Mini Peanut Butter Cups

1 Comment

2017-01-27-14-47-57

I don’t know where 2016 went but here we are almost into February of a new year. Valentine’s Day will be here before we know it!

2017-01-27-13-10-25

I am used to making my own treats because of food allergies and I prefer home made. I like that I know exactly what’s in the food I eat and the food I give as gifts.

2017-01-27-13-14-38

There are so many different types of candy that you can make easily and with minimal ingredients.

2017-01-27-13-15-17

Homemade candies also make really sweet and thoughtful gifts.

2017-01-27-13-20-23

These peanut butter cups only take a few minutes (not counting the chilling time for layers) and would be a great project for kids too.

2017-01-27-13-20-55

You can do any nut butter you like, add mini chocolate chips, dried fruit, nuts…the options are all up to you.

2017-01-27-13-57-08

I’ll post another simple candy recipe tomorrow.

2017-01-27-15-05-54

Peanut Butter Cups

*Makes 34

1 1/4 Cups of Organic Crunchy Peanut Butter (no stir)

1/3 Cup of Organic Coconut Sugar

4 Bars (3oz each) Organic 70% Dark Chocolate

34 Mini Candy Cups

In a double boiler or a pan with a bowl over the top (which is how I do it), melt the chocolate. In a small bowl combine the peanut butter and sugar and soften in the microwave for 20 seconds (you can also do it in a pan if you don’t use a microwave).

Spread out the candy cups on a cookie tray, this will make it easy to move them to the fridge or outside to chill between layers.

Drop a small amount of chocolate in the bottom of each cup and chill until set. Then drop a dollop of the peanut butter mixture into each cup. Tap the tray lightly on the counter until the peanut butter levels out (doesn’t have to be perfect). Chill for 20 minutes. Drop a small amount of chocolate on top of each cup and swirl to cover the top. Chill until set and store in fridge in an airtight container.

Epsom Bath Treats ~ 3 Ways

4 Comments

2016-12-12-11-13-44-1-1

Here’s another extremely simple way to treat yourself or others. Epsom salts with your favorite essential oils. Put them in cute jars or bags, make some tags and tie them with ribbon.

I have always loved taking baths. Hot water has some kind of soul quenching relaxing benefits for me that I can’t quite explain. Give me a good book and a bathtub every night and I’m happy. In fact, after making 4 types of cookies doughs and a big batch of pie dough last night, I crawled into an epsom bath with a book at midnight! It just washes all the stress away.

I didn’t really embrace additions to my tub water until I started dealing with chronic illness. I found that epsom baths were a big help with pain and sleeplessness. Later, when I tested positive for Lyme and started doing research, I realized the true benefits and why it’s so helpful for me.

15350701_437685103285775_8676267591086621705_n

Epsom salt relaxes the nervous system, can cure skin problems, soothes joint pain, eases muscle strain, heals cuts, treats colds and congestion, and draws toxins from the body. Plus, it just feels really good to soak in a nice tub and relax. That alone is good for the soul.

I think this would be a great kid project too because it involves measuring, counting drops, and doesn’t involve a hot stove. I would highly recommend gloves for the little ones though because essential oils are very, very potent. If your children make these for gifts, I think a recipe card cut out from your child’s hand print would be a special and cute touch. Someday I’ll have grandchildren and we’ll do all kinds of fantastic projects together!

For now, it’s just me and the pups. They can’t make bath products but they are definitely always eager to “help” me in the kitchen and to cuddle when I take a break.

2016-12-12-12-13-14-2

2016-12-12-15-01-16

Sore Muscle Soak

2 Cups of Epsom Salt

1/2 Cup of Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt

10 Drops of Eucalyptus Globulous

10 Drops of Peppermint

5 Drops of Stress Away

1-2 drops of Natural Green Food Coloring

Measure the epsom salts, baking soda, and sea salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the essential oils  and whisk until fully incorporated. Pour 1 Cup into a hot bath and soak for 40 minutes. Rinse when finished. 

2016-12-12-15-02-53

Peaceful & Happy ~ 2 Ways

2 Cups of Epsom Salt

1/2 Cup of Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt

Recipe #1 :

10 Drops of Lavender

15 Drops of Joy

Recipe #2

10 Drops of Lavender

10 Drops of Ylang Ylang

5 Drops of Stress Away

Measure the epsom salts, baking soda, and sea salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the essential oils  and whisk until fully incorporated. Pour 1 Cup into a hot bath and soak for 40 minutes. Rinse when finished. 

2016-12-12-14-59-50

Cold & Flu Soak

3 Cups of Epsom Salts

1/2 Cup of Baking Soda

1 Tablespoon of Sea Salt

8 Drops of Thyme

20 Drops of Lemon

15 Drops of Eucalyptus Globulous

This recipe has an additional cup of epsom salts because of the strength of the thyme essential oil. Measure the epsom salts, baking soda, and sea salt into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Add the essential oils  and whisk until fully incorporated. Pour 1 Cup into a hot bath and soak for 40 minutes. Rinse when finished. 

Barkin’ Dogs Foot Rub

2 Comments

2016-12-11-14-31-29

A couple posts ago I talked about having some issues with the paint on one of my projects. I’m not sure why they didn’t cooperate, but if you’re going to spray paint your lids, I would suggest spraying them with a primer first.

2016-12-11-14-05-35

Our temperatures dropped dramatically so I couldn’t repaint the two lids with issues. Instead, I covered them with fabric and ribbon. I preferred the  painted sleek look but because I was pressured for time, I had to go with the fabric for a last minute gift.

2016-12-11-14-17-56

Of course the recipient didn’t know the difference so it was no big deal. You can see the fabric covered jars in the photo below.

2016-12-16-12-58-58

If you’d like more home made body product ideas and recipes, I’ve created a category for Homemade Body Products on the right hand side of my main blog page. There you’ll find all kinds of fun things to make for you and your family or gifts for friends.

Barkin’ Dogs Foot Rub

*This recipe filled four 8 oz jars

1 Cup of Cocoa Butter

 Cup of Coconut Oil

1 Tablespoon of Extra Virgin Olive Oil

15 Drops of Lavender

1 Drops of Frankincense

10 Drops of Eucalyptus Globulous

8 Drops of Peppermint

In a medium saucepan melt the cocoa butter and coconut oil on medium low. Pour into a bowl and place somewhere cool until it is almost completely solidified. This will take a couple of hours. Don’t let it solidify too much though so keep checking!

Scrape the oils into a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and whip until smooth. Add the olive oil and whip until fully incorporated. Add the essential oil drops and whip until light and fluffy. 

Spoon into decorated jars. 

Linen Spray ~ Two Ways

2 Comments

2016-12-11-12-04-49

Looks like my luck is turning around. Remember when I said I had lost the ingredients list for one of my Christmas projects and I couldn’t remember what I had used?

2016-12-10-12-41-08

Well, as I was going through photos, I noticed that the ingredients list was in one of them! Ha. I love it when things like that happen.

2016-12-10-13-55-06

These linen sprays aren’t just for spraying bedding. You can use them as room spray, car spray, whatever you like.

2016-12-10-14-05-17

They are safe and healthy and both smell fabulous. If you have a few essential oils on hand, they are also incredibly easy to make and the options are endless.

Fresh

30 Drops of Eucalyptus Globulous

30 Drops of Lemon

25 Drops of Lavender

30 Drops of Melaleuca Alternifolia

30 Drops of Peppermint

8 oz of Witch Hazel (Local Drug Store)

8 oz of Filtered Water (or Distilled Water)

1 16 oz Glass Spray Bottle (Amazon)

Fill spray bottle with the witch hazel and water. Add essential oils. Shake well before each use.

Rest

20 Drops of Peppermint

15 Drops of Frankincense

15 Drops of Lemon

15 Drops of Lavender

8 oz of Witch Hazel (Local Drug Store)

8 oz of Filtered Water (or Distilled Water)

1 16 oz Glass Spray Bottle (Amazon)

Fill spray bottle with the witch hazel and water. Add essential oils. Shake well before each use.

Nourish & Calm Body Butter

3 Comments

2016-12-11-13-09-56

You may not realize it, but making many of your own body products is really, really, simple.

dsc_4629

Our skin is our largest organ and it’s important to really know what it is absorbing day in and day out. Many of the ingredients in store purchased body products are hormone disruptors and are extremely toxic. If you’re like the average person, years and years of using  products like that build up in your system and begin to cause issues with sensitivity, hormone imbalance, and allergies.

dsc7958

dsc_4626

The only way I’ve figured out how to control that since my skin leans more on the dry side and I cannot stand having dry skin, is to make my own body lotions and creams.

2016-12-11-12-35-29

2016-12-11-13-10-28-1

I can make it with minimal ingredients that are easy to find, wonderful smelling, healthy…and it’s a lot of fun!

2016-12-11-13-08-55

Nourish & Calm Body Butter

*This recipe makes about 8 cups and will fill four 16 oz mason jars.

2 Cups of Organic Unrefined Coconut Oil (Costco)

2 Cups of Organic Shea Butter (Amazon)

1 Cup of Organic Cocoa Butter (Amazon)

2 Tablespoons of Organic Extra Virgin Olive Oil (Trader Joe’s)

30 Drops of Ylang Ylang

6 Drops of Lavender

6 Drops of Frankincense

6 Drops of Stress Away

10 Drops of Joy

In a medium saucepan melt the coconut oil, shea butter, and cocoa butter on medium low. Pour into a bowl and place somewhere cool until it is almost completely solidified. This will take a couple of hours. Don’t let it solidify too much though so keep checking!

Scrape the oils into a stand mixer with a whisk attachment and whip until smooth. Add the olive oil one Tablespoon at a time until fully incorporated. Add the essential oil drops and whip until light and fluffy. 

Spoon into decorated jars. 

Not So Simple Hot Chocolate Spoons

6 Comments

2016-12-12-14-30-38

Actually, they are very simple.

Just don’t do what I did and you’ll be fine.

It seems that my knee injury has made its way up to my brain because the whole last week has been a comedy of errors.

2016-12-10-11-38-06

First there were paint issues on another Christmas project…which I still have to repair. Then label issues. A list of forgotten ingredients for another project and trips to the store. Not one but two slips down the stairs…call me grace.  My knee is fine thank goodness.

2016-12-10-11-41-10-1

As if that wasn’t enough, I lost the ingredients list to one of the items I made and for the life of me, I cannot remember what I put in it. Wouldn’t you know it that the day I figured out the list had been tossed, the garbage truck was already driving out of the neighborhood.

The first time I tried to make the spoons, the chocolate set up too quickly because I set it outside in 20 degree weather and I couldn’t get the spoons into it…

2016-12-10-11-50-40

Then, trying to remedy the frozen bricks of chocolate,  I reheated it to start over and I burned it

…but wait, there’s more.

I was then out of chocolate and had to go back to the store, just to burn another batch of chocolate because I sat down and was distracted trying to figure out what I put in that gift that has the missing ingredients list.

I kept an eagle eye on that third batch of chocolate believe me…but…I slit the plastic wrap and slid the spoons in, when in reality to avoid a plastic wrap nightmare removal after full set up, I probably should have removed the plastic wrap prior to putting the spoons in the chocolate.

2016-12-12-13-39-05

Lastly, as I was wrapping the cute mugs I flipped them over to read on the bottom “Not Microwave Safe”. Now I’ll have to warn the recipients, thereby shattering the illusion that I know what the hell I’m doing.

At this point, I was beginning to wonder if I should just stop. Just throw caution to the wind, open a bottle of wine, and crawl into the bathtub.

Instead, I gave myself a pep talk. “You can do this. A first grader can make this project for gawd’s sake. Get a hold of yourself woman!”

I’m not one to let a challenge defeat me.

Instead, I self medicated with a lot of chocolate and marshmallows.

2016-12-12-14-02-56

Luckily for you, if you have your head on straight, this is an extremely simple and fun  project and works really great as cute little gifts.

2016-12-12-14-05-10

Now all my projects are finished (hallelujah and amen) and I’ll be sharing each one with you over the next several days.

2016-12-12-14-08-25

Note to self for next year:

Go to Fiji instead.

2016-12-12-14-23-24

Simple Hot Chocolate Spoons

*The amounts are based on enough for 4 Mugs*

12 oz or so of Your Favorite Chocolate

Cube Candy Trays or Ice Cube Trays (ice-cube trays will require more chocolate)

4 Mugs

16 Wooden Spoons (I found mind at a craft store)

Mini Marshmallows

12 Clear (or decorated, your choice) Long Cellophane bags, you will cut them to size

Different Types Of Ribbon For Decorating

2 Types of Card Stock, Photo Sticky Mounting Squares, and a Hole Punch For Hot Chocolate Directions (below)

Craft Scissors or a Paper Cutter

For the spoons:

*Don’t take your eyes off the chocolate!

Melt the chocolate until smooth and spoon carefully into the trays. Lay a piece of plastic wrap over the top of the trays and place them in a cool place for 5 minutes. Set a timer! Check them after 5 minutes, if they are still really soft to the touch, then allow them to set for another 5 minutes. You want the spoon to be able to slide into the chocolate but also have the chocolate set up enough that the spoon will stand on its own. Remove the plastic wrap, slide a spoon into the middle of each one and return to a cold place to set completely.

Fill four bags with a handful of marshmallows. Tie off with ribbon and cut the bag to size leaving a bit of fluff at the top so it looks nice. Cut four more bags using one of the spoons as a measurement. You want the handles to stick out, but still have plenty of plastic to tie a ribbon around. Place 4 Chocolate spoons in a bag, tie with a ribbon, and repeat the process for the spoons and the marshmallows for all four mugs.

The chocolate spoons won’t fit in the mug unless you buy very over sized mugs. Place the mugs in the cellophane bags, place the marshmallows in the mugs, and tie the bags around the mugs closed with a ribbon. My mugs were over sized but not huge and the chocolate was too large to fit inside the mug even without the marshmallows so I will simply package them next to the mug in a nice gift bag or box.

2016-12-13-13-30-46

For the tags I just printed out instructions on shimmery white card stock, cut them into squares, and placed them on a red sheet of card stock. Punch a hole and thread a ribbon and tie it to the cup.

2016-12-13-13-30-53

Grain Free & Dairy Free Pumpkin Pancakes

1 Comment

2016-12-02-09-06-37

I’ve noticed when pumpkin season rolls around, people are either beyond thrilled about it, or hate it. You already know where I stand. I can’t imagine hating such an amazing smelling, soothing, set of spices…but to each his own.

These are just a spin on my regular grain free pancake recipe.

Super easy. Fabulous.

I also topped them with a pumpkin spice dairy free butter. I may have layered each pancake with a big dollop too…

2016-12-02-09-06-11

If you have picky eaters in your family, they’ll never know you’re feeding them grain free, dairy free, pancakes. I’ve had them plain, with blueberries or huckleberries, topped with peanut butter, topped with peanut butter and chocolate shavings (a must try), topped with marionberry syrup, sliced strawberries, and now with a few tweaks have been able to enjoy them with the spiciness of the holidays.

2016-12-02-09-06-46

You can use buckwheat flour rather than making your own flour out of buckwheat groats however, it will result in a much darker and heavier pancake. If you have a really good blender similar to a VitaMix, it only takes a few minutes to grind up a gallon bag of flour. (I do mine in small batches so I can grind it as finely as possible.)

We had them twice last week. After looking at these photos, I’m thinking I may need to make another batch!

2016-12-02-09-11-44

Grain Free & Dairy Free Pumpkin Pancakes

*Makes about 12 medium to large pancakes

1 Cup of Buckwheat Groat Flour (I grind my own groats in the Vitamix)

1/2 Cup of Coconut Flour

1/2 Cup of Arrowroot

1 teaspoon of Double Acting Baking Powder

1 teaspoon of Baking Soda

2 teaspoons of Coconut Sugar

1/4 teaspoon of Sea Salt

1 Tablespoon of Pumpkin Pie Spice

2 Eggs, separated

2 Cups of Almond Milk (any milk will do, if you use full fat coconut milk you may have to add more)

1/4 cup of Plain Pumpkin Puree

1 teaspoon of Pure Vanilla Extract

Measure all of the dry ingredients into a medium bowl and whisk to combine. Whip the egg whites to stiff peak and set aside. Add the eggs, almond milk, pumpkin puree, and vanilla to the dry ingredients and mix thoroughly. Allow to sit for 2-3 minutes. Gently fold in egg whites.

I served the pancakes with dairy free butter whipped with pumpkin pie spice and pure maple syrup. You could also infuse the syrup with the spices by warming them together on the stove.