Tuesday, March 17, 2015

recipe | mint brownies

I made these brownies for my Bible study group tonight! Obviously, because chocolate and mint are perfect together and I thought they would be fitting for today, since it is Saint Patrick's Day!
I did sneak a little taste before packing them up for tonight and they are amazing!

Recipe: Mint Brownies

To make the Brownies...
1/2 cup Butter (1 stick)

3/4 cup White Sugar
3/4 cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
1 teaspoon Vanilla
1 cup Flour
1/2 cup Cocoa Powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 cup Andes Mints, chopped

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Line an 8×8″ baking pan with parchment paper. 
In a medium saucepan, melt butter over medium-low heat. Add both sugars and mix. Remove from heat. Add eggs and vanilla, mix thoroughly. Then, mix in the flour,cocoa and salt, until well combined. Fold in the chopped Andes Mints. Pour mixture into baking pan. Bake for 25 minutes.

To make the Mint Frosting...
6 tablespoons Butter, softened
2 tablespoons Milk
3-4 cups Powdered Sugar
1/2 teaspoon Peppermint Extract
Green Food Coloring

In a large mixing bowl, beat the butter and half of the powered sugar until fluffy. Mix in the milk and peppermint extract. Then, add a cup of powdered sugar at a time, until the frosting is the right consistency. Finally, mix in drops of green food coloring until it is the desired shade of green.

Frost the brownies once they are completely cool.
Sprinkle the top with even more chopped Andes Mints.


Tuesday, March 10, 2015

design | new prints in shop

I have been in the mood to design prints lately... So I have listed a few new designs in my shop! 
You have the option of an 8 x 10 print for $16 or a 11 x 14 download for $8.
I also have several of my photos listed and even some of my hand-knit items.

(FYI... The first two designs above actually have a white background, but for some reason blogger (or something I can't figure out) is making them gray. The last print actually does has a very light gray background, it is not white. If you know why it is doing this, I would love to know how to fix it... To see the most accurate colors of each design view each listing in my Etsy Shop.)

Monday, February 23, 2015

photography | snow days...

The last couple of days have been "snow days" where I live... everyone loves a snow day!
Days filled with reading, movies, baking, games and of course, playing in the snow... 
Today and yesterday have been all of that for me!

My dog is not a fan of water (she despises baths) so it has always been funny to me how much 
she loves to run around in the snow. As you can tell by the photos, she likes to eat snow and
get it on her nose... haha! I so love her cuteness and playfulness in these shots!

These next photos were actually taken yesterday, when the storm was at it's worst.
Church was cancelled and it was too cold and blowing snow to spend much time outside.
We only lasted about 5 minutes and my dog was far more interested in staying inside...

Saturday, February 21, 2015

photography | rifle paper co. books

How beautiful are these classic books designed by Anna Bond of Rifle Paper Co.? 
I love when publishers do special editions of classic books and of course, I love most of the 
illustrations by Rifle Paper Co... so these books are amazing! I was so excited when my sister 
bought these, because it meant I could take photos of them... Yay!!

Thursday, February 12, 2015

recipe | coconut cream truffles

I have a recipe to share for a little sweet treat, just in time for Valentine's Day! Any kind of truffle is always a good choice to make for those you love. Everyone is impressed when you give them a handmade truffle, and of course, these taste better than the store-bought boxes of candy.
If you have never made candy before, this is a simple recipe to try. Coating the truffles with the melted chocolate takes a bit of practice, but it is fun and if they look a little "rustic" it's okay!

Recipe: Coconut Cream Truffles

3 cups coconut (sweetened, shredded)
1/2 cup powdered sugar
1/2 cup sweetened condensed milk
1/4 cup butter (melted)
1  bag Wilton Dark Chocolate Melts

In a large mixing bowl, combine coconut, powdered sugar, sweetened condensed milk and melted butter until it is well mixed. Use your hands to form 1-2 inch balls and place them on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Put the coconut balls in the freezer for at least 2 hours.
Once the coconut balls are ready…
Use a microwave safe bowl to gradually melt the Wilton Dark Chocolate wafers in the microwave, 45 seconds at a time, stirring in between each time. Once the chocolate is fully melted, use a fork to roll each coconut ball in the melted chocolate. Once the coconut ball is fully coated, remove it from the chocolate on the fork and tap fork on the edge of the bowl to shake off excess chocolate. Gently place each chocolate coated truffle back on the cookie sheet. I use a toothpick to help slide it off the fork without messing up the chocolate. Chill the truffles until the chocolate is completely set... And they are ready to eat!!!
It is best if the truffles are stored in the refrigerator.

Happy Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

home | a handmade quilt

Don't you love a pretty, handmade quilt?  It is cozy and warm and a piece of art!
For Christmas, I got a new quilt, handmade just for me, by my grandma!! My grandma is an 
amazing seamstress and she has been making quilts for each of us lately. My brother got one
for Christmas 2013, I got mine for Christmas 2014 and she is working on one for my sister
 right now! It is such a blessing to have a grandma that is as talented and loving as mine!! :)

For my quilt, I got to be very involved in the process and that made it even more special. 
I got to choose my pattern and I got to go shopping with my grandma to pick out fabrics!
I decided to go with blues and yellows because I wanted it to complement the duvet cover
I already have. It was so fun going through the process of beginning with a vague idea of
what it would become to what it is now, finished and laying on my bed. And now that it 
is on my bed, I can't imagine my bed without it... Such a special gift!!!

Also, in the new year, I re-styled this little corner in my bedroom. I got a couple of new things 
that I wanted to use and I love the way it came together. Freshening up this little space in my 
room was a simple thing to do that was really good for me in the new year! 

Thursday, January 29, 2015

recipe | healthier banana muffins

These muffins are healthier than normal because there is no butter/oil in the recipe and the sugar
is reduced, adding applesauce (no sugar added), which adds natural sweetness and moisture.
They turned out so good... great flavor and texture. And I figured out the calories using
MyFitnessPal.com and each muffin comes in at 81 calories, which makes them even better! 
I will definitely be making this recipe often when I have ripe bananas in the kitchen.

Recipe: Healthier Banana Muffins

2 ripe bananas, mashed
1/2 cup sugar
1 egg 
1/4 cup applesauce (no sugar added)
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
In a large mixing bowl, combine mashed bananas, sugar, applesauce, egg and vanilla until it is well mixed. In a small bowl, combine all of the dry ingredients and mix into the banana mixture until all is evenly combined, do not over mix. Pour the batter into greased muffin tins, approximately 2/3 full. Sprinkle the tops of each muffin with a little bit of brown sugar and oats, if you’d like. Bake for 12-15 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean.

... a perfect breakfast, with a cup of tea!!

Thursday, January 8, 2015

recipe | pumpkin cobbler cake

I meant to share this post around Thanksgiving/Christmas time, because it is an excellent and
easy dessert for the holidays. Unfortunately I got a bit behind on my blog... BUT it's never too
late to share a great pumpkin recipe. And I am sure I will make it again this winter, because
I love pumpkin desserts and this is a really good one!

Recipe: Pumpkin Cobbler Cake

1 can (15 oz.) pumpkin
1 can (10 oz.) evaporated milk
¾ cup brown sugar
3 eggs
1 teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ground cloves
½ teaspoon nutmeg
1 box yellow cake mix
2 sticks butter, melted
1 cup chopped pecans
½ cup toffee bits

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Grease the bottom and sides of a 9 x 13 inch cake pan.
In a large bowl combine the pumpkin puree, evaporated milk, sugar, eggs and spices.
Whisk until combined.
Pour the pumpkin mixture into your buttered pan.
Evenly spread the yellow cake mix over the top of the pumpkin.
Sprinkle the chopped pecans & toffee bits over the cake mix.
Drizzle the melted butter evenly over the top.
Bake for 45-50 minutes, until the center is set. 
Chill before serving and top with whipped cream… so yummy! 

Tuesday, January 6, 2015

inspiration | magnolia homes

Chip and Joanna Gaines' HGTV show, Fixer Upper, is currently my favorite. They are amazing!
I loved seeing the houses they renovated for the first season and I am so excited for the second
 season to begin tonight!! They completely transform houses that are old, outdated or falling apart
to become fresh and beautiful again. That is so inspiring to me. Also, Joanna's design style is my
 favorite. She uses fresh colors (often white) and a lot of unique and rustic details.

Some of these photos are of their own restored farmhouse and some are from houses that were
 featured in the first season of Fixer Upper.

Visit their WEBSITE to see more from the first season of Fixer Upper and much more...
They even have a SHOP where they sell some of the items seen in their houses.