Am I a Funny Girl?

Easy Berry Blue Meringue Cookies

Sometimes I get ideas. And sometimes they work, and sometimes they don’t.
Happily, this idea worked out really well!

I’ve long loved those meringue cookies, also called “Forgotten Cookies” or “Cloud Cookies” or whatever. The premise is simple enough; an egg-white base, baked for a long time at a low temp.

I thought making something blue would be fun for the 4th, and what better to make things blue than Jell-O? As a bonus, because I used a calorie-free sweetener, these little cookies are only *about* 15 calories apiece, if you care about such things. I tried making them a while ago with a different artificial sweetener and they were terrible; I met the In the Raw people at Mom 2.0 Summit recently, and was excited to give the Monkfruit in the Raw a try in baking. (This is not sponsored in any way; I did get this bag of Monkfruit in the Raw as sample though.)

Anyway, on to the recipe!
berry blue meringue cookies with jello

    Easy Berry Blue Meringue Cookies

  • 4 egg whites
  • 1 cup Monk Fruit in the Raw
  • 1 box Jell-O (4.5 oz. size)
  • 1/2 tsp. Cream of Tartar

berry blue meringue ingredients

Whip the egg whites until stiff peaks form.
Gradually add in remaining ingredients in order: sweetener, cream of tartar, Jell-O
Mix well while adding all dry ingredients

I used a frosting bag to pipe my cookies onto the sheet, but you could also do dropped spoonfuls.
Line cookie sheet with parchment paper and place batter onto sheet.
You don’t need to leave space between them, since they won’t expand, but be careful about them touching!
berry blue meringue batchBake for three hours at the lowest setting in your oven. (Mine goes down to 175 degrees)
When the time is over, turn off the oven but leave the cookies inside.
I let them sit overnight just to be safe… they should peel easily off the parchment when fully done.

Enjoy!

berry blue meringue up close

“Chachalocho,” aka Horchata made with Silk Almond Milk #recipe #SilkAlmondBlends

cbias shop disclosure june2014We’re lucky in that we have a lot of really great Mexican restaurants in our area, and Jamie recently introduced Max to the wonder that is horchata, a refreshing traditional beverage made with rice milk and spices; I’d say it and chai are cousins, if you aren’t familiar with the taste. We wanted to figure out a way to satisfy this same craving at home, but were determined to do it with ingredients we had on hand, so first up was the base liquid. We switched to almond milk from dairy milk last year, and I thought that the new Silk Almond Coconut Blend would be an even better fit, because I figured the mild sweetness of coconut would really go well with the already refreshing taste of the drink. We do lots of cooking with almond milknow, and this is one of our current favorites!

#SilkAlmond Blends in glass #shop

The basic recipe is very simple, and can easily be adjusted based on quantities needed… even better, it’s super flexible and can be used for lots of different things! And before you ask, we call it Chachalocho because no matter how often he has it, Max cannot keep the word “horchata” in his brain. It comes out a hundred different ways, so when we came up with this recipe, we picked one of our favorites that he’d come up with.

#SilkAlmond Blends Chachalocho

Chachalocho

  • 2 cups Silk Almond Coconut Blend
  • 1/2 cup Agave Syrup
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla

Place all ingredients in a saucepan and warm to blend ingredients together.
Whisk to combine.
Transfer mixture to pitcher, add 2 cups cold water
Refrigerate overnight, serve over ice and enjoy!

#SilkAlmond Blends Ingredients
We had actually made this with the regular Silk Almond Milk originally, but I really like the additional tropical feel it gets from the Almond Coconut Blend. If you want to try this one, or the new Silk Almond Milk Protein + Fiber, it’s easy to find at Safeway, in the cooler case dairy section.

#SilkAlmondBlends in store at Safeway

A big tall glass of Chachalocho goes great with Mexican food, or on its own, or (this is amazing and you should try it!) as a frozen confection! Just make an ice cube tray full of Chachalocho cubes, wait for them to freeze, then toss them and a few splashes of Silk into the blender and YUM! It’s a whole new way to enjoy the deliciousness!

#SilkAlmond Blends is delicious

I get to #BrewItUp for my birthday! Iced Coffee sounds lovely, thanks! #BrewOverIce

cbias shop disclosure june2014brewoverice keurig k40 eliteMy sister got a Keurig back when they first hit shelves, a couple of years ago, and I was totally and completely jealous. A fresh cup of coffee whenever I wanted, without having to deal with brewing a whole pot? I’m SO in. In the years since she got hers, I’ve eyeballed them every time I’ve gone to the mall or Walmart, or seen my friends talking about them, but I’ve never actually gotten one. Now that they offer such an amazing array of #BrewOverIce options, I nearly went crazy when I found out that #CollectiveBias and the Keurig Walmart team were going to send me a Keurig K40 Elite brewer of my own, just in time for my birthday!

It gets HOT here in the summer, but we’re also crazy busy with summer camps and work, conferences and camping trips, parties and oh! Did I mention my birthday is July 4th? It totally is. And what to better grab a moment to relax than with a fresh made cool beverage?

With Keurig and Brew Over Ice Kcups, you can skip all the waiting and get straight to the delish, in just moments. The Donut Shop “Sweet & Creamy” iced coffee doesn’t even need anything added to it! It’s ready to go from the moment it comes out of the machine.Keurig BrewOverIce KcupsJamie has been working hard in the garage on weekends, building a teardrop camping trailer for us, and I was able to surprise him with a cup of iced coffee, just the way he likes it, just moments after I offered it to him. So easy.

Keurig BrewOverIce JamieAnd me? While I love iced coffee, I’m also overwhelmed by all the non-coffee options that are now available for cold drinks! I got a delicious Strawberry-Pomegranate “Vitamin Burst” drink, and when I topped it with a little whipped cream, Max was convinced I’d given him the greatest treat ever, and I have to admit I enjoyed it, too… it reminded me of a fancy cafe italian soda.

Keurig BrewOverIce Lizz sipping

There are so many K-cup options at Walmart, I feel like I need to start a list and just work my way down until I’ve tried them all. Snapple, Sweet Tea, lots of varieties of iced coffee… the possibilities are endless!

What’s your favorite thing to #BrewOverIce? What do I need to try?

Ridiculous things I’ve done to get my 10,000 steps

Darn that FitBit, taunting me to walk my way to weight loss! I have the default goal set, of 10,000 steps a day, It works out to about 5 miles, and it isn’t too much of a challenge on days I walk to my office, but I still need to make a bit of an effort to hit my goals.

10000 steps fitbit

Here are some of the more ridiculous things I’ve done to get my steps done, without simply going for a walk (because that would be too easy)

  • Cross the street at every intersection, back and forth, back and forth
  • Use the bathroom down the hall at my office, instead of the one that’s 25 feet from my desk.
  • Walk to said bathroom in a zigzag pattern down the hall.
  • Park at the far end of the parking lot at the train station (But not if I’ll be coming home after dark. That wouldn’t be smart)
  • Walk laps around the elevator, or maybe just march in place. (I can’t really take the stairs at work, because there’s a weird door situation at one end and I don’t want to get trapped)
  • Pace the platform while waiting for the train. People give me weird looks, yes, but I feel like it’s fewer weird looks than I’d get for marching in place while waiting.
  • Lap the grocery store after going down each aisle. Down the cereal aisle, take a lap around the produce section, down the baking aisle, lap around the deli.
  • Walk the halls while on conference calls. This only works for calls where I don’t need my computer though, because that would be weird.

What is the weirdest thing you’ve ever done to get your steps done?

Gallery: Legoland California Miniland

overall miniland legolandOne of the biggest attractions at Legoland is their “Miniland” exhibit; it’s a huge outdoor area with some of the most amazing Lego creations you’ve ever seen.
Max’s most favorite was, of course, the Star Wars miniland, but everything is amazing.


There are lots of monuments and landmarks reproduced at a small scale. The pieces are a great size that allows lots of great detail. The people in these scenes are about 4″ tall.
miniland lego parade new orleans legoland
It was much more expansive than I expected; we loved wandering through the paths and examining the buildings. San Francisco was my favorite, of course, but they had New York City, complete with the Freedom Tower, the Las Vegas strip, the French Quarter, there’s a BMX course complete with RVs, and a cute Eastern seaboard town.
legoland miniland overview 2

One thing we did that I have to remember to do more often, is I gave Max my little point and shoot camera to use. I love getting a chance to see the world, and the fun things we’re doing, through his eyes. (And of course, the selfish in me wants him to get into photography as a hobby…

max taking pic legoland miniland

Some of Max’s favorite parts of miniland:

Gallery: The Lego Movie exhibit at Legoland California

lego movie sign legolandOne thing that we were really excited to check out at Legoland was The Lego Movie exhibit. If you’ve seen the movie (which I hope you have!) it’s the entire basement set up from the end of the movie, taken from the studio and reconstructed in the theme park.
The set was designed by only two people, built by a team of ten, and there’s NO GLUE!
Can you believe it?
I think Max was mostly overwhelmed by the idea that he could build with LEGO as a job, and he promtly added it to his list of future careers, in between teacher and working for Samsung (whatever it is he thinks that Jamie does for work).
Click on any photo to see it larger.


Lafayette Hotel Swim Club & Bungalows – San Diego, CA Hotel #familytravel

lafayette hotel san diego entranceWhen we were planning our San Diego vacation, I knew we didn’t want to stay at a big chain hotel. Much like avoiding national restaurant brands when we travel, I much prefer hotels that have personality and allow us to see a bit of the area we’re visiting.

My friend Christine, who lives in San Diego, suggested we check out The Lafayette, and we couldn’t have been happier about it!

lafayette hotel san diego lobby lafayette hotel san diego decorThat perfect mix of retro styling and modern details, it’s the sort of place you could explore for days and keep finding new details. The hotel has a long history, and was recently updated and upgraded to the fantastic resort it is today.

One of the main things we were drawn to was the option of the “Suze Suite,” which has two rooms and two bathrooms; a king size bed for us, and twin bunks for Max.

lafayette hotel san diego family suiteThe room is lovely, and the on-site restaurant is fabulous, but nothing, I mean NOTHING compares to the pool.

First, you’re in San Diego, which is basically paradise to start with. Then there’s poolside food and drink service while you lounge on the chaises, and perky swing music is always playing in the background. But seriously? The pool.

lafayette hotel san diego pool 03It. Was. Glorious.

When we arrived, on Saturday afternoon, the place was jammed with younger-than-us partiers… there was a beer festival going on outside, so many festival goers were staying at the hotel. The pool was nearly to capacity, and most of the seats were taken, but come Sunday afternoon they left and we had the pool nearly to ourselves.

lafayette hotel san diego pool 02 lafayette hotel san diego pool 01 lafayette hotel san diego patioWe will definitely return to the Lafayette next time we’re in San Diego. It would be a great spot for an extended family trip; I can totally picture us in a Suze Suite, my parents in one of the poolside rooms, and my sister (with her husband and three girls) could stay in one of the bungalows that are also located on the property.

It’s got everything you could want, and is also close enough to the tourist attractions that it’s a nice central location for other San Diego attractions.