Hot Buffalo Chicken Soup

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It's been raining this morning and I've wanted a reason to try out this soup! I looked through lots of recipes and decided I'd wing it (pun intended) and share it with you. Hope you enjoy it as much as we are!

Hot Buffalo Chicken Soup

  • 2-3 stalks of celery, chopped
  • 1 sm onion, chopped
  • 2 tbsp minced garlic
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 3/4 cup Half & Half
  • 4 cups water
  • 1 chicken bullion cube
  • 1 bottle (12oz) buffalo wing sauce
  • 1/4 cup flour (I used gluten free)
  • 2 cups of cooked cubed chicken
  • 2 cups of shredded cheese (I used Colby Jack)
  • Pepper to taste

Melt butter in your soup pot. Add in celery, garlic and onion and sauté for 5 minutes. I like my celery a tad crunchy so I didn't let it get too soft. Add in the flour and stir until absorbed. Add the water slowly stirring to dissolve any clumps of flour.

Next add in the cream, bullion, chicken and hot wing sauce. I used a whole bottle because we like it spicy but if you don't, start with 1/2 and add more to taste. Add in 2 cups of cheese and stir until this is melted into yummy goodness. Add in some fresh ground pepper, simmer for 10 minutes and you are good to go.

I sampled this soup several times before it made it into the bowls and it is so yummy! I love hot wings and this is a nice variation – the hubby is loving it too! Enjoy!!

 

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Be Yourself – You’re BEAUTIFUL

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I was sitting at home looking through Pinterest and on a whim I typed in the word beautiful and hit search. Hundreds of beautiful pictures popped up. Pictures of majestic horses, regal birds, graceful tigers, and adorable puppies and kittens. I scrolled through pin after pin of beautiful pictures of animals and occasionally there would be a picture of a woman or a child.

This broke my heart. We get up and look in the mirror every morning. We focus on the freckles on our nose, the crooked smile, the too small or too large eyes. We're overweight, we're too skinny, we're not tan enough, our hair isn't pretty enough. We spend so much time focusing on our flaws that we forget. We are BEAUTIFUL. That you are beautiful.

Why do we post hundreds of pictures of animals we think are beautiful but not of the beautiful people we are? Because society doesn't think we're beautiful? Because you looked at that picture and picked out every little detail you didn't like about yourself?

 

You need to accept yourself because you are BEAUTIFUL. It comes from your smile, the mischief in your eyes, from your soul. When you look in that mirror tell yourself you're beautiful. Tell it to yourself every single morning. Because. You. Are.

It's amazing what that confidence will do – it'll make you even more beautiful. Sweet dreams and remember to be yourself – you're BEAUTIFUL.

 

GF Banana Orange Breakfast Cheesecakes

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It's been a while since I've posted on here but I have been staying busy with all kinds of projects. I veered off the gluten free track for a while – but that's changed. Since the Mr. has to stay away from it, I've gone back to being good too…let's face it, I'm sure it's better for me.

Only one problem – breakfast!!! I'm a big breakfast eater and they're aren't a lot of quick options when steering away from gluten. Until now. I found a recipe for breakfast cheesecakes and with a little tweaking they came out delicious. Hubby likes them as a dessert but either way, they are yummy!!

The original recipe called for quick oats and applesauce mixed together for the crusts which is good but it was a little chewy for my tastes. So I made a few changes – I used gluten free graham crackers mixed with a little butter and I also added about 5 drops of DoTERRA Sweet Orange essential oil – these were amazing and I'll be making them again!

 

3/4 c crushed gluten free graham crackers

4 tbsp melted butter

16 oz fat-free whipped cream cheese, softened

3 tbsp honey

3/4 c mashed banana

5 drops Sweet Orange essential oil (optional)

1½ tsp cornstarch

3/4 tsp vanilla extract

Preheat the oven to 300°F, and lightly coat 6 jumbo-sized muffin cups with nonstick cooking spray.

In a small bowl, stir together the butter and crushed graham crackers. Divide the mixture and press into the bottoms of the prepared muffin cups. Bake at 300°F for 8 minutes. Cool in the pan.

In a medium bowl, cream together the cream cheese and honey until smooth. Mix in the banana, cornstarch, essential oil and vanilla. Spread the filling on top of the cool crusts. Bake at 300°F for 19-22 minutes, or until the centers still jiggle slightly when the pan is gently shaken. Cool to room temperature in the pan before covering with plastic wrap. Refrigerate at least 3 hours before serving.

Enjoy!!!!

 

Sugar Skull

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Normally I'd post a recipe but I cheated tonight. This GF brownie is straight from a mix and the frosting from a tub. I did color it myself and the decoration was all me. This is for a benefit bake sale tomorrow and I thought it turned out adorable so I wanted to share.

The cake pan is from Wilton and I used Duff color gels for the frosting – the vibrant colors turned out great! Hope this does well tomorrow!

 

Spicy Shrimp Ceviche

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For the past couple of weeks I've been craving ceviche. I love the spicy pico mixed with the tangy lemon shrimp and scallops. Not too mention its been so hot that the last thing I want to do is stand over a hot stove.

So yummy!!!! This is great for parties too – spoon into little clear cups, top with cilantro and avocado and voilà – perfect little appetizer!!

Summer Ceviche

  • 1 lb peeled and deveined raw shrimp (I used 3/4 lb shrimp and 1/4 lb bay scallops this time)
  • 3 – 4 firm tomatoes
  • 1 medium onion
  • 1 – 2 jalapeños depending on how hot you want it
  • 5 lemons
  • 5 limes
  • Cilantro
  • Avocados
  • Salt, pepper and garlic powder

I used a decent size shrimp so I cut it into 3 pieces – it was similar to the size of the bay scallops which makes the dish look nice but feel free to use the whole shrimp.

Place the raw shrimp and scallops in a large bowl and cover with the juice from all 5 lemons and 3 of the limes. Add about a teaspoon of pepper and stir. I leave my seafood covered in the fridge over night. After 8 hours, the shrimp should have turned a nice coral pink color….you're almost there!!

I usually chop my onion, tomatoes and jalapeños up and put them in a separate dish over night so the flavors can meld together while the seafood is marinating.

Drain most of the liquid from the shrimp and add in the onion, tomatoes, and jalapeños. Stir to combine and add about a teaspoon of garlic powder, a dash of pepper and salt – I used a homemade lemon sea salt which made the flavors pop. Chop up some cilantro and add to the other ingredients along with the juice of the remaining limes. Before serving top with sliced avocados.

This looks great in martini glasses and goes well on its own, served with tortilla chips or as a tostada. Such an easy dish for get togethers as well. Hope you enjoy!

 

Homemade Coconut Oil Lotion

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It's summertime and while the humidity in Texas means lotion is not a requirement especially this time of year, coconut oil can be a wonderful beauty tool. I've been using it as a hair conditioning mask and although you can use it right out of the jar, if you add a few (really only 2) ingredients and your mixer, you'll have a fabulous cream. A little goes a looooong way – I tested it out on G and we ended up using paper towels to wipe off excess oil so a little dab will do ya!

I didn't measure my ingredients (big surprise there) but if I had to guess I think I used 3/4 cup organic coconut oil, 1/8 teaspoon essential oil and 1/2 tablespoon of grape seed oil. I didn't want a strong smell so I just added a few drops. You can always make it stronger later.

Using your kitchen or handheld mixer beat together for 5 to 6 minutes. It'll turn a beautiful white creamy color. Now this is whipped oil so once it comes into contact with your skin it will turn into instant liquid so you won't need much.

Coconut oil is great as a makeup remover, face moisturizer, and good for burns but if using it for any of that I would leave out the essential oil for a fragrance free version that won't irritate delicate skin. And store in a cool area. Hope you enjoy!

 

Spicy Pickled Jicama and Vintage Blue Mason Jars

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I love old country charm – burlap coffee bags, vintage Pyrex bowls and of course I adore the old blue Ball mason jars. Ball has their limited edition 100th Anniversary blue jars out in stores and I couldn't help but grab a pack. And I LOVE them!!

Pinterest has so many canning and pickling recipes and I love the inspiration so I adapted a recipe I found for spicy pickled jicama and wow!!! The jicama was crunchy and tangy and disappeared fast. So for batch #2, I added fresh baby dill, a little bit of honey and tried out my new blue mason jars!

I'd like to say I can give you some accurate measurements but I've never been one to measure anything which makes giving recipes out difficult so here's the recipe (with approximate measurements). I also used Ball pickle crisp granules this batch…that I did measure! And I made 5 pints with this batch.

Spicy Pickled Jicama

  • 3 large, firm jicama
  • 4 cups white vinegar
  • 2 cups apple cider vinegar
  • 2 tablespoons of honey
  • 1 tablespoon kosher salt
  • Fresh baby dill
  • Pickled garlic
  • Fresh jalapeño

Cut the jicama into long sticks. Mine were about 3 – 4 inches long, and about 1/4 – 1/2 inch wide. Pack into jar and put in the fresh dill, garlic and jalapeños – I only used 1 jalapeño because a little goes a long way and I picked a hot jalapeño so flavor to your liking. I also added 1/8 teaspoon of the Ball pickle crisp granules to each pint.

Heat the vinegars, honey, and salt to a boil. Personal preference but I use raw local honey and Bragg's organic apple cider but any will work. Once mixture is boiling, remove from heat and ladle into jars. Top with lid and mine sealed within 2 minutes. If you're leaving these on the shelf for a while I suggest a hot water bath after you fill the jars but I know this will be gone asap so I just boiled the lids and rings prior to starting this project. Hope you enjoy!!!!

 

Pickled Avocados

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Hmmmm avocados…love these little fruits packed with so much nutritional goodness. Thank goodness G loves them as much as I do because we eat them. A lot. As in almost every day and I'm not kidding. It takes no time to whip up a batch of guacamole or slice some with a little Tony Chacheres and drizzled with a little Italian dressing but I was on the look out for some new recipes.

I happened to see this recipe on pickled avocados by La Fugi Mama and couldn't wait to try it out. Not only do they look and smell fabulous but she took out the guessing game by trying all the different brines for me. Love her!!!! The brine is cooling and I'll let them marinate for 24 hours but I can't wait to try these!

I'm thinking some garlic would taste amazing and maybe a pepper or two. I'm also thinking I'll divide them up in my little jars and share the avocado goodness with friends. Enjoy!

 

Pickled Avocados

Makes 1 quart jar

3 medium avocados

1 cup white vinegar

1 cup water

1 tablespoon non-iodized sea salt, or kosher salt

1. Cut the avocados in half, and remove the pits, then carefully peel away the skin from the fruit. Cut the avocados into large chunks and gently pack them into a clean glass quart jar.

2. Combine the vinegar, water, and salt in a medium saucepan and bring to a boil.

3. Pour the brine over the avocados in the jar. Wipe any vinegar spills from the jar rim with a clean towel or paper towel and gently screw the lid onto the jar.

4. Let the jar sit until it has cooled down. Once the jar is fairly cool, it should be put into the refrigerator for at least 24 hours before eating to give the flavors time to meld. The avocados will keep, tightly sealed in the refrigerator, for up to 2 weeks.

 

Gluten Free Peanut Butter Bacon Muffins

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Yep! You read that right – gluten free, healthy (except for the bacon), peanut butter and bacon muffins. BACON!!!!! Is your mouth watering yet? My quest to find an easy morning muffin that was healthy and gluten free was a little harder than I thought. I wanted to have something on hand both G and I could eat that actually tasted good. I tried chia seed pudding and that's going to take some getting used too…not a fan of the texture…ugh!

I did find a banana oatmeal breakfast muffin and with ground oats and honey to sweeten it, it was definitely a hit. But I like lots of flavor and I wanted to try some variations so yesterday I made coconut strawberry muffins. From the original recipe I substituted Coco Lopez for the honey, about 1 1/2 cups chopped fresh strawberries for the banana and dumped in about a cup of sweetened coconut…they were delicious!!

Then I decided to search for a gluten free peanut butter and bacon muffin because why not? Peanut butter and bacon are amazing together – even Elvis approved!!! I also added semi sweet chocolate chips because i heard dark chocolate was good for you and again, why not? My search was futile so I altered the recipe I had and Oh My Gawd are they fantastic! Gluten free, mostly healthy and so easy to throw together!

 

I used a large muffin pan that holds 6 and it worked out to be just enough for 1 batch. These are very dense and heavy muffins.

I filled my muffin tin really full because although they do expand its not enough to over flow the pan. The entire house smelled like peanut butter while these were in the oven.

Y-U-M-M-Y!! These are filling and give you lots of energy – perfect way to start your day. Hope you enjoy and let me know if you try them!!!!

GF Peanut Butter Bacon Muffins

  • 2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 tbsp vanilla
  • 1 cup yogurt – I used Dannon low fat vanilla but Greek yogurt would work as well
  • 1 cup creamy peanut butter – I used Peter Pan honey roasted creamy because its my favorite and what I had on hand
  • 1 pkg of bacon bits – real bacon crumbles
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 2 tbsp chia seeds, optional
  • 1 cup semi sweet choc chips, it’s chocolate and therefore not optional

Heat oven to 400 degrees. Pulse oats in a food processor for 10 seconds or so to get a course flour. Mix all the ingredients together and put in a well greased muffin tin. Bake for 18 to 22 minutes depending on your muffin tin size – my tin holds 6 jumbo muffins and they're perfect at 22 minutes. Enjoy!!!!

 

Weekend Projects

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What a beautiful weekend to get some much needed yard work done. Well, not exactly the most enjoyable thing to do over a long weekend but it severely needed it. My parents were in town and got to see their great granddaughter for the first time and helped me and G love our yard even more. I managed to work in a couple of projects and have a couple more I'm working on. If you'd like a special order please email me at sparklesandsprinklesohmy@yahoo.com.

 

My upcycled dragon fly out of fan blades and a table leg.

A bowling ball with over 1000 little glass balls glued to it. It's beautiful when the sun catches it but wow, it was a lot of work!

 

This is a chandelier bird feeder that G and I worked on together for mom's Mother's Day present. I love how it turned out and G did a great job!! The wind chime looks great and it's definitely one of my favorites!!!!

And just because here's a couple pictures of the grand baby with her Poppa and Grammy (not sure of great grandparent and grandparent names just yet).

 

And because I'm so very excited to get started on this here's a preview of my next project – I'm not so patiently waiting for them to get here: