Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Low Carb Cauliflower Crust Pizza

This is one of my low carb go to recipes. I know that many people could easily be skeptical simply because the crust is made of veggies and not real pizza dough. Let me reassure you though, if you have been low carb dieting and are getting bored and burning out, this kind of meal will provide you with the variety you need. Best of all, this is a cinch to make and it's delicious.

I've probably made ten of these over the last year. And I think I've finally got it perfected, at least my picky not-on-a-diet husband says so. What made the difference this time was wringing out the cooked grated cauliflower. Removing the moisture gives the crust more of a bread like texture.

I made this in a greased spring form pan. If you don't have one, just use your 9 inch round cake pan or you could do this on a cookie sheet with some parchment paper to keep it from sticking.

This makes enough for two people but my husband says he could eat the entire thing. :)

1/2 head of cauliflower
1 beaten egg
1/3 cup parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons pizza seasoning (use whatever Italian herbs you have)
2 tablespoons marinara
1 cup of shredded cheese (I used cheddar and feta)
Feel free to add any other toppings. I had leftover meatballs I cut in half and added. (but not in the photo I used above.)

Preheat oven to 400F.
Grate the cauliflower and microwave it for 3 minutes.
Let it cool down so you can handle it without burning yourself.
In your hands or in a cheese cloth, wring out all of the water from the cauliflower.
Add the egg, parmesan, and pizza seasoning and combine.
Prepare your pan by greasing it.
Add the cauliflower mixture to the pan and press it in evenly.
Cook for 18-20 minutes or until it is golden.
Add your marinara, cheese, and toppings and put it back in the oven for another 8-10 minutes or until cheese is all melted.

P.S. my friends, I will be reposting this entry after New Years. You'll appreciate it. Enjoy!!

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Tumi T-Tech Wallet at Costco

My very first Costco post on this blog was about a Michael Kors wallet. Well, I found another high quality wallet for only $9.97. This time it's a Tumi T-Tech. Tumi.com has a wallet called T-Tech Merge that's $39. It's a little different but purchasing it at Costco would save you $30 and the recipient will be none the wiser. :) I love a good deal!

I figured this would work well for a guy's Christmas gift. All you would need to do is add a little $5 gift card to Starbucks or In N Out and you've got yourself a nice little present for less than $20. That's not easy to come by lately.

This little treasure is at the Mission Valley location. Happy shopping!

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

How To Clean Your Tarnished Silver

I had a handful of silver that was tarnished and in dire need of cleaning but I'd been reluctant to take it in for whatever reasons, mainly forgetful. So, it was all just sitting in my jewelry box hanging out and not being enjoyed. After I came across this pin on Pinterest and clicked through to Cleanmyspace.com, I decided it was worth a try to clean it myself.
I've also been a little absent on this blog so I knew I could document my experiment and results here to share with you. ;) Sorry, I've been on a diet.

1) 1 cup boiling water
2) 1 tablespoon baking soda
3) 1 tablespoon white salt
4) 1/2 cup white vinegar
5) 1 sheet of tinfoil, shiny side up
6) large bowl
7) towel

Adding the vinegar to the salt and baking soda makes a big fizz so go slowly.

Add water and then add your jewelry. Move the silver so that all surfaces make contact with the foil.


After. All shiny.
 I think that this was worth the try. I wouldn't say that this was better than a professional cleaning at the jeweler's but this simple solution has made my beloved silver wearable again. 
Now you try it! XOXO

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Starbucks Hot Cocoa at Costco

I was so happy to see the arrival of Starbucks hot cocoa! It means Christmas to me. Also, it means another good deal on holiday gifts. This 40 ounce canister normally goes for 13.89 but through November 4 (which means you gotta hurry down to pick a couple of these up) the price is 10.99. The container is about 32 servings. That's pretty good. There's a similar product on Starbucks.com but it's 24 servings for 18.95. HEAD TO COSTCO!
A couple of cute things that could be added to this canister of Starbucks goodness would be these ideas for mugs and stirrers on Pinterest. Check them out and you'll have a complete holiday gift.
Or, you can just pick up one of these jewels for yourself. :) Enjoy!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Crayola Monster Art Tub at Costco

Costco is what can only be described as Christmas Heaven. Lots of toys, oodles of decorations, aisles upon aisles of gift possibilities for girls and boys of all ages. I love going there this time of year for all the browsing and shopping for the big day, December 25. Now of course there are birthdays between now and then to shop for but I'm keeping Christmas in mind.

Here's the first of my recommendations for the holidays.  It's the Crayola Monster Art Tub. This thing is jam packed full of goodies, perfect for all the little artists out there in your life. Also, this is a good gift to buy for nobody. I mean a gift to have on hand when you are invited last minute to a child's birthday party or when you weren't counting on exchanging gifts with a cousin but then surprise! she got a gift for your kid. You know...

My fave part of this item is that it comes in its own tub so you can keep all of its contents nice and organized. For $19.79 this kit includes 64 ct crayons, 10 ct mini twistables, 10 ct super tip markers, 5 ct glitter glue, 12 ct colored pencils, 8 ct extreme markers, silly putty and sketch book.

Too good to pass up!

Thursday, September 20, 2012

Macadamia Oatmeal Cookies with Peanut Butter Filling

I made these tasty little sandwich cookies for a birthday party earlier in the summer. I haven't been baking all that much lately because it's been so darn hot and I'm trying to cut down on my taste testing, if you know what I mean. So here's a look back at a delicious cookie that I will be making again once the temperature in San Diego drops. 
This recipe is from Joy The Baker. I've given you the list of ingredients but you'll have to click through to Joy's blog to grab the directions. Thanks for stopping by! Enjoy these cookies!

This recipe yields about 20 cookies. 

Ingredients for the cookies
1/2 cup softened butter
1 cup brown sugar
1 egg
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 1/4 cup oats (the original recipe calls for old fashioned oats but I use instant all the time. Use what you have on hand.)
1 cup flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp baking soda
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 cup chopped macadamia nuts (the original recipe calls for pecans but I didn't have those in my pantry)

Ingredients for the filling
3 tbsp softened butter
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
1 cup powdered sugar
3-4 tbsp milk

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Back To School Clearance at Target

Skip Hop! I'm obsessed with this brand. I love them so much that last year, before my son was even school age, I bought the penguin backpack and lunch bag. Over the year he has used it for overnights with Grandma or when we would pack a snack to take with us to Disneyland or the Zoo.  Now, he takes his lunch bag to school.  :)

Today I went to the Mission Valley Target to buy milk, bread, and chicken. Of course I left with more than the groceries. The Skip Hop lunch bags were calling me. (And so were these uber cute leopard print smoking flats.) I couldn't resist and the price was right. Those bags were marked down to $9.78.

I also noticed that the snack containers that include ice packs were marked down to $2.78. I paid full price a couple of weeks ago. Go get one! Or two.
These were two of my favorites. I was good and only took one home, the puppy.

These containers hold up to two cups of treats. What makes these special is the ice pack in the lid. Neat-O! Only $2.78, not a bad deal. 

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


My sweet husband just celebrated his birthday. Upon recommendation, I took him to a restaurant called Saltbox, located in the swanky Palomar hotel in downtown San Diego. 

The food was all wonderful, very rich, and full of flavor. We ordered five or six things. I know... it seems like a little much. It's just that we get so excited whenever we try a new place. Saltbox has one of those menus where every item sounds unique and interesting.

I'm not going to make you look at all of my pictures, although I should. Here's a little highlight from that glorious meal.
What you're seeing here is a little fry basket of smoky and warm chicharones. That's right, fried pork skins. A little saucer of spicy aioli to dip those crispy little treats rounded out the dish.
If you tilt your head a little to the left, you'll be able to make this dish out. Sorry, I thought I was being so creative when I was photographing our food. Anyway, this is a short rib grilled cheese. It was crunchy, salty, warm, melty and heavenly. The homemade pickles were the perfect accompaniment. 
Bone marrow my friends! This is my new favorite food. As one of my foodie friends describes it, meat butter. My husband likes to say that it tastes like the most delicious steak drippings. That's all true. If you are a carnivore, you must try this. Seriously. You scrape your toast through the bone and drag up all the well seasoned marrow goodness. Perfection people!
Now go check out Saltbox's menu. I'm thinking I'm going to return for brunch in the near future and I'll definitely be back to enjoy a drink in the fab bar downstairs. Enjoy!

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Reese's S'mores Rice Krispies Treats.

For the past month, I've been prepping for a very special baby shower. My dear friend Sarah is expecting her first child and I couldn't be more excited. My plan was to be in charge of the dessert table, oh the possibilities.

I was going to make a sheet cake, cupcakes, chocolate chip cookies, brownies, daisy sugar cookies, and snickerdoodles. I got all of those done and out of the way. I was so so happy to be finished and ready to get on with the party. Then I speak with Sarah and she tells me that she's been craving Reese's peanut butter cup s'mores. That conversation got me thinking that I needed to make one more thing for the dessert table to satisfy the mama to be's cravings.

And here it is folks! Reese's S'mores Rice Krispies Treats. Super easy and incredibly delicious.

  • Unwrap the peanut butter cups, chop them, and set aside.
  • Grease your 9x13 pan. I use the stick of butter like a chapstick.
  • Melt the butter over low heat in a non stick pot. I use a stock pot.
  • Add the marshmallows to the butter and stir until completely melted.
  • Turn off the heat and incorporate the cereal in. 
  • Crumble up the graham crackers and add them.
  • Add the marshmallow bits and peanut butter cups quickly or they'll melt too much. 
  • Press into your pan and let set up in the fridge for a couple of hours. I make this the day before so it's nice and firm for cutting and plating.
  • If you'd like, you can add a couple more PB cups and marshmallow bits to the top of the treats. It'll look pretty that way. 
Dessert table brought to you by The Good Life.
My sister in law took these photos at the shower and made this collage. Pretty, right?
I'm on the left and that's my Sarah on the right, all beautifully pregnant.

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Sunday Brunch at Gingham in La Mesa

My lovely husband asked me to make brunch reservations and I knew exactly where I wanted to go. Gingham in La Mesa. It's another one of Brian Malarkey and Enlightened Hospitality Group restaurants and I am kinda in love with their vision for dining. The food and drinks are always innovative and delicious and the spaces are always trendy and hip. Gingham is no exception.

Scroll through to see what we ordered and you can see for yourself how yummy everything looked. You must go there for your next Sunday brunch. They also have a bottomless mimosa on the menu. Tempted now? I know my sister in law is.  LOL!

In addition to a fab service on Sundays, Gingham has specials all throughout the week. We plan on trying out the Tuesday Date Night. Four courses to share for $45 and 1/2 select bottles of wine. Not too bad. 

Good morning to me!
How cute is he? He really liked that mason jar.

Hello appetizer. I don't normally order an appetizer at brunch but this apple and pecan sticky bun called to me.
This was heaven and I'll be ordering it again and again. It's a bacon and cheddar waffle with rosemary syrup. The fried chicken is optional, but is it really?? C'mon.

Wherever we eat, my husband always ordered eggs Benedict. In fact, he'll tell you that the quality of the entire restaurant can be judged on this one menu item. Not even joking. He loved this! It's their pulled pork benny. Yum.

Here's my little one enjoying his Kid's Brunch, scrambled eggs, toast, bacon, and potatoes.

Monday, June 18, 2012

My 1st Carrot Cake

How about that bowl of freshly grated carrots?  This recipe calls for carrots, duh, and instead of just doing the convenient thing, buying shredded carrots, I buy whole organic carrots. I know my kiddo will want them and I'll sacrifice the time and effort so we can have them in the cake. Oh brother! If you want to do that too, go ahead. Or, you can save yourself a little time and a huge mess and just buy the carrots already grated.  
This recipe came from one of my mom's garage sale adventures.  She found a book compiled completely of brand name recipes. I'm sure I've said this before, brand name recipes are always good. Those companies want you to use their products so they work hard to create easy delicious recipes. 

Inside Great American Brand Name Recipes Cookbook were many 80's gems, including this carrot cake from Crisco, that's been lightly adapted.  It's been a while since a recipe told me to use a 9x13 pan. I'm not going to complain though. That's the easiest cake to make. I don't have to split and fill anything or carefully ice the sides. Just bake it in the pan, cool, and slather cream cheese frosting. 

Ingredients for Cake
2.25 cups flour
1.5 cups sugar
2 tsp baking soda
1.5 tsp ground cinnamon
.5 tsp ground nutmeg
.5 tsp salt
1 cup veggie oil
3/4 cup sour cream
3 eggs
.5 cup milk
2 cups shredded carrots or 4 whole carrots
1.5 cups sweetened flaked coconut
3/4 cup sliced almonds
1.25 cup raisins

Ingredients for Cream Cheese Frosting
1 stick of room temp butter
8 ounces of room temp cream cheese
3.75 cups of powdered sugar
2tsp vanilla

Preheat oven to 325. Butter a 13x9 baking pan. 
Mix flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt in a large bowl. 
Add oil, sour cream, eggs, milk, and milk.
On low speed mix ingredients until they are all moist. Make sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl.
Beat on medium speed for two minutes.
Fold in coconut, almonds, and raisins.
Pour into the 9x13 pan.
Bake for 55 minutes. I checked mine at 45 minutes. Test the cake by inserting a knife or toothpick into the center of the cake. If it comes out clean, it's ready to go.
Cool completely.

Cream Cheese Frosting
In your stand mixer or with your electric beaters, combine the butter and cream cheese. 
Add the vanilla extract and 1 cup of powdered sugar.
Mix. When it's combined, add another cup of powdered sugar. 
Repeat until all the powdered sugar is incorporated. 
Then beat on medium for two minutes or until light and fluffy. 
Slather this on top of your carrot cake after the cake has completely cooled and store in the refrigerator.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Harvest Salad at Smashburger

Last week we went to Smashburger located in Hazard Center. We chose it because it's next to a Yogurtland, one of our favorite places to grab dessert. Anyway, I just had to share this salad with you. It was delicious. It's called a Harvest Salad. It's a big bowl of mixed greens topped with sunflower and pumpkin seeds, blue cheese, tomatoes, raisins, and a balsamic vinaigrette dressing. I added avocado. I loved those seeds. DELISH! I'll be ordering it again.

Terra American Bistro

Last month Fox 5 Morning News aired a special on restaurants in East County San Diego. One of the places highlighted was Terra. It's a farm to table kind of place with ingredients that are carefully selected by their chef/owner, Jeff Rossman. Anything farm to table gets my attention.  
L to R clockwise: fish tacos, bistro skillet fries, BBQ ribs, and lobster mac n cheese

I'm so glad we went because everything we ordered was delicious. For our appetizer we shared the fish tacos. On the menu, it lists white jalapeno sauce as one of the condiments. It's delicious and we'll be getting those again.
 My friend ordered the bistro skillet fries for her entree. They are hand cut fries topped with truffle oil, pulled bbq pork rib, and jack and asiago cheeses. 
I ordered the Thursday night special which was St. Louis style baby back ribs. They fall right off the bone and melt in your mouth. My friend's husband ordered them too and he was describing the sauce as he was eating. "First it's sweet, now it's spicy, now sweet again." I'd say that was accurate. They also come with a great cheesy tomato pasta and corn on the cob. 
The server recommended the lobster mac and cheese. My husband was happy he took her advice. They load up the plate with lobster and use very flavor cheeses, brie, jack, and asiago. And to add a bit of freshness, you also get market vegetables. 

Mmm mmm mmm... we left very happy and very full. I can't wait to go back. I think I'm either going to order the pot roast or the hamburger. Or maybe we'll go back for brunch. They do have lobster cobb on that menu. Hmm, so many good choices. 

Check out their menu online and decide what you're going to have when you go. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Doughnut Muffins

In my last post I mentioned having a doughnut week on The Good Life. I thought that if I declared a theme, I'd get all creative and be forced to blog. The thing is, I came across some great ideas out in the blogisphere but then I couldn't find the necessary doughnut pan to make the recipe or some other hiccup would occur. So I did what I do best, I made due with what I have. I have muffin tins. :)

I was pretty pleased with the idea of a doughnut muffin. Muffins are a cinch to make and doughnuts are delicious. Combining them seemed like a good idea. I found that if a doughnut and a muffin had a baby, this is what you'd get. This doughnut muffin is a sugary, vanilla, cinnamon delight. If you can, serve these guys warm, so much better. This recipe was adapted from Baking Bites.

3/4 cup sugar
1 egg
1 1/2 cups flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1/4 cup vegetable oil
3/4 cup milk
1 tbsp vanilla extract

For rolling the donuts:
1/2 cup sugar
1 tbsp ground cinnamon

Preheat oven to 350. Line muffin tins with 12 baking papers or use a silicon muffin tin with no paper.
Whisk together egg and sugar.
Combine flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon in a separate bowl.
Add those dry ingredients into the egg and sugar.
Add oil, milk, and vanilla.
Lightly mix until its combined. Muffin batters should not be over worked or they won't rise.
Divide batter evenly and fill about 3/4 of the way.
Bake for 15 minutes. Make sure to test one of the muffins to see if it's done.
Dust or roll the muffins in the sugar and cinnamon. The muffins should be moist enough from the oil to keep that sugar mixture on. If they aren't, you can brush with a little melted butter.

Monday, May 14, 2012

Bourbon Chocolate Cupcakes

This was supposed to be doughnut week for The Good Life. I've been pinning recipes the last couple of days in order to get my creative juices flowing. I even went shopping today for fun and interesting doughnut ingredients.

What happened? While I was putting away my groceries, I saw leftover chocolate cake batter and chocolate bourbon balls staring at me. I knew what I had to do, bourbon chocolate cupcakes. And boy am I glad I did. The cupcakes baked up very moist and the candy disappeared into the cake leaving only the delicious bourbon flavor and added chocolate. 
Yield Makes 24  

  • Your favorite chocolate boxed cake mix (or you can make yours from scratch, whatever makes you happiest.)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/4 cup cold coffee
  • 1/2 cup veggie oil
  • 2/3 cup of sour cream
  • 12 bourbon ball chocolate candies cut into halves and pecan removed. Buy them or make them.
  • 1 cup dark chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup of warm milk (put in the microwave for 20 seconds.)
  • 1//4 cup chopped peanuts
My sweet mother in law brought these back from the Kentucky Derby.
Remove the pecan and cut in half.

  • Mix together eggs, coffee, oil, and sour cream. 
  • Add in the chocolate cake mix and stir until thoroughly blended. Or if you're using an electric mixer, mix on medium for two minutes. That should be fine. 
  • Line cupcake pans with those little papers. 
  • Divide batter evenly into cupcake pans.
  • Push one half of a bourbon ball into each cupcake. It'll stick out but that's ok. It's going to bake down.
  • Bake at 325 for 24 minutes but check them at 20. They will look a little wet. They should be firm though.
  • Let cakes cool for 20 minutes.
  • Add the warm milk to the chocolate chips and stir. If the ganache needs warming, put it in the microwave for 10 seconds at a time till it's smooth.
  • Frost the cooled cupcakes with the ganache.
  • Sprinkle with peanuts.
I brought my cupcake outside for its portrait because the natural light in my house is awful.

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Breakfast, Boozy Movie Goin', and Beer

I've been meaning to share with you about the great day I had last weekend. Last Saturday started with breakfast with my BF Jill. We went to the Naked Cafe in Carlsbad. Thank you Yelp for the suggestion. Our food was fantastic and the al fresco dining was lovely. I ordered the pesto scramble, four egg whites, pesto, green onion, and tomato served with a side of baby organic greens. It was very fresh tasting. 
my yummy breakfast.
Next we drove south a bit to La Costa to check out the new Cinepolis. From start to finish, the experience here was luxurious. The lobby was beautifully designed. You'll have to check it out if you haven't already. What makes this theater so unique is the food and drinks that you can enjoy before and DURING your movie. For you 21 and uppers, that means booze! Certain movies and showtimes allow alcohol during the movie. 
That's me reclining all the way back while my order is being taken. Hess Chardonnay please!
I know I know. It seems like a full day already. However, I had it in me to go out on the town later that evening. The Mr. and I along with two other couples went to this place called Dragon's Den. It's located in East Village across from Petco Park. The selling point of Dragon's Den are the pour your own draft beer tables. Our table had Shock Top and Bud Light. Pretty cool!

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Taste of Hillcrest 2012

The Mr. and I found ourselves at another Taste of event. This time it was Taste of Hillcrest. We had some outstanding food and alcoholic beverages worthy of The Good Life.
I made a serious attempt to photograph everything. I even photographed signs for brunches that served bottomless mimosas. That's important information.  

Clockwise from top left: pheasant sausage and polenta from Tractor Room, tostada from Brazen BBQ, boeuf bourguignon and chocolate mousse from Au Revoir, and a miso chicken wing from Empire House.

burrito from Freebirds World Burrito
Bombay served drinks and a good size buffet in their Sapphire Room
Thank you Bread and Cie for the coconut macaroon and Pinkberry for the lychee yogurt topped with mangoes. 
Oretga's has bottomless mimosas with their brunch.
Huapango's also offers bottomless mimosas and sangria with brunch. Nice!