Monday, November 30, 2009

Softsoap Nutri Serums

I recently joined a program called BzzAgent where you get to try new products, review them, and share them with others. Unfortunately, I can't give you cyber samples to try online...but I can tell you what I think of Softsoap Nutri Serums body wash! I absolutely love it! The first time that I tried it, it felt like a moisturizer going on my skin. It smells fantastic--light and fresh. When I went to rinse it off, I thought it wasn't coming off all the way because it immediately left my skin feeling so moist. So moist and soft in fact, I didn't feel like I needed to use a moisturizer afterward! This is a perfect body wash for the dry, winter months. I absolutely would buy it and use it everyday.
So here's the deal : while I can't give you a cyber sample, I can give you a chance to win gift certificates. If you go to and enter this Conversation ID #: 101 763 990120
you will be entered to win gift certificates worth $100 -$1000. If you talk to someone about Softsoap Nutri Serums, tell them to do the same!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thanksgiving Pie

I am thankful our family finally has a...rotation for Thanksgiving. Since last year we had a new baby we stayed home and had our first Thanksgiving as a new little family. It was wonderful, although a lot of work, but well worth it. We decided to do a three year rotation and stay home one year and go to each of our family's Thanksgiving dinners every third year. This year all we had to make was pie...and so I wanted to be a loving wife and even though I don't like it, make my husband's favorite pie--Banana Cream. Thank you Our Best Bites for an amazing recipe! Amazingly simple, and amazingly good. You have to try it. It made me a fan of banana cream.

Banana Cream Pie

1 4-serving size box of instant chocolate or vanilla pudding
1 c. cold water
1 14-oz. can sweetened condensed milk
2 cookie crusts. You can use anything--graham crackers, Nilla Wafers, shortbread, even Oreo.
Lots of bananas
1 pint whipping cream
1/3 c. powdered sugar

In a medium bowl, combine pudding mix, cold water, and sweetened condensed milk. Mix well and place in the refrigerator to chill for a few minutes. In another bowl, whip 1 c. of whipping cream until soft peaks form.

Slice the bananas (probably 4 small bananas or 2 large bananas) and layer them on the bottom of the crusts. Be sure and save the plastic domes that come with the pie crusts--you'll need them later!

Set aside. Remove pudding from the fridge and gently dollop the whipped cream on top of the pudding. Gently fold the whipped cream into the pudding mixture until well-combined.

Now divide the mixture between the two pies.

Prepare sweetened whipped cream with the remaining whipping cream and 1/3 c. of powdered sugar and spread it on top of the two pies. Place the clear plastic shells back on the pies and allow to chill for several hours. This is actually really important--I tried eating it right away once and the pie wasn't banana-y at all and the moisture hadn't absorbed into the crust, so the crust just fell apart.

And there you have it--the best AND the easiest banana cream pie you'll ever have or need!

Chunky Monkey Variation: Blend 1/2 c creamy peanut butter into the pudding/water/sweetened condensed milk mixture (before you fold in the whipped cream). Continue as directed but place in a chocolate cookie crust. Sprinkle with honey roasted peanuts just before serving.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

32 days left...

I really love these Christmas countdown blocks from Little Birdie Secrets! I hope to make them someday. If I ever have mod podge and cute number cutouts...


Shade Clothing is my guilty pleasure. Maybe clothing and fashion in general...but Shade Clothing is absolutely my favorite. I've bought about five items from them in just the past month or so! Among other things, I love their new Straight Skirt from their clothing line right now... I love how all their clothes make me feel good about the way I look, while helping me feel comfortable and modest at the same time.


These Chocolate-Caramel Cookies from Martha Stewart look so good to me...I wish I could lick the screen! I think I'm going to have to try this recipe for the Holidays.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Homemade Bread

Recently I have heard frequently that making your own bread saves money...and so I have been wanting to dive into the world of making my own bread, since we have peanut butter sandwiches for lunch everyday around my house, and consequently go through bread very quickly.
I have only made my own bread once before, and it was successful. I was pleased with how easy it was as well as the results, except that the bread was really crumbly and not good for making sandwiches.
Well there is a local TV show that I like to watch and they had a segment about making your own bread. Ever since that day, I have wanted to try this recipe! Since we were out of bread, and I don't have a car to go to the grocery store until around 10 tonight...I made it! I think it's great! I just successfully spread peanut butter on a slice of bread, without everything going crumbly and falling apart. Of course, I would rather that it was wheat bread than white...but you have to work with what you have. I also only made a third of the recipe since I didn't have enough yeast for three loaves, or three bread pans either. Luckily it divides rather nicely. So here is the recipe from Studio 5!

Basic Homemade Bread
  • 3 cups warm milk*
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 3 tablespoons Active Dry Yeast
  • 6 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 8-10 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • Additional butter for brushing loaves

Place warm milk and sugar in mixing bowl, stir in yeast and allow yeast to dissolve and form a head.

Beat in softened butter, 3 cups flour and salt. Gradually beat in enough more flour to make soft dough. Knead by hand or by mixer.

Kneading by hand: place dough on floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic (lift edges of dough, fold over and press down); add additional flour as needed to prevent dough from sticking to surface and hands (caution, do not add too much flour, dough should be soft and pliable with just enough flour on the surface to prevent sticking). Knead 10-12 minutes.

Kneading by mixer: use dough hook on mixer; knead on low speed, gradually sprinkle in additional flour to prevent dough from sticking to sides of pan (caution, to not add too much flour, dough should be soft and pliable); knead approximately 5-7 minutes.

Place dough in clean buttered bowl. Brush top of dough with melted butter, cover and allow to rise until double in bulk (about 30-90 minutes).

Punch down or knead out excess air. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Knead each piece until smooth; shape or roll each piece of dough into 9-inch long log; butter bottom and sides of 3 loaf pans (9x5x3); place bread in prepared loaf pans and brush top with melted butter. Cover and allow to rise until double in bulk (when dough is pressed with a little finger the indent will remain); approximately 30-60 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Remove cover from bread and bake 25-30 minutes or until golden brown and bread sounds hollow when thumped. Remove bread from pans, brush tops with butter and allow to cool.

Use 9x5x3 loaf pans. Makes 3 loaves

* Milk should be the temperature of a baby's bottle.

Whole Wheat Bread: reduce milk to 2 3/4 cup; reduce sugar to 1/3 cup; substitute 3-5 cups whole wheat flour for white flour; add 1/2 cup honey or molasses at the same time as butter and salt. Follow directions above.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I love chocolate. Today it snowed...and when it is cold like today, I love to cuddle up with a warm blanket and a cup of hot chocolate. So I came across this recipe from my new favorite cooking blog Our Best Bites and I had to share it! It looks divine, and I can't wait to try it! I also love how it has all of the variations! Who needs to fork out a lot of money for gourmet cocoa? You can make it at home! This other recipe also looks good and I would like to try it too... I'm sure I have plenty of time before it gets warm again!

Wednesday, November 11, 2009


This week my sweet, almost one year old, is sick. Diarrhea. At least he keeps smiling, although his little bum is so sore and hurts everytime we change his diaper! Because of him being sick I have come across two great things.
First, a website for pediatrician's who give you information about when you should bring your child in to the doctor, and what you can do at home.
Second, a homemade recipe for Pedialyte. Or rather, three recipes, if you follow the link.

Homemade Pedialyte

  • 1 quart sterile water
  • 1TBSP sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • can flavor with kool-aid granules

Keep refrigerated and use within a couple of days.

This is a good recipe for freezing into popsicles for your patient, or just for drinking (with a straw for a treat!).

Monday, November 2, 2009

Thanks Giving

I have been so excited about Halloween this year and now it is all over. I love Christmas time and get so excited for it too, but in between is Thanksgiving and I have always felt that Thanksgiving is the left out holiday of the three. Well this year I am excited to try and bring more Thanksgiving-ness to my family, and here is a great way to start! I saw this idea of making a Thanksgiving tree on another blog and I want to do it! You can be as creative as bringing in a branch and hang leaves from it that you write what you are thankful for, or just print off these Thanks and Giving trees from Chocolate on my Cranium. That is what we are going to be doing for family home evening tonight!