The White House Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe

So today we actually visited the White House and took a tour. I was a bit disappointed they hid the west wing from us but what can you do.

One of my favorite parts, besides seeing a pic of princess Diana and John Travolta dancing, was the Oatmeal Raisin Cookie Recipe they shared with us! I feel like I’ve been let in on such a secret!

These aren’t gluten free or dairy free but maybe you have some friends that would love these. I can’t wait to try baking them!

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Peach Summer Salad

I’m in DC and It is beautiful here!
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I’ve discovered why pregnant girls really gain so much weight. People see that you are pregnant and immediately want to feed you. They don’t feed you fruit or vegetables but immediately assume you want cookies, ice cream, or anything else dirty they can think of.

Hence, this sunday I had on the plane:20140718-170848-61728076.jpg
In an effort to make up for that delicious ice cream Sunday-with all of the toppings- I found this wonderful spot here called ‘Sweet Greens’ with a mouth watering menu of fresh salads with local ingredients, juices, and frozen yogurt. This salad is their ‘seasonal salad’ for the summer which I’ll be using as inspiration for our Sunday dinner salad.

I’m a peach lover so this salad sold me at the mention of local peaches. Try making it yourself by combining: mixed greens, chopped peaches, slivered almonds, goat cheese, and balsamic vinaigrette.

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Vanilla Almond Milk, Inspired by Pressed Juicery

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One of my favorite treats in LA can be found at the Pressed Juicery food truck. If you get the chance to try any one of their ‘Milk’s’ you will not regret it. My all time favorite is their coconut cinnamon which I miss dearly and couldn’t order online :(.

This week I had a few of our favorite juices/milks delivered and I realized their Vanilla Almond Milk is ridiculously easy to recreate (not to mention much cheaper).

The only thing I had to adjust was the thickness of my milk. I usually make my Almond Milk pretty thin (4:1 water:almonds) but Pressed Juicery’s is thicker and indulgent (3 to 1). You can play around with the thickness of your almond milk depending on your preferences.

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Vanilla Almond Milk
Inspired by Pressed Juicery

4 cups of Homemade Almond Milk
3-4 Mejdool Dates (the softer the better, but you can soak them in the milk before blending)
2 tsp vanilla extract (or seeds from half of a vanilla bean if you have one)
1/4 tsp of sea salt

Place all ingredients in a high powered blender and blend until smooth and luscious. (Don’t be afraid to blend it for even a minute depending on your blender and softness of the dates)

 

 

 

Baked Oatmeal, my new favorite classic

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My mom told me the other day that ‘I live off oatmeal. For breakfast, and sometimes dinner, that’s probably true.

There’s a coffee shop named Alterra that does a baked oatmeal that’s a little sweet (for me) but tasty compared to the instant oatmeal from Starbucks. I’d never had baked oatmeal until I tried their version and that’s what Inspired this recipe.

It’s like a healthy bread pudding / oatmeal cake. It is creamy, sweet, comforting, and delicious, piping hot from the oven. I would have this with a glass of Pineapple Green Smoothie and be perfectly content .

I used raspberries and blueberries because it reminds me of the crisp that my mom used to make us so frequently in the summer but you can use any berry/frozen berry you would like.

Baked Berry Oatmeal
Serves 3-4

Ingredients
2 medium ripe (but not mushy) bananas, sliced
1 1/2 cup blueberries/raspberries
3 Tbs maple syrup or sweetener of your choice (divided) (or to taste)
1 tsp of cinnamon (divided)
1 cup uncooked old fashioned oats
1/4 cup finely chopped walnuts or pecans
1/2 tsp baking powder
pinch of salt
1 cup Almond Milk
1 large egg
1.5 tsp vanilla extract

Directions
Preheat the oven to 375 F. Lightly spray 8×8 ceramic baking dish with cooking spray.

Arrange the banana slices in a single layer on the bottom of the dish. If you have too many bananas set aside (for use in the next layer of berries as shown).

Sprinkle half of the blueberries over the bananas, 1/4-1/2 tsp of the cinnamon, 1 tbsp of the maple syrup and cover with foil. Bake 15 minutes, until the bananas get soft.

Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, combine the oats, half of nuts, baking powder, remaining cinnamon, and salt; stir together. In a separate bowl, whisk together the remaining maple syrup (2 tbs), almond milk, egg and vanilla extract.

Remove the bananas from the oven, then pour the oat mixture over the bananas and berries.

Pour the milk mixture over the oats, making sure to distribute the mixture as evenly as possible over the oats. Sprinkle the remaining berries and pecans/walnuts over the top.

Bake the oatmeal for about 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown and the oatmeal has set. Serve warm from the oven.
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Paula’s Choice: The best website for your skin

131207_r&l_00060_Small On the morning of my wedding, I woke up relaxed and excited–oh and with a pimple, smack dab in the center of my face. I didn’t panic, I just rolled my eyes and slathered on a face mask before everyone arrived. My Elizabeth Arden, Cleansing Mask didn’t work but I knew that make up would. Once my make up artist, Elle Leary, got to the house, she immediately remedied the situation with a ‘La Mer Face Mask and Eye Pads’. (Thanks Elle, you are an angel). I had never heard of La Mer but I was so grateful that she had. My pimple disappeared and my face felt amazing! 131207_r&l_01165_Small

This got me thinking about all of the different products available to us and how little I know about any of them. The women in my family have never really had to ‘try’ to have great skin and until now I’ve tried to use my mother’s regime as my example. My mom is 55 (Sorry Mom) and looks like she’s 40. She never wears make up and simply washes her face with some water at night. She uses a simple moisturizer and eye cream and rarely, if ever, gets facials.

My grandmother’s skin staple was oil. I remember her slathering baby oil all over us when we were younger, even in our hair. When she would cook she would rub Olive Oil into her skin. Not too long ago she told me her skin was softer than mine, Bless Her honest heart. Clearly, there are two approaches to skin, the all natural and the bottled. I’ve decided to try out a balance of both.

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While I was researching some products that my beautiful friend and model, Gio Ott, had suggested to me, I found this wonderful website called Paula’s Choice. This wonderful site gives you reviews on most skin care lines that you can find at the cosmetics counter. The reviews are based on their own criteria such as ingredients, packaging, and effectiveness and they are rated ‘Best’, ‘Good’, ‘Average’, and ‘Poor’. I strongly encourage you to head to www.paulaschoice.com and begin searching each of the products in your bathroom.

The cool thing is, is that there are ‘best’ rated and ‘poor’ rated products in every price range. I think you’ll be pretty stunned by what you find and learn. I’ve looked up each product in my cupboard and thrown out A LOT of them and my skin is thanking me for it.

That’s all for now, Good Luck!

p.s. I’m now slathering olive oil/coconut oil on my skin just after showering and my skin has never been smoother.

Cinnamon and Honey Mask

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That is me right now.

Cinnamon and Honey Mask. 

1 1/2 tsp honey
1 tsp cinnamon

Prep your face by washing your face with any mild cleanser or use a warm wash cloth to cover your face for 10 seconds, 3 x over. Then, Mix together cinnamon and honey to form a thick paste. Cover your entire face (I use my fingers or a brush). Leave the mask on for 20 minutes and rinse. Feel the cleanliness, softness, and not irritated-ness that comes from this all natural and economical face mask.

Next, i’m going to try the lip scrub from my twin Tiphany Weeks at “No Days Just Weeks” !

 

Whole Wheat Zucchini Bread

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This was a recipe that I made yesterday in the hopes that my Zucchini Bread loving partner wouldn’t notice that it was ‘healthy’. It also made a super good impression on me while i was flipping through my new cookbooks, namely, The Newlywed Cookbook. This zucchini bread is made entirely from whole wheat flour (bleached). The texture rivals a bran muffin which is different compared to the traditional texture of an ‘all white’ zucchini bread. The recipe claims it’s perfect for freezing… I’ve frozen some for my brunch this saturday so we shall see if the claim stands to be true. (btw it’s Easter on sunday… i just realized that).

Golden Zucchini Bread

From The Newlywed Cookbook 

Makes 2 large loaves In July, when the garden is bursting with zucchini and the market is practically giving them away, make this slightly sweet bread with just enough veggies to make it good for you. This is divine eaten just a touch warm, with thick slabs of cream cheese spread on for the weekends. Farmer’s cheese or fresh ricotta, both high in protein and much lower in fat, make this a go-to breakfast treat as easy for everyday as it is elegant for breakfast with friends.

Ingredients

4 tbsp/55 g unsalted butter, plus more for the pans, at room temperature

1 cup/200 g lightly packed dark brown sugar

⅔ cup/130 g granulated sugar

3 large eggs

½ cup/120 ml grapeseed or vegetable oil

2 tsp pure vanilla extract

3 cups/400 g white whole-wheat/wholemeal flour

1½ tsp baking soda/bicarbonate of soda

½ tsp baking powder

1 tsp fine sea salt 1

tsp ground cinnamon

1 large zucchini/courgette, grated {about 3 cups/720 ml}

1 firm Bartlett/Williams pear, cored and grated {about 1 cup/240 ml}

¾ cup/85 g chopped toasted walnuts {about 3 oz}, plus more for garnish

¼ cup/40 g golden raisins/sultanas

2 tbsp sesame seeds

½ cup/120 ml farmer’s cheese, ricotta cheese, or cream cheese, for serving

Sliced figs or pears, for serving

Methods

Preheat the oven to 350°F/180°C/gas 4. Butter two 9-by-5-in/23-by-12-cm loaf pans/tins. Line them with parchment/baking paper, butter the parchment/baking paper, and set aside. Beat the butter and sugars in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, on medium speed until fluffy. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating between each addition. Add the oil and vanilla and stir to combine. Whisk together the flour, baking soda/bicarbonate of soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a medium bowl. Mix half the dry ingredients into the butter mixture and stir together. Stir in the remaining dry ingredients with a spatula, along with the zucchini/courgette, pear, nuts, raisins, and sesame seeds. Divide the batter between the prepared pans. Sprinkle with additional walnuts. Bake until the bread springs back when lightly touched, and a toothpick inserted into the center comes out dry with some crumbs, about 50 minutes. Cool on a rack 10 minutes. Remove from the pan, slice, and serve warm with a thick schmear of cheese and sliced figs.