Cucumber Avocado Salad Dressing {Paleo}

So THIS dressing is definitely a winner. Far more delicious and creamy than the others I have tried. Whip this sucker up, add some salt and pepper to your liking, and keep it in the fridge! Yummmmms.

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Cucumber Avocado Salad Dressing

Blend all of the following ingredients until smooth and creamy. Add salt and pepper to taste and chill it in the fridge. Enjoy!

  • 1 avocado, peeled and pitted
  • 1/2 english cucumber
  • 1 cup spinach
  • juice of 1 small or 1/2 large lemon
  • 2 garlic cloves, minced
  • 2 green onions, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 3/4 cup water
  • salt and pepper

Happy July 4th! {2014}

I’ve said it before, and again and again, but the 4th of July in my hometown in Wisconsin is a pretty big deal. I think my love for it stems back to the time of this photo, which I’m thinking was my first 4th of July…not sure (is that what a 10 month old looks like? Or 22 months?). Either way, it’s one of my first.

Mom

For a number of reasons, I haven’t been back for the 4th since 2011. Before that, I think I had only missed one. Here’s me and my mama in 2011, approximately 23-24 years after the photo above…

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We have always loved this day SO MUCH, and I am thrilled the Hubster is finally experiencing his first true Wisconsin 4th of July. Eeegads!!! Pictures to come next week, I’m sure. Enjoy your day of freedom!

 

Lemony Fudgy Blondies

So THESE are tasty! A perfect summer treat for you and your people. My dad made this and wouldn’t stop talking about them, so when he visited last week, we made a batch together. And they were indeed awesome! Happy lemon day!!

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Lemony Fudgy Blondies

from Day Dream Kitchen

Ingredients

Blondies: 

1/2 cup unsalted butter
3/4 cup flour
2 eggs, large
2 tbsps lemon zest
2 tbsps lemon juice
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 teaspoon sea salt

Icing:
4 tbsps lemon juice
8 tsps lemon zest
1 rounded cup powdered sugar

Directions

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the baking dish with butter/cooking spray and set aside.
2. Squeeze lemon and scrape the skin, enough for 2 tsps of zest and 2 tsps of juice.
3. Beat the flour, sugar, salt, and softened butter, preferably with an electric mixer with paddle attachment.
4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the eggs, lemon zest, and lemon juice until well merged. Pour it into the flour mixture and beat for 2 mins at medium speed – it should be soft and creamy.
5. Pour into baking dish and bake for 23-25 mins, should turn slightly brown on the on the sides. Be careful not to overbake – the bars shouldn’t be dry. Once baked, remove from oven and leave out to cool entirely before frosting.
6. Sift the powdered sugar and whisk with lemon zest (8 tsps) and juice (4 tsps).
7. Start frosting with only half the amount using a rubber spatula, letting it set. Spread the other half over the bars, and let it set. Note that it doesn’t harden like most icing.
8. Cut into brownie sizes and serve. Enjoy!

A Lovely Little Story About Cake

cake

Our wedding cake was AWESOME. It was from the hubster’s favorite bakery in Nashville, Sweet and Sassy. Biggest layer was chocolate, middle was strawberry (hubster’s absolute favorite), and the top was almond. And you just cannot beat their buttercream. YUM TIMES A MILLION.

Well, we didn’t save our wedding top (we surprised our family the night after the wedding by showing up with it at the restaurant where they were all having diner). So I tried to think of a million different ways I could have Sweet and Sassy make us a strawberry cake and get it to Columbus without my husband knowing. I couldn’t think of a way, so I decided to make him a strawberry cake instead. It turned out so-so (more on this later), but hey, I tried.

When I went to pick him up at the airport the night before our anniversary (he’s in Nashville for a summer internship) he walked out of the airport with a cake box!! Not only had he had them make us a strawberry cake, but he had them decorate it just like our wedding cake, and then he FLEW with it. I mean, that is love. Sweet, delicious love.

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Gifts of Paper {First Anniversary}

I LOVE gift giving. Like, really really love it. Maybe it’s because I have incredibly thoughtful parents who still send me occasional packages out of the blue. Or the fact that I pride myself on making some notes throughout the year of gift ideas for my people, and love the look of surprise when they receive a gift that they had forgotten they want. Or maybe it’s just that I buy people gifts that I would want myself, and it turns out they love it too!

That said, every lady out there knows that buying gifts for the men in your life is usually the most challenging shopping you’ll do. Whenever the hubster wants to get me a gift, he knows to turn to my pinterest boards or my amazon wish list, and he is sure not to disappoint. But me, well…knowing our first anniversary was approaching, I spent a lot of time toying with the idea of paper (because I kind of love the traditional yearly anniversary themes), and eventually came up with a few ideas that my husband loved. I found this awesome print of a 1949 Nashville Blueprint on Etsy, purchased this pretty white frame from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and ordered a set of personalized flat notecards from The Stationary Studio. My hope is that as he finishes grad school and begins job interviews, he can use these for his thank you notes. And hopefully this map will land in his office one day when he is officially a city planner, and he can always think of our first anniversary!

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I had a few other ideas along the way too, so if you’re trying to think of some paper-themed gifts for your man, here’s my little list…

paper gifts1. Maps – Maybe it’s just Hubster, but he LOVES all things maps. And considering he is studying to be a city planner, and he calls Nashville home, the blueprint was an obvious find. But you could really do ANY cool map. Definitely peruse etsy or a cool map shop, like Metsker Maps in Seattle.

2. Stationary – It’s practical, but I don’t think you realize how much you need it until you have it. It feels good to be able to write that thank you note on a solid piece of paper with your name on it!

3. Tickets - concerts, beer tastings, museums, airplanes…almost everything has a ticket. Buy some!

4. Photography - It is so inexpensive to get large photos printed these days. Go shoot some shots of his favorite place (Wrigley Field, anyone?) or your family pet. Whatever it is, make it personal, and blow it up big. You can also get a calendar made of your favorite photos on shutterfly and other similar websites. The hubster did this for me and I love it!!

5. Instabook - And speaking of printing photos, how about an Instabook? A super fun way to surprise your honey with something a little sentimental.

6. Books – Does your hubby like to read? Even just a little? Get him a book about a favorite topic (or of maps!) or find a new novel. You both have to read Unbroken if you haven’t already. (And if you happen to be a man on here looking for a gift for your lady, I highly recommend Wild. She will love it!

7. Gift certificate – Like tickets, you can pretty much get a gift certificate for anything. A groupon for a fun new class together? A massage? Bass pro shop? You know your man best. You got this.

8. Invitation - Plan a super fun date day or night, and then create a fun invitation to give him.

9. Magazine subscription - An oldy but a goody. Pick out something fun he wouldn’t usually splurge on.

10. A love letter – Because really, who doesn’t love hearing how awesome they are.

Or, you can always go with my husband’s method: tell your spouse that you will print off gift receipts for your what you bought and give them those as the “paper.” ACTUALLY though, he gave me several gifts, and one of the BEST was that he completely cleaned and organized our office while I was at work one morning. So this was the gift of getting rid of SO MUCH PAPER and it made wifey SO HAPPY!!

cheers

Meghan Trainor of Nashville

It’s no secret that there are about a million and one young people in Nashville trying to “make it,” whether that’s as a singer, songwriter, or a performer. And there are tons of successful songwriters who you will never even notice, because their music is sung by the really big big shots. At only 20-years-old, Meghan Trainor (high five on spelling of your first name!!) has taken a step from songwriting to performing with today’s release of her first single, All About That Bass. The song is catchy, and definitely the perfect fun summer song. Mostly, I just love her voice. It’s unique enough that she doesn’t have to live in the songwriter world for the rest of her career if she doesn’t want to. Can’t wait to see what else she comes up with. Enjoy this fun, summery video! Happy Monday!