Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Mud Monster!

A lot of people ask me what I use on my skin and there's not much I can say because I really only use plain warm water to wash and unscented moisturizer with spf when I need it. But occasionally, when my skin is stressed, I'll do a mud mask. 



I know, not so glamorous but it's an amazing quick fix and I love the tingly sensation it gives as it sets on my face. Thats how you know it's penetrating and doing some magic! The mud mask product I use and love is by Lumene Finland:

It's inexpensive(around $8) and you can get it at most drug stores. Has a great spa smell too!


Monday, December 17, 2012

C is for CHRISTMAS COOKIES!!!

 The holidays are here and for me, homemade treats are the best gift you can give because it comes from the heart and your friends and family will appreciate every last morsel. I love making a nice cookie plate for everyone and this year I decided to go with a mix of old classics and new inventions that are sure to dazzle and delight!

First up, I call this one the Christmas Trash Can Cookie

Ok, so I cheated a little bit with this one and didn't make the dough from scratch but it's what you add that make this cookie incredible.

Ingredients:

-2 regular tubes refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough
-1/2 c. crushed pretzels
-1/3 c. finely chopped roasted pistachios
-1/3 c. chopped dried cranberries
-1/2 c. oat meal
-one bag Christmas colored M&Ms

Mix all ingredients except M&Ms together and place 1 1/2 inch sized balls on ungreased baking sheet 2 inches apart and bake according to directions on package. Once removed from oven press about 5 M&Ms on top of each cookie and let cool.

The next ones are yummy Soft Gingerbread Cookies
It's a classic and easy recipe and they're super fun to decorate. I used edible metallic dragees that I bought in NYC and edible glitter! The icing was easy to make as well. I just used a large zip lock to pipe it onto the cookies.
Cookie Ingredients:

3/4 cup molasses
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup water
1/8 cup butter, softened
3 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon ground allspice
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

In a medium bowl, mix together the molasses, brown sugar, water and butter until smooth. Combine the flour, baking soda, allspice, ginger, cloves and cinnamon, stir them into the wet mixture until all of the dry is absorbed. Cover the dough and chill for at least 1 hour.

Roll dough out to about 1/4 inch thick and cut out shapes with cookie cutters. Place on ungreased cookie sheet and bake at 350 for 8-10 minutes.

Remove from oven and let cool for about 2 hours before decorating.

Icing Ingredients:

1 c. powdered sugar
1 1/2 T. milk
1 t. vanilla

Mix all ingredients until smooth and use right away before it hardens.

Now time for the Lemon Basil Shortbread Cookies with Jam

I was really going out on a limb with these. I love thumbprint cookies but I wanted to try something different and exotic this year so I made a shortbread cookie flavored with fresh basil and lemon and put a dab of wild huckleberry jam in the middles after pulling them out of the oven. I know what you're thinking, Where the hell do I find wild huckleberry jam?! Well luckily any red berry jam will do. I happened to find the huckleberry jam on a trip to Zion so I used that. 

Ingredients:

8 Tbs. Butter
3 Tbs. Finely chopped fresh basil
1 1/2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest

1/2 cup powdered sugar, sifted; plus extra
1/4 teaspoon salt2 cups all-purpose flour1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Melt butter in small sauce pan then remove from heat and add chopped basil. Let sit for about 5 minutes till completely cool. 
                       

With a fork, stir lemon zest, salt and powdered sugar. In a stand up mixer add the basil infused butter mix and start adding the lemon zest powdered sugar mix little by little   at medium speed till well blended. Then add the flour and lemon juice until well blended and doughy. You may need to add a bit more flour if the dough seems too gooey. 
                                                                                                   
 The dough should be slightly firm and easy to roll into 1 inch balls. On an ungreased cookie sheet place dough balls 2 inches apart and press down on the middles to flatten and form slight craters.
Bake in oven at 375 for 13-15 minutes. Once removed from the oven, add 1/2 teaspoon dabs of jam to middles while still hot. Let cool over night and enjoy!

You can also make these Chocolate Orange Shortbread Cookies using the same recipe but substitute the lemon zest and juice for orange zest and juice. Subtract the fresh basil. And fill the middles with a chunk of dark chocolate once out of the oven instead of the jam.

     
And FINALLY.... The Nutella No Bake Cookies!!!!


Super easy and sooooo delicious! The hardest part is waiting for them to set so you can eat them!

Ingredients:
 1 c. sugar
4 Tbls. cocoa powder
1 stick butter
1/2 c. milk
1 Tbls. vanilla
1c. nutella or chocolate hazelnut spread
3 1/2 c. oat                                                                                                                    






In a medium saucepan bring to boil the sugar, cocoa powder, butter, and milk stirring constantly so not to burn on the bottom. Allow to boil for 2 minutes while stirring(very important step! cookies will not set properly if mix doesn't boil for 2 minutes) then turn of flame. Immediately add in oats, nutella, and vanilla and stir till well mixed together. Dollop about 1 1/2 Tablespoon fulls of the mix onto wax paper about an inch apart. Let cool and set for about 5 hrs or until cookies are firm and peel off the wax paper nicely. Now gobble them up before everyone else does!  
                                                                               











Monday, December 10, 2012

Monday, December 3, 2012

Easy Creamy Vegetable Soup! Perfect for those rainy/snowy winter days...ahhh

Ok so I improvise in the kitchen A LOT. It's almost like my own little version of a Top Chef challenge except my only judges are myself, my boyfriend and occasionally the dogs. Lately, theres been some major rainfall and I find it near impossible to get motivated enough for a grocery run. So I opened up all the cabinets in search of ingredients for a perfect cozy supper and this is what happened:

I literally put it together in 10 minutes and it was done cooking in 45! Here are the ingredients!

One packet of this
made according to directions provided
+

1 carrot diced
4 red potatoes diced 
1 c. frozen peas
1 c. frozen corn
2 c. fresh broccoli

+

Kraft Fat Free Cheddar

=

Mmmmmmm.....

*Once you've made the packaged soup on the stove top, transfer to a slow cooker on HIGH and add the remaining ingredients. Let cook for about 45 mins or until veggies are all tender then enjoy topped with the cheddar! (And I promise the Kraft Fat Free is AMAZING! No difference)