Happy Weekend!

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Happy Friday! How are you recovering from Cinco de Mayo? We had our fill of guac and nachos, and that makes us very happy! We’re also getting ready for Mother’s Day on Sunday. Doing anything special for your Ma this year?


cct // Two great posts about what goes on behind the scenes of a blog – How a Blog Post Gets Made by one of our fave bloggers Emily Henderson, and Blogging + Money Matters by the uber inspiring Justina Blakeney from The Jungalow.

rkv // 12 kinds of kindness

cct // The Best Memes From The Met Gala 2016 lolz.

rkv // Tips for successfully swapping honey for sugar into your baked goods

cct // Emily from Cupcake & Cashmere and I are always on the same snack wavelength – yes to White Chocolate Popcorn with Sprinkles.

rkv // How to spring clean your financial goals

cct // Pizzadillas Mean Never Having to Choose Between Pizza or Quesadillas Again

rkv // 60 small ways to improve your life in the next 100 days


 

Happy Weekend!

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Happy Friday, loves. How has everyone’s week been? Has your personal clock settled into daylight savings yet? While I really don’t look forward to the darker evenings, I will admit that waking up to a brighter morning has been nice. I’ve been rising before my alarm on most mornings, which is so much more pleasant than the sound of an alarm. It also helps me to get a little more done earlier in the day on the weekends. I’m going to try to get to a morning spin class tomorrow. Considering I much prefer working out in the evenings, we’ll see how that goes! Hope you all have a beautiful weekend ahead of you. See you on Monday!

cct // A great way to make your flowers look pertty every time!

rkv // I can just never get enough chocolate chip cookie recipes, and this vegan one looks heavenly

cct // Can You Identify These Books By Their Covers?

rkv // When it comes to gym workouts, I want them to be quick and challenging (get me out of here!), so I appreciate this 2-minute ab routine

cct // Apparently yesterday was National Donut Day (wah, I didn’t get a donut!) – do you agree with your state’s “best donut shop”? I’ve never been, but I see a road trip happening soon! Also I can vouch for Glazed in Confused in Denver, SO good!

rkv // 31 songs from the early 00’s no woman will ever forget

cct // Need something interesting to do? What about participating in National Novel Writing Month? It seems like it could be a cool way to open up, think differently and give yourself some structure yet freedom with a new hobby. I just might have to give it a try…

rkv // 9 natural ways for a better night’s sleep

Pecan Pumpkin Muffins

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One of the first homemade goods I remember my Mom making me as a kid was pumpkin bread. I always looked forward to her whipping it up, and it became one of the first things I learned how to bake once I was old enough. Call me basic all you want, but I’ve been loving myself some pumpkin spice since 1993, okay??

While this recipe isn’t my Mom’s (I don’t know if that woman has ever made the same thing twice), it’s still wonderful and always reminds me of home.

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FOR THE MUFFINS
1 1/4 cup of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup white granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar, unpacked
1/4 tsp baking soda
2 tsp cinnamon
1/2 tsp nutmeg
1/8 tsp allspice
1 1/2 cups canned pumpkin (not pumpkin-pie filling)
2 tbsp vegetable oil
2 large eggs
1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/2 cup pecans, roughly chopped

FOR THE STREUSEL
2 tbsp butter, room temperature
1/2 cup light brown sugar, unpacked
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup quick oats

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TO MAKE
Preheat
oven to 350. To begin the muffin batter, use a stand mixer (or large bowl with a hand mixer) to combine the canned pumpkin, white & brown sugars, and vanilla. Blend until thoroughly combined. Add one egg, mix, add second egg, mix, then slowly add in the oil.

In a separate medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, and allspice. Slowly add the dry mixture into the pumpkin blend until just combined. Fold in the pecans and set aside.

To make the streusel, mix the butter and sugar together. Once combined, slowly add in the flour and oats. The mixture will be crumbly, but not completely dry. It should be a pale brown, and you don’t want to see the white of the flour.

Using two spoons, scoop the pumpkin batter into a lined or greased muffin pan. It should make 12 medium-sized muffins. Sprinkle the streusel onto the muffins until the tops are just covered.

Bake for 24-26 minutes. Poke the center of a muffin with a knife or toothpick to check if done. If the knife or toothpick come out clean, you’re ready to take out of the oven.

Set aside for 15 minutes, then enjoy with a piping hot cup of coffee.


Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste

1 Shelf, 3 Ways

Happy Monday, loves! Hope you all had a nice weekend and were able to relax a bit!

Recently in the blog hemisphere we’ve been noticing a whole lot of posts for “one item, several ways,” be if for clothing or decor. In particular, one of our favorite little lady designers, Emily Henderson, has been all about showcasing a staple piece styled four ways, like with this credenza. We were feeling inspired by her ideas and decided to give it a go!

Below is a ladder shelf that I picked up from good ‘ol Walmart a couple of years ago to add a little more storage to my tiny kitchen — it’s proven to be very helpful for the bits and bobbles that we’ve run out of room for. We decided to give it three key looks that could work for your kitchen — the bar, a baking station, and the miscellaneous items.

Shelf: 

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With a big blank slate like this, it’s all about the layering. I’ll admit that I’m a bit of a hoarder when it comes to pretty little trinkets, so the layering thing was pretty easy to accomplish. 🙂

01. Baking

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The great thing about this ladder shelf is that it has some room for over sized items like mixing bowls and baskets, as well as the tiny knickknacks like butter dishes and mixing cups. Another crucial component to styling this guy was height and greenery. Cutting boards and vases are a great way to give the shelf the height you’re looking for, and some big leafy plants look awesome in mason jars, like this dried eucalyptus.

When making a baking station, you’ll definitely need your essentials. Hide your flours and sugars in pretty canisters, while tucking away baking powder and such in baskets. Showcase some of your fancier items like your good vanilla, and don’t be afraid to display items with some character, as we did with the aged baking pans. We also draped an apron over the edge of the shelf for a little bit of flair.

02. Bar

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This is a fun one to set up, because it makes you feel like an actual *gasp* adult. We’ve collected some pretty old empties for our top row, but it definitely would feel a little more impactful if you have an actual collection to show off. Throw in some of your good liquors, as well as the tools you’ll be needing, like openers, shakers, napkins, and glasses. We also made things colorful with a bowl filled with essential citrus fruits, and an aloe plant for a pop of green.

03. Everyday 

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So this is helpful if you’re kitchen is like mine, with a whole lot of little things in need of a home. Pots and pans will stack nicely on the bottom, as well as linens and cookbooks. Display your favorite tea boxes and layer with nice cutting boards. It’s great for the random things you have lying around, like my scallion-growing science project, and Christmas gifts from Christa like a DIY cheese-making kit.

Hope these looks were helpful for you guys, and you’re feeling inspired to get a head start on the spring cleaning! If you liked any of the above items, check out below to see where we got some of the key pieces!

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Look 1:
cutting boards, Home Goods
porcelain milk dish, H&M
fox cookie jar, Target
cake stand, Home Goods
cookbooks, Anthropologie & vintage
red canisters & utensil holder, vintage
flour canister & dish towels, IKEA
wire baskets, Pier 1

Look 2:
cocktail shakers, vintage and Crate & Barrel
brass bottle opener, vintage
copper mugs, Sur La Table
etched highball glasses, Anthropologie
deer antler, vintage
porcelain juicer, West Elm

Look 3:
DIY mozzarella kit, Etsy
garlic bowl, H&M
fruit bowl, handmade
etched glasses, cutting boards, baskets (see above)


Happy Weekend

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Well we’re closing in on Christmas people! By this time next week the holidays will be over (what??), but don’t worry – we’ve got New Years to look forward to!… which means… bubbles!

cct // Are you guys aware of this wonderful website full of holiday blogger giveaways? So many amazing items – get your name in quick!

rkv // We’ll be having a pot luck next weekend which I’ve been scheming recipes in my head for. This chocolate whiskey cake may be a winner… but I’m thinking with caramel sauce?

cct // I’ve always loved Seth Rogan, and this article is really heartfelt!

rkv // I’ve been finding myself in an afternoon slump at work lately, so I appreciated these 11 caffeine-free ways to wake up 

cct // This holiday food chart cracked me up!

rkv // Somehow I always find myself watching movies with my parents around the holidays that are great movies, but pretty awkward for a family gathering. (Hint: please do yourself a favor and never watch Girl With The Dragon Tattoo on Christmas Day with your Mom). Anyways, I appreciated this list of movies to watch with your fam.

rkv // Just because — Bruno Mars looking like a little old lady

cct // I need to make these asap! Yum!

Gorgeous Birthday Cakes

With an upcoming birthday tomorrow (hint, it’s Reg’s!), we’ve got cake on the brain! While we dabble in baking, coming up with a beautiful and creative cake is harder than it looks… we make homely cakes. But today we’re gonna admire the beautiful cakes of others and hope that someday we have the courage to attempt something this gorgeous.

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// Classic Ice Cream Cake 

50b8f3bbabe10d535d8a2f6a32725940// Oreo Olallieberry Chocolate Layer Cake

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// Inside-out S’mores Cake

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// Brown Butter Cake with Vanilla Bean Icing and Salted Caramel

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// Carrot Cake with Cardamom

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// Malted Milk Cake

 

And we can’t forget the cupcakes!…

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// Peaches & Cream Oat Cupcakes

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// Orange Cinnamon Cupcakes

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// Blueberry Preserve Cupcakes with Honey Buttercream

Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake

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As you may have noticed, Reg usually is the baker of the bunch, but I had some spare time this weekend and thought I’d give it a try. When I first got my apartment (almost 3 years ago) I had this idea that I would bake all of the time, and believe it or not – that did not happen. I actually got this loaf tin 2 months ago and this is my first time using it! And for some odd reason I always had in mind my first loaf recipe to be a lemon poppy seed loaf…not sure why. I finally got around to making it this weekend and I am sure glad I did – so good!

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Lemon Poppy Seed Loaf Cake adapted from Amy’s Healthy Baking

For the cake
Yield: 1 loaf, 12 slices
I used an 8″x4″ tin which worked perfectly, but Amy used a 9″x5″ – use whichever you’d like!
2 c all-purpose flour
2 tbsp poppy seeds
1 ½ tbsp lemon zest (about 3 small or 1 extra large)
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp baking soda
¼ tsp salt
1 tbsp canola or vegetable oil
1 egg, room temperature
1 tbsp vanilla extract
2/3 c granulated sugar
½ c plain nonfat Greek yogurt
2½ tbsp fresh lemon juice (about 1-2 small)
6 tbsp nonfat milk
For the glaze
4 tbsp powdered sugar
½ tsp clear vanilla extract
1 tsp nonfat milk (add a dash more if you’d like a runnier mixture)
1. Preheat the oven to 350°F, and lightly coat a 8″x4” pan with nonstick cooking spray.
2. For the cake, whisk together the flour and next 5 ingredients (through salt) in a medium bowl. In a separate (larger) bowl, whisk together the oil, egg, and vanilla. Mix in the sugar, yogurt, and lemon juice until thoroughly incorporated. Alternate between adding in the flour mixture and milk, beginning and ending with the flour. (For best results, add 1/3 of the flour, then ½ of the milk, etc.)
3. Pour the batter into the prepared pan, and bake at 350°F for 35-40 minutes. If the top browns too quickly, cover the pan with a tent of tin foil after the first 30 minutes. Cool in the pan for 10 minutes before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
4. To prepare the glaze, whisk together the powdered sugar, clear vanilla extract (the clear vanilla extract keeps the glaze bright white), and milk in a small bowl. Drizzle over the top of the cooled cake.

5. Enjoy your delicious treat!

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cct

Flourless Almond Butter Cookies

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It should come as no surprise by now that Christa and I both have a serious sweet tooth, so any time I can put a healthy spin a baked treat without sacrificing taste, I’m in. This past weekend was terribly grey and rainy in Boston, so I cuddled up to watch Gossip Girl on Netflix (zero shame) and made these paleo/gluten free cookies. My roommate had one before I could tell her that they were healthy(ish), and she didn’t believe me. No butter or flour? No. Freaking. Way.

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You’ll need:

1 cup of unsalted creamy almond butter

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg + 1 egg yolk

1 1/2 tsp vanilla

1 tsp baking soda

1/4 tsp salt

1/2 cup dark chocolate chips or chunks

 

To make:

01. Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper

02. In a medium sized bowl (or stand mixer) add almond butter. Stir in the sugar, baking soda, salt and vanilla until combined.

03. In a separate bowl, whisk eggs together. Add to almond mix until thoroughly blended. Turn mixer off and fold in chocolate chips/chunks.

04. Measure 2 packed tablespoons per cookie and place on parchment paper. Leave about 2 1/2 inches in between each cookie, because they spread very wide. This should leave six cookies per sheet.

05. Bake for 10-14 minutes. The less time, the chewier (but also more pale). Allow to cool about 5 minutes before moving to a drying rack.

06. Sit down with a glass of milk, dip, and watch Gossip Girl.

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Recipe via

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rkv

Simple Banana Bread

So about two months ago, my lovely new roommate Liz moved in. Not only did she bring her sparkling personality, but also a stand mixer. I’ve never fully been “team stand mixer,” because I’ve always thought they seem like a lot of work to clean and more trouble than they’re worth. Boy was I wrong – this thing is wonderful! It made the process so easy and I will most certainly be getting one eventually.

Since I had some bananas aging at a rapid pace, the first thing I decided to bake with it was some simple banana bread. I was in a purist mood and chose to just make a classic plain loaf, but you can easily throw some chocolate chips, blueberries, orange zest in it for some extra flavor, or my favorite, a streusel topping.

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Ingredients:

– 3 ripe medium bananas

– 2 tbsp of vegetable oil (or apple sauce for a lighter version)

– 1 1/4 cups white whole wheat flour

– 3/4 tsp baking soda

– 2 tbsp butter, softened

– 1/2 cup light brown sugar, unpacked

– 1 large egg, 1 large egg white

– 1 tsp cinnamon

– 1 tsp vanilla

– baking spray

– 1/2 tsp quick-cook oats (for garnish)

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To make:

01. Preheat oven to 350°F. Lightly spray a loaf pan with baking spray or butter.

02. In a medium bowl, combine flour, cinnamon, baking soda and salt with a wire whisk. Set aside.

03. In a large bowl cream butter and sugar with an electric mixer. Add eggs, bananas, oil (or apple sauce) and vanilla, and beat at medium speed until thick. Scrape down sides of the bowl.

04. Add flour mixture and blend at low speed until combined, do not over mix.

05. Pour into loaf pan, sprinkle with oats, and bake for 40-50 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.

06. Allow to fully cool, then slice.

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{recipe adapted from Skinnytaste)

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rkv

 

Almond & Raisin Soda Bread

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I found out about soda bread through my roommate Sarah who’s an avid baker. Traditionally an Irish bread, she usually only makes it around St. Patricks day and thinks I’m strange for making it any time besides in March. However, I basically see soda bread as a gigantic biscuit, and in my eyes, biscuits are a year-round weekend treat. This easy-to-make bread (or biscuit) is wonderful sliced and toasted with some butter smeared on it.

Ingredients:

– 2 cups of all purpose flour (you can also do 1 cup all purpose, 1 cup white whole wheat)

– 1 tsp baking soda

– 1/2 tsp baking powder

– 1 tsp salt

– 1 tsp cinnamon

– 1/2 egg, whisked

– 1 cup buttermilk *if you don’t have buttermilk, see notes below for an easy how-to*

– 1/4 cup raisins (I used both golden and California)

– 1/4 cup slivered almonds

To make:

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and grease a baking sheet or cover it with parchment paper

2. Set raisins aside in a bowl of warm water to plump while prepping the dough

3. Sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon

4. Combine buttermilk and egg in a separate bowl with whisk

5. Make a well with the dry ingredients, and slowly add in buttermilk mixture.

6. Once dough is mostly mixed, add the almonds and drained raisins. Because this dough is extremely sticky, I find this last step easiest to mix with my hand. Only use one hand, so the other is free to grab the baking sheet.

7. Place the dough in the center of the baking sheet. It’s going to look a little funny because it’s a giant lump, but that’s normal.

8. Bake for 30-35 minutes until completely golden. Stick the center with a knife all the way through, it should come out clean.

Slice, smear, and enjoy.

* To make buttermilk – simply add 1 tbsp of white vinegar or lemon juice to 1 cup of regular milk. Allow to sit for at least 5 minutes before using to bake.