February 27, 2011

Giada...I Think I Love You

My two favorite cooking shows are Giada at Home & Barefoot Contessa.  I love me a good Paula Deen show too, but these two shows are my "go-tos."  I look forward to nothing more on Saturday morning than waking up and lounging on my couch with my coffee in hand, catching up on the latest episodes.

I love Giada De Laurentiis for so many reasons...
She's gorgeous!

She's a great chef & baker - and nothing she makes is too difficult for the average at-home cook.

She has a chic home and great sense of style.

She is a hard-working woman who has {from an outsider's perspective} a great relationship with her husband, Todd.

She has the most adorable little daughter ~ Jade Marie!

I think I love her show so much because she incorporates all of these things into each episode ~ you get a real "glimpse" of who she really is, and I love that! 

Lastly...the lady loves Chocolate!  A woman after my own heart.

On a recent episode, Total Comfort, Giada made these Double Chocolate and Espresso Cookies for her and her daughter. They look unbelievably decadent...I must try these!


6 ounces semi-sweet chocolate, chopped into 1/2-inch pieces (recommended: Ghirardelli)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1/3 cup dark chocolate-covered espresso beans
1 cup flour
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon fine sea salt
3/4 cup sugar
2 eggs, at room temperature
2 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips (recommended: Nestle Toll House)


Place an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper or silicone mats. Set aside.

In a small bowl, combine the chocolate and butter. Place the bowl over a pan of barely simmering water and stir occasionally until the chocolate has melted and the mixture is smooth.

In the bowl of a food processor, finely chop the chocolate covered espresso beans. In a medium bowl, whisk together the chopped espresso beans, flour, cocoa powder, baking powder, and salt.

In another medium bowl, whisk together the sugar, eggs, water, and vanilla extract. Gradually add the dry ingredients and stir until thick and smooth. Fold in the melted chocolate. Stir in the chocolate chips. Using a cookie or ice cream scoop, scoop level 1/4 cupfuls of the batter onto the prepared baking sheets. Bake until slightly puffed and the tops begin to crack, 18 to 20 minutes. Allow the cookies to cool completely on the baking sheets and serve.

You can find dark chocolate covered espresso beans at Trader Joe's - they're inexpensive, and they make for a delicious snack!

I have a pretty busy week coming up, but I'm thinking these need to make their way into the schedule somehow!

February 25, 2011

Happy Friday!

My husband and I made it through our rough week and we are SO ready for the weekend!  We have a busy, but fun one in store.

We kick it off tonight at Angelo's & Vinci's in Downtown Fullerton to celebrate my aunt's 50th Birthday.  I've loved this place ever since I was a kid - amazing Italian food and a super fun ambiance!

Have a great weekend, everyone!

February 21, 2011

"Time...is on my side...yes, it is..."  What?!  Who made that nonsense up?  More often than not I feel like time is not on my side...like there's just not enough time in a day. 

As I mentioned in my previous post, my husband got his wisdom teeth pulled on Friday afternoon.  We thought this was perfect timing since we had a four-day weekend.   I had freed up my schedule to devote all my time to him and his recovery.  Poor guy had a fainting spell on Friday night which scared me half to death {he is perfectly fine, thank the Lord}.  Low and behold...on Saturday night I got hit HARD with the stomach flu. 


This weekend has been one big reminder that things do not happen in accordance with my plan, that's for sure.

Enjoy this little irony on time...and these stylish clocks that are available out there!





Love that head board from Anthropologie! 

So long to the four-day-weekend that worked this household over!

February 19, 2011

Wisdom Teeth...An Oxymoron


It's a four-day-weekend....and my husband got all his wisdom teeth pulled yesterday.  Poor guy ~ works so hard and has to do THIS on his long weekend off!  He also had a fainting spell last night when we got home ~ luckily he fainted on my {and not backwards in the kitchen}.  It was quite a scare ~ and one of the most traumatic things we've been through together.  He is doing fine now under the circumstances...enjoying lots of liquids, soft foods...and vicodin.


I don't know if this is just God's sense of humor, but I don't see anything smart about them.

Ehh well.  This experience has brough new meaning to our vows, "For better or for worse.  In sickness and in heallth." 

Glad we're in this...together!

February 18, 2011

Missing Greece!

My grandma is in California {or in The States ~ as they say in Greece} until May.   I love when she visits for many reasons, but one of those reasons is she makes delicious Greek food while she's here!

I love remniscing with her and talking about her low-key daily life in Greece.  I haven't visited Greece since my husband {then fiance} and I went in 2007.  And lately I've just been longing to go back!  

Here's why... 

The Acropolis ~ Athens


Portara at Naxos


Santorini.  Ahh...yes, it's every bit as beautiful as it is in The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants...but better!


Windmills at Mykonos

The Peleponnese Islands ~ where my Grandma's village is.  It's authentic and beautiful ~ a non-touristy gem!

If only it weren't so far away!

February 16, 2011

It's My Half Birthday?!

My sweet 6th grade students surprised me by celebrating my half birthday today! 

All throughout my childhood I longed to be one of those kids who got to bring in cupcakes for the class, or who got a "free homework pass" on their birthday.  But, my birthday is August 16 - right smack at the end of Summer vacation.  Usually when I tried to have pool or beach party, many of my friends were on vacation. 

My job is definitely not always a cake walk~ but I am continuously amazed by the little lives I'm blessed to teach every day.  And my students are sixth graders...so for them to do something so sweet is a pretty big deal. = )

I was greeted at my classroom door this morning by smiling Ally who had a skinny vanilla latte in hand...
Later in the day, I came into my classroom to see that my desk had been decorated with lime green streamers (it is COOL - kind of like a fort made out of streamers) and balloons.  I was also given this...

...with explicit instructions that, "Yes, you HAVE to wear it ALL day!"

Lunch time rolled around and in walks another student with this...

Love my Chicken Strips Salad from Chik-fil-A!

As if the day couldn't get any sweeter, my Room Mom popped in at 2:00 with all the goodies to make these adorable cupcakes...
{from Hello, Cupcake!}

What a fun day with my students!  I'm beginning to wonder why I've never celebrated my half birthday before!

Happy Wednesday!

February 10, 2011

Fall In Love...with 31 Bits!

If you haven't heard of 31 Bits yet, it's time to educate yourself.  Adorable jewelry ~ and an even greater cause.  Here is a snippet from their "About Us" section...

Kallie Dovel, traveled to Uganda in the summer of 2007, getting a first- hand look at life in Northern Uganda. While she was there, she met women making paper beads but who lacked a plan to market and sell them. After spending time in their homes and hearing their stories, Kallie knew there had to be a way to give opportunities to her new friends. She brought a box of jewelry back to the U.S., and spent the next year finishing her degree and dreaming up the concept of a development organization. She brought a few friends on board and her ideas quickly evolved into 31 Bits. The girls traveled back to Uganda in August 2008, and selected six women to begin buying jewelry from on a monthly basis. Since then, we have grown to 63 women; each with a unique story of suffering that has been overcome with joy and liberation. Find out more about what we do in Uganda here.

Their mission?
Using fashion and design to empower women to rise above poverty.

You MUST check out their website!

Here are a few more "bits" for your enjoyment...



{great for males, too! my husband has this one!}


{all images courtesy of 31 Bits}

February 8, 2011

Sweet Valentine Cupcakes!

Whether you like Valentine's Day or not, we can all appreciate an adorably cute {and equally yummy} cupcake, right?

Here are a few cuties I've found this year...
Find these at Sprinkles

So easy to make!

Don't you love these little "love flags?"

Make these with your kids!  Martha's idea.


I am not a fan of the sugary taste or chalky texture of converstaion hearts...but these I could stomach!

Is there anything cuter than a heart-shaped cake pop?

I'll leave you with this inspiration board for Valentine Pops I saw over at Creative Hostess.  Adorable!

Love is sweet!
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