Saturday, March 28, 2015

Egg-cellent Easter Eggs!

I like hard boiled eggs.  Deviled eggs can be a little heavy.  Nevertheless, eggs are a great source of protein and a staple of the spring Easter season.  I thought about making a healthier version of the original deviled egg which incorporates Omega 3 rich avocado.  It's time to make colorful deviled eggs with a twist!

Egg-cellent Eggs!

First off, I deleted the photos of the process.  Sorry - it's been that kind of I will tell you what I did in numbered steps.  I'm really sorry about the photos.

1.  Boil the eggs and allow them to cool.

2.  Peel them.

3.  Soak the eggs in juice from canned beets.  You could do food coloring, but I'm going for chemical free and healthy.  Soak them for at least an hour and then check the color.  Allow them to soak overnight for a darker color.

4.  Cut the eggs in half.  Use 1 avocado for 12 eggs and 6 yolks.  Using the avocado allow you to use less yolks and that means less cholesterol.  

5.  Mash the avocado and add a bit of garlic pepper and salt.  You could also use a touch of mustard if you think you need it.  

6.  Spoon or pipe the mixture back into the eggs and serve on a tray or a plate covered in green grapes.

7.  For another twist, you could fill the egg entirely with guacamole.  This recipe is the best guacamole ever.  Dust the top with chili powder instead of paprika for a touch of heat.  

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Monday, March 23, 2015

Effortless Easter on WCCB Rising!

Monday morning just became a little sweeter today on Charlotte's WCCB Rising with Easter ideas from Effortless Girl.   The segment featured simple and special ways to celebrate the season without breaking the bank.  Go gluten free and omega 3 rich with yummy recipes - plus learn to make sweet treats for the little bunnies in your life.  Check out the video below and follow WCCB Rising on Twitter and Facebook. 

Effortless Easter!

Here are some behind the scenes photos from the morning.  Thanks to Tripp for being a great photographer!

Waiting for the segment

Making last minute adjustments

Easter Pop Bouquet

Healthy Deviled Eggs

Carrot Garden Pudding

We're almost on!

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Sunday, March 22, 2015

Watch Effortless Girl on WCCB Rising Tomorrow Morning!

Hey Y'all!  Tune in to Charlotte's WCCB Rising tomorrow morning for an Effortless Girl - Easter Edition!  The segment should air around 8:35 ish in the morning.  Get ready for all things effortless and fun to make Easter extra special...of course for less time and money.  If WCCB isn't on your channel list, you can check out the live streaming broadcast here.  See you tomorrow!

WCCB Rising

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"Grow" an Easy Easter Dessert!

Need an extra special, lower calorie/fat/carbs spring dessert that the whole family will LOVE?  Try spring carrot "gardens" with chocolate cookie and pudding "earth" and grow candy carrots!  The dessert assembles in minutes and the recipe allows you to control your ingredients and nutrition content.  This dessert can be made gluten free and lower sugar by using gluten-free cookies and sugar free pudding, or Oreos and regular pudding - it's up to you.  Serving pudding instead of cake eliminates calories, fat, and carbs so let's start planting!

Carrot "Gardens"
The ingredients are simple.  Start with chocolate cookies, pudding mix, orange peanut candy or Starburst candies, green licorice strips candy, and a tablespoon or so of cocoa.

I used three candies trying to come up with a candy carrot.  Starburst and orange peanuts worked best.  I tried gummy orange slices and the carrot looked like a snail (see the middle candy in the photo).  Heat the Starburst candies a few seconds in the microwave and they become easy to mold into a carrot shape.  Mash the peanuts with your fingers and they form carrots very well.  My local dollar store had "Rips" candy, which are strips of narrow green licorice.  Pull the strips into pieces and to make the carrot tops.  Kids could easily make these carrots without supervision.

Candy carrots
Make the pudding according to the package directions.  You could also purchase premade pudding.  Spoon it into serving dishes.  Leave about one inch at the top for the "dirt".  

Add the pudding
Next, crush the Oreos or other chocolate cookies in a plastic bag.  To give the crumbles a more dirt like effect, add 1 tablespoon or so of powdered cocoa to the bag and give it a good shake.  The crumbles look like real dirt.  Spoon the "dirt" crumbles onto the pudding.  You will probably not want to fill the dish completely full - it makes a huge mess while eating if you don't leave a space at the top.

Add the "dirt"
Place one or two candy carrots into the dish and that's it - your "carrot garden" is complete!  You can feel great that this dessert is lower in sugar and fat than many out there and everyone will love to eat your sweet creation!


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Thursday, March 19, 2015

Edible Easter Flower Bouquet

Flowers brighten up a room.  Flowers made from chocolate cookies brighten my life.  What better way to celebrate the end of winter than with a spring bouquet that is delicious and sneeze free?  Today I give you white chocolate dipped Oreo bouquets! (and a green thumb is completely unnecessary)...The investment is minimal both cost and time wise and this bouquet is an easy party serve yourself or a pick-me-up for a friend.  Let's get started!

Yummy bouquet!
Start with Oreo cookies.  You can use the chocolate or the blonde cookies.  You will also need colored sugar, a flower pot, white chocolate chips, and lollipop sticks.

Begin by gently pushing every lollipop stick into the center of the cookie.  You could also use wooden kabob skewers.

Add cookies to lollipop sticks
Melt white chocolate.  You can use the microwave or the stove top.  I'm using a homemade double boiler to melt the chips.

Melt chocolate
Once the chips are melted, carefully dip the cookies in the chocolate.  Be careful, they can fall apart and the chocolate is very hot.  

Cover cookie in chocolate
Put the dipped cookie on parchment paper and sprinkle the colored sugar on it.  This makes the colored "flowers."

Sprinkle sugar
Allow the cookies to set and harden for at least an hour to overnight.  I put them in the refrigerator for a little while to speed up the set.  Once they are hardened, create the bouquet.  I put a piece of floral foam in the bottom of my flower pot to hold the cookies.  After I added the cookies, I covered the top in kraft paper shreds for the dirt.  M&M candies, Skittles, or other colored candies are also great to use as filling in the pot.  Annddd that's it folks, flower cookie bouquets.

You could also make a miniature one for a friend or as a teacher gift using a small pot.

A small bouquet

Up close deliciousness!

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Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Vegetables Taste Good - Eat (with) Your Carrots!

Okay the title seems a tad deceiving.  It's a quick and effortless (really) Easter preview... Hippity Hoppity Carrot tableware.  Simple orange paper napkins and green plastic cutlery make edible carrot tableware.  Celebrate spring while paying homage to the Easter bunny.   The carrots take minutes to assemble and are super fun for guests and kids.  In fact, use that free labor and have your children make them.  The best part is they're disposable with no cleanup!  That's my kind of party!

Eat your carrots!

Discount stores sell the napkins and cutlery. At Walmart, you may purchase green sets of 8 forks, knives, and spoons for 97 cents.  A package of orange napkins is 97 cents for 24.  Therefore (just like a math word problem) 24 sets of cutlery for your guests cost 16 cents each...a bargain that you don't have to wash!  I also used green yarn that I had, but use what you have.  Green string, garbage bag ties, or even twine works great.

Fold one side of the napkin at an angle.  On the other side, place the cutlery and begin to fold over toward the already folded side.  It works best if you fold the napkin in what I'll call fourths.  Stay mindful that you want every fold to preserve the point at the bottom for the bottom of the carrot.  For the first fold, bring the napkin edge over the cutlery, and then fold again and again and again.  Four folds should do it.  However, this isn't rocket science, do the best you can and by the time you get to the edge, you will most likely have a carrot.  If not start over.  You can do this!

Fold the napkin into a carrot
Tie a small piece of yard, string, twine, etc near the top of the carrot so the napkin will stay securely in place.  

Tie the yarn around the napkin

 And that's have carrot cutlery!  Peas and carrots easy, pardon the pun.


Carrot Cutlery!

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Friday, March 13, 2015

Little Bit of Green

Thanks to Mehgan Kelly from Little Bit of Green for the Effortless Girl mention.  Meghan wrote about how to start and indoor winter garden and used Effortless Girl as her inspiration.  Be sure and check out her super piece here.  I copied it also below...Thanks Meghan!

Indoor Winter Garden - By Meghan Kelly

Your green thumbs may be itching for spring, but most places are still separated from planting season by several months—and several feet of snow. The indoor time does not need to be wasted, however. This winter garden project, from Julie Loven with The Effortless Girl, allows you to plant and grow fresh herbs or vegetables all year round from inside the home. All you need to get started is a bag of soil, seeds for the plants you want to grow, and a basin for collecting water. You are only a few steps away from harvesting your own home-grown garden all winter long.
Soil is the first ingredient for this project. Buy a large bag (or bags, depending on how many different plants you want in your garden) of potting soil. There are some different options for your soil, like organic or regular, and the choice is up to you.
Seeds are the best part, selecting which plants to grow! For this project, smaller plants work well since there is limited space in the soil packages. Herbs like cilantro and basil are great to have year round, but you can also plant cucumbers, lettuce, or any other vegetable that interests you. Larger vegetables, however, might need to be transplanted once spring comes.
Method: the project can be assembled in a few simple steps. Punch narrow holes in the bottom of the soil bag for water drainage. The holes should not be so large that the soil will pour out, nor so small that water cannot escape. Julie made three rows with five holes, but the size of the bag will determine how many holes to bore. Place blocks in a basin—Julie uses disposable roasting pans—and then place the bag onto the blocks. This allows the water to drain into the basin instead of leaking onto your floor.
Next, cut the top of the bag off, but be careful to leave the walls of the bag so that the soil does not burst out. Then gently plant the seeds according to the directions on the back of the packet, and be sure to water the seeds frequently. Keep the bags near a window and as close to direct sunlight as possible: the more sunlight, the faster the growth. If you have an indoor sunroom, utilize the sunny space for your garden.
The last step is to enjoy the benefits of your indoor winter garden. There is nothing like fresh vegetables and herbs to give the taste of spring!
(Photo courtesy of Julie Loven)
To learn more about Julie and the Indoor Winter Garden, visit: and winter garden
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