Baking Blizzard

Hey!

Yesterday, I found an old USB with plenty of old photos on it. I found pictures of myself skating and doing aerial silks way back in 2012 or 2013. I can’t believe that was really 4-5 years ago.

I’ve made banana waffles for the last three days, and I might create another batch today. I love these, made with 1/2 a ripe banana, an egg, 1/4 tsp baking powder and 1/8 tsp baking soda, salt, cinnamon, vanilla, a splash of milk, and just enough all-purpose flour and almond flour to thicken the batter. On the side, I love this creamy honey Greek yogurt with blackberries.

We have an empty room in our house that I am stealing as a study room.

With some brand-new markers from Staples (thanks, Mom!)…

and all of my study materials, this desk makes me want to study!

Yesterday afternoon, Mom and I spent some time baking. One of our first projects was this chocolate banana bread. I adore this recipe because it’s egg-free and maintains plenty of moisture thanks to applesauce, rather than butter or oil. Mom bought brand-new cocoa powder, which explains the darker colour of these guys.

These chocolate squares are…

  • Similar to my favourite microwave chocolate mug cake for one, but with more moisture and slight banana flavous
  • Super tender and moist
  • Rich, decadent chocolatey flavour
  • Naturally sweet from two ripe bananas
  • Gooey, warm melty chocolate chips when fresh out of the oven (or microwaved)
  • Chewy, cake-like, but melt-in-your mouth
  • Amazing flavour from vanilla, cinnamon, cocoa powder, and of course, banana

Mom made spaghetti bolognese about a week ago, and I devoured the last little bit yesterday on a bed of quinoa, topped with shredded cheddar and mozzarella. Mom made lots of steamed broccoli, which I sprinkled with parmesan cheese.

Arnie’s been cute recently. See, I thought he was eight years old – but Dad recently told me that he was ten. WHAT?!

We officially have no idea how old he is. When I feel down, he always gives me a paw. 🙂

I went to a few toonie skates yesterday and the day before, and had a wonderful time both days. I miss the satisfaction of training in the skating world, but it was fun to twirl around freely.

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Today, I am doing a presentation at Centennial, my high school. I’ll be talking about all kinds of things, from travel to work to volunteering to university choices.

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I had a lot of good jokes planned, which I thought were hilarious, but Seline vetoed most of them. Dang.

Carrot muffins! Unpictured because… I don’t have pictures.

Carrot Muffins

Makes 12

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup flour (120 g)
  • 1 cup almond flour (100 g)
  • 1/4 cup brown sugar (50 g)
  • 1 cup quick oats
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp ginger (I used fresh, though ground is great too)
  • 1.5 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 cup coconut oil
  • 1/2 cup liquid (carrot juice, apple/orange juice, any type of milk – I used dairy milk)
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cups grated carrots

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Place rack in middle position.
  2. Grease 12 muffin cups.
  3. Combine all dry ingredients, including grated carrots.
  4. In another bowl, whisk oil, liquid, eggs, vanilla. Pour wet ingredients into dry ingredients, and stir gently until the mixture is just combined. Do not over-mix.
  5. Divide batter amongst 12 muffin cups. Bake for 25 minutes, until toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool slightly before moving from muffin cups, then cool on a rack. Enjoy.

After this, Mom and I whipped up a chocolate torte. This simple recipe used the basics: semisweet chocolate, eggs, butter, and a few other ingredients. I added cinnamon, salt, and espresso powder for extra deliciousness. These flavours are known to boost the flavour of chocolate.

 

The cake turned out flat, crackly, and gloriously-scented. We can’t wait to cut into it later on, then serve it with whipped cream and berries.

 

Squidgy Chocolate Torte

INGREDIENTS

  • 200g unsalted butter
  • 200g semisweet chocolate bar, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 160g sugar
  • 50g flour (I used spelt flour)
  • 50g almond flour
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • splash vanilla extract
  • sprinkle cinnamon
  • sprinkle espresso powder
  • cocoa powder for dusting

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 355 degrees.
  2. Butter and line base and sides of springform pan.
  3. Melt butter and chocolate in a pan, and gently melt until smooth.
  4. Beat together eggs and sugar for five minutes until it reaches a custard-like consistency.
  5. Pour chocolate and butter into whisked egg and sugar. Fold it in carefully using a large metal spoon. Stir in vanilla extract.
  6. Mix flour, almonds, salt, cinnamon, and espresso powder together in a separate bowl.
  7. Fold the dry ingredients into the wet ingredients until even. Fold patiently to incorporate air.
  8. Spoon into prepared tin and bake for 35 to 40 minutes until evenly-set with a crust over the top. Cool until warm, then release from the tin. Dust with cocoa on top, or spread with whipped cream.
  9. Cut into wedges. Serve with whipped cream.

Have a lovely afternoon!

Unchronological Order

Good morning, everyone! I hope you are all having the loveliest of mornings. This was a meal of garlicky cheddar broiled pita, scrambled tofu with peas, and sautéed zucchini with mushrooms and peppers. Eaten about a month ago, and I’m just posting this now because I’m terribly disorganized.

These treats are from Vincenzo’s (specialty European grocery store in Waterloo), and I can’t wait for my family to try them. I also bought these and took these pics back in May (whaaaat?) and I’m not sure why I’m just sharing them now.

  • caramel milk chocolate
  • Scottish all-butter shortbread
  • white chocolate cranberry shortbread
  • tiramisu cream milk chocolate
  • 99% dark chocolate for my very health-conscious grandfather
  • French pure butter cookies
  • 3 bags of Italian black truffle chips

During a FaceTime session between my mom and I, she decided it would be a good idea to DRAW a picture of me – this is what I got. :O

Another day, my friends and I went to Menchies for frozen yogurt to celebrate after our Physiology final exam.

My Menchies cup was loaded with:

  • taro frozen yogurt
  • Nutella frozen yogurt
  • Oreo frozen yogurt
  • chocolate frozen yogurt
  • cinnamon toast crunch cereal <– my favourite cereal as a kid, next to Corn Puffs and Reese’s. Multigrain Cheerios and Lucky Charms (only the charms, though, let’s be real) were so good, too. Man, I could write a whole post about different cereals. What was your favourite?
  • peanut butter crackle
  • chocolate crackle
  • cheesecake chunks
  • brownie chunks
  • Nanaimo bar
  • yogurt-covered pretzel
  • peanut butter sauce
  • peanut butter cookie dough <– I need more of this in my life
  • Oreo pieces

And 12 hours before the Menchies, we were studying on campus. I am going to miss Athena and Jasmine so much. 😦

Recently, I’ve been living off of Minimalist Baker recipes. I adapted her chocolate breakfast quinoa bowl and have been loving this breakfast with a banana + lots of peanut butter in the morning. It’s so easy to make, and is wonderful meal prep for the days that you feel like having a variation from oatmeal.

I made two batches over the last 1.5 weeks, and will buy another can of coconut milk later today so I can make another 4 servings!

Rich Chocolate Breakfast Quinoa

Serves 4

INGREDIENTS

  • 1 cup uncooked white quinoa
  • 1 can of coconut milk + enough water to make 2 cups total
  • sea salt
  • 3 heaping tbsp unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 2 tbsp maple syrup
  • ½ tsp pure vanilla extract

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Rinse quinoa well. Drain.
  2. Heat saucepan over medium heat. Add rinsed, drained quinoa. Toast for 3 minutes while stirring rapidly to dry up water.
  3. Add coconut milk and water mixture, a pinch of salt, and stir. Boil over high heat. Reduce heat to low. Cook for 20-25 minutes, uncovered. Stir occasionally. If it stops simmering, increase heat to medium-low. It should be slightly simmering.
  4. When the liquid is absorbed and quinoa is tender, remove from heat and add cocoa powder, maple syrup, and vanilla. Stir to combine.
  5. Adjust flavours if needed, adding more water if you prefer a thinner texture.
  6. Eat! Don’t forget to top with chocolate, berries, more milk, or sliced banana. Nut butter is a must for me.
  7. Leftovers keep in the fridge, covered, for 2-3 days.

This morning, I realized that my milk was due to expire soon so I quickly whipped up a giant mug of hot chocolate. This mug was warm, sweet, but not too sweet, comforting, and absolutely delicious despite the hot and sunny weather. I enjoyed it with a chocolate almond croissant that I froze a few months ago. Thank you, past Cindy.

Easiest Hot Chocolate

INGREDIENTS

    • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
    • 1 tbsp honey
    • Pinch of salt
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

PREPARATION

    • Whisk together the cocoa, maple, salt, and about 2 tablespoons milk in a small saucepan over medium-low heat until cocoa and honey are dissolved. Whisk in the rest of the milk and heat it over medium heat, whisking occasionally, until it is hot. Stir in the vanilla and serve.
    • If you like it frothy, blend it in the blender or use a milk frother.

Cocoa powder, guys. Apparently every recipe I made this week involves that good stuff. Since I didn’t have any coconut oil, I resorted to this recipe which is entirely free of added fats. The verdict? Not my favourite. I thought it had an odd bread-y texture, which was off-putting for brownies. I wouldn’t make this again. 😦

Fat-Free Vegan Brownies

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup flour (I used spelt)
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp water
  • 2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 2 tbsp flax meal plus 6 tbsp water, whisked together

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 350. Sift all the dry ingredients, including the flour, cocoa, baking soda and salt, into a bowl and set aside.
  2. In another bowl mix together the maple syrup, water, flaxmeal mixture, and vanilla extract. Whisk until well mixed.
  3. Add the flour-cocoa mixture to this in 3 batches, mixing after each addition using a ladle or spatula. The batter will be thick.
  4. Prepare an 8 X 8-inch baking pan by lining it with parchment. Leave an overhang on each side of the pan so you can easily lift the brownies. Pour the batter in and spread evenly.
  5. Bake for 25-30 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
  6. Cool thoroughly. Lift out the brownies using the foil overhang as handles, and cut into squares. Enjoy!

And that’s it for today! I hope y’all have the best rest of the week, and I cannot wait to share some exciting stuff with you. Seriously exciting.

Stay on your toes!

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Babies, Baking Powder, and Beets

Before we look at FOOD, look at baby Cindy! Mom was doing a big house clean back home in BC, and she stumbled upon this photo of little me. I think I was one or two here.

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The good thing about the summer semester is that there’s barely anyone here, so campus always a quiet place to study.

The bad thing about the summer semester is that there’s barely anyone here, so the cafe is closed for the term, and Starbucks is only open from 9:00 to 3:00.

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Check out this neat infographic on the humble sweet potato.

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I made the strangest mishmash dinner bake the other day, which featured green beans, black beans, red peppers, quinoa, corn tortillas, and red enchilada sauce and smoked cheddar. I can’t believe I forgot the green onions, which were sitting, perfectly chopped up, in the fridge.

Delicious pumpkin noodles were devoured. I loved the addition of peas.

I made a black bean burger and topped it with smoked cheddar to serve with arugula and quinoa, tossed in a honey-mustard dressing. Delicious and simple.

Another day, my almond flour banana bread was a sad failure because I forgot to add baking powder. WHO forgets to add baking powder? Me. They tasted just as good, though  dense like a brownie. Not complaining though, because brownies are always a happy surprise.

Last week was the week of salads! Black bean burger, beets, fig goat cheese and avocado made great toppings for a bed of couscous and arugula.

With my extra beets, I made…

Red Velvet Cupcakes

Makes 9

INGREDIENTS

  • 2 large beets
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1/2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • pinch sea salt
  • 1.5 cups almond meal
  • 3-4 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 3 tbsp oil or melted butter
  • 1/4 cup honey or maple syrup
  • 1 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

INSTRUCTIONS

  1. Preheat oven to 320 degrees. Grease a muffin tin VERY well.
  2. Puree beets in a blender.
  3. Mix all ingredients together. Add chocolate chips. Save some to top, if desired.
  4. Spoon into 9 muffin tins. Top with additional chocolate chips, if you’d like.
  5. Bake 45 minutes, or until cooked through.
  6. Cool completely in the muffin tins.
  7. Serve alone or with toppings.

Hope everyone enjoys the rest of this… month? And welcome to JUNE!

Life.

Screen Shot 2017-05-21 at 1.08.40 PM.pngDo you like poetry? Quick promo, friends! Did y’all know that my crazy, studious, funny, awesome 17 year-old sister writes a blog, too? Hers is called Purely Poetic, and she writes all about mythical lands, strange sensations, and weird-but-wonderful worlds. Seline has a way with words, and is quite talented when it comes to writing creatively. Paired with some incredible aesthetics, I think you will love her writing. Take a look by clicking on this link, which will open up in another tab.

On another note, Mother’s Day was last weekend, and I was more than happy to wish a special day to my one and only mom. ❤ She is such a resilient, compassionate, caring person.

I had oatmeal this morning with an overripe banana, cocoa powder, tons of sunflower butter, and granola with hemp hearts to top.

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Yesterday night’s dinner was fresh pasta from the market, cooked with a pumpkin sauce and market asparagus with frozen peas. Parmesan on top!

The same sauce paired gloriously with fresh gnocchi. I love gnocchi. In fact, I think it is my #1 favourite pasta. What’s yours?

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For lunch yesterday, I met up with some friends to enjoy a meal at Cafe Pyrus. Every semester, the Schulich Leaders Foundation sponsors a get-together, and this time one of my friends recommended this vegan cafe in downtown Kitchener. I savoured every sip of my vanilla steamer, and loved the Angry Vegan sandwich: a panini with Daiya, caramelized onion, spinach, tomato, and a great garlicky aioli. Broccoli soup of the day was tasty, too.

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I wish I was back in Toronto so I could see this aerials showcase, starring my friends. 😥 They all look so beautiful in this shot.

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Eggs, broccoli, cheese, yogurt, fruit, granola – what better breakfast can you ask for?

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Loved this dinner that I enjoyed two nights in a row: baked herb salmon, broccoli, and a side of schoolwork.

I went to Freshii last weekend for this deluxe salad, which was loaded with brown rice (it was essentially a grain bowl), beets, carrots, corn, mushrooms, beans, aged cheddar and feta cheese, crispy wonton strips, spinach, and a spicy yogurt sauce. Loved this!

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Pancakes are another love, of course: this tasted awesome smeared with peanut butter and sunflower butter.

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A tasty lunch featured eggs and frozen almond croissant from Thobors.

Met with my friends at The Works, where I had a big turkey burger with great toppings! I love arugula on my burgers.

Meal prep, which involved a mediocre quinoa pesto chickpea salad and subpar cucumbers.

Chocolate baked oatmeal always exceeds my expectations. This tasted incredible with yogurt and granola… plus peanut butter. Always, peanut butter.

Baked sweet potato, beans and corn, cheddar, avocado, salsa. I need to buy more sweet potatoes this week. They are so versatile.

These are Seline’s drawings. Her artwork never fails to impress me. She did these spontaneously, somehow… with just a pencil and an old notebook!

Her oil paintings are equally wonderful. The waterfall painting is one of my favourites that she’s done. I cannot believe that she is self-taught, and has only been painting for two years.

Yay for cookies! Make this recipe, friends. I adopted the recipe slightly from Oh She Glows, and it is brilliant. And vegan. 😉 I made it with some arm power and a handheld whisk. You don’t need an electric beater for this. You won’t regret it – I baked ’em up and all ten were gone in 4-5 days. I was the only one eating them.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Cookies

10 large cookies

Ingredients:

Wet ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon ground flax mixed with 3 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup virgin coconut oil (do not melt)
  • 1/4 cup peanut butter (see note)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Dry Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons cocoa powder
  • 1.5 cups oat flour
  • 1-2 teaspoons non-dairy milk (only if needed to moisten batter)
  • 1/4 cup mini chocolate chips

Directions:

  1. Preheat oven to 350F and line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large mixing bowl, mix together the flax and water and set aside for a few minutes so it can thicken up. Whisk the flax egg again once thickened.
  2. Add the rest of the wet ingredients into the bowl with the flax egg (coconut oil, sunflower seed butter, brown sugar, cane sugar, and vanilla). Beat the ingredients until combined and smooth.
  3. Now, beat in the dry ingredients, one by one, as you go down the ingredient list (baking soda, baking powder, salt, cocoa powder, oat flour). If your dough is a bit dry, add a teaspoon (or two) of non-dairy milk and beat the mixture again. The dough should be moist enough to form balls without cracking, but not super sticky.
  4. Beat the chocolate into the batter or simply stir by hand.
  5. Shape balls of dough (about the size of a golf ball or 2 heaping tablespoons) and place on the baking sheet 2-3 inches apart. Gently press down on each ball with your hand to form a disc (it should be 1/2-inch thick or so). Sprinkle lightly with salt.
  6. Bake for about 12 minutes until the cookies are spread out nicely.
  7. Cool cookies on the baking sheet for 7 minutes or so and then transfer to a cooling rack for another 10-15 minutes.

One more recipe! This one was a killer dessert that satisfied every cakey craving.

CHOCOLATE CHIP COOKIE MICROWAVE MUG CAKE
 Serves: 1
INGREDIENTS
  • ¼ cup oat flour
  • ¼ teaspoon baking powder
  • ⅛ teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons + 2 teaspoons unsweetened vanilla almond milk
  • ½ tablespoon maple syrup
  • ¼ teaspoon vanilla extract
  • ⅛ teaspoon butter extract (optional)**
  • 1 tablespoon mini chocolate chips
  1. Spray a microwavable mug with cooking spray and then mix together oat flour, baking powder, salt, milk, maple syrup, vanilla and butter extract (if using). The batter should be somewhat thick, but not dry. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons more of almond milk as needed for consistency. Stir in mini chocolate chips and sprinkle a few over the top, if desired.
  2. Microwave on high for about 1 minute and 25 seconds. Take out of the microwave and if desired transfer to a plate. Enjoy!

Have a great rest of the weekend, everyone!

Double Chocolate Beet Brownies

No pictures because I was too busy shoving these decadent chocolate squares into my mouth. Sorry – but enjoy!

Just make them. Trust me. 😉

Double Chocolate Beet Brownies {Grain Free, Gluten Free}

Ingredients:

  • 4 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup avocado oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (I omitted since I ran out)
  • 2/3 cup maple syrup
  • 1 1/2 cups beet puree (I used 4-5 large beets)
  • 1/2 cup coconut flour
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 cup chocolate chips

Instructions:

1. Preheat oven 350 F.

2. Combine first 6 ingredients in the order listed.

3. In a separate bowl combine dry ingredients.

4. Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix well.

5. Grease an 8 X 8 pan and pour batter into the pan.

6. Bake for 45 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean.

Peanut Butter & Chocolate Swirl Banana Muffins

I can’t believe that there are less than three days until Christmas. This semester seemed to fly by, and the holidays really snuck up on me.

I have a delicious muffin recipe to share with you guys today. It involves powdered peanut butter, chocolate and bananas, so we really can’t go wrong here. I know I shared a recipe just yesterday, but… chocolate.

Mmmm. These froze exceptionally well and made a perfect yogurt/oatmeal topping.

 Give it a try!
Peanut Butter & Chocolate Swirl Banana Muffins
Serves: 9
INGREDIENTS
  • 2 medium bananas, ripe
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 tablespoon oil
  • ¼ cup milk (I used almond, but coconut, cows, or soy would work)
  • ½ teaspoon vanilla
  • ¾ cup spelt flour
  • ⅓ cup brown sugar
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ cup quick oats
  • ¼ cup chocolate chips (I used Enjoy Life)
  • 3 tablespoons PB2
INSTRUCTIONS
  1. Line nine muffin tins with paper/foil liners, or grease a nonstick muffin tin. Set aside.
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  3. Mash bananas with a fork.
  4. Add oil, egg, milk, and vanilla. Whisk well.
  5. Add flour, sugar, salt, and baking soda and stir until just combined.
  6. Add oats and stir.
  7. Melt chocolate chips in microwave safe measuring cup for 30-45 seconds. Stir until smooth.
  8. Cool slightly, then add ½ of batter to measuring cup and stir until combined.
  9. Add PB2 to the remaining batter and mix well.
  10. Scoop 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of PB2 batter and 1 to 1-1/2 tablespoons of chocolate batter in a lined muffin tin.
  11. Swirl batters together with a toothpick.
  12. Repeat for remaining batter.
  13. Bake for 15-17 minutes or until toothpick inserted comes out clean.
178 calories, 19g sugar, 3.2g protein
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It’s been frosty recently! The roads have all been iced over.

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And a hot chocolate at Princess Cafe with my friend Lily! This was taken before our final exams ended.

And a potluck dinner enjoyed with fellow volunteers at school. Highlights include that incredible thyme sweet potato hash and great, creamy mac and cheese.

I even bought a new notebook a couple weeks ago, hoping it would motivate me to study.

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SO glad finals are over! Now I don’t need to serve my meals with a side of biochemistry or physiology.

Here’s that quinoa veggie casserole again. I always devour this!

Mmmmm. Perfectly comforting, satisfying, and warm in my belly.

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At home in BC, Mom made my brownie recipe! She said that the family devoured it. Wish I was there to have some. Mom’s baking always looks fantastic.

Relatable.

I found some old Nepal pictures on the Volunteering Solutions Instagram page. I lived in Nepal throughout the month of August and it was a spectacular experience. Blows my mind to think that, six months ago, I was one of those little flying paragliding dots.

Since we’re nearing the end of 2016, it’s almost time to buy a new planner! Planners are my love. I could search for ages for the perfect planner, and have plans to go to Staples this morning to check ’em out.

Hope y’all have the loveliest rest of the week!