Tuesday, April 30, 2013


When you eat salads for dinner, you can have a cookie for dessert. It's all about balance, right? 

It rained ALL. DAY. LONG. on Sunday. Buckets of rain pouring down from the typically Carolina blue skies and although it was much needed, it made for an extremely lazy day at home. Something about a dark rainy day almost always calls for a treat, obvi.  Snickerdoodles to the rescue! I love the sugary crisp cinnamon coating of a giant Snickerdoodle with a center that still has just the right amount of chew. As I searched for a recipe, I noticed that so many of them called for shortening- yuck! I knew that there had to be an alternative and luckily, I came across a recipe on Smitten Kitchen that had a basic ingredients list.

Cinnamon and chocolate are equals in my book. I must say that these cookies just may give my beloved New York Times Chocolate Chip Cookie a run for their money.

recipe from Smitten Kitchen

2 and 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 tsp. cream of tartar
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
16 Tbsp. or 2 sticks unsalted butter (at room temperature)
1 and 3/4 cup sugar
2 Tbsp. ground cinnamon
2 large eggs

Preheat oven to 400 degrees, with one rack in the top third and one rack in the bottom third. Line baking sheet with parchment paper or silicone mat, and set aside.

Sift together flour, cream of tartar, baking soda and salt. Set aside. In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine butter and 1 and 1/2 cups sugar. Beat on medium speed until fluffy, about 2 minutes. Scrape down the sides of bowl. Add eggs and beat to combine. Add dry ingredients and beat until combined. Chill dough for at least one hour or up to overnight.

Once dough has chilled, combine remaining 1/4 cup sugar and the ground cinnamon. Using an ice cream scoop, form balls of the dough (about the size of a small golf ball) and roll in the cinnamon and sugar. Place cookies about two inches apart on the baking sheet. Bake until the cookies are set in the center and begin to crack, 10-12 minutes. If you are cooking more than one sheet at a time, rotate after 5 minutes. (I cooked 6 to a sheet, one sheet at a time in the center of the oven). Transfer the sheets to a wire rack to cool for about 5 minutes before transferring to the rack. 

Store in an airtight container for up to a week.

Monday, April 29, 2013

Roasted Salmon Nicoise Salad

I could live on salads. Dark leafy greens tossed with veggies, olive oil, balsamic and grilled protein is pretty much the perfect meal in my book. Mark doesn't jump up and down like I do over this "girl food" but after we eat salad for dinner, he always leaves the table happy and admits how tasty it was. Here's a healthy (and classic) dinner salad recipe to jump start your week.

Sophie, this one's for you!

Roasted Salmon Nicoise Salad
serves two

1/2 lb. fillet wild salmon
1 Romaine heart, chopped
2 hard boiled eggs, sliced
6 spears asparagus, sliced into 1 inch pieces
1/2 cup grape tomatoes, sliced in half
1/4 cup kalamata olives, sliced in half
2 small red potatoes
Olive oil for drizzling
Dried dill

Slice potatoes into small wedges and toss on a small baking sheet with olive oil and a sprinkle of salt and pepper. On a separate baking sheet, place salmon and drizzle with olive oil and season lightly with salt and pepper and some dried dill. Place both sheets in the oven and turn the oven to 400 degrees. Roast for 25 minutes. Salmon should be flaky and potatoes should be sizzling and crispy. I usually leave the potatoes in the oven for an extra five minutes while the salmon cools off.

Meanwhile, toss asparagus pieces in a little olive oil and sautee on medium heat in a medium pan until bright green and tender. 

Assemble salad as shown above and top with Champagne Vinagirette or Mediterranean Vinaigrette

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Baby Related Things

I can hardly wrap my head around the fact that in about 6 short weeks, we'll be bringing a tiny human into the world! Everyone told me that once you hit 30 weeks time seems to creep by so slowly but I have to disagree. Slow down time! With each passing day I am becoming more and more excited. I've been feeling great and little lovie is quite the active child. Mark started doing the Insanity workout a few weeks ago and I think this kid is trying to join in on the fun, too. 

Our tiny baby is so, so loved already! My mom, sisters and our dear friend Linda hosted the most beautiful baby shower last weekend. I am getting teary thinking about it now. It truly was one of the best days ever- complete with extra special visitors from Washington D.C. and California!!! Every detail was absolutely perfect. The shower deserves a post of it's own sometime this week or next!

The stack of books on my nightstand speaks for itself. Trying to soak up as much as I can right now, but I know that no book can teach you what you need to know as much as that little baby will when it's in my arms! I'm also thankful for my mom and closest friends who have navigated this road before- they have been the best resources yet!

The nursery isn't quite done yet, but the main pieces are in place and I'm just working on the details. I'm planning on leaving some blank canvas space so that I can personalize it once we know if the little one will be a bambino or a bambina. Our nursery has no "theme". The only theme is BABY. I love gender neutral nurseries and even if we knew the baby's gender, I wouldn't be decorating any other way. I knew I wanted white furniture, crisp bedding and creamy colors. I also want the room to be timeless and a dreamy place for baby to sleep. Here are some of my favorite inspiration photos.

one/two/three-unknown source/four

Mark painted the room a buttery neutral, Benjamin Moore's Ylang Ylang. My mom painted a striped wall where the crib is by using a clear semi-gloss polyurethane paint which created a slight variation in color and texture. I love the striped wall detail so much. I'm certain our little one will have many sweet dreams snuggled in its little dreamland.

Glider + Ottoman: Enchanted Cherish (beige stripe)
Paint: Benjamin Moore Ylang Ylang
Dresser: Haverty's
Lamp: Lampsplus

We even have some stuffed baby doodles watching over the room already.

We are almost ready to meet the newest member of this family! Love my little family so, so much!

Monday, April 22, 2013

Pineapple, Romaine + Spinach Green Goodness

Well before I had my juicer, one of my favorite refreshing combinations to mix up was pineapple, mango and spinach. My cousins told me it was a must-try and I have been drinking it ever since. I have a feeling this baby will like sipping on it when he/she is old enough, too! Spinach is great in smoothies because it blends into a silky texture and you can't even really tell that it's there. I throw a few handfuls of spinach in my smoothies whenever I make them! 

I'm still in the experimenting stages of juicing and am thankful to have friends to swap recipes with! Sophie suggested pineapple with romaine and spinach and I was anxious to give it a try. According to her it's "the finest thing ever juiced", and I might have to agree! This combination is so light, so refreshing and full of nutrients. The pineapple adds just the right amount of sweetness and the high water content of the romaine is a bonus. Spinach gives this juice it's bright green color. If you don't have a juicer, this would also be delicious blended up with ice.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Fun Things + Free Ice Cream!

It's only Tuesday and it's already a great week around here! 

This past weekend, Mark and I were in Greenville, SC for a wedding and we got to enjoy a nice Saturday morning at Reedy River Falls. (Wrigley included!) The weather was perfect and the dood loved making friends in the park. It was such a fun Saturday with my little family. 

The weather in Charlotte has been the bees knees and our yard and screened in porch have gotten lots of TLC over the past couple of days which makes for lovely outdoor living. With a new coat of paint and a new fan, everything feels so refreshed out there. Mark painted our screened in porch ceiling "haint blue" (Benjamin Moore Palladian Blue) and I'm loving the way it turned out! I have dreamt of a haint blue porch ceiling ever since I fell in love with Charleston as a kid. It's a light, breezy blue with a hint of teal. I knew that this was a Southern tradition in that it helps keep the porches cool in the Summer heat, but what I didn't know is that there is a legend that this blue painted ceiling helps ward off evil spirits! Just a little interesting nugget worth passing on. I plan on adding navy, coral and white in the form of accent pillows and other details out there. Our outdoor living space is well on its way to being in business for the season! 

My wonderful mom and sisters are hosting a baby shower for me this weekend and I cannot wait to celebrate with family and friends. Top secret projects have been going on at the Nido house and I am so, so, so excited! This little one is already so loved! 

And, to top it off, we have some special visitors coming to visit from California and they arrive today. Airport pickups are my FAVORITE!!

If you're in the mood for a treat today, it's FREE CONE DAY at Ben and Jerry's! One scoop of Mint Chocolate Chunk for me, please! 

Friday, April 5, 2013

Health + Fitness Friday: Adventures in Juicing

I've officially jumped on the juicing train and I am in liquid love. A juicer arrived on our doorstep in the form of a birthday present a couple of weeks ago- such a sweet husband! After months of watching food documentaries, reading articles and drooling over the juice recipes that cross my path as I browse Pinterest, I finally have my own juice bar open for business in our kitchen. This is also after the very same months in which I had to educate Mark Moore and convince him that a juicer is a much different species than a blender. Case closed.

Making healthy juices in my own kitchen is so much fun. I can't wait to experiment with different flavor combinations and really take advantage of produce that's in season. My friend Danica gave me some good advice and said that as often as you can, make your juices GREEN. I think this is great to remember because as tasty as fruit juices can be, they are also very high in sugar and should be enjoyed in moderation. The greener your juice, the better! I don't think that juicing can solve all of your problems and I certainly don't tout it to be a health miracle worker, but I do think that in addition to an already healthy diet and active lifestyle. 

I have mixed up the following delicious combinations so far:

apple, carrot + kale
pine apple + mango + orange + cucumber
grapefruit + ginger

The apple, carrot and kale combination is SO GOOD. Mark actually really liked it, too! I've been drinking a small glass of grapefruit ginger in the mornings this week and it's so refreshing! With a baby still cooking for another 9 weeks or so, I won't be doing a juice cleanse anytime soon, but that is definitely on the horizon! One thing I am struggling with is what to do with all of the pulp! We plan on using some of it for compost for our yard, but I have heard there are various sites that actually have recipes for juicer pulp. I'm a little skeptical but I also am not one to turn down a culinary challenge! 

I have the Breville Juice Fountain Multi- Speed Juicer and so far, I am loving it. Breville appliances are some of my favorites so it's no surprise that this juicer is good quality. Since juicing can be a bit messy, all of the pieces to this juicer are dishwasher safe making for an easier cleanup! Two weeks into this relationship, I would definitely recommend this juicer if you have the space.

I'll be sure to keep you all posted as I embark on more juicing adventures and mixing up some crazy combos. 

It's all about juicing over here today but pop over to A Daily Dose of Davis to see what is on everyone else's Health + Fitness Friday mind this week. 

Enjoy the weekend, friends!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Wrigley's World

Hi friends. It's the Doodle of the house here. I wanted to say hi and let you all know what I've been up to lately. Doggie dates, lots of walks and runs in our neighborhood, licking the dishes when my dad loads the dishwasher after dinner and nightly belly rubs. I even survived my first haircut last month! My mom says that my curls are Jackson 5 worthy and then she sings to me really loud. Ummmm okay. Apparently I have another celebrity look alike, too- Fozzie Bear? A nice lady at the park informed me of this last week when I was on a walk with my Goldendoodle girlfriend, Tag. Quite the spectacle we were. I personally think we resemble Simba and Nala as we walk side by side. Hakuna Matata. 

I try my hardest behave very well and take on a loving persona to impress my parents, but every now and again I break out in my reindeer interpretive dancing routine or try to climb up the fireplace to get my bone off of the mantle. Free entertainment, obviously.

It's rough living around here, but someone has to do it. This is the life people! I LOVE MY FAMILY! 

Peace, love and doodles. 

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Mango Cashew Sunshine Bites

Healthy snacking is a must in this house. That mid-afternoon itch for a treat is nearly a daily occurance, most likely in the form of something sweet. If we have healthy bites to grab, we are much less likely to reach for something that may taste good at the moment, but doesn't really satisfy the hunger. But a healthy snack recipe that satisfies AND caters to the sweet tooth? They really do exist.

I mixed things up last week and instead of making a batch of Paleo Snack Bites, I opted for these Mango Cashew Sunshine Bites. The flavors are interesting and the ingredients are simple. Just how good good food should be.

Mango Cashew Sunshine Bites
recipe from My New Roots

2/3 cup raw cashews
1 cup dried mango pieces (preferably organic unsweetened)
1/2 cup unsweetened shredded coconut, plus more for coating
seeds of 1 vanilla bean or 1 tsp. all natural vanilla extract
1-2 tsp. honey for sweetness if desired 
lime zest
pinch of sea salt
pinch of ground turmeric (optional)

Soak cashews for around 4 hours. Drain and rinse. 

Soak mangoes for 20-30 minutes until they are slightly softened, but not mushy. 

In a food processor, combine all ingredients except honey. Pulse until a sticky dough is formed. Taste for sweetness and add honey if desired. Spoon out about 1/2 Tbsp. of the mixture and roll into balls. Roll in coconut to coat. 

Store in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.

Monday, April 1, 2013

Strawberry Mint Bruschetta

Let's talk about toasted bread. Specifically bruschetta. A perfectly crusty sliced baguette brushed with olive oil, lightly sprinkled with sea salt and then toasted in the oven leaving a crispy outside and chewy center. Top it off with fresh diced tomatoes, basil and garlic, a schmear of goat cheese drizzled with olive oil or an avocado arugula pesto and you have an easy small bite that is always a hit with dinner guests. 

For yesterday's family Easter celebration, I switched gears and took my bruschetta toppings from savory to sweet. Strawberries and balsamic vinegar are a combo I rarely take advantage of but when I do, I am quickly reminded of how decadent it is! Ripe Florida strawberries and fresh mint leaves make for a dazzling duo and a good balsamic was the perfect finishing touch. I served this with Trader Joe's Honey Goat Cheese for some added creamy sweetness. I couldn't pass up fresh mint on Easter Sunday, but I'm confident this bruschetta would be equally as good with fresh basil. Enjoy the leftover strawberries atop Greek yogurt in the morning or vanilla bean ice cream for dessert!

Strawberry Mint Bruschetta

1 lb. fresh strawberries, finely chopped
1 tsp. sugar
Handful of fresh mint, chopped
Drizzle of good balsamic vinegar (about 3 Tbsp.)
Freshly ground black pepper
1 crusty baguette, thinly sliced
Olive oil, for brushing
Kosher salt

In a medium bowl, sprinkle strawberries with sugar and let sit for 15-20 minutes. Add mint and balsamic and some freshly ground black pepper. Combine and let sit for at least an hour before serving. For a sweeter mixture, add more sugar.

For the toasted baguette...

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cut baguette on an angle into thin slices. Brush with olive oil and sprinkle with kosher salt. Arrange on a baking sheet or silicone baking mat and bake for 10 minutes, flipping halfway through.