Intentions.

New Year’s Resolution #1: Eat more sweets.

Duh.

No, really.

Let yourself “indulge.”

I really should say intentions instead of resolutions, right?

These are a few of my intentions for 2014 (in no particular order):

1). Polish my photography skills, ESPECIALLY for the blog! I have had my new camera for about a year now and I love it! However, I only just learned about all the awesome settings…like, yesterday. C’mon Chels, get it together! I might even want to take a photography class…what, what!

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2). Be more care-free. This pertains to my every day life. Less schedules, more fun! I have already started to work on this and it is FABULOUS!

3). More time spent w/ friends. This could be anything from just hanging out and having a movie night, or partying til the sun comes up. I’m gonna go w/ the flow. Whole new me. You’ll see 😉

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4). Stress less. I am about to enter school again working toward becoming a Registered Dietician. I know that school can really take over my life and I want to be able to tell myself to “remember to breathe, exams aren’t everything, it’s not the end of the world.”

5). More sleep. This is a BIG ONE for me. I feel like I never get enough sleep. I may go to bed earlier, but I rise at 4 a.m., pretty much everyday. Sleep in, Chels…it’s good for the beauty.

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6). Write more often. Not counting the blog, I love, love, love to write. I just want to take sometime to really write what I am feeling, or just write about my life in general.

7). Pick up the guitar. Acoustic. I love to sing. I have always wanted to play the guitar and have been learning, I would just like to make it my newest hobby and really be able to play.

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8). Write an e-cookbook. 🙂 This one’s for you…and me. I want to share some recipes I have been working on forever. Maybe at the end of the summer 🙂

9). More “me” time…whether it’s a massage, a walk, getting my nails and/or hair done, reading a book, once a week…I shut all my electronics down and zen out.

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10). More family dinners. It’s hard to do this since my seester lives in Austin, but I would love to be able to have dinner together as a family at least once a week. We do have dinner every night, but because everyone is on a different schedule, we all eat at different times.

11). More pasta Sunday’s…this kind of goes along w/ the above, but more in relation to my extended family. We used to have pasta every Sunday, my family misses that…so we are going to start it up again.

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12). Travel. I want to take a “me” vacation…maybe to Cali. I also want to travel, anywhere with my family all together.

13). Work on baking/cooking things outside of my comfort zones: see crossaints, flaky pastries, yeasted breads, souffles, layer cakes, you name it…throw it at me.

14). Throw myself out there and meet new people. Maybe I’ll date Ryan Reynold’s…who knows 😉

15). Spend more time w/ my grandparents (my grandmother’s, and my remaining grandfather). They are getting old and I see them all often…but not often enough. I love to hear their stories. They are golden.

16). Try new exercise routines: hike, bike, more yoga & pilates, less running, online fitness workouts, etc. !

That’s all for now! What are you’re intentions for the new year?

Fudgy Brownie Mini Muffins
Author: 
Recipe type: Muffin, Snack
Cuisine: American
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Serves: 18
 
Rich, fudge-like, dark chocolate mini muffins w/ a slightly sweet cocoa frosting. Gluten-free, vegan, paleo, and refined sugar-free.
Ingredients
  • For the muffins:
  • ¼ c. unsalted, almond butter
  • ¼ c. melted dark chocolate chips
  • ¼ c. pure maple syrup
  • 1 flax egg (1 T. ground flaxseed meal + 3 T. water, mix let sit for 5 minutes)
  • ¼ c. unsweetened, cocoa powder
  • 2 T. coconut flour
  • ¼ t. baking soda
  • For the frosting:
  • ¼ c. coconut oil, softened
  • 2 t. unsweetened, cocoa powder
  • 1 T. pure maple syrup
Instructions
  1. For the brownies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  2. Line a mini muffin pan w/ non-stick or silicone liners.
  3. In a large bowl, combine the almond butter, dark chocolate, maple syrup, and flax egg until smooth.
  4. Stir in the cocoa powder, coconut flour, and baking soda.
  5. Drop the batter by rounded tablespoon into the prepared muffin cups.
  6. Bake for 18-20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of each muffin comes out clean.
  7. Let the muffins cool completely.
  8. For the frosting, mix together all of the ingredients in a small mixing bowl until smooth.
  9. Place ¼ teaspoon of frosting on top of each cooled muffin.

MANGIA!!!

Frankly, One Helluva New Year!

Happy Friday all!

Now, normally I would be doing a Friday Link Love post today, however; today is a random special day and I feel like talking about myself. Just kidding! First off, I would just like to apologize for being m.i.a. this entire week. You see, because I am a genius, I left Mac, my laptop, at my parents house…in Houston, a ja-zillion miles from Austin. Well, maybe not a ja-zillion miles, but you get the picture, right? Anyway, I got alll the way to Austin when I realized Mac was missing! I cried…no, I sobbed, and then I called my Mom in a frantic panic and like Mom’s always do, they try to calm you down by saying things like, “it’s not your fault,” or “these things happen,” and most reassuring of them all, “it’s going to be okay,” which is just code for, “I am going to take care of it.” So, between the sobs from me my mother’s calm and collected voice and my sister, who chimed in telling me to “breathe” (yea, that’s easy for her to say when she has a laptop and an ipad at the drop of a hat), I was able to chill out. It also helped when my mom promised that in 60 minutes she was going to FedEx the package to me. Superwoman! 

Well, well, well, if FedEx was reliable and consistent, I would have received my laptop the day after it was dropped off, which would have been Tuesday, but instead there were “complications” (as I was told by not one, but TWO, FedEx operators). Complications? You do not, under no circumstances whatsoever, use the “C” word when speaking about my Mac. You can apologize all you want FedEx, but that won’t get my mom’s shipping money back, will it? Anyway, after telling both operators off, my laptop arrived yesterday no later than 5 minutes after I arrived at work. I was so excited to see the FedEx man that I could have kissed him! But…he was kind of old and greasy looking, so I refrained. Now, if he would have been Ryan Reynolds, you can finish that scene, can’t you? Now, here I am, with my handsome Mac returned safely to me and thankfully catching you all up to speed. 

Let’s talk about New Year’s Day, shall we? Glad y’all agree with me. Well, let’s begin with New Year’s Day morning, and when I am talking morning, I mean early a.m. You see, my family planned to get up early New Year’s morning and go to our favorite all-time breakfast dive…Frank’s Grill. I have talked about Frank’s before on the blog, all you need to know is that it is my fave spot for breakfast in the entire world…no joke. It is most definitely the best breakfast spot round’ these here parts. Anyway, I called the day before to make sure they were going to be open on New Year’s Day. Excellent news, not only were they going to be open at 6 a.m. New Year’s Day, but Juan, the head chef, promised he would make me any omelet I wanted. Despite little sister’s New Year’s Eve shenanigans, coming in at around 3 a.m. and waking the whole damn house up with her “i want to tell the whole world about my evening, I’ve only had a bottle of wine” drunk persona, we were up at the crack of dawn for breakfast. 

When I say “we”, I mean me and Dad, it took Mom and sister a bit more to get rolling so we waited for them in the car. My Dad had an excellent idea to invite my parents’ next door neighbors to breakfast as well. For the purposes of identity, we will just call the husband Biggie and the wife Smalls (B and S, for their initials). Little side note, Biggie is an outstanding chef and loves to cook, my dad and him have that in common. So, my parents are always having dinner parties with B and S where they feel the need to text me pictures of all the glorious food they have cooked. Are you trying to kill me? Anyway, like I said, they are foodies, B even made me some homemade fried ravioli…dear God it was one of the best things I ever tasted. Not to mention, the only thing I have ever got from my next door neighbor is access to borrow a wine opener because mine went missing. Needless to say, it’s like living next to a four star restaurant where you are served fine wine and imported cheeses. Just fine by me. 

Anyway, we rushed off to Frank’s only to discover that it opened up at 7 a.m. instead of 6 a.m. So, there we were at 6:15 a.m. parked outside of Frank’s in two separate cars, waiting for 45 minutes, because it is damn sure worth the wait. Frank’s never fails to impress. Same old, same old. My sis and I came up with our first resolution of the New Year. 

Eat More Hash browns.
Let’s just say that I had no problem cleaning my plate. Thank you, thank you very much. 

We were all so stuffed afterwards, Dad even had to give Mom a piggy-back ride.
Ba ha!
While some of us went back to sleep, I was already up so I figured I would at least try to be productive. So, I ended my post New Year’s breakfast with a 5 mile run, on the treadmill…thank God for Good Morning America and all the hash browns that kept me fueled up and ready to rock it out. By “rock it out” I mean I went back home, took a shower, worked on blow drying my hair for an hour, and then crashed out on the couch. Sister and Dad left to go to my aunt and uncle’s house for the New Year’s Day festivities. I had some strawberry frosting to make for my cupcakes so my Mom and I were fashionably late. Like I said, big family. big parties. lots of love and food. 
My uncle always does an awesome spread…my cupcakes bottom right (recipe soon)
 Prime Rib…that is my mom cutting into it, I’m pretty sure she was on her 5th serving
 Lucky Foods

Pot of Seafood Gumbo bigger than me! I am telling you this Gumbo was magical. 

Me and Momma

How was your New Year’s Day? What did you do to celebrate? Did you spend all day nursing a hangover or did you pop a couple of bottles of champagne with the family? I would love to know?

MANGIA!!!

Arrivederci, 2011!

Happy New Year’s Eve all!

Well, it’s time to say peace out 2011. This year has been quite a ride for me. Let me catch you up to speed. Well, I kinda, sorta started my year off slow after graduating from college in December 2010.

You’d think I’d just have a job and all cause I is a college graduate, ya know? Think again. It actually took me a freaking while (almost 6 months a while) to actually find a job, which wasn’t really along the lines of my profession anyhow. So, I pretty much stuck with my barista job and then moved back home with the rents’ for the summer. Living rent-free is never a bad idea, lesson learned: don’t ever think you are a failure cuz ya gotta move back home with the parents. Never.


This past summer was all about this chica, right here…the bff (so blessed to have such gorgeous friends)
She went to the chapel (or eh…church) and got married
So, we spent 12 months planning the wedding and all. When I say “we” I mean her momma and company because seriously I don’t think I (the maid of honor) could handle that much stress excitement! Nevertheless, I did help plan a bomb-dizzle bridal shower, where I made my first huge cake. Turned out pretty good, despite my emotional breakdown during the baking process. Haha! Anyway, the wedding was absolutely fairy-tale and I might have even shed a tear…or five…in between glasses of champagne. 

Anyway, by the time the reception was on, I was pretty freakin’ hungry (after a diet of champagne and all)

Can you tell? So excited!
 Danced the night away
Partied with old friends
 And made family memories
Yea, my mom is a dancing queen!
I owe all my dance skills to her
After all the wedding awesomeness, something unbelievable happened to me. It went down in my book of firsts. I became a godmother!

To this kid right here
 I know, what a pimp…right?

I was super stoked…no joke!
 Good looking god-parents and god child…just saying
This year was also spent experiencing more amazing firsts

Like meeting a few food  celebrities
The Queen of Butter, herself
 Why hello there, T-Flo
 I also went to my first and might I add the best Food Festival in the world!

 Where I ate tons of delicious food until my insides literally hurt…literally
To round’ out the year, I had a bomb Thanksgiving and Christmas spent with my awesome family
Did I also mention that I made a ton of yummy dishes this year including a lot of different peanut butter and nut butters…OMG!

I almost forgot to mention, I landed two jobs! Cause I is a boss!


All in all, it was a great year. Peace out 2011, it’s been real!  I can’t wait to see what 2012 brings!

MANGIA!!!

Friday Link Love: A New Year!

Happy Friday all!

Are you ready for New Year’s weekend? I am sooooo ready it’s not even funny. You see, to me New Year’s not only means that I get to start the year off with a fresh outlook, new goals, etc., but it also means that I get to do it in style. To me, New Year’s just screams glitter, which for me means a fantastic glitter-y mini dress, glitter heels, and glitter nail polish. I am fist pumping hard right now, you have no idea. That’s just New Year’s Eve though, New Year’s Day is almost always spent with the family. Whether its spent with my immediate family or extended family I am always guaranteed some delicious eats. That being said, today I would love to talk about my Top Ten New Years Recipes. Get ready, black eyed peas are a staple for this day and round’ these here parts we know how to do them justice. 

Top Ten New Year’s Recipes:

Texas Caviar by Simply Recipes 
I warned you, round’ these here parts Texas Caviar is a staple, especially for New Year’s. It’s like the Southern fried chicken of Texas, it will always be an essential at the kitchen table, you just can’t live without it. My uncle makes by far the best Texas Caviar in the world. We had a preview on Christmas Day and it was fabulous, as usual. Just think a hearty dip, with meaty black-eyed peas, chopped onion, cilantro, jalapenos for a bit of heat, juicy diced tomatoes, bell pepper, and garlic, all tossed with a olive oil and lime juice and seasoned with a bit of cumin and ground pepper. Now that is my kind of dip. We serve ours with tortilla strips but I love my with Frito’s. I have also tried rolling some of this dip up into a fresh, warm corn tortilla and it is the bomb.com. If you haven’t tried this dip, you need to, like NOW!

Queso Compuesto by Homesick Texan
Anything that starts with the word “queso” is a must have in my book. Now, if you are wondering what queso compuesto is, its basically a fancy name for melted cheese with the works in it. And by “the works” I mean lots of really, really, ridiculously yummy things in it. This recipe gets turned up a notch with spicy Mexican chorizo, collard greens, and of course, black-eyed peas. I warned you. Anyway, that all gets mixed together and then comes the good stuff, a cream cheese/Muenster mixture gets dotted on top along with a good pour of half-and-half. Then you have to sit back and lick your lips for about 20 minutes while you watch this thing bake off in the oven. Cheesy, bubbly goodness. Serve this up with some tortilla chips, stat!

Zannie’s Black-Eyed Pea Dip by The Pioneer Woman
Just when you thought the black-eyed pea recipes were over…think again. Now, if you are not a fan of black-eyed peas I totally understand. But I think I have pretty awesome persuasive powers when it comes to getting people to eat black-eyed peas, especially if they are combined with spicy red salsa, covered in cheddar cheese, and baked off in the oven until golden brown and bubbly. Are you convinced yet? I sure am. 

Still not done yet. Now, this is definitely a little out of the ordinary compared to the previous three b.e.p. recipes. For one, this recipe is not covered in some sort of ooey, gooey, cheesy perfection. In this recipe, b.e.p.’s sit in a stew along with carrots, sweet potatoes (my fave), and some collard greens (cuz we just can’t get more Southern round’ these here parts). Then comes the best part, for some out of this world flavor we add a good ole’ healthy dose of ham hock. Classic.


Spicy Lentil Soup with Buttered Bread by Joy the Baker

So, I hear lentils are a really, really, ridiculously lucky food. So, I should eat it on New Year’s, right? In my opinion, lentils are the new black, and they just might be my new bff, so yes I plan on eating them. However, finding them on New Year’s Day in my family’s kitchen is going to be pretty much impossible. Never gonna happen. Not unless there is a slab of butter involved. Maybe I could get them to try this hearty bowl of lentils with chicken sausage and an array of spices. Plus, there is a generous helping of Parmesan cheese on top which is a sacred vessel in my family. Served with a loaf of crusty,  hot, buttered bread, this dish is a winner. Remember, lentils…the new black.


Coffee Glazed Donuts by Epicurious

Donuts are lucky. Looks like I will be eating here for the New Year. Just give me a glazed cake donut and I am set. You already know how I feel about coffee, so you can just imagine my excitement as I tried to wrap my brain around a donut actually glazed with coffee. O mah be-jeezus! I have died and gone to heaven. Serve these on New Years morning with your fave cup of Joe. It is the best way to begin the New Year. I promise.


Champagne Cupcakes by Eat Live Run

Champagne is by far my drink of choice. And I am not just talking about one New Year’s. Hell, I drink champagne every chance I get. Every day is a celebration for me so why not celebrate with a glass of champagne. Not only is there champagne in the cupcakes, but it is in the frosting too! No way! Butter + champagne =double win!

Buttermilk Soaked Baked Parmesan Pork Chops by How Sweet It Is

Buttermilk Soaked Baked Parmesan Pork Chops. Say that three times fast. Haha! I hear pork is lucky and while I just don’t live to eat and breathe pork, there are times where I crave me a pork chop wrapped in bacon and sizzled on the grill until crisp perfection. And then there are times such as these when I come across a pork chop soaked in a sea of tangy buttermilk, and gently breaded in panko, flour, and my all-time fave condiment…Parmesan cheese! These babies are browned off in a hot skillet and transferred to your plate in a hot second. Top these with additional Parmesan before selfishly eating each pork chop by yourself sharing with your friends!

Bacon Jam by See You in the Morn

It’s that simple. Do I need to say more? I think so. This jam definitely needs to be talked up. Holy bacon on toast is all I have to say. Or in this case, Lard + carbs, say no more. Just pass the bread.

Grape Faux-caccia by Minimally Invasive

Grapes are lucky. I love grapes. This “bread” is gluten free, so naturally you know how I feel. This recipe is definitely what’s up. My advice: eat some grapes, embedded in some warm bread, feel lucky, and sleep well at night. Amen.

MANGIA!!!