Archive | January, 2012

A dear friend and a gift for Mom {Custom Embroidery}

30 Jan

I’m really excited about today’s post, because it gives me the chance to spotlight the wit and creativity of a dear, dear friend. You may remember my friend Sarah from such posts as Wednesday Wish List {Charleston, SC} as she was my college roommate and travel companion on my most recent trip back to Charleston. Our fathers introduced us one steamy, low-country afternoon as we moved into the dorm freshman year, and we have since shared countless memorable moments and inside jokes. Last year, I was honored to have Sarah stand with me as a bridesmaid on one of the most important days of my life to date. Here’s a photo from my wedding, which is still one of my favorites from the day, and I think perfectly captures our friendship.

{Rebekah Girvan Photography}

Okay … enough background!  Last year, Sarah found an outlet for her love of needlework when she opened her very own Etsy shop named Patsie&Lila {after her grandmothers}. Her original pieces feature quotes from geeky TV and movies {her words, not mine!} as well as from Shakespeare. Her most recent addition to the shop really cracks me up, and has me thinking of all those expectant friends of mine out there!

Beyond cute.

Now on to the “gift for Mom” part of the post. After hearing my mother rave about Little Women a couple years back, I decided it might be time for me to actually read this classic {as a bonus, lots of classics including Little Women are free on the Kindle!}. One quote stood out to me in particular: “What do girls do who haven’t any mothers to help them through their troubles?” I’m sure many of you out there think your mom is the best, but mine really is! She’s the most kind and caring person I know, and I can only aspire to be the source of strength and encouragement to my future children that she has been to her little women.

So, long story long, I asked Sarah to create a custom piece using this quote so that I could give it to my mother. The result was absolutely perfect and I know my mom really loves it as well. Here’s a look at Sarah’s beautiful handiwork, which was created using her own original design. I hope you’ll hop on ever to Patsie&Lila to check out more of Sarah’s work!  Enjoy!

Get your chocolate fix! {Triple Chocolate Cookies}

22 Jan

So, happy New Year, everyone!  I hope you all had a wonderful holiday season, and that you’re excited for what’s ahead in 2012!  If one of your resolutions happens to be to eat more rich chocolate, then you’re in luck! I found this recipe for triple chocolate cookies over at Brown Eyed Baker and thought they looked too delicious to pass up. As you may know, I have a pretty serious chocolate-lover in the house, and I thought these might satisfy even his cravings!

Chewy, rich, and oh so chocolate-y!

As I was chopping 16 ounces of chocolate, I thought it might just be overkill {not to mention the entire bag of chocolate chips and 1/2 cup of cocoa powder!}, but the finished cookies were melt-in-your-mouth delicious and will definitely satisfy even the most intense chocolate cravings.  Just be warned … they’re super rich and beyond chocolate-y. The sweet aroma was even enough to make my neighbor on the plane the next day reconsider his original decision to turn down my cookie offer. The next time he saw my carry-on make an appearance, he said, “I’ll actually take a couple of cookies if you don’t mind.  They just smelled too good.” That definitely made me smile!

Here’s Brown Eyed Baker’s recipe – it was easy to follow and I made no real changes.

{Triple Chocolate Cookies}

makes about 42 cookies

  • 2 cups (10 ounces) all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup (1½ ounces) Dutch-processed cocoa powder
  • 2 teaspoons baking powder
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 16 ounces semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 4 large eggs
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons instant coffee or espresso powder
  • 10 tablespoons (1¼ sticks) unsalted butter, softened but still cool
  • 1½ cups packed (10½ ounces) light brown sugar
  • ½ cup (3½ ounces) granulated sugar
  • 12 ounces (about 2 cups) semisweet chocolate chips

So much chocolate!

Sift together the flour, cocoa, baking powder, and salt in a medium bowl; set aside.

Melt the chocolate in a medium heatproof bowl set over a pan of almost-simmering water, stirring once or twice, until smooth; remove from the heat. {I melted mine at 50% power in 30 second increments in the microwave.} In a small bowl, beat the eggs and vanilla lightly with a fork, sprinkle the coffee powder over to dissolve, and set aside.

Either by hand or with an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until smooth and creamy, about 5 seconds. Beat in the sugars until combined, about 45 seconds; the mixture will look granular. Reduce the speed to low and gradually beat in the egg mixture until incorporated, about 45 seconds. Add the chocolate in a steady stream and beat until combined, about 40 seconds. Scrape the bottom and sides of the bowl with a rubber spatula. With the mixer at low speed, add the dry ingredients and mix until just combined. Do not over-beat. Fold in the chocolate chips. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand at room temperature until the consistency is scoopable and fudge-like, about 30 minutes.

Meanwhile, adjust the oven racks to the upper- and lower-middle positions and heat the oven to 350 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper {I used my new silicone baking mat and the cookies slid off like a dream – thanks, Amy!}. Scoop the dough onto the prepared baking sheets with a 1¾-inch ice cream scoop, spacing the mounds of dough about 1½ inches apart.

Ready to bake {thanks for the Silpat, Amy!}

Bake until the edges of the cookies have just begun to set but the centers are still very soft, about 10 minutes, rotating the baking sheets front to back and top to bottom halfway through the baking time. Cool the cookies on the sheets about 10 minutes, slide the parchment with cookies onto wire racks, and cool to room temperature. Cover one cooled baking sheet with a new piece of parchment paper. Scoop the remaining dough onto the parchment-lined sheet, bake, and cool as directed. Remove cooled cookies from the parchment with a wide metal spatula.

Enjoy!