Saturday, October 30, 2010

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Cupcakes

These are so cute! I got the recipe from kevinandamanda and I think everyone in the office is really going to enjoy these. They are my little Halloween treat for my coworkers. First step is to use your favorite chocolate chip cookie recipe for the cookie dough, only substitute 2 Tablespoons of milk for each egg. Freeze 1.5 T balls over night, which keeps them from baking inside the cupcake. I just used Moist Deluxe yellow cake mix (with the pudding in the mix - can't go wrong with pudding) and filled the cupcake tins 3/4 of the way full.  Just plop the frozen cookie dough ball on top of the batter. No need to press down or anything, the cupcake will rise as the frozen ball sinks and it's a perfect little hidden treat inside - you can't tell at all! Bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes. I used the following recipe for the frosting, and it tastes just like cookie dough.

Cookie Dough Buttercream Frosting

3 sticks softened butter

3/4 cup light brown sugar (packed)

3 1/2 cups powdered sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

2 Tablespoons milk

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Technically, you are supposed to cream the butter and brown sugar until fluffy and then add the powdered sugar a little at a time, then beat in the rest of the ingredients, but I put everything in a bowl and just went to town. I find that it gives a sugary texture (still grainy) which I love. Then, decorate as you like and enjoy :-)

[caption id="attachment_463" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Cookie Dough Cupcakes Inside"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_464" align="aligncenter" width="300" caption="Cookie Dough Cupcakes"][/caption]

Friday, October 29, 2010

People are crazy

On the way to work today, I had to snap a quick drive-by photo. Who in the world thought this would be a nice decoration for a building? I think you'd have to see this gem in person to truly appreciate the insanity of it. This picture doesn't really give it justice. This creepy old man face with grapes on his head is a monstrosity. Look at the scale in comparison to the porches - it takes up a whole floor of this apartment building. Can anyone explain this? Because I can't.

[caption id="attachment_458" align="aligncenter" width="662" caption="creepy guy"][/caption]

Fall at the Lake...

Not a whole lot really needs to be said about this one...

It's okay if you want to be jealous that I see this every day.  Happy Friday, everyone!

Day 25 - Thankful to be so Blessed

What I'm going to say is maybe going to come across as bragging.  I'm sorry for that in advance.  But I have a pretty sweet life...and that's what I'm thankful for today.

Today I got maybe the most inspirational email ever from one of my close friends from college.  It made me thankful that I am blessed with not only friendships, but deep friendships that not only stand the test of time, and the test of distance as well.  I was so happy that she shared what she did with me, and it made me realize that I have been so incredibly blessed in my life that I actually got a little teary.  I have my sister, my oldest/best friend and blog co-hort, my close friends and roommates from college, and my current roommate/best friend.  And I can go to any of these women with anything, anytime.  Honestly, I feel like the luckiest girl in the world.

To all my wonderful friends, whether you read this blog post or not - I love you!  You make my life WAY delightful.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Day 24 - Thankful for Carmel Apple Kisses

Sooo delicious!  Have you tried Hershey's new fall kiss flavor?  If not - go to the store.  Right now!  I wouldn't steer you wrong.  These little suckers taste just like carmel apples.  If you have no self control like me, beware...because they are incredibly addicting and before you know it the entire bag is just full of empty wrappers.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Day 23 - Thankful for Weather Broadcasts

I know that many of us had some crazy weather yesterday.  However, when this weather interfered with my weekly NCIS fest on CBS, I was not too happy.  Until I realized that the weatherman was equally entertaining.  Have you ever noticed that meterologists get totally jazzed whenever they are talking about bad weather?  He was in the midst of telling people that if they lived in a mobile home to abandon it and run for a ditch...and he was excited.  Not nervous, apprehensive, or incredibly concerned.  Excited! 

He was also encouraging people to submit photos of anything that they had seen, but then was truly appalled when the photos came into the station.  There was one particular photo that showed a softball game being played while there was a funnel cloud in the distance.  Actual quote from Mr. Weatherman: "I have to say, I'm incredibly upset by this picture.  Why is the game still being played?  There had to have been lightning...there are people in an open field...this is not good."

I almost wish I was still under a tornado warning so that he was still on TV.  Almost.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Day 22 - Thankful for Philosophy

No, not the subject.  Please...I am no longer in school, so my synapses do not fire quickly enough to deal with philosophy.  I'm talking about the bath and beauty products.

I am in a great mood.  I am sitting here in my lovely room which smells of spiced cider (see one of our previous "thankful" posts on apple products).  And I just took a shower...using philosophy body wash.  My roommate's mom is a big fan of the QVC channel on TV (or "the Q" as she calls it).  She alerted us that Philosophy brand products would be on this weekend.  So we watched.  And now I am more addicted than ever.

I cannot actually tell you how in love I am with this stuff.  Do yourself a favor and go to their website.  And prepare to be in awe.  All of their new holiday products are out and they are adorable.  And I'm guessing that most of them smell like heaven.  The 3-in-1 bath and shower gels are phenomenal.  PHENOMENAL.  My skin feels clean, silky and smooth, and even though these products smell strongly delicious in the shower, you won't walk around smelling like a mimosa or a cinnamon bun all day.  It's indulgently fantastic.  Seriously.  I kind of feel like I went to the spa. 

Here are a few of my current favorites:

Pink Frosted Layer Cake 3-in-1 bath and shower gel.  This body wash smells exactly how it sounds.  Pure deliciousness, without being overpowering.  I used this yesterday.  It's in the permanent rotation.

Kiss Me lip balm.  This stuff is fantastic.  I'm usually a chapstick girl (my mom and roommate both cringe when I say things like that), but I can't get enough of this.  Beware: it's addicting.  But your lips will be it's kinda worth it. :)

Pure Grace spray fragrance.  I have put my Ralph Lauren Romance on the shelf for awhile because of this.  I've even given up on my body sprays that I usually use.  I've been using this as an every day spray- it's amazing.  Read the reviews on the website - they are spot on.

My roommate and I are heading to the mall this weekend, and I plan on splurging on a few new ones/buying some early Christmas gifts.   I've heard (from Rose) that you can also find these products at TJ Maxx and Marshall's.  Now, go forth and pamper thyself!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Day 21 – Thankful for a beautiful night’s sleep

Here's what I realized this morning: I haven't got a good night's sleep in...well...years. I got a 4-inch very dense memory foam mattress topper for my old lumpy mattress...and OMG.  How did I sleep without it? How did I ever wake up feeling refreshed? I woke up this morning and I wasn't tired. I hopped out of bed (even though it was so fluffy and comfy I didn't want to) and got ready for my day. No groaning, no stiffness, no yawning. I am so rested and delighted with my new favorite item! It's like cuddling up on a cloud :-)

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Day 20 - Thankful for Visitors

October has been a busy month for me down here in NC - we've had delightful visitors every weekend for the past 3 weekends.  First my parents, then my sister, and then my wonderful friend from college.  My roommate and I had such a wonderful time with all of them!  It's going to be quiet around here for awhile since things will be pretty low key in the weeks to come.  I miss and love all of you! <3

Day 19 - Thankful for Emails

Ah, email.  Remember the days when all everyone had in terms of an internet provider was America Online?  Whenever I open my email inbox, and I have new mail, I always mutter "you've got mail!" to myself.  I realize this sounds crazy, but email is fun.  Email is even more fun when it's a non-facebook update, non-spam, non-automated bill pay confirmation email.  And personal emails...well, they are simply the best.

I got a fun note of encouragement via email from one of my friends this weekend and it literally made my day.  I encourage you to send an unexpected/surprise/thinking of you/just because email to one of your friends this week - they will definitely appreciate it! 

PS - yes, I cheated by posting this a day late.  I had company here this weekend...forgive me! :)

Friday, October 22, 2010

Day 18 - Thankful for Flowers

I was taking a walk today and  I happened to have my camera on me - Fall is gorgeous here, and I didn't want to miss an opportunities on this beautiful day!  I took this when I was walking quickly past a (still!) blooming rose bush.  How pretty!  Flowers make me happy.  And so do Fridays. 

Sidenote:  I'm also happy and thankful that Night at the Museum is on TV right now.  Love that movie!

Thursday, October 21, 2010


[caption id="attachment_411" align="alignnone" width="112" caption="Where the Wild Things Are"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_417" align="alignnone" width="112" caption="Where the Wild Things Are - King Max"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_416" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="Cannibal"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_415" align="alignnone" width="112" caption="Wizard"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_414" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="Spider"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_413" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="Spooky House"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_412" align="alignnone" width="112" caption="Dragon"][/caption]

I love carving pumpkins and I can't wait to start on this year's's a little flashback of last year's delights to get you in a Halloween-y mood :-)

Day 17 - Thankful for being "normal"

I got screamed at and berated yesterday by a crackhead (no, literally a crackhead - I'm in the social work field) and suddenly everything in my life seemed pretty darn good. It made me upset because I hate confrontation of any kind, but it got me thinking.  I don't have to rely on other people for assistance, I live in a nice neighborhood, I have a loving family, and basically have my crap together. It kinda puts everything into perspective when life gets hard and bills get overwhelming and relationships get strained. So internet, there you have it. I'm happy for being happy, healthy, and somewhat normal. Somewhere in the middle doesn't seem all that bad afterall...

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Day 16 - Thankful for Apple Items

Disclaimer:  This post is NOT about my love for Apple brand products (iPads, iPhones, iMacs, iPods, etc).  No, no it's not.  I actually own nothing that Apple has created.  It's true.  I don't even have iTunes on my computer.  But I digress.

I think we've established that I love seasonal items, what with the explosion of pumpkin recipes a few weeks back.  Pumpkin isn't all I love about Fall though - I also love anything that has to do with apples.  Here are two of my current absolute favorite things:

1. Spiced Cider 3-wick candle from Bath & Body Works.  I am convinced that this is what Heaven smells like.  Or at least a really nice Hallmark store (which is pretty close to Heaven, if you ask me.  I know, I'm crazy...but this is my blog.  I'm allowed).  If you don't want to spend the 20 bucks on the 3 wick, the store runs sales on the smaller candles, and you can try them in a whole bunch of scents.  But trust me...this is the way you want to go.

2. Apple Butter.  Of any kind.  You can get this at a farmer's market, an orchard, at Cracker Barrel, or on the table at Bob Evans.  Or in the jam aisle at the grocery store - Smucker's makes a darn good commercial apple butter.  And it's delicious.  I've been using it instead of jelly on my peanut butter sandwiches as of late, and that's a trend that will most likely continue until...well...forever.

Try these things - you will love them.  You'll get the warm fuzzies.  And you're welcome in advance.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Day 15 - Thankful for The Pioneer Woman

Have you ever checked out The Pioneer Woman's blog?  If you're not lucky enough to already know what I'm talking about, do yourself a favor and head on over to the link section on the right side of your screen RIGHT NOW.  Do it.  You don't even need to read the rest of this...but that won't stop me from writing about it!

This blog has changed my life.  Honestly!!  This woman is a genius.  And a delight.  Not only does she cook up some mean recipes (I just read through the entire breakfast section and my mouth is watering), but she has amazing photography tips and home & garden things.  EVERYTHING that I truly love is all in one place!

Monday, October 18, 2010

My New Favorite Thing the container of red pepper flakes that I recently bought at the grocery store.  Tonight's menu included tacos, and to be honest...the packet is just not zippy enough for me.  I get original seasoning, not mild.  And I wanted to kick things up a notch.  So I called in my utility infielder (sorry for the sports reference) - the Red Pepper Flake!

This little spice is packed with a whole lotta awesome.  I can't stop using it.  If my mouth wouldn't light itself on fire, I'd try to eat them by themselves.  But instead, I'm using it on everything...on pizza, for tacos, and even in the topping to my Restaraunt Quality Chicken.  Try it...and don't be scared.  A few flakes, and you're on your way to Spicy Heaven!

Parmesan Skillet Chicken

In case you haven't gathered it, I love chicken.  It's my go-to meal staple.  Basically, it just becomes a question of what I'm going to do with the chicken each night.  It's been awhile since I made this recipe, and I'm kind of mad that I haven't made it lately because it's SO good.  It feels fancy without being difficult to make.  And the flavors - WHOA!  Look out.  It's like Italy took over your kitchen and then hijacked all of your tastebuds.  Here are the ingredients...

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (thin is preferred - or you can butterfly two breasts and pound them out)

1/4 cup parmesan cheese

2 tablespoons olive oil

1 cup sliced mushrooms

1/2 teaspoon crushed rosemary (I use a little more, because I love this flavor)

1 can (14.5 ounces) Del Monte Italian-style stewed tomatoes

cooked pasta of your choice (don't you love the freedom I give you?)

First, coat the chicken with the parmesan cheese - really press that cheese into the chicken.  In a large skillet, cook the chicken in the olive oil over medium heat until done.  Remove the chicken from the skillet and cover with foil or a lid to keep warm.  In the same skillet, cook the mushrooms and rosemary until soft.  Add the tomatoes.  Cook uncovered over medium heat until the sauce thickens.  Spoon sauce over pasta and top with the chicken. 

Deliciousness (and happiness) abounds.

Day 14 - Thankful for candy-like medicine

I'm trying to be positive, really I am. But honestly, I feel like I've been run over by a truck. I have a cold and I'm pretty miserable. So today, in efforts of counteracting my thoughts of "un-thankfulness" about not having any more sick days...I'm thankful for delicious Luden's cough drops. I hate menthol and these taste like candy.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Day 13 - Thankful for Fall Weekends

This weekend, I did the following:

1. Spent quality time with my sister

2. Went to a NASCAR race and didn't sweat my butt off, AND saw my favorite driver win

3. Went on a hayride to a pumpkin patch and drank apple cider at a farm

It was delightful, and I couldn't have had more fun this weekend if I tried.  October in NC is delightful.  Trust me.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Day 12 - Thankful for (not so) Spontaneous Purchases

There was a full post up detailing the awesomeness of my secret purchase, but it needs to remain a secret so that it can be revealed at the proper time.  I have terrible shopper's remorse, but I don't have it over this.  Which is awesome. 

Anyways, this purchase was life changing.  And I am totally totally thankful for that.

Details to follow in a post most likely in November!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Photo Friday!

Okay.  Truth be told, I was going to name this weekly treat "Photo Phriday," but I hate when things are purposely spelled wrong.  I also don't want people to think that I'm one of "those people" from Philadelphia who spell everything that actually has an "F" with a "Ph" instead.  That's not how I roll.  But anyways...I wanted to start sharing one of our favorite pictures every Friday.  What's better to close out a horrendous work week with than a lovely visual snack?

This is one of my favorite pictures from Davenport, CA...

Day 11 - Thankful for Happy Hour Deals

Sorry, no pic for this, but I'm thankful today to be leaving work early and heading over to Cheesecake Factory for their happy hour $5 appetizers. Sorry CF, I'm PMSing and hungry - you're losing out today because I'm ordering approximately 22 things. :-)

Product Review: Lacura

First off, let me start by telling you that I love makeup. I have more makeup than 10 people should have (probably more than 10 if I’m being honest). I love trying new products, particularly ones from high-end makeup counters :-) I have tried products from every mall brand you could possibly think of, and tons from all the standard drug store brands as well. Usually it’s very apparent which one’s the cheapie brand and which you shelled out the big bucks for. Until now. Aldi’s makeup brand, Lacura, is the best of both world’s. It’s dirt cheap – nothing over $3.49 - and performs like (actually, I think better than) a big name brand. Also, the packaging is very sleek, making it look expensive. I bought face cleanser, Q10 day cream, two shades of foundation, eyeliner, an eyeshadow duo, pressed powder, lip gloss, and waterproof mascara for $28.00 including tax! This is unheard of! Let me tell you…wow. I’m looking my best today for sure. The foundation goes on like a dream. Perfect coverage while feeling light (definitely not cakey) and a great match to my skin tone. I am in love! I was also especially impressed by the eyeshadow – very silky and easily blended. One downside: it’s very perfumey. Like an old lady (particularly the lip gloss). However, it dissipates quickly, so I’m ok with it. Totally worth the trade off. What’s your favorite brand or product? I would love to try it!

Dare to compare? Just as a little experiment, I looked up the comparable products and what the prices would be at Clinique. This is a middle of the road make-up counter at the mall, much better than drug store, but not as pricey as Lancome or MAC. So, here we go: Creamy face wash $18.50; anti-aging cream $48.50; foundation $23.00 (x2 shades = $46.00); eyeliner $14.50; eyeshadow duo $17.50; pressed powder $19.00; lip gloss $14.00; waterproof mascara $14.00. Bringing the grand total to $192.00! If you bought the Lacura over the Clinique, you would save a whopping $164.00 and I promise you - the quality is right in line with eachother. WOW!

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Day 10 - Thankful for Tomorrow

No, I'm not going to cheat tomorrow and do a "thankful for today" post - trust me!  But honestly, I am more thankful today that I have tomorrow to look forward to than I will be when it's actually tomorrow.  If that makes sense.  Which it probably doesn't...because I've been working crazy hours and not sleeping very much.  But I digress.

Tomorrow, my sister and her boyfriend are coming down because it's race weekend here in lovely Charlotte.  I am thankful for tomorrow because I get to see my favorite little Hokie and for the time that we all get to spend together.  And I'm so thankful that I've had this to look forward to all week, or I never would have gotten through the past few days!!

That's me and my sis, being goofballs at a VT game :) This is pretty much the norm for us when it comes to pictures.  Can't wait to see this girl!  Look forward to more goofy pictures from the upcoming sporting event this weekend!  You know you're excited...

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Day 9 - Thankful for winning the mom lottery

I don't know how I lucked out so much, but my mom is awesome. I opened my lunch today (yes, my mom packs my lunch :-/) and she wrote a note with a scratch off lottery ticket. And...I won! Two whole dollars, baby. That's right. Big pimpin.

[caption id="attachment_355" align="aligncenter" width="512" caption="lottery"][/caption]

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Day 8 - Thankful for Bed

I feel like I don't appreciate my bed enough.  Yet this morning, when I was jolted out of deep REM cycle sleep at 3:59 AM by my alarm clock, I didn't want to leave it.  I am thankful for it's overall comfy and fluffy wonderfulness, and for my down comforter that I use all through the summer because our a/c is on so low that it's cold in here at night, and for my 6 pillows (including one shaped like a heart), and for the fact that I get to return to bed in less than an hour.  I'm attempting to turn this OT that I'm working at 4 am every day this week into something surprisingly upbeat! 

 Yes, that is my bed.  No, that is not your imagination - I still have a stuffed animal at this age, even if it is socially unaccceptable.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Because I Had To...

I've been sitting here for hours editing photos from a wedding I helped Monica with in August because I got my version of Photoshop to work (and without a time limit).  I had to post this picture because it's one of my many favorites...more to come, whether you wanna see 'em or not!

Day 7 - Thankful for Eavesdropping

First, I want to point out the fact that it's obvious that we missed 10/10/10 with the 30 days of blogging, but I'm counting Rose's last post as yesterday's.  You'll forgive us, I'm sure.  And with that said, we are back on schedule!  But I digress...

Today I am thankful that I had my sliding glass door out onto the deck open, because I overheard one of the best (or worst, if you're the person I overheard) one-sided phone conversations ever.  I was working this morning, and it was about 6:30.  I had just received an email stating that I would need to work "mandatory overtime" all this week and weekend when I overheard someone shouting.  I peeked out my window to see a woman barking into her cell phone.  And then, I heard this:

"You call him and tell him that we're about to lose our ass!"

With that, I was reminded that it could always be worse.  And I was thankful for that.

Day 6 - Thankful for long weekends

No picture to go with this (it would be me sitting on my couch eating nachos in my PJs with hair dye on my head watching NCIS...NOT pretty.) However, I am very thankful for Columbus Day and having a long weekend :-)

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Day 5 - Thankful for H20

I love bodies of water.  I don't care what body of water it is - as long as it's water, it's really soothing to me.  And I moved almost 2 years ago, to within a mile of a lake.  AND I got to spend all day on said lake today, with my family and roomie.  How delightful...

Friday, October 8, 2010

Day 4 - Thankful for natural beauty

The perfection of nature never ceases to amaze me...

[caption id="attachment_331" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Naturally amazing"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_330" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Monarch"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_323" align="alignleft" width="150" caption="Monarch 2"][/caption]

Day 4 - Thankful for Friends, Part II

My turn!  Rose got the blue screen of death this morning when she tried to start her computer, so you won't be hearing from her (most likely) today.  So I'm going to post about the fact that I am thankful for her, and for her friendship and overall delightfulness.  And for pointing out that my skirt was tucked into my underpants when we were like 10 years old (see the "about" page if you are confused on this).  Here's Rose after a lovely day of gem mining - isn't she wonderful?

Honestly, "Minettes" was basically the most creative way of putting "Women" on a bathroom door.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Day 3 - Thankful for friends

Today I feel blessed to have wonderful friends. I'm thankful for Jenny, my bestest friend in the whole world. Everyday she reminds me of the power of friendship and brightens my life with laughter and love. Here's one of the many examples when Jenny has made me smile and appreciate the simpleness and complexity that is  friendship.

[caption id="attachment_315" align="aligncenter" width="384" caption="Jenny's first riding lesson :-)"][/caption]

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Day 3 - Thankful for Home

Yes, I realize that it's 1 am and I'm not exactly asleep yet.  Mainly because I'm too excited to sleep. parents are coming today and staying for the weekend!   So, in honor of them, I'm posting the following picture of the house I grew up in.  I'm thankful for home, and for the people who made me who I am today.  Can't wait, can't wait, can't wait.

Addicted to Love

And photography.  Clearly.  If you read any of the posts as of late, that's pretty obvious.  So why not combine the two?  Ah, wedding photography.  The overly mushy romantic in me just LOVES it.  Yes, I wear t-shirts all the time.  Yes, I prefer jeans to high heels.  But there's something about that white dress that gets me every time.  And the flowers.  And the idea that every pot has its lid (yes, I just said that). 

Is there anything better than the way two people in love look at each other?  Nope. 

One of my dearest friends, Monica B, is an amazing wedding photographer in Atlanta.  And she let me come help her shoot two weddings over the past year.  I've learned SO much.  One of the things I learned is that I'm dying for a new (and infinitely better) camera, but I've also learned that I'm addicted to this.  Here's a little sample of the first wedding that I photographed...

How amazing are these shoes?  I wish I could pull these babies off... 


There's nothing more adorable than the first dance.  Added bonus - the bride totally changed into THIS gown after the ceremony.  After watching way too many episodes of Say Yes to the Dress, I find myself believing that one wedding dress is maybe not enough.

Baked Popcorn Chicken

Don't worry...we didn't forget about posting delicious recipes!  I was talking to my Gram today on the phone, which inspired me to post a recipe that she sent me via snail mail when I first moved down here.  She cut it out of a newspaper at home (not sure which one - sorry) and I made it immediately.  So yummy, and fun to eat too!  All the fun of a chicken nugget, without the fried-ness.  They have a little zip to them too, thanks to the addition of the Dijon mustard.  This is perfect for an easy weeknight meal, or to have during a football game on Sunday.

cooking spray (an olive oil spray works best for this)

2 large egg whites

2 tablespoons Dijon mustard (honey mustard works too - great twist!)

half teaspoon salt

2 cups panko breadcrumbs

1 and a half pounds boneless, skinless chicken breast (cut into 1 inch cubes)

Spray a large baking sheet with the cooking spray.  Mix the egg whites, mustard and salt in a bowl.  Put the breadcrumbs in another separate bowl.  Take a few of the chicken pieces at a time and toss them in the mustard mixture to coat, and then toss them in the breadcrumbs.  Place the chicken pieces on the baking sheet, and make sure that they are not touching if possible.  When all the chicken pieces are on the sheet, spray the top of the chicken lightly with more of the cooking spray (this will give it great color and some crunch).  Bake at 450 degrees for 15 minutes.  Using a spatula, flip the chicken over after these 15 minutes are up.  Continue to bake until golden brown for another 5 to 10 minutes.

Day 2 - Thankful for Travel

I was going through some old pictures, and I couldn't help resisting posting one of my favorites from a trip Rose and I took to Cali in 2007.  I'm thankful for the opportunity that we had to go on this trip and the memories that we made!

 This was taken at the pier in, this makes me want to go back.  Like yesterday.  Prepare yourselves for (probably many) more pictures from this trip.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

"Some people complain because roses have thorns - I'm thankful that thorns have roses."

As a send off to summer, I'd like to share some of the roses from my garden who are now at the end of their season and making room for the mums :-)

[caption id="attachment_284" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="Antiqued rose"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_286" align="alignnone" width="112" caption="Red rosebud"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_285" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="Morning dew"][/caption]

[caption id="attachment_287" align="alignnone" width="150" caption="a beauty"][/caption]

Day 1 - Thankful for surprise candy

The lady who sits next to me at work came over and slipped me a stash of my favorite candy just a few minutes before I joined in on the "thankful" posts. It was a sign! So today I'm thankful for my job where I work with wonderful people who occasionally bring me delicious snacks :-)

Banana LaffyTaffy
Since this is LaffyTaffy after all, I'll share some of the corny gems on the labels:  How come the Buffalo Bills went to the bank? To get their quarter back! hahaha! Why did the orange use suntan lotion? Because he started to peel! Bah! Why is a lost dalmatian easily found? Because he's always spotted! Hardee har har...aren't these awesome?!


Being Thankful

One of my most favorite bloggers, Miranda, over at has inspired us to participate in a challenge. We're a little behind, it's the 5th already, but everyday til the end of the month we'll be posting a picture and a quick line of what we're thankful for. This is such an awesome idea - even when you're having a crappy day, there's always one bright spot and this is a perfect way of focusing on the positive.

Aspiring Photogs!

So right now, I'm taking some initiative.  To those of you who read this blog back when it was nothing but a white page with some words on it, and a poorly thought through random photo of roses at the top, I thank you.  There is so much more that we want to do with this little bloggy, and I can't wait to start.  So I'm starting now.  Call me a crazy kook if you want...that's just how I roll. 

Rosie and I both LOVE LOVE LOVE photography.  It's no secret.  It's a good thing we have each other, or we'd probably annoy the heck out of other human beings who don't love it as much.  Now, I'm not saying we are professionals by any means...but we've taken some pretty darn good pictures in our time.  Some of them have been on trips together, and some of them have been on separate endeavors.  I think that photography is wonderful because not only do you find something and capture it all time, I believe that it lets you find yourself as well.  Lord knows we can all relate to that, ya'll!

So with no further ado, I give you the first photo posted on Rosebuds & Buttercups.  Rosie came down to visit me a few weeks ago and along with my lovely roommate, we drove up to the mountains to do some gem mining (you heard me), and some general sightseeing.  We like to ooo and aaah over scenery.  It's true.  And how could you not ooo and ahh over this?

Rose and I have recently become obsessed with photoshop and subsequently, the actions that you can use within that program.  My favorite actions are the free ones that you can find on The Pioneer Woman's blog - she is fantastic, really!  All I did on this one was use the "Boost" action - pretty sure God did the rest!!

**Check out the next post - this is day one of our Thankful Blog.  I'm thankful for THIS blog today.  Feeling very very blessed!!

Hot Spiced Apple Cider

This morning it was rainy and cold and it’s clear that the blustery days of fall are certainly upon us. It was so hard to get out of bed – I just wanted to snuggle up in my PJs and fluffy slippers and watch movies all day. Nothing makes this better than filling the house with the smell of hot apple cider and some yummy baked goods (oh how I wish I had this with some of Jenny’s pumpkin roll!) Curl up with a blanket and try this out if you are feeling the chill of winter creeping in…

1 half-gallon of your favorite apple cider

2 cinnamon sticks

1 teaspoon nutmeg

zest of one orange

2 whole cloves

2 tablespoons light brown sugar

Place the apple cider in a saucepan over medium heat. Put the cinnamon sticks, nutmeg, orange zest, and cloves in cheesecloth and make a cute little pouch. At a simmer, add the brown sugar and your spice bouquet and then let it cook for about 20 minutes. When you are ready to serve it, remove the pouch of spices and pour the cider into fancy glass cider mugs.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Dip II

While I realize that there is already a Buffalo Chicken Dip recipe on this website, this is a slightly different and oven-style version.  My parents are coming down this week to visit (!!!) and I'm making this for my mom, who was hinting around that she really wanted some.  So here goes - a hit at every party, and a slightly different option than the first one on this site - both are WONDERFUL choices to serve at a party or for your guests.  Or just for yourself.  Let's be honest.

1 and a half pounds cooked chicken breast, chopped or shredded

15 ounces cream cheese, softened

2 cups cheddar cheese, shredded

8 ounces ranch dressing

6 ounces hot sauce

Mix all ingredients together in a large bowl until everything is blended together well.  Spread mixture evenly in a pie plate or a shallow baking dish.  Bake at 325 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes, until the mixture is bubbly.  Serve with tortilla chips or crackers.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Basil Pesto

This post is for my lovely Rose :)  Apparently, Rose and her very green-thumbed and wonderful mother have a crop of basil that would make any Italian jealous.  So my BFF called me up and asked me for my family's pesto recipe...and I figured it was good enough to share.  This is my sister Gina's version, which I think is the best.  It's yummy, fresh, and garlic-y...and here's a little tip:  you don't have to put this on pasta.  My favorite is using it with's so delicious and it just kicks up the flavor of the steak in a way that's phenomenal.  Last time I had it, I swear my tastebuds threw a party.

1 and a half cups basil leaves, packed

half cup parsley

2 cloves garlic

1/4 cup olive oil (most likely less)

1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese

Make sure that when you measure the 1 and a half cups of basil, that you are packing the leaves down tightly to fit as much in as possible (kind of like you would with brown sugar).  Add the basil, parsley, and garlic cloves to a food processor.  Put the lid on and leave the top open (you know, the way they do it on the Food Network) and add the olive oil gradually as the pesto is blended.  The pesto should be thick - not runny!  You will most likely use less than the 1/4 cup of olive oil.   When the pesto is just blended together enough to stick together, stop blending and stop adding the olive oil.  Put the pesto in a bowl and stir in the parmesan cheese separately.

The great thing about this pesto is that you do NOT ever cook it.  If you want to heat it up, add a smidge of the hot pasta water.  Or just hot water from a tea kettle if you're not using pasta at all.   Buckle up for deliciousness!