Saturday, February 25, 2012

A Day in Thomasville, GA

We spent a wonderful Saturday perusing the cute downtown shops and sights of Thomasville, GA today! This time was spent with our dear friends the Jacksons from church here in Tallahassee. They have been telling us all the fun that it is to spend a Saturday in Thomasville, and finally, we made the trip with them. It was so much fun as we window shopped, looked at art galleries, doted over antiques, and even bought a little something special for the gals in the group!

We started off the day by going to fabulous Bread Wagon Bakery just north of Thomasville. We loaded up on tomato herb bread, cinnamon rolls, pumpkin cream cheese muffins, and sampled some other goodies from this local place that specializes in Amish and Mennonite products. So good!

After lots of shopping, discovering that a local shop carried DownEast clothing (the girls bought a couple 60% off pieces for themselves) and having people dote on the Jackson's cute little boy (seriously, it was like every 10 minutes...someone would stop and talk to him, complement him and his parents, etc.) we finished our day with a late lunch at Moonspin Pizza.

 Like my new jacket for just $20.00??? Score.

Our brilliant, stylish, talented, sweet, and ever so indulgent tour guides. We think they're kinda cool. Especially because they are the parents of the cute kid below. 

Yep, we used to call him "The Chunk". But now he's growing a lot and not as chunky anymore. He's so much fun to sing with, and make giggle. Michael and this little one are seriously good pals.

And let's not forget the amazing food we partook of. Michael and I are determined to revamp our pizza crust to make it like this place had perfected it. Crispy and light, but just the right amount of chewiness.

Cheesy Breadsticks. They speak for themselves. 
 Lucky Moon Pizza with arugula, feta, sliced chicken, and sweet onion. Sad story though, the restaurant was out of arugula because apparently some customer came in just before us and asked for many many salads with JUST arugula. Crazy! So, we opted for roasted red peppers instead. Pretty great, still!

Even though I got some pretty crappy sleep last night as a result of a most inconsiderate neighbor (who was up all night speaking loudly, playing video games, smoking, and I do believe drinking) and I was in a not so happy/peppy mood this morning, the rest of the day made up for it. Lovely day with lovely people.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies

 You know it's going to be a wonderful Valentine's Day when these beauties show up at the front desk of your internship. The ladies in reception called and left me a message on my work cell phone and told me that I had a package and it "needed to be picked up today, if at all possible". I knew something was fishy, because I hadn't given any of my work information to people who'd be shipping something to me. So, I was wondering if I might be getting something special. And I was right!

A dozen beautiful roses, in a beautiful mix of colors. I was pretty happy and I got so many jealous looks and comments from others in the office. I love that my man keeps me on toes with all sorts of surprises and ways to show me that he loves me. He sure knows how to make a gal feel like a million bucks!

So, we spent a nice Valentine's evening snuggled up on the couch with an assortment of French cheeses and a baguette, while watching Real Steel. Perfect little night for us. And I've been watching my roses bloom bigger and fuller each day this week. I love it. 

So what other special thing did I do to celebrate Valentine's day/week? I made some scrumptious Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies. It was a bit of a laborious process, but well worth every second as these are what I believe the BEST cookies I've ever had. I'm not kidding. I love me some red velvet and I love me some cheesecake, so naturally these are my dream cookies. I'm confident you will love them too. Make them as soon as possible, you haven't a moment to lose!

Red Velvet Cheesecake Cookies
(adapted from Two Peas and Their Pod)

For the cookies:
1 box red velvet cake mix (I used Duncan Hines)

2 tbs. all-purpose flour

2 large eggs

1/2 cup canola oil

1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the cheesecake filling:

4 oz. cream cheese, at room temperature

2 cups powdered sugar
1 tsp. vanilla extract

For the white chocolate drizzle:

1 1/2 cups white chocolate chips, melted
1 tsp. canola oil

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix together cake mix, flour, eggs, oil, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Wrap the dough in plastic wrap. The dough will be oily. Refrigerate for at least two hours.
  2. To make the cheesecake filling, using a mixer, combine cream cheese, powdered sugar, and vanilla extract. Mix until smooth. Using a teaspoon, scoop out cheesecake filling and place on a wax paper lined sheet pan. Continue scooping out cheesecake filling into teaspoon balls until you have 12. Place pan in the freezer and freeze for at least two hours (overnight if you can).
  3. Preheat oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. To assemble the cookies, take about 1/4 cup of red velvet cookie dough and flatten in your hands. Place a teaspoon of cheesecake filling in the center and wrap the cookie dough around the filling. Gently roll into a ball and place on greased baking sheet. Bake for 11-13 minutes or until the cookies begin to crackle. Let the cookies cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes. Remove from baking sheet to a wire cooling rack and cool completely.
  4. Melt the white chocolate chips and oil in a microwave safe bowl or over a double-boiler. Drizzle the white chocolate over the cooled cookies. Let the cookies set until the chocolate hardens. Serve and enjoy!
- These cookies are large and will spread, so make sure to give them plenty of space to do so on your baking sheets (I put about 4 cookies on each pan). 
-Depending on the humidity of where you live (thank you Florida) you may have to add a bit more flour to the cookie dough mixture so the dough is not too soft. I'd say a tbs. or more should do the trick.
-As these cookies are super soft, it's best to store them in the refrigerator.