happy world baking day! for me, baking means spending quality time with my sister. i’m not a natural born baker… it takes effort, patience and then more patience. i really only enjoy baking when i’m baking with my sister. it’s so special to be able to share such sweet memories over the whisking, piping, burning and tasting of all of our creations. to me, she will always be my Star Baker.
I DID IT! after months of sleeping on the floor i FINALLY bought a bed frame! i was in a bit of a rut… didn’t feel motivated or inspired to do much of anything related to my room so night after night, i would go to bed, look at the sad mattress on the floor and go to sleep. for me, a bed frame made all the difference and now that my room (and life?) are back in order i’ve been looking for inspiration to freshen up my bedroom and i think i found it…PAMPAS GRASS. i love the light and subtle presence they have in a room. think i might ned to pick some up this weekend…stay tuned!
it’s that time of year again! where the christmas music is overplayed (guilty), turtlenecks are worn in 70-degree weather and i pretend to be on the great british bake off. the best place to pretend you know everything about baking is at williams sonoma, but it’s a dangerous place to be during the holidays. they have peppermint bark, holiday mixes and lots of festive dining decor… which is how we ended up here with this blog post! i saw this holiday bundt pan and knew it’s rightful place was at home with me. it didn’t matter that i had never made a bundt cake before, i was going to make a bundt cake now. i’ll admit baking does not come naturally for me, i need a recipe and i will follow that recipe to the very last pinch of salt. so, when i saw this gingerbread spice quick bread i was at ease having the reassurance of detailed directions all along the back of the pretty packaging. this recipe was quick and simple and i can’t wait to make more for the holiday season.
apparently, while mixing ingredients i bounce as if i’m trying to put a newborn baby to sleep…it’s a new technique.
i remember as kids, my brother and i were always the first ones awake in the house, we would sneak down stairs before everyone woke up to see what “santa” had left in our stockings. one year we got caught because cody broke one of our mom’s decorations in the excitement of seeing his stocking filled with giant reese’s peanut butter cups…rookie mistake…huge. it’s interesting to see how christmas mornings change as you get older. this year we took a pretty mellow approach to christmas, with everyone waking up in different places on christmas morning, we didn’t really have an agenda. i remember someone saying, “let everyone wake up and we’ll go from there” so we did just that; woke up, had breakfast for lunch and opened presents in the late afternoon. hope everyone had a lovely holiday season.
it’s the most woooonderfuuul tiiiime of the yeeeaaar! tis the season of friends, family and FOOD. it’s the season of telling embarrassing stories from your childhood, watching cheesy hallmark movies and going to all the dinner parties.
it’s hard to remember when my love for “dinnertaining” began but over the years my sister and i have collected a plethora of great pieces for our “perfect dinner party”. with christmas around the corner, i couldn’t wait to dust off some of these great finds. may everyone eat, drink and be merry this holiday season!
a sweet friend gifted me this adorable succulent box for my birthday and i’m obsessed. i had two thoughts when opening my box- 1.”how friggin cute!” 2.”why have i never heard of this before?!”- so i went online to find out the skinny on all things lula’s garden. founder, liraz birnbaum says this all began when she was looking for a unique gift idea. inspired by the growing popularity of succulents, due to the rise of drought awareness in california, lulu’s garden was born.
lula’s garden supports local farmers by using locally grown succulents from southern california while offering a variety of succulent boxes to choose from. inside each box you find a curated succulent garden with instructions and tools on how to pretty much keep your garden alive. lucky for me, it needs minimal effort and is very hard to kill. (bonus points) take a look at my “unboxing” below and check out lula’s garden for more succulent gift ideas.
for the past month i haven’t really spent a weekend at home- between traveling for the holidays and spending time in orange county, my poor bed started to wonder if i’d ever come back. this weekend i decided to stay in la to clean and reorganize my apartment because “new year, new me” is in full flux… yesterday morning, i did laundry, put new sheets on my bed, dusted my shelves and had a dance party because what else do you do when you clean?? and then-i got hungry. not really wanting to brave the sunday brunch hour, i decided to make something at home. so i pulled a cookbook off the bookshelf and made some chocolate chip banana bread. *warning* this banana bread is like crack, please bake responsibly-only if you are a strong and independent woman…i mean only if you are strong willed… yeah, will power.
ingredients: 1 1/3 cups light brown sugar-2 eggs-1 cup mashed banana-2 1/4 cups flour-1 teaspoon baking powder-1 teaspoon baking soda-1 teaspoon ground cinnamon-1 teaspoon ground ginger-1 stick plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter melted-semi sweet chocolate chips-
preheat oven to 325ºf. put the sugar and eggs in a freestanding electric mixer with a paddle attachment (or use a handheld electric whisk) and beat until well incorporated. beat in the mashed banana.
add the flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon and ginger to the sugar mixture. mix it thoroughly until all the dry ingredients have been incorporated into the egg mixture. pour in the melted butter and beat until all the ingredients are well mixed.
pour the batter into the prepared loaf pan and smooth over with a palette knife. bake in the preheated oven for about 1 hour or until firm to the touch and a skewer inserted in the center comes out clean. let the cake cool slightly in the pan before turning out onto a wire rack to cool completely.
i’m finally getting around to posting some bits and pieces of our christmas in sedona. we had a packed house of 9 people and 5 dogs and i wouldn’t have it any other way! our first order of business-grocery shopping. every year my sister cooks christmas eve dinner, christmas day breakfast and christmas day dinner, not to mention the goodies and desserts in between! she’s far too humble to say that she is good at cooking but she is and i’ll shout it from the rooftops if i have to-her cooking is my favorite part about the holidays. courtney needed all hands on deck in the kitchen but because of my notoriously bad cooking skills, i sat this one out and got a head start on the wine. my aunt and uncle live near the local winery so we picked up a bottle… or four.
christmas morning we woke up to a winter wonderland which made for an extra special holiday.
homemade muffins, cinnamon rolls and chocolate chip bread thanks to chef courtney!