On Girlfriends {Happy Galentine's Day!}

About 2 years ago, Josh and I fell head first into the world of Leslie Knope and were subsequently introduced to Galentine's Day. The idea is simple - February 13th is another day of love, but this time for your girlfriends! 

A gift I put together for my Galentine Meg using ABM's Marbled Clay Dish Tutorial!
I am so lucky to have a number of wonderful women in my life to trust, to love, and to laugh with. Some of these girlfriends live close and share the smaller day-to-day details. A walk at the park with the dogs or quiet lunches in a classroom allow for a constant share of both the big, and the small, things in life. I cherish each moment with these women who have become my lifelines in Massachusetts. My girlfriends from home and from college are scattered across the country, and it means the world to me that I've found women here to whom I can turn.

But that doesn't mean that I don't get homesick for my other friends from time to time (read: All. The. Time.). I crave the late night talks, sushi dates, neverending giggles and easy conversation that my best friends give me. Because some of them live far away, we rely on gchat or text messages to keep in touch on a more regular basis, but it's never enough and do often wish that we lived closer. But, since I can't move NYC, Denver, Boulder, Wichita and San Francisco to New England (at least not yet!) I will just have to survive on social media and cell phones to keep close.

And of course, on this beautiful Galentine's Day, I am sending so much love their way - to my girlfriends near and far - the best Galentines a girl could ask for!

Valentine's Croissants Two Ways

Somehow, it is snowing again. I know that there's all sorts of science-y reasons why it's snowing, and that we're stuck in some sort of snow fall pattern from hell, but after almost 5 feet of snow in 2 weeks, I am legitimately staring out of my balcony window right now, jaw open, in shock that it's snowing. And how is it, you ask, that I'm home on a Wednesday morning at 9 am to be looking out my window? That's right - snow day #9! As if the snow now isn't bad enough, now school is officially going until June 30, so that's going to be fun.

But, to brighten up everyone's morning - yours and mine - I thought I'd share two of my favorite semi-homemade ways to enjoy breakfast on Valentine's Day. These two ways to make croissants are delicious and chocolatey and don't require too much work!

The chocolate drizzle ones are the easiest - and the ones you'll need to start with first if you're making both kinds. They are frozen croissants from Trader Joe's, and they need to be left out overnight to expand.

Take them out of the box before you go to bed the night before you want them, and when you wake up in the morning, voila! Ready to bake croissants!

Follow the directions on the box and bake them at 350 for 15-20 minutes. When they come out of the oven, allow them to cool for about 5 minutes, and then drizzle them with hard-shell chocolate sauce. 

The hard-shell won't actually form since the croissants are too hot, but I've found that the hard-shell syrup stays the best on the croissants.

While the TJ's croissants are baking, you can prep your other chocolate croissants! You'll need Pillsbury (or store brand) crescent rolls and chocolate chips.

Unroll the crescent rolls and arrange them on a plate. There are 8 in a package, but I can never seem to get 8 good looking rolls from one of these containers. I was happy with 5 this time around.

Then, add a small handful of chips - about 15-20 - to the middle of each crescent roll, and roll it up into a croissant.

When the TJ's croissants come out of the oven, use the same pan to place your chocolate-filled croissants onto. Arrange them a bit apart, as they will puff up during baking, and turn your oven up to 375. Wait 5 minutes, and then place the chocolate-filled croissants in the oven for 10 minutes, or until golden brown. 

Once they are golden brown, remove them from the oven and serve immediately!

I topped the plate with extra chocolate chips and served both types of croissants with some coffee in our new initial mugs (tutorial coming soon!) on our newly stained lazy susan (tutorial also coming soon for this!) as a special snow day treat on Monday, and they would make a great semi-homemade Valentine's Day breakfast treat!

Are you getting ready for Valentine's Day? Looking forward to breakfast or dinner more? Or are you so buried under snow that the holiday is the last thing on your mind? I'd love to hear about your favorite Valentine's Day treat!

Heart French Toast

It's another snowy Monday here in New England, and of course, another Monday with the public schools closed. This marks the 7th snow day that we've had in 2 weeks, and we're looking at another one likely for tomorrow. But, we're staying warm - and a bit productive! - as we binge-watch Breaking Bad and I get ready for my next units. And it's a perfect time to get ready for Valentine's Day and whip up some delicious love-inspired treats in the kitchen! Today, I'm sharing a delicious breakfast - Heart French Toast!

When I was little, my brother and I often spent weekend nights with my Grandma and Aunt, and in the mornings, we were always excited for my Grandma's delicious french toast. This is an easy french toast recipe, inspired my Grandma's love!

4 Slices of Whole Wheat Bread
2 Eggs
2 Tablespoons Milk
1 Tablespoon Vegetable Oil
Strawberries (Optional)
Powdered Sugar (Optional)

First, cut your bread slices into hearts. You can use a cookie cutter, or simply freehand the heart shape.

Then, mix together the eggs and milk.

Heat a large pan over medium heat, and then add the vegetable oil. Swirl the pan to coat.

Dip each slice of bread into the egg mixture to coat. Then, place in the pan to cook.

Cook for about a minute on each side, until lightly browned.

Serve with powdered sugar and sliced strawberries for an extra special touch! 

This Valentine's breakfast is great for a breakfast in bed for two, or perfect to surprise your kids with on Valentine's Day morning. Served with syrup, or even chocolate sauce, this is a great breakfast to impress your loved ones with this holiday!

Valentine's Day Art

I'm a sucker for anything romantic and Valentine's Day is no exception. As a kid, long before any boy was giving (or not giving) me chocolate, my parents made the holiday fun with waffles for breakfast, candy hearts and sweet cards telling my brother and I how much they loved us. For me, the holiday has always been a celebration of love of all kinds and so, I like to take every opportunity I can to add a bit more love in our lives during February.

This year, while I was stuck at home during the Blizzard of 2015 for 6 days (yes, school was closed for SIX days), I decided to add a little bit of artwork to our cookbook shelf in our apartment. The artwork was simple to make and I had fun creating it! First, I gathered up some supplies that I had around the apartment. And yes, I may have a crafting materials hoarding problem, but I don't think I'm the only one...

black paint
paint brush
painter's tape
red glitter paper

To start, I used the ruler and pencil to mark lines every two inches along the canvas, and then tape off lines with painter's tape.

After securing the tape, I painted black in every other section.

I immediately removed the tape, and touched up any spots that needed some extra paint. Then, I set the canvas to dry.

After the paint dried, I drew a heart on the reverse side of the red glitter paper and cut it out. I attached the heart to the bottom right corner of the canvas using the painter's tape.

I set the finished product on the bookcase we use to store my growing cookbook collection, and styled it to show off the new artwork, and some matchbox mementos we have!

I am so excited to add bits of Valentine's Day cheer to our home and love brightening up the apartment with fun projects. I got the original idea for this project from Hey Lauren Rene, but changed it around a bit to make it a simpler project to fit my timeframe.

Have you been getting ready for Valentine's Day? Spending your spare time (or deluge of snow days if you're in the Northeast!) crafting? I'd love to hear about your love inspired projects!


February Book List

This year, as part of my goal of reading 75 books in 2015, I am keeping track of my monthly progress on the blog. I am posting my reading list for the month early in each month, and then a book report on my last blogging day of the month. Each month I'll be listing 6 or 7 books as I work towards my bigger goal. This February, I'm planning to read these 6 books...

In The Heart of the Sea by Nathaniel Philbrick
Astonish Me by Maggie Shipstead
The Tao of Martha by Jen Lancaster
The Presidents Club by Nancy Gibbs and Michael Duffy
I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
The Paying Guests by Sarah Waters

I am so excited to dive into these, and have already started In the Heart of the Sea. A couple of these - Tao of Martha and Presidents Club - have been on my "to-be-read" list for ages and I am thrilled to finally be getting to them. I'm ready for a relaxing month, and enjoying my weeklong February vacation after President's Day. I will have lots of time to read and relax.

Have you read any of these? Planning to read them along with me in February? I'd love to hear what you're reading this month!
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