Chocolate Orange Drop Cookies

Well, this weekend our temperatures finally dropped a bit and I quickly turned on the oven and did a little baking. I'm sure it won't last, but I'm loving the 70 and 80 F weather so much. Maybe Fall is coming. I'm tired of wearing shorts, I'm ready to wear jeans, sweater and boots.  

There are some flavors that I just meant to be together, chocolate and orange are a match made in heaven.  These, easy to make, soft cookies have just about as much frosting as cookie.  Too pretty to stack in a cookie jar, these cookies are fancy enough to be served as dessert at your next dinner party.

Chocolate Orange Drop Cookies

2/3 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1/3 cup buttermilk
1 tsp. vanilla
1 egg
zest of one orange
1/2 cup cocoa
1/ 3/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. baking soda

In a mixing bowl beat the sugar and butter together.  Add the buttermilk, vanilla, egg and orange zest, beat again. In another bowl combine the dry ingredients (flour, salt baking soda and cocoa). Whisk together to make sure there are no lumps and then the ingredients are combined.  Add the dry ingredients to the butter and sugar mixture.  Mix until the batter is smooth.

Using a small ice cream scoop or a tbsp. place small scoops of batter on a parchment lined baking sheet.  Bake at 400 F for just 8-10 mins.  You want these cookies to be soft.  Cool on a wire rack.
When they are completely cool, frost each cookie with a generous amount of chocolate orange frosting (see recipe below) and sprinkle a little more orange zest on each cookie.

Chocolate Orange Frosting

Zest of one orange (save some of the zest to garnish the cookies)
3 tbsp. orange juice
1/2 cup cocoa
2 tbsp. butter
2 cups powdered sugar

Combine all ingredients in a bowl and beat well with an electric mixture until the frosting is smooth.

This recipe is adapted from a Betty Crocker's Chocolate Drop Cookies recipe.  I bought one of those little recipe books at the grocery store with this recipe in it when we first got married.  It's been a favorite recipe around here for a while now.


The Home Depot Halloween Style Challenge

I'm really excited for you to see our living room all decorated for Halloween.  I took on The Home Depot Style Challenge and gave our living room a simple black and white halloween makeover. It's just an itty bitty bit spooky. I've also got a couple easy DIYs for you, like a pretty walnut cheese board and some creepy eyes for your plants.  It's clean and modern, so you don't feel like you are living in a haunted mansion.  

Head over to The Home Depot Blog to see all the details.


DIY Cement Garden Stakes

I've been having a lot of with cement lately.  It's such a fun, versatile material to work with.  I love the industrial and rustic vibe that it gives to space. There's nothing stuffy or uptight about cement.

Be sure to head over to Curbly today to check out how I made these fun B-O-O garden stakes with cement and some copper pipe just in time for Halloween.  

Orange Cardamom Cooler

If you were to search cardamom on my blog, I think it would come up often. It is one of my favorite flavors, and orange and cardamom together are pretty much perfect.  

I recently found some black sugar and wanted to create a fun Halloween themed drink for my family. I'm having fun with this new mocktail series, be sure to check out the other drink recipes I've created, like the Pineapple Rosemary Spritzer or the Blackberry Ginger Cooler.

Orange Cardamom Cooler

2 cups orange juice
1 tsp. ground cardamom
Orange Soda ( I love Izzy Sparkly Clementine Soda, it's made with juice and not a bunch of sugar)
black sugar

Combine the orange juice and cardamom in a small pot. Bring to a boil and then remove from the heat. Chill until ready to serve. 

Rub the rim of the glass with orange juice and dip in black sugar.  Fill the glass with ice and 1 part orange juice to 1 part soda.

Makes 4 drinks.


Friday's Fabulous 5

TGIF!  Three cheers for the weekend.  I haven't shared a Friday's Fabulous 5 in a while now, but this week there was so really great projects out there on the internet.

You have to check out these fun DIYs and printables by some of my favorite bloggers.


Quality over Quantity

This is definitely not a brand new thought or idea.  It's really just something that has been resonating with me lately.  This article, Owing Less is Great. Wanting Less is Better., struck a cord with me. I believe Less is More, but living it is a totally different thing.  Living in a small home, I feel like I have to purge and reorganize often, or we get swallowed up by the stuff.  And nothing stresses me out more the stuff everywhere.  Right now, I'm ready to part ways with so many of my possessions.  

I think my desire to live a little more minimalistic comes from my years of living overseas and in 3rd countries.  I've shared this before, but I grew up in Papua New Guinea.  Just the nature of being halfway around the world, my parents couldn't bring a lot of their stuff with them.  Our home was very minimal as a result.  And it didn't feel cold or uncomfortable.  Then, when Lonnie and I moved to Papua New Guinea as newly weds and also Yemen with 2 little kids, we took just our suitcases with us.  And guess what? You really don't need all the STUFF.  I think my life was so much simpler with less things to take care of and clean up. Sure, I missed some of the sentimental things.  But, most of the stuff that fills my home now, I really have very little emotional connection to.

It turns out that having very few possessions as a child totally didn't ruin me.  Hey, maybe having just a few toys was good for developing my creativity. 

So now, where do I start?  Being a design blogger, and really just having a passion for creating comfortable and fresh spaces, I find I want to buy and hunt down cool stuff. I need a way to get rid of what I have before I bring in new things. My new mantra is Quality Over Quantity. Before I buy that cute trendy item at Target or that killer mid century piece at the thrift store, I need to make sure I really have a place and a purpose for that item. I really don't want more stuff, so why do I feel compelled to have it. I know it's a huge part of our culture as Americans, but I really want to be more conscious of my actions.  

To start, today I'm taking a load of furniture and clothing to my local thrift store.  I have furniture pieces in my garage that I think I'll refinish or use for something.  But, really they are just adding clutter and stress to my life.  It's time for me to part ways with my $5 thrift store chairs you guys. Really, how many chairs does a girl need?  It's hard, I see potential in these items.  But, if they've been in my garage or closet for a year now and I haven't done anything with them, it's time for them to go.  

Next step, I think I'll have a little prop sale at my studio.  I've got some really good stuff you guys. Maybe these items can find a new home.

To keep me focused or this new goal, I created a little 8x10 printable.  If you are on a mission to become more of a minimalist or just be more aware of what you are buying, maybe this little print will help you as well.  Download the free printable HERE!

Ok, enough of my rambling, now I want to know what you think. Do you have any advice for me? Can you relate? How does you stuff make you feel?  


Geometric Pattern Art

I love geometric shapes and patterns.  They instantly make a space feel more modern.  I created this fun peach and blue piece with just a simple black frame and a couple of sheets of card stock.  Big art pieces for your home don't have to cost an arm and a leg.  

Head over to Curbly for the full how-to.  

Oh and that cute tropical leaf print is from Minted.  It's one of three fun leaf prints on a pale pink background.