TONE IT UP Workout : {Birthday Workout With My Gals}

IMG_5066 I love celebrating my birthday every year with my girlfriends….yes I love my birthday and I’m not ashamed to admit it!  This year, we were lucky enough to go to a free group workout by my fave fitness trainers…..Karena and Katrina from Toneitup.com ! I am a Tone it up member and I love this program and these ladies (even if my waistline doesn’t always show it lol).  They are so positive and encouraging and you can’t help but want to be healthy when watching their videos or following them on social media.  So when I found out they were having a workout in Manhattan Beach, CA (35ish minutes from me)….I begged my girlfriends to come join me as a birthday celebration and luckily most of them could make it!  It was so much fun…but holy cow was it exhausting! These girls kicked my butt!
IMG_5069We worked out at an empty sound stage on a studio lot.IMG_5067They had a table set up in the back with free Perfect Fit protein shake samples and Perfect Fit Tone It Up brownies. 
IMG_5068The brownies where flourless and made with bananas and the protein powder…I want the recipe!IMG_5077They gave everyone a little bag with a sample of the Perfect Fit Vanilla protein powder, a recipe card, and a cute little Perfect Fit drink umbrella!IMG_5071IMG_5070We are ready to workout!…or so we thoughtIMG_5078It was a bit of a quiet room which surprised me…I kept giving out little hoots because I was so excited when they came out!
IMG_5156This pic is from their instagram of the event…best part…LIL JON was the DJ!!  It was so bomb!  I wanted to stop working out and just have a dance party! Our initial stretch was to his song and we said “To the window (stretch one direction), to the wall (stretch the other direction), ’til the sweat drops down your exercise ball!” (giggles ensued)IMG_5087Seriously we were dead after!  I have never sweated so much in my entire life…plyo jumps are no joke!IMG_5095We quickly freshened up and changed clothes in the parking structure, applied a lot of deodorant and body spray, and headed out to a celebratory dinner (we earned it right??).  We went to Hudson House in Redondo Beach.  (If you are a top chef fan…the owner is runner up contestant Brooke Williamson).IMG_5094They had delicious cocktails (like this tiki drink), and the truffle fries and pretzel burger where to die for! 
IMG_5171And there we are, front and center (well a little to the left).  Such a fun time! Thanks K & K for a great birthday!  If you have never checked out their workout videos…do it! So fun!  

XOXO,
Care

I’m A Winner : {Le Mignon Macaron}

IMG_6937Le Mignon Macarons recently had a giveaway via their Instagram account for a free dozen macarons…and I won!  I was so excited and they were so delish that I had to share about it.  Le Mignon sells macarons for weddings, parties, and to order just for yourself haha.  Go on and check them out!  I received three flavors: Salted Caramel, Matcha Green Tea, and Vanilla.  They were all so delicious…I think the green tea was my fave! (My hubby’s was the caramel).
IMG_6939

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!

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!

Marshmallow Chunk Rice Krispie Treats

IMG_3430

When planning desserts for Evangeline’s Valentine’s Day birthday party I wanted to do heart shaped rice krispie treats like this one I saw on Pinterest:

KoreanAmericanMommyRiceKrispyPopsCute right!?  Well one thing it says in the directions is to press down on the rice krispies after cooking…which makes sense…BUT I have had bad luck with pushing rice krispie treats down in the pan after cooking.  Sure it makes them perfectly shaped but when I press treats down they always come out chewy and hard after a while.  And I wanted to make the treats the day before the party so I needed the treats to stay soft.

What ended up happening is I made super soft rice krispie treats but they didn’t make cute, neat hearts so I ended up with just regular rice krispie “squares” (sorta haha).  But I got a lot of compliments on them because people loved the giant chunks of marshmallows in them.  Enjoy!

Ingredients:

  • 10oz Bag of Regular sized marshmallows (THIS IS KEY: if you want the chunks don’t use mini marshmallows)
  • 7 Cups of Rice Krsipies
  • 4tbsp Butter

Directions:

IMG_3389In a large pot on low heat begin to melt butter down. 

IMG_3393 Once butter is almost all melted, throw in marshmallows (keep heat low).  Stir marshmallows to coat with butter.  Marshmallows will begin to melt down, stir occasionally (this will show just how melty the marshmallows really are).   You want the marshmallows to be melted down about 85%, leaving smaller marshmallow chunks.  Remove from heat.IMG_3394 As soon as you remove the marshmallows from heat pour the rice krispies into the pot and stir (I used a pyrex rubber spatula).  Its important not to over stir (like biscuits), as soon as the rice krispies are coated with mallow, poor into a greased pan, and DON’T press down.IMG_3395Allow to cool completely prior to cutting.  You can see the large marshmallow chunks in the pan…yummy!  I kept mine in the pan and covered with a towel, then cut them the next day (still soft!)
IMG_3416

Healthy Smash Cake : {Healthy Banana Bread}

IMG_3412When it came time for my daughters 1st birthday party I immediately got nervous about her cake.  I know it’s tradition to give your child their first bit of sweets on their birthday but I desperately didn’t want to.  Now TRUST ME when I say I am not judging other moms that have, this is personal.  I am someone who LOVES sweets and has struggled my whole life to eat them in moderation…and I guess I don’t want my daughter to have that struggle.  Also she has already had sugar haha.  I came home from work one day to find out that my mom had fed my daughter donut holes for breakfast (this was months ago btw)…so she has had enough for the year.  Plus I already struggle with getting her to eat the fruit and veggies on her tray over her toast and meats…so why add another food distraction for her?  (My little sister was like this….I think she would only eat Cheeto Puffs and macaroni and cheese for the first 5 years of her life haha).  Anyway, so in order to give E a smash cake, I decided to make a healthy banana bread cake.

The Bad News:  I couldn’t for the life of me figure out a healthy frosting so she got regular whipped vanilla frosting.  AND she didn’t eat any of the cake or frosting at her actual party!  In a nutshell she had a meltdown with frosting all over and wanted out of that chair ASAP.

The Good News:  The day before when I was leveling off the cake to make even layers I gave her the excess and she loved it!  (With no frosting) 

And who cares that the picturesque cake smash didn’t go as planned haha…I have enough “cute” moments with this girl to last a lifetime!

Ingredients:

  • 4 Ripe Bananas
  • 2 Individual Unsweetened All-Natural Applesauce Containers
  • 3tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 2 Eggs (Beaten)
  • 1/4 Cup Non-Fat Greek Yogurt
  • 1 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1tsp Baking Soda
  • 1/2tsp Salt
  • 1tsp Cinnamon
  • 1/4tsp Nutmeg
  • (Optional): Nuts & sugar or natural sweetener such as honey, agave, or stevia

Directions:

Preheat oven to 350.
IMG_3369 Rachael Ray says instead of peeling bananas and mashing them, squish them inside the peel, then peel and place in the bowl.  Supposedly when using bananas to cook with, it helps make the bread fluffier. 
IMG_3371
My bananas were not fully mashed which left chunks in my bread…this wasn’t a problem for me, but if you don’t want chunks, then take a spoon and mash the bananas down a little more in the bowl.IMG_3383I didn’t measure the applesauce, I just used two of these individual containers.IMG_3374Combine applesauce, bananas, yogurt and vanilla.IMG_3378 Beat the eggs prior to mixing into the applesauce/banana mixture.IMG_3379 In a separate bowl mix the dry ingredients, then combine with the wet ingredients.IMG_3382Pour into two 6″ greased cake pans.  (Just divide the batter in half), bake at 350 for 25-30 minutes.  (Toothpick center of cake to make sure it is done).
IMG_3385You can see the banana chunks in mine.IMG_3398Clearly I didn’t divide my batter in half haha! (Do as I say, not as I do).  Let cool on a wire rack.  It’s a pretty solid cake and won’t break easily, so let them cool flat side down.  IMG_3401 Once cakes are cool, level off the tops using a sharp knife.  (I used a serrated knife)IMG_3404After in was leveled and cooled I placed them on top of each other to ensure they were level and then placed on a cardboard cake base prior to frosting.  This is key because you need to be able to move it from your cake stand to the high chair!DSC_8955

Drooling for Doughnuts : {Redbook Magazine Feature}

A few months back I featured a recipe about my knock-off of the Cronut….the Kronut.  Well this month Redbook Magazine came out with 10 delicious donut recipes and they featured my Kronut as one of them!  Be sure to check it out and all the other great donut recipes featured!  Also be sure to like and share it!

http://www.redbookmag.com/recipes-home/tips-advice/homemade-doughnut-recipes-5#slide-3

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Christmas {The Highlight Reel}

Since I wasn’t blogging during Christmas time I thought I would show a highlight reel!

Graham Cracker Toffee:
IMG_2781 IMG_2804Pecan Pie Bars:

(I used this recipe and it is amazing!  The only thing I did differently is that I used wax paper instead of foil…MUCH easier!)IMG_2761 IMG_2777 IMG_2821DIY Photo Coasters (Gave as Xmas gifts):
IMG_2686 IMG_2817 IMG_2834Cinnamon Rolls:IMG_3118IMG_3124 IMG_3125IMG_2162Butter Cookies:

(I got lazy and just cut them instead of using cute cookie cutters)
IMG_3151IMG_3157 IMG_3158 IMG_3177Molasses Cookies:IMG_3154 IMG_3169A few personal photos:
IMG_2127E’s First snow
IMG_2155 She passed out in Dad’s office following Christmas Eve ServiceIMG_2173Christmas Day E got this little buggy and loved it!IMG_2184 I got the Target Bar Cart from my hubby!  I LOVE IT!

Hope you all had an amazing and blessed Christmas!