My 2012 Favs!

.  Holy crap.  So much has been going on this month that I have completely neglected LSM.  Like, more so than ever before.  And I know I've been saying that a lot lately but it's gotten bad.

And by the way things are going right now, it probably won't get much better for a while.  But hey, it happens.  Get over it ☺

But for the time being, I've put together some of my most favorite and delicious recipes from the past year for you to enjoy.  Whether you missed them completely or put them on a baking list that you never got around to, here's a second chance to really make an impression on your friends and family.  Whether you're looking for an easy peasy or elegant recipe, I think this collection will have exactly what you need.  And if not...check out another blog.

JUST KIDDING!  Check out my recipes page above, duh!

Hope everyone's holidays have been blissful, I know I've thoroughly enjoyed mine.  But a recap on all of that later.  For now...get clickin' and have a happy New Year!  .

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Party Weekend and the Ugly Sweater 5K!

.  Hi everyone!  So this last weekend was quite a blur, what with work parties Friday and Saturday night and then a 5K run mid-Sunday morning.  Don't get me wrong though, it was a blasty blast.

Saturday was a complete whirlwind.  I took part in organizing the party, which was an end of the year bash for a group I'm a part of at work.  So Saturday was spent finishing desserts, putting together goodie containers, and whipping up a decadent Coconut Hot Chocolate.  Oh yeah, and forgetting to put my bread pudding in the oven [no joke, I seriously did that and had to bake the thing at the hosts house!].  But all in all, the party went over extremely well, which included some hilarious Minute to Win It games, an ugly sweater contest, karaoke, and of course, too much food to handle.  And I couldn't have asked for a better night with a more genuinely special group of people.

OH!  And I can't forget to mention the goodie bags [containers] that I made for the party, too.  Hollyann and I spent numerous hours rolling and dipping Christmas Cake Truffles and Apple Cinnamon Truffles to put in the cute little candy cane-striped boxes you see above for everyone to take home.  Needless to say it was quite a bit of work but very worth it.  Better to give than to receive, right?!

Then came Sunday morning and the Ugly Sweater 5K.  And what a great time that was!!

I ran the race with some of my most favorite people, Jess, Bailey, and a new found friend, Katie, and despite the winter chill, we all thoroughly enjoyed the time we spent together!  The course was great, with unique picture taking stops at every mile [e.g., trees and man-made snow, hot chocolate booths, and Clark Griswold's front lawn!] and lo' and behold, it actually started snowing the moment we crossed the finish line.  A Kodak moment, I would say.

So since so much went on this last weekend, I thought it'd be fun to once again share bits of my life with you in pictures.  Pictures say a thousand words anyway, right?  Enjoy!

P.S. check out Jess' blog, Blonde Ponytail, for her recap of the race day activities.  She's pretty much a beast [in a toned, outrageous body kind of way] so if you're looking for some New Year's Resolutions workouts, that's the place to stop!  .

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Eggnog Fudge

Take it or leave it.

It's that simple.

When it comes to eggnog.

Am I right or am I right?  My conclusion is that you either love eggnog or you despise it.  There really is no in between with this distinctly thick and rich holiday beverage.  Personally, I'm an eggnog lover.  But I've definitely come across my share of haters.  So if you're the latter, I'd love for you continue reading my post but I'm fairly certain you won't find this fudge appealing.  Sowwy, guys.

But hey, if you're still here, you made a wise choice.  I was overly pleased with this fudge because not only is it oozing with eggnog goodness, but it's legit!  Sweet, creamy, melt-in-your-mouth fudge.  All of the key qualities a fine fudge must possess, right?  Correct.  And it doesn't get much more holiday-esque than eggnog. 

I had a hunch this was a smash recipe because it uses marshmallow fluff, and I'm a firm believer it's the key ingredient.  My first fudge attempt was for an SRC post, Cherry Walnut Fudge, and that recipe included marshmallow fluff as well.  And...it was the best fudge I'd ever had.  Let alone made.  The author of the recipe attributed the delectable-ness to the marshmallow fluff, so I'm stickin' with that.  And this Eggnog Fudge follows suit.

So how to describe this festive treat?  Well...it's rich and sweet.  The eggnog itself is complemented by white chocolate, marshmallow fluff, and salty butter.  And putting that all into one bowl will surely give you something scrumptious, but small bites are all you're going to need.  Well, you'll probably end up eating a lot of those little bites.  But hey, who's counting?  It's the holidays!  .

My Notes:
  • Be patient when making the fudge.  It will probably take several minutes to get the temperature where it's supposed to be, but it'll be worth it because you'll get the most perfect consistency!

1/2 c. butter
2 tbsp. heavy whipping cream
3/4 c. plus 2 tbsp. eggnog
2 c. sugar
10 oz. white chocolate chips
1 (7 oz.) jar marshmallow creme
1/2 tsp. nutmeg
2 tsp. vanilla extract

  1. Line a 9x9-inch pan with foil; set aside.
  2. Combine butter, heavy whipping cream, eggnog, and sugar in a medium saucepan.  Bring to boil over medium heat, stirring occasionally.  Once boiling, reduce heat a bit and using a candy thermometer, continue cooking until temperature reaches 234°F.  Remove pan from heat and stir in white chocolate chips until completely melted and blended in.  Add in marshmallow creme, nutmeg, and vanilla extract.  Stir until smooth and pour into pan.
  3. Sprinkle top with additional nutmeg (if desired).  Let cool to room temperature before removing from pan and cutting into small pieces (I found it best to put the fudge into the refrigerator to cool).
Yield: 32 servings

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Celebrating My "Little" Brother

.  For one reason or another, I recently realized I have failed to mention on LSM a very important man in my life: my brother, Tyler.

As you may have noticed, I referred to him him as my "little" brother because even though he's four years younger, most people assume he's older simply for the fact that he dang near towers over me and I think my body alone may barely consist of one of his muscular legs.

To compare not only our physical appearances but also our interests is quite comical because we really could not be more complete opposites.  But hey, that's what makes life interesting!  I've watched my brother grow from a somewhat rebellious child to a driven, motivated, and humble young man.  Words can't explain the admiration I have for him and his passion for life.  He never takes a second for granted and is constantly on the move working towards his next goal.  We could all learn a thing or two from him, believe me.

Anywho, Tyler is now a senior at Winona State University and only has one more semester before he hits the 'real world.'  But his 'real world' reality is quite different than most, as Tyler is training to become a cop and is also a part of the ROTC program at school.  Crazy guy, huh?  But he's had an innate passion for these careers since he was a little tike.  Oh, the stories we could tell!

But an important celebration for his ROTC program involves an annual Holiday Ball where  families and friends comes together to honor the students and all of their accomplishments.  We're still debating this, but Tyler 'inadvertently' forgot to invite his family to the prior years Holiday Balls but fortunately for his final year, we made the cut.  So this last weekend I ventured back to Minnesota to participate in this special night!

As you can tell, I'm a bit sour about the fact that we only made one Ball because my family and I had such a wonderful time!  It was so amazing to finally meet all of the people that have been such an integral part of Tyler's life for the past four years.  And my, are they wonderful people!  It was a complete honor to be in a room filled with the future men and women who will be protecting our country.

So needless to say, my family and I enjoyed a full evening of fun chatter, wonderful food, beautiful clothes, and celebrating one of the most important people in my life.  Couldn't ask for more, really.  So while you weren't there, I wanted to share a few pictures of our beautiful night and dish about my younger brother.  He'll be so embarrassed ☺  .

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