Friday, April 11, 2014

Coconut Macaroons

Easy-Peasy. I made these as a procrastination effort. I didn't want to study. Funny, I'm currently typing this post as a procrastination effort. I don't want to study. These macaroons took me 15 minutes tops to throw together. The majority of that time was spent holding a hand mixer upright. This recipe is minimal effort for maximum reward. (Is that from a bow-flex commercial?)

I've been on a coconut obsession lately if you haven't already noticed. These coconut macaroons are coco-crazy. Shredded coconut, and coconut flour makes sure every mound is coconut overload in a completely wonderful way. I made these little cookies into big high mounds so they'd crisp nicely on top but stay super soft, and fluffy, and light on the inside. Mission accomplished. Now back to math.

Ingredients & Recipe
makes 12 large cookies
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1/8 Teaspoon salt (optional)
  • 1/2 cup Sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups of Shredded coconut (I used a mix of sweetened and unsweetened)
  • 1/4 cup (scant) of coconut flour
Line your baking sheet with parchment paper and preheat the oven to 300 F.

Use a medium sized or small bowl and beat your egg whites with an electric mixer until they create soft peaks, this takes a few minutes so have patience. add the salt and spoon in the sugar a bit at a time. Beat the whites well between each addition of sugar. Beat until all sugar is dissolved and the egg whites are stiff and shiny. Fold in the vanilla, coconut, and coconut flour gently with a spatula.
Using two large spoons scoop the mix out and form large mounds. Drop the rounded mounds onto the cookie sheet.
Bake for 20-23 minutes. Until the macaroons are browned lightly on the outside.

See the before baking... Like snowballs, aww. And the after... like deliciousness, mmm

I know everyone has a different recipe for these fluffy coconut balls, what's yours?

Saturday, April 5, 2014

Grapefruit Brulee with Toasted Coconut and Coconut Cream

I've been having Grapefruit a lot lately. Partially because I've been testing the waters of Gluten-Free living (please please please, let it not help me feel healthier, I love my gluten.) And mostly because it's delicious.

Let's bump it up like 6 notches though and throw it in a scorching oven with some sweetener and shredded coconut. Let's let it get all caramelized on top, and warm in the middle, and really make that citrus juice as sweet as it can get. After all that we'll call it a brulee and eat it for breakfast. 
We'll probably eat it with coconut cream too, dairy free, amazingly rich, and slightly sweet. I like putting a huge dollop on top and letting it melt into all the little bits. yummmmm. The more coconut the better. Clearly.

As an added bonus this recipe is unintentionally vegan, dairy free, and gluten free. Crazy right?! Serve it up at a brunch party with confidence!

Ingredients & Recipe
serves 1 or 2 grapefruit halves

For the Grapefruit Brulee
  • 1 Grapfruit, sliced in half
  • 1/2 Tablespoon (roughly) of coconut nectar
  • 1 Tablespoon (roughly) of unsweetened shredded coconut
For the Coconut Cream
  • 1 Can of full fat coconut milk
  • 1 Tablespoon of coconut nectar
  • 1 teaspoon of vanilla extract
Preheat your oven on the broiler setting. Slice your grapefruit in half and pre-slice around the peel, and slice each segment, being careful not to slice through the peel. Top each half with a 1/2 Tablespoon squirt of coconut nectar (brown sugar or white sugar would work here also).
Place on a baking sheet and put under the broiler for around 5-7 minutes, or until the sugars are just starting to brown. Take the grapefruit out briefly so you can add the shredded coconut, then pop it back in. Keep a close eye and pull it out when the coconut is tasted to your preference.

To make the coconut cream: Leave a full fat can of coconut milk in the fridge overnight. The next morning open the can, being careful to jostle and shake it as little as possible. On top will be a very thick layer of coconut deliciousness. Scoop the thick coconut into a blender or food processor. Leave behind the watery substance at the bottom (it makes great smoothie liquid!) Add the coconut nectar and vanilla and pulse until smooth and creamy. This will keep in the fridge for a few days. it's also delicious with sherbet, or scones, (or on rice cakes, I'm addicted...)

Sounds like Sunday brunch to me! What's a favourite breakfast food you like to "treat" yourself to?

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

March Makeup + Beauty Favourites

So that was March huh? It went by like nobody's business. I can't even think of too much that happened in march. But that's dwelling on the past, it's not March now. it's April, Bunny season! 
I also have to say if anyone's noticed my  lack of online participation and made the connection that it's exam time then 4 for you Glen Coco!

**Something exciting did happen! If you read my February Faves you know I was on the hunt for a vanity type situation... I found one! At Target! on clearance! It's perfect! (I'll be planning a makeup organization post just as soon as I get everything the way I want, and find myself a chair, lame but true.)
My favourites for March have been mostly scent and convenience based. An interesting combination but that's the way it goes.

  • Up & up (target brand) Cleansing cloths
  • Pink Sugar perfume
  • Rimmel Stay matte pressed powder in 003 Natural
  • TheBalm Mary-Lou Manizer highlighter/shimmer/luminizer
  • Hard Candy Lipstick in 200 Fire alarm
  • Cake Beauty's Be Delectable triple moisture body lotion and body wash in Strawberry & Cream
The cleansing cloths have been awwweeesome lately because honestly, I've been too lazy to properly wash my face. I'm terrible, I know. I'm a bad example. But seriously, These cloths came in a 2-pack (meaning 60 of them) for very cheap. If you ask me, their worth it, haven't broken me out and clean my face well enough to go to sleep.

The Rimmel stay matte powder, Mary-Lou manizer, and Hard Candy Lipstick have all been working very well together lately. It's been a great routine along with whatever bb cream/blush combo I've gone with that morning.

I've saved the best for last. The Be Delectable line by Cake Beauty has become my new obsession! It's actually, no joke, the best thing I've smelled in... years. I got the same excitement smelling this body lotion as when I first smelled Thierry Mugler's Alien perfume in '09 (that's meant to be slightly humorous, but at the same time completely truthful). Imagine a creamy whipped strawberry dessert that makes your entire bathroom smell like your washing yourself with angelfood cake. Mitch says it makes me smell like Campinos. Fine by me. It's made with coconut oil as well which is a plus in my books with my sensitive skin. I'll be doing a post on the whole lien soon, they're a new long time favourite for sure.
I just spray Pink Sugar, an old standby, on after for ultimate sweet scent.

What were your faves this past month?

Monday, March 24, 2014

Housewarming with House Plants in Houses

One of my very best friends recently moved into a new place, with new room mates to boot. That's always a bit daunting, exciting, refreshing. A housewarming gift was obviously necessary. And what could be more perfect than a little plant to decorate her new space!

I saw the tutorial for Polymer Clay plant houses at Say Yes and knew I had to make them!

I followed the tutorial pretty much to the tee for the first little pot I made (I cut my own template, I didn't print theirs) then free formed my next two houses. I even added a little roof to one of them! I think they are absolutely adorable!

I gave her the prickly little cactus, but couldn't bear to part with the other two. They are just too darn adorable. And, I still have enough clay left for at least one more house, too!
I'm imagining a whole little village on tiny plants in my living room!

Polymer clay is rather easy to work with, but it's not food safe to make sure you cover your work area (if your work are is your kitchen table, like me)  in parchment paper or foil. I also simply followed the baking directions on the package for my particular brand of polymer clay, I know they can differ.

For the centre house I used a heart shaped ring to create little heart "windows". But you could make impressions with all kinds of things!

Again you can find full instructions for these mini homes here. There are so many things you can make with polymer clay, what other things can you come up with?

Sunday, March 16, 2014

Raw Sea Salt Tahini Caramels

The first raw dessert situation I was ever in involved my first roommate. She was really into raw and vegan eating at the time. And one weekend, she made vegan cheesecake squares. There was no cheese, no cream, no sugar, no delicious baking ingredients. Sounds impossible, I know. Hang on, it gets more intense.
There was, however, cocoa powder, lemons, dates, zuchinni (yes), and water logged cashews, not to mention other ingredients so obscure I cannot remember.
They took her about 3 hours to make, she made a disastrous mess of the kitchen, and the squares needed to be kept in the freezer at all times. But man oh man, those were one of the most delicious things I've ever had!

If your not familiar with raw desserts, well then just let me tell you! They are sweet treats made to imitate your favourite fatty, sugary, sweet, cakey, baked goods. They taste delicious, sometimes identical to the sugary guys, except they are made with much healthier ingredients! Usually nuts, vegetables, dates, or flour alternatives. They also tend to be any combination of sugar free/gluten free/vegan/dairy free, etc, etc.
They can sometimes freak people out if you tell them what's in them before they actually eat it. (I usually don't tell Mitch what's in them until after he's told me it's delicious.)

Raw desserts have a freshness and bright taste to them that you don't get from regular baked goods. They don't leave you feeling "ugh, why did I eat that!?" afterwards. (Although the calorie count can be comparable/higher that regular baked desserts. Be careful, haha)

These Sea Salt caramels are amazing! They are sweet and salty, so soft and slightly nutty. Similar taste to halva, but I think these caramels are so much better! And suuuuper easy to make, They took me about 5 minutes. Zero exaggerations. This is a great recipe to try if you want to venture into raw desserts.

RECIPE & INGREDIENTS from Practically Raw Desserts by Amber Shea Crawly
1/2 cup tahini paste
1/4 cup coconut flour
1/4 cup coconut nectar
1/4 tsp or more coarse sea salt

Combine tahini paste, coconut flour and coconut nectar in a bowl. Line a small tray or container with plastic wrap and add caramel mixture. Flatten mixture onto bottom of tray with your fingertips so it is spread in an even layer. Sprinkle top with sea salt. Place in the freezer until firm (a few hours).
Remove from freezer and cut into mouth-popping-size squares. Alternatively, you can roll the squares and wrap them in parchment paper. Keep frozen when you're not snacking on them.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Simplest of Simple: My Favourite Salad

Salads are pretty much the easiest thing to make ever. But they can also be really... for lack of a better word, dumb. I've had some awkward salads in my day. Romaine lettuce - Raw cashews - Balsamic vinegar. Or what about the Spinach and soy nuts combo with italian dressing? That's what happens when I need to grocery shop.

If you've got the right ingredients you can whip together some pretty far out combinations. They don't need to be fancy ingredients, just enough ingredients that the salad actually has variety and textures to it. Lettuce in a bowl is not a salad, even if you add croutons and shredded carrots. That's basically admitting that it's the laundry day for your fridge.

My absolute favourite restaurant salad is Milestone's California Spring Salad. I think it was the first time I ever had goat cheese in a salad, or maybe strawberries, or something else delicious. Mixed greens, spicy toasted pecans, red onion, honey mustard vinaigrette, and like I said, strawberries and goat cheese. Whoa! So easy, so awesome. I make variations at home all the time. No shame.

This is how we do it:

I mean, I really don't need to teach you how to make a salad, but here we go anyway.

  • Goat cheese-  this one was honey flavoured because it's fancy and because it was on sale
  • Strawberries - Strawberries
  • Roasted almonds & dried cranberries - unsalted nuts because we're health conscious today
  • homemade vinaigrette - AKA: olive oil + balsamic vinegar with a few turns of ground pepper
  • red onion chopped fine - just go with it
  • mixed baby greens - The baby ones are easier to eat in huge forkfuls (and cuter)
See how easy it is to mix and match flavours? Go crazy. Sub blackberries, pecans, spinach, asian dressing, italian dressing. Add cucumber, avocado (do it!), tomato, cabbage, whatever! Salads are easy!

What's your ultimate homemade salad?

Thursday, March 6, 2014

February Makeup + Beauty Favourites

February went by so fast! I know everybody always says something along those lines at the end of every month, but seriously. What happened? I was super busy most of February and didn't have too much time for a lot of makeup so I tended to stick with neutrals, and natural looks. Well I should say look, because I didn't really change it up at all.

I broke into both my makeup and perfume boxes that have been packed up since we moved, meaning I finally have more of a makeup and perfume selection! whoo hoo! It also means the bathroom is about 10x messier and I desperately need some form of vanity/makeup organization in the bedroom. Does anyone have any suggestions? I've been scouring Pinterest for days weeks.

  • Rimmel Scandaleyes eye shadow stick in 002 Bulletproof
  • Rimmel Eyeshadow quad in 018 Romantic Cool (especially colours 1 & 3)
  • Covergirl Flamed out mascara in Very Black Blaze
  • Maybelline Baby Lips balm in 30 Peach Kiss (I did a full post on these balms already!)
  • Benefit Whatt's Up! Highlighter in Soft Focus
  • Simple vital vitamin Restoring Night Cream
  • The Balm Mary-Lou Manizer highlighter/shimmer/luminizer

I've been loving the Rimmel Scandaleyes shadow stick as a highlight on my inner eye corners as well as a all over colour on my lid. I also line my bottom lash line with i as well. Heck I just put it everywhere apparently! I picked it up in January and have really been taking advantage of it ever since.

My Flamed out mascara is still my favourite! I think it'll be tough to sway me from this one for a while 2 months and counting

I've been on a highlighter and luminizer kick the last few weeks. Mary-Lou Manizer has been a staple for me for ages. I only got Whatt's up as a birthday gift in January, I have been loving the cream texure, especially on places like the bridge of my nose and brow bone. When I use this little travel-size up, I'll be picking up a full-size for sure. 

What were your makeup must-haves last month? If you do favourite posts I'd love to see them too!
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