frozen mocha

Everyone loves indulging in those delicious frozen coffee drinks with the big long names, but one thing I don’t love is they put a dent in your wallet. Not only that, but they can come packed with tons of unnecessary calories. This homemade version of a frozen mocha drink is inexpensive to make, provides multiple servings, and is the perfect rich yet refreshing treat made with ingredients you probably have on hand.

Serves: 2-4IMG_0223
Prep Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
3 cups frozen coffee (I put leftover coffee from my pot in a cup in the freezer)
1 ½ cups milk
½ cup chocolate syrup
1 cup ice (optional – this is to dilute it if it is too strong)
1 tablespoon sugar (optional – depends how sweet you want it)
Whipped cream and more chocolate syrup for topping

 

 

Make it your own: Add some extra flavors like peppermint or caramel to make it even more decadent! You can usually find lots of fun flavors as extracts in the spice or baking aisle.

 

Directions:IMG_0228

  1. Run hot water on outside of of your cup of frozen coffee to help it come out easier.
  2. Combine frozen coffee, milk, chocolate syrup, ice, and sugar in blender.
  3. Blend until smooth.
  4. Pour into glasses and top with whipped cream (check out my recipe for homemade whipped cream here) and chocolate syrup.
  5. Enjoy!

 

Tip: There’s always a little bit of coffee left in the bottom of the pot! Freeze this in a cup or container throughout the week to use in your frozen mocha. You won’t have to wait for your coffee to freeze when you’re craving this sweet treat!IMG_0293

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old books

I always love adding cute accents to my apartment. One of my favorite places to look for pieces is at antique stores. They are packed with tons of old books that also look great as decoration – and they usually come at pretty good prices. Dyl and I have so much fun picking through antique stores and seeing what funny book titles we come across and trying to guess how old some books are.

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We brought home a few really beat up ones because they were classic titles that also looked great displayed in our apartment. At home, we placed them between some bicycle bookends from Target. It made for a simple accent in our living room that made the whole room a little more cozy.

What everyday items, like books, do you use as decoration?

Let me know! IMG_0380

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homemade whipped cream

Whipped cream is a sweet, airy topping that can add tons of deliciousness. It’s great on desserts, drinks, fruit, breakfast, whatever you can put your mind to! Don’t get me wrong, the stuff out of the can is delicious and great to have on hand, but once you make homemade whipped cream, your tastebuds will be hooked. It only takes 3 ingredients and 5 minutes and will take anything sweet to the next level.

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Serves: About enough to top 4 ice cream sundaes generously 🙂
Prep Time: 5 minutes

Ingredients:

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 ½ tablespoons granulated white sugar

Make it your own: Replace half a teaspoon of the vanilla with an extract that pairs well with your dessert to create a fun, flavored whipped cream. Or add a drop of food dye to make it fun for kids.IMG_0263

Directions:

  1. Combine ingredients in a bowl (make sure there is plenty of space in your bowl as the mixture will almost double in volume
  2. Beat with an electric mixer on medium speed until stiff peaks form. You can also do this step by processing all ingredients in the food processor on low for 1 -2 minutes.
    -The main idea here is to incorporate air into the cream to make it nice and fluffy. Move your mixer around and on the surface a bit (careful you might splash). And be patient, this usually takes about 5 minutes until it looks like whipped cream.
  3. Enjoy on your favorite dessert, breakfast, or snack!

Tip: Remember you can always add more, but not take away once an ingredient is mixed in. If you don’t like things too sweet, add the sugar slowly and taste as you are mixing it.

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look out for a post coming soon featuring this whipped cream on top!
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off-season sales

As a twenty-something on a budget, I am always after a good deal. No matter how much I love a piece a clothing I usually won’t buy anything for more than $20. Gap is one of my favorite stores, everything is simple and pairs great with other pieces I already have. But, all of the items in the front of the store make it seem like everything is so expensive. This past weekend, I hit up the sale rack at Gap and found some awesome sweaters. The best part was, the sale items were an additional 50%!IMG_0508

Gap tends to switch the additional markdown off of sale items between 30, 40, and 50%. It’s best to try to figure out when the 50% deal is happening to save yourself even more money (at my store the 50% was on a Sunday, but it usually depends on other promotions that are going on). I got two sweaters for $5!!! They were originally $50 each. I know it’s spring time, but since it has been gloomy out I was able to wear one of the sweaters before having to put it away for the summer. I paired it with some $6 khakis from the Old Navy clearance and $3 earrings from Forever 21. A casual and cozy outfit for work for a total of less than $15, what could be better?…having a coffee in hand.

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Clearance racks are a great place to stock up on classic items, while they are out of season, that you know you will always wear. Then, come time for winter you will have some great new sweaters and it will feel like a whole new wardrobe without spending lots of money when you see them on display at full price.

 

What are your favorite stores for finding a good deal? Let me know.

Happy sale shopping!
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avocado flatbread

This flatbread is a fresh take on your average pizza. It will fill you up just the same but won’t leave you feeling bloated from lots of grease and cheese. It’s a perfect meal for a sunny day and a great way to use up some avocados before they get too soft. You can also incorporate leftover meat and produce!

Serves: 4 two-slice portions
Prep Time: 20 minutesIMG_0215
Cook Time: 15 minutes

Ingredients:
Refrigerated pizza dough (I used Pillsbury Pizza Crust)
2 ripe avocados
1 cup chopped tomato
¼ cup sliced red onion
3 tablespoons balsamic dressing
¼ cup Feta cheese
3 sliced cooked bacon
1 cup cooked chicken (optional)

Make it your own: Use steak instead of beef or put a Mexican twist on it with queso fresco instead of feta and adding some lime and spices instead of balsamic.

Directions:

  1. Cook bacon in oven (425° for 14 min) or on stove top, or just use pre-cooked bacon!
  2. Bake pizza crust according to package directions.
  3. While pizza crust and bacon are cooking, saute tomatoes and onions in balsamic dressing for 3-5 minutes or until soft. Stir in cooked chicken to allow chicken to be coated in flavor.
  4. Once pizza crust is finished, mash the avocado flesh onto the crust (this would be the “sauce” if it were a traditional pizza).
  5. Top with tomato, onion, and chicken mixture.
  6. Sprinkle with feta and bacon.
  7. Enjoy!

IMG_5830Tip: If you want to make it with chicken or another protein use leftover grilled or shredded meat to save some time and avoid wasting! You can also use a pita or naan bread to save time and make a personal-sized flatbread.

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there will be time

 

New Mumford & Sons song ‘There Will Be Time’ live in South Africa…from their upcoming EP Johannesburg.

“So open up my eyes to a new light
I wandered ’round your darkened land all night
But I lift up my eyes to a new high
And indeed there would be time”

 

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oven bbq country ribs

These ribs are so easy! This is one of Dyl’s few recipes he can currently make and they turn out great. The rub gives the ribs a nice sticky crust, making them packed with flavor. They fell right off the bone and were the perfect dinner for a chilly night in or a way to celebrate BBQ season being just around the corner. They take a while to cook, but require almost no prep. Get your napkins ready!IMG_3222

Servings: 2-3

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 2 hours

Ingredients:

10 Country Ribs
Pork or BBQ rub (we used McCormick Grill Mates Pork Rub)
Your favorite BBQ sauce

Make it your own: Create your own rub from your favorite spices or take the time to make your own barbecue sauce.IMG_3231

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Place ribs with meat side up on foil-lined baking sheet.
  3. Rub ribs with seasoning rub until coated all over.
  4. Cover with foil and bake for 1 hour.
  5. Remove from oven, uncover and spread BBQ sauce on ribs with a spoon or spatula.
  6. Return to oven and bake uncovered for 1 hour.
  7. Serve with extra BBQ sauce on the side and lots of napkins! Enjoy!!
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little red mailbox

Hobby Lobby has easily become one of my favorite stores. They have everything needed to decorate, organize, or craft. If you don’t have a location near you I highly recommend checking them out online. They also always have practically half the store on sale. Even if what you want is full price…just visit their website for a 40% off coupon.

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at my favorite store – Hobby Lobby

My latest purchase is this red filing cabinet. We didn’t have a designated spot in our home for mail and it kept piling up in different areas throughout the apartment. Lucky for us, the day we found it metal decor was half price! It now hangs on the wall right when you walk in the door, so mail gets organized before we can even set it on the counter. Not only that, but it looks great and adds a pop of color!

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