let’s play catch up

Hey loves! Yes I know it’s been awhile. But this girl has been busy.

So let’s play catch up should we?

I had my final wedding dress fitting, but since I want to keep the dress a bit of a surprise, no pictures. Matt and I however have seemed to start a tradition of getting a celebratory drink after we have a wedding accomplishment, so we met at a local bar to have a drink.

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I know you were expecting to see a picture of a beer, and don’t worry, I had one of those too, but I saw the bartender make this drink and it just looked so good. It was gin, muddled strawberries and cucumber, and simple syrup. It was very refreshing, I’m not typically a huge gin fan, but it was great in this drink.

So about this wedding, needless to say I am getting excited!It will be here before I know it!

In the meantime I have been busy with work as per usual. Nothing new with that. But some things that are new?

I have been in contact with Truly Organic Foods for some time and was finally able to try some of their products. They are an online store based in Canada that offers raw and vegan foods. Their  wide selection of raw and vegan organic superfoods include raw chocolate, maca, lucuma, mesquite, raw organic nuts, seeds, goji berries, hemp seeds and protein powder, spirulina, coconut oil, organic teas, organic herbs and spices, Himalayan salt, vegan protein powder, vitamineral greens, gourmet organic raw nut snacks. It’s an amazing source for basically anything you could want.

Here are some items I decided to try.

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Superfood Cereal, Coconut Flour, Pure Wraps – Coconut Wraps, rawmio hazlenut utter, and nud raw vegan cracker crisps

I of course immediately dug into the nud vegan crackers as they were one item I was very excited to try.  I personally love that green taste, so I thought these were delicious! I have yet to use the wraps yet, but those were another item I was very excited to try. And let’s be real…chocolate hazelnut butter is basically the best thing ever.

I am very eager to try more products from Truly Organic Foods!

I wish I had more home made goodies to show you, but as of late I have had no desire to cook!

I did make some delicious waffles however, but I kind of cheated with using my FlapJacked protein pancake mix.

This stuff is soooo good though and makes it so easy!

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I had only made pancakes with it prior, but I am happy to report that it makes amazing waffles as well.

Other then that it has been a lot of meals out.

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The most amazing beer cheese and pub pretzels while watching football at our new favorite Sunday football hangout.

And as if you’d be surprised, a sushi date at our favorite sushi joint happened as well.

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Sashimi and a salmon roll are pretty much my go to’s. But hey, if it’s not broke don’t fix it.

Other random scenes.

I’ve been (slowly) reading this book. I have heard that it just has really good information in it, with all my inflammation and bloating issues going on I’ve dabbled with the idea of doing a Whole 30. Regardless of if I decide to do it or not, I love reading about nutrition in general.

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 I just only wish I had more time to actually read it.

Oh. And in case you forgot. I do cute things sometimes.

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I left Matt a cute message on his Starbucks cup one morning.

Other then that loves, it’s been pretty boring around here.

I hope you all are having a wonderful start to your new year and a great weekend!

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What are your weekend happenings?

out with the old, in with the new

Hi loves! I’m back with more life updates for you! Because as promised there have been a lot in such a short amount of time!

So last I left you with my birthday update, a few short days later it was time for the new years! Yes, I know I am a little late as we are almost a week into the new year, but life has been go go go for me lately.

First exciting news?

I got a new car!

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The car shopping process is not fun, I don’t care what anyone tells you, but when I finally found the car I wanted I was lucky to enough to have a smooth buying experience.

I ended up getting a 2014 Honda Accord  SE. And I love it.

I had such an emotional connection with my old car since it was my grandma’s, but the car never felt like it was mine.  After driving my new car for just a day, it already felt so much more like my car then my old car ever did.  So as sad as it was to lose that car for the emotional connection (and the fact that I didn’t have  a car payment) I am very excited for my car. And she is beautiful.

We kind of celebrated my new car in combination with New Years Eve. We typically don’t go out, but since we seemed to have a little more to celebrate we decided to get a little fancy for dinner.

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 Please excuse the non smiling face, but I just had to document the fact that I wasn’t going out in just a hoodie. I actually put real clothes on and felt a little pretty. Matt and I enjoyed a nice dinner and went downtown to celebrate the new year. Well, I didn’t quite make it to midnight. Guess my age is showing, I couldn’t keep up with the young kids and got a little too intoxicated a little too quick. We ended up going home around 10:30, but did manage to stay awake to watch the ball drop. And then immediately went to bed.

First change of the new year?

My hair!

This will probably be my last chance to go a little crazy with the color before the wedding so I took advantage of it.

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I wanted a lavender color, but since purple fades pretty quickly, she made it a bit brighter and told me it would quickly fade to the color I wanted. But I am loving it!

Loving it so much I can’t help but take a lot of selfies.

But not just any selfies – selfies with amazing new foodie finds.

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Have you guys heard of Eat Me Guilt Free? If not you need to go check them out. I discovered them when I was doing my gluten free elimination diet and fell in love. Their brownies and blondies are delicious – a perfect late night snack. I quickly became obsessed and ate them probably every night… until I ran out. That was a sad day.

But not before I took sassy selfies.

And the brownie warmed up and then topped with ice cream and coconut butter?

Don’t get me started.

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I really wish I had more of these.

Other then that, things have started to settle down here. Now that all the holiday’s have passed I can start nailing down the rest of this wedding planning.  I think the holiday’s kind of took my mind off the stress of the wedding, but I am hoping that I will get everything done on time and not have a wedding melt down.

Here’s hoping.

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Have you made any new years changes?
Any new years resolutions?

a perfect birthday

Long time no talk my loves!

I feel like so much has happened in such a short amount of time. Let me catch you up a bit.

It seemed like Christmas came and went in the blink of an eye and very quickly it was my birthday!

Considering my birthday is only three days after Christmas it really is a blink of the eye.

We didn’t have any huge plans for my birthday, really it’s just another day, but I was lucky this year for it to fall on a Sunday so I actually had the day off and Matt and I planned to just kind of play things by ear.

We have a Sunday tradition of going to a local coffee shop that also happens to serve alcohol 24/7.  Don’t judge, but on Sunday’s yes I do start drinking at 9am.  But I get a Pomosa, which is a Mimosa, but with pomegranate juice instead of orange juice, so it’s kind of healthy right?

Whatever, it was my birthday.

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The day only got better. Matt was nice enough to treat me to a manicure, so he took me to do that while he did some work at home. Matt has been amazing since my car accident, since the insurance deemed my car totaled you are only given a rental for 7 days after they make an offer on the vehicle. I found that kind of silly, but Matt had been great about taking me to work and carting me around town so I can run my errands.  It may seem small and something a significant other “is suppose to do” but Matt was so selfless and never made me feel like it was a burden to take me places. That kid seriously humbles me sometimes.

The one thing that we did plan for my birthday was dinner.

And I’m sure it’s no surprise what I wanted.

Sushi.

We went to our favorite sushi restaurant and decided since it was my birthday we would get a little crazy and order something new.

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Well nothing too crazy for us, we both know we like eel, but have never gotten the eel nigiri so we decided to start with that.  It was amazing. I have a feeling we will be getting it every time now.

Matt and I then split some tuna sashimi and he got a soft shell crab roll.

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I decided to go with the salmon roll – one of my favorites.

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Dinner was of course delicious and was a wonderful birthday treat.

We had plans to go to our city zoo as they hold a special event called Zoo Lights, but it has been ridiculously cold here and all I really wanted to do was go home, put on some sweatpants and relax.

But not before picking up some dessert.

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Staying classy with frozen yogurt and wine.

It was the perfect way to end my birthday.

Well loves that is at least a quick update to what’s been going on, however I have so much more to tell you.

Lot’s of new and exciting things have already happened for me this new year!

Until then I hope everyone has had a wonderful start to their new year!

merry christmas 2014

Merry Christmas all!

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I hope you all had a wonderful holiday that was filled with family, love and of course good food!

Christmas isn’t all about gifts, it’s about the time spent with our loved ones and cherishing all the joy we have in our lives.

Mine was filled with lots of love and fun times!

Matt and I did our Christmas on Christmas Eve morning since we were going to his parents for Christmas day.

I think everyone was ready for Christmas, even Ra!

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(where’s all my gifts mom?)

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Matt and I both had some errands to run before we headed to his parents, so after a quick gift exchange we headed out. I was just recently in a pretty bad car accident (my car ended up being totaled) so I had made a chiropractor appointment – turns out I have pretty bad whiplash. Matt had an issue with some of his Christmas gifts that he ordered for his mom being delivered to the wrong house, so he went out to buy some quick replacements.  We both got done around the same time so we decided to meet for lunch and a drink.

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We then packed up and headed up north!

Matt’s mom has been sick with a cold, so once we arrived we told her we would finish up the Christmas cooking!

We were then given an early Christmas gift… new aprons!

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We had decided to do Christmas dinner on Christmas Eve since I was needing to leave the next day due to having to work Friday.  This meal was of course delicious, but different since I am doing a gluten free elimination diet.

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Thankfully I could still enjoy the delicious turkey and ham, but couldn’t indulge in my beloved stuffing. I made myself a sweet potato instead and Matt’s mom was amazing and in addition to making her famous homemade gravy, made me my own separate gravy as well. Dessert was also hard in that I couldn’t have a slice of this delicious looking cheesecake.

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Lets reeeaaallly hope that I am not gluten intolerant.

Christmas morning we all slept in a bit and once we finally rolled out of bed, we had some coffee and made a make shift breakfast of left overs.

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I had brought my own Udi’s bagels – topped half with butter and peanut butter, had some left over ham and an apple.

Not a glorious Christmas breakfast, but it was tasty enough.

Then it was gift time! I know Christmas isn’t all about the gifts, but it is a perk.

Matt took the roll of passing gifts out!

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Even though every year we tell his parents not to go crazy – they never listen. Needless to say they spoiled us yet again this year.

Too soon it was time to say goodbye for me. It always seems like our time together is so short, but I cherish every moment I have with my second family.

We did manage to get a family picture in the short time spent together.

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And as per usual I requested a wacky pose.

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As per usual they obliged.

Yet another reason why I know I am going to love my life with my second family.

So loves, I hope you all had a great holiday season!

It three short days it will be my birthday and then the new years! And then before I know it my wedding!! Oh where does the time go!

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Happy Holidays!

adventures in wedding planning

So I come to you today in awe that 1. It is already December and 2. It is less than 4 months until my wedding!

If you couldn’t guess that is why I have been a little MIA lately. I can not even begin to describe how busy I have been lately. Work and wedding panning has basically taken over my life.  I am happy to report that I am slowly but surely getting things done.

First exciting thing? We got our engagement photo’s back and I couldn’t be more in love with them.

I don’t want to bore you and bombard you with pictures of myself, I’m not that vain, but here are a few of my favorites.

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And if you couldn’t guess, yes we are having a beer themed wedding.

So I must say I have been pretty proud of myself for getting a lot of the wedding stuff done by myself. Matt really is no help, but 1. He’s a guy and 2. He has been very busy doing free lance work. This free lance work is helping pay for the wedding, so I can’t be too mad at him for not being very involved in the planning, but it has also made it that much more stressful for me. Thankfully my mom took some time off and flew out for a few days to help me get some things done.

Let me tell you she was a huge help.

We scheduled a menu tasting the day she flew in and unfortunately her flight was delayed and she was late to the tasting, but she made it just in time for the good stuff!

Some of the items we tasted:

(what i ate wednesday style)

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Hor d’oeurves

Smoked Salmon Mousse Canape

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The salmon was amazing. I am a huge lox and cream cheese fan and I am not sure what type of “bread” this was on, but the combination was just spot on. It’s sad that on my wedding day I probably won’t get to eat my hor d’oeuvres as they will be served during cocktail hour which is when we will be taking our photo’s, but maybe I’ll be able to snag a few.

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Salad

Baby Spinach, Walnuts, Dried Cranberries, Bleu Cheese Crumbles (we are substituting feta) and Raspberry Vinaigrette

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All I can say about this salad is the homemade raspberry vinaigrette dressing, was by far the best I have ever had.  There was bread on the table that I kept taking in order to wipe up every last drop of this dressing.

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Entrees

Pretzel Chicken with Honey Dijon Sauce

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This will be served with garlic mashed red potatoes and green beans. I was seriously blown away at how good this chicken was.  I honestly thought it just might be meh, but the chicken was so moist and flavorful.

The other guest option will be a steak, but for Matt and I’s personal meals, we upgraded to a salmon dish.

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Cast Iron Seared Salmon with Mango-Apple Chutney

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Served with garlic mashed red potatoes and green beans.

 Again, the salmon was cooked to perfection.

Needless to say I am more than excited to eat on my wedding day. I just have to make sure I don’t spill any on my dress! I’m not known to be the cleanest eater…

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After the tasting my mom went to her hotel to check in since she had came to the tasting straight from the airport.

We let her clean up and relax a bit and then we met  up again to go out for dinner.

We both have December birthdays and since I will not see her again till after we used this opportunity to celebrate and called this our birthday dinner.  The Bears game was also on that night and with me growing up around Chicago and her still living there it seemed only right to go to a spot where we could watch the game.

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We took her to one of our favorite pubs where I got one of my most favorite meals.

I got my usual Ahi Tuna Salad and she opted for a Tavern Burger.

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After dinner I of course had to treat my mom to some frozen yogurt.

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I think everyone and even my mom is surprised how much food I can pack away. I cleaned my plate and still got a full cup of fro-yo, while my mom and Matt who did not finish their meals were a little modest in the fro-yo department.  I swear I can just always eat.

The next few days were a whirl wind of wedding tasks, including a dress fitting, appointments with the florist, wedding favor shopping and assembling, but one last fun thing we were able to do together was she taught me how to make her famous pumpkin nut roll.  This thing is a high commodity during Christmas time, and now I am so excited that I will be able to make it on my own. It was also fun just spending that time with her, baking, and bonding.

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So overall the visit with my mom was a great one. Yes I was completely wiped by the end of it, but it was so nice to not only get to spend some time with her, but also get more items checked off my wedding to-do list.

I can’t promise that I won’t disappear again.

I swear, this wedding will be the death of me.

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Do you have any traditions your parents passed down to you?

thanksgiving 2014

Hello loves! I come to you stuffed and happy from all the Thanksgiving goodness!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday and remembered all your were thankful for, ate delicious food (too much if you’re like me – oy am I stuffed), and enjoyed time with your loved ones.

As per tradition we celebrated Thanksgiving with Matt’s parents.  We were able to drive up the night before, however I had to drive home Thanksgiving day since I have to work Friday.  Matt was lucky enough to get Friday off, so he decided to stay at his parents an extra night.

Thanksgiving morning Matt and I woke up first and started our morning with some couch cuddle time and coffee.

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A little while later when everyone was awake we decided to have some breakfast.  Another tradition on holiday mornings at Matt’s parents is cinnamon rolls.

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I knew I was going to have a big lunch, but there is something about fresh out of the oven cinnamon rolls that I can not pass up.

Something else I can’t pass up? A good mimosa.

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Hey it’s the holiday’s right?

And what’s a better cooking fuel than a good drink?

And then soon it was time to feast!

One thing I love about holiday’s at Matt’s parents is there isn’t a lot of fuss.  Matt’s mom does make a traditional turkey, but when it comes to the sides we are very simple. I’m talking Bob Evans mashed potatoes, Stove Top stuffing and canned veggies.  We have no shame in that, and honestly I prefer these.

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Seriously, I love Stove Top stuffing. I may have went back for a second plate of just stuffing.

Dessert traditions stay the same too.  This year Matt and I actually got to partake in the making of them.  Usually Matt’s mom has them ready by time we get there, but this year we helped prepare the pies.

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I seriously wanted to eat this apple pie filling as is, but resisted and let it actually become a pie!

We also made a pumpkin pie.

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Both smelled amazing coming out of the oven.  It’s so hard to wait to eat desserts.

But somehow I did.

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I actually ended up having some of both pies. How could I not?

And if all the amazing food didn’t make for a great day, it was the family time I cherish the most.

I seriously can not wait to officially be a part of this family, even though I know they consider me one of their own already.

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I always have an amazing time with Matt’s family. Our time together is always filled with lots of laughs and lots of love.

What more could a girl ask for?

So friends, I hope you all had an amazing day as well.

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What was your favorite holiday memory?

Do you have any traditions?

wedding wins and happenings

Hi loves. I’m still alive. I promise.

My weekend just started and I feel like it’s almost over. Oh the joys of working every Saturday.

But that won’t be changing anytime soon, so I guess I should just stop complaining about it.

I’ve been keeping busy with the whole wedding stuff and actually getting a lot done!

We got some of our engagement photo’s back and I am just in love with them! Our photographer is seriously amazing and the main thing I loved about our session was we didn’t do the cheesy posed pictures. She actually told us we weren’t allowed to do any (I did request a few specific poses) but she wanted us to basically just hang out, be ourselves and she would capture the true emotion.

And she did!

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We did some inside the bar and our photographer actually found this really awesome hallway to do some shots in. I think they all turned out great and I can’t wait to get more back.

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Other things checked off the wedding to-do list, I finally chose my bridesmaids dresses and I bought my wedding shoes! It seems like all my purchases have kind of been not planned, just felt right, but I think that’s the way it should happen.

As for the bridesmaids dresses, my sister went to try on dresses I liked and randomly tried on another one she liked and I ended up loving it best! I went to a local store to look at color swatches and they offered to let me try on the dress. What girl doesn’t like trying on dresses?

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I will have it in more of a light cappuccino color that I think will go really well with our theme.

As for my shoes I went just going to get a feel for what heel height I wanted. I found two pairs that I liked…

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One pair I really thought was a classic shoe and the other had a little glam to it. I of course wanted a little more glam and it turned out they were on sale so I figured why not.  Well turns out they were on extra sale and I got an extra 50% off the already reduced price. So let me just tell you, I paid $15 for my shoes.

#weddingwin

Now if I could just get Matt to choose and decide what he is going to wear… that would be nice.

Boys gotta love them. At least he does cute things randomly for me though.

Like when he went to our local coffee spot to get us some coffees, I stayed home to start breakfast.

My iced Americano had a very special message.

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His and hers coffee. That coffee tasted extra good.

And if that didn’t make breakfast all the better, Matt was actually a sweetheart and had dinner ready for me after an extra long day at work.

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Baked chicken with quinoa, steamed broccoli and I toasted up a bread stick from Great Low Carb Bread Company in the oven when I got home .  They sent me a few new products and this was one of them.  I will admit that they aren’t as buttery as I would like and were a little dry, but I loved the texture of them. I did discover that they are a great dipping vessel. And you guys know how I love to dip!

I made a little marinara dip and solved that problem.

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In sending me their new products I begged them to send a few more of their squares. I love these things!

The brownie is by far one of my favorites to use as my dessert.

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And let’s be real, anything topped with reddi-whip is extra amazing.  Matt and I randomly picked up a bottle at Target the other day and I seriously forgot how simply good it was. And yes we do reddi-whip shots each time we use it. You just have to, I think it’s a rule.

Well loves it’s Sunday, so I’m off to do what I do best.
Drink beer and watch football.

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chocolate chip pumpkin bread

This post has been long in the making.

A couple weeks ago I teased you with multiple pictures of my first ever pumpkin bread! I will admit I am not the best baker. I am that person that doesn’t measure, throws in random ingredients, mixes it all together and just hopes for the best. Now when you’re cooking, not a big deal, but baking? One miss measurement of a flour, too many eggs, not enough liquid:flour ratio can instantly ruin a baked good. Which is why most of my baking results may not look pretty due to not rising, rising then falling flat, or straight out remaining mush, they usually taste decent. And I am not one to waste, so I typically just cover whatever it is in peanut butter and call it good. Because really, peanut butter makes everything better.

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Case in point, my failed attempt at a green plantain waffle. It’s ok, the drippy peanut butter made it allll better.

But I am happy to say that when attempting my first true pumpkin bread I decided to take a very safe route and actually follow a recipe. Well ok, I won’t lie, I did kind of combine two, but it was because I wanted to use certain ingredients over others and we all have our personal preferences.  But other then that, this non measuring girl actually measured her ingredients and restrained as much as she could to not just add in random things.

It paid off.

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My house smelled amazing as the pumpkin bread aroma filled the air. It took all of my will power to not immediately try a chunk when this came out of the oven, but I let it cool before breaking off a small slice for Matt and I to sample. We  both instantly had expressions of “oh my gosh this is so good” on our faces.  I then quickly cut off another small slice.

Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Bread

(Based on this recipe)

Ingredients

- 2 cups whole wheat flour
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- 1/4 cup coconut oil*
- 1 cup packed dark brown sugar
- 1/4 cup granulated white sugar
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1 cup canned pure (unsweetened) pumpkin
- 1 cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life mini chips)

* could use 1/2 cup butter – softened

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Directions

- Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

- Mix together flour, baking soda, baking power, spices and salt in a medium bowl until well sifted.

- In a large bowl beat together with an electric mixer sugar and oil, adding in eggs one at a time. Add in pumpkin and vanilla and continue to beat together scraping down sides as needed.

- Add in dry ingredients, mixing until well blended, but do not over mix. Fold in chocolate chips – saving some to sprinkle on top.

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- Pour batter into a greased 9×5 loaf pan and bake for 50-60 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean. Remove bread from oven, place on rack to cool for 15 minutes (the hardest part). After 15 minutes remove loaf from pan and allow to cool for a few more minutes before slicing.

Sometimes I think it’s a little self torturous to bake, I mean the heavenly smells that baking creates and the inability to immediately devour your delicious creation is just plain mean.

But alas, after proper cooling time you are free to dig in.

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This bread was so moist (i hate that word, but this bread deserves it) and with the melty chocolate chips inside was pure heaven in my mouth. This bread was so good that Matt almost got mad at me when I said I was going to take half the loaf to work with me.  He never gets that way with my baking. It’s not that my baking is bad, but usually he will offer to take leftovers to his work as well. Maybe that was just a subtle hint that was my baking was bad.

I was nice and left him a few slices which that same night he had for dessert.

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Cool Whip on pumpkin bread is pretty amazing by the way.

I did manage to take some of the loaf to work with me and it must have been meant to be because a client had brought me a present that day.  I had been raving about the pumpkin butter from Trader Joes and even though unknowingly to her, I already had my stash at home, she had brought me some!

And if you even had to guess, yes the pumpkin butter was epic with the pumpkin bread.

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And maybe my previous baking was bad, because this loaf lasted probably a whole 15 minutes in the clinic. (i had to wait longer for it to cool!)

So I guess my main point is you need to make this bread. You will thank me. Your significant others will thank me. And if you’re nice enough to share or have any left overs, your co-workers will thank me.

♥ ♥ ♥

What was the last thing you baked?