Archives for February 2013

Simple Cookies: Recipe For Butter Cookies With Jelly

It’s no secret that I love to cook and share recipes. One thing you’ll notice about 99% of my recipes is how simple they are; with three little kids running around I don’t have a whole lot of time anymore to spend hours (or even an hour sometimes!) in the kitchen. All kids love cookies, and one of my favorite cookies to make is my recipe for butter cookies with jelly.

A simple cookie recipe for Butter Cookies with Jelly Filling. You can use any kind of jelly you'd like. Sprinkle with powdered sugar for extra sweetness!

What I love about these cookies is that there is only a handful of ingredients, most of which I bet you have on hand. It’s super simple to make and only takes about 10 minutes to cook. And here’s a kitchen tip for you: clean as you go while making these cookies and you won’t have any mess to clean up afterwards. I always clean as I go in the kitchen!

This recipe for butter cookies takes even less time to make when you use Land O Lakes Butter with Canola Oil. This butter is made with only three simple ingredients: sweet cream, canola oil and salt. It gives you the fresh butter taste you love with the spreadable convenience you want. Yep, it’s spreadable. So you don’t have to remember to put the butter out to soften or zap it in the microwave before you make this recipe for butter cookies!

Recipe for Butter Cookies with Jelly

A simple cookie recipe for Butter Cookies with Jelly Filling. You can use any kind of jelly you'd like. Sprinkle with powdered sugar for extra sweetness!

Recipe For Butter Cookies With Jelly
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  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup white sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1-3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup fruit preserves, any flavor


  1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C).
  2. In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar, egg, and extract.
  3. Mix in flour a little bit at a time until a soft dough forms.
  4. Roll dough into 1 inch balls. If the dough is too soft, refrigerate for 15 minutes.
  5. Place balls 2 inches apart onto ungreased cookie sheets. Using your fingertip or thumb, make a small indentation in the center of each cookie. Fill the hole with a dallop of jelly.
  6. Bake for 8 to 10 minutes in the preheated oven, until golden brown on the bottom.
  7. Remove from cookie sheet and let cool on a wire rack.
Recipe Type: Desserts


To easily fill the cookies with jelly, put the jelly in a plastic baggie and snip the corner of one end of the bag. Squeeze the jelly out gently into the cookie dough. No mess! These cookies may not look done after 8-10 minutes, but they are. Once the bottoms are golden brown, they are ready to come out of the oven; the top of the cookie won't change colors. This recipe will yield 2 dozen cookies.


Yummy! What are some of your favorite cookie recipes?

The author was compensated by Land O’Lakes for this post. All opinions are my own.

How To Make Candle Warmer Bars And Pods

I have 4 candle warmers that I love to keep on throughout the day. A couple of them use candle warmer bars and the other two use candle warmer pods. It gets expensive to buy candle warmer bars and pods from two different companies; not only do I have to pay for them, I also have to pay additional shipping. So I decided to figure out how to make candle warmer bars and pods on my own.


Not only is buying candle warmer bars and pods expensive, I hate that I don’t know what they smell like because while I can order them online, I can’t smell them online. Technology is so lacking sometimes! But if I make candle bars and pods myself, I can choose any scent from any candle company and I can buy them anywhere. I figured it was worth trying.

So I went and bought a candle – one that I knew I’d like – and decided to try it out. Here’s what I did…

How To Make Candle Warmer Bars and Pods


**Try this at your own risk! I am not responsible for any injuries or damaged caused.

This worked for me…I was extremely careful and you should be, too!**

1. Clean out any empty candle warmer bar and pod containers you have. Here’s a great tutorial on how to remove residual candle wax from candle jars that you can also use to clean bars and pods.

2. Find a new candle (in a glass container) with a scent that you love to use to make candle warmer bars and pods refills.

3. Start a double boiler on the stove.

If you have no idea what I’m talking about, no worries! Simply fill a big pot with water, and set a smaller pot inside of it. The water should come about half way up the sides of the smaller pot. Heat the water on the stove to just boiling. Put the candle inside the smaller pot. Let it continue to gently boil.

Let the water continue to boil until it melts the entire candle. It will take awhile. It took my candle about an hour.

4. Once the candle is completely melted, use a pot holder to remove it from the pot. It may be extremely hot. Be very careful!

Pour the hot candle wax into your empty bars and pods. I suggest setting the bars and pods on wax paper or something to catch any wax that may spill. That way, you can pick up the hardened wax and put it back into the melted wax – you won’t waste any!

Let the wax harden again completely before you use your bars and pods on your candle warmer.

5. Use as you regularly would use and enjoy!

Congrats! Now you can make candle warmer and pods on your own with any candles that you want!

I’ve been using my homemade candle bars and pods for over a week and they work just as well as the ones I’ve been buying. The scent is just as strong and they are lasting just as long.

Also? It’s much cheaper.

I paid $11 for a 14.5 ounce candle.

A 3.2 ounce bar costs me $5.

A 2.4 ounce pod costs me $5.98

I can make 3 bars and 2 pods for $11! It would normally cost me $29.96 plus shipping and handling….it’s definitely worth it to make candle warmer bars and pods! That’s a savings of more than $18.

Have you tried to make candle warmer bars or pods before? What tips can you share?

BBC Earth: AFRICA Available on Blu-ray and DVD!

Remember last week I told you about how much my kids and I loved seeing BBC Earth’s One Life movie? I mentioned at the end of the post that there was another BBC Earth movie that I got to see and and that I was going to give you a chance to get a copy of your own; that movie is the new BBC Earth AFRICA movie.



BBC Earth AFRICA just finished airing on Discovery Channel, where it premiered January 8th. The series was a Discovery Channel/BBC co-production. I received a Blu-ray copy to watch with my kids, and it was just as stunning as One Life.

BBC_Earth_AFRICA_Movie BBC Earth AFRICA took 4 years to film across 27 countries. The crew used 553 cameras, spent 100 days on horseback and 601 nights in tents, and consumed 6,526 anti-malarial tablets! I’ve taken those malaria tablets before, and they leave you with some crazy dreams. Couldn’t imagine taking them for an extended period of time.

It’s actually interesting to note that out of the 553 cameras used, only 8 were harmed in the making of the film: 1 chargrilled, 2 eaten (by a lion and an elephant), 2 mini-helicam crashes & 3 drowned!

Like BBC Earth’s One Life, there were some incredible filming firsts. There was footage of lizards hunting for flies on the backs of sleeping lions that was pretty amazing to see. There was also  a new hunting behavior in chimpanzees caught, which included hunting for honey using 4 different tools.

BBC Earth AFRICA is available on DVD and Blu-ray starting on February 26, 2013. But guess what? BBC Earth is giving me three copies of AFRICA to giveaway to three lucky readers!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

I am also offering a 20% discount code for the BBC Earth AFRICA DVD. This discount is valid from Thursday, February 27 to Friday, March 1 and can be redeemed in the U.S. only using the code: AFR213. Copies of the DVD may be purchased on Amazon or the BBC America Shop.

Good luck!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BBC Worldwide.

Red Onions: How To Regrow Red Onions and Plant Onion Sets

How to regrow sprouted red onions using the onion sets inside of it. Also includes a link to a post on how regrow celery, garlic, and green onions. Last summer, I explained to you how you can regrow celery, garlic, and green onions. I have continued to replant all of those things, and rarely have to buy them. Since then, I’ve been thinking: I wonder what else I can regrow? So when one of my red onions started sprouting, I let it continue to grow so that I could figure out how to plant onion sets from it.

From what I understand, onion sets are very small bulbs. These bulbs are very easy to set out and grow into mature bulbs. Remember that sprouted red onion I mentioned? I knew if I cut it open that the middle part of that was sending up those green tops would be onion sets.

Red Onions: How To Plant Onion Sets

How to regrow sprouted red onions using the onion sets inside of them. Also includes a link to a post on how regrow celery, garlic, and green onions.

1. Get your sprouted red onion, a knife, and a cutting board.

2. Make a deep slit into the red onion so that you can peel away the out layers to get at the core of the onion. This is where you will find the onion sets.

3. Gently pull away the layers until you find the sprouted onion sets. The onion set should come apart as one bulb. This one came apart into two pieces. I’ve had success planting them both ways.

4. Make sure to leave some root on the end of the onion set.

5. Plant them in fertilized soil and let them do their thing!

When To Harvest Red Onions

Mature red onions are ready for harvesting when the green top withers, falls over and starts to turn brown. Expect this to happen in mid to late summer. But red onions don’t like to get wet; be sure to harvest before the fall rains start.

Lay mature onions in a single layer on newspaper in a warm, well ventilated place to dry out for several days. You’ll know they are reading when the outer skin becomes papery and crispy dry. Hang in bunches, away from any moisture. If stored in a dry cool place, the red onions can keep for months.

There are some diseases that can infect planted red onions that are caused by wet leaves. Water the red onions early in the day so the leaves will dry before night.

How to regrow celery, garlic, and green onions. Also includes a link on how to regrow sprouted red onions using the onion sets inside of them.

Learn how to regrow celery, garlic, and green onions too! It’s easy and will save you money at the grocery store.

I’ve learned that there are lots of other things that you can regrow, including lettuce and cabbage. Stay tuned for more on that! You’ll find more kitchen tips and tricks here.

Follow Natalie Hoage – Mommy of a Monster’s board How My Garden Grows on Pinterest.

BBC Earth: One Life Premieres February 21st Nationwide!

I remember when I was a kid at school and it would rain, leaving us all stuck in the classroom to watch movies instead of playing outside. Those were some of my favorite days because the teachers would bust out the old projector and play National Geographic style movies about animals all over the world. Africa, underwater, in the forests…it didn’t matter because I love them all. And now I find myself glued to BBC Earth films like Planet Earth, Life, and Africa.

The difference between those movies when I was a kid and the BBC Earth movies I adore now? The BBC Earth movies are amazingly beautiful. The colors, the clarity, the detail, all of it is truly awe inspiring. So when I got tickets to go see the premiere of the limited engagement for BBC Earth’s One Life, I was super excited.


This movie cover is an example of what you can expect to see. Everything about this movie is stunning and the kids both said “Wow!” more than once. Heck, I said it throughout the entire movie!

bbc_earth_one_life_premiere The plan was for all of us to go as a family. Unfortunately, Mia fell asleep about an hour before we were supposed to go and ain’t no way I was waking her up. So Jason stayed home with her and I took Lila and Ethan to see One Life at our local theater.

We sat down with our snack and waited for the movie to began. I liked that the film started immediately and didn’t have 20 minutes of previews. One Life is narrated by Daniel Craig, this is the first time the actor has lent his voice to a documentary feature. More than 4 years in the making, BBC Earth’s One Life was filmed over 3,000 days across every continent and in every habitat.

bbc_earth_seal_pup It is truly impressive to see some of the action that was caught. There were 15 “filming firsts” including the first complete sequence (including aerials, underwater and topside shots) of a humpback whale mating contest, “the heat run,” 3 cheetahs hunting co-operatively (they generally hunt independently), and the first use of new camera tracking system “yogi cam” to track elephants.

Ethan’s favorite part was watching the Venus Fly Trap in action, Lila loved watching the “little baby monkeys”, and I enjoyed watching a mama seal take her brand new baby into the water for the first time to hunt.

By now I hope you want to know where you can see BBC Earth’s One Life…simply head over to the One Life site to find out. You can also sign up for the BBC Earth mailing list there as well.

And I’m excited to share the BBC Earth’s One Life trailer with you here!

BBC Earth: One Life Trailer

One Life opens February 21, 2013 in over 450 theaters across the nation for a limited engagement. Hurry! Because I promise you this is a perfect family movie that your kids will love, with stunning filmography that you don’t want to miss.

And stick around because next week I’ll tell you about another BBC Earth film I got to watch and give you a copy of the movie for your family to enjoy!

Disclaimer: This is a sponsored post written by me on behalf of BBC Worldwide.