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The La Jolla Half Marathon. Back in 2010 this was my first half marathon ever. I thought it was kind of a one-and-done type of thing. Not even this race specifically, just half marathons in general. Fast forward to Sunday afternoon — 6 years, 4 La Jolla’s and 20 half marathons later…here we are.

The race started at 7:30am at the Del Mar Fairgrounds. I thought I was being smart coming from the north and exiting on Lomas Santa Fe to Stevens Ave. However, instead of being able to cross over Via de la Valle to the Del Mar Fairgrounds parking lot, cars were forced to turn left and head east. I ended up flipping a U and parking in the surrounding neighborhood. I ate a little more of my oatmeal, lubed up with body glide, fastened by bib and walked over to the start. I had to go to the bathroom so I easily slid into the Del Mar Surfside Race Place hall where I waited in a short line of 4 people. I exited the bathroom and had a brisk jog to the start. I popped into wave 2 and waited 2-3 minutes before the race officially began.

It was already hot and I knew by the time I hit the first aid station I’d be taking water. I didn’t bring a water pack but I probably should’ve. I mean, I carried my fanny pack last week on a 6 mile trail run in the lagoon (and even though I felt like an absolute kook it was completely necessary). I didn’t have a playlist prepared so I ended up just listening to my NYC Marathon playlist (and I forgot, it’s actually a good one!). I didn’t pay much attention to my pace, I knew I just needed to listen to my body since I haven’t run over 10 miles since my last ultra in the beginning of February…

This course I pretty much know like the back of my hand (but probably even better than that). From working in Del Mar for the past 4 years, to attending UCSD the 4 years prior, these are all streets and routes I’m very familiar with. The race traces the coast from Del Mar, through Torrey Pines State Park Natural Reserve, past UCSD, down La Jolla Shores, and into La Jolla Cove.

The hardest thing for me was the heat. I should’ve worn a hat to 1. catch some of my sweat that started mixing with my sunscreen and dripping into my eyes and 2. for some sun protection because my face felt burnt and completely dried out by the end.

One of the best parts was coming from Stratford Court before 4th Street in Del Mar. I encountered Dallas from Run North County Monday Night Runs. I trekked the short but steep hill up 4th Street and saw Bartley (from Run North County too), then Susan and Marc from Seaside Striders. Just seeing everyone gave me a little pep in my step. After this brief incline we were rewarded with a downhill before we came to Torrey Pines and I started to feel a literal runner’s high. But to the point where my body felt no connection to my brain and I might actually pass out.

So for the first time while running this race, I walked (most) of Torrey Pines. While everyone else continued to run around me, I kind of had to tell myself “who cares what everyone else is doing.” Because I knew if I tried to run the whole hill mountain, I would have died. I channeled my “ultra” mentality and power walked most of the hill, with quick and smooth bursts of running, in which I actually passed people who continued to run while I took my walking breaks.

After exiting Torrey Pines State Park, the course transitions into the rolling hills on Torrey Pines Rd. Usually this road can seem arduous and long, but I don’t even remember where my head was. Maybe texting people (lol)… because I found myself pulling off to the side to semi-walk and text. Someone ran up next to me and gave me words of encouragement to continue, and I just thought YOU DON’T KNOW ME. Let me text my friends!!! (Just kidding…kinda 😛 )

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Right after I grabbed water at the top of La Jolla Shores (around mile 10) I heard someone yell my name and it was Evan (who’s opening up the really cool Tasting Room Del Mar next month). We ended up running together until the last-ish hill(s) that goes Spindrift to Princess and finally Torrey Pines (and then I pulled ahead…muaha). I thought I was going to walk at least part of this section, but I knew the end was just so close. And once I hit Prospect it would be all downhill.  Luckily my watch/GPS was hitting close to the mile markers so I knew it would be pretty spot on (and not something like .5 longer than 13.1).  Overall it was a hot and challenging day, but I think all in all I’ve become a stronger runner, and learned that when I don’t care too much, good things can still happen (even a course PR…4th times the charm!).

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Mile splits recorded by my Garmin (1:45:32):
1 – 7:27
2 – 7:41
3 – 7:56
4 – 8:17
5 – 7:24
6 – 10:13
7 – 8:33
8 – 8:14
9 – 7:49
10 – 7:56
11 – 6:56
12 – 7:44
13 – 8:05
Last .21 – 1:12

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Thanks to RACEPLACE for the opportunity to run this race!

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From our meal prep last week, London and I both felt and recognized we needed to tweak the system and add more protein. We both felt like we should be incredibly skinny based on our hunger levels. So, to feel satiated we have added more protein to breakfast and some grains to lunch.  We both felt uninspired for dinner and it’s always hard to plan ahead for what will happen during the week.  So we have left dinner to be determined (but if at home, probably something along the lines of a veggie saute topped with a fried egg).

This week’s menu:
Breakfast – Overnight Oat Parfait
Lunch – Pea and little gem salad with farro
Snack 2 – Fig Bars
Dinner – TBD

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Overnight Oat Parfait
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 cup greek yogurt
1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine almond milk, oats and chia seeds in a mason jar.
  2. Cover and shake.
  3. After 12 hours (or once the overnight oats have set), layer with yogurt.
  4. Top with strawberries and serve.

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Pea and little gem salad with farro (+ some)
Inspired by Bon Appetit
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup farro
1 Tbsp. olive oil
1 Tbsp. fresh lemon juice
2 cups little gem lettuce
1 cup sugar snap peas, trimmed
1 kumato tomato, diced
1/2 avocado, cubed
2 pinches of walnuts
1 pinch microgreens

DIRECTIONS:

  1. Cook farro according to directions (I use the 10 minute farro from Trader Joe’s).
  2. Whisk oil and lemon juice in a small bowl to combine; season dressing with salt and pepper.
  3. In a separate bowl or container, add farro, lettuce, peas, tomatoes and avocado. Toss with dressing.
  4. Top with walnuts and microgreens.
  5. Serve with your choice of protein.

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I am the perfect example of how to not prepare for a race.  Friday I had a full day of work that pushed me past the 6pm expo deadline.  Saturday I went from errand to errand to a 3 hour hair appointment in North Park that left me scrambling to make it to Del Mar in 30 minutes before the expo closed (luckily I arrived with 5 minutes to spare).

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And with all that busyness on Saturday I was left without food (except for a couple mimosas during my hair appointment).  I met up with friends who were out at the Encinitas street fair who convinced me that a beer would fill my hunger, and I didn’t find myself eating a solid meal until I devoured a couple slices of pizza at Urbn later.

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But even with all that, apparently, being carefree surrounding the La Jolla Half Marathon did me some good.  Even though it was a warm and challenging day, I ended up with a course PR.  Race recap to come (!) …

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With temps reaching 80 degrees this past weekend, summer is definitely upon us.  So with those seasonal bods in mind, London and I decided to turn Sunday Funday into a grocery shop and meal prep kind of day (not without a little bit of rosé of course).

Trying to find inspo, we sorted through the Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge (circa 2014) for recipes to make (and not necessarily switch up) for the week.  I am the type of person that can eat the same thing for days on end (I think 2 weeks is my max).  So for me, this creates 100% ease and complete use of groceries.  This week our goal with no dairy and no gluten.  See below —

This week’s menu:
Breakfast – Overnight Oats with Strawberries and Chia Seeds
Lunch – Asian Chicken Salad with Tamari Lime Vinaigrette
Snack 2 – Lemony avocado (see here)
Dinner – Shaved Asparagus Salad Saute with Fried Egg

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Overnight Oats with Strawberries and Chia Seeds
INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup unsweetened vanilla almond milk
1/4 cup rolled oats
1 scoop vanilla Perfect Fit protein powder
1 Tbsp. chia seeds
1/2 cup strawberries, chopped
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Combine all ingredients (except for strawberries) in a mason jar.
  2. Cover and shake.
  3. Top with strawberries and refrigerate overnight.

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Asian Chicken Salad with Tamari Lime Vinaigrette
Inspired by Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge
1-2 handfuls of baby spinach
1 handful shredded green cabbage
1 handful shredded carrots
1 persian cucumber, sliced
1/2 avocado, cubed
2 pinches of unsalted, roasted slivered almonds
1/4 rotiserrie chicken, shredded
3 tablespoons Big Batch Lime Vinaigrette (see recipe below)
1 teaspoon tamari
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Layer spinach, cabbage, carrots, avocado, chicken and almonds.
  2. Combine vinaigrette and tamari in a mixing bowl and whisk together to combine.
  3. Add dressing to the salad when ready to serve.

This salad is made easily with pretty much pre-prepped ingredients at Trader Joes!

Big Batch Lime Vinaigrette
via Buzzfeed Clean Eating Challenge
Makes 1/3 cup
INGREDIENTS:
juice of 2 limes, strained (about 1/4 cup)
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon honey
1/4 cup olive oil
DIRECTIONS:

  1. In a small mixing bowl, combine lime juice, salt, and honey.
  2. Slowly drizzle in the olive oil while vigorously whisking the mixture with a small whisk.
  3. Whisk for an additional 30 seconds after all of the oil has been added.
  4. Vinaigrette will keep up to 5 days, refrigerated in an airtight container.

We originally came up with this idea for a savory breakfast option, but then decided it would be much easier to execute at night.  Inspiration came from Gwyneth Paltrow’s Kale and Quinoa Breakfast Bowl and this Buzzfeed Shaved Asparagus Salad with Fried Egg.

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Shaved Asparagus Salad Saute with Fried Egg
INGREDIENTS:

1 tablespoon olive oil
1/2 cup sliced crimini mushrooms
1/2 bunch green asparagus (about 8 medium stalks)
2 cups arugula
Juice of 1 lemon
1 egg
Salt and pepper
DIRECTIONS:

  1. Trim the asparagus.  Then, starting from the root end, use a vegetable peeler to shave the asparagus into thin ribbons (should yield about a cup).*
  2. Head olive oil over medium-high heat in a medium skillet.  Add mushrooms and cook until al dente.  Add asparagus ribbons and cook for around 2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Transfer mushrooms and asparagus mixture to a medium mixing bowl.  Add arugula and lemon juice.
  4. In the same skillet, add a little more olive oil and heat over medium heat.  Crack the egg into the pan and cook until the edges start to brown.
  5. Transfer the asparagus salad to a bowl and top with the fried egg.

Option to add cooked grain (quinoa, rice, farro, etc.) to increase the heartiness of this dish.

*I didn’t have the right vegetable peeler so I gave up on that and ended up just chopping the asaparagus into chunks.

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A lot has changed in the past 2 weeks. My best friend/running buddy moved to Oregon. And someone I thought I knew turned out to be someone I don’t want to know. While shitty things happen, I never try to take it (or life) too seriously because I know everything happens for a reason. But I’ve been really happy and feeling stress-free. I’ve been running when I feel like it, relaxing when I want to, and not making (/canceling) any plans.

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Last weekend was so ideal. I spent Saturday morning sleeping in with London, walking around Encinitas grabbing coffee from Ironsmith, buying crystals from Soulscape and getting acai bowls from Juice Crafters. For “linner” we discovered our new favorite restaurant, Regal Seagull, where we forced everyone to have another linner Sunday night. The best description or review would have to be from London who exclaimed “I can’t wait to come back here and we haven’t even left!”

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Sunday morning I met up with Kendall for a poke breakfast at the Leucadia Farmers Market. We then spent the rest of the day watching horrible movies (Trainwreck and The Overnight), coloring, and doing absolutely nothing while still kind of doing something.

My (self-established) running schedule has been kind of set to a minimum of 5-7 miles per run. But I should probably check that and get back into some type of long-run routine with the La Jolla Half Marathon coming up at the end of the month, and the M2B marathon that I’m still planning to run at the end of May.

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All in all, life is good! Linner is bomb. And friends are the best!!! :)

Weekly Workout Recap (3/20-3/26):
Sun – Rest
Mon – 6.5 mi
Tues – Hot Yoga
Wed – 6 mi
Thurs – 6.5 mi
Fri – 6.5 mi
Sat – 5 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 30.5 mi
Hours cross-training: 1 hour
2016 miles: 266.9 mi

Weekly Workout Recap (3/27-4/2):
Sun – Rest
Mon – 5.5 mi
Tues – 6 mi
Wed – Rest
Thurs – Rest
Fri – 5.5 mi
Sat – Rest
Total Weekly Mileage: 17 mi
2016 miles: 283.9 mi

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Every night in Ixtapa/Zihuatanejo we found ourselves eating a dinner better than the night before.  If you find yourself visiting, make sure you don’t miss out on these places!

Bistro Soleiado – Soleiades is a French restaurant in the middle of Ixtapa.  We had such a great experience here the year before, this was a definite on our list.
What to order: Mahi Mahi filet with lemon and caper sauce.

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El Mediterraneo – This dinner we met up with another family.  With a large group of 12, we were set up at a long table in the back.  With just a few other tables in the area, it felt like we were in our own private space.  With only the walls surrounding and no roof above (just the stairs), it felt completely open.
What to order: Everyone either ordered the jumbo butterflied coconut shrimp butterflied or the super fresh tuna sashimi.

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La Casa Vieja – The owner was super attentive and did everything — from greeting and seating the tables, to being waiter, bartender, entertainer.
What to order: Shrimp fajitas.

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Ristorante Il Mare* – This was the day that we experienced some intense storms.  We drove over flooded streets, hoping our over-stuffed and small taxi would be able to get maintain traction and get us up and over the hills.  We entered Il Mare, an Italian-influenced restaurant, situated on the edge of the cliffs, overlooking the dark ocean and to the hills that lit up with twinkles of lights.
What to order: Shrimp scampi.

Coconuts – This year and the last, we have unintentionally ended up in Coconuts. It’s a great restaurant, but both times we have started somewhere we did not want to be, left, and found ourselves at Coconuts. Lauren and I were stuffed after we both decided to order a full cornish hen and not share. Lesson learned. Share!
What to order: Cornish hen stuffed with goat cheese, mediterranean vegetables and truffle mashed potatoes.

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El Paraiso Escondido on Isla Ixtapa – This is the restaurant we chose to hang out at when we visited Isla Ixtapa.  To get to Isla Ixtapa, you take a water taxi over from Playa Linda.  The owner of Paraiso Escondido, Juan/”Johnny” said that they offer their own boat, so if you want to stay later than the 5pm cut-off, they can personally taxi you back.  He was super generous and even offered for us to enjoy some of the activities for free (this is when we decided to tube behind a jetski!).  They had fun cocktails like pina coladas in pineapples (adorned with ridiculous fruit faces).
What to order: I went a little out of the norm and ordered grilled octopus in butter.

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Patys Marimar* – At this restaurant your feet are literally on the beach, where you can take off your shoes and dig your toes into the sand. They offer 2 x 1 drinks, but that means they bring you both drinks at once! Tyler and I decided to get mango daiquiris and strawberry daiquiris and swap. At first the mango tasted really mild (like maybe there was no alcohol).  However, we were informed there was alcohol, and were offered additional alcohol, in the form of a double shooter to add as we pleased.
What to order: Shrimp fajitas.

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La Casa Que Canta* – This is probably one of the most beautiful, nicest, and romantic restaurants in Zihuatanejo, located in an upscale hotel.  You feel like you’re on the edge of the world.  The food is delicious and the service is impeccable.  Walk around the grounds and you’ll see an infinity pool that looks like it drops off into the ocean, and a salt water pool that looks like it sinks deep with no end.
What to order: Coconut shrimp.

Bars —Señor Frogs and Alex’s – for the dancing experience and the blue mystery liquid poured down your throat, go to Senor Frogs.  And for the DIY DJ experience (aka make your own playlist and play it on YouTube) go to Alex’s — a bar carved into the side of an old dilapidated stadium.

*You cannot top the view at any of these restaurants.  I have marked a couple of the restaurants that sit on the edge of the cliffs or are literally on the beach and look out to the water with an asterisk.

These past 2 years vacationing to Ixtapa have been an absolute treat!

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This was one of those vacations where you completely relax. When your biggest decision is what bikini to wear, and your only commitment is dinner for the night.

Our daily routine consisted of waking up for a run, eating breakfast at the house (usually greek yogurt, fresh pineapple and mango, white gold honey and granola), going down to the beach for a couple hours, going back up for lunch (usually tortillas, frijoles, queso, aguacate and chipotle sauce), followed by a couple more hours at the pool, the occasional massage on the beach, and then dinner out.

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With all the time spent bronzing and drink cervezas, I finished 4 books —Into the Wild, The Luckiest Girl, Disclaimer, and The Husband’s Secret. Out of those I would highly recommend Disclaimer and The Husband’s Secret. I had started Into The Wild before I left, and I really like John Krakauer books so I enjoyed his investigation of Chris McCandless and highlighted the passage “the joy of life comes from our encounters with new experiences, and hence there is no greater joy than to have an endlessly changing horizon, for each day to have a new and different sun.”  The Luckiest Girl was a good beach read, but not very dense and kind of reminded me of a Lifetime Movie. Disclaimer kept coming with twists and turns — a woman who reads a book and realizes that it’s about her. And The Husband’s Secret has 3 different storylines that all begin to intertwine.

Back to the trip….We flew into Ixtapa on a Saturday, stopped at the grocery stores and picked up supplies to make breakfasts and lunches for the week. By the time we arrived and checked in, it was time to shower and go out to eat.

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On Sunday and Monday we worked on getting ourselves into the routine. You know, having loungey breakfasts, lathering up with sunscreen, and getting ready for a full day of relaxation.

I also competed in a beer drinking competition, of which I had to do 2 rounds consecutively (the first time I kind of drank it like a shower, which led to a rematch). I really didn’t want to chug any more beer, but I also didn’t want to lose…so I ended up winning 😛

Tuesday and Wednesday we experienced some stormy weather. However, by Thursday the skies were blue and the rain had really cleared everything up.

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Thursday we visited the Isla de Ixtapa where I ate octopus, fed a deer with my mouth, and went tubing behind a jet ski. To get there you take a bus to Playa Linda, hop on a boat that taxi’s you over to the second harbor on the island. When you get to the island, you choose the restaurant that you will essentially hang out at all day. There’s lounge chairs and access to the other side of the beach that is prime for snorkeling (lots of fish and lots of coral).

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On Friday we resorted back to our usual routine — run (this time a 10 miler), breakfast, beach, lunch, and pool. We had dinner at the gorgeous Le Casa Que Canta and then met up with the rest of the group to go out to Alex’s bar (where the DJ is youtube on a computer and you can play anything you want), followed by a true Mexico nightlife scene at Señor Frogs (not exempt from blue liquor).

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Saturday is always an awkward day because check out is at 10am, but then the flight isn’t until after 4pm. We packed up all of our stuff, headed down to the resort restaurant for breakfast, and then hung out at the beach for the majority of the morning. When it was time, we took a quick shower in the pool bathrooms, and headed to the airport.

Overall, this trip was the epitome of a real vacation!  Stay tuned, post to come on “Where to eat in Ixtapa!”

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The lagoon has been my go-to run spot lately.  Even thought it seems like it’d get really monotonous and boring, I haven’t minded.  I’ve been throwing on my headphones, barely looking at my watch (but still run a pretty solid/surprisingly quick pace between 7-8 min miles), and walking when I forget I’m supposed to be running.  There’s been a lot of wildlife lately too — sheets of bugs that smear to your face, tons of lizards, a few rabbits.  On Saturday I even witnessed a huge rattler in the middle of the path that I made sure to stay clear of (and not even touch with my shadow).  However, I had this irrational fear that on my way back it would jump out of the brush and get me.

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Last Saturday I also attended the most beautiful wedding at Milagro Farms in Ramona for Logan and Elisa. The night seriously felt like a movie, also probably because I succeed in recording 1/6th of it on my GoPro. When I originally agreed to play videographer, I only envisioned and intended on recording the important things — ceremony, dances, etc. But once the cake was cut, and the tunes started bumping, I moved onto the dance floor, video still rollin’. Which then turned into me playing reporter and interviewing guests (only the ones I knew) and other footage that literally memorialized the night.

This weekend we’ll be partying (sadly in a “goodbye” fashion), Oregon Trail style. Can’t wait to show off my superb party planning photoshop skilllllzzzz 😛

Weekly Workout Recap (3/13-3/19):
Sun – 7 mi
Mon – 6.5 mi
Tues – Hot Yoga
Wed – 7 mi
Thurs – 2.5 mi
Fri – Rest
Sat – 6 mi
Total Weekly Mileage: 29 mi
Hours cross-training: 1 hour
2016 miles: 236.4 mi

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Spring is officially here!  And while you’re spring cleaning other areas of your life…why not add your skin care routine?  Because I know I DID.

Last week I visited Westfield UTC to shop for new skin care products.  I was never really concerned with this before, but in the last year or so I realized, if I don’t make any changes…neither will my skin.

I also made the mistake of not taking any skin care products with me to Mexico.  I thought the sun would fry it all.  However, oil-based massages (the kind that also involve rubbing your face) led to what felt like an ant colony crop up on my chin.

So desperately, I sought out natural products that would work well for my skin and have some longevity.  I’d say my skin is definitely on the oily side, with varying patches of acne (no rhyme or reason to where or why it pops up).  With how much activity I engage in, regardless of how hard I try to keep my skin clean, ultimately it comes down to the products I’m using.

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Luckily, Westfield UTC had both stores I needed to visit — Lush and The Body Shop.  I am the biggest skeptic and I usually hate being helped at stores.  But I willingly accepted advice and purchased the following products — all of which have already made my skin so soft and noticeably smoother!!  These products are a great way to spring clean your skin care routine because they’re effective and natural remedies.

Lush is known for their face masks and bath bombs.  I’ve never been to into masks but decided it’s something I want to add to my regimen.  Plus, putting on a mask for 10-15 minutes and just chillin’ sounds so therapeutic and relaxing for a 1-2x per week ritual.

To deal with my catastrophic face, I decided to go with the Catastrophe Cosmetic mask (hahah ok I’m being a little dramatic).  However, this is a good overall skin calming face mask that utilizes blueberries and calamine.  Cupcake was also recommended which I found humorous because it’s suggested for teenage skin 😛 #foreveryoung

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Then I mosied on over to The Body Shop where I delved into tea tree oil and seaweed products.

Tea tree oil is a natural antiseptic that works for different types of skin impurities. Originally started out with this tea tree oil kit from The Body Shop and found I found it worked really well.  So I decided to go full force and commit to full-size products and some additional lotions.  I got:

The seaweed product line is also good for rebalancing oil.  So instead of getting increasingly greasier during the day, my oil is more manageable and mellow.  I’m using:

Luckily, The Body Shop has a great deal of buy 3, get 2 free promo which helped out on my skin desperation spending spree…

Plz share! What’s your skin clearing regimen?

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Aka the Ultimate “Drunk Barbie” cake.

The week before we left for Mexico (which happens to fall on Tyler’s spring break/birthday every year), Jen and I were researching Gluten-Free cakes. We found 2Good2Be in Encinitas, but when looking for custom cake ideas and inspiration, I somehow decided I should just make the cake myself. Her boyfriend had a drunk ken doll cake for his birthday, so we thought it would be fun to do something similar (but a little more tame and low-key).

I wanted to take the “drunk barbie” cake concept, and go above and beyond. After compiling different cake recipes, decorations and ideas, I came up with:

gluten-free coconut layer cake with blue ombre layers, and buttercream frosting. Crushed graham cracker crumbs and brown sugar on top to look like sand and rock candy on the sides to look like sea glass.

Taking the “easier route” I got boxed (or bagged in this case) gluten-free cake mix. However, I was warned that the vanilla flavor tends to be bland and dry, but I needed the cake to be white for the rest of my plan to work. So I found this jazzed up coconut gluten-free cake using Pamela’s cake mix.

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Next, I wanted to do a layer cake, and I’ve always wanted to try ombre. I did some research and came across different formula’s for the blue layers. This ends up being pretty easy because all you need to do is add different amounts of blue dye to each layer.

For the frosting, I didn’t want to go overboard with the coconut flavor, so I found a buttercream frosting used for another layer cake.

I had seen this type of “sand” topping made from graham crackers and brown sugar. Being gluten-free, I found mini gluten-free graham crackers from Mary’s Gone Crackers.

If I had all the time in the world (and a candy thermometer) I would have made my own sea salt candy. However, I decided rock candy would have to do, and picked up an 8 pack of what ended up being cotton-candy flavor turquoise rock candy from Party City.

For the props…thank god for Amazon! I purchased this barbie (perfectly strawberry blonde), cake decorating beer cans, and 21 and legal cake topper all from Amazon.

I also bought the following special equipment: 2-3 9” cake pans, cake leveler and angled spatula.

I made four levels (so I doubled the cake recipe and made 4 9” cakes but ended up just using 3). Below is exactly what I used.

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Gluten-Free Coconut Blue Ombre Layer Cake with Buttercream Frosting
INGREDIENTS:
For the cake:
2 bags Pamela’s Vanilla Cake Mix
8 eggs, large
1/2 tsp almond extract
2 cups coconut oil
2 cups shredded coconut
Blue food coloring

For the frosting:
1 1/2 cup unsalted butter, at room temperature
6 cups powdered sugar, sifted
Pinch of salt
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream

For the toppings:
6 rock candy sticks, crushed
1 1/2 cups mini gluten-free graham crackers
Pinch of brown sugar

DIRECTIONS:
For the cake:

  1. Preheat oven to 325.
  2. Beat eggs until thick. Add oil, milk, and flavor and mix well. Add Cake Mix and beat on medium/low for 2 minutes. Fold coconut into cake batter.
  3. Evenly distribute cake batter to 4 bowls.
  4. Add 25 blue drops to the first bowl, 12 blue drops to the second, 5 blue drops to the third, then 1 blue drop to the fourth.
  5. Lightly spray and oil all pans. Transfer cake batter to the four pans.
  6. Bake each layer for 24 minutes.
  7. Cake is done when it springs back to a light touch. Over baking will cause dryness. Frost cake when cooled.

For the frosting:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, beat the butter, powdered sugar, salt, vanilla and whipping cream on medium speed until moistened and uniform.
  2. Increase speed to high and beat until light and creamy, about 4-5 minutes.

Assembling the cake:

  1. Use the cake leveler to cut the tops off each layer. Place the darkest blue on a display cake or cake stand. Cover with some of the buttercream (I didn’t use exact measurements, I just eyeballed it and made sure it was completely covered with enough to create some space between the layers).
  2. Top with the second to darkest layer. Repeat until the lightest blue layer is on top (again, I only used 3 layers).
  3. Cover the layer cake with the remaining frosting.
  4. Add the crushed rock candy along the sides.
  5. Sprinkle the graham cracker/brown sugar on the top.
  6. Decorate with barbie, beer cans and 21 and legal cake topper.

 

signature

 
 
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