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!

five ingredient banana muffins

This may be the easiest recipe with the easiest clean-up I’ve ever posted.  I’ve been staring at the bananas in our kitchen since Monday wondering what I want to make with them (the freezer is fully stocked with frozen bananas for smoothies – that’s what usually happens to brown bananas).  I researched a few that I had pinned on Pinterest but I wasn’t sold.  Then on Wednesday I was browsing Instagram and came across these five ingredient banana muffins.  And the best part – they are made in a food processor.

Here’s what you need:

3 ripe bananas
2 cups oats
3/4 cup pitted dates
2 eggs
1 teaspoon baking soda

That’s it!  I did add about 1/2 teaspoon of salt and a few shakes of cinnamon (a last minute addition).

Simply add all the ingredients into your food processor and whirl until smooth.  If your dates are super hard and/or your food processor isn’t super strong, soak the dates in some warm water for a minute or two before adding them to the processor.

Scoop some batter into a muffin tin and bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes (anywhere between 15 and 20 minutes).

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Your house will smell amazing.  And you are done cleaning up before the muffins are done cooking (well, if you have a dish washer).

These muffins have less than 130 calories each and are the perfect snack or breakfast.  I recommend pairing with a good smear of nut butter.

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday!  I’m feeling much more inspired by the internet this week.  I think it has something to do with the 70 degree weather here and it feeling like Spring.  Y’all know my aversion to winter. (shutter)  We’re having our usual low-key Friday night with dinner + DVR.  I teach on Saturday morning and then I’m hoping Big Guy will join me on a long walk.  I’m not quite sure what Saturday will hold but my sister, brother-in-law and the three kiddos will be here Saturday evening and I’m so excited to see them all.  It’ll be pizza for the kids and then a fun dinner for the adults.  Sunday is supposed to be a little cooler but I know we’ll enjoy our “day of rest” after having breakfast with our overnight guests (I’ve promised them cinnamon rolls and bacon!).  Have the best weekend ever and I’ll see you Monday!

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Favorite Bag Lady:  Hat Attack Embroidered Clutch in Cocktail.  Ummm, how adorable is this?

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Favorite From Scratch:  Peanut Butter Oreos.  I’m all about that peanut butter cream filling.  Whether it’s sandwiched between two chocolate cookies or eaten straight off the spoon.

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Favorite Lunch:  Brussels and Chickpea Salad in a Jar with Artichokes, Sun-dried Tomatoes and Asiago.  Totally happening next week.

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Favorite Shop:  Lulu & Georgia.  How am I just finding this online home decor store?  I’ll take this, and this, and this.

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Favorite Weeknight:  Sweet Potato Black Bean Enchiladas with Avocado Lime Crema.  We haven’t had enchiladas in awhile…

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Favorite DIY:  2 Easy Anti-Anging Face Masks Made with Grapes.   All ages can benefit from the anti-inflammatory properties, lightening agents, and sun damage reversal provided by grapes. BRING.IT.ON.

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Favorite Remedy:  Cold Chasers.  Y’all.  There is so much sickness going around right now. I plan on keeping this recipe in my back pocket for the next time I feel a little icky.

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Favorite Brunchy Bite:  French Toast Shooters.  Who wants to have a brunch party??!?!!

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Favorite Fashion:  Painted Stripe Maxi Dress.  I’m so over winter clothes.  Bring on the dresses and shorts and sandals.

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Favorite Intrigued:  Avocado and Lime Margarita.  A guacamole inspired drink – sign me up! (p.s. did anyone celebrate National Margarita Day on Wednesday?)

Cheers!

Friday Favorites

Hey friends!  I hope you all had a great week.  I’m so excited that my parents are coming to visit us this weekend.  We have some fun meals planned for them and my mom and I will be doing a few “arts and crafts” for my sister-in-laws upcoming baby shower.  Being the oldest of four, it’s rare to get one-on-one time with your parents for more than a few hours so I really cherish the moments when they make the trip east to see us.  I hope you all have a lovely weekend and I’ll see you next week!

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Favorite Unexpected:   Creamy Polenta with Roasted Beets.  What a fun combination of flavors and colors!  I could totally see us having this for a low-key Friday night dinner.

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Favorite Snack Attack:  Healthy No-Bake Cookie Dough Bites.  I actually have all the ingredients for these little nuggets in the kitchen right this moment…

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Favorite Southern Sunday:  Buttermilk Fried Chicken.   It’s been over two years since we last made fried chicken and I’m starting to get the itch to fry up another batch of crispy, crunchy goodness.

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Favorite Non-Food Item:  Milo Bubble Vase.  Like I said last week, the WWW has been quite uninspiring this month.  BUT I do love this vase.  I find it hard to put just a few flowers into a large mouth vase and this one is perfect. (p.s. it’s really affordable, too)

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Favorite Girls Night:  Poke Bowls with Sesame-Soy Almonds.    I could not pay Big Guy to eat this meal with me.  However, I have a friend or two who would devour this deliciousness right alongside me.

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Favorite Small Bite:  Rosemary Pineapple Mozzarella Bites.  I feel like this appetizer would be perfect for so many occasions.  Cocktail hour…baby shower..a plate by yourself…

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Favorite Breakfast:  Banana Bread Smoothie.  I’m so ready for warmer weather so I can bring back my smoothie bowls!

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Favorite Side Dish:  Cucumbers in Garlic Sauce.  We are a pickle-obsessed household.  And these cucumbers look amazing!

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Favorite Slice:  Super Fudgy Mocha Layer Cake.  Oh my.  I might need to bake a cake soon.

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Favorite Brunch:  Pineapple Mint Prosecco Punch.  What a fun combination!  A little departure from the usual brunch drink.

Cheers!

Homemade Ciabatta Bread

I think I’ve found the way to Big Guy’s heart:  homemade bread.  Every since we started making homemade pasta, it seems that new kitchen adventures don’t seem quite as intimidating.  So this past Sunday we decided to give homemade ciabatta bread a try.  You do have to start the recipe the day before but that part of the process is super easy.  You make a “sponge” by combining some yeast, flour and water in a bowl and wrapping it tight and just letting it hang out until the next day.  The recipe I used does an incredible job of explaining each step.  The dough is incredibly sticky and I can’t stress the importance of following the timing of each step (especially the amount of time the dough is mixed in the mixer).

When we finally got to the final step – cooking! – we could not wait to see our final result.  The house smelled absolutely amazing.  When we took the bread out of the oven, we were a little worried – it was rock hard.  BUT as the recipe instructed, let it rest for an hour.  And miraculously the bread softened up and was perfection.  And while we had plans to turn the bread into pizza we couldn’t resist cutting an end off and enjoying the homemade bread in it’s purest form.

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Once the bread had completely cooled, it was time to turn one of the loafs into pizza.  Imagine a french bead pizza but with ciabatta bread.

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We picked up a local marinara sauce from The Raleigh Wine Shop and then loaded on the cheeeeeese.  We used fontina, provolone, mozzarella and after cooking a nice sprinkle of parmesan.  We also added some pepperoni and fresh herbs.

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Happy Valentines Day!