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    Food & DIY

    Vegan Mixed Berry and Caramel Crumble

    Even though I’m usually not a fan of sweets other than chocolate, recently I’ve had a major craving for pastries and baked goods. I think that I have Instagram and Pinterest to blame for my newfound sweet tooth, since I’m constantly being bombarded with pictures of delicious food over social media. Unfortunately, these days the weather in California is way too hot for me to even think about turning on the oven in my kitchen. In order to curve my craving for sweets, this weekend I decided to adapt a recipe for a Vegan Jewel Fruit Tart with Caramel Filling that I had made a while back for my friends’ New Year’s party. I love that this recipe is perfect for hot weather because it is super easy to make and your refrigerator takes the place of an oven.
    As you can probably tell from the title of this post, my adaptation didn’t turn out quite as I expected. As I was experimenting with making the crust, I realized that the mixture that I had made had a more crumbly texture than the one in the original recipe. ¬†Since this blog is all about experimenting, instead of starting all over, I decided to keep the crust as is in order to see what I came up with. The result was this delicious Vegan Mixed Berry and Caramel Crumble that I now have the pleasure of sharing with you.
    2 cups of walnuts
    1/2 cup of shredded coconut
    1 and 1/2 cups of pitted dates
    1/4 cup of almond butter
    1/4 cup of maple syrup
    1/4 cup of melted coconut oil
    1/2 tsp of cinnamon
    1/2 tsp of vanilla extract
    Fresh of frozen berries of your choice
    1. Blend 2 cups of walnuts, 1/2 cup of shredded coconut, and 1 and 1/2 cups of pitted dates in a food processor until the mixture forms a paste-like texture.
    2. Pour the mixture unto a greased pan and press it against the bottom of the pan. Refrigerate this for 2 hours to allow the crumble base to harden.
    3. To make the caramel mixture, blend 1/4 cup of almond butter, 1/4 cup of maple syrup, 1/4 cup of coconut oil, 1/2 tsp of cinnamon and 1/2 tsp of vanilla extract until smooth. Then, pour the mixture over the walnut and date crust.
    4. When ready to serve, place fresh or frozen berries on top of the mixture (If you let the berries sit on top of the crumble base for too long, the mixture might get soggy). You can serve the berry crumble alone, or with a side of ice cream.
    I hope that you like this recipe and that you find time to make it at home. If you do decide to make this at home, please leave me a comment and let me know how it turns out.
    Helen Grace

    A Bit of Flare

    Photos by Sarah Veyna
    Outfit Details:
    Nectar Bangle
    Ruche Necklace
    Target Earrings
    Madewell Dover Crossbody Bag
    H&M Chiffon Top
    Old Navy Ponte-Knit Circle Skirt in Blackjack
    Madewell Stacked-Heel Loafers in High Shine
    Lipstick is a mix of MAC Rebel and Revlon Mauve it Over
    While I was in the process of doing some Spring cleaning, I found several tops and dresses that I hadn’t worn in over a year–mostly because I had grown bored of them and didn’t have anything to wear them with anymore. Instead of going out to buy new tops, I decided that purchasing a few basic pieces would be a better and more long-lasting way to update my wardrobe. This cute flared skater skirt was such a great purchase because it goes so well with several items that have been left forgotten in my closet. I also love that it is long enough to fit over many of my dresses, so that I can use them as tops as well. It’s incredible how many more outfits you can create when you have a couple of clothing items that are more versatile. I have to say that I’m kind of inspired to work on a future post of how to create several outfits using only a few items. You will all just have to look out for that in the near future! 
    I had both a wonderful and busy weekend, and it has me super excited about what’s to come in the month of May. It was Mexican Mother’s Day on Saturday, and American Mother’s Day on Sunday. Since we celebrate both in my family, I spent the entire weekend celebrating my Mom and all of the amazing things she’s done for me over the years. My siblings and I showered her with gifts throughout the weekend, and made sure that she had enough time for rest and relaxation.
    Next weekend is going to be just as busy and exciting since my little sister Ale is graduating from Scripps College. We went to the same college, and she was a first-year student my senior year. It’s amazing how fast time passes by. I’m not only amazed at how quickly she has finished college, but also at how much time has passed since I graduated myself. I’m so proud of Ale and all of her accomplishments, and I can’t wait to celebrate this special milestone in her life. 
    Helen Grace


    San Diego: Day II

    Photos by Laura Nolan
    Outfit Details:
    Forever 21 Fedora Hat (Similar here)
    CottonOn Tank
    CottonOn Chiffon Blouse 
    H&M Jeans
    H&M Strappy Sandals 
    Crocheted Tote (Handmade by my Grandmother)
    I’m super excited to share with you my last few pictures from my trip to San Diego. I was so happy to get to spend some much needed time with my best friend, and to just get out of Los Angeles for the weekend. Looking through these pictures gives me the opportunity to kind of relive our time together.
    Browsing through these pictures is also fun because I’m wearing a hat that I bought about two weeks ago, when I was going through my extreme moody phase. On a particularly bad day, I decided to put it on and was surprised of how it instantly boosted my mood. It’s really funny how something so simple like putting on something that you like, drinking a cup of coffee or doing something that you enjoy, can positively impact the way that you feel. Some of my coworkers and I even talked about how it would be fun to have a hat day at work in order to have a fun activity to break up the week. 
    Enough about hats, and let’s get back to my trip to San Diego. Since none of my weekend trips are complete without  a trip to a local coffee shop, Laura was kind enough to drive me to La Jolla so that we could visit Bird Rock Coffee Roasters. I absolutely loved it! The staff was super cool and friendly, and the barista that took our order even took the time to give us suggestions of where to go to brunch in the area. I also thought that it was kind of funny that they had drinks named the “Trophy Wife” and “Sugar Daddy” (even though part of me wanted to ask why they didn’t have drinks named “Sugar Momma” and “Trophy Husband” as well).  Most importantly, Bird Rock Coffee Roasters had delicious coffee, which is why we visited in the first place. So, I’ll definitely be going back next time that I’m in the area. 
    While we were in La Jolla, we also stopped by the Ellen Browning Scripps Park, which overlooks the ocean. I wish that we would have gotten to spend more time at the park, but it was packed because there was a half marathon race scheduled that morning. Despite the crowd, it was still a beautiful and surprisingly peaceful place to visit. 
    That’s it for my pictures of San Diego. My next stop to visit friends is Portland in about two months. Laura and I are flying out to visit our friends Kelsey and Candace, two of my most wonderful friends and partners in crime.  Candace and Kelsey totally embody what I think is the spirit of Portland–the two of them are highly creative individuals who are friendly, laid back and share my love of coffee. I had the opportunity to catch up with the two of them last week, and they seem to be working on an itinerary for when Laura and I arrive. I was excited to hear from Kelsey and Candace, that drinking tons of coffee and berry picking are currently on their list of things to do. 
    Thanks so much for reading my blog, and giving me the opportunity to share my adventures with you.
    Much Love,
    Helen Grace