Tuesday, January 13, 2015

Buying produce at Costco

Costco is know of having qualify food and better prices than most supermarkets. There are two things I watch out for when I buy my produce.

1. Pack on dates:
If you pay attention that the sticker on the box, it'll tell you how fresh your produce is. I dig through the back to get the most recently packed items, I feel like a jerk every time I do this.  The earlier ones are placed in the front, so they'll sell first.

2. Hothouse/greenhouse grown:
You're suppose to eat organic tomatoes and your green peppers when you can. But they're expensive! So your next best option is hothouse or greenhouse grown. It's better because most bugs and pests are barred outside, therefore, the less need for pesticides.

6 peppers for $6, I don't consider this cheap, but it is cheaper than my local supermarket which charges $1.5 for 1.

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Simple Hot Cocoa

It's raining here in Southern Cali, which makes it a good time for hot cocoa and internet window shopping.  I don't have any cocoa mix so I just make use of what I have; hot cocoa is just milk with unsweetened cocoa anyways. Every baker has a can of cocoa powder in their pantry.

These candy cane kisses makes the hot cocoa sweet with a hint of mint.

Just heat everything in a sauce pot with low-med heat. Stir the pot with a whisk till it's simmering and you have a  homogenous mixture.

I made this one with the whipped cream and candy cane for my brother, I prefer mine as is.

Monday, December 15, 2014

Christmas candy bouquets

My crafts finally received some notice. My HR lady was impressed with what I did with the Get Well Soon candy bouquet. She recommended to my boss to use candy bouquets as favors for their church's Xmas dinner.
It was an honor to get recognized for my work. But when they wanted 20 bouquets and then 30; it felt like a job. But nonetheless, I had fun... 

I just love how versatile candy bouquets can be. 
I got my floral foams from the Dollar Tree, and the tin buckets from Target's dollar section. Make sure to not cut the foam too much.  You want it to fit snugly in the bucket. 

Here are some variations, everything was bought from Target and the Dollar Tree. 

Sunday, December 7, 2014

Blue Doll Cake

Baby Emma is now two. From the time she was born, she was fighting for her life. The strength and perseverance of this little girl will astound you. My mother in law, Emma's grandmother,  requested a doll cake since the last one I made a such a hit.
While looking for my baking supplies, I found a doll from Mcd's kids menu I got a while back. It's blue tutu became the inspiration for the cake. I chose not to work with fondant this time and gave my whipped frosting a try. It worked out ok. But I think the buttercream frosting would give the flower on the dress more definition. Overall, I think it looked good. Emma's mom was unwilling to cut the cake because she loved it so much. She's keeping it in the freezer right now.  I did make a second cake, thinking the doll cake would not feed everyone. she was willing to cut that one. Both of these cakes were red velvet.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

Inexpensive Christmas gift bag ideas

Ho Ho Ho! It's that time of the year again.  A gift here, a gift there, things can really add up. So, to avoid any last gifts, I look out of deals on items I can use for making gift bags.  I love doing crafts and this allows me to get a bit crafty.
I shopped at Bath and Body Works when they had the lotion sale for $3 each and I picked up some small candles to get my total up to $50 for the free shipping. I also used a $10/$30 coupon and got more bang for my buck.  I later went to their store and bought 5 for $5 hand sanitizers. I also shopped at Ulta when I saw their 5for $5 deals. I got some really nice nail filers, clippers and polishes (I never used their nail polish before, hope they have a good consistency.)

 These are recycled items from my wedding. I made favors with tags that has wedding quotes printed on them. And now, I'm making gift tags.

These nail filers are so pretty.

Here are some ways I paired these stuff up. The gift bag are from the dollar store, I bought them years ago. 

Each of these gift bags come to about $5-6 dollars. Their original value is a lot more than that. When you find a good deal, you can give people nice things and it won't break your budget. 

Happy gifting! 

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Candy Bouquet

My latest obsession is making candy bouquets. I don't know why I never thought of it before. It's quite fun and easy. Since it's Halloween, there is no shortage of candies, but remember to bring your coupons. The candies were from Target and Ralph's, the other stuff I got from the Dollar Tree. The Dollar Tree has a wide variety of candies too.

Here are the items you'll need:
your favorite candies
kabob skewers
transparent tape
a cup/jar/can
gift tissue paper
floral wire
small halloween decorations
floral foam

Start by taping the skewers to the back of your candies.

Cut your floral foam to size, place it in the middle of a gift tissue and insert it into the cup. I start layering these candies from largest to the smallest and from the back to the front.
Once you start moving toward the front, you'll need to start trimming the sticks. I simply snap it off. 
I decided to have to bow in front of the bouquet. I attached a floral wire to a short stick and wrap  the ribbon around to make three loops.

The double sided tape didn't work very well in sticking these toys to the candies. So, I just used the transparent tape to attached these critters to the candies. The tape is not visible from a distance. 
I used the bow as a device to hid the sticks. I used a tumbler for my base, it was $1/4 at the Dollar Tree. 

This one is just another variation. Candy bouquets are so versatile. I used a bigger bow for this one and decided to place it on top. 
These lollipops go on the bottom. I cut out small pieces of tissue paper, poke the lollipop stick through the paper and twist. I secure it with tape. This is what I used to conceal the floral foam. 

These Halloween bouquets weren't my first. I actually made a get well soon bouquet last week for a coworker who was out sick. 

You probably can tell that I like symmetry. Anyways, I hope this give you some ideas on what to do with your favorite candies. 

Saturday, October 11, 2014


For the past couple of weeks, I've tried juicing on and off. For a about  week, I was only eating veggies and fruits. I'll try to eat them raw. This all started when I was on Youtube and landed on some raw vegan videos. I would never be able to live the way they do. But their positive attitude makes me want to add more veggies and fruits into my diet. One thing that FullyRaw Kristina said in her video that stuck with me was " your body is the only thing that you own for the rest of your life, why not take care of it." So true! And another funny comment from Freelee the Banana Girl was "why would you want to put a dead animal in your body." She was referring to eating meat. That comment cracked me up.

I tried to buy only organic fruits and veggies, especially the dirty dozen:
Apples, strawberries, grapes, celery, imported peaches, spinach, bell peppers, imported snap peas and potatoes.

Buying organic can get so expensive,  I just can't justify paying $5 for a lb of strawberries. My favorite place so far for organic food is Ralph's. They always have their 99 cent a bunch organic kale. I love kale. The selections aren't that great but the prices are lower than Wholefoods. Ralph's sometimes will have sales and I'll buy more and eat more of that sale item. Another option is obviously Costco. They have a 10 lbs bag of organic carrots for less than $4. I heard that hot house grown veggies have little to none pesticides. If I can't afford the organic version I'll get the hot house grown. Costco has them.

I always use carrot as a base, because it's sweet and it helps to hide unpleasant flavors like celery. The thing about juicing leafy items is that you have to run it through 2-3 times to get all the juices out. I feel like it's a waste if I still see pieces of leaves. I basically rerun the pulps at least 2x through the juicer. I usually will have all these things juiced together: carrots, apples, beets, kale, celery and ginger. These items are cheapest when buying organic. Well, the ginger is not organic and I only use a little bit of it.

I used a super old Juice Man juicer.