Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Jelly Bean Nest

Very cute and festive for your Easter dinner or to give as a treat.              
3 drops of desired food coloring.
1/2 teaspoon milk
1 and 1/3 cups sweetened coconut
6 ounces white almond bark, chopped ( in the baking section)
Jelly beans
In a small bowl, mix food coloring with milk.  Toss coconut with coloring until evenly tinted.  Set aside
In a double boiler, melt almond bark.  Stir in tinted coconut.
Drop by tablespoons onto wax paper.  Make indention to shape into nests.
Cool completely.  Store in airtight container until needed.
Fill with jelly beans.
Yields 10-12 nests

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Bunny Cake

You can use a cake mix or the following simple yellow cake mix for 2 - 9" layers.  Mixes have a lot of chemical sounding ingredients and I like to keep it more natural.

2/3 cup of butter, softened to room temperature
1 and 1/3 cups of grandulated sugar
3 eggs
2 cups of sifted self rising flour
2/3 cup of milk
1 tsp of vanilla extract
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Use an electric mixer to cream the butter until fluffy.  Add sugar and continue to cream for about 5 minutes.
Add eggs one at a time beating well after each.  Alternate adding  flour and milk to cream mixture beginning and ending with flour.  Add vanilla and mix just enough to blend in.
Grease and flour 2 - 9" cake pans.  Divide batter equally into the pans.  Hold pans 3-4 inches above counter and drop several times onto counter to even the batter and release air bubbles.
Bake 25 minutes or until golden brown.

7 Minute Frosting
2 egg whites, unbeaten
1 and 1/2 cups of sugar
5 tbsp water, cold
1 and 1/2 tsp of light corn syrup
1 tsp vanilla
Put all ingredients except vanilla in top of a double boiler.
Mix well by beating with a rotary egg beater.
Cook 7 minutes over boiling water, beating constantly with egg beater.
Frosting is done when it stands in peaks.  Remove from heat and add vanilla and beat until it is thick enough to spread.

Use diagram to cut and arrange the two cake layers. (stack 2 ring pieces to form paw)
Cover bunny with 7 minute frosting.  Decorate ears, nose and bottom paws with coconut tinted pink with a few drops of red coloring.  Sprinkle rest of bunny with 2 and 1/3 cups of plain coconut.   Add a jelly bean nose, tongue  and eyes, a licorice smile and 3 licorice toes on the top two paws or any way you want to decorate it.  Also can add a bow at the neck.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Closet Freshener

To make a natural freshener for a closet or drawer you will need:
1/2 lb. of table salt ( not iodized)
1/2 oz of nutmeg, cinnamon, cloves, allspice, borox
lemon and orange peel, dried and pounded
Place in open dish or tie in a cloth for a sachet.

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Healthier Indoor Air

Researchers have found that it is best to avoid spray cleaners because they can increase the chances of asthma symptoms by almost 50%.   For years I have used more natural cleanings methods such as vinegar and soda because some of these smell so bad they just seem unhealthy.
Spray products can contain VOC's (volatile organic compounds).  These are connected to hormonal abnormalities, birth defects and reproductive problems.  They enter the earth's atmosphere  and many are harmful to our health.  They are chemicals we do not need to breath  if we can avoid it.
6 major sources of indoor air pollution according to the Shop Smart magazine are:

Aerosol Sprays  - air fresheners, cleaners, glues, furniture polish, paints and pesticides.  Avoid.

Air Fresheners  -  get rid of the source of the odor or leave a large box of baking soda in the smelly area.
Don't use these just to smell good.

Dry Cleaned Clothing  -  The perchloroethylene in some of the cleaners causes cancer in animals and a probable human carcinogen.  Limit dry cleaning; air out treated clothes before bringing them indoors; consider buying only clothes that can be washed..  Ask your dry cleaner about eco-friendly options or call the local dry cleaning association for a list of eco friendly cleaners.

Dust and Mites  -  dust and mites  as well as pet dander, pollen, bacteria, mold, mildew and viruses can trigger allergic reactions and some types of asthma.  Encase pillows, mattresses and box springs in mite proof covers. (at least start with the pillows)  Wash linens in the hottest water.  Avoid carpets and upholestered furniture in the bedroom.  Vacuum upholestry and mattresses often.  Leave pets out of the bedroom.  Remove shoes at the door to avoid tracking pollens and dust.

Kitchen and Bathroom Cleaners  -  some of these have VOC's.  Some cleaners and scouring powders might contain chlorine bleach that can form toxic gases if mixed with other cleaners.  Drain openers and oven cleaners can damage eyes, skin, and lungs.  Avoid these.  Use a plunger or plumber's snake in drains.  Another idea - pour in a cup of baking soda followed by a cup of white vinegar.  When the bubbling stops pour boiling water down the drain.  For over cleaners use steel wool and baking soda as soon as the spill cools.  For stubborn spills add some salt.  It you use a self- clean feature ventilate well.

Personal Care Products  -  Nail care products especially polish removers contain a lot of volatile chemicals.  We all smell that when we are around a nail salon.  It can irritate the lungs, affect the nervous system, irritate the eyes, nose and throat.  Perfumes and scented products have been linked to birth defects, reproductive and hormonal abnormalities.  Use more fragrance free products.  If you use perfume switch to every other day.  Drop it if you are breast feeding or are pregnant.  Use nail care products in well ventilated areas.  That stuff smells so bad I just stay away from it.

For do it yourself cleaning ideas go to going green at

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Basis Sugar Cookies with Icing

I remember the wonderful "teacakes" that my grandmother use to make.  We all loved them but no one has the recipe because she used a pinch of this and a cup of that and it was never written down.

I make a similiar cookie and add icing to mine.  All of my family love them too and they know where the recipe is.  All the grandkids love to help ice the cookies so it is a fun time for all.  Maybe some of you would enjoy making them with you children.

Sugar Cookies
Cream together: 1/2 cup of crisco and 1/2 cup butter (softened)
Blend in 1 & 1/4 cup of sugar,   3 eggs, 1 tsp almond flavoring, 2 tsp vanilla flavoring.
When this is smooth use a mixing spoon to slowly mix in 4 cups of flour.
Roll into 2 balls, wrap in wax paper, saran or foil and chill.
When ready to cut cookies, remove from refrigerator for 10 -15 minutes.  Roll out on a floured board or wax paper.  Sprinkle the dough and rolling pin with flour as you go.  Use a cookie cutter to cut them into shapes.  Bake on 350 degrees for 10 minutes.

Soften 1 stick of butter  ( I had rather use butter - margerine doesn't have anything real in it)
3 cups of sifted powdered sugar
1 tbsp vanilla flavoring
2 tsp almond flavoring
3-4 tbsp of milk
Using a mixer blend 1 cup of sugar with the butter.  Add flavorings.  Alternate the remaining sugar and milk a little at a time to get the consistency that you want.  You may need a little more or less of the sugar and milk.  Judge as you go.
I usually just leave it white and let the children add sprinkles.  They like shaking those bottles.

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Planted by the Stream

"Blessed is the man whose trust is in the Lord.  He will be like a tree planted by the water that extends its roots by the stream.  He will not fear when the heat comes and will not be anxious in a year of drought nor cease to yield fruit."   Jeremiah 17:7-8

What a nice example of how to conduct ourselves when things are not going as smoothly as they might.  The tree extends its roots in the direction of the stream for refreshment as we should extend ourselves to Jesus who will refresh us to make it through life's experiences. 
When fear and anxiety come with the trials of life our trust in Him will refresh us.  Not only  refresh us to handle our life experiences but to also to be a benefit for His kingdom.  We never know when a kind word or act of Christian kindness may be a blessing to someone else.  May our lives be a constant witness for Jesus.