Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Baking from the Heart with Mountain High Yoghurt

Baking is one of my favorite pastimes. Baking turns my mind off from my daily stresses. I zone out and completely focus on the yummy baked good I'm making. I do not get to bake too often anymore but when I do, it's usually for a special occasion of someone who is dear to my heart. 

For my grandma's birthday, she had a special request for lemon cupcakes. It was my pleasure to make them for her!


Here I am with her and her cupcake display!


I'm always on the lookout on ways I can make my baking more healthy. Did you know you can use Mountain High Yoghurt as a substitute for sour cream, mayonnaise or butter? I've used Mountain High Yoghurt to make my favorite recipes healthy and delicious. For instance, you can use it in things like muffins and cookies for an amazing, moist texture!

My little guy knows this makes his mommy's cupcakes extra yummy!




Grandma loved her cupcakes so much, I know you'd enjoy them also!

Lemoncello Vanilla Cupcakes
18 TBSP ( 2 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter at room temp
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs at room temp
1 cup Mountain High Vanilla Yoghurt
2 tsp vanilla extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
2 tblsp Limoncello
Lemon zest of one lemon

Glaze: 1/4 lb butter, 1 cup sugar, 1/4 cup limoncello

Heat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy. On med speed, add 2 eggs at a time. Then add sourcream, buttermilk, vanilla, and lemon zest. Scrape down sides of bowl.

Sift dry ingredients and add slowly to wet mixture. Bake in oven 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown. COOL COMPLETELY. Using a pastry brush, glaze the top of each cupcake with the prepared glaze.


Cream Cheese Frosting
2 8-oz packages of cream cheese
2 sticks of butter
1.5 cups of powdered sugar
1 tsp of vanilla extract
Cream butter, cream cheese, and vanilla until fluffy and slowly add powdered sugar until well combined.


Yes, my cupcakes have a little booze in them (smiley face)! Once upon a time, a good friend and I tried to start a cupcake business but our careers as educators took the front seat. If you want to see the yummies we've made in the past, check out www.BoozieCakes.com.

A fun factoid: Why Does Mountain High Yoghurt spell it "yogHurt"? Yoghurt or Yogurt–both spellings can be found in the dictionary. “Yoghurt” is more similar to how the word is spelled in many European countries. Since it was first produced back in the 1970s, Mountain High Yoghurt has been made the Old World way (it slowly turns into yoghurt while sitting in the cup) so our founders spelled yoghurt with an “h.” Today we consider the “h” stands for healthy lifestyle or for the hundreds of ways you can use Mountain High Yoghurt to add nutrition to any recipe or meal!

Mountain High Yoghurt definitely adds something special to my cupcakes!

For more recipe ideas to use Mountain High Yoghurt, make sure you visit my Pinterest Board!

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Be comfortable in Your Own Skin with Citrus Clear

Invigorating, uplifting, and inspiring are citrus scents to me. I'm always on the look-out for products that can moisturize my dry, sensitive skin, but at the same time have the wonderful citrus scents that give me energy and make me happy!

I have found new favorites in the Citrus Clear product line.


Citrus Clear has a unique holistic approach using citrus ingredients to provide premium, concentrated skin care. We are an evolving company that will continue to focus on ensuring our products are naturally based, eco-friendly, and, sustainable. This is our way of life. We believe in awareness of others, our environment, and, the collective nature of human beings.

I love that the products are organic, chemical-free, not tested on animals, and made in the USA!

When doing my face cleansing routine, I start with the Gentle Cleanser in Natural Tahitian Lime. It contains a mix of gentle organic citrus ingredients which are recommended for those with sensitive skin, to keep skin in balance, clean and fresh. Sensitive skin types need a sensitive cleanser. Formulated to remove excess oil without overs stripping your face of its delicate balance.


Next is the Tangerine Tingle. The Tangerine Tingle does exactly what it says. When I put it on my face, it smells like a smashed tangerines all over my face. It smells lovely. And yes, it does tingle! Within seconds on your face, you can feel it at work. It works to exfoliate by removing dead skins cells, as well as stimulate the growth of new skin cells. My face feels brand new when I wash the Tangerine Tingle off. 

Lastly, I use the Sensitive Moisturizer in Pink Grapefruit. The organic ingredients in this moisturizer make your skin feel soft and refreshed, not tight and or dry. The formula contains soothing botanicals, citrus ingredients, and powerful vitamins designed to gently balance facial skin tone.

I totally enjoy my Citrus Clear products and I know you will also!

Thanks to Citus Clear, one of my readers will be able to win one (1) of your favorite Citrus Clear products! Just enter below!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Although I received sample products from Citrus Clear in exchange for this blog post, all opinions are mine. 

Saturday, May 16, 2015

The Charm of National City

Thanks to KirE Builders and Synergy Communications, I was able to check out the new 8 On C housing development in my hometown of National City. Located just a few minutes from my childhood home, the modern homes are a wonderful addition to the community!

The entrance to Homesite #2 - 1272 square feet, 3 beds, 2.4 baths, solar ready
A little wet from the rainy day!
Here is a video highlighting some of the property's features!



There were several aspects of the property I really liked. I liked the enclosed driveways and limited access to the individual garages. It creates an enclosed, secure, shared space within in the properties. I also liked the properties that has a bedroom on the street level. The bedroom could be made into an office with its own separate entrance which would be convenient for those who have a home based business. Lastly, all of the properties are solar ready which is definitely a plus with rising electric costs!

After checking out 8 on C, my friend Eleina and I decided to explore the area and reminisce of our days in National City growing up. Within 5 minutes walking distance from 8 on C are a few of National City's treasured spots!

We walked by the National City's Antique Row Homes built in 1887 and now serves as business and private space. There are over a dozen historical sites in National City since it's the 2nd oldest city in San Diego county. 



Since it was so close by, we had to grab some ice cream at Niederfranks Ice Cream which is definitely one of the must eats in National City! They have a Thai Tea Ice Cream which is heavenly!


Thanks to buddy Eleina for checking out 8 and C with me!
We also walked by McDini's, which has open since 1890. It's a great place to catch the game and also carries lots of the local craft beers!


On our way back to our car at 8 and C, we walked passed Big Ben Market and Restaurant which features locally grown produce and sustainably raised meats from local purveyors. There is also a restaurant attached serving from-scratch meals during lunch and dinner.
Big Ben Market


I'm delighted National City has the 8 on C housing development to welcome new families to the community. The new owners of these homes will also be pleased to live in the middle of the charm of National City!

Be sure to add yourself to the 8 On C Avenue Interest List, as well as follow/like KirE Builders on Facebook and Twitter.

For more details about the 8 on C housing development, please visit: http://www.8oncave.com/.

Although I received compensation for this post, all opinions are mine.

Friday, May 15, 2015

#FoodieFriday Flashback to Mothers Day


I was a bit anxious about making mothers day weekend restaurant reservations since all the yummy spots become booked weeks in advance. I called a few places only to find out there were no reservations available all weekend or they didn't accept breakfast reservations on weekends.

Fortunately, OpenTable.com makes it super easy to find restaurants with reservations during your desired day and time. I put in Saturday morning and found a few dozen restaurants with breakfast spots open for a party of 7. I browsed the reviews, wiped my drool after looking at the yummy photos, and finally chose to have Mothers Day Eve breakfast at Harley Grey in Mission Hills.

http://harleygraykitchenandbar.com/

Our party of 7 included my 94 year old grandma, my mom and dad, my hubby, my two kids, and myself.

I loved the openness of the restaurant. The windows were wide open which was great to enjoy the crisp, morning air we had after a day of rain.

Photo from www.theneeds.com
The menu was filled with yummies. It was hard to choose what to eat.

http://harleygraykitchenandbar.com/images/harleygray_brunch_menu.pdf

Dad had the Lobster Eggs Benedict. Kids had the pancakes, fruit, granola, and yogurt.


Grandma had the regular Eggs Benedict.
 

Mom and I had the macadamia nut banana pancakes.

Hubby had the breakfast Loco Moco. He ate it so fast, I didn't get a picture! It was THAT good!

Mothers Day Eve meal has become a tradition with my mom and grandma since I myself became a mother. It is such a blessing to have my sons experience three generations of moms who love them so very much!


Happy Belated Mothers Day to all my friends, family, and fellow mommy bloggers! Hope you had a wonderful weekend with those you love!


Click to add a blog post for Harley Gray on Zomato

Monday, May 11, 2015

FAFSA Challenge

I love my counseling team for always jumping onto the fun projects I propose to them!

Here we are as crayons for Halloween!
A few months ago, a few of our counseling colleagues were sharing a video set by the First Lady Michelle Obama:



Our counseling team did our usual FAFSA Frenzy outreach during the months of January through March but this time took lots of pictures and videos to document the process. Sweetwater High has a senior class of over 550 students. Getting each and every one of them to complete the FAFSA is a huge task!

We also have a significant population of undocumented students, so we also support those students in completing the Dream Act (FAFSA equivalent) application.

We reached over 74% of our senior class this year for our FAFSA Frenzy drive which lead us up to the top of all high schools in the Sweetwater Union High School District.

I, experimenting with iMovie, came up with this to answer the First Lady's Challenge:


We entered the contest and patiently waited for the word if Michelle Obama would be visiting our graduation ceremony. Then this video was released:


We didn't win but Sweetwater High did get a second on the the video above! Look closely at 0.38! I squealed in delight when I saw my photo bomb in the video!

We even received this awesome letter from First Lady Michelle Obama herself!

Have a told you I love being a school counselor?!

Saturday, May 9, 2015

8 on C in the Heart of National City

National City, a community in South San Diego, has always had a special place in my heart. Having been raised in National City, and now working in my alma mater of Sweetwater High School in the same city, I've grown to appreciate the rich history, the diversity of culture, and the overall small town feeling National City has to offer. 

Whether it is the historical side with the Victorian homes found all over the city, the cultural side with the variety of cuisine to be found, or the recreational side of Bay Marina Drive or the National City Golf Course, there is much to see and do in National City. 

KirE Builders is proud to present their newest development in the heart of National City; 8 On C Avenue! Priced from the $300,000's and sitting only miles from San Diego’s coastal areas, Naval Bases, and the downtown community, these eight stylish and modern row homes create the perfect setting for modern living.

For floor plans and details, visit http://www.8oncave.com/.

I would like to invite you and your family to the Grand Opening on Friday May 15th at 2pm. I'll see you there!




Be sure to follow/like KirE Builders on Twitter and Facebook  to get the latest updates on the 8 On C Avenue development.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Tips on How to Deal With Picky Eating Kids #FoodieFriday


If anyone has picky eaters for kids, it’s me! All my boys want to eat is mac and cheese, chicken katsu, and rice, with the occasional banana or apple slices. Other than that, they aren't very good at trying new foods.

Thanks to the Children's Physicians Medical Group (CPMG), I was able to hang out with a few other mommies with picky eaters and talk about best practices to get our kids to try new foods and eat more healthy.

Dr.

Dr. Jaime Friedman shared some tips on how to get picky eaters to be more open to trying new foods. She suggests:
First and foremost make sure your child is gaining weight well and is healthy. A visit to your doctor can be reassuring and you may not have to make any change at all!
■Allow your child to shop with you and cook with you. Getting them involved will encourage them to try the foods they prepare.
■Have cut up fruits and vegetables readily available.
■Have meals together as a family and model healthy eating.
■For younger kids, use a sticker chart for trying new foods but don’t use junk as the reward!
■If your child needs to gain weight, talk to your doctor about healthy ways to add calories (avocado, olive oil)


Here is Dr. Friedman's video on picky eaters:


Jimbo's Natural Food Grocer also cooked up a few yummy treats for us to share with our kids. My favorite were the Cheesy Broccoli Bites:

Ingredients
2 cups chopped organic broccoli
2 large organic eggs
1/2 tsp. sea salt
1/2 cup panko crumbs
1/2 cup organic parmesan cheese
2 Tbsp. organic olive oil

Directions
1. Steam broccoli.
2. Add broccoli, egg, salt, panko, and parmesan to a food processor.
3. Pulse until finely chopped.
4. Roll into 1 1/2 – 2” balls.
5. Heat oil in a skillet. Drop the balls of broccoli mixture into pan. Flatten with a spatula and cook until both sides are crispy. Serve alone or with ranch dip (we used organic Greek yogurt mixed with Simply Organic ranch dressing mix.)

 
 
The cheesy bites were a bit crunchy and tasted a like Chick-Fil-A chicken nuggets which my kids like! I hope to try this recipe out soon to see if my kids will like it!

Be sure to visit the Children's Physicians Medical Group (CPMG) blog for more ideas and tips on how to work with your picky eaters.


Monday, May 4, 2015

Ways to #ThankATeacher

When I was a high school teacher, I would look always forward to Teacher Appreciation Week. I would receive thoughtful, handwritten notes inside xerox copied apples on white paper. Some apples were colored in detailed shades of red or green. Other apples with just black and white with a scribbled note in the middle. Each year, I would always receive a note that would catch me off guard. A note from a student I'd never expect. My students recalled the little things I did that were big things in their heart. These notes were always a reminder that I made a difference, even in those students who seemed distant, apathetic, or passive about school.

Now that my kids are in school, I make it a priority for my kids to a little something nice for their teachers during Teacher Appreciation Week to thank them for all the little acts of kindness they do everyday.



For my first grader, the class mom organized:
Monday: Teacher Appreciation Banner
Tuesday: Gift Card Bouquet
Wednesday: Note from Student
Thursday: Teacher Supplies
Friday: Yummy Treats

For my Pre-K son who is only at school two days a week:
Tuesday: Sweet Treats
Thursday: Surprise Gifts

Jelo and I had a fun time using our Cricket to make this fun poster for his first grade teacher, Mrs. Knight.

We are also starting a tradition to write a note for each one of his former teachers too! I scored a pack of these cute blank greeting cards at the Dollar Tree.  Thank goodness he's only in 1st grade! I hope we can do this up until high school!

Jelo's class donated gift cards and we put together this gift card bouquet. This was a hit with his kindergarten teacher last year. I bought these silk flowers at Michaels and used florist wire with hot glue to put the gift cards in place. 


DJ asked me to bake cupcakes for his pre-kindergarten teachers! Here are the coconut dulce de leche cupcakes we made for the staff at his preschool Childtime!




These cupcakes were a favorite when I was baking with Boozie Cakes! I know you'll love them too!

Dulce De Leche Coconut Cupcakes
18 TBSP ( 2 ¼ sticks) unsalted butter at room temp
3 cups sugar
6 large eggs at room temp
1 cup sourcream
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tsp coconut extract
1/3 cup buttermilk
3 cups all purpose flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1 tsp baking soda
Glaze topping:
½ cup dulce de leche
½ cup coconut milk
½ cup evaporated milk
¼ cup coconut rum

Heat oven to 350. Cream butter and sugar on high until light and fluffy. On med speed, add 2 eggs at a time. Then add sourcream, buttermilk and vanilla. Scrape down sides of bowl. Sift dry ingredients and add slowly to wet mixture. Bake in oven 20-25 minutes until the top is golden brown. COOL COMPLETELY. In a bowl, add together dulce de leche, coconut milk, evaporated milk, and rum. Glaze over the cupcakes and set soak into the cake, about a tablespoon each cupcake. 

Top with Dulce De Leche Frosting:
3/4 pound (3 sticks) unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 pound cream cheese, at room temperature
3/4 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 ¼ tsp pure vanilla extract
2 tsp of coconut extract
1-13 oz. can of dulce de leche
Mix butter and cream cheese until creamy.  Add vanilla and coconut extracts.  Add dulce de leche and mix until fluffy.  Add confectioner’s sugar and beat until fluffy.

Happy Teacher Appreciation Week to my teachers, past and present, my educational colleagues and friends! 



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