Posted in Desserts

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Toffee Bits

 
Now who doesn’t like a chocolate chip cookie? To top off with some toffee bits in it! Put them together for a great treat you’ll want to eat more. Making it hard to stop.

Now if you’re like me, not eating the cookie dough is a toughie. No judging here. I just want to taste the product before heading to the oven. Just checking if I didn’t miss an ingredient and if it’s good to go, right?😉


Which is what I did when I was making this batch. Forgot the brown sugar! See? I knew there was a reason.


So if you forget the sugar, you can always add it at the end without messing up the mixture at all. 😉

This recipe makes for a good crunchy outer crust with a soft inner cookie making it very easy and enjoyable to eat. In every bite there is some crunch with more chew! And that is how I love to eat my cookies. If you only want a chocolate chip cookie just omit the toffee and there you have it.


The other thing I love about this recipe is that there is no refrigeration needed to make these beauts puff up the way they do. That is because of the cream of tartar. It helps the baking soda do its magic. I pretty much made baking powder. So if you don’t have cream of tartar on hand, you can always substitute baking powder for the baking soda and cream of tartar. 🙂 Enjoy!

Chocolate Chip Cookie with Toffee Bits:

Makes: approximately 28 cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes

Bake Time: 8 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 Cups All Purpose Flour
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/4 Teaspoon Cream of Tartar
  • 1/2 Cup Unsalted Butter, Softened
  • 1/2 Cup Brown Sugar, Firmly Packed
  • 1/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1 Teaspoon Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Large Egg
  • 3/4 Cups of Semi Sweet Chocolate Chips
  • 3/4 Cup Toffee Bits

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F for nonstick cookie sheets and 375° F for regular cookie sheets.
  2. Mix flour, baking soda, salt, and cream of tartar in a small bowl.
  3. In a stand mixing bowl, beat butter until creamy. About 3-5 minutes on medium speed.
  4. Add sugar and vanilla and beat with a mixer on medium speed until well blended. About another 3 minutes.
  5. Beat in egg, if you are doubling the recipe beat one egg at a time, mixing well. 1-2 minutes.
  6. Add flour mixture, and beat slowly to incorporate, then beat to blend well.
  7. Stir in chocolate chips and toffee bits.
  8. Drop batter in tablespoon portions about 2 inches apart on baking sheets. I used a 1 1/2″ ice cream scoop.
  9. Bake in oven until edges of cookies are brown, but an area about 1 inch wide in the center of the cookies is still pale, about 8 minutes.

Recipe adapted from food.com

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial. Comment below what you thought about it.:)

Posted in Cleaning and Organizing

Spring Cleaning: The Bedrooms 

I hope you were able to read my last post about Spring Cleaning. It was an inspirational start-up post, and I hope you were inspired and motivated. Maybe you were and that is why you are here! That’s great! And if you didn’t get a chance to read it, please do. It was written just for you.

We all need the motivation, don’t you think?

Now that Spring has sprung, it is time to continue on to what comes with it… cleaning. I like to start with the bedrooms one room a day. If you are too busy make it the project of the week.

As far as the toys go. I make sure those get done and organized once a month. If you have children, you know this is a must and not a seasonal cleaning.

Here is another tip: Try to work with one side of the room first then move on to the other side. Move everything to one side of the room clean top to bottom. Then move everything back, but not without cleaning the items first. You don’t want to dirty your clean area with your dusty items.

Here is my list of what I do:

  1. Clean ceiling fans and lights: I take a clean microfiber cloth and my homemade spray to dust and clean the light fixture.
  2. Clean windows, window frames, window sills, and window treatments: I wipe down the top of the window frame and work my way down to the window sill. Then finish off by cleaning the glass window inside and out. I can easily access the outside part of the window from the inside. Wash the window treatments if you have any and the blinds.
  3. Clean Furniture and lamps: I first clear out anything that is on top of the furniture and place them on the bed. Cleaning the items before placing them on the bed. Clean and dust the furniture then move them to the opposite side of the room. Clean and dust the walls and baseboards. I have hardwood floors, and I like to vacuum the floor with my vacuum and dust attachment. Then move everything back to its place.
  4. Clean Bed: Take all the sheets and comforter off the bed and wash them. The sheets get washed once a week for me, but I like keeping it clean and since I am cleaning the room I might as well throw it in the wash. I move the bed to clean underneath. Which for me always ends up cluttered for some reason. I happen to find toys and that one missing sock I’ve been looking for! It’s what Spring cleaning is for, right? I then vacuum again with my dust attachment. Move the bed back.
  5. Clean the other half of the room: if it’s the closet I usually get that cleaned out every other month so I don’t need to do this. But for you-you can tackle this part if you’d like. Being that here in New England is still cold, I leave my winter clothes in place and change it out by May. Yes it is still cold by then too, but better than March and April. Which we occasionally continue to get snow in those months!
  6. Floors: Vacuum and mop the floors. Let the floors dry before moving the furniture.
  7. Dressers: Here you can exchange your clothes from your Winter wardrobe to your Spring/Summer wardrobe. I like to keep my Winter outfits because it continues to stay cold around here till late April or early May. Unless it’s just the Desert Gal talking here it is COLD in those months!

What are your ways of tackling the bedrooms for your Spring Cleaning? Any tips or advise you can share? Comment below👇. Thanks!

Copyright. All rights reserved. Feel free to share this tutorial, but please do not copy. Linking this post to your post is fine.

Posted in Desserts

Chocolate Covered Raisins


Thinking about Spring. My favorite time of the year, and today is National Chocolate Covered Raisin Day! Wohoo! Who doesn’t love those little yummy treats?

I was inspired to make them and be ready for an Easter treat, which Easter is in 3 days from today by the way. Gasp!

Instead of the normal chocolate-chocolate I wanted to add some nice pastel colors. In order to do this I used white chocolate and some food coloring for this.


Makes: about 150 chocolate covered raisins

Time: 10 minutes approx.

Items you will need:

  • 1 cup of raisins
  • 5 small bowls
  • 3 tablespoons of white chocolate chips for each bowl
  • 1/4 teaspoons of vegetable shortening for each bowl
  • pink food coloring
  • blue food coloring
  • green food coloring
  • yellow food coloring
  • purple food coloring
  • 5 spoons for each colored chocolate
  • Parchment paper
  • Cookie sheet

Instructions:

  1. Place the parchment paper onto cookie sheet.
  2. Making the chocolate covered raisins one bowl at a time.
  3. Place 3 tablespoons of white chocolate into each bowl.
  4. Add the shortening into the chocolate.
  5. Microwave the chocolate in 30 second intervals. Start the first 30 seconds, mix, microwave again for another 30 seconds, mix together again till well blended. Your chocolate should be smooth with no chocolate lumps.
  6. Add the food coloring, one drop at a time till desired color. I used about 2-3 drops for each color till my desired color.
  7. Adding one raisin at a time: dip the raisin and scoop it out with the edge of the spoon and place it on the prepared cookie sheet. Repeat till chocolate is all done.
  8. If the chocolate gets hard again, heat in the microwave in 5 seconds intervals mixing till it is smooth again.

Well, I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and enjoyed your chocolate covered raisins! Yum Yum!  My chocolate didn’t last a day. Ha!

If you like the jar in the pictures, you can click here for the tutorial.:)

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Posted in DIY Projects and Inspirations

How to Make a Leprechaun Trap!

In the month of March, there is a holiday celebrated called St. Patrick’s Day. Where everyone wears green and it is believed that there are tiny-little people that love gold or anything shiny and takes it. They only come out once a year. Fictitious I know, but it’s for the fun of it.

My daughter has a school project where she needs to create a trap to capture that tiny-little person called a Leprechaun. She did most of the work and Daddy helped her with the difficult part of it. She is only five after all.

Here is the letter created by the teachers:


Fun right?

So here are the things we used to create our trap:

  • 5 Green straws
  • Stick Glue and regular Elmer’s Glue
  • Super glue or hot glue
  • Easter grass
  • Popsicle stick
  • Green ribbon (you can use a string too)
  • St.Patrick’s Day Sticker theme
  • Leprechaun hats
  • Shoe box
  • 2-3 green thin posters
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Glitter (we used the clear/white)
  • Plastic toy coins (we used real pennies)
  • Extra cardboard.
  • Small knife for carving


What we did is covered and glued the whole shoe box with the green poster. Cover the box with the stickers. Making sure you do the inside of the box too. 

Write on the top of the box “your child’s name Leprechaun Trap”

Glue a Leprechaun’s hat on top (you will want to use either super glue or a hot glue gun for this part). Let air dry.

Inside the box: you will glue another Leprechaun’s hat upside down. Covering inside the box and around the hat with the grass. Place the coins inside the upside down hat.

For the latter: We used 5 straws. Two of them are for the sides of the latter, and the rest will be cut to make the steps. Glue the pieces together to resemble a latter.

For the rainbow picture: On a white construction paper, have your kids draw a pretty “End of the Rainbow” scene. Our daughter drew this herself!

We then glued the picture into a cut-out green poster. The green poster was glued on to a free-standing cardboard.

To make the sign: We glued and cut another green poster paper onto a small piece of cardboard. Had our daughter write “Leprechauns not allowed!” Because Leprechauns LOVE to do the opposite of what you tell them.

Last but not the least…

To make the string pull: Use one Popsicle stick. On both ends, cut into a “V” shape. Then tie the ribbon in the middle of the stick. Make sure the ribbon is long enough for your child to hide a distance to pull on the string.

And you are done!

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and inspired you to have fun with this project with your kids or had them do it all by themselves!

Did you enjoy this tutorial? How did it inspire you and your child? Did you have fun after making it? What did your child catch in the trap? Candy left behind perhaps? A treat? Comment below!👇

Posted in Blog, Money and Savings, Uncategorized

Expect the Unexpected: Or Not. How We Are Dealing With Unforseen Circumstances


So this year my husband and I decided it was time to do a big family vacation this Summer. Mind you, we don’t do vacations, but instead day trips due to keeping things real and financially realistic.

We still enjoy them and get to get-away even if it is for a day.

So, this year our entire family of 6 is going to visit family. A little over 2.5 thousand miles away from our home. Considering that we live off of a single income, that is huge!

And we are about to do it. We are so ready for it:

  • Get 6 plane tickets: Check!
  • Reserve vehicle: Check!
  • Plan our activities: Check!
  • Start saving spending money: Check!
  • Take the money saved to fix car: Che… Wait, WHAT?

So we have to spend our savings to pay for our car. The car we just payed off completely last month! We were ever so proud that now we are getting bills payed off and becoming owners. No more staying under, or trying to stay afloat. Instead, we are keeping bills down and having some relief. Until now.

The car ends up overheating, and it needs a new piece replaced. Everything we saved will be gone. My husband and I got stressed and wondered how in the world will we make that money back up for our trip?

Note: the savings included the car rental and spending money.

We are trying to stay positive. At least we had money saved to fix the problem without having to take out that plastic card we dread to use.

We all still have bills to pay. There is always something to do, something to fix, something to need, etc. How we are going to make our goal to save? We are just gonna have to figure that out ourselves.

Life happens, right?

We have 4 months till the trip. Let’s hope that nothing else happens. And our vacation activities don’t change.

Have you ever had an experience similar to this? What happened? And how were you able to get through the situation? Comment below.

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Posted in Food

Baked Pasta: Kid Approved


I’m sharing my favorite recipe that tends to be a winner in this household. I make it with macaroni noodles so it will be easier for the kiddos to enjoy; without us parents to worry about breaking it down for them. Not to mention it is oh so delicious! I mean this is one-nice-cheesy-macaroni casserole with the taste of basil. Mmm.

This dish is perfect for a large family or a gathering. You can also freeze to save the leftover for another night when you have no time to cook😃.

Cook Time: 20 min

Baking Time: 25 minutes

Servings: 12

What you will need:

  • 1/2 package (8 oz) macaroni noodles
  • 1lbs ground meat (I used turkey)
  • 1/2 medium onion (diced) or 1/2 tsp dried minced onion
  • 26 oz jar of spaghetti sauce
  • 15 oz ricotta cheese (1 3/4 cups)
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese, divided
  • 4 teaspoons basil or 2 teaspoon dried basil leaves
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/4 tsp ground black pepper
  • Parmesan cheese

Instructions:

  1. Cook pasta according to package directions for 8 minutes.
  2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet over medium heat, brown meat with onion until throughly cooked. (I used turkey meat and dried minced onions).
  3. Preheat the oven to 350°F. 
  4. Drain the meat mixture and put it back into the skillet. 
  5. Stir in the spaghetti sauce into the meat, and simmer for 10 minutes. 
  6. In a small bowl, stir together ricotta cheese, 1 cup mozzarella cheese, basil, salt, and pepper. Set aside. (I used dried basil here for the pictures it’s all I had on hand😶)
  7. Toss hot pasta with meat sauce. 
  8. In a 13″x9″ baking dish or two 9.5″ pie dish, spoon in a thin layer of pasta mixture to the dish. 
  9. Spread cheese mixture on top. 
  10. Layer the remaining of the pasta mixture.  
  11. Sprinkle with the remaining mozzarella and with Parmesan cheese. 
  12. Bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes or until hot and bubbly. 

Enjoy!
Don’t forget to comment below and share this recipe on your favorite social network.🙂

NOTE: You can use this recipe as a “make ahead” meal. All you do is follow the instructions from 1-11. Just make sure you add the pasta mixture into a foil tin casserole dish and freeze till you need it. When you plan to have it for dinner, take the frozen casserole out the night before and put it in the fridge to defrost. Once defrosted, Preheat oven to 350°F and bake for 20-25 minutes or till hot and bubbly. Cool for 10 minutes and serve.

 

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Posted in Cleaning and Organizing

Spring Cleaning: Start-Up


Well, it’s that time of the year. A new season in approach. Goodbye Winter, hello Spring! A new beginning, a fresh start, everything new, green, and full of life. I feel like shouting out loud, “I love you Spring!” twirling around like Julie Andrews as Maria Von Trapp in the Sound of Music.

Then there is that part of the new season that I like and dislike. Spring Cleaning! I like it because the house tends to feel fresher, new, and so clean! The part that I dislike is, like most people who can’t afford a housemaid to do it all for you, is that I have to do it all myself:(.

It’s enough already having to do my everyday chores, that now I have to add Spring Cleaning to the list. As much as I don’t want to, I must have to. So, I need to figure out how I can make this “easier” on me. And if this can help you too, then that’s great! This is why I’m posting this.

Spring is officially here on March 20th. I like to be ahead and stay ahead. Whenever you decide to start, is up to you. This post is just to give you a guide and a motivational boost:).

Where to begin?

They say that the best way to do something is to start and finish the most easiest task. What do I like to do? The hardest thing first. Not the best thing to do because it wears me out too much and way too fast. Then I loose interest and then begin to start feeling frustrated in myself, the home, and everything else. I then won’t be able to function right. Am I the only one that gets like this? I hope not. LOL.

What do I tackle first?

Well, first we start from the top of our home and work our way down. Meaning, that if you have a two-story home, you start at the second (or top) floor. Then to break it down a bit more, we start from the ceiling down to the floor. So, if you have ceiling light fixtures and/or fan we start cleaning those first. Then we head to whatever is in between: say dressers, lamps, beds, headboard, foot-board, etc. If you want to take it a little further, you can take this time to clean out inside your dresser (which I like to do). And finally, the floor. That’s including rugs, under the beds, etc.

So, now that we covered the basics of how-to start Spring cleaning; we can move on to which room we should start.

Hmm? Which room is easiest for you?

Make a list of the rooms you need to tackle. Scratch off the ones you have done. Maybe having a visual of the things you have accomplished can continue to give you the motivation and the pat on the back that says, “I did it! I did so much! Good job me!”

Leave a comment below telling me which room is easiest for you and how you tackle your Spring cleaning. Any tips you can give me will be appreciated and it may help others too:). Happy Spring and happy cleaning to us all!:D

This month, I will be posting my “to-do” list for each room I tackle. If you like to follow me you can through Facebook by clicking here and hit “Like.” You can also follow my boards for inspirations and ideas on Pinterest by clicking here. You can also share all my posts by clicking on the places you’d like to share them below👇.

P.S. Let me be the first to tell you, “You can do it! You are not alone.” And, “Great job you wonderful clean person you!” 😘

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