Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Giving thanks

A few things I'm thankful for this week:

For sweet coworkers who bring hot tea on a cold, rainy day.

A table for eight filled with great friends & homemade pasta

For my wonderful dad who sends singing telegrams on Valentine's day to my mom.

Patton & all the joy he brings our family.

Monday, February 25, 2013

My best friend.

Just like every Monday, I'm reliving the moments from the weekend and missing my sweet husband. Mondays are always hard getting back into the swing of things for the week & adjusting to the long hours ahead of us. We're hoping for another "short" (less than 70 hr) week.

This weekend we had no plans and spent a lot of time just enjoying each other's company. We ate some good food & spent time with our wonderful friends, but mostly we just lounged around the apartment and tried to stay out of the rain.

Once again, I was reminded that I think we have something rare. Will is my husband and will be forever, but he is also my best friend.

We are both very laid-back and tend to have a more go-with-the-flow attitude towards life.  People always talk about getting annoyed with their spouse or friend if they spend too much time together, but honestly that rarely happens between us (maybe its because time together is often rare haha). We so enjoy each other's company and love just being together. Clearly, we don't spend all of our time together because that would be incredibly unhealthy, but we do enjoy our quality time. Never have I met a man (other than my dad) that is more loyal, loving and tender-hearted than this man of mine. I am so thankful to have him as my best friend; to share good days and bad days and everything in between with him.

The photo above is Will at one of our favorite places: La Tapatia. An authentic Mexican restaurant down the road from us. When we go we are literally the only English-speaking people in the place, but the food is incredible. Will always makes me say our blessing in Spanish and then usually our meals are filled with learning new Spanish vocabulary. So thankful that this man appreciates my love for the latino culture and all my other quirks.

Yikes, this was so sappy; Sorry, thats just what happens when I start talking about my family.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Chocolate cupcakes with coffee buttercream icing

I've never really gotten into the cupcake craze; I've always preferred to bake cakes or pies, but yesterday I gave a go at it. 

We had a 50th birthday celebration at work today for one of our nurses & I was assigned dessert. Since my coworker loves coffee, I decided to incorporate that into the cupcakes. 
Since I don't like chocolate or coffee, I had no clue if these tasted good. I called in my trusty quality control and he confirmed that they were in fact edible and, moreover, "delicious!"

So y'all should give cupcakes a chance too. Its my personal opinion that cupcake bakeries are a fad, just like the fro-yo places, but hey, they taste pretty good so I'll won't object too much.

Chocolate cupcakes (adapted from

1/2 c. cocoa powder
1 c. boiling water
1 1/3 c. flour
1 tsp. baking soda
1/4 tsp. salt
1 stick unsalted butter
1 c. sugar
2 eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract

Once the water comes to a boil, mix the water and the cocoa powder stirring until dissolved. Set aside. In a separate bowl, mix together flour, baking soda and salt. Cream together the butter and sugar in your mixer making sure that it becomes fluffy. Then, add the eggs one at a time. Once those have been incorporated, add the vanilla extract. Mix in the dry ingredients until blended. Finally, stir in (by hand) the cocoa concoction, which has hopefully cooled by now. Pour into 16 lined muffin tins filling them about halfway or so. Bake at 375 for 16-20 min. I always set my timer for well below and then continue to check it so that they do not over brown. 

Once the cupcakes have come out of the oven, set to the side and let them cool.

Coffee Buttercream Icing
1/2 c. butter, room temp
1 1/2 c. confectioners sugar (powder sugar), sifted
1-2 T. coffee (ground very finely) or just instant coffee
2 tsp. vanilla extract

Cream the butter and sugar together. Adding the coffee, followed by the vanilla extract. Taste to make sure its not too strong of a coffee flavor. I used more like 2 T. of coffee but no one thought it was too strong and it pairs nicely with the chocolate.

** had suggested using dutch cocoa, but I adapted the recipe to use just regular cocoa. Her recipe called for 1/2 c. dutch cocoa and 2 tsp. baking powder. I did some research and when you want to swap these two, you have to change around baking powder with baking soda. Use the same amount of cocoa, but if using regular cocoa use baking soda and only half the amount, therefore 1 tsp.

*Photo cred: my incredibly talented husband

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Post grad life.

Will & I were looking at Instagram & saw a post from a high school senior holding her UNC acceptance letter with #classof2017. We both looked at each other and yelled "2017?!?!" Post-grad life just got real, y'all. We had the realization that it has almost been two full years since we graduated from college. It feels like we blinked and it happened!

Its crazy that it has been two years since I lived with six of my best friends-sharing clothes, stories and so many laughs. I miss those days. Where themed parties and late night "study" sessions happened frequently, where McDonalds and coke icees were purchased probably too often and where something was always happening. Don't get me wrong, I love life right now & wouldn't trade it for anything, but oh some days, I miss Chapel Hill and all the people who made it wonderful. 

These days between work and life, its difficult to stay in touch with all of our school friends. Will and I were blessed with wonderful friends and we so want to continue those relationships. I know that its natural for people to flow in and out of your life, for relationships to change and friends to move on. How do you balance new friends with the old? There are so many people I love, yet there never seems to be enough time to catch up with everyone. I suppose this is an incredible problem to have. How blessed we truly are! I feel guilty for not knowing details about my friends lives and hate that I miss birthdays and promotions. Post-grad life is an interesting stage. For now, I will continue to be thankful for sweet friends and great technology. We will squeeze in as many phone calls and facetimes as we can and hope that our friends far away know that they are loved and missed dearly by us.

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Life according to Instagram


I love the idea of canning fresh fruit and veggies. I tested out the whole process last year & really enjoyed creating strawberry jam. Its a thoughtful gift for friends and just a blast to make! Recently, I received a TON of cranberries from a friend. I've been searching through recipes in search of a good one for canning these babies. 

Spiced cranberries. That just sounds delicious, right? I found the recipe in Canning for a New Generation, check it out here I changed the recipe a little bit. I just finished canning them & it tasted pretty good off the spoon (after I canned of course). If you've never canned anything, give it a try. Just be smart about it and read more about it here

What you need:
3 c. cranberries, washed well
1.5 c. sugar
1/2 c. juice from an orange
1/2 tsp. cinnamon
1 cinnamon stick (if you want)
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cloves
3 half pint mason jars

Follow canning rules and begin boiling cans. While cans are boiling, combine cranberries, sugar, juice and spices and bring to a boil on high heat. Once boiling, let it simmer for approximately 15-20 minutes.

 Remove jars from boiling water and pour in spiced cranberries. Add lid (that was also sitting in HOT water).** Place cans w/ lids on back into water & boil for 5 min. Remove and let them stand for 24 hours without moving and touching. Check after an hour to make sure the lid sealed, if it did not refrigerate immediately. You should hear the lids pop though.

I read that this is delicious on cheese-- all types. I can't wait to have some cheese and crackers topped with spiced cranberries. 

*Place the lids in a smaller pot. When you empty out the water from the cans before filling with cranberries, pour the boiling water into the pot with the lids. 

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Honeymoon stage

Every time I mention something sweet that Will has done for me, most people respond with "oh you're just in the honeymoon stage, that will end." Although I fully expect an ebb and flow in life & marriage, it saddens me to think that so often people truly believe that thoughtful notes or fun dates will not continue. We understand that there will be a day when our house is full of little people and time together will be difficult, but it is our hope that we will always continue dating, if you will. 

The other day on set, they were filming a market and there was a flower stand. Will grabbed some flowers for me when the scene was over & kept them on the camera truck so that he could bring them to me that night. As he was climbing into bed late that night, I heard him say "SHOOT!" It scared me since I was only half awake; he then told me about the flowers and how he had forgotten them on the camera truck. The picture above is from the following day at work showing me the flowers. 

Just the thought made my day. I hope that as time moves forward and its been years of marriage that we will not forgot the simple things that can bring so much joy. I don't think I am being unrealistic, just trying to break away from the "norm" where some people say that all good things will end in a marriage. 

Two of our friends who have been married for three years have said that people always tell them the same thing. The wife told me that she can't wait until they've been married ten or twenty years just so she can prove that she just has a great husband, not one that is "just in the honeymoon stage."