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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Meet Me In Tahiti

Okay...that is just the name of the candle I am currently burning. Sadly, I am nearly done with "Cafe Bellini" so I decided to rummage around my stock of Bath & Body Works candles and pulled out "Meet Me  In Tahiti."
 
My sister bought the candle for me this past Christmas. She also picked out this super modern and stylish holder to go with it. She really, really knows me.

This 14.5 ounce candle is described as - The lush fragrance of Tahitian petals, monoi blossoms, and vanilla. Let's run away to paradise!

I haven't been to Tahiti but the scent does remind me of Hawaii!
 
 


Tuesday, July 30, 2013

How to make an Iced Caramel Macchiato like Starbucks

Let's cool off with an easy to make Iced Caramel Macchiato that will save you a lot of money by making it at home! While I love Starbucks and I admit I am a frequent customer, there are days when I really enjoy creating the drinks at home and I love sharing them with you. If you want to see how to make a hot Caramel Macchiato you can read about it or watch it here! If you want to see how this one is made, scroll to the bottom of this post for the video!
 
This recipe makes a 16 ounce grande drink.


Iced Caramel Macchiato

2 shots of brewed espresso, hot

3 Tablespoons vanilla syrup

1 1/4 cup 2% milk

3/4 cup ice cubes

Smucker's Caramel Topping for drizzling

 

Directions:

1.) In your cup  pour 3 Tablespoons of vanilla syrup into the bottom, then add milk on top.

2.) Carefull fill remaining room in the cup with whole ice cubes leaving a little room on top for the espresso. You can adjust the amount of ice you prefer. I tend go light on the ice when I make it for myself.

3.) Pour espresso shots on top of the ice.

4.) Drizzle caramel syrup in a cross-hatch pattern by going back and forth in each direction then a circle or two on the outside to get an even coverage of caramel on top.

You will have a beautiful looking drink like this with distinct layers. The bottom is sweet vanilla milk and caramel - because some of it will sink to the bottom - while the top is rich with espresso. If you prefer the flavors mixed evenly then give it a shake or stir.



Enjoy!


Friday, July 26, 2013

Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies - Healthy Style

I made these Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies recently. I baked them several times in a row over the past week since my child....okay myself included... can't get enough of them. I decided to mix it up a little by adding cinnamon, oats, and dark chocolate chips.
 
Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies - Healthy Style


 1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup unrefined coconut sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon agave nectar

1 1/2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

 1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/4 cups flour

1/2 cup old fashioned oats

 1/2 cup dark chocolate chips

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2.) In a mixing bowl, cream coconut oil and coconut sugar together.

3.) Add in egg, vanilla, and agave nectar to the creamed oil and sugar.

4.) Sift cinnamon, salt, baking powder, baking soda, and flour together. Slowly begin adding the sifted dry ingredients into the creamed mixture until well incorporated.

5.) Stir in oats and chocolate chips.
6.) Drop cookie dough onto baking sheet the size of 2 Tablespoons.

7.) Baking in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until lighted golden in the edges.

** This recipe make 12 cookies. **



White Modern Full Length Mirror - Home Decor

I am thrilled with the newest addition to our home. After a year of constant searching I found a full length mirror. I've been on the hunt for one in white with a clean modern frame. Until you start looking you have no idea how difficult it is to find! I originally found one at Ikea called Mongstad in white. Since then they no longer carry the mirror in white and I became obsessed with finding it used on Craigslist or a similar style in the stores.

I'm happy to annouce I found this one at HomeGoods for $59.99! It actually ended up costing me $23 when I checked out because I settled on a much smaller wall mirror months earlier that I returned. The small mirror wasn't meant to be. I had left it in our hallway propped against the wall, never removing it from it's packaging. When I spied this mirror I placed it on hold and promptly drove home to exchange my smaller mirror for this beauty!

I linked up with My Romantic Home for a show and tell blog party.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Campfire S'Mores Frappuccino

It all started last summer when my sister in college moved to an Iowa college town which has a Caribou Coffee location. Trying to make me totally jealous knowing I don't have one anywhere in Southern California, she texts me photos and descriptions of this amazing drink. I became so thirsty for one that I decided to take matters into my own hands.
 
Campfire essentially means s'mores. It's a mixture of marshmallow, graham, and chocolate in frappuccino form. Here 'ya go because I know you can't resist any longer either.
 
Campfire S'Mores Frappuccino

1 shot of espresso, cold

1/2 Tablespoon Dutch cocoa powder

1/2 Tablespoon white granulated sugar

3 Tablespoons Smuckers Marshmallow Topping Sauce

1/2 cup milk

3/4 cup ice

1/4 cup whipped cream

1 Tablespoon graham cracker crumbs

Directions:

1.) In a blender, pour everything BUT the graham cracker crumbs and whipped cream in the blender and blend.

2.) Garnish with whipped cream, graham cracker crumbs, marshmallows, & chocolate chips.

3.) Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

You can watch me make it in my YouTube video below!





I'm participating in "Foodie Friday!" Be sure to check out other delicious recipes here!


 
 


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

what i wore

It has been a long time since I last participated in "What I Wore Wednesdays" with The Pleated Poppy. If you are seeking some inspiration and want to check out what others are wearing, be sure to check out her blog. I credit this blog with pulling me out of my black yoga pant and t-shirt days.
 
 
Nothing fancy here..
Victorias Secret long sleeve raglan top in neon peach - gold chain necklace, thrifted - Apt. 9 gold cuff bracelet - Joes Jeans - Target Mossimo sandals.

Target Mercona chambray denim shirt here - Target red, gold, orange hinged bracelet - Old Navy red shorts - Target Mossimo sandals.

Target Merona chambray top - black and white long tank, thrifted - Joes Jeans - Gap sunglasses.

Victorias Secret short sleeve raglan tee - gold chain, thrifted - Apt. 9 gold cuff bracelet - Gap eyelet shorts - Target Mossimo sandals - Tory Burch bag.


Saturday, July 20, 2013

InstaFriday

I'm linking up with Jeannett for InstaFriday!
This is a post in which I share my life in iPhone photos from the past week or in this case, two weeks.
 
Our usual Saturday morning at Starbucks. Alexa has a book and a vanilla steamer.

In effort to balance my ph level, I now drink the juice of one fresh lemon per day. I like to get it over with, so I drink it straight like this.

Doing some measuring for a kitchen table that I have my eye on at CB2.

Because posing in the toy aisle of Target is totally normal. Really I am texting a photo of Alexa to her grandmother.

Successfully created my own Iced Caramel Macchiato which I will be sharing later this week. See my hot version on my YouTube Channel.

My husband test driving a kayak. I wasn't able to get a clear photo, but there was a seal swimming around next to him in the bay. It was wild to see something like that!

This is Alexa's before photo. On our way to get her first real haircut. She wanted it short.

This is her after photo. It is much easier to style and take care of. Her hair is just like mine, it's fine so having it cut gives her more volume.

A beautiful morning looking at the Coronado Bridge.

Then this is my view about 20 minutes later. Alexa jumped off of the play structure at the park on Coronado and broke her foot. Our civilian doctors checked her out and took x-rays but had to refer us to Balboa Naval Hospital for the following morning to have a further evaluation and to be casted.

My outfit of the day later that evening.

At Balboa the following morning. They took more in depth x-rays and found that she actually has 4 fractures. She was promptly casted for the next month and we were sent on our way. So much for swimming lessons this summer!

Feeding our kitten friends that live behind a restaurant in our neighborhood. They are a litter of four and they are feral but since we have been visiting them for so long they are quite comfortable with us. I can touch two of them. I can't say them enjoy it, but they don't run away either.

A light and healthy dinner of salad, whole wheat pita slices, and a garlic basil dip.

A summer evening at the zoo.

Reading at Starbucks late in the evening.


Rocking no eye makeup.

Beautiful view during our evening walk. The light in the sky to the left is a star and to the right is a commercial aircraft.

My husband and I have been enjoying Lime Margaritas lately while we listen to the real news on our favorite talk radio programs.

Last night I created this "Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies" recipe using coconut oil and coconut sugar in place of butter and white granulated sugar. I posted the recipe on this blog, be sure to check it out!

Last but not least a little late night shopping on Friday at HomeGoods. I walked away with a few things that made my heart throb. I will be sharing them in an upcoming Home Decor Haul on my YouTube Channel!


Friday, July 19, 2013

Healthier Chocolate Chip Cookies


While  I maintain a love for everything sugar, I decided to try something a little different. I recently discovered that my ph balance is consistently "very acidic" which has me a little worried. Lately I've been trying to make an effort of making better food decisions. I will tell you right now, I enjoy food. Food is life in my eyes and I feel like I should be able to enjoy whatever I want to. With that said as a thirty-something who already has autoimmune issues I know I need to make some changes.
 
While strolling the grocery a couple of days ago I was checking out the expanded section on sugars. Sugar in the Raw, Agave Sugar, Coconut Sugar...
I was intrigued by the coconut sugar. It is unrefined and retains it's natural vitamins and minerals. From what I understand, the sugar comes from the nectar of the coconut flower which is boiled then granulated.
 
M'kay...sounds good to me! I recently made the switch from using butter to coconut oil in most recipes so I thought, "why not?"

 As a cookie baker, you usually start with the cookie base of creaming butter and sugar together. In this case it is coconut oil and coconut sugar.
 
Coconut Base Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/4 cup coconut oil

1/2 cup unrefined coconut sugar

1 egg

1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

1 Tablespoon agave nectar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/2 teaspoon baking powder

1 1/2 cups flour

1/2 cup chocolate chips (I use milk chocolate!)

Directions:

1.) Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2.) In a mixing bowl, cream coconut oil and coconut sugar together.

3.) Add in egg, vanilla, and agave nectar to the creamed oil and sugar.

4.) Sift salt, baking powder, baing soda, and flour together. Slowly begin adding the sifted dry ingredients into the creamed mixture until well incorporated.

5.) Stir in chocolate chips and drop onto a baking sheet 2 Tablespoon sizes of dough each.

6.) Baking in preheated oven for 12-15 minutes until lighted golden in the edges.

** This recipe make 12 cookies. **

My mini baker helping me out.

Cookie dough before it goes into the oven.

Cookie dough after it comes out of the oven.


My family and I found these cookies to be a great alternative to their buttery and sugary counterparts. They are less sweet but maintain a great light sweet and hearty flavor. My 7 year old had no idea these cookies were any different and I have a picky one so that tells me something!



Enjoy!


Tuesday, July 16, 2013

How to make a Caramel Macchiato like Starbucks!

The Caramel Macchiato is one of my favorite drinks whether we are at Starbucks ( one of our favorite haunts) or a local coffee place. Do not be intimidated, it is very easy with make! All you need is some milk, vanilla syrup, brewed espresso, and caramel syrup for the top. You can have a Caramel Macchiato in the comfort of your home within a few minutes!
 
You might be wondering about the vanilla syrup. You can easily buy any brand of vanilla "latte" syrup. Starbucks sells it in the coffee aisle at most grocers or you can buy it from a Starbucks location. Other brands include Torani which is also sold at most grocery stores. If your like me, you can save some dollars and make your own. Here is a link to my homemade simple vanilla syrup.
 
Caramel Macchiato

1 shot of brewed espresso

2 Tablespoons vanilla syrup

3/4 cup of 2% milk

Caramel syrup for drizzling

Directions

1.) Brew espresso and set aside.

2.) Pour 2 Tablespoons of vanilla syrup into a microwave safe measuring cup along with 3/4 cup of milk. Heat in the microwave for 1 -1:30 minutes. ( You can opt to heat in a saucepan on the stove if you wish. )

3.) Remove warmed milk mixture from the microwave and froth. ( I use an Aerolatte wand. If you don't have one, you can shake the mixture in a jar with a lid screwed on tight or use a whisk to mix vigourously. )

4.) Pour frothed milk mixture into your coffee cup. Pour shot of espresso over the milk. It will look a little something like the photo below.

5.) Drizzle caramel syrup and enjoy!

Macchiato means "stained" or "marked" in Italian. The difference between the macchiato and the latte is the espresso is poured over the milk leaving it's mark as shown above.

Once you pour drizzle the caramel syrup you will have a gorgeous macchiato! Sometimes I enjoy these in the comfort of my own home and sometimes I make them to take with me on the go.



Monday, July 15, 2013

Summertime S'Mores Sundae

I've got to be honest, I have been obsessed with s'mores this summer. It is pretty unfortunate that I live in an area where I can't have an outdoor fire to roast marshmallows, however, I have found other methods to make this happen.

1.) You can always fall back on the microwave. I place the marshmallow on the graham and microwave for 5-10 seconds. Keep your on on it at all times because the marshmallow expands like crazy very quickly and you will end up with a sticky mess. I like this method because the marshmallow gets very hot and melts the chocolate well.

2.) The second method is using a broiler. My broiler is in my oven or maybe you have one of those countertop broilers? Same difference. Try it out! This method will toast the marshmallow but it really doesn't heat the it as well overall and doesn't melt the chocolate all that well.

I have been experimenting with different candy bars such as:

~Babe Ruth
~Kit Kat
~Nestle Crunch
~Hershey's Cookies and Cream
~Twix
~Reese's

If you are looking for s'more ( haha! get it?) variety then leave the Hershey Milk Chocolate on the shelves and grab something else! May I suggest Twix and Reese's?

With s'mores on my mind, I took it a step further and began experimenting with s'mores sundaes. The photo above consists of a microwaved marshmallow on a graham cracker with homemade vanilla ice cream on top. Next I melted milk chocolate and put that on top of the ice cream with another graham cracker on top. Finally, I broiled a marshmallow which I placed on top of the graham then added more melted milk chocolate.

It's summer - experiment with s'mores!
 

Thursday, July 4, 2013

Disneyland Photos

I know, I am way behind but better late than never. Here are some photos from Disneyland back in May. This was our fourth year and fifth time going. We love going to 2-3 days and staying at one of the Disneyland Hotels. This year we tried the Grand Californian but I must admit that the Disneyland Hotel is our family favorite. It is such a joy to take our daughter and enjoy this precious time with her as it is all very magical in her eyes.
 
Lobby of the Grand Californian.

The infamous Dole Pineapple Float.

I had to share this, a picture of us on Splash Mountain. I am feeling a mixture of fun and fear, my daughter looks like is she freaking out (but she likes it) and my husband is rocking it out!

Muah.

I love Woody, it was cool to see him.


The castle at night, so beautiful!

We found Disney's first Starbucks located inside the gates of California Adventure.

Goofy was outside of Starbucks so we went to meet him.

Did I mention how cray cray Cars Land is?!? Wow. We did get to meet McQueen. He is very animated!

Princess Tiana.


Characters from Alice in Wonderland near the entrance of Disneyland.

Woody again!

My husband in Frontierland - our favorite area of Disneyland.