11/23/2014

23 things (I'm still learning) at 23

Trying to look cool in Prague

I turned 23. Apparently this is the beginning of the early twenties phase of life which is whaaaa?
I don't feel different, but much has changed.  I've picked up a couple things along the way. 
  1. Don't fight your natural hair texture. Just work with it, enhance it with a bit of styling creme. Resistance is futile
  2. Be around your grandparents.  Watch them. Learn from them.
  3. If you wake up before your alarm clock just get up! You'll regret it after if you don't. 
  4. Take that break, drink that tea
  5. Learn to say no, it isn't a bad thing
  6. Busy doesn't mean efficient
  7. Clean your closet often. Declutter your space declutter your mind
  8. Flavour your water when you find it getting bland, you will often drink more of it!
  9. "Spend money because it's an investment in your own well-being" #girlboss
  10. Read many different things
  11. Look for learning moments in every situation, especially bad ones
  12. Have protein at every meal
  13. Take care of your skin
  14. Don't assume you know everything and
  15. If you do know everything, don't act like it
  16. Think before you speak
  17. Make your bed before you start everyday
  18. Have moments to yourself 
  19. Worrying does nothing to improve a situation so try not to 
  20. Remember to breath deep and stretch when feeling down or ill, it helps a lot 
  21. Build a small repertoire of go-to foods you can make when needed
  22. Don't worry about being wrong 
  23. Always be yourself.  Never ever try and be someone else because it always backfires. 
"You may not know where you are going, but you know the kind of person you want to become."

11/20/2014

Coffee Coconut Scrub Bar















It's getting colder out. Darker, chillier, and sans any kind of humidity.

This can be a problem. Especially if you suffer from dry, dull, bleh winter skin.  I've found a few decent creams and cleansers on the market that helped parch and heal my sad skin but they were bank-breakers.  And I don't feel like breaking any bank anytime soon.

So, I made something. I looked into natural remedies for dry skin and I came up with

A coffee coconut scrub bar

like a LUSH bar but with less ingredients.

I combined the coffee grinds from morning coffee with a bit of melted coconut oil, a drop or two of Lavender essential oil and then put it in a muffin tin and put it in the fridge to solidify.

The good thing about coconut oil is that it keeps its shape at room temp but melts well when heated so it's the perfect shower buffer for colder seasons. And coffee grinds are great for exfoliation and are said to stimulate circulation through buffing.

It was really simple to make, and cool that it actually worked. It leaves your skin feeling so soft. I'll be using it all year round.

 Give it a try and see what you think!


Coffee Coconut Scrub Bar
3 tbsp Coffee grinds
3 tbsp Coconut oil
Drop or two of essential oil

  1. Melt coconut oil
  2. Mix with coffee grinds and add a drop or two of oil. 
  3. Mix well and pour into any mold you'd like. *
  4. Place in fridge/freezer to solidify.**


Store at room temp.

* Make sure the grinds and oil are mixed well IN the mould so that when you pop it out the grinds don't fall apart at the bottom. 
** Store them outside or in your garage to freeze during winter months!

11/18/2014

Easy Date Squares



I have to start this post by saying when I told my dad I was making date squares he asked, "Why? For a date?"

dam dum tssss.

But seriously, Date squares. They are ridiculously easy.  You can totally make these in less than 1/2 hour and you probably have everything you need in the kitchen already.

I had a bunch of dates hanging around from my Bacon Wrapped Dates and although I love that appetizer to death it's not wise to overload on them.  So I played that game you do when you're coming up with rhyming words, the

ball
Saul
Mall
Crawl thing.

But instead of finding words that rhyme I found a recipe that had dates in them. 
I did a browse, found something that worked to my lazy liking and voila! 

The easiest, yummiest, breakfast/dessert dish. 

Date Squares
2 cups chopped dates
1 cup water
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 tsp baking soda
1 1/2 cup oats
1 cup unbleached flour or whole wheat flour 
1/2 cup butter
1/4 cup brown sugar
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 tsp salt

Directions
1- Preheat oven to 350F.
2- Place the chopped dates, water and maple syrup in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil, reduce the heat and cook until thickened, about 8-10 minutes. Remove from the heat, add the baking soda and mix well. Set aside.
3- (optional) Place a parchemin paper in a 9x9 baking pan.
4- Melt the butter in the microwave. Mix in the oats, flour, brown sugar, sugar and salt.
5- Place half of the flour mixture at the bottom of the pan. Cover with the dates. Top with the remaining of the flour mixture.
6- Bake in the over at 350F for 45 minutes. Let cool at room temperature for one hour before serving.*

*Crucial! Let them cool so they don't become crumbly!

11/14/2014

Parisian hot chocolate


Nothing says winter like a mug of hot chocolate. A creamy, rich, mug of sweet brown gold.

Curled up on the sofa watching a movie, or reading, or having a talk with a friend; it's the best supporting actor for a cold night.

I have a problem with hot chocolate though. I never find a good one.

Either it's too too hot

or lukewarm (!)

or lacking that rich chocolate taste.

So I decided I would try making my own, by heating milk and water in a saucepan and adding chocolate slowly until it all swirled together making a rich cream. And it took slightly longer than pouring a packet of power into a cup with steaming milk.

I used this recipe listed below and though it didn't turn quite as thick as theirs looks it still tasted so great.

Not to knock the simple, group-satisfying,packet of hot chocolate but if you can spare a few minutes one of these dark evenings, do yourself a favour and make your own hot chocolate right from the beginning.

It will transport you to the streets of Paris instantly!


Parisian Hot Chocolate
via Diane Abroad 

1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup water
35 grams good-quality bittersweet chocolate
  1. Heat the milk and water in a small saucepan over low heat. Once the liquid is warm, add the chocolate and whisk. Continue to cook until the chocolate is melted, whisking occasionally, and continue to heat until the mixture comes to a boil. Keep it at a low boil for a minute or two, then serve it piping hot in a small cup.
Notes
This hot chocolate is even better if it’s been cooled and reheated, so it’s worth making a double/triple/quadruple batch and keeping the leftovers in the fridge.
Try serving this with a sprinkle of flaky sea salt, or cinnamon, or red pepper!

11/12/2014

A hair rut solution


Once in a while I find myself in a hair rut.

My hair just isn't doing what I want it to. Not sitting nicely, not curling well- an overall mood drainer. Because let's be honest, if your hair feels funny so do you!

This is usually the window of time which illicit a hair cut because in my mind I hope that a nice trim will relieve all my hair woes. And sometime it does.

But this time it didn't. If anything it was made worse!

So I took to watching a few tutorials, refresher courses if you will. And though i'm still not a hair expert I feel like I've grasped the simple hair curl once again. Like i've found my way out of the hair hole rut. Sorta.

The Small Things Blog is an excellent hair resource for those moments when you just can't figure out what you are doing wrong.

Check her out!

11/10/2014

Peanut Butter Cookies


Sesame street premiered 45 years ago today. I thought that was cool. And in the spirit of Sesame Street I thought i'd make a cookie.

A cookie fit for a  Cookie Monster.
Not chocolate chip though, let's branch out a bit shall we?

I decided to make Peanut Butter cookies. I found an incredibly easy recipe from this site and thought it was good to be true.

A cup of peanut butter
A cup of brown sugar
One egg.

Thats all.

Ok, I can do that.

And I did. And they tasted great!

There are notes though, oh the notes.

So read the recipe below to make these super simple peanut butter cookies.

Peanut Butter Cookies
1 cup of peanut butter
1 cup of brown sugar
1 egg

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Grease a medium sized cookie sheet
  • Combine ingredients in one bowl
  • *Use a floured ice cream scooper or floured hands to roll small balls of the dough and place them evenly on the sheet
  • *Once done, cook for 8-10 minutes. They will continue to cook a bit after taken out of the oven so don't keep them in too long or they'll be burnt! 
  •  Let cool.
  • Dip in chocolate if desired.


*When I started assembling the balls her instructions didn't list a scooper or anything so I grabbed a bit to start rolling and it was a big sticky mess! Peanut butter all over my hands! So I added the floured scooper to the instructions because it allowed the peanut butter to roll and be placed easier on the sheet.

*As well, she didn't mention anything about the cookies cooking a bit after taken from the oven which whoops! caused my first batch to be nice a crispy because I left them too long!


11/05/2014

Poire belle Hélène


Have you ever tried Poire belle Hélène?

Have you ever tried poached pears?

You have, you say. Well then you’ve pretty much had Poire belle Hélène in my book!

These two desserts are essentially the same thing, with a bit of variation from recipe to recipe. (But saying you made Poire belle Helene sounds way more elegant!).

The actual Poire belle Hélène desert was created around 1864 by Auguste Escoffier and named after the operetta La belle Hélène by Jacques Offenbach. The recipe consists of pears poached in sugar syrup and served with vanilla ice cream or chocolate syrup, alcohol-reduced syrups or even crystallized violets (fancy).

I have so many pears in my kitchen. And I love pears, really.  But I don’t love them enough to eat them every day, or put them in all my sandwiches (side note: this is a delicious thing to do). So I browsed a cook book I received a while ago called My little Paris Kitchen and, voila! There was a pear dessert recipe.

It seemed simple enough but not as simple as it could be (read: I am lazy).  So I combined a few recipes together which some say is totally frowned upon but

Hear hear!

My Poire belle Hélène were a success! They were sweet and a bit bitter and the coffee sauce was just super.

Try it out! 


I took this recipe for the actual poached pears. Subbed the agave for honey and the cinnamon stick for ground cinnamon. 


I took this recipe for the chocolate sauce.