Friday, September 30, 2011

Saving a candle

I love scented candles. I think that's why I love going into Aveda or's always scented in their stores. I usually get soy candles since they burn longer, at lower heat, and clean. A few years back I found Wicked Bean at my local farmer's market. I instantly fell in love with their unique scents - White Tea Cactus, Winter Sage, and Chardonnay & Apricots. Sandra, the founder taught me to light candles for at least long enough for the top layer to pool. That way you get a complete burn vs a hole down the middle. I thought this hold true with all candles, nope. I got a soy candle from Pottery Barn as a gift and no matter how long I burn the darn thing, it doesn't seem to pool the top layer. It's a total waste that probably 1/2 of it is left.

Put the candle in the microwave to melt down the soy wax.

Drop in a wick and wait.
Ah ha!
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Thursday, September 29, 2011


Coconut water is all the craze these days. When I was pregnant with my first, my mother used to buy young coconuts by the case at the asian markets and have me drink these. I got hooked! She still buys in bulk for me. I'm just not very good with hacking the tops she has to do it for me. A case of 9 can go for only $6.99. When I'm in a bind, I settle for Vita Coco. It's as close to the real deal. Other times when the urge hits and I'm at a store that doesn't carry Vita Coco, plan B is Zico.

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Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Instead of Cards

What a great idea!  I have another baby shower to go to this weekend.  I think that's my 6th year to date!  It was requested that in lieu of cards, to give a book and write your well wishes inside.  That way the child would have something of permanence to enjoy.  The only down fall is you really can't get popular books, in fear of the child getting duplicates.  So I hope no one else go this one:

Tuesday, September 27, 2011


My parents tree is producing a lot of fruit this year. I came home with 2 re-usable bags full of these lovely pomergrantes. I shared some with my neighbors with plenty left. I usually cut them and peel under a large bowl of water to prevent spraying. But today, I remember seeing an episode of Martha Stewart Living where she got the seeds out but tapping the skin with a wooden spoon! Here's the video clip with the
founder of POM.

I plan on juicing and putting it in the freezer for later use.

There's a ton for recipes on POM Wonderful's website. I can't wait to try the:

POM Sorbetto

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Coconut Cupcakes

I make these a couple times a year, and every time it's a hit. I fell in LOVE with coconut cupcakes years ago when I used to work in Santa Barbara. My co-work Deb would make a batch a couple times each year and bring it in for all to enjoy. I really never even considered trying it, but everyone said I had to, even for someone who doesn't particularly like coconuts, I was an instant fan. Deb made her using Ina Garten's, aka Barefoot Contessa, recipe. Very good, calling for lots of sugar, butter and eggs = 774 per cupcake!

While listening to Good Food on KCRW (local LA NPR radio station), I heard about an interview with LA Times writer Noelle Carter about Auntie Em's. He even included the recipe in his article. So I gave that a try. Tastes pretty darn close to Ina Garten's. It calls for oil instead of butter and less eggs = 463 per cupcake. The recipe yields 18, but I always come out with 20. Mine are probably a wee bit less since I use low fat cream cheese for the frosting.
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Friday, September 16, 2011

Special Thank You!

Look at what arrived this week. I entered in Luke & Hailie Girl's giveaway sponsored by Under a New Light a couple weeks ago, and won!

If you have a chance, go check out both the blog and the website.
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Banana Carrot Bread

The Piggie and I made this lovely banana carrot bread over the weekend. I found the recipe on Preetys Kitchen blog. I modified it with 1 ½ cups of carrots and 2 mashed bananas. I didn’t have plain apple sauce on hand, but did have a small cup of raspberry applesauce I found in the refrigerator. This is a dense and moist loaf. We're enjoying it very much.
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Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Hippie Chic

I made these wrapped bracelets using the tutorial on Honestly WTF. Since I was out of town and couldn't find the supplies listed, I modified my materials using hemp cord instead of waxed linen, 2mm cotton cord instead of Greek leather, and plastic bead trim instead of ball chain. Looks just as great for a fraction of the price! I'll be trying out the rhinestone version for some extra bling.

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Tuesday, September 13, 2011

This is what $7 buys at Whole Foods

We went to Chick-Fil-A for dinner last night using the a Groupon we bought ($8 for up to $17 in 2 combo meals). Which is good for us because we go there maybe once a month. The Mr stayed with the Piggie as she finished her ice cream cone. *If you don't want the book they give you in the kids meal, you can swap it out for an ice cream cone. I walked over to Whole Foods because my sister has been raving about Icelandic yogurt being better than Greek. Anyways, I went over there with the intent of buying apples and yogurt. I walked in and saw a beautiful display of heirloom tomatoes and had to take one home for me. Finally on my way out I walked by a sea weed display. For $0.99 I wanted to try out their "low sodium" version. To be honest, I really don't know how it compares to the ones you get at the Korean market. Now I know the low sodium is 50mg...I'll make sure I check.

So here's the deal - I'm all about trying to eat organic and buy local. However for $7, I feel like I can get a lot more bang for my buck at farmer's market. I paid $2.49/lb on the apples and $3.59/lb on the tomato. I guess that's the premium I pay for getting pseudo farmer's market fresh on a whim. I'm just saying.
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Monday, September 12, 2011

Bird Cage Veil

Bird cage veils are all the rage these days with brides. My sister wanted one for her wedding to my surprise. You can find them all over Etsy and at Bridal Salons. We felt a little hesitant if it would work with her dress and didn't want to spend a small fortune on it. We found a great tutorial on and I ordered supplies from on GS Boutique on Etsy.  Total cost was less than $8.00!  It totally completed her look : )
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Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Fabric Button Magnet

I keep a bag full of scraps from previous projects knowing that one day I can use it for something. Last night I made fabric button magnets. To make your own fabric buttons, you can pick up one of these kits from Joann's. I used pliers to pull off the button loop in the back and glued little round magnets to the back using my E-6000.

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Sunday, September 4, 2011

Multi-Grain Blueberry Muffins

I got my most recent copy of Real Simple magazine in the mail a couple days ago. While thumbing through, I came across this Multi-Grain Blueberry muffin. It only has 189 calories per muffin and can keep in the freezer for up to 1 month. So I made a batch last night and they were delicious. I had most of the ingredients in my pantry, I just had to get some plain non fat yogurt and frozen blueberries. It worked out to be $0.40 per muffin.

I was planning to link the recipe from Real Simple Magazine, but they haven't posted it yet, so here it is:
1 1/4 C whole wheat flour, spooned & leveled
1 C old fashion rolled oats
1/4 C flaxseed meal
1/4 C pecans (I didn't use nuts in mine)
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp kosher salt (I used TJs sea salt)
1 C plain non fat yogurt
1/2 C packed light brown sugar
3 Tsp unsalted melted butter
1 T grated orange zest, plus 1/4 C orange juice
1 lg egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
2 C fresh blueberries or one 8-oz bag frozen blueberries.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line 12 cup muffin pan with paper liners.  In a food processor, process flour, oats, flaxseed meal, pecans, baking powder, baking soda, and salt until finely ground.

In a large mixing bowl, whisk together yogurt, sugar, butter, orange zest & juice, egg, and vanilla.  Add the flour mixture & mix until incorporated.  Fold in blueberries.

Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups.  Bake until tooth pick inserted in the center comes out clean, 22-25 mins.

Muffins will keep at room temp for 3 days, and in freezer for 1 month - warm in mircowave 1-2 mins

I added 1/2 tsp of almond extract in a second batch and it makes it even more kid friendly.

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Friday, September 2, 2011

Diaper sack

I made a couple draw string bags for the kids to keep their socks and undies (hers) together. Then it dawned on me that I can make a sack as a diaper clutch. This holds a few diapers, wipes and a disposable changing pad. Nice alternative to a full blown diaper bag. I would have used the one I've already made, but left it at a friends house a few weeks ago when we were there for a birthday party.

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Thursday, September 1, 2011

Jersey Knit Scarf

From the pile of fabrics I picked up a few weeks ago, one of them was this charcoal gray knit jersey with light grey lined pattern for $0.25! Initially I had planned to make a little ruffled skirt for the Piggie, but then decided on something for myself instead. I made myself a scarf for fall. I just cut strips and re-attached them on as one continuous loop. Turned out pretty cute. I would go just a bit wider next time for a fuller effect.

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Hearts for Dinner

The little Piggie is actually really good at eating her veggies. We don't have to do much to get her to eat corn or peas. She started really diggin on broccoli after reading "Monsters Don't Eat Broccoli" by Barbara Jean Hicks. We met the author last year at Santa Babara's Children's Books Festival and got a signed copy. Last night, I got an email from my sister-in-law about using muffin tins for feeding toddlers and got a little inspiration. I usually serve the kids their dinner in one of these slotted trays from Target. This time I used my heart shaped cookie cutter for her sandwich. She was DELIGHTED!

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