Friday Favorites | No. 36

Friday, August 24, 2018

Happy Friday everyone!  This week has been a whirlwind at work; I honestly can't believe that it is already the weekend.  Between meetings, playing sock wars (dodgeball with socks), late nights at work, celebrating the end of a great summer with friends and getting my hair done... it has been a really good, full week.

On Monday evening I grabbed a few drinks with friends from work.  I had a really good frozĂ© and it inspired me to make it at home.

I want need these earrings for fall!

I am a big fan of the TV show Younger and I just found out that Marriage Vacation, a book that is published on the show, has actually been published in real life.  Looks like a really fun, easy read and I can't wait to get my hands on it find out whats on page 58!

Lemon, ricotta and almond...sign me up!

I am thinking about getting this to help keep my hair smooth and frizz-free so that when I wake up in the morning I'll just have a few touch-ups instead of having to do a full restyle.

My job requires A LOT of time in front of a computer screen and I have been noticing lately that I am getting headaches at the end of a long day.  I am going give these or these a try to see if that helps reduce the strain on my eyes and headaches.

What are some of your favorites from the week and also let me know if you have tried any of the recipes or items from above in the comments below?  Have a great weekend!

Brownie Pie

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Stop what you are doing and head to the need to this make brownie pie ASAP!  This recipe is simple to make, contain lots of chocolate and a flaky pie crust.  What's not to like about that?!

I came across this recipe that combines brownies and pie (my favorite dessert) while flipping through Joanna Gaines Magnolia Table cookbook last week.  I made Joanna's lemon pie about a month ago and it did not disappoint, so I had a pretty good feeling this pie would be another winner.

And guess what?  I was right!  The brownie is rich with chocolate, moist in the middle, has that perfect light crust on top and is all wrapped up in a flaky and buttery pie crust.  I dare you to take just one bite and tell me it isn't amazing!

Brownie Pie
{yields: 8 servings}

8 tbsps. salted butter
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 unbaked store-bought 9-inch deep dish pie crust
powdered sugar

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.  Then heat the butter and unsweetened chocolate in a saucepan over low heat, stirring until melted and smooth.  Remove the pan from the heat and whisk in the sugar until smooth.  Pour into a medium bowl and set aside to cool for 10 minutes.

While the chocolate mixture cools, like your 9-inch pie plate with the unbaked pie crust and set aside.

After 10 minutes, whisk in the eggs one at a time, then follow with the flour, vanilla bean paste and Kosher salt.  Lastly, fold in the chocolate chips and pour into the pie crust.  Bake for 45 minutes to an hour or until a cake tester inserted into the pie comes out clean.

Allow the pie to cool on a wire rack for an hour.  Before serving, dust the top of the pie with powdered sugar.  This brownie pie is fantastic on its own, but would also be great with some fresh whipped cream or ice cream!  If you have leftovers, store at room temperature for up to 2 days.


Getting Back on the Fitness Train

Monday, August 20, 2018

I like working out.  Would I say I love it?  No, but I really do enjoy a good workout and all the amazing benefits and endorphins that come with it!  This summer has been full of vacation, work trips, girls weekends, and a whole lot of other stuff.  I found it really hard to stick to my normal workout routine, lost motivation and I fell off the fitness train.

Last week I finally felt like life was starting to get back to normal and I decided it was time to get back to working out.  So in an effort to get back into shape and feeling good, I have starting to set myself up for success by doing a few simple things and thought I would share them with you in case you are needing a little motivation too.

1.  Have the right workout clothes and shoes.  I hate nothing more than having my pants slip down while working out.  It is the absolute worst!  A couple of years ago I found the Align Pant II from Lululemon and since then they have been my go-to pants for exercise.  They are super lightweight, high-waisted and just feel like you are wearing a cloud.  If you haven't tried them, I highly suggest you do!  Under Armour and ASICS are my two favorite shoes for running.  I have an older version of these from UA and love how lightweight and breathable they are.  These from ASICS come in some amazing color options and are super comfortable.  Also, these hair bands are the best and keep my ponytail in place!

2.  Find a time that works for you.  I have found that if I do not work out in the mornings before work, that I come up with numerous excuses throughout the day as to why I won't be able to do it later.  Waking up at 5:30 AM for my workout isn't always easy, but man it feels good to know that I got it done and am ready to take on the day.  5:30 AM might not work for you and that is okay!  Find a time that works best for you and set your alarm or a reoccurring calendar request to help keep you accountable!

3.  Use an app or online classes that you can do at home.  I have been a member of Tone It Up since 2016 and love their workout videos and daily moves.  Every day a different part of the body is targeted so you never get bored and they outline everything you need to be successful at that specific workout.  Last year they released an app called Studio Tone It Up and its awesome!  For a yearly or monthly fee, you have access to 100s of workout videos and live classes with new content being uploaded weekly.  You can also mirror the workouts to your TV using an Apple TV or Google Chromecast which makes working out at home super easy!  And if you need workout equipment, TIU workout gear can be found at Target at pretty reasonable prices.

4.  Have music and good earphones.  I cannot run without listening to music.  Anyone else with me?!  Spotify is the best digital music service that I have used and with the monthly paid membership fee of $9.99, you have access to millions of songs with no commercials.  You can also create playlists or listen to premade ones that Spotify has.  Its a win-win in my book!  Also, it is a must for me to have wireless poor iPhone has flown off a treadmill more times than I would like to admit when using corded headphones and the cord always got in the way when lifting weights.  I purchased these wireless earphones early this year and love them.  They stay put while running/lifting weights and the sound quality is great!

These are just some of my ways to stay on track and be successful.  What are some ways that help you stay motivated and on track?  Let me know in the comments below!

Friday Favorites | No. 35

Friday, August 17, 2018

Happy Friday everyone!  Summer is winding down for me as school starts back up in a week....where has the time gone?

This weekend I plan to workout in the mornings, hang with friends at the park or beach and rest up for a super busy week ahead.

I plan on doing a little baking weekend and if you planning on doing the same I suggest you try this, this and/or this!

I love Henry Bendel and this backpack makes my preppy heart go a flutter.

This salad looks so delicious and refreshing.

Love the mix of patterns on this bed for fall!  Looks so cozy and I want to jump right in.

Recently a law was passed in Malibu that has banned all plastic straws and cutlery which is awesome!  Now restaurants are providing paper straws, but to be honest, they suck for drinking.  So I have decided to take matters into my own hands and will be ordering these so I don't have to use paper any longer and will still be helping the environment!

I ordered this dress and absolutely love it.  The price is also so on point!

What are some of your favorites from this week?  Let me know in the comments below I and hope you all have a fantastic weekend!

Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Buttercream

Monday, August 13, 2018

What's a young, single girl to do when she has a free Saturday evening?  You guessed it, make a cake!  And with nothing to celebrate, I decided to head into the kitchen and make one of my family's favorites.  Who says you need a celebration to make a cake?!

To me, you can never go wrong with a classic yellow cake and chocolate buttercream frosting combo.  And after bringing this cake into work that next Monday, I learned that a majority of my coworkers feel the exact same way that I do!  This cake is so light and moist that you could eat it on its own.  But trust me, don't skip out on the rich and buttery chocolate buttercream.  It really is the frosting on the cake, if you know what I'm saying haha!

I suggest you make this cake for your next big celebration or be like me and make the cake, just because.  Enjoy!

Yellow Butter Cake with Chocolate Buttercream
{yields: 12 servings}

2 cups all-purpose flour
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1/4 tsp. Kosher salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened
1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
3 eggs
2 tsp. vanilla bean paste
3/4 cup milk
1/2 cup sour cream

1 1/2 cups unsalted butter, softened
3 cups powdered sugar
3/4 cup unsweetened baking cocoa
2 tbsp. milk
1 tsp. vanilla bean paste

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and then grease the bottom and sides of two (8-inch) round cake pans with butter and then lightly flour.  In a small bowl, mix the flour, baking powder, and Kosher salt until combined and set aside.

Using a  stand-up mixer, beat the butter and granulated sugar on medium speed, scraping down the sides of the bowl occasionally for about 2 minutes, or until light and fluffy.  Beat in the eggs one at a time, just until smooth and then stir in two teaspoons of vanilla bean paste.

On low speed, beat the flour mixture in with the butter/sugar mixture alternately with the milk, beating well after each addition until smooth.  Scrape down the sides of the bowl occasionally to make sure all of the flour mixture is combined.  Lastly, beat in the sour cream and then pour the batter into the prepared cake pans evenly.  Tap the pans on the counter two to three times to eliminate any air bubble from the batter.

Place into the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean.  Allow the cake to cool in the pans for 10 minutes before removing and allowing to cool completely on cooling racks.  The cakes should cool for about an hour before frosting.

Using your stand-up mixer, mix the butter, sugar, vanilla, milk, and cocoa on slow speed until just combined.  Then increase the speed to medium and beat the mixture until smooth and spreadable.

Place the first layer of cake down on a plate and spread 1 cup of frosting evenly over it.  Place the second layer of cake on top of the first and frost the top and sides of the cake with the remaining frosting.  If not serving right away, store the cake loosely covered at room temperature for two to three days.

Recipe from Betty Crocker.

Friday Favorites | No. 34

Friday, August 10, 2018

Whoop whoop its Friday!  I don't know about you, but this week just flewwwwww by.  I actually forgot that today was even Friday.  I have no major plans this weekend, but I am totally okay with that.  Sometimes you just need a few days to recharge and relax!

Today is national s'mores day and to celebrate you should make this super easy and yummy pie from my blog a few years ago.

If you are ever in Malibu check out Caffe Luxxe.  Their coffee is amazing.  They celebrated their 12th birthday on Wednesday by giving away free cappuccinos and Americanos to customers!  It was the perfect mid-day/mid-week treat.

I picked up this beautifully patterned dress a few weeks ago and I couldn't believe that it was under $50.00.

I want to make a salad ASAP using this dressing!

Fall is right around the corner and I cannot wait to eat all things pumpkin spice! #PSL4Life  Starbucks is releasing these PSL flavored items in a few weeks and boy do they sound amazing!

And speaking of fall, I feel like I really need this mug, candle, and super cute sweatshirt.

This family room/kitchen design coastal perfection!

Le Pen pens are my absolute favorite in the world.  They just released a pastel collection and I am obsessed with all of the colors!

Have a great weekend everyone!

Millionaire's Shortbread

Thursday, August 2, 2018

Shortbread is one of my favorite cookies.  I just love how buttery and light they are!  You can keep them super simple or jazz them up...the options are really endless.  My mom also loves shortbread and when we were in Scotland this past summer, the home of shortbread, we sampled quite a few different variations and were in heaven!

Our favorite shortbread that we tried was called Millionaire's Shortbread and after the first bite, I was hooked and knew that I had to share these little gems with all of you.

This recipe is a perfect replica of the Millionaire's Shortbread my mom and I had and it brought me right back to Scotland!  The buttery cookie, chewy homemade caramel made with Lyle's Golden Syrup, and thick chocolate are decadently rich and live up perfectly to their name!

Millionaire's Shortbread
{yields: 32 bars}

Shortbread Layer:
12 tbsp. unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt

Caramel Layer:
1-14 ounce can sweetened condensed milk
4 tbsp. unsalted butter
2 tbsp. Lyle's Golden Syrup or light corn syrup
1/2 tsp. Kosher salt
1/2 tsp. vanilla bean extract

Chocolate Layer:
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped

Preheat your oven to 325 degrees.  Then line an 8-inch square baking pan with parchment paper, leaving a 2-inch overhang on two sides.  In a large bowl, beat together butter and sugar with an electric mixer on medium speed until fluffy for about 2 minutes.

Add the flour and Kosher salt and beat on low just until the mixture is evenly combined and the texture is like coarse sand.

Pour the mixture into the prepared pan and press down firmly into an even layer.  Bake the shortbread until the top is dry and light golden brown.  This should take about 30 to 35 minutes.  Then transfer the pan to a wire rack cool.

To make the caramel layer, combine the sweetened condensed milk, butter, Golden Syrup and Kosher salt in a medium saucepan with an instant-read thermometer attached to the side.  Cook the mixture over medium heat, stirring constantly with a heatproof spatula until it has thickened and changed from a milky yellow color to a butterscotch pudding color.  This process takes about 10 to 20 minutes.  The temperature should read 220 to 225 degrees.  Adjust the heat as necessary to keep the bottom of the pan from scorching.  Stir in the vanilla bean extract in and then immediately pour the caramel over the baked shortbread and spread it into an even layer.

Prepare the chocolate for the topping by melting it using a double boiler stirring often or in the microwave in short bursts.  If using the microwave, I suggest stirring every 15 to 30 seconds.  Once melted, spread the chocolate in an even layer over the caramel.

Chill the chocolate until set, about 30 minutes to an hour in the fridge.  To serve, cut the parchment-free sides away from the pan with a sharp knife and then transfer the shortbread to a cutting board.  Cut into 32 small bars and enjoy!

Recipe from New York Times
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