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Five Favorites Friday – 4/29/11

29 Apr

Here we are on the last Friday in April.  It’s hard to believe that the month is nearly over.  How does that always happen?  Today is a pretty special day for a  number of reasons.  First off, today is my brother’s birthday.  Happy Birthday Mike!!!  Secondly, today was the much anticipated royal wedding.  Have you heard about it?  I’m kidding!  Something tells me everyone’s heard about it whether they want to or not!  And last, but certainly not least, six months from today I’ll be the one walking down the aisle 🙂  I’m very excited!  You’ve probably heard that before too.

At any rate, I thought today would be a great chance to do an all wedding post.  I’ve gone through numerous wedding posts (it was rough, I tell ya) on one of my favorite sites, Style Me Pretty.  For each wedding included below I selected my favorite component that I’d like to incorporate into our big day.  Also included are links back to the original post so that you can bask in the wedding glory yourself!

My five favorites for Friday April 29, 2011:

Purple Bridal Bouquet

Dessert Bar (Love truly is sweet!)

Floral Centerpieces and Candles

Purple Frame (perhaps for the reception seating arrangements)

Poise, Elegance, and Grace

Did you watch the royal wedding?  What’d you think?

To be honest, I’m not so much into the royal wedding as I am weddings in general so I didn’t watch it.  But I did make sure to look up Kate’s dress as soon as I got the chance.  Needless to say, its gorgeous.

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Jelly Bean Cookies

26 Apr

Today was a great day!  The sun was shining, Alex and I got to sample the menu for our reception, and I got a chance to bake some really fun cookies.

The morning started off like most mornings; with a yummy yogurt parfait.

Today’s parfait included:

  • 6oz of Fage Total 0% greek yogurt
  • 1/2 cup of Kashi GoLean cereal
  • 1/2 of a banana
  • a sprinkle of granola
  • a healthy spoonful of homemade peanut butter

After breakfast was devoured, Alex and I walked to our respective offices.  It was gorgeous outside!  Spring is most definitely here and I’m more than ready.

At work I plugged away and booked some flights for a couple upcoming trips.  I’m very excited.  There is just so much going on over the next few months!

Eventually, it was lunchtime!

Today’s salad included the following:

  • Spinach
  • Broccoli
  • Beets
  • Chickpeas
  • Grilled Tuna
  • dressed with olive oil and balsamic vinegar
To be honest, this salad wasn’t so great.  The tuna was very undercooked (as you can probably tell from the picture) and most of it tasted very fishy.  I know that sounds like a dumb thing to say but there is such a thing as fish tasting too much like fish, and that’s what happened today.  Oh well, my next “meal” was pretty awesome!
 
Alex and I got the chance to taste a sample of what we’ll be serving at our reception.  I don’t have any pictures because I don’t want to give anything away but I will say that I think our guests are going to be more than pleased with our choices.  Each day I just get more and more excited about our upcoming wedding!
 
After some much-needed relaxation, I decided to bake some cookies.  Even though I’m 27, I was lucky enough to be visited by the “Easter Bunny” this weekend.  What a coincidence that my mom was visiting this past week, no?!  Included in my goodies was lots and lots of Jelly Belly jellybeans.  I love Jelly Belly’s!  If I’m not careful, I can eat my weight in jellybeans, haha.  As I was munching away this weekend, I thought it might be fun to make something with the jellybeans.  Insert Jelly Bean Cookies here!
 
 
These cookies did not disappoint!  The jellybeans added so many fun flavors and the dough was soft and buttery.  If you’re looking for a way to use up the rest of your jellybeans, I highly recommend this recipe.  Heck, this recipe is good enough to justify going to buy a new bag of jelly beans!
 

Jelly Bean Cookies
(adapted from razzledazzle recipes)

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup light brown sugar
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup old-fashioned oats
  • 1 cup jelly beans

Directions:

  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. Mix butter and both sugars in a large bowl until smooth & creamy.
  3. Stir in egg, baking soda, baking powder, salt & vanilla. Mix well.
  4. Stir in flour & oats. Mix well.
  5. Stir in jelly beans, mix well.
  6. Drop spoonfuls of batter about 2 inches apart on a GREASED sheet.
  7. Bake for about 10 minutes and allow a few minutes to cool.
Do you like Jelly Belly jellybeans?  What’s your favorite flavor?  Mine is definitely the sour blueberry.  Makes my mouth pucker every time.  Love it!

 

Daily Eats

25 Apr

This past weekend was a whirlwind!  In four days I managed to do more than I typically do in a month.  Here’s a break down of my weekend by numbers:

One broadway show (Jersey Boys; so so so good!)

Five separate Save-the-Date designs

Ten different restaurants (Three of which happened to be for dessert only, yum!!)

Four bridal salons (and probably close to twenty different gowns.)

One wedding dress purchase (!!!!!)

Three separate subway lines (and countless trips on each)

One holiday!

Phew, I’m exhausted just thinking about it!  But it was such a great weekend.  I enjoyed spending time with my family since I see them so rarely.  And it was a great opportunity for my family to get to know Alex’s family better.  Not to mention that I made some very important decisions that will impact our big day.  I’m so excited, I can hardly wait!

Planning our wedding is so much fun but, as I’m going through each step, I’m discovering that it does take up a lot of time.  It’s a time commitment that I’m thrilled to make however it will take away some time I’d otherwise dedicate to some of my favorite hobbies, baking and cooking.

With that being said, I doubt each week will be the same but I can see that over the next month or two I’m going to have my hands full.  So, I expect there will be some changes on the blog.  When I get the chance to bake or cook something new, I’ll gladly share, but in the mean time I thought I might try a little more lifecasting.  Seeing as this is mostly a food blog, I’d like to start by discussing my daily eats.   Who knows how diligent I’ll be about snapping pictures, but I figure it’s a good starting point!

Let’s start with today, shall we?

Breakfast
Yogurt parfait

  • 6oz greek yogurt
  • 1/2 Kashi GoLean cereal
  • a sprinkle of cacao nibs
  • about 1 Tbsp homemade peanut butter

Lunch
A salad with all the fixings, ordered from Tossed.

  • Spinach
  • Black beans
  • Broccoli
  • Carrots
  • Chick peas
  • Egg Whites
  • Roasted Chicken
  • Avocado
  • topped with Fat-free Honey Dijon dressing

Snack
An apple and a bag of mixed goodies.  The bag contained the following

  • Raw almonds
  • Raw cashews
  • Organic Turkish apricots
  • Crystallized ginger

Dinner
Leftovers from this weekend; Curry Spice & Coconut Pot Pie from 10 Downing.

Not the most photogenic of meals, but it sure was tasty!  Also, I had a pear and a few jelly beans for dessert.

One other thing worth noting is that I went to Crunch for the first time today.  A couple weeks ago I purchased a one month gym membership for over 50% off from Living Social.  Today was my chance to cash it in!  I took a class called Chisel.  The description from the Crunch website is “use weights and calisthenics to sculpt and shape muscles.”  It was 60 minutes of jumping jacks, burpees, push ups, squats, lunges, and more.  It was tough and I’m going to be sore tomorrow!  But this is exactly what I need to get wedding dress ready!

Do you read blogs that feature life casting?  Do you like them?

I know I’ve had a good day when…

10 Apr

…I don’t get out of bed until after 10am.

…I have time to make Ashley’s french toast oats.  Yum!

…the first thing I do after breakfast is bake some amazing muffins.

…I head to the gym with a new workout in mind.

…I find the time to finalize my tax return!  You’re welcome Uncle Sam.

…I spend the afternoon sorting through dozens of bridal brochures and dream about my own big day.

…I have a hot dinner date at Cello Winebar.

…said hot dinner date is this guy.

…my dinner consists of gourmet, cheesy pizza

and a couple other small plates.

Yeah, I had a good day.

Tell me, when do you know you’ve had a good day?

Don’t forget to enter my Chobani giveaway!!

Wedding Inspiration Board #1

20 Mar

There is a lot that goes into planning a wedding.  All married women know this and most women who plan to someday get married know this.  In an effort to clarify my thoughts and keep all my favorite ideas in one place, I plan to create a series of inspiration boards.  (Actually, it started out as one inspiration board but then I just go so carried away that I knew I need more than one :-))

Todays inspiration board is brought to you by the color purple.  In case you couldn’t tell from my blog design, I LOVE purple.  In fact, if it weren’t for the fact that I want to keep Alex around, I’d probably decorate our entire apartment in purple.  My college roommates can attest to the fact that at one point I did decorate my entire living space with purple.  Luckily for him, I’ve changed my ways and luckily for me, he’s happy to have a purple themed wedding so that I’m happy.

As the planning process unfolds, I plan to create more boards and share them here.  I can’t help but spend hours pouring through pictures and envisioning our special day.  All comments and suggestions are welcomed.  I haven’t done this before so I can use all the help I can get!

Chocolate or Vanilla?

13 Mar

Morning!  Did you set your clocks ahead?  Luckily modern technology has done most of the work for me so I only have to set a couple.  Isn’t that nice?

Yesterday was such a nice day!  It was finally in the 50s and sunny.  Alex and I had some errands to run.  But before we left I got in a great workout!  And then this happened:

Cinnamon Chia Oatmeal

  • 1/4 cup oat bran
  • 2 Tbsp rolled oats
  • 1 cup water
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1/2 banana, mashed
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • a healthy dash of cinnamon
  • toppings included raisins, dried cranberries, and Cinnamon Vanilla Sunflower Butter

To be honest, the toppings were phenomenal but the oatmeal itself was really bland.  I think it was because the banana I used was super tiny, so half of a very small banana leads to not a lot of sweetness.  Ah well, there’s always next time 🙂

Next up were some errands.  Alex and I headed to Union Square to scope out a venue for our wedding reception.  We went to Home Studios.

source

This loft-like space would be ideal for the number of guests we’re expecting.  It also seems feasible to design the space so that we can have room for a cocktail hour as well as a sit down dinner.  The only drawback is the views, or rather, lack there of.  One thing I’d really like to have at the reception is gorgeous views of the Manhattan skyline.  So we’ll keep looking (even though we haven’t ruled out Home Studios).

When we left Home Studios my stomach started grumbling so, upon Alex’s recommendation, we made our way to Madison Square Park for some Shake Shack.

The first thing we noticed once we got to the park was the ginormous line!

People are crazy about their Shake Shack.  But since we were already there and I had burgers on the brain, I decided we should stay.  Alex asked me to mention that it wasn’t his idea to stand in line because that’s not what cool New Yorkers do.  And he’s a very cool New Yorker.

About thirty minutes later, we placed our order and made our way to the make-shift picnic tables.  They gave us a buzzer to let us know when our food was ready.

Cute, right?

Now for the important part, the food.

I ordered a single Shack Burger which is a single patty burger topped with American cheese, Shack sauce, tomato, and lettuce.  The Shack sauce seemed to be some derivation of thousand islands dressing.  I don’t think it added much to the burger and I could probably have done without it.  But the burger on a whole was pretty good.  As Alex pointed out, it wasn’t greasy like most short-order burgers.  But what really stole the show was my vanilla milk shake.

The shake was so thick that my straw collapsed when I tried to take a sip.  I had to “drink” it with a spoon.  It was essentially vanilla custard with very little milk.  But that’s okay with me.  I loved every melt-in-my-mouth spoonful.  When it comes to ice cream I prefer vanilla all the way and this shake did not disappoint.

Once we’d satisfied our need for burgers and shakes, we walked all over downtown.  We ran to TekServe, Express, and then DSW.  Finally we made our way home for some much-needed relaxation.

All in all, a great day!

How did you spend your Saturday?  When it comes to ice cream, do you prefer chocolate or vanilla?