Gluten-Free Gooey Double Chocolate Brownies

Gluten-Free brownies anyone?! Yes, you can have desert and still not break the calorie bank. I am not the type of person that likes to diet, but I do like to watch how much and what I eat. I will admit I have a bit of a sweet tooth, so I am always looking for creative low carb snacks to munch on. In particular, I love chocolate and I wanted to find a snack that I could eat without feeling guilty, or feeling like I had to jump on the treadmill right away. After a search on the Internet, I took notice that there are a million ways to make bake goods without using butter, flour, or sugar. I heard about gluten-free foods, and when I tried it at a well-known gluten-free restaurant I was not impressed. I decided to go into my own kitchen to experiment with different recipes to see if I could add my own flavor to gluten-free dishes. I will say going completely gluten-free was short lived; however, there is one recipe that I still use to this day. After experimenting to create the perfect snack, I came up with a gluten-free brownie recipe. Eating healthy is not about following someone else’s dieting guide to the “T”, but figuring out what works best for you. With that said, I would like to share one of my favorite go to gluten-free snacks that is very simple to make, and taste great!

Gluten-Free Gooey Double Chocolate Brownies

Ingredients
3 eggs

2 ripe bananas (mashed)

2 cups of almond butter

2 tablespoons of unsweetened almond milk

1 cup of raw honey

1 teaspoon of coconut oil, or butter softened

1 teaspoon of baking soda

1 teaspoon of vanilla extract

½ teaspoon of salt

½ cup of dark cocoa powder

¼ cup of dark chocolate chips

Yields: 6-8 people

Total Cook Time: 35 minutes

Instructions
Preheat oven to 350F.

In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, mix the banana, almond butter, almond milk, vanilla extract, egg, salt, baking soda, and honey together.

Once the mix is smooth, then slowly add the cocoa powder and dark chocolate chip cookies.

Grease a 13×9 inch pan with coconut oil (if you don’t have coconut oil, then use olive oil or margarine).

Pour the batter into the greased pan, and place in the oven for 20-25 minutes. If you are unsure of when it is done, place fork in the center to see if it is flaky. If the brownie dish is flaky, then it can be removed from the oven.

Let it cool for about 20 minutes before serving.

Try serving this delicious dish with vanilla ice cream, or gelato.

Enjoy!

A Bold Color Statement

Dare to be bold by coming out of your comfort zone to wear a beautiful bright color. Bright colors look amazing during the day, and bring an extra glow to your look. You can definitely stand out from the crowd by wearing colors that are not in the traditional crayon box. This look can be worn while spending time at the beach, picnic, or shopping. However, be careful in making a color selection, because you don’t want to wear a color that adds to your waist, or clashes with your skin tone. Also, make sure to wear a more natural makeup palette to avoid looking like a Cirque du Soleil performer. I like to wear a more subtle makeup look to bring out my natural features, and draw people in to appreciate the outfit. By doing so, you can turn heads with a bold color statement piece wherever you go!

My Look: Dress by Victoria Secret & Sunglasses by Express

Farm Living: A Day at Mackintosh Fruit Farm


Just a little over an hour away from the District of Columbia and Northern Virginia area there is a beautiful farm nestled away in Berryville, Virginia (Shenandoah Valley area). The Mackintosh Fruit Farm is a family owned business that grows a wide range of fresh fruits and vegetables for your picking. Picking season is offered all year round, and provides different options each season. For example, in July you can pick peaches, peppers, cucumbers, and blackberries, and in September you can pick a variety of apples, squash, and pumpkins.

Once you arrive there is always someone to greet you, and ask if you need help with navigating the farm. This is my second time visiting this farm, and this city girl always has a good time. Beyond picking fresh fruits and vegetables there are other options to have a good time. There is a patio area, so if you decide to stay all day you can bring a picnic basket, or order lunch from their onsite restaurant. Their menu consists of dishes made with their fresh fruits and vegetables. I would suggest trying the fresh peach muffins or zucchini pizza.

Throughout the year there are various events hosted at the farm from Apple Butter Day to Peach festivals to Halloween events. There is also a beautiful lake in the center of the farm, and a stable full of horses. So if you just want to get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, then I would suggest taking the beautiful drive to this amazing farm!

POPSUGAR Must Have: The Gift that Keeps on Giving

Every woman would love to receive a box of goodies delivered to her door every month. Earlier this year for my birthday, I received an email from my guy letting me know a gift was on its way to my front door. I absolutely love a good surprise, so I was super excited to know that a box full of surprises was going to be delivered to me very soon. Once I received my first box, I was totally impressed with the packaging, and cute card that described all the products in the box. The overall look makes you feel that the subscription box was personalized just for you! 
CSC_0087
The box of goodies I am referring to is the POPSUGAR Must Have Subscription Box. Most people may know POPSUGAR for their different blogs related to celebrity news, fashion, beauty, fitness, and home decor. Now, POPSUGAR is in the business of delivering right to your door the hottest products in the same industries that they blog about! 

I am already on box #4, and I am definitely not disappointed! Each month, POPSUGAR sends me an email alert to let me know my next box is on its way. I love when the box arrives, because I always like to set aside time to sit down with a cup of tea or coffee to take my time to open and go through the items. For the month of July, the box contained goodies like a portable toothbrush, and Henri Bendel stripe canvas bag, which I absolutely love! The box I received last month included a Summer read by Judy Blume, and a sweet-smelling body wash buffer that is infused with delightful aromas. What is also great is that they include discount cards in the box, so if you want to order more of what you love you can do so without breaking the bank!

On POPSUGAR’s website each customer is able to set-up a profile page, which can be customized. You can tell them your clothing/shoe size, skin type, skin tone, eye color, fragrance preference, color preference, and personal style. Keep in mind, they don’t necessarily use this information to customize your box; however, this information helps them to know their clientele, and to determine what products to select when organizing the box each month. I would love to see POPSUGAR tailor a subscription box for men!

If you don’t want to wait for someone to order the POPSUGAR Must Have Subscription Box for you, then treat yourself. It truly is the gift that keeps on giving!

Look of the Day- Floral Prints


Floral prints are so on trend this season! Don’t be afraid to bring your outfit to life by reaching for a playful floral print piece. You can make a bold statement with a floral print piece as long as you know how to style it to perfection.

My guy and I had a date night planned, and I wanted to wear something fun, bright, and flirty. I paired a floral print top with a pair of white skinny jeans. The white skinny jeans definitely made the floral print top come to life. When you have one piece that stands on its own you have to be careful to make sure your other pieces don’t overshadow or look to busy. Instead, you want to make sure the pieces of your outfit compliment each other to give you a flawless look. I decided to take the least prominent color (coral pink) in the shirt to pick out my jewelry and shoes. I decided to go with a neutral makeup palette, so it doesn’t distract from the outfit by using light pinks in my eye shadow, blush, and lipstick.

My Look: Top/Express, Jeans/Express, Sunglasses/Express, Shoes/Steve Madden

A Woman’s Guide: Planning for the Perfect Road Trip

Summer is finally here, and this is the time of year when millions of people jump into their car, SUV, or RV to drive from state to state. Some people may just take a short drive from one part of a state to another, or just across the state line, while others may drive across several states to get to their final destination. This Fourth of July weekend, I was one of those people to jump into the car with my fiancé to visit his family in Knoxville, Tennessee. Since I am New York girl I have not experienced many road trips in my life, so the first thought that came to my mind before embarking on this 8-hour road trip was, “what am I going to wear and how do I avoid becoming bored?” Of course, I took to Google to search articles related to road trips. To my surprise, there were not many articles from a woman’s perspective on what to bring, and what to expect on a road trip, which inspired me to write this post.

One should consider that no matter how long the drive to make sure you wear comfortable clothes. I would stay away from tight restricting outfits. You want to be able to feel as comfortable as possible, and who can do that in a pair of skinny jeans! On the way to Tennessee I wore a romper, and on the way back I wore a racer back jersey dress, which gave me the flexibility I needed while still remaining stylish. Also, I would suggest if you are going with multiple people you should bring a light jacket or sweater, because there could be a fight over the temperature. For example, my guy loves to turn the temperature way down while I like a lightly cooled car.

Ladies if you are going to wear make-up, then keep it light. You don’t want your make-up all over the place even if you use a really good make-up setting product. When I am not in the driver’s seat, I love to lean the chair back and relax. I usually have a small pillow to put my head on, so I can sneak in a few ZZZs. No one wants to wake up to messed up make-up, or make-up stains on your pillow. I usually wear a light foundation, eye shadow, and light-colored lip-gloss. You can keep this look fresh the entire trip if you carry a nice press powder to use during rest stops!

If you are taking a long trip, then you will definitely end up at a rest stop. I am definitely not a fan of a rest stop, because you never know what you are going to get. I came prepared with my own little survival kit for when we made pit stops. My #1 must have is hand sanitizer, because there are millions of germs at those rest stops! Also, you should carry extra napkins, and a roll of toilet paper. Yes, I said a roll of toilet paper! No one wants to experience getting to a stop, and having to use the restroom, and they are all out of toilet paper!

Bringing snacks is a good idea as well, because you don’t know when you will stop, or what you will find when you do stop. Most food places on the road are greasy fast food places. I love to bring light snacks that won’t make a mess, and can fit in a small cooler or reusable grocery bag. I don’t like to use road trips as an excuse to snack on junk food, so I bring items like fruit, nuts, protein bars, sandwiches, and lots of water. I doubt you want to gain ten pounds just from a driving, so be mindful of what you eat!

Lastly, the entertainment…it doesn’t matter if you are taking a solo trip, or a group trip you want to make sure you have a good time. Whether I am driving alone or with others I love to play good music. This is the time when I like to break out the collection to listen to a range of artists from the 80s like Madonna to current day artist like Katy Perry or Rihanna. Also, if you are driving with others, then you may want to bring along some games to play, or make up a game. My guy and I brought along a couples game, which had tons of questions in it so we could learn more about each other. There are also tons of boardless games you can play from Name that Tune to Spot that Car. Since you have hours in a car standing between you and your destination why not make it enjoyable, because you know the saying, time flies when you are having fun!

Happy traveling!