Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Rice Krispy Treats

As far as recipes go, there are few treats that I think would not benefit from a little dark chocolate and a sprinkle of sea salt.  Ok, maybe you wouldn’t want to add them to spinach smoothies.  But ice cream sundaes and fruit bowls and yogurt, etc?  Yeah, baby.  

When I was thinking of a favorite dessert to upgrade with these flavors, I was reminded of the game Celebrity.   Have you ever heard of it or played it?  We used to play it at work at lunch as a team building exercise with our cross-functional team and it was a ridiculous amount of fun.  We’d bring treats potluck style and let the competitive spirit fly.  At one of these potlucks, I learned that one of my coworkers was a rice krispy treat MASTER.  You’d think that it wouldn’t really be possible to mess up these crispy, chewy bars- but that probably means you’ve never had a bad one.  Her treats were chewy and soft with the perfect texture.  I’ve adjusted the basic recipe slightly to achieve the same texture, added dark chocolate and sea salt flavors, and VOILA:

Dark Chocolate Sea Salt Rice Krispy Treats | Alyssa & Carla

Continue reading

DIY Leather Catchall for Father’s Day

pops desk

My dad’s desk is a MESS.  In fact, I recently learned that he’s stopped using it entirely because there’s no room left on it.  Well, we can’t have that, can we?  Father’s Day seems like the perfect opportunity to give him back his work space, so I persuaded my mom to send me the photo above so I could know what we were up against.  I wanted to make a masculine desk accessory to help him get organized.  I know, how nice of me, right?  Don’t worry, this leather catchall is not the only thing he’s getting for Father’s Day.  

diy leather catchall www.alyssaandcarla.com

Continue reading

Blueberry Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Floats

For me, ice cream floats are one of the best introductions to the summer.  I’m always game for a float year round these days, but as a kid they meant outdoor dining and summer vacation and warm evenings.  I’m debating our yearly dessert contribution to the family camping trip next month and this blueberry vanilla bean ice cream float is definitely coming along.  

Blueberry Vanilla Bean Ice Cream Floats | Alyssa & Carla

Continue reading

Jasmine Milk Tea with Honey Boba

A couple years ago, Alyssa took a trip to Taiwan.  Now, there are two ways to feel when your best friend embarks on a big trip: totally excited because she deserves it and super jealous because come on, I LIKE TRIPS TOO.  I LIKE TAIWAN.  I BET IT’S LOVELY THERE.  TAKE ME WITH YOU.

I couldn’t wait to hear about all her adventures on the trip when she returned, so I was surprised when I got a text from her a day or two into her stay.  Being my mother’s daughter, I was immediately worried that something was wrong, but NO.  She was just texting photos of all the BOBA SHE WAS HAVING.  Lucky, lucky girl.

Homemade Jasmine Milk Tea with Honey Boba | Alyssa & Carla

If I was forced to summarize, I might have to say that my favorite foods are cheese and boba.  Have you ever had boba (also called bubble tea) before?  Boba itself is a sweet tapioca pearl that became popular in Taiwan in the 1980s.  The whole experience involves a drink that’s usually tea-based, but lots of shops also create fruit slushies.  This gets poured right over the sweet, chewy balls for an absolutely delightful drink.  

And now you can make it right at home!

Continue reading

Weekly Love Letter for Friday, May 22nd

“Planting time!  I am absolutely terrible with plants, but I care so much about my herb garden that I manage to keep them alive despite my brown thumb.  This year, I’ve added mint to my assortment.  I hear it’s pretty much a weed, let’s hope I have success with it.  I’m missing cilantro, and I wonder if it’s too late to grow it from seed?  What are your favorite herbs to grow?  Any tips for me?”

*I’ve only been to two of these!  I think that means it’s time to plan another trip.  How many have you been to?

*BRILLIANT!  Why shouldn’t we use pickle brine (in moderation) while cooking? It’s pre-seasoned vinegar!

*Have you seen this beautiful photography?

Carla's Weekly Love Letter for 5/22/15

“Ooooh, the first long weekend of the summer!  It’s finally here!  We’re hosting some family visiting from Southern CA and apparently that means we “need” a grill.  I think we’ve needed a grill for months!  As we narrowed down the options last night, I went to sleep dreaming about grilled corn and grilled pizza and grilled flank steak.  Join me in my Forrest Gump moment and tell me your grilling faves?  I may not see the inside of a kitchen at dinner time for the next several days!

I’ve been obsessed with unique Etsy items this past week.  It’s amazing how many beautiful and different things you can find there!  I thought I’d devote my faves this week to some beautiful products from the site:

* A beautiful ceramic hanging planter.  There are holes in the ceilings for hooks all over our house, wouldn’t this be a lovely addition to my office?

*HANDMADE in SPAIN: this Mid Century Scandinavian Side Table.

* Why, yes, I WOULD like this NH maker’s ceramic herringbone plates!

One year ago: DIY no-sew pillowcase

around the web

Our DIY Exfoliating Oatmeal Body Scrub was featured on Curvy Bell’s roundup of 60 Beauty Products You Should Make Yourself and Stop Buying.

Stacy’s Club included our DIY Mint Duo in their Best DIY Mint Beauty products list.


Poisson Cru from French Polynesia

Did you read our interesting story about Laurence, who moved her family to tropical paradise?  She was kind enough to share her recipe for a traditional French Polynesian dish called poisson cru (“raw fish” in French).  It’s a French Polynesian take on ceviche. It’s less acidic though, as the lime juice is only used to “cook” the fish then is removed from the dish.  It’s gentler, sweeter and creamier than ceviche. 

poisson cru from alyssaandcarla.com

Continue reading

A&C Profiles: Laurence Moved Her Family to Tropical Paradise

Welcome to our newest series, A&C Profiles!  We’re excited to share the inspiring stories of interesting people from our lives and travels. 

Laurence is an energetic, enterprising French woman who did something that almost all of us have dreamt about but few people ever actually do. She moved her family to tropical paradise! I walked away from my conversation with Laurence feeling inspired to try new things. I’m definitely guilty of over-thinking everything and almost never acting impulsively. Our decision to move to Japan was a carefully thought-out affair, full of pros and cons lists, consulting professional mentors and family members, and weighing all of our options. That’s what works best for us, but there are certainly more instances where I should take advantage of opportunities that simply feel right, without worrying so much.  laurence of lilikoi garden cafe

I met Laurence on our recent trip to French Polynesia. My husband and I stopped for lunch at Lilikoi Garden Café, Laurence’s popular little restaurant nestled between a coconut grove and her beautiful home. She was welcoming and warm, and we found it easy to talk to her. She told us a little bit about herself and we bought her lovely cookbook. We ate a delicious lunch and went on our way, but I couldn’t stop thinking about how interesting her story was! I sent her a message that night to see if she would let me interview her for this new blog series that Carla and I have been discussing for months. She was happy to chat, so I stopped by a few days later to learn more about her.

Continue reading

5 Prep Tips for your Next Race (from sign-up to Race Day!)

I’ve had the chance to share about my running routine in this space before.  You might remember this medal from my race last October or this hilarious sign from the race I ran for my niece’s first 5k?  (She’s A LOT faster than me.)

5 Race Training Tips | Alyssa & Carla

 Zappos is the big sponsor for the quintessential San Francisco race Bay to Breakers this weeked, so we’ve teamed up to share a few tips to help you get ready for your next race day.

Continue reading

Weekly Love Letter for Friday, May 15th

“The hubby is headed out of town this weekend for a baseball game.  He and a friend are touring all of the baseball stadiums in Japan.  I need a weekend at home after 2 weeks of travel, so I’m passing on this trip.  But I have big plans!  I’m making myself one of these cocktails (ingredients already purchased), watching this and giving myself a pedi.  I’m pretty excited for some alone time!”

*Have you ever washed your face with honey?  I’m intrigued.  At 30 years old (almost 31! Ack!), I still feel like I don’t have a good skincare routine.

*The egg is possibly my favorite part about the giant bowls of ramen from a real ramen shop.  Good to know that I can make them at home!

*Pinning now for when I have a living space where I can actually hang shelves!  These are soooo pretty.  

Carla's Weekly Love Letter for 5.15.15

“I really, really like dancing.  Dancing movies, So You Think You Can Dance, street performers, anything.  You got it, I want to watch.  I’ve danced on and off myself at different periods in my life and I’ve tried different styles, but it will probably always be the hobby that got away.  Do you have one of those?  Did you ever successfully turn it around?  Part of me hears a mantra in the back of my mind about bucket lists and it never being too late to learn something new and what not, but the other part is all “um, people don’t START dancing in their 30s, do they?”

* Love the natural look of this DIY Wood Bead Garland!

* Have you heard the Imagine Dragons cover of Taylor Swift’s Blank Space with Stand By Me?  So good.  

* A chickpea and chard saute?  Definite must try.

One year ago: Italian appetizer skewers and DIY pom pom magnets
Two years ago: DIY simple drop earrings