Tag Archive | recipes

Last Minute Christmas Gifts- DIY Hair & Body Oil!

I hope you are enjoying this series and ready to complete your gift sets today! If you’re just joining me, be sure to check out my previous two blog posts to catch up on the great d.i.y. gifts perfect for any occasion. Today, we are creating this oh-so-fancy (but affordable) hair & body oil.

This oil combines vitamin-rich, antioxidant, moisturizing properties to make a perfect treatment for dry, sensitive skin and for the treatment of hair damage and loss. It can be gently heated in water to use as hot oil treatment. Leaving you with rich moisturized and luxurious locks of hair.

The 3 oils that we will be using are: Olive oil, Vitamin E oil, and Sunflower Oil. Best of all the olive and vitamin e oil can be found at Dollar Tree! The large bottle of sunflower oil was purchased at Walmart for around $4.

Hair & Body Oils

I’m going to be adding in some scented oils which I purchased here . But you can also find some in store at Hobby Lobby (don’t forget your coupon on their website). I also picked up a few packs of these travel sized bottles at…you guessed it, Dollar Tree.

Hair & Body Oils bottles

I simply blended all the oils together and separated them in different bottles to make different scents and added fragrance oil to each. Lastly, I funneled the oil into each bottle. It is as simple as that!

While at Dollar Tree, I stopped by the craft aisle and picked up some bling wrap and glued it to the tops of the bottles to make them look a little fancier and giftier…is that a word?

Hair & Body Oils completed

I printed out the labels myself to identify the scents. I like that one is in a spray bottle which makes it perfect to use on the skin right out the shower. The other bottles can be carried in a purse for on-the-go moisture while another can be used for a hot oil hair treatment.

Hair & Body Oils gift set

So this series included: bath bomb truffles, shower jelly, and hair/body oil. These luscious gift sets would be great for any occasion. For a few dollars, you can create multiple gift sets for multiple people for the same price as one set purchased in the store!

I hope this helps you save a few coins and enjoy this holiday season.

Have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! See you soon….

Last Minute Christmas Gifts- DIY Scented Shower Jelly!

Next up in this year’s series of affordable gifts is d.i.y. shower jelly. I’ve seen these pop up in recent years in the popular fancy bath product stores. I looked at them and said what I say when I see most things, “I can make that”. Although often times I say that and it turns out not to be true, this time….it was so easy that even I could do it. Not only was it super easy but also very affordable.

Here’s what you will need:

  • 8 oz bottle of Castile Unscented Liquid Soap
  • 1 oz unflavored Gelatin
  • 2 cups water

Shower Jelly Ingredients

To add color and scents you will need:

  • Food coloring (add a few drops to reach desired color)
  • Scented Oil (I got mine here)

Shower Jelly Color & Scents

These containers are the perfect size to create individual portions of the jelly. Best of all, you get 10 containers for $1 at Dollar Tree!

Shower Jelly Containers

Directions:

  • Pour 1 oz of gelatin into 1 cup of cold water, let sit for 1-2 minutes
  • Pour 1 cup of boiling hot water over the gelatin mixture, allow to cool for 5 minutes
  • Add 1/4 cup of castile soap to gelatin
  • Divide mixture if you want to make different colors and scents
  • Add a few drops of food coloring to each mixture until you reach desired hue
  • Add 10-15 drops of scented oil

I used a small funnel to easily transfer the gelatin mixture into the individual containers.

Shower Jelly in Funnel

I created 3 scents/colors: honeysuckle (green), black raspberry vanilla (red), and mango papaya (yellow). They all smell great and are sure to create an invigorating shower experience!

Shower Jelly in Containers

The above recipe filled all ten containers. I ended up mixing one with red and yellow to create the rogue orange jelly which created an interesting combo scent.

Lastly, put the containers in the fridge to set. Within an hour or two your shower jellies are ready!

Shower Jelly Finished Product

So there you have it. A cute, fun, and beautifully scented gift that your friends and family will love!! You don’t even have to tell them how easy and cheap these were to make, lol.

Stay tuned for the completion of the d.i.y. gift trifecta…..

Last Minute Christmas Gifts-DIY Bath Bomb Truffles!

Here we are again at the Christmas Season…’tis the season to be jolly. However, some are not so jolly because they are worried about what this time of year may do to their pockets. Well, smile again because I’ve got you (and your pockets) covered! This gift is not only inexpensive but smells good and looks good enough to eat…actually most of the ingredients are edible but I doubt they would be delicious.

So let’s get started. You will need:

  • 1 cup baking soda
  • 1/2 cup citric acid
  • 1/2 cup epsom salt
  • 1/2 cup corn starch
  • 6-8 tablespoons of melted coconut oil
  • food coloring
  • 12-15 drops premium fragrance oil
  • bath bomb mold

Bath Bomb Ingredients

Most of the above are sold at Dollar Tree with the exception of the citric acid. The citric acid was purchased from Walmart for less than $3 and can be found in the kitchen supply section since it’s used for canning and pickling.

Bath Bomb Ingredients2

I bought the silicone mold from Hobby Lobby. There is usually a 40% off coupon available on their website so be sure to use it! I purchased premium fragrance oil on Ebay which can be found here.

I also saw these fragrances at Hobby Lobby:

Bath Bomb Scented Oil

Mix all the dry ingredients then slowly add in the fragrance oil and melted coconut oil and stir until you reached a clumped consistency that looks like this:

Bath Bomb Consistency

It’s important that you make sure your mixture clumps and holds together otherwise, your bath bomb may crumble. You can gradually add in more melted coconut oil as needed to reach this consistency. You can also add color at this point. I divided the mixture in different bowls to create a variety of colors. Add the mixture to both sides of the bomb mold until it is slightly overflowing. Close and press the mold and leave for at least 1 minute. For extra solidity, you can place it in the freezer for a few minutes. Carefully remove the bombs from the mold.

To add a little sparkle and jazz to your bath bombs and make them look almost edible, you can use a little Writing Icing, Sprinkles, Food Coloring, and Cupcake Cups. These can all be found at your local grocery store or old faithful Dollar Tree.

Bath Bomb Ingredients3

Decorate your bath bombs to look like a dessert truffle. You can scrape it off easily before you add it to your bath or leave it as it is sugar and will dissolve in bathwater. Enjoy!

Bath Bombs

I’m not exactly an Artiste but I still think mine came out kind of cute. If you have a little more creativity, the ideas are limitless as to what you can create.

The goal is to have a little fun, save a little money, and enjoy the gift exchange.

You know I like to do gift ideas in 3’s, right??? Stay tuned for the next fabulous DIY Christmas gift!

 

Have a Happy Thanksgiving…And a Healthy Leftovers Week!

Thanksgiving is one week away and most people are looking forward to indulging in all of the richest foods of the season. There are a slight few who might be concerned about the inevitable weight gain that happens over the holidays.  Welp, I don’t have an easy solution for you because I’m most likely going to eat some stuff that will cause me to acquire a pound or two. However, I do not plan to turn Thanksgiving Day into Thanksgiving Week so I do have a solution to minimize the impact of “leftover calorie-pocalypse”.

Three dishes that are of the most popular and calorific are: Dressing (aka stuffing), Macaroni & Cheese, and Candied Yams. I’ve lightened these dishes up and created a tasty & healthy substitute that combined with baked turkey and my greens recipe, will lessen the weight gain impact. 

So, here we have Quinoa “dressing”, Mac & Cheese, and Sweetened Yams. I realize that the three of these together are still a carb explosion so….maybe eat one at a time.

First up, Mac & Cheese. I used gluten free organic brown rice & quinoa pasta…. I know what you’re thinking but when you boil this pasta in chicken broth and add a dash of salt, flavor explosion!

I made a cheese sauce using fat free half & half  slowly melting in shredded cheeses until I reached the desired consistency (approx, 1 cup of each).

Layer pasta with cheese sauce making sure to add cheese/sauce to the top and bake until you get these lovely brown bubbly bits on top….enjoy.

thanksgiving-sides-macncheese1.jpgAccording to Webmd: a 12-ounce serving of Stouffer’s macaroni and cheese has 529 calories, 25.7 grams of fat, and 10.6 grams of saturated fat. This recipe has 215 calories, 27 g carbohydrates, 7 g fat, 11 g protein, 5 g sugar.

Next up, my version of dressing that has all the same flavors with a fraction of the calories/fat. Prepare quinoa according to package instructions substituting in chicken broth for the water. Saute the seasoning blend until softened and lightly caramelized. 

Combine the above ingredients with these seasonings. I season according to taste so keep adding teaspoons until it tastes like you like it!

When its all mixed together, you have this yumminess. And it tastes just like dressing with a slightly different consistency!

According to USDA data, a single one-cup serving of prepared bread stuffing provides 390 calories, 5 grams of protein, 38 grams of carbohydrate, 2 grams of fiber, 4 grams of sugar, 134 mg of sodium, and 27 grams of total fat. This version has 82 calories, 10 grams of carbohydrate, 1 gram of fat, 5 grams of protein, 22 mg of sodium, and 0 grams of sugar!

These yams (sweet potatoes) aren’t “candied” but they are no less delicious. Coconut sugar is far lower on the glycemic index than white or brown sugar. Coconut oil has many health benefits over butter and has been shown to even help burn fat! So I sliced the potatoes, and sprinkled with coconut sugar (to taste) and a tablespoon of coconut oil distributed throughout. 

Season with 2 teaspoons of cinnamon, 1/2 teaspoon of nutmeg, a teaspoon of vanilla and a dash of salt. Cover with foil and bake in a  400 degree oven until softened.

I added a dollop of whipped cream to mimic the highly sugary marshmallow topping. 

According to a highly rated recipe for candied yams on Allrecipes.com: 
Per Serving: 397 calories; 7.9 g fat; 79.4 g carbohydrates; 3.7 g protein; 20 mg cholesterol; 179 mg sodium. This recipe has 165 calories, 35 g carbohydrates, 3g fat, 2g protein, 83 mg sodium, 11g sugar. 

All in all, Thanksgiving is a holiday for enjoying food and family. It’s ok to indulge for one day and if you normally eat a healthy diet, one day of extra calories is not going to hurt. The day after however, is no longer Thanksgiving so enjoy my recipes until all the turkey is gone….your body will Thank you.

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

Crispy Chicken & Savory Collard Greens (No Oil;Gluten Free)

So we’re a little over 1 month in, how are those new year resolutions going so far? What? Don’t bail on them just yet. I’m cooking up some goodies that will make you forget they are “healthy”! As mentioned in a previous post, I went gluten free out of necessity not because it appears to me the “in” thing to do these days. With that being said, I learned to tweak certain recipes so that I could still enjoy some of my favorites.

Today, I’ve cooked up some crispy chicken that I made using not one drop of oil.  To go along with that is a family favorite: savory collard greens. Let me tell you, since I put together this greens recipe, I’ve been the “you bring the greens to the party” person. If it’s possible to make comfort food into health food, then this is it!

First off, let me introduce you to my new best friend. Her name is Bella, she’s an air fryer and she has changed my life forever. You can actually fry chicken completely crispy on all sides with no oil! It works best with parts that have a natural fat content like thighs and wings. For other parts with less fat, all you have to do is spray with an oil spray which still adds no additional calories. Do yourself a favor, buy one. They are usually on sale somewhere, I bought mine on sale at Macy’s for $50. I’ve seen them as low as $20 around black Friday so look around but definitely get one!

Air Fryer.jpg

For the greens, I took the easier route and purchased two bags of pre-cleaned and pre-cut collard greens. It saves time on the preparation and makes it more convenient for a week day meal.

Bag of Greens

I always make my own stock using smoked turkey tails. I like this part of the turkey for its flavor and fat content. It gives greens a rich and savory flavor. Put these in a large pot and cover with about one inch of water. Boil covered on medium high for about an hour until it becomes fork tender.

Smoked Turkey Tails

To the stock pot, add in your “wet seasoning”:
1 green pepper
Half red pepper; half yellow pepper (or use mini peppers like I did)
2 medium onions (or 1 large)
4 cloves fresh garlic

Chop all of the veggies finely or use a food processor until it looks like this:

Chopped Onions Peppers

This is where it gets tricky. I like bold flavors, so my seasoning blend may be more “robust” than others. You really have to tweak it to your preference but this is what I use:

1 tbsp + 1 tsp sea salt
1 tbsp garlic powder
1 tbsp crushed red pepper
2 tbsp paprika ( I really like paprika)
1 tbsp minced onion (I hate onion powder so I use this instead)
1 tbsp salt free garlic & herb seasoning
1 tbsp + 2 tsp sugar

Add the greens, “wet seasoning”, and dry seasonings to the pot with the turkey tails. Cook uncovered for one hour; stir occasionally. The water will dissipate and concentrate flavors so only tweak seasoning at the end of the hour.

Greens in Pot_edited-1

For the chicken, I used chicken thighs and use the same seasonings as above minus the sugar. The amount will vary depending on the number of pieces you prepare. Estimate about 1/8 tsp each per piece. I put all the seasonings in a bowl to make a “seasoning blend”.

Season Mix for Chicken

Half of the blend is added directly onto the chicken. The other half is added to a separate bowl with 1/2 cup of Brown Rice Flour.

Brown Rice Flour

Set the air fryer to 400 degrees F. Preheat for 5 minutes. Place chicken in without overlapping. Cook for 20 minutes, turn over, cook for another 10-15 minutes or until completely done.

Chicken in Fryer

You are now ready to enjoy this crispy and savory delight. I know what you’re saying, “where is the macaroni & cheese and cornbread!” Trust me, this is so good, you won’t even miss it! You can even get seconds while staying true to your resolutions!

Chicken Greens Finished Plate

Oh no, I’m not done yet! I have more yet to come that I’m sure you don’t want to miss. Be sure to follow and tune in next time for a new treat!

 

Gluten Free & Delicious: Jerk Shrimp Pasta Parmesan

After receiving the very good news from a food allergy test that I am allergic to wheat, nuts, soybeans, and sesame seeds, I realized that I would have to completely change the way I eat. It was sad at first, knowing that I would have to break up with some of my favorite dishes. Eventually, I learned to tweak recipes so that I could build a repertoire of foods that I can eat.

I’m going to share of few of my recent favorites for some of you that may have similar allergies or just looking to try something different. Either way, you will not be disappointed! Up first, is this super spicy, creamy, and decadent jerk shrimp pasta parmesan. If you like spicy foods, you’re gonna love this one. For those that prefer a more tame dish, I’ll share what to use to tone down the heat without compromising the flavor too much.

I’d like to call this a “recipe” but the way I cook is like “a little bit of this and a little bit of that…oh, it might need a little more this…” you get my drift but I’ll try my best to estimate proportion but I believe you should always try to tweak things to your own liking. With that being said, here are the ingredients you’ll need:

Gluten Free Pasta : 1 1/2 cups
(I love this brand pictured found at Aldi)

Parmesan Cheese : 1/2 cup
(freshly grated; not pre-shredded)

Frozen Broccoli Spears : 1 1/2 cups
(or fresh if you’re fancy)

Medium Shrimp: 12 oz

Pasta

Hot Jamaican Jerk Seasoning (I found this one at Walmart): 2 Tbsp
(Use Old Bay or similar to make a milder version)

Heavy Whipping Cream: 1/3 cup

Garlic & Herb Salt Free Seasoning: sprinkle till satisfied

1 Tbsp Sea Salt

1 tsp Paprika

Add the jerk seasoning to the shrimp; stir until all the shrimp were covered. Spray a nonstick pan with oil and warm the pan on medium high heat. Cook the shrimp for 3-5 minutes until they are opaque. Remove the shrimp into a bowl and set aside.

Jerk Shrimp in Pan

For the pasta and broccoli, bring a pot a water to a bowl then add salt (and a tbsp of olive oil to keep the pasta from sticking together but that’s optional). Add both pasta and broccoli to boiling water and cook till pasta reaches desired tenderness usually 8-10 minutes. Drain in a colander.

Pasta Broccoli in Colinder

I wiped that same nonstick pan clean of all the excess jerk seasoning then added the pasta, broccoli, parmesan cheese, cream, and garlic herb seasoning. Stir and cook until the cheese has completely melted and all are covered with a creamy rich sauce.

Pasta In Pan Seasoned

Last, add the shrimp to the pan and stir together shrimp, pasta, and broccoli. Garnish with some paprika for color and Voila!Now you are ready to enjoy this spicy, creamy delight!

jerk-shrimp-pasta-parmesan.jpg

Trust me, with this recipe, you will not feel like you are missing out on anything simply because you have to eat a gluten free diet!

Stay tuned for more because I have transformed many food favorites to gluten, nut, and soybean free. You don’t want to miss what’s next so follow this blog now so you don’t miss out!

 

 

Easy Last Minute Christmas Gifts 3…DIY Shower Smoothie!!

We’re continuing on in this series of fabulously frugal d.i.y. gifts. Today, I am finishing up this trifecta of goodies by showing how I make a luscious and rich shower smoothie. Lots of brands have shower gels on the market but this smoothie takes that to the next level. It has the perfect combination of cleansing, moisturizing, and fragrant goodness.

For this smoothie, you will need:

1/2 cup of coconut oil
1/2 cup of pure unscented castile soap  (you can find it here)
1/2 cup of distilled water
Your favorite bar soap ( I always use Olay Ultra Moisture)
A grater
2 large bowls

Shower Smoothie Materials

Additional tools you’ll need are:

A measuring cup
Spatula
Hand mixer
Containers (Dispensers)

Shower Smoothie Materials2

In a large bowl, grate the bar of soap completely. Add the water to the grated soap and let it sit for a few minutes until it looks like this:

Shower Smoothie Soap

Because I’m all about smooth textures, I use the hand mixer to whip the soap and water mixture to eliminate the chunks and create a more smooth, fluffy texture.

Shower Smoothie Whipped Soap

Separately, I whip the coconut oil to remove any lumps. Since the coconut oil has a different consistency than the soap, whipping them separately will ensure its smoothiness.

Shower Smoothie Whipped Coconut Oil edit

Next, add the whipped coconut oil to the whipped soap mixture. Then add the castile soap. Whip all together until it’s one big batch of whipped fluffy goodness!

Shower Smoothie Whipped Mixture

Now you separate the the whipped shower smoothie in order to add the same soap grade premium fragrances that I used for the body butter and the scented candles. One heaping cap full is enough for each batch. Simply fold it in to the smoothie.

Shower Smoothie Fragrance

I found the perfect container/dispenser at my favorite budget buy location, Dollar Tree. These are actually nail polish remover dispensers found in the nail polish aisle. It dispenses this product perfectly.

Shower Smoothie in Container

It has a flip cap and has a nozzle that you simply push down to dispense.

Shower Smoothie Bottle Dispense

Now you are ready to gift someone one of the most luxurious shower experiences they’ve had all year! Look at all this lathery goodness the shower smoothie gives! It is sure to leave the skin clean, soft and moisturized.

Shower Smoothie Suds

Add this shower smoothie to the body butter and the scented candle and you have a complete gift set! Any one of these alone would make a great gift! Simply add on depending on how much you like the person to whom you are gifting :).

Shower Smoothie Gift Set

And there you have it folks! Simple and affordable gifts that won’t break the bank. Bookmark this page for anytime you need a quick gift idea that is sure to impress.

Wishing you and yours a Merry Christmas and a Happy, Prosperous New Year!!

Stay tuned for more money saving fashion and d.i.y ideas….