No Bake Dairy-Free Peanut Butter Cup Recipe

Introducing the newest blog series: Baking with B! My hubby, B has been a rockstar during quarantine to find recipes that are not only easy, but dairy free and healthy-ish! His latest is also keto friendly and requires very little prep as it’s a no-bake recipe. These were a welcomed surprise and are so easy to whip together for a quick treat whether it’s just for two or a nice after dinner treat for an intimate dinner party. Check out the shopping list and super simple step-by-step instructions below, and try not to drool over these sweet treats!

Super easy shopping list and super easy to throw into a bowl, with minimum tools needed! But a few things to consider when you’re shopping; the last time we made this treat, I asked B to leave out the Stevia sweetener to see if there would be a difference, as I can taste the sweetness (and I’m not a huge fan!) – the taste difference wasn’t that drastic, so if you’re not a fan it’s worth leaving out. We also used virgin organic coconut oil, which holds a bit more of a coconut taste – again not bad in my opinion paired with chocolate, but something to note when you’re grabbing your coconut oil (i.e. organic vs. not).

Shopping List: (Makes about 6-peanut butter cups)
– 3 Tablespoons of Coconut Oil
– 1.5 Tablespoons of Cocoa Powder
– 4 Tablespoons of Creamy Organic Peanut Butter
– 3-5 drops of liquid Stevia Sweetener (optional)
– Pecans (optional)
– Cupcake Liners

Step-by-Step Instructions:
1. In a medium size mixing bowl, pour all of your ingredients together into a bowl. Using organic peanut butter is key, since you’ll want this to be a liquid base substance, so if your peanut butter is thicker you may need to melt it!
2. Once your ingredients are mixed, get your cupcake liners prepped! We filled the bottom of each of the liners with pecans – which is optional of course. Then scoop equal parts throughout for your thickness, if you have any extra top off your cups!
3. Once you batter is all poured, place peanut butter cups into the freezer. Let freeze for a few hours before serving and enjoying. Store in freezer in between snacking!

So there you have it, a delicious, easy, dairy-free and keto friendly sweet treat! Here to help my Bee readers satisfy their sweet tooth, in new and easy ways — in case you missed it, check out this super easy and also dairy free cookie dough recipe!

Latest Obsessions 08.20 – Bubbly Edition

Since National Prosecco Day 🥂 was August 13th and this year of quarantine and new normal has been anything but normal — I’ve pretty much been treating every one of the last 165 days like National Prosecco Day! So to keep on a good theme of 2020, I wanted to share my favorite accessories for bubbly drinking.

Freezable Travel Tote: I was gifted a PackIt freezable wine bag, that also happens to perfectly fit a cold bottle of bubbly! The tote, closes up nicely and is easy to carry – you can even through it over your shoulder. In between use you can just throw it in the freeze and it’s ready to go for your next trip. Best part of all is they come in a variety of colors and fun patterns to fit anyone’s personality.

Champagne Seal Stoppers: This is a must have, and you must have at least two! This is also a go-to travel piece that I throw in my purse, is that bad 😬 ? But seriously, it helps save a bottle for multiple nights – which helps give your bottle of bubbles some extra life. I’ve used two different types and they both seem to hold a good seal and deliver bubbles and a significant pop when reopening (watch out, sometimes it’s packs a punch!) Shop the stainless steal stopper and the silicone expander — you can’t go wrong with either!

Bubbly Glassware Options: I recently splurged some worn glassware that I purchased from Marshall’s — don’t get me wrong, they were great bubbly flutes, but after time the gold decals wore off. So, I thought it was time to invest in some nicer champagne flutes and decided to get a few different styles — because sometimes I love the stemless route and sometimes I like something a little fancier 🤷🏼‍♀️. I went for these timeless stemless champagne flutes with a gold rim from Pottery Barn. And for something a little fancier, I couldn’t resist these Monique Lhuillier Gaberielle coupes and flutes etched glasses, they’re stunning and also scream special occasion. They’ll be perfect for the holidays.

Even if you’re not a bubbly connoisseur, but maybe know one — these make great gifts and can easily be paired with a nice bottle of bubbles! So whether you’re celebrating National Prosecco Day (every day) or just celebrating a birthday or love bubbles, like me, these are a few essentials that you’ll want to add to your bubble drinking arsenal.

xox,

Fitness Friday 08.20

Hi my bees! It’s time for a ray of optimism in a year that is seemingly turning out to be one shit storm after the next. And I’ll be the first to admit, I haven’t been able to maintain the optimism as much as I was in the early months of quarantine.
FitnessFriday08.20-beelifeblogGoal #1 is to meet my running goal of 2020 and run six races. Since last Fitness Friday, I’ve been able to sign-up and add another race to our fall list — making a total of  four races (including my January run). Which makes me only two away from hitting my six! I was hoping to get a half in, but I’m not sure if that will happen — maybe it still will, we will see!

Goal #2 is to run at least 2x a week, starting tomorrow! I have been recently reminded that my workout routine has been less than consistent — and I need to lean in a bit more on fitness, exercise and getting outside more consistently than I have been, especially to help deal with my stress and anxiety in a healthier way (which FTR, has been through the roof 24/5 lately).

So I’m taking my race obstacles and anxiety obstacles and I’m going to step on them to more opportunities and reaching my goals and ultimately feeling better inside and out. What’re your current obstacles, and how can you jump on them to new opportunity?

Here’s to staying strong, staying active and reach our goals!

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DIY – Modern Wooden Fence

As we were working through our backyard makeover, one of the curveballs B threw at me was wanting to hide the paint chipping white garage, in addition to adding the raised planter boxes for extra greenery. I instantly jumped on Pinterest searching for inspiration for a decorative solution that we would be able to customize. I searched ‘modern decorate fences’ and found some inspiration that we could easily recreate and pitched the idea to B.
DecoartiveFence(6)The pitch was a success and the project was a go! The advantage of this project and any DIY project is being able to create a completely custom fence that fits your space and dimensions. We ended up throwing in two other fences to place around our ‘property,’ one in front of our garbage cans along the side of our driveway, and then another on the North side of the house in front of our air conditioner. The thing to remember with these fences is they weren’t going to be complete privacy, but help off-set and distract from the ugly things.
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Project Supply List:
– (13) 1ft x 3ft x 8ft
– (6) 1ft x 2ft x 8ft (post supports for smaller fences)
– (5) 1ft x 6ft x 12ft
– (1) 1ft x 6ft x 6ft
– (2) 2ft x 4ft x 10ft (post supports for large fence)
Thompson’s WaterSeal Stain & Foam Brush
– Post Hole Digger
– Quick Time Concrete
– Nail Gun / Screw Driver + Screws (large fence)
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Figuring out the number of pieces of wood and sizes to get and make all three of our fences, was a headache and quite the math equation that B successfully conquered — even though it took us awhile to get there. As I knew I wanted 6″ wide pieces and 3″ wide pieces, I just didn’t have the complete layout and patterned figured out based on the height variations. There has also been a wood shortage this summer, so B had to do some home improvement store hopping to get all the sized pieces we needed — luckily we were able to get everything!

Our Fence Dimensions:
– Back Fence: 7-feet tall* by 4.5-feet wide aka (16) 3″ pieces, (5) 6″ pieces and (2) 1″ pieces
– Garbage Fence: 5-feet tall* by 3-feet wide aka (12) 3″ pieces and (4) 6″ pieces
– Air Conditioner Fence: 3-feet tall* by 3-feet wide aka (8) 3″ pieces and (2) 6″ pieces

*This is the height above ground, we accounted for 1-2ft in the ground depending on the overall height. 

Once we secured our wood, based on our estimations, B cut away to get the estimated pieces per board. Once we had everything cut, I was able to play around with the pattern and get the pieces figured out — it was definitely a move around, take a step back and see what looked and felt right. Once we had our pattern in place it was go time. For the two smaller fences we used a nail gun and getting these put together was relatively quick, as we also just eyed the spacing between each pieces, made sure things were level and fired away.
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The large fence was a bit different and took some adjustments after we created the two smaller pieces. One adjustment was switching up the support pieces to 2ft x 4ft x 10ft — due to the size and slatted wood pieces, this fence was not only heavy but also pretty big (see me standing with it above), especially accounting for 2-feet to put in the group, it was a bit guy to navigate. We also ended up screwing the large fence together (instead of a nail gun) and did the screwing from the back, so that you wouldn’t see any holes from the front.

When it came to staining, we used the same stain we had from our planter boxes, we had plenty left over to create a cohesive look. I ended up staining the fences two different ways, one with the fences built and one as individual pieces — I’m not sure which I liked better, the individual pieces was definitely a bit more tedious. But, I do know overall I would pick staining any day to painting — it’s so easy and workable to make it blend the way you want. Luckily we were staining in the heat, so they dry time was quick if we wanted to apply two coats.
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We ended up angling most of these fences for final placement so that more space was covered and we were blocking the ugly things just right. This of course, took a bit of time and tapping to get just right! We also made sure to strategically place the larger back fence in front of the garage, so that form a farther distance you couldn’t see the end of the fence! I think my favorite fence beside the big one, is the one in front of the garbage cans, when you walk into our backyard it’s just such a welcomed look and as we’ve worked on adding flowers along the side it definitely makes it feel more complete!

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Before & After: Backyard Makeover

B and I have talked about this project off and on for a few years now. We are fortunate to have a decent size yard for the city we live in, and I’ve always loved our green space even if we have a small dog. But, we have a back spot that has some trees and the grass doesn’t grow great, plus we get a small lake back there when we have heavy rains. The back also faces an old paint chipping garage — so we always thought it would be nice to add a little privacy and greenery. The problem though, was we would have to build up the area based on how that area handles the rain.
Backyard(4)We had two different ideas on how we could do this. Mine was making planter boxes and B’s was building up the ground and using rocks to build a sort of wall. I quickly sold B on the planter box idea, for a few reasons — (1) we could customize the dimensions and look however we wanted to fit our space and (2) the stones I would want to put in the backyard would be expensive, as I’m not the biggest fan of the more generic ones you can find in stock at home improvement stores. Thus the planning begun and the measurements started. We ended up adding in a second planter box to the right of the main area to help B out with another dead grassy area that he hates!
Backyard(1)The larger planter box we made was 8ft by 4ft and the smaller planter box was 4ft x 3ft, both 18 inches tall. We used 2×4’s for the posts and then used pressure treated wood for the exterior sides and stained them for extra weathered protection. We cut all of the wood and I stained it while B worked on getting the holes dug for the support beams.

Project Supply List:
– (3) 2x4x10ft posts
– A mix of 1x6x10ft and 1x6x12ft pressure treated wood
Thompson’s WaterSeal Stain & Foam Brush
– Post Hole Digger
– Quick Concrete Mix
Metal Edging
– 2.5-3 cu.yd of Top Soil
– 24 bags of Pea Gravel
– Plants of your choice

Digging the holes for the support post beams was tough, as we were working around roots, we tried to get 2ft deep, but sometimes we couldn’t. Luckily we also used quick concrete mix to help support the beams and keep them in place. We even lined up our cut boards for the first lower box level to make sure we were lining up the posts and box properly and ensure everything was level — this really helped and allowed us to have a good base to work up from once the support beams were secure in the concrete.
Backyard(2)Once we got the boxes in place, we felt super accomplished and add top pieces to help finish them off! From there we ended up lining the insides with a weed barrier landscape fabric to keep the dirt in. Next up, we just needed to order the dirt! The last piece beyond the dirt that needed to be figured out was trying to find some sort of treatment for in between the boxes around the trees. We talked about adding some edging to help break it up, but upon further research and inspiration, we opted to create a space sweeping around the boxes that we could fill in with the pea gravel. I found this metal edging that I just think has such a sharp look, we would be able to create a custom space to help complete this new area!
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Backyard(3)Once we finished the edging off, it really brought this space to life and separated it from the rest of the yard — without taking away too much from our green space (which was a constant concern for me!). We got three yards of dirt delivered pretty quickly – for the record, we ordered way to much and could’ve gotten away with two and a half yards or so. We also got this delivered on one of those red hot July days, B busted his butt and filled the planters (not recommended). When we actually got to planting, we had to remove a lot of dirt so that was why we ordered too much! For the plants, we knew we wanted to get arborvitaes for the large planter box to add a bit more privacy, so we did our research and visited the nursery to pick out trees! We ended up buying a bit more expensive ones that were already 4+ft tall. We also kept going back and forth between getting two or three — we ended up choosing three knowing that we will need to trim and maintain them a bit more!
Backyard(5)For the smaller planter box we got a hydrangea – which I think I’m going to switch out for a Limelight version, like we have in our front yard. In a year or two the hydrangea bush will completely fill this box and will be a beautiful addition to the backyard!

Quick project cost breakdown: Arborvitaes & Hydrangea ($300), Pebbles & Dirt ($225), Wood & Stain ($140), Edging ($50) — Estimated project total: $715 

The plan for next year is to get a bunch of different sized terra-cotta pots and add more plants or veggies around the boxes on top of the pebbles to fill in the space more. You may also notice the large decorative fence (how-to blog coming up next!) that is covering that gross garage! Yes — we crafted that up and love how it helps finish the space.

Questions about this makeover? Leave a comment below!

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Weekend Roundup – July 2020

July was another rollercoaster month — but it had some lovely moments of normal. I think those are the moments I need to remind myself more of, those moments of normal.

The month started out with a travel first for B and I — although we were only heading to see my parents, we traveled in a different way than we ever have before. A 73-feet RV! Luckily we didn’t have to worry about driving, so we had a stress free and relaxing ride hanging out with the family. It was massive, and was even bigger once it was parked and stretched out. Once we arrived to our parents, this allowed the fam we traveled with to stay in the RV while we stayed in my parents house — it worked out perfectly!
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Luckily we were with family that we’ve seen off and on throughout the last few months — keeping our bubble consistent, but we headed in for my aunt’s beautiful backyard wedding. I know this is the exact scenario everyone has been reading about to avoid for the last three months – I wouldn’t lie if I didn’t say I was anxious about it, but I was also excited to see everyone. We all shared concerns, but we all have been safe, have limited our foot print and continue to take proper safety precautions. The first night together we spent playing corn hole, listening to music, playing games and eating delicious summer cookout food. It was a lot of fun and great being together.
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The next day was pretty low key before the wedding. Luckily, the wedding was hosted in my cousins very large backyard. My aunt looked absolutely stunning in her BHLDN wedding dress too and their ceremony was so perfect and shared a lot of special moments between L&A. The wedding guests were pretty much everyone we had been with the night before, so not a lot of new people interacting or mingling and those that were new kept their distance and masked up. We also kept up our intense corn hole tournaments going once the wedding festivities were complete — as it got pretty competitive before we all called it a night and just sat around the fire. Other wedding highlights included fun with the pop-up Polaroid photo booth, eating delicious Nancy cake, Chromatic, Midnight Train to George and getting a surprise firework display since the wedding was on the Fourth of July!
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The rest of July was filled with knocking out a few backyard projects, that I can’t wait to share with you in the coming weeks. We’ve also had a hot July summer days, so it’s been some sweaty afternoons and evenings – while taking advantage of early morning tee times, I think we golfed almost every week in July! We’ve been soaking up patio dinners and front porch nights while enjoying refreshing beverages.

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Budget Home Office Refresh

It’s nearing the end of July and the the fourth full month of working from home, but for the record — it seems like it’s been much longer than 4 months. With spending a bit more time in my home office (like nearly 8-hours, 5-days a week) — I started scheming for an update. As I mentioned in my May obsessions, our office wasn’t intended to be a working, functional office but more of a home for our sports memorabilia while serving as a third guest room space. So keeping this space true to it’s original intent and sports decor, I still needed to enhance the space.
BudgetOffice(1)For this budget friendly refresh I focused on three things; (1) fresh paint (2) new white shelves and (3) large gallery wall with our sports memorabilia.

We have a little blue alcove, I really was trying to add in a fun pop of pink and was thinking wallpapering a tiny sliver of the blue alcove for a fun accent wall within the accent wall.  I searched on Target, and I searched all over Etsy and I just couldn’t find anything that wasn’t going to completely change the whole vibe of the room. Then I thought maybe I’d paint some sort of cool accent wall with the blue — again, I just couldn’t figure anything that felt right, so I pivoted. The blue was in need of some touch-ups and I had some left over Sherwin Williams Naval, it wasn’t the same blue – a bit dark but close enough so I painted!
BEFORE
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AFTER
BudgetOffice(3)Before we got started painting — we ended up taking our white floating shelves down. This project was one of B and I’s first DIYs we did, and it definitely wasn’t perfect — so we deconstructed and I planned for a new cleaner and streamlined solution to replace them. With a few coats of paint, the blue was looking refreshed and a bit darker. I went for a simple white shelf look with gold brackets. Since I was unable to find gold brackets in stock and for a decent price — I spray painted some white ones that were more affordable! I bought these white brackets for $2.28 each and used gold spray painted I already had and they turned out pretty perfectly. I bought white laminate shelves pre-cut that worked perfectly and were bigger for the space.

Pro-tip: Spray paint the screw tops too for a seamless look once you install. 

The final and biggest piece that took the most time and most money (about $160) was putting together a gallery wall with all the various sports photos and other fun sports souvenirs into a big gallery wall on the large back wall in the office. Luckily I already had a lot of the artwork and frames, but there were some new pieces that we needed to help fill in the space. Some of the fun new additions included a display case for my baseballs, a larger vintage print of Yankee Stadium from the 1920’s and then a fun shelf to display some of our Cavs bobbles heads. A few other frames and prints and we were able to incorporate all our favorite sports teams, memories and a fun race photos too. One fun favorite sports memory that we included was our Game 7: World Series ticket and photo.
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I really love how the gallery wall turned out and it’s definitely the focal point of the room, until you see the fun little desk alcove. Another key part of the gallery wall was pulling some of the 3D elements into the wall and off of the shelves to give those some more breathing space and clean them up a bit! The side roller cart to the right of my desk came from my actual work office and fits nice to be a bit of a desk extender with my monitor set-up along with some drawer storage. Although this wasn’t a complete make over, it’s a good reminder to anyone who is looking for a refresh and are happy with pieces you already own, that you can make subtle and affordable updates to make a fun update!

There are still maybe a few little things and photos for shelves that I want to add, but those are fun little pieces to update along the way. I also have been tossing around getting a pink neon sign for my blue alcove for that pop of pink — we will see! Let the work from home life continue!

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DIY – Painted Cork Board Makeover

Whenever we travel back to visit my parents, I always try and snag some of my childhood things to bring back or get rid of! So when I saw my old high school half and half white-cork board, I initially thought I didn’t want or need this — but I still grabbed it and brought it back home. With my new semi-permanent home office, I realized I could definitely use a space to post inspiration, write important to-do’s and hang a calendar, so as the wheels kept turning, I decided this could use a little face lift!
DIYCork(4)The best part was I was able to cover up my high school doodles that have lived on for over a decade *cringes a little* and give the dated wood grain a fresh and affordable update with the craft and paint supplies we already had. It just required a few coats of paint and a little patiences.

Craft Supply List:
– Old Bulletin Board
– Craft Paint, Colors of your Choice
– Foam Painter
– All Purpose Cleaner
– Goo-Gone
3M Hangers Strips
DIYCork(1)Step-by-Step:
1. Once you’ve figured out your colors, it’s time to prep the space. I chose to go with a pretty pink and white!
2. Before I started painting, I had to do some cleaning to remove old dry erase phrases that have been sitting on here for over a decade, so upon doing some research I found that an all purpose cleaner would do the trick – and it did. I left the cleaner sit on the dry erase writings for a little bit and then wiped off, I repeated this a few times until it was all clean!
3. I also had some sticky residue on the wood frame, so goo-gone helped clean that up before it was time to paint. It cleaned off well with a little elbow grease and a few scrubs.
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4. I wasn’t entirely sure how the craft paint would go on the bulletin board part — but it went on relatively easy and surprisingly helped cover up some of the missing chunks and the written phrases, initials and numbers I had scattered throughout. It just took a few coats, especially where I had writing. I did sadly cover up ‘The O.C.” — RIP.
5. Next, it came time to work on the wooden boarder. I used some white wall paint for this, that had a bit of a gloss. This went on slow, since it did require about 4-5 coats – but it really helped make the pink pop and refreshed to something that would work better in my office space!
6. Once it was all painted, it was time to hang it up! I hung this with 3M strips and it has stayed up well! It’s the perfect space for my monthly calendar and a few other fun reminders. Although — I have not been great about getting my to-do’s crossed off!DIYCork(3)
Since I updated this old cork-white board, we’ve given the office space a bit of an update too — I’m excited to share next week as I’m just waiting for a few pieces to arrive in the main to finish up the gallery wall! The 3M Strips also worked great for already moving the placement already. It’s been great having a monthly overview calendar at a quick glance that has made this update so worth it, on top of having a fun pop of pink!

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Latest Obsessions 07.20

Another month, more obsessions, more quarantine and still social distancing over here. So my latest obsessions are exactly what summer’s are made of: Golf. Grilling. And Work Outs.

B and I have quickly turned golfing into a weekly routine. We’ve been going out early to get nine holes in before the work day. It’s also been necessary to go out early to beat the hot summer heat we’ve been blessed with. It’s become a fun hobby, that B is already so great at and loves that I’ve come to enjoy — I just haven’t always make it out in previous years! We’ve also made it another fun summer activity to do with my aunts, too! This has led me to wanting to upgrade my hand-me-down golf bag, however — golf bags aren’t cheap, especially the ones I want. *grins*
BeeLifeBlog_GolfGrilling is our preferred dinner method of choice, especially in the summer! We’ve also been loving our MeatboxLocal ground beef delivery. We’ve been completely stocked for burgers all summer, and have also loved grilling up some bacon on the castiron skillet for bacon cheeseburgers — YUM! Grilling out over the summer, means spending more time and extending our nights into our outdoor living space on the patio.  In addition to grilling a lot, we have also been trying to eat a lot better and low carb! B has been really good about it, so that has been keeping it in check — it’s definitely easier when you have a partner to keep you accountable.
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The last latest obsession that has been also keeping us in check beyond eating better is getting up and working out! As I shared in my July Fitness Friday that we’ve had to pivot the workout routine because of the intense summer heat — although even the morning workouts with the humidity are still pretty sweaty which make the workouts feel a little more effective. I still want to get back into a bit of a running routine and take advantage of the cooler days so I can help accomplish my running goals for the year! It’s helped that B has been working out with me too, along with the aunts or getting a quick one in at our house.
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Besides these latest summer obsessions — I’ve been trying to stay busy and distracted with some house projects, that I’ll be sharing soon, to avoid the reality that is still continuing of coronavirus. I thought maybe these summer months and nice weather would be a breeze to get through, but the mental health and anxiety has been a constant battle. I know I’m not the only one — but it’s important we continue to take care of ourselves and check in with each other, still. It’s easy to get wrapped up and just because things have continued to be the rollercoaster they have been since March doesn’t mean people are the same or it’s gotten easier.

Here’s to staying positive, healthy and happy!

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