Chocolate Covered Tangerines

IMG_0280I am obsessed with these little cuties!

Since, my sweet tooth has been flaring up a bit, I decided to make a batch of these semi-sweet & semi-healthy treats! They are incredibly addictive – I took them to work and they all vanished within 30 minutes!

They are super easy/quick to make, and can also be used as a great snack, dessert, or appetizer for your next gathering! All you have to do is take a handful of tangerines, your favorite chocolate (preferably semi-sweet), and sea salt (or any type you prefer) — WALA!! Your tastebuds will thank you!

What is your sweet, yet somewhat healthy snack?

What you’ll need:
♥ Tangerines/Clementines
♥ Semi-sweet carob/chocolate chips
♥ Sea salt
♥ Wax Paper

How To:
1. Peel the tangerines
2. Melt the chocolate chips for about 1-2 minutes, but stop every 30 seconds to mix and check consistency.
3. Dip the tangerines in the chocolate
4. Place it on wax paper and sprinkle a pinch of sea salt on top
5. Refrigerate for 10 minutes, then ready to eat!

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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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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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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

San Diego Adventures!

This weekend, my friend and I made our way to San Diego to go see Sara Bareilles in concert. We had a great time eating, drinking, catching up with friends, and seeing Ms. Sara B!

Our first stop of the mini adventure was playing catch up with one of our very best friends, London! You may recognize this lovely lady from some of our past blog posts, or even her own reputable blog, ‘London, like the city!’ She took us to Caroline’s Seaside Cafe, which overlooked the beach! It had a great atmosphere, with an even greater selection of food. I ordered the Pan Seared Salmon Salad – there is no full sized photo, because I was too hungry from the drive! Whoopsies :)
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Before heading off to see Sara B, my brother and his fiancé, who also live in SD (and attended the concert with us) took us to a local favorite and popular brewery called, Ballast Point. We all ordered a Sculpin, I had the IPA on Nitro, it was smooth and very refreshing! I am just dipping my feet into the IPA pool, so it was a good starting point for me. After we finished our pre-dinner/concert drinks, we headed on down the street to get our grub (and more drink) on!

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We went to a gastropub called, Craft & Commerce for dinner, and it was AWESOME! For appetizers, we got season fries and bacon cracker jacks (sounds a little odd, but so delish)! For dinner, my friend and I split the Mac & Cheese and Korean Fried Chicken Wings. The wings were as hot as they look in the photo below. As for drinks, we both got IPA cocktails and Amber Ales! Oh we are NOT done! Wait until you see where we went next…
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Yes, we were all pretty full, but everyone knows that there is a second stomach for dessert! Twenty minutes before the start of the concert, we rushed over to the BottleCraft Beer Shop to go pick up some Pubcakes! Yup, beer + cupcakes. The flavors of the cupcakes rotate every week, showcasing a different beer in each one. (Clockwise) The one with the yellow frosting was Cup O’ Hefen, which had Ballast Point Wahoo Wheat Coriander spice cake & citrus buttercream; Punkin Vegan, which had North Coast Old Stock Ale Pumpkin & maple frosting; Irish Carbomb, which had Guiness chocolate cake, Irish cream frosting, & whiskey ganache; Portzilla, which had Stone Smoked Porter cake, chocolate coffee ganache, & caramelized coconut.  They were all sooooo delicious and not too sweet! My favorites would have to be the Portzilla and the Cup O’ Hefen!
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The following morning, we got up early and stopped at a local spot in Encinitas, called Swami’s Cafe, which is known for their Acaí bowls. This cafe was located in the cutest beach community, where people were either riding bikes, running, soaking up the sun at the beach, or eating at this local spot! We both ordered the Acaí bowls for breakfast, and boy, were they yummy! The granola, fruit, bee pollen, and coconut shreds made for such great toppings! I definitely recommend trying it out if you are ever in the area!
IMG_3090 IMG_3091That basically concludes our trip! Unfortunately, we did not come across Carmen San Diego, but hopefully this clip of Sara Bareilles covering ‘Chandelier’ by Sia, will make do! She is breathtaking!

Sister Post: Peanut Butter Brownie Bites!

My little sis is pretty much a baking genius, and I’m guilty of stealing her very-original, totally made-up-as-she-goes-along recipes ALL the time. Sometimes I try to claim them as my own, but if anything sounds too creative, it was probably all her. She’s pretty much a #boss in the kitchen and in life. So much so, that she’s starting her own YouTube channel where you can get step-by-step tutorials on how to perfect her delicious recipes!

Check out the video above, or follow along with our Halfsies notes below :)

What you’ll need:

♥Brownie Mix + fixings (we love Ghirardelli brownie mix!)
♥Peanut Butter of your choice
♥Chocolate chips (or anything else you love)

The how to:

Use as much peanut butter and chocolate chips as your heart desires (that’s why there aren’t any measurements listed above). Soften the peanut butter in the microwave for 20-25 seconds. Meanwhile, get your goodies for inside the peanut butter ready (I personally chopped up a 1/2 bar of chocolate). Once the peanut butter is out, immediately mix in the goodies. Once done, GENTLY hollow out the brownie bites and fill with peanut butter mixture using your fingers or a small spoon.

And there you have it! So simple it’s hard not to make these weekly!  And now you can put your bites into the fridge, freezer, pantry, or straight to your mouth! Enjoy(:

LC’s Perfect Chocolate Chip Cookies

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◊ How perfect is Lauren Conrad? Even her cookies (above) are flawless ◊


LC is a goddess. If she’s allowed to eat chocolate chip cookies then HELL, so are we. We based these perfect cookies off of the original Lauren Conrad Recipe, but made a few tweaks customized to our taste!

Here’s what you’ll need:

♥2 ¼ cup all-purpose flour
♥1 teaspoon baking soda
♥½ teaspoon of sea salt (plus more for sprinkling on top)
♥1 stick butter
♥½ cup Greek yogurt
♥1 ¼ cup packed coconut sugar
♥¼ cup granulated sugar
♥1 large egg plus 1 egg yolk
♥2 teaspoons vanilla extract
♥½ cup carob chips
♥½ cup chocolate chips

The how to:

  1. Mix together dry ingredients.
  2. Combine melted butter and Greek yogurt. Add sugars to the mix until well blended, then add egg yolk and vanilla.
  3. Add the dry ingredients slowly, mixing until combined. Add carob / chocolate chips to taste.
  4. Place dough on a cookie sheet and bake at 350° for 8 minutes. Sprinkle sea salt on top right after they come out of the oven!
  5. Lauren Lowstan’s Tip: If you want to get the perfect chocolate chip cookies that are crispy on the outside, and soft and chewy on the inside, then refrigerate your dough balls for 24-48 hours before baking. Make sure to bring to room temperature before putting in the oven. This will give your cookies the perfect crispy-to-chewy ratio.

And you’re ready to enjoy! We love ours with a Yogi Chai Green Tea latte (seep green tea packet in warm almond milk).

Brownie Bites

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After years of snooping, sneaking, and trying desperately to unveal my sister’s secret brownie recipe, I’m finally victorious! She’s agreed to share her magical recipe — which is unbelievably simple! — with our lovely Halfsies readers!

INGREDIENTS:

♥1 cup butter, room temperature, diced into 1-inch pieces
♥1 cup granulated sugar
♥1 cup packed light brown sugar
♥2 tsp vanilla extract
♥4 eggs at room temperature
♥½ tsp salt
♥10 oz dark chocolate, chopped
♥½ cup cocoa powder
♥1 cup all purpose flour
♥1/4 tsp baking soda

 DIRECTIONS:

♥Combine flour, salt, cocoa powder in a dry bowl
♥Combine chocolate chunks and butter in a bowl set over a saucepan of simmering water, stirring occasionally until completely melted
♥Combine chocolate butter mixture, eggs, and sugars
♥When well blended, add vanilla extract and baking soda
♥Combine wet mixture with flour mixture, folding contents together until completely blended
♥Bake at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until toothpick comes out dry

 

Pour a large cup of milk, and enjoy!!

Restaurant Review: Ladurée

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Restaurant Name: Ladurée
Location: 398 W Broadway, New York, NY 10012
Halfsies Rating: ★★★★★
Halfsies Bank: $$
Genre: French
Great for: Sunday brunch, rainy day dine-ins, afternoon coffee & sweets

Heaven on Earth—I mean, Ladurée— is my absolute favorite place in Paris. AND NOW THEY’RE OPENING LOCATIONS IN THE US!!! I was beyond excited to finally visit the Ladurée in NYC, and true to form, it was perfection. From the French-speaking waitresses to the Louis XIV decor, New York brought me Paris in the form of my morning coffee. To make things better, it ended up raining while we were having our breakfast… a perfect excuse to buy 15 macarons (to share between 5 people… but I could have had them all by myself!).

What I loved: EVERYTHING! The ambience, decor, food, wait staff, service… and especially the packaging! The little macaron boxes are almost as good a reason to buy the treats as the macarons themselves!

What I’d improve: A little pricey but worth every penny

What I’d recommend: Rose flavored macarons, Marie Antoinette flavored macarons, pain au chocolat (sooo flaky and buttery!), canelés (these are as good as the famous ones in Bordeaux!). Also, their coffee is pretty much to die for! I love it all!!

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