Category: Food & Home

Link Round-up: Creative Denim Ideas, Easter Bunny Cones, Gym Bag Essentials, and More

Posted on Mar 26, 2015 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up offers up creative denim ideas, Easter bunny cones, fitness bag gym essentials, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie shared a recipe for single serving chocolate cheesecake brownie baked oatmeal.

A Pumpkin and a Princess shared 40 creative denim ideas.

Almost Supermom showed us how to make Easter bunny cones.

link ru minion cupcakes

Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons showed us how to make Despicable Me minion cupcakes.

Muslin and Merlot showed us how to turn a dress into a skirt, no sewing necessary.

Pink Heels Pink Truck shared her gym bag essentials.

Mommypotamus shared the secret to strong, shiny hair: gelatin hair masks.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and Kitchen Fun with My 3 Sons

Link Round-up: Spring Trends, Sleepover Snacks, DIY Photo Candles, and More

Posted on Mar 24, 2015 by 2 Comments

Today’s link round-up has spring trends, sleepover snacks, DIY photo candles, and more.

Kenarry shared a recipe for s’mores fudge cake.

Almost Supermom showed us how to make a one-skillet chicken burrito dip.

A Simple Pantry showed us how to make fruit-stuffed French toast breakfast bowls.

link ru photo candle

A Beautiful Mess taught us how to make photo candles.

Mommypotamus taught us how to grow elderberries from cuttings.

Pink Heels Pink Truck gave us a look at spring jacket trends.

I Should Be Mopping the Floor gave us a few easy and fun sleepover snack ideas.

Photo credit: Kenarry and A Beautiful Mess

Latest Trends in Bathroom Décor

Posted on Mar 20, 2015 by No Comments

It’s time for us to redo our master bath. We weren’t happy with it when we moved in and that was more than eight years ago, so the time has come to get rid of the white vanities and tile.

I was ready to totally give the bathroom a new look, but I had no idea what I wanted. I started looking at some of the current trends in bathroom décor to get ideas, and it confirmed it is time for a change.

It turns out that stark white bathrooms are “cold and outdated.” I was happy to hear that, but what designers are recommending are moody grades of paint that add character. It’s no longer supposed to be just a utilitarian room. It’s supposed to be a retreat.

I’m one of those practical, literal firstborns and for me “moody grades” didn’t really offer me enough information. Am I alone in this? I do like the idea of it being a retreat, if I can carve out enough time to enjoy it in that way.

So along with moody grades of paint, the type of trends I’m seeing include geometric 3-D tile designs. It does look cool, and I do want a tiled shower enclosure, so all I have to do is decide on which geometric combinations and colors work. It seems ovals are all the rage.

I had thought about getting a rain shower head and found out that those are already considered outdated, and I never even owned one!

Instead, they suggest getting a big, deep, freestanding tub. We were already planning to replace our garden tub with a free standing vintage-looking tub, but I also have a stand-alone shower. I might just go with the rain shower head anyway.

The thing that is really changing with bathrooms in 2015 is that they incorporate natural woods and stone. I like that.

The addition I’m not so sure about is adding media and music. If I did that, it really will be like a retreat, and there are some days I could be lost in there.

As for the “moody grades” they recommend a subtle gray. I’m not sold on that yet, but I’m liking the idea of a heated floor and towel racks. Not that I’ll be able to afford them, but I sure do like the idea.

Today, if you redo your bathroom with a fresh feeling that reflects the homeowner’s personality, it can actually add value to your home. In fact, some economists are saying you add more value by redoing your bathroom than by updating your kitchen.

Times have certainly changed.

Photo credits: pixabay

Link Round-up: Chocolate Superfood Breakfast, Easter Muddy Buddies, Brow Tips, and More

Posted on Mar 19, 2015 by 1 Comment

Today’s link round-up has a chocolate superfood breakfast bowl, Easter muddy buddies, tips for saving money on food, brow tips, and more.

Muslin and Merlot taught us how to make a tulip pen for spring.

Tone It Up taught us how to make a quick and easy superfood-filled chocolate breakfast bowl.

Create Craft Love shared a recipe for Easter muddy buddies.

Mommypotamus shared tips for saving money on real food.

link ru sweet potato hash

A Beautiful Mess shared a recipe for sweet potato bacon hash.

Cupcakes and Cashmere gave us the breakdown on how to get beautiful brows.

Makeup and Beauty Blog sang the praises of the Old Navy Rockstar mid-rise skinny jeans.

Photo credit: Muslin and Merlot and A Beautiful Mess

Is Your Environment Making You Fat?

Posted on Mar 18, 2015 by 1 Comment

It seems with each decade I live, it becomes easier to gain weight and harder to lose it. The thing is, it isn’t just about eating too much or being too sedentary.

I understand we lose muscle as we age, and I’ve read about stress and lack of sleep contributing to this problem but now more research reveals there are a number of lifestyle and environmental factors that can influence our metabolism and contribute to our struggle with weight.

One of these environmental factors is artificial additives found in processed food. According to recent research at Georgia State University, evidence shows that artificial preservatives found in the processed foods we eat may be associated with metabolic problems including glucose intolerance and obesity.

While this study was done using rodents, the scientists believe the effects are due to changes in gut bacteria, which results in a breakdown in the mucus that lines and protects the gut. As a result unhealthy bacteria triggers inflammation and the result is a change in metabolism.

This research is only preliminary, but it certainly gives us another good reason to eat less processed foods and to read food labels.

Along with that, some additives in food can increase our appetite and sabotage our efforts to eat less. So when you do read those labels, look for ingredients you recognize. Like natural potato chips would read: potatoes, salt, oil.

While artificial additives are at least food related, that makes sense when it comes to affecting our weight. But according to a study on flame retardants by a nutrition professor from University of New Hampshire, these environmental chemicals can also trigger metabolic and liver problems which can to lead to insulin resistance and may even be a major cause of obesity.

Again rats were the subjects of this study, so the finding are preliminary. For the study, the rodents were broken into two groups and the rats exposed to these chemicals experienced dramatic physiological changes in just one month of being exposed to the flame retardants.

These changes included a drop in the levels of a key enzyme responsible for sugar and fat metabolism. It didn’t just drop slightly, either. It fell by 50 percent.

According to this researcher, the average person has about 300 man-made chemicals in their body. We are just beginning to understand some of the possible ramifications.

In our current world, there is no way we can totally eliminate our exposure to all the synthetic substances out there unless we go live in a cave in a rain forest, but we can shop for more natural products including cosmetics, cleaning supplies, toys, etc.

Along with making us fat, some say these environmental chemicals can also contribute to depression and feeling tired. I see this as a more difficult factor to control than reducing calories, but it certainly motivates me to make changes. How about you?

Photo credits: AFP news agency

Link Round-up: A Guide to Brooklyn, St. Patrick’s Day Recipes, a Gardening Craft, and More

Posted on Mar 17, 2015 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has a guide to Brooklyn, home remedies for stomachaches, a craft project, and more.

Chocolate Covered Katie shared 13 St. Patrick’s Day recipes with under 200 calories.

A Beautiful Mess shared a guide to Brooklyn.

Create Craft Love showed us how to transfer print to wood.

link ru irish proverb

Confessions of an Overworked Mom showed us how to make a cute framed Irish proverb.

Mommypotamus shared home remedies for stomachaches.

Pink Heels Pink Truck showed us a cute spring garden craft.

Makeup and Beauty Blog took a look at the Estee Lauder Bronze Goddess Shimmering Nudes collection.

Photo credit: Chocolate Covered Katie and Confessions of an Overworked Mom

Almond Pecan Sandwich Cookies

Posted on Mar 17, 2015 by No Comments

I make cookies every week for snacks and lunches, but this recipe for Almond Pecan Sandwich Cookies is one I reserve for special occasions.

Friends ask me to make them for baby and wedding showers. I make them for the holidays and sometimes I’ll even bring them for a pot luck dinner.

I don’t avoid making them because they are difficult, but they are a little labor intensive. The real reason I don’t make them often is because they are really rich and filling. They are more than you usually want to eat when you grab a single cookie.

However, when you do eat one it can tempt you to want to take a second.

Cookie Ingredients

  • ¾ cup butter
  • ¼ cup firmly packed light brown sugar
  • ¼ cup granulated sugar
  • 1 egg yolk (reserve egg white for frosting)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 2 cups flour

Directions

  1. Cream butter and gradually add sugars. Beat until light and fluffy.
  2. Beat in egg and vanilla.
  3. Gradually add flour.
  4. Chill for ease in handling, about an hour. If you leave it in the refrigerator too long, it will be hard and take more work to handle.
  5. Form into 2 rolls, each 7 inches long and 1 ½ in diameter.
  6. Wrap them in waxed paper and chill several hours.
  7. Cut into 1/8 in. slices and place on ungreased baking sheet.
  8. Bake 8 to 10 minutes in a preheated 350 degree oven.
  9. Remove to wire rack and cool.
  10. Put 2 cookies together with almond frosting.
  11. Place dollop of frosting on top of sandwich and top with a pecan half.

Yields about 40 cookies.

Almond Frosting Ingredients

  • ¼ cup butter
  • 1 ¾ cups powdered sugar
  • 1 egg white
  • ½ teaspoon almond extract

Frosting Directions

  1. Cream butter
  2. Add sugar alternately with egg white until light and fluffy.
  3. Blend in almond extract.

If you make the frosting for a baby shower add pink and or blue food coloring.

Photo credits: Personal photo used with permission

Wine Color Makes a Difference with Weight Loss

Posted on Mar 13, 2015 by No Comments

With dieting, it can get really confusing trying to figure out what’s good for us and what’s not. One day coffee is bad and the next it’s good. Grains are good, oh wait, they are bad, too.

When it comes to losing weight wine is bad … or was bad. Now Purdue University researchers are saying the shade of the wine we drink actually makes a difference of whether or not it may help us lose weight.

According to this latest research, we can’t lump all wines in to the good or bad category. Red wine actually contains a compound called piceatannol which binds to bat cells’ insulin receptors and stops them from growing and maturing.

So if you’re trying to lose weight and want a glass of wine, red should be the color of choice. It could help block the growth of new fat cells.

But this is one of those cases where more is not better. It is suggested women limit their wine to one drink a day and the number is two for men.

This isn’t totally new information though. For years, red varieties of wine have been the recommended choice because it contains high concentrations of resveratrol which is found in the skin of grapes.

This compound is said to have various health properties including the fact that it breaks down fats and reduces the amount of fat in your body. Thus, the conclusion is that the high resveratrol content in red wine can help you drop that unwanted weight.

So if you’re on a diet, and would like to have a glass of wine to relax in the evening, choose a red wine. It will help you burn fat. The key, though, is to limit yourself to just one glass if you’re a woman and two for men.

Photo credits: Mick Stephenson

Link Round-up: Meals, Treats, Lipstick Tricks, and St. Patrick’s Day Decor

Posted on Mar 12, 2015 by No Comments

Today’s link round-up has delicious meals, treats, and sides, plus lipstick tricks for novices and St. Patrick’s Day home décor.

A Beautiful Mess taught us how to make flourless chocolate chip cookies.

Homemade Interest shared a recipe for asparagus goat cheese tarts.

Bunny’s Warm Oven showed us how to make oven-fried buttermilk chicken.

Frog Prince Paperie showed us how to decorate for St. Patrick’s Day.

link ru mac and cheese

Chocolate Covered Katie showed us how to make Greek yogurt mac and cheese.

The Gold Lining Girl shared a recipe for chocolate covered bacon, espresso bean, and fig scones with coffee glaze.

Cupcakes and Cashmere shared lipstick tricks for novices.

Photo credit: A Beautiful Mess and Chocolate Covered Katie