Thursday, October 19, 2017

Get your [ 2K17 Halloween Weekend ] on


Looking to spook some of your friends? Trying to get in the Halloween spirit? You have come to the right place. I will be sharing my top 5 Halloween Haunted Bay Area locations, guaranteed to put you in the most terrified mood, possible.

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Not based on a true story… this IS THE TRUE STORY. The widow of William Winchester (creator of the Winchester rifle) built up this house for over 30 years in order to hide from the spirits of those who were killed by her late husband’s invention. A psychic told her that if they find you… they will kill you too. So she built hundreds of fake staircases and doors and rooms that led nowhere, in order to confuse the spirits. The spirits still haunt the house to this day. You can take a tour by flashlight, and gamble if you will ever come out alive..


16th and Castro -Oakland, Ca

You may think that it is a regular neighborhood, by the homes and trees that line the street. For over a century, residents have reported numerous ghost sightings. From twirling under street lamps to doorbell ditching to items missing and turning up in mysterious places… Mark this community for trick or treating… if you dare!


Lone Tree Cemetery -Hayward, Ca

If you having been searching for a venue for your next séance.. This is it. The cemetery's founding legend holds that once upon a time, an eloping couple's furious parents killed them on the spot where the cemetery now stands. After nightfall, strange sounds and calls for help can be heard as well as lights that shine in the distance, but come from nowhere.


1000 Lombard St. - San Francisco, Ca

Just because you didn’t get an invite, doesn’t mean you want one.. This gorgeous house, located on one of the most iconic street, is haunted. When social columnist Pat Montandon held a “zodiac themed” party at her house in the 1960s, the tarot card reader she hired got angry when she didn't give him a drink. He cursed the house with freezing spells, blood stains on the ceilings, and disembodied screams. The house has a streak of vandalism and robberies. Gusts have committed suicide and mysteriously killed. I would cross the street before walking in front of this house, just to be safe.


The Vestry –San Francisco, Ca

It’s not the music giving you chills at this popular concert hall. It’s the little girl who lives there.
The Chapel was built back in 1914 and was originally a mortuary. Since being renovated into a music venue and adjoining restaurant, the noise is obviously too loud for this girl to enjoy her final resting place. She has been seen pulling pranks on visitors and has be captured on surveillance footage, numerous times. You’ll definitely get a show to go along with your Halloween dinner.


 ciao xx,

Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Hot August Nights 2017

I had such a fun weekend with my Aunt Patti. It all started a few months prior, when we were joking that I should come up for the weekend. Later, she told me that she would be helping out as a crossing guard at Hot August Nights, and since I am OBSESSED with cars  have an interest in cars... I decided I would join her.


Well, after 8 hours and numerous accidents, I finally made it to Reno with a small Yorkie, in tow. 

At 4 am the next morning, we were up bright and early to head to the sandwich shop and build (what felt like) 4 million sandwiches and wraps. Two employees called in sick, so everyone was real happy that I knew my way around a kitchen. I was treated to a delicious breakfast sammy, made by my sweet auntie.. why don't they have Port of Subs near me?? 


That day was non stop! We walked over 13000 steps that day, and it finally slowed down at 7 pm when we got our crossing guard vests and light sabers. ;)



I had a front row seat to the best show on the block! 
All of the cars were fabulous builds, each with it's own unique twist. 
I was overjoyed with the night cruise, it was the second best event all weekend. 
The first was Sunday morning, hanging in Aunt Patti's front yard, enjoying coffee with her. 



I hope you enjoy my recap of the weekend. <3
ciao xx






Tuesday, October 3, 2017

For my Mom

It was a special day for a lucky lady in my life... my Mom!
She turned 27, again, and chose to celebrate with the family at McCormick & Schmick's in downtown San Jose, last Sunday.

She also has been cheering me to write again on here, 
so I thought I would post an extra girly one for her. 


This was also the first time I told my parents I've decided to go plant based and give up meat.

So some of you are wondering what I ate at the steakhouse.
air.. I ate air.
I'm just teasing, I had a delicious pesto pasta and fresh berries for dessert. 


I lot of people have told me I may die because I will have a protein deficiency. 
If you google that, it has never happened. 

I tell those people- "Elephants and Gorillas are herbivores, and also some of the strongest on this planet... ". I'm not trying to push this on anyone, I'm doing it for my body and my planet. 



So now that it is documented in my blog, let me show you my gorgeous Crossroads $16 dress, that I wore. I paired it with sale shoes from some knockoff place that I picked up for $22 in San Francisco. 


I'm a BIG FAN of thrift stores, due to the low prices and great fashion. I like mixing pieces from different eras, as well as luxury items and low price points. 






My rule? -There are no rules for fashion.
Wear white after labor day! spoiler alert? no one cares, and those white jeans look great on you. 




ciao xx, 

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Hi Mommys!!--we're makin' easy Candied Apples

I love eating candy apples.. I don't like making them.

They are messy, and delicate and it's so much work for just one apple, because who can eat more than one at a time?

Hi Mommys!! How much fun is this for kids? How much work do YOU actually end up doing... Yes all of it.

My recipe is a lot more KID and DIET friendly.
If you're interested... keep reading. :)



Ingredients:
  • your favorite apples- I like granny smith for these, since they're crisp. 
  • chocolate- dark, milk, white.. doesn't matter.
  • Caramel chews candy (easiest to work with)
  • toppings- get creative!
  • Popsicle sticks 
Instructions: 
  • slice your apples into 1/2-3/4 inch slices, leave the seeds.
  • stick the apples from the bottom with the sticks and set aside.
  • Melt your chocolates in the microwave 
  • Melt your caramel in the microwave too!
  • start dipping- you can do traditional- caramel first with chocolate drizzle or you can do layered, as shown down below. 
  • Then add your candiy toppings as you like, or leave them plain if you prefer. 





Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Jack-O-Lantern :: Stuffed Peppers

Guys I have the cutest recipe for this season!!



How adorable are these stuffed bell peppers, made to look like mini jack o lanterns??
I know!!!

I followed this recipe  but tweaked it a bit, to make it my own.






Ingredients:
  • 3 orange bell peppers
  • 1 pound ground beef
  • 2 shallots
  • 3 cloves of garlic
  • basil//rosemary//thyme (like a 1/4 TBSP of each)
  • 1 med size tomato
  • 1 egg
  • 3/4 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt and pepper to taste. 

Instructions:
  • preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • line a baking dish with aluminum foil
  • slice and dice your tomatoes, garlic, shallots.
  • mix in your diced items with the beef, egg, bread crumbs & seasonings. 
  • core out the center of your bell peppers and cut faces into them using a small sharp knife.
  • fill them to the top with stuffing and bake them for about an hour.
  • * I didn't bake them with the tops on. 






Friday, October 14, 2016

sweater weather 2016

I'm a BIG FAN of  fashion... if you couldn't tell already. But did you know that fashion 
doesn't have to be expensive?? 

Since today is the first rainy day of the season here in California, in honor I've found the coziest styles in EVERY price point! 
From $15 to $100, I've got you covered this sweater season. 




1) Target skull sweater $18 2) Zara cropped-jacquard-sweater $50
 3) Nordstrom cold shoulder sweater $60 4) H&M Flouncy ribbed knit $40 
5) J Crew turtleneck stripe sweater $90 6 Anthropologie Puppy Pullover $88
  7) Windsor Store Burgundy Oversized Knit Tunic $30

Thursday, October 13, 2016

its all about that Pumpkin Spice

The Pumpkin Spice Latte
how did it become so iconic?

I swear there are loyal consumers who have loved it since the beginning.. we have those who don't understand the appeal.. and then there are those who love to hate it and then we have the obsessed. 

Oh baby.
This post is for you!
I've rounded up the best pumpkin spice recipes for you to enjoy without the use of your coffee mug, but will warm you up just the same.

P.S. all three recipes taste great with a... you guessed it, PUMPKIN SPICE LATTE!

INGREDIENTS
For pumpkin spice latte cookies:
  • ½ c. unsalted butter, melted, slightly cooled
  • 1 c. packed brown sugar
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • ⅓ c. canned pumpkin puree (not pumpkin pie filling)
  • 2 tsp. instant coffee granules (I love Starbucks Via)
  • ¼ tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. pumpkin pie spice
  • ¼ tsp. ginger
  • ¼ tsp. clove
  • ¾ tsp. baking soda
  • 1½ c. all-purpose flour
  • ⅔ c. cinnamon chips
  • ½ c. sugar (optional sugar coating) - SEE NOTES.
For coffee glaze:
  • 1 tsp. instant coffee granules
  • 2 tbsp. hot water
  • 2 c. powdered sugar

INSTRUCTIONS

For pumpkin spice latte cookies:
  1. In a large bowl, whisk together butter, brown sugar, egg yolk, vanilla, pumpkin, and instant coffee granules.
  2. In a medium bowl, whisk together salt, cinnamon, pumpkin pie spice, ginger, clove, baking soda, and flour.
  3. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients, and stir until just combined.
  4. Fold in cinnamon chips.
  5. Chill cookie dough in the refrigerator for at least 2-3 hours, until firm, and preferably overnight. Do not skip this.
  6. Line cookie sheets with parchment paper or silicone baking mats.
  7. Scoop the dough by tablespoonfuls, and shape into balls.
  8. To make the cookies fatter and taller, rather than thin and flat, shape the balls into more of a tall cylindrical shape.
  9. If you want the sugar coating, roll each dough ball in sugar before baking. (optional)
  10. Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes, or until edges are golden, and the centers appear set. If you tap the top of the cookie, it should only slightly depress. You want to underbake these slightly so that they remain chewy in the center.
  11. Remove from heat, and allow to cool on cookie sheets for 2-3 minutes before removing to wire racks to cool completely. They will continue to cook a bit on the sheets.
  12. If desired, you can press additional cinnamon chips into the tops of the cookies while they're still warm to give them a nice bakery appearance.
  13. Once cool, drizzle with coffee glaze.
For coffee glaze:
  1. In a medium bowl, combine coffee granules and hot water.
  2. Add 2 c. powdered sugar, whisking until smooth. If needed, add more water or powdered sugar to achieve desired consistency. It shouldn't be runny, but you should be able to drizzle it with a spoon.
  3. Drizzle glaze over cooled cookies, and allow to set for 15-20 minutes. DEVOUR.




INGREDIENTS
CAKE:
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon pumpkin spice powder (I used Trader Joes)
  • ½ cup oil (I used coconut oil)
  • ½ cup light brown sugar
  • ¼ granulated sugar
  • 1 cup pure pumpkin puree
  • ⅓ cup buttermilk (see note)
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
STREUSEL TOPPING:
  • ¼ cup cold salted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin spice powder
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped pecans
GLAZE:
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoon milk
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin spice powder

INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Position a rack in the center of the oven and preheat the oven to 350ºF. Spray a 8x8 or a 9x9 square pan with cooking spray, set aside.
  2. STREUSEL TOPPING: In a small bowl, combine the butter, brown sugar, flour, and pumpkin spice and using a fork or your finger tips, break the butter down into small pea sized pieces. Add the pecans and toss until they are coated in the flour mixture. Place in the refrigerator while you make the cake layer.
  3. CAKE: In a medium bowl, whisk together the dry ingredients: flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and pumpkin spice powder, set aside. In another bowl, whisk the coconut oil, brown sugar, granulated sugar, pumpkin puree, buttermilk, eggs, and vanilla together. When the wet ingredients are thoroughly mixed, add them to the dry ingredients. Using a rubber spatula, fold until the cake batter is *JUST* combined. Pour the cake batter into the prepared baking pan.
  4. Add the streusel topping on top and bake the coffee cake for 32-42 minutes. Depending on the size of pan you use, this will vary slightly. I used a 8x8 and mine took 35 minutes exactly. Use a toothpick of a cake tester, a few crumbs on the tester is fine but more than that will need a few more minutes in the oven. Allow the cake to cool completely before glazing.
  5. GLAZE: Combine the confectioners sugar, 1 tablespoon of milk, and pumpkin spice in a small bowl. If the glaze is thick slowly add in 1 teaspoon at a time (a total of 3) or as needed to thin the glaze. Drizzle on cake, let dry 5 minutes before serving.



INGREDIENTS
2 1/4 cup flour
3 tablespoons espresso powder
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1-15 oz. can 100% pure pumpkin puree (1 1/4 cup)
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup milk
1/4 cup strong black coffee
1 1/2 sticks butter, softened, (3/4 cup)
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
2 extra large eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/4 teaspoon cloves
3/4 teaspoon ginger

Stabilized Whip Cream Icing
2 cups heavy whipping cream
1/4 cup powdered sugar
pinch of salt
2 teaspoons unflavored gelatin powder
1/4 cup cold water

Easy Caramel Drizzle:
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream
1/2 cup brown sugar, packed
1/3 cup butter

Toppings:
Pumpkin Pie Spice
Cinnamon stick

INSTRUCTIONS

1. Preheat oven 350 degrees.  Prepare two 8-inch round baking pans with a baking spray or grease and flour.
2. Mix dry (flour, espresso powder, baking powder, baking soda, and salt) and set aside.
3. Whisk together in a separate bowl: pumpkin, milk, coffee, and vanilla and set aside.
4. In a mixer beat butter, brown, and white sugar for 3-5 minutes until fluffy.  Add spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, and ginger) and beat an additional minute.  
5. Add eggs one at a time and beat in well. 
6. Reduce to low speed and add flour mixture in three batches and pumpkin mixture in two batches alternating between the two as you add. Scrape down the side of the bowl as needed. Mix until smooth.  May mix last flour mixture by hand. 
7. Put in prepared pans smooth batter on top and bake for 35 minutes until cake tester comes out clean.  Cool on wire rack for 10 minutes and then invert.  Cool completely before icing with whip cream. 

For the whip cream:
In a small bowl add gelatin to cold water and whisk.  Scald 1/4 cup of the cream and pour over the gelatin until completely dissolved.  Refrigerate the gelatin mixture for 10 minutes, will have the consistency of egg whites.  
Manually beat the gelatin mixture with a wire whisk.
In a stand mixer with a whip attachment add the rest of the cream, salt , and sugar.  Add the gelatin mixture and whip everything; scrapping the bowl as needed,  until it forms stiff peaks and is thick.
Add to decorator icing bag and pipe on cooled cake as desired.
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