Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Season for Suds

In my quest for making home made Christmas gifts this year I searched the internet high and low for ideas and found some great ones.

I have begun with home made rose bath salts and rose bubble bath. The recipe was simple and putting together the finished product was even more fun.

I hope that the ladies on my gift list enjoy them!

Recipe for Bath Salts

Ingredients: Baking soda, Sea salt or table salt, Epsom salts, Essential oil(s) of your choice (I used Rose), Food coloring, Large mixing bowl, spoon and Measuring cup.

Instructions : In a mixing bowl, add 3 cups of epsom salts, 2 cups of baking soda, and 1 cup of sea salt (or table salt). Mix thoroughly. Once these ingredients are very well mixed, then add the food coloring. I only used two drops of red to create a pale pink. I didn't want to dye anyone's bathtub! If you want to mix colors, it is better to do it in another bowl rather than directly in the salts. Once you have the color you desire then mix in your essential oil. I used about 20 drops of rose. I added it until I could obviously smell the rose scent. To make sure I had a true scent, I smelled some of Rudy's coffee and then smelled the salts. If it works in Bath and Body, it will work in my kitchen!

Bubble Bath Recipe

Ingredients: Plastic Bottle with a tight lid, sweet almond oil, Essential oils (I used rose), 1 cup unscented shampoo or liquid soap, liquid glycerin and Distilled water.

Directions: Mix together 4 cups of distilled water, soap or shampoo, 4 ounces of liquid glycerin, 1/2-cup of sweet almond oil, and a few drops of your favorite essential oil(s). Mix well. Transfer the mixture to a new plastic bottle purchased just for this purpose.

Recipe compliments of:

After I made the salts I placed them in jars from the kitchen. I placed the bubble bath in travel 3 oz bottles that I purchased from Wal-mart. I chose the hot pink to go with my rose theme.

Because the lids on the jars were various colors I spray painted them gold. I made labels using a handy packet of decorative papers that I found at Michaels. Found in the scrapbooking aisle, they are supposed to be used to back photos but they are handy for any paper project. I used two different papers per label and punched a hole in the corner. I fastened the labels on the bottles with left over ribbon that I had in various shades of pink. If you have the space, hang on to nice ribbon that you get on gifts and packages. Even the smallest bits can come in handy!

I made a bow with the main ribbon and then placed "bits" of coordinating ribbons and raffia to make it look a little less traditional.

To complete this bath and beauty present, I have a few more goodies to make and might plan on purchasing bath "poofs" or another bathroom accessory as long as the price is right!

Friday, October 9, 2009

Back on the WW - Roasted Salmon Salad 6 points

For me, weight watchers opened up a whole new world of cooking. Of course I thought of it as a weight loss plan. But for me it was really a way to explore cooking and to learn new recipes. At each meeting I met people who had been able to bring out the full flavor of food...the true taste of a vegetable, meat, grain, or spice without masking the taste with butter or oil. It is like getting back to the basics and enjoying food in its truest and most purest form.

I prepared this dish for Rudy and I for dinner the other night for only 6 points. Enjoy, its a good one!

Salmon Pinwheel packet from Trader Joes (4 points per serving, 2 servings per packet)
1/2 cup frozen corn
1 cup frozen bell peppers
1 zucchini sliced and quartered
1 red onion sliced and quartered
1 1/2 cup frozen green beans
1/4 cup soy sauce
fat free cooking spray
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1 cup halved grape tomatoes
4 cups chopped romaine lettuce
2 cups mixed field greens
1 piece whole grain bread, toasted and sliced into 4 pieces

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place salmon pinwheels in shallow baking dish and bake as directed. Mix all vegetables besides tomatoes and lettuces, cooking spray, salt, soy sauce, pepper and Italian seasoning and place on roasting pan. Bake in oven for 20 minutes along with salmon. Place romaine lettuce and field greens evenly on two plates. Top with roasted vegetables and salmon. Toss sliced tomatoes over top and place sliced bread around the plate for the final touch.

This was an awesome dinner...and only 6 points!

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Feeling Lucky?

Throwing parties is absolutely one of my favorite things to do. I love bringing people together, creating a fun theme and giving people an opportunity to just relax and have fun. Rudy and I threw a Texas Holdem poker party which was a blast.

I created my own invitations here by using ribbon, red card stock, computer and printer. All the supplies were purchased at my local craft store and cost me a fraction of the price of buying store bought invitations and not settling on something generic. Your invitation will let your guests know that your party is something special to look forward to.

We had friends offer to bring their poker sets and the party was on its way to being a memorable one.

Playing holdem is something that most anyone can do and it is good for a large group. We had 3 tables going and someone to be the dealer and instructor at each one. I am not sure how much money exchanged hands but I do know that Rudy managed to make out with all the winnings!

As for the menu - I ran with the texas theme and had BBQ, cole slaw, potato salad, texas sheet cake and other goodies. We served beer (shiner bock of course) and wine and did get some spirits was a grown up party after all.

To make this gathering exceptional, I pulled out my silver and real glassware. I wrapped forks in black and red napkins and had them in a basket ready for each guest to take. Use what you have - there is no need to buy plastic or paper anything if you can help it. Not only is it better for the environment, but it makes your guests feel special.

For the decor, I used lots of red, black and white bandanas to go with the colors of the suits of cards and also the Texas theme. Citronella candles were abundant to keep away pesky bugs.

The greatest thing about the party is that it was a chance for folks to gamble a little, drink a little and have a lot of fun.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

All That Glows

Want the look of multiple tiered candles at your next party? Don't want to pay or store tons of candles? Try making these paper faux candles that create a soft glow and are much more versatile than the traditional wax candles. From pillars to luminaries, using paper is an inexpensive way to create the perfect lighting for your guests to enjoy.

  • Vellum paper (white and gold shown here). You will be able to get 2-3 "candles" from each sheet.
  • Votive candles in small glass containers
  • Scissors
  • Glue Stick
  • For variety, use a hole punch and decorative paper to create a different look.

  • Cut your paper to the desired size. Then glue one end and press tightly for 5 seconds to the other side creating a tube.

I like these festive ones made with scrapbooking paper and a hole punch. All in all this project will cost just a few dollars for 10 luminaries, compared to several dollars per candle.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Soulful Food for 2

Whether you call it comfort food, soul food, cajun cuisine - these dishes are savory, sweet and hard to pass up. This easy menu was put together from basics in my kitchen and a little bit of my imagination. I didn't follow a recipe but I know you can follow this one to enjoy this easy to prepare plate.

The flavors of each ingredient compliment each other and do not leave you too full. Washed down with a cold glass of milk, this meal makes the everyday meal exceptional.

  • 1 cup frozen whole okra
  • 1/4 chicken broth
  • olive oil
  • 4 small sliced tomatoes
  • 1 small yellow onion sliced
  • pinch of sea salt
  • fresh oregano
  • 1 cup frozen yellow corn
  • 1 cup frozen shoe peg corn
  • 1 cup frozen mixed bell peppers
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 box Zatarrains black eyed peas and rice
  • 2 dinner rolls

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees
Arrange sliced tomatoes, and 1/4 of onion in round baking dish, sprinkle with dash of salt
Mix frozen corn, peppers, remainder of sliced onion and sugar with a little olive oil and place in separate baking dish, place in preheated oven.
Prepare rice as directed on box
When rice has 15 minutes left of cooking, place tomatoes and onions in oven
Sauté okra in a little olive oil when rice has 10 minutes left of cooking.
Toast rolls

Serve on plates with butter for your bread and big glass of cold milk.