Homemade Toothpaste


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Hey, I’m back!

I haven’t blogged in a while. My PC was down for the count (for like three whole months). As difficult as that was I managed to actually DO some stuff while I wasn’t connected to the almighty interwebs. Real life stuff 😉

One of the many little DIY  items I whipped up was some homemade toothpaste. I had seen multiple recipes on the web when I was connected but of course when it came time to try it… no connection. A friend of mine made some herself and loved it so I just went with her idea of three basic ingredients and I love it too…

my toothpaste

my toothpaste

All you need … coconut oil, salt & baking soda.

I melted some organic coconut oil just a little bit in the microwave (to make it soft), added a little salt, then threw in some baking powder and mixed it all up. Adding baking soda and mixing until it reached a paste-like consistency. Voila!

Now that I AM connected I’m going to share some links to other recipes I’d like to try myself and you can decide which ones you would like to try. Note: my recipe doesn’t have a minty taste (or any taste really) so maybe some peppermint oil would make it more appealing.

More recipes…

Enjoy experimenting and tell me what you think! Do you already have a favorite recipe? Let me know how you do it.


Baked Brie with Honey and Walnuts (brie en croute)


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Baked brie is a favorite in our house. There are many ways to make the crust like the easy, quick method of using puff pastry, but I prefer phyllo dough. Sure you have to butter each layer… but that’s what makes it so good. You can serve it with a myriad of accompaniments. I like to make up a big plate of various fruits and serve it with wheat crackers.

Here’s how it goes…

First you’ll need to set up your dough. Melt some butter. At least a half of a stick, maybe more depending on how much you slather it up. I go through a good two thirds of one just for this part.

brie 1 layout

Place one sheet of phyllo dough down (I like to use a flexible cutting mat. You’ll see why soon) and butter that baby up. The whole thing.

brie 2 butter

Lay another sheet on top of that one and repeat the buttering process until you have the whole stack done. (Two packages come in a box. You only need one of those.) The first few sheets will be fairly delicate. Once you have a few layered it gets a little more sturdy and easier to brush without tearing. Speaking of tearing, don’t worry too much about the dough ripping or separating. It mends easily once layered and it’s all going to get wrapped up around the brie anyway. Don’t worry about bubbles either. No big deal. In fact, air pockets add to the crusts flakiness.

Next you’ll want to transfer your dough to a buttered pan. I prefer glass, but I’m sure whatever you’re used to baking in will work fine. Just keep an eye out for burning if you use some thin metal or something. This is where the flexible mat comes in handy. The whole thing can be picked up and moved without it, but it truly is easier to just invert and peel. Also you don’t risk tearing the dough.

brie 3 place pastry

Place your brie wheel right in the center of the dough. There are differing opinions on whether to keep the rind on or not. I choose to keep it. It tastes too dang good to remove.

brie 4 place brie

Now, fold up the edges of the pastry around the brie keeping the dough close to the cheese. Tuck as you go around like so…

brie 5 fold

You should end up with a nice pretty package like this…

brie 6 package

Bake at 375 for 10 – 15 minutes. Just as it gets to the point where it’s turning golden, pull it out and drizzle honey over the top. I drizzle until most of it is covered. Throw some walnuts (pieces) on top of that and then drizzle more honey over that. It’s really up to you how much. Stick it under the broiler and keep an eye on it. It only takes a few minutes to brown up the rest of the way, toast up the nuts and caramelize the honey a bit. Don’t let it burn, but you do want it to get a nice brown crust.

Somewhere in that time you’ll want to cut up some fruit. I like a variety… there are so many combinations that you might not think would go well together, but you’ll be surprised.

brie 7 fruit

You can let the brie set up for a minute if you wish, but if you cut into it right away, you get a nice, wet , gooey, dip-able cheese like this…

brie 8 melted

It will firm up as it cools and you’ll be cutting pieces more than dipping. So many fruits pair well with the walnuts, buttery pastry, honey and brie. Try different combinations.  Enjoy the experience.

brie 9 on cracker

This is absolutely one of my favorite treats and there are a billion ways prepare baked brie… with and without crusts, sweet accompaniments, as a savory dish… endless I tell ya. Sounds like a compilation post is brewing. Hmmm and Mmmmm.

Try this and tell me what you think. My bet is it’ll be your new favorite 🙂

Bubbles in the House


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Before I became a parent I was a pretty easy going, laid back and fun individual. At least I’d like to think so. I had; however; a few preconceived notions about parenting and the sort of things I would allow my future children to do. I always pictured myself having certain rules and regulations in place. Some of those worked out.

My family loved living in the country. In the middle of nowhere. We were used to being able to walk out to the garden and not see another house nearby, or even in sight. When we found ourselves moving right into the middle of town we discovered there were a handful of unexpected changes to get used to. One of those was the fact that we would now be constantly surrounded by people. People whose behavior and language I didn’t approve of around my child. If we were to enjoy an outdoor activity, it would have to either be on the sidewalk or at a park. Unfortunately for us, being the private types, both of those places were filled with people. I don’t mind people. I’m actually fairly social when I’m on my own and enjoy meeting strangers, networking, think tanking or just sharing stories.  I really like it when my daughter meets a nice little girl her age to play with. But the majority of the people we would encounter were loud mouthed, cussin’ teens and young adults that were not at all decent examples for my young, impressionable daughter.

We found ourselves doing things ‘inside’ a lot. Somewhere along the way I lost my previous notion that bubbles were to be blown outside. Somewhere I lost the notion that messy projects needed a prepped work space. The kitchen became our science lab and the living room became our art studio. My preconceived ideas of a tidy home with designated work stations melted away, replaced by life’s (at least my life’s) reality of unfinished projects perched next to the couch waiting for a good time to finish them and gooey science projects mingling with last night’s dishes.

bubbles in the house

Blow bubbles in the house. It really is ok.

bubbles 2

It’s actually quite fun.

Sometimes we alter an existing game to make it suitable for indoor play.

We added a hair tie to this balloon for weight to have a ball safe for inside use.

We added a hair tie to this balloon for weight to have a ball safe for inside use.

Although I probably need to add the disclaimer that it is important to get outside and have some exercise in the sunshine there are millions of projects you can do with your kiddos indoors. Things you can do when the weather is bad. Or in our case… things you can do when the neighbors are screaming profanity at the tops of their lungs at each other. (We will be moving soon enough.)

I’ve compiled a list of cool things and their links below. Some we’ve tried. Some we have yet to try… but they’re all on the “to do” list. 😉

That’s really just the tip of the iceberg. I do believe I’ll have to share some of the fun experiments we’ve done (and are planning to do) in the near future. Guess I better start taking more pictures 😉

Do you have a fun indoor activity you’d like to share? Please do 🙂

Super Easy Crab Rangoon


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Crab Rangoon is one of the simplest appetizers to whip up. There are many variations and everyone has their favorite style. I’m going to share a super simple recipe and method made especially easy for kitchen novices.
Start out by softening two 8oz blocks of cream cheese and thaw if need be about 8oz of cooked (or imitation) crab meat. Everyone likes their Rangoon spiced differently so play with it a little if you find something you might like or if you dislike something on my list. I suggest white pepper, ground celery seed, garlic powder, chili powder and salt. You don’t need much. Maybe a half a teaspoon or so of each depending on your tastes.


Just put it all in a bowl and mix it up with a fork. Simple.

Now the part that makes this super easy is the part that people often stress over… the folding of the wrapper. There are a billion ways to fold a wonton or egg roll wrapper. My family has a tendency to eat the innards and leave behind the crispy tails that stand alone with no filling. My answer to this is to fold the wrappers into envelop shapes around the filling eliminating the uneaten bits left about. I use egg roll wrappers. They’re larger and easier to handle. Simple steps for folding in the next pics…

Start out by laying your wrapper in a diamond shape so that the bottom is a corner facing you. Scoop up a blop of filling and place it near the center of the wrapper a little closer to you than the center. Like so…


Set a small dish of water nearby for sealing up the edges. Next, fold up the corners like so…

crab steps 3456

Now you’ll use that water to seal up the edges. Simply dip your finger into the water and run it along the top corner of the wrap.


Then fold it over to seal. Viola!


Make 3 or 4 of these at a time and drop em in hot oil til they’re just about golden. I do them in batches, but if you have a large deep fryer or something that’ll handle more, go for it. They should come out looking like this…


Perfect little packages made especially for dippin’.


Use your favorite sweet n sour sauce. I might just have to do a blog post on sauces. Hmmmm

You could get crazy and make your own wrappers, but if you’re like me ya just can’t get them quite thin enough. Mine come out like this…

crab91 crab92

extra pic

But that’s another post as well. I’ll leave you with a picture of these Easy Crab Rangoon… Believe me, if I could leave you with a taste or even a smell I would. 😉

Try the envelop method and tell me what you think.

crab93 crab94


Scottish Shortbread with Chocolate and Pretzels


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So my Hubs was all about these Milano ® cookies. The ones with the broken pretzel pieces. Yeah, they’re good but all I could think while scarfing them down was how easy they’d be to make. Or at least to make something similar. I could have copied it more directly by making tiny thin cookies blah, blah, blah… but I decided to do em up the way I thought they ought to be. Fat.

milano main photo

For those of you who are timid in the kitchen, never fear these babies are some of the easiest things you’ll ever make. Here’s how I did it. Step by step.

Cream 1 c butter and 1/2 c sugar.

milano 002 milano 001 milano 003

Gradually add 2 c flour till you get a workable dough.

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Divide dough in half and roll each half into a ball.

milano 006

Flatten dough into a pie plate and press out to edges.

milano 007

I use a spatula to shape the edges to make more of a uniform thickness throughout the disc… to prevent overly crispy edges.

milano 008 milano 009

Bake 300 degrees 30-40 minutes

Now you don’t have to score these but I find it’s easier to cut them later if I do.

milano 010

While those are cooling, melt about a cup or so of chocolate chips and about 1/3 stick of butter in the microwave for about 30 seconds.

milano 011

I wanted a smoother texture so I added a large spoonful of shortening and nuked again (30 sec intervals, stirring in between) until smooth.

milano 012

Pour the chocolate over both crusts and spread evenly over the tops.

milano 013 milano 014

Sprinkle crushed pretzel pieces over the tops. – Note: It helps to crush your pretzels ahead of time. I actually didn’t think that far and realized it as I was pouring the first chocolate top… it was a mad rush to break up the pieces before my chocolate cooled too much for them to stick.

milano 015 milano 016

I had fun making these. They turned out great and the experience gave me a ton of ideas for new recipes. Also, I’ve discovered something about myself. I really like taking pictures of food. I mean really. I took over 50 pics of this process and the finished product. It actually took me longer to go through and decide which ones to use than it did to make the whole dish.

Try this out. Let me know what you think.

Approxipeasy Cheesecake Balls


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MMMmmm Who doesn’t love cheesecake balls? Well I’m sure someone doesn’t… but no one I know 😉
cb01cheesecakeballs MainPhoto

So you basically start out making something similar to cheesecake without the things that require it to be baked. Namely eggs.

Set three packages of cream cheese (8 oz each) and a stick of butter out to soften. Once soft, you’ll want to beat those together with about 2/3 cup sugar. [You can use powdered sugar or granulated sugar in this recipe, but powdered will give you a better texture. I actually poured the tiniest bit of milk into the granulated sugar to dissolve it just enough to be smooth in the cream cheese.] Add a little vanilla if you like. (I did).


Yummy creamy goodness. Now here comes the most important part…


Scoop up a glob of that stuff and give ‘er a taste test. Or two or three. That’s integral to this thing turning out right. Seriously, it’s a must. 😉

Put that in the fridge to stiffen up a bit. In a separate bowl melt about a half stick of butter and toss in some sugar (probably 1/4 cup or so) and some crushed graham crackers (about a cup and a half worth).

it looks like I have more sugar than crumbs in there, but seriously I added more crumbs ;)

it looks like I have more sugar than crumbs in there, but seriously I added more crumbs 😉

Once your cream cheese mixture is stiff enough to roll into balls… do that. Roll balls that are about a teaspoon or so worth into the crumb mixture. I got to the point where I stopped actually rolling them and just dumped a spoonful into the crumbs and let them kind of take their own shape.



You can set up a little assembly station (the kiddos like this part). Once you have a fair amount rolled up (ie: you fill up a pan, sheet, or box as I have) place them back in the fridge to stiffen back up. Put whatever unused cream mixture you have left back in the fridge to stiffen up also.


While those are cooling. Mix up a batch of chocolate to drizzle over the tops. Just put some chocolate chips (I used semisweet) in a bowl or jar (maybe half a bag) with some lard or butter. I used both… a couple big glops. (don’t ask me how much that is… a quarter cup?)


Nuke that for 30 seconds. Stir. Repeat…


Until smooth (you can reheat occasionally if you need to thin it as it thickens while you’re using it).

cb01cheesecakeballs MainPhoto

Drizzle over the cheesecake balls. Repeat the whole process for the rest of the cream mixture and voila you have a big ole batch of ultra yummy treats!


Keep them cool (or even frozen) until time to serve… they get soft really fast. I had a bunch left over from our Easter get together and put them in a ziplock in the freezer… I just pop a frozen one in my mouth when I want something sweet and they’re not rock hard like you’d expect. If you want them a little softer, they soften at room temp in literally minutes. Enjoy!

There are a billion ways to change this up… add ins, cocoa, rolled in nuts… Maybe I’ll have to do a blog post about all the different ways you can alter these babies. Try this recipe and let me know what you think.

FB Faux Pas


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I learned an interesting lesson today.
I received several calls followed by a couple voicemails and texts this morning while I was sleeping in. Mind you, I’d been getting up early (early for me) for the past several days and was reeeeaaally appreciating being all snuggled up with my daughter… in lala land.
The first call or two didn’t wake me. The text did. I ignored it. Then a string of back-to-back calls and voicemail alerts got my attention. “This must be serious!” I thought as I reached for the phone.
“This is not serious”, as I read the text. “This is not news, this is not important, this is already being handled… this is not worth bothering me with”. All of these complaints run through my head as I call the person back to give them peace of mind. To politely let them know that the situation already has a resolution in the works and that all is well.
This is where I should have crawled back into bed and had smishy kid cuddles.
Note to self: Always go with the smishy kid cuddles.
Instead I decide (in my half awake state) that my affronted ego needs an outlet.
Now I’m not much of a Facebook complainer. Sure I’ve done the occasional “look how I hurt myself” post, or the “my house is such a wreck” grievance, but that’s not the norm for me. I usually share artwork (mine or my child’s), pics of her, funny things that happened, funny things she said… you know, light hearted and family-centric stuff. Oh yeah… and food 😉
Facebook seems to be a good place for others to toss their dirty laundry. Why, Facebook would be the perfect place for me to get this injustice aired. The person it pertains to doesn’t even use Facebook.
So I type the message on my phone (even pause to consider before pressing send whether I should back out). Txt: “5 calls in 5 minutes when it’s NOT an emergency is NOT acceptable”… and … send.
Hop in bed.
Approximately 3 minutes later I JUMP out of bed with (I’m sure) the most panicked look on my face. “Did I send that to Facebook!?”
In fact I had sent it directly to the person it was “meant for”. I felt horrible. “How do I fix this? What do I say to back out of this? To make up for this?” You see, this was not some friend from childhood, some parent of another child, some neighbor… this was my Mother-in-law! Oh the horror.
I started to send a follow up text explaining that I had typed that before calling (when I was still half asleep and ticked). Explaining that I had decided against sending the text once I’d talked to her.
“Beep Beep. You’ve got mail.”
Oh, she responded. That means she’s already seen it. Great.
She couldn’t believe that I would “give her lessons in proper phone etiquette”. That, of course, was not my intention. I look like a jerk, but really I’m just an idiot. The rest of the morning was sprinkled with my apology texts.
She will never see me the same way. Maybe that’s a good thing. Doubt it.
I guess my faux pas was not really an “fb faux pas” since the message never made it to Facebook, but I will not be posting any complaints like this. That’s for sure. My “attempts” to post will only be good-natured. The laundry I air will be glistening white.

Have you made this type of mistake?
By the way… If you are my Mother-in-law… I cannot possibly express how deeply sorry I truly am.

Judge people. Do it.


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We all do it. Judge people. Walking in the mall, watching television, eating out, many of us ‘people watch’ and make snap judgments about others based on the way they look or their mannerisms. We should. Sort of.


I’m not talking about casting stones though. I’m talking about evaluating your surroundings.


It’s a natural form of self-preservation. A safety feature built right into our brains. If you’re ever walking down a dark alley and a hooded man is quickly approaching you an alarm may go off telling you to get the heck out of there. At least it should. If you are playing with your kid in the park and a shifty character seems to be coaxing a child into a van, an alarm should go off. This is obvious.


That anxiety, that fight or flight, that jolt of adrenaline is there for a reason. Trust it.


But what about other instances where it’s not so in your face? Your Mother-in-law hires someone to help her around the house and this guy is way too sweet and soft-spoken. Your daughter befriends another child who’s father goes in for the snuggle rather quickly. Or even less obvious… The parents of your child’s friend seem really nice and the kids play well together. Do you really know how those parents act when you’re not around? You need to try to learn as much about them as possible for the safety of your own child. We need no judge.


If you cuss on a regular basis (especially if you can’t seem to sensor yourself around your own children) I’m not letting my child spend the night at your house. If you’re quick to grab your child in an aggressive manner to discipline without there being an emergency, I’m not leaving my child with you.


Why don’t you ever let your kid spend the night with us? Because I’m judging you. It’s not just about whether my child will make it through the night without an ER visit. What kinds of things will you be imprinting on my innocent child’s mind? I’ve been told that I’m a “helicopter parent”, that I can’t protect her from the world, that I’m just preventing her from experiencing things for herself. I say, “I’m her parent, her guardian, it’s my job!” Granted it is a balancing act trying to make sure I don’t keep her from learning things she needs to experience herself, but when I CAN protect her tiny brain from all the crazy things this world will throw at her, I sure will. I’d be irresponsible not to. I’d be lazy at her expense not to.


I’m not telling you how to live your life. I’m not even suggesting you’re doing it wrong. I am taking into account all the things you do and how they will affect me. I am judging you and you should judge me.

Scallops n Shrimp Alfredo


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Some of the simplest types of dishes to make are the “one-pot-wonders”… the meals you don’t have to dirty up a bunch of pots n pans and keep track of different things cooking at different times. This just happens to be one of those types of meals. Well probably not usually, but I have a tendency to make things simple 😉

Start out by cooking some pasta. Whatever kind you enjoy. Strain it and leave it in the strainer. Use the same pot you cooked the pasta in to melt some butter (maybe half a stick or so). Add a little olive oil to the butter, and your favorite spices. I used garlic (I always use garlic), ground celery seed, salt, pepper, a tiny bit of minced onion and a tiny bit of paprika.

Mmmm scallops

Now toss in a handful or three of thawed scallops and just as much shrimp. These don’t take long to cook so as soon as you see them turning a bit white (rather than the kind of clear look they have) and the shrimp don’t look so “pink”… you’re ’bout done with em.

They should look about like this.

They should look about like this.

Take the scallops n shrimp out of the pot. You can put em right on top of the pasta while they wait. Save all that good stuff in the pot though.

Scoop out the solid goodies. Save the liquid goodies.

Scoop out the solid goodies. Save the liquid goodies.

Just set em on the noodles.

Just set em on the noodles. I mean, why dirty a dish when it’s all goin back in the pot?

Now is the time to throw more butter into that pot. Like at least another half a stick. Pour in some heavy cream. I probably used about a cup or so. [Can you tell I don’t measure stuff?] Add about a half to two-thirds of a cup of milk. Just to give it more liquid, but ya don’t want to ‘water’ it down.


ok, maybe some more butter

ok, maybe some more butter

So I decided to add some more butter. Hey, that’s ok. Whatever.

Once all that extra butter (’cause I’m crazy) melts you can start adding the cheese/es. I used mostly parm, but I also added a little colby n cheddar to mix things up a bit. Do it however you like, but I highly recommend the parm. Lots of it.


Probably a good 5 or 6 oz of cheese. Stir it while it melts a bit to keep it from clumping or sticking. You’re almost done!

Ready? Throw all the noodles n seafood back in the pot. (Wait. Don’t “throw”. It’s hot. Safely slide.) Now mix it all up an voila! Yum.

all together

My Hubs likes salt waaay more than I do, so salt n pepper it from this point however you like. If you think it looks a little plain you can garnish it with some greenery. Pretty much anything will work. Not mint. Don’t do mint. Parsley works.

What do you think? Was that simple enough? Fill me in with a little feedback. Thanks.