What do you get…

What do you get when you cross a skunk and bells?”

Jingle Smells.

Coffee art

I just found this and thought it was awesome and appropriate to share here. They are so pretty I almost wouldn’t want to drink them. Almost.

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ImageThere are a ton more on the website. Check them out.

Some of my favorite things that come in jars

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I had never heard of apple butter until the 4th of July when I was looking for a fun burger recipe. I stumbled across this one on Panera’s website. You mix the apple butter into the ground turkey before grilling. I’ve made it several times since and it is delicious (my dad and David’s roommate Billy will attest). The apple butter adds a lot of rich, smoky flavor to it. So then I had a lot of apple butter left because the burger recipe does not require much (in fact, I would use a little less than recommended because the taste is very pungent and can be overwhelming if you use too much). I did what I normally do if I have some spare ingredients lying around…..make muffins! They were moist, rich, and “smelled like Thanksgiving” according to my roommate. Great seasonal ingredient.

In case you’re interested, here are a few things to do with apple butter:

As for the other jar up there…I used to hate everything about coconuts, but after doing some research about different types of hair and skin care I decided to try coconut oil. I was never a huge fan of coconut smell, but I figured if it is good for my hair, my skin, and I can cook with it as a healthy oil then I might as well.

Lo and behold, I am in love with coconut oil. I bought a jar of virgin coconut oil–I read to get extra virgin, but I couldn’t find it–and have experimented with it on my face and hair. Haven’t cooked with it yet. I didn’t notice a difference on my face, but it worked like a charm on my hair! I scrubbed it in a few hours before I showered and wrapped a plastic bag around my head (yes, I had the house to myself). It felt disgusting, like I hadn’t showered in years, but after a while I just forgot about it and kept doing chores. It took two rinses of shampoo to get it all out, but when it dried later it felt so incredibly soft! It was wonderful and I’ve been doing it once a week since as well as putting some on my hands and elbows for some extra moisture. I’ll definitely be bringing this back to Minnesota with me to help me through the winter.

Easy shopping and easy cookies

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My pile of holiday gifts doesn’t actually look this good. Its easy to stress about gifts. Will he/she like this? Should I be spending this much money? What if they get me away nicer gift than I get them? If you’re like me, you can easily talk yourself into getting everyone gifts and then stare at your empty wallet in shock and not know what happened. Generally I try to pick gifts that fall under one of these categories: something they need, something they may not need but will like and use, a surprise they will love (typically not an object), something inexpensive and silly/meaningful that will make them laugh/smile from time to time. Sometimes, when the stars align, all of those things come together in the shape of a perfect, shining gift. But usually they don’t. Sometimes I will automatically know what to get someone (either because they’ve mentioned it before or I just get a brilliant idea), but mostly I wander around until I see something that reminds me of them. Often when I’m short on cash/time/ideas and I want to show someone I care I’ll write them a card or default to the universal gift of love: chocolate.

Christmas is also the time for cookies and even though I made, frosted, and ate a lot of sugar cookies the other night with some lovely friends, I’ve also been snacking on some healthier cookies. And the best part is that it only takes 3 ingredients to make them.

Three Ingredient Cookies (ever so slightly modified from The Skinny Confidential)

  • 2 bananas (the riper the better)
  • 2 cups rolled/quick oats
  • A handful of berries (I used cranberries and raspberries)
  • OR a scoop of nut butter  (I haven’t tried making them this way yet, but I’m sure they would be delicious)

The preparation is just as easy. Mush them all together and bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes. They last in the fridge for several days, just pop them in the microwave for 10 seconds before eating. Image