Cocoa Cake in a Mug

For Cruzzie’s birthday last week, a friend gifted him this box set of cookbooks (Cooking and Baking Class Box Set) and we have had so much fun exploring kid friendly recipes!

 

 

The first recipe Cruzzie chose was a simple, 5 minute recipe: Cocoa Cake in a Cup! It was a HUGE success. I personally can’t wait to explore various ways to make this recipe healthier…but in the meantime, here is the recipe for the kids!

 

Exactly what it sounds like: cocoa cake in a mug!

 

Ingredients:

 

 

* 1 egg

* 1 tablespoon of melted butter

* 3 tablespoons of unsweetened cacoa / cocoa powder

* 1/4 cup of sugar

 

Directions:

 

Melt butter in microwave

 

* Then, whisk together the egg and butter.

 

* Add the sugar and the cocoa powder and mix all together.

 

Pre Cooked

 

* Then, put in a microwave for 2-3 minutes (until toothpick comes out clean). AND VOILA, chocolate cake in minutes! I wanted to add vanilla ice cream and have it a la mode….so good, and so super easy! PLUS, it keeps the kids occupied for a whopping 5 minutes but they are proud of the final product.

 

Post-baking.

 

SO GOOD. Seriously, so good.

 

Do you have fun recipes that the kids enjoy cooking /baking with you? Please share!

Anika Yael Natori, aka, The Josie Girl

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Favorite New Cookbooks October 2018

I have not been into cooking recently — not sure what it is, but I just don’t feel like being in the kitchen and cooking. I have been tired from marathon training (and here I go with another marathon next month), the start and craze of school, and September life is just busy…..I guess I don’t even feel that into food these days — I just want to consume some calories and then be done. But that doesn’t stop me from buying new cookbooks. Here are my current three favorite new ones!

 

Cookbooks might be retro and outdated, but they are almost like coffee table books — just beautiful and easy to flip through.

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Natori Cherry Blossom Convertible Bra

I never thought it would happen…For the past decade, I have only worn Natori Feathers Bra and swear by it 110%. But recently when scrolling through instagram, I saw a Natori ad pop up advertising a new bra….so like any good shopper, I was intrigued and clicked on it to find out more information. And just like that, I ordered the bra (with a little help from some friends) and now, I HAVE MY NEWEST FAVORITE BRA EVER. I never thought it would be possible that I would find a bra that I liked as much as Feathers Bra, but believe it or not, I am now madly in love with the Cherry Blossom bra.

 

First of all, the bra is pretty.

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Trademark Bag

I am a sucker for handbags — especially practical bags. Ones that you can lug around with all your junk that are not too precious and expensive, but that also look cute and hip. So when I first came across Trademark Bags, I wanted to get one immediately — I mean, come on, who doesn’t love gingham??? But every time I looked them up, they were sold out across the country. So finally, I found one that wasn’t yet sold out (black for the new Fall season vs the original red color I wanted in Summer….). So I pounced and bought it and CHECK OUT THE CUTENESS.

 

It is truly the perfect shape and size. And it is machine washable so when I am lugging snacks around for the kids and they spill everywhere, I could care less! WASH THE BAG AND NOT ONE WORRY!

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Chicago Marathon 2018

Here we are again, another marathon. It was an especially important one as it was the first one that my whole family traveled to watch.  I also atrained really hard, hoping fora personal best. And it turns off that despite my lack of confidence and the bad weather going in to the race, I ended up with my fastest time ever, 3:19:47. I am still on cloud 9 (and also very sore) and just so happy and proud. Take a look at all the pictures from the whirlwind 34 hours in Chicago!

 

We left NYC on a 9 o’clock flight Saturday morning. I was so happy to have the whole family together as I tend to be a basket case before a marathon. Traveling alone with just my thoughts is never a good idea…..

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Natori Botanica PJ

Last week, Ken came home from work to find me and the kids lying in our pajamas reading books. Not that this was an unusual sight at all, but I was in brand new Natori pajamas and he didn’t blink an eye. When I asked him what he thought of my new pajamas, he said that he thought I was wearing a new outfit (vs new pajamas). One of the many reasons I love my husband is that he is oblivious to my crazy patterned clothes and outfits — to him, this set of pajamas was a new outfit. I do have to give him credit though, because the pajama outfit is a current trend and more and more people are dressing in beautiful silky looking pajamas for a night look. See this article from two weeks ago in US Weekly of “Celebrities are Rocking Pajamas Like Streetwear.”

 

These are NOT the new pajamas — this was me at a store trying on a pajama STREETWEAR look. I was intrigued by the idea, but then didn’t end up buying it….

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To Do Fall 2018

Almost October, so that means there is only 1 and a half months before it becomes Winter in NYC. Fall is a very short lived season and there is so much to do between now and then! Here is what I want to do this Fall:

 

We still have green leaves on the trees, but sooner rather than later, the colors will change and then the Park will be orange / yellow hues…

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Brooklyn Crab

Back in the early 2010’s, we used to spend our weekends driving out to Red Hook (in Brooklyn) to grocery shop at Fairway, gaze at the Statue of Liberty, eat cookies at Baked, and pretend like we lived in the outer boroughs/suburbs. We were religious about this weekend ritual and tried to keep it up as long as we could. But then Fresh Direct (and a second child) came along, which made it impossible to drive 30 minutes just to grocery shop. This past weekend, we decided to go back. And now I can’t wait to go back and make it a monthly ritual — Red Hook is a special and unique neighborhood and I just love it so much. The highlight was our brunch at Brooklyn Crab. I want to have a big blow out party there. The food is delicious, the views are great, and it just screams FUN PARTY.

 

Looks like you are on the coast of Maine, but NOPE, in Brooklyn!

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Fall 2018 Reading List

I don’t usually get much reading done in September- the days are busy adjusting back to school and the evenings are filled with exhaustion, homework, and activities. That being said, I am trying to make reading  more of a priority this season, so here are the books on my list!

 

1. Nine Perfect Strangers

 

 

2. Dare to Lead

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Chai Cashew Butter

I have always been a Peanut Butter Princess, devouring spoonfuls of peanut butter by the gallons. Especially during marathon training, I crave the richness and fattiness of peanut butter, almond butter and any nut butter even more. So when I came across “Chai Cashew Butter” in the new Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow cookbook, I knew that it was something I was going to fall in love with. And sure enough, once I made it, I could not stop eating it. It is rich, full of protein and good fats, sweet and filling. The perfect snack before a run, or to keep me going on a given day. Creamy, smooth, and tasty. A must eat and a must make!

 

Final product. I could sell this on the street and people would line up for it — that good!

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Doctor Rogers RESTORE Face Wash

I have written a lot about Dr. Rogers in the past couple of months, but she deserves all the write up — her products are THAT amazing. So I am sorry to spam with you more information about her, but her new face wash is fabulous and everyone needs to know about it.  Like her RESTORE healing balm, all the ingredients in the face wash are natural yet effective.

 

Although in theory, you are not supposed to judge a book by its cover, I do with products. And I love this packaging. Clean and simple. Just like the product itself!

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Hydro Flask

Non plastic water bottles have become increasingly more and more popular, and each year, a different company seems to lead in popularity. bkr bottles, klean kanteen, nalgenes — all different brands that have been super popular in the past years. And this year, Hydro Flasks are everywhere. Made in Bend, Oregon, I knew I was going to love them (as I love all Oregon products / people / places) and sure enough, love at first sight. These water bottles are by far the best.

 

They come in every size. Big, small, extra big, extra small, etc…

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Haven’s Kitchen Sauces

Now that I am back to NYC, I am all about fast, easy dinners. I like simple, delicious, and healthy meals that do not require much thought but are still tasty and good for you. So when I came across Haven’s Kitchen Sauces on Fresh Direct, I jumped especially because my friend Katie Carey, happens to be the brains and beauty behind these delicious sauces! Can you believe how small this world is? TINY! And can you believe how amazing these sauces are? INCREDIBLE.

 

So good. So good. So good. Worth repeating and eating more and more and more of them.

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Reuseable Straws

Many cities across the States have started to ban plastic straws. In a lot of places on the West Coast, restaurants and bars do not serve drinks with plastic stirs or straws, and soon we will see this happen across the East Coast as well.

 

In general, plastic straws are wasteful garbage. And therefore people are searching for alternatives. Paper straws get soggy and wet, metal straws distort the taste of the drink, and therefore silicone straws are becoming more and more popular.

 

Plastic straw alternative.

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Sweet Noodle Kugel

Today is Rosh Hashana, the Jewish New Year (Shana Tova!) Since I have the tendency to be bad at holidays (across all of our religions), this year, I decided I want to be more festive, and threw together a last minute holiday dinner with friends (4 Jewish-Catholic/Christian families… go figure!). One of the main traditional Jewish dishes is Noodle Kugel, something that is very Jewish but not something I ever grew up eating. I was looking for recipes on the internet when I decided to contact one of my old-time friends who I met when we were on a Teen Tour of Israel together. And sure enough, Heidi-ho got in contact with her mother (who just happens to be a chef!) and immediately sent over her go-to Sweet Noodle Kugel. Although it has been decades since I last saw Patty Padawer (can we talk about the awesomeness of her name), I remember her delicious food fondly. Talk about helpful — she saved the day — thank you SO much, Patty!

 

Not just any kugel, special and easy sweet kugel.

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Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow

My favorite cookbook (Run Fast Eat Slow) now has a sequel and I couldn’t be happier! I am so excited to get back in to the kitchen and cook / bake / create some of the recipes from the new Run Fast Cook Fast Eat Slow.

 

So excited!! Shalene Flanagan and Elyse Kopecky and their second cookbook! Some of my all time favorite recipes are from their first cookbook, so I am super happy to find new favorites in this one, too.

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Favorite Undies 2018

It goes without saying that the only brand of lingerie that I “buy” is Natori. Just like almost everything else in life (granola, jeans, grocery stores, colors, fabrics, most anything and everything), I am super picky, but undies are by far the most important part of my daily ensemble. If I am wearing the wrong pair, I do not feel right or comfortable so it has been ESSENTIAL that I have the most perfect undies. And I did find them, but GASP, they are no longer going to be made and sold (I have tried to convince my husband to continue to make them, but he will not take my advice,

 

 

1) My current favorites are the Feathers Boyshorts . If you see them in the store, STOCK UP AND BUY THEM NOW. You will not regret it. If you can’t find them, it is because I purchased every single pair online that I could find….

 

I kept the tags on all these undies just so it didn’t seem weird or odd to everyone. These are fresh undies, never been worn. And let me tell you, I LOVE these undies more than anything. Seriously they are the perfect pair.

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Interview with Dr. Heather Rogers

I wrote about my obsession with Doctor Rogers RESTORE Healing Balm earlier this Spring — and it is true — I am fully addicted and can’t live without it. Therefore, it is quite an honor to interview Dr. Heather Rogers, the creator of RESTORE and a renowned dermatologist in Seattle. This is a must read for information on the balm, good skincare, and tips on how to live a healthy life! Thank you so much, Dr. Rogers!

 

And of course, as a talented doctor and entrepreneur she is also STRIKINGLY beautiful!

_____

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Reusable Bowl Covers

Like most Oregonians, my parents are constantly (and thankfully) looking for ways to create less garbage and be more environmentally conscious. In their attempt to eliminate saran wrap and aluminum foil, they use reusable bowl covers. It is a simple switch that reduces waste and takes little effort. Plus, the various patterned tops make your fridge look hip! I ordered some for NYC and can’t wait to use them.

 

How cool? And cute? And practical?

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Currently Loving August 2018

August feels like one big Sunday to me — I love it, and yet I also dread the reality that real life is around the corner. Even though I try to take one day at a time and live in the moment, I suffer from worrying about what is going to happen in 2-3 weeks time…..I know, great habit of mine. I am trying to make more of an effort in enjoying all the little things around me; weather, nature, freedom, space, and all the below. Enjoy!

 

1. Hazelnut Butter

 

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Oregon Coast 2018

Oregon has everything:  mountains, rivers, ocean, hills, valleys, lakes, etc. One minute you can be in the Willamette Valley, and the next, in the Cascade Mountains or on the Pacific Ocean. The kids and I just had an amazing weekend at our friends’ (Sara and Colin) family’s retro cabin on the Oregon Coast. Located 60 miles from Eugene, it was the perfect getaway full of outdoor adventure, fresh air, beautiful scenery, and good old fashion fun. Thank you so much, Sara!!!! Truly the best.

 

Oregon Coast is unlike any where else. It has dunes, sand, shrubs, rivers, lakes, etc…One of a kind.

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Leatherology

Like most women, I love handbags. But today they are super expensive and a big financial commitment. So I was incredibly happy to find fun, colorful, personable and reasonably priced bags at Leatherology. Leatherology is a direct to consumer website that has dozens of handbag styles, colors, and options. They also monogram! Since it is summer and I always love a pop of color, I decided I NEEDED a bright hot pink cross body bag with my initials. Ever since I got it, I have been wearing it nonstop.

 

HOW CUTE AND FUN IS THIS BAG? I love the brightness and it just makes me oh so happy.

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Overnight Train

When we were mapping out our summer travels, I knew that at one point, I wanted to take the kids on an overnight sleeper train adventure. Luckily, we had planned to go on our annual trip to Sonoma, so I knew that the magical train dream would be able to happen. It was perfect timing as my best friend from college, Bridget, had been visiting us in Eugene, and we were both aiming to get to California at the same time. So the five of us — me, Bridget, my two kids and her daughter — all went on the adventure together. And it was exactly that: an adventure. Not a mode of transportation to get us from Point A to Point B, or a luxurious beautiful hotel, but a memorable and fun experience. It was so much fun that I hope to make it an annual tradition — there was something about it that was nostalgic, peaceful, romantic, and comforting.

 

The five of us. And yes, Bridget and I are wearing matching outfits. Why would we NOT wear matching outfits?

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