Monday, November 28

pixiebell on Etsy Knit Pixie Hats



Shop TODAY for Cyber Monday and receive Free Shipping {even to San Diego} on hats from pixiebell.  These are adorable, very cute, and it doesn't hurt that the photos are also beautiful and enchanting.

I know I would be charmed to receive one.  Wouldn't you?  Maybe someone you know?

My favorite?:





-Becky Charms

Sunday, November 27

Holiday Spirit with Swanky Slogans at Starbucks

Instant Holiday Cheeriness
 I love this Holiday/Christmas season!  Have a Swanky Slogan kind of day at Starbucks. 

Tip: Skinny Peppermint Mocha is a great choice for WW {Weight Watchers} and is my current personal fave!!
 

-Becky Charms

Cottage Food Law in California Petition




"Hi everyone,

I just signed the petition "California State Legislature: Enact a Cottage Food Law in California" and wanted to see if you could help by adding your name.

Our goal is to reach 2,500 signatures and we need more support. You can read more and sign the petition here:

http://www.change.org/petitions/california-state-legislature-enact-a-cottage-food-law-in-california

Thanks!"




{Taken directly from the website: http://www.change.org/petitions/california-state-legislature-enact-a-cottage-food-law-in-california"
Why This Is Important
We wish to express our support for the passage of a Cottage Food Law Bill in California. Currently, it is illegal for people to sell foods not produced in a certified commercial kitchen. A Cottage Food Law would enable individuals to sell homemade “non-potentially hazardous foods,” meaning foods that do not require refrigeration, such as baked goods, jams, granola, roasted coffee, and dry nut, herb and tea blends.
Cottage food laws, which exist in 28 other U.S. states and in every region of the country, open up a new realm of possibility for small-scale enterprise and localized food production. Such laws allow new entrepreneurs to develop a customer base, test the marketability of their products, and earn income. Removing the significant financial and logistical barrier of having a commercial kitchen makes starting one’s own community-based food business more feasible for a greater number of people. It also gives consumers access to a greater variety of home-cooked, artisanal, and locally-produced foods. Cottage food laws also make bake sales legal.
We wish to see a Cottage Food Law in California that has minimal licensing and inspection requirements for small-scale cottage food entrepreneurs, and which allows producers to sell directly to consumers, as well as to restaurants and grocery markets.
Given the large and growing “eat local” movement in California and the environmental and economic benefits of local-community-based food production resources, a Cottage Food Law is long overdue in California.

Allow us to make our own decisions!!

{please leave a comment when you sign the petition!}



-Becky Charms

Thursday, November 24

Black Friday Starts NOW!!

It's time...the time is NOW!!  That's right, Target opens in 28 minutes and I'm headed out on my way to pick up my mom, and together with our long scarves and leg warmers, are going to fight through the crowds to look for fantastic deals and steals! 

Tip:  Starbucks in Target at Plaza Bonita, National City opens up at Midnight!!

Soon-to-be caffeinated and ready to SHOP!!

See you soon!

-Becky Charms

A Day of Thanksgiving 2011


 We wish you a day full of blessings and gratefulness.  Happy Thanksgiving!! Let's keep this feeling throughout the entire year, continuing to spread the love and share the kindness.

-Becky Charms

Tuesday, November 22

The Human Baker from King Arthur Flour

 


Baking is a craft, an art form.  Do what you love, and don't ever discredit yourself because you feel it's an unworthy profession.  Bakers are talented.  Hearts to King Arthur Flour for their dedication, work ethic, and quality control.  I'm charmed.  Baguettes, anyone?

-Becky Charms

Banana Walnut Pancakes for Breakfast


It was a cold morning, like it has been lately in San Diego, and I have been craving pancakes.  The issue I have with ordering them from a restaurant is...well...I know I can make better ones at home!  But we typically do not eat them due to the fact that they are not that beneficial healthwise.  I wanted to change that, and so began my search for some delicious pancakes loaded with healthful ingredients that would fill us up without leaving us empty. 
I Googled "Banana Walnut Pancakes", because those were the ingredients I had on hand, and this is the recipe that I chose.  I made a few of my own adaptations which you can find here.

 
 
 Prepare your mise en place.  Get all your ingredients together, and begin.

 
 
 Secret: For a more attractive and presentable look, sift your walnuts after chopping them.  It gets rid of the powder.  However, if you do not mind it, feel free to add it as-is to the mix.

 

 Mix all dry ingredients together and then add the chopped and sifted walnuts. 

 

 You can mash the bananas with a fork, a pastry blender, or your fingers!  It all depends on how messy you feel like getting.  This would actually be a great "job" for any of your tiny chefs. 

 

Man, am I glad I added this!  The original recipe from Saveur.com did not call for vanilla.  But I figured this would be missing.  The vanilla complemented the banana and walnuts perfectly!


 

Carefully flip over and cook a few more minutes until done.  Add to plate of pancakes and start getting your plate ready!


 

 Perfectly fluffy in every possible way.

 

Delicious and ready to be enjoyed with your favorite buttery spread and sweet syrup, or with a simple sprinkle of delicate and powdery icing sugar.

For a Printable Copy of the Recipe, click here.

Banana Walnut Pancakes

As adapted from: http://www.saveur.com/article/Recipes/Banana-Nut-Pancakes



Regular Size = 2 Pts+ {WW unofficial} {I added the ingredients to the Recipe Builder at WW.com...but omitted the banana because bananas are free, however if you add them to your recipe, they increase the pts+ value...my bananas are FREE}

MAKES 10 Regular Size Pancakes {1/4 C batter}
MAKES 40 Tiny Size Pancakes {1 T batter}
** Or mix and match

Many banana pancake recipes call for slices of fruit.  This one incorporates the mashed banana into the batter. 
1 1⁄4 C sifted all-purpose flour {I used King Arthur Flour}
1 T. baking powder
1 T. sugar
1⁄4 cup chopped shelled walnuts
2 very ripe bananas, peeled
1 egg
1 1⁄4 C buttermilk {if you don't have any, pour 1 T of white vinegar into a 1 C measuring cup, and fill rest with milk. Let sit for 5 minutes} {I had/used 1% milk}
2 T. Bummel & Brown {could be omitted altogether}

1. Sift together flour, baking powder, and sugar into a large bowl. Add walnuts and set aside {when chopping walnuts, sift afterward before adding to your recipe for a more professional look}. Using a fork, mash bananas in a medium bowl to a lumpy paste. Whisk in egg, buttermilk, and 2 T. of the butter/margarine, then add to flour mixture, whisking until well combined. Set batter aside to rest for 10 minutes.
2. Coat a large skillet with nonstick spray, or blot a paper towel with vegetable oil and swipe across the pan {before and after every pancake} and heat over medium heat. Make 2–3 pancakes at a time by ladling about 1⁄4 cup {or 1 T} of the batter for each pancake into skillet, keeping about 4" between pancakes. Cook until bubbles form on tops of pancakes and bottoms turn golden, 1 1⁄2–2 minutes. Flip pancakes and continue cooking until bottom is golden and center is cooked through, about 2 minutes more.
3. Repeat process with the remaining batter.  Serve with softened butter and maple syrup, if you like...these are also delicious with a light sprinkling of powdered sugar.

Tip:  The tiny pancakes actually cooked better for me.  The larger ones were still a bit gooey inside, but delicious just the same.

For a Printable Copy of the Recipe, click here

-Becky Charms

Sunday, November 20

Starbucks Holiday Drinks in San Diego



Today is the LAST day for this amazing Starbucks promotion!!  This kind of deal is a rarity, so run as fast as you can to your nearest Starbucks, today, between 2 and 5 pm to score a free holiday beverage {ANY SIZE} with the purchase of one.  They're pretty much on every corner, so you shouldn't have trouble finding one.  The free holiday drink can be different from the one purchased...meaning, you don't have to order 2 of the same.  Maybe you already have your regular that you get, and have been wanting to venture out and try one of the other choices.  DO IT.  DO IT TODAY!! {You do NOT need a coupon for this deal} 

Tip::  The Iced Nonfat Gingerbread Latte was pretty much nothing less than disgusting.  {of course you may love it...which is fine}
 
My personal fave lately has been the Skinny Peppermint Mocha {WW pts+ = tall{2} grande{3} venti{4}...but when you double tallx2{5} grandex2{6} ventix2{8}...

This means that I order 2 grande Skinny Peppermint Mochas, and drink them both...because it's only 1 more WW pts+ value than 2 talls...that's a no-brainer!!

-Becky Charms

Starry Eggs & Toast

 

I know I grew up being told NOT to play with my food, what about you?  My best friend from childhood and I would spend more time at lunchtime laughing than eating.  Her dad would bark at us to pipe down and not waste our food.  Now, speaking from the parental side of the spectrum, I have found myself start to say things like this.  However, because I love so much for my tiny baker to explore and discover, I instantly quiet myself.  She just enjoys playing with her food like none other. 

Another pleasure in her life is surprises {who doesn't like them, right?}.  She receives so much joy when I make or bake her something, so I knew that she would appreciate the efforts I would go to in order to create this simple, yet delightfully delicious and super starry meal.  

I made 2 Starry Egg Toasts, and started with:
  • 2 pieces of bread {these pieces were from a free loaf from Target...Market Pantry brand}
  • 2 eggs {Costco!...but there really is a distinct difference in flavor from Farm fresh eggs...}
  • 1 star cookie cutter {any brand and cutter will work...anything that fits your piece of bread} {I got this from my mom's house...I prefer metal and copper cutters for my cookies, though plastic is kid-friendly!}
  • 2 clementines {we call them tiny/mini oranges}

 

 I whisked my eggs and poured the mixture into the center wells of the bread while it was toasting in the pan.  You could break the whole egg into the star cutout, which I see most people do.  My kidlet won't eat the yolk if she can see it, and there's a satiety factor from eating the entire egg, so I scramble them.  We do eat egg-whites only sometimes too!   

 

I poured a little too much egg into the center of the first egg toast I made.  When it cooked, it overflowed a little over the top of the toast.  The second one I made I decreased the egg and it cooked much faster, plus visually it was much more definable and appealing.

Tip: If you scramble the eggs, you could get away with filling 2 slices of toast with one egg. 


 

Peel and assemble clementine pieces around the plate or bowl, almost to appear like a flower or starburst.  



I love to see happiness and joy on the faces of my friends and family.  This meal didn't particularly take any extra time to prepare.  It's easy, it's fast, and it's been all laid out for you here, so try it next time you want to create a smile for your loved one or yourself!  You'll like eating toast in star shapes too!!

-Becky Charms



Friday, November 18

Holiday Gift Bazaar Shopping & Lunch {11/19}


REMINDER::  
Tomorrow is the Holiday Gift Bazaar, hosted by Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Chula Vista {click here for directions}.  This is a family friendly event that benefits the church and its different missions, at the same time you can get a little {or a lot!} affordable shopping done.  Spread the word!  It's a deliciously fun time, with a plethora of gifts for purchase ranging from edibles to arts and crafts, home decor, and warm cozies.  If you've never been, you'll want to pen it in on your calendar and set the date, this Saturday from 9:00 to 2:00pm.  There's something for everyone and all ages!  
Stay for lunch, which is served between 11:30-1:00pm.  Both Rich's Beef Stew and Suzie's Chicken Salad are personal favorites of mine.  YUM!!
Be sure and stop by the booth for Alaska Mission!  
Let them know how you heard about the Bazaar!!  This is a great way to support the community.  They're a really neat group of people.  See you there, and bring a friend!
If you have any questions, send me a message.
-Becky Charms

Jo-Ann Printable Coupons {11/19 & 11/20}


-Becky Charms

Wednesday, November 16

Holiday Gift Bazaar {11/19}


This Saturday is the Holiday Gift Bazaar, hosted by Pilgrim Lutheran Church in Chula Vista {click here for directions}.  This is a family friendly event that benefits the church and its different missions, at the same time you can get a little {or a lot!} affordable shopping done.  Spread the word!  It's a deliciously fun time, with a plethora of gifts for purchase ranging from edibles to arts and crafts, home decor, and warm cozies.  If you've never been, you'll want to pen it in on your calendar and set the date, this Saturday from 9:00 to 2:00pm.  There's something for everyone and all ages!  

Stay for lunch, which is served between 11:30-1:00pm.  Both Rich's Beef Stew and Suzie's Chicken Salad are personal favorites of mine.  YUM!!

Be sure and stop by the booth for Alaska Mission!  They'll be selling some of Sugarnums {my} delicious cookies to benefit their mission trip.  

Let them know how you heard about the Bazaar!!  This is a great way to support the community.  They're a really neat group of people.  See you there, and bring a friend!

If you have any questions, send me a message.

-Becky Charms

The Enchanted Brownie Patch

 


I am always looking for new ways, better ways to bake No Pudge Brownies to make them even more delicious and healthy, without sacrificing flavor.  In fact, building and adding flavor without added fat or calories is what I strive for.   I had read on King Arthur Flour's website about Espresso Powder and the power of adding it to your chocolate baked goods, so I picked up a jar at Williams-Sonoma and couldn't wait to give it a try.  

While in the mood to bake, as I often am, I decided to bake a batch of No Pudge, a personal favorite of mine, and try the Espresso Powder to see if it really does make a difference.  

I prepared the No Pudge like this:

  • 1 box No Pudge Original
  • 1 tsp Espresso Powder
  • 1 large egg {preferably room temp...mine was cold so I beat it a little before adding it in.}
  • 1/2 C Fage 0% Greek Yogurt {they sell this at Costco!}
  • 1-1 1/2 tsp Nielsen Massey Madagscar Bourbon Pure Vanilla Bean Paste {my all-time favorite!}
  • 1 T milk 1%
Spray pan with nonstick baking spray.  Bake at 350 deg. F for 18-20 min, until tops are springy {but not BURNT}.  

Makes 12 fudgey cakelets.  {I used a pumpkin patch pan from Williams-Sonoma with 12 wells}



Even though it's weigh-in day tomorrow, I had to try my creation...one bite, and it was moist, fudgey, delicious!  I tried them twice!

These would be yummy with the addition of some mint extract for a Holiday flair!
You could also try a dusting of some powdered sugar to look like snowy caps.

-Becky Charms



Tuesday, November 15

Steiff for Christmas




Williams-Sonoma has an exclusive Steiff Fawn this Holiday season, in limited quantities.
Price: $79.95

As listed on their website:

  • Based on a Steiff reindeer pattern from 1910.
  • Stuffed and stitched by hand, each fawn has an expressive face and unique personality.
  • Made of soft, fine mohair.
  • Hand-stitched nose and bead eyes.
  • Felt ear lining.
  • Finished with the signature Steiff ear tag, a “Williams-Sonoma Exclusive” chest badge and a satin ribbon.
  • Available in limited quantities.
  • A Williams-Sonoma exclusive.
  • {They do state that it is NOT intended for children under 6}
Visit Williams-Sonoma now to browse their newest, most fabulous items...

This little Fawn will surprise and delight even the most grown adult.

I LOVE it!  It's on my wishlist, and I bet it will be on yours as well!!

-Becky Charms

Monday, November 14

{EXPIRED}Macy's Coupon $10 off $25 {11/15 & 11/16}

$10 off $25 purchase!!  WOW!!



This is a hot new coupon Macy's Printable PDF Coupon from Macy's.  It's in PDF form and opens with Adobe Reader, and you can print as many as you'd like...so share with friends and family.  {the coupon says "one per customer"...but that could be per day, or per store, or per checkout.}




*$10 off $25 purchase!!  It is valid for Tuesday 11/15 and Wednesday 11/16 until 1PM ONLY, during the biggest sale event of the year!!  This would be great for already marked down merchandise, clearance items, home decorating, and essentials.  With this coupon you can afford to get some Holiday and Christmas shopping out of the way, and pick something up for yourself for all your hard work!  I love it. 


Macy's Printable PDF Coupon






Who will be shopping with me?


*Fine Print::


WEDNESDAY, NOVEMBER 16
PREVIEW DAY TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 15!
MACY’S BIGGEST ONE DAY
SALE OF THE YEAR




$1O OFF  YOUR PURCHASE OF $25 OR MORE
EXTRA SAVINGS ON ALL SALE
& CLEARANCE APPAREL AND SELECT HOME ITEMS!
(EXCEPT SPECIALS & SUPER BUYS)




Excludes: Everyday Values (EDV), specials, super buys, furniture, mattresses, floor coverings, rugs, electrics/electronics, cosmetics/fragrances, gift cards, jewelry trunk shows, previous purchases, special orders, selected licensed depts., special purchases, services, macys.com. Cannot be combined with any savings pass/coupon, extra discount or credit offer, except opening a new Macy’s account. Dollar savings are allocated as discounts off each eligible item, as shown on receipt. When you return an item, you forfeit the savings allocated to that item. This coupon has no cash value and may not be redeemed for cash, used to purchase gift cards or applied as payment or credit to your account. EXTRA SAVINGS $ APPLIED TO REDUCED PRICES. Purchase must be $25 or more, exclusive of tax and delivery fees.
Valid 11/15 OR 11/16/2011 UNTIL 1PM.
LIMIT ONE PER CUSTOMER


-Becky Charms

Saturday, November 12

Mini Heirloom Tomatoes

 


These are my new favorite tomatoes!  Seriously.  They are both delicious and nutritious...and cute!  They are mini heirloom tomatoes, for sale at Sprouts/Henry's for $1.99.  I noticed they have a thicker skin, and don't spoil as quickly.  They are a beautiful addition on top of a green salad, make up their own salad, or just eaten.  They're sweet, and each color has its own unique flavor.  Some containers even come with a bigger greenish tomato that looks just like a mini watermelon, yet still tastes like a tomato.  My personal favorites are the little orange ones, the yellow ones, & the black cherries.  Most likely because they're not as common here as the red tomatoes.





 


 


 


 


 


I mixed some mini tomatoes, diced cheese, olives, red onion, & cooked rotini, with a little italian dressing to make a sort of antipasto salad.  Yum yum. 

I've also been hearing about candied tomatoes...I've seen them on the Food Network and those Challenges shows...I bet these would be delicious prepared in that manner.  

Go pick some up today and try them..ok, maybe not today.  The store might be closed.  How about tomorrow, first thing? 

-Becky Charms










Friday, November 11

Chilly Cocoa



 


I figure around this time of year one would expect to combine the above ingredients and blend together to make a nice, delicious warm beverage to heat up the soul given such harsh Winter conditions.  I live in San Diego.  We don't know the meaning of Winter.  So I had heard rumors of a frozen hot chocolate and decided to make my own, with my favorite items.


 


I followed the directions on the Starbucks Cocoa tin {2 heaping Tablespoons of cocoa, 8oz milk}, and simply added some Benefiber powder {a few teaspoons} and...the magic ingredient...ICE!  Because I have a VitaMix, and highly recommend getting one, it only took me a few seconds to blend up this perfect San Diego Winter Beverage!!  [Side note: The VitaMix has a 2HP motor, so anything with a 1HP will do as well...or any blender that will crush and mix the ice.]

This was a perfect way to share some cocoa with my tiny baker girl, since I didn't have to be afraid that it would be too hot for her.  Brilliant!



  • Garnish with some mint, or even blend some in it to make a chilly mint cocoa. 
  • Add a little peppermint extract or broken up peppermint candy cane to make a peppermint cocoa.
  • Add some espresso or strong brew coffee to make your own chilly mocha! 
  • Add both mint/peppermint and espresso and make a chilly mint/peppermint mocha!
See how easy this is?

-Becky Charms


Sunday, November 6

Hearty Chocolate Chip Cookies



Yesterday in San Diego, we had "cold" weather.  There's no comparing our cold, with say, New York or North Dakota.  But for San Diego, it was cold enough for a scarf and leg warmers. 

Lots of things happened for the first time.  I seared and baked pork chops for the first time [pics to come].  I made homemade applesauce for the first time [pics to come].  I made a complete dinner consisting of the pork chops, applesauce, and roasted butternut squash [pics to come].  And then for dessert, I baked chocolate chip cookies adapting from the recipe found in the Deceptively Delicious cookbook by Jessica Seinfeld! 

Secret ingredient: a can of rinsed and drained chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans.  Incredible.  These cookies were moist, chewy, nutty {without nuts!}, and filling!  I won't reveal how many I've actually eaten over the past 2 days.  Bake them.  You'll know why I've eaten so many.

mise en place - everything in order

tiny baker with the layered mix of flour, oats, baking powder, & salt

garbanzo beans make a nice addition...and snack

here comes the texture and bulk of the cookie

this is her 2nd time baking, and she's hooked

hubby and & broke in the fireplace while cookies were baking.  1st time ever in 3 years!!


 




 For a printable version of the recipe, click here.

Hearty Chocolate Chip Cookies with Garbanzo Beans

This recipe was inspired and adapted from the one published in Deceptively Delicious by Jessica Seinfeld.

-Prep: 20min
-Total: 31-33min

WW 4pts+ each. {with 32 servings. pts+ will be higher with only 24 servings}

Recipe makes 2 dozen {I ended up making 32 cookies}

Ingredients:

  • Nonstick cooking spray {I didn't use this; could also use parchment paper or a Silpat}
  • 1 C firmly packed brown sugar
  • 3/4 C Bummel & Brown butter spread {or other spread. My personal fave is BestLife Buttery Spread, but I didn't have any.}
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 2 t vanilla bean paste {I use Nielsen Massey}
  • 1 16 oz can garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
  • 2 C semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 C white whole wheat flour {I like King Arthur Flour}
  • 1/2 C old-fashioned oats
  • 1 t baking soda
  • 1/4 t sea salt
  1. Preheat oven to 350 deg F. Coat a baking sheet with cooking spray. {I used my Goldtouch nonstick pans from Williams Sonoma without spray}
  2. Mix all dry ingredients together and set aside. {flour, oats, salt, baking powder}
  3. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the sugar and Bummel & Brown until smooth.  Beat in the egg whites and vanilla bean paste, then the garbanzo bean and chocolate chips.   Add dry ingredients, and mix on low speed until a thick dough forms.
  4. Drop the dough by the tablespoonfuls onto the baking sheet, spacing about 2 in apart.  Press gently wit a fork to flatten.  Bake until the cookies are golden brown and just set, 11 to 13 min.  Do not overbake.  Transfer to a rack to cool.
  5. Store in an airtight container for up to 3 days.


-BeckyCharms




Thursday, November 3

Pizza for Breakfast



Why not have pizza for breakfast when it's only WW 7pts+?  One of our favorite meals in this house is pizza... so I was on the lookout for ingredients that would allow me to create a pizza that would be fresh, delicious, FULL OF PEPPERONI, and low enough in points+ that it wouldn't deplete my whole day's and week's worth.  Here it is, and it is yummy!  We have a company here in San Diego called California Baking Co. which makes the Italian Rolls you see pictured below.  They have an unofficial Weight Watchers Points+ value of...1.!!

 

 



I only needed 1/4 C sauce for both slices.   I also used 1 serving of the turkey pepperoni, which is about 17 slices!  A few went in my mouth, the rest on the bread.


I have a Toaster Oven, so I set it to Bake at 400 deg., for about 7-10 min, then switched to Broil for a few min., depending on the crispness and color of the cheese you desire.





 

Oh yeah, time to eat!

Recipe:

Pizza for Breakfast  {or anytime}
7pts+ for both slices [**WW]

1 *CBC Italian Roll {or another long roll with Points+ value of 1}
1/4 C Chunky Ragu Mama's Special Garden Sauce
1oz of Part-Skim Mozzarella 
17 slices of Hormel Turkey Pepperoni

Bake in toaster oven at 400 def. for 8-10 min. Switch from Bake to Broil for a few min. until desired crisp and color is achieved.

Let cool for a min. or so, and Enjoy!
*CBC = California Baking Co.
** WW = Weight Watchers

-Becky Charms




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