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.

Friday Favorites

This Friday is extra sweet because the only thing standing between me and a little “adult Spring Break” is teaching two classes this A.M.  Whether you’re taking a little time for yourself in the coming week or not, I hope you take the time to remember what Easter is really about.  While I’m the first to gush over being able to wear my white pants and spend the morning dying Easter eggs there’s so much more to this weekend.  He is Risen!

And with that, my favorites from the week:

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Favorite Obsessed:  Cadbury Mini Eggs Skillet Cookie.  When it comes to my Easter basket, there’s only ONE candy I want:  a mini bag of Cadbury Mini Eggs.  They are my favorite.  (Don’t worry, Big Guy, I bought you a pack or two to throw into my basket).  This cookie is basically my dream come true.

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Favorite Tropical:  Pineapple Ice Molds.  How cute are these?!?!?!

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Favorite Festive:  Toasted Sesame Sriracha Deviled Eggs.  I honestly have no intention of making deviled eggs this year…but these are making me want to change my tune.

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Favorite Read:  Slightly South of Simple:  A Novel.  This author is compared to one of my absolute favorite authors, Elin Hilderbrand.  It sounds like the perfect beach read.

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Favorite How To:  Sourdough Bread:  A Step-By-Step Guide for Home Bakers.  This is a fun addition to my “kitchen bucket list” and I love how approachable Jen made it with this tutorial.

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Favorite Fun:  Lemon Tree Earrings.  I’ve always loved unique earrings and these are just adorable.

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Favorite Dinner:  Roasted Rack of Lamb with Basil-Goat Cheese Sauce.  This will definitely be on the menu soon.

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Favorite List:  5 Dream Kitchen Must Haves.   When thinking of a new house, the kitchen is a top priority because of all the time we spend in that room.  I am totally on board with ALL five of these requirements.

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Favorite Dinner for One:  Shoyu Ahi Poke.  I cannot want to get my hands on some sushi-grade tuna and make this delightful bowl.

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Favorite Cocktail:  Frozen Mimosas.  Or in my world, FroMo.  I don’t think any other explanation is needed.

 

CHEERS!

What’s Gaby Cooking Cookbook Club {skinnytaste FAST AND SLOW}

I have a new favorite weeknight cookbook thanks to Gaby’s March Cookbook Club.

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I have been a follower for the blog SkinnyTaste for years and I was excited when Gaby featured her as her cookbook of the month.  Over the past couple of weeks I’ve cooked several recipes and I’ve LOVED every single one.  Half of the cookbook is filled with quick-fix recipes and the other half is filled with slow cooker recipes.

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The Slow Cooker Chana Masala is a meatless slow cooker recipe that was the first recipe I cooked from the book.  The chickpeas are spiced with coriander, cumin, turmeric, garam masalas and cardamom.  This recipe made awesome leftovers and I found myself eating this all week long.

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Last week I made Korean-Inspired Chicken Lettuce Wraps when my sister-in-law visited and they were the perfect quick-fix dinner after an evening barre class.  The ground chicken is seasoned with soy sauce (or tamari), sesame oil, brown sugar, crushed red pepper plus some garlic and ginger.  The lettuce is topped with cooked brown rice, the chicken mixture and then a sprinkle of green onions and sesame seeds plus sriracha if you like some heat.  These eat-with-your-hands wraps are delicious!  Incredibly light yet satisfying.

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And finally, the Egg Roll Bowls I made for Big Guy and I last Friday night.  I picked this recipe because it only made two servings and since we were heading out of town I didn’t want a lot of leftovers.  The flavors are that of an egg roll but without the weird ingredients and greasy egg roll taste you might find at a Chinese restaurant.  The bowl includes pork (I used 93/7 beef), onion, napa cabbage, bok choy, carrots and shiitake mushrooms.  The flavors come from soy sauce (or tamari), ginger, garlic, dry sherry and sesame oil  It was light but I loved that the portion size was huge.  I think we both loved the mushrooms the most.

There are so many recipes I have my eye on, including:

Spicy Seared Tuna Sushi Bowls

Slow Cooker Bahn Mi Rice Bowls

Spicy Lump Crab and Charred Corn Flaco “Tacos”

Slow Cooker Blueberry Slump

 

Have you cooked from any new cookbooks lately?

Friday Favorites

And here we are, the last day of March.  This past week one of my sister-in-laws popped into town for the night to go to my barre class as well as go to my morning class the next day.  It was such a treat to have her in town and I loved catching up with her on all the happenings in her much-more-exciting-than-mine 20-something life.  I hope to see more of her (plus the other three sisters) soon!  The rest of the week was pretty uneventful minus the fact that I found myself in the middle of a police chase on Wednesday afternoon.  True story.  It was incredibly scary but I drove away unharmed.  I have a full morning of teaching before getting myself ready for a whirlwind weekend in Charlotte.  I hope you all have a fantastic last day of March/first weekend of April and I’ll be back Monday with #WGCcookbookclub – woot woot!

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Favorite Inspiration :  11 Outdoor Spaces to Inspire You This Spring.  Lately I find myself daydreaming about our next house (ignore this, Big Guy) and I’m currently obsessed with porches and patios.

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Favorite Spring:  Strawberry Salsa.  Spring = Strawberries and I’m really hoping that I can get my hands on a few really juicy ones to make this delightful salsa.

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Favorite Flavors:  Caramelized Wild Mushroom Pizza.  Pizza Sundays at home are my favorite,

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Favorite Fashion:  Shoulder & Squares.  Love this look from a gal I went to school with growing up.  I’m so ready to pull out my white pants in a couple of weeks.

 

Favorite Procrastinating:  Do a Supermarket Shop and We’ll Reveal Your Deepest Desire. Apparently I want to be rich.

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Favorite Tips:  Anatomy of a Well-Styled Bookshelf.  Once again, daydreaming of my next house.

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Favorite Rich and Buttery:  Puff Pastry Donuts.  I workout and eat well during the week so I can splurge on the weekend.

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Favorite Life Hack:  How to Get the Lingering Smell of Fried Food Out of Your Kitchen.  You can always tell when we’ve been home all weekend cooking…

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Favorite Layers:  Mint Coconut Chocolate Cake.  Quite possibly the best flavor combination ever for a cake.

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Favorite Cocktail:  The Ginger Rogers.  Grapefruit + Ginger + Gin.  Super refreshing and super spring-y.

 

Cheers!

Friday Favorites

Hey friends!  If you’re not wearing green, consider this your PINCH.  I’ve never been one to go crazy over St. Patty’s Day.  I mean, I wear my green and if I’m on top of my game I plan a fun dinner but to be honest, I have no idea if I’ll eat anything remotely Irish today.  But I’m wearing my green.  Well, after I change out of my gym clothes.  I hope you all have a wonderful weekend and I’ll see you next week!

Here are my favorites from the week:

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Favorite Round Up:  St. Patrick’s Day Recipes.  Just in case you need some inspiration for your day of eats!

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Favorite Obsessed:  Samoas Ice Cream Sandwiches.  Y’all.  I haven’t had a Girls Scout cookie yet.  And now I want a samoa with ice cream squished in between.  Ooo, I bet thin mints would be good this way, too.

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Favorite Upgrade:  Rockingham Chelsea Boots.  The saying goes, “April showers bring May flowers.”  And while I love my Hunter boots, I’m in need of something shorter that’s easier to take on and off.

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Favorite Weeknight Dinner:  Slow Cooker Beef and Broccoli.  I love that this dish is made in a crock pot instead of a wok.

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Favorite Read:  “Why I Don’t Recommend Whole30.”  Preach.  I 100% agree with everything this blog post says.  Plus any diet that makes me take out foods that are good for you is just plain cray.

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Favorite Brunch:  Tater Tot Waffles with Bacon, Eggs and Truffle Oil.  Oh my.  Totally putting tater tots in my waffle iron ASAP.

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Favorite Craving:  Shrimp Cakes.  Someone find me some shrimp.  I’ve had a hankering for about two months now.

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Favorite Over Budget:  Fig Leaf Sconces.  I want to have a reason to need these.  I just love the print.

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Favorite DIP:  Avocado Hummus.  Two of my favorite things in the world – TOGETHER.

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Favorite Bring on Summer:  Sparkling Grapefruit Bikini Cocktail.  I can just see myself sipping this by the pool…

 

Cheers!

 

 

 

 

5 Favorite Drugstore Beauty Products

As I get older, I find myself spending more money on beauty products in an effort to “turn back time” and find the “fountain of youth.” (I blame my Momma for my current Clarins obsession.)  However, despite all the more expensive brands there are still a few beauty products that I use on a day-to-day basis that can be found at your local Walmart, Target or CVS.  When I saw Kristen post about her five favorites, I was inspired to share my five drugstore beauty products.

  1. The gold star beauty product that I purchase at at drugstore would be my mascara.  I use a lot of higher quality makeup but I have yet to need a reason to pay more than what I do for my beloved CoverGirl LashBlast mascara.  I typically purchase “black” and I never, ever buy waterproof mascara.  For years I have been asked what mascara I wear and people are always shocked for my under $7 answer.

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2.  About a year ago I started trying out various brands of toner to use after washing my face.  I spent way too much money trying different toners and micellar water and in the end, I realized I only needed to make a quick trip to Target for Garner SkinActive All-in-1 Micellar Water (another under $7 product).  This product removes any and everything that is left on my face after washing using my cleanser but it’s not drying.  I seriously use this at least twice a day and it leaves my skin so fresh and hydrated.

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3.  Aquaphor Baby Healing Ointment is my equivalent to Windex in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.”  It fixes everything.  I use it on my lips.  I use it on my hands.  I use it on my feet.  I’ve even used it on my nose.  I use it on any skin that is dry or irritated.  It’s safe enough for babies and at less than $7 it’s a steal to be such a miracle worker.

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4.  I first used Neutrogena Rainbath Refreshing Shower and Bath Gel after I forgot my body wash on a trip to the beach and this is what I borrowed from my Momma.  The scent is what first got me hooked.  I have no idea how to describe the scent – spices, herbs, fruits – but I love it.  It doesn’t dry out my skin and I love that I can buy a HUGE pump bottle at Sams Club.  The regular size is under $10 (for 16 ounces) at Walmart but I like to spend a little more ($20) and get a whole lot more (40 ounces).  The bottle will last you forever.

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5.  And finally, my favorite chapstick.  I’ve tried them all and I’ve found Burt’s Bees 100% Natural Moisturizing Lip Balm in Vanilla Bean to be perfect alone or underneath lipstick or lipgloss.  And at less than $3, I am not completely devastated if I happen to loose a tube.  Plus it smells amazing.

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Do you have any must-have beauty products that come from the drugstore?

Friday Favorite

Morning!  I have a busy morning ahead but wanted to share some of my favorites from the week that might inspire you on this lovely Friday.  We’re bracing ourselves for the return of cold weather (enter frown here) and have a weekend filled with a mix of social happenings and nothingness.  So here we go….

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Favorite Wanderlust:  5 Favorite Spring Break Spots in the U.S.  As if you needed another excuse to want to plan a trip…

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Favorite Drool:  Mini Chocolate Peanut Butter Cinnamon Rolls.  These might be a little sweet for my usual 6:30am breakfast but I’m pretty sure I could make room for one or two after a weekend brunch.

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Favorite Shot:  Survive Cold Season without a Sniffle.  No alcohol is involved.  But this is not for the faint of heart.

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Favorite Flavor:  Lemon Layer Cake with Lemon Cream Cheese Frosting.  My face immediately becomes the heart eye emoji when I hear the word “lemon” in any recipe, especially dessert.

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Favorite Fashion:  Striped Sailor Pant.  Yesterday I received a text from a friend with a picture of a blogger in these pants and she deemed I needed them.  I agree.

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Favorite Sammy:  Healthy Pumpkin Seed and Avocado Pesto Chicken Salad Sandwich.  I want to pack this up and go on a picnic.

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Favorite Page Turner:  The One That Got Away.  And this book makes me wish for an afternoon by the pool with not a care in the world.

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Favorite Sunday:  Truffled Mushroom Bacon Pepperoni Pizza.  I’m hoping for a pizza Sunday this month.

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Favorite Big Game:  Slow Cooker Asian BBQ Pulled Chicken Sandwiches.  Perhaps I can get into March Madness with this lovely sandwich and some fun appetizers.

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Favorite Pour:  Pear Elderflower Champagne Cocktail.  No shaking and no stirring. Let’s be fancy.

Cheers to the weekend!