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Tag Archives: gifts

White Chip Cranberry Cookies

I’m in love with fall and I don’t care who knows it! To me, fall is synonymous with baking and cooking. And enjoying apple pie-scented candles while sipping a homemade salted caramel hot chocolate as it rains outside. So you can imagine my excitement when the girls from #C2CCS (Coast to Coast Cookie Swap) and I decided to do another swap, which obviously meant more baking!

We switched up the #C2CCS format a bit. The #C2CCS girls and I each mailed to 3 of the 6 bloggers in the group and received cookies from a different set of bloggers, rather than mailing cookies to everyone in the group (the cost to ship to 5 people across the country is expensive!). We also welcomed Amber from Domestic Wannabe to the group. She also happens to be my cousin and the other little cutie pie in the photo of us baking with my grandma in Forked Deer below.

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We always love baking with grandma!

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Gardening for the Novice

This post should probably be called ‘Gardening for the Plant Killer’, but I thought that might come up in some weird searches..

I’ll be frank, guys, I’m a plant murderer. Orchids– toast. Rosemary (yes, the ridiculously hearty herb)–donezo. The one plant I’ve managed to keep alive for a few years is a cyclamen, but it even tried dying for a few months. Miraculously, it came back to life after I started ignoring it.

It’s bad. Read the rest of this entry

The Only Chocolate Cake Recipe You’ll Ever Need

This week, my dad had a birthday. Happy birthday, dad! I was trying to be a good daughter, so I wanted to make him his favorite cake (chocolate cake with vanilla frosting) for the festivities. In the past, I’ve grabbed a box cake mix and tub of frosting at the store and prepared the celebratory cake. This year, however, I decided to be an overachiever and make the cake and frosting from scratch. Because it was such a success, I wanted to share with you all. And seriously, you wont regret trying it out.

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The Most Amazing Mixed Nuts

Omg guys. You know I love Martha. Every Christmas, I love her even more because my mom makes the most amazing mixed nut recipe of hers. This is that recipe I spoke of here and promised to share with you. I’m finally following through! This mixed nut recipe from her Hor D’oeuvres Handbook is to die for. My mom has been making it for years and I finally decided I should learn how to make it.

Okay enough raving about nuts, I’ll just share it with you.

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DIY Cinnamon Gift Tags

So, I’m not exactly sure if it was the pre-jet lag, or the time difference, or maybe I’d had a beer too many in New York, but I hadn’t even considered using the WordPress website to post. You know, like how I normally do it at home? Ughh.. dummy! Anyway, let’s carry on with this week’s post, and just ignore the little fit I threw last week, shall we?

I mean, we have important things for me to chat about, like Martha. She’s such a badass. I don’t know about you, but I think the whole “she went to prison” thing gives her even more street cred and versatility. But maybe that’s just me.. Either way, lady knows how to craft. I bookmarked this “recipe” of sorts from her site for cinnamon ornaments a while back to make for the holidays. Then I spotted this recipe on Pinterest that said I didn’t have to use glue and included other ingredients, which I thought was curious. So, I sort of combined the two recipes into what follows but decided to use the creation as gift tags for the delicious Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate Mix and other gifts I’d made for friends and family this year before I left for my NYC-London-Paris trip.

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I wonder if I have enough cinnamon..

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October Foodie Pen Pals

HAPPY HALLOWEEN! Later this evening, I will be dressed up in either a flapper costume and consuming tasty cocktails or in pjs and sleeping– I haven’t quite decided yet. One thing is certain though, Johanna sent me an absolutely fabulous Foodie Pen Pals box earlier this month!

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The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2013

You all know how much I love getting stuff in the mail. I love it so much that I’ve participated in Foodie Pen Pals for over a year! I also think that my love for baking is fairly apparent.

I was perusing recipes one day, and became pretty curious when I saw a badge on the footer of The Little Ferraro Kitchen that said The Great Food Blogger Cookie Swap 2012. I mean, what was Ms. Samantha up to last year?! Obviously, I clicked on it and it took me to a site that was reminiscent of Lindsay’s Foodie Pen PalsSpeaking of which, I’ve gotta sign up for that by November 4th!

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If you want to know what this is all about, read on.. Read the rest of this entry

DIY Personalized Mug.. Maybe

Howdy! Happy Friday! I hope all is well with you. I’ve been lovely, thanks for asking. A few things before we get started:

  • I don’t know about you all, but I survived my first full week back at work, post-holidays. Well, I’m in the process of surviving it. Is it 5 pm yet?
  • If you’re interested in receiving delicious, homemade baked goods (and you live in the US– sorry ’bout it), follow me on Twitter and use #NatTravels to guess where my next big trip will be. The person(s) who guess the closest will win some goodies!
  • Also, I’m ready for it to be summer. The pedicure I got last night only strengthened my toes’ desire to be in flip flops and sunshine.

Okay, onward we go to this week’s post!

Disclaimer: if you’re going to try making the mug referenced in this post’s title, read the final paragraph in this post before attempting/getting your hopes up. Just in case.

Each year for Christmas, a couple of friends and I exchange gifts. It’s typically a Secret Santa-type exchange, it’s usually set at a $15-20 amount, and it’s always themed. One year we did socks, another we did Christmas ornaments. This year, we did coffee mugs. Read the rest of this entry

Magic Cookie Bars

Most people have heard of Magic Cookie Bars. I’m pretty sure the recipe is one of like, three or four that are printed on Eagle Brand Sweetened Condensed Milk cans throughout the year. This past holiday season I’ve made at least five batches of MCBs for gifts, parties, and just to be a fatty, and I’ve concluded that I’ve perfected the recipe.

As I’m sure you’ve come to realize, I don’t like to play by the rules that are recipes. I tend to use recipes as general guidelines and then add or subtract ingredients and change up the directions as I see fit. This recipe, or rather, my take on this recipe is no different.

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Seriously, so good.

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Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate

Merry Christmas! I hope everyone was able to spend time with their families and friends this holiday season. I am officially back from my unplanned and unannounced nearly month-long hiatus. Planning for the holidays both at work and at home, along with the social obligations one has as a twenty-something during the holidays took me by surprise this year– I’ll try to plan better for next year!

As I’m sure many of you have been to a Starbucks (no judging if you haven’t.. okay, a little bit of judging.), I’m sure you’ve heard of a Salted Caramel Hot Chocolate. Well, I had my first one on Halloween and I’ve been obsessed ever since. One day, I was perusing Pinterest and stumbled upon a recipe from Pennies on a Platter‘s Nikki. It sounded so easy and so good that I couldn’t pass up trying it out.

I knew I’d wanted to make the mix for friends and family for Christmas, but didn’t read through the final part of the instructions which states that it only keeps for about a month. So, my ingredients sat in a cupboard for about a month before I finally had a spare weekend to make it.

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I briefly questioned whether this recipe would be worth it or not. Teaser: it is. Like, so much.

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