Friday, January 30, 2015

The Skimm - Your News in the Morning

All of my life, I've loved the news.  Maybe it was because we only had two television stations and a evening news paper that came daily.  I'm probably weird, but I have to watch the world news because it relaxes me.  I guess it's because I get current events and information that you can't really get anywhere else.

Jessi and I watching the Today Show and reading theSkimm

Some how, some way, I signed up for theSkimm, daily email newsletters.  They start off with a quote of the day by someone who is very important in the news of the previous day/night.  They give you the news in brief paragraphs and get to the point.  This is great because I'll hear snippets of news while I'm getting ready for work and then I can open my email and read what I need to know about U.S. and world events.

Finally, theSkimm was started by two 20-somethings.  Yes, really.  I still consider myself a 20-something.  You're only as young as you feel, right?  I think this shows, that you can do anything with enough ambition and drive.  Yes, I need to tell myself that on cold and gloomy Oklahoma days.  Also, they celebrate other Skimmer's birthdays.  It's fun to see people you know on the list and tweet them happy birthday! Mine was on their day off. :(

If you would like to receive, theSkimm, just click on any of the links above or here,, easy as that!

Thursday, January 29, 2015

My Favorite Necklace

This is my favorite necklace. For Christmas, I got the camera and flower charm from my co-worker Brooke.  My department is always helping hers.  It was really thoughtful to remember me during this busy season.  The stand mixer and muffin tin came from my friend Abbe, from the Goody Good Gift Swap.  I couldn't believe she was able to find these charms.  The necklace that went with this necklace was a little short, so I put them on the other necklace with the camera and flower charm.  I will always remember what my friends mean to me when I wear this.

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

January Wantable Accesory Box

I've signed up for Wantable emails for awhile. They have regular contests and giveaways.  You may wonder how it works, you fill out a fun questionnaire of what you love, like and don't like.  You can choose from their makeup, intimates, accessories collection and fit edit.   Everything is hand picked by their stylists to match your preference. If you don't like something, you can return it.

I was really excited to get my box!  The neatest thing is that I was going to order a bracelet similar to the Elsa bracelet! It's a good thing that I didn't.  Today I am wearing the Kelly Anne necklace with a navy boatneck 3/4 length shirt.  I love the marsala color.  The Elizabeth necklace is long, which I love!  It will definitely brighten up anything dark.  The Joelle earrings will be great to dress up something simple.

If you would like to sign up, please click on this link,  You can skip months to receive boxes every once in awhile.  You can also fill out the questionnaire to receive the makeup, intimates box or fit edit box.

Fabulous Foodie Swap

Another amazing food/gift exchange was the Fabulous Foodie Swap! My exchange partner was Shelby in California.  She's from Texas, so I knew that she would like my grandma's cornbread recipe, so I sent a jar of the mix and directions, the southwestern 3-bean and barley soup, Bedre chocolate, tea towels and savory spiced pecans.  I also included my famous pumpkin bread recipe.  She said she would enjoy everything.
Oklahoma Goodies

In mine, I got a very cute light blue gingham apron, basil and citrus chicken jerky, chocolate peanut butter bars, pink salt (I've always wanted this!),  caramel ginger candy, gingerbread hot chocolate, prep bowl set and a little jar of jelly.  I really appreciated everything.  We don't have a World Market locally (I think there is one in Oklahoma City).  I love trying new things!

California Goodies

Monday, January 26, 2015

Goody Good Giftswap

Another fun gift swap was the Goody Good Giftswap! My exchange partner was Abee in Indianapolis.  She was pretty much like me, she liked sparkles, sweets, written correspondence, bright colors, traveling and crafting.  I wound up making her the "Never Let Anyone Dull Your Sparkle" sign, got her some gold hair ties, purple nail polish, Southwestern 3-Bean and Barley Soup Mix and some Bedre chocolate.  It was fun to put something together!

In my package, Abbe got me the most amazing necklace with a mixer and muffin tin charm.  (I actually got another necklace with a camera and flower, so I put all of them on one chain.)  I got some chocolate popcorn, coconut lip balm and Abbe's family's carrot cake.

Sunday, January 25, 2015

Food52 Secret Food Swap

This was my 2nd year to be a part of the Food52 Secret Food Swap.  You get someone's information that includes if they don't like something or allergic to something.  The person that I sent something to was vegetarian and didn't like ginger.  I wound up getting her some measuring spoons, a jar of Southwestern Three-Bean and Barley Soup, and some tea and sugar from a local spice shop.

The package I received was from Washington State.  I got South of the Border Chocolate Cookies, Sweet and Spicy Pretzel and Nut Mix, Sweet and Savory Tomato Jam, Pickled Jicama, Smoked Alder Sea Salt and Salted Almond Dark Chocolate.

Everything was greatly enjoyed and was delicious.  I haven't used the tomato jam yet but I think I may put it on top of meatloaf. I've used the smoked alder sea salt in my savory pecans.

Gifts from Washington State

Pie, Pies and More Pies

I make pies for friends and family.  It's a really small-small word of mouth operation.  I don't have enough time to advertise or I know I'd get overwhelmed. 

This is me after making 13 or 14 pie crusts from scratch.

A pumpkin pie with pumpkin decorative crust.

The famous pecan pie.  The secret is to not as much syrup mixture as it calls for. Save 1/4 cup or so, so that the syrup doesn't boil over onto your cookie sheet.  Always use a pie crust cover to protect your crust from burning and spray it with nonstick spray so it won't stick to the cover.

I don't make my pie 45 minutes like it says.  I set the timer for 35 minutes and let the syrup harden.  If it doesn't look like it will, I put it back in the oven to let it bake more.

This Thanksgiving, I tried different crust techniques.  With this, I braided the crust and joined them together.

This was a cherry pie for Christmas.  I made the top crust and decorated it with snowflakes.

Crafty Christmas

It was a crafty Christmas around here.  I made most of my Christmas gifts.  I started working on them before Thanksgiving.

I go a little crazy about chalk boarding stuff! It's so fun and easy.  This sign went to a new friend in Indianapolis with a goody goody gift swap package. (I'll have to blog about that soon!)

These were supposed to be my shoes that went with my "Clarice, Rudolph's girlfriend" outfit.  Due to potential bad weather, I didn't get to go to my friends New Years Eve party.  It was a "dress as your favorite Christmas character.  I couldn't find a white fur shrug to be one of the Haynes' sisters from White Christmas, so Clarice was the next best thing.  I just mod podged some red glitter to the bow of these shoes.

These initials were supposed to be for Allie and Mena's chalkboards but I decided that they were too big. It was fun to finally use the glitter that I've had forever!

Excuse the messy kitchen, these Rudolph Coke's went to my stepdad and uncle.  All you need is little cokes, googgly eyes, red pom pons and brown pipe cleaners!

I found this at Hobby Lobby and decided to spray paint the board with chalkboard paint and then coated the stand and top with a layer of black paint and red paint on top of it.  I lightly sanded them so it would look worn.  I then sprayed glossy acrylic spray to protect the paint.  I just reversed the lettering and traced over it with chalk and then rubbed it onto the board.  I made two of these and both friends loved them!

Here are Mena and Allie's chalkboards. I first sprayed the inside with chalkboard paint, then painted the edge with pink acrylic paint and then used painters tap and made stripes.  I then sprayed the boards with gold and silver spray paint.

I also made my cousin Wendy an embroidered flour sack fowl and added a fabric ruffle to the bottom.  I finished it Christmas morning so I wasn't able to take a picture of the finished product!

You don't have to spend a lot of money on Christmas.  Handmade gifts mean the most and they'll always be remembered.

Christmas Baking Overview

Christmas was exactly a month ago.  I'm slowly un-decorating my house.  It's so sad to just take away all of the pretty things at once.

For the Christmas season, I love to make my friends and family cookies.  I usually deliver them a week before Christmas when everybody is still at work.  My main cookies that I make are cut out sugar cookies, gingerbread and chocolate chip cookies.  I use the same recipe for the sugar and chocolate chip cookies but I wanted to try something different for the gingerbread cookies.  I really liked Very Best Baking's Chocolate Gingerbread because it was really easy to cool in the fridge and then roll out.  I've tried some other gingerbread recipes before where it's really hard to roll out and cut.  This year, for our department get together, we had a cookie exchange, I made red velvet thumbprint cookies with cream cheese frosting in the thumbprint.  They were so yummy because I rolled the outside in sanding sugar.

Red Velvet Thumbprint Cookies

Chocolate Gingerbread Cookies

Sugar Cookies
The week that I was off work, there was a small time frame to make Divinity.  To make Divinity, it has to be during the day and at least 40% humidity or lower.  The weather here in Oklahoma for the month of December was wet and cloudy, not Divinity making weather.  Divinity does take plenty of practice! I kept checking the weather to see when there was that time frame for great humidity.  It was at 3pm.  It actually turned out and I gave it to a friend who loves it.

The same day that I made the Divinity, I made the Cherry-Lime Pistachio Pralines from Better Homes & Garden.  They were really good but I think they got harder then they should.

Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Cold Morning Pumpkin Whole Wheat Waffles

Back in the summer, I made pumpkin waffles with my old heart shaped waffle maker and put them in the freezer.  I would warm them up in the skillet with some coconut oil until they were crispy.  I ran out of them a few weeks ago.  I had some eggs that I needed to use, so I decided to make waffles in my new Belgian waffle maker. 

I have a funny story about waffles.  It was about 4 or 5 years ago, I was without an oven for a few months.   Luckily, this wasn't near any holidays.  On Sunday's, I experimented and make different kinds of waffles.  I made pecan ones, pumpkin ones and ones I found in cookbooks.

On weekend mornings, I want a big breakfast but don't want to get out in the cold.  These waffles, with  bacon and a big cup of coffee will be a delicious breakfast.

Pumpkin Whole Wheat Waffles

  • Ingredients
  • 2 1/2 cups milk
  • 1 16 oz. can pumpkin puree
  • 4 large eggs
  • 4 tablespoons melted coconut oil
  • 2 tablespoons coconut nectar
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 2 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup ground flax seed
  • 2 tablespoons baking powder
  • 2 tablespoons cinnamon
  • 2 teaspoons ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • In a medium bowl, stir together the milk, pumpkin puree, coconut oil, eggs, coconut nectar and vanilla.
  • In a medium bowl, stir together sugar, wheat flour, flax seed, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves and salt.
  • Add the dry ingredients slowly with the wet ingredients until well mixed.
  • Spray waffle maker with cooking spray and pour batter onto the iron, about 1/2 cup of batter.  Cook according your waffle maker's instructions.
  • In my Belgian waffle maker, it make 8 large waffles, so if you have a smaller waffle maker, you may have more waffles.
If you don't have the coconut oil, coconut nectar or flax seed, just substitute with what you have.  It will be yummy with syrup and bacon!