Wednesday, June 26, 2013

Blueberry Margarita Trifle

There’s nothing I love better than a quick and easy summer dessert that doesn’t heat up your kitchen and requires NO baking.
You heard me alright. None, nada, zip, zilch baking. If you can mix stuff together in a bowl, you can make this wonderfully delicious summer treat…
BMT
Oh man is this stuff good.
The ingredients are pretty easy too. You will need:
2-10 ounce cans of blueberry pie filling
1-pint of blueberries
1 – angel food cake or a pound cake
1 – frozen can of Bacardi Margarita Mix Concentrate or limeade (thawed)
1 or 2 shots (1 1/2 oz. each) of tequila (optional)
1 – 8 oz. container of cool whip
1 – 8 oz. brick of softened cream cheese
1 Cup of powdered sugar
A trifle dish
 
Instructions:
First, cut your angel food cake in half, horizontally..
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If you are using the tequila, go ahead and mix it together with the margarita concentrate now.
Next, whip the cream cheese until fluffy and add the powdered sugar.
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Add in 1 can of the pie filling.
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Then mix in half the cool whip.
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Once that’s incorporated, fold in the other half of the cool whip.
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Then, take one half of your angel food cake and lay in the bottom of a trifle dish.
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Pour the first half of the limeade or margarita mix over the cake.
Then, spread half the cool whip mixture over the cake and top it with more blueberry pie filling.
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Repeat the whole process one more time.
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Lay down the cake, pour the limeade, spread the cool whip mixture and top with pie filling. Oh, and place a handful of fresh blueberries on top ..because you can.
You should have something that looks like this when all is said and done..
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Refrigerate for at least an hour to give the cake time to absorb all that margarita or limeade. Then, dig in!
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This is so good, so simple you’ll make it again and again.
Happy Wednesday.
love,
Val

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Is a Geek and a Nerd the same thing? ….and why I have violent tendencies.

Is a Geek and a Nerd the same thing?
nerd
Well, I wasn’t sure of the answer so I went to www.dictionary.com to get to the bottom of this quandary. Here is what I found:
Nerd (n.) - an intelligent but single-minded person obsessed with a nonsocial hobby or pursuit.
Geek (n.) - a person who has excessive enthusiasm for and some expertise about a specialized subject or activity.
Clear as mud, huh?
Here is my opinion on the subject.
A Geek is someone who is pretty much a normal person with an interest in something that is not consider a “socially normal” thing. For example, some people are really into computers, so they would be computer geeks. Some people are really into Star Wars so they would be Star Wars Geeks. Go and watch the pilot episode of the first season of Glee and you will see a whole bunch of Glee Club geeks ….or more fondly known as “Gleeks”.
A Nerd is someone who is super smart and little bit arrogant with this knowledge. The person is quite possibly blind to the fact that it isn’t really socially acceptable to constantly put their two cents in on every single subject known to man even though they are probably the most knowledgeable person in the room on said subject.
Why are we talking about this, you ask? Because I live with Nerds.
Three of them.
So now here is the real question:  Why does this nerdiness bring out my violent tendencies?
Let me explain…
It’s Sunday afternoon. My kids, Hubby and I are all around the table enjoying a nice lunch after Church when the conversation went a little awry. My kids have been a little obsessed with salt lately.
Yes, I said salt.
Their Daddy has told them that almost everything in the world has salt in it and that nothing could live without salt. So now it is a direct challenge to the boys to see if they can name something that exists that does not have salt in it. One of them named steel and metal and then they asked their Dad to name something else. My Hubby looks around the kitchen and his eyes settle on a Styrofoam egg container and he says, “Styrofoam doesn’t have salt in it.” My littlest guy then asks what Styrofoam is and my oldest gets up from his seat and picks up the egg carton and shows the little one what they are referring to.
Now, in most families that would be the end of the conversation. A nice, normal explanation and the end…but not in my family. The nerd comes flying out of my Hubby and he says..I kid you not…”Actually it’s not Styrofoam is extruded polystyrene made from the monomer styrene. Styrofoam is just a trademarked brand name and polystyrene was discovered by…… yada yada yada….” What the heck!?!  I could go on, but trust me you don’t really want me to.
It’s at this point that my Hubby looks at me and notices the stark, raving, mad look in my eye and laughs nervously while warily eyeing the fork in my right hand.
I then say, “I really want to poke you in the eye with my fork.” He then just winks at me and continues to eat.
So my question is why do I get that way? Why does nerdy talk bring out the worst in me? Could it be latent bullying tendencies or could it be that I know he’s just being a show off?
Don’t get me wrong. I think the fact that he can even sort through his vast amount of knowledge to bring this stuff out is amazing. He’s the smartest person I know. Obviously in school he wasn’t writing notes to the “boy du jour” and asking him to check the box that best describes his feelings ……like someone who might or might not be writing this blog. Shocker..I was a bit social!
I think what worries me more is the fact that all of this information is entering into a 6 year old and 4 year old’s brains and soon…very soon…I will have three of them spewing facts at me like they are a human version of Wikipedia…. and I’m pretty sure at that point I will need medication. A lot of it.
 
…or maybe 3 atomic wedgies will be the only cure I need.
Happy Sunday.
love,
Val
p.s. – If you’re worried you are a nerd, or are just wanting to do something quick and entertaining, just click on the picture above and take the “Am I A Nerd Test”. I’ll give you two guesses what I scored.























Wednesday, June 19, 2013

Pallet Project

I have no excuse. Really I should have had something crafty made with pallets on this blog a long time ago. After all, my in-laws own a pallet factory.

I told you…I have no excuse.

Today I am changing all that. I put together something that I have been dreaming about ever since I saw it on Pinterest.

pallet

So here is what I did..

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I had the Hubby cut me some blocks that were 6 inches long and 4 x 4 inches.

I then attached them to a 40 x 40 pallet..

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I used deck screws to do this, but you could also bolt them down.

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I bought some galvanized casters at my local home improvement store.

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I attached them to each corner of the underside of the pallet with basic wood screws.

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Then, I flipped it back over and attached the top pallet to the wood blocks.

 

 

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Now I can’t decide if I am going to stain and finish it or just leave it rustic looking. I’m kinda digging the export marking on the side. That means that this has actually been to China and back so I think it’s really cool.  I am also in a hot bidding war on E-Bay for some all weather fabric to make an awesome cushion so this baby can be turned into extra seating while entertaining.

Now if I can just keep certain little boys from belly flopping on it and rolling across the patio like a huge scooter I will be a happy camper.

Happy Wednesday.

love,

Val

Thursday, June 13, 2013

You Need This Stuff!

To say that I am not easily impressed with products in the beauty industry is putting it lightly. Over the last 15 years I’ve heard it all when it comes to marketing some new and unbelievable product. They are going to make your hair thicker, shinier, and longer and your nails will be stronger, healthier and grow faster. I’ll be the first to admit that nine times out of ten they are full of bull hockey. So, you can imagine how excited and happy I am when something really works or impresses me. In fact, I only carry a product in my salon for client purchase if I have actually used it and love it or my clients love it, otherwise I am a very hard sell to new products that make unbelievable claims. I can just imagine my sales rep nodding her head in agreement here!

I am very happy today to be able to share a new product that I really like. It’s new out on the beauty scene and so I grabbed a couple bottles and tried it out myself…

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It’s called VinyLux Weekly Nail Polish by Creative Nail Design …the same company that originally brought you Shellac Gel Polish. This stuff is awesome and a great alternative to Shellac. It comes in 62 shades and it’s basically a regular old nail polish, you apply just like normal polish and you let it dry just like normal polish. No curing under a UV or LED light, which is nice and it dries faster than normal polish. You apply two coats of the polish to clean and prepped nails and one coat of the designated top coat. What sets this apart from the other polishes is that it says it stays on one solid week without chipping or peeling. So you know I had to give it a test on my nails to see if it was true.

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I am excited to report that it totally worked for me. I applied the lighter blush color and it stayed on my nails for one week. In fact I actually took it off on day 7 and had not even experienced a chip yet. That is saying something because as you’ve probably noticed when reading this blog, I am constantly into something. Dirt, paint, water and that’s not even mentioning what goes on at the salon. I did not baby them when I had this polish on, I went about my normal life and it stayed on. I was impressed to say the least.

This product is marketed as a take home product that you can purchase at most salons or beauty stores and apply yourself, but of course you can also get a professional application at any salon. I would recommend getting it professionally applied the first time to try it out.

VinyLux runs about $10 for each bottle and you must purchase the designated top coat which also runs about $10.

I think this stuff is well worth $20.

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I’ve decided you need this stuff..can’t live without it!

If you have any questions about it just email me, I’ll be happy to answer!

Happy Thursday.

love,

Val

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Mailbox Redo

Since we moved into our house 8 years ago, I have done just about every update known to man except one.

I’ve never changed the mailbox.

It’s one of those things that I think to myself, “That really needs an update”, but then a hundred other things happen and you just forget about it. The thing is, the mailbox can make or break curb appeal, especially in a house where the mailbox is located directly next to the front door like ours. At one point I had even went and looked at new mailboxes, but the price of new ones about gave me a heart attack. Seriously.

Here is what I have now..

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I know what you’re thinking.

Why in the world would she want to get rid of that awesome Eagle?

Sorry. It’s just not my style.

The tiled number plate really isn’t my thing either and today I had enough. I would no longer look at it!!

So, I grabbed my cordless drill, hammer, and crowbar and went to work. Luckily, I only really needed the drill so I began dismantling the number plate all the while my 6 year old son kept asking me, “Does Dad know you’re doing this?!” I then explained to him that the last time I checked, I was well over 18 and didn’t need anyone’s permission….but he did make me stop to think if my Hubby would care for a minute. I decided it was a risk I was willing to take.

After I got the beloved mailbox down I took it to the garage where I began taking the Eagle off the front.

It didn’t come off easily to say the least..

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..but I won.

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There it is, sans Eagle.

Next, I washed the mailbox and then spray painted it with this stuff…

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This stuff is awesome. It hides all imperfections and requires no primer.

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Once it completely dried, I used my handy dandy Cricut machine to make some new numbers for the front and then reattached the mailbox to the brick..

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Not bad and pretty simple really.

B&A

I think it made a big difference and saved me a lot of money since I didn’t have to buy a new one.

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Much better. Now when I swing on my front porch, I no longer have to stare at the Eagle in hatred.

Happy Tuesday.

love,
Val

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Lemon Verbena Cookies

I would have to say my absolute favorite herb is Lemon Verbena. If you’ve never had the pleasure of growing, seeing, or smelling a Lemon Verbena plant, then I am sorry to break it to you, your life has been pointless. All joking aside, I believe Lemon Verbena smells more lemony, sweeter and all around better than even regular lemons do. If I had to describe it, I would say it smells exactly like Lemon Head Candy tastes. It’s awesome.  Because of this, Lemon Verbena has been widely used in baking, jellies, lotions, candles …well just about everything you can think of. I have made jelly with it before and it was awesome so you can imagine how much I love these cookies..

LemonVerbenaCookies

In full disclosure, I actually adapted a recipe I found in Better Homes and Gardens Magazine that was originally for Lemon-Thyme Cookies. I did change a few things to make these my own and so these little bites of heaven were born.

First up, cream 1/2 Cup Butter with 1/4 Cup of sugar until light and fluffy.

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In the meantime, collect a handful of Lemon Verbena leaves…

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..and chop them until they are very finely diced.

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Collect all those itty-bitty pieces and make sure you have 1 Tablespoon.

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Zest the peel of one whole lemon.

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Then, juice the lemon to get at least 1 Tablespoon.

Add the Lemon Verbena, 2 Teaspoons of grated peel, and 1 Tablespoon of juice to the butter mixture and combine well.

Next, slowly add in 1 and 1/2 Cups of flour until just incorporated. Take the dough out of the bowl and lay out on a well floured surface.

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Roll the dough until it’s about 1/4 inch thick and then cut with a pretty cookie cutter. Mine is a small flower which I should note changes the baking time a little bit.

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Place the cookies on an ungreased cookies sheet and sprinkle with sugar.

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Bake in a 350 degree oven for 8 minutes. They may take longer depending on how big you cut the cookies.

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Aren’t they purty? You eat them like this, but we all know I can’t let a good thing be. So I whipped together a quick lemon butter cream icing.

1 stick of butter (room temp)

3 Cups of powdered sugar

1 Tablespoon of lemon juice and the remaining lemon peel from earlier.

Cream the butter  and then add the lemon juice and peel and mix well. Slowly add the powdered sugar until well combined. If you find the icing is a little dry, you can add a splash of milk.

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Yummy.

Place the icing in a Ziploc bag and nip the end to make it easier to squeeze onto the underside of the cookies, like so..

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Now, you have even happier cookies.

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These are sooo good. Light and crispy and super lemony. We can also pretend they are healthy since they have green plants and lemon in them.

Hey, it counts.

Happy Tuesday.

love,

Val