Thursday, December 5, 2013

November Things.

YAY!  It's December!!!!  It's my favorite month of the year, for many's my birthday month, it's (supposed to be) cold outside- seriously what is with the 84 degree temps today?- and it's Christmastime!  Classes are over.  I took my last finals yesterday (aced them!) and now I am super excited about all the free time I have 3 evenings a week.  Plus, my only class is online next semester, so I feel like I'm free until April or May!  What I plan to do with that time:  spend time with my love as well as family and friends, keep up with this blog more (which means baking and cooking more!), read a ton of books from my Goodreads List, start working out again with a trainer at the gym a couple nights a week, paint my nails, take lots of bubble baths with magazines, relax and HAVE FUN!  

So I know it's a few days into December already, but I thought it would be fun to do a little recap of stuff at the end of every month...what I cooked, what I baked, what I did, where I went, what I read...that sort of stuff.  Despite the lack of posts on here, I actually cooked quite a bit this month, especially with Thanksgiving.  I have the recipes waiting to be posted, which will hopefully all be up in the next week or so! And I know it's a little late for the Thanksgiving dishes, but I think they're mostly year-round sorts of things that I made.  Even the pumpkin cake.  I promise.
What I Cooked

Homemade Tomato Soup with Grilled Cheese Croutons.  This was when the weather actually was cold (and by cold, I mean below 70..ughhh), and it was SO tasty and comforting.  

Bobby Deen's Sweet Potato Chicken Mole- I love chicken's a rich and spicy (not hot, just full of spices) sauce with bittersweet chocolate.  One of my favorite Latin dishes.  I made Bobby Deen's healthed-up version and absolutely loved it!  Garrett thought it was a bit rich, but I scarfed it down.  Recipe to come.  

Apple Cinnamon Slow-Cooker Pork Tenderloin- this was a Pinterest find and it was a hit!  It's about 5 ingredients, takes about 5 minutes to throw in the Crockpot and tastes like heaven.  

Tuscan Chicken Shepherd's Pie- Garrett loves Shepherd's pie, and this was a quick and easy new spin on it.  It's actually a bit healthier than traditional Shepherd's pie, but just as tasty.  He loved this one too.  

Frito Chili Pie- I made this to use up the Tupperware container of leftover chili in the freezer.  This is AWESOME and so easy.  

Corn Pudding- I can't believe I haven't shared this recipe on here before.  This recipe is an old family recipe from my Aunt Peggy's BFF Betty's Aunt Katherine (confused yet?) and our family has made this since I can remember.  No holiday is complete without it.  It's everyone's favorite. 
What I Baked

Pumpkin Dream Cake- Oh my gosh, y'all.  I made two of these.  Not just a little dinky sheet cake, either.  I mean two giant 3-layer cakes.  I promise this is the best cake I have ever made in my life.  Ever.  

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie- I made 3 of these for various Thanksgiving celebrations.  I totally thought I invented this 3 years ago and now everyone has a recipe or variation on their blog or Pinterest.  It's like when you wear a really weird outfit and everyone makes fun of you, and then 2 weeks later everyone else is wearing it and taking all the credit and no one even thinks you're cool because you totally rocked it so long ago.  That's how I feel.  Just saying.  Maybe if I eat more pie, I'll feel better.

Pretzel Peanut Butter Bars- Um.  Wow.  This pan didn't even last 24 hours.  I've been a bit obsessed with Trisha Yearwood's show on Food Network lately, and she made these for Kelly Clarkson (eeee!) and I ran the 3 steps to my kitchen and made them ASAP.  Thanks, Miss Trisha.  Best recipe of my life.
What I Did

Couples massages.  This is something Garrett and I try to do every couple of weeks.  It's SO relaxing, therapeutic, and has become a fun tradition for us.  Our massage clinic is about an hour away in adorable Winter Park so we usually get our massages and then have a nice breakfast afterward at Keke's Breakfast Cafe (yum!).  I highly recommend regular massages.  No matter how busy you are, make time.  They're so worth it. 

Visited home for a friend's wedding and got to see some old friends I haven't had time to see in the past couple of years!  

Learned the secret recipe for Bread Rolls from Garrett's sweet mom, Nancy.  One thing that is very near and dear to my heart are family recipes and it's so exciting to start learning recipes from Garrett's family.  Nancy's Bread Rolls are AWESOME and I'm so excited I know how to make them now!  But I can't share the recipe, because it's a secret.  Secret family recipes are the best kind. ;) 

Lots and lots of homework/presentations/paper writing/studying/final exam taking.  One week in my planner looks like a 5 year old scribbled all over it with 3 different colored pens.  Except that was really my to-do list.  

Thanksgiving- I worked.  Yay.  But we did have a pretty nice little Thanksgiving lunch at work.  Everyone brought in a dish and we pigged out.  When I got home from work, Garrett and I joined our sweet neighbors for a late Thanksgiving dinner at their house.  They have really fallen in love with our pup Rocky and they keep him almost every day.  They're two of the most kind-hearted people and we're so blessed to have them as neighbors.  :)  

Black Friday Shopping- I usually get up at 4am and hit the mall (NOT WALMART).  I most definitely did NOT wake up at 4am...but I did get up around 9:30am and hit the mall with Garrett's cousin Haley!  I got a few Christmas presents purchased, got a boat load of stuff from Bath & Body Works, and some Christmas decorations from Target and Michael's.  

Had a lovely shopping date with Garrett's mom, aunt, and cousin at The Barn in Lake Alfred.  There's a huge outdoor section of cute yard and garden stuff, and two HUGE shops inside that have Christmas decorations and fun antiquey home furnishing and decor stuff!  I bought a cute puppy ornament for our tree that looks like Rocky.  We had some lunch at the Lavender & Lace Tea Room afterward.  Such a lovely day!  
What I Read

If it looks like I read quite a bit, it's because I listen to audiobooks in the car.  I have about an hour commute to work each way, so audiobooks keep me entertained and awake!

Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom
Um...I feel sort of bad saying this, but I was pretty underwhelmed with this book.  Maybe I would've liked it better had I read it, instead of listening to it.  But it was just...ehh.  For some reason, books about dying professors, while a sweet idea, just seem sort of preachy to me.  I felt the same way about The Last Lecture when I read it a few years ago.  I don't know.  I really wanted to like this book, and based on reviews I thought it would pull on some heartstrings, but it just didn't.  
Product Details

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella
I thought this book was so cute!  And in usual Sophie Kinsella fashion, this book cracked me up.  I'm sure I looked like a mad woman driving down the road cracking up to this...but I can't help but laugh at Sophie's funny British girls who get themselves into the most ridiculous situations.  

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn
Wow.  These are all audiobooks!  I think I've been reading an actual book for over a month on my Kindle! Whoops!  Well...this book.  I think it's one of those love/hate books.  Half the people I know who have read it love it, and the other half hate it.  Admittedly, the main characters are both sick and twisted freakos.  But I loved it.  I love a book that keeps me in suspense, and this one did just that.  I kept wanting to get in my car and drive somewhere just so I could keep listening.  
Well, that was my November.  Even though classes are over, the rest of December is a whirlwind of family, baking, cooking, and Christmas parties!  I love being busy with fun stuff like that! :)  I promise I'll get some recipes posted ASAP!  

1 comment:

  1. Yay! Now time to do the Christmas blog recap! Also, we should do a book club blog linkup or something!