Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cake Extravaganza–Finale!–Ice Cream Sandwich Cake


Thank you for joining me for my Cake Extravaganza!!  I hope you enjoyed it and gleaned some new recipes for your collection.

Today is my firstborn son’s 10th birthday!  To celebrate his birthday, he has asked me to make an ice cream sandwich cake.  I have made this a few other times, and it is definitely scrumptious!  It is an easy cake to make, especially in the summer.  No baking involved!  Just a bit of whipping, cutting, layering, spreading, and freezing.  Voila!  You’ve got yourself a wonderful cake for a great celebration!


Ice Cream Sandwich Cake


2 cups heavy cream

1/2 cup sugar

12 ice cream sandwiches – 1 box

1 small jar of hot fudge sauce

Spanish peanuts (the key to this cake!)

9x13 pan

While making this cake, be sure to work quickly or freeze the cake between layers if you must.

If you want a fuller cake, you can use the same size pan – just use more of all of the ingredients.

First, make the whipped cream.  Whip heavy cream with sugar until well-beaten.  Place in refrigerator until you are ready to being layering.

Lay out half of the ice cream sandwiches and cut them into 8th’s.


Now, you will begin the layering.  Make sure each layer is spread well before starting the next.

Place ice cream sandwich pieces into the bottom of a 9x13 pan.

Spread half of whipped cream over the sandwich layer.

Spread on half of the hot fudge sauce.

Sprinkle peanuts, amount to your liking, over the entire cake.

Cut the other half of the ice cream sandwiches into 8th’s.

Repeat layers:  sandwiches, whipped cream, hot fudge sauce, and peanuts.

Freeze for a few hours or overnight.


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Cake Extravaganza–Chocolate Cakes!!


Let’s get to the real heart of the matter – chocolate!  ~smile~  We like chocolate in nearly every form, including chocolate cakes!  Sometimes it is hard to stray away from chocolate for dessert in our house.  I have a couple chocolate cake recipes that I make that everyone adores.  For their decadent taste, freshness, and homemade greatness, it is definitely worth making your own cakes!


I made this cake into a volcano for my son’s birthday.

Chocolate Dump-It Cake

2 cups sugar
4 ounces unsweetened chocolate
1/4 pound unsalted butter (1 stick), plus more for greasing the pan
2 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting the pan
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon semi-coarse sea salt or kosher salt
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon cider vinegar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1 1/2 cups Nestle semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 1/2 cups sour cream, at room temperature

(I like this cake with the sour chocolate frosting, but my children do not. Oftentimes, I will make the Hershey’s chocolate frosting, recipe follows.)

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees, and place a baking sheet on the lowest rack, to catch any drips when the cake bakes. Put the sugar, unsweetened chocolate, butter and 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Place over medium heat and stir occasionally until all of the ingredients are melted and blended. Remove from the heat and let cool slightly, 15 to 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. In a small bowl, stir together the milk and vinegar. Grease and flour a 9-inch tube pan. (If you prefer, you can grease it, line it with parchment and then grease and flour it. This is not necessary, but parchment does make getting the cake out easier.)

When the chocolate in the pan has cooled a bit, whisk in the milk mixture and eggs. In several additions and without overmixing, whisk in the dry ingredients. When the mixture is smooth, add the vanilla and whisk once or twice, to blend. "Dump" the batter into the tube pan and bake on the middle rack until a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean, about 30 minutes. Let the cake cool for 10 minutes, then remove from the pan and cool on a rack. (This can be tricky, so if someone is around, enlist them to help. Place a ring of wax paper on top of the cake so you have something to grab onto when turning it out.) Let cool completely.

Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips in a double boiler, then let cool to room temperature. It is very important that the chocolate and sour cream be the same temperature, otherwise the icing will be lumpy or grainy. (Test it by stirring a little of the sour cream and chocolate together in a bowl; if it mixes smoothly, it's ready.) Stir in the sour cream, 1/ 4 cup at a time, until the mixture is smooth. Taste some! It's good.

When the cake is cool, you may frost it as is or cut it in half so that you have two layers (use 2 cups chocolate chips and 2 cups sour cream).

Recipe Source:  “All Things Considered”

Another delightful chocolate cake recipe for your collection is Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake.   It stands wonderfully alone or you can make the Oreo variation.


Hershey’s “Perfectly Chocolate” Chocolate Cake

2 cups sugar

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

3/4 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

2 eggs

1 cup milk

1/2 cup vegetable oil

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

1 cup boiling water


Heat oven to 350°F. Grease and flour two 9-inch round baking pans.

Stir together sugar, flour, cocoa, baking powder, baking soda and salt in large bowl. Add eggs, milk, oil and vanilla; beat on medium speed of mixer 2 minutes. Stir in boiling water (batter will be thin). Pour batter into prepared pans.

Bake 30 to 35 minutes or until wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost with "PERFECTLY CHOCOLATE" CHOCOLATE FROSTING”. 10 to 12 servings.

One-Pan Cake
: Grease and flour 13x9x2-inch baking pan. Heat oven to 350° F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 35 to 40 minutes. Cool completely. Frost.
Three Layer Cake: Grease and flour three 8-inch round baking pans. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pans. Bake 30 to 35 minutes. Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans to wire racks. Cool completely. Frost.
Bundt Cake: Grease and flour 12-cup Bundt pan. Heat oven to 350°F. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 50 to 55 minutes. Cool 15 minutes; remove from pan to wire rack. Cool completely. Frost.
Cupcakes: Line muffin cups (2-1/2 inches in diameter) with paper bake cups. Heat oven to 350°F. Fill cups 2/3 full with batter. Bake 22 to 25 minutes. Cool completely. Frost. About 30 cupcakes.

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
2/3 cup HERSHEY'S Cocoa
3 cups powdered sugar
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
Melt butter. Stir in cocoa. Alternately add powdered sugar and milk, beating to spreading consistency.
Add small amount additional milk, if needed. Stir in vanilla.

About 2 cups frosting.

Recipe Source:  Hershey’s

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Cake Extravaganza–Red Velvet Cake


If you have never tried red velvet cake, you should!  Red velvet cake has a tinge of cocoa inside and a decent dollop of food coloring to make it a pretty red color – perfect for various occasions like Christmas, Valentine’s Day, and patriotic holidays.

Give it a try!  This recipe is wonderful!


Red Velvet Cake Recipe

Cake Ingredients:

1 stick butter, softened
1 1/2 cups sugar
2 eggs
2 ounces red food coloring
2 Tablespoons cocoa (heaping)
1 cup buttermilk
2 1/4 cups cake flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 teaspoon baking soda

Frosting Ingredients:

3 Tablespoons flour
1 cup milk
1 cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup butter


1. In a larger mixer bowl, cream together butter and sugar.

2. Add eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition.

3. In another bowl, mix red food coloring and cocoa until cocoa is completely dissolved. Add to the creamed mixture.

4. Mixing on low speed, add buttermilk and flour alternately, beginning and ending with flour. Mix well but do not over-beat to ensure a light fluffy cake.

5. Add vanilla flavoring, mix well.

6. Blend the baking soda into the batter.

7. Transfer into two floured and greased 9 inch round cake pans.

8. Bake in preheated 350 degree F oven for 25-30 minutes. Cool.


1. Blend into a small saucepan the 3 tablespoons of flour and the cup of milk. Add the milk to the flour slowly, avoiding lumps.

2. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until mixture resembles glue.

3. Cool completely.

4. Cream together sugar, butter, and vanilla until fluffy.

5. Add to cooked mixture. Beat, high speed, until very fluffy. Frost cooled cake.

Recipe Source:  Moms Who

Monday, July 25, 2011

Cake Extravaganza–Yellow Cake with Chocolate Frosting


Besides confetti cake, one of my niece’s favorite cakes is yellow cake with chocolate frosting.  I made this one for her 17th birthday.  She and her friends loved it!

The recipe, from “Smitten Kitchen”, lists a sour chocolate frosting for the cake.  However, knowing my children do not like sour frostings in general, I opted for the alternate chocolate frosting “Smitten Kitchen” recommended.  It paired very nicely with the cake!


Best Yellow Layer Cake

Yield: Two 9-inch round, 2-inch tall cake layers, and, in theory, 22 to 24 cupcakes, two 8-inch squares or a 9×13 single-layer cake.

4 cups plus 2 tablespoons cake flour (not self-rising)
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks (1 cup) unsalted butter, softened
2 cups sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
4 large eggs, at room temperature
2 cups buttermilk, well-shaken

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter two 9-inch round cake pans and line with circles of parchment paper, then butter parchment. (Alternately, you can use a cooking spray, either with just butter or butter and flour to speed this process up.)

Sift together flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. In a large mixing bowl, beat butter and sugar in a large bowl with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy, then beat in vanilla. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well and scraping down the bowl after each addition. At low speed, beat in buttermilk until just combined (mixture will look curdled). Add flour mixture in three batches, mixing until each addition is just Incorporated.

Spread batter evenly in cake pan, then rap pan on counter several times to eliminate air bubbles.  Bake until golden and a wooden pick inserted in center of cake comes out clean, 35 to 40 minutes. Cool in pan on a rack 10 minutes, then run a knife around edge of pan. Invert onto rack and discard parchment, then cool completely, about 1 hour.

Instant Fudge Frosting

also from “Smitten Kitchen”

Makes about 5 cups

6 ounces unsweetened chocolate, melted and cooled
4 1/2 cups confectioners’ sugar

3 sticks (12 ounces) unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 tablespoons half-and-half or whole milk
1 tablespoon vanilla extract

Place all of the ingredients in a food processor and pulse to incorporate, then process until the frosting is smooth.

Frosting tip: If your kitchen is as hot and sticky as mine is in the summer, you’ll want to watch a frosting like this carefully to make sure it doesn’t get too melty and soft. If it does, periodically put the bowl of frosting and your partially frosting cake back in the fridge to let it firm up and cool down again, then resume where you left off.

Planning to write on your cake? Whirl all of the frosting ingredients except the melted chocolate in the food processor until smooth. Set aside a half-cup of the white frosting for tinting and writing, then add the chocolate to finish making the frosting.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

Cake Extravaganza–Root Beer Float Cake


When I came across the recipe for a Root Beer Float Cake, I knew I had to try it.  My husband loves root beer floats, and I thought it would be fun to surprise him with it some time.  I decided to make it for Father’s Day. 

Like me, you probably get a certain taste in your mind when you think about a food.  I thought this cake would taste just like a root beer float – of course, if I ate it with ice cream.  It didn’t, but it was still absolutely superb!

Rich.  Dark.  Moist.  With a hint of root beer flavor. 

If that is what you are looking for, this is the recipe for you!


Root Beer Float Cake

Yield: One 10-inch bundt cake

Prep Time: 30 minutes | Bake Time: 35 to 40 minutes

For the Root Beer Bundt Cake:
2 cups root beer (do not use diet root beer)
1 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, cut into 1-inch pieces
1¼ cups granulated sugar
½ cup dark brown sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 eggs

For the Root Beer Fudge Frosting:
2 ounces dark chocolate, melted and cooled slightly
½ cup (4 ounces) unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon salt
¼ cup root beer
2/3 cup dark unsweetened cocoa powder
2½ cups powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees F*. Generously spray the inside of a 10-inch bundt pan with nonstick cooking spray, or butter the pan and dust with flour, shaking out the excess flour; set aside.

2. In a medium saucepan, heat the root beer, cocoa powder and butter over medium heat until the butter is melted. Add the sugars and whisk until dissolved. Remove from the heat and let cool.

3. In a medium bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda and salt together.

4. In a small bowl, whisk the eggs until just beaten, then whisk them into the cooled cocoa mixture until combined. Gently fold the flour mixture into the cocoa mixture. The batter will be slightly lumpy, which is okay. Do not overbeat it, as it could cause the cake to be tough.

5. Pour the batter into the prepared pan and bake for 35 to 40 minutes, rotating the pan halfway through the baking time, until a small sharp knife inserted into the cake comes out clean. Transfer the pan to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently loosen the sides of the cake from the pan and turn it out onto the rack.

6. To make the Root Beer Fudge Frosting, put all of the ingredients in a food processor. Pulse in short bursts until the frosting is shiny and satiny, scraping the sides of the food processor a couple of times. (If you don’t have a food processor, simply throw it all into the bowl of a stand mixer or a large bowl using a hand mixer and mix on medium-low until combined and satiny smooth.)

7. Use a spatula to spread the fudge frosting over the cake in a thick layer. Let the frosting set before serving. Store leftovers wrapped well or in an airtight container at room temperature.

*Note: If you are using a dark, nonstick pan, heat the oven to 300 deg. F.

Recipe Source:  Brown Eyed Baker

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Cake Extravaganza–Confetti Cake


When my daughter asked for a confetti cake for her seventh birthday, I knew I wanted to find a homemade version.  My niece is also a lover of confetti cake, and she loves this recipe!  I actually used this recipe to make confetti cupcakes for my niece’s basketball sleepover.  They were a huge hit!


Confetti Cake


2 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 1/4 cups buttermilk
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon vanilla
3 eggs
3/4 cup rainbow sprinkles


1.  Preheat oven to 350°. Grease the bottom and sides of two 9″ round cake pans and line with parchment paper. Grease parchment and set aside.

2.  In an electric mixer, beat all ingredients together except the rainbow sprinkles. Beat on high speed for 3 minutes, scraping down the bowl occasionally.

3.  When mixed well, fold in the rainbow sprinkles. Stir only briefly so the colors don’t start to run.  Pour batter evenly into pans.

4.  Bake for 30-35 minutes, or until a toothpick comes out clean. Let cool on wire racks.

Recipe Source : Sprinkle Bakes or Amanda’s Recipe and Beauty Finds

Friday, July 22, 2011

Cake Extravaganza–Chocolate Peanut Butter Wacky Cake


This chocolate cake is “wacky” because the frosting is actually broiled on!  The cake is deliciously moist, and the frosting is not overly sweet, is tasty, and has a bit of texture due to the broiling. 

I last made this cake for a birthday of a friend of ours who likes chocolate and peanut butter.  Sure enough – it was a hit!


Chocolate Peanut Butter Wacky Cake

3 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1 teaspoon salt

6 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

2 cups white sugar

10 tablespoons butter, melted

2 teaspoons distilled white vinegar

2 cups warm water

1/4 cup peanut butter

1 cup packed brown sugar

1/4 cup milk

1/4 cup butter, softened


In a large bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, cocoa, and white sugar.

To the sifted ingredients, add the 10 tablespoons butter or margarine, vinegar, and warm water. Mix thoroughly, but do not beat. Pour batter into ungreased 9 x 13 inch pan.

Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C)for 30 to 35 minutes. Remove cake from oven, but keep it in the pan.

Cream together peanut butter, brown sugar, milk, and 1/4 cup butter. Spread icing onto cake. Place under broiler until brown and bubbly.

Recipe Source:  All

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Cake Extravaganza–Sour Cream Banana Cake


I admit.  We are usually a “chocolate family”.  We tend to eat chocolate cakes and desserts for special occasions.  However, for my children’s first birthday, I bring out the banana cake recipe.  Each time I make this recipe, I hear the “oohs” and “aahs”, even from people who aren’t normally banana lovers.  The cake turns out very moist and flavorful.

For my daughter’s first birthday this year, I used the recipe to make cupcakes.  I just decreased the cooking time and watched them carefully.  I figured a cupcake was a perfect size for a one year old.  Plus, cupcakes are the rave these days!  I piped the frosting, too, to fit in with the rest of the cupcake world.  ~smile~  They weren’t perfect, but they sure were delicious!


Sour Cream Banana Cake

*I do not use the walnuts when I make this.

3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups packed brown sugar
1 cup butter
4 large eggs
4 large or 5 small bananas, mashed
1 cup sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup butter
4 cups powdered sugar
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350°F (175°C). Grease and flour three 9-inch round cakepans or a 13 x 9 x 2-inch baking pan. Set aside.

In medium bowl combine flour, baking soda and salt. Set aside.

In large mixing bowl, cream brown sugar and 1 cup butter, add eggs one at a time; beating well after each addition. Add bananas, flour mixture, 1 cup sour cream and vanilla. Stir in nuts.

Pour batter into prepared pan(s). For 9-inch pans, bake for 30 to 40 minutes; for 13 x 9 x 2-inch pan bake for 40 to 50 minutes or until cakes test done when wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean.

For cake baked in 9-inch pans, cool for 10 to 15 minutes on wire rack before removing from pans. Cool completely before frosting.

To Make Frosting: Mix 1/2 cup of butter , 4 cups powdered sugar and 1/4 cup sour cream (more if needed). Add 1 teaspoon vanilla extract and beat until fluffy and of spreading consistency.

Makes 12 servings.

Recipe source:  Cooks

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Cake Extravaganza - "Better Than a Hug" Cake

I’ve had this in my mind for a long time now, and it just needs to get out!

Have you ever wanted some good, homemade cake recipes to add to your repertoire? I thought so! I’ve got some tried-and-true cakes that you can make for birthdays and other special occasions. Over the next week, I’m going to share various types of cakes with you: chocolate varieties, confetti, banana, and even an easy ice cream sandwich cake!

Today is my mother’s 60th birthday (Happy Birthday, MOM!), so I have decided to start today! The extravaganza will end on another important day, July 28 – my son’s 10th birthday!

Grab a cup of tea, your recipe book, and maybe a friend!

Today I am going to share a recipe I have made a couple times, including today for my mother’s birthday. It is decadently delicious! If you like moist, rich, flavorful, dreamy chocolate cakes, you will want to try this one!

"Better Than a Hug" Cake

1 recipe of Hershey’s Deep Dark Chocolate Cake, made in 9x13 pan
1 can of sweetened condensed milk
~1 cup of caramel syrup
~1 cup of chocolate syrup
6 Heath bars (toffee bars), crushed
Homemade Whipped Cream: 2 cups of heavy whipping cream, whipped with 1/2 cup of sugar.

Make the chocolate cake. Once fully baked, let stand for about five minutes. Then poke small holes throughout with a fork or toothpick. Pour sweetened condensed milk over top and even out with a spreader. Drizzle 3/4 cup each of chocolate and caramel syrups over the top and add 3/4 of the crushed toffee. Allow cake to cool for a while so whipped cream doesn’t melt when you put it on. Spread whipped cream over the top and drizzle again with remaining chocolate and caramel syrups and sprinkle with remaining crushed Heath. (You could do this last step just before you are ready to serve or eat the cake).

For a simpler, less homemade version check out the original recipe at “Comfy in the Kitchen”.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Natural Skin and Hair Care–Part Two

First of all, a note regarding my last post on the oil cleansing method:

You do not have to use the method twice a day. I use it once a day, each night before bed. I have read of other women using it less. When I am not cleansing with the method, I simply use water to cleanse my face.

Last time I shared with you how to care for your skin. Today I will share with you a simple, natural method for obtaining soft, clean hair! Just as the oil cleansing method seems to be making its way around the web, the “No Shampoo” way appears to be the newest craze in caring for hair. Even a couple months ago, I discovered that a friend of mine had also started cleansing her hair this way.

So what is “this way” you ask?


Yes, baking soda and apple cider vinegar!

Some of you are probably familiar with using these ingredients for your hair or maybe just for other cleaning around the house. Others of you are probably shocked and amazed at this combination and wonder why in the world anyone would put this stuff in her hair!

Whatever category you are in, I encourage you to try cleansing your hair more naturally, even every once in a while. This method is economical, natural, and does the job well! I will admit… You don’t feel the lathery, sweet-smelling sensations that you do with normal shampoo and conditioner, and that may turn some of you off immediately. Sometimes, it is a true act of faith, as I rub these ingredients through my hair to get the simple and good results I am looking for. However, in the end, even as my niece testified the other day, my hair feels soft and supplely clean.

How to make your shampoo and conditioner:

I found a couple plastic, squeeze bottles at my local hardware store. Make sure you use plastic because you don’t want to be dropping glass bottles in the shower!

Shampoo: Mix 1 T baking soda per 1 cup of water.

Conditioner: Mix 1 T of apple cider vinegar per 1 cup of water.

I use a funnel to help pour the baking soda and vinegar into the containers.

To use your mixtures:

I always like to shake my bottle well before starting.

Douse your scalp thoroughly with your shampoo. Rub throughout your scalp, especially, and into your hair. Let sit for a minute or two and rinse.

Then douse the mid to end section (not your scalp) part of your hair with the conditioner. Rub into your hair well and leave on for a minute or two. Rinse.

That’s it!

Again, it might take some getting used to this new way. It is a very different experience than using “normal” shampoo and conditioner.

Give it a try and pass it on!

For more info check out Keeper of the Home. She’s got a great video there!

Also check out Stop and Smell the Chocolates. Lisa's got a wonderful three part update to her "No 'Poo" routine!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Natural Skin and Hair Care–Part One

I’ve always tried to take good care of my face, especially since I have been prone to breakouts.  A couple months ago I was looking for a new system.  I wanted to find a decent cleanser and moisturizer that didn’t cost a fortune and was naturally-based.  I have used some good products in the past, but I was hoping to find something more economical.  I looked online, at various stores, and was finally at Ulta, consulting with a woman there.  She directed me to a couple different products that were not very expensive, but I didn’t feel great about them.  They weren’t really what I intended.

I went home from Ulta feeling frustrated.  It’s hard enough to be in the stores, sometimes with children, trying to weigh cost, effectiveness, and ingredients let alone to find nothing that really suits your scheme.   Within a couple days, though, God led me to a routine that works well for me and fits right into my economical, non-toxic hopes and dreams!

Have you ever thought of using oil to wash your face?

Yes, oil!


The thought behind it is that “like breaks down like” – oil breaks down oil.  Using the right combination of oils breaks down the dirt and grime in your skin, purifies it, and leaves it soothingly moisturized.

Castor oil is used as the base oil because it is a detoxifying, purifying oil.  Most of us think of castor oil when we think about inducing labor, but it is actually a healing, cleansing oil that is used in medicines, cosmetics, and other common household items.  For more information on castor oil read here.

Along with the castor oil, you use a supplemental oil that is more moisturizing.  I have read about people using olive oil or sunflower oilI actually use Vitamin E oil.  Mine is from Jason and actually contains good oils like sunflower, apricot, and almond, and smells good!

I have combination to oily skin, especially during the summer, and have been using the following mixture:

25% Castor oil

75% Vitamin E oil

I use the clear bottle that is located in the center of the above photo to hold the mixture. 

To clean with your mixture:

Place about a quarter size puddle of the oil into your dry hands.

Massage this oil gently into and around your face and over your eyes as well to remove all makeup and dirt, for about a minute.  Enjoy the process!

Steam your face.  Wet a washcloth with hot water, squeeze, and place over your face to steam until the washcloth becomes room temperature.  Rinse the washcloth and repeat a couple times.  I take this time to pray for people who are on my heart at the time.

After steaming your face, rinse the washcloth again and then gently wipe all oil and makeup off your entire face. 

Your face will feel clean and moisturized!  If it doesn’t feel good, try to alter the ratio of castor oil you are using – less for dry skin, more for oily skin.

After I used this method for a couple days, my husband thought my skin was as soft as a baby’s bum!  He couldn’t believe how nicely it was working on my skin.

Enjoy your fresh, glowing skin!

*Note:  You do not have to use this method twice a day.  I use it once a day, each night before bed.  I have read of other women using it less.  When I am not cleansing with this method, I simply use water to cleanse my face.

For more info. on the Oil Cleansing Method check out these sites:

Keeper of the Home – has a Video with “How To” instructions.

Simple Mom


Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The “Never Turn Back” Omelet

When I first learned to make omelets years ago, I learned the whip and flip method.  You know, whip the eggs with a bit of milk, pour them into the pan, cook/set the eggs, load the fillings, and flip the omelet in half.

Recently a friend taught me how she makes her omelets, and I daresay I don’t think I will be turning back!  This method is a saute and broil method.  In my humble opinion, it results in the best omelet one could eat!

*Since this is an omelet that you broil in the oven, you will need to use an oven-proof pan.  I use cast iron.


Chop and saute veggies (and/or meat) of your choosing in a good dose of olive oil, enough to cover the bottom of the pan.  I have been using a combination of some of the following:  red potato, red/green pepper, onion, mushrooms, and spinach.

Turn on your oven broiler.


While veggies are cooking, whisk eggs and a bit of milk together - about a tablespoon of milk per two eggs.  For a 10-inch pan, I use two or three eggs.  For my 12-inch pan, I use four or five eggs.  It depends on how large I want the omelet to be, i.e. how many people are eating it and how hungry they are.  ~wink~ 

When veggies are well-cooked, turn off heat and pour egg mixture into your oven-proof pan.  Place the pan into the oven about 6 inches or so below the broiler.  Watch your omelet carefully and take out when the eggs are set – within a few minutes. 


Take omelet out of oven and spread grated cheese over entire omelet.  Spread with fresh tomatoes at this point, if desired.

Fold omelet in half and plate beautifully.  Eat with delight!


Saturday, July 2, 2011

The Homeschool Mother’s Journal 7/2/11

In my life this week…

I was feeling quite overwhelmed with the routine of life and, as you may have read in my last post, decided to get myself out and take my kids to the park!  I am going to try to go to a different park each week with them for the rest of the summer.  I feel like the summer is escaping quickly, as it always does, and I want to make the best of it.

My husband has worked long, hard hours and also went on a golf trip for three days, so I am looking forward to having him home Sunday and Monday. 

I am working on taking better care of myself.  With the load I am carrying now, I realize that I have to focus on what God’s purpose and priorities are in my life and improve on those.  I have been burnt out and need to regroup and hone in on the right things.

In our homeschool this week…

The kids have not done any school work as we are still on our “declared” break.  However, after Monday I am planning to start up a few days a week and tie up some loose ends from our current curriculum so we can start the new year in August/September.  I’m hoping the “Day Off for the Park” incentive will help us be faithful the other days.  Again, I will not be doing a full load – just an hour or two, three or four days a week.

My favorite thing this week was…

Going to the park with my kids. 

Questions/thoughts I have…

I am still thinking about ways to organize my homeschool items and also how to order my day successfully, keeping on top of housework and schoolwork altogether once school starts fully in the fall.  If you have any ideas, let me know!

Things I’m working on…

I am working on incorporating the kids more in chores again.  My home has been a whirlwind since we went on vacation and had the garage sale. With their help, I have been able to get the house to a decent level of order again – phew! It is my philosophy, anyway, that the children should learn to work hard and to help take care of the house they live in. It teaches them good responsibility and how to be a part of a family – something that is very important to me! 

I am focusing on taking better care of myself, getting more order in my home and my spirit, and gaining more patience and flexibility as I juggle the many facets of our lives.

I’m reading…

I am mainly reading the classic book, Heidi.  Believe it or not, even with a Bachelor’s of Arts in English, I have not read many of the classics.  It is my goal to start reading some of them.  I am enjoying Heidi so far.  Have you read it?

I’m cooking…

I am getting back into the cooking “groove”.  After being on vacation and feeling pressed with the garage sale, I was not in the mode of cooking much.  It’s back to meal planning and cooking!  I am trying to use the oven less with more stovetop meals and use the grill as well (once it is fixed).

I’m grateful for…

My Lord who never gives up on me and faithfully guides me!

A photo, video, link, or quote to share…


Guess who turned one year old last week?

She is the sweetness of life.