Make It Monday: Rum Raisin Ice Cream

Rum Raisin Ice Cream

I love ice cream during the summer.  A couple of years ago my husband discovered harmful ingredients that are added to store bought ice cream.  That’s when we decided to invest in an ice cream maker and started to mix up our own recipes.  I don’t know about you, but the ingredients in ice cream should be simple and when I see ingredients like corn syrup and carrageenan it worries me.

I absolutely love rum raisin ice cream and I wanted to try a version using coconut milk.  The result was TASTY.  You couldn’t even tell it was made from coconut milk and it was very simple to make and it happens to be paleo (that was just by chance).  Here’s the recipe I used:

 

Rum Raisin Ice Cream

1 can of full fat coconut milk

3/4 cup coconut sugar

2 egg yolks

1 tsp of vanilla extract

1/2 – 3/4 cup of raisin (I like mine with a lot so I used 3/4 cup)

1/4 cup of rum

 

1. Soak raisins in rum for 2 hours or overnight if you like.  You may need to add a little more rum to ensure all the raisins are covered.

2.  In a small sauce pan pour the can of coconut milk and stir in coconut sugar over low heat.  Add the vanilla extract.

3.  Beat the egg yolk and slowly add that to the coconut milk mixture while stirring slowly.  If mixture begins to curdle a bit, don’t worry you can strain it when the mixture cools.

4.  Allow the mixture to cool and pour into a heatproof bowl.  Add only the raisins from the rum soaked mixture.

5. Cover mixture and put in refrigerator to cool for at least 4 hours or even overnight.

6.  Pour mixture into ice cream maker using the ice cream maker’s directions.

7.  Once ice cream mixes.  Pour it into a metal pan or plastic container an line top with parchment paper and freeze for about an hour.

8.  Time to enjoy your ice cream!

 

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Business Story & Advice Series: Is This The Right Opportunity For Me?

 

Business Advice Post

Picture this, you’ve waited for a great one to come along and it finally presents itself-or so you “think” it does.  We’ve all been here at some point in time where we’ve jumped on an opportunity that seemed so right only to find out what have I gotten myself into.  It is okay, we’re human we make mistakes and we brush ourselves off and get back at it.  I was communicating with my cousin the other day and she said something remarkably true, she said “Unfortunately, the rough times grow us so much (I wish we could always be on the mountain top).  Keep up the good attitude…God will bless you and use some of the things during this time later for your benefit and others.”  The truth is whatever opportunity you jump into, your attitude matters.

I’m going to share a personal business related story with you.  As you know I’m a jewelry designer and I create all my creations with my two hands.  A few years going I was exploring different options to distribute my designs, in a nutshell I was looking for other channels besides for the current ones I was using, which include Etsy and various shows.  I came across a particular company that was very new at the time, they had just launched themselves.  I reached out to them and they reviewed my work, said I looked like a perfect fit for their demographic and price point and that they would love to have me as a seller on their site (**Happy Dance**).  I did some of my own research which included things like, who were their current merchants, looked up some reviews, and their online reach.  There was one thing I was hesitant about, and that was they seemed to have many merchants who were selling a lot of commercially massed produced items at a relatively inexpensive price, particularly jewelry.  Jewelry is one of the most saturated markets for sellers and buyers.   However, the story behind handmade jewelry designers and one who purchases and resells is completely different and so are the price points and customer service policies.

After thinking about it I decided I’m going to shoot for it, what do I have to lose?  The first few months were great, my sales were up.  There was a requirement to being a seller on this site and that was you needed to have discounted sales on your items at least once a month.  I managed to do these sales where I was still able to make a decent profit and fill the requirement.  They advertised my sales on the homepage of their site—it was going great.

Holiday season was beginning to roll around and this particular company wanted all the merchants to do a Holiday sale.  No biggie for me I do this every year.  This particular year I came out with cool metal jewelry, which was new for me and the price was a little higher because creating those pieces were labor intensive.  I set up a sale and was ready to go.  That’s when I received an email from one of the account executives at this company asking if I can adjust my prices some more.  Now when it comes to handmade goods and creative entrepreneurs, we CRINGE at the word “discount.” Discounting your items too often question its value in the eyes of the customer.  That’s not to say it’s not good to have a sale every now and then, but it should only be “every now and then.”  I cringed, but obliged and knocked off a few more dollars.  Here’s where the fan hit the ceiling, I received a phone call from the executive.  She explained to me while my items are beautiful, their “demographic” wants items that are a little less priced.  She said the idea is to sell more quantities even though you’ll only make X amount (ah excuse me Miss I have an MBA—no need to explain “business” to me).   I told her well I’m not discounting this collection anymore, this devalues my work and that I’m looking to build a roster of quality customers not just one off customers.  I didn’t tell her this, but truth be told having a sale didn’t make much of difference for me.  I found over the years that I’ve had more sales when I didn’t discount my items than when I did—I have stats to prove this.  I told her, “I’ll do us both a favor, how about I remove this entire collection and replace it with some stud beaded earrings for around $15, how does that sound?” (**Silence**) She eventually said okay that was fine and that’s exactly what I did.  To add to this wonderful experience, my holiday sales via their site were from my regular customers who normally purchase via my Etsy site.  In a nutshell, I didn’t receive any new customers as a result of this.

Months later I began to notice they started adding much more merchants, which was awesome for them that meant more sales—for them.  What it meant for us merchants, especially jewelry was you had handmade vs. mass produced, so obviously customers shopping  there didn’t care whether an item was handmade or not they just want trendy items at a deeply discounted prices.  Now I have no issue with this, but when this business model doesn’t fit the one I’m trying to execute that’s when it’s a problem for me.  I began to see the decline in my sales as a result and it left me no choice, but to discontinue my relationship with this company.

I never walk away from opportunity without assessing the issues and here’s what I took away and hopefully you can use this advice in your own business or even planning your own career.

  1. Never “jump” at an opportunity without taking time to weigh the pros/cons.  It may seem like the thing to do because you’ve been “waiting” for it, but don’t disregard your own goals by accepting this opportunity.
  2. Remember what your ultimate goal is and ask yourself how this opportunity aligns with that goal.
  3. Have an exit strategy, just in case.  If this opportunity goes south, how can I exit and mitigate my losses?
  4. Set benchmarks and KPIs (key performance indicators).  Ask yourself “How will I measure my success by taking this opportunity?”
  5. Keep a good attitude, even if things go south.  Learn from it and move on.

I hope you find my story helpful.   Have any similar ones? Please share in the comments section and be sure to subscribe to my list.

 

 

Tutorial Tuesday: Outdoor Living With Pallets Series – Part 3

Patio Furniture 1

 

Pallet Patio Furniture

I missed posting this yesterday.  Do you ever get interrupted every time you sit down to do something?  That’s exactly what happened yesterday,  so I’m calling this one Tutorial Tuesday.  The wait is now over, you finally get to see the finish product of the Outdoor Living series.  I’m sure I’ll add more little things later on, but for now it’s done.  I decided to go  with a grey, turquoise and yellow color theme and a splash of berry.  So here goes, I’ve broken down my mini projects so you can have an overview of what the process was for each one.  Overall the cost for this look only costed me $86 total!

 

PILLOWS

4 pillows size 20 in x 28 in

2 small pillows 14 in x 14 in

40 plastic grocery bags

1 sponge

fabric paint

scissors

Sewing Machine or Liquid Stitch

 

Small Pillows

Painted small pillows 1

The first thing I did was cut a sponge into a leaf shape (it bounces off the leaf textile for the bigger pillows), and using turquoise paint I dabbed the paint onto a pillow case that I made from plain yellow fabric and allowed it to dry over night.

Painted Pillows 2

I ended up making 4 pillows, 2 with actual pillows as inserts and since I refused to trek it to Ikea for two more I used a good trick my sister in law taught me and stuffed the cases with recycled grocery store plastic bags.

 

Large Pillows

Since this was a very budget project and like I said previously I didn’t feel like going to Ikea, I bought some regular bed pillows (4 to be exact) and found a pretty print leaf fabric at Joann’s Fabric for 50% off per yard and pulled out my sewing machine.  I just did a very basic simple stitch and sewed 2 pillow cases.  You could even do this using Liquid Stitch fabric glue.

DIY Patio Pillows for Outdoors

 

DECOR ACCESSORIES

Canvas Pictures

2 Canvases

Fabric Remnants

Staple gun

Scissors

If you want a quick way to brighten up your space, this technique is so simple and can be done in less than 20 minutes.  I was lucky enough to have canvases around the house and just used the leftover fabric from the pillows.  As a matter of fact I did this project while watching a World Cup match ;)

Just measure out the fabric so that it matches the measurements of your canvas.  It maybe easier to just lay the canvas on top of the fabric and just cut around the canvas leaving about an 1 inch of fabric from the border of the canvas.  Then using your staple gun fold the fabric to the wooden part of the canvas and staple away until the entire canvas is covered with the fabric.  On the yellow canvas I trimmed out the leaf pattern and glued it to the canvas and used Little Model A‘s stamp set to stamp an inspirational saying.

DIY Fabric Covered Canvas

 

Candle Cans

Tin cans

Spray paint

Acrylic paint

We eat a lot of beans in our house, so we have tons of cans leftover.  I did see a neat DIY on Pinterest where you punch holes into the cans to create a nice illuminating effect.  However, in my attempt to do that it was taking quite a long time and I didn’t really want to end up in the ER for trying to punch holes into cans.  I ended up  just giving them a nice coat of light gold spray paint and painted the words “RELAX” in turquoise.  I even put tea lights inside the cans and lit them and the low lighting was very pretty.

DIY Illuminating Can Candles 1

 

Painted Wine Bottles

Wine bottle

Acrylic paint

Chalk paint

Since I’m a wine lover, we also have lots of wine bottles that I use for decor around the house.  I figured why not give it a splash of yellow paint and use my chalk paint on the front label.  Another super quick and inexpensive idea and Aiden likes the chalk idea so it’s a super plus.

Wine Bottle Decor 1

Well my summer Outdoor Living space is off to a good start, I’ve sat outside at least 4 times since I completed it. I hope you enjoy the mini tutorials.  Please feel free to subscribe to my list and blog for more posts just like this.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

BBQ Style This 4th

Fourth of July BBQ Bash Look
Aren’t we lucky this year that 4th of July lands on a Friday, 3 day weekend–woohoo!  I guess if you’re still working in the corporate world like moi then that’s a big deal, lol.  Going to a barbecue today and need a cool and comfy look?  Here you go.  What I especially love about this look are the espadrilles!  It’s a great way to look cute and still feel fairly comfortable instead of wearing just plain old flip flops.  Feel free to check out some of the other neat finds I discovered, especially the jewelry designed by some of my fellow Etsians!
Be sure to check back on Monday for the final part 3 to the Outdoor Living Series on Pallet Furniture!

Make It Monday: Outdoor Living With Pallets Series – Part 2

I have to admit these World Cup games have been interfering with my DIY projects, but since it only comes around every four years I completely welcome the distraction.  The next part of this series is showing how I assembled the pallets.  If you missed my Part 1 you can view it here .

ASSEMBLING THE PALLETS

Since my last post I decided to change around the setup a bit of my pallets. I was very fortunate to find pallets that needed very little altering.  The original idea was to have 2 pallets at the seat and 1 for the back, but after testing it out a bit I figured a higher seat would be much more comfortable. So I stacked 2 sets of 3 pallets each and pushed them together.

Pallet setup 1

CONCRETE CINDER BLOCK SIDE TABLE

Midway through this project I thought that the pallets needed a little company and came across some really great cinder block furniture ideas on Pinterest.  I decided to take a visit to Home Depot and pick up a few.  This is probably the easiest table you’ll ever construct.  Using the blocks and some liquid nail adhesive glue, I glued and stacked 2 of the blocks.

Cinder block Table

Cinder Block

Next came the top for the table.  Since I’m trying to maintain an economical budget for this project, I took a trip to good old Value Village (thrift store) and found a metal tray for only $1.00 and it was a perfect fit.  After rummaging through my cans of spray paint a I found a berry color that made a great accent color for this project.  This is what it turned out to look like.  By the way photo credit to my Little Model A he took the finished product picture all by himself–focused and all!

cinder block table collage

Next week is the even more fun stuff, I’ll be posting about the decor for this outdoor space.  Be sure to subscribe to my blog to stay in the loop!

Make It Monday: Fresh Mint Water

I love adding mint leaves to my water, it gives it a very refreshing taste.  However, what I hate is soggy mint leaves hours later in my glass.  I tend to use the same glass throughout the day because I drink a lot of water and hate to have to keep adding fresh mint leaves every time. This weekend I decided to do something new, why not brew high concentrated fresh mint leaves and leave a pitcher in the refrigerator.  Using fresh mint leaves from my garden that’s exactly what I did!  It was so easy to just keep filling up my glass with mint water and not have to worry about soggy leaves.

If you haven’t had a chance to try mint water you definitely should.  Mint is one of those herbs that has many benefits. It’s great for digestion helps to settle your stomach, helps with congestion, it’s a natural stimulant so it can help with fatigue and it’s a total breath freshener.  Check out my simple Make It Monday recipe and enjoy!

Coming next week my “Outdoor Living Series 2″ so be sure to subscribe to my blog

Mint Water 1

 

 

Mint Water 2

 

Mint Water 3

Summer Is A Good Time To Catch Up On Some Reading

Tomorrow marks the official day of summer.  Here in Atlanta the high has been 90s pretty much all week.  Two of my summer goals were to have start a summer vegetable garden with organic veggies which is done and underway and the other was to list up my summer reading list.  Last summer I only managed to read 2 books, but I have higher expectations this summer.  Here’s my list, it has summer enjoyment books as well as some educational ones.

catching fire

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins

I’ve pretty much put off watching the movie because I haven’t finished the book yet.   When Living Social had their try Audible for free deal for two months, I jumped on it.  I’ve been listening to the audio version while I design new jewelry creations and commuting in the car–very convenient.  Can’t wait to finish and watch the movie!

 

By love possessed

By Love Possessed Stories by Lorna Goodison

I couldn’t wait to read this when I saw it listed in Essence magazine (almost 2 years ago), and it’s written by a fellow Jamaican…I must read it!  I can’t wait to read these collections of short stories.

 

david and goliath

David and Goliath by Malcolm Gladwell

I’m a fan of Gladwell and his work.  David and Goliath speaks to how to deal with our obstacles and reshaping the way we think about them in order to come out successful.

 

the lean startup

 

The Lean Startup by Eric Ries

This has been on my Pinterest board book list for quite some time and I think it’s about time that I read it.  Whether you have an entrepreneur or an intrapreneur way of thinking this book is for you, so let’s read it together.

 

happy wives club

Happy Wives Club by Fawn Weaver

I had the honor of meeting Fawn last October at Blogalicious and she has to be one of the most down to earth people that I’ve ever met, so when I saw that she was coming out with a book I knew I had to add it to my reading list. See what the secrets are as Fawn travels 12 countries, 6 continents to achieve 1 mission about marriage.

Have you came up with your summer reading list yet?  Please share, would love to see what’s on your book list.  Don’t forget to subscribe to our list.