Archive of ‘Create’ category

DIY, Create Rice Facial Cleanser

New Year, New You. Going natural in both the kitchen and the bathroom is easier than you think. For years, rice cleanser has been a secret go to for Asian cultures for generations. If you happen to shop at any natural or wellness markets you will see them on the shelves as well.

To make your own, start with a jasmine rice and distilled water. I prefer to use bottled to avoid the struggle of hard or soft water that can hinder your complexion. I use two cups of water and one cup of rice and bring the combination to a slight and short boil on the stovetop, just under a minute.

Transfer the contents in the pan to a bowl and leave sitting for 15 minutes. Pour the liquid into any air tight container that works for you, I find that a standard size mason jar is the perfect size. Store in refrigerator.

Using rice water as a facial cleanser is as simple as splashing a bit onto your face and gently massaging it into your skin for about a minute. That’s all there is to it! After just one application, you’ll notice your skin feeling soft, tight, and young.

The Best French Toast Ever

Don’t roll your eyes at the title of this blog post. Because I promise you that after you follow and prepare this recipe for french toast, you will never ever make french toast in a basic way ever again.

This is like the kind of french toast you had at brunch one day somewhere fabulous that you can never really forget about and that you think you could never duplicate at home… but it can be done!

The classic french toast mixture in the recipe calls for 3 whisked eggs combined with a cup of half and half (don’t you dare try and substitute milk for this, it won’t be the same, I promise you) 2 tablespoons of warmed honey and a few dashes of sea salt.

As for the bread, do not use pre sliced store bought bread. Buy a loaf that you can cut up yourself because every great french toast is thick and decadent. I like to use a loaf of Cinnamon Swirl Bread, from a nearby local market but Challah also works great or any white loaf you can slice up. Your slices should be about an inch or so in thickness, but do as you like here.

When dipping the bread in the egg mixture, let it SIT. Don’t just drop and dab and turn and repeat. Let the bread SOAK up the egg mixture until borderline soggy.

Next, use a saute pan or skillet and melt a tablespoon of butter per slice. I prefer to cook my slices one at a time.

Next, put each ‘done’ slice in the oven on the rack and bake at 375 for 5 or so minutes.

Finish with desired toppings, syrup.

Ooey Gooey Pumpkin Bars

I am a real sucker for all things fall, and as soon as the leaves turn I am all about the pumpkin! I find myself overwhelmingly disappointed with basic baked goods and turn my nose up at a pumpkin spice latte.

Over the years, I have made possibly 100 pumpkin desserts and this one takes the cake… no pun intended.

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  • For the crust:
    1 package (1 lb) of Williams Sonoma spiced pecan pumpkin quick
    bread mix OR sub for ground graham crackers
  • 1 egg
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • For the filling: 
    1 package cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 1 jar (13oz) pumpkin butter
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 15 oz. (470 g) confectioners’ sugar

First, preheat an oven to 350°F and grease a 13-by-9-inch baking pan.

To make the crust, use a stand alone mixer with the flat beater attachment and combine the quick bread or graham mix with one egg and melted butter and beat on low speed until the ingredients come together, about a minute. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and spread out evenly. Press the crust down until evenly dispersed.

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To make the filling, in the mixer bowl, combine the ROOM TEMPERATURE cream cheese and pumpkin butter and beat on medium speed until smooth, about 1 minute. Add the eggs, vanilla, melted butter and cinnamon and beat until combined, about 2 minutes. Add the SIFTED confectioners’ sugar and beat well at a medium speed, about 2 minutes.

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Spread the filling over the crust. Transfer to the oven and bake for 40 to 50 minutes. Transfer the pan to a wire rack and let cool, then cut into bars.

 

Chicken Avocado Lime Soup

Rarely do I follow recipes that I find online from start to finish, but this one comes close. As fall is upon us and cooler weather begin to creep in, I get a hankering to break out the crock pot making various dishes including soups, stews and sauces to store up for the long fall and winter seasons. This recipe comes from a well known food blog, called Cooking Classy.

1-2 lbs boneless skinless chicken breasts

1 Tbsp olive oil

1 cup chopped green onions

2 jalapeños, seeded and minced

32oz chicken broth (more if desired)

2 Roma tomatoes, diced

1 tbsp ground cumin

1/3 cup chopped cilantro

3 Tbsp fresh lime juice

3 medium avocados, peeled, cored and diced

Salt, pepper to taste

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Pour all chicken broth into crock pot or slow cooker and set for a four hour cook time. Brown chicken with a couple pinches of salt and 1/2 tbsp of cumin on the stovetop in olive oil. Remove from pan, cool and shred. Set aside. In the same pan, salute garlic, onions and jalapeños until tender and add to broth in crock pot. Add the rest of the chopped vegetables to the soup mixture minus the avocado. Shred chicken and add to soup mixture and stir in the remaining of the cumin seasoning. I also add juice from half a lime, the cilantro as well as some fresh ground pepper and 1/2 tsp of sea salt. Let cook for remaining time, stir occasionally and add seasoning per your preference.

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Serve fresh with avocado or other desired ingredients as a garnish. Or freeze for a later date.

Best. Banana. Bread. Ever.

If you try googling the “best banana bread recipe” you will probably find dozens, if not hundreds that tout their recipe, family recipe or recipe they found on the internet or magazine is ‘the’ best. I have been making banana bread in dozens of different ways for years. I make it gluten free, paleo, healthy and decadent. But last week I took a recipe I found online, added a few things to it and also adjusted some of the measurements and came up with the best banana bread I ever made and have ever had… hands down!

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1/2 Cup Salted Butter

2 Eggs

3-4 Bananas

1 1/2 Cups Flour

1 Tsp Baking Soda

1 Tsp Vanilla

Chocolate Chunks (not chips)

Crushed Walnuts

Not only is the ingredient list short, its easy to pull all this stuff right from your cabinets. No last minute desperate runs to the market to get the one or two ingredients some of us rarely keep at an arms reach.

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Cream together butter and sugar. Add in eggs, one at a time, and then the mashed bananas. Combine well. Add vanilla. Add just under 1/4 cup of whatever combination you want of chocolate chunks and walnuts into the dry ingredients. You could choose to throw neither of them in, or omit one or the other. Gradually add them and your cream mixture until well combined. Pour into greased and floured loaf pan, I like to use coconut oil spray. Bake at 350 degrees for 60 minutes. Leave covered on a wire rack for 10 minutes before cutting.

Chocolate Zucchini Bread

I really try and eat healthy. Most of the time I follow a paleo routine but there are some things that require ‘the real thing’. This recipe is good enough to fool anyone into thinking its healthy and its cake. So, its a real crowdpleaser.

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Ingredients List

2 cups coconut sugar

3 eggs

3 teaspoons vanilla extract

2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1/2 cup baking cocoa

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

1/4 teaspoon baking powder

2 cups shredded peeled zucchini

In a large bowl, beat the sugar, oil, eggs and vanilla, stationary mixer is best. Combine the flour, cocoa, salt, baking soda, cinnamon and baking powder in a separate bowl, to be added to the sugar mixture later. 

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After sugar mixture is well blended, gradually add in the sugar mixture until blended. Fold in zucchini until batter is evenly mixed. 

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Transfer to two 8-in. x 4-in. loaf pans coated with coconut oil spray.

Bake at 350° for 45-50 minutes. Cool for 10 minutes before removing from pans to wire racks to cool completely.

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

This recipe is so easy, anyone, yes I mean ANYONE could do it. And the result is so impressive that you will surely be reaching around to give yourself a pat on the back.

First… lets talk meat. This is the one and only important and somewhat crucial step in this recipe and preparation. Get. Good. Meat. If you take a shortcut here all your work and hours of cooking will have been wasted. I find that a good cut of Pork Shoulder Roast, which is what you will be using can be found at Sprouts Supermarket. I start with a 3-5 lb cut depending on how many people I will be feeding but usually go for the bigger cut because there is so much you can do with the leftovers. I opt to use mine for tacos or huevos rancheros for morning meals.

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Put your slow cooker on low, you will be aiming for an eight hour cooking time. Line the pot with a half sweet onion and BBQ sauce. I use Sweet Baby Rays, The Original. Place pork in pot, with the more fatty side on the top. This will help the juices drip down and keep your meat hydrated throughout the long cooking time. Next, cover that meat with about 1/2 bottle of the sauce. And… thats it. That is ALL you have to do.

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There is one additional step I take which can be followed or skipped. At about the 5-6 hour mark I check the meat and if it seems to be about 80% done close to being done, I take the meat out in chunks and take the big pieces of fat off. I also drain some of the grease and add a bit more sauce once I place all the good meat back in. This is a personal preference and in no way takes away from the dish.

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When you’re done, serve as desired and wrap up your leftovers!