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WHITE CHOCOLATE BARK

Tonight was our Christmas cookie exchange with some girlfriends of mine. It was SO delicious and I’m not at all ashamed to admit I ate cookies for dinner. However, going into tonight, I was a bit unsure of what to bring knowing there are only so many ways to decorate a Christmas sugar cookie. Instead, I opted for a festive holiday chocolate bark that may or may not be making an appearance as a homemade gift for other friends and family this Christmas.

This recipe is so quick and easy, I just had to share it. I made two batches (one for myself of course) in about 30 minutes, so if you’re tight on time or just want a pretty dessert to display at your holiday party, this is the perfect treat.

After the first simple steps, you’ll come out with this beautiful creation, but it only gets better from here!

Meltdown your bittersweet chocolate in 30-second increments, but don’t be afraid to check it before then. Since you’re only heating a few ounces, it will be really easy to burn.

Give it a stir often to prevent scorching and keep at it until it runs smooth like this.

Now it’s time to drizzle! Dip the tines of a fork in the melted dark chocolate and give it a shake to avoid those globs. Then, just wave the fork in a sweeping motion over the pan in a single direction until you’ve covered the entire pan. Repeat, going the opposite direction so you get a sort of crisscrossed pattern.

This is also a fun recipe to try with kids or family because everyone can help out. No fuss, no mess, and it’s delicious. Happy holiday baking!

WHITE CHOCOLATE HOLIDAY BARK

Cook Time- 15 min
Total Time- 15 min

INGREDIENTS

  1. 1 package white chocolate bark or vanilla candy coating
  2. 1/2 cup to 1 cup dried cranberries
  3. 1/2 cup to 1 cup slivered almonds
  4. 4 oz Ghirardelli 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Break white chocolate almond bark into small squares and heat in microwave for 30 second increments until smooth, stirring between each increment.
  • Line rimmed cookie sheet with wax paper and pour melted white chocolate onto cookie sheet, using rubber spatula to spread into even layer
  • Sprinkle desired amount of dried cranberries and almonds, pressing into chocolate so that it sets evenly. (If avoiding nuts for allergies, you can substitute rice cereal).
  • Allow bark to set at room temperature for about 5-10 minutes until mostly set.
  • Meanwhile, heat 3-4oz of bittersweet chocolate squares in small bowl at 30 second increments, stirring often to prevent burning.
  • Using a fork, dip into hot melted chocolate and drizzle dark chocolate over bark.
  • Chill for 5 minutes or until dark chocolate is set.
  • Now comes the fun part! Pull slab of bark off wax paper, break into pieces and serve, or box up as gifts. These will keep at room temperature for about 1-2 weeks.
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DIY ESSENTIAL OIL LINEN FRESHENER

I’ll be the first to admit I’m not that great at DIYs. I’m great at having DIY ideas but when it comes to execution, I usually fall short or leave it up to my husband to do the actual work. Not this time! This project was so easy, it’s hardly a project at all. And it literally took me five minutes. In a fraction of the time it takes to shop for air freshener, you could have made your own and with no harsh chemicals, weird fake smells, or aerosol cans.

How do you ask? Essential oils of course! It’s becoming my answer to everything lately and for good reason. If you haven’t done your reading, check out Young Living’s line of essential oils. They are high quality, therapeutic grade oils that are safe for all types of uses around your home from cleaning counter tops, to hair and scalp treatments. My older sister made her own shampoo and you should SEE the difference in her hair. I won’t get carried away on that because I’m saving that for another day (guest post, perhaps…)

I think we can all agree there are these “spots” in our house that just don’t get a lot of attention, whether it be a room we hardly enter or a back corner of the house that just doesn’t get proper airflow. Our guest bedroom is all of the above, and over time it just gets kinda musty no matter how much I dust or sweep in there. It finally hit me the other day, the linens, while clean, sit on a made bed for weeks and just don’t get any air. I wash them, put them on the bed and rewash them a month later, but during that time they just start to smell. It’s not a bad smell but it’s definitely not the “fresh linen” scent they came out of the dryer with. So what’s a girl to do? Wash bedsheets once a week even though no one is sleeping on them? Who’s got time for that?

Enter this essential oil linen freshener. It takes less than 5 minutes to make and stores well beneath any bathroom sink or linen closet until you need it next. I spritzed my guest bedroom linens,  my master bedroom linens, the hand towels in the bathrooms, and my couch pillows. This stuff smells SO good! And you can change up the scent however you like. I used a combination of YL Lavender and Lemon to add some freshness. You could also add YL’s Purification or Rosemary to the mix. Lavender, Lemon, and Rosemary are a pretty versatile and popular mix because of the earthy fresh scent it adds to the home.

For those worried about the alcohol in it, don’t worry. The alcohol does not stain or leech color off any fabrics, and it evaporates super quickly. If you just had oil and water in your spray bottle, the oils wouldn’t emulsify in the water as well and you would get an uneven distribution coming up through the spray spout. If it bothers you, or you don’t have vodka in the house, use high-quality pure vanilla extract (spoiler alert, it’s also made with alcohol but it adds depth to the scent).

ESSENTIAL OIL LINEN FRESHENER

INGREDIENTS

  1. 3/4 cup filtered water
  2. 2 Tbs vodka (or pure vanilla extract)
  3. 14 drops of essential oils, any combo (I used 7 Lemon and 7 Lavender)
  4. 8-16oz glass spray bottle for storing

INSTRUCTIONS

Combine first three ingredients in the glass spray bottle and shake shake shake. That’s it! You’re ready to add a spritz to your home and freshen up those corners.

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PALEO LEMON CURD CAKES

I sure have missed baking. I gave it up for a while when I was doing Whole30, but I never picked it back up when I went back to the paleo diet. Until today! When I pulled out my stand mixer today, it literally had dust on it. That’s how long it’s been!

Luckily, Danielle Walker’s book Against All Grain and the Meyer Lemons from my CSA came to the rescue, and I whipped up these this afternoon. I decided to put a fun spin on it and add some of my YoungLiving Lemon Essential Oil to the mix! Lemon is not only a great flavor but also a good support for allergies as well as cleansing toxins from the body.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and grease your ramekins. Set them in a large baking dish or use two smaller dishes. Then fill the baking dish(es) about halfway with boiling water. This is what will give you that creamy custard with fluffy cake on top.

Start by combining the honey, lemon juice, zest, coconut milk, egg yolks, vanilla bean scrapings in a bowl, and Lemon Essential Oil. For a creamier coconut milk, stick the can in the refrigerator overnight, then shake before opening. Whisk ingredients until combined. It will look a little foamy, but that’s normal. Then mix in your coconut flour and salt and whisk until combined. Let sit for 10 minutes while you ready your egg whites.

Whip the three egg whites in a bowl of a stand mixer or with a hand mixer until soft peaks form. It should be very foamy but not dripping from the whisk attachment. Gently fold in the egg whites into the batter and keep folding until it’s mixed in. It might take a while but resist the urge to rush through it. You want it fluffy!

Evenly divide the batter among the ramekins which should be sitting the hot water. Side note: I’m so bad at evenly dividing batter so do a little at a time until each one is equally filled, then repeat until your out of batter.

Bake at 350 for 30 minutes. The batter should be set and the tops should be lightly golden brown. They are so creamy and delicious underneath the fluffy cake layer. Yummy!

PALEO LEMON CURD CAKES

Serves 6
Light, lemony cakes with a creamy lemon curd inside

Prep Time- 20 min
Cook Time- 30 min

Total Time- 50 min

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup full fat coconut milk
  • 1/2 cup Meyer lemon juice (about 2-3 lemons)
  • Zest of 1 Meyer lemon
  • 3 eggs, separated
  • 5-7 drops Young Living Lemon Essential Oil
  • 1 vanilla bean, scraped
  • 1 1/2 Tbs coconut flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • Coconut oil

INSTRUCTIONS

  • Preheat oven to 350F. Grease 6 ramekins with coconut oil and place in large baking dish. Fill dish halfway with boiling water.
  • Combine honey, coconut milk, juice, zest, and 3 egg yolks, lemon oil, and vanilla bean in a mixing bowl and whisk until combined.
  • Add flour and salt and whisk. Let sit for 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, beat 3 egg whites until soft peaks form (about 2-3 minutes)
  • Gently fold egg whites into batter until combined, then divide evenly into 6 ramekins.
  • Bake at 350 for 30 minutes or until batter is set and tops are golden brown.
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IT’S THE OILY LIFE FOR ME

f there’s anything that can make me come out of blog post hiding, it’s essential oils (or really anything to do with healthy living). My sister (EO pro) recently hosted a party featuring Young Living oils and it reignited my passion for the healthy, holistic lifestyle and DIY household goods. Seriously, did you know you can make your own deodorant?

So I’m sticking my toes back into the water and educating myself on great sites such as Young Living (seriously, check it out) and The Droppery, which introduced me to great DIY remedies and household cleaners. The best part is that it’s so much more affordable.

This brought me to my first hiccup… where do I found raw almond oil and white beeswax pastilles? What IS the heck a pastille? Naturally, I get online because I promise you no place in my town sells unbleached cocoa butter. To my happy surprise, I stumble upon Bulk Apothecary! This site is amazing! They seriously have everything and in lots of different sizes and costs so if you really want 16lbs of shea butter, you can have that. Do you want 30lbs of beeswax? Sure, you can have that too. I’ll take the 16oz but that’s just me.

Just for kicks, I went on Amazon (which is unfortunately notorious for people re-selling less potent/pure EOs and EO accessories, so I was already taking a huge risk there) and I DID find all the same ingredients. However, most products didn’t allow me to choose the size or weight, and it cost about $3-5 MORE per product. Crazy! So I quickly exited out of my Amazon cart and kept shopping at Bulk Apothecary.

And I STILL have good news for you. If you, like me, want to do some DIY home supplies (even if you’re not into EOs, making your own face cream is pretty darn fun) then click here to be redirected to Bulk Apothecary where they’ll give you $10 off your first order just to encourage you to get started! It’s a win-win. They even sell glass jars and containers to store your EO lotions, balms, shampoos, and such.

Check them out and use the link to make sure you get your $10. Enjoy the oily life!

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DIY ESSENTIAL OIL CANDLES

Yep! Today we’re making candles, and it’s actually crazy easy. I got really frustrated last season trying to find the perfect fall candle. Everything I got my hands on was almost $20 (I’m looking at you small sized Woodwicks). And even when I found a good price, the fragrance was overpowering or too artificial.

This spring, I’ve decided to go all in with my essential oils starter kit from Young Living. If you haven’t checked out their site yet, it’s a game changer. I’d been following a lot of DIY ideas from The Droppery but this time I wanted to try my own. And what better place to start than with candles?

I love my diffuser, but I don’t have one in every room. This simple DIY is a great way to incorporate oils into everyday life while filling your room with pure, therapeutic scents. I started by ordering my supplies from Bulk Apothecary because I’ve known people to use that company and my own research confirmed it was the best place to start.

I already had Lemon and Lavender handy, but both are included in your Young Living Premium Starter kit, so once yours arrives, your good to go! There are so many scent combinations you can explore, so I’m really excited to make more of these little treasures once my kit arrives.

I read a ton of DIY ideas and all of them sounded really complicated… so I’ve simplified it to make these 4oz candles. I had an old candle in this jar, so I just reused it, but you can buy crates of the 4oz size and 8oz size- just be sure to double the recipe!  It literally took me 5 min.

The first step is to melt your wax flakes (if you have a block, chop into cubes similar to if you were melting butter). It takes twice as many ounces to fill it in liquid form, so for a 4oz candle, shoot for 8oz of wax. Heat for about 1-2 minutes in the microwave using 30-second increments, and stirring between each.

Once it’s all melted, add you’re essential oils! If using a 4oz jar, stick to about 15-17 drops total. I wanted mine fairly light since it’s going to a small bathroom and not scenting a whole room. So I used 7 drops lavender, and 4 drops lemon, using the lemon to balance the lavender more than anything. Of course, you can create whatever combo you like!

Dip the metal end of the wick into the melted wax and press into the bottom of the jar. The tacky wax sort of acts like a glue. Then give your melted wax and oils a good stir and pour directly into your jar, holding the wick steady if you need to. Some ideas recommended using a clothespin to hold the wick in place, but mine stayed pretty steady so I just used a plastic straw to keep it from wanting to learn while the wax set.

Now you wait! 24 hours is a safe bet. I would not put this in the fridge to speed up the process since rapid cooling can cause divots or cracks in your candle wax. After it’s set, trim your wick to about 1in height. Your finished product should look something like this!

While I waited for it to set, I decided to be super crafty and paint the lid with chalkboard paint, lest I forget which oils I put in here! Totally not necessary, but kinda fun.

Tada! So easy, and now I have a brand new, essential oil candle to add some charm to my guest bathroom.

DIY ESSENTIAL OIL CANDLES

Homemade candles using Young Living essential oils to add natural, pure fragrance. Cook Time- 5 min Total Time- 24 hr 5 min

INGREDIENTS

  1. 8oz Advanced soy wax flakes
  2. 15-17 drops of essential oils (I used 7 drops Lavender, 5 Lemon for a light fragrance)
  3. 1 pre-waxed 3in wick
  4. 1 4oz jelly jar

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Heat wax flakes in microwave safe container for 1-2 minutes, stirring every 30 seconds until fully melted
  2. Dip metal end of wick into melted wack and secure to bottom of jelly jar, using straw or paper clip to keep wick upright
  3. Add in desired essential oils to melted wax and stir. Then pour wax into jelly jar, being sure to stabilize the wick if needed
  4. Allow to sit for 24 hours or until wax is set. Do NOT put in the refrigerator as rapid cooling can cause wax to dip or crack
  5. Once the candle is set, cut the wick to about 1 inch and you’re ready to enjoy!

NOTES

You can also use a wood wick for these candles. Just soak wick in olive oil for an hour, and wipe off excess with paper towel Then secure the wood wick in a wick clip (sold together) and stick it to the bottom with melted wax as usual!

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