Sunday, December 13, 2009


Hi everyone! Happy Sunday morning to you! I am glad you stopped in… and hope you are enjoying your stay here. I spent a total of 14 hours in the kitchen yesterday! I made dinner and a good start to some of my dry mixes. I got quite a few containers done before the band kids (mine included) dropped a bomb on me… See the band Christmas Concert & Tea is today at 2pm (the kids have to be there at 1-1:30pm) and each kid is supposed to bring a finger food or dessert. They are telling me this hours before WHY?!?!? UGH Ok, got it covered… didn’t spend the day making mixes for nothing I guess. So I spent the next 4 hours baking for the kids… we knocked out 4 different kinds of cookies and about 6 dozen of each for the kids… here’s the mixes I had left afterwards:

I’ll keep adding and eventually I will get s decent stock built back up! They come in handy, especially in this house where I do a lot of scratch baking! The things I use most, I basically just mix up all the dry ingredients and store them. Then I add the wet ingredients when I’m ready to make them. You can either put just the remaining parts needed of the recipe or the whole thing on the lid or back… however works best for you. I label the mix on the front, and on the back I write the wet ingredients needed and cooking instructions… in case one of the kids wants to make something up on their own. I have quick bread mix (really good mix for flavored breads), cheddar bay biscuits (yes the copycat of the red lobster ones), flavored creamers, cookie mixes, different seasonings, homemade packets of instant oatmeal (in different flavors), regular bread mix, and a bunch of other things mixed up and ready to go. It gives the same convenience as store bought mixes but the satisfaction that I know they are A. cheaper, and B. healthier! (Yes I sneak in flaxseed and wheat germ and they never know! LOL)

Well, the hubs should be home in a few hours from his trip to FW. Guess I should clean up some? Nahh… LOL! Actually I do have to clean up purdy nice for the concert LOL. That means shaving my legs and everything YUCK! LOL I gotta be a girl.for a change… yuck! Ok, so lets get crafty… what do we do today? How about some bath and body stuff for the females you might need gifts for? I like the candy cane bath salts best, but I will share some others with you too.

Craft Idea of the Day: Bath & Body Products

2 cups Epsom salts
1/2 cup rock salt or sea salt
4-5 drops peppermint oil
2-3 drops red food coloring

Place 1 cup of the Epsom salts and 1/4 cup of rock salt in a mixing bowl or resealable plastic bag. Add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil and mix until evenly distributed. Place the remaining 1 cup Epsom salts and 1/4 cup rock salt in a separate bowl or bag. Add the food coloring and mix until the color is evenly distributed and you are pleased with the shade of red. Add 2-3 drops of peppermint oil and stir well. In a large jar or clear bottle layer the white salts and red salts. You want to create a striped effect, like a candy cane. Place the top on your container and tie with a big bow and a few real candy canes. Makes 20 ounces

1/2 C. oatmeal (regular or quick)
1/2 C. powdered milk
4 T. ground almonds
16 drops strawberry essential oil

Combine dry ingredients in bowl, stirring to mix well. Add essential oil and
blend. Divide mixture among 3 pretty cloth bags, and tie them at the top. Hang one from the bathtub faucet as the water is running into the tub. Store the
other two in an airtight jar or a ziplock bag.

3 T. unmedicated aloe vera gel
1/2 tsp. very fine glitter, color desired
1 drop essential oil, fragrance desired (optional)
Add glitter to aloe vera gel. Add essential oil, if desired. Stir to blend, then store at room temperature in a small, airtight jar or container. NOTE: Some are sensitive to essential oils. Test body glitter on inside of arm before applying to face. DO NOT USE NEAR THE EYES!

The children will LOVE to clean their hands with this!
1/2 C. aloe vera gel
1/4 C. 99% rubbing alcohol
1/2 to 3/4 tsp. bubble gum fragrance oil
Mix ingredients together. Pour into a pump-style bottle or a squeeze bottle.

Ok, so there you go! Any of these great items can be made and be given as a single gift or paired with the others or something original you make as a cute gift basket or bag. Now what’s on tap for supper? Well since we are having Tea & Cookies after the concert, I am sure the gang will probably snarf and pig out on some major sweets and stuff there, so I am not gonna plan anything majorly fancy or labor intensive. I’m probably gonna just do some oven roasted sausage links, mashed potatoes, and corn with some sliced bread. For dessert, I made a pumpkin cake with a caramel glaze. Sound good? Well here’s your recipe to tempt your taste buds. (*The cake recipe is from Paula Deen’s Nov./Dec. magazine issue of cooking with Paula. She calls for another frosting which I didn’t want to use.)


1 cup butter, softened
2 cups firmly packed brown sugar
4 large eggs
1 15oz. Can pumpkin
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp. Baking powder
1 ½ tsp. Ground cinnamon
½ tsp. Baking soda
½ tsp. Ground nutmeg
¼ tsp. Salt
¼ tsp. Ground allspice
½ cup whole milk

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray your desired cake pan(s) (I used a pretty bundt pan) with non-stick baking spray with flour.

2. In a large bowl, beat butter and sugar at medium-high speed with an electric mixer until fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in pumpkin until smooth.

3. In a medium bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, baking soda, nutmeg, salt, and allspice. Gradually add to the butter mixture, alternating with milk, beginning and ending with flour mixture. Spoon evenly into prepared pan(s).

4. Bake for 22 to 27 minutes or until a wooden toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Let cool in pan(s) for 10 minutes. Remove from pan(s), and cool completely on a wire rack. (Store cake in refrigerator).

Caramel Glaze

½ cup butter
2 tsp. Milk
½ cup brown sugar

Make the glaze by heating the butter, milk and brown sugar in a small saucepan over medium heat. Bring to a boil, stirring to dissolve the sugar, then remove from the heat. Drizzle over the warm cake. (I like to place a sheet of aluminum foil under the cooling rack to catch the drips for easy clean up.)

Ok, I’m warning you now… this is a very dense and rich cake but OMG is it melt in your mouth yummy! The best thing is you can add all kinds of different flavored glazes or icings… don’t have to be just caramel. So if you have a special recipe given to you by grandma for a vanilla or a butterscotch glaze… heck, try it on for size! As for me kids, that’s all for today… gotta go start my hectic day with 1 more batch of cookies I didn’t get to before my feet and legs gave out last night, take a shower, dressed, etc. By that time Dad will be home and anxious to tell me about his trip (like I have TIME to hear it?? Later dear, tell me LATER! LOL j/k). I hope you have a wonderful day and I’ll see you tomorrow for the beginning of Marathon Holiday baking!! HUGS!

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