happy holidays!


As always, it’s been a while! But, I just wanted to wish everyone happy holidays! 2013 has been a busy, but great year and I hope that 2014 brings everyone luck, love, & joy!

Here are some holiday season highlights…

treePresents under the tree on Christmas Eve

sushiFirst attempt at homemade sushi for Mike’s family Christmas party- made by myself & Mike’s mom!

mike family christmas eveMike & I being cheesy on Christmas Eve ❤

IMG_2533Alex making brie baked in puff pastry with raspberry jam, basil, & bacon – an awesome Christmas Day appetizer!

dessertsChristmas Day dessert table – brownies, seven layer bars, Oreo truffles, peanut butter cookies, chocolate covered pretzels and German apple crumb cake.  Later joined by a homemade birthday cake. My family isn’t really into dessert… uhhh NOT.

alex birthdayOut to dinner on the 26th for Alex’s 21st birthday!

There were plenty of delicious & wonderful memories not included in this post and I just want to thank all my family & friends for such a wonderful holiday season!

It wouldn’t be a real post if I didn’t share recipes, so here are the links to some of the recipes that I followed this holiday season:

Seven layer bars (made without walnuts)

Peanut butter cookies with Reese’s cups (definitely my favorite new cookie recipe!)

Oreo truffles

Homemade California rolls

Brie baked in puff pastry

Happy New Year! 


pumpkin chocolate chip cookies

So I really wanted to get this recipe up for Halloween, but October has brought a lot of excitement and stress at the same time! I’m happy (and nervous) to say that I will be working as a high school chemistry leave replacement until February! Hence, why the blog posts have become scarce.  Anyway, November is still a wonderful time for pumpkin-spiced foods so I will share with you a recipe that my cousin, and fellow fall-lover, shared with me last autumn. (Thank you Carolyn!) Also, I want to say happy birthday to two more of my wonderful cousins — Ellen and Andrew!

Despite being busy and stressed, I still find time to cook and bake on the weekends.  It’s what I really look forward to at the conclusion of each week.  Being in the kitchen is an excuse to not plan and grade and think about how to teach high school students chemistry.  To me, cooking and baking is relaxing, rewarding, and fun – it’s my stress reliever.

These pumpkin chocolate chip cookies are a fall favorite of mine.  They are a soft, cake-like, pumpkin-spiced treat and you can’t go wrong when there are chocolate chips involved!

Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies


  • 1 cup (2 sticks unsalted butter), softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup dark brown sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin puree
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 2 cups dark chocolate chips


Heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray cookie sheet with nonstick cooking spray.

Using a mixer, beat the butter until smooth. Beat in the white and brown sugars, a little at a time, until mixture is light and fluffy. Beat in the eggs 1 at a time, then mix in the vanilla and pumpkin puree.

In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking soda, salt, cinammon, ginger, and nutmeg.

Slowly beat the flour mixture into the batter in thirds. Stir in the chocolate chips.

Scoop the cookie dough by heaping tablespoons onto the prepared cookie sheets and bake them for 15 to 20 minutes.  Remove cookie sheets from oven and let them rest for 2 minutes. Take cookies off with a spatula and cool them on wire racks.

Recipe adapted from: foodnetwork.com

How I eat it: right out of the oven with a tall glass of milk!