Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Carla Hall's Caramel Cake

It's summer ... let us eat cake, Sugar Babies! With barbecues and birthdays, there's enough people gathered to help eat one. The best Southern Caramel Cake recipe was featured on The Chew, an afternoon cooking show. It has far too many steps. I like simple, not complicated. But ... this is a high protein cake, and the extra steps ... the pre-soften this and pre-whipped that, make the cake light and fluffy, so unfortunately, we can't take any shortcuts. Think about the delicious results while taking out three 9 inch cake pans and two large mixing bowls.

Start by preheating the oven to 350ºF. Grease the three 9 inch cake pans, then line each pan with parchment paper and grease and flour the parchment. Set aside.

Caramel Cake



4 large eggs
4 large egg yolks
2/3 cup buttermilk
4 teaspoons vanilla
3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 cups sugar
3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1 stick soften unsalted butter
2/3 cup canola oil
1 cup heavy cream (whipped to soft peaks)


1) In mixing bowl #1: Add the eggs, vanilla and 2 tablespoons of buttermilk and whisk to combine.

2) In mixing bow #2: Add the shifted flour, sugar, baking powder, and salt. Whisk to combine. Add the butter, canola oil, and remaining buttermilk and mix to combine. 

3) Add the egg mixture in three parts, stirring to combine. From here, you want to be careful not to over mix. If you over mix the batter, the protein will make the cake tough and gummy. Mix only enough to combine the wet and dry ingredients. Fold the whipped cream into the batter.

4) Pour the batter into the 3 prepared cake pans. Tap the pans on the counter to release any air bubbles. Place the pans in the oven and bake for 25-30 minutes until the top springs back and the sides pull away from the pan.

5) Remove the cakes from the oven, rest for 10 minutes before removing from the pans. Next let cool completely before frosting.

Caramel Icing



3 cups dark brown sugar
1 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoons butter
2 teaspoons salt
1/2 cup powdered sugar


1) In a medium saucepan, add the brown sugar and cream. Bring to a boil and remove from the heat. Stir in butter and salt. 

2) Remove from the heat, allow to cool completely. Transfer caramel mixture to the bowl of an electric mixer. Add the powdered sugar. With the whisk attachment, whisk until combined and smooth. Pour over each layer of the cake. Let the frosting drip over the sides to cover. Allow to harden.

Mmm, worth every calorie and special enough to serve as a birthday cake. Thank you Ms. Cara Hall! 
Type the word "cake" in the blog's search box (upper left side) to pull up other homemade cake recipes. Cakes made from scratch are the best!

You may also enjoy:    
The Food Revolution
Maangchi's Homemade Kimchi
9 Ways To Save Money At The Supermarket
Greenmarkets, Community Gardens And CSAs

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Get Summer Ready With 3 Cheap, Natural Products

                                Vitamin E Moisturizing Stick             Alba Green Tea Natural Sunscreen SPF 45  4 oz Each  $7.59

Hurrah, it's summer! How do you prepare for the sun and outdoor fun ahead? Hopefully, by being smart! Protect your skin from the elements with 3 inexpensive personal care products that have pure, quality ingredients:

1) Kiss My Face Suncare Face Factor SPF 30 - A highly effective antioxidant rich, anti-aging sunscreen. It's water and sweat resistant, but contains absolutely no parabens, oxybezone or fragrance. This one keeps the delicate skin on your face youthful and happy.

2) Vitamin E Moisturizing Stick - Leaves lips moist, soft and smooth without feeling greasy, sticky or waxy. Use it under or over lipstick. Get three Vitamin E sticks for an unbeatable $3.19.

3) Alba Green Tea Natural Sunscreen SPF 45 - A moisturizing natural botanical sunscreen made with all vegetarian ingredients. There are no parabens, oxybenzone, phthalates, synthetic colors or animal by-products.

Pure personal care products that have you covered in good-for-you ingredients. Hello Mr. Sun ... we're ready to step out with you!

You may also enjoy: 
Protecting Your Skin
Save On Summer Fashion Essentials
How To Pick Sunglasses: Form  To Function
Vitamin D And A Little Sun Is Good For Your Health

Sunday, June 19, 2016

Father's Day ... With Daughters

On this day, I feel grateful for the involved, caring role my father always played in my life. 

As the daughter of such a father, I know first hand how nurturing, intuitive and family oriented men can be. 
My father was not perfect. He was a human being, but he was selfless, more often than not. 
He was flexible, kind, serious, humorous, consistent and absolutely the perfect father for me.
Psychologists say that fathers are important role models in the lives of not just sons, but their daughters, which is so true.

To the men who strive everyday to be good fathers, thank you! Without a doubt, you make the world a better place.

You may also enjoy:
A Father's Day Memory
Happy Father's Day ... Hmm
About Dad (And Mom) On Father's Day
Happy Father's Day: A Good Man Is Not Hard To Find

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Pardon My Back Summer Dresses

Are you ready for the summer? Me ... I wait six long months for the season to arrive. As I mentioned in previous blogs, I love balmy days, endless hours of daylight, the great green outdoors, strappy sandals and easy-breezy dresses. You won't see me in trousers again until early autumn. It's too tempting to just slip a piece of pretty fabric over my head and walk out the door.

On the mean streets of Manhattan, I notice lots of men wearing sandals already. Certainly, modern men are abandoning their socks and business shoes to walk the city pavement in open toes like never before! I'm counting a 1 in 5 male-in-sandals ratio. I suppose the laid-back equivalent for women is a bare back. Women wearing bare back dresses in public is quite common these days.

So let's do a Pardon-My-Back Summer Dress Roundup! The cute, relaxed dresses selected here retail from $23-$69. Feast your eyes on a variety of summer style, patterns and affordability:

Some low dipping, back baring dresses might be better suited for a barbecue, and yet, many others cover enough skin to look classy for everyday tooling around town. How I love the easygoingness of summer! And, if you show some skin to keep cool on a hot, muggy August night, it looks perfectly weather appropriate, not naked!
Lulus - Kind Words Grey Print Swing Dress

Lulus' flattering swing dress with a peek-a-boo back will help you beat the heat. Doesn't the red and white pattern look lovely over a grey background?

Old Navy - The Cami Dress

These classic Cami dresses from Old Navy are adorable in 12 different colors and patterns. Very versatile, they can be dressed up or down with the right shoes and bling. Drape a scarf or sweater on top of a cami dress, and you can visit, in style, any conservative, European church that frowns on bare shoulders.

The Letter - Empire Waist Dress

Gingham is ultra trendy right now. Really, it never totally goes out of style. The Letter's Empire Waist Dress has fancy lace trim, while the blue and white gingham pattern gives it a casual playfulness. Cute, no?

With such chic, cool, cozy dresses, who needs shorts? Come-hither, summer! 

You may also enjoy:
90 Degree Days Ahead
Save On Summer Fashion Essentials
Makeup Tips For A Summer Scorcher
Seredipity 3's Frrrozen Hot Chocolate Lite

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Anti-Aging Face Serum For Less

You won't need to rob a bank to buy anti-aging skin care that really works. After sunscreen, face serum is the most effective weapon in your beauty arsenal. One of my most popular blogs discusses the importance of face serum, plus lists a number of budget friendly options. Because. Regardless of how good a luxe face serum is, if it's too pricey to use everyday, it's of no use to you! You don't want to find your pretty, unwrinkled self standing in a bread line, do you?

Face serum should perform the following anti-aging vital functions: (a) add hydration to the skin; (b) reduce the appearance of fine lines and winkles; and (c) encourage the production of collagen and new skin growth. 

Three ingredients in skin care products help to slow down aging, and/or repair skin damage by promoting the grow of collegan: 1) retinols; 2) alpha hydroxy acid (glycolic acid, lactic acid and citic acid); and 3) vitamin C. 

Face serums have smaller molecules than lotions and creams and so penetrate deeper layers of skin. The newest trend is to layer a face oil loaded with antioxidants and omega acids over your face serum, an influence of Korean and Asian skin care. Like you, I think, another product, another step, nooo! Stop the madness!!! ... but I loved how the face oil moisturized my skin (without the grease) over the winter ... and looking good is what it's all about!

Here are 4 Highly Effective Face Serums (+1 oil) priced at $20, or less:Clock

1) Emu Oil All Purpose Moisturizer - This is the +1 on the list: No, it's not a serum, but Australian Aborigines have used emu oil for thousands of years to do wonders for the skin. Containing high levels of omega 3 and omega 6 fatty acids, it absorbs easily into the skin, never clogging pores. Emu oil is an anti-inflammatory. (It's inflammation that causes aging.) Emu oil stimulates the growth of collagen, helping to repair sun damage. Plus, you can use emu oil as a rub to heal sore joints and muscles also!

2) Now Hyaluronic Acid Firming Serum - Suitable for all skin types. With age our skin loses moisture, but hyaluronic acid is a super moisture binder. The serum contains antioxidants to fight free radicals along with collagen building agents to soften lines and wrinkles.

3) Derma E Firming Serum with DMAE Alpha Lipoic and C-Ester - An intense hydrating formula to tighten, tone and promote skin elasticity. DMAE lifts and tightens skin. Alpha Lipoic Acid stops free radicals from aging skin, and C-Ester improves skin texture by helping to build collagen and reduce the appearance of lines and wrinkles. Vitamin C also helps sunscreen work better. At $18, you get lots of bang for the buck!

4) Baebody Retinol Serum - This has 2.5% retinol, hyaluronic acid and vitamin E to smooth, firm and moisturize the skin. Retinol is the non-prescription strength of Retin-A (tretinoin). Avoid the side effects of redness, dryness and rawness by starting with over-the-counter (retinol) and building up to the prescription strength (Retin-A). Use retinol at night to reduce fine lines and wrinkles, not during the day as sunlight destroys it.

5) Olay Regenerist Night Resurfacing Elixir - (This is being discontinued so online prices are rising fast! If you find it for $13 or less, buy several!) It has glycolic acid which speeds up cell turnover. Glycolic acid brightens your skin by helping you shed dead skin and bringing new skin to the surface. Many women alternate their use of serums, using a retinol based serum one night followed by a glycolic acid serum the next ... back and forth. Once this product is gone, you'll spend over $20 for glycolic acid elixirs. Olay rocks!

Use these budget friendly youth potions every day and night and still have moola left in your wallet!

You may also enjoy:
End Of Summer Skin Care
Jaclyn Smith's Anti-Aging Skin Care
Cosmeceutical Skin Care ... Say What?
Drugstore Beauty Buys To Beat The Winter Doldrums

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

Homemade Protein Bars On A Budget

Question: What can I do with two tubs of whey protein powder, chocolate and vanilla? They have been in my cupboard for a long time. Here's an idea. Homemade protein bars, a recipe, via Fitness World, costing about 55 cents per bar verses $1.50 for store sold protein bars. Occasionally, I eat a protein bar to keep from getting cross if I can't avoid missing lunch. The following recipe for homemade bars is fairly simple:

Homemade Protein Bars


8 scoops chocolate protein powder 
1 cup oatmeal
1/3 cup natural peanut butter
3 tbsp honey
1/2 cup 1% milk
3 tbsp crushed peanuts


1. Mix together the protein powder, oatmeal, peanut butter, honey and milk.
2. Form into 5 bars and then roll in the crushed peanuts to finish.
3. Place in the fridge for about 30-45 minutes, or until solid.


Ok, so I made them:

I won't lie, a protein bar will never be as tasty as a hot meal, or a delicious overstuffed sandwich (let's not kid ourselves!), but they do stop hunger; and when faced with skipping lunch, they keep your blood sugar level stable. Better than eating an unhealthy snack!

Next, vanilla protein bars to use up the vanilla tub. I can see rolling vanilla protein bars in cocoa powder, nuts, or chopped dates or raisins.


Speaking of dates, a recipe for Raw Brownie Bites (by Josh Axe) appeared in the Epoch Times, a New York City newspapper, which looks even better!


2 cups whole walnuts
2 1/2 cups medjool dates
1 cup cacao powder
1 cup raw, unsalted almonds, chopped
1/4 teaspoon sea salt


1) Place the ingredients in order, one at a time, in a food processor. Finely grind the walnuts, but pulse to combine everything else. The consistency should look like cake crumbs. The dates will hold the mixture together. If not, add more dates.

2) Shape into balls and refrigerate on a plate until ready to serve.

I haven't tried these yet, but have the ingredients. Looks delicious!

You may also enjoy:
Russian Tea Cakes
Czechoslovakian Cookies
Homemade Monster Cookies
How To Make Laduree Macaroons ... A La Paris

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Fashion Hendricks' 5 Must-Have Products For Summer Hair

Today we are in for a treat! Fashion Hendricks, celebrity hairstylist and owner of Manhattan's popular NYC Weave Studio, is sharing 5 of her favorite hair products for the summer with the readers of THE SAVVY SHOPPER.

Ms. Henricks is passionate about making clients look and feel beautiful! Her trendy salon has glowing reviews from tons of returning customers; and the distinguished hair stylist has appeared on television shows, such as Jerseylicious, The Nate Berkus Show and Tyler Perry's Meet The Browns.

Here are Fashion's 5 picks to tame and style your tresses all summer long. They are suitable for every hair texture to counter the elements of the dog days ahead, including: sun, humidity and heat.

1) Watermelon Love Drops (by Fashion Hair Solutions) - A humidity frizz buster and heat protectant. With a light scent of watermelon, it adds a clear shine to dry hair. Won't weigh hair down and protects hair from sun damage. Fashion says, be sure "to bring this little bottle of awesomeness to the beach!" 

2) It's A 10 Minute Styling Serum (available at any drugstore) - The serum protects colored hair, seals the cuticle and resists humidity.

3) Shaper Plus (by Sebastian) - This is Fashion's go to light hair spray, which she says is a must! Even after lots of brushing, this light spray still holds a style!

4) Bee Mine Luscious Balanced Cream Moisturizer (by Bee Mine Natural & Organics) - This moisturizer will single handily restore your hair to good health "after abuse from the sun, heat styling and saltwater," according to Fashion: "It repairs ends and strengthens hair from root to tip."

5) Got2b Ultra Glued Invincible Styling Gel (available at drugstores, Walmart and Target) - For vertical styles and smooth, sleek ponytails. Fashion likes this gel because "it's not sticky and won't disappoint. It keeps every strain in place! Talk about taming, this one is it!"

Well, lucky SAVVY SHOPPERS, you now have the wisdom of a hair professional! These hair products really work ... without breaking the bank. Many thanks, Ms. Fashion Hendricks, for your awesome recommendations! Here's to a summer of good hair days!

You may also enjoy:
Hair So Silky, It Shines
Introducing The Hair Bungee 
Celebrity Hair: How much Do Stars Spend?
Make Waves With This Y.S. Park Ion Diffuser