Sunday, October 19, 2014

Hot Buttered Rum

What this drink doesn't have in nutritional value makes up for what it does have in nostalgic value. Picture it. A fall bonfire, kids bobbing for apples, and a plaid metal thermos full of Hot Buttered Rum. A perfect fall night whatever year it is! This drink is worthy of a comeback. Time to give it a try!

Here's how to make this old fashioned treat.  

Step One
Melt 1 cup of butter
with 1 cup of brown sugar,
1 cup of powdered sugar, 
and 1 tsp. of vanilla. (I wasn't kidding about the zero nutritional value! Hold on though, it's going to get worse!) 
Set it aside to cool completely.

Step Two
Mix together 2 cups of softened vanilla ice cream, 
2 tsp. of cinnamon, 
and a shake or two of nutmeg.  

Combine cooled butter mixture with ice cream mixture.

Pour the batter into a container and, depending when you'll be using it, put it into the freezer or refrigerator.

When ready to use, put 1 scoop of batter into a mug,

fill with hot water,

and add a couple fingers worth of rum. 

Stir to combine and, if you're feeling fancy, add whipped cream and a dash of cinnamon on top. 

Honestly, I was skeptical about this drink. I normally stay away from anything like this and it looked a bit weird BUT I was pleasantly surprised. It was comforting and I think it would be a hit at a bonfire, tailgating party, or even inside on a cold night. It's worth a try! 

Sharing with these parties this week:

Setting for Four
Recipes and Ramblins with the Tumbleweed Contessa

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Easy Cat Shirt with Printable

Here's a cute and easy shirt idea that's perfect for Halloween and every other day of the year!  

I found this shirt at Target (on clearance for $1.80!) but any shirt works.

Next, I drew the shapes for the ears and whiskers but you can use this printable that I made for you. (Click the picture for the link to the printable. I made the printable the exact size as mine but if you need it larger you can increase your printing percentage.)

After printing, trace the ears and whiskers onto freezer paper, and cut them out. (Holding them up to a window works great for tracing or even the light of a computer screen!)

Take a minute to get everything placed, then iron the freezer paper (plastic side down!) onto the shirt. Press firmly to really make sure the edges adhere and let it cool for a few minutes.

Paint with 2 thin layers of fabric paint. 

Let it dry thoroughly. Resist the urge to peel the paper off too soon! (Look to your paint for drying times and other instructions.)

This is the final product. I love how simple it is!

Sharing with these parties:

skip to my lou

Setting for Four

Recipes and Ramblins with the Tumbleweed Contessa

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Black and White Quinoa with Mushrooms

I spend too much time packing my kid's lunches. Over thinking what to include, making sure there's always a variety throughout the week and that it's healthy, all while playing Tetris with the different sized containers that fit in their lunch boxes. But then for my lunch? I quickly eat the first thing I see in the pantry, usually a granola bar of some sort, and move on to the next task. Next thing I know it's 2:30 and I'm wondering why I don't have any energy. Enough is enough! 

My favorite healthy eating tip is to have healthy food accessible. On a slow day, make a batch of something healthy that can be eaten quickly on the busy days. 

It works for me to keep a batch of quinoa in the fridge that way I can heat some up for a quick, healthy lunch and as a plus, it can also work as a side for dinner. This is one of my favorite ways to jazz up plain quinoa. 

Here's what you'll need for this recipe.

Sliced mushrooms (these are portobello's)
Minced garlic (I used 4 cloves)
Scallions (2 bunches)
Salt & Pepper
Your favorite oil for sautéing
1/2 cup white Quinoa 
1/2 cup black Quinoa
Parmesan cheese - optional

Rinse your quinoa very well before cooking! This takes the bitterness away. Follow the cooking directions for your quinoa. (For mine, I used 1 cup of quinoa to 2 cups water. Bring to a boil, turn down to a simmer, put the lid on and it's done in 10-15 minutes.)

*Some say the black quinoa takes a bit more cooking time than white. I cook mine together for the same time and like the difference between the two. Of course, this can be made with white alone.

Sauté the mushrooms, scallions, and salt and pepper in the oil until soft, then add garlic and cook for 2 minutes or until fragrant. Add this mixture to the cooked quinoa. Serve immediately or refrigerate for later when cool. Before serving, or reheating, parmesan cheese can be added on top. 

You deserve a healthy lunch too! Enjoy! 

Monday, October 13, 2014

Putting My Doodles to Work: My Etsy Shop is Open

Whether in journals, on junk mail, on copy paper or on field trip envelopes the kids turn into their teachers, I'm always drawing.  
I'm finally ready to start doing something with these drawings instead of closing them up, throwing them away, or handing them in.

Over the weekend I re-opened my Etsy shop and I'm excited to start creating again. I have a lot of ideas (probably too many!) and am starting off with a collection about luck. 

Do you have an Etsy shop? Leave the name - I'd love to take a look! 

Have a great day!

Friday, October 10, 2014

Trader Joe's Favorites

Let's talk Trader Joe's. I love it for many reasons - the prices are great, they offer a lot of organics and all house brand items are Non-GMO (but not labeled that way, read why here), it's small which means I can do my shopping quickly, and it's a fun environment. Want to try something? Just ask an employee and they'll open it for you - including wine! However, they do have one big con in my book: I've had to take moldy cheese and bad chicken back more than a handful of times. They are always apologetic but I've learned it's easier to not buy those items anymore. Still, it's not enough to keep me away. Besides their frozen veggies and produce, here are my favorite Trader Joe's staples. 

Tomato soup 
The taste is perfect and added bonus is that it's not in a can.

Nuts and berries of every form
We're big nuts and berry eaters around here and the variety and prices can't be beat. 

Ch-ch-ch-chia seeds 
Again, the price is great and everybody gets a tablespoon in their morning smoothies. Fiber is your friend!

Fully cooked bacon
Vance and I don't eat bacon but the other two do. BLAT's are perfect for quick dinners and this keeps me from having to actually cook bacon.

Steamed lentils
Ready to eat on their own or can be added to recipes. I just made Smitten Kitchen's stewed lentils and tomatoes and these lentils were perfect. Just toss them in about 10 minutes before serving to warm them up. 

Blood orange soda
This is the kids favorite fun drink. Added bonus is that it's not too bad with vodka. It's bubbly but not too sweet. 

Not just for Indian food! Goes with everything, especially with the above mentioned steamed lentils, and can double as a pizza crust. They sell a garlic flavor one that is good too!

Frozen brown rice
A huge time saver for me. Comes in microwavable pouches, but I don't cook it that way. Just empty the bag of rice into a glass bowl then microwave. Sometimes I add a handful of frozen broccoli to it and cook it all together. This is Vaughn's favorite quick meal. I've tried the organic version but didn't like it as much.

Frozen berries
Can't beat the price! We use them for smoothies everyday. 

 Chocolate coconut dairy-free "ice cream"
Perfect mix of chocolate and coconut.

Speculoos cookies
A less-spicey ginger snap. 

 Now it's your turn to share! What are your Trader Joe's favorites?

Tuesday, October 07, 2014

The Goldilocks of Halloween Decorations

Growing up, my family only decorated the house for Christmas, no other holidays. It just wasn't my mom's thing. I do remember one ceramic jack-o-lantern shaped candle holder and I loved getting it out when I was young. (I still have it and my kids know how important it is to me.) As I got older, I'd bring home bales of hay, cornstalks, and pumpkins to create a fall facade on our front porch. 
I needed more. 

My best friend in high school's mom went all out for every holiday. No corner of their house was left undone, including holiday themed snack jars in the pantry. I loved it and felt lucky to be part of it every year. However, helping out with the decorating and un-decorating, I knew it was a bit too stressful for me. 
It was too much.

I've found my own balance that works for me. I decorate the dining room table, the mantle, the sofa table, and a few other decorations get sprinkled here and there. 
Just right. 

Last year someone dropped by my house around Halloween time, saw my decorations, and quickly mentioned that they don't decorate because they never have people over. It was an interesting comment because I've never thought about it that way before. No one really ever comes to our house - I decorate for holidays because it's something I like to do and I think it's fun for the kids.
That's it. 

Do you decorate for Halloween? What's your favorite decoration?


I recently bought these skull drinking glasses with the intent of replacing the kid's old Halloween cups. The kids, however, did not share my feelings and gasped at the notion of getting rid of the old ones. I thought my associates were more mature, but clearly they are still adamant about acting their age. 

Today's happy accident was finding spider web designs imprinted onto the dining room chairs. The table runner had been setting on top of the chair for a bit and this is what I saw when I picked it up. A reminder that I do really need to recover the chairs and say buh-bye to the brown microfiber. 

Have a great day!

Friday, October 03, 2014

Questions Answered

Hang with me for just one more "boring" post. I feel I have to address these questions before moving on to the normal, fun stuff.  

"Why did you have to change the name of this site?" 

You know that paint color or wallpaper that you thought you could live with for awhile? But then it just drove you crazy and you couldn't get your mind off of how much it bothered you??? That was how I felt with the old name and what it meant and stood for me, personally. I needed a change.  

I felt I had outgrown Madtown Macs since it was with me in the early stages of life with kids. Consider Madtown Macs as Act One - Me with babies! and Charisa Darling as Act Two - Me figuring out what to do without the babies since they grew up! Plus, Madtown Macs was never a name I liked and I've been wanting to change it for years. I spoke with a professional in the business and it helped me to decide to change the name and not just start a whole new blog. 

"Who is Charisa Darling?"

Just a character. (Wait - there's something we've never talked about. The H in my name is silent. As in, it's pronounced like Carisa. No cha-cha involved, unless we're dancing!) The items I make are often referred to as being darling, so I went with it.

"Why did you take a break from blogging?" 

I needed to not think about it for awhile. Blogging has changed a lot in the past few years, especially with Pinterest. I believe Pinterest is the best and worst thing to happen to bloggers. I grew tired of fighting people who had stolen my content and ideas. I could go on and on but won't. Long story short - I just needed some space. 

"How will the site be different?"

Honestly, the content won't change too much. It will still be about my life, creative ideas, and how I look to make everyday fun. Don't worry - the same amount (or maybe more!) of writing on random subjects like how I think the new toothpaste I bought tastes like pickles. (Justin thinks I'm nuts, but what's new?)
I'm slowly working on the design. In the end, I'd love to have a better commenting system and organized drop-down menus with categories which make recipes and crafty stuff easier to find, but that takes money and I'm currently blowing all mine trying to find toothpaste that doesn't taste like pickles.


I hope that makes everything clear now. Please remember to update your feed preferences as I soon will be deleting the Madtown Macs feeds and I'd love to make this switching over process as seamless as I can. (I know I'm having issues with Bloglovin' right now. I'm working on it.)

Happy Friday!!! Hope everyone has a great weekend! 


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