Sweet Life Bites Weekly #6

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It’s a Saturday night. 

It’s mid-July. 

I have chocolate. 

Life is good!

Let’s get into SLBW numero seis, shall we? 

Song of the Week: Something I Need by One Republic. I’m not quite sure how this song flew under the radar for so long, considering a) that it came out last summer and b) another song on the album (Counting Stars) has been waaaaaay overplayed…but it had somehow managed to do so, and it came on Pandora during a run recently, and now I love it.❤ Dan Smith’s voice may take first place, but Ryan Tedder’s is a very close second…this song is awesome. You’ll like it.🙂

Food of the Week: Do you ever try to eat apples and peanut butter and then the apples won’t pick up the peanut butter properly and you get too much on one and not enough on the next one and it never quite works out?

No? Just me?

Alrighty then.

Anyways, that always happens to me, unless I melt the peanut butter. And then magic happens. It gets super creamy, and because it’s melted, it coats each slice like a dream–perfect apple-to-peanut butter ratio. I love eating this as a post-run snack or as an easy breakfast before a run. Try it the next time you’re feeling snacky–it’ll change the way you eat peanut butter.😀

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Book of the Week: Counting by 7’s by Holly Goldberg Sloan is a book I am currently in the middle of–and am loving! I was over at my friend Lizzardbacon’s house and we were talking books (like one does), and she brought up this particular book and demanded I read it. (Alright, maybe demanded is a little harsh…you get the point. She really wanted me to read it ;) ) Boy, is it good…but for reasons different than you’d probably think. It isn’t bursting with action, or magic and wizards, or feature an epic romance that ends in tragedy and requires multiple packs of tissues. No, it isn’t any of those. It’s about a girl named Willow who’s a little different than most. Vague as that may be, the story is written in such a way to make you think, and is told from this interesting perspective that is completely young and innocent, but also very wise and with an old-soul kinda vibe. It’s getting interesting, and starts off with a car crash (you know it’s gonna be good when it starts out like that!), so I’m very excited to finish it. Check it out!

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Blog of the WeekJoy the Baker Goodness gracious, have I enjoyed this blog! Even if you’ve only begun to explore the food blog world, you’ll have heard of this particular blog. Joy’s style of writing has me in awe–it’s hilarious, well-written, the perfect length (how???), and overall fabulous. I want to make every single recipe she’s posted, and her pictures, too…:O Can you say gorgeous? Her blog is a foodie’s dream! 

Lippie of the Week: MAC Lipstick in Milan Mode (Lustre). Oh. My. Goodness. This color looks pretty scary in the tube. I know. But the thing about MAC’s lustre finish is that it’s sheer but you can build it up. It’s also shimmery, and I know some of you are probably fervently shaking your heads “no”, but trust me–this is the kind of shimmer that just makes your lips look full and almost glossy. Not metallic in the slightest. And because of the somewhat sheer pigmentation, it really shifts to suit your undertones; while it looks more cooler-toned in the tube, on me, it’s a rather warm-toned fuschia. Gah. I love this! 

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Posts this Week: Just one–these adorable little lemon flower tarts that are irresistible with a capital “I”! The combination of sweet and tangy lemon curd and flaky, buttery pastry is just too good. Lemon lovers, rejoice! :D 

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Weekly Happenings: Alrighty, this is less of a “this weekly happening” and more of a “next weekly happening”. 

What?

Lemme explain. 

So you see that little box in the sidebar to the left? The countdown? 

That countdown is the number of days until SGL 1st birthday. 

Less than a week, people! 

It’s blowing my mind that it’s been a whole year since I started this blog (almost!). Does it feel like it’s been an entire year since SGL got started? Last summer doesn’t feel like it was all that long ago, but when you think about Easter…

Days are long, years are short. :O

Anywho, to wrap up this ramble, I wanna ask if there’s anything you guys want to see (in relation to SGL birthday?). Cupcakes, a cake, pie, a stat compilation, a post recap, etc.

Maybe I’ll do a birthday week and post every day leading up to July 26th! 

Yes? No? Something entirely different?

Leave a comment below–I love hearing from you guys!

Have a great rest of your weekend! :D

Lemon Flower Tarts

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Happy Friday, everybody!

I know, I know, I’ve been lazy this week. My last post was last week’s SLBW, and I’m putting up the next one tomorrow… :O Now, I don’t really have an excuse…but maybe these adorable little tarts will change your mind?

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These sunny little tarts are bursting with lemony goodness encased in a buttery, flaky pastry. They’re pretty darn simple to make, especially if you use store-bought lemon curd and pastry, and the presentation is unbeatable! Bring these to any summer get-together and they are sure to be a hit.🙂

I also made them with one of my best buddies (Anna :D), which is why the set up is a little different–she wasn’t even fazed when I complimented her pretty (and photogenic!) countertop. I mean, have you seen mine? All black and green and grey granite.😉

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Moving on. 

Like I said, you use store bought pastry and lemon curd, and these take no time at all. My friend and I went half way and bought premade pie crusts and made the curd ourselves. I’ll include how to make the curd in the recipe (because believe me when I say you will want to eat it all with a spoon, even if it is a little labor-intensive).😀 And making the little flower pastry cups was simpler than simple–you stamp out your flower shapes with a cookie cutter in the pie crusts, fit ’em in a muffin tin, and bake ’em til they’re golden.😉 Perfection.

lemonflower2I feel like these are the kind of things you would have at a tea party with little finger sandwiches and the like. They’re so…I don’t know, sophisticated-looking! They make me feel fancy.🙂

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Enough rambling from me–let’s get to it!

What you’ll need…

For the pastry:

  • 1 box of premade pie crusts
  • 1 flower-shaped cookie cutter

For the lemon curd***:

  • 3 lemons
  • 1 & 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1/2 c. (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/2 c. lemon juice
  • 1/8 tsp. salt
  1. Preheat oven to 425. Grease a muffin pan and set aside.
  2. Take the lemons and zest all of them, being careful to avoid the white pith.
  3. Roll out the premade pie crust. Stamp out flower shapes in the dough and place inside the muffin tin so that the petals form a little cup-like shape.
  4. Place the pan in the oven for 10-12 minutes, or until the pastry is golden. Set aside to cool.
  5. Taking the lemon zest and sugar, pulse together in a food processor until the zest and sugar are well-combined.
  6. Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter until creamy and then add in the lemon-sugar mixture, beating until combined.
  7. Add in the eggs one at a time, followed by the lemon juice and salt. Beat until everything is smooth.
  8. Pour the mixture in a medium-sized saucepan. Cook over low heat for 15-20 minutes, or until mixture is translucent and thick, stirring constantly.
  9. Once the lemon curd reaches the desired texture, remove from heat and allow to cool. Spoon about a tablespoon into the center of each pastry cup. Top with powdered sugar.
  10. Enjoy!😀

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***Feel free to use store-bought lemon curd in place of what’s listed. If you choose to, skip steps 5-8. 

Original lemon curd recipe here

 

 

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Sweet Life Bites Weekly #5

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Oh, who doesn’t love a rainy Saturday?

Me!

I guess it’s good blogging weather and all that…but still…;)

Let’s get into the fifth edition of SLBW!

Song of the Week: Weight of Living Pt. 1 (Albatross) by Bastille. C’mon, you knew they were going to come back! I was pretty heavily obsessed with this song back in April, and it came on my playlist the other day and I fell right back in love with it.❤ Gosh, if Dan Smith (the leader singer in Bastille) could sing me the phone book, it would probably be a favorite song of mine. Something about his voice is just so darn perfect! And this song, too–it’s based on a poem by Samuel Coleridge called The Rime of the Ancient Mariner, which is a pretty heavy poem to be made into such an amazing song. I feel like all of Bastille’s lyrics are so far above all of the run-of-the-mill pop lyrics in most songs–yet another reason why I can’t get enough of this band! Enough rambling from me. Listen to the song!😀

Food of the Week: Carnitas. We had carnitas for dinner last Sunday, and I have been enjoying the leftovers all week. It’s my sister’s absolute favorite food (aside from bacon, of course!), and for good reason, too! For those of you who are wondering what the heck carnitas are, it’s pork shoulder that’s been shredded and cooked in the oven for a couple of hours until it gets all tender and nice and crispy. You eat it in a tortilla like a taco. My grandma is from Mexico, so when we do Mexican food, it’s legit–no Taco Bell here! I’ve been eating the leftover meat in wraps for lunch these past couple of days. Goodness, it’s delicious!  :D

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Image here

Book of the Week: Skink No Surrender by Carl Hiaasen. This book is one that I whipped through in one day–it’s one of those books where you just want to know how it ends! The book is centered around this 14-year-old kid named Richard, who’s rebellious cousin has run away again, this time with a guy she met online, under the premise that she was going to early orientation for a boarding school. When the police are unable to find where she’s gone, Richard and this man he’s met named Skink (hence the title) go off to find her. I guess Skink has appeared in other books by the author, and he is an..erm…interesting character.😉  This “old fart”, as he’s called in the book, is an veteran-turned-governor-turned-homeless man-turned part-time wildlife conservationist who clips buzzard beaks to his beard and wears a shower cap at all times and is supposedly dead. Anyway, he helps Richard track down his cousin and…I won’t spoil any more! The book has a really good pace, just fast enough to make you feel like you can’t put the book down but not so fast that you can predict the ending 20 pages in. It was really good. If you see it, I definitely recommend checking it out!

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Blog of the Week: Maskcara When I open my Bloglovin and see that a new post from Maskcara is up, it’s the almost always the first one I click on–I love her posts. It’s another beauty blog, I know–you’re just gonna have to get used to that.🙂 Although, not every single post of hers is beauty related. Her Friday Favorites are some of my favorite posts to read, and her other posts are super helpful when it comes to makeup, too! It’s an adorable blog, totally worth checking out.😀

Lippie of the Week: Goodness, I have fallen in love with the Clinique Chubby Stick in #13, “Mighty Mimosa”. It is the most beautiful corally-pink shade you will ever find, plus the most comfortable formula on the planet. It makes your lips look so smooth and even. It’s got a bit of shimmer to make it shiny without being metallic or gritty, and the shade is just so flattering on absolutely everyone. Gah. Do yourself a favor and at least try it on the next time you’re in Sephora (or Ulta, or Bluemercury, or whatever!🙂 ). And when you do, you will understand my love of this particular lippie.❤

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Posts this Week: Just one little post (Cinnamon BlueberryMini Muffins), but it’s an adorable one at that. I’ve eaten two of these muffins for breakfast before a run every morning. Just perfect.🙂

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Weekly Happenings (A.K.A. random video time!): Alrighty, so this week has been rather uneventful, but I do have quite the video to share with you, if you haven’t seen this already. My friend Lizzardbacon (y’know, the one who introduced me to puppy chow?) texted me the other day telling me to look up this video she’d seen, called “29 Celebrity Impression, 1 Original Song”. I didn’t expect much, but when I went to watch it…it is mind-blowing! This guy is spot-on with every impression he does (even Britney Spears!). Everyone I’ve shown it to has had the same blown-away reaction. It helps that the song is very catchy, too! Although, I do wonder how long it took for this guy to come up with all of these impressions–with over 7 millions YouTube views already, I guess it was worth it!

Take 3 minutes and 38 seconds out of your day to watch this. Trust me. It’s worth the watch!

Have a good week, guys!😀

Cinnamon Blueberry Mini Muffins

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You know what these are?

No?

Well, I’ll tell you.

They’re little muffins of adorableness and blueberries and cinnamon.😀

Don’t agree?

Just look at them. All golden and spotted with blueberries and a smattering of cinnamon. They’re sweet and moist with a touch of vanilla that are irresistible with a capital “i”.

 

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Remember this fruit salad that I made for the 4th? Well, I still had some blueberries leftover, and they were giving me the evil eye every time I’d open the fridge (y’know, if fruit can give you the evil eye…). And today after my run I was craving some kind of carb-y, fruity treat, but not something particularly unhealthy…

And thus, cinnamon blueberry mini muffins!

😀

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Each bite-sized muffin is sweet and crumbly, with a splash of vanilla and cinnamon and positively bursting with blueberries. And the best part is, it took me all of half an hour to make these, start-to-finish. No cooling time (do you cool muffins? I prefer them warm🙂 ), no absurd ingredients; just pure, unadulterated muffiny goodness.

To make them, you start with milk, apple cider vinegar, vegetable oil, and vanilla. You whisk all of those together in a bowl and let them be for a good ten minutes. Why? Because they need to mingle and sit together. Magic needs to happen. 

While they’re mingling, you’ll take another bowl and stir together flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and sugar. You’ll then pour wet into dry and stir until juuuuuuust combined–you don’t want hard little muffins, do you?

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And finally, you’ll oh-so-delicately fold in the blueberries, being careful not to break them and turn the batter purple. You can then spoon them into a mini-muffin pan and stick ’em in the oven for 8-10 minutes.

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They’re so…perfect!

Let us take a moment to appreciate these little muffins (and the fact that they clock in at roughly 80 calories per muffin.)

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Perfection.😉

Let’s get to it, shall we?

What you’ll need…

  • 1/2 c. milk of choice (I used 2%)
  • 2 tbsp. apple cider vinegar
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp. vegetable oil
  • 1 c. all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp. salt
  • 1/4 c. granulated sugar
  • 3/4 c. blueberries (fresh or frozen & thawed)
  1. Preheat oven to 350 and grease a mini muffin tin. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl, whisk together the milk, apple cider vinegar, vanilla, and vegetable oil. Set aside and let sit for at least ten minutes.
  3. In a medium-sized bowl, stir together the flour, cinnamon, baking powder, and salt. Add wet into dry and stir until *just* combined.
  4. Gently fold in blueberries, being careful not to break the berries and turn the batter purple.
  5. Spoon into muffin tin and bake for 10-12 minutes.
  6. Enjoy!

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Original recipe here

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Sweet Life Bites Weekly #4

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Goooooooooood morning! 

Time for yet another edition of Sweet Life Bites Weekly! Shall we?😉

Song of the Week: I have two songs this week, but they’re both by the same artist, so I’m allowing it. It’s my blog, after all…anyway, the songs are “Willow” and “Drop Your Guard”, both by Jasmine Thompson. This girl’s voice gives me chills! And these songs are so beautiful in their own ways that I couldn’t just choose one…*sigh*. She’s got a YouTube channel where she posts covers and original songs alike, and you can buy them on iTunes, Amazon, and Google Play, too. I’ve listened to both of these songs on repeat for the last week! Please. Just listen!🙂

Food of the Week: These bad boys…otherwise known as peanut butter cup cheesecake bars. I’ve made these twice since I posted them last week! The first time they were for a graduation party we were going to. I set them out on the food table (mind you, the recipe makes around 20 bars!), and within ten minutes they were gone. Not even a graham crackery crumb left. :O I also made them again for the little 4th of July gathering we had yesterday. I didn’t have heavy cream when I was making the ganache, so they were a little on the soupy side, but it was still all anybody could talk about when the desserts came out.😀 Success! Please make them. You will most definitely not regret it. Although your waistline might.😉

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Book of the Week: This week’s book I’ve actually read😉. And for the record, I finished Ruin and Rising (last week’s book) within a matter of hours after posting–and it was amazing! So there.🙂 The book for this week is Let’s Get Lost by Adi Alsaid, and it is something special, lemme tell ya. This book is about this teenage girl named Leila, who’s driving north on this big roadtrip to see the Northern Lights, and on the way there, she meets these kids. Erm, teenagers. Whatever. Each are completely different, with their own backgrounds and problems and lives, but the thing that ties them together is this girl named Leila, who tends to crash (in one case, literally) into their lives in her bright red car. It’s told in a series of parts, and you’re given a little back story to each character before Leila comes crashing in. And when she does, for no reason at all, she’ll help them, each in different ways. She always leaves these kids better than when she found them. In the book, she seems like such an old soul, like someone who’s got her life figured out and her head screwed on straight, although you never hear much about her home life or specifically why she’s driving north, until the final part of the book where it’s about her. And then (spoiler alert) you realize that she’s got no memories of her past, she doesn’t know who she is, and the Northern Lights were a scrap of memory she hoped would trigger more. You’ll have to read the book to hear her story, but I’ll tell you a bit about the end, which is one of the sweetest I’ve ever read. It has to do with her aunt smiling at Leila (which is the exact same way her mother used to smile at her :’) ), and one of the boys she helped coming back to find her.😀 It was such a good book. Please read it.

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Blog of the Week: Gal Meets Glam I love this blog! If you haven’t heard of it, a girl named Julia Engel runs it, and she posts these amazing pictures of the outfits she wears a couple of times a week. Let me tell you, there are no sweat pants and Uggs here! Be it a breezy blouse she wears while in Cabo or a festive dress for the 4th of July, every outfit is just plain fabulous. If you’re a fashion junkie, a beauty junkie, or simply in need of some outfit inspiration (all three of which I am guilty of!), you will definitely enjoy this blog.

Lippie of the Week: The Trish McEvoy Beauty Booster SPF 15 Lip Gloss in “Brightening Pink”. It’s a mouthful–what is it with these product names?🙂 I’ve really enjoyed just having this particular gloss in my bag. It’s just enough color to perk up your complexion without being overwhelming and feels super-duper comfortable. It’s even pretty hydrating! I’ve also liked topping other lipsticks with this to add a bit of glossiness.❤ Oh, lip products. What would I do without you?🙂 (Sorry for the teeny picture. It’s all I could find!)

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Posts this Week: Two very patriotic recipes were posted this week, on the same day, too! These Patriotic Jello Cups and this Patriotic Fruit Salad. I know the 4th was yesterday, but you could probably make either of these for Memorial Day, Veterans Day, or Flag Day.🙂 Check ’em out!

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Weekly Happenings: I feel like time goes at different speeds. Sometimes I feel like I’m trudging through molasses while everyday feels like an eternity. Sometimes, it moves at a comfortable pace.

And then there are times like now, where I feel like I’m barely keeping up! Gah!

This is my fourth edition of SLBW. Fourth. That means I’ve been doing these for almost a month. :O I’ve started to tell time by when I have to start planning these posts–is that weird?🙂

This past couple of days I’ve been rushing around the kitchen with a whisk and a camera at the ready, trying to both bake and photograph the recipes for the 4th of July. I made an entire cake (waaaay too hard to frost. Trust me, stick to cupcakes!), cheesecake bars, the jello cups, and a fruit salad. Funny story about the cheesecake bars. See, when I was making the ganache, I thought I was set on heavy cream–I mean, we had three, count ’em, three jugs of it in the fridge.

All of them were spoiled.

So many chunks…*shudders*.

I don’t know how. I mean, one of them expired on May 30th…but the other two were supposed to be good until July 6th and 17th! What?

So I ended up having to use 2% milk, which didn’t set right, which in turn made for some slightly-soupy-albeit-delicious cheesecake bars.😀 We still ate ’em. They were still fabulous.

Moral of the story: always check to make sure your heavy cream is not, in fact, curdled, despite what the expiration date says.😉

That was this week’s edition of SLWB! I hope you enjoyed!😀

Patriotic Fruit Salad

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What?

Two recipes in one day?

Indeed!

Happy Fourth of July, everybody!😀

This particular treat is even simpler than the Patriotic Jello Cups.

Well…I guess you do have to deal with big, scary knives to cut up the fruit…but that’s about it. No baking, no stove, no microwave needed. And for the adorable (and healthy!) result you get, it’s worth it!

You’re pretty much taking some watermelon, pears, and blueberries and arranging them on a large platter to look like a flag.🙂

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This is a small watermelon, by the way. You’ll start with this, cut it up into small, vaguely square shapes, and arrange them in a row on a platter.

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Then, you’ll take some pears (or apples, or bananas–any fruit that is white enough to act as the white stripe)…

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(We got a big ol’ bag of pears at Costco. Score!😉 )

Slice 1-2 pears per row, and arrange them underneath the watermelon.

fruitflag4And keep on doing this until you reach the bottom of the platter.🙂

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Once you do this, you’ll take a square-shaped bowl–or you can just move the other fruit around until you’ve got a blank square in the upper-left corner on the platter. Blueberries will go here (a favorite fruit of mine!).😀

fruitflag9And there you have it! The most patriotic fruit salad you’ll ever see.😉

Let’s get to it, shall we?

What you’ll need…

  • 1 small watermelon
  • 5-6 pears
  • 1 large platter
  • 1 small, square bowl
    1. Start by slicing up the watermelon into cubes. Arrange them in a row at the top of the platter.
    2. Follow up with the pears, slicing 1-2 per row and arranging them beneath the watermelon.
    3. Continue layering until you reach the bottom of the platter.
    4. Using the square bowl, or clearing a space in the upper-left corner, place the blueberries there.
    5. Enjoy!

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Patriotic Jello Cups

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Happy Fourth of July!

Although…

Is it weirding anybody else out that the Fourth of July is tomorrow?

Next week they’re probably going to start playing school supplies commercials and having back-t0-school sales.

I’m not ready yet! :O

I can comfort myself with the thought that there’s still a solid month of summer left.

Only 30 days…

Alright, maybe I’m not so good at comforting myself. Moving on. 

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Blue raspberry Jello is layered with a healthy serving of Cool Whip and then topped with a ring of juicy sliced strawberries. Yum!

I have to be honest, the smell of that blue jello was like a slap in the face from my six-year-old self.😉 I hadn’t made jello or bought it in a while, and that potent blue-raspberry smell wafting from the packet was very reminiscent of kindergarten lunch treats!

Still…how could I say no to blue jello? Especially when they’re this cute and flippin’ perfect for the 4th of July!

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We usually have a little get-together with family on the 4th, which often means a lot of little cousins running around. Blue Jello + Cool Whip + strawberries = a little kid’s dream!😀 Plus, they won’t melt in the heat.

As far as assembling these, it’s pretty dang simple. You don’t even have to turn on your oven! All you gotta do is make up your blue Jello…

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…pour about a half cup into a clear plastic cup (if you don’t use clear cups, you lose out on 75% of the cuteness!)…

…pop ’em in the fridge for, oh, four hours or so, until they’re firm and jiggly…

…top them with a dollop of Cool Whip and a ring of sliced strawberries…

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And voila! An adorably patriotic treat perfect for the 4th of July!

Let’s get to it, shall we?

What you’ll need… (this batch makes around eight, so double or even triple the recipe if you need more)

  • 1 package of blue raspberry Jello
  • 1 tub of Cool Whip
  • 8-9 strawberries, sliced
  • Clear plastic cups
    1. Make up your Jello following the directions on the box. Pour about half a cup of the mixture into each clear plastic cup.
    2. Place in the fridge and chill until firm and wobbly.
    3. Top with a generous spoonful of Cool Whip. Add sliced strawberries on top of the Cool Whip.
    4. Enjoy!

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Sweet Life Bites Weekly #3

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Good morning!😀

This week’s addition of SLBW is coming to you bright & early!

Why, you ask?

Because in a short time, my family and I will be setting off to meet up with some relatives, cousins and the like. Sort of a weekend trip, you might say. I’m excited to see them, though, because they’re the side of the family we don’t see a whole lot of, so when we do, there’s a lot of catching up to do. As in, we probably will talk non-stop the entire time we’re with them.🙂

Enough of a preface, I’d say–let’s get into it! 

Song of the Week: All I Want by Kodaline. (See? I told you there’d be some variety!😉 ) I was browsing through the top charts on iTunes the other night, looking for new songs, when I stumbled across the TFIOS movie soundtrack. And I started listening, even though the description of the soundtrack calls it a tear-jerker. Good job, Grace. This song just…it pulls at your heartstrings! It’s a little different, but I think it’s beautiful. (My dad called it whiny😉 ).

Food of the Week: A bowl of fresh fruit & granola for breakfast. I don’t know why I feel the need to explain this, but I do, so I will. Since I’ve started really running (as in, 5 days a week–next week’s a recovery week! Woot woot!), I’ve wanted to eat healthier. Not that I was particularly unhealthy before, but I just didn’t want all that running and exercise to go to waste, you know? Summer fruit is the bomb, too, so of course I’m gonna eat a truckload of it before summer’s over. I’ll usually cut up some strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and occasionally some cantaloupe and top it with 1/4 cup of this granola. It’s got protein (great for running) and dark chocolate.🙂 Yes, please!

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Book of the Week: This is a bit of an odd one since I haven’t actually read it yet…but I’m going to, once I get my hands on it! It is the third and final book in the Grisha Trilogy by Leigh Bardugo, Ruin and Rising. I read the first two in the series last year at this time and oh my goodness gracious are they fantastic. There’s these h-u-g-e plot twists that you just don’t see coming, the setting and world is pretty flippin’ fabulous (tzar-punk?), the characters are really developed and deep, and it’s all around an amazing book. Seriously.😀 I need to go to the library!

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Blog of the Week: Jennypurr Yet another beauty blog, I know, I know, but her blog is just fun to read! I love the way she lays out her pictures, her writing is crisp and clean, the content is great–what’s not to like? I stumbled across a blog post the other day on Bloglovin on the “popular posts” page that had virtually no punctuation other than a period with writing that was allllll over the place. It made me appreciate all of the wonderfully written blogs out there, like Jennypurr.🙂

Lipstick of the Week: Neutrogena MoistureSmooth Color Stick in Fresh Papaya. It’s a mouthful of a name, I know, but it’s so easy to wear. The color is a nice shimmery-coral that is pretty much universally flattering, the formula is incredible (I saw a review that described them as the “sweatpants of lip colors”–I agree!), and they smell really good. Yay! And it’s from the drugstore. Woot woot!

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Posts this Week: Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars These are delicious. I saw the recipe on Bakerella on Monday and made them on Thursday. Goodness. Graham cracker crust + cheesecake + chocolate ganache + peanut butter cups = heaven.😀

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Weekly Happenings: We have this storeroom in our basement that is about the size of a small (I mean small) room. And unlike the rest of our basement, it is not finished. We use it to house a bunch of crapola we don’t need cluttering the upstairs, you know, boxes of photos, decorations, spare furniture and the like.

It badly was in need of a deep-cleaning and reorganization.

So that’s what I did this week.

And while I was cleaning I found some…erm…interesting things. Like a box of old art projects that had a paper mache witch mask glaring at me through the plastic. Or a tupperware full of books I didn’t know existed. Maybe a crate three layers deep of old CDs? Or how about seven-year old horse-shaped pinatas giving me the stink eye from the corner? And arguably the weirdest yet, a miniature guillotine.:/

Fun times, right?

That’s been my project this week, and when I’ve not been dealing with all of that, I’ve been running (yesterday morning my average pace for 3.3 miles was 8’41”–my fastest ever!), baking (peanut butter cup cheesecake bars?), and reading lots and lots of posts on Bloglovin. It’s the most-used app on my phone.😉

It’s been a great week so far, and I hope yours has been too!😀

~ Grace

Insta Update!

Hi guys!

I just wanted to let you all know that as of today, SGL is officially on Instagram! I’ve always been a bit wary, but with the help of an amazing aunt, you can now follow me @sweetgraceslife.🙂

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Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake Bars

 

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A sweet graham cracker crust is piled with a generous layer of tangy cheesecake filling studded with peanut butter cups and then topped with a rich, smooth river of chocolate ganache–with yet another peanut butter cup on top!

This recipe makes me weak in the knees. 

Let’s analyze the title to figure out why:

One, I mean, peanut butter cup–that much is a given. Chocolate + peanut butter = *magic*

Two…cheesecake. Please. Just…cheesecake. Of course.😉

And three–it’s in bar-form. This may not seem like much, but putting cheesecake into bar form is like taking a shortcut. No spring-form pan, no having to worry about cracks in your precious cheesecake, yada yada yada. The beauty is in the simplicity.

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And then there’s the parts not mentioned in the title that make these bars so deadly…

Ahem? Did I hear graham cracker crust? Yes, please! Nothing really beats the crumbly, crackery texture and sweet, buttery flavor this adds to the bars.

And then–chocolate ganache? Goodness. I feel so posh saying that I made chocolate ganache. Look at me, I made chocolate ganache. Like that’s the next level up in baking.😀 Plus, I licked that spatula clean. Chocolate chips…and butter…and cream…and more…how have I not made this before?😉

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This is my new favorite picture, by the way.😀

Making these bars was a two-day process, so those who struggle with patience may find it a tad bit hard to wait a whole entire night for these to chill. They took a relatively short amount of time to put together with nothing more extravagant than heavy cream, so, you know, you win some, you lose some.🙂

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These are pretty darn simple to make for the wow result you get. First, you have to take a packet of graham crackers and pulverize it into little crumbs. I did this with a plastic baggie and the heel of my hand, but that hurt, so I wouldn’t recommend it! You could use a bag and a rolling pin, or a food processor. Whichever’s easiest for you!

You’ll then combine it with some melted butter and some granulated sugar. It took all of the willpower in me not to eat it all with a spoon. It just smells divine. 😉

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After you press that mixture into a greased 8×8″ pan, you’ll pop it in the oven for oh, ten minutes or so. While that’s baking, you can cut up the peanut butter cups that will be mixed into the cheesecake batter. Again, it took immense amounts of willpower to not eat all of them (although quite a few went missing…funny, huh?😉 )

Once the graham cracker crust is done baking, you’ll want to let it cool, so once it’s set aside, it’s time to mix up the cheesecake batter!😀

Cream cheese, sugar, sour cream, flour, vanilla, and eggs are beat together (at different times) using a stand mixer. The sliced peanut butter cups are folded in last (ever heard the expression about “saving the best for last”?).

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You will then proceed to spread the beautiful cheesecake batter all over the now-cooled graham cracker crust. Once again, this will go in the oven, but this time for the agonizingly long time of 40 minutes. While these are baking, you’ll want to use the time to clean up any messes, wipe down countertops, make random stop-motion videos on your phone…etcetera, etcetera.😀 The possibilities are endless.

A note: Don’t overbake the cheesecake (hey, it rhymes!). If you do, it will start to get some funky-lookin’ cracks while it cools and won’t be nice. A cheesecake is done when the edges are set and the middle is firm but wobbly.

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Once your cheesecake is done, set it aside to cool–and then you can start making your ganache. Heavy cream and butter are melted in a saucepan and poured over chocolate chips just before the cream & butter start to boil. Once that’s all nice and smooth, two tablespoons of powdered sugar and added into the mix.

And voilapure deliciousness. 

The chocolate melts in your mouth.❤

Once you’ve finished that, you can slice ten more peanut butter cups in half.😀

Once the cheesecake is cooled c o m p l e t e l y, you’ll pour this beautifulness all over the top, and then arrange the sliced peanut butter cups in rows. With the cut side down, it looks cool if you alternate which way each is facing (i.e. up or down).

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And then you’ll stick it in the fridge…

And wait. 

Let it chill for a good twelve hours (overnight) before slicing & serving.😦 I know, I know…😉

Let’s get to it, shall we?

What you’ll need…

For the crust:

  • 1 packet (8 sheets) graham crackers
  • 3 tbsp. granulated sugar
  • 6 tbsp. salted butter

For the cheesecake:

  • 12 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1/2 c. granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg & 1 yolk
  • 1/2 c. sour cream
  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 24 peanut butter cups, chopped

For the ganache:

  • 1/2 c. heavy cream
  • 2 tbsp. butter
  • 3/4 c. semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 2 tbsp. powdered sugar
  • 10 peanut butter cups, sliced in half
  1. Preheat oven to 325. Grease an 8×8″ pan and set aside.
  2. Take the graham crackers and break them into small crumbs using a plastic bag and rolling pin or a food processor. Combine with the sugar.
  3. In a medium bowl, melt the butter in the microwave. Stir in the graham cracker mixture until even and press into greased pan. Pat down using your hands or the bottom of a measuring cup until flat.
  4. Bake the graham cracker crust for 10 minutes.
  5. While the crust is baking, begin the filling. Using a stand mixer and paddle attachment, beat together the cream cheese, sugar, and flour on medium-high speed until smooth.
  6. On a lower speed, add in the egg and egg yolk and mix until combined. Next, add the sour cream and vanilla and beat until even. Slowly fold in the peanut butter cup pieces.
  7. Once the crust has cooled, pour the cream cheese filling on top and smooth out with a rubber spatula. Bake for 30-45 minutes, or until edges are set and the middle is wobbly but firm.
  8. While the cheesecake is cooling, put together the chocolate ganache. Measure out the chocolate chips in a medium-sized heat-proof bowl. Set aside.
  9. In a small saucepan, heat the butter and cream until just boiling. Pour over the chocolate chips and wait a moment before stirring until the mixture is smooth.
  10. Once the cheesecake is completely cooled, pour on the ganache, smoothing with a rubber spatula. Press on the sliced peanut butter cups, cut-side down, in rows.
  11. Place the cheesecake in the fridge and cool for at least 12 hours (overnight) before slicing & serving.
  12. Enjoy!

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Original recipe here.

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