Archive | November 2013

Grown-up things

Hey friends! How are you? Happy Friday to all. I’m blaming my blogging absence this past week  totally on grown-up things. I know that since I’m 27  I’m technically (obviously) an adult…but seriously sometimes I am not a fan. Bills, expenses, responsibilities… sometimes adulthood is just plain overwhelming, right?  Often I wonder why I can’t just be 6 years old again and play with my Barbie’s…
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5-year old me. Clearly Barbie obsessed…

Well as much as I would like to rewind the clocks and play Barbie’s, that clearly won’t  be happening anytime soon. However, the good news is that not all grown-up things are bad.  In fact the things I’m speaking of from last week (although one of them was quite time-consuming), were actually pretty fun!

First up,  I bought a car!
If you’ve ever bought a car before or even just shopped for one, I’m fairly certain you know the painstaking amount of time it takes to research, test-drive, analyze, price-check, and do all the necessary comparisons before you make a decision. Well, after a solid month of test-drives and research across the states of New England, I followed my  instinct and bought this little lady.  I am so pleased with my decision. It’s most importantly a safe choice, but it also has all wheel drive for horrible Maine winters, a sunroof, and the necessary heated seats (hello toasty buns). A huge thanks to my boss and my parents for putting up with my indecisive shenanigans, and for helping me with this big, time-consuming decision!
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Second on the grown-up list: I celebrated another anniversary (from abroad):
Brandon and I marked another anniversary last week, which is unreal to me. This coming June, we’ll have known each other for 10 years (AKA we are getting old!).  It was a special day but of course I was sad at the same time because really, who wants to spend their anniversary apart? However, he sent these beautiful flowers and a lovely note, so I felt like we were together in spirit.
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Third on the list: A weekend getaway with my girls
When you combine 3 best friends, a wonderful family, & countless bottles of bubbly, you’re sure to have a memorable weekend. A Cape Cod getaway full of too much wine, delicious food, shopping, and visiting was just what I needed with my girls. Thanks again Laura and Peter!
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Fourth on the list: Meeting my friend Karen’s adorable new baby, Georgetta Rose.
Is it just me, or do you feel super grown-up when friends your age start having babies?  I know I do, but it’s so exciting, too. It’s that domino effect in our 20’s…marriage and babies are such a common occurrence! Anyway, little Georgetta  was such a cutie, and I just loved meeting her.  I miss you already, Karen!
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I hope you have a wonderful weekend!

What are your most and least favorite things about adulthood?
The least favorite of mine would have to be paying bills…yuck!
The most favorite of mine would have to be  excitement about the future. Oh, and having the option to drink bubbly Winking smile

How was your last car-shopping experience?

A birthday wish for my beautiful mom

Today my beautiful Mom is 60 years young.
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We started off her special day with a mother/daughter work-out, which is truly one of my favorite things to do together. Having a work-out buddy that is your Mom and best friend is so.much.fun.
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I struggle to find the right words to describe my Mom, because there’s just too many of them: compassionate, giving, loving, beautiful, spirited, kind-hearted, honest, loyal; anyone that knows her would surely say all of those things,  but she’s  more than that too.

-She’s a wonderful wife
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-An outstanding mother
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-A loving daughter
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-A do-anything-for-these-puppies Nana

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-A remarkable business woman
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-A supportive sister
-A caring Aunt
-A loyal friend
-A positive role model
-A dedicated volunteer
-A top-notch cook

…I mean really, I could go on and on!

Today I wish my Mom a wonderful birthday and a spectacular year ahead. I’m so happy to be with you and I love you more than words can say.

I made her a cookie-cake last night to try and express my infinite amount of love for her….what do you think? Did it work?
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Does she look 60 to you? I think not!  If 60 looks this good, bring.it.on!

P.S. My good friend Monique asked me to guest-post on her blog over the weekend. Hop on over to her blog and check-out my ‘starting over’ story here!

Simple Pumpkin-Spice Date cake

Hello and happy Veteran’s Day, friends!
Thank you to all who protect our country. We are truly blessed.

How was your weekend? I knew my weekend would be great when a lunch  with my boss on Friday concluded with homemade apple pie and chocolate-decadence cake. How could it not be a great weekend when you start it off with those two things??!
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After that epic lunch on Friday, the wonderful weekend continued thanks to family-time and birthday celebrating. My twin sister, her fiancé, and the puppies were home for the weekend to celebrate my Mom’s birthday a few days early, and we had a blast.  Plus, having today off from class is pretty great, too.
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These puppies melt my heart.
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Anyway, I’ve been doing a bit more baking lately, and whether it’s because I’m using the oven to get warmer or it’s just the cold weather inspiring me to bake, any excuse works for me!  I’ve  meaning to share this  recipe for months, and since I baked it just last week for my little Mem’s birthday, I had the perfect opportunity to take some photos in order to do just that!  This recipe is an oldie, but seriously a goodie. It originates from my Grammie’s recipe box and it’s from many years ago (just check out how old this recipe card looks!), but since the first time I tasted it, I loved it.  My Grammie was the sweetest little thing, but she sure knew how to make a mean dessert. This Pumpkin Spice Date Cake is definitely one of her best.
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I don’t know about you, but one of my most favorite things about fall is the abundance of pumpkin-foods sold everywhere. Candies, coffees, baked goods; you name it, I love it. However, buying these pumpkin treats in stores and coffee shops isn’t always the most waist-line friendly option, which is why I love this recipe.  I get my pumpkin-dessert fix, but as a healthier option. This cake has zero oil, zero eggs, and zero butter, and a cool-whip-inspired frosting makes it an even smarter choice.  Plus, it’s super simple to make and bake in no time.  You’ll use a boxed spice cake mix as your base, to which you’ll add pumpkin, skim milk, baking soda, walnuts, and dates. Then voila, make your cool-whip frosting and you’re done.  My Mem has always declared this as her favorite cake and for a non-dessert person like her, that says a lot!

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Two Layer Pumpkin-Spice Date Cake
Recipe from my Grammie Rowden

Ingredients for cake:
1 box 2-layer size spice cake mix
1 cup milk (I used skim)
1 cup canned pumpkin (Not pumpkin pie filling)
1/2 tsp. baking soda
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
1/2 cup chopped dates

For frosting:
2 cups cool whip ( I used Lite, but regular or fat-free would be fine too!)
1 TBSP. molasses
1/4 tsp. nutmeg

Directions:
1) Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit (176 Celsius). Spray two round cake pans or one 13x9x2 cake pan with cooking spray and set aside.
2) Combine cake mix and baking soda, then add milk and pumpkin.
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3) Blend at low-speed with electric mixer until moistened. Then beat at medium speed for two minutes.
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4) Fold in nuts and dates. (BEWARE, the dough is extremely delicious!)
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5) Pour mixture into greased pans and bake at 350 degrees F for 25- 30 minutes. Once baked, set layers  aside to cool.
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6) Once cooled, remove the cake from the pans, and set the first layer in the container that you plan on storing the cake. Now you are ready to frost!
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7) In a medium-sized mixing bowl, gently stir molasses and nutmeg into cool-whip topping. IMG_5094IMG_5096
8) Spread cool whip mixture onto first cake layer, covering it completely. Then place the second cake layer on top of the first, covering this layer completely as well. (Now you have frosting sandwiched in-between the layers, even better!)

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9) Refrigerate immediately and enjoy asap! (Don’t forget to add candles for a birthday cake!)
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If you’re looking for a healthier pumpkin treat, I think this will fit the bill! Mem’s face lit up when she saw the cake and as she ate it, too. Cake at 10 a.m.? Hey, you are only 87 once. I would do this all day everyday for her <3
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Cake + hugs + laughs + love…highlight of my month right there.

What’s your favorite pumpkin dessert?
Mine has to be this spice cake, or pumpkin chocolate-chip bread…it’s a close call!
I’m also obsessed with candy-corn pumpkins, but technically I’m not sure if that counts.

What did you eat this weekend? Any good desserts? Please share!

P.S. Happiest birthday today to my second-Dad, Brad! xoxo
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