Friday, January 23, 2015

Food Friday -- Cinnamon Bun Cake

Miss Bee had a study sleepover last night with a friend and asked me if I would make muffins or coffee cake for them for breakfast.  I found a recipe on Pinterest recently so I decided it was easy enough to make on a work day morning.  In case you want the recipe for later it's pinned to my bread and muffins board.  BTW...I rarely crack open any of my cookbooks lately.  I wonder if searching the web and resources like Pinterest have affected cookbook sales...

So you don't have to go straight to the site (source: I'll just give you the recipe below:


3 cups flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
4 tsp baking powder
1 1/2 cups milk
2 eggs
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup butter, melted


1 cup butter, softened
1 cup brown sugar
2 TBL flour
1 TBL cinnamon


2 cups powdered sugar
5 TBL milk or half and half
1 tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 350.  Butter a 9x13 baking pan.

Mix all the base ingredients together, with the exception of the butter.  Add the butter last to the base and then pour the batter into the prepared baking pan.

Mix all of the topping ingredients together in a separate bowl, you may have to use two knives to break up the softened butter so the mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle evenly on top of the base.  Bake for 28-30 minutes.

While the cake is baking, prepare the glaze and set aside.

Remove the cake from the oven and pour on the glaze.

Kick the kids out of the house and give your spouse a list of errands to run.  Take pan to your bedroom, and whilst still in your pjs, eat the entire pan with a good cup of coffee.  Yes, it's that good.

What will you be making this weekend?

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

My journey to One Thousand Gifts


I have been reading Ann Voskamp's book One Thousand Gifts.  We were asked to read it for small group book study at church.  I have become intrigued by her message of expressing gratitude for even the smallest of daily gifts.  She challenged herself to record her daily gifts -- 1,000 total -- over a course of a year.  Intertwined with scripture, Ann shares that the gifts need to be spreading jam on a hot piece of toast, or the greeting of a red bird sitting on the fence.  That to focus on the smallest of gifts makes us slow down and appreciate all of God's gifts -- even the painful ones.  She encourages us to consider the list as a "love letter" to God.

Ann's website A Holy Experience is a beautiful free resource for inspiration.  She even has a section of down loadable artwork, bookmarks and lots of ideas of how to journal your gifts.

My boss gave me the prettiest journal with a note that said, "A new year is like a blank book.  I hope you write an amazing story this year."

Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Being Oily in 2015

My 2015 resolution is to learn more about incorporating essential oils in my life.  Oils have been around for thousands of years, but recently have become a popular subject especially for people who want to replace traditional over-the-counter medicine for essential oils.

I did a little research and decided to try the line of oils from Young Living Essential Oils.  I purchased their starter kit as a wholesaler so I can buy products at a discount when I want to.  I started pinning things to my Pinterest board on essential oils so I can learn how to use the oils and blends to put into my nifty new diffuser that came in my kit.

It's like a tiny humidifier so it's good for your skin.  An added bonus is that you can add drops of essential oils in the water reservoir and it diffuses the scent of the oils. There are recipes on Pinterest for creating a blend of scents.  I have been enjoying lavender at night while I am sleeping, and this morning while I was getting ready I used the Release blend which is a mixture of Ylang ylang, lavandin, geranium, sandalwood and blue tansy.  It was so calming, yet refreshing.

Yesterday, I noticed muscle stiffness in my neck and out of habit went straight for the medicine cabinet to take an ibuprofen and stopped myself.  Why not try the Pan Away oil I have instead?  I applied it and just the smell of the wintergreen was so therapeutic.  I was able to use the oil instead of seeking relief from medication.

This is my disclaimer to my last statement:  I am a registered nurse.  I do not support nor advocate you discontinue your medication prescribed by your physician to replace them with essential oils.  If you are considering doing this, I strongly urge you to work in partnership with your physician to discuss your interest in using oils and how they may interact with your currently prescribed medication.

I'll try to give you a new tip each week as I start my oily journey toward a healthier 2015.  If you want information on how to become a distributor let me know and I'll pass along the information.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Orange Slice Candy Cake

Over the holiday I tried a new recipe for cake using those sugared, orange slice candies that have been in stores for a hundred years (probably the same exact bags have been hanging there for hundred years on the display).  I don't know why, but I am strangely attracted to them and like to eat them.  Not a lot at one time, but a few here and there.  My mother had a friend that made a fruit-cake consistency orange slice candy for Christmas every year.  Then, I spied a bowl of orange slice candy next to my man neighbors chair.  He said it was his favorite candy and that his aunt used to make a cake with them.  So, I was inspired to help him out by finding a recipe.

I found one on Pinterest via the Happy Cooker Blog.  It was really good.  I chose to make smaller bundt cake servings instead of one big cake so I could share them with neighbors.

Mr. Bee's review was that the cakes were good, but I needed to chop the candy pieces a little smaller.  Even though the recipe included mixing the candies with flour to prevent settling, they still did sink to the bottom.  I think the cakes were also better slightly warm. But, nonetheless, it was a good cake and I'm glad I tried the recipe.  There are other similar ones on my cake Pinterest board I may try for comparison.

Why don't you try out a new recipe this weekend?

Wednesday, January 7, 2015

Craze over Graze -- Get Your Free Box From Me!

I love subscription boxes.  My latest craze is with Graze and their nibblebox.

I was going through a pile of stuff on my desk and when I opened my Rachael Ray magazine, there was an offer for a free box, with no obligation to sign up for regular delivery.

I went to the Graze website and it took seconds to customize my own box and enter the code.  They have almost 100 snack combinations you can rate as love, hate, try.  For me, I don't like cashews or coconut so I eliminated any shipments of those foods.  You can also limit the calories on your snacks or let them know if you have allergies so they know to avoid including them your box. 

When these subscription boxes show up, you forget they are it's like Christmas or your birthday when the mailman drops it off at your door.  The entire box is smaller than a legal pad.  You open it and inside are four of the cutest little plastic sealed containers full of snacks.  I loved my little customized note enclosed...and it came with coupons to share with my friends.

My box included cherries and berries, white chocolate and raspberry cheesecake trailmix, salt and vinegar nuts, and fruity mango chutney with dipping sticks.
I ate the cherries and berries as a my evening snack and they were so fresh and soft. And only 110 calories for the container. The enclosure card with my box includes all the ingredients and calorie information.

After this I can continue to receive nibbleboxes when I choose -- bi-monthly, weekly or monthly.  Shipping is included in the $6.99 charge.  I don't know about you, but one trip to Starbucks pays for this cutey to arrive in my mailbox and is a much healthier option.  You can put the individual snack containers in your car, purse or gym bag.  The other cool feature is you can send a one-time gift of a nibblebox to a friend and include a personalized gift message.  Perfect for the college student, older person, or someone just needing to know you care.

Try your own box for free by using the offer code:  K2Q7DZ728.  Let me know what you think!  Happy New Year!

Monday, November 24, 2014

Miss Bee Christmas

I talked with Miss Bee the other day about Christmas and what she was pondering to put on her list.  Every year, in my mind, I keep thinking let's simplify.  She said she didn't really want anything in particular and I asked her instead of gifts would she like the gift of my time?  Just doing something she and I.  The gift of memories instead of presents.  So, I've planned something for us in a few weeks.  I'll share more about it after it happens.  In the meantime, I've been looking at some cute things on Pottery Barn Teen that I think would be perfect for a teenage girl...

Despite my best efforts over the years to create a study area for her, the desk always ends up being a drop zone.  She studies on her bed.  This faux fur lap desk (a definite upgrade from the ones I used to have) are a cute way to sit in bed and prop up a book or laptop.

Miss Bee loves to do her nails.  I thought these faux fur manicure lap boxes were so clever.  You could fill it with supplies and it even comes with a set of manicure tools.  She can take it anywhere in the house to do her nails while watching tv.

And look at these nail dryers. 

Speaking of nail polish, I found this site a while ago.  I follow Pretty Please Nail Polish on Instagram. They have tons of colors and in three easy steps you can personalize your own bottles. This would make a perfect stocking stuffer or just a little something to give to a special girlfriend.


To finish it out, I thought this was the sweetest idea for an Advent Calendar.

If you want the source go to my Pinterest Deck the Hive board.  Pulling a small gift from the Advent calendar gives people of any age a little Christmas cheer throughout the month.

Happy holidays!

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

My Favorite Meatloaf

I was on Pinterest the other night and pinned a meatloaf recipe from Campbells Soup -- Onion-Crusted Meatloaf with Roasted Potatoes.  I made it last night for dinner.  OMG.  Best meatloaf I have ever made or eaten. Period.


1 1/2 pounds of ground meat (your choice)
1 can of tomato soup
1 beaten egg
1 TBL Worcestershire Sauce
One can of French-Fried Onion Rings
6 small potatoes

I took liberties with the recipe and used Trader Joe's Organic Tomato and Roasted Red Pepper soup and their version of French-Fried Onion Rings.  And I also used small red, purple and white potatoes.

You mix the meat with 1/2 cup of soup, egg, Worcestershire Sauce, and 1/2 can of the onions.  Shape into a loaf in a greased pan.  I cut up the potatoes in even quarters and placed them around the meatloaf.  Pour 1/2 cup of soup on top of the meatloaf.  Bake for 1 hour at 400 degrees. 

About three minutes before it's done baking, sprinkle more onions on the meatloaf and return to the oven for another 3-5 minutes.  Be sure to watch it because the onions can burn.

We served the potatoes and meatloaf with English peas.  The meatloaf had the best flavor and the onions added a nice seasoned, crispness to the meat.

Miss Bee hates meatloaf, more the word "loaf" I think.  So, Mr. Bee told her it was Beef and Onion Melange (melange is a French word for mixture).  She bought it until she saw it in the oven.  But, she admitted it was pretty good and she ate her entire portion.  So, I think we have a winner.