Pinterest Strikes Again!!...Peanut Butter Banana Drop Cookies

When I went to the grocery store a few days ago, I had a few things I wanted to make. One of them was the Peanut Butter Banana Oatmeal Cookies:
(Source - via Pinterest)
I didn't make too many tweaks to this recipe, but as usual, I substituted what I had in the pantry instead of buying more product.

Peanut Butter Banana Drop Cookies

Inspired By lux hippie

3 ripe bananas
1 tablespoon vanilla extract (you could substitute any other extract you think might go well with bananas)
1/2 - 1 cup of peanut butter (I had natural smooth PB, use whatever is in your pantry)
2 1/2 tablespoons of blue agave syrup (could substitute honey, maple syrup, brown rice syrup etc...)
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 cups rolled oats
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup chocolate chips (I love dark chocolate, so I used dark chips. You could use white chocolate, semi-sweet, you get the idea)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Combine bananas, vanilla, peanut butter, and blue agave syrup. I bought mine from Home Sense, you can also buy it at health food stores, and also Costco!!

Once the banana mixture is a smooth consistency:
Add the dry ingredients. I didn't combine the dry ingredients in another bowl because I didn't want to wash another bowl. But you can if you wanted to, of course.

Once all the ingredients are combine, add in chocolate chips, and I also added 3 tablespoons of chia seeds since I had some in the house. 

The batter will be sticky, I recommend using two tablespoons to help you drop them on the cookie sheet instead of trying to wrangle the batter off with your fingers.
Bake for 15 minutes. I used a silpat mat (the best investment EVER!! You can also find these at Home Sense once in a while). If you don't have a silpat, use grease the cookie sheet, or use parchment paper. The cookies don't spread, so you can put them pretty close together.

Here's the finished product!
Let me know what you think!



OMG!! So deeeelicious! Thanks Pinterest...AGAIN

Continuing with my Pinterest (FOLLOW ME!!) obsession, I've been eyeing the chocolate chia pudding for a couple weeks. I've been eating chia seeds for almost two years now. I have only ever mixed 2 tablespoons of seeds each morning with water and gulped it down. I didn't mind the texture or taste, so I didn't think much about what else I could do with it.

When I saw the recipe for chocolate chia pudding, I was hooked, obsessed really, with finding more recipes. I finally decided on the original recipe I had found:
But I switched it up a little, cuz who wants to be confined to what's on the page? So instead, I made chocolate chai chia pudding!! Honestly, I opened the fridge looking for almond milk, and saw my chai syrup as well. So I thought, what the hell? Chocolate and chai goes well together, might as well give it a go!

Chocolate Chai Chia Pudding

Adapted from Food Doodles

2 tablespoons of chia seeds
1/2 cup of almond milk
1 tablespoon of chai concentrate
1 tablespoon of blue agave syrup
1 tablespoon of cocoa powder

Mix all the ingredients together, and let it sit for 20 mins. I found mixing it intermittently helps as well.

My picture isn't as pretty as others, but it's still deeeeelicous!! This recipe makes one serving.

When I first started eating chia seeds, I was buying them from organic grocers for about $23 a pound. As it has gained more popularity, national chains are carrying it, but they still sell for about $12 for 12oz. You can also find chia seeds at discount stores such as Home Sense, but I've recently discovered that Costco now has chia seeds!!! They are about $12 for 32 oz...AKA TWO POUNDS!!!!

I have a feeling I will be making a lot of chia puddings in the near future. Maybe a chocolate almond flavoured one? Maybe earl grey!!! Ooooh, the possibilities are endless!!!

What flavours do you want to try?



Pinterest and Nutella

I've been addicted to Pinterest (FOLLOW ME!!!) for a while now. I use it to browse wedding ideas, and also for food ideas. I noticed an influx of pins about nutella the last little while (turns out it was National Nutella Day on Feb. 5), so of course, I had to go and buy myself some nutella. My original inspiration/push to buy nutella was this:

While that looks mighty delicious, I was also in the mood for some cookies. So pin searching I went for a good nutella cookie recipe. There were some "serious" cookie recipes with butter, sugar and eggs. But there were also some super simple 3 - 4 ingredient recipes. I ended up googling for a recipe and came across this:

I liked this recipe because there was no added sugar. I'm pretty sure nutella was sweet enough as it is. Plus, this recipe was super simple. I had all the ingredients, so why not?

I decided to "health" it up a little, and added a cup of oats to the recipe too. I also added baking powder and soda, and vanilla cuz those seem to be in all cookie recipes I've made before.

Nutella Oatmeal Cookies

Inspired by Kirbie Cravings

1 cup flour
1 cup nutella
1 cup oats
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Throw everything together in the mixer with the paddle attachment, and mix until it looks well mixed. The batter comes out crumbly, but it will come together when you roll the it together to form small balls. I made my batter into about 1" balls, and flattened them a little on the cookie sheet. I used a silpat, if you don't have one, I recommend using parchment paper, or grease the cookie sheet with some butter or canola oil.

Bake for 8 minutes.

Here's what they look like!

They are chewy, and dense, and fudgey! Nutella heaven!! They are definitely sweet enough without any added sugar, and the oats help give it a little bit of texture.

Try it out and let me know how it works out for you!!


Choosing my maids....

I don't want a huge wedding party, mostly because we're not having a huge wedding. But honestly, I want a small wedding party partly because I think it'll look better in pictures. My pet peeve is seeing a set of beautiful pictures, then seeing one picture of the couple with like TWELVE attendants...EACH!!! Is that reeeaaaally necessary? Seriously!!!

I am going to have one maid of honor, but I am debating between having one or two bridesmaids. My MOH will be my cousin, Van. I'm not choosing her because she's family, but she because understands me. Sometimes we don't need to speak, and we know what the other is thinking, and we usually laugh about it cuz it's probably something gross that we're both thinking about.

One of my bridesmaids will be Nat, Cal's sister. Although we don't complete each other's sentences, we connect in a different way. Mostly agreeing on how Cal is wrong....in whatever topic we happen to be discussing.

I was set on having two people in my bridal party. We all have similar personalities, type A, but not sooo type A that we would kill each other if we don't agree on something.

Now, I know we don't have to have the same number of bridesmaids and groomsmen, but I do have a little bit of the tradition bug, or it could just be vanity.... it would look sooooo much better if we had an even number for pictures.

Cal wanted 5 groomsmen, but if I had 5 bridesmaids, it would just look ridiculous in pictures. So we've settled on 3 each.

So I have one more spot to fill. Cal does have another sister, but we're not as close as I am with Nat. Plus, she's planning on getting pregnant after our holiday in the Fall, so she would be pretty late in her pregnancy by the wedding date. What pregnant woman wants to be standing all day, being told what to do? I know I wouldn't.

I've thought about who to ask for a while now. I have a couple close girlfriends, but there's only one who would not be offended when I talk about poo...I know...I wrote poo. Well, that's not true, I have others who wouldn't be offended...but anyway.

I googled creative ways to propose to your bridesmaids, but honestly, I'm not crafty enough to do this:
 And definitely not this:
So I thought about it, trying to get my creative juices going while procrastinating on pinterest (FOLLOW ME). Then I realized, what better way to ask the person who inspired me to start this blog, than to ask her ON the blog??? I'm a genius!!

This friend and I are relatively new friends, but we have lived identical lives...separately. She was part of the whole process when I was looking at diamonds for my ring (she was my Cal substitute), she asked questions I never would've thought of. She's been helping me plan the wedding, going to wedding shows,  checking out venues, and looking at dresses. PLUS She didn't hesitate when I asked her to ask her aesthetician if they did ass crack waxes. What else can I ask for in a bridesmaid????

So, Joce, will you be my bridesmaid?????


More pictures!

It was a beautiful day in Vancouver today, which has been few and far between, so of course I took advantage of the sunlight and took some more pictures!!
I went a little overboard....but who wouldn't? Seriously!! lol




It's Official!!!!!!!

As you know, Cal and I have been unofficially engaged for a few months. The only thing that was stopping it from being official was the lack of engagement ring. But it has finally arrived!!! And it is OFFICIAL!!!!

We're not super romanticy people, and no surprise, the "proposal" was also not very romanticy. I know exactly what I want, and how I want it. So obviously I took charge when it was time to find the perfect ring. When the ring was ready to be picked up, Cal was away for training for work. So naturally, I went to pick up the ring from the jeweller. When I went to pick up Cal from the airport that night, I showed him the ring, in the box, and he looked at it, took some pictures of it, and held on to it....but only because I was driving. When we arrived home, he promptly gave the box back, and said "you should probably hold on to this". 

Anyway, Cal arrived on an evening flight, and since he flew domestically, there was no food on the flight. Being a good, domesticated girlfriend, I made him a quick dinner of Chinese noodles with veggies and a fried egg. Definitely a Chinese comfort food staple. As I gave him his dinner, I casually asked, "soooooo are you going to put the ring on me?". His response, "oooh yeaaaah, I guess I should do that". So here we are, sitting on the couch, watching Sportscentre:
This is a picture of us now....but it's pretty much identical to the scene during the actual proposal.

I don't really remember what Cal said during the proposal, something along the lines of "we've been together for a long time (almost 6 years), and I think we should get married some time next year, there is no other place I'd rather be than on the couch, with you, watching Sportscentre..... oh and will you marry me?". Of course I said...YES!! hahahaha. Now thinking back, maybe I should've said no. lol.

It's definitely not what every girl dreams of what her proposal will be. But it was perfect for us. How and where it happened represents what we love to do when we're together...sitting on the couch and watching TV.

Here's a picture of the ring in the box:
 Here's a picture of the ring on my hand:
Here's the view of the basket:

Major and Sandy Shokar at Diamond Deals did an amazing job. When I had a mental lapse on what my wax mold looked like, they were more than happy to set up an emergency meeting with me so I can ease my anxiety. The whole process took about 6 weeks, from my first meeting with Major, to picking up the ring. Major said my setting is more intricate than most, so it took 4 weeks from wax to completion. This picture does not do the workmanship any justice.
I told Sandy, the wax expert, that I did not want any metal showing on the ring, and they have achieved that request without a doubt. I cannot emphasize enough how delicate the ring looks. I will definitely be getting my wedding band from Diamond Deals

Needless to say, both Cal and I are very happy with the ring, and we're both so excited to be getting married!




I have always loved eating seafood. Everything from lobster, oysters, seabass, tilapia. EVERYTHING!! I started baking in my teens, and started really cooking, like following recipes and having it taste good, in my early twenties. I never cooked seafood at home. I'm not sure why not. Maybe it was because I loved it so much, I didn't want to mess it up. But anyway, I recently started making seafood dishes at home. Here is my first attempt at spaghetti alla vongole!

 It was so simple, I couldn't believe it! I sauteéd some garlic and onions, threw in a sprinkle of red chili flakes, then threw in 2 pounds of clams, and a cup of white wine. I steamed the clams until they're open, and tossed it with the pasta, and garnished with cilantro. I think the most time consuming part of this recipe was cutting the garlic and onion.

Last night, I decided to try making something else with clams. Here is the outcome:

It is clams in tomato broth. I first sauteéd garlic, onions, and celery. Really, it was just what I happened to have in the fridge. Once the onions softened, about 5 mins, I added a 28-once can of diced tomatoes, 1 tablespoon of tomato paste, and 1.5 cups of water. I threw in some worcestershire sauce too, since I had some in the fridge (see a trend here? lol). Oh, I also threw in red chili flakes. I brought the sauce to a boil, then simmered for about 30 mins. Then I added a handful of chopped parsley, and threw in the clams. I had 3 pounds of clams this time. I meant to buy 2 pounds, but the supermarket I was at was self-serve, and I thought I had scooped 2 pounds, but clearly I need help estimating weight. I let the pot simmer until the clams opened, and served. I had mine plain like the picture above, but I made some pasta for Cal's clams.

All in all, cooking clams was not as hard as I thought it would be. I think next time, I will substitute mussels, and make some garlic bread too!

- Meesh

Getting ahead of myself...as usual

So I had been mulling over the location for the whole for a few weeks now. Cal and I decided to host the wedding in Penticton, so I've been tasked with finding a venue for the reception. I thought that since Penticton is the Napa of British Columbia that it would be easy finding a venue for 100 people at a winery. Was I ever in for a surprise. Fact: there are a lot of wineries in Penticton and Naramata. BUT, there aren't many that have the space to host a reception. I even considered taking the reception out to the surround towns such as Oliver, Okanagan Falls, and even as far as Osoyoos. Hosting the reception in these towns brings its own set of challenges. Our ceremony will be a church wedding, and that is to be held in Penticton. So if we were to have the wedding elsewhere, we would need to provide a shuttle from Penticton to the reception. But this means that our guests will have to arrive and leave at a specified time, or we have to provide multiple bus times. Anyway, to distract myself from finding a venue, I started looking at invitations.

I'm definitely leaning towards DIY suites instead of getting ones custom made. This would save us a ton of money. In an ideal world, I would loooove to have something like this:
But at over $7.00 each, I think it's a way too much for us to spend on invitations. I've been playing around with the free DIY templates from Wedding Chicks and it's been pretty fun! I think right now my favourite so far is this style:
I can choose multiple colours, and obviously the customize all the wording. This suite also includes Save the Date, RSVP and the program. The only thing missing in this suite for me is the menu card. I don't plan on having one menu for each guest, since that seems like a waste, so probably just 1 or 2 menus per table depending on the size and shape of our tables.

There are so many options for online DIY invitations. It's definitely going to be a challenge to find a template with the design we like, and also the right price. Hopefully Wedding Chicks will come out with one that's a winery theme! (hint hint).

I've also considered using seed paper instead of traditional card stock. Seed paper is paper that is embedded with seeds. They paper is supposed to sprout when you plant it. I like this idea because it's eco-friendly, but also because Cal loves gardening. Those close to us will understand the personal thought that went into the paper. I found Botanical Paperworks through some googling, and discovered that they do custom invitations, or you can buy DIY kits and print them yourself!

Botanical Paperworks also provides a free template if you want to print them yourself. You don't need a special printer or ink for the paper, so if you have a small wedding, you can totally print them off you ink-jet printer at home.

If we decide to go with seed paper, the company also has place cards, favours, menu cards...the options seem endless. I love these a favours:
They're $138 for 100 pieces, which is completely reasonable. However, with many of our guests coming from abroad, I'm not sure if it's worthwhile since they will not be able to bring it home with them.

So much to think about!!!



What to doooooo??

Since I'm still in the very very VERY early stages of planning the wedding, I just casually browse random things I feel like looking up on a particular day. Hopefully this blog will help me focus a little more.

So the topic today of my all-over-the-place-ness will be venues.

Should we do it in Vancouver, which is where we live? Or, in Penticton, where Cal is from, beaaaautiful wine country?

We will be having a church ceremony, so we only need a venue for the reception. In Vancouver, my top choice is definitely UBC Boathouse. I've driven by this venue before without giving much thought to it. But they had a booth at the wedding show I was at recently and the venue just looked amazing! Check out the photos here. There are just way too many to post.

The rates for the Boathouse is also reasonable. Their low season goes until the end of April, so you could totally score a warm weekend wedding at 50% off the high season rate! The high season rate for Saturday rentals is $5000. This gives you 8 hours of use. I think that's pretty reasonable, especially if the wedding is during low season.

If we hold the wedding in Vancouver, it will be much easier to find a wedding planner, hair dresser, make-up artist, etc. I have contacts in all these areas whom I trust. Accommodations for out-of-town guests will also be a lot easier since there are a lot more hotels in Vancouver than in Penticton.

If the wedding is in Penticton, we have to make sure it's not a long weekend, since hotel accommodations will be overpriced and hard to get. Also, we're planning for an August wedding, so we need to take into account the annual Ironman competition, and there is also Peachfest every year. This really limits us to two weekends in August. Since I don't live in Penticton, I don't know any wedding planners, or other vendors. It will also make meeting with vendors more complicated since we can't drive up to Penticton each weekend.

Arrrrgggghh...decisions. I think I'm leaning towards Penticton, but who knows. I may change my mind tomorrow.




So, there's something you need to know about me. I go on random spurts of obsessing about random items. Last weekend, I went to a wedding show with lil' wee wong. It was a good show, lots of different vendors, table setting displays, fashion show, etc... But what reaaaaaaally caught my eye was the nespresso booth! I've seen the coffee makers before, but I was never interested because of the waste the individual pods create (check out this video about how the cups aren't recyclable). Like many other espresso machines, the CitiZ had a milk frother attached to it. This wasn't just the normal spout spewing steam. This frother is simply a canister, with a small whisk/whip attachment inside.

The frother uses magnets to spin the attachment. All you do to froth the milk is press the button on the front. It frothes it up, AND it heats the milk up! OMG I had to have it ( I also have a severe addiction to Starbucks). I couldn't stop thinking about this amazing machine for the rest of the day. When I got home, the first thing I did was to look up how much this machine costs. I knew it wouldn't be cheap, but I was definitely disappointed when I found out it was $400 :( I mostly loved the milk frother, and didn't care much about the espresso machine itself. Luckily, nespresso sells the frother on its own - aeroccino.

It was still $100, and I didn't know whether or not I wanted to spend that much on a milk frother. What's a girl to do but to whatsapp her mom? My mom's also a coffee addict. I asked her if she still had her aerolatte, a mediocre substitute for the AMAZING aeroccino. She didn't, but she did have this:

 I said I'll give it a try even though it wasn't as AWESOME as the aeroccino. I then told her that I saw this amaaaaazing frother by nespresso. The next thing I knew, she sent me this picture!!!

OMG - my mom has the aeroccino!!! I tried the aeroccino the next time I was home, and it was as amazing as I thought it would be. Fortunately, she was kind enough to give it to me <3. So here I am, with my first home-made cup of chai latte!!

It was delicious!! AND it didn't cost me $5.00!! I <3 my aeroccino! Thanks mom!!!



Dress shopping!!!!!

We went dress shopping today!!! Buuuuut not for my wedding dress. twobirds was in town for a trunk show, so my bridesmaids and I went to check them out. The colour selection they had was amaaaaaaazing!!! This is definitely a style of dress I would go with for my the wedding. Check out some of the styles Danielle from twobirds demo'd for us!

They also have an iPhone app with videos of how to wear the dress!! I love companies that have a touch of geek to them!!

Here's the link to all the video how-to's. http://www.twobirdsbridesmaid.ca/gallery/video

We did find that their "short straight" version was a little too long for us shorties - 5'2". You can take the dress to a seamstress, and they should be able to trim the fabric to the length you like.

All in all, I love these dress! Especially since your BM's can re-wear them after the big day!!



Ring time!!!

So I have a confession to make. The conversation in the previous post took place in Oct. 2011, and I started looking for rings in January. I am that girl who has planned her wedding for years. I wasn't the extremist that had a whole wedding workbook filled out and ready to go. But I did keep mental notes of what I did and did not want.

I started looking at rings probably when I was about 18 (a girl can dream can't she?) This was the first ring I thought I would have as my engagement ring.

I think back then, I chose this ring because it was the most expensive ring I could find online at the time. It is a marquise center stone, flanked by two trillion cuts. Then after a few months, or a couple years, I can't keep track anymore, I realized I don't like this ring AT ALL! What was I thinking??

So by this time, it was Jessica Simpson and Nick Lachey's heyday. And back then, being a slave to celebrity gossip, I watched their show, "The Newlyweds", religiously. I am not ashamed to admit that I even own the DVD's... all 3 seasons. From marriage all the way to the divorce! Anyway, of course I wanted the gorgeous 5 carat ring that Jessica Simpson had. Who wouldn't? It's a pear shaped center stone, with smaller pears on either side. I even went as far as buying a fake version of it (which I still have, and admire it once in a while)!
Of course at the time, I thought, 5 carats? That's nothing, of course my future husband will be able to afford it. haha. Theeeeen I finished school, and had to look for a job. Reality sets in, I get older, and wiser (at least I like to think so). I realize I'm not into being super flashy. Gone are the days when I want to own everything designer, and want people to know it's designer. Now, I'm still into designer pieces, but I choose brands that are more understated. Items where it takes one to know one.

Once Cal and I decided that we were committed to each other, I started browsing online for what kind of ring I would want. This was still a few years back, so we're not actually anywhere near the ripe old age of 30. Nonetheless, I came across this awesome website/forum - Pricescope. It was here that I finally found my DREAM ring. At the time, I didn't know the exact details yet, but I knew it will be a cushion cut diamond in a halo setting. I got a few quotes from designers in New York. They were definitely within my budget. 

Fast forward a couple more years, Jan. 2012 (finally!) I got an updated quote from the designer that I wanted the ring from, and was all set to order the ring. Since we live in Vancouver, I started thinking about the costs associated with bringing in a diamond ring back from the US. I wouldn't have to pay duty, but I do have to pay the 12% HST, on top of the NY tax. So, I decided to research some jewellers based out of Vancouver. The quotes I got from the jewellers here were significantly less than the quotes I got from New York. I finally settled on working with Diamond Deals in Vancouver, since they were the most eager to help me out and listen to my requests.

Here's a picture of the stone we've decided on, and also the wax mould of the actual ring.

I will post more pictures of the ring when it's completed in a few weeks!!

- Meesh