Trying to be good during lunch and looking sadly at your salad should not a daily routine. (Of course the sad salad exception is the radish salad from earlier this year.) Sweet potatoes can amp up your usual salad ingredients while still providing all the nutrients to get you through the day, or at least to the 3 o’clock coffee break.
Sweet Potato Quesadillas | makes 2
1 sweet potato
handful of spinach
1/2 c cheese of choice
dollop of Greek yogurt
To cook the sweet potato, wash the skin & stab a few times with a fork for ventilation. Place in the microwave for 4 minutes, rotate, cook for another 4 minutes.
While the sweet potato is cooking, you can chop the shallots into small rings. Saute your shallots over medium heat with a smidge of butter. The potato & shallots should be ready around the same time.
Layer your fillings, making sure to add cheese to the top and bottom layers. Take the whole assembly to the pan to grill, melting everything together. Sad salads no more!
Easy life hack coming your way! I had this method lined up awhile go, but was just waiting for enough glass jars to pile up… Any-who, follow along for the easiest, non-toxic way to remove labels from glass jars.
a pot deep enough to surround your jar
3 T baking soda
Fill your pot & jar with water. With the jar submerged in the pot, bring the water to a boil. Very important to bring have the jar already in the water! It’ll keep it from experiencing an extreme change in temperature and keep it from cracking.
Once the water is boiling, add the baking soda and let sit for ~10 min. Using metal tongs, run your jar under warm water. The temperature should be safe to handle now to gently peel off the first layer of the label, leaving just the adhesive behind. Return the jar to the boiling water for another 10 minutes. Remove the jar, and gently use a sponge to remove the leftover adhesive. Depending on the kind of adhesive the label had, the last step might require a couple of passes in the bath.
Now your jars are label free and sanitized! Extra organisation points: I like to use chalkboard paint (from the Valentine’s candle DIY) on the tops. Several of the jars will be showing up later for a candle DIY too, so keep checking back!
My curly hair is use to the constant humidity of Florida, and has not taken kindly to the dry, Chicago air. Luckily, I have a huge tub of coconut oil & a growing essential oil collection left over from the bath bomb project. Coconut oil can double as a moisturizer and a carrier for essential oils, making your hair feel & smell amazing. These easy DIY hot oil treatments can help with all your winter hair woes!
Hot Oil Treatment
2-4 tablespoons coconut oil
5 drops essential oil (peppermint, lavender, tea tree oil, or chamomile)
Using a microwave or double boiler, melt the coconut oil until warm to touch. Take out and stir in your essential oil. Massage the warm oil into your scalp, comb through, and cover with a cap for 30-60 minutes. Use once a week to see results. Each essentialoilwill help with a different winter problem:
Peppermint- relieves itchy scalp, perfect for those with oily scalps that still want itch relief
Lavender- good for all hair types, particularly balancing dry hair
Tea tree oil- anti-bacterial, anti-fungal to treat dandruff
Chamomile- soothes scalp irritation
Got any Valentine’s Day plans? My favorite date nights/nights in are making desserts at home. It’s fun to brainstorm different combinations, making them with the radio on, and then plopping in front of Netflix. This decadent morsel is fancy enough to really elevate your dessert plans. Plus, you’ll have half a bottle of red left over at the end.
Decadent Mini Cakes
– half bottle of Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, or Merlot
tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 cup sugar
You will need a double boiler to safely melt the chocolate. To create one at home, fill a pot a 1/3 of the way with water (make sure the water level does NOT touch the bowl you’ll be putting on top). Bring the water to a boil and place a heat safe bowl on top. Bring the water down to a simmer, and the steam will melt the chocolate.
Prep your chocolate by cutting into small, equal pieces. This will ensure even melting. Transfer to your double boiler.
Once the chocolate is 2/3 of the way melted, remove from heat. Keep mixing until all the chocolate is melted. If you stepped away too long, you can add extra chocolate to the same effect. This method of tempering will give you nice, shiny chocolate with a perfect snap.
Create a smooth chocolate spread on parchment or wax paper and set aside to set. Half way through setting, use your cookie cutter to create small discs.
While the chocolate is setting, time for the fun part- wine! In a large saucepan, bring your half bottle with the sugar to a boil. Once all the sugar is dissolved, take down to a simmer, add the vanilla extract, and stir occasionally. Applying low heat will evaporate off the liquid, leaving you with a perfect syrup. This can take around 30 minutes, so put on your favorite show and standby.
Syrup & chocolate done, quickly brown pound cake discs in some butter. The browning helps hold the layers together.
All together now! Layer up the pound cake, chocolate discs, vanilla ice cream, & blackberry. Watch with satisfaction the red wine sauce pulling it all together.
Candles are one of those small luxuries that I can’t ever bring myself to buy myself, but I love getting them as gifts. These chalkboard ideas can easily be used as Valentine’s. Chalkboard paint + presents? You know the puns are coming. If you try any of these projects, tag them with #ctrlcreated so I can see!
Tips for finding the ideal candle: When looking for a candle, go for soy or beeswax. These burn more cleanly and don’t give off harmful fumes. You can always score a couple at Target on sale.
Any candle container will work, but be aware you cannot paint the interior walls, so find a candle with a base color you like.
1| Prep time! As with any spray paint project, getting the surface ready is the most important. Start by removing or taping off anything you don’t want painted. Use a paper tape (masking or washi) to easily peel off later.
2| After everything is protected, sand down the surfaces. If your candle is smooth glass, use 100-150 grit to rough it up and give the spray something to hold onto. If you happen to have a textured candle, you can skip the sanding and jump straight to cleaning.
3| Using a lens cloth or wipe (they won’t leave behind any fluff), clean off the candle and frame. Any dust will make the paint bubble later.
4| Finally ready to paint! Apply 2-3 light coats, allowing for the recommended recoat times. This spray finished smooth & perfectly matte. Finish off by bundling with some chalk, a sweet message, and your easy DIY Valentine is good to go!
Other ideas? Try a picture frame with a favorite poem or flower vase that can be customized all year round.