All Posts By:

Brit Wolfe

  • LIFE Lifestyle

    30 Self-Care Ideas: Avoid Stress & Stay Healthy!

    Hello, friends. I’m back after a short time away from the blog. I feel like I say that at least once a month, but this whole burnout thing is real. On top of managing this blog, hobbies, and keeping a clean house, it’s almost impossible to stay on top of everything. Add stress and lack of self-care into it, and it is impossible.

    30 Self-Care Ideas: Avoid Stress & Stay Healthy!

    I struggled for so long trying to figure out what exactly my blog is about. I have friends or family ask and I always sort of stutter over the answer:

    “Uhhh, it’s kind of just about whatever makes me happy.”

    “OK… well dessert recipes make sense with your pastry background, but what about DIY or other vegan stuff?”

    “Yeah, it’s got some of that too.”

    It’s hard to explain because there are so many things I love doing and so many things I want to share. And then a few nights ago I collapsed on the couch and sighed, and thought really hard about what is important to me. And all of a sudden, it hit me. My blog is about all things self-care.

    I do yoga or dance every day because it makes me feel good. I usually eat a cookie every day because that also makes me feel good. Sharing recipes makes me happy, but so does sharing TV recommendations or lists of my favorite Amazon purchases. It all ties together in this weird way. And unknowingly, that’s what my blog has been about this whole time.

    Self-care is a relatively new concept to a lot of people, myself included. I’ve struggled with being too mean to myself for so many years, and I hate admitting that, but it’s true. I pushed self-love to the side and made fun of it (it’s just some hippie mumbo-jumbo) until I realized about a year ago that I need it more than anyone. Self-care is nothing more than just taking care of yourself.

    Self-care is literally anything that makes you feel better, anything that helps you to take care of yourself and recharge your batteries. Without it, we hit a wall, get that famous “creative burnout”, and even damage our immune systems. So without further ado, here are 30 self-care ideas for whenever you need it most.


    1. Full-on spa treatment.

    Fill a bubble bath, put on a face mask, light some candles, and give yourself the relaxing spa experience in your own home.

    2. Go on a nature walk.

    Getting out in nature has a way of calming me down instantly. Even just going for a short walk around the neighborhood will give you the same feeling!

    3. Meditate.

    4. Get a coffee at your favorite coffee shop.

    5. Go to a park or the beach.

    Sitting in a beautiful park or walking along the beach is the perfect way to calm your mind.

    6. Unplug for an hour. Or two.

    Social media has a way of completely overwhelming us, so it’s really nice to give your brain (and eyes!) a break from the screen. Spend an hour away from your phone and see how much more relaxing it is.

    7. Read a book in bed.

    8. Play video games.

    On stream, I play fun, exciting games where I can laugh and talk to people. But when I want to relax, I’ll play house-building or exploring games, like The Sims or Fallout (just the house-decorating aspects, though!).

    9. Take a small weekend getaway.

    10. Do yoga.

    11. Eat your favorite meal.

    Whether that means spending hours in the kitchen cooking for yourself or ordering in your favorite Thai takeout, eating your favorite meal will definitely improve your mood.

    12. Listen to your favorite music.

    13. Lay on the couch and watch your favorite movie.

    Snuggle up on the couch and give yourself permission to do nothing for a while.

    14. Start a gratitude journal.

    If you don’t want to start a whole journal, try just naming 10 things that you’re grateful for, right now. They can be small things or big things, or materialistic or not, just say the first 10 things that come to mind!

    15. Play with your pet.

    16. Paint, play an instrument, anything that sparks your creativity.

    17. Take a nap.

    When the burnout hits, you’re tired and cranky and lack any sort of energy. Sometimes the best solution is a good old-fashioned nap!

    18. Eat a healthy snack.

    As humans, getting stressed usually means reaching for the junk food. But eating a healthy snack instead will make you feel better for multiple reasons: it’ll literally help you feel better (vitamins and minerals!), and you won’t feel guilty afterwards. As I’m writing this, I’ve got a big bowl of carrots next to me, but boy did I want a slice of cake at first.

    19. Paint your nails, dye your hair, do whatever makes you feel beautiful!

    20. List 5 things that you’re good at.

    Refocusing on yourself and your skills helps beat that overwhelming feeling of I’m not doing enough.

    21. Go see a friend.

    22. Get a massage or facial.

    23. Take a minute to just relax.

    Light some candles, burn some essential oils, plop down in a comfy chair. Take some deep breaths and relaaaax.

    24. Learn something new.

    Learning something new is not only fun and challenging, but also completely distracts your mind from stress.

    25. Watch a funny YouTube video.

    26. Garden (or get some new plants for the house!).

    27. Clean the house.

    Distracting your mind with cleaning will help you not only feel more relaxed, but you’ll also have a nice clean place to settle in at the end of the night. Two birds!

    28. Find a new podcast to listen to.

    29. Stand up and stretch.

    This is the easiest thing you can do during the day. Take 5 minutes to stretch, and see how much better you feel.

    30. Daydream.

    Daydream about anything you want. It can be more serious, work-related things (you finally finished that huge project and your boss loved it!) or more freeing, adventurous things (I’m on vacation in Mexico with a margarita in my hand, and boy is it awesome). Daydreaming can help clear up your mind as well as reinvigorate you to push forward.

    What’s your favorite form of self-care?

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  • Cookies FOOD

    Lemon Coconut Cookies

    Lemon Coconut Cookies – Chewy lemon cookies packed with shredded coconut and chopped walnuts, topped with a zesty lemon glaze!

    Lemon Coconut Cookies

    Here’s a fun story: my fridge is 95% citrus right now.

    My parents have a ton of fruit trees and last time I went to go see them, my dad loaded me up with BAGS full of fruit. Plural. BagSSS. I’m not complaining! In fact it’s a perfect excuse for me to bake more than ever. But it also means that there’s no room left for anything else in our fridge.

    Lemon Coconut Cookies

    I’ve compiled a list two pages long of all the citrus recipes I want to make and it’s almost overwhelming to pick what to make next. But I knew these Lemon Coconut Cookies would be first up.

    Lemon Coconut Cookies

    These cookies are the perfect amount of crispy and the perfect amount of chewy. The base is made with lemon zest, brown sugar, and vanilla (already off to a great start). Then they’re packed with shredded coconut and chopped walnuts, and topped with a zesty lemon glaze for that extra punch of lemon.

    Lemon Coconut Cookies

    Looking for more citrus recipes?

    Lemon Coconut Cookies

    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time12 mins
    Total Time22 mins
    Course: Cookies
    Author: Brit Wolfe

    Ingredients

    Lemon Coconut Cookies

    • 1 cup vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • zest of two lemons save the juice for the icing!
    • 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
    • 2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 tsp. salt
    • 1 cup chopped walnuts
    • 1 cup shredded coconut

    Lemon Icing

    • 2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1/4 cup lemon juice

    Instructions

    • Mix the ground flaxseed with 7 Tbsp. of water and set aside to let thicken, about 5-7 minutes.
    • In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the sugars and lemon zest. Let the mixer run on low for 2-3 minutes to infuse the lemon zest into the sugar. (you can also do this by hand by rubbing the zest into the sugar).
    • Add the butter to the sugar mixture and let cream together on medium-high until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
    • Add the flaxseed and the vanilla and let cream together an additional 2 minutes.
    • Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and salt) and add to the mixer all at once. Let the mixer run on low until almost fully incorporated, then add the walnuts and coconut and fold together using a spatula.
    • Chill the cookie dough for at least 1 hour, overnight if possible.*
    • When you’re ready to bake, preheat the oven to 360ºF (yes, 360! Not 350).
    • Scoop the cookie dough into balls and place on a parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake for 12-15 minutes (depending on the size of your cookies) until golden brown.
    • Let the cookies cool completely. When you’re ready to ice them, add the powdered sugar and lemon juice to a small bowl. Mix together well until smooth and no lumps remain. Drizzle over the cookies.

    Notes

    *I usually scoop the cookie dough while it’s soft, place it on a parchment-lined baking sheet, wrap it in plastic wrap, and chill overnight. It makes it a little easier than trying to scoop cold cookie dough!

    © PANTHERS & PEONIES. All text, recipes, and photographs on this site are my own. Please do not use my images without permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

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  • Breads & Muffins FOOD

    Hummingbird Muffins

    Hummingbird Muffins

    Happy Monday! I took last week off from the blog and man, did I enjoy it. I’m learning as I get older that sometimes you just need a break, even from the things you love most in life. Taking a break can do so much for you: help prevent burnout, re-spark your creativity, or just give your brain a rest. So I took a much-needed break and I’m back with one incredible recipe for you guys: Hummingbird Muffins.

    Hummingbird Muffins

    Hummingbird cake is one of my favorite cakes in the entire world, mostly because I was one of those weird kids who liked spice cake more than chocolate or vanilla. But there’s something about hummingbird cake: the subtle banana flavor, the big chunks of pineapple and little bits of pecans, the cinnamon throughout, oh my gosh it makes my heart happy.

    And yes, I know it’s walnuts in my photos, but all of my pecans went into the muffins and I forgot to leave some to photograph, so I used walnuts. Deal with it.

    Hummingbird Muffins

    How to Make Hummingbird Muffins:

    These muffins are super quick to throw together and have ready for breakfast. First, cream your butter and sugars together. Add the flax and vanilla, then the remaining ingredients. Scoop into muffin tins and top with streusel, bake until golden brown and delicious, and that’s all there is to it.

    This recipe is adapted from my favorite banana bread recipe. Enjoy!

    Hummingbird Muffins

    Hummingbird Muffins

    Prep Time10 mins
    Cook Time25 mins
    Total Time35 mins
    Servings: 18
    Author: Brit Wolfe

    Ingredients

    Hummingbird Muffins

    • 1/2 cup vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
    • 1 cup granulated sugar
    • 2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
    • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. baking soda
    • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
    • 4 small to medium bananas, mashed
    • 1/2 cup chopped pecans
    • 1/2 cup chopped pineapple with the juice

    Cinnamon Streusel

    • 6 Tbsp. vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon

    Instructions

    • Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
    • Mix the ground flaxseed with 7 Tbsp. of water and set aside to let thicken, about 5-7 minutes.
    • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
    • Add the vanilla and the flaxseed mixture and continue mixing until fluffy and fully combined, about 3 minutes.
    • In a separate bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking soda, and cinnamon). Add half of the dry ingredients to the butter mixture and let mix on a medium-low speed until almost fully combined.
    • Add the mashed bananas, then the remaining dry ingredients. Let mix until almost fully combined, then fold in the pineapple and the pecans. Fold gently to prevent overmixing.
    • Scoop the muffin batter into paper-lined muffin tins. I used muffin liners that are slightly larger than regular muffins, so if you use a regular-sized muffin tin, you will get more muffins.
    • For the streusel, sift together the flour and cinnamon into a bowl. Add the sugar and mix well. Cut up the butter and add to the mixture, then mix with a fork (or your hands!) until the mixture resembles wet crumbs.
    • Crumble the streusel mixture over the top of each muffin and press slightly to adhere the streusel to the muffin.
    • Bake 25-30 minutes until the muffins are risen and lightly golden brown.
    Hummingbird Muffins

    © PANTHERS & PEONIES. All text, recipes, and photographs on this site are my own. Please do not use my images without permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

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  • Home LIFE

    How to Organize Your Recipes (7 Different Ways!)

    I don’t know about you guys, but I am always looking for better recipe organization. Recipes get out of hand so quickly and before you know it, the recipe you’re looking for is lost forever in a sea of magazine clippings and printed out papers.

    Today I’m sharing 7 different ways you can organize your recipe mess. I’m including both paper recipes as well as digital recipes (I’ve got both, and I’m sure you do too!). Let me know in the comments which method is your favorite!

    How to Organize Your Recipes (7 Different Ways!)

    If your recipes are on paper:

    In a recipe binder.

    This is my personal favorite and the system I always stick to. There’s just something about having a physical copy of the recipe in front of me while baking that I love. My favorite method of keeping everything together is my DIY Recipe Binder (check out the blog post for a step by step!).

    In file folders / in a filing system.

    Another easy way to organize full-sized sheets of paper or printed recipes is to organize them in file folders and use a filing system. This keeps everything super organized and makes it easy to find exactly what you need.

    In a recipe card box.

    If you prefer a more nostalgic recipe organization, you can always write your recipes on recipe index cards and line them up in a recipe card box. Plus you can customize the index cards as well as the recipe box itself, and I’m such a sucker for anything customized.

    In zip-up plastic folders.

    This is something I had never thought of until I noticed my mom organizing her recipes this way. Sort your recipes by course (appetizers, dinner, etc.), ingredient (chicken, fish, etc.), or type of recipe (cake, cookies, etc.), and stick them in plastic folders. Easy peasy.

    If your recipes are online:

    On Pinterest.

    Pinterest is my number 1. My ride or die. My favorite thing in the entire world. Pinterest makes it easy to keep literally thousands of recipes and organize them any way you want to. Pinterest also makes it super easy to find exactly what you’re looking for, instead of having to search multiple pages on Google!

    I tend to scribble down recipes that I find on Pinterest, test them, and if I like the recipe enough I’ll print it out and stick it in my recipe binder.

    In Evernote.

    Evernote is a personal organization and note-taking app. I’ve read a lot of positive reviews from people who have had success using Evernote. I have never personally used it, but I know that it’s great for recipe organization!

    In Google Drive.

    Google Drive is a file storage system included when you sign up for a Google email address. Drive is great for not only note-taking and recipe organization, but also for sharing recipes with others! Drive also allows you to access your files on any device, which makes finding your recipes super simple.

    Which method of recipe organization do you use? Let me know!

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  • Cakes & Cupcakes FOOD

    Peanut Butter & Chocolate Marble Cake

    Peanut Butter & Chocolate Marble Cake – The perfect mix of two irresistible cake flavors! Rich chocolate cake marbled with a light and fluffy peanut butter cake, topped with decadent chocolate frosting.

    Peanut Butter & Chocolate Marble Cake

    Can I be honest? I had pretty much the best birthday this year.

    I’ve literally been celebrating my birthday for the past week. I’m doing something cool every day and taking down time to watch movies I’ve always wanted to watch. Plus I cleaned and organized our entire house, because yes I’m actually 65 and organizing is genuinely fun to me. There’s a feeling you get when you buy new baskets from Target that I can’t quite explain, but it’s a feeling I live for.

    Peanut Butter & Chocolate Marble Cake

    I got the most thoughtful presents from my boyfriend and family (mostly stuff for streaming), and of course I got to eat. A lot. Mostly cake. And since it was my birthday, I took my two favorite cakes of all time, smashed them together with my favorite frosting, and the end result is ethereal.

    I’m a peanut butter girl through and through, and I never seem to get tired of it. I took my favorite peanut butter cake recipe, marbled it together with rich chocolate cake, and topped the whole thing with a chocolate frosting that I could eat by the spoonful.

    Peanut Butter & Chocolate Marble Cake

    How to Make Peanut Butter & Chocolate Marble Cake:

    First, make the two cake batters. Then in an 8″x8″ pan, alternate big scoops of the batters. I covered almost the entire bottom of the pan with peanut butter batter, leaving just a few empty spots, then poured over the chocolate batter and topped with the remaining peanut butter. The chocolate batter is much thinner, so it’ll pour easily into all the nooks and crannies. Then if you want to, use a knife to gently swirl the two batters together. Bake until the peanut butter cake is golden, let it cool, then top it with the chocolate frosting.

    Peanut Butter & Chocolate Marble Cake

    I doubled the entire recipe and baked it in a 9″x13″ pan because I wanted to feed a small army, but if you want to bake a normal amount of cake then follow the recipe as is.

    I also added freeze-dried strawberries on top and… there are no words.

    Peanut Butter & Chocolate Marble Cake

    Prep Time15 mins
    Cook Time30 mins
    Total Time45 mins
    Course: Cake
    Author: Brit Wolfe

    Ingredients

    Peanut Butter Cake

    • 6 Tbsp. creamy peanut butter
    • 3 Tbsp. vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
    • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 cup brown sugar
    • 1 1/2 Tbsp. ground flaxseed
    • 1 cup + 2 Tbsp. all-purpose flour
    • 1 tsp. baking powder
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 cup nondairy buttermilk

    Chocolate Cake

    • 3/4 cup all-purpose flour
    • 2 Tbsp. cocoa powder unsweetened
    • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. baking soda
    • 3 Tbsp. vegetable oil
    • 1 1/2 tsp. white vinegar
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1/2 cup freshly brewed coffee cold

    Chocolate Frosting

    • 1/2 cup vegan butter, such as Earth Balance
    • 1/4 tsp. salt
    • 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
    • 1 Tbsp. + 1 tsp. cocoa powder unsweetened
    • 6 ounces semisweet chocolate chips
    • 1 1/2 cups powdered sugar
    • 1 Tbsp. nondairy milk, such as Silk optional

    Instructions

    To make the peanut butter cake:

    • Preheat the oven to 350ºF.
    • In a small bowl, mix the ground flaxseed with 4 1/2 Tbsp of water. Mix well, then set aside to let thicken slightly, about 5-7 minutes.
    • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream together the butter, peanut butter, and sugars until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes. Add the flaxseed and mix for another 3 minutes until fully incorporated.
    • Sift together the dry ingredients (flour, baking powder, baking soda, and salt). Alternately add the dry ingredients and the buttermilk (meaning add 1/3 of the dry, 1/2 of the wet, 1/3 of the dry, remaining wet, remaining dry).
    • Set aside while you make the chocolate cake batter.

    To make the chocolate cake:

    • In a large bowl, sift together the dry ingredients (flour, cocoa powder, salt, and baking soda). Add the sugar and mix well.
    • In a measuring cup, mix together all the wet ingredients (oil, vinegar, vanilla, and coffee). Add the wet ingredients to the bowl, then gently stir until no lumps remain.

    To assemble:

    • Generously spray an 8″x8″ baking pan with baking spray. Alternate adding the two batters to the baking pan.
    • Once they have both been added, use a knife to gently swirl the two batters together. Be sure to swirl gently, or the two batters will blend together and you won’t get the marble effect!
    • Bake the cake for 30-40 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted in the center of the cake comes out clean.

    To make the frosting:

    • In the bowl of a stand mixer, cream the butter until smooth. Add the salt and vanilla and continue creaming until light and fluffy, about 5 minutes.
    • In a microwave-safe bowl, add the chocolate chips. Microwave the chocolate in 30-second intervals until completely melted. Let cool slightly.
    • With the mixer on medium, add the melted chocolate. The easiest way to do this (without making a mess!) is to pour the chocolate straight down the side of the bowl into the mixer.
    • Once fully incorporated, sift together the powdered sugar and cocoa powder and add it to the bowl. Start the mixer on low until the powdered sugar is fully incorporated, then turn the mixer to medium-high to whip some air into the frosting.*
    • If your frosting is a little too thick, add the nondairy milk and continue mixing until light in color and super fluffy.
    • Spread the frosting over the cooled cake and decorate with sprinkles or freeze-dried fruit. Enjoy!

    Notes

    *Sometimes the frosting can look broken at this point. If it looks gritty or broken, just continue whipping it on a high speed until it all comes together. If it continues to look broken, place the bowl in the fridge for 10-15 minutes until the frosting is cool, then whip it on a high speed.
    To make homemade buttermilk, add 1/2 tsp. of lemon juice to a 1/2 cup measuring cup, then fill the rest with nondairy milk. Mix well, then let sit for 5 minutes until curdled.
    Frosting recipe by Joy the Baker
    Peanut Butter & Chocolate Marble Cake

    © PANTHERS & PEONIES. All text, recipes, and photographs on this site are my own. Please do not use my images without permission. If you want to republish this recipe, please link back to this post.

    Peanut Butter & Chocolate Marble Cake
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