When baking with coconut oil, it’s often required to measure it out while it’s in its solid, rather than liquid and melted, form. It can be a bit of a pain pressing this solid oil into traditional small measuring cups. How can you more easily measure cold coconut oil? This simple hack will be a recurring go-to method in your kitchen from now on!
How To Measure Cold Coconut Oil
Fill a glass measuring cup up to the 1 Cup waterline with cool water.
Scoop in spoonfuls of coconut oil until the waterline reads 1 Cup + The Amount Of Coconut Oil Your Recipe Calls For. (If the recipe calls for 1/4 Cup Coconut Oil, the waterline will read 1 + 1/4 Cup.)
Without pulling out any water with it, scoop the coconut oil back out with a spoon, and move it into your baking or cooking vessel. If it makes it easier, you can use a slotted spoon to drain the water more efficiently.
Voilà! Accuracy every time with minimal mess!
Give this instructional video on my Instagram page a watch to see the process in action! It’s incredibly simple.
These easy Cupcake Dos & Don’ts make all the difference for the perfect light, fluffy, and moist cakes!
Creating cupcakes from scratch can often feel like a guessing game when it comes to the perfect texture. Nothing is more frustrating than mastering the flavor only to discover that they’re too dry, too dense, or too firm. I’ve created a little cheat sheet for Cupcake Baking 101!
DOS & DON’TS
DO USE ENOUGH LEAVENING
Leavening agents will ensure that your cupcakes rise sufficiently. Too little leavening will cause them to be far too dense. While it may sound silly, double check the expiration dates on your baking powder and baking soda. Many of us keep these products in our pantries for long periods of time, and accidentally end up using an expired product. They will eventually become ineffective so they do need replacing!
While attempting to thoroughly blend ingredients together, it becomes quite easy to unintentionally overmix the batter. When overmixing happens, it activates the gluten proteins in the flour, and too much of this can result in dense and somewhat gummy cupcakes. Remember to stick with mixing until “just combined”!
DO ADD ENOUGH LIQUID INGREDIENTS
Nobody likes a dry cupcake, but the good news is that simply adding in a little bit of additional liquid is an easy fix. My personal go-tos are either milk or half and half!
This one feels obvious, but sometimes an extra minute can be all it takes to get that “just a bit too firm” texture. Err on the side of caution and test your cupcakes with a toothpick sooner rather than later. You can always add more time, but you can’t undo those extra minutes! (Do your best to do this without constantly opening the oven as this can interrupt the baking process.)
DO USE ROOM TEMPERATURE BUTTER & EGGS
This is a big one, as well as one that’s often overlooked for the sake of convenience. Without planning ahead, it’s so tempting to grab chilled butter and eggs straight from the refrigerator and begin the baking process right away. (Either that, or to attempt to cheat the system by softening the butter in the microwave to the point of being close to melting…I definitely used to be guilty of this!)
Room temperature butter holds onto more air, without which the final cupcakes will be much denser.
Room temperature eggs blend more easily into the batter and also help it to rise more efficiently in the oven.
Baking really is a science, but having a few golden rules to keep in mind throughout the process takes out so much of the guesswork!
I’m a huge fan of frozen fruits and veggies. The biggest reason? No food waste! They’re available for use in your freezer whenever you’re in need, and there’s no concern about them spoiling. (I don’t know about you, but sometimes my eyes can be bigger than my stomach when it comes to fresh produce!)
I shared the below slides on my Instagram illustrating my favorite frozen produce to keep in the freezer whenever my day is in need of a little extra color. These are, of course, not the only 6 items I buy, but they are the staples that I find to be the most versatile, flavorful, and easily accessible!
Some extra good news? Frozen produce is nutritionally very similar to fresh! That’s because it’s frozen right at the peak of freshness!
(Be sure to follow me over on Instagram! You can click HERE for my page.)
One last frozen produce tip: Stock your freezer with a handful of options before you travel! That way, when you return home, you have some colorful choices waiting for you (without the concern of them going bad while you’re away).
Lots of my smoothie recipes use frozen produce! Check some of them out here!
Laguna Beach is such a gorgeous day trip destination, and if you have less than 24 hours in the area, picking a few key landmarks to explore is key! You don’t have to be a surfer to get huge enjoyment from this coastal city, and you don’t even need a perfectly sunny day. Between the hiking, tide pools, and delicious food, there is something here for everyone.
Whether you’re arriving from somewhere local in Southern California or from far out of town, I would highly recommend the following when time is limited:
LAGUNA COAST WILDERNESS PARK
The trails and views here are lovely! We went in early April and the hillsides were covered in wildflowers. There’s an easily accessible parking lot directly off of the main road that costs only $3, as well as a very helpful visitor center. Inside, we were recommended the trails that would best match the length of time we were interested in hiking as well as the appropriate level of difficulty.
These coastal canyons are a must, and with 40 miles of trails on site there is no shortage of Southern California hilltop vistas!
Address: 18751 Laguna Canyon Rd, Laguna Beach, CA
CRYSTAL COVE STATE PARK
This stretch of coastline is absolutely stunning for a long walk on the beach! In between the scenic bluffs you’ll find numerous tide pools that are a blast for exploring. Whether you’re visiting solo or with a family, you’re in for hours of beach fun here.
Address: 8471 N. Coast Highway, Laguna Beach, CA
If you’re in search of a walking tour of the Laguna shoreline, this is the place to go! This park extends along the best of the Laguna beaches while being home to picnic areas, overlooks, and colorful gardens. Located on Cliff Drive, the park trail directly connects to the boardwalk, which is a great way to experience the active seaside scene.
Address: 375 Cliff Dr, Laguna Beach, CA
When it comes to restaurants, Las Brisas checks all of the boxes: Convenient location, unique meals, delicious drinks, and the perfect scenery. “California Cuisine Infused with Flavors of Mexico”, this is a festive spot to end the day with a margarita and view of the ocean. It’s also located on Cliff Drive by the Heisler Park walkway.
My personal dinner recommendation? The Butternut Squash Tamales! Unbelievably tasty.
Address: 361 Cliff Dr, Laguna Beach, CA
We’ll definitely be back, and in that case, I’ll be sure to add any updated recommendations here!
If you find yourself within the vicinity of California’s central coast, Monterey is a must see! My husband and I recently took the 337 mile road trip from Los Angeles, and when you only have a weekend’s worth of time to spend, it can be overwhelming to decide which sites to see!
If you’re planning a weekend visit, I’d like to share everything we enjoyed to help you narrow down your list:
ACTIVITIES & DESTINATIONS
1) Whale Watching
This was a first for me! We used Discovery Whale Watch and saw tons of Humpbacks! (A word to the wise: If you struggle with seasickness in any way please do yourself a favor and bring a motion sickness medication such as Bonine. 4+ hours on the water can be a struggle if you’re not prepared!)
2) Old Fisherman’s Wharf
Whether you stop by to watch the sea lions engage with the passers by, enjoy some ice cream, or hit a restaurant, it’s a fun hangout at any time of day.
This super charming city is straight out of a storybook. Walking the streets is enough in and of itself, but it’s also filled to the brim with fun shops, amazing restaurants, and beautiful beach views.
4) Point Lobos
You’ll want to save a whole day for this incredible park! It’s a very short drive from Monterey, and entry is free if you park outside the entrance and come in on foot (though the views are well worth the fee if you have to drive in). Between the incredible coastline, seal sightings, beaches, and tide pools brimming with life, you’ll never want to leave.
5) Monterey Aquarium
This one is a must! Whether you go as a larger family or attend solo, this aquarium has so much to offer from otters to penguins to crazy sea life from the deep. At the time we visited they also had some impressively informative information regarding plastics and microplastics and the detrimental effects on our oceans. It definitely inspired us to make more changes where we can!
1) Crepes of Brittany
Offering both sweet or savory, this restaurant is located right by Fisherman’s Wharf and offers very authentic French crepes. Their savory galettes made with buckwheat were delicious and substantial…Mine held me over until dinner!
2) Lalla Grill Del Monte
This casual dinner spot was a great find. Their heated outdoor patio was perfect for the weather and the fish tacos were out of this world! Their menu is super diverse and they have something for everyone.
3) Manasiri’s Crepes & Sandwiches
This is a great cafe for breakfast for lunch. The Greek salad was delicious!
It’s a lovely special occasion restaurant. It’s more expensive but if you happen to be celebrating the food is delicious!
5) Abalonetti Bar and Grill
There’s a reason their calamari is famous! It was truly the best calamari I’ve ever had, and other reviewers all say the same. This seafood restaurant is one of the oldest restaurants out on Fisherman’s Wharf, and their outdoor patio was fun and super welcoming. Their Fish & Chips was also one of the best I’ve had.
6) Old Monterey Cafe
This place has everything on the menu you could think of for breakfast in a fun diner atmosphere. If you’re looking for pancakes bigger than you are, this is the spot!
If you want to be transported to Italy, this is the place to go. Located in Carmel-by-the-Sea, this was the perfect place to end our trip and to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of our Italian honeymoon. The owner and staff were wonderful and the food is an authentic treat!
I wish we could have stayed longer in this beautiful place, and we will definitely be back again!