Easter Gathering And A Trifle

Happy Easter!

These are my favorite lyrics from Chris Tomlin.

Hope everyone has had a lovely weekend with their family and or friends.

We came up to Virginia to see my family. We got in just in time for dinner last night and went to La Carretta for dinner before I came home and got started on my Easter trifle.

This came out really tasty...but it didn't look as pleasing as I had hoped. haha

As I have said before...my food may not always look great, but it darn well tastes great. and really, isn't that what counts? I tell this to myself as I pour over pinterest at these picture perfect desserts. I hate those people.
This recipe can be made a plethora of ways, all about what different flavors your imagination can conjure up. If I was at my house and had my Kitchenaid handy, I would use whipping cream versus cool whip...but you make do how you can;)

1 box vanilla cake and all ingredients it calls for
2 tubs cool whip
1 pkg vanilla pudding
1 pkg cheesecake pudding
2 cups flavored coffee creamer(you choose the flavor)
food coloring

make cake mix according to directions, split into two bowls and add food coloring to each bowl. Bake and let cool. Make the pudding using the coffee creamer(I happened to use Bailey's toffee almond. if you want it to be flavored but not as intense, use one cup creamer and one cup milk) Let set up in fridge. After it is ready, split into two bowls and add cool whip and food coloring to each bowl and whisk together.

Assemble trifle by layering one layer cake and alternating pudding mixture and cake.

I had some M & M eggs on hand and added them to some "grass"

Put in fridge for at least an hour.

You could most certainly make this at anytime and not use the food coloring.

Spring Forgot To Sprung

Dear my second favorite season, get your act together...pronto. Dear bracket, being number one was good for one day. It's all good, Carolina lost. Dear Young Adult Authors, thank goodness you were born and decided to write. I heart you. Dear Ross, thanks for coming to my rescue...once again. $90 shoes for under ten bucks. Done deal. Dear Duke BB, I can't believe the home season has come and gone again! Keep up the work and till next season...

 When I was working, I could barely concentrate from OSU's shoes.
Good Job, girls!

and all in one fell swoop.
Happies ~High 5's ~ Peaks

Hearing my brother sing the song he wrote for my grandfather (or grindaddy as I call him). "Southern Born and Bred" I may have sobbed ridiculously teared up. 

This is his wife, Ginnay nay. He wrote an awesome song for her too.

Loving half price wine night.

Loving half price martini night even a little more

Giving up fried food for Lent and actually sticking with it.

Bacon pictures from Bracco...for no reason

Library books. I would be broke if not for the library. Trust me.

Seeing The Host last night! Not my favorite movie version of a book, but I liked it!

Started the Matched series and onto the second one, Crossed. really love it so far. 
after we worked basketball last weekend, we actually went out to dinner to watch...more basketball;) and UNC lost. Oh, happy day. haha

We walked around the Tobacco Warehouse district in Durham, which has lots of restaurants, bars and an open lawn for concerts in the summer. 
It is also home to DPAC(which has awesome broadway shows and concerts) and the famous Durham Bulls.
Lucky Strike Tower.

Crappies ~ Pits

This weather. I think it hates me. If so, the feeling is most decidedly mutual.

Making 60 plus cookies and dropping them on the floor.

and smashing my favorite plate in the process. Not cool.

and then this Happy, Peak and High Five deserve a separate notice.
Today is Good Friday. and as always, when people ask me if I am 'religious', my answer is always the same, "nope, I am just the beneficiary of the most awesome grace ever dispensed and in the most important relationship of my life". Easter is more than bunnies and eggs.
but I do love me some bunnies and eggs.

Happy Easter.
and have a great weekend, whether you celebrate it or not.

Linking up with

A Culinary Fix In My Favorite City

 I know that this may not be throwin it back too far for my TBT post...but it was 2 weeks ago, so that counts, right. Tell me yes.

I think I may have mentioned how for Christmas the mister got me the best gift ever: cooking classes at ICE or more aptly known as the Institute of Culinary Education in NYC. To say I was ecstatic would be an understatement.

 I was able to finally register for classes and went a few weeks ago. and had the. best. time. ever. 

Prepare for large photo dump, cause that's what is about to happen. New York is one of my favorite places and I am quite certain that I could get around Manhattan blindfolded, yet stick me in downtown Raleigh and my navigation probably still couldn't help me...even after 10 years of living here.

With that said, I have been to the city so many times and played tour guide more ways than I care to remember and so, for the past few years, I forget the large wonders this city holds and concentrate on a more local flair when I visit.

 This time though...I decided to reacquaint myself with some of my favorite places..

 I took this from the back of the car with my aunt driving full speed. Not too shabby,
First things first, lunch. Priorities people!
 In the lobby, ready to head up.
waiting for class to start. in my new boots. Which you will notice are different than the picture above. Which is due to the fact that the sole of , not just one, but both of my boots...blew out. As in vanished. What. the. What. Thankfully there was a Burlington Coat Factory adjacent to ICE and these were on clearance from $55 to $14. Bargains find me where I am at;)
The rebuilding of The WTC on my walk the next morning to class from our hotel.
 I just loved these buliding agaisnt the blue sky as I wandered from Midtown to Chelsea
 Love this red door of this church.
 Ummm. Yes, please. We learned how to make five different dishes. By far my favorite was the peanut butter and chocolate cheesecake bars. Yum.
My aunt joking that they were all hers when I got back to the hotel with my goodies.

 We decided to meander our way to Chinatown and then over to WTC.
 The graveyard at Saint Pauls
 Saint Pauls...in the midst of WTC
 Saint Peters. First Catholic church in the city.

A long work in progress. Not much more to finish the facade.
They did such a good job with the reflection pools.
 I struggle when I visit and people are taking pictures and giggling and laughing...but you never know anyone's story... so I try not to judge them. Even if I want to;)
I love the old buildings that melt into the background of the city and at first glance, appear dilapidated  I always imagine the people who have lived there and seen the growth and change first hand.  

 Always my favorite piece of the city, Washington Square.
 This was as I was leaving headed back up Waverly, where had it been all weekend?!
 Loved the color contrast through the trees as I was sitting in the park.

Empty benches are rare. haha
Harold Square, this was a block from our hotel.
and I took this last picture quite lazily, from the bed in our room...before we left to spend a few more hours to head home.

If you ever have chances to take classes on your visit, I cannot urge you enough to do it! I learned a lot but had a blast in the process. The first night was a Mad Men Cocktail class and I was able to create some tasty cocktails from the sixties and then on Sunday I partook in the chocolate and peanut butter class.

So thankful that Wiki knows me well enough to know how much I adored this thoughtful gift!

and I know...some of you think my mom and I look nothing alike, right? haha I definitely saw the resemblance in that picture.

and I finally added bloglovin button to my side bar, so if you haven't followed me on it already...what're you waiting on. haha

Linking up with
Travel Tuesday 

Whoopie Pie Wednesday: Carrot Cake

if you saw my picture yesterday...then you know this little venture was less than an overall success, but the few that I managed to salvage were pretty dearn tasty...so I suppose I will call it a draw;)
 I don't know about you, but I cannot believe Easter is this weekend, maybe it's the whole...still snowing in March thing that I can't get past. When my in laws in Boston are the same temperature as we are in Carolina..there's a problem! Hopefully these cookies can put some 'Spring' in your step;)

Supposedly, Carrot Cake screams Easter. Yea, it only whispered when I was around and so I never got around to trying it. It just seemed...healthy. haha and when you're younger, chocolate wins out. At least in my world it does. 

When I got older, I decided(albeit slightly tentatively) to try a big ole slice of carrot cake with a large dose of cream cheese frosting, just to see what the fuss was all about. Ummmm and if I am honest, no thanks. I will continue to abstain from this spring staple. 

But, I wanted to try these out as whoopie pies, just to see if a different texture could possibly placate me. and, while it is not my favorite, I actually enjoyed the few bites I was able to get after my floor got all hungry and got a majority of the cookies. 

Paired with cheesecake filling, these are the perfect treat for your Easter celebration...or any springtime get together!


1 box carrot cake mix
2 eggs
1/3 cup oil
1/4 cup water
1 packet cheesecake pudding
4-6 oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup heavy whipping cream 
2 tbsp heavy whipping cream

Preheat oven to 350'

Mix together dry cake mix, oil, eggs and water. I normally use a round TBSP to place on cookie sheet, but you can also use a round TSP to make them bite size and get more out of it. Bake 8-9 minutes ( you could substitute the water and use milk for softer cookies)

For the filling, cream softened cream cheese on low for 1 minute to get fluffy, add the pudding packet and 2 tbsp heavy whipping cream, beat until fully incorporated and slowly add the whipping cream and beat until peaks begin to form. or for alternate version, prepare the pudding w/1 cup cold milk, mix w/cool whip. Place in fridge for hour to let either version set up. 

and I know some of you are traditional,  so please feel free to just use the usual cream cheese frosting, bet that would be just as yummy!

Place a large dollop on one cookie and press another on top to spread the filling out.

Bloggy Hiatus via Food Failure

 I know, I know...I keep saying I have food and trips to show and still the time evades me from posting them and then there is the fact that last night I was making creme brulee brownie cookies and carrot cake whoopie pies and the floor got to enjoy them instead;)

and I could mention how pissed I am that my plate is smashed. Ten years I have had them and I never broke any of the 12...
Watch, now that I mentioned it, Murphy's law will take effect and the other eleven will soon meet their untimely demise;)

But I promise to be back soon once things have settled. Like...I better be back tomorrow;)

A Jaunt To Visit A Housewife

Super excited to be doing my first guest post over on one of my favorite reads: The Real Young Housewife of Southern Virginia. and the ever Lovely Lauran! 

I am pumped to be sponsoring her and her blog this month and always love reading what she has to say. Plus, I may drool over her creations she has been churning out lately between her instagram and blog. Yum!

If you are not familiar with her little piece of the bloggy world, do yourself a favor and get on over there! Virginia girls rock;)

And I have been on a slight hiatus b/c I was out of town in NYC taking taking the culinary classes Wiki got me for Christmas. Can't wait to share all about it tomorrow!

Till then,

Quebec City and Montreal

Oh, how I wish I could parlay to you how amazing Quebec City is. It's about as close to Europe you're gonna get in North America. The beauty of the French language, the people who are so friendly...oh, and not paying the prices of Europe;)

The beauty of this city can't be fully captured in a picture. We went for our anniversary a few years ago for a quick weekend. My only regret is we didn't have more time. Oh, and that whole part about Sprint not adding international unlimited for a nominal fee that we had discussed. But, all in all. Loved. every. second.

These next few pictures are of the famed Chateau Frontenac hotel in Quebec City. It is known as the most photographed hotel in the world. and it is fantastic. The views overlooking The St. Lawrence River are breathtaking.

 Love the view from this park we stumbled into.

 The beautiful Parliament building

 at the gates of the fort, these potted plants were splayed throughout this park and so beautiful

 This beautiful church is the Notre-Dame-Victories

 Unique art exhibit at the Musée dw l'Amérique Francaise in QC.

The Old Quebec Funicular
 It links the Haute-Ville (Upper Town) to the Basse-Ville (Lower Town),

On our way out of the city, we made some stops and the first was at what could only be described as 'visually appealing' if I can use the largest understatement of the year.

 The view from the bottom.
 Halfway up. and getting soaked.
 These are the stairs you can take to the top, the ones you just saw us halfway up. My thighs are quaking again just thinking of it. and a couple with twin baby girls strapped to their chests...walked the whole way up. Obviosuly they're insane. or they are goods friends with Sean T and his insanity cult;)
This is the view from the bridge on top...after we were smartie pants and took the cable car across.
back on the bottom and dry ground.

This is another gorgeous gorge and falls we stumbled upon and I wish I could remember the name.

Wiki pretending to jump in. I must've been on a tear or something...

and next up was Montreal. We were only there for a day before we headed to Vermont for a week and unfortunately I only have two pictures. but I will give you at least a peak.

The alter in the Notre Dame Basilica in Montreal. So beautiful.

This is the beautiful Saint Joseph's Oratory. The grounds were impeccable.

So this was our trip and for our ten year this June, I really hope we can go back to these enchanted towns. Loved them.

Linking up today with
Travel Tuesday
Throwback Thursday

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