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travel: weekend trip to the biltmore

isn't the biltmore estate, beautiful!? if you haven't been, you must go! this was reed and i's first time visiting asheville this past weekend and the biltmore estate. we took a drive to asheville, nc with my in-law's for the memorial weekend and stayed at a nice quiet family cabin/house in cashiers. it was absolutely beautiful! i wanted to share a few of the things we did at the biltmore in case you are planning a trip there soon.

we really enjoyed visiting and touring the biltmore. it is an amazing area and the property is breathtaking. first, we ate lunch at the biltmore cafe to get fueled up before our tours. we started by taking the rooftop tour of the biltmore and that was probably my favorite. we learned about the construction aspect of the estate and saw some incredible views as you can see from my pictures above. after the rooftop tour, we took the regular inside tour of the estate. it was very interesting to see the details and the decor of each room. i couldn't believe they had 35 bedrooms!! whoa!!

after both the inside and outside tours of the biltmore, we took a drive to the winery and shopping areas of the biltmore. they have the cutest little village of shopping, eating, wine tasting, and a beautiful resort to stay at as well. you can literally make a weekend of just this area at the biltmore. there are also walking trails, picnic areas, and several other things to do here. we loved it! after walking around this area and gathering our wine for the trip, we headed to cashiers to the family cabin. we spent several days shopping, eating, relaxing, and walking through cashiers as this is such a beautiful place. we enjoyed every bit of our memorial weekend with family. as always, remembering our loved ones and honoring those who fought for our freedom and made the ultimate sacrifice for our country is the most important part of this beautiful weekend. i hope you all enjoyed!

here is a link where you can find more information on the biltmore and also reserve your tickets for your next trip:

have a great week! see you soon and thank you for stopping by!


recipe: lemon & cilantro grilled chicken

hi everyone! this is my idea of a good summer time dinner. last week we had our good friend john over for dinner and i made a new chicken recipe up and really liked how it turned out. since this was my own creation, feel free to add or take away any of the ingredients that you may not like. i wanted a different grilled chicken recipe and marinade and also have been wanting something different to go on our zucchini. 

here is what i came up with:

-2 tablespoons of olive oil
-2  packages of fresh chicken breasts
-1or 2 lemons
-1/4 cup of lemon juice
-salt & pepper to taste
-one bunch of cilantro 
-butter for skillet

-start by adding your chicken breasts in your dish 
-add olive oil on top of chicken and use your hands to cover olive oil over chicken
-add salt & pepper
-add your lemon juice 
-use a food chopper or processor to mince your cilantro
-add cilantro to the dish and rub this on your chicken 
-cut up your lemon and add slices to your dish on top of the chicken
-cover this with saran wrap and let this marinade in the fridge for 2-4 hours 
-next, you will remove this from the fridge 
-on your stove top, either in a pan or cast iron skillet add a small piece of butter or olive oil
(i used butter)
- then, you will add your chicken breasts to the skillet to cook
-rotate your chicken in the skillet multiple times for it to cook evenly
-remove the chicken when a good golden brown color shows and test this by checking to see if all of the pink coloring is gone
-i also added a few lemon slices to the skillet for a short period of time while the chicken was cooking for it to soak up the lemon flavor
-lastly, you can add more lemon juice for extra flavoring and salt/pepper to taste

for the zucchini:

-i cut up 2 zucchinis into slices
-added a brush of melted butter to each one
-then added a small amount of parmesan cheese to each slice
-i baked these for 30-35 min on 375
-you can keep these in longer depending on how crispy or soft you would like them

for dinner you can add whatever sides you would like! i hope you enjoy these recipes as much as we did and enjoy your summer time dinners :) i am sure there will be plenty of new recipes to share with you this summer, and i can't wait!

have a great memorial weekend and spend time with your loved ones! we are heading to north carolina :)

thank you for stopping by!


diy: gift wrapping for any occasion

as you already know, gift wrapping is my favvvvorite! ribbon, paper, twine, tissue paper, yarn, gift tags, etc etc etc. i could go on for days! if you were to ask me what my dream job would be, it would definitely be to have my own stationery and paper goods line. whoa! okay, i wanted to share a few easy and affordable ways to wrap your gifts that take no time at all and will definitely make a presentation. 

between graduation gifts, baby shower gifts, birthday, wedding, etc. there is always a gift to give and a present to wrap. why not make the most of your gift and go the extra mile with cute packaging. i know some of you may say, i don't have time or i am not creative, but thats no excuse!! you can definitely create a great package in no time with no creative skills haha! maybe a little creativity, but you know what i mean.

in the pictures above, i chose just a few of the many ways i like to wrap my gifts. here are some quick ideas for you:

-use craft paper and twine
-create a monogram package, by purchasing a letter sticker 
-add fresh flowers to your gift and make it extra personal
-wrap your gift with pom pom ribbon (easy to wrap around a gift and tape in the back)
-make your own pom poms (super easy) or purchase them and also wrap them around your box
-add a simple ribbon with a gift tag
-use tissue paper as your gift topper
-expose your gift, (depending on how cute it is ha!) and just use a ribbon or twine
-place candy or a decorative item on top of your gift as a topper 
-use washi tape to wrap your gift for extra pizzaz and color
-use stencils for an initial or the recipients name on your gift

as you can see, this is just a few of the special ways to make your gift package go the extra mile. what are some ways that you like to wrap your gifts? its always great to have new ideas and things to inspire us :) i hope you are all having a great week!!

thank you for stopping by!


recipe: 4 ingredient gluten free chocolate chip cookies

hi everyone! happy tuesday! i hope you all are having a great week so far. i have been under the weather the past week and i am finally getting around to sharing this wonderful recipe. these are gluten free & can be dairy free chocolate chip cookies and boy oh boy are they delightful. the past few weeks i have been eating pure gluten free due to some stomach issues and i can definitely feel the difference by taking gluten out of my diet. even though finding new recipes and grocery shopping has  been a bit of a challenge i am definitely getting use to it and enjoying it. 

this recipe i found on pinterest and i am so glad i found it. as you all know, i love to bake and cook; however, even though i have been eating gluten free i definitely wanted to still be able to have a sweet treat here and there. this was the perfect medicine ha! this recipe is so easy to make and they taste great. reed loved them as well!
here is the recipe:

-1 gluten free yellow cake mix
-1//2 cup of vegetable oil
-2 eggs
-2 cups of chocolate chips (can substitute dairy-free chips) i used dark chocolate chips for this recipe

-preheat your oven to 350
-line your baking pan with parchment paper
-mix all of your ingredients above except your chocolate chips 
-once you have your ingredients mixed, then fold in your chocolate chips
-drop batter into balls onto your prepared baking sheet 
-bake for 12 minutes or until golden brown
-then transfer to your cooling rack before serving

i hope you enjoy this recipe! i found this at:

have a great night and thank you for stopping by :)


organization: kitchen pantry

before pictures:

the after pictures:

using bins and organizing trays keep your items clean and organized

these bins are inexpensive and great to store your snacks

i love keeping my cookbooks exposed and on display :)

i  love these small organizing trays to organize my spices

the cookie jar reed and i made when we were dating

 my before & after pictures of my pantry are crazy! just by re-organizing what i have and purchasing a few small bins and trays made a huge difference. i love organizing and i have been wanting to tackle this pantry for awhile now. well, i now had the chance to get to it today! you can find bins, crates, plastic trays, jars, and other items just about anywhere in order to organize your space. 

i found these clear plastic trays at target as well as the tan bins that i used for our snacks. i recently had a switch in my diet and now that consists of gluten free; therefore, i pitched a lot of items away from the before pictures. i needed to keep most of the pantry items but added in some new gluten free items as well. 

now our pantry is clutter free and easy to use. i hope you find your own inspiration in organizing your home as well. i always find it exciting that the finished product is much easier to use and clean. i hope you all enjoyed your weekend and i hope you are having a great week so far. thank you for stopping by and happy wednesday! :)


recipes: 5 ingredient banana pancakes

reed and i ate banana pancakes when we were on our anniversary vacation in napa and we have kinda craved them ever since. i found a healthier version of banana pancakes from this blog called "clean food crush"  i follow daily and i wanted to share with you! they are so delicious and of course my taste tester approved :) he wanted extra peanut butter; therefore, you don't have to add all of that if you want them even healthier haha!

here is the recipe:

(to make one small batch use the ingredients below, in my recipe above i doubled this to make 2 batches)
-1 smashed banana
-2 whole eggs
-1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter or almond butter
-1/8 teaspoon of vanilla extract
-a pinch of cinammon

that's it!

-pre-heat your griddle or pan to medium/high temp
-combine the following ingredients very well with a fork in a small bowl
-pour 1/4 cup per pancake onto the heated pan or griddle prepared with coconut oil
-flip once there are visible bubbles on top of the pancakes
-they will easily burn and turn a dark brown, watch them carefully
-serve with a lite syrup and your choice of fruit and a dash of cinammon 
(reed wanted extra peanut butter as you can see from the pictures above ha!)

happy saturday! wake up and enjoy the beautiful day with some yummy banana pancakes!
thank you for stopping by!