Monday, December 15, 2014

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap.. my Recipe

This year I made Hot Chocolate Cookie Cups to share with my fellow swappers and they were a hit :)  So much so that these will be going on the cookie platters I bring to friends and family this year.  I shipped all my cookies with some vanilla bean marshmallows too... ya know, for packing material ;)

Basically these are a sugar cookie cup filled with a homemade chocolate marshmallow and topped off with a vanilla candy wafer.


1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, lightly beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
3 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt

marshmallows - regular, chocolate or homemade in my case :)

vanilla candy wafers

Cream the butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer. Beat in the eggs and vanilla.

Combine the flour, baking powder and salt in a second large bowl and mix well. Stir the flour mixture into the butter mixture 1 cup at a time. Chill the dough for 3 to 4 hours.

Here is where I deviated from the original recipe:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.  Roll the dough into 1" balls and place each ball into the well of a mini muffin tin.  Press a well into each ball with your fingers (or do like me and use the rounded end of a citrus reamer)

 Bake until the cookies are just beginning to brown around the edges, 8-10 minutes.

While the cookies are in the oven cut the marshmallows up.  If you're using a store bought marshmallow you're going to probably use half a regular sized marshmallow or two mini.  If you're using a homemade marshmallow I used about 1/8 of mine (I made them pretty big).

When the cookies come out of the oven put the marshmallows in the cups right away and top with a candy wafer.


Monday, December 8, 2014

New Products from Clearasil

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Clearasil. I received product samples to facilitate my review as well as a promotional item to thank me for my participation*

I was asked to try some new products from Clearasil with my son and then give a review. I received
Clearasil Ultra Rapid Action Gel Wash and Clearasil Daily Clear Hydra-Blast Oil Free Face Wash. Clearasil is a brand that's stood the test of time having been around since 1940 and it's a brand that I haven't used since I was a teenager so I was really glad to be given the opportunity to try these new products.

I was excited to try something new and my son was as well, I've tried a few things but I can't usually use the same products he does because they dry out my skin too much and I've gotta be really careful with the stuff I buy him because benzoyl peroxide is really bad for his skin, not to mention it ruins absolutely everything from towels to pillowcases. (ugh, don't even get me started with how I know that)

The first product we tried was the Clearasil Ultra® Rapid Action Daily Gel Wash, it's dermatologist tested and I really liked it because it didn't dry out my skin or leave it feeling tight and uncomfortable. My son liked it because it was maximum strength medicine but it didn't burn or smell horrid like a lot of the medicated washes do.

The Clearasil Daily Clear Hydra-Blast Oil Free Face Wash is scientifically formulated with a moisturizing complex to leave your skin feeling soft and cared for and has become my nightly cleanser because it's gentle but cleans all the makeup residue off my face while leaving my skin feeling clean and healthy without drying it out.

All in all, we're both very happy with the new clearasil products and I will continue to use them.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Holiday Gifts: How to Choose the Best Photos for Phone Cases (*Guest Post)

The holidays are here! With the flurry of fun Christmas greetings, cookies, and parties comes the reality of shopping for your family and friends. Just like you would design Christmas photo cards online, why not consider creating a personalized iPhone case for someone in your immediate circle? Whether your friend or family member has the new iPhone 6 or an older version, cases are a great way to protect their investment and help them express their personal style. Some may find it intimidating to design a case for someone else, but here are some tips to help you get started:

* Select something that’s meaningful to them. Browse any non-copyrighted photos you have and think about choosing a picture that features the people in your friend's life, her favorite vacation spot, or something else that’s personal to her. Remember, you want something that expresses her style and a little about her life – and often, these are the things that matter most to us. Another option is to design an iPhone case with a favorite quotes. Find or create a PNG or JPG image (that’s not copyright protected) featuring the quote against a backdrop your friend will love.

* Make sure the photo you pick has a high enough resolution. Photos without a high resolution will look chunky or blurry when printed. Most phone case photos should have a dpi (dots per inch) of around 300 or higher. For a brief comparison, most computer monitors display images at 72 dpi.

* Don’t choose a photo with a lot of white space. You don't want to waste space on your friend's new case, so crop the image as closely as you can in order to narrow in on the interesting part of the photo. Remember that, depending on the case and the size of the image, the photo may not totally fit on the case as is – so be sure when you load the image and place it on the case (during the design phase) that you’re okay with exactly where the photo will be cropped.

* Don't limit yourself. Many makers of iPhone cases will allow designs with more than one photo. Sometimes you can fit two, three, or as many as six photos on one case. See if a collage like this may be something you’re interested in. This works especially well if you don’t have one great photo or have too many to choose just one!

With the upcoming holidays comes the opportunity to get creative with your gifts. Have fun and happy designing!

Author Bio: Heather Hewitt is a seasoned writer and guest author who enjoys connecting people with thoughtful products, services and ideas as they relate to crafting, photography, gift giving and personal expression.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Spread the Word: Giving Tuesday

Black Friday. Cyber Monday. Everyone knows these days dedicated to getting your holiday shopping season off to a quick start. 

Now, we have #GivingTuesday, a global day dedicated to giving back. This year, we’ve set a goal of raising $50,000 on Giving Tuesday, which will be matched by a generous partner. That means we have the opportunity to help connect kids with up to 1 million meals — all from one day's work. With your help, together we can make sure that every kid gets the healthy food they need to succeed, this year and beyond. 

You can spread the word today here, and join Team #NoKidHungry on social media December 2nd to celebrate #GivingTuesday and help us reach our exciting goal.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Peanut butter dog treats

My mind is always in 30 places at once and I can go from one thing to another in one fell swoop.  Yes, I'm weird... it’s part of my charm :p

I was home sick on Friday and after I dropped the kid off at work I went over to give my BF the Jeep (we share now) so he could drop me at home and go on his way to work. I had gotten my Boyfriend’s landlord’s dog a giant peanut butter bone shaped cookie that I had gotten over the weekend and I hadn't seen him all week.  Well, I gave him that cookie and  I swear he walked away and was jumping for joy.  Bf's LL even shared a video of Apollo happily chomping away on it too :)

While I was home I decided I would make him some bones myself and I found the perfect recipe on Sally’s Baking Addiction which, once my oven is fixed I will be making for the biggest mushball I know :)

Monday, October 27, 2014

my oven is on the fritz...

I moved into my apartment in July of 2011, and a few weeks after I moved in my stove broke.  It took them almost a week to realize it couldn't be repaired and finally since my LL was on vacation his son caved and just bought me a new one.

Well, last night as I was preparing a batch of blondies I turned the oven on and roughly twenty minutes later when I went to put the blondies in the oven I realized the oven wasn’t even remotely warm... the pilot wasn’t on, no gas smell... and my landlord wasn’t home.  So it turned my absolutely fine day upside down since I had planned on doing some baking and making a casserole for dinner.

When I left this morning at 7am LL’s car wasn't in the driveway and I didn't want to bother his wife so I’ll talk to him later when I get home.  The stove itself is actually working this time but the oven isn't going on, no gas smell and no pilot light so God only knows what’s going on here.  All I know is I can’t go very long without a working oven since I use it a few times a week for dinner.

Lets hope this isn't a week long debacle like last time... at least I know LL isn’t away or going away any time this week... at least not that I know of.

Monday, October 6, 2014

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014‏

I'm So in and SO excited to be a part of this again this year! :)

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2014