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The Trailer Park Diva
Sunday, 6 February 2011
Freebies and Coupons Galore
Topic: DIVA Divine Deals

 

 

How is it that I can live the life of a Diva on only a handful of cash??? I can tell you the secret - there is a lot of free stuff out there!!! Also, I am a major bargain hunter and a secret shopper.

 Yes, you read the last part right - a secret shopper. I am registered with legitimate companies, which I located in the Wall Street Journal, via some past article about this elusive career. As such a spy, I have been treated to some very fine restaurants (ie. Capital Grille, Mastro's), had free lunches, cocktails and hotel stays. It is an amazing amount of fun as well.

Here is an example of an assignment that I received : "We have after 10 and 11pm Bar Ethics evaluations in the following areas. The shops reimburse up to $60 for food and drinks, plus pay an additional $5-10 evaluators fee. It's like going out on us. If interested, please call."

You register with the company and they will contact you when there is a "shop" needed in your area. They pay is not usually high for the job, but the perks make it worth your while. You need to be very detailed and take notes discreetly while you "perform your shop". Sometimes you need to take photos to document things like restroom appearance. Save your receipts for reimbursal. Once you do the shop you have a day or two to log in and do a "report". Usually it is a list of questions you answer. It helps if you are a writer that can give vivid details about the food and quality of service.

 So, in the spirit of dollar saving Diva Sisters everywhere - I am going to share the links to those companies here - Wink 

*There are no fees to sign up for these legitimate "secret shopper" companies.

http://www.satisfactionservicesinc.com

 http://www.sassieshop.com

http://www.beyondhello-themirror.com

http://www.a-closer-look.com

http://www.mymysteryshop.com

 Register!!! Go have a great time and shop your butt off!


Posted by valleegirlprods at 11:29 AM EST
Updated: Sunday, 6 February 2011 12:11 PM EST
Sunday, 12 December 2010
CANDY CANE CAKE BALLS
Now Playing: Cake Balls
Topic: Divalicious DESSERTS

CANDY CANE CAKE BALLS

Candy Cane Cake Pops

– 1 box white cake mix (baked as directed on box)
– 1 can vanilla frosting
– 1/2 tsp peppermint extract
– White Candy Melts 2 bags
– Candy Canes, crushed
– Red Candy Melts 1 bag (optional, used only for design #2)
– Styrofoam – sheet or block
– 6″ white Lollipop Sticks
– Red Ribbon
– Hot Glue (or clear-drying tacky glue)

INSTRUCTIONS:
Here are Bakerella’s original cake pop instructions, (with my addition of crushed candy canes on step #8):

1. After cake is cooked and cooled completely, crumble into large bowl.
2. Mix thoroughly with 1 can frosting. (I use the back of a large spoon, but it may be easier to use fingers to mix together. But, be warned, it will get messy. Also, you may not need the entire can of frosting, so start out by using almost the entire can and add more if you need to.)
3. Roll mixture into quarter size balls and place on wax paper covered cookie sheet. (Should make 45-50)
4. Melt chocolate in the microwave per directions on package. (30 sec intervals, stirring in between.)
5. Dip the tip of your lollipop stick in a little of the melted candy coating and insert into the cake balls. (Insert a little less than halfway.)
6. Place them in the freezer for a little while to firm up.
7. Once firm, carefully insert the cake ball into the candy coating by holding the lollipop stick and rotating until covered. Once covered remove and softly tap and rotate until the excess chocolate falls off. Don’t tap too hard or the cake ball will fall off, too.
8. While still wet, roll cake pops in crushed candy canes (for design #1)*
9. Place in a styrofoam block to dry.

* For Design #2, (the “smooth” design) let dipped cake pops dry, then add a few red Candy Melt stripes on top. Using a zip-loc bag with a tiny piece of one corner snipped off, drizzle the melted red candy back and forth across the top of each cake pop.

*****

These are awesome for holiday dessert tables or party favors… and if you’re short on time, you can skip the sticks altogether and just make candy cane cake balls. They’ll still look pretty darn cute – just like little cake truffles!

For more creative great ideas like this visit http://www.hostesswiththemostess.com

 


Posted by valleegirlprods at 2:14 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 6 February 2011 11:57 AM EST
Thursday, 18 November 2010
Simple APPLE PIE in a JAR
Mood:  happy
Now Playing: APPLE PIE IN A JAR!!!
Topic: Divalicious DESSERTS
Apple Pie in a Jar

 

Apple Pie in a Jar

Serves 8
Prep time: 30 minutes
Bake time: 45 minutes

INGREDIENTS
8 short, half-pint glass canning jars*
4 pre-packaged pie crusts, uncooked
7 cups (15-20 whole) apples, peeled and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons lemon juice
3/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg

*Find glass canning jars right in your grocery store. The short, half-pint versions work best for this recipe—and though they are pre-treated to resist heat, placing them in a cold oven will allow them to heat up gradually. That means no broken glass!

INSTRUCTIONS
  1.  
    1. Lay out pie crusts on a clean surface. Use the lid of your jar as a cookie cutter to create 8 circles. Insert a dough circle into the base of each jar, pressing into place with your fingertips.
    2. Cut the remaining pie crusts into long strips, approximately 4 inches wide. Press the dough into the inside of each jar, so the inside is completely covered.
    3. In a large mixing bowl, toss the apple slices in lemon juice.
    4. In a separate medium-size bowl, combine the white sugar, brown sugar, flour, cinnamon and nutmeg. Pour the dry ingredients over the apples, then toss to coat.
    5. Divide the apple filling equally among your jars, filling each about 2/3 full.
    6. Finish each jar with the topping of your choice (see our options below).
    7. Place your jars on a baking sheet and set inside a cold oven. Begin heating your oven to 375ºF and let bake for 45-60 minutes, until topping is golden brown and bubbling.
3 Topping Options3 Topping Options
  • Lattice Crust: To achieve an old-fashioned look, purchase an extra pie crust or two at the supermarket, then cut the dough into very thin strips, slightly longer than the width of your jar’s mouth. Lay 3 strips vertically and 3 strips horizontally, then interweave them, pressing the edges into the inner rim of the jar. Brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

  • Capped Crust: Repeat step 1 of the instructions, then use the dough circles to top each of your jars—but be sure to press the edges into the inner rim of the jar to prevent burning. Use the tongs of a fork to crimp the edges, or cut out a few small, festive shapes like leaves with a mini cookie cutter or stencil. Brush with a beaten egg and sprinkle with sugar.

  • Crumble Topping: For something easy and extra sweet, simply follow the instructions below, then sprinkle generously on the top of each jar:

    INGREDIENTS
    1/4 cup brown sugar
    1/4 cup all-purpose flour
    1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
    2 tablespoons oats
    3 tablespoons cold butter

    INSTRUCTIONS
    1.  
      1. In a small mixing bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon.
      2. Add butter, blending with an electronic mixer until pieces are approximately the size of peas.
      3. Add oats, stirring with a spoon until well combined.

For more info visit : http://www.homemadesimple.com/en-US/FoodandRecipes/Pages/apple-pie-in-a-jar.aspx  


Posted by valleegirlprods at 5:26 PM EST
Updated: Sunday, 12 December 2010 2:23 PM EST
Thursday, 30 September 2010
Home Made Laundry Soap

For a Liquid Detergent:

1/3 of a 14.1oz bar of soap

4 quarts of water

grate soap into a large stock pot

add water and mix

bring to a boil then stop it

let it set up over night

then pour it into a container

 

 

For a Dry Detergent:

4 lbs. Borax

4 lbs. Arm & Hammer Washing Soda

4 lbs. Arm & Hammer Baking Soda

feel free to add essential oils - just a few drops

blend it all together and store in an airtight container


Posted by valleegirlprods at 3:11 PM EDT
Updated: Thursday, 30 September 2010 3:13 PM EDT
Tuesday, 24 August 2010
How to Make a Vodka
Topic: BOOZE - The Hard Stuff

Excerpt from "How to Cook a Wolf", by M.F.K. Fisher. This book was originally published in 1942. It was all about ways to live well during the difficult times of the The Great Depression. It is full of useful tips and recipes. Recently it has made a return for small cult following. Times are hard now too.

Near the last few pages is the most important recipe of all -

 HOW TO MAKE A VODKA (p. 180)

 [This is still a good recipe, and worthy of individual study and experimintation. My uncle Walter, the most accomplished early-morning drinker I have ever known, says it is superlative in tomato juice.]

1 quart water 

1 tsp glycerin or sugar

1 lemon rind, shaved

1/2 orange rind, shaved

1 quart alcohol

Simmer first  4 ingredients gently about 20 minutes. Remove from stove. Add alcohol and cover instantly with a tight lid. Let cool and strain. 

* She says to get the alcohol from an honest but unscrupulous drugist.

 

 Cheers! 


Posted by valleegirlprods at 10:42 AM EDT
Make Yer Own Hooch!!
Topic: BOOZE - Liqueur and Wine

MAKE BOOZE!!!

One of my favorite topics - (wait, 2 actually) Booze and saving a Buck! In these difficult economic times when people drink more what could be better? 

I was reading in my Garden & Gun (great publication, btw) that there is a new interest in making moonshine as an artisan food. It no longer has to taste like paint thinner and cause you to scream and gasp for air while your eyes water up. No, it comes in all these delicious flavors - strawberry, apple pie, blueberry etc. There is really no limit to what you can do with your good old fashioned corn whiskey. You can even buy all that you need to make the hooch on Amazon.com! Who knew!? I definately want to give this a shot! lol

 For  those that like the sweeter side of things, here is a recipe for making your own Mocha Cream Liqueur - 

  • 1-1/4 cups sweetned condensed milk
  • 1 cup dark rum
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/4 cup chocolate flavored syrup
  • 1 Tbsp. instant espresso powder
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 1/4 tsp. coconut extract

Preparation: 

Combine all ingredients in food processor or blender. Cover and process on high speed until the mixture is well blended and smooth.

This can be served immediately, or stored in a tightly covered container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks. Make sure to stir or shake thoroughly before serving. Serve in very tiny cups, or in chocolate cups.

 And for the less creative,  WINE - (Rember Strawberry wine?) 

  • 7 pounds whole fresh strawberries, (fresh picked, if possible), washed and hulled
  • 2 gallons boiling water
  • Juice of 1 lemon
  • 5 pounds sugar

Preparation:

In a large earthenware crock, mash the strawberries. Cover with boiling water, add lemon juice, and quickly stir for about two minutes. Cover with a clean linen cloth. Let rest in a cool, dark place, stirring daily for one week. 

After one week, strain the mixture through a double-layer of cheesecloth into a large, clean bowl, discarding strawberry pulp. Combine strawberry liquid with the sugar, stirring to dissolve sugar. Pour into cleaned crock and let stand another week, stirring daily. 

After the second week, pour the strawberry liquid into 1-gallon glass wine bottles and cork loosely. (May use fermentation locks, if you have them.) Let rest in a cool, dark place for 3 months. When wine is clear and no longer fermenting (bubbling), pour into individual bottles, cork, and age at least 1 year before drinking this delicious strawberry wine

Yield: Approximately 2-1/2 gallons or 40 servings 

These all make fabulous gifts for those on a tight budget, time consuming, but well worth the efforts and the wait.


Posted by valleegirlprods at 10:38 AM EDT

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