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1  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Double Chocolate Espresso Energy Bars with Sea Salt (Copycat RX Bars) on: January 31, 2018 06:12:54 PM
If you're at all like me, you're always on the hunt for a clean, healthy snack that you can grab on the go. I was so excited to discover RX Bars, because they have no junk, no ingredients I can't pronounce, no added sugar!! Yay! What they do have? Real ingredients and a hefty price tag. For $2.50 a pop that isn't a bar I will be eating on the regular! However, since the ingredients are listed right there on the front of the label, you know you have to be able to DIY those bad boys!

It took a bit for us to choose which flavor to go with, but my kiddos picked chocolate (because, well, CHOCOLATE) and I wanted coffee (because COFFEE). We went with both and a little flurry of fleur de sel for fancy pants-ness. These took us literally 5 minutes to make. FIVE. And while you may not be someone who keeps all of these ingredients on hand, you should be now! Egg white protein is available in many health food stores and online, but you can always make these vegan by using vegan chocolate protein powder instead! I can't wait to try new flavors next!

Double Chocolate Espresso Energy Bars with Sea Salt (Copycat RX Bars)


3/4 cup egg white protein (or Shakeology!)

1 cup pitted dried dates

1/2 cup raw cashews

1/2 cup raw almonds

1/4 cup raw cacao powder

1/4 cup cacao nibs

2 tsp. espresso powder

2 Tbls. coconut oil

2 Tbls warm water

1 tsp. sea salt

Line an 8x8 inch pan with wax paper. In the bowl of your food processor, add all ingredients except water and pulse to combine. Add water slowly while pulsing until a soft dough forms. You may need to add a bit more water if the dough is too dry! Turn dough out into the pan and press firmly. Add a little flourish of salt on top if you like! Refrigerate about an hour and then slice into 6 bars. Refrigerate up to a week wrapped in wax paper.

2  PAPER CRAFTS, SCRAPBOOKING & ATCs (ARTIST TRADING CARDS) / Paper Crafts: Discussion and Questions / Who wants all my ephemera!?!? on: January 31, 2018 06:01:47 PM
Hello all! I am moving to another state, and in the process of purging and decluttering, have come across a lot of vintage ephemera I can not take with me. Who wants some? It's a mishmash of items from crochet patterns, photographs, postage stamps, book pages, library cards, maps, postcards, you name it! You understand how I can not just toss it, I'm sure! Would anyone like to take it off my hands? I could stuff a few flat rate mailers easily!
3  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Feeding Your Foodie Baby - Part 2 - Finger Foods! on: May 15, 2012 07:49:50 AM
Feeding a growing boy gets really interesting once he decides to be independent and feed himself. Get ready for prunes smeared in the hair and far flung bits of Cheerio to appear in random places days later. I just happened to discover some crusty green stuff on the back of a dining room chair leg the other day. It took a butter knife to scrape it off and I have no idea what it was. Nice. One of the ways to avoid a little of the mess and to allow your little to still explore the fun of self feeding is combo finger foods. Jude had issues with finger foods at first, in that all he could pick up were Cheerios and puffs. Banana chunks slipped right from his fingers like a bar of wet soap. Even when rolled in baby cereal. Any cooked fruit or veggie shot right out of his hands. It was sad to watch, really. He'd try so hard to pick up a bite, only to have it escape him inches from his mouth. And a kid can't live on baby puffs, even if they are fun to stick to his forehead.

Peanut Butter and Jelly Baby Truffles

10 oz. pitted dried dates
1/2 cup dried strawberries
1/4 cup cashews
1/4 cup sunflower seeds

Place everything in a food processor and pulse until a ball forms. Using a one inch cookie scoop (or fine, use a spoon) scoop into balls and roll in your palms. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment and chill for an hour. Then you can transfer them to a container without them sticking to each other and store in the fridge for up to a week. Freeze them if you won't eat them that fast. Depending on how many teeth your kiddo has, you may want to let them come to room temperature before serving!

Substitute almonds for the cashews and apricots for the strawberries. That's my favorite:)
You can also use raisins, cranberries, prunes, dried pineapple with coconut... Let me know if you come up with any yummy flavor combos!

Carrot Apple Cheddar Bites
makes 2 dozen

1 cup shredded carrot
1 cup shredded apple
1 cup shredded chaddar cheese
4 egg yolks
1-1 1/2 cups of whole wheat flour, bread crumbs, or baby cereal (I use Earth's Best Rice Cereal)


Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with parchment paper. Toss all ingredients in a bowl and stir until well combined. Using a cookie scoop, scoop out the mixture and press it firmly into the scoop. You can also use a tablespoon and roll into balls with your hands. Place a few inches apart on cookie sheets. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes or until set and just beginning to brown at the edges.
Store a few bites in the fridge for up to three days. Freeze the remaining bites in ziploc bags for up to a month.

Zucchini Ricotta Bites - Substitute 2 cups of shredded zucchini for the carrot and apple. Add 1/2 cup ricotta and increase dry ingredients by 1/4 cup.

Sweet Potato and Pear Bites - Substitute 1 cup shredded sweet potato and 1 cup shredded pear (use a firm pear like Bosc) for the carrot and apple.
4  HOME SWEET HOME / Interior Decorating: Completed Projects / Embroidery Hoop Name Letters for Nursery Decor... on: January 24, 2012 06:50:04 AM

... and how to cut fabric with your Silhouette!
I wanted something different than the usual wooden letters to hang my son's name on his nursery wall. I ended up using appliqued embroidery hoops, and I love them! The only trouble was that I am not much of a sewer and I don't have any of the seamstress/quilter tools for cutting appliques from fabric. What I do have is a Silhouette. While they have since come out with special fabric/needles to cut fabric on the Silhouette, you don't need them. If you don;t have a Silhouette, you can always cut your appliques by hand.

You'll need:
10 inch embroidery hoops
Linen/Muslin (cut into 11-12 inch circles)
Decorative fabric
Fusible webbing
Spray Starch and iron
Fabric glue

To do:
1. If using a Silhouette, choose your font and size in the designs studio software.
If cutting by hand, print out your letters onto tracing paper to make a pattern and cut fabric. Skip down to step number 4.

2. Cut decorative fabric to 8 1/2 by 11 inch squares (one for each letter you'll cut). Lay out your decorative fabric and spray heavily with starch. Iron and repeat. Do this 4 or 5 times until fabric is as stiff as a piece of cardstock.

3. Using a brayer, press fabric sheet onto cutting mat. Run through the Silhouette cutter, using the setting for heavy cardstock. You may have to cut twice. Repeat for each letter.

4. Lay fabric letters onto fusible webbing and peel off the paper backing. Trim excess fusible webbing from around the letters.

5. Iron the letters on to the centers of your muslin/linen circles. Double check the fusible webbing packaging for iron setting information!

6. Stitch by hand or with a machine around the edges of the letters. I used decorative stitching settings on my machine.

7. Place each circle into an embroidery hoop. you may choose to secure them with a bit of glue. Trim any excess fabric.

8. Trim edges with rickrack and add a ribbon to hang.
5  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Raise a Foodie Baby - How to Make & Store Baby Food on: January 24, 2012 05:35:22 AM
I knew way before my son Jude was even born that I wanted to make my own baby food. My mother always did and she swore it was easier and cheaper than buying jarred food. As usual, she was right. Making Jude's food has proven to be far less expensive than buying it and with a little planning, it takes very little time. It easily fits into our hectic schedule (being a mama, running an online shop, and working part time makes for a busy chica!). I love that I can control everything that goes into his food and it is so much fun to introduce him to new things. So far, Jude loves almost everything! Avocado was not a big hit, strangely enough, but once he can have hot sauce and cilantro, I bet that'll change.

Of course there are a hundred products on the market for baby food prep and storage, and many are wicked expensive. You don't need to run out and buy a Baby Bullet or a Brezza to make baby food, though. They claim to streamline the process, but really, it's not all that difficult of a process anyway. All you need is:
- a pot
- a blender (an immersion blender is awesome!)
- and an ice cube tray.

Really. A few good resources don't hurt. Try the Wholesome Baby Food site for great ideas for recipes, info on food allergies, and tips for introducing foods. I also love the book Super Baby Food. It also has tons of recipes, as well as lots of money saving tips, but it's been instrumental in helping me figure out portion sizes and feeding schedules for Jude. The sample menu plans are awesome. I highly recommend this book!

I try to make as many fresh fruits and vegetables as I can, but some are just far too time consuming (no way will I be shelling peas!) or are not in season. Those I buy in the frozen organic section. Spinach, peas, green beans, mangoes and peaches are all ready in literally minutes. Fresh vegetables obviously need more prep and cook time. Take a free hour and do a big batch or two at once!

Basic Baby Puree
This method works well for fresh:
Sweet potatoes
Winter squash

Peel, chop into small pieces, and add to a pot with some water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat and simmer until fork tender. Blend in the pot, or transfer to a blender or food processor and blend until pureed. I don't bother straining as enough water helps make any fruit or veggie smooth. Transfer puree to ice cube trays (they fit about 2 Tbls. per cube) and freeze. Transfer cubes to a ziploc bag labeled with the date and food type.

That's it! Done and done. Once you get into the swing of it, the real fun begins. Adding spices, making interesting flavor combos, and changing up the texture makes for interesting meal times. Currently Jude is really digging baked apples with cinnamon, oatmeal, and yogurt for breakfast. I don't blame him, it's fricking delicious!

So seasoned mamas, what do you like to cook for you baby?
6  OCCASIONS AND HOLIDAYS / Winter Holidays / You Can't Catch Me, I'm the Gingerbread Man - Garland on: December 02, 2010 09:42:00 AM

I never need an excuse to get crafty. I never need an excuse to eat cookies. When I get the opportunity to do both simultaneously, a happy girl am I. Archway Cookies is hosting a little photo challenge with my hero Babette of BakeSpace fame, so I had to throw my name in the hat. I scored a bulging box of holiday cookies from Archway with the instructions to create something that would capture the holidays and snap a photo. No baking required. Most of the cookies were too soft to use for any real crafting, since I wanted to make something that would last. No sense creating something I'll just have to toss! Luckily they were all good enough to eat, especially the Candy Cane flavor (which was gone in a day. Actually, hours.). The Gingerbread Men were the only cookies I thought might hold up, so this garland was born.

Want to make you own? Here's how:

Gingerbread Man Garland

What you'll need:
One bag of Archway Gingerbread Men
Spray Shellac or Lacquer
Mod Podge, Sparkle
E6000 craft adhesive aka the best stuff ever
1/2 inch Eye Pins
Baker's Twine
Red and Clear Crystal Beads

What you'll do:
Step 1: Sort through your bag of cookies and set all of the whole gingerbread men aside. Stuff the broken ones in your mouth.

Step 2: Using a pastry brush, brush all of the crumbs from all sides and edges of the cookies.

Step 3: Lay the brushed cookies out on a non stick, disposable surface outside or in a well ventilated area, like your garage. I used a slick poster board, but parchment or wax paper would work. Make sure you read the instructions and drying times on the can before you start! Spray well with a coat of shellac or laquer (or if you're like me, have your husband do it. Those fume aren't good for baby!) Once dry, flip and spray the backs. Repeat to give cookies three coats of shellac.

Step 4: Move your little project inside where it's warm. Using a foam brush, brush each cookie with a coat of Sparkle Mod Podge. Yes, it looks white, but don't fret. It will dry clear and shimmery. Allow to dry completely.

Step 5: Carefully slide an eye pin straight down into the top of each cookie. Right into the little man's noggin. Be gentle! Even though you've sealed them, they can still break! Remove the eye pin, dip into E6000, and slide back into the hole. Wipe any excess glue and allow to dry overnight.

Step 6: Measure out your desired length of baker's twine. Make a knot a few inches from one end and string on beads and a cookie in your desired pattern. Make another knot next to the last bead. I used three fingers to measure the spaces between cookies and tied another knot before continuing to string. Repeat until you run out of cookies or twine.

There are more photos on my blog, too! http://jojobean26.blogspot.com/2010/12/you-cant-catch-me-im-gingerbread-man.html
7  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / COMPLETED: FALL CHALLENGE: Grilled Artichokes with Spicy Garlic Aioli on: October 26, 2010 08:26:15 AM
Vampires Beware! and those of you in brandy new relationships, too. I wouldn't want to be responsible for turning that new hottie you've been seeing away from you and the dragon breath you'll have after eating this. However, single gals? Married folks who could care less? Dive right in.

Grilled Artichokes with Spicy Garlic Aoili
1 medium artichoke
2-3 Tbls. olive oil
1 clove of garlic, minced
1 lemon
For aioli: 1 egg yolk
2 tsp. dijon
1 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
1 Tbls. lemon juice
6 cloves garlic, minced
1 tsp. Garlic chili sauce (optional, and watch it, this stuff is HOT!)

Prepare your artichoke by cutting off the stem and trimming off all of the barbs (those sharp little points at the tip of each leaf) with kitchen shears. Pull of any dark leaves.
Set in a steamer (or just boil in water), salt generously, and squeeze lemon over the top.
Allow to steam for ten minutes, or until a fork inserted in the base of the artichoke goes in easily.
Remove artichoke and shock in an ice bath until cool.
Slice artichoke in half lengthwise.

Remove the choke. The easiest way to do this is to run a small sharp knife under the heart (that fleshy white part beneath all of the threads) in a U shape, then stick your fingers in and pull the whole thing up and out. You want to remove all of the threads and purple bits.
Whisk garlic into a few tablespoons of olive oil.
Brush over both sides of artichokes.
Grill on high heat until tender and slightly charred, about 5 minutes per side.
Prepare the aioli while the artichoke grills.
Put yolk and dijon in a food processor or small bowl.
While whisking or running the machine, add oil in a thin stream.
Once emulsified, add garlic, salt and pepper to taste, chili sauce if using, and lemon juice.

There is a printable version of this recipe available here: http://www.bakespace.com/recipes/detail/Grilled%20Garlic%20Artichokes%20with%20Spicy%20Garlic%20Aioli/47056/

8  IMAGE REPRODUCTION TECHNIQUES / Stenciling: Completed Projects / Carrie Bradshaw's J'Adore Dior tee from Sex and the City 2 on: May 21, 2010 05:27:34 AM
I'm sure many of you have now seen the trailers for the new Sex and the City movie! When a bunch of photos leaked out a few months ago, I immediately started going gaga for the clothes, but really, who can wear that stuff in real life? Answer, no one. There is one thing I can, though, and that's SJP's J'Adore Dior tee seen here: http://extratv.warnerbros.com/images/news/INFphoto_1101870.JPG

The problem? Dior stopped printing those tees in the 90's and they have no plans to recreate them, even for crazed Sex and the City fans. Obviously we crafty ladies can find solutions for such harrowing issues.

It took me a while to figure out that the font used here is Winston, but it had to be stretched and tweaked to get the right shape. The number 8 is also a different font entirely, so that took ages to figure out! I did the standard freezer paper stencil technique and ended up with this:

It can be tricky to stencil white on black, especially if your fabric has any stretch. I always start with a coat of gray (like when painting a light wall color over a dark one) and move the fabric around a bit to make sure the paint saturates. I top this with a coast of white. It covers better and pops more, and keeps you from needing four coats of white, which can lead to a stencil so thick it cracks easily.

I'll be wearing this to the movie with my gal pals of course, Magnolia cupcakes and cosmos in hand!

p.s. while searching for clear images of the tee I found this one, which first makes me laugh and then makes me feel old. Look how young she is here! http://www.wallpaperbase.com/wallpapers/celebs/jessicasimpson/jessica_simpson_44.jpg
9  COOKING / Recipes and Cooking Tips / Breakfast is Served- All About Eggs on: May 16, 2010 05:05:55 PM
I'm a breakfast addict. I can't function without breakfast in the morning, and I'm equally likely to eat breakfast food for dinner. I do eggs often, but coming up with ideas beyond scrambles or egg sandwiches can be challenging. Here are a few of my new favorites:

Baked Eggs w/ Everything but the Kitchen Sink

Adapted from Mark Bittman's recipe for Baked Eggs with Tomato and Prosciutto

Ingredients to serve one:
1 egg, plus 1 egg white
1 Tbls. heavy cream
1 slice of tomato
1 slice of prosciutto
1/4 cup baby spinach leaves, julienned
1 tsp. pesto
parmesan cheese
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease a ramekin. Layer tomato, spinach and prosciutto in the bottom of the ramekin. Pour cream over and add egg. Season with salt and pepper and place on a baking sheet in the center of the oven. Bake 15 minutes or longer if you prefer a harder cooked egg. Top with parmesan cheese.

Spinach and Feta Frittata

1 cup baby spinach
1 medium tomato, diced
1 small red onion, diced
6 eggs
1/4 cup cottage cheese
1/4 cup crumbled feta
salt and pepper
olive oil

In a medium bowl, beat four whole eggs and two egg whites. Blend in cottage cheese and a splash of milk. Set aside.
Heat a small amount of olive oil in an omelet pan. Add onions and cook over medium heat until tender. Add spinach and cook until wilted. Add tomato, season with salt and pepper, and cook until tender.
Turn on oven's broiler. Turn stove top heat to medium/low and pour egg mixture over vegetables. Cover and cook until middle is set, about 5 minutes.
Place pan under the broiler until top is set, about 5 minutes. Remove and sprinkle with feta cheese. Put pan back under broiler until cheese is just melted.
Serves 2.

Scrambled Egg Puffs

1 lb. whole wheat dough (You can use store bought pizza dough or make your own. My favorite dough recipe right now is any of the wheat doughs from Healthy Bread in 5 Minutes a Day. You can find many of the dough recipes from the book on the blog: http://www.artisanbreadinfive.com/)
6 eggs
2 Tbls. milk
Fillings (I used spinach, tomatoes, ham, and cheese, but you can use anything your little heart desires!)
salt and pepper

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray a muffin tin with cooking spray.
Flour your hands, rolling pin and work surface.
Roll dough to a 1/4 inch tickness and slice into 10 squares with a pair of scissors.
Press squares into greased muffin tin. Dough should be pressed thin and corners should stretch up out of the cup.
Fill each dough cup with 1/4 cup of chosen fillings. I used chopped ham and shredded cheddar for half, and baby spinach and sliced grape tomatoes for the other half.
Beat eggs and milk and season with salt and pepper to taste.
Pour egg mixture over fillings until cups are almost filled to the top.
Bake for 10 minutes or until eggs are cooked.

Now say in your best Julia accent, "Bon Appetite!"

And please, if you have fun new egg recipes, please share them Smiley I love building up these little recipe lists for people. And as always, my blog is full of other recipes for your perusing pleasure Smiley
10  COOKING / Dessert / Make your own Peeps! (pic heavy!) on: March 31, 2010 06:03:40 PM

Ss there is a whole tale of how I came to make my own Peeps, but I have chosen to spare you my rambling Smiley If you want to know why I made them feel free to visit my blog for the details: http://jojobean26.blogspot.com/2010/03/faux-peeps.html I know you really all just want to know how to make them so on to the how-to!

A few notes before you begin: This is only a very easy project if you own a stand mixer. Owning a hand mixer is fine, but it means that you will need to stand over a bowl, whipping constantly for at least 15 minutes. I don't really have that kind of patience, so without my trusty Kitchen Aid, there is no way I'd make these Smiley Also, you may want to prepare a second, smaller glass pan in addition to the 9x13. I ended up with a ton of extra marshmallow this time! You don't want to waste any of this good stuff.

Faux Peeps (Feeps?)

Cooking Spray
2 cups granulated sugar
1 Tbls. corn syrup
4 envelopes gelatin
3/4 tsp. vanilla extract
2 large egg whites
1 1/2 c. water, divided

Spray a 9x13 inch glass pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper. Set aside.

Sprinkle gelatin over 3/4 c. water in a bowl. Allow to sit and soften for 5 minutes.

In a small saucepan, bring sugar, corn syrup, and 3/4 cup water to a boil over medium heat, stirring constantly. Turn heat to medium high and cook until it reaches 260 degrees on a candy thermometer.

Place bowl of gelatin over a small pan of simmering water and whisk until all gelatin is melted and combined. Set aside.

Beat egg whites in stand mixer of high until stiff peaks form.

Whisk gelatin into sugar mixture. While mixer is still turned on, slowly pour sugar and gelatin mixture into the egg whites. Beat on high speed for 10-15 minutes. The mixture will get very thick and fluffy. It should look like a jar of, well, fluff.

Pour your fluff immediately into prepared pans, smoothing with a spatula. Allow to sit at room temperature for at least 3 hours. It can sit as long as over night.

Now for the fun part. Fill a shallow bowl with colored sugar. Spray your cutter (or knife) lightly with cooking spray. Cut into marshmallow slowly, as it might stick a bit. Lift carefully with your fingers and push out from the cutter into the bowl of sugar. Flip to coat on all sides and move to a piece of waxed paper.

Pipe on the teeny face.

 I used black gel coloring for the eyes and nose, but you could also use melted chocolate. My cutter shape came out a little wonky, and I made it much bigger than a standard Peep Bunny. I think the little pink guy felt threatened by his giant cousins. Rightfully so.

**p.s. If you can't find colored sugar, make your own by filling a zilpoc bag with 1 cup of granulated or extra fine sugar and a few drops of food coloring. Seal, shake, then spread on a sheet pan lined with wax paper to dry out. It lasts virtually forever.

**p.p.s. For regular marshmallows (those without color) you can dip them in a mix of 1 part cornstarch and 2 parts powdered sugar. That will give them a nice matte finish and keep them from getting all stuck to each other.
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