What I’m Lovin’ in January

It’s finally gotten chilly in the south and feels like winter! (Confession: I love cold weather.) I hope you are all staying warm and toasty wherever you are. Snuggle up and share a few giggles with me as you read on through the short list of what I loved about January…
january

1. Cookies made with Chickpeas

Guys!! Before you go rolling your eyes and completely abandon this post, hear me out!

Or just oogle this mouth-watering photo of proof I’m not crazy…

chickpea cookie

{I borrowed this delightful picture from Texanerin Baking. If your mouth is watering (mine is!), click the picture to jump over to the recipe.}

I have a very serious sweet tooth. I am a firm believer that dessert is essential – not optional. I also try purdy hard to stay healthy. So…I seek out “healthy” treats. {Chocolate Covered Katie is one of my favorite resources}

And y’all – these Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites are a winner!

The recipe is super easy and fairly guilt-free. {Lazy Cook Tip: If you don’t have roasted peanuts on hand to make your own PB (see #2 below!), Trader Joe’s Creamy, Salted Peanut Butter works great – and the ingredient list is desirable with just peanuts and salt.}

Hubs loves them. And we even made these when my Mom came over for dinner and she was quite delighted and announced that they tasted just like peanut butter balls (which they kind of are, but I’ll let her have that connection!).

PS: If you also enjoy “healthy” [aka: less guilty] desserts, these flourless chocolate muffins are the perfect go-to if you need something easy to take to a party that your vegan and gluten-free friends can enjoy. I wouldn’t recommend the chickpea cookies for parties because 1) they are best served warm and 2) the first batch I made was a bit messy to eat.

2. Making my own Peanut Butter

As I said to my Mom earlier this month: “your generation would probably refer to my lifestyle as ‘crunchy granola’.” I’ll own it. I’m not offended (and yes, I once had a granola-supplier who recently went out of business and I teared up a bit…before ordering 5 bags as stock).

I was destined to be this way: I have a Public Health degree (aka: I was trained to be overly cautious about my health) and I’m a Researcher by trade.

Confession: The context of the statement above was when I was [being very Millennial and calling my Mom to debrief about my doctor’s appointment] after I explained that I told the doctor I had started making my own lip balm because I discovered what I had thought was just petroleum jelly in fact had dyes in it for reasons unknown (I’ve been having some lip issues [and I’ve already told you I’m a) a Public Health nerd and b) a Researcher] and was subsequently eliminating everything funky – including switching my toothpaste to Tom’s without fluoride – in an effort to eliminate triggers. Yep, crunchy granola).

Oh – and if you’re wondering: YES I’m going to share my lip balm recipe with you. I’m still perfecting it so stay tuned!

Anyways, back to the peanut butter!

When I discovered the chickpea cookies above, Texaserin recommended making your own peanut butter for the cookie recipe. She even has a recipe for the peanut butter, but I’ll spoil it for you: throw some [lightly] salted roasted peanuts in your food processor for 4 minutes. THAT’S IT! 

peanut butter

I know what you’re thinking: “but does it taste good?!” Yes, folks – it does! So delicious. I kept my batch in the fridge and it lasted about a day before I ate it all (while I seriously considered taking a spoon to the jar, I did not. I used most of it in the cookie recipe and the leftover was used in smoothies).

Next time your grocery store runs nuts on sale, grab a container of roasted peanuts and give them a whirl in the food processor – just for shiggles!

3. Homemade Vegan Korean Barbecue

korean bbq

{Picture borrowed from Brewing Happiness because my food never turns out this pretty. Click the image to get the recipe!}

DELISH!

The flavor is ahhh-mazing. This is one of the Hubs’ favorite new dinners. {Confession: The first time I tried this recipe, I got so frustrated because I was burning the tofu that *somehow* I pulled our junk drawer off it’s hinges and the contents flew all over the kitchen… Thankfully the Hubs was home and willing to talk me off the ledge – and clean up the mess [I’m a lucky gal!]. As a tip: Pre-measure the ingredients that you can and when you start cooking the tofu: stir often/constantly if you can.}

Since I try to keep my time in the kitchen minimal for everyone’s safety, I can’t speak about the taste of the aioli {I hit my ingredients-to-buy/time-I-was-willing-to-spend-cooking limit with the homemade barbecue sauce}. If you try the aioli, let me know if it’s worth the effort!

PS: Another favorite recipe from Brewing Happiness: Baked Veggie Dogs {they were on my September list}.

4. Tea Time

I got a batch of Lady Grey Loose Leaf Tea for Christmas from my step-sister. I’m trying to balance my sweet tooth with hot tea {otherwise I’d probably eat an entire batch of the Chickpea Cookies in one day which would make them far less “guilt free”}.

tea

Loose leaf tea is gorgeous. And I kind of want to learn to make my own blends, but I’m not sure where to start – if you know any good recipes, let me know!

Also – along with the tea, my step-sister gave me the most adorable ManaTEA tea infuser!

manatea

I named her Minnie the Manatee

Minnie motivates me to drink more tea and eat less sweets. Like a boss.

PS: I found Minnie’s twin Manny [well, they call him “Fred”] on Amazon if you’re interested in your own ManaTEA.

5. Family Recipes

Some friends invited us over for chili a few weekends ago and I knew immediately that I wanted to dust off Jeremy’s grandfather’s cornbread recipe! It’s always a big hit and we’d just eaten some his PawPaw made at Thanksgiving which reminded me how delicious they are (and that we hadn’t made them in forever).

cornbread

I know you’re shocked: Yes, I own an apron. And yes, the reason it looks well-worn is not because of yours truly – it’s vintage 😛

I weaseled the recipe out of Jeremy’s grandpa several years ago. We used to make them all the time, but it’s been years since we’ve made a batch.

The recipe is more of a Mexican-style cornbread with jalapenos and cheddar cheese. I’m not authorized to spill the family secrets, but here’s a similar recipe you could try 🙂

6. Our new knit sweaters

Speaking of grandparents, the Hubs has the best! Last week we received two packages from England!

Since we’d just chatted with his grandma, we had an idea of what they were. She has been working on sweaters for both of us since we visited last Christmas. {In fact, she had my sweater nearly done, but when I arrived and she measured me she realized the bodice was going to be too small and unraveled the whole thing! She laughed at my reaction because I almost cried!}

It felt like we’d won the lottery! 😉

sweaters

We were overwhelmed with excitement [obviously], but I promise to attempt a better picture of the sweaters later…

And with the recent cold weather arriving in South Carolina, we’re both pretty grateful for these snuggly new garments!

Isn’t Jeremy’s grandmother SO talented?! She’s been knitting for…forever. This is my third sweater from her. I wear the other two quite frequently when it gets cold and I know this one will be well-loved too!

PS: Did you know that “knitting and crocheting can lower heart rate and blood pressure and reduce harmful blood levels of the stress hormone cortisol“?! You can read all about the health benefits of knitting and real stories about how knitting has helped people get through tough times {like having a baby in the NICU and quitting smoking} in this article from the NY Times. Fascinating research!

7. Snow

Speaking of cold weather, last weekend we got snow!

snow

If you look REALLY close you can see the light dusting on the roof {and a fur baby peaking out the front door}

Anyone not from the south is probably laughing hysterically at my claim of snow based on the above picture. I was starting to worry we wouldn’t get any snow this year so I’ll take what I can get!

I did watch some tiny flurries come down from the window in front of my sewing machine and it was lovely (even if they melted as soon as they hit the ground).

Now I’m not wishing bad weather on anyone, but I do wish we’d get a little more snow this winter!!

8. My new accessories for sewing

earrings

Because who doesn’t need to look glamorous while sewing?!

My sweet friend Caroline surprised me with these the day before our first quilt guild meeting this year {so I was accessorized quite festively for the meeting}.

love them! And I love my sweet friend for being so thoughtful. She’s the best.

PS: My new earrings coordinate perfectly with my new planner from Sugar and Type {it looks like the planners are all sold out which is a shame because it is so useful!}.

9. Paper Piecing

At our Palmetto Modern Quilt Guild meeting this month, our president did a paper-piecing demo.

I’ve been really wanting to try paper-piecing, but was too scared. Amber demystified the process and I went home and gave it a try with the simple diamond blocks she shared with us.

paper pieces

I’m hooked!

What are some of your favorite paper pieced patterns? I’m looking to try more so I’d love it if you left me your favorite in the comments.

PS: If you’re local to Columbia, SC – follow the Palmetto Modern Quilt Guild on Facebook and consider joining us! We meet every third Thursday of the month and have a sew-in once a month (so fun).

10. My Double Zip Wallet

doublezip2

I won’t bore you with all the details [because you can read those here], but I’m still lovin’ it.

I think my favorite part are the two zipper pouches. I love zippers because they make your goodies feel so secure {and help you to avoid embarrassing moments when change starts flying out of your clutch like a slot machine}.

This also reminds me that I need to finish that Veronika skirt the corduroy was intended for…

Since I haven’t blogged as much this month, I had a lot to share! Thanks for reading all the way to the bottom – you’re such a trooper!

{Catch up on all of my monthly What I’m Lovin’ posts here.}

 

What I’m Lovin’ in September

Yes, I’m a total slacker. I’ve skipped a few What I’m Lovin’ posts, but I’m trying hard to get back on track! I hope you didn’t miss these super fun lists too much 😉

sept

Here’s the short list of what I’m lovin’ in September:

1. My Day Tripper Top

day tripper

Lately I’ve been really focused on building my handmade wardrobe – and trying to finally tackle some of the patterns in my “to make” pile.

Boy am I glad I tackled the Day Tripper Top because I love it! You can read all about my love for the pattern here.

2. Our shed

shed

We got a shed!

I know, the fact that this is so exciting just goes to show how very old I am. The dogs love it – they think we bought them a giant playhouse. The Hubs loves it – finally somewhere to store his stinky hockey and lacrosse gear that will help quiet my complaints about the smell. And I love it because it has become the new man cave – and the old [indoor] man cave has simply become “The Cave.”

Upon evacuating The Cave of all smelly sports gear, my sister and I promptly painted it purple! It’s my new favorite room.

man cave

3. Making my own veggie dogs

veggie dog

This sounds ludicrous, but it was SO easy! And tasty. And now I know what liquid smoke is.

I followed Brewing Happiness’ recipe for Baked Veggie Dogs and I was so impressed with how quickly these came together! And how many people can say they not only know all of the ingredients in their hot dog, but can pronounce them too?! Very worth it. {Pin the recipe here.}

To go with the theme [of faux “grilling out”], I made this recipe for Extra Crispy Oven Baked French Fries – delightful! {Pin the recipe here.}

4. My first Tank Dress

tank dress

The fabric is a quilting cotton print from Anna Maria Horner that I snagged during Sew Charleston‘s fabric destashing on Instagram. The pattern is the Tank Dress by Sew Caroline – she had a sale last week that I couldn’t deny (you should sign up for her newsletter so you’ll be the first to know when she runs another sale!).

I didn’t alter the pattern at all – I usually shorten them, but I was worried that the curved hemline would make it seem too short. I’m glad I left it as is 🙂

I also opted for the elastic casing in the back and I love how it gives the dress more shape.

5. Seeing others enjoy something I’ve made them

Remember how I made my Mom a Beach Quilt? Well, a few weeks ago she sent me this sweet picture of her enjoying it on the beach:

mom quilt

I’ll treasure this sweet picture forever!

6. Podcasts

Podcasts might be the best thing to happen to me in terms of training (because remember all the other thoughts I have while running?) – podcasts are perfect for long runs!

They are probably the worst thing to happen to everyone around me because after almost every run, I send a billion links to everyone I know telling them they need to listen to this podcast…and this one!

Here are a few of my top picks (click the image to be taken to the podcast’s site for more information):

So Money with Farnoosh Torabi

so_money_logo

My favorite episode so far was with Mrs. Frugalwoods (listen here!).

I loved hearing about how the Frugalwoods stay frugal and focused on their goal of retiring by age 33.

 

 

The Anxiety Podcast

anxiety podcast

I find myself listening to this podcast beyond just the long runs (like on my lunch break, on my way home from work, while sewing). Tim JP Collins shares true strategies you can use to get through stress (I love that I can use what I’m hearing).

This episode about how natural movement can help with anxiety made me want to go for a hike and jump on rocks (you know, that thing that people call “play” which we mistakenly think is only for children 😉 )

 

The Millennial Podcast

millennialLogo

Speaking of quarter-life-induced-stress, I’m also thoroughly enjoying listening to the Millennial Podcast. I so appreciate how totally honest Megan Tan is with sharing her story and her struggle. Start from the beginning to follow her story (go ahead and subscribe because you’ll definitely want to continue to follow her journey!).

 

NPR’s Fresh Air

fresh air

I’m not always near the radio in the evenings so I love catching up on Terry Gross’ interviews on the weekend while sewing.

 

 

NPR’s Story Corps

story corpsThese short insights into other people’s life stories are so powerful.

Most powerful to date: Traffic Stop – listen here.

 

 

 

7. Craft Fairs

You can tell fall is on its way when all the holiday craft fairs start popping up. I love craft fairs (as you should well know from this post) and I love going with my sister!

Earlier this month, we attended Martha’s Market Preview Night and it was so much fun!

martha's market

As my sister said, the floating hat and crooked sign are proof that we had a l-o-n-g week!

And then we went to the Indie Craft Parade in Greenville!

indie craft parade

And then we stumbled upon the Farm Fresh Fair in Fountain Inn – it was literally a giant craft fair on a farm! It was fabulous (despite the heat).

farm fresh

Next up (THIS SATURDAY!): The Thrifted Sisters party – shopping vintage clothes while sipping Loveland Coffee?! Talk about dream selfie date (yes, I’ll be going alone. My sister has something planned with her husband. And my husband will be cheering on the Gamecocks [I don’t allow him to waste his spare ticket on someone who could care less about football…aka me]). If you’re local, you should stop by and shop with me!

thrifted sisters

Follow the gals on Instagram for SNEAK PEEKS! {Click the image to visit their IG account}

And only a few more months until Crafty Feast!

8. It’s National Sewing Month!

So obviously I’m planning to finish the month by sewing all.the.things.! Actually, this weekend I’ll be moving all the goodies from my sewing room into our spare room (aka: “The Cave”) temporarily so that the contractors can come and eliminate the MOLD growing in one of the closets. Why didn’t someone warn me how LAME being an adult is?! #IdRatherBeSewing

If you’re friends with me on Facebook, stay tuned because I may be posting some purge items that will be up for grabs (as I’m not sure what I’ll discover hidden in the nooks and crannies of my craft room). If we’re not Facebook friends, shoot me an email (ejslice@gmail.com) to let me know what kind of gently used (perhaps even UNUSED – who knows!) craft supplies you’re interested in. If I find some, I can send you an email to arrange shipping.

I hope you all had a magnificent September and STAY TUNED because my birthday is next month and I’ve got some super duper fun things planned to celebrate with you!!