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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Purple Sweet Potato Skins with Brie and Toasted Walnuts

A couple of Sundays ago I was perusing through Sprouts Farmers Market when I came across purple sweet potatoes. I love finding new and different things to give me a challenge in the kitchen and I had only had purple sweet potatoes once and I had never prepared one. So I tossed it in my basket and began thinking of how I could make a delicious meal without simply just roasting it.  

I came across an idea on Pinterest that immediately made my mouth water, purple sweet potato skins with brie and walnuts. Yes, I knew I had to spin off this recipe idea and couldn't wait to whip these skins up that evening!

Purple Sweet Potato Skins with Brie and Toasted Walnuts
Recipe also here

2 Purple sweet potatoes (or however many you are needing- these are RICH and I planned one skin for each of us)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon melted butter
4 ounces brie with rind removed (I used 2ounces- 1 ounce per skin)
Walnut pieces (used about a 1/4 cup for one potato)
Real maple Syrup

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.
Scrub your potatoes clean and pat them dry. Poke a small hole in the skin of each potato (so it doesn't explode in your oven) and bake in the oven for 35-45 minutes, or until just tender but not mushy for they wont hold form for the brie. Remove from oven and let cool.
Cut the potatoes in half. Scoop out some of the inside of the potatoes.  Season your halves with fresh ground pepper, and drizzle with belted butter. 
Place the skins on a baking sheet and return to the oven to bake for about 10 minutes, or until cripsy.
At this time I also placed by chopped walnut pieces on the baking sheet as well and toasted for a few minutes, just until you can start to smell them. 
Top each skin with 1 ounce of brie. Place the skins on a baking sheet and broil until the cheese is bubbly, about 5 minutes. Place your toasted walnuts on top and drizzle with maple syrup.

I served ours with roasted brussels sprouts and roasted herb chicken breasts. Like I mentioned, the skins are rich so if serving as a side you probably just want to plan on one skin per person. I also made small potato cakes with the insides of the potatoes I scooped out. I just mixed the potato with a little bit of melted butter and formed two patties and seared with coconut oil and sea salt in a small skillet. These were so tasty and a great little side that looked beautiful with our dinner!

I highly recommend these purple skins, they are delicious and really are so pretty to serve. Enjoy!

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Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Heart on My Sleeve

A few weeks ago I came across this adorable shirt and fell in love after I saw the heart elbow patches. It was one of those 'I must have this' shirts for me. After spotting it on a website and seeing that it was sold out I quickly started my search. I ended up finding it on Amazon Prime for a fraction of the price the original boutique had it listed for, twelve dollars y'all! Unfortunately it is sold out in the red right now but they do have navy and watch for the red to be back in stock. Plus they have raised the price some but I'm sure after this week it will go back down. The reviews say it runs small but I am wearing a medium and think the fit is great. I think this might have to be a repeat outfit for Sunday morning church.
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Tuesday, February 9, 2016

Valentine's Day Style

I love any excuse to wear red and pink so this week I've been planning my outfits centered around both. I have to say I've been feeling extra girly and I love it! I know that time is running out before Valentine's Day to order any new fun outfits but I wanted to share some of my inspiration for my styling thoughts this week. AND most of the items are on SALE including several from the Surprise Kate Spade sale. Have any of you shopped it? What fun things did you order? Share what your fun valentine inspired outfits you've been wearing in a comment, I'd love to hear!

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Wednesday, February 3, 2016

I was Cajun for the Weekend!

This past weekend I had my very first Mardi Gras experience and it was so fun! I spent the weekend in Lafayette, Louisiana and little did I know I was going to experience Mardi Gras. I will be completely honest and thought Mardi Gras was one day, one day only on Fat Tuesday. Nope, if you are like me and have no clue it runs from January 6th until Fat Tuesday every year. 
I was in town from Thursday until Sunday morning and I think I had seafood for almost every meal and it was so amazing! Being from Oklahoma I don't get to have seafood a ton and if I do its certainly not fresh seafood.  However, even with king cake for breakfast and delicious dinners one after another I did fairly well on my diet. I even weighed in three pounds down at the gym Monday after getting back. PS, if you are close by or visiting Lafayette I highly recommend Jolie's Louisiana Bistro...and do splurge and get the crab cakes with lump crab on top and order the Gouda mac and cheese for me! I had one bite and wanted to dive face first in...I refrained. 

I was a little anxious about attending my first Mardi Gras parade on Saturday evening but was prepared to walk away without beads if it meant I would be flashing parade floats. I am happy to report that the Krewe of Carnivale En Rio Parade was a very family friendly parade and I ended up with more beads than I know what to do with and my shirt stayed on the entire time. From what I hear Lafayette is much more tame than New Orleans...do I have any Cajun readers that know more about this? I will say even as tame as it was it was still great people watching!

It was another short weekend trip but it was fun and I am so glad to be able to say I have experienced Mardi Gras now. Maybe next time I will be more experienced and catch more of the beads flying at my face 20 mph, ouch!
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Tuesday, February 2, 2016

My Trip to Beautiful Utah

The past two weekends I spent away from home and in two completely different but wonderful places. First I headed to Salt Lake City and Park City, Utah and it was nothing short of amazing. Y'all come back tomorrow to see where I spent this last weekend.
My trip to Utah was a very quick weekend and I would be lying if I said I wasn't hoping that my flight would be canceled on Sunday from the snow storm that hit the state while I was there. Spoiler, it was not. Bummer! 

Image via Grand America

I stayed at the beautiful The Grand America Hotel in Salt Lake City. This hotel is a dream, I'm really kicking myself for not taking more pictures and just snap-chatting it. They didn't miss one detail while building it. Side note, this is the second time I've stayed here and I thought for sure it was built in the seventies. I was told it was just built in 2000 for the Olympics. Crazy, I would've never guessed. Anyways the hotel is complete with a candy and toy store, the cutest bakery lined with colorful macaroons and the most perfect cakes and cake balls. To top it off they have a harpist in the lobby and beautiful chandeliers everywhere you turn. Truly magical! If you are ever going to Salt Lake City, stay here! 

Friday after arriving and checking in I got caught up on some work and then headed over to one of my favorite malls located just a couple miles from the hotel, City Creek Center. It is a beautiful indoor/outdoor mall located right in the middle of downtown. I hit all the stores we don't have in Oklahoma with Nordstrom and H&M first on my list. Afterwards we spent the evening sightseeing, snapping pics from the mountains and having dinner.
Saturday morning we headed to Park City for breakfast and more sightseeing. I got to Park City about four times a year and typically the weekend I end up being there is either before or after the well known Sundance Film Festival. I didn't realize until just days before I left that we would be there on the same weekend as the film festival was taking place...celebrity sightings possibly?! I was so pumped! I'm the girl constantly throwing my head around in airports looking for a glimpse of a celeb. So after breakfast we headed to Main Street area to try our luck of actually finding a parking spot. We weren't planning on attending any of the films but wanted to walk Main while doing some shopping, hot chocolate sipping and celebrity looking. Sadly, I drove around all over town for more than an hour looking for a spot to park or even shuttle into town and wasn't successful. So, we just drove through Main street while I tried to creep all the sidewalks for a glimpse but sadly, again, no luck. It was still fun to see all the hustle and bustle. Maybe next year...

Afterwards we drove to the Park City Canyons where we typically ride the gondola in the summer and fall when it isn't ski season. Since out of all the trips I've been on to Utah I have yet to see it covered in snow  and by this time the snow storm had rolled in and beautiful huge and fluffy snowflakes were covering the mountain, I HAD to ride. I just wish I would've had more time to actually ski. Again, maybe next year...

I was absolutely content with riding the gondola up and down the mountain while sipping hot chocolate and taking in the breathtaking views. After several trips up and down the mountain I had to make one last stop before leaving. This barn is my very favorite part of Park City and my favorite barns of all barns. It was magical to see it covered in snow this trip.
That evening we then headed back to Salt Lake City for dinner and to prepare to leave early in the morning. While driving to the airport I still was holding on to a slim chance we'd get snowed in. Then we boarded the plane and that hope disappeared and the reappeared for a short few minutes when we had to be deiced twice before we could take off. Then we were off and I am already dreaming of April when I will return.
"What good is the warmth of summer, without the cold of winter to give it sweetness."
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