Thursday, September 19, 2013

Fall Friday #1- Walk in the Leaves (...Sort of) and a Homemade Sugar Scrub

Hi guys! For today's Fall Friday, I decided I would take a walk in the leaves.

Then I went outside and realized there were no leaves...Oops. :X

Unfortunately, I couldn't really find anyone to apple-pick with so last minute and I didn't have hay; so, bringing Mr. Scarecrow to life wasn't really an option either. I love to walk and today was a beautiful day. So I decided that while the "leaves" on the ground weren't really the fall foliage I was hoping to post, the green very summer-esque leaves would have to suffice.

Also, I figure I will take a ton of walks this Fall, so at some point it really will be a "Fall" walk and it can be crossed off my bucket list for real.

I walked the path in the town next to mine through the woods around the pond.

After doing so, my feet were just exhausted! And after squishing them into my sneakers, they felt rough. So I decided to make a homemade sugar scrub to help alleviate my dry skin. I know it's not really a typical "recipe"for a baking blog. But my house was hot and my feet hurt, so I decided this was all the "making" that I was capable of and opted for a bowl of honey nut cheerios (well "Tasteos"...we're a cheap household...) for dinner instead.

Sugar scrubs are one of the easiest recipes out there and if you're into making your own skin products, this is definitely a recipe worth book-marking because it is so cheap and simple to make and it is very effective. After just one use, you will find that your hands are noticeably smoother. I know I'm sounding like an infomercial but this stuff is great. There are also a plethora of very simple variations you can try.

All you need is sugar, oil and spices are optional.

For today's scrub, I used a mix of dark brown sugar with white sugar, coconut oil (it's the wonder ingredient, seriously. For just a few of the benefits read here.) and a few drops of peppermint extract. But there are many very easy variations! I opt for ones that smell like desserts, but what can you expect from the girl of a baking blog? :)

Sugar Cookie Sugar Scrub: Mix equal parts white sugar, brown sugar, and almond oil together, add a few drops of vanilla extract to give it a sugar cookie scent.
Banana Bread Sugar Scrub: Mash one very ripe banana up then add 1/2 Cup sugar and two teaspoons coconut oil.
Pumpkin Pie Sugar Scrub: Mix equal parts brown sugar and coconut oil together, add 1 teaspoon of pumpkin pie spices.
Peppermint Patty Sugar Scrub (Sort of what I made today only without the brown sugar): Mix equal parts white granulated sugar and coconut oil. Add a few drops of peppermint extract.
Gingerbread Sugar Scrub: Mix equal parts brown sugar and coconut oil, add 1-2 tablespoons of molasses and 1 teaspoon ginger.
Lemon Meringue Sugar Scrub: Mix equal parts fresh lemon juice and white granulated sugar. Add 1-2 tablespoons honey.
Almond Joy Sugar Scrub: Mix equal parts white sugar with coconut oil and add a few drops of almond extract.
And those are just a few! There are so many variations and it's easy to experiment and make your own with success.

Directions for Use: After mixing all your ingredients together, you should produce a gritty yet spreadable mixture. If too gritty: add more oil. If too liquidy: add more sugar. These recipes are very forgiving. Apply liberally to hands, feet, face etc. If you have sensitive skin, you may want to test it on a small area first to see how you react. Let sit for five minutes- this will feel tingly and depending on your add ins, may sting. For first time users I recommend a basic scrub of just sugar and oil as you may not be used to the sensation yet. Then wash off and feel your silky smooth skin! Any leftovers can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to two months or in the refrigerator for much longer (not sure how long, mine never lasts more than a few days I use it so much!)

Recipe Source: I got the base recipe from Wellness Mama, slightly adapted her Pumpkin Pie recipe and created the rest by adapting her base recipe.

So I'm going to decompress with this scrub and I will see you back here next Friday for another Fall adventure! (Hopefully a real fall adventure next week.) Thanks for tuning in!

What are your favorite sugar scrub combinations? Have you ever tried a salt scrub? What is your personal preference? Let me know in the comments below!

Friday, September 6, 2013

My Fall Bucket List/ Introducing Fall Fridays!

Kids are back to school, the air is getting crisper and before you know it we will see leaves falling from the trees, that's right folks, fall is here! Well pretty much. It's still "technically" summer until September 22nd, but once September hits, I consider it the Fall season, and I love it.

It's the best weather, not too warm, not too cold. There's lots of fun flavors: apple, pumpkin, cinnamon. It's the time for warm drinks and clothes, but you can still go outside and enjoy it. There's just so much to do in the Fall: hayrides, apple-picking, corn-mazes and so many more. And this Fall, I want to do it all! Well as many as I can. Which is why I'm making a Fall Bucket List, filled with activities. Ideally I want to do them all, but realistically, know that I'm too broke/lazy to do them all, so I'm going to try and do one every Friday.

Also, since a lot of them have to do with food and fruit-picking, I'm going to post a recipe that corresponds with the activity-bringing you Fall Friday Posts. :) Since it is Friday now, and it's also about an hour away from me having to go to work, I'm going to say that this one isn't going to involve a fun activity or recipe. But this will be the one where I lay out my bucket list for you.

My Fall Bucket List:

  • Pick and carve a pumpkin.
  • Go apple-picking.
  • Eat an apple-cider donut. If you're asking what an apple cider donut is, I can tell you that you haven't lived yet and the only good way to answer this is to eat one ASAP!
  • Go on a hayride.
  • Make a pile of leaves and jump in it.
  • Go through a corn-maze.
  • Go for a hayride.
  • Decorate for Halloween.
  • Eat Candy-corn/pumpkins
  • Buy a new scarf (This should be fun to try and find how a recipe will relate...)
  • Watch Halloweentown 
  • Go to a farm or petting zoo.
  • Go through a Haunted House.
  • Drink a pumpkin-spice latte.
  • Go for a long walk through the leaves.
  • Make an autumn wreath with things I've collected myself: pinecones, etc.
  • Press leaves
  • Make a scarecrow
  • Hot Chocolate, lots and lots of hot chocolate!
  • Do Black Friday shopping!
So that's my fall bucket list. What's yours? Leave me a comment below telling me some of your favorite fall activities, or some you've never tried on your fall bucket list this upcoming Autumn. Thanks for reading! Have a great day and try to stay warm as the cold weather approaches!

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Loaded Blondies!

I absolutely adore Blondies. In general, I am way more of a chocolate girl than vanilla, but when it comes bars, I go blonde all the way. Blondies are way more versatile, and leave more room to experiment with add ins.

When I was a little girl, I went out to eat and there was a flyer for their new Blondie dessert and it said something along the lines of "Blondes really do have more fun." I completely didn't get it, and as a girl with brown hair I was offended for some weird pride reason. But now, with every fluffy warm bite from that golden bar. I get it. And these Loaded Blondies are proof that they really do have more fun.

I love this recipe because it is so versatile. You can change the base by simply adding a different type of nut butter or spread to the melted butter/ brown sugar mixture and go crazy with different add-ins, and it will still be a great bar. I usually add peanut butter to the base and add in peanut butter chips and chocolate chips. Today I had a tiny bag of caramel chips I wanted to use up so I used those, chocolate chips and dressed it all up with my personal favorite:

So without further ado, I give you:

Loaded Blondies Recipe:

  • 1 cup butter (2 sticks)
  • 2 cups brown sugar (dark or light- my personal preference is dark)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (Or another extract? I have never tried but it could be interesting!)
  • 1 and 1/2 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon cornstarch (optional, creates a fluffier texture in my opinion but not mandatory.)
  • 1 Cup plus 1 Tablespoon add-ins examples: Chocolate chips, peanut butter chips, walnuts, sprinkles, chopped candy bars, shredded coconut, M&M's, sprinkles, and any other you can think of. Be creative! 
  • Optional: 1/2 Cup nut butter, Nutella, Biscoff spread, etc.
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prep a 13x9 inch pan.
  2. In a small bowl combine flour, baking powder, baking soda ad cornstarch (if using), set aside.
  3. Heat butter in a saucepan or in microwave for 30 second intervals until melted thoroughly. 
  4. Whisk brown sugar into melted butter until well mixed. 
  5. If using, whisk in your nut butter or spread.
  6. Whisk in eggs one at a time into the melted butter/sugar mixture.
  7. Whisk in the vanilla extract.
  8. Lastly, whisk in the flour mixture until just combined, be careful not to overmix!
  9. Gently stir your 1 cup of add ins. 
  10. Spread batter evenly into your pan then sprinkle the extra tablespoon of mix-ins on top. 
  11. Bake 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick comes out from the center clean.
  12. Let cool before cutting into bars, or like I did, hearts! 
  13. Eat plain or top it with ice-cream and hot fudge and embrace your inner Blondie and have fun! :)
What do you prefer? Brownies or Blondies? What are some of your favorite mix ins? Let me know in a comment below!

Blondie Recipe Adapted from: