Chocolate Covered Bananas – The Recipe

I shared this recipe back with a few other dairy free desserts, and I finally got around to creating this delicious treat and it was SO EASY! Not only was it easy (took 10-minutes for prep and assembly) but it was affordable with a ballpark total of $10. You can really wow guests or impress your sig-o with this delicious yet healthy treat, plus it looks like it would be super time intensive.  Ok, now on to the good stuff…
Choc Covered Bananas - the recipe - the bee life
What You’ll Need:
– Banana’s (however many you’d like) – you don’t want them too ripe
– Baker’s Dark Chocolate (one pack covered 3-bananas for me)
– Pistachios; I bought pre-pealed for convenience!
– Sea Salt
– Tooth picks, foil and cookie tray
Choc Covered Bananas steps - the bee life
Step-by-Step:
1. Prep! Cover a cookie tray with foil, un-peel and stick the ends of bananas like corn on the cob with the tooth picks, this makes it easier to grab for chocolate covering. (I had used kabob sticks and put them a bit too far into the banana, it wasn’t ideal for serving!) Next, prep your pistachios by crushing them with a rolling pin in a zip lock baggy, you probably only need a handful or two.  Finally, follow the instructions on the chocolate to heat up in the microwave until it’s nice and melted.
2. Once your chocolate is melted, start pouring chocolate with a spoon your bananas on the foil tray, make sure they’re nice & covered!
3. Top off with crushed pistachios and sprinkle with sea salt.
4. Throw in freezer for an hour or so. Make sure you thaw a bit before serving, slice up and enjoy!

This is the perfect summer treat with the right mix of salty and sweet!  It’s easy enough to whip up for those last minute gatherings or just to satisfy a mid-week sweet tooth!

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3 Dairy Free Desserts

With my diet truly becoming a lifestyle change and avoiding dairy as much as possible, we’ve finally started venturing into dairy free recipes for the sweets!  Although most desserts, even with dairy, don’t always bother me, I realized if I’m truly going to make this a lifestyle change that it should be all inclusive.  I was first inspired when B made me a dairy-free cookie dough ‘cheesecake’ for a date night he planned last month.
3 Dairy Free Desserts - the bee life
Dairy-Free Cookie Dough ‘Cheesecake’ – This recipe might seem a little intimidating just based off the ingredients list, but I assure you that it was rather straight forward and easy to put together once you have everything! Not to mention, this is completely delicious and I would even recommend just making up the cookie dough part  for a treat. And, if you haven’t used cashews to substitute for cheese, you are missing out, it’s incredible how you can’t tell the difference yet still maintains the consistency.

Low Carb Chocolate Coconut Cake – As i’ve gotten older, I’ve grown to love coconut especially with chocolate! This cake is a twist on an Almond Twist (one of my favorites), and although a smaller ingredients list, this won’t skimp on taste.  It also reminds me of my grandma’s German Chocolate cake that she used to make, and now I can put my own twist on it while still having a bit nostalgia for my grandma.

Pistachio Chocolate Banana Sushi – Um, YUM! We haven’t made this one yet, but it looks so easy with only three ingredients! Plus with the use of dark chocolate and fresh bananas it’s probably one of the healthier decisions you could make to satisfy your sweet tooth!

With bathing suit season upon us, we can still satisfy our sweet tooth without compromising on health/nutrition and sticking to our lifestyle choices!  Share your favorite treats in the comments below!

#EmnBWed – The Venue

If you are an avid bee reader, you may recall we had a whirlwind of wedding planning from traveling out to Jackson Hole to plan our intimate wedding of 30… to halting planning completely… to changing all our plans after falling head over heels for our venue.  As soon as we saw our venue which (by the way) was under construction with puddles of water, open walls and no fixtures we were heart-eyed emojing with goosebumps.

The venue was a bank from the 1920’s – 1923 to be exact, that was restored to be an event venue.  The original bank vault is in near mint condition with it’s nearly foot thick original door, and the bankers office was the perfect space for photos ahead of time with original wood ceilings and a stunning fireplace. So without further ado, please enjoy the finished product with lights, flowers, lots and lots of marble and pure perfection.
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One of the benefits of this venue was that it was so beautiful to begin with that we really didn’t have to do much with the florals, or other decor, although we had some stunning centerpieces that definitely made a statement.  Pro-tip: Look for a venue with natural beauty, you’ll save with the extras in the long run.  Although to further show off the beauty and details of this venue, we rented six, sixty-inch mirror table tops that reflected the gorgeous original ceilings, allowing our guests to enjoy the original beauty at all times.  The venue also had original bankers tables that we were able to use as bars in the main room, this pulled everything together and really tied in the history of the venue.

We were so in love with how it all turned out, how beautiful everything looked and how it all came to life for the most perfect day!

Image Source: Timothy Logan Photography 

Mom’s Tuna Noodle Casserole – The Recipe

For any fellow Lenter’s out there – tis the season of meatless Friday’s and fasting.  And it’s the season of Mom’s delicious homemade comfort food dishes, so I wanted to share one of our favorites, her Tuna Noodle Casserole! Also great for any full-time vegetarians out there to have a nice easy casserole prepped for a winter weekend.
Tuna Noodle - Recipe - the bee lifee
What You’ll Need:
– 1-package of medium egg noodles, Cooked
– 1-can of tuna, white albacore in water
– 1-can of cream of celery
– 1/2 cup shredded cheddar cheese (or more!)
– Third of a bag of frozen peas
– Mayo – 2-large spoon fulls
– 3-tablespoons of melted butter
– 1-cup seasoned bread crumbs

Step-by-Step:
1. Follow the instructions on the package of noodles to cook.  While the noodles are cooking cook a third of the frozen peas in the microwave, follow instructions on bag.  Preheat your oven to 350-degrees
2. Strain the water from the tuna and mix the tuna, cream of celery, cheddar cheese and mayo into a large bowl.
3. Add the cooked peas and cooked noodles (drained from hot water) to your tuna mixture, mix together well and then evenly spread mixture into cookie dish *ADD SIZE.
4. Melt your butter and combine with bread crumbs with a fork – distribute evenly across the top of your casserole, add as much or as little as you may want. Bake in the oven for 15-20 minutes, until the topping is browned.
5. Serve up with some garlic bread and enjoy!

This is such an easy, quick meal to pull together on a Friday night and will last you through the weekend with leftovers!

Homechef – French Onion Chicken

As I mentioned in my Latest Obsessions – we’ve been loving our Homechef weekly delivered meals.  I admittedly haven’t made all of the recipes we’ve received, because B is awesome! But one meal I have made was the French Onion Chicken.  I followed all the instructions, set off the smoke detector, but it still came out delicious, not to mention it was super easy following the step-by-step directions!
Homechef - French Onion Chicken
The French Onion Chicken has a reasonable prep and cook time of 25-35 minutes, and was easy to accomplish on a week night after a full day of work.  One of the main reasons we love Homechef so much is the additional ingredients provided that bring the flavor level up a notch. This was accomplished with the caramelizing of the onions using thyme and sherry wine in the process, such a game changer!  These added flavor ingredients, are also portioned perfectly so there is no waste or left over thyme/greens to sit in the fridge.  How many times have we bought a whole container of basil or cilantro when we only need a quarter of the pack?!

Get the full recipe here: Homechef – French Onion Chicken

Every time we bite into a new Homechef meal, we groan a little and rave just how delicious it is! We haven’t had a bad meal yet, and love the convenience of having meals delivered straight to our door, allowing us to plan ahead for the week!  Do you use a home delivery meal service? Leave a comment below and share what you absolutely love about it!!

Champagne Cocktails for NYE

We are in the final countdown of days for 2016 so that means it’s time to start planning for your last night of the year.  And in my opinion, every occasion is an occasion for champagne, although some occasions call for a little more expensive champagne than others.  But there is always one occasion that demands champagne and that is New Year’s Eve!  I love champagne straight, all day long, but found some fun, easy cocktails to try for your NYE celebration for those who might want a little more “umph” to get the party started.
Champagne Cocktails - NYE - the bee life

Pomegranate Cranberry Champagne Punch – This cocktail will be tasty for everyone, and requires minimal ingredients beyond what you may already have stocked on your bar. Garnish this with some cranberries and mint leaves and you’ve got a fun drink to be enjoyed by all!

Champagne Punch – I love this punch because it has a bit more flavor paired with rum and pineapple juice for a little more exotic flair to kick off your evening of celebrating. Not to mention the recipe allows for a larger portion, perfect for the family party or night with friends.

Raspberry & Ginger Beer Champagne Cocktail – This cocktail is something even your honey won’t mind drinking… well maybe besides the pink color.  Mixing a taste of raspberry with ginger beer and champagne this cocktail is sure to be refreshing and light and perfect to enjoy the whole night!

If your like me and have a love for champagne, these are fun ways for other guests and friends to enjoy some bubbles as well – or even more simple buy some garnishes to throw in your bubbles – frozen cranberries, raspberries, blue berries, or even a strawberry garnish and some greenery to give your champagne a sophisticated look for your NYE party! And don’t forget to WOO when you pop that bottle!!

Cheers!

 

 

Photo sources linked above. 

Latest Obsessions 12.17 – Holiday Fashion

Guys & Gals! This year’s holiday fashion trends have me heart-eyed emoji-ing and are my latest obsessions this month! I love looking for new pieces each holiday season to rock at holiday parties for work or with friends, Christmas Eve mass and into the midnight hours of NYE! Finding pieces that are versatile but also unique to stand out is all in the fun of putting together your holiday-ready look.
Latest Obsessions 12.17 - the bee life
Sparkles.  Always sparkles! Sparkles are especially perfect for a holiday party or to finish off your NYE look.  They’re festive and fun and make you feel pretty! Finding a statement top with sparkles is like the ultimate win-win.

Velvet. This is definitely a newer trend that has come out in full force this season and is filling stores.  This look is warm, fun and ads texture and style to any look for holiday festivities. Plus these trendy velvet tops are coming in all sorts of colors like maroon, light pink or blues, these translate into the later winter months!

Kimonos. Introducing the new, trendier poncho. These can help dress up any causal look with their intricate designs and use of fabrics.  You can go high-end on these or shop a bit more affordable options that can be switched out more! Either way, these are a must, and perfect for covering up a sexy tank.

Furs. Faux of course! Finding a fun faux fur to use as a cover-up or dressing up a plain sweater with a statement vest is perfect for a family or office party.  These can also add a layer (no pun intended) of fun to your look while keeping you warm in transit to and from!

It’s just another reason to love this time of the year – and excuse to wear an excessive amount of beautiful things that make you sparkle! Cheers to another year of creating memories and looking fabulous while doing it.

 

Image Sources linked above

Local Love – Chronicle Brewing Co.

Sharing some local love to a dear friend and one of the finishing touches for our wedding.  Our wedding favors were custom-home brewed beers that were completely created unique to us and our favorite beer tastes! This was especially cool because we got to walk through the whole process from start to finish with Chronicle Brewing Co.  Chronicle Brewing Co. is a home brewing company that has grown from a passion and creates custom brews for birthdays, weddings and other special holidays!
Local Love - CBC - the bee life
To kickoff our beer process; we first had a tasting with beers that we like or were in a similar category.  For B, we went with an IPA since that is his go-to, the goal was to create an IPA that wasn’t to hoppy, and finding that happy medium to appease our guests as well as B! For me, I was in between a porter or a stout, something light but still flavorful with hints of chocolate.  With the tasting, Mike the founder of Chronicle Brewing Co. was able to better pinpoint and start creating the recipes for our beers based off of what B and I liked!

For the IPA’s we were able to buy hops from my hometown and Mike used those through the brewing process – which we were also a part of, again being a part of this the entire way! It was also awesome having a hand in determining the ingredients and using parts that were unique to us.  After a few weeks; we were ready to go over and help with the bottling process: sterilizing the beer bottles, applying the labels, and then the actual bottling and sealing with our awesome custom bottle caps.

From there they just needed to sit a little longer, we picked them up just before our wedding, and finally got to taste our beers that were being worked on for months! Guests were greeted by a beer at their table setting ready for them to take home, we loved that we were able to create not only special labels and caps for our beers but having two completely custom beers made to represent B and I’s favorite beer flavors, not to mention they were so delicious!

 

Holiday Hacks – Make A Statement

One of my favorite things about the holidays is presents! But no… probably not what your thinking – I love WRAPPING presents… seriously, it’s all about the presentation.  Although my wrapping game isn’t quite up to par with what I’d like it to be… I’m getting there. So if your like me, and like to make a statement with your presents, and include them as part of your decorations under the tree – here are some easy hacks to do just that!
Bee Holiday Hacks - Statement - the bee life
Pick a Theme or Color Palette. This can tie into the decor of your home if your planning to use these are decor under the tree. Often times I’m inspired by a specific ornament or even spotting some gift wrap in the store and working around that to pick my theme for the year!

Get Wrapping Paper for Each Person/Categories. I know; this is getting a little crazy but I like to wrap all of B’s presents in his very own wrapping paper – this leaves out the need for 20-different name tags.  This could be done by family (yours vs. his) or by person if you have enough variety in your paper selection.

Stock-up on Tags/Ribbon when you See a Good Deal.  And it doesn’t have to be Christmas! I stocked up on a bunch of tags after Valentines day, they were gold, and bright pinks – they’ve come in clutch throughout the year and I’m sure I’ll throw a few gold ones on gifts this year too.  Always be on the look out and stock-up especially if you see one of a kind options at Marshalls or TJ Maxx. Or better yet, print your own with these free printable Christmas tags! Don’t be afraid to keep it simple too and make a statement with ribbons, tags, or greenery.

Invest in some Good Tape. This is a fault of mine; because I scrapbook and go through a lot of tape, therefore I just stock-up at the Dollar Store – however I’ve come to find that this tape and some of the fancy, thicker wrapping paper I’ve picked up don’t go well together.

This is a fun way to spread some extra cheer and make a statement with family and friends.

Photo Source: Cosmopolitan