Thursday, December 30, 2010

memorable moments: 2010

2010 was probably my best year yet. awesome things happened this year.

JANUARY: Rachel's baby shower.
FEBRUARY: the only sad moment - my grandfather's passing. we are joyful though, because now he and gramma koos are in heaven, dancing together.
MARCH: birth of Chloe! we are so blessed to have her in our lives. it's amazing how quickly they grow and learn in the first year (we're at 9 months). she is now crawling all over, almost walking and babbling non-stop just like the rest of the ladies in this family. oh, and getting mad when we say "no" or take things away from her :)
APRIL: roomie bought a house! i think we failed to do the majority of the things on our "must do before kc moves out list."
MAY: some of the best bridesmaids ever: bachelorette party in ORLANDO, FLORIDA! i cannot express how amazing that weekend was and how i will always remember it! it was such a joy to be able to spend some time w/ my friend Alicia who lives in FL and was unable to attend our bridal shower. josh & i also were privileged to have our engagement photos taken by my amazing sister, Rachel this month.
JUNE: bridal. shower. amazingness. my family and friends. rock. josh and i were so blessed at the shower and we love using all of our amazing gifts!!
JULY: not much happened this month, i believe Josh had his bachelor party in NY City this month. i'm glad he was able to do that with his friends. most of my life in this month was planning for the WEDDING duh, and enjoying the summer.
AUGUST: wedding. what can i say? it was hands down the best day ever. everything was more amazing than i could have imagined. we had so much fun the day of and were again so blessed by our family and friends who came, helped, baked, were generous, danced with us...and then the honeymoon? AMAZING. can we please go back?
SEPTEMBER - DECEMBER: not much happened these last few months, and that is totally okay with me. Josh & i have been enjoying the married life and right now just enjoying the holiday and time off. we had a great time with our families for all the holidays!

<<edit>> josh reminded me: some big things DID happen in SEPT-DEC 2010:
*NOVEMBER: visited Josh's aunt & uncle in Maumee, Ohio
*DECEMBER: my poor green civic was rear-ended (with me in it) and verdict: totaled. Josh and i bought a beautiful black Subaru Impreza hatchback as our brand new car. we love it!
*DECEMBER: girls weekend @ lake house in Chautauqua. wine tasting, breweries, fun times, awesome food and good conversation!

Monday, December 27, 2010

spice cupcakes & cream cheese frosting

for Thanksgiving, i made cupcakes. i used this recipe here Applesauce Spice Cupcakes, but didn't have enough applesauce for a double batch so i added some vegetable oil. they weren't quite as moist as i would have liked, but they still turned out good. i also didn't have any nutmeg and might have added too much clove.

for the frosting, i used one of my favorites - Robin from Big Red Kitchen's browned butter cream cheese frosting. the first time i ever made this (two years ago) it turned out perfect. this time, i burned the butter and had to restart. then, i didn't really brown it enough and i made way too much so i had a massive container left over (and had to make brownies to use some of the rest of it).

all in all the cupcakes were still delish and eaten up, though i did end up throwing a few away after they sat for several days being uneaten.

brownie recipe was found online, something random that didn't need butter but used oil (had no butter). still turned out pretty decent, not quite as moist and fudgy as i prefer.

holy holidays!

and just like that, christmas is over! always goes so quickly and leaves me depressed for the rest of the winter...until valentine's day and my birthday show up, then spring and summer and vacations then fall and holidays again! oh, how the time flies (and even more so as we get older it seems...)

christmas was as enjoyable as ever this year. christmas eve morning was spent with the newer tradition of breakfast with the SKANK girls and a secret santa gift exchange. staci had me and got me a new volleyball (yay!), a Rachael Ray cookbook and a cute "our first christmas" ornament. love all the gifts from her! the rest of christmas eve was spent prepping for the following day's dishes i was bringing as well as our service at church and celebrations with Josh's family including more fun gifts, ornaments and gift cards and lots of food. Josh and i also exchanged our gifts to each other. he had already bought me my awesome laptop a few months ago when mine broke. he also bought me some ornaments (very special because he's been commenting that we have enough ornaments, but got me some anyway b/c he knows how much i love it!). he also got me some cookie cutters, a new brita water filter, chapsticks, teas and an awesome travel mug!

okay, okay, i know you all don't care about my gifts, but i was truly blessed. i should point out that i received another Rachael Ray cookbook as well as a 7-piece set of knives (including holder). i gave our major set and my three-piece away to my mum (since their knives suck).

we spent Christmas evening at Josh's aunt's house with his dad's side of the family. Dec 26, boxing day for us Englishfolk, was spent at my "aunts" where we do Englishy things like eat cold meat, more trifle, millions of desserts, drink tea and watch football (um, real football. soccer, that is. seriously, american football should be renamed).

currently i'm waiting for my cousin to come over so i can make breakfast and some coffee. my feet are cold but i don't feel like wearing socks.

okay! i'll try to post the dishes i made for christmas soon (which i never did for thanksgiving...whoops!)

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

update on life

things are busy and crazy here, which is actually a little unusual for the holiday season. business is usually slower as many customers are on vacation and many of our vendors have weeks off b/w christmas and new years. however, we are fairly busy, which is good. just helps to propel us into the holiday season and vacation time of my own!

i'm very excited for the holiday this year. josh and i decorated our tree together and i'm excited to spend vacation days and holidays with him and his family. plus we have our new baby Chloe (okay, she's almost 9 months...not really "new" anymore), but Christmas should be so fun with her! plus my sister's in-laws are joining us for the holiday, so we'll have a full table which is going to be great. isn't Chloe the cutest ever?? i mean, really, she is. photo by rachel (

other things going on:
  • i was rear-ended after leaving work last week. it turns out my car is totaled, though worth more than i thought. the prospect of getting a new car is very exciting (i've had my sweet civic Genevieve...or Guinevere...i can't remember what i named her...for almost 8 years now). josh and i plan on looking in the next few days for a new mode of transportation! we knew my car wasn't going to last too much longer, but this was definitely sooner than anticipated.
  • next weekend is our SKANK girls weekend (staci, kristen, amy, nicole & katie). we are going to Staci's mother-in-law's cabin in Chautauqua and i'm very excited! we are planning on hitting up some wineries, hanging out with games and movies and making a Mexican themed dinner one of the nights.
i guess that is about it for now, there are many holiday things going on that are exciting (to me) but not really post-worthy!

Thursday, December 2, 2010

baking bread: first attempt

i've been trying to think of better ways to spend the several hours i have at home before josh gets done with work and we eat dinner. usually i sit on my lazy butt watching TV and browsing the web. one idea i had was to make my own bread! josh loves fresh Italian and white bread, but it's so hard to keep it fresh and yummy. i usually prefer wheat bread, but i end up freezing it b/c we don't eat it that often, and i've been really disappointed with brands i've been buying at the store lately. i know making bread is time consuming, but i thought it was a productive way to spend an evening!

last night i attempted a simple white bread recipe that was in the booklet that came with our KitchenAid mixer. holy. seriousness. that is the best machine ever. i love that it works for bread dough! it has this awesome "bread hook" (metal) that kneads the dough for you, so no kneading by hand! the recipe called for two loaves, but i only have one loaf pan so i split the recipe in half.

pretty much the recipe goes like this:
  1. mix milk, butter, sugar and salt in saucepan. heat to dissolve, then cool to lukewarm.
  2. dissolve yeast in warm water in "warmed" mixing bowl
  3. add the milk mixture to the yeast, combine
  4. add flour, in increments. when all flour is added, knead on speed 2
  5. form into ball and put in greased bowl, turning once to coat
  6. cover, let rise in warm area about 1 hour (i put my oven on for a little then turned it off and put in the bread dough)
  7. roll out dough to rectangle, roll up and plop in your greased loaf pan
  8. let rise till doubled in size, bake and enjoy!

this bread was great toasted w/ peanut butter for breakfast. josh enjoyed it last night as the base for a turkey sandwich!

all in all, i enjoyed the process and was very proud of my results. i will definitely continue to make our own bread!! i actually made stromboli dough while i was making the bread dough. pictures/post on that later!

if you are interested in more details on the recipe, let me know!