Thursday, September 29, 2011

(no subject)

It's supposed to be 84 degrees tomorrow and then 64 on Saturday and Sunday. What's up with that?!

In other news, I have officially let myself go (and by that I mean let my blog go).

My sister accused me tonight of only posting pictures of Colby laying upside down as of late. It's not that I don't have a list of posts on my "need to write" list, it's just simply a lack of time.

The new job at Duke is going well! It's nice to be working a 40 hour week once again, as I have only been working part-time the last year or so. I like the consistency.

I have absolutely no agenda this weekend. This hasn't been the case in for-ev-er, except for maybe last weekend when I did absolutely nothing. I will likely spend most of this weekend in the kitchen. Making a mess of it, of course!

October will be a busy month and I'm going to have plenty of down time at work here soon. And by down time I mean blogging time. This is extremely good news for my blog followers--no more week long Sweet Tooth hiatuses I hope!

Stay warm this weekend. I'll probably be roasting.
Brian turns the heat on if the temperature outside drops below 80.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

The Power of Praise

Remember The Happiness Project? I read this book at the beginning of the year and did a short blogging series about some of the lessons I learned.

You can read those posts here:
Happiness Lesson #1
Happiness Lesson #2
Happiness Lesson #3

It was refreshing for me to go back and look at these blog posts and be reminded of some of my happiness lessons!

The author of the book, Gretchen Rubin, now writes a regular column for Good Housekeeping. When I read this issue's column I thought it appropriate to share.

The article was titled "The Power of Praise: How giving it is the key to getting it."

I think giving people praise--whether it be as simple as a comment or as lavish as a gift--is so critically important. This article highlighted some important characteristics of effective praise.

1. Be Specific.
2. Never offer praise and ask for a favor within the same conversation.
3. Look for something less obvious to praise.
4. Praise people behind their backs. (They will usually hear about it eventually.)
5. Remember the negativity bias. (**It typically takes at least five good acts to repair the damage of one hurtful act.)
6. Praise the everyday as well as the exceptional.


Praise somebody today.
I think it will do the heart good.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Apple Cream Cheese Cake

Yesterday I baked the apple cake featured on the cover of Southern Living magazine. A very tasty apple cream cheese bundt cake.


The recipe can be found here and I would highly recommend it. My favorite part was roasting the chopped pecans in the oven. The aroma that filled the kitchen when roasting those pecans was worth slaving in the kitchen all afternoon.

The frosting on the cake was to die for. Double (or triple) the amount they call for in the recipe.

After yesterdays cooking excursions, I'm basically obsessed with my food processor. I used the processor to finely chop pecans, apples, onions, peppers, and tomatoes. (Note: The onions, peppers, and tomatoes were not used in this cake.) It was so fast and convenient! By the end of the afternoon I was scouring the refrigerator for things that I could chop.

I hope you make this cake. I will likely be making it again. It's the perfect cake for the Fall season which is now suddenly upon us.

Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Photogenic

pho·to·gen·icAdjective/ˌfōtəˈjenik/

1. Looking attractive in photographs or on film.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Ghost Pepper


Grower of peppers
Way too hot for me to eat
Like flames on your tongue

Brian's hands in picture
Not my hands in the picture
Camera adds five pounds

Ghost pepper vodka
Hot sauce, jelly, and spices
Oh the things to make

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Roasted Carrots

I ate about 1,000 carrots last night.

They were so good.
This may be the easiest/healthiest recipe I ever post on my blog.

To convince you that you should eat mounds of carrots on a regular basis, let me remind you of their health benefits:
-Lower rates of cancer
-Improved vision
-Reduce the risk of stroke
-Help prevent heart disease
-Nourish the skin
-They even aid in *dental health* Who knew!? They act as natural abrasives and they also trigger a lot of saliva, which helps to scrub away stains on your teeth. Minerals in carrots helps to kill germs in the mouth and prevent tooth damage. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
Chop baby carrots in half.
Toss in a drizzle of olive oil, salt, and freshly ground pepper.


Roast in oven for 25-30. Sprinkle with thyme or herbs of choice. 

Eat in mass quantities.

*Recipe courtesy The Barefoot Contessa*

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

The Outerbanks

The Outerbanks trip has been a Lawrence family tradition since 2004 (along with five other families).

The Outerbanks is a long strip of islands and looks like this:

We have stayed in Duck, Corolla, and most recently Hatteras.

Thanks to Hurricane Irene our plans this year were turned upside down.

The road leading to our house in Hatteras....

Each year we have been upgrading on the house, so it was a bit of a letdown that we wouldn't be able to get to our Hatteras beach house.

Last year's house (Picture courtesy Mollie)

Since the road washout prevented us from getting to Hatteras, we ended up back in Duck. I love the area, the shopping, and the house in Duck Landing. 


This week has been all smiles!

The last day might be all tears.....

Monday, September 12, 2011

Chocolate Chip Sandwich Cookies


Late Friday night, before we headed to the beach, I decided that I would bake cookies.

I have about five containers of buttercream frosting in the freezer that has accumulated from all of my cake decorating.

I decided I would sandwich the buttercream frosting between two chocolate chip cookies and then decorate them with sprinkles and heath bar bits.

I made them bite size (guilt-free).


 I cheated and purchased the Pillsbury cookie dough because I didn't have time to make any from scratch.

The dough should be about the size of your thumbnail when it's on the cookie sheet. It will look ridiculously small before it goes in the oven! Trust me on this. The dough that I was pinching off and eating was bigger than the dough that actually made it to the cookie sheet.


Look how much the dough spreads out! If you want these to be bite-size, you really have to make your dough extremely tiny. They only took about 4-5 minutes to cook. 

Let them cool completely before placing a dollop of frosting on one side of a cookie. Then press down a second cookie so that the icing goes all the way out to the edge. Use the frosting edge to dip into the sprinkles (or whatever you choose to use). 




I brought about 40 of these bad boys down to the beach with me.

They were all eaten within 24 hours.

Enjoy!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

I Got A New Job!

Yay!

Not that I didn't love my old job...minus a few irate clients here and there.

On September 23rd and embarking on a new journey at Duke Health Systems in the Corporate Finance Department.

I'll be working in administration.

This job may last for a few months or perhaps a few years. I'm still anxiously waiting to hear back from dental schools in the next few months.

I'm extremely grateful to my friend Rachel (and her unborn child). She totally hooked me up with this job as she is currently on her way out the door.

I'm excited to be starting the job, but a little more excited for my beach trip next week.

I'll be living it up next week in the Outerbanks. :-)

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

A Preview

I hate going more than one or two days between blogging, but these past few days have been a whirlwind!

I left my Macbook at home while we travelled to Rhode Island because sometimes I prefer to separate myself from technology, computers, social networking and such, especially during a vacation. I never want to miss out on face time in the real world because I'm too consumed with the cyber world.

It woulda been nice, however, to have my precious laptop while spending days (literally!) in the airport. There's only so much airport food I can consume before I'm in need of another activity. Boredom set in after a couple of hours.

While I will definitely set aside time later this week to catch up on my blog posting, I have some sleep I need to catch up on first.

I've been playing around with my photo editing program today, so I wanted to give you a sneak peek at some of my Rhode Island photographs!



Friday, September 2, 2011

Rhode Island Bound

This morning Brian and I are off to Newport, Rhode Island.

Our flight is at 10am, so Brian said we need to leave the house at 9. He made a bug fuss about how we would have to be up early and needed to have "every single thing" packed and ready to go before bedtime.

I was up at 6:30 this morning.

I'm guessing he will sleep until 8:45.

I think I'll go wake him up with a song.

Anyways, one of Brian's friends from grad school is getting married on Sunday. Brian is a groomsman in the ceremony. I'm looking forward to being simply a guest at the wedding without any stress. I'm also excited that I get to explore a new town. I'll be sure to take lots of pictures!

Speaking of weddings and pictures, here's my mom and dad.


I stumbled across some old pictures this week and also my mom's high school yearbook. She had written about my dad on almost every page.

Here's where she wrote about him being the most important person in her life.















Apparently she felt the need to record his height and weight and his gold wire frame glasses!

I'm off to Rhode Island! Happy Labor Day Weekend!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

September Goals

I'm pretty sure that 2011 has been the fastest year ever. It blows my mind that it is already September. The previous 8 months were a blur.

This month will be busy for me and I will keep you updated on everything via blog. I have some vacation thrown in the mix and at the end of the month I'll be starting a new job! More on that later.

For this month, many of my goals will be carried over from August.

September Goals
-Order prints of 2011 pictures
-Wash my car
-Play a round of golf
-Try three new recipes

That's all. Easy shmeezy.

Colby could accomplish those goals in her sleep.