October 24, 2014

Cooking With Coconut Flour: Coconut Butter Macaroons

When my husband announced a few weeks ago that he was cutting all starch out of his diet, I remember thinking, they make all sorts of different flours now, like almond, which he can't eat, but wouldn't it be great if they made something like coconut flour? I had NO idea that it existed and when I stumbled upon it this week at Trader Joe's, I literally said outloud, "Oh My God! Cocounut flour? Amazing!" then quickly threw it in my cart. I couldn't wait to get home and begin experimenting with it.  It is a similar consistency to other flours, but does need to be refrigerated and has a distinct smell. 

There were a few recipes on the back of the package, one being a delicious sounding Coconut Butter Macaroon recipe. The list of ingredients was simple, all that I had on hand, so I set out yesterday to try out the new recipe! I was nervous about how they would turn out, but in the end, they came out great! I halved the recipe because I was nervous about how they would taste, but next time will definitely make the regular amount. 

To make about 2 dozen cookies you'll need:

-1/2 cup of butter
-1 cup o
-1 cup sugar (I used coconut sugar, but you can use any kind you like!)
-4 eggs
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1/2 cup sifted coconut flour
-2 cups shredded sweetened coconut (also sold at TJ's)

Preheat your oven to 375.

Start by mixing together the butter, sugar, eggs and vanilla. My butter was very soft, so I just mixed it with my hands. You can certainly use a mixed too.  Then stir in the flour and coconut.

Drop rounded tablespoons of the mixture onto a baking pan.

Bake for about 12-15 minutes. I took mine out right at 12 minutes. They are quite dense and some of the butter melts off during cooking, but they are ready when they are brown around the edges.

Place immediately on a wire rack to cool.


October 22, 2014

My Recent Fall Outfits and Closet Staples This Season

I love clothes. Always have, always will. Fresh out of college I started a career in fashion in New York and loved being surrounded by style and great clothes. Most of all I loved being inspired by all the beautiful things I got to see in the city. One of my favorite things to do was sit outside at a bar, restaurant or park and just watch all the people go by.  I could literally sit for hours and be entertained by the bevy of visual stimulation that constantly buzzed around the city all day and night. While I am miles and miles away from New York, I now rely on good old Instagram for a lot of my fashion inspiration. It is so amazing how this social networking site has changed how we can connect with people all over the world. You literally have access into peoples lives, families, careers and most fun of all, closets. I follow loads of truly inspiring people online and love to see how they style themselves each day. 

So, in this spirit, I've decided to round up some of my most recent outfits this Fall and show you some basic pieces of mine that have been on repeat and that can be mixed and matched all season long. 

Here are some of my closet staples that you see above in my outfits!

Fall Fashion Essentials

1. Vests: I love vests from Fall all the way through Winter. They are great for transitioning to cool mornings through warmer afternoons and for throwing over my long sleeves in the winter when I need an extra layer, but don't want a bulky sweater. I love and have multiple J Crew Excursion Vests and Old Navy Zip Front Vests. Both are great and come in multiple colors and patterns. 

2. White tees and Plaid Button Downs: A great white tee is essential all year long, but I love them especially in Fall when I can layer them under button downs, cardigans and sweaters. My favorite tee right now is a James Perse Casual T. You can almost always find a great selection of these at Marshalls. I also am loving the trendy look of flannel, especially paired with animal print! I have multiple flannels from Target, Old Navy and Abercrombie and Fitch. Do you remember wearing these tied around your waist with Doc Martins? Totally 90210 (the ORIGINAL series of course!).

3. Scarves: Scarves are a great way to add a pop of pattern, color and of course layer of warmth to any outfit. I like big chunky scarves like this Zara blanket scarf I have and light whispy ones that are less for warmth and more for fashion. 

4. Jeans: I am all about jeans most days of the week in the Fall and Winter. As it gets colder I will add leggings, skinny cords, and a great pair of faux leather pants I got to my rotation. My favorite three pairs of jeans are my AG Skinny Destroyed Jeans, Black Ripped Skinny Jeans (DIY here), and a gray pair of Kate Spade Broome Street Jeans

5. Shoes: Before it gets too cold, I am all about flats in the Fall. I ADORE my Steve Madden Leopard flats, Forever 21 Leopard Slip Ons (similar) and Tory Burch Revas.  I also wear my Hunter Boots when its rainy of the ground is wet and mushy (also great in the snow when you add the boot liners!). 

So what are your fashion staples? Follow my on Instagram to keep up with my outfits of the day! Click here to follow along (@lifeandlovelyblog).

October 20, 2014

Weekend in the Mountains

We are so grateful to have such kind and generous friends here in NC that are always welcoming us into whatever they do.  This past weekend our friends headed up into the mountains of North Carolina, near Blowing Rock, and asked us to tag along. I've always loved being outdoors, getting fresh air and exercise, but never have been much of a mountain gal. However, after this weekend, I am sure that this is a place I can't wait to go back to. It was SO incredibly beautiful, peaceful and relaxing - even with 7 kids in all. 

We started the day with a beautiful hike around a lake that all the kids navigated perfectly. It was a bit rough and muddy, but everyone made it just fine. Afterwards we headed back to their cabin, located in 7 Devils, which was breathtaking. The view, the colors, the silence - it was magical. The kids and adults had lots of laughs, good food and drink. We are so lucky to have enjoyed such a great day.