Friday, March 31, 2017

Friday Favorites: Spring has Sprung

Happy last day of March! It is finally getting warm around here and I am so excited to wear lighter jackets and shoes instead of boots!

Thursday, March 30, 2017

Sending love (& cupcakes)

A family member recently had cancer related surgery. My family has gotten updates every so often and after the most recent update, we knew we wanted to send love in a big way! In the past, when supporting a loved one from a distance, we've looked up bakeries/flower shops close to them. That works great but it can get a little pricey. This time we thought we would try baking at home and express mailing it. I volunteered to make the cupcakes and my dad took care of all the packaging and mailing details.

Wednesday, March 29, 2017

Cheeseburger Balls

The Bean went on a kick of finding recipes a couple of weeks ago. Some of them were great (this is one of the great ones) but some of them were downright weird (like the really really salty teriyaki chicken, but I will spare you from that)! My family brought these to the St-Patricks Day party that we went to and they were a hit! They make great hors-d'oeurves!

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Yellow Cupcakes with Chocolate Frosting

One of my favorite ladies celebrated a birthday last week and I made cupcakes to celebrate! I have a chocolate cupcake recipe that I love, but I don't have a white cake recipe that I can rely on every time! This recipe is from Sally's Baking Addiction and it's good, but it's sweet! I'm going to try reducing the sugar in it, but until then do any of you have a white/yellow cake recipe that you love? I would love any recommendations!

I frosted these cupcakes with my go-to chocolate frosting, you can find that recipe HERE. I baked the cupcakes in pink wrappers and topped them with pink sprinkles, but you could use whatever decorating scheme you like on these!

Monday, March 27, 2017

Music for Monday: Get Home

How is this already the last weekend of March?! I can't believe it! I was having the hardest time thinking of a song to share with all of you today. Then, as I was working in the kitchen yesterday, I had my mom's iPod on shuffle and this song came on! And I knew I had to share it today!

Friday, March 24, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday everyone! Friday could not come soon enough this week! I am so ready for the weekend! As usual, I'm linking up to share my favorite things from this week!

1. It's the Bean's birthday party tomorrow and I am so excited! It's a Pancakes and Pajamas Party! So we'll be eating pancakes while rocking our favorite PJ's! I'll be sure to take lots of pictures and share the details next week!

Thursday, March 23, 2017

Macaroni and Cheese (a.k.a. Wacky Mac!)

I am so excited to share this recipe with all of you! When I started a blog last May, I wrote down a whole bunch of recipes that I knew I wanted to share and this was one of them! I had a different post planned for today but that got a little derailed when I made Macaroni and Cheese a couple of nights ago! So, I'll share Macaroni and Cheese now and I'll save the cheeseburger balls for next week!

This is a recipe that my dad has been making forever and ever! It is from the Fanny Farmer cookbook and it is so good every time! My family has always called this meal 'Wacky Mac,' I don't remember how that started but it stuck! So today I am sharing my most favorite Wacky Mac with you!

*This recipe serves 3-4 (maybe 5!) people, so you can double it depending on your needs!
You'll need to start by making a bechamel sauce. Add 2 tablespoons of butter to a medium sized saucepan.
Along with 2 tablespoons of all-purpose flour.
Melt the butter on medium heat and stir it into the flour - you will need to stir pretty constantly, so I recommend having all of you ingredients ready to go! I recommend stirring with a whisk. The butter and flour mixture should begin to bubble as you are whisking it.
When the mixture is bubbling, it's time to add the milk. Add 1 1/4 cups of warm milk gradually to the saucepan. Stirring continuously as you add the milk. Once all of the milk is added, continue to stir until the sauce begins to thicken and bubble.
I don't know exactly how long this takes. But I leave the saucepan over medium heat and just stir away until the sauce is thick. I would guess that it takes about 10-15 minutes.
Once the bechamel thickens, add some cheese. I don't measure how much cheese I add, but I would guess that it's about a cup. I use a combination of cheddar cheese, Gouda and grated Parmesan. Continue stirring until the cheese is melted and incorporated into the sauce. When the cheese is stirred in, add 1/4 teaspoon of dried mustard and 1/4 teaspoon of paprika. The sauce should be used a quickly as possible once it's ready, so I usually have pasta noodles cooking as I'm working on the sauce.
I cooked 4 - 4 1/2 cups of fusilli noodles, drained the water and then stirred in the cheese sauce.
Then it's ready to serve! I recommend serving it pretty quickly after mixing the sauce in.

serves 3-4 people
2 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1 1/4 cups warmed milk
~ 1 cup cheese (Cheddar, Gouda, Parmesan or any other kind of cheese you like!)
1/4 teaspoon dried mustard
1/4 teaspoon paprika
salt & pepper to taste

1. Add butter and flour to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Melt the butter on medium heat and stir it into the flour. I recommend stirring constantly with a whisk. The butter and flour mixture should begin to bubble as you are whisking it.
2. When the butter and flour bubble, gradually mix in the warmed milk. Once all of the milk is added stir the sauce until the sauce thickens [about 10-15 minutes]. The sauce burns quickly, so it should be stirred often.
3. Add the cheese into the sauce. As the cheese melts, stir it into the sauce. Once the cheese is incorporated, mix in the dried mustard and paprika.
4. When the sauce is finished, mix it into 4 - 4 1/2 cups of cooked pasta (I use fusilli) and serve right away.

Let me know if you have questions!

Wednesday, March 22, 2017

St-Patrick's Day shirts

Every year, my family goes to St-Patrick's day party that some of our family friends host. This year, I crafted up some shirts on my cricut for us to wear! And I love how they turned out! I picked up green t-shirts from Michael's then used white and gold iron-on vinyl to decorate the shirts! I mentioned yesterday that I forgot to take pictures of the cupcake until the were put out on the table, well I forgot to take pictures Of our shirts until the very end of the night too! Apparently this was not a good picture night for me! So, the quality of these pictures are a little rough but they'll have to do until i can get everyone in their shirts again!

Tuesday, March 21, 2017

St-Patrick's Day Cupcakes

My family went to a St-Patrick's day party on Saturday evening so I'll be talking about some recipes and crafts from that party this week. Today, I'm talking about the cupcakes I made. Tomorrow, I'll share the shirts I made and on Thursday, I'm sharing a recipe that the Bean found for the Party! She made Cheeseburger Balls and they were fabulous!!

I made my all time favorite chocolate cake recipe, and frosted them with my favorite buttercream frosting - this is my go-to for cupcakes! It's easy and it tastes good every time! I stick to the same recipe but I dress it up differently depending on the event or holiday! I made some green sprinkles to top these cupcakes with!
I made the sprinkles by putting 1/4 cup of granulated sugar in a ziplock bag and adding in 5 drops of green food coloring. I am not a fan of dying food, so I always try to minimize amounts of dye. However, if you want to add more food coloring for a darker green, go for it! Work the color into the sugar until it is evenly distributed - I did this by sealing the bag and shaking it around.

Monday, March 20, 2017

Music for Mondays: Beauty and the Beast

Happy Monday! My family went to see Beauty and the Beast on Saturday and it was amazing! Emma Watson is so perfect as Belle and the whole movie just has such a magical feeling to it! I highly recommend seeing it! One of my favorite things about Disney movies is the soundtrack and this did not disappoint!
Evermore - Dan Stevens
This was by far my favorite song in the movie! It was so haunting and beautiful! I've had it on repeat since seeing the movie!

Friday, March 17, 2017

Friday Favorites: Happy St-Patrick's Day!!

Happy Friday & Happy St-Patrick's day!! I have all kinds of fun things with you to share with you from this week! Let's get started!

Thursday, March 16, 2017

Slow Cooker Beef Stew

On Tuesday, we got a huge dumping of snow and I mean ginormous!! The roads were horrible and it continued overnight so almost nothing was open yesterday - my whole family was home from work and school! Well, lots of snow and chilly weather had me craving stew! Last month when my family went to Vermont, our friends made this stew for us and it was so hearty and perfect for winter! So when I woke up to school being cancelled, I called Vermont for the recipe and got started on the stew!

The original recipe is from Damn Delicious, you can find it HERE.

Wednesday, March 15, 2017

Baking with the Bean: Chewy Peanut Butter Cookies

Last night, the Bean and I did a little baking together! My only request was new content for my blog and she wanted peanut butter, so we made peanut butter cookies! And they were so perfect! We got the recipe from A Dash of Sanity, you can find it HERE.
Start by combining 1/2 cup of softened butter and 1 cup of peanut butter in a medium mixing bowl.
Mix in 1/2 cup of granulated sugar and 1/2 cup of brown sugar.
Add in 1 egg and 2 teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Finally, mix in 1 teaspoon of baking soda, 1/4 teaspoon of salt and 1 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour. The original recipe recommends combining the dry ingredients in a separate bowl then adding them to the wet ingredients. I didn't want to make extra dishes so, I just stirred in the baking soda and salt. Then I added the flour gradually - 1/2 cup at a time :)

Roll the dough into 1 inch balls, roll them each in sugar then place them about an inch and a half apart on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.

Press the cookies down with a fork - I press down one way then turn the fork to make perpendicular lines to the original ones. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Let them set for a minute before transferring them to a wire cooling rack.

yield: 38 cookies
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1 egg
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1. Combine the softened butter and peanut butter in a medium mixing bowl. Mix in the sugars until well combined. Ad in the egg and vanilla extract - stir until combined.
2. Mix in the baking soda and the salt. Then, gradually add in the flour (1/2 cup at a time), mix until the dough is well combined.
3. Roll the dough into 1 inch balls, roll each ball in sugar then place them about an inch and a half apart along a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.
4. Bake the cookies for 8-10 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit.
5 Let the cookies sit for a minute before transferring them to a wire rack to cool completely.


Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Apple Crumble Cheesecake

The Bean turned 13 on March 2nd - which makes me feel like 90! We celebrated her birthday with our family this past weekend and she had a special request for the cake... an apple crumble cheesecake! I think I've made cheesecake before, probably when I was 13! But I am not well versed in cheesecakes so I took to Pinterest and found the most delicious recipe from! You can find the original recipe HERE.

One little thing before we get going - this cake was very fall! It smelled like fall while it was baking, and it tasted like fall! I love fall, but I might hold off on making this again until October/November-ish because it is the most perfect fall cake!!

Monday, March 13, 2017

Music for Monday: Dandelions in Bullet Holes

I think March is always a busy month but I never remember it this busy! This March has been insane so far and I know that in the blink of an eye, it will be over! All of my days feel so full but I am enjoying every bit of it!

Friday, March 10, 2017

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday! This first week back after spring break kicked my hiney! I'm missing the beach big time but as always I'm linking up to share my favorite things from this week with all of you!

1. I carried my Paco+Lupe beach bag all week in Florida! I threw it in my carry on at the last minute, and I'm so glad I did! There is no other bag I would rather tote books and towels around in! The beach bag that I have is unfortunately no longer being sold, but I also have a great cross body bag that is still available! 

Thursday, March 9, 2017

Top Five: International Women's Day

Yesterday, was International Women's Day and I saw so many great tributes to wonderful women. Today, I'm sharing my favorite quotes/videos/pictures that I saw yesterday, because I love being a woman and I love encouraging strong women!
1. First of all, this famous statue of a bull in Lower Manhattan got the most perfect addition on Tuesday night! There is now a little girl standing in front of the bull and staring it down! The little girl was sculpted by Kristen Visbal and she looks wonderfully fearless and powerful! I am so excited about this piece of art!

Wednesday, March 8, 2017

Spinach & Bacon Quiche

Yesterday, I was watching Gilmore Girls (because that's my absolute favorite thing to do!) and Sookie made quiche. Well, that quiche was something powerful because I paused the episode and made quiche for dinner. I have never made quiche before but I was excited to find out that it was so easy to make and the result was delish! I found this recipe on The Kurtz Corner - you can find it HERE.
Start by making a pie crust - add 1 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour, 1/2 teaspoon of salt and 1 tablespoon of granulated sugar to a medium mixing bowl.
*You could use store bought pie crust if you prefer!

Tuesday, March 7, 2017

My Favorite Places on Anna Maria Island

I spent last week in Anna Maria Island, Florida and it might just be my favorite little town ever! I love so much about being there, and I thought I would share some of my favorite little spots on the island. you know, in case you're planning a trip there and looking for the best places to go :)

1. First, of all - the beach!! My family spends most days at the beach. we walk down around 10 or 11 in the morning and stay all day long! We pack snacks and lots of books and enjoy the waves! The beach in Anna Maria is stunning. The sand is white and the water is bright blue and crystal clear. I love sitting by the ocean and watching the pelicans dive for fish! Now, when I'm not at the beach, you can find me at one of these other locations...

Monday, March 6, 2017

Music for Monday: Ed Sheeran

Ed Sheeran new album came out on Friday and I don't think I've listened to anything since. I wish I were kidding but I've really had his album Divide on shuffle for the last 3 days straight and I don't plan on stopping anytime soon! 
Barcelona - Ed Sheeran
This song is my absolute favorite! I love Latin music and this song is by no means Latin, but I love the slight Latin flair! And I love Ed Sheeran speaking a little Spanish!!

Friday, March 3, 2017

Friday Favorites: Spring Break Edition

This week has been so good! I have loved relaxing by the ocean and soaking up some sun! I'll be talking more about my vacation next week, but here is a sneak preview of my spring break faves:
 1. I read Lauren Graham's book on the plane ride and I loved it so much! I have been loving Gilmore Girls lately and this book is such a fun behind the scenes look at Gilmore Girls and show business in general. I also loved how Lauren Graham's sense of humor comes out in this book - it was such a fun read!