Sunday, December 30, 2012

Skin perfecting all natural face mask

Skin perfecting all natural face mask
Makes: 4+ masks


2 tablespoons honey
Juice of half a lemon
2 teaspoons baking soda
5 aspirin tablets- dissolved into a paste
1 tablespoon coconut oil
Dash of cinnamon
1 tablespoon bentonite clay powder

Honey, cinnamon and coconut oil are known for their anti-microbial properties, aspirin and baking soda will draw out impurities, and clay powder has been used for centuries of mud masks for its moisturizing and detoxifying properties. Use lemon juice or apple-cider vinegar as a toner, and you have the perfect face mask. I also add a few aspirin which help to reduce swelling of current break-outs and dries them out quickly.

Place mixture in microwave for 15sec to melt coconut oil. Stir all ingredients well. Should feel warm to touch, not hot. Rub on face and let sit for 30 minutes or so. Because of the lemon juice and baking soda you may feel a slight tingly feeling, but it is enjoyable.

Use a wet warm wash cloth to remove mask, it will be sticky from the honey.

This mask brought any impending pimples to the surface, made my skin smooth and clean feeling, and I love knowing exactly what's in it.

Store remaining face mask in fridge, ad heat when needed. I could use it everyday. It makes your face so soft!

Sunday, December 23, 2012

Scrapbook Paper on Canvas

I had seen a few of these floating around on Pinterest, and I have been trying to get back into painting lately, so I thought some free and easy wall art would be perfect for my broke barren walled new home.

I bought three 8x10 white canvases
I already have oil paints, which I prefer to paint with.
You'll also need some scrapbooking pages, you can buy individually at craft stores or a pad of various ones of the same color palette.

Over the years, I'm sure most of us have accumulated a stash of various types of decorative papers, such as the scrap-booking papers I seem to have thousands of.... Pick 5-6 sheets of complementary designs and colors for each canvas. I decided to go with a gold hinting in my background paints of green, orange and purple so I selected complimentary colors for each of those.

For the gold/orange canvas I used lots of purples, and teals
For the purple canvas I used lots of yellows and greens
and for green canvas I used Blues and Yellows

The first thing I did, obviously, is mix up my paint colors and paint each of my canvases. Then I let them dry, completely - actually several days....

Next I cut the center of my flowers and determined there location, but by only placing them atop the canvas, not affixing them yet.

I made a series of "leaves" for each canvas, but each canvas having its own distint shaped leaves. For the Gold my leaves are very traditional angular shape, for the Green canvas I used a bulbous round leaf, and for the Purple canvas I went with a more heart shaped leaf.

You'll want to do each canvas individually so you don't get any mixed up. Start with small leaves, and then gradually increase your leaf sizes out, laying them on the canvas, radiating from the center piece. When you have made them in a design that you like, you can stop, and be finished cutting.

Then comes the glue gun... Start gluing down the pieces one at a time, pressing down as much as you can, so that it lays flat on the canvas.

Once that has dried you can paint over the entire canvas with mod podge if you desire, I have matte mod podge, so thats what I did.

Monday, December 17, 2012

Thanksgiving Roasted Turkey

Thanksgiving Roasted Turkey 


1 turkey - I had a 20lb turkey for this recipe
1 gallon apple cider
1 handfull whole peppercorns
3-4 bay leaves
1 cup salt
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon each dried thyme and rosemary
1 lemon

1 quart turkey stock (or chicken or veggie stock)
1/4 cup white wine
1 stick butter
celery ribs
mushroom stems
parsley stems
lemon zest
salt and pepper


The first thing I did was brine my turkey. Tuesday evening I took the mostly thawed turkey and placed in a large stock pot ( you can buy brining bags if you don't have a large enough pot).
In a large saucepan I added 1 gallon apple cider with 1 cup salt and 1 cup of sugar.
Then I placed a handful of black peppercorns, a tablespoon dried rosemary and thyme, and brought the mixture up to a simmer to dissolve the salt and sugar.
Then I added 1 gallon of Ice water to the stock pot, along with 1 sliced lemon and the cider mixture.

Sorry I have no pictures of this, I did it at my parents house. Refrigerate for 24 hours.

Then take your turkey out, and rinse under cold water, inside and out of the turkey. Place on baking sheet and dry with paper towels, inside and out. Let dry overnight.

Thursday morning taken your dried turkey, liberally salt and pepper the skin.

Place cut celery, onion, and lemons inside cavity, along with leftover parsley stems.

Then take 1 stick of room temperature butter and mash 3 roasted garlic cloves, 1 tablespoon each chopped sage and parsley, and the juice and zest of 1 lemon and mash together. Pull the skin from the turkey breast and smear the compound butter mixture in between breast and skin, going as far down the thigh as you can. Then take remaining butter and spread on the outside of the bird, all over the beasts, thighs and drumsticks.

Place in roasting pan with rack. Pour 32 ounces of stock (turkey, chicken or vegetable, whatever you can find) in the bottom of the roaster, along with 2 chopped carrots, onions and celery stalks. Add 1/4 cup white wine to pan. I was also making stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer, so I added my mushroom stems to the bottom of the roasting pan to deepen the flavor of the pan drippings for my gravy.

Place tin foil over the top, tenting the turkey in a 325 oven. You'll cook the turkey 15 minutes per pound, but the last 45 minutes remove the foil to brown the skin. Check with thermometer in thigh to reach 165 degrees, the remove from oven, re-tent with foil and allow to cool for at least 20 minutes.

The ONLY Mashed Potato Recipe to make!

The best mashed potato recipe ever!

(Copied from:

Creamy Mashed Potatoes


5 pounds Russet Or Yukon Gold Potatoes
1 stick of butter Butter
1 package (8 Oz.) Cream Cheese, Softened
1/2 cup (to 3/4 Cups) Half-and-Half
1 Teaspoon Salt
1/2 teaspoon Black Pepper


Bring a large pot of water to a simmer and add the potatoes, boil for 30 to 35 minutes.

When they’re cooked through, the fork should easily slide into the potatoes with no resistance, and the potatoes should almost fall apart.

Drain the potatoes in a large colander. Mash the potatoes over low heat, allowing all the steam to escape, before adding in all the other ingredients.

Turn off the stove and add 1 stick of butter, an 8-ounce package of cream cheese and about ½ cup of half-and-half. Mash, mash, mash! Next, add about Salt and black pepper.

Stir well and place in a medium-sized baking dish. Throw a few pats of butter over the top of the potatoes and place them in a 350-degree oven and heat until butter is melted and potatoes are warmed through

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Zucchini Cakes

Zucchini Cakes
Serves: 2
Time: 10 minutes

1 large zucchini, grated
1 large egg
1 c. panko bread crumbs
Salt and pepper to taste
1 tbsp. each garlic powder, season salt
1/2 c. Parmesan cheese, grated

Remove excess liquid from freshly grated zucchini by placing them between paper towels and squeezing.

In a large bowl, combine all the ingredients. Mix thoroughly.

Heat a large pan on medium, and spray with Pam.

Shape spoonfuls of the zucchini batter into 2-in. (diameter) patties, and drop onto the sizzling pan.

Cook each side for about a minute and a half, or until the outside is golden brown.

Serve hot, alone or with ranch dressing, or sour cream.

Saturday, November 24, 2012


Makes: 1 gallon

For those of you, whom I'm sure are wondering, the recipe is a tamer version of the sangria I served at my wedding, with less hard alcohol and no limoncello added, seeing as how that sangria has been coined, "the death punch" I will not recommend that sangria in the future. This sangria, however, is a beautiful balance of flavors, and when the club soda is added is an appropriately strengthed (is that a word) cocktail.


1 jug of Carlos Rossi Sangria wine
1/4 cup triple sec
1/2 cup peach schnapps
1/2 cup brandy
½ cup fresh orange juice
1 orange, sliced
2 lemons, sliced
1 lime sliced- for color
1 Granny Smith or Honeycrisp apple sliced
1 cup simple syrup (if desired, recipe follows)
24 ounces of club soda or sprite

Serve along side:
1 bag of grapes (any variety) frozen before served
2 oranges sliced, and halved into half-moon shapes
2 granny smith apples, sliced
1 container mixed fresh berries (usually available in the fruit or deli section of the grocery store)
Pineapple slices
Peach slices


Using a large glass decanter, pour contents of wine, and measured brandy and triple sec in. Add your orange juice and taste for sweetness.

If sweet enough, leave alone. Mine was a tad sour so I added 1 cup of simple syrup, which is just equal parts sugar and water heated on the stove until the sugar dissolves, and then allowed to cool completely.

Add your sliced citrus and apples and let soak for a few hours, up to overnight. Then just before serving, add your club soda.
Serve the fruit on a tray and it will be beautiful for any occasion.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Magazine on Canvas

Magazine On Canvas

As another attempt to fill the empty walls of our home, I decided to try something crafty again with a small 8x8 canvas I had on hand.

You'll need some colorful magazines
Elmer's Glue
A decorative stencil of your choice

So the first thing I did was take a bunch of old magazines that I had on hand, in this case, it was old Food Network Magazines. I flipped randomly through the pages and cut out random shapes from colorful pages. All colors, in sizes that varied from the palm of my hand, to the size of a finger.

The next thing I did was take each of my magazine paper strips, and began glueing the pieces, overlapping them, all over the canvas until it was completely covered, even wrapping the edges around the sides of the canvas.

I found a stencil online, this one is of a dragonfly. I printed it out, and then stenciled the image onto my dry canvas.

Using a marker, that you can see the stencil on my canvas.

The next thing I did was paint all of the areas of my canvas outside of my stencil, so that the only paper you see is the stencil image.

I went with yellow paint, which made covering the magazine images difficult, and found that I needed to do several coats, letting it dry between them to get enough coverage.

After it was completely dry - which took a few days, I then used mod podge and brushed it all over the canvas to seal and unify the artwork. 

The artwork ends up with a nice texture, which you can't really see from the photo, and also has a nice interesting design. All in all, I would do this project again. It is currently hanging in our guest-room over the nightstand.

Best ever cranberry sauce

Best Ever Cranberry Sauce
Makes: 1 pint

1 bag fresh cranberries
1 cup REAL maple syrup or honey
1 cup apple cider or apple juice
1/4 cup orange juice
1 tablespoon of orange zest

Place all ingredients into a large stock pot. Bring to a rapid boil, and let boil for 10 minutes, mashing with a potato masher. Simmer for another 10 minutes.

I like smooth cranberry sauce, and am not a fan of the texture of cranberry skins or seeds, so this makes the perfect consistency of thick and smooth. Pour mixture through a strainer, pressing and mashing all the thick cranberry pulp through the strainer.
Once the mixture has been strained, and only the skins remain in the strainer, return the liquid to the stove and boil another 10-15minutes until thick and reduced.

Cool in the fridge in a glass jar, and this delicious smooth thick sauce is ready for your turkey day!

Monday, November 19, 2012

Herbed Cream Cheese Spread

Herbed Cream Cheese Spread


1 large shallot, minced finely
1 package room temperature cream cheese

4 tablespoons of parsley - chopped finely
4 tablespoons chopped dill
4 tablespoons chopped tarragon
4 tablespoons chopped chives
salt and pepper to taste

Serve with sliced cucumbers, and buttery crackers (I used townhouse)


Add all chopped ingredients to room temperature cream cheese and mix until thoroughly incorporated.

This cream cheese is delicious and can be used as a spread in sandwiches as well!

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Linguine with Clams

Linguine with Clams
Serves: 2 -more if you don't inhale it :-)

Oh man are you in for a treat, this dish came out sooo freaking good we couldn't stop eating it until it was completely gone!

2 cans of chopped clams
1 jar of clam juice
5-6 roasted garlic cloves in olive oil (See recipe:)
Fresh parsley
Linguine (I use dreamfields low carb pasta - its fantastic)
2 Tablespoons butter, plus 1 tablespoon 
Bay leaves
1 Shallot - minced
2 teaspoons anchovy paste
Parmesan Cheese - freshly grated
crushed red pepper
Panko bread crumbs
1/2 cup white wine
1/4 cup heavy cream


In a bowl placed minced shallot, a pinch of crushed red pepper, chopped parsley, garlic cloves (minced) salt and pepper into a bowl.

Then take a large skillet, place a few tablespoons of oil and butter, and heat on medium high. Add the anchovie paste and stir into oil for a few minutes.

After its cooked for a few minutes, add in your minced spices and garlic. Cook for several minutes, keep stirring.

Then add your white whine and allow it to cook down for a few minutes. Open your cans of clams and drain them. Pour your drained clam juice, along with the 2 bottles of clam juice into the pan. Add bay leaves.

Once your liquid has reduced by half, place your linguine in a pot of boiled, salted water, and cook until al dente - don't cook completely through - it will finish in the sauce.

Then take your remaining parsley and chop finely. add about 1/2 cup of panko bread crumbs and a pinch of crushed red pepper, salt and pepper. Then in a small skillet heat remaining 1 tablespoon of butter till melted, add bread crumb mixture and toast. Once golden brown, turn off heat and reserve.

Then add your chopped clams to the skillet and heat thoroughly.

Drain your pasta, do not rinse, and add to your skillet turning to coat. Remove your bay leaves.

Once plating, add the bread crumb mixture on top. Then serve with crusty bread to soak up the deliciousness.