Friday, April 20, 2018

Friday Pick-Six: 4/20/18

Here's what we're loving and living for this week.

1.  We usually keep it simple on our nails, but these nail art ideas got us thinking that maybe we should branch out a little.  Maybe we'll try one on our next manicure.

2.  We know it's not new, but we've been addicted to Fixer Upper reruns on HGTV lately.  We love Chip and Joanna's style and it inspires us to tackle some house projects of our own this summer.  Stay tuned for more!

3.  My husband made this One Skillet Lemon Chicken and Orzo this week and we couldn't stop eating it!  It would be awesome with shrimp instead of chicken, too.  Plus, who doesn't love a one-pot meal? (Especially when you're the one doing dishes like I am!) --J

4.  Last night was the series finale of Scandal!  So much for our Thursday tradition of wine, popcorn and Olivia Pope.  If you're going to go through withdrawal without this show, then look back at this amazing retrospective of Olivia's amazing fashion sense!

5.  GAP is running its Spring Sale with up to 60% off and an additional 40% off with the code HAPPY.  If the forecast ever looked like it would warm up, we'd definitely be stocking up on some spring stuff!

6.  If you're looking for a new comedy show to watch, try The Good Place!  We recently caught up on this comedy and were sad to finish it off.  It took a little while to click, but by the end, I loved the characters and was cracking up.  The first season is on Netflix and you can find season two on NBC's site.  --J

What are you loving and living for this week?  Let us know in the comments below and have a great weekend!

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

The Easiest Blondies Ever

Hi friends, it's your favorite neighborhood baker, Jess.  One of the things I'm always in search of is a quick baked dessert recipe with all pantry items.  You know, sometimes you just want dessert and you  don't want to have to run to the store.  Enter Deb from Smitten Kitchen and her Infinitely Adaptable Blondies.  Once I saw this recipe, I knew I had to try it out!

Last weekend, on an uncharacteristically rainy and cold Saturday, I gathered my ingredients.

Not pictured: Vanilla Extract
To get started, melt the butter in a small saucepan.  You could just melt it, or you could be like me, and let it cook for a while and start to get brown.  Nothing beats that caramely browned butter flavor, so it's worth taking the extra time.



Let the butter cool off a little bit and pour it into a large bowl.  You're cooling this off just a little so that you don't get brown sugar flavored scrambled eggs.  (Just typing that is gross).  Then, whisk in a cup of brown sugar, vanilla and one egg.

Mix in one cup of flour and 1 1/2 cups of mix-ins.  Deb mentions that you can use whatever mix-ins you have on hand.  I chose chocolate chips and toasted pecans.  Shout out to my Snow Bird in laws, who brought back some pecans from the winter Down South.  See my notes below for other thoughts on great additions.

Press the mixture into a buttered 8x8 glass or metal tray.  It's not going to pour like a usual cookie batter, so you might want to try pressing it down with a spatula or wooden spoon.

Bake for 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  The edges will be golden brown and it will still feel a little soft in the middle.  I think that's part of what makes the good--they're still a little fudgey or doughy in the middle.  I think they'd be too tough if you overbooked them, so keep an eye out.  You can cool and cut them or just let them cool in the pan and cut as you eat them.  Honestly, I think they would keep for about a week covered, but we finished them off within a couple of days.


  • As I mentioned, Deb says you can mix in just about anything to these babies and create something delicious.  I loved the toasted pecans and chocolate chips, but you could customize these any which way you want.  Some combinations I'd love to try out--
    • 1/2 cup peanut butter and 1 cup of chocolate chips
    • 1/2 cup dried cherries and 1 cup of dark chocolate chunks
    • 1/2 cup salted peanuts, 1/2 cup butterscotch chips and 1/2 cup toasted pecans
    • 1/2 cup pistachios, 1/2 cup dried cranberries, 1/2 cup white chocolate chips
  • Overbaking is the enemy of a good blondie!  Watch that they don't get too brown because they'll dry out.  Even if you would consider them a little underdone, they're probably ready to go.
  • These are pretty rich, so you can serve them in small pieces.  They would be awesome as a quick dessert to take over to someone's house or to serve after a simple dinner party.  Also, kid approved (obviously!).  In fact, our preschooler woke up one morning, examined the pan and asked my husband "why did you and Mama eat two blondies because they're missing from the pan..." Busted. 
  • One last serving suggestion would be a blondie sundae.  Quick story--I was once eating dinner at our favorite neighborhood place with my husband and Ry and were gifted a free blondie sundae by our waitress.  Apparently a table had ordered it, mistaking blondies for brownies and no longer wanted it.  A delicious blondie sundae on the house?!  Talk about a win!  We still talk about it months later!   Scoop some old fashioned vanilla ice cream on top and drizzle with caramel and/or chocolate syrup and you're a hero!  

Make these now and thank me later!  Let us know how they are and give us your ideas for mix-in combinations in the comments below!

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

We Need You!

Are you looking for advice?  A great recipe for a killer dinner party?  The perfect dress for an upcoming event?

We're looking for reader questions for an upcoming Q&A post series.  You can ask us anything and we'll do our best to answer!

If you have a question for us, you can leave it in the comments of this post, message us on Instagram (@twinstakeon) or email us at twinstakeon at

We are looking forward to hearing from you, lovely readers so we can TAKE on your questions.

Friday, April 13, 2018

Friday Pick-Six: 4/13/18

Here's what we're loving and living for this week!

1.  Our mom gifted us with these adorable monogrammed insulated wine glasses for Easter!  You better believe we'll be rocking them this summer around the pool or at the beach!

2.  Are you getting as excited as we are about the upcoming Royal Wedding?  If you (like us) love Meghan's style, you can check out this great post about how to copy her look yourself!

3.  We spotted this new Essie Summer collection on Amazon earlier this week and had to order!  Can't wait to try out At Sea Level for summer!

4.  We are suckers for a good striped shirt, so we loved this Popsugar post with so many great striped options!

5.  We're always hearing ads for MVMT watches and sunglasses on our favorite podcasts, so we finally had to check them out.  There are so many amazing styles and the prices are great!  Polarized lenses for less than $100!?  Yes, please!

6.  How delicious does this chicken milanese look on Happily Eva After?  This would be great for a spring dinner with an arugula salad or angel hair pasta.

What are you loving and living for this week?  Let us know in the comments below and TGIF!

Wednesday, April 11, 2018

Overnight Monkey Bread

Hey guys, it's Jess!  I want to share one of my favorite recent recipes with you!  Do you know about monkey bread?  It's one of the easiest and tastiest breakfast baked goods you can make!  There are lots of variations, but I love making my twist on this Smitten Kitchen recipe!  Like all homemade yeast breads, this usually needs some rise time.  However, with this overnight spin, you can do all the hard work the night before and just bake it off in the morning!  You know how I love an easy morning 

To get started, you'll need to gather your ingredients.  The best thing about this is that you probably have all of this stuff in your kitchen right now!

You'll start like many other yeasted bread recipes, by heating milk in the microwave and melting butter in it.  Let this cool off so that it's warm to the touch but not so hot that you can't stick your finger in it.  Stir in the sugar and yeast and then let it sit for a few minutes.

Add the flour and salt in your mixer bowl with the dough hook attached.  Stream in the wet mixture into the dry ingredients with the mixer running.  Up the speed on the mixer until it becomes well-incorporated.

Knead it for 6-8 minutes.  You could do this by hand, but the mixer makes things so much easier!

Take this out of the mixer bowl and make a smooth ball.  Rub the inside of the mixer bowl with a little vegetable oil and return the dough to the bowl.  Cover it with plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm spot for around an hour.  If your kitchen is drafty like mine, you may want to turn the oven on to a low heat and let it sit on the stovetop.  If it's really chilly, you can preheat the oven to 250, turn it off and then proof the bowl in there.

While the dough is rising, you can set up your work station.  Melt butter in one bowl and mix the brown sugar and cinnamon in another.  Also, butter a bundt or other circular pan.  I only have an Angel Food pan, so I use that.  After an hour, your dough will have risen and should look something like this--

Roll it out until you have a large rectangle.  Now, you want to cut many small squares using a pastry cutter or serrated knife.  You're going to cut small squares, like a grid shape.  You can measure this exactly or (do what I did) and just eyeball and cut similar sized squares.  

Once you have the squares, you're going to roll them into balls.  Because the dough is soft, they don't roll like a meatball.  You want to sort of pull the corners down until a ball forms, kind of like rolling a ball of pizza dough.  It doesn't have to be perfect, but I recommend rolling them all first.

Once you have the balls done, it's Assembly Line Time.  You'll dip each ball into the melted butter and then roll it in the sugar and drop it into the pan.  Go around the pan until you have evenly filled it.  It's not going to be all the way to the top, but don't worry about it yet.  IF there's any extra butter or sugar, sprinkle it on the top.

Cover this with plastic wrap and here's where you're done for the night.  Pop it in the fridge and relax!

In the morning, take the pan out of the oven and play it in a warm spot while the oven preheats to 350 degrees.  You'll notice that the dough has risen a little.

I always place this on a cookie sheet before putting it into the oven.  This makes it easier to get in a and out of the oven and prevents any sugar from spilling in your oven.  Pop it into the oven for 30-45 minutes until it's golden brown and a little bubbly.  

While it's baking, you can mix up the icing.  Deb from Smitten Kitchen uses a cream cheese frosting which is delicious.  However, I've also just mixed a simple vanilla glaze using 3/4 cups of powdered sugar, 2 tablespoons of melted butter, 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla and 1-2 tablespoons of milk.  Whisk it all together until it's smooth. 

Once the bread is done, let it cool for 5-10 minutes.  Then you'll invert it onto a large plate or platter.  This is always my scariest moment, as I am always afraid I'll end up with a kitchen full of melty sugar!  I usually make my husband do it!  Once it's on the platter, you can drizzle on the glaze and then you're ready to serve!

Give this amazing recipe a try and let us know what you think in the comments!  Happy Baking!

Monday, April 9, 2018

New Arrivals at GAP

As you know, one of our favorite places to shop is GAP.  We have been GAP fans since way back in the day when they were just doing button-downs and rugby shirts.  Since we're looking to refresh our summer wardrobes, we thought we'd feature a few of our favorites in the New Arrivals category at GAP lately.

Top Row (Left to Right): Kimono jacket, pants, eyelet top, peplum tank, workout leggings
Bottom Row (Left to Right): t-shirt, ruffle skirt, wrap dress, blouse

Will you be picking anything up at the GAP this spring?  Let us know what your favorites are in the comments below and Happy Shopping!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Friday Pick-Six: 4/6/18

We took a little Spring Break last week, but we're back again!  Also, can you believe that today's post is our 200th post!  How crazy is that, right?

Here's what we're loving and living for this week!

1.  Today is our Aunt Margaret's birthday!  In her honor, we're linking to two favorite posts with some of her signature recipes, zucchini bread and no-bake cookies.

2.  As part of a recent Macy's Clinique gift-with-purchase, I received a sample size version of this Clinique Moisture Surge Hydrating Supercharged Concentrate.  My skin tends to be a little on the dry-side so I have loved their Moisture Surge line in the past.  I used this as a serum, before my day-time tinted moisturizer and night moisturizer.  I think my skin did feel a little softer and looked a little glowy.  Give it a shot! --J

3.  You couldn't tell it from the weather around TTO Headquarters, but spring is supposedly here!  We are looking at adding to our shoe collection for spring and love these colorful sandals!  They'd go with everything!

4.  Even though neither of us is looking to move any time soon, this post on Young House Love about how to style and stage your house simply was super interesting!

5.  You guys, Target has the most amazing new Beauty Boxes!  They're available online and in-store and each one focuses on a different beauty aspect.  Also, for just $7 you get an amazing variety of products!  We want them all!

6.  We recently started listening the GOOP podcast, presented by Gwyneth Paltrow and others from her Goop corporation.  There have been several interesting episodes--from an interview with Oprah (!) to a discussion of how hormones impact women and weight loss.  Check it out.

What are you loving and living for this week?  Let us know in the comments below!