9.18.2017

Pumpkin Struesel Muffins

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone#PeriodConfidence #TryTheDivaCup #CollectiveBias



During that time of the month, I always gravitate to comfort, so when aunt flow makes a visit, it's all leggings, cozy throw blankets and comfort food! Especially when autumn rolls around. So this month I've whipped up a batch of my favorite pumpkin struesel muffins and they're seriously too good share, oops, I meant too good to not share. Lol. Though I might secretly want to keep them all, I just have to share the recipe with you so you can try them too (I'll be sharing the recipe towards the end of this post). Another new addition to my life is The DivaCup! My mom and friends have been trying to get me to make the switch for practically forever, so I finally decided to go for it, and am I ever glad I did.



The DivaCup is available at most retailers nationwide (this handy store locator will help you find your nearest retail location) and I grabbed mine at Rite Aid the other day in the feminine care aisle! Maybe you're one of my friends reading this and you're like "it's about time she switched lol", or maybe you're wondering "what is The DivaCup?", well I'm here to share a little more about it below ladies!

The DivaCup is a reusable, bell shaped silicone menstrual cup that is made for women and girls of all ages! Menstrual cups have existed since the 1930's when women were searching for alternatives to the choices of the time, but though menstrual cups have been around for awhile, their breakthrough into the feminine hygiene market has been more recent, really only in the past 2 years or so. What are some reasons to choose The DivaCup over other feminine care options? The DivaCup offers 12 hour leak-free protection (sign me up for that, seriously), it's made from 100% healthcare grade silicone to ensure comfort and durability, it's also better since it's free of all chemicals, plastics, BPA, latex and dyes. The DivaCup is a great option for period care since it's easy to clean, is reusable which makes it more convenient so you don't run out of pads or tampons, just wash it off and reinsert! Since it's reusable, it's also eco-friendly because it not only saves money (the average cost for feminine care per year is $150, but with The DivaCup, it's only $39.99) but also cuts down on waste since there are no strings, wrappers or plastic.



The DivaCup is ideal for every activity, and can be worn wherever life takes you, from sports to sleep, dancing, hiking, swimming, reading, cooking, sitting at your desk, hiking, biking, whatever your passions in life may be. It's also great for traveling if you're an adventurer! The DivaCup sits low at the base of the vaginal canal for easy insertion and removal and it actually collects menstrual flow, rather than absorbing, which means it doesn't dry out or disrupt the vaginal pH, so no chafing and also leaves no residue (those scented tampons are the worst). The measurement lines on the cup are super handy if you're tracking your flow and to clean The DivaCup, just wash with warm water and the DivaWash! Suggested cleaning is every 10 to 12 hours, or around 2 times a day every day during your cycle. Further instructions for washing can be found here. The great thing about the DivaWash is that it's gentle, fragrance free formula is ideal for sensitive skin, it's naturally pH balanced, has a concentrated formula that helps reduce our eco impact, is manufactured with no animal testing or animal ingredients of any kind, and with it's 100% plant based formula it's better for your body with no added parabens, sulfates or petrochemicals.



A few other things to know about the DivaCup: It's available in TWO sizes, the DivaCup Model 1 is Recommended for women under the age of 30 who have never delivered vaginally or by caesarean section; and the DivaCup Model 2 is Recommended for women age 30 and over, or for women who have delivered vaginally or by cesarean section. Even though I'm not 30 yet, since I'm a mama and have had a vaginal birth I went with the Model 2 and it's been great! Seriously so much better than tampons and pads, and much better for vaginal health since as I mentioned above, it's made from healthcare grade silicone which means you're not coming into contact with chemicals such as surfectants, adhesives and additives that the other alternatives have.

If your flow is regular, you can insert the cup on the day you'll start so you are worry free (because let's face it, many a good pair of undies have been ruined by that time of the month). An interesting fact that I learned recently is that the average woman's monthly flow is between 1 and 2 ounces. Since The DivaCup holds 1 ounce over the course of 12 hours, most women seem to find the cup is not even half full when they go to remove and clean it. When positioned correctly, the cup is leak free and you can't even feel the cup. Yep here I am wishing I'd have switched to the cup sooner.



If you still are on the fence about switching or have any questions, it's always a great idea to consult with your healthcare provider first and also to read over the user guide (found here). Another reason I love DivaCup is that their care team is available to answer any questions and concerns via email (support@divacup.com), phone (1-866-44-3482) and even on their social networks! If you're new to DivaCup, their awesome and super helpful team is the best team to contact and they'll even talk you through insertion, removal and any other questions or concerns you may have! You can also find the store locator here!

Anyway, as I mentioned above, I found the absolute best comfort food muffins that you'll definitely want to whip up as soon as aunt flow makes her next arrival. Here's the recipe below!


Pumpkin Struesel Muffins

STREUSEL TOPPING INGREDIENTS:
2 tablespoon light brown sugar
2 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 tsp cinnamon
3/4 cup all purpose flour
1/4 cup unsalted butter, melted



MUFFIN INGREDIENTS:
1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup light brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon black-strap molasses
1 cup pumpkin puree
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon all spice
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon ground clove
2 cups all purpose flour


GLAZE INGREDIENTS:
6Tbsp powdered sugar
1 Tbsp milk

Directions:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees and line a muffin pan with some cute cupcake or muffin liners. Combine streusel ingredients in a bowl and set aside. When fully combined, transfer to a baking sheet to break up chunks into no larger than pea size. In a large mixing bowl or stand mixer, cream together butter, brown sugar and granulated sugar. Mix in egg, vanilla and pumpkin until mixture is smooth. Add remaining dry ingredients, stir until mixed well. Pour or scoop into your cupcake/muffin liners and sprinkle well with the streusel mixture. Bake at 350°F for 25 minutes. Cool completely in pan. While muffins are cooling beat together powdered sugar and milk and drizzle over your cooled muffins. Enjoy!

These muffins are seriously so good you won't want to stop eating them AND they're perfect for any comfort food cravings you might have during that time of the month. Do you crave comfort foods during that time of the month too? What do you love most about the DivaCup?



9.14.2017

Harvest Squash Chicken Soup

Autumn is my most favorite time of year, so naturally lots of soups and yummy baked treats are made in our home as the weather turns chilly. I found this recipe a couple years back and it's become one of our absolute favorites, not only because it's delicious, but also because it's pretty healthy too! Of course, I was super excited to make it recently, because 1. I hadn't made it in awhile. 2. The weather is already starting to cool off somewhat which makes me crave warm and hearty soups and stews. And 3. I just got the french oven of my dreams! Yep, this 7.5 quart Le Creuset signature French Oven in white! Everything Kitchens, was so kind to send one my way to try out and I am just loving it.



A french oven has been at the top of my wishlist for awhile, something that's so versatile that you can cook or bake nearly anything in it, that could be used on a stove-top or even in the oven, I feel like the uses are endless! As a plus. Everything Kitchens offers literally anything at all that I would ever need for the kitchen, for cooking and for entertaining! So fun right? I'm always needing little cooking gadgets and you can never have too many good dishes, bake-ware and cookware.

Located in Springfield Missouri, Everything Kitchens is also located online where you can purchase items no matter where you live, and you'll seriously want to since they have some of the best prices on items around, plus they have all of the top name brands and even some up and coming brands! This Le Creuset french oven that Everything Kitchens sells is perfect for all the soups and stews and roasts this autumn and winter (well, anytime really) and I'm so excited to share one of my most favorite soup recipes to make in it below!



HARVEST SQUASH CHICKEN SOUP


2 garlic cloves (minced)

5 carrots (peeled and cubed)

2 cups butternut squash (peeled and cubed)

1 sweet potato (peeled and quartered)

1/2 yellow onion (quartered)

2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil

4 cups chicken broth

4 chicken breasts (cooked and shredded)

3/4 teaspoon dried parsley

1 teaspoon sea salt

1/2 teaspoon dried thyme

1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary (minced)

1/2 teaspoon dried oregano

1/4 teaspoon fresh cracked pepper

1 cup water

2 cups fresh baby spinach (chopped)


INSTRUCTIONS: 
Preheat oven to 425 degrees and toss your vegetables in the olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast for 20 minutes (or until the vegetables are tender). In the meantime, bring the chicken broth and chicken breasts to a simmer in your stockpot or large french oven, add your herbs, salt and pepper, and cover and cook while the vegetables are roasting, about 15 minutes or so. You can use precooked chicken breasts or even pre-roasted whole chicken, but for raw chicken breasts, cook about 45 minutes, until chicken is cooked through and tender enough to shred with a fork. Add half of the vegetables to the soup, and place the other half in a blender or food processor. Make sure all of the onion quarters into the blender and puree the vegetables with the 1 cup of water. Add the vegetable puree and chopped baby spinach to the soup. Simmer for 5-10 minutes more, until the spinach is wilted and the soup is hot. Enjoy!


What soups are you looking most forward to making this autumn? Do you have a good recipe I might like? Drop it below so I can make it! Don't forget to head on over to Everything Kitchens to scoop up this Le Creuset french oven and any kitchen items you need!

9.13.2017

Dark Chocolate Fudge Cake

Last month for Frank's birthday, I forgot to pick up a cake mix at the store the week before when we went grocery shopping, and I couldn't let his birthday pass without making him a cake (or at least some sort of special baked treat), so I got to googling and scouring pinterest for a DIY cake mix and I totally found the most perfect one. Of course I changed a few things, not only to make it my own, but also to make it better, and if it didn't turn out so amazing! So chocolatey and fudgey and I vowed to never buy another cake mix again since I have this recipe to use from now on. Here's the recipe below!

DARK CHOCOLATE FUDGE CAKE

1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour

2 teaspoons black strap molasses

1/2 cup vegetable oil

1 cup milk

2 eggs

1 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoons baking soda

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

1 1/2 cups dark chocolate cocoa powder

2 cups sugar

1 cup coffee


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Prepare two 8-inch round cake pans.Whisk milk, oil, eggs, coffee and vanilla in a large bowl until well mixed and slightly frothy.Add the dry mix and whisk until just barely combined and smooth, about 50 strokes. (do not over mix)Divide between the prepared cake pans.Bake until set and slightly puffed and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean, 25 to 30 minutes.Let cool in the pans 5 minutes, then turn out onto a cooling rack right-side up to cool completely.


9.11.2017

Tiffani's Living Room Reveal

Thank you to Raymour &
Flanigan for providing the products for this space. All expressed opinions are 100% my ow
Thank you to Raymour &
Flanigan for providing the products for this space. All expressed opinions are 100% my ow
Thank you to Raymour &
Flanigan for providing the products for this space. All expressed opinions are 100% my own.
Thank you to Raymour & Flanigan for providing the furniture for this space. All expressed opinions are 100% my own.


When helping design my step-daughter Tiff's new apartment, we knew we wanted to choose classic pieces that would go well with a mostly neutral theme and have a cozy, comfortable feel and a slightly farmhouse inspired theme. I shared recently about the items we chose and our inspiration for her living room (you can find that post here), and I am so beyond thrilled to share the entire room with you today!

It was so much fun decorating a new space for her, I love designing and decorating so much, it's one of my most favorite activities, so do be able to decorate a space that wasn't even my own was even more exciting! My Dad told me late last year how much he loved all my decorating and that I should become an interior decorator, so another reason I love it even more now is because I feel like I am honoring his memory why decorating my heart away, filling spaces with beautiful things and making them come to life. Making spaces not just a place to live, but a home as well.


Furniture, especially furniture that you love is such a monumental way to create a space that you love, taking an apartment, home, dorm or condo from a place that you live, and turning it into a home. As Raymour & Flanigan, say "Furniture is what makes a house a home, and we build memories around pieces, often without realizing how important they truly are". I think that is so true, think of all the memories made while sitting in a living room, all the laughter and fun shared between family and friends, usually sitting around on sofas and chairs.

A few reasons why we love Raymour & Flanigan is that we love their furniture and everything we have gotten from them has been such great, great quality! They truly have a style and budget for everyone, from a college student to parents of the college student,, from those who like trendy and modern styles to those who love classic and farmhouse styles, they truly have it all. The showroom experience is the best of any furniture store I've ever visited, the Raymour & Flanigan staff is so kind, helpful and always have great suggestions with a range of furniture to look at in the style I want and the budget we have. They now deliver 7 days a week (something super fun and also new that they just started), and you can expect delivery of your furniture within 3 days or less AND it's full assembled! I think the no assembly required part might be my most favorite part of all, because assembling furniture is probably one of my least favorite activities of all time lol. Also online items are shipped free and if you purchase a mattress from Raymour & Flanigan, you can expect next-day delivery! Their community impact is great also, they're always helping others out and being involved in local communities!


Now on to Tiff's apartment makeover! The sofa was the first piece we chose for this room, after looking through a ton of sofas, one in particular caught my eye and I kept going back to it over and over, and when I showed it to Tiff, she felt the same way, the Cordelia Sofa was pretty much love at first sight for us. I loved the affordability of it (under $700), the pretty neutral "platinum" color  (it's so pretty in the photos but even prettier in person) and from the photo online, it looked so cozy. The real test came in store actually trying it out, and I was glad to say that it passed our comfort test with flying colors! Seriously, it's so cozy to sit on and I just love the way it looks in her space! It fits perfectly in the room and compliments all the other furniture so nicely, plus the throw pillows (that come with it) are super cute and they're also reversible so you can switch the look of your room up whenever you like. It's  classic, yet modern aesthetic will work in nearly any home and fit almost any style, you really can't go wrong with this pretty sofa.


The next piece on our shopping list was a TV stand! We're all a bout all white everything or all neutral everything, so for a room essential like a media console, I knew it had to be classic and fit in well, but I also wanted it to be unique and make a statement! This Kaden 66" TV Console was the perfect addition to the room and not only brings that wow factor I was looking for, but also offers so much practical storage for books, movies or even decor! While it also comes in brown for those of you with darker decor tastes, we wanted to keep the space light and fresh with the antiqued white color, which perfectly matches the end table, the storage dresser and goes great with sofa. I just love how this piece looks in the room, and even more importantly, she loves how it looks.


When it comes to storage, you truly can never have enough. So that's why we scooped up this pretty cream colored Kylie Dresser! We styled it on the other side of the room with a pretty set of trays, a pretty vase with natural dried hydrangeas, and the prettiest copper mugs that are perfect for hot cocoa, tea or pumpkin spice lattes. It matches so great with all of the other pieces in the room and really brings it together. Definitely a great piece to grab for your own home if you're in need of some extra storage space with a classic look.


Since the space in her living room is limited, we opted for a smaller sized end table and this sweet little piece is the perfect corner addition. The Norwood Chairside Table is the best option for you if you want something that doesn't take up a ton of room, but has great style all at the same time! The top drawer is the perfect fit for a TV remote or two, not too small, not too big, if you'd like to hide those remotes away, keep them in there! I love the little open space shelf between the top and first drawer of the side table, it's a great space to keep books or decor. In this case, it's a top spot for some of my stepdaughter's college textbooks, handy anytime she wants to grab one to study a bit while sitting on the sofa! I love the distressing on this piece that makes it look more like a vintage piece from an old farmhouse than a new piece from Raymour & Flanigan!

The last piece we chose, was the lamp! I went through and found several that were really unique and pretty but ultimately, let Tiff decide. She chose the one that was actually my favorite (because you know I can't pass up a good Edison lamp, they're kind of a weakness of mine). The Cotulla Table Lamp adds such a warm and cozy ambient glow to the room, and is such a fun piece, it really is such a fabulous and unique addition to any room in your home! It also fits on the end table we chose like it was made for it, such a fun, practical and stylish corner!

What is your favorite piece that we chose from Raymour & Flanigan? What do you love most about the room makeover?

Thank you to Raymour &