MAKE // NANACHINI BREAD

Recipe: Nanachini bread with white chocolate chips and toasted coconut // modiggity.com

Sweet breads are at the top of list for “favorite desserts.” I feel like I can justify eating sweet breads for essentially every meal, and they have a limitless variety of flavors and variations. So when one of my favorite food bloggers posted a recipe for banana bread with zucchini (with an awesome frosting that I don’t have patience to make), my mind couldn’t handle the awesomeness. It’s banana bread with zucchini. It’s zucchini bread with bananas. It’s NANACHINI BREAD.

I took Averie’s recipe and adopted it slightly, as I had a honkin’ huge zucchini and more over-ripe bananas than I could handle. I also like making double loaves so we can eat bread for days, so the recipe below makes two almost-full-sized loaves (portion control, right? Right. Not.) I’m sure I’ll come back and tweak the recipe a bit to add some more moisture, like using yogurt or some extra zucchini. Feel free to play with some of those things!

Nanachini bread with white chocolate chips and toasted coconut // modiggity.com

Another thing I tweaked was adding more “stuff” to the dough. More specifically, I added walnuts, freshly toasted coconut, and white chocolate chips. First, a word about toasted coconut.

If you’ve never toasted your own coconut, you should go do this right now. I was flabbergasted by how easy it was to toast my own coconut flakes–yes, it truly justifies using the word “flabbergasted.” I thought I was a magician when I first did it, and I’ve kinda become addicted since then.

How to make toasted coconut...so easy! // modiggity.com

Toasting coconut flakes goes like this: 

- Buy some sweetened coconut flakes

- Heat up a non-stick frying pan (DO NOT GREASE OR OIL) on your stove top at medium heat. Add flakes.

- Stir flakes, not constantly, in the frying pan until they are lightly toasted.

DONE.

Freshly toasted coconut // modiggity.com

Trust me, you’ll be addicted. If only making other delicious and wonderful things was this easy.

If you’re as into sweet breads as I am and are looking to use up all those zucchinis that are overflowing from gardens and farmers markets right now, try this recipe out. Or, better yet, use the base for the bread and add in your own flavors to make it something totally your own. Enjoy!

(Click “Continue reading” for recipe!)

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BRIEF // THE GOOD FRIENDS

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Sometimes I’m happy things never change. I mean, things do change, but rarely does the core of something change.

I’m always happily surprised to find comfort in the same friends I’ve had for years, even if we’ve not spoken to each other in months. We touch on the same topics but bring new perspectives. The same arguments and relationship dynamics play out but there is a warmth of friendships that have lasted over a decade. It is old yet new, and every time it feels like coming home to a place in my heart I forget still exists.

Often times, I forget how badly I need people in my life who have grown with me during pivotal and transformative parts of my life. I’m always relieved to still find them close, waiting with open ears and hearts, welcoming me into their lives like they’ve done for so long. Often times I feel that I don’t have someone living nearby who understands me or knows enough about my past to recognize the person I am today, but it’s totally a figment of my imagination: there are people so close to me, I just never chose to see them as often as I should.

If you have these people in your life, hold them close. Hold them closer than I’ve managed to do in the last few years. They won’t ever leave you, but it’s good to make it clear you want them to stay.

5: REASONS TO STILL LOVE SUMMER

Five reasons to still love summer of 2014. And yes, that includes One Direction. // modiggity.com

While I could use the above photo as a total cop-out and claim that Harry, Zayn, Liam, Louis, and Niall (in that order, thankyouverymuch) are the five reasons to still love summer, I’m not going to be that pathetic. There are plenty of reasons to still love summer, even though–NEWS FLASH–July ends today. Summer has been mild up here, with a few days in the low-60s and others creepin’ up towards 90 degrees.

I’m so happy with this  summer, though I do wish I had more days lounging on the beach. Maybe I’ll get some more beach time in August! Even so, this summer rocks. I’ve been active, spent a lot of time outside, worked on the garden and raised chickens, seen good friends and explored with my man, and all-in-all really learned to enjoy down-time and not being stressed out.

We still have a solid month of summer left (I’d argue, now that I’m not in school, September feels so much like a fourth summer month that I treat it that way). I’ve got some things to still look forward to this summer, and I want to share five of them with you today. Hopefully it encourages you to make the most of the next few weeks of sunshine and long days!

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DESIGN’D // THREE FREE POSTERS

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It’s been a strange two weeks, for sure. I’m not sure what I was expecting my life to be like after deciding to leave my job. (UPDATE: I won’t be leaving now until the end of September, which is best for my employer and me. I’m able to finish up some big projects for them, and they can keep me health-insured and with a paycheck for the next few months while I sort through things in my mind, out loud, and with Sam.)

I will say the whole process has been a huge learning experience in a lot of ways. I’ve never left any employer without some kind of plan or objective. I’ve either had another job lined up, or I was going back to school, or moving back home. This time, the decision was strictly a personal choice…and I never thought I’d be brave enough to do something like that.

The effects of making this decision are astounding. Suddenly, every day is a gift. I value my time more than ever before. Life feels short yet infinite at the same time. For the first time in my life, I’m comfortable answering questions about my future with “I don’t know” and living in a state of career-ambiguity. The best thing of all, though, is that I’ve allowed myself to dream in ways that I’ve never dreamt before.

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MO’ THOUGHTS // A BIT OF HONESTY

A bit of honesty // modiggity.comvia

Well, folks, my apologies for the crickets chirping around here lately. I completely recognize my neglect of this space, and believe me when I say it’s not something I’m proud of or happy about. There’s been a lot of stuff churning in the back of my mind, and I think that it’s fair now to share those thoughts with you.

Maybe I’m still young and naive, but “do what you love, love what you do” speaks to me on a very intrinsic level. I firmly believe that life is too short to be doing something I hate or despise.

Yesterday, I put my two weeks’ notice in at my job…without a real back-up plan.

Even though I could tell after the first month or so that my job wasn’t quite a good fit, I toughed it out and hoped for the best. I was waiting to really enjoy my work, feel successful, reach a point where I was learning and growing each day…and after seven months, I’ve realized that point hasn’t come, and I don’t think it will come at this job. There is a difference between “I’m enjoying my job but grumbling through some less-than-awesome aspects of it or periods of time” and “I honestly, truly feeling like this job is hurting a lot good things in my life.” I was most definitely in the latter category.

This job started effecting my life outside of work. I consider myself an outgoing and optimistic person, and I’ve never felt so down about myself, the world around me, or my future than I have in the past few months. To be honest, I didn’t even realize it was happening. I assumed it had something to do with outside circumstances–maybe the stress of taking care of four adorable chickens, or just having a lot of really bad days in a row for a few weeks, or trying to keep up with household chores?–but still, there was something in my heart that felt wrong.

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SIGHT + SOUND: “NAKED KIDS” – GROUPLOVE

This past weekend felt like my true kick-off to summer. We spent hours out in the sun, cruising on a pontoon, throwing back some beer and whiskey while playing Frisbee in the water. Our day out on the water was followed by greasy food at the local bar in a small town outside of Gaylord, complete with more drinks, making friends with total strangers, dancing to a kick-ass 90s cover band (who, despite our pleas, wouldn’t play any Sum 41 songs), and absolutely losing ourselves in the moment.

I felt liberated and free this weekend in a way I’ve not felt in a long time. I wasn’t calorie-counting each pull of Fireball from the bottle, and I could’ve cared less about my round belly in my bikini because there are so many more important and beautiful things in the world than worrying about how I look in a swimsuit. There is life to be lived! I swam, dove deep, twisted and turned, and relished the way my body moves in water; it is my natural habitat. When the boat ran out of gas on the way back to shore, all eight of us jumped in and kicked it back to the dock, laughing the whole way.

I made a dozen new friends this weekend, and enjoyed the company of everyone at the bar. Strangers bought rounds of drinks, I saw about 25 icings (what kind of bar carries that much Smirnoff Ice?) including my husband get down on one knee on the dance floor by himself and chug one down. The bartender brought it straight over to him and the whole place watched. Is it weird that I was proud?

Dancing later that night brought my soul to life. I’ve always loved dancing, and I always will. It is how I celebrate and appreciate music, and it has taught me confidence more than anything else. Sam and I try to out-do one another in bad dance moves, and if we’re the only two out on the floor, it just means we have more space to do ridiculous things. Lucky for us, lots of folks followed our lead and joined us. Closing my eyes, listening to the music, moving to the beat…that is my happy place, and my mind was relaxed and clear. I could’ve danced all night.

All in all, the whole day made me think good, happy summer vibes, which translates to this sight + sound post. The band Grouplove also gives me good, happy summer vibes, and I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to showcase one of my favorite summer time bands. I first discovered them watching a YouTube video of a friend from high school, who’s made it really big on the national (and international) parkour scene. His dad was my boss for a few years so I was able to keep tabs on his advancements in the sport, including this awesome video that brought Grouplove into my life. Since then, their “Never Trust A Happy Song” CD is one my favorite in our collection, and it is the epitome of summer joy.

I chose “Naked Kids” for this post since it’s essentially a dictation of our past weekend (if you substitute the weed for booze). Listen along while browsing the pics, and if you like what you see, check out my other sight + sound posts. Happy summer, y’all.

“Naked Kids” – Grouplove << click to play on Spotify!

take your shoe off - grouploesplashin in the water - grouplovehot day mid june - grouplovewild and free - grouplovesummer time fun

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5: INSPIRING MOVIE POSTERS FROM OLLY MOSS

Olly Moss is one of those incredible designers that makes me smile every time I see a piece of his work, and I’m a fan of his work through and through. His design style seems simplistic at first glace, and in my opinion, that’s what makes his work so impressive. He understands how people read images and he plays on visual cues to hide subliminal messages, humor, and ingenuity into his work.

While he’s a talented designer on many fronts, his most renowned work focuses on redesigning movie posters. Ordinary-looking images contain small quirks and highly-detailed inside jokes that weave tales deep beneath the surface of the image and reach viewers on an emotional level rooted in their memories. The plot and personality of each movie shines through the most in these five images I’ve featured here, which are my favorites. That said, I wish I could share all his Pokemon artwork here (because, DUH it’s POKEMON).

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ECO-LIVING // FROM CHICKS TO CHICKENS

From chicks to chickens - the joy of backyard chickens! // modiggity.com

After many long conversations about pup ownership, Sam and I determined there’s no way we can live our busy lives and provide a good home for a dog (it’s also one of the many reasons that having kids is a BIG question mark for us). We have a lot of things we want to do individually and together, and caring for another living thing that depends on us while accomplishing those things is daunting.

Chickens, however, seemed more manageable: they’re more independent, will eat just about anything, and as a bonus they make food for humans. I’ve always had this weird fascination with chickens. I’ve long envied other backyard chicken owners, but taking the plunge for myself and actually caring for an animal I know nothing about…? That was scary. Still, I devoted this past winter to researching and brainstorming how to make chickens a part of our lives.

Sam and Serena, our Rhode Island Red // modiggity.com

Luckily, chickens are the absolute perfect middle ground of responsibility and pet ownership. I never thought anything could substitute the joy of owning a dog, but our four chicks are winning over my heart each day. Sure, they don’t come when they’re called and they’re impossible to potty-train, but in terms of personality, endearment, and entertainment…chickens ROCK. They need minimal maintenance: let them out during the day, put them in at night, make sure nothing can eat them, and give them food and water. Done. Of course, we may win “Chicken Parents of the Year,” because we constantly talk to them, hold them, feed them snacks, and tell them how much we love them practically every hour. They might be spoiled, but hopefully that doesn’t mean rotten eggs (har, har).

They are five weeks old today, and they have grown so much! They are nearly full-feathered and we can see how much bigger they get on a daily basis. At one point we could only differentiate them by color and markings, but now we understand their personalities and quirks; I could pick them out of a chicken crowd. They don’t follow us around much, but they perk up at the sight of us and hang close when we’re outside. If we can catch them, they enjoy being held and sometimes fall asleep right on our laps. Totally adorable. 

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MO’ THOUGHTS // THE GREAT UNCERTANTIES

The Great Uncertainties - coping with my path as a twenty-something. // modiggity.comAt a bonfire at our house two weekends ago, a good friend that I’ve not seen in too long came over to our home for the first time. He commented about the house and I told him we had bought it (and will own it in another 29 years). Smiling, he shook his head.

“I can’t imagine owning a house right now,” he said. “Then again, you’ve always had things a bit more figured out than the rest of us.”

I was stunned to hear someone say that about me, because a lot of the time it couldn’t feel further than the truth. I think more about the uncertainty in my life than I do most things. As someone who believes partially in fate (not divine intervention) and partially in the power of human choice, I give a lot of thought to the choices I’ve made and if they are the right ones.

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5: EASY ECO-DRIVING TIPS (PART II)

5 more easy eco-driving tricks -- modiggity

After last week’s post, I realized I still had some eco-driving tips I wanted to share with you. I’m pretty gung-ho about using less gasoline and commuting smarter, so hopefully you can find some tips here to help with you drive in an eco-friendly way and hopefully save some money!

6. READ THE ROAD.

As I’ve mentioned before, awareness is the best tool we have as individuals to combat many things. When driving, pay attention to what’s going on in front of (and all around) you. If you’re going down a hill, there’s no need to step on the gas (gravity and inertia take care of getting you down there). Don’t accelerate up to a stop sign or a yellow/red light. Pay attention to drivers in front of you to see if they are slowing down or braking instead of doing the ol’ stop-go-stop-go for miles behind them. Small changes in how you drive can make in impact on your gas mileage and help you get more miles out of every gallon.

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