Monday, October 28, 2013

Falia's Fall Recipe: French Toast Ghosts


French Toast isn't something I normally indulge in since it's such a sugar & carbohydrate combination-overload! That being said, I recently created this little recipe as a fun, sweet treat that seemed fitting for the current time of year. I personally made mine dairy-free (with soymilk in the batter), but feel free to use regular milk, rice milk, or almond milk.

1) Cut ghosts out of bread slices using ghost cookie cutters - You have to push really hard and might want to do it on a plate so you don't scratch your counter (Links to my ghost cookie cutters below!!)


Note: French Toast is normally made with thicker bread (such as Texas Toast), but I used thin bread (1/2" thick) from the grocery store bakery section since it was the only bread I found that had large enough slices for my copper Ghost Cookie Cutter! To help combat the sogginess that often occurs using thin bread, my batter recipe (below) uses less milk than many recipes. I think it came out perfect.

2) Mix batter very well (using a whisk!!) - 8 large eggs, 1 c. milk, 1 tsp. vanilla, and 4 tsp. cinnamon

3) Grease a non-stick pan with cooking spray and pre-heat over medium heat

4) Fully submerge a batch of ghosts into the batter - Let each one soak, but don't let them fall apart

5) Fry each ghost until golden brown on each side, flipping when necessary - My ghosts took approx. 3 minutes per side

6) Sprinkle each ghost with cinnamon & then dust with powdered sugar - Normally I'd avoid the extra sugar, since it's impossible for me to eat French Toast without Michigan Maple Syrup; however, in this case, I made an exception because the white just seemed to suit them...

7) Serve hot with maple syrup!

I don't know about you, but I think French Toast pairs perfectly with eggs and bacon.... and what goes better with Ghost-French Toast than Skull-Eggs & Crossbones-Bacon?

(Sako wanted some)

My Ghost Cookie Cutters (both Made in the USA):

* SMALL CUTTER (Tinplate Steel, 3 5/8" x 3 5/8") (fits small, normal 4x4 bread slices):

* LARGE CUTTER (Copper, 5 5/8" x 3 1/2") (requires very large bread slices):
My Skull Egg-Mold:

"Funny Side Up" Skull Egg Shaper:


Common French Toast Mistakes:

Monday, September 2, 2013

SURVEYS (Please Share) - Concealed Carry Dresses

Do you have time for a few quick surveys about clothing/dresses?

I'm currently helping a female clothing designer gather some research that will help her better understand the average female conceal-carry consumer (because she is currently designing dresses for concealed carry!)

How cool is that?! Would you like a concealed carry dress that looks like any of these?

PLEASE SHARE these 3 surveys with the gun-loving women that you know. :)

1) Understanding the consumer:

2) "Appeal of Dresses" Part 1:

3) "Appeal of Dresses" Part 2:

Thursday, August 29, 2013

Springfield Armory XD-S (9mm and .45) - SAFETY RECALL

While S&W recently announced a "Safety Alert" which affected some of their more recent M&P Shield pistols, Springfield Armory has now released a much more dangerous "Safety Recall" on many of their 9mm AND .45acp XD-S pistols.


According to Springfield, "some 3.3 XD-S™ 9mm and .45ACP caliber pistols could experience an unintended discharge during the loading process when the slide is released, or could experience a double-fire when the trigger is pulled once."

Please go here for more information:

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Smith & Wesson has just announced a SAFETY ALERT for their M&P SHIELD pistols. Although they believe that the more recently manufactured M&P Shields MAY be most likely affected, they are asking all M&P Shield owners to inspect their firearms to check for the following condition - The trigger bar pin MAY damage the lower trigger in certain Shields, causing the pistol to potentially discharge if dropped.

STOP using your Shield immediately and head to the following link on Smith & Wesson's website:

They have given very clear instructions on how to inspect your M&P Shield to see if the alert applies to your gun.

Although my particular M&P Shield is NOT affected by this alert, it's extremely important to check your own M&P Shield and see whether or not it needs to be serviced.

"M&P SHIELD Safety Alert and Inspection Prodedure"


Your firearm must be inspected to determine whether it exhibits the condition identified in this notice. To determine whether your firearm is affected by this condition, please inspect your firearm as follows:



2. Hold your pistol sideways with the muzzle pointed to the left. Look at the trigger. Note that the trigger is actually two pieces, with a pin in the middle that connects the two halves (Figure 1).

3. Look at Figure 2. Without touching the trigger, identify the plastic tab circled in red in Figure 2.

4. Slowly pull the trigger. The plastic tab encircled in Figure 2 should disappear into the upper trigger section (Figure 3).

5. Slowly release the trigger. The tab should reappear as shown in Figure 2 completely on its own.

6. Repeat steps 4 and 5 several times. If the small tab as shown in Figure 2 reappears each time, your pistol does not require repair.

7. If the small tab does not consistently reappear as shown in Figure 2, YOUR PISTOL MUST BE RETURNED FOR SERVICE.

If you are uncomfortable conducting the inspection outlined above, or are unsure whether the condition described in this notice applies to your firearm, please take your firearm to your local M&P Certified Armorer or send your firearm to Smith & Wesson for inspection. M&P Armorers can be found on the Smith & Wesson website under Find a Dealer.

If after inspection it is determined that the condition outlined in this safety alert exists, the firearm must be sent to Smith & Wesson for repair.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Garden Carrots: My Three Favorite Recipes (& Non-GMO Seeds)

This was the first year in a few years that I was actually able to plant my own garden, so I went all out and planted to my heart's content - tomatoes, peppers, broccoli, beans, peas, lettuce, spinach, kale, zucchini, and CARROTS :)

Although several of my vegetables did fairly well, my carrots were one that grew exceptionally well with very minimal effort. I planted my carrot seeds directly into a raised outdoor garden bed on June 1st (with fairly loose soil), watered them daily for their first month, occasionally thinned them out, and then I pretty much left them alone until I decided to pull some up in mid-August.

I've personally always found carrots to be a pretty easy vegetable to grow since you don't need to start them months ahead of time: You can just plant their seeds directly into the ground a couple of weeks before your last frost (or as soon as the threat of frost is over). Carrots can take 2 to 3 1/2 months (depending on the variety and conditions), so if you're wanting an earlier crop, of course you can start your seeds indoors (or inside your greenhouse) and transplant them outside later. For starting vegetables ahead of time, I've personally used soil-block makers with much success - they're extremely easy to use and they make transplanting simply effortless.

If you're stocking up on plenty of non-GMO seeds for your survival stash (a very good idea!), carrot seeds are great ones to get. They are such a hearty, nutritious vegetable that can be prepared and used in a number of ways, and fresh carrots taste SO much better than frozen or canned (I personally do not like either).

You can always add carrots to your soup or stew, cook them in with your roast and potatoes, or just munch on them raw; however, if you don't normally like carrots, I'd like to share three of my favorite recipes with you. Even if you aren't a very big fan of carrots, I think you really might enjoy one of these variations.  My first recipe is a quick, soft side-dish that can compliment any meal, my second recipe will give you a simple, crunchy snack that you can always keep on-hand in your fridge, and my third recipe is a unique, flavorful, & colorful crisp/tender side-dish.

Before any recipe, obviously you need to pick your carrots from the garden, take off the [highly nutritious] stems (save for your salad or green smoothie!), and then clean your carrots well. If you don't already have one, I think it's quite essential to have a nice vegetable brush to help you scrub.


I think the name suites them! They look like little circles of sunshine as they cook on the stovetop until soft enough to eat.
COMBINE the following in a small pot and COOK over medium heat until carrots are tender:
2 to 2 1/2 c. carrots (peeled and cut into circles)
1/2 c. water
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. sweet basil
1/8 tsp. dill weed
SERVE hot.
(no photos since I'm currently out of garlic. I'll post photos here the next time I make them)
* Fill a pint jar halfway with carrot slices or carrot chips
* Add onions if desired (I don't)
* Add HALF of the following ingredients:
1 tsp. dill weed (so.... add 1/2 tsp. for now)
1 Tbl. salt (so.... add 1 1/2 tsp. for now)
1/2 tsp. sugar (so.... add 1/4 tsp. for now)
1 large clove of garlic, sliced (so.... add 1/2 sliced garlic clove for now)
* Fill the rest of the jar with carrot slices or carrot chips
* Add the remaining half of the ingredients (1/2 tsp. dill weed, 1 1/2 tsp. salt, 1/4 tsp. sugar, and 1/2 sliced garlic clove)
* Boil 1/2 c. water and 1/2 c. distilled white vinegar together (your house will smell like vinegar!)
* Pour over carrots
* Put lid on jar. Shake. Let cool at room temperature. (Jar does not need to seal, but it may seal on it's own)
* Refrigerate at least 24 hours before serving
* Store in refrigerator. Will keep for several weeks refrigerated
NOTE: I normally DOUBLE the recipe and use a QUART jar. Doubling the recipe requires enough carrot slices to fill a quart jar, plus a total of : 2 tsp. dill weed, 2 Tbl. salt, 1 tsp. sugar, 2 large cloves of garlic (sliced), 1 c. water, and 1 c. vinegar. Since you split the ingredients, at the halfway point (and again at the end) you only add: 1 tsp. dill weed, 1 Tbl. salt, 1/2 tsp. sugar, and 1 large clove of sliced garlic.
This recipe tastes amazing!
It does take a little time to julienne the carrots & parsnips, but its worth it... You can substitute rutabagas or turnips if parsnips aren't available.
(I will post photos the next time I make it)
1 1/2 pounds parsnips, peeled & julienned
1/4 c. butter
2 pounds carrots, julienned
2 Tbl. minced dried onion
In large skillet, sauté parsnips in butter for 3-4 minutes. Add carrots & onion; cook and stir until vegetables are crisp-tender, about 10-15 minutes. If you want to cook them longer, they are also very good quite well-cooked, almost browned.

Here are a couple links that may help you out:



Excellent Non-GMO Seed Suppliers:

1) Seed Savers Exchange -
2) Baker Creek Heirloom Seeds -
3) Clear Creek Heirloom Seeds -

"How to Keep Monsanto Out of Your Garden" -

Sweet Gold Tomatoes

Friday, August 9, 2013

CROSSTAC Lightning Belts & BOLD Slings - Designed for Women!!

Crosstac Belts & Slings: OD Green,
Neon Pink, Black, Turquoise, Purple
Crosstac is ahead of the game when it comes to creating innovative products based on what's missing from the tactical market - especially when it comes to the ladies who love their gear but want something a little brighter and more feminine. Everything Crosstac makes is 100% Made in the USA at their factory in Montana, and I love that they're creating gear that's fun, useful, and original in design. They also have some of the nicest customer service (and quickest email response times) that I've ever experienced in the firearms industry. They're really a great team of individuals, truly dedicated to helping their customers, so don't hesitate to contact them if you have any questions, concerns, or special requests. 

I recently got ahold of a few of their newest products, the Lightning Belt and (matching) Ambi Sling BOLD, so I'm happy to share them with you and give you a closer look. If you didn't think that belts and slings could be both fashionable and tactical, think again. Both of these products were designed with women in mind, so they are offered in a wide range of colors and a slim 1 1/4" width.

Quick-Release COBRA Buckle
I absolutely love this belt, and it's my favorite new product from Crosstac. I think it will appeal to a great number of women, no matter what their personal style is. I tend to prefer their more casual, low-key colors that won't stand out quite as much, but if you like bright colors or a lot of flair, they've got many fun color combinations to choose from. The Lightning Belt also has some really cool features, and its 1.25" width is very comfortable for a woman to wear all day long.

After personally switching to a sturdy, 1.5" leather gun belt last year, I didn't think I'd ever go back to a 1.25" belt for concealed carry (since my previous 1.25" belt was pretty flimsy) - Surprisingly, this belt has made me change my mind (as long as I get a holster with 1.25" clips so it doesn't flop around). It was constructed with an internal "stiffener" between 2 layers of soft webbing, so the belt feels sturdy while still remaining flexible. It also features a genuine Austrian COBRA buckle, which is my favorite type of buckle because it's so attractive and quick & easy to use. This particular COBRA buckle is just slightly over 1.75" tall, so it goes easily through my belt loops (and it's very easy to temporarily remove the buckle from the webbing if you need to). You can select either black or silver for the buckle - The black COBRA buckle is offered on their Black and OD Green Lightning Belts (for a more tactical look), but I am really drawn to their custom Silver COBRA buckle because its so unique.

It features a hidden money slot
(inside near the back)
As if the Lightning Belt's slender width, flexible stiffener, cool colors, and custom buckle weren't enough, it also has a hidden money slot and a hidden knife pocket that was specifically made for the popular little SOG Micron Knife. Since the hidden money slot is on the inside of the belt, near your back, it won't be easy to access while the belt's on you, but that's why you still carry your wallet :) This is just an excellent way to carry some extra cash on you in case of an emergency.

The Lightning Belt sells for 64.99 and you also have the option of purchasing a SOG Micron from Crosstac, with your belt, for an additional 16.99. The SOG Micron is available in either silver or black, and the silver version has a standard blade, whereas the black version has a tanto blade. If you haven't seen the SOG Micron before, I think it's just adorable - It's only 1/8" thick, barely 5/8" wide, 1 7/8" long while folded, and 3 3/8" long overall. With a blade that's barely 1.5" long, it's definitely not a self-defense knife by any means; It's just a great little blade to have inside your belt in case you need it.

Another pocket (inside near the front)
can conceal a tiny SOG Micron Knife
 * Solid Belt Colors: Purple, Turquoise, Neon Pink, OD Green, and Black

 * Optional "Energy Arrow" Contrast Stitching (5.00 extra):

 Green (on purple belts)
 Black (on OD green belts)
 Purple (on OD green belts)
 Red (on turquoise or black belts), and
 Storm Grey (on purple, turquoise, neon pink, or black belts)

To see all of their different Lightning Belt color combinations CLICK HERE!

Their Lightning Belt is offered from 26" to 56" lengths, and sizing instructions can be found on the same Crosstac page that has more information about the belt:

In my opinion, the hard part isn't deciding whether or not to get a Lightning Belt; it's deciding what color to get ... That's why I have two different colors (and am dreaming of a 3rd!): I've got the "Pink (solid color) with Custom Silver COBRA buckle" and also the "Black with Storm Grey Energy Arrows and Custom Silver COBRA buckle" (both of which I will be showing in a future YouTube video, so keep an eye out for that!!). I also LOVE the OD Green with Black Energy Arrows and Black COBRA buckle, so I hope to get that one someday too, although the last thing I probably need is another belt.


The Crosstac Ambi Sling BOLD is available in:
Neon Pink (shown), Purple (shown), & Turquoise
Since this product was also designed for women, it's no surprise that it comes in the same vivid colors (purple, turquoise, and neon pink) that match their Lightning Belts. It is also made of the same 1 1/4" nylon webbing, so if you want a sling to perfectly match your Crosstac belt, they've made it super easy to color coordinate.

One of the great features of this sling is that it quickly converts from a 2-point sling to a single-point sling, and there are actually 2 different ways you can convert to single point.

If you want to use it as a 2-point sling, just connect the buckle end to the rear of your rifle and the bungee end to the front of your rifle. From there, when you unhook your sling's front HK Hook or QD Connector from your rifle and go to convert to single-point, there are 2 different places you can attach it (with the buckle in between).

For single-point:

1) If you attach the front connector (on the bungee part) to the D-ring (or female QD connector) that's on the side of the buckle closest to you, then when you release the buckle, the rifle will drop away while the sling stays on your body:

When connected like this, the rifle will drop away
(but the sling will stay on your body) when you release the buckle

2) If you attach it to the D-ring (or female QD connector) on the other side of the buckle, then when you release the buckle, the rifle and sling will both drop away from your body:

When connected like this, the rifle and sling will both drop away
when you release the buckle

Crosstac also did a nice video explanation on their product page:

The Crosstac Ambi Sling has a "limited bungee" feature which is really nice when you are using this as a 2-point sling. The bungee maxes out at 6-inches, and in a 2-point configuration, it gives you a little extra support and stability while shooting.  This sling was actually designed to be worn over your left shoulder, with your right arm through the sling, and the bungee (in single-point) or strap (in 2-point) up near the left side of your neck. I found it fairly uncomfortable to have the bungee on my collarbone like that (since I mainly shoot using single-point), but when worn in my usual single-point manner (left arm through, sling over my right shoulder, bungee underneath my left arm), I found it to work a lot better for me personally. I just wanted to mention that because people do wear their slings differently, and also some people shoot mainly in single-point while others shoot mainly in 2-point. This sling is very versatile and ambidextrous, and it can be worn on either shoulder (although one way may feel more comfortable to you than the other). No matter which way you wear it, the buckle-end always snaps into (or hooks onto) the rear of your rifle, and the bungee part always connects either to the front of your rifle (for 2-point) or onto one of the sling's connection points next to the buckle (for single-point).

Crosstac Ambi Sling BOLD: Purple with QD Connectors
The overall construction of this sling feels very durable and well made, and there are a few different options you can choose between. For sizing, they offer "Regular" (upper body sizes S-XL) or "Long" (upper body size larger than XL). For attachments, they offer HK Hooks or QD Connectors (for an extra $10). If you choose HK Hooks, you get an HK Hook on each end. If you order QD Connectors, you get a QD Connector on each end. If you're like me, and need one of each, they are more than willing to help you out and make you the exact sling that you need. Just send them a message via their contact page! My particular rifle is set up with a Noveske QD End Plate on the rear of the rifle and a Magpul RSA Sling Mount on the top of my rail, so my rifle is set up for a sling with a QD connector on the rear and an HK Hook (or Magpul MS3 clip) on the front. Depending on the types of sling mounts you have on your rifle, you might choose the standard HK Hooks or QD Connectors, or you might need to ask them to make you a sling with a an HK Hook on one end and a QD on the other.

Crosstac does also offer several easy-to-install sling mounts, in case your rifle still needs a way to attach a sling (or you just want to change your setup). For connecting to the bayonet lug on your front sight post (and not using any space on your rail), they've created a unique Front Sight Picatinny Tri-Rail (with 2 HK Hook and 2 QD sling attachments) or a Front Sight Picatinny Rail (with 1 HK Hook attachment). For the rear of your rifle, they've also created a couple clamp-on mounts for your buffer tube (for either a QD or HK Hook sling attachment). If you don't have a bayonet lug, or you're just looking for a smaller, inexpensive QD sling mount for the front of your rifle, another option to check out is the Magpul RSA QD Sling Mount (which is the QD version of the RSA Mount I have on my AR-15).

Since I'm not a huge fan of either purple or turquoise (and pink was only a prototype when I started testing these slings), I've been trying out a neon green prototype on my AR-15. For informational purposes, I've take a photo of that sling to show what their "HK Hook version" looks like (but they don't offer that color for sale, and the stitching on it is a little different since it was only made for a color test):

TOP: Ambi Sling BOLD - Purple, with QD Connectors
BOTTOM: Prototype Neon Green, with HK Hooks
(Like the Neon Green? Let them know! They love feedback and maybe they'll offer it someday)

If you like the design of the "Ambi Sling BOLD," but you aren't a fan of their BOLD colors, you're in luck! They do offer the exact same sling in some non-bold versions as well (Black, OD Green, or Coyote Brown, with either HK Hooks or QD Connectors). Other than its bold colors, Crosstac's "Ambi Sling BOLD" is the same as their "Ambi Sling" and "Ambi Sling QD." If you are interested in this sling but aren't a fan of the bungee, then check out their "Ambi Sling Solid" instead.

Black Crosstac "Ambi Sling QD"
Overall, I prefer my Magpul MS3 QD sling because I like its original hardware, and I'm not a big fan of a bungee on my sling (since I mainly shoot using single-point). That being said, this is an exceptionally well-made sling, it works especially well for 2-point, and each shooter's style, technique, and preferences are all a little different, so it's nice that there are a lot of different options out there for slings. Since these Crosstac BOLD slings do also come in particularly fun colors for us women, I might still pick one up in neon pink at some point to match my neon pink Lightning Belt.

The Ambi Sling BOLD (or regular Ambi Sling) is 39.99 with HK Hooks and 49.99 with QD Connectors. For more information on their belts, slings, and other high quality products (all 100% Made in the USA), go to

FINAL NOTE: Crosstac has generously provided a PURPLE Ambi Sling BOLD with QD Connectors and also a BLACK Ambi Sling (also with QD Connectors), BOTH TO GIVE AWAY TO 2 OF MY YOUTUBE VIEWERS OR FACEBOOK FRIENDS!! So a big thanks to Crosstac, and please stay tuned for my future YouTube video where I will be giving a closer look at Crosstac's LIGHTNING BELTS and also giving away both of these Crosstac AMBI SLINGS:

My Crosstac "Lightning Belt" Video: