Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Happy Holidays!

We had a great Christmas in both Asheville and Cincinnati! Now it's back to the grind. Fortunately, this is a short work week and my sister is coming to Charleston to celebrate New Year's!

I hope you all had a wonderful holiday!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Technology Woes

So, I was looking forward to posting some pictures from the weekend. But they're all gone?! I have no idea where they went. Sometimes technology drives me crazy.

We had a great Saturday and Sunday filled with Christmas shopping, relaxation, and our friends annual holiday party with lots of delicious food! Mark and I made a cheesy potato casserole, which is a dish I grew up eating at nearly all of our family gatherings (yes, people LOVE it that much).

Here's the recipe (thanks, Dad!):

2lbs. frozen shredded hash browns
1pt. sour cream
8oz. cheddar cheese – shredded
1 cup chopped onions
1 can cream of chicken soup
1tsp. salt
¼ tsp. pepper
½ cup margarine
1 cup crushed cornflakes

Mix everything except cornflakes – place in greased 
9 x 13 dish. Top dish with cornflakes. Pour over ¼ cup
Melted margarine. Bake at 350 for one hour.

 I always use low fat or fat free sour cream and reduced fat cream of chicken soup. I suppose you could use reduced fat cheese too, but I don't like to take all the fun out of it ;) I promise you that this dish does not disappoint. You will definitely go back for seconds (...or more)!

Friday, December 2, 2011

Andes Mint Cookies

On my day off this week, I decided to bake some festive holiday cookies. If you like mint and chocolate, these are for you! I saw several versions of this recipe online and kind of manipulated it to fit my own preferences.

Your eyes are not deceiving you- they definitely have a green tint!

Here's what you need:

1 package of sugar cookie mix (I used Betty Crocker)
1 stick of butter, softened
1 egg
3 drops green food coloring
1/4 tsp. mint extract
1 cup (approx.) of Andes mint candies chopped

Pre-heat oven to 375. Mix first 5 ingredients, then add in mints. Place spoonfuls of dough onto ungreased cookie sheet. Bake 8-10 minutes.

These were ready sooner than I expected. So, watch them or they will burn ;) 

And voila!

I ended up eating way too many straight out of the oven and made Mark take the rest to work. The recipe made several dozen small cookies.

Recipe from Betty Crocker found here.


Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Holiday Spirit

Our halls are officially decked! And there are even some presents under the tree.  This year, I am on it. I even went shopping on Black Friday!

Isn't this ornament great?! Anyone who is expecting a Christmas gift from me can expect it to be monogrammed. I may have gone a little overboard on the personalization.

I had this gem awaiting me when I got home from work today! An early birthday gift from Cooper. What a thoughtful pup!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Weekend Wrap Up

Last weekend was the first in nearly two months where I was not: a) working b) traveling, or c) hosting visitors. It was great! We were able relax, get some things done around the house, and catch up with all of our local friends. I don't have any pictures of our get togethers because I was too busy enjoying myself and just hanging out.

Our whole group went to Taco Mamacita on Sullivan's Island on Saturday evening. I'm sure the poor waitress was overwhelmed but we were all pretty unimpressed with the over all experience. I've been there once before and it was better that time. Perhaps this was a fluke? Either way, in my opinion it doesn't even come close to Taco Boy. 

 On Sunday after church, we decided to try Wild Flour Pastry which we'd heard many good things about from our friends. It did not disappoint. The cinnamon rolls were amazing!

The bakery is located on Spring St. and was just as quaint and charming as I imagined. The staff was friendly and helpful. We came home with all of this:

Just to give some perspective those cinnamon rolls were as big as my head. No joke. And yes, we got 3 (at my insistence) and devoured every last morsel. Don't judge.

If you live in Charleston this is a must visit!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Domestic Me 3.0

Okay, so I haven't actually made this recipe yet. But it is high on my to-do list. Remember these?

Bread Pudding Pancakes from Southport Grocery & Cafe  in Chicago.

From their website:

Serves 6
Bread Pudding Pancakes
14 slices of firm white bread, crusts removed and cut into 1 inch squares
2 ½ cups milk
3 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon vegetable oil
1 ¼  cups flour
3 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
Place bread in a large bowl.  Add milk.  Let bread soak for about 10 minutes until softened.  While bread is soaking, mix together in a small bowl the flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.  Add flour mixture to the bread and gently fold until just about half incorporated.  Add eggs and vegetable oil.  Mix gently.
Melt butter in skillet.  Drop batter in 1/3 cup fulls.  Cook 3-4 minutes on each side.  Pancakes will have a moist bread pudding-like inside.
Serve pancakes topped with cinnamon sugar butter with a ramekin of vanilla custard sauce on the side.
Cinnamon Sugar Butter
½ pound unsalted butter, cold
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
Melt ¼ pound of butter in a small saucepan; add salt, cinnamon and sugar.  Cook until the sugar is dissolved.   Add remaining ¼ pound of cold butter.  Whisk with hand mixer until creamy and fluffy.

Vanilla Custard Sauce
1 pint heavy cream
1 vanilla bean, cut in half lengthwise and seeds scraped out
4 egg yolks, whisked
1/4 cup granulated sugar
Put heavy cream in a sauce pan.  Add the vanilla bean pod and seeds.  Bring to a simmer.  Add sugar to egg yolks and whisk until all there is no clumps.  Add ¼ cup of warm heavy cream mixture to egg yolk mixture and whisk immediately; this is called ‘tempering’.  Add the egg yolk mixture to the warm heavy cream.  Simmer while mixing with wooden spoon until thickened and coats the back of the spoon.
Chill over an ice bath.   

These are AMAZING! You need to make them. OR simply buy the mix here! Nothing beats the real thing (and when someone else is making it for you :)- so go to Southport Grocery next time you're in the Windy City!

Monday, November 14, 2011


Yes, it's true, I LOVE all things Twilight and am extremely excited for this week's premiere of Breaking Dawn, my favorite book of the series.


In this installment we finally get to see Bella and Edward tie the knot. And subsequently, Bella give birth to a vampire baby! So much drama I can hardly stand it.

Will you be seeing Breaking Dawn this weekend?

Monday, November 7, 2011

Chicago Recap!

What a fabulous weekend we had in the Windy City! It was a whirlwind and we packed a lot of living into just a few days. We did some fun tourist activities, shopped, hung out, and ate some amazing food!

Our hosts, Ash & Brandon

The BEST breakfast I've had in a looooong time: Bread Pudding Pancakes. Seriously, I can't stop thinking about these!

Our other host, posing coyly in the background, Myles

Mark & Ash at the top of the Sears Tower

You'd be correct in assuming I would not walk out on to the ledge. I could literally feel the building swaying and it was crazy.

Board of trade

Italian dinner Friday night

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Anniversary (Almost)

It's hard to believe that it's almost been a year since our wedding. The time has truly flown by! To celebrate the occasion, we'll be visiting here:

And I absolutely cannot wait to see this lady!

Last visit to Chi-town

Ash's Charleston Visit

Enthusiastic tourists in Rome

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Moving On...

I am officially over the Kardashians. Kim's getting divorced, blah, blah, blah- is this truly surprising to anyone? To add insult to injury E! is playing the wedding special over and over!

On a fun note, we had LOTS of trick-or-treaters last night! They were very cute and enthusiastic- I loved it. Our candy is nearly all gone, which is for the best ;)

Now I'm looking forward to the next holiday, Thanksgiving. Even though I won't be able to make it home, we'll have our own celebration here in Charleston.

My favorite part of the Thanksgiving meal?

Friday, October 28, 2011

A Taste Of Home

Last night, Mark and I indulged in some Skyline 3-ways. They tasted just as good as I remember! Luckily, Mark loves all Cincinnati classics: Graeter's, Montgomery Inn, goetta (did anyone see the Man vs. Food in Cinci?!), LaRosa's, and of course Skyline.

To Mark's disappointment, I will not be dressing up for Halloween. I will, however, be wearing an orange blouse that I purchased at F21 a few weeks ago. I consider that to be a decent effort.

Count on me overindulging in the sweets department though....

I've got a bone to pick with Kim & Kyle Richards, who are being kind of nasty this season on RHOBH. I always liked Kyle, but this side of her is not pretty. She's clearly in denial of Kim's problem(s).

I will say that Brandi Glanville is just as looney as I expected. No surprises there.

I like the looks of Charleston's upcoming forecast. 70's sound just fine to me!

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Celeb Commentary & A Fall Indulgence

I am addicted to this show and I don't know why? There's something fascinating about the whole dynamic. Not that I agree with the lifestyle. I just think it's interesting (and a lil crazy).

STORK-ING UP photo | Jessica Simpson

Come out with it already, Jessica!

Snooki was on the Today Show this morning. UGH. And was interviewed by Matt Lauer. I can only imagine what he was thinking.

I'm welcoming the cooler weather with open arms! One of my favorite treats?

I've been enjoying a lovely Chai Tea Latte in the mornings rather than my regular coffee or green tea. It's so spicy and delicious!