Suitcases & Sweets Turns One!

Earlier this month, Suitcases & Sweets turned one! It’s been a great year of traveling, baking, and blogging; and I thought it would be fun to do a restrospective of where we’ve been together. Shall we?

Farthest Distance Traveled:

Bangkok & Thai Iced Tea CupcakesMost journeys started from my home in Philadelphia, and the farthest distance traveled this year — 8, 726 miles away — was Bangkok, Thailand, where I visited my college roommate and his fabulous wife, The Inquiring Chef. I toured the city, took a cooking lesson, relaxed on the beach, and was challenged, humbled, and inspired in exactly the ways good travel should.

Closest Distance Traveled:

DrumIt was only 38 miles from where I grew up in New Jersey into New York City for the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, and that post happens to be one of my personal favorites. Get ready — this year we’re going the night before to watch the inflating of the balloons!

Most Unusual Place Visited:

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If you had told me when I started that I would have seen a house covered entirely in beer cans, I’m not certain I would have believed you. The Beer Can House in Houston was definitely one of my most unusual finds.

Most Popular Post:

players on the moundThe most popular topic on the blog was Baking with Booze (readers after my own heart!), but by far the most popular Suitcases & Sweets post was Yankee Stadium & Cracker Jack Cupcakes. It’s been viewed nearly 500 times and the recipe is so good, it was found and featured by allfreecopycatrecipes.com. What post do I wish were most popular? Airport Security Tips & 15 Minute Peanut Butter Cookies. Getting stuck in an unnecessarily slow security line is still my biggest travel pet peeve!

Best of the Best:
Here are my personal favorites in each recipe category:

Breads, Muffins, & Scones: Cherry Almond Sourdough Scones
Brownies & Bars: Rocky Road Brownies
Cake: Black Coffee Chocolate Cake with Mocha Mascarpone Frosting
Cookies: Salted Oatmeal Dark Chocolate Chip Cookies
Cupcakes: Cannoli Cupcakes
Other Sweets: Eton Mess
Pies & Such: Peach Cobbler

Best of the Worst:

Peeps StoreI’ve loved nearly all of the sweet treats I’ve baked (it was tough to pick the best of the best!), with one exception — the Surprise Scotcheroos. Don’t get me wrong; they were ooey, gooey, and delicious, but a bit too sweet for my tastebuds. And I truly enjoyed nearly all of the places I visited this past year, with one exception — The Mall of America. Conspicuous consumption at its best was one of the worst for me.

Most Exciting Blog Moment:

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Winning the Belle Grove Plantation cookie contest! Having you all involved in my campaign to be the official cookie of Belle Grove Plantation Bed & Breakfast this past spring was fantastic. I’m going to visit in November and can’t wait to tell you all about it.

I’m so thankful to all of you who joined me on this adventure. Some people call the two’s terrible, but I’m certain there are lots of great things in store for Suitcases & Sweets this year! Keep reading and commenting, won’t you?

Victory is Sweet…

…and tastes like Modern Molasses Cookies! Now better known as ” The Official Cookie of Belle Grove Plantation”.

Thanks to all of you who voted, the guests at Belle Grove Plantation — birthplace of James Madison — will be served my cookies on a silver tray each night at turndown service.

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I’m incredibly grateful for the outpouring of support and looking forward to lots of sweet things to come! :)

To read the official announcement, visit: http://virginiaplantation.wordpress.com/2013/04/22/and-the-winner-is-2/ It’s both exciting and an honor to be a part of Belle Grove’s story.

And be sure to stay up to date with the latest from Suitcases & Sweets. Subscribe for e-mail alerts (on the right side of your screen), follow me on Twitter (@SuitcasesSweets), and “Like” the fan page on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/SuitcasesSweets) where you’ll find sneak peeks of upcoming posts, looks behind the scenes, and pictures that didn’t make the blog post cut.

Now that the contest is over, it’s time to get back to our regularly-scheduled travel and baking blogging!

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Vote for My Modern Molasses Cookies!

Remember my Modern Molasses Cookies? I entered them into a contest to become the Official Cookie of Belle Grove Plantation, a bed and breakfast opening on the Virginia plantation that was the birthplace of James Madison — and I’m a finalist! But I need your help because the cookie with the most votes wins!

Voting is a two-step process:

First, visit the Belle Grove Plantation at Port Conway on Facebook and “like” the fan page:

Belle Grove Screenshot

Next, go to the Top Ten Cookies Album,

Top 10 Cookies Album

find my cookies, and “like” the photo.

like the cookies

Voting is open until Sunday, April 21, 2013, at 11:59pm Eastern Time.

The theme of the contest is a cookie James Madison would love. To see all the finalists and get the recipes, go to https://virginiaplantation.wordpress.com/2013/04/13/and-the-top-ten-are/ …but only after you’ve voted and told a few family members and friends to do the same. ;)

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