Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Finding Joy.

Find joy in those little things. This is honestly the philosophy I live by. If you can't find job in the little things, what can you find joy in? 

Find joy in an all-in-one cleaning basket. Let's be honest here, this makes cleaning look "cute". Now let's be realistic here, I'm probably the only one that can find joy in this. However, I promise if you try this tip, it will limit the chaos under the kitchen sink. 
Find joy in vintage. Whether it be a vintage floor design, an old mail box, window panes, milk crates, old barn doors, etc. Find joy in the stories that these peices have created. 
 
Find joy in being by yourself whether it be long or short term. Be comfortable with yourself, your mind, your happiness. Swing from a tree swing, read a book, learn the words to your favorite song, bake a dessert (and eat it), try a new recipe, take a walk...they're are endless ways to be comfortable with being by yourself, find joy in that. 
 
Find joy in long drives and scenic routes. Take the back roads... the windy ones, stop at that country corner store or hat local produce stand. Turn on the music and sing your heart out or turn it off and roll the windows down. 
Find joy in those tiny local boutiques. Walk around, browse the window displays, study the style and creativity. This local boutique located in historic downtown Ellicott City used an old candle as a succulent planter. 
Find joy in your boyfriend (girlfriend, fiancĂ©, wife, husband) bringing you flowers, or something thoughtful. There is no need for an expensive caribbean  vacation to show someone you love them, it's truly the "thought" that counts. 


 

Monday, July 11, 2016

Marbled Cheesecake Brownies

I'm a foodie- a person who has an ardent or refined interest in food. A foodie, "seeks new food experience as a hobby rather than simply eating". Did you know that's like, a real thing! To say food makes me happy is an understatement. Am I a little ashamed? Not at all. I own it. I enjoy every aspect of food, the colors, the textures, the display, the smell, the fact that it brings everyone together and obviously, the taste. These marbled brownies embrace all of those aspects, so let's do this.





Cheesecake Ingredients: 
8 oz. Cream Cheese
1/4 c. Granulated Sugar 
1 Egg
1 C. White Chocolate Chips (I use Ghiradelli baking chips)

Brownie Ingredients: 
1/4 c. Butter
1 c. Milk Chocolate Chips (I use Ghiradelli baking chips 
1/2 c. Granulated Sugar
2 Eggs
2/3 c. All-purpose Flour
1/2 t. Baking Powder
1/4 t. Salt 

Directions: 
-Preheat over to 350 degrees
-For the cream cheese mixture, combine cream cheese, sugar and egg and beat until smooth 
-Fold in the white chocolate chips and set aside
-On the stove, fill a saucepan with water and bring to a boil 
-Turn off heat, set an oven safe mixing bowl over the water and combine butter and milk chocolate chips until melted
-Mix in the sugar and eggs
-In a separate bowl, mix the flour, baking power and salt and gradually pour into your chocolate mixture 
-Grease a 9x9 baking pan 
-Pour half of the chocolate batter into the pan
-Spread the cream cheese mixture over the chocolate layer and top with the remaining chocolate 
-Swirl the top chocolate layer into the cream cheese to achieve the marbled look 
-Bake for 25 to 30 minutes

Monday, June 27, 2016

Bathroom Cabinet Renovation


This project is one of those, "I have nothing to do….I have to do something" kind of jobs. 

  • First off, you want to start with a clean surface. I use scrubbing bubbles for everything in the bathroom and no, it has nothing to do with the fact you can draw in the foam…not not at all.
  • Next, you'll want to run to your local Target/Home Goods/Tj Maxx and pick up some drawer liners. I found mine in the dollar section of Target for $3…make sure you find the type that doubles as contact paper. 
  • The next few steps are self explanatory. Gather all your goods, clean them and place them in the arrangement that makes sense for you. Don't junk up your space, try to keep it as minimal as possible. I found the acrylic container from Tj Maxx for $6.99 and the teeny glass cup around my house. I'm a firm believer in, "use what you have" first, so start searching your home for items to recycle. 
  • Lastly, you're never to old for alphabet letters, don't let anyone tell you different. I found mine at Target (here) and used a little gold spray paint to jazz em' up! 






Thanks for stopping by!! 
xx

Monday, June 20, 2016

Kits.



 

Keep kits to keep organized. I put together this kit above as a fixer-upper drawer for everything you may need in a "fashion emergency" situation. I love having everything accessible in one place. This idea of keeping, "kits" can be used in several different ways. Here are just a few….

Car Kits: 
I love to keep a car kit for emergencies or those, "oops, I forgot" moments. 

-first aid kit
-non-perishable snacks
-glass water bottle 
-jumper cables
-cleaning wipes
-anti-bacteria 
-emergency blankets 
-umbrella 
-ponchos 
-tire pressure test 
-Swiss army knife 
-gloves 
-towel 
-reusable grocery bags 

Craft Kits:
Ok, so you enjoy making pom-poms for gift toppers, designate a container or basket for just that. This way when you go to wrap presents you just grab your handy dandy all-in-one kit and you're ready to go! 

Mini Emergency Kits: 
Grab a small container and fill it with things you might need in any "mini emergency" situation. The kit should be small enough to keep in your purse. 

-advil
-butterfly closures
-band aids
-alcohol prep wipes 
-disposable gloves
-ointment 

Cleaning kits: 
Find yourself a cheap shower caddy in the dorm section of target or Walmart and fill it with cleaning supplies. Buy a shower caddy for each room so that you don't have to go to a centralized location to find your cleaning supplies. 

-cleaning toothbrush
-window cleaner 
-vinegar 
-microfiber rag
-duster
-surface cleaner 


Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Sea Salt Chocolate Rolo Cookies

About a month ago, my coworker offered me a rolo. I declined the offer telling her, "I've never had one but I really don't like caramel because it's hard to chew." She then insisted that I try it because, "the caramel and chocolate melt together like butter." I un-wrapped the little pot of gold and boy was she right. The two ingredients just melted together like magic and now, I'm hooked. Rolo everything. Here's one of those, "you can't just eat one" cookie recipes….but then again, aren't they all!?

Ingredients: 
2 Sticks Unsalted Butter, Unsalted
1 c. Granulated Sugar 
1/2 c. Brown Sugar, Packed
3 c. All-purpose Flour
1 t. Baking Soda
3/4 t. Salt 
2 t. Vanilla Extract 
2 Large Eggs 
1 c. Godiva Milk Chocolate Chips 
1 c. Chopped Rolos
1 T. Sea Salt Flakes

Directions: 
-Preheat over to 350 degrees
-Line a baking sheet with parchment paper
-Use a stand mixer with a paddle attachment to creamy together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar, mix until fluffy 
-Add vanilla and eggs, one at a time
-Beat in flour, one cup at a time
-Add remaining dry ingredients
-Fold in chocolate chips and chopped rolos 
-Use an ice-cream scoop and place dough on baking sheet 
-Add a few chocolate chips on the tops of each cookie and sprinkle with sea salt flakes
-Bake for 11-13 min. 




Tuesday, June 7, 2016

The "Play-group" Chocolate Eclair

All week I debated on gathering the ingredients for this extravagant cake for our companies quarterly picnic. There I was the night before like, "no butter, no sugar, no baking power…and no eggs", obviously not making that cake I'd imagined. I quickly pulled out my moms recipes and found this recipe labeled, "play-group chocolate eclair". As a child my mom often took the three of us to play-groups with all the other neighborhood children and this was one of those easy recipes she would whip up. So here is an crowd pleaser, last minute, no-bake, no-brainer recipe...
Ingredients:
1 box (16 oz.) graham crackers
2 packages (3.4 oz. each) instant vanilla pudding mix
3 1/2 c. whole milk 
1 tub (8 oz.) cool whip, thawed
1 tub (16 oz.) chocolate frosting 

Directions:
-Whisk together pudding and milk in a large mixing bowl until thickened, about 2 min. 
-Fold in cool whip 
-Spray a 9 x 13 baking pan with non-stick baking spray 
-Line the bottom of the pan with a single layer of crackers 
-Spread half of the pudding mixture evenly over the bottom layer of graham crackers 
-Top with second layer of crackers followed by the second half of the pudding mixture
-Top with the final layer of graham crackers and spread the chocolate frosting over top
-Refrigerate for at least 4 hours or overnight 

Optional Chocolate Frosting:

Ingredients:
3 T. unsweetened cocoa powder
1 1/2 c. powdered sugar 
3 T. salted butter, melted
3 T. whole milk 

Directions: 
-Whisk together all ingredients and spread over the last layer of graham crackers
-Refrigerator for at least 4 hours or overnight 




Monday, May 30, 2016

Braided Chocolate Almond Pastry


Yes, I said chocolate, do I have you hooked already!? This easy recipe requires three ingredients, puff pastry, a chocolate bar and sliced almonds.
Ingredients: 
Puff Pastry 
Favorite chocolate Bar (I used a king size Hershey bar) 
Egg Wash
Sliced almonds

Directions: 
-Lay out puff pastry and place chocolate bar in the center of the puff pastry
-Cut diagonal lines along the left and right side of the puff pastry about an inch apart.
- Remove the corner pieces
-Starting from the top, fold down the top flap and then alternate right and left like a braid
-Fold the bottom flap in and finish alternating 
-Place pastry on parchment paper and brush with egg wash
-Sprinkle almonds on top 
-Bake at 415 degrees for 25 minutes or until golden