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Archive for the ‘Holiday’ Category

Happy Easter!

Let’s just pretend this isn’t almost a month late, okay?  Let’s rewind to before school got out, before my 5 finals, before my too-many-to-count projects and essays (are you visualizing this?), to that beautiful Sunday at the beginning of the month that was Easter.

Emily and Andrew came us in the morning, and then we came back to the house and got cookin’.

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Of course my mom had beautifully decorated the dining room table.

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Mom made the ham, baked beans, and potato salad.  Dad made the yellow squash casserole.  Andrew made the deviled eggs.

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We also had an amazing fruit salad.

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It was a great Easter feast!

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Easter picture time!

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I made these cupcakes, using a kit from World Market.  I thought they turned out really cute.  I also made some gluten free ones for Andrew (the ones at the bottom with no lady bug).  Those were… interesting.  The frosting was good, though!

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The Easter Bunny still comes to our house, even through my sister and I are out of our teens!

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He was very good to us this year.  My grandma’s Easter Bunny showed up late, so those things didn’t get in the picture, but he brought some yogurt and Clif bars!  Thanks, Easter Bunnies!!!

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I’m home from college now for a month.  I got my grades and was very happy to see my hard work paid off.  I guess staying away from the blog was a good decision, but I’m glad to be back!  I missed you all!

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Merry Christmas, everyone! I hope you all had a wonderful Christmas.

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Maisy somehow found herself in a photo shoot.

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I made that banner; it says “MERRY CHRISTMAS.”

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Maisy loves to find herself a little nest.

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A Homemade Christmas

Since I’m a poor college student, I decided to make most of my presents this year.

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This is a wreath I made for my parents (tutorial here).

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I knit this for my little cousin (I actually also knit a smaller version for an even littler cousin).

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I knit this one for Morgan.

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These ornaments were for my Aunt Melissa (above) and Emily (below).

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christmas 2009 058 I also knit my grandparents a snowflake dishcloth, but forgot to take a picture.         

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And then I made these treats for different people. These are Bakerella’s red velvet cake bites.

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And these are chocolate cookies (recipe here). Some of them have buttercream frosting in the middle with crushed peppermint around the edge.

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Christmas Day

I don’t have many pictures of Christmas Day, because my camera decided to stop working until 11:00 at night. These are ones my mom took.

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My cute grandparents.

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Here’s Emily opening her foodie basket. I picked out most of it, so I hope she likes it!

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Our table was full of amazing food. Mom bought a standing rib roast to make for the first time ever and it turned out really delicious and flavorful!

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Everyone ready for dinner (and Mom behind the camera).

It was a really nice day full of family, food, and giving. I got lots of nice new clothes and a Garmin Forerunner, which is exciting! Does anyone know how accurate the “calories” feature is on the Garmin?

Did anyone get anything super exciting this year?

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Mom wanted us to decorate a gingerbread house together this year. I think it turned out pretty cute!

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Do you see that box in the top right corner?

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Those are Mary’s Gone Crackers. I can’t remember if I’ve written about them on the blog before or not. I got a few coupons for free boxes, and tried the Herb flavor first. To be honest, I’m not a fan of the flavor, but they are perfect for dipping into some Sabra hummus. I do love the texture and how crunchy they are, and am looking forward to trying the original flavor to see if I like them more.

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They fueled us through the difficult task of decorating

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Did you all snag a free product when Kath posted about her OpenSky deal a couple weeks ago? I was lucky enough to be able to order what I thought was just one jar of NuttZo butter, but I somehow ended up getting 4 shipped to me?! (Em, you’ll be getting one of these )

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It is very crunchy, nutty (imagine that!), and has sort of a rustic flavor. It’s not something I’d say I love right away, but I do like it.

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Saving the best for last, I really want to share this story with you. I’ve written about Stephanie Nielson on here before when she was on the Oprah Winfrey Show. A tear-jerking article was released this past Sunday about her story, and it is really so inspiring.

A little background on Stephanie—before her accident, she was a vegetarian (pretty sure she still is), yoga instructor (and she still practices), and just really focused on keeping her body healthy. I feel like the fact that she took such good care of her body is one reason she was able to survive a plane crash and having burns on over 80% of her body. She is such a testament to the old saying “take care of your body, and it will take care of you.”

The article is a little long, but it’s definitely worth the time it takes to read it. She’s such an inspiration to me that I couldn’t not share her story with others.

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Time to get ready for a Christmas party with Morgan’s church. It’s being catered by one of my favorite Italian restaurants. Yum!

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I’m going to be honest, these were not the easiest cookies I’ve ever made. There’s a lot of prep work: quartering the cherries, chopping the macadamia nuts and white chocolate. But if you’ve got the time and patience, this recipe turns out chewy and delicious. Plus, I got 6 1/2 dozen out of it, which was perfect for my cookie swap.

Paula Deen’s White Chocolate Cherry Chunkies

3 c. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. packed brown sugar
1 c. granulated sugar
1/2 c. butter (1 stick), softened
2 lg. eggs
1 tsp. vanilla extract
2 tbsp. milk
8 oz. white chocolate chunks
1 c. roasted, salted macadamia nuts, chopped
1/2 c. candied cherries, quartered

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375°F. Grease large cookie sheet. On waxed paper, combine flour, baking soda, and salt.

2. In large bowl, with mixer on medium speed, beat sugars and butter 3 minutes, or until well blended, occasionally scraping bowl with rubber spatula. Reduce speed to low; beat in eggs and vanilla just until combined. Add milk, then beat in flour mixture just until blended. With spoon, stir in chocolate, nuts, and cherries.

3. Drop dough by heaping measuring tablespoons, 2 inches apart, onto cookie sheet. Bake 11 to 13 minutes or until lightly browned. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool, about 15 minutes. Repeat with remaining dough.

4. Store cookies in tightly sealed container at room temperature up to 1 week or in freezer up to 3 months.

Nutrition facts (each cookie): About 120 calories, 2 g protein, 17 g carbohydrate, 5 g total fat (2 g saturated), 0 g fiber, 14 mg cholesterol, 80 mg sodium.

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I came home with so many yummy-looking treats!

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I’ve only tasted the Buckeyes and Wedding Cookies so far—both were heavenly.

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And aren’t these little reindeer cookies so cute?!

I have plans to make Red Velvet Cake Bites sometime soon. Hopefully they will turn out well so I can give them away as little gifts.

Are any of you giving away baked goods as gifts this year?

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Thanksgiving Day flew by this year! How was everyone’s holiday?

Thanksgiving came in two parts this year. We saw Emily with Andrew’s family first.

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Andrew and his nephew were out back frying the turkey.

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The turkey was smelling delicious, but we couldn’t stay for it to be served.

We were headed to my Grandparents’ house.

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Although I’d had some appetizers with Andrew’s family, I just had to have some baby carrots dipped in hummus. And some punch, of course!

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This cat stayed in this spot the entire night!

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Grandma makes the absolute best stuffing.

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And the best gravy.

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Grandpap carved the turkey, and we were ready to feast!

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I had stuffing, squash casserole, corn pudding, green bean casserole, asparagus, mashed potatoes & gravy, and a single Brussels sprout. I’d never had Brussels sprouts, before, but I actually kind of liked it. I also went back and got more stuffing and a little turkey.

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Of course we went around and said what we were thankful for. The majority of what everyone said was that they’re thankful for family. I think that says a lot.

Happy Thanksgiving!!!

Let the Christmas Season begin!

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