Thursday, December 18, 2014

Gingerbread Bars

Just in time for the Holidays, I am absolutely in love with these Gingerbread Bar. They are so good that I've already made them two times this month and was thinking about making them a third!

There is no need to fuss with rolling out the cookie dough and breaking out those cookie cutters. This recipe makes everything super easy since you just dump the mixture into a prepared pan and bake. The hardest part about making these bars is trying not to eat the entire pan before sharing these bars with others. They are soft, chewy and full of spice. The spices don't over power one another and they aren't overly sweet. You can slap on some cream cheese frosting or keep it simple and enjoy the molasses and spice flavor by dusting them with powered sugar.

This recipe is definitely a keeper in my book and it should be in yours too.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Jalapeno Cornbread Muffins

Looking for a quick and easy addition to your Thanksgiving dinner? Were you asked at the last minute to bring something? Then you're in luck because these jalapeno cornbread muffins are quick, easy and it goes great with just about anything on your dinner table. These are moist cornbread muffins with just a little kick. Delicious!

Friday, November 14, 2014

French Lentil Soup

It's been getting a little chilly here at night... and when I say chilly, I mean California temperature where the coldest it gets during the evening is low 60's. I know, super cold, right? Not really. 

I don't know about you, but when the weather starts to get like this, all I crave is a warm, hearty bowl of soup. This French Lentil Soup is definitely something that satisfies that craving. It is super easy and quick to make which is why I love it. I love the big chunks of vegetables that you get and the soft bite from the lentils. This soup is not the thinned out, watery soup that you find in a canned or premade soup. It has thickness in the broth since you puree some of the soup and add it back into the pot. I'm telling you that this soup was so good that I made twice in one week. Delicious!

If it's cold where you are, you have to throw these ingredients into a pot and cozy up with a nice bowl of soup.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Apple Butter Snickerdoodles

My birthday was this week and I've been waiting for more than 4 years to get the gift that I got. I knew what was in the box before I opened it, but even though I  knew what was in the box I was just as excited and surprised as if I had no clue. Unwrapping the gift wrap, I tore straight across the front of box and laid my eyes on the box of a Kitchenaid Professional Series Standup Mixer. Finally, a Kitchenaid Mixer is in my life and I couldn't be in love anymore than I am. It took so long because the idea of spending hundred and hundreds of dollars on a kitchen appliance seemed very ridiculous and not in our budget.
The first thing that I made were these Apple Butter Snickerdoodles. I've made Pumpkin Snickerdoodles in the past and every time I've made them, they have been a hit. Since it's Fall (probably everywhere else, BUT California) and Halloween just past, I thought that Apple Butter would be a better decision than the pumpkin. I was right.
These cookies are super soft and fluffy on the inside, but also has the cinnamon sugar coating on the outside that makes you want to keep reaching for "maybe just one more". These cookies stayed super soft and light the next day, but that's probably all you need to know as these cookies won't last.
Keep reading for this Fall recipe...

Thursday, October 23, 2014

Herb and Citrus Marinated Olives

Looking for something quick and simple to snack on while watching football this Sunday or having guests over and need something easy to put out? These Herb and Citrus Marinated Olives are perfect for any reason you may have. They are light, tangy and trust me, they're addicting.   Inspired by José Andrés, chef of The Bazaar at the SLS Hotel, these olives are no doubt delicious. If you haven't checked out any of his recipes or been to his restaurants, you must go out and try them now. 

Keep reading for this simple, but addicting recipe.

Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Za'atar Oven Fries

One of my favorite sides to go with chicken, steak or a burger are definitely these za'atar fries. I was introduced to za'atar a few years back, but after my trip to Israel this year, that was when I actually started cooking with it. I love za'atar on pita, but the spice on these oven fries, it's perfect.

This recipe is super easy and it doesn't a whole lot of work, which is another reason why I love making these. The fries turn out crispy on the outside and soft on the inside. If you can't find za'atar at your local grocery store, you might want to check out ordering it online. You can also try to make your blend, but I don't know if it would turn out exactly the same. If you do, let me know how it turns out!

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Hazelnut Tea Cookies

I don't know why, but a while back I thought it was the best idea to buy a 1 pound bag of blanched hazelnuts. Whatever the reasoning was, I'm glad I bought them. Because after staring at me for long, waiting to be used, I finally used them. And yum! I'm very happy that I used some of the hazelnuts for this recipe. These tea cookies are crisp, nutty and not overwhelming sweet. I toasted the hazelnuts in a pan and I loved how the aroma filled up the entire place. There is something comforting about the scent of hazelnuts. I just love them. 

Keep reading for the recipe.....

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Kale and Mushroom Side

This is a super easy and quick side dish that you can throw together at the last minute. With just a few ingredients and items that I normally have on hand, I love this kale and mushroom side and I love pairing it with either roasted chicken or a simple seared steak. This kale and mushroom side can be made in less than 10 minutes from start to finish (depending, of course, on how good your knife skills are) and because it is very low maintenance, it can be completed while you are working on the main dish. The kale becomes super soft with just a hint of garlic that isn't too overwhelming. I'm not going to lie, but I can eat the entire skillet to myself in one sitting (Oops!).

Keep reading for this easy recipe.

Sunday, May 4, 2014

Barbacoa Beef plus Corn Salsa

Cinco de Mayo is tomorrow and it is the perfect time to serve up something spicy. This barbacoa beef is way better than the stuff you find at Chipotle's and can be served over rice or as a taco. This barbacoa beef is low maintenance and can be made in either a dutch oven or a slow cooker. I went the dutch oven route and packed a lot of heat in it with chipotle peppers. Slowly cooked over low heat, this beef isn't tough and melts in your mouth. Serve up a crowd at your Cinco de Mayo party with this spicy beef topped with a corn salsa.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

DIY Earring and Ring Storage

I've been looking for a way to neatly organized all of the earrings and rings that I have, but the thought of buying a ring tray didn't sound appealing to me. Why? Because there aren't lids for the trays and because those trays don't really fit in any of the smaller spaces that I have. I used a small tin box that I had and placed all my earrings and rings that I have for my Etsy Store so that they would be safe. Help diminish my insane amount of earrings by purchasing a pair for yourself here!

I had left over supplies from when I made Jewelry Tray Liners to store all my necklaces and I figured there had to be a way to use the rest of the left over felt that I had. This earring and ring storage is super quick and easy. Just don't burn yourself with the glue gun like I did. The best thing about thing this earring and ring storage is that it can be easy customized. You can use any box and you do not need anything special. If you have a jewelry box that you love, but your earrings are a mess in, you can simply add this DIY to that box.

Keep reading to see how you can make your own DIY earring and ring storage.

Monday, March 24, 2014

Avocado Deviled Eggs

I've been testing out my cake decorating skills over the past 2 weekends, which is why I haven't been updating much. I am nowhere near a professional cake decorator, but when someone challenges me in an area that I'm interested in... I'm ready to give it a shot. 

One cake was a Piñata Castle Cake that was from My Cupcake Addiction. Mine was all homemade cream cheese frosting, instead of a chocolate casing around the base and I didn't use a giant cupcake mold. I used what I had at home and used two 9-inch pans and one Pyrex bowl. This cake ended up coming out a lot bigger than I expected. 
The second cake was a Piñata Snowflake Cake that went with the theme of Disney's Frozen. It was two 9-inch rounds with white chocolate snowflakes. The cake inside was a swirl/marble cake of light blue and a kind of aqua blue

What do you think of my cakes?

As long as I can remember, I hated avocados! It wasn't until a year or so ago when I became obsessed with them. I don't know what happened, but I went from one day hating them to the next day in love. If you are obsessed with avocados then you have to make these avocado deviled eggs right now! They are super easy to make and great for sharing with your family and friends.

The one thing that I love about these avocado deviled eggs is that there is no mayo in them. The avocado makes it just as creamy, but with a healthy fat in them. The garlic and cilantro gives it the extra flavor and if you are looking for a little kick, I would suggest throwing in some finely diced serranos or jalapenos. Yum!

Monday, March 3, 2014

Hazelnut Brownies

I have had a big bag of hazelnuts staring at me for quite some time. I bought them on a whim thinking that I would use them immediately.... and of course I didn't. So instead of letting them continue to sit in my pantry and bother me every time I opened it, I decided to finally do something with them. The first thing that came to my mind were brownies. And definitely not the boxed kind. 

Instead of Baker's One Bowl Brownies, I decided to use Ina's Outrageous Brownie recipe. Ina's Brownies seemed like it would be more work than the One Bowl Brownies, 
but it wasn't so bad. After taking a bite into these rich chocolate brownies, I was glad I decided to go the extra few steps (and bowls) with Ina's recipe. These brownies are rich, and I mean very rich. But it isn't a bad thing. They're super moist and the extra chocolate chips that are in them with the combination of the hazelnuts, give these brownies a great texture and crunch. The main thing with these brownies is that you do not want to over bake them. Keep an eye on them when they're in the oven. 

Ina's reviews said that the brownies came out big, very big! So I decided to half the recipe. I also decided to half the recipe because I didn't have enough chocolate or butter than the original recipe calls for. Although I halved the recipe, I still got 20 brownies that were large enough for me. So keep reading, but beware these things are addictive!

Monday, February 24, 2014

Coconut Macaroons

Do you have guest coming over or were you told at the last minute to bring a dessert? Skip the packaged stuff and make these coconut macaroons instead. They are super fast, very little work and you need only 5 ingredients.

These coconut macaroons are toasted and crunchy on the outside, but soft and chewy on the inside. If you're in mood, you can drizzle a little melted chocolate over these sweet little coconut macaroons. Chocolate makes every better!

I brought them to the office and they were a hit. I made them smaller which meant that they can be easily shared by more people and those on a diet feel less guilty. But you can feel free to make them bigger if you aren't in a sharing mood, all you need to do is bake them a little longer.

Have a bag of shredded coconut sitting in your pantry just crying out to be used?!? Then keep reading

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

DIY Cabochon Earrings

I don't know about you, but I have the tendency to lose a lot of my earrings. I managed to lose one earring somewhere between buying them at the mall and taking them out of my bag at home. Gone! Vanished and never found again. The worst part was that I never got to wear those cute little flower stud earrings. After that experience, I gave up. I decided that I wasn't going to wear earrings anymore....until now. If I would have known how easy it was to make my own cabochon earrings, I would have never bought them from the mall. The best part about these earrings is not how easy they are to make, but how inexpensive it is. This means that I can lose as many as I want and not feel so bad. 

You can either make your own cabochons with polymer clay and a mold or you can do what I did and buy them off of Amazon. I found a 100 piece flat back resin cabochons  for a pretty decent price on Amazon and they came with a variety of roses, chrysanthemums, daisies and peonies. 

Some of the flowers were too big and I turned them in to rings. There are a couple very big flowers that I want to turn into pendants, but I just haven't done it yet. Check out the rings though. Aren't they cute? You can find adjustable ring blank findings at Michaels, JoAnn, Hobby Lobby or you can order them off Amazon.

To find out how easy it is to make your own cabochon earrings, keep reading.

Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Kale Chips

Looking for a healthy option to snack on after all of the Super Bowl treats? These kale chips are just the healthy crunch that you are looking for. The best part about these kale chips is that you don't need a dehydrator. Your oven will work just fine for this. With just 4 ingredients, you are on your way to making crispy, crunchy and healthy chips.

I went to the Farmers Market and saw a handful of varieties of kale that isn't normally sold in the grocery store by me. Being super excited about all the different types of kale there was, I went a little overboard and bought way more than I really should have. I use kale every morning in my smoothies, sometimes toss them in my salad or soup, and my dog loves to eat kale as a treat, but other than that I really wasn't sure what to do with all the kale I had. Kale chips were perfect and easy enough that I thought I would share with you.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Homemade Pizza Rolls

Since it's Super Bowl weekend, I thought I'd share with you another Super Bowl snack. Whether you are rooting for the Seahawks or the Broncos, or if you are just there to watch Bruno Mar and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, these pizza rolls are great for snacking while you sit in front of the TV.

These homemade pizza rolls are simple, yet crunchy, delicious and addicting. The use of wonton wrappers may not be exactly the same as Totino's, but it is close enough to where the entire plate of them will disappear fast. The key to these homemade pizza rolls is not to bake them. I prefer to avoid frying food, but I did one batch baked and one batch fried and they are best when fried. When they are baked, the edges have a texture of raw pasta. I do not like my pasta raw, so I did not like them baked. When these pizza rolls are fried, yes they are unhealthy, but the wonton wrapper puffs up and becomes crunchy. Way better!

To learn how you can make your own homemade pizza rolls and ditch the frozen ones where you aren't quite sure what exactly is in it, than keep reading....

Monday, January 27, 2014

Pumpkin Pie Crumb Bars

I know I'm pretty much a couple seasons behind and it's not longer Fall, but who says that it has to be Fall in order to be able to enjoy a little pie of Pumpkin Pie? Why should we restrict ourselves to Pumpkin Pie once or twice a year. To me, it's always a good time to have a little pumpkin in my life. The mix of soft, light pumpkin with a hint of cinnamon and nutmeg is perfect whether it is Fall, Winter, Spring or Summer. 

With it being Super Bowl this weekend, you should surprise your guests and continue to spread the pumpkin love. What's the best part about these bars? It's pretty much a portable piece of Pumpkin Pie! None of the messing around with having guest cut their own slice of pumpkin pie, they can just simply pick up a bar and in a few bites it's gone.  I also love these Pumpkin Pie Bars because I'm not a huge fan of pie crust. I always feel that it's missing something. With the addition of the oatmeal cookie crumb, it takes this slice of pie to another level.

Saturday, January 25, 2014

DIY Soothing Lavender Oat Bath

With the crazy weather in California, one day it's in the 80's and the next day it's in the 60's and the Santa Ana winds, my skin is not handling the constant change from hot to cold combined with the dryness. If you have sensitive skin like me, or if you just enjoy an oat bath like Sean, than you will love this diy.

Sean first got me into oatmeal baths when I have a really bad skin reaction to the weather and suggested that I used the Aveeno Soothing Oatmeal Bath Treatment. I loved it, but what I didn't love was paying $8 for 8 packets. I know it's $1 each and that is a lot for me.

If you didn't know the Aveeno bath is made from 100% colloidal oatmeal. Colloidal oatmeal is great for dry, itching skin, so it's a good choice to relieve any discomfort caused by eczema, poison ivy, chicken pox, and insect bites. It is also great if you just love an oatmeal bath and want soft skin. After doing some research and finding out that all it is is simply very finely ground oatmeal, I was shocked and even more against buying it from the store. I've had a huge canister of Quaker Oats sitting in my pantry and figured if I can make it for free, why not? Right? I added lavender to mine to make it more my taste, except if your like Sean and you don't like little dots in your bath water, than you might want to stick with just the oatmeal.

Important Allergy Note: If you are allergic to gluten, I suggest you use certified gluten free oats to avoid any allergic reactions.

Now, ready to make your own? Continue reading to find out this super easy diy.