Wednesday, March 30, 2011

[Shopaholic] WINNING!

... is anyone else completely over the Charlie Sheen saga?  I don't even pay attention to the reports anymore, but I do still love to throw around a good "DUH!" or "WINNING" here and there, and that's exactly what I did a few weeks ago... I won Sara's Birthday Giveaway over at You, Me, and Anthropologie!

My $50 Anthro Gift Card arrived last week and I put it to work on Saturday.  I headed over to Anthro tried on way more items than I planned (since I haven't been loving much online) and finally settled on... you guessed it....


The Cissus Button Up!
Cissus Button Up, Gingham - Anthropologie $88

The top is by Sanctuary and it is a very light weight and soft cotton, the type that has little structure or stiffness.  I wasn't sure if I was going to like how soft it was since most of my button up's are more starched, crisper feeling, but I really loved the relaxed look.

Only having to pay $38 out of pocket, totally made the shirt worth it.  Thanks Again Sara!!


Now, on to the planning.... This weekend is my 4th Annual Wine Day event with my girlfriends and once again, I'm trying to figure out what I'm going to wear.  The weather report keeps switching from high 40s to low 50s and back and forth between showers (whomp whomp)... so here are a few potential looks below... let me know your favs!

LOOK #1


WD4 - Look #1



LOOK #2

4WD - Look 2



LOOK #3
4WD - LOOK 3



I'm still mixing and matching a bunch in my head... different cardis, dark skinnies with flats, maybe the long Grandpa Cardigan, etc.  Since it's a long day of boozing, I'm avoiding heels if possible. And since the weather is apparently unpredictable even for trained meteorologists, I think layering is my best bet.  

Any ideas you have for the Cissus Button Up would be appreciated!  Feel free to leave ideas or links to polyvore sets in the comments!

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

Ingredients:
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)

Directions:
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)
ENJOY!

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 :)

Thursday, March 24, 2011

[Window Shopping] Gaga for Gingham

Like wooden heeled sandals and airy floral print sundresses, gingham is back this Spring/Summer.  I like to think gingham is similar to nautical stripes, something that never really goes away and is always in style - especially for those prepsters out there.

Here are some of my favorite gingham looks....
Women's Gingham Poplin Shirt - Lands End Canvas $44.50
C & C California Rolled Sleeve Two Pocket Gingham Plaid Shirt - Bloomingdale's $108
Suckered Gingham Perfect Shirt – J.Crew $72
 
Gingham Peggy Dress - Fred Flare $64 
 
Gingham Mini Skirt - J.Crew $59.50

Shoshanna Gingham Ruffle Bandeau Bikini Top - Saks Fifth Ave $128

Smocked Gingham Tank - J.Crew $110

River's Edge Check Scarf  - Lucky Brand $34.99

Cissus Button-Up, Gingham - Anthropologie $88


One more day til the weekend!




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!

Friday, March 18, 2011

[Shopaholic] Gap Give and Get Time

It's that time of year.... for Gap's Give and Get 30% Off deal.  As usual, coupons are flying all over the web (email me if you'd like an invite) for 30% off at Gap, Old Navy, and Banana Republic.

Here are my favorites....

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....

Ingredients 
  • 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

Directions
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 FoodNetwork.com by Dave Lieberman.


Ingredients
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

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


Directions
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.

 

Ingredients
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

Directions
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!