Sunday, May 4, 2014

Is it summer yet????......

Watermelon Slice Cookies

Boy it's been a long, long, long winter.  Here in Minnesota it had to be one of the worst we've had in a long time.  It started way back in October and just never let up. But, I'm sitting here today and the sun is shinning and people are sitting on their decks trying to soak up a little vitamin D. So summer can't be to far down the road.  Heck, I would be happy with 65 degrees! 

Anyways, so much for the weather report.  I thought it might be a fun idea to post something that reminds us all of summer days to come.  Something fun, appealing to the eye and tummy and sweet just like summer.  Watermelons always make me feel that summer is here to stay for a little while anyway.  Right now the watermelons are expensive and just don't quite have that wonderful sweet, juicy summer taste.  So what would be the next best thing?  How about cookies that look like watermelon slices.  Your family would certainly enjoy these sweet little slices of summer.

I used a circle cookie cutter and then cut them in half.  Then baked them according to the recipe, let them cool and then frosted them.  I used a star tip to frost them and added mini chocolate chips as the watermelon seeds.  Everyone had a smile on their face when I brought them to work.  Sometimes its just the little things that take the winter blues away....NOW come on summer!!!!
I've posted this sugar recipe before, but it's well worth posting again.  It's one of the best sugar cookie recipes I've used.

The Best Rolled Sugar Cookie Recipe
Submitted by Jill Saunders
Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups butter, softened                         5 cups all-purpose flour
2 cups white sugar                                     2 tsps. baking powder  
4 eggs                                                           1 tsp. salt 
1 tsp. vanilla extract                                                                  

Directions:

  1. In a large bowl, cream together butter and sugar until smooth. Beat in eggs and vanilla. Stir in the flour, baking powder, and salt. Cover, and chill dough for at least one hour (or overnight).
  2. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C). Roll out dough on floured surface 1/4 to 1/2 inch thick.  Cut into shapes with any cookie cutter. Place cookies 1 inch apart on ungreased cookie sheets.
  3. Bake 6 to 8 minutes in preheated oven. Cool completely before frosting.
Frosting:
I use butter cream icing for the frosting.  I had a small cake decorating business many years ago and have always used this recipe for my frosting.  It's pretty basic, but tastes wonderful.


Ingredients:
1/2 c. shortening
1/2 c. margarine or butter
4 c. powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla (I use clear vanilla to keep the frosting as white
               as it can be)
1/2 tsp. almond extract
milk

  1. Directions:
  2. Beat shortening and margarine until the color is almost white.  This takes a few minutes.
  3. Add powdered sugar, vanilla, almond extract and beat until blended.  If too stiff, add a small amount of milk to thin.  
Use a star tip to pipe on pink, green and white and top with mini chocolate chips.

That's it!  Instant summer...well, maybe not instant summer, but a preview of wonderful warm days to come...




Saturday, January 25, 2014

"Barb's Favorite Body Wash"...for wintery skin!


Well, Christmas is over and we are in the midst of one of the coldest winters in many years.  Along with the cold weather comes that awful itchy, scratchy, flakey skin that seems to get worse and worse the colder it gets. My legs get so bad that when I wear black socks they are speckled with white flakes, which I know is about the grossest thing in the world.  Nothing like having dandruff on your legs... LOL!!!

As you know I love Pinterest and I try lots of ideas that people post.  One of the ideas that intrigued me was making your own body wash.  I use body wash all the time.  I've tried just about every one of them, but each of them have an ingredient or scent that I just don't like.  I'm sure it's some kind of preservative, because they all have it, but I really don't like whatever it is.  So I was on a quest...which one of these home-made body washes was really good.  I followed some poster's recipes.  I tried many kinds of soap including castile.  Some of them didn't foam very much.  Others were very gooey, almost like snot (gross) when you put the wash on your little puff. I tried adjusting the ingredients, but with no success.  I wasn't trying to find the cheapest body wash.  I was trying to find which body wash would work for me.  It was also very painful to grate the soaps.  By the time I got the soap completely grated, I had to take aspirin to get rid of the pain in my wrist and arm.... LOLOL!

Finally, I tried using Oil of Olay soap. What a find!  The grating was easy,  it didn't get "snotty" and it was definitely the right consistency.  The scent was wonderful and it didn't have whatever that ingredient is in it that I don't like.  I adjusted the ingredients a few times until I got it the way I wanted it.  The following is the recipe I used to make "Barb's Favorite Body Wash".  If you've tried other home-made body wash and weren't satisfied, you might want to try this one.  It's creamy, not snotty, and is very foamy.  The consistency is more like regular body wash.  The scent stays with you for hours and it's  wonderful.  Ever since I had the washing machine issue with the "mold smell", I haven't been able to wear perfume.  This scent is clean and isn't over-powering.

What you will need:

3 bars Oil of Olay soap (I use the age-defying one)
3-4 cups water
1 T. glycerin (you can find this by band-aids in the drug dept.
1 tsp. Vitamin E 
1-2 drops red food coloring
1/2 bottle Equate Baby Wash (unscented)
I added the baby wash to help with foam...and it worked 
(with no scent)

Directions:

First, shred 3 bars of Oil of Olay soap.  I tried the grating method, but honestly, this worked better.
Place the 3 bars of soap in dutch oven or large saucepan with the 3-4 cups water and cook until it is completely dissolved.
Add 1-2 drops of red food coloring for that "pink" color that Oil of Olay is noted for.  Then add the glycerin and vitamin E.  Finally, add the baby wash.  Turn off burner and let set to room temperature.  That's it!  Simple as can be, but oh so nice for your skin.
This recipe makes between 3 and 4 containers of body wash (I used old shampoo bottles and old body wash bottles).

Total Cost:
6 bars of Oil of Olay ($5.97 at Walmart)
1 bottle of baby wash ($2.97 at Walmart)
Glycerin ($3.97 at Walmart-makes many batches)
Vitamin E ($3.97 at Walmart-makes many batches)

So one batch will cost you approximately $5.00. This equals about $1.25 per bottle.  So it not only smells wonderful, works great, it's also nice on the pocket book.