Cool Stuff You Wish You’d Thought Of

Posted by    |    March 15th, 2012 at 9:48 am

How to Wrap a Gift with a Pocket to Hold the Card/Giftcard so it doesn’t get lost. gives the low-down:

1. Cut paper several inches larger than the amount needed to wrap the item. Fold paper in half, pattern side in.

2. Fold top layer of paper back partially creating a pocket of desired depth; press to crease.

3. Wrap and tape presents as you normally would, keeping the pocket fold in place. Decorate the pocket with ribbon, cord, or other trim.


Struggle no more with perfect pancake shapes and messy batter. has the solution.  Re-purpose an old ketchup bottle by filling it with your pancake batter. “Portion pancake batter with precision―without the usual mess of transferring batter from the bowl. Squeeze out baby-size or plate-size rounds, or add Mickey Mouse ears to a batch of silver dollars.” Genius!

Ketchup Bottle as Pancake Batter Dispenser - Portion pancake batter with precision―without the usual mess of transferring batter from the bowl. Squeeze out baby-size or plate-size rounds, or add Mickey Mouse ears to a batch of silver dollars. (more…)

Strawberry Chocolate Truffle Pie-Healthy and Delicious

Posted by    |    February 29th, 2012 at 7:00 am

If you haven’t heard of Chocolate Covered Katie, you’re about to.  This creative genius of a girl comes up with the most delicious recipes known to man…and they are crafted with organic ingredients. Yes, healthy desserts!  We’re talking low calorie and good for you.  The gorgeous photos on her blog alone make your mouth water, I promise you.  So many of my dessert posts cater to those who are either 1. NOT on a diet, or sweets with reckless abandon, so I thought it might be a nice change to feature a dessert recipe that is full of nature’s good stuff and won’t derail your Lenten diet.

Check out Katie’s Strawberry Chocolate Truffle Pie.

Doesn’t this make you crazy?  The mere sight of it makes me think of savoring it during a relaxing Sunday brunch or a cool afternoon on the front porch watching the wind blow through the trees.  But I digress…

Here it is again, in all its glory.  By now, I know you’re wanting to make some for yourself, and that’s perfectly normal.  Here is the recipe, courtesy of Chocolate Covered Katie.  Indulge and don’t feel one ounce of guilt.


Images via

Secrets Shared: Simple Style Tips You Can Do Today

Posted by    |    February 22nd, 2012 at 1:38 pm

I have a good girlfriend who is one of those types that has a useful tip for everything.  She’s half old wives tale and half modern woman, so her advice on how to make something simpler, work better, or look chic-er is usually right on the money.  She was kind enough to share some of her favorite tips with us, so here are a few that you may need to pass on as well:

If you want to save your dried out mascara,  add 4-5 drops of saline solution or eyedrops to the bottle. Insert your wand and stir it around.  This will re-energize the mascara solution and make it good to use again.

To organize accessories, buy a clear over-the-door shoe organizer and store your belts, scarves, little accessories, and even sunglasses!


Valentine Weekend Plans: Underground Dinner and Sweet Shopping

Posted by    |    February 9th, 2012 at 10:56 am

Valentine’s Day plans can be repetitive. Dinner. Movie. Flowers.

Not that there is anything wrong with the aforementioned plan, but how’s about a game changer this year?  Something to surprise your sweetie and make you feel like one creative cat?

It may sound risky, but why not try the underground dinner? A secret menu until you arrive is one sweet surprise, and will spark the excitement and romance that each Bachelor contestant feels on the fantasy dates. And, it isn’t some random chef at the helm of these CIA-like meals. No way.
Holly Muller of My Private Chef kitchen has added her name to the roster as lead chef for weekly underground dinners. Holly will offer the hottest trend in dining by kicking off the new underground dinner schedule as the featured chef on Friday, February 11th  for an exquisite Valentine’s dinner.
The general public can attend the underground dinners by adding their names and email to the underground dinner distribution list found on her website.

Early week, interested attendees will receive a notice of each week’s underground dinner to grant them time to make a required reservation. Guests will be notified of the featured chef within the emailed notice and to BYOB; the dinner menu is undisclosed until the guests arrive. Dinner costs will range from $50 and up depending on the selected menu which always favors small local purveyors. Wine pairings are offered upon request. (more…)

Super Bowl Sweets: Make, Eat, Feel No Guilt

Posted by    |    February 3rd, 2012 at 11:08 am

You like peanut butter? You like Rice Krispies? Yeah, me too.  Which is why this Super Bowl Sunday you need to make this snack to not only satisfy your own desire for a ‘lil sugar, but lift the spirits of those around you. (Because let’s face it, we are all a teensy bit disappointed America’s Team isn’t in the big game.)

Rice Krispies Treats Footballs will score… me. (Thank you!)

Preparation Time: 15 Mins.
Total Time to Serve: 15 Mins.
Servings: 16


16 Kellogg’s® Rice Krispies Treats® Original bars
14 oz. caramels
1 tablespoon water
12 oz. semi-sweet chocolate chips (more…)

Ombre: How To Use the Trend

Posted by    |    February 2nd, 2012 at 11:30 am

Ombre has been trending for a while now, and it isn’t going anywhere.  Our Manager of Everything, Sarah, has had gorgeous ombre hair, and it inspired me to go in search of other ombre looks that are easy to do.

Here are a few I recommend giving a try:

Or, how about….. (more…)

Bacon Double Cheese Burger Dip For The Big Game

Posted by    |    February 1st, 2012 at 11:00 am

I’ll freely admit that I’m much more interested in the food being served on “Big Game Sunday” than the teams on the field.  It’s basically a day of appetizers and drinks-what could be better?  If you find yourself hosting a party, invited to one, or just wanting to fix something yummy while you eagerly anticipate commercial breaks, I recommend this Bacon Double Cheese Burger Dip.  It’s not a low-cal option, so don’t blame me when you become addicted to the rich, cheesy goodness.

Bacon Double Cheese Burger Dip (courtesy of Closet Cooking)

A hot cheesy baked dip with all of the flavours of a bacon double cheese burger that makes for some great game day snacking!

Servings: makes 4+ servings

Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 50 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour Printable Recipe

  • 1/2 pound ground beef
  • 6 strips bacon, cut into 1 inch pieces
  • 1 small onion, diced
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • 1/2 cup mozzarella, shredded
  • 1/2 cup cheddar cheese, shredded
  • 1 tablespoon worcestershire sauce
  • 2 tablespoon ketchup
  1. Cook the ground beef in a pan over medium heat, set it aside and drain the grease from the pan.
  2. Cook the bacon in the pan until crispy, about 6-10 minutes, set aside and drain all but a tablespoon of the grease.
  3. Add the onion and saute until tender, about 5-7 minutes.
  4. Add the garlic and saute until fragrant, about a minute.
  5. Mix the ground beef, bacon, cream cheese, sour cream, mayonnaise, mozzarella, cheddar, worcestershire sauce and ketchup and pour it into a baking dish.
  6. Bake in a preheated 350F oven until the top starts turning a light golden brown and then sides are bubbling, about 20-30 minutes.

*I recommend bread rounds, baguettes, or good old fashioned chips for dipping!

Inspiration Party Pics

Posted by    |    January 20th, 2012 at 7:00 am

We are all thrilled that one of our favorite employees here at YouPlus, Emili, has come back into the fold after a brief stint to further her education.  We’re so happy she’s returned that we feel like throwing a party! I started thinking today; “What would Emili’s Welcome Back Party look like?”  After a bit of thought and cruising the net, I came up with this stylish soiree.

Getting to Know Elizabeth Ann’s Recipe Box

Posted by    |    January 19th, 2012 at 7:00 am

If you’re a foodie or someone who enjoys a spin in the kitchen now and again,  you’re going to thank me profusely (in your mind) for introducing you to Elizabeth Ann’s Recipe Box.

Elizabeth Ann is a blogger who wanted an easier way to share her passion with friends and family.  Thus, her wildly popular food blog was born, and has been slowly nudging scores of wannabe bakers in the kitchen ever since.  From her scrumptious Cinnamon Roll Coffee Cake to her King Ranch Casserole, this charming chef has some down home, tried and true recipes that will keep you salivating.  Her blog feels more like opening a family heirloom cookbook than reading a webpage; it’s akin to your bestie divulging top secret recipes.  After reading her blog for several months, I had to know more about Elizabeth Ann and how she began her jaunt into the blogosphere.

YouPlusDallas: When did you begin blogging?
I began blogging in June of 2009 because I was tired of emailing recipes to friends. I decided to begin posting my favorite recipes on a blog. This simple recipe blog has grown to so much more since then.

What has the response been to your recipes?
The recipes on Elizabeth Ann’s Recipe Box have been approved by my husband, who is just a steak and potatoes, small town cowboy. Basically if he likes a recipe, everyone will! Since I have made all the recipes on my blog and they have all been tested by Nate and multiple other people, I know that they are delicious and will be a big hit. Because of the steps I go through before posting a recipe, visitors to my blog meet each recipe with success. (more…)

New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookies

Posted by    |    January 10th, 2012 at 7:00 am

The biggest selling cookie in the United States is the chocolate chip cookie, which is no surprise. (Except to you die-hard Thin Mints people, who have hoards of those delicious morsels in your freezers. Thanks for supporting our Girl Scouts!)  But, did you know that chocolate chip cookies were originally called Chocolate Crunch Cookies?

Like all great things in history, they were made by mistake. In 1930, an ingenious woman named Ruth Wakefield was in the midst of baking Butter Drop Do cookies and realized that she was out of bakers chocolate. Not one to give up in the kitchen, she then chopped up a Nestle’s Semisweet Yellow Label Chocolate bar into small pieces and add the pieces into her cookie dough. Though she hoped the chocolate would melt into the dough, the pieces just softened a bit and created the modern day chocolate chip cookie.

Okay, enough trivia.  Here’s what you’ve been waiting for…the famous New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe! (You can find a modified version here at The Other Side of Fifty blog. The photos below are courtesy of this fabulous blog.) (more…)