Pregnant at the Beach

With the intensity of the heat this summer, my only escape (other than my heavily air conditioned office) has been the beach. We frequent a cozy little beach in Newport, RI during the summer so I knew I would need a great go-to maternity beach get-up. I of course would never go for just some blah, boring maternity bathing suit, so after much research, trial & error, and thought, here is the winning combination…

Cover up:
This was a huge score at Marshall’s – Laundry brand, MSRP $168, I scored it for $19.99. It is not maternity, but plenty flowy enough for me and my baby belly to fit comfortably.

Bikini:
I started the season with an adorable maternity one-piece, but realized I missed the ease of a bikini and once I hit the 5-mos mark of my pregnancy when my belly was truly rounded (and not just chubby looking) I really felt more comfortable in a 2 piece. I ended up with this cute little striped number from Old Navy. Who wants to invest in a bikini that will be stretched out by their growing baby belly? Not me, I spent $12 total on this.

Shades:
These are not new, but my ray-ban aviators are perfect for the beach.

Sandals (not pictured):
I feel better in a heal while feeling pregnant and big, so I opted for these great wedge Reef flip flops. You get the comfort of a Reef flip flop with an extra 3 inches of height to help elongate your legs.

Hat:
I also refuse to pay for an expensive beach hat. When my normal wide-brimmed beach bonnet got a few holes in it, I opted this summer to try a cute fedora. White, so it’s summery, big, so I can push it down and help cover my face from the sun. $17 at Old Navy.

See you on the beach!

Flourless Peanut Chocolate Cookies

Wow, these cookies are just amazing. I have a thing for anything peanut butter and these cookies certainly do the trick.

It’s hard to find a good peanut butter cookie recipe that doesn’t call for corn syrup and still comes out tasting like peanut butter, so that’s why I turn to this flourless version from my good friend Martha – they are the perfect combination of salty and sweet with a truly peanut butter taste. And did I mention with so few ingredients, they are so easy to make?!

Flourless Peanut Chocolate Cookies
from Martha Stewart

1C creamy peanut butter
3/4C sugar
1 egg, slightly beaten
1/2 Tsp baking soda
1/4 Tsp salt
3/4C semisweet chocolate chips
1/2C roasted salted peanuts (I substitute walnuts, I prefer them in a cookie to peanuts)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl beat peanut butter, sugar, egg, baking soda, and salt. Stir in chocolate chips and peanuts (or your nut of choice).
With moistened hands, roll dough about 1 heaping Tbs at a time, into balls. Place 2 inches apart on baking sheets.

Bake until cookies are golden and puffed, about 14 to 17 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Cool 5 minutes on sheets, transfer to racks and cool completely.

Enjoy!

Blueberry Ice Cream

Since blueberries are still in season and lately have been particularly sweet, delicious, and on sale at the grocery store we decided to make a little fresh blueberry ice cream this week.

This recipe is so easy to make and uses all fresh ingredients. It’s not a traditional custard-based ice cream recipe so it’s not quite as creamy as traditional ice cream. Of course you can always make it healthier too, by using a lower fat combination of milk and cream. The higher the % of milk-fat, the creamier the ice cream, so that decision is totally up to you! Just be sure to use
2 1/2C milk and or cream total.

Blueberry Ice Cream
from http://www.epicurious.com

2C fresh blueberries
3/4C sugar
1/8 Tsp salt
1 C milk
1 1/2 C heavy cream

In a saucepan bring blueberries, sugar, and salt to a boil over moderate heat, mashing berries and stirring with a fork. Simmer mixture, stirring frequently, 5 minutes and cool slightly. In a blender (we used our hand-held immersion blender!), purée mixture with milk just until smooth and stir in cream.

Pour purée through a sieve into a bowl, pressing on solids with back of a spoon. Chill mixture, covered, at least 2 hours, or until cold, and up to 1 day.


Freeze mixture in an ice-cream maker.

Transfer ice cream to an airtight container and put in freezer to harden. Ice cream may be made 1 week ahead.

Serve with fresh blueberries and enjoy! I just love the color of this ice cream too…

The Most Exciting Room Re-do To Date…

So….I am having a baby!! It’s incredibly exciting, my husband and I just can’t wait. This is why I took a small blogging hiatus (when I wasn’t feeling great) and why I’ve been wearing so many accessory-based outfits of late.

All of that said, we have a few months until the baby arrives so of course now is the time to start decorating the nursery!!! I have a visual of the room in my head and a plan in place to achieve the vision, all of which I will share with a big reveal when the room is complete.
One of our first steps, though, was finding the perfect rug (size, colors, etc…) and we finally found it on Rue La La of all places. Well, the rug arrived today and I just had to share a photo:

 

And I love the little ladybugs on the flowers…

Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins

I decided I wanted to make blueberry muffins for a pot-luck brunch with friends. Then I thought, nah, maybe I’ll bring a coffee cake – I love that sweet crumb topping.
Well, I decided on a combination of both – blueberry muffins made with fresh blueberries (they are in season right now and so sweet and good) topped with a little coffee cake streusel topping. They came out so delicious, I had to share the recipe…
Streusel Topped Blueberry Muffins
from allrecipes.com
2 C all-purpose flour
2 Tsp baking powder
1/2 Tsp salt
1 1/2 Tbs all-purpose flour
1 1/2 C fresh blueberries
1/2 C butter
3/4 C white sugar
2 eggs
1 Tsp vanilla extract
1/4 Tsp lemon zest
1/2 C milk
2 Tbs all-purpose flour
5 Tbs brown sugar (the original recipe called for white sugar, but I prefer a streusel made with brown sugar)
1/2 Tsp ground cinnamon
2 Tbs butter, diced

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Grease 12 muffin cups or line with paper muffin liners. Combine 2 cups flour, 2 teaspoons baking powder, and 1/2 teaspoon salt in medium bowl. In a small bowl, sprinkle 1 to 2 tablespoons flour over blueberries, and set aside (this simple trick will keep you from having “purple” batter).
In a large bowl, beat 1/2 cup butter with 3/4 cup sugar until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs, and stir in vanilla and lemon zest. Fold in dry ingredients alternately with milk. Fold in blueberries. Remember, fold gently, don’t stir. Spoon batter into prepared cups.
Combine 2 tablespoons flour, 5 tablespoons sugar ,and 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon in a small bowl. Cut in 2 tablespoons butter with fork or pastry blender until mixture resembles course crumbs. Sprinkle over batter in muffin cups.
Bake in the preheated oven for 20 to 25 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in center of a muffin comes out clean. Cool in pans on wire rack.
Enjoy!

Summer Cupcakes

For a BBQ with friends this weekend, I thought it would fun to make a summery-flavored cupcake for dessert! I had in our pantry a Lemon Sprinkles Cupcakes mix and decided that would be perfect.


Note – have you tried these mixes? They are the BEST cake mixes – creating a from-scratch quality cupcake that is perfectly moist and light. You can buy them at Williams-Sonoma, but they’re pretty pricey, so next time you’re at the outlets, stop in the W-S Outlet and they almost always have Sprinkles mixes for about 1/2 the price.

Anyway – I made the cake mix as directed, but for the frosting I went with a simple vanilla butter cream made yellow with a little food coloring.

To showcase the lemon flavor of the cake part, I added a little garnish of candied lemon peel – SO easy to make and such a lovely cupcake accessory. Here’s how to candy lemon peel (or any citrus peel for that matter):

Candied Lemon Peel
from allrecipes.com

3 lemons
2C water
2C white granulated sugar

Cut lemons into slices, and remove the fruit pulp. Scrape off as much of the white inner layer as you can, this part is bitter. I use a paring knife to cut the rind off the white inner layer.


Bring water to a boil in a small pan, and add lemon peels. Boil for about 5 minutes, until tender. Remove peels from water, and stir in sugar. Return to a boil, add peels, and boil until transparent. Drain, and allow to dry before storing. Liquid may be reserved and used as lemon simple syrup.

I also sprinkle with additional sugar while they’re still hot!

Hamptons Dining

My husband and I took a super long weekend and headed to the Hamptons on Long Island this week for a little vacation before we visited his family. We stayed in Southampton and dined throughout the other Hamptons enjoying really great food the entire trip! I wanted to highlight one especially delicious meal we had at Beacon in Sag Harbor. The next time you’re in the Hamptons, this place is a must!

Let’s start with our view overlooking the bay where boats dock….

 

I had the Lobster and Corn Rigatoni in a light butter sauce, the perfect summer comfort food…

 

My husband had the Sesame-crusted Tuna with a great jicama slaw…

 

And we split the homemade chocolate chip cookie ice cream sandwich with chocolate drizzle…

Here is a close-up, it was heavenly…