Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Healthy Pumpkin Spice Cold Brew

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I am one of the very few people I know that genuinely never yearns for or even looks forward to summer. That's not to say I just wallow in self pity all summer long, but truth be told that's what my heart is probably really secretly feeling inside. Now fall on the other hand, that's my favorite, each new day I know more and more cold weather is around the corner! As much as I die each September waiting for fall to start, this year I have decided to wait until its actual, real live, sweater weather before I partake in fun and hot fall beverages. So you won't be passing my sweaty little self wearing a sweater in a coffee shop, crying as I try to sip a hot latte. Don't worry, not this year.

This long and boring rant was just to tell you I came up with a delicious but still healthy way to enjoy a nice pumpkin spice fix whether it's in an iced latte, cold brew, or (later on) a regular hot latte.  I am desperately trying to cut back on unhealthy things like refined sugar.  A 12oz pumpkin spice latte from you-know-where has 37 grams of sugar! Determined to find healthier option for this ever so famous drink, I put my thinking cap on and came up with the solution: dates! Dates are a fruit so that means you can use this syrup everyday, right? As I'm guzzling down absurd amounts of iced coffee all day I'll pat myself on the back a little for being so healthy...

This syrup ends up more of a thicker consistency, like a sauce, but it mixes into cold coffee just fine. I am really excited to try this in a classic latte.  It would also be good on pancakes or other breakfast things I bet.

Pumpkin Coldbrew












Date Sweetened Pumpkin Spice Syrup

Ingredients

  • 1/3 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 3/4 cups water
  • 12 dates, pitted (medjools are preferred but not necessary) 
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 1/4 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

Directions

  1. Combine all ingredients except the vanilla in a small saucepan 
  2. Simmer until dates break down and get soft
  3. Transfer to a blender or food processor, add vanilla
  4. Process until smooth.  (I used a Vitamix, so if you aren't using a high powered blender it might take a little extra blending time.)

To make iced coffee

  1. I start with some of this cold brew, but leave out the spices and sugar.
  2. Add a few generous spoonfuls of syrup to a glass, along with a splash of your coffee, stir.
  3. Add more coffee and syrup to taste.
  4. Add ice and creamer if you'd like. (I made this cashew creamer to bump up the health factor a tiny bit more) 
  5. Drink up!


Pumpkin Coldbrew


Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Very Lemony Strawberry Smoothie

Strawberry Lemon Smoothie

I love, love, love smoothies but for some reason just don't make them often enough! Which I realized is just ridiculous, because we bought a crazy nicer blender (vitamix, hello!) last year and that is just plain wasteful. So, here is a delicious one I made the other day! Also, please tell me what your favorite recipe is. I need to add some more to my arsenal, I want to wear that blender out (if that was possible).

Very Lemony Strawberry Smoothie

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup yogurt 
  • 2 cups strawberries (I used a mixture of frozen and fresh)
  • 1/2 of a lemon
  • 1 TBSP of honey (or more to taste)

Optional: 1 TBSP chia seeds and/or a handful of spinach


Directions:

Blend!! I just peeled and removed the seeds of the lemon and threw it in with everything else, but you could add just the juice. If you're using all fresh berries you might want to throw in some ice to make it colder!

Strawberry Lemon Smoothie

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

It's Time to Party!

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The other weekend we got to help throw our friends a surprise engagement party, and it was pretty darn fun! Luckily she said yes, so I didn't have to regret not having the time to make a banner that said "sorry". The building we live in now (because moving is apparently our favorite thing) has an awesome rooftop space, this was the first time we've used it but will have to take advantage of it a lot more. Portland summer is coming and those are nice. Anyway, we partied, we ate, took pictures, the night was a success. I apparently didn't get photos of the lucky couple though... ha ha. Whoops.

I want to throw a party everyday!

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Monday, March 10, 2014

D.I.Y. Play Gym


If you've ever had to shop for baby things then you have probably faced this all too common problem- baby stuff can be ugly and lame looking. I understand sometimes this is because babies love  to see colors and contrast, but there is a more design friendly way to achieve this! Pretty early on I decided a play gym would probably be pretty well enjoyed around here, but really didn't like most of the options out there or just couldn't afford the pretty ones. Seeing as how this item would probably end up on display around the house quite a bit, I didn't want to settle. So I made my own! This way I knew for sure it was fairly made (by me! With made in the USA parts!) and the best part? It came to a grand total of $12! I thought I would share just in case someone out there was on the same search I was.


Materials needed:

  • Three 4' long dowels cut in half ( I used 1/2" thick ones)
  • Two 1/2" 3-way elbow connector (like this guy)
  • Optional-
    • Spray paint for corner pieces 



Directions:

I just asked the hardware store to cut the dowels in half. You will have one 2' piece leftover, maybe you can come up with a second project for that. Now just put the frame together, it's pretty self explanatory. You've got the bar across the top and two legs on each side. My dowels fit in the connector pieces a little bit loose, so I wrapped the ends in electrical tape for a tighter fit. The texture of the tape also ended up being good for gripping, everything is pretty well stuck (aka jammed) together! My connector pieces had a barcode printed on the outside, so I just took a little sandpaper to it and it came right off. 

Now I had grand plans for making toys to hang from the bar, but that didn't happen. So I thought why not pompoms! Now I realize the tinier ones shown are too small for babies. Since avoiding the whole choking hazard thing sounded good, I have sense removed the offenders. This was the best pompom making tutorial I've come across. But really the sky is the limit, so hang whatever your little heart desires. 

The verdict?

This is a pretty popular toy at our house. I am thinking I might switch it up and hang something new to keep things interesting. Thats the beauty of this project, you can change whats hanging as much as you want!



Tuesday, March 4, 2014

One Week and Six Days

November 12th, 2013


After my whirlwind experience, I wasn't really up to weekly baby photos like I had always hoped. The first couple of months involved a lot more than I expected, I was just too busy having lung surgery to take pictures and do the fun normal baby stuff.  I did, however, manage to get these! Remy was only born two days before her due date, but she still had a case of the tiny baby fuzziness. Looking back through these pictures makes me miss that new baby fluff. I wish I could completely remember what was going on with this girl at two weeks, but I really don't. Whoops! I do remember that she came out wide eyed and wiggly. Each new nurse we saw all had the same comment about how oddly strong she was. There was a freak incident of her rolling over and laying face first in her bed at two weeks old. My theory is that I just laid her down not quite flat or something, but I probably slept that night with one eye on her the whole time. I think we may have a wild thing on our hands!

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