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Tie Dye Unicorn Popsicles

Unicorn food is the food trend right now. In fact, all things unicorn are the new thing. Whether you’re trekking down to Brooklyn to get your $9 unicorn latte fix or walking into a Forever 21 during your lunch break to check out the new unicorn athleisure wear and bathing suits and unicorn pool floats – unicorns are everywhere!

Thanks to a combination of the weather *~finally~* warming up and my obsession with all things fruit, (I have a natural sugar sweet tooth to the extreme) I knew that I needed to create an easy-to-make recipe that could satisfy my cravings for healthy dessert and fresh fruit… unicorn popsicles seemed like the only logical answer! 😉

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For something that comes out looking so beautiful and delicious, these ice pops really take no time at all to make – you just need enough patience to wait a day for them to freeze properly. I used the fruits I had in my house and next time I’ll definitely be adding more. More fruit = more flavor, more color and more nutrients! If you’re looking for a simple summer treat that is refreshing, hydrating and totally natural you’re going to want to try the recipe below! x

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Let’s Get Started:

1 cup organic coconut water (I used the one from Trader Joe’s below and loved it)
1 peach, peeled and sliced
1 kiwi, peeled and sliced
2 strawberries, sliced
Fresh watermelon, cubed and sliced

Popsicle mold

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Let’s Get Cooking:

Place fruit into the molds – use a toothpick to arrange the fruits the way you want them to look. Pour in coconut water and place the cover or Popsicle stick into the mixture. Freeze overnight.

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Let’s Get Creative:

Increasing the amount of various fruits in your pops will also increase their colors! I used what I had on hand, but virtually any fruit should work with these ice pops.

Stay Classy! xx

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10 Best Gifts To Buy Yourself This Valentine’s Day (Because You Don’t Need A Man To Shop For You)

*~ In the wise words of self-love queen Beyoncé, “I ain’t sorry” for loving myself, spoiling myself or putting myself first. “I woke up like this, flawless” and “I’m so crazy in love.” Want to know my secret to slaying all day every day? Spoil yourself from time to time. Workout, drink a smoothie, buy that bag you’ve had your eye on for a while. Whatever it is that’ll make you happy, do it. Because you deserve it. ~*

Happy (almost) day of love, romance and spoiling yourself. Whether you’ve got a special someone to celebrate February 14th with or you’re getting pumped up to spend the day treating yourself, this gift guide has got you covered. Even if you’re in a relationship this Valentine’s Day, that’s no excuse to skip treating yourself to something special.

As I shared in my last post, I LOVE spoiling myself on Valentine’s Day (think bottle of wine, chocolates and Netflix binges) but even though these last few years I’ve had a (wonderful!) boyfriend, I still feel it’s necessary to slip a little self-love in there. After all, no one knows you better than yourself and giving yourself a much-deserved prezzie does go a long way.

Keep reading to see the best gifts to spoil yourself with this Valentine’s Day – because you’re awesome and you know it. 😉 ❤

1. “Bigger Is Always Better” 750ml Wine Glass, $16

A glass that fits an entire bottle of wine? It really doesn’t get much better than that. I admit to trying this out myself – but don’t pour out the entire bottle at once unless you’re looking for an extra arm workout! 😉
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2. Chic and Chilly Eye Mask, $28

Henri Bendel is one luxe brand that always seems to offer the best self-pampering products. Kick off those heels and treat yourself to a relaxing night in. The cool gel on your eyes feels *~amazing~*.

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Photo: Henri Bendel

3. Béquet Handmade Caramels, Assorted, $21.99

Who needs chocolates when you can treat yourself to a batch of handmade caramels! This assortment includes awesome flavors like Vanilla Butter Caramel, Cinnamon Swirl and (okay okay, maybe some chocolate) Chocolate Butter Caramel.

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4. Limited Edition Ariana Grande “Sweet Like Candy” fragrance, $49

You might remember how I chose the baby pink “Sweet Like Candy” fragrance as my scent of the school year, but when Ari came out with this limited edition version, I jumped on it. The fragrances notes are a little sassier so you can spritz some on for a little confidence boost.

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5. Wildfox Knit and Embellished Patches Sweater, $55 (originally $218!)

Wildfox creates some of the comfiest athleisure clothing I’ve come across. I’m sure this sweater is no different, and the sale is making it SO tempting for me to buy it!

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Photo: Nordstrom Rack

6. Blush Clutch Palette in Just Darling, $39

I’ve been using this new blush palette from Butter London for the last month and LOVE it. It even comes with a gold shimmer face highlighter that’s so easy to apply.

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7. Jo Malone “Red Roses” Candle, $65

With a burn time of 45 hours, this sexy scented candle will last you way longer than a bunch of roses and you can totally buy it yourself, for yourself.

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Photo: Neiman Marcus

 

8. Ola Tropical Apothecary Pikake Reed Diffuser, $36

Organic hints of pikake (or Hawaiian Jasmine) made and sourced in Hawaii is a super lush smell to have aerating throughout your home.

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9. Sol Janeiro Brazilian Kiss Cupuacu Lip Butter, $18

You don’t have to be puckering up with bae to take care of your lips. TBH, I’m a die hard fan of Burt’s Bees chapstick, but I recently tried this one and its AMAZING. My lips are not cracked or dry at all plus, it smells like cacao. 🙂

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10. Lush Sex Bath BombLush Sex Bath Bomb, $7.95

Make coming home worthwhile by treating yourself to a beautiful luscious bath, you will not regret it.

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Photo: Lush Cosmetics

Still looking for more Valentine’s Day inspiration? Check out my post on best Galentine’s Day Face Masks or Valentine’s Day Outfit Inspiration! x

Stay Classy & Happy ❤ Day! xx

Pretty Pick-Me-Up Smoothie

Well I wasn’t sure when I’d be able to say this, but it’s *~ snowing ~*! I hope you’re all having a wonderful relaxing Tuesday (I’ve been at work, in class and in meetings all day sadly, but can’t wait to get home later and have wine time with my roommates!) I made this smoothie over the weekend (you might have seen it on my Snapchat: xofeliciaa), but if not, I’m sharing the steps with you now!

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I had such a fun weekend guys. Maybe even too much fun. My Friday night in particular, was pretty crazy. I got back to my apartment only to find out that I had left my key inside on my desk and was locked out… my roommates were all gone and wouldn’t be back until late that night so it took me a while to figure out how to get in. But I did it! After that mishap I didn’t have much time to get ready for the Knicks game and subsequent birthday party for friends at the Gansevoort Hotel in Chelsea.

The Knicks game was SO much fun! Ben and I had amazing seats – just one row away from courtside – and found ourselves standing next to celebrities most of the night… it was so hard for me not to fan girl guys! Maybe you saw on my Instagram (@felicia.czo) that I spotted @thefatjewish, BJ Novak (from The Office!) and Luis Severino (yup that one. The Yankees pitcher) – and refrained from taking selfies with them… I felt bad! Now having major regrets though. I keep telling Ben I can never watch The Office again without feeling major shame!

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Fun nights like that are of course always filled with a good Pinot, some champagne and unfortunately some tequila. It pretty much goes without saying that I needed a good *~ hydrating~* pick-me-up the next morning. Voilaaa that’s where this yummy smoothie comes in handy!

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Let’s Get Started:

1 banana, frozen
4 pieces pineapple, cubed
6-7 strawberries
Handful of blueberries
1/4 cup cranberry juice
1/4 cup Low (or Non)-Fat Organic Yogurt, Plain or Vanilla
Shredded coconut flakes, for decoration.

Let’s Get Cooking:

Toss ingredients into a blender. Blend until smooth. Top with shredded coconut and berries.

Let’s Get Creative:

Add some more berries to this recipe for an even greater antioxidant boost! Berries are great for your skin health and can give you a natural glowy complexion.

Stay Classy! xx

Adapt Your Skincare Routine: The Beauty Update You Need To Be Aware Of This Winter

Especially now that the leaves have started changing colors and are falling to the ground, it has become a reality that summer has passed and the colder months are on their way.

This shift in seasons is one that our bodies do not take lightly. The change in weather causes people to suffer from allergies, Seasonal Affective Disorder, also known as S.A.D., and other strains of seasonal illness. Physically, the seasonal shift takes a toll on our wellbeing as well. During the colder months people tend to exercise less and eat more, delving into comfort food cravings at an increasing rate. Not only does this take a toll on our wellbeing, but also on our skin.

Lack of exercise and a non-structured diet, combined with the harshness of the colder weather equates to increased sick days and unhealthy skin. Sue Magou, consultant dermatologist told The Telegraph, “there is less moisture in the air and what natural oil you do have in your skin can be blown away by the wind. Once inside, central heating is also very drying.”

Fortunately, there are ways that you can tackle the issue of keeping your skin healthy this season that benefit your diet as well. Eating healthily and munching on certain foods can actually be beneficial to both your body and skin during these next few months.

During the colder months, your skin needs some extra pampering. According to the American Skin Association, “dry skin, or Xerosis, often worsens in the winter, when several factors contribute to skin dryness: low temperature and low humidity caused decreased amounts of water in the stratum corneum.”

It is because of the lack of moisture that makes awareness of proper skincare important during these colder months. “Your skin will end up being dull and dry in the fall and winter if you don’t make an effort to keep it from being that way,” explains Katherine Goldman, celebrity esthetician/waxologist. “We help people have a great glow to their skin all year and help keep their skin both looking and feeling great all winter long. With a little bit of effort, anyone can do it.”

One natural skincare trick that helps keep your skin hydrated actually involves snacking. According to Dr. Christopher Calapi, a board certified dermatologist and doctor in family and anti-aging medicine, “beauty really does come from within.” Dr. Calapi suggests munching on certain foods in order to help preserve different elements of a healthy derma, or skin.

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One of the most common skin problems people find during the colder months is dehydration. Dr. Calapi suggests adding more honey into your diet, “honey is a natural humectant, meaning it attracts water. When it comes to your skin, consuming honey helps draw water from the mineral tissues to the surface of the skin, keeping it moisturized, supple and flake-free.”

Another simple trick is to check what type of skincare products you are using in the fall and winter. According to New York-based dermatologist, David Bank, “The biggest battle in winter versus summer is skin getting dried out and losing its luster, so you want to think about switching out oil-fighting cleansers, toners, moisturizers and treatments such as masks or peels, in favor of hydration-boosting products.”

This is something that is also recommended by the Saint Louis University Physicians Group. In a SLU Journal, dermatologist and associate professor of dermatology, Nicole Burkemper, M.D., explains that we should “use a moisturizer that contains ceramides – the main component of the natural skin barrier – it can be especially helpful in the dry months.”

Using a skin moisturizer is incredibly important to encourage healthy skin. GLAMOUR UK Beauty Director, Alessandra Steinherr explains, “the function of moisturizer is to reinforce the skin’s barrier. This matters because it keeps moisture in the skin, resulting in a fresh, dewy complexion. But just as importantly it prevents bacterias and irritants from penetrating into the skin.”

Once you have found the perfect moisturizer to aid your skin, the next step will be to switch up your skincare routine. The New York Presbyterian Hospital suggests “immediately apply moisturizers after bathing or showering. While your skin is still wet it will better trap and absorb moisture.” After a quick warm shower – be careful, according to the British Skin Foundation, “a long hot bath can strip away much needed natural oil from the skin. Try and shorten the length of time and remember to keep the temperature warm, not hot” – get ready for bed a bit earlier than usual schedule.

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According to Dr. Kaleroy Papantoniou, a board certified NYC dermatologist, “During sleep we heal, restore and eliminate toxins from the skin. If sleep is compromised, so is the body’s ability to carry out these essential skin functions.” Sleep is so important to all aspects of your physical and emotional health, in addition to it being an essential part of your skincare regimen. Papantoniou explains, “During the first three hours of sleep your body will start producing the human growth hormone from the pituitary gland. As we age, this hormone is necessary for the maintenance of youthful and radiant skin.  Without this hormone release, skin is not repaired from daily damage and thus induces the aging process.”

Have trouble sleeping? According to Dr. Calapai, the answer is in a glass of tart cherry juice. “Who knew that this tangy drink naturally contains melatonin? Well, it does and melatonin promotes sleep,” he explains.

As you start breaking out your sweaters and fuzzy socks – all the fuzzy socks – remember to follow these tips and revamp your skincare regimen in a way that adapts to the season. Stock up on moisturizer and healthy foods, and remember to try to start going to bed a little bit earlier. Once you get into this routine, you’ll reap the benefits of using sleep and moisturizer as your protective armor this season.

Stay tuned for an upcoming roundup of the best new cold weather skincare products!

Stay Classy! x

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NYFW X KYBOE

If you guys have been following along with me on social media the past few weeks you’ve seen a preview of how awesome NYFW is. It’s a fun and trendy expression of art, philosophy and style that brings together stylish influencers and celebrities from all over the world. It really did feel like an honor to be part of it for the first time this year!

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I was invited to the Kyboe show, held at The Arc at Skylight at Moynihan Station in Manhattan. An event space below the James A. Farley Post Office building (the big post office across from MSG and Penn Station), which opened in 1914 and is truly monumental and a gorgeous piece of architecture, The Arc’s atmosphere definitely added to the collection and overall experience.

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The way the light cast shadows on the floor was artistic and creative and the entire space created an atmosphere that got me even MORE excited about NYFW.

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Kyboe (pronounced “ki-boe”) is a luxury watch brand from the Netherlands. It made history at this NYFW show as the first watch brand to host it’s collection in a solo show. In the center of the runway was a conveyor belt that had mannequins of hands (from the wrist up) with the SS’17 Kyboe collection strapped onto them. For the first few minutes of the event I wondered if that would be the whole runway show, but it wasn’t long before the models came out with their own attire styled with Kyboe.

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The movement of the collection combined with the strong beats from the DJ and the colorful lights made my first NYFW experience quite the event. I fell in love with the story behind the collection and the lax and fun attitude of the models (plus, I got to meet them after the show and at the after party – which was SO much fun, but that’s another story)! 🙂

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After leaving the show, I went over to the lounge area to socialize and check out the 20 Years of Jimmy Choo exhibit they had set up on the walls.

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Of course, I got sidetracked and ended up stumbling upon the filming of an episode of Fashion Police. Which means I was this close to Giuliana Rancic and Tim Gunn.

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Pretty cool spontaneous turn of events and an awesome way to kick off my first *official* NYFW!

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Stay Classy! xx

 

Product of the Week: Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus

When it comes to doing chores, we all have that one responsibility that gets “accidentally” pushed back until the next week, and the next week, and well, if you really had a say in it, it would probably never get done.

It turns out that people who can definitively say they have a least favorite household chore more likely to push off completing that task for as long as possible (duh). Whether it’s scrubbing dishes, doing laundry, mowing the lawn or cleaning the bathroom, leaving these tasks undone can get gross pretty quickly. Not to mention the build up of dirt, dust or weeds will encroach on your physical health and well-being (and if you’re like me, seeing the piles of mess will make you anxious and less productive).

Now I know it’s easier said than done to just “suck it up” and do it. But what has worked for me in the past is creating a reward system that lets you treat yourself after completing the “dirty work.” So find a way to spoil yourself, set a timer and get the job done. Believe me, nothing is better than crossing it off your to-do list.

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Now luckily, if your least favorite chore is ironing, then I have the perfect solution. Recently, a co-worker was telling me how one Saturday afternoon she decided to clean out the closets in her house. She started the story by explaining how she threw out the ironing board and the iron… and that was it. She admitted to having a pile of clothes she liked but hasn’t worn in a while because she hates ironing that much. And believe me, the same thing happens in my house all the time!

What it is that makes this task so dreaded is uncertain, maybe it’s the mundane and repetitive motion of moving a hot metal plate against your wrinkled clothes reminding you of the imperfections in your life. Or maybe you simply don’t have the time or patience to wait for it to heat up and then perform the task over and over on shirts and pants that just don’t seem that worth it. Regardless, toss out your irons, the product below is about to make your life so.much.easier!

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Downy Wrinkle Releaser Plus will save you a dramatic amount of time so you can be on your way with your day. All you need to do is spray your clothes, let them dry for a few minutes, and they will magically be smooth and ready-to-wear! You can have your clothes dry while brushing your teeth or putting on your makeup. It makes life convenient, smells so fresh and clean, and comes in a travel size bottle so you can take it on the go… all of which are the reasons why it gets this week’s gold star as the POTW 🙂

P.S. You can get a $1 off coupon on their website, here!

Stay Classy! xx

Homemade Slow Cooker Applesauce

This past week has had the coolest weather NYC has seen in a while. The leaves are starting to change and it’s finally time to break out the sweaters, denim jackets and leggings… all the leggings!

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I’ve already seen a shift in my food cravings go from lighter and colder refreshments, to more hearty and warm meals. It’s not surprising that I’ve found a healthy way to satisfy these cravings with some leftover apples that I picked a few weeks ago upstate!

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This delicious homemade slow cooker applesauce is the perfect snack, side dish and even dessert. It uses only the freshest and minimal ingredients, but yields a creation so good that you’ll have to stop yourself from eating it all in one sitting.

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Homemade Slow Cooker Applesauce

Prep Time: 15 Minutes     Cook Time: 4 hours     Total Time: 4 hours 15 Minutes

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Let’s Get Started:

6 large apples (any kind!), cored and peeled
2 cinnamon sticks (or 2 Tbsp of ground cinnamon)
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 cup water
1/4 tsp salt

Let’s Get Cooking:

Peel, core and chop apples into 1-2 inch pieces. Combine all ingredients in slow cooker and close the lid. Cook the applesauce on high for 4 hours, stirring occasionally. Cool and store – it will stay up to 5 days in the refrigerator or freeze up to 3 months.

Let’s Get Creative:

This recipe makes the applesauce slightly chunky (which I prefer)! But if you’re into a more smooth texture applesauce, after it’s done cooking let it cool and then put it into a blender or food processor to get your desired texture.

Stay Classy & Enjoy! xx

Golden & Delicious Apple Pie

There are so many reasons why fall is such a great season (yes, half of them are food). In addition to sweater weather and gorgeous walks in red and orange transformed parks, fall spices up your menu with some of your favorite seasonal fruits and veggies.

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One of my favorite weekend activities in the fall is apple picking, and I’ve already gone once this season so far! This may or may not have something to do with my favorite fall dessert… But if you are thinking of taking a trip down to a nearby apple orchard this season, plan to go soon – the apple crop was pretty low this year and you don’t want to miss out!

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Anyway, the recipe below is FLAWLESS and the pie came out so delicious that I just had to share. It’s never too early to start celebrating the changing of the seasons and CATC will be enjoying the benefits all week with an apple recipe series – sorry bananas, but we’ve moved on! x

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Note: This pie tastes incredible room temp. or warmed, or with a scoop of delicious San Bernardo ice cream (I ate it with Italian Cheesecake flavor and let’s just say between two people, the entire pint disappeared so quickly… YUM).

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Golden & Delicious Apple Pie

Prep Time: 25 Minutes     Cook Time: 45 Minutes     Total Time: 1 Hour 10 Minutes

Let’s Get Started:

6 cups thinly sliced apples, about 6 medium apples
3/4 cup sugar
1 1/2 tsp Apple Pie Spice (Nutmeg, Cinnamon, All-Spice)
1 Tbsp lemon juice (I used juice from a Limoneira Lemon, and the fresh taste is so different from grocery store quality!)
2 Pillsbury pie crusts (I’m all for making as much of a recipe from scratch as possible, but time restrains kept me from doing so this time… plus this crust is delicious!)

Let’s Get Cooking:

Preheat oven to 425*. Place 1 pie crust in an un-greased 9-inch pie plate, pressing firmly against sides and bottom. In a large bowl, mix filling ingredients and spoon into crust. Top with second crust. Cut a few slits in top of crust before baking.Bake 40-45 minutes, or until crust turns golden brown. Cover edge of crust with tin foil for the first 15 minutes of baking, so that it doesn’t burn! Let cool for 2 hours before serving. Enjoy! 🙂

Let’s Get Creative:

I prefer a more traditional apple pie, but you could of course add more ingredients to the filling (maybe some nuts?) and get more creative with your toppings. San Bernardo offers so many amazing ice cream flavors, my other favorites Cannoli and Italian Biscotti could be delicious pie toppers as well. 😉

Stay Classy! xx

Sea Salt Caramel Banana Muffins

And so the banana baking trend continues on CATC! Since the banana bread was such a big hit last week, I stocked up on the ingredients again and was all ready to make a repeat. THEN I remembered that I had delicious hand-made sea salt caramel sugar from a boutique spice shop in Ocean City, Maryland… let the recipe transformation begin!

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It makes sense that the bigger the variety of ingredients in my cabinets directly relates to the creativity of my recipes. Sure, there’s nothing wrong with plain banana bread or banana muffins – but adding in something a little different can definitely give your yield something extra special. You can definitely find that in this recipe!

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Sea Salt Caramel Banana Muffins

Prep Time: 10 Minutes     Cook Time: 30 Minutes     Total Time: 40 Minutes

Let’s Get Started:

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 egg
3 very ripe bananas, mashed
1/3 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
Sea salt caramel sugar

Let’s Get Cooking:

Preheat oven to 350*. Fill cupcake tins with liners. Sift dry ingredients together, except the sugars. In a large bowl mix together egg, white sugar, bananas and butter. Combine ingredients until smooth. Scoop into muffin pans and then add sea salt caramel sugar to the top (to taste – add as much as you want). Bake for 25-30 minutes. Enjoy!

Let’s Get Creative:

If I’m being totally real with you, these muffins are delicious just the way they are. If you’re looking to add more ingredients however, walnuts would be a yummy addition!

Stay Classy! xx

Rethink Sweet With Cake Boss & Whole Earth Sweetener Co.

If you’ve been following along with me on Instagram (@felicia.czo and @theclassycookbook), then you saw that a few weeks ago I was at the Cake Boss Factory in Jersey City, decorating cookies with Buddy Valastro!

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It has been SO hard to not spill the beans (or sprinkles) about what that was all about until now, but Buddy has just started a brand new partnership moving his brand and his bakery in a healthier direction!

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I was invited to an event where I learned all about his partnership with Whole Earth Sweetener, Co., and had the chance to tour his cake factory. Before I get into the details of what exactly this means for his brand and for us as lovers of homemade pastries and sweets, I have to describe how cool the afternoon was.

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The Cake Boss Factory is where all of Buddy’s cakes and pastries are created. Everything from wedding cakes to cannoli shells are made in the factory and then shipped out to the bakeries and events throughout the country. Often times the products will arrive to the bakeries in need of fillings, and that is made fresh each day.

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Each room of the factory is incredibly intimate and chefs work closely together to fill their quota of delicious goods. Think long wooden tables and lots and lots of dough… and it smelled AMAZING! I went into the decoration room and saw an employee spray painting gorgeous sugar flowers and another creating an adorable fondant sports car. It is truly a home to edible art.

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After the tour, I went back into the main “conference room” which had been transformed from an Italian dessert-lover’s brunch to a mini decorating room. It wasn’t long before Buddy came in and started to share his tips for decorating ginger bread cookies (I know I know, it is WAY too soon for this! Which is why I’ll be sharing this yummy recipe with you guys later on next month! x)

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But the surprise was that they had been baked with Whole Earth Sweetener, Co. Baking Blend – a natural sweetener made from monk fruit and stevia, which has half the calories of regular sugar. Yes, actually half of the calories!

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Buddy is partnering with the brand to promote awareness that helps bakers “rethink sweet.” He explained that as the “father of four, I’m always looking for ways to reduce the amount of added sugar that my family consumes, since there’s no way to cut out dessert!” Doing this with the help of Whole Earth Sweetener Co.’s range of super low calorie sweeteners is an awesome way to start, because you can still get your sugar fix with less consequences on your health.

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This partnership comes in perfect timing, as the FDA is actually establishing a Daily Recommended Value of added sugars to 50 grams. Consumers are starting to look at the ingredients in their food and how to eat well (with flavor) without unnecessary added sugars. The Whole Earth Sweetener Co. range is low in calories, gluten-free, non-GMO and sourced from nature.

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As far as the delicious (and cute) ginger bread cookie recipe goes, it is indeed baked with the Whole Earth Sweetner Co.’s Baking Blend. Stay tuned for the full recipe as it gets closer to the holiday season! x

Stay Classy! xx