Homemade Ice Cream in a Bag Recipe

By Jess on July 21st, 2014

homemade-ice-cream-in-a-bag-recipe

Its finally warm outside and the kids can get all their energy out by playing outside. Use this to your advantage and your whole family can make ice cream in bags by running around! Note: This recipe is enough for ONE serving, so you’ll need all of the listed ingredients for each person.

Ingredients & Other Things You’ll Need:

  • Ice cubes (enough to fill each gallon-size bag about half full)
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1/2 cup salt (The bigger the granules, the better. Kosher or rock salt works best, but table salt is fine.)
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 pint-size ziplock bag (this can also be done in tupperware type containers)
  • 1 gallon-size ziplock bag
  • Your favorite ice cream toppings or ingredients, like chocolate chips, cereal, fruit, marshmallows, etc.

Directions:

  1. Combine the sugar, half and half, and vanilla extract in the pint-size bag and seal it tightly. Double check it’s sealed completely.
  2. Place the salt and ice in the gallon-size bag, then place the sealed smaller bag inside as well. Seal the larger bag. Now shake the bags and/or have the kids run around while shaking their bags until the mixture hardens which is about 5 minutes. Feel the small bag to check when it’s hardened enough.
  3. Take the smaller bag out of the larger one, add toppings, and eat the ice cream right out of the bag. Toss the bag when you’re done eating – super easy cleanup!

Recipe: Creamy 3-Ingredient Nutella Popsicles

By Jess on July 20th, 2014

Recipe Creamy Nutella Popsicle

Change up the ice or fruit popsicles and makes these SUPER easy Creamy Nutella Popsicles instead. Just make sure you have popsicle molds (you can even get them at some dollar stores!), a blender, and patience to wait for them to harden in the mold. Thanks to 52 Kitchen Adventures for the recipe!

Ingredients: (Makes 3 Popsicles, so you will probably want to double the ingredients)

  • 1 cup of Cool Whip (or other whipped topping)
  • 1/2 cup of milk
  • 3 Tbsp of Nutella

Directions:

  1. Place all ingredients in a blender. Process until blended.
  2. Pour mixture into popsicle molds.
  3. Freeze for several hours (overnight or from morning until evening are easiest way to know they’re fully frozen), serve and enjoy.

DIY Glowing Fairies in a Jar

By Jess on July 19th, 2014

DIY-Fairy-Glow-Jars

Most of us have seen the picture of fairies in a jar that went viral last year. We all found out that it was fake and photoshopped, much to many kids’ dismay. Here’s a REAL way to do it, no photoshop needed. BIG thanks to The Gold Jelly Bean for helping to make so many kids’ days brighter with this tutorial!!

What You’ll Need:

  • Glass jar (cleaned one from spaghetti sauce or similar, or you can buy them at the dollar store)
  • Glow sticks
  • Rubber gloves
  • Scissors
  • Eye protector (like goggles or glasses)
  • White tulle (optional, but looks better!)

Directions:

  1. Cut the tulle into a larger size than the jar and stick it inside. The tulle helps it look like the fairies are suspended in the jar, not just stuck on the sides of the glass.
  2. Put on rubber gloves and crack the glow stick to get the glow to activate, then stick the end of the glow stick into the jar and cut the top off. Be careful with this! There are glass and chemicals inside the stick, so be sure to not touch your eyes.
  3. Shake the stick all over the inside of the jar. This will take a while because it doesn’t just pour out, it may even get clogged. Use a new one, don’t try to get the glass out.
  4. After putting in the amount of glow liquid you want, put the cap on and shake. It will probably take 2-3 necklaces or 3-4 bracelet glow sticks to get the right amount.
  5. Turn out the lights and watch the amazement in your kids’ eyes!

Recipe: Copycat Cracker Barrel Hash Brown Casserole

By Jess on July 18th, 2014

copycat-cracker-barrel-hash-brown-casserole

One of my favorite restaurants for breakfast is Cracker Barrel, and I mean beyond the giant checker board and triangle peg games. Cracker Barrel’s Hash Brown Casserole is my favorite restaurant breakfast food. I am thrilled to have found how to make it at home!

Ingredients:

  • 8 Tbsp cold unsalted butter, divided
  • 4 Tbsp all-purpose flour, divided
  • ¼ tsp poultry seasoning
  • ¼ tsp onion powder
  • ¼ tsp garlic powder
  • ½ tsp kosher salt
  • ½ tsp fresh ground black pepper
  • ½ cup milk
  • 1 cup low-sodium chicken broth, divided
  • ½ cup chopped onions
  • 1 (26 oz) package frozen shredded hash browns
  • 1 (8 oz) package shredded colby cheese

Note: You can cut the casserole in half and bake into two 8×8″ casserole dishes, then freeze or save for later use.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 °F.
  2. In medium saucepan over medium heat, melt 2 tablespoons butter. Once butter is melted, add 2 tablespoons of flour and all listed seasonings. Whisk to create a paste. Add milk, whisking as you pour. Whisk until completely combined.
  3. In a quart sized mason jar combine 2 tablespoons flour and chicken broth. Seal tightly and shake the living tar out of your mixture. You will create a smooth flour mixture for thickening your sauce called a slurry.
  4. Slowly pour slurry into mixture, whisking constantly. Bring to a boil and cook for 2 minutes, stirring constantly.
  5. Pour soup into 9×13 casserole dish. Add remaining 6 tablespoons butter and onions. Stir until butter is melted. This will also start to cool your soup. Add cheese and frozen hash browns. Mix well with a spoon.
  6. Bake 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown.  Note: You can add more cheese to the top of the casserole in the last 10 minutes of baking if desired.
  7. Let cool slightly, cut into 12 pieces, serve and enjoy!

Recipe: Nutella Banana Bread

By Jess on July 17th, 2014

Nutella-Banana-Bread

Nutella added INTO banana bread? Yes! It’s a simple recipe to make such delicious bread that you’ll never go back to “regular” banana bread again. Thanks to Chef In Training for the yummy recipe!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup mashed ripe bananas
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3/4 heaping cup Nutella
  • 2 cups flour
  • 3/4 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 cup softened butter

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and spray an 8×4-inch loaf pan with nonstick spray.
  2. Whisk together flour, baking soda and salt in a medium sized bowl.
  3. Beat sugar and butter in another large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until fully blended. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each one. Add banana, milk and vanilla, then beat until blended. Add the flour mixture from the other bowl and beat at low speed just until flour is mixed in, but not too blended.
  4. Put the Nutella into a small dish and warm in the microwave for 15 seconds. Add 1 cup of the banana bread batter to the Nutella in the bowl and stir them together until well blended.
  5. Add this newly made Nutella batter, then the plain banana bread batter in alternating layers into the bread pan. Lightly swirl the two types of batter with a knife.
  6. Bake at 350 degrees for 50 to 60 minutes. The bread will seem a little underbaked, but that’s what makes it so good and moist! Let the bread cool for at least 15 minutes in the pan before taking it out of the pan to cool completely.

DIY Nail Polish Remover Jar

By Jess on July 16th, 2014

diynailpolishremoverspongejar

Why pay $5 or more for the nail polish remover/sponge all-in-one jar? Make it at home over and over again. It’s got to be way cleaner to replace it more often and it will be a small percentage of buying them over and over again at the store! It actually does save on nail polish remover: The amount that you pour in the jar and use 5x (or more) is the same as what you would use to remove ONE manicure! It’s also great to remove glitter polish.

What You’ll Need:

  • Nail polish remover (acetone is stronger, but it dries your nails and cuticles out, so be careful)
  • Dish sponge (plain, without the scrubber side)
  • Baby food jar (or something small and can be resealed)

Directions:

  1. Cut your sponge in half directly down the center lengthwise.
  2. Roll your two sections of sponge together (like a cake roll).
  3. Push your sponge snugly into your baby food jar and fill it with nail polish remover a little bit at a time until it fills up the sponge.
  4. Tightly screw the lid on every time so it doesn’t dry out!

When you’re ready to use it, just stick your finger into one of the crevices, let sit for about 10-15 seconds, then rub your nail up and down a few times. For glitter, let your nail sit in the sponge for 60 seconds and check to see if it is easy to remove. If not, let it sit for another minute. Repeat.

Thanks to Bella Shoot for the pictures and tutorial!

Easy Natural DIY Lip Balm

By Jess on July 15th, 2014

diy-lip-balm

Why spend $3 or more per tube of lip balm? You can make it yourself in just minutes and for a fraction of the cost. Plus, every ingredient is all natural and safe to use over and over again! The directions below will make a couple of small lip gloss jars or tubes. You can double the recipe or stick to the ratio of 1 part beeswax to 2 parts oil to make as much as you want! Adding different oils will feel and taste different, so experiment and find what you love most.

What You’ll Need:

  • 1 tsp. of grated packed down beeswax or beeswax pellets
  • 2 tsp. of coconut oil
  • 4-5 drops of Vitamin E oil
  • 1/2 tsp. of honey
  • To make colored lip balm, you’ll need some of your favorite blush or lipstick (optional)

Directions:

  1. Mix all the ingredients together and microwave for 10 seconds. Stir, then another 10 seconds. Do this over and over until it is fully melted and mixed together.
  2. Once everything is melted and mixed, IMMEDIATELY and carefully pour the mixture into the container of your choice.
  3. Allow to cool and fully harden (a few hours) before using or giving as a gift.

Recipe: “Stained Glass” Sugar Cookies

By Jess on July 14th, 2014

Stained Glass Sugar Cookies

This is the coolest and most creative use of hard candies I’ve seen since the DIY Christmas platters using peppermint candies I posted back in December. They’re beautiful, fun to look at, easy to make, and completely, 100% edible! Make them for your next potluck, for holidays, or just for fun. I can’t wait to hear how you like them!

Ingredients & Tools:

  • Jolly Ranchers Hard Candies (Any hard candy will work, but cannot be sugar-free candy)
  • Your favorite sugar cookie recipe (either premade or made from scratch, both work)
  • 2 sizes of cookie cutters (these were hearts, but you can use your choice of 2 of the same shape, but different sizes)
  • Baking sheet
  • Wire racks
  • Waxed paper

Directions:

  1. Roll out sugar cookie dough and cut out the cookies with a large cookie cutter. Use a spatula to move them to the baking sheet.
  2. Using the small cookie cutter, remove the centers of the large cookies that are on the baking sheet.
  3. Place 2 Jolly Ranchers (or other hard candy) of different colors inside the new empty center of the cookies. Choosing 2 different colors gives the stained glass look.
  4. Bake cookies with candy centers according to your cookie recipe’s instructions.
  5. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes to allow the candy center to harden before you then transfer them to wire racks to cool completely.
  6. Once fully cooled, you can move them onto a plate or into a storage container, but to prevent the hard candies from sticking together place waxed paper between layers of cookies. Enjoy!

Recipe: Frozen 100% Fruit Pops

By Jess on July 13th, 2014

Recipe Fruit Pops

Kids love eat popsicles during these hot summer days. So many of the frozen treats are filled with sugar and have nothing healthy in them. This recipe for Fruit Pops from Doodlecraft uses 100% fruit – even down to pureeing fruit with a food processor, not using juice, so it’s even more healthy. The kids will think it’s a treat, but you’ll know it’s super healthy.

What You’ll Need:

  • Plastic popsicle molds
  • About 3 cups of sliced watermelon (be sure there are no seeds)
  • Sliced strawberries
  • Sliced kiwi
  • Large handful of blueberries

Note: Any kind of melon will work instead of watermelon, and juice will work if you want to make this process easier.

Directions:

  1. Puree the watermelon fully to make it as watery as possible.
  2. Put 2-4 blueberries at the bottom of the plastic mold, a slice or two of kiwi (so they show on the side of the mold), 2-4 slices of strawberry, then a couple more blueberries as the last of the fruit.
  3. Fill the molds to the edge with the watermelon juice.
  4. Press the popsicle mold lids on securely, then freeze overnight.
  5. When fully frozen, the popsicle should slide right out of the mold, but if it sticks, run the plastic under a little warm water.

Recipe: Copycat P.F. Chang’s Mongolian Beef

By Jess on July 12th, 2014

Copycat P.F. Chang's Mongolian Beef Recipe

P.F. Chang’s is known for their delicious take on Chinese food, and their Mongolian Beef is one of their most popular dishes. Serve the Mongolian Beef with steamed broccoli and rice for a complete meal! Note: If you use a gluten-free soy sauce in this recipe, then the beef, served with broccoli and rice will be all gluten-free!

Ingredients (Serves 2):

  • 2 teaspoons vegetable oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon ginger, minced
  • 1 tablespoon garlic, chopped
  • 1/2 cup soy sauce
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • vegetable oil for frying (about 1 cup)
  • 1 lb flank steak
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 2 large green onions, sliced on the diagonal into one-inch lengths

Directions:

  1. Make the sauce by heating 2 tsp of vegetable oil in a medium saucepan over med/low heat. Don’t let the oil get too hot.
  2. Add ginger and garlic to the pan and quickly add the soy sauce and water before the garlic scorches.
  3. Dissolve the brown sugar in the sauce, then raise the heat to about medium and boil the sauce for 2-3 minutes or until the sauce thickens. Once thickened, remove sauce from heat.
  4. Slice the flank steak against the grain into 1/4″ thick bite-size slices (Note:Tilt the blade of your knife at about a forty five degree angle to the top of the steak so that you get wider cuts).
  5. Dip the steak pieces into the cornstarch to apply a very thin dusting to both sides of each piece of beef, then place on a plate. Let the beef sit for about 10 minutes so that the cornstarch sticks.
  6. As the beef sits, heat up 1 cup of oil in a wok (Using a skillet is fine as long as the beef will be mostly covered with oil).
  7. Heat the oil over medium heat until it’s hot, but not smoking.
  8. Add the beef to the oil and sauté for just two minutes, or until the beef just begins to darken on the edges. (Note: The meat will be heated once again after this step, so it doesn’t need to be cooked thoroughly.)
  9. Stir the meat around a little so that it cooks evenly.
  10. After a couple minutes, use a large slotted spoon to take the meat out and onto paper towels, then pour the oil out of the wok or skillet.
  11. Put the pan back over the heat, dump the meat back into it and simmer for one minute.
  12. Add the sauce, cook for one minute while stirring, then add all the green onions.
  13. Cook for one more minute, then remove the beef and onions with tongs or a slotted spoon to a serving plate or bowl and eave the excess sauce behind in the pan.