Saturday, June 23, 2012

Making a Caramel Macchiato

 I have been tweaking my recipe for homemade vanilla syrup and I am finally satisfied with my most recent result. That means I have been on a caramel macchiato kick since I figured out the basics of how they are made.  

Vanilla Syrup
Whipped Cream
Caramel Sauce

Pour 2 Tablespoons of vanilla syrup into the bottom of a coffee mug and add 10oz. of 2% milk.
Microwave for 45-60 seconds.
Remove from the microwave and using an Aerolatte wand, froth the milk created microbubbles as seen in the photo above.

Prepare 3oz. of espresso and pour over frothed milk.

Almost will look like this. Notice if you properly froth the milk the foam does not dissipate. This is a good sign. 2% milk froths the best.

If you are a lover of whipped cream like myself and are unable to drink a latte without it, this would be the time to add it.

Add 1 Tablespoon of caramel over the whipped cream. I found it tastes best with homemade caramel sauce in place of a store bought caramel sauce topping. Don't worry, there are several ways to make it, one being baking a can of sweet condensed milk with vanilla.

I add *cinnamon to all of my coffee drinks, totally optional of course.

Now you know how to make a great tasting caramel macchiato at home. Now if I could snag a package of robbins egg blue coffee cups from Party City I will be on my way...


Thursday, June 21, 2012

Bottega Italiana

My friend has been telling me about this amazing gelato place over on Coronado (Coronado, California) for some time. We were in the area today and decided to stop by this place called Bottega Italiana.

It was nice to see they also have a coffee menu! They serve smoothies, gelato, gelato shakes, as well as coffee drinks.

Prices for the gelato are as follows:
Small 1 Flavor: $3.30
Medium 2 Flavor: $4.50
Large 3 Flavor: $5.70
Pint: $8.40

I loved seeing the brightly colored case of gelato as soon as we stepped inside the door. Our daugter's immediately picked chocolate but I was torn between hazelnut and coconut.

I asked to sample the coconut and upon tasting the rich, natural creaminess of it, I ordered a small. In hindsight I totally could have went for a pint and ate it by myself in one sitting.

This is the chocolate gelato. It tasted of high quality cocoa and I was very pleased with it. I mean, who doesn't like chocolate gelato? Right?

Before hitting up the gelato place we were at the beach on North Island.

It turned out to be a gorgeous summery day. Finally. May and June we experience the coastal eddy which traps us in thick marine layer for most of the day. You can see the marine layer sitting off the coast in the distance.

I saw these benches and totally wanted to sit here. It looks like a cozy place to sit with the benches facing one another hidden by the sand dune.

A perfect Thursday so far...I am getting ready to meet another friend for coffee (latte for me!) tonight to discuss some books we have been reading! Tomorrow we go see the new Disney Pixar Brave movie. 


Friday, June 8, 2012

Show Us Where You Live: Kitchen

I am linking up to Kelly's Korner Blog for an edition of Show Us Where You Live: Kitchen.
I happen to love my kitchen and the only thing I would change at this point is the paint to a modern gray tone. If you follow me on Pinterest you will see I adore white cabinets, light stone counters, and very dark wood floors. Unfortunately I do not have the dark wood floors...maybe next time? You will see my beloved aqua colored accents throughout my kitchen and even in my kitchen drawers. Here we go...

This is a shelf that hangs on the wall and I often (as much as twice a week) change up the decor. I like to switch things around to keep it fresh.

This is a candle that lives on my counter. I am savoring what I have left of my Leaves scent from Bath and Body Works Slatkin & Co. candles. I have a silver sleeve on the candle from the store as well as a matching sleeve on the hand soap which is defocused behind the candle in this picture.

This is my Kitchen Aid mixer from The Martha Stewart Collection in "Aqua Sky." It was limited edition but was recently reintroduced by Kitchen Aid and it is currently available again. Good news for all of you aqua lovers out there!

A little decor around the stove. I like to keep it simple.

I have a post about this decor here!  I have been searching for tall shiny candle holders like these and got lucky at Home Goods and found them.

The tea kettle is from The Martha Stewart Collection.

Leftover Sixlets from my daughter's retro candy theme birthday party.

Another view...

This is in the far corner where the telephone and radio stays. This corner is a source of frustration for me because I don't like exposed cords and I like the counters to look clean and simple. The problem is the phone jack is there so the main phone must sit there and my husband and I enjoy listening to AM talk radio so the radio sits there. I have the white and aqua dry erase board that I prop is front to cover them up so it looks like this instead.

My fridge and awesome gray and white dry erase board I found at Target on clearance. I don't use it, so it hangs just as you see it. I admired the board many times at Target and finally one day I found it marked way down on an end cap and it became mine.  :)

My cat's food dish...yes aqua too. I found this at TJ Maxx several years ago. It actually sits on the floor and not the counter. I just wanted to get a picture of it for you all.

I told you, I have much more aqua inside my drawers and cabinets than on the outside. I don't want to go overboard on the decor with it, but many of my small counter appliances in the cabinets are all aqua as well as mixing bowls, etc. It's my color and most people that know me know that. 

Thanks for touring my kitchen with me!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

What I Wore Wednesdays

I am linking up with The Pleated Poppy for What I Wore Wednesday.  Be sure to check out and see what others are wearing for inspiration, I know it helps me!
My latest accessories found in my Target Haul I am wearing my new gold and coral-y orange hoops and my Sally Hansen "Something New" nail polish.

Getting ready to meet friends for a late coffee.

I'm wearing: American Apparel black tee, Ella Moss black jacket, Black & White Striped scarf from TJ Maxx, Joes Jeans...

... and new Mossimo sandals from Target. These sandals are the same coral-y orange color as the nail polish and accent color on the hoop earrings.

I'm wearing: Victorias Secret PINK raglan neon yellow long sleeve tee, Hudson Jeans...

...and my statement necklace I also recently found in my Target Haul.

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Cookie Dough Brownies

Today was my first attempt at making brownies from scratch all on my own. All on my own means I didn't use a recipe and instead decided to wing it. I will admit that next time I would like to tweak the recipe for a slightly different brownie but nevertheless I will include what I concocted below.

You will need to mix up the cookie dough...don't worry this is eggless and there is no baking powder or baking soda in it either. I originally made this to eat as is, you know, will a spoon. It also makes a great sweet dip too! Today I found another purpose, slathering it on top of brownies. Feel free to leave out some of the extras like oats, cinnamon, and peanut butter M&M's is you wish!

Cookie Dough:
½ Cup Butter, Softened

1 1/3 Cup White Granulated Sugar

1 Teaspoon Pure Vanilla Extract

1 Pinch of Salt

 1 Cup Flour

 1/4 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter

 1/3 Cup Heavy Cream

 1/2 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips

 3 Tablespoons Oats

 1/3 Cup Peanut Butter M&M's

 Sprinkle Ground Cinnamon

1.) In a mixing bowl cream butter and sugar. Stir in vanilla and salt.

2.) Sift flour and mix. Once flour is incorporated, stir in peanut butter.

3.) Slowly begin mixing in heavy cream.

4.) Add in the goodies! Stir in milk chocolate chips, oats, M&M's.

5.) Add a sprinkle of ground cinnamon on top and serve or covered tightly and store in the refrigerator until ready to serve.

Now, onto the brownies and my baking experiment.

I remember making some recipes in the past where you sift the dry ingredients first and then add the liquids so I decided to go that route. I made a well in the middle of my dry ingredients and added my eggs, vanilla, and oil.

Once it was well mixed and nearly done I decided to melt some milk chocolate chips to make sure it was chocolatey enough for extra measure!

This is what the brownie looks like out of the oven and cooled.

I didn't take a photo but I decided to spread the softened cookie dough onto a sheet of wax paper the size of my pan and popped it in the freezer for 15-20 minutes until firm. Then I was able to transfer the cookie dough and place it right on top of the brownie, easy!

Back to the brownies...I was shooting for a fudgy brownie but ended up with more of a cake brownie. I recognize my mistake. I had one too many eggs and likely too much baking soda, and powder. I will decrease those amounts next time.

1 ½ Cups Flour

¾ Cup Granulated Sugar

1 Teaspoon Baking Powder
½ Teaspoon Baking Soda

1 Teaspoon Salt
½ Cup Cocoa Powder

2 Eggs

1 Tablespoon Vanilla
 ½ Cup Olive Oil

½ Cup Milk Chocolate Chips, melted

1.)    Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2.)    Sift dry ingredients such as flour, sugar, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cocoa powder in a mixing bowl.

3.)    Make a well in the middle of the dry ingredients and pour egg, vanilla, and oil. Mix well.

4.)    Melt milk chocolate chips in the microwave and stir into batter. Spray a square 8x8 pan and pour batter into pan.

5.)    Bake at 325 for 28 minutes and allow to fully cool before adding cookie dough.


Monday, June 4, 2012

Butterfinger Pie

For some reason Butterfinger Pie reminds me a summer. I recently came across Butterfinger Pie on Pinterest and couldn't stop thinking about it until I finally bought the candy bars and whipped up this creation.

Delicious Butterfinger Pie sitting in my freezer right now. I am working my way through it. See how it is made in the video below!
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