Glittered Champagne Bottles

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Sparkle Sparkle Pop Fizz Clink! Happy New Year’s Eve, everyone! Goodbye 2014, hello 2015! I hope everyone has fun evenings planned…be it going out or staying in, have a lovely time!

Yesterday Emily and I got together for a bit of New Years crafting. We’d seen these glittered champagne bottles on Pinterest and being the crafting girlies we are, we decided to try it out ourselves. It was so simple! And my goodness, tonight these bottles will be the showstopper in pictures and at a party.

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For this craft, all you need is glitter, mod podge, a brush, and bottles of whatever you have on hand! Emily’s family had two bottles of Moscato but I think it would be perfect to do champagne bottles to toast to the New Year! Anything is absolutely wonderful!

All you need to do is paint the bottles with a thin layer of mod podge and then doast in glitter to cover! Touch up any spots you missed then allow the glitter and mod podge to completely dry and then bam! You’ve got a festive treat! It was so so so easy!

Here’s a quick tip though: make sure your layer of mod podge you paint onto the bottle is an even and thin so when you put the glitter on it, it would run down the bottle from the weight of the glitter. And make sure you do this over newspaper or in our case, a craft cloth, because there will 100% be glitter everywhere after you finish. Which isn’t a bad thing if you ask me….!

Happy New Year Everyone! xoxo.

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Rolled Sugar Cookies

Christmas cookies! Possibly one of my favorite things about the season. It’s basically just another reason to bake which I’m all about. I made these cookies while in Knoxville while visiting some friends. These cookies are really easy and make a ton of cookies so you can share them with everyone (…or not, up to you).

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Rolled Sugar Cookies 

2 cups all purpose flour

1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder

6 tablespoons butter

1/3 cup shortening

3/4 cup sugar

1 egg

1 tablespoon milk

1 teaspoon vanilla

1/4 teaspoon salt

Mix the flour, baking powder, and salt. In your mixer, beat the butter and shortening then add sugar and beat until light and fluffy. Add the egg, milk, and vanilla and beat again. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ingredients. Cover and chill at least 3 hours (it’s best to chill it over night).

After the dough has chilled completely, work with a quarter of the dough at a time (place the rest in the fridge while you’re rolling out the cookies). Roll the cookies on a floured surface to 1/8 inch thickness. (Tip: the thinner the cookies, the better they hold their shape while baking in the oven. This way they won’t puff up to something that doesn’t look like the Christmas tree you meant it to look like!) The more flour the better, this way your cookies won’t stick! Cut into the desired shapes with fun cookies cutters. We used Christmas shapes! Place on a pan lined with parchment paper and bake at 375 degrees for 8 minutes or until done. This makes tons of cookies…3-4 dozen!

We iced them with a simple icing made with powdered sugar, vanilla, and milk. Add milk to the powdered sugar until you get the desired thickness and decorate with tons of sprinkles. Make sure the cookies are completely cooled before attempting to frost or the icing will just melt off the cookie. Just a tip! Enjoy!

Knoxville, Tennessee

This past week, I visited my friend, Keagan, in Knoxville, Tennessee, her home town! Not only is Keagan a teammate of mine on the Texas Soccer team, she is also one of my roommates in college and were also Pi Phi’s together at Texas. Needless to say, we spend a lot of time together and I am so thankful for her! It was a last minute decision to go with her to Knoxville and the spontaneity of it all made it that much more fun!

Jenis Ice Cream

We started our roadtrip to Austin on a Friday afternoon and drove 9 hours to Memphis, Tennessee where we stayed the night with Keagan’s brother at his apartment. He’s in medical school and was studying away for his (really hard) final exams but generously allowed us to crash there for the night. The next morning, we drove to Nashville and stopped for lunch. Our stomach’s growled in anticipation of lunch and instead of eating real food, I opted for some good dessert at Jeni’s Splendid Ice Creams. Y’all, I would consider myself an ice cream aficionado and this scoop shop ranks up there as one of my absolute favorites. The flavors are all unique and outrageous. I tried the dark chocolate peppermint, brambleberry crisp, and tart lemon buttermilk. But it did’t stop there, I got a chocolate hazelnut ice cream sandwich, as well. One of my friends who goes to Vanderbilt recommended this place and said I had to get an ice cream sandwich, I happily obliged. Honestly, I say skip the ice cream and go for the sandwich…the one I got was 2 hazelnut-chocolate macarons sandwiched around a scoop of heavenly dark chocolate rolled in salty hazelnuts. My mouth is watering just thinking about it, oh my goodness. #bestdessertever

After our little stint in Nashville, we made it to our final destination: Knoxville! Keagan’s family graciously welcomed up with open arms and I couldn’t have been more excited to have finally made it. It’s a total of 15 hours driving time to Knoxville and I was happy to be out of the car and in a big and spacious home instead of the back seat with our luggage.

IMG_5893_2On our first full day in Knoxville, we went downtown to the Old Tennessee Theatre to watch “It’s a Wonderful Life” with Keagan’s family. The theatre was stunning and the movie was a classic. I’d never seen it before but it was so good!

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After the movie, we went to Tupelo Honey Cafe for a late lunch. The best part about this place: the biscuits, honey, and jam they give you before your food comes out. Y’all, I could have easily eaten a couple of these for my meal. They are flaky and buttery and so delicious. The rest of the afternoon, we shopped for a bit in downtown and that night hung out with Keagan’s friends. So far, so fun.

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The next morning, we slept in and went to breakfast at Long’s Drug’s Store. Its a little pharmacy that serves the best (and cheapest) food. I, of course, got a short stack of the chocolate chip pancakes and they tasted as good as they looked. The est part? My meal was only cost $3.35. What? Yes, not lying.

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After breakfast, Keagan took me on a little tour of Knoxville. We went to the University of Tennessee soccer fields and found a picture of our assistant coach at Texas, Keeley Dowling, at the stadium. Hey Keels! After that, she took me around campus and we explored Sorority Village and Fraternity Park. Really cool. It was really funny, all week people would ask me where I go to college and I instantly say UT. Well, UT in Tennessee always refers to The University of Tennessee. I would always have to correct myself and let people know I go to the real UT, The University of Texas at Austin. #winkwink

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Later that afternoon, we went hiking to the top of House Mountain. The scenery in Tennessee is so beautiful and there is so much green everywhere…a little bit different than Dallas and Austin, amirite?

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As a treat for climbing a mountain, we went to Ham’n Goodies for their famous iced lemon cookies. You think, how good cold these simple iced lemon cookies be? AMAZING. So delicious, I could’ve easily eaten a dozen over the course of a day. But I didn’t…although I wish I had a couple of those cookies right about now.

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After a full day, we went back the house and watched Harry Potter while working on a huge puzzle (Keagan worked, I watched…). Quite an ideal night.

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The next day we drove out to Pigeon Forge and Gatlinburg. About an hour outside of Knoxville, these cities are super touristy and country. We saw our fair share of rednecks which always made me laugh. On the side of the road, they have these mountain roller coasters that are like luges. We decided to stop and go on one and it was one of the best decisions we made that afternoon. The luge was so fun and you whip around turns while making your way down the mountain. It was such a random stop but proved to be a highlight of the day!

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I couldn’t go to Tennessee without trying some moonshine. I had the opportunity to go to a moonshine tasting! Don’t be fooled, however, I only took baby shots of 5 types before calling it quits. Moonshine is definitely not my favorite thing in the world. Yuck.

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Also in Gatinburg, we took the ski lift up to the top and got off to see the entire city. It was chilly that day, as you can tell by our jackets and sweaters! Once we got back to the bottom, we made a B-line to the closest Starbucks to warm up with hot coffee and tea. We met up with a couple of Keagan’s friends and had dinner and then went to look at Christmas lights.

After some more fun in the city the next couple of days, I had to get back to Dallas to see my own family! I flew back (roadtrips can only happen so often for me…) and arrived back in Texas this past Thursday night.

Knoxville is an awesome city and I have nothing but good things to say about it. The people are friendly, the landscapes are beautiful, and the food is tasty. Thanks you so much Keagan for letting me stay with you and your family! I had the BEST time! Let’s hope it’s not the last time I am able to visit…I’ll be back to foxy knoxy for sure!

Chocolate Chip Brioche Pretzels

Hey y’all! It’s officially Christmas break for me! Done with finals and the fall semester! Say hello to sleeping in, tons of Netflix, family time and lots of baking! I baked these soft pretzels the night after one of the most difficult final exams. Getting in the kitchen and making something delicious really clears my mind and makes me (…and my friends who get the treats) so happy!

I’m going to warn you now, these pretzels are time consuming. You have to prep earlier in the day to allow the dough to rise and all that jazz but they are so worth it. I hadn’t ever made anything with yeast in it before so this was a first for me and I can definitely say that I’m going to want to make some more “bread” products in the future!

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Dough:

1/3 cup milk
1 teaspoon instant yeast
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon table salt
2 large eggs, at room temperature, lightly beaten
8 tablespoons unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips

Glaze:

1 large egg
1/2 teaspoon table salt
1 teaspoon water
1 teaspoon sugar

Instructions:

To make the dough, whisk the milk and yeast together in a dish until the yeast has dissolved. With your electric mixer, using the paddle attachment, stir together the flour, sugar, and salt. To this mixture, add the eggs and the milk/yeast mixture. Mix this all together until it forms into a shaggy pile. At this point, add the softened butter, eggs, and chocolate chips and mix for 5-7 minutes on medium speed (this step allows for the dough to develop the stretchy strands brioche is so well known for). After the 5-7 minutes, switch to the paddle attachment and beat for another 5 minutes until a dough ball forms.

Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl (I just used vegetable oil), cover with plastic wrap, and allow to rise in a warm spot for at least 2 hours and at most 12 hours. The dough should have at least doubled in size. If you make this dough the night before, you can leave it in the fridge overnight and then when you need to use it the next day, allow it to come back to room temperature before continuing to the next step.

After the dough has risen, line a couple of baking sheets with parchment paper and preheat the oven at 350 degrees.

To form the pretzels, gently deflate the dough and divide into 8 pieces. Roll each piece on a clean surface to about 18 inches long and 1/2 inch thick. Since the dough was a bit oiled from the bowl, I found it quit easy to role the dough but if you need some extra flour because the dough is a bit sticky, by all means, go for it.

Here comes the part everyone gets a little nervous about: the twisting of the pretzel. Y’all I promise it’s not that hard! To form the pretzel, form a circle with the dough. With the two ends, make a twist in the middle and fold the twist down into the circle, adhering the loose ends of the rope at five and seven o’clock on the base. Transfer them to prepared baking sheets with the parchment paper, brush them with glaze (instructions for the glaze: mix it all together!), and let them rest for about 15 minutes. This allows the dough to rise a bit more after deflating them during formation of the pretzels. Before putting the pretzels into the oven, sprinkle with a bit of salt and sugar. Cook for 17 minutes at 350 degrees or until the bottom of the pretzels in a golden brown.

They come out of the oven and I promise you they will be gone in an instant!

Enjoy!

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Hello Dolly Pie

You’re probably thinking, “Brinkley, Thanksgiving was this past week, I can’t even think about food and desserts anymore! I’m still so full!” Ha! Well I am somewhat thinking that too but oh well, this recipe is too good not to post!

I call it the Hello Dolly Pie because it has all the ingredients of a Hello Dolly Bar (who would’ve thought!). Some of you might shy away from this because it has coconut on it…let me tell you something, a little disclaimer of sorts: I don’t like coconut but for some reason, on this pie, it just adds the best finishing touch! So, don’t be scared if you don’t like coconut! It’s so yummy!

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Selfie with my uncooked pie from Snapchat, hope it made you laugh!

It starts with a simple pecan pie filling:

Filling:

5 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed light brown sugar
3/4 cup light corn syrup
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 eggs, lightly beaten

Topping:

2 cups chopped pecans
1 1/2 cup shaved coconut
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup milk chocolate chips

Pie Crust:

I used a ready made pie crust from the frozen department at the grocery store because I didn’t have time to make one myself!

The How-To:

In bowl, combine the melted butter, brown sugar, corn syrup, and salt. Stir until fully combined and then add the vanilla. Set the mixture aside to cool slightly. Whisk the beaten eggs into the filling until smooth after the filling has cooled a bit (If you don’t let the batter cool and you add the eggs to soon, you might have a case of scrambled eggs…I don’t think you want that). Pour the batter into a cooked pie crust. Top the batter with the chopped pecans, coconut, and chocolate chips! Bake at 375 degrees for 75 minutes or until the batter doesn’t “wiggle” in the middle. The filling and toppings should be firm. (I’m sorry, I know this isn’t very technical…). If the crust begins to brown too much, just cover the pie in foil so it won’t burn! After fully baked, let the pie cool for an hour and then cut and serve! It’s a crowd pleaser, I promise.

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