Monday, November 28, 2011

Christmas Wreath

I have loved this yarn wrapped wreath craze for awhile now but have not had the motivation to make one. The other day I saw this tutorial. 
 I had to make my own! 
I made all the flowers (and burnt blisters onto my fingers from the glue gun). The flowers were a lot easier to make than I expected! 

I absolutely love it! 
I love the holidays and the warm and fuzzy feeling in my apartment right now with all the twinkling lights and the popping and crinkle noise of our fake Wii fireplace on our TV. hehe! 

I am so excited for all the next month has in store! 

What crafts are you making?! Leave a link in my comments! 

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Decking the Halls

I hope you all had a lovely Thanksgiving. 

Matt and I had a cozy little Thanksgiving dinner/lunch before I headed to work on Thursday. I made a turkey breast, stuffing, mashed potatoes and corn. I have this dream of someday making this huge elaborate Thanksgiving dinner for friends and family. This year, it was turkey breast, stove top and canned corn. Not exciting. Thankfully I have a loving husband that completely loved and enjoyed what we had. He is so easy to please. Not picky at all and totally okay with what we have. I am so thankful for him. *cheesY*

We did some Black Friday shopping yesterday with my aunt, uncle and all my cousins. It was a lot of fun! I am very excited for all the Christmas gifts we've bought so far! We're almost done shopping!

Anyways, this morning I woke up and had some coffee and made Matt some breakfast (and got a little mad that all of my vanilla yogurt is gone when I had an entire unopened box of my favorite granola, but that's besides the point). Matt is taking the GRE again today. poor guy. He has had a busy break. He will probably celebrate being done with the GRE tonight with reading or writing a paper. 

After we watched an episode of bones and at our breakfast, we headed out to the storage and got out the tree and the one box of decorations we have. At home, getting out the Christmas decorations was always so exciting and an all day event. My dad goes to the attic and gets out all 20 some boxes of decorations my mom has and we sift through and look for what we want to get out. So for Matt and I's one box of decorations that fills our 1 bedroom apartment it definitely does not take all day. 

We put up the tree and I put up my nativity. I need to get a few more decorations. I think I will stop at Target and Joann tomorrow for a tree topper, tree skirt and some stocking hangers and some lighted garland! Then it will all be perfect! 

Matt and I have a fantastically awesome idea for our Christmas card this year! I am super excited about it! 

Also, we're having an epic Christmas party this year that I truly cannot wait for!! 

The tree is up and I'm enjoying a cup of coffee and Christmas music on the couch before I head to work today. 

Hope you're enjoying the Holiday spirit! I love this time of year! I am ready for all the baking that's about to happen this next month!

Monday, November 21, 2011

Margarita Cupcakes

WARNING: These cupcake should not be consumed by children. ;-) 

I made these cupcakes for a friend for her birthday. They are so delicious! I had a family give me the recipe at work, but it looks like it's from the BrownEyed Baker blog. (give credit where credit is due here on the blog). 
Holy moly! If you like Tequila and lime you will love these! 

The Goods: 

The Cupcakes
1 1/2 cups all purpose floud
1 1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1 cup granulated sugar
2 eggs, at room temp.
Zest and juice of 1 1/2 limes
2 tablespoons TEQUILA 
1/4 tsp vanilla
1/2 cup buttermilk

1-2 Tbsp tequila to brush tops of cupcakes with

For the Tequila Lime Frosting: 
1 cup unsalted butter, room temp
2 1/4 cups powdered sugar
1 Tbsp lime juice
2 Tbsp tequila
Pinch of coarse salt

The Directions: 

Preheat the over to 325 degrees. Line your cupcake pan with liners

In a medium bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder and salt. set aside.

In an electric mixer, on med-high speed, beat the butter and sugar together until pale, light and fluffy (about 5 minutes)

Reduce the mixer speed to medium and add the eggs one at a time, mixing thoroughly after each addition. 

Scrape the sides of the bowl and add the lime zest, lime juice and vanilla and tequila. (The mixture will start to look curdled at this point, but it will all come together!) 

Reduce the mixer speed low. Add the dry ingredients in three batches, alternating with the buttermilk in 2 batches. Mix only until just incorporated, using a rubber spatula to give it one last mix by hand. 

Divide the batter between the cupcake cups. Bake for about 25 minutes or until just slightly golden and a toothpick comes out clean. 

Allow cupcakes to cool 5-10 min. and then remove to a cooling rack. Brush the tops of the cupcakes with the tequila. Set them aside to cool completely. 

whip the butter on med-high speed of an electric mixer using the whisk attachment for 5 min. Reduce the speed to med-lw and gradually add the powdered sugar, mixing and scraping the sides of the bowl until all is incorporated. Give it a mix on medium speed for about 30 seconds. Add the lime juice, tequila and salt and mix on med-high speed until incorporated and fluffy. If the frosting appears too soft, add some additional powdered sugar, one spoonful at a time until desired consistency is reached. 

Frost the cupcakes and garnish as desired.

 For the appetizer, I made some bread with olive oil, garlic salt and then put some pepperoni on some and some tomatoes on the other half and then Parmesan and mozzarella cheese and popped them under the broiler. DELICIOUS and easy snack with what I had around the apartment. haha!

Enjoy! I'm off to work after a nice weekend off with my husband! ;-)

So excited for the week ahead! Breaking dawn, Thanksgiving, black friday shopping and Decorating our apartment for Christmas! ;-) Great week ahead! 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Thanksgiving Recipe Exchange

It's time! I have been planning this recipe exchange for some time! I love to cook and love new recipes. I am still debating on what to make for Matt and I's Thanksgiving Brunch. So, it's time to share your favorite recipes. No limitations, it can be any course. Appetizer, entree, drinks, dessert. Share your favorite recipe! 

Here is my entry--

My Grandma's Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cooke Recipe

The Goods:

1 1/2 cup Butter (softened)
2 Cups packed brown sugar
1 cup sugar
1 can solid pack pumpkin
1 egg
1 tspn vanilla
4 cups all purpose flour
2 cups quick cooking oats
2 tsp baking soda
2 tsp ground cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 cups semi sweet chocolate chips

The Cooking part: 

In a large mixing bowl, cream butter and sugars
Beat in pumpkin, egg and vanilla
Combine flour, oats, baking soda, cinnamon and salt
Gradually add to creamed mixture
Stir in chocolate chips
Drop by tablespoonfuls 2 inches apart onto ungreased baking sheets.

Bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes or until lightly browned.
 Remove to wire racks to cool.

Here's how it works. First, write a blog post about your favorite recipe. Make sure to put a link on your page back to here so others can join in the fun. 
Then link up here at the bottom of this blog page.

Unfortunately, this blog has no sponsors and makes no money, so there is no prize this year. It's all just for fun and to share in the holiday season together. 

So, link up and let's get cookin'!!!! 

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Update and Things I Love Saturday

Yesterday was a lovely day off. Matt and I slept in, went to the coffee shop for several hours, I did some grocery shopping, then in the evening we headed to Evanston to get some dinner and continue our cupcake tour. We ate at Joy Yees and got some AMAZING tofu and vegetable pad thai and some orange chicken. It was delicious!

Then we headed to TinyDog Cupcakes and I got a Spiced Chai cupcake and Matt got an Apple-issimo cupcake made from Apple Cider and apples. delicious! 
 Red Velvet cupcake from TinyDog. 

Afterwards we went to see this movie 

Matt and I both loved it. It was so good. ;-) Matt is not a "chick flick" kind of guy, but he loved this movie. 

It was such a lovely date day together. 
Onto some things I am loving these days:

 Starbucks has RED CUPS again! I have already indulged in a Peppermint Mocha latte. MMM MMM!!! As much as I get annoyed that we forget about Thanksgiving, I do love the holidays and I am super excited to decorate our apartment again this year! I am also excited for Matt and I's epic Christmas party we're planning!

This lovely necklace is on my Christmas list from my husband. It's perfect name called to me because I am a coal miner's daughter! hehe!

Matt and I saw The Civil Wars this past week in Milwaukee. It was such an amazing show! So, I am loving their album even more now. 

THIS GIRLS blog has been one of my favorite reads lately. Her little family is so adorable. 

These are all some of the things I have been loving lately. 

What have you been loving?! 

Also, I'm gearing up for the holiday recipe exchange I want to start here on my little blog. Stay tuned! Can't wait to see what everyone is cooking up!

Saturday, November 5, 2011

Toy Story Cake

A couple months ago, I took my first decorated cake to work for our manager's going away party. My friend Megan saw it and we were talking about cakes. I told her I was taking a cake decorating class in October. I have always taken my baked goods to work so they have all tasted what I've made and always ask for me to bring more. 

Anyways, Megan asked me to make her son's 2nd Birthday cake. She wanted a Toy Story cake made to look like the scene from the movie when all the characters are on Andy's bed. 

I decided to make a sheet cake that looked like Andy's bed and put all the characters on top and put HAPPY BIRTHDAY COOPER in the same font as the logo for Toy Story 2.  
Megan wanted Marble cake. So that was my first experience. I had never made marble cake. I found the recipe I wanted to use (my grandma told me to use a box mix and I refused! I can't do it. They just don't taste as good!!!) 
So, I had to make a big cake because there was going to be 50 people at the party. So, I borrowed a big pan from a coworker and yesterday I baked the cake parts. I was only going to do 1 sheet cake. When I went to take the cake out of the pan it completely stuck around the edges. I was so frustrated! So, I got over it and started mixing up another batch of batter. I greased that pan and floured it like nobody's business the second time around! I went to take it out of the pan and it came out just fine. So, What to do with the half of the first cake I had?! I came up with the idea to cut the part I could use and put it on top to make the bed part and use the bigger sheet cake as the floor. I made chocolate buttercream icing for the floor part. I used vanilla buttercream for the rest. It turned out so good! There were several other crises along the way, but it turned out great! 
I took it to Megan's house and she and her husband LOVED it! ;-) I was so happy with the end result.  

With the holiday's approaching I think I am going to slow down with the baking for a bit before I get tired of it before the holiday baking season begins! 

I want to do a holiday recipe series this upcoming season. Any interest?!?! Maybe swap some recipes?!??! 

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October is over, let's review!

 I didn't do so hot at blogging this past month. It was kind of a crazy month. I promise to try to be better! 

October is literally my favorite month of the year! I love it! I celebrate my birthday in it, the leaves change, pumpkins are everywhere, the cool weather. It's great! Matt and I had a lovely October this year. Here's a review of what we did! (Most pictures are from my phone, please don't judge! I am no photographer.. although maybe if I improved more people would read this blog.) 

 On the 2nd I turned 25 years old. Matt and I began our cupcake tour of Chicago. It's an ongoing tour (how many cupcakes can you really consume in 1 day).

 Phoebe's Cupcakes (pictured left) in Lincoln Park was our #1 pick so far!  The salted caramel was the best cupcake I have ever eaten. Molly's Cupcakes in Lincoln Park was amazing as well! I had the Kahlua cupcake! It was so sweet! So good though! That icing was delicious! 

Matt threw me an awesome Mad Men/60s themed Birthday party! It was great! 

I took a Cake decorating class! ;-)

 I already have my first "cake job" lined up. I am making a friends sons birthday cake! Toy Story! Stay tuned for pictures of that!

We drank a lot of hot apple cider (Trader Joe's Spiced Cider is REALLY GOOD!)

We went to the pumpkin patch with friends and conquered the corn maze! 

We went to a Halloween/Pumpkin Carving party. I dressed up as a nun even though I was only there for a few minutes before my class. 

 I made these Monster Cupcakes for the party! ;-) 

We ended the month on a sad note, both of us have been sick. We're still kind of recovering a little. Our stupid allergies! 
October was a wonderful month! I am excited for November and the Holidays just around the corner! ;-) 

What did you do in October?!?!?