DIY FAIL

I’d love to say that every recipe and DIY experiment turn out exactly as I hoped it would. But if that were true, I just wouldn’t be human. That’s a hard pill to swallow because for me, I take pride in what I do and when it doesn’t turn out the right way, well, I get a little on the ANGRY side. This is very true. Just ask my husband.

bbbb2Well, my recent DIY was whipped body butter. I ordered this huge block of Shea butter, imported from Ghana, Africa. All the reviews raved about this stuff and how great it was for your skin, and blah, blah, blah. So when it arrived, I knew I wanted to make whipped body butter and I was super psyched and pumped for the end result.

bb4bb3bb5Everything started off fine. I melted my Shea butter in a double boiler, let it cool, added essential oil (that I had specifically ordered for this DIY), put it in the freezer to firm up a bit and then put it in my stand mixer to get that butter whipped!

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This is when I should've called it quits and stopped.

This is when I should’ve called it quits and stopped.

Well, I started the mixer and lo and behold, it whipped right up. It looked like beautiful white frosting. Creamy with perfect peaks. But it didn’t have enough scent for me, so I stopped the mixer, added more essential oil and proceeded to keep up the whipping. I obviously got overzealous. I was really excited to be making my own whipped body butter you see and I figured, if I kept whipping, it’d be even better. And then disaster struck. It suddenly turned into butter. Those awesome peaks disappeared and it turned into a hard yellow chunk.

I tried to melt it down again and do the process over which really didn’t help much at all. Although it didn’t look pretty, I figured it still had the same properties and would still have the same end result. Soft skin.

The man of the house said it looked weird although it melted instantly on the skin. He used it for a couple of weeks and was not convinced of the African Shea butter’s amazing qualities. And it was thick. And greasy. But my youngest daughter, who tends to have pretty dry skin proclaimed one night, “It makes my butt soft!” At least my DIY fail helped someone.

Spanish Rice

spanish rice 3I haven’t posted in over a week, which isn’t like me! But, as you hopefully read a little while back, our new little venture, Hanky Planky, has been keeping us super busy. And that’s a good thing. But between that, my daily transcription job, a three week cold that turned into bronchitis, my three kids and one of them starting softball (I’m team mom, again!), I’ve been a tad bit occupied. Aside from that though, here’s a good one for you.

You all know my love for Mexican food runs deep. It’s a craving that can never truly be satisfied because I could literally eat Mexican food every day. And with this rice recipe, your international meal will be complete!

My mom has made this recipe for as far back as I can remember. She’s always called it Spanish Rice, but since it’s always served with Mexican food, maybe it’s actually Mexican rice? Whatever it is, it’s so, so good! But, and I haven’t told her this yet (Hi Mom!), I changed her recipe. Just slightly though! And it was out of convenience that turned into a blessing in disguise. That change is the carrots. Our favorite Mexican restaurant serves their rice with carrots in it, and they’ve got some pretty good rice. So since the original recipe called for tomatoes and I didn’t have any, I opted to add in carrots in their place instead. And yep, this is the way I’ll make it from now on. Try it Mom!!!

Spanish Rice

  • 1 tbsp. bacon drippings or canola/vegetable oil
  • 1 c. white rice
  • 1 garlic clove, minced
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 1/2 c. water
  • 1/4 c. tomato sauce
  • 1 green onion, sliced
  • 1/4 c. carrots, chopped
  • 1/4 tsp. each cumin & ground black pepper

In a small to medium pot, heat on medium low. Add the bacon drippings or oil. Once melted, add in the white rice. Stir to coat the rice with the oil. Continue to stir the rice occasionally to keep it from burning. Make sure to keep heat on low, and do this for about 5 minutes.

Add in the garlic and salt. Stir together. Then add in the rest of the ingredients. Stir and turn heat up to medium/medium-high. Once it comes to a boil, put a lid on it and reduce heat to low (simmer). Cook for 22 minutes. Stir and serve.

spanish ricespanish rice 2Now that you have this recipe and my refried bean one too, what’s stopping you from making an authentic Mexican meal at home? Nothing, so get in that kitchen!

Simple Tomato Soup

tomato soup 5Winter in Southern California doesn’t exist. To attest to that, I’m currently wearing a tank top and sandals. I have jeans on too, in case you thought I was pantsless. But seriously, this just isn’t right. I saw on Instagram yesterday that it was snowing in New Jersey. I know you East Coast people are probably sick of the cold and can’t believe that I’d complain about the 80 degree weather we’re having today but still…. I’d like to experience a mild winter for once. Since “winter” in California isn’t really happening, I thought now was as good a time as any to share my simple tomato soup with you. This is great for lunch on a cold day (I don’t know much about cold days) or a quick dinner. And this must be served with a grilled cheese. It’s a requirement. At least with my soup. This makes a medium sized pot and is supposed to be an accompaniment soup. Yes, I’m very fancy that way.

Simple Tomato Soup

  • 2 c. chicken broth
  • 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes (or crushed)
  • 1/2 small white or yellow onion, chopped
  • 1-2 tsp. sugar
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. Italian seasoning (or 1 frozen basil cube)
  • 1/2 c. half & half
  • ground pepper, to taste
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil

In a medium sized pot, heat olive oil on medium. Once heated, add the onion and sauté for 3 minutes. Then add in the tomatoes (juice too) chicken broth, sugar, salt, pepper, bay leaf and the rest of the seasonings. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat. Simmer uncovered for 15-20 minutes. Remove bay leaf and then with an immersion blender, pulse soup a few times to thin it out to a smoother consistency. Turn off the heat and add the half & half. Stir and taste and add more pepper or more sugar if necessary. Serve immediately.

tomato souptomato soup 3tomato soup 2tomato soup 4tomato soup 6tomato soup 7I’m still holding out hope that a little bit of winter will arrive soon. That snow on New Year’s Eve was a total fluke and won’t happen again for at least another 10 years but I’m still wanting to get some use out of my boots. But for now, sandals it is.