Thursday, May 28, 2015

Pretzel Brownie Ice Cream Sandwiches. OMG.

Just FYI, these are outrageous!

I blogged delicious brownie ice cream sandwiches a long time ago,
and was whipping them up yesterday as friends were coming to dinner
and I was wildly inspired (I am clearly deep) to roll the ice cream
edges in salty bits of pretzel.  Oh wow, that took deliciousness to a 
whole new level.  

PS sweet and salty for the win!

Click here for the original ice cream sandwich recipe. And then
get a rolling in pretzel bits.

xx

Monday, May 25, 2015

Leap of Faith


A leap of faith is not life or death, but it is life altering and at times kind of scary. My husband's company announced a few weeks ago that they are closing up operation in Denver and offered relocation to Houston. I know, I know...people lose jobs every single day (hence, this is not life or death) but our cup runneth over with heavy stuff, this first half of 2015 and I just didn't know how we would mentally, emotionally and physically handle this big change.  We were forced to make a decision quickly, which we don't do well (hell, it took us years to get to Denver, where we really wanted to be, as we waited on just the perfect fit for Zac's career)

After a ton of talking: amongst ourselves, with our financial planner, with our parents, we decided that what we want in our lives, in this minute, is to be in Colorado.  We have a simple little life here (which yes, will be thrown for a bit as in essence Zac is quiting a job he loves) and we just want to see if we can make it work in hopes and prayers he finds something within his industry here in Colorado.  Anyone need a Petro Geologist?  I have the name of a good one.

Zac and I did prepare for such a time, as when we were young in our marriage we saw something on Suze Orman about setting aside 9 months worth of your living expense (at the time rent on our little apartment in Oregon, bills, fuel, food, yada yada) and never touching that money.  That would be the safety net, should we find ourselves in a pickle because of income lost.  So, we started stashing that money away.  We never touched it.  Through down payments on homes, cars, vacations, retirement savings, college saving plans...we pretended that money did not exist.  I am thankful we were wise to that suggestion at the time, and have that cushion for now. 

So, it is with a big gulp of excitement, a tad bit of nerves and a big load of trust, we are staying put.  We will work our tails off to stay here, and if the time comes that we face the reality that his industry has changed beyond recovery in Colorado, and we need to move on, at least we will know that we did all we could to try and stay.  It feels risky, but more so, it feels right!

I just read in a book (it was chick lit, so I am not citing the source, just trusting it as truth (yes, blindly) that the Chinese word for crisis is the same as the Chinese word for opportunity. Trusting in that.

Here are a few snaps of our life here, and I think it is quite easy to see why we love it so:

 The morning sun out my bathroom window.  
I will never tire of my morning view.

Concerts at Red Rocks are 10 minutes drive away.

We can drive an hour to watch amazing events, like my 
summer favorite, the Go Pro Games in Vail.

My love of boots!

Our park! Again, will never tire of this view!

Fall colors!

 Camping weekends!

I love walking to school each morning to drop Logi,
then again in the afternoon to pick her up.
 Neighbor friends are the luckiest of friends.
These kids will totally be a fierce bikey gang
in a few years, I just know it.

Editor's note:  My Chinese speaking friend, Qimin, totally debunked my heavy 
research on Chinese proverbs (reading the book Fly Away Home by Jennifer 
Weiner)...but I am now blindly pretending I didn't ask my friend.  
Ignorance is sometimes Bliss, after all (I knew I shouldn't have asked)!!


Wednesday, May 20, 2015

Kate Spade SALE


OMG, before you call in for reinforcement, thinking I am drowning my anxiety in retail therapy, this is one more SUPER LEGIT SALE that needs to be shared.  ONE MORE DAY read: the hours and minutes are ticking away...so check this out!  Up to 75% off bags, clothing, bangles and more...get you some!


I sensibly ordered this wallet.

Look below to see a few of the other items I responsibly 
turned away from.  So much cuteness, check it out!

How cute is this mini backpack.
I know I hear a few friends gagging at
the idea, as it feels totally throwback 
to high school and Cher from Clueless,
but I love.  
 
 I am always a sucker for a bucket
bag.  This one is adorable.  Marked
down to $139 from $328 quite the deal!
If I was having a baby, this diaper bag/carry all
would have found it's way into my virtual cart.
LOVE.
 Really.  Someone needs this bag.  
$159 marked down from $429
Sweetest little bangle!  I would stack it with others.


xo.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

West Elm SALE!

Ohhhh, may someone out there benefit from my duvet cover browsing.  I am not in search of a king size duvet cover, but just came across this stunner, that is on wicked discount.  King size sale price $39!  Get you some! 

Just add some crisp white sheets, you are set! I love most
anything with a Greek Key pattern.  It's a pattern that you will 
often find in old architecture and it always makes me happy.


I love this pattern, but also love the ticking stripes pattern in the
 picture below.  I switched out our bedding and our bed is currently 
covered in a lonely, coverless duvet.  Sad story for that poor guy. 
 I might do a combo of these two patterns.  


My love of ticking stripes always makes me feel like I should live
in the country and work at a general store.  It's a big love.

Bonus, this duvet is on sale for $39!!!  

I am thinking I will order the duvet cover in the ticking stripes 
pattern, along with two of the standard shams in the ticking stripes.  
Then I will order a Euro size (oversized and square) in the other 
pattern, to garnish the stripes.

Then look at this cutie in the same hue, that will sit pretty 
with the mash up of patterns. Ohhh, I am excited.

Now, must get my order in, before they run out!

OH, AND DON'T FORGET TO GOOGLE DISCOUNTS
I WAS ABLE TO SCORE FREE SHIPPING, ON TOP
OF THE DISCOUNTS!

xo

Friday, May 8, 2015

Loaded Banana Bread

My dear, sweet Benny (2 years old) is really into bananas.  
His love of bananas runs deep.Yet, the depth of said love lasts only 
about 3 bites per banana and then he refuses to touch the half eaten 
banana again. And we must start over with another whole banana. 
Lordy. 
I, being the practical 'thou shall not waste a perfectly
 good half of banana' mama that I am, 
started storing the remaining bananas in a container in the 
refrigerator and decided it was high time I create a go to banana recipe. 
So Benny, keep up the good work, I could eat this goodness all year long!

This recipe will yield 2 large loaf pans of outrageous 
quick bread or ~32 large scoop muffins. 

What you need:
1 cup of butter (soft)
4 eggs
2/3 cup sour cream
1 cup granulated sugar
2/3 cup brown sugar 
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
With an electric hand mixer (or stand mixer) blend the above ingredients
4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp fine sea salt
2 tsp baking soda 
Place dry ingredients in a sifter
5 ripe bananas (peel and mush finely with a fork) yields ~2 cups
1 cup finely chopped raw pecans
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
2/3 cup shredded, unsweetened coconut (+ additional 1 cup for topping)

 Sift the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients in three heats.  
That way the wet dry integrates very well.  I always hand
mix at this point, as to not over mix.

Fold in the banana

 Fold in the pecans, coconut and chocolate chips

Use a large scoop if you are going the muffin route, otherwise 
coconut oil two large loaf pans.

For muffins I am borderline obsessed with parchment muffin
liners.  They do not stick to the muffins, like the fluted cups
sometimes do and they look so dang cute, which is obvy 
important!  I buy them in big bunches on the internet.

here's a little picture from an old post.  After coating
the pan with coconut oil, cut a piece of parchment paper
for each pan, allowing a bit higher up the sides, so after
baking you can run a knife along the two shorts sides
of the pan, then use the parchment like handles to lift the 
bread out, and transfer it to a cooling rack.  

Top with a good sprinkle of coconut 

Bake at 325 degrees for 30 minutes if baking muffins and I would
guess at least one hour to one hour and 15 minutes for 
the loaf pans.  Make sure you do the toothpick check!!

Although them to cool a bit and then get your gobble on!!

 Benny Approved!!

Enjoy!
xo

Thursday, April 30, 2015

Papa's Forest


 Like a postcard, this is the drive into Papa's Forest!

We headed back to Minnesota last month to spend some precious
time with my in-laws. My most favorite day of the entire trip was spent
carefree up in the woods. Here are a few pictures I snapped of the
kiddos and Zac from that glorious day.

 Given the chance, Benny would spend all day on the
big tractor.  It truly is his happy place, even though
it is sitting idle in the barn.

Zac and I went for a long ride through the woods on the 4 wheelers.
It was so amazing.  It is always fun to go off and feel lost in the woods.

Then Zac took Logi for a ride.  She loved it until they saw a huge
animal (a bear-squirrel, as described by our 5 year old love) and 
was scared on any subsequent ride.  Zac still has zero clue what
animal they encountered, so it is safe to assume it was Harry.  
Yes, yes that Harry!

Off they went.  Seriously, this was the best day.  Our trip 
home to Minnesota was overshadowed with the sadness
of my father-in-laws battle with pancreatic cancer, but on this
day nothing seemed to matter but the wind in the trees and
the cold on our cheeks and of course, Harry!




Sunday, April 26, 2015

Crunchy Cornflake Cookies

I ate a  cornflake cookie at a cafe when we lived in Oklahoma and it was 
love at first bite!  I threw this recipe together almost 5 years ago, 
and the taste is deliciously spot on! These cookies are loaded with some 
of the best pantry goodies imaginable, so of course they are certain to be a hit!


 What you need:
 1 cup Butter, soft
1/2 cup + 2T Oil
1 cup Granulated Sugar
1 cup Brown Sugar
2 Eggs
2 cups Cornflakes
1 cup Quick Oats
1 cup Raw Pecans
1/2 cup Shredded Coconut (unsweetened)
3 1/2 cups AP Flour
1 T Baking Soda
3/4 tsp Salt
2 tsp Pure Vanilla Extract
1/4 tsp Cinnamon

Preheat oven to 325 degrees

Place the oats, coconut and pecans in a food processor fitted with the
sharp blade. Pulse until consistency of large crumbs.

I feel certain we over pulsed the three ingredients as I had eager helpers
in the kitchen, after their soccer game. Wouldn't have it any other way!

Next, pulse in the cornflakes until bits of cornflakes appear throughout.
Then set the food processor aside

In the green bowl are the wet ingredients whipped together: butter, oil,
eggs, granulated sugar, brown sugar and pure vanilla extract. I use an 
electric hand mixer to blend the wet ingredients.

In the sifter, awaiting a sift, are the dry ingredients: AP flour, 
salt, baking soda and cinnamon.

Slowly sift and hand mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. 

Then fold in cornflake crumble goodness.

 Use a small scoop (this is ~2 T scoop, but you could do as small as 1 T)
Line 12 on a parchment lined baking sheet and press the dough 
balls flat with clean finger.  

Bake for ~13 minutes in a 325 degree oven.

Remove the cookies from the oven, then edges should be a tad 
darker in color than the centers.  Allow the cookies to cool for 
a minute on the baking sheet, then transfer to a wire rack 
for complete cool.

Enjoy. 
xo