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Jan 7, 2013

Nutella-Stuffed Brown Butter and Sea Salt Chocolate Chip Cookies... Need I Say more?

Even though it's a hairdresser's busiest time of year, I love to give cookies out to my neighbors and friends for Christmas.  It's been a tradition of mine for the 22 years we have been married and I love to bake.  I wanted to start a Christmas baking tradition with Emma and make a cookie that was a little unique but insanely good and have that be our signature Christmas cookie every year. As usual I turn to Pinterest when I need a little inspiration.   
When I saw a picture of this delicious cookie on Pinterest, I immediately fell in love!  I mean it, all my favorite things like; chocolate, Nutella and sea salt, all baked together in yummy goodness in one delicious cookie.  Oh my gosh, I'm drooling just thinking about it. 

Look at it, all gooey and soft in the inside and a little crunchy with a sprinkle of sea salt on the outside.  My friend Deidre said it was the perfect size, thickness and one of the best cookies she's ever tasted!  That's a huge compliment coming form an amazing baker like her.  My friend Sally, who also loves to bake, said she loved the cookies and must have the recipe.  Well here you go my friends, the recipe everyone's been asking for.  

The creator of this delicious cookie, that I can't live with out, is Monique and her blog is Ambitious Kitchen.  Boy, can this girl bake!  You can get her recipe and step-by-step here, she even has a link to show you how to brown butter which I have never done before.  

If you started your New Years resolution to loose weight than absolutely do not make these cookies, guaranteed you will eat them!  If you do make them then let me know on my Facebook Page how it turns out and if you love them as much as I do!

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Dec 17, 2012

What Is Christmas About?

I see way too many people stressing out over this time of year.  Too much to do, buy, decorate, and bake.  Why is that so important?  Does that stuff really matter?  Not really.  

It's not about the tree.
It's not about the decorations.
It's not about the presents.
It's not about the parties.
It's not about the food.

It's about Love.
It's about God's Love for us.
It's about spending time with those you Love.
It's about sharing Love with those who are going through a hard time.

So instead of decorating my tree and putting all my Christmas decor out I am going to go hear my niece sing; have dinner out with my son; do an art project with my daughter; have a glass of wine with my girlfriends, and have a date night with my husband.

I will never stress about having Christmas Eve dinner and Christmas Day dinner at my house.  If I overcook the prime rib again it will still be a great evening because my whole family will be together to enjoy my burnt prime rib.  

So don't drive yourself crazy with all the Christmas fluff.  Enjoy spending time with those you love.

"Three things will last forever- faith, hope and love- and the greatest of these is love."
I Corinthians 13:13 NLT

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Dec 12, 2012

Is It Spaghetti?

The holiday, crazy time is here and I barely have time to make dinner for my family.  I need meals that are easy, healthy and quick.   This one is really easy and pretty healthy but if you want it to be quick than cook the spaghetti squash in advance.  

First I microwaved the whole spaghetti squash for about 5 minutes because it was so hard I couldn't cut it.  Then I cut it in half, put it on a cookie sheet and baked it for about 35 minutes at 375 degrees. 

pretty good shot, holding a squash in one hand and a camera in the other
This is what it looks like when it is done, you can easily scrape out the noodles with a fork and it looks like spaghetti.

 I've been on a Brussels sprouts kick lately (yeah, that's how you spell it, I didn't know it had that extra "s" at the end of Brussels).  Rob and I HATED them when we were kids but maybe because our moms boiled or steamed them, they were nasty tastin!  Well a friend of mine said to roast them in the oven and they were sooooo good, I swear!  Just cut off the stems and cut them in half, spray some olive oil on a cookie sheet and put the Brussels sprouts on it.  Then I spray a little more olive oil on top and sprinkle some sea salt and pepper.  I also added some Kale because Emma loves it and not the sprouts.  I cooked them for around 25 minutes at 350 degrees.  I like them really done, it kind of gives them a nutty flavor.  

Back to the spaghetti squash; I sauteed some onion and spinach in olive oil and sliced up some organic turkey sausage and added it to the onion.  Then I added a little Alfredo sauce (Alex doesn't like tomato sauce) to the sausage, spinach and onions.  I mixed the spaghetti squash with some spaghetti noodles and put the sauce on top. 

Don't my Brussels sprouts look good?

Bon Appetit

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Dec 5, 2012

Christmas Wrappings Playlist

I LOVE Christmas music and I am not ashamed of it!  I try to hold off until after Christmas to start listening to it, but I just can't help myself and I have to hear a few songs.  Here is my Christmas playlist that I am listening to in my car.  The Christmas playlist I listen to at home has 112 songs and I don't think I should bore you with all of it.  Tracks 3 and 6 are my favorites!

1. All I Want for Christmas Is You - Mariah Carey
2. Sleigh Ride - The Ronettes
3. Christmas Wrapping - The Waitresses
4. Last Christmas - Wham!
5. Happy Xmas (War is Over) - John Lennon
6. Do They Know It's Christmas - Band Aid
7. What Christmas Means To Me - Cee Lo Green
8. Little Saint Nick - The Beach Boys  
9. What Are You Doing New Year's Eve? - Ella Fitzgerald (Verve Remix)
10. Christmas (Baby Please Come Home) - Mariah Carey
11. Have Yourself A Merry Little Christmas - She and Him
12. Christmas For You and Me - Drew Holcomb and The Neighbors
13. Baby, It's Cold Outside - Al Hirt and Ann Margaret
14. Christmas Song - Dave Matthews and Tim Reynolds
15. The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting On an Open Fire) - Paul McCartney
16. Christmas Time Is Here - Vince Guaraldi Trio

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Nov 28, 2012

The ten things I will always do

Dad, Mom, Julie, Michael and I
It's been a strange few months for us around the Jonietz home.  I don't mean to be a downer but I need to write this.  We have had four friends and family members, who were close to us, pass away in the last few months and it's been sad and really quite unbelievable.  When someone you are close to dies young and unexpectedly, it totally changes the way you choose to live your life.  
When my mom died suddenly at forty-five years old of an aneurysm it broke my sister and brother's hearts and mine.  It also totally changed the way I would choose to live my life.  It made me realize that life can be really short so live it without regrets and LOVE BIG!

Here are ten things I will always try to do:

1. I will always say,"I love you" to my loved ones and will tell my kids I love them a hundred times a day. I don't care how many times they say, "Mom, I know!"
2. I will hug you goodbye because I'm not sure if we will see each other again.

3. I never sweat the small things, it is sooo not important.  Listen, I've been sued, audited by the IRS, had two computers crash with years of business accounting on them and thousands of other things happen when you own a business and I made it through it all.  As long as my family and friends are healthy, what else could possibly matter?

4.  I will always bring people together with parties or dinners or plan nights out.  I don't care if my house is a mess or I have to get $5.00 pizza.  I don't care that I have lived in this house for over ten years and haven't replaced my ugly blue shag carpet and my pink tiled bathroom.  What matters is that my friends and family are together, laughing and having fun. 

5. I will try not to judge you and will try to love you regardless of what you may think of me (or what I might think of you). 

6.  I won't ever take you for granted.

7.  I will always be honest with you and will always tell it like it is, but I will always have your back.

8. I will tell you anything about myself; I will share my most embarrassing moments and my most heartbreaking times.  I will talk about sex, love, marriage, raising kids and Christianity and I won't argue with you if we disagree.  Sharing our life experiences can really help others and we can learn from each other. 

9. I will always and I mean always, try to lift and inspire the women I come in contact with everyday.  I know how lucky I was to be raised by two loving parents who also told me a hundred times a day that they loved me and told me how beautiful and special I was.  

10. I will love you unconditionally, even if you can't love me back.

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Nov 4, 2012

Have You Caught It?

Have you caught the DIY bug?  Are you spending way too many hours looking at the DIY's on Pinterest saying "I could make that"?  Do you find yourself wandering the aisles of Michael's craft store not knowing where the time went? 
If your still not sure if you've caught the DIY bug then here are some telltale signs I found on Houzz.   Nina Montenegro beautifully illustrates it.  

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Nov 1, 2012

Sunset Magazines Gold Medalist Wines for $15 or Less

 Sunset Magazine just had their International Wine Competition.  Check out their website for all the winners of the competition, there are tons of affordable wines to try.  You can download the booklet here.  

Here are the eight Gold Medalist that are all under $15.

  • Bogle 2010 Petite Sirah (California; $11). Spot-on, with brassy blueberries and blackberries, spice, and substantial tannins.

  • Chalone 2010 Chardonnay (Monterey County; $13). This has it all: ideally ripe apple, citrus, and green melon; a streak of minerality; and a hint of caramel.

  • Fog Head 2010 Highland Series Reserve Chardonnay(Monterey; $15). Tropical fruit and a touch of lemon oil give this bright wine lots of personality with a crispy side.

  • Four Vines 2010 “Naked” Chardonnay (Santa Barbara County; $12). A basketful of fresh peaches, with a touch of butteriness and keen balance.

  • Hahn 2010 “GSM” Grenache 62%, Syrah 34%, Mourvèdre 4% (Central Coast; $14). Juicy cherry flavors, pepper and spice notes, and solid structure.

  • J. Lohr 2010 “South Ridge” Syrah (Paso Robles; $15). Supple and long; juicy boysenberries and cassis kissed by chocolate and vanilla.

  • Milbrandt 2011 “Traditions” Pinot Gris (Columbia Valley; $13). Pretty white-blossom nose with pear, stone fruit, and citrus.

  • Wente 2010 “Southern Hills” Estate Grown Cabernet Sauvignon (Livermore Valley, San Francisco Bay; $15). Effusive cassis aromas, blackberry and blueberry flavors, and a velvety mouth-feel.

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Oct 29, 2012

7 Things You Should Splurge On For Your Home

I found this great article on Houzz about the seven things we should always splurge on for our homes.  It's written by Erika Ward owner at Erika Ward Interiors.

1. Window Coverings
Splurge on custom window treatments, it always dresses up a room.  

2. Linens and Towels
Consider anything that touches your bare skin an investment in comfort. Bed linens and towels with a high thread count are softer, durable and long lasting.

Modern Living Room design by San Francisco Interior Designer Chloe Warner

3. Upholstery

 Purchasing a quality sofa or other piece of upholstered furniture that stands up to the demands of your lifestyle is always a good idea. Cotton blends that have a high percentage of polyester provide optimal stain resistance and long-term wear. 

4. Room-Size Rug
It can take months to find the perfect rug, and when you do, it usually isn't cheap. Costs vary depending on the age, weaving technique, fiber content and dye method. 

5. Mattress
Good health is one of your biggest assets, and a good night's sleep is essential to your well-being. Experts recommend buying what's comfortable for you; there is no one size that fits all. Take your time when shopping for a mattress and select one that provides optimal support when you're sleeping on your side with hips and knees slightly flexed.

6. Original Artwork
A one-of-a-kind piece by its nature has special value. In addition to adding beauty and interest to the home, fine art gains extrinsic value as time passes.
 Seek out emerging artists and purchase pieces you love from them. Their work is likely to cost less than that of established artists, and you are still likely to see your investment grow in value over time.  

7. Countertops
Classic black and white honed granite countertops never go out of style.  

You should check out Houzz.com. Whenever I'm looking for some design inspiration or help with a remodeling project I look on their website.  You can find anything there, even orange front doors!
This is day 20 of the 31 days of Cheap & Chic series!  Check out the others here on The Nesting Place, who are doing this along with me.  

So, which splurge have you done?  

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