Saturday, November 22, 2014

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

Our church is hosting a Harvest Festival and we've invited World Relief to attend. They are bringing three bus loads! We are busy preparing for this influx of visitors, many of whom are of different faiths and do not speak English. We will have games and things for the kids to do, among which is a cookie walk. I baked 4 dozen cookies for it. Boy are they yummy!
A great way to fit more cookies on a pan: stagger them!
I based it on this recipe but made a few modifications. In retrospect, I would cut back on the amount of sugar as they are rather sweet or, at the very least, use unsweetened coconut flakes. I might also try using half coconut oil and half butter. But they were quite delicious, I must say! Here's my version:

Toasted Coconut Chocolate Chip Cookies

2 cups flaked sweetened coconut
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
14/ teaspoon salt
1.5 cups packed brown sugar
1 stick butter (1/2 cup), softened
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 large eggs
1 cup mini chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

2. Arrange coconut in a single layer on a cookie sheet. Bake at 350 for 6 minutes or until lightly toasted, stirring once. Set aside to cool.

3. Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup; level with a knife. Combine flour,  baking powder, baking soda, and salt in a medium bowl. Stir until well blended.

4. Place sugar and butter in mixer bowl and beat until well blended. Add eggs and vanilla then add the flour mixture, beating at low speed until combined. Stir in toasted coconut and chocolate.
So much yummy goodness!
5. Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls (or do like I did and use a small cookie scoop) 2 inches apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper, a silpat mat or coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350 for 10 minutes or until bottoms of cookies just begin to brown. Remove from pan and cool completely on wire racks. Yields 4 dozen cookies (if you don't sample too much cookie dough!)
Perfect size using small scoop.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Winter Hats

For this week the Style Me Blogger's post is supposed to be about our favorite winter hats. Uh oh. I only have one really. And it isn't a fashionable hat. It's a totally practical kind of hat: a cold-weather running hat (as opposed to my warm weather running hat which is a baseball cap). When I'm running is about the only time I need to wear a hat in the winter in Florida, because I'm usually running during the coldest part of the day: right after the dawn.
I look dorky in hats!

What I like about this particular hat is that it has a ponytail hole in the back so that your ponytail can stick out when you pull it down over your ears.
Isn't this brilliant?
I usually wear my hair short and don't need this hole, but when I first bought the hat my hair was long enough to wear in a ponytail. And my hair has grown quite a bit in the last three months so that it can almost fit in a ponytail. Therefore I will get to use the hole again very soon now that it has turned cold!
More like a pigtail than a ponytail
Since I live in Florida, I don't wear winter hats during the day. I do have a hood on my parka that I can pull on if needed but I find that a hat 1) doesn't look good on me and 2) messes up my hair. 

I'm sure my styling sisters to the north have more to say on the subject. Check them out in the links below!

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Bonobos styling match

I am taking part of a Style Challenge to come up with an outfit that would complement some of the looks from the Bonobos Fall Collection of Men's Suits.

If you don't know, Bonobos is a clothing line for men who are not big fans of shopping. They claim to be "the largest clothing brand ever built on the web in the US."

They sent me several photos of their suits and my mission was to pick one and then select an outfit for a woman to wear that would complement it.

Boy this is gonna be fun!

Here's the outfit I picked.

Isn't this suit so very elegant? I could see going to a black tie affair with my hubby in this little number! I sure do like how Michael looks in a suit. This tuxedo is part of the Capstone tuxedo line. There are several different options to choose from ranging from fabric, to color, to jacket collar style, to print.

My husband's work has a fancy party every year. It used to be a Christmas party but this year they changed it to October and called it The Founder's Day Ball. Although a tux was not required, how fun would it be to show up in one? This one in particular?

Here are a few outfit ideas that I'd love to pair with this elegant tuxedo.

Since this particular tuxedo reminds me of a Great Gatsby sort of shin dig, I really like this dress paired with it.

I like how this has a 1920s feel to it. The black lace overlays champagne satin which echoes the colors and honeycomb pattern in the tuxedo's jacket. The bias cut, with its flared, swingy skirt, is flattering for many body types. Since I love pearls, I like the way it's styled in the picture, with a multi-strand pearl necklace. Strappy heels, a beaded clutch and a fur stole would be fabulous to finish up the look.

Or if lace feels like too much, I really like this simple little shift. The silky dupioni weave gives it a level of elegance that elevates the simplicity of the cut. I like the cap sleeves for a little added coverage and warmth. Personally, I like the playful bow belt, but since it is optional another belt can be subbed, maybe with a little glitz or even leopard! The fit-and-flare style is flattering to bottom heavy body styles like me. It comes in several colors but black and quarry (a silvery grey) are my favorites. Rhinestone chandelier earrings and silver sandals complete the outfit.

To get away from black but still have a festive feel, I love this black and red brocaded fit-and-flare dress. The waistline is embellished with black shimmering stones which eliminates the need for adding jewelry, except for maybe small black stone studs. A black wrap, simple black heals and a small black clutch round out the look. And bonus for me, it comes in petite!

Do you have a favorite? Tell me in the comments below!

Full disclosure: I have not received any compensation from Bonobos or any another store and there are no affiliate links in this post. The opinions are all my own.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Week One: Build Your Basics Challenge

The new Style Me challenge has begun! The outfits started coming in our email inbox on Sunday night. Like last time, I have not purchased everything on the list just yet. My budget for money or time won't allow me to. But now that I have the list, I know what I need and can keep an eye out for a good deal. 

On Day 1 Alison and Cyndi styled Striped Top + Bootcut Jeans + Tassel Necklace + Neutral Flats.

It was still warm where I live so I decided to sub the bootcut jeans for a denim mini skirt. Since I wore the skirt, I added black tights since it wasn't THAT warm. And I used black flats as my neutral flat to keep an uninterrupted line and lengthen my legs. I have yet to find a tassel necklace I like so I wore my wire-wrapped pearl long necklace in its place.
Day 1

Day 2's outfit was Chambray + Black Pants + Leopard Belt + Black Boots

I followed this outfit to the letter even though the belt was driving me a little crazy. It kept shifting around and I kept having to readjust it. The pants don't have belt loops so I had to wear the belt like this if I wanted to wear it. 
Day 2
And today is Day 3 which called for White Shirt + Denim Jacket + Khaki Pants + Leopard Flats

I had to make some adjustments today due to the weather. The temperature dropped last night and it finally turned cold. Like cover-the-plants-and-bring-in-the-bunny kind of cold! 

Day 3
This is how I put the outfit together as prescribed. But then I started making changes. I swapped the flats for booties so I could wear socks (and stay warm!) Then I added a cable knit sweater for an added layer of warmth under my denim jacket. And finally I added my wire-wrapped pearl again. 

Day3 - What I actually wore
I like the outfits that Alison and Cyndi have put together so far! I'm looking forward to what else they have in store for us!

I'm linking up to Alison's I Feel Pretty Link Party!

I Feel Pretty Logo

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Homemade Truvia

One of the points in the Trim Healthy Mama lifestyle is eating in such a way as to keep blood sugar from spiking. Since diabetes runs rampant in my family, this is a concern of mine. That is why I have tried to eliminate most sugar from my diet. However I will not resort to artificial sweeteners like aspartame to do it. I have learned about stevia, xylitol and erythritol which are all natural sweeteners that do not cause blood sugar spikes. I have heard that some people have adverse reactions to xylitol but I, thankfully, have not.
Homemade Truvia
My favorite is a homemade version of Truvia. The actual truvia has "natural flavors" as one of the ingredients which in my opinion leaves a strange aftertaste, almost like vanilla. The homemade one does not have any mysterious natural flavors added and is the one that most tastes like sugar to me.

The good thing is that it's easy to make. The bad thing is that it isn't subsidized by the government so it isn't cheap.

The ingredients you'll need are either xylitol or erythritol. Either will work. I cannot find erythritol locally but it can be ordered through Amazon. However, I CAN find xylitol in a local healthfood store, Native Sun. I buy the biggest bag they carry. And the other ingredient is stevia extract powder.
Xylitol and stevia extract
 I like the KAL brand from Native Sun but they recently changed their formulation and added maltodextrin as an added ingredient. That is NOT on plan. You want to be sure that there are NO added ingredients.
Other ingredients: None
If the KAL brand has added ingredients then try NOW. That can be ordered online. And that's it! 
1cup : 1/2 teaspoon
The ratio is 1 cup of xylitol or erythritol to 1/2 teaspoon stevia extract. Mix well. You can use it like sugar. 1 teaspoon homemade truvia = 1 teaspoon sugar. You can even bake with it.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"Nutella" Shake (FP)

I came up with this deliciously easy morning treat!


1 cup unsweetened almond milk
1 scoop whey protein powder (read about the right kind to use here)
1 tablespoon cocoa powder (I like mine DARK!)
3 tablespoons homemade truvia (I like mine on the sweeter side)
1/2 teaspoon hazelnut extract

Add to blender. Quick mix of the ingredients. Then add ice and process till smooth. Enjoy your delicious FUEL PULL THM treat!
I usually fix mine for breakfast but this works well for satisfying a sweet craving or for a mid-day snack.

Friday, November 7, 2014

A Peek into My Closet

Wow. This post feels so personal. So revealing. So intimate.

I do not have a large closet. It is not a walk in closet. In order to stretch the space I rotate my seasonal clothing, so for now, my summer clothes are up in the attic.
Teeny Tiny!
I hang all shirts and vests here.
Left top
Pants and shorter skirts go here.
Left bottom
Long clothes (dresses, long skirts) go here.
Right side
I recently switched out what was in the hanging thing. I used to put sweaters in there but I recently made that my purse holder with few sweatshirts in the extra spaces.

Also I recently gave an old TV the boot and I claimed this armoir as my own. I rotate shoes (in boxes), sweaters and scarves. I plan on finding a way to hang scarves. I have outgrown my storage box! I'm thinking of stringing a ribbon inside the doors and draping them over that. We'll see.
Wooden armoir
I welcome any tips on how I can better use my space! Leave me a comment!

I'm linking with these other bloggers below! Check out what their closets look like. My guess is that they are bigger than mine!