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I'm usually not one for sugar cookies as I tend to find them dry and lacking in flavor. These on the other hand are absolutely amazing. I recently made them for a friends party and they were devoured so quickly that no one had room for cake! The cream of tartar helps with the rising and keeps them soft while the sprinkles add a little extra something. The cookies are so tender that they quite literally melt in your mouth.  Don't let the chilling time deter you from making them, they are worth it. 

Adapted from here


 
 
These cookies are by far the best fall recipe out there. I have to admit that initially I was skeptical about these having had never imagined that pumpkin and chocolate would go well together, but they do! The pumpkin and spices are not overwhelming, and the milk chocolate chips go great in this recipe. Just a warning they are a little more cake-like than cookie which may turn some people off but, I think that it works in its favor.  They are spongy and stay soft for a week so there is no pressure to eat them fast. The recipe also makes a ton, I'm talking around 60 small and 45 large cookies, so they're great for sharing with lots of people. Everyone, and I mean everyone that I have shared them with has loved them. 

 
 
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Sorry for the dearth in posts, these past two weeks have been hectic and intense. Right after Halloween I came down with a cold and got slammed with midterms and schoolwork. In addition to that I have been working on my transfer applications for college. Gahhh! It seems as though everything is just happening so quickly between deadlines and the impending holidays.

Anyways, I hope to be putting up some new posts in the next few days but for now I have a favor to ask of you. I don't usually like to ask you guys for anything but, a little over a month ago I submitted this photo in a contest on ASOS and got chosen as one of the finalists. It would mean so much to me if you went on and shared the photo whether it be on Facebook, Twitter, or Pinterest! If you click through to the site my photo should be the sixth. Thank you!


Contest Link 

xo,
Madeline
 
 

I hope that you are all having a wonderful All Hallows' Eve!

xo,

Madeline

 
 

My favorite season by far is autumn. I love the changing colors, the brisk mornings, and the cozy clothes. Unfortunately in Los Angeles fall and summer seem to meld together. Therefore, each year my family and I pack up the car and head to Kern River for a long weekend. With warm days, cool nights, campfires, and fishing, camping in Kern is just what the doctor prescribes.

More pictures will be posted as soon as I get back but, for now here is one of my favorites so far. I hope that everyone takes a moment to enjoy fall wherever they are.

I
 

Orlando

10/24/2013

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A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to travel to Orlando, Florida. While normally I would be averse to the idea of Florida (read: humidity and alligators), the chance to see The Wizarding World of Harry Potter persuaded me. I have to say that despite the humidity which was truly awful, the trip was amazing. I stayed with my mom at The Peabody now Hyatt Regency- Convention Center which was beautiful and absolutely huge. Trying to make the most of our time there, my mother and I went to three different theme parks: Disney Hollywood Studios, Epcot Center, and Universal's Islands of Adventure. The first was a total bust and seemed like they took the weird attractions that failed in other Disney parks and combined them into one. Although, I must say, their light/water show Fantasmic was truly great in that it was so bizarre and unpredictable that I was laughing the whole time. On Friday, with the afternoon free, we headed over to Epcot where it just so happened that our trip coincided with their Food and Wine Festival. Epcot Center is truly a unique experience. While the front resembles Disneyland's Tomorrow Land, the back and bulk of the park is World Showcase. The showcase is the best part and has 11 different areas or 'countries' which is show the culture and cuisine of  Mexico, Norway, China, Germany, Italy, the United States, Japan, Morocco, France, United Kingdom and Canada. Because of the food and wine festival there were an additional twenty different stalls around the area which had little appetizers and wine pairings. The detail that went into the building of the park was amazing from the Chinese temple to the stone buildings of Morocco was fascinating. 
The next day, which was in my opinion the best day, we went to Universal for Harry Potter world and let me tell you , it did not disappoint. As soon as we entered through the archway it was like being in Hogsmeade, except it was hot, humid, and full of tourists. Anyways, we ducked into The Three Broomsticks for lunch and had our first taste of frozen butterbeer and it was AMAZING. Think a cream soda slushie with a frothy butterscotch on top..... mmmmm. After that we went back out and entered Nerdvana. From Honeydukes' chocolate frogs to Dervish and Banges' robes and wands to the ATM being housed in Gringots and a Moaning Myrtle soundtrack playing in the bathroom, it was all spot on. Having grown up reading Harry Potter, I think that most of the joy that I felt was seeing and experiencing the locations and items that I had only read about in the books. I remember my mom reading me the first two books when I was in first and second grade and being able to read the third when I was in third grade. As the characters and books maturede in age and content so did I. It was like I grew up with Harry, Ron, and Hermione. 
As if the day couldn't get any better, that night we got last minute tickets to see Blue Man Group which has been a dream of my mothers since they first came out. All I really knew about them was that they played music on PVC pipes and that there was some sort of paint splatter involved. Entering not really knowing what was going to happen and having my expectations on the low side ensured that I was constantly surprised. There were points when I was laughing so hard that my eyes were watering and others when my mouth fell open in awe. I'm not going to give anything else away but encourage you strongly to go if the opportunity should present itself. 
The next day we flew home and just in time to miss the heavy rain and increased humidity that I had been dreading the whole trip. Hahahha!

 
 
Fall is in the air, and that means, once again, it’s that time of year when nothing’s safe from being pumpkinized. From pop-tarts and pringles to vodka and candles, the air smells of pumpkin spice. I surprisingly am not one to try out these products and am a traditionalist when it comes to pumpkin in the sense that unless it is in a pie, bread, or carved and sitting on your porch, I don't really want any of it... at all. I must say though that last weekend, for some reason unbeknownst to me, I had this sudden urge to make something involving pumpkin. It may have been a result from all of those Starbucks pumpkin spice latte commercials or the fact that Halloween is right around the corner but, I NEEDED pumpkin. So here it is, a pumpkin recipe that is a mixture between a pie and a bar. Crumbly, buttery, and with a hint of cream cheese these bars are sure to please many at any holiday party. 

 
 
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This week has been crazy and hectic. Between camping and balancing classes and work, there has been little time for much else. On days like these it is hard not to just reach out to unhealthy and fast meals. So, for those of you who can spare a half hour to cook dinner, this recipe is for you. The recipe is simple: gingery meat and a cucumber salad wrapped up in pita bread. The ginger and sweet plum sauce combine nicely with the tangy and spicy cucumbers. You can use either normal pitas or smaller ones. I tend to lean toward the latter in this recipe as it makes them more like asian tacos rather than sandwiches. I also like to top each with a little sriracha- just trust me.   Adapted from RealSimple magazine.


 
 
During autumn and winter, french cuisine is in it prime. It's probably due to the rich, comforting nature of French food, made with lots of cheese, lots of meat, and lots of wine. Mmmmm. My particularly favorite dish is french onion soup, made deeply flavorful by slow-caramelized onions and hints of fresh thyme. The best (and in my mind, only) way to serve it is with a fresh baguette and melted gruyere. For many Americans, soup alone does not a meal make, so I recommend serving it with a light vinaigrette salad or small appetizer. 


 
 
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Meatloaf is the ultimate comfort food. Unlike most people who grew up eating the traditional oven baked and ketchup-covered meatloaves, in my house meatloaf was smoked and you would receive an exasperated sigh if you so much as put meatloaf and ketchup on the same plate (that didn't and doesn't stop me from doing it anyway). So here it is, a meatloaf that is smoked to perfection and chocked full of onions, mushrooms, and italian sausage. Serve with mashed potatoes and you my friend have a perfect cold weather dinner. 
 If you do find yourself with leftovers, my recommendation is grilled meatloaf sandwiches. Think of a patty melt but better. This recipe is easy: swiss cheese, rye bread and a thin slice of warmed meatloaf. Spread butter on the outside of the sandwich and grill until cheese has melted and rye is toasty.