Category Archives: Living

Fun and Delicious Cupcake Cones

cupcake cones I recently made cupcake cones–cupcakes baked inside of ice cream cones–a delicious and fun dessert that is sure to go over extremely well with your kids and even if your husband! Mine ate a handful of them in a single day.

You will need:

  • 1 box cake mix (any flavor)
  • Water, vegetable oil and eggs called for on cake mix box
  • 30 to 36 flat-bottom ice cream cones
  • 1 container (12 oz) whipped frosting (any flavor)
  • Assorted candies and decorations, if desired

1. Heat oven to 350°F. Make cake batter as directed on box, using water, oil and eggs. Fill 12 cones about half full of batter. Stand cones in muffin pan. Refrigerate any leftover batter until ready to fill and bake remaining cones.
2. Bake 20 to 25 minutes or until toothpick carefully inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely, about 1 hour. Frost with frosting and decorate as desired. Store loosely covered at room temperature.

Fill cones about half full. Makes 36 to 40 cupcake cones.

Say Happy Mother’s Day with Ferrero Rocher

Mother’s Day is officially less than one month away and before you know it, you’ll be running around before stores close trying to pick out the “perfect gift” or at the very least, something that will tell your mother you love her and is conveniently located in a store that does not close before you have time to get there to pick it up.

It is exactly this scenario that I have been in more times than I can count that led me to mark important days, holidays, and events not only down on a calendar, but also on a post-it and stick it to my computer monitor so I will not forget to start thinking about gift giving ideas that I will be happy to present to the people I love and care for. It is also because of this scenario that pretty much everyone has been in several times before that made internet shopping so convenient and popular.

Luckily, there are many quality gift ideas that you will be happy and even enthusiastic about giving to your mother for Mother’s Day this year and one of the best gifts that works for everyone is chocolate; more specifically, Ferrero Rocher chocolates.

Ferrero Rocher Chocolate is a gift you can always feel good about giving because who doesn’t love to indulge every once in a while? Ferrero chocolates are beautifully packaged and every flavor they offer is as delicious as the next. I have become a Ferrero Rocher junkie, I cannot get enough of these delicious chocolates and have been known to go through an entire box within just a few days, but I can’t help it and chances are, you won’t be able to help yourself either. Because of our economical worries that are undoubtedly weighing on most families, Ferrero Rocher chocolates are also an affordable gift choice and can even be combined as that little something extra with your other gift, whether it be a card telling your mother how much you love and appreciate her or that something she has had her eye on for some time.

Mother’s Day is an important holiday for all moms out there and Ferrero Rocher makes it easy to give your mom a decadent and delicious treat.

Enter for a Chance to Win an HDTV Every Day Throughout April

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The popularity of HDTV has certainly been growing exceedingly throughout the past couple of years and that popularity is not dying out any time soon. Now that it’s tax season, many people will begin thinking about what to do with their tax returns; given the economy, many people will certainly wish they could spend their tax returns on luxury items such as an HD television or perhaps a video game console or new computer, but will most likely end up using that money to pay overdue bills, catch up on mortgage payments, pay back rent, or even spend a significant amount of that money on groceries in bulk as we continue to see our economy deteriorate.

Charter Communications is working to meet the demands of their customers by offering service bundles that meet their unique and specific needs and save them money, but they are also creating a great buzz in a truly unique and fun way. Every day throughout April, if any current or new Charter customer orders Cable, High Speed, or Telephone services online, upon installation of their service, will automatically be entered for a chance to win a 22″ flat screen HDTV. As an added bonus, they are also offering their customers a chance to win the grand price package, including a 52″ LCD flat screen HDTV, a Home Theater System, and one year of free Charter Digital Cable service with HD programming. Imagine receiving a complete Home Theater System and the ability to literally bring the movie theater right inside to your own living room just for ordering either Cable, High Speed of Telephone service!

This isn’t the first time Charter has offered their customers an added bonus just for doing business with them. Charter is a company that truly does business a little differently than their competitors, injecting benefits and fun into their business models. In the past, Charter has run giveaways for laptops, Xbox 360 game systems, and even a 2009 Honda Civic Hybrid. Charter is definitely a company that knows what their customers want in a service provider and goes above and beyond the call of duty to keep their loyal customers happy.

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Roasted Carrots Recipe

roasted carrots If we don’t eat them fresh from the bag or garden, we roast them. Roasting caramelizes and browns them so nicely.

You will need:

  • 1 lb baby carrots or regular carrots
  • Extra virgin olive oil (Please do not use any other type)
  • Salt (I use Kosher)
  • Pepper

1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.

2. Slice the baby carrots in half, lengthwise, or if using regulars, then peel them and diagonally slice them into large-sized chunks.

3. Spread them in a single layer on a rimmed cookie-type sheet. Sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons olive oil over. Sprinkle salt & pepper over. Mix it all up with your hands right on the tray- messy but fun.

4. Place in the oven for about 15-20 minutes; stir once during roasting

5. With a spatula, scrape out onto a serving plate, or we just serve them from the tray on the stove.

Best Kept Recipes This recipe is brought to you by Best Kept Recipes.

Poppy Seed Noodles

poppy seed noodles Serve this alongside something with a good “kick” to it, such as roasted sausages & peppers. Or, it works well as a lighter meal with salad. The poppy seeds add a wonderful crunch.

You will need:

  • 1lb box farfalle (bowtie) noodles
  • 4 tbs olive oil (extra virgin, if you can)
  • 3+ (to taste) minced garlic cloves
  • 1 tsp kosher salt
  • 1 1/2 tbsp poppy seeds

Cook pasta according to package directions and set aside in a large serving bowl. Meanwhile, add the oil, garlic & salt to a small saucepan and heat the oil. Pour over the pasta and mix well, sprinkle the poppy seeds onto pasta and mix well.

Best Kept Recipes This recipe is brought to you by Best Kept Recipes.

Sweeten Up Your Valentine’s Day with Chocolate Body Paint

chocolate body paint No matter what your plans are for this upcoming Valentine’s Day you can always make it a little sweeter and your sweetheart will be glad you did. This delicious chocolate body paint will have your honey clawing the bedsheets as you lick it off.

You will need:

  • 17.05oz high quality dark chocolate (semi-sweet or bittersweet) chopped
  • 13.5oz cream
  • 1/2 bunch mint, finely chopped
  • 1 chili pepper, finely chopped
  • double shot espresso

1. Divide cream into 3 indivdual pans.

2. Add mint into 1 pan, chili into the second pan and espresso into the third pan.

3. Slowly warm each pan to a near simmer and remove from heat allowing flavor to infuse for 15 minutes.

4. Place dark chocolate in a small bowl and set over a small saucepan of barely simmering water. Stir this constantly until chocolate melts.

5. Remove pan from heat.

6. Divide chocolate into 3 small pots.

7. Return pans of cream to heat and once hot, strain each pan of cream into 1 chocolate pot, creating 3 separate flavored chocolate body paints.

Get a soft paintbrush and let your imagination take over!

Pretty in Pink Pig

Pink Pig is perhaps the most interesting and unique name for any kind of boutique that I have ever come across, which is easily understandable since Pink Pig Cottage Antiques and the new Pink Pig on Main Street in Westport, New York offers truly unique collections of country cottage and farmhouse style furniture and country accents for home decorating. With just one, quick look around their website you are sure to be inspired to re-decorate your favorite rooms and even your entire house with the furniture and other items you see; I know I was.

When it comes to items for home, I am most interested in the small things–Knick knacks, wall decor, and most particularly, candles. I have a very large collection of different candles that I pull out depending on what kind of mood I’m in. Candles are very relaxing and work wonderfully for sprucing up the feel of your home, so I was delighted when presented with the opportunity to review Pink Pig’s signature, natural soy candle.

Pink Pig Debbie Schrodt, owner of Pink Pig spent numerous hours developing a pleasantly scented candle sure to be loved by anyone. The candle is a blended scent of florals, including tuberose, Indian jasmine, lavender, geranium and white rose and is the first candle in what will be a series of six available at Pink Pig.

The first thing that I noticed about this candle was the packaging it came in. Pink Pig is indeed pretty when it comes to their packaging; the box the candle box came in was even lined with pink wrapping and the box itself came tied in a black bow.

The candle is all natural soy, which has more benefits than you may realize. The first thing that I noticed upon burning Pink Pig’s candle is that the aroma was not only pleasant, but unlike a great deal of candles I have melted due to the fact that the aroma was stronger, but not overpowering in the least. I always have a candle burning in my office when I am working, and what I noticed about this particular candle is that it has lasted the last couple of days and with the amount of hours that I am in my office, that is longer than a great deal of candles I have come across. Upon further investigation, I found out that soy candles last longer than your average candle and this particular candle burns for approximately 60 hours, which is absolutely amazing, especially considering this candle is 7.5oz.

Pink Pig’s signature candle is available for just $24 and I have to say that it is most definitely worth the price. You can purchase the candle at the Pink Pig shop in Westport or you can shop online at PinkPigWestport.com.

Garlic Pasta

garlic pasta If you like garlic, butter, and olive oil, then you’ll love this.

You will need:

  • 1 lb. box of pasta (we use spaghetti or angel hair)
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (don’t use any other kind)
  • 2-3 tbsp. – or to taste – minced garlic
  • 6 tbsp. butter (NOT margarine)
  • 3 tbsp. minced parsley
  • 1 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • Salt & freshly ground black pepper to taste

1. Cook pasta according to package but before draining, reserve 1 cup of the hot cooking water – set aside. Place pasta back into pot.

2. While pasta is finishing cooking, in a small pot heat the oil, butter, and garlic until butter has melted.

3. Pour the hot oil mixture over the pasta and stir; add in the cheese and stir until well-mixed.

4. Add as much of the reserved hot cooking water as needed to keep pasta moist- it may not take the full cup.

5. Sprinkle in the parsley, and salt & pepper to taste.

6. Serve immediately. This also reheats well the next day, just zap it in the microwave.

Best Kept Recipes This recipe is brought to you by Best Kept Recipes.

Donate or Recycle Your Old Mattress

What did you do with your last mattress after you bought a new one? Haul it out to the trash and let the garbage truck take it away to a landfill? If you’re like most people, then you did and when most people are throwing away their mattresses, landfills are filling up with everyone’s dirty mattresses. About 20 million mattresses are thrown away every year just in the United States and for every 10,000 people that either donate or recycle their mattresses, it would save eight feed of landfill space–An entire American football field.

In some places, throwing out your mattress is illegal requiring people to donate their mattresses where recyclers can separate the fiber, foam, steel, and wood for remanufacturing and can make new mattresses.

There are a few options for you if you’re looking to get rid of a mattress. You can either donate it to either a crisis center, halfway house, Craig’s List or Freecycle. Make sure you clean your mattress before donating it! For instructions on how to properly clean a mattress, check out Instructables.

To recycle your old mattress, go to Earth 911, type in “mattress” in the start recycling “what do you have?” field and your zip code in the “where are you?” field for a recycling drop off sight near you.

Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks? The Truth is Out!

Dunkin Donuts Starbucks Which do you prefer, Dunkin’ Donuts or Starbucks coffee? Well, if you’re like 54.2% of frequent (or obsessive) coffee drinkers, you would be shouting from the rooftops about just how much you love Dunkin’ Donuts. I mean, come on, there is absolutely nothing bad to say about Dunkin’ Donuts coffee (their flat bread sandwiches, however, well yes, there are a lot of negative things you can say about those) it’s insanely affordable and downright delicious and according to that 54.2% of frequent coffee drinkers, it’s better than Starbucks, not to mention more than half the price of what a Starbucks coffee costs.

An independent taste test was conducted by A&G Research Inc., under the counsel of claims test advisor Al Ossip, of coffee drinkers across ten major US markets last May and June. The US markets included Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Cleveland, Dallas, Detroit, Los Angeles, Miami, New York City, and Starbucks’ own home of Seattle. The taste test included 476 adults, all of which had consumed regular, brewed coffee within the past week.

A&G Research served each of the participants fresh packaged coffee in the most popular flavor purchased in each brand’s stores, Dunkin Donuts Original Blend and Starbucks House Blend. The coffee was brewed using the exact equipment recommended by each brand and was served black.

The independent taste test results clearly showed where each coffee brand stood when it came to consumers because among all participants, 54.2% preferred Dunkin’ Donuts coffee compared to just 39.3% who said they preferred Starbucks and 6.3% expressed no preference.

Dunkin Donuts was founded in 1950 and with a little under 60 years in the coffee-making business, this taste test has proven that no other coffee chain, sofas, music and ambiance included, can be matched by Dunkin’ Donuts, which is proven with the fact that nearly 1.5 billion cups of coffee are sold each and every single year by Dunkin Donuts.

Above all, this taste test has proven that America really does run on Dunkin.

Dunkin Beat Starbucks

Visit Dunkin’ Beat Starbucks to see how Dunkin’ Donuts unmistakably delicious coffee is made and also for hot deals going on at Dunkin’ stores near you!