet tea, I use one cup sugar and 10 tea bags.  It is a good idea when you are making such a healthy product to use organics.  Pour your tea into your glass container and add your "scoby".  Your tea should not be hot just room temp.  Cover with a paper towel and rubber band. Sit in a dark closet for a week.  Your scoby will reproduce during this time, share it with a friend or google some ideas of how to use it.  I have read you can feed it to animals.

My finished product.

Next you need some jars, I use bottles that I have saved from other products just make sure they are really clean.  Use a funnel and plastic ladel and fill your bottles, leave a little room and you can add flavorings.  The tea tastes great with nothing added but you can be creative.  I personally like to add organic grape juice.  Just a little for flavor.  Put the lid on your bottle and put back into the closet for 3 more days, this will cause it to get fizzy, be careful not to leave it too long or it will get REAL fizzy.  Place it in the fridge and enjoy for up to a year.  Mine doesn't last long so I usually have a batch going.

Another thing I love about Kombucha is that it curbs your appetite so if you are trying to lose weight it's a great support item.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Cranberry Sauce

I really cannot imagine buying this stuff after realizing how easy it is to make.

Cranberry Sauce
1 cup water
1 cup sugar
1 pound fresh cranberries
Place all ingredients in a pot with high sides, it tends to boil over every time I make it.  Simmer for 30 minutes or so or until all cranberries are popped and it looks like cranberry sauce.  

This is the amount I got from one recipe.

Cornbread Dressing

I have had the priveledge of giving advice to a few young wives and I would have to say my favorite little tidbit is this...... learn to cook your husband's favorite dish that his mom makes.  Okay, I know you are thinking that is a bit too simple, but really how much love must you have for a person to want to be able to transport him to his childhood when he is 60 and his mom is long gone.  For my husband it was cornbread dressing.  Keep in mind my precious mother in law did not read nor write, but she was one of the wisest women I have ever known.  I watched her make this many times and am now so thankful for this dish.

This is before baking.  I was so excited about eating it I forgot the after picture.

Granny's Cornbread Dressing
1 whole chicken, washed and anything left inside removed
3 small onions, diced
4 ribs celery, diced
1/2 bell pepper, diced
4 green onions, green and white part
2 tablespoons diced jalepeno pepper
1 pan cornbread, any recipe works
Ground Sage

Since Granny didn't use a recipe, neither do I  but I tried to keep up with everything this time so I could give the recipe.  The first thing I do is make cornbread, I make it the day before putting it together.  Place the chicken in a stock pot and completely cover with water.  Add salt and pepper, probably around a tablespoon of each.  Simmer until chicken is falling apart when you touch it.  Crumble the cornbread, you can throw it in a food processor to get it really crumbled well.  Remove chicken from the pot leaving the broth.  Add onions, celery, bell pepper, green onions, and jalepeno.  Simmer until veggies are tender.  Using a slotted spoon add veggies to cornbread.  Remove chicken from bone and add to cornbread mixture.  Now you will begin ladeling chicken broth into cornbread mixture.  This is all about texture, the amount you add will depend on the consistency you like.  Add salt, pepper, and sage to taste.  I use a LOT of sage, it even changes the color of the dressing.  Just taste, taste, taste.  Everything in it is cooked so don't worry about eating raw ingredients.  Allow the dressing to sit at least an hour or so to soak up the broth allowing you to know whether you should add more or not.  I mix mine the day before I bake it because it seems to really let the flavors meld.  Bake on 350 degrees for an hour, or until golden brown on top.   I serve mine with gravy and cranberry sauce.

Bread Pudding

Many years ago when I was a wee 21 years old I opened a little cafe in Denham Springs.  This brilliant business endeavor lasted about 4 months because I fell in love with the plumber and had a very hard time going to work.  If it was raining I would just put up a sign that said "Closed Due to Weather".  Plumbers don't usually work in the rain. ;]  Anyway, my most requested item was bread pudding and continues to be so today.  I have catered off and on since and ran a "homemade meal to go business".  This is what I call my "money" recipe.  It is wonderful, easy, and super versatile.  It is NOT healthy, except for the fact that it feeds your soul when shared with someone you love.

Nicole's Bread Pudding
1 can evaporated milk
2 cups whole milk
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 stick butter, melted
8 cups torn or cubed day old french bread
1/2 cup coconut, optional
1/2 cup chopped pecans, optional
Mix first 5 ingredients.  Add bread, let sit 30 minutes or more.  Add butter, coconut, and pecans.  Place in 8x11 pan or something similar.  Bake on 325 degrees 1 hour 15 minutes or until golden brown and set in middle.

  Before baking.  Hint, you can adjust the consistency by adding more or less bread.

Rum Sauce
1 stick butter
1 cup sugar
3 tablespoons flour
1 can evaporated milk
Rum, to taste, start with about 2 tablespoons
In a small sauce pan melt butter.  Add sugar and flour and whisk for a minute.  Add evaporated milk and simmer until it is hot.  Add rum.

Instead of coconut and pecans you can add ANYTHING.  One thing I love is orange zest and dried cranberries, then for the sauce use Grand Marnier instead of rum.  Another idea is bananas and pineapple, with Malibu Rum sauce.  You can also make a brown sugar, pecan, and cinnamon mixture and just put on top for a cinnamon crunch thing.  Oh the fun you can have with this recipe!

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cheesecake

This is pretty simply described..... HEAVEN!!!!  Every Thanksgiving I try to come up with a cheesecake I haven't made yet.  Last year it was just cheesecake completely coated in raspberry sauce and white chocolate curls.  This year definitely topped it.  The only thing I would change is adding more strawberry puree to the cheesecake itself.  Best part about this is that I made a couple of mistakes that turned out wonderful thus giving me complete creative license to call this my own.

Crust, this is simply a homemade brownie also my first mistake....I forgot to buy brownie mix.

  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • Melt the butter in the microwave.  Mix in the sugar, eggs, and vanilla.  Mix cocoa powder, flour, salt, and baking powder and add to wet ingredients.  Pour into a greased spring form pan and bake on 35 degrees for 10 minutes.

Cheesecake mixture, mistake #2.  I used the recipe from my Junior's Cheesecakes cookbook but added an extra egg because I use my own eggs, layed by my chickens and they are medium instead of the extra large called for.  Also I forgot to add the whipping cream.  So....... here is "my" recipe.  I must say it was soooo yummy!
Four packages 8 oz. cream cheese
1 2/3 cups sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 eggs
I put everything in a food processor and just let it run until smooth.  Pour on top of brownie mix which is undercooked, don't make the mistake of overcooking it.

Strawberry puree, I only used a cup but I think more would be better.
2 cups frozen strawberries
1/4 cup sugar
Defrost strawberries in microwave and place in blender with sugar.  Blend until pureed.  I then poured it into a ziploc bag, snipped a corner and swirled it around the cheesecake.  Use a knife and cut it through the cheesecake mixing the strawberry through out.  Bake on 350 degrees aproximately 1 hour 15 minutes or until the top is set and light brown.  Remove from oven and let cool.  Place in refrigerator for as long as possible, at least 4 or 5 hours.

Chocolate Ganache
1 cup whipping cream
1 cup semi sweet chocolate chips
Heat whipping cream.  Place chocolate chips in a mixing bowl.  Add hot cream to chocolate chips and whisk until smooth.  Ladel over cheesecake allowing chocolate to run down the sides, spreading with knife when necessary.  Place a few tablespoons in a ziploc bag.  Arrange strawberries on top of the cheesecake then drizzle remaining chocolate on top.  Chill until chocolate is set.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

My Favorite Holiday

Today is Thanksgiving which happens to be my all time favorite holiday.  Last night my husband, children, daughters in law, and grandson enjoyed our Thanksgiving dinner which was blissful.  Although I adore all of my family and friends it was that cozy little group that I am most thankful for.  Over the next few days I will be blogging my Thanksgiving recipes but I wanted to voice what is on my mind first.

So yesterday I spent the entire day cooking as Mike took my two boys to Mississippi to do a little work at his hunting camp.  They were home for only a few minutes before they were out the door again to pick up Jason and Catherine from the airport.  So most of my day was spent in the solitude of my farmhouse kitchen with the most wonderful ingredients and silence giving way to thoughts of why?  My why of the day is....Why is Thanksgiving my favorite?  Well for starters the meal is hard to beat, then of coarse the whole concept of eating without concern for calories just pure enjoyment.  However most of all it is to me the only holiday that is still pure.  Although it is not necessarily a "Christian" holiday I really believe Christ would agree with me.  No commercialism, no gifts to unappreciative recipients, just true focus on what matters, which to me is family.  Maybe it is because it is not a religious holiday that the opposite powers don't feel the need to pervert it, who knows.

This year was our first green Green Thanksgiving.  I actually used all organic ingredients, well except for the dessert, which I could have done but forgot the ingredients when at Whole Foods and didn't have time to make a second trip to Baton Rouge.

Today I will be going to my mom and dad's to have Thanksgiving dinner once again with all my sisters, brother, in laws, and nieces and nephews.  After that I will go to Mike's families dinner.  The whole "not worrying about calories" thing will become a problem today because I just won't even think about it until I step on a scale in the next couple of days and discover 5 pounds that I could NOT afford to gain.  Oh well Monday is coming and I will deal with it then.  For today I am simply thankful.

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Goat Cheese Heaven

There is a page I follow on Facebook called Slow Food Baton Rouge.  Of coarse I LOVE that whole concept even though I cheat on it often.  They posted an advertisement about a film titled Artois the Goat coming to the Manship Theater. This is a story of a man who follows his passion of making goat cheese, of coarse in an extremely silly and anti my husband sort of way.  Luckily I was alone.  I did have to look past the complete absurdity of the film but I didn't have to look far to be completely engaged in the process and passion that went into the crazy character making an award winning cheese.  The coolest part was that the director was there and did a little q and a after.  He obviously was never on the acting side of the camera because he could not look anyone in the eye, which I think he should correct but hey that's my opinion.

After it was over there was a goat cheese reception with some local goat cheese.  Before this occasion I was a little on the fence about goat cheese, it just had a little too much twang for me.  However the cheese that was placed before me was absolutely divine, possibly the best I have ever had.  I wanted to go to the farmer's market this weekend to grab some but ran out of time.....that whole thing about cheating on the slow food movement, always in a hurry, arrghhh!  I'll get there soon though.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies

I made these last week after my seven year old came home telling me how good the cookies were at school.  I just could not be upstaged by the school cafeteria.

Cranberry Walnut Oatmeal Cookies
1 cup butter
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
2 cups all purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 teasponns cinnamon
3 cups quick cooking oatmeal
3/4 cup dried cranberries (I chop them a bit but that's optional)
3/4 cup chopped walnuts

Cream butter with sugars.  Add eggs one at a time.  Add vanilla.  Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon.  Stir into the creamed mixture.  Add oatmeal, cranberries, and walnuts.  At this point I scoop out cookies onto a baking sheet covered in parchment paper.  I use a 1 1/3 oz. scoop.  Use the palm of your hand and lightly press to form more of a disk than a ball, this will help them cook more evenly.  Place pans of cookie dough into the fridge for 30-45 minutes.  Bake on 375 degrees for aproximately 10 minutes.  

My boys wanted plain oatmeal so half of this pan I scooped before adding the cranberries and walnuts.
This is a great base recipe you could add raisins, chocolate chips, or anything you like.

This is what they look like after I press them with my hand.

* A couple of cookie hints:  Last Christmas I sold 70 dozen cookies and learned a lot about what makes cookies great.  
-Bake until you look at the top of the cookie and it doesn't look wet, if you wait for them to turn brown they are overdone.  Well I guess if you like a dryer cookie that works but my customers liked a moist cookie.  You will think they are under cooked but trust me when they cool you will see.
- Always use parchment paper.
-Allow them to cool completely on the pan you baked them on.  This distributes the moisture back into the cookie leaving them perfectly moist.

The result.... 2 happy boys but only one willing to take a picture.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

My Family

I thought I would tell you a little about myself in hopes that you will read my blog and perhaps in some small way we will get to know each other.  First let me introduce my wonderful family.

I met and married my husband, Mike, 16 years ago.  Seriously, we were married 7 months after our first date and I would have to say I have no regrets.  The toughest part of that situation is that I was 22 and he 35, the father of 10 and 8 year old boys.  I became the step mom of those boys at a VERY young age and didn't even remotely have a clue.  God is good and we all survived, miraculously I would definitely say.  I am still in love with this man but not without our struggles.  I have learned that love is a choice and when you make a choice to love through whatever circumstances it becomes a relationship that is so solid I wouldn't trade places with a single person on earth.

We have two boys together, Jackson and Corbin, 13 and almost 8.  I love my stepsons to death, but they are both grown, married and very busy with their own lives.  So my time now is devoted to my younger boys.  Jackson is a tournament baseball player, piano student, and wonderful actor.  He is brilliant and I am so proud of him.  He is also the quintessential teenager that drives me nuts.

Corbin is profoundly deaf and hears with cochlear implants in both ears.  He does extremely well in a mainstream 2nd grade class with an FM system.  He has a passion for food, art, and travel.  Crazy stuff for an 8 year old but I kid you not it's true.  He is taking piano now too.  I could talk for hours about our experience with Corbin's hearing issues.  I remember finding a journal I had written the first year of his life when he was around 5 and I realized everything was about his hearing.  It completely broke my heart because I understood that I didn't enjoy my baby, I was so wrapped up in his special need.  I wish someone had told me to see him for who he is, not just his special need.  Oh well at least I finally learned.  Corbin is truly amazing and I thank God for all of my children every day.

A little more on my stepsons.  Michael and Jason, 26 and 24 are a huge part of our lives along with their wives, Lindsey and Catherine.  Michael and Lindsey have made me "Granny Cole" at a mere 38 years old!  Ethan Paul is PRECIOUS.

Jason is in medical school and I cannot even begin to express how exiting that is.  Catherine is an angel from heaven.  I always wanted a daughter and even though I know she doesn't need another mother she is the daughter I always wanted.  Too bad they live in West Virginia. :(

I must say I am blessed beyond measure!

Salmon Cakes

A couple of nights ago I cooked salmon which tasted okay but in my opinion was a little overcooked.  Well today I decided to cook lunch and really didn't feel like going to the store so the leftover dry salmon was the star ingredient.  I apologize that I do not have pictures of the process, my camera battery was dead and hubby was staring hungrily at me, not like in a romance novel.

Salmon Cakes
10 oz. cooked salmon
1 small onion diced
1/2 red bell pepper diced
2 T. olive oil
1 egg
2 T. mayo
1 T. parsley
1/2 t. salt
1/4 cup panko bread crumbs + more for breading
Break up the salmon in a mixing bowl.  Saute onion and bell pepper in olive oil until tender, add to salmon.  Add all remaining ingredients and mix well.  Form patties, I made four from this quantity.  Place in more panko crumbs and coat.  Heat skillet and cover bottom with olive oil.  When oil is hot add cakes.  Allow to cook on each side 2-3 minutes or until browned.

Lemon Parsley Sauce
2 T. lemon juice
2 T. olive oil
1 T. mayo
1 t. parsley
salt to taste
Mix well and drizzle over salmon cakes.

I served my salmon cakes over fresh baby spinach tossed with a little olive oil and lemon juice.  Lunch divine!  The hubby was pretty impressed too.

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Super Healthy Spinach Smoothie

If you are a friend or family member I know you are sick to death of hearing me rave about this recipe.  However, I must continue on the bandwagon of green smoothies.  It is just too impressive!  I am not a health nut by any stretch, my husband however is.  I do eat healthy more often than not and this smoothie is how we start most days.  Please don't be deterred by the spinach, I PROMISE you won't taste it.

Spinach Smoothie
1 medium banana
2 cups fresh baby spinach
1/2 cup frozen pineapple
1/2 cup frozen blueberries
2 T. ground flax seed
1 t. agave nectar
1.5 cups almond milk (I use Almond Breeze Unsweetened Vanilla)
1/2 cup ice
Place everything in a blender and blend until smooth.

Nutrition info:
Calories - 350
Fiber - 11.5
Fat - 10 (Keep in mind these are VERY healthy fats found in the flax and almond milk)
Protein - 7.5 (If you are looking for more I highly recommend Nature's Sunshine Love and Peas, yum!)
Sugar - 31 (All naturally occurring in the fruit and agave)
We usually share this, I'm not a big breakfast eater and Mike has a slice of toast with his.  Totally delicious!

A few tips on organics...... This is a list of "The Dirty Dozen", aka fruits and veggies to buy organic if at all possible.  These things are not that expensive and spinach is available organic almost everywhere.  It would be a sad thing to drink such a healthy smoothie and yet be ingesting all those pesticides.
  1. Nectarines – 97.3% of nectarines sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  2. Celery – 94.5% of celery sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  3. Pears – 94.4% of pears sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  4. Peaches – 93.7% of peaches sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  5. Apples – 91% of apples sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  6. Cherries – 91% of cherries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  7. Strawberries – 90% of strawberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  8. Imported Grapes – 86% of imported grapes (i.e. Chile) sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  9. Spinach – 83.4% of spinach sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  10. Potatoes – 79.3% of potatoes sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  11. Bell Peppers – 68% of bell peppers sampled were found to contain pesticides.
  12. Red Raspberries – 59% of red raspberries sampled were found to contain pesticides.  

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Coffee Scrub

A few months ago my man and I went to New York City to see a Holistic Urologist, he is fighting prostate cancer naturally.  I am happy to help especially when it means a trip to the Big Apple.  We were wondering around one day and discovered a fabulous little shopping venue in an old church.  I stumbled upon the coolest booth that sold all natural skincare.  However, being the do it yourselfer I like to think I am I simply could not spend $30 on a coffee scrub knowing I could come up with my own recipe.  

After a little trial and error I came up with a recipe that I think is pretty cool.  My big error was using decaf, I know that wasn't too bright but I had some in the pantry that I needed to get rid of.  The key benefit to the coffee IS the caffiene, DUH!  

Coffee Body Scrub
1 lb. coffee (this is one instance I use the cheap stuff)
2 cups turbinado sugar
1/2 cup coconut oil
30 drops orange essential oil
8 drops clove essential oil
Mix all ingredients in a large bowl.  You will have to get your hands in there and really work it.  Place in jars and keep near your shower.  Massage into damp skin, rinse, lather with a good smelling soap or you may smell like coffee all day.  This recipe made enough for 2 quarts. 

Before and after shots, one week of use.

HAHAHAHAHA!!!!  Not really.  I just started this, I'll let you know if it works but I can assure you I will NOT post before or after pictures.  I'm sure laying off the ice cream sandwiches would help with this endeavor too.  

I did find lots of info backing my choices of ingredients.

  • Your skin be free of different radicals that can cause acne, eczema and other skin diseases
  • Improve the flow of micro-cellulars in your skin
  • Break up fatty deposits which cause those ugly cellulites
  • Clear up your skin of acne and other blemishes
  • Act as sunblock and prevent sunburn and wrinkles
  • Absorb and neutralize strong odors such as fish and other smells
Turbinado Sugar - This is basically just for the exfoliation, I prefer sugar over salt because if I just shaved salt burns.

Skin Care: Coconut oil is excellent massage oil for the skin as well. It acts as an effective moisturizer on all types of skins including dry skin. The benefit of coconut oil on the skin is comparable to that of mineral oil. Further, unlike mineral oil, there is no chance of having any adverse side effects on the skin with the application of coconut oil. Coconut oil therefore is a safe solution for preventing dryness and flaking of skin. It also delays wrinkles, and sagging of skin which normally become prominent with age. Coconut oil also helps in treating various skin problems including psoriasis, dermatitis,eczema and other skin infections. Therefore coconut oil forms the basic ingredient of various body care products such as soaps, lotions, creams, etc., used for skin care.

Orange oil
Orange oil for circulatory system: Its helps in treatment of edema and cellulite with help of orange oil massage. 

Clove oil
Clove oil can be used naturally to heal the skin and treats cuts.
*Note from me- love the idea of this because it will help w/ razor burn or if you cut yourself shaving.

Strawberry Shortcake

This post should have been made a couple of months ago but a day this perfect can't wait until next spring.

Corbin, my 7 year old, and I decided it was a wonderful day for picking strawberries.    We jumped in the car, my beloved convertible red mini cooper (yes my early mid life crisis), and headed to Mrs. Heather's strawberry farm.  I can't even describe the magnificence of picking berries on a beautiful cool day and checking out all the farm animals.

Please keep in mind right now it is almost 100 degrees in south Louisiana so I can simply sit in the blessing of A/C and reminisce of such a day.  After picking we came home and made strawberry shortcake.

A day such as this is perfection and I am so blessed to have the memory.

Strawberry Shortcake
3 cups sliced fresh strawberries
1/2 cup sugar
Mix sugar and berries in a bowl and allow to macerate.
2 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter (cold and cut into pieces)
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup heavy cream
Place all dry ingredients in a food processor and pulse a few times.  Add butter and process until incorporated.  Add egg, vanilla, and cream and process until mixed.  Place a little flour on work surface and add mixture to it.  Form a ball, using a rolling pin dusted with flour roll into 1/2 inch thick disk.  Use a biscuit cutter cut into 8 rounds.  Place on lightly buttered baking pan, brush with a little whipping cream, and sprinkle with sugar.  Bake on 375 degrees aprox. 15 minutes or until lightly browned.

While warm split shortcakes in half and top with strawberries.  A little whipped cream would be great too if you have it.