Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Rock Me Like A Hurricane

This past weekend Chris, the fam and I traveled up to Philly to celebrate the wedding of my childhood friend Corinne and her husband Dave.

Our first stop straight from the airport was good ol' Pat's King of Steaks

The weekend was filled with wonderful events from the welcome BBQ on Thursday,

To the rehearsal, dinner and cocktail party on Friday 

The bride and all the bridesmaids

LOVE my new coach purse from the bride

To the big event on Saturday.  Of course the weather was a big topic of interest as Hurricane Irene was heading our way.

Corinne and her mom worked so hard on the beautiful purple and green wedding details many of which were DIY such as the programs, flip flop baskets, ceremony decor and cake pops.

The flowers were bright and beautiful!

Alter arrangements

Bridesmaids bouquets

Close up of their tasty cake.  I don't really like cake, and I ate all of my piece that night, it was that good!

Corinne even surprised Dave with a Boston Sports themed groom's cake at the cocktail party on Friday. I like to think she got that idea from all of her dedicated reading of Weddingbee :)

Unfortunately their plans of a gorgeous garden wedding were dashed by the torrential downpour and wind thanks to Irene.  

Family shot with the bride and groom

Their wedding was still amazingly beautiful even though the tornado warnings shut the party down a little early.  The food was amazing, the cocktails were flowing and we made more than one trip to the photo booth not worrying about the rain until the very end.

With warnings of the hurricane approaching and transportation in the Tri state area shutting down, there were more than a handful of guests that understandably decided not to make the trip to the wedding.  If you were a bride in that position, would you want to receive cancellation calls and texts ahead of time, or after the wedding?  Have you been through a hurricane before?

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

30 Before 30

Today calls for a special drink or two.

Wine tasting for my birthday last year

It's my 28th birthday!! Nothing like getting older to prompt me to make a little list of things I would like to accomplish. I thought I would add to the blogging trend of creating my own 30 before 30 list.  I have 2 years to get these tasks checked off, and I'll be sharing the results along the way!

1. Take a photography class
2. Paint a piece of art
3. Grow a flower or vegetable
4. Learn a new computer skill from Chris
5. Read 20 new books

1. Complete a home renovation project
2. Make scrapbook with postcards and photo strips from wedding
3. Make something out of polymer clay

1. Travel outside of the country
2. Plan a fun anniversary trip
3. Take a road trip
4. Stay at a B&B
5. Experience an exciting staycation

Food & Fitness
1. Get Chris to try and like a new veggie
2. Make a new Thanksgiving dish
3. Make homemade ice cream
4. Try 40 new recipes 
5. Work out 3-4 days a week for at least 2 months straight
6. Lose 20 pounds

1. Buy a house
2. Prep for a baby
3. Get a new truck for Chris
4. Weed out old clothes in wardrobe, replace with new clothes

Fun Times
1. Go to a concert
2. Venture back to College Station
3. Go to a college football game
4. Be in print
5. Throw a house warming party
6. Go to Medieval Times
7. Eat something from a food truck

*The list is subject to change :)

Do you have any activities that you would like to accomplish in the coming years?

Friday, August 26, 2011

Home Goods Happy

This store could be the death of me.

After a relaxing pedi with my mom (in prep for Corinne's wedding, yay!), we headed over for a little shopping.  With all of this cooking, I figured it was time to get rid of my cheap baking pans and pick up some nice stoneware.  Although I would love to splurge on some Le Creuset, it wasn't in the budget for right now.  I am so tempted to check out the outlet shop close to my parents during the holidays.  It could be a Christmas gift for our future house ;)

I've been to the Home Goods before, and I've picked up things here and there but have never really looked around for home decorating.  I found some pretty decor pieces.

Perfect items for a fan of travel.

Holiday decor

Even saw our Calphalon pots and pans from our wedding registry at an awesome discount.  I might go back and pick up the wok since we didn't register for it at Bed Bath and Beyond.

In honor of my moniker on Weddingbee, it would only be right to have one of these guys in our house.

But back to the reason for our shopping trip, the stoneware baking section.  There were so many bright colors, and if you know me, you know I was drawn to the blues and greens.  Not wanting to decide between square and oval, I picked up both. I can't wait to try them out!

Mom found a couple to gift me for my birthday, so yay for a rectangle and another oval.  All four came in under $32!

What are some of your favorite stores to pick up items for the home?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Trying To Recreate Memories

Our honeymoon to Excellence Playa Mujeres was our first experience with an all inclusive.  We've been on cruises, but not having to pay for alcohol in Mexico was amazing!  We were trying out new drinks every time we went up to the bar, my favorite on the trip was the Banana Mama.

Waiting on the nightly entertainment

Mmmmmm.  So tasty! But I'm getting off topic here.  This post isn't about drinks, it's about dessert.  Excellence has several restaurants, but there was only one so nice, we did it twice and that was the Asian inspired Spice.  We signed up for the hibachi dinner seating and enjoyed a little show with our food.

The best part by far was the dessert!  It was the first time either of us had fried ice cream.  The first time we didn't want to look like pigs so we split one (because every other couple was splitting one).  The second time around there was no facades for strangers we wouldn't see again - we each wanted our own.

So image how excited we were when we saw that our local grocery had a new flavor of ice cream.

Um, yeah.  That excitement was short lived.  We tried it and at first it was really good.  The flavors are very close to that memorable dessert in Mexico, but then we got to the little pieces of "friedness" (pretty sure it's not a word, but work with me here).  I get that they're trying to recreate the fried pieces that encompass the ice cream, but it's just a little to chewy and weird for me.  Sadly, I had to suffer through that bowl and we'll probably suffer through to finish off the carton.  Needless to say, we won't be picking this up again.

Have you ever been disappointed when trying a new food product?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Melting Good Times

Fondue is such a fun experience, and the Melting Pot is our favorite go to restaurant for celebrations.  We usually go once a year and this year we celebrated Chris' birthday there.

We're always excited to see what's on their limited time "Big Night Out" menu, and this time we enjoyed a delicious tour of Latin America!  Along with the four courses we also sampled the wine pairings and Ying Yang specialty drink (vodka, liquor and ice cream? heck yes!) 

Here's a quick rundown of our four course meal and wine pairings:

First Course: Queso Fundido - Combination of Fontina, Gruyére and Gran Queso cheeses, crumbled Chorizo and a hint of fresh lime (we opted out of the fresh  jalapeños).  This was paired with Portillo Malbec from Argentina.  Dipping items included three types of bread, Granny Smith apples, carrots, broccoli and cauliflower.

Second Course: We both decided to try the special Shrimp Ceviche salad - Citrus-marinated shrimp atop avocado purée and tortilla chips served with tropical fruit pico de gallo and a side of mixed greens tossed with a lime vinaigrette.  The salad was paired with a new favorite wine, New Age White Blend from Argentina.

Third Course: Fondue Fusion cooked in the Mojo Caribbean style.  The entrees included Cold-Water Lobster Tail, Filet Mignon, Chimichurri Sirloin, Garlic Piri Piri Shrimp, Mole-Marinated Chicken Breast, Citrus-Marinated Pork Tenderloin, and Fire Roasted Corn Salsa Ravioli.  The wine pairing for this course was Santa Rita 120 Carménère from Chile.

Meats & Seafood before cooking

Fourth Course: The final course was a Dark and Dulce Chocolate fondue, but we switched it out for the Bananas Foster.  This was paired with Los Vascos Reserve Cabernet Sauvignon from Chile.

I love that they added a birthday candle for Chris


This is definitely a splurge for us, but something that we look forward to whenever we're able to celebrate something special.

Have you ever tried fondue?  Do you have any favorite restaurants for special occasions?

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Home Cookin'

I love home cooked meals, even more so when I don't have to do the cooking!

Chris' schedule with school and work normally has him working at night and on weekends.  It sucks because it reduces the amount of dinners we have together to 2 or 3 nights a week.  Well I take that back.  It doesn't always suck, sometimes I'm all for not cooking and just doing cereal or soup for one.

Anyways, Chris had a rare Friday off after his birthday so we headed over to my parents' place to enjoy a home cooked meal (and pick up more boxes for the move).  Mom did an amazing job, as always!

Seafood Caesar Salad

A little Surf & Turf

Twice Baked Potatoes 

While we ate, Gypsy was preoccupied with a treat of her own. 

Do you get the opportunity to enjoy time with your family often?

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Birthday Time!

Today begins the 12 day period where I enjoy calling Chris an old man.  With only 12 days between our birthdays, I try and work it in as much as possible before I end up at the same age as him.  :)

When we first started dating, I thought it would be fun to take a road trip to San Antonio to celebrate his birthday. It was our first trip together, and I knew that it really touched Chris to see that someone cared enough to celebrate his birthday.  Every year since then we have traded off celebrating our birthdays on mini trips.

Chris' birthday - 2007 in San Antonio

My birthday - 2008 in New Orleans (only there for 16 hours before we were evacuated for Hurricane Gustav)

Chris' birthday - 2009 hiking in the national park, Hot Springs Arkansas

My birthday - 2010 stomping grapes in Fredericksburg, TX

This year would have been another trip for his birthday, but since we'll be in Philly for Corinne's wedding right around mine we decided to keep it simple for his.  I'll be back soon to share some pictures from our "big night out"!

Do you have any fun traditions or birthday celebrations for you or your spouse?

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Breaded & Baked Chicken

Chris sure is lucking out with my new goal of trying new dishes!  This week was breaded & baked chicken from simply recipes.  I changed up the recipe in a few areas due to not being able to find the ingredient in the store or because I knew it was something my husband didn't like.

- 1/4 cup Mayonnaise (I went for the reduced fat mayo with olive oil)
- 1/4 cup Dijon (I substituted Pepperhouse Gournmaise for this because Chris doesn't like dijon)
- 2 teaspoons Worcestershire Sauce
- 3/4 cup Dry Bread Crumbs
- 2 tablespoons Chopped Chives (couldn't find so I used 1 tbsp of Parsley and 1 tbsp Cilantro)
- Salt
- 6 Chicken drumsticks
- Olive Oil

I mixed the mayo, pepperhouse gournmaise and worcestershire together in one bowl and the bread crumbs and seasonings in another.  Sprinkle the drumsticks with salt then dip into the mayo mixture and coat.  Place coated chicken in the bread crumb mixture and coat as well.  I didn't get any pictures of this part because my hands were covered with the mixtures.

Once completed, place the breaded chicken in a oil coated pan.  

Bake in an oven for 25 minutes at 425 degrees and you're done.  I served this with a side of au gratin potatoes, dinner rolls and a side salad.  Add in some Schrock wine from a Texas Winery and you have one enjoyable dinner.

Are you more of a drumstick or breast type of chicken eater? I think this is the first time I've ever cooked drumsticks.

Monday, August 15, 2011

I Heart My Gamer

Chris is a gamer.  A pretty big gamer.  When we were tasting cake for our wedding, it was an easy choice as to what the groom's cake would be styled after.

Candy Haven knocked it out of the park on the recreation of Chris' Xbox 360, topped with the controllers of all of the systems that we currently have in the apartment - Wii, Xbox 360 and the Playstation 3.  With a busy weekly schedule of work and school, he doesn't have as much time to play.  On the rare Saturday or Sunday off, I know that there will be a little gaming action in there.  

As his collection grows, I know that more storage will be in order.  Chris has voiced an interest in turning the storage into a DIY project, possibly building floating shelves or a new bookcase in the future house.  I love that he's as excited about future home projects as I am.

Do you have any hobbies that require additional storage?  What advice do you have for organization?

Friday, August 12, 2011

Summer Heat, Cool Treat

If you're anywhere in Texas, I'm sure you're enjoying this lovely record setting heat as much as I am.

Image from my friend's facebook

We just missed out on tying the 42 day record set in 1980 for the most consecutive days at 100 or above.  As much as I don't like the heat, after living through 40 100+ days, I really wanted to break the record.  Finding ways to beat the heat are really important, especially since there is no free A/C while working (but I'm not complaining about working remote).  I am not looking forward to our electric bill this month, although I know it's nothing close to what our friends are paying to cool their houses.  One friend recently posted to facebook that their bill was $625!  My jaw dropped.

One of my favorite daytime snacks during the summer months are frozen grapes.  How had I not heard of this until talking with a co-worker a couple of years back??  Pluck the grapes and stick them in freezer safe containers.  Pure genius!

They are a tasty, cold treat and I try to work them onto the grocery list every time we go shopping.  I wish they were always on sale for 99 cents a pound because $2.33 is a little steep.

What are some of your favorite ways to stay cool during this crazy hot summer?

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Reliving My Childhood

I know I can't be the only one that was in love with the TV shows on Nickelodeon when we were growing up. After many requests on social media, Nick has decided to bring back some shows from the 90s in a block they are calling the 90s are all that.

  Image via Teen Nick

While I love reliving my childhood (I can't believe that Clarissa and Doug were on the air 20 years ago), I'm a little upset at the timing of the block.  I would think that most of the people that would be interested in re-watching these shows all have jobs and can't stay up that late.  Good thing for DVR!  

Teen Nick has stated that they are testing out these four shows, but will start rotating in other classics like Family Double Dare, Hey Dude, Legends of the Hidden Temple, Are You Afraid of the Dark and my personal favorite Salute Your Shorts.  

Image via nickutopia

When I looked at the list and thought about all of the shows my brother and I used to love (SNICK anyone?), I really think Nick might have a viable source to start new channel devoted to shows of their past.  I know I would watch it (or DVR shows and watch them when I had a chance)!  For now, I'll just keep humming the theme song of Clarissa and think about how I wanted to dress like her.  Na na na na na, all right all right.... na na na na na, way cool.... na na na na na just do it!

What were some of your favorite TV shows as a kid?

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Pesto Crab Stuffed Shells

My goal to try out new recipes is going to be so much easier if I continue to see tasty dishes online!  A big thanks to Stephanie over at This Casita for posting this picture and link for stuffed shells.  It looked so good and I couldn't wait to try it out.

- Box of Jumbo Shells
- 4 oz of cream cheese
- 2 cups of crab (I changed up the recipe a little bit and used this instead of chicken because we already had it in the kitchen)
- 3 tablespoons of pesto, basil mix
- 1/2 cup of parmesan cheese
- 1/2 cup of mozzarella cheese
- Jar of 4 cheese pasta sauce 

While the shells were cooking to al dente in the boiling water, I mixed the crab, cream cheese, pesto and cheese in a bowl.

Once the shells were done, I stuffed them and arranged them into a baking pan.

I topped the shells with the pasta sauce and sprinkled a little more cheese on top.  Into the oven for 30 minutes at 350 degrees, and out comes pure deliciousness! 

I will definitely be making these again, but for now I'm just looking forward to eating the left overs. YUM!

Where are some of your favorite places online to look up new recipes?