Thursday, December 18, 2014

Hayden's painted pottery tea set

When I was little, I used to beg and plead to play with my mom's tiny ceramic tea set she had gotten as a child. At first, she wouldn't let me anywhere near it, but eventually gave in, allowing me to have tea parties with it.

Recently, I started going to a pottery painting place near my house, mainly to visit with my sister-in-law while we painted gifts for those we love. I even brought my kids to paint their own projects. While there, Hayden was drawn to this adorable tea set (perfect for Santa's little helpers to go along with their cookies from yesterday's post), which was only a blank bisque at the time.

Now, some may say I'm crazy for painting this fragile set for my 5-year-old, but remembering back to how I felt about my mom's tea set at that age, I understood how much it meant to her. She asked about it weekly and picked out the exact colors (seriously, she had her heart set on specific paint colors) and design elements she wanted me to use (it had to have hearts, dots, her initial, a wave pattern and a mermaid, of course). Naturally, I did my best to fulfill her request, and this is the result.

When all the pieces are stacked up on the plate, you can't see the mermaid, but here's a better view. Thank goodness my daughter loved it, too.

Yes, I gave it to her last night, instead of on Christmas. I just couldn't wait to see her smiling face. If only Santa could have gotten a glimpse of her reaction, as it was so much better than how she reacted to him (poor thing; I thought she'd gotten over her fear).

I also can't wait to see the smile this other gift puts on someone's face when I give it to her. I painted this yarn bowl for someone else mentioned in this post. I wonder who it can be :-)


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Cookies for Santa's little helpers

In the past, I've done posts about "unbaked" (my term for raw vegan "baked" goods) cookies for Santa (I've always liked this plate of cookies for Santa and this recipe was quite memorable, as well), but this year, I decided to do something smaller for his little helpers. Since we've been watching "Prep and Landing" these last so many years, it got my household thinking about the elves who prep the scene before Santa arrives.

I kept this small task simple, using the base dough from the happy holiday turtle recipe from the other day (I found it on the Vega website, so I cannot take credit for that). It's amazing what you can make with this versatile dough.

First, I rolled some of the dough into little balls, which I pressed a chocolate chip into the center to create mini "kiss" cookies. Then, I  formed more dough into tiny cookies and decorated them with cacao nibs.

Sticking with the chocolate theme, I actually mixed some of the dough with cocoa powder to make a chocolate dough. I alternated both the basic dough and the chocolate dough to make mini striped cookies, yet another holiday classic.

Speaking of holiday classics, I made a quick raspberry jam out of mashed raspberries and chia seeds to use in the thumbprint cookies. I rolled the dough in little balls, and in this case, used my pinkie finger to press a well into the center of the cookie. I filled the center of the cookie with the jam.

I also used the jam to decorate a basic roll-out cookie. I rolled out some of the dough, cut it into candy cane shapes and painted stripes on them with the jam and some powdered spirulina. You could also add a bit of mint to make them taste more like a candy cane.

Lastly, I rolled some of the leftover dough into balls and covered them in finely ground coconut flakes, so they looked like snowballs. It couldn't be any easier.

So that's our plate for the elves. Will you be feeding Santa's little helpers this year?

Monday, December 15, 2014

Happy holiday turtles

After a long break from both blogging and Twitter, I've suddenly found myself involved again in social media. While tweeting the other day, I came across the cutest vegan turtle recipe posted by Vega. The sweet treats kinda looked like adorable turtles, so I just knew the kids and I should make them.

They were so simple to recreate. The recipe is posted here on the Vega website, but I'll give you a quick photo breakdown of how it's done.

First, we made a raw almond meal cookie base in the food processor, as shown.

Then, we pressed the base into silicone cupcake liners (the recipe said it would make a dozen, but we ended up with 10 larger turtles).

The base chilled in the freezer, while we whipped up some raw vegan date caramel. The caramel was dolloped on top of the cookie base and returned to the freezer.

Once set, the caramel-topped cookies were removed from the liners, covered in chocolate and decorated with pecan "turtle legs."

Lastly, we added "happy turtle faces" with chocolate chips and piped chocolate eyes and smiles.

Happy holidays!

Tuesday, December 2, 2014

100% Pure Mystery

In my last post, I mentioned 100% Pure was having a worthwhile Black Friday sale. I was lucky enough to purchase one of their sold-out mystery bags. In case anyone is interested, here is what I got in mine.

I selected the Queen Mystery Bag for $30, which was to contain $130 worth of skin care products, including 100% Pure's amazing Coffee Bean Caffeine Eye Cream. Since I was in need of more of my favorite eye cream (it really makes you look more awake when you haven't had enough sleep), I figured it was worth spending slightly more to see what was in this mysterious bag.

Actually, it was more than worth the $30 price tag. Not only did I get my coffee bean eye cream and the Red Wine Resveratrol Eye Cream in a generous 0.6 fl. oz. size (this stuff lasts a while, as you only need a little bit), but I got everything you see in the top photo in a 100% Pure reusable fabric tote.

I love both of these eye creams and think they work great together. The coffee bean one tackles dark circles and puffiness, while the red wine resveratrol softens any crow's feet (yeah, I've got those; just means I smile a lot). They absorb nicely, layer perfect under my 100% Pure Tinted Moisturizer (I wear Peach Bisque) and don't irritate my sensitive eyes.

Speaking of crow's feet, my aging skin was excited to find even more age-protecting and age-correcting products in my mystery bag, including the Red Wine Resveratrol Scrub and Mask (I love its yummy grape scent and its gentle exfoliating properties), Super Fruits Reparative Cream (this is the first I've tried this one, so it will take some time to review it properly), Vitamin A & CoQ 10 Wrinkle Smoothing Night Cream (this really made my parched skin feel more moisturized last night and into the morning) and the Red Wine Resveratrol Nourishing Cream (yet another silky soft cream).

And that's not all. Also included in the bag for normal to dry skin is this Jasmine Green Tea Tonique, a refreshing toner in a convenient spray bottle (did I mention that the bottle is made of glass?). It's exactly what my skin needs this time of year; it perks up my complexion after a long day in the dry air.

Although my skin is aging and welcoming of good moisturizing products, it sometimes results in the occasional blemish. Therefore, I was happy to also receive the Purity Spot Treatment and Purity Cleanser in my bag. Now that my son is a preteen, he'll probably enjoy them, too.

Lastly, 100% Pure likes to add samples to their orders and this bag was no exception. My sample pack included two Honey Cream Wash Gingerade and a Kelp & Mint Volumizing Shampoo. I've been wanting to try their new hair care line, so this was greatly appreciated, especially since I missed out on the hair care mystery bag (it was only $15).

I really hope 100% Pure does more mystery bags like this in the future. Did anyone else get one? Did anyone get the hair care bag?