Friday, January 31, 2014

5 on Friday

Happy Friday! What a nice week this has been with a early dismissal Tuesday, no school Wednesday, and delayed opening Thursday. It was exactly what I needed. Here are 5 things I loved about this week:

Snow day celebration with friends.

Hot chocolate by the fireplace while I caught up on all my DVR's shows.

Extra time spent at home with this sweet boy.

At-home mani is Essie's "Smokin' Hot." I seriously cannot get enough of this hue for winter.

Milk and cookies at bedtime. A special treat for my hubs, who did not get any time off for the snow.

Now, if only every week could be like this.  #isitsummervacationyet?? Have a fabulous weekend, friends! 

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Two Easy Apps

With the Superbowl just days away, I've had my mind on what kind of treats I should cook. When I plan a party with lots of finger foods, I always try to go all out for one or two recipes and then choose easier recipes for the rest.  For our New Years Eve/Housewarming party, I made two super easy but super delicious apps that were a major hit. The best thing about them is they cook at the same temperature for the exact same amount of time. Easy peasey.

Jalapeno Popper Bites
These are easy as can be and perfect gameday goods. I mean, who doesn't love jalapeno poppers? You will need:

  • two packages of crescent rolls
  • 1 block of cream cheese
  • 2 jalapenos, diced and seeded
  • crumbled bacon - 2 cooked slices or some real bacon bits if you want to keep it really simple

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Lay out the crescent rolls on a baking sheet. Smear a generous slather of cream cheese. Then pile on the jalapeno and bacon.
Roll them up seam side down to create a little pocket. Then, slide them into the oven for about 15 minutes, until they are golden brown.
Serve with ranch for dipping. Yum!

Spinach Artichoke Cups
If you love spinach artichoke dip, then you will love these dainty cups. You will need:
  • 1 pkg. wonton wrappers
  • pre-made spinach artichoke dip
  • cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a muffin pan with cooking spray and place a wonton wrapper in each.
Spoon a little spinach artichoke dip into each wonton wrapper. Then, pop into the oven for about 15 minutes until the dip is warm and the wonton is crispy.
Yum! Happy Superbowl week, friends!

Monday, January 27, 2014

Lately {in photos}

Happy Monday, girls! So, I've been on a little hiatus lately. The month of January has just *flown* by.

Lately, I've been drinking a lot of coffee. There have been many, many Starbucks runs. 

I've been taking almost nightly bubble baths with lavender bath salts to help me relax from some really busy days.

And reading a great girly book. I'm anxiously awaiting the next Emily Giffin book set to debut this summer. Any recommendations for me in the meantime?

Riley and I picked Corey up from the airport after a business trip. 

I made him a delicious pasta dinner to welcome him home. I saw this recipe on Rachel Ray and it was delicious!

Corey wasn't feeling well after his trip all week and ended up going to an urgent care on Thursday. They sent him to ER immediately, which was terrifying, especially since I work so far away from our home and was staying late for a night class. I rushed to meet him and luckily all worked out ok in the end. Whew!

We had a low key night to recuperate on Friday then met up with several friends on Saturday, and finally ended our weekend with mimosas and tacos with friends. Yum! long until it is the weekend again?!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Corey and I buy a ton of bananas every week. He takes one for breakfast and another for lunch every day and I always pack one in my lunch. We go through a lot of bananas at out house. Corey was out of town last week, though, so by the time Monday morning rolled around last week's bananas were not looking so appealing.

I decided to make this week's breakfasts a little extra special by baking some banana bread. Banana nut bread is my absolute favorite breakfast treat. I wanted to be able to throw this bread together quickly, with little effort, and with ingredients I already had ad home.

I found this recipe for peanut butter banana bread and used it to inspire my own little afternoon project. If you have some over-ripe bananas lying around your kitchen, I highly suggest you make this immediately. You probably already have all the other ingredients.

You will need:
  • butter or cooking spray
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/2 cup cream peanut butter (I think I used Jif)
  • 3 large ripe bannanas
  • 2 large eggs
  • chopped pecans or mini chocolate chips if you would like
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees and grease a bread pan.

Then mix flour, baking soda, and salt in a small bowl. Set aside.

Combine the peanut butter and sugar in a large bowl and beat on medium with an electric mixer for 1-2 minutes. Obviously, I suggest the pink KitchenAid. Mash bananas with a fork then beat them and the eggs into the mixture. 

If your mixer has a stir setting you can continue to use it for the next step, otherwise it might be better to use a spoon or rubber spatula. Add the flour mixture and stir just until combined. If you want to add nuts or chocolate chips, you can do that during this step as well.

Pour the batter into the greased pan, making sure the top is smooth and flat. Then, bake for 45 minutes. Cover carefully with foil and bake an extra 10-15 minutes longer or until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool completely on a wire rack. Enjoy!

Thursday, January 16, 2014

A Curtain Dilemma

This week I have really been in a funk. I haven't even attempted to write a post because I'm a firm believer of "if you don't have anything nice to say, don't say anything at all." And I was having one of those weeks where I just needed to come home after work, do a workout, and sit on the couch and catch up on the last six episodes of Pretty Little Liars without having to talk or interact with anyone.

Riley was in total agreement.

I'm planning to give you all a little sneak peek of our house next week. Everything is unpacked and settled. There are still a lot of things we need, though, especially since this time last year we were living in 700 square feet and our townhouse is over 1900.

I absolutely love our living room. Its very open with the foyer emptying right into the living room which progresses into the dining room and sunroom. Because we are an end unit, we have lots of windows and get great light in both the morning and the afternoon. Riley loves it and I can always find him sitting on the rug in the sunroom soaking up his daily dose of Vitamin D.

The only problem with this space is that it needs curtains. I think curtains are a must in every room and right now I only have them up in our bedroom. They are usually one of the first things I hang when in a new place.

We have six sets of windows in this space with beautiful tall ceilings. It is so lovely but totally unfortunate when it is necessary to purchase twelve 108 inch panels. My debit card is in tears at the very thought of it.

Our living room is very neutral. Light fabrics, dark woods, with just a few pops of blue for an accent color. My first thought was blue curtains. Corey's mom suggested chocolate, which I like because the throw pillows on our couch are chocolate. I also like the idea of going with more of an ivory to keep everything light. Maybe even ivory curtains with blue walls. Who thought this would be such a hard choice?

As we continue to struggle with this decision, I of course, find myself turning to my living room inspiration board on Pinterest. Aren't these living rooms lovely?

Have a fabulous Thursday!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Five on Friday

Oh my goodness! I am so happy that it is Friday today!! I'm linking up with April, Christina, Darci, and Natasha for Five on Friday to share some of my favorite things. 

I am loving the red velvet waffle at Terrace Cafe. Charlotte girls - if you have not had this you absolutely have to try it immediately! We ordered this to share with the table for brunch last weekend and it was utterly amazing. 

Even though I am missing having time at home, I am loving being back at school with my kiddos this week. I have definitely missed these silly kiddos over the break. Our class recently got a grant funded, so we have lots to look forward to this semester. 

I'm loving paper loaf pans. I picked 12 of these up for about $8 recently to bake mini loaves of bread for our neighbors. How cute are they? Perfect for gifting. I found ours at HomeGoods but they are also available on Etsy.

I'm loving our home and keeping it clean. Something about home ownership makes me want to clean something every day...even the microwave. In Hoboken, we had hardwoods so we bought a Mint robot sweeper/mop. Its been in its box while we were in our Charlotte apartment but finally made a debut in our house this week. Riley was not amused.

I'm loving that the weater is supposed to be in the sixties this weekend. This is so welcome after a 7 degree day on Tuesday. Especially since my car just happened to break down in the complete middle of nowhere - fifty minutes from the closest dealership. Brr!

Happy Friday, friends! Have a fabulous weekend

Monday, January 6, 2014

Our New Year's Eve Soiree

Happy 2014 girls! Things have been pretty busy around here as we got settled into our new home, hosted a party, hosted family for a quick visit, and prepared for me to go back to work today. I thought my husband was a little crazy back in late November when he decided we should throw a New Year's Eve/Housewarming party just ten days after we officially moved in. Especially since we were traveling to New Jersey for Christmas.

Somehow we pulled it off and entertained fifteen of our close friends and were able to show off our new home. And I only ended up slightly sleep deprived.

I decided not to go too overboard with the decorations since I'd been unpacking and hanging pictures around the clock for days. I did purchase and print this New Year's banner from Etsy and hung it above the fireplace.

 Purchasing a bar for our sunroom is on a very long list of house to-do's so for the party, I set up a little bar on the countertop. Of course, I added some festive paper straws to make everyone's cocktail extra cute.

There are so many cheesy New Year's paperware items so I stuck to simple gold with some festive cocktail napkins.

I cooked pretty much all day (and the evening before) to prepare lots of yummy treats for our guests. The number one treat were the Oreo cheesecake bites pictured above. 

Lots of fun was had by all. 

How fun it was to host our first party in our new home. 

No iPhone photos in this post. Did I forget to mention I got a new camera for Christmas? My husband is amazing!