Homemade Whipped Cream

Homemade whipped cream and I… we’re tight. We’ve been friends for about a year now, and even though I know it’s not good for me, I can’t quite get away. Oh sure, I could if I really wanted to, but honestly? I don’t. Homemade whipped cream is delicious. Indulgent. Creamy. AND, the best part? It’s super simple to make.

The biggest issue I’ve had so far is finding and appropriate size bowl to make it in. Too small, and the whipped cream flies everywhere. Too big, and you can’t really get in there to whip it up properly.

Until a close family friend – and I feel it’s important I mention they’re Irish immigrants, because we’re also Irish, and we love all the true Irish customs they bring to our celebrations (brown bread, anyone?) – she recommended a tip. And guess what? It worked. And now, I will share that tip with you!

So here we go!

RECIPE:
1 cup Heavy Whipping Cream*
2 Tablespoon Powdered Sugar
1 Teaspoon Vanilla
*Note: Be sure it’s heavy whipping cream, not just “whipping cream”.

Measure 1 cup of the Heavy cream into a 2 cup glass Pyrex measuring cup. (This is the tip our family friend taught me!) Add the vanilla.

Using a hand mixer on low, whip for 1-2 minutes. Add the powdered sugar. (You can add 1 tablespoon if you’d prefer it less sweet.) If you have the powdered sugar pre-measured, you can add it while you whip. If necessary, you can stop the mixer to add the powdered sugar and then start it again. Increase the speed and whip until it’s thick and forms peaks.

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That’s it! You’re done!

Some of my favorite ways to enjoy homemade whipped cream?
– Pie topping (Pumpkin or Chocolate Peppermint Pie, for example)
– On your coffee (Especially this Peppermint Mocha)
– As a brownie topping (try these Guilt-free Black Bean Brownies)
– A lighter dessert of strawberries & whipped cream

Simple, All-Natural DIY Eye Makeup Remover

Something you should know about me: I’m picky about my eye makeup remover.

I found one that I absolutely love, but the thing is, it’s the only thing I’m ordering from this one online company. And the shipping is just as much as the product itself. I’ve been looking for alternatives for over a year.

I’ve tried the little makeup wipes. But they dry out quickly and I have to rub SO. HARD. to actually get my makeup off that my eyes hurt afterwards.

eye makeup pads

I’ve tried other brands too. But most of them sting when I use them. Newsflash, manufacturer: putting something in your eye makeup remover that makes user’s eyes sting does not generate repeat business.

I’ve even tried kinds that just plain don’t work. They leave black streaks all over my face and I feel like I’m pulling my eyelashes out from rubbing so hard. Not pleasant.

So since I was running low on my favorite eye makeup remover, and I’m practically a total pro at DIY stuff now (ha!), I figured it was time to take a risk and make my own.

I did and guess what?? IT’S AWESOME!
1. It actually removes my makeup (imagine that!)
2. I don’t have to abuse my eyes
3. It doesn’t sting
4. It’s not super greasy
5. It’s simple, easy, affordable – actually, CHEAP even.
6. Now that I have the ingredients on hand (OHI!), I can just make a new batch whenever I run out! No more waiting for shipping! HOORAY!

Now before you go getting all, “There’s no way I can make a homemade eye makeup remover” or “I don’t even know where to get this stuff! It’s probably only in a specialty store” just remember who is writing this right now. I’m still the mama that shops at Meijer using mPerks. 😉

The thing I was most concerned about finding was the Vitamin E oil. But Meijer had a whole bunch of sizes for me to choose from in their skin care aisle. Right next to all the other face washes and lotions and stuff.

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I got the one all the way to the right. PS, did you know Vitamin E oil smells REALLY good??

The purified water I got from a regular ol’ water bottle. Yes, the kind you drink from. 😀

I purchased a 3-pack of travel-size dispenser bottles at the dollar store a few months ago that had so far gone unused. I pulled one out to mix this in. So the container was about $.33.

The rest of the ingredients are as follows:
25 mL (5 tsp) Vitamin E oil
10mL (2tsp) Fractionated Coconut oil
30mL (6 tsp) Purified Water
7 drops Lavender essential oil
7 drops Frankincense essential oil
5 drops Geranium essential oil

All you have to do is measure the ingredients, pour into the container, and shake! If you’re wondering how I measured, here’s your answer:

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Yes – One of those little plastic cups you get with your kids’ cough syrup. That you probably don’t buy anymore if you’ve converted to essential oils, because you’ve discovered the Cough Bomb and no longer need it. 😉

Your eyes will be moisturized, clean, and receive the added benefits of lavender, geranium, & frankincense oils (anti-aging and anti-inflammatory, to name a few).

Now remember to shake it up every time before you use it. I actually had to do this with the brand of remover that I used to purchase, so to me it was an indicator of an effective product, even before using it.

Happy DIY-ing! (Wow I never thought I would be typing THAT on my blog 🙂

I’m loyal to one specific essential oil company, because I’ve found their purity stands far above the rest, and their educational support is second to none. To learn which one is my favorite, use my contact form and I’ll reply with details.

Crock Pot Chicken Tacos

I know I haven’t been super consistent with this series, but… it’s Crock Pot Wednesday!

I’ve seen lots of recipes floating around out there for chicken tacos in the crock pot, but most of them used a lot of store-bought ingredients. So I waited for the right time, when sales and time were on my side, and cooked this up! (See what I did there? 😉

What you’ll Need
Boneless Skinless Chicken Thighs*
1 can diced tomatoes with chilies
1 batch Cassie’s Homemade Taco Seasonings (measured in teaspoons)
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*More often than not, the thighs are sold with bone-in and skin on. These were miraculously on sale one day and I knew it was perfect for this recipe:
#1. I like the thigh meat better – it’s more tender and juicy, and it’s also usually cheaper.
#2. I didn’t want to worry about pulling bones out of the crock pot, or worrying if there was a small bone mixed in with my child’s taco. If you can’t find the boneless skinless variety, you could probably skin them yourself and pick the bones out when it’s finished. But I was feeling lazy ;
)

This one’s really simple. Just put your chicken in the crock pot, season with some salt, and pour the taco seasonings over top.
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Use a pastry brush to spread across the surface area of all the chicken. Use a tongs to lift chicken thighs up and get the seasonings underneath as well.
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Then add the can of tomatoes & chilies and a thin layer of water (I think I used too much because I had to use a slotted spoon to remove my meat later – but use your discretion).
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Set on low for 6 hours. Or, since I was short on time but didn’t want my chicken to be overcooked, I set it on high for the first hour and a half, then separated the meat a bit, and then set on low for the last 2-3 hours. To separate the meat, just take a metal spoon or a flat wooden spatula and poke at the chicken until the pieces fall apart. It will be pretty easy.

Here’s what it looked like with the chicken separated and cooking up in the juices:
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If you have older kids that are in lots of activities, or if you and your hubby have opposite schedules one night, this is a great meal to make, because you can prep everything, and leave the crock pot to “Keep warm”. This way everyone can eat when they’re ready.

Then serve it on up with your favorite taco fixins! We use whole wheat tortillas, sour cream, salsa, limes, Mexican cheese, and I also made homemade guacamole (if you’ve read this recipe before, check it out again – I changed something that I completely forgot was the most important ingredient!).

Now wait, that’s not all… because tomorrow I’m sharing a REALLY good Second Meal using the leftover chicken!

Happy cooking!

Baked Seasoned Chicken

This is the first meal in a meal plan of 3 different meals from one package of chicken. If you have a bigger family (or older kids who eat more!), bake 2 packages of chicken instead of 1, and double the recipes.

What we are Repurposing:
*You will need at least 2 breasts worth of chicken for the next meal, plus all the bones. We are also saving the stalks and leaves of the broccoli.

The week I made this chicken I was planning on making something a little fancier, but I wasn’t feeling too well. Instead I baked it very simply and served it with Mac n Cheese and steamed broccoli.

What I used:
1 package chicken breasts (4 breasts total), rib-in, skin removed
Paprika
Onion Salt
Garlic Powder
Pepper
Parsley
Lemon
1 package Fresh broccoli (choose one with heads and stalks)

Remove the skin by lifting with one hand wherever it naturally comes up, and using a knife to cut the rest off. Place in a baking dish sprayed with Pam, rib-side down. Squeeze the juice from half a lemon over the chicken. Sprinkle the seasonings over the chicken to taste. I went easiest on the pepper and onion salt, medium on the garlic powder and parsley, and heavy on the paprika.
Bake in a 350° oven for about 40 minutes or until chicken is firm, but not hard, to the touch.
In the meantime, cut the heads off the broccoli. Prepare a steamer, if you have one, or place a thin layer of water in the bottom of a pan or skillet with a lid. Place the heads of broccoli in the pan, cover, and steam over medium heat for about 5 minutes. The broccoli should get softer but remain bright green. Save the unused stalks and leaves in a gallon bag.
Remove the chicken from the oven and let sit for 5-10 minutes before you cut into it. (At this point if you need to check done-ness, the chicken should be white all the way through – no pink left.) Remove the chicken from the bone and slice. Set the bones aside (chicken meat attached is good) in a plastic gallon bag (different from the one the broccoli is in).
Squeeze more lemon juice in the pan if you’d like, to create a pan juice (au jus). You can spoon this over the chicken after it’s cut. (So good!)

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Simple right? Now save the leftovers – including the bones!  – for Second Meals of Nana’s (Healthier) Chicken Salad and Homemade Overnight Chicken Stock!

Bacon -Wrapped Pineapple

This holiday season, I’ve participated more than I ever have in the past – as hostess and contributor. In past years my hands have been full enough just trying to make sure all the kids are dressed and ready, supplies are packed for the day, correct gifts are bought, wrapped, and packed, etc. I always felt guilty that I wasn’t able to contribute more, but this year I decided that was unacceptable. 😉

I’ve made these little treats 3 times since November. They are wildly popular, easy to make, and fairly quick, even if they are a little sticky and messy. Not too pricey either: Bacon is usually about $5-6, a can of pineapple $1.50, and brown sugar $2 or so for a whole bag. (These are also non-sale prices, so if you stock up when they’re on sale you’ll be better off.) If you don’t mind the cheap ones (which work just as well), you can get a big box of toothpicks for about $1.

Here is the link to my pin of the recipe: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/507499451730702127/

One tip: This last time I realized I only had thick cut bacon – it’s actually better, I think, to use the thin, cheaper bacon. I will NOT be using thick cut again, unless I buy fresh pineapple and cut the pieces larger. The bacon overwhelmed the pineapple, and it was just too chewy.

Hope you can enjoy this recipe and share with family and friends!