Homemade Eggnog

Homemade Eggnog

Growing up, my mom always made eggnog around Christmas time. As kids, I remember going into the fridge to grab a snack, and then getting really excited when I saw the gallon jugs of milk replaced with gallons of homemade eggnog (non-alcoholic, of course).

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Creative & Simple Entertaining Ideas

Last Saturday, Tiffany and I hung out with my brother and sister-in-law at their open house for FreshGround Roasting. We had a blast preparing appetizers, decorating and learning about coffee. One of the things that I loved was how my sister-in-law, Krista, set out the food. We had hearty appetizers, local cheeses, amazing cupcakes from The Sugar Path and fresh fruits and veggies. Krista used vintage and household items to make the spread look as good as it tasted.

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Mini Pumpkin Pies

Pumpkin pie has never been something I particularly loved.  I’ve always been more of an apple pie sort of gal, but when my sister was visiting we decided to do pumpkin pie for fall’s sake.

I’ve had these Le Creuset mini cocottes (baby Dutch ovens) for a while now and I’m absolutely in love with them.  Aren’t they adorable?  Basically, if something can be made “mini”, I’ll do it just so I have an excuse to use these cute little things.

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Buttery Vanilla Breakfast Scones

My sister and her husband came to visit for the weekend! They’re on fall break from school right now and their campus is only about 4 hours away, so they decided to spend the break with us. They got married in July of this past summer and this is the first time we’ve seen them since the wedding, so we’ve had some serious catching up to do. I was the first of 3 girls to get married, so being able to finally share this common stage of life with one of my sisters is so exciting!

Becca has a lot of the same interests as me. We love to craft, we love to create, we love to bake, we love fashion and makeup – basically we haven’t come close to running out of things to do during this little visit. I’m loving how she’s adjusting to being a wife. Even though she’s swamped with classes and work, she still finds so much joy in the little things – like baking banana bread and brownies for her husband and friends in their tiny campus apartment kitchen.

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Homemade New Jersey Deli Bagels

There are a lot of things I miss about New Jersey.  I miss being familiar with a place because I grew up there.  I miss the weekly football gatherings at my dad’s house, having about 50 authentic Italian restaurants within a 5 mile radius, only being a few (traffic-filled) minutes away from Manhattan, the “accent” that I didn’t realize existed until I moved to Kentucky – and I miss the bagels.

Every deli in New Jersey sells bagels.  I’m not sure which are better, New York bagels or New Jersey bagels, but I have to say the texture and flavor of both are something I haven’t found anywhere else.  We have a Panera nearby and they definitely make a decent bagel – but the slightly dense, slightly sweet, slightly salty, steamy and rich bread encased in the chewy caramelized crust of a fresh New Jersey bagel just can’t be beat.

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Kitchen Mishaps + Chunky Peanut Butter Cookies

I woke up ready to bake. I’ve had 2 jars of PB2 (powdered peanut butter) sitting in my pantry for about two weeks now and I’d been wanting to try my hand at some low calorie peanut butter cookies. I knew PB2 would be an awesome substitute for full-fat peanut butter in a lot of different recipes, but I wasn’t sure how well it would fare in baking. Let’s call this my noble attempt.

First off, the number 1 rule of baking is probably this: make sure you have all necessary ingredients in the house before you start mixing your dough. Oops! I had to run out for eggs with a half-measured bowl of peanut butter & sugar sitting on the counter. Not off to a great start.

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Fall Fashion Love

As the title states, I love fall fashion! I think for me it’s a combination of simply adoring the season, and also being able to experiment with mix-matching and layering. The colder months have the potential to be dark and depressing. The days are shorter, we can’t be outdoors as frequently, and things steadily become more drab and colorless. I see fashion as an opportunity to “bloom” in the midst of all that. Adding a bright pop of color or a fun print to an outfit is an instant happy-booster!

One of my favorite combinations in decorating and in fashion is a neutral backdrop with colorful or patterned accents. In our house we have lots of wood, browns and creams, sprinkled with unexpected corals, yellows and blues. I like that feeling of renewal, almost like we’ve happened upon a run-down blank canvas and dotted it with colorful treasures.

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The Magic of Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies

My earliest memory of these cookies is when I was 7 or 8 years old and we went to visit my great grandma. I remember feeling shy and embarrassed about going to a place I hadn’t been before. It was scary being surrounded by grownups who all seemed really comfortable even though I didn’t know any of them very well.

I remember timidly walking through the front door and being overwhelmed by a smell so delicious I couldn’t wait to find out what it was. My great grandma greeted us with a smile and hugs, and told us she had been baking cookies for us! All of my little-kid shyness and embarrassment went right out the window. She baked cookies for us!

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