Friday, November 22, 2013

See's Candies - New Store!

You guys.  Want to know what is better than a store full of samples of the best chocolate?
That.  plus wine!

The new See's Candies store at the Tustin Marketplace invited me to check out their newest location:

This new prototype of a concept store is the first store of its kind. The headquarters of See's in San Francisco chose Orange County as the very first location. The Tustin Marketplace (Irvine/Tustin) location has great freeway access, and their hope is that OC residents will come visit this location for their holiday purchases.

The store grand opening is tonight! Friday, November 22nd - go check it out!!

Why would you come to this new store, instead of another one?
Because it is huge.  This new concept store has two candy counters, with double the cashiers, instead of the usual one.  The two lines are split by the size of your candy order!
Under 2lb orders are placed and completed at a separate Express counter, and larger orders form a line at a second counter.
These new store types have more capacity to move people through, during the busy Holiday seasons.

If don't need the capacity, a wall comes down from the ceiling, and it becomes a regular size, smaller store during their off season, from June to October.

But, from Halloween through Mother's Day, they are able to serve large crowds much more quickly.
Whenever needed, they are able to open it up for more capacity.

So even if there is another See's Candies store a bit closer to you, if it is the day before Valentine's Day or you are doing some last minute Holiday gift shopping, you are definitely going to want to visit this new concept store instead! Your wait will be much shorter!

My sister and me with  the President and CEO of See's Candies, Brad Kinstler!

Speaking of Valentine's Day, haha, the actual President and CEO of See's Candies, Brad Kinstler, came down from SF to this new store opening to explain this store to us!
In his talk he gave, he said he felt for us girls getting the generic box of chocolates, when all we really want is a heart-shaped custom box of only the milk chocolate Bordeauxs.  Umm, how did he know?! Those are my favorite! And I am always so torn whether to eat the only one in the box first or save it for last!

While I was stuffing my face with chocolate truffles and wine pairings, I learned that Mary See was an actual real person, and still today, they still make some of the cute lady's actual recipes - namely the bon bons.
Another item that is specifically handmade, is the rocky road chocolate egg for Easter.
Someone actually hand places all the nuts and marshmallows into the mold and then places that under...the chocolate waterfall! fill in the egg shaped treat.

Check out the chocolate waterfall in this video of the See's factory here!

Or, if you're more of a peanut brittle kind of person, check out how that is made here!

If you have been into a See's Candies store before, you know they always give each customer a free sample. Now that's customer service! I have always loved that about them. Dangerous...haha. But awesome!

On this visit, I sampled the apple pie truffle, which is made with real Granny Smith apples and cinnamon, and because of that, tastes just like real pie!! You guys, it is so good! You have to try it.

They sell this Seasonal Pie Truffles box of candies, where you can find Apple, Pumpkin, and more!
This is sold out online, but this new store has plenty in stock! The perfect hostess gift for Thanksgiving or a holiday party!

See's Candies really do make the best hostess or holiday gifts, and this new See's concept store has so many boxes of candy, pre-wrapped beautifully, and ready to go! 
Head on down to the Tustin Marketplace, grab a box, and jump into the Express line for quick check out service.
Grand Opening tonight! Friday, November 22nd!

Don't forget your free sample!! ...I had about ten.

I was compensated for this post with free wine, chocolates, and a humongously terrific, swagalicious bag of treats!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Spaghetti Squash Crust Veggie Quiche

I love quiche!  I always have.  My mom used to make it growing up for special occasion brunches.  I also recently had some authentic quiche in Paris which was amazing, too!

On Pinterest recently, I had seen the idea many times to use spaghetti squash as the crust, instead of a traditional pie crust! I had to try it out.

I sauteed some fall veggies: baby portobello mushrooms, kale, spinach, and a bit of sweet potato, and tossed those in with the egg mixture.

It turned out pretty well. Yum!


1 small spaghetti squash
4 eggs
1 cup milk
1/2c shredded parmesan cheese
1 pinch each of salt, pepper, garlic powder, and/or onion powder.
1 dash nutmeg (Mom's secret!)
2 large kale leaves, torn or chopped small
3 large handfuls of spinach leaves
8 baby portobello mushrooms, sliced
1/4c Cooked cubed and roasted sweet potato (if you don't want to roast, just microwave or bake under tender, peel, and cube.)


Saute kale, spinach, and mushrooms in a bit of olive oil under cooked and tender.
Set aside.

I usually just cook spaghetti squash in the microwave, instead of roasting.
Poke a few knife holes, carefully, in whole spaghetti squash, and microwave for 5 minutes.
Remove with oven mitt, and now that it has softened a bit, slice in half the long way. (hot dog, not hamburger? LOL. anyone remember that?)
Return halves face up to microwave and continue cooking for 5+ more minutes until tender.

It just terrifies me to try and cut a raw spaghetti squash in half, without losing a finger, or six.  Plus, that aside, it is really tough, regardless, to cut through. Maybe my knives just need sharpening.
But, you can also half, and place face down on a baking sheet, and roast at 400 degrees for about 30-40min.

Continue to handle with over mitts if you don't have the patience, like me, to let cool, and scrape out seeds and strings, and discard those.  Then, with a fork, scoop out the rest of the spaghetti squash stringy flesh.
If really moist, pat dry a bit, then press squash into an olive oil greased pie pan, or 9" round cake pan.

Mix eggs and milk, and spices, and whisk or beat until combined and a bit frothy.Add cheese, and veggies, including sweet potatoes, and mix gently.
Pour egg and veggie mixture into spaghetti squash crust.

Bake at 375 for 30-40 minutes, or until eggs are just set.

Remove from oven and let cool.

You can eat quiche warm, room temperature, or chilled - whatever your preference.

Making a healthier 'crust', just means you can have two pieces, instead of one, right?

Linked Up over at The Clever Chick's Blog Hop!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Starbucks Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes! (Vegan option!)

You guys.

I found the greatest recipe. (Vegan) Pumpkin Spice Latte Cupcakes!
Holy fall awesomeness.

Sandra over at Vegan Mother Hubbard was gracious enough to ask me to make one of her amazing recipes, and do a guest blog post about it on her site!

She is so sweet, and her recipes are wonderful!

Check out my Guest Post over at Vegan Mother Hubbard Here.

So There.  

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Brie and Fig Butter Sauteed Spinach Flatbread

Uh, yum, you guys. This was amazing!
And so easy.

I sauteed a couple large handfuls of spinach in olive oil, and added 1 tsp (Trader Joe's) Fig Butter (like apple or pumpkin butter...) and 2 Tbsp water at the end, whisked butter and water into a sauce, and let it reduce and cook with the spinach until liquid is absorbed.

I took a whole wheat piece of naan Middle Eastern bread (pita, or prepared pizza dough would work fine, too), brushed it with olive oil, and covered it with slices of brie cheese.

Warm under broiler until cheese melts and bread is toasted.
Then, top with spinach.

Brie is always so great with figs and fig butter, but the spinach adds a nice earthy, savory twist!


Monday, November 4, 2013

Another Delicious Trip to Daphne's! | @DaphnesGreek #Daphnes

Well, Daphne's is awesome and sent me another gift card to go check out another new item on their menu!  The Cali-Greek bowl.

This dish had my sister's name written all over it, and we were having spanakopita withdrawals from last time's visit, so I brought her with me to Daphne's for lunch!

Sorry all the photos have a bit of a red hue. There was a giant red-tinted light above us!!

The Cali-Greek bowl, available for a limited time only, adds a Greek inspired twist to a California dish.

Basically, it is like a Chipotle bowl, with a Greek yogurt chipotle sauce, and Greek chicken, gyros, or falafel as the protein.  Nothin' wrong with that!
And it was delish!

You start with your choice of citrus brown rice or rice pilaf, and they add black beans, guacamole, salsa fresca, jalapeno bacon, the Greek yogurt chipotle sauce, and finish it with your choice of protein.


and, hello, friend...  :)

This falafel wrap we tried, as well, was so amazing! Yum!!
It has a lot of the same ingredients as the bowl, but in a wrap.

I am really loving all of Daphne's California Greek new menu items!
You should check them out for your next meal, and try the new Cali-Greek bowl!
You won't be disappointed.

Don't forget the spanakopita!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Awesome Green Smoothie

Sometimes you just want a green smoothie for breakfast, instead of pancakes. 

Especially when you wake up with a completely undeserved headache, and are trying everything to get rid of it.
And I didn't even have wine or anything! Hmph.
But, yes, my new adult hangover consists of a full-day-long migraine. Isn't growing up fun?

Often times headaches are from a deficiency in electrolytes, magnesium or potassium.  So this is my version of a Gatorade-like sports drink. Without all the lame sugar and artificial food dye.

Now, I probably am just jealous because I can't afford a juicer, or mountains of organic produce to juice, but it makes me sad to throw away all the scraps after juicing, so I kind of think I prefer smoothie-making anyway.

Step one:
Go to the store, braless, and in sweats, to buy all these ingredients.

Step two:
Blend everything in a blender (that phrase seems redundant, yet necessary), for about a full minute, until the leafy greens break down and are pretty well blended into the juice. Add more juice or coconut water, if needed.

Recipe: (Makes 2 large smoothies)

3/4 cup orange juice
3/4 cup coconut water
large handful of ice cubes
large handful spinach leaves (measuring precision, at its finest, here.)
2 kale leaves, roughly torn
1 small apple, sliced
juice of half  1 lemon
1 kiwi, sliced
4-8oz plain, non-fat Greek yogurt
1 small banana

This smoothie is totally packed full of natural electrolytes, magnesium, potassium, iron, and vitamin C, and tastes great!
Did you know that a kiwi has more vitamin C than an orange?! I Googled it. ...and the internet doesn't lie.
But, seriously, it really is true.

So, pour into a large glass, add a bendy straw (required.), and have a Good Morning!

Fingers crossed this dumb headache goes away!

Friday, October 25, 2013

Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie

So, I have been Pinning pumpkin everything like a maniac since the day Starbucks brought back the pumpkin spice latte (PSL!), which is always 'coincidentally' around my birthday!

Oh, who am I kidding, I probably pinned pumpkin stuff all summer long, too.

Anyway, I was overdue to actually make something, and a couple weekends ago it felt like the right time.  It didn't hurt for inspiration that it was also the weekend I dug my adorable pumpkins out of storage and decorated for Fall/Halloween!

I had a 'skinny' pumpkin pie recipe I wanted to try, but it needed a little something extra.

Yep. I added a bottom layer of cheesecake, sweetened with maple syrup, to my pumpkin pie!
And you should do the same. Like, now!

I confirmed my idea I made up actually could be done, thanks to Baking Bites, and this recipe here:

For the rest of my ingredients, I went to Skinny Taste for this great, lightened up recipe, found here. A little less sugar, a couple egg whites...all that means in my book is you can have two slices instead of one! Or have a piece for breakfast without the guilt. No? Just me? Mkay, then. On to the recipe!

Maple Pumpkin Cheesecake Pie


Cheesecake Layer

8 oz light cream cheese, room temperature

1/4 cup sugar
3 Tbsp pure organic maple syrup

1 large egg

1 tsp vanilla extract

Pumpkin Layer

15 oz can of pumpkin puree

2 tbsp butter, softened (I found this was better almost melted, otherwise you end up with bits of butter in 

your liquid filling)

1/2 cup light brown sugar, unpacked

1/4 cup pure organic maple syrup 

1/2 cup fat free milk

1 large egg

2 large egg whites

1 tsp pumpkin pie spice

1 tsp vanilla extract

1 frozen pie crust sheet (thawed to room temperature) - Stater Bros has a great refrigerated one, and 

Trader Joes' frozen pie crust is not bad at all.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Unroll room temperature dough, and lay into pie tin. Crimp edges with your fingers or a fork. Poke a few holes in the bottom with a fork.
I made this in a 2" tall, 8" round spring form pan. Dude. spring form pans are awesome!!
You can make this in a regular pie tin, but you might not need to use the whole bowl of either filling, as a pie tin is more shallow. Just try to judge pouring half and half of the two mixes.

Make the cheesecake layer
In a large mixing bowl with an electric mixer, beat together cream cheese, sugar, maple syrup, egg and vanilla until all ingredients are well-combined and smooth. Spoon into unbaked crust and spread carefully into an even layer. Set aside in refrigerator.

Make the pumpkin pie layer:
Place pumpkin in a large bowl.  Add butter, and mix well.
Using an electric mixer, mix in brown sugar, maple syrup, milk, eggs, egg whites, pumpkin pie spice, and vanilla. Beat on medium speed until mixture is smooth.
Pour filling carefully on top of the cheesecake layer in pie crust.
They shouldn't swirl too much (unless you want them to!) because the pie filling is thinner than the cheesecake layer.

Bake at 350 degrees for about 60 minutes, or until the filling is set and jiggles only slightly when pan is gently tapped.

Let cool completely, and then chill for several hours or overnight.

This is especially true with a spring form pan; if you unmolded the pan while the crust was warm, it might fall apart. Not 100% on that, but that was my fear.

But let's be realistic, I ate about a slice and a half worth with a fork, piping hot from the oven. And it tasted amazing.  

THEN, I put it in the fridge overnight, and unmolded the pan in the morning. When I had another slice for breakfast. Come on, it has eggs and a vegetable! It's basically as healthy as an omelet ;)

If you are half as excited as I am that pumpkin everything season is upon us, you should really make this pie!

Linked up over at The Plaid and Paisley Kitchen!