Thursday, December 22, 2011

Pistachio Cookies!

I have another recipe for y'all today. I feel too busy to think up anything else.  
I made these cookies the other night and they're great.  I'm no "from scratch" cooking snob as you'll see here.  My thoughts are to make the tastiest treats the fastest way possible.  My number one joy of cooking is eating and sharing with loved ones, not measuring and mixing. I hope you enjoy!

1 box white cake mix
1 box instant pistachio pudding mix
1/2 cup shredded coconut
1/2 cup nuts (almond or pistachio), toasted and roughly chopped 
1/2 cup vegetable oil
2 eggs
1/4 teaspoon almond extract
6 drops green food coloring.


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.  Place first four ingredients into a large bowl.  In a small bowl, stir together the remaining ingredients. Pour contents of the small bowl into the large bowl and stir together until combined. Batter will be stiff.  Drop tablespoons size dollops of dough onto an ungreased cookie sheet about 1 1/2 inches apart.  Bake for 11-12 minutes, until lightly browned.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Lavender Martini

For me, I'll choose beer and wine over liquor most days.  However, when we are having a nice dinner out I always start my meal with a specialty cocktail.  I've been around the fine dining scene in Charleston throughout the years and one of the most elegant (and delicious) ways to begin a fancy night out is stopping by the bar at Cypress (upstairs) for a Lavender Martini.
Stoli Vanilla, Lavender syrup, Lemon Juice.
Cheers!

Monday, December 19, 2011

What to give the man in your life:

Flying lessons:
I'm finally able to announce my birthday gift for K.  I gave this to him over the weekend and he was actually speechless.  I wrapped the flight certificate in a big box to make it super hard to guess!
If you're interested in purchasing one, talk to Emily out at Charleston Executive Airport.  She'll hook you up.
K has a goal of earning his private pilots license and I am helping him get started.

Friday, December 16, 2011

I'm a Giver

I love giving gifts, and I absolutely love wrapping them.  I have a drawer of ribbon and an array of wrapping papers.  I rarely bag gifts unless I'm in a rush. 
Around Christmas I normally buy several different designs of paper. I will put a pretty wrapped candy on the presents as well.  I'm unable to do this and leave them under the tree as Alfie will eat the candy, but it's the finishing touch before I actually present the gifts.

why is this pic so small?

Wrapping is therapeutic to me...as is vacuuming.
Do you have any holiday "chores" that you enjoy??

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Humpity Hump

It's only Wednesday and I'm already thinking about this weekend!
We are having a very special date night to Cypress on Friday night.
Saturday night we'll be having a big dinner for K's birthday with both his family and mine.  I'm looking forward to beef tenderloin and one of my mom's infamous cakes. 
Sunday I'm going to be doing all of my Christmas baking!
I want to share one of my Christmas tradition treats.  These are actually no bake and absolutely decadent.
Choco-Dipped Ritz
What you need:
Melting chocolate ( I use both white and dark)
Ritz crackers
Jif Peanut Butter (If there's one thing I don't scrimp on, it's peanut butter. Brand name is better!)

What you do:
Make peanut butter sandwiches with the crackers.
Melt your chocolate.
Dip sandwiches in chocolate.
Set on wax paper to cool and harden.

Now, I like to put sprinkles or other garnishes on top (before they harden) to make them a bit more festive, but that's up to you!


Have you ever made these?  If not- you should!

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Send my Life a Whirlin'

December is flying by so quickly.  This past weekend kicked off the busiest few weeks of the year.
Friday night was our first Christmas party of the season.  We sat by the fire drinking our Sweetwater 420.
So happy :)
Saturday I was honored to be a program attendant at Lauren and Fred's wedding.  Never has there been a more beautiful bride!!  After the ceremony at St. Johannes downtown, we headed over to the Boone Hall Cotton Dock for dinner and dancing.
Lauren and Fred's first dance was to "Swept Away" by the Avett Brothers:

   
"you send my life a whirlin', darlin' when you're twirlin'"

Sunday we had Bagel Nation breakfast and did a little Christmas shopping in West Ashley.  Later I headed up to Columbia for cookie baking and decorating with Abby!
I didn't get home until pretty late yesterday and I'm still catching up!  
What's happening with you guys??

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Q&A and NYC

Today's agenda:
Neighborhood House (I'm teaching a computer class today!)
Pick up the drycleaning
Bodypump and a quick run
Our first Christmas Party of the season!


So, I saw this questionnaire on two blogs I follow yesterday, and now I'm "being a follower" and doing it myself.  Enjoy!
1. What time did you get up this morning? 9:00 a.m.  It's a beautiful thing.
2. How do you like your steak? Medium, but steak really isn't my thing (Sorry K!)
3. What was the last movie you saw at the theater? Breaking Dawn. solo.
4. What is your favorite TV show? SVU reruns and Conan.  I don't follow t.v. shows really.
5. If you could live anywhere in the world where would it be?House in Charleston of course.  Also, NYC, Colorado, Napa, and St. Martin!
6. What did you have for breakfast? Coffee and a yogurt
7. Do you wear glasses or contacts? Contacts, glasses before bed
8. What food do you despise?  Collards (I swear I'm southern!)
9. Favorite Place to Eat? No one favorite.  All I can say is right now I'm craving pizza so Paisano's it is!
10. Favorite dressing? Just EEOO for me.  Salad dressing makes me ill.
11.What kind of vehicle do you drive? Black Saturn Vue.
12. What are your favorite clothes? Dresses, Bold patterned tops and tights, Calvin Klein Jeans.
13. Where would you visit, this weekend, if you had the chance? NYC, haven't made my annual pilgrimage this year :(
 
 
14. How many tattoos do you have? 2, for my eyes only! 
15. Where would you want to retire? Nearest my children (and grands)
16. What is your desktop photo? NYC photo I snapped last year
 
17. Where were you born? I'm a St. Francis baby
18. What is your favorite sport to watch? Football and Golf (tv) & Baseball (live)
19. How many siblings? 1, my bro is one of my best friends!
20. Favorite pastime/hobby? Being with K.
21. Coffee Drinker? yes yes yes yes yyyyes
23. Are you a morning person or a night person? Neither. Both. I don't know.
24. Do you have any pets? Alfie!
25. Any new and exciting news you'd like to share? Lauren is getting married Saturday!
26. What did you want to be when you were little? A cartoon character!  Um, actually I wanted to be the winner of Starsearch.
27. What is your favorite color? purple!
28. Are you a cat or dog person?Dog
29. Are you married? Not yet
30. Always wear your seat belt? Duh.
31. Been in a car accident? Yes, and I remember I was singing the Los Lonely Boys "How Far is Heaven" right before this guy T-Boned me.
32. Any pet peeves? Ohhh yea.  Looong lines with one register open are the first that come to mind right now
33. Favorite Pizza Toppings? ham and cheddar.  holy yum.
34. Favorite Flower? Spray roses make me happy
35. Favorite ice cream? B&J New York Super Fudge Chunk. Bam!
36. Favorite fast food restaurant? Ick, no fast food
37. How many times did you fail your driver's test? Zip
38. From whom did you get your last email? Investors club, setting up our Christmas social.
39. Which store would you choose to max out your credit card? Belk
40. Like your job? Ha!  Of course!  I work for myself :)

Peanut Butter Crispy Bars

These layered bars are Out of this World delicious.  A friend made them for a party years ago.  I ended up taking about 5 or so to go in my purse.  We went out for a couple drinks at a bar that night after the party.  I came home and ate all 5 of these.  I dare you to make them, and try not to do the same. 

For the crispy crust
1 3/4 cups crisped rice cereal
1/4 cup sugar
3 tablespoons light corn syrup
3 tablespoons unsalted (their recommendation) or salted (what I used, and liked) butter, melted

For the milk chocolate peanut butter layer
5 ounces good-quality milk or semi-sweet chocolate, coarsely chopped
1 cup creamy peanut butter

For the chocolate icing
3 ounces dark chocolate (60 to 72 percent cocoa), coarsely chopped
1/2 teaspoon light corn syrup
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick or 2 ounces) unsalted or salted butter

Make the crispy crust: Lightly spray a paper towel with nonstick cooking spray and use it to rub the bottom and sides of an 8-inch square baking pan.

Put the cereal in a large bowl and set aside.

Pour 1/4 cup water into a small saucepan. Gently add the sugar and corn syrup (do not let any sugar or syrup get on the sides of the pan) and use a small wooden spoon to stir the mixture until just combined. Put a candy thermometer in the saucepan. Cook over medium-high heat and bring to a boil; cook until the mixture reaches the soft ball stage, 235 degrees F.

Remove from the heat, stir in the butter, and pour the mixture over the cereal. Working quickly, stir until the cereal is thoroughly coated, then pour it into the prepared pan. Using your hands, press the mixture into the bottom of the pan (do not press up the sides). Let the crust cool to room temperature while you make the next layer.

Make the milk chocolate peanut butter layer: In a large nonreactive metal bowl, stir together the chocolate and the peanut butter. Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for about 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the cooled crust. Put the pan in the refridgerator for 1 hour, or until the top layer hardens.

Make the chocolate icing: In a large nonreactive metal bowl, combine the chocolate, corn syrup, and butter.

Set the bowl over a saucepan of simmering water and cook, stirring with a rubber spatula, until the mixture is completely smooth. Remove the bowl from the pan and stir for 30 seconds to cool slightly. Pour the mixture over the chilled milk chocolate peanut butter layer and spread (actually, I found it easier to just roll it around until it coated smoothly, avoiding the risk of picking up any of the peanut butter layer with it) into an even layer. Put the pan into the refrigerator for 1 hour, or until the topping hardens.

Cut into 9 squares and serve.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Oh what fun!

Well I've made a list and checked it twice, and today I'm heading out to knock out some of my Christmas gifts.  I've already got a jump on things (three gifts wrapped and ready to go!) but there is still so much to do.  I'll be stopping mid-day for a Break(ing Dawn).  I just love going to matinee's by my self!
I might also spend some time looking for a new cocktail dress.  K and I have a very special dinner out planned to celebrate both of our birthdays.  In previous years I've always splurged on a new dress for my company's Christmas Party.  Well, as I'm no longer working there, this year I plan to splurge on a fancy dress for our private party!
This one has caught my eye:
This dress below was for last years Christmas party, except in navy velvet not grey.  LOVE it!  I'll be wearing this to a wedding Saturday.

Both of these pics are from The Limited.  It's my go-to dress shop in the mall. Belk is a close second.

Where do you like to buy dresses?

Monday, December 5, 2011

Baby Girl

Yesterday was a childhood friend's baby shower.
She is having a sweet little girl, due in January!
I had a fun time picking out a present and decided upon this "outfit".

So sweet!!
This post reminds me of the song "Baby Girl" by Will Hoge.  It's my plan to play this for my father and I's dance at my wedding.  There won't be a dry eye in the house!
Immediately fast forward to 1:45 to avoid all of the annoying talking and laughing.  I couldn't find anything but a live performance.  Grrr!




Now it's off to Taco Night with the family.

Hope y'alls Monday was great!

Friday, December 2, 2011

TGIF

 Look at my little boy, sitting by the Christmas Tree, happy as can be!
New Years Eve dress?   I saw this at Forever 21 last week.  We'll probably be taking it easy this New Year's.  Last year's party got a little out of control...not really looking for a repeat.


Have you thought of NYE plans yet?  Charleston City Paper is already advertising parties!!

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

MerriMINT

My mom has made these previous years, and she's making a big batch for gifts this season.  They are simple and adorable!
You Need:
1 white wire hanger
Red ribbon (the kind that curls is best)
Peppermints

Form your hanger in the shape you would like (circle, heart, etc.)
Cut your ribbon into small 5 inch pieces.
Tie two to three candies to ribbon and attach to hanger form.
Repeat. Repeat. Repeat.
Last, Tie a big bow at the top as an accent.

Beautiful! And Fresh!
I can't wait to show y'all how my cake stands turn out, so excited!
Happy Wednesday!

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Fa La La

Here are the highlights of our long & busy weekend:
  •  Turkey Day Run=Perfect way to start the holiday.
  • Too much food and a cornhole victory with K's family.
Smoked Turkey YUM

  • Coffee, Baileys, and desserts with the LeaMonds.
  • Black Friday, bought myself the most perfect Christmas Eve Mass and party dress!

  •  Saw The Muppets with Kristina!
  • Enjoyed venison Brats with K's family during Saturday's game...
  • and we won 15 big ones in the bet for total score.  47! GO COCKS!

Did you have a good holiday weekend?
Get any shopping done on Friday?

    Monday, November 28, 2011

    Cough Cough

    I feel sickly.


    I'll be back tomorrow with a better holiday update, birthday plans, and a couple of Christmas crafts!

    Wednesday, November 23, 2011

    Last Minute Pie!

    I found this Pumpkin Spice pudding at Walmart a while back, and decided to whip up this quick pie, just for fun, tonight!

    Triple Layer Pumpkin Spice Pie

    What You Need

    2 pkg. (3.4 oz. each) JELL-O Pumpkin Spice Flavor Instant Pudding
    1/4 tsp.  ground cinnamon
    2 cups cold milk
    1   HONEY MAID Graham Pie Crust (6 oz.)
    1 tub (8 oz.) COOL WHIP Whipped Topping, thawed, divided
    1/2 cup  PLANTERS Pecan Halves
    1 Tbsp. honey

    Make It

    BEAT dry pudding mixes, cinnamon and milk with whisk 2 min.; spread 1-1/2 cups onto bottom of crust.
    STIR 1-1/2 cups COOL WHIP into remaining pudding; spread over layer in crust. Top with remaining COOL WHIP.
    REFRIGERATE 1 hour. Meanwhile, cook nuts and honey in skillet on medium-low heat 2 to 4 min. or until nuts are caramelized, stirring frequently. Spread onto waxed paper, separating larger clusters. Cool. Sprinkle over pie just before serving. 
     

    Tuesday, November 22, 2011

    Chestnuts roasting...

    On my tv!


    You can find the Yule Log station on Comcast On Demand!  It plays Christmas music as well.  It has all of the fire crackling and popping sounds too! I love it.
    Busy day so I've gotta run!
    I love holiday weeks, don't you?

    Monday, November 21, 2011

    Giving Thanks

    This weekend was a total blast!  Yesterday we took Alfie down to Folly to run off the leash, dropped in to Zia for a frozen screwdriver, took a long drive out to Kiawah, and then cooked steak and potatoes for dinner!
    Saturday morning we were early birds, heading up to Columbia at 8:00 AM to tailgate both before and after the game vs. Citadel.  The Bulldogs put up a great fight, but ultimately the Gamecocks kicked butt!

    Saturday was completely devoted to family, both K's and mine, and I'm so thankful to have such a strong support system.

    I'm also thankful to be able to spend time giving back to my community.
    This week I'm a volunteering fool!
    You can come see me in the tents in Marion Square Tuesday night from 5-8pm.  I'm going to be organizing and handing out race packets for the Turkey Day 5K, which I will also be running Thursday morning!

    Wednesday I'll be serving a Thanksgiving feast to all of the lower east side residents who show up to the Neighborhood House.  All are welcome to come help!  We will also help by handing out bags for those in the food assistance program.

    I'm not one to only give back during the holiday season, it's a year round obligation in my mind, however now is the time that I am filled with such joy to do so!  I love the feeling that I can help others to feel the splendor of this time of year even more!

    How was your weekend?
    Do you get involved with any charities around the holidays?

    Friday, November 18, 2011

    TGIF

    Heading out of Charleston tomorrow morning and I love the open road!

    But today I'm in the kitchen:
    Making some chex puppy chow.
    And my morning tailgate menu.
    Also, packing up the car with my tailgate essentials.


    The past week I've been thinking a lot about my Thanksgiving outfit.

    Should I go somewhat dressy?

    Or casual:
    I'm leaning towards a festive sweater dress but still unsure due to the quantity of stuffing and pecan pie I will be consuming, 

    What do you like to wear on Thanksgiving?

    Thursday, November 17, 2011

    I have no Pin-ergy

    We painted my bedroom in three hours yesterday.  Hot dang!
    First up:
    Today's agenda:
    Neighborhood House
    Late lunch with Kristina!
    Reorganize bathroom cabinets
    Bodypump at Golds

    One week from today my agenda will look like this:
    EAT

    Ok y'all, so I finally logged into my Pinterest account for the first time last night.  First thought: very overwhelming!  I think I will save up my "pin-ergy" until I'm planning a wedding or a party or something.  For day to day life, I can't handle so many additional ideas in my head!
    I did, however, pin this:
    Basically you send Mickey and Minnie an invite to your wedding and they politely decline and send you a fun  photo of themselves!  K loves Disney World so much and this is a really cute idea.
    Other than that, I'm lost.

    What do you have going on this week??
    I assume you use and love Pinterest?  I'm really late on this!

    Wednesday, November 16, 2011

    Humpity Hump

     I'm a busy girl this week, buzzing around like a bee volunteering and now painting our bedroom. We've chosen a dusty green, not sure if that really creates the right mental image for you but it's very pretty and I'm so excited to check this off of my home improvement to-do list. 
    In other news, I'll share my yardsale find of the week:
     Holy moly!  It's a little Scrooge in the Box.  It plays music too.  What a find!
     
    I bought K's birthday present and I'm SO excited.  I can't even give you a clue because he reads this sometimes, but I can not wait to tell you in a few weeks!  Last year I gave him a Williams Sonoma steak brander (& cutting board) with his initials.  He is officially a grillmaster.


    We're still in football mode over here (heading to Columbia Saturday) but I can't wait to go see my Cougars uncaged on the court!
    We are planning to go to the Wofford game in January!

    So that's all for today!
    Happy Wednesday.

    Monday, November 14, 2011

    This Weekend

    Yay, we found Snow Day!
    I love Charleston with all of my heart, I only wish there was the possibility of a White Christmas. Maybe? No? Okay, I'll wear a tank top on Christmas instead.
    As for the beer, I loved it. Initial Review: sort of like an IPA.

    We wined and designed:
    Mine is the one with the pearl :)
    This was a fun time!  My only complaint was the time length of it, 3 hours!?  We left early and went to PF Changs, which was very tasty!  We ordered several things and shared.  The highlight was K's Chinese 88 martini:  Plymouth Dry Gin shaken with fresh lemon juice and topped with sparkling wine. 

    We bought part of Alfie's Christmas present:


    He found the candy cane where I hid it and it was sad to take it away.  But what kind of mother would I be if I gave him his present beforehand?  I'm just glad he doesn't believe in Santa anymore ;)



    How was your weekend?

    Friday, November 11, 2011

    Morning Tailgate Menu

    Ham biscuits:













    Sausage balls:













    Banana Nut & Pumpkin muffins:











    Fruit:













    Mimosas:














    Bloody Mary's:















    What else should I make?

    Thursday, November 10, 2011

    The Lightning Bug

    1 part:

















    2 parts:












    Oh, and you can't forget these:








    and








    This drink is so crisp and fresh.
    You can use Sugarfree Firefly and Sprite Zero also, tastes just the same!

    Have you been out to the Firefly Distillery yet?!
    It's located on Wadmalaw at Irvin House Vineyard.  While I'm not a fan of muscadine wine, I did enjoy tasting what they had to offer, and then heading over to the barn to get my vodka on.
    Did I mention this was all before noon?
    There is a small little "zoo" on location as well. 
    What's better than tasting wine and vodka before noon?
    Tasting wine and vodka before noon and then hanging out with some turkeys, peacocks, and goats for a while.
    Boom!

    Happy Thursday everyone!

    Wednesday, November 9, 2011

    Humpity Hump

    It's Wednesday and this is what I'm:
    Looking forward to:







































































    Saturday night!



















    Cooking:
    Tilapia and Risotto (lima beans not pictured)














    Reading:
    Lauren Conrad's column on Forbes. 
    What an inspiring young woman!














    That's all for now, See y'all tomorrow!