Monday, August 3, 2015

Marshmallow Cream Cheese Dip

She's alive! 

You guys!  Life has been so crazy lately that I have hardly had a moment to catch my breath, let alone share a post with you.  If you follow me on Instagram, you already know that Lovebug started kindergarten a couple weeks ago.  And if you've been around for a while, you know that change and I don't always ever get along.  But, we are settling into a groove and I'm excited to be able to focus back on blogging.  

I thought I'd ease in slowly with a super simple and delicious recipe with you and this Marshmallow Cream Cheese Fruit Dip recipe fit the bill perfectly!

I first had this Marshmallow Cream Cheese Fruit Dip at a girlfriends college graduation party many moons ago and I was surprised at how much I loved it.  See, I usually prefer fruit on its own because fresh fruit is so sweet and juicy that I don't think it needs anything to make it better.   However, this dip seriously takes fruit to the next level.  
Marshmallow Cream Cheese Fruit Dip Recipe

Monday, July 13, 2015

German Chocolate Cake

My Love absolutely loves German Chocolate Cake.  It is his very favorite cake and he asks for it at every opportunity, which creates a bit of a dilemma in our home...

See, German Chocolate Cake is not my favorite cake.  In fact, it might be my least favorite cake.  The  rich chocolate cake part, I love.  It's just the frosting that I'm not much of a fan of.  And the frosting in my recipe is so sticky and gooey, full of coconut and pecans, that it oozes and seeps down into the nooks and crevices of the cake.  So, there is just no avoiding the frosting, which is great for someone who loves this cake.  But, not so great for someone like me who just wants to enjoy the cake part and skip the frosting.

My Love only requests it for special occasions (birthdays, Father's Day, etc.) because (1) he feels that it is a burden for me to make it when I don't like it (it's not), (2) he doesn't want to be the main consumer of this cake's "awesomeness" (his word, not mine) and (3) he feels bad that I skip dessert when this cake is on the menu (a few skipped desserts never hurt anybody, right?).

Lucky for him, Father's Day was last month, so he got to indulge in his favorite treat, which gave me the opportunity to share the recipe with you!  

Moral of the story: If you are a German Chocolate Cake loving family, this recipe is for you!  If not, then you should skip this recipe because there is no getting around the dark chocolate, coconut, pecan flavor combo. 

Wednesday, June 24, 2015

His & Hers To Do List { Free Printable }

With both My Love and I working outside the home full time, carting two kids to various activities, running errands, making meals, spending quality time with the kids and squeezing in a little time for each other or ourselves, our home sometimes usually suffers from neglect.  Dishes pile up in or around the sink, floors are covered with a crumb carpet, mountains of laundry take up valuable space on the couch, toy land mines make it impossible to walk through common areas, etc.  Does this sound at all familiar or are we the only ones?

The problem is that after a long day, we are pretty exhausted and the last thing My Love or I want to do is spend another hour or two cleaning up.   But, if we don't tidy up, the problem gets worse because now there are more dishes, toys, laundry, etc. to deal with.  Then, there is the whole issue of frustration and resentment if one of us works on cleaning up and feels the other isn't really carrying their weight or if one has an expectation that the other will take care of completing a task that just doesn't get done.  

We used to argue about why the house was a mess, who was responsible for what, who's spent more time cleaning, who dropped the ball, etc .  But, we wizened up recently and decided to divide and conquer by assigning tasks.  We made a list of what needed to happen regularly to keep our house tidy and then divided up the work.    
Printable Mr. and Mrs. To Do List

You guys know I love to make lists so, naturally, I made a fun little His & Hers To Do List to keep us on track.

Monday, June 22, 2015

Coconut Pancakes with Berries & Coconut Flakes

Like most people, we make a conscious effort to eat healthy and fuel our bodies with nutrient rich foods most of the time (everything in moderation!).  My Love has always eaten healthy and recently upped his game by replacing juice with coconut water and adding kale and other green leafy vegetables to smoothies, and actually liking it.  Thankfully, our girls take after their father and devour their green smoothies.  I, on the other hand, think that the smoothies have a faint flavor of 'grass'.  But, I still drink them for the health benefit.  

My Love keeps telling me that if I drink it enough the flavor will grow on me and eventually I'll like it.  Jury is still out...

But, being healthy is really important to me so I've really been evaluating the items in our pantry and looking for ways to move towards more natural, less processed products that have high nutritional values.  This search lead me to coconut flour.  

Did you know that coconut flour is naturally gluten free and that it is full of protein and fiber?  Me neither!  But, there's more!  You can read all about the health benefits and recipe substitution ratios here!  You know what the best part is?  Coconut flour smells and tastes heavenly and nothing at all like grass!  (I realize that coconuts wouldn't taste like grass, but my point is that it doesn't taste 'healthy' like the grass-like flavor in My Love's smoothies).  I'm not big on coconuts but the coconut flavor does not overpower and the natural sugars make the flour slightly sweet, which is actually quite nice!  Who knows, coconut flour may have converted me on coconuts!?

Coconut Pancakes with Berries and Coconut Flakes

As a baseline, I wanted to try coconut flour in a recipe that we know and love.  So, I decided to make pancakes.  I started with a basic pancake recipe that used coconut flour instead of all purpose flour and it was tasty with just a hint of warm coconut flavor, but I didn't LOVE it.  So, I decided to try the recipe below from Food and Wine and it was delicious!  The whole family loved these coconut pancakes!  They were light but filling and had just the right amount of coconut flavor.  We topped them with strawberries, blueberries, coconut flakes and maple syrup for added flavor!  They are so good and, in retrospect, they look rather patriotic so they would be a great option for the upcoming 4th of July holiday! :)  

I was super impressed with coconut flour and can't wait to try it in other recipes!  But, for now, we have added these delicious coconut pancakes (that happen to be full of protein and fiber!) to our breakfast repertoire!  

Wednesday, June 10, 2015

Simple DIY Bead Necklace Patriotic Wreath

Last year around Independence Day, I spotted some red, white and blue bead necklaces at my local Dollar Tree and was immediately inspired to create a new patriotic door decoration.  Each pack came with eight necklaces so I grabbed 4 packs of each color for my project.  I made a quick stop at Michaels to grab a foam wreath and some burlap ribbon and I was on my way.

This bead necklace patriotic wreath took under an hour to pull together and cost me less than $20.  It is a very simple looking wreath but it has a big impact from the street.  Originally, I had considered adding a second layer of beads to cover the wreath more fully.  But, I liked having the white pop through because it felt more rustic to me, for some reason.  I just love how this wreath turned out and it makes me so happy to see it on our door!  
Easy DIY Patriotic 4th of July Wreath

Monday, June 8, 2015

Homemade Peach Butter

Do you ever have peaches sitting around that are about to become too ripe and/or go bad?  No?   Me neither, but I suppose it can happen?  If it does, this recipe is the perfect way to use up those peaches.  And if you never need to find ways to use up peaches, you should consider getting some extra just to make this delightful recipe because it will allow you to enjoy fresh peach flavor all year long! 

I'm talking about Homemade Peach Butter!  

Peach butter is a very misleading name for this recipe, by the way.  There is exactly zero butter in it and it tastes nothing like butter at all.  So, why the butter name?  It's so confusing!  It should be called thickened peach puree or peachsauce (like applesauce, only with peaches) or something.  Who came up with peach butter and who agreed it was a good name? 

Anyway, peach butter is essentially peach jam minus the pectin (also a great name option, if you ask me).  All you do is cook down some peaches add a little sugar to cut the tartness and you're literally done.  So easy to make and you will have peach yumminess for weeks to come!  

Peach butter is perfect served on toast, biscuits, pancakes, crepes, etc. or it can also be used as an ingredient in other things like muffins, cookies, ice cream, or sauces.   If you love peaches or have a peach lover in your home, try this recipe.  I promise you'll love it!
Homemade Peach Butter Recipe

Friday, June 5, 2015

DIY Lace and Ribbon Bridal Shower Invitation

So, my younger sister is getting married and her friends, our older sister and I are working together to plan a bridal shower for her.   We decided to split up the tasks and I took on the job of creating invitations.  This might be one of my very favorite things to do.  Invitations set the stage for the event and are the guests first glimpse of what is to come.  So, I love coming up with creative ways to give guests a small taste of the event while providing them with all the details they need.

For the bridal shower, we decided to go with an antique lace theme with the colors being grey and coral.  I looked around online for inspiration and eventually popped into Michaels to pick up some materials and play around.  I ended up with this simple and elegant invitation.  

DIY Lace and Ribbon Bridal Shower Invitations

 So, here's how I made them:
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