29 October 2012

Double Chocolate Chip Cookies



Hi everyone, it's me, Rachel again! Since Victoria is still out on her Asia World Tour, I thought I'd stop by for yet another delicious dessert.

Can you believe how quickly October is flying by? I hope that the pace slows down because I love everything about this time of year and I want to savor it all. The leaves have finally turned to a beautiful fall color scheme of red, orange, and yellow. The air smells crisp and clean. My Ugg boots have made a regular appearance despite the disapproval of one Simply Vicky. The anticipation of the holiday season is in full swing. I saw a commercial for Target's Christmas collection last night and I must say that my heart jumped with excitement. Most importantly, however, fall flavors are being incorporated everywhere. I've pinned so many savory pumpkin dishes that I am excited to test in the kitchen. Speaking of pumpkin, I hope some of you tried the pumpkin bread that I shared a few weeks ago!

Anyway on to this week's feature. Last weekend, I visited my Aunt's house in Cleveland to celebrate her birthday and to spend time with my family. My uncle requested that I bake something and with no guidance on his preferred treat, I decided to share my new favorite cookie recipe, double chocolate chip cookies. Words cannot fully articulate how delicious these cookies are. They are soft, chewy, and rich in chocolate flavor. Chocolate infused in chocolate- perfection. My seven-year-old cousin, who has a very limited palate, gave these cookies his stamp of approval, so I know that they will appeal to anyone and everyone. These cookies would be a great option to bring to a holiday party or cookie exchange. Bake yourself a batch and enjoy!

17 October 2012

M&M Blondies

Hi everyone! I’m Rachel and I'm back with another sweet treat to share. 

I heard the most awful statement at work the other day. One of my co-workers said that she hates blondies. HATES. I couldn't believe it. 

First, I can't imagine using such a strong word to describe anything classified as a dessert. I hate traffic. I hate waking up in the morning. I hate when my husband says our grocery bill could be less if I didn't bake so much (rude and true, I know). But to hate blondies? What a gross misuse of the word. 

Second, I think it's simply impossible to not like a blondie.  It's a hybrid of a brownie and a cookie. The best of both worlds- what's not to like?! To make a chocolate chip cookie into a thick rich square is a wonderful idea in my opinion. While I wouldn't say that I prefer blondies over a cookie or brownie, I do love a good blondie, as most people should!

The quintessential blondie that you remember from your childhood (a brown sugar cookie base with chocolate chips) has some stiff competition these days. I have seen so many new delicious versions of the blondie floating around the internet. From snickerdoodle blondies to toffee blondies, it's easy to find a new way to impress your family, friends, and co-workers.


15 October 2012

Caramelized Onions with Gruyere Cheese over Crackers


Happy Monday!

Hard to believe it, but we're already halfway through October! This weekend, I came to terms with how fast Fall is flying by when I found myself purchasing my first sparkly holiday dress of the season. That, coupled with the fact that by the time I get home from my whirlwind trip across India, Hong Kong, Taiwan, and Korea, it'll already be November...which means Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's are just around the corner!

With the holidays on my mind, I thought it was only fitting that I share with you guys a quick party appetizer: Caramelized Onions with Gruyere Cheese over Crackers. These deceivingly simple little guys make a wonderful presentation and serve as a perfectly fancy party accompaniment.

11 October 2012

Lately

Happy Friday, folks!

Sorry for the mini absence this week...the change in seasons has gotten the best of me, and I've been in full nesting mode. The drop in temperature (32 degrees this morning!) has me going to bed earlier and waking up later...and spending lots of time snuggled on my couch under piles of blankets, watching a little too much Fall TV (X Factor, anyone?).

It's also been a stressful few weeks at work getting ready for a two week trip across Asia. Traveling for work is one of my favorite parts of the job. While it tends to be extremely tiring leading up to and especially during these long trips, it really is such a a rewarding and eye opening experience, and I'm always grateful for the opportunity to see and be a part of such different ways of life.

My food blogging has unfortunately taken a backseat to this weather as well. The daylight hours of Summer are long gone...by the time I get home from work, the sun is nowhere to be found. It's starting to look like I'll need to do a little extra cooking over the weekends while I can take advantage of the precious daylight.

Also, is it just me, or does this Fall in particular seem to be a season of break ups and engagements? Or, for all you Bachelorette fans, it's apparently the season of broken engagements according to Reality Steve (yes, I'm talking about Jef & Emily...tear). I feel like everyone around me in relationships is either breaking up or getting engaged. Two completely different paths, but I guess when you're at a crossroads, you're usually choosing between two very different things.

Hope you all have a lovely weekend, and I promise to do a little extra cooking this weekend and whip up a few more blog posts before I leave!

09 October 2012

Wedding Weekend


































A group of us traveled down to St. Louis, Missouri over the weekend to attend the black tie nuptials of the newly Mr. and Mrs. Ryan Maher! Our trip to St. Louis started with a tour of the Anheuser Busch brewery...
























Followed by an extravagantly surreal 1001 Arabian nights-themed rehearsal dinner...

05 October 2012

A St. Louis Weekend


This year's wedding season wraps up for me this weekend in St. Louis. This year has been filled with friends and family saying "I do," and I'm sure this weekend's black-tie affair will be the perfect way to cap off the season.

 In blog news, I'm so excited to announce that Rachel will now be a regular guest blogger for Simply Vicky! Her pumpkin bread was a big hit earlier this week, and of course, her chocolate chip pudding cookies were a crowd favorite as well. Baked goods has never been my forte, and it's clearly one of hers, which makes for a match made in blogging heaven! Look for her yummy desserts every week for the remainder of October and into the holiday months as well!

Hope you all have a wonderful October weekend!

Keep up with Simply Vicky on Facebook / Twitter / Pinterest

03 October 2012

Pumpkin Bread


Hi everyone and a very happy Fall to you all! 

I'm Rachel, and I'm back to satisfy your sweet tooth with a classic staple in my fall repertoire- pumpkin bread. I can't think of a better way to usher in fall than with the aroma of cinnamon, nutmeg, and cloves wafting through your kitchen. 

I have not always been on the pumpkin bandwagon. Pumpkin pie was always something that I passed over at the Thanksgiving dessert table in favor of something chocolatey. I only began adding this velvety smooth treat to my dessert plate at recent Thanksgivings. Pumpkin BREAD, however, is something that I have been a fan of for quite some time now.  My affinity for it comes not only from it being perfectly delicious, but also because it conjures up some of my favorite memories. In college, I began a wonderful tradition of visiting my parents in Atlanta for a long fall weekend in October. This now annual trip that I take stemmed from my need to escape the busy concrete jungle of New York City for some quiet R&R in suburbia. It has evolved into a beloved and highly anticipated weekend filled with festive fall activities. On our agenda you will find: My mom and I dressing the house in Halloween decor, my parents (and now husband and younger sister) and I will drive to the north Georgia mountains to purchase the Coburn family pumpkin (a massive ~80 lb pumpkin that sits on our front step), apple picking, walks around my neighborhood to enjoy the weather, and of course, baking pumpkin bread. 

02 October 2012

Yaki Onigiri (Grilled Rice Ball)




One of my favorite things to do is browse food blogs (surprising, right?). I recently discovered Just One Cookbook a few weekends ago, and I have been obsessed ever since. Nami (the author behind this blog) is an extremely talented cook who specializes in quick and easy Japanese food. I love Japanese food, but I have always found the cuisine a little daunting, but luckily she makes everything seem easy and not so scary.

Anyway, after I spent the greater part of my last few Saturdays perusing her blog, I took some inspiration from her and cooked up a little of my own Japanese food. During my last trip to California, my friend Megan had taken me to her favorite Japanese restaurant in the Bay area, Tanto. One of the appetizers we ordered was her favorite, yaki onigiri. I loved it, and couldn't be happier when I found Nami's recipe for it on her blog.

Nami teaches you how to make this from scratch, but I cheated a little and bought these pre-made in the freezer section of my local Japanese market, Tensuke. Either way, these are delicious, and if you go pre-made like I did, all you need to do is make the sauce and grill these babies up. Add a little garnish and you're all set!

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