3/10/17

Plaid Shirt, Grey Jeans + Spring Baking Favorites

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This week was just a typical week with nothing new to report, and I suppose that's the same could be said for my outfit today. Nothing new! I've shared each of these pieces on the blog before, although the last time it was warm enough for me to wear this top was in January!  I hope the moderate temps are here to stay since I'm over winter in every possible way.

Plaid Shirt + Grey Jeans Outfit:
Shirt: Express | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Sole Society (Similar) | Necklace: Kendra Scott (Exact color sold out, Rose Druzy/Rose Gold is similar) | Ring: Stella & Dot | Watch: Fossil (Similar) | Nails: OPI Let's Be Friends

Outfit Notes:

This plaid shirt is kind of a 2-ply fabric (for lack of a better term!). I think the second layer helps keep the white fabric from being too sheer, although it doesn't add much in terms of warmth because it's still a very lightweight, gauzy fabric. It's soft and comfortable but not as flannel-pajama soft as the Oversized Plaid shirts that Express carries. Speaking of those, they just came out with a few new color options (FINALLY) and they have one in that style that's very similar to my plaid. If that had been out when I purchased my shirt, I might have gone with it instead since I really love how soft those are. But I do think the one I have is a bit more structured and polished, which is a nice option to have too.
Boyfriend Plaid (Same as I'm wearing) | Oversized Plaid

My grey jeans are a long time favorite and a closet staple for me. They fit true to size, hold their shape throughout the day, and are very soft and comfortable.

Front View of my outfit:
Shirt: Express | Jeans: Express | Shoes: Sole Society (Similar) | Necklace: Kendra Scott (Exact color sold out, Rose Druzy/Rose Gold is similar) | Ring: Stella & Dot | Watch: Fossil (Similar) | Nails: OPI Let's Be Friends

Friday Favorites- Spring Baking:

I had a VIP reader request (my sister in this particular case!) to share some of my favorite things to bake, and I do what I can to keep my VIPs happy! I have a pretty long list of favorites and most of them came from other sources online, so my plan is to break it down and do some favorites here and there by season. If you follow on Instagram or Snapchat I also share what I'm currently baking on those platforms as well (with a tendency toward Instagram stories lately) and I usually try to post the recipe or source so you can screenshot that. But blog posts make for handy reference points so it makes sense for me to consolidate some of my favorites here, too.

That said, today I'm sharing three of my favorite things to bake for Spring. I organized this list from easiest to most difficult, so depending on your baking skill and how much time and effort you want to put into this, choose #1 for super easy or #3 for something a bit more involved.

1. M&M Cookie Bars
These are so easy to make and bake and so easy to switch up to be festive for any season. One mixing bowl, one baking pan, one round of baking and you're done! Pastel M&Ms are out in stores for Easter already so it's easy to throw these together for a Spring treat. I use the recipe linked below, but I also add one bag (standard 10-12 oz size) of semi-sweet chocolate chips to the mix because I like them more chocolatey.
Image source + Recipe for M&M Bars: Table for Seven

2. S'Mores Bars
As much as actual S'Mores are associated with summertime campfires, I've learned (the hard way) that S'Mores Bars are not the best to bake in summer because they melt all over the place and become a sloppy mess! That said, if you make them for a Spring get together, they're guaranteed to impress people and disappear from the plate. These are delicious and fairly easy to make. I only listed them as more difficult than M&M bars because you do have to layer the ingredients, which isn't difficult but takes just a bit more effort than throwing it all in a pan and baking it.
Image souce + Recipe for S'Mores Bars: Crepes of Wrath

3. Sugar Cookies
These are my kids' favorite type of cookie of this group of recipes, but despite having the most basic list of ingredients, they are the most time consuming and require the most technique to get them to turn out right. You have to make the cookie dough, roll it out, bake it, cool it. Then make the frosting, and frost them! It takes quite a bit of time. I've always intended to try Sugar Cookie Bars (like these) for convenience but somehow I just haven't done it yet. That said, I linked my go-to recipe below. My main tip is to roll them out thick (most people roll them out too thin, like a pie crust, but I roll mine about as thick as a standard stack of Post-It notes) and don't overbake. I don't like mine to turn brown in the oven since I prefer them soft, not crunchy.
Recipe I use: All Recipes | Image Source Nicole via All Recipes

A lot of people like Royal Icing for sugar cookies to do elaborate decorating, but my family prefers Buttercream frosting. I usually just add some seasonal food coloring and/or sprinkles to make them look festive rather than do specific (and time consuming) designs.

I don't have a link to my frosting recipe since it's just one I've come up with on my own. It's very easy to scale this one (double it, reduce it in half etc.) because of the way the ingredients are portioned:

Buttercream Frosting:
1/4 c. butter (1/2 stick, softened)
2 c. Powdered Sugar
2 T. Milk
2 t. Vanilla

Spring Baking Quest 2017:
Earlier this year we bought some Girl Scout Cookies and one of my kids really loved Do Si Dos. Now that we can't get them anymore, of course he's still craving them! I looked up some in-store options that are available year round and so far haven't found any that are available near me or have a similar enough taste, so my next baking challenge will be making something similar!

Image via Girl Scouts

I've purchased the ingredients to try this recipe so stay tuned on social media to see how that turns out!

Thanks for reading today! I'll have my weekly outfit recap up tomorrow and then I'll see you on Monday for another outfit post and some Monday Motivation.



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10 comments:

  1. My grey jeans are a closet staple for me too, love them. The smores bars look so good had to save the recipe.

    xo
    Pinksole

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    1. Let me know if you try them! They are decadent and delicious!

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  2. You should try Nutter Butter cookies in place of the do-si-dos. They're run a very close second to them!

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    1. Ooh, thanks for the tip! We've had Nutter Butters before (and my kids love them). I didn't even think about those as an alternate!

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  3. Those grey jeans look amazing on you, I want a pair that is darker like these. Oh yum to all of these recipes! My kids love sugar cookies but that's one thing I've never tried making so thanks for these tips, I know they would be time consuming and my decorating skills are zero. Wish I had the talent to decorate them, buttercream sounds like a perfect alternative though. Have a great weekend Gina:)
    Marta
    www.sweatersstripesandsweets.com

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  4. Those smores bars look amazing! I've been on a dessert kick lately and have been trying old favorite recipes and some new ones. These need to go on my list to make!

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  5. Such a good spring plaid! Looks perfect with the grey skinnies! And you make me want to bake!!!
    Carylee | http://morepiecesofme.com

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  6. I love that plaid shirt. What do you do, spend one day a week trying different recipes? That's great! I use to bake about once a week cause my rule was I couldn't have sweets unless I made them. Store bought often aren't as good as home baked, so it worked for me. But I'm too lazy now!

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    1. I don't have a specific day of the week that I bake (although lately it's been Saturday or Sunday afternoon while the kids are playing with friends and I'm just supervising...it keeps me busy but available), but it does end up being maybe once a week! I have a good collection of favorites so I mostly rotate through those depending on what I'm in the mood for or what someone in the family requested. I don't test out new ones too often anymore because it gets expensive and frustrating when they don't turn out (I could have just spent the time making chocolate chip cookies that everyone likes.) But if I'm on a mission to conquer a new recipe (like these PB cookies ), I'll make a batch, then if it's decent we eat them. Then I decide whether it was good enough to re-make as-is or if I should modify it or try a totally different recipe that might be better. If it's not even worth eating (that's pretty rare!), they get thrown out and I try a new recipe on my next baking opportunity. I do prefer home baked to store bought for almost everything, so I like to have one treat on hand at a time.

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  7. Ooooh! A recipe/food feature! Good suggestion mystery sister! Might have to try the s'mores bars. They look yummy!

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