creativelifetolive

using everything he gave me… this is my creative life to live.

Coupon Storage October 15, 2012

Are your coupons bulging from your purse, cupboards or drawers? 

Try this to tidy them up!

I started with a plain white tin which come in a variety of shapes and sizes from your local craft or office supply store.  I then applied some Making Memories craft paint, paper band with floral embellishment for an accent and a multitude of ribbons simply tied over the handle.  This now suits my kitchen counter quite well.  For the inside, simply use chipboard cut in the shape of a tabbed divider and painted to match the exterior of the can.  Create as many dividers as you need and ta-da!

My catagories range from favorite stores like Albertsons, Fred Meyer, Costco, Babies ‘R Us, Carters, Gymboree and Target to AMC theatres, my favorites spas (Elements and Mosaic) and even a Home Improvement section for the husband Lowe’s, Ace Hardware and Home Depot coupons. 

Now when I head to a store I can go right to the section I need and this makes filing the coupons I receive during the week a breeze!  Note – I used permanent marker to label my dividers so that I can simply apply some more brown paint and re-label them should I ever change my shopping habbits.  Have fun!

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The Perfect No Bake Cookie – Step by Step July 4, 2012

RED, WHITE and BLUE

and NO BAKE COOKIES

These are the perfect treat for the 4th of July!  These tasty chocolate cookies don’t sport the typical red, white and blue flare that you might expect from a 4th of July snack but I never forget to make these the night before because if frozen – they are ideal to pack in your picnic basket before heading out to the lake, pool or park!  I freeze mine in a Costco size cream cheese container in advance and grab them on our way out the door.  They are delicious frozen and don’t melt  into a puddle of chocolate oatmeal sauce while you play on the water. 

Many of my friends have asked for step by step directions for my No Bake Cookies – Enjoy!

In a medium size saucepan melt 3 tbls cocoa, 2 c sugar, 1/2 c milk and 1/2 c butter.  Stir occasionally until  it reaches a gentle boil.  Boil gently for 1 minute then remove from heat.

Stir for 30 -60 seconds allowing your chocolate mixture to cool slightly

then add 1 tsp vanilla and 1/2 c peanut butter. 

This step is the make or break it step!  Be sure NOT to add the peanut butter while the mixture is to hot.  This is the most common mistake.  If the temperature is too hot, your peanut butter will break down and your cookies will not set up and remain a shiny, gooey mess. 

Stir until the peanut butter is completely combined and your chocolate

mixture is smooth and creamy. 

Add 3 cups Quaker Quick Oats and stir until well combined.

4) Drop by heaping tablespoon on to wax or parchment paper and allow to set for about 30 minutes.  Most often I use a 1″ cookie scoop but sometimes I vary the scoop size for larger cookies all the way to a full size ice cream scoop.  If you use a larger scoop, gently press the top center of the heap with the rounded underside of the scoop to flatten each one as you go.

Ta-da!  The perfect No Bake Cookie!  Ready to eat or freeze. 

They freeze well up to 2 months in an airtight container. 

*Tip from my kitchen to yours:  If you make cookies in the quantity that I do as you’ve seen in previous posts then I recommend you pre-portion your dry ingredients into ziplock baggies.  In my cupboards I keep a 2 gallon ziplock that has 3 sandwich ziplock bags with the 3 c oatmeal in each one and 3 sandwich ziplock bags with the 2 c sugar and 3 tbls cocoa.  All I need to do in a pinch is grab one bag of each and add the milk, butter, vanilla and peanut butter. 

 

Pretty Up that ol’ Saran Wrap July 3, 2012

As some of you know I am a former chef “trapped” in an insurance agents body.  Trapped isn’t really the right word because I actually love what I do and love where I work.  But in my former life I cooked for a great resort however, the many years of having grown up in the restaurant industry have left these 35 year old hands feeling and working like their 90 years old. 

So I save up all my energy for 3 or 4 big parties a year like this one and for my many loves…  scrapbooking, photography, cooking, baking, quilting, sewing, painting and crafty little projects like this.  You see, having worked in commercial kitchens I know there is really only one brand of plastic wrap that actually works – but it has to be purchased in a restaurant supply store and of course – it’s not a small box by any means:

 

But this gastly box of foodservice film hardly has a place in my kitchen without being prettied up!  Follow this simple recipe:

1 Fiskars Paper Trimmer

1 Exacto Knife

Your Favorite Printed Cardstock

Use white text weight paper to trace all necessary openings and slots on the plastic wrap box to use as patterns against your cardstock.  Cut your cardstock to fit and ta-da!  Plastic wrap that works, lasts about 10 years and is fit to grace my kitchen counter!

*It’s been about 10 years since I last purchased a box of this wonder wrap and they’ve since improved the box with surface grips on the bottom of the box that work great!  Thank you Reynolds!