Life Love Larson

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Thursday, January 30, 2020

Easy Homemade Acai Bowls

We first were introduced to Acai bowls last spring break when my kids ordered them at the quaintest little breakfast spot on our travels to Ubud, Bali. Fast forward almost an entire year, and we finally tried to make our own at home. I heard that Trader Joe's sold frozen Acai packets so I snagged some and researched how to make them. Most recipes I found were pretty much the same, so I just went for it! They turned out delicious and were easy to make!
Acai berries are high in antioxidants. The açaí berry is the concentrate in the frozen packet. We added more fruit, milk and yogurt to ours. I would like to try adding in some spinach next!
Acai Bowls:

1 banana
1 frozen açaí packet
1 cup frozen berries (we used blueberry here)
1/2 cup greek yogurt (we used Oikos Vanilla)
3/4 - 1 cup milk or milk substitute (we used almond milk)

Blend all ingredients together, pour in a bowl, and top with your favorite toppings! Or eat plain! We used granola, chia seeds, and more berries. The possibilities are endless with this! You could add more banana, nuts, coconut, etc. We liked having the crunch of the granola on ours. I think you can pretty much use whatever ingredients you have on hand and add or omit other liquids, juice, yogurt, etc. The recipe and amounts we used gave us two servings!
A few observations after we made our first few bowls...we LOVED that these were icy cold! I think adding a frozen banana would make it even better. I think you could add ice to it as well. Our bowls turned out more liquidy than chunky. You can obviously adjust the amount of liquid you are adding to your bowls depending on how thick or soupy you like yours! These turn out so pretty with the colors and textures! These would be fun to serve to guests because they look fancy, but are so easy! xo



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Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Hershey's Hugs + M&M Pretzel Bites

Kate and I made some sweet pretzel bites around Christmastime this year and we loved them so much we kept making them for football games and weekend snacks! This is such a simple recipe with only three ingredients. Take them to a party and they will be gone in no time!
We live in Kansas City and the Chiefs are in the Super Bowl this Sunday! For the AFC Championship game, we made these yellow/red bites to take to a friend's house. They are easy and festive to make! I love the touch of black/white and they fact that they are bite-sized!
Unwrapping the foil from the Hugs and separating the M&M colors you want will take longer than actually making these! The possibilities are endless! We used red/green for Christmas, we used yellow/red for Chiefs, you could use the Valentine M&Ms to make a sweet treat for friends/neighbors! Or, just use all the colors in the bag to make it a rainbow! I love that this simple treat is customizable! 
It's also more fun when you enlist help! This is an easy recipe for kids to help with because it involves unwrapping and sorting, and the oven is set at a low temperature!
Hersey Hugs + M&M Pretzel Bites

Ingredients:
Square Pretzels
Hershey's Hugs
Plain M&Ms

Instructions:
1. Preheat oven to 215 degrees.
2. Lay out pretzels on an ungreased cookie sheet and top with Hersey Hugs.
3. Bake for 5-6 minutes or until Hug appears shiny.
4. Remove from oven and immediately place M&M on top of the Hug. 
5. Chill in the refrigerator until hardened (we leave them right on the cookie sheet). 
6. Remove from fridge and let get to room temperature (they are easier to remove if you wait a little bit). Lift off by twisting a little bit or using a small spatula.
I told you it was easy! A sweet and savory little bite of goodness! Go Chiefs! xo

Thursday, January 23, 2020

Seoul Food: What We Ate in South Korea

Steve and I took a trip to Seoul, South Korea in September to celebrate our 40 birthdays! We had a blast, just the two of us. It was a new spot for us so the anticipation of exploring a huge city and a  different culture and different foods really excited us! Also, when you travel really far away, you feel really far away, and that is what we love about travel! I am going to need to break down my posts on Seoul into a few different ones because we were there for a week and we did all the things! First up, I wanted to share what we ate. And it's fun to call it "Seoul" Food! We get this question a lot when we travel, so here goes!

I will preface this with the fact that we will try almost anything! We ate scorpion on a stick in China and have eaten some weird things on food tours before! Part of the fun of going to new places is immersing yourself in the culture and the food. We ate all kinds of things, including McDonald's!

BREAKFAST: For breakfast, we ate at our hotel every single morning. Asian hotels have the best breakfasts! It's a full spread of Asian, American, French, basically anything you can ask for. We knew we could fuel up on familiar breakfast foods, but also try some new things. Always muesli and cappuccinos and fruit! This particular breakfast, I also ate bagquette, grilled veggies, fish, and dumplings!

DRINKS: The Koreans love their beer! Ha! The perfect spot for us! We drank beer, I drank iced coffee (huge in Korea), tea, and coffee! And lots of bottled water! We also drank Soju which is a potent alcohol drink the Koreans love, and we tried Makgeolli, a raw rice wine. We both loved this one! You drink it out of small tin bowls!




 Don't forget the late night snacks from the 7-11! There is one on every corner!
CHICKEN & BEER: We went to a Korean baseball game and it might have been the highlight of our trip! We are sports-lovers! And they serve chicken and beer at the games! Also sushi and friend octopus! We stuck with the chicken and beer! Yep, served with the chicken on the top and you drink the beer out of a straw!
Koreans love Chimea, which is essentially chicken and beer. It's a thing. We had it several times because it's very Korean, but also felt easy for us to eat!
We booked a food tour before our visit. We used ZenKimChi Tours and ended up having a private tour with our guide. He is an American living in Korea and hosts walking food tours. We ate traditional Korean BBQ, which was so delicious! He taught us how to drink the rice wine and the Soju. We also ate some traditional fried foods. You go through a small market and choose what you want to be fried and brought to your table. We had a blast learning more about the Korean culture and sampling traditional foods.






  
MARKET FOOD: We explored Gwangjang Marketon one of the very last days we were there. We were in search of some Mung Bean Pancakes (kind of alike a hashbrown) and some noodles! We happened to get a seat at the stall where Netflix showcased on their show "Street Food".


EXTRAS: We ate at a restaurant that my sister introduced us to on our travels called Din Tai Fung. It's a chain and is found in a few major cities throughout Asia. There is also one in London and one or two in the US. We ate there twice because we love their dumplings and spicy wontons!
We also at KimChi Fried Rice twice! We loved it so much we went back to a little spot near our hotel.
We popped into a few places as we walked the streets to get noodles! And Cokes!
Close to the end of the trip, we also decided we needed a cheeseburger! We searched and found a place with good reviews and bonus, they also had cheese fries! Ha! You can find anything in big cities, so don't let the food scare you!
Traveling to big cities means you have so many choices! We did research about the food before we left! We knew what we wanted to try. Booking a food tour helps you learn more about traditional foods! We also got a recommendation form someone we knew who had been to Seoul before. It's also fun to come home and try to find food/drink you had while on your travels! It expands your mind and your palette! I can't wait to go back someday! xo
Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Chalk Wall Winter Bucket List

Every year we add bucket lists to our chalk wall for each season! Our bucket list items are similar over the years, although things have changed since our kids have gotten older. I try to do a little something different with the way the chalkboard looks each year too! I'm going to be running out of ideas soon! Ha! Here is our winter bucket list for 2019 (kids ages 11 and 12 for reference)!
I like to add quotes and accessories to the chalk wall too! I never want anything sticking out or in the way because this is a high traffic zone area! This year, it's COLD HANDS, WARM HEARTS. It's already snowed here, so it seems appropriate!
I found the felt ball garland at Homegoods this year. I use two nails nailed right into the wall to hang the garland. I use regular old cheap chalk on our chalkboard. Sometimes, I use sidewalk chalk if I need additional fun colors. Keeping it simple with red and white this year.
I also hang a mistletoe in this high traffic area. Never know who you might run into here! XO I use a command hook with a hinged hook to hang the mistletoe.

We already have some things crossed off! Please note, we usually never get to everything on the list! This is just a reference and jumping off point, and our kids are well aware of this! Hope you are having a great holiday season making memories with those you love! xo

Here are our Holiday Chalkboards/Home Tours from years past! Boy how things have changed!
2018
2017
2016
2015
2014
2013
Monday, December 9, 2019

2019 Made In Iowa Gift Guide

Many of you know I have strong ties to the great state of Iowa! I lived in both Sioux City, IA and Storm Lake, IA as a little girl. I grew up just on the other side of the Mississippi River from Iowa throughout elementary, middle, and high school. I've been an Iowa Hawkeye fan for as long as I can remember and ended up attending the University of Iowa and meeting my husband there! We are a die hard Hawkeye family! My parents, as well as my sister and her family all currently live in Des Moines, IA (just 3 hours from us), as well as many other friends and family. A large piece of my heart will always be connected to the great state! And of course, everyone in Iowa affiliated with the state is "IOWA NICE"!
Iowa has a spirit of loyalty and kindness and is down to earth. The many towns across Iowa have some fabulous "makers" and products and foods to be shared! I can't wait to show you some of the fun items available through the 2019 Made In Iowa Gift Guide. A great way to give back is to shop local and support Iowa shops, artists, and craftspeople! This year's guide has been curated to showcase gift ideas from across the state. One of my favorite parts about the gift guide is the story background of how all the shops came to be! Truly inspiring! ALSO...I'm hosting a giveaway to give a lucky winner an item from one of the shops! Details at the end of the post!

First up is 1st Avenue Collective out of Winterset, IA. They have an online shop where you can purchase art, crafts, and jewelry. I love how they include the name of the maker when you click to purchase!  This minimalist jewelry is so pretty!
Next up is The Maker's Loft. It's located in the downtown area in one of my favorite cities ever - Iowa City, IA. Iowa City has such a cool, eclectic vibe about it. I strongly encourage you to visit if you have never been! This shop is where my "Iowa Nice" tee shirt is from! Only $20! What a great gift idea! They also sell candles, and sweatshirts, and throw blankets from local makers! They also sell unique items like beard oil and tonic mixers!

The next small business you can support is Carver's Ridge out of Guthrie Center, IA. They sell personalized and engraved goods. Perfect gift ideas for teachers and friends and family members! How awesome is the recipe engraved on the cutting board?!

Let's talk local foods! That Iowa Girl out is out of Clarion, IA, She supports other local businesses by selling and delivering Iowa-made food products! How cool is that?! Be sure to visit her online shop to buy all the goodies for gifts or your next get together!
Next up is Barn Happy, a shop located in Cedar Falls, IA. They sell a wide variety of products and work with over 100 vendors! You can find everything from soaps, to jams, to custom Iowa gift baskets! They also have a little cafe open for lunch and brunch, so if you are in the area, be sure to stop by!

Next up is The Market Place located in Manning, IA. It's owned and run by Jaime England, who moved back to her hometown to open this shop along Main Street. She sells home decor and gift products from local vendors. There is also a coffee shop inside the store! I'm obsessed with these beaded tassels! The perfect gift idea! She also sells cozy throw blankets!

And last, but certainly not least, is The Little House on Main, a boutique and clothing shop in Bondurant, IA. The store looks absolutely adorable! She sells wooden signs and gifts, knit hats, and the cutest tea towels. 
I'm hosting a giveaway on my Instagram feed! One lucky winner will receive a Swedish dish cloth and beer bread kit from one of the shops that The Little House on Main supports called Doe A Deer. Click here to head to my feed to enter!
When you shop the 2019 Made In Iowa Gift Guide, you support small business and makers. You support a state you love. You will bring a smile to the face of the recipient when you gift them something locally handmade and sourced! You can find something for every single person on your list! It's an all around win/win! 

*This is a sponsored post. All opinions and writing content are my own!*