Holidays & Special Events, Recipes

A sweet treat for your valentine 


Valentine’s Day is over and gone, but these little treats can be made all year long! (If you end an argument with a rhyme, it’s convincing all the time. I learned that from “How I Met Your Mother.”)

Anywho! I brought these mini heart-shaped pies to a ladies Valentine’s event for my church and the girls all flipped for them! They were gone almost right away. I had to make another batch later that week so I’d have more to share with my family. Wrap them up in a cute little bag, tie it with a string, and you’ve got the perfect Valentine’s gift!

With a sweet jam center, golden flaky crust, and the cutest little heart shape, these babies are sure to make all your friends and family smile. Or, you know, make you smile as you eat an entire batch on your own. (I definitely didn’t do that. Or did I…….)

The best part is… they’re so super easy to make!!! I am no baker extraordinaire but I pulled these off, no problem. I promise you can too! (And let me know if you do, I would love to hear how much you love them too! Look at that, more rhyming.)

Mini Heart Pies

Prep time: 15 minutes

Bake time: 20 minutes

Ingredients:

  1. One box of pie crusts (or homemade if you’re fancy. I’m not.)
  2. Your favorite jam. (I used the Bonne Maman Strawberry Preserve for one batch and the Bonne Maman Peach/Mango Preserve for the other batch.)
  3. Egg wash & a sprinkle of sugar
  4. Heart shaped cookie cutter

Instructions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Roll out your dough and cut out the hearts. (One pie crust yielded 10 total mini pies for me.)
  3. Place a small amount of jam in the center of half of the hearts.
  4. Gently brush a little bit of the egg wash (1 egg beaten with a little water) around the edges of the jam. This will help the two crusts seal together.
  5. Use the remaining hearts as the top crust. Place each one directly on top of the jam hearts and crimp the edges with a fork.
  6. Brush more of the egg wash on top of each mini pie. Add a sprinkle of sugar on top.
  7. Bake at 350 degrees for about 20 minutes or until golden brown.

Enjoy! 😊❤🍓

** Credit for the idea goes to Kristen Mittler (@oldjoy on Instagram) who shared a similar treat on her profile.**

Aaaand this post wouldn’t be complete without a few personal photos from our Valentine’s Day!

Hope you all had a lovely love day! xo.

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At home, DIY

DIY // The easiest raised garden bed ever


Ever since we bought our first house a few months ago I’ve been itching to start a little patio garden out back. It’s been a sort of dream of mine for awhile to grow fresh produce for my family…for health reasons, for teaching purposes (homeschool curriculum down the road?!), and just for the fun of it! I wanted to start while Jameson was young to make sure I got a handle on how things are done by the time he’s old enough to learn about it. And since Arizona has two growing seasons (spring and fall), October was the perfect time to get started.

We have this big old slab of concrete off the patio where the previous home owners had a hot tub, and it’s the perfect little corner for a raised vegetable garden. Good sun exposure, close to a water supply, and empty/ugly enough to need a little spruce up. (Eventually I’d like to add flowers and wall vines and other pretty things like that, but maybe in the spring.)


When I brought the idea of a raised garden bed to Alex, he had two criteria:

#1. It had to be easy to put together. And…

#2. It had to be relatively cheap.

(But not in that order. Ah, my sweet penny-pinching hubby. ❤ I love him so.)

Anyway, challenge accepted. We originally planned to build it completely out of wood, but why do things the easy way when you can find an even easier way? Laziness, my friends. This plan stemmed from laziness. When all was said and done, our raised garden bed was made entirely without the use of any sort of tool. 

And it only cost us about $67.

This is way cheaper than any DIY raised garden bed kit you can find at the store. (The closest I could find was $88 and it wasn’t even as wide or as deep as I wanted mine to be). Following this method allows you to get creative with the size and even the shape of your raised garden bed without costing you a fortune. Plus it looks super cute! Sort of a mix between farmhouse style and urban industrial, which I really like.


We got all our supplies at the good ol’ Home Depot. Probably the only time in the history of our marriage that we went in and came out with everything we needed and avoided an angry whisper argument in the middle of one of the aisles due to our confusion and/or our inability to make quick decisions. (We’re really not the home improvement types.)

The supply list for this do-it-yourself project is very short. Our garden bed is 3 feet wide by 6 feet long, with a depth of 1 foot. In total, all we needed were six pieces of redwood (2in x 6in x 6ft each, four of them being full length and two cut in half) and eight planter wall blocks (two for each corner, stacked on top of each other).

After we decided how large we wanted our garden bed to be, the rest was easy. We chose redwood for our lumber because of its resistance to rot and warping ($8.27 per board, but there are even cheaper versions if you’d like). We had a guy at Home Depot cut two of the six foot boards in half, we grabbed two more full-length six foot boards as well as the eight cement blocks ($2.87 each), and we took it all home.


We stacked two cement blocks for each corner of the garden bed (making it about a foot deep), used a little heavy duty glue to keep them solid, and slid two boards in the grooves on each side. Tada! All done!



The most challenging and most expensive part of this project really came after everything was built. We invested in some good, organic soil (in addition to some soil amenities) to make sure we’d have rich, healthy crops. This is where things can get pricey. But that’s for another post. 🙂

This project was really so easy and so much fun. And we already have cute little sprouts popping up all over the veggie garden! Jameson loves to look at all the plants and even give them kisses, and I’m so excited for our first harvest!


Good luck to anyone planning to give urban gardening a try! Trust me, if Alex and I (two of the least handy people on the planet) could get this project rolling…you most certainly can too. 🙂

DIY, Uncategorized

DIY // Brown Sugar Body Scrub

Ohhh my friends. Is your skin getting super dry this winter? Are you looking for a great homemade gift for the holidays? Do you need a snack while you shower? If you answered “yes” to any of these questions, your search ends here. I present to you the simplest, most moisturizing, most delectable homemade body scrub on the inter webs. 

Only three ingredients and ready in five minutes. This stuff is about to blow. your. mind. (And your taste buds, oh man it tastes just like a cookie.) You might already have all the ingredients just chillin’ in your pantry, waiting to be combined into pure magic.

I don’t know about you, but I love body scrubs. I love how they exfoliate, I love how they moisturize, I love how they smell. But I really can’t justify spending $25+ on one little tub. It’s over too quickly and then I have to shell out more money for another one. This handy sugar scrub recipe, however, takes care of that problem. It’s quick, easy, and made from all natural ingredients…so natural that you can literally have a quick taste while you’re using it. (Or two tastes. Or three.) Yum! That’s my kind of body scrub. 🙂  Homemade beauty products for the win.

Stick it in a cute mason jar ($8 for 12 at Target), add some ribbon and a cute tag (or make one out of cardstock paper and fancy tape like I did), and you’ve got yourself a great holiday gift for your friends and family. Yippee! (Speaking of which, if you’re reading this and we’re friends in real life…act surprised when you get your scrub for Christmas.)

Brown Sugar Body Scrub

Yield: fills one 8oz mason jar

Total time: 5 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil (soft but solid)
  • Splash of vanilla extract
  • Optional add-ins: cinnamon, a little honey, essential oils, vitamin E oil, etc.

Instructions

  1. Soften coconut oil in microwave for a few seconds, if necessary.
  2. Add all ingredients into a standing mixer, food processor, or mixing bowl.
  3. Whisk together on medium-high speed for a minute or two until the coconut oil begins to break down and mixture resembles creamy cookie dough.
  4. Place in mason jar and make it look pretty. 🙂

Note: If you mix it for too long, the coconut oil will start to melt and your scrub will be almost liquid. No worries, though, just put it in the fridge or freezer for a few, wait for it to solidify, and whip it up again.


Store your scrub at room temperature. I keep mine in the shower and so far our bathroom has stayed cool enough for the scrub to remain in its creamy/solid state. Over time, though, it may melt down and become runny because of the steam in the shower. Again, just pop it in the fridge for a bit until it returns to the consistency you prefer. 


Enjoy! xo

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Recipes

Sugar and Spice Baked Oatmeal

Okay get ready. If you’re a fan of baked oatmeal (or oatmeal in any capacity) you MUST stop what you’re doing and try this recipe right now. No I’m serious, RIGHT NOW. (By the way, I’ve never posted a recipe on my blog before and I’m really not much of a chef, so that should tell you just how yummy and simple this dish really is.)

I’ve been on a major baked oatmeal kick as of late. There are so many tasty versions floating around out there (like, a ton) but fear not! I tried a bunch of them over and over to bring you the best (it was a huge sacrifice, but I did it all for you). I took what I loved about each recipe, added my own ideas, and tada! This is my favorite recipe by far; sweet sugar and spicy cinnamon come together for the tastiest combination. Legit the most comforting comfort food you could make and perfect for cold, wintry mornings (or, you know, 80 degree afternoons like we’re currently having in Phoenix). 


It’s so easy to make and reheats really well, which means breakfast is quick and delicious every morning. Even Jameson, the pickiest little eater ever, gobbles it up. And it’s freezable! Just cut it up into square portions and you’ve got meals for days. But the best part? Cheap. This probably costs $5 at the most. 

Sugar and Spice Baked Oatmeal

Yield: 8 servings (9 x 13 inch pan)

Prep time: 5 minutes 

Cook time: 30 minutes

Ingredients

  • 3 cups rolled oats (quick-cooking oats work too)
  • 2/3 cup brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup flour
  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder 
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp cinnamon 
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Lightly grease a 9 x 13 inch glass baking dish with non-stick cooking spray. 
  2. In a standing mixer (or mixing bowl) whisk together all ingredients. 
  3. Pour into prepped baking dish and bake in oven for 25-30 minutes, or until oatmeal is set in the middle.
  4. Serve and enjoy! (Oh I’m so excited for you to taste it.)

Optional: Serve with milk or cream, yogurt, fresh fruit, a sprinkle of cinnamon, whatever tastes right! 

Freezer instructions: Portion into squares and store in individual plastic baggies. Thaw in microwave on low power for about a minute, add a splash of milk, and then microwave on regular power for another minute. 

What are you waiting for?! Please give this a try! And then let me know how much you love it. 🙂

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