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I live, breathe and bleed Pinterest

I’d love for y’all to follow me on Pinterest! I have recipe boards, crafting board, wedding boards, a dessert boards and tons more.

http://www.pinterest.com/danibates/boards/

I’d love to see your pinterests as well!

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Air freshener from kitchen scraps!

This makes your whole house smell amazing. It’s very easy and has a warm, comforting smell perfect for fall or winter. If you’re having a dinner party or game night, or your in-laws are coming over, this will be the perfect scent to greet them with as they enter your home.

You can use any combination of these items! Or whatever else you have laying around your kitchen! Nutmeg perhaps?

  • Apple peels
  • Orange peels or slices
  • Lemon peels or slices
  • Pear peels or slices
  • Vanilla extract
  • Cinnamon sticks or ground cinnamon
  • Water or apple juice
  • Peaches, berries, pieces of pumpkins if they’re in season

In a small saucepan, throw your scraps in! This is perfect for fruits that have gone bad or something to do with the scraps after you make an apple pie.

Sprinkle in some cinnamon, a teaspoon of vanilla, and a half cup of liquid.

Place on medium heat until it begins to simmer, then stir and reduce the heat to low. You want it just simmering. Mash up some of the fruits! The oils stay in the peels, especially citrus fruits, and those are the most aromatic. Stir every 20 minutes, adding more liquid if need be. It will last all day!

 

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My aromatic mixture: Apple peels, lemon peels, orange slices, cinnamon, vanilla

 

Best Buttery Pretzels

I want to share my pretzel recipe with you! I made these for the first time a few years ago and was completely amazed. Something we pay so much for at the mall is so easily made at home! This way you control the costs, the ingredients and how much you want to eat ūüôā You can even customize your toppings. There are two secrets to homemade pretzels. One, butter. Two, baking soda. Don’t attempt this without both of those items, it won’t be worth it!

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Buttery pretzels

Homemade Pretzels

2 tsp. dry active yeast

1/2 tsp sugar

2 1/2 cups white flour

3/4 tsp salt

2 tbsp sugar

1 1/2 tsp vegetable oil or melted butter

2 cups very hot water

1/4 cup baking soda

1 stick of melted butter

2 tbsp Kosher salt

OR

3 tbsp of cinnamon sugar mix

 

Okay it looks complicated but once you get the hang of it you can whip them up pretty quick!

1. Proof the yeast. This means you add the yeast, 1 tsp of sugar and 1 cup of warm water together. Mix it up. Wait about 10 minutes or until it bubbles.

2. While the yeast is proofing, in a large bowl combine the flour, 3/4 tsp salt and 2 tbsp of sugar. When the yeast is ready, pour into large bowl along with the oil or butter. Mix with a spoon, then with your hands. If the mixture is too dry, add water a teaspoon at a time; if it’s too wet, add a teaspoon of flour.

3. Knead for 6-8 minutes until the dough is shiny and stretchy.

4. Spray oil into a large bowl and place your big ball of dough inside. Cover with plastic wrap and keep it in a warm but NOT hot place and wait 1 hour.

5. Preheat oven to 450 degrees

6. Roll out your pretzel dough. I can never get the hang of forming actual pretzels, so I usually roll it into logs and cut the logs into 1 inch pieces for pretzel bites! Whatever shape you want to make them, do it now.

7. Mix the baking soda with very hot water. It might not all dissolve but that’s okay, just stir it often! Dip each pretzel/pretzel bite into the mixture and place on a greased baking sheet. Parchment paper also works.

8. If you want all salty pretzels, sprinkle the kosher salt over them. Be pretty liberal, because some of the salt will come off later. If you’re choosing to do the cinnamon sugar ones, leave them plain until after they’re done baking.

9. Pop those babies in the oven! Depending on the size, they should take about 7-9 minutes to bake, You want them golden brown.

10. While they’re baking, melt your butter in a shallow bowl so you can dip the pretzels in it when they’re done. If you’re doing cinnamon and sugar, place that in another bowl.

11. Once they’re ready, immediately roll them all in the butter. Sweet ones go into the sugar mixture after the butter. Salty ones go on a plate, they’re ready to eat!

 

These are amazing alone, but if you need something to dip them in, here are my suggestions:

Powdered sugar glaze (milk and powder sugar)

Cream cheese

Nacho cheese (Tostitos makes some in a jar!)

 

Do you have any other dipping or topping suggestions?

 

 

How to stop your dog from jumping

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My dogs are quite large. It’s a natural habit for dogs to jump on you when they’re greeting you or really excited. This led to our visitors being weary of entering our door because Boozer is 80 pounds of pure muscle. You can stop your dog from jumping in one week or less. It’s not cute for any dog to jump. Even if your jumping canine doesn’t knock your mom over, they can still scratch her legs or hurt her. All dogs should be trained not to jump.

First you need to make a decision with your whole household to stop your dog from jumping. Alert any and all visitors that you’re working with your pup, and it will take everyone’s help. It takes a village to raise a child and it takes a village to keep a dog from jumping.

Start on a day when you’ll be home, maybe a Saturday or Sunday. The first time your dog jumps, tell him No. Gently push him off. When he’s standing with all fours on the ground, praise him. Repeat this process. Soon he’ll figure out that not jumping is easier than jumping and being pushed down. Now try leaving the house and coming back in a few minutes. If he jumps tell him no, if he doesn’t praise him. Try again. If he doesn’t jump, give him a treat and praise. Repeat.

You have to be thorough. This cannot be a “only when I feel like training” kind of thing. It has to be the rule all day, every day until he gets it.

Remember to praise him every time he doesn’t jump at times when he used to jump. When company comes over, let them in. If your dog jumps, tell him no and have him sit. Hold him by his collar or harness. He has to calm down and stay sitting before he gets to greet the visitor. Once he is calm and sitting, have the visitor approach your dog. Your dog might wag his tail, lick or sniff the person but not jump. Keep holding his collar until he is calm enough to be released. If he jumps, the process needs to be repeated. Your dog needs to learn that only when he is calm can he greet visitors to his house. Do this a few days in a row, sometimes a week or longer for stubborn dogs.

This is an exercise in teaching your dog self-control. He only knows instinct so far and what he’s been doing has been working for him, even if it wasn’t working for you. His instinct is to get very excited when you come home or when visitors come over. Once he learns self-control, he’ll be a lot calmer and you’ll be more in control.

Remember, praise is just as important as scolding. Your dog wants to please you, he just needs to learn how to.

Calm pup

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Black toothbrush, white teeth

A few weeks ago I saw something crazy on Pinterest that involved charcoal and a toothbrush, so naturally I tried it.

I went to my local organic co-op and bought a bottle of Activated Charcoal. This is med-grade stuff. You can buy it at GNC, CVS, Rite-Aid and probably a lot of other stores. Mine was $9.99 a bottle, I think it was around that at GNC. Now Activated Charcoal when taken¬†orally is used to “clean out your system,” the lady at the co-op told me to take it when I could be in close range of a toilet for a whole day. Good thing that wasn’t my intended use. Hospitals use it if a patient has on accident or purposely taken more medicine than prescribed because it soaks up all the bad stuff in your stomach so you don’t die. It’s good stuff. But I was going to be putting it on my teeth. Yikes.

So I went home and opened the bottle. There were about 100 black capsules inside. Now my advice is to¬†take a picture of your teeth before the charcoal experiment, you’ll be glad you did. It will justify your actions when you tell your friends that you just brushed your teeth with charcoal.

The powder is ground up charcoal. It is very black and very messy. Do this over an area that is easy to clean. I broke open two capsules into a tiny bowl and put just a drop or two of mouthwash in the bowl. You could also use water or toothpaste. You will want to make sure to use an old toothbrush or one you don’t mind being very blackened. The charcoal does not stain, but it does make¬†everything it touches black until it is scrubbed off.

Back to the teefies.¬†Okay now it’s time to mix up the charcoal with the liquid. Make a paste out of it. You can use a spoon or your toothbrush. Then lean over a sink, gather as much paste as you can on your toothbrush and brush! Get every nook and cranny in your mouth. Get behind your teeth and the ones in the back. Brush for five minutes, picking up more of the paste¬†if you need to.

When you’re done, spit, rinse, spit again, rinse with mouthwash. There may still be black particles near your gums. Chew some gum.

Then take another picture of your pearly whites and see the difference! After you clean you sink, go tell your friends. You have a lot of charcoal capsules now so tell them if they’re nice to you maybe you’ll share. Either way, you have enough charcoal to last you awhile. This is a lot cheaper and less of a hassle than buying White Strips. You can do this once a week!

My Before

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My After (still with some charcoal in my gums ūüė¶

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My little sister’s before and after

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And her during the brushing ūüôā

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Twice Baked Potatoes

I love all things potatoes. Like I really really love them. In college our cafeteria had a Baked Potato Bar every Thursday and they were spectacular.  I actually set one of the paper trays on fire in my dorm when I tried to heat up my spectacular potato in a toaster oven. Oops. Learned my lesson. But I still love baked potatoes. Here is my recipe for Twice Baked Potatoes.Image

Twice Baked Potatoes

Wash 3-4 good size taters and poke ’em once with a fork. You can either microwave for about 15 minutes or bake for 1 hour.

Once you take them out and make sure they’re done, cut all of them in half so they can cool.

3/4 cup sour cream

2 tbsp. butter or margarine

1 cup shredded cheese

Salt, pepper, garlic salt, onion powder, seasoned salt, Nature’s Seasoning

1. Measure all of the ingredients into a bowl. Add the seasoning last, and do so with whatever you have or like. I love Nature’s seasoning and use it in almost everything I cook. I also add garlic salt and pepper extra, even though I’m pretty sure NS already has some.

2. Heat the oven to 375 degrees.

3. Scoop out the potatoes from the skins into the bowl. Leave a little potato in the skins if you like to eat potato skins. Mash them in with the good stuff. I prefer some small chunks of potato in mine, but most of it is smooth by the time I’m done mixing it all together.

4. Fill up the skins with the good stuff! Make each half as even as you can, uneven filling means one potato is burning while your others are just starting to brown.You can top each potato with paprika or shredded cheese or both!

5. Place on a greased cookie sheet, baking stone, foil, etc. and bake for 30 mins or until they begin to turn light brown

Enjoy the spectacular potato goodness!

Superstar Sugar Cookies

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I may have made three batches of these cookies in a week, maybe. But that’s not important. Just listen to me when I tell you these are good, too good. It’s a simple, easy recipe that you can change up and customize for any holiday or occasion or for when you’re just craving a really good sugar cookie.

I really like almond flavoring. I use that in the frosting for these and I definitely recommend you using it too, but if you don’t like it or don’t have it, don’t fret. They’re good with vanilla too.

Superstar Sugar Cookies

1 cup of softened butter (margarine works)

1 cup sugar

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 large egg

1 tsp water

3 cups flour

1 1/2 tsp baking powder

1/4 tsp salt

1. Cream butter, sugar and vanilla together. Add water and egg. Mix until fluffly

2. In separate bowl, measure out dry ingredients. Sift or mix them together. You don’t want a glob of salt messing up your bite of perfect cookie.

3. Mix the dry and wet stuff together! I usually use a spoon at first and then use my hands to incorporate everything.

4. Here you have a little freedom. Either a) cover mix with plastic wrap and refrigerate for one hour, b) cover with plastic wrap and freeze for 30 mins or c) don’t worry about cooling the dough, heat up the oven and roll up your sleeves

5. Heat up the oven to 375

6. Roll the dough out on a clean, flat surface. A light dusting of flour will help if the dough sticks to anything. Roll to 1/4 inch thick, or whatever. But remember the thicker the cookie the longer they take to cook. Having thick cookies might also mess up your cookie to frosting ratio, so beware.

7. Cut out cookies with a cookie cutter, upside down glass, whatever you want

8. I bake my cookies on parchment paper so they don’t stick and I don’t have to worry about cleaning the pans in between batches. So bake on parchment paper or greased cookie sheet for 6-9 minutes until the edges are just turning light golden brown.

9. Let them cool on the pan or remove to cool.

10. Then frost and enjoy!

Frosting

About 3 cups of powdered sugar

2 tsp almond extract

2 tbsp milk

3-4 drops food coloring

1. Add all ingredients in a bowl and mix together. It will get goopy and thick. You want it just thin enough so you can spread it onto the cookies. It will dry flat and pretty!

Frosting really depends on how thick you frost, the consistency you want, so if it doesn’t look right add some more milk or sugar! Milk 1 tsp at a time and powdered sugar about 1/3 of a cup at a time