Chocolate Chip Banana Bread

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This chocolate chip banana bread is one of my few original recipes, and it quickly became a hit when I first made it earlier this year. It is moist, gooey, flavorful, and delicious. It can be served as a breakfast dish or dessert, so you can basically eat it at any time (no judgement). I have gotten several requests to share the recipe, so here it is!

Serving Size: 10-12

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 Cup Butter
  • 1 Cup Sugar
  • 2 Eggs, Beaten
  • 3 or 4 Bananas, Mashed (I use 4, because I like my banana bread extra moist and delicious, but it can cause the bread to collapse, so 3 is a safer option if you’re gifting it)
  • 1 1/2 Cups Flour
  • 1 Teaspoon Baking Soda
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Salt
  • 1/2 Teaspoon Vanilla
  • 1 Cup Guittard Milk Chocolate Chips, Chopped (plus a little extra for garnish)

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  • Cream together butter and sugar
  • Add eggs and mashed bananas to butter/sugar mixture, and combine well
  • In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, and salt, then add to the creamed mixture
  • Add vanilla
  • Fold in chocolate chips
  • Pour batter into greased and floured loaf pan
  • Garnish with chocolate chips
  • Bake for 55 minutes
  • Try not to eat the whole thing by yourself

Notes: Frozen bananas work really well and add even more flavor to the bread. Just set them out to thaw for about 30 minutes beforehand, or microwave them for about one minute. I’ve done it both ways, and they’re both efficient methods.

Bon appetit!

Xo, Ash

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FearLESS

Admittedly, today’s post is on a more serious note, and I was inspired to write it after watching a documentary titled Sharkwater. Rob Stewart, the director of the film, raises awareness about the mass killings of sharks and how they are rapidly becoming an endangered species. It is a very sad but powerful and inspiring movie, and it truly begs the question: What are we so afraid of? Fear is really what drives a lot of heinous acts, including the killings of humans and a variety of animal species. We, as humans, have become such a conceited and superior race to think that we can dictate the longevity of someone’s or something’s life, and the truth is, none of us should have that power. We are all on Earth for a reason, every one of us serves a purpose, and we do not have the right to take that away from someone, simply because we believe we are worthier. So, I urge you to open your mind and your heart to the many people and animals out there who need us to support and fight for them. We are stronger and better together!

Xo, Ash

Making My Way Back

Happy Thursday, Devoted Readers!

Wow, I cannot believe 10 months have passed since my last post, but who’s counting?! I guess I am, because I have missed blogging so much. I felt like things started off really strong, but before I knew it, I was getting busier and didn’t have the necessary resources to keep my blog up and running.

That being said, allow me to bring you up to speed. Since my last post in December, Matt and I moved and settled into our new home, I student taught and completed the last semester of my teaching credential program, and ultimately earned my single subject English teaching credential (woot! woot!), I celebrated my 28th birthday and our two-year wedding anniversary, we traveled to Los Angeles, Scottsdale, Las Vegas, San Francisco, Japan and Indonesia, I have grown spiritually and intellectually, and we are now working on starting our own little family! No news to report yet 😉

In regard to blogging, my passion for it is still there, and if anything, it has become even greater, but the truth is, with our work schedules, Matt just doesn’t have the time to photograph me (so I need a photographer!), and it gets costly to purchase so many outfits (so I need partners)!

In the end though, I’m tired of waiting around and not contributing to my blog, even if it means that I just write for a while until I have access to or the means for the above-mentioned resources. So, consider this my little diary, where I will be writing about daily occurrences and the like. I’m also open to ideas, so please leave a comment below and tell me what you want to see. I would love to hear from you!

As always, thank you for your loyalty.

Xo, Ash

Celebrating the First Day of Winter

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Unfortunately, it doesn’t snow in Orange County, so I needed to kick off the first day of winter another way, and why not with gingerbread houses? I also wanted to do a round-up of the three best/most recent gingerbread houses I have created. The first three photos are from December 2011. I loved how much creative freedom I had with that house because it was made out of graham crackers, and I had enough to make it look more like a mansion! The next set of photos are from December 2014, and I made the gingerbread house from a kit I bought at Trader Joe’s. Finally, the last set of photos are from December 2016. Matt was sweet enough to surprise me with the gingerbread house kits from Trader Joe’s earlier this week to initiate the Christmas festivities, and it made me so happy! Although we had fun decorating the houses, we decided we want to go back to graham crackers next year and on because we have a lot more flexibility as far as design is concerned, and we like that.

Xo, Ash

Busy as a Bee

I don’t have any pretty pictures for you today, but what I do have is a few words I want to share with you. I’ve been pretty hard on myself, because I really made it a point to post regularly and be consistent with my blog, but SO much has happened in the last few weeks, and I just didn’t have the time to get around to it. What I do know though, is that I enjoy blogging very much, and to the few of you who actually read my posts and keep up with it all, I am so appreciative, so thank you, it means a lot to me. I have some exciting things planned for this week and the weeks to come, so hopefully it will make up for the lack of content thus far. While I haven’t been blogging, I have been completing my second semester (of three) of my teaching credential program (final exams included), substitute teaching, working at Planet Beauty, blogging (or attempting to), spending time with my family, celebrating Matt’s 30th birthday, and in the process of closing escrow on our new home!! Please stay tuned for the great things to come, I promise you won’t be disappointed!

Xo, Ash

Three Weeks and Waiting

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Our move-in date has changed yet again, but this time, only by one day, so our new move-in date is December 29! This whole process has been so new, informative, stressful, exciting, emotional, and I can’t think of any other adjectives right now, but I think you get the point. At the end of the day though, it has all been worth it. It is a proud moment to buy/own a home, share it with your partner, and make it your own, so Matt and I have A LOT to be thankful for. We cannot wait to move in, get settled, decorate, and share more pictures with you. Things are moving pretty quickly at this point, so I’ll have even more to show you next week!

P.s. I’m most excited about our kitchen island, and it’s been bothering me that they have had it covered with protective paper, because I want to see it and share it with all of you! The material is the same New Carrara Quartz we used for every other countertop in the house, but I am just too obsessed with it! BUT, I guess I can’t be too upset about the fact that they have had it covered all this time, because, well, it’s keeping it safe and pretty until the grand reveal (or at least that’s what I keep telling myself).

Xo, Ash

Fall Food: Sweet Potatoes

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Just because Thanksgiving is over, it doesn’t mean we can’t still indulge in some of our fall favorites. It has become tradition for me to make somewhat of a candied sweet potato dish during the holidays, and I love it. It is quick and easy to make, and it’s delicious! When I first started making this dish almost 10 years ago, I used yams, and then I learned that sweet potatoes have more nutritional value, so I started making it with sweet potatoes. This year, I had requests to make both versions, so I did!

Ingredients:

  • (6) Sweet Potatoes or Yams
  • Light Brown Sugar
  • Cinnamon
  • Mini Marshmallows
  • Original Marshmallows

Directions:

  • Wash sweet potatoes/yams with warm water
  • Boil sweet potatoes/yams in a large pot of water until soft and skin starts peeling off; this usually takes about 45 minutes
  • Drain water from pot and give sweet potatoes/yams a cool rinse
  • Peel sweet potatoes/yams
  • Place and mash sweet potatoes/yams in an oven-safe dish
  • Sprinkle a thin layer of brown sugar and cinnamon on top of sweet potatoes/yams
  • Place mini and original marshmallows on top of sweet potatoes/yams
  • Sprinkle a thin layer of brown sugar and cinnamon on top of marshmallows
  • Place dish in oven and broil until marshmallows puff and start to brown; this usually takes about 5 minutes
  • Serve, eat, and enjoy while it’s hot!
  • Because no dairy is used in this recipe, you can store it outside of the refrigerator, or you can refrigerate it to maintain its freshness and just heat it up in the microwave before you eat the leftovers, if there are any!

Notes: This recipe serves about 12 people.

Xo, Ash