Friday Favorites

Happy Friday, friends! Despite some interesting things happening around town (most notably, the Fremont Solstice Festival and Naked Bike Race) I’m looking forward to a pretty quiet weekend. A brunch here, a cocktail there, and if I’m feeling particularly ambitious, maybe I’ll even catch up on Game of Thrones. Do you have anything fun planned? While you think it over, here are a few fun links from this week.

Flourless chocolate cake, trips of a lifetime, coffee granita, how to build your dream closet, and the awesomeness of platonic rom-coms

1. I’m bookmarking this insanely decadent caramel-drenched flourless chocolate cake recipe for my next birthday. Sparklers a must! (What’s Gaby Cooking)

2. If you get bored this weekend, here’s how to create and organize the closet of your dreams. (The Everygirl)

3. This piece on the primacy of female friendship and the rise of the platonic rom-com really speaks to my soul. (The Atlantic)

4. Of the 12 types of trips everyone should take before turning 40, I’ve done 8 so far. Maybe I can combine a few for my next vacation. Solo cross-country road trip, perhaps? (PureWow)

5. I’ve saved the best for last: you can now order granita at Starbucks as part of their new sunset menu! Yummm! (Refinery29)

Have a great weekend!

♥ Mil

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Spicy Mexican Hot Chocolate

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Happy New Year, everyone! How’s 2016 treating you so far? With the insanity of the holidays behind us and a long, cold winter ahead of us, I think we could all use a little pick-me-up…something deliciously decadent that’s both spicy and sweet and warms you to your very core.

I first tried Mexican hot chocolate back in college and I absolutely loved its rich, complex flavor, but I never tried making it myself until last week. After experimenting with a few recipes and tweaking them to fit my own preferences, I landed on the following:

Mexican Hot Chocolate (serves 1)

  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 tbs unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 tbs granulated sugar
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • Generous pinch of chili powder
  • Dash of salt
  • 1 piece dark chocolate
  • Whipped cream

Mexican Hot Chocolate

Blend cocoa powder, sugar, cinnamon, chili powder and salt in a small bowl. Heat up the milk in the microwave and gradually stir in the cocoa mixture; then add the vanilla. (Note: for a larger batch, it would be easier to blend everything in a saucepan over medium-low heat.)

Mexican hot chocolate

Drop in a small piece of dark chocolate – a flavored variety like chipotle chili will add some extra kick – and allow it to melt. Then top with whipped cream and grate a little bit of dark chocolate on top. For added heat, sprinkle on some more chili powder.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

For best results, enjoy your hot chocolate in front of a roaring fire, ideally with snow falling softly outside.

Mexican Hot Chocolate

What’s your favorite way to make hot chocolate, sweet or spicy? Or perhaps with a little bit of booze in it?

♥ Mil

Fresh Raspberries and a Recipe for Banging Brownies

gluten free and paleo browniesThis past weekend, Nick and I went raspberry picking with some friends of ours at Remlinger Farms. Growing up, we went berry picking every year, making jam and pies from the (literal) fruits of our labor. It may sound crazy, but as soon as I stepped back into the fields, I felt this wave of nostalgia just wash over me. Oh to be ten again, eating berries until my stomach ached.
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Remblinger Farms raspberry picking

We left the field with four pounds of deliciousness. Look at that happy face.

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Fresh raspberries pair perfectly with chocolate, so our trip had me craving a chocolate brownie something bad. I’ve been trying to keep the Paleo thing going as much as possible, so my goal was to come up with a brownie recipe with satisfied my cravings while still keeping things relatively healthy. I’ve tried making Paleo brownies with coconut flour several times, and they always come out too cakey. For me, it’s not a true brownie unless it’s rich and fudgey.

After spending way too much time researching the blogs, I found a promising recipe from Elena’s Pantry using almond butter as the core ingredient. I did a little tweaking (I can’t help myself) and ended up with hands down the best Paleo brownie I’ve ever had. Seriously, it’s good. The best part is that this brownie recipe checks off all the health food buzz words. It’s paleo, gluten-free, dairy-free, and refined sugar-free. Getting your chocolate fix and feeling good about it? If that doesn’t make these brownies banging, I don’t know what else would!
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Banging Brownies

Serves about 10 (or just one if you’re me)

Ingredients
  • 16 ounces creamy roasted almond butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup no sugar added raspberry jam
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • ½ cup cacao powder
  • 1 ounce unsweetened baking chocolate
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • ½ teaspoon sea salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
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Instructions
  1. In a large bowl, blend together almond butter, eggs, honey, jam, and vanilla until smooth. I think you could actually use any type of jam in this recipe as long as it was pretty smooth. You really can’t taste the flavor.
  2. Place the baking chocolate in a small bowl and submerge in almond milk. Melt in the microwave, stirring every 5-10 seconds until fully melted. The milk and chocolate should combine into a smooth paste. Scoop the paste into your large bowl and blend until smooth.
  3. Blend in cacao, salt and baking soda.
  4. Grease a 10 x 10 baking dish, or a pie pan. I like to use coconut oil, but anything will do.
  5. Pour batter into dish and bake at 325° for 25-35 minutes. Let cool before serving.
  6. Note: this recipe is meant to have a deep chocolate flavor without an overwhelming level of sugar. Adjust the sweetener according to your preferences.
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paleo and gluten free brownies

I recommend serving a slice loaded with fresh raspberries and vanilla ice cream.

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I have one more slice left to enjoy tonight and then we’ll see how long I can hold out before making another batch. Any bets on how long I’ll make it? 1 day? 1 week?

XOXO,
Jules

Friday Favorites

Hello Friday. Welcome back my old friend! This weekend is shaping up to be a busy one. I’m working Saturday, and then Sunday we’re celebrating both Easter and our wedding anniversary. Nothing says “I’ll love you for the rest of your life” like a basket full of Cadbury Cream Eggs! Are you doing anything fun for Easter this weekend? Easter egg hunt? Church? Brunch?

Whatever you end up doing, have a great weekend and enjoy this week’s round-up of links from around the web!

FridayFavorites4.3.2015edited

1. Every spring, I always start looking for a whimsical print or two to brighten up the office or the house. Who doesn’t need a picture of a watermelon pooping out a strawberry in their office? Don’t worry, there are other options.

2. While Ellen Pao didn’t win her gender discrimination case, her fight has still sparked important conversations about gender biases in the workplace. #EqualPay

3. I’m trying to decide what I’m getting Mil for her birthday this year. I’m thinking this.

4. Spend too much time on your phone? So do I! I’m on it while I’m walking to the bus, riding the bus, waiting in line at the store, sitting in bed, and so on. Our phones have become an extension of our hands. My friend introduced me to this app and I’m planning on giving it a try. I’m not going to lie though, I’m a little nervous.

5. Cute pugs + a wedding + a fundraiser to support rescue dogs = all the warm and fuzzy feelings you need to kick off your Friday right.

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XOXO,
Jules

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