The Friday Five

March 28, 2014 by Ali

It’s Friday! It’s Friday!

On the cheers-ing agenda for the weekend:

1. I finally booked plane tickets for my trip to Europe this summer! That’s right. In mid July, I’m flying out to Austria to meet my sis and brother-in-law in Salzburg, where I am beyond stoked to check this tour off my lifelong bucket list. (Fun fact: I was in The Sound Of Music 3 times as a kid.) Then we are going to meet up with some friends in Germany for a week, followed by a few final days in Florence with just my sis. I cannot WAIT! If you have any recommendations for things to do in any of those countries, be sure to let me know!

2. Also on the agenda for this summer? Just confirmed this week that I’m going to be heading to El Salvador in June with the non-profit humanitarian organization, Unbound. I am beyond excited about this trip for a handful of reasons, many of which I look forward to sharing with you soon. But in short, Unbound is one of those organizations doing incredible, thoughtful, sustainable, and important work with poor and marginalized people in the world, and they’ve invited a few bloggers to come along to catch a glimpse of that work and meet the people on the ground. I’m honored and can’t wait to learn from them.

3. After years and years of nagging encouragement from my dad, I made one of those quintessential “grown-up” moves this week and finally researched and signed up for an IRA. Ohhhh retirement, someday….

4. The brilliance of NT Wright. Yes, the theology nerd in me was thrilled when I found out that this guy was going to be in KC last night. For those who don’t know him, he’s kind of like this generation’s C.S. Lewis — British, hilarious, crazy smart, creative, and just wise. His writings have played a huge role in shaping (and re-shaping) my faith over the years, specifically about what heaven looks like. So yeah, totally geeked out at the chance to see him in person and hear some of his latest thoughts about the mind and faith. Good stuff.

5. YOU guys. Well, let’s be honest, there’s not a day that goes by when I don’t think about all of you amazing folks sitting at your computers out there who pull up my recipes and give me the chance to make this my job. But this week especially, some of you have just sent some of the nicest emails and comments and Instagram photos of you trying out these recipes. And it just kind of means the world to me. So thanks for being so kind and encouraging and just generally awesome. I really appreciate you. :)

So cheers to you, friends, and I hope you enjoy this week’s Friday Five!

Read more

Chocolate Chia Smoothie

March 27, 2014 by Ali

I’m not quite sure how it happened. But somewhere along the lines of the last 2 years of self-employment, after years of a late-to-bed-late-to-rise musician schedule, I have now officially become a morning show person.

Still working on the morning person thing. My body seems bent on the whole nightowl thing. But the blogging world and Twittersphere are up early, so about a year ago I turned on a morning show for the first time in about a decade to help wake me up. And now I basically can’t go a morning without tuning in to at least say a quick hello to Josh, Lara, Robin, George and the gang.

Oh yeah, it’s GMA all the way at my place. Yes, yes, I know that 90% of it is fluff news. But apparently their advertising has worked because they are now totally a “part of my morning”. And I kind of wish Lara Spencer would be my best friend. :)

Anyway, the other main part of my morning nowadays is smoothie-making. I shared last week about how I’m back on the smoothie kick, so I have a backlog of recipes photographed that I need to share with you. And this chocolate chia smoothie is one of ‘em. You could arguably call it a “shake”, since it tastes so darn decadent and delicious. But don’t let that chocolate fool you. This is basically a healthy green smoothie hiding behind a bit of naturally-sweetened cocoa.

And it’s super easy to make. Here’s the skinny…

Read more

5-Ingredient Bacon Asparagus Pasta

March 26, 2014 by Ali

I spy with my little eye…bacon…asparagus…pasta…Parmesan…

and?

Read more

4-Ingredient Easter Egg (Golden) Oreo Truffles

March 25, 2014 by Ali

As I mentioned in yesterday’s post, I got a little (ok, a lot) photo-happy with these little Easter Egg Oreo Truffles. So today you’re getting a second post with our second round of truffle decorating using a slightly different filling – Golden Oreos!

That’s right! This batch is made with a simple 2-ingredient filling using cream cheese and the super-sweet, goldenlicious, why-didn’t-they-think-of-those-decades-ago cousin of the traditional Oreo. (Which I secretly love more than traditional Oreos — I know.) Then on the outside, my friend Meg and I dipped these babies in white almond bark and then drizzled on some pastel-colored almond bark for decor. I mean, I loved the brown and white version we posted yesterday. But you can’t have Easter Eggs in life with a little pastel. So for all of you who like color, this idea may be for you.

Read more

4-Ingredient Easter Egg Oreo Truffles

March 24, 2014 by Ali

Hee hee — look what I made!

Actually look what we made! My designer friend, Meg, was the one who dreamed up the idea for these cute little truffles when she was in town visiting for a few days last week. I told her that I was long overdue for some sort of cutesy recipe on the blog. And being the fab designer that she is, she dreamed up a cutesy idea for Easter that turned out to be a little hip and classy-looking too. Because, you know, that’s how designers roll. ;)

Read more

The Friday Five

March 21, 2014 by Ali

Happy second day of SPRING, friends!

I have to admit that it doesn’t quite feel like a Friday to me. My days are all mixed up after spending three days hanging out mid-week with my college friend, Meg, who came to visit for a few days. Then my friends and I stayed up way past our bedtimes on Wednesday night to catch The Augustines, who were in town playing an 11pm show. (Confession: I’ve totally become that person who’s like, “doesn’t a 7pm show sound so much more reasonable?!”) And then yesterday, the sun was shining, it was a glorious 71 degrees outside, and well — frankly — I had no interest in staying indoors to work most of the day. But c’est la vie. I’ve been trying to keep a more normal M-F 8-5 work schedule the past few months, but sometimes the freedom of self-employment is plain awesome.

Read more

Chocolate Peanut Butter Skillet Cookie

March 21, 2014 by Ali

So, last Friday I received the biggest package in the mail of my life.

You guys, I bought an elliptical!!!!

Read more

(Skinny!) Oatmeal Cookie Smoothie

March 19, 2014 by Ali

Oh man, I am way late to the adding-oatmeal-to-your-smoothies party.

(Seriously, how did I miss this?!)

Read more