Happy Friday! Life has been a bit crazy again these last few weeks and I haven’t had much spare time to write. But I’m hoping to catch up soon! I wish I could go back to writing these posts every Friday, but there just aren’t enough new things coming into my life right now to talk about. But it makes the posts I do write that much more exciting because I’ve been storing up my favorite finds for weeks now! I hope you’re able to find something useful in this batch!
I first tried this recipe many, many years ago. And now I’m pretty sure it’s the recipe I’ve made more than any other. It’s so easy! It’s absolutely delicious. And it can be dressed up or down according to any occasion. Our favorite way to make it is to top it with fresh berries in summer. I think I first made this for my sisters-in-law on one of their July birthdays. This year I made it for both Caden and Cindy, just three days apart! I’ve also made it for a different sister-in-law and kept it plain, but we ate it with salted butterscotch sauce and fresh whipped cream. Either way, it’s going to be a hit!
Salted Butterscotch Sauce
Speaking of salted butterscotch, I should probably share that recipe too! I make it A LOT. I found the recipe in the book Food Anatomy by Julia Rothman (this whole book series is so much fun!). I should probably take back what I said about making flourless chocolate cake more than anything else, because this is probably the true winner, though I obviously don’t (just) eat it on its own. I normally make it for topping cake or ice cream or sometimes adding it to coffee. This week I added it to the top of an apple galette (my belated birthday dessert). Anyway, it’s very simple:
- 4 tablespoons of butter
- 1 cup dark brown sugar (I usually use light because that’s what I have on hand, but if you can get dark it will definitely have a deeper flavor)
- 3/4 cup heavy cream
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (I often add twice this and then some flaky sea salt at the end – I really love salty sweets!)
- Over medium heat, melt butter and stir in brown sugar until completely moistened. Let sit until it starts to bubble, just a minute or two.
- Stir in heavy cream and let it come to a rapid boil, stirring occasionally. This also only takes a couple of minutes.
- Remove from heat and stir in salt to taste. That’s it! It’s basically foolproof (unlike salted CARAMEL) and it tastes amazing.
In the last few years I started making a lot more foods to go with rice because Greg loves rice so much. Once I started adding things to spice it up, I really started enjoying rice as well. But – shocker – white rice is not good for you. So I’ve been on the hunt this last year to find more whole grain alternatives and this is by far my favorite find so far. I’m not great at making brown rice the traditional way – it’s never cooked properly. And quinoa always seems so finicky as well. But these packets of both mixed together that only take 90 seconds in the microwave? Perfection. One packet is just enough to satisfy Greg and I – with a spoonful for Caden (Shepard refuses to touch rice). I usually buy it at Woodman’s for $2.50 a packet, but now that I see it’s a much better deal on Amazon I’ll be stocking up there from now on.
I’ve been trying really hard to get back on track food-wise the last couple of weeks. One of my biggest downfalls is how hungry I get between meals. I’m such a snacker, but I’m also a huge emotional eater and emotions have been all over the place the last seven months. The main type of food I crave is something crunchy and salty. Instead of reaching for chips I’ve been trying out some alternative options and I really like these crackers. I’ve only had the everything variety, but they’re really delicious. Not necessarily salty, but definitely crunchy with a really complex and appealing flavor. They really fit my craving and I never feel compelled to overeat them either. Five or six and I’m good! I need more snacks like this in my life.
I’ve been drinking a lot more coffee lately because it’s a nice little treat to break up my morning or afternoon. But I’ve been struggling with the health dilemma of putting regular creamers into my coffee. Granted I eat plenty of other things that are bad for me, but creamer seems like pouring myself straight chemicals and that’s clearly a bad choice. But I don’t see myself ever being able to drink coffee black, so I’ve been trying other options. Like all the options. Almond creamers, oat creamers, macadamia nut creamers, natural creamers, regular milk and sugar, heavy cream, half and half, basically anything the store has to offer, I’ve tried. So I finally picked up a Chobani brand creamer and I think I’m sold! It adds a wonderful sweet creaminess to the coffee, and doesn’t have any junk in it. So far I’ve had the sweet cream and hazelnut flavors and both have been wonderful!
Okay, so it seems odd to add a fan to one of my favorite things in the middle of October when it is currently below freezing outside. But LAST weekend it was really warm! I was at my airbnb and it did not have any way to control the temperature (it was just a tiny studio apartment in a larger house) and I couldn’t open the windows because they didn’t have screens. So I ran to Target desperate to find some sort of solution to help me feel more comfortable. I didn’t have many options, but I grabbed one of these Vornado fans because it was small AND cute – the one I got is a really pretty coral color. It’s obviously not going to cool you off in the middle of summer, but it’s going to HELP. And it’s going to be cute and small, which are huge advantages to me. Anyway, I’m just adding this on here in case you want a little fan for your desk or nightstand or kitchen. I love mine!
I’m hoping to continue biking all the way through winter as long as there isn’t snow or ice on the ground (which let’s be real, will be A LOT of winter, but I’m hoping for a lighter year!). But I realized pretty quickly after a few 30ish degree mornings in the last month that I needed warmer clothing that wouldn’t be too bulky or uncomfortable. I resorted to Kohls, as I often do for more basic clothing, and tried out one of these sweatshirts. I ordered a size bigger than I normally wear to make sure it didn’t feel too restrictive and it’s perfect! SO warm and cozy and actually a really flattering fit as well. I originally ordered gray and hot pink (different listing than what I linked, I think those were their summer colors) and came back to purchase again in green and red. I can see myself wearing these A LOT in the next few months!
I’m obsessed with candles. More so now than ever because they’re such a simple way to bring me immense pleasure all day long. I love the warm cozy feelings that flickering candlelight brings to a space, but I also love an intoxicating scent. I’ve purchased more candles from small companies in the last six months than ever before and it’s been such a joy to discover the ones that make me happiest. This is one of those candles. It’s possible I like it so much because it’s so different from the tried and true scents I normally lean toward. (I also have to avoid a lot of scents because Greg is particularly sensitive to them.) Without going back and looking at the candle listing when I first lit this the other night I was guessing that it had a tobacco and musky scent. I’m actually not getting much cinnamon, it just smells intensely masculine. After lighting it a couple of times I’m getting more of a warm vanilla scent as well as what must be patchouli. Which I never thought would be a type of candle I’d lean toward, but there you go! Shepard walked by and hated it, so it’s probably not for everyone, but I’m really into it! The smell is also really strong without even being lit.
Apple is probably the most dependable candle scent there is. No matter which brand you choose, it’s going to be good. I am very seasonal in when I light which type of candle and September and October are reserved for apple, cidery, and vanilla (birthday!) scents. My sister-in-law gave me one of these for my birthday from a company local to her that I’d never heard of before. And I LOVE it. It’s one of the cleanest and brightest apple candles I’ve ever smelled. The clove is pretty subtle, but I’m fine with that. After smelling this I immediately went to their website and ordered some more varieties to try. Of the four others I bought, I’m really liking the Moss and Pine and can’t wait to light it in December! Greg doesn’t handle pine scents well and it’s one of my favorites, but I’m hoping the unique combination with mossy smells will help!
These started popping up in one of my facebook groups and I’m so excited every time I see a new session because they give me so much joy! It’s exactly what it sounds like – a photographer finds two people (I’m assuming they’re usually single) willing to take part in a “stranger photography session.” What’s incredible is how much chemistry is usually seen between the two models even though they’ve never met before. Some of the sessions I’ve seen are just really sweet and happy, but this particular one from photographer KayLa Ruiz on September 20th (Israel and Christina) is HOT. You have to read all of her captions as well, and some of the top comments! They’re hilarious. If you just want to see something happy and hopeful, I’d highly suggest checking it out. (After writing this I went through KayLa Ruiz’s facebook page to check out more of her photos and it seems like all of her sessions end up being pretty sexy with models she uses in multiple setups. I’ve seen a lot of great outdoor sessions from other photographers that are more on the sweet end, with more “realistic” looking people.)