Delicious Legs 

Unfortunately ladies, until winter is in full swing, we have to shave our legs regularly. But there is a way to make it easier, more effective, and last longer!

Shaving is much better with exfoliated skin. When you shave without exfoliating, you’re simply shaving off a layer of dead skin rather than getting actual hair (this also causes ingrowns.) But if you exfoliate first and then shave, you get straight to the matter at hand, the hair, and the result is a super silky smooth “like a baby’s behind” leg. 

This easy DIY scrub takes to it a completely new level and is made with ingredients you have around the house. And it’s not just for women, men can absolutely benefit from soft exfoliated skin. 
 
Simply take 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup coconut oil, and the juice of one lemon and mix them together in a bowl. Scrub onto to your legs, shave, and rinse. For extra smoothness, apply scrub once more after shaving and your legs will be so slippery smooth you won’t even be able to cross them! Happy exfoliating! 

dead ant, dead ant, dead ant dead deat ant…

That’s what the Pink Panther said when he stepped on an ant. Ha! Get it?! If not, read it again, really fast. And if you still don’t get it, or you don’t know who the Pink Panther is, take your right hand, slowly raise it about 3 inches from your cheek and then smack your cheek as hard as possible. Thaaaast’s it, you got it. 

Around these parts, dead ants are actually a good thing. Those ambitious little pests can really be a nuisance in your home, especially in the summertime. But fear not! I have a quick and easy solution that will make them virtually disappear! 

First you’ll need Borax. Never heard of it?
Borax, also known as sodium borate, is a mineral and a salt of boric acid. Powdered borax is white, consisting of soft colorless crystals that dissolve easily in water. Borax has a wide variety of uses. It is a component of many detergents, cosmetics, and enamel glazes. It is also used as a fire retardant and as an anti-fungal compound.

The term borax is used for a number of closely related minerals or chemical compounds that differ in their crystal water content. Commercially sold borax is partially dehydrated and used in various household laundry and cleaning products, including the “20 Mule Team Borax” laundry booster and “Boraxo” powdered hand soap. It’s even used in some tooth bleaching formulas! 

There are all sorts of household uses for the powdery white compound, but today we’re focusing on those pesky little ants. 

Simply take 4 Tb of borax, 4 Tb of sugar and mix them together with 1 cup warm water until they dissolve. Then take cotton balls, soak them in the solution, and place them in the spots where you’ve seen the ants, most importantly the spot you think they are coming from. 

WARNING: You will see a LOT of ants! This is good! The sugar is drawing them out. (Also another warning, don’t leave this stuff lying around because it’s clear liquid and somebody could accidentally ingest it. I mean I don’t know who just randomly picks up a container of “water” that’s sitting out on the counter and drink it but apparently it happens….reminds me of a story my friend told me once where he slept over his friends house and didn’t have his contact case so he put his contacts in a glass of water. The next morning the glass was empty…turns out his friend’s grandmother had gotten thirsty in the middle the night and drank his contacts! so apparently people do just pick up a random glass of water and drink it…anyway back to the ants…)

I was spurred to do this post due to some little ants I found in our bathroom (of all places). So when I saw all the ants coming out from behind the tiny little opening on the floor behind the cabinet, I panicked a little bit but then realized they were all just clamoring to get to the sweetly poisonous cotton ball. Getting easily distracted as I tend to do, I watched them for a while then left and didn’t return to the crime scene until the next morning. To my surprise, all the ants were gone! I guess I assumed they would eat the solution and die right there on the spot. But apparently they take it with them back to their home first?  

 This made me feel a little bad, I’m not gonna lie. I could just picture a daddy ant proudly bringing back some “candy” for his kids and them all huddling around it excitedly only to drop dead a few hours later…But not bad enough to want them in my bathroom! And at least this was a natural diy solution and some chemical laden awful storebought solution. So that makes me feel a little better…I guess. 

Super Smooth Summer Legs

I have gotten so many comments and testimonies from my “Mascara Saver” post that I decided to do another beauty secret. In the summertime, whether we like it or not, we have to have freshly shaved legs at all times between shorts, capris, and the inevitable swimsuit. One thing that helps me bare my legs with confidence is making sure they’re tan using my favorite trusty self tanner (which I shall feature on the blog very soon). But self tanner can be tricky if your legs aren’t exfoliated properly, it will cling to every spot of dry skin or unshaven bit. In fact, shaving itself is better with exfoliated skin. When you shave without exfoliating, you’re simply shaving off a layer of dead skin rather than getting actual hair (this also causes ingrowns.) But if you exfoliate first and then shave, you get straight to the matter at hand, the hair, and the result is a super silky smooth “like a baby’s behind” leg. But this easy DIY scrub takes to it a completely new level and is made with ingredients you have around the house.

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Simply take 1 cup of sugar, 1/2 cup coconut oil, and the juice of one lemon and mix them together in a bowl. Scrub onto to your legs, shave, and rinse. Repeat once more and your legs will be so slippery smooth you won’t even be able to cross them!

apple of my pie

IMG_1628Who doesn’t love a good slice of apple pie? If you don’t then I am confident in saying there’s something seriously wrong with you and we may have to just part ways here and now. However, if you agree with me, let’s continue. I’d first like to add though, that I do not however, agree with putting vanilla ice cream with your pie. If a pie is well made, it can stand on its own two feet and doesn’t need a sweet, cold, easily melted counterpart oozing toward it on the plate. Don’t get me wrong, I love ice cream, but there’s a time and a place and on the plate next to apple pie is not that place. Can you tell I don’t like my food to touch? But that’s another blog for another day. If you’re not already mad at me for my ice cream rant, you may get mad now…I don’t have a recipe for my apple pie. A good apple pie is truly so simple that if you just throw the right ingredients together, its bound to be delicious. First you want to start with a good crust. Of course homemade is always better but who has time for making their own pie crust when the store-bought version is really almost as good? Next comes the apples. Most old school apple pie aficionados use all Granny Smith apples but I’m not a huge fan of those green packages of extreme tartness so I just throw one in for good measure. The rest of the apples are usually Gala or Pink Lady. I like to use about 4 apples in my pie so 3 red and one green. After peeling and slicing the apples into thinish wedges, I put them in a bowl with a few tablespoons of cold diced butter, a pinch of salt, a healthy dose of cinnamon, about 1/2 cup of both white and brown sugar, touch of nutmeg, and, last but certainly not least, (as this is the true secret to a good apple pie)….flour. Why, you ask? The flour acts as a thickening agent to bind all the juices together and thicken them so the pie isn’t too runny and you don’t end up with a soggy bottom. hehe. It’s a delicate thing adding flour because too little and it does nothing, but too much and you can taste the flour, which is never good. So usually a few tablespoons and you’re good to go. Once everything is combined, pour it into your pie plate (which should already be lined with a layer of crust) and cover with crust. Crimp the edges as you desire and if you have a little dough left over, I like to make a little design on top, like the tiny hearts in the picture. Your oven should be at 400 but before you slide that baby in, here’s another little trick I’ve discovered over the years. Some people like to brush their crust with an egg wash. Not this girl. I use cream! Or milk. Either works. Pour a little bit of either one into a measuring cup and brush over your crust (don’t forget the edges!) with a pastry brush then sprinkle with a little coarse sugar before it dries. This will ensure a nice shiny crust with a little extra sweetness every time. Bake it for….um…a certain amount of time….I’m sorry ok?! I don’t have any exact details here but come on, when it’s golden and brown and your house smells like the Yankee Candle store in the middle of Autumn then you know it’s done. As much as you may want to enjoy it right away. fight the urge. By letting it cool, you’re allowing the juices to firm up a bit and all the flavors to really meld. Now at this point, the whole ice cream option is really up to you, but you already know how I feel about that….

black & white cookie goodness

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Have you ever had a black and white cookie, a REAL black and white from a REAL New York bakery? Well if not, my friend, you are missing out. But wait no longer, now you can make my version that is just like the bakery’s! The butcher even confirmed it was just as good as the ones he ate growing up in Long Island. The cakey texture, the little hint of lemon, and the delicious but not too sweet frosting. Now I’m not going to lie to you and tell you these aren’t a little time consuming and tedious to make because they are. But they are well worth it especially for a special occasion! Let’s get started….

INGREDIENTS

For the Cookies:
4 cups cake flour (I’ve talked about this before in other posts, I’m telling you cake flour makes a huge difference it is a much lighter delicate texture. Swan’s makes a good brand it’s sold in most grocery stores in the baking aisle in a red box)
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 cup unsalted butter, at cool room temperature
1¾ cups granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
½ teaspoon vanilla extract
¼ teaspoon lemon extract (very important!!!)
1 cup milk

For the Icing:
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, finely chopped (baker’s brand chocolate is good and is pre measured so it’s super simple)
⅓ cup water
¼ cup light corn syrup
5 cups powdered sugar
½ teaspoon vanilla extract.

1. Make the Cookies: Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper or a silicone baking mat.

2. In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder and salt; set aside.

3. Beat the butter at medium speed for 30 seconds to loosen it up. Keeping the mixer running, gradually add in the sugar and then gradually increase the speed to medium-high and beat until the mixture is light and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides of the bowl and add the eggs (one at a time to incorporate) vanilla and lemon extract. Beat at medium speed until combined, about 30 seconds. Scrape down the sides and bottom of the bowl again. With mixer on low speed, alternately add the flour in four additions and the milk in three additions (beginning and ending with flour), and mix until just combined. Give the mixture a few final stirs with a rubber spatula to ensure all of the flour has been incorporated.

4. Use a ¼-cup measuring cup to scoop mounds of dough onto the prepared baking sheets about two inches apart. Using moistened fingers, gently press each mound of dough into a 2½-inch circle. Bake until the edges of the cookies are set and light golden brown, about 20 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool for 2 minutes on the baking sheets, then remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

5. Making the Icings: Melt the chocolate either in a medium bowl set over a small saucepan over barely-simmering water, or using the microwave on 50% power in 30-second increments; set aside.

6. In a medium saucepan over medium heat, bring the water and corn syrup to a boil. Remove from the heat and whisk in the powdered sugar and vanilla extract. Transfer ¾ cup of the icing to the bowl with the melted chocolate and whisk to combine.

7. Ice the Cookies: Place wire racks over wax paper to catch any drips. Use a small offset spatula, or cheese knife in my case, to spread about 2 tablespoons of the vanilla icing onto half of each cookie. The icing should move on its own when the cookie is tilted; use the spatula to scrape any excess from around the edges. If the vanilla begins to thicken too much, stir in a teaspoon of warm water at a time until the icing goes back to a smoother, looser consistency. Place the finished cookies on the wire racks and allow to set for at least 15 minutes.

8. Again using a small offset spatula, spread the chocolate icing on the half of each cookie, scraping any excess icing from around the edge of the cookies. If the chocolate icing thickens too much, which it did for me, add a tablespoon or so of warm water as you go to keep it at the right thickness. Place the finished cookies on the wire racks and allow to set for at least 1 hour. Lick your fingers and enjoy! I had a little batter left and decided to make one huge cookie just for the butcher since they’re his favorite. It was the size of his face, it was delicious, and he loved it.

9. The cookies can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days. If you stack the cookies, be sure to place a piece of wax paper between layers. But don’t worry, they won’t last long enough for you to worry about all that.