Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Chewy, Chunky Blondies Recipe

Allow me to introduce you to Adams absolute favorite dessert that I make.  The recipe for these delicious bar cookies comes from one of my most loved cookbooks, "Baking From My Home To Yours" by Dorie Greenspan.  This has basically been my bible for baking since my brother gifted it to me for my birthday 9 years ago.  If you're on the market for a great cookbook that focuses on pies, tarts, cookies, cakes and everything in between, I highly suggest you look into this gem.

If you've never made blondies before, let me affirm that that are so easy to throw together and this version is d-a-n-g-e-r-o-u-s!  They are richly flavored with notes of chocolate, butterscotch, coconut flakes, and pecans for a bit of crunch.  Bet you can't eat just one!

Hope you like these as much as we do.


2 cups all purpose flour
3/4 tsp. baking powder
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/2 cups packed light brown sugar
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 tsp. pure vanilla extract
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1 cup butterscotch chips
1/2 cup coarsely chopped pecans
1 cup sweetened shredded coconut


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Butter a 9x13 inch baking pan and put it on a baking sheet.

Whisk together the flour, baking powder, soda, and salt.  Set aside.

Using a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, beat butter on medium speed until smooth.  Add in both sugars and beat for another 3 minutes, or until well incorporated.  Next, add in the eggs one at a time, beating for 1 minute after each addition, then beat in the vanilla.  Reduce the mixer speed to low and slowly add in the dry ingredients, mixing until well combined.  

Using a rubber spatula, stir in the chips, nuts, and coconut.  Scrape the batter into the buttered pan and use the spatula to even the the top out.

Bake for around 40 minutes, or until a knife inserted into the center of the blondies comes out clean & the blondies are starting to pull away from the sides of the pan.  The top should be a nice golden brown color.  Transfer the pan to a baking rack, run a knife around the edges, and allow to cool to room temperature before serving. 

Have a great day! xx

Monday, January 26, 2015

Vacation Diary Part Two: Tuscany

Good morning and welcome back from the weekend!  Today I wanted to share the other half of our vacation that was spent in Tuscany.  

After Austria, we hopped on a short 2.5 hour flight and arrived in Florence.  We then rented a car and headed straight out to the Val d'Orcia region of Tuscany.  Many of you might remember that this is the area where we were married in 2013.  This region is my absolute favorite place on earth and I was SO excited to be spending my birthday here.  Little did Adam & I know that we had both picked up a bad case of food poisoning {airplane salads = no bueno} and spent our first two days holed up in our bed & breakfast sicker than dogs.  As I had previously mentioned in my Austria Vacation Diary post, I was already under the weather and adding this into the mix + taking care of my sick husband {why are men SO much weaker than us?!} definitely wasn't an ideal vacation.  But the sickness passed pretty quick, and we were able to get a couple quality days of exploring this gorgeous region.

If you have never been to this region of Tuscany, I highly, highly suggest you add this to your bucket list.  Picture rolling emerald hills, 1,000 year old sleepy Tuscan villages, and world class wine + cheese.

Our chic bed & breakfast, located in Pienza, was converted from a former monastery where nuns lived for over 500 years.  I love how the owners were respectful to the original structure {original stone walls & some beams} but still modernized the space.

The charming village of Pienza is exactly what you'd envision a small Tuscan town to look like.

Adam & I stood in front of this gate and took our engagement pictures with Jose Villa almost 2 years was such a treat to revisit this.

We also visited our olive tree that we purchased the day after our wedding.  It's nestled right next to the vineyards of our favorite winery, Il Palazzone.  Even though we were still feeling a little queasy, we still indulged in some wine tasting + catching up with our favorite sommelier, Laura.

Each year, they send us the olive oil from our tree :)

I've always been in love with the character found in old doors.  If we ever build a house from the ground up, I want a HUGE front door like we see everywhere in Italy.

Wearing: Vince sweater/tunic {available here} //  Hue faux leather leggings {here} //  Isabel Marant Andrew booties {here}

A local cheese shop with the freshest cheeses you have ever tasted.

I could wander through these little streets for hours.

On my birthday we said goodbye to these gorgeous views, and headed to Florence.  Btw, in my opinion the true test of a marriage is renting a car in a foreign country.  We managed to only get lost once which resulted in me getting out of the car and walking {I can be a bit dramatic when we argue} ;)

We checked into the Portrait Firenze which is owned by the Ferragamo family.  The hotel was over the top luxurious.

Check out our stunning bathroom which featured all Salvatore Ferragamo bath products.  And yes, I definitely took a long soak in that tub!

Who needs cake on your birthday when you can have two scoops of gelato!?!

I have wanted this bag forever!!! 

We have visited Florence several times, and views like this never get old.

Shoe shopping in Aquazzura's beautiful boutique.


Where We Stayed

Florence - Portrait Firenze

Have a great week, and for my East Coast readers STAY WARM & SAFE in this big upcoming storm!! Thanks for reading xx

Friday, January 23, 2015

Weekend Wishlist

Just a few items that I'm craving for a casual weekend of running errands & spending time around the house....

Shop These Items:

In love with this cozy sweater!  Boooo for it being so expensive. {found here} //  These distressed jeans are perfect for bummin' around the house during the weekend! {under $40 here} //  Obsessed with this cute clam shell blush/highlighter compact. {available here} //  Really need new lip gloss like I need a hole in my head, but this pretty nude color by Bobbi Brown is calling my name. {found here color "almost nude"} //  A dainty long necklace would look perfect with this outfit {here} //  Diptyque candles are among some of my faves, and I'm curious about this new limited edition scent. {view here} //  I NEEEEED these booties.  Seriously need them. {available here}

Happy Friday!!  I'm still feeling a little under the weather, but have the rest of my vacation pictures & a recipe to share with you guys next week.  Have a great weekend! xx

Monday, January 19, 2015

Austria Vacation Diary

Hi friends!  We're back from our vacay and I've really had the hardest time getting back into the swing of things.  My mom flew up from Seattle and watched our dogs while we were gone, and I spent the better part of last week being an absolute couch potato and letting my mom wait on me hand & foot.....not gonna lie, it was amazing! 

This was quite different from most holidays we take in that I was SO sick the whole time which didn't make for the best time.  We spent 6 days with our good friends who live in Moscow and I was definitely the Debbie Downer of the group.  Adam & I actually skipped out on our plans for New Years Eve and opted instead for room service + an early turn in time.  It was also unbearably cold which made touring around really difficult.  Even our Russian friends {who are used to freezing temps} felt that it was too cold to enjoy sightseeing which was a little heartbreaking because Vienna was absolutely stunning.  I had always felt that Prague was one of the most beautiful cities in all of Europe, but after visiting Vienna, I'm certain that Vienna takes that award.  The city is immaculately clean, and the architecture is S-T-U-N-N-I-N-G!!  I would definitely like to visit Austria again, but maybe in a warmer month ;)

I don't really have a ton of pictures to share since I spent the better half of the time in our hotel room.  Being sick on holiday is the worst.

Bundled up shortly after checking into our hotel in Vienna.

Gorgeous architecture.

Adam with our good friends from Moscow.  Adam played tennis with him in college and they've remained close ever since.  We try to meet up with them every few years around the New Year holiday in different destinations in Europe.

Touring around the 1,400+ room Schönbrunn Palace.

I think I need to live here lol!

I invested in a warm winter parka & great boots for this trip which I ended up living in.  Well worth the investment!  Wearing: Canada Goose Victoria Parka {here & here} //  Givenchy boots {here}

Yes way, rosé!!

Warming up with hot wine :)

We took the train from Vienna to Salzburg and passed by the most picturesque little towns.

The view of old town Salzburg from our hotel room.

A snowy winter wonderland!

Cheery flowers at the cutest outdoor market.

Airport ready wearing: J. Crew wool coat {here} //  T by Alexander Wang striped shirt {here} //  Rag & Bone Jeans {old} //  New Balance sneakers {found here}

Where We Stayed

Vienna - Park Hyatt Vienna

Salzburg -  Hotel Sacher Salzburg

I'll share our pictures from the rest of our vacay in Italy later on this week.  Thanks for reading! xx


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