Fourth of July… in August

Hi Lovelies! I hope that you had a wonderful weekend! I feel like weekends are becoming even more precious as our summer days are dwindling! There’s just something about summer that just puts everyone in a good mood, so hopefully we can all bring that feeling into Fall!

Yesterday, we had a going away party for my brother! He joined the Marines a few months ago and leaves for boot camp very shortly. We are all excited and proud of him, so we planned an Americana themed party! My mom and I have been shopping for weeks and today it all came together! Rather then tell you all about it, I thought it’d be better to show you some pictures instead!

3 Generations :)

We did burgers with over 20 different topping options, 3 bun options, and 4 different types of fries!

Daddy Jeff and the (almost) Marine!

The dessert table (+ unpictured root beer floats!)

The giant cupcake!

All in all, it was a wonderful party and I think that everyone had a great time! My mom and I love planning parties and this theme was really fun. We found so much great stuff, but could not seem to find the correct colored m&ms, so being a trooper as always, my Grandma separated all the red and blue ones so they would match the theme. They were popular but we still had a lot left over, so Sunday night my dinner ended up being red, white and blue tortilla chips and peanut m&ms… oops!

As for the giant cupcake- well lovelies, this is harder than it looks! It took me HOURS on Saturday night to make it and was very confusing. The two page directions for a kit that is supposedly “great for kids!” through me off a little bit, but in the end it came together and was delicious! I think next time, I would start making it earlier and fill the molds slightly more than they recommend for a fuller cupcake.

Questions:

-What’s your favorite theme for a party?

-What did you do this weekend?

 

 

Foodie Finds

Hi lovelies!

Thanks for all your support yesterday! It was so great to hear how you all are trying to listening to your bodies too! I think it’s definitely a struggle sometimes, but ultimately it’s important to know our limits.

Today I thought it would be fun to share with you some new-to-me food products that I’ve found lately! I’m a total nerd and get super excited when I go grocery shopping because I love wandering the aisles, finding fun new items! Here are some new-to-me finds:

So Delicious No-Sugar Added Vanilla Bar Minis

Only 1 gram of sugar and so yummy!

Although I love dark chocolate as a sweet treat, sometimes I just crave ice cream, especially in the summer! Unfortunately, having a tub of ice cream around the house is difficult for my self-control, so I love these portioned bars. The best part is that they are dairy free and ALL NATURAL! They have great nutritional stats and taste amazing with the crunchy dark chocolate and sweet, coconut-vanilla tasting ice cream in the middle! They are so good that I ate one while writing this post… just for testing purposes of course. :)

Nature’s Path Buckwheat Wildberry Waffles

The best frozen waffles that I have ever had, hands down!

I’ve been eating frozen waffles for years and for years never ventured away from Eggo Nutri-Grain Low Fat waffles. Although these were good, I wanted to find a healthier, organic option. Due to a coupon at Whole Foods, I decided to give the Nature’s Path waffles a try. It turns out it was an excellent decision! These waffles are the perfect combination of crunchy on the outside but fluffy on the inside with warm berries sprinkled throughout. Purchase these immediately and you won’t be sorry!

Pure Organic Bars

They come in 5 flavors but I think this one is the best!

When I was at the airport last week, I realized that I didn’t have any snacks for my long flight! I looked around for Larabars, but when I couldn’t find them I purchased Pure bars instead. These are very similar to Lara in their taste and short ingredient list! They taste great and are filling, making them the perfect snack. If you like Lara, I bet you will like these!

Uludag Sparkling Water

I have absolutely no idea what this ad says...

This little gem came from the market near my house that specializes in Turkish products. It tastes like a normal sparkling water without flavoring but what makes it unique is the carbonation. Usually carbonated beverages have small bubbles, but Uludag has large bubbles inside that are the size of the tip of your pinky. It’s unlike anything I’ve ever had, but I enjoyed it and look forward to some more Uludag!

Questions:

-Do you have any new foodie finds?

-Have you ever ate or drank something when you couldn’t read the label?

Chocolate Peanut Butter Bars

Hi lovelies! As I teased before, I made Chocolate Peanut Butter bars for Father’s Day. I actually made this recipe two years ago for the same holiday and everyone felt that this was one of the best recipes ever. But here’s my secret: it was a total fluke! I had randomly googled “Chocolate Peanut Butter bars” and this recipe happened to come up!. And although I was so happy that I got so lucky, I didn’t save the recipe or the site I found it on. So when I decided to make it again this year, it took a lot of digging, but I finally found it! And trust me, it was worth the wait because these bars are amazing!

No-Bake Chocolate and Peanut Butter Bars

(Recipe courtesy of Gourmet Kosher Cooking)

Makes 2 Dozen Delicious Bars

Ingredients

  • 9 oz. Chocolate wafer cookies
  • 1.5 c. Old-fashioned oats
  • 1.25 c. Confectioners sugar
  • 1/4 t. Coarse salt
  • 5 oz. Butter
  • 1 c. Chunky peanut butter
  • 1/4 c. + 3 T. Smooth peanut butter
  • 10 oz. Semi-sweet Chocolate
  • 1.5 oz. Bittersweet Chocolate (I used milk chocolate instead)

Directions

1. Coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray and line with parchment paper.

2.. Grind or crush chocolate wafer cookies.

3. Combine wafers, oats, sugar and salt in a large bowl.

4. Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat and add chunky peanut butter and 1/4 cup smooth peanut butter, whisking until well combined. Add wet mixture to dry mixture stirring until combined.

5. Transfer to baking dish and use an offset spatula (or your hands!) to firmly press the mixture into an even layer. Refrigerate for 30 minutes.

6. Melt semi-sweet chocolate and pour over chilled base mixture, using an offset spatula to spread a thin layer that covers the entire surface. Refrigerate until hard. (15-30 min)

7. In separate pans, heat the remaining peanut butter and milk or bittersweet chocolate. Drizzle peanut butter over chilled chocolate first followed by a drizzle of the milk/bittersweet chocolate. Refrigerate again until hardened.

8. Use the parchment to lift the bar out of the pan and place on cutting board. Using a sharp knife cut into 24 squares.

And there you have it! Amazing, chocolate peanut butter bars with an incredible consistency. They are seriously unlike any other chocolate peanut butter combo than I’ve ever had and are definitely a must-make. Enjoy!

Questions:

-Have you ever found an amazing recipe through Google?

-What’s your favorite flavor combo? Clearly chocolate peanut butter is a favorite in my family!

LA Lovin’ Part 2

After enjoying a scrumptious high tea experience at the SLS, B and I left feeling stuffed… Does afternoon tea do that to any one else too? It all seems like such small portions when the trays are first placed in front of me, but pretty soon, I end up feeling so full!

We then went back and got ready to head out! We went to a bar in West Hollywood where she had a table reserved and were ready to get our dance on! The drinks were fantastic and we spent the night celebrating her birthday with a large group of people. The DJ played a lot of great songs but some of my favorites were the throwback songs that we all sang and danced to, as if we were the only ones in the room!

Out on the town! (Note the people behind us... no idea who they are!)

After a very fun night we woke up the next morning for an intimate brunch at an amazing chef’s loft downtown! (The loft is legitimately his home too as his bed is sectioned off and the bathroom has his shower products in it!) It is a small setting which was perfect for our group and you get to watch the chef and his assistants make your food right in front of you. (Though I’ll admit that I barely watched because I was too busy gabbing away… big surprise there!) I had the┬áCorn Meal Waffle Pear BLT (minus the B) for brunch and am sad that I don’t have a pic because it was so incredible and different from anything I’ve ever tried! I’ve never had a savory waffle before, have you?

Inside- we sat at long tables in the front

After a leisurely brunch, we decided that B needed a little something sweet on her birthday! So we headed over to a LA staple: Diddy Riese in Westwood. Diddy is one of the few places in LA where you can get something so cheap and oh, so good. For only $1.50, you choose two freshly baked cookies and your favorite ice cream and get the amazing sandwich below! I chose espresso chip ice cream in between a double chocolate chip walnut cookie and a regular chocolate chip walnut cookie. Heaven. Seriously. B had chocolate chip cookies with strawberry cheesecake ice cream. After we sat in the sun enjoying our splurge, it was time for me to go the airport and head back to SF!

Pure bliss.

As you can tell, it was such an amazing weekend and totally one of those times where everything worked out perfectly! But as you can tell from my recaps, healthy eating pretty much fell to wayside, as I tried to make some healthy choices but was also not about to miss the incredible food! Now that I’m back I’m working on returning to my healthier habits and am not stressing about the splurges– because they are some of the best parts of eating and I enjoyed every minute!

Questions:

-Have you splurged on anything recently? Food, clothes, etc?

-How do you handle vacation eating?

Are You a Gleek?

If you are a Gleek then you would know that last night was the season finale of Glee! It was so good but I always think that season finales are bittersweet. One of my favorite parts of watching an episode of a tv show is seeing the ‘coming up next’ portion, so after season finales I’m always anxious to know what’s happening next, especially with all the cliffhangers! Back in LA, I’d watch Glee with one of my best friends while consuming our favorite cupcakes, Susie Cakes and champagne! It was always so fun and something I looked forward to every week, just as much as the show. So tonight when my parents brought home my favorite Greek food and cupcakes, I was understandably touched. They are so sweet and I am so lucky to have them!

My Glee-loving continues tonight as I am off to see Glee Live! Have any of you gone? I am so excited! I’ll report back tomorrow and hopefully post a few pictures!

Questions:

-What are your favorite tv shows? How do you feel about season finales?

-Do you have favorite celebratory foods? I am all about cupcakes and champagne- so much so that a couple of years ago one of my friends bought me the Juicy Couture cupcake necklace!