Month: November 2016 (page 1 of 2)

Holiday Gift Guide for Mom

Here are just a few of my favorite picks for mom’s this year.  From the new mommy to the veteran, for your own mother or your mother-in-law, these are some great options that should cover just about every mom on your list.

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{Top Row, From Left to Right}:

1.  I generally add this amazing wrap to any list that is for moms, moms-to-be, or anyone who plans to spend a lot of time caring for and carrying babies.

2.  This feminine bracelet watch in the most timeless rose gold finish.

3.  A super chic, open sweater vest to throw on over every outfit.

{Far Left, Clockwise From Top Left}:

4.  A stylish, coated canvas and leather backpack to go from the gym to the office.

5.  This olive  field jacket is universally flattering.

6.  The perfect wool scarf in oversized plaid.

7.  An heirloom locket that you can add charms to over time to include every new and old member of your family.

{Far Right}:

8.  Who doesn’t love comfy, classic pajamas?

Happy holiday shopping!

xo gina

Personal Holiday Shopping Picks

Although I watched deals and steals buzzing around social media this long Thanksgiving weekend, I chose to spend the time catching up with family and old friends from out of town, and then lots more time snugging my newborn baby girl.  That being said, there are still a lot of great finds out there for loved ones and for yourselves.  And this is why, after almost fully coming out of the fog of a handful of wonderful, well-spent days, I chose to start with a few of my personal favorite shopping picks, some of which are still on major discount.  Grab something just for you or leave this list up on your browser for your husband, boyfriend, sister or mom to conveniently take a peek at.

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1.  It might just be the mom in me, but what multi-tasker wouldn’t love a chic looking bag that makes things hands-free?

2.  I have been eyeing a washed out gray pair of jeans since I tragically tore a gaping hole in my favorite pair last fall.  I love anything this shade of gray.

3.  Speaking of jeans, this pair is a classic and I can’t get enough of a little distressed denim.  (under $90!)

4.  I have been on the hunt for a few great dresses to wear this holiday party season and this emerald color and pretty details have me hooked.

5.  You can never have too many ankle boots for fall and winter and this cognac color is my favorite.

6.  A statement coat that can easily be dressed up or down and promises to be as comfortable as it looks.

7.  I came across this bag on social media and love that is a duffle, a shoulder bag and a chic diaper bag all in one.

8.  A beautiful necklace that can be worn on pretty much any occasion and with everything from a favorite flannel shirt to a delicate blouse.

Happy shopping!

xo gina

The Best Ever Dark Chocolate Chunk Oatmeal Cookies

*Originally posted on November 11th, 2014

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If I had to pick just one cookie as my ultimate favorite, it would be oatmeal chocolate chip.  No raisins, no walnuts, just decadent chocolate to complement the existing nuttiness of the oats.  So, when I came across this recipe, I added dark chocolate chunks to the mix to make it my own.  I love how this cookie is soft and chewy and not too thin.  It is moist all the way through, which is not always the case for heartier cookies, and you get plenty of oats and chocolate in every bite.

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Each cookie is pretty large, so the batch only makes about 12, but you can always double the recipe if you are making them for a large group or giving them away for the holidays to family and friends.  I plan to bake a few batches and tuck them in decorative boxes to bring with us to my in-law’s house this Thanksgiving and my parents’ house over Christmastime.

oatmeal choc chunk cookie 1

Ingredients:

  • 1 large egg
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick)
  • 1/2 cup light brown sugar, packed
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 cups old-fashioned whole rolled oats
  • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 heaping cup chopped dark chocolate, I used 1 giant bar of Hershey’s Special Dark, mildly sweet chocolate (6.8 oz.)

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Directions:

  1. To the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment (or large mixing bowl and electric mixer) combine the egg, butter, sugars, vanilla, and beat on medium-high speed until creamed and well combined, about 4 minutes.
  2. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the oats, flour, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 1 minute.
  3. Stop, scrape down the sides of the bowl, and add the chocolate chunk, and beat on low speed until just combined, about 30 seconds.
  4. Using a 1/4-cup measure, or your hands, form approximately 12 equal-sized mounds of dough, roll into balls, and flatten slightly. Place a few of your leftover chocolate chunk pieces on top of each mound of dough.
  5. Place mounds on a large plate or tray, cover with plasticwrap, and refrigerate for at least 2 hours (I refrigerated this batch for 5 hours). Do not bake with unchilled dough because cookies will bake thinner, flatter, and be more prone to spreading.
  6. Preheat oven to 350F, line a baking sheet with parchment paper and lightly grease with butter or cooking spray. Place dough mounds on baking sheet, spaced at least 2 inches apart (I baked 8 cookies per sheet) and bake for about 12 minutes for super soft cookies, or until edges have set and tops are just set.  Even if slightly undercooked, pale, and glossy in the center, don’t overbake. Cookies firm up as they cool. Allow cookies to cool on baking sheet for about 10 minutes before serving.
  7. Cookies will keep airtight at room temperature for up to 1 week or in the freezer for up to 6 months. Alternatively, unbaked cookie dough can be stored in an airtight container in the refrigerator for up to 5 days, or in the freezer for up to 4 months, so consider baking only as many cookies as desired and save the remaining dough to be baked in the future when desired.

oatmeal choc chunk cookies on sheet

oatmeal choc chunk cookie bite

{Recipe, including ingredients and directions, adapted from the blog, Averie Cooks}

Enjoy!

xo gina

A Thanksgiving Must: Nutella Tart with Toasted Hazelnut Crust

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{All images in this post were taken from Sally’s Baking Addiction.}

Every year, as much as I hate to wish away time, I secretly cannot wait until Thanksgiving.  It is one of my favorite days on the calendar and the Thursday that really kicks off the entire holiday season.  So many consecutive hours all focused on and based around food…hard to beat that.  And every year, I love picking out a new dessert recipe to try out and bring with me to my parents’ house or my in-laws’.  This year, I came across a gorgeous picture online over at Sally’s Baking Addiction, of a super decadent no-bake pie.  No-bake!  It promises a Nutella ganache that is cooked on the stovetop in a matter of minutes.  Sold.  And the photos of the toasted hazelnut crust were equally amazing.  The perfect amount of crunch to balance out the smooth pie filling.  If you are still wracking your brain to come up with something to make or bring with you to your own holiday gathering this week, give this one a try.  And then circle back to let me know what you think!  I usually love to test out a recipe I have found (and more often than not, tweak it) before baking (and before posting), but with two toddlers and a newborn (and the relatively short ingredient and instruction list on this one), I decided to just wait until the day-of and see how it goes!

*{All ingredients and instructions taken directly from Sally’s Baking AddictionThis is in no way my own.}

Ingredients:

Toasted Hazelnut Crust

  • 1 cup (120g) chopped unsalted Diamond of California hazelnuts
  • 1 cup (125g) all-purpose flour
  • 2 Tablespoons (25g) granulated sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (115g) unsalted butter, cold and cubed
  • 3 Tablespoons (45ml) ice water

Nutella Filling

    • 2 Tablespoons (14g) cornstarch
    • 2 cups (480g) heavy cream
    • 3/4 cup (225g) Nutella
    • 1/8 teaspoon salt
    • 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
      Powered by Chicory

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Directions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 300°F (149°C). Spread chopped hazelnuts out onto a parchment paper or silicone baking mat lined baking sheet. Toast until slightly darkened, about 5-7 minutes. Allow to cool down for 5 minutes. Turn the oven up to 350°F (177°C)
  2. For the crust: Using a food processor, pulse 3/4 cup of the toasted hazelnuts, the flour, sugar, and salt together until it reaches the consistency of coarse meal. (Reserve 1/4 cup of the nuts for topping.) Add the cubes of cold butter and pulse until the mixture turns into pea-sized crumbs.
  3. Transfer mixture to a large bowl. Using a rubber spatula or wooden spoon, slowly stir in 3 Tablespoons of ice water. You only want to add enough water to bring the dough somewhat together. Using floured fingers or the bottom of a flat and lightly floured measuring cup, press the dough evenly into a 9-inch tart pan. You want it extremely tight in the pan. You’ll need to use pie weights for the next step, so line the crust with aluminum foil or parchment paper and add pie weights.
  4. Bake (with pie weights) for 18-20 minutes. Remove from the oven and place on a wire rack so it can slightly cool as you prepare the filling.
  5. For the filling: Whisk the cornstarch and 1/2 cup of the heavy cream together in a small bowl. (You want a little cream mixed with the cornstarch to avoid white cornstarch lumps in your filling.) Combine the cornstarch mixture, the rest of the heavy cream, nutella, and salt into a medium saucepan over medium heat. Whisk to combine all of the ingredients and bring to a boil. While constantly whisking, allow to boil for 3 minutes as it thickens. Remove from heat, whisk in the vanilla, then pour into the crust, swirling the top for a pretty pattern (if desired!).
  6. Chill in the refrigerator for 3-4 hours or until set. Top with remaining hazelnuts.

Make ahead tip: This is the perfect recipe to make ahead of time, especially when you are entertaining. You can prepare the entire dessert, cover tightly, and keep in the refrigerator for 3 days before serving.

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Happy holidays!

xo gina

JORD Wood Watches + Giveaway

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Last month, I teamed up with JORD wood watches to host a giveaway for the chance to win a $75 credit towards the purchase of one of their one-of-a-kind timepieces PLUS $20 just for entering, and ran the promotion on my Instagram account.  The company sent over this simple yet stunning zebrawood and navy watch as part of their Frankie series.  It is minimal and casual, yet elegant, and the navy face is my favorite contrast against the wooden band.  You can customize the sizing and each watch comes perfectly packaged in an oversized, beautiful wood box.

This wooden watch is lightweight and easy to pair with everything in my closet.  And it’s that perfect accessory to make any outfit instantly look more polished.  I have worn it almost daily since receiving it in the mail and have gotten tons of questions from friends, family and readers about where to purchase one for themselves.  Since the brand carries women’s, men’s and unisex wristwatches, they make a great holiday gift for everyone on your list.  And they offer a huge variety of different styles and colors, so that you will be sure to find one that appeals to just about anyone.

To get a JORD wood watch of your own, all you need to do is enter your details HERE and you could win $75 to spend on JORD Wood Watches.   AND even if you don’t win, you will receive a $20 discount code just for entering.  Hurry to enter!  The winner will be automatically drawn tomorrow night, Sunday, November 20th at 11:59pm EST and all e-gift codes will expire February 28th, 2017.

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This post was sponsored by JORD Wood Watches.

xo gina

 

 

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