Saturday, December 17, 2011

Christmas Presents

Ever since high school I have made little Christmas boxes with various cookies and candies for all of my friends. To be honest, I do it for two reasons: it's a lot cheaper than buying individual gifts for everyone. Hell, I'm a broke college student! And second, I really enjoy making them! I don't get to bake that often while I am away at school, so really.. any excuse is a good one. [Ironically enough.. as I am typing this blogpost, a Christmas episode of Friends came on and Monica, the character my friend Justin tells me I am exactly like, comments: "Cookies say that people care! Okay, we are broke.. But cookies do say that!" How oddly appropriate..] Every year I try to have a different theme for the things I make in the box. This year was Peppermint! I never used to enjoy candy canes or anything minty, but I have really started to like it after falling in love with the Mint Chip ice cream from Scooped (my job). It's the best and, quite frankly, the only mint chip ice cream I have ever liked! 
This year, my friend Sarah let me borrow her Nikon D3000 camera to try out because I've been considering buying my own for my trip to Italy. Oh my, I loved it and really want one now!! I decided to try out my skills and take some 'artistic' photos with the camera... [**Update: I purchased a Nikon D3100 and treat it like my child, mostly because it costs enough to be treated as such. I'll hopefully post about it soon.]

Anyway, this year I had a huge list of things I wanted to make for the boxes. I debated between:
-Chocolate Chip & Candy Cane Pie Pops
-Peppermint Meringues
-Peppermint Joe Joes Truffles
-Candy Cane Biscotti
-Chocolate Fudge
-Peppermint Bark
-Candy Cane Lollipops
-Peppermint Marshmallows 

If I had the time, I would have made them all, but I ended up making some yummy White Chocolate Chip and Andes Peppermint Cookies, Candy Cane Biscotti, some yum-o fudge that I make every year, and homemade Candy Cane Lollipops. Now, that was the first time I had ever made lollipops.. and my last. Well, not really.. but I just didn't realize how fast you have to move and how hot everything gets!
Some of the lollipops totally lost their shape.. this one ended up looking like a bison. ;)
I hope my friends loved their boxes! I really enjoyed making them, despite the minor burns on my fingertips from the lollipops! Here are a few random photos I took while trying out the new camera:
I'd like to thank my mom for buying these.. yum yum!
This picture makes me oddly happy. :)
The biscotti.. before they were dipped in white chocolate and more candy canes!
A picture of the inside of the box
A box.. with boxes

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Biscoff Cookie Spread

I found the cookies and spread at ShopRite of all places!

Biscoff Cookie Spread, "Europe's (and Jena's) alternative to Peanut Butter". I mean come on.. its name is a combination of biscuit and coffee! One simply cannot go wrong with that combo, in my opinion.

So, I tried Biscoff a couple years ago and loved it.. but I was only able to eat it when my cousin got some from Belgium. But I recently learned that they are now selling this culinary masterpiece in the US. 
It's so delicious. Really, it's so hard to explain why.. you will just have to take my word for it. It has a little spice from the cinnamon and then a ton of sweetness from the brown sugar and caramel. 

It's apparently a very popular cookie on airlines, but I have yet to receive one on any of the flights I have been on.. And I'm hoping that there will be a Biscoff cookie and coffee 'meal' on my flight to Italy in the spring or there will be some trouble. 

I hope you go out and buy some Biscoff in cookie, spread or whatever form you choose; you really cannot make a poor decision either way (unless you choose to not buy it.. which is a huge mistake). I myself am going to brew a cup of hazelnut coffee and dip what's left of my cookie supply in that. I might also have a bit of the spread, possibly with a helping of Nutella for good measure. 

(**Want to save a little money on your Biscoff?? Go here to get a $1 off coupon!)

Monday, October 10, 2011

MIssion Sweet Tea - Part II

     [LONG OVERDUE POST...] Alrighty, so I am back from my mini vacation to North Carolina and I cannot believe I am saying this... but I freaking love it down there.  Southern Hospitality is certainly alive and well to say the least.  The campus was wonderful (really really big too! Which I'm definitely not used to.) and filled with tons of stuff to do, but most importantly, tons of places to go out to eat!  I wasn't planning on posting about the restaurants we went to but I almost feel that I have to. 
    Back to what this post was intended for: Sweet Tea! Enough to fill a swimming pool and certainly enough to make a diabetic cringe. On my short trip I think I consumed approximately 12 sweet teas. [Yes, I am throughly ashamed.. but equally satisfied] I say 'approximately' because I cannot truly account for how many glasses I had at "The Pit" in downtown Raleigh. Our waiters never let our glasses get halfway empty! 
   I can't say any of the teas I tried were bad, but there were certainly some that stood out.  [Note: I forgot to take a picture of my tea at Mitch's. It was pretty good, but their Limeade was even better..]

The Sweet Tea at 'Neomonde' was spectacular. It was the first one I tried and was certainly my favorite! We even got to watch the woman make it, which was a plus.
-Available in gallons.
-Not overly sweet
-Not grainy, definitely made with a simple syrup (*My cousin referred to this as a "syrupy warmth")

My Neomonde tea with a delicious dessert (name escapes me...)
Snapple Sweet Tea at KMart
I've never seen these in powder form before! (And not sugar free no less!) So naturally I bought both. 

Burger King.. I have only eaten at Burger King once in my life and I hated it. I didn't eat anything, but I naturally had to try the tea.
-Not too sweet, which surprised me since it was a fast food place..
-Odd lemon flavor, even though I didn't order lemon. (They probably did a shoddy job of cleaning the tub)


Since I am posting this one so very late, I am not going to finish all of the descriptions.. but I took the pictures, so I figured I might as well post them. I'm definitely craving some sweet tea now.. Ugh..!

Friday, July 22, 2011

Mission Sweet Tea

My current location is in the back seat of an '04 Honda Civic with my cousin, Angela and our grandmother on the way to North Carolina.. My cousin is moving down there for school and we are helping her settle in this week. We left about a half hour ago and I am not looking forward to the many hours of driving that are ahead of us. Luckily I have some 'Taste of Italia' magazines and my iPhone to keep me occupied.
However, I am excited for one reason.. While in NC I am on a self proclaimed mission.. My mission is to find the best Sweet Tea in Raleigh. I have an unhealthy obsession with Sweet Tea and enjoy trying new flavor additions at home, so this idea came naturally.
I hope to update this every time I order a tea on my trip, but I only have my iPhone (no laptop... :( ) so it might be a tad difficult. I'm so excited!

Stay cool in this crazy summer heat! I'm hoping the tea will cool me down from the moving and cleaning that will be occurring..

Thursday, June 30, 2011

I just got an iPhone yesterday and I wanted to test out the camera and mobile upload capabilities.. doesn't look too bad for a camera phone picture, huh?
This is quite possibly my favorite dish ... Sun dried tomato pesto with linguine. Yum-o!

Monday, June 27, 2011

Upcoming Posts!

Not surprisingly, I haven't posted in an eternity... although, I have been thinking about which recipes to post (eventually). Upcoming recipes/posts will include:

  • Granola!
  • Cinnamon Rolls
  • Hummus Off!
  • Rice Pilaf (my current food obsession)
  • More cupcakes (Fourth of July ones for sure)
  • Food dehydration
  • Revisiting Highland Orchards... got to pick some more blueberries!
  • Wild raspberries in our backyard
  • Our home garden
  • & More!
Until then, please enjoy this adorable picture of my doggy:
Playing with his frisbees!

Oh yeah, and this mouthwatering picture of my grandmom's Lebanese salad.
yummm! (click for way better resolution)

Saturday, April 30, 2011

The Chester County Cookbook - Ways to Eat Locally & Sustainably

Eating Locally & Sustainably in Chester County - A Cookbook