Thursday, November 26, 2015

Day 331: It's all about the pumpkin silk pie

If you've been on pinterest lately, you've probably seen a post about a pumpkin silk pie.  Since I normally put myself in charge of pumpkin pie, I decided to make two of these pies, but found a few changes to the recipe what it taste more like pumpkin, and less like Cool Whip.  

8 oz package cream cheese, softened
2 tsp vanilla
1/2 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 cup powdered sugar
1 1/4 cup pumpkin puree
8 oz Cool Whip tub
1 graham cracker crust, store bought
whipped cream (optional)

1.  In a mixing bowl, beat the softened cream cheese until it is light and fluffy.
2.  Add the powdered sugar, pumpkin, vanilla and pumpkin pie spice.  Beat until smooth.
3.  Fold in the container of whipped topping, mixing in completely.
4.  Pour mixture into pie crust, spreading evenly.  
5.  Place in the fridge for at least four hours.  Alternatively, you can put in the freezer and remove one hour before serving to let it thaw.
6.  Add whipped cream if desired.

I have to say, this was a crowd pleaser.  It was almost like a cheesecake, but much lighter.  It was super easy to make, and if you are doing it for a party you can make it days beforehand.  Just remove it from the freezer one hour before serving.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Day 316: Headbands that are a head above the rest

Ever since headbands were single handedly resurrected by Blaire Waldorf from other forgotten 80s hair fashions (remember the banana clip?), they have been making a slow and steady comeback.  Somewhere between adorning the crown of Coco Chanel, and the heads of little school girls, this hair accessory has had a confusing place in fashion.  Luckily, nowadays there is such a large selection of headbands, it’s easy to find one for any style and occasion.   

From simple satin bows, to bands studded with crystals and feathers - with all the choices out there, you’ll be able to find a headband that is sure to turn heads.  Here are a few options to prove that a headband doesn’t come to mind only during yoga class!

The Colette Malouf Mesh Botanical Swarovski can be worn like a traditional headband or as a tiara.  This adjustable headband is made out of fine mesh shaped into plumeria blossoms and comes in three colors, though the silver-ivory (also in black and grey) is exceptionally dazzling.  

Saks Fifth Avenue

For a more casual look, the Missoni Chevron Wool blend headband truly brings function to fashion. Keep your fly aways under control, or use it as an ear muff while dashing around town.

Saks Fifth Avenue

Headbands offer a non-traditional alternative to the veil for brides, if not during the ceremony, then later on for the reception.  The Vera Bohemian headwrap from Untamed Petals, wraps elegantly around the crown of the head.  The three crystalled sections have tiny combs that help the wrap stay in place, making a delicate and layered look that would add a modern touch for the boho-chic bride. 

$145, Nordstrom's

If feathers are your fancy, the Jacques Vert Feather Scatter Stone Headband sweeps up with a mix of crystals and black feathers from one side, drawing the eye up.  This dramatic piece can complement an elegant evening outfit.

£49, House of Fraser
For something more simple, L. Erickson USA has a Bit Silk Charmeuse headband that is a basic band with a horsebit detail.  In a variety of colors, this classic band can easily be put on top of a sleek bun or straight ponytail to add a little “bit” of fun and class.


And if you really just need a headband for yoga class, might I suggest the Under Armour headbands with Armourgrip.  Made out of moisture-wicking fabric, the more active you are, the more it stays in place.   
Under Armour

Day 315: Turning a Tazo tea tin into a crayola tin

I had finished my tin of Tazo gingerly jasmine green tea, and I couldn't bear to throw away (or recycle) the tin.  I kept it in the back of the cupboard thinking what can I do with this?  At the same time, I was getting tired of storing all of my kids crayons in a Ziploc bag.  It just looked really untidy, and was getting hard to manage.

Solution?  Use the tea tin for the crayons!  It was the perfect size and with a quick refurbishing, it was did a good job of occupying by toddler as he repeatedly dumped all the crayons out, and put them back in.

You will need:  Tazo tea tin, glue stick, construction paper, scissors.

1.  Clean off the tin, trying to get the adhesive off of the top (this is probably the most difficult and least fun part of the whole process).

 2.  Measure out a piece of construction paper, cut it, and apply glue from a glue stick to one side.  Also apply the glue to the sides of the tin, especially on the corners.  

3.  Firmly apply the paper around the tin.  Make sure to seal the edge.  We know how little toddler hands like to explore every nook and cranny looking for an edge to pull on and rip.

This was fairly easy DIY project and took me less than five minutes to do.  Another advantage to this is if the paper rips off or gets too full of doodles, I can easily replace it with another piece of construction paper.  You can get more creative with stickers, and ribbons.  I kept it simple.  It came out so well, the next time I have this tin, I might just use a decorative paper and keep it for myself!  It would be a handy place to put hair ties, lip balms, or other small items.

Monday, November 9, 2015

Day 313: Apple Cinnamon Raisin compote with French Toast

I love breakfast, and among all the breakfast foods in all the lands, I love French toast the most.  For some reason, maybe because it's November, I woke up craving something with apples and cinnamon in it.  I figured since I'm still in the middle of my 30-day detox that there must be a simple way to make a fruit compote without using refined sugar.  I found a recipe here, and put a spin of my own on it by adding raisins.  This is actually a very easy and simple recipe to make, and really fun to do.  I enjoyed making it.  My family, in turn, enjoyed eating it!

The skillet with apples, raisins and cinnamon.

1 tablespoon butter
2 apples, sliced
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 box of 1 oz raisins

1.  After prepping a non-stick skillet with cooking spray or oil, melt butter in the pan over low to medium heat.
2.  Add the sliced apples, sauteeing for about 5-8 minutes, taking care not to burn them.
3.  Once the apples are soft enough, add the cinnamon and maple syrup, cooking over low heat for another few minutes.
4.  Add the raisins and spoon over French toast, or pancakes.

One thing to mention is make sure the apple slices are about 1/2-1/4 of an inch thick.  When they are cut thinner, they cook well and all the way through.  Though you might be tempted to use an apple cutter (as I was) unless it makes thin slices, don't bother - just use a regular knife.  The recipe also mentions a recipe for French toast, but since I'm not using refined sugar, I did my tried and true recipe that you can find here.  

French toast cut into quarters for my tots.

Violà!  Breakfast is served!

Sunday, November 8, 2015

Day 312: French Toast

According to my book, Sunday mornings are made for French Toast.  When I first got married, my husband bought me a griddle.  He knew my love of breakfast foods ran deep.  Since then, pancakes and French toast have been a staple at our house, especially when we have houseguests.  Though sometimes we'll try variations with different techniques or ingredients, a basic recipe with 100% pure maple syrup is still the best way to go.  And this is my go to recipe.

I've tried a variety of breads: baguette, challah, brioche (my favorite) and naan (that one didn't turn out so great).  I've also toasted it, and used day old dry bread (didn't make that much of a difference).  For the sake of simplicity, I usually make it with the regular pre-sliced bread.  And since I'm on a detox with no white bread, I used a whole wheat bread.  My next idea is to try cinnamon raisin bread, but that's for after my detox!  

6 eggs
1/4 cup low fat milk
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 tsp vanilla extract
8 pieces of whole wheat bread

1.  Preheat the griddle to 350 degrees F.  
2.  Lightly beat the eggs and add the milk, cinnamon, and vanilla.  
3.  Take each piece of bread individually and soak it on both sides with the batter, and lay it on the griddle.  After about 3-4 minutes, flip.  Fry until each side until lightly brown.

You can serve this with a simple assortment of fruit like bananas, or berries.  Or you can make an apple cinnamon compote, recipe found here.  Whatever you do, don't forget the maple syrup!  

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Day 309: Discovering the Power of Kodiak cakes

I'm not sure that I mentioned this, but I am about two weeks into a 30 day detox.  This means no caffeine, no processed foods, no refined sugar, and no white bread.  That is partly why there have been so many food posts lately!  When your eating options are limited, you tend to get creative in the kitchen.

A few weeks ago, my husband came home from Costco with a huge box of Kodiak Power cakes mix.  I laughed at him.  But it looks like I'm the one who's laughing last.  These pancakes are the best pancakes EVER.  And I can eat them while on my detox.  They are so good, you don't need to bother putting anything in them - no chocolate chips, no blueberries, no butter.  Just enjoy them with 100% pure maple syrup, and you'll be good to go.

I also made these muffins with the mix.  They came out really good.  It's just a basic "pancake" muffin recipe from Aunt Jemima, but it can easily be made into blueberry or apple muffins, or whatever your fancy might be with some easy additions.

Kodiak cakes Power muffins


2 cups Kodiak cakes Power Cakes whole grain mix
1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
2/3 cup milk
1/3 cup honey
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

1.  Preheat oven to 425 degrees F.
2.  Spray a muffin tray with a non stick cooking spray, or line with baking cups.
3.  Combine mix and cinnamon in medium bowl.
4.  Combine milk, honey, egg, oil, and vanilla in a small bowl until well mixed.  Add to dry mixture, and combine.
5.  Fill muffin cups 3/4 full.  Bake 15-18 minutes, or until toothpick insterted into center comes out clean.  
6.  Cool in pan for 2 minutes, and then remove to cooling rack.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Day 308: Homemade Apple Cinnamon Raisin Granola

I loved boxed granola.  I thought it was the greatest thing since sliced bread, and since I'd sworn off all bread, it was a wonderful alternative.  I would layer it with blueberries and a banana, sometimes having two bowls.  That is until I say how much calories and sugar it had in it.  I had added granola to my list of no-no's until I found this recipe by Bethenny Frankel, celebrity chef and Real Housewife.  

I made this for the second time yesterday, and it makes the whole house smell wonderful, like fresh baked oatmeal cookies.  The recipe is actually pretty simple.  You can find the full recipe here, though I used raisins and apples.  The apples I prepped myself.  I took one apple and cut it into small pieces, about half a centimeter long.  I let them air dry over night.  They made a great addition to the cereal!


4 cups rolled oats
2 cups slivered almonds
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 cup warm water
1/2 cup maple syrup
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup raisins (optional)
1/4 cup dried apples (optional)


1. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F, and oil one large sheet pan. In a large bowl, stir together oats, almonds, and spices. In a small bowl, stir together the warm water, maple syrup and vanilla.
2.  Pour the wet mixture over the dry mixture and stir to combine well.  Spread the mixture onto the sheet pan and bake for 30-45 minutes, making sure it doesn't burn.  
3.  Remove from the heat and immediately stir in dried fruit.  Cool and store refrigerated in an airtight container up to one month.    


Monday, November 2, 2015

Day 304: Finding your (outdoor) space

I've been a yoga enthusiast for over 15 years now, and although the most typical place for yoga is a quiet room that is well lit with hardwood floors, there is some charm with doing yoga outdoors.  I've practice yoga on a beach in Puerto Rico with waves crashing in the background, and on a sun deck in Abu Dhabi during dusk when you could hear the call for prayer.  

Almost one year ago I posted about my indoor yoga space, and now I've found an outdoor one.  I was made aware of a patch of grass in our common space that was specifically for yoga.  Living amongst high rises, this little sanctuary adjacent to the lap pool has become the perfect way for me to start my day.  I go with my mat, and iPhone set with my tunes, starting with a sun salutation to the towards the generous sun.  Having this space for myself, even if it's just for 30 minutes, helps me further enjoy my "me" time.