Currently: Happy 2016!

Well it’s a new year which means I’m finally back to blogging! I’m not really sure what happened the last few months (I guess just life??) but it’s my goal resolution to blog a lot more consistently in 2016. It’s what I love so why not right?

Anyways for my first post, I’m linking up with two of my absolute favorite bloggers (and inspirations!): Amanda over at Running With Spoons and Julia at Lord Still Loves Me. Amanda does Thinking Out Loud on Thursdays which I always love reading and I’m totally ripping off Julia’s post this week with her “Currently” theme. *sorry girl! :p

Anyways hope you like this fun little update on life and here’s to a fantastic (but chilly) start to 2016!

Current book:

Why Not Me by Mindy Kaling. Everything this girl does is hilarious. Like this book has me in tears. If I could be anyone, I would want to be Mindy. She’s the coolest!

Current music:

25 by Adele. My little sis got it for me for Christmas and I’m not even kidding, the album has been on repeat in my car ever since. Total girl crush.

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Current TV show:

Parenthood. Loving this show right now on Netflix but sadly I’m almost done ๐Ÿ˜ฆ It’s such a nice feel-good show though!

Current iPhone wallpaper:

The view from our mountain cabin in WV. It’s the most peaceful place in the whole world and just seeing it on my phone calms me down when I’m stressed at work.

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Current drink:

Sangria! I’m addicted. Red, white, apple cinnamon, mango peach, any kind. Give it to me.

Current food:

I can’t stop eating this cheeseburger wrap for lunches. It’s so easy AND delicious. Just some ground turkey, pickles, ketchup, cheese, homemade Big Mac sauce all rolled up in a Flatout wrap. YUM YUM YUM

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Current obsession:

I got SleepPhones for Christmas and they have been a lifesaver! I’m one of those super light sleepers who needs perfect conditions to have any chance at sleeping (I’m so jealous of you guys who can fall asleep anywhere, anytime!). The SleepPhones are so comfy and perfect for listening to my rain machine app at night. Hellooooooo 8 hours finally ๐Ÿ™‚

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Current wish:

This adorable cottage! If I could live somewhere that looked exactly like this, I think I’d be the happiest girl. Just like Kate Winslet’s little English countryside home in The Holiday. I love cottages with a bit of character and charm.

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Current need:

This planner from Etsy. I have a minorย obsession with pretty paper and planners and stationary. Maybe if I had something this cute, I would actually pay my bills on time, not have so many library overdue fines and wouldn’t procrastinate so much which leads me onto the next thing…

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Current procrastination:

Cleaning my apartment. I keep saying I’m going to do it but then I get distracted. Does anyone else have this problem?? Here’s what it looks like on a semi-good day:

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Current blessing:

The beautiful women in my family who are always there for me. I am so thankful for my two sisters and my mom and grandmother. They all inspire me every day to be my best self โค

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Current excitement:

Less than 80 days until my big sister marries this amazing guy! I can’t wait to have a brother-in-law and am so excited for my sis. She deserves the absolute best and BJ is going to make sure she always gets that. They are perfect together and couldn’t ask for a better future brother.

Plus it will be my first time ever going to a wedding! And being in one! WOO ๐Ÿ˜€

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Current mood:

SO SLEEPY. It’s the first full week of work after the holidays and it is hitting me hard! I love my job but getting back into the early morning routine has been quite an adjustment.

Current bane of my existence:ย 

People that slurp their coffee. Just no.

Current link:

11 commonly used phrases that mean absolutely nothing. Ah so true!!

 

What are some of your “currently”‘s? Food? Excitement? Mood? Funny links??

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Friday favorites 8/28

Happy Friday!! With the weekend only a few hours away, it’s time for another round of Friday favorites and, as usual, I’m linking up with Heatherย and Katie.

The BEST part of my week was getting a selfie with Chase Rice aka my future husband. Seriously, biggest fan girl moment of my entire life!! He played an acoustic set at the Blue Rocks stadium in Delaware before the game and it was so much fun. I didn’t even think it was possible for him to look better in person but omg he totally does. Let’s just say me and my best friend were freaking out for a solid hour after this picture.

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I got my nose pierced yesterday too. I love it but to everyone who told me a nose piercing hurts less than a belly button: you all lied!! It did not feel good. But well worth it in my book ๐Ÿ™‚

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I’m grateful to live in a place with views like this when I’m driving home in the evenings. Seriously, who would choose to live in the city when they could live here??

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I baked these delicious, gluten free brownies courtesy of Sally’s Baking Addiction. They were the most fudgy, delicious, peanut buttery things I’ve tasted. And my boyfriend agrees. Success! ๐Ÿ™‚

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All in all, it’s been a really great week. Spending time with the boyfriend, the best friend and getting a lot of music writing and recording done! If you want to hear some of my stuff, you can check out my YouTube. I’ve been playing guitar so much lately and it is making me so happy.

Tonight, Ryan and I are heading to the MD State Fair which should be fun… I haven’t been in so long but it’s such a classic end of summer date night. I can’t wait! What are your plans for the last weekend in August?

And finally, I’ll leave you with some inspiration…

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Gluten free, skinny peanut butter brownies [recipe]

My latest baking obsession is oat flour. Ever since I learned you can make your own using the food processor, I’ve been kind of addicted. It’s just such an easy way to sneak some whole grains into your baking… I’m all for using pastry or all-purpose flour on the reg but sometimes a girl likes to satisfy her sweet tooth with something she can call healthy because hey, it’s made with oats ๐Ÿ˜‰

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So when I came across this peanut butter brownie recipe using oat flour from one of my favorite bloggers Sally’s Baking Addiction (another local Baltimore girl by the way!), I knew it was a must-try.

And the best part? You just throw all the ingredients in the blender and you’re done. Easy-peasy. Exactly the kind of recipe I like.

Plus it’s brownies. With peanut butter. What could go wrong?? It’s like the two best things on earth combined into one dessert.

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Not surprisingly, these brownies turned out amazing… even my boyfriend said they were the fudgiest (that’s a word right?) brownies he’s ever had. They stayed all delicious and chewy for ย the couple of days they lasted in my apartment and you can’t tell that they are gluten and butter free!

I used crunchy peanut butter because in the never-ending debate of crunchy vs. creamy, I will take crunchy EVERY SINGLE DAY. But Sally uses creamy in hers so I’m sure it would taste fine. Just not as good as crunchy, sorry. I also used plain Greek yogurt instead of vanilla which made the brownies a little less sweet. I like that though… sometimes, even for me, brownies can be too sweet. These were the perfect balance.

Of course, my mom was sure to point out that these brownies have a hit of protein with the peanut butter and Greek yogurt. Between that and the oats, I think they’re basically a super health food ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Gluten-free, peanut butter brownies

*Recipe from Sally’s Baking Addiction

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup crunchy peanut butter
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt (I use Chobani!)
  • 1/4 cup almond milk
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/2 cup old fashioned oats
  • Pinch of salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Put all of the ingredients except for the peanut butterย into your blender. Blend until smooth (it will be really thin, that’s normal!).

Pour into greased 8×8 baking pan. Microwave the peanut butter for about 30 seconds and swirl into the batter.

Bake for 20-25 minutes or until set. Like Sally says, these are VERY fudgy so let them cool completely before you even attempt to cut them.

Enjoy!

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Homemade funfetti cupcakes with Greek yogurt icing [recipe]

*First things first…ย my favorite thing about these cupcakes is that the icing uses Chobani plain Greek yogurt, making it a delicious healthier option. Check out #madewithchobani and Chobani’s website for more healthy yummy recipes using yogurt. It is such a handy substitute for so many recipes!

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Growing up, the best partย about my birthday was baking cupcakes with my mom to take to school. And, like most kids, my favorite cupcake flavor was Funfetti, with the bright colors and loads of extra sprinkles.

Now I’m an adult but my childhood tastes really haven’t changed. I’m not embarrassed to admit I still think Funfetti cupcakes are the best cupcakes. I’ll pass on all the fancy new flavors you see at boutique cupcake shops. Just hand me the Pilsbury box and a jar of rainbow jimmies!

While the 8 year old in me still loves Funfetti, the 24 year old in me wanted to try to recreate that box mix at home. So with the help of this amazing recipe from How Sweet It Is, I attempted and succeeded! These cupcakes taste EXACTLY like the box mix. Maybe even better if that’s possible.

The recipe is really simple and you probably already have all of the ingredients already in your pantry. One thing I learned in making these is that you definitely need to fill each cupcake wrapper only 2/3ย of the way….otherwise your cupcakes are going to grow too much in the oven and create the mushroom effect like mine did! Of course they still tasted delicious and the abnormal shape in no way stopped me from eating them all ๐Ÿ™‚

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I didn’t use the icing recipe from How Sweet It Isย because I wanted to try something that I’ve seen all over Pinterest lately: Greek yogurt icing. I ALWAYS have Greek yogurt in the frig and figured this would be a fun way to add a little protein (and nutritious value!) to my cupcakes. Whip it up with some powdered sugar and sprinkles and voila, healthierย Funfetti icing!

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Homemade Funfetti cupcakes with Greek yogurt icing

*Original cupcake recipe from How Sweet It Is

Ingredients (cupcakes):

  • 1 stick of butter, softened (1/2 cup)
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tbsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/3 cup almond milk
  • Sprinkles!

Ingredients (icing):

  • 1 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup powdered sugar
  • Sprinkles

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream butter and sugar together; then add eggs and vanilla. Stir in all dry ingredients and the milk. Gently fold in the sprinkles (I used about 1/4 of a cup). Pour into a greased cupcake tin, or use wrappers, and remember to fill only 2/3 of the way. Bake about 20-25 minutes or until golden brown. Remove and let cool.

For the icing… whip together Greek yogurt and powdered sugar. Slowly stir in sprinkles (add as many or as little as you’d like). Ice the cupcakes only when they are completely cool or you will end up with a drippy mess! Store in the refrigerator to let the icing set.

Enjoy!

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Friday favorites 8/21

It’s been over a month since my last Friday favorites post so this is WAY overdue. Like always, I’m linking up with Katieย andย Heather!

First things first… I officially have a boyfriend and I can’t even explainย how incredibly happy he makes me! I feel like the luckiest girl every single day and, it might be too early to say this, but I really think he could be the one โค Plus he has a super cute puppy which never hurts.

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The boyfriend, best friend and I all went to see Sam Hunt, Hunter Hayes and Lady Antebellum in Hershey last Friday night which was AMAZING.ย Hunter Hayes got himself a new fan, that’s for sure ๐Ÿ™‚

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I repainted this hutch I found at Goodwill… the top piece was only 10 dollars and the bottom was 15! Pretty proud of how this turned out for how cheap it was!

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Of course, I’ve been FINALLY getting back into the kitchen this week. I made homemade brownies (find the recipe here) which were delicious but the real star was the funfetti cupcakes I made from scratch yesterday evening during the thunderstorm. I’ll be posting the recipe this weekend so definitely check back. They are a must-try!

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Also, LESS THAN ONE MONTH UNTIL MINDY’S NEW BOOK!!!!! I am obsessed with everything this woman does and her first book literally had me in tears. In the best way possible. Her next book comes out September 15th and to say I’m counting down the days is an understatement.

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Finally, to leave you with some inspirational words to kick off your weekend…

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Best homemade brownies [recipe]

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My favorite food is brownie batter (well, that and toast). That’s the real reason I make brownies… because it gives me an ย excuse to eat the batter without looking like a crazy, sugar-addicted girl that just consumes huge batches of uncooked brownies.

There have been an embarrassing number of times that my brownies have never made it into the oven. There’s just something about the chocolatey, buttery, sugary goodness of eating batter from the bowl that is irresistible to me. And I must not be the only one seeing as there are so many brownie batter flavored treats nowadays!

But anyways, yesterday was a rare day where I actually managed to bake the brownies. It was my first time making them completely from scratch and they turned out surprisingly moist and delicious! I feel like it’s really hard to imitate box brownie mixes. Usually my attempts end up being too crumbly or not sweet enough or too bitter. But these didn’t. These were almost, ALMOST better than the batter!

I adapted this original clean-eating brownie recipe from Nate and Lacy over at Wanna Bite. Basically, I “dirtied it up”. Less healthy, but I think that only adds to the tastiness ๐Ÿ™‚ Feel free to make any substitutions you’d like or check out the recipe on their site for the original ingredients.

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PS. They were so good, even Nala wanted to eat some! ๐Ÿ˜‰

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Brownies from scratch recipe

*Adapted from original recipe at Wanna Bite.

Ingredients:

  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 stick of butter, softened
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder (I used Hershey’s)
  • 1/2 cup all purpose flour
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Cream the butter and sugar together. Then add in eggs and vanilla. Stir in cocoa powder, flour and baking powder, adding a pinch of salt if desired.

Spread batter in a greased 9×9 pan and bake 20-25 minutes, or until they are the consistency you prefer!

Enjoy warm straight out of the oven for best results ๐Ÿ™‚

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Healthy chocolate zucchini bread [recipe]

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When I was a kid, we oftenย wentย to the farmer’s market on summer Saturday mornings and my momย would always let me pick out a carton of freshย zucchini. That green veggie ended up not only on the grill for supper but, even more importantly,ย inย a delicious loaf of zucchini bread courtesy of my mama!

The best thing about using zucchini in baking is that, because it is so mild, you can add any flavor or mix-ins to it. Zucchini banana bread? Check. Cinnamon raisin zucchini muffins? Check. Zucchini pancakes? Check. And, in my case, double chocolate zucchini bread!

I found this “healthier” version of chocolate zucchini bread over at Ambitious Kitchen and no lie, it tastes exactly like chocolate cake. Chewy, moist and flavorful. It is so tasty and the addition of chocolate chips just makes it that much better. I’ve been snacking on it at the office all week and I’ll be sad to eat my last piece this afternoon!

The original recipe calls for muffins but I baked it in a bread pan as I tend to like loaves over muffins because I can adjust my serving size. Hint: this would be AMAZING with cream cheese icing or a powdered sugar topping! Although I guess that defeats the whole “healthy” label. Then it really would be just cake! :p

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Healthy chocolate zucchini bread

*Original recipe from Ambitious Kitchen

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 TBSP coconut oil
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 egg
  • 1 medium zucchini, shredded
  • 1/4 cup unsweetened applesauce
  • 1/2 cup almond milk

Head over to her site for the instructions and whip up a delicious batch of muffins or, in my case, a delicious loaf of cake bread! ๐Ÿ™‚

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