Wednesday, December 28, 2011

How To Make Bread Bowls


Hi again,

I was requested on my blog on the recipe on how to make a bread bowl. Here is a simple recipe that I used when make my white loaf of bread, which in turn can also be used to make my bread bowl. This recipe can make 2 loaves of bread or 4 small to medium sized (personalized) bread bowl. I must tell you that this is a long process and you must have a lot of patience. This process takes about 2.5 hours or more from preparation, mixing, rising and baking. Do plan a head when making bread and also follow these steps accordingly to ensure your bread will turn out great.

I will post the creamy chicken noodle soup in another blog post.

Enjoy and happy baking!


Ingredients:

2 1/2 cups of warm water
1 pkg dry active yeast
1 tsp granulated sugar
7 cups of bread flour 
(EX: you can substitute this with 6 cups of white bread flour and 1 cup of wheat flour)
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup softened unsalted butter


Directions:

1) Mix in 2 1/2 cups of warm water, yeast and sugar in a stand mixer and wait 5 minutes. Make sure the end results is foamy.

2) With a dough hook attachment on low speed (on a Kitchen Aid mixing stand #2), slowly mix in the bread flour and salt until well incorporated.

3) Knead the dough at medium speed #4 and add the softened butter. Knead for about 10 minutes.

4) After kneading, take out the dough and grease the same stand mixer bowl. Place dough back into the grease bowl and cover with a clean towel and place away from any drafts. Let rise for 1 hour.

5) After 1 hour, the dough should be double its size then punch down the dough to deflate it.

6) On a clean counter top, slightly knead the dough and form into a thick log then cut dough into 4. Roll the pieces of dough into a ball then pinch the bottom of the dough. Place the 4 dough balls on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper, a few inches apart, cover with a clean towel and let rise for another 45 minutes.

7) After the rising process is over, cut a slit or two or an "X" on top of the bread, if you want. Apply an egg wash (1 egg mixed in with 1 tbsp of water) all over the bread to give it a nice shiny look and a nice outer crust.

8) Preheat oven first to 350 degrees F when the 45 minutes mark of rising is almost done. Then increase the temperature to 375 degrees F when baking the bread. Bake for 30 minutes.

Et voila! Allow to cool down before cutting. The bread bowl should have a nice shiny look, a nice outer crust and warm and soft inside.

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Deals, Freebies and Coupons!


Hi again,

This week I have found great deals, freebies and coupons online, in newspapers, flyers, stores and more! I'm sure most of you are great shoppers who find great deals along the way, but I just wanted to share with you what I've learned and found especially from this online site called Coupon Divas. FYI, I'm not sponsored by anyone from Coupon Divas, but just wanted to share with you all some great saving tips on your next purchase! Do check out their site to find coupons, great tips from their videos and any match ups.

From my experience this week with coupons and other deals: 

  • free Jamocha from Arbys
  • free lotion from CVS
  • free Harkin's movie ticket from purchasing a $4 dvd at Walmart
  • 0.46 cents red eye lubricant from Target (sale item + coupon)
  • 0.99 cents Maybeline lip product
  • $3 Swiffer refill pads - 12pk
  • 75% Revlon Colorburst Lipsticks
  • 50% Wet & Wild Coloricon palette
  • 75% Physician's Formula Bronzing Powder

and more!!

Plus, CVS is currently having a 50-75% off SALE on selected cosmetics. If you purchase a 0.99 cents green tag...looks like a green leaf (found near the register or where the green bags are), you get $1 from CVS' bucks on every fourth purchase (that's 0.25 cents every time you shop). Remember to always scan your green tag on every purchase. In addition, by the cosmetics section, there is a red slip that you can take to the cashier to scan to be a part of their beauty club card for free. If you accumulate $50 from purchasing cosmetic items at CVS, you receive $5 on CVS' Extra Care Bucks (ECB). ECB's are great on your next purchase that you can use as $!

At Walgreens, there is a free coupon booklet next to the flyers that you can use on select purchases.

I'm sure most may have known all of this, but for those who may not have known, this is a great way for you to start saving and to obtain more for your buck! Sorry, these pertain to U.S. Residents, but I'm sure Canada also has great deals, especially this past Boxing Day. Good luck and happy shopping!

Happy Holiday!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Gingerbread Cheesecake Cups


Hi again,

Here's another treat that you can make for this Christmas or New Year's holiday, gingerbread cheesecake cups! I had an extra Betty Crocker gingerbread package and made some small round cookies as the base for the cheesecake cups. I forgot to take a picture of the cookies, but make sure that the cookies are small enough to fit in the bottom of the cupcake cups. If you don't want to make the gingerbread cookies, then you can probably find some gingerbread snaps/cookies at the store. It's pretty easy to make, but remember to make the gingerbread cookies first and allow to cool before pouring on the cheesecake filling. I also crumbled some gingerbread on top of the cheesecake to give it a special touch. Try these out for any of these festivities and I ensure your family and friends will love it!

Happy Holidays!




Cheesecake Filling

Ingredients:

2 pkg. ( 8 oz. each) PHILADELPHIA Cream Cheese, softened
1/2 cup Granulated Sugar
1/2 tsp Vanilla Extract
2 Eggs
12 Gingerbread Cookies


Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Beat cream cheese, sugar and vanilla in large bowl with electric mixer or stand mixer at medium speed until well blended. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating on low speed after each addition just until blended.

2) Place 1 cookie in bottom of each of 12 medium paper-lined cupcake cups. Fill evenly with batter.

3) Bake for 20 minutes or until centers are almost set. Immediately sprinkle on some gingerbread cookie crumbles while still hot, so that the crumbs can stick well onto the cheesecake. Let cool and refrigerate for 3 hours or overnight.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Chocolate Cookies with Candy Cane Kisses


Hi again,

Here's another special treat that you can use for a Christmas cookie exchange, which I'm using these for or for parties, chocolate cookies with candy cane kisses. This holiday you can find these candy cane Kisses at most stores. These almost reminds me of my previous recipe on peppermint bark. I have provided the recipe if you want to try this out for the holiday.

Happy Holidays!



Ingredients:

Candy Cane Kisses

Wet:
3/4 cups softened unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1 large egg


Dry:
1 3/4 cups all purpose flour
1/2 cups unsweetened cocoa
1/4 tsp salt



Directions:

1) Preheat oven at 350 degrees F. Starting with the wet ingredients, Use a stand mixer or a handheld mixer, mix the softened butter with the sugar until creamy, then mix in the egg.

2) Add in the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa and salt) a little at a time, mix until well incorporated.

3) Place dough in the fridge for about 1 hour. Use a small cookie scoop or 1 tbsp of dough, form into a ball then slightly flatten with your clean hands or a bottom of a flat cup. Place flatten dough on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Make sure that they are about 2 inches apart.

4) Bake for 8-10 minutes. Once out of the oven, gently place 1 candy cane Kiss on the center of each cookie, but don't push too hard. Allow to cool on a cookie rack. Enjoy!

Peppermint Bark


Hi again,

Here is a special treat for you to make for this holiday, peppermint bark. Now, you can always purchase these at stores, but it's always best when treats are homemade. This is quite easy to make; however, you have to play the waiting game for these in order for the chocolate to harden. I used Bakers white and semi-sweet chocolates that can be found at the baking aisle of your local grocery store. I melted the chocolates separately, in a heat safe glass bowl over boiling water in a pot. I used peppermint candy canes to add with the festivities, but you can always use peppermint candies that's also inexpensive. I prefer the white chocolate peppermint bark better rather than the chocolate.




Ingredients:

Peppermint candy canes (crushed)
White chocolate or Semi-sweet or dark chocolate (whichever you prefer)

Directions:

1) Unwrap and put the candy canes in a ziplock bag, then use your roller pin and smash the candy canes into small pieces. Have fun!

2) Chop the chocolate in small pieces and put the chocolate in a heat safe glass bowl over boiling water in a pot. Make sure you melt the white chocolate and chocolate separately, unless you wanted to mix it together, it's your preference. Also, try not to burn your chocolate.

3) Mix well until chocolate is fully melted. Then turn off the heat, remove glass bowl off of the pot and sprinkle in some of the smashed candy cane pieces into the chocolate and mix well. Remember to reserve at least a 1/4 cup more of smashed candy cane pieces.

4) Place either wax paper or parchment paper on a cookie sheet pan or on your counter, pour the melted chocolate with the peppermint candy cane pieces onto the paper and smooth out to about a 1/4 inch thick with a spatula. Then sprinkle the remaining candy cane pieces on top.

5) Let cool and harden. Approximately 4-8 hours or more. Once harden, use a knife and cut into medium size pieces or break the peppermint bark with your hands. Enjoy.

Just for fun! You can also dip your candy cane into the melted chocolate.


Sunday, December 18, 2011

Sephora Freebie - Philosophy's Amazing Grace


Hi again,

Here's another Sephora Freebie that I received at my local Sephora in JCPenney this month. I received a free  30ml / 1fl oz. bottle of Philosophy's Amazing Grace. It has a floral/powdery scent, in my opinion, and moisturizes; however, it claims that it firms your skin but I can't tell. Initially I was hoping to obtain the Too Faced Lashgasm mascara, but this location did not supply it. Nonetheless, I am always happy to receive a free sample each month from Sephora at JCPenney. If you haven't shopped there yet, you should....so that they can send you these mailers and you can also receive your freebie.

Happy Holidays!

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Chocolate and Mint Chocolate Sugar Lip Scrub


Hi again,

I just finished my giveaway contest that I was hosting for My Memories Suite and so happy to announce that the winner is Donna! CONGRATULATIONS!

I have lots to share with you and decided to start with the chocolate and mint chocolate sugar lip scrub. I know I already did a sugar lip scrub a few months ago, but wanted to do another one with more yummy flavors. I used similar ingredients, but lessen a few drops of this and that to give it the consistency that I preferred rather than having a runny consistency. This smells so divine and you can eat it too. I did use chocolate and mint pure extracts to help give it that nice aroma and taste. You can find these small plastic or glass containers that comes with lids in a pack at a craft store: Michaels, JoAnns or Walmart or even the Dollar Tree. I found these cute white makeup spatulas that comes in a pack at Walmart that fits perfectly in the container.

All I used were:

  1. Granulated sugar
  2. Pure honey
  3. Chocolate / Mint pure extract
When using a sugar lip scrub, it's best to do it over the sink on damp lips. Then rinse off your lips with warm water and pat dry. Remember to apply a moisturizing lip treatment or balm afterwards. Try it out and let me know what you think. Until next time! 

Happy Holidays!

Chocolate Sugar Lip Scrub


Mint Chocolate Sugar Lip Scrub

Monday, December 5, 2011

My Memories Suite Review and Giveaway


Hi again,

Recently I was asked if I would like to review and do a giveaway on a scrapbook software called My Memories Suite v3, and after reading and watching some reviews, I gladly accepted. My Memories Suite v3 is a new version that they just released. I'm sure that most of you are into photography and scrapbooking and also love to share your photos with others, especially on facebook.


My Memories Suite v3 is so easy to use with a variety of designed templates that you can either manually add photos or the software can automatically add photos from a selected album, it's that simple! In addition, there are many cool features that you can do to add a special touch to your scrapbook pages. For instance, you can change the fonts, crop, add a border, add a video, add photos, make the file into a movie, or even create your own template.

For all of my special readers, My Memories is giving you your very own Share the Memories code that provides a $10 discount off the purchase of the My Memories Suite Scrapbook software and a $10 coupon for the MyMemories.com store - $20 value! Please go to this link for your Share the Memories code:
http://www.mymemories.com/share_the_memories

Here's a great way for you to win a FREE My Memories Suite v3 software! In order to enter for the giveaway contest,

1) please visit http://mymemories.com
2) choose which is your favorite digital paper pack or layout
3) comment on my blog below, facebook (also click on the LIKE button) or on my twitter, telling me which one you would like to win.

Here are your choices:

IMPORTANT INFORMATION

  • This software is only open to the US and Canada
  • The deadline to choose your favorite pack or layout is on Monday, December 12, 2011 by 11:59pm EST
  • I will announce the one lucky winner on Wednesday, December 14, 2011 at 12pm EST on my blog, facebook  (also click on the LIKE button) and twitter. Please share this information to all of your family and friends! Good luck!
Look at what I made, please check it out!


Click on the movie

video

Scrapbook by each page










You can also follow My Memories:
Blog
Facebook
Twitter



Friday, December 2, 2011

Gingerbread Men / Women


Hi again,

Yesterday I made some gingerbread men/women for some of my friends' children. Plus, I love eating gingerbread cookies and kept some extras for me, lol. I love the winter season...although I don't live anywhere with snow, but do love how gingerbread is most popular around this time. I've included the recipe to make royal icing. If you don't want to make it from scratch, grocery stores do sell the gingerbread dough and royal icing. You can find a variety of cookie cutters at Michaels, Jo Anns, Walmart, Target, etc.




Royal Icing Recipe

Ingredients

3 Egg Whites
4 cups of Confectioner Sugar
Food Coloring (optional)
Candy (optional)

Directions

1) In the bowl of a standing mixer with a whisk attachment, add the egg whites and beat on medium speed until frothy. Decrease the speed to low and slowly add the confectioner sugar. Increase the speed to medium high and whisk for about 2 to 3 minutes or until the icing is smooth, shiny and thick.

2) Place in a piping bag with a small round tip and decorate cookie.


Thursday, December 1, 2011

I'm Having a Glee Christmas


Hi again,

I started my first day of December by listening to some Christmas music. Last night I was craving for some Christmas music, so I opted to buy both of Glee's Christmas CDs. Yes, I know...CDs! lol. I just wanted something to listen to in the car whenever I go to work or travel. The songs bring back some nostalgic wonderful memories, also the missing of snow and watching snow falling lightly and calmly. I bought these at Walmart, but they can be found anywhere...in stores or online, or you can just download them. I got the Glee Christmas album for $10 and the Glee Christmas album vol.2 for $11.88.

24 more days 'til Christmas, yay!

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

MAC Mean & Green Nail Polish DUPE


Hi again,

I know this was last year's hype, but since I'm currently wearing the nail polish, I wanted to share it with you. Last year, MAC came out with a Disney collection that included a nail polish called Mean & Green. It was one of the most popular nail polish, which was a limited edition. I'm not sure if many of you knew about it or probably forgotten about it, but there is an inexpensive dupe of that nail polish from Hard Candy that can be found at Walmart and any other drugstore that may sell that brand. Hard Candy came out with a  nail polish named Beetle, which consisted with colors such as green, gold, pink and purple that changes when you move your fingers. It's a beautiful nail polish color that fits in with this Fall/Winter season. Check this out...it only cost $5! Hard Candy's nail polish applies great and doesn't chip or fade as quickly as others. Orly FX did come out with a similar nail polish color; however, that was also limited edition. So, if you've missed out on MAC's Mean & Green from last year, you should pick up Hard Candy nail polish in Beetle #321.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

My Favorite Lush Skincare Products

Hi again,

My skin's very sensitive and anything that touches my face that my skin doesn't like, it will get irritated and break out. It's very hard for me to find any products that will work for me; however, I was introduced from someone to try out some of Lush's products. I do like Lush because of their fresh handmade cosmetics, so took the plunge in trying their skincare products. I've been using these products for a few months now and I do like it; however, these can be a bit pricey. Some I may repurchase and some I won't.

Face Cleanser

I've tried out the Aqua Marine. It can be a bit messy because of the Nori seaweed wrapped around the product. This is made for the most sensitive and dry skin, which includes calamine and aloe. You only need a small pea sized amount, mix with warm water and massage into your skin. It's supposed to make  your face feel clean, soothed and soft, but I only felt the soothing part, and not the clean feeling that it claims to be. I was given a good size sample to try, but won't purchase.
Toner

I do like their Fresh of Breath Air, because it doesn't irritate my skin and feels really fresh when spritz on my face. This one is a keeper and I may repurchase this again.


Face Scrub

I've tried a few face scrubs and by far I do like their Dark Angel. It doesn't irritate my skin and leaves it feeling soft and smooth. It claims to give your dull skin glowing. It's made with black sugar, powdered charcoal, rhassoul mud, vitamin-rich cold pressed organic avocado oil, sandalwood and rosewood oils. I will also repurchase this face scrub again.

Face Moisturizer

I love how moisturizing the Skin's Shangri-la is. It does not feel irritating to my skin and leaves it so soft. It does have a weird scent to it, but it doesn't bother me too much. It doesn't leave my skin looking oil and it's not heavy either. It's made for dry and agin skin, but works well by soothing, hydrating, and helps reduce redness. This is very pricey, so I will have to find an alternative.
These are just my opinion on some of my favorite skincare products from Lush. I was not asked to blog or review any of these products, but I just wanted to share with you some of my faves. Try it out or try out some of their other products that is made for your skin. If weary, ask for free samples. Visit their store or go online http://www.lush.com

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Pho Soup


Hi again,

Since I'm in a blogging mood I decided to blog about yummy Vietnamese Food, particularly Pho! Yum, right?! There's this Vietnamese Pho restaurant called Xeula Vietnamese Restaurant that have oh so good dishes! That restaurant was the first Vietnamese restaurant that an old friend took me and I was in love, especially love how their bubble tea taste. In Canada the people there called this particular drink, bubble tea that I first known it as. I was craving for some Pho soup and luckily I had the ingredients to make this soup. It's not hard to make and it's quite fast to cook up. However, you do need to thaw the sliced beef a bit before cooking. If you're ever in the city of Vaughan, which is a suburb of Toronto...check out Xeula.


180 Steeles Avenue West, Thornhill, ON L4J 2L1, Canada


Thanksgiving Day


Hi again,

Gooble! Gooble! Last Thursday, the United States celebrated Thanksgiving. I celebrated my Thanksgiving dinner with a smaller group of friends, which still made the day even more special. I made four individual cornish game hens rather than having turkey, due to the fact that many of us did not crave the turkey that much. We actually had lots of food; however, I did not take a picture of most of our dishes. We did have most of the norm such as garlic mash potato, candied yams, green bean casserole, sweet potato pie, apple pie, and more deliciousness. It was a great dinner with fun people.

Black Friday actually started real early this year and I didn't realize the time change to 10 pm Thursday evening. My first stop was Walmart, just because I wanted to get some household essentials and they were dirt cheap. At this particular Walmart, the people were definitely anxious and sad to say, greedy. In addition, at this location compared to others that I've shopped at on Black Friday was not organized at all. Luckily I was able to purchase what I wanted/needed and then some, lol. I did check out other stores along the way and at the end I was so tired. I wasn't as hype as the previous years, nonetheless still had fun.

What are you thankful for?

This year I am thankful for the love and support from our family and especially God's blessings that He has bestowed upon us. I look forward for the many opportunities that lies ahead.