Friday Favorites | No. 4

Friday, January 31, 2014

Can you all believe its Friday already and the last day in January?  This month has flown by. I am not sure I like how fast time is whizzing by, but it has a great month so I really can't complain. I am teaming up with Lauren again to bring you my top five highlights of the week.

1. Monday I started feeling like I was getting something and then by Tuesday morning I was hit head-on with a head cold (no pun intended). I pumped myself up with lots of Vitamin C along with my favorite green juice and by Thursday I was finally feeling back to normal.

2. I ordered some new cookies cutters a couple of weeks ago and finally had time to test some of them out this week. I am officially in love with this cookie cutter shape.

3. I have been trying to find a new hair stylist for over a year now and the past couple of people I have gone to just have not given me the end result that I wanted.  Well, that all changed on Thursday!  Jessica (my new stylist) is so great, knows what she is talking about and really got what I wanted. She highlighted/low lighted my hair to perfection and then finished it off with a great cut that allowed me to keep the length, but give my hair some much needed fullness and movement! You can say I am one happy camper and will definitely be going back to her from now on.

4. My department went out for fro-yo today.  It was sweet way to end the work week.

5. Lastly, my blog is starting to finally come together more and more every day. I am feeling more confident with the new layout/design and have a lot of ideas that will turn into post within the next couple weeks focusing on Valentine's Day, Mardi Gras, St. Patty's Day, and much more!  So be sure to keep checking back for lots of fun ideas and goodies.

How has your week been?

Coconut Banana Bread

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

So I have this thing where I love to buy big bunches of bananas at the grocery store with the intention of eating every last one. Then a week goes by and a few of those perfect yellow bananas have now turned spotted and brown. Bummer right? Wrong! They have now turned into the perfect excuse to make some yummy banana bread. This recipe is so good on its own, but the addition of sweet coconut it takes it to the next level.

Coconut Banana Bread

{yield: 1 loaf}

3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup butter, softened
2 eggs
1 cup or 2 medium mashed ripe bananas
1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 cup chopped walnuts (optional)
1 cup shredded coconut

Preheat oven to 350 degrees and grease the bottom only of a 9x5 or 8x4-inch loaf pan.

In a large mixing bowl, beat the sugar and butter until light and creamy. Add eggs; beat until fully combined.

In a separate bowl, mash the bananas and add to the ingredients in the mixing bowl.

Add a 1/3 cup of milk and teaspoon of vanilla bean paste (or vanilla extract) and beat at a low speed until combined. 

In a small bowl, combine flour, baking soda, salt and chopped nuts; mix well.  Add to the banana mixture and stir just until dry ingredients are moistened.  Lastly, fold in the cup of shredded coconut. 

Pour batter into greased loaf pan and bake for 50 to 60 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean from the center of the loaf. 

 Allow to cool for 5 minutes, then remove from pan to let cool on wire rack for roughly an hour before enjoying.

When cool enjoy a slice or two for breakfast with a cup of coffee and you will be sure to start your day off on the right foot!

Bread adapted from Pillsbury Best Muffins & Quick Breads Cookbook

Friday Favorites | No. 3

Friday, January 24, 2014

Happy Friday!  It's been a good week and didn't hurt that is was only a 4-day work week at that!  Now a look back at my five favorite moments from this week.

1. Winter finally made an appearance in South Florida.  And by winter, I mean temperatures lower than 75 degrees.  I have been able to wear scarfs to actually keep me warm and not just for fashion purposes.  I have really enjoyed it. 

2. On Sunday afternoon, my mom and I went for an awesome bike ride at Bill Baggs Cape Florida State Park on Key Biscayne.  The weather was simply amazing and we explored the island on beach cruisers along one of their bike trails.  It was a perfect way to spend a Sunday afternoon.

3. Sunflowers are my ultimate favorite and Tim bought me a bunch to go in my new crystal vase that I received from my grandparents as a birthday gift.  

4.  This sunset on Tuesday just made me happy.

5. A few months ago someone hit my car in a little fender-bender and had to send my car in for a repair this last week.  I was given a rental car to use and it was nice, but got my car back yesterday and man did I miss Henry! (That's my car's name.  Does anyone else name their cars!?) It just makes me happy to have him back and looking brand spanking new!

How was your week?

Sweet & Salty Cookies

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Super Bowl Sunday is just around the corner and the most exciting part isn't about the game or commercials...its the food!  Watch parties always have lots of yummy munchies to snack on and if you are looking for the perfect salty and sweet treat to serve your guest during the big game, then you have come to the right place.  Chocolate chips, peanuts, chocolate covered pretzels and crunchy potato chips make up this delicious and simple to make cookie.

Sweet & Salty Chocolate Chip Cookies

{yield: 30 cookies}

2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste
2 large eggs
12 oz. of chocolate chips
2 cups coarsely chopped rippled potato chips
1 cup coarsely chopped chocolate covered pretzel twists
1/2 unsalted peanuts

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

Beat the butter, sugars, and vanilla bean paste until creamy.   Then add one egg at a time and making sure to combine fully after each addition.

In a separate bowl combine the flour, salt and baking soda and combine.  Next coarsely chop pretzels and ripple chips; set aside.

Add the flour mixture gradually to the wet ingredients until combined.  Then mix in gently by hand the chocolate chips, peanuts, pretzels, and rippled potato chips.

Using a cookie scoop, place rounded tablespoons of cookie dough onto a ungreased baking sheet and bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until golden brown.  Allow to cool on baking sheet for roughly 2 minutes before transferring onto a wire rack to cool completely.  That's if you can wait that long...

Make this cookie the day of your Super Bowl party or for any occasion that your are in a mood for something salty and sweet.  Enjoy!

Cookie adapted from VeryBestBaking

Friday Favorites - Birthday Edition

Friday, January 10, 2014

What up!  It has sure been a while, but with it being a new year and a clean slate I thought it was the perfect time to start blogging again.  Today I turn 26 and I feel really good about it!  I am in such a happy place with my career and life right now and cant wait to see what this year has in store for me!   Today I am linking up with one of my favorite bloggers Lauren and sharing my top five moments of the week.

1.  I am so in love with my new wiener dog scarf that my boyfriend Tim gave as an early birthday gift.   It arrived just in time for the "chilly" (and by chilly I mean in the low 50's) weather we had down here in Miami.

2.  I started back up at The Bar Method and was exhausting, yet energizing at the same time.  I am so happy to be able to get back to my normal workout routine now that the holiday season is over!  (Plus I got a pair of free socks for my birthday!!!!)  If you have not heard of the Bar Method, it's time you checked it out.  You will spend 60 minutes tucking, shaking, stretching and leave the class wanting to come back immediately! 

3.  Crafting is something that I really enjoy doing, but have not had a lot of time to do so in the past couple of months.  Exploring on Instagram and Pinterest I have seen a lot of shops selling tissue paper tassel garlands for $30 and up to $60 each.  Not willing to spend that much money on tissue paper (I mean its tissue paper), I decided to give making one a shot on Saturday night.  It was so easy and I ended up with an adorable pink, white and gold tassel garland for my new office at work and all for under $10.  Happy Birthday to me!

4.  I received my annual email from Starbucks letting me know that my free birthday drink or food item was available starting today.  On my way to work, I stopped in and picked up a grande caramel macchiato and received a little message on my cup that helped start my birthday off on a great foot!  p.s. you can see the finished tassel garland I have up in my office in the background. 

5.  Its the small things...but Google's search page today had birthday cake theme.  I went to see what it was about and "Happy Birthday Katie!" popped up!  It was a pretty cool little surprise and I definitely was not expecting.  Technology is a pretty cool thing :)

Also, my mom is pretty amazing.  She has made my birthday cake every year and it is something that I always look forward to.  This year she surprised me with my favorite flavor raspberry and made a multi-layer vanilla raspberry cake...yumm is all that I can say!

So that is it!  My top 5 or I guess 6 from this week leading up to my birthday today!  How has your week been?
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