Holy Moly, it's Friday. Glorious Friday. I hope you've reveled in this day. And since it's still technically Friday, let's discuss some of my latest loves.
1. Lemon Water: yes, hot water with lemon juice. It may be trendy, but it's a totally legitimate habit to partake in. I started drinking a mug of hot lemon water every morning about a month ago. I'd read a lot about this simple idea and there was basically no reason no to. A quick Google search will yield plenty of positives for you. (In case you need some convincing, look here or here.) While I can't say scientifically that it's improving anything for/in me, but I can say I do feel better. I start the day with it and wait at least 15 minutes before eating or drinking anything else.
I gave up my beloved Diet Pepsi for Lent which left me yearning for a boost in the AM; this gives it to me. Seriously! We recently did a long weekend trip in California. Though I had good citrus at my fingertips, I didn't have my daily lemon water dose, and by the end of the trip I was feeling incredibly sluggish. I totally attribute it to the break in my routine. Now that I'm back on the wagon, my pep has returned. There are also a few other benefits I've noticed that bring us a bit too close to TMI territory for me, but think digestion, bloating, etc.
Try to add this to your morning ritual. Just do it.
2. Sally Hansen Miracle Gel Nail Polish: for many a year, I painstakingly painted my nails every few days. Then I went through a phase of acrylic nails and then shellac. But as we're trying to save and life gets busier, I have a difficult time to justifying and fitting it in. Then pre-California trip, I stumbled across this at Target. I am usually doubtful about claims of "long wear" polish. BUT. BUT. This polish does a pretty fair job living up to the purpose. It paints well and wears well. My first application did last 7 solid days before chipping. (that's through travel, hiking in CA, cleaning, and cooking!) Paint happy and don't worry for a bit.
3. This. This quote. I LOVE IT. Profoundly simple. Profoundly accurate.
I came across this on Pinterest (it's on my board among many others.)
When life gets chaotic or when we're not seeing expected results from our efforts, let's all remember this. We are our own best advocate. We're our own best champion. Go ahead, be your biggest fan.
4. Shutterfly Pet Tags: our pups were in need of an update. So when my coworker sent me a link for a free pet tag from Shutterfly, I jumped on it! Now, Shag and Gart are stylin'. Check them out and order your own. (Plus they have lots of options and you can customize to your heart's desire.)
Now, let us think all things Easter. I know it's Good Friday and there's not much time to dally. But fear not, I've got two treats you can whip up in no time, flat.
First up, BUNNY BAIT! The name itself is adorable. And it's gobbled up quickly. Feel free to customize it to your bunnies' tastes. (And, I must confess, I didn't eat any of this so I can't vouch for the taste. I am not a popcorn fan, but my coworkers said it was a win.)
This recipe isn't entirely original but I didn't have one I based it off of. There are many versions floating around Pinterest so you can certainly find one for your reference if you'd like exact measurements.
1 bag microwave popcorn (probably not buttered, but use whatever you have on hand)
Pretzels (I used broken up pretzel chips)
M&Ms (festive colors always welcomed)
Peanut Butter Chips
Half of block of Vanilla Almond Bark
1. Line a cookie sheet with parchment or foil.
2. Pop popcorn according to package directions. Let cool.
3. Spread popcorn on cookie sheet. Add Chex. Add pretzels. Mix around until distributed evenly.
4. Sprinkle peanut butter chips.
5. Melt almond bark in microwave safe bowl, approximately 1-2 minutes, or until smooth. Watch it and stir after first minute.
6. Drizzle melted bark over mixture on cookie sheet.
7. Sprinkle with sprinkles.
8. Stir until well combined
9. Let it set on cookie sheet. Cover or place in a dish.
Chocolate Covered "Carrots"
1 pint strawberries, rinsed and dried
3-4 blocks of vanilla almond bark
Orange food coloring
1. Melt almond bark in microwave safe bowl, about 1 and half minutes.
2. Add about 1 and half teaspoons of shortening in the bark. (This helps keep the coating smooth and shiny.)
3. Squirt a few drops of food coloring. Mix to desired color.
4. Dip a single strawberry into the coating. Set aside on parchment.
5. Repeat until all strawberries are coated.
6. Let dry. Store in fridge.
These treats are nothin' fancy, but they're pretty festive, and they're pretty yummy. Hope they bring you some joy and satisfaction.
May your Easter weekend be full of fun, family, and blessings!
Until next time--
Sunshine + sand + some of my favorite people: the perfect equation for a super vacation. We recently had the privilege to spend seven, yes 7!, glorious days in Treasure Island, FL. It was terrific!
But before I share the details, I must say I AM SORRY for my absence from my dear little blog. It's been a bit hectic around here. I was once told, you don't actually ever take vacation, you just rearrange time. If that isn't true, i don't know what is. I felt like I worked more to prepare to be gone and then I've been playing catch-up since we've got back home sweet home. Now I don't expect pity, because I got a killer tan (though I judiciously applied Bullfrog SPF 50) and some extra sleep between the two, but I wanted to acknowledge that I'd been neglecting Born Daily.
I will make it up to you in the best way I know how: all kinds of goodies! Coming soon, my pretties, coming soon... And as a token of making good on this promise, I give you the sunniest dessert I know: my very favorite lemon bars. I don't change a thing in this recipe. They're tried and true-- ooey, gooey, tart, and buttery. Make them for an instant break from reality.
Now, the details of our sunny getaway:
This trip was semi-spur of the moment. By semi, I mean we talked about it around Christmastime and then didn't revisit the thought until the end of May. But it worked out great. In the planning process, we secured surprisingly, decently cheap airfare from Allegiant and stumbled upon a quaint beach cottage, just the right size, through VRBO. We went with most of the hubby's family immediate family (we missed dear Ashton, Henrique, and our sweet niece) but had extra time with his dad (Tim), mom (Tamara), sister (Brinkley), and brother (Gage), plus Brinkley's other half (Michael).
It was our first test as a married couple with my in-laws/family and I think we all survived and thrived. Two thumbs up! It was nice to connect outside of our normal settings and enjoy the company.
But instead of muddling along in words, let's live the trip again via photos! I hope these images give you a quick escape and brighten your day. I know I'll be revisiting them whenever I need a dose of peace and Vitamin D.
Notice: lots of pictures ahead; your computer may load slowly.
People always talk about the life "phases" one experiences with age. You know the milestones: college, first jobs, first home, marriage, babies, etc... As I near the end of the twenties spectrum (two years and holding!), I feel fortunate to have seen and been a part of many of the phases. In fact, I think the latter two phases, marriage and babies, have been the mainstays for the last number of years. And, judging by all the announcements magneted to our fridge, the few years in age between Nicholas and I seem to have extended them. And honestly, I couldn't love that more. These occasions are filled with joy. Plus, they always warrant sweet treats.
Nicholas and I officially "met" at a mutual friend's wedding so we love a good matrimonial ceremony and celebration! And Nicholas is a total baby lover. Now me, eh, not so much. Mostly little ones make me anxious. Despite how "responsible" or nurturing I might be, I generally tend to prefer babes at arm's length. But as of late, many of my nearest and dearest have had or are having children and we were blessed with our much adored niece last March, so I am working on my complex.
This week, a favorite college friend welcomed her second wee one. R and her husband chose not to find out the gender so it was a great surprise when their baby girl was born on Saturday. Nicholas and I had the privilege of meeting precious Baby E tonight. Yes, I held her. And, we all survived!
During R's pregnancy, she limited her sugar intake and was craving all things lemon. Couple that with my personal struggle with visiting someone and showing up empty-handed. Enter mini lemon cheesecakes. Tart. Sweet. Small. Celebration-worthy. And, easy to make (bonus!).
Mini Lemon Cheesecakes with Gingergraham Crust
2/3 cup gingersnap cookie crumbs
1/2 cup graham cracker crumbs
4 tablespoons brown sugar
2 teaspoons lemon zest
pinch of salt
5 tablespoons butter, melted
16-ounces cream cheese, softened
4 tablespoons sour cream
2/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon lemon zest
Whipped cream (homemade, RediWhip, etc.)
Sprinkles or gingersnap crumbs
First things first, preheat oven to 350F and line 14 -16 cups of two muffin pans with your favorite festive paper liners.
Process gingersnap cookies and graham crackers in food processor (or do it old school and crush in a plastic ziptop bag with a rolling pin).
In a medium bowl, make the gingergraham crust. Mix together gingersnap and graham cracker crumbs, brown sugar, lemon zest and salt and stir to combine. . Pour melted butter over mixture and stir with a fork to moisten the crumbs.
Place a tablespoon (give or take) of crumb mixture in each of the prepared muffin cups and pack down into an even layer.
Cream together cream cheese, sour cream and sugar until smooth.
Beat in the eggs, vanilla extract and lemon juice. Stir in lemon zest.
Divide cheesecake mixture evenly into prepared muffin tins. Makes between 14-16 cheesecakes.
Bake for 20-25 minutes, until cheesecakes are set. (I baked mine for about 22 minutes.)
Allow to cool for 10 minutes in the muffin pan, then carefully transfer cheesecakes to a cooling rack. Cool completely before refrigerating.
The cheesecakes can be served at room temperature shortly after cooling, or they can be chilled for up to two or three days (my favorite!). If you're feeling fancy, garnish with whipped cream and a dash of sprinkles.
Recipe slightly adapted from Baking Bites.
Sweets in honor of sweet beautiful Baby E were a success! These are a perfect make-ahead spring or summer dessert to celebrate any phase, occasion, or reason. Make them soon.
Until next time! xo-
PS I promise to work on the quality of my photos...please bear with me as become "Kathy Kodak" :)