Wednesday, October 23, 2013

pumpkin chocolate chip bread.

So, I guess it's time I start posting some seasonally appropriate content. After last week's posts about vacation essentials, and beach pictures I was determined to make something fall-related to share this week. My original intent was to post some yummy pumpkin spice coffee creamer, but the recipe I tried was a major disaster. The good news? I made something even better! Pumpkin chocolate chip bread.

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Bread

Makes 2 loaves

31/4 cups flour
2 teaspoons cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
2 teaspoons baking soda
2 teaspoons salt
1 15 ounce can pumpkin puree or 1 3/4 cup homemade puree from this recipe ( i made my own)
1 cup vegetable oil
3 cups sugar
4 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
12 oz bag chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 350 degrees, and prepare your pans.

Whisk together flour, cinnamon, nutmeg, ginger, baking soda and salt.

In a separate bowl, whisk the pumpkin and oil until combined. Add the sugar and whisk until combined. Whisk in the eggs on at a time, followed by the vanilla. Add 3/4 cup of room temperature water and whisk until combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Fold the dry ingredients into the wet being careful not to over mix.

Divide the batter between two 9x5x3 inch loaf pans. Smooth the top with a spatula.

Bake in the center of the oven until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean - about 1 hour 15 minutes. 

Remove loaves from the oven, and allow to cool for 15 minutes. Remove loaves from the pans and let cool completely on wire racks. 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Ipsy - October 2013

Today I'm writing to you about what I got in my Ipsy bag. Ipsy is a subscription service that sends you 4-5 beauty products a month. It's like Christmas once and month, and this month was fantastic! 

My bag this month was HUGE and full of really great stuff!

The first thing I pulled out was the Big Sexy Hair Blow Dry Volumizing Gel. I haven't used this gel yet, but it's supposed to give you volume without the sticky feeling of traditional gel. I just cut my hair so I can't wait to see if this stuff actually works. 

Next up! Buxom Full-On Lip Polish in Dolly. I was so happy to see this little tube in my bag. I actually already own this gloss and it's the perfect "my-lips-but-better" shade. It's so pretty!

Below is a moisturizer from the brand H2O Plus. I haven't ever heard of this company, but I'm excited to try this moisturizing gel. According to their website, this is an oil free moisturizing gel that provides deep hydration and minimizes the appearance of fine lines. I'll stash this cute little jar in my travel bag!

I was so excited to see this hand cream in my bag! It's from cake beauty and I've been dying to try something from their line. Anyone who can combine beauty products and baked goods are winners in my book! I've been using this strawberry and cream scented hand cream every night since I got it. It smells yummy and makes my hands super soft by morning. Super love!

Last but not least - a full size Zoya nail polish in Mason! I really love Zoya polishes, and this one is perfect for fall!

Don't have an Ipsy subscription yet? What are you waiting for?! Get your here. It's sooo worth it!

Friday, October 18, 2013

my vacation must-haves

We're smack-dab in the middle of October, and while everyone else in the blogging universe is writing about boots, sweaters, and pumpkin spice lattes I'm writing about my must-have products for vacation. Better late than never I guess!

1. Hawaiian Tropic Silk Hydration After Sun Lotion - I used this every day after I showered. The scent is fresh and clean but doesn't linger very long which I liked. It kept my skin supple while I baked in the sun for two weeks, and wasn't sticky. This stuff is a win in my book!

2. Supergoop! City Sunscreen Serum SPF 30 - I'm so impressed with the Supergoop! line! As you can see I have two of their products on my must-have list, and that's mainly because their products do what they claim and they are gentle on my skin. This sunscreen serum is phenomenal. It protected my skin (read: I didn't burn the whole two weeks), felt light and not sticky, and wasn't oily. Win, win, win! I really liked that a little went a long way, and I liked the sunscreen so much that I'm considering using it underneath my makeup. Thanks supergoop! for protecting my finicky skin. 

3. Old Navy Cover up - I wish I could live in this cover up! Seriously, it is so comfortable! Plus, I got tons of compliments and it made me look put together even if I had my hair pulled back and no makeup on. Unfortunately, I got this in the clearance section of Old Navy a few years ago so they don't have it on their site anymore. But I do encourage you to find a pretty cover up in a great print any time you're going on vacation. It will make you feel pretty...and that's always a great thing!

4. Neutrogena Beach Defense Sunscreen SPF 70 -  Ok. Where do I start with this stuff? I LOVE this sunscreen. It's convenient since it's a spray, smells so light and fresh, protects my skin, but still helped my get a nice glow . I've already repurchased this to use next summer. Go buy this stuff!

5. Alterna Bamboo Beach Sun Recovery Spray - I really like recovery sprays for hair especially after lovely days in the sun. This one smells great, and left my hair so silky! I desperately need a hair cut, but I can tell this stuff is legit (yes, legit) because even though my hair spent two weeks in the sun, it's not parched. I'm still using this product even though I'm spending no time in the sun because I love it so much!

6. Supergoop! AcaiFusion Lip Balm SPF 30 - I cannot say enough good things about this lip balm. I actually used this product the entire summer and my lips didn't burn once, and that is a big deal. I've constantly had issues with my lower lip burning any time I spend an extended period of time in the sun. Since using this product, my lips haven't even felt sensitive after a fun day in the sunshine!

So, ladies and gentlemen there is my list of summer the middle of autumn. Were there any products you were impressed with this summer?

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

banana bread granola

After two weeks of eating butter on vacation, I was anxious to get home and get back to a normal food schedule. The granola below is what i've been eating for breakfast every morning over vanilla greek yogurt with sliced bananas and a warm cup of pumpkin spice coffee. The tang of the yogurt with the sweetness of the banana is my new favorite combo! Tastes like an indulgence, but it's actually good for my body!

Banana Bread Granola

recipe from shutterbean 

5 cups rolled oats (not the quick-cooking kind)
1 1/2 cups sliced pecans 
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 cup brown sugar
2 bananas
1/3 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Put everything in a large bowl and mix together well, making sure all the oats are well saturated with the wet ingredients. 

Spread oats on a baking sheet and spread out in a thin layer using a spatula. 

Bake for 30 minutes tossing occasionally to make sure everything gets nice and golden.

Remove from the oven and let cool.

Store in an airtight container.

Monday, October 14, 2013


First I'd like to say, God is so good! The images following are from my trip to Holden Beach, North Carolina. Vacation came at just the right time, and it was truly a break I really needed. No work or ministry...just me and Jesus and the beach. It was so good! And very needed.

We stayed in the house that we rented when I was growing up. I remember vacations there with my family - three sisters, my parents, my aunt and uncle, and my dad's parents. I didn't realize how many memories I had in that place until we pulled up. Good things happened in that house, and it was good to relive some of those moments with my cousin's kids. 

Food. So much food. Some of it is documented below - seafood, butter, sugar, chocolate, and something I'd never had before: sweet potato biscuits. My goodness those are so good! I'm working on my own version to share with you here. Be on the lookout for those soon.

We went to Southport, NC for two days and I fell in LOVE with that little town. If you ever have the opportunity to go there, GO! After you spend a day being charmed by the little shops and cute southern homes, go eat at the Frying Pan...please! The building is built at the waters edge on stilts, and they have all the windows open so it's almost like dining al fresco. Our table over looked the ocean while a soft, cool breeze blew throughout the restaurant.  It was perfect. Be sure to try the sweet potato biscuits while you're there. So YUMMY!