Gift Guide 2013

Yup, I am going to do a gift guide even though all the polite and timely bloggers did theirs weeks ago and by now you are probably done your holiday shopping! Well I am not and here’s to those like me who haven’t quite wrapped it all up yet (pun intended)! Or haven’t finished shopping yet…who me?!

Since this is late, here is a little tip if you can’t get your gifts shipped in time! Print out a picture of the gift, then wrap it in a small box maybe with some rocks or weights, and then put that box in a bigger box, and continue until you feel content. Then on Christmas morning watch your loved one’s face light up when they see a big box, and then you watch excitedly as they open box upon box. I have been on the receiving end of this…

Or if you’re not into that, sign up for Amazon Prime, they give you a free 30 day trial! Amazon Prime gives you free two day shipping on everything you order! With it, you still have 5 days to order and get it in time for Christmas!

Electronics:

Beats Solo Headphones I have Beats Solo for studying and I adore them! They block out extraneous noises around you, but you can still hear what needs to be heard, like a fire alarm! They are pricey, but these will outlast the dozens of pairs you would by in place of these, and the total probably comes out to be about the same!

Shark Rocket Vacuum Looking for a new vacuum? I just got one of these and whoa does this one have power without bulk! This one PULLS me across the carpet sometimes and picks up tons of dust!

Samsung  32-Inch Smart LED HDTV I am in love with this TV. It is a smart TV, so no need for extra boxes to access Hulu and Netflix, it’s all on there! There is even a workout channel, but I haven’t checked that out yet… Again this is pricey, but would be great as a family present for all to enjoy!

Canon EOS 60D DSLR Camera This is the camera I have used for my blog pictures since last December and I cannot recommend it enough!! Pictures are crystal clear. If I could figure how to change the aperture so can you!

Kitchen Gifts:

Bodum Electric Water Kettle Boils water in minutes! Great for piping hot tea or oatmeal in the morning!

Silpat Non-Stick Baking Mats A baking must! I always use these when making cookies! I have never had a problem with sticking and they are eco-friendly because you don’t need to use new parchment paper each time!

KitchenAid Classic Mixing Bowls I have TWO sets of these! They’re my go-to bowls when I am baking! I use the smaller one for wet ingredients and the larger ones for dry! They’re durable enough to be used with an electric hand-mixer!

OXO Good Grips Cherry Pitter It may not be cherry season, but this is not just for cherries, it can be used to pit olives too! This makes cherry pitting painless, trust me I was able to pit two pounds of cherries with my hand that was all bandaged up after the dog bite! And I had no trouble at all!

Perfect Beaker with Seal I learned about this at the King Arthur Flour Baking Class that I took and it is my favorite for measuring all my liquids!

Tovolo Silicone Spatula These are heat resistant up to 600 degrees F! So, I cook scrambled eggs with mine! They are also useful when scraping down mixing bowls and getting every last drop out of them!

Cuisinart Smart Stick 2-Speed Immersion Hand Blender I use this to smooth out tomato sauces, cranberry sauces and soups! I even use it to make milkshakes because I don’t have a real blender! And my milkshakes totally bring all the boys to the yard!

DIY/Homemade Gift Ideas: 

DIY Almond-Brown Sugar Lip and Hand Scrub

Make cookie dough and festively package it! Or even dry mixes in jars!

Homemade fancy salts, spice rubs, or infused oils!

Geode bottle stoppers! Impress anyone with your crafting skills!

Check out my pinterest boards for more ideas and cute wrapping!

Charitable Giving:

The Mocha Club is an organization that helps Africa through donations and the goods sold in their shop!

Nets For Life also benefits Africa (my sister is currently in Africa and so it is a place close to my heart) by providing mosquito nets to people to prevent malaria.

fashionABLE sells scarves and leather products made by African women, helping them to change their lives for the better!

Now, my for my wish list (I do not own these, just giving you an idea of want I would like Santa to bring me!)!

The Flavor Bible by Karen Page

3 Month Start Kit from Barre3 Because I have done diddly squat about exercising, and I need to do something!

Vitamix Blender A girl can dream right?

Fit Bit See above about exercising. Oh, and it tracks sleep!

Ice Milk Apron These aprons are stunning in their simplicity! I would want to wear it out of the house…

Contains Amazon Affiliate Links, but nothing is sponsored, these are products I own unless otherwise noted and I truly love and recommend! These companies do not know who I am, but if they would like to work with me, I would be over the moon…no seriously I will go pull out my moon bounce shoes from eighth grade and bounce around for days! 

White Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes

Yeah, yeah I know Fourth of July was yesterday, but I only made these yesterday because my first batch was a fail! and I figured by the time I would have posted the recipe I figured you should have either found your recipes or you were already barbecuing it up! Also I myself wanted to pool it up and get my tan on! Well as tan as I can get with my Irish skin! Seriously, does anyone know how I can get tanner? And safely? 

I also figured that these cupcakes were not only for the Fourth and could be made anytime of the year so it didn’t matter when I posted the recipe! And some of you may be lucky enough to have other parties this weekend!
Anyhoo but now I have 65 more patriotic cupcake liners and a ton of red, white and blue sprinkles. Whatever my problem, not yours so on with the cupcakes!



White Texas Sheet Cake Cupcakes
Ingredients for Cake:
1 Cup All-Purpose Flour
¾ Cup Sugar
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda
½ Teaspoon Salt
1 Large Egg
¼ Cup Plain Greek Yogurt
¾ Teaspoon Coconut Extract (or almond, or vanilla)
½ Cup Unsalted Butter
½ Cup Water

Directions for Cake:
  1. Preheat oven to 350 F degrees, and line muffin pan with cupcake liners or spray with non-stick spray.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of your stand mixer, combine flour, sugar, baking soda, and salt. Add in the egg, yogurt, and extract, mix with stand mixer or handheld mixer until combined. It may look kind of crumbly when mixed.
  3. Bring to a boil the butter and water in a small saucepan. After mixture has boiled, and continues to boil once removed from heat, slowly pour into thickened batter while mixing on low. Increase mixing speed until batter is smooth. Once smooth stop mixing. 
  4. Using a large cookie dough scoop, divide batter equally amongst muffin pan (I was able to get 10 cupcakes). Bake for 16 to 18 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Place cupcakes on wire rack to cool almost completely and then glaze.

Ingredients for Glaze:
¼ Cup Unsalted Butter
2 Tablespoons Whole Milk
2 and ¼ Cup Powdered Sugar
¼ Teaspoon Vanilla Extract

Directions for Glaze
  1. In a small saucepan, bring the milk and butter just to a boil. Once it has just boiled, immediately remove from heat. 
  2. Whisk boiling mixture into powdered sugar and extract.
  3. Let the glaze cool slightly to thicken. Then drizzle or spoon glaze over slightly warm cupcakes. You may need to gently shake the cupcakes side to side in order to spread the glaze.

Recipe Adapted from The Taste Tester 

Happy 4th of July!

This is totally a teaser post! Mostly because I have a lounge chair calling my name and I don’t feel like typing up the recipe right now! But I will for tomorrow!

And I think by now you should have made all your BBQ or picnic goodies! If you haven’t well then you should run to your nearest grocery store and grab some stuff then head to your party or whatever you have planned!

Oh, boy just heard the first firework of the day! It’s still daylight people come on!

Have a great day and stay safe! And sparkler on!