Weekend Shenanigans

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter, or just a wonderful Sunday.  We had a fun-filled weekend.  Lots and lots of eating.  On Friday we dyed eggs and ate pizza, Saturday we baked cupcakes, and Sunday we tried to go on a morning hike, but the rain decided to bless us with its presence, so instead we met friends for brunch.  I made a big, yummy Easter feast for dinner, for the hubby and I.  Now time to get back to the healthy eating and cutting out the sweets.  I’ve been doing so well, but caved this past weekend.  It’s ok, life isn’t fun unless you treat yourself to treats. Ha!

Oh yeah, Happy April Fool’s Day!!!

Excuse the hair and attire, it was a super casual day.

Homemade cupcakes from scratch.

My new cake stand the husband gave me for Easter.  Love!

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Curiously Cacao

Cacao bean trees grow on tropical rain forest plantations in South America.  The trees grow pods, (cacao pods) on them after about 2-3 years.  Some trees produce pods year round.  If left on the tree too long, the pods turn black. (bad).  Each pod contains 20-70 beans (seeds).  The cacao bean rest in a delicious cream-colored, acidic, aromatic pulp, which aids the fermentation process.  This makes the process of making chocolate possible.  When these pods are broken open you want to use only the white seeds and nothing else.  Unfortunately most chocolate companies use all of the seeds, good and bad, to save money.  But, what these companies don’t tell you is that the other seeds used are moldy.  So essentially you are eating chocolate made with moldy cacao seeds.

When the husband and I decided to go on this venture, to learn more about chocolate, we visited Chocolate Maya.  Maya Schoop-Rutten, owner and operator of Chocolate Maya, gave us a great overview of what “real” chocolate is.  She was so informative and educated about all of the ins and outs of making “good’ chocolate.  Quality chocolate, made from the best cacao nibs is what you want to ingest, not your everyday chocolate bar.  Sorry folks.

So, next time you want to indulge in a piece of chocolate think twice.  Unless you have purchased it from the best, Chocolate Maya.

 Chocolate Maya

15 West Gutierrez Street

Santa Barbara, CA 93101

Currently Noshing…

I’m starting a new weekly series of our current favorite foods in our household, that we are noshing on.  (eating almost greedily).  Hope you enjoy and always feel free to share what your family eats.
This week happens to be these…

Mandarin Oranges! Easy to peel, no seeds, and the PERFECT sweetness.

Green Spring Smoothie

We are huge smoothie fans over in this household, are you?  If so this is an easy, healthy, yummy smoothie that will keep you satisfied for hours. (I’m trying to lose weight, so being filled for hours is good for me).  I do not like sweet smoothies, so if this smoothie is not sweet enough for you, just add more fruit.

Happy Blending!

Green Spring Smoothie

 1/2 of a cucumber

10 green grapes

2 cups spinach

3 stalks of celery

1 scoop of maca powder (optional)

1 kiwi (optional)

Blend all together. Vitamix or Blendtec work best.

Valentine’s Day

 Happy Valentine’s Day!

 We started our morning off with lots of kisses and hugs.  I got to deliver all of my little treats last night, because the husband said he planned something special for the two of us tonight.  So we’ll see what the mister has in order.  He always has great surprises!

Yesterday was a full on bake day.  With lots of goodies packed up to deliver to our friends.  We wanted to let them know how much we love them and appreciate having them in our lives.

ps check out the red chocolate chips, they’re perfect for Valentine’s Day.

 Hope you have a wonderful Valentine’s Day!

A Birthday Celebration

Last night we celebrated a good friend’s birthday.  We went to an amazing restaurant in Santa Barbara, called Opal.  The food was great, the company was fun, and the ambiance was perfect.  Celebrating birthdays is always fun and special, because you get to be surrounded by good, close friends.

Happy Birthday, Stephanie!

Also, yesterday I found this, and it was a really great reminder of how to be…

Sunday Bakeday

Remember Sunday funday? Well this is sorta the same thing, minus drinking.  Most of my girlfriends don’t drink, so we find other things fun to do.  This last Sunday I baked and had some girlfriends over to help, and eat cookies.  I actually ended up baking the cookies the night before, and then frosting them on Sunday.  They sure were yummy!  We sat around chatted and snacked.  I sure do love my girlfriends, they mean the world to me.  Thanks girls for being in my life.

xo

A Nice Outing

  The husband and I are pretty much homebodies, but occasionally we venture out.  We have certain things that we do and we sort of stick to that pattern.  We have always done date night, which I think is very important in a marriage.  One of our first dates was eating pho soup.  A good friend of mine from the old days introduced me to pho years ago, and I have loved it ever since.  So when the husband (at the time boyfriend) asked if I liked pho, almost immediately I knew I found a good partner. (I’m being silly, it wasn’t just pho.  Haha).  So that was the beginning of our pho dates.  If you don’t know, pho soup is a Vietnamese dish consisting of broth, noodles made from rice, a few herbs, and meat.  And it’s amazing!  Sometimes on our dates we have friends join.  Last night we brought our good friend Stephanie along.  She had never tried pho, and I think we got her hooked.  After we decided to try a little gelato place we saw on our walk to dinner.  Yum, Yum, Yum, is all I can say.  If you’re local (Santa Barbara), try Spoon, it will not disappoint.

The Best Pancake You Will Ever Have!

  I must share with you the most amazing pancake that I have ever had.  It is so easy to make.  Some refer to it as a Dutch pancake or a puff pancake. You will never want a regular pancake again.  If I didn’t have to worry about gaining weight I’d eat this more than I’d admit, for sure.

Here is what you’ll need:

2 eggs

1/2 cup milk

1/2 cup flour

dash of salt

dash of cinnamon

1 tbsp butter

Preheat oven to 425.

Whisk together the eggs, milk, flour, salt and cinnamon in a bowl.

While oven is preheating, melt the butter in a pie pan or a 9 inch square pan.

Pour the batter into the hot melted butter pan.

Bake 10-12 minutes or until pancake is firm and puffed around the edges.

Serve with powdered sugar, maple syrup and/or fruit.

 YUM YUM YUM!!!

A Little Bit Of This, A Little Bit Of That…