Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Easter Chick Cadbury Egg Cupcakes

Wondering what to do with all those leftover Cadbury Eggs from Easter? Why not make made these amazing Cadbury Egg Cupcakes. The beauty of these cupcakes is you can use regular size eggs for normal size cupcakes or mini eggs for mini cupcakes. 

Two big and two mini chick cupcakes (one cut in half)

The key to either size is FREEZING the eggs first so they don't bust and make a big mess. Trust me, it isn't fun to clean up after that mess. 

For the Cupcakes: 
  • 2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 2/3 cups sugar
  • 3/4 cup butter, softened
  • 2/3 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 package Jell-O instant pudding in Chocolate Fudge (3.9 oz)
  • 1 1/4 cup water
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 3 large eggs
  • 24 Cadbury Eggs 

1) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
2) Mix all the cake ingredients together. I don't bother with mixing the dry and wet ingredients separately, just toss it all in the bowl and mix.

Mixed ingredients  
3) Fill cupcake liners 1/4-1/3 full and place a Cadbury Egg (thick side first) down inside the batter. 


Eggs in the cupcake mix 

4) Top eggs with another 1/2-1 teaspoon of batter. Do not over fill.
5) Bake for 18-20 minutes. Do not over cook or the eggs will melt and burst. You can test to see if the cupcake is done by inserting a toothpick on the side of the cupcake, instead of in the middle 

My icing is hit or miss so for these cupcakes I bought icing. If you feel like Betty Crocker and want to make your own, go for it! 

For the Chicks: 
1) Spread yellow icing on the top of the cupcake pretty think and smooth the top. I used Pilsbury Funfetti Yellow Vanilla icing. 
2) Turn cupcake upside down and press into a shallow bowl of yellow sugar 
3) Place two mini chocolate chips in for the eyes. 
4) Using a very thin tip, pipe orange icing for the beak and little feet. 
5) With the leftover yellow icing pipe wings on the sides. 
6) Enjoy! 


Easter Chick Cadbury Egg Cupcakes

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Monday, April 14, 2014

My IOMA Skin Care Experience

Disclosure: I received dessert, champagne and product samples from IOMA Paris. No other compensation was received. All opinions are mine. 

From egg yolk facials to coconut oil hair masks, Pinterest is full of beauty regimens. However, nothing beats advice from a real beauty expert and a little pampering never hurt anyone either.

Recently, I had the pleasure of joining Pam at Over 50, Feeling 40 to learn about a new skin care line called IOMA. IOMA is based in Paris and only available at six Saks Fifth Avenue stores in the the US. Lucky, one of these Saks stores is at North Star Mall, which has a hidden spa room. Who knew? More on that later. 

IOMA was created by Jean Michel Karam PhD, a micro mechanical engineer who developed micro electro mechanical sensors (MEMS). MEMS were used on the Curiosity robot used to explore and find moisture on Mars. What does the Curiosity robot and IOMA skin care have in common? Both share the cutting edge MEMS micro-technology.

Meet the Sphere. IOMA's complimentary skin care evaluation tool. 

IOMA Sphere: Skin care evaluation tool

The Sphere might look like something from outer space but in reality it is a high-end computer that scans your skin with multiple light sources and measures the condition of your skin.

Shout out to Tori at The sTORIbook for taking photos during my skin care evaluation 

Once your skin is evaluated, the Sphere prints out your personal skin care analysis. This analysis gives insight on your skins level of hydration, UV damage, redness, bacterial activity, fine lines and wrinkles. 

My personal skin care diagnostic summary sheet

IOMA believes each women is unique. Therefore each skin care analysis is personalized. Based on this analysis IOMA can recommend a skin care regimen from their number 1 to 7 face product lines. Each line focuses on a different skin care issue such as dryness, bacteria, redness, dark spots etc.


IOMA skin care face products

Kathy Moses, regional manager for IOMA Paris, explained my skin care regimen needed to include a lot of hydration. Not so Fun Fact: If you are a side sleeper like me, the side of your face you sleep on the most will be less moisturized than the other. Kathy gave me moisture cream samples from the IOMA number 1 and 2 beauty pro lines. Let me tell you my skin soaks up the moisturizer like it has never seen lotion before and leaves my skin soft, smooth and not oily. 

Just when I thought IOMA's skin care formulas couldn't get anymore personalized Kathy told us about Bespoke Youth Rituals. Bespoke is two formulas, a day and a night cream base that contains 18 active ingredients that have been carefully selected for their remarkable effectiveness. Based on the Sphere's recommendations IOMA's skin care professional will add 8 high performance serums to the bases to produce a personalized skin care formulation created right before your eyes.    


Kathy explaining the IOMA Bespoke Youth Ritual

Another great product we got to learn about was IOMA Youth Booster. Remember the MEMS technolgy I mentioned in earlier in the post? Youth Booster is the first skincare with embedded MEMS technology built right into the cap. The MEMS cap, unique to IOMA, allows you to measure the moisture level of your skin at home every day, up to 300 tests. Based on the needs of your skin indicated by the sensor, Youth Booster is applied day and/or night to moisturize skin, detox cells, regenerate and protect skin.  

IOMA's Youth Booster with MEMS Technology

IOMA also has a line of body products that purify your skin, cocoon yourself and slim your figure. WOW!

IOMA Body Products  

The average price point for IOMA's products is $165. IOMA Products range from $60 up to $500 and last about 4-5 months. Pam informed me that unlike some skin care lines, IOMA bottles are designed in airless bottles to get every last drop. No more taking the cap off and beating the bottle to get the rest of the product out.  

Once you are a IOMA skin care client you can return to the Sphere to get an updated skin evaluation and a complimentary spa facial in their spa room. That's right, there is a spa room hidden behind closed doors in Saks with all the luxuries of a a real spa, ah bliss.

While the other girls were getting their skin care evaluations Pam told me she had an IOMA party for her 60th birthday. Private parties at IOMA are just another perk of being a customer. You and your friends can receive complimentary skin evaluations and mini-facials while snacking, chatting and sipping champagne. How fun!    

Come see the IOMA difference for yourself! Appointments are recommended but not required, call Patty at 210-343-9337 or Kathy at 903-830-1231 to schedule your skin care evaluation or private party.

Follow IOMA at on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram

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Monday, April 7, 2014

Oil Pulling

Pinterest has a ton of pins on how to live life with less chemicals and replace them with natural remedies. One of these remedies is oil pulling. Oil pulling is the act of swishing coconut or sesame oil in your mouth for oral health.

Oil pullers have reported:
  • Whiter teeth 
  • Strengthening of teeth and gums 
  • Cavity prevention 
  • Gingivitis prevention 
  • Bad breath prevention  

I oil pulled for the first time last night and it wasn't as easy as I thought. I used two teaspoons of Trader Joe's Organic Virgin Coconut Oil. 


The smell reminded me of my college days drinking Malibu Coconut Rum. Classy. I soon got over the smell but the texture was far worse. This brand of coconut oil is especially thick. I did not like that. However, after a few swishes the oil thinned out and was much more pleasant.

Most articles recommend swishing for 10-15 minutes. At first I thought that was impossible but watching Modern Family while pulling helped pass the time. Love that show!  

I read people have given up brushing completely and only oil pull. I don't think I will ever get to that point. Especially, since I wanted to brush the all of the oil off my teeth after pulling. I could see a mixture of brushing and oil pulling in my future if I can get over my texture issues.

I love the minty taste of toothpaste so I am going to also try adding a drop of peppermint oil to the coconut.

Ill keep you posted with my results.

In the meantime, read about oil pulling here:
Food Matters

Wellness Mama

CureZone.org


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Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Vanilla Extract: Update 8 Months Later

Eight months ago I posted about making my own vanilla extract. Read that post here.

Result: I will never buy vanilla extract again!

With just two ingredients, vodka and vanilla beans, this extract is so easy to make. I dropped one more bean in at the 4 month mark but left everything else the same.

Before: 

Vanilla Extract on August 2nd 


After: 

Vanilla Extract on April 2nd 

I will continue to add more vodka and vanilla as needed to keep a supply of extract in my kitchen. I haven't been able to taste a difference between my homemade version and the store bought stuff. I've found Amazon has the cheapest and best quality beans for purchase.

I encourage every one to make their own extracts!

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PS: I am by no means the best photographer but can you tell I have gotten so much better since August.




Sunday, March 30, 2014

Market on Houston: Soft Opening



Photo Credit: Lloyd Christmas, Urban Spoon
I had the pleasure of attending the soft opening of Market on Houston located inside the newly remodeled Sheraton Gunter Hotel. Just across the street from the Majestic Theater, I can see this spot becoming a go-to for date night. They will even validate your valet parking.  

Market on Houston impressed me right away by giving us iPads instead of menus. These iPads were loaded with the restaurants menu items and photos of each dish. It was great to sip a glass of wine and browse the menu photos while deciding what we wanted. Everything looked exceptional, it was hard to choose! 

iPad Menus at Market on Houston
We started off with truffle fries and the hearts of romaine salad. Both were delicious but topped with Parmesan cheese the truffle fries were by far my favorite. That was until the next course arrived. 

Truffle Fries
We ordered lamb pops and koby sliders. One of the many beauties of Market on Houston is each menu item is served in a way that is easy to share. The lamb pops looked even more amazing in person than they did on the iPad photo menu. Served on a bed of greens with sauce on the side, each bite was better than the next.

Lamb Pops
After the wine, truffle fries, romaine salad and kobe sliders we couldn't finish all of the lamb. The Market wait staff happily packed up the left overs and I enjoyed them the next night over a bed of kale salad. Recipe found on Pinterest of course. 



Market on Houston isn't just a place to enjoy a sit down meal. Once it opens you will also be able to stop by the market and grab a ready-made meal like breakfast pastries, sandwiches, soups and pizzas. Enjoy them with a premium bottle of wine, also available to purchase. I encourage everyone to try Market on Houston when it opens. You will not be disappointed. Follow them to be the first to know about the grand opening date:



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Friday, February 14, 2014

Superbowl Snacks

For the last few years D and I have gone to our friends annual Superbowl party. Since they recently moved to Houston we were left with out Superbowl plans for the first time in a long time.

A few days before Sunday D decided we would have a few people over for game time. I started planning yummy treats right away to go along with Derek's queso dip and famous meatballs. Here is what I came up with.

Strawberry Angel Food Cake Kabobs: I wasn't sure about this little treat at first but by the end of the night there wasn't a single kabob left! I bought a mix for Angle Food Cake that was super easy to make, just add water! My kind of cake mix.

Step 1) Cut the angel food cake into cubes.
Step 2) Cut the tops off the strawberries
Step 3) Alternate putting a strawberry and angle food cube into skewers
Step 4) Melt white chocolate chips using this method
Step 5) Drizzle chocolate onto kaboobs then place in fridge to chill until game time
Step 6) Enjoy!  



Seven Layer Dip: Notice the green onions are only on half? My husband does not have a love for onions like I do.

Ingredients-Layer one on top of each other in this order. 
1) Cream Cheese-Mix one block of softened cream cheese with one packet of taco seasoning.
2) Refried Beans
3) Salsa
4) Sour Cream
5) Lettuce
6) Cheese
7) Green Onions (optional)

Chill until game time. Boom, best appetizer ever.




Football Strawberries: A twist on my usual strawberry making technique shown here. After the chocolate cooled, I melted white chocolate the same way and squeezed on football laces using my decorating squeeze bottles.


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Friday, December 6, 2013

Apricot Lane Boutique in San Antonio

I was recently introduced to the cutest little boutique, Apricot Lane San Antonio. OMG yall it was fashion heaven! The atmosphere was as friendly as the staff. The boutique is owned by a mother daughter team; Cathy, Allison and Lauren. How awesome is that!  

The trio travels to California about every six weeks for a buying trip. These trips insure the store inventory stays fresh and right on trend. 

When I walked into Apricot Lane I was immediately amazed by the jewelry tables. They have fun bracelets, necklaces and earrings in every color and style.
  

Allison and Lauren mentioned scarfs and leggings have been flying out the door! No wonder, at the time their leggings were only $8! 

Apricot Lane has a wide section of colorful, solid and patterned winter clothing. This cardigan, I dubbed the Candy Cane Cardi, caught my eye.



When I saw the Candy Cane Cardi I remembered a pin I saw on Pinterest earlier that day. Talk about 'get the look'. No surprise, since everything Apricot Lane fit into this years winter trends, love! 
 

I can't wait to wear it with dark skinny's and brown tall boots on cool San Antonio days.

You can find Apricot Lane San Antonio on Facebook, Instagram, Pinterest and Twitter! They are having HUGE Black Friday sales going on today. The earlier you shop, the more you save!


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