Author Archives: California Girl Today

About California Girl Today

For a while, I have been thinking about starting a blog. I love to make jewelry, cook, paint, draw, bake, and do just about anything that's crafty. I get inspired by cookbooks, jewelry at department stores, beautiful landscapes, flowers... the list goes on and on. I studied civil engineering at San Diego State University. I know what your thinking... NERD! I thought that engineering might feed my creativity... by designing roads and water channels. As much as engineering is fascinating to me -- those things are not charming or colorful. So to really express my creativity, I decided to start this blog. I want to share with everyone my passion for all things beautiful and all things California.

Breakfast To Go and Work Lunches

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ImageI know… I know… it’s been such a long time since I have blogged. I’m trying to stick to the promise I made to myself to blog every weekend. 

Today, I prepared my breakfasts and lunches for the week. I only prepared four meals, because I plan to eat out one day. I typically work from home, but every now and then I have to go into the office for a week or two. I commute 60 miles to the office, so I like to prepare my meals ahead of time to maximize my time at home (i.e. to sleep in longer). I eat my breakfast in my car, so it has to be something easy and mess-free. Today I prepared these Cinnamon Apple Muffins (gluten free!!!). I will make myself a latte in the morning, grab a banana and a muffin, and hit the road. Image

For lunch this week, I will have a Mason Jar Salad and a Pumpkin Chia Muffin. I saw salads in mason jars on Pinterest and thought I would give this a try. Each jar is the same… so I hope I don’t get sick of this salad by Thursday. The hard boiled egg will be added later. 

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When that 3:00pm slump hits, I plan to fuel up with two gluten-free Chocolate Chip Cookies and a cup of coffee. 

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The recipe for the Pumpkin Chia Muffins are available at http://paleomg.com/sweet-potato-chai-muffins/ Let the muffins rest over night before you eat them, so the flavors can infuse together. 

The recipe for the Chocolate Chip Cookies are available at http://www.elanaspantry.com/chocolate-chip-cookies/. I used half a cup of grapeseed oil in lieu of the butter. 

These recipes are all gluten free. Enjoy!

 

Sticky Toffee Pudding

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Sticky toffee pudding is a British desert that appears to be popular among the royals. I found this recipe in People magazine. There was an article featuring Pippa Middleton and her new book called Celebrate. According to Miss Pippa Middleton, sticky toffee pudding is perfect for anyone with an irrepressible sweet tooth — Well then, that certainly sounds like me! I’ve never made this desert before, but I’ve always wanted to try. This weekend I decided to give the recipe a go. When I hear “sticky toffee pudding”, I think of American pudding… you know like custard. This desert is more light a sponge-y spice cake laden with a rich toffee drizzle. Don’t let the dates discourage you, because this pudding is delicious! It’s perfect for the fall season. The cinnamon and pumpkin spice aromas will fill your home and make it smell warm and welcoming. It’s perfect  to make on a nice, cool fall day. Enjoy this will a drizzle of heavy cream or a scoop of vanilla ice cream – whatever you prefer.

 

This recipe is reader tested and Shannan Rose Approved! This recipe is also boyfriend approved – to my pleasant surprise!

 

Sticky Toffee Pudding Recipe

Preheat the oven to 350 F

Stir together these ingredients to a bowl and let them sit…

  • 3 ½ oz. chopped dates
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 cups of water

Wisk together in a separate bowl…

  • 2 cups self rising flour
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
  • ½ teaspoon ground cinnamon

Then cream together in another bowl…

  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter (1/2 stick)
  • ¾ cup light brown sugar, packed

Then beat into the creamed mixture…

  • 1 egg

Alternating, add 1/3 of the dry mixture and 1/3 of the date mixture until everything is combined. Bake in a greased dish for 40 minutes.

For the sauce, in a pan over medium low heat, stir together for eight minutes until thick…

  • ½ cup cream
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • ½ cup dark brown sugar

Stir until the sugar is dissolved.

Chop the dates into fine pieces, and be sure to remove the pits.

Helpful Tip: Butter your dish with the butter wrapper. It’s a time saver and less of a mess.

Serve a slice of the sponge-y cake with a nice pour of sauce and a drizzle of heavy cream. FYI – I altered the recipe for the sauce. I was having trouble gaining a thick consistency, so I added more brown sugar. I hope you enjoy!

Mississipi Madness

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So… I realize that it has been an extremely long time since I have written a post. It’s been almost 10 months, and I cannot believe how fast time has flown by! I started a new job back in January, and I’ve been so busy that blogging fell to the wayside. I miss the creativity and colorfulness that baking and crafting can bring to my life. As you know being an engineer can be a little dull… staring at equations, construction, and buildings all day. It’s time to bring the colorfulness and vibrance back into my life. I’ve been baking a little bit here and there… But today I have vowed to get back into the swing of things, and I’ve promised to myself that I’m going to blog something new each week. I’ve found that blogging is a creative release for me, and something that I have truely missed. I’m glad to be back.

Today I baked a little something called Mississippi Madness. My boyfriend’s mom was browsing the latest Southern Living and shared the recipe with me. I about drooled and decided that I would try to the recipe out over the weekend. And here it is… with such beauty and all its glory…

I like to call it Mississipie. It’s heavenly. It’s a graham cracker crust with a brownie center. The top is adorned with broiled marshmallows, pecans, and a caramel drizzle. The recipe calls for a chocolate frosting, but I thought caramel was a better pair for this creation. It meshes so well with the chocolate and marshmallow. This recipe has reader tested and Shannan Rose approved. I have included a link to the recipe, also known as Mississipe Mud S’Mores-Fudge Pie (what a mouthful). I like my nickname for it… Mississipie… It’s so much easier. I hope you give this a try. This goes best with a glass of milk, so be sure to have some on tap. Enjoy!

Much Love,

Shannan

Chocolate Dipped Marshmallows

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I love the holiday season! And the gift wrapping, baking, and treats! I recently came across an idea to make chocolate dipped marshmallows.  Hot chocolate is my favorite winter treat and I thought these would be a delicious addition to the hot brew.  From the grocery store, I picked up a bag of marshmallows, a box of candy canes, and a bar of melting chocolate.  

I melted down the chocolate in the microwave for 1 1/2 minutes at 50 percent power.  I crushed 4 of the candy canes and used a piece of wax paper as my work surface.

Dip the tops of the marshmallow into the chocolate.

And sprinkle with the crushed candy cane.

So yummy, I couldn’t resist eating one… and two. Let the chocolate set for about an hour.

Place them in a mason jar with a bow to keep them from getting stale.  Include a jar of hot chocolate mix and you have a lovely gift for someone.  These were such a delicious addition to my evening hot chocolate! I’m sure they will be gone in a flash.

Happy Thanksgiving

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This is my all time favorite apple pie recipe. I make it every year and it’s a big hit. The recipe is available at http://epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Apple-Pie-with-Walnut-Streusel-11404

I make twice the amount of streusel for the top. And I cover the crust for the last 30 minutes. 20111123-181545.jpg I love this table setting. The turkeys are from pottery barn. Happy Thanksgiving!

My Attempt to Make Candy Turkeys

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My furniture project is coming along… It needs one or two more coats of paint before I unveil it.  I found this awesome idea to make little turkeys out of candy on pinterest.com. They looked so cute — I had to try to make them myself.  I went to the store today and bought candy corn, Double Stuff Oreos, mint cups (you can use peanut butter cups as well), malt balls (Whoppers), chocolate icing, red icing and white icing.  I didn’t have the image of the inspirational turkey in front of me while I was making these, so you can see they turned out a little different.

Here is the original…

 

My little guy looks a bit sloppy and the buttercup is positioned incorrectly, but I had fun making them.  And I will enjoy sharing them with family and friends.

I used the chocolate icing to help put the candy corn into the Oreo.  Don’t press too hard or the Oreo will break.  I then assembled the another Oreo with the buttercup and Whopper head.  Once both were dry, I assembled the two Oreos together.

 I decided to cut a tiny bit of the bottom of the feather Oreo to add stability when I glued them together — it may have been easier to do this before I placed on the candy corn. Once these were all dry, I drew on the eyes and placed a nose with the white piece of the candy corn.  I must admit that I enjoyed eating extra bits of cookie and candy as I was assembling them.  Happy Thanksgiving!  I’m making apple pies tomorrow — I will post the outcome.

Project in Progress – Refinishing a Vanity

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This is my vanity project.  I’m currently in the process of sanding it down and getting it ready to be refinished.  I got this piece from my Oma who got it from a neighbor.  I used it in my apartment when I was in San Diego.  It has some scuffs and scratches and I’m not very fond of the stain color or the upholstered seat.  It’s ready for a revamp.

I’ve organized my ideas on Pinterest.com.  Link: Ideas for refinishing my vanity.

Here are a few of my ideas ….

I love the contrasting of the black and white.

I love the color and the maps on the drawers.

This color is so pretty too! As you can see, I like a soft color palette of blues and greens.  My all time favorite of these pieces is the white with the black handles.  I love the contrast.   I think that’s the look I’m going to go for.  I have been sanding down the furniture over the past couple days… Painting will come soon and then I can share the finished product.

Halloween Pumpkin Carving

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Happy Halloween!  Today we had a great time carving pumpkins. They look great with the other decorations on the front porch — we have spider webs, black spiders, and some orange lights.  Our inspiration this year was a white jack-o-lantern with big eyes from one of Martha Stewart magazines. These big green eyes were found at Party City. We also picked up some green glow sticks — I’m planning to put the glow sticks in the pumpkins.  Hopefully they glow an eerie green.  The mouth on the largest pumpkin was carved using a dremel tool.  Using that tool saved a lot of time and energy.  It also allowed me to better make curves and straight lines. I’m excited to see the trick-or-treaters in their costumes.  I hope they get a kick out of our jack-o-lanterns.

DIY Camera Strap Cover

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I was browsing around for a camera strap.  I wanted something fun and colorful.  The black strap my camera came with was a little boring and blah.  I browsed around Etsy and the web and I couldn’t find anything that suited my style. That’s when I decided to make my own.  I didn’t use a pattern.  I came up with a design all on my own.  I’m actually pretty proud of myself, because it came out beautifully.  This could be a great christmas gift for a friend or family member who loves taking pictures.

Here’s what you’ll need:  Sewing machine, thread to match the fabric, an iron, iron on fabric tape, and 3 different patterns of fabric – 1/4 yard polka-dot, 1/4 yard solid, and 1/4 yard of a fun pattern.

Cut you fabric into four 4 inch strips that are 2 inches longer than the thick part of your camera strap.  Two will be your solid color, one will be polka-dot, and the other will be your print. Turn the fabrics inside out.  Sew your polka-dot strip with a solid strip and your print with a solid strip.  Sew along about 1/4 inch from the edge of the fabric.

Then turn the strips outside out and iron to make the edges crisp.

Now fold the edges in 1/4 to 1/2 an inch (opposite way of the picture below) and sew to close the ends of each strip.

Lay your two pieces out, solid side up, and place on the iron tape.  Make sure there is room for your strap.  You want to be able to slip your cover onto your strap.  Make sure you have room to do so.

Now place the other strip, solid side down and iron the pieces together.

Now that the pieces are glued together, sew 1/4 inch along the long edges of your strap.  This will provide extra support.  Be sure you DO NOT sew the ends.  Now, slip the sleeve onto your strap and you’re done!