beet&baguette

food, travel, lifestyle, and a hearty serving of motherhood

Month: June 2014

Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins

Ask Richard and he will tell you that this recipe is most certainly my go-to gem for using overripe bananas.

Simple, low in fat (I use applesauce instead of butter or oil), moist, sweet, filling, and perfectly studded with chocolate chips!

Muffins

Best Ever Banana Chocolate Chip Muffins // from SparkRecipes
Yields 12 muffins

3 large (ripe) bananas
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 egg
1/3 cup unsweetened applesauce (or melted unsalted butter)
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup milk chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 350°F.
2. Mash bananas with a fork.
3. Add sugar, egg, and applesauce. Mix until just combined with the bananas.
4. Combine dry ingredients. Add this to the wet mixture and mix until just combined. Ensure that there are no dry chunks of flour!
5. Gently mix in the chocolate chips.
6. Lightly spray muffin tin with canola oil and fill each slot 3/4 with batter.
7. Bake at 350°F for 20-25 minutes, until golden brown on top.
8. Enjoy warm for best results!

I love how these muffins are always flecked with melty and rich milk chocolate chips. Also, how cute are these plates that I snagged at Two Old Birds in Raleigh? I bought the beautiful set of 4! Perfect for parties – dessert or appetizers!

Muffin on plate

Flecked with chocolate chips

Close-up

Gah, now I need to go eat one.

xo Cassie

Kara’s High School Graduation

Whew, things have been crazy lately!

A life that is both jobless AND crazy, you ask?

Yep.

My sister graduated from Athens Drive High School on Saturday! The ceremony was held inside the Raleigh Convention Center — WAY more pleasant than NCSU’s Reynold’s Coliseum (where Patrick and I celebrated our high school graduations), which was severely lacking in the air conditioning department.

Richard played the role of cameraman and snapped some fantastic shots of the graduate as well as the little wildflower/herb bouquet (pictured above) that I made for Kara, courtesy of our garden!

Kara

Kara with diploma

I love the (completely unintended) placement of the two proud grandfathers, almost framing Kara and her diploma in the photo above.

Family

And everyone’s favorite…

Peace out, high school!

We’re so proud of Kara! She graduated with honors and will be attending University of North Carolina at Wilmington in the fall. (Hooray for an excuse to go to the beach more often!) Also, as co-president of her class, she was able to give a speech introducing the class valedictorian.

Speech
Our family celebrated after the ceremony at Lucky 32, a quintessential “southern” restaurant in Cary that just celebrated their 25th anniversary!

Richard leaves for California for a business trip early tomorrow morning, so I’m spending the day getting a head-start on our cleaning/laundry/packing for the upcoming family St. John trip (we leave on Sunday). We are all SO looking forward to this tropical getaway, but I just wish Richard didn’t have a work trip thrown into the mix beforehand!

Oh well, guess it’s a good thing that I’m at home to look after the cats and get things sorted out before the big vacation!

xo Cassie

Life Moves Pretty Fast

Things have been a-changin’ over here, and I’m kind of beating myself up for not getting it on the blog sooner.

I quit my job.

There, I said it.

It was not an easy decision, as I’ve never quit a job without having something else lined-up first. I don’t view myself as a “quitter”, so this has been a crazy adjustment.

Before discussing the idea of quitting with anyone else, I asked myself a lot of questions.

Am I wanting to quit because I can’t handle it? — Partly.
Have I somehow allowed this job to encroach on my personal life? — Not really, there is simply too much work.
Is the stress avoidable? — Not if I want to stay on top of my tasks.
Do I care too much about my work that I am incapable of delegating? — Yes.

Between answering these questions and doing a lot of “soul-searching”, I came to the conclusion that staying in my job was not healthy for me anymore.

I am so lucky to have a strong, incredibly supportive and understanding other half – my fiancé, Richard. We spent hours discussing the pros and cons of me leaving my job. The job wasn’t something that I saw myself doing long-term. My background is in art and education, not clinical research or administrative work. I was having work dreams (or should I say nightmares?), bringing work home every other day, stressing about vacation plans, you name it. Not to mention, I’m planning a wedding! I was overwhelmed.

Richard told me, “Do what you need to do.” He reassured me that we’d be fine.

So, I did it.

My new goal is to find my passion. I’m currently reading 20 Something, 20 Everything, and I’m really loving the introspective approach that it offers. I just want to do something that is meaningful. Even if it doesn’t seem like something that will rake in the cash, I want to discover my niche. I want to be excited about getting out of bed in the morning, so that I can go to X job or work on X task.

Our lives are too short to spend dreading or hating what we do every single day.

Best Day

It’s time to work on myself.

xo Cassie

Garden Updates

The weather that we’ve been experiencing has been PERFECT for gardening. Alas, we took a trip to Lowes today for some more plants, terra cotta pots, ant killer, and a huge bag of soil.

You know, the necessities.

It’s been so perfect, that Richard and I even GRILLED our tilapia (in little foil packets with lemon butter) for dinner tonight!

We made sure to do it early enough that we beat the mosquitos, too.

Here are some pictures that I snapped this evening of the “garden” progress. It’s more of a container garden, but hey. Without much of a yard, we do what we can.

Blooming

Bulbs

Yellow

Gnome

Tiny flowers

Patio

Pepper plants

Oh, and then I made these.

Banana chocolate chip muffins

Banana chocolate chip muffins, yum!

Hope you’ve had a lovely weekend!

xo Cassie

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