Peppermint Dessert Pizza

I hope everyone had the best of holidays and a Merry Christmas! We have been go go going the past week, which is why I have been missing. I still have a few festive recipes for the next few days, but if you're anything like still have plenty of get together's over the next week. and doesn't everyone celebrate La Befana?;)  And for those reasons...I have more treats.and over the next few days, I will share some of our fun times.

Have you guys ever heard of thin mint pizza? if you haven' heart is so sad for you!!! Haha. Anyways, a few years ago I overheard some ladies talking about making one for their daughters. I was waiting on someone to join me for lunch and they were being loud and I did what anyone would do...I paid attention. haha I have no idea if I made it "correctly" but have made it a few times and is always a hit, and so I decided to twist it up and do a peppermint version.

1 package peppermint sugar cookie dough
(you could also use regular sugar cookie and just add crushed peppermint/candy canes)
1 carton peppermint ice cream
1 package mint oreo fudge cremes

place dough(make sure it's not cold) on pizza pan, using your fingers to spread the "crust" to the edges. Bake at 350' for about 20-25 minutes. You want it crisp, not soft. But you also don't want it burned, so the cooking time will be according to your oven. Let cool. Let ice cream soften on counter. Place scoopfulls all over the crust and then, using a spatula, spread over the "pizza" Place the cookies over the ice cream. Wrap in foil and let sit in freezer overnight or at least 8 hrs. 

Such a fun treat and so very tasty!

:Gingerbread Eggnog Whoopie Pie & Peppermint Eggnog Mudslide

Doesn't this just scream Christmas time? I should think so! I will admit that I am not the first person in line when someone brings out gingerbread cookies, I love the little houses , yet I have no interest in snapping a bite off one. I have never been a fan of crisp cookies, I know some people love it, I've just never been that girl. These soft and chewy and the eggnog balances off the spice so well. I used pre made "spiked" eggnog, but you can always use non alcoholic...should be easy to locate in the dairy aisle.

1 bag of gingerbread cookie mix(I found mine at target)
ingredients listed on bag
1/3 cup eggnog
1 packet cheesecake pudding
4 oz cream cheese, softened

Bake according to directions, let cookies cool. In a mixing bowl, mix together pudding pack & eggnog, mix till fully combined. Add in cream cheese and beat till fully incorporated. Slowly add in whipping cream, turn speed on high until stiff peaks begin to form. Place filling in fridge for at least an hour.

Place a dollop of frosting in center of cookie, top w/another and press down till filling spreads to edges.

and then you could always pair this w/ a peppermint eggnog mudslide.

1 large scoop peppermint ice cream
1 oz eggnog
1 oz baileys
1 oz vodka(I used vanilla)
1 cup ice

place all ingredients in blender and blend till desired consistency.

 pour in a peppermint sugar rimmed glass, top w/some whipped cream and get yourself out a straw and sit back and say "aaahhh" then enjoy it w/the cookie while you perhaps watch your favorite holiday movie;)
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Diaries of a Bargainista

Red Velvet Eggnog Martini and a Partayyy

Yes, Some of you are skeptical right now, I promise...It was delish. I did make it two separate ways, I will give you my favorite version first and then my friend's second. hey, this is my blog;)

as I have said before, my ideas often come from the most random and inane places. This came from a picture my friend snapped for instagram. It was of a carton of red velvet chocolate milk and she captioned it.
"ummmm, interesting?" and my first thought was "I must make a martini or a mudslide from that"
wait...maybe I should say that was like my 22nd thought or something. I will sound less lushy. I am not a lush, I assure you. And I will still stand by that sentiment this week even after I post 4 festive cocktails. haha  See notes for where to find the red velvet milk and the eggnog I used.

1/3 cup red velvet milk
1/3 cup eggnog
2 oz vodka
2 oz baileys

pour over ice and shake till frothy(about 10 shakes or 30 seconds) strain and pour into sugar rimmed glass.

Second version
1/3 cup eggnog
1/3 cup red velvet milk
2 oz whipped vodka
1 oz baileys

same directions as above. this was just wayyyyyy too sweet for me, but my friend loved this one. If this was made as a frozen version, w/vanilla ice cream, I may have preferred this version...but drinking straight, I needed the unflavored vodka to cut through the sweet.

***Notes, The red velvet milk is at Target. or you could get chocolate milk and add red food coloring, basically the same thing;) I used Evan Williams eggnog. It is extremely strong. To quote keith jackson..."woah, Nelly" but good nonetheless. If you didn't have bailey's, you good use godiva, or even creme de cocoa. Play around and find your own version..

and if I'm gonna show the pretty picture I captured, I should keep this real and show what happened approximately 10.5 seconds after I took that one. If you follow my instagram you already know;)

You do not even want to know the stream of words that came pouring forth from my mouth I said. The worst was the rug, It is my husbands great grandmothers from Damascus(yes, that Damascus, they're from there). I almost cried. All I know is the magic eraser is the greatest invention ever and hot water and soap worked wonders on the rug. Whew! I live to tell another day;)

I had a pretty good weekend, on Saturday I got my hair all did. and then the hubs and I stayed in and did nothing. Can I get a Yay for a night of nothing...rarely happens, so I am loving them!

looking all mahvelous;)

the end result, lovin' it.

Sunday was busy bee day. That night I had a bunch of girlfriends over for fun and food. lots and lots of it. Yikes! and then we watched my favorite movie, The Holiday. Some of them had never seen it. Say whaaattt?! I remedied that;)

and now it's back to the grind. That was my weekend, hope you had a fantastic one!

and just my thoughts form last Friday.

I have mainly been m.i.a. from the blog world the last few days. Like everyone, else my heart has been broken by Friday's tragedy  I had to stop watching the news. It was almost like some of the stations were feeding off the story. They showed one parent falling to the ground, in immeasurable grief and I felt as if I had just invaded the most intimate part of their life and that was enough for me, no more watching it. I think they should band together and choose to not give these people monsters any air time, don't print their name or show their faces. That's what they crave. but I know that will never happen. I am just so glad I have belief in a Redeemer...Those sweet babies, they're in His arms now and tomorrow I will participate in the blogger day of silence. See everybody Wednesday.

I was nominated and a bit about lil ole me

So I was vuuurrryyy excitable when I got an email from one of my favorites, Sarah at Tucker Up, nominating me for a liebster. I never realized there were "awards" for blogging. I simply started this as a way for my friends to look up my recipes instead of having to continually email the directions. haha and never really expected to have people I wasn't "real life" friends with to follow and enjoy my blog. But I am having so much fun with it.

here are the rules

1) Each blogger nominated must post 11 things about themselves
2) Then answer the 11 questions the tagger has asked
3)Blogger must then create 11 questions of their own to ask the bloggers they decide to nominate
4) They must choose 11 bloggers with less than 200 followers to nominate and link them on their blog post
5)Bloggers must be notified of their award!
6) No tag backs!

Here goes...just a heads up, I may have propensities towards rambling. I warned ya!

1) I am an only girl, I have 3 brothers. No- I am not spoiled, that award goes to my oldest brother;) haha

2)I didn't learn to ride a bike till I was 9, I probably haven't ridden one since then either!

3) I started college when I was 16 and I read roughly 10-12 books a week. Just don't ever ask me to help you w/something technological. I suck at it. (understatement)

4) I am beyond petrified of snakes. I could be swimming in a pool of rats or stuck in a room w/a million spiders and I would be just fine. A two inch snake and I am done with. ok. I fibbed, maybe not a million spiders, but half a million and I'd probably be ok.

5) I love all things sports. all. things. sports. I worked for ESPN for a few years. and I was the assistant GM of a college level summer league baseball team when I was 22. 

6) I also adore all things history. I cannot get enough. If I am not watching sports, it's normally the history channel. We plan vacations based on historical sites. Yes, we're those people

7) Sephora should be blocked from my debit card. Seriously. and Etsy. It's like the second I sign on, my money is in someone's account by osmosis.

8) I grew up in a town of roughly 107 ppl, on a tobacco farm. but I can go from camo and cowboy boots to stilettos and a chic dress in 2.5 seconds. You can usually find me wandering the grocery aisles in 4 inch heels. Although, at 5'3, this is often out of necessity vs fashion. A girl gotta do what she gotta do.

9) I first "met" Wiki via a telephone call, a prank one at that(he hates it when I tell that story:) haha We'll have been married ten years in June. Rather successful phone call, huh?
life starts now
Wiki hated every second of these pictures. haha
out in Cincy
A covered bridge in Vermont, probably my favorite

10) Creating new dishes is extremely therapeutic for me, I love the kitchen and when I am having a bad day, I pump up some Reckless Kelly, Randy Rogers or Cross Canadian and bop around my kitchen. Half the time I have no idea what the end result will be. Other than my kitchen will look like a bomb went off.

11) my singing voice is beautiful, it is the perfect melody of a cat in heat, nails on a chalkboard and squealing tires. it's that good.

and now cause I know you're just craving more knowledge, my questions from Sarah.

1. What is your dream car? audi or a dodge charger. haha

2. What is your favorite vacation spot that you have been?
this is hard b/c of how much we travel, but I'll try...
I can't choose between San Francisco/Napa and Quebec City


3. Was your wedding big or small?
Gargantuan!!! 316 people. We actually had 32 people in our bridal party...I wanted a small one. Then I married myself a Yankee who is half Italian/half Lebanese. and there went that.

4. Do you prefer dogs or cats?
I love them both...but probably dogs. and *ahem* if I don't have one for Christmas...I will pitch an ever loving fit be a teensie bit disappointed. but I do love really fat cats.

5. If you had to choose between a trip to the moon or a trip to the ocean floor, which would you choose?
I really love cheese, so the moon;)

6. What is the most sentimental item you have ever been given?
oh...this is tough, Sarah!!!
Hmmm. Can I say my husband's last name? haha ayiyiyi
I will say it was a sweatshirt of my aunt's. It is this hideous green Elmo sweatshirt. and she would wear it for her son b/c he loved Elmo. She passed away suddenly at 31. My family is so super close & it was as if a second mom was taken from me. Sometimes, when something reminds me of her, I will go get it out, wear it and read all the birthday cards and get well cards and letters she wrote me when I was sick. It makes me feel closer to her. and it will seem as if it was just yesterday and not 14 years ago.

7. What is your dream job?
10 years ago it would have been sports related or owning a wine cafe. Today, it is one that for 9 years has evaded me: motherhood. They make look all easy in the movies. False advertising;) But more than anything...I long to be a mom. you can read more about our struggle here

8. What is your favorite color combo?
my first would be royal blue and kelly green w/a splash of orange
and the second would be slate gray and either butter yellow or light pink.
yes. very specific. haha

9. What is your proudest moment? Wedding? Promotion?
Hmmm. I have so many things I really want to accomplish, but the thing that has changed my life the most and has been the hardest is PTSD treatment and graduating from part one. The dropout rate is almost 70%
Why PTSD all about it here

10. Why did you start a blog?
People were constantly asking me for recipes of things I made. Since I rarely use a recipe...I have no idea what I was thinking;) It is hard to write recipes when everything in you screams to just "do it" and not concern yourself w/measurements. But it has turned into a way to meet new friends and half the time very few people read posts, so it's basically a journal of sorts.

11. What is your ideal date night?
 I am an anomaly and therefore I have two favorites and complete opposites.
1) wings, bourbon and football in a dive bar
getting all swanky, a sassy dress and to die for shoes, a nice restaurant, alfresco. Probably devouring enjoying a juicy steak accompanied by a glass of malbec, maybe some live music in the background.

 I nominate

Sidney @ Southern Sass
Melissa @in her boots
Stacey @ I spy a diva
Lindsay @ Lindsay's look

and I just realized, I haven't left comments on some of these blogs before. So they may be thinking 'who the heck is this chick? and to that I say...just go with it ladies.

ok the questions for my nominees.

1) What is your favorite Christmas/Holiday tradition.
2) Movies or books and what is a favorite?
3) are you more of an introvert or extrovert? 
4) What is your favorite season and why?
5) flats or heels?
6) facebook, twitter or instagram? 
7) what's your favorite cocktail. Any particular memory tied to it?
8) what languages do you speak? Any you'd like to learn?
9) What is your favorite type of music? Favorite artist/song
10) what do you enjoy most about blogging?
11) are you more likely to DIY or buy something for your house?

I learned something about myself by reading over this...I say "haha" an exponential amount. haha;)

This was long, sorry if you need a nap now. 

Whoopie Pie Wednesday:Watergate(Pistachio)

We have a Christmas tradition of doing a bday cake for Jesus. and we normally have it for breakfast. haha I am not sure how it started. Probably came from being awake from 2 am on waiting on the clock ticking to the elusive hour of 5am. This was when we could finally wake our parents up. Longest. night. evvvveeerrr. So breakfast time felt like the middle of the day for us four kids.

The cake my mom has always made is known as a "watergate" cake. I am not sure where the title comes from, supposedly it became uber popular when Nixon was president. Let's not dwell that I mentioned Nixon and Jesus in the same story. Haha Anyways, I remember the first time my mom made it. It is this light green color and being the bratty & picky inquiring child I was, I think I made some snarky comment that was along the lines of "What is that? Ewwww. No thanks" Then after the death stare only a mother can give, I gave in and tried a bite. I can happily say my life has yet to be the same.

When I last made this cake, I made it as a trifle and since I had changed it up once, the idea to reinvent these as whoopie pies was just...long overdue! 

1 box white cake mix
1/3 cup veggie oil
2 eggs
1/4 cup sprite
3 packets pistachio pudding
1 cup whipping cream
4-6 oz cream cheese softened
(see notes below if you want cool whip version instead)
green sugar crystals(optional)
Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Combine cake mix, oil, eggs, 2 pudding packets & water in bowl.(should be thick, but if any dry cake mix left, add a tsp more of sprite)   
Drop by  tablespoon onto lined cookie sheet (leave about an inch between each cookie)
or pour green sugar onto a plate, form the dough into tbsp size balls and 
 roll it in the green sugar.
Bake 8-9 minutes

Cool on pan 5 minutes, move to cookie rack until completely cooled.

Beat softened cream cheese on low for a min or until fluffy, add dry pudding packet & two tbsp of whipping cream, beat on low till pudding is fully incorporated into cream cheese and add remaining whipping cream, turn speed to high and beat until stiff peaks form. Let set in fridge for at least an hour before frosting. 

Place a dollop of frosting on top of cooled cookie, top w/another cookie and press together for frosting to spread out.

and here is what they look like if you just bake them and don't roll them in the sugar.
Completely delish in their own right, just without the added "sparkle" and well, who the heck doesn't like a little pizzazz!

Just keep in mind, certain colored sugars can leave your lips w/evidence. Be careful which ones you buy;)

and my christmas song that is on continual repeat today is
Bare Naked Ladies God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen featuring Sarah McLachlan. 
put me in a worshipful state this morning.

linking up w/one of my favorite blogs,
and a new find

The Curvy Chronicles

 When I started this blog, the main purpose was just for recipes. Then I recently started to slowly saunter(if you know me, you know I genuinely meant saunter) out of my comfort zone and blog about other things; trips, bargains and fashion. Not that in real life they're out of my comfort zone, I'm so comfy talking about those things, I'm in permanent yoga pants when it comes to them. It's just been writing about it that I'm getting used to. 

Plus, the whole take a picture of me in said outfit, this is where I stumble. Sometimes I forget, but mainly as of late anyways, I am not comfortable w/how I look in them. and this is what holds me back. and so I set up a challenge for myself, the next few weeks instead of snapping a picture of a folded sweater I got for $5, I will capture and post it for the WIWW link ups, to hold myself accountable, to push myself to get back to where I was and b/c I am sure I am not the only one w/nerves. but eventually you just get to a point where you say "screw it, this is me" and so are not just one, but two bargain outfits from the week. Hey, if you're gonna go in,  go full throttle right?;)

This first one was from our vineyard hopping this wknd, which you can read about here, I wanted something comfy and still a little warm, it was 68' out. Which is normally too cold for me to be w/out a jacket, but I think the wine may have helped a teensy bit. 

You may recognize this $5 sweater from this black friday post. It is so comfy...I loved it.

sweater $5 (kohls)
tank top $4 (ross)
leggings $6 (walmart)
boots $34 madden girls (shoe metro)
jewelry $0(selling stella & dot)
total $49
and then we headed out for dinner and I changed to something a little bit dressier. Since I am a lover of all things cardigan....This may be one of my new favorites. It just goes so well w/so many things in my closet. and I am sure it goes w/even more items that have yet to hang in my closet...but will;)

Cardigan NY  & C(with sales & coupons) $ 12
tank top $4 (ross)
belt $3.75 (belk)
skinny jeans $7 (Ross)
wedges $14 (payless)
total $40.75

 I realize I am not as heavy as I once was, due to some major medical problems(and throw in some lazy @ssness) and I was beyond obese. and then I worked my bum off(actually, not so much my bum, that went no where;) I lost 91lbs and I have kept it off for 5 years and then a new medicine this past year made me gain back 32 lbs, I lost 14 of that fairly quickly, but really, really desire to get the stragglers back off. And one of the medicines are a salt tablet and I legitimately can gain 5-12 in one day w/water weight and be swollen, I really need to drink more water and green tea.  For no one but myself. and so I am going to do something bold. If I show this picture...then I will feel I must work hard to not let it happen again. So, to stop stalling...

 this is what I went from on my 29th birthday to my 30th bday...

see why I heart my 30's;) stay tuned, hopefully each week I find my way almost back to that.
linking up today with

Yay for Sarah from Tucker Up for co-hosting

 because shanna said so,
What I Wore Wednesday
Wardrobe Wednesday

Bacon Makes Everything Better

Doesn't it?!'re a vegetarian  then it probably doesn't. At least it wouldn't for one of my faves, MJ. But for does. I love everything about it. And when I was in a hurry to cook something, I remembered a recipe I had discovered on the back of a bag of shredded cheese. I couldn't remember exactly how it went and I made a few changes, but for the most part...I think I was somewhat on target, either way: YUMMY!
This really was perfect for a chilly night, it warmed me from the inside out. and it was carb friendly for Wiki, score points for me. Yessss, love it when that happens.

4 Cheddar & Bacon Chowder
3-4 slices thick bacon
1/2 cup scallions
1 1/2 cups whole milk, half & half or heavy cream
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 cup celery(chopped)
2 cups shredded cheddar(I used Sargentos 4 state cheddar)
3 tbsp flour
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper

Cook bacon till crisp( I sprinkled some maple habanero pepper I had on hand for added flavor) Use a slotted spoon to remove bacon and place on paper towel till later. Pour off all but 2 tbsp of the bacon drippings. Cook celery in drippings, 4-5 min or till tender. Add the flour and cayenne pepper, cook and stir for 1 minute. Stir in milk and broth. Bring to a boil over high heat, stirring occasionally. Reduce heat, simmer 5 minutes, still stirring occasionally  Remove from heat and stir in 1 1/2 cups of shredded cheddar. Stir until completely melted. Ladle in bowls and top w/bacon, cheese and scallions.

The adaptions I made were pretty simple, for wiki's low carb, I think I only used a tbsp of flour, I used more bacon and actually cooked in into the soup when the celery was done and reserved the rest for the topping. You could easily make this using fat free half and half and low fat cheese if you wanted to control your calories, just not skim milk, it would never thicken enough.

This was so easy and so scrumpt~a~di~lumptious.

And now, can I tell you how we finally put our tree up last night. yes, we have been those people this year. How sad. Wiki has been working such long hours and we've been gone on wknds. While I am really pleased w/the end results...let's just say there were some moments. Like when I was supposed to hold the tree straight and when I let go, it was apparent that a woman who is 5'3 and has arms to match...shouldn't be in charge. then the moment when I looked up to see him stringing the lights on and they were white, as in not just the lights. The cord too. I had to breathe deep. and today I'm gonna get some kind of garland to cover it up. Cause it is... ummm, noticeable. haha Oh well, I have a tree. YAY. After almost 10 years of  being a Mrs, I've learned to pick my battles and this wasn't one!  We had so much fun, just the two of us. We watched the Pats game on tv(although it wasn't much of a game. woot woot) and drank some hot cocoa. Perfect Monday night!

These are our "house divided" ornaments, Wiki is from Boston, ergo...obviously a Sox fan. While I root for every other Boston team, my heart is pinstriped. So when Wiki left for work this morning, I put the Yankee ornament in it's rightful place: front and center.And to be fair, I did the same thing w/the Sox one....
Not my fault it's rightful place is somewhere in the back;)

Weekend Wine Hop

This weekend was one of the better we have had in quite some time, we have been so beyond busy lately, Wiki frequently working and traveling so much, that doing something fun and relaxing has been few and far between  Even though we had to drive 2 hours to get to our destination, it was a very "quick" 2 hours, plus, ummm, there was wine at the end. Wine makes life livable. I've decided.

I often times take for granted what we have in our midst here in Raleigh. The beach is a little over an hour and a half away and then an hour and a half the other direction is the mountains. There are quaint towns rich in history and places you can slowly meander your way through. There are a plethora of small breweries around the area(if I drank beer this would make me exponentially happier) that you can tour and explore...but even better are the wineries, of which, there are a plenty!

When our friend asked us for tips on the Yadkin Valley Wine Country and places to stay/eat for his girlfriends birthday,  I happily obliged...When he invited us to join, well, let's just say he didn't have much arm pulling to do!

We met up at Old North State Winery, which is located in a renovated 1890's mercantile building in Downtown Mt. Airy, or the rest of you may know it simply as "Mayberry" yup, it's the town the Andy Griffith show was based on. If you ever eat lunch here I can fully recommend the french dip. Yes, please!

From there we drove about 20 minutes to our first(and mine and Wiki's fave) vineyard, Elkin Creek Vineyard. It's located next to a grist mill built in 1896. It is simply beautiful here, beyond relaxing and the vintners are the sweetest I have ever met. I love these ladies! They have only recently taken over the winery w/their husbands.  And they have just built the sweetest little cabins that you can rent, we will definitely be doing that next time we are in the area!

 oh, their pizza and bread. No words. So good. If only we hadn't already eaten. We had to live off our memories of our last visit here.

just look at their sign, it's as if they truly care about me...

  the view, beautiful blue sky, 65' degrees in the middle of December!

 Some of their awards.
 Wiki and I enjoying the swing next to the bubbling creek, sipping our wine!
Wiki describing something, in depth, I'm sure;)

The birthday girl and I. It's your birthday...(you know the rest;)

Then we sauntered down the road to Shelton Vineyards, also very pretty and much larger, not the intimate feel of Elkin Creek, but they did have homemade truffles to pair w/your wine. So I adapted just fine.
 View from their tasting room
 Salted Caramel dark chocolate truffle, they had roughly 20 some flavors to choose from, under the row of these was a little note that said "to die for" I will only say this
"I concur!!!!!"

Just big enough for a weekend get together;)

Our last winery of the day was Round Peak Vineyards. Wiki and I were skeptical b/c of our last experience here. We thought the wine was really, really good...but the guy they had working was ummm. a douchehole. Sorry, I tried to find a less inappropriate word, but I looked it up and it even had his picture next to the definition;) hahaha I'm basically a terrible person. Oopsie.

Anyways, so glad we went back! He no longer worked there( I mentioned it in passing and she didn't even blink an eye, her response was , "yes, I was his replacement, you weren't the only one") and now they do beer tastings $4 for 4. Wiki was all over that!

 I may have purchased a whole set of these glasses. Loved 'em!

and here is what happens when you ask men to take your picture and there is beer in their midst...
There are so many things I could say here...but I won't.

Then that night we went to dinner at one of our places, Trio, and as usual, the food was so beyond delicious. From the lamb meatballs, to my ny strip and then the 5 cheese potato au gratin  I am still stuffed. And then I was miserable, you know how sometimes your mind is saying, "stop" and your belly shuts it up by eating more. Yea...but, oh so worth it!

Then on Sunday Wiki(as usual) wanted to turn our 2 hour drive home into 7 by exploring the area. We stopped by Hanging Rock State Park near Winston-Salem. My phone died(cause it hates me, a lot & frequently) so I didn't get enough pictures to do it justice:( but they had an awesome visitor center and fully functional cabins you could rent, with the most majestic views!

So, there was my weekend. I had a fabulous time and if you are ever in the Carolinas, do yourself a favor and visit this area!

Tomorrow involves bacon and cheese. I know;)

Have a great rest of the week!
 and I am really excited about a give away that I am participating in, all thanks to one of my new favorites, Taylor from goings on in Texas.

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