Saturday, August 30, 2014

Snapshots

Hiiiiiiiiiii!!!!!!!!! I'm going to start a new thang here. Nothing major, just some shots from life and pretty stuffs lately. I don't know how regular this post will be but, considering I've had my camera in hand almost everyday this past month, I'd say fairly often.

This is how we do "family movie night"

Baking banana bread with my helpers

 This kid and his faces kill me! I think he was growling at me in this one.

This is Whiskers. She wandered up one day starving and never left.
Now we don't know what we would do without her. 

Tulips. Just because.

 bath time friends

I love cherries.

There is a reason we only paint on a cheap and old Ikea table.  

 A master at work!

When did my baby grow up? Seriously!

My most common lunch, avocado toast with tomato, Sriracha and tea. It never gets old.

The banana bread we made was above. Peanut butter chocolate chip on the left and pineapple coconut almond on the left.

daisies

I love the smell of tomatoes growing on the vine. It reminds me of my Grandpa.

xoxo,
Ashley

Friday, August 29, 2014

Currently #2


The past two weeks have been B A N A N A S! (Did you just sing that with Gwen Stefani in your head? It's been stuck in my head after my husband was singing last week. But it is good to know that he "ain't no holla back girl" though!)

Speaking of how weird he is... I caught him watching Pitch Perfect twice in the past week. Alone.
I should also add we are both stoked for the sequel. Aca-Excited!!!

We had our boys' birthday party last Saturday. I planned a "Favorite Things" theme. I used their favorite colors, decorated with gold dinosaurs, made their favorite cupcakes, snacks and lemonade. We had a kiddie pool, water balloons, water guns, a pinata and tons of bubbles. Then a sudden downpour hit and ruined my decorations, but luckily we got the food back in in time to keep it dry. We set up the table inside then the rain stopped. The whole back yard became just a wild water war between kids and adults! It was a blast. I just wish we had remembered our family picture. We even forgot to let the kids blow out candles! I had planned on three posts about the party: one about the food, one with the custom cupcake toppers and one on the lemonade and sweet tea bar, but now I don't think I can get a post out on those things, since I don't have a decent photo to show you. I almost want to throw it all over again just to photograph it. I know that sounds nuts, but I had envisioned it for months and it didn't happen the way I wanted. Even Caleb (my almost 5 year old) told me he was said about the decorations, but it was still the best party ever! He's a keeper!

These brownies! Quick and delicious, has my name all over them!

Catfish Tacos!  Whaaa!??!!??!

Banana Avocado Chocolate Pudding. Maybe I can get my boys to eat a snack that doesn't include cheese now.

Carrot Jalapeno Soup. Umm hello! Get in my bowl!

I have a confession. I thought I was trying to suck every last bit of life out of summer. I think I accidentally lied. Today, I suddenly felt the need to bake with pumpkin, make apple cider(which I hate, unless it's hard) and make some butternut squash soup. I think I am ready for fall. No wait! Yes... Scratch that. I most definitely am 100% ready for fall food, weather and life!

I adore Neapolitan. This Cake! I'm Dying! I need that in my life!

Have you seen Drunk History? It's one of our new favorite, shameful indulgences. I tried to explain the premise to my Mom. She didn't get it. To be honest I'm no sure I do either, but it's awesome!

All four of us have been sick this week. Apparently, about a third of party goers wound up sick. In true kid fashion the boys were fine by Wednesday and Lee and I felt worse. I think we are on the mend now but this week has been rough.

Follow me on Bloglovin' here.

Ninja edit from the hubs - This lady is insane, but I love her. Have fun folks.
-Ain't no holla back girl! (Now it's in your head too.)

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Almond Fig Muffins

These are my new favorite things. 
Fig + Almond + Cardamom + Orange + Honey + Muffins = deliciousness to infinity
I'm not kidding, the are amazing.


Fig are hard to find here in Tennessee. 
I love them but dang, those bad boys are expensive, and they go bad so quickly!
You're going to want to buy them no more than a day before you're ready to use them.



My youngest child, feeling super important, being that his birthday was the next day, took two bites out of half of these as soon as I put my camera down.
Then he found his perfect muffin and trotted off to watch Barney.
I hate that stupid dinosaur! 
Why are children's shows so mind numbly annoying!?!?
I think it's time to force him to watch more Sesame Street. 
Now that is good tv!


I know these almost look burnt, but they'e not. 
Ok, some may be on the extra done side, but I did that on purpose, I swear.
Mr. Buttercup, or the Dred Pirate, whatever you want to call him, likes his baked good with a slight char.
Plus, the honey I drizzled on top caramelized, leaving some of these with burnt bits on the top. 
Those were his favorites.  


I usually make a couple dozen muffins every Sunday to last through the week. 
These will not make it past Wednesday, I guarantee it. 
Luckily I made some chocolate chip oatmeal muffins too.
Not being super healthy this week. Oops.


If you want to make them slightly better for you, change out your sweetener, and add some flax meal. 
Or don't and be rebellious like me.  


Almond Fig Muffins
Makes: 1 dozen
(click to print)

for muffins:
1 3/4 cup whole wheat flour
1/2 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking soda
1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon cardamom
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 egg, beaten
3/4 cup milk
1/4 cup oil*
1 tablespoon orange extract
zest of one orange
8 figs cut into quarters
crumb topping (recipes follows)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Spray a standard muffin pan with cooking spray. In a large mixing bowl stir together flour, sugar, baking soda, cinnamon, cardamom and salt, make a well in the center and set aside. In another bowl whisk together, egg, milk, oil and extract. Add liquid ingredients to the cent of the dry and stir until just combined. D not over mix. Stir in zest at the very end. Fill muffin tin 2/3 of the way full. Top with crumb topping and a drizzle of honey and a few slices of fig. Bake for 15-20 minutes.

for crumb topping:
1/2 cup oatmeal
1 tablespoon sugar
pinch of cinnamon
1/4 cup almonds

In a small bowl add all ingredients and use your fingers or a fork to work the ingredients together.


*Use whatever your prefrence is for baking, I used vegtable oil this time but have used olive oil and coconut oil in the past.

Have one of these with a cup off coffee and start your day of right. :)

xoxo,
Ashley

Monday, August 25, 2014

Cherry Lemonade


This is a new favorite in our house.
In fact, it was a huge inspiration for my kids' birthday party.
I made  a Lemonade and Tea Bar. 
Basically we had a huge container of lemonade and a huge container of tea with tons of flavored simple syrups and cotton candy to add in.
The possibilities are endless to the dreamy concoctions that can be made.
More on that at a later date. 


I've tried to make this multiple times before and since but cherries never last long in my house. A certain tall, dark and handsome man keeps stealing them out of my fridge. He is a real problem with pluots too. I can't keep any good stuff around them. I really need to get faster about making these recipes.



This is perfect for a picnic or just a treat on a hot day. 

This is such a versatile idea too. 
Swap out the cherries for any fruit or stir in a teaspoon of an flavored extract to the simple syrup, if you prefer. 


Cherry Lemonade

4 lemons, juiced
1 cup cherry simple syrup (recipe follows)
3 cups cold water
10ish cherries, pitted and smashed

Combine all ingredients in you pitcher or serving container and give it a stir. 

Cherry Simple Syrup
makes 2 cups
25 cherries, pitted and sliced
2 cups sugar
2 cups water

In a sauce pan stir together your ingredients and heat it over a med-high heat until is comes to a slow boil. Turn the heat down to low, allow to simmer for 10 minutes or so. Allow to cool to room temperature before refrigerating. 

It should last a week in the refrigerator, but mine is always gone within 2 days, so I make no promises. 

 Thirst quenching goodness!

xoxo,
Ashley

Monday, August 11, 2014

Coconut Watermelon Pineapple Granita

I'm holding on tight onto summer. 
I made this frozen and fruity concoction so that I could pretend fall isn't nipping at our heels.


This one is easy, not so quick but hey, the best things cannot be rushed.
This was a perfect dessert for a hot summer evening.

And when I say easy, I mean EASY.
Put your ingredients in a blender, get it good a combined, pour it into a dish and pop into the freezer.


Freeze it for an hour and scrape. Wash, rinse and repeat four times. 
Ok, don't literally do that, but you get the idea. 


I could just dig in to that dish of watermelon! It is so so good. My boys loved it too, all three of them. 


Coconut Watermelon Pineapple Granita
Serves 6-8
(click to print)

Watermelon Granita:
3 cups cubed seedless watermelon
honey to taste.

Pineapple Granita:
2 cups of cubed fresh pineapple
honey to taste

Coconut Granita:
1 14 oz can of coconut milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon honey

For each one, put the fruit and honey in a food processor, or blender. Pulse until there are no ore large pieces. Pour into a casserole dish or sheet pan and freeze for one hour, the take it out and scrap it with a fork and return to the freezer. Do this four times or more if needed. Serve immediately.

*You can see how quickly the coconut melts in my pictures.


Just imagine the fruity possibilities!

xoxo,
Ashley

Friday, August 8, 2014

Currently #1


This will, hopefully, be my regular Friday post. I tried my best to do one on my old blog every Friday, I hope to be better at it this go around.

I am so stupid excited for this book! I'm going to rush right off and buy mascarpone so I can make that sandwich! I mean, HELLO, get in my belly!

Can we talk about this lemonade? I must make it. Now.

Another season of Arrested Development!?!? I hope it's better than the last one Netflix made. One of our favorite date nights is Arrested Development and BBQ nachos and we haven't found another show that fills that void just yet. Oh, please don't let this be a dream!

Speaking of TV, I am awful about binge watching shows on Netflix. I'm currently hooked on Haven. The problems is, there are only 3 seasons on Netflix and we don't have cable. I've got to figure out how to get my hands on some season 4 episodes, before my husband loses his mind. He started watching them and I've since started.


That cutie monster up there is turning two on Monday. I cannot believe it! We are making sprinkle pancakes for breakfast, our family tradition, then heading out to a playground and going to Red Robin for dinner because this kid is OBSESSED with burgers.

Have you tried these? I wonder if they're similar to the chips in the old Party Chip Frosting. I hope so! I think I might make a batch for some cupcakes for my boys' shared birthday party.

Sorry for the boring and short post. I am a ton to get done around my house and I have some work for work to do as well. Not to mention I have some party planning to do, I have two weeks before my boys' birthday party and I have very little done. I better get a move on!

xoxo,
Ashley

Wednesday, August 6, 2014

Summer Spinach Salad

I love salad. My husband doesn't believe this is a square meal. I don't care, he has to eat what I fix him. :)
Poor guy is so mistreated.


I need to talk to you about this salad! Every year just before spring, when the chill is starting to fade and I can't wait to lock my boots and sweaters away for a few months, I start dreaming of salad. This one is a combination of salad I adore from a certain sandwich cafe/coffee house/bakery, that we all know, and a salad my mom made every summer and still makes. Her salad has turkey or chicken and this one would be amazing with it but I wanted to go meatless with this one. I am not a vegetarian, have never professed to be one and honesty I love bacon too much to be one but I feel like my family could use a little less meat in our diet. Mom's salad also had these crunchy, caramelized pecans that have always been my favorite. This time I chose almonds because that is what my man loves. I combined my favorite two salads in the universe (other than caprese but I can't mess with perfection) and came out with this beauty and there was no need to turn on the stove. I have eaten it multiple times since. 

I actually photographed this a couple of months back and I feel that I need to finally rish and share it with you while summer produce is still in season.I mean, holy guacamole, how is it almost "back to school" time already! Sorry, back on topic, this is the perfect sweaty day supper. So, make it, quick!

The best thing about salads like this, you can change ingredients in our take them out and come up with something new each time. I have left tomato out every time I have made this since. It just wasn't my thing. My husband prefers it without avocado, but he is clearly insane!





The dressing is super easy and so delicious. Just toss everything into a blender or food processor and you're done. I love it and my husband loves it, that is no small feet let me tell you. He is not a vinegar fan normally but he loves apples, which is how I convinced him to try it. 


This dressing is super versatile, swap out the apple with another fruit and change up the vinegar or even just leave out the vinegar for citrus juice and you have something totally new. 




Summer Spinach Salad:

For the Caramelized Almonds:
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup almonds


In a heavy bottomed skillet, I prefer an iron skillet, heat the sugar over medium high heat. Stirring constantly, until the sugar hes melted and is golden brown color, then toss in your nuts. Allow them to cool on a piece of aluminum foil or parchment paper until they have hardened and are cool enough to touch. Roughly chop before topping the salad.

For the Dressing:
1/2  green apple, cored and cut into chunks
2 tablespoons white balsamic vinegar
*1 teaspoon of honey
salt to taste
1/4 cup olive oil

Place apple, vinegar, honey and salt in a food processor or blender and pulse until the apple has broken down and all the contents are smooth. Turn on low and pour oil in a thin stream through the opening in the top of the lid. Once all oil is incorporated you should have an emulsified dressing. Taste and make tweaks to the taste.

For the Salad:

2 cups baby spinach
1 mango, diced
4-5 strawberries, diced
**1/2 tomato, diced
1/2 green apple, diced
1/2 avocado, diced
caramelized almonds

Toss you lettuce in a large bowl, layer on all of your toppings and dress with dressing. Serve immediately.

*Feel free to add more or leave it out all together. I knew my guys would prefer a little more sweetness.
**Like I said before, I left the tomato out after this but I included it in the ingredients since it can been seen in pictures.

It's calling your name!

Who is Buttercup?

It's hard trying to decide where to start. I blogged before and took an impromptu break and never came back. I've been working on this blog for months but I never puled the trigger and started posting. I already have a few recipes photographed that I need to type out and share.

Who am I?




My name is Ashley aka Buttercup. I'm a young thirty something (ugh that is hard to type!) I'm married to my one and only. We have two young boys. I am totally outnumbered here in this house!




Caleb is our oldest. He is so imaginative and creative. He is my wild child. He is the most like me but he is a totally a Daddy's boy, except when it's time for bedtime snuggles, then it's all me. :)




Liam is our youngest. He has always been our thinker and explorer. He is always trying to figure things out. He is just like his Daddy but he is a total Mommy's boy. Funny how kids are.



To learn more read this.

xoxo,
Ashley

Follow my blog with Bloglovin