Monday, October 31, 2011

Cream Cheese Cookies

These cookies are so easy. I like that you can change the flavor on them easily too. This one I used lemon extract and they turned out really good. But I have also done almond, vanilla and orange extracts.  I think adding nutmeg, cardamom and/or cinnamon.  These cookie are really good cookies to make in high altitude - they keep their shape really well because it is cooked in a log before cutting. 

1 pkg. (8 oz.) cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, softened
2/3 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs
1 tsp. (lemon) extract --- use whatever flavor you like
2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 cup powdered sugar

PREHEAT oven to 350ºF. Beat cream cheese, butter and granulated sugar in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until well blended. Add eggs and extract to cream cheese mixture; mix well. Gradually add combined flour and baking powder, beating until well blended after each addition.

DIVIDE dough into four equal pieces. Roll each piece into 12x1-inch log; place, 2 inches apart, on large ungreased baking sheet. 

BAKE 25 to 27 min. or until edges are lightly browned. Transfer to wire racks; cool slightly. Sprinkle with powdered sugar. Cut each log into 12 diagonal slices.

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Saturday, October 29, 2011

Coffee Cake

For the cake:
1 stick butter at room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
3 eggs, separated
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups (16-ounces) sour cream
3 cups flour
1 teapoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

For the middle and top:
1 bag chocolate chips
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoon cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a 9 x 13 pan with cooking spray.

In a large bowl, combine all of the cake batter ingredients. Mix for 1 minute at low speed; mix 3 minutes at medium speed. Pour 1/2 of batter into greased pan. Generously sprinkle cinnamon and sugar over batter, making sure to get the corners, and then sprinkle with 1/2 bag of chocolate chips. Pour remaining cake batter on top and spread across bottom layer. Repeat with cinnamon and sugar and chocolate chips.

Bake for 40 minutes or until a toothpick comes out with only a few crumbs. 

NOTES: Be sure to check this cake around the 30 minute mark as you don't want to over bake it. It was a super moist cake. After putting lid on this cake, the moisture made the crispy cinnamony top become moist. I liked it more crispy so not sure if baking it a little longer would help keep it crispy. But over all this was a good cake. A good cake recipe that was easy to make and great because I have all the ingredients on hand almost all the time so could be made spur of the moment if needed.

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Friday, October 28, 2011

Friday Favorites

Flim Candle Holder - could be very cool especially at Halloween

The Purl Bee - has knitting, sewing and craft projects on it

Recycle Pumpkin Waste - some might be carving pumpkins this weekend and here is a list of things to do with the Pumpkin waste

How to Install a Glass Tile Vanity - step by step with diagrams and photos

Soup Chick - a blog full of soups! I love soup and there are so many good recipes on this blog. Can't wait to try some out.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Tuesday Tips

Handy Way to Store Sugar

Clean and dry a plastic one-gallon milk jug, and use it to store granulated white sugar. The closed container will not attract bugs, the sugar will not clump up, and the jug’s handle makes it easy to pour.

Easy-Care Houseplants

If you haven’t had much luck with plants due to your unintentional neglect, start over with those that require very little care. Select from devil’s ivy, snake plants, corn plants, Chinese evergreens and begonias. And, this time, don’t forget to water!

Gum Stuck in Your Rug? What to Do...

Start by blow-drying the gum with your hair dryer on the warm (not hot) setting. You want to melt the gum, not the carpet’s fibers. As soon as the gum seems very gooey, put a small plastic bag around it and gently pull off the bag, bringing the gum with it.

Repeat the process until all of the gum is out of the carpet, or there’s just a stubborn little bit left. For that little bit, work in a dab of petroleum jelly, rolling the gum into it. Then wash the spot with a gentle laundry detergent formulated to fight grease. Finally, rinse with water and blot dry.

Caution: Petroleum jelly may stain the carpet, so be sure to do a spot-test first.

From Household Magic Daily Tips

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Baked Potato Soup

1 lb. bacon, diced
1/2 cup onion, diced
1 cup carrots, diced
3 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and cubed
3 cups chicken stock
3 tbs. butter
3 tbs. flour
2 cups milk
3/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese, divided
1/2 tsp. black pepper
Sour cream for garnish, optional

1. In a large stock pot, cook bacon until crisp. Remove with a slotted spoon to drain and set aside. Drain all but 2 tbs. of bacon grease from the pot. Cook the onions and carrots in the remaining bacon grease for about 5 minutes, until tender.

2. Add potatoes and chicken stock to pot. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to medium and simmer about 20 minutes, until potatoes are tender. With a slotted spoon, remove a few scoops of potatoes. Mash potatoes with a fork and set aside.

3. In a small sauce pan, melt butter and stir in flour. Cook for 2 minutes. Whisk in milk, bring to a boil and simmer until thickened. Slowly stir in to stock pot and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to low and simmer and then stir mashed potatoes back into pot.

4. Add 1/2 c. shredded cheese, three-fourths of the bacon and pepper. Stir to combine. Cook an additional 5 minutes.

5. To serve, ladle soup into individual bowls and top with some shredded cheese, bacon and optional sour cream.

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Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Tuesday Tips

Sweet-Smelling Sheets

To enjoy a special sensory treat at bedtime, when you launder your sheets, add a small amount of your favorite bath salts during the rinse cycle.

Feeling Down? Sing a Song!

When you sing out loud, you trigger the release of endorphins—chemicals in the brain that can elevate mood and help kill pain. Find a song that you like to sing and then personalize it with happy and positive lyrics that will lift your spirits.

How to Open an Envelope You’ve Already Sealed

How many times have you sealed an envelope—and then realized that you forgot to enclose something?

Place the sealed envelope in the freezer for about three hours. When you take it out, slip a knife under the flap and you should be able to open it neatly. Then repackage it and reseal it.

Meatballs with a Twist!

Put a new ingredient in an old standard—meatball hors d’oeuvres. When making the meatballs, start with a little chunk of something— sautéed mushroom, pitted olive, cheese, grape tomato or come up with something even more creative—and pack the meat around it, forming the meatball.

Then cook, grill, broil or fry the meatballs as usual. Ahh, but there will be nothing "usual" about them! Guests will love tasting and comparing the fillers.

If you want to stick with the standard meatball, but want them perfectly moist, place a small ice cube in the middle of each before cooking.

Migraine Manager

To prevent migraines, mix 2 teaspoons of unfiltered apple cider vinegar and 2 teaspoons of honey in an 8-ounce glass of water. Drink it once or twice a day.
This remedy works like magic for some (former) migraine sufferers.

From Household Magic Daily Tips

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Apple Season

We have one old, very large apple tree and it is prolific in what it produces.  We're heavy into dealing with all that wonderful fruit now.  If you're blessed with more apples than you know what to do with here are a few ideas:
If you don't know how to can, you can freeze applesauce and thaw before eating.  I've frozen it in small containers and packed in lunch boxes.  It's not usually completely thaw by lunch, but it is mighty tasty as a kind of sorbet.  You can mix others fruits in the sauce too - consider adding some pears or cranberries as you cook the apples and process or freeze as normal.

If you don't have enough to preserve, there are lots of other ways to use them up in your daily meals and desserts:
What's your favorite way to use apples?  I'm always looking for new recipes.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Tuesday Tips

For Sparkling Glassware...

For squeaky-clean glasses, we fill an empty dish-detergent bottle with one part dish detergent, one part distilled white vinegar and three parts water, and shake it a few times.

We use this solution daily—a little on a sponge—to do the dishes and glasses. It’s a winning combination that leaves everything clean and sparkling.

Simple Squash Slicing

It’s generally hard to cut into a butternut or acorn squash—but it’s easy if you use a serrated knife. Try it yourself and see.

Also, when you slice squash (or any other round, awkwardly shaped food), do it on a nonskid cutting board or plastic mat to reduce the chance that you’ll inadvertently cut yourself.

Natural Help for Itchy Skin

A Japanese study reported that drinking oolong tea reduced itching and inflammation in people suffering from eczema. Drink 34 ounces (about 1 liter) of oolong tea (available at supermarkets and health-food stores) throughout the day—after meals and between lunch and dinner. Its antioxidant properties relieve itching, redness and swelling.

Note: Oolong tea is NOT caffeine-free, so you should not have it close to bedtime if you’re sensitive to caffeine.

A Nutty Treat

Toasting brings out the full flavor of nuts. And it’s easy to do. Start with nuts that are shelled and about the same size. Then decide whether you want to toast them in the oven or in a skillet...

Oven— Spread the nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet and cook them at 400°F for 7 to 10 minutes, or until the nuts start to turn golden. Halfway through the toasting, carefully rotate the nuts by shaking the pan.

Skillet— Place nuts in a single layer and put the skillet over medium-high heat. Stir or shake the nuts while they’re toasting for 5 to 7 minutes, or until they start to turn golden.

Always aim for golden. Toasted nuts taste best if they’re not darker than light brown.

A Magical Centerpiece

Whatever your centerpiece—flowers, leaves, fruit, candles—place it on a mirror to create the illusion that you have twice as many flowers, leaves, fruit or candles. Candles will be especially dazzling because of their reflection in the mirror.

From Household Magic Daily Tips

Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday Favorites

Painted Vinyl Floor -  Maybe there isn't enough money in the budget to replace that vinyl floor - this blogger talks about some of her process in painting her's

How-to Score Good Stuff on Craigslist - buying secondhand is always great for the environment so here is some tips on scoring good stuff on Craigslist.

10 Tips for Real Food Newbies - tips on how to take those baby steps to eating from a box or processed foods to eating whole natural foods

Pizza Dip - good recipe to make for a football snack

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Tuesday Tips

Make Your Own Pita Chips!

Preheat the oven to 350°F. Cut a large pita into 16 triangles—first, by cutting the pita in half, then by cutting each half in half, then by cutting each quarter in half. That leaves you with eight double triangles. Now, turn them into 16 single triangles by pulling them apart.

Put them on a tray and bake them at 350°F until they’re crisp…about five minutes. Let them cool, then you can use them for dips. Or spray them lightly with vegetable spray and sprinkle on your favorite seasoning(s). They’re great with a little garlic powder.

Fall Allergy Help

If you have a runny nose, sore throat and/or itchy eyes, you may be suffering from seasonal allergies. These allergies generally occur when your body overreacts to the pollen from trees, weeds, flowers or crops.

When the pollen count is sky-high and you dread going outside, dab the inside of your nostrils with a little sesame oil. It can help stop the irritation and allergic reaction caused by breathing in environmental or seasonal allergens.

Do-It-Yourself Magnifier

When you want to read a price...or look up a phone number...or see what time it is on your watch, but the type is too small to see without your glasses, try this:

Make a fist, leaving a small hole in the middle. Bring your fist up to your eye, look through that small hole and focus on the number you want to read. For some unknown reason, the small channel of light entering your eye clears the vision.

(I've actually done this without wearing my glasses (horrible, horrible vision over here!) and it WORKS. Weirdest thing ever. ~kaya)

Down-Filled Drying

After washing a down-filled item—such as a coat or comforter—put it in the dryer along with three or four tennis balls. The balls will do a good job of fluffing up the down item. (They will also do a good job of waking up anyone who is taking a nap!)

Time to Get Organized

First, invest in a three-ring, loose-leaf binder. Every time you buy something that comes with an owner’s manual or instructions, punch holes in the paperwork and store it in the binder. Also, staple the purchase receipt and any guarantee or warranty (as well as instructions for ordering replacement parts) to the item’s manual.

If you ever need the proof of purchase...or you have a question about using the item...or need a replacement part—you will have all the information organized in the binder without going through a frantic sweat-and-search routine.

Of course, you should keep the binder in a special, within-sight and within-reach place so that you always know where it is.

From Household Magic Daily Tips


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