Maple Bacon Cookies : {Oatmeal}

IMG_4289One of my favorite donut combos is maple and bacon, and I love any desserts that are salty and sweet.  A local donut shop called the Donuttery has a maple bacon donut that is out of this world.  I wanted to recreate that same taste but I didn’t want to make a donut…so I started thinking of how I can add it to a cookie.  I decided that an oatmeal cookie would go great with a maple glaze and bacon…it makes sense right?  Maple and oatmeal?  They are all breakfast food items right?  Anywho, my hands down favorite oatmeal cookie recipe is the Pioneer Woman’s Brown Sugar Oatmeal Cookie Recipe.  So I made that recipe and made up a maple glaze, cooked some bacon, combined it, ate it, and swooned.  Give them a try if you are a maple/bacon fan!

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup Salted Butter, Softened
  • 2 cups Packed Dark Brown Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
  • 2 whole Eggs
  • 1-1/2 cup All-purpose Flour
  • 1 teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 3 cups Old Fashioned Oats

Glaze Ingredients:

  • 2 cups powdered sugar
  • 2 tblsp Maple Syrup
  • 1 tsp maple extract
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 Cup of milk (You can add more milk or powdered sugar to change the thickness of the glaze)

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
IMG_4249Mix dry ingredients.IMG_4238In a separate bowl using an electric mixer, beat together the butter and brown sugar until fluffy. Beat in vanilla. Add eggs, one at a time, scraping the bowl after each one.IMG_4250Add dry mixture to creamed mixture in 2 to 3 batches, mixing it until just combined.IMG_4254Mix in the oats until just combined.  IMG_4260I ran out of parchment paper (which is what I prefer to use), but foil worked fine…just make sure it is lightly greased.  Bake about 15 minutes (take out a little earlier if you like them chewier or leave longer for crispy cookies).IMG_4280 IMG_4271Combine all the ingredient to make the glaze in a bowl, and dip the cookies ONCE THEY ARE COOL. IMG_4266My favorite way to cook bacon is on a wire rack, in the oven, at 350 degress about 8 minutes per side.  It makes them perfect strips.IMG_4283Cook bacon until their desired crispiness and then blot with a paper towel, and cut little bacon squares or crumble.  IMG_4287Dress the cookies and enjoy!

Lemon Cookies : {For my sweet Grandma}

IMG_4302My Grandma had a fall recently so she hasn’t been up for going out and getting her sweet treats from the grocery store….which if you know my Gram, is a tragedy because she loves her sweets.  So my mother-in-law brought me this cute tin with this note from her:IMG_4304Since she loves lemon I found a great lemon cookie recipe here.  The recipe originally has a lemon glaze but since she isn’t into cookies with lemon glaze I added more lemon to the actual batter and left out the glaze and it was just as delish and not messy.

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour
  • 1 Tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/4 cups granulated sugar
  • Zest of 2 lemons
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • Juice of 2 lemons
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

IMG_4249Mix together all dry ingredients.IMG_4236With an electric mixer, whip together butter, sugar and lemon zest on medium-high speed, until mixture is fluffy. IMG_4270Then mix in egg, then egg yolk until combined, then mix in lemon juice and vanilla extract.  Slowly add in dry ingredients and mix just until combined.  Scoop onto parchment lined cookie sheets and cook for 10 minutes (or until desired crispiness…I love crispy cookies).IMG_4299IMG_4315Once the tin was full, I still had a lot more cookies so I used the extra thank you gift bags left over from Evangeline’s Valentine’s Day Birthday Party.

Afters Ice Cream : {The Milky Bun}

IMG_3191So there is this new type of dessert/dessert place that is all the rage around these parts (Fountain Valley/Huntington Beach).  Its called Afters Ice Cream.  I have a feeling this is the beginning of a new dessert trend.  Every evening this place has a HUGE line (like Diddy Riese in Westwood) …and one week night I decided to brave the long line and give it a try.

What they are known for is the “Milky Bun.”  In a nutshell it is ice cream, and a topping, sealed in a warm donut.  As you eat it the ice cream melts a little and causes the donut (or bun) to get “milky.”  What I love is that the ice cream flavors are very unique!  For example when I was there these were the flavors available:  cookie monster (full of Famous Amos cookies), salted caramel, churro, mint chocolate chip, jasmine milk tea, milk and cereal, almond cookie, and my favorite…Trader Joe’s Cookie Butter flavor.  The toppings are a variety of cereals, cookies, and candies.  The donut is a choice between plain or glazed.

Our Milky Bun Creations:
IMG_3180IMG_3189I opted for a glazed donut, with cookie butter ice cream, and captain crunch. Honestly this was not a winning combo.  It was way to sweet and I couldn’t get through half of it without feeling a little nauseous.  IMG_3190My husband chose a glazed donut, salted caramel ice cream, and cinnamon toast crunch for his topping.IMG_3187My husband loved his Milky Bun creation…..I tasted it and it was far superior to mine.  I think a lot has to do with the combo of ice cream/toppings you get.  But still I think it is something that is shareable since it is so sweet.  Next time I will just get the ice cream (no donut) because the flavors are great and no one else has them!

Parenting OC Feature : {Top 15 OC Mom Blogs}



IMG_4363I am super excited to share this feature with you all!  Parenting OC Magazine made the May issue ” The Mom Issue.” One of their features in the magazine this month is their 15 Top Rated Mom Blogs in the OC….and you guessed it…Sweetlylemon.com is in there!  Check it out by picking up a copy yourself, going to their website, or reading below!  Thank you Parenting OC Magazine for featuring my blog!IMG_4367 IMG_4368 IMG_4371 IMG_4373

Birchbox : {April}

This month Birchbox’s theme was April Showers and they included a cute note that went with that theme.  They had “52 Bright Ideas For A Rainy Day” and I received tip #8.  (See the card below).
IMG_4147

Not sure what Birchbox is?  See my original post here.

OR want to join Birchbox click here: Sweetly Lemon Birchbox Invite

Now for the products:

IMG_4148Beauty Protector

Best-selling elixir that locks in color, protects from heat damage, and adds silkiness.

My Review:  I love hair elixir’s and leave in treatments and I was excited about this one.  It works well, smells fun and flirty, but my bottle was broken!  So I have to poor it into my hand and rub it onto my hair…not really sure if I am getting the same effect that way.

IMG_4152 Color Club Aquamarine Azulino Nail Polish

Birchbox and Gala Gonzalez teamed up to create this exclusive shimmery shade.

My Review:  This is a pretty color and looks perfect for spring but I honestly won’t wear it because I don’t like shimmery nail polishes.  #regift

IMG_4153 Supergoop! Daily Correct SPF 35 CC Cream

Next-generation SPF 35 CC cream that triple protects against UVA, UVB, and infrared-A rays.

My Review: I LOVE THIS!  It has officially replaced my BB cream and I wear it instead of makeup on my days off.  I have already ordered the full size from Birchbox!

IMG_4171KIND Snacks Healthy Grains Maple Pumpkin Seed with Sea Salt Bar

The perfect combo of salty and sweet, these delicious treats pack a whole-grain punch. 

My Review:  I keep almond butter packs, lara bars and KIND bars in my daughter’s diaper bag in case we are out for the day and I don’t have time to eat.  But I usually get just the fruit and nut KIND bars so I was excited to try a new one…but the “Gluten Free” labeling worried me a bit since I imagine it wouldn’t taste as good as their normal bars.  It was good but not great.  The sea salt was a little too much, and the texture was a little chewy…but I enjoyed the pumpkin seeds.

 Sumita Color Contrast Jamun Eyeliner (Deep Purple) (NOT PICTURED)

This soft wax pencil delivers rich, long-lasting color that won’t irritate eyes.

My Review:  I like using a dark purple eyeliner from time to time and this is a great option.  But I usually use Mac’s Prunella for this and don’t see the need to switch at the moment.

Buñuelos : {Cinnamon Sugar Chips}



IMG_4219This Mexican dessert was a favorite of mine growing up that my mom would make and buy for us. Traditionally buñuelos are in a more tostada shape….not chip shape, and you can take the time to make them from scratch but this is an easier, quicker and just as delicious way to make them from home. I love making these when we are having guests over because they are always a crowd pleaser, great to eat on their own or added to ice cream like shown above!  These will be great as a Cinco De Mayo dessert!

Directions:


IMG_4177 Combine cinnamon and sugar in a bowl until it’s a dark brown color like shown. (I never measure this out but just mix until it looks like this….feel free to do a taste test of the mixture to make sure it isn’t too cinnamon-y for you. IMG_4180I love these raw tortillas from Costco but you can use any store bought/pre-made FLOUR tortillas.
IMG_4182 IMG_4205Cut the tortillas into triangles (or keep it whole for a tostada shaped dessert). IMG_4185 Fill up a pan with veggie oil…..about 1/2 high and heat on medium/high heat. IMG_4188 Prep is KEY when making Booners (as I like to call them), because once they start cooking the process is fast!  This is my set up: pan, baking sheet with layers of paper towels to absorb the grease, cinnamon/sugar mixture bowl to dip, then serving bowl for finished chips. IMG_4194 Heat the oil. I sprinkle some water into the pan……and if it sizzles it’s ready to go. But the temp for those who love specific directions was at least 180degrees. IMG_4200 Flip booners once they are golden brown. IMG_4201Transfer cooked booners to the paper towels to soak up excess grease.
IMG_4202 Dip still warm booners into cinnamon and sugar mixture and coat both sides. IMG_4203Feel free to tap the booner a little to dust off any excess cinnamon and sugar. 
IMG_4217IMG_4228Now enjoy!

Birchbox : {March}

IMG_4167I’m not gonna lie I did not like my March Birchbox which is why I didn’t write about it at first.  Don’t get me wrong it wasn’t all bad…I just didn’t fully realize how Birchbox worked.  I thought you give them your preferences on products and they give you samples based off those products.  While this is mostly true, they don’t have unlimited samples to choose from every month….they have certain ones every month and send out the ones that best fit your preferences.  So you just might get ones you don’t really like because they don’t have any better ones to give you that month.  Does that make sense?

I found this out by writing a complaint to Birchbox about my March box contents.  Something they also pointed out (which I didn’t know before) is that I can review the products I received in my box online.  These reviews help them to know more about me and my preferences for samples and also allows me to earn points that can be used to purchase full sizes of the products.

What did I learn?:

I am not always going to get what I want from my Birchbox and I should start reviewing my products asap! (which I have started doing)

What did I get that I didn’t like:

Tea and Chocolate.  (I don’t drink caffeine, I don’t like fruit with my chocolate, and I signed up for Birchbox for beauty products)

Not sure what Birchbox is?  See my original post here.

OR want to join Birchbox click here: Sweetly Lemon Birchbox Invite

Now for the products:

IMG_4165Air Repair Rescue Balm

This all-natural salve repairs dry, cracked skin anywhere on the body. 

My Review:  This is a pretty straight forward product…very similar to Aquaphor.  I wore it on my lips and it did a great job moisturizing…but no different than other similar products.  I say save your money and invest in Aquaphor….which I am clearly in love with.

IMG_4168COOLA Tinted Matte SPF 30 for Face

Organic tinted moisturizer with lasting sun protection that evens tone and masks flaws.

My Review:  MY FAVE ITEM IN THE BOX!  I religiously wear SPF daily but I hate the greasy feeling…especially because I have combo (normal/oily) skin and it can cause break-outs.  This mouse/cream is a tinted SPF and moisturizer that doesn’t dry you out but is not greasy at all..it almost feels chalky but then when it’s on your face it is moisturizing and mattifying at the same time.

IMG_4164Curly Hair Solutions Curl Keeper

This water-based, weightless styling lotion keeps curls shiny, defined, and frizz-free. 

My Review:  This product surprised me.  I thought it would be gel-like or greasy but it is very watery and goes on easy without any stickiness or greasiness.  I have wavy hair that I usually wear straight, but I have been using this after the shower, then letting my hair dry naturally and then adding curls with my curling iron and it works great.  It keeps the frizz under control that can happen when I let my hair dry naturally.

IMG_4158Vasanti Cosmetics “BrightenUp!” Enzymatic Face Rejuvenator

This customer fave mimics effects of microdermabrasion for a bright and smooth complexion.

My Review:  I LOVE THIS!  I am a sucker for good exfoliating cleansers/scrubs and this one is up there.  It feels just like a microdermabrasion.  I am def buying the full size when I run out of my usual exfoliator.

Mighty Leaf Tea Pouches

Handpicked blend of organic tea leaves, dried fruits, and spices in a biodegradable pouch.

 My Review:  I don’t drink caffeine so I gave them away at work, but the chamomile caffeine free was delish.

 Ghirardelli Cherry Tango Square

A deep blend of dark chocolate, tangy cherry, and satisfying almond crunch.

My Review:  I am not into fruit and chocolate so I gave it to my brother.

 

Mob Gangster Birthday Party {Mike’s 35th}

IMG_4126This mob gangster birthday party was open house style from noon to 10pm with people coming and going all day.  There were classic mob movies playing round the clock, multiple outfit changes by the birthday boy, and multiple meals (subs, spaghetti, cheese and crackers, and much more).  The hostess kept calling me her “Poppa”….as in her paparazzi since I was taking all the pics haha.  I couldn’t stay the whole time to get pics of the whole night but what I got was classic and I had a blast!  Happy Birthday Mike!

IMG_3948The idea was to make the place feel like an old fashioned Italian restaurant.IMG_3950The mantel was decorated with things like pasta, wine, grapes, corks, olive oil and balsamic.IMG_3962IMG_3961IMG_4005IMG_4009Wine for days!IMG_4045IMG_4019The bar had lots of extra props for those who didn’t come dressed as gangsters.IMG_4072IMG_3946There were cigars, tommy guns, gum, pipe cleaners, and firecrackers lying around.  
IMG_3985 IMG_3999 IMG_4002Had to sneak one of my girl in there with her “gangster” glasses on.  IMG_4017IMG_4024The birthday boy in his first outfit taking people for a spin in his Corvette. IMG_4026Some luxury cars were taking up the driveway.IMG_4032I just love the little touches of Mike’s outfit.  Not only was he wearing this ring, watch and track suit…but he had a gold chain, a gun and harness under his tracksuit, gold glasses, and blue contacts. IMG_4036The hostess with the mostess in her mob-wife attire!…..it suits her.IMG_4058The birthday boys second outfit and grand entrance.  
IMG_4065Getting a boutonniere pinned by his mob-momma.  IMG_4068IMG_4071IMG_4078 IMG_4079 IMG_4081One of the games people could play was “lock picking.”  There were tons of locks with bobbi pins, paper clips, and other tools for people to try and successfully pick.
IMG_4086The hostess handling business.IMG_4088 IMG_4097Walter White aka Heisenberg sighting!!  Def a gangster!IMG_4115One last pic:  Selfie of me with some of my faves wearing no gangster attire!

A Valentine’s Day Picnic : {Evangeline’s First Birthday Party}

DSC_8578

Last year I went into labor on February 13th and we were sure that we were going to have Evangeline on Valentine’s Day.  But of course she didn’t come until February 15th at 7:18am.  Even though we just missed it by a few hours, we still call her our Valentine’s baby. So when it came time to pick a theme for her 1st birthday party there was no contest; A Valentine’s Day theme!…hearts galore!  I had so much fun dreaming up the party, and then actually carrying all those things out (with the help of some awesome friends)!  I may have gone a little overboard…the house looked like a love bomb exploded in there haha. Happy Birthday my sweet Evangeline!

DSC_8174DSC_8177When people first walked in there was this sign with instructions on the party and the picnic basket of bubbles for the kids.

DSC_8149The “Love is Sweet” garland was purchased on Etsy here!DSC_8414My friend Jenna told me about where to purchase this sign on Etsy here.  I purchased the photo, had it printed at Costco for under $5 and mounted it on black poster board. DSC_8096I bought the cake toppers here! See my Healthy Cake Smash RecipeDSC_8394DSC_8067IMG_3419DSC_8095I bought these at the $1 section at Target.DSC_8144I am in love with this table runner I got on Etsy here!  See my always soft Marshmallow Chunk Rice Krispie Treat RecipeIMG_3440DSC_8211She loved looking at pictures of herself.  I kept saying “Who is that baby!?”IMG_3443DSC_8196DSC_8172I made these gorg mason jar gold glitter “vases” special for the party…now they decorate almost every room in my home and I love it!IMG_3458DSC_8326My good friend Claire was nice enough to make some heart shaped PB&J’s for the younger ones who weren’t into the taco bar.
DSC_8163
DSC_8216DSC_8383DSC_8447We had a decorate your own heart shaped cookie table as a party favor.

DSC_8449DSC_8594DSC_8541Evangeline’s adorable dress was purchased at my favorite Etsy shop for girls dresses: Twinkle & Whim
DSC_8654Children enjoyed the parachute games, park play ground, and bubbles.  DSC_8683DSC_8693DSC_8721See my Gold Heart Piñata DIYDSC_8924The piñata was a little too tough to break for the kiddies so my husband ripped it apart.DSC_8974The end result of the cake smash….no cake smashed haha.  Thank you Karla & Heather for decorating the high chair! DSC_9045We were so blessed by our friends and family.DSC_9058We had to sneak in a costume change to try on one of her new outfits while she played with her new toys. DSC_9004All tuckered out!  It was a great party with our lil’ nugget.

DietBet : {Heidi & Chris Powell}

Screen Shot 2014-03-07 at 8.48.55 PM

I follow Chris Powell on Instagram and he posted today about a weight loss game where you can win money (The pot is at $41,400 right now).  The game is hosted by a website called DietBet and I JUST JOINED! I am so excited to hopefully win some money!

How it works:

You’ve got 4 weeks to lose 4% of your starting weight. To begin, everyone puts $30 into the pot. After four weeks, whoever’s hit their 4% goal is a winner and splits the pot.

Check it out at: http://www.dietbetter.com/games/38335

Wish me luck!