5/18/2015

THE BEST BANANA PUDDING... EVER.


Alright friends... Today all diets are off!!!! You know I am huge on health, but I am also a big believer in a good treat every now and then. And this is probably one of the BEST treats I have ever ever ever ever had. Ever. One of my mom's favorite desserts is banana pudding, so I wanted to make it for her for Mother's Day. I'd never made it before, so I searched the net to come up with something good...

That's when I ran across the recipe for "Not Yo Mama's Banana Pudding." It's one of Paula Deen's old recipes that had a 5-star rating and over 2,000 good reviews - so I knew it was going to be good. I've had LOTS of different banana puddings, but this is honestly one of the top three desserts I've ever had. Even better than most chocolate desserts I've had (never thought I'd say that!). It's rich, creamy, full of really good banana flavor, SUPER easy to make, and the cookies are a little soft (from storing it in the fridge overnight). The recipe is a little different in that it calls for Pepperidge Farm's Chessmen cookies as opposed to vanilla wafers. I PROMISE you won't miss those wafers one bit!! The other good thing about this dessert is that the longer is sits, the better it gets. It's the perfect cool dessert for a summer backyard BBQ or party - and would be great for Memorial Day! My mom loved it and I'm hoping that my co-workers (who will be getting the banana pudding you see there) will love it just as much as she did... :)


Here is what you need and what to do:

1 5 oz box instant vanilla pudding
2 cups whole milk
1 8 oz package cream cheese, room temperature
1 14 oz can sweetened condensed milk
1 12 oz container Cool Whip
6-8 bananas
2 packages Pepperidge Farm Chessmen cookies

1. Add the instant pudding and milk to a medium bowl. Use and hand-held electric mixer to mix the ingredients together. Mix until the pudding is slightly thickened. Set aside. 

2. Add the cream cheese and sweetened condensed milk to a large bowl. Use the mixer to mix the ingredients until the mixture is smooth and creamy. 

3. Add the Cool Whip to the cream cheese mixture and fold it in until everything is well combined. Add the vanilla pudding to the Cool Whip mixture and gently fold it in. 

4. If you using a trifle bowl, here is what to do: Add two layers of cookies to the bottom of the bowl. Slice two bananas and add the slices on top of the cookies. Add 1/3 of the cream mixture to the top of the bananas. Add another two layers of cookies. Slightly press the cookies down into cream so that they create a cake-like texture once it sits in the fridge. Then add another layer of bananas, then the cream. Repeat for the third and final layer. 

If you are using a 13x9x2 dish, here is what to do: Add a full package of the cookies to the bottom of the dish. Slice up all of the bananas and add them to the top of the cookies. Then pour all of the cream mixture on top of the bananas. Then add one layer of cookies to the top of the cream. 

Once it is made, cover it with plastic wrap and store it in the fridge overnight. If you make it in a trifle bowl, you can crumble up some cookies and sprinkle them over the top right before you serve it to add a little crunch. 

Enjoy!

Images by me
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5/15/2015

FUN FLORALS + LINKS...



Hi there! I hope the week was good to ya! I'm always excited about the weekends, but I'm quite excited about this weekend. You know why? Because other than a workout and possibly making a special dessert to show you next week, I have NOTHING but watching some movies, napping, and a little housekeeping on the agenda. My favorite kind of weekend... :) I hope yours will be just as good!


Good Feeds
In case you like organization and breakfast...
And in case you love sweets...
Such lovely spaces...

Good Looks
A reasonably priced, fashionable shield from the sun...
Loving their summer dress collection!!!
Perfect for relaxing warm summer nights...
Cute investment flats for work... 

Good Spaces
A great closet and some great tips...
I wouldn't mind doing laundry here...
And I wouldn't mind being her guest...
Color never looked so pretty...

Good Reads
The best news I've heard all week!
On doing what makes you happy - no matter what.
Eight things that might need your attention...
Weekend reading...

Good Food
The perfect quick seafood dinner... So good.
This salad has everything in it. Literally.
For the peanut butter lovers...

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5/14/2015

INSPIRED BY...

Clean white kitchen | Melanie Turner Interiors

Those dark floors, the lighting (natural and unnatural), and the hood over the range. It looks amazing even from the side, so you know it's good... 

Alex Smith Garden Home | Photo by Mali Azima

The character of the floors and the walls in that entry... The lighting and the stair runner are quite lovely, too.

Steel doors | Murphy Mears Architects
Those steel doors and the grand shutters that cover them... 

Plank walls, turkish towels
Everything here. The simplicity, the towels, the tub, the lighting. Everything.

Images 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

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5/11/2015

HOW TO PLANT YOUR FIRST HERB GARDEN...

How To Plant Your First Herb Garden | Savor Home
Hi there!! I hope you all had a great weekend - especially all of you mothers out there. I cut out early last week to spend a long weekend with my family. My brother and I crashed my parents 39th wedding anniversary dinner, we had a family movie night at home, and I made a big Sunday dinner for mom and the rest of the family. I'll share more about what I made in an upcoming post... So good!

So about today's post that I'm really excited about...  One thing that has been on my to-do list every spring for the last five years is to plant an herb garden. I use fresh herbs a lot, so planting my own herb garden always seemed like the more economical thing to do. Well planting one has not happened for the past five years. I have wavered about doing this because I never had a lot of extra time to learn about and care for a herb garden. And I just don't have good luck with plants. Never have. But I have more free time this year (thankfully), so one weekend a few weeks ago, I did some research and took myself to the nursery to get what I needed. I planted it and it is turning out BEAUTIFULLY!! I am so excited... 

So if you are thinking about planting your first herb garden, here are a few tips on how to get started - based on what I've learned thus far, and how I planted my herb garden.

How To Plant Your First Herb Garden | Savor Home
1. Start Small! I've never planted an herb garden before and I don't have a big beautiful yard to house lots of different herbs that all require different care. And like I said, I've never been that good with plants. So I decided to just plant ONE herb this year, which is basil. I also added a little flower for color - but more on that in a minute... I use basil more than any other herb, so planting it just made sense. Each herb has different requirements for care, so dealing with one herb eliminates the need and stress of figuring out which ones can or can't be planted together, which ones need sun and which ones don't, which ones need more water and which ones don't. That's way too much for a beginner like me who has time - but not enough time or knowledge to adequately care for lots of different things. So I'm sticking to just one thing for now... 

2. Do your research! Luckily, there are thousands of websites out there that tell you how to grow everything, so don't just plant something and water it a few times and cross your fingers that it grows properly - like I may have done a time or two. Once I read several sites on how to grow basil and consulted my mom (who has the greenest of green thumbs), I made a list of the supplies I needed and the things I needed to remember once I got it planted. And speaking of supplies... 

How To Plant Your First Herb Garden | Savor Home
3. Buy the best supplies for the particular herb you grow. Plants need love. Gosh I've learned that - the hard way. That means buy herbs that already look healthy at the store, buy the right planter if you aren't planting them in the ground, and buy good soil that is free of harsh fertilizers and chemicals. You do want to eat the herbs after all, so that makes sense...

How To Plant Your First Herb Garden | Savor Home

Here is what I learned about basil and how I planted my little basil garden:

  • It's best to plant it after the last It needs 6-8 hours of direct sunlight each day and it likes to be watered about every other day (every day during the hot summer months)
  • They grow well in tall planters that have drain the water and allows enough room for the roots. I bought an 18 in. planter similar to this one that was round enough and tall enough to accommodate the plants I bought. Basil needs to be in soil that is well-drained, so the planter has holes in the bottom of it that allow the excess water to drain out. I bought a plant stand similar to this one to sit the pot on so the water could drain out. I put it on the part of my patio where it gets ample sun throughout the day.
  • I bought 3 organic basil plants (about $3/plant from Whole Foods), so I bought some good organic planting soil to plant it in. It was the nursery's own organic brand (similar here), which was about $10 for a very large bag. 
  • I filled the planter about 3/4s of the way up with the soil and planted the herbs about 8 inches apart.
  • For a little color, and the chance to get a little more experience with plants, I added two Verbena's to the pot. Per my consultation with a lovely lady at the nursery when I bought my soil, Verbena's require about the same about of care as basil. They love sun, need daily watering, and like well-drained soil. I "deadhead" them (just learned that term!), which means I pinch off any dead flowers. That allows for fresh blooms. 
So that's it! So far, so good! I can't wait to start pruning the basil (which I learned how to do from a YouTube video), in a few weeks to prevent early flowering. 

Hope this helps you if you are thinking about starting your own herb garden!

Images by me
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5/07/2015

HOME TOUR: DIANE KEATON'S PACIFIC PALISADES HOME...

Diane Keaton's Pacific Palisades Home | via C Home Magazine
Let it be known that I LOVE Diane Keaton. I've seen just about all of her movies - most recently And So It Goes (on Netflix). She's an amazing actress with a quirky personality and sense of style that I think I only love on her. Only she looks fabulous wearing super wide belts, over crisp white shirts paired with full black midi skirts, wide rimmed black eyeglasses and big hats. I just love her. 

She was on Ellen yesterday talking about her upcoming new movie Five Flights Up (out on Friday) with Morgan Freeman when Ellen pointed out the feature of her home in the latest edition of C Home Magazine. She quickly flipped through the magazine on the show and then I bolted to my computer to see if I could find the photos. Gosh I loved what I found! Diane is notorious for buying homes and flipping them - and she is quite the master at it. She purchased this 7,800 sq ft. home in 2012 and recently finished the renovations. The decor in the home is a mix of Spanish antiques and rustic, an industrial elements  - all mostly in black and white. No surprise there... :) I love every room - especially that office! The steel topped desk is set over a vintage railroad wheelbase. That is the room where she says she spends hours on Pinterest - which is where she got some of the inspiration for her home. I think she has mastered the art of pulling together a collected home and I just had to share it with you... :)

Diane Keaton's Pacific Palisades Home | via C Home Magazine
Diane Keaton's Pacific Palisades Home | via C Home Magazine
Diane Keaton's Pacific Palisades Home | via C Home Magazine
Diane Keaton's Pacific Palisades Home | via C Home Magazine
Diane Keaton's Pacific Palisades Home | via C Home Magazine
Images by Lisa Romerein for C Home magazine
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5/05/2015

ORANGE PINEAPPLE MARGARITAS...

Orange Pineapple Margaritas | Savor Home
Happy Cinco de Mayo!!! As I mentioned yesterday, I heart Mexican food, so I thought I would celebrate this day with a little cocktail  - a margarita naturally. My mom would say that I'm picky about most things and I agree with her when it comes to margaritas. I prefer them on the rocks as opposed to frozen. I like for them to be made with real ingredients - no artificial sweeteners, "mixes" or anything like that allowed. There are few ingredients in margaritas, so I like to use the best quality alcohol that I can afford. I don't like the rim of the glass full of too much salt. I just like it to be simple - and good! And this margarita is just that...

I started with a plain margarita recipe, tweaked it a bit, and brought in some sweetness by using the juice of pineapples and oranges that I whipped up in my blender. I strained out the pulp and simply added the juice to the plain margarita until I got my desired level of taste and sweetness. It's totally worth making your own juice here as opposed to using the store bought stuff! The drink is just fresh with just the right amount of sweetness and tartness. Therein lies the beauty of a margarita. It can be really good plain and really good when fresh, sweet, ingredients are added to it. I sipped on this last Sunday with a side of my homemade salsa and chips and it made for the perfect afternoon. Have fun and be safe if you are out celebrating! 

Orange Pineapple Margaritas | Savor Home
Orange Pineapple Margaritas | Savor Home
Orange Pineapple Margaritas | Savor Home

Here is what you need and what to do (makes 2 drinks):

Orange-Pineapple Juice
1 cup fresh pineapple chunks
1 orange, peeled & cut into chunks

Margarita
2 oz tequila (100% agave)
2 oz Cointreau
Juice of 1 lime
3 oz orange-pineapple juice
Salt for the glasses, optional

1. Add the pineapple and orange chunks to a blender. Blend and then pour it into a fine mesh strainer that is set over a bowl. Let it strain for a few minutes...

2. Add ice to a shaker along with the remaining ingredients. Shake until the shaker is frosted on the outside - about 30 seconds. Taste and adjust for more alcohol or juice if necessary.

3. If using salt, run a lime on the outside of the margarita glasses. Dip the rims of the glasses into some salt. Add ice to the glasses. Strain the margarita into the glasses and enjoy!!

Images by me

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5/04/2015

FIRE ROASTED TOMATO & JALAPEÑO SALSA

Fire Roasted Tomato & Jalapeno Salsa | Savor Home
I never ever, ever, ever need a reason to eat Mexican food, so tomorrow for Cinco de Mayo I'll be eating Mexican food just like I do about once a week all of the other weeks of the year. I LOVE it and always have. However, there is one thing that has changed over the last few years regarding my thoughts on my favorite food. I actually prefer to make it myself at home now as opposed to eating it out. I've eaten it so much at restaurants that I now know exactly how I like it to taste. I prefer whole wheat tortillas that have been slightly warmed through instead of regular tortillas, roasted onions and peppers for fajitas rather than sauteed, margaritas on the rocks as opposed to frozen margaritas, Food Should Taste Good Chips as opposed to over-salted chips, and I like really spicy salsa to go with them. Really spicy...

I've only been to a few places where the salsa is just right for me, so I often make my own salsa at home. This version made with fire roasted tomatoes is my favorite. It's super fresh and one of those recipes where you just dump everything into a food processor and have a completed condiment in less than five minutes. Love it. I keep it easy by using canned tomatoes. Turning on the oven and roasting tomatoes for something so simple just isn't worth it to me... Sometimes I drain the tomatoes a little so that the salsa will be a little chunkier, but this salsa is super good chunky or not. I use red onions and a jalapeño (with the seeds sometimes) to get the spice. You could definitely eat this right out of the food processor, but I prefer to make it the day before and eat it the next day. It tastes even better once all of the flavors have married overnight. Dip into it with your favorite tortilla chip, pour it over grilled chicken, add it to the inside of your favorite taco, burrito, or quesedilla - it's just plain good in so many ways. :)

P.S. Stop by tomorrow and I'll tell you how I made those margaritas!!

Fire Roasted Tomato & Jalapeno Salsa | Savor Home
Fire Roasted Tomato & Jalapeno Salsa | Savor Home
Here is what you need and what to do (makes about 2 cups):

1 28oz can fire roasted diced tomatoes ( I used Muir Glen's Fire Organic Fire Roasted Tomatoes)
1 small red onion or 1/2 of a large red onion, coarsely chopped
3 garlic cloves
1 jalapeño pepper, seeded (or not) and chopped
Juice of 1 lime
Juice of 1 lemon
1 1/2 cups cilantro 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

1. For a chunky salsa, pour the diced tomatoes into a fine mesh strainer to drain some of the liquid out while doing Step #2. 

2. Add the onion and the garlic to a food processor. Pulse the processor a few times until they are finely chopped. 

3. Once some of the liquid has drained out of the tomatoes, add the tomatoes, jalapeño, lime juice, lemon juice, cilantro, and salt and pepper (to taste) to the processor. Process the ingredients until the salsa reaches your desired consistency. Adjust the seasonings if necessary.

4. Serve immediately or store in an air tight container overnight. It will taste even better the next day!

Images by me
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5/01/2015

JUST CUTE + LINKS...



Happy May! I hope you had a great week. This week was a mix of work, a few migraines, errands, and helping Max get through an infection. Needless to say, I'm quite delighted that Friday is here! I'm looking forward to a much needed workout, preparing for Mother's Day, and catching up on some sleep that I've missed out on this week. I hope you all have a great weekend and enjoy the links!


Good Things for Mom
For the mom who loves her wine...
For the mom who loves to tote all her stuff...
For the mom who loves the sentimental things...
For the stylish mom...
For the new mom... 


Good Spaces
Still can't get over her kitchen makeover
And her son's new nursery...
This nursery is quite beautiful, too...
Super cute couple, beautiful home, & great food...
We share the same name, and I wish we shared the same home, too!


Good Reads
40 quotes to quiet your mind...
In case we were to become friends... I can totally relate to that blog!
How to save money at Whole Foods... So good to know.
A father's beautiful perspective...


Good Eats
I'll never tire of various versions of these... 
Carrot cake- for two.
"Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Pretzel Brownies." Geez.
Water never looked so pretty... And good.


Image by Buff Strickland for Camille Styles (such a cute pup!)

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