Momma Told Me: 2018

Blog Archive

How To Restore Your Headlights (In About An Hour)

How to restore your headlights for about $20 in about an hour!
Momma Told Me: Sometimes you have to take ownership and invest to feel pride in something.

Many of you know now that I was rear ended, at a complete stop, on the freeway this past St. Patrick's Day and was forced to say goodbye to my purple PT Cruise (aka my 'rolling sanctuary'.) After over a month of searching for a replacement car I came across a cream colored PT Cruiser convertible with an exceptionally low odometer reading for it's age. Those who know me well know I dislike white/off white cars, and convertibles- I was simply feeling beat down and decided I needed a familiar car with reliability more than 'the car of my dreams.' Besides, the car was in mint condition, except the headlights which looked as though they had been transplanted from a vehicle 10 years older.
How to restore your headlights for about $20 in about an hour!How to restore your headlights for about $20 in about an hour!
Life being as it is, things don't always turn out as expected, so, upon purchasing this vehicle, I decided I would make it my own so that I could one day take as much pride in it as I did my precious purple PT. The first step was to give it a little extra TLC- to invest a bit of myself into it.

The headlights had to go. Well, they had to at least look like new, as the rest of the car so brilliantly did.

I wasn't the only one who thought so either, both Jay and my father took one look at the car and pointed out the glaring (erm, dull) elephant in the room- the headlights were UV damaged and covered in layers of grime and stains. Weren't there commercials for some miracle product to fix this? Hadn't I seen, on TV, somewhere a woman wiping off her crusty old headlight to reveal a sparkling new one?  Well, for about $20 you can own one of these magical products- but it's a kit- not some miracle single shot treatment.
My headlights most likely weren't near as bad as those belonging to the average person considering this project. I don't live on the East Coast, where my car would be subjected to extreme humidity, salty air, and harsh Winters (though we do live near the beach)- and the car was primarily garaged for the second half of it's life before I purchased it. But the passenger's side headlight was covered in strange splotchy patches of buildup and the driver's side was considerably fogged over. It was clear at one point in it's life the car had received primarily direct sun to the driver's side.
Well, remember that kit I said we invested in? Well it's a bit more involved than just wiping away the years from your headlights- But it does include everything you need (no extra tools required) and will take the average DIYer about an hour to complete both headlights. Keep in mind that, while anyone can do this project, your results will vary depending on how strictly you follow the instructions and if you have an previous experience with restoration or wet sanding. Yes, I said sanding.

Begin by taping off the liner and paint immediately surrounding your headlight with a durable painter's tape. The kit claims that the materials used will not harm paint- but the instructions suggest taping- and I certainly would for 2 reasons: 1.) We noticed the first solution we used took the color off our shop rags, so it seemed to have some sort of acid or bleach in it, 2.) You will eventually be sanding right up against your car's paint- not point in risking anything there. You will also want to start with a clean car.
Next, treat the headlight surface with the Step 1 Activator, generously spraying, and allow it to sit about 30 seconds before washing away. Here's what we noticed about this process- 1.) The spray is very aromatic in a chemical sense- you will need to step back for air, and you should always be working in an open, well aerated, shady area. I highly suggest wearing a simple paper face mask to help diffuse fumes, and that you keep your face as far back from the solution/mist as possible. 2.) You will be using this bottle a total of 4 times, 2 treatments each headlight, so you should expect to use about 1/4 of the bottle each time. 3.) Given the nature of the product and spray we suggest you wear gloves and wipe the solution off with a wet rag to clean the lens before continuing- rather than use a hose which may send the solution flying onto your car and other surfaces.

Once the Activator solution has been cleaned off the lens, and the lens has been dried, it will quickly begin to cloud. This is normal and you will see this after every step from here until the final UV coat.
Now you're ready to begin sanding- the kit includes 3 sheets, 1 each of 2000, 1000, and 400 grit wet sanding paper. You should tear them in half and make note of which is which with a written indicator on the back since you will be using half a sheet for each lens.

My father and I had some disagreement as to whether a mask should be worn through the sanding process- since this is a wet sanding procedure. I am going to suggest you do since we did see quite a bit of kickback debris on clothing and even in his ear after the sanding process.

To wet sand you will want a small bowl of clean water nearby, and a clean cloth (to wipe up any drips that may make their way onto your car's paint. Wet the lens with the wet cloth, and submerge the sanding paper into the water. Begin sanding (you'll start with the 400 grit for the first step) in circular motions from the top corner of the headlight inward. You should expect to continue sanding for approximately 5 minutes- though cars with less build up may require less time. You will be able to tell you are done when the headlight has reached a uniform, smooth, texture, and there are no clear sections visible.
Rinse your headlight and continue with the repeating the above process of sanding, using the 1000 grit sandpaper. Sand in circular motions with a wet lens and sandpaper for approximately 5 minutes, clean, then repeat with the 2000 grit. When you are done sanding you should have a clean, dry, foggy lens.
Next you will apply the Clarifying Compound, which we closely attribute to a sort of buffing wax. Wet your lens with a clean wet rag and apply half of the compound to the provided white towel. Starting at the lower corner of the headlight, in sweeping circular motions, buff the clarifying compound into the lens for approximately 5 minutes.

We were worried this compound would dry out during a 5 minute buff, but it actually seemed to break down and glide even more the longer we worked it into the lens. Once you are done clean and dry the lens. You will begin to notice the lens will maintain a glossy 'wet' look as though it is holding water along the surface.

Tall, Dark, and VEGAN Nib Brownies Recipe

These Tall, Dark, and VEGAN Nib Brownies are dense and full of rich authentic chocolate flavor with the satisfying crunch of nutty cacao nibs. And that beautiful dark color? It's complimented by a texture that is a fine line between chewy and gooey!

Momma Told Me: Like a tall cup of coffee.

If you've ever heard the flirty phrase, "Tall, Dark, and Strong" in reference to coffee and men, then you'll know exactly where I'm going with today's recipe. Chocolate, much like coffee, actually has a lot in common. In fact, there are many cultures where cacao beans have long been roasted and served as beverages at times of festival and to guests of great honor. And Cacao Nibs, the coffee bean of chocolate is are widely regarded as nature's chocolate chip.

Nibs, dried and fermented cacao beans are rich in bitter cacao flavor and have a wonderful nutty crunch that is extremely addictive to an elevated palette. You can't call yourself a true chocolate lover without having tried Cacao Nibs at some point.
For baking, sweet nibs are sold lightly coated in coconut sugar. For snacking you'll find some of the world's more exclusive bean-to-bar chocolate bars with nibs nestled inside, or simply chocolate coated nibs. And, if you're simply a fan of raw chocolate, you can enjoy whole cacao beans sourced from the rarest single origin growers, sold in the pod, as fresh as the flavor experience gets.

But Cacao Nibs aren't for everyone. They truly have a much more Earthy, 'raw cocoa' flavor that is quite reminiscent of coffee with nutty notes and textures. They're playful crunch and snap makes them a wonderful addition to any recipe when seeking texture.Since they are typically bitter you will often want to use a Sweet Nib product when baking, or consider replacing nuts in a recipe for plain raw nibs. Personally, I enjoy sprinkling sweetened nibs directly onto a scoop of Vanilla Bean ice cream!
These Tall, Dark, and VEGAN Nib Brownies are dense and full of rich authentic chocolate flavor with the satisfying crunch of nutty cacao nibs. And that beautiful dark color? It's complimented by a texture that is a fine line between chewy and gooey!
Of course Nibs are the heart of chocolate, their origin, so I've chosen to share a delicious Vegan brownie recipe that is perhaps more indulgent, and more brownie, than any non Vegan recipe I've ever tried. Don't worry, if you're not Vegan, there are no expensive or fancy replacement ingredients outside of the Nibs and a high quality Cocoa Powder. The more you invest in your Cacao ingredients on this one the richer the flavor experience will be. These are NOT intended to be your typical Hershey's brownies.
These Tall, Dark, and VEGAN Nib Brownies are dense and full of rich authentic chocolate flavor with the satisfying crunch of nutty cacao nibs. And that beautiful dark color? It's complimented by a texture that is a fine line between chewy and gooey!
Expect these brownie to be dense, but not gooey or sticky. The photos showcase the wonderful texture of these brownies beautifully but I promise they are not under-cooked, or even messy to enjoy. There's even a bit of chew to compliment the crunch of the nibs- like a great brownie should have. And the color? Well, that's all cacao baby. Best of all, because of the high focus on traditional flavors, instead of sweetened or processed ingredients, these brownies aren't over-indulgent by any means. You will want to enjoy them with a tall glass of Coconut Milk, but your palette won't be feeling weighed down by the shock of sickly sweet. Just take my word- these are definitely worth the try!

What Daughter Says: True chocolate flavor is intense, rich, and full of origin flavors. Nibs are the flavor chocolate is steeped in.

These Tall, Dark, and VEGAN Nib Brownies are dense and full of rich authentic chocolate flavor with the satisfying crunch of nutty cacao nibs. And that beautiful dark color? It's complimented by a texture that is a fine line between chewy and gooey!
Tall, Dark, and VEGAN Nib Brownies
****Click here for the printable Vegan Nib Brownies recipe

Goat Cheese Sugar Cookies + Baked Prosciutto, Egg, Avocados With #MontchevreIsGoat Cheese

This post is sponsored by Montchevre but the content and opinions expressed here are my own.
Growing up, every time we'd fly back East to visit my father's family I'd be entertained with tales of his fabled gut, and eating conquests. That is to say my father, from a young age, would ask to go next door to get a grinder for dessert whilst the rest of the family enjoyed ice cream from the scoop shop.

It's not that he had an endless stomach, it's more that he had a thirst for food, and the exploration of flavor. Spending valuable calories on dessert just wasn't as tempting as trying a new sandwich or the featured dish at the local Portuguese diner. As a result I was raised with a fine appreciation for not just food and the act of eating, but ingredients; their role as flavors and textures, and the never-ending range of combinations they could be manipulated into, with.
Goat Cheese GoatCookies made with #MontchevreIsGoat Cheese #AD
Cheese, with no explanation needed in my mind, has long been at the top of my food chain pillar. There are not only so many different bases and flavors, but the range of textures, and it's versatility to transform anything from an appetizer to dessert is truly special.

I enjoy cheese for cheese's sake on a platter with fresh fruit, nuts, charcuterie and wine, as a dessert in a cheesecake, in a gooey creamy sauce over fresh past, in plastic wrapped sticks I pull and peel with a child's delight, melted into chips on parchment in the oven, and so much more. So, the fact that I only just discovered the magic of goat cheese a few years ago is a true tragedy within my culinary story.
As so many others I first tried goat cheese on a fancy field of greens salad. It was daintily sprinkled atop a plate of fresh spinach garnished with a savory vinaigrette, candied walnuts, juicy sweet strawberry slices, and thin slivers of grilled chicken. At the time the concept of goat cheese was filed away under 'specialty' ingredients in my foodie brain bank. I was under the impression that it was an ingredient most often stocked in specialty shops, best reserved for enjoyment in restaurants when prepared by fine chefs.

So, when I discovered Montchevre goat cheese in a store whilst shopping one day I quite literally let out a squeal and promptly sent Jay a photo of my cart full of cheese, as any true epicurean would. Furthermore, my discovery that this magical melty, savory, nutty cheese came in multiple flavors, and even a spreadable loaf instantly expanded the creative recipe uses within my head.
Goat Cheese GoatCookies made with #MontchevreIsGoat Cheese #AD
I recall my first flavored goat cheese experience was Montchevre Blueberry Vanilla- good enough to eat on it's own as a spread with a toasted bagel, this particular flavor solidified a need to use goat cheese in sweet recipes; not just savory. After that it was cheesecake tarts, morning berry crepes, key lime pie, and even goat's cheese dark chocolate brownies. This particular type of cheese is so easy to work with when baking, and the rich lightly nutty undertones of the Montchevre goat cheese range truly allow for sweeter pairings.
Goat Cheese GoatCookies made with #MontchevreIsGoat Cheese #AD
One might even dare to say that Montchevre IS goat cheese. That's how defining the quality French cheese-making techniques, and high quality goat's milk from local family farms is. I certainly encourage you to locate my favorite cheese, Montchevre, at a store near you. You'll find crumbles to sprinkle on just about anything and an assortment of goat's cheese loaf flavors and sizes to pair, bake, and cook to your heart's content. The Blueberry Vanilla variety is especially delicious in my fluffy, soft, Goat's Cheese Sugar Cookies so be sure to grab a loaf, and print the recipe at the bottom of this post.
Crumbled goat cheese, of course, is likely the form you are most familiar with because of how easily it can be incorporated to or added onto nearly any dish or recipe. NON GMO Montchevre Original Crumbled goat cheese is high in protein, calcium and vitamin D and contains less lactose while being rich in nutrients and vitamins. It also help the make me feel instantly 100% more like a real life chef when I pull it out of my fridge and sprinkle it on top.
Speaking of simplicity and feeling like a world class chef- it seems like anything with avocado is instantly hot these days. As if avocados suddenly were created by some sort of wacky scientist, or, maybe millennials simply discovered how to properly serve them. As a SoCal native I've been raised with this butter fruit- we drive past them at fruit stands every few blocks on the main roads, 7 JUMBO avocados for $5. You truly can't beat that folks.
Of course when you're spoiled with such convenient and affordable access to a quality supply of a fresh ingredient you tend to get a little creative with how you can use it. I use avocados almost as much as I use Montchevre goat cheese- and I often use them together.

Another thing that is very hot right now in the culinary world are simple, deconstructed, recipes. Recipes with 5 or less ingredients where the majority, or all, of the ingredients can be instantly seen and identified on the plate. I'm a huge fan of this cleaner eating style movement.
Baked Prosciutto, Egg, Goat Cheese Avocados made with #MontchevreIsGoat Cheese #AD
If you've ever pitted an avocado and been just too lazy to slice it up or mash it and put it on something then all of your worries are solved. Viola! Why not cook INSIDE your avocado? There's already a nifty little bowl right there for all of your ingredients.
Baked Prosciutto, Egg, Goat Cheese Avocados made with #MontchevreIsGoat Cheese #AD
I'm sure this serving concept has a bunch of buzz words and fits some hot fad eating style, but really it's a simple as avocado, meat, egg, cheese for me- basics we see between break or on bread often. Of course I've said it many times before, I'm just not a huge fan of bread- It's never done me wrong, I just enjoy a more animal style eating approach.
Baked Prosciutto, Egg, Goat Cheese Avocados made with #MontchevreIsGoat Cheese #AD
So core your avocados, put a little prosciutto inside each half, sprinkle some Montchevre goat cheese inside, plop an egg yolk on top and spoon a little egg whites, then top with more goat cheese and a dash of pepper. Place those bad boys in a 450F oven for 15 minutes, or until egg has reached desired consistency. If you would like runny yolks you can leave the yolk off until the very last 5 minutes for the perfect browned but runny egg every time.
Baked Prosciutto, Egg, Goat Cheese Avocados made with #MontchevreIsGoat Cheese #AD
A dish like this is great any time of the day and pairs well with a rich hollandaise, cup of fresh fruit, or bowl of delicious tomato soup. Because these can be prepared in 2 minutes, and cook fuss free on a piece of parchment in the oven, it's a great recipe to make in bulk when entertaining the masses for a breakfast or brunch over the upcoming holidays. I find that these will even keep well in a tupperware, after being cooked, for a day- making leftovers a delicious snack,
Baked Prosciutto, Egg, Goat Cheese Avocados made with #MontchevreIsGoat Cheese #AD
Bottom line, there are endless possibilities for Montchevre goat cheese and the ingredient itself is so versatile in flavor and format nobody should be intimidated by it. Also, one cannot truly call themselves a cheese lover until they've experienced goat cheese. You can find Montchevre at a store near you here. Let me know if you have a favorite way to enjoy, or a recipe to include, goat cheese!

Goat Cheese GoatCookies made with #MontchevreIsGoat Cheese #AD
Goat Cheese Sugar Cookies
  • 2 1/2 C unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tesp baking soda
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 C sugar
  • 1/3 C (3 OZ) soft Montchevre goat cheese, room temperature
  • 6 TBS (3/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 C vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 2 TBS milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • nonpareil sprinkles or sanding sugar (optional)

  1. Preheat oven to 350F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper.
  2.  In a bowl, whisk flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt. Set aside.
  3. Combine sugar, goat cheese, + melted butter in a large bowl and whisk until mixture forms a smooth paste. Whisk in oil. Add egg, milk, + vanilla extract and stir until smooth. Fold in flour mixture until incorporated and no dry ingredients are left.
  4. Pour sprinkles or sugar into a small bowl. Dough will be soft, but should still be workable. Use a small cookie scoop to portion out about 1 tablespoon of dough, then roll in sprinkles/sugar to coat. If you have trouble with sprinkles sticking a damp cloth to moisten hands works great for rolled dough balls. Arrange on prepared baking sheet, leaving about 2 inches of space between each cookie.
  5. Bake for 10 to 12 mins, until cookies are just set and slightly cracked. Cool on the baking sheet for 3 minutes, then transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 1 week.

4 Simple Spooky Sweet Halloween Treats + $50 Frey Candy Giveaway 10/16

These #CelebrationSpookyTreats can be made in minutes with these free and fun printables and some Sixlets! #AD
Momma Told Me: With a little creativity any supplies can be made magical.

In the guise of genetics I was born with a disposition for weak knees- as a result, at 11, my left knee went out while washing some dishes in the kitchen. I landed on said knee, tearing the meniscus, and ending up in a full foot to thigh sot cast for several months. What does this story have to do with Halloween? Well, being at that tween age, on the cusp of no longer caring about childish holiday traditions, and them being the only thing of importance in the world- that is the Halloween in my life that stands out the most.
I remember for months I sulked and pouted, upset about my circumstances, and 'rightfully' taking it out on my parental units. Whenever Momma would ask what I wanted to be for Halloween that year I'd furrow my brow and clench my mouth. I wanted absolutely nothing to do with Halloween- it was 'ruined'- my adolescent mind had decided.

That is, of course, right up until 5 days before the actual holiday, when the excitement of friends making plans, and the street full of haunted decorations began to finally break me down. All of a sudden I was no longer upset that my knee has ruined the holiday, but that I had. I remember one day plopping into our minivan in tears and, with very little prodding, divulging to my mother how I so very badly wanted to trick-or-treating, and how everything was ruined because I had no costume, and a bum leg.
Spider Eggs Favors- These #SpookyCelebrationTreats can be made in minutes with these free and fun printables and some Sixlets! #AD
Of course Momma was determined to teach me a lesson of never giving up. And, while our Halloween eve's are often in the 80-90s, and she truly had no desire to follow me door to door- she knew that likely would be one of my last childhood chances to truly get out and enjoy the holiday as a kid.

The following day I opened our front door to see our dining room counter sprawled with crafting supplies- a grass skirt, a carved bamboo stick, and lots of colorful fake feathers. In just a few hours, while I had been at school, that day she had created an entire costume literally from a few things we'd had laying around the house. Even better- my 'witch doctor' costume would help hide the hideous grey soft cast I'd been so self conscious of lugging around. And the homemade apple 'shrunken heads' would even dangle nicely from my crutches.
Spider Eggs Favors- These #CelebrationSpookyTreats can be made in minutes with these free and fun printables and some Sixlets! #AD
Yes, Momma taught me several great lessons that Halloween- but my favorite is that holiday magic happens, truly, with just a little bit of imagination. You don't need to spend a ton of money, or time, to have a wicked god time, and today I'm sharing a little bit of that spirit with you. If you have some old candy cauldrons or plastic jars rattling around, some marshmallows and candy melts, a few Celebration by Frey™ and/or Sixlets® bags are all it takes to whip up some spooky sweet treats for entertaining this Halloween.
Witch's Brew Cauldron Favors- These #CelebrationSpookyTreats can be made in minutes with these free and fun printables and some Sixlets! #AD
Witch's Brew Cauldron Favors- These #CelebrationSpookyTreats can be made in minutes with these free and fun printables and some Sixlets! #AD
Witch's Brew Cauldron Favors- These #CelebrationSpookyTreats can be made in minutes with these free and fun printables and some Sixlets! #AD
Celebration by Frey™ and Sixlets® products are sweet confection decorating candies or little candy coated chocolate balls, which come in a variety of colors and styles. (You'll even find delightfully spooky gumball eyeballs for seasonal characters and chilling creations!) These products are often found in the baking aisle at your local Walmart, Hobby Lobby, Wegman's or more- the selection and colors change seasonally, so I always stop by to see what's new.
#CelebrationSpookyTreats FREE Printables #AD
Sixlets chocolate candies are one of my favorite choices for cake decorating and seasonal treats- I've essentially combined different shapes and sizes of Celebration by Frey™ confection and Sixlets® in 2 frightfully easy party favor creations- Witch's Cauldrons and Spider Egg Vials. With our FREE Printable above any age an whip these up. Add some seasonal ribbon, fun decorative brooms, and gumball eyeballs for a really wicked treat.
Witch's Brew Cauldron Favors- These #CelebrationSpookyTreats can be made in minutes with these free and fun printables and some Sixlets! #AD
Sixlets are also my go to because they offer a vibrant pop of color at an affordable price- and are especially fun for playing with texture- Just check out my simple Frankenstein bark, below. All you need are some green chocolate melts, lime green Sixlets chocolatey candy 'boils', a red glitter 'blood' candy writer, eyeball gumballs, and any other fun sprinkle additions you feel fit the mood.
Frankenstein Bark- These #CelebrationSpookyTreats can be made in minutes with these free and fun printables and some Sixlets! #AD
Frankenstein Bark- These #CelebrationSpookyTreats can be made in minutes with these free and fun printables and some Sixlets! #AD
It may look a little silly at first, but this bark will break up into delightful fractured treats with a real 'stitched' vibe! I also used black Sixlets and some melted chocolate to create little 'bolts' for an extra dash of character. The swirls in the chocolate will even give your bark a rippled 'skin' texture that is ghoulishly fun!
Frankenstein Bark- These #CelebrationSpookyTreats can be made in minutes with these free and fun printables and some Sixlets! #AD
The Frankenstein bark is literally as simple as melting chocolate and pouring it into a parchment paper lined baking sheet or pan- then liberally apply sprinkles, Sixlets, and other decorations as the artistic mood strikes. Send the pan to the freezer for about 10 minutes, then break apart into chunks of various sizes.
Our final spooky selection involves all of those leftover marshmallows you inevitably have laying around after all those Summer S'mores events. Using some cake pop sticks, pierce jumbo marshmallows in the center, to create a standing 'pop', then take a pretzel stick and run it through the center horizontally to make 'arms'. Dip your treat in a bowl of melted white chocolate and place the an orange Sixlets at the nook where arm meets marshmallow. Set upright on a baking sheet and place in the fridge for 10-15 minutes to set.
These 'boo' ghost pops are much easier to make than traditional cake pops, and lighter to enjoy among a giant Halloween spread. Use a food grade marker to decorate your orange Sixlets with a pumpkin face, and to add eyes to your ghosts for some frightfully fun final touches.
These #SpookyCelebrationTreats can be made in minutes with these free and fun printables and some Sixlets! #AD
I whipped up this entire Halloween spread in about 90 minutes- Momma may have spent a little more time on that infamous last minute costume, but the sentiment remains the same. Holidays are meant to be fun, and delicious- you shouldn't have to shell out all of your hard earned cash, or time, to celebrate them. Celebration by Frey™ and Sixlets® are just two of my secrets for Halloween entertaining success.

What Daughter Says: You don't have to be a Martha Stewart to pull off a fun Halloween spread, just use a little imagination!