Sunday, March 23, 2014

Volcano Meat Loaf

This was a hit in our house today.  A friend mentioned she can't imagine anybody who don't like meat loaf except her kids.  Mine are both as picky too.  I got this from Mr. Food and they cleaned off their plates.


  • 2 pounds ground beef
  • 1/2 a 10-1/2-ounce can condensed cream of tomato soup
  • 1 (1-ounce) package dry onion soup mix
  • 1/2 cup dry bread crumbs
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 3 cups warm mashed potatoes

  • What To Do:
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Coat a 9" x 13" baking dish with cooking spray.
    2. In a large bowl, combine the ground beef, tomato soup, onion soup mix, bread crumbs, egg, and water; mix well.
    3. Divide the meat mixture into 4 equal amounts and shape each section into a miniature volcano mountain. Place in the baking dish and bake for 1 hour, or until cooked through.
    4. Increase the oven temperature to 450 degrees F. "Frost" each volcano meat loaf with mashed potatoes, creating a crater in the potatoes at the top. Return the volcanoes to the oven and bake for 10 minutes, or until the mashed potatoes are golden.
    • Serving tip: Let the kids fill the craters with gravy or ketchup to make lava flows from the tops of their volcanoes

    Friday, February 14, 2014

    Pink Ombre Heart Cake for Valentine's Day!!

    Since I made an ombre heart soaps, I decided to make an ombre heart cake as well.  This is the first youtube video I found and I made it.  Mine did not turn out as pretty as his but the family liked the look of it.  I only did a two layer cake which is more than enough for us.

    Here is my version of this cake.  I don't have a heart shape mold, so I just used my round mold and cut a triangle off on one side.

    The cake I made was just a box of red velvet cake mix.
    Hubby said:  are you going to do that all the way up?
    Yes, all the way up and more.

    My 5 year old helped with the mixing of the colors and she had fun doing it.  There are still streaks of the color not totally mixed in but the ombre idea is visible. 
    Buttercream icing from Wilton

    • 1/2 cup solid vegetable shortening
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine softened
    • 1 teaspoon clear vanilla extract       
    • 4 cups sifted confectioners' sugar (approximately 1 lb.)
    • 2 tablespoons milk


    About 3 cups of icing.

    Step 1

    In large bowl, cream shortening and butter with electric mixer. Add vanilla. Gradually add sugar, one cup at a time, beating well on medium speed. Scrape sides and bottom of bowl often. When all sugar has been mixed in, icing will appear dry. Add milk and beat at medium speed until light and fluffy. Keep bowl covered with a damp cloth until ready to use.

    Step 2

    For best results, keep icing bowl in refrigerator when not in use. Refrigerated in an airtight container, this icing can be stored 2 weeks. Rewhip before using.

    Step 3

    For thin (spreading) consistency icing, add 2 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk.

    Step 4

    For Pure White Icing (stiff consistency), omit butter; substitute an additional 1/2 cup shortening for butter and add 1/2 teaspoon No-Color Butter Flavor. Add up to 4 tablespoons light corn syrup, water or milk to thin for icing cakes

    Wednesday, February 12, 2014

    Ombre Heart Soap


    My first attempt at ombre heart design using melt and pour soapmaking technique. 
    The project took less than an hour to finish.  I used red and blue soap colorants, clear and white soap base and added a dash of candy fragrance.


    These label templates are from Bramble Berry's website.  I like the process of making soaps but is not creative enough to design logos and labels.  These are just perfect for my needs.  Thank you Bramble Berry.

    Tuesday, February 4, 2014

    First Trouble in Paradise

    As you all know, I am now into soaping.  I like the fact that I don't have to rely on a machine to perform well to get a good result for my hobby.   Quilting was great and I am not stopping but the sewing machine sometimes don't like me.  With soaping,  I should be able to just learn from mistakes and try not to do them again.  For my first two handmade from scratch soap, I have found two troubles.

    These are the soaps that are right now curing on my windowsill.  They are curing nicely but things are not looking as good as I had expected.  The swirling are looking fine and gives that handmade look.  You can  also tell the different techniques used.  But the texture of the soaps are not what I like to see.

    The above picture is of my first batch of soap and the dried buds did not stay.  To get the soap drying uniformly I have been rotating them and they kept on falling off.  I must have sprinkled them at the wrong time.  If you look at them closely, there are shiny glittery speckles on top that were not meant to be there and the dried buds that had fallen off left dark brown spots.  Not pretty at all.

    For the second batch, the swirls turned out just fine but if you look closely, a lot of white powdery substance is lining the top and specially in the grooves.  I hope this is only cosmetic.  I will have to go check for any remedy for this.  Still have 2 more weeks to wait and I can try the first batch out and check on how they will perform as soaps.

    Anybody who knows about these problems are very welcome to give me your suggestions and recommendations so I don't repeat these mistakes.  Thank you very much.

    Now I am off to read about trouble shooting.

    Update February 6, 2014:

    I panicked too early,  except for the brown stains from the fallen buds, the glittery stuff and powdery stuff are showing signs of clearing and they are just cosmetic according to soaping experts.  They are things I can just wipe off. These are not "real" failed soaps.   In fact, I learned that most soapers encounter these a lot.  Still have 2 to 3 more weeks to wait, then I get to try how they will perform.





    Sunday, February 2, 2014

    Spoon Swirl Cold Process

    This recipe came from The Everything Soap Making Book.  After reading this book and watching a few more youtube videos, I just can't wait for my first batch to cure.  The temptation to try another recipe and another swirling technique is just too much and I finally gave in. 


    Lye 4.8 oz.
    Water 10 oz.
    Olive Oil 1 lb. 2 oz.
    Coconut Oil 8 oz.
    Palm Oil 6 oz.
    Castor Oil 1 oz.

    I used up all of my Olive oil from Bramble Berry and had to add some of  my kitchen olive oil to get the weight needed for this recipe.  My excitement change to anxiety when I poured all the olive oil and still it was not enough.

    Learned to line my mold in a way that my soap came out without folds this time.  It was a little tedious since I don't really know what I was doing. 

    My colorants did not blend well with the oils I used to dilute them in.   So I just added more colorants to the divided traced batter instead.  The episode with the olive oil then the colorants made me forget to add the lavender essential oil I planned to add for this soap.  So this batch is going to end up being an unscented soap batch.  Hopefully it will still be as moisturizing as it should be.
    Before swirling

    After spoon swirling

    Tuesday, January 28, 2014

    Crock Pot Balsamic Pork Roast

    Finding something that everybody eats is always a challenge for me.  This one is approved by everybody in our house.  I got this from skinnytaste

    • 2 pound boneless pork shoulder roast (sirloin roast)
    • kosher salt, to taste
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder
    • ½ teaspoon red pepper flakes
    • 1/3 cup chicken or vegetable broth
    • 1/3 cup balsamic vinegar
    • 1 tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
    • 1 tablespoon honey
    This is a crock pot recipe, so the direction is pretty straight forward but please click on the link for the procedure and to have a look at my source. 

    Saturday, January 25, 2014

    First Chopstick Swirl CP Soap Sliced

      I am pretty proud with these soaps.  My first ever cold process and they turned out.  I  cut them today after about 48 hours of being insulated.  The shape held firm with every slice.  It was dry and soft enough for cutting.
     The blue/red mica I added just settled only on one side of the soap.  But the blue color swirls gave that  handmade look that I always admired from other online soap makers.  I also have to learn how to cover the mold yet still keep the sides smooth for a more straight/smooth sides. 
    Now the waiting to see if the soap will perform as they should. Hopefully they will give lush, luxurious bubbles that easily gets wash off and leaves the skin feeling soft and moisturized.  Have to wait 3 to 4 weeks according to the instructions.  Temptations abound.  Can't wait to use them.


    Thursday, January 23, 2014

    My First Handmade Cold Process Soap

    My very first handmade from scratch soap.  A friend told me to just dive into the craft and make it.  So here it goes.
    My mother in law used to make soaps as well and gave me her apparatus, lye and others.  Since I have been watching, reading and learning soap making from Anne Marie of Bramble Berry, I decided to buy most of my ingredients from her company.  This recipe came with the kit I bought from Bramble Berry.
    For my very first soap my ingredients are:
    Coconut Oil (A friend gave me a jar of extra virgin coconut oil from the Philippines) = 6 oz.
    Palm Oil = 6 oz.
    Olive Oil = 9 oz.
    Castor Oil = 1 oz.
    Water = 7 oz.
    Lye = 3.0
    and an ounce of Cranberry Chutney fragrance, a dash of red/blue mica and blue colorant and a sprinkling of dried lavender.
    The left container contains all the measured oils and the right is the lye/water mixture.
    I am not sure if this is the right trace soapmakers described, but once I get this consistency I poured the soap into two bottles with the colors.
    The left is the blue and right a red and the middle just the uncolored soap.  I might need to add more colors to my next batch.  We shall see. 
     Here is my very first swirled cold process soap.  This is chopstick swirling.  I can cut them into bars within 24 to 48 hours but I have to wait up to 4 to 6 weeks to completely cure the soap for using.  Waiting is something I am not good at.  We shall soon see.

    Friday, January 17, 2014

    Rainbow Hearts and Heart Embeds


    The flower arrangements inspired me to make as many handmade products as I can.  I followed  a tutorial from one of my sources for this.  
    This is how it all started.  I poured the red soap, followed by the blue on the other side of the heart and then poured the yellow in between.  Notice the plain red soap on the side, that soap is going to be cut into hearts for embedding later. 
    I finished the soap with white and sprinkled red glitter on three of the hearts.  The hearts and round molds were embedded with the hearts.
    The different sized cookie cutters were perfect for this project. 
    This picture is taken to show you the different layers and colors I used.  I tried this technique previously using the awareness ribbon.  The ribbon was covered with my white and did not show up in the final product.  This time I layered the hearts with the clear soap before pouring the white and the red and pink to some of the bars
    All the soaps came out of the molds without difficulty and to prevent any crystallization from moisture absorption, I shrink wrapped them right away.

    Massage/Lotion Bar and Massage Oil

    I got a very pretty flower arrangement from a friend.  So I made a few products before they start wilting.  Hope I got better pictures of my hand made products by using it as part of the picture.
     The ingredients are ready for when I will finally get the courage to make soaps from scratch.  Since I already have all the oils necessary to make lotion bars and body oils.  Here is what I came up with for now.
    The two toned heart shaped bars and the push up tubes are the massage/lotion bars.
    Massage/Lotion Bar Ingredients:
    Yellow Beeswax
    Sunflower Oil
    Meadowfoam Oil 
    Sweet Almond Oil
    Cocoa Butter
    Shea Butter
    Green Tea Extract
    The bottles on both end of the picture are the massage oils
    Massage Oil Ingredients:
    Lavender essential oil
    Meadowfoam oil
    Sweet Almond oil
    Avocado oil
    Shea butter

    Wednesday, January 15, 2014

    Valentine's Soap

    My First Valentine's Day soaps.  I still have a bunch of gingerbread fragrance oil so these hearts smell like gingerbread.  It's fun when I took them out of the mold and they turned out perfectly shaped.