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Brandi

0 In Baking

Chocolate Chip Cookies (Paleo)

Ooey, gooey, warm, chewy, chocolatey chunk cookies are my favorite. I totally loved these chocolate chip cookies as a kid.  Since I’ve been required to eat a gluten, grain, dairy, sugar, chicken egg and yeast free diet for the last year and a half, it’s been hard to find sweets that I’m actually able to eat, and man do I love a delicious baked good. I finally played around with a cookie recipe my best friend Kelly and I came up with, and the cookie caper has been solved, and they’re amazing!!!

Best Ever Paleo Chewy Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Ingredients (makes 12 giant cookies)

2 cups blanched almond flour (you can use almond meal, the cookies will just be a tad darker)

1/2 cup coconut flour

2 teaspoons baking soda

1/2 teaspoon salt

3/4 cup coconut sugar

2/3 cup vegan butter (I like this one)

2/3 cups almond butter

2 duck eggs (or 2 chicken eggs)

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

2 – 4 ounce chocolate bars (I used the 60% Dark Chocolate Bars from Ghiradelli), roughly chopped. This is where you can get creative and use your favorite chocolate bar, like these Chocolate Caramel Sea Salt ones.

Directions

  1. In a medium sized bowl combine flours, baking soda and salt and set aside.
  2. In a large sized bowl, cream together vegan butter and sugar and mix on low speed.
  3. Add in the almond butter and mix on medium until combined.
  4. Slowly add in eggs one at a time and vanilla extract.
  5. Once all of the wet ingredients are combined, add in flour mixture a 1/2 cup at a time, until well combined.
  6. Gently fold in chocolate chunks until combined.
  7. Place mixture in the fridge for about an hour (I know, torture).
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and prepare your baking sheet with a piece of parchment paper or silicone baking mat.
  9. With a large ice cream scoop (I like this one), scoop about a 1/2 cup of mixture onto your baking sheet.
  10. Bake at 350 degrees F for about 17 minutes or until the edges of your cookie are a golden brown color.
  11. Take out of the oven and try your best to let them cool completely before eating. And if you can’t wait, crumble that warm cookie baby over a nice big bowl of coconut milk vanilla ice cream, with sprinkles, and peanuts, and coconut whip cream and chocolate fudge and… well you get the picture

Want a secret tip to making all your cookies amazingly soft?  Don’t over bake them!  I know it’s super scary to pull those cookies out of the oven when they still look a little gooey in the middle, but don’t worry, it’ll be okay. I promise.  If you leave them in the oven until they look all the way done, you’ll get hard crunchy cookies and I’m totally not into that.  For soft chewy cookies, which is absolutely the only way to go, pull them out when they’re just golden around the edges and let them cool for about 1o minutes on the baking sheet until moving them to an wire rack.

Cookies

Now, grab a glass of ice cold almond milk, because we all know, “Milk was a bad choice,” and enjoy all your hard work and get a chuckle at my top 5 favorite Anchorman quotes, because why not.

5 – “I have many leather-bound books and my apartment smells of rich mahogany.”

4 – “I love lamp.”

3 –  “It’s so damn hot. Milk was a bad choice.”

2 – “You know I don’t speak Spanish.”

1 – “I’m in a glass case of emotion!

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a little something if you click and purchase the product through the link.

Come join our Instagram Party @reallifecrafter

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0 In Weekend

What To Do This Weekend

This week was just absolutely crazy and the three day weekend couldn’t come fast enough.  Working a full time 8-5 and Real Life Crafter can make life a little overwhelming.  This week I’ve been working on living in the moment and completing one project at a time.  I’m super excited to finally be working on my vision board for this year and the inspiration that I’ve been finding has been soooo excited.  We’ve also just planned a few of our trips for this year. We’ll be heading to Denver, CO for this and Marfa, TX to stay at El Cosmico! I’m also getting around to editing all of the photos from Alt Summit so keep a look out for some Palm Springs posts.

Here’s what we’re doing this weekend

Putting the finishing touches on our living room decor. Check out our inspiration board here.

Making this delicious cocktail from Holly at Club Crafted

Wishing I had the adorable Heart Cooler Bag from Ban.do

Getting my dance moves ready for Ms. Paula Abdul, Boyz II Men and NKOTB and watching this video.

Making time to relax in another Vanilla Almond Milk bath (recipe coming soon)

Hope everyone has a super rad weekend, come hang out at the party on Instagram and let me know what fun things you have planned for this weekend.

 

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0 In Travel

Valentine’s Day Airplane Cocktails

 

Who doesn’t dream of a romantic getaway for Valentine’s Day?  A tropical locale, with a glistening, diamond studded beach and crystal blue water, I can feel the warm sun on my face and the sand between my toes.  Oh yeah, and my wonderful fiance by my side.  But first, you have to get there and why not start the celebration at 30,000 feet?  I recently attended Altitude Summit in Palm Springs and received the cutest traveling cocktail kit from Alaska Airlines (one of the amazing Alt Summit sponsors).  I thought it would be fun to share three delicious cocktails that you can make with the awesome beverage menu provided onboard from Alaska Airlines, and adding just a few items to your traveling cocktail kit.

The Elderflower Champagne Cocktail Kit (you can find it here), includes Elderflower Syrup, cocktail spoon, jigger, napkin and carrying tin.  This kit came with everything you need for a French 75 and I added a little twist!

French 75

For each Elderflower French 75 cocktail you will need

1 Carry On “The Champagne Cocktail” Kit

2 oz Gin (can be purchased on board)

1 packet True Lemon

1/2 oz Elderflower Syrup

Chilled Prosecco (can be purchased on board)

Ice

Add one packet True Lemon to your cocktail glass with 2 oz Gin and 1/2 oz Elderflower syrup and dissolve. Add ice if desired and pour in chilled Prosecco, which is now available on your Alaska Airlines flight, how exciting, and stir with your cocktail spoon.

To make your onboard date extra special add some of your favorite candies, like these Champagne Bubbles from Sugarfina. Nothing says Valentine’s Day like candy and champagne, right?!

If you’d prefer a non-alcoholic version, you can omit the Gin and replace the Prosecco with Sprite!

The next cocktail is my FAVORITE!  I love mojitos and this would be my choice for celebrating a romantic vacation. You can use the same cocktail kit from the Elderflower French 75. You will just need to add a packet of True Limeade Black Cherry mix and if you can swing it, a few sprigs of fresh mint.

For each Black Cherry Mojito you will need

1 Carry On Cocktail Kit

1/2 packet True Limeade Black Cherry drink mix

2 sprigs fresh mint

3 oz Sprite (available on board)

1 oz Rum (can be purchased on board)

Ice

Add 1/2 packet True Limeade, mint leaves and 1 oz rum to your cocktail glass and muddle with your cocktail spoon.  Add ice and top with Sprite.

Mojitos are so refreshing and I absolutely love this black cherry version.

You can make a non-alcoholic version by omitting the rum and if you’d like a sugar free version, ask for sparkling water instead of Sprite.

I just returned from a week in Palm Springs and it was like stepping back in time. It was whimsy and romantic and so magical.  I thought about travel back then and had to add an Old Fashion for the romantic at heart.

For the Old Fashion you will need

1 Carry On Cocktail Kit (they have an Old Fashion version, you can find it here)

3 oz Bourbon (available for purchase on board)

1 Sugar Cube

2 dashes Bitters (you can purchase a 2ml dram for your bitters and fits perfectly in your kit)

Ice

Black Cherry garnish, optional

Add one sugar cube and bitters to your cocktail glasses and let sit for a minute.  Crush sugar cube with your cocktail spoon, add ice and bourbon. Stir and enjoy with a piece of delicious dark chocolate and a kiss from your sweetheart.

I don’t think a date gets any more romantic then sharing a special cocktail and a delicious sweet treat while flying through the clouds.

This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links, I’ll receive a little something if you click and purchase the product through the link.

Come join our Instagram Party @reallifecrafter

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0 In Travel

Seattle, Washington – 48 Hours – Day 1

 

Oh Seattle, how you pull at my heart. Having the chance to live there, on a boat (yes, on a boat) with my best friend and her new baby was one of the best times of my entire life.  I fell in love with this city.  I hadn’t been back for a visit in quite a long time and jumped at the chance to plan a trip.  I was especially excited about this one, because I got to bring Shane with me and share all of my favorite spots.  We had just a little more than two days to soak in the city and fill up on our share of caffeine (and we sure did drink A LOT of coffee).

Stay Pineapple

Trip Highlights

Where: Seattle, Washington
How Long: 48 Hours
Flight: Frontier Airlines
Hotel: Hotel Five, Pineapple Hospitality
Booking Agent: Expedia $584.18

We decided to try out Frontier Airlines for this trip, the tickets were really inexpensive, especially for a Phoenix to Seattle trip (we typically expect to pay around $170 one way, per person for this trip), we found a really great deal on Frontier and paid around $100.00 round trip for each of us.  This is pretty much unheard of, so I jumped at the chance. Keep in mind that Frontier does charge for both checked and carry on bags, so you’ll want to make sure you add this to the price of your trip before booking.  It can be an unpleasant shock while waiting to get your boarding pass, but is easily avoidable if you remember that they do charge for all your luggage (minus one personal item per person). The plane was very clean, it did not come with the “perks” of flying a more expensive airline, like complimentary drinks and that bag of peanuts you stick in your purse for later, but you can bring your own.  Also, unless you’re a really tall person I would save your money on the “roomier” seats (a $40 extra). The staff was pleasant and the flight was on time, that’s all that really mattered to us.

We stayed at Hotel Five in the Belltown neighborhood of Seattle.  This is one of the #staypineapple boutique hotels and is AMAZING!!! The rooms are super cozy, you get your own fluffy duvet, free slippers to take home and a robe to relax in while you’re hanging out in your room.  There’s also, yup, there’s more, free bicycles to use when the weather is nice, Max’s Restaurant is right downstairs and serves delicious breakfast until 12:00pm, Top Pot Doughnuts is just around the corner and your right in the middle of all the Seattle landmarks. The best part about staying here though was the Cupcake Happy Hour, let’s just say this hotel had me a complimentary cupcakes.

We took a quick nap after our early morning flight and headed out to explore.  Shane wanted to go to Pike Place Market, if you’ve never been I highly recommend it, but try and avoid the market on the weekends, because it’s packed!  Also, if you’re a Starbucks fan (we’re not, but if you are) I would say don’t waste your time standing in line at the Original Starbucks.  The inside looks exactly the same as the others stores around the city and the merchandise is also the same. So for saving time, especially on a short trip like we were on, grab a photo out in front and enjoy the rest of the market. There’s also a ton of other local coffee shops that are just amazing and serve some of the best coffee you’ll ever have.

While at the market, we drooled over the piroshky at Piroshky Piroshky.  If you’re an Anthony Bourdain fan you may have seen him visit on his No Reservations trip.  The Smoked Salmon Pate is my absolute favorite, but you can’t go wrong with delicious meat or a sweat treat wrapped in their flaky, buttery crust. There amazing and I want one right now.

We grabbed some fresh fruit to snack on before dinner and of course totally had to visit the famous gum wall.  I was surprised to see that most of the gum had been cleaned off since my last visit, but the tradition of sticking a piece to the the walls on Post Alley was still going strong.  It’s gross and I’d totally bring some hand sanitizer with you, but it’s a must see/do, especially if it’s your first trip.

Dinner was Ahh-mazing!  We splurged at Elliot’s Oyster House and enjoyed this gorgeous Celebration Platter, the Elliot Bay Oysters were my favorite here.  This is definitely a place you’ll spend a little extra, but it’s totally worth it if you plan for it. After dinner we walked around a little bit more, but decided to head back to the hotel early, since we would have a long day of sightseeing tomorrow.  Look for Day 2 of our Seattle trip, there will be more cupcakes, donuts, and the Space Needle!

 

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0 In Holiday

Just Gift It – Holiday Gifts Ideas

I can’t believe it’s already December and Christmas is just a few weeks away.  I don’t usually go shopping a whole lot, but for some reason the holidays bring the shopaholic out in me.  If you’re still searching for some last minute gifts, I’ve put together a few of my favorite things for this holiday season!  And, if you want to send a little gift my way I totally won’t mind.

For the pin lover in your life, and let’s get real, who does go a little pin crazy, lapel pins make great gifts for the holidays.  Here are a few of my favorite shops for you to snag some flair for the holidays.

Little Arrow Shop

Luella

Fatally Feminine

I just about died over these gold sequin Converse and they’re so perfect for the holidays. I first saw them on the ASOS Instagram and was on the hunt.  They’re currently available at Nike.com! Go grab a pair for yourself, I mean for that special sequin lover party gal in your life (or yourself).

COFFEE!!! Coffee gifts are the best.  Gift cards from your local coffee shop, mugs, beans, or even a local cold brew will make any coffee lover sing, or at least a little less grouchy in the morning.

Ornaments are also a great way to remember the holiday season. I get a new ornament every year, well at least one, but probably a bunch. And now with all of the AMAZING handmade artists you are for sure able to find the cutest ornaments ever! This one is from LoveAZbyAimee on Etsy.

Making your own homemade ornaments is also a great idea. I loved these tutorials from some of my favs!

Studio DIY 2016

Aww, Sam 90’s throwback

And, if you’re pressed for time or you just can’t find that perfect gift, who doesn’t love an Amazon gift card.  The gift that allows you to dream of all the rad things you want to get, but you end up buying toilet paper and toothpaste, because life essentials are better when they’re free!

Let me know in the comments below what your favorite gift in the Just Gift It Guide and what you hope you’re gonna find under your tree this year.

Also make sure you’re joining in on the fun on Instagram @tweedledeeaz

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0 In Baking

Mimosa Brunch Cake – Orange Olive Oil Cake with Almond Champagne Buttercream

Orange Olive Oil Cake

I love brunch, especially if there’s dessert, and what’s brunch without a Mimosa or a Mimosa Cake! This cake is super yummy and the little mini cakes would be so cute if you’re hosting a brunch at home for the girls. Or you can always just have a little cake for breakfast, I mean, cake for breakfast #cakelife.

Orange Olive Oil Cake

Mimosa Cake – Orange Olive Oil Cake with Almond Champagne Buttercream

Makes Four Mini Cakes or Two 8” Round Cakes

Ingredients

For the Cake

3 ½ cups All Purpose Flour, sifted

2 cups sugar

1 ½ teaspoons Baking Powder

1 teaspoon Baking Soda

1 teaspoon Salt

4 Eggs

1 cup Olive Oil

1 cup Orange Juice

2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Zest of one medium orange

For the Buttercream

1 ½ cups butter, room temperature

4 ½ cups powdered sugar

3 tablespoons champagne

1 teaspoon almond extract

Pink food coloring

Directions

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and prepare your baking pans.
  2. In a mixing bowl sift together dry ingredients.
  3. Add wet ingredients to your dry mixture (you should alternate between wet and dry ingredients, but I rarely do this, it’ll be okay if you don’t).
  4. Start mixing ingredients on low speed, you don’t want your flour mixture to try and escape. Then increase to medium until ingredients are incorporated.
  5. Scrap down your bowl and add the orange zest.
  6. Divide your batter evenly between your baking pans.
  7. Bake cakes at 350 degrees for 28 to 35 minutes, or until you can insert a tooth pick and it comes out clean.
  8. Let cakes cool completely.

While the cakes are cooling make the buttercream.

  1. Combine butter and 3 cups of the confectioner’s sugar in your mixing bowl, mix on medium speed until just combined.
  2. Add the remaining confectioner’s sugar, champagne and almond extract, mix on medium speed until just combined. You’re going for a nice spreadable consistency. You can adjust the consistency by adding a tablespoon of champagne or powdered sugar at a time.
  3. Mix in a small amount of pink food coloring for a light pink color. You can also make a little bit of light orange and a darker pink buttercream with about ½ cup of buttercream to make a cool watercolor effect on your cake.
  4. Yay!!! It’s time to assemble your cakes.

Mimosa Cake 6

Assembly

  1. For the mini cakes I used about a 4 inch circle cookie cutter and cut out the 8 circles (I made a ½ sheet cake sized cake, it’s easier to make the cut outs). This is also a good time to munch on the cake scraps.  Hey, you have to make sure it tastes good.
  2. Add an even layer of buttercream between the layers, dirty ice (crumb coat) and let sit in the fridge for about 15-20 minutes before the final frosting.
  3. Frost your little cake babies with the light pink buttercream, then add dabs of orange and the darker pink buttercream and smooth with an icing spatula, you’ll get a cool watercolor effect.
  4. Don’t worry if it’s not perfect, it’s cake and tastes amazing.
  5. Decorate with fondant oranges, sprinkles or whatever you like. Those edible flowers you can find at Whole Foods are also fun.

If you’re making a regular sized round cake follow the same directions above, just don’t use the cookie cutter. You will also need to level your cakes so you have nice even layer.

Mimosa Cake 9

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