Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Best Brownies Ever

Have you ever had a recipe so amazing people know THAT dish? These brownies are THAT dish! 
On another note, have you ever had a piece of bake/cookware that you swear by? Because this brownies pan I use is the my holy grail kitchen item. But i'm getting off track here, onto the brownies! 

I've been making these brownies for as long as I can remember. (Okay, maybe just since I was like 13 and could bake on my own.) These are my go-to dessert. 
Can you guess which page my brownie recipe is on in the cook book?! 
Y'all, here are THE BEST BROWNIES EVER

The amazing pan I was raving about? Couldn't tell you where it's from or what brand it is, but BOY OH BOY is it amazing! I only use it for my brownies. Call me crazy, or call me genius. You pick. Either way, my method works. 
Alright, so let's start the magic. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. 

I usually use the stand mixer for this recipe, but baby girl was asleep when I was baking and I didn't want to wake her, so hand mixing it was! Place all dry ingredients into a 
bowl, minus the sugar, and mix together until it looks like delicious hot cocoa mix. 

Next melt the butter. I only do mine so it is around this melted:

Cream the butter and sugar together if you're using your stand mixer, or mix together by hand. Then add the eggs and vanilla. {Fun fact? My momma always told me to add one extra teaspoon of vanilla more than what it calls for. Try it. You won't be disappointed.}
Also, when you hand mix this stuff together, it looks terrible. Don't give up, it gets better. 

Ready for it to start getting pretty? Mix these two concoctions together. Go on with your bad self, mix. CREATE MAGIC! 


At this point, go ahead and stop to take a lick or two of the spoon. I know you want it. It's okay, this is a judgement free zone. Go ahead…i'll wait….


………….


Now pour the batter into a GREASED pan. Don't forget to grease it. You do not want brownies stuck to the pan. That would just be an uncalled for and totally avoidable travesty. 

Bake for 30 mins or until a toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle. 
Take out and let cool until devouring enjoying. Or don't let cool, scoop some ice-cream on top, and sit back and enjoy a little piece of heaven. 

My heaven? These pieces. The corners. 


Ingredients:
1 Cup Butter (Melted)                 1 Cup Flour
2 Cups Sugar                               1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder
2 Teaspoons Vanilla                    1/4 Teaspoon Salt
4 Eggs                                          Optional Nuts
3/4 Cups Cocoa Powder

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Whisk flour, cocoa powder, baking powder and salt together in a bowl.
3. In a stand mixer, or by hand, cream butter and sugar together. Then slowly add eggs, one add a time. Add in vanilla and mix well
4. Place dry ingredients in with the wet, and mix until fully incorporated
5. Pour batter into a greased 13X9 pan
6. Bake for 30 mins or until toothpick comes out clean when inserted into the middle
7. Enjoy the heck out of your brownies and share with absolutely no one
8. Kidding, share with everyone you know

There you have it folks, the greatest brownie recipe you will ever need in your life. Make them for your neighbors. Make them for your mother-in-law. Make them for your best friends husbands cousin. Just make them, enjoy them, thank me later. 

Are you a corner or middle person when it comes to brownies?
Do you prefer brownies with or without nuts?!













How To Tuesday {Come Link Up!}

It's finally here and I am SO excited! Caitlin, Kelly and I have teamed up to bring you a fun, weekly link party! Join us every tuesday to share your DIY posts, recipes, tutorials, or anything else in the "How-To" category! 



Just a few reminders when it comes to our link party:
-Link up to THREE posts, but please keep them fresh 
-No sponsored posts, links to giveaways, or links to shops
-Try and visit other posts, after all this is what is't about ;)
-Please SHARE our party with your friends! 
We'd love to have as many people participate as possible! 

Let's party, shall we?!




Monday, April 7, 2014

Oh, Just A Quick Trip To Chicago!

When thinking about what to get M for his wedding gift I was truly stumped. 
Another watch? A few rounds of golf somewhere? A trip to Chicago for the Home Opener Cubs game? You can imagine which one won! It has been on his bucket list to visit Wrigley Field because his Grandma was a Cubs fan. Wrigley Field was amazing! It was a short and sweet trip, but for how cold it was, that was perfectly okay with me! 

When we first got there it was foggy. Like the most fog i've ever seen in my life. Rather creepy, if you ask me. It was really awesome though because i've had never seen anything like it before.  


I was so thankful when we got to our hotel because the lovely lady at the front desk let us check in early. Our plans were to drop our luggage off, then find somewhere to eat and head to the game early. We were in desperate need of some sleep and we were SO grateful for her! We took a short nap then headed to the field. Man oh man, I was C O L D. I live in cold weather, I know what it's like. But for some reason, the wind that accompanied the cold weather in Chicago made me want to die. We endured though. We got to see Wrigley Field and we had such an amazing experience! 
(Side Note: NEVER ask if there is a "Jumbo-Tron" in Wrigley Field)



I was so excited to be heading to Chicago because one of my greatest friends from high school took a job there about a year ago. It was so nice to see her, catch up, and just hang out like old times! She took us to this awesome place called Dublin's. It's was the type of place that when we were walking up, I asked "Uh, are you sure this place is open?!" They were in-fact open and we stayed there for hours chatting, drinking, and eating plates of delicious bread. Okay, I was the only one going to nom town on the bread, but hey, it was good! (Also another side note: we went to McDonalds late that night after we got home, and the guy working didn't know what a "Hot N Spicy" was. Is that normal, Chicago?! Do you people know what "Hot N Spicy's" are?!)



The next day the only thing we wanted to accomplish was sleeping in. It is a rare luxury in our house and we very much accomplished that Saturday morning! I really wanted to see Millennium Park, which we did. I also got to meet a friend of mine I met through Twitter, which was really awesome! We also ate lunch at a delicious place called Cosi. Sadly, I read our flight wrong and we left at 5 AM and not 5 PM, so we had dinner and called it an early night so we could leave early for our flight. 





Chicago was such an amazing trip! I was so happy we did the things we wanted on our list and more importantly I was so happy to be there with my amazing husband! 

Have you ever been to Chicago?
What was your favorite part?!




Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Chicken Thai Chopped Salad

A few days ago I had found this recipe on Pinterest and I couldn't stop thinking about it. 
I knew I had to make this delectable looking salad. Y'all, this Chicken Thai Chopped Salad was so good I made it two days in a row. Ya, it was THAT good. I made mine a little different from the original recipe, but here is mine! 

Chicken Thai Chopped Salad
Ingredients:

For the Dressing:
-2 Cloves Garlic - Minced 
-1 Palmful Crushed Red Chili Flakes (more or less depending on how spicy you like it)
-2 Tablespoons Soy Sauce
-1 Tablespoon White Vinegar
-1 Tablespoon Red Wine Vinegar
-1 Tablespoon Lime Juice
-1 Tablespoon EVOO (Extra Virgin Olive Oil) 
-2 Tablespoons Sugar 
-1/4 Cup Peanut Butter
-1/4 Cup Water

Whisk all ingredients together in a bowl. I like to do this first before starting the salad so all the ingredients can marinade together and infuse flavors. 


For the Salad:
-1 Small Head of Cabbage
-2 Large Carrots
-1 Handful of Cilantro
-1 Cup Peanuts
-2 Green Onions
-2 Cooked Chicken Breasts 
-Salt and Pepper to Taste

First, boil your chicken in water on the stove for about 20 mins or until cooked. I cover mine and cook on medium high heat. 

Next slice the cabbage into thin strips as if you were making coleslaw. 

Shred the carrots anyway you would like. I did long strips and then did a rough chop with them. I used a vegetable peeler for this, but use what is best for you. 

Rough chop the green onions, cilantro, and peanuts. 

Once the chicken is fully cooked, let it cool and then shred it into bite sized pieces. 

You're going to want to find a big bowl, and toss all these amazing ingredients together. Once you've given it a good toss, go ahead and drizzle that dressing you've been letting sit all over it, and toss a few more times. 

Let it chill in the fridge for 30 mins or so, a presto! One of the best salads EVER! 

This Chicken Thai Chopped salad is literally one of the most delicious things i've ever eaten. The hubs and I drizzled a little Siracha over ours and it was DEVINE! 

Do you enjoy salads?
What is your favorite kind?






Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Guest Post: Beauty Must Haves!


{Rachel has posted on my blog before and I just simply love her! Her blog features so many different and fun things, she is worth a follow! Check out her blog, and check out her beauty favorites on my blog today!}

If you’re anything like me, you have your favorite beauty products you couldn’t live without. But, I am also always trying new products to see if there is something even better out there or something great to add to my beauty arsenal. (It doesn’t hurt that my sister is an esthetician and get fantastic samples and shares with me!)
Here are some of my current favorite products to help beautify myself each day.

  • Beyond Belief Vita C + Eye Cream – I recently started using this product under my eyes each morning and it has been working wonders keeping my skin firm and bright. No dark circles here!
  • Mac Painterly Paint Pot – For the days I wear eye shadow, this makeup base makes sure the shadow sticks and looks fantastic all day long.
  • Marrakesh Endz – I just started using this and it really does help seal and repair split ends. And, I love the smell!
  • Kenra Platinum Texturizing Taffy – I have thinner hair and this taffy helps add some thickness and volume to my hair. It helps keep the parts of my hair that I back comb in place even better too!
  • It’s a 10 – I only use this a couple times a week but it helps keep my hair soft and smooth.
  • Mac Brush Cleaner – this brush cleaner is so fabulous and helps keep my brushes extra clean so applying my makeup is smooth and flawless

Try them out and let us know what you think! What are your favorite products??

Monday, March 24, 2014

It's Music Festival Season!

It's here! It's here! It's here! 
IT'S LIKE CHRISTMAS! 

Okay, that's a little extreme, but I L O V E Country Thunder.
Love, love, DOUBLE LOVE!
It's the one weekend a year there are no rules, no one is judging you(okay, everyone is judging you), and you truly have the time of your life! Not everyone may agree with me, but hey, you're entitled to your wrong opinion. ;) 

Now I know some of you might be asking "what exactly IS Country Thunder?"
It is a 4-day country music festival. You can camp, party, and listen to amazing music all weekend long. It is glorious. It it wonderful. It is my favorite time of year! 

Some of my favorite memories with friends come from this festival. It is held at two places over the year. Florence, Arizona and Twin Lakes, Wisconsin. The Arizona festival is held in April and for this I am eternally grateful. 

I have complied an ultimate camping checklist if you ever decide to check out one of these amazing events. However, this really could be used for any kind of camping trip! And yes, some of this stuff is VERY generic and basic, but nonetheless necessary. ;) 
country thunder, camping list, camping, music festival, summer time
Ultimate Camping List:
-Clothes
(For Country Thunder specifically, I like to pack something along the lines of:
4 shorts, 2 pants, 1 dress, 1 sweatshirt, 1 sweatpants, 1 bathing suit just incase, and being a girl I pack way too many shirts, but nonetheless, pack shirts.)

-Shoes
(Again, for Country Thunder I pack something like:
Boots, flip flops, sneakers that can get dirty/muddy)

-Tent, sleeping bag, pillow, and air mattress. 
At Country Thunder A LOT of people take an RV. That is a GREAT option. However this year, and in years past, we haven't wanted to go through the hassle of getting one, so we always tent camp. I also bring an extra blanket just incase.

-Sun Shade

-Food & Drinks
We usually always overpack in both of these areas. The "mother in me" is always afraid someone will go hungry and/or thirsty and I never want that to happen! 

-WATER! 
I can't stress this enough. There is a fair amount of drinking that can happen at Country Thunder. With that being said, you need to keep yourself hydrated!!! I can't stress this enough. We also like to bring an extra few gallons for hand washing, etc. 

-Paper towels, paper plates, and plastic cutlery

-Fold up tables and chairs

-Toilet paper
My suggestion for Country Thunder is to GET YOUR OWN PORT-O-POTTY! They do have some scattered along the campsites, but they fill up fast, if you know what I mean. It isn't pretty. It isn't fun. 

-A lock
If you do get your own Port-O-Potty, bring a little lock for it so others don't just walk over and use it. 

-Flashlight

-Camera & Batteries
People, this is one thing you will want. These memories need to be documented. 

-Backpack or small purse
I, as a female, like to carry a small purse of some type to the actual concerts with me. 
Chapstick, phone...the necessities.

-ID
Speaking of bringing a purse, have your ID on you AT ALL TIMES. There are undercover cops roaming around Country Thunder at all times and if you're drinking, you're subject to being ID'd. 
Just have it on you.

-Cash
You can't bring drinks inside the concert area. Although they do have ATM's, I hate the fee's and I just like to bring some cash from home with me. 

-Advil
You'll thank me later

-Trash bags
Guys, if you go to ANY music festival where you are camping out, PLEASE pick up after yourselves. 

-Bug spray/Sunscreen

-Baby Wipes
Another thing you'll thank me later for 

-Cooking grill and charcoal

-Dry shampoo or a towel
They do have areas at Country Thunder where you can shower, but if I recall correctly it is $5 for 5 mins. No thank you, i'd rather buy a beer with that. Hence the dry shampoo, my best friend. 

-Music
When you're at your campsite all day, you want something to jam to. 

-Corn hole or other outdoor games

-Cards

-Chargers/Car Chargers

-Sunglasses, hat and/or headband
By the end of the 2nd day or 3rd day, you'll want a hat or a headband to hide your hair. 
It's not usually pretty. 

-First Aid Kit

-YOUR TICKETS! 
Please don't ever forget these! That would not be fun for anyone in your party. 

There you have it folks! My list of things I typically bring to Country Thunder! 
I simply can not WAIT for April to get here! 

What types of things do you bring camping!?
Have you ever been to Country Thunder and/or WANT to go?!

Thanks so much for checking out my blog and make sure to read more! :) 

Currently:

1. Thinking:
How can I grow my blog? I need to pee. And I should go check the mail soon.

2. Enjoying:
Cadbury chocolate eggs. They are a little piece of heaven sent down for my enjoyment.

3. Feeling: 
Blessed. I still can't believe I got to marry the man I did. 

4. Wearing:
Workout shorts and a Kent State shirt! 

5. Needing:
The next two weeks to fly by. We have a lot happening soon!

6. Wanting:
A Mtn. Dew. Addiction at it's finest, ladies and gentlemen. 

7. Listening:
My sweet husband clicking his mouse while he works in the other room. I'm so lucky to have a man who gets to work from home. It truly is my favorite thing. 

8. Making:
I am making what will hopefully be a delicious dinner in a few hours! 

9. Eating:
Nothing but I need lunch. Like 30 mins ago. 

10. Drinking:
Water. Trying to drink as much as possible. 

What are your currents?!