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Halloween Breakfast Ideas

Posted on October 28, 2015 by Stacy Harbert | 0 Comments

Since Halloween is on a Saturday this year, we thought it would be fun to offer some festive and easy breakfast ideas since you won't have kids running out the door to school in the morning! Some of them are tricks, but they all will be treats for your family.

1. Banana Ghosts and Clementine Pumpkins
So easy and healthy! Just peel some bananas and clementines. Cut the bananas in half and use mini chocolate chips for the eyes and a chocolate chip for the nose. Use a small piece of celery for the "pumpkin" stem. This is perfect for fruit lovers, and would also make a great mid-day snack.

2. Spider and Skeleton Eggs
All you need for this breakfast is a sunny side up egg, a couple black olives, ketchup, and mustard (or hot sauce, if you prefer). If you have condiment packets on hand from a fast food place - I know I'm not the only one who stocks up on those - cut a small piece off of the corner to make decorating the eggs a little easier.

3. Orange and Black Pancakes
This is a fun one especially for older kids who could make their own designs. Make you regular pancake batter and separate 1/4 cup. Add black food coloring to the 1/4 cup and put it in a ziploc bag with the corner cut off. Or, use whatever you have on hand that will allow you to make designs. Add orange food coloring to the rest of the batter. Pipe your design on a heated griddle, and immediately follow with the orange batter. Try bats, spiders, jack-o-lantern faces, and more!

4. Mummies in a Blanket
This one is a cinch if you use a tube of pre-made crescent dough. Cut the dough into thin strips and wrap it around a piece of sausage like a mummy. Bake according to package directions and use ketchup or mustard for the eyes. Substitute hot dogs to make this a spooktacular lunch!

5. Goblin Goo Smoothie
This spooky smoothie is delicious and super healthy. Just blend 3 cups frozen pineapple, 2 frozen bananas, 1 big handful of spinach, and 1/4-1/2 cup milk of choice. Once everything is blended well, pour into cups and use the back of a spoon to smooth the top. Use things like blueberries, dried fruit, chia seeds, or pumpkin seeds to make your scary faces on top. This is another fun breakfast for kids to get involved in making.

Do any of these sound yummy enough for you to try? I think we might have spider eggs with a side of mummies in a blanket!

 

Rainy Day Activities

Posted on May 29, 2015 by Stacy Harbert | 0 Comments

You know the saying “April showers bring May flowers”? Well, I came up with a new one that goes “May showers bring stir craziness.” Admittedly, it’s not quite as catchy, but it’s also not any less true! Now that most kids are on summer break from school and many places are having record-breaking rain totals, we wanted to share some rainy day ideas to help you not lose your mind while being stuck inside! Plus, most of these are great for learning and creativity, too!

  1. Make your own play dough
    This is one of my daughter’s personal favorites, and if you make sure to store it in an airtight container or ziplock baggie, it can last quite a while, too! This is a great option for a wide age range, and I’ve found squeezing play dough to be a great stress reliever, too! Just mix 1 cup flour, ½ cup salt, 2 teaspoons cream of tartar, 1 tablespoon olive oil, and a few drops of food coloring in a pot. Place the pot on the stovetop and cook over low/medium heat, stirring often, until the dough starts to pull away from the sides of the pot (3-5 minutes). Allow the dough to cool then knead for a couple of minutes and store in an airtight container.
  2. Build a Fort
    Forts are a tried and true boredom buster. How elaborate your fort is can be up to you or your kids. Make it a picnic spot for lunch, a private movie theater, or a dark cave to explore. The possibilities are endless!
  3. Have a treasure hunt
    Treasure hunts are so much fun for kids, and can be fun for adults, too! Have kids work in teams or individually to find a prize – coins, candy, or their choice of a movie to watch. The prize is just a bonus to the fun they’ll have solving the clues! You can number the clues to help them keep track. For smaller kids, try drawing pictures of where the next clue is hidden.
  4. Arts and Crafts
    Set out all of the craft supplies you can find and let their creativity run wild! Easy as pie! Toothpicks and marshmallows are great for budding engineers and architects to create with, pasta and glue can become just about anything, and some old magazines and safety scissors can become a stunning collage. Along these same lines, creating things out of empty boxes can provide hours of entertainment, too! Jet packs, cars, airplanes, houses, and more just take a little imagination to invent!
  5. Speaking of Pie…Bake!
    If the rain has cooled things off, it’s not a bad time to turn on the oven! Test out a new recipe or make a family favorite. If you’re not sure what to make, check out our Pinterest board for yummy dessert ideas. My personal suggestion would be the S'mores Bars - perfect to eat inside your fort for some indoor camping!
  6. Play in the Bathtub
    Do some indoor scuba diving, play with bath crayons, enjoy a bubble bath, and more! Water play can last for a long time! Make some new toys out of kitchen supplies like strainers and measuring cups, play a game of “sink or float” with household (water-safe) objects, or put on some goggles and “dive” for coins. There’s really so much more to do in the bathtub than just get clean!
  7. Indoor Balloon Sports
    While throwing a ball inside can get a bit dangerous, balloons are usually pretty harmless! Play Balloon soccer, tennis, keep away, hockey, basketball, or make up a new game! There’s always the classic – keep the balloon from touching the floor, too!
  8. Make a Radio or TV Show
    This is a great one for older kids. My sister and I used to pretend to be DJs and record our radio show. With cell phone cameras, it can be super easy to record a self-produced TV show, too! Not only is it fun, it’s a great exercise for creativity, writing, and organization. Plus, it could be great material to show at a high school graduation down the road!
  9. Read-a-thon
    If you’re looking for a clean and quiet activity, have a read-a-thon! Award a prize for the person who reads the most pages throughout the day. We all know how important it is to keep kids reading throughout the summer while school is out, and this will give you a chance to make some progress on your reading list, too!
  10. Ignore the rain and go outside!
    Bundle up, put on some boots, grab an umbrella, and play in the rain! Jumping in puddles is practically a rite of passage for kids. Count the earthworms on the sidewalk, observe how different plants catch water with their leaves, and see how chalk changes color when it’s wet. Then, if you did #5 earlier, you can go inside and enjoy the fruits of your labor!

Our 5 Favorite Easter Eggs

Posted on March 31, 2015 by Stacy Harbert | 0 Comments

Easter is less than a week away, and we wanted to take a minute to focus on one of the most recognize symbols of the holiday - the Easter egg. We chose our 5 favorite, somewhat non-traditional Easter eggs to share with you.

Precious Gem Egg
I mean, we couldn’t leave our own egg off the list, could we? An egg with a gemstone inside is just too good to pass up! Even better, an egg with a $750 blue diamond inside! Plus, there’s some extra goodies inside the egg that make it that much more fun. Get yours here!

Bouncy Egg
So, this is a little bit of a science experiment, but it’s so easy, and makes a good prank, too! Put a regular old uncooked egg in a tupperware container. Fill the container with vinegar until the egg is submerged. Cover and leave somewhere safe out of the sun for a couple days until the shell dissolves. Remove the egg and rinse in cold water. Wait for the egg to dry, and then bounce away!

Chocolate & Candy Eggs
Listen, we love good old fashioned chicken eggs here, and we know deviled eggs have a special place in many people’s Easter Sunday menus. But, this time of year, we’ve got to take full advantage of the chocolate candy variety on the shelves. Cadbury, Reese’s Eggs, Robin Eggs, and just good old fashioned milk chocolate eggs. We can’t get enough!

Jell-O Egg
We know most people either love Jell-o or they hate it, but to us, it couldn’t be left off of an Easter egg list. The giant, colorful, jiggly eggs will always have a special place in our hearts when it comes to Easter.

Metallic –Dipped Easter Eggs
Because we love sparkly things, we had to have these metallic-dipped eggs on the list. Dye your eggs the colors of your choosing, and once they’re dry, use metallic paint pens to draw on designs like polka dots, chevron, stripes, and more!

What’s your favorite type of Easter egg?

Easy Pies for Pi Day

Posted on March 13, 2015 by Stacy Harbert | 0 Comments

Tomorrow is Pi Day - and with the year being 2015, it's kind of the ultimate Pi day at 3.14.15. If you make sure to celebrate at 9:26 a.m., you'll be experiencing a once in a lifetime happening! We'll be honest, while we're not huge math lovers over here, we'll use any excuse to eat pie! Here's a few super easy pie recipes that you can try out tomorrow for Pi day. If you try one, be sure to let us know how it turned out! Also, since we really mean easy, these recipes are all starting with a pre-made crust (don't judge us).

Raspberry Buttermilk Pie

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cup buttermilk
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup unsalted butter, melted
1/4 cup all purpose flour
5 large egg yolks
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp kosher salt
9-inch flaky pie crust, parbaked
1/3 cup raspberry jam
1/4 cup toasted sliced almonds (optional)

Directions:
1. Prehead oven to 325* F. Whisk together buttermilk, sugar, butter, flour, egg yolks, vanilla extract, and salt.
2. Pour the mixture into the piecrust and bake until the center is set but still slightly wobbly, 40 to 50 minutes. Let cool, then chill until firm, 4 to 5 hours.
3. Top with raspberry jam and toasted sliced almonds before serving

Chocolate Cream Pie 

 

Ingredients:
2 1/2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup cornstarch
3 large egg yolks
1/4 tsp kosher salt
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
4 T unsalted butter, cubed
9-inch flaky pie crust, prebaked
Whipped Cream
1/4 cup shaved chocolate

Directions:
1. In a large saucepan over medium heat, whisk together milk, sugar, cornstarch, egg yolks, and salt. Continue to cook over medium heat, whisking until thickened, about 7-8 minutes. Whisk in chopped chocolate and butter.
2. Pour mixture into the piecrust. Chill until firmed, 4-5 hours. Before serving, top with whipped cream and shaved chocolate.

Easy Apple Pie

Ingredients:
6 cups thinly sliced apples
3/4 cups sugar (more or less, depending on tartness of apples)
1 tablespoon butter
1 tsp ground cinnamon
9-inch double-crust pie crust.

Directions:
1. Wipe, core, peel, and slice apples - measure to 6 cups
2. Combine sugar and cinnamon
3. Arrange apples in layers in the pie crust. Sprinkle each layer with cinnamon and sugar. Dot top layer with small pieces of butter. Cover with top crust.
4. Place on lowest rack in oven preheated to 450* F. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce oven temp to 350*. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes longer.

We hope you have a great weekend! What is your favorite type of pie?

Thin Mints for National Chocolate Mint Day

Posted on February 19, 2015 by Stacy Harbert | 0 Comments

If I were to rank Girl Scout cookies in order of my personal favorites, Peanut Butter Patties, aka Tagalongs, would be at the top of my list. But, coming in a VERY close second are Thin Mints. If I'm not careful, I could make an entire sleeve of cookies disappear in one sitting. Thankfully, bakers much more talented than I am have developed a thin mint recipe you can make right at home. The idea of never running out of thin mints again is really making my day.

If you decide give this recipe a try, let us know what you think!

Ingredients:

-Chocolate cookie wafers-
1 (18.25 oz) package fudge cake mix
3 tablespoons shortening, melted
1/2 cup cake flour, measured then sifted
1 egg
3 tablespoons water
Nonstick cooking spray

-Coating-
3 (12 oz) bags semi-sweet chocolate chips
3/4 teaspoon peppermint extract
6 tablespoons shortening

Directions:

-Combine the cookie ingredients in a large bowl, adding the water a little at a time until a dough forms
-Cover and chill for 2 hours
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees
-On a lightly floured surface, roll out a portion of the dough to just under 1/16 of an inch thick
-To cut, use a 1.5 inch diameter cookie cutter, or a small lid
-Arrange the cut dough on a cookie sheet sprayed with nonstick spray
-Bake for 10 minutes
-Remove wafers from oven and allow to cool completely
-Combine chocolate chips with peppermint extract and shortening in a large microwave safe glass or ceramic bowl
-Heat on 50 percent for 2 minutes, stir gently, then heat for an additional minute
-Stir once again, and if chocolate is not smooth, continue to heat in microwave for 30 second intervals until smooth
-Use a fork to dip each wafer into the chocolate, tap to remove excess coating. Place cookies on wax paper lined baking sheet and refrigerate until cool

*recipe courtesy of topsecretrecipes.com

Precious Gem Candles Year in Review

Posted on January 28, 2015 by Stacy Harbert | 0 Comments

Now that we’re back in the groove of things after a busy and fun Christmas and New Year, we’re taking some time to reflect on 2014. It was a great year for us, and, as it turns out, it was also a great year for our customers! Some of you may see the gem photos that our customers share with us on Facebook, so you might have an idea already of what is being found inside our candles, but we want to give you a bigger behind-the-scene look at what went out our doors and into our customers’ hands last year. We appreciate our fans and customers so much, and we strive to reflect that in the gemstones hidden inside our products. So, what did our customers find inside their Precious Gem Candles in 2014?

If you ordered a candle in 2014, your odds of finding a diamond were pretty good! When we started, we promised that one in every 1000 candles would contain a diamond. Well, we decided we didn’t want to be confined to those numbers, and last year one in every 500 candles had a diamond! We can’t wait for more customers this year to experience the excitement of finding a diamond inside their Precious Gem Candle.

Many of our customers have stated their favorite gemstones are not necessarily diamonds, but other precious gems. In 2014 our customers found a ruby, sapphire, emerald, or tanzanite in one out of every THIRTY candles! Yep, you read that right…1 IN EVERY 30!!!

Since our customers discovered quite a few diamonds and other precious gems with such great values, they got a lot of bang for their buck in 2014! One out of every 350 customers received a gem inside valued over $500. One out of every 20 gems discovered by our customers was valued between $100 and $500. Finally, one out of every 10 candles revealed a gem worth $45-$100, which means that countless customers actually MADE money with their Precious Gem candle! 

While the gems that go into Precious Gem products are placed there randomly, the gems our company purchases for the products isn’t random at all. We actually LOVE seeing our customers discover gifts of such beauty and value! We are excited to continue rewarding our customers with these incredible odds in 2015 with more high-quality and valuable gemstones!

 

Best Waffles Recipe Ever!

Posted on January 01, 2015 by Maria Harbert | 0 Comments

I absolutely love Perkins Restaurant pancakes and waffles!  For me there's none better.  On my last visit to a Perkins Restaurant, the owner told us most of the ingredients in their pancakes and waffles, but the key ingredient is the flour.  He said they use 3 different types of flour, and no one knows that secret.
So on my quest to find the best waffle recipe for homemade waffles (since I don't have a Perkins Restaurant near me), I played around until I produced this recipe.  These waffles are REALLY good!  That is if you like crispy flavorful waffles.
Hope you enjoy it,
Happy 2015!!
Maria
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             BEST CRISPY WAFFLES
 
Ingredients:

1 cup All Purpose Flour
1 cup Cake Flour
4 tsp. Baking Powder
1/2 tsp. Salt
1/4 cup Sugar
2 Eggs, separated 
1/2 cup Oil 
2 cups Milk + 1 tbsp. vinegar (let sit for 20 - 30 minutes)
1/2 tsp. Vanilla

Directions:
 
Sift the dry ingredients together in a large bowl. 
Separate the eggs. 
In small bowl, beat egg whites until stiff. 
Mix together the egg yolks, milk and oil and stir slightly. 
Add to dry ingredients and mix well. 
Fold in beaten egg whites
 
Cook until dark golden brown (until there is no steam coming from waffle iron.)
 
 
Here's a tip about maple syrup:
 
If you use PURE maple syrup, you will use much less syrup.  All the major brands of pancake syrup are made of corn syrup and/or molasses, and they don't absorb into the waffles too well.  Although pure maple syrup is more expensive, you will use much less!  Thus, less calories and processed sugar!
This really smells a lot like the pancake and maple syrup soy candle fragrance we've been testing!

Posted in best waffles ever recipe, perkins pancake recipe

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