Saturday, October 31, 2009

Happy Halloween!

My coworkers and I enjoyed a fun night of 'Hallo-Scream' Bunco this week!
I was Paula Deen, but a few folks thought I was Martha, until I said 'Hey Y'all!'

I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween!
Also, we're hoping that Flordia takes down Georgia once again in Jacksonville. GO GATORS!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Chocolate Chip Cookies with Homemade Vanilla

Chocolate chip cookies are one of my favorite things to bake, and since Andy was kind enough to make both of us some homemade vanilla I thought the first thing I would make would be cookies! I made a batch for us to take while we were camping at the lake last weekend and thought I'd share them with y'all. I usually use the Crisco recipe, because the cookies always come out so soft and chewy. You can cook them longer to make them crispier, but we like soft cookies in our house! (I apologize ahead of time for the less than stellar food photography. I'll have to study up on my Pioneer Woman Cooks! photos.)
Here is the recipe*:

¾ cups Butter flavored Crisco
1 ¼ cups firmly packed brown sugar
2 tbsp. Milk
1 tbsp. Vanilla
1 Egg
1 ¾ cups All-Purpose Flour
1 tsp. Salt
¾ tsp. Baking Soda
1 cup Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
1 cup pecan piece

Directions:Heat oven to 375. Cream butter flavor crisco, brown sugar, milk, and vanilla in large bowl.

Andy's delicious homemade vanilla!

Blend until creamy. Blend in egg.Combine flour, salt, and baking soda. Add to creamed mixture, gradually.

(Y'all, I would be so sad without my Kitchenaid mixer!)

Stir in chocolate chips and nuts.

Drop rounded Tablespoonfuls (about 2 measuring tablespoons) of dough 3 inches apart on ungreased baking sheet. (I usually cook on stoneware, which doesn't need to be greased either.)

Bake at 375 8 to 10 minutes for chewy cookies (they will look light and moist) DO NOT OVERBAKE or 11 to 13 minutes for crisp cookies.

Cool on baking sheet 2 minutes.

Remove to cooling rack. 3 dozen 3-inch cookies. Note: if nuts are omitted, use 1-1/2 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips.

Voila! Delicious homemade chocolate chip cookies!
*I did make two substitutions this time, besides the homemade vanilla. I used milk chocolate chips instead of semi-sweet and dark brown sugar instead of light because that's what I had in my pantry and they turned out even better than usual!

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

The Help

I am totally hooked on this book! If you haven't heard about it, you should definitely check it out. It's about 'the help' in Mississippi in the 1960's and how they get along with the white folks that they work for. It is a really great read and I can't wait to see how it turns out.

Sick Day

I stayed home from work today because I have the crud. My scratchy throat from the end of last week has turned into a super froggy throat and my nose has joined the 'sick club' as well. No fun for me. At least I have my humidifier and lots of kool-aid (a sick day staple at my house) to keep me company! If I had any extra energy, I would get started on my Christmas baking and crafts plan for the holidays this year. I can't believe November is right around the corner. I have lots of great ideas that I can't wait to try this year!
And since it's such a cold and wet day outside I decided to put some spicy chili on the Crock Pot so that we could at least have a warm and yummy supper tonight.

Photo Credit

Monday, October 26, 2009

Fall Color

It's starting to look like fall in Georgia!We got to see this beautiful fall color this weekend at the lake. We had a great campsite right on the water and the weather was gorgeous!

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Homemade Vanilla

I made my first batch of baked goods with Andy's delicious homemade vanilla this weekend. I'll have a full post later on this week, but for now, here's a sneak peek at the yummy vanilla.If I had known it would have turned out so good, we would have had homemade vanilla a long time ago. Thanks again, Andy!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Hurry Up Christmas!

Fall has been fantastic this year and with all the upcoming holidays I can hardly think of anything but...
sparkly Christmas ornaments...and presents under the tree!I've begun my Christmas shopping and this week should be able to get started on Christmas crafts and my master plan for Christmas baking. Thankfully, October is nearly over (where did it go so quickly?) and I've got Fakesgiving, Thanksgiving, Christmas and New Year's to look forward to. It's going to be fabulous!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Photography and More!

I'm excited that I've got my first photo shoot since fall started lined up for this afternoon! I'll be wandering around downtown Augusta taking pics for my friend Stacey and her fiance, Ryan. We're working on their Save the Date photos and Christmas pics and I'm really excited. Stacey and I had some cute ideas as to how to incorporate their date in the photos and I think the end result will turn out really cute. I'll post a few pics after we're all done.
This weekend was pretty good, too! I went to Columbia Friday night to visit the fabulous Miss Twyla and deliver some furniture to her new townhouse. It's turning out to be really cute and I hope that maybe on my next visit I'll be able to take some photos. (I am however, still jealous of her brand new fridge, which is like the Cadillac of fridges. The only thing better would be a stainless steel Sub-Z.)
Saturday we went down to the 'Boro to see Andy. It was a little too cold and wet for the football game but we did a little bit of shopping at Hobby Lobby (I can't wait till we get one here!) and tried the new BBQ joint in town. I was finally able to get the supplies to start working on some of my Christmas crafts, which I'm excited about. I'm also looking forward to baking some delicious treats with the homemade vanilla extract that Andy made for us. It smells so good! If either of those projects turn out cute, I'll post them on the blog. We also made a pit stop at a few of our favorite watering holes. It's nice to see that some things never change down there.

Friday, October 16, 2009

New Moon

I think I was the last person on the plan to read Twilight and see the movie. I wouldn't say I'm obsessed, but the book was great, the movie was super enjoyable and the soundtrack is constantly playing on my ipod. In case you haven't seen the trailer yet b/c you're living under a rock, here ya go!
Looks like there's going to be a bunch of great movies this fall, I can't wait for New Moon or The Blind Side!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Missing Key West

The weather has finally cooled down which is great, but the past few days have been cold, rainy, and gray. No fun! I'm really wishing I was back on my honeymoon in beautiful Key West, Florida.
I could make funny faces and silly photos all day.I could wander around all day and enjoy the gorgeous weather on my bike.Instead of looking out my window and seeing no sun and no clouds, I'd much rather look out (or be outside already) and see a view like this:
Now the only question to ask is, When can I go back to Key West?!?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009


Along with the changing of seasons (can it please get a little cooler down South?!?) I've decided (or rather, was forced b/c Google wouldn't let me transfer my blog to a different email account) to change and update the blog! So along with my new blog address I'm hoping to update the design a little bit and start posting more often. It's starting to feel a little bit less summery around here. Of course, once the temps dropped just a smidgen it's been rainy and gray outside. I would love some clear fall days, leaves of various fall colors and weather cool enough to enjoy a pumpkin spice latte without breaking a sweat! Thankfully there is much to look forward to. The fair starts here on Friday, I am doing a breast cancer walk on Saturday and pretty soon it will be Halloween. Right afterwards I get to enjoy one of my favorite holidays, Fakesgiving! I can't wait!

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Midnight in the Garden

If you haven't read Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil, get yourself to the library or nearest bookstore and pick up a copy quick! It's one of my favorite books of all time and most definitely a great Southern book. I got totally sucked into the book while I was reading it. It really draws you in with all the great characters and interesting plot. And you know it's not a good story about the South without some crazies, right?

The movie version is another favorite of mine. I can't resist it anytime it's on tv. John Cusack is such a great actor that I'll watch him in just about anything! Clint Eastwood did a great job directing it. I like how everyone in the movie seems authentically southern, even if they aren't. Some of the accents are a little thick, but none of them seem put on, which usually bothers me about movies based in the south that don't feature southern actors.

Sassy Lady Chablis! I still haven't seen her show in Savannah, but I hear it is quite exciting!

One of my favorite quotes is by John Cusack's character, after he realizes that things are a little bit different down south:

'I've only been here three days and it's just a shooting, but give it time, okay. This place is fantastic. It's like Gone With the Wind on Mescalin. I know you're my agent. Listen to me, they walk imaginary pets here, Garland. On a f-ing leash. Alright? And they're all heavily armed and drunk. New York is boring!'

Mercer House is featured in the movie and one of the spots I'll have to put on my places to see and photograph on my next trip to Savannah.

Friday, October 9, 2009


I discovered this fantastic face wash while staying at the W Buckhead in Atlanta last month. I usually judge a hotel by it's bath products and the quality of the sheets and the W did not disappoint! The rooms were fabulously furnished and very modern. The bar with outdoor lounge/balcony was really fun. Now, I'm totally hooked on this Foaming Face Wash from Bliss. It leaves your skin feeling super fresh and has the best scent. I'm squeezing out every last drop of the tiny bottles I got from the hotel and I'll be sure to put this on my favorites list at If you haven't tried it yet, run out to your nearest Sephora and try it immediately! Your face will thank you!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Sad News...

I was so sad to hear this week that Gourmet magazine is going under! November will be their last issue. I really wish they'd at least have published the December issue so we could have one more set of fabulous holiday recipes! Wouldn't that be grand?The good news is their website will be up till the end of the year, so get to and download a few fabulous recipes and classic cocktails before they're gone!
I'll have to decide what to subscribe to now. Got any suggestions? Food & Wine? Bon Apetit?I hear that Cook's Illustrated is really good, but I love a magazine with delicious food photos...