Tuesday, January 24, 2012

banana muffin remix

I was inspired this week to create an easy and super healthy breakfast idea, for a certain typically-non-breakfast-eater in my life. Who is now non-breakfast-eating for TWO! I thought I'd revisit my Best Banana Muffins recipe which are deeeeelicious for a morning treat, but perhaps not the most wholesome snack. So I mixed it up a little... cutting the sugar in half, and boosting the Superfoods value with honey, whole grains, cinnamon, applesauce, and walnuts.

Recipe remix:

1 stick unsalted butter, room temp
3/4 cup 1/4 cup granulated sugar
2 large eggs, room temp
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 Tablespoon maple syrup honey
1 1/2 cups 1 cup all purpose flour + 1/2 cup whole wheat pastry flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon coarse salt

1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup sour cream or organic low-fat plain yogurt
2 1 small ripe bananas, mashed
+ 3 oz. unsweetened applesauce
1/4 cup ground flaxseed

1/2 cup finely chopped raw walnuts

Preheat oven to 350. Line mini muffin tin.

1. Beat butter and sugar until light & fluffy. Mix in eggs (one at a time), vanilla, and syrup honey. Scrape down bowl.
2. Sift flours, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon into wet ingredients. Mix on low until just incorporated. Scrape down bowl.
3. Add yogurt, banana, applesauce, flax, and walnuts. Mix and scrape.
4. Spoon batter into 12 24 mini muffin cups. Top with walnut halves if desired. Bake for 24-25 11-12 minutes.

{Makes over 4 dozen minis.}

Quite a perfect, portable pick-me-up... whether you're prego or not!

Monday, January 23, 2012

she said YES!

Kevin and I ESCAPED for over 48 hours this weekend to celebrate both my sisters' birthdays in Big Bear (thanks to my mom & John for bravely taking on all four kids!). It was our first weekend away alone since our honeymoon, and to top it all off, Holly was proposed to! It could not have been a better getaway! Congrats, Holly & Omri, and the the wedding planning begin.

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Are you sure it's Winter?!

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Books & Bloomers

{Please scroll down after this post to partake in my highly scientific wedding survey!}

The idea behind Tegan's 'Books & Bloomers' baby shower was simple:
She loves great childrens' books. She's a dedicated cloth diaper-er.
Heidi and I were thrilled to plan another shower for Tegan... this time for a baby GIRL!

We had a really nice lunch at a local cafe, so it wasn't a full-on "shower," but it still needed to be special. The goal was to add to the family's growing library and cloth diaper stash! In lieu of (or in addition to) gifts, each guest brought a favorite book to be personalized with a custom sarah+abraham bookplate, and many contributed to a new collection of gDiapers.

sarah+abraham also did the adorable invites, which I ran out of, so I'll have to steal somebody's to photograph and add to this post.

I have "buttoned" several of these papier-mache letters now, and FYI: wood glue works awesome!

Tegan craves citrus fruits and sour candies during her pregnancies, so sour gummy "bookworms" were a no-brainer (I think they were entirely devoured in approximately 3 minutes)... along with mandarin oranges and cloth diaper lemon shortbread favors.

I used old book pages to create the circle garland on the table, and the tiny heart garland on the cookie bags. The favors also included little covered button paper clip bookmarks.

The milk glass containers (Tegan's favorite) were courtesy of my friend PJ at milk glass vintage rentals, and my sister-in-law Amanda (who may as well start her own business with all the cuteness she has accumulated!)

I'm so sad I didn't get a decent photo of the fabric bunting. I used a super cute Moda alphabet fabric (spotted in my latest ten on ten), and it was "strung" together with safety pins. The lighting was tricky for me to get great pictures. I'm such a newbie.

Tegan looks amazing, you can barely tell she's pregnant! In fact, her last pregnancy she was so petite (and right now she's laughing hysterically that I called her petite), that she flew in for her shower during the very end of her 8th month, with no suspicion from the airline, then proceeded to give birth a week later. This woman is awesome. And she'll make the best mom to a girl... but hopefully not in a week this time! I can't wait to meet her next month!

Tegan, with Amanda, Mel, and me.

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

SURVEY: wedding wonder!

Am I the only one who already has wedding season on the mind?
I have several exciting events this spring & summer to be thinking about, one of them a good friend's engagement party.
I need your help with a little game I'm putting together, and I'd like to get as much input as possible!
Answer the questions below in the comments section (just one word or short phrase answers), and send your friends to join in the fun as well... pretty please?
I'll post the results next week, and explain the game... in case you want to file it under obsessive party planning (some of us call it OPP) for future use!
THANKS so much for playing along!

adorable image: Style Me Pretty via Pinterest

1. Which is the most appropriate age to get married (minimum)?
2. How much money should be spent on the engagement ring?
3. How long should an engagement last?
4. Where is the best place for a destination wedding?
5. Which is the best month to get married?
6. How much time goes by during a wedding ceremony before the guests get bored?
7. Name a flower every bride wants in her bouquet.
8. What part of the reception do guests most look forward to?
9. What cake flavor would you be most excited to see the bride & groom cut into?
10. Name one thing every couple does on their honeymoon.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Cookie Monday

*sneak peek of Tegan's 'books & bloomers' baby shower luncheon!

I make iced cookies for parties pretty often, and here is my yummy go-to recipe:

{Lemon Shortbread}
makes about 24 shaped cookies, depending on size

3 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
1 cup sugar
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. pure lemon extract
3-1/4 cups a.p. flour
1/2 tsp. salt

1. Cream butter & sugar until light & fluffy. Mix in extracts. Slowly incorporate flour & salt, until dough nearly comes together to form a ball.

2. Divide dough in half, forms into disks, and chill in plastic wrap at least an hour or so.

3. Once firm to the touch, roll out on a slightly floured surface.
If too firm, just let it sit at room temperature for about 15 minutes.

4. Cut out shapes (you can re-roll scraps 2 or 3 times), transfer to cookie sheets, and let sit in the freezer for 10 minutes before baking, to really set the shape.
Meanwhile, preheat oven to 350.

5. Bake re-chilled dough approximately 12 minutes, until edges are barely golden.
Since there are no leaveners in this recipe, and if you pre-chill the dough properly, it shouldn't change shape much. If you want extra clean edges, sometimes I re-cut the baked dough immediately after it comes out of the oven.

6. Cool the cookies on a wire rack, before icing...

To pipe the icing, like the cloth diaper cookies above, I use this royal icing recipe, tinting with gel food coloring, and using small plastic bottles for piping.

For a more rustic look, like the 'pink lemonade ponies' I made for Claire's Cowgirl Party last year, I make a super simple lemon icing with just powdered sugar and lemon juice (mix the two until the consistency is thin but nice & spreadable, like syrup), and just slop it on, the messier the better.

Either way, you can't go wrong! Allow the icing to fully harden, before packaging. The sweet and tart cookies are crisp, but still slightly soft & flaky. And they look cute! Perfect party favors.

Thursday, January 12, 2012

birthday brownie trifle

This super simple dessert is a serious crowd pleaser every single time. I mean how could layers of gooey brownie chunks and vanilla ice cream not be amazing?

Bake 2 batches of brownies, cool completely, then cut into chunks.
(I don't think it gets better than Ghirardelli when it comes to boxed mixes.)

Let 2 containers of ice cream soften just slightly, about 10 minutes at room temperature.
(I use about two whole 1.5 quart containers.)

Start slopping it together. Alternate layers of brownie and ice cream until your heart's content.
Really pack it in there!

Cover with plastic wrap and freeze at least 2 hours... then let it sit out again a few minutes right before serving. Something special happens when everything smooshes together then macerates in the freezer.

I topped this particular trifle with crumbled chocolate chip cookies, to compliment the cookie dough ice cream, as requested today by Birthday Girl Amanda. You can add hot fudge... or whipped cream... or both.

This is obviously a very complicated recipe, which requires precise technique. Try not to be too intimidated to try it.
You'll miss out.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

fun with the toilet!

Please enjoy an example of Cole's daily antics (and his extensive vocabulary).
Please ignore the messy bathroom (and the awesome lighting).

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

ten on ten: january

ten on ten: Take a photo every hour for ten consecutive hours on the tenth of each month.
Document a day of your life and find beauty among the ordinary moments!

*stationary: sarah and abraham
*fabric: purchased locally (alphabet & green scalloped = Moda)

Monday, January 9, 2012

hello, 2012.

I can never decide if it's more depressing or more thrilling to send the kids back to school, following vacation. Our Christmas break was perfect. We didn't get out of our jammies much, but we did take advantage of this crazy warm Northern California record-breaking weather! January usually starts the same for me... some sort of whole foods detox plan, intentions for slightly more exercise {translation: any exercise at all}, and new spiritual goals. But I came across this great list that Lesley of Recipe for Crazy posted last week, and I love the way she described it: "many simple, doable things on his that serve as great daily reminders of how to live"... seriously inspiring! Every single item strikes a chord with me. Okay, and maybe #27 would be blog more often.
{from Lesley}:
And now to kick off a new year in blogging with for a few more of my favorites from our winter family shoot. Feeling so blessed.
{incredible photography}: Photography by Shawnee
{fabulous sofa}:
milk glass vintage rentals
{fancy snowflakes}:
my Kansas doilies, with edges wired for stability