gallamore west: January 2013

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Baked Chocolate Donuts

These baked chocolate donuts are quite possibly the best thing that has come out of my oven... ever.  They are so decadent and incredibly adorable too, right?  And who doesn't like to eat adorable food?  

This little heart shaped cutie paired with a cup of hot coffee is a match made in heaven if you ask me.

These baked chocolate donuts are surprisingly quick and easy to make, but don't worry, you don't have to tell anyone else.  They look and taste like a treat from a fancy bakery.   I found the original recipe at an adorable blog, My San Francisco Kitchen, but I modified the ingredients a bit.  Mostly, I upped the amount of vanilla extract, used vanilla yogurt instead of plain yogurt, and used mini chocolate chips because they melt quicker than regular chocolate chips.

Baked Chocolate Donuts
3/4 cup flour
1/3 cup white sugar
¼ cup unsweetened cocoa powder   
1 tsp baking powder

¼ tsp salt
2 tbsp vanilla yogurt
¼ cup milk
1 egg
3 tbsp vegetable oil
1 tsp vanilla extract

Chocolate glaze

2 tbsp unsalted butter
¾ tsp light corn syrup
1 tbsp milk
1 tsp vanilla extract
2 tbsp semisweet mini chocolate chips
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
Sprinkles for decoration

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Whisk together dry ingredients.  In a separate bowl, whisk together wet ingredients.  Pour the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients and stir very well, until smooth.  Pour batter into well greased mini donut pan, about 3/4 full.  Bake for about 7-8 minutes, until they spring back when you touch them lightly with your finger.  Place donuts on cooling rack.  Cool completely before adding glaze.

To make glaze:  
In a pan on stove top, add in the butter, corn syrup, milk, and vanilla extract.  Once butter is melted, stir in the chocolate chips until melted.  Once chocolate is melted, add in the confectioners sugar and whisk until well blended.  

Keep glaze on the lowest heat on stove top while adding glaze to donuts.  Sprinkle with decorations immediately, as the glaze sets quickly.  Enjoy... I know my family sure did!  I stopped myself at one because I'm in the middle of my 30 Day Shred.  But I really could've eaten the whole plate myself!

Monday, January 21, 2013

Oh my darling Clementine! {Valentine's Day Display}

 I always have a bowl of oranges picked from our backyard on top of this tall green dresser thing in our kitchen {let's call her Greenie} during the winter months, and because I really wanted to keep them there AND decorate Greenie for Valentine's Day, I came up with this- something fun, bright, and whimsical for Valentine's Day!

I love having lots of little nooks and crannies to decorate here, and this tall green dresser thing is one of my favorite place to decorate because it's in a central, visible place in our home, and because it belonged to my grandparents.  They were getting rid of it years ago and when I spied it in my parents garage one day, I laid claim to it.  Not really, but I did hint that if they didn't have a spot for it, I would loooove to take it off of their hands.   Some time later, she made her way to our house {yippee!!}

These are THE best oranges in the world.  Seriously.  I don't think they are really Clementines, but for the sake of Valentine's Day, they're happy to go along with it.

  Don't they look delicious, my darling Clementine?

In the space above the display, I added this quick little jute and heart doily garland.  I adore those little mini clothespins and seem to find ways to tie them into just about every project.

The "Clementines" looked a little lonely up on Greenie all alone, so I added a little Mason jar with red and white stripey straws {$2 at Michael's right now} and added lace doilies underneath.  Those doilies were given to us on our wedding day 12 years ago by my husband's Aunt.  They belonged to my husband's Grandmother many years ago.  I love mixing old things with new things, and especially when those old things have a story behind them.

And that little red glittered star... yes, I know it should really be a heart.  But while setting up this display, I had to stop and run out to the garage for something and that little red heart was lying on the garage floor.  It had somehow fallen off of a Christmas decoration and been lying on the garage floor for weeks without getting run over.  So I rescued her and hooked her onto the ribbon just to see how she looked.  I loved her there, so there she stayed... my little rescued star.

I have to admit that sometimes lately it's been hard to come up with fun, original ideas for decorating, baking, projects... anything!... now that Pinterest is here.  I LOVE Pinterest, but I feel that I sometimes let it suck my creativity away.  But every once in awhile, an idea hits me and I just go with it, just like the old pre-Pinterest days.  This was one of those days and I smile every time I walk by Greenie.  

Oh My Darling, Clementine... 
we'll be singing/humming/whistling that line for weeks around here! 

I'll be sharing this Valentine's Day Display at some of my favorite party places. xoxo

Friday, January 18, 2013

Vintage Valentine's Day Wreath

Oh, how I love Valentine's Day!  

My winter wreath that I made and blogged about here as part of our Rustic Snow Day Porch had been on our door stripped bare of her winter embellishments waiting to get dolled up for Valentine's Day for a few weeks now.  

And here she is...

Using adorable embellishments from Michael's, like this cute ribbon {seriously, if you haven't been to Michael's lately, you've got to go... they have a whole aisle of bins full of the cutest stuff ever, all under $3} I dressed up my wreath for Valentine's Day with a bit of vintage flair.

Wooden spools {from Pick Your Plum}, vintage looking keys {that were originally used as flying keys at this Harry Potter Party}, a glittered heart from Michael's, and lots of that pretty ribbon from Michael's... a quick 5 minute wreath makeover, and now she's all ready for the Day of Love...  although we like to celebrate it as the Month of Love around here!  

I'm sharing my Vintage Valentine's Day Wreath at some of my favorite party places... hope you have a fabulous weekend!!  xoxo

Friday, January 11, 2013

Motivation for Healthy Living {30 Day Shred}

Want some motivation to get in shape and eat healthier safely and quickly?  

Me too, but this time instead of sitting around just thinking about it like I sometimes do, I'm getting off my butt and doing something about it!  My sweet and oh so hilarious friend Jen {at Four Marrs and One Venus} started a Facebook group for friends doing Jillian Michael's 30 Day Shred DVD, and I jumped on board.  This is my #1 motivator to stick with it and drop the pounds... a group of fun, motivating friends who are all in this together! 

But I'm a really visual person and I like to SEE my results for any project I take on right away.  If I'm working hard, but the scale isn't rewarding me with a lower number, I tend to get discouraged and start eating a Snickers bar or something.  Patience is a virtue that sadly I was not blessed with... sigh.  So I made a couple of visual motivators to help me along my 30 Day Shred adventure. 

To see my progress every day, I printed out this free printable calendar from The Tomkat Studio.  You can download it here.  Every day that I do the 30 Day Shred DVD, I give myself a sticker.  I also give myself a gold star for the days that I eat right & drink lots of water,  Why yes, I was indeed a 2nd grade Teacher in my former life. {Today was Day One of my 30 Day Shred so I'm going to give myself TWO good stickers because I did my Shred and I've been eating like a sugar-free rabbit today.}

I also made this fun visual from recycled baby food jars {I had a couple extra from this project... Math wasn't my strongest subject}.  I saw something similar floating around Pinterest a couple of years ago with big glass jars & little marbles. 

Since I don't have all that much I want to lose, I want to see a bigger impact with each and every one of the 12 pounds I'm going to lose so I chose little jars with crayons.

Thirdly, here's  a picture of me today... I'll skip the full body shot in a bikini because that may cause some eye damage or something.  I do love my Snickers after all.  My hair's a mess, but I see chubby cheeks and arms here.  And I'm not talking about the cute cheeks on that baby boy :)

And lastly, I asked my husband if he would pay me $10 for every pound I lose so that I can buy a pair of nice, new jeans at the end of the 30 days and he said yes... maybe a little too quickly, but I'll let that go :)  Having four babies {the last two of them within 19 months of each other} has definitely moved things to places I never imagined they'd go!  So here's a link to the butt I'd like to have the jeans I want to buy with the money that I will earn in 30 Days.  {I only buy my fancy jeans when they're half price, just in case it appears that I'm off on math again!}

What about you?
What motivates you to get moving?


p.s.  Telling YOU... putting it out there like this... that's a huge motivator too.  I drafted this blog post a few days was Day Five of my 30 Day Shred and I've moved TWO crayons to the lost jar so far!!

Monday, January 7, 2013

One Little Word for 2013: JOY

Happy 2013!! 

I'm back from my planned blogging break and so ready for a new year!  Every year I choose one little word that I focus on that year.  Whenever I'm having a hard time focusing, or when I'm struggling, all I have to do is think on my word and it always helps bring me back to a happy place.  

In 2012, it was balance.  
The year before it was simplify
For 2013, my one little word is JOY

free printable from Laura Winslow Photography

I want to find joy in the ordinary moments of life, and I will strive to find joy in my struggles.  For the past few years,  I haven't really quite felt like myself.  I think it's just that so much has changed, and although most of it involves good changes, it's been quite an adjustment.  We've added two little babies to our family just under 19 months apart, we moved, the boys started new schools, the job situation for my husband has been a very bumpy ride, my sweet Grandpa passed away very quickly last year, I had a health scare, and I miss my girlfriends.  

I am fortunate enough to have really good girlfriends- wonderful, treasured, lifelong friends.  But one moved away, then I moved away, one remains in the city we moved from, and one had moved away years ago.  So, I find myself in a weird spot where I'm feeling the need to reach out to make a new friendship or two.  And honestly, I kind of feel like the new kid on the playground, which for a creature of comfort like myself, is a hard spot to be.  But I'm looking forward to keeping the wonderful friendships I already have, while reaching out and making some new girlfriends too.

But despite anything that life throws my way, I have a choice on how to respond.  And I am choosing JOY.  

free printable from Worthy of the Prize

I'm thrilled to be back to blogging after my planned blogging break where I thoroughly enjoyed the holiday break with our four little boys.  I'm looking forward to sharing my updated craft area with you No really, I know I said that before but as soon as I clear off this pile of bills sitting here, I'll take pictures and share it's cuteness with you... I LOVE it, minus the pile of bills of course.  I'm also looking forward to sharing how I {appear to} keep on top of everything, how the cleaning fairies come to our house at night {it's awesome}, some new recipes, and some DIY fun with you.  And of course, VALENTINE'S DAY!  One of my favorite days of the year is coming up quickly and I can't wait to share how we're celebrating it this year.  

Here's what I did for Valentine's Day last year:

{with ideas for a 14 Day Countdown}

What about you?  
Do you choose One Little Word each year?  
What's your word for 2013?  

I'll be posting pics on Instagram with the hashtag #gallamorewestjoy and I'd love to have you follow me there too!



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