Thursday, February 26, 2015

Snow Day!

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We got another snow day! And this time it was substantial:) Somewhere around 5-8 inches fell across the region overnight and today....it's all about hibernating and drinking coffee. But first, I had to go out and take a little walk around the neighborhood since I didn't get out during the last snow. 

Now, I know that for many this amount of snow is no big deal. I get it...you're used to snow being measured in feet and schools and businesses not closing for anything less. But for coastal VA this is a BIG DEAL. So, don't go on social media and harsh our buzz okay?! We're excited and we get that it's kinda ridiculous to shut down an entire region for less than a foot of snow...but we're just not equipped to handle it! So, here's my little neighborhood looking all snow-globey at the moment:)

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Via Instagram

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Just a quick hello mid-week! Hiiiiii! Here's a snapshot of the past 7-10 days via Instagram. Hope you're having a good week! New recipe coming Friday:)

:: cats that look like billy goats :: ice ice baby :: smirky cats :: cheerios & coffee :: crazy cats :: whole wheat chocolate pancakes :: snow covered streets :: partners in crime :: me :: cozy socks :: tools of the trade :: oscar sunday :: yummy asparagus :: homemade granola :: saturday's uniform of comfort :: mac and cheese from a box :: solitary kitty :: whatever..... ;)

Stay Blessed,

Monday, February 23, 2015

Monday Mash Up

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Hey! Hey! Happy Monday!! Did you all survive last weeks arctic temperatures? Crazy, wasn't it? I was trying to choose a photo for today's post and this one of poor Grayson seemed fitting. It was soooo cold last week, we couldn't get enough blankets on us! My little brownstone is very drafty and despite my best attempts at blocking the cold...it just seeps in sometimes. So yeah, we spent most of the week huddling under blankets in front of the parabolic heater sipping on hot coffee and watching Netflix!

The snow showed up on Monday night and Tuesday was a snow day! I'd hoped to go out and shoot some of the snow, but with that snow came a gross layer of ice and I just wasn't going to take the chance of falling and breaking a limb. One of my co-workers broke her ankle on New Year's Eve and she's still in a cast after surgery and non-weight bearing for at least 3 more weeks. Ugh...that just isn't an option for me right now. So....no snow pictures {sad face}.

By Thursday night I was running a fever and fading fast. I ended up in bed all day Friday and Saturday evening I finally started to feel human again. I'm just thankful that it wasn't worse. Needless to say, I didn't make it to the Y last week due to the inclement weather and sickness....so today was a torturous session!!!

So, here we are...one week before March and it's still pretty darn cold. But I'm hopeful that we'll see some warmer temps soon! Till then, I'll daydream about putting my toes in the ocean and stalk all the Instagram accounts from Australia:)

Have a great week!

Monday, February 16, 2015

Dreaming of warmer days....

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We're expected to get anywhere from 3-7 inches of snow tonight. Siiigh. I'm torn over my feelings for this. I normally love, love, love a good snow storm! And I'm sure once it's here I'll fall back in love with it. But right now, I'm cold. I've been cold since Saturday afternoon when the wind started howling and my old, creaky, leaky brownstone betrayed me and my ability to stay warm. The heat it on, but it's just no competition with the outside temps. And the apartment below me is empty, so there's no residual heat rising up to help warm my place. So, I'm cold. 

Being this cold and bundled up in my layers with afghans and cats on my lap, I got to daydreaming about warmer temps and fruity drinks. Ahhhh, can't you feel it? Sunshine, hot sunshine baking into your skin. As you know, I lived in Spain for 3 years in my youth and the intensity of the sun there is on another level from what we have here. Spain is closer to the equator so you really feel it. Add to those hot, dry summer days a cold glass of sangria and some tapas and it just doesn't get any better. Seriously, if you haven't visited Spain....what are you waiting for?!?! Go. Nowwwww!

So, here's my little contribution on this cold and snowy winter day that I hope will warm your heart and kick start your summer planning for outside barbecues and dinners under the stars:) Cheers!!!

Recipe at the bottom...

Spanish Sangria:

  • 2 bottles of red wine (You don't need expensive, cheaper is much better)
  • 1/2 cup Triple Sec (or gin)
  • 1 1/2 cup fresh squeezed orange juice
  • 1 cup Sprite
  • 1 cup orange Fanta soda
  • 1/2 cup sugar (more or less, to taste)
  • Fresh fruit, cut up (I use oranges,apples,raspberries,blackberries,strawberries,lemons and limes)
  • Ice

Mix all ingredients together except for ice. Let flavors mingle together for an hour or more, if you can. (I've been known to prep mine the day before and let it sit overnight to really get the fruit to soak up the wine...so delish!) Taste to check for sugar. Add ice and stir.
Serve in tall glasses over more ice. Be sure to put a piece of fruit or two in each glass.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Valentine's Day Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Drizzle Icing

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Happy Valentine's Day! This post is a little late in the day as it's about dessert and I figure by now everyone is getting home from a lovely dinner out! But then again, you may not see if till tomorrow or even Monday....so what a nice little extension of the holiday eh?!

This holiday hasn't always been my favorite, I'll admit. When you're single, it's kind of a drag seeing all that gushy, smooshie lovey dovey crap out there while you're alone. But this year, for some reason...I'm okay with it! I don't quite know why, but it isn't fazing me in the least. Maybe it's because I've decided 2015 is going to be the "Year of Jen" and I'm not dwelling on the fact that I'm not in a relationship. Hmmm...sounds rather grown up to me, no?!

But just because I don't have a significant other to spend the day with doesn't mean I can't treat myself to some chocolate cupcakes, right?! Part of this "Year of Jen" involves me getting control of my health all the while baking and cooking some pretty fattening recipes for the blog! Seems rather counterintuitive but I'm not giving up my love of food and this blog, so I'm having to get serious about my fitness! I joined the local YMCA 2 weeks ago and spent over an hour there this morning. So I think a cupcake or two this weekend is gonna be ok! The rest will go to work with me on Monday;)

I made these on a whim this afternoon and I hope you enjoy them! You can add anything to the top of the batter you want (candy, fruit, coconut etc....) and maybe you'll choose to pipe icing onto them instead of the drizzle I did. Go for it!!! But most importantly, enjoy them!

Recipe at the end.

Chocolate Cupcakes with Vanilla Icing Drizzle.

makes 18 cupcakes)

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 4 oz unsweetened chocolate, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
  • 1 cup boiling water
  • 8 tbsp (1 stick) unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
Set a rack in the middle of the oven and preheat to 350F. Line a muffin tin with paper cupcake liners.
For the cupcake batter, stir the sugar, flour, baking soda and salt together in a mixing bowl. Set aside.
Put the cut up chocolate in a large mixing bowl and pour the boiling water over it. Let stand for 2 minutes, then whisk until smooth. Whisk in the butter, then the eggs, one at a time, whisking after each addition until smooth. Whisk in the vanilla and sour cream.
Whisk in the flour and sugar mixture in 3 separate additions, whisking until smooth after each.
Divide the batter equally among the cavities in the pans, spooning it in. Sprinkle white chocolate chips and rainbow sprinkles over the batter. Bake the cupcakes until they are well risen and feel firm when pressed in the center with a fingertip, about 20 minutes.
Cool in the pans on racks for 5 minutes, then transfer the cupcakes to racks and cool completely before frosting. If making the frosting below, start it while the cupcakes are cooling since it also needs time to cool.
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 2-3 teaspoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
To make icing, stir together ingredients until no lumps remain. Place icing in a plastic bag and cut the end of one bottom corner to create a small hole. Drizzle over cupcakes.