Virtual Cookie Exchange



As the holidays approach, you’re probably looking for a creative party theme. If you’ve never attended a cookie exchange, it is a great twist to the traditional holiday party. Here is how it works:

  1. Each guest brings enough cookies and copies of the recipe to share with the entire group.
  2. As they come in, their cookies are displayed along with the recipe.
  3. The host supplies goodie bags so that each guest can create their own personal assortment of cookies and recipes to take home and try for themselves!

To get you started, let’s have a virtual cookie exchange! We’re going to share some of our favorite cookie recipes below. Then, you share your favorite cookie recipes in the comments.

Delish.com has a list of 50+ Easy Christmas Cookies. Some of our favorites include…
…Santa’s Trash…They take less than 30 minutes total!
…The 15 Days of Christmas Cookie Countdown…Such a cute idea!
…3 Ingredient Sugar Cookies…I mean, who doesn’t like simple?
…Best Sugar Cookie Icing…Only 5 minutes to create an icing that will wow your guests!

I AM BAKER’s list includes cute recipe cards and general baking tips like…
…sifting dry ingredients because it helps add air which makes your cookies fluffier.
…creaming the butter and the sugar instead of mixing. Again, this creates air pockets which help make your cookies soft and fluffy.
…adding eggs at room temperature so that your cookies are more moist.
We love their Sugar Cookie Wreaths and Christmas Tree Cookie Stacks! Don’t they look adorable?

And of course, Food Network’s collection of Christmas cookies is to die for. Here is our absolute favorite recipe:

Quick & Easy Peppermint Fudge

You’ll need: cooking spray, 3 cups semisweet chocolate chips, 1 can sweetened condensed milk, red peppermint candies (crushed)

Prep. Melt. Pour. Cool. Cut. That’s pretty quick and easy if you ask me!

We hope you’ll try some of the recipes we’ve shared, and we’d love to try some of yours! Share them in the comments below.

Holiday Hits: 5 Recipes to Impress


 

Hopefully you already have us scheduled to help you clean up before the holiday guests start arriving. So, you have plenty time to plan and prep as the holidays approach! Before you head to the grocery store, here are some of our favorite recipes that you might want to add into the mix this season. Plus, some bonus kitchen cleaning hacks we can’t wait to share with you.

Breakfast

Breakfast seems to be overlooked during the holidays. We have large lunches and delicious dinners, but it’s hard to think about a big breakfast when you’re planning an important meal for later on in the day. Here is a great recipe that’s sure to please your overnight guests without taking away from the main meal.

Breakfast Pie

In less than an hour you can have these cooked and served. The great thing is you can make substitutions for picky eaters or allergies. Everybody loves croissants. Use them as the crust for a surprising breakfast pie. Check out the detailed instructions here on Pillsbury’s website.

  • Roll out each croissant.
  • Top with your favorite toppings
  • Bake on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper for 18-22 minutes at 375.

***Are your pots and pans gross? Use acidic cleaners like white vinegar or lemon juice as a gentle, natural method. Alkaline cleaners like baking soda can cause discoloration. Then, line them with foil or paper next time you cook to make clean up a breeze.***

Lunch

Holiday celebrations traditionally mean a lot of turkey.

Make your leftovers something to remember by trying this recipe. You and yours can get warm and cozy by the fire with a nice bowl of Crockpot Turkey Chili. Throw all the ingredients in the crockpot after lunch, and you’ll have a simple but tasty meal ready by dinner!

All you need is:

  • 2 Cans Chili Beans
  • 2 Cans Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 Cups Shredded Turkey
  • 1 Cup of Water
  • 1 Package of Chili Seasoning
  • 1 Tbsp. Chili Powder

Combine in crockpot and let cook for 4-6 hours on high.

***After you’ve served this delicious chili, your crockpot can clean itself! Use this awesome trick from Life Should Cost Less with water and vinegar to make clean up a breeze.***

Dinner

Mashed potatoes are a holiday staple. Don’t let traditional become boring.

 

dontbebland

Put a twist on this classic! You can read the recipe at Little Spice Jar, but it’s pretty simple. You’ll need your traditional mashed potato ingredients along with sour cream, garlic, and cheddar cheese. Serving these loaded mashed potatoes will be sure to please.

Dessert

Peanut Butter, Ritz, and Chocolate Sandwiches

(In my house, we called them Yummies!) For those of you who would rather spend time socializing than over the stove, these are for you! These no-bake sandwich cookies are quick and easy to make.

Spread. Melt. Dip. Dry. That’s it.

All you need to do is spread your choice of peanut butter between two Ritz crackers, melt chocolate as directed, and cover the sandwiches completely with melted chocolate. Then, set out on wax paper to harden.

You can eat them as is, but if you prefer, you can get a little more creative by adding sprinkles or making edible characters like they did over at Something Swanky!

***Careful! Chocolate is yummy, but can make a mess. Chocolate is much easier to clean up while it is melted than after it hardens. Be sure to use hot water to keep the chocolate from hardening while you are trying to rinse the bowl. ***

Decorative Delights

Whether its for a class party, a pot luck meal, or the dessert table at the family gathering, you can impress and entertain with a decorative dessert. We couldn’t decide on just one. So, here are several ideas!

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Call us today!

We can’t help you with cooking, but we can help you with prepping your kitchen and cleaning up afterward.  Remember, there is less than 2 weeks until Christmas! Call us today at 541-601-6263 to schedule your appointment or grab a gift certificate for someone you love.

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4 Natural Recipes with 4 Ingredients or Less



We love natural winter recipes and we’d like to share our Top 4 Natural Recipes with 4 ingredients or less!

#1 Sugar and Spice Natural Room Spritzer from Small Measures at Design Sponge

Ingredients (4)

  • 3/4 cup of ethanol
  • 10 drops clove or nutmeg essential oil
  • 10 drops cinnamon or anise essential oil
  • 10 drops vanilla essential oil

Place the essential oils in a 4- to 8-ounce jar. Add 3/4 cup of ethanol (I used vodka), and top off the bottle with distilled water. Shake, spritz and enjoy!

 

#2 Vanilla and Orange Simmering Potpourri Recipe from Tipnut

Ingredients (2)

  • Vanilla (a few drops)
  • Orange peels

Fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil. Add the the vanilla drops and orange peels, boil for a few minutes, then turn the heat down to simmer all day. Set a timer for 30 minutes so that you remember to top up water as needed.

 

 

 

If you like the simmering potpourri and the room spritzer, you might like our other posts on Homemade Scents.

#3 Homemade Hand Sanitizer from Homemade Mommy

Ingredients (4)

  • 2 Tbsp Aloe Vera gel
  • 1 Tbsp filtered water
  • 1/8 tsp Vitamin E oil
  • 5 drops Thieves Oil

Combine the ingredients in a 2 oz. squeeze bottle adding a bit of water to thin the mixture out.  You want the mixture thin enough to coat your hand.

 

#4 Homemade Grout Cleaner from A Mom’s Take

Ingredients:

  • 4 cups water
  • 1/4 cup baking soda
  • 1/4 cup lemon juice
  • 1/2 cup vinegar

Directions:

  1. Combine lemon juice, baking soda, and vinegar in a spray bottle.
  2. Stir in water to the mixture.
  3. Spray solution onto tile and grout.
  4. Allow cleaning solution to sit for 5 minutes.
  5. Scrub dirt/grime away using sponge or large scrubber.
  6. After scrubbing, wash with water.

 

 

We’d love to hear your thoughts on these and other natural recipes we’re collecting and sharing:

Follow The Cleaning Crew, LLC’s board Natural Cleaning Recipes on Pinterest.

Natural Homemade Softscrub Recipe


We are always looking for the most eco-friendly house cleaning products possible and we have a wonderful new recipe to share!

Our latest homemade all natural cleaning product recipe is a bleach free version of Soft Scrub. We could not believe how quickly it cuts through soap scum and grime, and it rinses much quicker and cleaner than the store bought versions, which usually sticks to the surfaces and requires rinsing and wiping repeatedly, a huge waste of water and time.

I added tangerine essential oil, and it was like scrubbing my shower with a big juicy tangerine. So lovely I was sad when the job was over! You can use whatever essential oil you like, or none at all. Here is the recipe:

All Natural Soft Scrub

  • 1 1/2 cups baking soda
  • 1/2 cup BioKleen All Purpose Concentrated Cleaner (or liquid castile soap like Dr. Bronners)
  • 2Tbls white vinegar
  • 10-15 drops of  essential oil

Mix the baking soda and BioKleen in a bowl until it is thoroughly blended. I found that a fork is the best option for this step. Do not add the vinegar until the soap and baking soda are thoroughly mixed, or it will explode with fizziness!

 

The next step is adding the white vinegar and mixing until you have a nice creamy paste.Finally, add the essential oil of your choice, but keep in mind the scent of the liquid soap you are using. Because BioKleen has a light citrus cent, a citrus oil like lemon, tangerine, orange, or grapefruit will blend nicely.

If you want a different type of scent like peppermint or tea tree, I would suggest using an unscented liquid castile soap. If you do decide to make this with BioKleen, make sure it is their concentrated all-purpose cleaner, not the all-purpose they sell in a spray bottle. Most health food stores carry it in the household supply section, but if you can’t find it a good liquid castille works great too.

homemade softscrub

The final product, ready to scrub!

This recipe does not create a lot of suds. This was a little strange when I first started cleaning my shower, but my misgivings were quickly laid to rest, as the built up grime came right off. (I had been saving it up for just this occasion;).

Almost all of the recipes that I found online also added 2 tablespoons of water; I opted not to do this because I like a thicker paste. Also, I like to store my scrub in a glass Mason jar, as essential oil will break down the polymers in plastic. Adding water does make the scrub looser which allows it to be stored in a plastic bottle with a squirt top, but I just scoop a bit out of the jar when I am ready to use it.

Many of recipes I have found for this stuff use liquid castile soap, but as I did not have any on hand I used one of our favorites, Bi-O-Kleen All Purpose Concentrated Cleaner. This stuff rocks! By far the best grease buster I have ever used that does not have nasty chemicals in it. Also has a nice light citrus scent, and this worked great paired with the tangerine essential oil. I made this recipe for the first time years ago with castile soap, but I don’t remember if there are any differences. Maybe the next batch I will try out the castille again, but I think it would be hard to beat the scrubby wonderfulness of this recipe.

If you decide to try this out, we would love to hear about your experiences! Also, if you would like to see a recipe or idea covered in our blog, let us know. Better yet, please feel free to share your favorite recipes or tips with us, we love to hear from our readers!

 

Update: We are learning that shelf life is limited by the interaction of baking soda and vinegar. The two ingredients counteract each other over time, making it less and less effective the longer it is stored.