Radiating Sunshine: May 2012

Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Mini- Apple Pies

Apple pies in May? Yes! Last Sunday I was really craving a fruity dessert. So I looked around in the kitchen and all we had were apples. So I decided I would try to make an apple pie my way. I didn't want to just make a regular pie though... I decided to try mini apple pies. 

These mini apple pies are perfect for parties and holidays!

This was one of the easiest desserts I have ever made and it only took an hour and a half of my time!

You can use any apple you have around the house.
Doesn't have to be a baking apple like Granny Smiths!



8 cups of chopped, peeled apples (About 4 apples)
2 tablespoons lemon juice
1 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup of flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

Pie Crust Ingredients: 
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, plus extra for rolling
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon sugar
1 cup unsalted butter, slightly softened and diced (2 sticks)
6 to 8 tablespoons ice water

For on top of the pie crust: (Pie Crust Topping)
1 egg yolk 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Note: Traditional recipes call for 1 teaspoon of salt but to reduce the sodium I only used 1/4 teaspoon. 

Directions: Preheat oven to 425 degrees F

1) In a large bowl, toss the chopped apples with lemon juice
2) Then add the sugars, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg; toss well

3) Grease the muffin pan I used butter but pam works just as well!
4) Cut and roll out dough to fit in the muffin pan holes

5) Fill each hole with apple mixture; fill to the top of the pan

6) With remaining pie crust you can do whatever design you would like; I just put three lines intersecting over top of my mini pies. 
7) Then brush the pie crust topping over top of your mini pies. 

8) Bake at 425 degrees F for 15 minutes

9) Reduce heat to 350 degrees F and bake for 15 minutes or until the top of the pies are golden brown. 

10) Enjoy these wonderful mini-apple pies! 

Pie Crust Directions: 

1) Combine flour, salt, and sugar in a bowl and use a mixer; pulse to mix. Add butter and mix until mixture resembles coarse meal with pieces of butter in it. 
2) Add ice water 1 tablespoon at a time while continuing to mix. The mixture should gradually become doughy. 

Mine was very doughy which made it easier to work with when making the little circles for the muffin pan. After the mini-pies were baked the crust was perfect!

** You can use a food processor to get a flaky crust, replace where you blend with pulses**

Mini-Apple Pies go perfect with vanilla ice-cream!
Later Sunday evening, I warmed one mini-pie up in the microwave for 20 seconds and then added a scoop of vanilla ice-cream in a bowl and it made a wonderful and small dessert!! Plus the portion size was great! No more cutting too-big of pieces! :)

Monday, May 14, 2012

Happy Mother's Day: My Mom and Gift Ideas

The World's Best Mom

Can't you see where I get my good looks from?
What does Mother's Day mean to you? As a daughter, when I was younger this day meant that I would do every chore without a complaint, wake up early to make her breakfast, and buy her a present to show how thankful I am for everything she does. But now that I have lived a solid six months away from home I have realized how different my life is without her. She does so much for me and I can't imagine my life without her, so mother's day took on a new meaning. 

For Mother's Day I didn't want to just buy her a gift to show her how thankful I was for everything she has done. I wanted to make something that I thought she would appreciate. I think homemade gifts are really special and in most cases they are economically friendly. So for this mother's day I made my mom two gifts: Meyer's Lemon Sugar Scrub from the blog U try. it and Coasters off of Pinterest. 

 Meyer Lemon Sugar Scrub 

Jar from Michaels

Meyer Lemon Sugar Scrub: Double or even triple the recipe if you want to make it in bulk! :) 

Makes 1 and 1/2 cup of scrub

Zest of 2 Meyer Lemons (substitute with regular lemon if needed)
1 ½ cups of granulated sugar
3 tablespoons of organic virgin coconut oil
½ tablespoons of organic extra virgin olive oil

The ingredients were so easy to find just check your local grocery store... Also, if you are wondering what to do with the remainder of the coconut oil here are just a few ideas: 
       1) For cooking at high heat
       2) And for personal needs such as: 
             Cheekbone highlighter (makes skin glow), to shave your legs, a damaged- hair 
             treatment, to remove eye makeup, and as a full body moisturizer

The ingredients (sugar is already in the bowl)
 In a medium mixing bowl, stir all ingredients together with a wooden spoon until the scrub is well blended. My coconut oil was solidified in the jar but no worries just blend it well with the other ingredients and it will make the proper consistency without needing to be heated up. 

For Use: You can use the Meyer Lemon Sugar Scrub all of your body. Just rinse with warm water and your skin will show the benefits. The scrub smells great and is totally edible if you are worried about little ones experimenting. The Meyer Lemon Sugar Scrub is a great gift for any occasion including birthdays, Mother's Day, a house-warming party, or a simple I am thinking of you gift. 

Overall, this gift cost me $12 bucks (for the coconut oil and jar) so for a poor college student this easy gift was fantastic and cheap!

Coasters for My Mom

What you need: 
    4 (4¼ x 4 ¼) tiles from Home Depot (Cost: 16 cents per tile)
    Scrapbook Paper to decorate the tile -- you can even use printed pictures
    Mod Podge
    Royal Coat: 1461 Hi-Gloss Finish
    Felt for the bottom of the tile

I tried to pick colors that would match my mom's spaces
and she loves scrabble so I found cute scrabble paper.
 First, using a ruler I measured out 4x4 squares from the scrapbook paper to glue on to the tiles. And then I used the rubber cement glue to stick the squares onto the tiles. 
I used Elmer's Cement Glue but any glue will
work to stick the paper onto the tile
Then I let the covered tiles sit for an hour just to ensure that the glue was fully dried. Then I painted the Mod Podge over top. Be careful: It made my paper wet and made it start to bubble so I found that if you worked your way from the outside towards the center it had better results. 

Finally, I let the Mod Podge dry and then went outside and sprayed the coasters with the Hi-Gloss Finish which gave the coasters a more polished and complete look. 
The finished coasters!!

These coasters were so easy and cheap, just like the Meyer Lemon Sugar Scrub it was economically friendly and fun to make. I bought a lot of tiles that day and I plan on making them for my friend's dorm room and my boyfriend's apartment while we are all off at college.  -- So I can't cross this craft off of Summer 2012's Bucket List quite yet! 

My mom has done so many amazing things for me and this is just one of the ways I want to show her how much I truly appreciate everything she has done for me in these past nineteen years! She has always been there regardless of how late it was and I am so blessed to have such a great role model to help guide me through my life.
Coasters and the scrub ready for packaging.

I re-used an old gift box that my boyfriend gave me to package the gift.
Just add a ribbon and it spices the gift up!
I had a great time spending Mother's Day with my mom. We went out to brunch with my family, my grandparents, extended family, and my boyfriend. Later that night we sat in the family room and talked and watched some television-- it was some much needed mother-daughter bonding time since I have been gone for so long!

Friday, May 4, 2012

Summer 2012's Bucket List

Summer! My summer break has been cut short by a month because of RA Training in August, so I have 12 weeks to accomplish my summer bucket list! I created this bucket list to keep me organized and productive during my summer vacation. 

I have divided my list of aspirations and goals into three categories: Food, Crafts, and To-Do's! See if any of my goals for this summer match up with yours and or get inspiration to make your own

Summer 2012's Bucket List

                12 recipes in 12 weeks! So from breakfast to dessert I have selected my favorite recipes to play a role in my Summer 2012's Bucket List. 

1) Classic Lemon Bars Completed on 5/20/12
2) Tiramisu <--- Favorite dessert
3) Chocolate Chip Cookies in a skillet Completed on 6/25/12
4) Cinnamon Roast Peaches

Lunch/ Dinner Creations:
5) Shrimp & Corn Chowder Completed on 6/8/12
6) Zucchini Fries Completed on 7/9/12
7) Grilled Bruschetta Chicken Completed on 7/12/12
8) Healthy Chicken Pot Stickers 
9) Honey Walnut Power Salad Completed on 7/12/12

Breakfast Wonders: 
10) Blueberry Cinnamon Rolls
11) Breakfast Pizza
12) Caramelized Banana & Cream Cheese Filled French Toast 

                   I have picked out some small crafts I want to do this summer. Looks like I will be moving into Michaels, Jo-Ann Fabrics, and Hobby Lobby!

1) Monogram Letter 'A' for the dorm
2) Home-made Coasters for the dorm, friends, and family Completed 6/20/12
3) Paint my old file cabinet/ re-purpose an old piece of furniture
4) 4 Canvases with Scrap Book paper for the dormCompleted 6/25/12
5) Fleece blanket/ or a quilt for the dorm

                       The To-Do List will continue to grow but here is a list of tasks I want to accomplish before going back to school. 

1) Go through my clothing and anything I haven't worn/ don't plan on wearing goes in the donate pile! Completed 5/30/12
2) Have an at home spa day with my best friends Completed 7/31/12
3) Make an RA Program/Supplies List for the next two semesters Completed on 7/16/12

I am sure my Summer 2012's Bucket List will be altered and changed throughout the next couple months but as of now this is what I plan on doing. Let me know if you have any advice!

What do you plan on doing this summer? 

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Closure to Freshmen Year: My Year in a Nutshell

I had no idea how quickly my freshmen year of college would fly by. People told me before I left for the Mount that this would be one of the best times of my life and that I should enjoy every second of  it... or at least try. They say "a picture says a thousand words" so I'll let my pictures give you a description about my year...

Where to begin... Well for starters I am extremely blessed for having such a nice roommate... I feel like when I hear stories about people's roommate situations I always hear "Well she stole something or she has boys over 24-7" but in my situation, not to brag, my roommate and I get along perfectly! (See picture to the right). We both have curly hair and our personalities are relatively similar. We feel totally comfortable jamming to Celine Dion's "My Heart Will Go On", and by jamming I mean singing at the top of our lungs so our entire dorm building can hear us! Overall, I think it is easy to say that she has definitely made my freshmen experience great!

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