Friday, July 29, 2016

High Five for Friday

Usually, on Fridays I link up with Andrea from Momfessionals, Narci from Grace and Love blog and Erika from A Little Bit of Everything to share my favorite things. Last week, on my Friday Favorites post, Tif from Bright on a Budget left me a sweet comment suggesting that I join in on her High Five for Friday link up. So, today, I'm linking up with Tif from Bright on a Budget, Della from Della Devoted and Katie from Cup of Tea to share my highlights from this week!

My family spent last week at the beach, so the transition to this week was a little tough but we still found our joy with some good food, good music and by spreading joy to others!

1. I have already blogged both of these recipes, but Sunday night dinner was especially delicious with some Cranberry, Apple & Walnut Salad and some Turkey, Apple & Brie Paninis. This made the return home from the beach a little less painful!

2. Heartbeats by José Gonzales has been on repeat all week long! Ed Sheeran and Taylor Swift released an instagram video of them singing this, I wish they would cover the whole song but you can see their short little cover here!

3. I just started my new planner which always makes me excited! This year, I'm using The Day Designer by Whitney English. If you are interested, you can find the exact planner I'm using here!
I love so many things about this planner... I can make a new to-do list each week, it has a 'notes' section for every week, it has a little section for you to plan ahead for next week and it has a little section for gratitude!

4. One of the things off my summer bucket list was to chalk song lyrics & quotes around my neighborhood. Well, this week my sister and I broke out the chalk and wrote some uplifting quotes on sidewalks around our house. It was fun to see several people stop and read our chalk work!

5. How many Neiman Marcus cookies is too many Neiman Marcus cookies? This week, I whipped up 105 Neiman Marcus cookies and delivered them to some of my family's favorite people! I heard once that food is love made edible and this is one of the reasons I love baking for others so much. I love adding a little extra love to people's day!

I hope your week was good!

Thursday, July 28, 2016

Homemade Doughnuts

My family got this doughnut recipe from a family friend and it is our favorite! We rarely make homemade doughnuts because they are a little labor intensive, but every time we do make them I am reminded that the hard work is so worth it because these are delicious!
Start by mixing 3 1/2 cups o flour, 1 cup of granulated sugar, 3 teaspoons of baking powder, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1/4 teaspoon of nutmeg in a medium sized mixing bowl.
In a small bowl or measuring cup, mix together the wet ingredients - 2 tablespoons of shortening, 2 eggs and 3/4 cup of milk.
Pour the wet ingredients into the dry and stir until just combined. This dough is pretty sticky, so I recommend using quite a bit of flour when you roll out the dough.

Roll out the dough to about 1/4 inch thickness. You can roll out your dough a little thinner or thicker, depending on how thin/thick you want the final doughnuts to be. I roll out 1/3 of the dough at a time.
My family found our doughnut cookie cutter at a little kitchen shop in the States, but it's similar to this one from Williams-Sonoma.
Make sure the raw doughnuts are always kept on a floured surface because they stick easily! My family has always cooked the doughnut holes, but if you don't want the doughnut holes, you could just roll back out with your next section of dough!
This is not a great picture of the deep fryer that I used, but it's a Black & Decker one that my family has had for a while. Fill your deep fryer with vegetable oil and heat the oil to 375°F. The cage in my fryer fits 4 large doughnuts or 16 doughnut holes for each batch.
Place the raw doughnuts into the cage and let them cook for 2 minutes on one side, flip them over using tongs and cook them for another minute.

When the doughnuts are done cooking, let each batch cool between some paper towel. The paper towel helps to absorb all the extra oil. I briefly mentioned using tongs before, but I highly recommend using tongs because everything about the deep fryer is HOT!! I would not recommend touching the doughnuts with bare hands until they are completely cooled.

I seriously tried to keep track of how many doughnuts this recipe made, but because they are made in batches (and it probably takes about 30-40 minutes to get through all the doughnuts) it's hard to not eat them as you go. I think this recipe makes about 40-50 doughnuts in total, but that is a total estimation! Next time I make these, I will keep track and update this!

These doughnuts are delicious alone, but my family loves to dip them! We dip them in plain granulated sugar, icing sugar, cinnamon & sugar, cocoa & sugar and some have even ventured to putting nutella on their doughnuts!

3 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1 cup granulated sugar
3 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
2 tablespoons vegetable shortening
2 eggs
3/4 cup milk 

1. Mix the flour, sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon and nutmeg in a medium sized mixing bowl.
2. Mix the vegetable shortening, eggs and milk in a small mixing bowl or measuring cup.
3. Pour the wet ingredient mixture into the dry ingredient bowl and mix until just combined.
4. Generously flour the work surface and use a rolling pin to roll out the dough (I start with 1/3 of the dough). Using a doughnut cookie cutter, cut out the doughnuts and lay them on a floured surface until you are ready to cook them.
5. Fill a deep fryer with vegetable oil and heat it to 375°F.
6. Place the doughnuts into the deep fryer cage and cook them for 2 minutes, flip them to their other side and cook them for another 1 minute.
7. Let doughnuts cool between paper towel.

Let me know if you have any questions!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Pasta with Tomato Cream Sauce

I found this pasta recipe on from The Pioneer Woman last summer and I have made it several times since because it is so delicious! Not only is it delicious, but it is also SO easy! It takes me about 40 minutes to prepare this dish and much of that time is spent just letting the sauce simmer! This recipe easily fed my family of four with leftovers for lunch the next day! You can find the original recipe here!
Start by letting 2 tablespoons of butter and 2 tablespoons of olive oil warm up in a large skillet over medium heat. While the butter & olive oil is heating, finely slice one medium onion. Add the sliced onion to the skillet along with 4 cloves of minced garlic. I let this mixture cook for about 2 minutes before adding in the tomato sauce.
Add 30 oz of tomato sauce, salt and pepper (I do this by eye) and dash of sugar (I also do this by eye, but it's probably about 1/2 teaspoon of sugar) to the large skillet. Stir everything together, then cover the skillet and let the sauce cook for 25-30 minutes, stirring every once and a while.

While the sauce is cooking bring a pot of water to a boil to cook 1 1/2 pounds of fettuccine. After the sauce is cooked, remove it from the heat and stir in 1 cup of heavy cream, some chopped fresh basil and some Parmesan cheese. (I do the Parmesan & basil by eye). Drain the cooked pasta, pour it back into the pot it was cooking in and pour the sauce over the pasta. I recommend wearing an apron at this point because this sauce splatters when it's being poured!!
2 tablespoons olive oil
2 tablespoons butter 
1 medium onion, finely sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
30 oz tomato sauce (or marinara sauce)
Salt and pepper (to taste) 
dash of sugar
1 cup heavy cream
Grated Parmesan cheese, to taste
Fresh basil, chopped (to taste)
1 1/2 lbs fettuccini

1. Heat butter and olive oil, in a large skillet over medium heat. Stir in finely sliced onion and minced garlic. Let this mixture saute for about 2 minutes.
2. Stir in tomato sauce, salt & pepper and sugar. Cover the skillet and let the sauce cook for 25-30 minutes over medium heat.
3. Cook fettuccine & drain the water.
4. After 25-30 minutes, remove the sauce from the heat and stir in heavy cream, chopped basil and Parmesan cheese.
5. Return the drained pasta to the pot it cooked in and pour the sauce over the pasta.


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Egg Cartons Crabs

I saw these little crabs on Pinterest and I could not wait to make some. I commissioned some help from my younger sister and we made some crabs to go with all the beach decor currently covering my mantle & craft wall!
Start by cutting up an egg carton. The cutting part is not very kid friendly because cutting an egg carton is tough! I recommend doing this part before letting kiddos get involved. Once the egg carton is cut up and you're left with these little cups, I recommend setting out some old newspaper and letting kids take over the painting part!
We did two coats of red paint, then let them dry over night. Once they were dry, I pierced some holes in the cartons to push the pipe cleaners through using a knife. I let my sister adjust all the pipe cleaners to make the cartons into crabs while I was hot gluing some googly eyes on the ends on some pipe cleaner pieces. I also used hot glue to secure the pincers on the ends of 2 of the crab legs. I made the pincers by bending a little piece of pipe cleaner into a "V" and hot gluing it onto the end of a straight piece of pipe cleaner.

The little crabs turned out so cute, they were the perfect addition to our beach themed mantle!
See you tomorrow,

Monday, July 25, 2016

Cranberry, Apple & Walnut Salad

I found this cranberry, apple and walnut salad recently on a blog called Creme de la Crumb, you can find the original recipe here! Here is how I make this recipe...
Start with about 6 cups of spinach in a medium sized salad bowl. Wash and chop up 1 red apple and one green apple.
Chop up 1 cup of walnuts - I usually coarsely chop up the walnuts with a knife but you could pulse them in the food processor a couple of times to get quicker results. The original recipe recommends 1/3 cup of crumbled feta cheese and I followed this when I made the recipe for the first time, but I have since increased the feta to 1/2 cup, because it's my favorite part of the salad! Add 1/3 cup of dried cranberries and set the salad bowl aside to make the dressing.
The original recipe makes a TON of dressing, so I half it. Even with halving it, I still find I have left over dressing at the bottom of the salad bowl when the salad has been eaten. So, you could potentially 1/3 or maybe even quarter the original recipe... I have yet to try that so I will share the halved version:

Whisk together 1/2 cup of apple juice, 2 tablespoons of apple cider vinegar, 1 tablespoon of honey, 1 tablespoon of olive oil (I reduce the oil down to more than half!) and some salt and pepper in a glass measuring cup.
Once the dressing is mixed, pour it over the salad and toss the salad until all the ingredients are well coated in dressing. I recommend not tossing the dressing into the salad until you are ready to serve it.


for the salad...
6 cups baby spinach
1 red apple, washed & chopped into 1 inch chunks
1 green apple, washed & chopped into 1 inch chunks
1 cup walnuts, coarsely chopped
1/2 cup feta cheese, crumbled (increased from 1/3 cup)
1/3 cup dried cranberries
for the dressing...
1/2 cup apple juice
 2 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
salt & pepper

1. Gather spinach, chopped red & green apple in a medium sized salad bowl.
2. Coarsely chop walnuts to add to the salad bowl, crumble the feta over the salad and add in dried cranberries.
3. In a glass measuring cup, whisk together apple juice, apple cider vinegar, honey, olive oil, salt and pepper until well combined.
4. Pour the dressing over the salad and toss until well combined.


Friday, July 22, 2016

Friday Favorites: Beach Edition

It's Friday! I'm linking up with Andrea from Momfessionals, Narci from Grace and Love blog and Erika from A Little Bit of Everything!
The beach is one of my favorite places! I love listening to the waves crash as I read!
These are two of my favorite ESSIE nail polishes - Sand Tropez and Turquoise & Caicos. I especially love these colors because they look fabulous on toes in the sand! :)

A couple of weeks ago, I shared my beach themed mantle! All of the shells used to decorate the mantle are from beach trips, my family loves collecting shells on the beach!
I bought TRESemmé's Perfectly (un)Done sea salt spray last summer and it really does give the most perfect beachy waves! I have to admit that I have not tried other products to get beachy waves, but I don't think I would because I love this so much!

Enjoy the weekend!

Thursday, July 21, 2016

20 Facts About Me

Happy Birthday to me!! Today is my 20th birthday, and to celebrate I thought I would share 20 facts about me! 

1. I don't eat fish... I just don't like it. I wish I did, but I don't. So, if you are looking for a fish recipe, my blog is not the place to find it!
2. I love Christmas - my family likes to say I have OCD (Obsessive Christmas Disorder). I listen to Christmas music all year, I'm listening to Michael Buble's album as I write this!
3. I have a serious weakness for ESSIE nail polish, I can't be at a store that carries Essie nail polish and not buy a bottle! I've been wearing Sand Tropez a lot lately.
4. I have recently discovered that I love pineapples. Pineapples symbolize warmth, welcome, friendship and hospitality - LOVE! I have been eyeing this Alex & Ani pineapple bracelet recently.
5. I love being in the kitchen, the kitchen is my favorite room in most houses. I especially love looking at Pinterest kitchens!
6. I love all things purple and paisley!
7. I thrive in organized situations - I love planners, calendars, agendas...
8. I wear a "Hope" bracelet everyday from the Get Hope, Give Hope campaign at MudLove. If you're interested, you can find one here!
9. During the school year, I always keep my backpack packed with... Kleenex, Advil, a nail file, hair elastics, bobby pins, hand cream, lip balm, a pen and pencil, gum, a granola bar, and dental floss. The only things I use regularly are the lip balm and the gum but I like to be prepared!
10. I am fluent in both English and French, and I have begun to learn Spanish!
11. I was really into theater in high school - I was in every school play.
12. I love dips - Salsa, Ranch, Guacamole, Ketchup... Yes please!!
13. I love all things cozy - sitting by a fire in my pajamas, under a blanket, reading a good book and drinking a hot tea is my jam.
14. I got my ears pierced when I was 8 and I am so glad I did it then because I'd be too chicken to get them pierced now!
15. I love 2nd day, cold pizza!
16. I love glowsticks, sparklers, bonfires and fireworks - anything that brings light to a dark night!
17. I love pesto pasta - I would eat it everyday if I could (I actually love all pasta, I don't discriminate).
18. I love photography (I love taking pictures and looking at pictures).
19. I love Latin music - I have absolutely no Latin in my genetic history, but I love it!
20. I have a dog and I love my dog, but I am definitely not an animal person!

I am celebrating a new decade today with my very favorite people in one of my favorite places. I'm a lucky girl! See you tomorrow,

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Summer Banner

My family has a great window in our kitchen. I love it because it lets in so much light but also because it is the perfect place to hang banners. This whole banner thing is relatively new to our family, but I have gone all out on the seasonal banners since valentine's day! I will share what is hanging in our window as the seasons change but for now we are celebrating summer!

I love making banners because they require very little materials and they are so quick to make! I made this one using my Cricut! I used scrapbooking paper for the background of the banner (the rectangles with the little triangles cut out). I have a lot of scrapbooking paper and by a lot, I mean too much! It is especially too much because I don't scrapbook, I just love fun paper! I just sorted through my paper and found prints that worked best with summer (ie. lots of flowers, birds, bugs, bright colors...).

I used white cardstock to make the white backing for the letters, and I used colored cardstock to cut out the letters to spell summer. My intention was to use bright summery colors, but I don't think yellow ended up being the best idea because that second 'M' is barely visible. In the future, I will definitely use darker colors because I think the 'E' and 'R' turned out the best! All the gluing was done with a regular glue stick and it has held up great!

I used a whole punch to punch 2 holes in the top of each banner and strung the banner with twine. This banner has been great because it's festive and fun without taking over the whole decor of our kitchen!

Happy Summer!

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Top 5: Quotes Edition

Today, I am sharing my current 5 favorite quotes. My quote repertoire is constantly evolving thanks to Pinterest, so there will likely be more posts like this in the future!






Happy Tuesday!