My Easy Two Ingredient Chai Frappaccino

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I’m a loyal, straight black Irish or English tea drinker. I didn’t even like flavored black tea until a few years ago when our local Tea Room proprietor talked into trying the amazing French Caramel Creme Brule. So yummy!! So I’ll drink that, or vanilla or peach/apricot, but mostly straight black with a bit of milk.

But the moment I tried my first hot Oregon Chai, I was hooked!! All of those yummy spices and the creaminess of the added milk. Yum!! So sometimes I’ll have that for my morning tea time, especially if I’m wanting to up me protein intake.

So I also fell in love the first time I had a Chai Frappaccino! It’s especially refreshing on these very HOT days, with it’s frozen coldness. My one complaint has always been that it needs more ice, and sometimes they did it for me, sometimes not. The unique thing about the chai version is that it doesn’t have yucky coffee, and it isn’t as overly sweet as the others, just spicy. ๐Ÿ™‚

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I rarely spend the money on one, usually using gift cards I receive, and don’t really love supporting companies that endorse things I don’t. Soooo…I’m always on the lookout for copycat recipes. Have you heard of The Pioneer Woman? Well, she re-shared her copycat recipe again yesterday and I re-tried it, but it was too watered down. Her coffee concentrate might be stronger than my chai, so you should still try hers if you love coffee. But while I was drinking it, I thought, “What if I freeze the concentrate into cubes and it also becomes the ice?”

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So today I used some of the frozen chai and added milk, and it tastes just like the real thing!!! No fancy, mysterious creme base. Happy girl here!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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So here’s my super difficult recipe, prepare yourself:

Pour chai concentrate into ice trays and freeze completely.

Put 8 cubes into a blender

Add 1 cup of milk and blend thoroughly.

Pour into a glass and ENJOY!!!

Soooo, sooooo good!!!

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And only slightly more complicated than the ice cube making recipe I saw earlier today, haha!! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Our Irish Party

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Ack! I’m finally sharing about our Irish party with our friends! I started it days ago, but kept getting interrupted by more urgent things. Anyway, here it is!

We have some friends that love to celebrate the Irish culture like we do, so we sometimes have get-togethers in March and mix the American with the Irish cultures.

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So here’s our serving table with drinks, dessert and the food I forgot to photograph as I was hostessing. My mother-in-law brought some green carnations for the table. We had Bewley’s tea (my favorite tea!) in our Carrigaline shamrock tea cups, punch made from rainbow sherbet and 7up for an American touch, Shepherd’s Pie, Steamed Cabbage and White and Brown Soda Bread, served with Dubliner cheese.

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For dessert we had a field of shamrock cookies and some rainbow cupcakes. All yummy!!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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And here’s our table, festive and fun!

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Some of the decorations:

Gnomes, mushrooms and egg cups as tea lights.

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Shamrock and flower plants and this adorable painted rock my Sweetie found for my anniversary gift!

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I made this table cloth several years ago, and collected the napkins from somewhere?

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We had loads of fun eating, visiting and listening to Van Morrison and The Chieftains. The girls were even surprised to hear they ate Brussels sprouts sneaked into the gravy of the shepherd’s pie…and didn’t hate it!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

The girls spent hours in the Bear House and Secret Garden, on the swing and saying hello to the horses next door. The adults spent that time catching up, visiting, eating and cleaning up.

And HERE are the recipes if you’re interested!! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Ways to Celebrate Ireland Day

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I’ve written a bunch of posts about the ways we celebrate Ireland. Our anniversary is just a few days earlier, and we both have Irish roots. I also lived there for two years as a missionary, so we like to celebrate the friendliness, beauty, food, music and dance of Ireland’s emerald shores. We sometimes do something more Americanized like lime and 7up punch, but we mostly do things the Irish way. So I’m including the links to all of my previous posts right here, nice and handy!

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Shepherd’s Pie

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Irish Soda Bread

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Mince and Potatoes

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Our Irish Anniversary

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Lily’s Brown Bread

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St. Patrick’s Day outfits, accessories, Irish Stew and Barry’s Tea

So, take a peek and see if there’s something here to help you celebrate Irish culture and all things shamrock!

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Brownie Shortcake

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Last weekend I made an early Valentine celebration dessert since we’ll be at a wedding on Valentine’s Day. Let me say, a wedding is going to be a fun way to celebrate!! ๐Ÿ™‚

I didn’t make anything heart shaped or dyed red or pink. I just made some brownies, topped them with sliced strawberries and finished it all off with whipped cream. This is now a new favorite dessert!! There’s something so refreshing about this lighter dessert. The yummy chocolaty-ness paired with the fresh strawberries and sweet whipped cream.ย  It’s the perfect combination! I was dreaming of another bite! ๐Ÿ™‚

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Brownie Shortcake

Ingredients:

*Brownies baked to your liking

*Strawberries, sliced and mixed with a bit of sugar to create a syrup (you could skip this step if your berries are super ripe)

Whipping cream, whipped with a bit of sugar (or not). I like to over whip my cream a bit as it holds up better and is more luxurious).

*Layer and enjoy! My Sweetie LOVED it!!

Always perfect with a cup of tea!

Happy Valentine’s Day! Spend some time with your Sweetie, and your little sweeties too! ๐Ÿ™‚

Healthier Chocolate Chip Nut Butter Cookies

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We’re trying to be healthier this year. Eating more fresh, organic and from scratch meals. Although I’ve always cooked most of our meals at home, I have taken shortcuts, so we’re working on making the time again for life without the shortcuts. It’s been hard, but definitely worth it. Actually we’ve been working on this for awhile, because it’s a process, or a journey, not a destination. Finally having that concept take hold in my brain is making a huge difference. I don’t give up if I slip up, I just keep persevering. The modern idea of a diet is NOT what we’re striving for, but healthier habits and realistic, every day living. So I was THRILLED to FINALLY find a healthier cookie recipe for splurges that aren’t exactly splurges!

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It’s protein packed, which means I can only eat two at a time maximum, and has no refined white sugar and no flour. And it’s still skrumptious! If you knew how many I’ve tried, you’d understand my joy!! Yummy!

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So here’s the recipe:

Healthier Chocolate Chip Nut Butter Cookies

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup nut butter
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 tbsp cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • salt to taste
  • 1/2 cup Chocolate Chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350.
  2. Combine all ingredients and mix thoroughly.
  3. Using a large spoon to drop batter onto a parchment paper lined cookie sheet (making sure you leave plenty of room in between each).
  4. Bake for 12-15 minutes

I added about 1/4 cup flour because I was worried the batter was too wet, but next time I won’t. And I’ll under cook them a bit, because I like cookies that way.

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We bought these lovely mugs in Ireland about 14 years ago, and we still love them!

But they were so great I almost cried, since I’ve searched for sooo long! Not as sweet as you might be used to, but I think it’s easy enough to get used to, especially if you’re being more careful already anyway. Our bodies do adjust. I’m very happy with them and don’t need to continue my search. :>

I’ve also committed to being in God’s word everyday, even if it’s only 5 or 10 minutes. That’s the real key to getting healthy…and everything else of course!

How do you build healthy habits?

**HERE’S where I found the recipe.**

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Stir Fry Chicken and Rice Soup

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I love happy accidents…especially when they occur by throwing a bunch of leftovers together! I made stir fry one day, then later was thinking about dinner ideas, but needed soup, so I decided to make it easy and throw in the already cooked veggies and rice. I also used our new Garlic and Herb seasoning that Whole Foods gave me because they were out of my favorite. Thanks Whole Foods. It’s a hit!! And this is our new favorite soup recipe!!! ๐Ÿ™‚

Stir Fry Chicken and Rice Soup

1/4 bag of each organic veggie:
Broccoli slaw
Shredded cabbage
Shaved Brussel’s sprouts

All stir fried for a few minutes on medium in olive oil and a bit of soy sauce.

2 cups cooked Bob’s Red Mill wild and brown rice mix

4 cups organic chicken broth

1 can chicken

1 tsp Handmade Culinary Collection: Garlic and Herb Seasoning

Throw everything into a pot, bring to a simmer and enjoy! So yummy!!

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Happy eating!!

Marinara Spaghetti Sauce

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This week I made the BEST red sauce I’ve ever had! That means I need to get it written down so I can do the SAME EXACT THING next time!! That’s something my Sweetie started soon after we were married when he was afraid my random way of cookingย  would hinder me from repeating a recipe that became a favorite. Add that to blogging, and I started writing down the haphazard ingredients I “threw” together more often. ๐Ÿ™‚

So here’s my fabulous Marinara Spaghetti Sauce:

1 lb of cooked ground beef

20 oz of marinara sauce

1 tsp tomato paste for a richer flavor

1 tsp crushed garlic

Dean and Jacobs Parmesan Bread Dipping Blend (This is a fantastic seasoning for red sauces!)

1 Tbl grated parmesen

Add everything to the pan, stir and heat through until the color deepens, cheese melts and the sauce bubbles. Serve on your choice of pasta (we love it on capellini and tricolor rotini), and top with a bit more Parmesan. Yummy. Enjoy!! :>

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Black Bean and Corn Salad

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This idea came about as a way to make the brown rice I have to eat so often for health reasons a bit more interesting. It’s super fast and easy with the shortcuts I used, and it definitely made the brown rice more exciting!! I even ended up throwing everything together and it is so yummy!

 

The corn, cabbage and garlic REALLY make the whole thing work!!

With so many GMO issues, please make sure at least your corn is organic, if not all of the ingredients.

 

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Black Bean and Corn Salad

 

5 cloves of garlic, chopped

2 Tbl olive oil

1/2 bag organic frozen corn

2 cups cooked black beans

1 bag of shredded cabbage

1/2 cup sliced olives

salt

pepper

Parsley

**Saute the garlic in the olive oil for 1-2 minutes, then add in the corn, black beans, cabbage, salt and pepper. Add more olive oil if needed. Saute for a few minutes, stirring often until hot, then add the olives and parsley, stir and serve!

The mix of flavors is AMAZING!!! So yummy!!

 

 

 

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Happy eating!!

 

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Purim, Passover, Ressurection Day and Haman’s Hats (Hamantashen)

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Our Ladies Bible Study has been studying Esther the past few months and last week I made Haman’s Hats or Hamantashen for our last meeting. We’re just a few weeks past Purim also, the remembrance of Esther and Mordechai’s bold moves to save the Jewish People, so it was pretty good timing. I made mine with a sweet pastry and fig butter…yummy! Their shape comes from the idea that Haman wore a three-cornered hat and eating his hat symbolizes his destruction. More about this cookie HERE. They’re really fun to make and kids would love shaping the hats. :>

 

And if you’re looking for more Resurrection Day ideas, HERE’S a post from last year:

Resurrection Cookies

Resurrection Eggs

Easter Story Snack Mix

“A Week Long Journey” with Baby Be Blessed

 

And this Countdown to Easter scripture Printable.

Also Resurrection Rolls HERE.

More great ideas HERE, especially the “Golgotha Hill.”

 

So much is happening this week:

 

SUNDAY was Palm Sunday, when Jesus Christ entered Jerusalem, to the cheers of the crowds. TODAY begins the remembrance of the Passover, when the lives of those who placed the sacrificial blood over their doorways were spared, with a Seder meal.

 

โ€œThe blood will be a sign for you on the houses where you are; and when I see the blood, I will pass over you. No destructive plague will touch you when I strike Egypt.
This is a day you are to commemorate; for the generations to come you shall celebrate it as a festival to the LORDโ€“a lasting ordinance.โ€ Exodus 12:13-14

 

FRIDAY we remember Christโ€™s horrible and cruel death, and SUNDAY we will CELEBRATE His RESURRECTION. His LIFE brings us LIFE. He paid the price for MY sins, YOUR sins, ALL of our sins. Choosing to repent of my sins, receive His forgiveness and mercy and follow Him, was the BEST choice I EVER made!

 

โ€œBut he was pierced for our transgressions, he was crushed for our iniquities; the punishment that brought us peace was upon him, and by his wounds we are healed.โ€ ~Isaiah 53:5

 

 

 

And now onto the Haman’s Hats:

 

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Cut discs out of the pastry and add a dollop of filling in the center.

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Create the three corners by pinching dough in three different sections.

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Bake and enjoy!!

 

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Find the recipe I used HERE. And make these with your kids when you’re studying Esther, Purim or anytime!

 

Happy Resurrection Day!! Christ is Risen!!

 

 

 

 

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Lemon Angel Spring Cake

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I recently saw two fun and festive cakes on Pinterest and ? My wheels started turning because they each used a favorite or two of my Sweetie’s. So I decided to go the easy way, combine the two and add my own flair (which I tend to do frequently with EVERYTHING)!!!

 

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Peek a boo!

 

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The favorite ingredients? Peeps, lemon, of the lemon meringue pie variety, and angel food cake. I used lemon curd form Trader Joe’s because it’s a good price as well as a good flavor, and easier than making my own. :> And I prefer the bunnies to the chicks when it comes to Peeps. Or the gingerbread people! I also love all things MARSHMALLOW!!!!! So I decided to make Fluffy White Frosting for the cake, (or 7 minute, cloud, marshmallow frosting). We also love Angel Food Cake in this family, so I picked one, up ready made from the store so I could focus on the frosting and the cuteness factors!

 

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So many things just fell into place as I mulled over ideas in my head and saw certain sprinkles and jellybeans at the store in certain colors. My version sort of nods to Lemon Meringue, my Swettie’s FAVORITE, and the marshmallow aspect of the Peeps!

 

 

So here’s what I did for this adorable cake:

First I gathered everything onto the table.

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Then Make the Marshmallowy Frosting:

 

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I ADORED Fluffy White Frosting as a kid and always hat it on my Cherry Chip Cake for my birthdays. Betty Crocker had a boxed version we used a lot (COMPLETELY different from the canned variety! I really dislike those cans!). I believe it’s only available on the east coast these days, but I was able to try it again recently, and I really just prefer homemade these days!

 

Next, start assembling…the FUN part!! (Although, eating some of the marshmallow goodness is also fun and gives you energy to continue on)! :>

 

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I cut my Angel Food Cake in half and spooned on the Lemon Curd, smoothed it around and put the top back on it.

 

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Spread the frosting on the top of the cake and gently ease some down the sides, smoothing all the while and being careful to avoid crumbs in the frosting. Either fill in the middle or just ice around the hole. Start decorating!!

Tip: ALWAYS use 4 strips of parchment paper under the cake so you can pull them out afterward along with any messiness.

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I lined the base with alternating pink and yellow jellybeans, threw sprinkles at the sides and top and set the cake on a pretty cake board for prettier photos. :>

 

Then I decorated the top with jellybeans and placed two bunnies in the hole. The frosting buoyed them up!

 

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One of the best things about this idea, is that the choices are ENDLESS, and kids will LOVE decorating it themselves!!!

 

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It is simply DELIGHTFUL! Light and airy! A perfect springtime cake!!

 

P.S. Here’s a cute version some kids made!

 

 

 

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