Why Drinking Infused Water Daily Is A Good Idea!

If you are anything like me, staying hydrated is really hard. I get to working and doing life, and realize that the only thing i’ve had to drink by 2:00 in the afternoon, was my morning cup of coffee! Forgetting to eat enough or at least eat a healthy balanced meal, is a daily struggle. Especially as a mom, you focus on making sure your kids are fed and taken care of, that you forget to take care of yourself too! I have been trying new methods and ways to remember to stay hydrated and take care of myself and infused water has helped a lot! It’s a tasty way stay hydrated and get essential vitamins that you need daily.

I also like to give my little girl infused water as an alternate to sugary juices with additives. This benefits both her and myself. In addition to helping with hydration, there are also many other benefits to drinking infused water as well. Benefits like weight management, appetite control, immune defense, heartburn prevention, blood sugar regulation, and improving your mood and energy. With that being said, I have put together a few of my favorite infused water recipes for you to try.

1. Berry Infused Water

1 cup fresh strawberries

1 cup fresh blueberries

1 cup fresh raspberries

2. Tropical Infused Water

1 mango, peeled and cut

1 cup fresh cut pineapple

2 oranges, sliced

3. Apple Peach and Cucumber

1 cucumber, washed and sliced

1 large apple washed and cut into slices

1 large peach washed and cut into slices

1/4 cup lemon juice or fresh lemon sliced (to keep apple from browning).

Instructions:

Using a gallon pitcher (I like to use this pitcher you can buy on Amazon), place your prepared fruit into the pitcher. Boil about 4 cups of cold filtered water, and pour over fruit in pitcher. This helps release the juices faster. Then stir and fill the rest of the pitcher with cold water. Put in the fridge and chill at least 24 hours to allow time for the fruit juices to infuse. Strain through a mesh strainer before service, to keep any fruit bits from getting in your drink (unless you want them in it!).

I hope you find these simple, yet tasty recipes to be helpful to you, and please comment and share any other ideas you have for infused water or how it has benefitted you!

Also consider trying these combinations:

  • Cucumber and mint.
  • Lemon and ginger.
  • Blackberry and orange.
  • Lemon and cayenne pepper.
  • Watermelon and mint.
  • Grapefruit and rosemary.
  • Orange and lemon.
  • Lemon and lime.
  • Strawberry and basil.
  • Apple and cinnamon.

French Buttercream (for Macaron filling)

Yesterday, I explained how to make the perfect macaron shells, so this recipe is for the filling of the macarons. You can also use French buttercream with other desserts too!

To get started, go ahead and measure out all of your ingredients. Then in a stand mixer, put in your egg yolks and start whisking on medium-high. In the meantime, you will start cooking your sugar syrup. This is the same process you use for the macaron shells sugar syrup. Place the water and sugar together in a sauce pan, and with your finger or a spoon, give it a quick whirl to make sure there is no sugar stuck to the bottom of the pan. Heat the sugar and water over high heat. With a thermometer, check the temperature. When the syrup reaches 244 degrees F (118 degrees Celsius), remove it from heat.

Your egg yolks should have lightened up a lot by now. Turn the mixer speed on low, and slowly pour your sugar syrup down the side of the mixer bowl. The hot sugar syrup cooks the egg yolks. Turn the mixer back up on high speed, and mix for a few minutes to cool down and become room temperature. When done, your egg yolks should form stiff peaks. At this point, your egg yolks should be really light in color.

Continue to mix on low-medium speed, and add your butter in bits at a time until combined. Make sure to stop and scrape the bottom and sides of the mixing bowl every so often so it all gets mixed in evenly. Then you can add in your vanilla, or whatever extract or flavor you would like the filling to be. The buttercream should be almost white when it is done. The last step, is to add in whatever food coloring you would like. I like to use Wilton gel food colors, you can buy them here.

Then using a round nozzle, fill up your piping bag, and you are ready to go! Get the nozzle and piping bag kit here.

French Buttercream Filling:

  • 45g Egg Yolk
  • 90g Caster Sugar or Granulated Sugar
  • 125g Softened Butter
  • 1-2 tsp Vanilla Extract

I hope this helps you with making the perfect macarons and light and airy french buttercream! If you found this helpful, please share your experience, by commenting on this post and telling me about it!

How To Make French Macarons

I make macarons a lot, and I have been making them a lot more lately! I have gotten really good at getting them just right, every time I make them. I have people ask me to make them quite a bit, and also HOW TO make them. I have heard people say so many times, that they are really hard to make, and it sounds and looks easier than it actually is. This can be true if you don’t have a good recipe for them or don’t have a lot of patience. However, if you follow the recipe exactly as it is written, and take your time, you should have no problem getting them perfect each time!

So here I am sharing my recipe and my tips and tricks to help you get those perfect macarons! I tried one other recipe previously, and the first two times I made macarons, they turned out okaaay, but with this recipe, they turn out perfect every time! It also helped me to follow along to this Youtube video by Georgia’s Cakes. It really helps the process especially if you are a visual person! Her recipe is not exactly the same as the one I am providing, but the steps she does are basically the same. The recipe I am sharing, is straight from a bakery class in France, so it is genuine French Macarons.

Before you get started, it is important to measure out your ingredients in grams, as they need to be exact if you want them to turn out. Make sure you have a kitchen scale that weighs in grams. You will also want to have a stove compatible thermometer as well, as you need to measure an exact temperature for your sugar syrup (you will see in later steps). A stand mixer is also highly recommended for these.

First off, prepare and weigh out all of your ingredients. In a mixing bowl, sieve the icing sugar and almond flour. Then hand mix in the first part of the egg white with a spatula, and mix until you get a uniform dough. Then you can add your food coloring to make it whatever color you would like. I do recommend using gel food color, so it does not change the consistency and only use a few drops at most. I like to use Wilton gel food coloring, which you buy here. The color does lighten a little once they are cooked, so you may want to make them slightly darker than you want them to turn out.

Next, you will start to prepare your meringue. Place the second part of your room temperature (MUST be room temperature) egg whites in your stand mixer and start whisking on low speed. In the meantime, start cooking your sugar syrup. Place your sugar and water in together in a sauce pan on high heat, and use your thermometer to check the temperature. When the temperature reaches 221 degrees F (105 degrees Celsius), speed up the egg white. At 244 degrees F (118 degrees Celsius), take the syrup off of the stove, and turn your mixer speed on low.

Pour the syrup slowly, down the side of the bowl in the mixer (while it is still mixing on low), and try not to pour straight on the whisk. The egg white should have already started to become white and fluffy by then. Turn the mixer speed on high and leave the meringue to fluff and become room temperature again. It should be elastic and form stiff peaks.

Preheat your oven to 320 degrees F (160 C). When your meringue is ready take about 1/3 of it at a time and carefully fold into your almond flour/sugar mixture. This part is called the macaronnage, knowing when to stop mixing is very important! Your dough should be forming a thick ribbon when you lift it up, but shouldn’t be too liquid otherwise your macarons are going to spread too much when piping them.

Pour your macaron dough into a piping bag with an 8mm round nozzle (Get your nozzle and piping bag kit here) and start piping them on baking parchment paper or baking tray. You can also buy a silicon mat with the macaron template on them, so you can get even sized macarons each time. I bought mine from Amazon, here. Once you are done piping, smash your tray on the counter 3 or 4 times, to get rid of any air bubbles.

Then you will want to let your macarons sit, until they form a “skin” on the outside, about 20 minutes. This is a good time to start on making the filling, recipe and instructions here. Put only two trays in the oven at a time and let cook for 12-13 minutes. Every oven is different, so temperature and cooking time might change according to your own oven! When ready, the macarons should barely move when touching them. Let the shells cool down for a few minutes. You should be able to unstick them from the tray without any problems. When ready, pair the shells and pipe the filling of your choice in the middle and twist them together to form a nice macaron!

Macarons need a “maturation” time during which the filling starts moisturizing the shells, making it soft and chewy. The best would be (if you can resist!) to let them sit overnight in a closed container in the fridge!

Macaron Shells:

  • 125g Almond Flour
  • 125g Icing Sugar
  • (2) 45g Egg Whites (Room Temperature is a Must!)
  • 125g of Caster Sugar or Granulated Sugar
  • 40g Water
  • Food coloring of choice

French Buttercream Filling:

  • 45g Egg Yolk
  • 90g Caster Sugar or Granulated Sugar
  • 125g Softened Butter
  • 1-2 tsp Vanilla Extract

I hope these turn out as perfect for you, as they do for me! I wanna see your macarons that you make using this recipe, so please share them and tag me! I will feature them on my website :).

How to make baby leggings (plus a free pattern).

How to make easy baby leggings! I have also included my free PDF newborn pattern you can download at the bottom of the page. These leggings are pretty easy to make, and the end result comes out so professional looking, that your friends and family will have no idea that you made them yourself. To start sewing the leggings, make sure you have the following supplies:

  1. At least a 1/2 yard of knit or stretchy fabric.
  2. Fabric scissors or a rotary cutter. (Buy the scissors here or rotary cutter here)
  3. 1/2 to 3/4 inch elastic (buy it here).
  4. Thread and sewing machine.

Start with laying out your fabric back side up, pattern side down on the table. Fold the fabric over just enough so that you have enough room to lay out your pattern. On the folded part, it should be the right side up with the pattern showing. You also want to make sure if you are using a fabric with a pattern that can be turned any direction, that the stretch of your fabric is going the right direction. When you lay your pattern down, stretch the fabric width wise of your pattern and make sure it has a good stretch. If it does not, then you probably have it turned the wrong way.

Lay your pattern down, back side on the fold and cut around it about 1/8th to 1/4th inch away from your pattern. Now that you have half of your leggings cut out, you will need to cut the other half, following the same process. Instead of using the pattern again, you will want to use the legging half that you already cut to cut the second half. This will ensure that your leggings are the same and are even with each other.

Your two cut legging half’s should look like this.

You should now have your leggings fully cut, and you are ready to being sewing!

Sew along the top half edge on each side.

To being sewing, open up both leggings half’s and align them together, inside out so that the two pattern face’s are against each other. Use a serger or if you are using a regular sewing machine, then use a zig zag stitch, and sew along the outside edge of the top part of the leggings on each side (see pic to the right).

After you have sewn both sides, it is time to sew the legs. Lay your leggings out and fold them, so the bottom half of the leggings line up together, and start to look like pants (see pic below).

Sew along leg line.

After you have sewn the leg line, you can flip your leggings right side out, and get ready to sew the hem of the bottom of the leggings.

You will fold the bottom of the leg, like you are sewing a blind hem stitch. At the bottom of one leg, fold the fabric over toward the inside of the leg about an inch. Then fold it back over toward the outside, and it will form this folded cuff to hide your hem when it is finished. Sew all the way around the edge of the fold. Then do this again on the other leg.

For the waist part of the leggings, you will do the same thing as you did with the bottom leggings, and fold it inward about an inch and then outward to form a cuff. Sew around the outside edge, the same way did on the bottom of your leggings, leaving about an inch open. The opening is to feed your elastic through.

If you are using my newborn pattern, cut your elastic about 13 inches. If you are not using my pattern, you measure the waist of your leggings, and cut your elastic one inch short than the waist. Once you have cut your elastic, pin one end of your elastic with a safety pin, to make it easier to feed the elastic through the waist. Use the safety pin to guide your elastic through the waist. Then overlap both ends of your elastic about an inch, and sew together with a zig zag stitch on your sewing machine. I like to go over it a couple times to make sure that they hold together really well.

Push your elastic back into the waist so it can’t be seen, and then sew the opening back up with either your serger or zig zag stitch.

You should now have a fully sewn finished pair of super cute baby leggings! You can use the download link below to download a my newborn pattern. I hope these instructions were easy to follow! Please share, comment, and give feedback on this, and feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions and share any pics of your finished leggings. I would love to see them!

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http://www.instagram.com/monica.croft

Hello, I’m New Here

I make all sorts of stuff from sewing, cooking, baking, to DIY projects. I have people ask me all the time how I do what I do, so here I am ready to share it with the world. Welcome to my new blog! I will start off with introducing myself.

I am a wife and mom to a beautiful baby girl. I also own an online handmade (by me!) baby clothing store; bowsandbrosboutique.com and on Etsy! I love being a mom and wife, and working from home to take care of my baby (and future children). I opened my clothing store after I started making baby clothing for my little girl, and thought it would be a great idea to make clothing for others as well! In addition to sewing, I also love to cook and bake, DIY projects and crafty things, and I also like to read and learn and write. I have some experience in graphic design, so I do digital designing as well. I do this mostly for my online store, but for personal use as well. I also love talking with people and being part of the community, so please don’t hesitate to reach out to me with questions, or even just to talk. My door (or email I should say) is always open!

I want to be sure to write about things that interest people, so I am open to requests and suggestions anytime. You can go to my contact page, and send me an email with what you would like to see on here. To keep things short, I will just wrap up here with saying thank you for taking the time to check out my blog, and please subscribe to receive email updates of new posts!