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Showing posts from November, 2015

Homemade Pore Strips

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This is a popular post going around Pinterest and the blogs. You can find at least five different sites offering homemade pore strips (like Biore). I have no idea who came up with the original idea, but I would love to thank them. Now, I used to buy these pore strips on a regular basis. I’ve always had enlarged pores, and it helped keep them clean. I also used to spend about $8.00 for a pack of eight strips, or about $1.00 a piece.  I tried out a few of the recipes and tweaked them to my own liking. For example, the scent of milk and gelatin is, well, STINKY. I didn’t like it at all. I chose to use make a cup of hot tea and use that. You can choose whatever flavor you like and drink the tea you don’t use. I normally pick mint tea (very soothing) but lemon, chamomile, and green tea are fantastic as well and all boast antioxidant qualities that are great for your skin. Treat it as an opportunity for aromatherapy!  Here is my swap for pore strips, using a cheap homemade syrup and tissue…

Homemade Carpet Cleaner

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We recently purchased a Bissell Spot Bot (love it!!!) to help keep our carpets clean. It came with samples of carpet cleaner, but we ran out of them quickly. Husband looked at the empty bottles and asked me, “Do you think you can come up with something?” A challenge! I scoured the internet for recipes for carpet cleaners, and after a little mixing, I think I came up with a great recipe. Take a look at the picture – that circle of clean is 100% from my DIY carpet cleaner solution!

Crocheted Swiffer Covers

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Having four cats, we spend a lot of time cleaning the floors. We could go through an entire box of those Swiffer refills in two weeks. That’s about $10.00 a month for two boxes and $120.00 a year.  Not anymore.  Thanks to Cleaning Inspiration, I found a way around it. And all I needed was to get out my trusty crochet hook and a ball of Lily Sugar n Cream Yarn. You don’t even need to know any fancy stitches – just a single crochet.

Homemade Gel Fragrance Jars

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I am on a scented kick lately. Now that fall is here, I have gone through all of my scented votives and tarts and have set out all my favorite fall scents – pumpkin pie, apple crumble, and caramel. We almost always have candles lit and our candle warmer on. However, sometimes you don’t want to deal with plugging things in or remembering to blow out candles. So I came up with a great alternative. Homemade gel fragrance jars – just like the ones you would buy at the store! They’re easy to make and easy to customize with whatever flavor or scent you want!

Skinny New Year's Punch

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My husband and I like to have cocktail nights together every once in a while. My go-to choice is normally a glass of wine, or diet soda with some Skinny Girl vodka. I’m on Weight Watchers, so those are good choices for me.  We stopped at the store tonight, and I decided I wanted something new to go with the vodka. I wound up in the soda aisle, and was trying to decide between a case of Sprite Zero or a bottle of Kool-Aid liquid in Tropical Punch. I couldn’t decide, so I got both!

Chicken, Cheese 'n Peas Skillet

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One of our favorite meals is a throw back to my days in college. My roommate and I discovered this dish during our sophomore year of college, and it is still a favorite of mine today. Kraft Deluxe Mac and Cheese is something you will find in any college student’s pantry, but it is SO MUCH better (if that can be believed) when you mix in some meat and vegetables. It is enough for four servings, so we could eat for two nights on this.

Six Cheese Macaroni and Cheese

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If there is something I like more than Mac & Cheese, I don’t know what it is. It is a staple of our household. Tender pasta, creamy, cheesy sauce, and a crunchy, buttery top is a little piece of heaven for me, especially when it is fresh out of my own kitchen. Don’t get me wrong, I love the stuff in the blue box. You’re never too old for that. But this six cheese version will change how you look at typical Mac & Cheese. I make it for holidays and sometimes just for dinner. It’s great with a side of peas.

Vanilla Bean Cheesecake with Sugar Cookie Crust

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I’ve been on a homemade cooking kick for the past two weeks. It’s been great. I tend to cook more when I’m stressed and it really helps me relax. The star of our last meal (according to my husband) was this cheesecake. We’re huge cheesecake fans, and I was craving a piece. Whenever we go to Chicago we make sure to stop at The Cheesecake Factory. My perennial favorite there is the Vanilla Cheesecake. It’s simple but amazing.







Michigan Cherry Wine Spritzer

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It’s a time for celebration! For those of you who don’t know, I just recently sat for the Michigan bar examination. It’s been a long and stressful road, but I hope I get the word in a few months that I passed and can go on to practicing law, which has been my dream since I was 14. I thought it was only fitting that my first post after the exam would be a recipe for a good celebratory drink. I don’t drink often, but I have fallen in love with the local wines since I moved here from Pennsylvania. Michigan has wonderful orchards and I am especially fond of the cherries they produce. My favorite local brand, Grand Traverse Wines, makes a wonderful sweet red with cherries that makes a great base for a wine spritzer.

DIY Gel Topcoat

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I am addicted to nail polish. There, I said it. I spend too much time and too much money on new colors, tools, and the latest, greatest fad, the gel/shellac manicure. I remember the first time I got one. My oh my, was it pretty. Like glistening raspberries on each of my fingers. Smooth as silk but hard as a rock. I also remember the price. After which I felt like I had been HIT by a rock. In the wallet. It was $45.00 for my gel manicure. My first thought was to invest in one of the home kits. That was almost worse. A quality starter set was nearly twice that. That wouldn’t do, so I turned to my dear friend Pinterest. Surely someone had an answer. And by “someone” I mean dozens upon dozens of bloggers and pinners who swore by this two step trick. I tried it this week, and I’m going to share my thoughts with you.

Funfetti Cake Batter Cookies

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I hope you all had a lovely Easter/Passover/April weekend! This year was our first hosted holiday as married couple so it was very exciting. I did a ton of cooking and baking and everything was well received by family. Sometimes I have a hard time deciding between cake and cookies when I am in the kitchen. But luckily, for those times when I am stuck, I have the perfect middle ground dessert – cake batter cookies.

Two Cent Fabric Softener

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Happy Thursday, everybody. I hope you’re having a good day. It’s dreary and rainy in Michigan, so I’ve been doing a lot of indoor chores, mostly laundry. It’s one of the few chores that I don’t mind doing. I love folding a basket of soft, clean, warm laundry. The smell can’t be beat. Especially when I use my Two Cent Fabric Softener.

Soft White Sandwich Bread

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We go through a lot of bread at our house. My husband likes sandwiches for lunch, and honestly, there are very few meals I don’t think can be improved by a slice of bread. I bake fresh loaves of French bread (try my recipe here!) a few times a month to go with our meals. Husband loves it, and we can finish off a loaf in a matter of days. It’s a fraction of the cost, has less preservatives and ingredients, and really, it tastes amazing. Since that has gone over so well, Husband issued a challenge to me – he wanted to stop buying sliced sandwich bread, but only if I could find a good recipe.




Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes

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There are some things in the world that I say the darker the better. Topping the list of those things are coffee and chocolate. A piece of dark chocolate is one of the most sinfully delicious things around – even better when it is paired with a cup of espresso. So, with that in mind, I have a real treat for you lovers of all things dark and rich. Chocolate Espresso Cupcakes with Caramel Buttercream. A rich, dark cupcake base full of chocolate and coffee and topped off with a creamy, sweet caramel frosting. They are incredible!

Flawless French Bread

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My husband made a joke once that my bread cookbooks were just like porn for me. It was a silly joke, and I rolled my eyes at him, but he’s right; there are few things in this world I love more than bread. Store bought bread, bakery loaves, homemade loaves – if you can slice it and put butter on it, I’m a fan. We got a bread machine and a lovely bread stone and loaf pan for our wedding, so I’ve really enjoyed expanding my repertoire of bread recipes. A few weeks ago, I decided to try my hand at french bread with our new bread stone. I get so frustrated with myself when a recipe doesn’t turn out exactly the way I want it to the first time, so I made sure to pick an easy one. Thankfully, I found an amazing one from Julie at My Mundane and Miraculous Life. Her Easy Peasy French Bread has a mere four ingredients and is miraculously ;)good.

Hangover Soup

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Since I moved to Michigan, my soup making skills have gotten so much better. Probably because it is so cold here thanks to the lake effect, and a pot of hot soup simmering in the kitchen makes me forget how cold it is outside.


Simply the BEST Tomato Sauce

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I was lucky enough to grow up with a genuine Italian grandma. My mother’s mother was born and raised in Italy. Most of my memories of her revolve around the kitchen. I followed her around like a puppy whenever she cooked, and I can’t remember her ever serving anything that wasn’t amazing. She bought premade things from the store so rarely, and I always try to emulate that. Which brings me to today’s culinary adventure – homemade tomato sauce.  I call it Simply the Best for that exact reason – there is no better alternative out there (outside of Italy, anyway). It’s easy to make, chock full of fresh vegetables, and it’s so darned good. I rarely toot my own horn when it comes to food, but this is something that people beg me for whenever I make it. Jars never last long when I’m making sauce.