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A New Twist on Dinner Rolls/Biscuits

We’re officially at the 2 week mark: meaning exactly 2 weeks from today is Thanksgiving, already (can you believe it?). If you’re doing the cooking this year that means you’re already getting revving up; stocking up supplies, taking final head counts, and looking for any last minute add-ons. I’m going to add a new recipe idea here and there to see if we can’t help inspire and entice you to steal the show with a new flavor or two. Today I found a fabulous new take on traditional dinner rolls: Brie and Chive biscuits.

You’ll need:

  • 2 cups of all-purpose flour, plus more for surface work
  • 2 teaspoons of baking powder
  • ¼ teaspoon of baking soda
  • ¾ teaspoon of kosher salt
  • ¾ cup of buttermilk (you can make your own by combining a cup of whole milk or heavy cream with 1 tablespoon of lemon juice or vinegar. Stir them together, let sit for 5-10 minutes, and you’re good to go.)
  • 6 ounces of brie, cut up into ½ inch pieces, including the rind
  • 6 teaspoons of cold butter, cut up into small pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of fresh, chopped chives

Line a baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat your oven to 375 degrees. Combine all of your dry ingredients in a bowl and stir until blended. Add in your butter and using a pastry blender cut until your mixture gets crumbly. Add in your brie pieces and chives, and then toss to combine. Add in your buttermilk and stir until absorbed (don’t over mix).

Lightly flour your work surface and transfer your dough to it. Knead it gently a few times to bring it together. Gently spread out your dough until it’s about 1 inch thick. Use a floured 2 inch cookie cutter or  small glass to cut out 16 biscuits (reshaping your scrap dough and re-flouring as needed). Place on your baking sheet and bake until golden brown, about 15 to 18 minutes. 

Posted on Nov 13 2014 11:10AM
By LIFamilies

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Baby Bare Newborn and Baby Photography Special Offer

I just found this special offer being hosted by Baby Bare Newborn and Baby Photography and had to share!!



Right now offering a free newborn mini-session to 5 LIFamilies subscribers!! 

You must be due anytime between now and end of November.

To get a free newborn mini-session, do these three things:

1. like our Facebook page 

2. share the page with your friends

3. COMMENT here AND on the page that you did so! 

FIVE mommies will be picked out for a free mini-session!! 

Go ahead, you can start doing that now :) 

Mini-session details:

Newborn Session in Newborn Studio
Props and accessories
Edited Images in color and B&W

Posted on Nov 11 2014 11:37AM
By LIFamilies

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Paper Pumpkin Craft

Gearing up for Thanksgiving, it’s important to still have a couple fall crafts to decorate your home, especially if you’re hosting this year. It’s far to easy to skip from Halloween straight to Christmas: Thanksgiving is becoming a forgotten holiday! To keep the spirit alive spend a little time preparing with your little ones or loved ones. Here’s a great little 3D paper pumpkins project that works as a mantel decoration or centerpiece element.

You'll need:

  • Book pages
  • Scissors
  • Glue sticks
  • Short sticks for stems

Start by cutting out 16 – 20 circles/ovals that you’ll be using to create your pumpkin. Cut them all the same size (whatever size you’d like your pumpkin to be). Fold your circle/ovals in half with the side you want showing in the center. Glue one folded half to the next folded circle. Do the same for all of your pieces until you glue the last halved circle to the first. Push your stick gently down the middle for a stem. 

(Image source)

Posted on Nov 11 2014 9:22AM
By LIFamilies

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A Turkey Cheat Sheet

So we’re officially beyond Halloween and on to November. I get “little kid on Christmas” giddy just thinking about the Thanksgiving and holiday prep to come! Yes, I know, I’m a holiday addict and I should probably head to TRA (Turkey Roasters Anonymous) but I haven’t gotten to the “accepting I have a problem” stage yet! Anyway, like we started, it’s November and holiday preparations are likely already underway in your home (or at least in your head). To help you along the way I figured I’ll post up some simple recipes and cheat sheets to help keep your Thanksgiving Day and beyond as simple and peaceful as possible! What better what to start out the thanksgiving countdown than with a Turkey cheat sheet?

How big of a turkey do you need?

It is suggested that you figure 1 ¼ pounds of turkey per guest. Of course, the majority of your guests aren’t going to eat a full 1 ¼ lbs. of turkey, but after waste and bones that equals out to more than enough for your guests and leftovers.

How long will it take your turkey to thaw in the refrigerator?

You’ll want to allow a full 24 hours to thaw per 5 lbs. of turkey. So if you have a 15-16 lb. turkey, your best bet is to have it in the fridge defrosting by Sunday night.

What if you want or need to thaw your turkey quicker?

You can use a sink with a stopped, lobster pot, or cooler to defrost the turkey with cold water. You’ll fill until submerged and then change the water every 30 minutes. This method is faster, but it’s still time consuming. It still takes about 6 hours for a 12 pound turkey, so give yourself enough time.

Are you brining the turkey?

You can brine the turkey as it defrosts in the refrigerator, ½ cup kosher salt to 1 gallon of water. If you’re brining the thawed bird (for 24 hours or less) use 1 cup of salt per 1 gallon of water. The turkey must be kept below 40 degrees, though! You can also add any other flavorings to taste: cloves, rosemary, orange slices, bay leaves, garlic, onions, lemons, etc.

Dry curing or pre-salting?

You can also use a dry curing, or dry rub of sorts, the last day or two before roasting. Use a ½ cup of kosher salt per pound of turkey, and any other seasonings that you desire (salt and cracked pepper corns are a simple and delicious option). Spread over the skin and into all crevices of the bird. It’ll look like too much salt if you’ve never done it before, but it’s not. Place the turkey uncovered on a cookie sheet back into the fridge for the last one to two days. This also helps to dry out the skin so that it’ll crisp in the oven.

Do you stuff or truss the bird?

If you’re going to the perfect, most moist turkey that anyone has ever had…then no. With trussing the bird, you keep it together picture perfect, but it will take longer to cook the legs thoroughly. With stuffing the bird you really need to make sure to cook it long enough that the stuffing has reached the safe, 165-170 degrees all the way through. Both may cause your breast meat to dry out. Your best bet is to let the bird lie without trussing and stuff it with aromatics (such as lemons, oranges, onions, garlic, etc.) instead.

Roasting the actual turkey?

My favorite method is low and slow, starting at 450 degrees for the first 30-45 minutes, and then turning the oven back to 325 for about 12-15 minutes per pound. You can also roast at a high 425 degrees for 1 ½ - 2 ½ hours (depending on the size of the bird). Either way, use a meat thermometer to check multiple sections of the bird at the end of your time period to see if it’s really done. You want at least 165 degrees to be safe, I usually aim for 170.

To baste or not to baste?

Nope! All you’re really doing when you baste is letting heat out and moistening the skin so it stays flabby, rather than crispy. Your flavoring is in your dry rub, any herb mixture that you chose to run under the skin before roasting, and your aromatic stuffing.

Must it rest?

Absolutely! Once your turkey is up to temperature, remove it from the oven and allow it to rest, tented with tinfoil, for 20-30 minutes. This will help it retain its juiciness. 

Posted on Nov 6 2014 9:51AM
By LIFamilies

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Adult Halloween Concoctions

Halloween isn't just a favorite holiday for kiddies. Adults should be able to get a little spooky and enjoy Halloween, too (especially with it falling on a Friday this year)! Whether you’re going out partying, hosting a little soiree of your own, or just enjoying an evening of tricks and treats at home, here are a couple ghoulishly fun Halloween cocktails to help you keep in the “spirit” of things. ;-)

Start with a Ghostbuster. It is super simple, sweet and fruity, but it looks disgusting: what more could you want in a Halloween cocktail?! You'll need:

~ 1 ounce of peach schnapps

~ 1 ounce of melon liqueur

~ 3-5 drops of Irish cream

Shake the peach schnapps and melon liqueur in a cocktail shaker with ice. Strain into chilled cocktail/martini glass. Add the drops of Irish cream for effect.

What fun is Halloween without candy corn? Here’s a Candy Corn Martini that'll provide a yummy adult alternative. You'll need the following:

~ a chilled martini glass

~ 1 ½ ounces of coffee-flavored liqueur

~ 1 ½ ounces of white chocolate liqueur

~ 1 ounce of orange colored and flavored vodka (such as UV)

~ ½ ounce of triple sec

In your martini glass, pour your liqueurs in order over the backside of a spoon.

Most of the “brains” drinks I find are questionable concoctions that need to be shot quickly before they curdle…no thanks. Here’s a fun one, Zombie Brains, that is tasty to drink and look at without, you know, all of the curdling.

~ 2 ounces of UV Salty Watermelon vodka

~ 1 ounce of triple sec

~ 1 tablespoon of sugar

~ 1 splash of lime juice

~ 4 large ice cubes

Combine your of your ingredients but the 4 ice cubes in a blender full of ice. Pour over the extra ice cubes in a glass and enjoy.

One last phantasmic concoction to try this Halloween is the lovely Vampire’s Kiss.

~ 1 ½ ounces of Midori

~ 1 ounce of blood orange vodka

~ 2 ounces of pineapple juice

~ ½ ounce of cream

~ grenadine

Combine all ingredients except the grenadine in a cocktail shaker with ice. Shake well and strain into a cocktail glass full of ice. Drizzle grenadine around the glass for a bloody effect. 

Posted on Oct 29 2014 1:40PM
By LIFamilies

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Halloween Safety!

With just a couple days until the Halloween holiday, I thought it was a great time for a quick list of safety tips to just act as a reminder. I know, we all know how to keep our kids safe and sound, but it’s good to just be refreshed once in a while! Here’s a quick should do be for the big evening of door-to-door (if you trick-or-treat).

  • Be sure to have a big healthy meal before heading out to your festivities. This keeps everyone’s tummies full and will cut down on incessant candy chomping (especially candy that’s not checked).
  • Make sure costumes are seeable and safe to wear. Many masks have been updated so that they’re easy to see out of, but not all. If your little one’s costume is topped off with a mask, be sure that they can see. If not, have them wear it on top of their heads or cut bigger eye holes. Also, if the costume is dark and not easily seen, add some reflective tape to the both the front and back. This will make it easier for them to be seen by drivers.
  • Be sure to bring glow sticks or flash lights (with brand new batteries). This will also help make sure you’re seen, as well as keep everyone able to see. You don’t want any falls or accidents as the light starts to fade.
  • If you're handing out candy, be sure to clear your porch of any excess decorations or clutter for the night. You want to make sure that your little visitors are safe as they come to visit you.
  • Try to use battery operated candles for your jack-o-lanterns. This will cut down any risk of fire, especially with trick-or-treaters coming and going from your porch.
  • Check all of the candy and goodies received throughout the evening. Be sure to check for any open packages or unsealed items. Scary things have happened so you always want to be on the safe side! You'll also want to make sure all treats are food allergy friendly (I know, it’s a “duh!”) as well!
  • If you want all of the fun without all of the candy, look for participating "trade in your candy" programs. Some companies are offering a program for children to trade in candy for toys and trinkets in return. If you're interested, Pediatric Dentistry of Suffolk County is a good example, with one of their own that they offer through November 10!

Posted on Oct 27 2014 2:11PM
By LIFamilies

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Chalkboard Pumpkins

I found a super simple pumpkin idea that’ll not only add a unique touch to your Halloween décor, but also last through a good portion of the rest of your Fall! Instead of carving all of your pumpkins this year, why not make a chalkboard pumpkin or two?! With a chalkboard pumpkin you can have ever changing Jack-o-Lantern faces and welcome signs galore! Now, I would use a real pumpkin (I also have many to spare since I work on a pumpkin farm), but you can buy and repurpose plastic, craft store pumpkins, too! All you need are:

  • Your pumpkin or pumpkins that’re getting turning into chalkboards
  • Chalkboard Paint
  • A paint brush
  • Newspaper
  • Chalk!

Cover your table/surfaces with newspaper to keep them safe, weighing it down with stones if you're painting outside (so that the paper doesn't move or blow away). Make sure that your pumpkins are clean and dirt free. Allow to dry if you're washing them right before painting. Place your pumpkin in the center of the paper and paint the entire surface that you can reach. Allow the paint to dry for 1-2 hours, and then roll the pumpkin on its side to paint any places that were missed. After allowing that to dry another 1-2 hours apply touch up paint to anywhere that has pumpkin showing through. Once complete you should allow your pumpkin/pumpkins to dry thoroughly overnight before applying any chalk decorations. When you want to change your decorations a damp cloth works great as an eraser so that you can change your pumpkin’s look over and over again!

(Image Source)

(Image Source)

Posted on Oct 22 2014 10:54AM
By LIFamilies

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A Halloween Reading List for Adults

Halloween isn't just a favorite holiday for the kiddies anymore. I still get just as excited for the season as I ever did, maybe even more so now that I get a month of my favorite classic horror movies of regular TV stations and awesome horror releases to help inspire the season! If you're a Halloween fan, too, and love partaking in the spookier side of life, here are a couple of Halloween Must-Reads to help get you into the festive mood!

Start with a couple classics. Although it may seem redundant to have Bram Stoker’s Dracula and Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein on a “Halloween Reading List,” it’s amazing how many of us haven’t ever read the real deal. I’m just as guilty as the next, and can’t believe I need to add them to my own Kindle this month. Both are very honestly enthralling reads that will pull you in and keep you beyond “the sake of being a classic.”

Although the movies were a craze a couple of years back, if you still haven’t actually read John Ajvide Lindqvist’s Let the Right One In I highly recommend it. It is truly a unique tale settled in the Vampire genre and will thoroughly creep you (if not skeeve you) out until the very end.

For something a little more unusual for Halloween Fare, I recommend trying out Alan Moore and Eddie Campbell’s graphic novel, From Hell.  It’s a tale of Jack the Ripper and the events leading up to the Whitechapel killings (as well as the cover-up to follow).

Looking for something with a little more horror packed into the punch? Stephen King is always a safe direction to turn. I've just recently picked up both The Sleep Doctor and The Shining, and am planning a King-a-thon like no other! We all know the story from the cult classic movie, but we all know the book is always better. If you've already had your fill of Jack and his family, try returning to the Overlook Hotel with new characters and plot twists in the sequel Doctor Sleep.

Lastly is a twisted horror movie classic that was also a novel that redefined the genre, Shirley Jackson’s The House on Haunted Hill. I am a Vincent Price (or as I affectionately refer to him, “Vinny Price”) fiend and adore anything that he was in. Even better, I loved the 1999 remake almost as much as the original! Both delve into what happens when a group of strangers are coaxed into a haunted house with the promise of a cash prize if they survive the night. This Halloween I’m going to go back to where it all began with Jackson’s 1959 classic. This is the twisted mind that brought us the short story, “The Lottery,” so you know it has to be good! 

Posted on Oct 15 2014 12:53PM
By LIFamilies

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Fast Fall Recipes

It’s time for a super simple and fun fall recipe or two! I'm all about keeping things seasonal and fresh: so I look for new tastes and treats whenever I can! Here are two simple autumn recipes that you may want to add to your own seasonal cookbook.

Pumpkin Quesadillas: now these are great for a quick appetizer, or even a light meatless meal (especially is served with a side salad). All you need are:

  •  2 cups of canned pumpkin puree
  •  ½ cup of chopped, toasted walnuts
  • 4 ounces of crumbled goat cheese
  • 8 flour tortillas
  • 1 teaspoon of ground cumin
  • ¼ cup of vegetable oil

In a bowl combine and mix the pumpkin and cumin. Spread the pumpkin out over 4 tortillas. Sprinkle with your cheese and nuts (adding more of either, if you'd like). Cover with the remaining tortillas. Warm up 1 tablespoon of oil over a medium-low heat in a skillet or frying pan. Cook your quesadilla, flipping it once, until both sides are browned (1.5 – 2 minutes per side). Add more oil between batches. Cut your quesadilla into wedges however you'd like.

Butternut Pudding: this is a super simple and yummy dessert that takes almost zero prep-time! It’s something unusual to spice up your regular Sunday dinners or pot luck parties! All you need are:

  • 2 10-ounce packages of thawed butternut squash puree
  • 1 14-ounce can of coconut milk
  • 4 eggs
  • ½ cup of pure maple syrup
  • whipped cream for topping
  • Boiling water

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees. Blend all of your ingredients together and pour them into an 8 inch baking dish. Place the baking dish in a roasting pan and fill your pan half way up the baking dish with boiling water. Bake for one hour. Best served warm with whipped cream on top!

Posted on Oct 9 2014 12:39PM
By LIFamilies

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Soothing Fall Masks

It’s a spa pampering kind of night today. It’s been one of those stressful months already, and it’s only the 7th! To help combat the stress and the worry I’m going to work on a little self pampering. Here’s a fresh fall face mask that'll keep me and my skin happy while I relax to a Halloween inspired horror movies tonight. All you need are:

  • ¼ cup of pumpkin puree
  • ½ teaspoon of organic honey
  • ½ teaspoon of  milk (or milk substitute of choice)
  • Optional: a splash of apple cider vinegar if your skin is acne prone

Combine your ingredients and gently apply all over your face (avoiding your eyes). Allow to set for 15 minutes or so, and then rinse away with a wash cloth and warm water. Follow up with your favorite moisturizer.

Not big on pumpkin? Here’s another refreshing fall mask I’m thinking about trying:

  • 6-7 fresh, crushed cranberries
  • 1 teaspoon of organic honey
  • 1 teaspoon of plain yogurt

Combine your ingredients and mix them well. Apply to skin in gentle circular motions, again avoiding your eyes. Allow to sit for 15 minutes, and then rinse away with a wash cloth and warm water. 

Posted on Oct 7 2014 1:19PM
By LIFamilies

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