Yogurt Bark with Berries

I kind of stumbled across making this recipe today when I realized that my pint of yogurt was practically full and was about to go to waste because the expiration date was quickly approaching.

My son loves yogurt and loves berries and the occasional granola every now and again, I had just finished making some Chia seed pudding for the next morning so I was already on a roll for some healthy delicious snacks and breakfast alternatives for the next morning.

So I started off with cutting up some berries that I had on hand, strawberries, blueberries, and raspberries. Next I put my yogurt in a bowl ,maple syrup and vanilla extract with a of salt and lemon juice and I mixed all my wet ingredients together.

Then I lined my cookie sheet with some parchment paper or if you don’t have that on hand you can use aluminum foil.

I then pour the yogurt mixture on the cookie sheet that is lined with parchment paper and distribute evenly. Once the yogurt is evenly distributed, I then add the sliced berries along with a handful of granola and sprinkle it all over.

Once you add the berries and granola you will now put The cookie sheet in The freezer for the next 3 to 4 hours until the bark is hard. After the 3 to 4 hours and it’s hard, you can now break up the yogurt park and enjoy this little refreshing healthy snack.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups nonfat yogurt
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon lemon juice
  • Pinch of salt
  • Strawberries sliced
  • Blueberries
  • Granola
  • Start by lining a baking sheet with parchment paper and set aside.
  • In a large mixing bowl combine yogurt, honey, vanilla, lemon juice, and salt.
  • Whisk until thoroughly combined.
  • Transfer yogurt mixture to the previously prepared baking sheet and spread it around to an even thickness.
  • Top with berries.
  • Garnish with granola.
  • Freeze for 2 to 3 hours, or until firm.
  • Break into pieces.
  • Keep in the freezer before serving,
  • Serve and enjoy!

DIY: Toy Storage Bench

Never would I have imagined that I would be living in my own toy store! I mean that’s what it sure feels like when you live with a one year old and they have toys coming out of every part of your house.

To combat this every day struggle of toys in any crevice of my house I needed a solution but I also needed this solution to go with the design elements in my home along with my “vision”. Before I looked into building anything I did what I normally do prior to spending $$. I looked at Facebook Marketplace. You would be amazed at what some people throw away/give away/ or simply sell way under price.

Well, I checked the Marketplace and found a bunch of toy boxes and storage cubes, but nothing was “speaking” to me. I decided to come up with my own design and get to purchasing my supplies.

I originally wanted a window seat that my son can one day sit on and read his books, wishful thinking aye! So with that idea, I thought of a wooden crate trick I’ve seen on Pintrest before, they are wooden crates that can be purchased at your local home improvement store. I picked up 3 because as mentioned earlier I originally wanted this bench to go under my window but couldn’t because my son has a tent in his playroom as well and the tent just didn’t look right anywhere else, so we had to move the bench to make it all work.

Once I picked up these three wooden crates, I also picked up (2) 10×12 of Pine wood one to put on the top for the ledge to sit and one to put on the bottom to attach wooden legs to give the bench a few inches off the ground.

I predrilled the holes for the screws to attach the three wooden crates together and I screwed them together with 1 1/4 screws. Once they were all screwed together, I then sanded the crates and the boards themselves to get them smooth to the touch, after all this bench is for a one year old so we need the bench to be as smooth as possible.

After everything was sanded, I took my favorite Dark Walnut stain, I prefer dark walnut because I have a lot of that stain on other areas in my house and just love the look of it. It only took about 2 hours for the stain to settle and the smell to subside.

Now that the stain is dried, it was time for assembly. I connected the first 10×12 Pine wood to to the bottom of the wood crates and then moved on to the second 10×12 Pine wood and connected that one to the top. I used a nailgun to give it a seamless look as well as prevent any screws causing any injury in the future. Once the boards were connected, it was time to add the feet to the bottom to give it a few inches off the ground. Once those were screwed in, the toy storage bench was complete and it was now time to add it into my son’s playroom and store all the toys.

Tools needed for this DIY Toy Storage Bench:

  • (2) 10 x 12 Pine Wood
  • (3) Wooden Crates (already assembled)
  • (4) Wooden Peg legs (height is up to you)
  • Stain (of your choice)
  • 1/8 Drill Bit to predrill
  • 1 1/4 Screws
  • Nail Gun with Finishing Nails
  • Screw Gun

For more DIY’s on a dime and other home decor check out my instagram page. Make sure you give it a follow.

There is also a step by step in my highlights on my IG page.

 

 

Hello, 104 weeks later…

Hey loves!

So it’s been awhile… 1 year 10 months 7 days ago to be precise. A lot has happened in between the last post and today. Let’s do a run down and than we’ll reintroduce.

So since the last post, this lady got pregnant and had a baby boy named, Luca. You would think that would be the only change funny how life works that way… I decided to do a complete career change because when you have a life change everything else changes along with it.

After I had my beautiful baby boy, almost 4 weeks early and after a short NICU stay, I took my allotted 12 weeks of FMLA maternity leave and when I went back to my full time job life as I knew it before I had a child was completely different, that one hour drive to work each day became so painful and dreading, leaving that tiny little face each morning was unbearable when I just had the scariest birth experience.

The truth is as a modern day woman, you’re sometimes not allowed to say “I need time” we’re all suppose to adapt and move on quickly because that’s what society has taught us over the years.

My water broke at 36 weeks and I was working up until the day of even though I knew I should have taken time for myself to prepare my body for this crazy but beautiful body transformation. It’s just crazy to me how the workforce in America has no support for woman especially after bringing life into this world.

Things needed to change for me in order for my happiness and the happiness of my family. We took a big leap and had faith and I left “corporate America” job and decided to put my heart and energy into my family and my small business. We are 1 week away from a year of this big change and I can honestly say it has been one of the best decisions in my adult life.

I may have to hustle a little bit more but it’s so worth it, I absolutely love being able to be present in my family life.

You can follow me and my small business on Instagram, @UrbanHippieCT #UrbanHippieCT

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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Swap this Cookie for that Cookie

I absolutely love the holiday season and everything that comes with the holidays, the music, the lights, and of course the FOOD!

Over the years the holiday traditions have changed/ evolved and with that the holiday traditions you grew up with are either no longer or have expanded along with family members. I know for me on Christmas Eve it was hosted at my grandparents home, than over the years my parents would host, and then most recently about 3 years ago, I started hosting at my house with my fiance and his family members too.

Over the years family dynamic has changed and the different traditions have emerged. I recently have decided since the holiday season is a challenging one to try to get everyone together that I would start a new tradition, a Cookie Swap or Cookie Exchange.

I started doing some “pintrest homework” how to host the perfect Cookie Exchange.

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Here are some of my tip’s on hosting.

  • Make a digital invite, almost everyone has Facebook now adays or an email. Save money and send the invites out digitally!
  • Request your guests to make ingredients/ directions cards so if there is an allergy a guest will know
  • Don’t know how many cookies to have your guest bring, basically that is up to you but what I did was ask my guests to bring 6 dozen cookies, I had 6 women come so each of them brought a dozen of each cookie home

All of your guests want some kind of guidance!  Some are pros and some are baking for the first time.  Usually, you get someone that breaks the rules, but it’s okay.  As long as you let all of your guests know what you expect, it will all go smooth.

  • Decorate your home, at this time I am sure your home is decorated for the holidays so you may not have to do too much
  • When guests arrive with the cookies have them set up all the cookies in a designed area on the table, I had chalkboard labels to display each cookie name. This makes it easier for guests to know which cookie is which and make it easier for grabbing and voting!
  • Provide a festive drink, you can do hot cocoa, but I just stuck with wine.
  • Provide food/appetizers, while they are eye balling all of those cookies before the trade!  You may choose whether you want your guests to taste the cookies or not at all. Depending upon your budget, you may serve some light appetizers, other sweets, or even a meal. I choose an array of pickings.
  • If you are having a contest, give your guests voting ballets for the categories to vote
    • provide prizes or winner ribbons.

Some Prize Categories can be,

  • Most Amazing Display
  • Prettiest Cookie
  • Most Unique Cookie
  • Most Outrageous Holiday Outfit
  • Door Prize (Ask each guest to bring ONE cookie cutter.  Collect all of the cookie cutters and give them away as a prize!)

Some Idea Prizes can be,

  • Cookie Cookbook
  • Cookie jar
  • Cookie baking sheet
  • Cookie cooling racks
  • Mixing bowl
  • Mixing spoon and/or spatula
  • Measuring cups and/or spoons
  • Cookie cutter(s)
  • Cookie sprinkles
  • Pretty apron
  • Rolling pin
  • Parchment paper
  • Oven mitts

Now the time has come to exchange/ swap the cookies!

  • Take a moment to ask each of guests to share a story of the cookie recipe they brought, or their adventures of baking them.  Also, your guests may love to share some of their family holiday traditions.  This gives the others new ideas for their families!
  • Time to trade and exchange the cookies!  I hand each of my guests an aluminum disposable to go container with lid– found at any kind of dollar store.  I line each of them with holiday decorated tissue paper and now my guests are able to go around and fill up their containers!

I hope you all find this information helpful on planning a holiday cookie exchange party! If you are thinking of hosting one, take some bits and pieces from my experience of hosting and make them your own. Enjoy your time with you family and friends, this gathering should be a fun time to kick back and show your baking skills!

. . . .

The cookies I had made were Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies, below is my recipe

Ingredients
  • 2¼ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 12 Tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1½ cups milk chocolate chips
  • 1 (11 oz.) bag caramel bites
  • 2 Tablespoons heavy whipping cream/milk
  • 4 oz. semi-sweet chocolate baking bars
  • sea salt, for sprinkling on top
Instructions:
  1. Whisk together the flour, baking soda, and salt in a medium size bowl. Set aside.
  2. In a large bowl, using an electric or stand mixer, cream together the butter, granulated sugar, light brown sugar, and vanilla extract until combined.
  3. Add eggs one at a time, mixing between each egg.
  4. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined. DO NOT OVERMIX!
  5. Using a spatula, stir in chocolate chips until combined.
  6. Using a cookie scoop, scoop dough into balls about 1 Tablespoons each and place onto prepared baking sheet.
  7. Bake for 10 minutes or until golden brown around the edges.
  8. Immediately after taking cookies out of the oven, using handle of a wooden spoon, make indentation into center of each cookie. Let cool for 5 minutes on baking sheet.
  9. In a medium-sized bowl, combine caramel bits and heavy whipping cream. Microwave for 1 minute, stirring until caramel is completely melted. Spoon 1 teaspoon of caramel into each indentation.
  10. In a medium-sized bowl, microwave chocolate baking bars for 30 seconds, stirring after each 30-second intervals until chocolate is completed melted. Drizzle chocolate over cookies and sprinkle with sea salt.

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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.