June 26, 2014

Scrumptious Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf {recipe swap}

The addition of extra chocolate chips and cinnamon make this version of an oft-made recipe extra scrumptious and indulgent!

Banana Chocolate Chip Loaf

2 cups of flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon of salt
3 very ripe bananas
1 tablespoon of milk
1 teaspoon of cinnamon
½ cup of butter, softened
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 eggs
12oz. bag of chocolate chips
(yes, the whole bag)

Preheat oven to 325 degrees and grease your loaf pan.

Mix flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl.  Mash bananas and mix with milk and cinnamon in another bowl.  Beat butter and sugar in a third, large mixing bowl until light and fluffy.  Add eggs to butter mixture and blend well.  Add banana mix to butter mixture and then stir in dry ingredients until blended.  Fold in chocolate chips. Yes, the whole bag.  Pour batter into greased loaf pan.

Cook for 60-70 minutes, covering top lightly with foil if it looks like it’s browning too much.  Remove from oven and cool for 15 minutes before you slice.

This one couldn't get enough...

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Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
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June 25, 2014

Wednesday {wiw}

It's been awhile since I did one of these...I haven't been terribly creative lately. Basically comfortable dresses and flats for work and wishing I had pursued teaching!

Happy Summer!

Jersey knit dress from Old Navy, JCrew capri flats and cardigan.

Trixxi maxi dress from Nordstrom (40% off) and Charlotte Russe orange patent pleather sandals.

Old Navy eyelet sundress on clearance, messy bun and JCrew tortoise capri flats.

Lilly Colleen Romper in Sound the Horn from the New Year Cheer sale (I wished I had sized down, it's a bit loose, but crazy comfortable and it was so inexpensive) and a Kendra Scott necklace.

I am NOT complaining, I'm loving the heat after the winter we had.

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pleated poppy

June 24, 2014

Deck Over {photo dump}

A couple of weeks ago, our amazing family, friends and neighbors helped us rebuild our deck.  We still have some details and stairs to finish but I wanted to post our progress to date...

Our deck was in terrible shape, painting or refinishing was not an option.

We changed the footprint to give us more elevated square footage, changing it from an L-shaped deck to a big ol' rectangle.  Cleaning out the debris and trash that had accumulated over the years.

Removing landscaping plants and rock and moving the sprinkler heads.  This deck was quite unsafe, with literally no support.  This didn't make it into the home inspection report when we purchased the home in 2009...

It was a huge undertaking and the guys got it done in 1-day, including replacing an exterior door and frame that was rotting.  The previous homeowner was a painter by trade, he should have stuck to painting....

An incredible amount of work on a hot day in May, while the wives and kids sat by the pool playing and supervising!

Feeding the guys food, beer and ice pops.

It looks and feels incredible.  Like I said we are still having to put some final touches on it and I am flirting with the idea of asking the hubby to build me a grill balcony to free up more floor space.

I've purchased a few accessories and hopefully will have the furniture placement perfected by the 4th of July.  Stay tuned for final photos!

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June 16, 2014

Secret Garden Archway {garden}

This is our side entrance, that is in need of some love.  Weeds, vines and those blasted Rose of Sharon's have created an unruly archway, and while not ideal, I kind of like it.  Hurricane Sandy tilted all of these trees/bushes literally to the point that I bungee corded them to the chain link fence to get them upright again.  

I flirt with the idea of taking it all down, and starting from scratch.

The walkway flows into our back yard where you will currently be met with a power washer on the fritz and toddler beach chairs.

I painted the door and replaced the fixture a while back, but this area is so sad...

I need to > trim it up, replace the pine straw mulch, plant a ground cover, powerwash asphalt, add prettier paving stones, add some color with flowers and perhaps plant  shade-friendly, flowering vines?  

All photos courtesy of Pinterest

I need some inspiration....

Thank you Pinterest.

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June 6, 2014

5 on Friday

TGIF! A beautiful weekend is on tap for the Jersey Shore!

Lots of home improvement going on around here...

opening the pool (so gross at first, took a couple days to clear it up + a nifty $11 dollar fountain from Walmart)

We are in the process of replacing our deck.  It was FILLED with trash from the previous homeowners, I mean really?!

Stay tune for the after pics, which I am hoping will be next week.  Fingers crossed, we are doing it ourselves)

Got back in the kitchen recently, feels so good to cook again.  Kale, zucchini and sausage quiche was delish...

Check out this Zucchini Pasta Saute for a light summer side dish...

My new favorite cocktail.  Magners Irish cider...crisp and refreshing without being too sweet or tart.

Hope you have a fantastic weekend!

Thanks for visiting!

June 5, 2014

Zucchini Pasta Saute {recipe swap}

It's been awhile since I've been in the kitchen, May went by in a flash.  It feels really good to be cooking again.

This is all over the internets, but here is my version of the paleo zucchini pasta.  It couldn't be easier to prepare and is tasty and filling.

Zucchini Pasta Saute

2 Large Zucchini, washed (not peeled)
2 Tablespoons olive oil
1 Teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 Cup of fresh, shredded parmesan cheese

With a box grater on its side, shred zucchini into large strips.  Heat the olive oil and garlic in a skillet and saute zucchini for 5-7 minutes, stirring often.  Season with salt and pepper and sprinkle with cheese.  

That's it...you have a healthy, summery side dish!

I served it with Cajun tilapia over a bed of baby spinach and a swath of caesar dressing.

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Miz Helen’s Country Cottage
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