Tuesday, January 28, 2014

for the love of red velvet!

there are lots of things about me that just don't make sense like how i wouldn't dream of frying food at home because it's so unhealthy but i LOVE (and still eat) mcdonald's fries and hamburgers. now we don't have time to tackle all (or any really) of the thousands of other things about me that don't make sense, and i really only brought it up so we could chat about red velvet. i love red velvet anything which is so weird because i never add food coloring to anything. coloring usually seems unnecessary and sometimes even a little unhealthy but red velvet is of course the huge exception.

and with valentine's day just a little more than 2 weeks away, i had to try this recipe for red velvet crinkles from cooking classy.

they are beautiful cookies and would make great valentine's treats for your sweeties. be careful not to over bake, and i would definitely recommend substituting the extra cocoa powder for the flour as she suggests at the bottom of the recipe for a little more flavor. and if you're not a huge fan of white chocolate chips, try chocolate ones. these cookies do need the extra bit of flavor but they are really fun.

and looking for even more red velvet? try this recipe for red velvet chocolate chip cookies from baking serendipity. these are great cookies as well and have become a favorite at my house!

xo,
carly

Sunday, January 26, 2014

in loving memory

i think i've written before that i struggle with how much of my personal life to share here on this blog. i generally want this to be a happy space about my creative life, like diy projects, baking and scrapbooking. but i also want to be authentic so in the spirit of that and of memory keeping, i'm going to take a little detour today.

grandpa's 87th birthday, marth 2014
my grandpa passed away this past tuesday, 1 year 1 month and 6 days after we lost my grandmother. he was a hard man to know, a fact that became even more clear to me at my grandmother's memorial when i met a girl just bit younger than myself who considered my grandparents hers. i'd never met her before, never even heard her name mentioned. it hurt my feelings at the time but people are complicated. families even more so. and my family sometimes impossible to decipher. but now that both my grandparents are gone i don't want to dwell on all of the things that were wrong in our relationship, or all of the things we didn't know about each other. i want to think about all of the things that were wonderful and true and that i will remember forever.

what i will remember was his quiet manner, carefully watching and observing at family dinners and holidays. breaking his silence every once in a while to recount a funny story or poke fun at the previous story's teller. then we would all laugh and delight in his wit. and i'll especially remember his deep, gravelly voice, earned from years of smoking. i'll remember the camera, perpetually around his neck, snapping quiet, candid frames. i believe it inspired both my father's and my love for photography. i'll remember his member's only jackets in a rainbow of colors, one to match all of his shirts. and i'll remember that he loved them so much he was still wearing them up until last year. i'll remember his love of sugar. he told my sister just recently that god made sugar and he wants us to eat it. so i come by my sugar addiction honestly. i'll remember that to honor my grandpa's sugar addiction we made him his favorite snickerdoodles and gingersnaps every christmas since i was a little girl and i'll keep making them every year in remembrance. and i'll remember that in the last few years he fell in love with hersey's chocolate drops. once i asked him if they weren't just the same as m&m's and with bright eyes and a giant smile, he told me they were much better because they were bigger. i'll remember that he called me darling and he loved me.

and i'll always remember how much he loved my grandmother. i'm happy that they are together again.

xo,
carly

Sunday, January 19, 2014

national pie day!

this thursday is national pie day. did you know? are you having a big party? taking the day off work? of course i'm teasing. i'm not having a party either but i will be having pie! i'm always game for celebrating sweet treats.

one of my first glazed cherry pies
pies aren't usually my first choice for dessert but they have won a spot in my heart since shaun went back to school. to make his very first day back to school special, i made his favorite dinner and a cherry pie for dessert. now we celebrate the first day of each quarter with a "back to school pie".

thanks to national pie day, i have learned that pies have a long and illustrious history but mostly as a savory dish. the greeks and romans made some of the first pies but it wasn't until the late 1800s that the first sweet pies were made. by the 1940s, pies had become an all-american treat!

hope you have a happy pie day this week!

xo,
carly

Monday, January 13, 2014

crafty projects for 2014

last year it was super fun to make a list of the crafty projects i wanted to accomplish. now i didn't actually complete all of my 2013 projects but a crafty list is no place for deadlines, only fun!
i have a new list this year, and besides rolling over some of my unfinished projects, here's what i'm planning on:

-scrapbooking more: in the past few years i have only scrapbooked just a handful of times, most of them recently and it has been wonderful. i must do it more!

from studio calico
-take more pictures & print them: see item above. to scrapbook you need photos. i'm great at documenting life for others, not always as good at it for myself so i need to take more photos and actually get them printed (a snag with digital photos, too often them live in the computer).
-organize my studio: to create, you need a beautiful space and lately my studio has been looking a little cuckoo bananas! now it won't look like this but it is certainly inspiring...
from jessicajane.love on flickr
perfect the brownie: we love brownies but so far we love duncan hines brownies in a box the best. i'm on a mission to find the best brownies from scratch recipe. 
houseandhome.com

and that's it so far.

xo,
carly

Sunday, January 5, 2014

my word

in case you don't know, ali edwards has started a super cool tradition...well let's call it a movement actually...of choosing one little word to focus, meditate and reflect on through the year.

last year i chose the word better. a better relationship with my husband, better eating habits, better sleep, better outlook, better attitude, and more. and just the act of choosing the word helped me keep it with me in my daily life, helped me keep my head on straight through some of the trials of the past year. and after a year i can definitely say that life is better.

this year i have chosen focus. with a general feeling that life is better, i have questions for myself. which path is the right one for me? which projects should i be concentrating on right now? where would i like to be at the end of this year?

i'm excited for what 2014 holds for me.

xo,
carly

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

merry christmas!

just having some holiday fun playing with heart bokeh. i think i need some more practice but there are christmas cookies to eat and movies to watch, a girl has got to have her priorities! hope you're having a fun night too!

merry christmas!

xo,
carly

Monday, December 23, 2013

my new favorite holiday cookie

i'm always collecting new cookie recipes, especially holiday ones and this year i was so inspired by this beautiful recipe for candy cane chocolate cookies from the call me cupcake blog. not to mention just being inspired by her insanely gorgeous blog!

but then december got a little too crazy and my inspiration waned a bit and the idea of having to convert the recipe and then test it, blah, blah...i know some of you get what i'm saying. so i went looking for a way to make my own version.

i started with the recipe for chocolate crinkles, a betty crocker and family favorite. you can find the recipe and picture here. i altered it just a bit and made them into what i'm calling minty crinkles.

recipe:
-1/2 cup vegetable oil
-4 sq. unsweetened chocolate, melted
-2 cups sugar
-4 eggs
-2 tsp vanilla
-1/2 tsp peppermint extract
-2 cups flour
-2 tsp baking powder
-1/2 tsp salt
-melted chocolate (any favorite will work, i always use cadbury dairy milk)
-crushed candy canes

mix oil, chocolate and sugar. blend in one egg at a time until well mixed. add vanilla. measure flour by dipping or sifting. stir flour, baking powder and salt into oil mixture. chill several hours or overnight.

heat oven to 350. shape teaspoonfuls into balls. place about 2" apart on greased baking sheet. bake 10 to 12 minutes. chill between batches to make it easier to roll. do not overbake! cool completely on a wire rack. then dip in melted chocolate and crushed candy cane. return to wire rack to harden. makes about 6 doz. cookies.

my notes:
i used cocoa powder & additional oil instead of chocolate squares. there is a handy little measurement on the cocoa powder packaging (3 tbsp of cocoa powder + 1 tbsp of vegetable oil = 1 chocolate sq) and that's just how we've always made them!

xo,
carly