Thursday, September 26, 2013

The Top 15 Fall Recipes

1. Caramel Apples by Dashing Desserts
This list HAD to start out with caramel apples. I LOVE caramel apples and being the complicated dumb-dumb that I am I always tried making the caramel sauce from scratch and it always ended up being a ruined mess. I could have kicked myself after seeing how easy it is to do if you follow these simple steps using wrapped store caramels!

2. Quick and Easy Pumpkin Pancakes by Something Sweet Something Salty
We obviously LOVE the pumpkin flavor in my household so this one is a winner in our book. I just can't decide if I like these better with maple syrup on top or apple butter...hhmmm.

3. Mini Pumpkin Pie Croissants by Shaken Together
I saw this recipe and I'm fairly certain my jaw hit the floor. I didn't even think this was a thing! How could I have not known about some of my two favorite things: fall flavor and bread coming together so perfectly!?!

4. Butternut Squash Soup by Martha Stewart
The absolute best thing about this recipe (other than the fact that it's really easy) is that she gives you directions on how to freeze it a few days before you need it and how to perfectly thaw it out. Awesome.

5. Stuffed Pumpkin With Cheese, Bacon,and Chipotle by Homesick Texan
Don't let the ingredient list scare you off, you literally just throw them all in the pumpkin and bake. It looks ( and tastes) like it took you all day and hours of slaving away in the kitchen, yay!

6. Chocolate Halloween Bark by The Curvy Carrot
I LOVE making bark for the holidays and I had never seen a Halloween one that incorporated peanuts and chocolate yyuumm. So I cannot wait to make this one!

7. Baked Apples with Oatmeal Streusel by Cooking Outside the Box
I actually made this recipe last year and it was a HUGE hit. Everyone loved the flavor and it was SO easy to make!

8. Crispy Rice Candy Corn Treats by Baked Perfection
I've never made rice crispy treats before and this recipe most definitely makes me want to try plus I LOVE the fun colors.

9. Pumpkin Spice Trifle by 52 Mantels
Ok, anyone who knows me knows that I am a sucker for a delicious trifle and when I saw this one I literally called for Hubby to come and look. This looks AMAZING and I cannot wait to try the flavors together!

 10. Pumpkin Pie Milkshake by Sassy Mama In LA
One of my favorite treats when the fall season came rolling around was a pumpkin pie milkshake from Jack in the Box. Sadly, we do not have them down here at the beach. BOO! So you can imagine that when I found this little recipe I jumped for joy! She also uses almond milk which I had not even thought about using so I can't wait to see how it tastes.

11. No Bake Mini Pumpkin Cheesecakes by A Family Feast
I LOVE how adorable these look and they sound delicious too. It seems like an easy dessert to make in the morning and then make pretty and serve right before you need it. Awesome.

12. Butterfinger Popcorn by Cookin' Cowgirl
You guys know how much I LOVE making flavored popcorn and I also love butterfingers so this combination of the two is sure to be delicious! I only wish my Mom ( aka the most butterfinger lovin' person ever) was here to taste it!

13. Apple Rings by How To: Simplify 
I saw this and thought it looked like a really original and fairly easy recipe. I had never heard of fried apple rings and we love apples so I think we're going to give this one a shot soon. 

 14. Smooth and Sweet Caramel Apple Dip by Zesty Cook
This dip looks so easy to make and sounds amazing plus it needs a few hours to set up so it would be the perfect crowd dessert to make the night before then get up the next day and walla you have an awesome dessert ready to go!

15. DIY Pumpkin Spice Latte Starbucks Copycat by Who Needs a Cape? 
I of course had to end this list with a copycat of the most favorite fall drink known to man: The Pumpkin Spice Latte!   

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Life Inside Nickie's Little Bubble

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Saturday, September 21, 2013

My Cleaning Schedule

I honestly can't remember if I announced this or not, but....I am now an official stay at home mommy ( I have a badge and everything). It is awesome. Hubby and I had a nice long talk about it after a few things came together and we just knew this was the best option for us. I am SO happy, and so thankful, but that's not what I wanted to talk about today. I'm just giving you some background information because I'm thoughtful like that.

I am a very, very, very, neurotic person when it comes to cleaning. I don't consider myself OCD, I can leave things out when I'm just too exhausted to pick them up, but I do have to have a clean and organized home. I decided to sit down and make a list of my cleaning schedule to have it in solid paper form and make the house run a little smoother now that I have time to actually do the amount of cleaning I want done.  It just makes it easier to stick with and easier to remember everything when you have it right there tucked in your  organizational binder .

This list is long, like really long. I know that most of you guys will scan over this and think " she's crazy" and some of you will look and be like " oh please, she left a few steps out..." all I can say is that this works for me and my schedule. I usually get my cleaning done during Munchkin's naps ( still taking two long ones a day woohoo) or sometimes with her toddling after me room to room. Also, I've found that the more I stick to this schedule the easier it is to do. When I first started the list it might take me 40 minutes to do a certain chore that now only takes me 15 because it's getting done every week. So, here's my list. Like I said this isn't going to fit into everyone's schedule but maybe you can pull one or two things you think might work for you and roll with it. Awesome. Anyway, without further is my cleaning list:

Also, just in case you were wondering. I am NOT a fan of using bleach and lots of chemicals so for my everyday cleaning for all my surfaces including my floors I use Parsley Plus and add a few drops of Lemon and Peppermint essential oils for extra sanitizing and antibacterial power. I get all of my essential oils at Spark Naturals . They have the highest quality oils for the best prices around PLUS if you use coupon code " Bubble" you can get 10% off your whole order!
Going back to Parsley Plus though... it's an awesome, fume and harsh chemical free cleaner that smells AMAZING and really does an awesome job, I rarely have to use any elbow grease even when getting up some harder stuck-on messes. It's an earth friendly product and super gentle on skin in case you get it on you...seriously I can go on and on about this stuff!!

Here's something scary: take the bottle of spray that you use to clean your counters with ( AKA: the counters that you prepare food on) and read over it very carefully, I bet you'll find the phrase " wash any surfaces that will come in contact with food with water before use after using this product", or something similar to that effect. My Mr.clean all surfaces had it on there and I of course flipped out because I had used it on everything including Munchkin's high chair. Scary right? Well that's when I started to look at labels and found something safer.

The best part about this is that you can find it at Wal-Mart for around $4.00 plus if you head over to Recycle Bank you can score a  $2.00 off coupon for only 50 points (there are lots of polls for 50 point rewards) which makes this better for you and cheap: SCORE!!

I LOVE Recycle Bank. It is an awesome website where you answer questions and take polls to learn lots of tips about recycling and going green and you earn points when you do those things, and those points can be redeemed for LOTS of stuff including magazine subscriptions (I've gotten four different magazine subscriptions...can you say HELLO CHRISTMAS GIFTS!) samples, coupons and lots of other great stuff. I definitely recommend checking them out.

Anyways, that is my list and my favorite cleaning product and I'm really excited to hear your comments and what you use and your techniques. I LOVE hearing new ideas. So please feel free to share and comment.

Love you guys and happy cleaning!!

Thursday, September 19, 2013

And that is how I became a caterer for a weekend.

Alright so for those of you who might not know: my Hubby runs the maintenance side of a summer camp. Awesome right? Right. Well a few months ago his partner (who runs the booking/scheduling side) left to take over another job and this left Hubby working both positions which is usually something he can handle but for this group he couldn't use the caterer that the camp usually uses because the group was only 23 people ( the normal guy won't cook for any group less than 25). This is where that part of our marriage that the term "partnership" got thrown around and long story short I ended up cooking for them ( totally by myself) while my amazing, awesome, fantabulistic sister watched Munchkin all weekend long (by herself) for the first time. Needless to say this past weekend was a very humbling one for everyone involved.

Let me just share a few facts:
1. The kitchen utilities have been in service longer than my mother has been alive.
2. I have not once turned on a stove in that kitchen prior to Friday morning (AKA: first breakfast for the group)
3. I have never cooked for a group of people larger than seven.

This is basically how things played out:

  1. ( Thursday Night)'ve got this. You're a great cook! You've cooked for lots of people, they love your food. You'll be fine, it's only three days. You've got this tiger!

2. (Friday Morning)
UGH. Why am I up at 4 a.m.? Who eats breakfast at 6:15?!? Ok, pull it together, let's do this.....set up the waffle griddles, make the mix, this is easy. No problem. Maybe I really can do this.


3. ( Still Breakfast)
OH MY GOD! Why are the griddles not hot?!? What happened? I swear I turned them on, they were on and now they're not. What is going on? Oh good lord I tripped a breaker!!! The coffee maker, the warmer, the cooler and both griddles are off! Why? Why did I volunteer for this?! Where is the breaker? Where is another outlet?!?!

And I really could have used someone like Wanda Sykes to just be like:

   4. (After fixing the breaker and moving griddles) OK.OK. You've gotten the worst out of the way, it's easy peasy from here baby. No worries, just keep making waffles and let's start on that bacon. 

5. ( Halfway through making breakfast)
What demon bacon is this!!? It's burning in seconds and tearing apart! Why?!? I hate you Smithfield. I hate you so much. PLEASE just cook normally and stop splitting and just be normal!What evil pig did you come from? We're halfway through this and I will not be under-minded by bacon!

6. ( Thirty minutes until breakfast)
Wait...I need more waffle mix. Uh-oh. I'm out. Like....out.out. Like there is no more mix and that means I cannot make any more waffles and OH MY GOD why did I even try this?? How did I run out!!?!? Oh many is that total??  I give up, I give up. Mark my words...I GIVE UP!

7. (Twenty minutes until breakfast)
* Hubby walks in while I am frantically counting waffles and tells me everything is fine and to calm down *

8. We hastily figure out that everyone can have one waffle and most will be able to have seconds. Get drinks,fruit, cereals, and sides out. Group starts to line up and I put on my best smile making the plates and passing them out.

9. ( After Breakfast is served)
Thank the LORD! HALLELUJAH! I made it!! One breakfast down!

That is how it went word for word, emotion for emotion. It honestly got a lot better as the weekend progressed and it helped that this group was the most fantastic, wonderful group I could have asked for. They were super nice and one wonderful lady and her son brought me flowers because she has cooked for groups and knows how stressful it can be. Towards the end I got the art of timing down a little more and things got a little easier plus I did have help on the last breakfast service, and Hubby helped for dinners. All in all it was certainly a learning experience. I have a whole new appreciation for caterers I can promise you that.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Beacuse I'm the weirdo who develops allergies at the age of 26 that's why.

The other day my little family had decided to visit a produce market and we got a few peaches, apples, some squash and blueberries.Yesterday I was telling Hubby about how excited I was to put them in a cobbler and I grabbed about four of the peaches and held them to my face to inhale their delicious aroma. A little weird maybe, but harmless right? WRONG.

I poured a glass of tea, and sat on the couch watching Munchkin play in the floor. I texted a friend of mine, about 15 minutes had passed and then suddenly my face started itching. I rubbed it a little, not too worried and then it felt like someone had set it one fire. I ran to the bathroom, washed my face and tried not to scratch it off. I looked into the mirror and had huge welts on my face, my lips were swollen and hives were spreading all over it. I ran back in the living room and screamed something at Hubby about my face being on fire and what the heck is going on. He calmly looked me over and said it was an allergic reaction and what the heck did I put to my face.

After taking two benadryl tablets we finally figured out it must have been the peaches. I didn't think it was possible so what is the normal reaction to deduce this problem? Rub it on my wrist of course! So Hubby does just that and of course within five minutes my wrist is red, swollen, broken out and burning. Hubby is getting concerned, I'm wailing about not being able to eat peach cobbler again and then my throat starts swelling.

Hubby wanted to take me into the ER asap, but I was like "Dude, we don't have health insurance, and it's just one side of my throat so chill" which of course he did not. So there we were with Munchkin trying to figure out why mommy had a bag of peas pressed to her face, Daddy was hovering over mommy like a hawk and asking " Are you OK? Is it any worse?" a million times and mommy simultaneously waving him away and crying about Chick-Fil-A's peach milkshake.

It was eventful to say the least.

I woke up today with itchy hives still on my face and wrist. We thought about it though and I haven't had one peach since giving birth to Munchkin. The Dr. had said that my body would change and I totally expected the stretch marks, but peaches?!? Glorious, southern, sweet peaches!?!?!! I guess I should be thankful it's nothing like dairy or chocolate, but it still sucks. I did wash those peaches before I put them in the bowl FYI, and Hubby rubbed them on himself plus earlier that day Munchkin had been playing with them, and they both had eaten them so it's definitely me.

 I've never had an allergy, I've never had to watch what I ate and what I was around.

Like today I was feeding Munchkin one of those squeeze fruit pouches and without thinking I got some on the pouch and licked it off and then I went into panic mode about possibly having peaches in it. It's just so strange. So yea, I now have a friggen peach allergy. awesome.

Now if you'll excuse me while I go delete everything "peach" off my Pinterest board.