Monday, July 25, 2016

Hot Tubs: Hotel, Home, or Inflatable?

Living in the Rocky Mountains, it was the dream of everyone I knew to have access to a hot tub. Was it the plunging temperatures each winter? The fact that it took so long for spring to come? Or perhaps that even in the dead heat of summer, once the sun went down, you'd STILL face a chill in the mountains? Regardless, each apartment complex I lived in boasted a hot tub. It seemed that a hot tub was necessary to induce renters on any level and I came to feel that a hot tub was more of a necessity than a luxury.

Of course, it only took getting married and having a few toddlers of my own to realize that the relaxing, warm, bubbly goodness that is a hot tub was, indeed, one of the finer luxuries in life: one I no longer had access to once I moved to an actual house. What were my options- to buy my own? Have a permanent pass to a local hotel? Neither option seemed reasonable or, honestly, within my budget.

Now, a dear friend of mine is married to the classic impossible-to-shop-for-man. He has very little in the way of wants and what he does want he immediately buys for himself. Each birthday, anniversary, and Christmas, she plots and schemes for months to find SOMETHING he will truly want. And, inevitably, success eludes her.... until.... her dreams came true!

Her husband had always wanted a hot tub, which was far out of their budget range, so had never been an option- until a good friend moving away offered her a used hot tub-get this-free of charge!

Image result for old broken hot tub gross
She snapped up the offer with excitement! It was explained to her that it was a bit old and might need new siding. Excitedly, she was up to the task. Until the tub was actually delivered. Delivery alone was more than she expected to pay! Then, of course, to pay someone to remove the old siding. And pay someone to replace a broken tube. Next, pay someone else to fix a broken section her dog attacked when she was at the store. Then an electrician to connect the special electrical lines from the tub to her house (did you know that this was even necessary!? I just thought you could plug it in- NOPE! $1,500 dollars later....) You think her troubles would be over, right? No! Apparently it had to be approved by the city for her to install the special electrical box the tub would require. Another fee. And wait, the siding still hadn't been installed! For this 'free' hot tub, it took her two months and far more than she had ever intended to spend, just to get it in working order!

After hearing her ordeal, phone call by phone call, it seemed the luxury of a hot tub would be ever out of my budget-savvy reach. After all, if a 'free' hot tub could cost thousands of dollars, how would I purchase, then pay for electric, then pay a city planner, then pay for delivery etc. etc. etc. of a NEW tub!

4 PersonLuckily, I have recently learned that there's another option! Inflatable hot tubs. We've all seen kiddie pools for a single summer use at every big box store- but I did not know, until recently, that there were inflatable hot tubs! All the luxury of a hot tub, but portable, stress free, AND did I mention a bargain? Don't believe it? Skip the search engine, just check it out here at inflatabletubs.org.uk. If you've ever had a desire to get a hot tub yourself, at least consider this time, stress AND money saver option- I'm guessing your wallet will thank you.

5 Ingredient No-Bake Peanut Butter Kiss Cookies

It's simple: I wanted a treat for a peanut butter-loving friend, but had only a few minutes to get said treat together. The answer? A simple, chewy, delicious solution that requires only 5 ingredients.

Ingredients
* 1/2 cup melted peanut butter (microwaved or warmed in a pan on the stove until the consistency of syrup)
* 3 Tb softened butter  (can sub shortening/margarine, but butter tastes mucho better)
* dash salt
* 1 1/4 cup powdered sugar
* chocolate kisses

Ideal consistency
Simply combine all four ingredients into a bowl, stir thoroughly with an electric mixer. The dough should be almost crumbly and not sticky. If it feels a bit sticky, add 1/8 cup of powdered sugar. Form into balls. Once formed into balls, press an unwrapped kiss into the middle. Enjoy!


Small cookies on the left,
medium on the right
If you make tiny balls, this recipe will make two dozen cookies. If you go for a medium sized cookie, this recipe makes about 15 cookies. (Check out the photo for medium/small sizes)



Tuesday, March 15, 2016

French Toast from Leftover Hamburger Buns



I don't like to waste food. This is a fact. My family likes to eat hamburgers and hot dogs. This is another fact. Sadly, my family seldom eats hamburgers OR hot dogs in multiples of eight's, which means we end up with leftover buns that end up getting tossed out.

NO MORE!

Use leftover hot dog/hamburger buns to make french toast!

*They are thicker than traditional bread slices, which makes for thick, deep, delicious french toast.

Fry 'em up

*Have lots of leftovers? Fry them ALL up as french toast and freeze them on a cookie sheet- once fully frozen, pop them into a gallon zipper baggie for easy breakfast or snacks.

*Perfect for stale buns as well!

I know it may sound a bit odd, but it turned out to be some of the best french toast I've ever had!



Cut into chunks and ready for the freezer!
(regular bread french toast on top, hot dog bun toast on bottom)

FRENCH TOAST MIX RECIPE

*5 eggs
*1/2 tsp vanilla
*1/2 cup milk
*1/2 tsp cinnamon

Mix all four ingredients until well combined; dip bun into mixture until fully immersed (wet on both sides) and fry on medium high heat in a greased frying pan on both sides until browned.

Enough for 8 buns.


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