mm, mm! marcrumb cookies

this year phillip and i were in birmingham for thanksgiving with my family, and if anyone has spent a holiday with us, you know that our gatherings revolve around one thing:  food.  now, you might think, “sure, isn’t that everyone around this time of year?”  maybe, but we are the kind of family that talks about their next meal while they are eating their current one.  our schedules, especially holiday schedules, revolve around when the meals are planned, and i look forward to continuing that tradition with our own family some day.

but this post isn’t about me or my family.  it’s about the food, and one food in particular:  cookies!  personally i somewhat have a love-hate relationship with cookies.  i love eating them but i sometimes hate making them – it can become quite tedious, and when you have an undersized oven like us, baking cookies takes twice as long as it should.  i imagine most people feel this way, especially those who don’t consider themselves bakers.  but alas!  i did not have to break my back or burn my fingers over cookies this year because a childhood friend came to the rescue.

my friend amanda marcrum may or may not have started a cookie company this year and may or may not have named it macrumb cookies.  it’s adorable, yes!  and the only thing more adorable than the name are the cookies themselves.  i saw some of her social media posts with darling little cookies decorated with all sorts of cute shapes and lovely designs and knew i couldn’t resist supporting an old friend.  i reached out and ordered a dozen seasonal cookies for the occasion, and the day before thanksgiving amanda delivered these precious treats in person.

i squealed in delight when my mom opened the box and revealed these little treasures.  tiny corns and turkeys and leaves and pumpkins – what’s not to love?  and if you think these were too cute to eat, you are wrong.  i chomped into one of those little corns and about jumped for joy because these cookies remind me of one of my favorite types of cookies in the world:  cheryl’s cookies.  only these are the tiniest bit better because they had the most pleasant trace of almond at the end of every bite.  the cookies were a huge hit at the andrich house, and if you consider yourself a cookie lover on any level, i insist you order yourself some marcrumb cookies.  they will not disappoint!

the wedding chronicles | decision #9

THE CAKE

in addition to being very dedicated to picking out a great photographer, phillip was also very excited about working together to pick out the perfect cakes for our big day.  now, you might be curious when i say “cakes,” as in multiple cakes and not just one, and you are reading correctly.  not at all modern-day weddings but at many it is a popular trend to have the standard wedding cake and now also a groom’s cake.  a groom’s cake, what is that?  well, it’s exactly what it sounds like it is:  a cake the groom gets to pick and decorate all to his liking.  now, this isn’t to be said that a bride and groom are incapable these days of picking a single cake together (which phillip and i definitely were able to do), but it’s just another fun thing (essentially another cost, if we’re being very honest) that helps to represent the coming together of two individuals into a single marriage.  and, if you’re like phillip and me and planning on only having one wedding day, then why not!  the more cakes the merrier.  🙂

although several bakers were recommended by the wedding coordinator, we decided first to try out a local baker near and dear to the davis family.  sister’s sweet creations has been baking cakes for years in peachtree city, and of all those bakes they have baked, several include countless cakes enjoyed at davis family birthday parties, events, and occasions of all sorts.  and so since cathy (the lead baker at sister’s sweet creations) already had a special place in phillip’s heart, we figured we’d start with her and go from there.  so, phillip, his mother michele, and i met up on a beautiful thursday afternoon to press our luck at sister’s sweet creations.

the bakery has a tiny storefront, but right in the middle they’d put together a couple of tables with a generous spread of freshly baked cupcakes, cookies, and all sorts of frostings.  i think i could get used to this kind of service!

cathy first asked for all the “vitals” – the wedding date, location, number of guests, so on and so forth.  we were in luck that our wedding date was available and, better yet, that she and her crew only commit to one wedding per day.  i definitely liked that answer, knowing that our cakes will be her primary focus.  so far so good, and we hadn’t even taken a taste!

we then also started talking design.  for the wedding cake, we hadn’t yet pinned down a particular style or color or theme, but the good news is that sister’s sweet creations has a lot of experience with many different techniques.  we together scrolled through their gallery online as cathy pointed out different trends and ideas, and even though we didn’t finalize anything for the wedding cake, i do think we got a better of what will work for us and our venue.

now as for the groom’s cake, phillip had a very specific vision in mind.  i don’t want to spoil the surprise, so all i’ll say is this:  phillip’s cake definitely represents who he is and the things he loves.  i highly recommend you check out his cake (and the wedding cake, too) before dinner is done at the reception.  we think you’ll love them both!

at this point you’re likely thinking to yourself, “kelsey, it’s great that you’re going with a local baker and we can’t wait to see these stunning cake designs, but what about the flavors?  what do we have to look forward to in five months?”  well, i’ll start by saying that all the cakes and frostings and buttercreams we tasted at sister’s sweet creations were delicious.  but, of course, having all of them in one cake or even two might be a little much.  so, if you insist on knowing, we were able to narrow down the delicious flavors as follows.  first, the groom’s cake will be a combination of chocolate cake and peanut butter frosting (we highly recommend getting a slice of this one when you’re there).  and as for the wedding cake, it will be three tiers, one with the bakery’s signature flavor called “strawberry champagne,” one with a classic and delicious white almond, and a third with dangerously sweet white chocolate raspberry.  i expect it will be grand and rich and the perfect treat to satisfy your sweet teeth.  we of course hope you love them as much as we do, but if not, then more cake for us!  🙂

o-h-i-o, ohio!

this past thursday morning i boarded an md-88 with several coworkers to fly to columbus, ohio for our annual company meeting.  between team gatherings, putt-putt golf, and drinks at brazenhead, the event was quite the success in melding many offices together as a united front for the successful business years ahead for which we are striving.  go team!

most folks flew back to atlanta friday night, but i had the wonderful pleasure of staying the whole weekend.  as it would be, phillip has family only minutes from our dublin location – such a small world!  so, it was a no-brainer for phillip to take some time off work and join me.

once work things wrapped up friday afternoon, phillip picked me up and we checked into the local embassy suites.  we rested our feet for a little bit and then were in the car again.  where to?  well, seeing as how our stomachs were grumbling, it was a good thing we were headed to dinner with grandma lorraine and cousin tony at the local favorite the rusty bucket.  they were seated at a booth just inside the restaurant awaiting our arrival.  both greeted me warmly as we scooched into our seats and got to know one another.  conversation came easy among the group among local brews and delicious food.  i highly recommend the wedge salad to start and then the buffalo chicken sandwich – it was massive!  the chicken parmesan that grandma lorraine had was a generous serving also.  tony’s quesadilla and phillip’s philly cheesesteak didn’t disappoint either.  so much else on the menu looked so appealing that i guess we’ll just have to visit again!

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after paying the checks, grandma lorraine called it a night.  tony, phillip, and i, though, were in the mood for another drink, so tony led us to a local bar called the dub pub.  most certainly a favorite dive bar of those who live nearby, we grabbed a high-top and continued visiting while enjoying some whiskey-gingers and a few ipa’s from the columbus brewing company (referred to by ohioans simply as “cbc”).  soon tony’s friend sean joined us, and i think eventually we blended in with the regulars as we chatted, cheered on team usa during the olympics, and took in some preseason nfl games.

as our glasses emptied and the early evening grew into the later night, phillip and i were about ready to call it a day.  we bid tony and sean farewell and hopped in the rental.  as we cruised along to the hotel, phillip pointed out the grater’s right nearby and the convenient fact that they were open until eleven p.m.  it was only 10:30 at that point.  phillip swung the camry into the parking lot and we helped ourselves to the counter.

now, any of you who know phillip know that he has quite the sweet tooth.  i used to “blame” his mother because she is an ice cream lover, but now i know it is grandma lorraine who started it all.  she revealed that each night she either has an ice cream or a cookie with some milk before going to bed.  old habits die hard, i suppose!  😀

with many more choices at the store as opposed to just the grocery aisle, i did a bowl of strawberry cheesecake and mocha chocolate chip.  whoa, that stuff was unbelievably good.  the strawberry cheesecake was undoubtedly my favorite, and it was lucky i even got to try it since it is a limited summer flavor!  phillip considered his options for a while and then settled (to no one’s surprise) on a scoop of the buckeye and a scoop of the peanut butter chocolate chip.  i am telling you, this boy could eat only reese cups for the rest of his life and be satisfied.  i suppose it’s hard to deny a man his ice cream when it makes him this happy.

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it was finally after over-eating on quite possibly the best ice cream ever created on this beautiful earth that we hit the hay.  with two more days to go in ohio, we needed our beauty rest!

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sublime doughnuts – atlanta, ga

so, i’ve got a mound of vacation days to use before the new year rolls around, so i recently took a week day off from work to let the computer and myself kick back and relax.  i thoroughly enjoy taking time off during the week in my town because it gives me a chance to explore and do things that don’t fit into my weekend schedule.

on the slate that day was a visit to my sister-in-law’s office, a hydra facial at phillip’s mom’s office, and then lunch with my man.  despite the strong desire to sleep in, i got my morning started so as not to waste the day.

with a little time to kill before meeting up with kari, a brilliant idea hit me like a ton of bricks:  get a quick bite at sublime doughnuts!  my dad had seriously told me about this place years ago, and my first visit was long overdue.  google maps directed me to 10th and hemphill, and after a few missed turns, i found a parking spot just for the kessie girl.

i had no idea what to expect but was delightfully surprised as i entered.  i think the word to describe it all would be happy.  the upholstered chairs and cheery colors are quite welcoming, and the staff reflected the atmosphere.  the ladies at the counter were helpful and pleasant and ready to answer my many questions.  they gave me the quick run-down of the selection, especially those that would travel well (i was going to birmingham that night with phillip to visit my parents and planned to bring a few back for them).  i picked out half a dozen with their help and showed myself to a table.

in a spot across from me was an employee who i assumed had to be the manager.  we chatted for a few minutes before he hopped up to help with the growing line of loyal (and maybe new) patrons.  if i’d had a bit more time to spare, i surely would have talked off his ear.  i don’t at all doubt he would have been fun to interview.  next time!

with a sweet tooth like mine, i knew something chocolate-y was in order, so i bit into one of the a-town creams.  every bite of this doughnut was perfectly balanced, from the flavorful dough to the subtle chocolate to the rich and decadent cream filling.  despite how i’m describing it, you should know that it isn’t at all too sweet.

i easily could have had another, but i refrained.  i didn’t want these strangers thinking i was a total junk food addict.  speaking of junk food, did you ever read the berenstain bears as a child?  i vividly remember the one titled junk food, the words in big, bulbous purple letters on the yellow cover as papa bear, brother bear, and sister bear gorged themselves on candies and chips.  oh, and we cannot forget mama bear, looking on in disdain and disgust.  does it mean something that i so clearly recall this specific adventure of the bear family?  probably so, but until those subconscious realizations surface, i’ll obliviously carry on in life.  join me, won’t you?

bear family

as i headed out, i thanked the manager kindly for the exceptional service and delectable treats.  “you’ve made the start of my day a great one,” i said.

“well,” he replied, “it’s all about spreading the doughnut love.”

nicely put!

the next day in birmingham we had the rest of the half dozen for breakfast.  mm, nutritious!  mom and dad loved the caramel apple fritter.  i had a nibble of the orange dream star that was utterly divine, and phillip practically was doing backflips after enjoying the reese’s peanut butter cup doughnut.

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all in all, i’m extremely glad i finally made a visit to sublime doughnuts.  the place and its staff are so genuine that you’ll have a hard time walking out of there without a smile on your face.  🙂

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san francisco – day 3

another early morning arrived for brian and me.  he wanted to get a good start so that he could leave work at a more reasonable hour for some friday fun, so we whisked out into the already windy day and took the truck over to 24th and folsom for brian’s favorite cup of coffee at philz.  he said this spot was his daily hangout once upon a time, so if it’s good enough for him, it’ll work for me, too!

when we walked into philz, i was instantly reminded of the east side jittery joe’s back in athens.  it’s artsy and eclectic, and i loved every ounce of it.

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it’s quite the menu they’ve got here, so i trusted brian to do the ordering for us both.  he got us each a small philtered soul, a lighter medium blend of hazelnut and chocolate.  um, yes, that sounds amazing!  we took our cups to-go and had our first sips out on the sidewalk.  although a little on the sweeter side, the coffee was flavorful, a lovely treat to wake us up at just a quarter past the seven o’clock hour.

gah, he's just the coolest!

gah, he’s just the coolest!

we then headed east on 24th to find dynamo donut shop.  my friend mike had heard good things about it, so i felt it was my personal duty to see if the fun was warranted.  this little place is actually a walk-up counter serving up homemade donuts and coffee.

i was in the mood for something chocoately, so i gladly let the cashier recommend the chocolate rose.  brian went for a saltier selection with the maple glazed bacon apple.  she popped them into a to-go bag for us so that brian and i could enjoy them in a nearby park.  we plopped ourselves on top of the artful sea serpent because that seemed the most obvious thing to do.

we decided that sharing the donuts was the perfect thing to do.  brian bit into the chocolate rose first, and his face said it all:  he really didn’t care for it.  whoops!  i took a taste to see if i agreed but found i felt differently.  i actually quite liked its bittersweet flavor and cakey texture.  brian did come around to admit after a few more tries that it wasn’t so bad after all.

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even though i was a fan of the chocolate rose, i might say the maple glazed bacon apple that brian picked out was pretty awesome.  the glaze was just the right thickness to coat the donut but not take away from the subtle and sweet syrupy-apple flavor.  oh, and let’s be honest, no breakfast is complete without bacon, right?  ah, yes, how american of me!

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it was about that hour for brian to head out to work, so he dropped me off back at cafe st. jorge.  i just couldn’t stay away!  i snuggled into the booth with a sesame bagel and organic cream cheese and wrote the morning away.  all of philz coffee went straight to my head and got me uber focused.  i knocked out a whole day and a half of san fran fun in a short couple of hours.  booyah!

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greensboro, nc – day 2

it was a sleeping in kind of morning on saturday, so there really was no rush to get going.  i think we rolled out of bed and downstairs around nine or so, still rockin’ the pj’s in true weekend spirit.  the coffee pot was fresh and full, so i fixed myself a mug as the sun poured in through the windows.  mary finished prepping the strada and popped it in the oven for some good breakfast eatin’.  just as the oven door shut, her hubby mike walked in from the garage, home depot bag in hand.  ah, yes!  the adventure of the garbage disposal continues, just as i promised!

we gathered in the living room around the fireplace, enjoying our savory breakfast before the manual labor began.  i’ve got the strada recipe over here for you, so if you need a new something to add to your book, enjoy!  it was rich and filling and reminded me a bit of biscuits and gravy, which we know should be a staple in every southern girl’s repertoire.

strata 1

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oh, ooh whoa, the sweetest thing

i, like most folks, had a bit of a time adjusting to the lesser hours of sleep with the arrival of daylight savings time.  my monday this week wasn’t too horrendous, but that sluggish feeling was quite thick throughout the office.

i had eaten my lunch that afternoon and found my way back to my desk, ready to tackle the rest of my day.  my co-workers philip and amy returned soon thereafter and presented me with the sweetest token:  a thin mint cupcake from gigi’s!  it was the kindest and most thoughtful gesture.  they were being kind simply because they wanted to be.  perhaps that is something we could all strive to do a little more often.

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