Tag Archive | recipes

Easy Last Minute Christmas Gifts Part 2….DIY Scented Candles

We’re putting together gift sets on a budget this week just in time for Christmas. Yesterday, I showed you how I make my simple hair & body butter. Today, we’re going to add in a candle that matches the scent of the body butter!

Now there are places where you can purchase wax beads for melting to create your own candles. However, I could not find anywhere near me that sold them that way so what I did was improvise. I was able to pick up a 100 pack of these votive candles for less than $5.00. Using the tip of the sharp knife, I was able to break them up quickly and easily. Conveniently, these little babies come with a metal tab needed to anchor the candle thread so I set a few of those aside for later use.

Broken Candle Pieces_edited-1

I found this waxed thread at Joann Fabrics. It’s just cotton thread coated in wax which is what you need for efficient candle burning. Because this thread is on the thinner side, I double the stands by twisting them together. The thicker the wick, the better it will melt your candle evenly.

Waxed Threads

I found these glasses at Dollar Tree (you should know that’s one of my favorite places) in the candle section. Since these are made for candle burning, they are a little heavier than a regular glass. You can also use a mason jar.

Candle Glasses

Because I am creating a matching scent gift set, I am using the same premium soap grade fragrances that I used in the body butter I showed you yesterday.

Candle Fragrance Bottles

If you want to add a little color to your candle, you can use a crayon which will melt perfectly with your wax. I didn’t have any crayons but I did happen to have some leftover colored candles which I will melt together with my wax.

Colored Candles

To ensure even burning, I am going to go with the two wick approach in this glass. I tied the thread to the metal tab and used a bit of melted wax to anchor the metal tabs on the bottom of the glass.

Candle Glass with Thread

You can use the double boiler method to melt your candle wax. I used this small pot on top of an inverted lid of a pot of boiling water. The heat created by the boiling water underneath was enough to melt the wax. I used a long wooden skewer to mix because it is disposable and won’t melt in the wax. At this point, you can add in your fragrance, I use about 3 cap fulls to get my desired strength of the scent.

Melted Candle Wax

Because I used wax to adhere the metal tabs to the bottom, it will move when you add warm wax to the glass. Simply use a pencil on top of the glass, wrap the excess wick around the pencil to hold the wicks in place.

Candle wick with pencil

Lastly, you let the wax cool, cut the excess string and you are good to go!

To add a little embellishment, (because if we’re not extra then we’re not enough) I added some sugar flowers and a faux flower to the outside of the glass.

Candle Decor

Now, you have anotherĀ cheap affordable and beautiful gift in your set with matching scents.

finished candles2

But wait; I’m not done yet! Stay tuned for the last item that I’m adding to the set. You don’t want to miss this luxurious treat! šŸ™‚



Easy Last Minute Christmas Gifts…DIY Hair & Body Butter

Since I always seem to be operating on a limited budget for gifts (and everything else), Christmastime is when I try to make a little go a really long way. Just like with every other special occasion, I’m not afraid to whip a little something up to create my own gift sets.

So up first, is this awesome, healthy and affordable hair & body butter.

Body Butter Kit

All you need is a hand mixer, 2 large bowls, a spatula, 16 oz of shea butter and 14 oz of coconut oil. Hopefully, you have some of these materials around the house already. I only had to purchase the shea butter and coconut oil. I was able to get the shea butter from my local beauty supply but if you have trouble finding it in your area, you can get someĀ here. I bought the coconut oil from Aldi; you should be able to find it at any grocer in the cooking oil section.

In addition, you can choose to add some fragrance to your body butter. I usually order a few bottles of premium soap grade fragrance oils fromĀ hereĀ orĀ here. They arrive quickly just 3-4 days after ordering. They work great for a variety of homemade gifts. You’ll see how I put these to further good use in upcoming blog posts ;).

This time I chose Honeysuckle Rose, Hibiscus Guava Fresca, Coco-Mango, and Magnolia Raspberry. They are a nice variety of fruity and floral and all smell great!

Fragrance Oils

I softened the shea butter using the double boiler method. You don’t want to use the microwave because that kills the very beneficial properties that the shea butter has. Using a microwave also makes it more difficult to control the level of meltiness. You want it to be the consistency of frosting and not liquefied. Coconut oil melts so easily, that all I had to do is stir it with a warm spatula to get the frosting like consistency-no double boiling needed.

It should look like this:

Softened Butters

Then you want to use the hand mixer to whip up the shea butter until it’s nice and fluffy. The mixing incorporates air into the butter and not only makes it appear a lighter color but changes the texture as well.

It should have the consistency of raw cookie dough like this.

Whipped Shea Butter

I whip up the coconut oil separately because it has a much softer consistency than the shea butter. Whipping it separately maximizes its fluffiness and eliminates lumpiness because chunky body butter is just no bueno.

It should have the appearance of whipped vanilla frosting like this:

Whipped Coconut Oil

Then you can combine both in the same bowl and whip it one last time until you get this beautiful fluffy concoction that looks good enough to eat. Don’t eat it by the way….

At this point you, you can separate the body butters in bowls in order to add the fragrance oil. I added about half the amount to each bowl and put two cap fulls of fragrance in each bowl. I simply folded the oil into the butter gently with a spatula careful not to lose any of the luscious fluffiness.

Combined Whipped Oils

I picked up a few 8 oz containers from Dollar Tree which would make this whipped butter the perfect gifting size. These just so happened to have red and green lids….how festive!


I added cute labels with the name of the fragrance on each of the lids and voila!

Completed Body Butter2

There you have it folks! You have a lovely gift that people flock to the malls for this time of year. However, the store bought version will cost more and will have a bunch of added ingredients that no one can pronounce.

Stay tuned to see what other goodies I will be adding to this super easy and affordable gift set!

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Clean Snacks Reviewed! Which Snacks Are Best for Recovering Junk Food Addicts?

Ok, I must make a confession. I’m a snacker. I like snacks. As I attempt to become more and more health conscious, I may spend minutes upon minutes in the snack aisle of the grocery store scouring the ingredients and analyzing calorie, fat, and carbohydrate content. Even deciding between fried, baked, popped or freeze dried will make your head spin! So, what else is a confused, recovering fried potato chip person to do but attempt to make their own healthy snacks. Duh duh duh duhhhhhh!!!!

Ok, it wasn’t so bad but there were some clear hits and definite misses. And I’m hear to break it down for you so you can make the decision for yourself.

I may as well start with my favorite which happened to be one of the simplest:

Oven Baked Sweet Potato Chips

Sweet Potato Chips

I was surprised at how easy and delicious this was and more perplexed by why I haven’t done this before! One potato yields a generous serving of potato chips. Sweet potatoes areĀ an excellent source of vitamin A (in the form of beta-carotene). They are also a very good source of vitamin C, manganese, copper, pantothenic acid and vitamin B6. Additionally, they are a good source of potassium, dietary fiber, niacin, vitamin B1, vitamin B2 and phosphorus (source: http://whfoods.org). So, a snack thats delicious, simple and super nutritious?? Sign me up, baby!!


1 medium organic sweet potato
1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
Salt to taste


Preheat oven to 275 degrees.

Using a mandolin or knife, slice into 1/16ā€ to 1/8ā€ round piecesā€¦depending on the thickness preferred.

In a large mixing bowl, add sliced potatoes and oil, toss to coat.

Line a rimmed cookie sheet with non-stick foil, place potato slices next to each other until the cookie sheet is filled.

Bake for 20 minutes, turn potatoes over and bake an additional 20 minutes. If the edges are crispy remove from oven, if not, bake an additional 2-3 minutes or until lightly browned and crispy around the edges.

Allow potatoes to cool at room temperature. Chips will continue to get crispier as they cool. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.

This next snack may seem basic but not only is it simple to prepare but it is very filling and delicious!!

Spicy Air Popped Popcorn

Spicy Popcorn

When I invested a whole $15 in an electric popcorn popper, I had no idea how valuable it would be in preparing a quick and satisfying snack. A bag of popcorn kernels is super cheap and darn near non perishable which makes it a no-brainer to keep it around. With all the scary things being said about microwaved popcorn (who didn’t grow up on that stuff??), I’m glad to have a healthier, almost as convenient option. “Air-popped popcorn has only 30 calories per cup; oil-popped popcorn has only 35 calories per cup. When lightly buttered, popcorn contains about 80Ā calories per cup. Popcorn is a whole grain, making it a good-for-you food.Ā Popcorn contains fiber, providing roughage the body needs in the daily diet.” (source: http://www.popcorn.org) For a savory treat, I add coconut oil (instead of butter) and Tajin Classico Seasoning (picked it up at Aldi). It hits all the senses for a salty, spicy, crunchy snack!


1/2 Cup Popcorn Kernels
1 Tablespoon Coconut Oil
Season with Salt or Preferred Seasoning

Add popcorn to electric popper. Melt coconut oil. After corn is popped, add coconut oil and seasoning. Enjoy!

So, now we make a turn to a less familiar territory. Snack beans. Don’t get me wrong, I love beans in it’s many forms: chili, refried beans, red beans & rice, lentil soup, hummus…the list goes on. However, when it comes to snack beans, I don’t think I’m quite ready for it yet but nonetheless, I tried.

Parmesan Garlic Garbanzo BeansĀ (Chickpeas)

Garbanzo Beans

So, yeah, by now you know that I like my snacks savory and crunchy and honestly, this does meet those marks. I like parmesan. I love garlic. I like garbanzos. Now combining all these for a snack…..I’m not there yet. “Chickpeas are a type of legume that offer a range of health benefits. Chickpeas help to increase satiety, boost digestion, keep blood sugar levels stable, increase protection against disease and more. Chickpeas nutrition is a potent package of protein, vitamins and minerals, which is why they are often included in many healing diets .” (source: draxe.com) So yeah, I may toss these in a salad for a little variety and crunch but on its own…nahh.

2 (14.5 Oz.) Cans Chickpeas/Garbanzo Beans, Drained, Rinsed & Dried
2 Tbsp. Shredded Dry Parmesan
1 Tsp. Dried Crushed Rosemary
1 Garlic Clove, Minced
1/8 Tsp. Garlic Powder
Salt & Pepper to Taste

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. and line a baking sheet with foil. Give the foil a light spritz of some non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

Place the sheet into the preheated oven and bake for 30-40 minutes or until the chickpeas are crisp.

Carefully remove the sheet from the oven and set aside to cook slightly before serving.

Now here I go, trying to be fancy and delving into creating sweet snacks. I was born and raised in Chicago so Garrett’s Popcorn is the penultimate of a sweet, savory, crunchy snack to me. I’m sure I’d shutter at the nutrition facts of that popcorn and there’s no need to ruin it, its Garrett’s and when you pass one, you buy it, point blank. However, when you’re home and crave a sweeter popcorn, it’s great to be able to create one. Did this one hold up as a replacement????

Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn


Now, I like popcorn. I like chocolate. I like peanut butter and honey. All of these together, not so much. Now, in all fairness there’s probably a flaw in my execution. Apparently, there is a fine line between letting these sit while the crunch develops and letting it sit so long that it becomes stale, sigh…. Overall, I believe it has potential and with a few tweaks, it just may work so stay tuned for an update.


Heat 1/2 cup honey, 1/2 cup peanut butter, 1 teaspoon each vanilla extract. Stir until smooth; pour over 16 cups hot popcorn. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cocoa powder (you can sweeten this for enhanced flavor). Spread on baking sheets and let cool.

Eating Clean, Deliciously!!

So I’ve been pinning clean eating recipes for a while now and threatening promising to make them all the time. As usual, I get caught up in the cycle of making the same things all the time because, well, it’s easier. Now, however, I want to explore and try something different, healthier, and weight loss inducing. Bikini season is right around the corner and if I keep up this healthy eating kick, I’ll be ready for it in about 4-5 years, lol! So anyway, I wanted to share with you all a few of the recipes I tried to help us all get as fine as our bodies are willing to get this summer šŸ™‚

Garlic Mushroom Quinoa



  • 1 Cup Quinoa
  • 1 tbs Olive Oil
  • 4 oz Canned Mushrooms (feel free to use fresh)
  • 5 cloves Garlic (minced)
  • 1/2 tsp Dried Thyme
  • Sea Salt and Pepper to taste
  • 2 tbs freshly grated Parmesan

Cook quinoa according to package instructions. I used chicken broth instead of water. Heat olive oil in a separate pan. Add mushrooms, garlic, and thyme and sautee for 3-4 minutes. Stir mushroom mixture into quinoa, season to taste, add parmesan cheese.

This dish was honestly very good and I didn’t miss my usual unhealthy carb laden rice at all! Quinoa is 100% whole grain and is high in fiber, protein, gluten free, low on the glycemic index as well as a whole host of other nutritional benefits. Seriously, doctored up just the right way, this can be a go-to grain side dish.

Original recipe found here:



Oven Baked Parmesan Crusted Cod

Cod edit



  • 1 pound Cod (fresh or thawed)
  • 1 tbs Parsley (dried)
  • 1 tbs Paprika
  • 1/2 tsp Sea Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Black Pepper
  • 1 tsp Garlic Powder
  • 1 tbs Olive Oil
  • 1 cup Parmesan Cheese (freshly grated)

Preheat oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Rinse fish pieces and pat dry, brush both sides with olive oil and set aside. Mix parsley, paprika, sea salt, pepper, garlic powder and parmesan cheese. Coat fish in mixture and place in lightly oiled (nonstick foil lined) pan. Press any excess mixture on top of fish and bake for 20 minutes or until fish flakes easily. Remove from oven and let stand 3-5 minutes while fish cools, it will form more of a crisp crust.

I liked this recipe because it is heavy on two of my favorite seasonings: paprika and parsley. It gives this dish such a powerful flavor, you will forget it is healthy. I added in garlic powder to the original recipe because well, I need garlic in everything to fight off vampiresĀ for added flavor. The recipe from which this was adapted called for tilapia and since it has been getting such a bad rap lately (seriously, google tilapia, it’s scary), I opted to use cod instead. Cod is known to be one of the “world’s healthiest fish” and is chock full of vitamin b12 and a great source of omega -3 fatty acids. It is high in protein and low in fat. With this recipe, I’m sure cod will become, if it’s not already, one of your favorites.

Original recipe found here:



Carrot Cake Oatmeal Cookies

Carrot Cake Cookies edit


  • 1 cup Instant Oats
  • 3/4 cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1 1/2 tsp Baking Powder
  • 1 1/2 tsp Ground Cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp Sea Salt
  • 2 tbs Coconut Oil
  • 1 large Egg
  • 1 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 cup Pure Maple Syrup
  • 3/4 Grated Carrots
  • 2 tbs Golden Raisins (optional)
  • 2 tbs Chopped Walnuts (optional)

In a bowl, mix oats, flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt. In a separate bowl, mix coconut oil, egg, vanilla until blended then add maple syrup. Combine dry and wet ingredients by slowly stirring in the dry ingredients. Fold the carrots into the blended mixture. Cover with plastic wrap and place in the fridge for 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit, line a baking sheet with nonstick foil or parchment paper and/or oil. Spoon cookie dough in rounded balls on cookie sheet. Bake for 12-15 or until it appears to have solidly formed together. Cool for 5 minutes unless you like a little mouth roof burn, lol.

I tried to be a little fancy with this recipe and created a cream cheese topping. Well, let’s just say we’re still in the developing phase on that so stay tuned for when it’s not a mini fail and can share an edible version of my recipe. Other than that, these cookies were moist, delicious and a great substitute for a more fattening carrot cake. It will satisfy your sweet tooth in a delightfully healthy way šŸ™‚

Original recipe found here:


Cod Quinoa Broccoli edit

So that’s today’s episode of “Finally Try Out Those Pinterest Recipes You’ve Been Holding Onto for Years”. I hope you stay tuned for our next episode.

In the meantime, feel free to see what else I’m pinning and follow me here: