September 30, 2014

In the Kitchen: Double Chocolate Cookies



My love for baking started early on. Mom and I would spend afternoons in the kitchen whipping up sweet concoctions. Over the last few years I've slowed down my baking habit (probably best for my waistline), but every now and then I get a craving and just can't help myself. These double chocolate cookies are a favorite: intensely chocolate and sweet. They are easy to make and always a crowd pleaser. The hazelnuts add a nice texture, but you can always leave them out. 

Double Chocolate Cookies 

8 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened 
1/2 cup brown sugar 
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
1 egg 
1 tablespoon vanilla extract 
1/3 cup dark cocoa powder 
1 cup flour 
1 teaspoon baking soda 
1/2 teaspoon salt 
1/2 cup white chocolate chips 
1/2 cup chopped hazelnuts 

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 

In the bowl of an electric mixer, cream together butter and sugars until light and fluffy (about five minutes). Add egg and vanilla extract and mix well. Slowly add cocoa powder, and mix until combined. 

Stir together flour, baking soda, and salt. Slowly add to butter mixture in two batches. Mix until just combined. Stir in white chocolate chips and chopped hazelnuts. 

Place cookie dough on a parchment lined cookie sheet in 1 inch balls. Pat them out with your hands so they are slightly flat. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Cool on baking rack. Serve slightly warm. 





September 26, 2014

Style: White Sweatshirt


I'm slowly transitioning into my fall wardrobe. The cooler weather this week had me bring out my favorite J.Crew booties and my  new Anthropologie Sweatshirt. The sweatshirt trend is one of my favorites: hello comfort! I picked this sweatshirt up a few weeks ago and have already worn it multiple times. It is great for transitional weather, and can be dressed up with a simple flared skirt. 


September 25, 2014

Style: Windowpane Prints

one // two // three // four

This trend isn't necessarily new. Windowpane prints have been around for ages, but I am loving this graphic print for the upcoming months. You can pair it with almost any color, and it plays nicely when layered as a set. I have my eyes on this Topshop Dress. It would look great with sweater coat and booties- the perfect look to ease into fall. What prints are you eyeing this season?




Shop a few more of my favorites


September 24, 2014

In the Kitchen: Pear & Walnut Muffins


I did something unusual this weekend: I went hiking. Since moving to Charlottesville I've preferred to view the mountains from the valley (most likely at a winery or brewery), but I promised Will I would give hiking a try this fall. So this weekend we the back trail of Humpback Rock. It was steep and at times a little rocky, but the mountain views and fresh air made me ready for the seasonal change. The leaves on top of the mountains were beginning to change, and you could see chimneys putting off smoke in the valley. I'm still savoring the last haul of tomatoes from the farmer's market, but I'm glad to see apples and pears coming into season again. 

Pear & Walnut Muffins 

2 pears, shredded 
1/2 cup walnuts, chopped 
1 cup flour 
1/2 cup whole wheat flour 
12 cup oats 
2 tsp. baking powder 
1/2 tsp. salt 
1 tsp. vanilla extract 
1 cup buttermilk 
2 eggs 
1/2 cup brown sugar 
1/2 cup sugar 
1/2 tsp. cinnamon 
1/4 tsp. nutmeg 

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. 

Combine flours, oats, baking powder, and salt in a large bowl. Set aside. 

Melt butter in a small bowl. In a larger bowl combine vanilla extract, buttermilk, eggs, sugars, and spices. Mix in melted butter. Stir to combine. 

Slowly pour buttermilk mixture into flour. Then add pears and chopped walnuts. Gently mix together (do not overmix or the batter will be tough). Pour batter almost to the top of a greased muffin tin. 

Bake for 20 minutes. Cool on baking rack. Serve slightly warm. 


September 18, 2014

Style: Midday Skirt


I was originally hesitant of midi skirts. I was afraid they would overwhelm my petite frame. And yes, some do look a bit ridiculous, but I've found a slim version actually elongates my figure. I picked up this Madewell skirt on sale while in Charleston a few weeks ago. It's become my go-to piece for any occasion: work, farmer's market trips, and cocktail hour. I'm looking forward to wearing it with booties and knits as the temperatures drop, but for now I'll continue to savor sandal and t-shirt weather.  




September 17, 2014

In the Kitchen: Pasta Primavera


 Fall produce is starting to pop up at the farmer's market. Apples, pears, and leafy greens are starting to make their way to the forefront, but summer favorites like squash and tomatoes are luckily still available. Since I can still get my hands on a few of my summertime favorites I'm putting them to good use with simple pastas and salads. A lingering dinner with a glass of wine is just what I need during this subtle seasonal change.

Pasta Primavera 

2 yellow squash, diced 
1 red bell pepper, diced 
2 tomatoes, diced 
1/2 yellow onion, diced 
4 garlic cloves, minced 
2 tablespoons olive oil 
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes 
1/4 cup cream 
1 pound bowtie pasta 
salt & pepper 
1/4 cup fresh basil 

Bring a large pot of water to a boil. When the water boil, add pasta and cook according to package.  

Place a large skillet over medium-high heat. Once hot, add onions and cook until soft. Add garlic and red pepper flakes and cook for until garlic softens (should only take a minute). Move the onions, garlic, and red pepper to one side of the skillet and add squash and red peppers. Allow the squash and peppers to sear some in the skillet before stirring. Cook for about 5 minutes until softened. 

Check the pasta. When it is close to al dente, but not just finished, add the tomatoes to the skillet. The tomatoes should cook down slightly to make a sauce. 

Drain the pasta, reserving one cup of pasta water. Immediately add pasta to the skillet along with 1/2 cup reserved pasta water. Let the water deglaze the pan while coating the pasta with vegetable sauce. 

Finally, add cream, salt, and pepper. Adjust seasoning to taste. Bring mixture to a simmer. If the mixture is too dry and more pasta water. Remove from heat, serve warm with fresh basil.  







September 16, 2014

Style: Black Booties


And just like that it is fall in Charlottesville. We've had a serious drop in temperatures over the last few days, and I am starting to layer in my fall clothing. I bought a pair of high heeled ankle boots last season, but I'm loving the pointy toed versions that are out this year. They would look great with skirts now, and cropped trousers later. What are you eyeing for fall?

September 11, 2014

73 Questions with Anna Wintour


Like many young women this week, I have my eyes glued to Instagram. New York Fashion Week is quickly coming to an end, but I've enjoy following along with a few of my favorite designers and bloggers. Thanks to social media I almost felt like right there. I love this video Vogue posted of Anna Wintour yesterday. I hope if I'm ever in a similar situation I'm as quick on my feet as her. 



September 10, 2014

In the Kitchen: Pesto


Will is the gardener in our household. It's not that I have a brown thumb, but he is definitely superior. This summer, he bough giant basil seeds (yes, that is a real thing), and a few turned out bigger than my hand. So, what do you do with an abundance of basil? Make pesto all summer long, of course. I love a simple pesto pasta, but it tastes great on sandwiches, pizzas, and crostini too. Plus, you can double this recipe, and put the rest in the freezer to save a bitterly cold winter day. 

Pesto : 

2 cups basil, packed 
1/4 cup pine nuts, toasted 
1 garlic clove
1 tablespoon lemon juice 
salt & pepper 
1/4 cup olive oil 

Place all ingredients, except for olive oil, in a food processor. Pulse a few times, and then slowly add olive oil while machine is running. Scrape down sides if ended, and blend until desired consistency. I like mine a little thicker. Beware of over blending because basil will turn brown. 






September 9, 2014

September Favorites

ONE Miniskirts are making a comeback, and I have this checkered number on my radar. // TWO This volumizing hair tonic is my new savor: great lift without the dryness. // THREE I'm putting away all my statement necklaces in favor of simple pieces this season. // FOUR This linen-cotton blend sweater would be great for in-between weather. // FIVE A faux leather midi-skirt for under $130. // SIX Nars released their coveted multiple stick in a new array of fall colors. // SEVEN These Tibi mules are majorly splurge worthy. // EIGHT Classic tortoiseshell frames in a fresh round shape. // NINE I'm due for a wallet update, hello 3.1 Phillip Lim... // TEN J.Crew released their own fragrance collection this month. // ELEVEN When the temperatures start dropping all I want is a movie night on the couch with this comfy blanket. 

September 3, 2014

In the Kitchen: Guacamole


What do you make on a 95 degree day? Guacamole. It is easy and always delicious. Plus, it is always a welcomed side to tacos. I've been making guacamole since college, and have always used some variation of this recipe. Add in whatever you like, tomatoes are always a welcomed addition. One tip: do not skimp of the lime juice. Avocados need the acidity to balance out the fat. 

Guacamole:

2 avocados, diced 
1 lime 
1/4 cup diced red onion 
1 garlic clove, diced 
4 dashes hot sauce 
1/4 cup cilantro, minced 
salt & pepper 

Place diced avocados in a large bowl. Toss with the juice of one lime. Add in red onion, garlic, hot sauce, and cilantro. Mash to desired consistency. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with tortilla chips.  

September 2, 2014

End of Summer Playlist


Summer's not over until I say it is over. There are still a few weeks left until September 22nd so I'm soaking up every last moment. There are still burgers to be grilled, shorts to be worn, and summer playlists to listen to. So, if you're not ready to let go of summer like me, kick back with a frosty beverage and enjoy these last few sultry days. 

CLICK HERE to listen 
 

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