Friday Faves

photo-122 {latte art}

Happy Good Friday! What are your plans for the weekend? I’m excited to spend Easter with my nephew/Godson and my new baby niece – the first Easter for both of them (wait until you see their outfits!!). I have some holiday baking to do tomorrow, and I need to find something to wear to mass and brunch on Sunday. What I won’t be doing: watching the Zags play (sob!). Wishing everyone a wonderful sunny weekend – hope this weather holds up! Some fun links and pics:

  • I’m making this for easter brunch, yum!
  • Tips from female entrepreneurs
  • Spring makeup refresher
  • I love a good grammar update (I’m guilty of #14 – I know it’s wrong but I say it anyway)
  • Another yummy Smitten Kitchen easter treat from the B&B archives

photo-120{spring flowers}

photo-119{so many sprinkles}

photo-121{packing up my gbs in my new special tote – comes in handier than you might think}

photo 3-19{easter baskets for the babies}

photo 1-40{Harper’s looks a lot like Coop’s from last year, except in pink and with a couple bows too. basket and liner from pottery barn, serena & lily blanket (no longer available in pink, good thing I ordered this one long before she was born!), hanna anderson sleeper (similar here), bunnies by the bay lovey and rattle, life factory bottle, baby bling bows (and one I got at a boutique, but similar here), rattle, board books.

photo-114{and I still had to do one for my favorite little guy – same basket as last year, but this year he has his name on it! basket, liner (similar here), cup and plate from pottery barn, hanna sleeper, bottle, eggs with puffs (thanks, pinterest!), big “buddy” bunny from bunnies by the bay, pull-tab book, wooden toy.

Coconut Bourbon Banana Bread

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I’m pretty sure that were this a legitimate food blog, the kind with paid advertisements and readership beyond friends and family and the odd instagram or pinterest searcher, I would have posts scheduled months in advance and planned to coincide with seasons and holidays. Instead, I’m realizing as I sit down to post this banana bread that Easter is in three days and I should probably be sharing a delicious brunch recipe. Not that you couldn’t serve this for Easter (because you definitely could), but it’s more of a it’s-raining-outside-and-I-have-rotting-bananas-sitting-on-my-counter-and-I’m-in-a-baking-mood activity than a holiday centerpiece. Luckily for all of you, I have no paid advertisers and am not that organized – so despite my best intentions I end up posting whatever I want, whenever I want. For example, I made this banana bread last fall (as evidenced by my dark red nail polish) and meant to post it back then, but it somehow got buried in my drafts folder. And when I discovered it there last night I decided I might as well just post it today. Though it may be sunny now, we all know the rain will be back soon enough. So even if you don’t make this between now and Sunday morning, bookmark it for the next gray day that coincides with rotting bananas.

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Deb has a “healthy” banana bread recipe on her site, which I’ve made quite a few times since she posted it two and a half years ago. I had been avoiding trying this one for fear I wouldn’t be able to go back – the healthy one is divine while still letting you feel at least a little healthy, so why introduce a richer version that makes no apologies for it’s butter and bourbon?  But with a bottle of Knob Creek calling my name from the pantry one afternoon, I decided to mix things up a little bit. I’m not sorry I did, because this one is really freaking good.  And while I’ll still use the healthy version most of the time, it’s never a bad idea to have something a little more exciting in your repertoire.

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One of my favorite things about Deb, besides the fact that I can always count on her recipes to be delicious, is that she writes them with the goal of using as few dishes as possible.  This is one-bowl banana bread (two, I suppose, if you count the pan or bowl you use to melt the butter): you just mash the bananas in your mixing bowl and then stir the other ingredients in. I added a cup of unsweetened coconut in at the end and I thought it made the bread even more amazing – but if you’re not a coconut fan or don’t have any on hand it would be equally yummy without it. You could also add chocolate chips (with or without the coconut), or crushed pineapple (also with or without the coconut, but probably not with the chocolate), or anything else you can dream up. But whatever you do, don’t leave out the bourbon.

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One year ago: Miraval’s Arugula Salad with Honey Mustard Vinaigrette 
Two years ago: Jamie Oliver’s Eggplant Parmesan

Coconut Bourbon Banana Bread, (adapted) from Smitten Kitchen

3-4 ripe bananas
1/3 cup salted butter, melted
3/4 cup light brown sugar (or up to one cup if you prefer your banana bread extra sweet)
1 egg, beaten
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 tablespoon bourbon (optional but highly recommended)
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
Pinch of ground cloves
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch of salt
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup coconut (optional; ideally unsweetened)

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and butter (or oil or spray) a 8″x4″ loaf pan. Mash your bananas in a large mixing bowl and stir in the melted butter. Add sugar, then egg, then vanilla and bourbon, and then the spices.  Sprinkle the salt and baking soda over the mixture and stir to combine. Mix in the flour, and then the coconut (if using). Pour batter into prepared pan and bake for 50-60 minutes, or until a tester comes out clean (mine always seem to take the full hour if not longer; if you use mini loaf pans start checking them at 40 minutes).

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Friday Faves

photo-116 {cherry trees in bloom}

Happy March Madness Friday! What are you up to this weekend? My plans hinge on the Zags winning tonight (so nervous!!!) and then their game time on Sunday.  We’ve been having amazing weather lately so hopefully I’ll be able to enjoy it tomorrow at least, if it holds up. It feels more like May than March! Some links and pics to get you through the work day – which I hope is ending early so that you can watch the games! TGIF!

photo 2-37 {go zags! blue friday, cherish, joy}

photo-117 {mimosa carafe at my cousin jen’s baby shower last weekend}

photo 3-20 {new favorite mascara}

photo-115 {what do your niece and nephew wear when one needs to grow into her zag gear and one has grown out of all of his? make your own! (now the only issue will be getting them together for a photo shoot)}

Friday Faves

photo 1-41{happy first day of spring!}

Happy Friday, friends! What are you up to this weekend? Besides watching basketball nonstop from now until Sunday night, that is. My brackets are already busted, but I’m so excited for the Zags that I don’t really care that much.  I’m also looking forward to showering my cousin Jennifer and my little cous-niece on the way tomorrow, and then a bon voyage party for a very dear friend who’s moving to Amsterdam (!!!) tomorrow night. Good things the Zags play tonight and Sunday! Wishing everyone a lovely weekend. Some fun links and pics from the week:

photo 2-34{table full of cookbooks at Sesame & Lilies in Cannon Beach}

photo 1-39{“wiltless” glassbaby trio: sweet pea, peony, poppy}

photo 2-35 {adorable little treat bar at my new favorite salon (where they also serve free wine!)}

10406367_674178919375541_7180681802310643910_n {how sweet is baby harper?!?}

St. Patty’s Day Faves

photo 2-32 {elf (because I don’t have lucky), hope, shine}

Happy St. Patty’s Day!! This was supposed to be a Friday Faves post last week, but of course I didn’t have my act together so it’s a Tuesday Faves this week.  I hope everyone has fun plans for the holiday, which is one of my favorites! I’m excited to put together an outfit this morning, and treat myself to a green beer or two tonight. Some fun thematic links and pics in the meantime:

  • Homemade Mint Milanos – yes please!
  • So sad I didn’t think ahead and make this this year – bookmarking for SPD 2016!
  • If only I had known Harper would be here by now, I would have ordered this for her.
  • I pinned these biscuits years ago and have yet to make them – also on next year’s to do list.
  • One of my very favorite B&B posts.

photo 1-38{and because I’m a complete glassybaby nerd: a pot of gold at the end of the rainbow!
everlasting, pumpkin, taxi, grass, blue bird, sweet pea, grace}

photo 2-30 {St. Patty’s Day cookie fun (with stencils!)}

photo 3-18{gorgeous greens}

photo 1-36 {and presents for the babies! books, bottles, hat (Coop’s dad is a C’s fan), bow}

My Favorite Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies

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I first discovered this recipe almost three years ago, when Emily first posted it, and I’ve been making it for every chocolate-chip-cookie-appropriate occasion since. I haven’t posted it until now, however, as I wasn’t entirely sure this blog needed another chocolate chip cookie recipe – it’s fourth in two years, which is a pretty high ratio, especially considering (a) I have a long list of “to make for blog” recipes, and (b) I don’t even like chocolate chip cookies that much.  Don’t get me wrong, I still eat them, but I would much prefer snickerdoodle or peanut butter over plain old boring chocolate chip any day. These cookies aren’t plain old boring chocolate chip, though, which I was reminded when I made them for baby Harper’s doctors and nurses a couple weeks ago and everyone got really excited about them.

When my nephew was born last summer, he made his debut via a scheduled induction over a week after his due date.  Those post-due-date days of waiting impatiently gave me plenty of time to whip up a double batch of sugar cookie dough, roll out what felt like a million “onesie” cookies, bake them, frost them, decorate them, and freeze them.  I took them out of the freezer the morning my sister was induced, wrapped them all up in cellophane bags and tied them with blue ribbon, and delivered them to her hospital room about an hour after she was admitted.  While of course at the time she rolled her eyes, she appreciated me later when the anesthesiologist made several trips back to her room for more cookies, topping off her epidural each time.

Baby Harper didn’t give me enough time for royal icing, so these cookies were a perfect fall back plan.  She had given us a few signs that she might be early, so a couple weeks before her due date I made a batch of this dough, rolled the dough into balls, and froze them. And I’m so glad I did, because when my brother called me at 7 am on the day my sister-in-law hit 39 weeks to tell me they were heading to the hospital, all I had to do was pop them in the oven. So while they didn’t make it to the hospital quite in time for pre-birth special treatment, I’d like to think that the nurses took extra good care of her once she arrived.

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But I digress. What you’re probably more interested in is why these chocolate chip cookies are that much better than your average chocolate chip cookie. The blog post they originated from lists seven reasons – it explains them in greater detail than I will, but the cliffs notes version is: (1) mixture of cake and bread flours – not sure why but it seems to really make a difference; (2) chilling the dough; (3) room temperature ingredients; (4) size of cookie (the bigger the better!); (5) good quality chocolate; (6) salt (my favorite part by far); and (7) don’t overbake them. The recipe tells you to let all ingredients come to room temperature, and then once you’ve made the dough to let it rest in the fridge for 24-72 hours (ideally 36), and then still to wait to eat them until the day after you bake them….so if you’re going to follow all of those steps it really requires some planning.  I’ve done it that way and they are amazing, but I’ve also done it with eggs straight from the fridge and only a few hours of chilling and they still turn out delicious.

My only other note: I’ve had really good luck freezing these cookies, either baked or unbaked. If I’m going to freeze them unbaked, I let the dough chill in the fridge for as much time as I have – anywhere from 4 to 72 hours (I feel like I should do at least 4; the original recipe says 72 max) and then scoop it into balls and place the balls on a parchment lined cookie sheet as though I was going to bake them (I sprinkle the salt on at this point too). I freeze the salted dough on the cookie sheets until firm, and then place the frozen unbaked cookies in a freezer-safe storage bag. I’ll often make a batch when I’m bringing dinner to friends with a new baby, and I’ll bake a dozen to deliver ready to eat and then include a bag or two of frozen unbaked cookies for them to bake later – the gift that keeps on giving!

photo 1-8 photo-53 photo 2 Chocolate Chip Cookies, previously: oatmeal coconut, pumpkin, s’more

Salted Chocolate Chip Cookies, from For Me, For You via Cupcakes and Cashmere

Yield: 2-3 dozen cookies, depending upon size

2 cups minus 2 tablespoons cake flour
1 2/3 cups bread flour
1 ¼ teaspoons baking soda
1 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 ½ teaspoons coarse salt, such as kosher
2 ½ sticks (1 ¼ cups) unsalted butter, softened
1 ¼ cups light brown sugar
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 large eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 ¼ pounds bittersweet chocolate chips or chunks, preferably about 60% cacao content, such as Ghirardelli
Sea salt or kosher salt for garnishing

Combine flours, baking soda, baking powder, and salt in a bowl. Whisk and set aside. Using a mixer fitted with paddle attachment, cream butter and sugars until very light and fluffy, about 3 to 5 minutes. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each addition. Mix in the vanilla. Scrape down the sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula as needed. Reduce the mixer speed to low; then add dry ingredients, and mix until just combined. Add the chocolate chips, and mix briefly to incorporate. Press plastic wrap against the dough, and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. The dough may be used in batches, and can be refrigerated for up to 72 hours.

When you’re ready to bake, preheat oven to 350°F. Remove the bowl of dough from the refrigerator, and allow it to soften slightly. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or a nonstick baking mat. Using a standard-size ice cream scoop (or a large tablespoon), scoop six mounds of dough onto the baking sheet, making sure to space them evenly. Sprinkle lightly with sea salt, and bake until golden brown but still soft, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer the baking sheet to a wire rack for 10 minutes, then transfer the cookies onto the rack to cool a bit more.

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Friday Faves

photo 2-31 {two weeks until spring!}

Happy Friday, friends! Two blog posts in one week, can you believe it? Let’s see if I can keep it up for the month of March. St. Patty’s Day, March Madness, a new baby niece….so much material, how could I not? That’s right – I’m officially an auntie times two! Little Harper Elizabeth joined us on Wednesday, a week early (so I hope she didn’t expect her blanket to be finished!). She’s pretty perfect…and so tiny!

What are you up to this weekend? Something fun I hope! I’m heading out of town tonight (sadly, not to Vegas for the WCC tournament), and I’ll be frantically trying to finish up Harper’s blanket on my flight.  Wishing you a wonderful weekend. Go Zags! Some fun links and pics from the week:

photo 1-35 {I gave my friend Lindsay the “single malt” glassybaby drinker for her birthday and she sent me this picture ~ almost makes me want to start drinking bourbon}

photo 1-37 {this new “adjustable” rolling pin has changed my life – or at least, my cookies}

photo 2-29 {lemon ricotta pancake at Tallulah’s with my friend Jessie, right before we both started our diets healthy eating lifestyles in preparation for her wedding in Hawaii in May}

photo-97 {One of my favorite things that I did for Coop, so I had to do it for Harper as well.  She’s going to be a sporty little gal if her dad has anything to say about it! Rattles from Land of Nod, burp cloths from Swaddle Designs.}