Time and time again, I find myself sifting through the crisper drawer of our fridge trying to figure out what to do with all of the ‘fresh’ fruits I bought that are starting to become not so fresh…I buy the fruit hoping that my kids will actually have a revelation and realize that fruit not only tastes good but is of vital importance to their health – this has not happened, yet…
So, in the mean time, I have to find ways to sneak veggies and (oddly) fruits into their carb loving diets (don’t know who they got that from…) I’m running out of ideas! I have even dusted off my ‘Deceptively Delicious’ cookbook, which I threw by the wayside after my daughter was born because the recipes seemed too complicated to me. I thumbed through 3 or 4 recipes and put it right back in the moving box…I don’t know what it is, but those recipes still seem waaaay too complicated, or uninspiring, or maybe the pictures turn me off, something….have you ever cooked anything from the ‘Deceptively Delicious’ book??? How was it??
So even though I want to love ‘Deceptively Delicious’ I have to look elsewhere for culinary inspiration. When I’m in a hurry and need a recipe fast, I always turn to my trusted food site: allrecipes.com Here is a wonderful recipe I adapted from allrecipes for pear bread. I ended up with what I will call:
THE PERFECT PAIR BREAD (the pair being pears and cranberries…get it!?)
*WARNING: THIS IS A HIGHLY ADDICTIVE RECIPE – YOU WILL CRAVE FOR IT NIGHTLY!*
½1/2 cup Vegtable Oil
(you can sub applesauce or baby food pears instead…I bet pureed carrots might even work…or pureed pineapple…hmmmm??)
1 cup Sugar
(the bread turned out sweet, so you could probably even get away with ½1/2 cup if you wanted….or be bad and use the whole cup, just this once…)
2 cups of Pears, peeled and chopped
½1/2 lemon, juiced
1 cup of dried Cranberries
1 tsp Vanilla
1 ½ cups Flour
1/2½ tsp baking powder
½1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
½1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
Peel and chop pears. Place in small bowl and toss with lemon juice. Mix oil, sugar and eggs in a large bowl until well blended. Add pears and vanilla and combine.
In a separate bowl (I did mine all in the same bowl…tisk tisk) mix remaining dry ingredients: flour, baking powder, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, nutmeg. Add dry ingredients to wet and stir until combined. Stir in cranberries.
Pour batter into a greased loaf pan. Bake for 35-45 min or until golden and toothpick comes out clean. (I doubled my recipe and baked for 60+ min, so I am not quite sure on the cooking time for one batch…just keep an eye on it…)
I nearly made myself sick eating so much of it at once, but it’s just that good!!! And, I think it goes without saying, that the kids gave it ‘two fists’ up (they were shoveling it in their little mouths with both fists, faster than they could chew!)
I was so excited after writing about all of those BB products that I couldn’t wait for an online order to ship – so I decided to see what my local Target had to offer in the ‘bee’ department. Much to my surprise, they actually had everything I was looking for (I always assumed Target, Walgreens and all of those other stores just carried the lip balms and other basic bee products, but they actually had quite a selection)! I ended up leaving with the Naturally Ageless Intensive Repairing Serum, the Radiance Day Lotion and the Baby Bee Shampoo and Wash.
Don’t be alarmed by the bottles’ pint-sized portion – the contents are quite fluid, so a little dab’ll do ya! In fact, I don’t even squeeze the dropper in the Ageless bottle, the serum that coats the outside of the dropper is enough to cover your entire face. Both smell fabulous – of course – and are so light and refreshing. Now, I can’t claim that I have noticed any staggering results in my first few days of use, but I can say that my husband actually noticed that my skin looked ‘silky’ – hey that’s 10 steps in the right direction in my book!
My daughter has proclaimed that the ‘honey soap’ makes her hair ‘nice and shiney and smooth!’ but then again, she says the same thing about eating the crusts of her sandwiches…shhhh, that’s the only way I can convince her to eat it! (my mom told me, when I was growing up, that bread crust made my hair curly. I believed her until I was in 4th grade and was made-fun of by a fellow classmate who chided my answer to her question of ‘how do you get your hair so curly?’) :) And, now that I have confessed my almost Single White Female obsession with Costco, you will not be surprised by how often I reference the ‘C’ word in this, and all future, posts…so let the tally begin.
I found this wonderful product at Costco about a month ago: VitaBath: Lime Citron Basil Gelee
I am happy to report that I have no regrets about this impulse purchase…after all, we already had a half-full tub of body wash from a previous Costco run in our shower…but that tub was chosen by my husband, who of course gravitated towards a ‘blah’ body soap with a terrible smell, color, and texture (we won’t mention brand names here…) and I couldn’t wait to find a replacement! I love, love, love this stuff!!! I highly recommend giving it a try!
Side Note: I am not a curious consumer. I generally don’t read labels, I don’t register for rebates, and I hate signing up for ‘rewards’ points/cards/credits/etc. But, I just happened to be ravenous after this particular Costco run (don’t worry it will make sense soon…) so I dumped my purchases on the kitchen table and raided the kitchen pantry for cereal. I’m not a curious consumer, but I am a cereal reader (I enjoy reading while eating cereal…usually the cereal box itself) except I had already read this cereal box….So the next thing in sight was the VitaBath. Munching and reading along, I came across this dubious warning on the back of the bottle which read: ‘CAUTION: FOR ADULT USE ONLY‘ Disappointing. I had hoped I could use it in my kids’ baths as well (after all there is SO much of it!) I sent the company an email and asked for a further explanation of the warning (did they warn against use on children because it would sting their eyes, or because of something more sinister???) Well, I guess I will never know – I didn’t receive a reply. But, that’s fine – more bath gelee for me, more ‘blah’ soap for my husband and the kids’ get to use their new Baby Bee wash – everyone wins!!
(That's the 'blah' soap over there on the left....I like the picture on the right much better!) :)
Costco – I have a love/hate relationship with this warehouse mecca.
I love the fact that I can buy so many of our family’s sundries at such great prices – I even love the fact that everything in the store is mega-sized, it doesn’t bother me that I have to buy 1lb of mustard at a time or that a pack of deodorant contains enough sticks to last me 3 years.
What I hate is the ‘I can’t afford NOT to buy this’ spell I fall under every time I enter those air-blown warehouse doors. $6 for 4 jars of pasta sauce!? I’ll take it! $4 for a whole rotisserie chicken!? Throw it in the cart! A 10,000 pack of post-it notes for just a few bucks!? Sure, why not!! A TV console marked down $100!? (rubbing my eyes…really!??) Hey, at that price, I can’t afford not to buy it!
I enter Costco with such joy, eyes spinning like slots in Vegas, trying to take in all of the new inventory (‘cause there’s always something new at Costco) – I pile my cart so high that I can hardly make the turn to the checkout line, I sneakily eyeball everyone else’s booty to make sure I didn’t miss any hidden treasures, I proudly stack all of my great finds on the conveyor belt, flash my ‘I’m so cool’ membership card for all to see…beep. Beep, beep. Beep. Beep, beep, beep, beep…uhhhh, maybe I went a little over board??? Beep. Beep, beep, beep…That’s when the hate side of the relationship starts to build – when that total flashes, in the blink of any eye, across the cashier’s display screen -- and I am, by the way, convinced that the Costco cash registers process faster than any other register on purpose…so that the shock of your total doesn’t hit you until you stare blankly at the employee who is charged with checking your receipt at the exit… Are they there just to rub in the fact that because it takes him/her soooo long to inventory your receipt (looking over, under and sideways through your cart) that you probably/most definitely just became another Costco victim??
And, then I leave. Tail between my legs. Shoving giant boxes of goldfish, contact solution, ballpoint pens, diapers and frozen chicken breasts into any open space of my car. Driving my loot home, rear of my car sagging under the weight of buyer’s remorse – it hits me: ‘that dang Costco got me again!’
But, this whole Costco phenomenon is a lot like childbirth…you swear you will never do it again for all of the pain and discomfort it caused you, but then you find yourself saying a few weeks later: ‘hey, are we out of Kleenex??? Yeah? Ok, well I’ll make a Costco run tomorrow, write down what you need on my list’ …and it starts all over again…
Now, I am not a girly girl – I rarely wear make-up. When I do it only involves eye shadow, eyeliner and mascara. I don’t use lotion or moisturizer, unless I am trying to turn over a new leaf and start being more ‘girly,’ which usually only lasts a week or two. Heck, I don’t even use shaving gel…soap suffices just fine. Although I have a fair amount of pretty jewelry, I don’t wear it. I don’t paint my fingernails (have always thought it looked funny on me) and will only paint my toenails if I am bored (bored?? What!?). My shoe collection is nothing more than a series of different colored flip-flops. I have one purse that I carry everywhere, no matter what I am wearing. I cut my hair once a year and have only recently started dying it again because I found….a gray!
Perhaps it’s because my 30th birthday is less than 2 weeks away, but I am starting to notice that I can no longer rely on my young, fresh look to get me by. My skin is beginning to show its age… pores a little more pore-ish, those cute wrinkles you get when you wake -up from a deep sleep, now cover half my face in the morning like a topographical map and aren’t so cute any more because they linger for hours after I have gotten out of bed, and the worst, was when I got a slight sunburn on my face and noticed that I had a ‘crow’s feet tan!’ (my face was slightly red, except for these 2 little lines on the side of each eye – it looked like I had applied some sort of crazy circus make-up for about a day until the sunburn faded) I have come to the realization that, as much as I hate to admit it, it’s time for me to invest more effort in my ‘beauty routine’ if I want this young mug to stay far away from sallow and sagging for as long as possible.
But it’s not realistic for me to think that I can just dive into toners, astringents, scrubs, eye creams, masks, essential oils, moisturizers, etc. I need to take baby steps. And that is where Burt comes in. Burt, of Burt’s Bees, that is – the bees’ knees for sure! I have always been in love with BB’s lip balm and bar soaps (one of the few beauty products I will actually buy) -- but after recently receiving some free trial sized products in my last order of balm and bars from Burt, I was hooked! Even if the stuff didn’t work (which it most certainly does), I would buy it just for the smells!!
Here’s are some of the BB’s products I am in love with:
Peppermint Rosemary Body Bar
Milk and Honey Body Lotion
Lemon Butter Cuticle Cream (super love!)
Beeswax Lip Balm (I have one of these in every drawer in our house…)
And with products for every need (even babies and men) there is sure to be something everyone in the family can enjoy! Not to mention, I think Burt and I are on the same beauty wavelength – simple and effortless should be key. In fact, I am going to place an order right now for the Naturally Ageless line (look at those reviews!!), and might give the baby product line a try... All of this ‘bee’ talk has made me want to snatch up the whole store!
PS: Always check out their specials first and be sure to check back around major holidays, as I have noticed that Burt also loves a bargain and/or free give away as much as I do!