Valentine’s Day Golden Oreos & Broccoli, Cheddar, Chicken Braid

This recipe is so fast and easy, you still have time to do it if you’re humming and hawing about what to for your loved ones. I’ll be honest, I don’t usually like making things that come from a mix base, but when you’re in a pinch this works great, and it’s really delicious! I adapted this recipe from the chocolate oreo cookies here. I love the chocolate too, but I happened to have a vanilla mix on hand.

Valentine’s Day Golden Oreos

1 Vanilla Cake Mix

2 eggs

1/2 cup oil

Whisk these ingredients together. Roll into balls (dough won’t hold it’s shape fully), and bake for 5-7 minutes at 350 F.

While these are baking and cooling make this cream cheese icing:

Cream Cheese Frosting:

8 ounce package cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup butter or margarine, room temperature

2 tablespoons honey

3 – 3 1/2 cups icing sugar

Chill icing.

Once the cookies are cool, place a dollop of icing in the middle of one of the cookies and press another one down on top, to form a cookie/icing sandwich. Take a heart-shaped cookie cutter, and cut out the oreo. Dip an edge in the icing, or spread it around on 1/4 of the  cookies and dip it in coloured sugar or heart-shaped sprinkles. 

Enjoy wrapping these up and sharing them with friends!

From last week…

Some of you had a hard time getting to the Broccoli, Cheddar & Chicken braid I had posted about. The link to the recipe is here, but I will also post it below in case the URL isn’t working again.

Broccoli, Cheddar & Chicken Braid

Ingredients

  • 2 cans Pillsbury Original Crescent Rolls
  • 2 cups chicken chunks, cooked
  • 2 cups cheddar cheese
  • 2 cups broccoli, frozen, steamed and chopped
  • 1/2 cup light mayonnaise
  • 1 egg yolk
  • fresh rosemary
Instructions
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. On a parchment paper lined cookie sheet, spread both cans of crescents length wise to form a long rectangle.
  3. Press each of the seams to form a single layer of dough.
  4. In a large bowl, combine chicken, cheese, broccoli and mayonnaise
  5. Spread mixture over the center of the croissant dough evenly to create a log.
  6. Using a sharp knife, cut horizontal strips 1 inch apart down each side of the crescent dough.
  7. Fold the dough strips over the top of the chicken mixture, alternating left and right to create a braid.
  8. Brush the top of the braid with a beaten egg yolk and sprinkle fresh rosemary on top.
  9. Bake for 28 – 30 minutes until golden brown.

*I make a homemade biscuit dough instead of buying the can. You can find the recipe I use here. Just substitute whole wheat for white flour.

Happy Valentine’s Day to you and yours!

For The Love Of Tea

For as long as I can remember I have loved tea. Tea holds so many dear memories to me of treasured times with my dad, tea and toast with my mom, or watching movies all set in the Victorian era. Tea has got me through many exams, long trips, and emotional nights. I once fell out of a very large tree I was climbing and hot, sweet tea got me through the shock. A headache is rarely a match for a strong cup of tea with my body. The warm comfort tea brings to me is unmatched by almost any other thing.

The love of tea runs throughout my family, as my dad grew up in England and my mom’s family is notorious for toast and tea before bed. Whatever the reason, I started my love affair with tea at a very young age.

We always drank Tetley Orange Pekoe. Just normal, strong, and delicious. After graduating from high school I discovered Tetley Bold, which is the same thing just a little richer flavour. My family has always referred to Orange Pekoe Tea as “normal tea” and when it is offered to the group, someone always makes some cunning remark about how wouldn’t we all love some “normality”.

As time has gone on I’ve noticed the popularity of tea shops like David’s Tea or other loose tea stores that carry all kinds of varieties. While they are lots of fun to try, the price can definitely start to soar. The more adventurous you are in your tea tasting, the higher price you will pay.

Because of my love of a “normal”, strong cup of tea, I am always hesitant to try new flavours. As I have branched out however, I have enjoyed trying new flavours, as long as they remain in the realm of black teas! The other night when we were over at some family friends, I tried a delicious chocolate and strawberry black tea. While I didn’t have any dried strawberries, I decided to try mixing some flavours up with my Tetley Bold to bring you a gourmet specialty tea.

Cinnamon Chocolate Black Tea

For a full pot of tea you will need:

3 Tetley Bold (or another Orange Pekoe tea) Tea Bags

3 Tbsp. Semi-sweet Chocolate Chips

Cinnamon sticks, broken into large peices

Heat water on the stove until is comes to a rolling boil. Have the tea pot warmed by rinsing it with hot water before. Place the tea, cinnamon sticks, and chocolate chips in the tea pot right before you pour the boiling water over top. Steep for 5-7 minutes.

Have some form of strainer ready to pour the tea through into the cups.

Serve with milk or cream and honey or sugar. This is a simply delicious dessert tea.

Gift Idea!

Mason jars are all the rage at the moment, and why shouldn’t they be? Who doesn’t love a glass, vintage looking container? The variety of sizes allows them to be useful for all sorts of fun projects. I pulled one of mine out and placed the ingredients for this tea inside as an example of what a unique gift this could be. You could type of the directions for the tea or right them out on fancy paper and fold it up and place it in the jar. Add your own embellishments and you have an inexpensive, thoughtful gift.

Another idea that I thought would be fun for a tea party is to have all sorts of finely chopped nuts, dried fruits and chocolates in little bowls, along with black tea bags. Have different brewing instructions to create your own specialty tea, for example “almond apricot” black tea. Or people could be creative and invent their own flavours. It would be a tea party to remember.

Have fun creating your own tea flavour. It just might become your new family favourite!

Share your tea stories below! Tell me your favourite kinds and what memories tea evokes in you!

Homemade Brown Sugar Scrub, Banana Oat Muffins

Today is Try It Out Tuesday! Let’s be honest, I’m not the most original person. But I sure do love trying out cool ideas I’ve seen. I keep having moments of creativity, so when I get an idea I definitely will share it, but for the most part this segment will be me mostly sharing with you cool things I’ve tried to make!

First off I tried making a Brown Sugar Body Scrub. When my sister-in-law and I went for manicures last week, one of the luxurious parts was the brown sugar scrub that they used on ours hands. It felt so good. My hands were so soft afterwards, I realized I must have looked hilarious touching them so much! Then I remembered that I had found a recipe on Pinterest for a Brown Sugar Scrub (original idea here).

I made about a third of the recipe since I had never tried it before and wanted to make sure if was actually nice! I had been saving some of my empty jars of Olay Cream for such a time as this, so I pulled one of them out.

I used:

  • 1/3 cup brown sugar (I has some dried older sugar that I can’t really use for baking that I used for this)
  • 2 tbsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 tbsp. honey

I didn’t have any liquid honey, so I microwaved my creamed honey for 8 seconds. Then mixed everything together in a bowl.

I put it in my Olay and far and tried it out. It felt so good! Definitely had the same qualities as the Salon product, for a much more affordable price!

When I make this again, I am going to try putting a scent in it, like vanilla or citrus or something. I feel like the scrub feels wonderful, but is lacking the delicious smelling quality! I was reading some ideas and one person added a little vanilla extract and a little coconut extract.

This was a very simply and fun little project and is such a great gift idea for the future!

Try it out! 🙂

Ok I have one other thing for you to try this week. I found a recipe on allrecipes.com and tweaked it a bit. I can’t delay it because they were simply so delicious, and fairly healthy!

Banana Oat Chocolate Chip Muffins (original recipe here)

  • 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup rolled oats
  • 1/4 cup bran cereal
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1/3 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed bananas
  • Chocolate chips (optional)
  • walnuts (optional)
  1. Combine flour, oats, bran cereal, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt.
  2. In a large bowl, beat the egg lightly. Stir in the milk, oil, honey and vanilla. Add the mashed banana, and combine thoroughly. Stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined. Add as many chocolate chips as desired. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper bake cups, and divide the batter among them.
  3. Bake at 400 degrees F (205 degrees C) for 18 to 20 minutes.

Enjoy trying out these fun little things. Here is a quick encouragement for you on this Tuesday. Last night my husband and I were reading in Psalm 32, and a reason for great joy stuck out to me. Verse one states,

Oh, what joy for those whose disobedience is forgiven, whose sin is put out of sight!

If you know Jesus, you have been forgiven and your sin and been put out of sight. What glorious joy we have in that fact that we have eternal life with our Maker! May nothing steal our joy today! Have a very blessed Tuesday!

The Twelve Days of Purpose: Day Six “Mom’s Gift”

My mom agreed not to read this blog post! I’m going to show you the gift that I’m working on for her. I won’t be able to put a picture of the final product yet, but I will when I can!

Last post I gave a link to The Small Things Blog. Well I have to admit I’m a little obsessed with it. However, I had no idea that the tile coasters I had taken off Pinterest was also from her blog! So I will probably add fuel to my sisters heckling fire that I am indeed enthralled with Kate’s blog. She is such a truly creative person, and has a wonderful heart for Jesus! My mom had mentioned to me that she wanted some nice coasters for her house.

So here is part one of my tile coasters.

I wrote before that my husband recently tiled our back entrance. We got an amazing deal at Home Depot on these tiles, each one was approximately 70 cents. My husband took one of our left over tiles to work and he was able to cut it into nine squares to repurpose for coasters.

This was my test tile. I took my tile and put about a teaspoon of Mod Podge on it and spread it around and then placed my cut out square of scrapbook paper on it. Then I Mod Podged over that and let it dry.

These are the colours I’m using for my mom’s coasters. There will be four of each, she can mix and match to have corresponding or matching ones.

After the Mod Podge dried I spray painted the coaster with Clear Semi Gloss Spray Paint.

This test coaster is almost done! All that needs to happen now is for me to put on the self adhesive rubber feet to stop the tile from scratching surfaces. Once all the ones I am making for my mom are done, I will stack them and tie them up in sets of four with ribbon. I’ll put up the finished product when it’s done!

Click to see Kate’s DIY Tile Coaster’s here!

My attempt to save money and add personality has had me put a lot of thought into gifts this year. I’ve had to listen really closely for little cues from people to see what is needed or desired. The Lord has also given each person specials gifts that have the ability to enrich our lives greatly.

1 Corinthians 12: 7 – 11 says

A spiritual gift is given to each of us so we can help each other. To one person the Spirit gives the ability to give wise advice; to another the same Spirit gives a message of special knowledge. The same Spirit gives great faith to another, and to someone else the one Spirit gives the gift of healing. He gives one person the power to perform miracles, and another the ability to prophesy. He gives someone else the ability to discern whether a message is from the Spirit of God or from another spirit. Still another person is given the ability to speak in unknown languages, while another is given the ability to interpret what is being said. It is the one and only Spirit who distributes all these gifts. He alone decides which gift each person should have.

It’s so awesome to think how specifically and uniquely God has assigned a gift to us! That is true thought. He knows us so perfectly inside and out and knows what gift will best suits us to bless those around us. And the purpose of the gift is stated so clearly in verse seven. It’s so that we can help each other. Still confused about part of your purpose? Well, if God is giving us a gift so that we can help each other, obviously we are designed to help each other! What does that look like for you? Ask the Lord, He’ll tell you!

Is God revealing purpose to you? Store it all up and get ready because soon we’ll be writing our purpose statements!

And…we’re half way to day twelve! Thank for reading!

Choosing The Perfect Gift

This year my husband and I have been trying really hard to think creatively and, especially, make some homemade gifts. I’d LOVE to give away what some of them are, but since probably some of the recipients may be reading this, I will restrain myself. After Christmas I’m going to post some of the things that worked well for us.

Are you familiar with the Five Love Languages? If you are not, this page will give you a quick definition of all them if you scroll down past the description of the book. A basic understanding of the love languages is must to get the most out of my thoughts on creating or choosing a perfectly satisfactory gift to anyone you are buying for (this will apply for any gifts, any time of the year).

Recognize the love language of the person you are giving the gift to. Once you know what love language they have, then you can think of the type of gift, or how the gift should be delivered, that they are more likely to enjoy receiving. Some of the love languages are more easy to think ideas to go with than others, but we’ll try to be creative here.

Remember…most people have a secondary love language, which can make it easier to mix and match up ideas for gifts. Our nature is to show love in the way we like to be shown love, but my hope is that this will encourage you to be objective and analyze that unique persons true desires.

1. Words of Affirmation – A card is really important to this person, and you should take the time to write a truly encouraging note. Don’t flatter them, but write something from the heart. The card may be even more important than your gift. When putting together their gift, try to incorporate different items that speak to who they are, things you appreciate about them and that offer encouragement. Some examples of this are:

  • Sentimental Gifts  – Willow Tree Angels or another item that represents something
  • A Devotion Book or encouraging daily calendar
  • Inspiring Painting or Plaque
  • *Never forget a card with someone who is a words of affirmation person! 

2. Quality Time – Giving this person the gift of time will be incredibly meaningful to them. Any gift that you give that show you either spent time and energy making it, or that involve you and that person spending quality time together after, will be a big hit. Here are some examples:

Time Together Ideas:

  • Tickets to an event where you have time to connect, maybe a sporting event, bridal show, etc. 
  • A promise of a meal, coffee or other food date (high tea is a fun one too)
  • *for kids* an assemble together gift, or something that you need to build or create together. 
  • A board game or other group activity 


Time Spent Ideas:

  • Homemade gifts that show you are aware of their likes and interests. If they love fancy coffees make them a homemade Vanilla, Raspberry , Coconut or Caramel Syrup and take time to decorate a jar. You can find so many ideas online if you just think of what the person enjoys. 

3. Receiving Gifts – Since gifts are such a big thing for this person, a lot of thought needs to be put into it. In my opinion, always go over the top with this person. I’m not meaning put yourself in a hole financially – but pay attention to what they are asking for, what they are interested in, and then take time to add a personal touch.
Examples:

  • The person mentions to you they would really enjoy the new movie “Courageous”. You would take that one item, and build around it. Turn it into a “movie night” basket with popcorn, hot chocolate, and homemade decorated popcorn bowls. 
  • You know your friend is stressed out and really needs to relax – find a homemade bubble bath recipe, decorate a jar, and make a “relaxation basket” with tea, bath time items, new loofah, nail polish, etc. 
  • These people are also wonderful to go in on big gifts with friends because they love the excitement of receiving a gift so much! 

4. Acts of Service – Anything that would improve this persons life and help them out would be much appreciated!
Examples:

  • Homemade meals – can some of your homemade soup! Bake fresh bread, etc.
  • Make “free babysitting” cards or offer some other needed task for free
  • If you must buy a gift card, this would be someone who would really appreciate something practical – like a car wash card or oil change.
  • If you know of a project that they’ve been needing or wanting to get done, go ahead and do it! It could be as simple as getting their favourite picture matted and framed. 

5. Physical Touch – This one I think comes down mostly to execution of the gift. Thankfully most people have a secondary love language, so you can try to figure out what that is for the main portion of the gift and then make sure that when you give the gift they get a hug from you and really sense that you love them!

Okay, I’m ready to hear some of your suggestions! Feel free to comment below and share with others some practical ideas for giving meaningful gifts that will bring joy to every love language, and show the deep appreciation you really have for your loved ones!

Happy dreaming, creating and giving! You may just have more fun thinking of what to give people, than you do actually receiving a gift yourself!