Friday, February 20, 2009

Girl's Spa Day Out Gone Very Wrong!

A few weeks ago I and a few of my cute co-workers decided to go for a "Girl's Spa Day"! We booked "Bodywraps" and talked about it for weeks, how fun it would be and how many inches we would lose. When they asked if we all wanted to be in the same room we replied would be more fun that way. We were pumped! The big day arrives and we show up at the appointed hour....little did we know. We each had our own personal body wrapper who escorted us into one big room with four beds and said, "Okay, take off your clothes!" We looked at each other, looked at them and said, "Ummmm, we are not that kind of friends." Hailey didn't mind as she was the only one with regular unmentionables. The rest of us had to don the "paper underwear" that they keep for just such occasions....oh my, it was like wearing a paper thong! We begged for essential part of any spa experience I have ever had...and were brought some towels with elastic in the top. It didn't even matter as the girls all launched heartily into their jobs of measuring every point on our bodies...calling out the measurements to their partners...ohhhhh just shoot me. And then rubbing a cinnamon exfoliant all over our bodies and then slathering them with who knows what....this all while we are standing there fully exposed...well unless you count the paper underwear.....and freezing to death while our skin turned 3 shades of red from the lovely cinnamon cream. Then the icing on the cake was to be literally wrapped in saran wrap....right off of the saran wrap roll and lifted onto the bed like a caterpillar in his chrysalis to rest and relax and let all the goop work it's magic! At least at that point we were covered. Not for long....after the appropriate baking time we were then stripped of our blankets and literally cut out of the saran wrap...with cold scissors I might add. Then ordered to stand naked once more while they called out those measurements to one another! We did lose a total of 20 inches or so between us but at what cost? Dignity? And you can't go back.....I think we are all much better friends now that we've bonded as human burritos! Spa Day anyone?

Friday, February 13, 2009

A Very Vata Valentines

I sometimes fantasize about what my favorite Valentine's Day might look like. It is after all my favorite holiday including Christmas. Is it the hearts? How could you find a cuter thing to decorate with....and the colors....some of my favorites, pinks & reds. Is it the tastes? Chocolate, sugar cookies, and more chocolate....yummmmm! Or is it the inevitable flowers that come to my door? Well....maybe! Is it the chance to return to my childhood and play with paper, cutting it into beautiful valentines and frosting sugar cookies? I think so! It's not just one of those things it is all of it is the anticipation he going to remember this year? It is the beauty of he did and it is fantastic! It is writing love notes to my kids and choosing special little gifts to say I love you. It is holding hands after a romantic meal and then walking off into the sunset together. It is a special day to hold all whom I love near and dear. It is a whimsical container for all of my expressions of love! Happy Valentines Day!

Valentine Cookies & Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

One of my favorite Valentine treats is a good old fashioned soft sugar cookie decorated in real butter cream frosting. I have the mother of all sugar cookie recipe. It is an old pioneer recipe calling for lard, I use butter and it makes a mammoth amount of cookies, which is perfect for Valentine's so when you give plates and plates away you still have plenty to eat! I top them knee deep in homemade butter cream frosting...yum lots of butter and real vanilla. The perfect loving touch is to decorate them in light pink and white frosting adding any accessories such as sprinkles or colored sugar as needed. It is deeevine! Give it a try anytime but especially for Valentine's Day!

Auntie's Sugar Cookies
From Famous Mormon Recipes
by Winnifred Jardine

7 cups sifted flour 1 pound lard or shortening (I use butter)
5 teaspoons baking powder 4 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon salt 1 cup milk
2 cups sugar

Sift together flour, baking powder, and salt. Cut lard into flour as you would for pastry, until well blended. Stir in sugar. Add eggs and milk and stir thoroughly. If dough is too dry to roll out, add a little more milk. Roll dough on lightly floured board as thin as you like (I roll them pretty thick) and cut into desired shapes. Sprinkle cookies with sugar (I skip the sugar when I am planning to frost them.)and bake in 375 degree F. oven for 10 minutes or until done. Makes 21 dozen cookies.

Butter Frosting
From The Better Homes & Garden Cookbook

6 Tablespoons butter
4 1/2 to 4 3/4 cups sifted powdered sugar
1/4 cup milk
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla

In small mixer bowl beat butter till light and fluffy. Gradually add about half of the powdered sugar, beating well. Beat in the milk and the vanilla. Gradually beat in remaining powdered sugar, then additional milk, if necessary to make frosting of spreading consistency. Frosts tops and sides of two 8 or 9 inch layers. (or many sugar cookies)

My other favorite Valentine's treat is Chocolate Dipped Strawberries! Here's a quick way to make them, they are so fun and easy!

Karen's Chocolate Dipped Strawberries

2 pkgs Nestles Chocolate Chips, milk, semi-sweet, white (pick your favorite)
Fresh Strawberries

If you wash your strawberries you must dry them very thoroughly. Water ruins the chocolate. I do wash them but then I lay them out on a dish towel and use another dish towel to dry them. Leave the stems on.

Pour chocolate chips into a 4 cup glass measure. Melt in microwave on defrost or 50%power setting, do this very slowly, stirring about every 30 seconds until the chocolate starts to melt. When it is thoroughly melted and smooth, begin dipping the strawberries. Lay out on wax paper to set. I like to put a little melted white chocolate in a sandwich sized bag and drizzle over the dipped strawberries, it looks pretty!
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