coconut almond date balls

I had granola on the mind bad…with every intention of whipping up a batch this morning and dazzling the internet with my homemade granola skills. Oven was preheated, baking sheet was lined with parchment and the bowl was ready for ingredients. Too bad I had no oatmeal on hand. Well, that’s a lie. I had about 1/4 cup…I know small batch recipes are all the rage, but that’s a bit of a stretch.

So onto date balls I went. Happy accident as these little boogers are yum!

If you are a LÄRABAR eater – that would be us – date balls should be a very familiar taste for you. I believe the first ingredient in most Laras is dates, which is the main ingredient here as well. Of course dates are loaded with natural sugars, which is a bad thing depending on who you talk to…and since we are on this topic, honestly I am so confused at this point as to what is good and what is bad, so I’m just gonna throw up a white flag here and say “at least it’s not refined sugar”. I mean that’s the absolute worst right? (If you are eating a donut right now please ignore me to the fullest.)

[I used deglet noor dates in case you were curious. And no, I haven’t a clue how to say “deglet noor” or what the difference is between it and all the other dates that I cannot pronounce are. My extensive research into them only involves the fact that I think they are delightfully tasty.]

Much like the trusty ol’ bars, the thing I love about these balls is the fullness you feel. It’s sweet but it doesn’t leave you with a sugar hangover and best of all it gives you just the right boost for those moments when you absolutely need it. Plus my kids love these things and you absolutely can’t beat that.

There are about 1 zillion plus 23 energy ball recipes on the internet. If you roll your eyes at mine I absolutely will not blame you. But, if by chance, you have never made these healthy treats please give at least one recipe a try. Doesn’t matter which one…unless it’s gross. In that case just find another recipe until you hit jackpot. (Like this one…DING! DING! DING! DING! DING!)

Enjoy!

 

 

coconut almond date balls
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Author:
Serves: 12 balls
Ingredients
  • ⅓cup whole raw almonds
  • 20 pitted dates (I used Deglet Noor dates)
  • ½cup unsweetened coconut flakes (divided)
  • 1tbsp coconut oil
  • 1tbsp water
  • dash of kosher salt
Instructions
  1. Place the almonds in a food processor and pulse about 10 times until all the large pieces are broken up.
  2. Add the dates, ¼cup coconut, coconut oil, water and salt and process until no large pieces of date are left and a ball forms when you roll it in your hands.
  3. Divide the mixture with a small ice cream scoop or a teaspoon - forming each one into a ball with your hands. Next, roll each ball in the remaining ¼ coconut flakes. (I had to press my balls into the flakes a bit to get them to stick.) Refrigerate for at least one hour for the flavors to meld. Store in an airtight container for up to a week. (I like to keep mine in fridge.)

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grapefruit shortbread cookies

If you’re on the desperate hunt for an insanely easy and even more insanely delicious treat to whip up for the holidays this cookie is calling your name.

Christmas cookies have a tendency to be heavy and rich. And they should be…it is the holiday season after all. As good as those cookies are, there are times when I crave something lighter…but still a treat of course. Enter these cute little guys.

I’m a grapefruit fanatic which means if something says it has grapefruit in it I better taste the grapefruit. Unlike lemons, the pungent taste of grapefruit often becomes lost when baked. That’s why you need lots of zest (and if you got a drop or two of quality grapefruit essential oil). Even at that though, the cookies themselves do not exactly scream grapefruit. And that is why glaze was invented.

You know what pairs will with everything  grapefruit? Dark chocolate. Just a drizzle will do. It takes these cookies from everyday to Merry Christmas Everyone!

If you are wondering how a shortbread cookie differs from other cookies it mostly boils down to texture. These are light and airy. Crunchy but in the most delicate sort of ways. The flavor is full of butter because they are made with a boatload of butter. Best part of all…the pair perfectly with coffee and tea.

I hope your holiday season is full of your favorite treats…with this one possibly being a new one. My kids prefer sugar cookies over these (shocker) but that doesn’t bother me at all. More for mama.

Enjoy!

 

 

grapefruit shortbread cookies
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Serves: About 30 cookies
Ingredients
  • 1cup softened unsalted butter
  • ⅔cup powdered sugar
  • zest of 2 pink grapefruit
  • 3tbsp freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
  • 1tsp vanilla
  • 2 drop grapefruit essential oil (optional)
  • ¼tsp salt
  • 2cups flour
  • For the grapefruit glaze:
  • 2 to 3 tbsps freshly squeezed pink grapefruit juice
  • 1cup powdered sugar
  • For the dark chocolate drizzle
  • 1cup deal chocolate chips
  • 1tbsp coconut oil
Instructions
  1. In a large mixing bowl fitted to a stand mixer cream the butter and sugar together until pale yellow and creamy. About 3 minutes. Add the zest, juice, oil (if using), vanilla and salt and mix on low until incorporated. Slowly add the flour and mix on a medium low setting until dough comes together.
  2. Place dough on a lightly floured surface. With floured hands roll into a log that is about 2"
  3. in diameter. Tightly wrap plastic wrap around it and chill in fridge for 2 hours.
  4. Preheat oven 350F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Remove log from fridge and slice into ¼" discs. Place on baking sheet and throw back in fridge for 10 minutes. (Dough needs to be super chilled for baking.) Bake on middle rack for 8 to 10 minutes or until bottoms just begin to turn golden. Cool on sheet for at least 5 minutes before transferring to a wire rack.
  5. While cookies are cooling make the glaze by conbining juice and powdered sugar. If glaze is too thick add more juice, too thin - more sugar. Set aside.
  6. To make the drizzle, place chips and coconut oil in a microwave safe bowl. Microwave on high for 40 seconds and stir. Microwave again for 15 seconds and stir. Repeat this until completely melted and chocolate is ready to drizzle.
  7. Once cookies are completely cooled place about a ½tsp of the glaze in top of each one and spread ever so slightly, keeping at least ¼" from edge. Repeat with all cookies and then lightly drizzle with dark chocolate. Allow to dry at room temp or place in freezer for faster drying. Store in an airtight container for up to 2 weeks.

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diy whipped body lotion

Hey! I’m blogging…what the heck, right?

Sorry for my lack of presence here. Good news is that my hiatus has to do with exciting things going on in the etsy shop. It’s been a great year for designing….but we can talk about all that later.

What does need to be talked about now are last minute gift ideas for Christmas. I know you are probably thinking that hand making a lotion right before the holidays is pushing it. But this one is soooooooo easy. (Really it is.)

Here is what you need:

  • 1 cup unrefined shea butter – (can be found at most health food stores)
  • 1 cup coconut oil
  • 8 to 10 drops Lavender Essential Oil *optional (be sure to use a high quality brand. I like DoTerra, Young Living & Rocky Mountain – but there are other great brands as well – simply do your homework.)
  • 2tbsp Extra Virgin Olive Oil *optional

Place the shea butter and coconut oil in a mixing bowl fitted for a stand mixer. Whip with the whisk attachment for 2 to 3 minutes. Add the lavender and coconut oils (totally optional – I like the scent and little extra luxury they add) and whip for another 5 to 8 minutes or until lotion is the consistency you like. *You can also use a hand mixer – you may need to mix slightly longer. **If not using the essential or olive oil simply whisk the shea and coconut butters until they have reached the desired consistency.

Put the lotion in a glass container fitted with a lid. (This recipes fills about 4, 4oz jars) Gift it or save some luxuriousness for yourself. (Or both!) If your house is extra warm (summer months) you may want to place in fridge to avoid melting.

Use after showers for extra moisturizing. I use this every night before bed as well. It leaves my skin so soft and silky for way longer than any store-bought brand I have ever tried.

And because it’s Christmas and I am all about the giving here are some FREE PRINTABLE LABELS (2″ circle in size) to make your lotion extra special. I simply placed my lotion in a 4oz jar, cut the labels out with a 2″ hole cutter, double stick taped them on the top and tied a pretty ribbon around the lid. Darn cute if you ask me.

(I know my labels say “organic” but I change the printable to “whipped” because I liked that better. Did not want to shoot them again though, hope you understand….I have a feeling you do.)

This makes a great hostess, teacher, neighbor, girlfriend, boss, secretary….basically everyone gift! Fair warning, once they use it they will want to know how you made it. Lucky for you it’s super easy to tell them.

Merry Gifting!

xo,

 

 

 

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meet the jetsons

The Jetsons Costume #familycostume

“Meet George Jetson.

His boy Elroy.

Daughter Judy.

Jane his wife.”

Can you hear it playing in your head right now? I can! And I could for weeks! What the theme song is missing though are Rosie and Astro. Two key players if you ask me. Of course I could be biased, but the Jetsons wouldn’t be The Jetsons without their trusty robot maid and dog.

The Jetsons Costume #familycostume The Jetsons Costume #familycostumeMany people asked how we convinced Jettie that a cartoon she had never heard of would be a good costume for her. All it took as showing her a picture of Judy and she was SOLD. Poor Bing still has no say in the matter but he rolled with Elroy. (Sort of…our traditions still make Bing a little angry.)

The Jetsons Costume #familycostume The Jetsons Costume #familycostumeWe didn’t take many images because as everyone who does family costumes knows it can be a little crazy! (Worth it but CRAZY nonetheless.) Luckily we had a friend across the street who gave us some documentation. She also made Bing laugh which basically made her our Halloween superhero. Thank you Jess for being so awesome!

A few more we caught with the phone:

The Jetsons Costume #familycostumeThis is our 6th year…and there is no way I could ever pick a favorite. I just hope this kids want to dress up with us all the way into our golden years. If not I always have Sticky at least.

halloween_year6Happy Halloween from our family to yours! Don’t forget to tag #ppjhalloween to share your creations!

xoxo,

Brandy J

 

 

 

 

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bing’s steamboat willie bash

Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse Party

Seeing how it’s been almost 4 months since Bing’s 2nd Birthday Party, I thought I would get around to posting it. Feeling like a complete mom failure here, but it was one kick butt bash. (If I do say so myself.)

Never in a million years did I think that a Mickey Mouse theme party would be in my future. Don’t get me wrong, if anyone loves “the mouse” it’s me. I mean, he was basically my boss at one point. (A good one at that.) Plus I am obsessed with every and all things Disney. So yeah, it makes sense.

Buuuut Mickey Mouse theme parties are a dime a dozen which is totally a stigma I shy away from. Bing though, he loves Mickey. And I LOVE that he loves Mickey. Then it dawned on me – we didn’t have to go classic red, yellow, black. We can totally ear up and do this Steamboat Willie style. And that is what we did.

Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse Party Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse Party Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse Party Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse Party Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse PartyAt first I thought it might be a little depressing to do an all grey, black, white 2nd Birthday party. Especially for a little boy with such a big and bright personality. It was however the complete opposite of depressing. All the glistening silver in the summer sun….it made me feel sooooo happy inside.

Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse Party The “Fuel Dock” consisted of hot dogs and tacos. My foodie friend claimed it was some of the best party food she had ever had. I will never forget that because the food quite frankly turns me into a nervous wreck. What a blessing it was to hear those words for a party planner who frets the most about bellies being full and happy.Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse PartySteamboat Willie Mickey Mouse Party This was my first go at a “candy bar” and it won’t be my last. So cute and easy plus kids of all ages absolutely loved it.Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse PartyThere are so many details from this one that I am thrilled with…but the vintage Willie and Minnie ears may be my favorite. I love that you can purchase cheap ears from Ebay and transform them into any kind of Mickey/Minnie combo you would like. It took some time to make them, but so worth it!

Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse PartyOf course since there were ears there had to be a photo booth. I mean who makes mini steamboat caps and vintage Minnie hats out of felt and pipe cleaners without a photo booth? Not me!

Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse PartyA few iPhone shots of the party goers:

2016-06-26_180755000_4d705_ios

As we all know, the creme de la creme of any and all birthday parties is the person you are celebrating. Our Bingham, in those ears, blowing at his two little candles….oh, I can barely take it. Forever and always my favorite part of a birthday celebration.

Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse Party Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse Party Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse Party Steamboat Willie Mickey Mouse PartyBing, you are our sunshine on the gloomiest of days. Never stop loving so hard sweet boy…it’s my absolute favorite thing about you. (With those eyes being a close second.)

Once again, thank you to my family and friends for making this one amazing bash! I honestly could not do this without guys!

xoxo,

Brandy J

 

 

Sources:

Invitations & Party Designs – www.ppjshop.com

Cake – CakeCrazy

Cookies – Flour Loves Sugar

Candy, Straws, Napkins, Cups, Tablecloths, Fringe Background – Amazon

Large Print Printing – VistaPrint

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