Valentines Day Cookie Cake

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Happy February! The month of L.O.V.E.

Valentine’s Day can elicit a wide range of emotions. If you are single, it’s a day you dread – you may end up ordering pizza, watching Netflix, and eating a tub of ice cream (the complete opposite meaning of “Netflix and chill”). If you are dating, it’s a day for which you might spend an insane amount of money to show how much you love someone. Aaaand if you are married, you may celebrate the weekend before to avoid the crowd or at home with something low key.

This year we opted to hang out at home and do something low key. Yes, my husband and I will get each other cards – my husband’s is always funny and inappropriate and mine is always reallllly ridiculously deep. We will most likely sneak away for dinner weeks later, but for now we were perfectly okay with staying home in our PJ’s and watching a movie. And by movie, I mean 30 minutes of the movie at a time because we had to keep pausing to tend to the small human we so lovingly refer to as “the Boss.”

I may have jumped the gun with the Valentine’s Day plans with my little love…I wanted to bake with Avery, I wanted to craft with Avery…and then I remembered – she can’t even walk yet and she would be more interested in throwing flour around the kitchen than actually baking anything edible.

I thought it would be fun to attempt a giant cookie cake – that way when she gets older, I’ll know how to make one and she’ll most definitely think I am THE best baker in the world.

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I found this fabulous recipe on Life, Love and Sugar. What did I do with the leftover dough? Make cookies, of course!

While my Valentine’s Day wasn’t particularly exciting or full of bouquets and fancy dinners, it was perfect for where we are in life. I hope that yours was perfect as well! And if it wasn’t – just make this cookie cake and that will most certainly redeem it! Check out this simple recipe below!

Valentines Day Cookie Cake

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 tsp cornstarch
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips

Instructions

  1. Cream butter and sugar together until light and fluffy, about 3-4 minutes.
  2. Mix in egg and vanilla extract.
  3. With the mixer on low speed, add flour, cornstarch, baking soda and salt.
  4. Stir in chocolate chips. Dough will be thick.
  5. Chill for at least 30 minutes or overnight.
  6. When ready to bake, preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Spray a coat of baking spray to the bottom of the pan.
  8. Spread the dough out into the cake pan. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the edges are slightly golden.
  9. Remove from oven and allow to cool

Recipe adapted from Life, Love and Sugar

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Purple and Gold Baby Dedication

Purple and Gold Baby Dedication.

I wanted to create a table that would have a vintage feel but include deep purple, lavender, pale pink and lots of greenery. I was hosting about 30 family members at our house and it was Avery’s first big event! I knew I wouldn’t have a lot of prep time the morning of because we would be in church, so I wanted to make sure all of the little details were handled the day before.

Thankfully, I had the best team anyone could ask for: my mom and Avery’s godmother, Lani. My mom handled the table decor and flowers and Lani handled all the sweet treats. I had been collecting vintage pieces for the past few months and it was finally time to bring her dessert table together! Hopefully the pictures below give you some inspiration for your next event!

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Purple and Gold Baby Dedication
Purple and Gold Baby Dedication

Purple and Gold Baby Dedication

Purple and Gold Baby Dedication

Purple and Gold Baby Dedication

Purple and Gold Baby Dedication

 

Purple and Gold Baby Dedication
Purple and Gold Baby Dedication

Purple and Gold Baby Dedication


Purple and Gold Baby Dedication

Purple and Gold Baby Dedication

Purple and Gold Baby Dedication

 

Purple and Gold Baby Dedication

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VENDORS:

Custom Floral Cross: Crowned Creations
Cake: Great Dane Bakery
Cookies: Shannon’s Sweet Tooth


Chicken and Potatoes with Garlic Cream Sauce

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If you are a blogger, daylight savings time is a rather sobering time of year. Yes, we get an extra hour of sleep, but we lose precious sunlight in the afternoon hours. We LIVE on natural light. And it’s even more of a bummer if you are a full-time working mom! In order to blog, I would have to have everything ready by lunch time so I could rush home and take a picture in perfect light…and we all know that is just NOT going to happen. I can barely get myself ready and out the door in a timely manner most mornings. The time change limits blogging to the weekends, and with the holidays just passing, every. single .weekend. is packed with events until mid-February!

What I’m getting at in the midst of all my complaining is this: winter will be a slow season for my blog.

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I DID, however, come across this gem of a recipe when I was browsing for easy weeknight dinners…I couldn’t resist! I’m 110% in favor of anything that involves minimal dishes. I changed up the recipe a bit by doubling the garlic cream sauce and adding artichokes. Everyone who’s a someone knows that there’s no such thing as too much garlic cream sauce! I was able to cook the spinach and chicken in one pan, which was a major plus, and then transferred everything over to a baking dish.

Aside from the extra hour of sleep, the time change has inspired me to cook delicious meals and snuggle up on the couch with my mini-me as soon as I get home. This dish definitely didn’t disappoint – it was perfect for a savory yet simple meal to enjoy on a relaxed evening.

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Chicken and Potatoes with Garlic Cream Sauce

10 minutes

Cook Time: 40 minutes

Total Time: 50 minutes

Ingredients

  • 6 bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs
  • 1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, divided
  • 3 cups baby spinach, roughly chopped
  • 16 ounces baby Dutch potatoes, cut in thirds
  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
  • 1 can of quartered artichokes (cut in half for smaller pieces)
  • For the Garlic Cream Sauce
  • 1/4 cup unsalted butter
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 2 tablespoons all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup chicken broth, or more, as needed
  • 1 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 1/2 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1/2 cup half and half (or milk)
  • 1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees F. Lightly oil a 9×13 baking dish or coat with nonstick spray.
  2. Season chicken with Italian seasoning, salt and pepper, to taste.
  3. Melt 2 tablespoons butter in a large skillet over medium high heat. Add chicken, skin-side down, and sear both sides until golden brown, about 3 minutes per side; set aside.
  4. Melt remaining 1 tablespoon butter in the skillet. Stir in spinach and cook, stirring occasionally, until it begins to wilt, about 2-3 minutes; set aside.
  5. To make the garlic parmesan cream sauce, melt butter in the skillet over medium heat. Add garlic, and cook, stirring frequently, until fragrant, about 1-2 minutes. Whisk in flour until lightly browned, about 1 minute.
  6. Gradually whisk in chicken broth, thyme and basil. Cook, whisking constantly, until incorporated, about 1-2 minutes. Stir in half and half (or milk) and Parmesan until slightly thickened, about 1-2 minutes. If the mixture is too thick, add more half and half or milk as needed; season with salt and pepper, to taste.
  7. Place chicken in a single layer into the prepared baking dish. Top with potatoes, spinach and cream sauce.
  8. Place into oven and roast until potatoes are cooked, about 35-40 minutes.

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Baby Trend: Rompers

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Don’t mind us, we’re just dreaming about a California summer over here. It’s 62 degrees, so I can’t complain, but when you have cute clothes and the weather is not cooperating, what do you do? You have a photo shoot, of course! We couldn’t leave this romper stranded, unused, and miserable in the closet! Aaaand since it definitely required the perfect accessories, I pulled out her itty bitty tan sandals, pink sunglasses, and this adorable tote bag that screams “take me to the beach!!”

I’ve been busy planning our first family vacation and this outfit MUST come with us (if she still fits in it, of course). We are using our Ellen’s Mother’s Day Giveaway gift and heading to the beautiful Coronado Island in San Diego, California. Thank you, Ellen! I think it will be a good first trial vacay with a little one since it’s not too far from home, but far enough to make us feel like we are on vacation, not “staycation.” Plus, we can figure out all the “what not to do’s” before the big trip in the summer.

We’re new at this parenting thing, so traveling will be an adventure! What do I pack? How many blankets do I need? How many bags should I bring? What safety items do I need? Should we rent a U-haul for all of her toys? The questions are endless. In the meantime, we will be putting Avery in seasonally inappropriate (but INCREDIBLY adorable) clothing and dreaming of waves crashing on the shore.

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I’ll meet you at the beach, Mom!

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Quick outfit check.

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DETAILS:

Blue Floral Romper
Sandals – Old Navy
Sunglasses and Tote – Target
Pink Bow

 


Crock Pot Southwestern Soup

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The forecast calls for rain this week. Again. Though I get a little mopey about it, this is the most rain we have had in months, and thanks to the precipitation numbers, California can officially say adios to the drought! I’ve mentioned in previous posts that Californians don’t handle the rain very well. My closet consists of approximately 95% summer clothes and 5% winter/rain clothes. Hey, it’s Cali! But lately, I have been running out of winter clothes because of this weather.

My New Year’s resolution (along with everyone else in America) is to lose weight and start eating healthier. So far, I’m killing it during the week. If I could just have a liiiiittle more control over my calorie intake during the weekends, I would be seeing better results – but I just can’t seem to avoid all the temptations. I’M WEAK!!!

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When the weather calls for rain, all I can think of is soup, soup soup! The problem is that most of the best soups have potatoes and heavy cream in the recipe…that’s what makes them so delicious! Thankfully, my auntie shared her delicious Crock pot Southwestern Soup with me, and let me tell you – it is the absolute perfect soup for rainy weather, and it’s healthy to boot! Even if you decide to sneak a piece of corn bread on the side, it won’t derail your healthy eating habits. Enjoy!

Crock Pot Southwestern Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 package of ground turkey
  • Medium onion, chopped
  • 2 packages of taco seasoning
  • 1 packet of Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing Mix
  • 2 cups of water
  • Large zucchini sliced and halved
  • 1 - 13 ounce can of (Do not drain the juices):
  • Kidney Beans
  • Black Beans
  • Pinto Beans
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • 2 cans of corn
  • 1 - 10 ounce can of rotel tomatoes with diced chilis, mild

Instructions

  1. Brown turkey and onion. Drain fat, if needed.
  2. Remove from heat.
  3. Add taco seasonings and ranch mix. Stir well.
  4. Pour into crock pot with 2 cups of water and all canned goods (including liquids).
  5. Add zucchini.
  6. Cook on low for at least 5 hours.
  7. Optional condiments to add on top of chili:
  8. Sour cream, hot sauce, cheese, olives, jalapeños or tortilla chips

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