Coffee with a Kick!

Now that summer is finally upon us there is nothing more refreshing then a cup of iced coffee. The best part is no matter what time of the day it is a cold refreshing glass of iced coffee is a great idea. Add a flavor to it and it’s like heaven in a glass.
The other evening, I had a few of my best girlfriends over and I wanted to put out something different to drink. We always have the same old rose’, spiked seltzers or sangria. So, I started experimenting. We all love coffee so I made a big pot and got out my ice cube trays. In one tray I made coffee cubes and in the other tray I froze whole milk.          Next, I combined the coffee and milk cubes in my blender and added sweetened condensed milk and Bourbon. Yes, I said Bourbon! It is so easy to make. If you are hosting a 4th of July bash whip up a batch of these bad boys. They will be a great addition to any summer party.


Ingredients
2 cups of coffee
1/3 cups condensed milk, sweetened
½ cup whole milk
¼ cup Bourbon

How to Make It
Pour coffee and milk into ice cube trays freeze overnight. Combine cubes in blender add condensed milk and Bourbon. Top it off with some whipped cream and a few espresso beans and enjoy the slushy goodness.

virgo

 

 

Just Another Day in The Hood

That is motherhood of course. Before I had children, I thought I was productive. Boy was I wrong. I didn’t know the meaning of productive. These days I am out of bed before 6 a.m. Making breakfast, packing snacks getting kids ready for school. After several frustrating years I’ve got the whole morning routine down. Both of my kids have a check list because I got tired of chasing them around like a lunatic making sure they brushed their teeth and put on clothes. If I left it up to them, they would go to school with dragon breath wearing pajamas. I swear sometimes I feel like I’ve put in a full day by 8 am and by that time I’m on my way to work hauling ass to make it on time.

My life may seem busy and at times I feel like I’m holding on by a thread, but I wouldn’t want it any other way. There is nothing I love more than being a mother. As I sit here typing this blog in my son’s bed, he curls up next to me to snuggle. It’s the best feeling on earth. Minus the fact that he just farted and laughed, still there is nowhere else I would rather be.  Mom life has its glamorous moments like today for example, I attended my son’s moving up ceremony. My daughter and I got all dressed up it was the perfect day. Then there are those times when I want to rip the hair out of my head, like when we are in the grocery store and one of them decides to have a major meltdown at the checkout counter and everyone is staring at us.

At the end of the day no matter how chaotic it is, motherhood is the best hood! Hope you all have a good night I am going to cuddle with my babies.

virgo

Tea Time

I have a confession to make……I am a coffeeholic. Yes it’s true. The first thing I do when I wake up in the morning is turn the coffee pot on. The minute I pour the first cup and taste the warm goodness, I am automatically in a good mood. Recently, I have embarked on a journey to wellness. I am quickly approaching 40 and I am trying to slow down the aging process. I recognize what I put in my body can either help or hurt me. My very close friend and weight loss wizard @preparedmealsli began schooling me on the effects clean eating can have on your system (If you aren’t following her on Instagram you need to). Boy oh boy was she right. I made small changes like eating more leafy greens and making sure I was properly hydrated. I can tell you this friends, by the second week of this new life style I had more energy, my head felt clearer and was able to focus better, and my cravings for sweets disappeared. I began to enjoy the taste of real food.
One habit I introduced into my daily routine was replacing a cup of coffee with green tea. I read up on the benefits and I figured why not I’ll give it a try. I picked up a box of green Matcha
tea from the company Salada and since then, I’m hooked. There were so many brands on the shelf to choose from but Salada’s teas are delicious and they offer a large variety of refreshing flavors. I’m picky when it comes to tea and so far, I have loved everyone I’ve tried. My personal favorite is the peach mango. I make a big batch of it and serve it cold. My kids go crazy for it and I’m happy because it doesn’t have sugar like the juice boxes they drink. I also got creative and made green tea ice cubes. In the morning I rub them under my eyes. It is so refreshing, and my skin feels so tight.
If you haven’t read up on the benefits of match tea here are a few reasons that might interest you to start incorporating it into your daily routine, it’s:
Rich in antioxidants
Boosts energy
Detoxifies the body
Prevents cancer
Aids in weight loss
I highly recommend you head to your local grocery store and stock up on Salada teas. I promise no matter what flavor you pick you won’t be disappointed.

virgo

Thoughts about Coffee Cake

Coffee connects people. I’ve enjoyed many sessions of friend therapy and deep conversations over coffee. Now if we add a delicious accompaniment to coffee, we have absolute heaven. Particularly if that coffee cake is sweet, a little sinful, and spiced with the adventure of travel. My favorite coffee cakes have been enjoyed in different cities around the world and shared with wonderful people that I have met along the way.

On an unexpected trip to Argentina, I didn’t know a soul or have any idea which places to visit. Every morning I enjoyed alfajores, a sandwich cookie with dulce de leche in the middle, and coffee. A kind waiter would come and sit with me and help me plan my day, drawing elaborate maps on napkins for me. Alfajores are a perfect combination of a well-crafted pastry and a rich history having been brought by the Spanish who learned of them from the Moors. I think they tasted even better because of the waiter’s kindness to a stranger.

puffs

Paris in April seemed more like more like a dream than reality. The people, the food, the culture – it was glorious! I drank amazing coffee imported from Madagascar. I paired this with pain au chocolat, a delicious croissant-like pastry filled with a chocolate that captured the richness of flavor that the French are so adept at creating. Those were the best mornings, shared with groups of people met at the discotheque, after dancing all night.

coissant

In Chile I remember listening to music fused with samba and rock en español while enjoying berlines, doughnuts introduced by the great influx of German immigrants in Chile. The conversations usually centered around the government, the economy, and Auguto Pinochet, always a controversial topic for Chileans. Berlines are filled with “manjar”, the local name for dulce de leche. Berlines are a progressive fusion of South America and old Europe, as is Chile.

puffs1

Whether it’s at home or abroad, give yourself a slow morning with coffee and a sweet treat. Enjoy every bite of your next coffee cake. Be present to the silence, or the conversation, and most of all, savor the connection with yourself and with others.

Guest Blogger, Nicole Biscotti, @nicolebiscotti

 

 

Memorial Weekend Must Haves

Whether you are playing hostess this Memorial Day, attending a BBQ, or enjoying local venues you should be heading to the store to stock up on all the necessities to make this a Memorial Weekend one you and your family will never forget. In my house we love healthy options. Don’t get me wrong you will find the standard hot dog and hamburgers on our grill in addition to some keto and vegan friendly recipes.

parfMy first stop is always to my local dollar tree. I love stocking up on decorative plates, utensil, napkins, and festive decorations. When I am there, I always grab the clear cocktail cups. Instead of serving drinks in them, I layer them with blue berries, whipped cream, and strawberries for a refreshing and kid friendly dessert. Throw them onto a cute serving platter it so simple it takes all of five minutes to make your dessert table pop with color. I love the dollar tree because everything is $1. I am all about saving money while throwing a party that looks like it stepped out of a Martha Stuart magazine.

Next stop is to the local grocery store. In place of chips I serve fresh cut cucumbers and veggies with a homemade onion dip. I also buy veggie burgers and black bean burgers for my vegetarian guests. Layer them with some guacamole and a tomato and your guests won’t be worried about counting calories. My super easy side dish is a spinach salad with strawberries, red onion, feta, and a red wine vinaigrette will complement entrée you serve.

yogurtThe perfect party provides options for your guests. When setting up my bar area I always have out beer and wine. No BBQ is complete without an ice-cold beer and hot dog however, not all my guests are drinkers so I make a fizzy sugar free lemonade. It’s a crowd favorite. I try to eliminate as much sugar from my diet as possible so this lemonade has all-natural ingredients.

*2/3 cups lime juice (from fresh limes)
*1 tsp of stevia extract
*7 cups of water
*Ice for serving
*Fresh strawberries, blueberries, and mint for garnish.

nailsNext stop is to my local nail salon, Daisy Nails with my daughter for matching red, white, and blue manicures. We always shop Pinterest before we go to get some inspiration. Don’t forget it’s going to be a long weekend. Make sure you have a good bug spray. I prefer organic brands that do not have any harsh chemicals, as well as having sunscreen on hand at all times. Last but not least remember to have lots of cute outfits on hand especially those white skinny jeans and denim shorts so you are prepared for any occasion

How My Partner’s Depression Changed My Life

The minute I met my ex-husband I immediately fell in love. He was handsome, charming, and charismatic. We had an instant connection. We seemed to make each other so happy. We laughed all the time. I didn’t realize it then but there were signs that something wasn’t 100 percent right but I over looked it because I was in love and I was also young. We met when I was 22 and fresh out of college.
Within a few months of dating his behavior began to change. At times, I felt like I was on a roller coaster, there were so many ups and downs. Things would be fine for a few months and then bam all of the sudden he wouldn’t want to wake up to or go to work. He was very distant and private. The harder I tried to get close to him he would push me away. Our conversations were empty; the laughs had turned in petty fights over the fact that he didn’t want to help in daily chores such as paying bills, or taking the garbage out. He had a hard time sleeping at night and wanted to sleep during the day because he was so exhausted. I often felt like a nag or as if I was acting more like his mother rather then his partner, but then it would pass. Some life changing event would snap him out of his funk for example, the birth of our daughter. Things were good for a while but slowly I could see his behavior changing again. I could never understand why or what it was. I had no idea that it was the dreaded word depression. I always thought, maybe he just didn’t love me, or he wasn’t happy with me and I would try any everything to please him. It was exhausting. I didn’t even think about myself anymore getting our relationship back to that happy place was all I could think about and concentrate on. I got so used to this cycle of highs and lows however, when we were in a good place, I always had the fearful thought of when the next low would come because I always knew it would. I began experiencing anxiety over this. I would be in such fear because each low was worse than the last. At our lowest point, he lost his well-paying job that provided our family with health benefits; luckily I had a good job and was able to make it by with the help of my family. For over a year and a half he refused to find a career. He worked odd jobs but mostly laid on the couch watching TV or would hang out with his friends. I was the enemy in his eyes because I would tell him he needed to see someone, that this wasn’t normal and his response was, “I am fine everything will be ok, I’m just not happy with you.” I heard this line countless times throughout our marriage that I couldn’t hear it anymore. I was beaten down mentally and had little self-esteem. One day I walked out, put my house for sale and didn’t look back. It may sounds easy but it wasn’t. I am still in therapy of the loss of my love and the life I hoped to have.
If any of this sounds familiar you are not alone. It isn’t easy to recognize the signs of depression in your partner and it isn’t easy to get them to recognize they need help. Make sure you find a therapist to help you cope and manage your relationship before it gets to a point where too much damage has been done and it can’t be fixed. Don’t let depression win.
7 Signs of Depression:
•Feelings of hopelessness
•Loss of interest
•Mood swings
•Anxiety
•Abnormal Sleeping patterns
•Changes in appetite and weight
•Thoughts about death or suicide