Category Archives: Kitchen Items

Tractor Cake

image

My sick little baby trying to have a good birthday! :(

My son had his birthday a couple weeks ago and as you all know, we headed to the beach to have our trip be quickly interrupted with an ER visit. Although, the first couple days were great, the last two were horrible. I state that very matter-of-fact as they were legitimately horrible.

For my sons first birthday, I didn’t get the pleasure of making his cake as we had moved 1 week prior and we were hosting dinner at our house. I also had planned a friend birthday party the following day at the zoo with lunch and cake. I had very little time to do much more than that. So, this year I was adamant that I would make my son a cake he would love; tractors!!!

I used two bread pans and baked the cake and manipulated the cake in more ways than one to turn it into a tractor. It was pretty challenging to say the least, but it worked out. I will also state that this is the first time I’ve ever made a cake into something other than a circular pretty cake. Practice makes perfection– so I hope!

IMG_4807 IMG_4808
IMG_4811 IMG_4812I used Kit-Kats for the wheels and smoke stack. 
IMG_4814

 

Moment of Truth: Manipulating a cake isn’t the easiest thing, especially for the first time. You make a mistake and you must keep going. Though there are many imperfections, I was thrilled to have it resemble a tractor that my son would be utterly happy about. :) The older he gets, the better I will become! :)

Homemade “Pam” Nonstick Spray

Homemade “Pam” Nonstick Spray. This is an important facet to your cooking that must be addressed. How often do you use nonstick spray? Almost everyday in our household. Do you know what chemicals lay within this simple spray? Do you know what you are blindly putting into your body as well as your families?

I will give you a simple transition to kick the nonstick spray to the trash and make your own. Don’t resort to butter or coconut oil as you will be adding hundreds of calories without even realizing it; directly into your prepared dish.

Instead of using butter or coconut oil you will save time and money by making your own nonstick spray. Don’t buy Pam Spray as you will be purchasing preservatives and chemicals when you can easily make your own at home!

Speaking of chemicals, after reading a couple different articles on the ingredients in Pam cooking spray, come to find out they use an ingredient called Propellant which also resembles propane and nitrous oxide. Neither of these are chemicals I prefer to eat with my eggs and bacon in the morning. Yikes. This actually defeats the purpose of homemade meals when you still have the chemicals floating around in forms such as this.

I reluctantly admit that I used to purchase the store bought product without thinking twice. When I ran out, I started to think about it and if it really was worth purchasing. To be honest nonstick spray works really well. I never had problems with anything sticking so I was a little doubtful about transitioning over. I thought I would start by using butter or coconut oil and wiping down the pan, but when I realized how much I bake and cook, I was using a lot of butter (and calories) just to create a nonstick surface. I began making my own nonstick spray and love it and am happy to see my butter stay put in the fridge rather than adding hundreds of calories to simply keep the food from sticking. :)

Please, any of you out there who have any form of Pam Nonstick Spray, toss that sucker in your trash and make your own today! All you do is take equal parts lemon juice and olive oil (or vegetable oil), whichever you prefer and combine in a mini spray bottle. Label and place in refrigerator. Lemon juice needs to be refrigerated once opened otherwise it will spoil almost immediately.

When you go to use it, shake well. This works like a gem and you can rest easy knowing you are avoiding any propellant in your homemade meals.

IMG_4844

Those 30 seconds it takes to create this product is something worth doing!

Moment of Truth: When preparing homemade meals, stick as close to it’s original form to help avoid preservatives. These days it takes a lot more work to avoid added ingredients but your body and family will thank you!

Vegetable Wash

Do you ever stand in the produce isle trying to pick the perfect apple or tomato and “uh-oh” there it goes rolling down the hill onto the floor. You quickly gather it and put it back for the next person to grab.

That being said, we’ve all been there and we’ve all done it! It’s important to wash your produce really well when you get it home from the store. There are many traps of germs along the way. Double bagging produce is a great trick. Even if there is a peel around the item you are purchasing,  you still want to bag it. Cutting into it can drag the germs to in the inside of the item if not washed. IE onions, oranges, avocado, lemons, limes and tomatoes.

Another disgusting trap of germs are the conveyor belts at the checkout line. These belts hold many germs from feces to bacteria from raw meat and much more. Carts are a great area for bacteria to continue to grow and fester. All of these little things we don’t think of add many germs that our bodies now have to fight if we don’t protect ourselves from them.

Making a point to simply wash your produce when you return home is a great tool to better protect yourself and your little munchkins who travel to the store with you and touch everything.

IMG_4126

My simple vegetable washing tool is filling the kitchen sink (clean, of course) with water and adding about 1/2 cup vinegar and 1 1/2 tsp baking soda. Drop vegetables and fruit into the water and toss multiple times. Let rest for five minutes to allow the vinegar to coat the outer layers killing any and all bacteria. It’s simple, cheap and will leave your sink dirty from all the junk you were blind to prior to washing them.

IMG_4127

IMG_4130

The sink was this dirty just from strawberries and blueberries. Makes you think twice about not washing now doesn’t it? :)

Here is an snippet from the  Dr Oz show. I saw this and thought it was good to share. His wash is a little different and that is great too. I simply prefer to wash in bulk in the sink for convenience reasons.

This is a great video to watch. Video-Here

Buttermilk

Making your own buttermilk is entirely too easy to not share. I honestly don’t see a point in purchasing buttermilk when you can easily make your own.

Here’s how:

Buttermilk is something I never have on hand. An easy trick to make your own buttermilk is to place the milk in the proper measuring cup leaving a tiny bit of room at the top. Add 1 tbsp. of white vinegar and let sit for 2-3 minutes. (If making more than 2 cups add 1 tbsp. per cup of vinegar) A layer will separate on the top of the milk beginning the process of turning the milk into buttermilk.

wpid-20140301_091419.jpg

wpid-20140301_090559.jpgSo easy!

 

Coffee Creamer

I love coffee! I am a HUGE coffee fanatic. Many of you probably already know this about me, but I LOVE coffee!

I do like a lot of the fancy flavor coffee creamers but when I try and read the ingredients it simply isn’t in my vocabulary. When you have a number next to an ingredient than I get kind of scared. Red 50. Yellow 102. Blue 24. You get the picture? It’s not good.

I’ve made my own creamer for quite some time but I must humbly admit when Fall and Christmas approached I get very excited for the holiday creamers; pumpkin spice, eggnog, peppermint mocha, and York peppermint paddy. I had succumb to the yellow color 60 for three months and my body is probably filling itself with cancer as we speak. HA okay probably not but my homemade creamer is by far better than these coffee creamers.

I have made peppermint mocha, brown sugar cream, and French vanilla. These are just a couple of the ones I enjoy. But the basis of the creamer is pretty standard and can be used with any flavor you like.

Ingredients:

Brown Sugar Sweet Cream

  • 1 can sweetened condensed milk
  • ¾ cup brown sugar
  • 2 tbsp vanilla extract
  • 4 cups milk

In a saucepan over medium heat, add condensed milk and brown sugar. Heat until sugar is completely dissolved, stirring constantly.

Add vanilla and milk and heat until it begins to steam, do not boil.

Store in a glass container in the fridge!

image

You can simply use sweetened condensed milk and regular milk as a staple base for any other flavor you desire. Here are a couple more options:

Peppermint Mocha

  • 1 tbsp cocoa
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract

Peppermint Patty

  • 2 tsp almond extract
  • 2 tsp peppermint extract

Raspberry Almond

  • 2 tsp raspberry
  • 2 tsp almond