Jun
28

June is nearly over, but Summer is just getting started.

I’m excited! The 4th of July is next week and I can’t wait to celebrate. Usually it’s full of cinnamon rolls, grilling turkeys (seriously), watching fireworks, and making an absurd amount of patriotic cakes and jello shots. I wasn’t planning on posting a red, white, and blue themed recipe, but who knows perhaps you can persuade me.

Now quite frankly it’s been a busy month for me. I was jetting around the country. BUT I still found some fun things I want to share with you. Let’s start with this cookbook.

Back in the Day Bakery Cookbook is a lovely baking cookbook based on a real life bakery in Savannah, Georgia. Their motto is simple, “Slow Down and Taste the Sweet Life”. I couldn’t agree more! The book is full of simple yet creative baking recipes that make you want to immediately jump in your kitchen and get out the flour, butter, and sugar.

Through reading this cookbook and sampling the recipes, I realized that the owners Cheryl and Griffith are extremely passionate about sharing their love for baking and food with others. Their recipes come straight from the heart and you’ll find yourself pulling out this book to bake every chance you get. I highly recommend it!

Now look at these gorgeous cakes I found while standing in line to order at Alcove, a cafe in Los Angeles. The brunch was superb and worth the huge line and wait. I got the power breakfast, so nothing crazy but I had a bite of a friend’s chicken sausage and goat cheese omelette–just amazing.

Unfortunately I didn’t take a cake home with me. Which only means I have to go back again soon!

For Father’s Day I made my famous brown butter & sea salt chocolate chip cookies. Not for my Dad, but for a friend’s Father’s Day BBQ. Seriously have you guys tried them yet? They are sweet, salty, and perfect over cold ice cream. I served them warm over Breyer’s Vanilla Bean (my favorite). It was magic in a bowl.

Even though my Dad isn’t here with me anymore, I know he would have LOVED those cookies for Father’s Day!

What else have I been up to?

Hmmm… yoga on the beach! It was the ultimate form of relaxation. Well, as relaxing as exercise can be anyway.

I’ve also been eating way too much Trader Joe’s turkey jerky! It’s ridiculous how good it is.

It’s also crazy how much I’m there. I’m a TJ stalker.

Getting ice cream in the Summer is such a tradition. The other day we went to Dairy Queen and Ben got his favorite: a double fudge cookie dough blizzard. I didn’t even know that existed.

My favorite blizzard is still banana cream pie.

I can’t forget to mention all the cute summer accessories I’ve been seeing around. Here’s a necklace from Anthropologie that I’ve been eyeing for quite sometime. I love bright colors paired with a white top or jeans, especially with a nice summer tan.

By the way, I’m on Pinterest. Follow me!

Sooooo I saw these drop dead delicious crispy baked asian chicken wings I just knew I had to make them! They’re very easy to throw together and can be done in just about an hour. Um and they’re really freaking goooooood. Seriously if you are looking for great recipes that your entire family will love, then you need to check out Kelly’s blog Just A Taste.

Kelly and I also have an obsession with this guy right here:

It’s Ari from this season’s Bachelorette! I can’t believe how addicted I have become to that show. I seriously think I would cancel a date to watch it. I normally never watch television religiously either! If you’ve been watching I’d love to know who you are rooting for.

I have a lot of shows I need to catch up on. Revenge, Mad Men, and True Blood are all some of my favorites. I’ll save those for days I feel like baking cookies and relaxing.

Lastly, I found out some disappointing news last night. I didn’t get the job that I desperately have been working hard towards. I guess you could say it was my dream job.

I didn’t necessarily need the job, I just really wanted it. So today, I’m actually completely bummed, but I have to remember that there is so many other things to look forward to. I’m still only 23 and sometimes out of failure or rejection comes wonderful opportunities.

Remember the best is yet to come. 

Have a great weekend everyone!


May
31

Hello. Hiiiii. Hey. Long time no talk.

It’s been a week since the last time I blogged. I’ve missed you all. There really is not a good excuse for this silence other than the fact that I’ve been super busy lately and I’ve had a string of bad luck. I was buried in work, then my computer crashed. Fun times. I didn’t cook for a good five days because Memorial Day weekend was a total blur. I don’t have to explain why.

Poor excuses, but I hope you’ll get over it and read everything I’ve loved about May.

Good, let’s get started then.

First of all I’ve been cocktailing around a bit. Summer patios call for drinking outside.

This picture was taken inside so I guess my previous statement is sort of irrelevant. I did have a really good grapefruit martini though.

Fruit, it’s everywhere. Peach bbq sauce, mango salsa, and my favorite, strawberry buttercream. Somebody needs to have a farmer’s market party.

Gorgeous sunsets on the lake. Ahhh Minnesota summers.

Trader Joe’s creamy peanut butter! I’ve got an amazing recipe coming your way soon.

Seriously this peanut butter could be the love of my life, but then I remembered these pancakes. I have made them alllllllll month long. It kind of went like this: Dinner? Pancakes. Happy hour apps? Mini pancakes. What are you thinking about right now? Pancakes.

I happen to think making pancakes is incredibly romantic.

If you are wondering how flipping pancakes can be romantic, then clearly you need to get in your kitchen Sunday morning with your sweetie and share a plate. Put chocolate chips in them. Laugh. Drink a mimosa while you’re there. Just be with eachother and eat pancakes!

Seriously make it happen.

What about banana breads with crazyyyy additions.

Brown butter strawberry. Bacon peanut butter. Nutella. You name it and it’s going in my banana bread.

My super cute new running shoes with neon laces. I’m picking up running again now that it’s nearly summer.

I’m happy to report that I’m back up to 5 miles. Unfortunately I think my legs might fall off soon. Oh well.

Cooking with kids… it’s like the best thing ever! They’re so creative, it amazes me. Here is Benjamin making homemade baked chicken fingers.

Seriously get in the kitchen with your kids, you’ll have a blast. Promise.

My grandparents! Look how cute they are. Spending time with them is one of my favorite things in the world. My grandma and I went cooking crazy. I’m sharing her famous waffle recipe soon and I’ll have a recap of my trip. I know that was like two weeks ago… I need to get it together.

Besides all of this. I really want you to check out my favorite new artist Lana Del Ray. I’m obsessed. Go listen now!

As always, come chat with me on Twitter and Facebook. Of course I’ll be back soon with recipes.

 


Apr
26

 

Since April is almost over, I wanted to take the time to talk about the things that I’ve really fallen in love with over the past month.

Facebook and Twitter. I use them a lot and it’s the easiest way to ask me questions or just to say hi! Make them your favorite. 

Let’s get into it. I’m nuts for coconut. Head over heels in love with it and I’m not sure why. Maybe because I can put it in banana bread and still keep it healthy.

Coconut flour is AMAZING (more coconut love). It makes gluten-free waffles taste like candy. Especially when you add vegan coconut whip cream on top of them. Any coconut lovers out there?

I purchased Plenty by Yotam Ottolenghi. Wow… it is completely fantastic! I want to cuddle with it everynight and dream about all of the recipes. The gorgeous, vibrant images will blow your mind. Even though the recipes are vegetarian, they are entirely unique, easy to follow, and above all, delicious!

I finished up the second Hunger Games book too. Sadly it wasn’t as good as the first which means I probably won’t read the third. I will however go to all of the movies and bring my own popcorn from my house. That’s what big purses are for.

I started reading Women, Food, and God again. Basically it’s about not opting out of life when things get difficult. I enjoy reading it when I’m in a stressful situation. If you are a woman and in love with food (like me), I suggest reading it!

The beach is always a favorite. And California. So pretty.

I’m very much in love with the blog Bakeaholic Mama. I found it through Tastespotting. Carrie takes some great photos and makes fun meals for her family including Red Velvet Oreo Cake and amazing looking Broccoli and Ham Grilled Cheese Sandwiches. I drool like a puppy dog over her recipes!

Mmmm Mexican. I want it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. I’ll never get tired of it. I’m especially excited for Cinco de Mayo. Sometimes I call it Cinco de Drinko. Maybe that’s after a few margaritas though? I dunno. I might have to whip up something special for my favorite holiday. Any requests? Get in my belly enchiladas!

THIS SANDWICH. It’s incredible. Eggs and avocados complete me sometimes. They make a good food marriage. I think I eat eggs at least once a day. I hope I don’t end up having an egg shaped head like Adam Sandler.

Figuring out how to do this yoga move has become an obsession. Can someone please teach me? Either that or I’ll just continue to fall flat on my face and entertain others in class.

Strawberries are in season! My Mom’s favorite dessert is strawberry shortcake. I’ve never been a huge fan but it was practically the only dessert she made when I was growing up. (My Dad was the baker in the family.) If you haven’t noticed, I’ve made Strawberry Bruschetta and even Strawberry Buttercream lately. I’m full of berry love.

Okay, my ABSOLUTE favorite thing this month is the Dairy Queen Banana Cream Pie blizzard. I had it a couple weeks back when I was feeling indulgent, and I’m smitten! I actually want to combine it with Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups to make it even more out of this world. What’s your favorite blizzard flavor? Or if you could create one what would it be?

I think I’ll probably do favorites every month, so if you have anything you are loving be sure to share!

Let’s chat soon. I’ve got some healthy breakfast recipes coming!


Dec
22

It’s my special day today.  Twenty-three years ago my parents didn’t know what to name me.

They finally settled on Monique Noella. 

It’s feminine version of my Grandfather’s name. He’s a pretty cool guy!

Noella, is a combination of Noel in the spirit of Christmas, and Ella, my great grandmother’s name.

Just some birthday facts.

This past year has been completely amazing! To make the next year just as great, I’ve thought up 23 new things to do.

23 things to add a little more spice in my life.

Take a look at my list.

1. Remind myself that it’s okay to be a kid sometimes and bake more things with excessive frosting and sprinkles. Watch out, donuts are next.

2. Take a vacation with my best girl friends. Asians, Gingers, and Blondes have way too much fun. Obviously.

3. Buy a stranger coffee everyday for a week. It might just make someone’s day. Plus, it’s good karma.

4. Become a Yoga instructor. Namaste.

5. Go to a baseball game. Drink beer and eat a ballpark hot dog.  I don’t drink beer or eat beef, so this will be new!

6. Bungee jump! This scares me like no other. Thinking about it is making me sweat.

7. Go camping! Like real camping. But only if I get to make these babies.

8. Start a food business. I’m not sure how I’ll find time for this… but it’s my dream.

9. Be active everyday somehow. I say power shopping counts!

10. Take the train to New York or Boston all by myself. Visit amazing friends from Australia. I miss you all.

11. Meet someone who has been on Top Chef. I’m leaning towards Spike or those cute twin brothers.

12. Bake a unique banana bread every month for someone new. Totes best idea ever.

13. Go see Beauty and the Beast 3D.  This is serious!

14. Try every new cereal that comes out. Multigrain Peanut Butter Cheerios… I love you.

15. Stay up all night and watch the sun come up at least 10 times. Preferably on an exotic beach or mountain.

16. Go out and pretend I’m turning twenty-one again. Great idea. Period.

17. Try karaoke again. Even though I know I’ll more than likely be awful at it.

18. Have conversations with random people everywhere I go. Listen to their experiences. Learn from their stories.

19. Go surfing more often. Take lessons if needed.

20. Read at least 17 books. Find something unique, don’t read everything on the bestseller list.

21. Go to the ballet. Watching Black Swan doesn’t count.

22. Order dessert more! Life is short and should be sweet. I know you agree.

23. Look around, smile, and genuinely appreciate everything in my life. Every single day.

 

This birthday girl is happy. It’s been a phenomenal year full of opportunities.  The older I get, the wiser I become.

I’m excited to be 23 and to see what the next year brings.

May you live all the days of your life.

As always, thanks for reading.

 

 
 
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