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Fall Dining Room Decor + Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies Recipe

Seasonal Decor

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Fall is making its appearance around our home and I couldn’t be happier. This is my favorite time of year! I love the crisp cool air, the sweaters and boots, pumpkin spice everything, and of course the Fall decor!

 

I love the warm color palette Fall brings to my home – it instantly gives it such a cozy vibe! This year I’m drawn to deep burgundy, gold, cream, and rust colors for the season. My dining room was one of the first places I decided to decorate this year, and that meant a trip to Walmart. It’s one of my favorite places to find affordable decor and this season they didn’t disappoint

 

Walmart is where I found my all time favorite dish set. They are great year round, but with the gold rim on this set and color palette I’m going with this Fall, they are perfect. I wanted to do a mixed table setting so I paired them with the black Onyx Stoneware set with the same gold detail around the edge that I love so much! These two sets together are beautiful and can be dressed up or dressed down for casual dining!

 

                                  

Next, I put together the centerpiece. I found the perfect dried eucalyptus in the deep burgundy color I’m loving right now. I grabbed a few bunches to add to my vase for a warm, classic feel for my dining room centerpiece.

    

I didn’t need a lot to make this space feel like Fall and I didn’t need to spend much either thanks to the prices at Walmart! The only thing missing to get fully into the season is my favorite Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies! I have been making this same recipe every year since my kids were little. It’s going on 15 years now and we all look forward to it each year! Here’s my favorite Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies recipe:

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 12 minutes
Total Time: 27 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 cup pumpkin puree
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1/2 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 Tablespoon vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon pumpkin spice
  • 1/2 teaspoon sea salt
  • 1.5 cups chocolate chips

Instructions

    Preheat oven to 350°F. Line a baking sheet with a baking mat. Combine pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, vanilla and egg in a large bowl. Mix until smooth.

    Add flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, pumpkin spice and salt. Mix until all combined. Stir in chocolate chips, don't over mix.

    Use a cookie scoop or spoonfulsof the dough and place them about 2 inches apart. Bake for 10-13 minutes, or until a toothpick comes clean.

    Remove from oven and let cool on pan for 5 minutes, then transfer to a cooling rack.

Easy Summertime Treat – Homemade Ice Cream Sandwiches

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What are your favorite things about summer? For our family it’s swimming, boating, riding bikes and of course eating lots of ice cream! I recently picked up this ice cream maker from Walmart and it has been the best purchase. With ice cream being my kids’ treat of choice it’s been getting a lot of use!

 

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Holiday Charcuterie Board Baked Brie

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 With the holidays around the corner, one of my favorite things to make in the kitchen is a charcuterie board. There are so many different varieties but my favorite is the traditional cheese and meat board. Before I head off to the market, I like to make a list of everything I need. My Samsung refrigerator has a super cool voice controlled assistant called Bixby that makes things really easy. I say “Hey Bixby, add Brie cheese to my grocery list” and it does the rest. Then I can quickly send the list to my phone and head out the door. On the off chance I forget to send the list, I can view the inside of my refrigerator from my phone at the market. Pretty cool! 

                     White kitchen decorated for Christmas wit a stainless steel Samsung refrigerator                   White kitchen decorated for Christmas   

When I build a charcuterie board I like to include fruit, crackers, meats such as prosciutto and salami, and a variety of cheese. My favorite is baked brie. For my baked brie recipe you’ll need:

Charcuterie Board Baked Brie

Charcuterie Board Baked Brie

Prep Time: 5 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Additional Time: 5 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Brie cheese wrapped in a puff pastry with added sweetness from brown sugar, jam and a hint of maple syrup!

Ingredients

  • One sheet of puff pastry dough
  • One round brie cheese
  • 2 table spoons strawberry jam
  • 1 table spoons brown sugar
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup

Instructions

    1. Pre-heat the over to 350 F
    2. Slice the top off the brie (optional but it will help the puff pastry stick to the cheese)
    3. Place the brie on top of the puff pastry. Spread the jam on top of the brie and fold the dough over it
    4. Sprinkle the top of the dough with brown sugar and maple syrup
    5. Bake at 35oF for 30 minutes.

Notes

Let cool for 5-10 minuites before serving. Place in the center of your charcuterie board and add fruit, crackers, meats, jams and other cheeses to finish builded your board!

 

          Food to make a charcuterie board and baked brie                food to make baked Brie for a charcuterie board

This recipe is delicious! I have a lot of fun making these charcuterie boards with my family and awesome appliances like my Samsung refrigerator make it stress free! To read more on some of the awesome kid friendly features our Samsung Family Hub Refrigerator has to offer check out my blog post here 

charcuterie board on kitchen counter with baked brie cheese

-Grey Birch Designs-

Microwaveable Mug Cake Recipe – With Sharp

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It is no secret that our family spends a lot of time in the kitchen, cooking, eating, and laughing together. That is why it is important for me to have high-quality appliances in my home that I can depend on year-round.  Over the last eight months, we have enjoyed spending extra time teaching our kids some of our favorite family recipes since we have been spending so much more time at home!
 

 

 

We recently upgraded our microwave oven to the Sharp 1.8 Cubic Feet Stainless Steel 1100W Over-the-Range Microwave Oven and could not be more excited to share all of the details with you all. I have to say, the edge-to-edge stainless steel, black glass, and discreet branding (yes, the logo is on the inside of the oven)  make this oven pair beautifully with our other stainless steel kitchen appliances. 

 

Our Sharp above range microwave oven saves on counter space without compromising functionality in our kitchen. This full-feature over-the-range microwave oven from Sharp offers convenient Sensor Cook Technology and Auto Defrost, making cooking and reheating my favorite foods, snacks, and beverages easier. 

 

During the day, our kids love to use our Sharp microwave oven to make a quick meal and hit the Express Cook +30 button to warm their food up; it truly makes cooking more simple during the day. The kids are super impatient,  so it’s an excellent one-button feature. Given that our family uses the kitchen appliances in our home MUCH more now than we have in the past, the Simply Better Clean enamel coating inside the oven is a life-saver because it is stain resistant wipes clean with a damp cloth.

 

This Sharp over-the-range microwave oven also includes a super cool setting to soften ice cream for dessert time! If you don’t have a sweet tooth, worry not. The Melt/Soften feature is also specifically tuned to quickly melt cheese, chocolate, or soften butter, making impulse baking a breeze.

 

My daughter’s most recent baking obsession to make when she is craving something sweet (which is all the time) in our Sharp Microwave Oven are mug cakes! By far, their favorite is the Chocolate Banana. It’s super easy to make:

 

 
Chocolate Banana Mug Cake
 
Ingredients:
One medium banana
2 TBSP cacao powder
2 TBSP almond milk
1 egg
2 TBSP maple syrup
1/2 TSP baking powder
1/4 cup chocolate chips
1/4 cup oat flour
1/4 cup flour
 
   

 

Directions:
Mash the banana inside a bowl. Mix the wet ingredients together. Stir in the dry ingredients. Fold in the chocolate chips. Grease 2 microwave safe mugs with cooking spray. Pour the mixture into the 2 mugs. Individually microwave the mugs for 60-90 seconds – this is where the Express Cook +30 button comes in handy. Add a scoop of vanilla ice cream or whip cream and enjoy!
 
 

 

Overall, we’ve been very happy with our new Sharp over-the-range microwave oven and recommend incorporating a Sharp microwave into your kitchen design. The microwave oven is very well made, making it super practical for everyday family life, and it looks so sleek and premium in our newly remodeled kitchen!

 

-Grey Birch Designs-

 

 

Easy Summer Gourmet Burgers

Recipes

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One of our favorite things to do in the summer is bbq and gourmet burgers are at the top of our list! Not only are they delicious but they are so easy to make!! We throw some pre-made beef patties on the grill and cook them for 5-6 minuets a side. While they are cooking we make the homemade guacamole!

Fresh Guacamole

4-5 ripe avocados
2 vine ripe tomato 
2 tablespoons red onion
2 tablespoons fresh chopped cilantro
juice from 1 lime
salt and pepper to taste
Scoop the ripe avocados into a bowl and smash them with a fork leaving some larger chunks. Add in the chopped tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, lime juice and salt and pepper to taste. Use a fork to combine all the ingredients. If needed add more lime juice and salt and pepper.
Now it’s time to put the burgers together. We top a beef patty with cheddar cheese, a fried egg, and a big scoop of fresh guacamole! If you like you can add condiments of your choice!
This is has become a family favorite that our whole family enjoys, even our 6 year old!!
-Grey Birch Designs-

Summer Salad Recipes

Recipes

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One of my favorite things to make in the summertime is summer salad with homemade dressing! Homemade dressing is surprisingly easy to make and soooooo delicious! One of my favorites is a spinach and strawberry salad with a strawberry dressing. Here’s what you need:

-A bag of spinach and a bag of spring mix lettuce
-Sliced strawberries
-Precooked sliced chicken strips
-Sliced almonds and craisins (optional)
To make the dressing you will need:
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-1/4 cup vinegar
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/4 tsp paprika
-2 tbsp sesame seeds
-1 tbsp poppy seeds
-1/2 cup strawberries, fresh or frozen 
Take all the ingredients for the dressing and place them in a blender, mix until completely blended. Pour over salad when ready to serve! 
  
          
This summer I have been spending a lot more time than normal cooking in the kitchen and teaching my kids some of my favorite recipes. Something new that has been so fun and helpful is my Samsung Family Hub refrigerator! It has a feature called Smart Recipes and if you tap on it you can view that recipe and all the ingredients needed to make it! This has saved dinnertime at our home more than once, plus it gives us new ideas for recipes we haven’t tried before!

          

One of the new recipes it showed us last week was for S’mores dip! I never would have thought of this and it’s now a family favorite! On the family hub it gives you the option to read the directions, show you the ingredients, and even add the ingredients to your shopping list!

          

I can’t wait to try out some more fun recipes this summer!

-Grey Birch Designs-

House Plants for Beginners + Fruit water recipe!

Recipes

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I have always wanted to be a plant lady! I have bought and killed many plants in my lifetime and thought I would forever have a black thumb. Every time I walked through the plant section at the home improvement store I thought to myself “I can do many things, but keeping plants alive is just not one of them.” They would tempt me every time as I walked the isles picking out my next victim. That is until I bought a ZZ plant 2 years ago. TWO YEARS I have kept this plant alive and thriving!! This got me thinking that maybe there are other plants that can work for people who are challenged in the garden like myself, so I did some research!

Oh boy was I excited to find a huge variety of these un-killable plants. I couldn’t wait to boost my self confidence in gardening and bring my dreams of becoming a plant lady to reality!! Here is my list of  my top 5 favorite house plants for beginners!

  1. ZZ Plant This is the one I stumbled on over 2 years ago and it is thriving! Truth be told, the more I ignore it the happier it is, that’s my kind of plant! It has a beautiful deep green leaf and helps clean the air inside your home! These are my favorite house plants!
  2. Pothos These come in so many color variations and each one is absolutely beautiful!! Something really neat about these is you can easily propagate them with a clipping and then have more of these beautiful plants without having to go buy more!
  3. Snake Plant Although I HATE the name (I’m deathly afraid of snakes…) I love this plant! It’s similar to the ZZ plant since it likes to be ignored and only requires 1 cup of water every 2 weeks. It also likes low light and has beautiful colored leafs!
  4. Fern These are beautiful and easy to care for indoor/outdoor plants! You only water the soil when it is dry and they require medium light!
  5. Peace Lily If you want something that has a flower on it then these are a great option. They grow best in high light but can tolerate low light too, making them a go with the flow kind of plant. They do need to be watered weekly so on the scale of low maintenance plants these are a little more high maintenance but still easy!
Our Favorite Summer Time Drink!!
About a year ago I stopped drinking diet sodas. Since then, getting my kids and I to drink more water has become really important to me! This is why my favorite feature in my Samsung Refrigerator is the built in water pitcher. It has the ability to make fruit water, and automatically refills itself after every use! We love it and it’s a fun change for our kids when they get tired of plain water. We have tried a ton of different combinations and here are some of our favorites!

  • strawberries, lemon, and mint leaves
  • sliced cucumber and mint leaves
  • strawberries and pineapple 
  • orange and lime
  • kiwi and orange
You can use fresh or frozen fruit which makes it so easy! We just slice up the fruit, place it in the middle chamber of the water pitcher that came with our Samsung Refrigerator and then place it back inside the door. We can keep it for 2-3 days and then clean it out to make a new batch! Since it automatically refills itself we never run out!! My kids love making it and it has truly limited the amount of soda and other sugary drinks they drink each day!
I wonder if my plants get jealous of our yummy fruit water?? 😉 😂
-Grey Birch Designs-

Family at Home “Date Night” + Recipe

Recipes

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During this whole stay at home social distancing thing we are dealing with I have realized how often we used to eat out as a family. Honestly, it was at least once a week and that doesn’t count the lunch dates to Chick-fil-a after kindergarten with my youngest!! (awww the good old days!) 
Seriously though we are missing those family activities and we needed to do something to break up the new normal. There’s a little restaurant we love to visit when we drive up to northern Utah in the spring and summer and they have hands down the best dessert, pizookie!! We always joke that when the waitress sets it down you have to have your spoon ready because my kids will destroy that pizookie and any evidence it ever existed in about 2 mins flat!!
Since this is a family favorite of ours we decided it would be fun to have a little at home “date night” with the kids and make our very own pizookies!! Instead of making a huge one for us all to share I found these cute individual size mini cast iron pan from Bed Bath and Beyond so we could make one for each of us!

The first thing you want to do is make your favorite batch of chocolate chip cookie dough. This could even be made with a different kind of cookie dough for a change. Maybe throw in peanut butter chips or toffee candy pieces!! 
Here is the recipe we love:

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
heaping teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, at room temperature
cups packed light brown sugar
large eggs
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups semisweet chocolate chips

Directions
Place the flour, baking soda, and salt together in a medium bowl; set aside.

Place the butter and sugar in a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment. Beat on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, just a few minutes. Add the eggs and beat until blended. Add the vanilla and beat until blended.

Turn the mixer off and add the flour mixture a scoop at a time. Turn the mixer on low speed until the flour is completely incorporated. Then turn the mixer to high speed for a few seconds to pull the dough together; it will be chunky. Add the chocolate chips and beat on high speed to thoroughly and quickly mix in the chips, just a few seconds.
When your dough is finished you will want to take a cookie scoop and place 4 scoops of dough, roughly 1.5 tbsp of dough into each mini cast iron pan. Then press down the dough and mold it to the the pan. These will bake a tiny bit longer then a batch of cookies but watch them so they don’t over cook!

Bake for about 12-15 minutes, you want them to still be slightly undercooked in the center. Finally put a big scoop of vanilla ice cream on top while it’s still warm and enjoy!!

-Grey Birch Designs-

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