New Year, New Dessert!

Happy New Year! With the new year comes a new recipe for dessert, my favorite meal! I know some of you have made your new years resolution, dieting. Well I am here to give you an delicious recipe for your cheat days 🙂

I am a cookie monster, anything cookie, especially chocolate chip cookies! I also LOVE ice cream, and home made fresh whipped cream. What can I say, I am a dessert fanatic.

Last night I whipped up from scratch a Chocolate Chip Cookie Bowel with delicious vanilla ice cream and homemade maple whipped cream! My mouth is drooling just thinking about this amazing creation!

We will start with the Ice Cream Recipe because this may take the longest to do, all you need is half and half, sugar, egg yolks, vanilla—and an ice cream maker. We got our ice cream maker off of Amazon and LOVE it!

VANILLA ICE CREAM
  • 3 c. half and half
  • 1/3 c. sugar
  • 3 egg yolks
  • 2 vanilla bean pods, seeds scraped, or 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  1. In large pot over medium heat, combine half and half and vanilla bean and bring to a simmer for at least 15 minutes. Strain half and half mixture and set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together egg yolks, sugar, and salt until smooth. To temper eggs, carefully whisk about 1 cup of the hot half and half into egg mixture until smooth. Then whisk egg mixture back into the half and half mixture in the pot. Return to medium-low heat and cook to 170 degrees F, constantly stirring along bottom of pot to ensure even cooking. Once temperature has reached 170 degrees F, remove from heat and strain through fine-mesh strainer into bowl. In the same bowl, cool ice cream base to room temperature in an ice bath, then pop base into the fridge to fully chill, at least 2 hours.
  3. Once base is chilled, process in an ice cream maker. When it’s somewhere between soft serve and ice cream from the freezer, transfer ice cream to container and freeze until firm.

While the ice cream is setting in the freezer its time to start your Chocolate Chip Cookie Bowl!

(I forgot to take pictures of the ice cream process)

Chocolate Chip Cookie Bowl recipe: 

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
  2. Combine flour, baking soda and salt in small bowl. Beat butter, granulated sugar, brown sugar and vanilla extract in large mixer bowl until creamy. …
  3. Instead of pulling out your cookie sheets, you will need a cupcake pan or a muffin pan.
  4. Flip over the pan, and start to form the cookie dough over the cupcake mold. (see picture below for reference)
  5. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown. Cool down for about 5-8 minutes so the cookie bowl mold sets and doesn’t fall apart

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While the cookie molds are setting, its time to work on your fresh Maple Whipped Cream

  • 1 cup of Heavy Whipping Cream
  • 2 Tablespoons of Sugar
  • 1/4 Cup of Maple Syrup

Place the sugar into the mixing bowl and add the whipping cream and maple syrup. Whisk just until the cream reaches stiff peaks. Store any unused portion in an airtight container for up to 10 hours. When ready to use, rewhisk for 10 to 15 seconds.

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and Volia! Your 3 main ingredients are done, now its time to take your vanilla ice cream and fill up the chocolate chip cookie bowl and top it off with fresh handmade maple whipped cream, just add sprinkles and a cherry and you now have a delicious homemade dessert!

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Mirror Mirror…

One of my favorite DIY is turning a typical ordinary mirror into a work of art!

I love the idea of a mirror as an accent above my dry bar so I added some chalk paint “Cheers” and made it look not so odd to have a mirror so high up.

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Really all I did was grab a chalk marker that I found at my local craft store for $5.00 and practiced how I wanted the word “Cheers” to look and then took a leap of faith and wrote it on the mirror.

DON’T worry if you mess up, just take a little Windex and water and the chalk will come off as easy as 1 2 3. Let dry, and try again!

I am such a fan of dolling up mirrors and even old windows with chalk paint, I even created one for my sister’s waxing business so she can add her services on it! It’s really the perfect and easiest DIY.

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To do a window or glass it’s probably the easiest DIY to do because you can type of whatever you want to write on the mirror/glass tape it on the back and take your chalk pen/marker and just trace the letters from the printed page taped on the back and than Voila! You are now ready to hang a unique piece of art that you created yourself!

December, seriously?

Hey guys,

I know its been a little while since I have written, I apologize for that, its crazy to me that its already December 2nd! How did this happen? I’m not ready for the holidays!

With that being said, I recently have decided to start thinking about DIY Christmas presents because truthfully, with all these wedding expenses, there isn’t enough money coming in as fast as its going out. I am sure all the married readers would understand this.

2 years back, I made an adorable painted mug and put coffee and hot chocolate ingredients in a plastic baggie to accompany the mugs, they were so cute and such a big hit.

With the painted mugs, I made a few different kinds, some had cute little sayings, and some had peoples initials and depending on the recipient I gave either coffee grounds or hot coco ingredients.

The supplies for the painted mugs:

  • Sharpie Pens – thick, thin, all different colors. I chose Green, Red, and Gold Metalic
  • White Mug – white works best, or even a solid color. – I got mine at the dollar store! 
  • Oven 
  • Stickers – for designs

1. To do a monogram design you will need a scrapbook stickers. Pick the monogram/design you want and stick it on your mug. You will want to make sure it’s in the right place/angle etc.

2. Next you will want to make dots ALL around the scrapbook sticker. Do some practice dots on some cardboard before hand. Once ready, start filling in the area around the sticker with dots. Really fill in the area. Add a second color if you like. If you mess up, wipe away with some rubbing alcohol on a q-tip.

3. Once you have the design you want and it’s dry – carefully peel off the scrapbook sticker to reveal your design. Do touchups if you need to.

4. Making sure your area is well ventilated – turn on your oven to 350, set your mugs inside and let them bake for 30 minutes. Once 30 minutes is up, turn off the oven and let the mugs cool down inside. I left it in the oven for a few hours.

5. Then of course, fill and enjoy with your favorite beverage.

 

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Once I have decided on what DIY Christmas present I am going to do this year, I will be sure to post it and with pictures so you can all enjoy.

Pickle This

Now that the gardening season is no longer in the full swing of things, I had a lot of vegetables that are still somewhat growing or have just about stopped producing.

One of my vegetables that just stopped producing was my peppers. I literally had about 6 pepper plants and they all sort of stopped growing at the same time, and I figured since the holidays are coming and I come from a big Italian family that has antipasto with every holiday meal and one of the favorites among it is the pickled vegetables I figured why not try my hand at pickling my peppers for the first time. I did eggplant last year and it came out AmAzInGg! So, why not try my hand at the peppers!

To begin, I sang a sweet song to the peppers, haha Just Kidding! I washed these bad boys and let them drain, while I waited for them to completely drain, I began to cut up and mince two (2) cloves of garlic, you know us Italians, we LOVE our garlic!

I then packed the peppers in ever so tightly in a hot sterilized jar I had, leaving about 1/2″ headspace. If you would like now is the time to put in at least 4 heads of fresh dill, or if you don’t have fresh dill you can use 2 tablespoons of dill seeds.

In a saucepan, combine 3 cups of water and 1 cup of white vinegar. Mix in 2 tablespoons of salt, 1/4 teaspoon of crushed red pepper, bring these bad boys to a boil.

Once the mixture has come to a boil, you will than pour the hot pickling liquid over the peppers, again leaving 1/2 inch headspace.

Adjust the lid and put the closed jar in a boiling water bath for 10 minuets. Once its been 10 minuets, take the jar out of the bath and cool it down before putting the jar in the pantry. Wait about 2 months and then you can enjoy your delicious pickled veggies!

Luckily, in two months my pickled peppers will be ready to eat on December 23, perfect timing for Christmas Eve Dinner!

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Ingredients you will need:

  • 1lb red peppers or 1 lb green or 1 lb yellow hot pepper (8 cups)
  • 4heads fresh dill or 2 tablespoons dill seeds
  • 3cups water
  • 1cup  white vinegar
  • 2tablespoons salt
  • 2cloves garlic, minced
  • 1⁄4teaspoon crushed dried red pepper

 

 

 

 

Melt, Pour, and Wait

 

The three main steps to candle making.

Well there are more steps than just those three, but it is pretty simple to create or recreate candles to your liking. As most of you know I am an upcycler, a DIY enthusiast and I will try and do anything at least once. My most recent obsession is candle making, I love the aroma’s, colors, and look.

Last Christmas my fiance gifted me a candle making set and while I tried it once or twice when I first received the present, I didn’t fully commit to this hobby until very recently. On a rainy day when I was cleaning up my hobby room and found the open box of candle making supplies, I figured hey why not make another candle, I had enough supplies to make at least two so I can toss the box and not clutter the 2 inches of space it took up and at least I will have two new candles in my home.

During my process, I really got into it, I thoroughly enjoyed using my essential oils and creating new fragrances and finally getting the perfect shade of blue and burgundy to match my living and dining room, I am never able to find the perfect colors to match my decor accents. After I had finished up and was waiting for the two candles to cool down and conform to my candle mold I got to thinking, I have dozens of “old” candles that were on their last wick (get it, last wick, haha I crack myself up sometimes) anyways, I figured instead of tossing them I would burn them down and make my own candles with new fragrances and maybe a new color.

The following process is a simply one but you need to be careful, spilled wax isn’t a fun clean up! Gather the following supplies,

  • Wax Chunks, Shavings, Old Candles, or even a block of wax at your local craft stores
  • Boil Bags or heat resistant container
  • Essential Oils
  • Food coloring
  • Wicks
  • Candle Mold
  • Scissors
  • Lighter – to light that baby up at the end

Place the Wax Chunks, Shavings, old candles, or block of wax into the Boil Bags or Heat Resistant Container in a larger pot. Reminder: you cannot put candle wax directly on hear or it will catch fire or evaporate. Turn the hear up high and watch that water boil, the boiling water will slowly start to melt your wax. Please keep in mind that the wax can be difficult to clean up so maybe investing in a cheap, heat safe, pot designated specifically for making your candles would be your best option.

I usually wait until the wax is completely melted before taking it out and pouring into the candle molds but the following temperatures are ideal for different types of waxes,

  • Paraffin wax should be melted until it reaches between 122 and 140°F (50 and 60°C).
  • Soy wax should be melted until it reaches between 170 and 180 degrees (76.6 and 82.2°C).
  • Beeswax should be melted until it reaches roughly 145 degrees (62.7°C). You can go a little bit higher but try not to exceed 175 degrees (79.4°C).
  • Old candles should be melted at around 185 degrees (85°C). Remove the old wicks with tongs.

After the wax is completely melted, its time to add scents to it, the fragrance you choose it entirely up to you! Scents such as essential oils can also be found at your local craft store. Be aware that some scents are stronger than others so slowly put a couple of drops in and add more if you don’t feel the scent is strong enough, stir the scents in well.

Now to add the coloring, you can keep your candle white if you would like, or you can purchase oil-based dyes because normal food coloring is water based and will not work well with the wax.You can generally find specific candle dyes. Read the bottle for the proper amount of dye to put in to achieve a certain color. Add drops of coloring until you have reached your desired color. Stir well.

Now before you pour the melted wax in your candle mold, you need to place a wick in the center of the candle mold. You can use tins, mason jars (my favorite) old teacups, really any thing that will withstand the heat. The metal containers are the safest to go but honestly anything that can withstand the heat of the melted wax will do. I typically put down old newspapers or bills (just kidding about the bills part) under the candle mold so if wax does spill as I am pouring my work space/tabletop is protected. The wick should be in the center of the candle mold with about two inches sticking out of the candle. Loop the end that will be out of the wax around the center of a pen or pencil or really anything that will keep the wick in place ( I sometimes use the wooden shish kebab sticks. Rest the pen or stick across the top of the mold you will be pouring your wax into and make sure the wick hangs down straight into the center of the mold.

Pour the melted wax into the mold. Pour slowly so that it does not spill over. Make sure not to knock the wick out of the mold accidentally. You are the judge of how full you want your molds to be. Beeswax will shrink a little once it has cooled so keep that in mind when pouring it into your molds.

Once the wax is poured into the candle mold, it needs to be cooled, and typically it takes about 24 hours for it to be completely cooled down. The longer you let it cool, the better the candle will look. Once its completely cooled down and the candle looks completely set its time to remove the wax from the mold and trim the wick to a quarter inch of the top of the candle. Keep in mind the longer a wick the taller the flame will be, be cautious and keep the wick smaller so its not so out of control when burning.

Finally you are able to light the wick, burn your candle, and enjoy the perfect homemade candle!

 

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The Budget Friendly Bride

I recently got engaged 4 months ago and the first thoughts in my mind were, “how do I get my Pintrest board ideas to become reality” and pay only a fraction or in my case, a faction of the fraction of the cost. By no means do I consider myself “cheap” but I do consider myself “budget savvy”.

After my first initial “Is this really happening, I have to plan a wedding” shock, reality started to settle in. And not the reality of being someones wife, okay that is shocking too but the reality of “where the hell am I getting the money for a wedding!” I took a deep breathe and reevaluated the situation and of course my Pintrest board.

Since I had a whole year and 3 months away until my wedding day, I decided to handle the deposits of my vendors first. I did a TON of research on vendors (Photography, Videography, DJ/Band, Flowers, and Catering) I contacted close to 20-30 people in each individual vendor category, looked at their samples, met with them, and contacted their references. Since I was getting a jump start on booking, I requested immediate quotes, asked for military discounts (my fiance is in the Army), and/or special pricing since I would be booking with them immediately. I must say if not all, A LOT of the vendors were able to provide me discounts, its all in the approach.

I also knew I wanted the following things for the decor at my wedding:

  • Unique Centerpieces
  • A Bridal Bouquet I can keep for years to come
  • Beautiful personal wedding gifts for parents
  • Shabby Chic decor
  • and anything I can get a discount on

For the centerpieces, I decided to look at my local thrift shops, craigslist, and tag sales. I wanted something unique and not your typical flower arrangement. I decided on lanterns, I found a bunch of different colors and styles and decided on instead of putting the same color/style lanterns on every table, each table will be different.

For my bridal bouquet, as much as I love fresh flowers, I decided to make a brooch bouquet. I found a ton of ideas and designs on Pintrest and Etsy. Instead of paying $500 for someone to do my bouquet, I decided since I am design savvy, I got this! and I did! I requested brooches from my grandmothers and my mother in law so I can incorporate them in my bouquet as my something old and something borrowed. I am still in the process of creating this amazing piece and will update with pictures once it is completed.

The beautiful personal wedding gifts for my parents, I don’t want to spoil it too much with what I came up with but I will say, it is something very meaningful and apart of my childhood with both of my parents, my father always carries a handkerchief with him. I will leave the rest up for your imaginations.

and the Shabby Chic Decor, Pintrest has a plethora of ideas, I have since decided on the vintage ladder and twinkle lights, mason jars, and our initials in wood decorated on each step, as well as the old vintage windows with pictures throughout our relationship. I am still happily “pinning” more as I type.

My wedding is not until May 26, 2017 but I wanted to get a jump start on designing and getting decor since the budget is tight. I will definitely be providing more blogs about my Savvy Wedding Ways in the future, I think I may have a passion for this Wedding planning stuff after all.