HEALTHY(ISH) PUMPKIN COOKIES

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When fall rolls around, I want ALL things pumpkin! These pumpkin cookies are basically a mix between classic pumpkin pie and your favorite soft cookie, and are sure to satisfy all your pumpkin cravings! Plus, they are pretty darn healthy as far as the cookie itself goes. Now, I will admit, the maple frosting is a bit of a splurge, but I have yet to try a “healthy” frosting recipe that I like as well as this cream cheese frosting…and what is a pumpkin cookie without creamy frosting?! Not as good if you ask me!! I used Trader Joes Bourbon Barrel Aged Maple Syrup which gives the frosting a nice sweet + smokey flavor, but feel free to use your favorite kind! You can omit the frosting if you prefer to keep these cookies more on the healthy side, and just roll the dough in cinnamon sugar before baking. I think these would be perfect to make for Thanksgiving, a holiday party, or just for yourself! If you’re anything like this household, these will be gone in a couple days. Enjoy!

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 1/4 cup melted coconut oil 

  • 1/3 cup canned pumpkin

  • 1/4 cup cane sugar

  • 1 tbsp. pure maple syrup

  • 1 egg, at room temperature

  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract

  • 2 cups packed fine almond flour 

  • 5 tbsp. coconut flour

  • 1/4 tsp. baking soda

  • 1 tbsp. pumpkin pie spice 

  • 1/4 tsp. salt

  • 1 tbsp. molasses

  • If not using frosting: Roll dough in cinnamon sugar

    For the Maple Frosting:

  • 1 pkg. cream cheese, softened

  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened

  • 2 cups powdered sugar

  • 1 tsp. pure vanilla extract

  • 4 tbsp. pure maple syrup, at room temperature

  • Pinch of salt


    WHAT TO DO

  1. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper

  2. In a large bowl, add the coconut oil, pumpkin, sugar, maple syrup, egg and vanilla extract. Stir until smooth. Next add in almond flour, coconut flour, baking soda, spices and salt. Mix to form dough. Allow dough to sit for 5 minutes.

  3. Roll dough into golf sized balls ( roll in cinnamon-sugar if not using frosting) and place on cookie sheet. Use palm of your hand to flatten dough.

  4. Bake for 10-12 minutes

  5. Cool completely

    For maple frosting:

    Mix well and put on top of each cookie. Frosting does best if cookies are completely cooled.

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BRIDESMAID PROPOSAL

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One of the best parts about wedding planning is getting to ask your closest friends to stand by your side on your big day. I swear its almost as exciting as actually getting engaged!  I kinda got a hint of what Nathan may have been feeling when he popped the big question, because the days leading up to when the girls boxes were to be delivered, I was SO nervous.  These ladies have been with me through some of the best and worst times of my life, and I couldn’t imagine sharing this special day with anyone else!

So for my bridesmaid proposal, I decided to curate a box filled with a few fun and pretty items to show them just how much each one of them mean to me! 

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The first item I chose are these dainty knot earrings.  Each of my bridesmaids loved these!  I like that they are simple and elegant, and a nice every day piece to add to their jewelry collection!  I went with rose gold, but they also come in silver as well!

I also added nail polish and a simple white candle to their box.  I picked 4 different colors in the polish, all ranging in the light pink/nude color scheme.  I think these colors would be perfect for the girls to wear on their nails and toes the day of!  The candle was more of a filler item, but it went perfectly with the theme, plus who doesn’t love a good candle?

The next thing I added were these yummy Champagne Bubble candies from Sugarfina (and yes, I ordered some samples for myself too….quality control lol). I originally wanted to do mini bottles of Champagne, but since I was mailing all of the boxes I wasn’t able to do that (you can’t mail alcohol). So I figured the candies would be a super cute alternative!

The last item I added was hydrating face mist in varying scents.  This was something I added with pampering in mind!  I think facial mists are luxurious and they are also really hydrating, and thought it was a little something to make the girls feel extra beautiful.  

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To finish off the boxes, I added a little succulent for a touch of greenery as well as a special handwritten note to each one of them.  My friend Erinn at Lexington Lettering did the lettering for the cards, envelopes, and nametages.  She is amazing and if you’re ever in need of calligraphy, she’s your girl (check out her Etsy shop HERE) !  Once I put all the items in the box how I like, I covered them with bubble wrap, attached the lid, made a pretty little bow with satin ribbon and added their hand-lettered name tag!  

I absolutely love how these handcrafted boxes turned out!! I like that I chose smaller, hand-picked items for the “proposal”. I think it gave the boxes a more personalized feel and allowed me to add my own touch of style.  It was such an amazing feeling to have my closest friends call me with pure joy, saying “YES, OF COURSE” when they received them!  They even brought tears to my eyes with all their sweet words!! It makes me even more excited for the big day and getting to go through this entire experience with my best friends!

Are you planning a wedding of your own? I would love to hear how you asked your bridesmaids in the comments below! There’s a new wedding themed post the first Wednesday of every month!! Stay tuned for the next Wedding Wednesday in December! 

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THE BEST HOLIDAY APPETIZER RECIPES

It’s officially holiday season which means all the cocktails parties and family get togethers are in full swing! Let’s be honest, when you are hosting a holiday party, who really wants to be spending the entire time in the kitchen?! Not this girl!  So I’ve teamed up with a few of my fellow Kentucky bloggers to share our favorite quick and easy holiday appetizers! When I say quick, I mean like 10-15 minutes!

One of my favorite holiday appetizers to make for entertaining are these Balsamic Honey + Goat Cheese Pears. It’s so simple to put together, plus they look super fancy and are sure to be the talk of the party.  And did I mention it’s just 5 simple ingredients!  Sweet pears, creamy goat cheese, topped with roasted pistachios and drowned with sweet balsamic honey. Everyone is sure to be asking for the recipe! Don’t forget to check out a few of my other favorite holiday appetizers at the bottom of the page!  

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Balsamic Honey +Goat Cheese Pears

WHAT YOU’LL NEED

  • 4 Anjou Pears, cut into 1/4 inch thick slices

  • 1 Tbs unsalted butter

  • 1 Tbs fresh rosemary, finely chopped plus 2-3 sprigs for garnish

  • 1 log of goat cheese, sliced 

  • 1/4 cup roasted pistachios, finely chopped

  • 1/4 cup honey

  • 1 tsp balsamic glaze

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WHAT TO DO

  1. Preheat oven to 425.  Line a baking sheet or oven stone with parchment paper

  2. Spread pear slices evenly on baking sheet.  Brush with melted butter and sprinkle evenly with rosemary.  Bake for 10 minutes.

  3. While pears are baking, place whole pistachios in a ziploc bag.  Using a rolling pin, break up nuts into smaller pieces

  4. Remove the pears from oven, allow to cool slightly

  5. While pears are cooling, whisk together honey and balsamic glaze

  6. Transfer pear slices to a serving platter, top with slices of goat cheese, drizzle with honey balsamic mixture and top with crushed pistachios. 

  7. Garnish with rosemary

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OTHER FAVORITE HOLIDAY APPETIZERS!

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OUR TOP 5 FALL FAVORITES FROM TRADER JOE’S!

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If you know Nathan and I, then you know we LOVE Trader Joe’s!  We first discovered this store while living in Columbus, OH, and have been hooked ever since!  Trader Joe’s ( or for us groupies, TJ’s) is known for their quirky items, great selection of health foods and affordable prices; but once the cooler weather hits, they are most well know for what we like to call PUMPKIN PALOOZA!  If you aren’t familiar, this is basically the mother-load of all things PUMPKIN, and they release a ton of seasonal favorites, many of which can only be found this time of year.  So Nathan and I thought it would be fun for us to each share with you our top 5 Trader Joe’s Fall Favorites. So put on your best plaid shirt, brew up a Pumpkin Spice Coffee, and follow along for our top picks!

NATHAN’S TOP 5 PICKS

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PUMPKIN BISCOTTI

Normally I feel so-so about these hard cookies, but this version is pretty good. The hint of pumpkin and spices is a nice touch to your basic biscotti. Pro-tip: if you’re really feeling real basic, dip these bad boys into your pumpkin spice coffee or pumpkin rooibos tea!

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PUMPKIN O’S

All the goodness of a regular toasted-oat cereal, but with semi-pumpkin flavor! I wouldn’t say the pumpkin taste is that noticeable, but the box says they are made with pumpkin, so I’m going to believe them lol. Pour this in a bowl with a splash of almond milk, and its like taking a step back to your childhood, when eating a bowl of cereal in front of morning cartoons was acceptable (even though I think it still is lol).

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PUMPKIN SPICE ROOIBOS HERBAL BLEND TEA

I’m not gonna lie, I like myself a good cup of tea at night, and this kind is pretty tasty! Sam normally makes it for me and adds a couple drops of Stevia and a splash of almond milk. Its a nice sweet treat after dinner! Oh and take it up a notch by dipping your Pumpkin Biscotti in the tea!

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FALL ZUCCHETTE PASTA + AUTUMNAL HARVEST CREAMY PASTA SAUCE

Theres something about fall that makes me start craving comfort food, and this pasta/sauce combo hits the spot. Its your classic pasta dish, with a hint of pumpkin flavor that is noticeable but not overwhelming. Plus the pasta is shaped like squash-so I guess thats kinda cool too right?

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PUMPKIN ICE CREAM

This is easily my favorite pumpkin item available at TJ’s. I think they may have it year-round, and I’m more than happy to eat it all year too, because its just that good. It’s pretty much like eating the best pumpkin pie you’ve ever had- but in ice cream form. Hands down one of my all time favorites. Do yourself a favor, and get a carton (or two), turn on some Netflix and go to town! Your tastebuds can thank me later.

SAM’S TOP 5 PICKS

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CINNAMON BROOM

This seems to be a TJ’s cult-favorite and seasonal staple, and after seeing so many people rave about it, I just had to pick it up and try for myself. I’ll admit it may not be the most eye appealing piece of home decor ( I hid mine behind our TV console lol), but it sure does smell good! I love walking into the door and instantly being greeted by the warm smell of cinnamon and fall spice!

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PETITE PUMPKIN SPICE COOKIES

I like to have a few of these ( and by a few, I mean I could easily eat the entire box) as a sweet treat at night! Its like your traditional shortbread cookie with a hint of pumpkin spice, plus you can’t ever go wrong with yogurt frosting in my book!

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PUMPKIN TORTILLA CHIPS + FALL HARVEST SALSA

Chips and salsa are one of my all-time favorite snacks so when I saw this combo, I knew I had to try it! I was a little skeptical of the pumpkin tortilla chips but they are really good! They are more along the lines of a traditional tortilla chip, sprinkled with spices like cinnamon and nutmeg, and not too overpowering in pumpkin flavor! Adds a nice little fall twist to the traditional chips and dip!

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PUMPKIN SPICE ALMOND BEVERAGE

I love making my own pumpkin spice lattes at home, and I thought this almond milk would be perfect to add to my recipe! Traditionally I just use plain almond milk, but this adds an extra hint of pumpkin to my lattes or regular cup of coffee!

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PUMPKIN RECIPE DOG TREATS

When rounding up my favorite pumpkin finds, I couldn’t forget about Reggie! We always keep his treat jar stocked with all different sorts of goodies, and I figured we should add a little bit of fall goodness for him too! Plus pumpkin is actually really good for dogs digestive system!

So there ya have it, our top fall picks from Trader Joes! Do you have a fall favorite that we missed? We’d love to hear about what pumpkin goodies you are loving right now in the comments below! As always, thank you so much for reading and be on the lookout for more of our Fall/Winter Favorites coming soon!

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SAVANNAH, GA | TRAVEL DIARY

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Going to Savannah was not part of Nathan’s original plan when putting together our Hilton Head Island getaway trip for my birthday (Read our full travel guide to Hilton Head HERE ). However, when he accidentally spilled the beans about where we were going, I knew we HAD to fit in a trip to Savannah as well!  We both had never been before, but I had heard so many amazing things about this historic city.  At first, we were just going to make a day trip out of it since Savannah is only about 1 hour south of Hilton Head Island but after doing some research we quickly realized we wanted to spend a little more time here. We only had so much time allotted for this trip, but we were able to put together an extra 24 hours to make the trip to Savannah happen!  So we jumped on AirBnB, booked a one bedroom condo, and the plans were set!  

We had no idea how quickly we would fall in love with Savannah.  Its a charming and quaint southern city where huge oak trees filled with Spanish Moss shade the architecturally rich cobblestoned streets.  Walking through the historic district is honestly like taking a step back in time.  We stayed at a cute little AirBnB off E. Gaston Street, right across from Forsyth Park- one of the largest, and most well know city parks in the historic district of Savannah.  It was a great location and we were in walking distance to nearly everything. 

One of our favorite memories was strolling through the enchanting streets of Savannah, stopping at nearly all of the 22 historic squares that are found from E. Gordon St all the way down to the Savannah River.  These squares are surrounded by some of the most beautiful churches (The Cathedral of St.John the Baptist will take your breath away), historic homes, gorgeous inns and rich history that we have ever seen!  It was a truly incredible experience!

We were also blown away by the food scene in Savannah!  We ate some of the best food we’ve ever had on this trip- and trust me, we ate WAY more than necessary, but were trying to squeeze in as many culinary delights as possible in our 24 hours!

Our only wish is that we could have spent more time in Savannah!  Our best advice would be to spend a couple of days here if possible.  We can’t wait to plan our next trip to this incredible city!

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FOOD/DRINK


TREYLOR PARK - this was our first stop in Savannah. Literally.  Our AirBnB wasn’t quite ready, and we were really hungry so we stopped here for an early lunch.  This hip spot is known for their quirky menu and creative flavor combinations such as the fried chicken waffle fries nachos and PB&J wings, we had both and it was incredible!  And the best part: they have a dog friendly outdoor patio, so Reggie got to hang out with us too!

THE OLDE PINK HOUSE- this is one of Savannah’s most famous restaurants, and came highly recommended by many people, so we definitely wanted to have dinner here!  We knew it would be a bit more on the pricey side, so we choose this restaurant for my actual birthday dinner!  The Olde Pink House is set in Savannah’s only 18th century mansion, and specializes in Lowcountry cuisine.  Nathan and I both had the Crispy Scored Flounder which was served “whole fish” style.  Neither of us had seafood served this way before, but it was absolutely delicious!  We would highly recommend this restaurant for a special occasion or date-night. 

CAFE M- a lovely piece of Paris right in the heart of downtown Savannah.  Great spot for a quick breakfast, coffee, tea or some baked goods! We both had amazing lattes and were able to try a homemade Cronut for the very first time!ROCKS ON THE ROOF-  We both loved the vibe of this edgy, hip rooftop bar located on top of The Bohemian Hotel.  They feature a great mix of handcrafted cocktails which you can enjoy by cozy fire-pits, while enjoying breathtaking views of the Savannah River and all of historic downtown. 

LEOPOLDS ICE CREAM- going to Leopold’s is like taking a step back in time to a classic ice cream soda fountain shop- complete with striped hats and the friendliest staff!  When we arrived, the line was out the door, so we knew all the hype about this Savannah-staple must be true! Nathan and I both had a couple scoops of their seasonal flavors, and it was absolutely delicious!

RIVER STREET SWEETS - this was the most recommended shop on famous River Street, and I can see why!  I swear you could smell the heavenly pralines and fudge from down the street!  They have every type of candy you could ever imagine, but are most well know for their world famous pralines.  Bonus tip: if you walk into the door on the right hand of the store, you’ll be treated with free samples! You can thank me later!

ROCKS ON THE ROOF-  We both loved the vibe of this edgy, hip rooftop bar located on top of The Bohemian Hotel.  They feature a great mix of handcrafted cocktails which you can enjoy by cozy fire-pits, while enjoying breathtaking views of the Savannah River and all of historic downtown. 

*** A few places that were recommended, but we didn’t get a chance to try:

Back in the Day Bakery, Huey’s, Lulu’s Chocolate Bar, Artillery, Top Deck, The Lady and Sons, Mrs. Wilkes’ Dining Room 

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THINGS TO DO


FORSYTH PARK - our AirBnb was right across the street from this historic park, so we woke up early the morning we were set to leave, and walked around the park with Reggie.  This park is known for the iconic fountain off the entrance of Bull and Gaston, and is beautifully landscaped with rose gardens and lined by the classic Spanish filled oak trees. 


WALK RIVER STREET - this is by far the most well known street in the city!  Its adjacent to the Savannah River, and has an array of different souvenir shops, restaurants and local vendors and artists !  We walked all up and down the street, but also enjoyed stopping to sit and watch the massive cargo ships sail in and out of the port.

EXPLORE THE HISTORIC DISTRICT - we explored all around the historic streets of Savannah, marveling at the the gorgeous homes and mansions.  This city is full of incredible architecture.  Make sure to check out each of the city’s squares (theres 22 in total) to see all the different statues, sculptures, and rich history.  If you’re short on time, at least check out Jones Street, this had the most beautiful homes in my opinion.   

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OTHER ATTRACTIONS/THINGS TO DO:

Shop Local

Trolley Ghost Tour

Wormsloe Plantation

Tybee Island

Check out local museums, such as the Telfair Museum or SCAD Museum of Art

Tour Cathedral of St. John the Baptist

What are some of your favorite places to see and things to do in Savannah? We would love to hear any and ALL of your recommendations, because we are already planning our next trip back! If you haven’t been, and have any specific questions about our trip, let us know in the comments below! Thanks so much for reading and we can’t wait to share our next travel adventure with you all!!


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