Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Chocolate Blooms

Sunday was Christmas baking day. I love baking (especially in my new kitchen) but it exhausts me. This year, we not only had co-workers but neighbors as well.

I did the usual White Trash (two huge batches to be exact) but I also added a hint of chocolate sweetness for our new neighbors.

Chocolate Blooms - Original Recipe

Ingredients

  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup brown sugar, packed
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 1 1/2 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate pieces
  • Raspberry Ganache

Directions

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
  • In a large bowl, beat shortening and butter with an electric mixer on medium speed for 30 seconds. 
  • Add brown sugar, baking powder and salt; beat until combined
  • Beat in egg and vanilla until combined.
  • In a separate bowl, whisk flour and cocoa powder.
  • Beat as much of the flour mixture into the butter mixture as you can with the mixture; stir by hand any remaining mixture.
  • Stir in chocolate
  • Shape into 1 inch balls and place on un-greased cookie sheet; press thumb into the center of each ball to make an indent.
  • Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are set.
  • Immediately use the rounded side of a 1 tsp. measure to press down the center of each cookie. 
  • Transfer cookies to wire racks.
  • Spoon Raspberry Ganache into center of each cookie. 

Raspberry Ganache
Ingredients

  • 6 oz dark chocolate
  • 1/3 cup whipping cream
  • 1 tbsp raspberry jam

Directions

  • In a microwave safe bowl, combine dark chocolate, whipping cream and jam. 
  • Microwave for 1 minute; stir until melted

Monday, December 17, 2012

Madewell

As much as I tried to get my Christmas shopping done early, life got in the way. So that meant we had to brave the malls with all the crazies other slackers. 

High point - all my shopping is complete
Low point - I found lots of cute stuff I want to buy myself.

Madewell, the sister of my favorite J. Crew, has some amazing deals right now (30 percent off and free shipping). Here are a few I would love to add to my closet:


Monday, December 10, 2012

2012 Christmas Card Revealed

I thought I would brighten your week with revealing our 2012 Christmas Card. I know, spreading that holiday cheer two weeks before Christmas :)




 Past Cards:

2010

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Kitchen reveal

I am still in the market for a painting but I just had to share our new and improved kitchen! WARNING: There are a lot of pictures!
BEFORE
You can't help but notice the lovely bright blue walls and painted backsplash




AFTER







Sunday, December 2, 2012

Love this time of year

The Christmas pandora is on all the time, house smells of spruce and lights are all a-glow. I love Christmas and all the decor that comes with it.

Here is a glimpse at the first Christmas in our new house:
Cheap centerpiece made from Hobby Lobby clear ornaments and acrylic paint swished inside (cost: $4)

Dining room decor



I love candles and paperwhites on a mantle.



My paperwhites haven't bloomed yet but I am trying something new this year, courtesy of Camille Styles.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Moving on Up (phone-wize)

It is official... I am breaking things off with my Blackberry. While I have loved that little Canadian piece of technology, it is time to get a little more user friendly. As in I couldn't view picture emails for the past two years (I know, big girl problems).

Now comes the dilemma. How in the heck do you settle on just one iPhone case? Would it be weird to change with my moods? Think of it like a fancy, schmancy mood ring!







Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Thanks

In the spirit of Thanksgiving, I thought to share our fall decor. Keep in mind it is just Aaron and I and we travel for the holidays, but I still wanted to have some fall-y touches.

Simple white pumpkins with a bowl from Home Goods

Notice the PB pumpkins I got. 

And note that there is cling wrap under my real pumpkins. NEVER put real anything on wood.... just a FYI.

A little pop of green in the entry.

I don't think that mums are the prettiest but the fall flower department is quite lacking. I like the red option better than the normal yellow hue.

 The bullies opted for a quick photo shoot.


Happy Thanksgiving from our family to yours! And peace be with you if you are venturing out for Black Friday :)

Monday, November 19, 2012

DIY Artwork

Here is a little DIY for those of you with a few days of free time on your hands this week.

I wanted something on the walls for our guest bath but for a low budget. I give you two framed pieces for a grand total of $20. 

I bought two different size frames to fit my space from Target and the embellished paper is from Paper Source (there are two stores in the Atlanta area).

Tape your paper in, fasten the frame back together and hang. The hardest part is picking out a pattern!

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Recent Happenings

1. Aaron and I are participating in the St. Jude Give thanks. Walk this weekend. It is our second year walking. My company is a National sponsor so it is good to get together and give back an hour or two for a good cause.... And Atlanta's venue is the Zoo. Who doesn't love doing some good for the community and getting to see some awesome animals for free. I may or may not make a baby panda pit-stop.

You can still sign up for a walk in your area. 

2. On Monday I took some chairs to get re-upholstered. It wasn't far from my office, but I was way out of my element. I have heard this company does great work but I feel like I was warped into a sweat shop (i.e. warehouse + lots of women on sewing machines + broken English). Hey I will do a lot for good service and a great deal!

3. Kind of loving Pinterest's Secret boards. I definitely have some hidden pins with potential Christmas gifts. I have a horrible memory so unless it is written (or pinned) somewhere I WILL forget.

4. I already have two Christmas presents purchased. Bam....Take that procrastination!

5. We have new appliances being delivered next week... so that means a kitchen reveal! Woohoo!

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Paparazzi

Thought I would give you some celebs love to get your mid-week checkpoint started off right.

 Emma - Can you please be normal again? As in stop starving yourself? I thought you looked gorg in The Help!
Love ya though!

 Have you watched Nashville? Love it! The perfect nightcap after Modern Family. Hayden's pants are a little too cray cray though!

This is an example of acting gone to far. Matthew McConaughey looks wayyyy too thin.

And last but not least Kristen. Girl your dress is see-through and you just got over a cheating scandal. Let's evaluate the publicist and stylist, and start fresh. 

Images: People, Us Weekly

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Mark and Graham

I stumbled across this new site and that was a major mistake. Mark and Graham is the new sister site of Williams-Sonoma and Pottery Barn. Seeing as I already have a slight obsession with PB, this new discovery could be lethal.

And for all you Southerners out there, everything can be monogrammed. Yippee!



Ice Bucket - great wedding gift

Dinner Napkins - love the red on white for the holidays


Coasters - we have these from PB, but I love the monogram option

Signet ring - classic


Washi Japanese tape - perfect for decorating