Thursday, December 16, 2010

oh man!

how pretty are these BLUE CHOCOLATE CHIPS! I must find them!



image courtesy of blushmelove.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

honeycomb brittle

Today's recipe is soooooo easy you're going to laugh.

Okay, I first saw this recipe fro "honeycomb brittle" in my Hoiliday issue of Martha Stewart Living and I knew I had to make it. It reminds me of Crunchie Bars... if you've never had a Crunchie Bar, I highly recommend you locate some!


RECIPE for honeycomb brittle:

Makes 1 sheet (about 9 by 11 inches)
  • Vegetable oil cooking spray
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup honey
  • 1/4 cup water
  • 1 tablespoon baking soda
Coat a 12-by-17-inch rimmed baking sheet with cooking spray or butter. Bring sugar, honey, and water to a boil in a medium saucepan, stirring constantly. Reduce heat to medium-high. Cook, without stirring, until a candy thermometer reaches 300 degrees. Remove from heat, and whisk in baking soda until combined and mixture bubbles. Gently pour mixture onto baking sheet without spreading. Let cool. Break into pieces.

Baking soda is the secret to achieving an airy texture. Whisking it in at the last minute gives the brittle its namesake appearance (you're going to feel like Willy Wonka here!).

Prep: 15 minutes
Total: 45 minutes

I ended up making 2 batches because it was so easy and fun!

PS. Here's a Crunchie Bar (so so good!)

 
I think next time I make these I am going to lay down melted chocolate on the sheet pan before I pour the honeycomb brittle on, it'll be a DIY Crunchie Bar---- YUM!!!!!!





Tuesday, December 14, 2010

fluffy marshmallows!


I have been loving this cold weather so far! I absolutely love to bake and trying new recipes. I've always had a wierd obsession with marshmallows, so I thought, why not MAKE them?????? I did just that this past weekend and can I tell you how much fun it was?! I felt like Willy Wonka. We roasted them and made s'mores.  And the rest of them (yes! there were some leftover!) I packaged in cute little boxes for my coworkers along with the honeycomb brittle I made as well (recipe later this week).

This recipe is from Gourmet Magazine circa 1998 so you know it's a good one!

FLUFFY MARSHMALLOWS

Makes about 96 1-inch cubed marshmallows
About 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
3 1/2 envelopes (2 tablespoons plus 2 1/2 teaspoons) unflavored gelatin
1 cup cold water, divided
2 cups granulated sugar (cane sugar worked just fine)
1/2 cup light corn syrup
1/4 teaspoon salt
2 large egg whites or reconstituted powdered egg whites
1 tablespoon vanilla (alternately: 1/2 of a scraped vanilla bean, 2 teaspoons almond or mint extract or maybe even some food coloring for tinting)

Oil bottom and sides of a 13- by 9- by 2-inch rectangular metal baking pan and dust bottom and sides with some confectioners’ sugar.

In bowl of a standing electric mixer or in a large bowl sprinkle gelatin over 1/2 cup cold cold water, and let stand to soften.

In a 3-quart heavy saucepan cook granulated sugar, corn syrup, second 1/2 cup of cold water, and salt over low heat, stirring with a wooden spoon, until sugar is dissolved. Increase heat to moderate and boil mixture, without stirring, until a candy or digital thermometer registers 240°F, about 12 minutes. Remove pan from heat and pour sugar mixture over gelatin mixture, stirring until gelatin is dissolved.
With standing or a hand-held electric mixer beat mixture on high speed until white, thick, and nearly tripled in volume, about six minutes if using standing mixer or about 10 minutes if using hand-held mixer. (Some reviewers felt this took even longer with a hand mixer, but still eventually whipped up nicely.)

In separate medium bowl with cleaned beaters beat egg whites (or reconstituted powdered whites) until they just hold stiff peaks. Beat whites and vanilla (or your choice of flavoring) into sugar mixture until just combined. Pour mixture into baking pan and don’t fret if you don’t get it all out (learning from my mess of a first round). Sift 1/4 cup confectioners sugar evenly over top. Chill marshmallow, uncovered, until firm, at least three hours, and up to one day.

Run a thin knife around edges of pan and invert pan onto a large cutting board. Lifting up one corner of inverted pan, with fingers loosen marshmallow and ease onto cutting board. With a large knife trim edges of marshmallow and cut marshmallow into roughly one-inch cubes. (An oiled pizza cutter works well here too.) Sift remaining confectioners’ sugar back into your now-empty baking pan, and roll the marshmallows through it, on all six sides, before shaking off the excess and packing them away.

Do ahead: Marshmallows keep in an airtight container at cool room temperature 1 week.

PS. I haven't done this yet, but I am dying to make homemade graham crackers, I know, woah!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Vintage Over-Dyed carpets

Okay, I am kinda, actually no, not kinda, TOTALLY obsessed with this new trend!


I instantly fell in love with these Turkish inspired vintage, rad rugs! The brilliant pop of color contrasted with the vintage pattern faded back is just STUNNING! I first read about these on Decor 8's blog.

ABC Carpet & Home in NYC is carrying them already in their "Color Reform" project. You can buy them here.

Yeeeeeeahhh..... so they're kind of expensive.... BUT you can always DIY!!! Instructions here.

I have a vintage rug that belonged to my grama...hmm....

Now that's a "welcome home" I want!

Friday, October 15, 2010

ULTIMATE cookies! The Way to a Man's Heart...

I made a batch of these last night for Bosses Day... they are probably the best cookies I've ever made. See the recipe below:


Ingredients:
1 cup butter, softened
1 cup white sugar
1 cup brown sugar
2 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups oats (old fashioned or instant, I used old fashioned)
1 bag Heath toffee chips
1/2 bag milk chocolate chips
1/2 bag butterscotch chips
sea salt

Directions: 1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Cream butter and sugars until light and fluffy. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
2. In a separate bowl, sift together flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt.  Add dry ingredients to wet ingredients, in four batches.
3. In another bowl combine oats, Heath chips, chocolate chips and butterscotch chips. Add to dough and combine.
4. Drop dough on greased or parchment paper lined cookie sheets and bake for 11-12 minutes. Sprinkle warm cookies with sea salt.

*This makes ALOT of dough so you can just make half if you want and freeze the rest in smaller portions for those nights when you just want 1 or 2.

Recipe credit to Iowa Girl Eats.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

I've been tagged!

My cousin Jacin has blog tagged me with a few questions that I have to answer for her. This should be fun! See below:
 
Jacins questions:
1. what was the last movie you watched? I'm really bad at watching movies, ummm..... does the Teen Mom marathon count?
2. what's your favorite food? Lobster with drawn butter, french fries, wontons, chicken pot pie, or original goldfish. I love food. And cheese.
3. what is your happiest memory (not wedding-related) :) Hmm... the first thing that popped into my head was playing "Memory" on the floor with my grama in Vermont.
4. what is your favorite song? Dixieland Delight by Alabama!!!
5. if you could move anywhere in the world where would it be? New Hampshire, in the mountains.
6. what is the last book you read? No One You know, by Michelle Richmond & I'm reading Eat, Pray, Love right now.... love it.
7. what's on the wallpaper on your computer desktop? A photo of fall leaves taken with my holga camera
8. what is your favorite thing to do on a rainy day? Cooking & Baking with a glass of wine in hand! And curling up on the couch, watching TV with my husband and dogs! I love rainy days.
 
 
 
:)

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Time to get crackin!

Well since my cousin Jacin tagged me in her blog today, I thought I should update my blog. Yeah, it's been since July. I know having a busy summer is hardly an excuse since Jacin found time to plan a Wedding, come back East half a dozen times and still have a new blog post every day!

So, I thought, what am I going to write about?

MY BIRTHDAY!

I just turned 29 and my husband surprised me with a day of fun...we started off with mimosas (because that's a rule) and then we got in the car. I had no idea where we were going.... An hour later we reached a Safari (yes, I live in Ohio). This place was so cool!!! It is called the African Wildlife Safari and you drive your own car through an actual safari full of giraffe, zebra, moose, elk, alpaca, deer, those cows with the really long horns (what are they called??). So, you drive your car through, carrots in hand and the animals actually stick their heads inside your car. They are VERY curious. It was hillarious, John and I were belly laughing the entire time.

Check out my pictures...


This is the giraffe responsible for breaking my sunroof!!! But, it was soooo worth it! :)

Thursday, July 29, 2010

10 things that make me HAPPY :)

My cousin Jacin inspired me to do this blog entry. She did one herself yesterday and it made me smile...so I hope that this will in turn make someone else smile as well as me. :)

So, here it is, my list of happiness:

1. MY HUSBAND, who is truly by my side everyday making me smile and laugh. I cannot think of anyone else I'd rather spend my life with, that's because there is no one else. I am so happy.

2. MY DOGS, because they make me laugh hysterically everyday!

3. FAMILY & FRIENDS, because they are, no matter how many miles away, the people that are always there for me and have defined who I am today! The memories we share are perfect and knowing there are many many more memories to be made is awesome!

4. PRETTY THINGS IN NATURE (but not bugs!)

5. FOOD! I absolutely love to cook homemade, heartwarming meals....I love ordering pizza too. :) PS. This was the best bacon I've ever had in my LIFE, the butcher cut it for us. OH man....

6. Getting fun things in the mail from far away friends!

7. MILK, some say this could fall under the FOOD section, but it honestly cannot. I love milk so much, I drink a gallon almost every other day. I love milk. Someday I want a cow, hehe.

8. WINE TIME, time to relax and enjoy life, one of the many reasons wine is sooo good... The picture below is my cousin and I touring Napa Valley. Beautiful.

9. RANDOM PRETTINESS on the internet blogs. Blogs rule these days, there is so much prettiness I don't know what to do with it all except smile. :)

10. PICTURES THAT REMIND ME OF HOME. Home. Sweet. Home.... Living far away is hard. No question, but I've filled my home and cubicle at work with pictures and things that remind me of where I am from.

Thanks Jacin for inspiring me to do this... is was a great trip down memory lane. :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

my little man...

Bored at home with stickers on a Sunday, this is what hysterically cracked John and I up for an hour....
the little things...

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Paper Memories {honeymoon in belize}

My team at American Greetings recently exhibited a show at the AG Gallery. The theme was "LIFE TRAVELS". I knew right away I wanted to focus on Belize where my husband and I traveled on our honeymoon (because it was so awesome in so many ways). But how can I use my pictures in a creative way?? That was the question! I decided to get messy and tear up my pictures and journal entries (copies of course!) to create something abstract. It was such a fun project, since I am used to working mainly on a computer. To complete my pieces, John, my husband, stained and sawed each frame for me.

LIFE TRAVELS: American Greetings Gallery
March 15- April 2

Manatee Road
This piece consists of layered photographs and journal entries all from my Belize honeymoon. By cutting, arranging, shaping, and placing each piece thoughtfully, I have created a new whole worth a thousand memories.

Local Celebrity
This piece is a collection of lens filtered photographs shaped into circles and assembled to a piece of canvas. Again, photos are from my honeymooon. :)

Coco Plum
This piece conveys my irresistible desire to travel and all things beautiful in nature. The background photo was taken from Coco Plum Caye in Belize, one of the best places on Earth!




Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Friday, June 11, 2010

My edits....





I've been having so much fun with this new editing skill Brion Hopkins taught me....don't be too harsh I'm just learning!

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Some more Wedding photos from an AWESOME photographer

As some of you know, I still haven't received my Wedding pictures from the photographer... I do however have a few from her that were unedited. So, I contacted Brion Hopkins, who is the nicest person in the world. His style of editing is to resemble the effects of the "holga" camera, which you know I love. He edited a few for me and here they are:






thank you Brion!!!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

BeneFit "high brow"



I am devoted.

I am a blush girl....I mean when it comes to makeup, if there is one thing I would choose over anything, it would be blush, I could (usually) go without anything else....but now that's changed. BeneFit makes this product called "high brow". It is a soft linen pink colored highlighting pencil you apply under the arch of your brow. It is such a simple and easy to use product that really gives your eyes pop and a instant lift. It takes 5 seconds to use and makes such a big difference. Seriously, why WOULDN'T you use this?!

Back and READY TO RUN!

(Jacin & I in Napa Valley, woot woot!)

I had an amazing weekend in San Francisco, visiting my cousin Jacin and her fiance, Pat. Jacin, as you know is the one who inspired me to run the Marathon. After my half marathon in Cleveland a few weeks ago, I took some time off, too much time, but now.... I'm back! While in SF, we did an amazing run. 10 miles. We ran along the Bay beach and across the Golden Gate Bridge, it was nuts. The bridge is so much longer than you would think, 1.75 miles. One of the coolest things I've ever done though.

I am getting so excited to run the NYC Marathon, 26.2 miles in 5 months!!!!

But, running aside, I have also been trying to eat better and loose some weight (I know, aren't we all?). Needless to say my trip to San Fran wasn't the healthiest of weekends. I don't regret it though. We indulged. We went to Napa for a day (gorgeous!!) so that included wine obviously, cheese, sausage, more cheese, croissants, spinach dip, and to top it off pizza, yeah this is in one day. We had to go to In & Out Burger of course after our very large brunch at my cousin, which was amazing by the way...omelets, muffins, and chococalte chip banana bread! And last but not least, Pat's homemade Chicken Parm, oh it was SO good!

Indulging is definitely okay once in a while, but now it is back to reality and eating healthy and getting back on track.

Any words of wisdom out there???

:)

See you soon. promise.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Half Marathon.....CHECK!


So, I did it. I ran my first half marathon in Cleveland this past Sunday. That's 13.1 miles. I feel really great about it too. I paced myself at a 10:00 minute mile and was feeling so good at the end I was able to sprint past the finish line. The weather could not have been more perfect, cool and sunny. The fans were amazing and gave me great motivation to run strong. They held signs that made me laugh, and signs that made me cry. I felt a new surge of inspiration as I ran through the streets of Cleveland, along the lake shore. Don't get me wrong, it was mentally and physically difficult. But, that's what it's all about, the challenge.

Two weeks I'll be in sunny San Francisco with my cousin, Jacin (whom I am running the NY marathon with). I am so excited to see her and run over the Golden Gate Bridge!!! And of course have some play time too in Wine Country Babyyyyy!!!!!!!!!!

See you soon.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

remember these?


They will always have a special place in my heart! Ludlow, Vermont. M301

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

the race is on!


As I've been mentioning my cousin Jacin and I are running the New York Marathon on November 7th. We are running with the charity: Fred's team. Fred's team has a mission: "to support crucial research at Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, bringing us closer to a world without cancer — one mile at a time."

Together, Jacin and I have hopes to raise $6,000 to donate towards the charity. It is going to be a lot of work for a wonderful cause. If you would like to support us with a tax deductable donation, feel free to help us out! http://mskcc.convio.net/goto/courtneyandjacinrun

Thanks!

:-)

Friday, April 23, 2010

LaBella Cupcakes Logo


A while ago I told you I was getting paid in cupcakes to design a logo for a new cupcake business. Well, the logo is designed and here it is! Even more exciting is that Laura, the owner, has plans to open a retail shop....which meaaaaannnnnssss... my logo could become a sign! I am very excited and have truly enjoyed working with Laura...and her cupcakes are to die for. If you live in the Cleveland area, you must order from her, she even delivers the cupcakes right to your door!!! Check her site here: www.labellacupcakes.com. She also has a twitter account and lets her followers create their own flavors. Laura then makes those flavors and adds them to her site. It's pretty exciting because each Monday there is a new flavored cupcake!

PS. Pretty soon the website will be updated with the new logo.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Saturday...the need for speed!



So, it's been about a week since my last post, and guess what? I still want to run a marathon...more than ever!

This week has been productive, I got some cool new sneaks and the Nike Sports Plus watch/pedometer. ....and they match ;-) It's so cool because the watch face actually detaches and is a USB to plug into your computer.

So, sorry if you came here for cute ideas today, you can check out my cousin Jacin's blog for that! :-) My blog started as a Wedding planning blog...but now I'm married, so it's basically an, "About my Life" blog, and since the marathon is a pretty big deal, that's what I'll be posting about... among many other things I'm sure.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

soooooo........I'm running the New York Marathon!!!


You are either very impressed right now or laughing your butt off if you know me. Where did this come from you may ask? Well, basically since my honeymoon in November, I stopped working out...I ran the occasional mile, went to the gym here and there, but nothing to keep me in shape. My excuse was that it was my winter weight. Well, all that changed when I went bridesmaid dress shopping with my cousin Jacin, who's getting married September 25th this year. "Um yikes!" was my facial expression when I took a look at myself in the mirror. I NEED TO GET IN SHAPE....soooon, so.....

"Why don't you run the NY Marathon with me cous?" My cousin Jacin ran the NY Marathon 2 years ago...but still the thought of running a Marathon had NEVER crossed my mind. But she said, "If I can do it, you can do it!" ...we are the same age, both like to be healthy but have a good time still, so yeah, maybe she was right... Anyways, after some convincing I said "Okay" and applied immediately online before I could talk myself out of it. Wow.

So, long story short, we both didn't get accepted. I started to cry and Jacin started to laugh (at me). We are still running the race, but even better because we are running for Fred's Team Charity, Sloan Kettering Hospital and are both fundraising $3,000.

This was 3 weeks ago, I am now up to 5 miles at one time, today I am running 7. My midpoint goal is the Cleveland half Marathon May 16th. And the New York Marathon is 7 months away, November 7th. Anyways, my life is obviously changing significantly, but in so many good ways. I plan to blog about my progress here, or in a new blog, so check back for updates....now it's time for my Sunday breakfast of pancakes, bacon & eggs....well, whole wheat pancakes & turkey bacon... There are some things I will not give up! :-D

Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Bean the Pug pillows




Lara, you did it again!! Click here to check out Lara's shop and buy one of these fine pug pillows.