Wednesday, December 29, 2010

I must have been a good girl!

Do you remember my little “Wish List” back in November?  I had some major wish items on there: 

White Christmas Tickets

Mrs Meyers Hand Soap
Glee Season 1 Frye boots
Sugarland CD Candles
Heart Rate Monitor Real Simple Magazine
Nikon 35mm lens  

I know it’s a lot.  I really was just kind of dreaming when I wrote that post and had no real expectations that I would be getting any or some of the items!  I had NO idea that I would be so spoiled blessed!!  Joe surprised me with tickets to White Christmas and we really enjoyed it!!  Truly my favorite Christmas performance!  Mom hooked me up with the heart rate monitor so I can get on my training for the 10k in April.  And the big surprise was the 35 mm lens from my super sweet Santa – aka hubby!

White Christmas Tickets

Mrs Meyers Hand Soap
Glee Season 1 Frye boots
Sugarland CD Candles
Heart Rate Monitor Real Simple Magazine
Nikon 35mm lens  

Pretty dang impressive, huh!  Oh and that’s not even counting all the cool things that weren’t on the ol list!  Art from Italy • waffle iron • ice cream churn • funky cool “L” plates • tripods • cookbooks • And the lists goes on!  I am so appreciative.  We’ve had a great Christmas season. 

Of course I must share some new shots with the new lens!!  Check it out!

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Pretty fun stuff!! I can’t wait to do more experimenting!!  Was Santa good to you as well? Would love to hear about your favorites!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Birthday Girl…

 

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Miss Emily is turning 3 today!!  I can’t believe it – where does the time go?!?!  She’s having a “Cooking Party”.  Oh how I wish I didn’t have to work so I could go and cook with her!!

Happy Birthday sweet girl!!

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Love You!

Sunday, December 26, 2010

My dream came true…

 

 a WHITE CHRISTMAS!!!

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We had the best day enjoying family and friends and the beautiful weather our good Lord blessed us with.  I hope your day was AMAZING too!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

They’re back!!

Do you may remember our Priority List this fall?  Remember these chairs that were getting re-upholstered?
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Well they’re BACK from the upholsterer FINALLY!  They didn’t actually take that long to do the work they just took a long time with the communication and pick-up.  But it’s all worth it!!!  Are you ready???   Ok – REVEAL:
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F.A.B.U.L.O.U.S. right?!?  I am loving the exploded houndstooth.  The tones are just right – neutral enough where they will go with just about anything but just enough punch so I won’t grow bored any time soon.
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I have waited so long to have this done and I’m just tickled pink with the results!  YAY for checking off the to-do list!!

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Decking the Halls

Back in October I posted about wanting to do Gold & Silver Christmas decor. Here was the inspiration photos from Crate & Barrel:
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Our room is more of the gold undertones than silver but here’s where we finished:
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I'm fairly happy with the outcome.  I think the mantle could still use a little “umph.”  My aunt is actually making me stockings like the C&B ones! 
And now for the rest of the details around the house.
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I love the sparkle through the house!! I turn on the lights first thing in the morning and turn them off last thing at night.  I love it!!  I can’t wait to see what your decorations look like!  Please share!!

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Brunch & Cookies

Well the Cookie Swap was so much fun!!  So let me run it down for ya…  We went with a brunch theme which was fun to do it in the a.m. instead of the afternoon.  I must say it was a little nerve racking with a quick lead time in morning but everything got done!  WHEW!
So first let me tell ya the menu:
Individual Egg CasserolesCreamy Dreamy Grits
Sausage PinwheelsBaked Apples
Yogurt Marmalade Cake
For the egg casseroles, I did a combo of recipes.  I used a mini loaf pan to make 8 individual loaves.  I started with challah bread and broke into pieces and put in the pan.  Chopped up some ham and sprinkled on top of the bread.  In a separate bowl, mix 10 eggs with 1/2 cup of milk, salt & pepper, and shredded cheese.  Pour over bread / ham mixture.  I made this the night before and baked off the next morning.  These puffed up real pretty and loved the whole individual servings!
Creamy dreamy grits = lots of whole milk, butter & salt / pepper.  We just used instant grits and they are super yummy!
Sausage Pinwheels are a family staple item.  It’s another good one to make the night before.  Roll out 2 cans of crescent rolls and press all seams together.  Scramble sausage and drain.  Add 1 pkg of cream cheese to warm sausage and mix well.  Spread cream cheese sausage mixture over crescent rolls and then roll like cinnamon rolls.  Wrap in plastic wrap and refrigerate.  In the a.m. slice roll and place each piece on cookie sheet.  Bake @ 350 for 20-30 minutes – until golden brown.
Baked apples are also a family recipe – Peel, core and slice  6 medium size Granny Smith apples.  Soak in salt water overnight.  In the morning drain apples, place in casserole dish.  In a separate bowl add 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, 1/3 cup melted butter, 2 tbsp cinnamon.  Spread mixture over apples and bake 45-50 minutes @ 350.
For the Yogurt Marmalade Cake, I used Pioneer Woman’s recipe – she explains much better than I ever could right here.
I would highly recommend the idea of a brunch cookie swap – it’s a great way have a get together but it doesn’t interfere with the busy afternoon / evenings of the Holiday season!  Definitely go with as many make the night before recipes you can come up with – it helps out a lot! 
So after brunch it was time to SWAP – We had some delish cookies!  Check ‘em out!
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       Melt in Your Mouth Sugar Cookies                              Butter Pecan
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       Chocolate Oatmeal – No Bakes                             Aunt Pine’s Gingersnaps

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I had Joe get me some to-go boxes (from Restaurant Depot) that worked perfect for packaging the cookies separately so our Butter Pecan cookies wouldn’t start tasting like Gingersnaps.  I just hate it when that that happens!  I also had a little parting party gift = a cookie spatula.
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If you don’t have one of these yet – you must get one!  They are the best for cookies – it’s a thin metal spatula that slides right under your cookie and doesn’t smush your cookies up when they’re hot! 
So that’s a run down on our first Holiday hosting event.  What Holiday events do you have going on?  I’ve go to do some research for two different hors d'Ĺ“uvre party coming up next weekend!  Don’t ya just love the Holidays!!

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints

cookie closeup Well I decided on the Chocolate Caramel Thumbprints.  I found the recipe on Better Homes & Gardens website.  Side note – If you don’t already check out their site – you may want to.  They have great ideas for cooking, decorating and crafts.  I signed up for their newsletter and I always enjoy seeing what new ideas they have come up with!!
The recipe for the cookies can be found here.  It’s a simple recipe – but there are multiple steps but totally worth the work!  These cookies came out GOOD!  And they look pretty snazzy, if I do say so myself.  I neglected to take pictures of making the dough and rolling into balls.  What can I say my hands were covered with egg whites and pecans…  Sorry!  But once they came out of the oven this is how they looked:
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Looking pretty tasty! They are like little individual nutty – brownies.  Time for the caramel!
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Ok – one more step – a chocolate drizzle.  I used a plastic pastry bag, but you could totally use a ziplock bag with the same result.  And then all you do is drizzle away…
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**TIP** lay down parchment paper before you set-up your cooling racks – this will save a BIG mess for later. 
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Like YUM!  Make these cookies soon – Your recipients will be happy AND impressed – PROMISE!  Oh and FYI – the BH&G recipe yields 2 dozen for 1 recipe – I doubled mine for 4 dozen.  I need 3 dozen for the swap and you need some extras to “taste”!  Ok – I must go lay down – the chocolate coma is taking over…