Monday, December 31, 2012

A Look Back: 2012

As I sit here writing this post, I am amazed that it is already New Year's Eve.  Where did 2012 go? Every year it seems like time goes by faster and faster, but this year was exceptionally fast! There have been so many ups and downs (mostly ups), that it feels like 2012 was really several years crammed into one.


So as I continue to be amazed at how quickly the year has come and gone, here is a look back at some of the major events and yummy dishes of the year!

January 11th, 2012

I got engaged! Since high school, my best friend David and I always said that we were just friends and that nothing more would happen.  However, after going through college and many ups and downs together, we finally realized that maybe we should be more than friends... and well, the rest is history!



May 20th, 2012

After a very fast-paced, whirlwind of a year, all of my hard work paid off and I received my master's degree in higher education! 


July 17th, 2012

I made my hubs-to-be his two favorite treats for his birthday - carrot cake and chocolate chip cookies! And all in the form of the cookie monster! 


August, 2012

David and I love to travel.  We have been to so many places abroad, yet we had never visited a place in our very own state of Massachusetts! Therefore, we finally rectified this situation and spent a weekend in Cape Cod! 


During our trip we discovered that their is an Elyse winery! Now I just need to buy a bottle... 

We stayed at the Inn at Siders Lane in Falmouth, MA and it was superb! The owners are so kind and welcoming and they whip up an amazing breakfast. I was also lucky enough to get their famous Creme Brulee French Toast recipe, so stay tuned, because I will be making it soon! 

September - November, 2012

For my job as a college admissions counselor, I traversed the state of NY for two months in order to attend college fairs and visit with the future students of Merrimack College.  I was also able to visit some pretty cool places too... 

First time visiting Niagara Falls! 

And Sleepy Hollow too... 

November 17th, 2012

I married my best friend!




We then spent the next few weeks traveling through Italy, Monaco, and Southern France! 



One of our favorite restaurants in San Gimignano!



David attempting to knock over the leaning tower of Pisa... if only he could have lifted his leg a tad higher! 

I could never get tired of views like this one...




Our hotel in Venice.  Yes, those are people walking in the water below.  Surprisingly one of the more interesting parts of our honeymoon was seeing Venice flood firsthand! 

Monte Carlo!

View from our room in Nice, France.  We stayed at Vista Azzura, a beautiful bed and breakfast that has only two rooms, so it was perfect for our peaceful, romantic getaway! The owners Cathy and Michele are so welcoming and such great people too! Oh, and they have an adorable dog named Sushi. 

Aside from meeting this adorable dog, France is also where David and I were able to snack on some delectable treats, including Palmiers.
To learn how to make these beautiful cookies, check out the recipe here.

December 24th & 25th, 2012

We spent our first Christmas as husband and wife in our homemade, ugly, Christmas sweaters! They lit up too... 



I hope you all have a safe and happy new year! 2013, lets see what you have in store for us... 

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Thursday, December 20, 2012

S'mores Hot Chocolate

For this months Improve Challenge, Kristen from Frugal Antics of a Harried Homemaker had us create a recipe using marshmallows and chocolate.  Due to the time of year, I was so excited to use these two ingredients, because I immediately thought, "I'll make hot chocolate!"  I mean, what's better than curling up on the couch and sipping on some hot cocoa this time of year!?  But then I thought, why not jazz up the hot chocolate and make it a little more interesting? Enter, s'mores hot chocolate!


S'mores have always been a summer campfire treat for me, but with this hot cocoa, you can enjoy s'mores for another season! I also love my hot cocoa to be a little more rich and chocolaty, so I never use water, only milk, and I use dark chocolate cocoa powder.  Trust me, I am not normally a dark chocolate fan, but I love this!

S'mores Hot Chocolate

Ingredients:
-1/2 cup sugar
-1/3 cup dark cocoa powder
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-Milk
-Marshmallows
-Graham crackers

Directions:
In a bowl, whisk together the sugar, cocoa powder, and salt.  This is your hot chocolate mix.  What is great about this, is that you can store it in a container and scoop from it whenever you crave hot chocolate.

When ready to make the hot chocolate, take a mug and fill it with milk about 2/3 of the way up.  Heat the milk for about 1 minute and 30 seconds.  Then, scoop 2 tablespoons of the hot chocolate mix into the mug and stir it in until it dissolves in the milk.  For the purposes of this post, I wet the rim of the mug before filling with milk, so that the graham cracker crumbs would stick to the edge.

Next, break off a few little bits of graham cracker and place them in the mug, on top of the hot chocolate.  Then, pile as many marshmallows as you wish on top of the graham cracker.  I then sprinkled on some more graham cracker crumbs for a little extra crunch!

Using a kitchen torch (or broiler), lightly torch the marshmallows.  Then, grab a spoon, dig in, and enjoy!


For other great chocolate and marshmallow combinations, check out the recipes below:



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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Cookie Swap: Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies

It's that time of year again where everyone is getting ready for the holiday season and going crazy to get those gifts for loved ones.  Although it may be a busy time, there is always one consolation - the delicious treats that people bake this time of the year! That is why, for the second year in a row, I was so excited to participate in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap!

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap is where food bloggers from all over the world are assigned (at random) three other Food Bloggers to send cookies too.  So every food blogger who participates gets to send and receive delicious cookies from fellow foodies!

Last year, I made Raspberry Ribbons, and this year, I decided to make my husband's famous Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies! As many of you may know, this past January, I got engaged to my best friend, David, and 3 weeks ago, on November 17th, we were married.  Leading up to our wedding though, I was away for a few months straight because of travel that I had to do for my job.  As a result, it made the wedding planning process stressful at times, and I just missed being at home with my Dave.  David also struggled a bit because I was the one who always cooked and baked for him.  However, to surprise me when I came home, David learned to bake and made me these delicious cookies! Since these cookies have a meaning to both myself and David, I decided to share them with others for the cookie swap! Plus, they are really yummy!


 Pumpkin Spice Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
-1 cup shortening
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup brown sugar
-2 eggs
-1 to 1 1/4 cups of pumpkin
-1 teaspoon vanilla extract
-3 cups flour
-2 teaspoons baking soda
-2 teaspoons cinnamon
-1 teaspoon ginger
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
-1/4 teaspoon cloves
-1 12oz bag of milk chocolate chips (semi-sweet can work took, but the milk chocolate works really well in these)

Directions:

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Cream together the butter and sugars.  Then add in the 2 eggs.  Once combined, add the vanilla and pumpkin.

Then, slowly add in all of your dry ingredients - the flour, salt, and spices.  Add the milk chocolate chips last until everything is well-combined.

Scoop out spoon full sized balls of dough and place on a greased cookie sheet.  Bake in the oven for about 15 minutes or until lightly browned on the bottom/edges.  It is sometimes hard to tell if the cookies are done since they are darker in color from the pumpkin, but be careful not to leave them in too long so that they do not burn.  Also, because of the pumpkin, these cookies are meant to be softer and more cakey in texture on the inside. 

Let the cookies cool on a wire rack, or eat up right away! Either way, I hope you enjoy!



A special thanks to Lindsay of Love and Olive Oil and Julie of The Little Kitchen for putting together this wonderful event! I'd also like to thank the three food bloggers who sent me delicious cookies too:

Ariel at Princess Pea

Thank you for the delicious cookies and enjoy the holiday season! Pin It