We are HOMEOWNERS!!

I realize that it has been months since I’ve posted anything and I feel like I am always apologizing for MIA, probably because I go MIA alot.  For anyone who has been wondering what happened to us after we moved to California let me give you a quick update.

We got settled in pretty quickly.  Jared and I found jobs within a few weeks (we got lucky) and the kids adjusted to school well and made friends.  We reunited with family and friends, Jared and I took a trip to Seattle, I took a trip to Vegas and then we bought a house.  YUP, you read that right, WE ARE FINALLY HOMEOWNERS!!

It all happened so quickly!  I mean, this was the first house we put an offer on and then we got the keys in less than 30 days of putting in the offer.  That’s how quickly it escalated!  I’m not complaining.  I love the house!  Jared and I wanted a house with character and not some cookie cutter row house and that’s what we got.  What’s even better is that the inside is fully renovated to our taste so it is move in ready.  Now, if we can just hurry up and move in (the flu interfered with our moving plans).

In case you were wondering what the house with character looks like, don’t worry I got you covered.

10941419_10153143992604274_6663145663604449168_nI told you it had character (the house was built in 1911)!  Don’t you just love that deck?!

10959342_10153143992594274_4095389645070214263_nI love the open floor plan!  There’s so much room for activites!

10929949_10153143992599274_5368769359730543571_nI love the kitchen even more!  See, I told you that I love this house.  I can’t wait to get back to baking in MY kitchen.

BathroomThe guest bath is pretty sweet too although I’m pretty biased about the house.

That was my quick update on what’s been going on. I’ll post more pictures once we get settled in.  I really do hope that it’s not another 6 months until another post.  I will make sure that one of the first things I make in my kitchen is something yummy that I can on the blog with you all.

Move to CA: Kansas to Colorado

On Wednesday we started our trek to CA.  For those who don’t know, we have decided to move back to CA.  My husband has graduated from MSSU (the reason why we moved to Joplin) and with his family moving out of Joplin it just made sense to go back to CA.  That is the reason why we are driving across 4 states to get back home.

Wednesday was the day the movers arrived at 8 am and finished at 3pm.  We stayed to clean the house and finished with that at 8pm. Then of course we had to have one last dinner with the family so we didn’t leave Joplin until 10pm.  That night we loaded the luggage, 2 kids and a cat in the car drove to Wichita, KS we got to the hotel at 1:30 in the morning.  It was a pretty uneventful ride except for the severe thunderstorm that rolled in, but we made it safe.

Yesterday morning we got in the car and headed for Denver.  The picture below pretty much sums up what we saw on the drive through Kansas…

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…WAIT!  We also this….

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more windmills!!  There is one word to sum up our drive through Kansas…BORING!  But we made it through and the view started to get prettier.

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Before we headed to Denver we made a little detour to visit the Garden of the Gods.  The place was absolutely stunning and if it wasn’t for the rain we would have spent more time in the park and walked around.

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And then we made it to Denver…

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We arrived in Denver at around 7:30 pm, so that gave us just enough time to get dinner, dessert and back to the hotel to rest.

For dinner we ate at Tocabe, an American Indian Eatery, where I had a Guy Fieri’s Chicken Indian Fry Bread Taco.  Apparently when Guy visited Tocabe he customized his taco and they put it on the menu for other people to order.  I thought if it was good enough for Guy it was definitely good enough for me.  It did not disappoint!

The restaurant is set up “Chipotle” style.  You walk up to the bar and order your taco, nacho, or salad.  If you order a taco they freshly fry up the bread for you and then you proceed to pick out your toppings.  To be honest I can’t remember what all was on my taco.  I do remember it had black beans, tomatoes, onions, lettuce, green chile, sour cream and cheese.  Whatever was on it it was all very tasty.

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After dinner out next stop was Voodoo Doughnut.  This place is known for their crazy doughnut flavors and even crazier names. Voodoo’s original shop is in Oregon and now they have three locations there and their fourth location is in Denver.  The Denver store is open 24 hours a day.  We got there at about 9 0’clock and the line was decently long, but they have a great system in place which makes the line go fast.  If you ever decide to visit Voodoo remember to bring cash because that is all they will take and if you forget to bring cash don’t worry there is an ATM in the store for you.

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The kids were just as excited, if not more, than I was to eat Voodoo Doughnut.

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We ended up ordering a dozen doughnuts, Voodoo Doll Doughnut, Old Dirty Bastard, Diablos Rex, Triple Chocolate Penetration, Captain my Captain and Bubblegum to name a few, and then went back to order more to take home to my sisters.

Those doughnuts were a perfect ending to our day in Denver.  After sitting in the car for 8 hours all we wanted to do was lay in bed and relax.

Blueberry Coffee Cake with Brown Butter Lemon Glaze

I have a challenged myself the last few weeks, that challenge is to use what is in my refrigerator and pantry before we move back to CA. Oh yeah, I forgot to tell you all that we are moving back to CA, but more on that later.  Anyhow, with us moving I don’t want any food to go to waste.  I am determined to use as much of what we already have and get my pantry and fridge cleaned out.

One of the things I made was an Oreo Cookie Brownie (if you follow me on Instagram you would know this). All I did was take some brownie mix, mixed in 1/2 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips, topped it with Oreos and baked it according to the package.  I used a 9×11 pan and cooked it at 325 degrees for about 55 minutes.  

If you are wondering what it looked like here is a photo:

Oreo Brownies

Now, let’s move on to the Blueberry Coffee Cake with Brown Butter Lemon Glaze.  All I can say about this cake is that is so freakin’ delicious!  The sour cream makes this cake moist and the lemon in the glazes gives the cake a delicious tang.

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Blueberry Coffee Cake with Brown Butter Lemon Glaze

slightly adapted from: a cup of jo

Ingredients:

For the cake:
1 cup butter, room temperature
2 cups sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla
1 cup sour cream
2 ½ cups flour
2 tsp. baking powder
½ tsp. baking soda
½ tsp. salt
½ tsp. cinnamon
¼ cup buttermilk
1 1/2 cup fresh or frozen blueberries

For the glaze:
4 tbsp. butter
½ cup powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
2 tbsp. fresh lemon juice

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350F. Prepare a 10-inch bundt pan (with a removable bottom) with baking spray.

In the bowl of a standing mixer, cream together the butter and the sugar until well incorporated. Add the eggs and the vanilla and beat until fluffy. Then add the sour cream and beat until the batter is smooth and fluffy.

In a separate bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients, and then add the dry ingredients to the batter and partially mix together. Add the buttermilk and beat until you have a smooth batter.

Remove the mixing bowl of batter from the mixer, and, using a spatula, gently fold in the blueberries. Transfer the batter to the prepared bundt pan and bake at 350F for 55 minutes, or until a skewer just comes out clean.

Let the cake cool for about 10 minutes before turning over onto a cake plate. While the cake is cooling, prepare the glaze.

In a small pan, melt the butter and continue to cook on low heat until the butter has turned a dark golden brown color. When it reaches this color, (but before it burns!), set aside. In a small bowl add the powdered sugar and vanilla, and then whisk in the brown butter. Thin out the glaze with the lemon juice, and whisk until the glaze is smooth and runny.

When you have turned the cake out onto a cake plate, drizzle the glaze over the top. Slice and serve warm or at room temperature.

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Acai Bowl

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I have been hearing a lot of rumbling on how  yummy Acai Bowls are and living in Joplin, MO there isn’t much of a demand for Acai Bowls so there is no place for me to buy one.  Don’t worry that didn’t stop me from getting my hands on one so obviously I did the next best thing and made my own.  I wanted one so bad I may have even broke my blender while making this.  It’s okay it was a cheap blender and I needed a reason to buy a new one (I’ve been eyeing the Ninja blender).

Acai is considered a Superfood.  What’s a Superfood?, you ask.  Don’t worry I’ve got you covered:

Superfood

For those who are wondering what the heck Acai is, here is a breakdown (courtesy of Sambazon):

Açaí – the king of the superfruit jungle is this tiny purple palm fruit called açaí. A staple food for the local Amazonians, açaí is rich in antioxidants (specifically anthocyanins like those found in red wine) and healthy fats similar to olive oil, plus it has no sugar. This combo makes açaí a powerhouse of satisfying nutrition. 

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This was so easy to  make and the outcome was delicious and refreshing.  It’s great for a quick breakfast or even as a snack.  I topped mine with blueberries, strawberries, shredded coconut and bananas.  You are free to top it with what ever your heart desires.  I think next time I may top it with some granola.

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Acai Bowl

Ingredients:

2 packages Sambazon Acai Smoothie Pack
1/4 cup orange juice
1 banana
1 tablespoon agave nectar
assorted fruit for toppings (I used bananas, shredded coconut, strawberries and blueberries.)

Directions:

Place the first 4 ingredients in a blender and blend until smooth. If you like your mixture to be thinner just add a little bit more juice. Once the mixture is well blended place in a bowl and top with your favorite fruit.

 

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Vietnamese Garlic Butter Noodles

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If you follow me on Instagram (If you don’t you probably should, click here to do so.) then you know that a few days ago I made some Vietnamese Garlic Butter Noodles.  If you’ve ever been to San Francisco and visited any of the famous An Family Restaurants then I am sure you have had these noodles, maybe even with some Roasted Crab.  And if you ever plan on visiting San Francisco make sure to eat at Crustacean or Thanh Long and order the Garlic Noodles.  The noodles are yummy, buttery, garlicky goodness that practically melts in your mouth.

My husband loves this recipe!  I’ve made it for him twice this week!  It’s perfect to eat as a side, but even better to eat it as a main dish.   Now if only I knew how to make the roasted crab.

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Vietnamese Garlic Butter Noodles

Ingredients:

1 lb of thick egg noodles from your local asian grocery
4 tablespoons of olive oil
2-3 cloves of garlic (pounded)
6 cloves of minced garlic (or more if you want)
4 tablespoons of butter
2 tablespoons of garlic power
1 tablespoon of chicken bouillon powder
1 tablespoon of oyster sauce
Parmesan cheese

Directions:

Boil noodles according to package. Make sure you don’t over cook it. It’s better to under cook than to over cook the noodles. Once the noodles are boiled drain them in a strainer and rinse with cold water.

Heat up your saucepan with the olive oil on medium to high heat. Once the oil has been heated, toss in the 2 cloves of pounded garlic. Once the olive oil has been infused with the garlic (about 2-3 minutes) on medium high heat, add the butter and turn the heat to low heat.

Add the rest of the ingredients except the noodles and Parmesan cheese. Let everything simmer and mix for about 1-2 minutes. Once everything is simmering and bubbling a little bit, toss in the noodles, stir and toss for 3 minutes.

Cook until your desired consistency on the noodles. Make sure it is not overcooked and it’s al dente when you bite into it. Sprinkle with Parmesan cheese and serve.

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Potato Skins

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My husband loves potato skins! For Father’s Day I made him some of his favorite foods, potato skins being one of them.  I also made him Tex-Mex Chicken and Chiles and Chocolate Mousse.  My hubby sure is lucky to be married to someone who knows how to spoil him with love food.

This was my first attempt at making potato skins.  I must say that I surprised myself.  I didn’t realize how simple they were to make. Why didn’t I make these earlier?!  Not only were they easy to make, they were delicious.  It tasted just like the potato skins you can get at any restaurant.

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Potato Skins

Ingredients:

6 small baking potatoes
2 tablespoons butter, melted
2 teaspoons seasoned salt
3 tablespoons grated Parmesan cheese
1 1/2 cups shredded Cheddar cheese
4 strips bacon, cooked and crumbled

for garnish:
sour cream
chopped green onions

Directions:

Scrub and clean the potatoes, make sure to dry the potatoes well. Lightly grease the outside of potatoes, cut small slit in the top and bake at 425 degrees for 45 minute or until soft. Let stand until cool enough to handle (about 15 minutes). Cut the potatoes in half lengthwise and scoop out the cooked potato, leaving a very thin layer of potato. (Save the cooked potato for mashed potatoes or hash browns.)

Brush the outside and inside of skins with melted butter. Sprinkle the inside with seasoned salt and Parmesan cheese. Place on a lightly greased baking sheet. Bake for 8 minutes or until crisp and bubbly. Fill each with Cheddar cheese and bacon. Bake 3 minutes or until the cheese is melted. Top with a dollop of sour cream and sprinkle of green onions

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Label Lust: DYLANLEX

I love statement necklaces!  These DYLANLEX necklaces take statement necklaces to a WHOLE OTHER level!  Possibly a level that can’t ever be touched!

Each DYLANLEX piece is hand crafted in New York city, using the expertise and craftsmanship of artisans gathered from across the globe, to create pieces that blend modern edge with the elegance of traditional techniques. Swarovski Crystal, antiqued metals, and internationally curated elements combine to create statement jewelry that would normally only be possible by combining several distinct pieces.  
 

 

Here a few of my favorite pieces:

 

FALCORFALCOR

FRANKIEFRANKIE

RILEYRILEY

Sometimes statement necklaces can be overwhelming, but the key is to wear a simple outfit that will allow the necklace to be the star.  Here’s how I would wear the necklace:

 
Dylanlex
Necklace: FALKOR II by DYLANLEX
Shirt: Sincerely Jules
Bottoms: J Brand
Jacket: Calypso St. Barth
Shoes: Chanel

Summer Accessories

Can you all believe that Birkenstocks are back in style?! Yeah, I couldn’t believe it either but they are. What’s great is they come in all sorts of colors now. I got the silver ones and I love them! Birks are so comfy! But good luck trying to get a cute pair it seemed that everywhere I looked was sold out. I got lucky and found my pair online from Bloomingdales.

With that said, Summer is approaching which gave me a great reason to update my closet. I love updating my wardrobe, but what woman doesn’t like to update their closet. I especially love simple pieces that will last me more than just the season. I recently purchased a couple of accessories to update my Summer wardrobe.

Want to know what I bought? Ch-Ch-Check it out:

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
Summer AccessoriesBirkenstocks, Loeffler Randall Work Tote, Moschino Belt, Nike Roshe Run
 
 
 

Birthday in a Box

Birthday Box

 

My youngest sister turned 22 on the 4th of this month (I couldn’t post this until she recieved it).  With her being in CA and me being in MO I wasn’t able to spend her birthday with her or even get her gift to her on the day of her birthday.  I am lazy when it comes to mailing out things, especially packages.  I just really hate going to the post office.  I don’t know why I just do.  So unfortunately her birthday gift arrived about 8 days late (better late than never, right?).

What I gave her was a Birthday in a Box which included:

  • water balloons with rolled up bills in it (I taped a pin to the sign on the box so she can pop the balloons)
  • boxed cake mix (I taped candles to the box.)
  • frosting
  • cupcake toppers 

 

Want more ideas for gifts in a box?  Check these out:

Box of Sunshine

Ice Cream Social in a Box

Root Beer Float in a Box

 

Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet

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Last night my husband looked at me and said “Where’s the chocolate chip cookies?”.  I looked at him with crazy eyes and said “What do you mean chocolate chip cookies?!  We don’t have any chocolate chip cookies!”  He then proceeded to give me the “Please can you make cookies face?” and I of course did what was necessary and made the damn cookies! My husband is a spoiled turd!  When it comes to food he always gets what he wants from me.  He’s lucky I love cooking!

Now there are always a few things that I make sure I keep in my pantry/fridge and chocolate chips is one of the pantry staples.  I make sure to never be without a bag, because who knows when my husband will give me the “please make me cookies face”.  Trust me that face is a sight to see and who can say no to a face like that?!

I did one-up myself and baked the cookie in a mini skillet.  I got my mini skillet from Amazon and I love it!  But then I didn’t stop there, I proceeded to top the cookie with Neapolitan Ice Cream and whip cream.  All I can say is that it was AMAZEBALLS!!  I couldn’t put the skillet on the table fast enough for my family before their spoons went digging in it.

P.S.

I’m sorry for the poor picture quality.  I took the photo with my iPhone because it was a last minute dessert (no time for food styling and making sure the lighting was right) and once I ate it I knew it was too good not to share.

P.P.S

I also made regular cookies out of this recipe.  The cookies were fantastically chewy and delicious!

 
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Chocolate Chip Cookie Skillet

very slightly adapted from : allrecipes.com

Ingredients:

2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F.

To bake in a skillet: Lightly grease the skillet by using a paper towel with a little bit of vegetable oil on it.
To bake as cookies: Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon.

To bake in a skillet: Using an ice cream scoop place 2 scoops of cookie dough in the skillet and with your hands press the dough evenly into the skillet.
To bake as cookies: Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.