The Sweetest Stories
Hello world, it’s been awhile!
I have officialy returned from my overextended break, and I can’t wait to share some wonderful stories with you!
To kick off the new year, I thought I would give you a little update on what I’ve been up to and why it’s taken me nearly THREE months to post a new recipe… I wish I had a better excuse, but I’ll be honest with you, I have not done the best job of making Sweet Stories a top priority. Over the last few months I have focused my attention on friends, family, and work. However, Sweet Stories means so much to me and it has brought so much joy into my life. With that, I’d like to pick up where I left off and share a couple of exciting things that have happened recently.
With February being the month of love, I thought it would be appropriate to share some sweet love stories with you.
To begin, my older brother, JT, got married in November to his beautiful bride, Maggie. Maggie and JT met their freshman year at MIZZOU and have been together ever since. Their wedding was everything I had ever imagined it would be, and more. The wedding ceremony was at St. James Chapel in downtown Chicago and the reception was held at the University Club of Chicago. It was truly magical. The photographs taken by Katie Kett capture it all.
I mean, seriously!! I felt like I was in an episode of Gossip Girl! Luckily I had my Chuck Bass to dance the night away. ;)
Speaking of my handsome date… WE ARE ENGAGED!!
The Big Question:
I have not stopped smiling since he got down on one knee and popped the question. Here is my Sparknote version of how it all happened.
A few weeks prior to the proposal, Tim asked if I would be his date for a church event on January 23rd. Of course I said yes, even though it was a weeknight and past my 8:30PM bedtime. That day, he told me I would have to meet him at the event as he needed to help setup. I was running a little late and when I got there, Tim was waiting for me outside. He took my hand and we headed upstairs to “the party.” As we neared the top of the stairs, I started to notice it was oddly quiet. The lights to the room were off, with only the faintest little light shining through. Tiny candles created a path from the doorway to the exact spot that Tim and I first met.
He looked at me and smiled saying, “you didn’t think I would forget about our anniversary, did you?” In that moment, two things ran through my mind, either he’s making a really big deal out of our anniversary and I’m going to leave here disappointed, or he’s going to propose. I was hoping it was the latter.
We began dancing to the cheesy playlist he put together, and I was trying not to freak out. I looked at him and said, “What is happening??” He smiled and took me to the end of the candle-lit path, and he got down on one knee and asked me to spend the rest of my life with him. He could barely get out the question, “Will you marry me?” before I started jumping up and down screaming, “yes, yes, yes, yes, YES!”
After the proposal, we danced and laughed and headed to the place where we had our first date, The Ducktail Lounge. Little did I know, our families and friends were there waiting for us. We walked in and everyone yelled, “Surprise! Congratulations!” I have never felt so much joy, love, and happiness.
Two weeks after the engagement, Tim and I packed up our bags and headed off to Canada. We had been planning this trip ever since October when he gave me a “trip anywhere” for my birthday. The timing was perfect, it felt like the honeymoon for our engagement!
We arrived in Montreal around midnight and decided to check out a few local bars, making the most of our only night in the city. The next morning we took the early train to Quebec City, where we spent two nights downtown in the midst of their annual winter carnival.
If you’ve never been to Quebec City, I highly recommend you add it to your list. The streets are filled with local shops and delicious restaurants. We felt like we were walking through a fairytale!
The last three nights we spent at this adorable little cottage on an island just outside of the city. We spent most of our time relaxing, playing games, drinking wine next to the fire, and making home cooked meals. We even made a homemade pizza in the wood burning oven, which was pretty fantastic, if I do say so myself!
For Valentine's Day last year, I made Tim a heart-shaped chocolate cake. I had never made this type of cake before, and it turned out to be embarrassingly large. Keep in mind, we had only been dating for about a month and here I was giving him the world’s largest cake for Valentine’s Day! Luckily, Tim didn’t think much of it and he seemed to really enjoy the cake, (Pheww!)
Despite being in a different country, I wanted to keep the tradition alive, so I stuffed a mini heart-shaped cake pan into my already over-packed suitcase and got to baking.
I had to improvise with some of the ingredients and measurements due to the tiny pan and unfamiliar product brands, but Tim ate half of the cake for breakfast, so I’d like to think it was a success!
For all those love birds, It’s never too late to surprise your Valentine with an oversized heart-shaped cake! Here is the recipe I used for the original cake.
EXTRA Lovin' Chocolate Heart Cake
3/4 cup soft butter
3 eggs at room temperature
2 c. all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cocoa
1 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
2 cup sugar
2 tsp vanilla
1 1/2 cup milk
1 cup cold milk
1 package (4-serving size) Vanilla flavor Instant Pudding
1/4 cup powdered sugar
1 tub (8 ounces) Whipped topping, thawed
1/4 teaspoon red food coloring
Small candies or multicolored sprinkles
Heat oven to 350 degrees
Beat butter for 30 seconds or so. slowly add sugar.
Add eggs 1 at a time beating after each one. Beat in vanilla.
Add dry ingredients beating after each addition.
Add 1/2 of the milk, beat. Then add the other 1/2. Beat just until everything is combined nicely.
Divide batter evenly between greased and floured 8-inch round and 8-inch square baking pans.
Bake for 30-35 minutes.
Cool 10 minutes; remove from pans. Cool completely on wire racks.