Monthly Archives: March 2014

03/24/14

Chewy Toffee Cookies {snacktime series pt 2}

Who says all snacks have to be savory?

Not I!

I love a good, chewy, sugary cookie. I have spent most of my adolescence and young adult years perfecting a basic cookie dough that is versatile, delicious, easy to make, and you can add almost anything to it and it comes out perfectly every time.

This is that cookie dough.

Basic Cookie Dough Recipe  

It’s rich, buttery, and deeply flavored with brown sugar and lots of vanilla!

Ingredients:

  • 2 sticks room temperature unsalted butter
  • 1 cup packed light brown sugar
  • 3/4 cup white granulated sugar
  • 3 whole eggs, also at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
  • 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons cream of tartar

Directions:

1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter with sugars until one creamy mixture is formed and it no longer feels grainy and is light brown in color.

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2. Add the vanilla and the salt and beat until combined.

3. Add the eggs, one at the time, and beat until combined.

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Scrape down the sides to ensure all is thoroughly combined.

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4. Meanwhile, in a separate bowl, whisk the flour, baking soda, and cream of tartar together.

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Add the dry mixture to the wet mixture a little at the time, beating constantly, until it forms a nice, thick dough. Stop the mixer just as it all comes together. Do not overmix.

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It really is a great, versatile dough.

5. Now, it’s time to add in the good stuff! Chocolate chips, white chocolate chips, dark chocolate chunks, butterscotch chips, peanuts, oatmeal & raisins, mint candies, whatever your heart desires! Today, it was all about Heath for me.

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So, in goes 1 1/2 cups Heath chips!

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Simply divine! The heath version is easily my favorite with a close runner-up being white chocolate.

6. Now, scoop the dough onto a prepared baking sheet. I’m a big fan of parchment paper or a silpat liner, but use whatever you like. Scoop the dough uniformally so that all the cookies come out the same size.

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Don’t crowd the cookie sheet too much. These cookies spread!

7. Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes or until the cookies are ewy, chewy, and a light golden around the edges. They puff a bit in the oven and then settle back down once they are taken out.

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I like blonde cookies, slightly underbaked, but you can cook up to 12 minutes if you like a crispier texture.

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However you like it, they are so, so good!

Happy baking!

xoxo

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03/20/14

5 Fool-proof ways to get your Skin summertime ready!

Here we are, a few days into Spring and I am finally getting used to the daylight savings. Enjoying longer days, more hours of sunlight, and the clinks of the metal bats as spring baseball is in full swing. {Pun intended.}

I am swapping out turtlenecks and wool sweaters for cotton jackets and blouses and tights and boots for bare legs and slingbacks. Enjoying the prospect of sultry nudes, pale pinks, and taupes in my makeup regimen. So, it’s time to develop a plan to get my skin summer-time ready!  Here are 5 fool-proof, sure-fire ways to get your skin in summertime shape.

Step One: EXFOLIATE

After a long, hard wintry season, your skin may look like mine- dry and scaly in certain places. Winter does war on my hands, feet, and face, but a good round of gentle exfoliation gets my skin back into a smoother and suppler shape.

Gently slough off dead, dry skin cells using small, circular motions once or twice a week for best results. A great bi-product of regular exfoliation is that your skin is much more receptive to moisturizers, lotions, and self-tanning products. They will blend and absord more evenly.

Step Two: SKINCARE SWAP IN & OUT

Just as your clothing and accessories change from season to season, so should your skin care regimen. For example, you might use a lush and ultra-moistuirzing cream cleanser in colder temps, but maybe a more light-weight foaming cleanser is better for your skin in warmer temps.

In summer, I balance moisturizing products with oil-controlling products as my skin is naturally oily and even moreso in Atlanta’s sweltering summer heat. I bump down my moisturizing routine to only a few times a week, but use glycolic or salicidic acid treatments daily to slow down oil-production and prevent breakouts. I also tend to use less facial makeup in summertime as that tends to clog my pores. Less is more in my book.

Step Three: SHAVE SMARTER

This may seem basic and even like “duh?” to some, but razor burn and razor bumps have plagued me for years, especially in spring and summertime when my shaving routine multiplies. So, a few tips for bathing & shaving smarter:

  1. Keep your showers & tubs shorter. Longer & hotter showers tend to be much more drying.
  2. Change the blades of your razors more often.
  3. Keep your legs & underarms very well lathered while shaving.
  4. Finish with a short, cool rinse to close your pores and leave your skin and hair feeling healthy and smooth.
  5. Always, always, always moisturize after shaving! This will further prevent any irritation and will seal skin with a layer of moisture.

Step Four: WEAR SUNSCREEN. EVERY DAY.

A broad-spectrum 15-30 SPF is perfect for every day use. And although many makeup bases or tinted moisturizers do contain sun protection, layering the two together gives you the proper amount of coverage.

For me, Neutrogena’s Oil Free Moisture with SPF 15 is perfect! A thin swipe of that all across my face and then another layer of my skin-brightening concealer & my trusty Beauticontrol Wet/Dry perfecting powder (also garnered with SPF) and my face is ready to take on the day! This lotion is good for 12 hours of continuous moisture and is hypoallergenic and fragrance free!

Neutrogena Oil-Free Moisture With Sunscreen SPF 15 Profile Photo

Look for sunscreens that are non-oily, dry completely, and don’t clog pores or prevent makeup from blending. I also really love Neutrogena’s Dry Touch sunscreen when I am out in the sun all day or on a beach trip. I up the anty and use SPF 30-45  during those times.

 

Step Five: POLISH OFF!

Yes, time to prep those toesies for a summer staple– Polish!

I keep my fingernails painted year-round, but in the months that my feet are shoved securely in pumps, boots, and sneakers, I let them breathe. So, I remove polish in November and then bring them out of hibernation in March/April. I exfoliate the feet generously, treat the nails and nailbeds with vitamin-rich cuticle oil, trim & file them up good, and then start the polishing process! To maintain healthy toenails and nailbeds, remove polish every week to 2 weeks, allow to breathe a day or two, and then reapply.

I use Essie Apricot Cuticle Oil. It rehydrates and treats both my nails and the cuticle beds. It retails for about $15 and can be found in most drugstores and other retailer such as Wal-mart or Target.

General tips about toenail care…

Summertime and warmer temperatures are also a breeding ground for nail fungus. So, keep your nails short, dry, and cleaned. Remember to dry between your toes after bathing. Don’t go barefoot in public places such as gymnasiums, locker rooms, and damp poolside areas. If you frequent salons for mani/pedis, choose a reputable salon that uses cleaned and sterilized utensils. Or, better yet, bring your own utensils and polishes with you!

As far as my favorite nail color shades for spring & summer, here are my top picks:

Essie’s Eternal Optimist– it is listed as being a “spiced tea rose with a dash of cream”, but I just call it a “lovely pale pink shade.”

eternal optimist - pinks By Essie

 

Truth or Flare also looks like a lot of fun… like a faded blue demin shade perfect for spring & summertime!

truth or flare - blues By Essie

And when I go to the beach, I love to paint a shock wave of electric pink on my toesies. This year, I am giving Essie’s Mod Squad a try… can’t wait!

mod squad - pinks By Essie

 

And finally, there is Cocktails & Coconuts which is described as a “subtle & shimmering warm sand” tone. Sounds (and looks) just lovely. I love a little bit of shimmer sometimes.

cocktails & coconuts - neutrals By Essie

These 5 fool-proof, never-fail steps will help you jump out of your wintertime blues and into bright summer hues! Use these tips and tricks to get your skin summertime ready!

Have fun!

 

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