Monday, December 31, 2012

Currently - December 2012

Loving: All of the beautiful Christmas decorations everywhere! Especially the Christmas lights!

Reading: A Clash of Kings. Same as last month but have you seen these books?! They are huge!

Watching: I returned to the land of cable tv this month. I almost made it a whole year without it... House Hunters, I have missed you dearly and you too Giuliana.

Anticipating: When I can start using my new planner. I have been carrying it around since I got it even though it doesn't start until January... I know I am weird. It is just too pretty to leave at home. 

Listening to: Country music stations in the car. Connecting to my inner southern self.

Planning: The bachelorette weekend for a special lady!!! Can't wait. 

Working on: Getting everyone's Christmas presents, birthday presents, graduation presents, wedding presents, etc. Wooo, there was a lot of stuff going on this month!

Wishing: Alabama wins the National Championship next week!! RTR!

Thankful: For a loving God. No matter what you go through He is always there for you. 

"I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." - John 16:33

What are you currently loving, reading, watching, anticipating, listening to, planning, working on, wishing, etc.? What are you thankful for?

Previous Currently Posts:

Friday, December 14, 2012

Christmas Cards

I love sending and receiving snail mail! I just adore it. Here are the Christmas cards I sent out this year. I had big plans of making cards but as my list of people to send them to got longer I realized I had waited too late to make cards this year. If you notice the number 19 below that was just the beginning. I kept adding more people... So instead I settled for these cute ones!

How fun is this card?! My Aunt sent me this one.

Here are some other amazingly cute cards I have seen this year.



I am in love with #5 so unless I find something else I like more you may see this card again.

Do you send out Christmas/Holiday cards? 

Source: 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 5 

Thursday, December 13, 2012


It's beginning to look like Christmas around here! I have been debating over putting up a Christmas tree or not this year but of course my final decision was to put one up! I just can't let a year slip by without a Christmas tree. I got rid of my big one last month (I had to make room in my dress closet and the big tree was taking up my much needed space) so my Mom let me use her 4 1/2 ft one she was not going to use this year.

Starting out I had some minor technical difficulties with the top half of the clear lights.

I decorated my mantle with some garland I had. Nothing fancy but still festive.

After trying out several extra light bulbs at my apartment and not coming up with a single one that fit, I went to my parent's house and looked through my Mom's extra bulbs and found one that worked. So now the whole thing lights up! The tree was pre-lit with clear and I added 2 strands of color lights. I love me some lights ha.

Have you ran into any problems this year while decorating? Do you like color lights, clear lights or both?

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

WIAW #18

- I have been craving vegetables, southern style vegetables. 
- Chipotle Vegetable bowl
- Cypress Inn's lemon butter tilapia and a baked potato, there was a side salad involved but it was gone before I thought to take a picture.
- grilled cheese and tomato soup 

- cheese eggs and toast
- more vegetables
- chicken pot pie and vegetables
- Cypress Inn's chicken caesar salad
- turkey chili
- turkey burgers
- I discovered mashups they are delicious
- chicken kabobs and roasted potatoes

What have you been craving?

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012

The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap

I participated in the Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap again! It was just as fun as last year! If you are interested in getting notifications about next years cookie swap click here.

The first box of cookies I received was from Melissa at Melissa Likes to Eat. She sent Chocolate Covered Cherry cookies. They were delicious. They had a fudge like chocolate on top that tasted so good!

The second package I received was from Alyssa at Karma Cucina. They were Chewy White Chocolate Cherry Pecan Oatmeal cookies. They had a great taste. I loved the white chocolate and cherries. Sweet and tangy. I also received these cookies from her last year. They were just as delicious.

The last box I received were from Megan at StylishFood. They were Cashew Choco-Nut cookies. They had white chocolate chunks, coconut and cashews in them. I really liked these. I love cashews and have never had them in a cookie.

I made mocha chocolate chip shortbread cookies to send out.

Mocha Chocolate Shortbread Cookies

by Brittany Ray
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen
Ingredients (36 cookies)
  • 1 tbs. mocha powder
  • 1 tbs. hot water
  • 2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 2/3 cups powdered sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • powdered sugar for dusting
In a small bowl, dissolve the mocha powder in the hot water and set aside.
Using a stand mixer with a paddle attachment, beat the butter and powdered sugar together on medium speed until mixture is smooth.
Beat in vanilla and mocha then reduce the mixer speed to low and add flour. Mix only until it disappears into the dough.
Fold in chocolate chips with a spatula. Do not work dough much.
Put dough into a gallon zip lock bag. Leave top open, using a rolling pin roll out dough. Flip bag occasionally to even out dough.
Refrigerate dough until chilled and stiff, approximately 1 hour or more.
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.
Cut dough out of bag. Cut dough into 1 1/2 inch squares. Place on baking sheets lined with silicone mats.
Prick each square twice with a fork.
Bake for 18 - 20 minutes. Turning cooking sheet halfway through.
Cookies will be pale. Transfer to cooling rack. Dust with powdered sugar while cookies are still hot. Let cool to room temperature before serving.
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Monday, December 10, 2012

Panera's Soup

Anna and I went to Panera for dinner one night last week. I ordered their new Low-Fat Vegetarian Garden Vegetable with Pesto - a low-fat vegetarian soup with diced tomatoes, sliced zucchini, yellow beans, fresh Swiss chard, cauliflower, bell peppers and pearled barley in a tomato broth garnished with a dollop of nut-free basil pesto. It was good. I really enjoyed the pesto flavor and the array of vegetables.

Although I loved trying something new my loyalty still lies with Panera's Cheddar Broccoli - chopped broccoli, shredded carrots and select seasonings simmered in a velvety smooth cheese sauce.

Here are some more of their soups:
  • All-Natural Sonoma Chicken Stew - creamy chicken stew with carrots, peas, leeks & red potatoes with sweet cream and thyme, topped with Dry Jack Cheese biscuit 
  • French Onion - sliced onion sauteed in sweet butter and seasonings, gently simmered in a light beef broth with essence of tomato, topped with homemade croutons and Asiago-Parmesan cheese  
  • Vegetarian Creamy Tomato - vine-ripened pear tomatoes pureed with fresh cream for a velvety smooth flavor accentuated by hints of red pepper & oregano, topped with Asiago croutons 
  • Low-Fat All-Natural Chicken Noodle - fresh vegetables and tender all-white chicken breast simmered in a delicately seasoned chicken broth with traditional egg noodles 
  • Baked Potato - home-style cuts of russet potato simmered with select seasonings and smoked bacon in a rich cream sauce flavored with spring onion and snipped chives
  •  Low-Fat Vegetarian Black Bean - plump black beans simmered in a spicy vegetarian broth with onion, red bell pepper, garlic and cumin 
  • Cream of Chicken & Wild Rice - long grain and wild rice, celery , onion, carrot and diced chicken simmered in chicken broth embellished with cream and select herbs
  • New England Clam Chowder - chopped sea clams, diced potato, celery, onion & traditional seasonings, simmered in a rich, creamy broth

I don't know about you but reading those soup descriptions made my stomach start talking. 

What is your favorite soup from Panera? Which soups do you want to try the most?

Like I said above, I can't get enough of their Broccoli Cheddar soup! Next, I want to try their Chicken Noodle, Vegetarian Black Bean, Cream of Chicken & Wild Rice and Clam Chowder. They all sound delicious!

As a part of the DailyBuzz Food Tastemaker program, I received a stipend and gift card from Panera Bread. Thoughts and opinions are my own.

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Ornament Swap

This year a group of friends and I all met in Birmingham at P.F. Changs for lunch. We all brought an ornament to swap. I took the sushi ornament.

We played Dirty Santa and I ended up with this adorable tiny painted wine glass. 

For lunch I ordered the Ginger Chicken and Broccoli. I loved it! I always get the Lo Mien with Chicken so it was good to try something new. 

P.F. Chang's China Bistro  on Urbanspoon

Thursday, December 6, 2012

5 Java

A while back, in October, Trey and I went to 5 Java for a drink and to waste a little time before heading to Perry's Wedding Rehearsal. I ordered the Cappuccino Martini - van gogh double expresso vodka, pinnacle whipped vodka, baileys, maple-honey whip and cocoa powder. 

I have only eaten at Five. It is the restaurant part next door. They have food at 5 Java too and their menu looks amazing, Crepes, Chicken Salad Croissants, Gourmet Grilled Cheese... They also have some fresh juices that I can't wait to try!

Five Bar Tuscaloosa on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 4, 2012


I ordered the Spider Roll - fried soft shell crab, lettuce, cucumber, avocado, cream cheese, sesame and eel sauce  and the Bama Roll - fried salmon, avocado, cream cheese and crab.  These are my new favorite sushi rolls! 

Trey ordered the Tempura Chicken Bento Box. I tried a bite of the tempura sweet potato, chicken and spring roll. Everything was delicious. 

We got a fried banana for dessert. I love this place if only they had a location in Tuscaloosa too. 

Fuji San on Urbanspoon

Friday, November 30, 2012

Currently - November 2012

This months currently post slipped up on me so it is going to be short and sweet. 

Loving: Online shopping! I have gotten ALOT of Christmas shopping done but also bought some things for myself... Oh, and J. Crew's Pixie Pant has changed my life! I should have bought more than one pair while they were on sale.

Reading: A Clash of Kings. I just couldn't get away from the series!

Watching: Nashville and Alias plus all of the others from last month...

Anticipating: Christmas! I am really good at keeping secrets but I can't keep a present to save my life. As soon as I buy something for someone I just get way too excited and want to give it to them right away!

Listening to: Florence and The Machine

Planning: The cookies I am going to make for the Cookie Swap.

Working on: Getting back into my gym routine. It was going so good for a little while then crap happened and I just can't get back into the routine. 

Wishing: Everyone has a wonderful holiday season full of family, friends and food. Whether in person or on the phone, make sure to tell the ones you care about how much they mean to you!

Thankful: I am thankful for my family, friends and everyone's health. I know the total go around the room at Thanksgiving and say what you are thankful for answer. Which is actually what I said this year but it is true. 

What are you currently loving, reading, watching, anticipating, listening to, planning, working on, wishing, etc.? What are you thankful for?

Previous Currently Posts:

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thanksgiving: Part 2

Since I had Thanksgiving with my family on Saturday, I slept in on Thanksgiving day. I took my time packing and getting ready to head to Mobile. 

When driving to Mobile, if I ever have to go to the bathroom I stop at McDonalds in Thomasville. It is the halfway point between Tuscaloosa and Mobile and surprisingly it is always the cleanest bathroom in between. I was hungry and knew I wouldn't be eating dinner for another 5 or 6 hours so I decided to get a Happy Meal. I was pretty excited to see they now automatically come with apples and fries. The fry box is tee-tiny! I think it is cute and just the right amount although my stomach begs to differ:) 

Thanksgiving dinner at the Crockett's was delicious! Mrs. Crockett made an asparagus casserole that tasted amazing. I have never had asparagus casserole and was unsure at first but it was good!

I miss this cat when I am not in Mobile. He is so sweet and cuddly.

I was glad I had time to just relax. When I am at home there always seems to be something that needs to be done. 

On Saturday, Trey and I went to one of his friend's house to watch the game (Bama vs. Auburn). His friend made a crab shrimp sausage cheese dip and burgers. The burgers were marinated in a honey and bbq sauce concoction that was like nothing I have ever tasted. I only got a bite because I usually don't care for burgers if there are other foods to be had but Trey was oohing and awing over them so I snagged a taste.  I see these burgers on my grill in the future. Don't worry I will share the recipe!

We played pool at The Garage. This has got to be the most disgusting pool table ever.

On Saturday night, we went to hear a band at Top of the Bay with some (newly engaged!!) friends that were in town. After several tries Trey and I finally got a good picture.