Monday, January 23, 2012

Chewy Chocolate Chip Cookies

This is a very easy and fairly fast recipe of chewy chocolate chip to whip up if you have all the ingredients on hand.

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 15 minutes


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


1.  Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).  Grease cookies sheets of line with parchment paper.

2.  Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

3.  In a bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and whiter sugar until well blended.  Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy.  Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended.  Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.  Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets.  Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.  

4.  Bake foe 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted.  Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.    


These chocolate chip cookies are just perfect!  Why don't you give them a try and let me know what you think about the recipe.  If you have a better chewy chocolate chip recipe, please share it with us, we would love to try it.



Saturday, January 21, 2012

Educational Games

I know that I've shared with you before that I have a small daycare in my home here in Moreno Valley, California.  Today my husband and I were out shopping and I found these real neat educational games for preschoolers.  I bought one of each of the series that they carried in the store.   I'm so excited to share them with my kids at the daycare.   I know that they are going to love them. 

Eight (8) Learning Games for 3 years and up

ABC, Number, Spelling, First Words, Sequencing,
Mathematics, Counting, What Goes Together

These are all either Language Based ~ Thinking and Learning or Mathematics Based ~ Thinking and Learning, one is Scientific and one is Tactile/Motor. 

Alphabet A-Z and Numbers 1- 10

These two (2) games here are good for Communication and the Cognitive process. 

Monday, January 16, 2012

In Honor of Martin Luther King, Jr

Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., a civil rights leader and minister credited with bringing equal rights to African Americans, and tangentially, many other minority groups. Even after his assassination in 1968, his legacy as well as his moving speeches have inspired people to follow in Dr. King’s path.

We Shall Overcome, Deep in my Heart I do Believe, We Shall Overcome.

 In honor of today, I collected some of the most widely shared MLK quotes below...

" Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that.  Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that. "
" Injustice anywhere is a threat to justice everywhere. "
" Faith is taking the first step... even if you don't see the whole staircase. "
" Our lives begin to end the day we decide to become silent about things that matter. "
" Hatred paralyzes life, love releases it.  Hatred confuses life, love harmonizes it.  Hatred darkens life, love illuminates it. " 

All progress is precarious, and the solution of one problem brings us face to face with another problem.
He who passively accepts evil is as much involved in it as he who helps to perpetrate it.  He who accepts evil without protesting against it is really cooperating with it.
I am not interested in power for power's sake, but I'm interested in power that is moral, that is right and that is good.
The hottest place in hell is reserved for those who remain neutral in times of great moral conflict.
I look to the day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character.
One who breaks an unjust law that conscience tells him in unjust, and who willingly accepts the penalty of imprisonment in order to arouse the conscience of the community over the injustice, is in reality expressing the highest respect for law.
If we are go forward, we must go back and rediscover those precious values - that all reality hinges on moral foundations and that all reality has spiritual control. 
I just want to do God's will.  And he's allowed me to go to the mountain.  And I've looked over, and I've seen the promised land!  I may not get there with you, but I want you to know tonight that we as a people will get to the promised land.
~ Martin Luther King, Jr

Friday, January 13, 2012

Beef and Barley Stew

This is one the family said yes... we should have this one again!

Serve with French or Garlic Bread for a hearty family meal.
Serves 6 to 8

6 – 8 slices bacon, cook and then crumble
2 pounds stew beef or chuck pot roast, cut into 1-inch pieces
¼- ½ cup flour, depends on the amount of meat
¾ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon pepper
2-3 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
½ cup water
3 Tablespoons butter
1 clove garlic, peeled and smashed
1 cup or 1 medium onion, chopped fine
1 cup or 2 ribs celery, chopped fine
8 ounces mushrooms, sliced
1 – 6 or 7 ounce can tomato paste
1 bay leaf
1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/4 teaspoon dried basil
1/4 teaspoon paprika
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley
1/8 teaspoon ground allspice
6 cups beef broth, or 2- 32 ounce cans
½ cup barley
16 ounces bag baby carrots- you may use ½ bag if desired
1 – 12 oz bag frozen peas
4 large potatoes, cut into 1 inch pieces or 1 pound small (golf ball size) new potatoes, quartered
1 -2 cups turnips, quartered


Chop onions and celery and set aside.  Cook bacon over medium-low heat in an electric skillet, or dutch oven until almost crisp, then crumble.   

Toss stew beef pieces with the flour, salt, and teaspoon pepper.  Add to the bacon mixture in the skillet,   Brown the beef in the electric skillet or saute pan for about 2 or 3 minutes per side.  Add worcestershire sauce and water, simmer until water has evaporated, this will tenderize the meat.

In a saute pan, take butter, mushrooms, garlic, onions, celery and lightly brown and tender.
Add to your mixture, tomato paste, bay leaf,  dried thyme,  dried oregano, dried basil, paprika, parsley, ground allspice, barley, 3 cups beef broth,  simmer on very  low heat for about 30  to 45 minutes.
Peel potatoes and turnips and cut into  about 1 inch pieces.
In a large stock pot add all the vegetables, carrots, peas, potatoes, turnips, add the remaining beef broth.  Now add beef mixture to vegetable mixture and simmer on low until vegetables are completely cooked, you will know this when you pierce them thru with a fork, this will take about 1 to 1 ½ hours on low heat.  If your sauce/liquid base has gotten a liitle thick, just add a small amount of water to loosen the sauce, then bring to boil and serve. 

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Purple Sage Soaps

I have had several friends ask me lately... Why I don't you put a little something about your handmade natural soaps on your blog.  I thought about it and that was a real good idea they were suggesting, so today is as good of a day as any to share about my soaps! 

You will see some of my soap picture's have the name Coastal Essence Soap on the label.  When I started making natural soap many years ago I lived in Vallejo, California a town in the San Francisco bay area.  The biggest reason I choose the name Coastal Essence from all the other prospective names, was my son had chosen that name.  But since that time... I have moved a couple times and when we moved from Vallejo, California to Albuquerque, New Mexico, that name just didn't work anymore... we were smack dab in the middle of the desert.  So we went to work on finding a name that would work where ever we might live!  There are some soaps that I even changed the name of the soaps.
Once you try them you will never go back to store bought soaps again.   These soaps are made with all natural oils, These soaps are made with coconut oil, palm oil, and olive oil.  They will not stripe your natural oils out of your skin, but help to replenish oils and nurture your skin as well, what a combination! 

Because these are natural organic soaps they contain no chemical hardening... we recommend that your bar be allowed to dry between uses.  A soap dish that allows for drainage of excess water would work perfectly for this purpose to ensure a long lasting bar of soap.        

You will love how these soaps, they works into a wonderfully pleasing lather and will leave your skin feeling fully moisturized and silky smooth.  Every batch has a added moisturizing ingredient, like Shea butter or Coco butter.  

These soaps have such a wonderful aroma, each one with it's own unique fragrance of essential oils or fragrance oils.  

Just think every time you shower you will feel like your at the spa!  Your own day spa whenever you need a break from life's challenges with out making an appointment! 

  So indulge and pamper yourself with these generously cut bars that weight approximately 4.8 ounces, and that is long lasting and are sure to please the senses! 

 This information will those who have never bought my handmade natural organic soaps before. Here you will find a list of my soaps, their color and coordinating fragrance.

Here are a few pictures of some of my soaps, unfortunately these pictures do not show all the fragrances that I have made, nor even some that I carry in my shop now.   Sometimes I experiment with fragrances and forget to take pictures. Right now my desktop computer has crashed and I only have pictures from my laptop, which is just a few, so here we go.

We live in a small town called Corrales which connects to Albuquerque, we had about an acre of land with a really nice adobe style home and 20 some apple trees.  Our neighbors had apples trees and some had pears trees.  Corrales is a rural area where there was a lot of agriculture and farming.  We lived in the middle of an old established apple and pear orchard farm and when they sold the orchard land, they subdivided and built homes in and around all the trees, it was really beautiful setting to live in because you it felt so secluded and had such a beautiful view of the Sandia Mountain!  

Lemongrass Soap ~ Golden Yellow ~ Zesty & Refreshing fragrance

Lavender Soap ~ Lavender ~ Calm and Soothing fragrance

Cedar & Sage Soap ~ Sage ~ Calm with a touch of menthol fragrance

Rain Soap ~ Aqua ~ Clean & Fresh fragrance

Coconut & Vanilla ~ Light Brown ~ Tropical fragrance

 Peppermint & Eucalyptus ~ Dusty Rose ~ Invigorating and Soothing fragrance

 Whimsy ~ Cream color w/chunks of colors ~ Very light scent

Naturale ~ Creamy White ~ No Scent

Below is a picture of three soaps, two of them are these two here... The soap on top is Verbena & Coconut, and the soap on bottom left Twilight Musk. 

Verbena & Coconut Soap ~ Creamy Yellow ~ Light Citrus & Coconut fragrance
Twilight Musk Soap ~ Blue ~ Light musky fragrance

The soap in the bottom right corner is the

Sandalwood & Rose ~ Dusty Rose ~ Musky Rose fragrance

I've made some speciality soaps as well, below are a few samples.  The Moto-Mechanix
High Octane soap was created for those who are always tinkering and working on cars and motorcycles.  This one really cuts the grease, and the bar never looks greasy and nasty while sitting in the dish!  Now the Moto-Mechanix Regular soap works equally as well, but don't have the extra grease cutting additive in it and is for the lighter messy jobs.  These two soaps where created for the two men in my life, My Husband Tim and My Son Nick.  And for all the others out there that work on greasy things or enjoy tinkering on their toys!


High Octane has a Balsam Fir Scent and the Regular has a Cinnamon and Allspice scent.

These two soaps are a little lighter on the abrasive cleansing than the Moto-Mechanix soaps.  The Dusk to Dawn worker soap was created for everyday working around the house, in the garden and such, it also has a cinnamon and allspice scent and the other has fresh crushed lavender for a more feminine scent.  
  While living in Albuquerque I did several craft shows and even made several bridal shower/baby showers thank you gifts as well.  Here are a few pictures of preparation for some of these events.


Here are pictures from one of the craft shows that I did in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Here is another that I took pictures of before it the craft show actually started.


The best craft show that I did there in Albuquerque was with a good friend... Chuck work at Presbyterian Hospital and they were having their annual craft show right before the holidays 2008.  He ask me if I wanted to join him at his booth/table and we could sell some pens and soap!  It sounded like such a good idea, I took him up on it... and we had such a great time at this craft show, Chuck, his wife Rogenell, and me!  We even did very well, better than both of us thought we would... we were both happy about that!

Chuck's craft is wood working and makes some beautiful pieces from turning wood.  He makes some awesome looking pens!  I have a few... not just one!  He also makes bowls and many other things as well.  As soon as he has his site up and running... I will share it with you, right here!

Now, if you interested in my soap you can go to my shop on Etsy... Purple Sage Originals.  Or on the right hand side of my blog there is my etsy shop widget... if you click on it... it will take you to my shop.  I will be adding more items soon, come back often and check it out!

I hope this has helped some of you that have been wondering about what some of the soaps aromas were and what color soap was what aroma. I have enjoyed sharing a little bit of my passion for creating with with today, I hope you enjoyed as well!



Sunday, January 1, 2012

Happy New Year!

Seasons Greetings!

Ending the old and beginning a new....

It's time for a little reflecting on the year...  I know for myself, that after looking over this past year, I would like to make some changes in this coming year.
Reflection is the only way to move forward!

So... without further adieu lets welcome the...

 Happy New Year

Tick Tock

I’m writing this in a state of shock,Watching the clock—tick tock, tick tock,
Advancing, approaching, relentlessly,
A brand new year; Oh, can it be?

 The calendar says the same thing, too;
Time races, vanishes for me; Boo hoo!
No, wait! If time flies, I’m having fun!
A year of fun! It’s gone! It’s done!

I now embrace the blur of time,
Because it simply means that I’m
Too busy with pleasure, joy, delight
To mourn the passing days’ swift flight.

So I’m wishing you fast, happy days,
Pleasuring you in myriad ways,
Filled with happiness
and cheer,
Oh Happy, Happy Bright New Year!

By Joanna Fuchs

Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors, and let each new year find you a better man. ~ Benjamin Franklin

Year's end is neither an end nor a beginning but a going on, with all the wisdom that experience can instill in us. ~ Hal Borland

Ring out the old, ring in the new,
Ring, happy bells, across the snow:
The year is going, let him go;
Ring out the false, ring in the true.
~ Alfred, Lord Tennyson, 1850

For last year's words belong to last year's language
And next year's words await another voice.
And to make an end is to make a beginning.
~ T.S. Eliot, "Little Gidding"