Friday, December 30, 2011

december cake: layered peppermint cheesecake with white chocolate mousse frosting

well well well. I officially made it through an entire year of baking a new cake every month! my only rules were to make something new & to make it from scratch. I had so much fun doing this every month that I'm considering doing it again next year. I'm thinking, "a year of cookies," perhaps?

for december, it was another happy birthday jesus cake. this recipe is from southern living: a layered peppermint white cake & cheesecake with a white chocolate mousse frosting. everyone loved it. generally, only chocolate turns me on, but this was really good & perfect for christmas. the icing didn't do quite right (it was a little runny), so I left it un-iced on the sides, as inspired by the cover of my miette book (thanks, santa!).

thanks for following me on my highly caloric adventure.
ps- to see my entire year of cakes, click here.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

christmas day

only in florida can you put on shorts & flip flops & take a boat ride on christmas day. it was an incredibly beautiful, peaceful afternoon. a wonderful way to celebrate jesus' birth. merry christmas! 

Friday, December 23, 2011

annual ornament

I got a bunch of felt at an estate sale in atlanta last weekend for $1, so I thought I should probably make something with it. I found this diy post & decided to use the felt to make an ornament. my mom's friend used to make my sister & me a handmade ornament every year as kids & it has always been a sweet tradition. so I thought I'd start this year & attempt to make a make new ornament myself. knowing me, I'm sure I'll get around to making this new "tradition" happen every year...

Thursday, December 22, 2011

a gift for everyone

it's so hard to buy for people who have everything (that's most of us). i hate giving people junk they don't need, just to give it - picture frames, bath beads, candle holders, etc. I'm all about practical gifts... which to me usually means something edible.

I have always loved these ceramic baskets from anthropologie (especially after reading this somewhat ridiculous blog post about having a pretty refrigerator, which I couldn't help but enjoy). I bought a couple of them & filled them with fruit: tangerines from our tree, meyer lemons from a co-worker's tree & some limes. attached a delicious sangria recipe (I used this free mason jar template), coupled with a bottle of wine & this makes the perfect gift, in my opinion. 

and if you're interested in the sangria recipe, here it is:

1 bottle dry red wine

1/2 cup brandy
1/2 cup triple sec
1/4 cup lemon juice
1/3 cup frozen lemonade concentrate
1/3 cup orange juice
1 lemon, sliced into rounds
1 orange, sliced into rounds
1 lime, sliced into rounds
2 cups+ ginger ale or sprite

in a large pitcher or bowl, mix together the red wine, brandy, triple sec, lemon juice, lemonade concentrate & orange juice. wash fruit & float slices of lemon, orange & lime (and any other fruit of your choosing) in the mixture. refrigerate overnight. add ginger ale just before serving.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

christmas around the house

{vintage bulbs}
{mini tree}
{gift made by mom}
{I love presents!}

Monday, December 19, 2011

o christmas crack, o christmas crack

obviously I've never done crack (or any other drug for that matter), but I can't image that it could be any more addictive than this christmas toffee (a.k.a. "crack"). I've been making it every year since probably high school. I only allow myself to make it once a year at christmas, or else I'd be about 400 pounds. because once you pop a piece, you can't stop.

it's extremely simple to make & is great for gift-giving. photo below in case you need 'em.

saltines (I use the generic version)
2 sticks butter
1 cup light brown sugar
a bag chocolate chips (I use semi-sweet)
crushed nuts (I like pecans or walnuts)

preheat oven to 350
melt butter & sugar on low in a small pot on the stove until completely blended.
cover a raised-edged cookie sheet with aluminum foil (I used a silpat mat instead).
completely line the cookie sheet with saltine crackers.
pour blended butter & sugar mixture over crackers.
bake at 350 degrees for 7 minutes.
remove from oven. sprinkle chocolate chips over toffee.
put back in the oven for 2 minutes to help melt the chocolate.
remove from the oven & carefully spread the melted chocolate chips with a spatula.
sprinkle some chopped nuts over the toffee.
let cool & then put in refrigerator until hard (do not freeze).
once toffee is hard, remove from foil & break apart.
store in an airtight container in the fridge. I promise it won't last that long, though. 


Thursday, December 15, 2011

vintage garland

my sister found this vintage garland at an estate a few weeks ago. isn't it beautiful?

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

temporary christmas art

I love decking out the house for chirstmas. but we have a small house & don't have tons of extra space for keeping all of my christmas decor. so I'm always looking for creative solutions for storage.

I saw this beautiful print (I adore maps) designed by angela hardison & thought it would look perfect in one of the frames I already own. I downloaded it here on her blog for free (yes, free!) & then had it printed at mpix in a size that would fit the frame. when christmas is over, I'll just put the photo behind the poster that was already in the frame. perfect, easy storage. or I may even decide keep it up all year. such a great reminder of what christmas is all about.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

antique shopping

I had a fun weekend with my sister in atlanta at the scott antique market. they host the "world's largest indoor antique show." and boy, is it ginormous. we probably could have spent several days there (and it was both inside & outside). we didn't buy anything, sure had a fun time looking.

 {love this "tree" made from vintage broaches!}

Friday, December 9, 2011

lemon icebox cookies

for those of you with an overabundant supply of lemons from lemon trees this season, this martha recipe is a very easy & tasty cookie recipe. I used meyer lemons, but any lemon will do. and the best part is, you have to freeze the dough, so you can make it a month ahead & have it ready to go when your sweet tooth calls or when guests pop by.


  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, (spooned and leveled)
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1 teaspoon coarse salt
  • 1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, cut into pieces
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar, for rolling

  1. In a food processor, pulse flour, confectioners' sugar, salt, and lemon zest until combined. Add butter and process until sandy. Add egg yolks and lemon juice; pulse until dough comes together. Divide dough in half and form each into a 1 1/2-inch-wide log. Wrap in plastic and freeze until firm, about 2 hours (or up to 1 month).
  2. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, with racks in upper and lower thirds. Spread granulated sugar on a piece of parchment; roll logs over sugar to coat. Slice logs into 1/4-inch-thick slices and arrange, 1 inch apart, on two parchment-lined baking sheets. Bake until cookies are golden brown around edges, about 15 minutes, rotating sheets halfway through. Transfer cookies to wire racks to cool.

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

chevron wrapping paper from a potato

one of my favorite parts of christmas is buying & wrapping gifts. each year I try to do a little somethin' fun to beautify the gift (see last year's wrapping here). not only is it fun to receive a pretty package, but it also looks nice sitting under the tree all month.

this year I decided to stick with simple kraft paper & then stamp some sort of design onto it. I don't know if any of you have ever checked out michael's or joann's craft stores for stamps, but they really suck. they all look like microsoft office clip art from 1999. and I knew I didn't want to wait to order a stamp from etsy, so my next thought was to buy a carving block to make my own, but neither store carried those either.

so I regretfully returned home, feeling defeated, & decided to rid my sorrows over some comfort food in the form of thanksgiving leftovers. and then it hit me- potatoes! duh! why didn't I think of that earlier? I grabbed a small knife (an exacto would work well too) & cut a shape out of the potato (I went with the zig zag pattern). I dapped the "stamp" onto a paper towel to get out some of the moisture & then dipped it in gold ink & then onto the kraft paper, over & over again. it dried all shiny & pretty and looks just as cute as this expensive anthropologie wrapping paper, if I do say so myself. 

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

it's beginning to look a lot like...

christmas! I know, I know - I just posted about thanksgiving. but I'm one of those annoying people who starts listening to christmas music the second the weather turns chilly (chilly being like 60 degrees here in florida). of course, I don't do it in front of others (in fact, when people make comments like "it's the second week of november & they're already playing christmas music! can you believe that?!?!" I'm all like, "gosh, I know! is nothing scared anymore?" and then I hop into my car & secretly turn on lite 96.1 - "all christmas music, all the time").

so by the weekend after thanksgiving, I am totally antsy to go get the tree & start decorating the house.  we got an awesome tree this year (as well a second little mini tree so we can have one in each of the rooms that we hang out in). I swear the house smells just like one of those pine-scented tree-shaped air-freshners... but better!

{there's something not right about picking out a tree while wearing shorts}
{a bus full 'o trees}
{and it was so hot, we had to stop for ice cream on the way home}

Saturday, November 26, 2011


it was, yet again, a wonderful thanksgiving. it was on the small side this year, as some of the family was traveling. and my sis works in retail, so therefore she couldn't make it into town (thanks, black friday!). but other than that, it was a beautiful day at the lakehouse, with lots of super-delicious food. I am reminded all the time how incredibly grateful I am for the countless blessings in my life. god is good! 
{prepping to smoke the ham}
{grammie is still the world's best thanksgiving cook}
{we are thankful for the lazy susan}
{post-meal walk around the lake -  to help make room for dessert}
{too chilly to swim}
{robert trekking through the weeds}
{the lake at sunset is a beautiful thing}


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