Young, Self-employed, and Trying to Buy a Home: Part One

So we're looking at buying a home. Buying a home when you're in your mid-twenties, make money via being self-employed on the Internet, AND have a limited credit history is a pretty big challenge - but it's not impossible by any means. We've learned so much in the last few months trying to figure it all out, and we'll be sharing it all here to hopefully help some of y'all save a little time or just answer a few questions you may have. This is part of a multi-post series, in which we'll be covering taxes, different kinds of loans, down payments, etc. 


Disclaimer: We are not financial advisors (lol duhand are only here to speak on what we've learned and seen. We are not here to offer financial advice.


There are a lot of things you learn when you start the journey towards home ownership as a self-employed young adult. A few can be summed up in a simple bullet list.

  • Walking into a lending office and starting a conversation off with, "So I run a food blog for a living" is akin to walking in and saying "I'm a drug dealer" or just casually pulling out a pistol. Some may gasp, or look blankly at you, but good lenders will take a moment and then smile and say, "absolutely, we can work with that." They're probably lying.
  • Everyone has "a guy" that supposedly can help move some things around to make a case that you qualify for a loan. Literally every single person. Save all of the phone numbers given to you because you will quickly burn through this list looking for the person who is actually that good at moving things around.
  • If you've been self-employed for less than two years (or tax seasons, really), just go stand out on the street begging for a home from a stranger because honestly your odds are better that way. We'll talk about this in the next post in this series, which will tackle the complex world of self-employed taxes, length of self-employment, and earnings and how it all affects your ability to buy a home.
  • If you're young and have limited (but good) credit and parents who are willing and happy to co-sign for you (note: this doesn't mean you can expect money from them, in fact you should probably take them out to a nice dinner for doing this) that may be your best option for the first couple of years of home ownership until you can refinance and possibly remove them from the loan. We'll cover more about this in our post on co-signing, deeds, and titles.

I suppose the first thing we need to cover is: "why do you want to own a home right now?" - well, let's get into it. Matt and I are both from New Orleans and love the city too damn much to leave without having a piece of property to make our return very very easy. We want to travel, we want to maybe live in a few other cities for several months at a time, but we never want to feel barred from coming back to our own city because the process of finding a sublet or staying with a friend or parent seems too daunting. 

Speaking of finding a sublet, let's talk about paying rent. In the four years we've been together, Matt and I have spent a minimum of $1300 for rent every single month, and for a solid year and a half of that we were spending $1600 a month. Now, if you live in New York, San Francisco, or LA these rent prices may seem low to you. Bless your heart. Yes we may look rich on Instagram but that's mostly just because we receive a lot of gifts and not a ton of money. Hey, every job has its perks and downfalls. Let's do the math on our rent for the last four years of living together.

Maaaath time!

4 years = 48 months. For 18 of those months our rent was $1600, and 30 of those months our rent was $1300. (18x1600) + (30x1300) = (28,800) + (39,00) = $67,800 rent paid in four years. 

That is completely fucking insane, but it's a reality for so many renters in today's market.

So, besides the fact that we literally could've put about 20% down on a $350,000 home with that money, we're also faced with a quickly vanishing market of affordable homes in New Orleans. And that's happening in every urban area. Homes are sky rocketing in price alongside rising interest rates, older homes are being bought up and flipped for much higher prices, and all of this is happening while rent prices continue to balloon - making actually saving money for a house all the more challenging. 

Finally, we want to buy a home because the idea of having our own space to truly do what we want (knock down a wall, replace countertops, etc) is a huge lofty dream for us. As renters, we can obviously paint and replace light fixtures (god, always replace the light fixtures) but at the end of the day we're limited by what we can do - and also we aren't tryna invest too much in a place that we'll have to walk away from in the next year or two. 

As for what kind of home we're looking for, we'll get into the nitty gritty of that in another post. Mostly we're looking for renovation projects and homes that haven't been touched much since Hurricane Katrina that need a whole lotta work. There are many reasons we're going this route, and we'll go into it all shortly - promise!

 If you wanna see even more of our home buying process, check back weekly or sign up for our newsletter to get updates and alerts on new posts on this topic!


^^ Pretty much sums up our expressions during this whole process ^^


Thanks so much to Dell for giving us these matching XPS 13 rose gold touch screen laptops, helping facilitate our house hunting! They've made learning about what it's going to take to buy a home so much easier, cause we can work side by side and look *stylish* while doing it.


Cheesy Farmers Market Quiche

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Real talk alert! We're taking the first few baby steps to look into home ownership while also processing our first year of taxes as self-employed humans and all of the focus on every dollar spent has got me shook. It's not even that we necessarily spend *that* much on completely unnecessary stuff, but seeing it all laid out at once is pretty jarring.  If your an intelligent mature adult you're probably thinking "uh yeah no shit" - but just bear with me on this. It's by no means my first tax season, but it is the first time I've had to basically go through every expense and be like "was this pint of ice cream just for my mouth or for that one brownie sundae recipe I did eight months ago?". 

Anyway, yes, it's jarring. Like, why did I need seventeen lattes last month, am I broken? Did you know it's remarkably easy to spend $250 on wine in one month and not even be drunk at any point during that month? These are the things I'm learning. Oh, also if you own your own business don't just make a bunch of personal expenses whenever you want because your CPA will have to deal with your shit and it's not cute (sorry, Kay!). So for the time being we're low-key punishing ourselves and being extra careful about spending, because three very excessive brunches in one month is absolutely not necessary.

This is where quiche enters from stage right and the spotlight shines directly onto it's flakey beautiful exterior. Quiche - what a freaking great dish to prepare at home for brunch. Fill it with seasonal vegetables and cheese, and pair it with a few mimosas and a pot of hot coffee and you've got yourself a remarkably satisfying $20 brunch for two. Well it depends on what kind of bubbly you're sipping on, but for us, it's the cheap stuff for now!

How do you, personally, feel about quiche? It seems to kind of have a hit or miss effect. We're obviously fans of the stuff, I mean it's kinda like a breakfast pie and if you do it right the crust is flakey and the insides are basically an omelette and I don't know why that wouldn't appeal to everyone. In my humble (not humble) opinion, quiche is a supreme breakfast food.

This particular quiche is made with a whole wheat crust and packed with some of the seasonal produce happening around New Orleans right now. For all you folks in the parts of the world that are still v frozen, feel free to get creative with some roasted cauliflower or potatoes. Oh and also feel free to add a lot of bacon. The crust itself is whole wheat because we love #health and it's an adaption from a recipe in one of our favorite books, The Art of French Pastry. Our favorite part of quiche is the crust, so this recipe has a bit thicker of a crust then most quiche, and the crust is a bit more dense - like a pie crust - to provide a sturdy base for the miniature quiches, meaning you can just pick em up and eat them with your hands! You can check out how we're throwing together this bad gal below!



Farmers Market Quiche

  • 1 whole wheat crust (or 8 mini crusts), baked and cooled - recipe below
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1/2 small bell pepper, cut into thin strips
  • 1/2 small white onion, cut into thin strips
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 handful fresh spinach
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh oregano
  • 1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1/4 cup shredded mozzarella
  • salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and have your little baked and cooled crusts all put on a baking sheet.
  2. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and toss in the carrot and bell pepper and a pinch of salt and pepper. Let cook for about 8 minutes, stirring occasionally, until the carrots have softened just slightly and the peppers have begun to wilt. Add in the onion and garlic and cook for another 5 or so minutes until the onions too have lost their shape and begun to wilt. Add in the oregano and spinach and cook for another two minutes. Turn off heat.
  3. Use tongs to transfer the sautéed vegetables to the crust(s). Place them evenly to cover the entire base of your crust. Whisk together the egg and cheese and pour evenly into the crust(s). Bake for 10 minutes (or 15 - 18 minutes for large quiche) or until the egg has set. Let cool slightly before serving!

whole wheat crust

makes 1 (8") quiche crust

  • 1/2 cup butter at room temperature, the higher quality the better
  • 3/4 cup Bob's Red Mill whole wheat flour*
  • 3/4 cup unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons water
  1. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Sift in the flours and salt and mix on low until combined and just slightly crumbly. Add in the water and mix until it all is just coming together to form a smooth dough, don't over-mix. See photos above for reference on appearance. Transfer onto a sheet of plastic wrap and form into a disk. Tightly wrap in the plastic wrap and refrigerate for two hours, up to overnight.
  2. Remove the dough from the fridge when you're ready to make the quiche. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and let the dough sit at room temperature while the oven heats up, about ten minutes, so that its easier to work with.
  3. Press the dough into the pie pan(s) and place the pans onto a baking sheet. Prick the bottoms of the dough with a fork to allow steam to escape during the baking process. Bake for 10 - 12 minutes for the miniature pans, and 15 - 18 minutes for a single large pan. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before using in the recipe above.

Notes

* When measuring flour, fluff the flour up with a spoon and use the spoon to gently scoop the flour into your measuring cups. Make sure your flour is even (not mounding) in the measuring cup and use this amount as your measurment. Scooping your flour directly out of the bag with the measuring cups compacts the flour and will not be an accurate measurement. 


This post was sponsored by Bob's Red Mill as part of their Spring Baking campaign. All opinions are our own. Thanks so much for supporting the sponsors that keep Probably This alive and well!


eBay, Lately: Deals on Coach, Ray-Ban, Levi's, and Patagonia

You guys! We've been getting our bodies ready for the spring / summer with copious amounts of online shopping and trips to the gym where Matt lifts a bunch of stuff and I catch up on Instagram and Jezebel articles. It's been a fantastic few weeks. 

To help prepare your end of winter/early sping outfits and fashionz, we've started working with eBay to be on the look out for sweet deals on a few of our favorite brands that we can then share with y'all here! Our favorite trick to online shopping is check out your desired brand's website, shop a bit and find some things you love, and before purchasing anything go ahead and check eBay to see if it's available at a discount. We're all about gently used or good-as-new products that come for half the price tag - cause then we get to spend more on wine and pints of Halo Top (the gayest thing to ever happen to ice cream). Check out some of the articles we've put together on how to make out like a bandit on eBay and let us know if you come across any hot deal you're not gonna take cause then we will!!! This is all about helping each other out ;)


RAY-BAN

We found a whole selection of modern Ray-Bans with circle lenses and hipster frames and all of our favorite things all in one. For like, pretty cheap. Check it: here!

***

COACH

Other than truly summer-ready bodies, something else we never thought we'd have is a freaking Coach bag. Because those are only for the buff gay Beverly Hills realtors on TV, not for us. Turns out that's false and we actually found some half-priced Coach backpacks we're living/dying for. Check it: here!

***

LEVI'S

Levi's denim jackets: vintage, new, sherpa-lined, light weight, dark wash, light wash. Y'all. Check it: here!

***

PATAGONIA

Honestly our favorite Patagonia find on eBay was those vintage bright colored Patagonia pants that everyone's dad wore in the 80s with the mustaches and the ski trips and that whole thing. We're talking outerwear, for cheap! Check it: here!


That's all for now, cuties. This is part of a multi-post series collaboration with eBay, so check back at the end of the month to see what else we've found!


Spring Onion Romesco


Four years ago I honestly never could have expected that I'd be around for this day. It's Beau's 24th birthday! Fun fact, Beau's birthday is two days before our anniversary, so it all usually just gets rolled into one big celebration time of reminiscing. If you're keeping track, yes, that means he was 19 when we first met, which is disgustingly cute,, and if you scroll far enough back on our Instagram you can find pictures from back then. But I don't *fully* recommend doing that because we're both *fully* cuter and more stylish nowadays in our post-college life. Just take my word that the stuff is out there somewhere.

So a little bit ago we both just woke up and were like "Wow, holy crap, we've been together four years, how did that happen?" I literally have no idea. It's been a fast and event-filled four years for us. Over that time, a pattern has kind of emerged for how we spend our respective birthdays. I'm more the type to prefer a small party with some friends, and Beau's more the type to prefer seven meals all at a different restaurant and/or fly to New York, which we've done for 2 of the last 3 of his birthdays. We're sticking to New Orleans this year, so I guess we're about to head out on our restaurant marathon. Pray for us and our appetites.

The first stop he'll want to make, if I may wager a guess, is our favorite little café that happens to be right across the street, Sneaky Pickle. We've written about them before because, like I said, they're our favorite and I'm not exaggerating. Our friend Ben is the chef and owner, and he's always changing the menu, and it's always amazing. A couple weeks ago we stopped in and had some food that frankly may have changed my life forever, some goat ribs covered in a romesco sauce. And that, babes, is how we got started thinking about today's recipe.

So I don't know how familiar you are with romesco sauce, but I was not very familiar with it before this life changing meal. Well, now I'm incredibly familiar with it, to the point that Beau and I are considering inviting it to thrupple with us because, hey, Emma Watson is kissing a buffalo on the big screen so it looks like anything goes in 2017.

I'll break it down if you're as in the dark as I once was: red pepper, nuts, garlic. UNH. For ours, we also wanted to include some oven roasted spring onion we got in our Saint Box from St. Roch Forage, which we are LIVING FOR. Anyway, this sauce is friggin' dope and we've made a bunch of it, so we're brainstorming a lot of different ways to use it.

While the spoon to mouth option could work, some other great methods of serving are:

  • On a flatbread or pizza in place of red sauce
  • On a sandwich when you wanna be a real bad girl, or impress the shit out of your kid
  • As a pasta sauce
  • As a topping for lamb, goat ribs (!!), or a good charred steak
  • All over your body while you binge watch reruns of GIRLS - this may only apply to us


Spring Onion Romesco

adapted from Bon Appetit

takes: 25 minutes //  makes: 1 quart(ish)

  • 2 - 4 spring onions* 
  • 3 - 5 cloves garlic, peeled and kept whole
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 fire roasted red pepper
  • 1/2 cup slivered almond
  • 1/4 cup tomato sauce
  • 2 tablespoon chopped parsley
  • 1 teaspoon paprika
  • 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Juice of one lemon
  • salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a large baking pan (with a lip to prevent oil spill over) with parchment paper or aluminum foil. Place the spring onions and garlic on the baking pan and coat with the melted butter and a sprinkle of salt. Roast for 12 - 15 minutes, until the spring onions are wilted and slightly charred. Remove from heat and set aside.
  2. While the spring onions roast, combine the remaining ingredients (roasted red pepper through the salt + pepper to taste in the ingredients list above) in a blender. 
  3. Once the spring onions have roasted, give them a coarse chop and add them along with the garlic to the blender. Pulse until smooth, and enjoy! Check out our Notes on serving this sauce below.

Notes

  • OK so our spring onions were freaking massive (about 1 1/2 feet in length), so we only used 2. However, if you've got itty bitty spring onions or if you're substituting scallions, you may want to use up to 6. 
  • This stays good up to one week in the fridge in an airtight container!

 

 

 

Chocolate Chunk Rosemary Cookies


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At a recent dinner with two of our closest friends, Camille and Other Matt, I learned something, y'all - I learned something real nuts. There was too much wine and a lot of gin and tonic action going on and our waiter was this sweet man who had a legitimately insane sense of humor and it was kind of a mess but so much fun. Anyway, towards the end of the meal they sent out this huge decadent brownie sundae and there were other important things going on - maybe a toffee topping or some kind of nut ordeal - and because we're all disgusting monsters we dove in like stoners descending on a mattress-sized portion of cheese fries. 

A friend at the restaurant came by and joked that it was vegan and low-fat and calorie-free, but - as I'd mentioned - we were all kind of very drunk at this point and while Matt and I obviously knew she was fully kidding, Camille and Other Matt abruptly quit eating this thing. It wasn't until the NEXT DAY that I found out they both thought she was serious and didn't want to be bothered with a dessert that wasn't "legit." So, two things: they're both obviously completely insane + some people still legitimately do not want a dessert that isn't a classic Americana full-fat-gluten-filled-dairy-bomb. I can respect that. It also explains why ever since we posted this recipe for Citrusy Chocolate Chip Cookies with Rosemary that are gluten free, we've gotten a couple requests a week for how to make them gluten-filled. Y'all just really want that gluten! Noted.

This recipe isn't quite the same as the gluten free recipe, and will instead yield a thicker, more chewy cookie with a bit more chocolate action. Citrus notes are optional and honestly so is the rosemary, so feel free to omit those things and just bake up some classic chewy chocolate chunk cookies. It's your life, damn it, do what the hell you want. This recipe is a slight adaption from this salted cookie recipe from our favorite lil cuties over at Bon Appetit, and we gotta say they totally nailed it with this thing. You can find the full recipe at the bottom of this post, or check out the step-by-step photo guide below!


In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, kosher salt, baking powder, baking soda, and finely minced rosemary. Set aside.

In the body of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a mixing bowl with a hand-held beater) cream the butter, brown sugar, sugar, and powdered sugar on medium speed until slightly fluffy. 

Add the egg yolks, egg, vanilla, and orange extract (if using) and beat for another 3 or 4 minutes until pale and fluffy - as in the photo above.

Turn the speed to low and mix in the dry blend about 1/2 cup at a time, waiting for each addition to be incorporated before adding the next. Repeat until all of the dry blend has been added. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to fold in the 10 oz of chocolate chunks, reserving the extra chunks for later use.

Place dough in the fridge for fifteen minutes just to firm up. While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets (you may need to do this in a few batches if you only have one baking sheet or smaller baking sheets) with parchment paper. Once dough has chilled, scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough into your hand and roll into the shape of a golfball. Repeat with the rest of the dough. Place onto the baking sheets about 3" apart and press a few extra chunks into the surface of the cookie dough ball. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Cookies should be golden brown and crackled on top.

Remove the cookies from the oven and let sit for 3 - 4 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. 

Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and a little rosemary before serving. Will stay good in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.



Chocolate Chunk Rosemary Cookies

takes: about 1 hour // makes: 2 dozen large cookies

  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons very very very finely minced fresh rosemary + extra for garnish
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 3/4 cup (packed) light brown sugar
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup powdered sugar
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon orange extract (optional)
  • 10 ounces semisweet or bittersweet chocolate chunks (do not exceed 72% cacao), plus a small handful more for tops of cookies
  • Maldon or other flaky sea salt
  1. In a medium mixing bowl, whisk together the flour, kosher salt, baking powder, baking soda, and finely minced rosemary. Set aside.
  2. In the body of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or in a mixing bowl with a hand-held beater) cream the butter, brown sugar, sugar, and powdered sugar on medium speed until slightly fluffy, about three minutes.
  3. Add the egg yolks, egg, vanilla, and orange extract (if using) and beat for another 3 or 4 minutes until pale and fluffy.
  4. Turn the speed to low and mix in the dry blend about 1/2 cup at a time, waiting for each addition to be incorporated before adding the next. Repeat until all of the dry blend has been added. Use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to fold in the 10 oz of chocolate chunks, reserving the extra chunks for later use.
  5. Place dough in the fridge for fifteen minutes just to firm up, making it easier to work with. While the dough chills, preheat the oven to 375 degrees and line two baking sheets (you may need to do this in a few batches if you only have one baking sheet or smaller baking sheets) with parchment paper.
  6. Once dough has chilled, scoop a heaping tablespoon of dough into your hand and roll into the shape of a golfball. Repeat until all dough has been rolled. Place onto the baking sheets about 3" apart and press a few extra chocolate chunks into the surface of the cookie dough balls. Bake for 12 minutes, rotating the baking sheets halfway through. Cookies should be golden brown and crackled on top.
  7. Remove the cookies from the oven and let sit for 3 - 4 minutes before transferring to a wire rack to cool. Sprinkle with sea salt flakes and a little rosemary before serving. Will stay good in an airtight container at room temperature for up to one week.

Broccoli Rabe Mexican Breakfast Skillet


We've got a pretty turbulent love/hate relationship with Mardi Gras. We love the few weeks of parades and constant parties leading up to Mardi Gras day, and then we hate ourselves for a solid three days after because of the copious amounts of king cake and daiquiris we've consumed. Happens every year. Luckily, New Orleans has its own built-in way of balancing out the Fat Tuesday revelry in the form of a forty day stretch of Lent right after.

If you didn't already know, Lent is a Christian tradition between Mardi Gras and Easter when those observing it "give up" something they enjoy - usually a vice like tequila, sugar, coffee, tequila, tequila, etc - as a form of sacrifice. Oh and you're also not supposed to eat meat on Fridays just to really drive home that you done screwed up those past few weeks.  

Like it has with a whole bunch of church traditions, New Orleans kind of adopted Lent as a secular cultural tradition as well, and everyone just kinda participates regardless of faith, because when the whole city spends a few weeks partying, the whole city probably needs some time to recover. It's very effective at giving us all a lot of motivation to stop being heathens and start eating green stuff and running or whatever it is you do to be healthy. 

And it starts today, the day after Mardi Gras! We both attempted "giving up" green vegetables for Lent when we were kids which, you maybe guessed, was totally not a thing our parents would let us do. Fortunately, over a decade later, we're all about our greens - even for breakfast! We whipped up this little Mexican breakfast situation with some broccoli rabe from our friends over at Andy Boy. The broccoli rabe has an earthy flavor and goes super well alongside the hatch chilies, spices, eggs, and cheese. And, bonus, it's like a really healthy way to start off your morning. The recipe makes enough for two, and basically only dirties one pan if you're careful. 

We're really having a moment with broccoli rabe right now (not in a weird way, we're just really into it, OK?) and have been using it in everything from nachos to stir fry for a healthy helping of green goodness. If you're also on the broccoli rabe train, check out our other recent recipe we did with it, a Sesame Broccoli Rabe Crostini. From start to finish, this Broccoli Rabe Mexican Breakfast Skillet will only take you a little over half an hour to throw together. Find the full recipe below!


OW

Broccoli Rabe Mexican Breakfast Skillet

prep time: 25 min // cook time: 15 minutes // serves 2

  • 1 lb (about 1 bunch) Andy Boy broccoli rabe

  • 1 - 2 mild chilies (we used hatch chilies), chopped

  • 1/2 hot chili (jalapeno or Serrano), minced

  • 1 clove garlic, minced

  • 1 tablespoon olive oil, divided in two + 1 teaspoon

  • 1/2 teaspoon cumin

  • 1 teaspoon red chili flakes

  • 1 pinch chili powder, optional

  • 2 eggs, room temperature

  • 2 (6") corn tortillas

  • 1/3 cup salsa verde or salsa picante

  • 2 - 3 oz shredded white cheese such as pepper-jack or white cheddar

  • 1 small handful fresh cilantro

  • Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste

 

  1. Fill a large mixing bowl with ice water. Set aside.

  2. Begin bringing a pot of water to boil over medium-high heat (you'll basically just want there to be enough water to cover all of the broccoli rabe).

  3. While the water is coming to a boil, bring a medium (about 10”) cast iron skillet* to medium-high heat and add one teaspoon of olive oil. Cut the corn tortilla into long strips and place flat onto the skillet. You may need to do this in batches, adding a small drizzle of extra olive oil to the skillet between batches) if your skillet is not large enough to accommodate all of the tortilla strips at once. Cook for about thirty seconds on each side - they should be browning on the edges and have a crisp texture - before transferring to a bowl. Toss with salt, pepper, and chili powder and set aside.

  4. Add half a tablespoon of olive oil to the skillet and heat over medium heat. Crack the egg into a small bowl to ensure no shells get into the skillet, and gently place the eggs into the skillet. Let cook for about 4 minutes, until the white becomes fully cooked but the yolk is still runny. Use a spatula to gently transfer the cooked eggs from the skillet to a clean plate. Sprinkle a small pinch of salt and some fresh cracked pepper over the eggs and place in a warm spot for the remainder of the cooking process.

  5. While your water is still coming to a boil, cut off the thick bottom parts of the broccoli rabe stalk and cut or tear the broccoli rabe into 2-3" pieces. Rinse well in a colander under cold water.

  6. Once your water is boiling, add the broccoli rabe and let cook for just about one minute before draining into the colander and immediately placing the broccoli rabe in the ice water bath to halt the cooking process. Drain and pat dry the broccoli rabe. Set aside.

  7. In your skillet, heat the remaining half tablespoon of olive oil over medium heat. Add the garlic, crushed red pepper, cumin, and minced hot pepper and let cook for about one minute until aromatic, stirring with a wooden spoon constantly. Add the broccoli rabe and mild chilies and saute for 2-3 minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat.

  8. Top with the fried eggs, tortilla strips, shredded cheese, salsa, and cilantro. Serve family style out of the skillet with a spatula or wooden spoon.

Notes

  • The skillet you use throughout the cooking process for this recipe should be the same one you plan to serve this dish in.

 




Thanks so much for Andy Boy Broccoli Rabe for sponsoring this post - and to all of you guys for supporting the sponsors that keep Probably This alive and well.  As always, all opinion are our own!

Toasted King Cake Bread Pudding w/ Pecan Crumble


Pin the photo above to save the recipe for later! You can find the full written recipe and instructions at the very bottom of this post, and a step by step photo instructional below.


Our windows are open and the breeze is coming in full strength and the sun is shining and we are truly ready as all get out (do people still use that phrase) to have an amazing Mardi Gras weekend / Fat Tuesday. Since legit Mardi Gras celebration begins two weeks or so before Mardi Gras day, we've had to develop a remarkably scientific system for conquering it all.

Our tried and true method for surviving the holiday - and not being that one boo laying on top of a car on Royal St. begging for her bffl Rachel to procure french fries from thin air - is to pick three days during the whole two week stretch to really go for it. Like, full costume, rhinestone flask of brandy taped to your hip, tiara tightly placed in your hair going for it. The rest of the days, feel free to put on some glitter and your favorite heels, but maybe try and be home before midnight and only have two drinks max. Are we experts or what? Legitimate question because sometimes we still end up being that girl begging for french fries.

In between brushing glitter onto our faces and attempting to fit into tights that are far too tight for our winter bods, we made a king cake bread pudding! It's a toasted king cake bread pudding, actually, with a brown sugar pecan crumble - a little nod towards another New Orleans favorite, pralines.

The toasting process gives this sweet thing a little burnt sugar flavor and keep the edges real crispy when it's being baked into the custard. And one other secret to this recipe: a little creme de cacao for a little added kick of alcohol and sweetness. It's pretty much the ideal way to use all of the day-old king cake laying around, and maybe our new favorite Mardi Gras season breakfast. Pro-tip for enjoying for breakfast: warm it in the oven for ten minutes and top with bacon and a drizzle of maple syrup. Enjoy with a cup of coffee with just a touch of cream. Also, be near a bed because you're going to have a horrific sugar crash and need a nap like immediately after. 


First, we're cutting our cake into traditional "pizza shaped" slices and removing the icing tops from the top layer of half of the pieces to set aside and garnish our bread pudding with later. Cut the rest of our little king cake cuties into big chunks.

Line a large baking pan (with a lip to prevent melted icing spilling over into your oven) with parchment paper and place the chunks into the pan. Toast in the oven for ten minutes, until golden brown but not burnt. Keep a close eye on these guys as they burn quick!

Next, we're whisking our wet ingredients up in a big bowl and soaking our toasted king cake chunks in it. Mix it up and fold it around to evenly coat the pieces, and soak for about 30 minutes.

Now we're going to put the oven at 350. Place a casserole dish or 9x13" baking pan on top of a baking sheet and pour your bread pudding into the dish. Depending on the size of the dish, you may want to leave a little bit of the liquid out to prevent spilling. Bake for 45 minutes, or until the custard part of the pudding is set but still quite jiggly. Remove  from the oven and enjoy warm!



Toasted King Cake Bread Pudding with Pecan Crumble

takes: about 1 hour // serves: 10 - 12

  • 1 medium traditional king cake
  • 3 cups evaporated milk
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 4 eggs, beaten
  • 2 sticks butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup Creme de Cacao
  • 2 teaspoons cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon nutmeg

for the pecan topping

  • 3/4 cup pecan, roughly chopped
  • 1/4 stick butter
  • 1/4 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • Pinch of salt
  1. Preheat your oven to 425 degrees and line a large baking sheet with a lip with parchment paper.
  2. Slice the king cake like a cake and take the top icing layer off of half the king cake and set aside - these top layers will be placed across the bread pudding to add some color. The rest of the king cake gets cut into large chunks and placed onto the prepared baking sheet. Toast in the oven for about ten minutes, until the tops are crispy but not super hard, and the melted sugar is slightly golden but not black. Error on the side of under-doing this step, because if you overdo it you're gonna have a load of hard bread and burnt sugar and that's not fun. Remove from the oven and set aside.
  3. While the king cake is toasting, combine the milk, sugar, eggs, butter, creme de cacao, cinnamon, and nutmeg in a large mixing bowl (big enough to fit all of these ingredients + the chunks of king cake). Whisk together the liquid ingredients and place the chunks of king cake into the bowl to soak. Gently press the chunks down into the liquid and stir a bit to evenly coat all the pieces. Let sit for thirty minutes, stirring occasionally to ensure everything is being soaked evenly.
  4. Set the oven to 350 degrees.
  5. While the cake is soaking, prepare the topping by combing all the ingredients in a saucepan over medium heat, stirring often. Once the butter is melted, lower the heat to low and cook for another ten minutes, stirring occasionally. Remove from heat after ten minutes and set aside.
  6. Once the cake has soaked long enough, transfer the cake and liquid to a 9x13 baking pan or other appropriately sized casserole dish. Place the dish onto a baking sheet to prevent spilling before placing in the oven. Sprinkle the crumble on top along with the slices of king cake topping that you reserved, and bake for 35 to 45 minutes, or until the custard is set.

Beet Tapenade + Za'atar Pita Chips


Hi! Mardi Gras is a thing that is very much so happening in New Orleans right now. In case the floats and parades weren't enough to tip us off, there are also a whole lotta drunk screaming people - well, more drunk screaming people then usual. Just to clarify, we are not the drunk screaming people. Not this very moment, at least.

Anyway, last night we saw one of our favorite neighborhood parades called 'Tit Rex (pronounced like "T-Rex" not "titty Rex") which stands for Petit Rex. It's a miniature parade and there are like little shoe-box sized floats that are handmade and dragged by regular sized humans who look like giants next to their teeny tiny counterparts. The floats are typically pretty topical but that used to mean "Oh look it's tiny Obama dabbing on a spinning globe, what an interesting and weird scene" but as you can imagine it's basically become a political free for all. For reference, there was a teeny tiny statue of liberty who had put her head in the oven (#same) and a teeny tiny t-rex figurine wearing a Colin Kaepernick jersey and taking a knee on a teeny tiny football field while a teeny tiny boombox played the national anthem on repeat. Take our word for it, it's all very very cute even though it's real as hell.

And that was pretty much our weekend so let's talk about this dope purple mush we're snacking on. We saw there were beets in our weekly produce box we get from St. Roch Forage and kinda on a whim decided to throw together this tapenade. It's slighty sweet and salty and obviously full of beets. We topped it with feta cheese and served it with some za'atar pita chips which are truly not optional because they go so damn well with this tapenade. In case you don't dabble in Middle Eastern cuisine on the regular, za'atar is a spice blend that has a few incarnations but is usually made of oregano, thyme, sumac, sesame seeds, and other supporting spices. We've left out the sumac to keep it easy (basically if we can't easily source something with one trip to our local grocery store we're not gonna demand that you do that too) - but this shortcut za'atar fits the bill and brings a real Lebanese / Middle Eastern component to compliment the salty fatty feta and fresh beets.

Somewhere between a dip and a spread, we're calling this a tapenade in the recipe title because "mush," "goop," and "purple stuff" doesn't sound nearly as fancy and it's more or less the same texture as olive tapenade and can be used in most of the same ways. Including time for roasting the beets, this whole recipe can be thrown together in just over one hour, so get on it! 



Beet Tapenade + Za'atar Pita Chips

time: 1 hour // makes: 1 pint tapenade

  • 4 medium-small beets (about 3-4" in diameter)
  • 1 small shallot, minced
  • 1-2 leaves fresh basil, chopped
  • 2 tablespoons lemon juice
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese crumbles
  • Salt + pepper

for the za'atar chips

  • 2-3 whole pitas
  • 1/3 cup olive oil
  • 3 tablespoons minced fresh oregano
  • 2 tablespoons minced fresh thyme
  • 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
  1. Heat the oven to 425 degrees and wrap each beet in aluminum foil. Place the beets into a baking pan and roast for 45 minutes to one hour, until tender but not mushy (we're not tryna make mashed beets here, so they should have a little bit of body still). Remove from heat and lower oven to 300 degrees. 
  2. While the beets are roasting, cut the pitas into eight slices, and then tear each piece in half at the seam - see photo above for reference. Place the pieces onto a baking sheet and set aside.
  3. Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat and as soon as you see the first beginnings of a whisp of smoke, toss in the thyme, oregano, and sesame seeds. Let cook for about one minute until fragrant, pour into a small heat-safe bowl. 
  4. Use a pastry brush or spoon to brush or drizzle the za'atar and oil onto the pita chips. Give a hefty sprinkle of salt and place in the oven (at 300 degrees) until crispy, about ten minutes.
  5. Once the beets have cooked and cooled slightly, finely chop them and toss them into a bowl. Give a slight smash with a fork or pestal and add in the lemon juice, basil, shallot, and salt and pepper. Smash together to combine and fold in half of the feta. Spoon the tapenade into your serving dish and sprinkle with the remaining feta. Serve with the pita chips and enjoy!

Notes

Tapenade will stay good in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. Any left over pita chips can be stored in a zip-top bag at room temperature for up to three days. 


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End of Winter Seasonal Recipe Roundup

We were told winter would come, and that the seventy degree weather would leave and there would be actual s'mores and jackets and laughter and if we were *really lucky* maybe even frozen rain and sleet on Christmas Day. But we were lied to. Instead it's been months of temperature fluctuations between 50 and 80 degrees and everything is simultaneously dead and alive (#same) and there are berries at the farmers market side by side with cauliflower and honestly it's probably the end of the world. It's fine though, we're used to missing out on the real seasons most of the country gets to experience, in exchange for year-round 80% humidity and that amazing feeling of sweating through your crisply-ironed shirt* at 9 a.m.

*we don't actually have an iron - because we are sloths - but you get the point.

Anyhow, we're all about pretending to be on the same seasonal page as the rest of the country, so let's get to our favorite end of winter recipes.


Brussels sprouts. Arguably our favorite bite-sized vegetable other than caramel corn, these little dudes are pretty much only around during the late fall and winter months. Current favorite way to enjoy them? Shaved raw as a salad. It's maybe not the most cozy way to enjoy them, but it does mean the massive heat box in our kitchen doesn't need to come on and ruin our already-sweltering February day. AND, raw Brussels sprouts are so damn good and refreshing and nutty and kinda sweet. They're getting mixed with Parmesan and pomegranate and a little vinaigrette in this salad and we're recommending you serve it as a precursor or side dish to a heavy meal, as the bright flavors and fiber makes for a great palate cleanser to anything meaty or fatty.

Shaved Brussels Sprouts Salad

serves 2

  • 4 cups raw shaved Brussels sprouts (shaved using a mandolin)
  • 1⁄2 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 1⁄2 cup pomegranate arils
  • 1⁄3 cup fresh lemon juice
  • 1⁄4 cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons honey
  • 1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
  • Salt, pepper, crushed red pepper to taste
  1. In your serving bowl, whisk together the lemon juice, olive oil, honey, and vinegar. Toss in your shaved sprouts and arils and toss to coat in the dressing.
  2. Mix in salt, pepper, and crushed red pepper to taste. Sprinkle the cheese on top and serve.

 

Cauliflower. It looks like a big white brain kinda, huh? That's a totally unrelated side thought. Lately, we've been going real simple with it by first giving it an olive oil spa treatment and then a long tanning session in the oven until it's somewhere between Tan Mom and burnt. At that point, it's soft on the inside with crispy edges and an amazing earthy flavor. While it's in the oven, we'll either whip up some feta or goat cheese for dipping OR - make our favorite tofu Buffalo dip. Some of y'all just cringed at that last part, so feel free to go back to thinking about whipped feta cheese and ignore the rest of the recipe we've included below, which honestly would be a huge mistake because this sauce is D-O-P-E

Roasted Cauliflower with Buffalo Tofu Dipping Sauce

serves 2 - 3

  • 1 large head of cauliflower
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 8 oz silken tofu
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
  • 1/2 cup mild hot sauce
  • 2 tablespoons Worcestershire sauce
  • 1 - 2 tablespoon agave nectar or honey
  • 1/4 cup nutritional yeast
  • 1 teaspoon cayenne pepper
  • salt + pepper
  1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees and line a baking sheet (with a lip, to avoid oil dripping off the sides) with parchment paper.
  2. Cut out and discard the stalk of the cauliflower and use a paring knife to slice the dang thing into bite-sized pieces. Add to a mixing bowl with the olive oil and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss to combine and transfer to the baking sheet. Roast for 25 - 30 minutes, stirring once, until golden brown and tender. Remove from oven and set aside to cool slightly before serving.
  3. While the cauliflower is in the oven, combine remaining ingredients in a blender or food processor and pulse until smooth. Pour into a saucepan and bring to a boil over medium-high heat, stirring occasionally. Lower heat to medium and let simmer for about 20 minutes. Taste to see if you want to add more hot sauce or sweetener, make your adjustments if necessary, and then remove from the saucepan and place into a mixing bowl to cool. Transfer to a small bowl for dipping and serve alongside the cauliflower.
  4. Remaining buffalo sauce can be stored in an airtight container for up to one week, and makes a great base for marinades and salad dressings. 

If you live in the South like we do, you've probably noticed dark leafy greens like kale and collards and wild spinach having a real moment at the farmers market. Typically fall and late winter/early spring are a real good time for these greens. They're so so so healthy, which is why our favorite way to enjoy them is with as much cheese and butter as possible. Duh. One new favorite way of getting our greens and cheese in is by baking greens into mac and cheese. This maybe seems obvious but when we came across the inspiration for this recipe on Food.com we were totally caught off guard. To keep it relatively healthy, we've made our variation gluten free and vegan - but there's also the "normal" dairy and gluten alternatives below! There's a little horseradish for added zing, a creamy cheese situation, and the bitter sweet flavor of fresh greens.

Leafy Green Mac + Cheese

serve 6 - 8

  • 2 cups quinoa macaroni pasta, cooked (or standard macaroni)
  • 1 lb leafy greens (spinach, kale, or collards) chopped and lightly sautéed in a few teaspoons olive oil
  • 2 cups hot unsweetened almond milk or whole milk
  • 1⁄4 cup gluten free flour blend or all-purpose flour
  • 1⁄4 cup coconut oil or butter
  • 2 tablespoons horseradish
  • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
  • 1 cup vegan Daiya shredded cheddar cheese or 2 cups shredded white cheddar
  • 1/2 cup nutritional yeast (omit if using standard cheese)
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  1. Preheat the oven to 425. Lightly grease a 9x13" casserole dish with a touch of oil.
  2. In medium pot, over medium heat, melt the coconut oil or butter.
  3. Add the flour to the butter and whisk for about three minutes, making sure the flour/butter mix doesn't begin to burn. Pour in the hot almond milk or whole and cook until thickened.
  4. Add the greens, half of the cheese, seasonings, horseradish, mustard, and nutritional yeast if using. Stir well.
  5. Fold in the pasta to combine, and pour the entire thing out into your prepared casserole dish. Top with remaining cheese and bake in the oven for 20 minutes until bubbling and golden brown on top.

 

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Brussels + Leafy Greens Photos / Recipes for Food.com


GF Muesli Bowls with Maple Pecan Milk



Y'all, we totally messed up and lost the paint color swatch for our bedroom paint and we've spent the weekend looking at the sample swatches on the Sherwin Williams site on our phones and HOLDING UP the phone to the wall to try and match it. This is definitely not the way you figure out a paint color. As it turns out, the 21st century is a miracle of technology and knowledge and this new site called Google helped us figure out that you can actually bring in a sample speck of the paint to Lowe's and then science and technology or some shit scans the speck and tells you what the the color is (actually it may just be the paint people who do this with their own eyes, we haven't tested this out yet and would prefer to imagine a computer doing it because woah)!!!! Another weekend spent doing things we didn't need to be doing.

It wasn't a *total* wasted weekend though! Friday we got to take over the Visit New Orleans Instagram account and sashay around New Orleans with a bunch of nice people on the internet (except for that one guy who called us weird!!) to help promote the NOLA Getaway Giveaway we're doing. Then Saturday and Sunday we finalized this dope af muesli recipe. Lots of good stuff happening in this thing, truly. Bigly.

So ✨muesli✨ - y'all it's pronounced mew-slee. We were saying 'moo-es-lee' for way too long. Don't be like us. Anyway, it's a freaking Swiss thing and since we've been eyeing an *extended vacation* to Switzerland or Denmark or somewhere in that general vicinity in the next few months (they are near each other, yes?), we should probably get used to the cuisine! This is maybe the only Swiss thing we actually know about other than chocolate, cheese, and army knives. But hey, perfect, we're sold.

The 411 on muesli is that it's basically a mixed rolled oat cereal situation that can be eaten hot or cold. Technically anything can be eaten hot or cold, but muesli is actually good both ways. You can make it yourself, but there's like toasting and sourcing of ingredients and stuff and honestly that sounds like a damn head ache - so we've left it to our cute baes at Bob's Red Mill and they didn't do us wrong. This particular muesli is their gluten free European-style blend and it's filled with raisins and dried cranberries and little puffed up brown rice things and sunflower seeds and oats. It's so damn good and hearty and filling - but not like our normal breakfast of three breakfast burritos filling - more like a "I'm full and don't hate myself" kind of filling. It's great - and 2017, we're looking at you, cause we're about to get real healthy up in here. 

We're combining it with some full fat yogurt, nut butter, fresh berries, and a little maple pecan milk we made. There are some mint sprigs on there too because we're all about food styling but tbh we just kinda tossed those off so you can probs ignore that part if you're making this at home but maybe don't ignore it if you plan to post it to Instagram or serve it to your Tinder date (no judgement). 

You can check out a step by step photo guide below, or scroll all the way to the bottom to view a full ingredients and instructions list. Enjoy!


makes 2 bowls

Place 1 1/2 cups full-fat plain yogurt in a cheese cloth or heavy duty parchment paper. Set the whole contraption into a colander over the sink and let sit for half an hour to let the liquid strain off the yogurt. Give it a good squeeze before removing from the cheesecloth to release the last bits of liquid. This yields a thicker, creamier yogurt and we *love* it. You can skip this step though, if you don't like thick and creamy yogurt or if 30 minutes is 30 minutes longer than you wanted to wait to eat breakfast. Divide the yogurt between your two serving bowls.

Divide 1/3 cup nut butter between the two bowls (we used crunchy 365 brand peanut butter) and swirl it on in. Toss 1/2 cup of muesli on to each bowl, followed by a small handful of mixed seasonal berries. Lucky for us, it's somehow spring already and there are berries everywhere. You could also substitute bananas or other seasonal fruit of your choosing.

We we

Next, pour a tablespoon or so of maple syrup on top of each serving. MMMmmmMMm. 

Finish by pouring about 1/3 cup of the maple pecan nut milk (recipe below) over each bowl and mint if you're using it! Let sit for 5 or so minutes until the muesli softens up just a little bit. Enjoy immediately!


GF Muesli Bowls with Maple Pecan Nut Milk

makes 2 bowls

  • 1 1/2 cups full-fat yogurt
  • 1 cup gluten free European-style muesli from Bob's Red Mill or other store-bought muesli
  • 2/3 cup maple pecan nut milk (recipe below)
  • 1/3 cup crunchy peanut butter, or nut butter of your choice
  • 1 cup assorted fresh berries or other seasonal fruit
  • 2 tablespoons maple syrup
  1. Strain the yogurt by placing it in a cheesecloth or heavy duty parchment paper in a colander over your sink, letting the liquid drip out for about half an hour. Give it a good squeeze to release any remaining liquid. This step makes for a creamier and thicker yogurt, but can be skipped if you don't actually care and just want that muesli NOW (we feel you, boo).
  2. Spoon an equal amount of the yogurt into your serving bowls and swirl or dollop in your nut butter. Top with muesli and fresh berries or other seasonal fruit. 
  3. Drizzle a tablespoon of maple syrup over each serving followed by 1/3 cup (or to your liking) maple pecan nut milk. Top with mint, if using, and let sit for five minutes until the muesli has softened a bit but isn't mushy. Enjoy immediately!

for the maple pecan nut milk (must be started the night before)

  • 1.5 cups pecans
  • 2 cups warm water + more as desired
  • 1/3 cup maple syrup
  1. Soak the pecans in a bowl of room temperature water overnight - or for at least 8 hours. Strain off and discard water and place pecans into the body of a blender. 
  2. Add 2 cups of warm water and the maple syrup. Pulse a few times to break down pecans and then blend until smooth. Place a large fine-mesh strainer over a medium mixing bowl. 
  3. Pour into the prepared strainer, and use a spoon to coax the pecan mixture through the strainer. The result should be a thick and creamy nut milk in the mixing bowl, with your strainer removing all the grainy parts of the nuts.
  4. (Optional) Use up to another cup of water to dilute the mixture to your desired thickness.
  5. Use the milk in the recipe above or in oatmeal, cold cereal, or for drinking straight. We wouldn't recommend using it as coffee creamer as it kinda falls apart and separates in hot coffee. Can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to one week. 

    Thanks so much to Bob's Red Mill for sponsoring this post and providing the gluten free European-style muesli. All opinions are our own!


    Romantic Guide to New Orleans


    Given how often the bright walls and picture-perfect shotgun homes of New Orleans appear on our Instagram feed and here on this blog, we're constantly getting asked for a list of our favorite things to do in the city from locals and tourists alike. It's taken us two years (whoops!), but it's here. To be real, it took us so long because there is so much to do in this city that the idea of compiling a list of all of the options sounded pretty much impossible. In fact, we couldn't even begin to create a list until deciding on one singular topic to base all of our recommendations around. So, in the list below, we've narrowed down our top places to go in New Orleans when you're feeling romantic

    Romance is about as #nola as po-boys and the practice of saying 'hi' to literally every person you encounter on the street, so it seemed fitting to make an entire guide centered around it. With centuries-old European architecture, the soft sounds of live music from street musicians, fog rolling off of the Mississippi River, a relaxed attitude of those who call the city home, and an open and warm welcome to LGBTQ folks and people of all backgrounds, it's seriously one of the most beautifully romantic spots you'll find in the U.S. - and the perfect back drop to all of the places and activities we've listed below. Honestly, most of the items on this list would be great to do with any loved one or best friend, so take a look, mark your calendar and come experience all of this beauty for yourself!


    CANE & TABLE ✨top pick

    This spot in the Lower Decatur area of the French Quarter hearkens back to a time when cocktails were just starting to become a thing and when New Orleans was one of the busiest port cities in the New World. Cane & Table hasn't been around as long as some New Orleans classics, but it feels like it jumped right out of the 18th century with a whole slew of "proto-tiki" cocktails and a food menu inspired by the ingredients and flavors of Europe, West Africa, and the American South. From the delicious food and drink offerings to the gorgeous, nearly crumbling style of décor, a visit here is like going to a weird time-ignorant fantasy mashup of pre-revolution Havana, Casablanca as depicted in the movie, and, well, New Orleans. It's really tough to name a favorite restaurant or bar in this town, but Cane & Table always makes our list of top choices, so we're ✨thrilled✨ to name it our top dining pick for our romantic guide to New Orleans! 

    N7

    N7 started out as a neighborhood secret. With virtually no online presence and hardly even a sign (there's just a small "N7" spray painted in red on an otherwise unremarkable wooden fence) this tire-shop-turned-bistro got popular largely just by word of mouth. While the feeling there is still that of a tranquil little French patio cafe with warm string lights and cozy outdoor seating, it's definitely become a beloved part of the restaurant scene in the Bywater area. For good reason, too! Check it out for a date night and try a bottle of wine with a few of their tinned seafood options--yes, tinned seafood, which is apparently a favorite little European snack and it's exactly what it sounds like. You'll dine under string lights while listening to relaxing music - and the casual approach to service helps create a pretty incredible and romantic evening.

    Bayona

    BAYONA 👏 IS 👏 FABULOUS. Susan Spicer's flagship restaurant is elegant and kind of otherworldly, not to mention all-over-the-world-ly. Pretty sure we just made that word up, but what we mean by it is that Chef Spicer draws inspiration from pretty much everywhere on Earth to create a menu that feels both classic and cutting-edge at the same time. The dining room is sophisticated but comfortable, and the courtyard is tranquil as heck. 


    The Catahoula Hotel ✨top pick

    One of a few new boutique hotels to hit the city, the Catahoula is a gorgeous and quaint spot in the Central Business District and just a short walk or ride from either the French Quarter or the Lower Garden District, making it a relaxing spot to recharge, warmly tucked away in the center of one of the most happening parts of town. With a rooftop bar and patio covered with succulents (our favorite living things), an enclosed courtyard sitting area, and cute as heck rooms and furnishings, this hotel is pretty much the best thing we've ever experienced. The Catahoula is definitely our top pick for places to stay in town. Check out photos of the Master Suite below - it's so cute!

    Hotel Monteleone

    Throwing it back to old school New Orleans style, the Hotel Monteleone is a slice of the city's history. It's comfortable, beautiful, and located right in the French Quarter, the undisputed focal point of New Orleans. Whether you stay here or not, you've absolutely got to pop in to visit the Carousel Bar, something of an unofficial city landmark where your seat at the bar literally revolves around the booze and bartenders in the middle. The whole spinning bar situation maybe means you should take it easy on the number of sazeracs you plan to drink, but we think it's: Too. Dang. Cute!

    The Henry Howard Hotel

    If you're not looking to stay downtown during your visit to New Orleans, the Henry Howard Hotel is a great option in the Garden District. This interior of this spot highlights its old-fashioned architecture, but doesn't shy away from throwing splashes of modern decor throughout. Each room is a bit different, but several of the rooms feature walk-through windows with balconies, great for having a morning cup of coffee and taking a moment to appreciate all the gorgeous trees and homes of the neighborhood. Oh, omg, and did we mention they leave delicious complimentary cookies in your room for you? Because they do, and it's kind of amazing.


     

    Sylvain ✨top pick

    Sylvain is the rock-n-roller of the typical "New American" gastropub. They've got an incredibly hearty and delicious Southern-inspired food menu and they have curated a seriously insane cocktail program, which we've researched ✨thoroughly✨ (a.k.a. we've had a TON of drinks here over the years). Inside, the vibe is loud, dark, and sexy; outside, there's a beautiful courtyard garden for those who prefer a calmer, quieter time. It's honestly hard to say if Sylvain is more of a bar or a restaurant, but whatever it is, it's dang good, and it's effortlessly casual about it all. 

    Bacchanal

    These days no drinking tour of New Orleans is complete without a visit to Bacchanal, and while it's honestly been recommended more times than they or we or you can probably count, they totally deserve it. Bacchanal started out as basically a wine shop with a modest outside hangout area, and it's grown into a bit more than that: they offer (incredible) food, there's a full bar upstairs, and live music seven nights a week (that means EVERY night). All those things are great, plus it's still held onto that chill backyard party vibe it's always had. The staff is really helpful when you're trying to figure out what to drink, but if you're not too choosy, we recommend just spinning around three times, pointing to a bottle, and going with it because more than anything, coming here is about enjoying the company, listening to some great live music, and enjoying a nice New Orleans evening.

    Delachaise

    We're neighborhood homebodies, so it takes a bit to get us away from our little Marigny/Bywater hub, but Delachaise is one of a few places that we'll specifically head uptown for. It's an oddly-shaped building with a great patio, comfortable banquette seating inside, and a pretty awesome view of the St. Charles streetcar line. Warm lighting makes this an awesome place for some pre- or post-dinner drinks (or just anytime drinks, no judgement here). If you're hungry for a snack, get some goose fat fries (obviously) or, if you're feeling a little adventurous, try what we're pretty sure are the best fried frog legs we've ever had.


     

    Bike to City Park

    New Orleans's relatively flat landscape gives it a pretty major pro: it's incredibly easy to bike around. With a whole lot of historic architecture, biking can be a great way to see the whole city while simultaneously burning off all the calories you'll def be eating if you're paying attention to this whole list of suggestions. One of our favorite bike routes is to pedal through the French Quarter and up Esplanade Avenue to City Park, where you can find the New Orleans Museum of Art, the Besthoff Sculpture Garden, and Carousel Gardens Amusement Park, where you can ride an antique wooden carousel that's been operating for over 100 years which is, like, crazy.

    Foot Tour of the Art Scene

    Appreciating art is a super fun way to get to know your partner or close family and friends (or the guy you matched with on Tinder) a little bit better. Lucky for all of us, there's always new stuff to see in the New Orleans art scene - where you can find everything from the dark and introspective work of David Harouni to the straight-up no-frills messages that Dr. Bob paints and adorns with bottle caps. There are a few little hubs of galleries spread around the city for you to take your time wandering through. Royal Street is a great central option in the French Quarter where you can find our favorites, the aforementioned Harouni Gallery and Antieau Gallery by Chris Roberts-Antieau. You'll also be positioned just a few steps away from the street artists (such as local typewriter poet, Cubs the Poet) around Jackson Square.

     Julia Street is also downtown, but in the Warehouse District, and there's another little cluster of great galleries in the area, plus some notable larger operations like the Ogden Museum of Southern Art and the Contemporary Arts Center New Orleans. Magazine Street is a sprawling stretch of road, but there are galleries dotting it up and down. We'd recommend grabbing an afternoon cocktail to go from Bouligny Tavern and get to walking. Finally, St. Claude Avenue is another spread out art hub, but it's good to know that every Second Saturday of the month all the galleries stay open well into the night to debut new shows and serve drinks for guests to enjoy. There's also no lack of great street art, traveling collections, and temporary installations. Whether your stationed Uptown or deep in the Bywater, take your time to just wander around one of the streets mentioned above and appreciate the diverse local art New Orleans has to offer.

    Picnic on the River

    Step one: head to the French Market, Central Grocery, Verti Marte, or Johnny's Po-Boys and grab some lunch to-go. Step two: if you're looking for a bit of a populated area, head to the Moon Walk and have a little picnic right within earshot of the calliope being played while the Steamboat Natchez is docked OR step two: if you're looking for something a little quieter and less busy, make the short walk to the Elysian Fields entrance to Crescent Park and picnic where you can catch an even fuller view of the downtown skyline.


    Saint Claude Social Club

    Our friends over at St. Claude Social Club in the Lower Garden District are three badass women, each with different specialties and styles that came together to create an awesome little boutique that's so comfy and so chock full of unique clothes, jewelry, and tchotchkes that you'll want to sit and stay a while. Don't be shy about hanging out, either! They're usually pretty thrilled to grab you a drink from their little bar cart for you to sip while you browse, making it a great landing spot for a cozy and friendly hangout after a long day of shopping (yes, you can reward yourself with a cocktail after a successful shopping spree).

    Hattie Sparks

    This spacious and bright little boutique carries a whole bunch of local and independent brands from soaps to candles to clothing, books, and ceramics. Hattie, the shop's owner has a killer eye for quality and stylish products and obviously cares a great deal about supporting local and semi-local business, which makes us giddy with excitement just to see all the work of talented makers and artists in our area all in one place! Hattie Sparks is also perfectly situated in South Market District, a pretty brand new little neighborhood with plenty of other great shopping options as well. 

    Friend

    We don't really think of ourselves as very talented or original when it comes to fashion, so we generally just rely on mannequins and merchandisers to be creative for us. The problem we *used* to face was that other than ultra-corporate chain stores, thrift stores, and formal wear stores, there wasn't much in New Orleans in the way of mens' wear that truly loved us for us. Well, now there's at least one spot that does, and it's called Friend, and things are going pretty well so far and might get serious very soon. It makes the perfect his & his shopping date before a dinner or night out in the city. Check it out!


    Thanks so much to all of the above sponsors of this guide! All opinions are our own.


    To keep up with us and our adventures around New Orleans, follow us on Instagram!


    Vegan Market Salad

    We picked up our first weekly produce box from St. Roch Forage!


    Do you know that feeling when you wake up after a long night of drinking and your first thought is "I got this, I'm only consuming green juice this entire week, gonna do the gym thing, gonna be so fit and I'm totally fine definitely no problem here." And then fast-forward twelve hours later and you've had three green juices, thirty-five minutes on the treadmill (+ 30 minutes texting on the gym yoga mat), three accidental glasses of cabernet and a large serving of cheese fries and you feel like a garbage can? That's our reality every single day. It's like a constant rotating rolodex of temptations and false promises to ourselves interspersed with long gym sessions and cocktails and beet juice and things covered in multiple forms of dairy. Hey, balance or whatever.

    Anyway, when the pendulum swings more towards the healthy side of things, we're real big fans of a huge lunchtime salad. Like, cover the greens in all the vegetables in the fridge and vinegar and olive oil and dig in. We've started receiving a weekly produce box from St. Roch Forage (a local produce situation operating out of St. Roch Market in the Marigny neighborhood of New Orleans) and to celebrate we threw together a salad made using pretty much only the ingredients found in the box. It's kind of like our version of Chopped except no one is yelling and we always win. 

    Ingredients in this week's box were: Brussels Sprouts + shiitake mushrooms + satsumas + grapefruits + kale + daikon. We shredded up the kale, made a shiitake sesame grapefruit vinaigrette, and threw on some vinegary daikon medallions, satsuma slices, and crispy Brussels Sprouts that we roasted within an inch of their lives to make 'em real crispy, kinda like croutons. From start to finish, this salad can be thrown together in just a bit over 30 minutes, with only having to dirty a couple of bowls. Alrighty, time to do the weekend thing with tequila and nachos - see ya Monday with a huge giveaway!



    Vegan Market Salad || Sesame Shiitake Vinaigrette + Crispy Brussels Sprouts 'Croutons'

    serves 2

    • 1 bunch kale (ours was curly kale but any type of kale will do)
    • 1 large daikon radish
    • 2 satsumas (or tangerines or small oranges)
    • 1/2 lb fresh Brussels Sprouts, halved
    • 1/3 lb fresh shiitake mushrooms
    • 4 cloves garlic, minced
    • 1 teaspoon crushed red pepper
    • 1/3 cup fresh grapefruit juice, from 1 large grapefruit
    • 2 tablespoons liquid aminos (or soy sauce)
    • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
    • 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons olive oil, separated
    • 1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons white sugar
    • Salt + Pepper
    1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. 
    2. In a large salad bowl, whisk together 1/4 cup olive oil, minced garlic, red pepper, and a pinch of salt and pepper. Toss in the Brussels Sprouts and coat evenly in the olive oil mix. Use a slotted or wooden spoon to transfer the Brussels Sprouts from the bowl to the prepared sheet, making sure to leave a little of the oil mix in the mixing bowl. Place the Brussels Sprouts into the oven and roast for 30 minutes, until super crispy (they should basically look burnt). Once done, remove from heat and set aside to cool to room temperature. While these are cooking, make the rest of the salad.
    3. Add the mushrooms to the bowl with the left over olive oil and toss to coat them evenly. Set aside.
    4. In a separate bowl, whisk together the apple cider vinegar, sugar, and a pinch of salt. Slice the daikon radish into 1/8" thick medallions (or as thin as you can get them, really) and add them to the brine. Set aside to soak.
    5. Heat a skillet over medium-high heat and sauté the mushrooms until slightly crispy, about ten minutes. Wipe out your salad bowl and set aside. While the mushrooms are cooking, whisk together the remaining dressing ingredients: grapefruit juice, liquid aminos, toasted sesame oil, and 2 tablespoons olive oil. Once mushrooms are done, remove from heat and finely chop before adding to the dressing.
    6. Now we can construct the salad! Chop the kale into desired size (we lined up the leaves and make long ribbons by slicing horizontally) and add to the salad bowl. Top the kale with satsuma sections and daikon medallions, drained from the brine. Toss on the crispy Brussels Sprouts and pour the dressing over the top. Serve immediately.


    Cozy Jungle Bedroom Makeover

    If you're feelin' the green, pin the photo above to save the post!



    The giveaway for the pair of sconces is now closed - congratulations to Rachel L.!


    Hi hi! We've been on a roll with making improvements around our house (like this pink dining room situation & the hanging plant baskets in our living room) and the bedroom was beginning to feel kinda neglected. From the unstable flimsy wooden bed frame to the complete lack of wall art, we felt like we were being realllly bad domestic gays. Like, having solid decorating skills was most of the reason we chose to be gay in the first place. Anyway, little Fox finally gave us enough side-eye about our not-so-decent bedroom so we decided to get on making some improvements. Check out the items we used below to turn the space from post-college sleeping spot to something more worthy of putting on the internet. AND - don't forget to enter to win a pair of those insanely beautiful sconces at the end of the post!

    ACTIVE RECOVERY MATTRESS FROM BEAR MATTRESS

    First things first, our ten year old mattress (yikes) had to gtfo. In it's place, we wanted a mattress that was supportive and firm without feeling "hard." Lucky enough, the cuties at Bear Mattress turnt it out with this athletic recovery bed that feels like Cristiano Ronaldo is rocking you to sleep in a cradle made of clouds. Maybe that's just what we've been imaging? Look, it's comfortable as heck. Also, bonus points: it gets delivered to your home in an air-compressed rolled up bag thingy in a box the size of a mini-fridge. The bag keeps it all compacted and then you use the tool they supply to cut it open and the damn thing springs to life and it is SO COOL. Check out the time-lapse video we made of that process below! Anyhow, yeah we were a bit nervous about picking out a mattress online without testing it in person, but we've literally never been happier or more well rested. Also like whatever there's a 100 day risk-free trial period so if you don't love it send us hate mail (plz don't!) and then submit a request to get your money back. If you like a supportive mattress or have a pretty active lifestyle, this thing is for you. If you're not in need of a whole new mattress but want something to help you rest better after a workout, they've also got an active recovery pillow and mattress protector.

    SCONCES FROM SAZERAC STITCHES

    Those dope sconces we're using as nightstand/reading lights are the magazine sconce from Sazerac Stitches - a local company owned by amazing couple, Kirsten and Matt. These two beautiful folks did the chandelier in our living room, and if you're looking to upgrade your home or office with some beautiful lighting, take a look at their site or Instagram. Their prices are super super reasonable, they are able to ship anywhere in the country, and the quality is BEYOND. They're also letting us give away a pair of the sconces you see in these photos! Entry details are below!

    GREENERY FROM LUNA BOTANICALS / ART FROM THE GRAND MALTESE

    With the bed set up, we turned our attention to the walls. First of all, we went for a pale grey/blue wall color to keep things simple. We love how neutral and calming it is and it's pretty much the perfect background for any art, photographs, or... tree-looking things you want to be coming out of your walls. About that: they're called staghorn ferns and we are (claps for emphasis) obsessed (claps for emphasis again) with them (multiple claps for emphasis). They came from Jeanne and Stephen of Luna Botanicals, a local succulent / plant company that's been adding a little green to homes and businesses across New Orleans. If you're digging their work as much as we are, follow them on Instagram to make sure you keep up with their inventory and plant workshops (we missed the succulent wreath workshop and still hate ourselves for it). 

    The hanging photographs are a few pieces from the current showing at local art gallery, The Grand Maltese in the Bywater (which has a sister business in the back, Bywater Framing). The work is done by Southerly Gold, a collective of local female photographers creating a space for representation and community. We're loving them for their simple but beautiful colors and composition and sturdy white frames.

    RECLAIMED WOOD BED FRAME AND BELGIAN LINENS FROM west elm

    OK, so next up was the bed frame itself. This guy is the Emmerson reclaimed wooden bed frame from West Elm (look we know we use West Elm a lot you don't need to give us all that side-eye, we love them). It's gorgeous, sturdy, and made of like six pieces so it takes no time to set up. We've gone and dressed up the bed with Belgian linen sheets, because they strike that perfect balance of being remarkably cooling, comfortable, and perfect for Instagram

    FLOATING SHELVES FROM TARGET

    We went with hanging shelves for our nightstands because the room is pretty small, and with a king-sized bed filling it up we didn't want to cram it anymore than necessary. These guys are the 12" wooden floating shelves from Target and they're like $20 but if anyone ask they're *very* expensive and handmade. From Italy.


    two steps to enter to win a pair of these "magazine sconces" from Sazerac Stitches

    1. Sign up for our weekly giveaway / blog updates newsletter. It's a once-a-week newsletter highlighting new posts from that week, as well as updates on our monthly giveaways. If you're already a subscriber, skip to step 2!
    2. Comment below (feel free to log in as a guest on the comment portal - it'll prompt you to just put in your name and email and a check box will come up to post as a guest) telling us where in your home or office you'd put your pair of sconces (or if they'll be a gift for someone else!)! Make sure to leave your first name and last initial so we can match it up with your name in our newsletter database. 

    THIS GIVEAWAY IS NOW CLOSED, CONGRATS RACHEL L!!!


     

     

    Matcha White Chocolate Popcorn


    OK tell me yes or no can you relate to this:

    When I was like 13 I would go to the movie theater and get the super large popcorn - the kind with the butter flavor that lets you simultaneously reach nirvana and also have major artery failure - and a box of the weirdly trendy (for the era) chocolate candy called Buncha Crunch. I would then, accompanied by my equally mischievous friends, happily sneak into the rated R movie with my PG-13 ticket. 

    Once inside, shrouded in darkness, I'd dump the entire box of Buncha Crunch into the popcorn and eat it like I'd never eaten anything before literally ever. Something about the sweet and salty crunchy situation pretty much turned me into a human vacuum and it would have probably been disgusting/horrifying to witness so thank the gods it was dark.

    So -ANYWAY- I'm only bringing up my sordid past with popcorn and chocolate to say that this popcorn kinda has the same sweet and salty scenario going on, but is much less shameful to eat. Because MATCHA IS HEALTHY. We're using tried and true Aiya America's cooking grade matcha, which we use for every recipe on this site. There's also coconut oil which we're told is another dope health accessory. And we're definitely not using any of that "butter flavor" stuff because this is 2017 and if the country is going to spiral into the ground we're at least going to feel good and look hot doing it, OK?! 

    Other than matcha, this snack has a little white chocolate and almond extract, and you guys it's seriously so freaking good. Like that bad kind of good where you can't stop eating it even though you made multiple batches for the photo shoot you have to do and then you wake up confused and full of popcorn and your boyfriend is standing over you holding a mirror and asks you to take a good long look at yourself and what you've become. It's that kind of good.

    Maybe just make a single batch to start with and work your way up. Check out the step-by-step photo guide below, or skip to the bottom of this post for the written ingredient list and instructions!


    Pop a single bag of microwave popcorn according to the package instructions (we recommend using completely unflavored popcorn). Place the popcorn into a large mixing bowl and set aside.

    In a medium microwave safe bowl, melt 1/2 cup white chocolate morsels or white chocolate chunks by microwaving on high in twenty seconds intervals, stirring between each interval, until completely melted. This is maybe *not* the healthiest option, but we have found this to work much better with cheaper white chocolate, as organic morsels and chunks don't melt as easily and you may end up with a paste that can not be used. We found great success using those white chocolate Lindt truffles as pictured above, as they melted very evenly and quickly.

    Once your white chocolate is melted and smooth, we're gonna jump right into whisking in our other ingredients.

    Add in 1 teaspoon matcha. We're using Aiya Cooking Grade Matcha here.

    Whisk in the matcha until there are no clumps. There may be a few dark specs left, and that's fine, we just don't want big clumps of powder.

    Add in 1 teaspoon melted coconut oil, 1/2 teaspoon almond extract, and 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt. Whisk to combine.

    Pour the matcha chocolate mixture over the popcorn kernels in an even drizzle.

    Look @ that green, y'all!!!

    Toss in 1/4 cup slivered almonds, reserving a few for garnish.

    Use a rubber spatula to mix it all together and evenly coat the popcorn kernels in the matcha white chocolate. Now you an just eat it as it is, or toss some slivered almonds on top or some melted semi-sweet chocolate as we did. You can also refrigerate it for half an hour to firm up the white chocolate and create crunchy clusters which is SO GOOD. 

    We transferred our popcorn to serving tins and refrigerated them for a bit to firm it up before topping with melted chocolate and almond slivers. Simply melt about 1/4 cup of semi-sweet chocolate morsels as you did the white chocolate before drizzling atop your popcorn! Enjoy!


    pin this recipe!


    Matcha White Chocolate Popcorn

    prep: 5 minutes // makes: 2 - 4 servings

    • 1 standard bag unflavored popcorn, popped according to instructions
    • 1 heaping teaspoon Aiya Cooking Grade Matcha
    • 1/2 cup white chocolate morsels or truffles***
    • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
    • 1 teaspoon virgin coconut oil, melted to liquid form
    • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
    • 1/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate morsels, optional for garnish
    • 1/4 cup slivered almonds, optional for garnish
    1. Place the popped popcorn into a large mixing bowl and set aside.
    2. In a medium microwave safe bowl, melt the white chocolate by microwaving it on high in twenty seconds intervals, stirring between each interval, until completely melted.
    3. Whisk the matcha, coconut oil, salt, and almond extract into the white chocolate and immediately pour the mixture over the popcorn. Use a rubber spatula to evenly coat the popcorn kernels with the white chocolate mixture.
    4. Fold in the slivered almonds, reserving just a few to sprinkle on top.
    5. Now you can either sprinkle the almonds and chocolate drizzle (see below) on top and eat the popcorn immediately, or you can place it into serving tins and refrigerate for half an hour until it sets and forms crunchy clusters. Once it has set, drizzle with the melted semi-sweet chocolate (see below) and top with remaining slivered almonds.
    6. To make the chocolate drizzle, simple repeat the melting process in step 2 but with the semi-sweet chocolate morsels. Transfer the melted chocolate to a piping bag and drizzle evenly on top your popcorn. 

    Notes

    • As mentioned in the photo guide above, we have found this to work much better with cheaper white chocolate, as organic morsels and chunks don't melt as easily and you may end up with a paste that can not be used. We found great success using those white chocolate Lindt truffles as pictured above, as they melted very evenly and quickly.

    Thanks so much to Aiya America for sponsoring this post! As always, all opinions are our own - thank you guys for supporting the sponsors that keep Probably This alive and well.


     

     

    Pretty in Pink: Dining Room Makeover

    If you're digging the pink, pin the photo above to save this post!


    Hello, 2017! 

    We brought in the New Year at home, like old men, but with a case of sparkling wine and a few friends to help us tackle it. It was a good way to start the new year. We're looking forward to a lot of entertaining in 2017 - it's one of our favorite things to do but our constant "are we leaving New Orleans or nah" attitude kept us from really getting the house into prime entertaining mode with the right amount of furniture and space to host people. Welp, that changed last month when we signed another year long lease, so we screamed "YAAAS" at each other until we both fainted and then went shopping for a few new pieces of furniture and a new paint color to transform our guest bedroom into a dining room. We knew that we'd be using a  reclaimed bargewood table and bench set we'd had for a while, which gave a medieval vibe, so we wanted a paint color to really tear away from that direction. 

    Pink.

    Concerns: pepto, baby's bedroom, bubble gum.

    We were a little nervous, and even took to Instagram to ask ~the people~ which direction to go in with a few paint samples - and then we literally picked the one most people liked because we're easily convinced. WE MADE A GOOD DECISION. We are in love. It's not bright enough to be pepto, it's too *dusted* to be bubble gum, and if you picked this color for your baby's bedroom then lucky you because you've got a damn stylish baby. We are so so so happy with it. If you wanna replicate it, the color is Sherwin Williams "mellow coral" - we got it in a flat matte finish instead of gloss as an extra precaution against that pepto fear. The non-glossy paint color also helped better conceal the weird popcorn texture of the walls whereas the previous glossy blue paint actually highlighted it. 

    While we're still in the process of moving stuff around, we've got it mostly in place and have listed a few our favorite items from the room below!

    Also - here's a few snaps of when it was a navy blue dungeon!


    We came across this heathered red dining bench in "cayenne" from west elm and fell in love. They don't carry the exact bench anymore, but they've got a settee in the same style that we're really digging. The red color compliments the pink so well, and we can move it to be at the table whenever we have guests over. It's perfectly firm and sturdy, and we've added a fluffy throw to add some comfort when it's being used as a reading bench. We threw a color block pillow on top to add an extra pop of color. 

    We've had the terrace bar cart for a while and really loved how the gold color popped against the pink walls - it for sure influenced us when picking out everything from flatware to our chandelier, which you can read more about below!

    We're kinda living for the snake plant trend going on right now - we threw ours in a wicker basket and think it adds the perfect level of texture to the corner. Also - notice the photo of our little pink house framed up there! Our friend Matt stayed with us for a few days and surprised us with this photo he sent basically overnight.

    We found a couple of those white Eiffel chairs for MEGA cheap - like $50 a piece - and they are perfect. We spent a good bit of time searching for a rug on eBay and settled on an over-sized kilim rug (9' x 12'). We chose this rug because of its neutral colors, hoping to add a bit of pattern without clashing against the pink. The golden frames were a last minute decision - we got a few from our friend Dabito and thought the gold color would go well on the walls just as they are. Hanging only the frames also keeps things cheap, which, like, you know we are ALL about. Also, pssst, Lowes has hanging shelves like the one in this photo for like $20 and they are SO easy to install!

    This little desert canyon pillow was a fun treat to find and helps layer some varying shades of pink into the room. We also purchased the blue version of the pillow and keep it in our living room. Finally, we got this over-sized mobile chandelier to draw attention up towards the ceiling. We've got centuries-old 16' ceilings made of natural wood, so we thought it would be best to find something to bring the eyes up there. We're obsessed with it's size and it's pretty much been the first thing everyone notices once they enter the room, maybe other than the pink!

    Yaaaay thanks for stopping by to see the makeover, let us know what you think! If you haven't entered our monthly giveaway subscriber list, get on it! This coming month we've got some amazing giveaways going on in lighting and our first travel giveaway!

    Toasted Oat Chocolate Cupcakes & Champagne Frosting


    You guys. It has been quite a year. Can we all just take a moment to say "thank you" to ourselves for making it through it all in one piece?

    (moment passes)

    Great. That was great. We're not here to dwell on the past though - instead, let's talk about 2017. Matt and I have kind of made it a point to believe that 2017 is going to be better - despite that whole demagogue scenario - if we make an actual effort to do better, produce better work, and be more involved in our community (both online and in real life). I mean shit if it's not better we're cancelling this whole blog situation, packing Fox into a motorbike helmet and moving back to Ho Chi Minh City where at least no one talked to us and we could eat noodles for breakfast. We'll let you know before that happens though, promise! For now though, let's talk about the present.

    New Years Eve. This time last year, I was trying to get this little blog off the ground, working as a freelance writer, and waiting patiently for Matt to get off work at 2 am every night from his restaurant management job. It's safe to say that, despite the craziness of 2016, we're in a better place in our personal lives. Now, we get to just take pretty photos for Food.com , explore our DIY homemaker skills for eBay, and document our day-to-day thoughts and baked goods here and on our Instagram. Thank you amazing people so much for sticking with us two butt heads on our journey from post-college broke millennials to real life adult broke millenials.

    Anyhow, time to do what we do best: carbs. We went ahead and made some gluten free chocolate cupcakes with toasted oats and a champagne frosting. It's pretty much divine. The cupcakes are fluffy and rich, with a little earthiness added in from the oats. The frosting is sweet and simple, with a nice subtle pop of champagne flavor. They're pretty much amazing, and we're kinda imagining them as a nice addition to a New Year's Eve spread. Something familiar, simple, and delicious. Anyhow, next time we see each other it'll be 2017! How exciting - see you then, cuties!


    (GF) Chocolate Cupcakes with Toasted Oats and Champagne Frosting

    prep: 10 minutes // cook: 45 minutes // makes: 48 mini cupcakes or 18 - 24 regular cupcakes

    For the Cupcakes

    For the Champagne Frosting

    • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    • 2 1/4 cup powdered sugar, sifted (may need a few extra tablespoons depending on desired frosting consistency)
    • 3 tablespoon champagne, cava, or prosecco
    • Golden sprinkles, for garnish

    Check out the step by step instructions below, or skip to the bottom of this post to view written instructions!


    Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake pans with parchment liners. Add a teaspoon of canola oil to a skillet or saucier over medium-high heat and let it heat up for about one minute before tossing in your oats. Let them toast for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until they have turned two shades darker and have a slightly burnt earthy aroma. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.

    Whisk together your flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.

    In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a mixing bowl if using a hand mixer) combine your softened butter and granulated sugar. Beat for about 2 minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.

    Add the eggs one at a time, beating briefly between each addition and scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure all of our little ingredient friends are getting incorporated. Add in the vanilla and beat briefly.

    Now we're going to add half of our dry mix, mix on medium-low speed just to combine, scraping down the bowl as necessary.

    Andddd in goes the sour cream, again mixing just to combine.

    Finally, add the remaining dry mix, mix to combine and then turn off the mixer and use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to fold in half (1/2 cup) of the toasted oats.

    Transfer the batter to a piping bag and snip off a tip large enough to allow the oats to easily pass through. Pipe into the prepared pans, filling each tin up about 2/3 of the way. Sprinkle with some of the remaining oats (reserving a small handful of oats for garnish). Bake for 9 - 12 minutes for mini cupcakes, and 18 - 20 minutes for standard cupcakes. Use the toothpick-coming-out-clean method to ensure they are done!

    To make the frosting, place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or mixing bowl if using a hand mixer) and beat on high for about one minute, until slightly fluffy. Add half of the powdered sugar and beat again, starting out slow and moving to medium-high speed after about thirty seconds. Add in half of the sparkling wine and mix again. Add remaining powdered sugar and beat again before adding the rest of the sparkling wine. Beat for another minute to add body. If the frosting is too thin, add a tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time, beating between each addition, until desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, do the same with sparkling wine, a teaspoon at a time. Transfer to a piping bag and frost all of your cupcakes! Top with toasted oats and golden sprinkles.


    (GF) Chocolate Cupcakes with Toasted Oats and Champagne Frosting

    prep: 10 minutes // cook: 45 minutes // makes: 48 mini cupcakes or 18 - 24 regular cupcakes

    For the Cupcakes

    1. Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and line your cupcake pans with parchment liners. Add a teaspoon of canola oil to a skillet or saucier over medium-high heat and let it heat up for about one minute before tossing in your oats. Let them toast for 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally until they have turned two shades darker and have a slightly burnt earthy aroma. Remove from heat and set aside to cool.
    2. Whisk together your flour, cocoa, baking powder and salt. Set aside.
    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer (or in a mixing bowl if using a hand mixer) combine your softened butter and granulated sugar. Beat for about 2 minutes on medium-high speed until light and fluffy.
    4. Add the eggs one at a time, beating briefly between each addition and scraping down the bowl with a rubber spatula to make sure all of our little ingredient friends are getting incorporated. Add in the vanilla and beat briefly.
    5. Now we're going to add half of our dry mix and mix on medium-low speed just to combine, scraping down the bowl as necessary. Add in the sour cream, again mixing just to combine. Finally, add the remaining dry mix, mix to combine and then turn off the mixer and use a wooden spoon or rubber spatula to fold in half (1/2 cup) of the toasted oats.
    6. Transfer the batter to a piping bag and snip off a tip large enough to allow the oats to easily pass through. Pipe into the prepared pans, filling each tin up about 2/3 of the way. Sprinkle with some of the remaining oats (reserving a small handful of oats for garnish). Bake for 9 - 12 minutes for mini cupcakes, and 18 - 20 minutes for standard cupcakes. Use the toothpick-coming-out-clean method to ensure they are done!

    For the Champagne Frosting

    • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    • 2 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons powdered sugar, sifted
    • 3 tablespoon champagne, cava, or prosecco
    • Golden sprinkles, for garnish
    1. Place the butter in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment (or mixing bowl if using a hand mixer) and beat on high for about one minute, until slightly fluffy. Add half of the powdered sugar and beat again, starting out slow and moving to medium-high speed after about thirty seconds. Add in half of the sparkling wine and mix again. Add remaining powdered sugar and beat again before adding the rest of the sparkling wine. Beat for another minute to add body.
    2. If the frosting is too thin, add a tablespoon of powdered sugar at a time, beating between each addition, until desired consistency is reached. If the frosting is too thick, do the same with sparkling wine, a teaspoon at a time. Transfer to a piping bag and frost all of your cupcakes! Top with toasted oats and golden sprinkles.

    Pin the Post!


    Thank you so much for Bob's Red Mill for sponsoring this post, and for providing amazing gluten free rolled oats! You can find them in stores or online here. As always, all opinions are our own!


    Holiday Nog


    I feel like I’ve always known eggnog, but I’ve never really known eggnog. As a kid I never liked it. So thanks a lot, childhood, for just training me to not care about the stuff even in those precious first few years of legal drinking. I’ve written pretty frequently on here how I "started from the bottom now I’m here" as far as types of foods that I’ll eat: at 4, it was literally exclusively tater tots, and now I have so few restrictions I’d probably try a piece of wood if a chef or Beau or hell, even you, faceless friend, was convincing enough.

    And like so many consumables before it, eggnog has had that same story arch with me, where I was basically just a stone cold jerk to it for absolutely no reason while it was just chilling and doing its own thing and now we’re besties.

    We do all kinds of things together as besties. Last night we did each other’s makeup. Today we’ve been gossiping about other beverages we hate to love and love to hate, you know, how like orange juice is really fun at first but then kind of gets to be too much all at once and you’re starting to think she’s kind of fake anyway. And what about water, like, she’s so popular but she doesn’t even have any flavor, but yeah I need her to survive so I guess she’s all right? I can talk to eggnog about anything, and if she brings enough booze the truth really flows out of me.


    Anyway, in celebration of my two-year friend anniversary with eggnog, Beau and I decided to make some that we could enjoy together on these warm, muggy New Orleans “winter” nights to feel festive and classic. And, being us, we’ve gone pretty heavy on the booze, but you don’t have to feel pressured to do that at all. Just please know that we’re probably going to be annoyingly drunk at your holiday party, and hopefully you think that’s cute - or better yet, you'll join us by checking out the recipe below. Happy holiday, y'all!


    We're gonna start by whisking our yolks in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment until they're pale in color, about two minutes on high speed.

    Turn the speed to low and slowly pour in the 1/3 cup of granulated sugar. Slow and steady. Scrape down that bowl with a rubber whisk as necessary to make sure all of our ingredient friends are combining just right.

    In a saucepan, combine the pint of whole milk and cup of heavy cream. 

    Add in some freshly grated nutmeg - trust us it's waaaaay better to use freshly ground or grated then pre-ground!!

    Whisk it together and transfer to a burner on medium-high heat. Bring just to a boil, stirring occasionally, and then immediately remove from heat and set aside.

    Turn the speed on to low on your stand mixer and add the hot cream very slowly to the egg and sugar mixture - starting with just a teaspoon at a time for a few teaspoons, and then a tablespoon at a time, and then once half of it has been added, you can kinda just add the rest in all at once. Go slower than you want to here, as rushing this process is a very bad idea and will leave you with cooked eggs and sadness and regret.

    Add Cognac to the cream and egg yolk mixture and set it in the fridge to chill for 45 minutes to an hour, and get started on the whites by whipping the egg whites on high speed with the whisk attachment until soft peaks form. Soft peaks means there's some structure to it, but not a whole lot. Yay.

    Add in the tablespoon of sugar and the orange zest and whip with high speed until stiff peaks form. Reference photo above and below.

    Wow those are some stiff peaks you guys.

    Now, go ahead and fold the egg white into the yolk mixture and stir realllllly well until it is fully incorporated. You can now enjoy it immediately, or refrigerate it to enjoy within 24 hours - but don't hang onto it longer than that! Happy holidays!


    Probably This Holiday Eggnog Beverage
    Prep time: 10 minutes // Cook time: 1 hour // Makes 6-7 cups

    (This is adapted from Alton Brown's recipe!)

    • 4 eggs, yolks separated from whites
    • 1/3 cup + 1 Tbsp granulated sugar
    • 1 pint whole milk
    • 1 cup heavy cream
    • 1 cup Cognac
    • 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg
    • 1 tsp orange zest
    1. In a stand mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, whisk egg yolks on high speed until they become pale in color, about two minutes. Turn mixer speed to low, and gradually add in 1/3 cup sugar until fully incorporated. Set aside.
    2. In a medium sauce pan, combine 1 pint whole milk with 1 cup heavy cream and 1 tsp fresh grated nutmeg. Bring to a boil over high heat. Once the mixture begins to boil, immediately remove from heat.
    3. With the mixer speed on low, add cream mixture to egg mixture slowly, starting with just a teaspoon at a time for a few teaspoons, graduating to a tablespoon, and once half of the cream has been added, add in the remaining all at once and whisk for about thirty seconds. You don't want to rush this process of tempering the egg as it will potentiall scramble the egg and leave you with lumps of sadness. 
    4. Once all of the cream mixture has been added to the egg mixture, stir in Cognac and place in refrigerator to chill, about 45 minutes.
    5. In a stand mixer, whip egg whites up to soft peaks, meaning the egg white "foam" has some structure but won't hold a very solid shape. Add 1 Tbsp sugar and 1 tsp orange zest, and continue whipping until the egg whites form stiff peaks - see photos above for reference.
    6. Spoon whipped egg whites into cream mixture and stir to combine evenly. Serve chilled and enjoy within 24 hours (keeping egg nog refrigerated at all times). 

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    Breakfast in Bed: The Essentials


    You guys, as seen on the cover of Elle Magazine* and all over our Instagram, we've got this whole lazy heathen breakfast in bed thing down to a science. It's simple: we love not leaving bed and we also love breakfast, so, it's a two birds one stone kind of situation. It's actually really a three birds one stone situation because we also love not leaving Fox and breakfast in bed means we don't have to. Lots of dead birds happening here.

    *No not true this is false

    So, the down-low is that our favorite breakfast in bed often involves breakfast that we're not actually really truly making. Yeaaaah, we do fancy French toast for holidays or special long mornings, and we'll even dive into the world of waffles etc on occasion, but our run of the mill favorite breakfast in bed comes in the form of little pastry friends, bought the night before from the local bakery, ready to be toasted and smeared with (too much) butter before being inhaled. Pretty much anything flaky and buttery will do. We'll also add some chopped fruit, and maybe a soft-boiled egg with a few pieces of toast. If we're feeling not super poor, we'll maybe snag some lox and cream cheese early in the week and pile it all over a bagel. Mornings are meant to be easy, you guys. 

    So, step one: pick your carb. Croissants are a good way to go. But so are muffins. And bagels and banana bread. Basically anything that can be pointed to through a glass window in your bakery will do here, guys. OK, next, please have adequate sweet spread-like things ready to go. Maybe you're a marmalade kinda girl, or maybe preserves are your thing. Whatever it is, have it, and maybe have multiple different flavors because we're talking luxury and luxury means different jams or jellies or marmalade or preserves with each different bite, OK? Great. Next, fruit or whatever. We never really eat the fruit but you should include some fruit because you're going to want to Instagram this breakfast in bed scenario and people need to think you're vaguely responsible. Optional add in for bonus points: some kind of egg or protein situation. We're suckers for a soft boiled egg with a runny yolk to dunk toast into, but a few slices of bacon will also do. 

    And there you have it - throw in your tea or coffee and, maybe a literal chunk of a Christmas tree if you're feeling festive but also lazy - you've got breaky in bed! If you're a newsletter subscriber, you got last week's gift guide and likely saw a few of the products on this post in the guide. We're talking our favorite in comfort here with a West Elm Belgian Linen Duvet and an oversized Turkish blanket from Loomed. We typically turn to our Chemex (pictured) for when we want to get fancy with a pour over coffee, and that cute retro toaster is from SMEG. If you make your own comfy cozy breakfast in bread morning moment, let us know by posting it to Instagram with the hashtag #probablythis. See you cuties next week - maybe we'll have left the bed by then!



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    Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches


    Check out this dope copper mixer we're using in this post, here!


    We had a cookie baking date! Well, every day is kind of a cookie baking date but we did this one up with our finest winter sweater game instead of the usual pajamas and knee-high socks situation. We felt fancy, OK. This particular cookie baking date had basically one mission: make the perfect Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches. These little buds are kinda great for the holiday because they taste like winter but don't require us to actually have the skill set to perfectly ice sugar cookies into reindeer and dreidels and stockings and baby Jesus, because that shit is harrrrd, y'all.

    Instead, we've created some pretty easy to make - and even easier to assemble - cookie sandwiches that can be done in more or less one hour and don't require steady hands or too much attention, so feel free to have the second glass of eggnog or whatever it is that gets you in the mood for holiday baking. Other than the cookies, this *particular* cookie baking date was super special because our friends at Zola wedding registry let us test out their copper KitchenAid mixer, which like, OK, woah. We got it in the mail about a week ago and have finally stopped hyperventilating and happy-sobbing long enough to write this post and share the magic of baking with one of these bad boys. Our obsession is intense. 

    Anyhow, Zola is this online wedding registry who's motto is "anything for love" and we were like in love with the copper KitchenAid and then it appeared at our door SO THEY REALLY MEAN IT YOU GUYS. The registry also has experiences like trips to Thailand and wine and cheese (!!!) club memberships and are you taking notes because we might get married specifically for this stuff so make sure you bookmark this post please. We've got more info on what Zola can do to make your wedding registry dreams come true at the very bottom of this post... but let's discuss these cookies in a bit more detail, shall we?

    Yes. 

    OK, so the 411 is they're basically chocolate sugar cookies with a soft interior and a crispy outside and a kick of heat from cayenne pepper. There's a hefty dose of marshmallow love from a marshmallow cream filling that we're pumping in between the cookies and it really literally tastes like a Mexican Hot Chocolate in cookie form, which you probably gathered from the title of this post. They are SO GOOD. Alright guys, you can find a step-by-step photo guide below, as well as a written instruction section at the very end. See you next week!


    Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches

    prep: 10 minutes // cook: 12 minutes // makes: about 36 cookies, enough for 18 cookie sandwiches

    Mexican Chocolate Cookies

    • 2 cups all-purpose flour** (see notes at bottom about flour measurement - v important!)
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa** (same note as above)
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on desired spice level
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature and soft
    • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup raw turbinado sugar

    Marshmallow Cream Filling

    • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 2 cups mini marshmallows
    • 1 - 3 tablespoons heavy cream** (may not need, see notes!)

    First things first, let's preheat our oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper. Perfect. OK, we're ready. Go ahead and whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, cayenne, salt, and cardamom in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.

    Next, we're breaking out the stand mixer and putting on the paddle attachment. Place the softened butter and granulated sugar in the bowl of the mixer and cream on speed 7 for about two minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low between each addition, followed by the vanilla extract. Beat for another minute on speed 7, until slightly fluffy. 

    Scrape down the bowl and add in your dry mix, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing on low between each addition, until it has all been added. Don't over-mix here, we just want it to all be coming together - sweet and simple.

    Place your turbinado sugar into a shallow dish. Use a tablespoon measure to scoop out an even tablespoon of the dough*, roll in your hands into a ball, and then roll lightly into the turbinado sugar.

    *If your dough is super soft and hard to roll into a ball, just refrigerate the whole bowl of dough for about thirty minutes to firm up, and then roll. Just let the rolled dough balls sit out at room temperature for about ten minutes before baking so that they don't go into the oven cold.

    Look at all these cute little bbs ready for the oven!

    Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheet, making sure each one of your new cookie friends has about two inches to spread out. 

    Let them bake in the oven for 10 - 12 minutes, until the tops begin to crackle and the bottom edges turn a slightly darker color. Remove from the oven and give a little push on the center of each cookie to flatten them slightly (if they haven't totally flattened out on their own), making them perfect for cookie sandwiches! Let cool on a wire rack until room temperature. 

    While the cookies cool, go ahead and get that marshmallow cream whipped up! First, use the paddle attachment to beat the butter on high speed for about one minute, until slightly fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating between each addition. Your filling will be slightly stiff at this point. Next, melt the marshmallows in a heat-safe bowl in the microwave for about 45 seconds, watching very closely as the marshmallows will rise and puff out of your bowl if you aren't careful. Whisk it together with a fork and add to the filling mixture. Switch over to the whisk attachment and whip the filling for about one minute on high speed, until fluffy, scraping down the sides of the bowl as necessary. It should be thick, but still thin enough to squeeze out of a piping bag. If it's too thick, add in just a tablespoon of heavy cream at a time, mixing between each addition, until desired consistency is reached. Note: we did not need any additional cream in any batch of recipe testing, but your experience may vary!

    Transfer your filling to a piping bag or zip-top bag and snip off the end. Turn half the cookies upside down and pipe a little swirl of the filling in the center and top with the remaining half of the cookies. Press down just slightly to lock them together! 

    You can refrigerate these guys for half an hour to firm up the filling quickly, but after about an hour of being left out the filling will firm up kind of like an Oreo, which is v good and allows for easy transportation and packaging. These cookie sandwiches will remain good in an airtight container for up to 3 days! Enjoy!


    Written directions:

    Mexican Hot Chocolate Cookie Sandwiches

    prep: 10 minutes // cook: 12 minutes // makes: about 36 cookies, enough for 18 cookie sandwiches

    Mexican Chocolate Cookies

    • 2 cups all-purpose flour** (see notes at bottom about flour measurement - v important!)
    • 1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa** (same note as above)
    • 2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
    • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
    • 1 - 1 1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper, depending on desired spice level
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 1/8 teaspoon ground cardamom
    • 2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature and soft
    • 1 1/2 cups granulated sugar
    • 2 large eggs
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup raw turbinado sugar

    Marshmallow Cream Filling

    • 1 stick unsalted butter, softened
    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 2 cups mini marshmallows
    • 1 - 3 tablespoons heavy cream** (may not need, see notes!)
    1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees and line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
    2. Whisk together the flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, cinnamon, cayenne, salt, and cardamom in a medium mixing bowl and set aside.
    3. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, place the softened butter and granulated sugar and cream on speed 7 for about two minutes, until fluffy. Scrape down the bowl and add in the eggs, one at a time, mixing on low between each addition, followed by the vanilla extract. Beat for another one minute on speed 7, until slightly fluffy. 
    4. Scrape down the bowl and add in your dry mix, about 1/2 cup at a time, mixing on low between each addition, until it has all been added. Don't over-mix here, we just want it to all be coming together, sweet and simple.
    5. Place your turbinado sugar into a shallow dish. Use a tablespoon measure to scoop out an even tablespoon of the dough, roll in your hands into a ball, and then roll lightly into the turbinado sugar. Place the dough balls on the prepared baking sheet, making sure each cookie has about two inches to spread out. 
    6. Bake in the oven for 10 - 12 minutes, until the tops begin to crackle and the bottom edges turn a slightly darker color. Remove from the oven and give a little push on the center of each cookie to flatten them slightly, making them perfect for cookie sandwiches! Let cool on a wire rack until room temperature. 
    7. While the cookies cool, make the marshmallow filling. Use the paddle attachment to beat the butter on high speed for about one minute, until slightly fluffy. Add in the powdered sugar 1/2 cup at a time, beating between each addition. Your filling will be slightly stiff at this point. Next, melt the marshmallows in a heat-safe bowl in the microwave for about 45 seconds, watching very closely as the marshmallows will rise and puff out of your bowl if you aren't careful. Whisk it together with a fork and add to the filling mixture. Switch over to the whisk attachment and whip the filling for about one minute on high speed, until fluffy. It should be thick, but still thin enough to squeeze out of a piping bag. If it's too thick, add in a tablespoon of heavy cream at a time, mixing between each addition, until desired consistency is reached. Note: we did not need any additional cream in any batch of recipe testing, but your experience may vary!
    8. Once the cookies have completely cooled (definitely don't want melted filling everywhere!), transfer your masrshmallow filling to a piping bag or zip-top bag and snip off the end. Turn half the cookies upside down and pipe a little swirl of the filling - top with the remaining half of the cookies and press down just slightly to lock them together! 
    9. You can refrigerate these guys for half an hour to firm up the filling quickly, but after about an hour of being left out the filling will firm up kind of like an Oreo, which is v good and allows for easy transportation and packaging. These cookie sandwiches will remain good in an airtight container for up to 3 days! Enjoy!

    NOTES

    • When measuring your flour and cocoa, use a spoon to fluff the flour (and cocoa) in the bag (or box) and then gently use the same spoon to pour the flour and cocoa into the cup measures. A lot of folks often just scoop out the measurements with the cup measure, but that causes a compaction of our ingredients and leads to a larger amount of dry ingredients in the baked goods, resulting in denser cookies that don't spread very well! Read more about the importance of measuring dry ingredients this way, here.
    • The heavy cream for the marshmallow filling is only needed if your filling is crumbly and super stiff after the addition of the melted marshmallows. You most likely won't need the heavy cream at all, but depending on the humidity where you live and the brand of marshmallow used, you may need just a touch of the heavy cream to help thin out the filling so that it can easily be piped out onto the cookies. 


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    Thanks a ton to our friends over at Zola Registry for providing us with this dope mixer for this post. We took some time to peruse Zola and are pretty much in love with the entire concept, as it's basically the future of wedding registries. All you need to do is sign up, create a list of items from the over 450 brands available, and personalize it with messages and notes to make the process easier for guests. Also, there is 24/7 tech support, a registry manager to help couples pick out the right gifts across price points - AND couples can exchange gifts for something they'd like or need more and even set up specific delivery dates. 

    As part of our partnership, Zola is offering $50 to any of you guys when you sign up for Zola and receive $500 in gifts. Check out this offer here!


    Sesame Broccoli Rabe Crostini


    It’s our favorite time of the year! There are lights and children laughing and presents and all that jazz - but honestly we’re mostly excited for the food. We don’t know about you guys, but Christmas time in our big Southern families might as well be called “Second Thanksgiving.” And then Mardi Gras happens a few months later and it’s basically “Third Thanksgiving + Frozen Daiquiris” and then the whole process starts over. It’s a really amazing system.

    Anyhow, between the loads of holiday food we’re about to lose our minds on, we’re trying to be somewhat conscious of staying a little bit remotely healthy. So, broccoli rabe. Are you familiar with this little gem of a vegetable? We just discovered it last year and have been trying to see just how many ways we can eat it. So far, our favorite method is roasting it for a really long time in the oven, until it becomes slightly crispy. We were kind of thinking of it like broccoli’s little brother because of its appearance, but based on it’s stronger earthier flavor it’s kind of more like broccoli’s dad. Except it’s actually not broccoli at all and it’s part of the turnip family, so it’s like broccoli’s step-dad. Our new favorite thing!

    We’ve been working on converting our spare bedroom into a full on Ina Garten style dinner party ready dining room, and we’re going to have it done just in time for the holiday which means we are gonna be making ALL of the broccoli rabe crostini platters. Some will definitely be this goat cheese & sesame situation, but we’re also thinking of variations like roasted broccoli rabe & hummus crostini, broccoli rabe & feta Greek crostini, and maybe even a little holiday inspired broccoli rabe & butternut squash crostini. In fact we’re just going to make platters upon platters of crostini and skip the whole dinner party thing and just have a date night in. Welcome to our life.

    Anyhow, the recipe is below if you want to make your own platter of broccoli rabe crostini for entertaining, or just for yourself! Also, you can check out SO MANY MORE broccoli rabe recipes from our friends over at Andy Boy. Enjoy!

     



    Sesame Broccoli Rabe Crostini

    prep time: 10 min // cook time: 15 minutes // makes 16 - 20 pieces

    • 1/2 lb (about 1/2 bunch) Andy Boy broccoli rabe
    • 1 baguette, sliced into 1/4" thick pieces
    • 3 oz goat cheese
    • 1/4 cup plain fat free Greek yogurt
    • 1 tablespoon fresh minced dill
    • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame seeds
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil (divided into 2 tablespoons and 1 tablespoon)
    • 1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
    • Salt and fresh cracked pepper to taste
    1. Place an oven rack to the center position of your oven and preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lightly brush each side of the baguette slices with the two tablespoons of olive oil and a sprinkling of salt. Place onto a baking sheet in a single layer. Bake for 15 - 20 minutes, until golden, flipping each crostini half way through the baking time. Remove from oven and let cool.
    2. While the crostini are crisping in the oven, prepare the whipped goat cheese spread by combing the yogurt, goat cheese, a healthy dose of fresh ground black pepper, and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the wire attachment (this can also be done by hand with a wire whisk).Whip the ingredients together for about one minute, until slightly fluffy. Fold in the dill and set aside. 
    3. Once the crostini have been removed from the oven and set aside to cool, raise the oven temperature to 425 degrees. 
    4. Cut the large stems off of the broccoli rabe, reserving just the smaller, flexible stems, the leaves, and the bud. In a medium mixing bowl, toss together the broccoli rabe, one tablespoon olive oil, and salt and pepper. Place in the oven and cook for 8 - 10 minutes, until the leaves become crispy and the stems are tender. Remove from the oven and set aside to cool. Once cool, toss with the sesame oil. 
    5. Build the crostini just before serving. Start by spreading about 1 teaspoon of goat cheese spread onto the crostini, followed by a piece of broccoli rabe and a sprinkling of toasted sesame seeds. Enjoy!

     


    Thanks so much to Andy Boy for sponsoring this post - and to all of you guys for supporting the sponsors that keep Probably This alive and well. As always, all opinions are our own!



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