Skinny Ice Cream Bites

Ok – so these may not be ice cream, but I swear they’re just as good! If you’ve ever frozen a banana and put it in a blender, you know that a cold banana has creamy, dessert-like features.

I came home one day to find a pile of these in the fridge, with everything from peanut butter to honey to marmalade in the center of little slices of banana. Turns out my sister is a skinny genius. My favorite combo is the kind with nutella, pictured here!

All you do is slice a ripe banana into thin pieces and make little mini banana sandwiches with whatever spread tickles ya!

Comment below! What flavor would you try? Any unique suggestions??

PS – betchya can’t have just one! I usually eat the whole batch in one sitting… but hey! it’s just a banana ;)

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Restaurant Review: California Donuts

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Restaurant Name: California Donuts
Location: 3540 W 3rd Street, Los Angeles, CA 90020
Halfsies Rating: ★★★★☆
Halfsies Bank: $$
Genre: Dessert
Great for: Donuts

I’ve had my eye on California Donuts for the longest time! I’m downtown LA all the time but just never made it out becuase I was too busy/healthy/tired. But this weekend, it happened. Boy oh boy have I never felt less guilty about eating 4 donuts. Like seriously, I was so happy. MAPLE BACON donuts? Check. THIN MINT girl scout cookie donuts? Check. CINNAMON TOAST CRUNCH, FROOT LOOP, REESE’S PIECES, SNICKERS, COCONUT… (must I go on?)… check, check, CHECKKK!

Yep, you can’t choose just one. You’ll eat 4. SO AMAZING AND WORTH IT!!

My favorite was the bacon and the reese’s pieces, but every flavor was divine.

Visit the website here.

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Chobani Grammy Guacamole

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There’s nothing I love more than an afternoon of oogling beautiful women in superb fashions! HELLO awards season! Of course, I love to indulge in my usual favorites (chips and guac, refreshing beer, hiii!). Here’s a healthy, fruity twist on my fave guacamole! And if you’re trying to stay healthier — yes, those tiny, beautiful women can have an inspiring influence — use thinly cut carrots or cucumbers instead of chips!

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The key ingredient here is (SHHH!) Chobani yogurt. Check it out here, or our fave peach flavor here! That’s right, we even went extra bold and used a peach Chobani, just to give our guac a little extra somptin somptin!

Here’s what you’ll need: 

♥ 1 cup peach Chobani yogurt
♥ 2 avocados
♥ 1/2 tomato
♥ 1-2 stalks celery
♥ sharp cheddar
♥ feta cheese

Finely chop the cheese, tomatoes, and celery. Combine in a bowl with avocado and Chobani yogurt. Mix well, using a fork to work the mixture in with the avocado. We add cayenne pepper and salt for extra flavor!

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Valentine’s Dessert

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This is seriously the most simple sweet treat! It’s perfect for Valentine’s Day because A. festive colors duh! and B. you get to look all fancy/sophisticated for a fraction of the price and effort. Now we’re talking! I honestly think Valentine’s day is silly and overrated (nobody wants to wait in those nasty lines for a rezzie at a crowded restaurant!). Soooo in my book, it’s all about pampering my friends/loved ones and baking delicious treats and writing goofy, meaningful cards to show everyone how much I love them. I know, I know, sorry. Really it’s about the sweetheart candies and Dora Explorer cardboard cutout cards that you buy last minute at Ralphs! SO FUN!!

But seriously, make these. They’re yummy and really pretty and the strawberries (and dark chocolate?) are good for you!

What you need:

♥ Marshmallows (pink and white for festive effect)
♥ Chocolate (dark is best, but get crazy and go for a white drizzle, add chopped almonds, etc!)
♥ Strawberries
♥ Toothpicks (or skewers if you want to make dessert kabobs!)

Roll the tip of a mallow into your yummy melted chocolate, take a taste test, and repeat. Kidding-not-kidding about the taste test part. I like to only dip the mallows because they’re amazingly easier to coat in chocolate than strawberries, but if you’re a profesh, go ahead and get a little fancy!  Then, skewer your kiddies together on a toothpick and lay cute-ly on a serving dish!

Voila!

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Restaurant Review: Mattei’s Tavern

matteis-tavern-4Restaurant Name: Mattei’s Tavern
Location: 2350 Railway Avenue, Los Olivos, CA 93441
Halfsies Rating: ★★★★★
Halfsies Bank: $$
Genre: American
Great for: Brunch / Your wedding / Living here forever

This place is a little magical getaway in the middle of Los Olivos. It’s perfect for brunch because outdoor seating is plentiful. There’s a huge grassy outside area with bocce ball, live music, and lots of space for dancing and frolicking in the sunshine! Plus, the food is amaaaaazing. So is the coffee. Do you really need anything more?? #heaven

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Brunch was followed by a fun little photo shoot around the grounds! We were all soooo over caffeinated after 4 cups of coffee each… the stuff was just so damn good and they kept refilling our mugs!!

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How fun is this little chalk board cabana?? It’s literally a cabana on the grounds and the walls are all chalk… pretty sure it’s there for little kids to doodle on while their parents brunch. We’re kids. That’s why we love it.

Drooling yet?? Visit the website here 

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&& “WRITE DRUNK, EDIT SOBER.” Words of wisdom, blogger friends. Never let that wine leave your hand. JK! But only kinda…

Guilt Free Berry Cobbler

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It’s winter, and when it’s cold out I crave desserts. Have you seen the New Girl episode where Nick’s girlfriend/sleep over buddy “…just isn’t a dessert person” and Jess freaks out? Because seriously!? Who is not a dessert person?? You can lie to yourself all you want, but I’m pretty sure if you don’t like dessert you don’t have a soul.

Anyways, I’m all about this guilt free, healthy version of a traditional cobbler. It’s jam packed with berries and antioxidants (among other things…) so at least you don’t have to feel terrible about it. And, I promise you’ll still fit into your skinny jeans tomorrow.

Here’s what you’ll need:
♥ 2 cups mixed berries
♥ 1 apple, chopped
♥ 3 tablespoons lemon juice
♥ 1.5 tablespoon stevia
♥ I cup oats
♥ 1/2 cup coconut oil
♥ 2 tablespoons honey
♥ 1/4 cup butter

The how to:
♥ Combine berries, apple, lemon juice, and stevia in a bowl. Mix well until all ingredients are combined. Place mixture into 8×10 inch glass baking dish.
♥ Using the same bowl from your fruit mixture, cream together coconut oil and melted butter. (By using same bowl, you’ll get the super cute pink effect!)
♥ Mix honey and oats. Add to coconut/butter mixture, mixing slowly to achieve a crumbly consistency.
♥ Cover the fruit medley with your crumble!
♥ Place in oven on middle rack and bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until golden brown.

 

Enjoy! xx

Restaurant Review: Church & State

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Restaurant Name: Church + State 
Location: 1850 Industrial St, Los Angeles, CA 90021
Halfsies Rating: ★★★★★
Halfsies Bank: $$$$
Genre: French Great for: Date night

This place is fantastic for a glass of wine and some appetizers. If you’re going all-out, its great for full on dinner as well, but trust me when I say you won’t be able to move after a full meal at Church + State. 

The ambience is simply magical: with rustic wood, artsy lights, and a flare of French decor, the dimly lit restaurant is small and cozy enough to have you feeling that you jetted off to Europe, just for dinner. On spring and summer nights (or heck, pretty much any night in LA), long tables are set in the outside area to allow for dining under the stars.

I advise getting here early if you don’t have a reservation, because if you show up past seven you’ll be standing in the doorway, tortured by the delicious aromas that won’t be yours until you’ve long been salivating.

Another plus of getting here early: the chef loves passing out goat-cheese puff pastry, and boy am I a sucker for anything bread and cheese. Follow that with the standard bread board (served warm with a butter so thick and creamy that even French natives won’t be unphased), and you’ll be full before you’ve even put in your order.

For the cultured wino – this is your place. I’m a happy camper on any night that = a glass of pino noir (there are so many good ones to choose from) and an order of escargot. Don’t make the mistake of thinking appetizers are meant to be just that – apps can go a long way and completely fill you up! 

My go-to items: Escargots de Bourgogne en Croûte (or breaded escargot for you non-francophiles), Os à Moelle (roasted bone marrow), and one of their many “tarts” which are basically fancy french pizzas. 

For the less adventurous, not to worry: there are plenty of more mainstream options, like mac&cheese, french onion soup, salads, and various chicken, salmon, and duck entrees. 

Near the up and coming arts district of DTLA, when you’re done with your meal you can stroll the surroundings of the restaurant and stop in one or more local bars/boutiques! Date night at it’s finest. 

OR, just stay at the bar (below). It’s.so.freaking.cute!!!! ♥

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Green Bean, Tomato, and Feta Salad

Green Bean, Tomato, and Feta Salad

Ingredients:
Cherry Tomatoes
Green Beans
Green Onions
Feta Cheese

Dressing Ingredients:
2 T Olive Oil
2-3 T Red Wine Vinegar (I noticed that 3 made it taste a bit better)
1 T Freshly-Squeezed Lemon Juice
3/4 tsp. Salt (Sea Salt preferably)
1/2 tsp. Freshly-Ground Black Pepper
1/2 tsp. Dried Oregano (Optional)

*If you don’t want to make your dressing, feel free to use Italian or Balsamic Dressing.

This salad is one of my faves! It is healthy, tasty, pretty, and easy to make – there is really no reason not to share it! If you decide to make your own dressing, then I would prepare that first. As soon as you finish mixing your dressing ingredients together, begin to cut your green beans into bite-sized pieces (make sure to trim the ends of the beans beforehand). When you are finished cutting, place the green beans in a pot of boiling water (feel free to add some salt), let the beans cook for 3-4 minutes.

While the beans cook, cut the cherry tomatoes in half and chop up the green onions. As soon as the green beans are done cooking (crisp), drain into a colander, then immediately rinse the beans with cold water until they’re cooled. Make sure to completely dry/drain the beans by blotting them with paper towels. If you do not thoroughly dry the beans, then your salad will be watery.

Now, you are ready to mix together all ingredients – beans, tomatoes, green onions, feta cheese, and dressing! Stir the salad until all pieces are coated with dressing. BON APPÉTIT!

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Restaurant Review: Strand House

Restaurant Name: Strand House
Location: 117 Manhattan Beach Blvd, Manhattan Beach, CA 90266
Halfsies Rating: ★★★★☆
Halfsies Bank: $$$
Genre: Dinner, drinks
Great for: Seafood

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What we loved: If you’re about seafood and white wine, Strand House doesn’t let down. I love that their seafood is always extra fresh, and that you get to enjoy a lovely ocean view while eating it!

What we’d improve: The place is super busy and often doesn’t have all the oyster options listed on the menu. If you’re picky with oysters (like me) that can be annoying, but otherwise, NO COMPLAINTS! Love this place!

What we’d recommend: Oysters, oysters, and anything seafood. The brussels sprouts and mac are also to die for!

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Strand House also makes their own hot sauce from a very-secret recipe (that’s the blue vial photographed above), which is beyond amazing! If you love hot sauce, the stuff is good on basically anything! I especially like adding a drop or two to an oyster shooter!

If you plan on stopping by, be sure to make a reservation (and don’t forget to ask for an outside table!).