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Wednesday, July 31, 2013

recipe: peach coffee cake

If I had to pick a favorite fruit, peaches would probably be it! Of course, fresh peaches are one of my favorite things about summer time! After getting a box of Colorado peaches, from the farmer's market, I wanted to try something new with some of them and I decided on coffee cake... I couldn't be happier with how this turned out! 
This is the perfect breakfast or dessert!! :)

Peach Coffee Cake

1 cup all-purpose flour
½ cup sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
½ teaspoon salt
1 egg
½ cup milk
2 tablespoons butter, melted
1½ cups peaches, cut into small chunks

For the topping…
½ cup all-purpose flour
½ cup brown sugar
¼ cup cold butter
¼ cup chopped almond slices (or other nuts)

In a bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder and salt. In a mixing bowl, beat egg, milk and melted butter. Stir in the dry ingredients just until moistened. Gently stir in the peaches. Pour batter into a greased and floured cast-iron skillet or an 8-inch square baking dish.

For topping, combine flour and sugar in a bowl; cut in butter until crumbly. Work the ingredients with a fork or your fingers until it is combined and crumbly. Stir in almonds (or other nuts) if you’d like; and sprinkle the topping evenly on the batter.

Bake at 375 degrees for 30-35 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Monday, July 29, 2013

farmer's market & a vintage photo booth...

These photos are from last weekend's fun day-trip to Colorado Springs!! These little trips are one of my favorite things... There are so many fun & unique places to go in the Springs. We started off the day by going to a couple of farmer's markets... we got local honey, zucchini, tomatoes, cantaloupe & even homemade lemon-chive pasta. A couple days later I used the pasta, with the tomatoes, zucchini & chicken, in a lemon & pesto sauce... It was such a perfect dinner!!! We also got a big box of Colorado peaches... they were a little over-ripe, but we froze some, made two yummy pies & a peach coffee cake, which turned out so good! (I will be sharing that recipe this week.)

After the farmer's market, we went to the Penny Arcade in Manitou Springs. This is one of my favorite unique places to go! They have a ton of vintage arcade games... skee ball is my favorite!! They also have a really fun vintage photo booth that I had been wanting to try out. My mom, sister & I were quite cramped in there, which made the photos even more hilarious! But it was really fun and I am happy to have these photo strips now! Of course, there is also a lot of shopping... while we were there I even found a perfect turquoise ring, just like what I have been wanting! It's a perfect place to visit if you are in Colorado.

I am so thankful for summer memories like these!!  :)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

recipe: strawberry fluff

This is a favorite recipe that I have been meaning to share for a while. It is super easy & so good, especially if you love strawberries! It is a cool & lite dessert that is so perfect for hot summer days!!

Strawberry Fluff

1 pack Strawberry Jello
1 pack Instant Vanilla Pudding
1 1/2 cups Cold Water
2 quarts Strawberries
1 large tub of Lite Cool Whip

Combine the strawberry jello & the vanilla pudding in a medium sauce pan. Whisk in the water. 
On the stove top, bring this mixture to a boil & allow it to boil for 4 minutes.
Take off the heat, place a lid on the pan & allow the mixture to cool completely, stirring occasionally.
Cut strawberries into bite-sized pieces and set aside.
Once the jello mixture is completely cooled, pour it into a large bowl (with a lid).
Stir in the strawberries. Then gently fold in the Cool Whip, until it is all combined.
Put the lid on the bowl and place it in the refrigerator for at least a few hours before serving.
This is must be served chilled, so keep it refrigerated.

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

inspired by: oana befort

Fawn and Flora ~ work in progress from Oana Befort on Vimeo.

I watched this amazing video by Oana Befort this morning & instantly felt inspired!! So, I had to share it.
Seeing the process of her beautiful deer & flower watercolor appear right before your eyes is pretty magical! I love to watch the lines go on to the page so smoothly & to see the colors fill in the illustration. The way she does this makes it look so easy... even though I know it's not!! I love all of her work! She is a very talented artist!

Thursday, July 11, 2013

recipe: the best chocolate cookies ever.


I was watching an episode of The Pioneer Woman & I saw Ree making these amazing chocolate cookies... Immediately I knew I had to try out the recipe for myself!! And I am so glad I did!
These are the perfect chocolate cookies. They are somewhere between a cookie & a gooey brownie. They are made with a lot of cocoa, so they are very chocolatey, plus they have a perfect balance of dark & white chocolate chips. It doesn't get much better than triple chocolate!!! These cookies quickly became a favorite... My uncle said they are the best cookies he has ever had & my brother has already requested that I make them again! 
And I do plan to make them again (& again....)!!!!

Triple Chocolate Cookies

2 ½ sticks Butter, Softened
2 cups Sugar
2 whole Eggs
3 teaspoons Vanilla Extract
2 cups Flour
¾ cups Cocoa Powder
1½ teaspoon Baking Soda
1 teaspoon Salt
1½ cup Dark Chocolate Chips
1½ cups  White Chocolate Chips

Preheat oven to 350°F.
 Using a mixer, cream butter and sugar until fluffy, scraping the sides.
Add eggs one at a time, mixing after each addition. Mix in vanilla.
Sift together dry ingredients, then add in batches to the mixer, mixing until just combined after each addition.
Gently blend in the chocolate chips and white chocolate chips.
Using a cookie scoop, add 1 tablespoon portions to baking sheet. Dot the top of each cookie with 3 white chocolate chips if you'd like them to really show up on top. Bake for 9 to 11 minutes or until cookies are barely done but still soft and chewy.
Let cool on a baking rack.

* *  Here are a few of my personal changes to the recipe  * *
I only used 2 sticks of butter instead of the 2 ½ that she called for and I don’t think it hurt them one bit.
 I used 1 cup white sugar & 1 cup brown sugar, instead of 2 cups white, because I like brown sugar in cookies. 
Also, I added a bit more salt than it called for, because chocolate & salt is my favorite combo! 

4th of july + more from lately...

A few things...

1. On the 4th we had our usual family BBQ... lots of great food & fun! I think the highlight of the day was when my little cousin, who is 2 and a half, tried to start a water fight by spraying my mom & grandma with the hose!! We all of a sudden heard screams & laughter, looked out on the deck & little Ren had a smile on her face & the hose in her hands. It took my mom & grandma completely by surprise. Such a silly girl! Due to the drought & fires in my area, all fireworks were banned... but we were able to go watch the "big fireworks" put on for the community. Overall, it was a great day!

2. I think, my favorite thing about summer time is spending mornings on the deck! I love to be out there when there is still shade covering the swing, before it starts getting hot. The birds are always singing & the morning air always feels so refreshing!! It is a perfect way to start the day.

3. Another favorite thing about summer is wearing sandals. This summer I have been adding to my collection... Haha! 
I found such a great pair at Old Navy (the tan/yellow & tan/black ones pictured above). I love the way the straps cross over & they are super comfortable. When you find sandals that you love, you have to buy more than one pair!

4. I have an amazing chocolate cookie recipe to share soon. Best. Chocolate. Cookies. Ever!!

5. Currently I am doing Priscilla Shirer's Bible study on Gideon. This is the first study I have ever done of hers and so far it is great! I have underlined a lot! I really loved the simple quote that she shared, "A change in focus changes everything." Our situations always get better when we shift our focus from ourselves to Him. There are other things that I have really loved that I will probably share more of later! 

6. Last weekend, I had a "popcorn & root beer float night" with my family! That always takes me back to when my brother, sister & I were kids & we would have movie nights with my grandma! Those times with my grandma are priceless memories now that she is gone. And every time we have a movie night now, we always attempt to make the popcorn how she did & we eat way too many sweets... I love those happy memories!

7. Last week, I went to lunch with my mom, after her doctors apt. We went to one of her favorite places (near where she works). It is called Marigold's. They have a Spinach Salmon Salad that my mom always gets. She knew I would love it, because it has all of my favorite things... Spinach & salmon, of course, with feta cheese, bacon, sun-dried tomatoes, & mushrooms. It was possibly the best salad ever!! My mom got their Crab Cake Salad... I gave her half of my salmon & she gave me one of her crab cakes. It was all so good! Marigold's is also a bakery, with a display window of beautiful desserts. So we had to get some of those to take home... their carrot cake is the best! If you are ever in Colorado Springs, CO... Marigold's is a good place to check out! 

8. Summer evenings are great for playing cards on the front porch until it gets dark! 
And for big, bright rainbows after a summer storm! Thankfully, we have gotten a bit more rain lately!

For great is your love, reaching to the heavens;your faithfulness reaches to the skies.
Be exalted, O God, above the heavens;let your glory be over all the earth.
Psalm 57:10-11

So thankful for all of the little blessings in life.
Thank You Jesus!! :)

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

little succulents...

When I spotted these cute little succulents at the grocery store I had to buy them. I had the perfect little pots in mind to plant them in. I decided to paint the terra cotta pots to make them a bit more colorful & I love the way they look now!