Monthly Archives

June 2016

Recently Read

Recently Read: The Royal We

June 14, 2016

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Alright. So I have a big fat confession to make. I could not stop thinking about this book.

I even shushed my husband during it like it was a television show or something.

No shame.

This book was thoroughly enjoyable. While there were some plot holes and a couple of moments where it was like “Where the hell is the other main character?????” it kept you reading.

A brief description of this book:

Bet Porter is an American exchange student at Oxford. She happens to get placed in the same small dorm as His Royal Highness, Prince Nicholas of Wales. The two hit it off and a budding romance emerges. Along with the ins-and-outs of their relationship are the trials they face maintaining privacy and learning how to  progress the relationship.

Along with the actual romance, there is a cast of supporting characters such as Bex’s twin sister, Lacey, a more attention seeking individual. There is also Prince Freddie, a Prince Harry type, who enjoys a good time and pretty girls. While these two help make up a lot of the story, they are not alone. The friend group that Bex and Nick have from Oxford also play a key role in their relationship. A bunch of lovable and human characters in this group.

While I personally really really enjoyed this book, I will warn you that if you are a stickler for accuracy in royal details or whatever that this may not be for you. Additionally, it has to be read without a Kate and Will thing in mind because while similar it isn’t their story you know?

But overall, I would Highly recommend this book.

Oh and PS – Lauren Graham (that’s right Lorelei or Sarah Braverman) and Mae Whitman are turning this bad boy into a movie. Winner winner chicken dinner.

Recipes

Gluten Free Snickerdoodles

June 13, 2016

Before I get into why I take poorly lit photos at night, I’d like to share the night time recipe that led to these photos.

Back in high school, before everyone had a food allergy or aversion to certain products (myself included), I would help make baked goods for homeroom birthdays.

*You know you went to an all girl’s school when…*

To be fair, I probably butchered half of my attempted baking treats. I tried, but I usually got distracted with homework and left things in the oven too long. I digress.

When I did succeed at baking, my success was usually snickerdoodle related. While I still love snickerdoodles, regular flour sometimes makes my stomach knot up. Thus, I went hunting for a gluten free snickerdoodle recipe and went even further to abridge it with coconut sugar.

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Here is what you need:

  • 2 eggs
  • 1 & 1/4 cup coconut sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter softened
  • 1/4 cup shortening
  • 2 cups GF all purpose flour (I used Krusteaz)
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. In large bowl, combine and mix 1 cup sugar, the butter, the shortening, and eggs. Add the Krusteaz flour and mix.
  3. In a separate bowl (small) combine the remaining sugar with the cinnamon.
  4. Form the dough into 1/4 inch balls and roll each ball into the sugar/cinnamon mixture.
  5. Place the balls onto cookie sheet (uncreased) 2 ” apart.
  6. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool on racks.

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This recipe was adapted from the Betty Crocker website. See here.

My recipe is essentially the same but uses coconut sugar in lei of regular sugar. If you want them to test fairly normal I’d recommend using the Betty Crocker recipe with regular sugar, however if you are going for a health-conscious approach (I wish I could claim that’s what I was doing ….I was out of sugar lol) then the coconut sugar route is a great substitute.

Here is what I have found eating the coconut sugar version.

  • They are great frozen.
  • I tend to eat less because they are just sweet enough but not addicting.
  • The dough does not spread out like typical snickerdoodles may do. In other words it stays pretty much as formed.

There you have it! An accidental but pretty fortunate ingredient swap to make a summer snickerdoodle just a little bit healthier. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

Recently Read

Recently Read: Karen White

June 12, 2016

I recently mentioned tearing through the “Tradd Street Series” written by Karen White. As much as I loved those books, I am also loving the rest of her fiction.

The lovely thing about the Karen White books I’ve read so far is that they are all set in the south. I know this may seem somehow limiting, but I love the charm and the hospitality that the characters have. I think a lot of this charm comes with the quintessential southern hospitality  – and  the sense of community and looking out for others.

The most recent reads are The Color of Light After the Rain.

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This book was great. It was a mystery but also a romance. The main character is a  young woman named Jillian. Following a divorce, Jillian moves back to her childhood vacation spot with her young daughter, Grace, and another child on the way. She arrives to find an old friend there, who in the past was accused of her best friend’s disappearance. Working together, Jillian, Linc (the friend), and her daughter Grace figure out after all these years what really happened to her best friend years ago.

Spoiler alert: toward the end you can kind of put things together, but the story is good and the characters are very likable.

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This too was a great story. It started out a bit slow and the mystery element of it was left a little wanting, but the characters were very likable and the story was satisfying. I think that’s what I like most about White’s books – that you always feel like you got a fair ending and a good journey.

This story was about Suzanne. Suzanne stumbles upon the town of Walton, GA looking for answers. She is trying to find out more information about where her mother received a locket years and years ago. The journey leads her to meeting a widower, Joe, and his six kids. As her relationship with Joe and the townspeople develops, she ultimately must release some of her secrets.

So there you have it! My most recent Karen White reads.

What is on your list this year?

Recipes

Simple Weekday Gluten Free Pesto Pasta Lunch

June 5, 2016

Little secret – I rarely if ever crave types of food.

I crave coffee pretty much always, but for me food is kind of whatever. I’m not too picky I just don’t like lasagna, pork chops, or olives. Those things bahhhhhh. I just can’t.

However, in the world of not craving, I do crave one thing pretty frequently and that is PESTO. I really really like Pesto sauce. I just do.

One of my favorite quick meals is pesto and gf noodles.

Here’s what you need:

-An entire box of Ronzini or Barilla Gluten Free Noodles.

-A container of Three Bridges Pesto (this is next to the cheese and yogurt in our grocery store)

-Chopped Chicken (if chicken isn’t your jam then just omit this)

Once the noodles are cooked, I strain them and rinse them. Gluten Free noodles tend to have a weird film so it’s good to rinse them in the strainer.

When the noodles are dry, I divvy them up into tupperware. I put about a cup of noodles in each container.

Dollop about a serving spoonful of pesto on top of the noodles and mix in the tupperware containers.

If adding chicken (I tend to use canned because I am lazy…or strategic.. you decide) mix in about a 1/4 a cup into each tupperware container.

Store the containers in the fridge until needed.

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So there you have it! What quick and easy recipes do you make during the week?

Recently Read

Recently Read: Big Little Lies

June 4, 2016

It’s past midnight. I stayed up reading the last 200 pages of this book. That’s how involved I was with the story.

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You know that feeling you get when you finish a book? It’s so satisfying but also kind of a loss. That’s how I felt about this one – I want to read more about the characters.

So here’s the scoop.

This book focuses on perspectives of multiple women. These women have kids in the same kindergarten class in a small coastal Australian town. Through a series of perspectives, you learn that these women’ secrets and stories overlap in unforeseen ways.

There’s Jane, a young single-mother that moved to town, Madeline, a sharp, emotional, and headstrong mother and friend, and Celeste who battles with so many struggles despite living a seemingly perfect life. Along with the other moms (and husbands) they stir up a ton of epic proportion drama. Very good.

Fun fact – this book is actually coming to the semi big screen. HBO has begun filming a multi-episode series with Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman (amongst others).  You know I love Reese so this is doubly good news.

Aesthetic DIY Home

DIY Peony Wall Art

June 1, 2016

It is no secret that I have a fondness for all things wall art. The right selection can make or break a space. The thing about wall art though is that it can be expensive.

I was checking out one of my favorite blogs the other day and above her daughter’s desk was this Lindsay Letter’s art canvas.

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Isn’t the art just idk awesome?!? There are a variety of sizes on the Lindsay Letters site and I was so close to purchasing the piece….but then I also thought…”ehhh vacation is coming and that means expenses”.

So I set out to make my own art (inspired by Lindsay but you know different). I still HIGHLY recommend looking at Lindsay’s canvases and prints. She is super talented and I love her use of color.

Anyway back to the DIY Peony Art…here’s the materials I used:

  • A big ole canvas. I think it’s 24 by 36 or something like that. More or less it’s large. (These can be purchased at Michaels or Joann Fabric for about 15-25 bucks with a coupon.)
  • Lots of little acrylic paints in pink, green, gray, white, coral, yellow, brown, red.
  • Brushes. Mine are not full on artist quality but they also aren’t the plastic ones you buy for kids.

I had a photo of peonies that I saw online and used that as inspiration along with some peonies on our table. Here are some process photos:

 

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I hated it at the above step. I was not digging it and wanted to throw in the towel.

 

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I started to add in some detail colors and began to like it a little. And yes…I am the worst. I paint on top of our carpet. Risky risky.

 

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Peonies meet peonies.

 

I added a lot of layers and a lot of white. I finally got to my “I’m done” point and this is the finished product:

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Another view:

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Overall, for about thirty dollars and a little sweat equity I would say it was worth trying to make something myself. It’s definitely unique to our home and brings in some of my favorite colors. Next step, building a frame around it!

What are projects that you’ve taken on yourself instead of purchasing? What are some of your favorite artists?