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Fruit Infused Water {Staying Hydrated during Summer}

Naturally flavored fruit water infused with a variety of fresh fruit and herbs + Summer Vitamins. 

Texas summers are horrible! All that Texas heat and humidity drain my energy every year and have me dreaming about fall. I don't mind when the temps are in the 80's, but when the mercury pushes 100+ it can get unbearable pretty quick. When the temperature starts to skyrocket all I want to do is stay inside an air conditioned house sipping something cool. 

When it's hot outside, it's very important to keep hydrated and drink plenty of water. Personally, I have a hard time drinking plain water, so I don't consume as much as recommended. Recently I've found that the only way I can drink enough plain water is if I jazz it up a bit by adding fresh fruit and make Fruit Infused Water.  

 
By adding slices of lemons, limes, and other fruits it makes the water more appealing and I chug it right down. Fruit infused water also has a lot of nutritional benefits, because nutrients and vitamins are released out of the fruit and into the water. It's like making my own vitamin water, but without all the yucky ingredients, dyes, and additives. Lately I've become addicted to this stuff. 

Besides keeping hydrated my family has been also trying to include a multivitamin into our everyday life. This is especially important for my kids, because they don't consume enough fruits and vegetables on a daily basis. My youngest son is a very picky eater, so vitamins are a must for  him.

When it comes to taking a vitamin supplement my first issue is what vitamins do we need to take? There are so many on the market that it can get a bit confusing. While researching vitamin supplements at Walmart.com I noticed a free online tool called VitaSelect in their health section

With Vitaselect you can take a quick personal survey about your lifestyle, health, and diet and Vitaselect will suggest which vitamins are best for you. For myself, it was recommended that I take One a Day Complete Woman's Formula or One a Day Complete for Woman 50+. Both are reasonably priced at $12.97 for a 200 count bottle. the Vitaselect survey was a huge help and took all the guesswork out of what I should purchase on my next trip to Walmart.    

I decided on the One a Day Woman's, Formula for me, One a Day Teen for Her - Multi Vitamin for my daughter, and Little Critters Omega - 3  DHA for my son. I also picked up a bottle of Vitamin E which my family uses on a regular basis. Vitamin E is important, especially in the summer months, because it helps protect us from harmful sun exposure, and can also aid in healing a sunburn. 

For sunburns you can prick a Vitamin E capsule with a pin and squeeze the oil onto the affected area. Gently work the oil into your skin, covering the entire area. Vitamin E oil can be used alone or in combination with Aloe Vera Gel for quick sunburn relief. Another use for Vitamin E is for acne. My daughter dabs the oil from a Vitamin E capsule on her face when she has acne flare ups and it works wonders. 

I have included the recipe and fruit variations for the fruit infused water below. I hope you'll give a few of these flavor combination a try. Keep in mind that fruit infused water is meant to be consumed fresh and on the same day that it's prepared. Store any leftover fruit water, covered in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but remove the fruit before storing to avoid fruit breakdown. I hope everyone has a happy and healthy summer!!!


DIY Fruit Infused Water

Pint size mason jars
1 1/2 - cups filtered water or coconut water
1/2 - cup ice
3/4  - cup various fresh fruits (lemons, limes, strawberries, blueberries, blackberries,
oranges, mango, peaches, kiwi's, and pineapple)

Add sliced and cut up fruit to the bottom of each jar. Pour 1 1/2 cups of water into each jar. Refrigerate jars for at least 2 -3 hours. Stir and add ice just before serving. You can store the fruit infused water in the refrigerator for up to 3 days, but remove the fruit before storing.


Fresh Fruit Flavor Combinations:

Blueberry - Strawberry
Peach - Mango
Lemon - Blueberry
Blueberry - Blackberry 
Strawberry - Lemon - Basil
Lemon - Lime - Mint 
Strawberry - Lime
Orange - Blueberry 
Blueberry - Blackberry - Strawberry
Lemon - Lime - Orange
Lemon - Orange - Mint 
Watermelon - Mint
Watermelon - Coconut water
Blackberry - Lemon 
Grapefruit 
Pineapple Chunks - Coconut Water 
Mango - Pineapple - Coconut Water
Strawberry - Kiwi 
Herbs: Mint, Rosemary, and Basil

Cook's Note: To avoid bitterness remove the rind on citrus fruits before adding, especially if they will be stored in the refrigerator.  



     


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Improved Homemade Laundry Detergent {Powdered}

New and improved DIY Laundry Detergent with the addition of Laundry Booster Beads. 

Several years back I shared a recipe for Homemade Laundry Detergent. I love making my own laundry soap, because it's so much cheaper than store bought. With just one large batch recipe I roughly have enough laundry soap to last an entire year (depending on how many loads of laundry I do a week) for around $20.

Since sharing the original recipe I've found an improved version that I like even better. The current laundry soap I've been using cleans really well, but it doesn't leave much of a scent. Having laundry that smells like fresh daisies is the one thing that I miss when using store bought detergent.

I was poking around on Pinterest awhile back and found an improved version that I love! The only difference in the two recipes is the addition of laundry booster beads which is genius!!! I don't know why I didn't think of that. I also switched soaps from using Fels Naptha bar soap to using the new Zote's Laundry Flakes. 

By using the Zote flakes it eliminates grating any soap by hand which is a huge time saver, and it smells wonderful. Homemade laundry detergents are low sudsing, so you won’t see a whole lot of suds in the wash. No worries, this is normal and your clothes will still come out clean. You only need to use 3 -4 tablespoons of laundry soap per load, so roughly it comes out to about 1/8 cup. 

I just save the cap from the Purex crystals and use it to measure out the detergent. The cap has lines on the inside and the top line is just at 1/8 cups, so it works out perfectly. Making you own laundry detergent is a personal preference and some people think it's a big hassle, but the $avings is huge in my book.

 
If you want to try your hand and make a batch of homemade laundry detergent these are the items you'll need: 20 Mule Team Borax, Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda), Zote Laundry Flakes or 3 bars Zote Laundry Soap, and Purex Crystals or Downy Unstopables laundry booster beads, and one three pound box Oxy Clean (optional but good for work & sports uniforms).



After getting all the ingredients together everything is really just dumped into a container and mixed. It's as easy as that. 

I store my laundry detergent in a large jar with a scoop inside, but a plastic container works just as well. To use just measure out 1/8 cup of detergent for each load of laundry. 



Large Batch Improved Homemade Laundry Detergent 
(approx $22 = 320 loads)

2 - 17.6 oz boxes Zote Laundry Flakes or 3 bars Zote Soap, grated 
1 - 3 lb 12 oz box  Mule Team Borax  
1 - 3 lb 7 oz box Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda)
2 - 18 oz bottles or 1 - 55 oz bottle Purex Crystals or Downy Unstopables laundry booster beads 
1 - 3 lb container of Oxy Clean, optional 

Combine all ingredients in a large container and stir well. Place detergent in sealed container or jar. Measure out 1/8 cup per load of laundry. 

3-4 tablespoons is = to about 1/8 cup. I use the lid that came with the Purex crystals for easy measuring and use the top line on the lid.  


Small Batch Improved Homemade Laundry Detergent
(Approx. $15 =160 loads) 

1 - 17.6 oz box Zote Laundry Flakes or 1 bar Zote Laundry Soap, grated 
1 1/2 - cups Mule Team Borax
1 1/2 cups Arm & Hammer Washing Soda (not baking soda)
1 - 18 oz bottle Purex Crystals or Downy Unstopables laundry booster beads
2 - cups Oxy Clean, optional

Note: all of the items can be found in the cleaning and laundry isle at you local grocery store. Keep in mind that homemade laundry detergent is low sudsing, so it is normal for the detergent to have little to no suds when using. If you have quite a few sports or work clothes I recommend adding the Oxy Clean. I have included a few helpful links with facts and information about homemade laundry detergent. 


If you're looking for a homemade and frugal fabric softener recipe you can give this DIY fabric softener a try. Click here to get the recipe. 

Want to stay connected & up to date with Mommy's Kitchen? Don’t forget to follow on Facebook, Twitter & Pinterest! Mommy's Kitchen is also mobile, click HERE to download the official Mommy's Kitchen iPhone App.

     


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No Bake Lemon Cream Fruit Tarts

Mini fruit tarts filled with a no bake lemon cream mousse, topped with fresh peaches and berries from Walmart.  
Good morning everyone and happy Tuesday!!! Today I have another sweet treat to share with y'all. As the weather quickly warms up, I find myself focusing more on, cobblers, no bake desserts, and fruit treats.  Peaches and berries are in full swing this time of of year, so I love using them to make all sorts of fruit flavored treats.

 
Cobblers and crisps are always at the top of my summer dessert list, but sometimes I like to make a few light-flavored treats as well. These adorable No Bake Lemon Cream Fruit Tarts are easy to make as well as the perfect little sweet ending to any summer meal. 

These easy mini fruit tarts are perfect for entertaining, because you can mix up the fruit topping with a variety of fresh fruit to please everyone. I used store-bought mini graham cracker crusts as a time-saver as well as to keep this dessert as a no baked option.    

I found the mini ready graham crusts in the baking isle located by the regular graham cracker crusts. Each 6 count package is priced at $1.68, so you can easily purchase a dozen for $3.36! The filling is an easy light and fluffy no cook lemon mouse that accents the berries beautifully. 

For the fruit topping I used in-season fruit and variety of berries from my local Walmart! I chose blackberries, blueberries, and strawberries. All of the berries I purchased were colorful, plump, and sweet! I love that Walmart guarantees customers with the freshest fruit and vegetables by offering their 100% guarantee on their fresh produce

Remember if you're ever not satisfied with your produce purchase, you can bring the produce (along with the receipt) back to the store and get your money back. Fresh peaches were also on sale for $1.48 lb, so I grabbed a few of those to add to my fruit tarts. Lets get started and I'll show you how to make this easy fruit dessert. 

All of the ingredients to make these easy mini fruit tarts can be found at your local Walmart. You will need: (12) Keebler Mini Graham Cracker Crusts, lemon gelatin, water, whipped cream cheese, heavy whipping cream, powdered sugar (not pictured), blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, and peaches. Raspberries would also work beautifully in this recipe. 

In a large bowl add the lemon gelatin and pour in the boiling water. Using a wire whisk mix until the gelatin is dissolved. Add the cream cheese and cold water, and whisk until blended (make sure all the cream cheese melts). In a separate bowl using a hand mixer or a kitchen aid mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy cream. Add the powdered sugar and whip the cream until soft peaks form. 

Fold the whipped cream into the lemon gelatin mixture and blend together until smooth. Spoon or pour the mixture into 12 mini graham cracker crusts. Place on a tray and refrigerate 2 hours. 

When ready to serve, top each tart with a variety of fresh fruit and berries. 


No Bake Lemon Cream Fruit Tarts

1 - package lemon gelatin (4 serving size) 
1/2 - cup boiling water
1/2 - cup cold water
4 - ounces whipped cream cheese
1 1/2 - cups heavy whipping cream
4 - tablespoons powdered sugar
blackberries
strawberries, chopped 
blueberries 
peaches, diced  

In a large bowl add the lemon gelatin and pour in the boiling water. Using a wire whisk mix until the gelatin is dissolved. Add the cream cheese and the cold water, and whisk until blended and the cream cheese is melted.  

In a separate large bowl using a hand mixer or a kitchen aid mixer with the whisk attachment, whip the heavy whipping cream. Add the powdered sugar and whip the cream until soft peaks form. 

Fold the whipped cream into the lemon gelatin mixture and blend together until smooth. 

Spoon or pour the mixture into 12 mini graham cracker crusts. Place on a tray and refrigerate for 2 hours. When ready to serve top with a variety of fresh fruit and berries. 

Cook's Note: If  you do not like cream cheese you can leave it out and make just a basic lemon mousse. This recipe only calls for 4 ounces of cream cheese, so it isn't overpowering at all. 

Lemon Mousse recipe slightly adapted from: Simply Stacie
     


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Blueberry Muffin Cheesecake Cookies & {Giveaway CLOSED}

Easy Blueberry Muffin Cheesecake Cookies that start with a muffin mix!
Today I have super easy cookie recipe to share with y'all! These Blueberry Muffin Cheesecake Cookies start with a Martha White muffin mix and a few pantry staples. I love using using muffin mixes to make something other than just muffins.  

In the past I've made cakes, cookies, cobblers, and trifles. Each of those recipes start with a muffin mix, a little imagination, and whatever pantry staples I have on hand. You would be surprised at all the recipes combinations you can come up with.  

If you love blueberry muffins then you're going to love these cookies. These blueberry cookies have a soft cake like texture like a muffin, but in a cookie form. I think the addition of the white chocolate chips and cream cheese take these cookies over the top.  

For this recipe I used the NEW Martha Whites Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin Mix. This is the first time I have ever used a gluten free muffin mix for baking, and they taste just as good as the regular Martha White mixes.  


I have several readers that are always on the look out for gluten free options when it comes to desserts and treats especially when a recipe requires a mix. The New Martha White Gluten Free Mixes come in blueberry, chocolate chocolate chip, and sweet yellow cornbread & muffin mix.  I hope you'll give these new mixes a try especially if you follow a gluten-free diet.  

If blueberry is not your thing choose a different flavor. Martha White also has non gluten free muffin mix varieties in the following flavors, strawberry, strawberry cheesecake, and wild berry. If using a non gluten free mix all purpose flour can be substituted for gluten free flour.  



Blueberry Muffin Cheesecake Cookies 

2 - 7 oz packages Martha White Gluten Free Blueberry Muffin Mix 
1/2 - cup butter, softened
4 - ounces cream cheese, softened
2 - eggs
1/2 - cup brown sugar
3/4 - cup gluten free flour 
1/2 -teaspoon vanilla or lemon extract 
1 - cup  white chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl or using a kitchen aid mixer, cream together, butter, cream cheese, and brown sugar. Add eggs until blended. 

Add the muffin mixes, flour, and vanilla extract until blended. Fold in the white chocolate chips. 

Using a one inch cookie scoop or drop by tablespoons 2 inches apart on a greased baking sheet. Using the bottom of a glass, press down on the dough to slightly flatten the cookies. 

Bake about 14 minutes or just until the cookies start to brown on the edges. Remove from oven and cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove and cool completely on a baking rack. 

recipe yields: approx. 2 dozen cookies 
adapted from: Jiffy

Martha White Prize Package Giveaway
"The Winner of the Prize Package is Comment"
#105 Taryn Tener 

This Giveaway Includes:
3 - packages of Martha White Gluten Free Muffin Mixes
1 - Lodge Cast Iron Muffin Pan
1 - Martha White Muffin Timer

How to Enter: 
To enter the giveaway leave a comment telling me what you would make with these easy muffin mixes (mandatory comment). 

Bonus Entry: 
Click the Tweet button below and tweet this giveaway for a bonus entry (come back and leave a separate comment letting me know).

Tweet: Blueberry Muffin Cheesecake Cookies &  Enter to win a #marthawhite Prize Package @mommyskitchen http://ctt.ec/O3iId+

The Fine Print: This giveaway starts today July 7th, 2015 and ends at midnight on July 14th, 2015. Giveaway is open to US Residents only due to shipping charges. If you leave an anonymous comment please include your email address. A random comment will be chosen and the winner will have 48 hours to reply to winning email or a new winner will be selected. Good luck to everyone!  


For another great recipe using Martha Whites Gluten Free Sweet Yellow Cornbread & Muffin Mix check out The Country Cooks Cornbread Taco Bake recipe.  

This giveaway is sponsored by Martha White. I'm a proud Martha White baking blogger and I was provided with samples of the new Martha White Gluten Free Mixes. All opinions stated above are 100% my own.


     

July Menu - Menu Plan Monthly

Hi Everyone and welcome back to another Menu Plan Monthly. Today I have my July Menu Plan for you. The following meals will get us through most of the month. I have left a few spots open for last minute recipes or for eating out. Any recipes noted with (New) are recipes I plan to make and will post in the near future. I hope you'll find something you like.

July Dinner Menu

Root Beer Pulled Pork Sandwiches, Watermelon & Chips
Chicken Alfredo Pizza   (Friday Night-Pizza Night)
All-In-One Crock Pot Pork Chop Dinner 
Logan's Country Hamburgers  , Tator Tots & Fresh Fruit
Spaghetti & Meatballs, Salad & French Bread
Cheesy Spanish Rice Skillet & Homemade Tortillas
Chicken & Dumplings
Grilled Lemon Pepper Pork Chops, Calif. Blend Veggies & Rice Pilaf 
Open Faced Turkey Sandwiches (New), Stuffing & Cranberry Sauce
Crock Pot Chicken Pot Pie 

Stove Top Skillet Pizza  (Friday Night-Pizza Night)
Not My Mamas Meat Loaf, Mashed Potatoes & Steamed Carrots

Navajo Tacos
Chicken Lo Mein & Egg Rolls 
DIY Frozen Pizza  (Friday Night-Pizza Night) 
Salisbury Steak W/Gravy , Brown Rice & Buttery Crisp Green Beans
Easy Peasy Chicken Legs, Skillet Potatoes & Grilled Zucchini 
Crock Pot Hoe Down Chuck Roast, Baked Potatoes, and Garden Salad 
Steak Pizzaiola, Whole Grain Pasta & Roasted Asparagus
Grilled Chicken Bombs, Grilled Veggies & Baked Sweet Potatoes
Ham & Swiss Sliders, Veggie Sticks & Yogurt Fruit Salad
4th of July Cookout  (Out of Town)
Texas Chili Dogs (New)  & Sweet Potato Fries
Beef Ramen Skillet Supper & Egg Rolls
Skillet Chili Mac & Cornbread 
Breakfast Night - Toasted Pecan Waffles, Bacon & Scrambled Eggs
Copy Kat Stouffers Chicken & Rice Casserole, Garden Salad & Honey Wheat Rolls



Desserts:
Strawberry Pie 
Peanut Butter Cheesecake (New)
Mandarin Orange Cake
The Best Apple Crisp Ever

     

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