{ Review Friday } AeroGel

Aerogel hairspray, image from sleekhair.com

I’m not a huge hairspray girl. I hardly ever use it. But when I do, it means that I want my hair to STAY PUT. None of that flexible hold crap. My hair holds curl really well, and I don’t have a ton of issues with it whatsoever. At least none that I can really complain about. I have naturally wavy hair (used to be much more curly, but now that I’m getting older it seems to be straightening out) and it really has worked to my advantage through the years. I can have awesome volume if I want, I can have stick straight locks thanks to the magic that is my flat iron, and I can have big ‘ole beachy waves or tighter curls too. I’m usually not a girl who likes to have my hair pulled up. I like it down and I like to only wash it twice a week tops. But sometimes you just need to do a bun. Or sometimes you just need that swoop to STAY PUT because you’re performing and you can’t be worrying about your hair flying all over. And sometimes you just really need all the hard work you put in to backcombing to really pay off all day long because it took you a half hour extra to get your hair that big.

Let me introduce the miracle hair spray to you all.

AEROGEL.

Seriously, people. This stuff is amazing. It’s got cement staying power, but you can comb through it and it doesn’t leave a trace of white flaky crap like other strong-hold hairsprays. (Unless you use A TON of product, then you will get a few flakes. But not as many as most hairsprays!)

I was in a show a few years ago and this was the stuff they used to keep our hair lasting the entire first and second acts. And I could sleep on my horribly braided hair and it would still be practically perfect when I woke up the next day. Incredible, I tell you.

So if you’re looking for a really amazing strong-hold hairspray, and you don’t like the gunky, sticky feel of most of the hairsprays out there that claim to be strong-hold but just don’t really live up to it, this is the product for you. It’s totally worth the price tag for me because I really don’t use it too often, I probably go through a can every year and a half.

GET THIS. That’s all.

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{ Project Wednesday } desk redo

I’m refinishing my first desk. This is also my first attempt at using chalk paint. I couldn’t justify the cash on Annie Sloan so I found some awesome tutorials on Pinterest and am making my own! I hope it turns out.

Here’s the before pictures, I’ll be posting the afters next week! (As long as Miss P sleeps long enough for me to get it painted by next week.) What you can’t see very well from these pictures is the horrible GLITTER GLUE that the person who had this before me put over the top of the gold paint on the bottom of the legs and around the top edge of the desk. Maybe a 12-year-old girl thought it would look good. But she was mistaken. Also the yellow paint job was horrendous. The color isn’t bad, but these pictures make it look about 100 times better than it really looks in real life. I’m really hoping the aqua color I picked out looks good. I don’t think it can look worse than what it does now though!

Desk Before

Desk Before Drawer

{ Recipe Monday } Massaman Curry

So, confession. I used to really not enjoy food. I ate because I was hungry, and because my mom made me, and I hated trying new things.

Then I went to college. And my friends were into all sorts of strange things like sushi, and curry. And I was terrified. But I tried it. And I liked it! Food is now one of my most favorite things.

Thai food is delish, and I found an amazing recipe for Massaman Curry that everyone needs to try. I’m obsessed. I got the recipe here  and I now stalk this site daily. They have a ton of other amazing recipes! Follow their blog if you need some new recipes to add to your arsenal!

Anyway, this curry really is amazing. If you like Thai then you’ll LOVE this. It’s easy and tastes better than I’ve had at most restaurants! I would suggest to add salt, because I sort of love salt. But you can always add it to your individual portion if you have a husband like I do that isn’t as much of a fan of salt as I am… Enjoy! It will NOT disappoint.

Picture credited to Favorite Family Recipes.

{ I can still hear the crying }

My daughter just screamed in her crib for a solid hour and a half. After only being asleep for an hour. I don’t know what’s happening.

I’m also attempting to make cookies for girl’s camp and they look horrid… Which for me just doesn’t happen. So I’m on the verge of crying about it. Who wants to eat am ugly cookie?! Not me! But I digress.

Back to the baby. Last week she started out the week like a champ. And then… THEN… she decided she wasn’t going to go back to sleep when she woke up until she got some of mommy’s boobie.

*sigh*

Dear P, I am not a pacifier. You have one. Use it. I still love you. But I’m tired. And my boobs need a break. Love, mom.

She cried for almost 3 hours one night. So what did I do? I got up and made baby food. And then when I went back to bed after finally giving in and feeding her I could still hear her screaming. Even though she was fast asleep. I felt insane. For reals. So I looked at Pinterest on my phone for a while under the covers so as not to wake up J. And when I was bored of that it was light outside. Oops.

I feel like I still haven’t caught up on sleep. The last few nights P has decided to sleep for an hour after going down for the night, and then wake up for no reason and cry until she is rocked or fed. And I’ve had it. I’m done. No more picking her up at night unless she’s dying. (At times it really sounded like she was… Baby cries are so sad.) Wish us luck. I need to get Jase some ear plugs so at least one of us can get some sleep.

Someone make the crying in my ears stop…

{ Recipe Monday } Mini Caramel Cheesecakes

I got this recipe from here and can I just say that I’m in cheesecake heaven! I’ve loved cheesecake since I was a little girl. Creamy, cold, and you can basically add any sweet sauce you want to it… It’s the perfect dessert for almost any occasion.

I have to admit that I tend to have this problem with really tasty things: portion control is super hard for me! Like, ice cream’s serving size is a half cup. A half cup?! Psshhhh. Yeah right. Who’s horrible idea was that? So here’s the good thing about this tasty treat. These cheesecakes are already individually sized so it makes it a bit easier not to take a giant piece. Although… I’ll probably just end up eating 2. Or 3.

image

Mini Cheesecakes with Salted Caramel Sauce

Preheat oven to 350.

Line 2 muffin pans with paper cupcake liners.

Crust:
2 1/4 cups finely crushed graham crackers
3 Tablespoons granulated sugar
6 Tablespoons salted butter, melted

Combine first two ingredients in a small bowl, mix well. Poor the melted butter over the top and combine until the butter is evenly distributed. Spoon crust into prepared cupcake liners, about 1 heaping Tablespoon per liner. Using your fingers, press the graham crackers down into the bottom of the liner. Bake for 5 minutes. While cooling prepare the filling.

Filling:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 Tablespoons all purpose flour
4 8-oz packages cream cheese, softened
4 large eggs, room temperature
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a small bowl combine sugar and flour. In another larger bowl put the cream cheese, then pour the sugar mixture over the top and beat on low until evenly combined. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating on low after each addition until just combined. Add the remaining ingredients and mix until combined well, using a spatula to scrape the sides of the bowl to make sure everything gets mixed in. At this point you can either let your mixture sit for a little bit so all the air bubbles can settle out, or you can bump your bowl on your counter 30 or so times to force out the bubbles faster. Spoon the filling into your cupcake liners over the baked crust. you want the liners to be very nearly full. Cheesecake doesn’t puff up like regular cake so just leave a tiny bit of space at the top so you have somewhere for the caramel topping to go without dripping down the sides of the liner. Bake for 18-23 minutes, or until done. (If the cheesecakes are cracking they are starting to get too done.) Cool in the pan for 30 minutes, then move to a wire rack to finish cooling to room temperature. Cover and refrigerate for 2 hours, or overnight.

Caramel:
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
1/4 plus 2 Tablespoons water
6 Tablespoons butter (room temperature)
1 cup heavy cream
Course sea salt for sprinkling

In a medium sauce pan combine sugar and water. Over medium-high heat bring to a boil while whisking constantly. When mixture begins to boil stop whisking and let boil until it turns a dark amber color, swirling mixture occasionally. (This takes longer than you think it will! Don’t be afraid to let it turn a nice amber color.) Add the butter and whisk to combine. When the butter is completely combined, remove from heat and let sit for 3 seconds, then add the cream. Whisk until combined. Transfer to a glass jar to cool. Spoon over cheesecakes right before serving! Sprinkle with a touch of course sea salt.

Yummo. I hope you enjoy these as much as I did! They really aren’t hard to make so try it out!

{ my mama’s cinnamon rolls }

I feel like it’s appropriate that the first food post would be a recipe for a sweet treat. Because I love sweets. Who doesn’t?

We had some new neighbors move in recently and we wanted to take them a treat to introduce ourselves. J and I decided cinnamon rolls would be the best option. But I don’t do store-bought baked goods if I can help it. So I pulled out my trusty Bosch and got to mixing.

(Side note: if you’re looking for a mixer and plan on using it for a lot of bread, just get a Bosch. KitchenAid mixers are good but the motor just doesn’t stand up to the Bosch. If you’re just doing cakes or cookies or occasional bead then get what you want. But really, I highly recommend Bosch for bread makers like me. And no, they aren’t paying me to say that!)

Back to my cinnamon rolls! Here’s the recipe. This is my mom’s recipe. I think it’s the best. But that’s probably because I grew up with it. So please feel free to use whatever dough recipe you like and you can adds pecans or raisins or whatever else you like to these. I’m a purist and sick to plain ‘ole cinnamon and sugar.

 

Dough:
2 1/2 cups hot water
1/2 Tablespoon salt
1 Tablespoon dough enhancer (optional)
1/3 cup canola oil
1/3 cup honey (agave or sugar can be used instead)
5 cups flour, divided
1 1/2 Tablespoons SAF Instant yeast
More flour as needed and for kneading

Combine the first 5 ingredients in your mixer fitted with a dough hook. Jog machine to blend. Add 3 1/2 cups of flour and mix on low. Just as the flour is getting incorporated sprinkle the yeast on top and let combine. Add the remaining flour. Let mix until floor is well incorporated. As more flour as needed until your dough starts to pull away from the side of your mixing bowl. Let the dough need in the machine for 5-6 minutes.

Remove dough hook and place dough on lightly floured surface. Knead a little with your hands to bring dough into a nice ball. Cut the dough in half. (If you’re a perfectionist you can use a kitchen scale. I just eyeball it.)

Set one half aside and roll the other half out into a rectangle. (About 12″x24″ depending on how thick or thin you want your dough to be.)

Filling:
1 cup butter, softened (2 sticks)
Cinnamon and sugar mixture (about 1 Tablespoon of cinnamon to every 1/2 cup of sugar, more or less to your taste)
Raisins, pecans, anything else you like in your rolls

Spread 1/2 cup butter (1 stick) onto your rolled out dough. Sprinkle generously with cinnamon and sugar. Add any other items you want in the filling of the rolls.

Start rolling! Roll the dough with the long sides on the inside and outside, if that makes sense. You want your roll to be long and skinny, not short and fat.

Use a sharp knife or dough cutter, or unflavored dental floss works really well too!, and cut rolls to be about 2 inches thick. Place on greased cookie sheets or use parchment paper.

Repeat with the other half the dough.

Let raise for 30-40 minutes. Bake at 350 for 16-22 minutes, or until just starting to get golden brown.

Cool completely and then frost with your favorite cream cheese frosting, brown butter frosting, or any other frosting you like. Or serve hot, just know your icing will slip right off. 🙂

Enjoy!

{ something to challenge me }

I’m starting a blog. It seems kind of cliche. How many moms do I know who have started blogs? Probably like 30. But… I need something to do just for ME. I’m a mom to a beautiful baby daughter. I love P more than anything. And I love my husband, J. But at the end of the day I need something that I love that’s just for me. I’m hoping this will fulfill that. I’m going to fill it with things I love to do. And it’s fun that I can share it with the vast void that is the internet. I hope you enjoy it. But even if no one but me ever looks at this blog, I’ll enjoy it. Because it’s for me. Here’s to trying to new things!