Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Welcome 2010!

we hope your 2010 is superb!
& remember ...

tip your glass to 2009 & bring on a new decade!

with love, hampton & bekah

Saturday, December 26, 2009

to-may-to, to-mah-to

However you say it, they are delicious. I love tomatoes, I can eat them like apples. I don't necessarily recommend it, because that tends to be a messy endeavor, but if you are brave and/or keep a Tide pen in your purse, go for it! My favorite kind that I have found are called "Super Cherry" tomatoes. Whether that is a brand name or just some sort of variety of the plant, I don't know. What I do know is that I got them in a small plastic container (like what strawberries come in) at my local Newflower farmer's market and they are crazy delicious. They are a bit bigger than un-super cherry tomatoes (on average the size of a golf ball) and slightly sweeter. They are similar to Campari tomatoes, but a little smaller and less expensive. The PERFECT size for this dish that I discovered via Scrumptious Blog:

Tomatoes Baked with Garlic Butter and Cream

picture via scrumptious blog


Juno from the Scrumptious Blog describes the finished product as "spangled with little sequins of butter." Isn't that a beautiful description? I love sequins, and while I'm not sure that my tomatoes turned out as glamorous as hers, I'd be willing to bet they were every bit as tasty. Juno is blogging and baking from South Africa, so I had to play a bit with the temperatures and baking times because she is using degrees Celsius. Her instructions say to bake the first go-round at 180 degrees, and the second at 160 degrees. After consulting Google, my estimate for that conversion in degrees Fahrenheit was 350 and 325, respectively. I guess my math was wrong because my first attempt at making this was not impressive. I used regular large-ish tomatoes on the vine and baked for 15 minutes at 350 and then added the cream and put them back in for 10 minutes at 325. The tomatoes absorbed the flavors of the garlic and the herbs, but they weren't soft so I put them back in the oven and would check back every 10 minutes or so. After an additional 30 minutes they were softER but still not soft, and were generally unremarkable. But I'm stubborn and wanted these to be amazing, so I pressed on. I played with the time and temperature on my next attempt and hit the jackpot. So I present to you, my Americanized version of Juno's recipe, Fahrenheit-425 Tomatoes!*

4 medium sized tomatoes
3 T softened butter
1 fat clove garlic, peeled and crushed
2-3 t of dried Italian-ish herbs (I used basil and rosemary)
salt and black pepper
2/3 cup cream (Real cream. Not half and half, not low-fat. If you're gonna do this, do it right.)

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees F. Take the tomatoes and cut the top off, slightly angled in toward where the stem would be, sort of like the first step in carving a pumpkin- you want to cut into the top so you can pull off the 'lid,' but DON'T cut through the bottom skin. If you do that, all the deliciousness will leak out, and that pretty much defeats the purpose of all the work you are about to do.

Combine your butter, garlic and herbs, and then put a dab of the mixture into each tomato, add a little salt and pepper and then bake for 25 minutes. Then you'll take them out and gently pour the cream inside each tomato. Don't stir, and do expect a bit of a mess. You may have some cream left over but that's ok. You can save it for coffee or take a bath in it or whatever. Turn the heat down to 350 and bake for another 20-25 minutes. You want the walls of the tomato to be soft but still intact, and if the edges start to get a little bit dark that's ok, but we aren't roasting here, we don't want them charred.

My digital camera died so I couldn't take a pic of my finished tomatoes. Tragic, I know. But trust me, they did spangle with butter sequins. It was like having a disco ball in my kitchen, a decorating idea I had not previously considered but now I'm toying with.

picture via weheartit

*It's a working title. I'm open to suggestions.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas!

Hope you all have a wonderful holiday! Love you friend!

take off your makeup, honey

Wow, Bekah is really blogging it up lately! I feel like such a slacker, but I've been so busy! Busy working, busy crafting, and busy babysitting. You may not know this but I am a 5-star babysitter. Seriously, the best. So good, in fact, that the main family I babysit for gave me a $50 mall gift certificate as a Christmas present! Now I just have to decide how to spend it. I am pretty sure that I'm going to get this foundation from Sephora:


It's called the Magic Wand foundation made by Too Faced. I almost got it a few weeks ago and I'm sort of kicking myself now that I didn't. WHY would I not get a foundation that actually blends with my skin (the color I tried in the store was called Paris) AND has a built-in brush?! I've developed this habit of not putting my makeup on in the morning until after I get to work, and putting foundation on at work without looking like a dumbass is tricky business. If I had this bad boy I could just toss it in my purse for just such an occasion. My only reservation is that it costs $32. That's not a terrible price point for department store foundation, but it's hard to part with 64% (plus tax) of my Christmas gift all at once. What a hard problem to have, right? The reviews on are encouraging though, and I figure I can always exchange it if I end up with buyer's remorse.

I should probably go to bed before Santa comes. I hope you all have a lovely holiday weekend. Hug your loved ones, drink eggnog, and don't sleep with your makeup on. Merry Christmas!!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Best Ever Mashed Potatoes of your Life!

Merry Christmas Eve!

I can remember counting down the hours til' Christmas morning & even taking NyQuil (yes ma'am!) to help me sleep because I was always to excited to fall asleep. Luckily & unfortunately I sleep just fine the night before Christmas these days, partly because I work on Christmas Eve. (oh the joy of retail!) & I guess that's just what happens as we age. Work shouldn't be to bad today, so I can't complain. This year we are actually celebrating Christmas on Christmas Eve so that we will all be able to be together. Since I am working my sister in law is taking over the cooking this year. All I made was the cake (red velvet, mmm my favorite!) & the best ever mashed potatoes you've ever had. No, I am serious, these are the BEST EVER. One of the best things about these mashed potatoes is the fact that you can make them ahead of time, you can even freeze them until you need to bake them off. Think twice baked baked potatoes, but alot less work and a billion times better! There is cream cheese, butter, and sour cream mixed right in, you don't even have to add butter, salt, or pepper to these bad boys. I am telling ya! They are the best ever! Haha, ok now that I beat that into the ground, get to mashing!

via Ezra Pound Cake

The best thing about these mashed potatoes is that they got me a KitchenAid Stand Mixer! While making the mash this past Thanksgiving, my Grandma B didn't like how my little ol' hand mixer struggled with mixing the potatoes, so she took me to Kohl's to pick one out. Not only are they the best mashed potatoes ever but this was the best gift EVER! (& thanks to Kohl's for Senior Day discounts)

I know it's Christmas Eve but you still have time to run to store & make these for your Christmas dinner! Merry Christmas Eve!

*All photos via/copyright their respective blogs*

Now Playing: New Found Glory - "Better Off Dead"

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Gift Wrap

Even though I have already finished my gift wrapping (with the execption of Pete's gift, shhh don't tell!) I adore this idea! In 2010 I'll have to to invest in a rubber stamp collection so I can do this.

via the haystack needle

I know that all the pretty wrapping paper gets throw out at the end of the day, it's a wonderful feeling to get a thoughtfully & beautifully wrapped gift.

How is your wrapping/shopping going?! 3 days!

*All photos via/copyright their respective blogs*

Now Playing: Taking Back Sunday - "Bike Scene"

Monday, December 21, 2009

Winter Wonderland

It SNOWED! Ok, so it snowed this weekend on the east coast, I'm sure you heard. Even my cousin Billy Wayne (who lives in Alabama) texted me to ask me about the snow. Luckily it worked out that the snow started just as I left work on Saturday, so Pete & I order a pizza pie, made chocolate chip cookies, & watched movies. A perfect night to cuddle with the one you love & watch the snow quickly cover everything. I wish I could have gotten better pictures but the blackberry couldn't capture the magic. ( I think its time for a new camera?!) So here a couple of my favorite shots, from some of my favorite bloggers.
Via for me, for you

Hope everyone had a good weekend! I'm excited for Christmas this week!

*All photos via/copyright their respective blogs*

Now Playing: The Honorary Title - "Along The Way"

Friday, December 18, 2009

Homemade Ornaments

Is this Christmas decoration overload? I am trying to get this all in before next Friday. Can it really be that Christmas is NEXT FRIDAY?! Whoa! Pete & I decorate our table top tree with things that out cats can't break. I have these beautiful glass ornaments that my Mama got us when we first got married but I am terrified to put them on the tree because of the cats. Check out these super cute & fun (cat friendly!) DIY ornaments for your tree. Maybe you can squeeze in some craft time by the tree this weekend.

Of course I need one of these Cupcake Ornaments, so cute!

Since Polaroids are in high demand & hard to find, make your own!

It's about cupcakes, over course I love it.

And if making ornaments isn't your style, check out these great DIY bows. (which I am sure you could put on your tree if you wanted)

Happy Crafting!

Now Playing: MxPx - "Set The Record Straight"

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Wreath Love

I know it maybe a tad late, but here are some amazing wreaths for the holiday season. There are a few DIY projects in there that I need to get on. Even though they might not make it this year, they will definitely be around for next. Besides, who says you can hang a wreath all year long?!

This wreath is at the top of my list to make. It seems fairly easy to make, but a good time waster. I also think that it would be great as a winter wreath for our outside door, once the holidays are over.

I love the little stand mixer in this one.

Pete would hate this one because of the noise it would make, but I can't say I didn't think about it!


*All photos via/copyright their respective blog sources*

Now Playing: Nina Simone - "Sinnerman" Remix by Felix Da House Cat

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Christmas Cookies, Done & Done.

So here we are, Hampton & Bekah blogging together! It is an obvious match made in heaven (to anyone that knows us, & those that don't, you'll catch on quick) & hopefully you will enjoy what is to come!

Since living on my own, and with some inspiration from Hampton (she doesn't know that!), I have become quite the Betty Crocker. I love my kitchen & what I have been able to create has given me a great sense of accomplishment. The feeling I get when I make a pot full of soup that my sister-in-law begs for in the winter months, to the batch of cupcakes I make for my co-workers is a great one to say the least. So it's no different when it comes to making Christmas cookies for my friends & family. If you follow my personal blog you'll remember my cookie post & here are the results!
Snickerdoodles! They turned out moist, chewy, & with the right amount of sweetness. The perfect alternative to feeling overloaded by all the chocolate.

A holiday staple in the Wortmann household, Seven Layer Bars. Give them any name you want, they are super easy to make & always delicious no matter what you throw in them.

These might not look like the traditional Peanut Butter Cookies, but hey! they taste even better!

I was pleasantly surprised when these Oatmeal Raisin cookies turned out as chewy & yummy as I hoped! I wasn't always a fan of the oatmeal raisin cookie, but this recipe made me a believer!

These Neiman Marcus cookies where definitely the surprise favorite at work. They aren't soft or chewy, but perfectly crisp & airy. In my opinion the ultimate dipping-in-milk cookies, if you're into things like that. (I sure am!)

MmmmHmmm, Coconut Macaroons. These are some of my favorite cookies & I thought they were the perfect surprise to my cookie mail-out.

Now you might be thinking these are waaaaaaay too chocolatey, but you're wrong! The only part that was chocolate was the dough, the rest was yummy toffee & walnuts. Chocolate Toffee cookies, a sweet companion to a nice cup of coffee.

I saved the best for last. Chocolate Chip! Not any ol' regular chocolate chip but my good friend, April's Ever Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies. She really should sell this recipe because these were amazing, my only regret is I didn't make enough to have left overs! (no worries, I'm making more next week) They are crisp on the outside & chewy on the inside. You could have sworn you bought these at Mrs. Field's but I have to admit they are WAY better than a mall cookies, ANY DAY!

With the permission of April, I get to share the recipe with you! This is seriously a must try recipe, you won't regret it.
(copied just how she sent it to me)
April's Ever Famous Chocolate Chip Cookies
Preheat oven to 375'
3/4 C. firmly packed light brown sugar
1/2 C. sugar
1/2 C butter (soft)
1/4 C butter flavored Crisco (shortening)
1 1/2 t. Vanilla
2 eggs
1 t. baking soda
2 C. Flour
1/2 t. salt
1 pkg. Hersey's Choc Chips
mix all wet ingredients until nice and mixed, then add sugars, mix until well mixed.
stir in choc chips
slowly add flour
refrigerate for no less than 2 hours... or at least til the dough is cold thoroughly.
Use your cookie scoop and make 1 inch balls and place on a lightly greased cookie sheet.
Cook 8 - 10 . or until its too your liking.. .I like mine still a little chewy... but don't under cook them... I cook mine for 9 mins...

Without the help of my amazing Grandma B, Krysta K, & Pete, I couldn't have completed this project nearly as flawlessly on my own. As far as a good baking tip, CHILL THAT DOUGH! I truly believe that chilling the dough made all the difference. I can say that because I didn't chill all the doughs, and the ones I did turned out the best. I am sure Alton Brown could give us a good run down on why that is key, but just trust me on this one. A big thanks to my wonderful family & friends for all your help & I hope all the recipients enjoy the season with some sweetness. (sounds kinda lame, but it's true :) )

The boxes filled & ready to go!

Pete giving the final sign off to the boxes, ready to ship.

Now get to baking people, you're friends & family will be thankful for it! (your waistline might not be, but that's what New Year's Resolutions are for!)

Now Playing: Blink 182 - "Feeling This"