Sunday, February 26, 2012

homemade snickers recipe

Road trips mean. . . quality family time, listening to inspiring playlists, and stuffing your face full of crazy snacks without feeling guilty! This year, our annual trip to the mountains meant me bringing the "treats" to a whole new level. So I hit up the never ending world of discovery that is Pinterest and got my baking juices flowing. When I stumbled upon the recipe for homemade snickers bars, I knew that I had found the motherload. The ingredients were simple and the recipe seemed easy. . . 2 hours later, I had in my hand the world's most gooey, chocolate-y, and caramel-icous insanity that we call SNICKERS. The natural ingredients made these irresistibly fresh goodies even better than the Mars brand in the wrapper. Make these for your next trip, dinner party, or holiday get together! Even that "i am not really a chocolate person" will be begging you for more. . .

*makes one 9×13 pan ( i used 2 smaller pans so that I could cut one pan and save the other for the next day)
bottom chocolate layer
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
Thoroughly grease you baking pan. Melt ingredients together in a saucepan or microwave, then pour into the baking dish and spread until even. Let cool and harden completely.
nougat layer
1/4 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup evaporated milk
1 1/2 cups marshmallow fluff
1/4 cup peanut butter
1 1/2 cup salted peanuts chopped, roughly chopped
1 tsp vanilla extract
Melt butter in a saucepan over medium heat. Add in sugar and milk, stirring until dissolved and bring to a boil. Let cook for 5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add in fluff, peanut butter and vanilla, stirring until smooth. Turn off heat and fold in peanuts, then pour over bottom chocolate layer. Let cool completely.
caramel layer
1 14-ounce bag of caramels
1/4 cup whipping cream
Combine ingredients in a saucepan over low heat. Let melt, stirring occasionally, until smooth – this took about 10 minutes for me. Pour over nougat layer and let cool completely.
Top chocolate layer
1 1/4 cups milk chocolate chips
1/4 cup peanut butter
Melt ingredients together in a saucepan or microwave, then pour over caramel and spread until even. Let cool and harden completely.
Refrigerate for at least one hour before serving, then cut as desired. These can stay at room temperature, but they do get gooey. I like them refrigerated best!
Note: for best results, buy one of the half-sheet aluminum cake pans at the grocery store. That way, you can pop the entire square out and cut from there! 

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

DIY Angry Bird Pinata

Everyone loves a good party, and throwing one is just as much fun!! My little darling, Berlin turned 4 this month which led me to pin as many navajo inspired party ideas onto my pinterest as I could find!! Once I had my heart set on building tee pees and crafting feather head dresses for the kiddos, Berlin told me that she REALLY wanted an angry birds party. . . what?????????? Ugh, all of my daydreams were gone in that moment and I knew what had to be done. My new goal was to throw her the most hip angry birds party around. As I began researching pinatas, I realized that this stuff isn't cheap! So I threw on my sneakers, hit up Michaels, and snagged some supplies. 3 hours and $20 bucks later, Berlin had an angry bird "pig"nata all her own. Whether you are making an angry bird or your favorite animal, follow this tutorial then beat the crap out of it . . .

Supply List
tissue paper
paper lantern
fringe scissors
tacky glue
thin foam sheets for face/details
rope for hanging

How To
STEP 1: cut 2 inch strips of tissue paper
tip: you can cut 4 layers at a time if you have sharp scissors

STEP 2: "fringe" your tissue strips and set aside

STEP 3: starting at the bottom, squeeze tacky glue in a line around the lantern

STEP 4: place a strip of fringed tissue, turning lantern as you go

STEP 5: work your way to the top, overlapping your previous piece a bit

STEP 6: trace and cut out the face/details

STEP 7: hot glue the details to your pinata

STEP 8: place a cardboard circle inside the bottom of the lantern to create a barrier

STEP 9: fill with candy

STEP 10: tie rope through the loops at the top of the frame, leaving a long piece for installation

SWING AWAY!! Here is a look at ours in action. . .

photo credit: wildheartwhispers

Monday, February 20, 2012

Healing Power :: Apple Cider Vinegar

The daily grind can leave us feeling less than 100%. Not to mention that we are smack dab in the middle of cold and flu season. If you are like us, you don't have time to be sick. . . so there is no better time to turn to natural home remedies to do the trick!! By drinking this nutritious tonic you will, be helping to reduce the nutrient deficiencies that result from eating too many processed, refined foods. Natural healing apple cider vinegar kills germs and nourishes the body at the same time, so take a peek at some of the many different ways that you can benefit from the external and internal benefits of this concoction. . .

blemishes. age spots. arthritis. asthma. bruises. burns. cancer prevention. colds. constipation. coughs. cramps. dandruff. diabetes. diarrhea. digestion. ear infections, eczema. fatigue. headaches. heartburn. insect bites. insomnia
leg cramps. muscle soreness. morning sickness. sore throat. weight loss

2 cups of natural sparkling water
2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar 
(unpasteurized and unfiltered, we like Bragg's) 
1 tsp maple syrup
stir well and add ice

**If you take ACV between meals or before going to bed, always rinse your mouth to avoid any 
prolonged vinegar contact with the enamel on your teeth. 

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
1 cup apple cider vinegar
5 drops lavender oil
3-5 cups warm water

Fill a large lidded jar with vinegar. Add rosemary. Fill the rest of the container with warm water. Store in a cool, dry place for about a week. Dilute the cider mixture with three cups of warm water and mix well with lavender oil. Use the tonic as a rinse after you shampoo for super shiny hair (follow with conditioner as needed) or keep in a spray bottle and spritz on hair to absorb oil.
Note: if you have color-treated or processed hair, it’s possible the tonic can effect your color. Check with your stylist before you mix up this magic!

For more ideas click here!! Don't be alarmed by the taste. . . you will get used to it!! Hey, not all good things go down easy. 

Thursday, February 16, 2012

vegan spicy sushi rolls

Sushi is one of our families favorite indulgences. . . so we decided to step up to the challenge of creating our own vegetable rolls. We had been warned, and we were nervous, but we knew we could do it! We pulled out our patience pom-poms and got twirling. With the help of a little Hall and Oats Radio, we were zen masters in no time!  

makes 4 rolls
1/4 cup vegan mayonnaise
1 tablespoon of sriracha
4 sheets of nori
3 cups prepared sushi rice
1 avocado, peeled, pitted, sliced
1/2 cucumber, peeled, halved lengthwise, seeded, and sliced
1/2 carrot, julienned
steamed asparagus
soy sauce
pickled ginger

you also need:
bamboo sushi mat

secret heart spicy sauce
In a small bowl, combine the mayonnaise with the sriracha. 
Taste and add more if you like it hot and spicy! 

sushi rolls
Place your bamboo sushi mat on a clean surface, with the sticks of the mat parallel to you. Place a sheet of nori on the mat, shiny side down, shorter edge toward you. Have a shallow bowl of water nearby to save you from a hot sticky mess! Dampen your hands in the water, use your fingers to press about 2/3 cup of Sushi Rice onto the nori, covering 2/3 of the sheet leaving about a one inch border around the edge of the mat. Get creative and place your veggies in a beautiful row about 2 inches from the edge of the mat closest to you. 

Take a deep breath and go for it! Start rolling the mat with a firm grip, enclosing the fillings. Give it a squeeze and continue making a compact roll by raising the end of the mat slightly to avoid rolling it in with the nori. Once you have completely rolled your sushi let it rest for a minute or two. Grab a sharp knife and moisten the blade with some toasted sesame oil. Slice the roll into 8 pieces. 

P.S. We enjoyed ours with some Fuji Apple flavored Saki. Delicious. 

recipe adapted from skinny bitch in the kitch

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

hipcooks LA

If you enjoy shuffling around the kitchen a little, you should definitely skip over to Hipcooks!  They have urban kitchens all over Southern California. . . get your hands dirty and knife skills sharpened with their hands on cooking classes. Give me alcohol, hand me a torch, and teach me some cutting techniques and I am one happy "chef". The East LA space is surrounded by artists studios and succulents,  I found myself daydreaming during class about how I would turn the kitchen loft into a living space. My favorite part is that they use fresh, organic ingredients and share recipes that are healthy and great for dinner parties or a romantic dinner for two! The perfect spot for a date or girls night out. . . and yes, they serve wine (they even have a cocktails class- yum) . Here is a little sneak peak of my trip. . . 

Monday, February 13, 2012

hello i love you

I am a lover - slash - addict - slash - snob when it comes to packaging! I find myself dropping more money for the amazing bottle or label, even if the product inside is the same as the ugly cheap sister sitting next to it on the shelf. So when I bought the 4 piece test tube Valentine's day sprinkles I already had an idea of how I would reuse those cute little tubes! What cuter way to say I love you than a message in a bottle? I hand wrote 4 little notes to hide around the house on Valentine's day for my husband. This is a great way to surprise someone with a little love and tenderness. . . 

here are some other ways to say

Sunday, February 12, 2012

licorice love wands

Valentine's day = sweet treats from your lover, finding a secret surprise from an admirer, or sitting in your bed alone with a box of chocolates stuffing your face singing "all by myself!!!!!!!!!" Yes, this is the day that we all give in to that love/hate relationship with sugar and indulge in one too many hershey kisses and shovel down half a dozen of those delicious chocolate covered strawberries. What about those "fat-free" red vines that come in a tub that seems like if you grab 5 no one can tell?? Well this year, we decided to make LICORICE LOVE WANDS. . .  magically dipped in white chocolate and sprinkled with sugar dust to conjure Cupid's affection. These are fun, easy, and make the perfect project for your little helpers (if you have em) . Get dipping. . .

what you need:
1 tub o' red vines
1 bag white dipping chocolates
3 tubes of sprinkles

Prepare your work surface with wax paper to place your wands on while they cool. Melt the chocolate according to the package. Dip licorice in the melted chocolate and tap on the side of the bowl until you get a nice and even coat on the end of the licorice. Sprinkle toppings onto the licorice as you turn, covering the chocolate evenly. Place wand on the wax paper to cool.

Once your wands are cool, place them in a large glass jar and enjoy! This makes about 150 wands, so go ahead and package some up to give to your co-workers, friends, or lover! XOXO

Saturday, February 4, 2012

superbowl sunday funday

Superbowl Sunday is the one day that we actually look forward to watching football! We love to spend the day preparing snacks that not only are delicious but healthy too. . . post game you won't be promising yourself to hit the gym for 3 hours on Monday! If you are hosting the party, write down these recipes onto fun cards and hand them out to your guests. And if you are crashing another party, bring a mason jar full of mixed nuts as a hostess gift tied with some bakers twine.

spicy mixed nuts . skinny jalapeno poppers .  baked mozarella sticks . crispy sweet potato fries
**makes about 3 cups
1 1/2 teaspoons Ener-G egg replacer
2 tablespoons warm water
1 pound roasted, salted mixed nuts
1/3 cup evaporated cane sugar
2 teaspoons sea salt
1 1/2 teaspoons cayenne powder

Preheat oven to 250 degrees F. In a medium bowl, whisk the egg replacer and water until foamy. Add the nuts and toss to coat. Transfer the nuts to a strainer and let drain for at least 2 minutes. Meanwhile, wipe out the bowl and combine the sugar, salt, and cayenne. Add the nuts, tossing to coat. Spread the nuts in a single layer on a large rimmed baking sheet.

Bake for 40 minutes. Stir with spatula and spread the nuts out again. Reduce the oven to 200 degrees F and bake another 30 minutes, or until dry. The nuts will crisp as they cool to room temperature. Thoroughly cooled, they can be stored for up to one week in an airtight container.

We dare you not to eat the entire batch before the game starts. . . enjoy!!