12/19/2014

HOLIDAY STYLE + LINKS...



Whewwww! It's been a whirlwind of a week my friends! This was my very last week at my current job, so the week was QUITE crazy as I worked to get everything wrapped up in time. Hence, my lack of posts later in the week. But I got things done- and now I can... breathe. Well, breathe while I now finish Christmas shopping, running a ton of errands, and planning menus - all in prep for the big day next week. Once that is done, I plan to breathe in a variety of comfy pajamas that I will be wearing for two or three days straight next week and maybe the week after. Can. Not. Wait! Cheers to two weeks of straight vacation, family time, and some much needed good sleep and downtime. I'll check in here a few days next week! I hope you have a great weekend in the meantime!

If you're single, you might enjoy this. If you're not single, share that with someone who is...

Of COURSE the new addition of her home looks amazing... Of course it does.

I have really enjoyed this girl's holiday posts. She's got mad talent I tell ya...

Loving what this girl has learned during 2014... Spot on advice I think.

In case baking is on your agenda this weekend...

15 ways to get a good running start for 2015...

Christmas morning breakfast. Yes and yes.

A chocolate twist on a party punch...

AND A FEW GOOD WEEKEND SALES ('cause you know you still have some shopping to do...)

J.Crew: 40% off all sweaters & holiday favorites, 30% off most full-priced items, an extra 40% off sale items with code GIFTNOW

Waiting On Martha: 20% off everything, including sale items with code HELPMESANTA

Banana Republic: Up to 50% off select styles using code BRFORYOU

Anthropologie: 20% off select gifts (love their gift options!)

Piperlime: Extra 30% off New Year's Eve styles with code CHEERS

Madewell: 30% off ENTIRE purchase with code WRAPITUP

Gap: 40% off ENTIRE purchase using code WRAP

Serena & Lily: Up to 65% off select products

Image by Sarah Sherman Samuel
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12/16/2014

A SPRUCED UP VANILLA HOLIDAY TREE CAKE...

I'm quite happy to tell you about that cake!! It was featured on yesterday's post that I'm so glad many of you enjoyed. I wanted to feature a holiday dessert in the post that was different from the typical dessert. So a few weeks before the post, I was flipping through my cookbooks to get ideas. I was going through Nigella Lawson's "Nigella Christmas" cookbook when I ran across the recipe for this cake. I'll just pause and say that I've always been a fan of Nigella. Listening to her British accent as she describes her cooking on her cooking shows is one of my favorite things to do. She's not a fussy cook either and this recipe is proof of that. Friends, all you have to do to make this cake is get this super fun holiday tree bundt pan (I found mine at HomeGoods, but you can also find it here and here), butter and flour the pan (see my foolproof method for doing that below) dump all of the ingredients in a food processor, "blitz" all of the ingredients (as Nigella says), pour the batter in the pan, and bake. Done and done. The cake itself is a moist, eggy, cake that is full of holiday flavor thanks to the vanilla, cinnamon, and ginger. Once you sprinkle the finished cooled cake with powdered sugar, and maybe stud it with some colored or pearled removable pins to create little "lights for the trees (like you see there), I personally think it transforms into a great centerpiece for a holiday table. I think the kids would really enjoy baking and eating this cake as well. It's just a pretty cake that is super easy to make, looks good, AND tastes good. You just can't beat that... 


Here is what you need and what to do (makes 8-12 slices):

2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature, plus more for the pan
1 1/2 cups sugar
6 large eggs
2 1/3 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup plain fat-free yogurt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
Confectioners sugar for dusting the finished cake

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Place a small baking sheet into the oven at the same time for it to preheat. Butter and flour the pan. To do this, I used a pastry brush to brush room temperature butter in the pan. Using the brush ensures that every crevice of the pan was buttered. I then took a small sifter to sift flour inside and around the sides the pan. I tapped the pan over the kitchen sink to remove any excess flour. I PROMISE that is the most time consuming part of making this cake... :)

2. Add all of the ingredients except for the confectioners sugar into a food processor. Blitz until all of the ingredients are well combined.

3. Pour and spoon the batter into the pan. Smooth the top with a spatula.

4. Place the pan onto the baking sheet in the oven. Bake the cake for about 45-50 minutes or until a cake tester or toothpick inserted into the center of the cake comes out clean.

5. Remove from the oven and let cool in the pan for 15 minutes. Gently pull away the edges of the cake  with your fingers. Then gently turn out the cake. Once the cake has cooled, dust the cake with confectioners sugar using a small sieve.

Enjoy!

Images by Paula Coldiron
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12/15/2014

A HOMEGOODS HAPPY HOLIDAY GIFT FOR A FOODIE...

I hope you had a great weekend! Before I talk about this post that I am super excited about, let me just say thank you for your comments, e-mails, texts, phone calls - everything- on Friday's post. Last week was a great week for me and your thoughts made it even better. I'm so grateful!

I'm just as excited about that as I am about today's post. I haven't done many collaborations here on the blog due to an imperfect fit or time constraints. But when HomeGoods reached out to me to work on this little project, I knew I had to figure it out! I'm in HomeGoods AT LEAST to or three times a month, so this was quite a perfect fit that I wanted to make the time for. The sweet people there asked me to shop the kitchen section of the store and create a holiday themed gift basket for a deserving food-lover. RIGHT UP MY ALLEY! I obviously love food lots of things in my kitchen and home have come from the HomeGoods. They always have so many good, quality things for great prices. So what I decided to do was create a little something different (other than the typical wine or holiday cookies) that would be perfect to deliver to a neighbor. Most good neighbors love good food, so I decided to bake a cake using a fun bundt pan in the shape of holiday trees that I found at HomeGoods. The pan was only $20 (cheaper than the same one here!). This is when I wish I had one of those slideshow things to take you through my process, so bear with me here as I show and tell you how I put my little delivery all together! 

I started with baking the cake (I will share the super simple recipe with you tomorrow!), then laying everything out. The first layer was a really beautiful tray from HomeGoods. I thought it would be the perfect little vessel for my delivery - and it would make a great gift, too! Several people asked me about it when they saw it in my cart at HomeGoods, so I knew I was on the right track when I picked it up. You know I love white and gold, so I thought those "Noel" plates were perfect. I paired them with some candy cane filled coffee mugs, a gold cake cutter, and simple white cake stand - all from HomeGoods. 

After I laid everything out, I threw on my little apron (also from HomeGoods! Cute right??) and started decorating the cake stand with some fresh greens and berries. They smelled so good and created the perfect little pallet for the cake...

Next was the really fun part - decorating the cake! I dusted the cake with powdered sugar to create a little snow effect. I then studded it with removable pin pearls, which were the "white lights" on the trees...

This was my first time making a cake like this and I love how it turned out! Once I saw it all together, I was thinking that this would be a great Christmas dinner table centerpiece - and dessert- all in one!

So next I loaded the cake on the tray and decorated the tray with some leftover greens and berries...

And here is how it turned out! I loved it! How lovely is the detail on the side of the tray?? Annnddd just a reminder that all of that with the exception of the cake and the greens were from HomeGoods! :)

This is what #HomeGoodsHappy looks like and I'm hoping that my neighbor will be just as excited! Be sure to stop by tomorrow to get the recipe for the cake!

Outfit: Sweater: Apron: HomeGoodsBanana Republic | Plaid Top: Banana Republic | Coated Pants: Madewell | Boots: Stuart Weitzman | Coat: Steve Madden via TJMaxx (old)


Special thanks to HomeGoods for sponsoring this post and supporting Savor Home! 

All images by Paula Coldiron

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12/12/2014

A NEW DOOR FOR ME + LINKS...


Well friends, this has been one heck of a week! It's been a week of lots of change and newness... I took a short trip to style my first ever photo shoot for a brand that I love. You will see more of that on Monday! I started wearing an uncomfortable, yet necessary custom night guard as for some reason I have become a habitual teeth grinder - ugh. A few more things happened, but perhaps the biggest thing is--- I resigned from the job I have had for the last nine years. So huge for me... This particular post I wrote at the beginning of this year has continuously inspired me to move in a new direction. Well I was fearless and I will be working in a new environment starting in January of next year. The work is sort of similar to the work I do now on a daily basis, but it's in an environment that will be more conducive to the lifestyle that I'd like to live going forward - a lifestyle that is more balanced and meaningful. I know that is somewhat vague, but just know that I'm super excited about this new door that I will be walking through in the new year. Change is good I've learned. Really, really good.

Anyway, I have that knot thing in my throat now from writing that, so moving on! What's up for the weekend?? One of my besties is having a small little Christmas party - a potluck one- so I've got to prepare my part for that. Other than that, I seriously need some downtime from this emotional yet crazy exciting week. I look forward to that! I hope you have a great weekend!

A HUGE thank you to The Huffington Post for featuring my Instagram account as one of the 10 accounts to follow during the holidays! So excited about that...

Speaking of Instagram, this post on Instagram vs. real life is real. Very real.

I literally took notes as I watched this interview that Oprah recently did at Stanford University. SO much great advice!

I've always been fascinated by these ladies, so it was fun to learn more about their day...

I'm going to ask Santa for one of these. Cheap and looks great in every color!

A great DIY gift that is personable and smells good...

Peppermint pattie brownies... My goodness.

This is me on almost a daily basis...

Image via
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12/11/2014

SALTED OATMEAL CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIES...

Hi!! Sorry for the silence over the past few days. The past few days have been full of lots of excitement, change, movement, and exhaustion. Nothing bad - all VERY good! But unfortunately for me, all of that happening in a very short period of time reeks havoc on my body and is the perfect storm for lingering migraines. I'm finally feeling better and will share more of what's going on tomorrow. But for now, I want to tell you about the BEST holiday cookies I think I've ever made. I've made lots of cookies, so that is a huge statement for me to make!

These oatmeal cookies are the first recipe I've made from Ina Garten's latest cookbook, "Make It Ahead." I think that is about the 5th time I've mentioned her book on the blog, but all of the recipes look so very good. And this one looks AND tastes good! Oatmeal cookies are holiday staples and I think this will be my go-to recipe for life. These cookies are really easy to make (always a plus) and can be made to be either chewy or thin and crispy. The make ahead version creates a chewy cookie with crisp edges (my favorite texture of cookie) which is what you see here. The cookie is moist in the center, chocolate-y, and slightly sweet from the dried cranberries. The cookie is topped with a few flecks of sea salt, which completely amplifies the flavors of the cookie. And the little crunch from the sides of the cookie- heaven. If you are an oatmeal cookie lover, this is it. This cookie is the one! Promise!

Here is what you need and what to do (makes 15-20 large cookies):

1/2 pound (2 sticks) unsalted butter, room temperature
3/4 cup light brown sugar, lightly packed
3/4 cup granulated sugar
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
2 eggs, room temperature
1 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
3/4 pound (12 oz bag) bittersweet or semisweet chocolate chips
3/4 cup dried cranberries
Sea salt (Fleur de sel or Malden Salt)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Line 3 large sheet pans with parchment paper. Set aside. If you want to make the chewy version, clear some space in the fridge for the sheet pans...

2. Add the butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar to the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Beat on high speed for about 3 minutes until the mixture is light and fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add the eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the vanilla and scrape the bowl down again. 

3. Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl. Add the oats to the flour mixture and stir. Turn the mixture on low speed and slowly add the flour mixture to the butter-sugar mixture. Beat until everything is just combined. Fold in the chocolate chips and dried cranberries using a rubber spatula until everything is well-combined. 

4. Use a 1 3/4 inch ice cream scoop or two spoons to create round balls of dough. Add them to the prepared baking sheets. Sprinkle them lightly with sea salt. Go ahead and bake them at this point if you prefer a thin, crispy cookie. If you prefer the cookies to be chewy, then chill the balls of dough in the refrigerator for at least 30 minutes. Bake either version for 10 to 12 minutes, or until browned. 

Enjoy!!

Images by me

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