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. :)

  • 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 
  • 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.

  • 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. 

  • 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!

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


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.

  • 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
  • ¼ cup cold salted butter
  • ½ cup brown sugar
  • ½ cup all purpose flour
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin spice powder
  • ¼ cup roughly chopped pecans
  • ½ cup confectioners sugar
  • 1-2 tablespoon milk
  • ¼ teaspoon pumpkin spice powder

  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.

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

Pumpkin Pie Spice
Cinnamon stick


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.

Wednesday, October 12, 2016


glasses: Celine, top: Vintage, overalls: Forever 21 (similar here), 
booties: Silence and Noise, backpack: Claire's.

Sometimes you just have to tell yourself that you're confident... even when you aren't.
I wore these and was so nervous, thinking people would make fun of a grown gal in overalls!! But that morning I told myself "Just do it!"

and to my surprise...  I received so many compliments for them. 


So the moral to my post is even when your nerves are telling you no, TRY or DO it anyway and you will be surprised. Even if no one responds to your daring act 
(like the compliments I received for my outfit risk
YOU will know that you tried and be proud of yourself for doing so!!

To dress them up I paired them with booties and bow tie dress shirt and a bold lip. I am in love with this Bordeaux color for fall and treated myself to this new lip shade. Its called Leo, and it's fabulous.

xo, ciao

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Devon's Dish: [[ FORTHRIGHT OYSTER BAR ]] restaurant review

 wow wOw WOW... not enough time in the day for all the good things I have to say about this place!!!

Forthright Oyster Bar in Campbell Ca is simply smashing!!

I dined here this past weekend, a new spot in town and had to try it. I ate at A.P. Stumps growing up, and always enjoyed that "high class//modern" atmosphere  that it held.. 
I have always been drawn to that sort of vibe.

Good news, Jim Stump decided to open up shop in Campbell with his newest gem, and continues to own The Table in Willow Glen. read more about that here. 

We were able to try a few different appetizers,  including; the bone marrow, the heirloom tomato & burrata salad, the white watermelon & prosciutto salad, and the The Coromandel oysters. Thankfully we shared all of this, so everyone got a bite. The marrow bones were HUGE and very rich. The seasoning and caramelized crisp along with the crunchy bread was a served along side, was a perfect combination. My favorite as the oyster. They had a clean and fresh ocean taste, I added a splash of citrus for a little extra zest. The watermelon was given to us as a thank you, because we had to wait a little longer for our table. How Sweet!

For dinner, I enjoyed "The only Burger that belongs on the table"- yes that is truly the name. Apparently it is a rotating recipe noted by the name of the creator. I had Chris' Version- nice work Chris! The Swiss cheese crisp was a nice contrast of texture with every bite. The pastrami and the beef paired well with the "secret sauce"... over all I would order it again- but only if I can time it right..

Others in my party enjoyed the: Johnny Cakes, Pork Chop, Shrimp & Grits and the Seafood Linguine pasta. I tried a taste of each and would 100% recommend them to the next guest who walks through their door. I honestly don't think there is a bad dish on the menu??

I will return to Forthright, but it's the amazing service and hospitality that truly made the experience memorable. Our server was a doll, so attentive and delightful to talk to. Every other employee was courteous and inviting as well.  

Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Bay Area Haunted Houses

I'm not your typical girl.. Take me to a haunted house where people chase me with knives and chainsaws.. and I might just want to marry you. 

I LOVE Halloween and everything that goes along with it... Still haven't figured out my costume for this year. Last year I went as a modern day Dorothy, with Maddie being the best Toto ever!! 
My 2015 costume
Even though, I haven't landed on a costume- I will share with you this year's best Bay Area events for all things spooky.

Haunted Houses

Halloween Parties 

Pumpkin Patches for the babes

Happy Halloween!!
xo, ciao

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Fall Festive in Five Simple Steps.

Remember when you were a child and you were so stoked for Halloween, you started planning you costume months in advance and which friends you would trick or treat with and which houses offered the best sweets? 
.... oh, you weren't as obsessed as I was??

That's OK!! but do you remember how "into it" you were? compared to today.. where you're lucky if you remember what day Halloween falls on? ((ahem, Monday the 31st)  

SHOOT! I'm lucky if I even get a bite of candy corn or even find my Halloween decorations!!
Well, aren't you lucky that I'm about the share 5 SIMPLE steps to get yourself in that fall spirit.

1) Buy something orange for your doorstep
It greets you every time you come home, makes you smile and is under five bucks; whether its a pumpkin, a flower pot of marigolds or a festive ribbon in your wreath.

2) Bake Cookies
Put the flour & eggs away.. I said these were SIMPLE.. you should display them in a mason jar too for added cuteness to your counter!

3) Host a movie night
My girlfriend and I love to watch Hocus Pocus to get in the season of Halloween. 
Send an invite to your gal pals saying- P.J. party @ my house & bring a snack to share. 
Girls LOOOOVE going out, without having to get dressed up.  

4) Go shopping at Trader Joes
look how cute this Haunted House kit is?!!

I'm not lying. Just stepping foot in the store at this time of year will get you in the spirit. Plus you'll end up buying a bunch of stuff you didn't know you needed. :)   

5) Grab a Pumpkin Spice Latte

I know what you're thinking.. How very basic of you..
Oh get over yourself, they're yummy! 
You don't even have to give in a Starbucks anymore.. every one's doing it!! 
You can even make your own.

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