St. Patrick’s Day Fun! (and Bailey’s Brownies)

St. Patrick's Day Street Festival

Happy St. Patrick’s day everyone! I hope you are able to let your inner Irish out (hey, everyone’s Irish on March 17!) and celebrate. You know I love any good reason to celebrate and dress, cook, decorate with a theme.

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Ryan and I celebrated with friends at a local street festival. We donned our brightest green outfits and took in some Irish music and dancing and of course drinks. It was so lovely to be outside and in the sunshine. Before we headed to the festival we enjoyed some drinks and snacks at home, including these fun Bailey’s Brownies

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(bonus: they are a weight watchers recipe! Scroll to the bottom for the recipe). The festival provided ample people watching, good laughs, and the oppurtunity to dance in the middle of one of our cities busiest streets. Sláinte!

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Low-Fat Bailey’s Brownies

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Ingredients:

  • 1 cup  flour
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • Dash of salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened applesauce
  • 2 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3/4 cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/4 cup Baileys Irish Cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • About 2/3 cup chopped white chocolate
  • 1/2 teaspoon canola oil
  • Green food dye

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease an 8 x 8 glass baking dish with nonstick cooking spray.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt.
  3. Beat the butter, sugar, eggs, Baileys, vanilla and applesauce together. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix to combine. Stir in 1/3 cup white chocolate chunk pieces.
  4. Pour the batter into the greased pan and smooth the top with a spatula.
  5. Bake for about 18 minutes. Let cool completely.
  6. Once brownies are completely cool, heat remaining white chocolate in a microwave safe dish for about 1 minute, stirring after 30 seconds. Add oil to the chocolate and stir. Add food dye.
  7. Glaze the brownies with the green white chocolate.

One Brownie – 4 Weight Watchers Points. (makes 16 brownies)

Today we woke up to another blanket of snow. (Just when all the old snow melted!) Hopefully this is the last. Spring IS coming. How are you (or did you) celebrating Saint Patrick’s Day?

xoxo Katie

A Simple New Year’s Eve

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Happy 2014!

The past two days have been full of countless toasts, hopes, and inspirations for the New Year. We had a blast ringing in 2014 at one of our favorite places – our home. I honestly think that last time I celebrated New Years at home was back when I was in high school. We all know I like a good party and any excuse to drink champagne and wear sequins.

In the past I always wanted to try new things on New Years – I’ve done the all-inclusive dance parties, the warehouse parties, the house parties, the gayborhood bar hopping, the ski lodge trip, and the tropical island trip. Most have been disappointments (oh except for the tropical island one – last years New Years in Puerto Rico was unforgettable). Yes, I have fun memories with girlfriends but usually the bad outweighs the good. There is too much stress over what to do, what to wear, who to kiss at midnight, and how long it takes to get a drink at the bar. The night usually ended in some combination of exhaustion, being broke,  tears, and regret.  How is that any way to start a New Year?

This year I switched it up a bit. Back in the Fall we decided to spend New Years Eve at home with just the two of us. The fall was a busy time traveling around seeing friends. We wanted to wake up in our own bed and have the night to ourselves. Simplify – one thing I plan to achieve this year.

I rearranged our furniture and made it so we would spend the night eating and drinking upon a huge pile of blankets and pillows in our living room surrounded my candles and strung up twinkle lights. It converted out little home into a cozy, romantic, love nest for the night. We dressed up a bit, made some favorite appetizers, and toasted the night away.

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We eventually changed into sweats and watched a few episodes of Breaking Bad (yeah we’re a little late to that party!) before the clock struck midnight. I was so happy to use our Champagne flutes from our wedding and as we clinked our glasses after midnight we shared our hopes for the New Year. We facetimed with family and were in bed by 1:30. (On a side note, my parents were up partying until 2:30 …hmmm how things change!)

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On New Year’s Day we hosted my family for the traditional New Years Dinner. We loved welcoming everyone into our home and feasting together. It was a great way to welcome 2014.

I may just be getting old, but I loved staying in together.

Happy New Year! The best is yet to come!

xoxo katie

Big Thanks and Little Thanks

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I’m currently trekking through the rain and snow, making the drive from PA to western NC for Thanksgiving at my brother and sister-in-law’s home. I’m so thankful to be able to take time off from work to spend quality time with family and see a new part of the US.

As I will be staying in a remote cabin – away from it all, I will be taking a little Thanksgiving break from posting. So, I wanted to take time today to express my gratitude.

Of course I’m thankful for all the obvious things like my family, my husband, my friends, Maggie, my job, home, and health. I am truly blessed with a beautiful life. You may say that I want to give  BIG thank you to all of these blessings.

But what about the little thank you’s?

Here is a list of a few things lesser thing that I am also thankful for. Parts of my life that I may usually take for granted. Smaller things that may not seem worth noting but things that in the end add to the beauty and greatness of my life.

1. There is this one part of my daily drive home where the sky is always breathtaking – no matter what time of day it is, it always catches my eye. I always say to myself, tomorrow I will pull over to take a picture – and I haven’t yet. I’m grateful to live in such a beautiful part of this country.

2. Warm morning cuddles with Maggie. She makes it both easier to get up but harder to get out of bed.

3. Christmas decorations – most importantly the ones that have been passed down to me from my grandmother or mother and the ones from my childhood. Each holds its own story.

4. Warm boots and scarves – keeps me cozy at the office

5. The fact that I get to see my mom almost every day and my dad at least twice a week. I’m fortunate to know my adults as people, rather than just parents. I’m glad to have them as friends.

6. Scented candles that fill up my home with warm fuzzy feelings – makes evenings alone seem not so lonely

7. The fact that Ryan washes the dishes and cleans the bathrooms without complaint. Even if I DID do these two chores, he’d do the over again because my effort wouldn’t be up to par. I haven’t cleaned the kitchen or the bathroom since we started living together a year ago. I cook, he cleans.

8. Red lipstick that brightens my day and makes me feel more like a woman, even if inside I feel like a slobby troll.

9. Wine, peanut butter, chocolate (hopefully those two things together), apples, nachos, cheese, avocado, cosmos, ice cream, cashews, macaroni and cheese, crab cakes, and chex mix.

10. You! I’m so grateful for this blog and you readers. It still blows my mind that anyone would want to read. I love connecting with all of you, making new friends, and commiserating over this crazy world we live in. I’m so appreciative to have a place to come to every day, a place where I can say my thoughts, be creative, and feel at home. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Have a Happy Thanksgiving!

If you want to follow along on my trip to Asheville connect with me on Twitter or Instagram

xoxo katie