Vegan Almond Joy Coffee Creamer

As part of my quest to reduce the dairy/gluten in my diet I discovered using coconut milk in coffee. The first batch I made was a Paleo version that had egg in it and was supposed to last up to two weeks. First week, no problem. Second week, I was getting iffy. At the end of the second week...it was obvious I should not consume what what in that mason jar. Two week old eggs in coconut milk is less that desirable.

So I played, and played some more, and finally landed somewhere that made me happy. I needed more flavor than vanilla to convince myself it was a good creamer. So off to the almond and coconut extract we already had on hand. It turned out good, and my super coffee picky husband who won't use coconut milk as creamer even said it tasted like an Almond Joy to him...so I'd consider that success.

The only kicker with coconut creamer is that it doesn't whiten a cup of coffee the same way say Coffee Mate or heavy cream does. I usually use about 2 -3 tsp of the creamer in a cup of coffee and still add the amount of Stevia I normally would, I like things sweet. My love of sweet things and chips and dip will be what keeps me from ever wasting away.

That's a story for another day.


Ingredients::
13.66 oz can Coconut Milk (not light)
1 heaping tbsp cocoa powder
1/4 tsp almond extract (use 1/2 tsp if you want the taste stronger)
1/4 tsp coconut extract (use 1/2 tsp if you want the taste stronger)
3 packets stevia

Directions::
Whisk all ingredients to combine. Mixture will thicken after refrigeration, and may need to be stirred if  it separates.






























What is your favorite coffee creamer flavor, or your favorite type of coffee? 

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Don't forger to enter my newest favorite things giveaway for a chance to win a super cute World Market coffee mug and your choice of either Cafe Du Monde coffee or your favorite kcup pack! 

Meal Pinning Monday





[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking. 

Monday - Thai Beef Cabbage Cups (because I didn't make it to them last week)


Tuesday - Tomato Basil Parmesan Soup with added chicken & Artisan Whole Wheat Bread (the recipe isn't whole wheat but I use it & it tastes great)
Wednesday - Leftovers

Thursday - Paleo Chicken Kiev with Roasted Carrots and Brussel Sprouts



Saturday - Leftovers

Sunday - Cinco de Mayo --- Moe's is having a $5 burrito special:)


Favorite Things Giveaway :: Coffee Edition

As a huge thank you to everyone who reads Louisiana Bride and follows on Facebook, Twitter, IG and everywhere else I am having a little celebratory giveaway! We hit 200 followers on Facebook and with GFC this week, whoo hoo! 

Since I am a coffee addict, thanks to Jeremy, I thought it would be neat to do another favorite things type giveaway, but do it with coffee! 

So you have the chance to win a super cute green Lotus Blossom coffee/tea mug from World Market and either a can of Cafe Du Monde coffee or a box of your favorite K-Cups. You get to pick, mainly because not everyone has a coffee maker anymore, a lot of people use Keurig these days. 


So, who wants some coffee and a cute mug? 


Giveaway sponsored by Louisiana Bride. I was in no way paid to promote these brands, they are just products I love, products were purchased by Louisiana Bride.

Just a few things on a Saturday

Hey y'all! I hope everyone is enjoying their weekend so far. I just thought I'd share a few things with you before heading off to Baton Rouge today with Jeremy to search for some new dress clothes for his internship & upcoming interviews. I'm using this as a chance to drag him through Whole Foods and World Market.

Who would like to place bets that he physically carries me out of there like he did at Charming Charlie's?

No, really, we walked into Charming Charlie's one day, I got 2 tables in and he looked around and said "This is going no where good." Then he swooped me up and carried me (like over the threshold carried me) out of the store.

This is precisely why I need that sign that says "Shopping with your husband is like hunting with the game warden."


This week I got my first Birchbox. 

Side note:: If Jeremy asks you what a Birchbox is just say it is necessary and go on. If you bring it up to him and I have to defend my case as to why I "needed" this I will give you one minute to run ahead of me before I come after you. (joking...but really.) 

Seriously though, this was a little box of heaven and I can't wait to get the others every month. The Hail Merry Macaroons were divine, and the conditioner they sent is so good I am planning to order some when I get my review points up a bit. I'll have to start doing a Birchbox review for y'all every month to let you know about new beauty product. I just love the idea of getting a box of samples every month, I am the sample loving queen y'all! 

Birchbox is only $10 bucks a month and for every 100 points you earn you get $10 to spend in their store, plus they have free shipping on monthly box items. It is really worth it if you like to try new things but don't like to buy full size before experimenting first. Not to mention, nothing makes me happier than snail mail treats. You can join by following this link here

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Firmoo has a discount for new customers!!! Use the code WELCOME and get 20% off your frames and free shipping. 

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Lisa Leonard is offering free gold and aqua (super cute) drop earrings right now with a $25 minimum purchase with the code FREEFORMOM. For the entire month you can also take 15% off of your order with the code BONUS15 at checkout. 

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Don't forget to link up here Monday for Meal Pinning Monday! I'd also love for you to check out & link up at Love Laughter and Happily Ever After on Monday...my question is being featured for their weekly Coffee & Conversation post:) 

High Five for Friday

Happy Friday! 

I'm so glad the weekend is here, let's celebrate by talking about our 5 favorite things from the week:)

1. Jeremy had Orals Wednesday and officially passed his Comps! 
2. The weather has been pretty enough that I managed to squeeze in a few walks, one with a deranged            puppy. 
3. Yesterday was Jr. Achievement day at our school, my teacher didn't show up so my kids were split and I had a room of silence all day. I got soooo much done!
4. If you follow on IG you know I was having a lot of unexplained upper abdominal pain, I got my blood work back and it was all normal. Yay for no gallbladder issues! I seriously don't have time to have surgery this summer lol. We are thinking more digestive and food allergy related, and according to the Doc he wants to do more testing if I have another episode like that. (seriously I was doubled over in my classroom telling the kids to not talk to me, super fun.)
5. I'm getting so excited that school is almost out and Jeremy doesn't have summer classes! This is going to be the first summer in 5 years that neither of us have summer classes and will have the whole summer off, to job hunt and move of course. But it is free time none the less!

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What 5 things did you love about this week? 

Guest Post :: How to Learn to Be a Great Cook without Going to Culinary School


I am so excited to share today's post with y'all! It's about food, which we all know is my favorite topic. I'm pretty positive 90% of my thoughts are about what I want to cook! So read, enjoy what Bridget wrote, and leave her some comment love!!

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Did you dream of becoming a famous chef when you were a child? Or did you just watch your mom cooking delicious meals for your family with envy, wishing you could become as good a cook as she was? Even if you didn't go to culinary school because you decided to pursue an alternative career path, there is still hope for you to become an amazing chef. You may not be a top chef at a restaurant in Paris, but you can still become the star of your own kitchen.
Here are a few tips for how you can learn to be a great cook without going to culinary school:

Go To a Weekend Cooking Retreat
You can get a taste of culinary school by attending a weekend cooking retreat. There are renowned cooking programs all around the world that offer you intensive training in only a weekend or a short period like a few days or a few weeks. You can learn from top chefs while also enjoying a fabulous vacation.

There are weekend cooking programs to suit whatever your needs may be -- with different styles of cooking emphasized, designed for different levels of cooks, and for different price points to meet different budgets.

Use the Internet to Your Advantage
The Internet has become the great equalizer. If you want to learn it, you can find the information on the Internet. You can find recipes, information about cooking techniques and concepts, and video tutorials. You can get everything that you would get in a hands-on class online except the feel of your instructor's hands on yours to guide your knife technique.

Most information that you will need is free, but you can choose to pay for premium content to suit your needs. Otherwise, you have a virtual encyclopedia in blogs, recipe websites, YouTube, Pinterest and more.

Don't Be Afraid to Take Risks
To make an omelet, you have to break a few eggs, and to learn how to do great things in the kitchen, you have to take a lot of risks -- and make a lot of mistakes. By taking risks and experimenting in the kitchen, you will learn the fundamentals and discover new techniques. You may even create new recipes that your family will love. The key is to have fun and to put yourself out there. You may make mistakes, but you'll also learn from them.

Practice, Practice, Practice
The best cooks all had to learn how to boil an egg at one point. They didn't get to where they were without practice, and neither will you. Spend as much time as you can practicing. Cook for yourself and your family every night. Invite friends over and cook for them.  Create delicious dishes to bring in to work, to bring to parties, or to bring to your children's school. Take advantage of every opportunity you have to cook, experiment and have fun and you'll find that you become an amazing cook in no time.

Culinary school is a great way to learn how to become a great chef fast. But if you didn't get a chance to go to culinary school, you don't have to give up on your dream of becoming a great cook for yourself and for your family. Use these tips to help you learn how to be the best you can be in the kitchen.
How did you learn to cook? Do you consider yourself to be a great cook? Share your experiences in the comments!

About the Author:
Bridget Sandorford is a freelance food and culinary writer, where recently she’s been researching culinary arts schools in Louisiana. In her spare time, she enjoys biking, painting and working on her first cookbook.

S'mores Cake :: remade

Back in August I made this cake for Jeremy's birthday, for Easter I decided to make it again. This time a little easier than the time before. The marshmallow ganache was a pain in the butt last time, plus I didn't get good pictures of it. This time though a good photog friend of mine was around and let me borrow her fabulous camera! Thanks Sara!


I was actually planning to use regular mini marshmallows, but alas Wal-Mart was clear out and all that were left were Easter bunnies. Nothing says Easter like some charred bunnies people! I personally love the taste of charred bunnies, but, never mind S'mores aren't that Easter either.




Graham Crust:
2 cups of crushed graham crackers (I had a box of pre-crushed)
1/2 stick of melted butter (maybe a little extra if your's is too dry)
dash of salt

Chocolate Cake:
1 box of your favorite chocolate cake (I prefer devils food)
*follow box directions for cake and add the following ingredients
1 egg (making 4 total for your cake mix)
4 oz sour cream
1 tsp vanilla

Frosting:
13 oz marshmallow fluff
2 1/2 cups of mini marshmallows (or whatever you find)

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350, or whatever your cake mix calls for. Grease a 13x9 baking dish, I used a glass Pyrex. Pour all of the ingredients for the graham crust into the pan, mixing together and press down into an even layer. Mix your cake mix ingredients together and add to the pan on top of the pressed graham cracker crust. Bake for roughly 35-40 minutes. But watch the cake starting at 30 minutes so it doesn't over cook. 

When cake is done top with marshmallow fluff. Heat oven to broil and sprinkle the top of the fluff with marshmallows. Broil for a few minutes until marshmallows are toasted to your liking. Be sure to watch it carefully so it doesn't burn. 


Meal Pinning Monday




[What is Meal Pinning Monday?]
MPM is how I meal plan for our little family. I once spent a lot of time searching the web and my recipe books hunting for new recipes and ideas for what to cook every week. Then, Pinterest came along and made meal planning much easier for me. Every weekend I look over what I have pinned the prior week and decide what I would like to cook and make my grocery list from these recipes. MPM came about as a way to share what I am cooking, and to also see what others are cooking every week to hopefully get even more dinner ideas from other bloggers. If you don't pin your recipes feel free to just share what you are cooking. 

Monday- Sesame Chicken with Broccoli (with rice for Jer)



Wednesday- Leftovers



Saturday- A recipe I'm working on that I will post after I make it:)

Sunday- Eating out

#RadiantWithAveeno Review & a Lisa Leonard Discount Code

Happy Saturday!

A few things this morning >>>>>>

Check out my review blog, I gave my honest opinions about Aveeno Positively Radiant Intensive Night Cream that was provided to me via Influenster.


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Also Lisa Leonard extended her 25% off Mother's Day Sale through today! Use the code 'EXTRA25' at checkout:) Your mother will love you for it!

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Upcoming posts for next week:

Monday :: Meal Pinning Monday
Tuesday :: S'mores Cake
Wednesday :: Oh How Pinteresting!
Thursday :: Linking up with the Love & Marriage Series
Friday :: High Five for Friday Linkup


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This rarely happens, but there is a blogger event in New Orleans for May 11-12th. I signed up to go to the May 11th for the bonus day, it's free, but you can also sign up for the 12th as well for $95 - it includes a lot more than what is offered May 11th and is the actual conference day. This is a great (free) way to meet other bloggers in our state and I highly recommend you come! You can sign up for the event here.


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You might not know this...I know I pay way closer attention than anyone else on this front lol, but we are 3 shy of 200 GFC followers and only about 15 shy on Facebook of 200 likes. As soon as both of those hits 200 I'll be hosting another giveaway, so be sure to follow if you read...or encourage your friends to follow. Only readers who follow via GFC, Bloglovin, FB, Twitter, or IG will be able to win in the giveaway:)

High Five for Friday

Five things I'm loving this Friday...

1. 5 blog posts I've enjoyed this week:)

Small Things Blog :: Top Humidity Fighters
MommiFried :: 5 Social Media Mistakes
Tea Time with Tess :: Closet Staples (I love Tess's style)
Tea Time with Tess :: Low Carb Meal Ideas
Censational Girl :: Ten Tips for Buying a Home

2. While it's a pain in the rear, all the extra activities mean there are officially only 24 days of school left. Whoo hoo!

3. I made my own almond flour, loved it, used it in a recipe...and we loved that too.

4. While I missed yoga last night and have to double up now, the weather has been pretty enough for south LA in the spring, and getting to catch up with a girlfriend while walking is too much fun not to miss a yoga session.

5. I've been on a coffee kick like a crazy girl. While I hate to admit it, or partake in it, the real thing is so much better than decaf.

Happy weekend friends!



Cocoa Roasted Almonds

Ever since a co-worker/friend of mine was pregnant last year...and obsessively eating Cocoa Roast Almonds, I've also suffered the addiction. It only took one handful from the pregnant lady to make me drive all the way to the next town to buy them at Target every so often.

Then I decided, why not make my own. It's worth a shot right? While it's easier to just buy food, that takes some of the fun out of it. Sometimes I just like to see what I can make, and these actually turned out just as good as the store brand.


Ingredients:
3 oz raw salt-free almonds
1 egg white
1 tsp vanilla extract
1 tbsp cocoa powder
1 tsp corn starch
2 stevia packets
1 tsp brown sugar (optional if you like things sweeter)
dash of cinnamon
pinch of salt

Directions:
Preheat oven to 275 degrees. In a small bowl mix vanilla and egg. Add almonds to mixture and toss to coat. In a separate bowl combine all other ingredients. Remove almonds from egg white mixture with a slotted spoon and add to dry ingredients. Toss almonds in cocoa mixture and place on a greased baking sheet. Bake at 275 for 30-40 minutes, stirring every 10 minutes.


Things That Make Me Say Yeay :: in reverse order

This week I realized our "miniature" not exactly mini dachshund hit 8lbs. He is now 2 lbs under Ellie, who is an actual mini. Rudy is proving to be quite the hot mess. Y'all what on earth are we going to do with a 20 lb weenie dog? This little boy can eat!

At Walmart yesterday I managed to get my hands on some tea that is as close to the Lipton pyramid bags I had in Italy. It is good, but not nearly as citrus-y.


I can't exactly say this made me say yeay, but it did make me laugh. When we were leaving lunch Sunday Gerard locked the doors and told Jeremy he had to dance to get in...this is what he did. Considering the window rolled up a tiny bit I am sure our chances of ever having kids decreased that moment. So 5 years from now when we are actually looking to get pregnant let it be known, Gerard's car window killed that thought!


This isn't the best picture, but it proves a point. When we left for the wedding Saturday I decided to tape a puppy pad to the floor in hopes that Rudy wouldn't destroy it. Uh, that went well. This picture doesn't exactly do it justice, but it looked like it snows puppy pad while we were gone. He had to have sat in the floor just shredding it for hours, the tape was even completely removed.

Just in case you have any tape stuck to your floor, I will gladly send this dog to get it up.


Another big event of the weekend was Jeremy's sister Amber's wedding in Biloxi. Y'all the events that transpired were hilarious! It was spring break on the coast apparently and it literally took us an hour to go 15 miles. These two scantly clad girls were walking much faster than we were driving for a solid 30 minutes. Jeremy threatened to get out of the car and piggy back ride them. My BIL Nate was freaking out, I admit it was stressful to drive in...which is why I wasn't looking around at traffic. Apparently the Mustang behind us was riding my tail big time.


While it was beautiful, the wind was a beast. My hair in these pics is post trying to control the beach wind crazies. Woof, this is the most lopsided bump ever!

On another note, this family has come a long way in the past 5 years. I don't talk too much about it, I may go into Jeremy's story one day, but there have been so many positive changes it just makes everyone so happy. When we were getting married there was concern over who was going to fuss with who and how on earth to remove people who showed their butts. Luckily it went down without too many kinks, but there was tons of behind the scenes drama. We went into this wedding expecting the same nutty-ness, and it was completely different. It was fun, everyone got along, no one had any complaints. Jeremy's parents who wouldn't even sit anywhere near each other at our wedding not only say next to each other once, his mom even fixed his dad's food. Other people would probably think that's nothing, but baby steps are big in a family who went through such an awful divorce. The fact that Jeremy is how/where he is to today just amazes me.

After we got in the car to leave Jeremy's dad actually said, "Well that went really well." Trust me, we are all always amazed when everything goes well.


On a funnier note, check out just how short I am. Or how freakishly tall Jeremy's family is for that matter. Jeremy is 6'4'', Amber is 6 foot, and his brother Nate is somewhere around 6'7''. My year old nephew is almost taller than I am. No lie, I look like I could be Amber and Jeremy's 5th grade child. Amber is wearing flats by the way, she is legit tall. Can we also talk about the slouching, Amber isn't bad about it, but the guys definitely are. Maybe it's because I need every inch I can get, but boys! Let's not slouch!


A little holding your bangs down action. I'm sure I look like a wild woman in all the pictures, I should have used Freeze It.


The boys. Poor Nate gets mom'd by me everytime we are together. Someone has to boss these boys around about what to wear though. Funny thing is, their step brother Eric was with us this weekend and he was picking about clothes too. These guys crack me up, you really have to listen to keep up, mainly because you never know what is going to come out of Eric's mouth and one has to be prepared to an off handed rebuttal at a moment's notice.


In other wedding day news, we spent a large part of the day "arguing" about who has the more white trash name. Obviously Jeremy-lyn is more WT than Emily. Let's just be honest about it. At this point Jeremy can't defend himself unless he hits up the comment section, which we all know he won't. The man just stalks and corrects my grammar:)


Dispicable Me blimp in NOLA for the Strawberry Festival. Apparently that's a thing now? It even has it's own Twitter account.


Friday the old man had Comps. He literally spent from 8am-5pm working on the questions and said he could have spent way more time on it. He is scheduled for Orals next Wednesday to defend what he wrote, we will find out soon if he gets invited back or not. I just love that he wore his Mental Floss Apathy shirt. My mother has done a good job of keeping up stocked in the more recent psychology shirts over the years. The semester I took Comparative Psychology she got me a Pavlov "That Name Rings A Bell" shirt to wear.


The weather was really nice, up until 11pm Saturday night. This is just another random pic of the weenie destroying something.


I've been working on my top knot, the hubby doesn't seem to understand it at all. Sadly I haven't managed to get one to look this good again. #humidityproblems


Jeremy got his NSU School Psychology shirt in this past week, I so love it! He definitely doesn't speak much about his own accomplishments...so I take up his slack. He is extremely humble, but some things I really think should be shown off. I almost want to make him a shirt when he graduates that says "I overcame a horrible home school experience and got a specialist degree!" If you ask him what degree he is getting he will just say Master's. Kinda irks me, if I am within ear shot I pipe up and correct it. Out of my friends in high school I was always picked at and told I wouldn't make it to, or out of college for that matter. It was all in good fun, but they believed I really couldn't. It wasn't that I wasn't smart, I was just super lazy about HS. Trust me, I flaunted that Master's when I got it, and I still make it known that's what I'm working with. Cocky? Maybe. But I'll let people convince me I can't ever again. I want to go back for a specialist at some point, and I would like Jeremy to get his PhD at some point.

So that's my big headed paragraph about how smart my husband is. I'll stop now:)


What was your favorite part of the past week?