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Warm Winter Banana Bread

“You gonna make banana bread out of these or something?” -my hint from my husband that the bananas I bought were looking less than desirable in the fridge.  These weren’t on my holiday baking list, but they’ll be a new addition in the future, it’s nice to have something to mix in that isn’t over the top sweet.  The star shapes and the sprinkled sugar on top make me think of snow and snowflakes.  How cute would these be at a Christmas brunch?!   Warm Winter Banana Bread

Believe it or not, my boys ate these just as quick, if not quicker, than any dessert I have ever made.  They would eat these for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and all the snacks in between if I let them. I’ve got another banana muffin recipe here that incorporates peanut butter, but I think I like this one even better which is surprise because I love me some peanut butter.

Ingredients

  • 5 Bananas (very ripe)
  • 10 TBSP Butter (softened)
  • 2 Cups and 1 TBSP Sugar
  • 1.5 TSP Vanilla
  • 2 Eggs
  • 1/2 TSP Corn Starch
  • 1/2 TSP Baking Powder
  • 1/2 TSP Salt
  • 2 Cups Flour
  • 4 TBSP Brown Sugar

Disclosure: Please note that I participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.  The affiliate links I’ve chosen to use below are all handpicked by me.

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 340 degrees.
  2. Mash bananas to a puree consistency and set aside. 
  3. Mix together sugar, brown sugar, and butter.
  4. Crack eggs and mix in, followed by vanilla.
  5. Pour banana puree in and mix.
  6. Add corn starch, baking powder, salt, and flour.
  7. Pour into your loaf pan or muffin pan.  I used this  loaf pan  and star silicone baking molds similar to  these . I used parchment paper in my loaf pan so they’d come out in good shape.
  8. Bake in oven for 30 minutes (longer if you prefer slightly browned).
  9. Sprinkle some sugar on top and serve warm with butter.  

Unfortunately I love carbs, but one good thing is I typically can eat bread without any butter and not have an issue with it.  This bread…however, tastes so good with a little butter glazed over it so treat yourself to it!  It gives it just a slight salty taste that balances well with the sweetness of the bread.  Those little snowflake shapes on the mini loafs are just mini cookie cutter imprints that I stamped on shortly after taking the bread out of the oven.  I kept the cookie cutter on the mini loaf, sprinkled the sugar into it, and then removed.  I hope you enjoy!

 

Holiday Style Inspiration

Time to get festive and merry!  Check back here often as I’ll be adding new items up through the first of January for all the holiday style inspo you need to get you through your holiday parties, events, and gatherings.  Jingle, jingle, jingle -let’s hear your sleigh bells ring!

*Many of the following images are hyperlinked with affiliate links which means if ya click on a link and then decide to make a purchase I may earn a small commission at no additional expense to you.  DM me your holiday looks @ash__gorman, I’d love to feature you!

Outfit Ideas for Thanksgiving

“Do you know what you are gonna wear?”  -a reoccurring question between my sisters and I before most any get together.  Thanksgiving is no exception.  I will be surprised if this question does not come through via text message in the next couple of days.  In preparation, I’ve compiled a few Thanksgiving outfit ideas below, everything from dressy to casual to even a pair of pjs!  Let’s face it, sometimes we just want to be comfy, especially when a lot of food is on the agenda.  

We will be heading to a Thanksgiving at 2PM on Thursday and then another one at 5PM…not much of a break in there.  I’m not really one for pacing myself either…what can I say!?  I might just opt for my maternity leggings…that I’m currently in…and no, I am not pregnant.  We shall just see how I feel that morning :-).  There are numerous items below that are just good staple items to have during the colder months whether it is Thanksgiving or not.  With Black Friday and Cyber Monday just around the corner think about opting to get sales alerts on any of the items you might like below -they are bound to go on sale if they aren’t already!  Drop me a comment if you aren’t sure how to do that, it is super easy and I’m happy to help ya out!  Gotta put my quick little plug in here to let you know that the links below are affiliate links.  This just means that I can earn extra cash for my piggy bank if you make a purchase after clicking on a link -this does not cost you a penny :-). 

Option 1 

Thanksgiving Outfit

 

Scarf      Jeans      Hat      Sweater     Boots

 

Option 2:

Thanksgiving Outfit

Dress     Boots (similar)

 

Option 3:

Thanksgiving Outfit

 Earrings     Top     Pants

 

Option 4:

Thanksgiving Outfit Idea

Top     Skirt     Leggings (similar)     Boots (similar)

 

Option 5:

Thanksgiving Outfit

Dress      Tights     Hat     Necklace     Shoes

And some comfy clothes too!  Throw a cardigan over either of these t-shirts and you’ll be cozy all day -or just lounge in some pajamas…even better!

I hope you all have a joyful, filling, and relaxing Thanksgiving no matter what you decide to wear!

Salted Nutella Caramel Sugar Cookies

 

Fun fact that I learned this week -Nutella is apparently a hot commodity in the college dorms.  I brought these Salted Nutella Caramel Sugar Cookies into work and so I was informed by one of the students working in our office.  Nutella and a loaf of bread.  I asked, “so do you ever just eat it outta the jar with a spoon” and I really thought I was going to get a “yes” in return.  If one likes Nutella, I just assumed one likes to eat Nutella plain…directly from the jar.  Orrrr maybe that is just my household…anyone else out there do this?  Regardless of your answer, if you like Nutella and you like caramel you will probably be a pretty big fan of these cookies.  I think sea salt takes caramel to a whole other level -when I saw that Hershey’s had baking chips that were caramel AND sea salt I did a little happy dance in the store aisle.  Homeward bound I headed to throw these chips into some type of cookie that involved a Nutella ganache.  Hershey's Sea Salt Caramel Baking Chips for CookiesCookie Ingredients:

  • 1.5 sticks softened salted butter
  • 8 ounces neufchatel cheese
  • 1.5 cups sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 2 teaspoons almond extract
  • 1.5 teaspoons vanilla 
  • 3.5 cups flour
  • 1.5 teaspoons salt
  • 1 bag Hershey’s Sea Salt Caramel Baking Chips
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Cookie Directions:

  1. Cream the butter until smooth using a standing mixer.
  2. Add the neufchatel cheese to the butter and mix into a smooth consistency. 
  3. Mix in sugar, egg, almond extract, and vanilla until smooth.
  4. Slowly add flour a little bit at a time into mixture and continue mixing. 
  5. Add salt and mix.
  6. Add baking chip and mix.
  7. At this point, the dough needs to be formed into a ball.  Dough will be very sticky, but with a little work along with some messy hands you can form it as shown below. 
  8. Once formed into a ball, wrap into plastic wrap, and place in the refrigerator.  
  9. Let dough refrigerate over night. 
  10. Once dough has been chilled, remove from the plastic wrapping and roll into small balls. 
  11. Pre-heat and bake in oven at 350 degrees for 8 minutes.  (Spray pan with non-stick cooking spray, I use Olive Oil). 
  12. Pull out of oven and use a spatula to flatten the cookies out just a little bit. 
  13. Place back in oven for another 2-4 minutes.
  14. Let cookies cool on a cooling rack.

Salted Caramel Cookie DoughSea Salt Caramel Sugar CookiesSea Salt Caramel Sugar CookiesNutella Ganache Ingredients

  • 1 heaping spoonful of Nutella
  • 1/2 bag semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/2 cup heavy whipping cream

Nutella Ganache Directions:

  1. Pour chocolate chips into a microwavable bowl.
  2. Heat the chocolate chips in microwave for 30 seconds.
  3. Pour the heavy whipping cream over the chocolate chips and let stand for 5 minutes.
  4. Stir rapidly until all chips begin to melt into a smooth mixture. 
  5. Spoon Nutella into mixture and microwave for another 45 seconds but do so in 15 second increments, stirring in between each 15 seconds. 

Nutella GanacheNutella GanacheThen, if you can contain yourself from eating the Nutella Ganache by the spoonful, you can go ahead and spoon the ganache on top of the cookies.  Use the back of the spoon to create a smooth dollop -these babies are then ready to serve!

Salted Caramel Nutella Sugar CookiesOh yeah – sprinkle with some Sea Salt if you desire – YUM!

Salted Nutella Caramel CookiesTag #sprinkledsunshinesweets if you try these out!

Mulled Apple Cider for Two

What beats a fall scented candle spreading apple and cinnamon throughout your cozy home?  Warm Mulled Apple Cider sizzling in a crockpot just waiting to be ladled into a mug, that’s what!  Last weekend was one of our first cooooold weekends and I think they are here to stay.  My littles got hot chocolate with marshmallows and I indulged in this Mulled Apple Cider for Two.  I say indulged because I’m actually the only person who drank it…almost 4 cups to be exact and they were delicious.  Maybe next time I’ll double the batch and drink 8?  Or maybe I’ll have a partner in crime to think about sharing with.Mulled Apple Cider for TwoIngredients:

  • 4 cups apple cider (Curtis Orchard Apple Cider is my all-time favorite and what I used)
  • 2 cuties (peeled and pulled apart into pieces)
  • Sprinkle of nutmeg
  • 1 TSP lemon juice
  • 1/2 TSP cinnamon 
  • 1/4 TSP vanilla
  • 4 cinnamon sticks
  • Oliver Apple Pie Wine (optional)

Directions:

  • Dump all the ingredients except the wine into a small crockpot and give it a stir.  My small crockpot only has 2 settings so I just turned it to warm.  I personally don’t think the level of heat you use matters that much when it comes to this recipe.
  • Let the cider warm for at least 4 hours. 
  • If spiking with wine, pour wine into a coffee cup, a little less than a 1/4 of the way full (or more if you are feeling feisty). 
  • Ladle the cider into a coffee cup and make sure to include a few cutie slices and a cinnamon stick. 

Curl up with a blanket on the couch, watch a Hallmark movie, and sip on your cup of holiday cheer!  I’m curious if any of you have ever made your own cider before???  For some reason I’m pretty picky with mine and don’t usually like the jugs from the grocery store.  I’m thinking about trying to make my own for the times that I have a craving and don’t want to drive all the way out to Curtis Orchard -if anyone has any tips I’m all ears!

Mini Heath Parfaits

“When are you ever going to use those again?” -said my husband.  Every darn time that I want to make a cute dessert that requires little to no effort of course.  Does not matter what it is, I usually want to prove Ben wrong…no matter how crazy my rationale might be.  In this case, I think I’m pretty sane.  Godiva Chocolate Caramel Pudding Mix was staring at me in the grocery store the other day and the idea for these parfaits was born.  The word “caramel” was in the title so I thought “hey, that can be Thanksgiving related” but really, you can make these at any point in the year.   Mini Heath ParfaitsIngredients:

  • 1 package Godiva Chocolate Caramel Pudding Mix
  • 1 small package French Vanilla Pudding Mix
  • 4 cups whole milk
  • Ducan Hines Decadent Salted Caramel Brownie Mix
  • 1 egg
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/3 cup vegetable oil
  • Heath English Toffee Bits

Directions:

  • Follow the chocolate caramel pudding mix directions and then spoon a layer in the bottom of your jar.  Put your jars in the fridge. 
  • Follow the brownie mix directions.  
  • While your brownies are baking in the oven, follow the vanilla pudding mix directions.  Put the bowl of vanilla pudding in the fridge to set. 
  • Once brownies are finished baking, allow them to cool completely.  Cut out a row or two and crumble the row up into little brownie pieces.  Sprinkle brownie pieces as second layer in jar.
  • Spoon French vanilla pudding into jar as third layer.
  • Sprinkle the top with heath bits. 

That is it!  

Mini Heath ParfaitsIf you don’t have small jars, a trifle bowl or even just a nice glass bowl will work for a large batch.  If you do a large batch you’ll need to increase the amount of pudding mix and milk that you use.  Using two small packets I was able to fill 7 of these small jars up. Mini Heath Parfaits As with any parfait, you really can make these your own as the options for what to use for layers are endless.  I felt like the chocolate caramel pudding almost gave these a coffee taste.  If you aren’t a huge fan of coffee then I would just use regular chocolate pudding.  If you are a coffee lover like me then you are golden.  If you try these out, snap a picture and tag #sprinkledsunshinesweets -I’d love to see what you create!

 

10 Treats to bring to Thanksgiving

 

10 Treats to bring to Thanksgiving

Hi Friends!  We are halfway through November which means Thanksgiving is next week -sayyyy whaaaaattt?  This crept up outta nowhere, but boy do I have some goodies for you today.  We all know I’ve got a sweet tooth, this is no secret.  Naturally when I think about Thanksgiving my mind goes from dessert to stuffing…dessert to stuffing…dessert to stuffing…and throw some rolls in there too.  Never ever will you read a post from me about how to prep a turkey or the best way to cook a ham but you betcha I’ll talk your ear off about sweets.  Today I’ve got 10 of them for ya!  Make one to bring to your family, order a friend to bring one to your Friendsgiving, or make one for yourself to enjoy solo in your sweats.  Whatever your plans, I’ve got you covered with the help from a few other talented ladies; Lorie, Carissa, Susie, Jodie, and Emily -oh, and I can’t forget Betty!  We’ve got a range of desserts to pick from that branch out from your traditional pumpkin or apple pie -both of which I still very much welcome.  What are you going to go with?!


1

Salted Nutella Caramel Sugar Cookies (Credit: Ashley – Sprinkled Sunshine )

Salted Nutella Caramel Sugar Cookies

See that Nutella Ganache??  I challenge you to try and make these without licking the Nutella Ganache spoon.  Okay, no -don’t do that, you’ll be missing out!  Grab the recipe here.

2

Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Stuffed Crescent Wreath (Credit: Lorie – Lemons + Zest)

Snickerdoodle Cheesecake Stuffed Crescent Wreath

 

Brunch is probably my favorite “meal” of the day…if it can’t classified as brunch then we will go with breakfast as my favorite.  What I love about this recipe is that while it can easily be made as a dessert for your Thanksgiving spread, you could also make it for brunch or breakfast.  The fact that you can make it in under 30 minutes is even better!  You can get Lorie’s recipe here

3

Mini Heath Parfaits (Credit: Ashley – Sprinkled Sunshine)

Mini Heath Parfaits

An easy individually packaged dessert -that you can also make on a large scale too.  This one is all box mixes and fool proof!  You can get the recipe here.

4

Pumpkin Cookies with Cranberry Frosting (Credit:Carissa – Spoonful of Easy)

Pumpkin Cookies with Cranberry Frosting

Pumpkin and cranberry, can you scream fall any louder?!  I like that this recipe immediately makes you think of fall, yet the combination of flavors make it unique to the cookie crowd.  Carissa spent 2 years finding the perfect mix here and her final result is stunning, yet easy -hence, the title of her blog.  You can get Carissa’s recipe here.

5

Grandma Bartz’s Glazed Apple Slice Bars (Credit: Ashley – Sprinkled Sunshine)

Grandma Bartz's Glazed Apple Bars

Maybe you don’t want to go through the hassle of making an apple pie from scratch, but still want that true homemade taste.  Try these out for measure and you’ll be surprised at how much easier it is to make a homemade crust in a rectangular pan versus a pie dish.  I brought these to work and had 3 people ask me for Grandma’s recipe -grab it here.

6

Easy Apple Pie Bars (Credit: Susie – Mom’s Dinner)

Easy Apple Pie Bars

But maybe, just maybe, you want to make your apple pie treat even easier.  Prep time for these beauties is just 10 minutes and you can eat them with ice cream, just like you would a regular apple pie.  You can get Susie’s recipe here

7

Mulled Apple Cider for Two (Credit: Ashley – Sprinkled Sunshine)

Mulled Apple Cider for Two

This one gets bonus points because it also will fill your home with the most lovely fall smell to get you feelin’ in the holiday spirit. You can get the recipe here.

8

The Best Caramel Corn (Credit: Jodie – Mama in the Midst)

The Best Caramel Corn

For people like me, the first Thanksgiving meal is typically not until at least 1PM in the afternoon.  What in the heck do I do before then?  Do I eat breakfast or should I just wait because I know I’m going to stuff myself 3 times over?  Yep…I said earlier my favorite meal is breakfast -so nope, probably not gonna skip that.  However, after that…enter my new solution -munch on these yummies!  This recipe is perfect for tiding you over until meal time.  Then when your stuffed and feel like you have no room for dessert -grab a small handful for your treat!  You can get Jodie’s recipe here.

9

Brown Sugar Pecan Cheesecake Pie (Recipe Credit: Betty Crocker Kitchens)

Brown Sugar Pecan Cheesecake Pie (Recipe from Betty Crocker Kitchens)

Okay, I’m not usually big on pecan pie, but I’ve got a mom and mother-in-law who are typically big fans.  I saw this recipe via one of those quick videos and it stopped my scroll.  It is not your typical pecan pie because you’ve got the cheesecake component…also, you get to use Betty Crocker Cookie Mix for your base -easy peasy lemon squeezy.  When I was making the Brown Sugar Sauce for this I knew it was going to be a winner, I could just eat a bowl of that sauce for dessert and be a happy gal.  I sent some of this to my mom and my mother-in-law and was told to bring it for Thanksgiving so we know it is a winner.  The true test, however, is that my husband loved it.  He’s usually a “if it’s not chocolate, I don’t want it” kinda guy -but  he had 2 pieces :-). Get the recipe here.

10

Puff Pastry Apple Roses (Credit: Emily – Handmade Farmhouse)

Puff Pastry Apple Roses

Maybe you want to go for a wow factor and you want to show up with something beautiful for dessert -look at this photo and need I say more?  I’ve gotta be honest, I tried to make something similar to these last year for Thanksgiving and mine did not turn out near as pretty, but I brought a few of them along anyway.  Emily has got me wanting to try again though!  She used puff pastry and jam for her apple roses, but if you search “puff pastry apple roses” on Pinterest you are bound to find a variety of ways to try these little lovelies out.  You can check out Emily’s post here.

There you have it friends, 10 treats for you to consider for your upcoming Thanksgiving…and honestly anytime!  If you go with any of these, we’d love for you to tag us on Instagram with your creations.  I’m thankful to have readers like you and wish you all a Happy Thanksgiving -fill those tummies and get some relaxation in this coming week!

 

Nashville Bachelorette Party

In less than two weeks one my little sisters will be getting married [insert wide eyed emoji face] -holy cow, say what?! I couldn’t be more excited for her as she found a good one. Since I can’t seem to put together words for the speech I need to give at the reception I might as well blog about the bachelorette party in Nashville instead, right? Close to the same thing? Hannah, the bride, is super laid back, but probably won’t let me sub this for the speech…sigh.  Love ya sis!

Anyhow, Nashville. I. Love. Nashville. Having only been twice, my bachelorette party and Hannah’s bachelorette party, my list of things I still want to do there is quite long.  Unfortunately when I had my bachelorette party my 3 sisters were all too young to go. Fast forward to 2018 and it is a different story. While this specific post will not cater to everyone’s taste, I do think that Music City has got something for everyone. I highly recommend utilizing Nashville Guru as a resource if you are thinking about visiting, they break things down by neighborhood so you can get a feel for what exists outside of Broadway and the “touristy” stops.  Nashville’s visitor’s bureau is pretty comprehensive too, I utilized their site when I first started researching places to stay.

You gotta sleep somewhere and boy oh boy are there lots of options -many that can get pretty steep in price.  Hotels, Airbnbs, Hostels, Bed and Breakfasts…Camping.  After much debate between a hotel within walking to distance to Broadway vs. an Airbnb, I decided to go with an Airbnb that was just outside of downtown.  The Airbnb was cheaper and absolutely adorable, which made our own decorating job a lot easier.

Disclosure: Please note that I participate in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for me to contribute to my savings for a rainy day by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites.   
Jessie, the hostess, was as sweet as could be responding to all of my questions without blinking an eye.  I’m actually really upset with myself because I missed the window to write a review on Airbnb.  Our experience was so positive that I want to contact Airbnb to see if they will make an exception and still allow me to write a glowing review.  Nashville Bachelorette Party Welcome SignNashville Airbnb Nashville Airbnb

Bachelorette Party Favors

Bachelorette Party Favors

*Note, these bachelorette party favor baskets were not included with the Airbnb in case you were wondering 🙂 -but Jessie did have a bottle of wine waiting for us in the fridge.  I found these cute baskets at Walmart and then just filled them with fun things.  The bride got a sash in her’s, purchased from Lauren Lash Designs, which came in the cutest package.

The rest of the ladies got their tanks which you’ll see in later pictures.  We ordered the black ones through http://www.fairyseason.com and the bride’s was custom ordered through an Etsy shop.  It looks like Fairy Season no longer carries them, but check out their other graphic tanks and you might be able to find something.  We got them at an unbelievable deal with a coupon code, but were also nervous because they were coming from China.  They ended up working out just fine, but I will say the tags differed between some of the shirts and the sizes were not all identical (one of the smalls actually looked like a large).  In either case, you can get what looks to be an identical version off Amazon too…
 I found the shot glasses and the Detox face masks at T.J. Maxx while all of the other items you can just grab at the store (Voss water, Starbucks Espresso, Mini Champagne bottles, and gum).

Bachelorette Party Favors

With 10 girls we had plenty of sleeping space; there were king beds in every room and the oversized couches downstairs were very comfortable as well.  We didn’t even have to get out the air mattresses.  Nashville AirbnbNashville Airbnb Nashville Airbnb Nashville Airbnb Nashville AirbnbAnother bonus was the available counter space that we had to get ready…with 10 girls that is a serious highlight.  You won’t get that at a hotel.  *Note -the house was filled with white towels, but there is a charge should there be makeup residue left on any of them.  This is made clear via signs that Jessie has left on the countertops, accompanied by complimentary makeup remover wipes.  -Just to make sure you have yourself covered -bring a big pack along for all the gals to share! Nashville Airbnb Nashville Airbnb

Nashville Airbnb

Nashville Airbnb

I’m no professional photographer so if my pictures above haven’t convinced you that this is a gem of a find, check out the video tour -seriously, how often do you get to preview the place you are going to stay like this?  I was assured by Jessie that the area was safe and got that vibe from other reviewers; however, when you look it up on Google Maps it may make you feel a little skeptical -I was.  I’m telling you all now -we felt very safe and just know that the pictures on Google Maps are out of date.  There are now similar homes populated all around Jessie’s (neighbors to the left were also very friendly) and some that are still going up.  I would live in one of these in a heartbeat!  There are also a handful of cute restaurants within walking distance that we did not take advantage of but probably should have in hindsight…next time!  So my advice is to check out the Airbnb options if you don’t mind taking an Uber of Lyft, there are all sorts of price ranges.  If you’d rather a hotel, check out one of the 2 links in the beginning of this post to get the ball running.

We stayed in Nashville Friday-Sunday and our first stop on Friday night was actually on top of one of the city’s hotels, The Westin Nashville.  For ease of reading, I’m going to list out our most notable stops below.

L27 Rooftop Lounge
Swanky rooftop lounge with an indoor and outdoor area, 27 levels up.
I was debating between L27, L.A. Jackson at the Thompson Hotel, and Rare Bird at the Noelle Hotel to kick off the night with something a little different.  The deciding factor was that L27 took 2 hour cabana reservations for parties of 10 or more in the outdoor area by their rooftop pool ($300 minimum spend -I include this info because I read some reviews about people being upset by this so just know that up front).  Of course, it started pouring 20 minutes before our reservation.  We showed up regardless and somehow managed to grab seating for all of us inside (no minimum there).  The rain stopped and we snapped a couple pictures outside too.

L27 Rooftop Lounge

The Westin Nashville

AJ’s Good Time Bar
Alan Jackson’s joint, a place to get your karaoke on.  There was a live band playing on the first floor, I remember jamming out to Wagon Wheel, but we probably spent most of our time on the 2nd floor singing along with fellow karaokers (if that is not a word, I just made it one).  We had some “serious” singers up there and then there was the girl who fell down and dropped the mic -not in our party to clarify.  Nonetheless, we belted out Lit’s My Own Worst Enemy and of course, sounded amazing doing so.

Tootsie’s Orchid Lounge
Can you really go to Broadway without stopping at the iconic Tootsie’s?  Nah, not if you want the Broadway experience.  This place is typically jam-packed if you end up here at the end of the night, you have to be okay with limited personal space, but the live music is so fun!

The Flipside
12 South – look this area up if you aren’t familiar with it, you can spend a weekend just exploring this stylish neighborhood.  The Flipside is a cute, retro diner that we popped into mid-Saturday morning for a couple brunchy drinks.  We had a reservation here too, it was one of the few places that I found allowing for reservations when I wasn’t sure if we’d be eating as well.  Originally I had us booked at the City Winery (their mimosa pictures looked a-m-a-z-i-n-g), but when I called to confirm, the lady I spoke with said I couldn’t make reservations if we weren’t also going to eat.  (I made casseroles on Friday night at like 4 AM as I got heckled by the girls about throwing random things into them -I’ll link those recipes here at a later date -they did turn out despite what we all predicted in the wee hours of Friday morning). The Flipside Nashville

In any case – The Flipside was a win and I’d go back again.  I made the reservations via email through Libby and she was friendly as can be.  We half wondered if our waiter was a little high, whether he was or not, he did a great job.  Flipside runs a special of 2 for 1 bellinis, mimosas, bloody mary’s, and sangria on Saturdays and if souped up bloody mary’s are your thing then you are in the right place…click here for proof.  They also serve items like platters of a 1/2 pound of bacon or AM Tots…so the casseroles weren’t an end all be all. Anyhow, adorable place -they have the floor length, garage type windows that open up, it is worth at least an hour of your time.

The Flipside Nashville

Jack’d Up Truck
Two words – Monster. Truck….combined with a torrential downpour -Rain is a Good Thing!  If you aren’t a country music fan that sentence probably reads terribly, but if you are, you got me!  We hopped on this baby with the sun shining and about 20 minutes into our ride saw that rain was a coming.  Our driver (A+ by the way), got us to cover just before the rain started to pour down.  Jack’d Up Nashville

Winners Bar and Grill or Loser’s Bar 
He stopped us right outside of two bars: Winner’s and Loser’s Bar.  We went with Loser’s because the door guy was friendly and we heard about the Adult Capri Suns.  Yes, these do exist.  Loser’s gave us cover from the rain just long enough for us to decide that we wanted to embrace the big drops that showed no sign of leaving.  Luckily there was no lightening or this wouldn’t have been an option.  Believe it or not, this ended up being the highlight of the trip and an experience that I can confidently say none of us will forget.  When the ride ended the sun was shining and we were ringing out our hair, dumping water out of our shoes, and wiping smeared makeup from our faces…on a high, feeling happy as can be. You get the right group of people together and this is a must -rain or shine!  Alternate options:  Nashville Party Barge, Pontoon Saloon, Nashville Tractor, Nashville Party Wagon, Honky Tonk Party Express, Nashville Pedal Tavern, Sprocket Rocket, Country Music Crawler, and Nashville’s Party Porch.Loser’s Bar in Nashville

Saint Añejo
Yummy Mexican food, snazzy margaritas, and a stylish atmosphere -we had dinner reservations here Saturday night, but apparently their brunch is pretty good too. Thanks to one of the gals in our party I looked into this after she spoke highly of Tavern’s brunch and mentioned that the people that ran Tavern ran multiple other restaurants/bars.  I think it is safe to say that any of M Street’s joints are worth while.

Saint Añejo

Flying Saucer Draught Emporium
We wanted to try and walk from Saint Añejo to Broadway and Flying Saucer was about a half way point so we decided to stop in.  If you like craft beer and low key, this place is for you.  They have multiple locations outside of Nashville as well. Flying Saucer Draught Emporium

Luke’s 32 Bridge
We made our way to Broadway to finish off the rest of our night with some dancing.  Winding through the crowded street we didn’t really have an exact plan in mind, but were looking to scope out one of the many locations that are now owned by country stars…Jason Aldean’s Kitchen and Rooftop BarDierks Bentley’s Whiskey Row Nashville, FGL House, or Luke’s 32 Bridge.  We found our way to Luke’s and had an absolute blast.  A six floor establishment (yes, 6), we spent a small chunk of our time on the first level with the live band and then the majority of our time up top with the DJ who was AMAZING.  I wish us girls all woulda been back for the free street concert that Luke just put on for the Grand Opening, how fun was that I bet?!Luke’s 32 Bridge Luke’s 32 Bridge Luke’s 32 Bridge Luke’s 32 Bridge Luke’s 32 Bridge

So there ya have it, 2 nights and a day in Nashville for a girls getaway.  Hopefully this gives ya some ideas for your next trip, whether you are going for a bachelorette party or not.  These ideas do not even put a dent in the list of what Nashville has to offer, but it sure is a start.  Get yourself some good company to top it off.  I was lucky to get to go with such a great group of girls, most importantly the beautiful bride to be!

That’s my kind of night!

PS – I didn’t even hit on outfit ideas in this post and lord knows I know that is one of the most critical things so check back later this week for some inspiration!

DIY Mini Confetti Pumpkins

Cozied up with a hot cup of cider and an oversized hoodie, the smell of a bonfire outside, and pumpkins galore.  Fall is my favorite season hands down.  It seems to last about 1/2 as long as winter, fall, and spring but I’ll take what I can get!

Last weekend I took Jack out to Curtis Orchard & Pumpkin Patch for our first orchard/pumpkin experience of fall.  I’m not sure which of us was more excited and I hope it always stays that way.  I say first experience knowing that we will make a trip to Negangard Pumpkin Patch for our actual pumpkins -BEST PRICES around!  Added bonus -family is good people.  Stops at The Great Pumpkin Patch in Arthur and Rader Family Farms in Normal could be on the list too.  Fair Oaks Farms in Indiana is another place I’d like to add to our list, but not sure if our busy month of October will allow for that one or not.  Each place has a reason for standing out from the crowd.

In my opinion the cider and the doughnuts are what make Curtis Orchard stand out, I’ve been a loyal customer of these items for as long as I can remember.  We added a few mini, white pumpkins to our list last weekend too or as Jack would say “punkins” :-).  Pumpkin carving, painting, decorating, whatever you may choose to do can get messy, and even messier when you have little kiddos wanting to help (as they should).  I like to try different things so I went on a small little hunt for something easy to do with kids and alas I came across Kelly’s Confetti Pumpkins on Cloudy Day Gray and fell in love.  They are so colorful!  Not your typical fall colors but sometimes ya gotta venture out more.

DIY Confetti Mini Pumpkins
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You can buy pre-made confetti like this…or this…or this.  Type something related to “confetti” in the search bar below and you’ll get tons of options to choose from.
While pre-made confetti would have been much more convenient we wanted to do the pumpkins day of -so, we made the confetti ourselves.  I grabbed some tissue paper from the Dollar Tree, similar to this.  You are also going to need some Mod Podge, which the Dollar Tree might actually have mini containers of if you make a stop there.  I had intended to use a circle punch to cut the tissue paper into little circles but turns out I forgot I threw it away a few months ago.  Maybe it worked out for the best, I’m not sure if tissue paper would be too thin to cut clean or not?!  Nothing a regular scissors can’t do though -you’ll note from the photo below that I did not go about this in any neat manner.  I just randomly folded the tissue paper and cut circles into it.  Don’t worry if your circles aren’t a perfect circle.  Mine were far from it, but you can’t really tell in the final product.

DIY Confetti Mini Pumpkins

To get the tissue paper confetti to stick to the pumpkin, you’ll need to paint a thin coat of Mod Podge onto the pumpkin.  I did this part and then the boys stuck the confetti onto the pumpkin.  While working on his pumpkin, Chase said “mommy, this project of yours was sure a good idea” -so there you have it, kid approved!

DIY Confetti Mini Pumpkins

Once all of the confetti is placed onto the pumpkin, let them dry.  Once dried you are gonna paint one more coat of the Mod Podge over the top -this flattens the confetti out and seals it.  Don’t worry if it looks like you have painted a coat of white paint over the top, it should dry clear.  Just make sure to even the coat out as smooth as possible.

DIY Confetti Mini Pumpkins

Once the second layer of Mod Podge is dried you’ve got some cheerful pumpkins to display :-). There are endless options for how you could design these whether that be mixing up your color choices or using a different shape from a circle.  I’d love to see what you come up with if you give this a shot!

DIY Confetti Mini Pumpkins

Aren’t they just so playful?!  Go on now and try them out, it’ll brighten your day :-).

 

Grandma Bartz’s Glazed Apple Slice Bars

It’s 10AM and she’s ready for dessert, to top off the doughnut she had for breakfast an hour or two earlier with a cup of coffee.  My sweet Grandma Bartz, a woman with a heart of gold.  At 96 she swears that sugary treats are one of her secrets to a long and healthy life.  Naturally, this must be why I am the way I am, lurking for a dessert after every meal that I have and for snacks in between!  It has recently dawned on me that I think I get my itch to bake from her too, she is an AMAZING baker.  The smell of her homemade bread -omg!  And her banana cream pie -has me scraping my plate clean every time.  Another one of my all time favorites that she bakes are her Glazed Apple Bars which I’ll be sharing with you in this post!  Despite the 90+ degree temps we’ve been sweating through this week, fall is just around the corner and these are the perfect dessert to whip up for party or get together.  We’ve had a stressful week at work…only to increase through Friday…the office needed something.  I made these last night and brought them in for some emotional eating -sometimes ya just gotta!  Note: it is perfectly acceptable to bake these up and hog them for yourself at home too!   

Grandma Bartz's Glazed Apple Bars

Before I proceed with the recipe…can I just tell you that I bought two bags of apples at our local grocery store last night only to get home and realize 45 minutes later that I had left them there?!  Good news is I found out the dough holds up well while waiting extra long for the apples to be prepped :-).

There are 3 components to this recipe: 1) the crust, 2) the filling, and 3) the glaze.  I’m breaking the ingredients up accordingly below.

Crust
1 Cup Shortening
1 TBSP Sugar
1 TSP Salt
2 Cups Flour
1/3 Cup Milk
1 Egg Yolk (beaten)

Filling
8 Medium McINtosh Apples (sliced)
1 Cup Sugar
1 TBSP Flour
Cinnamon (to sprinkle on top of the above ingredients once mixed)
Butter (this is for on top of 2nd layer of dough)
Egg White (this is for on top of 2nd layer of dough)

Frosting
2 Cups Powdered Sugar
2 TBSP Butter
1.5 TSP Vanilla
3 TBSP Milk
1 TSP Cinnamon

Start by mixing the crust ingredients together to form your dough, I use a standup mixer to do this.  My 2 year old helped me with the dough and thought his handprint was pretty cool…me, I think it is adorable :-).  He’s so little, yet getting so big at the same time!Making dough with kids

Anyhow!  After you have your dough formed in a ball, roll it out with a rolling pin.  You are  going to half it; 1 half is going to be the bottom of your bars and the other half is eventually going to go on top.  I used a 9×13 pan, my grandma uses a cookie sheet.  I also put parchment paper down in the pan before pressing my first layer of dough into it. This is not necessary, but makes the bars less messy.  Just use some cooking spray if you opt out of the parchment paper.  Set your second layer of dough to the side while you mix up your filling.

Slice your apples up into very thin slices and then mix together all filling ingredients in a bowl.  Once mixed, spread the filling out onto the 1st layer of dough that you put in the pan.  (Yes – I made 2 batches!)  Sprinkle some cinnamon over the top and a little bit of brown sugar if ya want. Sliced apples for apple bars

Then spread your second layer of dough on top of your filling.  Brush the top of your dough with butter, beaten egg white, and a little cinnamon.  No need to measure this, just use as much as you want.

Bake at 400 degrees for 15 minutes and then reduce heat to 350 degrees for 45 minutes.  Remove from oven and spread with powdered sugar glaze.  For your glaze, literally just mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl and it will be ready to go.  Then eat, eat, eat away!  These are so yummy, the perfect amount of sweet without being too overpowering.  Plus the apples make them healthy 😉 …this is a joke, but hey -some fruit is better than no fruit, am I right?!Grandma Bartz's Glazed Apple Bars

The perfect amount of sweetness also makes them a little dangerous…it is easy to eat a lot of them without feeling sick on sweets right away….Worth It!!!

Grandma Bartz’s Glazed Apple Bars

Hope ya’ll enjoy this family recipe!!!