Exchanging Calories, I mean Cookies!

Recently I went to an annual cookie exchange at my girlfriend Suzy's house.  In preparation of the evening o-sugar-high, each guest is assigned to bake six dozen cookies.  For the third year in a row, I haven't quite been able to plan ahead with my delivering of some amazingly fabulous knock your socks off cookie, but I think I've followed through on something at least acceptable.... Oh heck, they were down right tasty!

This year, 24 hours before the party, I was thumbing through my cook books.  My mother recently hosted a party and sent home a doggy bag with a few leftover goodies in the form of a deliciously concocted bar of chocolate, nuts and oats.  So, I decided I wanted to try to figure out just what I was eating.  I studied that little cookie bar to no avail... tasting, looking, touching, smelling... I knew there was something else in there.  Then it hit me... caramel!  So, I conducted an on line search and arrived at these oh-ho-delic Caramel Oatmeal Bars.  Warm and cozy lovin from the oven!...

Best of all, that lil' bar of Heaven was super quick and easy to make... oh, I'll be making them again.  

Suzy and her fam recently renovated her cozy abode located in one of my favorite hoods of the Queen City, the down to earth, uber chic neighborhood of Elizabeth.  I intended to share with everyone thoughts and photos from the evening, but I now have to share with you additional photos of her to die for, oh so stylish living room.  For me, probably one of the prettiest rooms I have laid my eyes on in a long time.  Amazingly fun for the palette, yet refined and clean, and possessing just the perfect strain of tension. Suzy worked with local designer 

Bronwyn Ford

 to create this niche of utmost desire. So, here are a few pics from our fun evening of calories (I mean cookies), vino, fellowship and holiday cheer.

Just look at these lovely ladies. Do they look ready for cookies or what?

Aren't these the most handsome little Santas you've ever seen?

And they seem right at home with the decor.  

A little female fellowship is always good for the soul.

Would you look at those cookies!  These are good for my tum-tum.

 And here's the living room.  Seriously.  I cannot stop looking at it....

My husband noted the symmetry of  the square edges, and then there are the flowing draperies.  I explained to him I think this is a mindful way of creating the perfect amount of tension in a room while using great restraint.  I also love the scarcity of knick knacks.  I feel like the colors and movement in the draperies do the work of accessorizing more than just the windows.  Gosh, I love it.

A view of the cozy fireplace.

The room seems so spacious and offers plentiful seating. So, here are some pics of the all delicious delectables!

Little almond candy canes.  So cute!

The hostess made these from a childhood favorite recipe book.

Little tiny sugar cookie Christmas wreaths!! How much more festive can you get?

Each one of these bite size babies was a different flavor.  Easy to pop = trouble!

Simple Goodness.  Takes you back to making cookies for Mr. Claus himself.

Our friend Campbell just returned from her honeymoon in South Africa,

and she brought home the recipe for these super delish coconut concoctions .

Jam Thumbprint Cookies by my personal fav, Ina Garten.

These are my chocolate walnut caramel bites.

Gluten Free Chocolate Chip Cookies.  Amazingly flavorful!

My take home loot!

Wine consumed prior to departure, of course. Please let me know if you would like the recipe to any or all of the above tasty treats!  

For the love of sharing the love in great style, Whitley