Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Merry Christmas and Happiest of New Years!

I am a bit tardy on the Merry Christmas wishes, but with my family arriving to town and all the hustle and bustle that this time of year brings about, I got caught up in the joys of being with family and my fiancé! We have quite enjoyed our time together that has beenspent playing board games, sipping coffee by the fire and relishing each others company over delicious meals!

We have been sipping on this hot chocolate from Williams Sanoma and it is scrum diddly umptious (this is a made up word my family likes to use for something that is quite tasty)! It's made from real chocolate shavings and you combine it with slightly boiled milk for a rich, smooth, chocolaty concoction that is perfect for a cool winter night!

It's a well known fact that I love to read, but I also love to collect coffee table books and cook books! I was given this lovely cookbook for Christmas and it was right up my ally! I just adore the colorful cover and southern recipes that this book showcases, and the joy of life that the authors easily exude through the pages is contagious! The authors are from my hometown of Tallahassee, Florida and have a store by the name of Coton Colors. The store is full or adorable hand painted, personalized accessories, stationary and much, much more!

I will return after the New Year! Until then, I will most likely be reading, sipping hot chocolate, enjoying my fiance's company and reading :) Happy New Year Y'all!!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

All I Want For Christmas...Day 3!

I grew up in a family that is easily entertained by the simplicity and sheer pleasure that comes from playing boardgames! We have always enjoyed that time together to get away from all of our technological gadgets and have some "old-fashioned" fun and laughs (and maybe just a teeeeeeny bit of competitiveness, wink wink)! I thought I would give you our top 3 favorite games that would all make for a great, inexpensive gift for anyone!

The Game of Things is one of my personal favorites! If you haven't heard of this or don't know how it's played, this one is quite simple and doesn't require much brain power, maybe just a little creativity! One person will start the game off by being the "reader" and will read the prompt on the first card, such as, "something you wouldn't do in front of your grandma" (there are a kajillion prompts). Everyone, including the reader, will come up with a response that they believe is suitable and then submit it to be read aloud. The person to the left of the reader will begin to take their guesses on who said what response and you are awarded points with each one you get correct. The person with the most points after everyone has been a "reader" wins. It's a great game because the responses can get quite entertaining and funny! My family has taken a little break from this game because we can't seem to have any responses that don't include some sort of gross potty language (I have two brothers...and my mom and I may participate in the potty talk solely to throw the suspicion off of ourselves)! Maybe one day we will become mature...but I guess that's part of the fun :)

No explanations needed for this! Such a classic and recently, this has been a top game choice!

Scrabble is my all time favorite game! I guess because Im a little bookworm, I really enjoy the competitive aspect of finding words that will earn you many points! My fiance' and I love to play this together and though he is a few wins up on me, I completely redeemed myself the other night with a big time win :)

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

All I Want For Christmas...Day 4!

Due to the fact that today is normally titled "Bookworm Wednesday" and also because I get childishly giddy over opening a present containing a book, I'm going to show you two coffee table gems that would look simply lovely and one's that I j'adore!

This beauty has a vibrant, eye stimulating color and wonderful ideas/pictures that are bound to bring about your inner decorator and creative side!

I'm sure many of you read Emily's blog, Cupcakes and Cashmere, but she just came out with a book on entertaining, decorating and fashion and I love the dainty, feminine feel this cover portrays! I have no idea how the content is (this book is only available for pre-order), but if her blog is any indication of what to expect, then we are all surely in for one big treat!

Happy Reading :)

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

All I Want For Christmas...Day 5!

Christmas is only a mere 5 days away! I just can't believe it, but I am bubbling over with excitement to spend some time with family and my fiance; it's such a glorious time of year! I wanted to do a post every day up until Christmas of a gift that I believe would be a great present (if Santa brought me any of these goodies, I wouldn't object)! The one I'm featuring today is from a stationary designer by the name of Emily Ley and I discovered her in the latest issue of Southern Weddings! Though it was in a "bridal" mag, the stationary is just a basic note card with a southern saying at the top of it (for example, "goodness gracious" or "heavens to betsy"); perfect for thank you notes or just to send a personal, super adorable note to someone dear! Her website is emilyley.com and as I perused her site quickly, I immediately determined that it looks right up my southern, girly alley! These particular notecards below were $25 for 16! So darn cute!

Monday, December 12, 2011

Beatty's Chocolate Cake!

Rain and wind have been pounding on my window all night long, so mustering up the energy to get out of bed and get ready for work is not quite what I want to do; my bed is just calling me to jump back in it and cuddle up underneath it's cozy covers! However, a little cold and rain aren't going to steal the joy and excitement I have over my fiance' returning home today for a whole MONTH! It is also his birthday tomorrow and I thought I'd share with you the cake I baked for him yesterday; nothing like a little chocolate sweetness to brighten up this dreary day!

The birthday boy is a major fan of chocolate, so I decided to put what baking skills I have to use and whip him up an Ina Garten recipe! One of my closest friends LOVES her and I have received a handful of Ina's cookbooks, but never tried a recipe; yesterday being a first, I really hope it turns out delicious! I found it quite simple to follow and if the batter and icing are any indication of how it will taste, then it's bound to please any chocolate lovers out there! I'll post the recipe below and I can't wait to serenade MAC with the birthday song and have him blow out his candles!! Here's to hoping your Monday is quite sweet :)

Beatty's Chocolate Cake:

Ingredients for Cake-

Butter for greasing the pans

1 3/4 cups all purpose flour, plus more for the pans

2 cups sugar

3/4 cup good cocoa powder

2 tsp baking soda

1 tsp baking powder

1 tsp kosher salt

1 cup buttermilk, shaken

1/2 cup veg oil

2 extra large eggs, at room temp

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 cup freshly brewed hot coffee

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Butter two 8 inch round cake pans. Line with parchment paper, then butter and flour the pans. Sift the flour, sugar, cocoa, baking soda, baking powder, and salt into the bowl of an elecetric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment and mix on low speed until combined. In another bowl, combine the buttermilk, oil, eggs, and vanilla. With the mixer on low speed, slowly add the wet ingredients to the dry. With the mixer still on low, add the coffee and stir just to combine, scraping the bottom of the bowl with a rubber spatula. Pour the batter into the prepared pans and bake for 35-40 minutes, until a cake tester comes out clean. Cool in the pans for 30 minutes, then turn them out onto a cooling rack and cool completely.

Place one layer, flat side up, on a flat plate or cake pedestal. With a knife or offset spatula, spread the top with frosting. Place the second layer on top, rounded side up, and spread the frosting evenly on the top and sides of the cake.

Chocolate Frosting:


6 oz good semisweet chocolate

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temp

1 extra large egg yolk, at room temp

1 tsp pure vanilla extract

1 3/4 cups sifted confectioners suger

1 tblsp instant coffee powder

Chop the chocolate and place it in a heat proof bowl set over a pan of simmering water. Stir until just melted and set aside until cooled to room temp. In the bowl of an electric mixer, beat the butter on medium high speed until light yellow and fluffy, about 3 minutes. Add the egg yolk and vanilla and continue beating 3 minutes. Turn the mixer to low, gradually add the confectioners' sugar, then beat at medium speed, scraping down the bowl as necessary, until smooth and creamy. Dissolve the coffee powder in 2 tsp of the hottest tap water. On low speed, add the chocolate and coffee to the butter mixture and mix until blended. Don't whip! Spread immediately on the cooled cake!

Friday, December 9, 2011

Finally! Thanksgiving Re-Cap!

Im sure many of you (well, if there still are any of you) readers were wondering if I had just fallen off the face of the blogging earth, but I'm here to assure you that I am back and here to stay! Unfortunately, my computer being a century old, I have had a handful of problems with it and pronounced it dead quite a few times. Much to my delight, (or dismay, due to the fact that I'd REALLY love to have a MAC), my computer decided to awaken from it's hybernation, allowing me to FINALLY be able to grace y'all with my sweet southern self ;)

Enough about boring, old computers! I wanted to do a Thanksgiving re-cap before I began with some Christmas posts, which is an unbelievable only 2 weeks away!

We had quite a lovely Thanksgiving at Hampton Island, Georgia this year. The original plan had been to celebrate at my fiance's grandparents house (this is tradition for his family, and they had kindly extended an invite to my family) but his sweet grandmother had just been diagnosed with Lupus and was instructed to rest, to not extend too much energy or become overly stressed. We knew that hosting would just be too much for Nena (his grandmother) this year, so we intervened and suggested everyone join us at Hampton! We had two large tables set up, a fire going in the background, and a feast large enough to feed an army!

This was a portion of the food; we had fried turkey, regular turkey and ham! Michael's little cousin Abby, and our precious flower girl, is quite the baker and she created these adorable little turkey cupcakes!

My sweet family that I couldn't be more blessed to be a part of!

My fiance' and my future in laws! Another blessing for me that I get to also become a part of this incredible family and that our two families came together as one big family this year for Thanksgiving!

Feel indescribably blessed to be able to spend the rest of my life as his wife :)

Instead of relaxing on the sofa after our feast and letting the Turkey take us into a deep sleep, we ventured off to my future Uncle's land to shoot skeet, pumpkins, cans and well just about anything in front of me I could hit (mainly the ground haha). I come from a family that is quite talented in the shooting area and my fiance' is quite the shot, so maybe one of these days I can learn to shoot that darn skeet!

Lastly, I got to ride this gorgeous thing, who goes by the name of Prairie Princess, on the Sunday after Thanksgiving with my mom. We had one of the prettiest trail rides that day and it was a wonderful ending to a very satisfying (in more ways than one) Thanksgiving holiday!

Hope that everyone has a weekend filled with Christmas festivities, Christmas shopping and Christmas movies (I have already watched Polar Express, Home Alone 2, and The Santa Clause)!!