Monday, February 29, 2016

Rosemary Focaccia

There is something so satisfying to me about making homemade bread. I think it's a combination of feeling a great sense of accomplishment when I successfully use yeast and also loving the way it makes my house smell so cozy. I made this rosemary focaccia bread a couple of weekends ago, and we loved it. It was very easy to make but it adds so much to a meal! 

Rosemary Focaccia
1 2/3 cups warm water (105-115 degrees F)
1 (1/4-ounce) package (2 1/2 tsp) active dry yeast
pinch of sugar
5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour, plus additional for kneading
1/4 cup plus 3 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
2 1/2 tsp salt
1 Tbsp finely chopped fresh rosemary
1 tsp coarse sea salt

Stir together warm water, yeast, and sugar in mixer bowl until yeast is dissolved. Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes. (If mixture doesn't foam, discard and start over with new yeast.)

Add flour, 1/4 cup oil, and regular salt and beat with paddle attachment at medium speed until a dough forms. Switch to dough hook and knead dough at high speed until soft, smooth, and sticky, 3-4 minutes. 

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead in 1-2 Tbsp more flour. Knead dough for 1 minute longer (it will be slightly sticky), then transfer to a lightly oiled large bowl and turn to coat with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

Generously oil a 15-by-10-by-1-inch baking sheet and press dough evenly into pan. Cover completely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Put a rack in middle of oven and preheat oven to 425 degrees.

Stir together rosemary and remaining 3 Tbsp oil in a small bowl or cup. Make shallow indentations all over top of dough with your fingertips, then brush with rosemary oil, letting it pool in indentations. Sprinkle sea salt evenly over focaccia.

Bake focaccia until golden, 20-25 minutes. Immediately invert a rack over pan and invert focaccia onto rack, then turn right side up. Serve warm or at room temperature.

source: recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook

Friday, February 26, 2016

Emily Maynard Johnson's new book I Said Yes

Do you watch The Bachelor? I was dedicated to watching both The Bachelor and The Bachelorette up until a couple of years ago. I'm not really sure why I slacked off, I think mostly because the episodes were just getting so. long. Now I prefer to read hilarious recaps of the episodes (Taylor's are my current favorite) and catch up on the latest drama while in the grocery store checkout line. Anyway, one of my favorite women from Bachelor nation is Emily Maynard. She's sweet, Southern, and has amazing style. Emily's new book I Said Yes comes out next week, and, because I do love a good behind-the-scenes story, I jumped at the chance to read and review it before it hits stores.

To be honest, the main reason I wanted to read this book was indeed to hear any insider info about being on The Bachelor and The Bachelorette. It seems like a ridiculous way for a sane person to truly believe they're going to find love, and Emily seems so normal! So I wanted to read more about her reasons for doing the show, how she got engaged (and un-engaged) on the show twice, and how she finally ended up really happy with a husband and a new baby. 

Emily's involvement with The Bachelor doesn't even appear until about 80ish pages into the book. I could have done without all of the background info on her family and growing up years. There was a good amount of detail about the season of The Bachelor, which I loved reading. (Including details on how filthy the Bachelor mansion gets; Emily writes that during one rose ceremony she sees "a hot dog, no bun, on the floor wrapped in a tangled heap of long hair". If that doesn't make you want to sign up for the show, I don't know what will!) There were fewer details about her season of The Bachelorette, but she frequently acknowledges the enormous amount of pressure to feel and act a certain way. The show's atmosphere made it easy to believe that she really was falling for the guys (Brad and Jef). I did really appreciate her honesty in that the seemingly romantic scenes are actually really unromantic with all of the producers, camera crew, etc. crowding around. I was not surprised to hear how much of the conversation is prompted by the producers.

There's only one chapter about her relationship with her now-husband Tyler, so in that sense the book seems to end a little abruptly. Overall it was an interesting read, and if you're a Bachelor fan I would say it's worth picking up.

Disclosure: I received this book for free from the publisher through BookLook Bloggers. All opinions are 100% my own.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

On finding a flattering lipstick

As I shared at the beginning of the year, one of my goals for 2016 is to find a flattering lipstick. I started my search at the MAC counter, where the sales associate informed me that any lipstick can be flattering on anyone; it's all about being confident in the color you're wearing. Seasoned lipstick wearers: is that true? I've tried colors on in the past that I have to believe were truly not flattering. Regardless, I've spent some time trying different colors and searching for what will be my favorites, so here's the first round of results:

1 // MAC Cremesheen Lipstick in Crème Cup This is the first lipstick I bought and tried for this little goal of mine, and I hit the jackpot. It's actually a bit more pink than is showing up in the pictures, and I love it. The formula is really smooth and does not feel like any lipstick I've ever tried. It lasts a good while (and kind of tastes good too). This is the one that I'm grabbing and applying most often.

2 // Nars Satin Lip Pencil in Rikugien This color is clearly more red than the others, but as someone who doesn't typically like a red lipstick (I always slightly resemble a clown!), I was pleasantly surprised to find I like this color. It's red without being too red. Out of these four, this definitely goes on the most smoothly, and it feels great!

3 // Sephora Ultra Shine Lip Gel in Pin Up Pink I've been looking for lipsticks, but I was surprised by how much I like this lip gel. It goes on more like a gloss, and it does have a little bit of stickiness, but I really like the color. Because it's more of a lip gloss, it does not have the lasting power that a lipstick does. It's perfect if I want a punchy color that I don't need to last too long.

4 // Urban Decay Super-Saturated High Gloss Lip Color in Lovechild In the pictures above, this color seems very similar to the Sephora lip gel (#3), but in person this one is not as hot pink. I love the way that this feels going on, and they are not lying when they say this is super-saturated! The color stays really, really well. This is my second favorite of the bunch.

So! tell me what you think! Which is your favorite? What colors/brands should I try next?

Friday, February 19, 2016

Fighting winter dry skin

I've always struggled with dry skin in the winter, but since being pregnant and giving birth, my dry skin has gotten a lot worse! Here's what I've been using to combat my winter dry skin:

one // This is by far the best hand cream I've ever used. I only had a small amount of this, and I've used it all up. It seems a little pricey for lotion, but it works so well I will probably break down and buy some more.

two // I use this really hydrating mask a couple of times per week. I put it on as my moisturizer before I go to bed. It soaks into the skin overnight and leaves my face feeling really well-hydrated and smooth. 

three // I really like this lotion for a cheaper, easy to find option. It has a faint coconut smell which is really refreshing, and it leaves my hands smooth but not oily.

four // All cuticle creams are probably about the same, but this is the one that I use and has worked for me. 

five // I just started using this face cream this winter, and I really like it! It's pretty thick, so I was afraid my face would feel sticky, but it doesn't. It soaks in well and has really helped keep my face moisturized and soft.  

six // This lip mask feels (and tastes) so good! I use it at night before I go to bed, and my lips are still moisturized and smooth when I wake up. I think there's some tinted versions that you could also put on during the day to give your lip a little color.

What are some of your favorite dry skin products?

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

Quiche Florentine

One of my easy go-to dinners is quiche and salad. It's easy and filling, and the varieties are endless. I made this Quiche Florentine last week, and we loved it. Since quiche may be one of the easiest dinners to make, by all means make your pie crust from scratch! It makes all the difference in the world. This recipe is the one I use every time, and it's never failed me. If you have extra pie crust dough after trimming the edges for the quiche, use it in a mini tart pan for an extra breakfast or lunch (as I did above).

Quiche Florentine
1 9-inch pie crust (I use this recipe), chilled
2 Tbsp unsalted butter
2 large leeks (white and light green parts only), chopped
1 (5-ounce) package baby spinach
1/2 cup heavy cream
1/2 cup milk
4 eggs
2 tsp cornstarch
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 pound Swiss cheese, shredded (1 cup)
2 plum tomatoes, seeded and diced

On a floured surface, roll the chilled dough into a 12-inch round that's about 1/4 inch thick. Roll the dough up on a rolling pin and gently unroll it into a 9-inch pie pan. Gently press the dough into the pan and trim the overhang to 1/2 inch. Crimp the edges, and, using a fork, poke holes in the bottom of the crust. Put a piece of parchment paper in the crust and fill it with dried beans or pie weights. Put the pie pan on a large baking sheet and bake until the crust begins to brown around the edges, about 25 minutes. Remove the parchment and dried beans and set the crust aside to cool.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet set over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the leeks and sauté until they soften and begin to caramelize, 8-10 minutes. Add the spinach and cook until wilted, about 3 minutes. Remove the pan from the heat and let cool.

In a large bowl, whisk together the cream, milk, eggs, cornstarch, salt, black pepper, and cayenne.

Scatter the leek and spinach mixture evenly over the bottom of the cooled crust. Top with the Swiss cheese and tomatoes, then pour the milk mixture over the top.

Bake until the center is set and the crust is golden brown, 35-40 minutes. Let cool on a wire rack. Serve warm or at room temperature. (Quiche will keep wrapped in fridge for 3 days, or in the freezer for up to 3 months). Serves 8.

source: recipe slightly adapted from Kitchen Confidence

Friday, February 12, 2016

Seeing Hearts

I have always loved Valentine's Day. I'm not a big romantic and I don't even really like red roses; it's because I love holiday-themed candy and all things hearts (my daughter's wardrobe can testify to this). Here's a little round-up of some heart pieces that strike my fancy. Do you have big Valentine's plans? Caleb is a Valentine's baby, so it's a weekend of birthday + Valentine's plans for us. We tend to stay in rather than fight crowds, so we're excited for a weekend at home to celebrate. 

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Pretty Inspiration // Bold Walls

1 // 2 // 3 // 4

Here's some pretty inspiration for your Wednesday! I tend to lean toward neutrals and a very classic/traditional look when it comes to decorating my home, but lately I am loving these bold walls! I don't think I could wallpaper a main living space in my house, but maybe the powder room or a smaller space? I do love those painted stripes--would be fun for a kids' room, don't you think?

Monday, February 8, 2016

Madeleine // 8 months

It's so hard to believe Madeleine is 8 months old! Time seems to be going by faster and faster. Here's a little 5-8 month update on our girl...

Just a couple of days after turning 5 months, Madeleine got up on her hands and knees and started rocking! She started scooting around soon after that, and she started sitting up on her own and crawling right after she turned 6 months. Girl loves to be on the go! Madeleine also started laughing around 5 months and gives us the best baby belly laughs. She started pulling up to her knees right before 7 months and is now pulling up on everything. She is just beginning to start cruising. She loves to explore and get into everything!

Some of the sweetest moments have been in these past few months. Madeleine started saying mama and dada, which of course we love. I still remember the first time she reached her arms out and wanted me to pick her up, which totally melted my heart. Madeleine loves reading books, and she's even grabbed a book, crawled over to me, and sat in my lap for me to read it. It's so fun that she's starting to be able to communicate in her own way.

After a bit of a rough start, she's now doing really well with eating solids. She likes pretty much everything she's eaten except for mango and avocado. It seems like it may be more of a texture thing. Another big change is Madeleine is completely weaned! She loves her bottle!

Madeleine is still doing really well with her schedule. She's been on pretty much the same eating and sleeping schedule since she was 8 weeks old; that's what has worked for her and our family, and we are so thankful for it! She has been such a good baby! She is a happy girl and she brings us so much joy!

Friday, February 5, 2016

S'mores Rice Krispies Treats

Rice Krispies treats are one of those things that I love to eat but never think about making. Several weeks ago I saw the packaged variety in the store, and I suddenly needed Rice Krispies Treats (#notpregnant). I landed on making this s'mores version for our church small group this week, and they are so delicious. They really do taste like s'mores, and we can't stop eating them. Have a great weekend!

S'mores Rice Krispies Treats
3 cups rice cereal
4 graham crackers, crumbled into bite-sized pieces (not crushed)
1/2 cup chocolate chips
4 Tbsp butter
1 (10.5 0z) bag of mini marshmallows

Spray a 8x8 baking pan with non-stick cooking spray and set aside.

In a large bowl, combine the rice cereal, graham cracker pieces, and chocolate chips. Set aside. Reserve a few marshmallows from the bag (about 1/8 cup or so) and set those aside.

In a medium saucepan over medium heat, melt the butter. Add the remaining marshmallows to the saucepan and stir with the butter until smooth.

Pour the marshmallow butter mixture into the rice cereal mixture and combine with a spatula. Transfer the mixture to the prepared pan and press into an even layer (use a spatula that's been sprayed with non-stick cooking spray to keep it clean). Sprinkle the reserved marshmallows on top.

Chill for 30 minutes before slicing and serving. Makes 12.

source: recipe slightly adapted from cupcakes and cashmere

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Favorite Shops for Necklaces

one // two // three // four // five // six 

Where do you like to shop for necklaces? I love supporting independent shop owners, and I've also found that their pieces are often more beautiful and unique than what you can get elsewhere. Here are three of my favorite shops for necklaces:

Dear Mushka // for simple gold or silver pieces. For each piece Katie makes, she includes a Scripture verse that corresponds with the jewelry. I love this idea, and I already have my eye on the next necklace I want (hello not-so-subtle Valentine's day hint for Caleb).

The Jones Market // for everyday necklaces. I loved and wore these necklaces before I had a baby, because they are just so pretty. Now that I have Madeleine, I love wearing them even more, because they're nontoxic and tuggable. Madeleine loves pulling on it and chewing on the beads (#alwaysteething), and I love that I can still feel pretty and put together even on a casual day at home.

Lily Noelle // for bright and bold pieces. Heidi is a dear friend of mine, and she has got some crazy talent when it comes to decorating, making jewelry, and just being fabulous in general. I love the wooden bead necklaces for brightening up a simple outfit. Also about 75% of all of my earrings are Lily Noelle, so there's that too.

If there's a shop you love for pretty necklaces (and other jewelry!), please share! I love discovering new shops to support.