Here’s to You, Orange & Vanilla


So it’s getting hot and I’ve been craving delicious, cold things. A lot. Like creamsicles and sorbets. Sometimes I take for granted these two very simple and natural flavors that combine to make intense mouthgasms. Here’s to you, orange and vanilla. Never break up. Never.

Orange Vanilla Bean Cupcakes

Vanilla Orange Freeze

Vanilla-Orange Freeze

Chobani Champions Orange Vanilla

Organic Orange & Tahitian Vanilla Bean Lotion

Organic Orange Vanilla Lotion -- 1 1/2 oz. BPA FREE Jar- Like a Creamscicle with Organic Orange & Tahitian Vanilla Bean

Orange Vanilla Bliss Blender Drink

Nestle Orange Vanilla Bliss

Vanilla Orange Jelly

Vanilla Orange Jelly 8oz Jar (Low Sugar)

Orange Creamsicle Sugar Scrub

Orange Creamsicle (sugar scrub)

Orange Creamsicle Pancakes

Orange Creamsicle Pancakes

Liquid Creamsicle

Liquid Creamsicle Ingredients

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Hunger Games

Anyone else excited about the Hunger Games premier? I never really got into all the hype of crazy book trilogies; Twilight, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings. Blah… I guess it’s finally my turn to go a little nuts. I freakin loved these books and am STOKED to see the midnight showing of the movie tonight! If you’re anything like me, you’ll be toasting with an Everdeen Fizz for lunch and a Panem Clipper for dinner!

Everdeen Fizz

1 oz. North Shore Eldergin (or Plymouth Sloe gin)
1 oz. gin (something more floral than dry: PDT recommends Plymouth for a sloe gin fizz; I used St. George’s Botanivore)
¾ oz. lime juice
½ oz. mango puree
½ oz. simple syrup
club soda

Shake all ingredients except soda vigorously with ice. Strain over new ice in a Collins glass. Top with soda water. If you must smuggle, pre-mix everything but the soda and carry the soda separately for on-the-spot mixing. The current through the fence is usually turned off. Don’t tell the Peacekeepers you heard it from me.

Panem Clipper

2 ounces Calvados or other apple brandy
½ ounce fresh lime juice
½ ounce real, blood-red pomegranate grenadine
2-3 dashes absinthe
Thin strip of lime zest, for garnish

Combine liquid ingredients in a cocktail shaker and fill with ice. Shake well until chilled, about 10 seconds. Strain into chilled cocktail glass; garnish with lime zest.

I came across a whole collection of fan-art book covers. They were all really amazing. These were my favorites!

'The Hunger Games' fan made book covers

'The Hunger Games' fan made book covers

Things I want to make:

Mellark’s Bakery Goat Cheese & Apple Tarts

Mellark’s Bakery Goat Cheese and Apple Tarts

Peeta’s Burnt Nut and Raisin Bread

Peeta’s Burnt Nut and Raisin Bread

Capitol Orange Juice

Capitol Orange Juice

District 11 Bread

District 11 Bread

Things I want to buy:

The Unofficial Hunger Games Cookbook: From Lamb Stew to ?Groosling??More Than 150 Recipes Inspired by The Hunger Games Trilogy

Hunger Games - Coffee Cozy Crochet - Team Peeta - White and Blue

May the Odds Be Ever In Your Favor Hunger Games Print 8" x 10" Black and White

Hanging Tree Hunger Games Quote on Ultra Long Leather Wrap Bracelet

Gold Arrow Ring - Hunger Games Inspired

Sweethearts – Hunger Games Sugar Cookies

The Hunger Games Embroidery Hoop - Real or Not Real

Beautiful Hunger Game inspired Print by Sherri Dupree:

Picture

May the odds be ever in your favor!

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Sunset Inspiration

Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky.

Rabindranath Tagore

The Sunset Cookbook

outdoor dinner with the sunset

My kind of sunset

Vintage Summer Mountain and Sunset Save the Date Card - SAMPLE

Sunset lights

Sunset Pillow Cover $29

Summer Sunset heart banner/ garland/ bunting - Felt hearts in red, orange, yellow and white - wedding decor

SALE Labradorite Necklace, Sunset Statement Jewelry, 14K Gold Fill, Natural Gemstone

Giraffes at Sunset, Masai Mara Park, Kenya

Zombie Sunset - Superwash Merino Bulky Yarn - Hand Dyed - 137 yds

sunset

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The Healthy, Caffeinated Smoothie

ATTENTION ATTENTION ATTENTION! I have seriously just discoverd the most amazing smoothie on the planet. Or…discovered someone who already discovered it. I’m getting really good at finding people who have found/created amazing things. Back to the smoothie. The Elvis Buzz, as I like to call it. It’s essentially a Peanut butter Banana Frapaccino. (Get ON THAT Sbucks!) If your tastebuds are anythning like mine, then they are in love with the whole banana/peanut butter combo. Bet you didn’t know that coffee is dying to have a threesome with those two. I mean yeah I have coffee every morning, yeah I love me some peanut butter butter bananas. But to combine these things into the perfect drinkable breakfast? Who would have thunk it? Well, Woman’s Health Magazine did. And yes, I might have had one of these guys for breakfast AND a late night snack yesterday… Here it is. You’re welcome!

I used nonfat vanilla soy milk and it worked out beautifully!

1 very ripe banana
½ cup strong coffee
½ cup milk
1 Tbsp peanut butter
1 Tbsp agave syrup
1 cup ice

Blend and enjoy! A lot!

And if you need any more reasons to be happy, check out Real Simple’s 9 Things You Can Do to be Happy in the Next 30 Minutes. Perfect when you’re feeling a bit sluggish and down (me this morning). Give it a shot!

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Thanksgiving 2011

Thanksgiving was AWESOME- despite being away from my family. I have SO MUCH to be thankful for- one thing being that I have friends that can cook!  I was lucky enough to spend the evening at la casa de Nichols with good friends and great food! Thank you Jesus for all of this:

My contributions to dinner (and I would recommend them ALL!):

Cranberry Sauce with Pears and Cardamom.  This is a slightly elegant twist on a classic Thanksgiving Day staple. First time trying my hand at cranberry sauce and it turned out beautifully! Recipe found here at Epicurious.com 


Mom’s Apple Cake via Smitten Kitchen. This was probably my favorite item of the evening- and not just because I can get away with eating the leftovers for breakfast. This cake was so full of fall flavors, so moist yet SO incredibly simple. This recipe is a keeper ladies and gentlemen.

I’ve made these before and I’ll sure as heck be making them again. I wouldn’t say they’re a knock-off of Starbucks’ Cranberry Bliss Bars– more like a reinvention of an already delicious blondie. Ok-yeah, they’re a knock -off. Cranberry, orange, white chocolate, chewy cookie…ness. Why wouldn’t you want to know that off??

Also my first time making yams- of any variety. Brown Sugar-Glazed Sweet Potatoes–  This dish was a hit. Even with people who weren’t yam fans. “So glad they’re not covered in marshmallows,” people commented as they shoveled them into their mouths. Umm…they totally used to be until they melted into invisibility! Sshhh….

How gorgeous was the table setting? I know, right?!  Tina never ceases to amaze me.

Big, beautiful, delicious bird. This was  Tina’s first time preparing the turkey and most definitely not her last. It. was. perfect.

This, ladies and gentlemen, is Brian the vegetarian. THAT’S how good the turkey was!

Mrs. Nichols also made a killer pumpkin icebox pie and chocolate ganache tarte.

Needless to say, I had to be rolled out the door.

Hope everyone had a fat and blessed Thanksgiving!

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Blackberry Muffins

Well blackberry season has just come to an end and I found myself with a freezer full of frozen blackberries waiting to be used. What to do? I bought them because I’ve been heavy into smoothies lately and I thought they would be a nice addition to my morning routine. Turns out, I’m not such a huge fan of blackberries in my smoothies. Same reason I don’t use raspberries- just too seedy for my to drink. Emphasis on DRINK…not eat. I could eat seedy berries all day long and throw them in about any dessert and be happy.  So I searched for the perfect blackberry muffin recipe and I think I might just have a winner.

This recipe from SimplyRecipes.com is simple (no way…), moist and easily adaptable depending on what you have on hand. They don’t come out looking perfectly symmetrical and that’s what I love about them. They’re rustic, messy and stick to the paper a bit. Perfect.

I made a few changes to the recipe when I made them. One being: I split it in half! I’ve quickly learned that making full batches of ANYTHING proves to be difficult when you don’t live in a full house. I find myself pushing baked goods on my boyfriend and friends so often I feel almost guilty. It makes much more sense and I might prove to have skinnier friends if I simply limit the quantity of goods poppin’ out of my oven! (The oven in my kitchen. Don’t go there…) I also didn’t have sour cream so I substituted Chobani Greek Yogurt- this substitution I would definitely recommend. I’m a big fan of Chobani subs for a lot of things! (Check out a Chobani substitution list here.) I also used Splenda in place of sugar, coconut milk in place of regular milk, and used half whole wheat flower and half all purpose.

I’m sure the recipe is super delicious just the way it’s written too. Give it a shot!

Blackberry Muffins Recipe

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 cup sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 8 Tbsp warm melted butter (1 stick)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cups (about 5-6 oz) of fresh blackberries, cut in half (often available at Trader Joe’s, you can use frozen blackberries if fresh are not available, defrost and drain them first.)

Directions

1 Position rack in center of oven. Preheat oven to 400°F. Grease a standard 12 muffin pan or line with paper muffin cups. (Actually, with the berries you’ll have more batter than just for 12 muffins. This batch made 18 muffins.)

2 Whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and salt in a large bowl.

3 In a separate bowl, whisk together eggs, sour cream, milk, sugar, butter and vanilla.

4 Add the wet mixture to the dry mixture and mix together with a few light strokes, just until the dry ingredients are moistened. Add the berries. (If you are using frozen berries, defrost them first, then drain the excess liquid, then coat them lightly in flour.) Do not overmix! Overmixing will cause the muffins to be dense, not fluffy. The batter should not be smooth.

5 Divide the batter evenly among the muffin cups. Bake until a toothpick inserted into the middle of 1 or 2 of the muffins comes out clean, 17-20 minutes (or longer). Let cool for 2 to 3 minutes before removing from the pan. If not serving hot, let cool on a rack.

Serve as soon as possible, preferably within a few hours of baking.

Yield: Makes about 18 muffins.

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Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Stop what you’re doing, go find some pumpkin butter, and make the heck out of these cookies. Please. I’ve been completely overwhelmed with pumpkin dessert recipes this fall- trying to find one to put all my time and effort into has been no easy task. But I’ve done the work for you. Or at least found someone who’s done the work for you. Jessica, author of the How Sweet It Is blog is my new hero. CHEWY, to die for pumpkin chocolate chip cookies. Don’t let this season go by without making these babies!

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Annie Hall

It’s been waaaay too long since my last post. Just want to share my costume inspiration from this Halloween. A beautiful movie with beautiful people: Annie Hall.

How amazing are these prints by Mike Oncley??


Annie Hall inspired fashion:

THE Annie Hall

Annie Hall costume inspiration

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Raw Strawberry Oat Bars

When I think raw food, I think celery sticks and apples. I do NOT think delicious filling meals and desserts. Did you know you can make indulgent, healthy RAW DESSERTS?  Uh yeah…I have been completely blind to all the amazing raw recipes that are out there- widely available, might I add. The book I mentioned in my last post, Going Raw, is an excellent resource as is the wondrous, world wide web.

So in attempts to broaden my raw recipe repertoire,  I am going to attempt to participate in “Raw Wednesdays.”  So basically, I’m going to try my hardest to eat nothing but raw foods every Wednesday. Hopefully this encourages me to actually experiment with raw food recipes and not just scarf down salads and berries all day long. You should definitely check out Lindsay Funston as she blogs about her Raw Challenge here on Whole Living Daily. She gives a lot of really great advice and insight into the seemingly scary raw world.

Meatless Monday. Raw Wednesday. What’s next? I’m thinking Fried Fridays and Street-food Sundays.You know, just to even things out.

Raw Strawberry Oat Bars. I found this little gem of a recipe in the August issue of Whole Living.  So simple, so delicious AND completely raw! You MUST give this recipe a go!

Strawberry Oat Bars

Ingredients:

Makes 6

  • 1 1/2 cups pitted dates
  • 1/4 cup raw macadamia nuts
  • 2 tablespoons old-fashioned rolled oats
  • Pinch sea salt
  • 1 cup strawberries, hulled and thinly sliced

Directions:

  • Pulse dates, nuts, oats, and salt in a food processor until combined.
  • Press the date mixture into the bottom of a 9-by-5-inch loaf pan.
  • Mash half the strawberries and spread on top of date mixture. Top with remaining strawberries. Slice into rectangles

Read more at Wholeliving.com: Strawberry Oat Bars

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Mucho Verde

I started my day in a green way! In other words, I made a green smoothie for breakfast. I have really gotten into these guys lately. So versatile, so yummy, so healthy AND my favorite color. I just got an awesome new book in the mail yesterday, Going Raw by Judita Wignall. I am, by no means, “going raw” anytime soon. But I have realized that incorporating more raw meals into my diet has made me feel awesome and I’m interested in learning more creative ways of doing it!  So here’s a simple green smoothie recipe straight from Mrs. Wignall’s beautiful book:

Going Raw by Judita Wignall

     Peaches & Greens Smoothie

     Ingredients:
     3 cups (510 g) chopped peaches
2 cups (60 g) chopped spinach
1 cup (150 g) sliced bananas|
1 cup (235 ml) nut milk

     Directions:
 Blend and enjoy!

( So apparently, by blending green veggies we’re able to use their nutrients better than just chewing them! “The chlorophyll, minerals, and protein content are easily assimilated and used by our body, as opposed to only 30 percent of it being usable if we chew greens with our teeth.”  And here I’ve been wasting so much time CHEWING! Good to know…)


This past weekend was also very  green for me. Mostly because I spent it in Palos Verdes, California and partly because I spent it being jealous of people who live there. Palos Verdes is amazing little peninsula located on the coast of soutwestern LA county. So it’s not far from where I live, maybe just over an hour, but it’s one of those places that makes you feel like you’ve traveled hundreds of miles to take a tranquil vacation away from the city. Here’s a few pics to prove just how awesome this place is.

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