Friday, December 31, 2010

New Year's Meal Traditions and Their Meanings


Grapes

New Year's revelers in Spain consume twelve grapes at midnight—one grape for each stroke of the clock. This dates back to 1909, when grape growers in the Alicante region of Spain initiated the practice to take care of a grape surplus. The idea stuck, spreading to Portugal as well as former Spanish and Portuguese colonies such as Venezuela, Cuba, Mexico, Ecuador, and Peru. Each grape represents a different month, so if for instance the third grape is a bit sour, March might be a rocky month. For most, the goal is to swallow all the grapes before the last stroke of midnight, but Peruvians insist on taking in a 13th grape for good measure.



Cooked Greens

Cooked greens, including cabbage, collards, kale, and chard, are consumed at New Year's in different countries for a simple reason — their green leaves look like folded money, and are thus symbolic of economic fortune. The Danish eat stewed kale sprinkled with sugar and cinnamon, the Germans consume sauerkraut (cabbage) while in the southern United States, collards are the green of choice. It's widely believed that the more greens one eats the larger one's fortune next year.


Legumes

Legumes including beans, peas, and lentils are also symbolic of money. Their small, seedlike appearance resembles coins that swell when cooked so they are consumed with financial rewards in mind. In Italy, it's customary to eat cotechino con lenticchie or sausages and green lentils, just after midnight—a particularly propitious meal because pork has its own lucky associations. Germans also partner legumes and pork, usually lentil or split pea soup with sausage. In Brazil, the first meal of the New Year is usually lentil soup or lentils and rice, and in Japan, the osechi-ryori, a group of symbolic dishes eaten during the first three days of the new year, includes sweet black beans called kuro-mame.


In the Southern United States, it's traditional to eat black-eyed peas or cowpeas in a dish called hoppin' john. There are even those who believe in eating one pea for every day in the new year. This all traces back to the legend that during the Civil War, the town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, ran out of food while under attack. The residents fortunately discovered black-eyed peas and the legume was thereafter considered lucky.


Pork

The custom of eating pork on New Year's is based on the idea that pigs symbolize progress. The animal pushes forward, rooting itself in the ground before moving. Roast suckling pig is served for New Year's in Cuba, Spain, Portugal, Hungary, and Austria—Austrians are also known to decorate the table with miniature pigs made of marzipan. Different pork dishes such as pig's feet are enjoyed in Sweden while Germans feast on roast pork and sausages. Pork is also consumed in Italy and the United States, where thanks to its rich fat content, it signifies wealth and prosperity.


Fish

Fish is a very logical choice for the New Year's table. According to Mark Kurlansky, author of Cod: A Biography of the Fish that Changed the World, cod has been a popular feast food since the Middle Ages. He compares it to turkey on Thanksgiving. The reason? Long before refrigeration and modern transportation, cod could be preserved and transported allowing it to reach the Mediterranean and even as far as North Africa and the Caribbean. Kurlansky also believes the Catholic Church's policy against red meat consumption on religious holidays helped make cod, as well as other fish, commonplace at feasts. The Danish eat boiled cod, while in Italy, baccalĂ , or dried salt cod, is enjoyed from Christmas through New Year's. Herring, another frequently preserved fish, is consumed at midnight in Poland and Germany—Germans also enjoy carp and have been known to place a few fish scales in their wallets for good luck. The Swedish New Year feast is usually a smorgasbord with a variety of fish dishes such as seafood salad. In Japan, herring roe is consumed for fertility, shrimp for long life, and dried sardines for a good harvest (sardines were once used to fertilize rice fields).


Cakes, Etc.

Cakes and other baked goods are commonly served from Christmas to New Year's around the world, with a special emphasis placed on round or ring-shaped items. Italy has chiacchiere, which are honey-drenched balls of pasta dough fried and dusted with powdered sugar. Poland, Hungary, and the Netherlands also eat donuts, and Holland has ollie bollen, puffy, donut-like pastries filled with apples, raisins, and currants.

In certain cultures, it's customary to hide a special trinket or coin inside the cake—the recipient will be lucky in the new year. Mexico's rosca de reyes is a ring-shaped cake decorated with candied fruit and baked with one or more surprises inside. In Greece, a special round cake called vasilopita is baked with a coin hidden inside. At midnight or after the New Year's Day meal, the cake is cut, with the first piece going to St. Basil and the rest being distributed to guests in order of age. Sweden and Norway have similar rituals in which they hide a whole almond in rice pudding—whoever gets the nut is guaranteed great fortune in the new year.

Cakes aren't always round. In Scotland, where New Year's is called Hogmanay, there is a tradition called "first footing," in which the first person to enter a home after the new year determines what kind of year the residents will have. The "first footer" often brings symbolic gifts like coal to keep the house warm or baked goods such as shortbread, oat cakes, and a fruit caked called black bun, to make sure the household always has food.


What Not to Eat

In addition to the aforementioned lucky foods, there are also a few to avoid. Lobster, for instance, is a bad idea because they move backwards and could therefore lead to setbacks. Chicken is also discouraged because the bird scratches backwards, which could cause regret or dwelling on the past. Another theory warns against eating any winged fowl because good luck could fly away.

Now that you know what to eat, there's one more superstition—that is, guideline—to keep in mind. In Germany, it's customary to leave a little bit of each food on your plate past midnight to guarantee a stocked pantry in the New Year. Likewise in the Philippines, it's important to have food on the table at midnight. The conclusion? Eat as much lucky food as you can, just don't get too greedy—or the first place you'll be going in the new year is the gym.



Read More http://www.epicurious.com/articlesguides/holidays/newyearsday/luckyfoods#ixzz19iXVLFs2

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

What You Don't Need In Your Baby Registry

Congratulations! You're pregnant with your first child or your first in years. People will come at you from all angles to tug at your sentimental nerve, causing you to buy anything and everything. Here's a secret, most of that stuff is unnecessary. Understand that the moment you fill out the information on your baby registry, you have been set up. They ask you if you are having your first baby. This tells them that you are suffering from "I have to be a perfect mom" syndrome. If you have more than one child they tap into your rusty memory by asking for the birth dates of your other children. This tells them how long it has been since your last child and how likely you are to fall for the okie doke. Here are some tips to help you out.

1. Stay away from specialty stores

Babies R Us , Maternity, Motherhood, and other baby and mom specific stores may make shopping easier but they are guaranteed to charge more. If you really want a successful baby shower register at place with reasonable prices such as Target. If the people on your list see how accessible and financially feasible your registry is they are more likely to purchase more on the list.

2. No Furniture

Furniture is scary. It requires a decorating taste and a lot of money. They crib and the dressers are all a permanent part of the nursery. No one wants to make an expensive purchase like that for a baby that hasn't arrived. These gifts are best left for your parents, siblings and in-laws to purchase.

3. Diaper Genie

You don't need to add any new expenses to your list right now. The Diaper Genie does as it promises but you have to buy the replacement cartridges. Simply make your own diaper genie using plastic grocery bags. You can toss the bags away with ease as opposed to accumulating a looong, twisted mass of diapers. Imagine what that diaper will look and smell like when you open the Diaper Genie to empty it. Follow these obviously simply instructions http://www.instructables.com/id/Homemade-Diaper-Genie/

4. Cutesy outfits

You want your sweetie pie to be the cutest baby in town with the best and cutest clothing. Save your money for the first 3 months. They grow so fast that it can be impossible for the baby to wear all that is in their closet. Newborns rarely need or should take a bath because they aren't getting dirty. You will find yourself leaving your baby in gowns, onesies, and sleepers most of the time. There also isn't a guarantee that the baby will fit the clothes out of the womb. You should also keep in mind that the clothing that is on sale during your shower is from the prior season. It may not be weather appropriate by the time your baby is born.

5. Baby Swing

Believe me when I say that God himself built this invention and delivered it from heaven. It is the perfect solution for a colicky baby. However, newborns have no problem whatsoever sleeping. They are growing and adjusting to the world. Around 3 months is when they become more aware of their world and may need more help sleeping. Until then, stick to sleeper sacks and cocoons.

6. Super Duper Fashion Diaper Bag

You want to be the coolest milf on the block so you ask for the most expensive and stylish bag. The reality is that the really great hobo or large bag you already have makes a good diaper bag. Any bag big enough to hold diapers, a change of clothes, bottles, changing pad, wipes, burp cloth or nursing cover is the right diaper bag for you.

7. Fancy Spa Tub

You've seen them on the home page of the registry and they look amazing. They come with spray hoses, bubbles, and the works. All you need is a basic bathtub that goes from newborn to toddler. Many babies don't like the extras. Your pediatrician will likely tell you that you need to get your baby in and out of the tub. No soaking is necessary.

8. Johnson's Baby Shampoo

Because your baby is still shedding the layer of skin they had in the womb, his hair isn't in desperate need to be washed. Johnson's does have a head to toe body wash that makes the shampoo obsolete. Around the age of 3 months, after his hair has changed texture a bit you will want to choose your baby shampoo carefully as it pertains to the hair type.

Now that you've deleted the unnecessary from your list replace it with everything else you need.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Five Favorite Cleaning Products 2010


Dreft Stain Remover

I used this on a 4 1/2 year old formula stain and it came right out. I tried every stain remover when the stain was created to no avail. This one did it immediately. A little goes a long way. I paid $3 for a 16.9 oz bottle. It comes out thicker and requires friction. I recommend not rubbing the fabric against itself but rather use a laundry brush because the stain will transfer.





Scrubbing Bubbles Foaming Bathroom Cleaner

It may not be the best green option, but when you are exhausted and need it cleaned right and fast this is the choice. The price is slightly higher than the other cleaners like Lysol and Clorox but you only have to use it once. Your bathroom will sparkle like the commercial.









Libman Freedom Mop

This is perfect for a Red Housewife follower. It allows you to make your own cleaning solution to mop with. This makes the Swiffer WetJet look ridiculous. Why pay for refills of a solution that doesn't really do the job and pads that are wasteful when you can have a machine washable pad with the cleaning solution of your choice. I love this mop. The cost was about $20 at Target. I only paid it once. The Swiffer will cost you another $5 for the pads and $8 for the solution. The mop is only about $11. You re-buy the mop every time you need a refill.




Palmolive Eco Dishwasher Gel

For about $2 a bottle it was a bargain. I compared it to Cascade and found the results to be equal. It should be stated that I rinse my dishes before they go into the sink. Even if they sit for days, there isn't much stuck on food for the washer to clean. I have left a plate with dried on pasta sauce to test the Palmolive and it came out clean and shiny.





Tide Free & Gentle

I always have a coupon because I buy Pampers by the box. It costs me about $7 a bottle whereas the Cheer costs $10. It cleans better the first time. My clothes are soft and clean. They don't feel stripped. I have not tried the HE version. Together with the Dreft I have my laundry done in half the time.

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

How To Make Glittery Snowballs









You typically see these on television, in a department store, or at an expensive furniture store. Wherever you see them, you might find them the classy and simplistic accessory needed for your home or office during Christmas.

You Will Need

Scissors
Needle and thread
Cotton yarn, 8 yards for each snowball
Water
Balloons
White glue
Clothes hanger
Glitter
Plastic bag
Clear Acrylic
Vaseline (baby oil or oil sheen spray will work)

  1. Blow up the balloons just enough to make them into a round ball shape. If you put too much air into them the snowball will look like a balloon. If you have a shaped balloon like Mickey ears or a heart then you will have the same shaped snowball.
  2. Rub a thin layer of Vaseline on the balloon.
  3. Soak yarn in a water and glue mixture. Three parts glue to one part water. Soak enough for one ball at a time in case you want to adjust the amount of yarn.
  4. After you have the balloon covered with yarn, run some thread through the tied off portion and hang it on a clothes hanger to dry. It can take up to 12 hours so do them all in one night.
  5. Once the snowball is dry, pop the balloon and carefully pull it out. Thread a piece of the yarn through the ball to hold onto it. Go outside and spray the snowball with acrylic or adhesive. Roll the ball in glitter. Apply as much as you want. Shake off the excess before bringing it inside.
  6. If you are making them as ornaments make them smaller. If you are hanging them from the light fixtures use coordinating ribbon. If you are making a centerpiece place them in a large decorative bowl. You can cut corners by using glittery yarn.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Cookie Baking Tips


Here are 10 important tips to making your holiday cookies the best in the PTA or your family dinner. These tips work for cookies anytime of the year. You may as well try them out during the Christmas holiday when most of your family will gather around to show off their culinary skills. Don't forget Santa. I'm sure he can appreciate a high class cookie every now and then.

Measure properly

Adding too much flour will make your cookies dry. Don't overwork the dough, mix just until the flour disappears. If you do, the cookies will be dry, hard, and will crumble.


Reduce Flour by 1/4 Cup


With most cookie recipes, like those that don't come from a franchise, will cook up softer this way. Flour dries out the dough the more you use. Cookie dough is like frybread in this respect. To much flour is a bad thing.


Refrigerate The Dough Before Baking


Refrigerating the dough helps it maintain shape and makes it easier to work with. Refrigerate it for at least 12 hours for a good basic cookie, 24 hours for a rich cookie, 36 for a rich, tender, supreme cookie.


Use a silicone rolling pin


Silicone and marble rolling pins reduce the amount of flour needed to roll out your dough. Less flour means a moist cookie. Refrigerate the marble pins to keep your dough cold. Use a combination of powdered sugar and flour to dust the work surface to keep the cookies moist.

Use an Oven Thermometer


When a recipe calls for a 350 degrees F oven, set the temperature to 345 degrees F. This prevents over baking and over browning on the top and bottom. When baking more than one batch of cookies, reduce the cooking time a little with each batch.


Soften Butter


Butter will not soften properly in a microwave. The butter melts, which will change the structure of the cookies. Butter and sugar form the basic structure of the cookies; the sugar cuts small air pockets into the butter, which are stabilized by the flour and filled with C02 from the baking powder. Soften butter by letting it stand at room temperature for a couple of hours. You can also grate the butter into a bowl, then it will soften in a few minutes.

Freeze Dough


Freezing the dough is a time saver that improves the quality of the cookies. Shape the dough into a log, wrap, and freeze until it's time to bake. Slice the dough and bake frozen a few minutes to the baking time.

Use Fresh Ingredients


If your ingredients are more than a year old it's time to replace them. Buy new baking powder and baking soda, vanilla and spices, flour and sugar. Baking is chemistry. You need everything to react properly.

Baking Times


Take the cookies out of the oven 2-3 minutes before they're done because the residual heat from the cookie sheet will continue to bake the cookies. The cookies will be more moist.

Replace Your Cookie Sheet

Worn out cookie sheets will not allow for even baking. Replace them with new ones. If you can find them in your area, buy insulated or silicone sheets.


Enjoy your cookies!

Stocking Stuffer Ideas


For Him

  • Game Stop card
  • Necktie
  • Leather gloves
  • Hand lotion for men
  • Electric toothbrush
  • Watch
  • Socks
  • Playboy, GQ etc.
  • Small Tape Measure
  • Small Screwdriver
  • Small Hammer
  • Mini Tools
  • Flashlights
  • Batteries
  • Padlocks
  • Car Air Fresheners
  • The Expendables movie
For Her

  • Word Search Books
  • Crosswords
  • Sudoku
  • Watch
  • Bracelet
  • Earrings
  • Yarn
  • Crochet Hooks
  • Knitting Needles
  • Travel Sewing Kit
  • Bath Salts
  • Bath Beads
  • Loofah Sponges
  • Mesh Scrubbers
  • Inflatable Bath Pillows
  • Eye Masques
  • Bath Mitts
  • Chapstick
  • Lipstick
  • Lip Gloss
  • Makeup Brushes
  • Manicure Supplies (Emery Boards, Nail Clippers, Pumice Stones, Toe Separators, Nail Polish)
  • Toothbrushes
  • Hair bands
  • Hair clips
  • Chenille Slipper Socks
  • Compact Pedometer
  • Votive Candles
  • Mini Frames
  • Fridge Magnets
  • Playgirl, Cosmo, etc
  • Sex In The City Movies
Gifts For Him Teen

  • Razor
  • Shaving gel with aloe
  • Hand sanitizer
  • Axe products
  • Cell phone
  • Minutes for a phone
  • IPod
  • ITunes card
  • Game Stop card
  • GameFly Membership
  • Video games
  • Foot Locker Gift card
  • NFL memorabilia (or other sports league)
  • The A Team Movie
Gifts For Her Teen

  • Bath Salts
  • Bath Beads
  • Loofah Sponges
  • Mesh Scrubbers
  • Inflatable Bath Pillows
  • Eye Masques
  • Bath Mitts
  • Chapstick
  • Lipstick
  • Lip Gloss
  • Makeup Brushes
  • Manicure Supplies (Emery Boards, Nail Clippers, Pumice Stones, Toe Separators, Nail Polish)
  • Toothbrushes
  • Hair bands
  • Hair clips
  • IPod
  • Cell Phone or minutes
  • ITunes card
  • Movie tickets
  • Twilight movies
For Baby and Kids

  • Card Games (Poker Decks
  • Uno)
  • Play Dough
  • Action Figures
  • Balls
  • Matchbox Cars
  • Travel games
  • Toothbrush
  • Barrettes
  • Bath toys
  • Bath bubbles
  • Small book
  • Baby Lotion
  • Baby Powder
  • Sippy Cups
  • Cheerios Dispensers
  • Toddler Snacks
  • Binky
  • Teething rings
For The Pets

  • Pet Treats (Snausages, Pounce)
  • Pet Toys
  • Collars
  • Pet Tags
  • Dog Shampoo
  • Pet Food Can Covers

For Everyone

  • Crayons
  • Markers
  • Pens
  • Pencils
  • Paints
  • Watercolors
  • Scissors
  • Erasers
  • Staplers
  • Calculators
  • Rulers
  • Notepads
  • Journals
  • Post-its
  • Stickers
  • Wrapped Hard Candies
  • Sugar-free Candies
  • Hershey's Kisses
  • Almond Roca
  • Ferrer Rocher Chocolates
  • Gum
  • Mints
  • Gummi Candies
  • Jelly Beans
  • Chocolate Bars
  • Lindt Truffles
  • M&M Mini Tubes
  • Toblerone
  • Candy Canes
  • 100 Calorie Packs
  • Snack Packs
  • Small jars of nuts

Saturday, December 18, 2010

GIfts For Him

What do you get for the man who has everything? What about the man who has nothing and likes it that way? How about the man who doesn't know what he wants? Here are a few gift ideas to help you out.


For the writer or business man...

The Classic Pen Set, as seen on t.v. is a great gift for someone who hates to share pens. When in an office setting his pens never make their way back to his desk. This is a pen set that comes in a nice case where the pens can be returned. Most importantly the cheap leaky courtesy pens at the office can be reserved for everyone else to steal while this one is his alone.

It boasts an indestructible nib and a 66 piece black ink set. It's available at Walgreens and Target.




For the new or proud family man...

Try this Sony digital photo frame. It is IPod / MP3 enabled. There's nothing like a soundtrack to help you remember the family that loves you. It is also a space saver. No need for both a radio and a photo frame to take up space. They both come together here.

This is a great gift for the office, an art studio, or any small space that belongs to him.


For any man...

Why not give a gift that you both can benefit from. He never wears lotion and you are quite fed up with his alligator skin. You're also over stepping into the shower to find your shower gel used up before you even open it. Try Dove Men Care. Get him the entire line so that there is no need to bother your lotions or soaps or loofah. Besides, you might be doing him a favor. The last thing he wants is to walk around smelling like a summer meadow in the dead of winter anyway. There are gift sets available at Target.


For the gamer...

Let's face it, you have no idea what games are good and what games will make your husband throw his gaming system out of the window. You do know that you won't stand for all of your income going to a game that he won't want to play in a month. Give him a subscription to Gamefly. Like Netflix, he can play the games for as long as he wants before trading them in for a new game. Give him limitless play on a budget.


For more gift ideas for him try this website:
http://www.gifts.com/ideas/him

It has gift ideas divided by personality, age, likes, etc.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Presidential Cookies


White House shares gingerbread recipe
By The Associated Press

For the holidays, White House pastry chef Bill Yosses created a 350-pound replica of the building using gingerbread coated in white chocolate. Here is his gingerbread recipe:





Gingerbread cookies


Makes 50 (4-inch) cookies.

1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened

2 cups packed dark brown sugar

2 large eggs

1 cup molasses

7 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 teaspoon ground ginger

1/4 teaspoon cinnamon

1 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

Zest of 1 lemon

Zest of 1 orange

In a large bowl, use electric mixer to beat butter and brown sugar for 5 minutes. One at a time, add eggs, then molasses. Set aside.

Into a medium bowl, sift together flour, ginger, cinnamon, baking soda, baking powder and salt. With mixer on low, add a third of the dry ingredients to butter-sugar mixture. Beat until just mixed in, then stop mixer and scrape down sides of bowl. Repeat with remaining thirds of dry ingredients. Add both zests and mix until just incorporated.

Transfer dough to a sheet of plastic wrap, spreading dough until 1 inch thick. Cover with another sheet of plastic wrap, then refrigerate overnight.

When ready to bake, heat oven to 350 degrees. Remove dough from refrigerator. Break off a small piece of dough and roll it out on a floured surface to between 1/8 - and 1/4 -inch thick. The dough is very wet, so add flour and turn it over frequently while rolling to prevent sticking.

Use a 4-inch gingerbread person cookie cutter to cut out cookies. Repeat with remaining dough. Arrange cookies on a baking sheet, leaving 1 inch all around. Bake 12 minutes. Cool on baking sheet for 1 minute, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Once cooled, decorate as desired.


Winter Skin Care Kit

Winter weather can wreck a woman's beautifully radiant skin. Unfortunately, by the time we figure out that our skin is suffering, the damage is done. It can sometimes take the entire winter just to return your skin to its naturally beautiful state in time for spring. Here are some things that you should have in your bathroom this winter. Keep them in one place and call it your winter weather kit.




St. Ives Oatmeal & Shea Butter

As you know, most of my low cost beauty products are from St. Ives. I don't work for them and they don't pay me to blog about their products. The fact is, their products do for my skin what Johnsons does for my baby's skin. The Oatmeal and Shea butter shower gel goes quickly and doesn't exfoliate at all. However, you feel moisturized, not greasy or oily, before you even step out of the shower. The lotion is thick but soft enough to smooth with ease when you are wet or dry. It leaves you feeling soft and moisturized, not oily, wet or greasy. You could place a piece of white paper on your skin and there would be no oil stain. The best part of the shower gel is if you don't have time for lotion, you won't need it for about 12 hours. If you use the lotion, it will last 24hours or until the next shower. Both products are cheaper than Nivea and Olay.


St. Ives Collagen Elastin

Those of you who saw my Beauty On One Red Cent video know that this is the best facial moisturizer for the lowest price. It also is the quickest rehydrator which is great for the winter weather. If you are paying more than $4 for you moisturize switch to this one. It plumps the skin to erase fine lines and wrinkles.







Avon Foot Works Foot Moisturizing Creme

This has to be the best foot creme for $2.99. It is very thick which is great because it hydrates up to 2 days. If your feet are dry and cracking, there's no need to spend excessive amounts of money on cremes and roll-ons. You will notice results within 24 hours. For massive re-hydration use with a pair of ankle socks overnight.




Shower Gloves

I am a compulsive exfoliator. I love even toned, soft skin. Since the St. Ives Oatmeal & Shea Butter shower gel doesn't exfoliate, I use these. I don't spend a wad of cash on them though. At Target these were $3 even. The great thing about these is they are gloves so you can really scrub the way you need. Also, they are machine washable.







Pumice Stone

For $1.99 at Walgreens you can afford to buy two. I used one for my feet and the other for the darkened, rough parts of my body. If you have an issue with your elbows or knees, GENTLY rub them with a pumice stone. You don't need to see anything happening just rub them for 5 to 10 second once or twice a week. After your first shower you will see results that progress over the next days until you use it again. It works faster and better than scar removers and cocoa butter. I rubbed it on a scar and found it faded to 50% within 1 week.

Put all of these things together in a cute box in your bathroom and your skin will be just as beautiful and radiant as it was this past summer.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Trop 50 review


I was watching my usual television smut when I saw a commercial for Tropicana's new drink Trop 50. The commercial was quite entertaining and it starred Jane Krakowski, most known for Ally McBeal and most recently known as the answer for a Jeopardy question. The selling point for this drink is that it has the same great taste as regular Tropicana orange juice with only half the calories and sugar.

(See the latest commercial here)http://smnr.akamediainc.com/trop50/

I went to SaveMart where it was on sale, half a gallon bottles were 2 for $5. Not a bad price since my favorite juice is Simply Orange and it was almost $4 per bottle. I should have read the packaging a little more closely. First of all, Trop 50 isn't orange juice. It says right on the packaging that it is an "orange drink." Upon closer inspection on the label I see that there is only 49% juice in the product. So what was the other 51%?

Once I brought it home I had been craving orange juice as if I were pregnant again. I open the bottle and find a strange substance collecting on the lid. I read the label again and saw that it was pulp free. I look at the substance again and realized that the gooey, thick, orange residue was actually the concentrate. "No biggy" I thought. I shook the bottle and poured a glass. My first sip was greatly disappointing. It tasted like watered down Tampico punch. The orange flavored one This is not an exaggeration. However, I found the following fact to be more interesting. The more I drank, the more it began to taste like a diet orange juice and then just an orange juice. I also found myself extremely thirsty, which is why I kept drinking more.




The Verdict

I will stick to the real orange juice and cut my sugar elsewhere.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Huggies Supreme Snugglers Vs Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive Review


There are new mom's everywhere trying to decide which diaper will work best. If you check the product reviews online you will be just as lost as you were before. Sometimes the product reviews on the store websites are not at all useful because the reviewer either didn't follow directions or was upset with the shipping. As a result they grade the product low. Here there is no ratings system. I will only share with you my personal experience with the product and precisely what conditions I used it under.

The Huggies Supreme Snugglers aren't actually a new product of Huggies. They had the same diaper out at least 4 1/2 years ago. I know this because I used them on my first born. Then they called it Dry Weave or something to that effect. I remember loving the umbilical cord cut out and the indicator stripe that helped me determine it was time to change the diaper. I didn't like the leakage. My 4 year old was a formula fed baby at the time. For those who need to know, this means he had more excrement than a breastfed baby and it was closer to the consistency as excrement he made once he switched to baby food. I don't remember ever using the indicator stripe because when I would lift my son, I'd find excrement up his back, on his crib, on me. At first it leaked from the thighs, I then assumed that I had the wrong size. I went to the store and found a tighter fit. This prevented the leaks from the sides but not the leaking up the back. Again I presumed that I was the problem. I fastened the diapers tighter and kept track of when he needed to be changed. This was in case he was going in the same diaper twice, thus causing the leak. There were still leaks. This was beyond frustrating. I attempted to switch to Pampers, the same brand they gave me in the hospital, but my size was never in stock. This lead me to Luvs. There were no more leaks.

That was 4 years ago. What brought me back to Huggies once again, size availability. I have a 3 month old, exclusively breastfed baby. She was 1 month old at the time. I was using Pampers Swaddlers Sensitive size 1 with the indicator stripe. Target is my local store. They ran out of her size in the Sensitive. Sensitive is the only one with the stripe. Although I am a second time mom, that stripe keeps me from having to stick my finger in the diaper to be sure. I turned around and on the opposing shelf was an abundance of Huggies Supreme Snugglers. I found my size with ease. The price was the same, $19.79 a box. I bought an 84 count box. For the same price I bought 92 of the Pampers. This diaper felt more reassuring right out of the box. It felt more plush, had a cord cutout and the indicator stripe was twice as dark. In the middle of the night when I am only half awake, I need it to be easy to know if my baby is wet. With the Pampers I have made the mistake of changing a diaper that wasn't wet because there is a design line that is a darker green that the yellow indicator line turns. The Huggies stripe is already a darker green that's even darker when wet.

Another feature about both diapers is they pull the wetness away from the baby's body. As a result, you will swear that the baby's diaper is wet on the outside. It isn't. Immediately, I found that the Pampers kept my baby dryer. The Huggies had a much better fit than the Pampers. Perhaps this was the problem. There was no room for air in the Huggies diaper so maybe that was why she stayed wet. The diaper handled the pee with ease. Then came her first poopie diaper of the night, it went up her back. I'd say she had about 1.5 to 2 ozs of excrement. It went straight up her back. Since it was the middle of the night, I didn't wash her bedding. I simply changed the bedding and her clothes and got her back to sleep. It was very hard removing the mustard yellow stains in the morning. My husband and I persisted with the diapers to no avail. Each and every diaper in that box leaked. We couldn't wait to run out so we could replace them with the Pampers brand.

The Verdict

The Pampers is the brand hospitals use for a reason. You get more for your money. The indicator stripe may not be dark but it is there nonetheless. They may not have a tailored fit but my baby stayed dry and most importantly, no leaks.

4 years ago I called the Huggies company to complain. Their explanation was that until my baby switched to solids this would continue to happen. They sent out about 8 manufacturer's coupons for free diapers. You may still be able to do this today. If you truly feel that the Huggies brand is better for you then call the company to report the leaks. If you aren't having this problem, call anyway and ask for a coupon.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Christmas On A Budget: Embracing Your Bah-Humbug

It's that time of year again when the world overspends in the name of Jesus for a period of one month. Then they spend the first quarter of the new year complaining about what they received or didn't receive and how much they overindulged in Momma's black forest cake. With your budget lower than the temperature on the thermostat it can be difficult to get into the spirit of Christmas. Don't fret. Embrace your inner Scrooge. There is something to be said about not getting lost in the festivities. By cutting some corners now you ensure the rest of your new year has a great start. There's no fun in paying for this year's Christmas gifts well into next summer.

The Tree

Most people wait until the end of the month of December to buy it because the price is cheaper. These people are on to something. Follow their lead. If you insist on the responsibility of a real tree, buy it as cheap as you can find it. It's going to wind up on the sidewalk until Martin Luther King Day anyway. Or, you can take a long term approach. If you were broke last year, and you're broke this year, chances are, you'll be broke next year. You may as well spring for the flawless fake tree. You don't have to spend extra on lights. You don't have to keep it watered. It doesn't need to be dragged out the the curb after the holiday and you can keep it up longer without it dying too early.


The Presents

Religious or not, Jesus is the reason for the season. It's not your family's fault, however, that they only care about the label or the price tag on Christmas Day. You have let them live under those principals all year. Don't expect your family to get religion and not care about the presents this year. That also doesn't mean that you break yourself to please the ungrateful little wretches either. The better solution is to buy one gift per person. Parents tend to exert themselves trying to squeeze as many gifts as they can under the tree and onto their budget to no avail. Buy each person the one thing on their Christmas list that they feel they could never do without. If they want something more, they know about the after Christmas sales. Tell them to take themselves shopping if they don't like your gift.

The Treats

Every other day your little sugar plums want to make cookies and ask you what pie you're going to bake today. And everyday, you die a little inside. You have no desire whatsoever to bake one more stupid pie or batch of cookies. You practically killed yourself making treats on Halloween, and turkey on Thanksgiving. Now, because of Christmas you are expected to be Betty Crocker. Forget all that. Tell your children to make a choice. They can have one baked good a week. For example, cookies one week, pie another week, and chocolates another. To save you the headache, God invented these wonderful places called bakeries. Use them. To make up for the cost don't buy any other sweet snacks for the house. Let the baked goods be the centerpiece.


The Family

They all want to come visit you and eat up all your food. Then they want to spend the rest of the year complaining about your accommodations and your lack of culinary skills. Don't buy into that crap this year. Tell everyone that you are not excepting overnight guests this year. Make them get a hotel or commute. That'll make them appreciate your sofa bed. Tell everyone that they need to bring a dish of their own. Tell them the economy has assaulted you and this year you are having a potluck Christmas. That's less headache, time and money for you. Let them see what it feels like to be insulted after slaving over a hot stove.


The Shopping

The crowds, the shoving, being robbed, overspending, it's all too much for one housewife. Do your shopping on the internet and call it a day. I only recommend this if you are a housewife, meaning you are home aaaall day. You don't want the packages to be stolen. This may be a good time to get a post office box. Buying online is quick, efficient, and prevents overspending since there is no creative store shelf designing aimed to make you do just that. You aren't limited to mediocre deals either. By shopping online you have access to all of the warehouses belonging to the store. What may be sold out at your local store isn't sold out online. You can even use your store credit cards to earn extra discounts and awards at places like Macy's, Toys R' Us, and JC Penney. If you have to brave the mall don't carry a purse or a bag. Don't carry cash in case you are robbed you can put a stop on all of the cards. Go in as if you are going grocery shopping. Have a list, get in and out.


The Photos & Cards

You spend so much money on those holiday portraits and cards. Half of the people who receive them don't send you a thing. Stop sending them pictures. Don't buy a photo pack without a coupon. Try JC Penney, they have $7.99 portrait packages. Be careful going there. They take quality photos. You may wind up spending more than you wanted. They also charge a sitting fee so only let the children pose. If you know your children are photogenic, go for the $3.99 portrait sheets coupon. It allows you many different poses. Don't pay extra for Christmas cards from portrait studios. Just go to the Dollar Tree and buy your cards there, enclose the Christmas photos and you're done.


A little bah -humbug goes a long way toward maintaining your happiness and sanity.

Carl's Jr. Chicken Tenders



Carl's Jr has exploded onto the fast food scene with a new product. They are now offering hand breaded chicken tenders on their menus. Some of you are not quite grasping the hotness of this item.

Upon entering the drive-thru for the 5 piece box, ($4.50) I noticed that there was a long line around the building. There was a fog of tail pipe smoke in front of me as people braved the cold weather for a taste of this rumored irresistible chicken. Somehow I found myself reminiscing on the free fried chicken episode of The Boondocks.

The tenders are marketed as hand breaded which leaves me wondering how else the chicken is breaded. Should I even ask? After seeing the four-legged chicken on a PETA expose' I think not. The rumor is that the chicken is so juicy that you don't even care that you are paying almost a dollar piece. Executive vice president of marketing Brad Haley said, "We love to be able to give Carl's Jr. customers a 'wow' experience, as in, 'Wow, I can't believe I can get something that good at a fast-food place.'"

Well, after watching people for the past week honk their horns and yell at the attendants for running out of the tenders during the lunch rush hour, I finally got a box of my own. The above is a picture of what they actually look like. For a better idea of the size, they are about the 3/4 of the size of the ones on the commercial. I was disappointed with the size I must say, but only because the commercial made them look so large. The ones in the commercial wouldn't even fit in the box. That was a bit misleading. Then there is the infamous hand breading. It was not the same texture or consistency as the the chicken in the commercial. Basically, I paid $5 for some chicken tenders that I made at home the week before. Only, mine were bigger.

I will say this for Carl's Jr, the chicken was juicy and flavorful. I would rather eat their chicken tenders than any of the chicken tenders I have paid more for at any restaurant. My 4 year old agrees. Though the size of the tenders was off-putting, you will get full off of the flavor. As a recovering Carl's-aholic, I was used to eating until I couldn't eat anymore. Eating the chicken tenders made me want to stop. It had so much flavor that you didn't want to mess with it by eating the fries or eating too much.

The Verdict

Buy the tenders alone with a drink instead of a burger combo meal. Yes, I could make these at home but if I don't feel like cooking I could easily pass these off as my own. For that, they get my approval.


Want to make it yourself?

Buy a bag of large boneless, skinless chicken breasts. One really large breast is enough for a 5 piece. So you will need 1 breast per person.

Slice the breast into 3-5 strips each.

In a large bowl, season 2 cups of flour with Tony Chachere's Creole seasoning. Don't overdo it.

Heat enough canola or vegetable oil in a cast iron or non-stick pan to cover the chicken.

Toss the tenders into the seasoned flour, tap off the excess and lay in the pan to cook.

Here's the catch. Do not overcook the breasts. Make sure your oil is piping hot when the tenders go in. This is how to accomplish the crunchy outside and the juicy inside. Leave the tenders on one side for 3 -5 minutes depending on the thickness, before turning.

Drain on a paper towel.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

5 Gifts That Say "I Love You" & "I'm Sorry"


So you've confessed to her that you were wrong and have thus forever accepted the title of Jackass. Still, she looks at you like the stuff she stepped in while climbing out of her car. There is one last thing you can try to do to make the holidays happier. You can buy a gift that says more than you can because you'll just put your foot in your mouth anyway.



"Cheater"

So you dipped your stick in someone else's oil. You're a very lucky Jackass to still have your queen. Honestly, she is probably waiting just to see what you bought her for Christmas. So you'd better make it count.

Try this key necklace, or any piece of jewelry with the key as the main piece. The key says, " Only you have the key to my heart." Which is contrary to the impression you left her with after sharing your twig and berries with the other fair maidens in your town. It helps to make the whole, " She meant nothing to me" speech sound that much more believable. Make sure it is real gold and and real diamonds or nothing you have to say will matter.



"I've seen better"

Your Lovely Dove asked you if she looked fat and you answered, "yes" faster than she could finish her sentence. Or maybe you stared too long at that young tramp that sauntered passed the two of you that night. You may have even failed to compliment her new look or insulted it by saying that you'd seen better.

You are such a jackass.

Try giving her something that no one else is thinking about giving this Christmas. Give her a vanity table with a mirror and seat. Make sure it matches the furniture. Have it already assembled with her fragrances and makeup on the table. The great thing about this is that you will have your bathroom counter back all the while making her feel more beautiful than your idiotic words made her feel in the first place.




"All you women are the same"

So you made an unflattering comparison of your wife to another woman. You've left her feeling inferior or worse yet, boring. You've told her that she's just like the rest of the women in your life although she's the only one who cooks, cleans, tolerates you, and does that special thing in bed that you like so much.

Way to go jackass.

Here something to make her feel more unique and very special to you. Women love butterflies. They also love diamonds. But chances are, none of the other women in your life or hers has them both assembled together on one necklace made of chocolate diamonds. Don't buy a gift for any other woman on your list this year. You mucked up so you clean it up. Make her feel special.


" Was that today?"

So you forgot her birthday, your anniversary, the baby's due date, etc.

Yep, you guessed it! You're a jackass.

You need something that says, "Honey, I am bad with dates but I am good with remembering what you do for me." A Pandora bracelet is perfect because it shows that you were paying attention. It's jewelry, and we all know how women love that. It's new, so she can show off to the rest of the mom's at the PTA. The charms are personally selected which accomplishes a couple of things. The charms you choose shows that you remembered the events, not the dates. It shows that you took the time to carefully plan out what you were buying her this Christmas. It also says that you're romantic because she will always be able to look down at it and remember what she means to you.

Now that you have a starting list of ideas, run out and go shopping for your Little Mrs. Do your best not to create another jackass moment you'll never live down in the process.

Tide Washing Machine Cleaner


I actually had to spend the money to purchase this item in order to review it. I must admit that I had my preconceived notions of the product. Granted I am an advocate for baking soda and vinegar. Sometimes, there are some cleaning products that simply must be bought already made. I have decided to purchase this one to see if it was a must buy or a must make. After all, my goal here is to save you beautiful ladies money.

First let's discuss what the product is and it's intended use. The product claims to clean your special HE washer. By doing so it eliminates the odors that these machines are prone to developing and leaves your clothes cleaner. It is specially formatted to work in your HE washer.

My experimentation was done by using my neighbor's front loading HE washer, complete with platform, steam cycle, and shiny red finish. He complained about the moldy smell coming from his washer. He supplied the washer for this review and I supplied the Tide Washing Machine Cleaner 3 Pack. First I followed the directions to a "T". I could smell the freshness of the cleaner like fresh laundry on a Saturday morning. My neighbor and I were distracted with the NFL games on television for awhile. I was pretty sure that the product worked since I could smell the freshness from the other room. My neighbor was nice enough to toss in the laundry and do a cycle for me.

15 minutes later, as the cycle ended, we both made the "what's that smell" face. We went to the washer and low and behold, the musty moldy smell was back. This time it was all over my clothes. Of course my neighbor was grossly over-apologetic. After reassuring him I returned home to write my review. I tossed the same load into my ancient top-loader and out it came smelling so fresh and so clean.

The verdict

For $2.67 a bag this product should work better. Perhaps I should rephrase that and say that this product should work for $8 a box. It not only left the odor in the machine but also it transferred the odor to the clothing. Perhaps after a few more uses the problem will be rectified but this is not implied by the advertising on the packaging or t.v.

Ladies, save your money and add a cup of vinegar to your load instead.

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Top 10 Gifts For A New Mom

10. A plush bathroom set (robe, slippers etc)

9. Spa botanical such as bubble bath and lotions.

8. A large handbag that can double as a diaper bag

7. A sewing machine or mannequin

6. Movie Tickets

5. Deluxe cookware

4. A gift card to Frederick's of Hollywood or Victoria's Secret

3. A make-up kit or chi flat iron

2. Digital photo frame

1. Digital camera or Camcorder

The Best & Worst Places To Shop For Toys

Best

1.Toys R Us - The isles are organized by age range. If you shop online there are two age ranges, the manufacturer's age recommendation and the Toys R Us recommendation. Follow the store age range. There is also the largest variety I have seen. Be sure to use the discount card to save money and earn rewards.

Con- Not a very generous return policy. The staff is not always helpful.


2. Walgreens - This one is a shocker for some of you. But Walgreens owns the corner market on games, travel toys and classic toys for a great price.

Con- Most stores have no returns.


3. Target - If you can find a super Target then shop there for the toys. You will be able to make a return without a problem and won't have to fight a bargain crowd.

Con - Selection can be poor depending on the size of the Target.




Worst

1. Walmart - Often times people have opened the packages and stolen key components of the toys. The staff is not at all helpful.

Con - Chances are the cheapest place that is closest to you is a Walmart and not a Target.

2. Costco - The selection is horrible.

Con - You will miss out on the best return policy.

3. Babies r Us - People say it is the same as Toys R Us. It isn't. The baby toys are grossly overpriced.

Con - The high prices allow you to stack up more rewards on your card.

Christmas Shopping For Someone Else's Children

You don't have children but someone in your life does. You want to give their little ones a gift but aren't quite sure what to buy. There are so many recalls and safety warnings that you couldn't keep them straight even if you tried. Here's some help.

Babies

The first thing to know is that newborn is 0-3 months in the toy and baby clothing world. For the rest of the world newborn is technically up to 6 months. Everyone 12 months and younger is an infant. Everyone 12-18 months and older is a toddler. If you decide to buy for a newborn by the clothing in the last month of their range. For example, Carter's makes clothes that come in Newborn and 3 months. This means the Newborn size fits preemie up to newborn sizes. The 3 months size fits newborn to 3 months. Many tags show the weight of the baby that could fit the outfit. By purchasing the larger of the sizes you allow the baby time to wear the gift longer.

Now that you have the sizing what clothing should you buy?

If you're the practical gift giver then layette sets, shoes, socks, Onesies, mix and match sets, beanies and blankets are your best bet. If you are the expensive gift giver then opt for the flashy outfit from a designer. If you are the fun gift giver don't give clothes at all. Give toys.

What kind of toys?

Baby gyms (floor mats), rattles, glow worm, stuffed animals, kick and play, toys that sing, toys that light up.

Make it easy on yourself and look at the age on the packaging. The rule of thumb is to shop ahead of the baby's age. For a newborn get a toy for a 3 month old. For a 3 month old buy a toy that says 3-6 months or 6-9 months.


Toddlers

In the clothing world a toddler's size is represented by the letter T. The sizes typically range from 2T to 5T. This usually coincides with the child's age. Again, shop ahead one size.

For toys, follow the same age guideline as when buying toys for a baby. If you buy the child something that makes sound, keep the parents in mind. If it sounds like something that would be annoying if you heard it 100 times in 10 minutes then you should leave it on the shelf because the parents certainly will. Always remember that the parents are the ones who have to deal with it This also applies to artistic toys. Markers, crayons, Play-Doh are all headaches for most parents. Use your best judgment here.

Children

Children clothing sizes are based mostly on age. There is no T as with toddler sizes. If the child is thin and tall you may want to may want to buy belts for the pants or buy the shirts separate from the pants. For example, my son is turn five in the spring. He is as tall as a 5 year old. He is very thin however. We buy his shirts true to size, size 4. Then we buy his pants one size up for length and add a belt. The other thing to know is that a thin child can still wear a T size. My size 4 can also wear a 4T.

Toys are a little tricky. For children it goes by range, 5-7 etc. Sometimes children would rather continue to play with a toy that was intended for a younger child and sometimes they are more advanced and prefer older toys. Also, at about 5 years old children begin to see toys on tv and shout, "I want that!" Don't listen to them. They have no idea what they want. Use your instincts and keep the receipt.

Teens

Gift cards. Plain and simple. Some teens wear adult sizes and some wear tween or even children's. Teens are fickle. They beg you for a green IPod then see the black one and pout because they wish they'd asked for the black one. Just buy them a gift card to a place that they frequent regularly.

Monday, November 1, 2010

30 Ways To Celebrate Native American Heritage Month




President Obama has signed the proclamation officially making Native American Heritage Day, November 26th. We now have our own federal holiday. To go along with this day is the month long celebration in November of Native American Heritage Month. Since there are 30 days in November, here are 30 ways to celebrate our heritage.

Children

  1. Invite a Native American Guest speaker from a local tribe to come to your child’s school to teach something about their tribe.
  2. Make dream catchers together and discuss their meaning
  3. Research the tribe indigenous to your area and have a presentation in front of your family
  4. Learn a song from the local tribe
  5. Learn a round dance.
  6. Make a clap stick
  7. Learn to braid.
  8. Request that offensive songs not be taught at your child’s school, i.e. 10 little Indian boys.
  9. Be the Native American guest speaker at a school.
  10. Sponsor a child that wants to be a powwow dancer.
  11. Teach a child to bead using pony beads.
  12. Teach a child to make a pine needle basket.
  13. Make frybread dogs with your children instead of chili dogs or corn dogs
  14. Bring in Native American coloring pages and storybooks to your child's for them to keep.
  15. Start a petition to make your local tribe's language an available language course at your child's high school.


Adults

  1. Add the following movies to your Netflix cue: Grand Avenue, The Exiles, Dance Me Outside, Doe Boy, Incident at Oglala, Smoke Signals.
  2. Read one or more of the following books: Ceremony by Leslie Silko, Love Medicine by Louise Eldrich, Ramona by Helen Hunt Jackson, Reservation Blues by Sherman Alexie
  3. Attend the powwow at California State University, Northridge on November 27th. You can tell them I sent you.
  4. Donate food to your local Tribal TANF organization.
  5. Make moccasins for your family.
  6. Carry your baby in a cradleboard or buy one for someone else.
  7. Support an American Indian film festival.
  8. Print President Obama's Proclamation and post it at work. Request November 26th off if you are Native American
  9. Start a Native American Heritage Day tradition, i.e. gift giving, dinner etc.
  10. Re-enter the powwow circle if you haven't done so in years.
  11. Make a shawl for yourself or someone else
  12. Make Native American Heritage Day shirts for everyone in your family to wear.
  13. Make a turtle or gourd rattle for a new baby
  14. Buy a Pendleton Blanket for an elder
  15. Cook a Native American meal for your family. Here’s a recipe to get you started…


Choctaw Catfish (Serves 4)

Ingredients

  • 4 (4 ounce) fillets catfish
  • 2 cups buttermilk
  • 1 cup yellow cornmeal
  • 1/2 tablespoon onion salt
  • 1 tablespoon steak seasoning
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, place catfish fillets in buttermilk. Cover, and marinate in the refrigerator 45 minutes.
  2. In a resealable plastic bag, mix cornmeal, onion salt, and steak seasoning. One at a time, drain catfish fillets and place in the bag to coat with the cornmeal mixture.
  3. Heat oil in a large, heavy skillet over medium heat. Fry each fillet 7-10 minutes per side, or until exterior is lightly browned and flesh is easily flaked with a fork. Drain on paper towels.

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Tombstone Ice Cream Sandwich Cake


This is the easy way to have an ice cream cake.

You will need:

A rectangular cake pan

Enough ice cream sandwiches to fill the pan

Foil or wax paper

Frosting and cake decorations in your color of choice


For the larger cake you will also need:

Chocolate cake mix

Ice cream


For a smaller cake:

Step one: Line the cake pan with the foil or wax paper. Smear a thick layer of frosting along the bottom. Lay the sandwiches along the bottom, cutting them to fit. This is like brick laying. The frosting will hold the sandwiches in place.

Step two: Smear the desired frosting over the top of the cake. Add your decorations, words, images etc.

Step three: Freeze the cake for at least 30 minutes before eating. You'll find slicing much easier.

For the larger cake:

Step one: Bake a rectangular cake and cool.

Step two: Slice the cake in half lengthwise with a bread knife. The top half of this baked cake is the bottom.

Step three: Spread ice cream on the bottom layer. Add a layer of ice cream sandwiches. Add another layer of ice cream add top with the other half of the baked cake.

Step four: Spread your decorative frosting and decorations over the top of the cake. Freeze the cake for 45 to an hour before serving.


Tips: Leave the cakes in the pans when you freeze them. Lift them from the pans by the paper or foil.

Eyeball Cupcakes


This is a fun treat for kids year round but especially Halloween.

You will need:

Cupcake liners

Red velvet cake mix (easiest way)

White frosting

Lifesavers Gummy

Chocolate M&M's (Dk. Brown & Light Brown ones)
or
Chocolate or Licorice Jelly Belly (brown or black color is important, not flavor)

Very Cherry Jelly Belly (or any red colored flavor)

(use Jelly Bell due to their size)


Step one: Bake the cupcakes according to the package instructions and let cool.

Step two: Use a butter knife and cut a slit in the center of the cupcakes. Fill the slit with 3 or more Cherry Jelly Belly.

Step three: Spread the white icing on the cupcakes. Place a Gummy Lifesaver on top in the center. This is the eye color. Place a dark M&M or Jelly Belly in the Lifesaver hole.

Step four: Enjoy

Improvise wherever you can. Use red food coloring in a white or a chocolate cake.

For more grotesque cupcakes, fill the centers with red Jello or red liquid lollipop. Use icing writers for the bloodlines on the whites of the eyes.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Treat Tree


This would make the perfect centerpiece for a Halloween party or an alternative to the unattended candy bowl outside your front door. For even more creativity use your old plastic Christmas tree to hang the ghost.


You will need:


Tissue or coffee filters


White string


Black yarn or pipe cleaners


Black marker

Step one:
For the head of the ghosts fill the center of a tissue square or coffee filter with a another piece of balled up tissue or coffee filter.

Step two: Tie off the head with the black yarn or pipe cleaner and fluff out the bottom.

Step three: Color eyes for the ghost on the head. You can color a mouth too as an option.

Step four:
Tie a piece of string around the neck to hang it from your tree.
If you are making this into a Treat Tree then you will need to fill the ghosts with candy instead.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

How To Make Halloween Ghosts


This is a great project to do with your children for Halloween or Dia De Los Muertos. I calls for their creativity and costs you nothing.

You will need:

1 gallon milk jugs, one for every ghost


A black Sharpie, black acrylic paint, or black construction paper


White acrylic paint (optional)


A razor, sharp knife, or Exacto knife

Tea light candles or a string of Halloween or Christmas Lights

Step one: Wash out all of the jugs including the lids and allow to dry upside down.


Step two: On the side without the label paint or draw your ghost faces. You may also use construction paper for your smaller children to give them more scissor practice. Glue the face pieces to the jug. Make skeleton faces for Dia de los Muertos.

Step three: You have three options for the top. You can remove the top, paint it black or white, or use your Sharpie to make it black.

Step four: Carve the back of the jug out using the label as a guide.

Step five:
Place your tiny candle inside or line your ghosts in front of the Christmas lights, stuffing a few of the bulbs inside.
Enjoy an alternative to the messy, rotting pumpkin!