Insanely Easy Cream Cheese Mints Recipe

This Christmas, I made some cream cheese mints – something I haven’t made in several years. I have a friend who really loves them so I thought I would give myself a refresher on them.

I originally got the recipe from a little booth at The Fair that sells rubber candy molds. Sadly, I didn’t see that booth this year but the recipe is easy enough and they don’t have to look pretty to taste good. πŸ˜‰

Cream Cheese Mints:

  • 1 lb box of powdered sugar
  • 4 oz cream cheese
  • 1/4-1/2 tsp flavoring (more or less based on the potency of the flavor you choose)
  • Few drops of food coloring (optional)
  • Granulated Sugar

Blend the cream cheese, coloring, and flavoring with sugar – adding the sugar slowly.

After blending about half the sugar, knead the rest of it in by hand. It should be almost Play-Doh consistency, though it may feel a bit sticky.

Scoop out portions and roll into balls with your hands. Flatten or press into molds. Roll/cover in granulated sugar.

Refrigerate and let dry (about an hour).

Half teaspoon size balls makes approximately 75-100 mints. (some of my scoops were a little generous, a few fell on the floor, and a few fell in my mouth. ;] )

This is a super forgiving, easy recipe that is great to make with kids. They will dry nicely without refrigeration but they are almost like ice cream when cold. πŸ™‚

When I made a batch recently, I used 1/8th tsp vanilla flavoring with 1/8th tsp peppermint extract. Stronger flavors, such as almond or peppermint extract, you can use less. In my own batch, you can clearly taste the mint but the vanilla is almost indiscernible.

Enjoy!!

How to Stop Biting Your Nails (And Maybe Other Things Too)

Er, I meant to say how to stop biting your nails and maybe other bad habits, not how to stop biting nails and biting other things. Unless you do bite other things. I mean I hope you aren’t biting any other non-food items to begin with but… You know what?

Let’s just continue.

The Problem

I have bitten my nails for years. I was doing this ever since I was a child. I would bite my nails down to nothing, and still be tempted to bite at them more. They would hurt, bleed, and I’d still want to nibble at them.

English: red nails

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

My mom would get after me for biting my nails, and we tried “everything” to help me stop. Fingernail polish didn’t work. Bitter fingernail polish didn’t work. Nail strengtheners didn’t work. Nothing worked.

Fakes weren’t any better since they weakened my nails – which made me want to bite them off completely since I didn’t like feeling my nails so weak and flimsy.

One day, while gnawing at my fingers into adulthood, I stopped to think about what might be causing this behavior in myself. I discovered something both terrible and wonderful: I bit them all the time, regardless of events, circumstances or environment.

I realized there was no distinct pattern to my habit.

I would bite my nails while anxious, relaxed, happy, sad, any time. I could be busy, or bored. It happened more while bored, but I think that’s merely a product of having more time to do it.

As I thought more about it, the cause finally dawned on me.

The Solution

For some reason, I’ve had a mild oral fixation most my life also. This is especially evident when I eat. Some foods I will eat like a normal adult, but I’ve always loved to play with my food.

I don’t make mashed potato castles or anything, but I do like to break apart foods with my teeth before eating them. Corn, for example, I will peel the skin off and squish the middle out of – right before chewing and swallowing. I do virtually the same thing with edamame. After popping a bean out, I will pull the beans out of their skin, and bite each half into littler pieces.

English: A variety of nail clippers, including...

(Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I honestly don’t know what compels me to do this or how many other people have this compulsion. (Do you?) It doesn’t take me hours to eat or anything to where it’s a problem, it’s just something I do when I can and depending what I’m eating.

Where does this help with a nail biting habit?

Simple – it’s the reason.

Rough edges.

My eyes, hands, and mouth just couldn’t stand to have rough nails. I realized that I never bit my nails when they were smooth, unless they got too long (i.e. too flexible – as you might expect I have weak nails). When they break, feel sharp or rough, or feel like they are on the verge of breaking – I can’t handle it. I have to chew them off.

Biting them off doesn’t leave a clean, smooth edge like clippers. That leads to more biting in an impossibly endless quest for smooth nails.

I was able to immediately stop the habit by cutting my nails down very short and filing them smooth. I cut them down to a point where they wouldn’t “feel like they might break”, to avoid the temptation to chew them until they did.

I also kept a nail file with me so that they were constantly smooth. If I got a snag of any kind, I could file it away to avoid biting at it.

It worked perfectly.

The very few times I’ve ever broken a nail without a file handy (after discovering the solution), I was instantly tempted to nibble at it again. Sometimes I even did. But it never became an issue again because I knew to get a nail file or clippers as soon as possible and I wouldn’t fall into the habit again.

Other Problems

The point of this isn’t so much about the actual nail biting habit. It’s about the contemplation about oneself that is required to determine the why behind it. Nail biting, like most other bad habits, is merely a symptom of another problem. Nails aren’t tasty or interesting and aren’t appetizing to look at, so it isn’t about the nails themselves.

Problems

Problems (Photo credit: Sean MacEntee)

This is why things like bitter nail polishes weren’t enough to deter me. It wasn’t about an express desire to munch my nails. (That sounds really gross. Not as gross as the actual habit is, but still really gross.)

The problem was about a mild obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD) tendency I possess, my oral fixation.

I realize that solving the nail biting doesn’t solve the compulsion problem, but had I not stopped and reflected on my behaviors I wouldn’t have figured out that much even.

The Mentality

I tend to lean toward the, “There’s always a solution, it’s just a matter of finding it” mentality, even to a fault at times. The right words, the right actions, the right environment change – if we can find the cause, we can figure out the solution.

I know this isn’t always true, and is almost never this simple.

But let’s start with who you know best – yourself.

The brain

The brain (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

You may not be able to use this logic when dealing with others, but you can often use it on yourself, provided you are willing to reflect on your life.

I frequently reflect on my life, my choices, and my actions. Why do I think like this? Why do I feel so strongly about this? Some things you know right away, others require some deep thinking.

Some things you may realize about yourself but be unable to provide a reason for – and that’s OK. Maybe one day it will come to you, or maybe thinking about another aspect of your life will eventually lead you to it. Maybe finding the reason will take a few days, months, or even years.

Through contemplation and reflection, I have determined many behaviors that I otherwise hadn’t taken explicit notice of. I’ve also gained understanding about reasons behind such behaviors or patterns I have.

Maybe you are in and out of bad relationships constantly, and can’t figure out “why you can’t seem to find any good guys/girls”. This isn’t a coincidence – it starts with you. Take note of how you prioritize your interests. Do you always tell yourself you can “tolerate” this or that, that you later end up regretting?

Do you notice a pattern in your relationships that perhaps is realized in the beginning (but ignored)?

The only way to stop these problems is to realize why you have them in the first place.

Final Thoughts

Obviously what worked for me, to stop a bad habit, may not work for you. Maybe you do bite your nails out of anxiety, and when you’re relaxed you don’t have the problem. The solution then is to focus on easing your anxiety or chew gum while anxious – whatever fixes the problem for you.

Through honest self-examination, you can discover things about yourself you may not have been fully aware of.

The Silver Lining

The Silver Lining (Photo credit: Cayusa)

If you truly want to improve, don’t be afraid to ask for help if need be. Surround yourself with supportive but honest friends and family who can help you realize and address problems that you have. Pray that God will guide, direct, and change you.

But don’t expect your answers to be immediate.

If you are prone to depression or anxiety, you may need to contemplate only in small doses. Delving too deep on anything that troubles you can become very depressing and may not even have a solution, or at least not a readily identifiable one. It can be daunting. Don’t rush yourself.

And contrary to what many would have you think – contemplation isn’t always beneficial. Some problems won’t have simple or quick solutions, and may not have any solution.

Don’t let self-examination turn into overanalytical dwelling on all your problems. The point is to help you learn why your problems exist and how to go about resolving them, not to become flawless.

Never forget that in the end – we are all human and we will all have problems. Only work towards solutions and understandings that will help you change parts of your life that you are unhappy with. πŸ™‚

Like Gangnam Style? Try this!

I have a friend who is in love with Asian guys – Korean especially She’s liked some Chinese, some Japanese, but Korean is her vice.

That said, she introduced me to Gangnam Style (PSY) before they started playing it on the radio (but probably after it had gained massive popularity on YouTube). So when they started playing it on the radio I was thrilled. Not only is the video funny and the lyrics brilliant, but the song is super catchy and makes me feel happy every time I hear it.

Gangnam Style is far from the first Korean song she’s introduced me to, however.

Read the rest of this entry

The Simpsons Tapped Out – Get Free Donuts!

Ok, sorry to write yet another post about The Simpsons: Tapped Out. If you play this game then great. If not, I am sorry.

I added several people at random as “Friends” in Origin. No one I actually know plays this so I got what I could. Visiting each of their Springfields is fascinating. Some people have clearly spent some real cash (in the form of donuts) on the Duff Brewery, the Springfield sign, etc. Some people don’t have all those things but they have built so many homes that I wonder how much they must be playing!

One thing I have noticed though is that, despite all the buildings, purchased lots of land, and other stuff, they have relocated their trash to a small area on the grid rather than get Lisa or Homer to clean it up.

Let them clean it!!

Not only will this get you $35 and a few experience points for each bit of junk removed, but you can also score the occasional free donut just for cleaning up Springfield!

That’s right! Every so often Lisa (the one I usually put on cleaning duty), will mundane lay clean up the junk and instead of just scoring some cash from it, a donut pops up as well.

I have already gotten a few for free this way and I haven’t purchased nearly the amount of land some of these people have!

I don’t think it had to be Lisa doing the cleaning but I do think it may have something to do with where the trash was located (i.e. how expensive is the land it was removed from).

Hope this helps my fellow cheapskates! πŸ˜‰

Who Did You Vote For And Why?

I am one of those evil Americans that didn’t vote yesterday. I had to work and sleep. Before you chastise me, I would be voting in a state where my vote would have been heavily overrun by many others. I know that isn’t an excuse but – frankly, if I had the option, I wouldn’t have voted for either anyway.

There are a few pros and some glaring cons to both sides so, to me, it was more of a “Which is the lesser evil?” situation.

That said, this one is for you!

Who did you vote for (or who would you have voted for, if you didn’t)?

To make this interesting, think of the biggest reason why you voted (or would’ve) for this candidate and sum it up in one word that you feel best explains your reasoning.

For example, if you were voting for Obama, you might have been interested in spreading the wealth. So you might say “sharing” as a word that would represent that. If you wanted Romney, maybe you were interested in changes promised by his Christian-themed morals, so you might say “morality”.

So, who was it?