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Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Gallery Wall Inspiration

I've started the slow process of putting together a gallery wall for my living room. I have such a hard time choosing art work; there are so many beautiful pieces out there, but it's so difficult to actually commit! I have snagged the mountain painting, "Rain Shadow,"  by Cathy McMurray, and can't wait to buy "Ring of Roses," by Clare Elsaesser.

Do you have any favorite artists? I would love to know about them!

1. Clare Elsaesser // 2. Margol // 3. Cassia Beck //  4. Cathy McMurray // 5. Christopher Scott // 6. Fiona Ackerman // 8. Budi Satria Kwan 

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Strawberry Banana Nutella Mini Pies

Aaaand I'm back! I really didn't mean to take such a long break from blogging, but sometimes it just happens. I did bring Nutella mini pies though, can you forgive me?

I tried Nutella for the first time about a year ago. It wasn't something my mom ever bought, so its existence and (pure awesomeness) was unknown to me for a long time. But now my eyes have been opened and I'm ready to start spreading it on toast while convincing myself it's appropriate for breakfast.

In my opinion Nutella, strawberries and bananas are a match made in heaven. Add some flaky pie crust to the mix, and you've got a pretty magical combination. This recipe is pretty customizable when it comes to the amount of filling, type of pie crust and size of the pies themselves. I was lazy and used pre-made pie crusts, but if you're feeling particularly ambitious may I suggest this recipe from Joy the Baker? Girl knows how to make some pie dough.

Strawberry Banana Nutella Mini Pies:
Pie crust dough (pre-made or homemade)
Strawberry jam/preserves
Ripe banana, finely sliced
egg, whisked

1. Flour surface, roll out pie crust and cut into desired size. I cut mine into rectangles, roughly 3 inches by 4 inches.
2. Spread Nutella on dough, top with a dollop of strawberry jam and place 3-4 slices of banana on top.
3. Cover with another piece of pie dough and use your fingers to press the dough together along the edges. Using a fork, press edges together to ensure the mini pie is closed. Slice top of dough with a knife, and lightly coat with whisked egg.
4. Place in oven and bake at 400 degrees for about 15 minutes or until crust is golden brown.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Balsamic & Feta Lentil Salad

I have become a huge fan of making a salad or soup on Sunday to eat the rest of the week. It makes lunch so easy! This week I have been munching on this yummy lentil salad full of tomatos, cucumbers, olives and feta cheese. It's the perfect side dish at dinner, but also filling by itself.

The first time I made lentils, really I overcooked them. As I started to toss the salad, a lot of the lentils turned to moosh. I recommend cooking your lentils until you think they are aalllmost done because they will continue to cook a bit as they cool.

Balsamic & Feta Lentil Salad
2 cups cooked lentils
1 cup cherub tomatoes, halved
1 cup cucumber, sliced and cut into quarters
1/2 cup kalamata olives, halved
Half of a large onion, diced (about 1/2 cup)
1/2 cup crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsely
1/8 cup balsamic vinegar
Lemon juice from 1/2 lemon
salt & pepper to taste

1. Prepare lentils. I used this method and they turned out great.
2. Place lentils in a large bowl, and let cool. Once cooled, add all ingredients and gently toss.
3. Store covered in fridge, adding a splash of vinegar to salad if needed.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Sponsor Spotlight: Lauren from Love Lola + Giveaway!

Today I'm really excited to introduce Lauren from Love Lola! Lauren is an awesome blogger, vintage shop owner and creator of delicious recipes. I mean just gander at these sweet potato chips, or her sweet potato brownies. Yuuum! Lauren also collects awesome vintage items to sell in her shop, Love Lola Vintage.  You can also find Lauren on instagram and pinterest. Read more about Lauren below! 


Tell us a little bit about yourself and your blog:

I’m Lauren, but my friends call me Lola. Why Lola? Good question. I’m not totally sure. What I do know is it first started among my friends when I began teaching yoga in college. (I guess the retro/artsy name fit the image?) I kind of liked it because it seemed to express my “inner me.” Then it just stuck. So there you go… that is how the name of my blog came to be.

I reside in the state of South Carolina together with my husband, Scofield. We’re just approaching life step-by-step, enjoying each moment along the way. And that’s what you’ll find captured over in the blog—that + an array of recipes (mostly desserts).

Why do you blog? 
For me, it’s a creative outlet. As a nutrition student right now, I spend all day racking my brain with equations and scenarios. It’s nice to come home and exercise the other half of my brain...the artistic side. It often still involves nutrition (food)—such as the recipes I’m making at the moment…but still, it’s cooking, not calculating calories. It also serves as a sort of picture-journal of our first year of marriage, which is a treasure to be able to look back on. It’s a collection of memories that I hope brings joy to other folks as much as they bring joy to us.

What inspires you?
Let’s see—a very vague response would be Color, Freedom, and Beauty.

Color… It’s one of the reasons I love spring so much. Watching the purple flowers spring up and accent a tree of white flowers can stop me dead in my tracks. That, and get my camera clicking. 

Freedom…the kind of freedom you see in a child with absolutely no worries, or in a person completely comfortable in their skin. It inspires me to be free in who I am. Being free in who I am allows me to find and follow my inspirations.

And Beauty…it is most inspiring when it’s found in the most unexpected places. It’s then that it can really captivate your soul. I always try to find, and sometimes even create, beauty in the space around me in any way I can (including my “www. space”).

Tell us 3 random things about you:
1. I use white-out obsessively at my office job. I couldn’t get through a day without it.
2. I love biscuits.
3. I’d choose mountains over beach.

Favorite posts?

2. White Chocolate Cheesecake Cookies with Raspberry Buttercream. 

3. Snickerdoodle Almond Butter.

 Lauren is giving away a $20 giftcard to her shop, Love Lola Vintage for any order of $25 or more! Here are a few of my favorite pieces! 

How to Enter:
Simply follow "Love Lola," on Bloglovin', then complete as many other entries as you'd like! 

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Out and About: Dashi Noodle Bar

Tommy and I both had the day off yesterday, which was really nice. After eating brunch and lounging for most of the day, we decided to give the Dashi Noodle Bar a try and I'm really glad we did!

The interior of Dashi is very modern and stylish with light wood countertops, orange and white walls,  and scallop-like decals throughout. The menu is pretty straight forward: choose your topping (pork, chicken, beef, tofu or veggies), noodle (ramen, udon, rice noodle, whole wheat, or rye ramen), broth (pork & chicken, mushroom, beef or konbu-bonito), then additional toppings such as an egg or ginger bacon.

I went with tofu, udon noodles, mushroom broth with an egg. The noodles were cooked nicely, and the egg was a nice addition. But the real star of my bowl was the mushroom broth which contained large slices of seasoned mushrooms. There was also a condiment bar with toppings like basil, jalapenos, chili sauce, cilantro and onions to spice up your dish as you please.

Tommy and I shared some saki, and spit one of the "steamed buns." While the bun was really good (coconut curry with chicken) it wasn't much of a bun at all, but instead more of a wrap. The gal at the counter told me this after I ordered it, but I must have been in denial because I was still a bit surprised when it came to the table. Regardless, it was very tasty. Can't wait to go back!

Monday, April 15, 2013

White Chocolate Chip and Almond Matcha Cookies

These cookies are green, so that makes them good for you...right? Right! Following that logic, I ate a lot of health food today. Buttery, chocolatey health food. If only that was a real thing, the world would be a better place.

For those not familiar with the flavor of matcha, think green tea! If you're ever had a green tea latte, frappucino, or green tea ice cream, you've (probably) tasted matcha powder. I absolutely love the flavor and intense green color it gives. White chocolate chips add some extra sweetness while slivered almonds provide crunch.

White Chocolate and Almond Matcha Cookies 
Recipe adapted from Bon Appetit
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 cup (packed) dark brown sugar
  • ¾ cup granulated sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon matcha powder
  • ¾ teaspoon salt
  • 1½ cups white chocolate chips
  • 1 cup slivered almonds


  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease cookie sheets.
  2. Beat butter in mixer on medium speed until pale and fluffy, about 2 minutes. Add brown sugar and granulated sugar and continue beating on medium speed until well incorporated. 
  3. Add eggs one at a time, continuing to beat each time until well-incorporated. Mix in vanilla.
  4. In a medium bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, salt, and matcha.
  5. Add dry ingredients to the wet ingredients and mix until the ingredients are incorporated. Stir in the white chocolate chunks and the macadamia nuts.
  6. Scoop a generous tablespoonful of the dough and roll into a ball. Place on greased cookie sheets and bake for about 10 minutes or until cookies starts to golden. Move to wire rack to cool completely.

Friday, April 12, 2013

Matcha love

A few days ago I visited my local tea store, the Spice Hut, and stocked up on a few loose leaf teas. Even though I almost always choose coffee over tea, a warm cup at night can be really nice. I splurged and bought some matcha powder as well and I'm really excited to experiment with it! Not only is matcha delicious, but it's also super good for you. According to the all knowing (and always correct) wikipedia, matcha has more antioxidants by weight than blueberries, pomegranates and spinach! Here are a few matcha recipes I'm drooling over. Have you cooked with matcha before?

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Out and About: Mount Bakery Cafe

Tommy and I recently tried the Mount Bakery Cafe for the first time last week, and were a little upset that we had never gone before! Right next to the Temple Bar, the Mount Bakery Cafe specializes in crepes and eggs benedict which are arguably the two best options for breakfast. Score!

The first time we went I ordered a sausage crepe that was filled with creamy scrambled eggs with fresh herbs, carmalized onions and slices of sausage. It was so good I ate the whole thing, and Tommy had to roll me out of the place (well, almost). Tommy went for the eggs benedict, which was served on a belgian waffle! Such a good idea. Second time around I had a turkey sandwich, and Tommy went for the crepe.

The atmosphere is small and cozy, and our server was very nice and prompt. The cafe also sells baked goods to take home, so of course I had to get a few croissants for the next morning. I went for chocolate while Tommy had the cheese and ham. Both were flaky, buttery and oh-so-satisfying.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Raspberry & Ginger Champagne Cocktail

Sometimes you just want to feel fancy. Or, sometimes you are fancy and you need a drink to match. Either way, this drink fits the bill. Sweet and bubbly with a bit of ginger, this champagne cocktail is perfect for a girls night, date night, or hang out with your cat night.

Wine Enthusiast was kind enough to send me these lovely champagne glasses. I'm really excited about them because not only do they look great, but they claim to be the "world's most break-resistant glass." I have broken way too many wine glasses, so I'm happy that these dainty glasses are strong as well. Hopefully I won't have to test the claim for a while! While on the topic of glassware, how cool are these double wall martini glasses? I would love them for sipping a cocktail while watching Mad Men. 

Raspberry & Ginger Champagne Cocktail 
Chambord liqueur
Ginger syrup (recipe below)
Lime juice
Fresh or frozen raspberries (garnish)

1. Add approx. 1 tsp. ginger syrup to champagne glass. Add 1 tbs. Chambord, and fill remainder of glass with champagne. Squeeze in several drops of lime juice, and top with 2-3 raspberries.

Ginger Syrup
1 cup sugar
1 cup water
2 tbs grated fresh ginger

1. Combine water, sugar and ginger in a small saucepan. Bring to boil, reduce heat and let simmer for about 5 minutes. Taste and add more ginger if you like it spicier.
2. Strain syrup and transfer to mason jar. Let cool and store in fridge.

Monday, April 8, 2013

My Style: Navy Waves

Dress: Urban Outfitters
Sweater: Urban Outfitters
Tights: Target
Shoes: Thrifted
Necklace: Forever21

Last week was crazy. Busy is good, but I'm looking forward to returning to a more routine pace.  Hope you all had a lovely weekend!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

White Bean and Spinach Soup

While I have been enjoying the warmer and longer days of spring, I'm still holding on to my winter foods. In particular I have been eating a lot of soup, it's just so filling and makes my stomach happy and warm. This week I made a large pot of soup to eat for lunch everyday rather than going to the Co-Op. Gotta save that money where you can!

This soup is really hearty, delicious and healthy (bonus!). I like to serve mine with a piece or two of warm and crusty bread. If you have avocado, you should probably put some on your bread. But I'm sure you were already gonna do that.

White Bean and Spinach Soup
1 onion, diced
6-7 large carrots, peeled and diced
4-5 stalks of celery, chopped
8-10 crimini mushrooms, cut into fourths
9 oz (1 bag) of fresh spinach
30 oz. canned white beans (2 cans, 15 oz)
49 oz. can chicken or vegetable broth
28 oz. can crushed tomatoes
28 oz. can diced tomatoes
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
4-5 dried bay leaves
3 cloves garlic, minced
1 teaspoon dried rosemary
1/2 teaspoon thyme
1/4 teaspoon sage
red pepper flakes
salt & pepper

1. In a large soup pot, saute onions. Season with salt and peper. Add garlic, carrots, and celery. Cook for a few minutes, then add broth, crushed tomatoes and diced tomatoes. Add bay leaves, vinegar and red pepper flakes (if desired). Add rosemary, thyme and sage.
2. Bring soup to a boil, reduce heat, cover with lid and let simmer for about 1 hour. Taste and add salt as needed. Add mushrooms, cover and let simmer for another 30 minutes.
3. Uncover and add fresh spinach. No need to boil, the heat from the soup will cook the spinach. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

If I have the day off...

If I have the day off work you can probably find me shopping at the local antique stores. Things on my list include: TV stand/credenza, record storage, coffee table, shoe rack storage, jadeite dinnerware (particularly a jadeite juicer) artwork, rug, table lamp.

The second I saw this this dresser/credenza/storage piece, it was love.  I mean, those cute little brass legs! Too bad it's just out of my budget for now.