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Thursday, July 31, 2014

Blackberry Greek Yogurt Cupcakes

Today we celebrated a co-workers birthday so I whipped up some halfway a tiny tiny bit healthier cupcakes last night. The birthday girl is my fellow baker and cooker in the office so after having a discussion over fresh blackberry desserts I knew I wanted to do something with blackberries.
My favorite thing to bake is cupcakes just cause how fun and cute is a cupcake in itself?! I love how many different options you can come up and how creative I can be with decorating. For these I wanted fresh, "low fat" and cute. I decided to go with these Blackberry Greek Yogurt cupcakes.

Cupcake Ingredients:
1⅔ cups cake flour
1 cup granulated sugar
1 tsp baking powder
½ tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
6 Tbsp unsalted butter, room temp (cut into 6-8 pieces)
1 large egg, room temp
1 large egg white, room temp
½ Tbsp vanilla extract
1 cup plain Greek Yogurt (I used the light version)
Frosting Ingredients:
1 stick unsalted butter, soft at room temp
1½ cups powdered sugar
⅛ tsp fine sea salt
8 oz (1 stick) cream cheese, softened to room temp and cut into 8 pieces
½ cup (about 15) Blackberries to puree + 12 blackberries for garnish 
How to make the Cupcakes:
  1. Line a 12-count cupcake pan with paper liners. Preheat Oven to 350˚F. (I got 15 out of my batter)
  2. In the bowl of an electric mixer, whisk together your dry ingredients: 1⅔ cups cake flour, 1 cup granulated sugar, 1 tsp baking powder, ½ tsp baking soda and ½ tsp salt until well combined. Add in 6 Tbsp softened butter and with your wire whisk on med/low speed, mix for about 3-4 min or until fine crumbs form.
  3. In a separate bowl, whisk together your wet ingredients until combined: 1 egg, 1 large egg white, 1 cup plain greek yogurt and ½ Tbsp vanilla extract. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and whisk together on med speed until smooth (2 min). The batter will be thick and still have tiny lumps.
  4. Fill each paper liner a little more than ½ full if you want 15 regular cupcakes. Fill ⅔ full if you want 12 cupcakes with muffin tops like what you see in the pictures. Bake at 350˚F for 18-20 minutes. When finished, a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake should come out clean. Remove cupcakes to a wire rack and let cool to room temp.
How to Make Frosting:
  1. Puree blackberries in a small food processor, or I used an Immersion Hand Blender, then strain them through a fine mesh strainer, pushing them through with a spatula until all you have left in the strainer is seeds. Discard seeds and set the puree aside.
  2. In the bowl of an electric stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, mix the 1 stick of softened butter with 1½ cups powdered sugar and salt on low speed or until combined, scraping as necessary, for 2 min. Don’t start on high speed or you will be surrounded in a cloud of powdered sugar (lessons learned). It may seem like it won't come together at first, but it will. Give it a little time ;). Once the mixture is combined, increase speed to medium-high and beat until the cream is pale and fluffy (2-3 min).
  3. Add cream cheese 1-piece at a time and mix until combined. Once all of the cream cheese is mixed in, continue to beat 2 more minutes until fluffy, scraping down the bowl as necessary. You need your frosting to be super smooth without any globs of cream cheese or they will get stuck in the piping star, so if you see globs, keep mixing.
  4. Pour blackberry puree over frosting and continue mixing until well incorporated. Refrigerate frosting 10 minutes before piping it onto the cupcakes.
How to Decorate the Blackberry Cupcakes:
  1. Once your cupcakes are cooled to room temp, you can decorate them. I used a WILTON 2D (closed-star) frosting tip with a piping bag to frost the tops working from the outside in and up. There's enough frosting to be generous with each cupcake. Top with a fresh blackberry if desired and serve.

I think next time I will add a bit more blackberry puree. I would've liked a tad more berry flavor but I still received lots of compliments on them. If you just eat off the icing then you have a muffin and muffins are healthy so, enjoy!
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Wednesday, July 30, 2014

I'm So Fancy...

So, this happened today! I never ever and I mean EVER do anything different to my hair. It is fine, thin and never been colored.
I've been thinking about trying extensions for months well possibly even years now. With lots of fear but excited for some change I decided to let my good friend Kristen work her magic today at her salon. She did such a great job and I really like them! Definitely going to take some getting used to but I really hate the thought of anything being permanent or semi-permanent if I don't know that I am going to LOVE it. So, I opted to go for the clip in style just in case I hated them no problem, unclip and they are gone.
I've also wanted to maybe go darker like "Kim Kardashian dark" for a few years but like I mentioned, I'm a baby and hate change. So since these give me an underneath darker look its just like playing dress up for me, perfect! Here's to taking chances...
"A woman that changes her hair is about to change her life."
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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Fall Outfit Purchases...It Happened!

Since we don't have an H&M in Oklahoma anytime I travel to a city with one it is a must stop. This past weekend I bought a few of my first fall outfit purchases there. I couldn't resist and I told myself it was okay since it was somewhere I can't just stop back in a month from now. 

I picked up this adorable circle skirt which I am thinking I'll pair it with a fitted tan long sleeved shirt, leggins and booties. Or maybe also tights and pumps or bare with boots. It has a thicker knitted feel to it that I just couldn't pass up.

I have been dying to order a black Piko top to add to my wordorbe for the fall. I have envisioned that it would make the perfect travel outfit. Right when I was about to pull the trigger and order one from an online boutique I spotted an H&M brand one for half the price, score!!

I couldn't find it available online but looks just like this. I am already swooning over it and have tried it on four times since I've purchased it. I love how she has it paired but for travel, I'm picturing cute leggings with ballet flats.

Well H&M is failing me and I can't find anything I got available online. So, I got a sweater very similar to this one as well. I can't wait to pair it with an OKC Thunder orange necklace for game days! Thunder Up!

I finished up my trip to H&M with a few workout tanks and a bright yellow button down collared tank top for work. (That is ALSO not available online) Sorry guys, this post was kind of a bust since you can't really "shop" it. Ah, I'm not quite ready for fall to arrive but I'm maybe starting to dream of the cool crisp temps.
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Monday, July 28, 2014

Weekending: Sun Valley, Idaho

I am traveling back from Sun Valley, Idaho from a business board retreat I put on. I'm sitting in the Phoenix airport facing eight more hours of travel to get home. I'll be honest and say it was not rough working over the weekend in Sun Valley. A couple of meetings and the rest of the weekend was spent playing. I stayed at the Sun Valley Resort which was oh so beautiful. It was pretty neat cause they had their own little community as you could say at the resort so, the only time I left for anything was hiking.
I'll let my pictures show how awful my weekend just was...
The view from my room
The little community like area at the resort. Full of shops, restaurants, bike riding, swimming and so much more. Oh and an ice cream shop. ;)
Homemade Wild Huckleberry Ice Cream
Shameless selfie before a dinner meeting
Hiking up Proctor Mountain
And I now realize these sunglasses do not do me a favor...eek
The beautiful view from the hike. My body is definitely not used to handling altitude.
Oh Deer!
There was an ice skating show at the resort one night. The tickets were sixty dollars a piece to attend. This was my free view from my room. And with a milkshake, yes. I probably gained fifty pounds. Gym tomorrow, twice. 
This was our view yesterday afternoon for lunch at Red Fish Lake. So pretty, it almost looked tropical. We were told that it is named Red Fish Lake because at one point there was so many salmon that were in the lake it was actually red.
I'm so glad I am blessed with being able to see beautiful places like this so often. I will not be sad what-so-ever if I have to go back to Sun Valley. It was hard to say bye to seventy degrees.
I finished off the weekend with some shopping at H&M last night in Boise. I may have purchased a few fall outfits...a touch of fall fever!
Today I am linking up with Biana for her Weekending linkup.

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Friday, July 25, 2014

Oh Hey Friday, From Idaho!

I am stuck at another beautiful resort in Sun Valley, Idaho until Monday for work, poor me! It is pretty beautiful here and feels wonderful with a cool 68 degrees! So technically I am working for the weekend but it’s not that bad! Today I am linking up with September FARM again for her Oh Hey Friday Linkup.
Five things I am absolutely loving this week, here they are.
ONE:: Beautiful Idaho
I couldn’t not start with this beautiful place I’ll be spending the next few days at. God truly has created an amazing place for us to live life in.
My view from my room
TWO:: Jamie Lynn Spears
Y’all, have you heard her yet? My sister-in-law introduced me to her this week and I think she is really great! She’s like a classy version of her sister, Brittany Spears. Who would’ve thought?! Check her out-
THREE:: She Reads Truth App
If you read my post from yesterday you heard a little about this app that I am loving recently. This a women’s devotional app that allows you to interact in discussion with other women over daily devotionals. There are several different plans you can choose from, some are free and some cost a small fee. I’m pretty cheap and also use YouVersion which is completely free for devotionals so I have not actually purchased any plans. The app is free to download and most of the content is free with the exception of a few plans. I love that I can comment, make notes and dive into the word alongside of other women. You can view the app here.
FOUR:: Meet Me at the Gym Tank
How fun and cute is this workout tank top? Believe it or not I picked it up from Wal-Mart for whopping five dollars, score! It is a loose fit and very comfy.

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FIVE:: Summer Snacking
I have been basically living off watermelon this summer. Pair it with a rice cake topped with peanut butter and sometimes bananas and cinnamon and you have my snack on the reg. Easy, light but packed with energy.
Have a great weekend everyone, I'm off to explore this resort!


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Thursday, July 24, 2014

Liebster Award Nominee

I am so excited to be nominated for the Liebster Award by Lauren from Life in the Wilde. When I read Lauren's post I was thinking ‘oh how fun is this, I want to be nominated!’ Then I got to the end and realized she was sweet enough to think of me and I was nominated. Thanks Lauren! How fun is this, being new to the blog land I love participating in things that connect me to other bloggers! 
       1.      Each person must post 11 things about themselves.
2.      Answer the questions that the nominator has set for you, plus create 11 questions for the people you’ve nominated to answer.
3.      Choose 11 people (with 200 followers or less) and link them in your post.
4.      Go to their page and tell them.
5.      No tag backs!
11 Facts about Me:
1.      I am an iced tea connoisseur. I don’t drink pop so I pretty much only drink water and ice tea. I love sweet tea but quickly realized after giving up pop, over five years ago, that sweet tea was probably just as bad. So, I drink un sweet and add sweet ‘n’ low…I know artificial sweetener, I’m probably getting cancer.
2.      I love taking showers. I almost always take at least two showers a day. If I had time I would take a mid-day shower as well.
3.      My guilty pleasure is watching “Keeping up with the Kardashians.” I know, I know but I can’t help it!
4.      I am late almost everywhere I go. I’m the girl that says “On my way!” when in reality I am probably just getting out of the shower. Oops, I run on “Indian time” as we say in Oklahoma.
5.      I adore a day in the kitchen with just me and my apron. I love to cook and bake and try out new recipes.  
6.      I am a very routine kind of girl. I like structure and organization. I like to say I am spontaneous as long as it is planned at least a few hours in advance. Planned spontaneous.
7.      Working out has been a lifestyle change I truly made four and a half years ago and I will never look back!
8.      I absolutely hate my toes covered when I sleep. I just can’t understand how in the world people sleep in socks?! Never! I sleep with just the ends of my toes sticking out of the blankets, always. My mom tells me she had to cut the ends of the footies out of all my footed pajamas when I was little.
9.      I am married and have been for almost two years. But no, I do not have kids. I want kids someday just not right now.
10.  I have a passion for serving our loving God and showing his grace. I am so blessed!
11.  I was homecoming queen my senior year in high school and was the ‘Spanish club representative.’ However, my extent of speaking Spanish is “Hola, como te amo? Me amo Kristen. Muy bien.” About all I got and that's even iffy!
My Questions to Answer:
1.      What is your favorite app right now?
“She Reads Truth’ I was just recently introduced to this women’s devotional app and I love it! It is really in-depth and allows you to comment and interact with others in discussion.
2.      What/who inspires your writing most and why?
I in no way consider myself a “writer”. I am not good at it but I do enjoy sharing on my blog. So, I will say the people who are encouraging me to keep blogging with kind compliments and the ones that have let me know that one of my posts inspired or motivated them. These are the ones inspiring me to write blog.
3.      What is your best family memory?
My favorite memories growing up are the ones spent at my grandpa and grandma’s house. Whether it was the entire family in and around the pool, picking pecans with my grandma, riding down to the deli in the basket of my grandma’s three wheeled tricycle. (I wish I had a picture to show this one!), sitting on the kitchen counter ‘helping’ her make homemade mac n’ cheese or sneaking another spoonful of peanut butter behind my grandpa’s back. I sure do miss those times and them!
4.      What is your favorite bible verse and why?
       Oh I have so many favorites, really hard to pick just one...let's go with 1 John 4:19 "We love because he first loved us."

5.      What is your favorite print? Floral, zebra, polka-dots, stripes?
Lately I have been obsessed with navy and white stripes. So nautical and well adorable.
6.      What started your blogging life?
I wish I could remember the first blog that I started following but I don’t. A couple years ago I started following several ladies’ pages and just really became intrigued. Like I said, I don’t think I am a great writer by any stretch but I knew I wanted my own page to share my thoughts, recipes and well life. I wanted to be able to share more than just a 140 characters or without blowing up people’s newsfeeds with 20 pictures of my baking projects and to document my journey in life. So, off I went and began my blog journey. Before I started I said I will be happy if just one person reads it and gets one thing out of one post. I am a brand new blogger of just a month into it and I have absolutely loved it so far!
7.      What is something interesting/silly/fun about you that many people do not know?
I don’t know how interesting this is but I think it is funny…from the first grade until my sophomore year in high school I was in Camp Fire. Now, if you know me at all you know that camping and “roughing it” is not my thing, at all. Don’t get me wrong, I love to go spend the day at the lake and have a couple s’mores on the open fire but when it is time for bed give me my bed! This is why God made houses, right?! So why waste them and sleep on the ground. My mother was a Wohelo Award recipient and wanted nothing more than for one of her daughters to be as well. Well sadly, sorry mom, but that was not happening with me. After my freshman year I told her enough was enough and she was not about to force me on another camping trip or another bug sighting adventure.
8.      What is your favorite post that you have written?
Only being in the blog world a short time now, I would have to say my second post I wrote. I shared my workout routine and “diet” ritual. It is my favorite because I have had more feedback about how this has helped several people than any other post. So for now, this is my fave.
9.      Facebook or Instagram?
Instagram, hands down. I have often said I am leaving Facebook and then somehow keep getting pulled back in. I love that Insta is drama, “Will you feed my turtle?” requests and “My child finally pooped on the potty!!” statuses free!
10.  If you could dream one up, what would your ideal occupation be?
Marketing Director for the Today Show. Dream big!
11.  What is a goal that you have accomplished recently?
I don’t want to share just yet because it is happening this week but a change with my appearance! It’s not going to be huge to some but to me it will be. YAY for some change!
My Questions for Nominees to Answer:
1.      What are the two things that you can’t leave the house without each day?
2.      What is the one thing that is most important to you to accomplish every week?
3.      How has blogging made an impact on your life?
4.      Where is the most adventurous place that you have traveled to?
5.      What does your evening routine look like?
6.      What is something you are currently praying about?
7.      Your cravings are usually salty or sweet?
8.      What do you find most attractive in a man or woman?
9.      How has life changed the most for you in the past five years?
10.  You only have five dollars to spend today, what do you spend it on?
11.  What is your biggest career accomplishment?
And the Nominees Are:
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Tuesday, July 22, 2014

Peaches and Rooftops

This past weekend was packed with so much fun I had to split it into two different posts. You can read about my Friday night here if you missed it. On Saturday a little town named Porter about an hour away from where we live was having their annual Porter Peach Festival. I had been looking forward to this for a few months and my husband loves any and every kind of festival. I love small town charm and peaches so I was pretty excited. Saturday morning we drove down in time to see the parade. It was full of your normal parade entrees but with a few more tractors, wagons and well an old man selling one dollar kisses...no refunds and no samples!
I was pretty excited for the jumbo corndogs, free peaches and ice cream and picking peaches from the orchard. Well I did get my corndog along with a seriously delicious fresh peach tea.
However, the free ice cream line was ridiculously long so I opted to pay the five dollars for ice cream and cobbler to share. We shopped, ate and watched the cobbler contest and auction before heading to pick peaches.

Only to find out the line to even pick peaches at the orchard was so very long and would've taken us at least a couple hours so we decided to make a trip back just to pick soon. I was super bummed but it really was a tad ridiculous. I know I will enjoy it more when it isn't so busy. However, I think we just traded the cool weather that we had last weekend to pick in for less of a crowd. It will be for sure a much warmer day next time we go but I still can't wait. It's the small things in life that excite me...like picking peaches. The peach season ends in September so see you soon Peach Capitol of Oklahoma!
Sunday evening after chruch we topped off the weekend with dinner on the rooftop in downtown Tulsa at El' Guapos. They are known for the their great rooftop atmosphere and it is not a let down.
It was such a beautiful evening, one last cooler night before we got blasted with temps topping out at a one hundred degrees again this week. We enjoyed Mexico style street tacos and learned about dollar taco Tuesday's...we might be in trouble!
All in all, it was a wonderful weekend with lots of fun had. So much fun that I couldn't even included everything in two posts. Summer nights are my favorite...well close behind Fall days. ;)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Weekending: Friends to Cherish

This weekend was full of so many great memories and summer fun! Today I am linking up with Biana at B Loved Boston for her 'Weekending' link up. I had so many fun memories this weekend but today I want to focus on just my Friday evening. I will share the rest of my weekend tomorrow.
Friday night six of us girls hit the town for a girl's night dinner! There is a group of eight girls including myself that get together one night every month. All of us went to high school together and last summer after our ten year high school reunion we decided to have our little own reunion a couple weeks later. Since then we have been getting together every month and I love it!
Not all pictured but we missed you girls!
I am so blessed to have life long friends to do life with. It is so much fun that we are all in different stages of life and we are all experiencing it together. From single to married, to pregnant to moms of four! Not a lot of people can say they still talk to friends from high school yet alone have them pour into their lives daily. Blessed.
We were all friends throughout school but some of us were closer to some than others. Now, we all share life long memories with each other as we did then. It is nice that we can all just drop our busy schedules and make time to relax and catch up with each other.
 And what better way to do it than by having a "Girl's Night Cocktail" on girl's night!
From conversations about working out, our families, God, work and the list goes on and on I am thankful for each one of them. So, to you ladies thank you for doing life with me, thank you for always listening, thank you for the fun times and thank you for the guidance and advice. Love y'all! Cheers to many more memories to come!
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Friday, July 18, 2014

Oh Hey, Friday!

It's finally Friday!!! Is it just me or did this week drag on and on? Today I am linking up with Karli at September Farm to share a few of the things I am lovin' this week to kick off the weekend!



ONE::  Fall Attire- Navy

Here in Oklahoma we have been given A-mazing fall like temps! Typically in the middle of July we are hitting 100+ temps, as we were last week. Today, we are hitting new records with four days under 80 degrees. I know this is not going to last much longer but it has me really wanting to put my leggings and boots on and head to an OU game this weekend. (Only 45 more days until the first game!!!) Anyways, I am now finding myself already looking at fall fashion and hunting for the perfect pair of Navy skinny dress pants like these. I found these on Pinterest with no link, of course isn't that how it always goes when you find something you love. So, has anyone seen any like this lately that I can snatch up?

TWO:: Watermelon Water
I have been freezing watermelon and adding it to my water. Yumm! It gives it just enough flavor and is so refreshing. Maybe I am starting to switch my cravings from raspberries to watermelon...maybe.
THREE:: Peanut Butter Rice Cake Snack
I've been addicted to my new way to eat peanut butter for my snacks. I just take either a plain or carmel rice cake, spread on some peanut butter, slice a few bananas on top and sprinkle with cinnamon. Sweet, tasty and crunchy! Ta-da healthy little snack.
{Picture via Pinterest}
FOUR:: Favorite Verse
A friend posted part of her devotion the other day and this was the verse quoted. I can't stop thinking about it and how much it truly speaks to me. I plan on writing a post soon explaining what this verse really means to me.
"For the love of money is the root of all kinds of evil. And some people, craving money, have wandered from the true faith and pierced themselves with many sorrows." 1 Timothy 6:10
 FIVE:: Moments
Yesterday morning I had a meeting in Oklahoma City for work so, of course, I just stayed the rest of the day in Edmond. I was able to meet some friends for lunch at Coolgreens, oh how I wish Tulsa had one! I ran several errands, shopped in boutiques that we lack also in Tulsa, visited old co-workers and just soaked up being in town. Made my little heart oh so happy!
I'm off to get ready for girl's night, cheers to a fabulous weekend ya'll!
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Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Dinner for Two: Cheesesteak Sandwiches

I was looking for a quick, yummy and different idea to throw together for dinner a few nights ago. I had a lot of extra pepper jack cheese leftover so I stumbled across the idea of cheesesteak sandwiches.
I threw these together in a quick fifteen minutes then baked another fifteen minutes along with some baked waffle fries and called it dinner.
Serves Two (I didn't stuff my own as full and was able to make another one the next day as well)
¾ pound of thinly sliced ribeye steak - I froze mine for an hour before slicing to make it easier.
1 medium green bell pepper, sliced into strips
1 medium onion, sliced into strips
6 oz. portobello mushrooms, sliced
Pepper jack cheese - I used sliced only because I had it leftover from another recipe.
Salt and pepper, to taste
2 sub rolls, sliced in half (but not all the way through)
Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Place the two sliced sub rolls on a two pieces of aluminum foil. Set aside.
In a large skillet, saute onions and green peppers for about 3-4 minutes, then add in the mushrooms, and cook until softened, about 3 minutes. Place in a bowl and set aside.
In the same skillet, cook the steak, breaking it into smaller pieces, until all is cooked through, about 5 minutes. Add the onions and peppers back into the skillet and toss together (seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste).
To assemble the cheesesteaks: open one sub roll and add in half of the meat filling then top with pepper jack cheese or I thought provolone cheese would be good as well. Repeat for the second sub roll.
Tightly wrap each sub in aluminum foil then place directly on the oven rack for 15 minutes.
After 15 minutes, remove from oven and your cheesesteak sandwich is ready for you to unwrap carefully cause they will be hot!

Recipe can be found here on Pinterest
Obviously not the most healthy option but hey, sometimes you have to cheat right and it was quick! I drizzled mine with a little ranch and it was pretty tasty! I was a little worried about not marinating the steak or using any additional seasonings but I consulted many recipes and none called for a marinade. They were great without it and really had a lot of flavor after it was all put together. It was almost as good as Texadelphia. If you decide to make these, enjoy!
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