Monday, April 16, 2012

Friday, February 3, 2012

Zucchini Walnut Muffins

This is a great recipe to use up that leftover zucchini or for when you want to hide some healthy veggies in your baking!

You Will Need:

- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. baking soda
- 1 tsp. baking powder
- 3 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 3 eggs (use ener-g egg replacer for vegan version!)
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 1/2 cup apple sauce (if you don't have apple sauce you can add an extra 1/2 cup of oil)
- 2 cups sugar (I used half brown & half white)
- 3 tsp. vanilla extract
- 2 cups grated zucchini
- 1 cup chopped walnuts
- mini chocolate chips (optional)
- 2 muffin tins & paper baking cups


1.  Preheat oven to 325 degrees & line muffin tins with paper cups.

2.  Combine flour, salt, baking powder, soda, and cinnamon together in a bowl.

3.  Beat eggs, oil, vanilla, and sugar together in a large bowl.  Add the dry ingredients to the creamed mixture and mix well.  Stir in zucchini and nuts until well combined.

4.  Spoon batter into muffin cups (about 3/4 full) and sprinkle a few chocolate chips on top, if you like!  Bake for about 40 minutes.  Let cool & enjoy!

* Makes about 24 muffins

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Baked Sweet Potato Fries

I am going to share with you one of my favorite and EASIEST recipes for the amount of deliciousness involved.  Sweet Potato Fries!  And these are baked so they are actually healthy.
(Note: Husbands & boyfriends LOVE these)

Here are your ingredients:

-Sweet Potatoes
-Olive Oil
-Garlic Powder

Yup, that's it.  Now all you gotta do is peel & chop those babies up into whatever fry-shape pleases you (I like to make mine thick like steak fries).  Throw them in a bowl, toss with enough olive oil to lightly coat them, some salt, pepper & garlic powder to taste (I like a lot), and then lay them in a single layer on a baking sheet lined with parchment (you could probably skip this if you don't have any but I like it because it soaks up some of the oil and makes them crispier).  Bake at 450 for about 20 mins or until golden brown.  Let cool a little and enjoy!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Decoration Inspiration: Holiday Mantel

To me, nothing says "holidays" more than a decorated mantel.  Our current home has a really huge, prominent one that is one of the first things you see when you walk in the door, so I'm really excited to pull down all the picture frames and cover it in garlands and lights and beautiful sparkly pinecone-y things.

Here are some of my holiday mantel "inspiration pics" for this year.

I love the mint green accents incorporated throughout this one.  And those three little chairs are pretty much the cutest thing I have ever seen.

Via Bennet and Company

I think this Holiday Mantel by Layla over at The Lettered Cottage is adorable.  I especially love the vintage feel of the stockings and the suitcases in the fireplace.

Via The Lettered Cottage

I love this lantern filled with fake snow nestled among the real garland with twinkle lights.  Mmm,  Nothing like that fresh pine-y smell!  And the ornaments hanging from the twigs are adorable.

Here's the full view.  I love the indoor wreath.

Here's a Christmas mantel with a touch of turquoise!

Via The Inspired Room

Although I'm a big fan of stockings on the mantel, these letter-ornaments are super cute and could be hung anywhere in the house.


This year I really want to incorporate some mercury glass into my holiday decorating.  I think the antiqued silver look is so beautiful and I love how you can collect a bunch of different pieces and group them together so they look cohesive.  The Pottery Barn ones in this pic ain't cheap, but I've seen some great pieces at Marshalls for about a quarter of the price.

Via Pottery Barn

So many great ideas...  And only a few more days until I can pull out the boxes!  Happy Decorating.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lori's Lentil Soup

I am dedicating this recipe to my beautiful friend Lori who is a brand new mama of the most adorable baby boy.  She loved the Kale & White Bean soup and requested I post a recipe for one featuring lentils.  So here it is!  A healthy soup, chock-full of veggies and goodness that makes great leftovers - perfect for a mama on-the-go.

You Will Need:

1 onion, chopped
1/4 cup olive oil
2 carrots, diced
2 stalks celery, chopped
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1 bay leaf
1 teaspoon dried basil
1 (14.5 ounce) can of diced tomatoes
2 cups dry lentils
8 cups water (or any kind of broth)
1/2 cup spinach, rinsed and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons vinegar (balsamic tastes great!)
ground black pepper


In a large soup pot, heat oil over medium heat.  Add onions, carrots and celery and sautée until onion is tender.  Stir in garlic, bay leaf, oregano, and basil.  Cook for 2 minutes.

*I should note that I am a garlic LOVER so I added 4 cloves instead of 2 and it was delicious.  I also felt like my carrots were a little on the small side so I added an extra one as well as an extra celery stalk.  That's the great thing about soups - you can pretty much throw in whatever you like!

Stir in lentils, and add water and tomatoes.  Bring to a boil.  Reduce heat and simmer for at least 1 hour. When ready to serve stir in spinach and cook until it wilts.  Stir in vinegar and season to taste with salt and pepper.

P.S.  I served mine with Trader Joe's Cornbread and it was AMAZING!

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Decoration Inspiration: Holiday Tablescapes

I feel like every year I end up pulling out my Christmas decorations just a little bit earlier.  For the past few years my best friend and I have done "November 30th decorating day" where, even if we're not in the same city, we officially pull out our boxes of decorations and start unpacking.  We had decided that December is clearly fair game for having Christmas decor up and that the last day of November would give us the best head start we could get - but this year I don't think I can wait that long.  I have already visited the Ikea Holiday Tent and have amassed a little pile of new decorations that seems to be slowly increasing in size.  Not to mention the fact that my new monogrammed stockings from Pottery Barn arrived and I couldn't very well put them away in a box...  So this year I am officially moving decorating day to November 25th - the instant Thanksgiving is over.

To tide myself over until then I am going collect some "decoration inspiration" photos and blog about decorating different areas of your home.  We shall begin with the table:

I found a plaid tablecloth this week at Marshall's and I brought it home to see if I could work it into my holiday decor.  I thought it might be too busy but I think with white plates and maybe a burlap table runner and some mini pine trees it will look great.

Via Williams Sonoma

Here is another great table involving plaid and some burlap.  I LOVE the holly berries and the candle holders with the fake snow.

Via Sweet Something Designs

And how cute is this place setting?  I think I need to find me some burlap placemats...

Via Sweet Something Designs
I just love how she used a blanket as a tablecloth.  This is a stunning as an outdoor table and I think it would look great inside as well.

Via Sweet Something Designs
Here's a beautiful table centerpiece that Michelle over at Sweet Something Designs created out of a pedestal bowl, a hurricane vase, and a homemade candle ring.  Gorgeous!  And I'm loving the bright red placemats.

Via Sweet Something Designs

Another idea for a table centerpiece:  Tiny pinecone Christmas trees!  Place in little containers and add a small, glittery star on top.  This would also be cute on a mantle or sideboard.

Via Good Housekeeping

This is really pretty and simple and I love the color combo of the wintery light blue and the red.  And how cute is the little robin on the table runner?

Via Honey We're Home

And I love this take on a 'California Christmas' featuring succulents, coral and red peonies.  It shows you really can incorporate anything into your holiday decor!

Via Hostess with the Mostess

Via Hostess with the Mostess

There are so many great ideas out there for table decor I could post pictures forever!  I just hope mine turns out as beautiful as some of these.  Stay tuned for the photos!