Brownies for Two

Saturday was just one of those days.  We were out late on Friday night at the Zac Brown Band concert (I haven’t seen 1am in a long time and I don’t plan on seeing it again until baby girl arrives) and then up early on Saturday to go to the noon Pirate football game.  And then the weather turned sour – aka it felt like August and then I got rained on.  Basically, I was over Saturday before 3pm hit.  Big Guy headed out to the grocery store once we arrived home from the game and I decided to turn my frown upside down.  I made some hot tea and I made a small batch of brownies.  

There is just something comforting about being in the kitchen for me.  Sometimes in life things seem out of your control but when I’m in the kitchen with a recipe, everything (well, almost) is in my control.  I love small batch dessert recipes because I don’t need a full batch of chocolate brownies at my fingertips.

These brownies are dairy-free and gluten-free and are absolutely delicious.  They are chocolatey without being overwhelming and are incredibly light.  I enjoyed one both Saturday and Sunday evening while we caught up on all our shows on DVR and slowly but surely, my mood shifted.

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A tip for these brownies – allow them to cool completely and then transfer to the fridge BEFORE cutting.  When serving, warm in the microwave for a few seconds for a delicious chocolate treat.

(p.s. Everyone has bad days – and while my pregnancy has been a cake walk, I still have some crazy hormones which is what I’m blaming for my mini-breakdown on Saturday.)

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Friday Favorites

What a busy, productive week!  Which makes the weekend even sweeter.  Though I wish the weekend was going to be a little cooler.  I guess I’ll be slathering on the SPF at the football game and wishing I could break out my summer white shorts.  I shouldn’t complain – I’m sure by January I’ll be begging for warmer days.  We’re hoping to go to the pumpkin patch this weekend and I’m sure that Sunday will be spent catching up on ALL the shows on our DVR (hello, Fall!…Criminal Minds, This Is Us, Law and Order: SVU).  I hope you have a lovely weekend and that perhaps you have a little fall weather where you are.

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Favorite Bowl of Comfort: Slow Cooker Buffalo Chicken Chili. We may have to replace pizza one Sunday with this awesomeness.  I mean, helllllo, toppings!  Throw this in the slow cooker after church and it’ll be ready for you come dinner time.

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Favorite Chewy:  Saucepan Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I’m so intrigued by these cookies that promise to be chewy instead of cakey.  The trick is melted butter.

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Favorite Tip:  How to Clean Your Dutch Oven (Without Ruining It)  It’s no secret that my dutch oven is my FAVORITE item in our kitchen.  I use it constantly and it’s 100% worth the price tag.  But for that price, you want to make sure it lasts – so follow these tips!

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Favorite Transition Piece:  Chaus Mixed Cotton Knit Cardigan.  I’m all about clothes that will grow with my growing body these days.  I love the simplicity of this cardigan but the fun basket weave texture makes it special.

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Favorite Football Snack:  Crispy Buffalo Brussels Sprouts.  Well these look addictive.  And I can totally call them “healthy” because it involves a green veggie.

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Favorite Thanksgiving:  Pumpkin Macadamia Nut Sweet Potato Casserole.  My mother-in-law is cringing that I’m even thinking of Thanksgiving (hey, C!) but I can’t help it.  How delicious does this sound?  I can’t think of a more perfect side dish for turkey day.

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Favorite Truth:  You Just Had a Baby.  Share this with any Mama you know with young ones at home.  Or maybe just share it with yourself.

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Favorite “Appy” Hour:  Pastry Wrapped Baked Brie with Maple Butter Roasted Apples.  Is there a more perfect appetizer for fall?  If only I could make this and then sip a glass of delicious wine.  #babygirlwatsonisworthit

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{photo source and one of my favorite blogs}

Favorite Splurge:  Maud Suede Side-Bow Booties.  How gorgeous are these shoes?  They are totally not a “need” but my, oh, my are they beautiful.  And they’re surprisingly from Talbots.

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Favorite Fall:  Spiced Pear Sangria. One of the easiest recipes for a fun, crowd-pleasing drink.  Enjoy a glass for me.

Cheers!

Fire Crackerz

Remember when I used to feature “Tailgate Thursday?”  Well I’m bringing it back today with these utterly addictive crackers.  And the recipe couldn’t be easier.

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Good ‘ole store bought Cheez-Its are jazzed up with a few ingredients for a finger lickin’ good snack.

The crackers are simply tossed with canola oil, a ranch packet and red pepper flakes (the more you add, the more fire you’ll get).  Spread on a baking sheet and bake at a low temperature.  Allow the crackers to cool and then store in an air tight container.

I told you it was simple!

 

5 Ingredient Peanut Butter Granola Bars

Skip the store-bought granola bars and whip up a batch (or two) of these delicious bars that require five ingredients that you probably have on hand.

I made these for a friend that just had twins (hey, Marlo!) for her to enjoy as breakfast or an anytime snack.  Turns out, her husband and parents got a hold of the bars and she requested the recipe the next day.

Here’s what you’ll need:

Old-Fashioned Oats (Trader Joes has the best, in my opinion)
Almond Butter (or peanut butter or sunflower seed butter or cashew butter)

Honey
Mini Chocolate Chips
Eggs

You are free to add in other ingredients like nuts or seeds or even dried fruit (raisins would be yummy!).

Simply mix all the ingredients together and bake!  I found it easiest to cut the bars if you refrigerate for a couple of hours.

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I promise you EVERYONE in your family will love these granola bars!

Sweet Potato and White Bean Soup

October is here and I’m officially ready for some fall weather.  I’ve come to terms with the fact that my favorite season has come to and end but I could do without any more sunburns (yes, my arms fried at the football game on Saturday).  In an attempt to lure fall to Eastern NC, I brought fall to the kitchen last night.

Sweet Potato and White Bean Soup not only has all the flavors of fall (without pumpkin) but it’s also incredibly comforting.  Sweet potatoes and white beans bulk up the soup and make it protein packed and filling while also being vegetarian.  The flavor comes from sautéed red onion, garlic and sage.  A little milk makes it super creamy.  Once blended, each bowl is topped with sweet, tart, and crunchy apples (Golden Delicious apples are my fav right now) and a dollop of Greek yogurt.

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Now if only we could get our crisp, cool weather to stay past 9am.

Baby Girl Watson {nursery design}

As soon as we found out we were pregnant (even before that), ideas for a nursery were swirling in my head.  I had millions of ideas for little girls but very few for a little boy.  When we were surprised by a PINK cake, I knew I needed help narrowing down and bringing together all my ideas for a baby girl’s room.  One day I threw out the idea to Big Guy of having someone help us virtually design the nursery.  I reached out to an acquaintance from Rocky Mount (currently lives in Columbia) who’s style I love and was excited to find out that virtual interior design is her “thing.”

The process was pretty simple – we filled out a short questionnaire with our likes, dislikes, must-haves and budget along with pictures of the current room and it’s measurements.  Big Guy was crucial in the drawing of the room and the measurements.  I also gave her access to my Pinterest board that housed some of my inspiration pictures.  Shortly after she received all our information, she sent us some “this or that” pictures for us to “like” or “dislike” to get an even better feel for our style.  After a few back and forths, we received the final nursery design board last week and I am obsessed.

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It’s is everything I wanted and more.  We will have a mix of white and grey furniture with pops of pink.  Bead board is being installed in the room and we will wallpaper the space above.  Additionally, we’re having hardwoods installed and will be having animal print rugs (one of Big Guy’s requests).

I can’t wait to see this design come to life!  And a huge “THANK YOU” to Megan from Home of Harrington for her brilliant work.  It’s been so much fun working with her.

Friday Favorites

Welp, here we are at the end of September.  For once I’m so ready for fall but, as always, the weather doesn’t want to cooperate and feel like fall.  This weekend includes a mix of social gatherings, Pirate football and relaxing.  Let’s hope that Sunday is mostly relaxing. OH, and we received our “design board” for the nursery and I cannot wait to show that to you next week.  Let’s just say that I’m already jealous of my daughter.  I hope you have a FUN, FALL-FILLED weekend.  See you Monday!

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Favorite From Scratch:  Mulled Apple Cider Chai French Crullers.  Homemade doughnuts have peaked my interest for years (along with bagels).  But truth by told, my favorite doughnut is a cruller.  These are perfect for fall and I would love to curl up with a cup of coffee on the couch along with a cruller and not a care in the world.

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Favorite Lunch:  Chickpea Avocado Salad.  I have totally made a salad like this before.  But this is my reminder to make several on Sunday or Monday for the week ahead.

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Favorite Inspiration:  A Bedroom Design Inspired by Tory Burch’s Paris Flagship.  I love the combination of traditional floral with dusty blue and then a POP of fun with leopard. Let’s me honest, I’m simply leopard obsessed.

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Favorite Unexpected:  Honey Roasted Sweet Potatoes with Sage and Cayenne.  I adore sweet potatoes but I’ve yet to experiment with savory muffins and sweet potatoes.  Loving this flavor combo.

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Favorite Gameday Eats:  Mini Pizza Bites.  Genius!  Crackers are used as the crust and then you simply pile on the traditional pizza toppings.

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Favorite Round-Up:  Our Fall Wine List.  First of all, totally jealous of this list.  I miss wine.  But if I were able to indulge, I would let this list broaden my horizons when it comes to “fall wines.”

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Favorite Sweet and Savory:  Apple Cheddar Pies.  I love apple pie.  I love cheddar.  I’ve seen the two together in many ways but I’ve never tried it.  I think it’s time to change that.

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Favorite Greens:  Kale & Apple Salad with Granola “Croutons.”  This is a prime example of how salads aren’t boring.  Sweet.  Savory.  Crunchy.  Nutty.  Spicy.  YES!

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Favorite Short Cut:  Cheaters No Kneed Dutch Oven Sourdough Bread.  I love my dutch oven.  It’s probably my favorite item in the kitchen.  And who wouldn’t enjoy the smell and taste of homemade bread on a chilly fall day with a  bowl of something comforting.

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Favorite Twist:  Autumn Moscow Mule. Moscow mules were made for apple cider.  It’s a combo I’ve loved for the fast couple of years.  But I’ve never added a sprig of rosemary.

Cheers!