Sunday, March 27, 2011

[Recipe Share Sunday] Vegan Stuffed Peppers

A friend of mine emailed me this recipe earlier in the month, raving about how great it turned out for her.  It's been on my dinner menu since, so I finally got around to making them Thursday night.  I made some changes, so they weren't completely vegan (my changes in red), but they were still organic and delicious.  

They will definitely be going into the rotation!

oh, and my favorite part... it's one of Bethenny's recipes, ha!  Way to go Skinny Girl.

Vegan Stuffed Peppers
Bethenny Frankel, OK! Magazine 2/28/11

4 bell peppers
1 medium onion, sliced  (I used half of medium onion - it was all I had on hand)
12 oz vegan beef crumbles (I used morningstar, my favorite fake groundbeef)
1 tsp salt
1 tsp pepper
.5 tsp cumin
.5 tsp chili powder
1 cup salsa
2 cups cooked brown rice or other cooked whole grain (After a mishap in the pantry that resulted in dry rice everywhere, I cooked 1 and 1/2 bags of 10-minute brown rice)
.5 cup crumbled vegan cheese (I used two handfuls of shredded mexican Horizon cheese)
.25 cup fresh chopped parsley (not used)

1. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
2. Slice off the tops of the peppers & remove seeds and ribs. Cut a thin slice off the base of the peppers to help them stand up.

3. Dice pepper tops and base and sauté with onion in nonstick pan on med-high heat.

 4. Add vegan meat, salsa, salt, pepper and remaining spices. Combine over heat until all ingredients are warm.

 5. Remove pan from heat and add the rice, cheese and parsley.

6. Fill peppers on a nonstick baking sheet, and place in oven. Cook for 20-25 minutes.

When done, tops will be crispy (and delicious, that was my favorite part)...

(enjoyed one of these will I wait for them to bake)

Friday, March 25, 2011

[Randomness] All About Me from A to Z

I saw this on Gigi's and Sara's blogs and thought I'd join in on the fun since I haven't really had a 'personal' post in a while.... hope you have fun reading it! 

A. Age: 28

B. Bed Size: Queen, it's perfect, but it does get a bit tight with two 20lb pups squeezing in for extra space.

C. Chore you dislike: Cleaning the shower.  You may remember if you been around for-ev-or that we renovated our master bath in late 2009.  To keep this pretty investment in tip top shape we have to squeegee the class after showers (to prevent hard water stains) and wipe down the tiles with a rag so the grout doesn't hold extra moisture and grow mold as quickly.  It's a pain in the arse and I try my hardest to time my showers right before my husband's so I don't have to wipe it down.  And since I clean the toilets, I make him scrub the grout when it is time for a real scrub down.

D. Dogs: Two!  Baxter, our 20lb 3 /12 year old Shih Tzu and Penny, our 20lb 2 year old Boston Terrier.  <3 them sooo much.

E. Essential start to your day:  Carnation Instant Breakfast while catching up on blog posts (yes, I'm an 8 year old).  I'm not a big breakfast eater... I'm not usually hungry until 10am, so I drink a instant breakfast at 8am before I head out the door and pack a second breakfast.. usually a piece of fruit or a greek yogurt parfait.

F. Favorite color: Blue.  However, my closet would show its white, grey, and navy...

G. Gold or silver:  Overall I like silver (or platinum) for my 'real' jewelry, but I usually buy gold costume.  My 'RHR' (right hand ring) is a family piece and is two tone along with my (broken) David Yurman bracelet, so I have no issue mixing and matching....

H. Height: 5'2".

I. Instruments you play(ed): Piano.  I also played the saxophone in 5th grade, but that was a bad idea.  Sorry mom.

J. Jelly bean flavor: The white ones....

K. Kids:  In an ideal setting, we'd love two of our own and would like to adopt a third.... after learning that life isn't always an 'ideal' setting, we'd still love two however we can get them.  And because everyone loves to talk about future kids names... my favorites are Ashlynn and either Ryan or Andrew...

L. Lucky number(s): 9 and 14.

M. Month:  Hmmm tough one... Probably September.  I love that its still warm, but that fall is near.  Also always bring back memories of going back to school and running around on the hockey field.

N. Nicknames:  Family calls me E. Friends call me Hayes.

O. Overnight hospital stays: None, unless you count when I was born where they held me for a few days since I had jaunice... yuck.

P. Pet peeves:  Ugh, so many! Right now most of them have to do with people bragging and/or complaining non-stop on Facebook.   The people bragging are overcompensating for their unhappiness and the people complaining are phishing for sympathy... I care for neither.

Q. Quote from a movie:  "That's so fetch."

R. Righty or lefty: Righty.

S. Siblings: one older brother.

T. Time you wake up: Usually at 7am.

U. Underwear: yes please.

V. Vegetables you don't like: hmmm, maybe beets and brussel sprouts.  I'll eat both, but don't really care for either.

W. What makes you run late: My husband.  I'm overly punctual.  Always have been... which gets annoying because I know I hate being the 1st person arriving some where.

X. X-rays you've had:  My back and teeth.

Y. Yummy food you make: see here ??   I like to think my talents are better for baking than cooking.

Z. Zoo animal favorites: Elephants!  Then monkeys (all primates), bears (mainly Pandas), and sea otters.

Tag!  Your turn Readers :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

[Real Deal and Awesome Steal] Anthro's Ivory Tower Tunic

Ivory Tower Tunic - Anthropologie $88 
(Sold Out Online - reviews)

Anthropologie's Ivory Tower Tunic by L'Affaire is currently sold out online.  If you missed out but still are dying for the top, try out Free People's Engineered Crochet Tunic, it's $10 more but ShopBop does offer free shipping and 6% Cash Back thru Ebates so in reality, it'd probably be cheaper than paying for shipping for Anthro's....
Free People Engineered Crochet Tunic - ShopBop $98

Happy Shopping!

Flowers of the Month

I bought these pretties before our party on Saturday the 12th... they are all still living strong and show no signs of heading to the trash... that's what I call a bargain  :)

I took these pictures on St. Patrick's Day, so you can't really tell that they look almost the same nearly a week later (and 11 days after I bought them), but trust me they do!  Also, I've since retired the St.Pat's decor.....

So clean and spring like....

both blooms are carnations.. classic white and 'green trick'

Happy Hump Day Readers!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

[Recipe Share] Irish Potatoes!

According to wikipedia, these sweet confections are a Philadelphia area treat, which is probably why I've never celebrated St.Patrick's Day without them. 

Let's get right to it....

  • 1/4 c. (1/2 stick) softened butter
  • 4 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 1 tsp. vanilla
  • 4 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 1/2 cups flaked coconut
  • Ground cinnamon

In a medium bowl, beat the butter and cream cheese together until smooth. Add the vanilla and confectioners' sugar; beat until smooth. Using your hands if necessary, mix in the coconut. Roll into balls or potato shapes, and roll in the cinnamon. Place onto a cookie sheet and chill to set. If desired, roll potatoes in cinnamon again for darker color.   (Mine have only been rolled once)

Sláinte and Enjoy!

PS - Happy March Madness to all the NCAA junkies out there!

Monday, March 14, 2011

[Party Planning] The Goods on the Grub

Dear Readers,

Please don't hate me.... I...well, erm.... I, uh.... I forgot to take pictures!!  I did get to snap a few pics as guests starting arriving, but I ended up leaving my camera downstairs and ran back to attend to the oven and my blogger/paparazzo duties fell by the wayside.  Which was a good thing, since it meant I was having fun!

I spent most of Friday and Saturday cleaning, cooking, and crafting - the trifecta of domestication.  Here's some of the almost end result.

The Spread 
On the Menu
(and dining room table)
  • Spinach Dip in a bread bowl, with veggies for dipping (appropriately in green, orange and white... broccoli, celery, carrots, and cauliflower)
  • Chips with Guacamole (had to add as much green goodness to the table as possible)
  • Mozzarella Sticks
  • Jalapeno Cheddar Poppers
  • Chicken Taquitos 
  • Irish Potatoes (which apparently is a regional treat, but I never celebrated a classroom st.patty's without them!)
(and over in the kitchen)
  • Crab Dip
  • Buffalo Chicken Dip (kept toasty in the crockpot)
  • Beer Cheddar Breadbowl
  • and a local favorite Tomato Pie

 By the end of the night everything, albeit some crackers, was gone!

We also had a bevy of desserts...
I  made the Mint Chocolate and Chocolate Stout cupcakes, as well as the Irish Potatoes (recipe coming up on St.Pats!).   And some friends added a white trash chex mix (so freaking good - I added green M&Ms to it too), some store bought Chocolate Stout cupcakes with Bailey's flavored icing, and a trifle that we later named 'Irish Dirt'. 


Finally, the brews!... This was a 'Beer Tasting' party after all.  Although our guests were only asked to bring a 6 pack, due to Pennsylvania's awful liquor laws, it's nearly impossible to buy a six pack unless you carry out from a bar or restaurant that sells them.  Beer is only sold by the case at Beer Distributors, separate from Wine and Spirits store (yes, it's a complete headache).  Anyway, point is we ended up with A LOT of cases of beer.

Some of the variety included:

Ales - Bass, New Castle, Anchor Steam
Lager - Molson Canadian, Yuengling
Stout - Sierra Nevada Stout, Sam Smith Oatmeal Stout, Dogfish Head Chicory Stout, and of Guinness provided by the house ;)
Wheat Beer - Blue Moon, Blue Moon "Rising Moon" Seasonal Spring Ale, Hoegaarden, Allagash White, and a Raspberry Wheat that I can't remember the brewery.

I know I'm leaving out a few and of course we ran through the Miller Lite vs. Coors Light on the Beer Pong table. Good times were had by all and the party was a hit.  I'm already excited for 2012, as St.Patrick's falls on a Saturday!

Happy Monday Readers!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

[Recipe Share Seconds] Chocolate Stout Cupcakes

Up for our second helping of sweetness this Sunday, are some Chocolate Stout Cupcakes (with cream cheese icing).  I found this recipe by accident after I already decided to make Mint Chocolate ones.  So instead picking and choosing and actually making something called a 'decision', I just made both!  They were just too appropriate for the 'Beer Tasting' theme...

This is the exact recipe I found on by Dave Lieberman.

Cupcake Batter
3/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
2 cups sugar
2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
Pinch fine salt
1 bottle stout beer (recommended: Guinness - which I used, natch)
1 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
3 large eggs
3/4 cup sour cream

1 (8-ounce) package cream cheese, softened at room temperature
3/4 to 1 cup heavy cream
1 (1-pound) box confectioners' sugar

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.

2.  In a large mixing bowl, whisk together the cocoa, sugar, flour, baking soda, and salt.

3.  In another medium mixing bowl, combine the stout, melted butter, and vanilla. Beat in eggs, 1 at time. Mix in sour cream until thoroughly combined and smooth. Gradually mix the dry ingredients into the wet mixture.

4. Lightly grease or line 24 muffin tins. Divide the batter equally between muffin tins, filling each 3/4 full. Bake for about 12 minutes and then rotate the pans. Bake another 12 to 13 minutes until risen, nicely domed, and set in the middle but still soft and tender. Cool before turning out.
To make the icing:

In a medium bowl with a hand mixer, beat the cream cheese on medium speed until light and fluffy. Gradually beat in the heavy cream. On low speed, slowly mix in the confectioners' sugar until incorporated and smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and refrigerate until ready to use. Icing can be made several hours ahead and kept covered and chilled.

I decided to keep the icing white (instead adding green food dye because it's just so fun) so the cupcakes were easily distinguishable as different varieties.  Also, with the consistency of the cream cheese icing being so... goopy (?), piping wasn't an option.  So to dress them up I used the cupcake flags I pre-made here.

I preferred the Mint Chocolate, but that's easily one of my favorite combinations (riding closely behind popular fav, chocolate peanut butter).  My opinion aside, both were big hits.

Now the question is, which one will you be making to show off around the office this Thursday??

[Recipe Share Sunday] Mint Chocolate Cupcakes

....are to die for!

The mint icing tasted seriously like a Shamrock Shake.  I could have just eaten the bowl of icing and I'm def in the 'more cake' camp, it was that good!

I adapted the recipe from these two sites (here and here).  The site with the mint frosting recipe is only enough for 12 cupcakes, so I used the butter cream recipe to yield enough for 24.


1 cup (2 sticks) of unsalted butter, room temperature
6-8 cups of powdered sugar  ( I think I only used 6 or 7)
1/4 cup of milk
3/4 tsp peppermint extract
1/4 tsp vanilla extract
6 drops of green food dye
2 drops of yellow food dye

1. In an electric mixer, beat the butter at medium speed until creamy. Beat in milk and then peppermint and vanilla extracts. 

2. Slowly add in the powdered sugar on low speed, stopping every now and then to scrape down the sides of the bowl, until light and fluffy. Taste and add more mint extract if it isn't minty enough for you, or powdered sugar if it isn't sweet enough for you. 

3. Finally, add food dye for "mint" green color.

Also, because I made two different types of cupcakes (the other being from scratch) and a bunch of other goodies, I cheated and had Pillsbury help me out this round.  I used Dark Chocolate Cake mix, quality goods.

Ready for seconds?  Chocolate Stout Cupcakes coming up soon!

Friday, March 11, 2011

[Party Planning] Poms in Progress

After taking these pictures of the booze room or our little makeshift Irish Pub, I made some height adjustments to the poms.  I also hung the beer signs shamrocks you saw sitting on my table here.  I'll get some better fully decorated pictures tomorrow before the party starts.

St.Pats Beer Tubs - Target

I have to admit too readers, I've been a little bummed the last 24 hrs.  As the usual with life, a lot of our guests have had things pop up and they can no longer make it.  It makes me sad since I was really looking forward to getting together with friends we don't see nearly enough.  Oh well, the party must go on!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

[Wishlist] Wishlist Wednesday

Just a short list today... I'm quite consumed with last minute party planning and well, that thing called my job, so here are the handful of items I'd like to add to my possessions.... enjoy!

Vintage Flare Jeans (light wash) - Gap $69.50

Stone Charm Necklace - Forever21 $3.80

Wyatt Chateau Chest Pocket Blouse - Bluefly $69

Lauren by Ralph Lauren 20 Set Delicate Bangles - Piperlime $68

Central Park West Sequin Striped Top - Piperlime $47.97

Suckered Plaid Shirt - J.Crew $75

Happy Hump Day!

Saturday, March 5, 2011

[Inspired By] Rustic DIY Weddings

Again, a few weeks ago when I was trolling Etsy for some crafty ideas for my St.Patrick's Beer Tasting Party, I saw a seller featured on the homepage who specializes in the cutest tissue paper pom garlands. 

I had actually made a few tissue paper poms for my wedding (that I never ended up using) after being inspired time and time again by wedding blog favs Snippet and Ink and Style Me Pretty vintage and rustic weddings.  There is just something I find so charming about little handmade details, like my scrap paper pennant, that you just don't get with store bought decorations.

When I came across the tiny pom garlands, I thought why not make some bigger poms to hang from our basement ceiling? And since it's a drop ceiling, it'll be easy to hang them without having to leave pin holes or chiped paint behind.  I googled for the tutorial I used back in 2009 - Martha's of course (here)!


After seeing the monocromatic scheme in her photo, I think I'm now deciding between different shades of green (if I can find them), maybe big green poms and medium white ones, or go all Northern Ireland Protestant and add orange into the mix (to add some burst of color since our basement is already "Eagles" green and grey)... decisions, decisions...

In the mean time, here's some pretty eye candy of the easy peasy to make paper poms, enjoy!












stayed tuned, I'll post mine once they are completed in their hanging hydrangea-like glory :)