Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Vanilla cupcakes with fresh raspberry icing! Yum!

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Sometimes, you just need something sweet and you'll do whatever you need to to get that sweet fix! That was the case last Sunday. I didn't want ot go to the store for something full of preservatives or packaged. So, I pulled out recipe box and got to work on vanilla cupcakes and a fresh, raspberry icing to top it off:) The recipe will be at the bottom....

So, I'm struggling still to post on a daily basis. I don't know if it's the cold weather or what, but when I get home at night I just wanna snuggle under my blanket and watch TV and eat goldfish crackers. Right outta the bag. Pizza flavored. Ugh...I know, so horrible. But they are my new downfall and I just can't help myself. I know I talked last time about catching up with posts this weekend...and I really do have every intention of doing that! I just need to get to Saturday;) So, forgive me if you pop over at night, looking for a post and don't see it right away. I've been put under a hex by my blanket and some goldfish;)

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Vanilla Cupcakes with Fresh Raspberry Icing - Recipe


Ingredients Cupcakes:
2 cups sugar

4 eggs

2 and 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 cup milk

3/4 cup vegetable oil

2 and 1/4 teaspoons baking powder

1 teaspoon vanilla
Seeds from 1 vanilla bean, optional.


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F.  Beat together eggs and sugar until slightly thickened, about 1 minute.  Add flour, milk, oil, baking powder and vanilla and beat for another minute.  Pour batter into lined cupcake tins, filling each tin 2/3 full.  Bake for 20 minutes for a standard cupcake, 25 minutes for a jumbo cupcake (or use a cake-tester).

Cool completely before filling or frosting.

Ingredients Icing - via Southern Living:

1/2 cup butter, softened

1/2 cup fresh raspberries

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1/8 teaspoon salt

1 (16-oz.) package powdered sugar


1. Beat first 4 ingredients at medium speed with an electric mixer until creamy.

2. Gradually add powdered sugar, beating at low speed until blended and smooth after each addition.

Note: Be sure to wash and thoroughly dry raspberries before adding to frosting.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Monday, Monday....

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chocolate raspberry banana bread

Monday. Yeah...you know. That day. Why does Monday get such a bad rap? Probably because it's not Saturday or Sunday!!! We work, work, work so hard for 5 days and then we get a little relief over the weekend, then !!BAM!! it's Monday all over again. One of my goals in 2015 is to make Mondays much more tolerable and not so rooted in the clich├ęd "Ohhhh God, it's Monday."

But you know what makes Monday just a little bit better???! Chocolate chip & raspberry banana bread! Yes, you read that right! Mmmmm.....so delicious! Now, I can't take credit for this recipe. It's from Sally's Baking Addiction and I think it will be a new addiction in my life now. The ingredients are perfect together. Toast up a piece in the morning with a little spread of butter and your coffee....nothing tastes better on these now cold Autumn mornings. Enjoy!!

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Recipe via Sally's Baking Addiction:


  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, softened to room temperature

  • 3/4 cup (150g) light brown sugar (or dark brown sugar)

  • 2 large eggs, room temperature preferred

  • 1/3 cup (80g) Greek yogurt*

  • 2 cups mashed bananas (about 4 large very ripe bananas)

  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • 2 cups (250g) all-purpose flour

  • 1 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

  • 3/4 cup (135g) dark chocolate chips (or semi-sweet)

  • 1 cup (150g) halved raspberries, tossed in 1 Tablespoon (8g) all-purpose flour to prevent sinking*



Adjust the oven rack to the lower third position and preheat the oven to 350F degrees. Lightly spray a 9x5 loaf pan with nonstick spray. Set aside.

Using a hand-held or stand mixer, cream together the butter and brown sugar on medium speed, about 3 minutes. On medium speed, add the eggs one at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in the yogurt, mashed bananas and vanilla on medium speed for 1 minute. Remove the bowl from the mixer if using a stand mixer. Set aside.

In a large bowl, toss the flour, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon together until combined. Using a large spoon or rubber spatula, slowly mix the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients. Slowly stir everything together until no more flour pockets remain. Do not overmix. Gently fold in the raspberries and chocolate chips.

Spoon the batter into the prepared baking pan - sprinkle with a few additional chocolate chips if desired. Bake for 60-65 minutes, loosely covering the bread with aluminum foil at the 30 minute mark. This will prevent the top and sides from getting too brown. A toothpick inserted in the center of the loaf will come out clean when the bread is done. Remove from the oven and allow the bread to cool completely in the pan on a wire rack before slicing.

Banana bread tastes best on day 2 after the flavors have settled together. Unfrosted banana bread freezes well, up to 2 months.

*Either Greek or regular (non-Greek) yogurt are fine. Plain, vanilla, or honey flavored preferred. Low-fat or non-fat are OK.

*I prefer using fresh raspberries because I find using frozen tints the banana bread pink, no matter how gently you fold them in. The bread also takes longer to bake when using frozen berries due to their added moisture.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014


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Well it's day 4 and I'm still at it. Except today I'm feeling pretty awful so I'm surprised I pulled this one off. The above pictures are of tonight's dinner. Not at all ashamed to say that! Sometimes being an adult has it's advantages in that you can make poor choices and enjoy the shit out of them:)

If anyone else out there is suffering from sinus and allergy issues, I feel your pain:/ Hoping the sudafed and Flonase start to help soon!! Meanwhile, I cooked up some bacon, unrolled my cinnamon rolls, added the bacon and rolled them back up then cooked till they were golden brown. DEEEEEEE-lish!

Have a fabulous rest of the week! See you tomorrow....



Sunday, October 26, 2014

Sausage, egg & cheese crescent roll-ups!

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I haven't driven my car in 5 days. Do you know how awesome it is to say that?!?!? I actually went downstairs this morning to make sure it still starts (and made a quick zip to the grocer for the butter I was sadly lacking for an upcoming recipe) and had to remind myself to take off the emergency brake. What used to come naturally is now something I have to consciously remind myself to do. I don't drive as much because I'm walking to work now and I live in an area of Hampton Roads that is small enough that you can walk or bike to most of the stores. And I am LOVING it! After commuting 40 minutes and two tunnels twice a day for three years....it is a welcome relief not to do that anymore. I feel so much less stress....such a nice feeling:) I highly recommend it if you are able....

So today I've got a quick post with some yummy breakfast food! I was going to make pancakes this morning, but then I thought these three items might go well together. Let me just say also, I'm not a huge sausage person. I'll always, always, always choose bacon over sausage. It's very rich and sometimes rich meat makes me nauseous. Like, homemade hamburgers on the grill? Ugh...just too much rich meat for this girl. Flatten mine out please!! So yeah, there's sausage in this because I was feeling froggy at the grocery store earlier this week and bought some. No plan for them, just a grab and go kind of moment.

There's really something about breakfast that I adore and I hope you like these too! They're easy to make and as a bonus, they freeze well and you can take them to work with you! That is if you have any left over:)

Recipe/Directions at the bottom.....

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1 pkg sausage links

1 tube crescent rolls

3 eggs

Cheese slices {your choice}


{Pre-heat your oven to the temperature on the tube of crescent rolls.}

You'll first cook your sausage links then set aside. Next scramble your eggs. Last open the crescent rolls and assemble on cookie sheet. I put the scrambled eggs on first, then 1/2 slice of cheese and finally the sausage link. Roll up the dough with your mixture inside, tucking the ends of the dough around the sausage link if need be. Bake in the oven as directed on the crescent roll tube and serve with maple syrup!

*** I cooked mine a little longer than the recommended time on the tube as they were still a little doughy on the inside. It could be my ancient oven that contributed to this too...so just test one and pop them back in if need be! Enjoy:)

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Boozy Challah French Toast!

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Challah French Toast

Good Morning! The windows have been open for the past week and the weather is teetering on cool days and chilly nights. It's not quite there yet...still in the high 70's during the day....but we're close, and that makes me ohhhh so very happy! With this cooler weather I find myself reaching for the hot coffee more than my beloved iced coffees and gooey bread recipes are on my radar.

Here in our little neighborhood of Ghent, we were greeted with a fancy new The Fresh Market last week! I've been anxiously waiting for this grocer to open and last Wednesday I dodged the raindrops after work {along with the rest of Ghent I do believe:/} to pop in and take a look. It did not disappoint, that's for sure. Everything is brand new and shiny and the staff is in the zone with customer service! The meat counter and dessert counter were by farrrrr the most popular places to be! I couldn't get close when I first came in....so I checked out the rest of the store and swung by on the way out. One item I picked up while there was a gorgeous, golden Challah loaf that was just begging me to bring it home! The braided perfection was just too beautiful to pass up...and although I wasn't sure exactly what I wanted to do with it, I grabbed it and ran!

The following recipe is a take on a recipe from Ina Garten. She uses orange zest for that extra zaa-zaa-zoom and I substituted some Jamaican rum instead:) You're welcome! It's very subtle, so no need to think you'll get drunk off your breakfast....unless of course you're having a Bloody Mary or Mimosa too;)

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Challah French Toast {A Recipe from Ina Garten}



6 extra-large eggs
1 1/2 cups half-and-half or milk
1 teaspoon grated orange zest {I substituted 1 tbsp Jamaican Rum}
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 tablespoon good honey
1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
1 large loaf challah or brioche bread
Unsalted butter
Vegetable oil


Preheat the oven to 250 degrees F.

In a large shallow bowl, whisk together the eggs, half-and-half, orange zest, vanilla, honey, and salt. Slice the challah in 3/4-inch thick slices. Soak as many slices in the egg mixture as possible for 5 minutes, turning once.

Heat 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon oil in a very large saute pan over medium heat. Add the soaked bread and cook for 2 to 3 minutes on each side, until nicely browned. Place the cooked French toast on a sheet pan and keep it warm in the oven. Fry the remaining soaked bread slices, adding butter and oil as needed, until it's all cooked.

Serve hot with maple syrup, raspberry preserves, and/or confectioners' sugar & enjoy!!

Stay Blessed,




Friday, September 19, 2014

Dear Autumn....

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Ohhhhh Autumn. You really are my favorite time of the year, you know that? We won't even discuss summer since it's my least favorite season. Spring is truly lovely after a long winter and speaking of winter....I love all that comes with it. Christmas, hot chocolate, snow, mittens, seeing your breath outside, perfect hair days because there's no humidity!! But autumn....wow, you really do blow me away with your beauty every year!

The days start to get a little shorter in September. The air turns slightly cooler and the food gets slightly heavier:) A lot of people get super depressed when 5 o'clock rolls around and it's pitch black dark outside....but I don't mind it! Maybe it's the fact that I'm a military brat and we had to endure change every three years. I just roll with it! There's nothing I can do about it, so I might as well embrace it....right?! I dunno.

But I do know that my favorite things do happen at this time of the year:) Here's a list of just a few that make me super excited for this change in the season and I hope you are able to find beauty in the next few months!

  • Apples + Apple Butter

  • Open windows

  • Pumpkins

  • Sweaters

  • Fall TV returns!

  • Creamy soups + Crackers

  • Bringing out the blankets for the bed

  • Thanksgiving

  • Candy Corn!!!

  • Pumpkin spice candles

  • Beautiful colored leaves

  • Crisp blue skies

  • Fireplaces 

  • Boots

Have a great weekend everyone! Hopefully it's cooling off where you are and you're able to get outside and enjoy the beauty of this season! I'll be shooting a family session at the beach and then maybe painting my living room!!

Keep in touch with me on Instagram or Twitter!!!




Wednesday, September 17, 2014

That time I vanished for 30 days.... o_O

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Well....that was a lot longer hiatus than I planned. Sorry. Life, ya know?! But I have a good reason.....I started a new job!!! My "day job" is in the medical field and the past few weeks have been about starting over and also learning all sorts of new things. It's been overwhelming and I thought I'd only take about 2 weeks off from blogging, but my creativity kinda took a hit during that time. I had all these fabulous ideas in my head, but at the end of the day or week...I had difficulty putting my thoughts into reality. So, I took the break for as long as I felt was necessary! Then the other night I was craving chocolate and coffee and I saw my boys lounging in either their favorite box or in the window and I knew my creative ways were back! Woop!!

So the following is a recipe for double chocolate chip muffins {from a former co-worker} with a side of Toffee coffee in my favorite mug and sleepy kitties =^^=  Enjoy!!!

P.S... I'm entertaining the idea of moving my food photography to a separate blog from this one. This location would be primarily for my wedding/portrait/family photography. I'll keep you in the loop and let you know if and when that change comes about!!

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Double Chocolate Chip Recipe:

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

  • 2 teaspoons baking powder

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda

  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder

  • 3/4 cup sugar

  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips, plus 1/4 cup for sprinkling

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1/3 cup plus 2 teaspoons vegetable oil

  • 1 egg

  • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


 Preparation: Line muffin wells with paper liners. Heat the oven to 400 degrees F.

  1. Place the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cocoa, sugar, and 3/4 cup of the chocolate chips into a large bowl and whisk to combine. Place the remaining wet ingredients in a separate bowl and whisk until combined

  2. Add the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and mix until combined (do not over mix), batter will be slightly lumpy. Fill wells 2/3 of the way up and sprinkle 1/4 cup chocolate chips on top. Bake for 20 minutes or until the muffins are dark, risen and springy.