September 1, 2014

Blueberry Greek Yogurt Coffee Cake



Picture a cozy summer morning. You're still lounging around the house in your pajamas with a freshly brewed cup of coffee and the smell of warm cinnamon and lemon zest wafting through the house.

In just a few short minutes, the oven timer is going to go off and you'll be ready to indulge in a freshly baked cinnamon streusel topped coffee cake that is filled with juicy fresh blueberries.

If you like the sound of that, you're definitely going to need to try this classic recipe. This coffee cake has been jazzed up with a tiny hint of citrus and high protein greek yogurt to keep it moist and fluffy. I hope you are prepared for friends, neighbors, and family to beg you for the recipe, because this one is a crowd-pleaser!

//  Blueberry Greek Yogurt Coffee Cake  //
adapted from Two Peas & Their Pod


Ingredients:

- 2 cups flour
- 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 cup sugar
- zest of 1 lemon
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 2 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla 
- 1 cup plain greek yogurt ( I like Fage 0%)
- 1 cup blueberries


Cinnamon Streusel Filling/Crumb Topping:

- 3/4 cup dark brown sugar
- 3/4 cup flour
- 1 teaspoon cinnamon
- 1 stick unsalted butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt


Directions:

1) Preheat over to 350 degrees. Use cooking spray to grease an 8-inch square pan.

2) Combine the first 5 dry ingredients in a bowl and whisk together.

3) In a separate bowl, mix lemon zest and sugar until combined. Next, add butter to the sugar mixer and cream on medium for 3 minutes until the mixture is fluffy and smooth.

4) Add the eggs to the butter mixture one at a time and beat until well combined. Mix the greek yogurt and vanilla into the batter.

5) Now add the dry ingredients slowly until just combined (don't over mix). Carefully fold in fresh blueberries.

6) In order to make the cinnamon streusel filling and crumb topping, put sugar, flour, cinnamon, and salt into a bowl and lightly whisk until ingredients are well distributed. On a cutting board, slice stick of butter into small pea-sized chunks. Add butter to flour mixture and work it using your fingers until it reaches a crumb like consistency.

7) Pour half of the batter into the square pan and spread to all edges. Sprinkle half of the cinnamon streusel over the batter making sure it is covered evenly. Next, in small dollops add the remaining portion of batter on top of the crumb filling and lightly spread. Sprinkle remaining cinnamon streusel on top.

8) Place coffee cake on the middle rack and bake until golden. To ensure the middle is baked thoroughly, insert a toothpick into the center portion to see if it comes out clean - approximately 50 minutes. Allow coffee cake to cool down for 10 minutes, cut, and serve.


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.


Now grab a delicious cup of joe, kick up your fuzzy bunny slippers, and enjoy.

Bon Appetit!


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August 26, 2014

In Case You Need a Smile Today...

I hope this makes you giggle... I know I was chuckling away at my desk.
If only our future redheaded babes will be this awesome, life will be wildly entertaining.

 Watch this... you can thank me later! :)
(Hint: 50 seconds is where it starts to get great!)


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August 25, 2014

Mingle Monday Blog Link-up!

Good morning, friends!
I hope you had a fantastic and very relaxing weekend. Around the Evans house, we watched a little too much Prison Break, took a lot of cozy naps, and snuggled our Beastie. It was heavenly.

I'm looking forward to a great week and to catching up on many of your blogs (I'm so behind on reading!). Thanks for dropping by to link up your blog - I really hop you pass along the word about Mingle Monday today.

Please go say hi to some new bloggers and I hope you get a lot of new, friendly visitors. Enjoy!


 
    

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) You must share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or the Mingle Monday photo.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below and have FUN!
 
** Where would you like to see your blog go in the next year? **


________________________________________________________________________________________

Still proud to say that 100% of advertisement sponsorship proceeds go to my charity of choice, the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. There are dozens and dozens of Hope Lodges across the country that give cancer patients a free place to stay while out of town for cancer treatment - such a cool place! 

With just $10, you can get a month long ad and know that it is going to help real cancer patients and their families. So please join me in my fundraising effort by becoming a sponsor HERE!


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.

Happy Monday, party people!

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August 21, 2014

West Elm Hits KC + Great Finds

Hide yo' kids!
Hide yo' wife!
Hide yo'.... wallets?

West Elm is back on the Kansas City scene with a fury, setting up shop in the highly coveted Country Club Plaza area. Ever since the day my beloved home decor store closed it's doors at their original location, I have been praying that it would one day return to KC.

Well folks, today was the ribbon cutting ceremony and I was there welcoming them back with open arms.

...and I'm sure Adam is terrified. #byebyepaycheck


Their store front is a gorgeously decorated space that feels so creative and warm. As I slowly mosied about gawking at the earthy colorful furnishings, I was brainstorming about how we could turn the Haskins House into an equally bold and authentic home.

One of the areas I loved most was their We Local section (full list of local artist vendors here). West Elm commissioned several local artists to create unique pieces for their store, like the incredible tote bag they gave out from Ruff House Art (I also bought the coordinating print in blue for our guest room!), or sell their handcrafted products to the public.

I couldn't resist this incredibly made reclaimed wood rustic arrow by Axel Co. As of this morning's grand opening, I snagged the last one in store, but you can find more on their Etsy shop! This is going to be a fantastic addition to our dining room, and I can see many more Axel Co. purchases in my very near future!



For the event this morning, they gave out a very generous 50% off all purchases, so I was finally able to buy the lacquered jewelry box [read: pricey] I have been eyeing for months! Felt lined, easy access drawers to store my jewelry have been on my wish list for quite some time.


And then on my way to the register, I spotted these colorful beauties. They knew their strategically positioned yellow + gray ikat bowls would be hard to pass up for a sucker like me. I mean they are our wedding colors in a mod pattern, how could I resist?!

Ugh, why do you have to be so amazing, West Elm?


So in case you are in the Kansas City area, stop by West Elm today to score some great pieces and take advantage of their 1-day only 50% off discount. Hollaaa!

In the meantime, I will be consoling my husband by reassuring him that I won't be redirecting my paycheck deposit straight to WE...


// What's on your West Elm wishlist? //

Pretty much the whole store? 
Yeah. We need to start a club.


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August 19, 2014

Gratitude Lately


Lately I've been thankful for gooey Farm-to-Table grilled cheese sandwiches and dining al fresco with friends on unseasonably cool summer days.



For the reminder that sometimes the best views are up.



For tiny gold initials worn around my neck to remind me of the one I love countries away.



For tequila + girl chat at a swanky spot. Two things that should always go together.



For treats in cones and the sprinkles that make them twice as merry.



For new adventures in the city that has stolen my heart and the colorful sites along the way.



For home cooked meals on the patio, and for the ability to google 
"how to put out a grease fire in the oven" quickly.



For snuggly Beasts who like to be the little spoon.

(L to R: Erin, Meredith, Kari, Megan, Angela, Mandy )

For new communities that have brought about friends in the most unconventional way.



For furry companions who can type excel spreadsheets like a boss.



For exploring new gems nestled deep in the city, and the breakfast bounty they provide
which makes it all worth it.



For weekly Monday Family Dinners sharing Big Chewy Monster Cookies and stories
that make our bellies ache.



For checking things off the summer bucket list, especially when they are blackberry + lavender flavored.


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.


Here's to gratitude and how it makes life fuller, and the smallest things more than enough.

  //  What are you thankful for today? //


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August 18, 2014

Mingle Monday Blog Link-Up

Thanks for your patience... I was having some technical difficulties last night, so it didn't go live at midnight.
Anyway, I am here and so are you, so that alone is something to be celebrated! How was your weekend?

I had a great weekend spending time with my hubby and friends while be-bopping around KC (more to come on that later), so I'm still basking in the weekend glow.

Thanks so much for stopping by, and I hope you will spread the word! Lots of great things planned for the blog this week (Yay! Finally got myself in gear!), so stay tuned.


 
    

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) You must share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or the Mingle Monday photo.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below and have FUN!
 
** What is your absolute favorite season and why? **
(If it could be fall all year long, I would be one happy camper!) 
 
________________________________________________________________________________________

Still proud to say that 100% of advertisement sponsorship proceeds go to my charity of choice, the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. There are dozens and dozens of Hope Lodges across the country that give cancer patients a free place to stay while out of town for cancer treatment - such a cool place! 

With just $10, you can get a month long ad and know that it is going to help real cancer patients and their families. So please join me in my fundraising effort by becoming a sponsor HERE!


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.

Wishing you a stress-free week!

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August 11, 2014

Mingle Monday Blog Link-up!

What a lovely, go-with-the-flow weekend.

Although the Ingrid Michaelson concert got cancelled Friday, we still made the best of the gorgeous crisp night. Saturday was kind of a whirlwind since I was on call for work, but the day shaped up as soon as my hubby came home from being out of the country.

Sunday was spent sleeping in, going to see "The Hundred-Foot Journey" (go see it - it's amazing!), and a cozy evening of comfort food and relaxation.

I sure hope yours was fantastic too, and thanks so much for dropping by to link-up your blog. Enjoy a little laid back networking and hopefully you make some new blog friendships. Now get in there!

 
    

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) You must share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or the Mingle Monday photo.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below and have FUN!
 
** What is one thing you want to check off your bucket list before summer ends? **
(I'm dying to go pick fresh fruit and make a tasty pie!)
________________________________________________________________________________________

Still proud to say that 100% of advertisement sponsorship proceeds go to my charity of choice, the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. There are dozens and dozens of Hope Lodges across the country that give cancer patients a free place to stay while out of town for cancer treatment - such a cool place! 

With just $10, you can get a month long ad and know that it is going to help real cancer patients and their families. So please join me in my fundraising effort by becoming a sponsor HERE!


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.

Cheers to a good week, my friends!

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August 8, 2014

Weekend Outlook + Have a Brave One!

Hello, sweet weekend, I have missed you!
Every single day this week, I have woken up thinking it was Saturday like some kind of cruel joke. Then I would drudge away at work trying not to count the minutes that needed to tick by until 5 o'clock.

Please tell me I wasn't the only one this week...



Well, praise the Great Lion of Judah, the weekend is finally here.
I can't wait to celebrate with some fun plans and a whole lot of relaxing. Here's what's happening...


Friday //
Tonight, Ally and I are finally going to make it down to Westport to try out the acclaimed food at Port Fonda for the first time (I know, I know... I am way late to that fiesta), and then we will be taking in some Ingrid Michaelson awesomeness at Grinders. It's going to be a spectacular night.


Saturday //
I am dog sitting for several family members, so my house will be full of pups with cold noses and I couldn't be more excited. I can imagine a trip to the dog park will be in our very near future.

 Adam has been in rural Canada this week on a business trip, so contacting each other has been slim to none with no phone service and spotty internet connection. Needless to say, I am missing my other half and can't wait to have his back home to catch-up.


Sunday //
I will be up bright and early just chilling with my cute 4th graders at Sunday school. After that we will hit up what my girls call "big church", and hopefully going to see a movie. The Hundred-Foot Journey has been calling my name ever since I saw the trailer, and I can't wait to revel in this foodie film.




.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.

I hope you are braver this weekend than a Beast flying through the waves chasing her beloved stick.
Let's catch up for Mingle Monday and share our adventures, okay?


See you there, brave ones.

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August 7, 2014

Eats Around KC + New Adventures

My goal for the summer was to get into the heart of this beautiful city and discover new treasures and adventures. With my friends and family in tow, we did some urban exploring.

Whether it was a hole-in-the-wall mom and pop restaurant that has been in business for 40 years, or brand new places to Kansas City's best food scene, we found the perfect little gems.

Here's a glimpse of the past week's discoveries...





Every Thursday morning, I meet my dear friend Ally for some coffee and stories before work. We have two rules: Always local, always roaming. So when I came across an article about Thou Mayest, it sounded like the perfect place for my hippie loving heart to visit. 

Little did I know that Ally knows the owner through a friend from undergad, and after 3 visits in the last week and a half, I am well on my way to becoming a regular. The atmosphere is very chill with wanderlust, nature-loving decor and rustic industrial furniture. If I could have them come decorate the Haskins House like that, it would be incredible.

Not only do they serve incredible coffee for those seeking a morning caffeine high, they also turn around and have a full service bar featuring delicious hand crafted cocktails (try the Jalisco!) and craft beer for the happy hour and late night crowd. The best place to sip your beverage? I love the back patio furnished with exotic plants, garden lights strung from above, and cozy eclectic lounge chairs.




One of my favorite things that my co-workers and I do once a month is pick a local restaurant to eat at to celebrate that month's birthdays. So you can imagine my excitement when the July birthday babies chose to swing by this swanky bistro inside the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.

Not only is the menu wonderful (best reuben sandwich ever), the artwork is always changing in their skylight filled great room, and also the art lobby you walk through to get to the cafe. Now that's food with a view!






On Sunday evening, we hit up the chic eatery, Story, tucked away in the heart of Prairie Village. I have been there once before and left wishing I would have worn stretchier pants - thanks, Chef Carl Thorne-Thomsen! 

But when my in-laws told me about their new Sunday special where they feature one entree for a mere $10 price tag (they post the entree preview on Instagram!), I knew another visit was in my near future.

So we grabbed the fam for a little dinner indulgence. The Sunday special was a deliciously prepared and perfectly cooked hanger steak, fresh garlic green beans, and fingerling potatoes... all for the price of a Chipotle burrito. Of course, a fun summertime cocktail and deconstructed German chocolate cake were also a must... and I'm not complaining!




.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.


As you can imagine, my gourmet loving heart runneth over. Dear heavens, I am going to need to schedule some extra gym sessions, but the adventures were absolutely worth the splurges.


//  What foodie adventures have you been on lately?  //


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August 4, 2014

Mingle Monday Blog Link-up

Holy smokes - I apologize for the belated post!
Unfortunately my Monday started out with a 2.5 hour visit to the dentist... ugh.

Needless to say, it's been a heck of a morning and I could really use some good mingling to pick my day up. What about you all? I hope your morning has gone a lot smoother! Let's mingle, shall we?


 
    

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) You must share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or the Mingle Monday photo.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below and have FUN!
 
** If you could travel for free to any US city, where would you choose? **

________________________________________________________________________________________

Still proud to say that 100% of advertisement sponsorship proceeds go to my charity of choice, the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. There are dozens and dozens of Hope Lodges across the country that give cancer patients a free place to stay while out of town for cancer treatment - such a cool place! 

With just $10, you can get a month long ad and know that it is going to help real cancer patients and their families. So please join me in my fundraising effort by becoming a sponsor HERE!


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.

Cheers to an easy and surprisingly smooth week!

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July 27, 2014

Mingle Monday Blog Link-up

Hurray! Thanks for swinging by le blog to link-up for some networking!
Every single week there are some incredible bloggers that you are bound to discover. Your on your way to new great reads and more loyal readers!

I hope your weekend was incredibly relaxing and full of the people who make your heart full. \I spent my weekend with eleven of my closest girlfriends at the family cabin. We sat on the dock and dipper our toes in the pond, went on long walks, and played way too many crazy games. Those girls sure wore me out! ;)

On to mingling!


 
    

HOW TO MINGLE

 ** Only 3 easy rules - that's all I ask! **


1) Link-up your blog below.

2) You must share a link to Mingle Monday on your post or the Mingle Monday photo.
 
3) Answer the weekly question in the comments section below and have FUN!
 
** What new hobby or skill would you like to learn? **
(I would pick sewing or canning... old school!)

________________________________________________________________________________________

Still proud to say that 100% of advertisement sponsorship proceeds go to my charity of choice, the American Cancer Society Hope Lodge. There are dozens and dozens of Hope Lodges across the country that give cancer patients a free place to stay while out of town for cancer treatment - such a cool place! 

With just $10, you can get a month long ad and know that it is going to help real cancer patients and their families. So please join me in my fundraising effort by becoming a sponsor HERE!


.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.

Cheers to an easy and surprisingly smooth week!

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July 24, 2014

8 Favorite Fitness Must Haves

I have had so much fun lately sharing our new lifestyle change with you all, from our eating plan to our grocery list, and now I am here to share some fitness fun.

Growing up, I was always active with dance and sports and loved every minute. I was with my friends and having fun, which totally distracted me from the struggles of training. Once I went away to college and was without team sports and dance class, I had to learn how to workout on my own.

Within the first year, I slowly learned to enjoy running to relieve stress, and started going to the gym at 6AM before class. Now, 8 years later, I am so glad that I actually find pleasure in attending a workout class or taking the Beast on a walk.

Setting goals, trying new things, and discovering my favorite fitness items has kept me motivated along the way. Here are a few I can't live without...


1// Fitbit Flex 




I just purchased my Fitbit Flex and I already love it. As I move throughout my day it tracks my steps, calories burned, activity level, water intake, and calorie intake. Meanwhile at night it tracks my sleeping patterns, which is totally nerdy for me to be so excited about, but it's very interesting to see if I had  a restful night sleep or if I was rolling around like a tornado!

Believe it or not, it tracks all of this while wearing a stylish colorful bracelet (I chose yellow... are you shocked?), and syncs wirelessly to your smart phone, tablet, or PC. I also love that you can pop out the tracker at any time and switch it to another colored bracelet. I am loving the soon-to-be-released Tory Burch band designs - both athletic styles and gold jewelry styles, that are way more trendy for all you fashion forward gals!


 2// FT4 Polar Calorie Counter + Heart Rate Monitor 



I got my FT4 Polar 6 months before my wedding as a workout motivator, and have been wearing it ever since. If you don't have this and you need a fitness wake-up call like I did, you need to rush to Amazon and buy this watch ASAP. If you've been going to the gym and tracking your calories burned by what's on the treadmill, think again! Mine was off by over 200 calories, but this tracks your specific calorie burn accurately.


 3// Contigo Autoseal Water Bottle + Contigo Tranquil Water Bottle




I absolutely love these autoseal Contigo bottles. The big one I use for my water all day everyday, and the Tranquil bottle I use with a blender ball to blend my protein powder for breakfast or post-workouts. You can shake those things silly and they will never ever leak. Way better than past Nalgene or Camelbak bottles.


 4// Champion C9 Workout Gear 

Always cute styles of tanks and tees, and I have 3 pairs of their workout leggings and capris. They are made well, despite their affordable Target price, and they've lasted me for years.



 5// Goody Stay Put Headbands 



Having very fine, thin hair and cheekbone length bangs, I depend on these grippy little headbands to keep loose strands out of my face. With other headbands, they tend to slide out of my hair mid-workout class, but these headbands have thin little sticky strips all the way around the band to keep it from budging. Not to mention, they are cheap and easy to find at most drugstores.


 6// Old Navy Active Workout Tops



Have you seen the Old Navy Active line? I am a girl who loves color and texture, and ON is doing it right. Every season they introduce new patterns and colors of their most popular tanks and tees, and they're always on sale. I mean, who can beat a $9 dry fit, super cute workout top? They also have great workout jackets, well fitting sports bras, and sometimes hair accessories.


7// GAP Fit gFast Leggings



This is also a newer obsession for me. This winter I had a GAP gift card, so I went browsing through the GapFit section until I came across their leggings. Holy heck. I like them so much I bought long ones for cold weather workouts, and little capri leggings that I sport at yoga and Zumba. They are high waisted, have a drawstring and thee structure of the material hides any lumps and bumps.


8// My Fitness Pal App



I know you have probably heard about this time and time again from me, but I love this free app. What a great way to get in the habit of keeping a food and exercise journal, and it syncs effortlessly with my Fitbit for a streamlined, simplified lifestyle tool. Feel free to add me on MFP and we can do this healthy living journey together. Encouragement is key!

.:::.:::.:::.:::.:::.


What are some of your fitness must haves?



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