Sticky Buns – Quick and Easy

My mom made these sticky buns all the time when my brother and I were growing up. I loved them and they are really easy. You probably already have most of the ingredients around the house.

Ingredients:

3 tbsp margarine or butter
1/4 c pancake syrup
1/4 c packed brown sugar
1/4 c chopped nuts
1/4 c raisins (optional)
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tube (10) refrigerated biscuits

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. In 9 inch round pan, melt butter in oven. Remove from oven and add next 5 ingredients. Arrange biscuits in syrup mixture. Bake 15 minutes or until biscuits are golden brown. Let stand in pan 5 minutes. Invert onto serving plate.

You could use any syrup really, so if you have blueberry or strawberry syrup try that too!

No Boil Lasagna

Lasagna is one of the easiest meals to make for a family, but it is not always the quickest. With this recipe you can put everything together the night before or minutes before you place it in the oven. My mom has made this lasagna recipe for 40 years and it is always good.

Ingredients:

16 oz container cottage cheese
1/2 c grated parmesan cheese
3 large eggs
2 (28 oz) jars pasta sauce
1/2 c water
1lb package lasagna noodles, uncooked
1lb lean ground beef, cooked and drained
4 c (1lb) shredded mozzarella cheese (reserve some for topping at the end)

In a bowl, combine cottage cheese, parmesan cheese and eggs, mix well. In a separate bowl combine pasta sauce and water, set aside 2 cups. Add meat to the large portion of the sauce mixture; mix well.
On bottom of a 15×9 inch greased baking dish; spread 1 c of plain sauce mixture. Top with a layer of the uncooked lasagna noodles, 1/2 cheese mixture, 1/2 meat sauce mixture and 1/2 mozzarella. Repeat layering. Top with another layer of lasagna noodles and 1 c plain sauce.
Cover tightly with foil, bake in a 350 degree oven (325 if glass pan) for 90 minutes or until hot and bubbly (the last 10-15 minutes uncover and sprinkle with mozzarella). Let stand for 15 minutes before serving.

Serve with garlic bread and a side salad for an Italian feast.

Creamiest Corn Recipe

We eat corn a lot in our home so finding new ways to incorporate it in our meals is essential to curb the boredom. When my uncle from Tennessee was visiting last christmas he showed me a new recipe for creamed corn. It is amazing. My husband requests that I make it for all of our holiday dinners. You can make this recipe the day prior and warm it up on the stove before your meal. It tastes wonderful either way.

Ingredients:

2- 10 oz frozen corn kernels thawed
1 c heavy cream
1 tsp salt
1/4 tsp pepper
2 tbsp butter
1 c milk
2 tbsp flour

In skillet over medium heat combine the corn, cream, salt,  pepper and butter.
Whisk together flour and milk and stir into the corn mixture.
Cook stirring over medium heat until mixture thickens. You can add sugar for sweeter corn a Tbsp at a time to your liking.

More bacteria in your mouth than your butt! Ewwe!

Yes, it’s true! Are you brushing your teeth yet? Don’t forget to floss too or you will just leave half of the bacteria behind. It is true that your mouth has a higher bacteria count than your butt. In a normal clean mouth this is the natural flora. If the gums are infected or you are on an unhygenic diet, then the microbial count will be more. Talk about a potty mouth!

Have you ever heard your dentist or hygienist use the words gingivitis or the dreaded periodontitis? Then you should listen to them. They are warning you about your potty mouth. The honest truth is that our bodies have good bacteria as well as bad bacteria. This is the only way we can function well. So when you hear the word bacteria it doesn’t necessarily mean anything dirty but can help you to heal and be healthy. We need to do our part by putting in the work with the good bacteria.

Everyone knows that you should brush and floss everyday, but you should be smart about it. I am a full time dental assistant and a full time mommy. I don’t have time to waste messing around just to cause a problem for myself and more work later, so I want to give you a few tips to clean up. Brush in the morning and floss if you have time to get rid of all the bacteria that festered in your mouth over night. If you have time to floss and brush during the day then great but a lot of us do not. At least make this one of the last things you do before you hit the hay. I like to floss first at night and then I brush my mouth. Did you notice I said mouth? Yes mouth, because bacteria is not magically confined to your teeth, there is no magic shield. Lightly brush your cheeks and tongue so that you can remove any bacteria building up. Remember we see everything that you don’t so if you are wondering about something, just ask us. We cannot help you if you will not tell us what you need. By now I’m sure you are calling your dentist to make an appointment. I’m proud of you, now don’t slack off potty mouth!

Shrimp And Grits… the easy way!

Don’t be afraid of making this hearty coastal southern dish. It is especially good with fresh shrimp but I understand that is not always available to everyone so do the best you can with what you have available. It will still be very good and you really can’t mess this up.

Ingredients:

1/2- 3/4 lb deveined and shelled shrimp
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tsp old bay
1 tsp italian seasoning
1/4 tsp garlic powder
1/4 tsp smoked paprika (optional)
2 c chicken broth
1/2 c grits
2 oz cream cheese
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 slices bacon
2 green onion stalks chopped (optional)
salt and pepper to taste

In a large skillet cook 2 slices of bacon over medium heat until crisp, remove bacon from skillet, roughly chop. Wipe skillet clean and set aside to use later for shrimp.
In a medium to large sauce pan bring chicken broth to a boil, add grits and reduce heat to low. Cover and let grits simmer for 7 minutes, stirring occasionally.
When grits have absorbed the liquid add cream cheese, shredded cheese and salt and pepper to taste.
Stir mixture well, cover and remove from heat. Place shrimp in a large plastic bag or mixing bowl, add old bay, italian seasoning , garlic powder and smoked paprika and toss until shrimp is coated.
Heat olive oil in a large pan over medium high heat. Add shrimp and cook 3 minutes on each side or until shrimp is pink and tender.
To assemble the shrimp and grits add a heaping serving of grits to two shallow bowls. Top with shrimp, chopped green onions, chopped bacon and additional pepper.

A nice side of crispy bread slices helps you to sop up anything left on the plate. Keep in mind that shredding your own cheddar cheese helps it to be creamier and melt nicer but I have made it both ways with what I had on hand. This is the best shrimp and grits recipe I have found so far.

Let Your Baby Breathe

My son Wyatt has always battled asthma and allergies and while we give him medicine to help, sometimes it doesn’t fix everything. Warning to all that get grossed out, but I tend to be frank about things, especially medical things. It’s just in my nature but I don’t mean to gross anyone out. I mean let’s be real, just because it seems taboo to talk about doesn’t mean it ceases to happen. In my previous blog about Antronex I explain how I was able to use that supplement to help my child clear congestion but sometimes you still need to help them blow their noses. I found an awesome tool that I have used from day one for Wyatt and he just asked me this morning “mommy, can you clear my snots please”. He is now 4 and I have yet to change the batteries in this nasal aspirator.

This Graco Nasal Aspirator was on my baby shower registration and it was only $20 at Walmart. You can order it online in many places for different prices. It takes a few batteries, which as I mentioned earlier have lasted me 4 years so far and it is super easy to take apart and clean. According to the nurse at my son’s pediatrician’s office the key is to get a clear path to the sinuses and then spray saline solution in the nostrils before you use an aspirator. Sometimes I aspirate first if I can’t even see through the wall of buggers (I spent 5 minutes trying to find the correct spelling for this word lol) then I spray saline solution. It is best to spray saline solution when your child’s head is back or laying down so it will get as far up in the sinus area as possible. Then the fun part, snot sucking.

The aspirator has a yellow button on it that will play music while it works and this helped when Wyatt was very small. Now, I have used this so much in his life he just sits there and lets me go to work. The soft silicone tip does not seem to bother his nose even when it is raw. Remember to really get in there and hold it in the nostril for a few seconds and it will draw down the mucus. If there is a lot then I have filled up half the clear cup attached to it. Do as much as you can, then use soap and water to clean the removable parts. I just lay the parts on a kitchen towel to dry until the next event.

You can tweak these things to work for you and your child, but I really think my child asks me to aspirate his nose because he knows how much better he feels and it doesn’t bother him much while I’m doing it. That says a lot about a product to me. My friends tell me horror stories about just wiping noses and how their child won’t let them help them breathe. I feel it’s worth a try if you are having trouble with other methods. If’s as easy as just pushing a button. I tried the nasal aspiration bulb from the hospital but if your child doesn’t stay still, its almost impossible. Not to mention, I couldn’t imagine if you cut one of those things open what you could find inside it even if you clean it with soapy water. Let’s get snot free in 2017!

DIY Purex Crystals

imageI will be making my own laundry detergent soon and I will post the article with my recipe. As I was reading up on the difference between fels naptha and zote, I discovered a new recipe for diy Purex crystals. I stopped using these crystals a few years ago when we cut back on non essential items.  We have five people in our family and our teenage girls can go through a lot of fragranced things.

For this recipe all you need is a box of Epsom salt that retails as cheaply as $1/ lb and essential oils. Any essential oils will do just pick some fragrances you like. Add about 40 drops of essential oils to 2 lbs of Epsom salts (a little over 4 cups). Mix in a bowl until all is incorporated. You can use this product with your current laundry soap and it will help soften clothes also. I will be adding mine to the laundry detergent recipe that is soon to come.

Upside Down Apple Pecan Pie

Apple pie and pecan pie, well let’s just throw it all up in the air and call it upside down apple pecan pie. I like this pie because it has all the notes of southern pecan pie, but the apple really tones down the sweetness and brings in a fresh note to it. For all you southern pecan pie lovers, this is not a comparison. My husband would want me to clarify this because he loves pecan pie and does not care for this pie. It is a very good recipe but my husband is picky!

Ingredients:

1 c chopped pecans
1/2 c firmly packed brown sugar
1/3 c margarine or butter melted
15 oz pkg pillsbury all ready pie crusts
1 tsp flour
6 c sliced peeled apples (6 medium apples)
1/4 c sugar
2 tbsp flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8 tsp nutmeg

Heat oven to 375. In a 9 inch pie pan, combine pecans, brown sugar and margarine; spread evenly over bottom of pan. Prepare pie crust according to package directions for two crust pie, placing bottom crust over pecan mixture in pan. In large bowl, combine apples, sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg; mix lightly. Spoon into pie crust-lined pan. Top with second crust and flute; cut slits in several places. Bake at 375 for 40-50 minutes or until crust is golden brown and apples are tender. (Place pan on foil or cookie sheet during baking to guard against spillage.) Cool pie upright in pan for 5 minutes. Place serving plate over pie; invert. carefully remove pan. Some nuts may remain in pan. Replace on pie with knife. Cool at least 1 hour before serving. Garnish as desired.

RV Holding Tank Deodorizer DIY

We have had a camper or RV for the last ten years. With a family of five it can be hard to budget vacations if you need to stay in a hotel room. Rving has been the answer for our family to take weekend vacations or make long trips. We even rent our RV when we are not using it on RV Share, a website designed to let people rent campers and RV’s from owners. I have attached a link to our RV which we set up and take down for rentals in our local Myrtle Beach area campgrounds as well as the local North Carolina beaches.

We have found many ways to lower our costs or DIY RVing. We found that with five people in our family the black tank needs to be emptied more often and each time it is emptied we needed to add more deodorizer for the next tank load. This can get expensive but it’s absolutely necessary. I found a video on DIY RV holding tank deodorizer. For a couple of dollars you can make a gallon of deodorizer that would cost you upwards of $15-$20 for half that amount in the store. Plus I bought most of the ingredients from the dollar tree which saved me even more money. This recipe has been a real money saver for us. I do want to caution you that this video shows the liquid being stored in a plastic milk jug. Not all plastic is created equal and the first jug I used leaked because it was not the same grade plastic as the pinesol or ammonia bottles. As long as you match the storage bottle plastic grade with the pinesol or ammonia bottle grade you will be fine.

Ingredients:

1 cup Purex or Borax laundry detergent

1/2 cup Pinesol

3 Tbsp Ammonia

Place ingredients in gallon jug and fill half full of warm water. Mix until dissolved and then fill the rest of the way with water. This makes one gallon of deodorizer and yields about eight treatments for a black holding tank.

Wax Tarts Alternative

So, I received a Better Homes and Gardens wax warmer in the style Botanical Glow. At first I thought what a nice gift. Now that I’ve used it and filled my whole home with fragrances from one little warmer, I think it’s a great gift. Although the wax tarts that you can buy are inexpensive and smell very nice, I always worry about what chemicals I am filling my home with. My 4-year-old son has asthma and one of the triggers can sometimes be things like formaldehyde and other chemicals released from fragrance oils and candles.

I did a little research and came up with some recipes using my favorite coconut oil as a base. The basic recipe calls for 3-4 tbsp of coconut oil placed in the warmer and additional ingredients added for fragrance. You can add more or less coconut oil as it evaporates and if you want to dilute the fragrance. On the recipes below I give the quantities for essential oils at a few drops. This is because different brands have different strengths and some people prefer more or less fragrance strength. Adjust for your preferences. Keep in mind you can experiment with all of these recipes and substitute spices from your cabinet if you like.

Fall: 3 tsp pumpkin pie spice and 1/2 tsp cinnamon spice

Cold and Congestion: 1 Tbsp Vicks Vapor Rub or a few drops of Doterra Breathe/Young Living Raven

Calm and Sleepy: equal parts lavender and bergamot

Concentration: equal parts rosemary and lemon

Balance: 2 parts sage, 1 part tea tree oil, 1 part mint

Uplifting: equal parts orange and clove

Pick Me Up: equal parts peppermint and lemon

Melt Away Worries: 3 parts sandalwood to 1 part ylang ylang

Be Happy: 3 parts wild orange to 1 part clary sage

Citrus Refresher: equal parts grapefruit and wild orange

Gingerbread: 4 parts ginger, 2 parts clove and 1 part cinnamon

Energy and Focus: equal parts wild orange and peppermint

Allergy Blend: equal parts of peppermint, lavender and lemon

Memory Booster: 3 parts rosemary, 2 parts lemon and 1 part basil

Clear Winter Air: equal parts rosemary, lemon and lime

Please share any recipes you discover. I would love to hear them.