Vanilla Bean Affogato with Pistachios

If there's any dessert I could eat for the rest of my life, it would be affogato. Whoever first thought about topping creamy gelato or ice cream with a shot of espresso was a genius because affogato ends every meal on a clean note without taking things overboard. Thank you Italy! We don't have cookies or cakes hanging around the apartment, but ice cream? Ice cream is abundant. Because I don't have an espresso maker, I usually have to bolt to the coffee shop to buy a shot of espresso, but one day my nifty Vietnamese espresso press/filter stood out as a perfect companion to a single-serving affogato. And then, I had some crushed pistachios hanging around from that DIY eclair bar and discovered the magic that happens when I let my kitchen guide creations. Vanilla bean ice cream drizzled with coffee (or espresso) and topped with crushed, salted pistachios = BOOM. I am not over-exaggerating when I say this is simplicity in its best dessert form. If you don't feel like going through the fuss at home, go to your neighborhood ice cream parlor and ask for this combo. They might look at you funny, but you'll be in oh-my-yum happiness!

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Vanilla Bean Affogato Topped with Crushed Pistachios

 

Ingredients
French Market Coffee dark roast ground coffee, one single serve cup or 3 tbsp
Vanilla bean ice cream
Handful of shelled roasted & salted pistachios

Tools: Vietnamese Filter Set or coffee maker

Directions:
1. If using the Vietnamese press, add three tablespoons ground coffee into the filter or one single serving pack. Fill with water and let filter for 5 minutes. Otherwise, make coffee with your coffee maker as usual.

2. Place pistachios in a bowl and using a heavy bottle or spoon, crush the pistachios until you get crumbly pieces. Other ideas: use the trusty mortar and pesto or a rolling pin.

3. Scoop vanilla bean ice cream into a dish, pour over coffee, and top with crushed pistachios.

 

Medicine Cabinet Picks

I didn't grow up with an immense knowledge of health products and must admit haven't had the best hygiene regimen during my 20s. Since the beginning of this year and as my age creeps higher, however, it's been a top priority. Our medicine cabinet isn't filled with the prettiest or flashy products, but we've made a point to keep our eyes peeled for products that are not only effective but good for our long-term health. While transitioning to  quality, all-natural products hasn't been an easy or inexpensive feat,  I've found some great products that justify their price tag. There's a good bit that we don't even use and will focus on de-cluttering a la Konmari Method this weekend, but here's a peek of its current state as well as details of my current top picks that have earned their keeps.

Current Favorites

 

  1. Target Up & Up make-up remover ($5)
    • This eye make-up remover has been my best friend for years. Much cheaper than the Almay brand and seriously takes off every bit of make-up. I like that it's oil-based because god knows my dry skin can use as much extra oil as it can to keep the face moist and dewy, even if that's not the main purpose. Speaking of double duty, I always try to buy the two-pack since it gives more bang for my buck.
  2. The Face Shop White Seed Whitening Toner ($20)
    • When I'm disciplined enough, here's how my nighttime regimen goes: 1.) wash face with The Face Shop cleanser 2.) use toner 3.) apply eye cream 4.) massage in face oil. This toner might be pricier than most but it's seriously the best thing for my skin, next to the Josie Maran Argan Oil. It's gentle but effectively cleans out my pores. I accidentally broke the bottle and had to live without it for three weeks, and my face suffered as a result.
  3. Crystal Natural Deodorant in Lavender and White Tea ($3)
    • My hunt for an effective all-natural deodorant that wouldn't make me smell funky ends with the Crystal brand that Josh found during a random trip to CVS. I snickered at him because the packaging isn't so pretty (snob!) when we picked it up, but after using it since February couldn't be happier with both the product and its price tag.
  4. Hard Night, Good Morning Detox Mineral Mask ($25)
    • I partnered with Hard Night, Good Morning two years ago to test this detox mask and still use it. It's not for weekly use, but has proven clutch when I need a deep cleansing. It's a powerful mask that seriously makes my face feel ten times cleaner post-debauchery.
  5. Estee Lauder Advanced Night Repair ($77, on sale)
    • One of the perks of the Harper's Bazaar program was winning a big box of Estee Lauder products. There was just too much so I gave my mom and friends a good bit of it but made sure to keep the Advanced Night Repair. I saw the Estee Lauder team mix the serum in just about everything from moisturizers to foundation to double the impact. I've also been using it at night before applying my face oil. Just a little concerned about it running out. :/
  6. Josie Maran Argan Oil ($40)
    • The product that wins for changing the game? Josie Maran's Argan Oil. I've used just about every moisturizer created - Clinique, Aesop, Fresh, Kiehls, Oil of Olay, even splurged on La Prairie when I had a discount. But, all of these moisturizers are filled with different chemicals and caused breakouts. And worse, they didn't keep my face moisturized throughout the day. My face still felt and looked dry. This argan oil has only one ingredient and it's changed my whole complexion. Though not the most inexpensive product, I use it it daily. For that extra dewy look, dab a little on your cheeks after applying blush!

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Any game changers in your medicine cabinet?