Sunday, May 2, 2021

Slow Cooker Beef Barbacoa

Beef barbacoa in the slow cooker. I always prefer to slow cook these types of things in the oven because the liquid reduces and flavors concentrate, but the convenience of a slow cooker is immeasurable. It also makes this very weeknight friendly and easy for entertaining.


The key things for making this dish in a slow cooker are:

Wednesday, April 21, 2021

March Favorites

 



I've always had dry feet and love the foot masks that peel (it's so satisfying!) but I've been using these pumice blocks a couple times a week in the shower and my feet have never been softer! I lotion them afterwards and I am in awe at what a miracle worker these little stones are. Buy a pack and prep for warmer weather now, you won't regret it!

I wish I could say I wear stretchy headbands for working out but the reality is, I need these to contain the postpartum regrowth! It's a real doozy these days and headbands (plus tons of hairspray) are necessary to keeping these pieces from sticking straight up! I like that this one isn't as tight as others but still relatively stay in place. I do wear it to workout as well and it does what it's supposed to! 

As a stay at mom I basically live in athleisure! Now that I've actually started working out I have stronger opinions about the clothes aside from them just being comfy. This is my first time trying this brand and I have to say I'm impressed! I love that this shirt is lightweight and isn't tight but isn't too flowy. I love the hem length with yoga pants because theres a little bit of coverage but it isn't too long to wear with shorts. For under $30 this feels much more luxurious and I already have two other colors in my cart!

Several years ago I bought a pair of Tracker shorts from Lululemon and have loved them ever since. Post baby #2 I felt like I needed a little more stretch in the waistband and ended up trying these Speed Up shorts and love them so much! They smooth things out without being a true high waist and I like the overall fit. The 4" feels like the perfect length and I'm 5'6" for reference. I'll be buying these in multiple colors to wear this summer but for now I'm enjoying them for inside workouts. 

Emerging out of a midwest winter is something special, let me tell you! Unless you've gone away to get some sun somewhere, it's pretty likely you could use a little glow to get you through the spring. I have heard about these tanning drops and figured March would be a good time to test these out because we're still stuck inside if things don't go well! I started slow, like a drop to a normal amount of face moisturizer, once per week and it did add a subtle glow! I could probably bump to either 2 drops or increase the frequency but for now, I'm happy with it! I have added to my body lotion once to test my arms/chest and it wasn't noticeably tanner but I will likely continue this regime as we get into warmer weather and need to put more skin on display. These are a touch pricey but I can tell this bottle will last forever and I don't find the smell to be offensive as I do other self tanners.

This dress is what warm weather dreams are made of! I love a good gingham moment and when I saw this online I knew it had to be mine. I love that the straps adjust with the back detailing, which is adorable, and also functional! I think sizing is a touch generous, so if you're in between sizes I think you could go down one. Otherwise it's just a roomy true to size that can be adjusted as I mentioned with the straps! I will be wearing this all summer long and with a denim jacket all spring!








Monday, April 12, 2021

Platters and Serveware

 


Thinking back to when we were registering for our wedding it was such a hectic time and planning for future entertaining was tricky! I have found that it's best to be over-prepared than under-prepared when it comes to serving platters. You may not need everything at this moment in your life but you will, someday, and you'll be glad you have it! I tend to gravitate towards neutral pieces that go with any type of food/cuisine and of course, nothing too trendy that won't stand the test of time. These pieces are all classic with a touch of "trendy". Something to think about is varying heights and shapes for serving. It always elevates your presentation! 













Sunday, April 11, 2021

February Favorites

I'm behind, but I'm catching up! :)

I use mason jars for food storage and love the versatility and sizes of them but one of the biggest headaches was the lids. They always rust whether I hand wash or put in the dishwasher. I was replacing them so often until I found these plastic ones. They are universal for different brands and are dishwasher safe! They come in wide mouth as well, so grab whatever size makes more sense for your jars. I am telling you these are a genius and have smiled every time I take them out of the dishwasher.

A flat edge spoon, sounds odd right? I stopped using wooden spoons for a couple years because I was preferring the silicone spoonulas but in the last year or so I've completely flip flopped! I like that they are safe on nonstick pans and the edges really get into the corners of your pans. The handle is comfortable and I love the color of this one!

I had gotten this tower for Graham when he was about a year old and it has exceeded all expectations. Although he's incredibly tall, he still likes to use it when I'm cooking. It's also currently Landon's favorite toy to climb into. It's inexpensive, narrow, pretty for when not in use, and very sturdy. If you have littles and want to get them cooking with you- grab this! 

Are you a lipstick person? I am not. I would always prefer a tinted gloss but rarely ever wear it! Especially these masked days. BUT, I have heard such a commotion over "Pillow Talk" lipstick that when I was in Sephora recently I had to see for myself. I actually didn't like the lipstick that everyone talks about. It's matte and a touch drying, in my opinion. But this one is hydrating and very sheer and gives a little something something. It sort of feels like a glossy chapstick, without the stickiness of actual gloss. I reach for this almost every day because even if I'm not wearing makeup and hanging out with the kids it feels like I have my life together a little bit!

If you have little kids you know that sound machines are life. Each boy has one in his own room and I added this to the hallway between their rooms shortly after Landon started sleeping in his crib. Having white noise in their hallway has been a game changer on all accounts. I love this sound machine because it holds a charge overnight without having to be plugged in. This winter we lost our power a few times due to cold temperatures and it was amazing having this "backup" sound machine that kept going when each of theirs turned off. This is a pretty tiny sound machine but packs quite a punch volume wise! A lot of portable sound machines don't get very loud and turn off after a short window but this one is excellent. I have a backup of this sound machine because it's that important! Also great for traveling, walk snoozes, car rides, etc. 

I have been using these striped towels for many years and love the absorbency and classic look of the stripes. I have several colors but couldn't resist this beautiful pink color for spring!

When we moved Graham to his big boy bed we had all sorts of trouble getting him to stay in his room. I researched many light systems for him and ended up with this Hatch light. It has sounds too but we just use it for the light. I love that you can program their sleep schedule and adjust it on the app manually if you need to make the light change sooner/later without having to go in or throw off your training. Graham loves saying, "see you when the light turns green" or proudly tells us hours after, that he saw it turn green. I couldn't be happier with this and definitely kick myself for not implementing this sooner when we first moved him to his bed!

I have tried many moisturizers over the years but continuously come back to this one. It is so hydrating without leaving a greasy residue, which is my biggest pet peeve with others. I also love the smell of it. While others have an off-putting floral scent this has a very subtle spa-like aroma. It's a little cooling when you put it on and a little goes a long way, which helps stretch the product out! I love the eye cream too. 





Thursday, March 11, 2021

Knives and Boards

I absolutely love when someone reaches out for my recommendation on some sort of cooking related item. It makes me feel very wise and flattered that I'm a resource for these types of things! These days, while staying home with the boys full time it helps to get these questions to prove to myself that I am capable of more than laundry and diaper changing. 

The top 3 most asked are knives, cutting boards, and pots and pans. For very good reason! These are huge purchases and there are so many options out there. While my suggestions are not for everyone based on budget, needs, personal preference, I have had experience with a lot out there and did my research before making these purchases myself. 

One thing I always like to stress is that these 3 categories are investments. You can certainly find cheap options out there but these are items I think is essential to buy quality and you will reap the rewards for years to come. 

I will create a separate post on pots and pans because it's a bigger discussion and much more involved. As for knives and boards, I have two options with different price points that are hands down my favorites. 

If you aren't looking to drop a ton of money of a whole set of knives, I would suggest buying a block and start with 3-4 essential knives and slowly build up your collection over time. To be very honest, there are a couple of knives in my set that I almost never use, so buying a la carte may be a more practical route. Although you typically get a saving by buying a set.

These Epicurean boards are great for every day. I love these because they are easy to clean, don't retain odors, don't damage your knives, and are dishwasher safe, although I tend to wash by hand. The Boos block is a beautiful board that is best used if you keep your board out full time. These are heavy and substantial and meant to be kept on display, I mean, look at them! They come in a ton of sizes and colors but my favorite is the walnut.

Care and maintenance is critical when you have these types of items. Handwash your knives and dry right away to protect from water marks or rust. Keep them sharp by honing every few uses. Don't lay your board flat to dry- this will create an odor from the water underneath. I like to stand it up on a dish towel or paper towel leaning against something to dry on all sides. 

Any questions? Comment below or email me! I am happy to answer them!


Thursday, February 25, 2021

Blueberry Muffin Cake

I have always had a sweet tooth and indulge (guilt-free) because that's the best way possible for me. Deprivation never ends well and I truly believe everything in moderation. When I was pregnant with Graham, I made a recipe for blueberry muffin cake weekly and several months following. I've shared this recipe on Instagram and it may be the recipe people make/tag me the most! The batter is so easy and requires one bowl- mixing everything together, which is not as common with baking. Having to use a mixer and combine wet ingredients first is easy too, just an extra step and a few more dishes to clean! This recipe is also adaptable for making muffins, mini muffins, and bakes well in just about any shape pan. 


I've used all frozen blueberries, all fresh, or a combo of the two and you honestly can't go wrong with any of them. Whatever looks good or is on sale, will work just fine. I always have a few bags of frozen blueberries on hand so I am always prepared to make this recipe!


Ingredients:

Crumb Topping
4tbl butter, melted
1/2 cup flour
1/2 cup powdered sugar
dash of cinnamon
pinch of salt

Cake
2 cups flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, melted
3/4 cups milk
1 egg
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp almond extract
2 1/2 tsp baking powder
3/4 tsp salt
2 tbl powdered sugar
1 cup frozen blueberries
1 cup fresh blueberries

Directions
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Spray a 9x9 pan (or muffin tin, or loaf pan) with nonstick spray.
In a small bowl combine crumb topping and set aside.
In a large bowl mix together the cake ingredients except for the powdered sugar and blueberries. (Just until combined, don't over mix!)
Coat the blueberries in a separate bowl with the powdered sugar. 
Fold the blueberries carefully into the batter, being sure not to break up the blueberries.
Spread the batter into prepared pan and top evenly with the crumb topping. 
Bake for 40-50 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.
Let cool and sprinkle with powdered sugar.

I hope you enjoy!








Monday, February 22, 2021

January Favorites

If I had a nickel for every time I was doing something and had a blog post in mind and basically wrote it out, in my head, I would be very wealthy! However, the transition from it being in my head to typed up always gets held up by a bazillion other things. In any event, I have a lot to share, I just have to prioritize getting it out of my head! If this confuses you, I don't blame you one bit!

Back by popular demand (no real demand, that just sounds important) I have put together some monthly roundups of favorite items. Most are new to me, some are just being heavily used right now!