How to make nut and coconut butter (click through for recipe)       I'm so excited to share today's post because it's SO DELICIOUS. I wish you could stick your hand through the computer and I could let you sample these three butters.... they're so good. And I can't believe how simple they were to make! 

We're teaming up with Vitamix, a brand we ADORE. I wanted to share these coconut and nut butter recipes because they're one of the many very useful (and $ saving) recipes you can make with your Vitamix. I was on the fence for years, wanting one but not ready to pull the trigger, and it's recipes like this that really make it a game changer! When you get the right blender, it can take the place of so many appliances. They even just launched a partnership with PayPal to make buying easier. Anyway, let's make some coconut and nut butter!

How to make nut and coconut butter (click through for recipe)       Coconut Butter, makes 1 cup

Needed: 4 cups shredded or flaked unsweetened coconut

How to make nut and coconut butter (click through for recipe) How to make nut and coconut butter (click through for recipe)  Add the coconut to the blender (I'm using the Vitamix 5200 Standard in white). Start on a low setting and move up to a medium setting the blender can handle. After a few minutes, the coconut flakes should turn into a grainy pulp, but keep going (scraping the sides down as needed) until it turns into a smooth-looking consistency (there will still be small grains in the butter, but pretty smooth overall). Pour the butter into a jar for storage.

You don't need to refrigerate it, but you can if you want it to be a harder consistency. If it's too hard to spread, you can microwave it for a few seconds to warm it up. 

How to make nut and coconut butter (click through for recipe)   Chocolate Peanut Butter, makes 2 cups

3 cups roasted salted peanuts
1 tablespoon oil (safflower is a good choice)
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

How to make nut and coconut butter (click through for recipe)    Add the peanuts and oil to the blender and start to blend on low speed. Gradually increase the speed as high as your blender can handle while still mixing all the ingredients together. Blend until the peanuts are smooth, adding more oil if needed, and then add in the sugar and cocoa powder and blend until combined.

Add to a storage jar and refrigerate if you think it will take you more than a month or two to finish it (otherwise you don't really need to).

How to make nut and coconut butter (click through for recipe)     Snickerdoodle Macadamia Butter, makes 2 cups

3 cups macadamia nuts
1/4 cup sugar
1 tsp cinnamon
splash of oil

How to make nut and coconut butter (click through for recipe)      Add the nuts and oil to the blender and start to blend on low speed. Gradually increase the speed as high as your blender can handle while still mixing all the ingredients together. Blend until the macadamia nuts are smooth, and then add in the sugar and cinnamon and blend until combined.

Add to a storage jar and refrigerate if you think it will take you more than a month or two to finish it (otherwise you don't really need to).

How to make nut and coconut butter (click through for recipe)        How to make nut and coconut butter (click through for recipe)        Add honey instead of sugar (or bakers sugar) if you don't like the grains of the sugar. I personally like the slightly grainy texture of the sugar. And remember, you do not have to sweeten these butters if you are avoiding sugar altogether. 

Yum! My personal favorite was the snickerdoodle butter, just because I've never had anything like it before! They are all really good though. If you have any questions about the Vitamix or about making nut or coconut butter, we're here to help. xx- Elsie 

Credits//Author: Elsie Larson. Photography and Project Assistant: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

Pinewood SocialHey, friends! Today I'm excited to kick off a new series of MINI city guides! Almost every weekend I get messages from blog readers who are coming to Nashville for just 24 hours. I thought it would be fun to share collections of fun places to visit here and in other cities we love to travel to! 

Since you're OUR blog readers, I'm going to assume you also care about aesthetics, and so in addition to the food being delicious, all the places I will share with you are photogenic and unique! 

Pinewood Social
One of my top favorite places in Nashville! You can eat all three meals here, but we tend to go most often for breakfast. For lunch or dinner, they have one of the best kale salads in town and really great cocktails! They also have a Crema location inside, which is one of our favorite coffee shops and my favorite for almond milk lattes (I've tried them all... VERY scientific testing, you guys!). 

In addition, there is a super pretty bowling alley in the back part of the restaurant as well as a dipping pool for the summer. (For poolside cocktails – how cute is that?) Highly recommend it if it's your first trip to Nashville. 

Pinewood Social Nashville Here's a photo from last month when our friends came to visit! 

The Flipside The Flipside

This is a newer spot for us, but we love it more with every visit! The decor is absolutely adorable, and this spot is most known for their crazy Bloody Mary. 

The Flipside NashvilleIt's totally a meal in case you couldn't tell. 

The FlipsideI love this little spot. This time of year they leave their huge windows open, so it's basically a giant porch. It's on one of the cutest streets that's fun to walk around on the weekends. 

Five Daughters BakeryFive Daughters Bakery

Five Daughters has some of the best donuts I've ever tried in my life... cronuts actually! They are ridiculously good. Their location is so cute too! If you don't have time to visit the shop, they also serve them at Barista Parlor locations... it's one of our top Saturday morning rituals. 

This is super close to The Flipside, so you can do both at the same time. LeSel NashvilleLe Sel

Le Sel is by far the prettiest restaurant in Nashville... I mean PINK VELVET BOOTHS?! Laura and I think it's one of the very best spots for a fancy date night or celebration. They also have the best pommes frites! 

LeSelSo good, right??

I hope you enjoyed this first MINI city guide. I think the smaller format will help me be able to bring them to you much MUCH more frequently. I will definitely share more Nashville spots in the future as well – there are so many great spots that don't get nearly the attention they deserve AND new spots popping up all the time. 

Oh and if you'd like to see our past city guides, check out Nashville, New Orleans, Palm Springs and Brooklyn

xx- Elsie 

Credits//Author and Photography: Elsie Larson. All photos taken with iPhone edited with A Color Story app

Brass Earring Pyramid DIY (click through for more)               I am totally into jewelry organization. All those small rings, earrings, and dainty necklaces need somewhere to go at the end of the day or they just disappear into the abyss never to be seen again. I've done a personalized epoxy jewelry box, made marbled ring dishes, and made a jewelry storage cabinet (with a mirror on the front), but I still haven't done an earring organizer. So I thought it would be fun to make a pyramid earring stand like I've seen in a few stores lately. It's basically like making a brass himmeli ornament except that it sits on a dresser rather than hanging in the air. Ready to make your own?

Brass Earring Pyramid DIY (click through for more)            Supplies:
-mini pipe cutter
-brass tubes (I used 3 packs of these)
-22 gage gold floral wire (I got mine at JoAnn's)
-wire cutters
-ruler and marker

Brass Earring Pyramid DIY (click through for more)Use the pipe cutter to cut your pipe into the following sizes: 6.5cm (x12), 15cm (x4), 10cm (x4), 5.5cm (x4). 

Brass Earring Pyramid DIY (click through for more) Thread a long piece of wire through the four 15cm pieces and twist the wire ends together to make a square. Snip the wire ends about 1" short and  tuck the ends back into one of the pipes out of view. This will be the bottom of your pyramid.

Brass Earring Pyramid DIY (click through for more)   Brass Earring Pyramid DIY (click through for more)   Take another piece of wire and twist it around one of the corners of your base about 1" in from the end of your wire. String six of the 6.5cm pieces onto the wire and down over the end of the wire that you just twisted to keep it out of sight.

Brass Earring Pyramid DIY (click through for more)     Attach the free end of the wire to the opposite corner of your pyramid base, twist it around, snip the end 1" short, and tuck the end back into a tube. This will be half of your vertical pyramid lines.

Brass Earring Pyramid DIY (click through for more)       Brass Earring Pyramid DIY (click through for more)        To make the other half, repeat the process on the other two corners with the remaining six 6.5cm tubes, but when stringing on the tubes, only put on three, wrap the wire around the middle of the other six tubes, and then add the last three to create the top peak of the pyramid. 

Brass Earring Pyramid DIY (click through for more)        Brass Earring Pyramid DIY (click through for more)          To add the side structure pieces, wrap, snip, and tuck a wire end around one of the lower breaks in the vertical tubes. Add on one of the 10cm tubes to the wire, wrap the wire around the lower break on the vertical tube next to it and keep going with all four tubes until you can wrap, snip, and tuck the end once all four are attached.

Brass Earring Pyramid DIY (click through for more)             Repeat the process with the 5.5cm tubes on the upper break in the vertical tubes, and your pyramid is done and ready for earrings!

NOTE: You may notice in the pictures that there is a thicker gold floral wire and a much thinner silver wire that was used. I did my first assembly with the thin silver wire thinking it would show less and be easier to bend, but it's SO easy to bend that the wires wouldn't even support the weight of the pyramid. So I switched to the thicker wire which works much better.

Brass Earring Pyramid DIY (click through for more)                  Brass Earring Pyramid DIY (click through for more)                  Brass Earring Pyramid DIY (click through for more)                  I love when organization is pretty to look at and fits in with the rest of my decor and this gold pyramid does both in my space (and all those earring are from Forever 21 or H&M by the way). Actually, I love camels and just bought a camel ring holder that I think will be the perfect companion for the this earring pyramid, don't you think? Hope this project was a cute way to solve an organization problem for you too! xo. Laura

Credits//Author and Photography: Laura Gummerman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

Super filling Sweet Potato Tacos (via abeautifulmess.com)  Before we dive into what will inevitably become a reverie about how AMAZING TACOS ARE, can I just talk to you about something kitchen-y first? I've been cooking for awhile; it's been a 7+ year love affair at this point with no signs of slowing. And in that time, I've come to two super obvious realizations:

1. Good tools are a home cook's best friend.

2. Fresh ingredients matter SO much.

Super filling Sweet Potato Tacos (via abeautifulmess.com) Again, these are kind of obvious, right? Not exactly the biggest kitchen secrets in the world. But as I was making these tacos, I was reminded again about the first of those realizations, that good tools matter. I recently got a few new knives (gift to myself for finishing the cookbook manuscript, even though we are far from done with all the work for that project). I also sharpened my existing knives at the same time, so they'd all be on the same "schedule". I also recently got a new, better garlic press. 

OMG, guys, sharp knives and a good garlic press seriously make a WORLD of difference in my life. These are two items I use almost daily (yes, we love garlic). 

This is also, actually my #1 bit of advice to friends who want to eat at home but don't love cooking as much as me: good tools, man, they make everything easier. They also make great gifts... Just throwing that out there to the universe. :)

OK, enough about tools. Let's talk tacos. Let's... tac-o about it. (Sorry, I had to!) These sweet potato tacos get a protein boost with a little TVP in the mix. They are sweet, they are spicy, they are super flavorful, and they make for an excellent, healthy dinner. I highly recommend you give these a try at your next taco Tuesday. 

Taco ingredientsSuper Filling Sweet Potato Tacos, makes 6-8 tacos (enough for 3 people or maybe 4 with a side)

1 sweet potato, mine was 335 g once peeled
2 cloves of garlic
1/3 cup TVP
2 tablespoons hot sauce, I love Cholula as evidenced by my nearly empty bottle
1/4 teaspoon cumin
salt and pepper
1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil (or other cooking oil you prefer)
1/3 red onion, sliced
1/2 large bell pepper, sliced and center removed
6-8 corn tortillas
2-3 limes
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro

Peel and then shred the sweet potato. You can do this with a box grater or in a food processor. If you want to leave the skin on, you can, just be sure to rinse well before shredding. In a large mixing bowl, combine the sweet potato, TVP, garlic (mince well or press through a garlic press), hot sauce, cumin, and a generous sprinkle of both salt and pepper. Give that a big stir so everything gets combined well. The TVP may seem too crunchy at this stage, but it will absorb some liquid from the sweet potato while it sits in the bowl, and then soften even more when cooked, so don't worry. 

Vegetarian taco recipesIn a large pan, heat 1 tablespoon of oil. Sauté the onion and bell pepper for about 2 minutes over medium heat, until they begin to soften. Add in the sweet potato mix and continue to cook for 8-10 minutes until the potatoes are cooked through. At the 8 minute mark, just give it a taste to see if they seem cooked through to you. If you notice the mixture sticking to the pan too much, add a little more oil, but a few burnt bits are OK for me. :)

Meanwhile, cook each corn tortilla in a hot pan with a little oil. When we make corn tortillas at family events, my grandma or mother with usually cook them in oil to allow them to float, but I prefer just a little oil and heating them until I see some spots darken on each side and the tortilla is quite soft and bendable. 

Super filling Sweet Potato Tacos (via abeautifulmess.com)Fill the shells with the sweet potato mix and top with cilantro. Squeeze a little lime juice on just before eating. If you want to add some cheese or sour cream, go for it, but these are so flavorful I really think they are great all on their own. Yay for delicious plant-based meals – happy tacos to you! xx. Emma

Credits // Author and Photography: Emma Chapman. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions

Scrapbook Sunday-April Messy Box. See how well this month's scrapbook kit mixes and matches with itself!This month's Messy Box kit is one of my favorites from this year thanks to it's fun color story and Parisian vibes! I had a few photos from the last few weeks that were perfect for these cards and papers. It had two sets of stickers and a ton of cards so it was really easy to use the kit almost exclusively for these two pages. I even have plenty of phrase stickers and black alpha leftover to use in a few more layouts. Give me all the pink and red!

3%22 x 3%22I wanted to find a few ways to alter the design of some my papers in this month's kit to see if I could make my layout look a little more complete. I don't think I'll ever be a minimalist when it comes to scrapbooking and art journaling so it is REALLY hard for me to just slap some cute cards and photos in and call it a day. If I was under a deadline and I just needed to get it done, maybe, but usually I like to add another layer or two of something interesting.

Positive Vibes CardsThe first way I did that was by taking two of the cards with solid backgrounds and cutting out a shape to cover the text. Then I just drew lines over the edges so that it left a clean negative image. I love how this adds just a little more pattern to these cards. Just be sure you have a steady hand before you get to work if you are really attached to your card!

Close Up 3%22 x 3%22 pageScrapbook Sunday-Messy Box AprilTaylor's PageA second way was just layering up a few papers and adding in alpha stickers where I usually don't. I cut one of the weekend trip 4" x 6" cards in half so that the word 'trip' was still readable and then added 'road' alpha stickers above it. I then decided to cut into one of the smaller cards and added the fun 'YES' text to the bottom of that same card along with another alpha word on top. With a strip of washi tape down the side, it has a totally different look. Just pretend correct punctuation when scrapbooking isn't always important, okay? Sometimes a girl doesn't have any question marks on her alpha sheet!

Close upTaylor's This month's kit is super fun and really versatile. Perfect for documenting spring break, a weekend road trip, or just plans for road trips that you made over burgers when your friends came back to town! Nashville or bust! -Rachel

Credits//Author and Photography: Rachel Denbow. Photos edited with A Beautiful Mess actions.

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