Aug 04, 2016
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Dudes.

 

I am on a tequila kick this summer.  I blame having a newborn.  My motto for this new little baby is: work smarter, not harder.  So far, so good, as the babe is HUGE and sleepy and sweet.

 

But, that doesn’t mean I’m not exhausted and thirsty.  Tequila sounds like the only remedy.  Amitrite?!?

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So I created this super, flippin’ delicious cocktail with ripe peaches, tasty tequila, and some fresh mint.  Absolutely perfect for summertime patio sitting.

 

And I promise you, the simple syrup is CAKE to make.  Don’t let that scare you from not making this hot little number.

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Peach Mint Margarita

 

2 oz Peach Simple Syrup (recipe below)

2 oz  silver tequila

1.5 oz Cointreau

1-2 oz fresh squeezed lime juice

3-4 fresh mint leaves

ice

kosher salt for rimming the glass

lime wedge for garnish

 

Rim glass with lime wedge and dip rim of glass into kosher salt and fill with ice.  Then, add 2 ounces of Peach Simple Syrup and silver tequila to glass.  Add 1.5 ounces of Cointreau and 1-2 ounces of lime juice (I like mine more sour so I do the 2 ounces).  Add the mint leaves and stir until mixed.  Add lime wedge for garnish and enjoy.  Makes 1 margarita.

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Peach Simple Syrup

1 cup of water

1 cup of sugar

1 ripe peach, cut into chunks

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Add water, sugar and peach chunks to a small saucepan and bring to a boil, stirring occasionally.  Turn heat down to a simmer for 10 minutes, stirring occasionally.  Remove from heat and strain the syrup from the peach chunks in a glass container.  Let cool completely and store, covered, in the refrigerator.

 

 

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Jul 09, 2016
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It’s summer time and I’m exhausted.  Black coffee is still a staple in the morning, but when afternoon comes around and I need a little pick me up, I have been making iced coffee to enjoy.  I HATE!!! the oil-based creamers out there so sweetened condensed milk is my favorite addition to cold coffee, Vietnamese-style.  Yes, you can just add the canned stuff, and it is tasty, but I wanted more.  More flavor, more depth.

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I have seen lavender latte recipes floating around on the internet, but I wasn’t loving the idea of making a syrup to add to my coffee but I was loving the condensed milk, so I came up with a way to make lavender infused sweetened condensed milk.  It was pretty simple, but you need to have an hour to consistently stir the milk mixture to make this.  But let me tell you, IT IS WORTH IT.   The sweet lavender milk is so good, I was tempted to drink all of the milk with a straw once it had cooled.  It is SO GOOD!!

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Want to make your own?  Here is what you need and how I did it:

1.5 cups of milk, whole or 2%

1/2 cup of sugar

2 tbsp of dried lavender

1/4 tsp of vanilla extract (optional)

First you need to infuse the milk with the lavender.  It’s really easy, you just need to make sure you don’t over heat the milk to prevent curdling.  Yuck.

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To infuse the milk, combine the milk and the lavender in a saucepan and bring the milk to a simmer.  As soon as bubbles start to form, turn off the heat and let it sit for 20 minutes.  Then, strain out the lavender and return the milk to the saucepan.

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Then I followed this awesome recipe from the Food 52 blog, but instead of it taking 2 hours, my milk reduced in an hour, which was nice because devoting 2 hours to stirring did not sound fun.  Again, you need to watch the heat on this to prevent curdling.  Double yuck.

This reduced down to about 2/3 cups of sweetened condensed milk and I split my milk into 2 small jars to try one with vanilla added and one without.  I liked both versions so I can’t say which tastes better as I really liked them both.  So if you like vanilla, I say add it, and if not, leave it out, it still tastes amazing!lavlatte_0009

Once your infused milk has cooled, it’s time to make your coffee!  Pour it into a glass, add ice cubes and then add 2-3 (or 4 or 5) tablespoons of the milk and stir to combine.

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Pop in a straw and POOF!  Your iced coffee dreams have come true!

The lavender pairs so well with the cold coffee and the milk, it is absolute coffee perfection!  I will be drinking these all summer long and think you should too!

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Jun 22, 2016
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I’m back, you guys!

Yay!

 

And guess what?  So is Ecto Cooler!

Yay times a million!!!!!

 

Remember that super-duper, tasty, bright green “juice” from the 80’s?  It’s back in stores along with the upcoming release of the new Ghostbusters movie this summer.  And while I am down with the all-chick cast, I am 100% in love with the fact that Ecto is back AND it tastes so familiar and delicious, just like back in the day of crimped hair and pinned pants.

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So, to get back in the swing of things, I made a fun little video for the cocktail and would love you forever if you watched it.  Double bonus points if you actually make it and share it with your friends.

 

Making this recipe couldn’t be simpler.  Here is the breakdown of the recipe to save for later:

 

Pineapple Ecto Punch

makes 1 cocktail

 

4 oz Hi-C Ecto Cooler

3 oz pineapple juice

2 oz St. Germain

3-4 leaves of fresh mint

 

Add all ingredients to a glass full of ice, stir, and enjoy ALL SUMMER LONG before the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man comes to smash up your town.

 

 

 

 

 

May 20, 2016
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My oldest boy is 8, and when he was a tiny baby, the blankets they had for swaddling were about the size of a tissue.  And when I say “tiny baby” I mean the size of a toddler.  Imaging wrapping a toddler in a piece of 20×20 inch piece of fabric.  He kicked out of that burrito wrap in about 4 seconds and was squirreling around, refusing to nap.  Frustration.

 

Enter 2016.  Some genius had a great idea to make those swaddle blankets HUGE.  And soft.  And adorable.  And charge $40+ per blanket.  Genius!

 

But what if I told you, you could make your own super cute/trendy/huge/adorable/soft swaddle blanket for the $10-$18 per blanket?  You do NOT need to be a genius at the sewing machine to make these.  Plus, yours will be made with love.  (all of the heart emojis!!!!)

 

How is that for genius?!?

 

If you own a sewing machine, or have a super duper nice friend who has one and knows how to make 4 simple seams, you are in business.

 

Most of those high-end blankets are about 40×40 inches and have a simple seam on all 4 edges.  That is exactly what I did.  I bought 1 yard of double gauze at my local (the always awesome Crafty Planet) fabric store and measured out a perfect square of 40.5 inches from edge to edge.  Ironing the fabric at this point is a good idea in case there are any weird folds/creases in the fabric. This will help ensure that your square is square.

 

Then I folded over 1/4 of an inch edge and folded over 1/4 of an inch AGAIN so no raw edges of the fabric were showing and pinned the fold about every 4 inches, making sure that the edges stayed straight.  Then, I set my sewing machine to the largest zigzag stitch and sewed down all 4 edges nice and slow so everything looked as professional as possible.

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Then, I tied off the loose threads and washed it.  Literally, the easiest sewing project ever.

 

I made a blanket and it was so satisfying to have a cute blanket made in an awesome print of my choosing.  That is what makes the interwebs and online shopping so wonderful, I found so many unique and bright fabrics on so many sites, I literally wanted to buy them all.  There is quite the selection for unisex fabrics, without making anything too girlie or too blue/truck/boyish, if that is the route you want to take.  Very modern and stylish.  Or there are very girlie or very boyish style fabrics too.

 

Cotton muslin or double gauze are 2 good fabrics to start with, both washable and soft.  Here are some links to start your hunt for cool and funky fabric:

Double gauze from Fabric.com

Organic double gauze from HartsFabric.com

Cotton muslin from Fabric.com

Or, if you’re in Minnesota, head to Crafty Planet and grab some local wares, that is where I found mine.

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Now if I could only figure out how to make my own video baby monitor with corresponding smart phone app, THAT would make me a genius.  😉

 

I have also been busy sewing little fabric scrap stuffed animals which my kids LOVE and take a few hours to make.

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Then, I have been working on this 45×45 quilt, which is easy to start and a royal pain in the ass to finish.  No matter how many YouTube videos I watch about how to attach the quilt binding, I still hate it with the passion of a thousand fires.  My favorite part is the unicorn from the Lizzy House line, obviously.  But the color scheme was fun to work with and I had never worked with triangle fabric pieces before, so for my 2nd ever quilt, it turned out “mediocre at best”, in my opinion.

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Apr 06, 2016
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I love baked goods.  Cookies, pies, and yummy, yummy breads.  I am on the fence when it comes to cake and doughnuts–don’t judge me, it just depends on the day/flavor.

 

I came across this recipe LONG before Pinterest.  I found it in a magazine years ago and wrote it out on a recipe card, and that, really dates me, doesn’t it?  You can search “Peanut Butter Brownie Cookies” and all of the recipes are pretty much this exact one, so I can’t exactly say where I got it from, but trust me, this cookie is tasty AF.  How can you go wrong with chocolate and peanut butter?!?  It is a gift from the heavens.  Nomnomnomnom.

 

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Peanut Butter Brownie Cookies

1 box packaged brownie mix

1/4 cup melted vegetable shortening

4 oz cream cheese

1 egg

1/2 cup powdered sugar

1/2 cup peanut butter

 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Beat brownie mix, melted Crisco, cream cheese, and egg in a mixer until the dough is well blended.  Roll dough into balls, about golf ball size and place on cookie sheet.  (Dough will be very sticky.)

 

In a small bowl, mix peanut butter and powdered sugar until well blended.  Roll into balls, about the size of a large marble and press them into brownie dough.

 

Bake at 350 degrees for 12-14 minutes.  Cool on rack and then eat until your heart’s content.

Mar 02, 2016
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This morning I was on the Dave Ryan in the Morning Show as their Almost Co-Host of the Day.  Dave, Falen, & Steve were super duper nice and to make sure that we would be BFF’s, I brought along some Grapefruitcello, because you can never go wrong with morning vodka.  Amirite?!?

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We talked about some weird jobs I’ve had, my run-in with the Backstreet Boys back in the day, and how you never read the internet comments about yourself because people can be jackasses sometimes.

 

I included the audio clip above, if you missed it or want to relive all of the humor, crazy stories, or the insults that make morning radio sparkle.

 

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Feb 15, 2016
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I’m currently working with a group of ladies who all came up with recipes inspired by Oscar nominated movies in anticipation for the 2016 Oscars.  You can make these recipes for an Oscar party that your hosting or attending or just if you are looking for some new recipes to add to your food and drink repertoire.

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The movie I was using for inspiration was Mad Max: Fury Road.  The trailer reminded me a bit of one of my favorite movies ever, Tank Girl.  What can I say??  I have an affinity for chicks with shaved heads who get crazy and blow shit up in deserts.

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Unfortunately for the super hot Charlize Theron and her rescue wives, this movie just wasn’t as appealing as I thought it would be, but I don’t think I was the target market of this movie.  Maybe it’s because I’m older now and the thought of all that sand getting in my mouth and hair really did not sit well.  How much dirt, grime and soot did they actually eat by just breathing?  Blech.  With all of the dust and explosions, all I wanted to do after the movie was brush my teeth and take a shower.  Visually, the movie was shot really well and I loved the artistic side of it from a photographer point of view.

 

My recipe is a palate cleanser of sorts, because gritty sand in my mouth makes me gag.  My most favorite flavor to get a yucky taste out of my mouth is citrus, more specifically, I have been OBSESSED with ruby red grapefruit for the past few months.  I am a HUGE fan of making liqueur at home and have a soft spot in my heart for all types of homemade ‘cellos.

 

Typically, limoncello is an after dinner drink in Italy, and my Ruby Red Grapefruitcello is perfect liqueur to sip after spending the day trying to blow up crusty, filthy warlords with creepy skeleton denture masks in the wasteland.

 

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Ruby Red Grapefruitcello

2 1/2 cups high quality vodka (this time I used Prairie Organic Vodka)
4 large ruby red grapefruits peeled, then juiced
1 cup water
1 cup sugar

optional: add 1/2 of a cut and scraped vanilla bean to the grapefruit peel/vodka mixture.  YUM.

Make sure all of the grapefruits are scrubbed under hot water and soap with a brush.  Peel grapefruits with peeler carefully.  Try to only peel off the skin without removing the white pith underneath.  It is very bitter and will make the liqueur taste bitter as well.  Put peels in large glass container with the vodka.  Set aside.
Juice the grapefruits.  You will get around 2 cups of juice.
Next, make the simple syrup.  Add 1 cup of water, 1.5 cup of sugar, and the squeezed grapefruit juice to a medium saucepan.  Place over a high heat and bring to a gentle boil, stirring once in a while for 4 minutes.  Let syrup cool to room temperature and then add to the vodka/grapefruit peel mixture.
Let mixture sit for AT LEAST 72 hours in a cool, dark place, I used the refrigerator.  When you are ready to serve, strain out the peels and store in the fridge or freezer.  (I like pulp so I used a wider colander so the pulp could make it through, but if you don’t like pulp, strain through a finer sieve.)  Serve over ice, with soda or champagne.  Makes around 4 cups.
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This nummy, nummy, nummy ‘cello will knock any dirt and grime out of your mouth.  Yay!
Be sure to check out the other recipes that were created by the other gals that were inspired by some of the top movies of 2015:
Feb 02, 2016
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It’s supposed to snow in Minnesota today.  I love snow, but so far this year, whenever it’s predicted to be a big storm, it ends up being a measly 2 inch snowfall.  Meh.

 

This is Minnesota, dammit.  I want piles and piles of snow outside my door.  I want to spend hours outside shoveling my driveway, have the plow drive by and spend another 40 minutes re-shoveling the end of my driveway.  I want my dogs to grow snowballs in their fur after jumping through snowdrifts.  I want to lose my kids in the backyard for a bit while they make an epic fort.

 

Here’s hoping that today’s rumored storm actually delivers.  Until that happens, let’s channel a Minnesota summer filled with pasta salad.  This is a very easy dish that you can make year round and in no time at all.  I load up on the veggies so the boys get their required vegetable intake in 1 bowl and I don’t have to make anything else, this 1 bowl covers everything.  All you need to do is cook the noodles, cut up a couple of veggies and stir it up.  Simple.  And because sometimes the laziest of meals are the yummiest.

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What you’ll need:

1 box of rotini noodles, cooked

8-10 oz of Italian dressing

1 cup baby carrots, chopped

1 large head of broccoli, chopped

10.5 oz container of baby tomatoes, I used Golden Sunburst

1- 6 oz package of pepperoni

 

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Cook the box of pasta according to the directions on the box.  Make sure you salt the water, unsalted noodles are less flavorful.  Drain and rinse the noodles under cold water until no longer hot.  Add noodles to a large bowl.  Chop up carrots until you have 1 cup, add to bowl.  Chop up 1 head of broccoli, make sure the pieces are small enough to stab with a fork and eat, add to bowl.  Add entire container of tomatoes and pepperoni.  Pour in 8-10 oz of Italian dressing and stir to evenly coat the noodles and vegetables.  Chill before serving.

 

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Poof, you’re done.  We eat this year round and the boys really like it.  The pepperoni adds a little spice while the veggies keep it fresh.   And whether is snows 3 feet or not, Pepperoni & Veggie Pasta Salad is a yummy dinner that takes little effort and is what it’s like to win at life.  Boom.

Jan 05, 2016
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Can you believe I have been appearing on Twin Cities Live for a year now?  Craziness, I tell you!

 

I reprised my role as a “lifestyle expert” today as I mixed up some delicious chocolatey goodness.  And for you non-chocolate lovers, a flavorful vanilla drink.  And if you can’t be pleased with “hot” or vanilla, I made a super amazing Pretzel and Salted Caramel Frozen Hot Chocolate.  YES.  (There happens to be a secret announcement in this appearance, so watch it or be out of the loop!)

Mint Cookies and Cream Cocoa
makes 2 servings

recipe inspiration via www.therecipecritic.com

2 cups of milk, scalded

5 fresh mint leaves

3.5 oz of milk chocolate, chopped

5 Oreo cookies (filing removed), crushed

whipped cream, optional
Directions:
Add milk to saucepan and heat over medium low heat.  You do not want to let the milk boil, you want it warmed to just below boiling, or “scald” it.  Take milk off heat, add the mint leaves and let sit for 10 minutes.  Strain the leaves out of the milk.  Return milk to saucepan and place over heat, adding the chocolate.  Whisk until chocolate is dissolved.  Pour milk into mugs and add some crushed Oreo cookies to the milk.  Garnish with whipped cream and crushed Oreo.  Serve immediately.
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Hot Vanilla

makes 4 servings

recipe inspiration via www.recipesthatcrock.com

4 cups of milk

1 cinnamon stick

1 1/2 tbsp sugar (add another 1 1/2 tbsp of sugar if you like sweeter milk)

1 tbsp vanilla, or 1 inch of vanilla bean, sliced and scraped

pinch of salt
pinch of nutmeg
whipped cream, optional

Directions:

Add all ingredients to a crock pot.  Stir until sugar is dissolved.  Set crock pot to “low” and heat for 2 hours, stirring occasionally.  Serve in mugs and garnish with whipped cream and ground cinnamon.

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Pretzel & Salted Caramel Frozen Hot Chocolate
makes 2 servings
3 cups chocolate ice cream
1 cup milk
1/4 cup salted chocolate caramel sauce
1 packet salted caramel hot cocoa powder
1/4 cup crushed pretzels
whipped cream, optional
Directions:

Add all ingredients to a blender and blend until smooth.  Pour into glasses and garnish with whipped cream, crushed pretzels, salted caramel sauce and serve immediately.

Also!  I made a slight hair change to ring in the new year.  Say hello to Granny hair, silver hair, gray hair, whatever you wanna call it, I’m loving it!
It’s a color from Wella called Cooling Violet.  I’m feeling so “on trend” right now, it’s crazy!!
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Dec 31, 2015
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Today is the last day of 2015.  This year, I am laying low with the boys and dogs and staying home.

 

But that doesn’t mean we aren’t going to get a little funky with tasty food and fabulous attire.

 

For the last-minute people out there (ME), I have two NYE ideas to share.  One is a delicious Seafood Salad recipe and the other is a simple, but oh, so sparkly, star headband.

 

My Seafood Salad recipe is fairly new, but really delicious.  I made it for Christmas Eve on a whim and it couldn’t have turned out more perfect.  It’s a yummy mix of crab, shrimp, and spices.  I only have one photo of it to share (It was Christmas Eve and I had family on their way over and I was cooking in pajamas, gimme a break!) but I want to stress how flippin’ fabulous this is on club crackers.  I honestly almost ate the whole bowl.

 

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Super Seafood Salad

1 package small cooked salad shrimp, usually in frozen section, thawed

8oz (or more) of imitation crab, flake style, shredded

salt and pepper, to taste

3 tbsp of lemon juice

2 stalks of celery, finely chopped

1/4 green onion, finely chopped

1/2 tsp of fresh dill, finely chopped

mayo, about 1/2 cup, add a little more if too dry

 

Mix everything in a medium glass bowl and cover with plastic wrap.  Let it sit in the fridge for about an hour for flavors to mix.  Serve chilled with crackers.

 

 

 

Cardboard Star Headband

Thin piece of cardboard, I got mine from the packaging of new pajamas

star shape, I used a cookie cutter and traced it

ModPodge & paintbrush

different golds/oranges colors of glitter

hole punch

bakers twine

 

First, I traced 7 large stars on the thin cardboard and cut them out.  I made 4 smaller stars to add to the layout.

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Then, I arranged them how I wanted the headband to look and glued them in place.  After they were dry, I glued the 4 smaller stars on to the crown.

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After everything was dry, I punched out 2 holes at either end of the headband.

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Then it was time to glitter.  This will be messy, so lay down some paper to catch the loose glitter and glue.  I painted a coat of glue on to the entire front of the headband.  While the glue was still wet, I got to business with the glitter application.  I used gold and copper on the large stars and orange on the smaller stars.  I had to do the glue/glitter process a few time to make sure all of the cardboard was covered.

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After I was done sprinkling glitter and the glue was dry, I painted another coat of glue OVER the glitter to lock it down.  Since I am going to wear it on my head, I don’t want all of that sparkly stuff to end up in my hair, eyes and mouth.  This step seals the glitter in.  Let dry completely.

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Tie 2 long pieces of bakers twine to the holes punched in at the ends of the headband and tie in a bow at the back of your head.

 

Sparkly star headband is complete!  Now get out there, eat some Seafood Salad, be sparkly, and be safe out there tonight, friends!!

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