Wednesday, September 23, 2015

Honey roasted chickpeas ♥

Here is a super easy recipe for honey roasted chickpeas.  These beans have been a lifesaver for my nightly snack attacks! I don't feel as guilty reaching for these as I do when I scoop Nutella straight from the jar (don't tell me you've never done it...come on : )
Chickpeas are high in fiber and rich in victims and minerals. Just don't go too heavy on the sea salt and they are the perfect snack to satisfy that little nagging voice inside you. 
I found several variations online, but this basic one is my favorite. 

recipe courtesy of  Alida's Kitchen
15 oz. can chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
1 tablespoon honey
1/2 tablespoon canola oil
sea salt

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.  Set aside.
Empty the chickpeas into a colander and rinse until no longer foamy. Drain. 
Put on a paper towel and pat to dry.  Remove skins from the chickpeas.  Gently roll the beans between your fingers and the skins will easily come off ♥
Place the beans in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 45 minutes, or until crunchy (if they are still soft add an additional 5 minutes of baking time).
Meanwhile, in a medium bowl whisk honey and oil. 
Add the hot chickpeas and toss to coat. 

Put the beans back on the baking sheet and return to the oven for an additional 5 - 10 minutes, until caramelized. 
Sprinkle with sea salt ♥
{Other versions I saw added cinnamon & sugar, garlic salt, or cumin.  I say just do what you like }
Let the bean cool completely and store in an airtight container. 

Wednesday, September 16, 2015

Dark chocolate chunk oatmeal bars ♥

Hello Friends! It's September!  Two weeks ago (where does time go?) I made these dark chocolate chunk oatmeal bars that I promised to share with you.  I was scanning Pinterest the night before school started because I wanted to make a treat to celebrate.  Also, I couldn't sleep.  It wasn't even ME going to school, but I had the butterflies.  Crazy.  Anyhow, I came across these bars that looked so delicious I couldn't resist. 
That morning I brought John to school for his first day, came home, and made these bars. 
recipe courtesy of
2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup coconut oil, melted (if needed you may sub canola oil)
2 eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla
8 oz dark chocolate, chopped into chunks (about 1 1/2 cups)
 Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease a 9x13 baking dish or line with parchment paper
In a large mixing bowl blend together the oatmeal, flours, brown sugar, baking soda, salt, coconut oil, eggs, and vanilla.  Beat until completely combined and the dough holds together.  Mix in about 1 cup of the chocolate. 
Turn half the batter out into prepared pan, pushing the dough into the pan evenly.  Sprinkle on the rest of the chocolate, and then press the remaining half of the dough over the chunks.  
Bake for about 20-25 minutes.  Allow bars to cool in pan for at least 30 minutes before slicing. 
*This was my first time baking with coconut oil, and I have to say it gave the bars a slight coconut taste which I really liked.  However if you are not a fan of coconut the just use canola oil instead.  I also stored my bars in the fridge.  The chocolate is gooey and having them refrigerated kept everything at a perfect texture and consistency.  And lastly, if you don't have whole wheat flour, I see no reason why you couldn't just use two cups of all-purpose flour ♥
The bars were perfect with my afternoon tea. I brought one to work everyday for a week.  And the dark chocolate really hit the spot! Over the course of a week they were packed in lunches and in one case - crumbed up an put over ice cream! : )
The bars weren't even fully cooled yet and it was time for pick up.  And so it began....
A new season ♥
The first day of school came and went.  Easy as pie.  Third grade is off to a terrific start! 
Not even one butterfly.  I'm so jealous! (I didn't sleep a wink! LOL)
Also, that day the Fall decorations came out (even though it was 85 degrees!).
And this week I discovered the beauty of slow cooker apple pie oatmeal.  Oh ya - it's a thing!
Another reason why I love my crock pot!

So light your favorite Fall scented candle...there are so many to pick from....

And enjoy the beauty of this glorious season, which just so happens to be my favorite ♥
It didn't take long to get back into the usual swing of things.  Funny how that happens. 
It's a good thing.
By the way....our Disney trip was SO MUCH FUN!!!!  On our way home we were planning our next visit back!  
(a Disney post with pictures to come!!! )
I hope you all are enjoying these early day of fall. xo

Friday, August 14, 2015

Back to School ♥

We are leaving for our Disney vacation one week from today! (yippeeeee!!!!!!!!) When we get home John will only have 5 days left of summer before school starts.  Hopefully that will be enough time for him to recuperate because I'm sure our week will be busy.  Anyway, before we leave I wanted to make sure I have everything ready for back to school so I won't be scrambling at the last minute.  I printed off the "supply" list from the school website and off I went.  I always loved this process of getting everything new.  Needless  to say I was way more excited about these supplies than he was : )
The smell of newly sharpened pencils reminds me of my elementary school days and the butterflies I would get in my tummy the night before the first day.  Who would I get for a teacher? Would my friends be in my class? Will it be hard? I was very shy and always seemed nervous about something.  I enjoyed the lunches my Dad would make me (always will a little chocolate treat of some kind in there ) and even though I hated clothes shopping, wearing a new outfit on the first day of school was exciting.  I can remember laying it out the night before, so it would be just right.  New school shoes, on the other hand, took a little longer to break in.   

I got all John's school shirts last week.  They are pressed and ready to go.  He's got his new shoes, belt, and pants - which are now at the tailors (aka - my mom's) getting hemmed.  As soon as we get back from vacation, I will be in full Fall mode.  I'm resisting the urge right now because we still have some summer left in us - but after Disney there is no holding back.  September and October are my favorite months.  Back to school means the leaves will start to turn and the nights will be cool.  The smell of wood burning in the air will drift in and out of the windows.  I love that smell.  I have visions of a pot of spaghetti sauce bubbling on the stove and fresh baked brownies made to pack in lunches.  There will be homework and activities and heavenly chaos. 
Third grade means we are moving up in the world.  Third grade is band (he plays drums) and he's finally old enough to join the jr. drama club which he's been waiting for since first grade.  Life as an 8 year old (he turns 8 on Sunday) can be pretty exciting! So much to learn and experience during these days.  My heart is full ♥
But before all this.....I must get packing. We are leaving on a 7 day road trip from Boston to Orlando and I haven't packed a thing.  So much to do! I've been waiting to take my little love to Disney since the day he was born.  It's finally happening!

Rob and I honeymooned in Disney in 1998 (wow) and went back to celebrate several anniversaries.  For a wedding gift I purchased him a brick on the walkway to the entrance of the Magic Kingdom. It has our names and anniversary date on it. I bought it via mail and shortly after I received a certificate and a map showing exactly where it was.  On our first day at the park it was so fun trying to find it.  Like a treasure hunt! Going to Disney without kids is amazing because there is so much there just for adults! This time we will be able to see Disney through a child's eyes and experience all his wonder and excitement. 
What a way to end the summer! I can hardly sleep ~

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Summer favorites: peach crisp and sunsets ♥


It's peach season! Finally the peaches are ripe and juicy.  I've been craving them so badly and when we got invited to a party this past weekend I knew exactly what I wanted to make: peach crisp!

I waffled back and forth between peach crisp and peach cobbler.  In the end, I went with the crisp because I kept thinking about the cinnamon, sugar, and oats on top.
It gets me every time  ♥
6 cups of sliced peaches (no need to peel them!) - about 6-8 peaches
3/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
3 tablespoons sugar
1 cup + 3 tablespoons flour
1 cup old fashioned oats
1 cup brown sugar
1 cup butter - cold, cut into cubes
Preheat oven to 350 degrees
Grease a 9x13 baking dish
In a large bowl toss peaches with cinnamon, vanilla, 3 tablespoons sugar, and 3 tablespoons flour.
Pour into greased baking dish.
In a separate bowl, combine 1 cup flour with old fashioned oats and brown sugar.  Cut in butter until you have a crumbly consistency.
Pour mixture over the peaches.
Bake uncovered 45 - 50 minutes.
There is something about a crisp that people really love.  My family scooped this one right up! So much so that I forgot to take a photo of me actually eating it.  It was great, and I won't even mention how the taste of cinnamon reminded me that Fall is coming.  I won't even mention how happy that made me feel....but it did! ♥
In other news....
Last week I saw a gorgeous summer sunset.  I caught a glimpse of the pink sky through my window and I actually ran outside in my ugly PJ's to see more. Luckily no one saw me. 
It was worth it!
I am constantly in awe of a sunset, even though it happens every night   : )
 I treated myself to an after work margarita! With salt : )
So good!
We've been lucky enough to enjoy a few days like this - poolside and fun with friends!
And most of our nights lately look like this...with the Disney Channel in the background. 
John loves the show Jessie! ♥
Summer reading? I've been trying but he's just not interested.  I have a feeling we're going to be doing a lot of cramming at the last minute.  Ugh.
Having a little pre-vacation fun at the Disney store.
Less than two weeks to go before our trip and the excitement is building...for all of us!
My lists are made and packing begins this weekend.  Yay!
My Dad's wildflowers are wildflowers! LOL
They are awful pretty, aren't they?
I saw this quote the other day and it really spoke to me. 
Couldn't be more true!
Enjoy your week my lovely friends! xo


Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Almond loaf ♥

The other day when I was grocery shopping I picked up a bag of slivered almonds. (I was overly excited because they were on sale : )  I spent the rest of my shopping trip trying to decide what I could make with them, and then I remembered a dessert my Mother in law taught me how to make one summer, several years ago.  It was in her old kitchen (which had cherry cabinets and wallpaper!), in a house I loved on a street called Tick Tock Lane.  She had been making this dessert forever and one day I asked her for the recipe. It tastes very fancy and I assumed that it would be a very difficult recipe.  I was shocked at how easy it was.  This dessert will impress people, but let me tell you - it's a snap!

For the first layer:
1 stick of butter
1 cup flour
3 teaspoons water
Mix flour, softened butter, and water into a dough.

Separate into two balls, and then shape into two long pieces.
Press flat, side by side, onto an ungreased cookie sheet.
For the second layer:
1 cup water
1 stick butter
Bring to a rolling boil.

Have the next three ingredients ready so you can work fast...

Remove from heat and quickly add:
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon almond extract
3 eggs
Beat until smooth.
Spread this mixture evenly right to edge of each dough piece.
Bake at 350 degrees until light golden starts to appear - about 45 minutes.
For the glaze:
about 1 cup Confectionery sugar
1 teaspoon almond extract
1 tablespoon of milk
Whisk together until smooth.
Immediately drizzle with glaze and sprinkle generously with slivered almonds.
Let cool completely before cutting into bars.
I think it's best to store this in the refrigerator.
It's even better the next day!
The best part is that this easy recipe makes two loaves!

Served with espresso, this was just one of the many delicious desserts I discovered from my Mother in law on Tick Tock Lane.  I'm happy to carry on the tradition to my family now.  Its funny how recipes can be a scrapbook.  Like my Nana's apple pie or my Mom's sour cream coffee cake.  It's memories & comfort food for the soul ♥

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Summer favorites: with a grateful heart... ♥

Hello Friends! I am back.  I feel as though I have been disconnected for a few days.  I want to say thank you to all my online friends who have reached out with all their positive thoughts and prayers lately. 
For those of you who don't know, my Mom had an unexpected trip to the hospital last week.  She had a sever blockage in her heart and had to have surgery on Friday.  I'm happy to say our prayers were answered.  She's home now and doing much better.  It was quite a scare for my family and we are so grateful that she is okay.  Now we are focusing on her recovery - making sure she takes her medicines, follows a new (low salt!) diet, and once she gets her strength back, a little exercise. 
There is nothing like a health scare to put things into perspective.  When my Mom was in the hospital, I didn't care about anything else. I just wanted her to be okay.  Something like this changes you.  We got a warming and now we've been given a second chance.  I'm so grateful God was (is!) watching over us!
Before this happened (last Tuesday) I had these photo's uploaded and prepared to post as my weekly Summer Favorites.  I'm going to still post them, just keep in mind they are two weeks old. I have to still keep myself busy or else I will worry, worry, worry.  There are times in life when a little distraction and mindless chatter are a good thing! ♥  
So anyway, here are a few other things going on lately....
Something I've always wanted to do is see Shakespeare in the park.  I read in last weeks paper that the Bay Colony Shakespeare Company will be preforming Midsummer Night's Dream in August, outdoors, just one town over.  It's a nighttime show in a beautiful venue, just minutes from my house.  I bought my ticket and can hardly wait to go ♥
We had some fun pool time at Rob's aunt & uncles pool.  What a fun day!
Love them so much!

Just look at that face! xoxo

And then on one rainy Saturday afternoon I found this in my pantry.... Old fashioned brown bread! It's the stuff my childhood was made of! (Yes, it's bread in a can! If you are from New England you know what I'm talkin' about! : )

Toasted with butter is the best! Add an old black & white Jimmy Stewart movie and you've got a perfect Saturday afternoon!

A new bakery opened up in South Weymouth square.  It's a dangerous place, let me tell you!

I discovered that I really LOVE Kind bars! They are worth the extra few pennies.  This one (dark chocolate cherry cashew) was delicious!  
I got some fresh mint and basil from my father in law's garden.  It's so pretty and fragrant that I put them in a vase on the kitchen island.  I wish I had his green thumb for gardening!
I took a stroll by one of my favorite little French shops in the square.  Unfortunately I can only afford to window shop.....and I do that often! : )  

We hung a new clock in the bedroom. Well, it's not actually new.  I got this clock quite a while ago and have never hung it.  Once I finally did it I remembered how much I love a ticking clock in the house.  I guess I haven't had one in a while.  It's very comforting.

Have I told you that we are going to Disney??? Yes! Next month we are road tripping to Orlando! (we are staying here) This will be John's first Disney trip - and also his birthday week! What more could an new 8 year old ask for?! Last week I asked my IG/twitter friends for any tips regarding Disney travel.  Thank you all so much for your suggestions! And please keep them coming! I'm concerned about the August Florida heat and also the crowds, but you all had some great suggestions ♥
The cherry tomato plant on my deck is doing awesome! It's been very hot and humid here lately so I have to remember to water them.  As long as I do that, they are happy!
Same goes for the geraniums.  Must. remember. to. water.
Fresh mint leaves in orange fizzy drinks are very refreshing on a hot day!
Have you ever tried argan oil? This conditioner is the best one I have ever used! I have always wanted to try it but it's very expensive.  Then the other day I had a great idea.  Buy the travel size! It's way cheaper and you only use a little at a time anyway.  Brilliant! This conditioner makes my hair soft and shiny - and it smells amazing!
I checked out Sophia Coppola's Marie Antoinette from the library (again!) last week an watched it for the umpteenth time! I really love this movie.  I think Kirsten Dunst made the perfect Marie Antoinette. And it was actually filmed at The Palace of Versailles. It's so beautiful! (one of the places I would LOVE to go to). The costumes are amazing too! ♥♥♥
Because it's been so hot, I've been going the easy route with cooking.  This day I made roasted sausages, zucchini, and cherry tomatoes.  All on one cookie sheet and it was delicious!
 My Dad planted wild flower seeds on the side of my parents house.  We had no idea what was going to grow.  This is the result.  Quite pretty! I love the one lone red flower, just standing there in the middle.  I know how she feels. #awkward
Here is a tip that I learned from Susan Branch's Summer book.  When it's really hot out, put your body lotions, moisturizers, perfumes, etc  in the refrigerator.  What a refreshing treat on hot skin.  I've been doing this for years.  Cold Oil of Olay on my face after a hot shower is the best!
 Some of you have asked me about the stones that I talked about in my last post.  I am planning on doing a blog post about them soon.  They have really helped me this week ♥


And of course the obligatory ice cream cone! We can't stop and we don't want to! Do you take jimmies or sprinkles?
Thank you all so much for being here! You have no idea how much I appreciate you!
Have a great week!