Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Makeup Brush Rollup DIY

When it comes to packing for vacation, I am very particular about having things sorted. Makeup in one bag, hair in another, chargers in a case, etcetera, and now I finally have a place to keep all of my brushes from getting damaged. Although I use a jar for my brushes in my bathroom, it is a great solution to keep your makeup brushes in everyday. This makeup brush roll can be easily customized to fit your brush sizes. Personally I don’t bring all my brushes when I travel, yet I made it to fit all my brushes. This way if I do need to bring them all they have a spot or the empty spots can fit eyeliner mascara and lipstick. What is especially nice about this case is the laminate interior, which makes makeup transfer an easy clean.

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Strawberry Yogurt Cake

         In past few years I have not been enjoying cake. I should rephrase. I do not like plain vanilla or chocolate cake with frosting, average birthday cake to put simply.  Now when I am asked to make desserts for family events I will try different desserts, or if its for a birthday celebration I will try coffee cakes, pound cakes or as I call them sophisticated cakes. When my grandma asked me to make a cake to celebrate our families March birthdays. Immediately I went on the hunt for  cake that I wouldn’t just like to make but like to eat. Man, I sure lucked out. This strawberry cake was wonderful, super moist and packed with sweet fruity flavor. My family liked it so much they ate the whole cake!

Strawberry Yogurt Cake
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
3 Tb. lemon juice, divided
Zest of 1 lemon
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour, divided
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
8 oz. plain or vanilla, Greek yogurt
12 oz. fresh strawberries, diced
1 cup powdered sugar
1.     Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Grease and flour a 10 inch Bundt pan (10-15 cup pan.) Sift together the 2 ¼ cups of flour, baking soda and salt. Mix in the lemon zest and set aside.
2.     With an electric mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in 1 Tb. lemon juice. Alternate beating in the flour mixture and the yogurt, mixing just until incorporated.
3.     Toss the strawberries with the remaining ¼ cup of flour. Gently mix them into the batter.
4.     Pour the batter into the Bundt pan. Place in the oven and reduce the temperature to 325 degrees F. Bake for 60 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.
5.     Allow to cool at least 20 minutes in the pan, then turn out onto a wire rack and cool completely. Once cooled whisk together the remaining 2 Tb. of lemon juice and the powdered sugar. Drizzle over the top of the cake.

Original recipe can be found http://www.aspicyperspective.com/2010/05/farmstand-fresh.html

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Tortilla Chicken Soup

Recently I have really enjoyed cooking. Baking will always be my favorite, but it is impractical and unhealthy to make cookies and cakes everyday!  I love Mexican food, well Tex-Mex food. Its starting to become a problem.  Honestly, I could eat tacos all the time, so this soup was a delicious replacement for tacos. The tortilla chicken soup has wonderful spice and is great served with avocados if you do not want to make the Pico de Gallo.

1 Tablespoon vegetable oil
2 large chicken breasts, cut into bite-sized pieces
1 small onion, chopped
2 Tablespoons taco seasoning

1 Tablespoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cumin
1/2 teaspoon chili powder
1/4 teaspoon cayenne pepper
3 Tablespoons fresh cilantro, chopped
1 can pinto beans, drained and rinsed
juice of 1/2 lime
32oz organic chicken broth, divided
2 Tablespoons masa or flour

Pico de Gallo or salsa, store-bought or homemade
1 avocado, chopped
Tortilla Chips
fresh cilantro
lime wedges

1. Heat oil in a large soup pot over medium heat. Add chicken and onion then sprinkle in taco seasoning, paprika, and salt. Stir well then cook until chicken is cooked through and onions are tender, about 10 minutes. Add cumin, chili powder, and cayenne pepper, then sauté for one more minute. Add cilantro, pepper to taste, pinto beans, limejuice, and 3-1/2 cups chicken broth then simmer for 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.
2. Meanwhile, make pico de gallo, chop avocado, and combine remaining 1/2 cup chicken broth with masa or cornmeal in a small bowl. When soup is done simmering, drizzle in chicken broth/masa mixture, and simmer for 10 more minutes. Serve topped with crushed tortilla chips, chopped avocado, and pico de gallo. Garnish with fresh cilantro and lime wedges, if desired.
Original recipe from http://iowagirleats.com/2012/09/17/restaurant-style-chicken-tortilla-soup/

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Spring Time Orange Cookies

On the first day of our spring break, Paul and I baked these delicious orange cookies. We first had orange cookies at a family reunion this summer and I am pretty sure Paul ate all of them. After a little digging he found out that our great-aunt made them. She included the recipe in her Christmas card to us, which Paul claimed was his favorite present. Unfortunately here in Minnesota it still looks and feels like Christmas, not spring break. Nevertheless, these orange cookies gave me a hopeful glance into a seemingly never coming spring.
2/3 cups margarine
¾ cups sugar
1 egg
2 ¼ cups flour
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp baking powder
2 TBSP grated orange rind

Cream margarine and sugar. Add remaining ingredients. Drop by spoon
Bake at 350° for 8 to 10 minutes

Powder sugar
Orange Juice
Optional orange rind

Start by adding about 2 cups of powder sugar to a mixing bowl. Than slowly add orange juice a table spoon at a time until you reach your desired frosting consistency. More powdered sugar gives a frosting consistency. More orange juice gives a glaze consistency.  Add some rind for an extra orange flavor.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Bemidji Camping: Menu Over View

My Dad is my partner in crime when it comes to camping food. There are a few reasons for this
1.   First and probably most important he pays for it and takes me grocery shopping
2.    He has way more camping experience, obviously
3.    He does the packing of the cooler and food bins (well he packs everything)
4.    He is the other person in charge of cooking while camping.

Our first step is always to figure out how many meals we need. We had 7 people to feed for 3 breakfasts, 3 lunches and 3 dinners, for a grand total of enough food for 63 meals. Due to a longer ride and we decided we would eat fast food on the road for Thursdays dinner and Sundays lunch. We also knew that we would be in town on Saturday and would eat at a local restaurant. This cut it down to 41 meals and of course a lot of snacks.

Before you leave pre-wash all fruit and veggies and keep in a plastic container. Freeze the water bottles you want cold along with your orange juice to put in cooler. Check to see if there is a fire ban at your campground. You don’t want to show up with food that needs to be cooked just to find out you cant have a fire. Remember you can also buy food, so bring directions to the nearest grocery store.

When we bring friends camping with us, we usually take single serving things such as chips and cereal. That way there are more options to choose from. To make it easier on the cooker and more fun for the others have everyone help make there own meal. For a fast clean up pack paper plate and cups (not plastic) because at the end of the day you can use them as kindling in your fire. The most important thing to remember is keep your meals easy to make and easy to clean.

A video of all the food we brought. It is probably a good thing we had two cars.

Camping Menu
Thursday: Day 1-Travel

Breakfast and Lunch

  •  Ate before we left and headed out right at noon

  •    Stopped in Bemidji for some fast food because we wanted to get our campsites set up before the sun set. It is no fun setting up in the dark!

Night Snack
  • S’mores

Friday: Day 2- Exploring Lake Bemidji State Park

  •        Blueberry muffins and lemon Poppy Seed Muffins (made before the trip)
  •       Eggs
  •        Sausage
  •        Bananas
  •        Grapes
  •       Orange juice

Lunch- Picnic Hike
       We had everyone make there own and pack there own lunches
  •        Peanut Butter and jelly Sandwiches
  •         Juice boxes / water
  •         Carrots
  •         Chips (we usually bring chips in single serving bags, that way more selection to choose from and it helps regulate chip consumption)
  •     Peanut butter cookies (made before hand)

  •        Potato Boats (found HERE)
  •        Canned Corn
  •        Watermelon
  •        Cheesy Campfire dip (found HERE)
o   Carrots
o   Celery
o   Cucumbers
Night Snack
  •        Some more S’mores! And Jiffy pop

Saturday: Day 3-Out on the Town

  •        Bagels
  •        Left over muffins
  •        Bananas
  •        Grapes

Lunch- in Bemidji
  •        Minnesota Nice Café
Afternoon Snack
  •        Ice Cream at the Headwaters Café in the Mary Gibbs Mississippi headwater center.
  •        Hotdogs and brats
  •        Chips
  •        Watermelon
  •        Carrots
  •      pickles 
Nighttime snack
  •  Dutch Oven Peach cobbler (found HERE)

Sunday: Day Four- Going Home

  •        Individual cereal boxes
  •        Left over bagels/muffins
  •        Left over fruit

  •       On the road 
  •        Peanut butter cookies
  •        Fruit
    • strawberries
    • grapes 
    • watermelon
    • apples
    • bananas
  •        Veggies
  •       Mini Bagels
  •        Pretzels
  •        Crackers
  •        Mini donuts
  •        Munchies
  •        Watermelon
  •        Jiffy pop and pre-popcorn
  •   peanuts
  •   apple sauce 

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