How I Make the Perfect Cup of Hot Chocolate (Blogmas Day 11)

Hey everyone! Happy Tuesday, I hope you’re all doing well. I’ll be honest life has been super busy lately and I’ve been quite tired. Waking up at 5:30 every morning has been an adjustment but come with lots of perks as well. For today’s Blogmas, we’re going through the exact ingredients you need to make a bomb cup of hot cocoa! Hot chocolate is one of my favorite beverages since as you guys know, I can’t control myself around sweets. I usually only drink it during the holidays, so it’s definitely something special.

IMG_2910.jpeg

So to kick it off here are the few ingredients you’ll need:

• Trader Joe’s Organic Hot Cocoa mix
• Mini marshmallows
• Whipped cream
• Mini gingerbread men
• Candy canes (normal size or minis)
Optional: Candy canes & cinnamon

One of the easiest ways to make hot chocolate is to buy packages of the mix. It’s definitely not the healthiest, but the quickest! Not to mention, I recently found this organic mix from Trader Joe’s and it’s some of the best I’ve ever tasted. Sometimes the mix packets can end up too watered down or not flavorful. However, this is my new favorite product and tastes absolutely amazing and so sweet! Pour this in a cup and add hot water to start off.

IMG_2915.jpeg

Once you have your full cup of hot chocolate in your favorite mug, take your whipped cream and pile that stuff on top! This is Christmas people, don’t hold back! Plus, the more whipped cream, the prettier the cup. Next, take your mini marshmallows and add a few to the whipped cream. These will add much more texture and look great in photos! Now for a little twist I decided to add in this year: top with a mini gingerbread man. Who doesn’t love some cookies with hot cocoa or tea??

IMG_2909.jpeg

Another couple things I will add to my hot chocolate every year is a candy cane or cinnamon. Unfortunately, I had no candy canes available to me while taking these photos, but they add the perfect amount of peppermint to any cup. If you have mini candy canes, toss those right into the hot chocolate and let them sit. If you have a normal sized one, let it sit beautifully out the side of the cup. The minty taste will always remind you of the Christmas season and is so refreshing! Cinnamon of course is the perfect touch to any holiday beverage, even cider!

I love adding all these Christmasy ingredients to my hot chocolate, especially when I’m sitting down for a movie in front of the fireplace. We don’t get snowy nights here in California, but it’s fun to imagine that we do! What do you guys top your hot chocolate with?? Let me know down in the comments! xx

signature.png

Yo, check me out! Instagram | Twitter | YouTube | Tumblr | Facebook

Advertisements

Fall Grocery Haul!

Hey everyone! Hope you’re all doing well. I’ve recently gotten so into autumn inspired food, whether that’s pumpkin flavors, spiced food items, or apple, I’ve been loving it all! I took a little trip to Trader Joe’s last week and picked up some amazing things. They’ve been going all out with their autumnal goodies, so here’s everything I chose!

Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes

fallfood1.jpg

fallfood2.jpg

So I thought I’d start off with one of my favorites: Gluten Free Pumpkin Pancakes! I tried this for the first time last fall and I was just dying to get my hands on them again. They are so packed with flavor and extremely simple to make! To make it even better, they are perfect for all my gluten free friends! They seriously taste like traditional pancakes and bake like them too, so it kind of blows my mind. I actually made an apple rings recipe that involved this mix last year, so if you’d like a fun new recipe to try out, click here. I’d love to make an updated recipe post with this mix since it’s just so life changing. Let me know if you’d like to see that. You can get this at Trader Joe’s.

Cinnamon Spice Oatmeal

fallfood3.jpg

fallfood4.jpg

This Organic Cinnamon Spice Oatmeal is actually something I have year round, but it’s absolutely perfect for this time of year. I always put cinnamon in my oatmeal in the mornings, but this has it right in the mix! Usually I have limited time for breakfast, but I love instant oatmeal because I can pour it right into a to go mug, add some water, microwave it for 50 seconds and I’m done! Lately my routine has been to add some agave nectar to the top and mix it in. It gives a nice sweet taste while still having that lovely spice to it from the cinnamon. This box comes with so many packs of instant oatmeal, so it’s great for a busy student. You can find this at Trader Joe’s as well.

fallfood11.jpg

fallfood12.jpg

Here is another one of my favorites! I just found this at Trader Joe’s, as it was one of the samples they were offering that day. The second I tasted it, I knew I couldn’t pass it up. This spiced cider is simply amazing and can be made so many different ways! I love having it cold and I actually warmed it up the other night for a couple of my friends. They went crazy over it, so this big bottle has gone fast! I’d love to see how this could work in some sort of recipe as well, since the flavor is so unique and the consistency is smooth. If autumn could have a flavor, this would be exactly it. That sounded weird, but its totally true! Let me know if you guys have any good recipes to include this in!

Vanilla Cake Mix

fallfood5.jpg

fallfood6.jpg

This specific product I chose because I’ve been dying to make Halloween cupcakes! I’m not the best baker in the world, but I love making cute little things for the season. I wanted a very simple cake since I found adorable baking cups and bright orange frosting. I think the vanilla flavor is also an essential for the fall season, even though I drink it year round. A decaf vanilla latte is my go to in every season!

Baking Cups

fallfood13.jpg

When I took my trip to Michael’s I found these adorable little baking cups that I just couldn’t turn down. They had so many different options, but I really loved the cob webs (they looked very Tim Burton to me) and the adorable pumpkin with the stripes. I’m very excited to use these and create the perfect batch of spooky treats! Here’s to hoping they turn out alright!

Pumpkin Shaped Pasta and Harvest Sauce

fallfood7.jpg

fallfood8.jpg

Guys. Look at this flippin’ pasta. It’s shaped like little pumpkins!!! You can’t get much cuter than that! When I first saw them, I knew I had to try them out. I’ve never seen these before in stores, and it’s the greatest idea! Next to the pasta was the Autumnal Harvest Creamy Pasta Sauce. On the bottom it says,”Made with pumpkin and butternut squash.” Seriously the perfect combo and great merchandising for putting these two side by side in the store. It really reeled me in and now I’m so excited to have this for dinner with my roommates one night!

Pumpkin Bread & Muffin Baking Mix

fallfood14.jpg

Okay so honestly, I’m a little torn over this product. I bought this Gluten Free Pumpkin Bread mix at Trader Joe’s and I ended up making 12 muffins. The mix was extremely easy to put together and when they were baking, my apartment smelled absolutely amazing! However, I had a little trouble with them because they were gluten free. I baked them over the amount of time that was needed and for some reason, they ended up not being cooked enough! To be completely real with you guys, I baked them and then they turned back into mush! Help me understand how that happens, lol. The bottoms actually were cooked perfectly but for whatever reason, the tops just sank back into uncooked goo. I was pretty bummed about this because the parts that were edible were so delicious! I’m including the mix in this haul because the taste was amazing and I think it’d be a perfect product if you can figure out how to bake with gluten free products correctly. It may just be something I have to practice, which I don’t mind doing because the baked part of the muffins were to die for! If you try this out, let me know how it goes because I’m super curious!

Caramel Almond Pumpkin Spice Kind Bars

fallfood9.jpg

fallfood10.jpg

Last but not least, a little snack to grab and go! Kind bars are an essential part of my pantry when I’m at school. As I’ve mentioned before, I have very limited time for breakfast before my design class in the morning. Bars like these are perfect for me, especially if I have limited time between classes as well. These are special edition Caramel Almond Pumpkin Spice flavor and I’m living for it. I love the packaging as well with the little leaves falling. One down side to this box though, is that it only comes with four bars. I do wish they came with a little more, but hey, I won’t complain about a special edition flavor! I believe you can get these at Target.

Alright, that’s all I have for you guys for this post. I hope you enjoyed this grocery haul. Which items would you like to try most? Or if you’ve tried any of these, how did you like them?? There’s a few things here I have yet to cook or try, so I’m very excited for the upcoming weeks of October. Hope you’re all getting excited or even a little spooked for Halloween! Talk to you soon! xx

Madison on Park: San Diego, California

Happy Thursday everyone! Hope you are all looking forward to the weekend, I know I am! So I believe it was about a couple months ago I went to this great little brunch place that I thought was worth sharing. Especially if any of you live near the San Diego area, you need to check this out! It is located on Park Blvd (quite obviously) in San Diego. Here is the complete address if you find yourself wanting to visit after this post: 4622 Park Blvd, San Diego, CA 92116. This is the University Heights area. Image-3.jpgOne Sunday my friends and I decided to go to a restaurant for brunch. We had a place selected, but while waiting for our table we decided to walk around the area for a bit. It was a beautiful sunny day in San Diego and we ended up stumbling upon Madison on Park. The front of the restaurant is shown on the left and it didn’t look like a very big place, but as you walked through a short, colorful corridor (pictured on the right), you were led into a large area with a bunch of seating and high vaulted ceilings.

Critics have commented about Madison with, “Mediterranean-inspired fare and elegant cocktails…complete with arched vaulted ceilings, cedar-wood walls with bold, geometric designs and indoor/outdoor seating” (Zagat). I can’t describe to you guys just how amazing the decor in Madison is. I wish I would’ve taken more of my own photos to show the details a little better. With the wall graphics and use of unique wood textures, this place is the coolest hangout spot!Image-2.jpgOf course my graphic design loving side came out and I was obsessing over the menu layout. It fit their vibe so perfectly and you can tell whoever designed this place took great care with every little detail. I really appreciate that when it comes to restaurants, hotels, or homes. Everything is in the details, even if you don’t pick up on every one of them. They all combine to create an unforgettable experience. Every dish my friends and I got was very good and they also had a deal on mimosas. One thing I will add though, the service is extremely slow, but I think that’s kind of the point. They want you to sit and enjoy each others company with good conversations rather than focusing on the food. So I wouldn’t recommend going to this place if you’re starving and want something quick. It’s more of a small occasion type of place to have an easy Sunday. Since my own photos do not do this place justice, here are a few photos from Google that show more of the smaller details that make this place so adorable.

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 11.55.56 AM.png

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 11.54.54 AM.png

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 11.53.39 AM.png

Screen Shot 2017-10-05 at 11.54.15 AM.png

Definitely check out this place if you’re ever in San Diego for a vacation or if you’re moving here! There are so many great places like this in San Diego and I’d love to write more little review like this. Let me know what you think of the decor or if you’ve eaten here, how was your experience?? Talk to you guys in a new post soon! xx

Healthy Alternatives for the Junk Foods You LOVE!

Hey everyone! So if you’ve kept up with me the last few months, you’d know I got my very first apartment! With this new beginning and the dramatic change from dorm living to apartment living, I’ve tried to make personal changes as well. Eating better has been one of my main goals and I’ve tried to stick to it as much as possible. When I did my first big grocery shop for the apartment, I stayed away from junky foods and forced myself to only buy what is healthy. Because if it’s not in the apartment, I don’t have the opportunity to indulge in unhealthy things. With McDonald’s and a 24/7 Mexican restaurant right on the corner, I’ve had to make an effort to not drive through when I’m feeling lazy and drained from the day. So even though I’m exhausted very often, I’ve made myself choose the healthy options and cook if need be. So I thought I’d make a mini grocery haul for you guys, to show you how easy it can be to make the healthy (and delicious) choices. Here are some great alternatives to foods I need in my life.

6.jpg

5.jpg

Okay I need to begin with this product because of how amazing it is! As a college student knows (and any working person, really) having time for breakfast can be rare. Getting to those early morning classes barely gives you enough time to apply makeup and get dressed. However breakfast is a very important start to your day and I’m always bummed when I can’t fit it in. Yogurt is a great thing to grab on the go, but the dairy isn’t so great for your skin or your health in general. I have the fix for you! Coconut milk yogurt people! There is no dairy in these yogurts, making it aye okay for your skin and vegan as well! I picked this blueberry flavored one from Trader Joe’s and I kid you not, it is BETTER than regular yogurt. It’s sweet, the perfect consistency, and totally healthy! I’ve tried another brand of coconut milk based yogurt and it was good, but this brand is 100 times better. I cannot rave enough about it. The next time you’re at Trader Joe’s or any grocery store, look for yogurt like these! I wouldn’t recommend anything to you guys that I didn’t think you would like, so please try this out and let me know what you think!!

7.jpg

8.jpg

If you’re anything like me, you absolutely, 100%, without a doubt NEED chocolate in your life. I’m not sure how I would function without it. Unfortunately, I’m sure without chocolate and sugar in general, my skin would be clearer and I’d lose weight a lot faster. So instead of going to Target and picking up the family size bag of Buncha Crunch that I so desperately want everyday, I’ve been leaning more towards a bit of dark chocolate or Powerberries. I’ve known about Powerberries for as long as I can remember, and they are to die for! Essentially what they are is an acai, blueberry, pomegranate, and cranberry ball dipped in dark chocolate. They are the perfect soft consistency that you want candy to be, while being much healthier than actual candy or chocolate bars. Dark chocolate (when eaten in moderation) is actually beneficial to your health. I am not a health expert by any means, but this is just a fact I’ve heard. I picked this up at Trader Joe’s and of course I have to mention the packaging. I love the colors and the way it’s designed and I always know the product when I see it.

10.jpg

11.jpg

Another one of my favorite food products! And this one is vegan as well! Earth Balance is a fantastic brand that offers organic products, including this alternative for butter. I don’t know about you guys, but I love butter! Spread on a baguette before dinner, on toast, or used on a pan to make eggs, I seem to need it for so many things. However, butter is a diary product and again not good for your skin. This Earth Balance “fake butter” is the perfect replacement and tastes exactly like regular butter. This always seems to be in my fridge at home, and for some reason I just recently found out it’s fake butter! That’s how similar it is to the real thing. The product in the red container is even soy free, since soy isn’t very good for you either. (What IS good for us nowadays??) As I mentioned before, these products are completely vegan and also Non-GMO.

3.jpg

4.jpg

One item specifically I’ve been trying to cut out is white bread. I absolutely love my white bread, but there are other choices I could make that would be more beneficial to my overall health. Rice cakes are a great alternative, and you can do a lot more with them! I love to put peanut butter, jelly, and banana slices on top of these which makes for an awesome breakfast or a quick afternoon snack between classes. Other great toppings could be peanut butter, almonds, and agave or even some avocados with chia seeds on top. Rice cakes are cool too because they are 100% vegan and even gluten free! Such a great combination and so delicious as well!

1.jpg

2.jpg

Now if I really can’t escape the need for bread, there is a very healthy option that doesn’t make me feel as bad. Ezekiel bread is the perfect alternative for you! Not to mention, the Bible verse on the front and the little dove in the corner is too stinkin’ cute! Again, this is an organic product that I picked up from Trader Joe’s. There are different variations of this bread, but I tend to lean towards the low sodium version. I’ll be honest, it’s not as flavorful as white bread, but your body will thank you for making the healthier decision, right? Right!

9.jpg

So this next product isn’t one you can necessarily buy in stores. It’s one you can make right at home! I’ve seen so many people do this so I thought I’d whip it up myself: frozen banana ice cream! It was so simple to make: take a couple of bananas, milk (I chose rice milk instead of cow’s milk), and whatever other flavor you want, blend it up, and freeze the mixture. It’s that easy! For the combination above, I chose to add in frozen strawberries to make banana strawberry ice cream. I also made two other flavors: banana coconut and peanut butter banana. So easy and very refreshing! Comment down below if you’ve ever tried this out!

So that’s all for today, let me know if you guys enjoy these food inspired posts or if you’d want more recipe suggestions. Hope you all are having a great end to your week!

More Vegan Snacks! //

More Vegan Snacks! //

I hope you guys aren’t getting annoyed with all these vegan recipes I’ve been posting! I just can’t get over how amazing these all look! The recipes in this video look especially easy to put together and no cooking is required! This video is from Supreme Banana; she always has so many great vegan recipes to try out! Some of these can even be put together in a dorm room, which I really appreciate! I really want to try out the cereal with apples since I usually don’t eat that healthy of a breakfast before my 7:30 or 8:00 class. Breakfast is the most important meal of the day and I really want to make a bigger effort to eat healthy in the mornings and kick off my day in a positive way!

I also really appreciate how artistically this video is put together. You can clearly tell she spent a lot of time on the editing and I think that’s awesome! Let me know what you guys think of these vegan snacks and what recipes you’ve found especially tasty! //