Friday, September 28, 2012

carrot cake whoopie pies!

i really went ahead & dove on into fall.  & it makes me so happy!  the pumpkin cupcakes have been a big success at urban.  next up, filling people's carrot cake love.  i went with carrot cake cupcakes, of course.  but then i decided to try carrot cake whoopie pies.  who doesn't love a whoopie pie??

fun fact friday: i really really hate my hands being dirty.  pretty funny line of work for me to be in, huh?  you should see how many times i wash my hands on any given work day.  it is comical.  oh!  i got a tiny bit of frosting on my finger - must wash!  a little flour is lingering - must wash!  luckily for me, wearing gloves helps a lot.  & washing my hands way too much.

i do hope you get a fall treat this weekend.  maybe a pumpkin spice latte.  maybe those pumpkin waffles floating around pinterest.  or if you really want to dive into fall, maybe a piece of pecan pie.

happy friday!! 

love love,

Thursday, September 27, 2012

thankful thursday - a saturday with the girls.

{amy, elyse, & me from elyse's engagement party last fall!}

two of my wonderful & amazing friends in birmy, amy & elyse, & i had a fabulous girls day on saturday.  it was a gorgeous day full of shopping in downtown homewood & lunch, wine, & patio time at v richards.

each of us have had a little life test over the past week or so, as people do.  small in the grand life picture, but a growing up opportunity, none the less.  & although all three of our husbands are wonderfully supportive, it was so nice to sit & talk with fresh & positive minds.

thankful for these two lovely ladies.  thankful for our day o' fun.

i hope you can think of something today for which you are thankful.

love love,

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

spinach, feta, & cheddar muffins.


these are pretty darn good, my friends.  i am loving the savory sweets trend.  these are fully savory in taste but are in an adorably sweet appearing muffin package.  & it's just fun to get out a cutting board & chop up an onion in the kitchen at work.

oh, & you have to love a recipe in grams & milliliters every once in awhile.

spinach, feta, & cheddar muffins
found on: pinterest.
originally from: i like ginger biscuits.

300g ap flour
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
100g cheddar cheese
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cayenne
30g butter
half red onion, chopped
150g feta, chopped
130g spinach, chopped
220ml buttermilk
1 egg

1. combine the flour, baking powder, cheddar, salt, & cayenne in a bowl.

2. melt butter in a skillet over medium heat.  add the onions & cook until tender.  this is a good time to season with a little salt & pepper.  turn the heat down to low.  add the feta & spinach and cook until the spinach is beautifully wilted.  

{it takes a lot of self control not to eat this entire pan right now}

3. toss the spinach mixture into your dry ingredients.  stir a little bit.  

4. combine the buttermilk & egg in a small bowl & whisk a little.  throw that on into your mixture too.  stir until combined.

{it's going to be so good.}

5. portion out the batter into muffin tins.  1/4 cup for the normal size muffin tins.  1/2 cup for the jumbo ones.  sprinkle each with a little cheddar.

{these are going to be so pretty too!}

6. bake at 350 for about 15 minutes for normal muffins or 30 minutes for the jumbo.  you want the top to be golden.  & do the whole toothpick thing, as they take a little longer to cook than usually expected.

yum!  enjoy, friends!

love love,

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

much love to grandma porter.

blake's paternal grandmother passed away early monday morning.  she had been battling health issues for a few years now, so we all know she is in a much better, healthier, & happier place.  prayers for dave & jess & buffie & the entire family.

a true reminder to love with all your heart & tell those you love how much each & every day.

love love,

Monday, September 24, 2012

ginger chicken & veggies.

it's fall!  & that means everything i want to cook involves simmering on the stove for hours to build delightful flavors & then eat a big bowl of it.  normally, this involves a lot of soup.  but this recipe i found on pinterest, of course, is more like a chicken & veggie curry, minus the curry.  so chicken & veggie stir fry with an awesome coconut broth...  certainly this dish has a normal name...

anyway.  it was delicious!  a little bit of coconut of milk... a little bit of ginger... a lot of veggies... we loved the little bit of thai influence & the lot bit of fall influence.  & i loved that it made my house smell divine.

ginger chicken & veggies
found on: pinterest
originally posted on: simple bites.

2 T evoo
1 T minced garlic
a 2 inch piece of ginger, microplaned
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp ground coriander
1 1/2 tsp ground tumeric

2 sweet yellow onions, 1 chopped & 1 sliced
6 green onions, cut into 2 inch pieces
6 cute little sweet peppers or 2 bell peppers, julienned
3 carrots, julienned
1 can baby corn, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cans lite coconut milk
2 lb chicken breasts, cooked as you wish
2 tsp sherry vinegar
salt & pepper
serve with brown rice & arugula

1. in a big ole dutch oven, heat the evoo over medium heat.  add the garlic & ginger & let cook until it starts to smell lovely.  add both cuts of onion & cook until tender.

2.  if your spices aren't already ground, this is the fun part!  get out your mortar & pestle & grind away. my super awesome sister gave me this granite one for my birthday this year & i love it.  it is incredibly heavy, which means the pestle does most of the work for me.  & i feel really chefy grinding my own spices.  thanks, julie byrd!

3.  add the other vegetables, which really can include anything you like.  these are colorful & a few of my favorites.  continue cooking until these veggies are tender.

4. add the coconut milk to your veggie mixture.  i went with lite coconut milk because the full fat version is so heavy & thick.  i think it turned out great.  but if you can only find the full fat version, go for it.  it just might be even better.  take your dog for a walk around the block after dinner & never think about it again :)

5. turn the heat down to low, throw the lid on your dutch oven, & let your flavors marry for a few hours!  ahhh, the smells of delicious food will fill your house.

6. it is time to taste!  want my big soup secret tip: adding just a tiny bit of sherry vinegar {seriously, no more than a teaspoon at a time} will make the flavors in your soup shine!  soup pow wow at work every day for the last two years has tought me this.  i believe it works every time.  try it out.  of course this is a good time to add salt & pepper as well.

7. to serve: start with a small serving of cooked brown rice in your bowl.  then add some fresh arugula. dish out your ginger chicken & veggies.  & top with a few green onions to make it pretty.  enjoy!

love love,

Friday, September 21, 2012

it's fall, y'all!

happy autumnal equinox!!

ok ok, i'm a day early.  but i don't blog on weekends, so it totally counts.  julie & dad, i win!

oh my gosh, i love the fall.  i love the weather.  i love the clothes.  but most of all, i love the food.  fall food makes you want to snuggle up in a blanket & enjoy every bite.  it's homey & comforting.  & it always involves cinnamon, ginger, cloves, & nutmeg.  it makes me so happy to see those spices in my mixture again!

& fall means it is pumpkin spice cupcake time at urban standard!!  john is almost as excited as i am.  almost.

i've learned quite a bit about cupcakes making in the last year, so i must say, this year's version of pumpkin spice cupcakes is even better.  just the smell of them makes me smile but the taste... oh, the taste.

fun fact friday: for as long as i can remember, my dad, sister, & i have had a competition to see who states it is an equinoxes or solstices each time each year.  i believe it began when we were very small & dad was teaching us random facts all of the time & he would explain what the equinox or solstice was four times a year.  so then we started beating him to it.  i win a lot.  so i really like this game :)

happy autumnal equinox!  happy fall!  happy friday!

love love,

Thursday, September 20, 2012

thankful thursday - malcolm jack!

yes, you guessed it!  i am super thankful for my adorable & so loved nephew.  & thankful for his happy & healthy mom & dad.

hey, malcolm - how old are you going to be tomorrow?

five days!  genius.  an absolute genius already.

i hope you can think of something today for which you are thankful.

love love,

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

the fuchsia monkeys are on top!

oh yes, ladies & gentlemen, the fuchsia monkeys! are 2-0 & winning our fantasy football league!!  that would be a league filled with my husband & our dearest {dude} friends from high school.  i am the only girl & i am winning!

& boom goes the dynamite.

yeah yeah, it's just week 2.  but you have to celebrate when you can.  this is big.

i love football season.

love love,

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

dance party with the tresemers!

beau & jaci joined us for a fun fun evening in birmingham a week ago!!  we are lucky enough to now have hung out with beau twice in two years &, i believe, this was our third time to even meet jaci.  turns out, she is pretty freakin awesome.  well done, beau, well done.

these two are an incredible example of a true partnership & marriage.  it is so neat to see one of our dearest friends so happy & so in love.

for our evening with the tresemers, we watched some football, enjoyed a fantastic dinner at dram whiskey bar, watched some football, had a lovely multi-hour long discussion about marriage & babies & politics & life, & watched some football.

{timberwolves!  what what}

& then we ended our evening with a good ole fashioned dance party.

{tanky loved the dance party too.}

it was so wonderful to see you two!!  so much love & so excited for you to move back to the USA!

love love,

Monday, September 17, 2012

the best little man.

my sister & BIL are the happy & proud parents of malcolm jack vandaveer.  &, if you ask me, he is absolutely perfect.  malcolm decided he wanted to meet them a couple of weeks early.  & how could you blame him?  welcome to the world, little man!

 {the littlest phillies fan!}

{grandpa & malcolm!}

 {malcolm is going to be so tall. look at those long feet.}

 {so incredibly proud of you two!}

i think malcolm looks just like julie's baby pictures.  adorable blonde hair & eyebrows.  definitely has some beller cheeks!  ben thinks he looks like ross, one of ben's brothers.  julie says he definitely is her child.  which sounds like a perfect combination to me.

everyone told me being an aunt is the most amazing thing in the world.  & i already agree!  luckily for you, you are going to get to see a lot of little malcolm here :)

love love,

Sunday, September 16, 2012

introducing malcolm jack!

world, meet malcolm jack!!  our nephew was born this morning at 8:12 am to the two most wonderful parents in the world.  he is 20 1/2 in tall & weighs 7lbs 11oz, just like his mommy did when she was born.

he is absolutely the most adorable thing i have ever seen & i already love him with all of my heart.

congratulations, julie byrd & benny boo!!

our family is a circle of strength & love.  
with every birth & every union, the circle grows.

happy day mr malcolm joined the world.

love love,

Friday, September 14, 2012

i heart pb & chocolate.

i have a big fat love for peanut butter + chocolate things.  it really doesn't matter what form it takes, i love it.  so when my dear friend, sarah, graciously lended me her recipe for peanut butter chocolate swirl brownies, i fell in love even more.  with miss motiei & the pb/choc combo.

fun fact friday: when i am planning what to make at work, i do my best to have three completely different items for my extra three baked goods.  {outside of the 5 kinds of cupcakes, 2 kinds of scones, & 1 kind of muffin.}

the first criteria is different type of goods: cookies, bars, small things, other cupcakes, other muffins, & a general "other" category.

the second is different flavor of goods: chocolate, fruit, cheesecake, cinnamon, pumpkin in the fall, & peanut butter + chocolate.  yes, it is its own category.

& yes, i actually have a system.  not that surprising, is it?

happy friday!!

love love,

Thursday, September 13, 2012

thankful thursday - a little perspective.

this gorgeous weather sent tanky & me on a walk yesterday around the lovely highland neighborhoods.  cool afternoon, pretty sun & even prettier clouds.  we began on our favorite route & then followed the historic homes.  tanky even got to stop & play in the sprinklers!

a fabulous breath of fresh air was a great place to get a little perspective on my day.  & i couldn't be more thankful.

i hope you can think of something today for which you are thankful.

love love,

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

we have a garden!

one of our wonderful new neighbors is super into healthy living & created a garden for us!  she knows all about planting rules & seasons & the like, & thus has so much to teach me, being that i know, well, nothing.

cassie has planted our fall garden full of arugula & kale & spinach & lettuce & carrots.  the arugula has already grown so big & is ready to eat!  the carrots are on their way too.  so excited to eat these fresh vegetables.

& i am also really excited to plant herbs next spring, as well as actually contributing to our garden.  by the way, this is what people our age do - grow gardens.  it certainly is fun growing up.

love love,

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

pear & pepper chicken salad.

oh my goodness, i love this chicken salad.

have i mentioned my embarrassing affinity for chicken salad since moving to the south??  i eat it far more than i would like to admit to you.  urban has some really good traditional chicken salad with cranberries & pecans & mayo.  & then i learned about avocado & cilantro, no-mayo chicken salad from pinterest.  & then i discovered pear & pepper, no-mayo chicken salad.  from pinterest.  of course.

last night was my second time to make it.  which, obviously, means i have strayed a bit from the original recipe.  but this is the one i'm going to stick with.  it's my fall version of chicken salad.  i look forward to having it again & again & again.  luckily for me, blakey likes it too!

pear & pepper chicken salad.
originally from: farmhouse table.

5-6 chicken breasts, cooked & chopped
1 T evoo
1 T minced garlic
1 yellow onion, sliced
6 cute little sweet peppers, sliced
2 pears, sliced
6 green onions + scallions, sliced
2 T rosemary, chopped
1/4 c sunflower seeds + more for garnishing
1 lemon, just juice
1/4 c sherry vinegar
2 more T evoo
3 T stone ground mustard
salt & pepper
serve with lots of arugula

1. cook your chicken breasts in your favorite way.  i usually go with cutting them up a bit.  throwing them in a dutch oven.  covering them with half italian dressing & half water.  cooking them, covered, at 350 for about 30-40 minutes.  perfect every time.

2. meanwhile, heat 1T of evoo in a skillet over medium heat.  add the garlic, onion, & sweet peppers.  saute until the onions are soft & just begin to carmelize, about, oh, 10 minutes.  allow them to cool a bit.

3. toss the cooked chicken, cooked onion & pepper mixture, pears, green onions, rosemary, & seasame seeds in a bowl.  sprinkle the lemon juice, sherry vinegar, evoo, & mustard on top.  add a good portion of salt & pepper.  stir stir stir.

4. taste!  is it amazing??  i thought so.  if not, play around a bit with the vinegar & mustard & salt.  these are just suggestions, after all.  i certainly did no measuring.

5. serve on top of a big plate of arugula.  i freakin love arugula.  it is seriously the most flavorful & textured green i know.  & it goes splendidly with this autumn chicken salad.

did i mention how excited i am that it is almost fall??  ahhhh, fall...

by the way, my computer finally died.  the hard drive decided it was no more.  don't feel too badly for me - i bought the apple desktop in 2006.  it was a trusty computer.  but it was time.  i will get around to buying a new macbook sometime soon.  any extra apple giftcards lying around?  send them my way!  all that to say, blog posts might be a bit more sporadic until i do.

love love,

Monday, September 10, 2012

rainbow cupcakes!

i made the rainbow cupcakes i told you about last week for birmy's art walk festival & it was actually a success!!

they were pretty darn fun to make.   i put together a standard vanilla bean cupcake batter, seperated the batter into six bowls, added quite a bit of food coloring to each to make them the colors of the rainbow, & portioned the batter into my cupcakes tins a tiny bit of color at a time, in rainbow order, of course!

the red & orange & yellow were vibrantly covering most of the top of the cupcakes, but little bits of green & blue & purple burst through as well.  & the inside was super colorful too!

cupcake fun!  & no frosting means more delicious to me too.

as for my football update on this football & baking monday - i should pull out a pretty good fantasy football win tonight with the completion of nfl's week 1.  go fuchsia monkeys!

love love,

Friday, September 7, 2012

fun fact friday!

remember when you were little & those email chains went around asking you to answer a lot of questions about yourself?  or the slightly newer versions on facebook that just say list 20 things about yourself?  i always love those.  i feel like i actually learn a lot of things about myself.  so i'm starting one on my blog.  fun fact friday!

here's one for you - when i cook, i really like to watch cooking shows on tv.  chopped is my current favorite.  top chef is always good too.  however, when i bake, i like to listen to music.  super girly music.  patty griffin.  adele.  

maybe baking takes more concentration, thus i can only listen instead of watch.  

either way, my happy places.

happy friday to you, friends!

love love,

Thursday, September 6, 2012

thankful thursday - a place to worship & serve & belong.

i am really thankful for our church home in alabama.  blakey & i have been attending trinity umc for, oh, a year & a half now.  we started our journey with the contemporary service on sundays.  & then we joined a young married adults group, where we have met some awesome people & have grown so much in our marriage.  & now i have finally found a way to serve.

remember many months ago when i told you about my new year's resolution to do service at least once a month?  big fat fail.  blakey & i did a great habitat day in january.  put together a fun care package in february.  & then nothing.  for 6 months.  i really wanted to find service projects we could do together as a couple.  but, alas, residents are really busy.  so i found something fun to do myself!  & to make up for the six months i missed, i will be volunteering twice a month :)

i am helping serve dinner at our church before wednesday night small groups.  yesterday was my first time & i met two super sweet girls about my age, a lovely grandmother of seven boys, & a lovely gentleman.  it is fun to see all of the kids smiling faces & to have an opportunity to spend an hour thinking about people other than myself.

so so important.

i have certainly missed it.

& i am thankful for the opportunity.

{hey birmy friends - if you have been looking for a chance to serve some adorable kiddos & want to join me in the fun, let me know!  i believe they are looking for a few more volunteers.}

i hope you can think of something today for which you are thankful.

love love,

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

my favorite sunday morning.

sunday mornings in our new home have become a favorite part of my week.  little guy & i {& blakey too if he's not working} sit on our patio to enjoy the beautiful mornings.  i usually have a big cup of coffee & tanky always has green man.

i've been re-reading mere christianity by c.s. lewis.  wow, he was a smart fellow.  i do believe i am enjoying it more the second {third?} time through.

i do love our new home.  especially on sundays.

love love,