So Long 2011

Wow, is it New Year's Eve already? I feel like I was just here in Mexico celebrating the beginning of 2011 with Mike, my brother and mom. Is it really time for it to start all over again?

2011 was a record year. A really great one for me. I finally got over that whole "I wish I was still in college" thing that haunts you for years after graduating and realized that growing up is kind of awesome too. Your 20's are probably some of the best years of your life (or I think so anyway) and I am loving how it is playing out so far.

Let's look back on some of the highlights from 2011.

1. Mike and I moved into together. Okay, technically that was a 2010 accomplishment but lets mark that its been over a year now and all is well! I absolutely love our little apartment (even though it is probably one of the smallest you can find in SD) and it makes me smile thinking I get to see him every morning and every night.

2. We got Taylor! You all know how ridiculously obsessed I am with our puppy. She pretty much rules this blog and is the main attraction wherever she may go. She can be trouble sometimes, like when she chews up my cookbooks or ate Mike's computer charger, both our phone chargers and my headphones...but, look at this face!! How can you stay mad??

3. My family has remained safe and sound. No, did not say SANE...that is a completely different story. But they are in good health and good spirits so I am thankful for that. I love my family.

4. My friends are healthy and happy and working towards their goals in life. I also made two new amazing friends this year that I am SO thankful for.

5. I made the hardest decision I have yet to make in my life. To pick up my life and move to Paris, France for a year. It is getting closer and makes me more nervous with each passing day. To be honest, the hardest part is not the whole living in a foreign country thing, but the whole "Taylor is going to forget me!" and not seeing Mike every single day. It is going to be a challenging year but we will all be better for pushing through it. I am so blessed to have an incredible support system between Mike and my parents. You can't achieve your dreams by sitting on your booty waiting for them to come to you, right?

2011, thanks for being SO amazing to me. 2012, I hope you are up for the challenge. You have some big shoes to fill.


An OC Christmas

I've said it before and I will say it again. I love the Holidays. This year, though. It seems to lack a little bit of luster. Nevertheless, I always love being around my families and eating and baking my way through the weekend.

Mike and I had a little Christmas celebration of our own with Tay in our apartment in San Diego and then headed up on Friday to our parent's homes. Our families (luckily) only live 20 minutes apart from each other so it makes it easier to see everyone on Christmas.

Christmas eve day I spent with Mike's family. We went out to brunch and received some very exciting news (can't share yet but I am just SO excited!!) and then relaxed watching Christmas movies in the afternoon. Afterwards, I headed home to have an amazing prime rib dinner with my family and some of my dad's closest friends. I made some fresh baked pesto garlic dinner rolls. I left this recipe at home (I am in Mexico right now so I will have to get you this recipe when I get home next week...they were bomb though).

Christmas day was a hectic morning (as always with a family of six) but it is always so nice to wake up and do gifts and bake and hang out with the family in the morning. Afterwards I headed back over to Mike's for a bit and then he came over to my grandmother's for a bit as well. Busy, right??

It is all worth it to see everyone that I love. We had an incredible dinner at my grandmothers (best gyoza ever made and now Mike can attest to that!) and then I came home and passed the eff out.

Merry Christmas! I hope yours was full of love, laugher, family and friends.

You can see that Taylor is in pretty high demand among my family members. Its easy to be popular when you are as cute as her!

As far as dessert goes, I made a chocolate ganache cake that was requested by my Aunt Patty and adorned it with some white chocolate Christmas trees. I also made a fresh lemon meringue tart from the lemons that came straight off of Grandma's tree. YUM.

Recipe for the Lemon Meringue Tart
It calls for a 9'' tart pan and I only had an 11'' so I probably should have made more of the lemon curd but I didn't. I recommend using the 9'' or doubling the curd.