Summer Baking Day!

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Baking has always been a passion of mine. I love the whole process, not just the end result that satisfies my sweet tooth. And to be clear, I really do love dessert. I am not picky and love trying new things. I have always considered chocolate a daily necessity though. It seems to be the one sweet that just satisfies. My chocolate lovers out there, you get me. However there are days I’m in the mood for something else too like something lemony, peanut buttery, or coconuty. If I had to rate my favorite desserts it would most likely be:
1.      Anything chocolate
2.      Cake
3.      Brownies/Cupcakes/Cookies (They all tie for 3rd)
4.      Ice Cream
5.      Mousse/Pudding
6.      Pie
The key to baking is following the recipe and making exact measurements. If it says 2 teaspoons, it's no less and no more! A baking recipe can be completely ruined if you don’t precisely follow the measurements. And I’ve always loved that part about it. Cooking is the opposite because you can be creative and add a little of this or a little of that. 

It’s calming to me to spend time baking, which is why today I had a “baking day.” Basically this is a day I had free of work and commitments so I solely used the day to bake, write, and relax on my front porch at the perfect time in the afternoon when it’s feels sunny and blissful. I have no regrets about dedicating a whole day to run through all my Pinterest recipes and make a mess in the kitchen. This I what I would consider (one of) my perfect days and we are on this earth to enjoy life after all!

Today I woke up around 9:30am. I normally would get up and get going with my morning workout but today I wanted to treat myself and have a rest day (that tbh revolved around food). And around that time I decided it would be a perfect day for baking! I had breakfast of a blackberry Chobani Greek yogurt with some TJ’s granola and then hit my local grocery store (Jewel Osco) for some ingredients. When I got back home I did some laundry and cleaned the kitchen and I already felt like I was having a productive day. I made a nice sandwich for lunch and then started to decide what I would bake. Here are the delicious desserts that consumed most of my day:

#1: Chocolate Banana Muffins

These are absolutely heavenly and moist! I wanted to try half to test and in approx. 1.2 seconds the whole thing was gone... They're a perfect combination of chocolate and banana to satisfy those cravings. Perfect for breakfast or a midday snack.

Since it's summer I put the leftovers in a cute dish. In my house these will probably only last until tomorrow. One of the reasons I can bake so much is because my 3 younger siblings eat my treats up in a snap! I won't even do much of the eating!
Here's the recipe!

#2: Lemon Bars

Who doesnt't like a luscious lemon bar? I was certainly in a 
lemony mood today... 
The Lemon Station 
Right fresh from the oven! (looks like a quiche here)

Added powdered sugar!
Here they are, the finished product! So yummy.
A lemony, tangy , sugary taste! And GF crust too!

#3: Lemon Cookies (Variation 1 & 2). 
On top are the gluten free cookies and on the
bottom are the regualr ones, Look pretty much
the same!

I decided to try 2 different Pinterest lemon cookie recipes, cause why not! One is gluten free and the other is made with all-purpose flour. They both turned out absolutely amazing!
In the process...

Well, it was quite a fun day! Here is me in my apron, happy as a clam. Baking is one of those things I do best and it would be such a privilege to open a bakery someday... I hope I can make that happen!

Check out my Pinterest for recipe ideas and more:

Get these recipes @:
GF Lemon Bars:
GF Cookies:
Reguar Cookies:

Sincerely Yours,

Mikaela S.

Simple Packing Tips!

Monday, June 27, 2016

To BE a world traveler, one must first learn the art of packing.  It truly is an art form since one cannot merely throw clothes in a suitcase and call it a day. It can however be learned. From much trial and error and with friends and family’s advice, I have obtained important packing knowledge that is essential to the art of packing.

#1: The Backpack.
My trusty and fashionable Vera Bradley backpack that has 2
great size compartments, plus a space to hold my laptop.
I’ve been traveling my whole life and instead of a simple purse I’ve always carried a backpack. They hold much more, are easier to travel with, and conveniently have many compartments. Mine also has a special place to hold my laptop which in airport security is very manageable to take in and out. In the front pocket I would have small items that are needed on hand like a pencil and pen, gum, hand sanitizer, tissues, chap stick, earphones, wallet, etc. In the main section I have items to keep me busy like books, important paperwork, a journal, snacks, etc. Additionally, if you have special valuables you’re traveling with like jewelry I keep them in my backpack because it’s with me at all times.

#2: Ziploc Bags.
For all your toiletry and bathroom essentials, use these outside moderation! For anything liquid a gallon size Ziploc bag is the way to go. When taking nail polish, I always double bag. This keeps all the items that could leak in a safe place that won’t ruin anything else in your suitcase. Plus it keeps everything organized.

#3: Rolling.
In order for clothes to fit, you must use the rolling technique. I’m talking about all your shirts, dresses, sweaters, and shorts. Roll them up instead of folding and you will have more space. For jeans and pants I tend to stack these in one place since they are heavy and take up room no matter what you do. If you are like me and love organization, keep specific clothes in garbage bags which you’ll be grateful for once you arrive as everything will be in place.

#4: 50 pounds over.
You know the airport drill, the suitcase can’t be more than 50 pounds otherwise it’s more expensive. If you think you’re going to go over you must accept your need for a second suitcase. This really isn’t bad because then you can place the heavy items equally in 2 suitcases and plus have more organization.

#5: Leave Room.
These are all my souvenirs after the 1st time I visited France
back in 2009. Believe me when I say you'll be bringing back
a LOT.
It is so important not to completely stuff your suitcase because when you’re abroad you will have souvenirs you will want to bring home. If you don’t want the responsibility and expense of a 3rd suitcase abroad, leave room for all those clothes and chocolate delicacies you want to return home with you. This is a classic mistake!

#6: Ribbon Identification.

My luggage with their tags that I can spot right away amongst
all the other black suitcases.
Place a colored ribbon that you like and is easily recognizable by you on all your luggage. This way there will be no hesitation for which bag is yours! Give yourself a break by taking this simple precaution.

Sincerely Yours,

Mikaela S.