Double Chocolate Butter Scotch Chip Cookies

There are so many amazing desserts out there that it’s hard for me to pick a favorite, but if I had to choose, I would have to pick chocolate chip cookies. Let’s face it, it’s hard to beat this comforting classic. Unless, of course, you not only pack them full of extra chocolate chips, but also white chocolate and butterscotch chips! This recipe is what chocolate/caramel dreams are made of. They are chewy and soft and are jam packed with chocolate goodness. They are also incredibly easy to make. Even if you’re a total baking novice, you’ll be able to whip these up in no time without a problem! So go ahead. Pour yourself a glass of milk (or merlot), preheat that oven and get to baking! These are seriously too good to not make.

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 1/4 Cups Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp Baking Soda
  • 1 Cup Butter (Or Coconut Oil)
  • 1 Cup Brown Sugar
  • 1/2 Cup White Sugar
  • 1 Tsp Salt
  • 2 Tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1/2 Tsp Caramel Extract
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 Cup Milk Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 Cup White Chocolate Chips
  • 1/2 Cup Butterscotch Chips

DIRECTIONS

1 // Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.

2 // Measure our your flour, baking soda, and salt and mix together in large bowl.

3 // In a separate bowl, cream the butter (or coconut oil) with the sugar. Add the eggs, caramel extract and vanilla and mix well, either with a fork (it’s a workout) or an electric mixer. Beat until the mixture looks fluffy or like snow.

4 // Add your dry ingredients to your butter and sugar mixture and mix thoroughly. Slowly add the chocolate and butterscotch chips and combine until they are distributed through the dough.

5 // Use an ice cream scoop to spoon out balls of dough and place them about 2 inches apart on a greased baking tray or a baking sheet lined with waxed parchment paper.

6 // Bake the cookies for approximately ten minutes. The cookies should be golden and crispy around the edges but soft in the centre.

7 // Cool the cookies before transferring them to an airtight container where they will keep for about 1 week.

If you try making these cookies, let me know what you think of them! They are definitely decadent and are truly a chocoholic’s dream.

xoxo,

Alicia

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Vegan Pumpkin Spice Chai Snickerdoodles

We all have our weaknesses, and while I am usually equipped with strong willpower when faced with baked goods, there are a few treats that I simply can’t say no to and am willing to spend an extra hour or two in spin class for. A few examples? My grandmother’s juicy apple pie, a flaky cheese croissant from a really good bakery, and these spicy-sweet snickerdoodles.

This recipe is from Vegetarian Times, but I tweaked it slightly with sweet pumpkin purée and fragrant chai tea to make it extra delicious and fall-like. This recipe is super easy and can be customized totally depending on the season. For example, you could add some almond extract in the summer, mint in the winter, coconut in the summer – you get the picture. For the perfect cozy fall evening treat, whip up a mouthwatering batch of these tasty cookies and prepare to impress everyone with your crazy dessert chef skills!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup cornstarch
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 stick (4 oz.) vegan margarine, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 1 sachet of chai tea
  • 1/4 cup pumpkin purée
  • 1 tsp cardamom
  • 1 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 cup soy, almond, coconut or cashew milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract

Cinnamon Sugar Topping

  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 3 tbs. cinnamon


DIRECTIONS

1 // Preheat your oven to 350°F and evenly coat your baking sheet with vegan margarine or cooking spray to prevent sticking.

2 // In one large bowl, mix together your dry ingredients (apart from the sugar). Tear open a packet of chai tea and mix it in with the flour.

3 // In a separate bowl, use beaters or a fork to cream margarine until it is light and very creamy. Add the sugar and pumpkin purée, and beat until it has a snow-like, fluffy texture.

4 // Add soymilk and vanilla extract to your creamed sugar and margarine and beat until smooth. Next, add the dry ingredients and beat until it is thouroughly mixed.

5 // Scoop out and roll little balls of your snickerdoodle dough. Coat each cookie in cinnamon and sugar before placing them on the baking sheet.

6 // Put the cookies in the oven and bake for 10 to 12 minutes. The cookies should be lightly browned on top but still soft and chewy.

7 // You can keep the cookies in an air tight container for about two weeks.

These cookies honestly taste like everything good about autumn! Enjoy these decadent treats with a hot chai tea latte or steaming cup of coffee. If you try this recipe, let me know what you think!

xoxo,

Alicia

Healthy Vegan Mint Chocolate Chip Ice Cream

I, like most normal human beings, love indulging in a frosty bowl of ice cream. Unfortunately it has been harder for me to enjoy my favorite treat as I have recently become a vegetarian and I’ve learned about all of the horrors that animals endure within the dairy industry. While there are quite a few great vegan ice cream brands and shops out there, I took it upon myself to create my own version – one that is healthy, delicious and free of sketchy preservatives.

This recipe is ridiculously easy. Seriously, it requires 9 ingredients and you don’t even need an ice cream maker. It also has the creamiest most decadent texture that is pretty much identical to the real thing. I chose to make mint chocolate chip ice cream because it’s my favorite, but you could totally customize this depending on your tastes. For example, you could swap out the banana for strawberry, add more vanilla and forgo the mint to make classic strawberries and cream! The options are endless and oh-so delicious. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Avocado
  • 1 Can Sweetened Coconut Cream
  • 2 Cups Coconut or Cashew Milk (I find that almond milk has too strong of a flavour that distracts from the mint and chocolate.)
  • 1 Cup Dark Chocolate Chips
  • 1 tbsp Mint Extract
  • 2 tsp Vanilla Extract
  • 1 Banana
  • 2 tsp Stevia 
  • 3 tbsp Matcha Powder
  • A Few Drops of Green Food Colouring


DIRECTIONS

1 // Measure out all of your ingredients apart from the chocolate chips, vanilla and mint extract, and food colouring.

2 // Blend the avocado, banana, coconut cream, coconut milk, stevia and matcha powder until the consistency is rich and creamy – the avocado should make the consistency similar to whipped cream.

3 // Pour the contents of the blender into a mixing bowl and add the extracts, food colouring and chocolate chips. Stir until the ice cream is a pale mint colour and the chocolate chips are evenly distributed.

4 // Pour the ice cream mixture into a freeze-safe container and freeze it uncovered for 6 hours. The ice cream should be firm but easy to scoop.

5 // Scoop, top with sprinkles, shredded coconut, chocolate flakes or whatever you feel like. Enjoy your cruelty/dairy/guilt free frozen treat! 

I hope you enjoyed this recipe! If you give this a try, let me know how it turns out! 

xoxo,

Alicia

DIY Stress Relieving Whipped Body Butter


Photo via Poppy Talk 

In the interest of full disclosure, here’s a little tidbit of information about me – I’m as high strung as they come and have battled varying degrees of anxiety for years. I’ve been a chronic worrier since I was a kid, and while some days are more challenging than others, I do feel that over the years I have found a few things that make me feel better and keep me calm. Some of these things include yoga, going for a brisk walk, painting, or lighting scented candles and taking a bath. These are little comforts for me and I believe that self-pampering and aromatherapy really help to soothe my mind and body. I love essential oils and I find that certain scents have an especially positive effect on my mood. Lavender, rose, ylang-ylang, and vanilla are my favorites and when they are combined, they instantly send me to dreamland. Essential oils also have a lot of effective beautifying properties as well, so what better way is there to reap their stress-relieving benefits than by using them to make an all natural body butter? This particular recipe results in a rich, whipped texture that reminds me of white chocolate mousse, although trust me, you don’t want to eat it. With only two ingredients comprising the actual body butter, it is really easy to make, and you can totally customize this recipe with your own essential oil combinations if you’re not a fan of my soothing blend. It’s totally up to you! Read on for a stress-free mind and super soft skin!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Cup Coconut Oil
  • 1/2 Cup Shea Butter
  • 3 Drops Rose Absolute
  • 1 Tsp Rose Water
  • 1 Drop Frankincense Essential Oil
  • 1 Drop Lavender Essential Oil
  • 1 Drop Vanilla Absolute
  • 1 Drop Ylang-Ylang Essential Oil

DIRECTIONS

1 // Measure the coconut oil (it should be solid) and shea butter into a medium bowl. Add rose water and stir with a spoon until well blended.

2 // Blend the buttery mixture with egg beaters or a hand mixer until soft peaks start to form. Set aside. 

3 // Add essential oils to your partially whipped mixture. Blend further until stiff peaks form.

4 // Spoon mixture into an empty and clean mason jar. Store in a cool dry place. If you’re giving it away as a gift, feel free to dress the jar up with dried rose petals, lavender buds, ribbon, and/or twine. Get creative! 

5 // Enjoy your gorgeously floral scented, silky smooth skin!

If you give this a try, let me know what your verdict is! Also, I’m always on the lookout for beauty DIYs, so please let me in on a few of your favorites!

xoxo,

Alicia

Non-Boring Low Calorie Cocktails


I’ll say it – I love a refreshing cocktail, especially as a way of relaxing after a long work day. And while I may enjoy a glass (or three) of crisp white wine or a frosty margarita, I do not enjoy the extra pounds that I gain after indulging in a few too many of those tasty bad boys. That being said, cocktails can be a part of a healthy diet. The key? Moderation and recipes that call for little to no added sugar. So without further ado, here are seven bevvies that you and your waistline will love! 


Photo and Recipe via My Crazy Good Life

1 // 100 Calorie Coconut Margarita 

Put the lime in the coconut but leave out the sugar. Using stevia instead of sugar cuts a ton of calories from this cocktail, while the coconut water is filled with antioxidants and electrolytes. Translation? The hangover and puffy face that many get after drinking won’t be a thing. Now that’s something to raise a glass to!

INGREDIENTS

  • Ice (crushed or cubes)
  • 1.5 oz Tequila
  • 1/2 Lime Juice 
  • 3 oz Coconut Water
  • *1 tbsp Stevia
  • Soda Water

Photo and Recipe via The Taylor House

2 // Fruity Moscato Wine Spritzer

Fresh fruit, fragrant Moscato, and soda water are the three main ingredients in this low cal recipe. This pretty poopsie is super flavourful but light. In other words, it’s the perfect summer sipper!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Bottle Moscato Wine
  • 1 Bottle of Soda Water
  • 1 Cup Diced Strawberries
  • Lemon Slices

Photo and Recipe via Pretty Providence

3 // Skinny Piña Colada Slushies

A piña colada that is not chock full of empty calories? This is not a drill. With coconut water and milk, sugar-free flavour drops and a bit of dark rum, this cocktail is every bit as delicious as the classic recipe, but is waaay healthier. Go ahead. Have another.

INGREDIENTS 

  • 2 Cups Sugar-Free Coconut Milk
  • 2 Cups Coconut Water
  • 2 Squirts Dasani Pineapple Coconut Drops
  • 2 oz Dark Rum


Photo and Recipe via bird + cleaver

4 // Wasabi Bloody Mary

With zero added sugar and vitamin rich tomato juice, this lighter take on the bloody mary is a savoury treat with a fiery kick. Some people say that spicy foods and drinks rev up your metabolism, but even if that’s not the case, this tasty drink is a much healthier option when you’re craving a ceaser or Bloody Mary. Drink your veggies!

INGREDIENTS

  • 4 oz Vodka
  • 12 oz Tomato Juice
  • 1/4 to 1/2 Teaspoon Wasabi 
  • 4- 6 Dashes Sriracha (to taste)
  • 1 oz Lime Juice
  • 4 Dashes Worcestershire Sauce
  • 2 Pinches Celery Salt


Photo and Recipe via Peanut Butter & Peppers

5 // Skinny Watermelon Mojito

The only thing that can improve a refreshing, minty mojito? Sweet chunks of watermelon! Not only is this pink fruit super tasty, it’s also hydrating and filled with potassium. Sip this frosty treat with way less calories and zero guilt. 

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 Cup Watermelon (seeded and chopped)
  • ½ Lime (juiced)
  • 4 Mint Leaves
  • Ice
  • 1 oz. White Rum 
  • Club Soda


Photo and Recipe via Camille Styles

6 // Fresh Grapefruit Greyhound 

If you’re not a fan of super sweet drinks, then this tart combination of grapefruit juice and vodka is sure to please your palate. Also, this refreshing drink is pretty easy on the waistline! A good rule of thumb when it comes to healthy eating (and drinking) – the fewer ingredients involved, the better. This recipe calls for only three and zero refined sugar. Bottoms up!

INGREDIENTS

  • 3 oz Vodka
  • 6 oz Freshly Squeezed Grapefruit Juice
  • 6 oz Club Soda


Photo and Recipe I Breathe I’m Hungry 

7 // Low Carb Sparkling White Wine Sangria

Stevia is kind of a magic ingredient when it comes to sugar replacements. It’s zero calories but it’s also all natural – no nasty aspartame here! I use it when baking and in my coffee. Why didn’t I think of using it to sweeten cocktails? It does the job perfectly and without a side of guilt. Add a little bit of this non-sugar-sugar to some bourbon, peaches (I prefer frozen), vodka, and mandarin soda water and you have a tangy toast that rivals your favorite belini. Enjoy!

INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 Cup Peaches (fresh or frozen)
  • 1 tbsp Lime Juice
  • 1/4 Cup Sugar-Free Mango Flavoured Syrup
  • 2 tbsp Granulated Stevia
  • 1/4 Cup Bourbon
  • 1/2 Cup Vodka
  • 24 oz Mandarin Flavoured Seltzer Water

I don’t know about you but it feels like cocktail hour! If you try any of these, let me know what you think! 

xoxo,

Alicia

High Tea at Home


I am someone who truly believes that almost all problems can be made a little better with tea. Happy? Sad? Peeved? Tea is the answer to everything. My love of tea has definitely been passed down by my mom. Ever since I was a little girl she would collect tea cups and teas. Some of my earliest memories as a child are of hosting tea parties with my dolls as the guests and my mom pretending to sip on invisible tea. Flash forward 18 years and I still love tea parties. My mom and I especially love sitting down for high tea, although it has always been a special and infrequent treat because of how expensive it is. I started thinking about ways that I could recreate that luxe high tea experience at home and I came up with these 5 tips and tricks. Here’s how to host an intimate and elevated high tea experience at home and without breaking the bank.

1. Break out the pretty china.

Save your university mugs for another time. High tea is the time to channel your inner Marie Antoinette and bring out dishes, cups and cutlery that look like little works of art. It will just add to the whole experience and impress your guests to boot.

2. Set the mood with scents.

Our sense of smell is deeply entwined with our memories and emotions. Though it may seem simple, lighting a scented candle, burning some incense, or putting out a dish of potpourri can really create a beautiful atmosphere. You can also choose specific scents depending on the season or occasion – for example, I love soft floral scents in the spring and summer, and woody candles in the fall and winter.

3. Prep some salty and sweet appetizers.

You can’t have a high tea without serving some nibbles! It’s always best to serve a variety of different flavours, with savoury and sugary options to please all of your guests’ tastes.


4. Keep a variety of teas.

This may seem obvious, but it’s important to have a few different options on hand to suit your guests’ preferences. Some people only drink green tea, while others prefer classic black. It’s also a good idea to offer a herbal tea as well, just in case someone is sensitive to caffeine. Keep things interesting with a variety of flavours – think floral jasmine, sweet vanilla, and classic earl grey.


5. Leave a lasting impression.

It’s always a sweet touch to have a little takeaway token prepared to give your guests when they leave. They don’t need to be big or expensive, just a small gift to thank your guests for coming and to remind them of your high tea! Handmade gifts have a personal touch that you just can’t get from a store, and I love the idea of centering your gift around, what else? Tea. And how cute are these tea cup planters?!

xoxo,

Alicia

dirty-martini-cocktail-how-to

The Dirtier The Better

I’ll admit it – I rarely go out drinking. I’m 23 but with the soul of a 95-year-old woman and nine times our of ten I would rather curl up with a cup of tea and Netflix or read a book in the bath. One Friday night I was legitimately knitting while watching Harry Potter and The Philosopher’s Stone. Did you fall asleep yet? When I’m not being boring or indulging in one of my favorite geriatric activities, I do like to indulge in one (or four) drinks, some snacks, and the company of my boyfriend and/or friends. My tipple of choice? The dirty martini.

Now, not everyone likes the strong, briney flavor of a dirty martini. It took me a while to appreciate the dry, refreshing flavor of gin but now I love it and there are a lot of variations out there that play with different flavors (this one has notes of rose in it – something that totally seduces a flower child like me). The first time I made a dirty martini I couldn’t even finish it. Sure, there are only three ingredients, but the way it’s made, the quality of the sauce you use, and how cold the drink is makes ALL of the difference. Now, I make a pretty mean martini – sometimes I even prefer mine to those that are made in a bar or restaurant! Not to toot my own horn. Now if you aren’t into super sweet drinks, like gin, love olives, and can’t get enough sodium in your life, low and behold your new favorite cocktail. Here’s how to mix an awesome dirty martini that will make you feel like a female James Bond.

dirty-martini-ingredients

INGREDIENTS

  • 6 oz gin or vodka (I prefer gin but it’s really your call.)
  • A drizzle of dry vermouth
  • 1 oz of olive brine (I like my martini’s filthy so I add 1.5 or 2 oz sometimes)
  • 2-4 stuffed olives (If you can find them, blue cheese stuffed olives add some extra decadence and kick to an already salty dirty martini)

YOUR TOOLS

  • A chilled glass
  • An ice-filled shaker or a spoon for mixing
  • A spear for your olives

Traditionally martinis are made with gin, but vodka is a very popular substitute. I like both but gin is my favorite. The tree-like flavor of gin (derived from juniper berries) makes the cocktail a little more refreshing and lightens up the salty flavor of the olive brine. Dirty martinis can be ‘wet’ or ‘dry’ depending on how much vermouth you add. I am not a massive fan of vermouth and so I add just a drizzle and like to keep my martini’s on the dry side.

  1. How to mix them? Chill a glass by putting it in the freezer for ten minutes or by filling it with ice and then dumping it out. You can use a martini glass if you’re feeling fancy but we’re not that posh over here and I would drink a martini out of a mason jar if it was my only option.
  2. Next, put your ingredients into a shaker, shake it like Taylor Swift says, and then strain it into your glass. You can also pour the ingredients directly into your glass and stir to mix your drink. Some people believe that martinis should ONLY be stirred because shaking it ‘bruises’ the gin. Whatever that means. It’s your choice. A lot of bars use shakers but I don’t have one and my martinis always come out tasting great.
  3. Strain your mixed martini into your chilled glass and garnish with olives.
  4. Enjoy the salty deliciousness!

Do you have any favorite cocktail recipes? Do you have tips to make an even better dirty martini? Let me know in the comments! I am always down to up my martini game.

xoxo,

Alicia