This weeks edible spa is all about the coffee. I'm torn with this one as it reminds me of the time when I worked many an hour at Starbucks and went home reeking of ground coffee. Most people think this is the most heavenly smell on earth, and don't get me wrong I like the smell of coffee. But when you are touching it, making it, sitting in it over 8 hours it becomes a different fragrance. It permeates everything and I had to wash my work clothes separately as to not infect the other clothes.
So while I loved the effects of using coffee for my spa day, it does remind me of the times when I'd stop to run errands after work and people would say "why does it smell like coffee?" when I'm standing 10 feet away.
We all know coffee and it's priceless stimulating effect when we drink it, but it has slightly similar effects on skin. The caffeine is supposed to stimulate circulation and I've even read that it will help with unsightly cellulite. I'm not really buying all that, but you can certainly try. I have 2 favorite ways to use coffee; in my hair and as a foot scrub. For my hair I use cooled left over coffee (no one wants to drink it anyway). After I shampoo I pour the coffee into my hair, let it sit for a minute, then rinse thoroughly and condition. WARNING do not do this for color treated hair! Everyone else it will leave your hair very shiny.
A coffee foot scrub is a perfect perk to the day. Warning, you will want a nice cup coffee while doing this as the smell of your feet will tempt you. This scrub left my feet very soft and it feels good after you've been standing all day.
Coffee Foot Scrub
1/4 cup ground coffee (before you make your coffee, not the leftovers)
1/4 cup olive oil or coconut oil
dash of vanilla extract **optional
In a small bowl combine all ingredients. The vanilla just makes it smell more like a coffee treat, but is optional. After this is mixed together I recommend going out side to scrub your little toes. It's just easier to clean up. It will leave an oily residue on your tub that can be slippery. Massage your feet with the scrub, then little sit on your feet for a few minutes before you clean it off.
Even though these treatments left me feeling like I was back in the Starbucks trenches, I'll keep using them for how lovely they are to my hair and toes. I hope you enjoy a nice caffeinated spa day!
In a small little town, in what seems like a simpler time, people were allowed to bring home made treats to share with their class. This is something that while I understand the logistics of the rule, it still tugs at my nostalgic heart. My mom would make the best fluffy topped cupcakes for me to bring to school on my birthday. My best friends mom would make a strawberry flaked wonder of a cupcake for hers. It was magical.
For many years my mom taught elementary aged kids and would often bake her class some of her famously delicious chocolate chip cookies. While the sentiment is still the same if you pick something up from the store, it lacks a feeling of home that I cannot explain. In junior high I had a home room teacher that during most holidays would make us sugar cookies in cute little shapes and decorated humbly with fantastic butter cream. I awaited her class during each holiday with much anticipation.
It struck me as almost odd that this teacher was willing to spend a fair amount of free time to bake extremely delicious cookies for treacherous junior high kids. Home room doesn't typically bring out angelic behavior and we knew it. This behavior hadn't hardened her heart enough to know that even pubescent youngsters appreciate homemade sugar cookies.
I loved them so much I asked for the recipe, and nearly cried when the next semester I found myself stuck in homeroom with the cranky english teacher. Not even a box of Oreos from that one.
I love to make these cookies, hand the dough and some cookie cutters over to the kids and let them at it. After they're cooled I usually mix up a few different colors of butter cream and let them make a huge mess. These aren't gluten free so I don't make them as often, but recently I had a friend coming over that I was helping her photograph some Etsy items and it just happened to be her birthday. She needed a homemade treat to take home and enjoy on her day. I made these cookies into simple circles, frosted them with a brown butter frosting and glittered them up a bit. Love is a homemade cookie!
My Teachers Sugar Cookies with Brown Butter Frosting
1 cup butter
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
3 cups flour
dash of salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
In a large bowl cream together the butter and sugar until light in color. Beat in the egg and vanilla until entirely mixed in. In another bowl sift together the flour, salt and baking powder. Slowly mix in the flour mix into the butter mixture until it is thoroughly combined. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour. From here you can roll out the dough using a small amount of flour to keep it from sticking then cut into shapes**. Bake at 350º for 10-12 minutes. I often roll this dough into a log before refrigerating and slice of 1/2 rounds and then bake. Cool then frost.
**these cookies are definitely better a bit thicker, 1/2 inch or so is best.
Brown butter frosting:
4 Tablespoons butter
2 cups sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
In a small sauce pan heat butter over medium heat. Keep an eye on it and let it bubble and cook until it smells nutty and brown. Small bits of the milk solids will be on the bottom of the pan. Make sure to pull it off the heat as soon as it reaches that point or it will taste burnt. Let the butter cool to room temp. In a large bowl or mixer bowl, add the sugar and mix in the butter slowly. Add vanilla and then add the milk drop by drop while mixing until the frosting is creamy and smooth. Use to frost anything you wish.
Just incase you're running low on homemade holiday sweets I've got some more ideas. Sugar induced comas are what Halloween is all about right?
Pumpkin whoopie pies!
This recipe for the cake is divine! It makes meal size cakes if you make 6, I highly recommend making them smaller to give you 12 pies. This frosting here sounds too odd and I know it's not the traditional whoopie filling, but it is THE BEST! Tips for the frosting for utmost deliciousness - make sure butter is very room temp, cream the sugar A LOT until it is not grainy, and make sure your roux is thoroughly cooled. Whipped frosting heaven!
These are still my favorite Halloween bake sale treats, and if you need some treats for adults to enjoy while the little ghosts and monsters are out treating, this sounds perfect.
Happy Halloween weekend! I'll be back for one more treat to soothe your trick or treating feet!
The next couple of days are all about the treats. Waiting for that day when a ton of candy descends upon your little bag. Costumes so itchy and uncomfortable that you want to tear them off, but there's no way your peeling off that mask now. You've waited all month to dawn that hot and terrible outfit and romp around the streets begging for treats.
Well, at least that was what it was like as a kid. Halloween changes with age, but it's still such a great time to forget about all the tricks in life and give in to a few treats.
For the next couple of days I'll share some of my favorite treats with you to indulge the inner child that wants you to smear some paint on your face, grab a pillow case and beg your neighbor for a Snickers.
How about I save you a trip to the dentist for once on this little blog and give you something sweet to wear. My husband has a thing for hard to find, quirky, indie t-shirts. I love them too, but honestly those are a little harder to find in women's sizes and shapes. Dressing On The Side is a very fun company that makes t-shirts for both men and women all having to do with my favorite theme - FOOD.
Here's just a few of my favorites:
So give yourself a little treat, or perhaps a little gift for someone on your Christmas list.
Forget the costume, you can wear an incredibly soft t-shirt and look fabulous. Check out the Dressing On The Side blog for upcoming fashions and other fun stuff.
P.S. I was not paid at all or given anything free from this company. I just wanted to share what I found and love!
My mom called me one afternoon to check in, hear about the kids and proclaim her deep and undying love for a salad she just ate. I probably said something to the effect of "sounds good" and continued stirring my own meal for the family. Later calls from my mother would also contain her deep thoughts of the salad, and sometimes confessions of going to the same restaurant to have this enchanting salad.
Yes, this salad did sound intriguing when she explained it to me, leaving no detail unturned. It's just hard to jump on board whole heartedly without a personal salad revelation. She even called me one day asking for advice on how to make this salad to bring to her monthly bunko club. It was at this point I decided I really needed to try a salad of this magnitude.
She took me to lunch to the restaurant, one of our favorite lunching spots. Keep in mind there was a lot of hype surrounding this salad. My hopes were of the complete highest that this would be the MOST DELICIOUS SALAD that ever existed. My mom's credibility of a salad expert was on the line as the gorgeous salad was set before me and my first bite was on the horizon. Simply stated, this salad was everything my mother described to me and more.
I immediately was on board with my mom's salad obsession. I had at that point become a salad stalker. I love the restaurant responsible for turning my mom and I into Cypress Salad freaks, but I knew frequent visits for my fix are just a bit unreasonable. Unlike my mom, the fancy and free retired lady, I am bound to the house by three kids, limited automobile access, and an extremely tight budget. But being the professional stalkers that we were, we have envisioned and brought to fruition an over the top knock off.
Much of what makes this salad such a hearty meal is the fact that most of the components are grilled. However, even those grilling impaired will find that a quick saute of the veggies and a nice hot sear of the Halloumi will give them equally delicious results.
At the center of this salad is the Halloumi. I have found a serious fondness for this cheese. I mean you can grill it for Pete's sake. CHEESE - GRILLED!
Halloumi is usually made from a mixture of goat's milk and sheep milk, but I'm sure a lot of what we find here in the states may also contain cow's milk. It's a little hard to find, but so worth it. I found mine at Whole Foods and I'm going to just put this out there, but I can see Halloumi being a huge food fad in the future. Watch out grapes, there's a new cheese in town.
Here's the details of how you too can become a complete lunatic over a salad.
Make You Crazy Mediterranean Salad
Makes 2 LARGE salads or 4 smaller salads
8 cups mixed salad greens
1 container cremini mushrooms, cleaned and halved
1 small onion sliced into thin rings
2 cups cooked cous cous (millet is a great gluten free alternative and is delicious in this salad)
3 oz Halloumi cheese cut into planks about 1/2 inch thick
1/2 cup Pitted kalamata olives
Greek Lemon vinaigrette
If you are grilling the ingredients heat the grill to medium high and add the mushrooms and onions to a grill basket. Oil the grates on the portion of the grill where the cheese will cook. Cook the vegetables until browned and cooked through. The cheese will not take as long as the vegetables so half way through the veggies cooking place the cheese on the grill. I kept turning the cheese every 4-5 minutes once there were grill marks, but I liked the taste of the cheese with a good char on it. Remove the cheese and cut the planks into smaller cubes. Remove the veggies from the basket and add the olives to the grill pan. Cook the olives on the grill until they wrinkle.
If you don't have a grill just saute the vegetables in a small amount of olive oil until they are browned. Remove the vegetables and add the olives and cook until they are soft and wrinkled. Wipe out the pan and add a small amount of oil and turn the heat up to medium high. Add the Halloumi and cook until browned on both sides.
On your plates make a nice pile of mixed salad greens and a good scoop of cous cous or millet. Divide the grilled vegetables and sprinkle the cheese over top. Pour the dressing over the salad and don't forget the olives. I forgot my grilled olives for the pics and almost forget them when I ate it. The grilled olives are over the top delish!
4 Tablespoons lemon juice
1 clove garlic made into a paste with a pinch of salt
1 shallot or small piece of onion diced very fine
1 teaspoon oregano
1/4 -1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper to taste
Mix lemon juice, garlic, shallot, oregano and olive oil in a small bowl. Taste and add more salt and pepper to your liking. Use as dressing for the amazing salad.
Hopefully no restraining orders are needed to keep my lunacy of salad stalking at bay. This is seriously a meal that any meat eating beast would find filling, and might just turn you into a salad freak as well.
What's a meal you've had at a restaurant that has turned you a bit crazy? Any reinventions at home?
I'm trying something new, putting something out there, going out to open waters. Every weekend I'm going to highlight a different type of recipe. These recipes will all be edible, but their purpose is intended more for smearing on your face than feeding your face.
I've long been using ingredients in my kitchen to use for facials, and thought perhaps I should share. Each week I will highlight a different ingredient and how I typically use if for skin care.
A spa is a luxury that not everyone can afford, and many stock all the best products found on earth. A lot of these products are based on ingredients that you may already have in your kitchen. I've found that these humble foods pack a lot of potential for skin care.
Every recipe will be completely edible but I will say that it's best to know what type of skin you have before you go slathering all sorts of ingredients on your face. My skin isn't super sensitive so it can tolerate more than someone with sensitive skin can. As another disclaimer, I am not an esthetician. I simply use the knowledge I have from all those nutrition classes that I racked up credits for, basic anatomy physiology (more useless credits), and good old fashioned experimentation.
Also, please don't think this is just for the ladies. Men have skin too, and why shouldn't they pamper their skin? It's fun to have someone sitting with goo on their face too.
So, enough with the chit chat, let's smear stuff on our face.
First up PUMPKIN!
Pumpkin is a great mild peel for your skin with lot's of vitamin C and A to nourish. Vitamin C is so great in skin care because it helps to destroy nasty free radicles. The recipe today has a bit of ginger and cinnamon. Ginger is great for helping with any inflammation or acne and the cinnamon is warming and acts as an astringent. Just to help with the drying of heaters beginning to turn on I've added some heavy cream.
Pumpkin Pie Facial
1/4 cup pureed pumpkin (canned is fine)
pinch of cinnamon
pinch of ginger
1 Tablespoon heavy cream
Mix everything together in a bowl until smooth. Slather on your face and let sit for 5-10 minutes preferably relaxing whilst fixing your face. Wash off with luke warm water. If you add a teaspoon of brown sugar too this it would make a nice exfoliator. Also if you doubled the batch you could use it on your entire body before you shower.
I recently read in a magazine where they recommended smearing canned pumpkin all over your body, wrapping yourself in a sheet for a few minutes and rinsing off. I can totally see the UPS guy ringing the doorbell , or someone needing a diaper change as soon as I got this stuff on.
I hope someone finds some use out of this new feature or if you have any of your favorite homemade facial recipes please share.
Happy Spa day!
I'm not a very big fan of candy corn. Why waste the calories? But my mom introduced me to the tastiest little Halloween treat around.
A little bowl set out with peanuts and candy corn is very festive and tastes just like a Payday bar. YUM!
What's your favorite Halloween treat?
This month Foodbuzz has teamed up with Frigidaire for their 24x24 event. Frigidaire has partnered with Save the Children with their Make Time for Change and to recognize this partnership all events this month are centered around meals for kids.
I could not have been more excited about this kid centric theme, as it was the Little Bird's Birthday. I have been that mom that has pulled out all the stops for a birthday. I glossed over my first born sons first birthday due to a wicked case of the flu. The next year I buried myself deep in birthday party guilt and decorated everything, invited everyone, baked, cut, and frosted a Toy Story alien cake, all for the kid to barely notice and play with his uncle's hat for the entire party. Two year olds are not partial to themed parties or extreme cakes. They like balloons for 2 minutes, wrapping paper for seconds and need a nap a half an hour before the party typically starts.
I'm not saying that any parent that goes all out for the birthday is wrong. Please don't think I'm saying you are wrong, I am simply saying I am not wired for such events. I'm going to share with you some ideas for the no fuss toddler party and some delicious brunch recipes.
Pancakes are Ranon's favorite thing to eat and I traditional like to make the kids their favorite meals for their birthdays. Brunch is a great time to have a toddler party. They are fresh in the morning. You won't have to wait for them to wake up from their naps, and a party in your pajamas is always good.
While I finished up the breakfast the kids opened presents. I think making other tiny kids watch other kids open presents is torture. I recommend either letting everyone open the presents or save that event after all the guests have gone.
When the kids are around 3-4 I try to instill the whole "it's not your day, it's their day" mantra. Today it was a gift wrap free for all.
Presents opened, and breakfast is ready. I like to make drinks for everyone once they walk through the door. Coffee is expected, but peachy orange drinks are not.
This is my favorite breakfast drink. If you want you could make it more adult by adding vodka.
Peachy Orange Breakfast Drink
1 can orange juice concentrate
1 can Kerns Peach nectar
1 Liter mineral water
Chill all ingredients and then add to a pitcher. Stir gently to mix together.
Pancakes is one of the only items this kid will faithfully eat. I made a batch of gluten free, and a batch of regular for everyone to enjoy. The Little Bird had the super special chocolate chip pancakes for his big day. To personalize flavors I don't usually add things to the entire batch, but I sprinkle chocolate chips, blueberries, or anything else onto the pancake as it is cooking. Usually not everyone is in agreement about additions to their pancakes so this method makes it easy.
2 cups flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 cups plain yogurt
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil, plus a small amount for the pan
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
Heat a large heavy bottom skillet over medium low heat. In a large bowl thoroughly mix together the dry ingredients. In a separate bowl mix together the milk and yogurt until smooth. Add the eggs, oil and vanilla and whisk until it is all incorporated. Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and gently stir together until the batter is all wet, there will be a couple small lumps. Set aside until the pan is hot enough that when you sprinkle some water in it it dances. Add about 1 Tablespoon of vegetable oil to the bottom of the pan and using a spatula cover the entire surface of the pan. Ladle batter about 1/3 cup at a time into the hot pan. Let cook about 3-4 minutes on the first side. Small bubbles will form in the surface of the batter letting you know it's time to flip. Just another 2 minutes and your pancake will be nice and brown and ready to eat. If you would like to add some extras such as chocolate chips or berries, sprinkle them over each cake right after you add the batter to the pan.
This family has a fondness for all things potato and little kids will usually eat potatoes in most any form. This is a new method of making breakfast potatoes that I was introduced to from this wonderful book. It involves par boiling and a hot skillet and it makes the most delicious breakfast potatoes you have ever tried. I'm not posting the exact recipe here as it is not my own, but I highly encourage you check out this book. Even if you do not need a gluten free diet there are numerous recipes you will fall in love with and I assure you these breakfast potatoes are well worth it.
No breakfast feels complete around here without bacon. The kids would live on bacon alone if I let them. Bacon needs nothing else but sometimes it's nice to fancy things up for fun occasions such as this. Sweet and fancy bacon is quick easy, and is made in the oven leaving plenty of room on the top of the stove for potatoes and pancakes.
I made some regular bacon too for the purists. Sweet and fancy bacon is simply just a mix of brown sugar and spices coating the bacon and roasted in the oven. It is easy, but with very outrageous results.
Sweet and Fancy Bacon
1 Package original bacon
1/2 cup brown sugar
2 Tablespoons chili powder
1 Tablespoon cumin powder
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon - pinch of cayenne pepper
lots of fresh ground black pepper
Preheat the broiler to 400 degrees but leave the rack in the middle. Line a cookie sheet with foil and place cooling racks over the top of the foil. I think a broiler pan would work too, but I've found this method the easiest to clean up and the fat drips below nicely. In a shallow bowl mix together the sugar and spices. Gently press each slice of bacon into the spice and sugar mixture pressing it on to coat. Lay each strip over the racks. Cook for about 6-8 minutes on the middle rack. Turn the bacon slices over and cook for another 6-8 minutes. If you would like very crisp bacon, you could move the rack up after the bacon has cooked through and cook for another minute to make the bacon nice and crispy.
Breakfast was a hit, and everyone was full. But this is a birthday and there must be cake. I didn't want anything too rich, or sticky sweet. I did want to make something gluten free and we were going on a little fishing trip later that day, so I wanted it to be a cake that could travel. There is nothing like the internet to weave it's way to what you are looking for. I started here reading about a delicious dinner, found myself over here at the source of the first dinner, where I found this post with this cake that was actually first found from this site. Whew, six degrees of zucchini cake. I adapted the cake so it was gluten free and it was superb. I first went WAY off the reservation and tried a different frosting. That is not recommended. I ditched my first attempt and ended up using the frosting in the recipe. PERFECT!
The zucchini in this cake is just enough to keep it nice and moist, but not enough to scare the kids away. The spice is not overpowering and was a nice change from your typical birthday cake.
I doubled the original recipe so that I could have 2 eight inch rounds for a layered cake.
Spiced Zucchini Cake
2 cups flour mix (found here)
1/4 cup corn flour
1/4 cup amaranth flour
1 1/2 teaspoon xanthan gum
1/2 teaspoon guar gum
2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon cardamom
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 teaspoon crystallized ginger
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1/2 cup apple sauce
1/2 cup plain yogurt
2 cups shredded zucchini
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Oil two 8 inch round baking pans and set aside.
In a large bowl mix together the flour mix, corn flour, amaranth flour, xanthan gum, guar gum, cinnamon, cardamom, nutmeg, ginger, salt, baking soda, baking powder, and salt. In a separate bowl mix together the sugars, vegetable oil, apple sauce, plain yogurt, and eggs. After it's all mixed together add in the zucchini. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients. Mix well and divide equally among the 2 oiled pans. Bake for 30-35 minutes until the center comes out clean.
Cool for 10 minutes then take the cake out of the pans to cool on the racks. Frost after the cake is completely cooled. This is the best frosting recipe to use for this cake.
Thank you so much Foodbuzz for this wonderful opportunity to join the kid food fun. I hope you found some party inspiration here. For details on the crafty decor I made you can hop on over here.