Friday Favorites

Good morning, friends!  To say I’m excited about this coming weekend is an understatement.  Yesterday was our BIG 18-week anatomy scan/ultrasound and on Sunday, along with our families, we will find out if we’re having a boy or a girl.  Any guesses?  To be honest, I’m just relieved that Baby W looks healthy and was incredibly active yesterday morning at our appointment.  The reveal plus a recap of the past several weeks will be on the blog early next week.  So while I’m trying to occupy my thoughts with anything other than “pink” or “blue,” here are my favorites from the week!
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Favorite Breakfast:  Cherry Pecan Muesli.  Breakfast is a MUST for me.  This oat mixture would make delicious overnight oats for those mornings when I need breakfast ASAP.

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Favorite Inspiration:  The 10 Most Organized Drawers on the Internet.  If money were no issue and The Container Store was closer, I would probably organize my heart out.  And the food storage container drawer is probably something most households need.

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Favorite Healthy:  The Best Detox Broccoli Cheese Soup.  The cooler mornings are making me crave a little bit of fall.  This soup looks divine and it’s such a tease – because there’s no cheese used at all!  Would love to have this as leftovers for quick lunches.

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Favorite Chewy:  Levain Chocolate Chip Cookies.  I’ve got cookies on the brain lately.  Come on, you can’t tell me that doesn’t look delicious.

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Favorite One Size:  Capri Swing Sweatshirt.  I love a good striped shirt and with a one size fits most tag, perhaps I could actually wear this throughout the fall and into the winter.

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Favorite Round-Up:  125 of My Favorite Recipes for Football Season!  Football Food!  Ya’ll know I like football because of the tailgate and this year more than every I like the tailgate because of the food.  Go ahead, Big Guy, browse the recipes and make some requests!

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Favorite Happy Baking:  Vanilla Bean Bundt Cake with Pecan Praline Glaze.  So simple yet a showstopper.  I would love to make this cake to share with others.

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Favorite Color:  Aquamarine.  So Big Guy’s old office will become the new guest bedroom as we do a few home renovations before baby.  The room is painted “toffee” currently.  Yesterday I randomly had the idea to paint it in a color similar to “Balmy Seas.”

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Favorite Flavors:  Toasted Coconut Paleo Banana Bread Muffins.  Banana + Coconut = Perfection.  I need to make a batch for these for snacks and mayyyybe I’ll share with Big Guy.

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Favorite Make it Virgin:  Moscow Mule Float.   Moscow Mules get an upgrade with a scoop of lime sherbet.   And to make it virgin yet still delicious, simply leave out the vodka.

Cheers!

(and if you’re in the path of Irma – STAY SAFE!!!!)

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Almond Butter Banana Yogurt Muffins

This is what happens when you have super ripe bananas staring at you and your freezer is already full of frozen bananas.

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Almond Butter Banana Yogurt Muffins are the perfect breakfast or snack and I think Big Guy is going to be verrrrry happy to sample these.  The recipe is very similar to other banana muffin recipes except there is NO oil.  Super ripe bananas and Greek yogurt give these muffins extra moisture to keep them from drying out.  And instead of pieces of nuts, almond butter!  Peanut butter (what the recipe called for) would be equally delicious but I’m OUT.   (Don’t worry, I’m working on my Trader Joe’s shopping list as we speak.)  In addition to sweetness from the bananas, a little maple syrup (or honey) and brown sugar add just the right amount. Feel free to adjust the amounts if you’re watching your sugar intake.  The only other changes I made to the recipe were that I used 2% milk instead of the soy milk and I used all-purpose flour instead of whole wheat.

Since I wasn’t really in need of a lot of muffins, I allowed the muffins to cool before freezing half of them for later.  Also, I think this recipe would make more than 12 muffins – mine turned out HUGE.

Happy Snacking!

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Strawberry Coconut Chia Seed Banana Bread

‘Tis the season for ALL the strawberries.  According to a local strawberry farmer, we have about two more weeks in NC of fresh, local strawberries.  Why can’t the strawberry season be longer?  Strawberries are so versatile – sweet, savory, breakfast, or dinner.  You can literally eat them anytime (or all the time).

I whipped up this loaf of bread last week in an effort to have something around the house for Big Guy for breakfast.  The bread is loaded with sweet,  juicy berries as well as bananas instead of more added sugar for sweetness.  Greek yogurt amps up the protein as well as makes the bread incredibly moist.  And chia seeds – they are a powerhouse ingredient and I love the texture they add to the bread.  Finally, coconut oil as well as flaked coconut add a hint of the sweet coconut flavor and add a little crunch to the top.

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The house smelled amazing while this baked!  Once cooked, allow the bread to cool for about 10-15 minutes before removing from the pan.  I highly recommend storing this bread in the fridge (something I wish I would have done) so that it will last longer.  I made the mistake of storing at room temperature and I think the strawberries started to spoil.  No bueno – but learn from my mistake.

So whether you enjoy this bread for breakfast or a snack, I promise you’ll love it if you love strawberry season.

 

Coconut Carrot Cake Muffins

Good morning!  I know I disappeared for over a week but I’m back.  The past week has been amazing having spent Easter at Ocean Isle and then I stayed until I met Big Guy in Charleston on Thursday.  After a long, rainy drive yesterday, I finally made it home around 8pm.  Whew.  I’ve already done four loads of laundry but I have to admit there are still a few things in the car that need to be unloaded.  This week will be spent getting our life back in order.  I promise I’ll dedicate an entire post (or two) to Charleston but today I’m sharing a bright muffin recipe that will be the sunshine on this dreary day.

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Carrot cake is Big Guy’s absolute favorite.  However, the last thing we need is a huge cake sitting on the counter that’s loaded with sugar and calories.  These muffins are healthier yet still delicious and satisfying.  Big Guy enjoyed these for breakfast the week before we went off the map.  The muffins are full of produce – banana plus shredded apple and carrot (use your food processor to shred to save LOTS of time!) as well as good-for-you ingredients like coconut oil, ground flax seed (instead of hemp seed), oats and cinnamon (plus some other spices).

And instead of frosting, though I do love cream cheese frosting (!), the muffins get a sprinkle of unsweetened coconut before baking.

I hope you’re having a lovely week and I promise there’s some sunshine coming.

Christmas Baking 2016

On the 1st day of Christmas my true love the anti-technology gods gave to me, an iPhone that woooon’t work.  Y’all.  I’m on the brink of an anxiety attack.  Last night I reluctantly decided to update my phone (all because of a dang avocado emoji) and well, it froze.  I went through the same steps I went through a month ago when this happened and nothing.  Finally this morning, at 3:30am, I was able to restore my phone only to have it freeze up again.  This time, I can see the screen and that I have text messages but touching the screen does nothing.  OH, and if it tells me Hello in all the languages of the world any more I’m going to throw it across the room.  I know it seems silly, but say a little prayer that when I have my call at 8:15am with an Apple Tech person that they know more than me and can solve the problem.

In order to avoid a nervous breakdown, let’s talk about recipes!  For the past several years, I pick a day (typically a Sunday) to bake all the things.  I put together little boxes of treats to take to friends around town.  I know I’ll be making a few bundt cakes but I also want to make at least one cookie.  Help me decide!

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Chewy Gingerbread Cookies.  All the flavors of Christmas rolled into one soft, chewy cookie.  Super simple but would be incredible on any cookie platter.

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Chocolate Espresso Thumbprint Cookies.   These bite sized cookies look insanely decadent and rich.  Perfect for all the chocolate lovers out there.

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Christmas Crack.  A non-cookie option!  A family friend brings a big bag of this addictive mix over to my parents every year.  It’s salty and sweet and it keeps in the freezer (!!!!).

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Old Fashioned Iced Brown Butter Oatmeal Cookies.  I adore oatmeal cookies.  Filled with cinnamon and browned butter, these chewy cookies sound incredible.

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Cranberry Almond Shortbread Bars.   Soft, buttery and filled with sweet cranberries and zesty orange peel.  These remind me of a treat I’ve seen at Starbucks in the past.  These would be amazing with a cup of coffee.

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Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Who can resist a cookies full of chocolate chips and green and red M&Ms?  Not me.

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Five Ingredient Cheese Straws.  A little something savory!  Cheese straws are a staple in the South at holiday parties.  This homemade version requires only five ingredients and would be the perfect for the non-sweet tooth person in your life.

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White Chocolate Ginger Cookies.  Spicy and sweet!  A classic Christmas cookie with some festive decorations.  So pretty!

 

So what should be on my list for this year!?!  My baking day is coming up this Sunday.  I think I’m going to try some apple cider mulled wine for the first time and just spend the day listening to Christmas music, watching Christmas music and making an absolute mess in the kitchen.

Pumpkin Chai Muffins

It’s that time of the year again…pumpkin EVERYTHING!  I tend to lean more towards the pumpkin candles than the pumpkin spice lattes but I can’t resist making a batch of pumpkin muffins at least once during the fall months.

These pumpkin muffins are full of pumpkin along with lots of flavor from the spice combination of ginger, cinnamon, cloves and allspice.  This recipe only requires two bowls and 10 minutes of prep before their in the oven and ready for you to devour.

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I made a few changes to the recipe:  I used almond milk instead of milk; I used 3 tablespoons of canola oil instead of coconut oil and I left off the crumble because I wanted to muffins to travel well.

Moist and full of pumpkin flavor, these muffins are perfect for fall!

 

 

Chocolate Chip Chunk Banana Scones

Let’s pretend it’s still the weekend and we’re about to pour our second cup of coffee and settle in for a lazy morning including a warm scone.

Why, oh, why do the weekends fly by at record speed while Monday through Thursday draaaaaag at turtle speed?  I just don’t quite understand.

But it was a good weekend and I’m looking forward to another fun weekend.  But I have to survive Monday through Thursday first.  So let’s make some scones and pray they help get us through the week.

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These scones are full of chocolate chunks and banana and are perfect for breakfast or an afternoon snack.  I think they’d be glorious with a cup of hot tea when that afternoon hunger strikes and you’re praying you can make it through the rest of the day.

Scones are rustic – a reason why I love baking them.  I’m not a baker – mainly because I get really frustrated if things don’t turn out perfect.  Well, these don’t have to be perfect.

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So go pour another cup of coffee and pretend it’s Saturday.