Making my own soap is something I’ve wanted to try for a long time now. I was always hesitant because working with lye sounded scary and labor intensive. Then I learned you can buy soap bases that melt down and you just add whatever oils, colors, and fragrances you want and just pour it into a mold. This was so simple to make and actually fun to do! Plus, you can customize your soap any way you want!
Why is it that I only ever seem to think about eating healthy again when there is a special occasion to eat delicious not-so-good for you foods? First Thanksgiving, and now National Cookie Day coming up on December 4th, and soon Christmas! This is why people leave the healthy eating until after the new year.
National Cookie Day is the perfect excuse to start testing out some holiday recipes. I’m partial to the blue tin butter cookies, that after your done eating them, your mom stores her sewing supplies in the bin. (Also, can we talk about how that is a thing? I seriously thought it was only my family until I saw memes about it online.) Though the Pumpkin Chai Snickerdoodles pictured above look worth the effort it takes to bake them. Happy eating!
Going to the movies is one of my favorite activities, primarily for the snacks. I order a popcorn every time I go, which is pretty often. I actually had to downgrade from the large to the medium so I wouldn’t go broke eating my weight in popcorn. Baby steps, right? Of course I was thrilled to learn that National Popcorn Day is January 16. While I don’t think I’ll make it to the movies, nothing is stopping me from trying some of these amazing recipes!
If you’ve never tried dulce de leche, then you are seriously missing out. If you don’t know what Dulce de Leche is, it’s a rich confection made by heating sweetened condensed milk. You can eat it on cookies or crackers, use it to fill cupcakes, or just eat it on it’s own! There are many different ways to make dulce de leche. I like to make it on the stovetop. Normally, I have my mom’s pressure cooker and cooking time only takes an hour. However, if you don’t own a pressure cooker, you can still make dulce de leche by following these steps.
Stove-top Dulce de Leche Recipe
1. Start by removing the label from your can of sweetened condensed milk.
2. Pierce three holes at the top of the can in a triangle formation. *This step is critical as it helps release the pressure from the heat, preventing the can from exploding.*
3. Place the can in a pot, and fill it with water 3/4 of the way up the side of the can.
4. Bring the water to a simmer and let the milk cook for about 3-4 hours. (Longer if you want a thicker consistency.) I usually cook mine for approximately 4 hours. If milk comes out of the piercings at the top of the can, make sure it doesn’t spill over.
5. Use tongs to remove the can from the water, and place it somewhere to cool.
6. Mix the dulce de leche until it is smooth. Let it cool before refrigerating.
Cinco de Mayo is right around the corner! I wanted to cook something in the spirit of the holiday and settled on tortillas. Luckily, I had all the ingredients on hand as the recipe doesn’t call for much. These came out great! They were the perfect balance of soft and chewy on the inside and crispy on the out.
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup shortening
1/2 cup lukewarm water
Using a fork, mix the flour, salt and baking powder. Using your hand or a pastry cutter, cut the shortening into the flour mixture until there are no big lumps of shortening. Slowly add the water, using more or less as you need it. Make sure the dough is not too sticky.
After you have finished adding the water, knead the dough for about three minutes. Put the kneaded dough back in your bowl and cover with a tea towel. Let the dough sit for about 10 minutes.
After the dough has sat for ten minutes, evenly separate it into balls.
Flatten the ball with your hand and add flour to the work surface. Flatten the circle with a rolling pin to get a thin tortilla.
Slap the tortillas back and forth between your hands.
Heat a large pan on medium heat. Cook your tortillas for 15-20 seconds on each side.
Make some quesadillas, or do like I did and make some breakfast burritos!