Browsing Category

Recipes

DIY, Entertaining, Health & Wellness March 24, 2017

Hurray! It’s Peanut Butter and Jelly Day

As the saying goes, sometimes it’s the simple things in life that are truly extraordinary. Like peanut butter and jelly: one of America’s favorite all-time sandwiches. We lived on them growing up, and we still love them today. April 2, 2017 is National Peanut Butter and Jelly Day. Let’s celebrate with some tempting twists on this sweet, salty and sensational flavor combination.

Tasty texture.
Add some yummy crunch to your lunch with a layer of crushed nuts (such as almonds, pecans or peanuts), seeds, toasted coconut, granola, pretezls or even potato chips to your PB&J.

Bacon: the cure all.
If you agree…everything’s better with bacon, add some sizzling strips (or crushed pieces) of delicousness to your next PB&J.

Spread your wings.
When it comes to peanut butter and jelly, three’s not a crowd. Try creating the ultimate trio by adding a layer of hazelnut spread (Nutella), marshmallow fluff, cream cheese or honey to the mix.

PB&J French toast.
Instead of using mere bread for your French toast, dunk peanut butter and jelly sandwiches into your egg/milk mixture and saute per usual. Sprinkle with powdered sugar, drizzle with maple syrup and enjoy a slice of heaven.

Turn up the heat.
Crisp on the outside and warm, buttery and gooey on the inside, grilled PB&Js hit the spot. Got a waffle iron? A pressed PB&J looks cool and tastes even better.

Change is good.
Give PB&Js a whole new taste sensation by changing up your choice in bread or jam/jelly. Have a sweet tooth? Try a banana bread or pound cake PB&J. Challah, wheat, cinnamon and swirl breads are all tasty choices, too. With so many jellies and jams on store shelves—from grape, strawberry and raspberry, to marmalade, blackberry and blueberry—it’s easy to find your fill of flavor.

So, what’s the best way to eat a PB&J? Send us your recommendations on our Facebook page.

 

Entertaining, Health & Wellness, Recipes February 6, 2017

ALL HAIL THE MIGHTY OATMEAL

Most of us have heard the phrase, “What’s in your wallet?” Today, we want to ask, “What’s in your oatmeal?” Instant oatmeal is one of the fastest and easiest meals to make every day. The bad news? It’s not always the healthiest choice. It can be loaded with sugar, artificial flavors and other not-so-body-friendly ingredients. Homemade meals are typically much healthier because we can control what goes in them. In the spirit of American Heart Month and heart-healthy foods, here are some of our favorite homemade uses of oats.

MIX IT

Mixing steel cut or rolled oats with milk or water for warm oatmeal is super delicious with natural fruit toppings. Add a little cinnamon and honey for a sweeter taste.

BAKE IT

Baking oatmeal cookies at home can be a healthy alternative to purchasing them in-store. Instead of sugar, sweeten the cookie mix with honey, vanilla and cinnamon. You can even throw in some raisins or dark chocolate chips to help satisfy your sweet tooth.

SCRUB IT

Mix ground oats with honey for a natural facial exfoliate. Feel good from the inside out.

Have an oatmeal recipe you want to share? Do so here!

Entertaining, Recipes February 3, 2017

HOW TO MAKE BANANA BREAD

Did you know February 23rd is National Banana Bread Day? Moist and cake-like, banana bread is absolutely delicious. To celebrate, here’s a recipe you can try at home.

INGREDIENTS:

-1 cup butter or margarine

-2 cups sugar

-4 eggs

-¼ teaspoon salt

-2 teaspoons baking soda

-4 cups all-purpose flour

-6 large very ripe bananas

-1 cup finely chopped pecans (optional)Before I Fall 2017 live streaming film

INSTRUCTIONS:

-Preheat the oven to 350°F and spray or butter a 4”x 8” loaf baking pan.

-Mash the bananas in a mixing bowl and stir in the melted butter or margarine. Mix in the baking soda and salt. Mix in the flour. Then, mix in the sugar, beaten egg, and pecans (optional).

-Pour into loaf baking pan and bake for 60-70 minutes or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

-Remove from the oven and cool completely.

Enjoy!

For a smaller loaf, use a half-sized portion of all ingredients.

Entertaining, Home Accessories Ideas, How To February 1, 2017

You’ll Fall in Love with this Valentine’s Day Hot Chocolate

Valentine’s Day is right around the corner and we just love this amazingly easy and delicious pink hot chocolate. No need to make reservations at an expensive restaurant, just pop in your favorite movie and heat up this tasty sweet treat. Here’s how you can whip up this savory holiday delight:watch Life 2017 movie online now

Ingredients:
-2 cups of milk
-4 oz. of white chocolate (chopped)
-2-4 drops of red food coloring
-Choice of sprinkles

Instructions:
-Heat milk in a small pan
-Add chocolate pieces and stir until chocolate is dissolved
*do not allow the milk to reach a boil
-Remove from stove and add in 2-4 drops of red food coloring
*the more drops you add, the more red your hot chocolate will be
-Pour into your favorite little mug
-Enjoy!

Have you been crafty this Valentine’s Day? If so we would love to see what you created. Share it with us using the hashtag #MyAshleyHome.
Happy Valentine’s Day

DIY, Entertaining, How To January 20, 2017

Festive Friday Night Dinner!

Some of the best family memories occur in the kitchen or over a meal. Meals bring loved ones together and offer a time to enjoy each other’s company. With that being said, we would like to introduce Lauren Perez and her wonderful and delicious recipes she has shared with us. Enjoy!


One of the New Year’s resolutions I make each year is to try something different when it comes to food. This year, I decided to create a delicious recipe that would be perfect for weekend get-togethers or a relaxing night at home.  After reviewing my previous recipes and countless foodie photos, I finally decided on what would make for a fresh five star dinner combination to kick off the weekend. My savory flatbread topped with cheese and plump tomatoes is sure to please everyone at the dinner table; while the sweet and smooth chocolate pie will cure any sweet tooth craving.  Grab your pots and pans and let’s get cooking!

Margherita Flatbread

Ingredients:

Flatbread

1 lb. fresh pizza dough

½ cup flour

¼ cup olive oil

1 tablespoon dried parsley

 

Sauce

¼ cup water

1 can whole peeled tomatoes

14 oz. pizza sauce

1 teaspoon minced garlic

1 teaspoon salt

1 teaspoon pepper

Toppings

16 oz. fresh mozzarella cheese

Fresh basil

3 large tomatoes

2 tablespoons balsamic vinaigrette

Steps:

Flatbread

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Create a workspace to roll out the flatbread dough
    (You can use large baking sheets and add cooking spray)
  • Slowly add flour to dough and begin to roll out dough with a rolling pin
  • Be sure to knead dough until very thin; this step typically takes about 10 minutes
  • Spray a medium baking sheet with butter or cooking spray
  • Add dough to pan
  • Brush dough with olive oil
  • Sprinkle dough with salt, pepper and parsley
  • Bake for 15 minutes
  • Remove from oven

Sauce

  • Add water to a medium sauce pan until the water begins to boil
  • Turn down the temperature to a low heat
  • Add in peeled whole tomatoes and begin to stir for 5 minutes
  • Add pizza sauce, minced garlic, salt and pepper to the tomatoes, stir and let simmer for 5 minutes

Toppings

  • Once flatbread dough is removed from the oven, spread sauce evenly on top of the dough
  • Cut mozzarella cheese into thick slices
  • Cut the tomatoes into thin slices
  • Arrange tomatoes and cheese evenly on top of the flatbread
  • Add fresh basil on top of the flatbread
  • Bake for 10 minutes
  • Remove from oven
  • Drizzle balsamic vinaigrette on top of the flatbread
  • Bake for an additional 5 minutes
  • Remove from oven to cool
  • Enjoy!

Chocolate Pie

Ingredients:

Pie Crust

2 cups finely ground graham crackers

3 tablespoons sugar

6 tablespoons melted butter

Filling

1 tablespoon butter

1 cup heavy cream

2 cups milk

2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

¼ teaspoon salt

1 tablespoon sugar

2 eggs

2 cups fresh strawberries

Powdered sugar

Steps:

Pie Crust

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees
  • Crumble graham crackers into a fine consistency
  • In a mixing bowl combine graham crackers, sugar and melted butter
  • Spray a clear pie pan with butter or cooking spray
  • Align pan with mixture
  • Press down to make sure that the pie pan is covered evenly
  • Bake for 8 minutes
  • Remove and let cool

Filling

  • Preheat oven to 315 degrees
  • Combine heavy cream, milk and butter in a large sauce pan
  • Put the sauce pan on medium heat on the stove top and stir
  • Add chocolate chips to the sauce pan and continue to stir
  • Add salt and sugar to the sauce pan and continue to stir
  • In a separate bowl, scramble the two eggs until you have reached a smooth consistency
  • Add eggs to the sauce pan and continue to stir until smooth
  • Remove filling from heat and pour into the pie pan on top of the graham cracker crust
  • Bake for 20 minutes
  • Remove from oven and let cool for at least one hour
  • Slice strawberries and decorate the top of the pie
  • Lightly sprinkle powdered sugar on top
  • Enjoy!

You can find more food inspiration on Lauren’s website https://laurenperezkitchen.com/ and Instagram @laurenperezkitchen.

Crafts, Home Accessories Ideas, How To January 19, 2017

Refreshingly Simple—DIY Reed Diffuser

Do you have a vintage vase or bottle that you’ve been holding onto for years? Maybe it’s time to put those accents to work. Follow these easy step-by-step instructions for turning your ancient artifacts into a breath of fresh air.

Supplies:

  • Any narrow-necked vase or bottle that is essential-oil safe
  • 1 cup light, unflavored oil (corn or canola work best)
  • 1 tsp essential oil (scent of your choosing)
  • ½ cup alcohol (or unflavored vodka)
  • Tan, black or brown rattan reed diffuser sticks

Step one:

Combine ingredients in a glass measuring cup.

 

Step two:

Stir gently to ensure the scented oil mixes with the other ingredients.

Step three:

Pour into your vessel until about 1/3 full (save remaining mixture in an airtight container until needed).

Step four:

Place reeds in the vase or jar. Make sure they’re long enough to extend several inches above the opening to allow the fragrance to escape.


And that’s it! Place your diffuser wherever a touch of fresh air is needed. Periodically flip the reeds to release the fragrance anew.

What combination of essential oils do you prefer? Let us know in the comment section.

Entertaining, Home Accessories Ideas, How To January 17, 2017

Let’s Get Poppin’ for National Popcorn Day

Did you know that Americans consume enough popcorn a year to fill the Empire State Building 17 times? Well we didn’t know that either until we met the experts at Chef Inspired PopcornChef Inspired PopcornOpens in a new windowin Tampa, Florida. They can make any variety of popcorn you could ever imagine from caramel and blueberry, to bacon mac & cheese and buffalo ranch. Yes, they do it all and did I mention they are gluten free and nut free?  But most importantly, they ship nationally. Hallelujah!

We were excited to visit the shop where all the magic happens. The owner, Lizette, showed us how to make a popcorn bar with a vintage flare. Oh and did she nail it!

Lizette mastered the old fashioned soda shop feel when she added red baskets to hold pre-made packs. This is a great idea if you want to avoid a mess. She even labeled each bag with its appropriate flavor which makes it easy for guests to grab and go.

After the basket was filled we decided to take our display to new heights with a three tier food stand.

 


Then, we added tiny mason jars of samples in case guests wanted to try a flavor before they picked a pack.  We also accessorized with an antique clock and vase.

 

We reached our dream popcorn bar vision and are ready to dig in. What’s on the menu today you may ask? Windy City, which is a combination of cheese and salted caramel, Birthday Cake and Salted Caramel.

But wait, there’s more…

Now it’s time for you to grab a bag, and start filling. Happy National Popcorn Day!

 


Follow the fun @ChefPopcornCompany on Instagram and Twitter. You never know what flavor might pop up next.

Entertaining, How To, Party & Event Ideas December 19, 2016

How to Host a Midwinter Party 101

Forget the drama llama. It’s time to party like an animal!

It doesn’t have to be hard to throw a midwinter party, especially if you follow our easy instructions.

Warm up your guests with a cup of liquid joy.

Hot Cocoa Bar

In addition to the standard toppings, include a few unexpected treats like crushed peppermints, cocoa powder, chili powder and cinnamon.

Spiking Station:

Peppermint Baileys Irish Cream, Kahlua, Tequila, Schnapps

Peppermint Bark

A perfect match with the cocoa.

  • White melting chocolate, melted
  • Mini Reese’s peanut butter cups, halved
  • Pretzel sticks, broken in half
  • Orange sprinkles
  • Red Hots

Spread melted chocolate on a wax paper covered sheet pan, arrange snowman parts and let cool in refrigerator for 10 minutes. Break into pieces.

Fruit Tree Tower

A Styrofoam cone, toothpicks and a medley of fruits are all you need to create an edible centerpiece. Surround the base with more fruit and toothpicks for easy eating.

Snowman Veggie Platter

What an easy way to dress up the ubiquitous veggie dip tray.

Slow Cooker Cranberry Apple Cider

Set it and forget it.

  • 1 liter apple juice
  • 1 liter cranberry juice (unsweetened)
  • 2 cups orange juice
  • 1/8 tsp cloves
  • ½ cup sugar
  • cinnamon sticks, cranberries, orange and apple slices for garnish

Winter Cranberry Martini

A little something to warm up the adults is always appreciated.

  • 2 oz gin
  • 1 oz cranberry infused simple syrup
  • 1 oz vermouth
  • Cranberries on a rosemary sprig for garnish

Place ingredients in a shaker with ice, shake and strain into a glass.