Monday, February 24, 2014

Monday Motivation: February #4



Okay how is it that February is already coming to an end? I did not even feel last week go by at all! Hey, I'm not complaining though because you know what? March is coming up and I FINALLY get to go on holiday!!!! (I could keep going on with the exclamations I promise you.) So as much as I hate to see this month end, I cannot wait until next month! 

Anyway, enough about me! All day yesterday, I was thinking of what I wanted to share in today's post and you know how some days you have a thousand thoughts/second and some days it's just blank? Yeah well I currently have a thousand things I want to talk to you guys about and although normally that's a great thing, I'm scared that if I attempt to put it to words, it'll all end up as a ramble, kind of like what's happening right now! Today, I really wanted to talk about something that's been on my mind for a while and it's all about fitting in. So let's just jump into it okay? :)

In a world where everyone is trying to fit in, the best thing you can do is to just be yourself to stand out. You know, whenever I meet new people, the thing that helps me remember them right after is when they have a unique personality. No two people were created alike, and that's the thing that fascinates me. I always look for that something in someone that makes them stand out and sometimes I even point it out to them to let them know how unique they are! So if there's something quirky about you, embrace it instead of trying to hide it! It's what makes you different. Don't waste your time and energy trying to be like everyone else because in all honestly, there's just one of you and that's what makes life interesting and exciting. Just be yourself, "embrace the weird" because let's be real, 'normal' is so boring.

I've also decided to share a few quotes on this topic!

"There are people who are generic. They make generic responses and they expect generic answers. They live inside a box and they think people who don't fit into their box are weird. But I'll tell you what, generic people are the weird people. They are like genetically-manipulated plants growing inside a laboratory, like indistinguishable faces, like droids. Like ignorance."
- C. JoyBell C. -

"I think fitting in is highly overrated. I’d rather just fit out... Fitting out means being who you are, even when people insist that you have to change. Fitting out means taking up space, not apologizing for yourself, and not agreeing with those who seek to label you with stereotypes."
- Golda Poretsky -

"If you are always trying to be normal, you will never know how amazing you can be."
- Maya Angelou -

I hope you all have a fantastic rest of the month!

Kisses,

S


Monday, February 17, 2014

Monday Motivation: February #3



Hey guys! I hope you all had a great Valentine's weekend, no matter how you chose to spend it! My brother's birthday also happens to fall on Valentine's day so we had a nice little family brunch. The only thing I hate about Valentine's day is how love is only glorified during this time when it should really be all the time, yeah? ♡

Anyway! I'm not the best at putting words together but I came across something online that just placed everything I wish I could tell someone (myself included) into words and of course, I wanted to share it with you guys!

  • I’ve learned that you cannot make someone love you. All you can do is be someone who can be loved. The rest is up to them;
  • I’ve learned that no matter how much I care, some people just don’t care back;
  • I’ve learned that it takes years to build up trust, and only seconds to destroy it.
  • I’ve learned that you can get by on charm, for about fifteen minutes. After that, you’d better know something;
  • I’ve learned that either you control your attitude or it controls you.
  • I’ve learned that no matter how hot and steamy a relationship is at first, the passion fades and there had better be something else to take it’s place.
  • I’ve learned that sometimes the people you expect to kick you when you’re downhill are the ones to help you get back up.
  • I’ve learned that sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry.
  • I’ve learned that true friendship continues to grow, even over the longest distance. Same goes for true love.
  • I’ve learned that just because someone doesn’t love you the way you want them to doesn’t mean that they don’t love you with all they have.
  • I’ve learned that maturity had more to do with what types of experiences you’ve had and what you’ve learned from them and less to do with how many birthdays you’ve celebrated.
  • I’ve learned that your family won’t always be there for you.
  • I’ve learned that no matter how good a friend is, they’re going to hurt you every once in a while.
  • I’ve learned that it isn’t always enough to be forgiven by others. Sometimes you have to forgive yourself.
  • I’ve learned that no matter how bad your heart is broken, the world doesn’t stop for your grief.
  • I’ve learned that our background and circumstances may have influenced who we are, but we are responsible for who we become.
  • I’ve learned that just because two people argue, it doesn’t mean they don’t love each other. And just because they don’t argue, it doesn’t mean they do.
  • I’ve learned that we don’t have to change friends if we understand that friends change.
  • I’ve learned that two people can look at the exact same thing and see something totally different.
  • I’ve learned that no matter how you try to protect your children, they will eventually get hurt and you will get hurt in the process.
  • I’ve learned that your life can be changed in a matter of hours by people who don’t even know you.
  • I’ve learned that it’s hard to determine where to draw the line between being nice and not hurting people’s feelings and standing up for what you believe.

I wish I could frame this and hang it up somewhere in my room as a constant reminder! They're all excellent points and I hope they spoke to you somehow!

I want to know! What's one thing you learned this past week/month or just something you recently learned that you want to share? Please leave it in the comments below and I'd be more than happy to read it!

Hoping everyone has a great week ahead!

Kisses,

S



Thursday, February 13, 2014

V-Day Treats: Surprise Sweetheart Cupcakes

To close off this year's Valentine recipes, I decided to share a recipe that's one of my all time personal favorites! What I love about it most is that the cupcakes look ordinary but once you cut through them, you'll find a little surprise inside! ;)




Ingredients: 

1 (18.25 ounce) package white cake mix
1 1/4 cups water
1/3 cup vegetable oil
3 egg whites
8 drops red food coloring
2 drops almond extract

Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350F (175C) degrees . Line a standard muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.

2) Beat the cake mix, water, vegetable oil, and egg whites together on low speed for 30 seconds, then on medium for 2 minutes, until smooth. Fill cupcake liners 1/3 full with white batter; set aside.


3) Stir 4 drops of red food coloring into the remaining bowl of batter to make the batter pink, stir in almond extract. Pour 1/3 of pink batter into a resealable plastic bag/piping bag and set aside.

4) Mix more food coloring into the remaining bowl of pink batter until it is an orange/red color and pour the batter into a resealable plastic bag/piping bag. Stick the open tip into the center of each cup of white batter and squeeze in about two tablespoons of red batter.



5) Stick the open tip of the pink batter into the center of the red batter and squeeze about 1 tablespoon pink batter into each cup.






6) Bake the layered cupcakes in the preheated oven until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean, 15 to 20 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.  Makes about 24 regular sized cupcakes.

*Recipe adapted from AllRecipes*



You can choose to frost them or just leave them the way they are! They actually remind me of a Sprinkles cupcake this way.


Fun fact: I took these pictures just a few minutes before I had to head to work so I was pretty much in such a rush and my only regret is that I wish I could've shown you guys how cute the center of the mini cupcakes are!



Nonetheless, I'm quite happy with the way they turned out! I get giddy every time I reach the center and see the pink and red colors! ^_^

If you try this out, please show me how they turn out! Link your pictures to my Twitter or Instagram (@mykiwiseed) or if you decided to make a blog post about it, feel free to leave your links in the comments below! I'll definitely check them out! 

I hope you all have a splendid time this Valentine's Day, no matter who or what you're spending it with! 

I love you all! Good luck.

Kisses,

S


V-Day Treats: Chocolate Dipped Valentine Hearts




If you're looking to make a super quick and easy treat this Valentine's, look no further! I think we can all agree that almost everything tastes better dipped in chocolate and in this recipe, you'll only be needing three things, chocolate included!

Ingredients:

Melting chocolate
Heart shaped cookies or pretzels
Sprinkles of your choice



Directions:

1) The first thing you want to do is melt your chocolate. This part can be a little tricky! I used the microwave first but my chocolate ended up lumpy and gross so I opted for the double boiling method. I created my own double boiler by placing the bowl with chocolate inside on top of a sauce pan with water. I let this boil on a medium-high fire for about 20 minutes until the chocolate was nice and melted.


2) Dip your cookie/pretzel in the chocolate and pour sprinkles on top!


3) Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper and stick it in the fridge for a few minutes to let the chocolate set.


That's literally all it takes!


Good luck!

Kisses,

S


V-Day Treats: Strawberry Chocolate Chip Cookies




"Mmmm, so moist!" Huge points to you if you remember where that line is from! ;)

Hey guys, I hope you're enjoying all these cooking posts I've been putting up! Today, I'm going to be sharing another one of my favorite recipes that's perfect for this time of year.

I'm a big fan of chocolate chip cookies and of course, everything is more fun when a little pink is involved. Although a cake mix is used as the base in this recipe, these cookies have no cake consistency once done! They're crisp around the edges and perfectly fudgy and moist around the center - my favorite!

Ingredients:

1 box (18.25 oz) strawberry cake mix
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 large eggs
1/3 cup vegetable/canola oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 and 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips


Directions:

1) Preheat oven to 350F (175C). Line large baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone baking mat. Set aside.

2) In a large bowl, mix together the cake mix and baking powder. Set aside. In a smaller bowl, whisk together the eggs, oil, and vanilla by hand. Add the egg mixture to the cake mixture and stir to form a dough- stir vigorously until all of the pockets of dry cake mix are gone. This will take a LOT of muscle! Gently mix in the chocolate chips.




3) Drop rounded balls of dough, about 2 tablespoons each, onto prepared baking sheet (I stacked the balls on top of each other). Stick a few more chocolate chips on top of the cookie dough balls if you want them for looks, if desired. Make sure the balls of dough are taller than they are wide.

4) Bake for 10 minutes – do not let the cookies get brown. Allow to cool on baking sheet for 3 minutes; they will be very soft at first. As they cool, the tops may settle down; press them down gently with your fingers if they are not sinking much. Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Store in an airtight container for up to one week. Makes about 18 cookies.





*Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction*

Good luck!

Kisses,

S





V-Day Treats: Red Velvet Cheesecake Swirl Brownies




I clearly remember the first time I had a red velvet dessert because it was life changing. I mean, come on, chocolate and cream cheese are a match made in heaven! I've never attempted to bake anything red velvet before but when I stumbled upon THIS recipe, I knew I had to give it a try. The brownies turned out amazing and I'm already looking forward to baking my next batch!

Ingredients:

RED VELVET BROWNIES
2 large eggs
1/2 cup (1 stick or 115g) unsalted butter
1 cup (200g) granulated sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/4 cup (32g) unsweetened cocoa powder
1/8 teaspoon salt
1 Tablespoon liquid or gel red food coloring
3/4 teaspoon white vinegar
3/4 cup (95g) all-purpose flour

CHEESECAKE SWIRL
8 ounces (224g) cream cheese, softened
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1 egg yolk
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

1) Preheat the oven to 350F (175C) degrees. Spray 8x8 baking pan with nonstick spray and set aside. Going along with the Valentine theme, I went ahead and used a heart shaped cake mold instead.


2) Make the brownie layer first. In a small bowl, beat the 2 eggs together and set aside. Melt the butter in a large microwave safe bowl in 30 second increments until melted. Stir in sugar, vanilla extract, cocoa powder, salt, food coloring, and vinegar. Mix each of those ingredients into the batter in that order. Whisk in the eggs, then fold in the flour until completely incorporated. Do not over-mix. Pour the brownie batter into prepared baking pan, leaving about 3-4 tablespoons for the top.



3) Make the cheesecake swirl. With a hand-held mixer on medium speed, beat the softened cream cheese, sugar, egg yolk, and vanilla in a medium bowl until completely smooth - about 1 minute. Dollop spoonfuls of the cream cheese mixture on top of the prepared brownie batter. Cover with the last few tablespoons of brownie batter. Glide a knife through the layers, creating a swirl pattern.





4) Bake the brownies for 28-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the middle comes out clean. Since I used a cake mold, it took about an hour. Allow the brownies to cool completely before cutting into squares. Cover brownies and store at room temperature for 3 days or in the refrigerator for up to 6 days. Brownies will freeze well, up to 2 months. Thaw overnight in the refrigerator. Makes about 16 brownies.



*Recipe adapted from Sally's Baking Addiction*

Good luck!

Kisses,

S


Valentine's Day Breakfast Ideas ♡



With Valentine's approaching, I thought it would be fun to share a few yummy and easy breakfast recipes you can whip up that special morning or any morning really! These all take under 15 minutes each to prepare so if you're like me and not a morning person, these will be perfect for you! ♡


Chocolate Chip Banana Pancakes


Ingredients:
1 cup flour
2 tsp baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1 large banana, ripe, mashed well
1 cup 1% milk (or almond milk)
3 large egg whites
2 tsp oil
1 tsp vanilla
1/4 cup chocolate chips (preferable mini size)
cooking spray

Directions:
1) Mix all dry ingredients in a bowl. Combine milk, egg white, oil, vanilla and mashed bananas in another medium sized bowl and mix until smooth.  


2) Combine wet ingredients with the dry and mix well with a wooden spoon until there are no more dry spots. Don't over-mix. 


3) Heat a large skillet on medium-low heat. If you are using a heart shaped pancake mold, you will want to spray it lightly with cooking spray so the batter doesn't stick to it.

4) Lightly spray a skillet with cooking spray, place the mold on the hot skillet and pour 1/4 cup of pancake batter. Add a few chocolate chips in each pancake. When the pancake starts to bubble and the edges begin to set, flip the pancakes. Repeat with the remainder of the batter. 


Since I only had one mold, I decided to cook the pancakes the old fashioned way to save time and once they were done, I used my mold to cut them out. Makes 12 pancakes.

*Recipe adapted from SkinnyTaste*



Egg in a Basket


Ingredients:
Slice of butter
Toast
Egg

Directions:
1) Using a heart shaped cookie cutter, cut out the center of the toast.

2) Melt the butter in a skillet over medium heat and place slice of bread.

3) Crack the egg in the center and cook until the under side is slightly brown. I cracked my yolk by accident so that's why it's all over the place! ^.^

4) Flip bread over and cook for 1 more minute.


Heart Sandwiches


This last one is probably the easiest out of the three and it literally takes just 5 minutes to put together, maybe even less if you have great sandwich skills. All you need to do is pick your favorite spread(s) (I used PB&J for one sandwich and cream cheese & jam for the other!) and make a sandwich. Using your cookie cutter, cut out a heart shape and you're done!



If you try out any of these recipes, please let me know how they turn out for you! You can tweet it to me or send a picture to my Instagram (@mykiwiseed). Good luck!

Kisses,

S


Tuesday, February 11, 2014

10 Easy DIY Projects for Valentine's Day ♡



I think we can all agree that there's nothing like a personal touch to a gift! So for today, I'm going to be sharing a few DIY projects that you guys can make to give as gifts this Valentine's Day (or you can keep them for yourself, that's perfectly fine as well!). They're all adorable, unique and pretty simple to make! 










4) Strawberry Roses





















If you're still on a hunt for a Valentine's day gift, I hope this post left you with some ideas! Personally, I think that the best gifts come from the heart, and not from the store. Good luck!

Kisses,

S