Wednesday, July 21, 2010

It's raining, it's pooring....

It's been raining for 2 days now. It's fabulous! Full on thunder storm. Just a few minutes ago, the thunder was so loud 3 car alarms went off. No joke! There's something incredibly comforting about a good storm. It cleanses the air, smells amazing, begs you to drink a warm cup of tea and curl up with a book... They're the perfect excuse to relax all day. I just can't get enough of them. When I was little my mom used to drag me and my little sisters out to the porch everytime we had a thunder storm. We'd sit out there until it was finished, just soaking in the sounds and the scent... This tradition has carried over and I love sitting on the porch for hours listening and watching for lighting. My husband often has to drag me inside. What can I say? It brings out the little kid in me!


Sunday, July 18, 2010

Happy Birthday To Me!

Had a fantastic birthday today. My amazing husband planned a surprise for me. I spent the entire day completely mystified as my husband told me to get dressed in something cool and took me on a 2 1/2 hour road trip to an unknown destination. As it turned out, he was taking me to an AWESOME amusement park. We spent the whole evening there, it was filled with lights, fireworks, super fantastic rides....I felt like a little kid. For an entire night there was nothing else in life going on but me and my husband walking around in a colorfully lit forest filled with bubble machines and carnival music. I don't know if I've ever enjoyed an amusement park so much!
I have the most amazing husband in the world, just so you know...
I think I'll keep him, I wanna see what he has planned for next year!


Friday, July 16, 2010

Girls Night In Part 2

Welcome to Part 2 of my girls night in (G.N.I!). This is the part where I start give you a few recipes for a little Girly R&R.

Oh my goodness is this stuff ever good! Such flavor...such amazingly delicious flavor. Your taste buds will love you forever more. It's incredibly easy to make with fantastic results. Make it for yourself as a healthy and delicious treat or make a big batch for a party. You just can't go wrong with Bruschetta. I'm eating it as I type and....oh my....

Ok, so for starts, here's what your gonna need:

5 Ripe tomatoes, i prefer a mix of yellow and red, but either are fine
2 1/2- 3 tbs. Fresh chopped basil, dried works fine
1 tsp. Fresh chopped parsley, dried works fine
2 tbs. Olive oil
1 tbs. Balsamic Vinegar
Mozzarella (optional)
Parmesan (optional)
1 lf Herbed italian bread
Softened Butter

For starters, chop your tomatoes into small pieces and toss them into a bowl. Next, add your herbs and seasonings. You'll notice its smelling very yummy right about now...
Add your olive oil and balsamic vinegar. You can add more or less if you like, it really depends on what you like, experiment a little. Mix it up a bit.
Ok, now, I prefer to let it sit for at least 60 minutes. I think it makes the flavors happier. They've gotten to know each other a little... But, if your in a hurry, or just cant resist the deliciousness any longer, than go ahead and start on this next part immediately . It's still to die for.

It's time to pay a little attention to that italian bread. Your gonna slice it about 2 inches thick, make as many slices as you need.
So your gonna spread your slices with butter and put into a heated pan and toast them. Think how you would toast a grilled cheese sandwich. I like to call this Gourmet Toast.
When there golden brown on the outside, set them on your serving plate. Pile them as high as you can with the bruschetta topping. Top with a small shaving of parmesan.

If your eating this as a meal rather than an appetizer, I like to melt a slice of fresh mozzarella on the toast before I top it with bruschetta. Either way it's delicious.

Oh need to take a bite right now.

Banana Facial
This is one of my favorite facials to do. It leaves my face feeling smooth and hydrated. The healthy glow it leaves behind is great too! Bananas and honey contain a lot of vitamins and minerals that are good for your skin. These happen to be the 2 main ingredients for this wonderful facial. Witch hazel is the last ingredient and will leave your skin feeling clean. The combination results in a refreshing mask that requires very little money or work.

1 ripe banana
11/2 tbs honey
1/2 tbs witch hazel

I like to start by sticking the banana in a blender to make it smooth. You can use a fork, it's just a little lumpy. After the banana is smoothed add the honey and the witch hazel, mix it up and apply generously to your face and neck. Leave it on for about 10-15 minutes. I recommend applying wet tea bags to your eyes, or cool cucumbers...put on some relaxing music and pretend your at the spa for the next 15 minutes.
When your ready to take it off, wet a washcloth with the warmest water you can stand. Set the wash cloth on your face and allow the mask to soften for about 30 seconds and wipe off.
I highly recommend finishing this process with your favorite moisturizer. Spoil yourself a bit and give yourself a facial massage while your rubbing it in, moving in slow outward circular motions. You'll feel fantastic when your finished, I promise!

This along with watching 16 Candles and a fresh coat of nail polish concluded my lovely Girls Night In. I hope you enjoy my recipes, I feel rather spoiled myself....

Bea ;)


Thursday, July 15, 2010

Girl's Night In

These last few weeks my days and nights have been pleasantly filled with my wonderful husband. Sadly,the hubs is off doing field work until sometime tomorrow evening. Since I haven't had time to make any friends yet, to fill my oh so lonely evening, I have decided to have a "Girls Night In" with me. I'm goin all out tonight baby! Delicious bruschetta for dinner, a chick flick, body scrub, facial, manicure and pedicure and anything else extra girly I can think of before the testosterone comes home. Ooooooh yaaaa! Bring it on! When my hubby gets home I'm gonna look and feel smokin.
A little later on I will be posting my delicious bruschetta,homemade body scrub and facial recipes. I'm excited for this evening! It's gonna be a blast and I can't wait to share it with you!


Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Home Made Cleaning Products

My husband and I, being newlyweds, have currently had a lot of expenses! I have been on the look out for any way at all I can save money. One of the ways I've found is to make my own cleaning products. This is something I have done before, but it was usually just to have on hand in case I ran out of something. The need to save money along with what I am continually learning about chemicals and the impact on our health was all I needed to convince me that this was a good choice for us. I've put a little info about the ingredients I use and the recipes :)

White Vinegar
This is gentle enough to use on hardwood floors, but can cut through dirt and soap scum. It is also a deodorizer, this doesn't just cover up the smell! Plus, the vinegar smell goes away as soon as it dries.

Baking Soda
This is a great replacement for other scouring powders. It is mildy abrasive and is a natural deodorizer.It works well for the bath tub and kitchen sink.

Essential Oils (Therapeutic Grade)
These don't just leave a pleasant scent behind, they have been proven to contain disinfectant properties equal to those in other more toxic cleaners. They also make a nice cover for the smell of vinegar while your cleaning!

Disinfectant Essential Oils (Therapeutic Grade)

Lavender (use this in combination with another as it is more for scent)

All Purpose Cleaner (Windows Included)

9-15 drops of your favorite disinfectant Essential Oils
(I use Lemon and Peppermint)

Get your "squirt bottle". Mix 1/2 vinegar, 1/2 water. Add the oils, put on the lid and shake.
This is my favorite cleaner mix. It cleans glass beautifully, and I know that the oils are disinfecting. Plus, it leaves a very fresh scent behind.

Bathroom Cleaner
Same as All Purpose Cleaner but with Cinnamon and Clove Oil

Tub/Sink Scrub


6 tbs Baking Soda
5 drops of your favorite Essential Oil (optional)
5-6 tbs Water

Your gonna mix the water and baking soda into a paste and add the lemon oil. Grab your sponge and your ready to go! (For tougher soap scum let sit for 10-15 minutes)

Fabric Softener

1 cup Vinegar
5 drops of your favorite Essential Oil

This not only helps keep your washer free of soap buildup, but it softens your clothes without leaving an residue. This is great for anyone with sensitive. No worries, your clothes will NOT smell of vinegar. If you prefer dryer softeners, just cover a damp wash cloth with 5 drops of your favorite essential oil.

Toilet Bowl Cleaner

10 drops Clove and Cinnamon Essential Oil (Optional)

Fill spray bottle with vinegar and oils. Spray directly into bowl and scrub.
Poor vinegar straight into towlet bowl and scrub with toilet brush.

I hope you find these useful. Not only are they easy and effective, but they are incredibly CHEAP! WOOOWOOO! I love when those three words can be put in the same sentence!

I'd love to hear if you have any home made recipes of your own!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

"The Omnivores Dilemma"

Time for a book review! I may or may not have told you this yet, but I am a slight health freak. Not that I don't have some unhealthy recipes, but for the most part, fresh organic fruits, vegetables and meats is something I strive for.

My mother-in-law bought me "The Omnivore's Dilemma" By Michael Pollan as a gift for my birthday. I am nearly finished with it, and I think it is one of the most informative books on modern dietary practices so far. He breaks down whats really in the foods we eat, and what it means for our bodies. Italic

If you are looking for information on how to be truly healthy, this is an amazing book to read. This is not a diet book. There are many questions right now about what true health means. A lot of people are questioning the food that is being forced down our throats. Even more people are wondering if the medical problems we have today are directly related to what we are eating. Well, the answer is, YES! Even those who may think they are eating "good" foods may be surprised at what they find in this book.

Please read this book! I learned SO much, and am SO glad I did. Women tend to feel a huge sense of responsibility to keep their families healthy, and often a strong sense of guilt when they don't know how to do that. Much of the food we consume is no longer made the way it once was. I feel more educated than ever on what to look for when I am purchasing food for my family. Knowing that I'm doing everything I can to keep my husband and I healthy gives me peace of mind.


Monday, July 12, 2010

Pretzel Chicken

This is a delicious recipe I got from one of my sister-in-law's. At first, I was a little sceptical, I really don't like pretzels. On second bite though, I realized it is quite delicious. There a crunchy delicious spin on Chicken Tenders. Please try them, there delicious. Did I mention there really delicious?

Pretzel Chicken

2 chicken breasts, sliced
3 c. crushed salted pretzels
1 tbs. parsley
1tsp. garlic powder
1tsp. fresh pepper
2 eggs (be sure to use eggs, milk isnt sticky enough to hold the pretzels)
Oil for frying

So, your gonna start by crushing up your favorite pretzels. You can do this with a food processor, but I've found that it usually gets a little too powdery. So I like to smoosh them with a cup in a bowl. Next, your gonna lightly scramble the eggs in a separate bowl. First, dip into the eggs, than dip into the the pretzels. Make sure its really well covered.

Now, set the chicken in a pan of hot oil. I usually keep the heat just under med-hi.

After about 3-5 min flip it over. They should be a deep golden brown.
When there finished just set them on a plate lined with paper towls to soak up excess grease. All thats left now is to eat that crunchy delicious chicken.

I hope you love them! My sister-in-law serves them with steamed new potatoes and spinach. My husbands loves it with a salad and roasted potatoes. My personal favorite is with a spinach salad. The possibilities are endless!


Sunday, July 11, 2010

Bookaholics Anonymous

My name is Bea, and I'm a bookaholic.

It all started with my mom reading me bedtimes stories....the next thing I knew I was hiding books and flashlights under my pillow! Now.... now I frequent all sorts of book sales, used book stores and amazon collecting cook books, fiction, non-fiction, educational, craft books... I'm unstoppable!

Now, you might be saying, " Bea, that's not so many books! Nothing a book shelf wont cure!"

I must confess a bit more.... I still have a good 30 books in storage... I've already started looking into the local library sales. I mean... who can pass up $0.10 a book???? As of now there is no proven treatment for bookaholics.

So I guess...that means I can keep on buying books...and stacking them up...and reading and re-reading their marvelous content! In fact, the more I think about it, I don't have a problem at all! Thanks for helping me clear that up, I feel much better now!

Bea :)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

A Little "Efficient Living"

There is a lot of talk going on about "Green Living". For me, it's not so much about being "Green" as its about "Living Efficiently". In my opinion, "Going Green" is often impracticle and expensive. I think a lot of women feel like I do, we want to do our part for the environment and our economy; but in a practical way. For us, our families come before our environment. We aren't interested in spending money on "solutions" that don't fit into our day to day life. We want to do our part, SAVE money and live efficiently.

Here's a few practicle and cost effective options I found:

1. Switch to cloth grocery bags. Not only are they cheap and reusable, but you can find some really fun ones that can be used for more than just groceries. Many stores even take $0.05-$0.15 off your total for each reusable bag you use. It's not a lot, but every penny helps!

2. Lower the temperature on your water heater to 140 degrees or lower if you can stand it. I like my hot shower's so we had ours set to 160 degrees. I was a little concerned about this one, but found that 140 degrees still allows for a nice hot shower without using quite so much electricity.

3. Purchase reusable water bottles for you and your family. These can be as pricey as you want them to be. It depends on what your looking for and how flashy you want them. However, no matter which way you look at it they eventually pay for themselves. Not only that, you don't have to worry about that pesky BPA.

4. Shop at your local farmers markets. Not only does this give you a chance to get outta the house and spend some time with your family, but it gives you an opportunity to see what is readily available. This is a HUGE economy booster.

5. Consider using more natural cleaners. You can make your own out of vinegar and baking soda with a few drops of essential oil (extremely cost effective) or you can purchase natural cleaners with recyclable containers. Both are an effective way of cleaning your home and helping the environment.

6. Recycling. I just see no reason at all to throw something out that can be reused, so for those of you who live closer to a recycling post, this is rather easy and can actually bring in a bit of money. Most grocery stores will accept your metal and plastic recycling bags. An added bonus, kids tend to find this to be a really fun chore!

I hope you've found this helpful! I know there are many more ways to "Live Efficiently", but these are the ones I've been able to easily implement in my own home.


Friday, July 9, 2010

Happily Domestic

One of my "Blogspirations" is Happily Domestic. It's filled with lots of tips for homemakers everywhere. Its really quite enjoyable. If you scroll to the top of this page, you'll see a button that sais " Celebrate the Joys of Homemaking". This little button will take you to her lovely blog and show a rather fantastic giveaway she's having starting the 17th of this month. Be sure to check it out,you'll be glad you did!


Monday, July 5, 2010

Vanilla Bunt Cake w/ Chocolate Fudge Icing

I would like to start this post with a little conversation I had with my husband around 1am this morning. He had been sleeping about 2 hrs at this point. It went a bit like this:
"That was good babe"
"That was good"
"What was good?"
" The cake, it was really good"
" know that was like 3 hrs ago right?"
"What...? Oh..."
I was laughing...really hard. I think maybe the recipe was pretty good if my husband was dreaming about it... You see, I had an intense craving for cake last night. Since, the hubs obviously liked it so much, I thought I would share it with you. I'll add a recipe for chocolate buttercream icing later, but I was feeling a bit lazy last night and just used store bought. I hope you like it!

Vanilla Bunt Cake

1/2 c. unsalted butter ( salted works too, just don't add any salt to dry mixture)
1 c. sugar, minus 2 tbs.
2 tbs. light brown sugar
3 eggs
1 1/2 tbs vanilla

2 c. cake flour (regular flour works fine, cake flour makes it a bit lighter)
2 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1/2 tsp. salt
3/4 c. whole milk (trust me, whole is better :)

Pre-heat 350 degrees.
In separate bowl cream butter and sugar. After mixing add one egg at a time making sure to mix well. Add vanilla. After mixing dry ingredients, slowly add it and the milk to wet mixture, mixing as you go.

In buttered bunt cake pan poor mixture until about 1/2 to 3/4 full. You'll need to bake it for roughly 30 minutes, but keep an eye on it. You don't want it to be brown. As soon as its cooled, slather on as much iceing as your heart desires!


Bea :)