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A Newfound Obsession with Lemon

I have never had an appropriate appreciation for lemon.  Beyond lemonade, I really can’t remember having much to do with the little yellow citrus.  You certainly wouldn’t find me reaching for a lemony dessert, especially not over chocolate, and I would even forgo a wedge for my water or tea.  However, lemon shall be snubbed no longer!  It has slowly been growing on me, but the love of lemon has cemented itself firmly with a single recipe: lemonies!  This is the name Miss Rita May has given her lemon brownie recipe, and they are a tasty treat!  Pinterest is, of course, to credit for the discovery of this easy, addictive recipe.

Even Sam is a fan, despite his original reluctance.  I told him I was going to make more lemonies with the lemons from the market (he wasn’t around for the first batch).  He immediately perked up: “lemonade?!”  We both love fresh lemonade made with Aunt Angie’s perfected ratios.  When I corrected him, he got sulky & suspicious of this lemon brownie idea that was stealing all the lemons from the ade.  I did make him a single glass to appease him, but it turns out that he’s plenty satisfied with the lemonies themselves.  I’m a bit ashamed to admit that we have eaten the whole 9×13 batch almost all by ourselves in 2 days – yikes!

I got to thinking about how lemon has been growing on me recently: a well-enjoyed lemon cupcake, the welcomed addition of lemon to a favorite recipe (Angie added it to our buttermilk pie, & I was surprisingly favorable), & even the subtle increase in citrus in my style.  I am not usually drawn to yellow in my decor or clothing, but check out the bedding I just ordered from West Elm:
I’m pretty excited about it!  Our bedroom has dark carpet & furniture, so I was looking for a yellow or green to brighten it up.

So, to investigate this idea further, I checked my pinterest boards, & sure enough, lemon was popping up in lots of places:
Shades of Yellow Style

A Twist on a Classic: Lemonade with Raspberry Ice CubesLemon Blackberry Cheesecake
Adorable Souffles: Only Martha!

Sunny Comfort

So, it must be true; I’m finally cultivating a love for lemon!  I should celebrate by baking limoncello cupcakes
or a lemon lemon cake
or branching out with a yellow skirt
or maybe not so far with a yellow cardi
or maybe a happy Box of Sunshine will do the trick

Whatever I decide on, it will surely be bright & sunny, tarty & citrus, and decidedly lemon!  A happy, yellow day to you, lovelies!


Diet Schmiet

I’m about to rant. I’m going to preface this with stating that I am not an expert or nutritionist in any form; I am simply a girl who loves food & has opinions, and thanks to the internet, I get to air them out.

I think diets are overrated, seriously overrated. In fact, I think diets are nothing more than a socially accepted form of selective anorexia. Strong words, I know, but let’s think through this. Cutting entire things out of your diet just sounds kinda nuts to me. Whatever happened to everything in moderation! Is our self control that far gone that we can’t just say get a good mix of everything & not too much of one, but have to just nix entire food groups? That’s not going to get us all the good vitamins & minerals that come from all these different types of foods. Obviously, I’m not talking about the diet plans that help you keep track & balance if you are seriously having issues. Those don’t exclude random food groups for fun. I’m talking fad diets. Let’s review some of my favorites:

Low Carb: a carbohydrate is defined by Webster’s as “any of various neutral compounds of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen (as sugars, starches, and celluloses) most of which are formed by green plants and which constitute a major class of animal foods.”  So here’s the deal, basically you are hating on a compound that is used for energy, structure, & all kinds of other things in our bodies. I think what you are really meaning to limit is either starches or sugar or both, but not all carbohydrates are bad. That’s stereotyping! And I refuse to deny myself completely of bread, pasta, & baked goods. They can’t be that bad if athletes load up on them before a race; we’ll get back to that.

Juicing: what did solid food ever do to you?! If you have teeth for chewing, then you are blessed enough to not have to deny yourself solid foods. And what about good ol’ fiber, he’s not offensive; don’t avoid him.

Diet drinks: are they really that much better for you sans sugar? They still have all the carbonation & acids & caffeine. Don’t chug them like they are water – chug water! 8 a day is not moderation – that much caffeine can’t be good for you. We seriously need to get off our caffeine highs. We’re a bunch of addicts.

I honestly don’t even know all of the other crazy things people do to diet, but here’s a couple more nuggets for you to chew over:
-Why do think they are called “fad” diets? If it worked, it would be the forever diet. Fad is just one letter away from fat. Just saying.
-Balance & knowledgable choices are all you need to eat healthy – smarten yourself up at .
-Aim for health, not a number on the scale or your clothes. Bodies come in all shapes & sizes, and if you are making good choices,feel good about yourself. The other half of that is
-Get up! Remember the carb loading athletes – they can do that because they are exercising a lot. If you are exercising, you are using all those good things you are eating, including sugars & carbs. If you are sitting on the couch all the time, maybe you should be more strict with what you eat because you aren’t using it.

In summation, eat a balanced variety. Exercise. Be smart. Be happy. Feel good. Love yourself. And cut out the dieting madness already!

I just spent an hour on this website…

Ok, you should totally check this out. Thanks to a tweet from Zooey Deschanel I have discovered As a person who dabbles in cupcakery, I can understand the daunting task that making your baking look as pretty as it tastes can be. I have only once tried to legitimately decorate something – baby bird nest cupcakes for a baby shower. They were iffy at best and could probably easily be made a mockery of by the cakewrecks lady; I wouldn’t mind.

The birds were little, ribbed blobs with funky beaks and non-uniform eyes. Some were even cool enough to be sporting shades. But at least I’m not claiming to be a pro, like the people on cakewrecks supposedly are. Here’s a fun sampling of all the lovelies this lady has collected for us. Her snarky comments are nothing to snivel at either. She snarks with the pros! I consider myself a pro-snarker at times. Anywho, here goes the cakes…go to the site.

From messed up & directly transcribed instructions…
to just straight up fails…
to werewolves & grammartrocities

The bottom line is that this site tickles my funny bone. Enjoy!

Christmas Pins

Here are some fun Christmas finds from Pinterest!

First, wrap it up:
Simple trimmings

Fun with color & texture
Crafty touches

Second, if you are lucky enough to have a mantle, dress it up:
Not crazy about the center picture, but love the silhouettes & stockings.
Crisp whites and simple holiday cheer
Golds and personalization
Romantic and quoted

Finally, no matter who, what, or where you are, eat it up:
Individual pear & cranberry pies
Peppermint bark rice crispies
Melted snowmen cookies – perfectionism not required for this treat.
A non-sweet – Cheese Trees
A twist on a classic
Precious cakes
Raspberry hot chocolate cupcakes
Dreamy & Festive
And wash it down with a Cup of Cheer!

5 more days!

A Bit O’ Baking

A couple of years ago, I really got into baking cupcakes. I still enjoy it; it’s just more tricky with my supplies drastically limited by last April’s pack-up. These days, I aim for the simpler recipes. I had some over-ripe bananas and some time to fill, so I found this recipe on the Martha Stewart website. Banana cupcakes with honey-cinnamon frosting! The best part about this recipe is that it is something both the hubs & I can enjoy. My dear sweet hubby isn’t a big fan of desserts. He only likes certain sweets, and a lot of times my little frosted happys don’t make the cut. However, Sam, I have recently learned, is a big fan of honey. At the local, large outdoor flea market that happens every weekend, we came across a man with a table full of different types of honey; Sam was very excited. He lets you sample all the ones you like until you find your favorite. We chose the Mountain Wildflower variety, and Sam has been eating it on his waffles ever since. Sam also likes bananas, so I thought this one would be a definite win. If you are wondering what I like, it is sweets, in the most general sense. Here’s what Martha’s cupcakes looked like:

The batter was very easy to mix up. My cakes turned out nicely & plenty moist – make sure to use very ripe bananas. In fact, sometimes I freeze my bananas when they get too close to bad to use later for baking. After following the instructions, my frosting was nowhere near white and too liquid-y still, more of a glaze. I have a couple of theories: 1. lighter colored honey – our honey variety is rather dark, almost like a honey mixed with molasses color; 2. she had a better machine with which to whip hers fluffy. My lovely KitchenAid also fell pray to the overseas move pack-up, so all I have is a hand mixer. One other complaint is that I don’t like when frostings get too gritty from the amount of powered sugar. Enter improvisation, I added milk to smooth it out, brown sugar to stiffen it up, more cinnamon because I like it, and I had already added more honey than called for because I knew hubs would like it. Got it to a spreadable consistency and smeared it on. It definitely came out more like a cream-cheese frosting texture than a fluffy buttercream, but it’s delicious so who cares. Hubs didn’t! He gave them a whopping two thumbs up and has actually eaten more than just one or two. The recipe yielded me 16 cakes, and I ate one hot. There was just enough frosting for a moderate enough smearing, which is fine because the man also doesn’t like to be over frosted. Geez, he’s picky! Here’s the result:

They aren’t perfect, but they are extremely eatable! I will definitely use this recipe again. Baked anything good lately yourself? With as many holidays floating around, I bet you have! Do tell…

Recent Pinnings

Pinterest.  An idea, information, and inspiration sharing forum. I mostly use it for style & home decor ideas and getting hungry – pretty food pictures always get me worked up. Here are some lovelies that I pinned today.

For the Home:

Bookcases for shoe racks – genius! Just think you can adjust to your liking.
The materialistic side of me says I wish I had this many shoes.

Clever! Metal magazine racks to hold fruits and veggies.
Anything that clears the counters is beneficial.
Plus, I can’t help thinking the air would do them good.

A neat way to organize and display mail, letters, & photos.
I’m a fan of snail mail, but maybe not this color.

#1. Make meaningful bucket list. #2. Do this!
Check them off by putting them in the bucket – seriously!

For the Belly:

Baked Apple Cider Donut Holes – Yum!

Whole Wheat Brown Sugar Banana Bread Pancakes
I love all of those things, so they must be good.

Baked Brie Bites – a finger-foods spin on baked brie, j’adore.
This would be a perfect treat for parties!

For the Body:

Still looking out for colder weather styles, and I was glad
to see some ideas that didn’t involve skinny jeans.
Not that I don’t love skinnies; I just have other jeans, too.

Navy & Orange is a daring color combo idea. I’d have to
up my braveness ante to progress from the first outfit to the second.

For the Soul:

I don’t know how I missed this when I was in Paris. This is the Lovers Bridge where couples attach locks and throw the keys into the Seine to symbolize eternal love. Whenever I get to Paris again (and the hubs better be with me this time), I will have a spray-painted padlock in tow.

There you have it! What kind of things catch your eye on Pinterest? If you aren’t on, let me know, and I’ll send you an invite. Trust me, you want it.

A Friday Food Review

If you have not yet realized, I am quite a fan of food and beverage. I love trying new places and things. Yesterday, the hubs and I explored Old Town. Here are the food discoveries we made. After parking, we set straight out to picking a place to eat. It was lunch time, and neither of us do well when the food meters are low. For some reason, the hubs had it set in his mind that he wanted to do a taco night for dinner, so he was avoiding the many Mexican restaurants we passed. As we neared the end of San Felipe, we saw High Noon Restaurant & Saloon, and the cute little adobe place with the catchy name won our patronage. The interior had the same adobe texture with accents of worn wood and old pictures. The restaurant’s website tells of the history of the building as follows:

When High Noon opened its doors in July of 1974, we added to the building’s colorful history. Originally constructed as a home sometime between 1750 and 1785, legend has it that the structure has been both a gambling parlor and a brothel.  With the addition of two rooms in the late 1960’s, it became home to a Spanish furniture maker as well as his retail storefront. The original building remained an apartment until High Noon took over, its last tenant being a Catholic nun.

How cool is that! I love buildings with history.  Being chilly from our walk to the restaurant, I started off with a hot chocolate, and Sam got a marg.  My hot chocolate was yummy with rich chocolate, whipped topping, chocolate syrup, and a hint of something salty somewhere. Sam’s marg was tasty and not strong in the least, which is probably good considering it was only lunchtime.  We started off with some truffle fries. They were rich, salty, and sprinkled with parmesan cheese. We scarfed them down quickly.

Here’s me & my cocoa, and our yummy fries.

It was difficult making a decision as many of the menu items looked tempting. I settled on something Southwestern, as we hadn’t really explored the food style of our new area: blue corn enchiladas with spicy chicken & roasted veggies, topped with cheese, green chile sauce, and an egg and served with rice & beans. Sam was tempted by the cherry barbecue glazed beef short ribs served with garlic mashed potatoes and green beans.  I don’t think we could have picked two more different meals from their menu. Mine came as this huge pile of open-faced enchiladas with mounds of filling, cheese, sauce, and the large egg with equally large piles of rice & beans (much bigger than it looks in the photo). Sam’s came as a well plated layer of mashed potatoes with the green beans on top and the three big chunks of short rib portioned out across them with drizzlings of sauce. We ate our own for a while , but after sharing bites with each other, eventually the plates were swapped. It’s almost as if we had ordered for the tastes of the other – silly married people! The enchiladas were tasty with an easy spice to them, and the egg really added something. The ribs were tender and well-flavored with the delicious sauce, and the potatoes were just the right consistency and flavor. We ate ourselves full and still had to take leftovers. Our server was attentive, the atmosphere was relaxed, and it was overall a good experience.

We walked our lunch off through all of the shops in the surrounding streets, seeing lots of jewelry and pottery, but occasionally coming across a gem, like the Old Town Hat Shop where I snagged a cute topper. We later wandered across the Rolling in Dough Bakery-Café. Now I can never pass up the chance for yummy starches! Sam chose a simple croissant, and I couldn’t decide . Now when I can’t decide, a lot of the time Sam will just tell me to get all of them, so he doesn’t have to deal with my inner struggle too long. Therefore, I got a pecan sticky bun, a blackberry bear claw, and a baklava. The bakery also has a sufficient café menu that would make this a good spot for a quick lunch. They do call-in orders because he took one while we were there. I would like to note that I forgot to get a picture of the sign, so this lovely is courtesy of Check them out. I have yet to see a bad picture.
I ate most of my bear claw on the way home, but left enough for the photo. It was yummy and tactfully avoided being overly sweet with the tartness of the blackberry balancing out the glaze. Sam’s croissant was flaky and buttery as it should be. The pecan sticky bun was dangerously skirting my too sweet line that I think could have easily been remedied by more pecans. I don’t claim to know anything about baklava, so I’ll just go with it was good. If you couldn’t guess, Sam didn’t not have taco night that night, but when finally un-full enough to eat, we knocked out some leftovers from my roasted chicken dinner. Also, please forgive the varying styles and colorings of the photos; I am obsessed with Instagram.

There you have it. My attempt at food critiquing. I hope you have enjoyed hearing about our food finds as much as we enjoyed eating them. Also, I apologize if the lack of a post yesterday left you feeling unsatisfied. I was desperately attempting to finish a travelblog post about our Hawaii trip, while travelblog was successfully attempting to thwart me by repeatedly erasing my progress. Ah well, that’s why I came to wordpress for our little daily chats. I’ll share it with you if I ever finish it. Otherwise, I hope you are having a lovely Friday!
Eat something yummy for me!