Friday Favorites

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Yep.  This could be my whole list because I mean come on.  Look at that face.  When she gets tired you can put anything on her and she won’t even move… so naturally we put my glasses on her… then a hat.  Anywho, back to my favorites for this week!

1) Favorite new dress: Brooklet Striped Dress from Francesca’s!

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2) Favorite facial product: Neutrogena Makeup Remover Wipes.  I never was into buying makeup remover wipes because I always thought washing my face was fine.  But I bought these the other day and LOVE them.  If I am going to the gym straight from work it is nice to take all my makeup off on the way.  Go buy some you won’t be sorry!

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3) Favorite jeans: Old Navy’s Rockstar Super Skinny Jeans.  I had a pair when they first came out about 2 years ago and just bought another pair.  They are stretchy and wonderful.

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4) Favorite recent restaurant find:  Beer Belly.  It’s in LA near the Wiltern where Matt and I saw Jennifer Nettles in concert!  This is a pic of our duck fat fries with duck confit and  raspberry mustard.  AMAZING.

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That’s all folks!  Enjoy your weekend!

 

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Ginger Bourbon Fizz

Ginger Bourbon Fizz

 Spring has sprung and cocktails are flowing in Long Beach.  I have some pretty exciting news… I am starting to love bourbon!!  Matt has liked it for awhile but it always made me a little nervous.  That is until I combined it with ginger ale and lemon.  This drink is my new go to cocktail because it is light, fresh and perfectly boozy.  I also added mint to this version and it was just divine.  I also may have bought some candied ginger along with my dried mangoes at the farmers market this week.  It’s dangerous how many vendors at my farmers market take card now… but support the local economy right?  If you aren’t a bourbon fan, I am sure ginger ale, lemon and mint would be amazing on their own as well.  You don’t really need a recipe for this one, just a shot of bourbon, top with ginger ale & the juice of half a lemon.  Simple and perfect.  I may be drinking one as I type this…

Ginger Bourbon Fizz

All of your essentials!

Ginger Bourbon Fizz

I garnished mine with candied ginger, mint and a lemon slice.

 Ginger Bourbon Fizz

 If you can drink it in a cute mason jar glass with a handle that would probably be best.   (but a red solo cup works too)

Ginger Bourbon Fizz

Enjoy!!

Ginger Bourbon Fizz

Ingredients

  • 1.5 oz. bourbon
  • ginger ale
  • juice of half a lemon
  • mint sprig

Directions

In a glass over ice pour in the bourbon and juice of half a lemon. Top with ginger ale and garnish with mint and a lemon slice.

http://littlebitsof.com/2014/04/ginger-bourbon-fizz/

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Whole Wheat Almond & Vanilla Bean Scones

Mini Whole Wheat Almond & Vanilla Bean Scones

 Okay people are you ready to be ahead of the times?   Scones are going to be the new cupcakes………. I’ll let that sink for a minute.  No, I am not an expert, but I am pretty sure for something to be a “thing” it has to be delicious, easily adaptable and covered in icing.  I’m telling you people… SCONES!  Well I love scones for many reasons.  One of them being that they are so easy to make.  I made Whole Wheat, Espresso & White Chocolate Chip Scones about a year ago.  About a month after that it was a weeknight and Matt said, “I could really go for some of those scones again…”  And I replied, “Well the recipe is on my blog… go for it!”  At this point I assumed he would laugh and eat some ice cream instead.  But he pulled up the recipe on his iPad and started baking.  About 30 minutes later we had fresh scones and they were amazing!  He couldn’t believe how easy they were to make and how moist and sweet they were.  Scones have a bit of a bad rap.  I am sure you don’t crave them often, but make them once and you will make them time and time again!  I think you will see more and more scones popping up on this blog… and in the world!

Mini Whole Wheat Almond & Vanilla Bean Scones

 I made mine mini… mostly so that I could eat multiple and not feel too bad. :)

Mini Whole Wheat Almond & Vanilla Bean Scones

Bake for a few minutes!

Mini Whole Wheat Almond & Vanilla Bean Scones

Vanilla bean glaze…..

Mini Whole Wheat Almond & Vanilla Bean Scones

 Coat those bad boys with icing!

 Mini Whole Wheat Almond & Vanilla Bean Scones

 Enjoy with coffee or another scone.

Mini Whole Wheat Almond & Vanilla Bean Scones

 Perfecto!

 Mini Whole Wheat Almond & Vanilla Bean Scones

 

Mini Whole Wheat Almond & Vanilla Bean Scones

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract
  • 1/2 vanilla bean
  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon + 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 6 tablespoons cold butter
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 vanilla bean

Directions

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, egg, almond extract and the seeds of 1/2 a vanilla bean. Set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the dry ingredients (flour through salt). Cut in the butter with a pastry cutter, or if you don't have one, your fingers. The dough will resemble coarse crumbs.

Slowly add 3/4 of the egg mixture to the dry mixture and stir gently to combine. Continue adding egg mixture, a tablespoon at a time, just until the dough holds together. If you add too much liquid, the result will be more like muffins than scones. I used all but a tablespoon or two of the liquid.

Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Roll out until about 1″ thick. Cut out small circles and place them on a parchment paper lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes or until nicely browned. Let cool on a cooling rack.

Meanwhile, prepare the glaze by mixing powdered sugar, milk & the seeds in the other half of the vanilla bean together. Add more milk or sugar to make it thinner or thicker. Drizzle the glaze on scones and enjoy!

http://littlebitsof.com/2014/04/whole-wheat-almond-vanilla-bean-scones/

 

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Baked Mahi Mahi Tacos w/ Lime Crema

Baked Mahi Mahi Tacos w/ Lime Crema

 Fish tacos hold a special place in my heart.  I rarely have them and whenever I do I absolutely love them.  The best ones are usually the beer battered and fried ones… but its almost bikini season people.  With a little panko bread crumbs, this mahi mahi bakes perfectly and still has crunch to it.  I also just learned recently about browning the breadcrumbs before baking and it kind of changed my life.  And if you can get your hands on some perfect avocados… those are a must.  Something about creamy avocado just completes a taco in my eyes.  Also, I once again have substituted greek yogurt for sour cream!  It is so nice to have it on hand and can make any meal that calls for mayo or sour cream much healthier.  This is also another Trader Joes recipe because everything in it is from TJs.  The Mahi-Mahi is in their frozen section, the tortillas are their corn and wheat tortillas, and the avocado, lime, panko, Greek yogurt and lettuce are all from there as well.  You may have these ingredients on hand and can use any variation of them.  Different fish, seasonings and tortillas can all be used and still make this taco perfect.  You will love the creamy bite of the crema as it marries so well with the crispy fish.

First, spice up that fish!

Baked Mahi Mahi Tacos w/ Lime Crema

 Then coat with toasted panko bread crumbs.

Baked Mahi Mahi Tacos w/ Lime Crema

 Bake the fish, then assemble!  Also, you should probably enjoy these with some Rosé.

 Baked Mahi Mahi Tacos w/ Lime Crema

 Top with lettuce for a little crunch.

 Baked Mahi Mahi Tacos w/ Lime Crema

 Best to enjoy on a warm night at sunset.

Baked Mahi Mahi Tacos w/ Lime Crema

 YUM! (Pardon the lack of a fresh mani.)

Baked Mahi Mahi Tacos w/ Lime Crema

 

Baked Mahi Mahi Tacos w/ Lime Crema

Ingredients

  • 3 fillets of Mahi Mahi
  • 1 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1 lime
  • pinch of salt
  • pepper
  • 1 cup panko bread crumbs
  • tortillas
  • 1/4 cup plain greek yogurt
  • avocado
  • shredded lettuce

Directions

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Cut Mahi Mahi into bite sized pieces and place in a bowl. Add the garlic powder, paprika, the juice of half a lime, salt and pepper. Let sit while the oven preheats.

Pour bread crumbs onto a cookie sheet and toast in the oven until lightly browned. Keep and eye on them as they can burn quickly. Remove the breadcrumbs and let cool slightly. Take the mahi mahi and coat with breadcrumbs, pressing each piece into the crumbs to cover completely. Place fish on a cookie sheet fitted with parchment paper. Bake the fish for 12 minutes.

For the lime crema, combine the greek yogurt with the juice of half a lime and some salt and pepper in a small bowl. Assemble tacos and top with crema!

http://littlebitsof.com/2014/03/baked-mahi-mahi-tacos-w-lime-crema/

 

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Homemade Nutella

Homemade Nutella

WARNING.  If you love Nutella and have been known to eat it with a spoon many times… this may be too much for you to handle.  I finally made it myself and am fearful when I say it is actually pretty easy to make.  (Fearful because I might just want to make it every weekend now).  Making things like this on your own is so rewarding.  Not only because you get the actual reward of large amounts of nutella, but you can create something that is so much better than regular nutella.  I think it’s the fact that you know exactly what goes into it and the hazelnut flavor is so present.  After making your own Nutella you will start to think the regular stuff  tastes a bit fake and plasticy (if that’s even a word…).  I have wanted to make this for awhile now because Matt loves Nutella.  I’m pretty sure he will eat it on anything.  I made it on Sunday when he was working and when he came home Monday, I was at work.  I wanted to know what he thought of it…

Nutella

Yeah, you could say he liked it.

Homemade Nutella

 Skinning the hazelnuts is the hardest part!  The rest is just blending.

Homemade Nutella

 Hazelnuts turn into hazelnut butter.

Homemade Nutella

 Then boom! NUTELLA!

 Homemade Nutella

 Find a jar… this one used to have queso in it.

Homemade Nutella

 If you aren’t eating this off of a spoon, toast is always good.

Homemade Nutella

GO BUY SOME HAZELNUTS!

Homemade Nutella

Homemade Nutella

Ingredients

  • 2 cups hazelnuts
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • ⅓ cup Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 2 tablespoons canola oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt

Directions

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Spread the hazelnuts out on a single layer on a rimmed baking sheet and roast until dark brown and fragrant, 12 to 15 minutes, rotating the baking sheet halfway through baking. Transfer the hazelnuts to a medium-sized bowl with a flour sack dish towel.

Once the hazelnuts are cool enough to handle, wrap the hazelnuts in the dish towel and rub the hazelnuts together to create friction so the skins will come off. This take awhile but it is important to remove all skins. You can also buy blanched hazelnuts instead and skip this whole step.

Process the hazelnuts in a food processor until their oil is released and they form a smooth, loose paste, 2 to 5 minutes, scraping down the bowl often.

Add the powdered sugar, cocoa powder, canola oil, vanilla extract and salt and process until fully incorporated, scraping the bowl as needed, about 2 minutes. The mixture will loosen and become glossy. Transfer the spread to a jar with a tight-fitting lid or an airtight container. You can store it in the refrigerator or at room temperature for up to 1 month.

http://littlebitsof.com/2014/03/homemade-nutella/

 

 

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Pomegranate Chicken Salad

Pomegranate Chicken Salad

POMEGRANATE SEEDS!  Juicy, tart and the perfect addition to this chicken salad.  I went through a phase in high school when I loved the chicken salad sandwich at Arby’s.  I would drive through on the way from one water polo practice to the other during the summer.  What made it so good was the grapes.  They added that burst of flavor that made you feel like all that mayo wasn’t that bad for you.  Luckily now I have found that you can use greek yogurt instead of mayo or sour cream in most recipes and it makes it 10 times better for you.  In this recipe I use mostly greek yogurt with a little mayo.  Some dill and lemon give a great depth of flavor and the pomegranate seeds add the most amazing pop that keeps you wanting more.  You should probably serve this on a fresh multigrain bread to really make you feel like you are a health fanatic.  Did I mention this can be thrown together in no time?

Pomegranate Chicken Salad

 So much goodness in one bowl.

Pomegranate Chicken Salad

 Dill goodness!

 Pomegranate Chicken Salad

 Almost there…

Pomegranate Chicken Salad

 Yumbo!

Pomegranate Chicken Salad

 Toast some bread, spread on some dijon and you are good to go!

Pomegranate Chicken Salad

 Slice and serve.

 Pomegranate Chicken Salad

With an ice cold brew? :)

 Pomegranate Chicken Salad

 

 

Pomegranate Chicken Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 lb. cooked chicken, chopped
  • 3/4 cup pomegranate seeds
  • 3-4 celery stalks, chopped
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 1 cup 0% greek yogurt
  • 1/4 cup mayonnaise
  • juice of half a large lemon (or a whole small lemon)
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh dill
  • 1 tablespoon brown sugar
  • 1 tablespoon dijon mustard
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

Directions

In a large bowl combine chopped chicken, pomegranate, celery, green onion & set aside. In a smaller bowl, combine greek yogurt, mayonnaise, lemon juice, dill, brown sugar & mustard. Pour yogurt mix into chicken mix and stir until chicken mixture is coated with the yogurt mix (you may not use all of the yogurt mix). Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve on toasted bread!

http://littlebitsof.com/2014/03/pomegranate-chicken-salad/

 

 

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Lemon Pound Cake w/ Blueberry Swirl

Lemon Pound Cake with Blueberry Filling

 Yay for daylight savings!!!  I absolutely love when the sun stays up late.  It makes me feel like I can be so much more productive.  It is a little sad how unproductive I can be once the sun goes down.  These few months of sunny days before summer will be perfect for getting nice and bikini ready.  Going to the gym when it is still sunny out after work will be a lot easier.  I am now all about the gym during the week. And on the weekend?  I am all about cake.  This cake was very easy to throw together and so delish.  Lemon and blueberry are the perfect combo.  First make your batter and add it to a buttered and floured bundt or angel food cake pan.  Then make a well for the blueberry sauce.

 Lemon Pound Cake with Blueberry Filling

 Add that beautiful sauce!

Lemon Pound Cake with Blueberry Filling

Swirl it up…

Lemon Pound Cake with Blueberry Filling

 Add more batter.

Lemon Pound Cake with Blueberry Filling

 Swirl again then bake!

Lemon Pound Cake with Blueberry Filling

Pour icing over cake!

Lemon Pound Cake with Blueberry Filling

Enjoy!!

 DSC_0118Lemon Pound Cake with Blueberry Filling

 

Lemon Pound Cake w/ Blueberry Swirl

Ingredients

    Cake:
  • 1 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon zest
  • 1 tablespoon fresh-squeezed lemon juice
  • 1 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
  • 5 eggs
  • 2 cups cups unbleached flour + teaspoon salt, sifted
  • Blueberry Sauce:
  • 1/2cup sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon cornstarch
  • 1 1/2 cups fresh or thawed frozen blueberries
  • Zest and juice of one lemon
  • Icing:
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 tablespoons +2 teaspoons lemon juice

Directions

Preheat an oven to 325 degrees F. Butter and flour a bundt pan. In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric beater until the mixture is pale and creamy, about 5 minutes. Beat in the lemon zest, lemon juice, and vanilla. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating until just combined after each addition. Fold in the flour and salt mixture in 2 batches, mixing after each addition until well combined. Be careful not to over mix. Spoon half of the batter into the bundt pan. Create a well in the batter and spoon in blueberry mixture. Take a butter knife and swirl blueberry sauce into batter. Top with the rest of the batter and swirl again. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes, or until a skewer poked into the cake comes out clean. Remove cake from oven and cool on a wire rack for 10 minutes.

In a small bowl combine powdered sugar and lemon juice. Stir until combined. Pour icing over cooled cake.

To make blueberry sauce:

Combine sugar, cornstarch, blueberries, lemon juice and zest in a small saucepan. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer for 20 minutes. Then pour mixture into a blender and blend on low for 30 seconds. Let cool before adding to cake.

http://littlebitsof.com/2014/03/lemon-pound-cake-w-blueberry-swirl/

 

 

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Friday Favorites!

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It’s been a while since my last list of favorites.  But this week I just had to share a few things with you!

1) Favorite Show: Matt and I are officially obsessed with Dexter.  If you haven’t watched yet, get on Netflix and JUST DO IT!

Dexter

2) Favorite friendship: This puppy friendship.  I DIE!!

Puppy Friends

3) Favorites dog treats:  Speaking of Sadie… These treats are the best!!  You can break them up into little pieces so the bag lasts forever!

pPETS-4689909dt4) Favorite weeknight dinner: These Light Thai Chicken Lettuce Wraps are so delish!

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5) Favorite Steal:  These target t-shirts are my jam.  They are on sale for 7 bucks in store and who doesn’t love a little hot pink in their lives?!

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That’s all I have for now… Happy Friday!!

 

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Easy Toasted Coconut Caramels

Easy Toasted Coconut Caramels

 I’ve talked about my love for toasted coconut before.  And with girl scout cookie season among us I have been thinking about Samoas and that wonderful mixture of caramel and coconut.  I haven’t had any girl scout cookies this year and I will try to hold out as long as I can.  It’s only a matter of time till I am forced to take a few boxes in front of the grocery store.  In that case I am completely okay with it… it’s for the children right?  Until then I can just satisfy my coconuty caramel craving with these easy treats.  All I did for these was melt some of those individually wrapped square caramels and mix in some toasted coconut.  Very simple and it can make you look very impressive.  I’m here for you.

Easy Toasted Coconut Caramels

 Melt, mix, pour and top!

Easy Toasted Coconut Caramels

 Cut into squares! You could also dip, drizzle or dunk these in chocolate.  I am sure that would be kind of ridiculous.

Easy Toasted Coconut Caramels

 Take a BITE!

Easy Toasted Coconut Caramels

 

Easy Toasted Coconut Caramels

Ingredients

  • 2 7oz bags of caramel squares
  • 1 1/2 cups toasted coconut

Directions

Unwrap caramels and place in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 1 minute. Then microwave in 1 minutes intervals on 50% power, until all caramels are melted. Make sure not to over heat! Once melted, mix in 1 1/4 cups of toasted coconut. Pour into greased 8 x 8 pan and press down with greased wax paper so that the caramel is even. Then sprinkle the top with remaining 1/4 cup of toasted coconut and press down again. Let set in the fridge for 20 minutes. Cut into desired shape and size.

*** To toast coconut: Take 1 1/2 cups of sweetened shredded coconut and place on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven. Don't go far and check coconut often until lightly browned.

http://littlebitsof.com/2014/03/easy-toasted-coconut-caramels/

 

 

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Cinnamon Crumb Banana Bread

Cinnamon Crumb Banana Bread

 Whenever I have brown bananas I get really excited that I can make banana bread.  Then a few more days pass and I miss my chance.  When bananas get too old they because almost syrupy and you can’t use them for anything.  I am one of those people that love brown spots on bananas and really don’t like when they are still a little green.  The more brown a banana gets the sweeter it is!  Brown bananas can mean so much more than bread though.  You can unpeel them, freeze them, then throw then in a food processor and make banana ice cream.  Or you can slice them up and throw them in a saucepan with brown sugar and butter… hello bananas foster!  But banana bread is always delicious and I usually have all of the ingredients on hand.  Oh and adding cinnamon crumb topping is kind of a no-brainer.  :)

First mash those bananas!

Cinnamon Crumb Banana Bread

 The crumb topping is just flour, powdered sugar, cinnamon & melted butter!

Cinnamon Crumb Banana Bread

Bake for about 50 minutes.

Cinnamon Crumb Banana Bread

 Sprinkle some powdered sugar on top!

Cinnamon Crumb Banana Bread

Slice and enjoy!

Cinnamon Crumb Banana Bread

Cinnamon Crumb Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 egg
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 2 overripe bananas, mashed
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Crumb Topping:
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • pinch of salt

Directions

In a large bowl of a mixer, fitted with a paddle attachment, beat together the sugar, egg and vanilla until combined. Add the butter and beat until smooth and the butter is fully incorporated. Beat in the buttermilk and bananas.

In a separate bowl, mix together the flour, salt, baking soda, baking powder and cinnamon. Slowly stir the dry ingredients into the wet until all the flour is incorporated. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray and pour in the batter.

Make the crumb topping by combining the powdered sugar, flour, cinnamon salt and melted butter. Using your hands, crumble the mixture over the batter in the pan. Bake in a pre-heated 350 degree oven for 45 - 50 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

http://littlebitsof.com/2014/02/cinnamon-crumb-banana-bread/

 

 

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