St. Patrick’s Day Cookies: Matcha Green Tea Shortbreads

With St. Patrick’s Day being a month away, you have got to try our Matcha Green Tea Shortbread cookies. Yep, we are talking about fresh-baked, chewy, and soft cookies that are everso delicately flavored. It is a tea cookie inception!

Our cookie is not too sweet with the unique matcha flavor that is so delicate and special. These green tea cookies are soft, pillowy, and pair perfectly with tea. Please do not overlook the beautiful color that is just perfect for St. Patty’s Day cookies.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups bleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons Matcha green tea powder
  • 2 teaspoons salt or sea salt
  • 1 cup unsalted butter at room temperature
  • ½ cup powdered sugar (add more or less depending on personal preference)

Directions: 

  1. Sift the flour, matcha green tea powder, and salt into a bowl. 
  2. In a mixing bowl, beat butter and powdered sugar until fluffy. 
  3. Add flour mixture to a mixing bowl and mix slowly until dough just comes together. 
  4. Pull and roll dough together carefully into a log, about two inches in diameter. 
  5. Wrap dough logs in cloth or wax paper and place it in the freezer for thirty minutes or until the dough is firm to the touch. 
  6. Slice dough into ¼ inch round pieces and place 1 inch apart on a parchment-lined cookie sheet. 
  7. Bake in a preheated oven at 325 degrees for 16 to 18 minutes until cookies are a light golden brown around the edges – turning the pan halfway through the baking time. 
  8. Remove cookies immediately and place them on a wire rack to cool. 
  9. Store in an airtight container or wrap and freeze. 

We hope you enjoy your Matcha Green Tea Shortbread Cookies, and Happy St. Patty’s Day!

Ideas to Declutter Your Home

How often do you walk past items that are stacked in a corner or piled up on a table? If you are like most people with busy lifestyles, it is almost a given. We get so busy with work, school, children, and home life that we start to ignore those messy spots and even program ourselves to walk past them.

Fortunately, winter is the perfect time to declutter and purge unneeded household items. Just by decluttering one room per week or month, you will be surprised at how much better you feel and how nice and tidy the house looks! Our easy tips and tricks are listed below for creating a better work/home balancing act just by decluttering. Let’s take a look!

The Bathroom

Start in the bathroom using a 40-gallon heavy-duty yard bag and begin cleaning underneath your cabinets and inside of your drawers. You will want to remove all old and unused bottles as well as expired beauty and bath products. Of course, with expired medicines, remove or mark out the identifying information. For the eco-friendly person, simply drain the remaining contents of plastic bottles and containers, rinse with water, and place it in your recycle bin. Just be sure to safety dispose of all old medicines.

The Kitchen

Next, head to the kitchen. We know the kitchen will take some extra time, especially if you declutter well. Begin in the fridge and check all the bottled and packaged items’ expiration dates on the labels. Next, move on to the freezer and do the same thing. Again, use a large yard bag or take the time for the environment and recycle the bottles and plastic containers, etc.

The Home Office

The unwanted paper around the house like junk mail, advertising flyers, old homework, and expired newspapers should be removed next. Again, place in a large yard bag or recycling bin, but make sure you use a shredder for anything that has personal confidential information.

The Playroom

Old, broken toys and sports equipment are always a given and should be discarded for safety purposes. Many of these items are large and take up a lot of room. Also, many of these are covered in dirt, and other things we do not want to think about that will most definitely contain bacteria. If there are items that are still in good shape, donate them, sell at a consignment store, or sell them online.

As always, please let us know how your task turned out, and please share your thoughts and ideas below in the comment section. Happy decluttering!

How to Clean Suede, Leather, and Microfiber Furniture

It is a great habit to regularly clean your home to help kill germs and keep a cleaner living space. When it comes to many hard surfaces, a multipurpose cleaner can typically help get the job done. However, it can become a little more challenging to do soft surface furniture. Adding too much water or chemicals can quickly ruin many materials. To help, here are several common soft furniture finishes and the best ways to clean them:

Suede

It is important that you know your furniture is authentic suede. Suede is made from the underside of animal skin. Use a suede leather brush to brush away any debris on your furniture. If you have any spilled liquids on the suede, use a paper towel to absorb the liquid. Do not scrub the liquid because this can make it penetrate deep into the material and stain it. If you do have stain, apply a small amount of suede stain cleaner, suede eraser, or a diluted mix of white vinegar and water directly to the stained area. Blot away with a white paper towel or napkin and allow it to dry.

Leather

For leather furniture, you can start with the famous duo of soap and water. Use a washcloth to spread the soapy water to the furniture. Use another cloth to help wipe away the water after applying. Allow the coach to dry and then apply leather cream. Remember, leather is animal skin. Just like our skin, it can dry out and crack. A leather cream will help keep moisture in your leather.

Microfiber

Microfiber is a synthetic material made from polyester. Locate on your couch a manufacturer tag. The tag should have one of three letters: W (Water-based cleaner), S (Solvent-based cleaner), or X (Vacuum only). Start by vacuuming any debris off your sofa or furniture. When you know what cleaner your couch can use, test in an unnoticeable area of the furniture. Look for any bleaching or discoloration. Next, apply your cleaning product to any stains. Alcohol cleaners are known to dry out microfiber after they are dry. Use a microfiber brush to help the material go back to normal after it dries.

Do not be afraid to treat stains and clean the soft surfaces in your home. These areas can harvest unwanted germs and bacteria. Make sure you are keeping up on your home’s clean routines by adding these steps to the mix.

Iconic Uses for Essential Oils in Your Home

Essential oils are great for making your home smell great; however, there are many other valuable uses for them around your home. In fact, essentials oils can be used in many diverse ways. Finding a variety of methods to use around your home will not only liven up your environment but keep your home smelling fresh. If you are exploring the world of essential oils, here are some neat tricks to consider using around your home:

Cleaning and Natural Disinfectant

If you are looking for an all-natural cleaning agent, you can create your own. Simply mix some water with vinegar. Vinegar is a great natural cleaning product; however, it can leave an unpleasant scent. You can spruce up the fragrance by adding some essential oils. Do 1/3 of your mixture as vinegar and the remaining with water. Drop in some of your favorite essential oil scents to help create a better smell. Some essential oils can also serve as an excellent disinfectant as well. Try lemon and other citrus scents for a refreshing, clean smell.

Prolong Fruit and Vegetable Lifespan

Having fresh fruit and vegetables in your home can be a healthy, quick snack option. Unfortunately, these products can go bad rather quickly. To help prolong the life of your produce, you can use lemon oil. Saturate your fruit in water in a bowl and add some lemon oil. Allow this to sit for several hours. Once you strain your bowl, you can put your fruit away in the refrigerator. Your fruit and vegetable shelf life will be exponentially longer after using this handy trick.

Laundry Freshener

Essential oils just smell all-around amazing. This use can be a great trick to incorporate in your own laundry routine. Just make sure the essential oil of your choice is not too aggressive for your clothes. You can add several drops into your load to help soak in these unique fragrances.

What are some tricks that you use with your essential oils? Have you done any of these tricks? Let us know some of your favorite essential oil uses below in the comment section, and for more great tips and tricks, make sure to subscribe.

Salt vs Chlorine Hot Tubs

There are many attributes that can make a house feel like home. From the interior to the exterior of your property, every spot has a chance to become more tailored to your needs. Your home should have areas that can allow you to escape from the world and relax and rejuvenate. One great way to accomplish this is with a hot tub! If you are searching the market for a hot tub, there are typically two kinds of systems: chlorine and salt. Both have their own set of advantages and disadvantages. Let us explore both options to help you decide which is best for you.

Chlorine

When it comes to hot tubs, you have two leading solutions for sanitation consisting of either salt or chlorine. Traditionally, chlorine was used as a chemical to help sterilize and neutralize bacteria in the water. Both systems require standard upkeep to allow the systems to be working properly. Chlorine is a powerful chemical that is great at killing bacteria. However, the downfall to this chemical is a strong odor as well as it can agitate sensitive skin.

Salt

Saltwater seems to be the new buzz on the market. This more natural approach is less aggressive on your skin. While it still takes upkeep to have the right concentration, the simple upkeep can be less time-consuming. You will also not need to drain your hot tub as often for maintenance. Some of these benefits alone have made many homeowners switch to salt. Yet a downside is saltwater pools can traditionally be more expensive as an initial investment.

Which Is Best for You?

Both hot tub systems come with their own pros and cons. While chlorine may be a harsher chemical to soak long in, the initial investment is much less expensive. Chlorine tubs will also use less electricity while being fixture friendly. The choice comes down to personal preference.

Many people have preferences on which they like best. What do you think about each hot tub system? Have you owned either? Let us know your thoughts in the comments below, and remember to subscribe!

Painting Exterior Stucco

Southwestern-styled homes will traditionally use stucco as a decorative siding and finish to homes. Stucco is a fine plaster coated onto walls wet, which dries with a very grainy texture. This plaster handles great against the desert heat and looks great as well. However, these extreme climates can really wear down and fade the paint on the walls over time. If your paint is beginning to fade, it may be time to repaint the exterior of your home. With stucco being so texture, it can propose several dilemmas. To help, here are some of the best ways to paint stucco:

Prep

Before you are going to start painting, you will need to prep the surface. For the exterior of your home, you will just want to remove all the outdoor dust and dirt that has accumulated on your home. This step can easily be done by spraying your house down with a hose. Let it air dry completely before you begin to paint. Tape off or tarp any areas you do not want the paint to get.

Roller

For stucco, there are generally two main ways of painting. A roller is less effective but generally foolproof. When you get your paint, let the supplier know you will be rolling the paint. This paint will be sold much thicker and can be applied with a roller. You will still need to use a brush for harder areas like corners and edges.

Spray

A more effective technique but takes practice and equipment is spraying the paint onto the stucco. With such an aggressive texture, this will allow you not to have to go over the same spot multiple times, as the roller may. Simply add the paint and spray it directly onto your home. You can keep the spray gun very close to the house because bleeding paint is uncommon with this high of texture.

Stucco is excellent but will need to be repainted after many years of sun exposure. Make sure you can complete the task before starting it. If this seems too far out of your expertise, you may want to consider hiring a professional. For more tips and tricks on home improvement, make sure to subscribe.

Tips for Hosting Guests Overnight Like a Luxury Hotel

Having guests over can always be a good time. Whether it is for the holidays, a social gathering, or friends visiting from out of town, you want your home to feel welcoming. The best way to accommodate your guests is to consider what they may need if they were to stay at a hotel. What do hotels provide for their guests? Since hotels have mastered the art of hospitality, using some of their commonly-practiced policies in your own home can make you a guru of hosting guests as well. Here are several tricks you can take from hotels to practice in your own home:

Bedroom Comfort

One of the primary focal points to tackle is the guest bedroom comfort. Many hotels master comfort by using a high-quality mattress, pillows, and even chairs. Make sure your guest room has plenty of pillows, blankets, and seating for your guest. Everyone has their own individual sleeping styles. Adding some extra pillows and blankets can ensure your guests have a comfortable stay.

Restroom Accommodations

When you go to a hotel, many of them will provide you with bathroom essentials. This typically consists of shampoo, soap, and conditioner and sometimes a lotion. These are excellent accommodations to have in your own guest bathroom. Make sure your guests are familiar without how to use your shower system or any questions they may have. It should go without saying but have spare toilet paper and towels readily available as well.

R&R

While you will probably be spending most of the time with your guests, you still want them to be able to get away from everything. Nothing makes people feel more comfortable and at home that some privacy, rest, and relaxation. Provide your guest with the Wi-Fi password as well as any passwords to television streaming services.

Continental Breakfast

You do not need to set up a continental breakfast, but you can borrow the concept. Check with your guest beforehand for food allergies or restrictions. Making breakfast in the morning can eliminate them having to order food. These simple tricks can take your hosting skills to the next level.

Hosting should not be intimidating. Make sure you prioritize your guest’s needs and comfort. You can make your house feel like home to them with some of these simple tricks. For more great tips and tricks, make sure to subscribe.

Cauliflower Rice with a Mediterranean Twist

Are you on the fence about the taste of cauliflower? We were not quite sure about how delicious cauliflower can really taste, so we decided to try this recipe with a Mediterranean twist. Boy, are we glad we did! Spruce this recipe up with a few extra ingredients, and we are sure you will love it as much as we do!

Ingredients for Cauliflower Rice:

  • One medium to large head of cauliflower 
  • Two cloves garlic, minced or pressed 
  • One 1/2 cup sliced almonds 
  • Just a pinch of red pepper flakes (optional)
  • Two tablespoons extra virgin olive oil 
  • One tablespoon lemon juice (fresh if available)
  • One 1/4 teaspoon sea salt 
  • One 1/2 cup flat-leaf parsley – chopped well 
  • Top off with fresh ground pepper for taste 

Directions for Cauliflower Rice:

  1. Cut the head of cauliflower into medium chunks and throw away the core. Put a small amount in your food processor until the pieces are broken into small pieces. Now you have the rice. 
  2. Wrap the cauliflower rice in a kitchen towel and twist well to remove as much water as possible from the rice. Actually, during this step, you will see how much water was in the cauliflower. 
  3. Now toast your almonds in a large skillet over medium heat, making sure to stir often, so they do not burn. Once they start to turn gold and you smell them, they are ready. This usually takes about four to five minutes. Place in a bowl to cool. 
  4. Take the skillet and return to heat while adding olive oil and garlic. Make sure to keep stirring until you smell the garlic. This only takes about ten to twenty seconds.  
  5. Add the cauliflower rice, red pepper flakes, salt, and stir well to blend. Now cook for about six to ten minutes until the rice turns golden. 
  6. Remove the skillet from heat and stir in your cooled off toasted almonds, parsley, and lemon juice.  
  7. Season to taste with sea salt and black pepper. Serve warm. 

Prep Time: 20 minutes | Cooking Time: 15 minutes | Serving Size: Four Servings as a Side Dish

Three Places You Are Forgetting to Clean

Cleaning our homes can become somewhat of a ritual. You begin to form habits and techniques for keeping your own home spic and span. However, as we develop these habits, areas in our homes that do not need to be cleaned as often can become forgotten. It is easy to remember to do your dishes when you use them every day; however, less frequent or annual tasks can easily be overlooked.

Dusting Fans and Baseboards

Dust accumulates very easily around homes. It is easy to remember all the surface areas that we come in contact with daily. However, out of sight, out of mind can easily apply to dust. Our baseboards can collect a ton of dust. Remember to give them a quick wipe down every now and then to prevent the accumulation. Also, our ceiling fans harvest dust very easily as well. Wiping the top side of the ceiling fan is a vital spot to hit when dusting. Make sure you are not forgetting these two areas!

Grout Lines

Grout is very porous and can absorb a lot of unwanted debris and stains. This happens throughout our high traffic areas in our homes. Once-light grout lines can become mucked and darkened over time. This can look like this is the way it should be; however, these grout lines are incredibly dirty. Make sure to use grout cleaner or your own homemade cleaner to polish up your grout lines in tiled areas of your home.

Steam Clean Carpets

We can remember to vacuum our carpets pretty easily. There is something satisfying about fresh vacuum lines on carpet. Yet, we may forget that many carpet manufacturers recommend steam cleaning your carpet once a year. This means you should remove furniture from the room and steam your carpet. Your fibers can collect dirt deep down inside them, which the steam can penetrate out of them. Remembering to do this may easily slip your mind without creating a reminder.

These are just some simple reminders for cleaning your home to keep in your arsenal. Did you forget any of these three? What are some recommendations of areas that you have forgotten or want to remind others? Let us hear from you below in the comment section!

Kitchen Sink Organization

The kitchen is the heart of the home; therefore, creating your dream kitchen can express your style and design. From mesmerizing backsplashes to intricately designed appliances, your kitchen can quickly become the most stunning part of your home. However, nothing takes away from this dream like clutter, and one spot reigns notorious overall in this category: the sink. Having a messy sink is easy. We usually eat three times a day and sometimes feed more than one person during a meal. Hence why this area can quickly become an eyesore if not taken care of correctly. However, some simple kitchen sink organization skills can help have your sink looking clean and less cluttered. We break down the three ways to organize your sink and keep it clean and crisp all year. Let’s take a look!

The Essentials

Your kitchen sink most likely has some critical components which you use daily when washing your dishes. These elements make the cut for what can stay in view. For instance, you may have a soap dispenser, maybe a plug for the sink, and perhaps a drying towel, and even a scrub brush. If you can tuck any of these away in your false drawers, take advantage of the space. If not, have a clean, organized set up of where these items belong.

Drying Area

The next key spot is your drying rack. If you have a dishwasher, you do not need to worry about this. However, if you do not have this amenity or have wooden or plastic utensils, you will need to designate a space. Some drying racks can connect right into your sink. Just make sure these areas never become cluttered. These are easy to allow items to overstay their welcome. Use your drying towel and have the dishes and utensils back to their homes before leaving the area.

Under Your Sink

Under the sink is a useful area. You can store your trash, recycling, chemicals, and other cleaning agents. This area is where your extra cleaning materials should go that you do not use daily. If you have small children, you may need to put a locking mechanism on this cabinet as well. Extra sponges, cup cleaners, and stain removers can all reside happily underneath your sink until needed.

It is easy to allow your kitchen to become cluttered. Having an organized and clean sink area is something that you need to keep up with daily. Do not let this become the downfall of your kitchen. Take pride in your kitchen and allow your kitchen to warm your entire household.