Happy Saturday

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Candles

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I always have candles lit in my house.  In the evening with the candles lit all around the house, I feel cozy and the house feels warm and comforting.

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Two years ago I bought my first set of battery operated candles that have a timer on them.  They go on at dusk and shut off after 6 hours. I bought them from a Christmas section in the store for the Holidays.  I have never taken them down.

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I love the soft yellow glow they have all year round.  I replace the batteries about every month or sometimes a little longer.  It’s well worth it to not have to worry about turning them on or off and they look so nice when you drive by the house at night.  It looks like a true country home.

It’s the little things sometimes that mean the most.

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Homemade Body Scrubs

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Body scrubs are an excellent way to exfoliate your body in the winter and summer.  They also moisturize and nourish your skin.  Store bought scrubs are expensive and contain all sorts of ingredients and sometimes the scent is overpowering.

We make our own and it’s very inexpensive and making it in small batches allows us to make many different scents.

Tonight I decided to make a quick Eucalyptus scent as both of my children are sick and I felt I needed a breath of fresh air in my scrub.  Eucalyptus reminds me of days spent in Florida years ago when my parents first moved there and I would visit. I would lay in the guest room and take in the wonderful fresh smell from the woods near their home.

Last week the tween queen and her friend made an almond scented scrub.  They used Almond flavored food extract to scent it and it smells fabulous.

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We use simple ingredients you can purchase right in your grocery store and they last a long time.  Here is how we make ours.  There is no “exact” measurements because sometimes I will make enough for 2 showers and other times I will make a larger batch as a gift for a friend.  There is no way to mess this up.

Ingredients:

Sunflower oil

Organic Cane Sugar

Extract or essential oil scent of your choice

Jar or plastic container with a lid

To make the scrub put the amount of cane sugar in your jar for a small or larger batch.  Pour in just enough sunflower oil to make it a bit runnier than a paste.  Add a few drops of your scent and mix.  Store in the shower area with the lid on closing after each use.

Scrub it on and feel the softness of your skin when you rinse it off.

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It also works wonders on those heels and your hands!!

Sharing on:  Simple Saturdays Blog Hop

Magic Cake

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Pieces set up to sell at the bake sale 

A magic cake is a cake that separates into 3 layers while it bakes.  I have never made a magic cake and decided on a whim to make it for our school bake sale.  I made it the night before and it was set up to sell before I even had a taste of it.  I was told by someone who purchased a piece that it was fabulous!!  Rich and creamy custard in the middle with a nice light layer of cake on top and bottom.  It sold out in about 20 minutes!!

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This was a very easy cake to make.  I used my hand mixer for the egg whites and the stand mixer for the rest.  Very few ingredients as well.

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Separate the eggs and bring to room temperature by letting sit our for 1/2 hour (notice how yellow/orange the yolks are, that is because these are farm fresh eggs from our chickens who are fed greens, corn, vegetables, and crumble to keep them healthy and producing the freshest eggs).

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Beat the egg whites until stiff (this takes a few minutes on high speed)

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Next mix the eggs and sugar until light in color and smooth and then add the melted butter and vanilla mixing well (about 2 minutes)

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Add the flour slowly 1/4 cup at a time and scrape sides.  Slowly add in the lukewarm milk on medium speed and scrape sides and bottom again to ensure all is mixed well.  The batter should be runny and thin.

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Gently fold in the egg whites with a spatula and use a whisk gently to break up some of the lumps.  It should look like the second picture by the time you are finished.

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Pour into a very well greased and floured 8×8 pan or use parchment paper as I did.  Bake at 325 degrees until the top is a light brown.  In my oven it took 40 minutes.  *The middle may still appear liquidy but that is ok it will harden.  You want the entire top just lightly browned as in the picture.

Let cool a bit.  Store in the refrigerator overnight or for at least 4 hours so the custard cools and sets up.

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The magic happens and you get a 3 layer cake with very little effort and a great custard filling!!

Needless to say…I will be making one this week for our family as the kids really wanted to try it.  There are variations all over the internet on how to make this and also other flavors.  I actually used a few different websites so will post exactly how I made ours below:

4 egg separated and brought to room temperature

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup melted butter (one stick)

2 tsp. vanilla extract

3/4 cup flour (I used a 1/4 cup measuring each into the bowl while mixing separately 3 times)

2 cups lukewarm milk (I microwaved mine for about 30 seconds and stirred it before adding)

Powdered sugar for dusting before serving (optional)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Grease and flour an 8×8 square pan or line with parchment paper.

Beat the egg whites until stiff and set aside

Beat the yolks and sugar until light and well mixed on medium speed.  Add the butter and vanilla mixing another 2 minutes and then add the flour and mix well.

Slowly pour in the lukewarm milk while mixing.  If need be scrape the sides and bottom to make sure everything is mixed well and let beat approximately 1 minute.

Add the egg whites by spatula folding gently in using about 2 batches.  Use a whisk gently to break up the lumps in the batter.

Pour into the pan and let bake until the top is lightly browned (approximately 40 minutes).

Cool completely and chill.  Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

A week in review

Last weekend we finally had a one day break in the frigid temperatures to get outdoors and enjoy the winter.  The boy and his friend begged me to get the snowman kit together so they could build and decorate a really cool snowman.  This is what happened:

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The excitement to “make” the snowman faded as the snow paint was more fun to spray all over and make designs with.

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The tween queen and the man of the house had the opportunity to take a ride around our Island.  The trails were perfect and they had a great time on the 26 mile trek.

A few things happening on the homestead were:

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Kitchen Tip:  Always using scissors to cut scallions and other vegetables.  Scissors are a kitchen must in my world! I use them to cut scallions right onto the plates, make diced onions from sliced onions, cutting lettuce and kale for salads, etc.

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Homemade pudding was made for a lunch treat at the request (or possibly nagging) of the kids.  You see it’s been about two weeks since I have made it and you know…they are deprived in their eyes!  Here is the recipe:  Chocolate Pudding

And tonight I am making a “magic” cake for a bake sale tomorrow at school.  If all turns out well, I will share that recipe tomorrow.  Hope the magic happens!

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Oh yeah…I hate to admit this but I got the 4 wheeler stuck again!  Thank God for good neighbors who came and dug me out so I didn’t have to tell the man of the house 🙂

Creamy Basil Tomato Sauce

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Creamy Basil Tomato Sauce

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2014 and 2015 First Place winners spoons

Saturday was the Annual Pasta-Sauce Off Competition hosted by the Cooking for Cancer Club in our area.  This club was created by two young girls in my daughter’s class to raise funds for children with cancer.  It benefits Carly’s Club of Roswell Park.

The event consists of volunteers making a pasta sauce and entering a competition.  Visitors purchase sample tickets and can sample all of the sauces and vote for their favorite sauce.  There is a huge basket raffle (94 baskets), a silent auction with some very unique treasures, a bake sale, 50/50 raffle, and all of the proceeds raised are donated to help make sick children’s lives a little bit better!  This event raised $5,000.00!!!!  Such a huge accomplishment for these girls!

Now on to the Creamy Basil Tomato Sauce—-last year I entered the event with a Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce and won 1st place!! (Recipe here: Creamy Sun-Dried Tomato Sauce)

This year I wanted to make a different sauce and decided on a Creamy Basil Tomato Sauce.  And guess what…I won again!!

Back to back victories 🙂

It is a lot of fun but even more so knowing you are doing something that will hopefully brighten someones day who may so desperately need it.

Here is the link to my Facebook page which has the recipe for you to try and a few pictures from the event!  The sauce is delicious and helped me top 13 other entries 🙂

CREAMY BASIL TOMATO SAUCE RECIPE