Tuesday, 25 November 2014

No Bake Holiday Treats

I'm not sure if it's just too early, but I'm finding myself a bit Scrooge-y about Christmas prep this year. I'm excited for the holiday itself, but the decorating, shopping and baking? Not so much. That said, I did want to get a few treats ready for guests and host/hostess gifts as the party season ramps up.

Chocolate Bark- this was always one of my favorites growing up. I added a bit of a twist using salted almonds and dried cherries for the dark chocolate and pistachios and dried cranberries for the white. This doesn't really require a recipe- simply spread your dried fruit and nuts of choice on a baking sheet. Melt chocolate in a pot until smooth and pour over the dry ingredients. Put it in the fridge until it's hard and break it into pieces.

Saltine Toffee- I've had this one on the blog before, but it's the most requested Christmas treat so I thought I'd bring it back.

Saltine Toffee
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
24 saltines
1 c. chocolate chips

Pre-heat oven to 350. Bring the sugar and butter to a boil, then turn down heat and let simmer for 5 minutes. Line a 9x13 pan or cookie sheet with tin foil. Arrange the saltines in a single layer. Pour the toffee mixture over the crackers and bake for 5 minutes or until the toffee is bubbly. Let cool for about 2 minutes. Pour the chocolate chips on top and let them melt. Spread to cover evenly. Put it in the fridge to cool. Once fully cool, break it into pieces and try not to eat it all.

If you're looking for more Christmas recipes, here are a few from the archives:
Lemon Squares
Nuts and Bolts
Magic Cookie Bars
Chocolate Crinkle Cookies

Or check out Paper Bluejay's 12 Days of Baking.

Friday, 14 November 2014

Natural Skin Care

There are plenty of reasons why it's important to me to try to use natural products on my skin, but at the end of the day, I use them because of how they make my skin look and feel. I have naturally dry skin. It doesn't matter how much water I drink or supplements I take, my skin is always on the dry side. Using harsh cleansers only irritates it and causes breakouts for me. Here are a few of the natural products I use to keep my skin clear and moisturized.


Black Soap- I first heard about black soap at a farmers' market in Whitefish. The guy selling it mentioned that after using it regularly for a couple of weeks, whether you skin was oily or dry, your skin's natural oils would balance out. I'm not entirely sure if that's the case, but my skin never looks better than when I use black soap. It smells a bit weird and it's kind of messy, but I love it. You can find black soap at Alora Boutique. They often set up a stand at Market Collective or you can find their products at these stores.

Shea Butter- After washing my face at night, I use shea butter to moisturize. At first I thought it would be too greasy, but it's exactly what my skin needs. I find it too heavy to use during the day under make up, so this is a night time only routine. Occasionally on the weekends, i'll moisturize with coconut oil as well. It takes longer to absorb, but it's a big treat for my parched skin. Shea butter is pretty easy to find. I typically buy mine at Community Natural Foods.


Dr. Roebuck's Pure- I've used both shea butter and coconut oil as moisturizers for my body as well, but I find coconut oil too greasy and shea- in it's solid form- can be inconvenient to deal with in large quantities. I was sent a sample of Dr. Roebuck's and was immediately sold by its thick, luxurious texture and fast absorbency. Dr. Roebucks has an entire line of both face and body moisturizers and washes. It's now available at Shopper's Drug Mart. Read more about their story here.

Wednesday, 12 November 2014

Freezer Chicken Pot Pie

Before our friends' new baby arrived, I offered to make a few freezer meals for after he was born. Lucky for me, this chicken pot pie recipe made enough for two. I saved one for us vowing not the make it until I was REALLY desperate- that moment came on Sunday. It wasn't even a hard day! We went to the Millarville Christmas Market, I got a few things done around the house and I had planned on grocery shopping, but when dinner time hit and it was still snowing- I had to bust out that pie.

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

What to do With All that Leftover Halloween Candy

With Halloween falling on a relatively warm Friday, I figured I'd err on the side of caution and buy more Halloween candy than normal- just in case. Well, wouldn't you know it, we had about 3 extra kids than we usually do and huge bowl full of leftover treats. Not a good thing to have lying around in our house!

We hosted a Rockstar Halloween party on Saturday night where we asked guests to come dressed as a rock/pop/country star. The costumes were amazing. We had Katy Perry, John Lennon and Paul McCartney, the Stefani/Rossdale family, a couple of Slash' and very convincing Boy George. I figured I could pawn off all of our leftover chocolate on our guests in the form of cookies and I was right. By the end of the night, all two dozen cookies were gone (hence, no photo of the finished product).

Halloween Candy Cookies

1 c. butter, softened
1 c. sugar
1 c. brown sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
2 tsp. hot water
1/2 tsp. salt
12-14 mini chocolate bars, chopped
sea salt (optional)

Preheat over to 350.
Cream together the butter and sugar. Beat in the eggs and vanilla. Dissolve the baking soda in warm water and add to mixture along with the flour and salt. Stir in the shopped chocolate bars. Drop by large spspoonfulsn a greased cookie sheet- these will spread a fair bit so be mindful of how many you put on the pan. Sprinkle with sea salt and bake for 10 minutes or until the edges are brown.