Thursday, December 23, 2010

Happy Holidays!


 I have been so busy I have had no time to get on the computer lately! This holiday just seems so crazy this year. Christmas is my favorite, but for some reason, I just can't wait until it's over. So much prep for one day as much as I love it! Today after I pick up my son from school I'll be cleaning, prepping food and menu's and then wrapping all of my Husband's gifts. I really don't like wrapping so he's always sweet enough to wrap all of our son's gifts and any others as well. =) So the next couple of days will definitely be busy! Wishing all of you a wonderful holiday!!!!


Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Thanksgiving Weekend

So I had to improvise a little with my Thanksgiving dinner, but it was a success! The Turkey ended up on the grill because I didn't want to crowd the oven and it's always such a pain to baste in there. Well it turned out so good and that is how we'll be cooking it from now on! It was so juicy and cooked perfectly. Everything else was really good as well. We just finished the leftovers last night! The rest of the holiday weekend was pretty low-key. We did a little holiday shopping and on Sunday my parents came for a visit (they live about 90min away) and we went to a place called Johnson's Farm that we love to go to. My son got to see Santa. We saw a reindeer and alpacas. And went on a horse-drawn carriage ride. It was so much fun!

After walking around the farm we took them to this delicious Italian resteraunt that we love that is right down the street. I got this fantastic soup that was so so good I had to try to hunt down a recipe for it. It was a Stuffed Pepper Soup and it was delicious!!! I make stuffed peppers occasionally, so it should be pretty straightforward, but here is the recipe I found...

Stuffed Pepper Soup

Ingredients

* 1 pound ground sirloin
* 1 green bell pepper, chopped
* 1 cup finely diced onion
* 1 (29 ounce) can diced tomatoes
* 1 (15 ounce) can tomato sauce
* 1 (14 ounce) can chicken broth
* 1/4 teaspoon dried thyme
* 1/4 teaspoon dried sage
* salt and pepper to taste
* 1 cup white rice

Directions

1. In a large stock pot brown ground meat. Drain fat and add pepper and onion. Cook until onion is translucent, not letting them brown.
2. Add tomatoes, tomato sauce, broth, thyme, sage and season with salt and pepper. Cover and simmer for 30 to 45 minutes, until peppers are tender.
3. In another saucepan boil 2 cups water, and add rice. Cook until rice is tender and then add to soup. Heat soup through and serve.

I'm going to make it either tonight or tomorrow night for dinner. I can't wait! Yum!!! So what did you all do for your holiday weekend? I hope everyone had a nice Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Thanksgiving Menu Ideas

With Thanksgiving quickly approaching I have had thanksgiving meals on the brain. I do a small TG dinner every year and aside from Christmas, it's my favorite holiday. I love to cook and entertain, so I just really love it. It's like the start of the holiday season when I fall into all of the nostalgia and just have that "warm & fuzzy" feeling all the way through to the start of a new year. I was sick with a cold the last few days and thought that some time in bed would be the perfect time to watch some Food Network and to brainstorm to possibly change things up a bit this year. I always do the homemade whipped potatoes, green beans, and some kind of festive dessert. But this year I wanted to do something different with the Turkey. Ina Garten made this gorgeous Roasted Turkey Roulade and I definitely think I might give it a try. Check it out in this video...



The only change I would make is that I would sub out the stuffing for the delicious sausage stuffing I make every year. I actually found the recipe on a package of Jimmy Dean sausage about 8 years ago right before I hosted my very first Thanksgiving in our old condo =) It was so good it's been a mainstay ever since. Here is the recipe for Sausage Spinach Stuffing. I personally prefer mild or sweet sausage, but any kind will work! Do you host Thanksgiving? What is your favorite part of the holiday? I know I can't wait!!

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Anniversary & Stew

Good Morning Lovelies!

I apologize for the lack of posts the last few days! Things have been quite busy with my Husband working some overtime, a bday party this past Sunday and with our Anniversary! So we celebrated being married for 8 years yesterday!! Wow has that time flown by. It seems like just yesterday I was walking down a candlelit aisle in the cute little cabin/cathedral we got married in. Husband and I were talking yesterday about how amazing it is that we thought we were such "grown-ups" back then. I was a child-bride at just 22 and he was 24. To look back we were so young!! Life can be pretty amazing like that =) So in the meantime, while I'm preparing the weeks posts, I thought I would leave you with a recipe for the yummy stew I'll be making for dinner tonight! I have this awesome Popsugar app for my iphone and I'm always on it. I found the recipe the other day and have been dying to make it since. You can find the full printable recipe over at YumSugar, just click on the title below the photo. 

White Bean & Sausage Stew

Ingredients

1 tablespoon olive oil
1 12-ounce package fully cooked chicken sausage links, sliced
2 cloves garlic, thinly sliced
1 19-ounce can cannellini beans, rinsed
1 14½-ounce can low-sodium chicken broth
1 14½-ounce can diced tomatoes
1 bunch kale leaves, torn into 2-inch pieces
1/4 teaspoon Kosher salt and black pepper
1 loaf country bread (optional)

Directions
  1. Heat the oil in a large saucepan or Dutch oven over medium heat.
  2. Add the sausage and cook, stirring once, until browned, 2 to 3 minutes. Stir in the garlic and cook for 2 minutes more.
  3. Add the beans, broth, and tomatoes and their liquid and bring to a boil. Add the kale and ¼ teaspoon each salt and pepper and simmer, stirring occasionally, until wilted, 2 to 3 minutes. Serve with the bread, if using.
Serves 4. 

I am such a HUGE fan of stews and I love Cannelini beans. I hope dinner lives up to the excitement for it all day!!! lol. Enjoy!!!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Q&A


Meg recently re-posted and answered some questions on her blog, so I thought it would be fun to do the same to kick off the weekend!

1. If you could be best buds with a celeb who would it be?
I've always been a huge Kate Winslet fan, but especially over the last couple of years. She just seems like she would be really nice in everyday life and seems like a genuine, down-to-earth person.

2. Are you a night owl or an early riser?
Def a night owl. I am SO not a morning person AT ALL!!!

3. If you could have any super power which would you choose?
Meg put teleportation as her super-power of choice and I have to agree with her there! It would be AMAZING to be able to teleport anywhere at anytime. Especially since I don't like planes!!!

4. What is your most embarrassing moment?
No real embarrassing moments that I can recall

5. What is the one thing you REALLY want for Christmas?
I'm thinking this year I might want an e-reader. I read a ton and I think it's finally time to break down and get one!

6. If you could travel anywhere in the world where would you go?
At the moment I think I would go to British Columbia. It just looks so beautiful there.

7. Tea or Coffee?
I'm def a coffee drinker, but more for the caffeine aspect. I enjoy a nice cup of tea as well ; )

8. Describe yourself in 3 words:
Sweet
Genuine
Perfectionist


I hope you all have a wonderful weekend! I'll have some more posts up soon!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Gap Coupon Code & My Picks

Gap sent out an email this morning with a coupon code and while I haven't been over the moon with this Fall's roll-out, there are a couple classic items that are enough to perk up a wardrobe and basic enough to serve as mainstays in your closet.


3/4 Sleeve cowlneck Tee
This is definitely one of my top fav's! I own this Tee in the color above and also black. I wish they had more colors!!!


Button Funnel-neck sweater

Vintage Flare Jeans

Pleated Bow Skirt
This skirt would add that unexpected pop of color but still goes with so many fall neutrals! Love it!!


Cableknit fingerless gloves
Fingerless gloves are a must for me! I prefer glittens to keep the tips of my fingers warm. But the cableknit is so classic and the length is nice!!

The Coupon - 25% off today only. Drops to 20% tomorrow and 15% on Friday. Use code "GAP321" at checkout. For Free Shipping on $50+ use "GAPSHIP50".What are your Gap picks for the Fall? Will you take advantage of the coupon?


Happy Shopping!!!

XOXO

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Happy Saturday!


Is that not the most ADORABLE thing you've ever seen?!?! Omg. I hope everyone is having a lovely Saturday!!!

XOXO

Friday, October 8, 2010

Anthropologie Lust List

Anthropologie is one of my most favorite stores ever! So I thought I would kick off the weekend with my latest lust list. If you're new to my blog be prepared to see this list almost daily, LOL. That store will seriously be the death of me. So without further ado, my latest picks....

Volante Tee
Mellifluous Gathers Tee
Alice in Autumn Sweatercoat * Gold
Bit-of-Brim Hat * Sky
Blooming Triad Clip * Pink
Cym & Ripple Coat * Black
Lights-Down Chandeliers
Spanning Seasons Headband

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!!! I'm going to soak up the gorgeous weather we're supposed to have here in NJ =)


Thursday, October 7, 2010

I Love Spinach Dip

What don't I love? When it tastes so good, but it goes right to your thighs!!! I bought this cookbook called Secrets of s Skinny Chef a while back and I've made quite bit from it. Everything has always turned out really good!

Jennifer Iserloh is the Author/Chef and she has a great website with tons of tips and recipes. I just got this fantastic recipe for Spinach Dip in my inbox via her newsletter. Doesn't it look yummy?! I'm def curious to try it out!


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Also another great recipe that I have made is Bethenny Frankel Hoppy's Guilt-Free Artichoke & Spinach Dip. This was delicious! I doubled up the recipe, baked it in a throwaway pan, and brought it to a New Years Eve party along with some low-fat baked tortilla chips. No lie.... It was gone in like 15 minutes!! lol.

I've also made quite a few of Bethenny's recipes and all of them have turned out great. I'm a HUGE fan of hers. Especially her pre-made Skinnygirl Margarita. YUM-O!!! I can't wait until she makes her next drink!

I think I'll be whipping up one of these dips this weekend for the Hubs while he's watching football. What snacks do you make for football games?


Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Jewelry with Meaning

Let me preface this post by stating that I love mail.... I mean I really LOVE  mail. To the point where I ridiculously stalk the mailman every day. lol. I am a magazine addict and this is the main reason. That and I am always ordering some little odd or end. But today was a good mail day. Reason being that my most favorite magazine since they first sent out their 1st issue 10 years ago, Lucky, came today and also because of a very special little blurb I came across inside.

Another thing I love? Jewelry. Especially unique jewelry. Even better... unique jewelry with meaning to it. Akawelle is exactly that. It is honestly the most amazing jewelry I have ever seen. When I found out exactly what it was it literally gave me goosebumps. Here is an excerpt taken from the site:




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"The history of each necklace begins in Liberia. In the part of Liberia where I am from, many thousands of bullets were fired during the war. Even though the war ended in 2003, the spent shell casings can still be found, scattered across the land in places.

Handcrafted, the leaf pendant is made from melted bullet shells, the part that is left over after the bullet is fired. The bead is the actual bottom of the bullet shell.

I chose the word “life” to be inscribed into the leaf to remind myself that new life can begin after hardship. It is even possible for new life to arise from something as terrible as war.

Men and women can both wear the bullet and leaf. It’s strong – I hope they remind each person who wears them that no matter what they’ve been through, they can rise."


Isn't this the most heartbreakingly beautiful jewelry you've ever seen? I have definitely added this piece to my wishlist, maybe for my upcoming anniversary. So inspiring....


Wednesday, January 20, 2010

About Me...

I've had this blog for quite some time, and I just realized that I probably haven't shared a whole lot about me! I plan to change that as time goes on, but in the meantime, here are some little tidbits...

~ I got engaged to my wonderful husband at the age of 20 on our 6 month anniversary. We moved in together 2 months later. About a year and half later we got married. We also got the news that I was 3mo pregnant 1 mo before our wedding! We had to change my dress and our honeymoon, lol. We've now been married for 7 years!!

~ I still have no clue what I want to be. My dream career would either be a makeup artist or a personal trainer for women. But those careers just aren't practical in Jersey.

~ I have TMJ and suffer from it and the problems it has caused me almost daily. I've been on a quest for treatment for the last year and still have no clue what road I will go down. I'm hoping to make some kind of a decision soon.

~ I have major addictions to magazines, lip balms, & ruffles

~ I was a mom at the age of 23 and it just came natural to me. I love being a younger mother and wouldn't have it any other way =)

I love ...

~ Vanilla scents
~ Robert Downey Jr
~ Foreign Films - especially French
~ Anything outdoorsy
~ Reality TV
~ Working Out (when I have the time)
~ Kitties
~ Teen shows like One Tree Hill, 90210, Vampire Diaries, etc

I don't love ...

~ People who lack manners
~ Rude People
~ Hypocrisy
~ People who refuse to accept responsibility for themselves and who won't apologize
~ lack of hygiene
~ Peas
~ smoking/smokers

Some of my fav movies are ...

~ Love Me if You Dare
~ Across the Universe
~ August Rush
~ The Holiday
~ On the Edge

And last, but not least. My biggest celebrity crushes are (right now)...

~ Ashton Kutcher
~ Paul Wesley (from Vamp Diaries)
~ Hayden Christensen
~ Cillian Murphy
~ Robert Downey Jr (def my biggest of all time!)

So that's me in a nutshell ;)


Monday, January 18, 2010

Clarisonic Skin Brush Review!



Hi lovelies! I would like to thank all of my new followers for following my blog and for all the wonderful comments =) I'm looking forward to reading your blogs as well!!!

So it's time for my first of what will probably be a handful of reviews of the Clarisonic Plus =) First off, I want to say that the customer service with Skinstore is wonderful! They offer coupons, they have a live chat which is great if you don't feel like talking on the phone, they offer free shipping on orders of $50+, and my order shipped out SO fast!!! I think I ordered really late on a Tuesday night (so technically Wednesday) and I had it by Saturday! And if you sign up for MyLuckyRewards (this is free and is not an aff link) you will earn cashback (8% for skinstore) on a special luckyrewards visa card! Ok, so on to my review...

I got the brush this past Saturday, but I didn't get a chance to use it in the morning because the mailman came after I had already gotten a shower and we were on our way out to a birthday party. However, I did use it that night before I went to bed and WOWZA! That is the softest my skin has been since I was a baby!!! lol. One thing that might happen, not be gross, is that I got a couple pimples within like 10min. I think probably because dry skin and such forms a shield that must prevent the oils etc in pores to properly drain etc. But it was really no big deal at all.

I've used the brush in the shower in the morning and before I go to bed at night and so far so good. I have small minor blemishes that have come to the surface after a couple days, but I expected that. Most peoples skin purges when using various things such as microdermabrasion, new face creams, masks etc. So I was prepared for that to happen. My only complaint is that the body brush attachment has a sensor that only allows one speed for this brush and it really zaps the battery! I use it on the face brush in the shower and by the time I use the body brush it lasts about 1min and then dies. So my advice would be to plan on doing the face and body at separate times. I may even purchase the normal bristle brush and just use that on my body on the highest setting. But I do feel the brush is good for elbows, knees, etc. And the extra speed is nice. But the normal brush may work on rough spots just as well?

But other than that, so far I'm very pleased with the purchase. I don't know that I would have paid the full $225 for it, but I had my coupon for skinstore as well as the cash-back so I essentially got it for $165. I'm happy with that price! I would definitely recommend that anyone that has trouble with clogged pores etc try it if you have the extra $$. Will your pores be completely clean after one use? No. But they will start to gradually open up after a couple days and I am hopeful that they will be completely clean in another week or so. I'll be doing an update in a few days!


Monday, January 4, 2010

Happy New Year & A Recipe!

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday and a very Happy New Year! I truly hope all of you have a very happy, healthy, and prosperous 2010 ;) So I don't think I've mentioned it before, but I'm a huge Bethenny Frankel fan! She is my favorite on Real Housewives NYC and I really love her recipes!! I'm very into cooking - especially when you can cook healthy but still get the taste of unhealthy without all the processed, bad-for-you ingredients! Bethenny recently came out with a new cookbook called The Skinnygirl Dish, which I was anxiously awaiting after reading and loving her first book, Naturally Thin. The new book is excellent! Not only is it loaded with tons of fab, healthy recipes, but Bethenny also gives you tons of substitution options and lists them under each recipe for multiple ingredients! Now I could certainly do this with a lot of recipes in the books I already own, but who wants to sit there and actually take the time to figure out what else might work and possibly waste time and $$ trying it, only for it to turn into a major culinary mess?! Not me!

So we went to a NYE party at my Grandpops and I decided to try Bethenny's Guilt-Free Artichoke & Spinach dip. I served it with Tostito's baked Scoops and it was a huge hit! Everyone kept telling me how delicious it was as they all congregated around it, lol. So here is the written recipe, and you can also watch Bethenny's Video as well....


Guilt-Free Artichoke & Spinach Dip

by Bethenny Frankel
from The Skinnygirl Dish
Serves 6

~ 1 pkg (about 9oz) frozen artichokes, defrosted & drained
~ 1 pkg (about 9oz) frozen spinach, defrosted & drained
~ 1/4 c freshly grated parmesan cheese (not kraft!)
~ 1/4 c shredded Monterey Jack cheese
~ 1/4 c part-skim ricotta cheese
~ 8oz reduced-fat or soy cream cheese
~ 2 tb non-dairy or low-fat mayo
~ 1/2 tb lemon juice
~ 1 clove garlic, minced
~ 3/4 tsp salt
~ 1/2 tsp black pepper
~ 2 dashes tabasco sauce

1. Preheat the oven to 350F. Combine all of the ingredients except 2 tb of the parmesan in a large bowl or food processor. Blend or pulse until mostly smooth, but leave some artichoke chunks for texture.

2. Pour the mixture into an ovenproof dish or casserole. Sprinkle with the remaining parmesan. Bake for 20min, or until heated through and just starting to bubble. Let the dip sit for at least 10min. Serve warm with thin slices of baguette, raw vegetables, backed tortilla chips or crackers.

**Bethenny's Use-what-you-have Variations**

Variation 1: instead of frozen artichokes or spinach, try...
~ canned artichoke hearts, drained
~ fresh spinach
~ leaving either artichokes or spinach out and doubling the amount of the other

Variation 2: Instead of parmesan, try any other grated or shredded cheese

Variation 3: Instead of Monterey Jack, try any other crumbled or shredded cheese.

Variation 4: Instead of Ricotta, try...
~ part-skim cottage cheese, whipped or not
~ Silken Tofu

Variation 5: Instead of Cream Cheese, try...
~ Flavorful soft goat cheese
~ Feta
~ Blue Cheese

Variation 6: Instead of Mayo. try Greek Yogurt or plain soy yogurt

Variation 7: Instead of minced garlic, try...
~ 1/2 tsp garlic powder
~ 1/4 tsp garlic or other seasoned salt (reduce salt in recipe by 1/4 tsp)
~ 1/2 tsp onion powder

Variation 8: Instead of Tabasco sauce, try...
~ any other hot sauce
~ Dash of cayenne pepper
~ pinch of red pepper flakes


I really hope you all enjoy the recipe!!! I would highly recommend this book!




PS - this is not a paid review, I just really and truly love Bethenny's recipes ;)