The Gift of Glasses {A GIVEAWAY!}

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The cool peeps at Firmoo reached out to me recently to see if I’d like to get another pair of glass for another review OR if I’d like host a giveaway.

While I love fun glasses to coordinate with outfits, I figure in the spirit of the holidays I would give a pair of glasses away.

So much fun!!!

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I previously reviewed Firmoo’s site, ordering process, and their glasses when I picked out some new glasses this past summer. They have plenty of glasses to pick from ranging in shapes, sizes, and colors, which are well organized and searchable. I wanted something nerdy-ish so I got these black frames (pretty tame compared to some of the other bright glasses I’ve had in the past) and fell in love with them instantly.

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The best part of all of this is that you can win your own pair of glasses now. It would be such a fun way to welcome in the new year.  A new year, a new pair of glasses, a new you!

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So how can you win?

1) Comment! Leave a comment saying which frames you like from Firmoo’s site.

2) Tweet ” I want to win a pair of glasses from and . A new year, a new pair, a new you! ” come back and leave ANOTHER comment.

3) Follow @Firmoo and @iamahoneybee on Twitter. Leave Another comment.

Do 1 or do all 3 for great chances to win!

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The fine print…

Winner gets one pair of Firmoo glasses storewide with free shipping to US. Sunglasses excluded. Glasses include the frames, standard 1.50 index dingle vision lenses. Upgrade lenses and add-ons will be charged for an extra fee.

Giveaway ends Dec 24th at midnight.

Good luck!!!

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Chocolate Mint Chip Sandwich Cookies

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I’ve put in my time off requests for the holidays (and for our upcoming cruise in January)!! Once it was all signed off (by 4 diferent people) I almost danced around the office.

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I am taking Christmas week off for some ME time… lots of PJ wearing, garlic noodle making, You’ve Got Mail watching, with some scrapbooking in the mix. Damn, I really miss scrapbooking. I could have a sob fest about it right now, but I will soilder on and focus on how I get 2 whole days to myself (the others will be with Miss Autumn) to make a mess with pictures, washi tape, stamps, and such. Bliss.

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In the 9 days from when I leave work to return from the holidays I’m sure I’ll do some baking as well. Or plan on it and maybe I’ll  just scrapbook instead. I dunno. I’m trying to stay quite focused on that so that I can zen out while I watch Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan exchange witty emails back and forth while I work on our 2014 project life.

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I am thinking about making these babies again though. They are perfect. Minty. Chocoately. They scream winter to me. And there is plenty of minty frosting smack dab in btween 2 cookies. Aren’t cookie sandwiches the best?

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I have a funny story about making these cookies.

It involves a thief (Price) who snagged a cookie while they were cooling before I had put a generious amount of frosting between the paired off cookies. So when I was a nearly done with the sandwiching, I noticed I was off. I searched the counter. I recounted.  I looked on the dining table. A cookie was missing. I knew had made 13 pairs. And then I asked…

“Yeah, I took a cookie. Why?”

UGH!!! And that is why you must notify other thieves in your house when making sandwich cookies. ha!

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I’m starting to think that all cookies should come in pairs with frosting in between. The world needs more cookie sandwiches. Def.

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I brought they babies into work to share so I cut them up. They cut in half pretty easily as the cookies are delightfully soft, and yet dense to hold up to the frosting filling.

If you don’t feel like making sandwiches cookies then at least the cookies since they are so Christmasy good.

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What are you doing for the holidays? Any movie marahons? Crafting? Cooking and baking? Traveling? Stuffing your face with cookie sandwiches and spiked nog?

Chocolate Mint Chip Sandwich Cookies

Makes 12-13 Sandwich Cookies

Ingredients

For the Cookies

  • 2 1/2 Cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 cup cocoa powder
  • 1 Cup  unsalted butter, room temperature
  • 1 Cup sugar
  • 1 Cup brown sugar
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 (10-oz. pkg.) NESTLÉ® TOLL HOUSE® Dark Chocolate & Mint Morsels

For the frosting

  • 1/2 Cup butter, at room temperature
  • 4 Cups of powered sugar
  • 10-12 drops green food coloring
  • 1/2 teaspoon peppermint extract
  • 1-2 Tablespoons milk

Process

  1. To make the cookies, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and line cookie sheets with parchment paper/ use a silpat.
  2. Wisk the flour, salt, baking soda, and cocoa powder in a bowl to combine. Set aside.
  3. Combine the butter and sugars in bowl and beat until light and fluffy. Add the eggs and vanilla extract to the sugar mixture and beat until combined.
  4. Add the dry ingredients to the bowl and mix until a dough as formed. Once the dough has combined add in the minty chocolate chips and continue to mix.
  5. Divide the dough in half. From each half, scoop out even sized cookies until you have made 12 or 13 cookies (24 or 26 total).
  6. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Remove cookie sheets from oven when the center of the cookie is still soft to the touch. Let cool and set up for 5 minutes on the cookie sheet prior to removing.
  7. While the cookies are baking, make the sandwich cookie filling by beating the butter until light in color and fluffy in texture. Add the powdered sugar in small amounts and beat until combined. Add the food coloring, and extract. Add a bit of milk until you have reached your desired consistency, which should be thick but spreadable.
  8. Once the cookies have cooled completely, put a big dollop or pipe the frosting on the underside of a cookie. Add another cookie to sandwich it off.
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12.5-7: Weekend Recap

{Friday}

  home from work | Autumn dinner & bath | Price gets home | dishes | Autumn to bed | make dinner- soup | pumping | blogging & write yelp reviews | Grimm | bed @ 10.45

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{Saturday}

get u at 7 | laundry and house stuff | breakfast- eggs and hashbrowns | Autumn takes her morning nap | get ready Knoll Christmas photo shoot | printing Save the Date labels | home | Autumn naps | DVR’d shows and playing around at home | dinner | Autumn gets bath & goes to bed | work while watching Sex Tape | bed just after 10pm

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{Sunday}

up at 5.35 | breakfast- random leftovers | get ready | Sweet Meadow Farm for bunny hay | Target | back home | lunch- zoodles & chicken sausage with pesto |Price ran errands while Autumn napped | make dinner: roasted pork tenderloin with fennel, Brussels sprouts | salt ornaments | Autumn goes to bed | make cookies | work | bed

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No-Bake Chocolate Candy Cane Pie

No-Bake Chocolate Candy Cane Pie

Although we are only a few episodes in, I am so hooked on the new show State of Affairs. Have you seen it?

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I stayed up super late the other night trying to finish an episode. Well, I have a really bad cough now that rattles the whole house so I was also trying to let the Robotussin kick in and not wake up the baby. I just so happened to be glued to the TV while I hacked my head off. So bad that I had to keep rewinding what I had just seen so I could actually hear the actors. Classic.

Well, I love Kathrine Heigl in it. I’ve loved her since I first watched ‘My Father The Hero’. I loved her through all the Grey’s drama as well. I think Izzy was annoying but she played that well. (And I still cry when I watch the episodes when Denny and George die). Anyway, I love her as Charleston, a CIA anaylst who develops and reports to the president about national security threats every day, through the President’s Daily Brief. Of course there is your run of the mill national security drama, with a health dose of relationship and personal drama mixed in as well. Such a good mix of drama.

Anyway, I suggest that you should check out State of Affairs if you haven’t seen it. Just like you should try out this pie. Yum.

It’s the perfect wintery treat as it is packed full of candy cane goodness. Oh man, I love candy canes in the winter. Do you decorate your Christmas tree with candy canes? I used to when I was younger. Now I just eat them. I’d totally toss some on the tree but I’d be afraid the dog would knock the tree over trying to get one. Dumby.

The pie is super easy to make. Just some mixing and you’ll have it all together in a short while. The BIGGEST thing is to wait until the heated marshmallow and candy cane mixture is cool. like really really cool. I probably should have waited a few more minutes. It really seemed cool enough but things got a little melty when I folded in into the whipped cream. It worked out well but just be really, really sure that it is really, really cool.

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Also, isn’t Charleston a kick ass name?

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No-Bake Chocolate Candy Cane Pie

Makes 1 Deep Dish Pie

Ingredients

For the Crust

  • 8 ounces chocolate cookies (I used a ‘dutch chocolate cookie’)
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, melted plus a little extra for greasing the pie plate

For the Chocolate Layer

  • 3 Tablespoons water
  • 3/4 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1/2 cup confectioners’ sugar

For the Peppermint layer

  • 1/2 cup crushed candy canes or peppermint candy (I used 8 candy canes)
  • 1 1/2 cups miniature marshmallows
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1 cup heavy cream

Process

  1. Butter the bottom and sides of the pie plate. Set aside.
  2. In a food processor, finely process the cookies until you produce a fine crumb. Add the melted butter and mix to combine. Using your fingers, press this mixture into the pie plate and up the sides. Place in the fridge to harden.
  3. To make the chocolate layer, bring 3 tablespoons water to a boil. In a medium mixing bowl, mix the water and chocolate chips, stirring constantly until all the chips are melted and smooth. Cool to room temperature.
  4. In a large, chilled mixing bowl, whip the cream with the sugar until stiff peaks form. Fold in the chocolate mixture with a rubber spatula. Spoon into the crust; chill.
  5. To make the peppermint layer, break the candy into chunks. In a blender, pulse the candy until you have a fine powder. Combine the marshmallows, milk , and candy cane powder in a saucepan. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly, until the marshmallows are melted. Cool to room temperature. (I suggest that you put the pot on a kitchen towel and into the fridge, stir every few minutes)
  6. Whip the remaining cream to stiff peaks. Fold in the marshmallow mixture. Spoon onto the chocolate mixture. Chill or freeze for at least 4 hours.

Inspired by The Houston Chronicle

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Four Meat Italian Gravy {& a Giveaway}

 Four Meat Italian Gravy

Last year I had my hands full with a new baby. My mom arrived the night that Autumn was born and stayed for a few weeks. She helped out immensely with tons of every day things that suddenly feels so  overwhelming. Oh, so much laundry. Plus, she became my chauffeur as I couldn’t drive after my C-section. Oh moms.

And then my dad came for a visit. He helped out by stocking our fridge and freezer with so much good food. One of the things that he made was a big batch of meaty marinara sauce. As I was happily distracted with my sweet little bean, I didn’t pay too much attention to him making it. I did pay attention to how damn good it was. It was flavorful, rich, and nicely filling. Perfect for having the energy to stay up late with a cuddily sweetie. Or just for lounging around watching a movie or football. Whatever gets you through your day!

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As the days get colder and the dark creeps in sooner, I gravitate towards meals like this. So I was recently thinking about that batch of Italian gravy that my dad made. Just when I was going to email him to ask him about it, Price picked out this Four Meat Italian Gravy. It sounded and looked familiar to what my dad made so I figured I’d give it a try to see how it compared.

Thankfully it did not disappoint. I now have a fantastic recipe for a flavorful meat packed sauce that I can whip up myself on a Sunday afternoon to best “Celebrate the Sauce.” I won’t have to wait until my dad comes up for another visit. And since he had to fly in 2 different snow storms last year, I didn’t think think he will be making another trip this winter. I’ll see that snowbird in the summer.

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Since I’ve mentioned before that we have been attempting to cut the carbs and eat more paleo meals, maybe you’re wondering why I just posted a recipe that goes hand in hand with pasta? Well, I have a nifty Spiralizer that we put to good use so often that putting it away seems silly since it gets pulled out of the hutch so often. Anyway, gotta keep the counters clean. Or attempt to.

I’ve been swapping out pasta for healthier veggie ‘noodles’ by using the Spiralizer . We used butternut squash noodles when we enjoyed this gravy as I feel that they hold up well to hearty sauces, at least a bit better than when using zucchini noodles. Basically use what you want… pasta, gluten free pasta, pollenta, veggie noodles, whatever… just make it.

Plus, the Tuttorosso tomatoes that I used were sugar and salt free. Tuttorosso is a cherished 85-year-old tomato brand that has now developed salt free products. This helps everyone better maintain their sodium intake. Plus, having sugar free products makes for healthier eating all around. That means it’s Paleo and Whole 30 complaint. With some subtle changes, like using a compliant sausage and not putting bread crumbs in the meatballs, the resulting gravy would be great paleo and whole 30 recipes in your arsenal.

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And brown the freaking meats! It makes such a big difference when you do that compared to just putting the meat in the pot at the same time as the rest of the ingredients.

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And get that tomato paste all toasty. It helps get rid of the raw flavor and develop that nice toasty umami flavor.

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The original recipe calls for everything to be cooked in a large dutch oven, which you put into the oven. Here’s the thing, I don’t have a dutch oven that is large enough. I have 2 covered casserole/pot things that could have potentially worked but neither large enough, so then I’d have 2 use both and that equals more dishes… uh no. And then I have a monsterious covered pot, but even after googling, I couldn’t figured out if it was oven safe. So I decided to just used that and cook the sauce on the stovetop. No harm, no fail. It worked out perectly. Just a heads up, you can do this recipe ON or IN the oven. Whatever works for you.

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I also deviated from the original recipe in that I just used the whole can of tomato paste and can of beef broth mainly because I knew I wouldn’t use the remaining portions of the cans. Kinda a lazy approach but it worked out perfectly in the end as the paste thickened the extra beef broth and they both packed a a rich extra flavor kick.

Basically, just make this gravy. It’s stick to your ribs good and you’ll need plenty of those hearty meals this upcoming winter. I’m sure you’ll love it. Shoot even my 1 year old could not get enough of it. She ate so much and then attacked the rib bones. Proud mama moment right there!

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Four Meat Italian Gravy

Makes 12 servings

Ingredients

Process

  1. Heat the olive oil in a large pot over medium heat. Add the ribs to brown the sides, remove to plate. Repeat with the stew meat and then the sausage.
  2. Add the chopped onion and oregano to the pot and cook for 5 minutes; stir and scrape the drippings from the bottom of pan.
  3. Next add the tomato paste and stir until it darkens; be sure not to burn. Add garlic and cook for 30 seconds, just till fragrant,; again take care not to burn.
  4. Crush the peeled plum tomatoes with your hands before adding to the pot, along with the juice. Lastly add crushed tomatoes with basil, beef broth, salt and black pepper.
  5. Add the browned meats, with juices, back to sauce; bring to a simmer. Place cover and cook over low heat for 2 1/2 -3 hours. Meantime make your favorite meatball recipe if using homemade meatballs, or use pre-made meatballs.
  6. Remove the ribs from the sauce and remove the meat from the bones, shred with a fork. Skim off any excess fat from the sauce.  Return the shredded meat to the sauce. Nestle the meatballs into sauce and cook for another 15 minutes.
  7. Serve with pasta and freshly grated cheese.

Adapted from Tuttorosso

This post is sponsored by Tuttorosso. I received product from Tuttorosso to make a recipe of my choosing. All opinions are my own.

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And now the GIVEAWAY!!

You can win a Tuttorosso gift pack that contains a variety of Tuttorosso products (perfect for you to create the recipe yourself!), an apron, a wooden spoon (which are best for sauces) and recipes that can help you “Celebrate the Sauce.”

*You just have to leave a comment by 12/10/14 at midnight. Write whatever you want. Simple as that!

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