D.I.Y. Copycat Tim Hortons Iced Cappuccino!


The first thing in my journey to health in the food department was cutting out all fast food. I had some weaknesses that made this change a challenge. One food weakness were french fries and my beverage weakness was Iced Cappuccino’s.

My favorite choice of Iced Cappuccinos was the Ice Cappuccino’s from Tim Hortons. I would buy one if I simply just saw a tim hortons on my commute.

One time I was almost finished with a “Ice Capp” (as I call it) I had just purchased, and not even a full hour before seeing another Tim Horton’s establishment, I went and purchased another!

SO let's get started on the homemade perspective:

First make a cup of coffee! Decaf is what I use, which is another perk of making this recipe homemade. Tim Hortons only had the caffeinated version. I needed my fix during and after pregnancy, and decaf was the only way I could indulge. Your not going to argue with a pregnant lady right? :-)


Being very careful, your going to pour your sweetened hot coffee into an ice cube tray. If you feel safer waiting for your coffee to cool, please do! Then place it into your freezer for the magic to start to happen


Do the same with the chocolate milk and the water (you shouldn't have to worry about burning yourself on this step!)


Once everything is frozen, add it into whatever blender you have at home. I have a magic bullet, so that is what I have in my pictures. There isn't a particular order, but I started with the sweetened coffee cubes...


Then the frozen chocolate milk...


A couple cubes of Ice...


Top it off with milk. Looks like the last step right? NOPE! Blend those lushes lunks together!


The reason why I loved the Tim Hortons Version over other versions of the “Iced Cappuccino" was the fact that it wasn’t a cold Cappuccino poured over ice. It is completely blended till smooth and creamy. Somewhat like a Slurpie or slushy


I blame this addiction on a past high school boyfriend who worked there after school was over. His way of winning me over was bringing me this cold creamy coffee beverage when the weather was nice and hot. I was hooked to the point that the boy in high school would always have that delicious beverage waiting for me when I arrived.

I love these things so much, I’m having a hard time continuing to write this post! I’m getting an uncontrollable urge to go into the kitchen and make me a fix! If your with me on this lets get to it with the recipe below!


1 cup Brewed Coffee (Regular or Decaf)

1 cup Chocolate Milk

1/4 cup Water

1/2 cup Milk

1/2 cup Sugar, divided (add more or less if desired)*

3 Ice Cube Trays



  1. Mix coffee and 1/4 cup sugar together until sugar dissolves
  2. Freeze the coffee, chocolate milk, and water in ice cube trays (around an hour)
  3. In a blender, blend the Coffee cubes, chocolate milk cubes, ice cubes, remaining sugar (1/4 cup) and milk together until blended and smooth

*After everything is blended add more sugar if desired for preferred sweetness. If too sweet add more milk and ice cubes!


  • You can choose to either freeze the milk or the water, but make sure it's one or the other, then use which ever you didn't freeze as the liquid to help blend everything together
  • In the video I did not show the extra sugar used in the freshly brewed coffee... I find a huge difference in sugar usage when you split the sugar by letting one part dissolve into the coffee and then blending the rest within the the blender itself.
  • This recipe can be shared between two people, unless you are a coffee junkie... then that would be crazy! :-D

How to Make Easy Sushi at Home


I'm obsessed with Sushi! I love trying anything in the realm of sushi, sashimi, nigiri and much more! 

Being pregnant and unable to have sushi was rough! Because raw salmon is THE BEST! It melts in your mouth! Totally opposite than cooked salmon!

Sushi doesn't always have to contain raw fish... or any fish at all actually! Cooked fish does the job! Not timid on exploring the world of Sushi. 

The cost of sushi can be quite expensive when ordering out. I make my own sushi at home and it saves tons of money!

Plus, it isn't that scary to create perfect rolls with the right tools!


 #1 Get a Sushi Kit!

I have a Complete 15 Piece Sushi Making Kit by KitchenBoosterz which I recieved free in exchange for a honest review on Amazon. This kit amazed me so much I had to honor it in it's entirety!

It molds into 8 Different Shapes (My favorite is the HEART Mold!) and comes with:

  • 1 Knife
  • 1 Spatula
  • 1 Serving Fork
  • 2 Sets of Chopsticks
  • 2 Sauce Dishes
  • A Step-by-Step Instruction Book!

#2 Make Sushi Rice

Most people think that Sushi means raw fish. WRONG!

The rice is what puts the word "Sushi" in Sushi with it's tart/sour tasting flavor

For starters, the rice must be a very SHORT GRAINED RICE and cooked in equal parts water PLUS 1/4 Cup water for the pot.

Ex. 1 Cup Rice + 1 Cup Water  + 1/4 Cup Water (for pot)... 2 Cups Rice + 2 Cups Water  + 1/4 Cup Water... 4 Cups Rice + 4 Cups Water  + 1/4 Cup Water... ETC.!

Once the rice is cooked, you add a special seasoning liquid made from Rice Wine Vinegar, Sugar, and Salt! This is the Tart/Sour effect.

All these elements will give you super sticky rice that you won't wont to touch very often, or it will stick to you. Instead grab your rice with a utensil to spread it.

Note: Remember to wash your rice at least 8 times until the water runs clear, this should help keep your rice from being way to sticky!

#3 Grab your NORI (Edible Sushi Seaweed)

Nori is going to hold your sticky rice and other yummy ingredients together while forming the famous Sushi rolls we all know and love!

Make sure you get the right Nori!

It should be Dried, Pre-Roasted, and Ready to use! :-D

#4 Grab Your MEAT or Veggies OR BOTH!

Depending on if you are a Vegetarian, Meat eater, or not so thrilled about the thought of raw anything... Choose your fillings to your liking!

If your on the not to thrilled about raw list, try Smoked Salmon! Which is pictured below!

In order for my family to eat my sushi, they will eat the smoked salmon in a heartbeat! 

The salmon pictured was cut in half the long way and stretched to make 4 hefty rolls!

#5 Put it All Together! 

If using a DIY Sushi Kit, Making Sushi will be a Breeze! You can choose to eat sushi any day of the week without spending a fortune!

  1. Assemble desired shape + Frame (Pictured is Heart Shaped!)
  2. Add Nori rough side up into desired sushi mold
  3. scoop 1/4 cup cooked sushi rice into mold and flatten it 
  4. Place desired Ingredients on top of rice layer directly in the middle (do not over fill!) 
  5. Add 1/4 cup cooked sushi rice on top. Pressing rice firmly together
  6. Carefully fold one side of Nori on top of the rice.
  7. Moisten fingers with water and wipe the water onto the Nori like a postal letter!
  8. Repeat with other side of Nori so that they stick together
  9. Use the desired cover mold of choice and press down on the sushi roll
  10. Remove cover and slice the sushi roll within the slicing guide lines, while holding the rest of the roll
  11. After the whole roll is cut, place the top cover mold on top of roll to keep in place while flipping the entire structure over
  12. Remove frame off of the mold shape base by pulling up on the frame
  13. Then remove the base to revel your easy homemade Sushi Roll! Enjoy!

#6 Make Your Cuts :-D

The DIY Sushi Kit From Kitchen Boosterz comes with a perfectly sharpened knife ready for cutting! 

To keep the rice from pushing out the sides, check out my YouTube Video (about 2min in) to see how to properly use the knife when cutting your sushi :-)

#7 Enjoy!!

Chop sticks make sushi taste so much better! :-D

Don't forget your Pickled Ginger, Wasabi, Soy Sauce (I use a soy sauce alternative), and any other bells and whistles you like with your Sushi!


Made with LOVE!

Sushi has never been easier! 


Makes 4 Sushi Rolls                     Prep Time: 30 Min



Sushi Rice Recipe

1 Cup Short Grain (Sushi) Round Rice

1 1/4 Cup Water 

3 Tablespoons Seasoned (Sushi) Rice Vinegar


Sushi Roll

4 Strips of Nori

8 Oz Sliced Thin Smoked Salmon (or None/Any fish of your choosing)*

Thinly Sliced Vegetables (Optional)*

Small Bowl of water for dipping hands in*



Sushi Rice

  1. Rinse rice at least 8 times or until the water runs clear
  2. Bring water and rice to a boil
  3. Reduce heat to a simmer on low, Cover the pot and cook for 10 Min
  4. Turn off heat and leave pot uncovered for another 10 Min. DO NOT REMOVE LID during this time!
  5. Take lid off and fluff the rice with a fork. Water should be absorbed, rice should be tender and sticky.
  6. Allow rice to cool for at least 10 min
  7. Stirring constantly through each spoonful,  drizzle Seasoned (Sushi) Rice Vinegar 1 tablespoon at a time until completely mixed into the rice.


Assemble sushi rolls with Sushi Kit - (All Steps 1 - 15 Pictured Above)

  1. Assemble desired shape + Frame
  2. Add Nori rough side up into desired sushi mold
  3. scoop 1/4 cup cooked sushi rice into mold and flatten it 
  4. Place desired Ingredients on top of rice layer directly in the middle (do not over fill!) 
  5. Add 1/4 cup cooked sushi rice on top. Pressing rice firmly together
  6. Carefully fold one side of Nori on top of the rice.
  7. Moisten fingers with water and wipe the water onto the Nori like a postal letter!
  8. Repeat with other side of Nori so that they stick together
  9. Use the desired cover mold of choice and press down on the sushi roll
  10. Remove cover and slice the sushi roll within the slicing guide lines, while holding the rest of the roll
  11. After the whole roll is cut, place the top cover mold on top of roll to keep in place while flipping the entire structure over
  12. Remove frame off of the mold shape base by pulling up on the frame
  13. Then remove the base to revel your easy homemade Sushi Roll! Enjoy!



  • If you can't find Seasoned (Sushi) Rice Vinegar- Combine 2 tablespoons regular rice wine vinegar, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in a small saucepan. heat until sugar and salt have dissolved. Makes Mixture for 1 Cup of Rice
  • Do NOT put the rice in the fridge to cool! Patience grasshopper :-D... unless you want dry and damaged sushi rice!
  • Room temperature rice is ready to use Sushi rice!
  • Wooden bowls are recommended NOT metal bowls
  • Sauce options: Soy, Teriyaki, Spicy Mayo, etc.
  • Flavor options: Ginger, wasabi, etc.
  • *Other types of fish for rolls: Salmon, Tuna, Yellow Tail, Sea Bass, Shrimp, Crab, Eel, and many more!
  • *Types of thinly sliced vegetables: Cucumber, peppers, asparagus, endive, mushrooms, avocado, onion, lettuce, sprouts, and much more!
  • Less is more when creating Sushi! Do NOT Over Fill your rolls
  • For clean cuts, wipe knife on a wet towel between each cut!
  • Easily Double this recipe over and over for a lot of mouths!

Homemade Caramel Popcorn

I am so excited for the Oscars this weekend. I love guessing on who and what is going to win. Perfect thing to watch to figure out which movies are worth a “Netflix and Chill Night”.


Also, very interesting to see if the judges have any taste what-so-ever to mine, lol.


I created a romantic, elegant, and gold scenery to dress my amazing Homemade Caramel Popcorn. All for the sake of the Oscars and spreading good luck to Leonardo DiCaprio! :-D

I know I personally need Leonardo DiCaprio to win an Oscar ASAP, long over due! I really don’t know what else he has to pretend to be, to get that thing!?!?

If you want to check out the nominations, feel free to visit The Oscars 88th Annual Academy Awards and start guessing or making fun games to play, like “who’s going to do the dishes for a week” bets on which movie is going to win this year!

Somedays regular plain popcorn just doesn’t do the trick. Especially if I have a sweet tooth.

So the best way to curve that craving, is to coat all of the popcorn in my sight, with a super elegant, decadent, and easy homemade caramel!

This caramel is so easy. You don't have to worry about burning sugar first, ruining utensils, destroying pots/pans or wasting ingredients.

It also can go on anything you want (ice cream, cupcakes, apples, etc.) and it makes A LOT!


There is something about the sweetness of the caramel and the extra crunch the hardened caramel gives the popcorn when baked slow in the oven. 

The Crunchier the better! :-D

The sticky warm caramel covers the popcorn and leaves room for other amazing additions to stick to it as well. Like NUTS! Nothing wrong with a little extra protein :-)

Plus, have you ever had WARM, fresh out the oven caramel popcorn?!?!? Can’t eat anything other then homemade caramel popcorn now!


I guess, if this dedication to the Oscar's doesn’t work for Leonardo, I will just have to step my game up next year! Determined! lol

Until then, I'm going to hope, wish, pray, and MUNCH! :-D Because there is nothing like munching on CRUNCHY SNACKS while watching something in anticipation on the television!

Happy Munching!!



12 cups Popcorn, popped

1 cup (2 sticks) Unsalted Butter

1 can (14 ounces) Sweetened Condensed Milk

2 cups Brown Sugar

2/3 cup Honey

1/3 cup Pure Maple Syrup

1 teaspoon Vanilla Extract



  1. Preheat the oven to 250°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper and set aside
  2. Melt butter on medium heat in a medium saucepan on stovetop
  3. Combine first 6 ingredients: butter, milk, sugar, honey, maple syrup, vanilla extract
  4. Stir with (wooden) spoon over medium-low heat until sugar has dissolved. The mixture should come to a boil
  5. Occasionally brush down sides of pan and keep caramel lightly boiling
  6. Continue stirring the caramel on medium to medium-low (alternate to keep caramel from burning)
  7. Once caramel reaches the desired thickness for you, remove from heat. CAUTION: Caramel is extremely hot, must be handled with extreme care, Do Not Touch!
  8. Slowly pour half the caramel sauce over the popcorn while stirring it into the popcorn for even coating. NOTE: Add more caramel if needed, but only enough to fully coat the popcorn. 
  9. Continue stirring the caramel sauce into the popcorn until all of the kernels are coated. NOTE: If adding nuts or other additions, combine them after mixing the caramel and popcorn together 
  10. Bake the caramel popcorn on an even layer on two separate prepared baking sheets for one hour, stirring every 15 minutes and breaking up any clumps. NOTE: Popcorn may clump together, this is fine
  11. Take hot caramel popcorn out of oven and let cool completely.


  • The caramel recipe may make enough for two batches of popcorn, depending on how thick you end up getting the caramel without burning it!
  • Caramel is extremely hot and takes a long time to cool down enough to touch with your hands. Handle with extreme care and Do Not Touch until cooled!
  • Caramel may be used on anything you want: ice cream, cupcakes, apples, etc.

Easy Hot Chocolate Spoons as Gifts

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I haven’t met anyone yet that doesn’t like a nice warm cup of Hot Chocolate. Even a crazy coffee lover, can easily replace one of their cups of coffee sometimes for a warm and sweet hot chocolate Indulgence.

One of my favorite things to do is make perfectly portioned individual Hot Chocolate Gifts! No need to bust out one of those powdered packages with powdered milk and the need for water. Eek! 

I need my hot chocolate to be creamy!

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The best thing about this recipe is that the spoons can be whatever flavor your little heart desires! 

AND on top of that you can use whatever milk substitute for a dairy free hot chocolate pleasure! If I’m out of milk (becuase my son is a Milk Chugger!) My favorite non dairy version is Cashew Milk. 

Whatever you choose, this will be the easiest hot chocolate gift you could give, or make ahead of time for your own household!

I tend to stick to easy flavors such as dark chocolate, milk chocolate, peppermint, orange, and of course... Marshmallow for all my friends who haven’t ditched that craving yet.

Marshmallow is the easiest addition. If you want to have a peppermint flavor, just crush a few candy canes or mints in a baggie. While an orange flavored chocolate spoon require the zest of an orange.

Besides having your flavors, your also going to need a few supplies!

As for the gift giving, a trip to The Dollar Store makes this a really inexpensive gift for a lot of people!

I use Plastic ‘‘Soup’’ Spoons. You can also use regular plastic spoons as well, just add as much chocolate to the spoons as the spoons will allow. Refrigerating them. After chocolate has hardened, dip the chocolate spoons into more chocolate. Repeat this process as much as you like! :-D

Along with the plastic spoons, I like to purchase festive baggies and cut them at the sides and the bottom to get double the amount of paper on the package (ex. if a package reads 10 bags, I’ll end up with 20 perfect pieces of wrap for this recipe!) $1 for wrapping a whole batch of these! Score!

Just sprinkle/add your flavor choice onto the chocolate covered spoons. 

Then your done! Let these beauties sit on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

You can speed up the hardening process by refrigerating these for 20 min.

If you don’t have room in your refrigerator, you can just let these sit out at room temp for an hour! :-D

For a professional/neat look to the marshmallow version. I let the chocolate cool on the spoon first. Then, I dip the marshmallows into some extra melted chocolate, stick them onto the spoons, and drizzle with more chocolate on the top.

Place your finished spoons in the wrap and tie them together with a Twist Tie (those free tie things you wrap your produce with).

The dollar store baggies I purchase come with these tie things. If you don’t have these on hand, you can use tape of any kind instead! :-)

Lastly, print or write out the directions on your preferred piece of paper. I sometimes use little gift tags or simple computer paper that I printed my words on, and cut them out after.


Make a little hole in your instructions, then push the handle of the spoon through it.

Get as creative as you want! The best part of this gift, is a free cup of delicious cocoa!

Use these for many things! Stocking stuffing for the office, a little chocolate treat for all the waitstaff at your favorite restaurant, a holiday party/dinner, stock up a dorm room, or birthday party treat basket.

Anything you can think of, Hot Chocolate Spoons are perfect for gift giving!

The hard part is NOT keeping them all for yourself!

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1 1/4 cup (10oz Bag) Chocolate Chips

1/2 cup marshmallows (optional)

2+ Tablespoons (3 sticks) Crushed Candy Canes/Peppermint sticks/mints (optional)

Zest of 1 Orange (optional)



  1. Melt Chocolate Chips in a bowl
  2. Dip a spoon at a time in melted chocolate and scoop enough chocolate to fill the spoon. 
  3. Place spoons on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
  4. Add/sprinkle your preferred flavored topping on the spoons. As much as you prefer. The more the stronger the flavor.
  5. Let the spoons cool and harden at room temperature for a couple of hours, or place in the refrigerator for at least 20 min to speed up the process.


Gift Wrapping:

Supplies needed-

  • Gift Wrap (decorated plastic baggies)
  • Twist Ties or Tape
  • Scissors for cutting
  1. Place your finished spoons in the wrap
  2. Pinch wrap at the base of the spoon with fingers tightly
  3. Tie wrap and spoon together with a Twist tie
  4. Write Labels or Cut out Printed Labels
  5. Cut a slit in labels
  6. Push spoon handle through slit in paper

3 Step Hot Cocoa Spoon Instructions:

Step 1: Steam or Microwave 1 Cup Milk till HOT

Step 2: Stir Hot Cocoa Spoon in HOT Milk till Chocolate Dissolves

Step 3: Enjoy!!  :-)                  



  • Makes 14 - 15 Chocolate filled Spoons
  • For marshmallow spoons, add the marshmallows after the spoons have cooled. Dip the marshmallow in some chocolate and place onto the hardened chocolate and drizzle with a little more chocolate. Let harder again before trying to wrap!
  • Some Large Peppermint Chips will NOT Dissolve, But adds a nice crunch in the end!

Homemade Apple Cider with Honey

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Apple Cider is the one thing that I can drink that makes me feel as though I'm celebrating FALL in all it's beautiful glory. It's one of the best reasons to visit an Apple Orchard and Cider Mill! Plus the donuts, of course! 

Walking around enjoying the beautiful scenaries of fall, while enjoying a soft and delicious donut, with a warm (or cold!) cup of cider is such a amazing human feeling!

All cidars taste different from each and every cider mill. Why? Because all apples taste different and each Cidar Mill has a different recipe. The Flavors depend on which assorted types of apples you decide to use!

You can bring the cider mills to your own home with this Easy Apple Cidar Recipe. You will have your very own, talk of the town, impressive, and delicious HOMEMADE APPLE CIDER with HONEY!

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This recipe has honey for taste, sweetner, and for an easy way to keep HONEY in the body during cold weather.

Honey cures a sore throat and does so many things for the body. I LOVE anything that will allow me to get honey into my family & for myself.

It has been YEARS since I have had a sore throat. The use of Honey as much as possible in my diet keeps sore throats from popping up! It's also a natural and healthier sweetener alternative to sugar.

But, I also understand honey can be costly. You don't have to make this an expensive drink by adding a whole bunch of honey. A little honey goes a long way!

If the drink isn't sweet enough, just add some sugar either individually to your own warm cup (like a cup of tea or coffee). If you know your whole family likes sweet, then sweeten your whole batch instead.

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Don't be Intimidated by the recipe below! 

Making Apple Cider really is CRAZY SIMPLE!! Seriously! You literally just dump all these ingredients into a pot, fill the pot with water and boil! 

Once you get it boiling, just turn the heat down and let it simmer on your stove top for a couple of hours. You will have MAGIC!

MAGIC = all of a sudden your house smells CRAZY AMAZING and your about to enjoy you very own FRESH Apple Cider!

After everything has boiled, you just smash all the stuff in the pot (get out some stress!) till all the fruit becomes MUSH.

Let that sit there and simmer in the pot again for another hour to get as much of that apple flavor in all of that water!

Then SQUISH all the juice from that MUSH you did (I use a stock pot with a strainer to make this the easiest thing ever!).

Get rid of the Mush, and your left with something EXTRAORDINARY!!! :-D

Your Homemade Apple Cider will be the talk of the season! Especially, if you start mixing up your apple flavors!

Feel free to test out all the different apples in the world! Find out by experimenting if you like less spice, more spice, less sweet, more sweet, served hot or cold!

Whatever you choose to do, this is the basic recipe. Once you make this once you will be a PRO! :-D

It's that Easy! So don't wait... get your ingredients below and have a wonderful Fall! Enjoy! :-)


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12-14 Apples, your choice** (I used all Honey Crisp)

1 Orange*

1 Lemon*

4 Cinnamon Sticks*

1 Whole Nutmeg

1 Tbsp. Whole Cloves*

1 tsp. Whole Allspice*

1 Gallon Water (16- 20 Cups)

1/2 cup Honey

1/2 cup Sugar (optional)***



  1. Wash all fruit under very warm water (apples, orange, and lemon)
  2. Cut all fruit into quarters. (No need to remove peels, seeds, or stems.)
  3. Place fruit in a large stock pot (with a strainer if available).  
  4. Add Spices: cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, cloves and allspice.
  5. Drizzle the honey on top of everything in the pot
  6. Fill pot with enough water to cover all the fruit in the pot (about 16 cups).
  7. Bring everything in the pot to a boil over high heat uncovered, stir occasionally. 
  8. Reduce heat to medium-low, simmer for 2 hours covered.
  9. After simmering for 2 hours, the fruits should be softened up. Use a potato masher* to mash the apples, orange, and lemon slices.  
  10. Cook everything again for one more hour.
  11. Pour your boiled apple cider mixture into any strainer to strain out the apple cider into a clean pitcher or pot.*  
  12. Press and squish any remaining juice left from the apple pulp by straining it through a fine-mesh strainer or a cheese cloth.*  
  13. Serve your homemade apple cider hot, warm, or cold!



  • Note: If your pot doesn't allow over 10 cups of water, then add remaining water in later. The cidar mixture will be concentrated and shrink as it cooks. Dilute it with remaining cups of boiling hot water when finished till you have used the correct amount of water .
  • The sugar is optional based on how sweet you would like your cider and how sweet your apples were that you used. You could also just add another 1/2 a cup of Honey to keep from using sugar!*
  • Using different apples changes the flavor and sweetness of your cider. (example. Granny smith makes your cider tarte and needs more sugar.)
    • I use a pot that comes with a built in strainer that easily just lifts out, but you can easily pour your apple cider into any strainer to strain out the apple cider into a clean pitcher or pot directed above1.  
  • CAUTION: Before performing Step #11, apple pulp should be cooled down before handling with hands!
  • It’s ok if you get a little pulp into the drink. :-) 
  • If you don’t have a potato masher, use anything you want to mash everything in the pot!
  • Can be refrigerated for around 5-7days

D.I.Y. Hazelnut Extract

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Last week I showed you how to make Vanilla Extract and Coconut Extract.

Vanilla Extract was easy & Coconut Extract was intermediate. Nuttier extracts are right down the middle. Meaning these Hazelnuts just take a few more steps.

Well worth it steps! :-D Baking with this flavor is amazing and adding this flavor to all your cups of coffee is even better! 

Along side with coffee, you can make coffee creamer, syrups, ice cream, and also a chocolate hazelnut spread. Just about anything you desire for a roasted hazelnut flavor!

REMEMBER for Gift Giving: Start your extracts a few moths in ADVANCE.



In my opinion, nutty extracts are of medium difficulty. What makes nuttier extracts a little more challenging then mint, vanilla, and citrus extracts? 

You must Remove the Skins off of the nuts or you will get a bitter taste. Remember, the alcohol pulls the flavor from whatever it is covering while it soaks over long periods of time. 

I strongly advise not skipping this step!! If you did leave the skins on your nuts, then you would get a undesired flavor instead of just the flavor of the nut itself. Which in the end is what you want.


The skin removal can be done a couple ways. You can dehydrate the skins in the oven at 350 degrees for 10 min then rub the dry flaky skins off.


Pour boiling hot water over the nuts, then rub them off in the water after the water has cooled down.

I prefer to boil the nuts in water (the skins come off so much easier than drying them in the oven).

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After getting the skins off, I proceed to roast the nuts in the oven for 10 min at 350 degrees. This step brings out the nuts natural oils and makes the extract extra nutty! YES, you want this!

While the nuts are fresh out the oven and hot, put them into your glass container with the Vodka.

I absolutely love the sound when the oils on the nuts hits the vodka and starts to give a little sizzle. This lets you know that you are going to get a lot of flavor in your homemade batch of Hazelnut Extract!

For gift giving, you must start your extracts a few moths in advance. I’ve posted these extracts so you can get started now and have wonderful unique gifts for this holiday season. or for any special person who bakes.

Stay tuned for more extracts until all your favorite flavors are stocked in your pantry! 

What other extract flavors do you love!? :-D Let me know in the comments!

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1/2 Cup Whole Hazelnuts

1/4 - 1/2 Cup Vodka (Depending on Container)

4+ oz (118ml) Container with a tight fitting lid for storage



  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, then Bring 2 cups of water to a boil
  2. Add Hazelnuts to a large enough bowl and cover with the 2 cups of boiling hot water, let sit for 15min
  3. When water cools off to warm, reach into the bowl of hazelnuts and grab a nut individually and rub the skin off (it should rub of easily). Discard the skins and place skin peeled hazelnuts aside or on baking sheet
  4. Roast hazelnuts on baking sheet for 10 min at 350 degrees 
  5. Place Hazelnuts in container that has a tight fitting lid (Preferably a glass container), then Cover Roasted Hazelnuts with the Vodka
  6. Cover with tight fitted lid and Store in a cool dark place for over 2 months

*Shake the contents of the container every week at least or every couple of days to mix the ingredients around.



  • Do NOT get tempted to skip the step of removing the skins!
  • Make sure to fully cover the nuts in the container with vodka.
  • You can use double the size ( just double the recipe) if the jar I used or use multiple, but any larger will require more Hazelnuts! 
  • Heat the extract before adding to anything that won't be cooked (iced coffee, milk, etc.) to eliminate the alcohol content
  • You'll want to SAVE the DATE you started your extract on by either writing it on your container, calendar, or anywhere you will most likely remember! 

If you have some extracts brewing at home, interrupt their cool dark space for a moment and take a picture! I’d love to see your extracts on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter    #chocolatemamalovesvanilla

Don't forget to do this with almonds as well! :-D

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D.I.Y. Coconut Extract

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Earlier this week I showed you how to make Vanilla Extract. One of the most familiar extract's out there. 

For gift giving: Start your extracts a few moths in ADVANCE.

I’ve posted these extracts so you may get started NOW. Then you shall have wonderful unique gifts for this holiday season or for any special person who bakes for that matter.

You might get some goodies out of this deal as well!

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Like homemade Vanilla Extract, many other extracts are EASY to make. A couple examples would be Mint Extract & Citrus Extracts (lime, lemon, etc.).

However, some extracts start to need a little more prep. Taking Nut Extracts for example. There are many nut extracts (Almond, Hazelnut, etc.) which tends to have a couple more steps before being covered in alcohol. The extra steps taken create the opportunity for the best possible flavored nut extracts.

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Then there is the COCONUT… Boy oh boy is this INTERMEDIATE!

I have grown up with my moms secret ingredients for her cakes being the “Coconut Flavoring”.

But as I have mentioned before, “Flavoring” is full of chemicals that usually doesn’t even involve the use of the main ingredient itself. 

I am a crazy organic hippy, so coconut flavoring has been a long lost item in my household. If I want to bring the family secret back into my desserts. I have to make it myself.

There aren't any organic or health food stores near me that sells a Coconut Extract. I would have to order the extracts online. I feel as though it is still cheaper to do this yourself if you have a organic budget!


First you must "Drain" the Coconut Water out of the coconut by locating the 3 "Eyes" on the coconut. This is easy to spot because it looks like the coconut has a face :-)    (yea, like that one!) 

To do this: Use something solid, skinny, and clean of course (example- very long nail, screwdriver, or file tools like I used in the photo).

Now, Hammer one of those tools into the hole while also having a tight grip on the coconut. You can also attempt to skip the hammer and jam the nail/screwdriver/file directly into 2 of the 3 holes directly.

These EYES on the coconut are the easiest part to break into.

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With that being said, once you get two of the eyes opened, drain the coconut of the Coconut Water in a separate dish for drinking.

Feel free to go ahead and drink this now, LOL!

Your going to need all the electrolytes & minerals you can get for the next steps!

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I like to crack my coconuts on my porch, cement patio, or the garage. Because of the cement flooring, I don't have to worry about ruining any inside flooring or countertops. 

I place my coconut in a clean towel and set it on the ground before taking a hammer to it.

I give it a nice whack! (I keep giving it a strong whack until it breaks open) Phew!

Not done...

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You'll need to pry the shell away from the white flesh (make sure the flesh is white, it's rotten if it has a yellow color to it).

I pry the shell away with a butter knife. Just be careful, even butter knives will get you if you are struggling to hard with something!

After the shell has been pried away from all the pieces. Take the "skin" off each of the pieces (This is the worst part for me, It can feel tedious, keep your patience up! Soon you'll have a SECRET Ingredient after all your hard efforts!).

Using a vegetable peeler, peel the brown skin from the coconut meat.

Rinse the peeled coconut pieces off with some cool water and dry

Take your coconut pieces and grate the coconut with the large grating side of a grater.

You should now have enough shredded coconut for a good sized (mason jar size or a little larger) Extract.

Fill your jar with the shredded coconut.

Next cover all the shredded coconut with VODKA and cover with a tight fitted lid.

Going through this takes determination and a steady hand.

Tip: If you would like coconut extract without all the work, just buy a bag of shredded coconuts (not dehydrated and unsweetened) 

You can also easily divide this extract when it has done brewing to give it away as gifts for the holidays or any special occasion! Just remember to shake up the jar every few days or so to blend.

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1 Whole Coconut (Yield about 1 cup shredded coconut)

1 Cup Vodka 

12-14+ oz Glass container with a tight fitting lid for storage



  1. Drain Coconut Water from coconut by piercing into the eyes of the coconut with a nail/screwdriver/file tool. Tip coconut over a small bowl and let water flow out of coconut.
  2. Place coconut into a towel and set onto the ground to crack open with a hammer
  3. Pry the shell away from the white coconut flesh with a butter knife
  4. Using a vegetable peeler, peel the brown skin from the de-shelled coconut meat.
  5. Rinse the peeled coconut pieces off with some cool water and dry
  6. Take your coconut pieces and grate the coconut with the large grating side of a grater
  7. Place grated coconut in glass container that has a tight fitting lid 
  8. Cover grated coconut with Vodka
  9. Cover with tight fitted lid 
  10. Store in a cool dark place for 2 months

*Shake the contents of the container every week at least or every couple of days to mix the ingredients around.



  • Make sure the flesh is white, it's rotten if it has a yellow color to it!
  • Make sure to fully cover the shredded coconut in the container with vodka.
  • You can use double the size jar I used, but any larger will require more shredded coconut!
  • You'll want to SAVE the DATE you started your extract on by either writing it on your container, calendar, or anywhere you will most likely remember! 


What other extracts do you love!? :-D

If you have some extracts brewing at home, interrupt their cool dark space for a moment and take a picture! I’d love to see your extracts on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter    #chocolatemamalovesvanilla

D.I.Y. Vanilla Extract


Guess what time it is!?

It’s EXTRACT Time!

I’m showing you how to make your own extract because it is so EASY that it’s crazy!

I’m going to start off with the most used extract ever!

So, If you thought VANILLA then you would be right! :-D


It is also time for all the fun HOLIDAY's that come back to back each month. 

The gifts of Extracts take planning in advance. Every year I have to think 3 months ahead of time for all my friends and family. 

The month of October isn't just for candy, pumpkins, and apple picking. My October includes the joy of making Extracts!


On to the Vanilla Extract! :-D

For being such a huge staple in dishes around the world, this extract sure is Costly!

The finer the bean the more money. The cheaper the product, the quality is lost.

Vanilla Extract becomes Vanilla “Flavoring”. Because It tastes like Vanilla Extract, but it is NOT vanilla extract! It’s mostly made up of chemicals and other unhealthy things. Imposter!

So do yourself a favor and go for Real Vanilla Extract Made by YOU! It taste so much better AND is much better for you than processed chemicals.

Extract is a concentrated way to flavor something while only needing a few drops or spoonfuls.

With that being said, Making Extract takes TWO INGREDIENTS. Thats right... TWO

The item you want the flavor of the extract to take on, in this case it's VANILLA


VODKA (or rum, but vodka is the most neutral)

The liquor is the "Puller" of the process. Whatever flavor you use, when covered in vodka (or rum), will be "pulled" of it’s flavor. Vodka can soak up many flavors slowly but surely.

When the Vodka "pulls" the vanilla bean flavor, it will also start to turn the deep, dark, and brown color of the vanilla bean by the end of the process. You will barely be able to see the vanilla bean pole in the jar by the 2nd month. 

That full brown color is a huge indicator that it is ready for all your cooking purposes!

*When using alcohol in a dish that will be cooked or involves heat. You will cook the alcohol out. Only the flavor will be left for your enjoyment.


I use my vanilla beans twice before throwing them out.

I add more vodka back onto my vanilla beans once I run out of extract for a second time.

Then after I have used up the second round of homemade extract, I use the tiny little beans inside the bean pole to make my homemade vanilla bean ice cream!


Now, even though vanilla is a very LOVED Extract. There are so many more flavors out there needed for flavoring our splendid dishes.

I wanted to give vanilla extract it’s glory for being the most used extract in cooking everywhere! 

Make sure to stay tuned for OTHER EXTRACTS this week!

Also come back at the beginning of December to see the FINISHED Luxurious Deep Brown Color of the Vanilla Extract. I will also be showing you how to label and dress your Extracts for Gift Giving!

Until DECEMBER give your extract a little shake every week and watch it get darker and darker each time you check it!




2 Whole Vanilla Beans

1/2 Cup Vodka 

4 oz (118ml) Container with a tight fitting lid for storage



  1. Take both the Vanilla Beans and cut them in half (creating 4 sticks)
  2. Slit all 4 beans down the center (try not to slice the bean from top to bottom, leave a little of the tip unspilt to help keep the vanilla beans from escaping)
  3. Place vanilla beans in container that has a tight fitting lid (Preferably a glass container)
  4. Cover Vanilla Beans with Vodka
  5. Cover with tight fitted lid 
  6. Store in a cool dark place for over 2 months

*Shake the contents of the container every week at least or every couple of days to mix the ingredients around.



  • Keeping the vanilla beans from escaping the bean pole, keeps your extract from having the tiny little specks from going into your recipes. 
  • Make sure to fully cover the beans in the container with vodka.
  • You can use double the size if the jar I used, but any larger will require more than two vanilla beans!
  • You'll want to SAVE the DATE you started your extract on by either writing it on your container, calendar, or anywhere you will most likely remember! 

If you have some extracts brewing at home, interrupt their cool dark space for a moment and take a picture! I’d love to see your extracts on Instagram, Facebook, and/or Twitter    #chocolatemamalovesvanilla

2 Ingredient Sweet BBQ Sauce


Have you ever run out of BBQ sauce and that was it? Nothing to Dip your Chicken fingers in, or cover your hamburgers with!? Even your french fries are denied a dip in that dark, smoky, sweet and sometimes spicy goodness.

Did anyone ever tell you that BBQ Sauce is literally 2 Ingredients, that you have in your house for a quick Emergency??

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Well let me expose the truth! The OH SO TASTY 2 Ingredient truth (with the simplest measurements).

DRUM ROLL: Equal Parts BROWN SUGAR to KETCHUP =  Make as much BBQ as you want! Make enough for a Huge pig roast, or catering function. To as little as enough for your takeout, where the restuarant forgot to throw some sauce in your bag! 

If you want to get fancy, throw a teaspoon of whatever spices you like. OR add some KICK by adding cajun or cayenne!

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Now, because of the sugar, you must heat the mixture. Either stove top or during cooking times of whatever your covering with the sauce (Basting meat/vegetable/fruit on the grill, in the oven, etc.).

Just add the sauce when the food is 1/2 way cooked. :-)

Heating/cooking the 2 ingredient mixture, allows those granulates from the sugar to dissolve, or it will have a little gritty crunch to it. Use that as a guide of how much time it needs left to heat up before digging in!

Now you have your own BBQ Sauce! Play with it however you want! I use it just like this!

It is absolutely FANTASTIC like this. Sometimes when company/guests comes over for dinner, I add spices for heat to the sauce.

Do what you want. Little will your guests know, that there is simply 2 INGREDIENTS that you had lying around the house!  It sure will sound cool when you say you made the BBQ yourself! :-D



1 cup Brown Sugar

1 cup Ketchup

1 teaspoon Herbs (Optional- cayenne, minced garlic, etc.)

1 tablespoon Oil (only needed for dipping sauce)



  • For Dipping Sauce: 

Heat oil in saucepan on medium low, stir brown sugar, ketchup, and herbs (optional) together until Fully Combined, add all ingredients and cook on a low heat for 5-10min until sugar dissolves and browns. 

  • For Baking/cooking with: (Oil NOT Needed)

Simply stir ingredients together until fully combined, and coat anything your cooking, with the mixture.

Other FUN Ways To Use Nail Polish!


Since my switch to an all natural and organic lifestyle, I’ve had to re-stock my kitchen with all things organic.  Not only that, I've had to replace all my face/body products, throw out my entire household cleaning products, and many more items that aren't healthy for us humans.

Now I'm surrounded with a bunch of things that are chemical free and/or green products.

I not only have my mind focused on a greener lifestyle, I also want to live life as frugal as possible too! 

With that being said, I started looking around at things that I already own to figure out ways to re-use it, and upgrade it with things that I already owned.

One of those things that I notice was going to waste, was all my nail polish. I looked around at my many nail polishes and thought about my old girlie diva self. Now that life has been replaced with my inner hippie self.

There was sadness that all the beautiful colors would go to waste. 



One bright sunny day, I wanted some new jewelry!

But... I have been in too much of a "frugal mindset", to even think about buying anything new that could not be eaten! lol

So, I thought long and hard.

Wallah! How about I turn my tarnished and lame jewelry, into fun, hip, and colorful jewelry! Now I have jewelry that goes with a lot more of my outfits in my closet!

So I did!

Not only did my Jewelry get a make-over, I also never have to grab the wrong house key again! Or mix-up hair brushes with my mom!

Here is a couple of fun ways to use nail polish if you have any laying around the house collecting dust!

I’m also so thrilled to show off my refurbished blue jewelry in the shade of “Silk” by Sinful Colors!


D.I.Y. Whipped Cream


I’ve been to a couple different upscaled restaurants in the past. The very first one I ever went to, was on a 1st date. First dates are usually long (if its going well, lol). Long enough to get through appetizers, dinner, and dessert. 

So on this date, there was dessert! When the waiter brought us our dessert, he also had a stainless steel contraption with him, in which he asked, “Fresh Whipped Cream?”

Fresh Whipped Cream? What was the other stuff I had been eating? I was so intrigued by this "Fresh" Whipped Cream he spoke of. “Yes! I would love some!” I said.


My date and I had the same idea when the waiter dolloped this creamy, fluffy, airy, and soft whipped cream onto our dessert plate. We tasted this whipped cream by itself! Looked up at each other and without saying anything, both of our eyes screamed, “This is Awesome!”

I ended up eating all the whipped cream before I even tasted the dessert! In the end I asked how their whipped cream was made and I’ve never bought whipped cream again! 


Have you ever thought to yourself… “How is whipped cream made?”

Well I Did! :-D

It’s so easy! Its also so cool! Maybe thats where that whipped cream company gets their name! :-)


Its really a one ingredient recipe. I like it a tad sweeter so I added some powdered sugar to the recipe. The only step is to beat the heavy whipping cream until it becomes Whipped Cream!


Warning!: Do NOT over beat the cream, because this is also how butter is made! Once you see the milk turn into a thick whipped texture, it's time to stop whipping! I promise it doesn’t get fluffier. It becomes something else entirely!


Whipped cream is the perfect addition to any dessert. Whether it’s a cold dessert such as ice cream, jello, cheesecake, etc. OR on top of a warm dessert like a decadent brownie, perfectly textured bread pudding, and/or even sprayed directly into your mouth from the canister!

Whipped cream definitely plays well with others like hot fudge, caramel, fruit toppings, pretty much anything, including sprinkles! :-D It also can stand on it’s own becoming a quick delicious treat all by itself.

Whipped cream has also mended many relationships. Being sprayed onto a friend for fun to rekindling a fire in the bedroom for a couple of lovebirds.

Whatever you choose, you can't go wrong! Enjoy your delicious "Fresh" Whipped Cream! ;-)



1 1/2 - 2 cups Heavy Whipping Cream

1/2 cup Powdered Sugar (Optional)



  1. Beat Heavy Cream on high with a MIXER*
  2. Wait until the cream starts to  visually thicken. turn down the speed a notch or two before adding in the sugar (optional) gradually.
  3. Once the sugar has all been added, continue to beat heavy cream to stiff peaks. 
  4. DO NOT OVER BEAT. You will end up with butter instead of whipped cream if over beaten!


*If you don’t have a mixer, you can use a whisk, this takes and incredible amount of energy, but can be done!

Do not over beat. You will end up with butter instead of whipped cream if over beaten!

If using inside of a dish, you want to fold the whipped cream in, so you don’t ruin all the fluffing you created by deflating it!

D.I.Y Hot Chocolate


I've been in need of a quick warm up with some "D.I.Y. Hot Chocolate". It has been cold for too long here in Michigan! Sometimes it seems like forever for summer to come for a visit. Yes, a visit. Summer seems to come for such a short sweet time here.

Summer is something that is truly appreciated after a long winter where I live. I tend to treat summer like it's one big birthday! Until then, Spring is the next best thing. 


The beginning of Spring is a wonderful time. It's full of hopes and dreams for whats to come over the remaining of the year. Time for seniors in high school to start dreaming of what they want to do, where they want to go. Gardeners are dreaming of what they want in their gardens, where to put it for the ultimate plant growth, and how much so homes can be filled with a bountiful harvest.

Spring is a dreamers wonderland as it gets warmer and warmer, and sunbathing seems more and more possible. When it rains you may think to yourself, "this is better than snow!" or If you just laid out seeds in the garden, you get a day off from watering because  mother nature is doing it for us.

While you were dreaming, you may have used up all your powdered hot chocolate over the winter and/or maybe you didn't restock because you were thinking you'd be moving on to ice cold beverages soon.

Fear not! When a random cold day "springs" up on you. Easily, melt some chocolate chips/pieces into some hot milk and DONE! You have instant hot chocolate to warm up with and keep dreaming!



1 Cup Milk

2 teaspoons Sugar

2 tablespoons Chocolate Chips/Pieces



  1. You heat milk and sugar till hot over the stove top in a saucepan (1min 30secs for microwave)
  2. Add the chocolate chips/pieces, stir until chips/pieces have melted and become one with the milk!
  3. Enjoy! :-D


This recipe can be double, tripled, etc.!

Use more or less sugar or whatever sweeter you prefer in this recipe!

D.I.Y Chocolate Milk


Milk is one awesome beverage! It does so many things for our body from our bones to our mouth when its on fire from something crazy spicy. 


Those are just to name a couple with the endless amount of things milk creates for us as human beings to consume in the kitchen. Pour it on cereal for something quick, add it to a cake for a moist dessert, or marrying it to chocolate!


Thats right, chocolate and milk are married and they are living happily ever after, didn’t you know? Well if not then I am officially letting you know that a good marriage is Chocolate Milk! Thats if you want it in it’s cold form. It is still a fabulous marriage when it Hot Chocolate also. :-D


Chocolate milk is the beverage I would order out at a restaurant when my budget would have preferred me to order a water instead. But I couldn't resist a cold chocolatey glass of chocolate milk.


Now with my all natural lifestyle, I had to figure out how to make chocolate milk at home myself. I have and I can’t wait for you to try it! I know there has to be many ways to get chocolate milk if your determined enough.


My version involves a lot of organic grass fed milk, some powdered sugar to sweeten it up (granulated sugar would make the beverage gritty), and  cocoa powder. There you have it folks…Chocolate Milk!


1 cup Milk

2 teaspoons Cocoa Powder

4 teaspoons Powdered Sugar (use more or less for desired sweetness)



Place all ingredients in your blender and blend for 1 min.

*Adding a splash of Vanilla Extract (1/4 teaspoon) kicks up the flavor!

D.I.Y. Chocolate Pudding!


Hey There Puddin'! :-D

Pudding is the one of the simplest ways to crave a sweet tooth. Heck, even if you don’t have teeth, pudding can be a life savor when you need something sweet!


Only 3 Dry Ingredients: Sugar, Cornstarch, and Cocoa Powder!


One wet Ingredient: Milk


Mix it all together and cook it till it starts to bubble and thicken, then add a little butter, let it cool and thicken up some more

There you go Puddin! :-) Delicious Creamy D.I.Y. Chocolate Pudding!



1 1/4 cup sugar

5 tablespoons cornstarch

5 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder

1/4 teaspoon salt

3 cups milk

2 large eggs, beaten

2 tablespoons butter

1 teaspoon vanilla extract (optional)



  1. In a large saucepan, mix together sugar, cornstarch, cocoa and salt carefully.
  2. Pour in milk and egg yolks, and whisk together slowly
  3. Stir over medium heat until mixture thickens and begins to boil (around 7min)
  4. Remove from heat; Add the butter and vanilla (optional) into hot pudding
  5. chill at least 3 hours and up to 4 days        


If you don’t have cocoa powder on hand but you have chocolate chips use 7 ounces of Bittersweet Chocolate chips. Add the chips in when you add the butter 

Placing plastic wrap directly on the surface of the pudding prevents skin from forming

Add finished pudding into a 1 whole cooked pie crust (pie dough, pretzel crust, graham cracker, etc.)

D.I.Y. Graham Cracker Crust


There are so many things in life that make me feel clever or smart, and they can be the simplest things. In my opinion, its awesome to have the little things make you feel big. 

Making any type of recipe that involves using a pie pan makes me feel like that. Graham Cracker Crust is no exception. Every time I see graham cracker crust when strolling through the baking isle, I see the price and realize how many crust I can make myself for the price of one! It's a very rewarding feeling to know exactly how they made that crust. Now that can be you!


I personally prefer to dirty up my food processor. Leaving me to clean it up instead of putting my two hands to work when dealing with crusts. But YOU totally can skip using up the electric bill and use a large plastic baggie. Crush the graham crackers inside the bag with a rolling pin until the cracker become fine crumbs. Mix those together with all the other ingredients and have only one bowl to clean.

Theres like 4 parts and only three can end up in the dishwasher, blah blah blah, I'm just really lazy when it comes to dishes. You also? Awesome! lol made me feel better to pretend for a second that 4 parts was a lot to add to the dishwasher.

I come from a family that never whipped out the fine china for parties or get togethers in the past. There was always paper plates of all colors, shapes, and sizes. We would talk about the new colors they came in. Those were our "fine plastic"! Now I try to get my family to try to be a tad bit classier on the dish ware when breaking bread together.

Maybe because I secretly want to take pictures and post them on here for the world to see. Now my family gets the royal treatment, win/win I would say. No matter what kinds of dishes pile up or what plates are being used. This graham cracker crust will happily make any surface its home for your enjoyment. 


This is my go-to Classic Graham Cracker Crust. I use it for my Easy Chocolate Pudding Pie, Cheesecakes, and my summer favorite Strawberry Margherita Pie! You can use a graham cracker crust for whatever recipe you want! Keep certain things simple and sweet and you'll most likely be less tempted to buy the store-bought chemical items!


1 1/2 cup of graham cracker crumbs (about 11-12 graham cracker sticks)

1 teaspoon cinnamon

6 tablespoons of butter, melted

1/2 cup sugar

1 tablespoon water



  1. Pulse graham crackers till crumbled finely in a food processor or blender
  2. Add sugar and cinnamon into graham cracker crumbs, until well blended
  3. Blend melted butter and water into crumb mixture till it becomes holdable in clumps (more water might be necessary, add a teaspoon at a time, do not over water) 
  4. Press mixture evenly (sides and bottom) into an 8 or 9 inch pie plate.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees (for a No-Bake recipe) for 8 minutes. Let cool for 5 min
  6. If an unbaked pie shell is needed simply chill crust in refrigerator for 1 hour instead 

Storage Ideas- Wrap baked graham cracker crust in foil and store in freezer. Crust can be frozen for up to three months!

50 degrees F = 190 degrees C

D.I.Y: How to Mince Your Own Fresh Garlic

This is for all the garlic lovers out there! I'm sure that there are many garlic fans because that includes myself. I love putting garlic in most of my dishes. But if my mom is involved, I have to use a "Mother" Load! I guess thats where that phrase had to be derived from (or maybe from The Sims? HA! Cheat much?) .

My mother can absolutely tell if there isn't any garlic in the meal. If there isn't then the food isn't good enough! 

Well let me tell you, I started to stare at those tall jars in the stores full of already minced garlic. I dreamed of how my fingers would get a break of smelly-ness. How a whole step of chopping could be skipped when simply searing up a juicy steak or seasoning my oil for that "Oh So Wonderful!" garlic flavor.


But those jars are full of so much water, the flavor isn't the same. Also some jars of garlic have many more other things besides garlic. I don't want all those other things, I just want garlic. not to mention it's not fresh, so your not getting the full garlic flavor.

No wonder my mother was always loading tablespoons of garlic into her food with those jars. When it's fresh and not watered down it only requires a couple of cloves to do the trick.

Don't you worry cyber friends, there is a way, and it's located below. The same idea that those "garlic in a jar" companies came up with. Except this is an all natural, flavor fresh trick. I got this tip from a friend who is really good with planning ahead. I don't know about you, but I need those type of friends!



Garlic Cloves, Peeled (5 bulbs)

2 tablespoon olive oil



Put both ingredients into food processor and pulse several times till you have reached the desired consistency.

Last for months if kept refrigerated. Can be doubled or tripled!

D.I.Y Brown Sugar

I'll keep this short and SWEET! Ha! I just kill myself with the cheesy puns. I mean I'm slightly mortified of my sense of humor. I love a good cheesy line though. Laughter can never be underestimated in my life.

It must be because I'm an only child. Not to long ago, my family was over and we had a full blown discussion of the differences between being a Only Child Vs. Children with Siblings. What I noticed is that children with siblings tend to be more quick witted then only children. 

I'm not saying that only children are not quick witted. I'm just observing that if a only child and a child with siblings had a battle of the wits. The child with a sibling might come up with some witty genius a tad bit quicker.

Maybe this is because Children with siblings that played together had to come up with a tall tale quickly to their parents before the other sibling rats them out. Where as an only child with a toy fowl may be able to pull off a "what happens at playtime stay at playtime"!


If you haven't noticed by now, I'm African American. I've dated my share of different nationalities, and somehow the pick-up lines involved in this have been cheesy, and have also worked out for some of these male suitors I've come across. For example, "Hey There, Brown Sugar!" or "I Like Brown Sugar!". Well guess what, I LOVE brown sugar! Literal brown sugar that is :-D

The deep flavor of molasses that seep into the sugar, which ends up making the sugar moist and delicious. The wonderful brown color that can expose wether or not you have light brown sugar, or dark brown sugar. Both versions can kick a dessert up a notch. Oatmeal, oatmeal cookies, caramel, carrot bran muffins, chocolate cakes, etc. etc. etc. The list could go on and on for desserts that are typically dark in color.

For example, I wouldn't add brown sugar to an Angel Food Cake, Vanilla Pudding, or a white wedding cake. Because then the colors would change and of course you'd be altering the tastes of the strong vanilla flavors of the recipes. With that being said, anything where the colors are darker go for it!

I've posted the recipe for making your own brown sugar. I find it cheaper to make your own, and I also find it a relief to know how brown sugar is actually made. That way if you run out of brown sugar, you can easily make your own. Especially if you don't use it all the time. Brown sugar does have the tendency to get ROCK hard if not sealed tightly, as well as after a long period of time.

To solve the problem of your brown sugar going to waste, this recipe allows for you to make how ever much brown sugar you may need at that very moment. If you want to stock your cabinets with brown sugar because you use it often, you can simply double, triple, or gazillion-nize the recipe below.



1 cup Sugar

1 tablespoon Mollasses



Simple! Stir both ingredients together until fully combined!

Tip:   For Dark Brown Sugar add 1/2 Tablespoon more