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