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The DIY Life: Candy Cane Sugar Scrub for holiday gift giving!

13 Nov

In the retail world, Christmas has officially arrived. There is Christmas music on the sound system, holiday decorations overflow into the aisles, holiday t-shirts are front and center. And that leaves me a little twitchy and itchy over the thought of gift giving. It’s too soon. We haven’t even made it through Thanksgiving yet. I haven’t yet decided on a home made gift to give!!! Last year it was a canister of this Homemade Laundry Detergent – it went over well and was easy to do. This year, I thought what about something pampering for the ladies? Something the boys can use too if they wanted, but it was pretty for the girls? And then while I was at the local Bath & Body Works it hit me – body scrubs! Sugar scrubs to be specific, because salt dries out the skin, and it’s winter, and we are all already dried out. Wait…maybe that’s why I got twitchy AND itchy about the upcoming holiday – because I’m all dried out!!! I searched the wonderful world of the internet and found a recipe that had a cute photo as well as the directions/ingredient list and adapted it for my use. I wanted a deep moisturizing scrub that would help cure that winter dryness we experience once the furnace is on while exfoliating all those dry flaky skin particles. I think this recipe does the trick. And it yields a nice batch – 6 1/2 pint jars, with about 1/2 a jar of leftovers for me to use myself!

I’ll be jazzing these jars up with some shimmery ribbon and a candy cane. What a cute gift that I hope the ladies will love! It takes very little time – I think I whipped this up in about 15 minutes and it’s easy on the budget.

Candy Cane Sugar Scrub

adapted from here 

Yield: 6 1/2 pint mason jars

5 cups granulated white sugar

1/3 cup olive oil

2 cups coconut oil

1 1/2 teaspoons pure peppermint extract

In a microwave safe bowl, heat the coconut oil until melted, in 30 second bursts. Once melted, add the olive oil and peppermint extract, stirring to combine. Add your sugar and mix until no dry sugar remains. Add to jars up the 1 inch head space mark. Wipe rims, add bands and voila!

If you want to do the layering effect to make it look like a candy cane, take half of your sugar mixture and add it to another bowl. Use food grade GEL food coloring – this works the best. Mix until you have a nice consistent color and then layer it in your mason jars – one layer red, one layer white, and keep going till your jars are full up to the 1 inch head space. The red layers may leave some red coloring on your skin, but it easily rinses off with some soap.

Note: Since this is an oil based scrub, you’ll want to be careful after using it in the shower since it will leave a slick film on your tub. I usually just rub the slippery areas with my foot and it’s all good.

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It’s the Holiday Season….

2 Dec

Wow, did this year go fast! I’m still in shock that Thanksgiving is behind us and we will soon be celebrating Christmas! WHERE does the time go???

Every year over Thanksgiving break, I take the week off and get my holiday baking accomplished. I throw on Pandora and listen to the Christmas station and tackle that years cookie recipes. This year, I made 6 types of cookies and a pumpkin roll. I cleaned the whole house in between, top to bottom. We did our yearly gingerbread houses after Thanksgiving dinner, complete with sarcastic rivalry at who’s would be best, and who would get done last (always my sister-in-law!). I got to spend some time with friends and catch up, and lastly, got to transform my house for Christmas. I love this time of year. It’s not about the presents, it’s about the cozy atmosphere that the lights on the tree give. It’s about sharing good food with friends and family. It’s about honoring traditions, and making new memories. And this year will be about remembering my mom as we move forward in life without her, but keep her near us.

Now for the cookies – I will be sharing these recipes with you over the next few weeks.

Ginormous Chocolate Chip Cookies – click here to be taken to the recipe. These are AMAZING!

Peanut Butter Cookies

Red Velvet Shortbread Cookies

Oatmeal Cookies

Snickerdoodles

Healthy Pumpkin Gingersnap Cookies

Pumpkin Roll with Cream Cheese Filling

I baked every recipe above in 3 days. The shortbread cookies I would say took the most amount of time on same day assembly since there was the dipping in the chocolate and sprinkling involved, after waiting for them to cool. Baking time/prep time wise, the Ginormous Chocolate Chip cookies took the longest (1hr chill time after mixing and dropping dough). I made the Red Velvet Shortbread one day, did the Ginormous Choc Chip Cookies and Snickerdoodles another day, and everything else on the third day. If you are pressed for time, I’d recommend mixing up a few batches of the dough and baking them throughout the week. Most of these recipes yield about 4 dozen, so you’re looking at about 1/2hr of baking time with rotating the cookie sheets.

Baking these up and freezing them makes for an easy, homemade dish to take to a party – just pull out of the freezer and go! They’ll be thawed by the time you get to your destination!

North Pole Cupcakes

17 Nov

Yep, you read that right – North Pole Cupcakes. You don’t even need to be at the North Pole to make them! I made these last Christmas and they were a total hit! And while they look like they may be a little involved, they really are very simple!

Bake up your favorite cupcake recipe – whatever type you like. For mine I made a devils food – from a box mix of course – and then I whipped up some vanilla buttercream – you can use any icing you like that falls into the white icing family. Decorate the cupcakes with the icing, roughly to resemble ‘snow’, and sprinkle with large white sugar crystals to make the ‘snow’ glisten.

Break the hook off of enough candy canes – one for each cupcake – and push into the center of the cupcake, broken end down.

Pick out some red sixlets – again, enough for all of your cupcakes. Make up a glue out of meringue powder and water and place a red sixlet on the top of the candy canes with a little spot of the meringue glue. Let the meringue dry, and tape a little North Pole sign on the front and serve!

What you will need:

cupcakes – use a box mix and follow directions

1 icing recipe – in the white icing family

white decorator sugar crystals

enough candy canes to have one per cupcake

red sixlets for the tops of the poles

meringue powder + water for the ‘glue’

a small North Pole sign for each candy cane pole

people to share them with

North Pole Cupcakes