WFMW: Quick tip to slice a mushroom

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Does anybody remember my quick tip to cut an onion? Here’s the quick refresher version:

Well, today I am back with another Ah-ha! moment in the kitchen. Forgive me if all of you have figured this one out already:

Quick Tip To Slice a Mushroom!

And it goes like this:

Step 1: Acquire super cute helper:


Step 2: Grab your egg cutter and position mushroom:

Step 3: Have a large bowl of perfectly sliced mushrooms in seconds. Voila! (Also take better pictures than I do.)

Now you can have fresh mushrooms and onions to sautee in mere seconds! Plus, I hear word that this also works well for strawberries… oh the possibilities!!

What are your favorite tricks in the kitchen?

WFMW: Out with the Old, in with the Homemade

works for me wednesdays

Recently I have been looking for ways to replace my expensive beauty products with ones that I can make at home and save a lot of money. The added bonus of my search is that the recipes I have found (mostly through Pinterest, where else right?) are all natural alternatives. Good for the skin, bank account, and environment; doesn’t get much better than that!!

I took the recipes that I found and after trying them I tweaked them all a little bit to fit my tastes. Here is what I have come up with so far:

(At the end of this post I will link up to the original recipes)

Miracle Mask:

2 tablespoons of honey
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
1 teaspoon of nutmeg
1 teaspoon of brown sugar

The consistency should be like a thick paste. After it’s all mixed, apply the mask to your face and let it sit for 30 minutes. Wash it off with warm water, scrubbing softly in circular motion for exfoliation. I made a large batch of this and put it in a washer baby food jar so that it was ready for whenever I wanted to use it. It adds a lot of moisture to your face, which is great for these winter months. If you warm it up just a little bit it not only feels really nice on your skin but spreads a little easier.

Night Time Emollient Cream:

½ cup coconut oil
2 tsp. Vitamin E oil
A few drops of your favorite essential oil

Melt the coconut oil (coconut oil melts very easily so don’t overheat it) and mix all the ingredients together. At first they may start to separate (like a science class experiment) but if you keep mixing as the oil cools eventually they come together nicely. This is by far the best lotion/cream I have ever used! We put it on Ade too now instead of her Johnson’s baby lotion. She is super soft and I don’t have to worry about her having a reaction to any chemicals or fragrances. It works great on your face too. At first it feels a little greasy, but soon it soaks into your skin and leaves practically no residue! I am hooked!

Homemade deodorant:

3/4 a cup of baking soda
1 – 2 tablespoon of coconut oil (depending on how you like it, powdery or more of a paste)
1 teaspoon Vitamin E oil
a few drops of Tea Tree Oil (a natural antimicrobial, I also use a drop or two of this in my laundry because of this property)

Again carefully melt the coconut oil and mix all of the ingredients together. I pressed it into another washed baby food jar (these things are coming in handy) and just get a little bit out with my fingers to apply it. I really like this recipe, but it isn’t for someone who works a fairly physical job. If you tend to sweat a lot, you probably aren’t going to like it. I love the way it smells though!

Original Miracle Mask recipe.
Original Emollient Cream recipe.
Original Deodorant recipe.

WFMW: Mama Janes

works for me wednesdays

Recently my family made a weekend trip up to Kansas City. This is always a treat because not only do we get to have fun in the city, but Bran’s sister, Jami, and her family live up there. Win/Win everytime. This particular trip Jami’s church was putting on an arts and crafts expo to raise money for missions.

Well, one of the ladies there had a booth for her spice mixes called Mama Jane’s Creations. This woman is a genius.  Not only did she make it easier for me to get the spices just right for a recipe, now  it appears to other people that I am an amazing cook. That is quite the accomplishment!

My favorite is the quick no bake cheesecakes that you can make from her packets! Just add any of the Sweet and Sassy dips to 2 blocks of softened cream cheese and a carton of Cool Whip.  It doesn’t get much easier than that and they taste A-MAZ-ING!

Go check out her website and if you are ever in KC make sure to visit one of the many stores that sell her products, you won’t be disappointed!!

WFMW: Weirdest Thing That Ever Worked for Me

works for me wednesdays

This title and idea where stolen from shared by a fellow blogging friend recently on her blog, Alta on the Farm. You may have noticed her button hanging out on my sidebar, well that is because she is awesome. (That is the awesome blog spot by the way, in case you didn’t realize.)

Anyways, I was reading this post of hers a few weeks ago and decided I wanted to try out this crazy method. To give you a quick overview (she does a much better job, so make sure to read her post): The Oil Cleansing Method is a way to wash your face that is suppose to be a perfect balance between cleaning impurities from your skin while leaving healthy oils behind to nourish your skin. How is this achieved?

With castor oil and sunflower oil. Rubbed into your skin and then washed away with a wet cloth. PERIOD. As in that is it. Sound weird to you? Because it did to me. But Stephanie insisted that it worked for her.

Personally (don’t hate me) I have never really had a problem with acne. Small amounts, but not huge face covered break-outs. I do have a problem with my face drying out and as a result the products I would use to counteract that would make my face feel greasy and icky. And then I would break out. This means I am always on the look out for a way to keep my skin from drying out without breaking the bank or breaking out. So I decided to give this crazy idea a try.

Turns out that this cleanser keeps my face moisturized without drying out my skin and is by far the cheapest moisturizer/cleanser combo I have ever tried. You know something is dirt cheap when you can find both ingredients at WalMart for under $10 COMBINED and end up with over a liter worth of stuff (No coupons involved). I’m a believer now, and I just wanted to pass on the money-saving awesomeness to all of my followers while giving a shout out to Stephanie as a huge thank you for introducing me to it! This All-Natural Crazy-Sounding Facial Cleanser/Moisturizer Works for Me!!

WFMW: Perfect Waffles

works for me wednesdays

Since you guys seem to be liking my quick tips in the kitchen I am going to share another one with you, about waffles. Do any of you have the problem of getting too much (or too little) batter in the waffle maker? It ends up dripping all down the sides (or you never have enough to make the waffle whole)! Well, I am happy to say that I make perfect waffles. Oh yes I do! Look:

Okay, maybe not perfect, but they never over-flow and I also never have a huge mess all over my counter top trying to scoop the batter into the iron. How do I do this some of you who don’t already have your own method may ask? Well, two things make this possible. First: Use a pitcher.

Seriously, this makes pouring the batter so much easier and practically no mess!! Second: Pour in a circle like this:

This way as the batter spreads it fills in the middle and outside! Bam, almost perfect waffles! It works for me.

WFMW: Quick tip to cut an onion

works for me wednesdays

Alright, who here likes to cut up onions? Yeah, that’s what I thought. Me neither. So I’ve come up with a quick way to cut onion slivers. Seriously, I have and if you haven’t thought of this yourself you are going to be blown away. In fact this is so incredibly easy I’m just going to use pictures to explain. Are you ready?

(Okay I’ll break the silence just in case you aren’t sure what this is, it’s an apple cutter for making ‘perfect’ apple slices. Really, it only works when you have perfect apples, which is never.)

Awesome right??? Well I think so and I hope that some of you out there can use this tip to make cutting onions a little less of a chore!

Have a great day!

 

WFMW: ‘Homemade’ Sun-Dried Tomato & Garden Spinach Tortilla Chips

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One of my favorite quick and pretty easy appetizers is Sun-Dried Tomato & Garden Spinach Tortilla Chips with cheese dip and salsa. You may have noticed that I said Homemade with parentheses around it. Well that’s because it’s only a smidgen homemade. This is how I make them:

First, buy these (Mission Brand, I find them at Wal-Mart):

Next take tortillas out of the package and cut them in half (I use a pizza cutter and it works awesome!):

And now in half again:


Once more:

Now you have 96 tortilla slivers:

Set your oven to Broil (or 500*F) and move the rack to the highest position. Now, go find as many cookie sheets as you own. I own 4 and end up having to use them all twice. I think it is easier to have all the slivers set up and just do the oven shuffle dance, if you only want to get 1 cookie sheet dirty I understand.

Now brush both sides of your tortilla slivers with a very small amount of olive oil:

Once you have all your cookie sheets ready place the first two in the oven on the top rack for 2 minutes. Keep an eye on them, your oven may be faster or slower than mine. These things will burn in a matter of seconds. When you take them out they should be crunchy, if they aren’t let them cook a little longer. Now enjoy!  (I meant to take a picture of them finished, but I was to busy eating!)

I would imagine that this would work for regular flour tortillas or even homemade tortillas, I’ve just never tried them.

WFMW: Toddler on a Plane.

works for me wednesdays

Seriously, they are scarier than Snakes on a Plane any day!! Just ask anyone who has travelled with one (God Forbid more than one!). Here are some things that worked best for us:

    1. GoGo Squeez Applesauce on the Go, 3.2-Ounce Pouches– These were a lifesaver for the entire trip because they are a quick and easy snack. Bonus, they don’t have to be refrigerated until they are opened (and AJ never left any to be refrigerated!) And check this out: 
      • 100% fruit and no added sugar
      • All natural with no artificial flavor or preservatives
      • Kosher certified applesauce
                    

      So this passes my ‘If you can’t find the ingredients in your own pantry don’t buy it’ rule! They were especially helpful on the plane because we could just open one (great for take-off and landing to help with ear popping) and hand it to her and she would do the rest, sucking the applesauce out like a straw. She LOVES them. A LOT! Well worth the expense for the convenience (and you know me, I don’t like spending extra money!)
      Right now, if you ‘Like’ GoGo Squeez on Facebook you can get a $0.75/1 coupon! They have more than just the applesauce flavor, so go check them out!

    2. MAYA WRAP Lightly Padded Baby Ring Sling Carrier – Or any sling you already own. I like this one because it is adjustable, easy to put on, and, if you are still nursing, doubles as a nursing cover. The sling was a lifesaver while running around the airport in order to make connections and then after landing while we organized and collected our bags.
      We also did the crazy thing of only using carry-on luggage for the trip to Florida. Since we had 4 bags to keep track off, having AJ attached to my hip made it so much easier to move around. Obviously, you still have to have an arm around your child to keep them safe, but having them hanging from your shoulder takes a lot of the weight off of your arm and discouraged her from wiggling or trying to slip down out of my arms.
               
    3. Picnic Time Zuma Insulated Cooler Backpack – What is great about this thing is that you can put Milk, snacks, GoGo Squeez Applesauce, and whatever else you want to keep chilled in the bottom and then put toys, books, blankets, and a little pillow in the top.

      Now you are ready for just about anything while traveling with a toddler! You can’t beat the organization, and it is reusable for family Picnics and other trips.
               
    4. Before boarding, WEAR THAT KID OUT! – So this isn’t an item, but a tip and a kind of obvious one at that. You are most likely going to show up at your gate for your first flight early (considering you arrive at the airport 2 hrs early and then manage to zoom through security). If there are two adults, leave one with the bags and the other one can walk up and down the halls of the airport (assuming of course that it isn’t crazy busy). If it is busy, then play a lot in your terminal. Walk them around the gate in circles if you have to. They are getting ready to spend a couple of hours sitting on your lap unable to walk around, get the energy out now. That way when you get them on the plane they pass out like they are going for a car ride. AJ slept through the first flight of both the arriving trip and departing trip. Even though she was decent for the flights she was awake for, nothing compares to out-like-a-light quietness. I also recommend bear-hug holding them while they sleep instead of across your lap.
      When they have their chest against yours you don’t have to worry about your arm falling asleep under their weight and accidently waking them up when you shift to get some relief. If you start to get hot and sweaty just turn up the air conditioning blower and point your partners at you if you have to as well.
                      
    5.  Crayola  Mini Twistable Special Effects Crayons and a small pad of paper – How much fun are these? I know you  want them for yourself now. The great thing about these is that you don’t have to worry about the crayons breaking while they are playing. If the tip gets dull or happens to break off just twist up and you have a practically brand new crayon. These will work best if your kid has never played with them before (this also goes for any toys you are bringing along. New toys entertain longer usually).
      Yes, I do realize that they say not for kids under 3, but that is why we watched her like a hawk playing with them. Adult supervision can deter many catastrophes.
                               
    6. EXTRA PACIFIERS! Assuming of course that you child uses one. We lost three after Ade-Tude threw them into No Man’s Land and they were eaten by the dust bunnies that live on the planes. What? Of course we had them hooked to her, little brat thinks its fun to wiggle them out and chuck them as far as possible as fast as possible. Yes, my daughter is awesome, thank you. Slip one into every nook and cranny you can find and bring disinfecting wipes for the ones that you are able to rescue before they are gone for good. We really like these: The First Year’s Pacifier Wipes because they seem like they would taste a lot better than some of the others we have tried. Really, as long as they are made for pacifiers and are safe to put in your mouth they are fine. These are also great for wiping down toys.

What are some of your tips for surviving air travel with your toddler? Those of you with multiple children, what are some ways to keep them all happy?

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WFMW: Iron on Memories

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Today, the Chemically Inclined clan is boarding a plane and heading off on vacation! This isn’t just any vacation though, this is the first time that Ade will get to meet her grandparents in Florida. We are all very excited. In anticipation of this day, I wanted to find outfits for Ade to wear that were special for her Nana and Papa.

Well, you know how hard it is to find anything with the word ‘Nana’ or ‘Papa’ on it in this town? Well, if it’s here than it’s hiding really well.

So, I came up with a Plan B. I would use those neat iron-on decals that I have seen a couple times at Hobby Lobby and call it good. Here are the supplies (forgive me, I didn’t take a picture of our iron. But seriously, I think we all know what one looks like):

Cutie girl blank shirts.

The iron on decal that I bought. Turns out they didn’t have a human version of ‘Spoiled Rotten’.
A few quick snips and it was good to go!

The finished product. I can already tell after one project that this could get addicting!

WFMW: S’mores Cookies

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While Pinning (yipes, I think using it as a verb is one of the first signs that I’ve become too obsessed, oh well!) I came across a recipe for cookies that taste like S’mores.

I know right??? Where have these been all my life!!

So I made them (and yes, I did change the recipe a smidgen to fit what I had in the house) and they are fantastic. FANTASTIC! Farkin’ genius I tell you.

Anyways, here is the recipe, my changes in parentheses so you know what worked for me! 🙂

S’mores Cookies

2/3 cup  butter, softened (I used 10 Tbsp of margarine)
1 cup brown sugar, packed
½ cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt (excluded)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
2 ½ cups flour
1/2 cup dark chocolate chips (I used semi-sweet)
1 cup mini marshmallows (Didn’t measure, I just poured in, LOVE marshmallows)
3 regular sized Hershey’s bars, broken into pieces (I did use dark chocolate bars)
1-2 packages graham crackers, broken into squares

Directions:
Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line baking pans with parchment paper (I used foil). (I used one 11×17 pan and one 9×13 pan but you can really use any sized pans you want.)

Lay out graham crackers side by side on the pans as close as possible (they should be touching).  You may have to add or remove graham crackers according to how much dough you have. If you want your cookies thicker you will use more dough and less graham crackers.

In a medium bowl, whisk (I just sifted them) together the flour, baking soda, and cinnamon to combine. Set aside.

In another bowl, cream butter with white and brown sugar until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla and mix until combined.

Add the flour mixture to the butter mixer and combine.

Fold in the chocolate chips and marshmallows. Chill dough in refrigerator for 1 hour to overnight (I did one batch right away and another after chilling overnight and found there was no difference except that cold it was easier to work with.)

Place tablespoons of dough on graham crackers about 1 – 1 ½ inches apart. Press down slightly with spoon.

Bake for 5 minutes then remove from oven to press Hershey’s bar pieces on to the top. You can place as many pieces or as little as you want depending how much chocolate flavor you want.

Bake for 5 – 7 more minutes or until dough is beginning to turn golden brown at the edges. Remove to a wire rack to cool. For clean cutting make sure cookies are completely cool and cut with a sharp knife.

Enjoy. The whole pan, seriously please do so I don’t feel as bad about how many I ate!