Friday, March 17, 2017

Irish Soda Bread Recipe

I'm not one bit Irish, but I will definitely do my part for St. Patricks Day by baking up Irish Soda Bread! (Spotted Dog?)

I am going to share my recipe with you, as I have it baking in the oven...

Irish Soda Bread

4 cups flour
1 tbsp. baking soda
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt

6 tbsp. salted butter, cut into pieces

1 cup raisins
1 3/4 cup buttermilk*

*You can make buttermilk by mixing .25 cup lemon juice in with a cup of milk.

Preheat oven to 400*.
Line jelly roll (cookie sheet with sides) pan with no stick foil.
In a large bowl, whisk first 4 ingredients.
Add butter and cut it in with a pastry cutter until mixture is crumbly.
Add raisins and milk and combine.

Form dough into a ball. You will need to add a bit of flour to do this.
Separate into 2 balls and place on prepared sheet.
Use a knife to score each ball with a cross.

Bake for 25 to 35 minutes, until light brown and bread feels more hollow than heavy.

Coat with sugar water by brushing it over the tops.
Microwave 1/3 cup sugar with 2 tbsp. water.

Cover with damp towel to keep moist and eat within 24 hours of baking!


Sunday, February 26, 2017

7 Tips And Tricks To Make Enjoying Coffee Easier And Tastier

For all of the coffee lovers out there, here are 7 tips and tricks to make enjoying your beverage just a little bit easier and tastier!

  1. Store your coffee (beans or ground) in the freezer. This will keep it fresh for a longer period of time.
  2. Be sure your beans and/or ground coffee is wrapped properly when stored in the freezer. They can easily take on the flavor of the other foods being stored in there.
  3. If using a Keurig to prepare a cup of coffee, add your liquid creamer to your mug prior to brewing. Doing it this way keeps you from needed a spoon for stirring! Just pour, brew and drink.
  4. If you want to make milk foam for your cup of coffee, take warm milk and pour it into the blender. Blend for a few seconds until light and foamy…just like the coffee shop!
  5. Use filtered or bottled water to make your coffee. This will make your coffee taste better than if you use tap water.
  6. Want to grind your own beans, but do not want to invest in expensive equipment to do it? Use a small spice grinder! You can buy a black and Decker spice grinder for less than $15!
  7. For iced coffee, brew your coffee using 2 times the amount of coffee you normally would. By pouring it over ice, the ice will dilute the coffee.

Added Tip:

Brew your own coffee at home

Pour into your favorite travel coffee mug (If you do not have one, buy one that you really like. This will make it seem as though you just stopped at your favorite coffee spot for the coffee you are drinking.)

Add one or more of the following:

  1. A flavored powder coffee creamer
  2. A Maxwell House International Cafe instant coffee, flavor of your choice
  3. A Maxwell House International Delight mini, flavor of your choice

If you add a little bit of each three, and purchase 2 different flavors of each, your morning options can be extensive. You can easily have a different coffee flavor each weekday morning for your drive to work or to drink before the kids get up for school.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

Are you clueless when it comes to ordering coffee? Let me help you...



Are you clueless when it comes to ordering coffee? Does your significant other live life with a coffee cup in hand? Here is an idea for you, treat them to a caffeinated beverage and YOU do the ordering!

First step is inquiring about the kind of coffee they prefer to drink.  Find out if they like it hot or cold. Then find out if they like regular or decaffeinated. Lastly, know if they enjoy flavored beverages or the standard coffee with cream and/or sugar. After you get these specifics, take a look at the rest of this article for terminology when ordering. Your mate will be not only impressed, but thankful that you took the time to learn about and take interest in something that they enjoy.

Decaf: When you order a decaf, you are ordering a decaffeinated coffee…no caffeine.
Half caf: This means to fill the cup halfway with caffeinated coffee and the other half with decaffeinated coffee…equal parts of each.
Regular: Means caffeinated coffee.
Mocha: This means to add chocolate to the brew. Example: I’ll take a regular, mocha latte.
Skinny: Ask for a skinny latte and you will get your drink made with nonfat milk.
Add a shot: Means that you are asking for a shot of espresso to be added to the drink. This adds a kick of caffeine.
Sugar free: Asking for a sugar free drink means you are asking for them to use sugar free syrup.
Whip or no whip: This term refers to whipped cream on top of the drink. By adding…with no whip, means you do not want whipped cream on top.
Iced: Coffee poured over ice.

Now that you are familiar with the coffee terms, let’s discuss drink sizes.
You can choose from small, medium and large. But, often times, this is not how you order the size you prefer. 
Try: Tall, Grande, or Venti (If you are at Starbucks).
Show them that money is no issue…order the Venti!

Don’t rush off just yet! There are several different types of coffee drinks to choose from:
Espresso: One shot of strong coffee in a cup
Double espresso: Two shots of strong coffee in a cup
Macchiato: A single shot of espresso mixed with milk foam.
Latte: Espresso, steamed milk topped with a little bit of milk foam.
Cappuccino: Espresso, with a small amount of steamed milk topped with a good amount of milk foam.
Mocha: Espresso with mocha syrup added, then topped with equal parts steamed milk and whipped cream.
And lastly:
The Americano: Espresso with hot water

This short list of basic coffee tips and facts will have you well on your way to show that special someone that you care.


Sunday, January 1, 2017

Resolutions vs goals for 2017


 
I posted this article on my Author: Deanna Martinez-Bey blog, but I thought you guys would also benefit from it and enjoy reading it!

2017 Is a great year to move forward with what you love! Leave the old, stinky past behind and move forward into a bright, shiny new year.

At the beginning of each new year, I enjoy writing about the difference between resolutions and goals. Check out the difference. It may not look like a big deal, but read on…

Resolution: A promise we make to ourselves and declare to others that we are going to make a positive change for the new year.

Goals: A plan we make to move forward towards a better life.

Do you see the difference? A resolution is a promise, but a goal is a plan. A promise versus a plan. Let’s set goals for ourselves this year. Make a plan, write a list of steps to get you to where you want to be: financially, physically, emotionally, relationally. Set reasonable goals. Take baby steps towards your new future, your new life.

Focus on your dreams, write them down and then write a list of doable steps so that you can bring them to life. Let’s not allow our dreams to remain dreams. Let’s make them our reality for 2017!

Think on your goals. Meditate on them, see yourself living the life that you desire. Talk about your dreams and goals with people who will build you up and encourage you. Make your plan and work towards it each day, little by little, taking baby steps.

You can do this! 2017 is your year, it’s your book to write…so write a best seller!

Tuesday, December 6, 2016

Clean drinking water for the Holidays...



Your Water is Clear, but is it Clean?



We all assume the water filter sitting in our fridge is working, but how do we know if we’re getting the safest and most delicious water? With water contamination in the forefront of many people’s minds, finding effective water filtration solutions is more important than ever.  
If you have reason to be worried about lead, many common water filters can be effective. The team at Reviews.com, a site dedicated to investigating products and industries, spent six weeks analyzing 38 pitcher and faucet water filters to find which are the most successful at removing contaminants and enhancing flavor.

TASTE MATTERS

Water is supposed to be tasteless, right? Turns out it’s a little more complicated. Our saliva and our tongues’ taste receptors have various enzymes and minerals that combine with foods (and water) to affect how we perceive “taste” — it’s why some of us love cilantro and some of us think it tastes like soap.

THE PITCHER IS ONLY THE BEGINNING

A filter works just like a sponge: Once it’s full, it’s useless. Though most filters have an anti-bacterial treatment, it’s only so long before that wet carbon is a breeding ground for grossness.

The up-front costs of a pitcher or faucet filter pale in comparison to the long-term costs of replacing those filters over and over and over: While faucet filters can remain effective for 100 to 200 gallons of water, most pitcher filters only last 40 gallons before they need to be replaced — and that’s only if you believe the marketing claims.
If the owner of a typical water pitcher filter drank the recommended 12 cups of water per day and diligently replaced their pitcher filter every 40 gallons, they’d be buying about seven replacement filters per year. That number goes up the more people you have in your household, and up even more if you follow some water experts’ advice and replace filters twice as often as recommended.

DID YOU KNOW?

The carbon material in your filter is oftentimes the burnt charcoal remains of a natural substance, like coconut shells. Carbon looks like a big sponge if you look at it under a microscope, and that’s exactly how it functions during water filtration: It absorbs organic materials.
When water passes through this carbon material — either by gravity (pitcher filters) or through water pressure (faucet filters) — pollutants are bound to the carbon, thereby keeping them away from your water. Carbon in and of itself is not effective at taking out volatile organic compounds and heavy metals like mercury and lead. To accomplish this, some filters add a non-carbon layer to the filtering process: a plastic resin that works like a magnet.

At the end of the day, it’s easy to take water for granted — but it’s just as easy to use a filter and make sure your H2O is clean and tasty. Learn what contaminants are in your drinking water, and then find a filter with the right certifications to make sure it will do the job it claims to do.

Friday, October 28, 2016

3 versions of oatmeal cookies




It's always great when we stumble upon a good recipe for our favorite cookie. Check out my three variations of the classic oatmeal cookie. I have included the basic: oatmeal raisin, the tropical: orange coconut and the chocolate: oatmeal chocolate chip.
 Sometimes I like to make one basic cookie recipe in bulk and then split it up into different batches to add different additives. You can definitely do that with these three recipes.
Oatmeal cookies, in my opinion, compliment any Holiday cookie platter! You can even add Christmas colored M&M's to bring pretty colors to the platter.

Chewy Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

  •  ¾ cup Crisco, butter flavored
  •  1 ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  •  1 egg
  •  1/3 cup milk
  •  1 ½ tsp vanilla
  •  3 cups oats
  •  1 cup flour
  •  ½ tsp baking soda
  •  ½ tsp salt
  •  ¼ tsp cinnamon
  •  1 cup raisins

 Preheat oven to 350*.
 Spray cookie sheets with butter spray. (Or line them with no stick foil)
 Blend Crisco, sugar, egg, milk and vanilla until blended.
 In separate bowl combine oats, flour, soda, salt and cinnamon.
 Add dry mix into wet mix and slowly blend.
 Add raisins. Mix.
 Drop by teaspoon full scoops onto sheet, 2 inches apart.
 Bake for 10-12 minutes.
 Makes 2 ½ dozen cookies.

Orange Coconut Oatmeal Cookies

  •  ¾ cup Crisco, butter flavored
  •  1 ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  •  1 egg
  •  1/3 cup milk
  •  ½ tsp vanilla
  •  3 tbsp orange juice
  •  3 cups oats
  •  1 cup flour
  •  ½ tsp baking soda
  •  ½ tsp salt
  •  ¼ tsp cinnamon
  •  1 cup shredded coconut, sweetened

 Preheat oven to 350*.
 Spray cookie sheets with butter spray. (Or line them with no stick foil)
 Blend Crisco, sugar, egg, milk, vanilla and orange juice until blended.
 In separate bowl combine oats, flour, soda, salt and cinnamon.
 Add dry mix into wet mix and slowly blend.
 Add coconut. Mix.
 Drop by teaspoon full scoops onto sheet, 2 inches apart.
 Bake for 10-12 minutes.
 Makes 2 ½ dozen cookies.

Chewy Oatmeal Chocolate Chips Cookies

  •  ¾ cup Crisco, butter flavored
  •  1 ¼ cup brown sugar, packed
  •  1 egg
  •  1/3 cup milk
  •  1 ½ tsp vanilla
  •  3 cups oats
  •  1 cup flour
  •  ½ tsp baking soda
  •  ½ tsp salt
  •  ¼ tsp cinnamon
  •  1 cup chocolate chips

 Preheat oven to 350*.
 Spray cookie sheets with butter spray. (Or line them with no stick foil)
 Blend Crisco, sugar, egg, milk and vanilla until blended.
 In separate bowl combine oats, flour, soda, salt and cinnamon.
 Add dry mix into wet mix and slowly blend.
 Add raisins. Mix.
 Drop by teaspoon full scoops onto sheet, 2 inches apart.
 Bake for 10-12 minutes.
 Makes 2 ½ dozen cookies.