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Saturday, December 10, 2011

Downtown Greenville

Just the other weekend my husband and I made a weekend trip to South Carolina to visit my cousins and their sweet husbands.  

Here's a few highlights from our Saturday afternoon spent in Downtown Greenville...

We made a stop at a beautiful little cafe called Luna Rosa. The service was wonderful and if it hadn't been a chilly December afternoon I'm sure we would have followed our meal with scoops of their gelato- it looked so sweet and delicious! Next trip, if it's warm weather, I'm making a point to try their Strawberry Shortcake Gelato. 

I thought this mug was just about the coolest coffee mug ever with it's shape and handy grip. Very IKEA in my opinion.

My cousins- they are gracious southern women. 

After lunch we hit the town walking again. 

They have one of the most beautiful parks I've ever seen right there in the city. I liked it even more than Central Park in NYC.  And the best part about it is that's it's a completely revitalized park. It was once a questionable park, a place you wouldn't want to be after dark. But now it's a charming place to be, revitalized and abuzz with locals out for an afternoon at the park. 

There is definitely a great artsy vibe in Downtown Greenville, including this little area on a side of a building that looked simply meant for photographs. 

What are your favorite southern cities? I definitely want to discover some more! 

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Chocolate Dipped Pretzels for Christmas

I love a good Christmas cookie. Growing up I remember my mom making sugar cookies and letting us decorate them with royal icing. Between the sugar and the creativity it was kid heaven. But now that I'm a bit older I'm always in need of changing up the traditional Christmas cookie. One year it's 7-layer cookies, the next it's cake balls. This year I decided to really shake things up and make a treat that's not even technically a cookie. 

Christmas-y chocolate dipped pretzels. Salty. Sweet. Oh yum!

I decided to use whatever chocolate I already had on hand. We rarely eat candy, but somehow we always seem to wind up with a lot of it. I used Hershey's bars leftover from late August s'mores nights and tossed in some dark chocolate truffles I've had in the pantry for several weeks now. 

Warning: don't try to melt your chocolate in the microwave- it's way too easy to burn it. In college I worked in a gourmet chocolate store and if there's one lesson I've learned it's that burnt chocolate is not a treat. 

I melted my chocolate on the stove top. I poured the chocolate into a sauce pan and on very low heat just let the pan warm up as I stirred the chocolate. After a few minutes I turned the stove top off so as not to let it over heat and burn the chocolate. 

Christmas sprinkles!

I found these in the dollar section of Super Target for yes, you guessed it, a dollar. 

Dip the pretzels in the melted chocolate (I used a spoon to help me scoop some of it onto the pretzels). Then dip your tasty chocolate covered pretzel in some festive sprinkles.
My thoughts at this moment: do I really have to wait for it to dry?

Lay your pretzels on aluminum foil and allow to dry for about an hour (or you can put them in the fridge to quicken things up).
While classic Christmas cookies are always in style, if you're looking to bring something just a little different to a cookie swap these are a great option. I bagged them up in tiny plastic treat bags, tied them with ribbons and have been giving them to friends, family, and co-workers. Oh, and eating plenty myself.