Thursday, January 31, 2013

SkinnyGirl Margarita Cake

In addition to the crazy amount of meat I'm preparing for the Superbowl including my Superbowl Snack Stadium, I'm also going to serve this cake of my own invention.

SkinnyGirl Margarita Cake

Usually I think of baking as a science, but recently I was in a  cooking class and the chef laid out this basic rule of baking:

  • If you are adding butter, sugar and flour together, that's baking. If it holds it's shape it's a dough (like scones, bread, etc) and if it is loose, it's a batter and pour it into something ( cupcakes, a cake pan...).

This totally revolutionized my approach to baking, and so far, it's worked out pretty well.

Enter my idea for a dairy-free (due to our guests at this party) Margarita cake.

Here are my ingredients, culled from my pantry and fridge.

ingredients for a skinnygirl margarita cake

Ingredients for a SkinnyGirl Margarita Cake:

  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/2 cup applesauce
  • 1/4 cup lemon curd
  • 1/4 cup olive oil
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 3 eggs
  • zest and juice of 1 lemon 
  • zest and juice of 1 lime (I used 2 teaspoons lime juice since I was out of limes)
  • 1 teaspoon almond extract (vanilla could be substituted)
  • 3 tablespoons of SkinnyGirl Margarita (white peach in my case, yum!)

The I mixed them together, poured them into a bundt pan, baked at 350 for 30 minutes, and voila, a cake was born!

SkinnyGirl Margarita cake, perfect for the superbowl or Cinco de Mayo parties

For the glaze I mixed 2 tablespoons of SkinnyGirl Margarita with 1 cup of confectioner's sugar and drizzled it over the top.


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I link to these awesome parties: Decor & The Dog  The Remodeled Life   Bower Power Young House Love

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Monday, January 28, 2013

Knockoff LaraBar Success!

I finally did it, I made a version of our favorite snack food.

knockoff larabars at home

I have tried, and failed before, so I was not optimistic when I set out last week.


I did the same thing as before, chopping up slivered almonds, dates and a few pieces of chocolate in the food processor.

knockoff larabars at home

Then I added a smidge of honey and some water. This is where it gets not-so-fabulous to look at.

knockoff larabars at home

I realized I might have more success making mini-muffins rather than bars, so I scooped my mix into a mini muffin pan and popped it in the oven at 300 for 10 minutes to let it bake/dry out.

knockoff larabars at home as mini muffins

Success! Delicious, easy, and a nice small size for packing in my daughter's no waste lunches.

knockoff larabars at home


I link to these awesome parties:
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Friday, January 25, 2013

Black and White Art

In addition to adding pops of color to my master bedroom, I've also been mildly obsessing (read pinning) a ton of black and white artwork like these below.

via Pinterest

Here are a few of my favorite. I love the idea of putting these up together as a gallery wall, maybe interspersed with your family photos. Hmm, maybe I should add some art into our gallery wall...

Things that are awesome from Etsy

Elephant Tusks 

Splash of Milk

Andy Warhol NYC Street print from

from Urban Outfitters

What are you crushing on recently? Anything I should take a look at?

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Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Gold, Gold, Gold

Sometimes, you don't just need a little bit of bling, but a whole heck of a lot of bling.

In December I busted out the silver and gold wrap and ribbon for my gift-wrapped mantle, and from there, I just couldn't stop.

gold and silver gifts on the mantle

Here are a few of my favorite, gold and glittery moments.

Gold Snowflake Art

Gold Balloons from Emily Henderson
Gold Elephant Taxidermy
Trish McEvoy gold eye shadow


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Monday, January 21, 2013

Home Goals for 2013

All the other bloggers are doing it, so here goes, my goals for 2013. At least as they relate to my house. You can find my personal goals for 2013 here.

  • Actually take a picture of my husband's finished office. This will NOT require him to clean off his desk, or for me to falsely "style" it. I just want to get it documented and checked off.
  • Resolve the overabundance of branches we have going on in the entry.
  • Finish our mudroom.
  • Clean up our entry stairs, which includes programming the exterior lights, which I've been ignoring for well over a year. Dark stairs = very bad hostess.

Yep, that seems like it. Since in 2012 I freshened up our master bedroom, created a baby nursery, swapped out my son's crib for a construction themed big boy bedroom, make a butterfly bedroom with collage wall for my daughter, totally redid the guest room, bought 3 new rugs (oy!) for our dining room, new chairs and art, and finished the living room. Oh and re-arranged the entry to make room for a new-old piano.

In blog-related, but not house-related goals, I would like to/have to throw the following parties. (rough life, I know:)

  • Superbowl Party
  • Valentine's Day party/play date (this one is already off the table)
  • My 33rd birthday (maybe a party?)
  • 4 year old Fireman themed birthday (unless he changes his mind)
  • Be away for 4th of July, so avoid a party...
  • 6 year old Princess party (she's totally up in the air on this one)
  • Back-to-School Party (in my head this is a good idea)
  • My husband's 34th birthday.
  • A million-bajillion Jewish holidays. Seriously, that's how the fall feels to me.
  • Attend a Halloween party, thanks Rebecca!
  • 2 year old birthday party with theme determined by the older siblings.
  • Thanksgiving. At our house.
  • Hanukkah, at least 1 "party" involved here.
  • Somewhere in here host another black-tie holiday party, possibly wear my wedding dress, or just dress up, not sure yet.

Well, now that I typed it out, 12 parties sounds like a lot, but with kids who go to bed so early (6pm, 6:30 at the latest), I'd rather be at my own house that ducking out of someone else's party before dinner is even served:)


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Friday, January 18, 2013

Superbowl Snack Stadium

I wanted something high-impact for the centerpiece of my superbowl party table, but it also needed to be something I could try out ahead of time, to make sure it worked.

Enter my mini Superbowl Snack Stadium!

Superbowl Snack Stadium

I've found other versions of this, using Twinkies, Cheetos, pretzels... But I wanted to keep it simple with chips, guacamole, salsa and sour cream borders. For my final product on February 2nd, I might even make goal posts from pretzels... We'll see. Here was my inspiration, found from Pinterest, of course!

recreate a stadium out of typical superbowl snacks

Here is my rough Superbowl Party Menu:

Superbowl Snack Stadium (aka chips with dips)

Superbowl Snack Stadium


Possibly this Beer Bacon using nitrate free beef bacon 

Brown Sugar Beer Bacon

And I'm toying with the idea of a Margarita Cake. I might have to make a "tester" for that too:)

Update- I did it! I made a SkinnyGirl Margarita Cake (of my own invention) and it rocked my socks off!

What are you planning for your Superbowl menu?

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Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Meatball, White Bean and Chard Soup

meatball, white bean and chard soup

I adapted this recipe from one of my favorite food blogs, Dinner: A Love Story. Thankfully, Jenny also wrote a cookbook, Dinner: A Love Story: It all begins at the family table which I bought immediately as a gift for myself. I'm always looking for more easy, family-friendly recipes, and her message about having dinner together as a family really resonates with me.

I've since made this soup quite a few times, pretty much you saute chard (or any other green), make meatballs, pop the meatballs into a boiling stock (I make my own homemade stock), add the greens, some white beans, and I like a little lemon zest, and bam, a hearty dinner in less than 30 minutes.

Plus it's perfect for those picky eaters, I can custom make bowls, so "no green things" in one, "no broth" in another, you get the idea.

meatball, white bean and chard soup

What's your favorite winter go-to?


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Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Help to Achieve your Resolutions

Remember my super-doable New Year's resolutions for this year?

You might have noticed that exercise played no part in those.

I feel like I always make it a resolution, to say, walk for 30 minutes a day, you know, the recommended amount, then I can't actually do it. Or I forget to do it.

Then it's ridiculous that I can't find the time to walk 30 minutes a day. I mean it's only 30 minutes! If this little one can do it (with assistance) then so can I.

Use walk 30 to achieve your fitness goals this year

Enter Walk-30, the easiest reminder system I've seen. I just signed up, and I was done is less than 30 seconds.

You just enter you phone number (or email) and each day you get a reminder text. Here's the best part, your goal and their goal are the same!

What's the ultimate goal?

Our goal is to help people to stay active. We think that daily reminders might help people be more consistent with their exercise routines. We're using the Walk30 Project as a way to test this idea, and to help us discover the most effective and minimally intrusive ways to motivate people like you.

Honesty, how easy is that?

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Monday, January 14, 2013

Closet Clean Out

As 2012 drew to a close, we went through our usual end-of year things: gifts to charity, deciding if we even want to think about resolutions this year, organizing all our 2012 financial information so we don't have to file an extension come April 15th, cursing whoever invented "vacations" and wondering when school would start again...

We also went through our master closet and got rid of 5 bags worth of clothes that we never wear.

I save all the kid clothes in space bags labeled by size for future use, so it was just the grown up clothes that needed a quick vetting.

bags of clothes to give away

Don't forget to make a lis tof the clothes you are giving away and get a receipt for your taxes! I just jot it all down in a notebook so I have it for future reference.

make a list of clothes that you r are giving away to keep for your taxes

Hopefully, this is the first step in organzing in 2013. Doesn't it seem like we were *just* organizing last winter?


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Friday, January 11, 2013

The gifts I bought myself in 2012

This gift-giving season was no different from most, in that I buy myself the presents I want, as I want them, and my husband does the same.

Sure, there aren't any surprises, but I do wind up with exactly what I want.

This year I went a little overboard on books, buying new cookbooks and design/DIY books all fall.

These are my favorites, in case you have a few gift cards to use up in the new year.

favorite cookbooks for a stay at home mom

I love every single Barefoot Contessa cookbook, so this year I bought Barefoot Contessa Foolproof: Recipes You Can Trust. Her desserts are always my favorites, and this cookbook is full of easy, you-can-totally-do-it recipes.

As I mentioned in my post on meatball, chard, and white bean soup, I'm in love with Dinner: A Love Story: It all begins at the family table. I love the writing, the ease that the recipes are presented, and the idea of cooking and eating together as a family.

Another favorite food blog with a new cookbook out, The Smitten Kitchen Cookbook  does a great job on everything, especially comfort foods, baked goods, and she makes everything in her tiny NYC kitchen!

favorite design and diy books of 2012

My favorite, not in this picture since it's in actual use, is Young House Love: 243 Ways to Paint, Craft, Update & Show Your Home Some Love

Then I took Emily Henderson's advice, and bought a trio of design books which I devoured instantly.

Domino: The Book of Decorating: A Room-by-Room Guide to Creating a Home That Makes You Happy

Decorate: 1,000 Design Ideas for Every Room in Your Home

Details: A Stylist's Secrets to Creating Inspired Interiors

Then, another favorite, for printing the actual budgets of projects is Home by Novogratz.

Any others I should gift myself?


This post contains affiliate links for products that I already own and love. I hope you love them too!

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Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Adding Purple to the "Blonde and Grey" Master Bedroom

After slowly adding pops of yellow to our master bedroom, which is predominately grey, I'm realizing it still needs something more.

Stay at Home-ista charcoal grey and yellow bedroom

Since our bedroom is not anywhere near the top of the list, I decided to indulge in some guilt-free online shopping, similar to my fantasy vacation house. If you check out my Pinterest boards you'll see I also like to recreate houses for my brother, sister and parents. Plus more for me of course!

Here's the best shot of my room, as is.

Stay at Home-ista charcoal grey and yellow bedroom

And here is my plan: Add a console with 2 storage ottomans underneath. It's on the wall behind me when I took the above picture. A big blank wall.

I'm thinking something like this.

rustic console with 2 storage ottomans
image uncredited from Pinterest

I love these from Target. plus at $99, the price is great.

from Target via Pinterest

Add a pop of color with this awesome Andy Warhol sunset print.


Maybe even a lamp from Lamps Plus (remember when I wrote about their new Color Plus collection here?)

from Lamps Plus

Plus, West Elm, has amazing throws in a whole rainbow of colors.

My husband is totally against this. So I'll probably wind up with:

a- nothing (the most likely option)
b- blue or another color
c- exactly this scheme, but it will take 2 years and he will think it's all his idea:)

Any updates you want to make this year?

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Monday, January 7, 2013

5 Totally Do-able Personal Resolutions for 2013

In no particular order, here are my personal resolutions for 2013.

  1. Ski 20 days this winter. 6 days in, 14 to go. OK, now that is seeming WAY harder than it sounded in my head...
  2. Read to each kid every day. Somehow I fell off the wagon with baby #3, and where I was reading over 100 books a day to our first daughter when she was (my favorite baby books are here). I'm hard pressed to remember now, ugh. Must get better, she's already 6 IQ points down if the studies are to be believed that each child drops 3 points...
  3. Use my new Sonicare Electric Toothbrush for the FULL 2 minute cycle.
  4. And floss. Every day. 
  5. Take no airplane flights with my kids. They are total disasters when traveling, and I think I deserve/need a year off from this particular scenario. You can see my tips for air travel with kids here.

5 personal goals feels about right, not too many, not too few, no really annoying ones like "give up sugar" (sorry Dad).

Soon, I'll share my around-the-house goals for 2013, I just have to get my husband on board first:)

What are your goals for 2013?

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