Not as planned…

25 Jun

Hey everyone!
I am at Disney world and it is every bit as amazing as I hoped and then some :)
Unfortunately I dont have free internet like I thought I would, and while my dad may pay the ten dollar per day fee for a conference call on Monday, I am def not paying for that a whole bunch of days. My backup plan was to post from my moms phone like I am now but the app is obnoxious and pictures are not really working. :(
Soooo while I’m around stalking and tweeting as usual i won’t be posting at least until Monday and then we will see what happens. I realize that missing out on the mundane details of my silly life is probably not cause for devastation on your part but i figured id explain anyways!! :)
Have a fab weekend until i see you next! Also i am attempting to load one picture, we’ll see if it crashes the app again… Sigh.

anyone have any tips for this stupid WordPress app?!

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off to neverland!

24 Jun

And by Neverland, I mean DISNEY WORLD. (And by the time you get this I’m probably somewhere in the air, or perhaps stuck in an airport, but hopefully not).

All my bags are packed, I’m ready to go…

Last time I was at Disney WORLD was 16-ish years ago for my 5th birthday. I’m probably just as excited now as I was then. We call it “youthful exuberance” not “immaturity”. Don’t judge.

I’ll be around & posting from time to time with perhaps a few special-guest-speakers, but I figured I’d announce my departure. I’ll also probably post more pictures from my FIRST Disney World adventure because, well, I was cuter then. ;)

True story.

Incredibly important question: Who is your FAVORITE Disney princess? Or if you’re not into princesses (you’re being judged), fave Disney character?!

Have you ever been to Disney World?! TIPS & TRICKS PLEASE!

comatose ovens & crunchy crackers.

23 Jun

Those of you who follow me on twitter may have seen me whining about my oven being, well, defunct. It is true. And you can only imagine my devastation.

My best friend chalked it up to an overuse injury. But I told her that the prolonged periods of rest followed by short spurts of activity were meant to be interval training! And besides, it wasn’t anything I baked that caused the problem… You see, my oven took up smoking, and you know, smoking kills…

My mom baked a little tray of Trader Joe’s cinnamon bun-things for a get-together the other day and for one reason or another it left some residue at the bottom of the oven. I went to preheat it the next day to bake some cookies & I realized that my oven was smoking.

The logical next step was to try to make my oven come clean. But the clean cycle sadly left my oven nonresponsive, in a coma, if you will. It’s still displaying a little red “FO” (maybe for “eff off?”) and a sadly incorrect time, and NONE of the buttons work.

Fortunately there is another oven in my life… my toaster oven.

Hooray for the convection bake setting!

So when my dad scoured through the pantry and found nothing with which to eat his hummus (we’re clearing the pantry/fridge for a 10-day vacation), I was still able to oblige with some socca crackers courtesy of the lovely Ashley.

Actually, I first made these last week with my real oven, but had to make a batch today to use up the hummus… difficult life I lead.

Mine were a little different as I’m kind of stingy with my raw buckwheat groats… So I just used 1/2 cup of chickpea flour, 3 tablespoons nutritional yeast, 1/2 cup of water, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1/2 teaspoon onion powder and mixed it all up and sprinkled it with sea salt, then baked for awhile. Head to the real recipe here for better directions & pictures. :)

The recipe is delightfully simple and while mine aren’t as pretty as Ashley’s (but really, that’s damn near impossible) they were crispy and delicious and psuedo-cheesy. And I may or may not have licked up the batter. I have a thing for nooch. It’s a problem.

I was kind of curious about the nutritionals on these babies and found that if you make a half-batch with 2 tablespoons of nutritional yeast (extra nooch = love), it’s about 150 calories and 13.6 grams of protein and 6.4 grams of fiber. Not too shabby! I’ll definitely be stocking some garbanzo flour in my kitchen next year. :)

Oh, and the hummus?

Mission accomplished. :)

What do you do when you’re trying to clear out your pantry, etc? 

Ever dealt with a broken oven? 

foodie & the chocolate factory

22 Jun

Or: How we took on Fremont.

When my guests were here last week we made a trip to a very special part of Seattle… Fremont. If you’ve never been there, you really should go. It’s a little zany, kinda hippie, and just generally adorable. Here are some snapshots of our day, which most notably included a visit to a real, live, bean-to-bar chocolate factory.

The adventure started right outside our car with weird hieroglyphic-type drawings on the wall… Apparently there was some miscommunication regarding whether we were posing like them or pretending to carve them. Cue me looking ridiculous.

As we walked along we almost instantly stopped into PCC to get lunch. PCC is probably my favorite place ever; it’s the local and possibly slightly cheaper version of Whole Foods. I didn’t snap a pic, but I DID get some pictures with the super-cute puppy outside…

No I’m not making out with the dog

Yes my nails are all different colors, and yes I love Zevia.

We of course had to stop at the Fremont Troll. I got to thinking about it and I’m honestly not sure if I’d ever seen it in person before. Why yes, I have lived in the Seattle area for 20 years…

My friend Tiffany was also interviewed on the news about the graffiti on the poor Troll… so I’m famous by association?

After meandering around a bit and trying to go to a cheese shop that was converted into a skate shop (disappointing, I know) we finally wound back up at Theo chocolate factory for our afternoon tour.

Theo, short for theobroma cacao (aka cocoa plants) and not the name of the owner, specializes in delicious, organic, free-trade chocolates.

The tour itself was super fun. I wish I hadn’t been so brain-dead and had been able to retain some of the information, but it was an experience nonetheless… an experience quite enriched by the stunning headgear.

And oh, the vats of cocoa beans. Eventually to be hulled and ground to nibs. I love cocoa nibs. Plain, 100% chocolate? Yes, please.

Poor worker unknowingly subjected to my photographic whims… There were lots of machines but I forget what they all do, it was hot in there & I was just in awe…

Also, look at how much sugar they have. Can you imagine what I could BAKE with that much sugar?!?

Even so, the “confections” they make by hand on-site are not exactly anything I would turn my nose up at.

I opted for the most adventurous of the three: salted & chili-peppered caramel. It was pretty good though I really do prefer chocolate.

Luckily for me there were ample opportunities to sample, well, every single kind of chocolate you can possibly imagine in the main foyer. My favorite was probably the 70% dark chocolate, or the dark with orange, or with chili. (Sneak preview: There may or may not be Theo chocolates involved in a giveaway I’ll prob announce next week… ;) ).

Overall, it was a really fun experience. It was also really cool to see a company that seems really committed to sustainable and ethical practices putting their dreams into action. And while my friends were a bit chocolate-d out, it was kind of awesome to be able to sample so many different kinds!

Have you ever visited a chocolate factory? What’s your fave kind of chocolate? :)

wordful [what-i-ate] wednesday

21 Jun

It’s (basically) time for WIAW! I always post on Tuesday. And let’s be honest this is what I ate over a week ago. And now that I’m writing it up I’ve realized I did not adequately photograph this day, but that’s okay. I’m all about them words. :) (Jason Mraz, anyone?)


Breakfast

This was while my guests were still in town. Actually, it was the day I made those banana-almond muffins.

But before I made those, there was french toast for me (I was up early…)

This is the easiest, most basic french toast ever. Just a couple pieces of bread that I let sit out of the package overnight, dipped in 1/3 cup egg beaters + a couple tablespoons milk + a couple dashes cinnamon & sugar. Cooked in a nonstick pan. Perfection.

Yayyy maple syrup.

Lunch

Not pictured… we went to visit my Microsoft & ate lunch there. I had a massive salad as I am going through serious salad-bar withdrawals.

We also visited a very tall building with a lovely view of Bellevue & Seattle across the lake.

However, it was also incredibly windy. Witness below.

Also, this sign spoke to me… because I am sort of a decrepit old lady about half the time, and my friends make fun of me.

And here’s the three of us patiently waiting to be picked up.

Dinner

I had delicious Thai take out with all of my best girl friends. This also wasn’t pictured. I fail, I’m sorry!

Dessert

Okay, don’t burn me at the stake, but I made cake. From a mix. Angel Food Cake, to be exact.

It’s one my goals in life to bake an Angel Food Cake from scratch but this mix was actually pretty good. Not entirely sure how (nor am I sure that I want to know) but the batter was extremely fluffy and beat-able. Yay chemistry?

This was amazing when paired with heated frozen berries and just a smidge of vanilla ice cream. I’m just sayin’.

What’s the best thing you’ve eaten recently?

Have you ever made angel food cake?? Or do you have a favorite cake mix? 

cocoa for coconut [cookies & coupon code!]

20 Jun

Spoiler: My mom says these are the best cookies I’ve ever made.

And considering the sheer number of cookie recipes on my recipe page (which I haven’t updated in like two months, oops), that has to be saying a lot.

But let’s backtrack, shall we?

A few weeks ago I was approached by the very-sweet Jen from Kelapo Coconut, asking if I’d like to do a review of their virgin coconut oil. Having experimented with coconut oil once before, I was more than happy to oblige. However, I was in the thick of finals so I had them send it to my home address and upon arriving was ecstatic to find this waiting in my dining room for me:

Ideas for different cookies and desserts bounced around in my head for weeks. While there are certainly plenty of savory ways to use it, I was obviously inclined to use in baking for that slight coconutty taste I found it lent to baked goods.

There are a bunch of reasons to love coconut oil that I’m not particularly keen on getting into now; suffice it to say it’s a delicious and more wholesome source of fat! Not to mention that it’s delicious. The Kelapo coconut oil was a little harder than I expected but blended beautifully into these delightful morsels of goodness.

These are chocolatey, dense, and just slightly coconutty. Aka perfectly delicious in every way. I am SO happy to have had the chance to try this product and experiment with something I might not have picked up off the shelf myself!

But should YOU want to try your hand at these cookies or any of the many recipes on Kelapo’s recipe blog, I am happy to announce that I was given a coupon code just for my lovely readers to use on Kelapo products. Just type in Nicole20 (case sensitive) into the code box when ordering to get a whopping 20% off your order!! The code is valid for a month, through July 20th.

These cookies, however, did not last even a day.

Cocoa for Coconut Cookies
By me :)
Makes 12-16 cookies; easily doubled!

1/2 tablespoon flax + 3 tablespoons water, microwaved for about a minute & stirred until eggy
1/4 cup Kelapo coconut oil
1/4 cup sugar
2-3 tablespoons cocoa powder (depending how dark yours is)
1/2 cup flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut flakes
1/4 cup chocolate chips
2 tablespoons cocoa nibs (completely optional, see below!)

The main offenders…

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Put flax & water in a small bowl or mug and let sit until thickened.

In a small bowl, beat together coconut oil and sugar until well mixed.  Beat in cocoa powder and flax egg until well combined. Add in dry ingredients up until coconut flakes; mix until thoroughly combined. Stir in coconut, chocolate chips, and cocoa nibs (if using).
Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are set.

ENJOY!

Notice the use of cocoa nibs?

Well, I got to visit a chocolate factory last week and my friends bought these as a thank-you gift for my mother for hosting them… And of course I couldn’t resist tossing them into cookies. And pretty much everything else. The deep dark 100% chocolate taste is just irresistible. They don’t particularly SHINE in these cookies (too much other stuff going on) but they do add a pleasant crunch here and there. Totally optional though!

Ever tried coconut oil? What’s your favorite thing to do with coconut oil/any coconut product??

daddy of mine.

19 Jun

My daddy and I have quite a history. He’s put up with a lot of sh!t from me.

No, literally. As the story goes, when I was around 6 months old he was taking care of me and ran out of diapers, and was holding me in is big old hands and… well, I had to go! (Why I am posting this story on the world wide web is totally beyond me).

At least I was adorable…

Since then, he has continued to put up with quite a lot. From my… rather rough… teenage years to my affinity for bad music, he just sits through it all… Perhaps not without complaint (poor Bruno Mars is the brunt of 90% of the jokes in our household, particularly for “Grenade”, and let’s not even start on Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift), but still.

The fam in Italy… yes, my dad is large and intimidating.

Though we still butt heads from time to time (as is wont to happen when you combine two stubborn people), I know whenever I need him he’ll be there. He’s my biggest cheerleader and supporter of my newfound interest in running; we exchanged numerous disgustingly-long e-mails over the course of last quarter in an effort to design a training plan for my half-marathon. On one night in particular he arrived at home tired from a day of biking and partying and still stayed up an extra half-hour to write me an epically long response about every minute detail I was obsessing over (what can I say, babbling is genetic).

He and my “little” brother did the STP last year, and *I* was the cheerleader… 

I know if I need someone to wake up early with me on vacation and go on a run, he’ll be there. I know on days when I feel fat and ugly he’ll be there to tell me I’m crazy and, of course, beautiful (whether or not I believe it). I know when I need to get from point A to point B he’ll lead me the right way… which my mom and I are both a little questionable at.

And, of course, whenever I have a spider in my bathroom or a 49.5 pound suitcase to carry, he’s my man.

The happy couple in Sorrento last year. :)

For all that he drives me crazy making fun of me for, well, everything, I know I’ve inherited some of my incredible wit (read: penchant for bad jokes) from him. If not simply a dry, sarcastic sense of humor and a thicker skin. And for all the times I’ve had to hide my chocolate chips in my sock drawer to keep him from eating them, I know there have been many times that he’s helped me polish off a batch of cookies or muffins (tough job, but someone’s got to do it). For all that he scares the living daylights out of almost all of my potential suitors (even the ones that measure up to his 6’4″ height), I know he’s also good for keeping away the creepers. And for every annoyance he may have caused me, I know I’ve done at least a million times more.

So thank you, dad, for putting up with crap of various forms for the past 20 years.

Excuse the fact that I look like a zombie… this was a very early-morning train.

And happy fathers day. :)

What has your dad put up with?