November 28, 2011

Banana Pecan Chocolate Chip Cookies

Hello!  I hope everyone had a truly wonderful Thanksgiving.  I tried a few new recipes out for the day, but my sweet tooth really enjoyed the banana-nut-chocolate cookies I made later in the weekend.  They are a nice, hearty cookie that I think are perfect for colder months.

I found the recipe from Martha Stewart and made a couple small substitutions based on the ingredients I had access to (I used pecans rather than walnuts and chocolate chips instead of chocolate chunks).  The cookies turned out delicious, but too sweet even for me, so the recipe shown below is what I’d do next time to reduce the amount of sugar.  Next time, I might also try reducing the chocolate chips and adding raisins for a twist.

1 cup all purpose flour
1/2 cup whole-wheat flour
1 teaspoon coarse salt
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cup (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/3 cup packed light-brown sugar
1 large egg
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup mashed ripe banana (about 1 large)
1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
8 ounces semisweet chocolate, chunks or chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped walnuts or pecans

1. Whisk together all-purpose flour, whole wheat flour, salt, and baking soda in a small bowl and set aside.
2. Add butter, granulated sugar, and brown sugar into a separate bowl and mix with an electric mixer at medium speed until pale and fluffy.
3. Add egg and vanilla and mix at low speed until combined.
4. Mash banana and mix in.
5. Add flour mixture and mix until just combined.
5. Stir in oats, chocolate, and nuts.
6. Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Drop balls of dough onto baking sheets spaced about 2 inches apart.  Bake cookies for 12-14 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through, until golden brown and just set (cookies will still be slightly gooey when you first take them out of the oven).  Cool cookies on wire racks.

Original recipe source: Martha Stewart

Did you try out any new recipes over the holiday?  I’m linking this cookie up to the Dare to Eat Cookies party at NewlyWoodwards and to Tasty Tuesdays.

November 17, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipes

Thanksgiving is only a week away?  Eek!  Good thing I'm not hosting or my family would be in trouble!  I do like to contribute to my family's Thanksgiving table though, so I've been brainstorming some yummy Thanksgiving recipes I could make for the special day.  Pinterest has come in handy for this (and of course other blogs and sites).  Here are some of the recipes that I haven't tried yet, but struck me as likely to be delicous.

And if you are feeling stressed out by Thanksgiving preparations, just be happy you're not a part of this family (click on the link if you need a good laugh!)

Thanksgiving Vegetable Dishes
Balsamic Glazed Green Beans and Pearl Onions
Roasted Vegetables
Roasted Brussel Sprouts & Apples
Balsamic Honey Glazed Oven Roasted Baby Carrots

Thanksgiving Casseroles & Sides
Vegetable Orzo Casserole
Green Bean Casserole
Beet, Carrot & Apple Salad
Sweet Potatoes with Sage Butter Crumb Topping

Thanksgiving Breads
Sweet Potato Biscuits
Artichoke Bread
Home Made Dinner Rolls
Applesauce Nut Bread

Thanksgiving Desserts
Pumpkin Cream Cheese Muffins
Peanut Butter Cup Cheesecake
Caramel Apple Cheesecake Pie
Apple Pear Crumble Pie

 Turkey Shaped Thanksgiving Fun
Turkey Veggie Platter
Turkey Cupcakes
Turkey Cake
Turkey Fruit Salad

What are you making for Thanksgiving this year?  Do you have any favorite stand-by recipes or will you be trying something new?

November 15, 2011

My Favorite Projects: October 2011

It's mid-November already which makes me officially late for my monthly favorite projects recap (you can check out last month's faves here).  But better late than never, right?

Here's what I was up to back in October:

And now for my some of my favorite projects that I came across the web last month:

Aren't these projects great?!  What did you cook up in October?  Feel free to leave a link in the comments section with your favorite project.  And am I the only one who can't believe it's mid-November already???

P.S. If you've been featured this month, or in previous months, feel free to grab a button:

November 09, 2011

(un)Football Playoffs

Now that (un)Football Sundays have wrapped for the season, I wanted to thank the wonderful bloggers who participated.  I think each of them scored a touch down with their projects!  (Sorry, I couldn’t resist one last football related pun).

Check out the creativity we saw over the last 5 weeks:

Twine Wrapped Candles by yours truly, me!

These projects sure beat watching football!  Thanks again for participating, ladies!

November 06, 2011

Twine Wrapped Candles: My unFootball Sunday

I’ve been having so much fun with (un)Football Sundays each week and am excited that it’s my turn to share a fall project today.  If you missed any of the past projects, you can check out the projects from Traci, Alissa, Kim, and Rhoda.
I got the inspiration for my fall project from these rather plain looking candles.  You have probably seen these same ones at Walmart where they sell for $1 or $2.  They smell great, but there is nothing striking about their look.  So I decided to spruce these babies up for fall by wrapping them in twine.

I had some twine on hand (purchased a while ago from the dollar store) and hot glued it to the bottom of the candle.  I placed dots of hot glue around the bottom of the candle and wrapped the twine around, and then continued wrapping it up the sides.

I continued to place dots of hot glue sporadically around the candle and wrapped the twine tightly around it.

The candles looked better already, but I decided to give them a fun twist with some spray paint.  I taped off horizontal stripes on one candle and vertical stripes on the other.

Then I got busy spray painting and donned one in white and the other in red.  I think these colors go nice for the fall, but would also look nice in the summertime for a nautical look. 

I’m really pleased with how these candles turned out.

Here are the candles on my living room table, next to my red painted shell.

This was such a quick and easy project and I was able to use materials that I already had on hand.  I’m really enjoying this candle transformation, what do you think?

November 02, 2011

Travel Gallery Wall

I did it!  I made a travel gallery wall in my upstairs hallway!  I’ve wanted a gallery wall for months and finally finished it!  We love to travel, so I filled the wall with photos and souvenirs of our trips.  I am so excited by how it turned out!


I absolutely love it!  I’m so happy I made it travel themed because these photos and mementos invoke so many wonderful memories. I painted a bunch of frames that I already owned white and filled them with bright photos and postcards.  One of our favorite vacation souvenirs are art print postcards.  I always look out for postcards with prints of local art work whenever we travel.  It’s so nice to bring home a piece of unique art to remember a trip and they’re usually pretty easy to find and cost less than $1.

One of the frames that I painted was document sized and did not come with matting which made it a little tricky to frame a photo in.  So instead I came up with a postcard collage for it.
I wrapped the frame backing with a map of Rome from our recent trip to Europe and placed a collection of post card art on top of it.  I love how it turned out and am glad I got to frame a map as part of the wall.  Rob’s favorite part is a post card from Cannes of a vintage 1925 advertisement of a monkey drinking a bottle of liquor!
I made sure to save a spot for the map photo frame I made a few months ago too.
Of course the wall is full of lots of vacation photos.  I also included a piece of hand painted art from our honeymoon in Costa Rica.
I’m so thrilled with how this gallery wall came together.  It will also be fun to play around with the photos and art and swap them out as we travel in the future.  I hope this give me an excuse to take more vacations! 

I’ll be back to share details of how I put together the wall, including how I worked out the spacing between each frame, later this week.  I found much of my inspiration for this wall on other blogs and on Pinterest (like the gallery wall from Young House Love and travel wall from Running Lawyer).

So what do you think?  Do you have any gallery walls in your house? Do you display vacation mementos is another way?