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Saturday, February 28, 2015

Something Saturdays (2/28/15)

In case you wer wondering, everything went great on Sunday and we were able to address and put together all the wedding invites. Now I just have to wait another month to actually mail them.

This week was mostly spent getting things done but I had some fun too! On Thursday I was able to do another modeling shoot with Jay Kossman Photography (you can view photos from my last shoot with him here) and I can't wait to see the shots! ((in my instagram collage there is one unedited shot from the shoot!))

Today is fun! My brother is moving into his new apartment--which is 4 minutes down the road from my place. AND I get to meet up for lunch at Burntwood Tavern with my girl Erin from The Spiffy Cookie and her boyfriend! (Michael has to work so I'll be playing 3rd wheel :P)

And tomorrow Michael and I are meeting with PJ (who went to school with my cousin Megan and he works with Michael's mom) to go over our ceremony music.

ALSO--Lent started last week! If you're looking for some meatless recipes to make on Fridays check out my round up from last year or anything tagged as vegetarian on this site.

I lived my tweens and teens in the 00's and this list is SO spot on!


It's amazing what a difference music can make to a movie and a movie trailer. In addition to how much I loved the music in 50 Shades of Grey (which you can read more about that experience below) I got shivers when seeing this trailer for Cinderella and that music is a large reason why. Watch for your own shivers :P

Friday, February 27, 2015

#WeddingPaperDivas Sample Kit #IC

I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Wedding Paper Divas. I received a product and a promotional item to thank me for participating.
By now, you all know that I'm planning my wedding. (Which is less than 4 months away, btw!) And I've encountered various kinds of brides and ways of approaching a wedding. I am 100% that girl who has pictured my wedding forever and the main theme and aspects of the wedding that I've always dreamed of? They're happening. I've always wanted to get married in the church I grew up in-and I am. I've always wanted to wear my mom's dress-as I am. I've always wanted lots of red roses. Happening. I've always wanted red and white as the colors-yepp. And then in the couple years leading up to my actual engagement, Michael and I had settled on various aspects of our future wedding. So...suffice it to say....we have a very clear vision and it is being realized!
And that vision is being consistently realized in every aspect of the wedding--not the least of which is the stationary! It's always super important that your stationary (save the dates, invites, thank you cards, bridal shower invites, etc.) are cohesive with your entire wedding--they're oftentimes the first (and last) impression your guests will have about your wedding so make sure you get the whole thing off on the right foot! One amazing place to turn when you're looking to order your stationary is Wedding Paper Divas.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Multi-Nut Butter

Multi-Nut Butter
I've been sitting on the idea of making a nut butter with a variety of nuts for awhile. And then I recently realized that I actually have 4 varieties of nuts, right now, in my kitchen. So it was nut butter time!
Multi-Nut Butter
As I've mentioned quite a few times before--making homemade nut butters is unbelievably easy and so entirely customizable. You can add pretty much anything you want to it--honey, chocolate, vanilla, etc. Or you could add nothing and just let it be an ultra healthy nut butter! This is the same. I've given you the amounts of nuts and the varieties that I used but you can completely mix it up to suit your own needs! And your end result is a delicious, healthy, natural (and no-stir!) nut butter!
Multi-Nut Butter
For my multi-nut butter I had almonds and peanuts as the predominant nuts (peanuts have a good amount of oil so that way I wouldn't need to add oil during the process. And almonds are ultra good for you!) and then walnuts (which I don't love but are some of the healthier nuts) and pecans (which taste oh so good but are prob. the least healthy nuts). And then I just added a smidgen bit of salt and honey. And now I have a delicious, creamy (of all the nut butters I've made this one doesn't get as thick and hard in the refrigerator-which I looove) thing to spread on my pancakes, toast, or to bake with!

Get on board and get your food processor ready!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Peanut Butter Compost Cookies {Gluten-free}

Peanut Butter Compost Cookies {Gluten-free}
Ok before we get into tasty cookie talk...I need to make a confession: I overcooked them. Like...I either didn't set the timer or didn't hear it go off or I don't know what but all I know is that I'm lucky I decided to go check when I did or all I would have had to share today were blackened hockey pucks.

Luckily these cookies still turned out fine (Michael actually likes the fact that they're probably less soft than they would have been if baked for the proper time)-good, in fact. But I haven't overcooked cookies in QUITE some time, so I just needed to come clean about it. Glad that we got that out of the way.
Peanut Butter Compost Cookies {Gluten-free}
You know what's great about compost cookies? You can pretty much throw in any random stuff you have into them. I happened to stay fairly close to the ingredients listed in the original recipe but that is because I just so happened to need to get rid of some of those things. Like...guys...I have so much shredded coconut. And I rarely use it. And cornflakes--I have them. Rarely use 'em. So, this recipe was super helpful (although, admittedly, I did not use up much of them...maybe I should make 5 more batches?)
Peanut Butter Compost Cookies {Gluten-free}
Once again we're doing the healthyish cookie thang. Peanut butter and nuts are the main source of fat (and it's a good kind of fat). There's a minimal amount of flour-like substance that is used to help hold them together (I used almond flour, you can use some other sort of thing, or...just regular flour. Your call. But if you use a non gluten flour-such as oat flour or almond flour-then these cookies are gluten free! Hooray!) And um...yeah you get it. I love how chock full of mix ins they are (you almost think there's not enough dough to hold it all but, don't worry, there is!) so they're full of varying textures and flavors. An adventure for your tastebuds! And I def. dub them able to be eaten for breakfast. And cookies for breakfast are as wonderful and miraculous as unicorns.

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Something Saturdays (2/21/15)

This week was INSANE! First there was last weekend being in Baltimore with Michael's family. It was super fun (and the wedding was beautiful. The reception was at the Museum of Industry and it was SO cool. Plus we stayed in a gorgeous hotel right on the harbor,) but SO EXHAUSTING. We barely slept. Then I had a bunch of late night work for Mardi Gras (I had to go to bars and give  people beer...not difficult but way past my bedtime). THEN I went to another wedding dress fitting but my mom got to come and see the transformation (but then she took pics of me in the dress and now I'm all panicky that maybe it's not as great as I thought and maybe I'm too fat? It doesn't help that my alterations woman keeps bringing up that I need to lose and then she pokes where I need to lose the weight...ugh). And we went to go see the apartment my brother is probably going to get. And we bought me a new computer because my old one (that I've had for 7 years) finally bit the dust (it literally broke open, stuff is falling out of it, and it started smoking....yeahhh) so I've been figuring out this new thing and theeeen we went out with Michael's coworkers. And then I had more work. And today I work. And tomorrow my mom, Michael's mom and stepmom, and myself are all going to put together/assemble the wedding invitations.

*big deep breath* so yeah. A lot. And if you're wondering about Wednesday's post, read what I wrote on Friday. --looots of apologies!

Friday, February 20, 2015

Friday Update

Hello my friends!

First of all--I'm SO sorry for not having a recipe for you on Wednesday. I was supposed to be guest posting but things happened and last minute it got pushed back andddd...yeah. so. SO SORRY. Won't happen again.

And now, truth time: I'm having a bit of trouble keeping up with the blog and work and life and planning a wedding. SO to make things a smidgen bit easier I am going to continue posting recipes on Mondays and Wednesdays (and my weekly roundup on Saturday), but I will only post on Fridays if I have a review post or something fun to share, etc.

And this is a week where I have nothing in particular to share. Except for this announcement. I really hope this is ok with all of you and hopefully after the wedding I can get back in the swing of things and have less trouble posting at least 3 recipes a week! I adore each and every one of you reading this and thank you so much for visiting this little piece of the internet. <3

Monday, February 16, 2015

Black Bean Soup {Panera Copy-Cat}

Black Bean Soup {Panera Copy-Cat}
Michael has become obsessed with Panera's black bean soup. And we live about 3 minutes from one so this has become a dangerous fact. So-in an attempt to save us money and Michael's health, I decided to try to make a homemade version of the desired soup. And it worked out pretty darned well, if I do say so myself!
Black Bean Soup {Panera Copy-Cat}
Once Michael tasted it he gave me a couple small changes to help make the recipe closer to the original (which are reflected in the recipe below) but he was a pretty happy camper. He gobbled this soup up on its own or with some pita bread. He probably would have loved it even more if I'd put sour cream and cheese on it but...shhh...don't tell him.
Black Bean Soup {Panera Copy-Cat}
When asked to describe the black bean soup Michael said it was a nice, thick, soup. Flavorful and hearty and "fills up your belly". Perfect for a cold night! (And omgeeee has it been cold lately! I think all of us dealing with winter right now NEED and deserve soup!)

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Something Saturdays (2/14/15)


What are you doing today? Anything fun/special? Michael and I are spending the day celebrating looove--today is his cousin Colleen's wedding! I'm excited to spend the day with his family and enjoy the gorgeous day :) (and try not to hyperventilate about the fact that there's only 4 months left until our wedding!)

Speaking of which: last weekend. The florist went well (there's a photo of a mockup of our centerpieces in the instagram collage). And the open house at our reception location was great too-we got to eat yummy food (although not all the food options)-it was fun and it def. helped us with our decisions for the food. Luckily they also do a thing for all their couples where we are able to get 2 free to-go meals. We just call them towards the beginning of the week and find out if they're having a wedding or some event that coming weekend. We ask what the menu is. If they're serving items we want to try then they'll pack us a to-go meal for us to come pick up during the event! It's pretty awesome. We want to try their cheddar crusted bacon chicken (my mom has had it and will not shut up about it lol) and their fish option (and for that I mean Michael wants to try it). But yeah..good stuff.

In fun news--I did a little guest post for AdoramaPix all about how to create your own recipe photo book! Click here to check it out!
(To find the recipes in those photos: cookies and caramel cups.) 

Friday, February 13, 2015

National Italian Food Day Round Up


No...the answer I'm looking for is not the day before Valentine's Day. Apparently, today is National "Italian Food" Day! And...hey...I'm Italian. and I love Italian food.

(And I'm currently in Baltimore for Michael's cousin's wedding so I don't have access to a computer so I didn't want to post a recipe today.)

So let's round up the best Italian recipes I've made! MANGIA!
National Italian Food Day Round Up
"The" Meatballs (pictured top left)
Thus far, of the meatballs I have made, these are my favorite! They're still not my grandma's (I really need to figure out her recipe) but they are meaty and simple and delish!

Ciabatta Bread
Ciabatta bread is the best for dipping and grilled cheese sandwiches and dipping into olive oil and nom nom'ing!

Roasted Garlic Focaccia (pictured top middle)
Do you like garlic? And bread? Good news-you will looove this focaccia!

Herbed Oatmeal Bread
This bread tastes just like Pizza Hut's breadsticks-but...ya know...not fried. And a million times better.

Toasted Ricotta Gnocchi with Parmesan Truffle Cream Sauce (pictured top right)
I am obsessed with this simple ricotta gnocchi recipe and if you love truffle than this sauce will also make you swoooon.

Linguine con aglio e olio d'oliva
My (paternal) grandma taught this recipe to my mom who taught it to me when I moved out on my own. I make it almost every week and it's served every year at Christmas. It's so simple-just cook some garlic and olive oil together and then toss with linguine (and I like to add in some shredded chicken) and top with lots of Parmesan! yummmm.

One Pot Garlic Parmesan Pasta (pictured middle left)
This recipe tastes just like the perfect Fettuccine Alfredo but it is SO much healthier and you only dirty one dish making it. It is one of mine and Michael's favorites.

1 Hour Dried Oregano
Oregano, as a plant, is a bully. Dried oregano is used in many Italian recipes. Turns out--you can super easily make your excess fresh oregano into dried! Awesome.

Basil Pesto (pictured middle right)
Pesto is tasty on pasta, garlic bread, in grilled cheese, etc. And it's simple to make!

Crispy Pizza Wraps
These were my attempt to healthify Pizza Rolls.

Sicilian "Enchiladas" (AKA Copy-Cat Scrippelle)
My family makes something called "scrippelle"-they're a regional Italian dish. And my grandma won't give me the full darned recipe. PLUS-it's a bit of an intensive process. So to tide me over I have created a simpler copycat version using homemade tortillas and store-bought broth. Not the original but reeeeeally good in its own right.

Lasagna (pictured bottom left)
Oddly enough this recipe is from my Irish side of the family-but it is the best lasagna I've ever had.

Garlic Parmesan Chicken Lasagna (pictured bottom middle)
And sometimes you want a different kind of lasagna. With chicken. And a white sauce. And you love it.

3 Cheese White Pizza with Truffle Oil
I learned how to make Neapolitan pizza in Little Italy and adapted the crust recipe to use in this white pizza that is really one of my tastiest creations.

Pesto Chicken Pizza
Same crust as above but with pesto and chicken and tomatoes--hmm...I think I'm due to make this again!

Roasted Garlic, Chicken, and Herb White Pizza (pictured bottom right)
Look...I love pizza. We all do, yes? This is another tasty version (using a more traditional pizza crust).

Pizza Caprese and Garlic Cheese Bread
The main reason for this being an addition as a favorite is the garlic bread-one of my favorite garlic bread recipes to date and really it is irresistible!

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Chocolate Chip Cookie Oat Pie

Chocolate Chip Cookie Oat Pie
Sooo...this recipe falls into the semi-healthy category. It's not like it has 2 sticks of butter plus 2 cups of sugar buuut it's not butter-less or sugar-less either. What I'm saying is-it's not too bad and it's so crazy delicious that it feels like a wonderful compromise between your tastebuds and your waistline. 
Chocolate Chip Cookie Oat Pie
I have a bit of a culinary character flaw: I have the hardest time getting inspired for what to make for dinner but I always have a million ideas for desserts! I'm never ever ever tired of making new sweet treats but when I'm faced with what to make for an actual meal I'm like, "Uhhhhhhh I don't KNOOOOW!" It's a problem.

A tasty and sweet problem but still...a problem.
Chocolate Chip Cookie Oat Pie
This pie tastes like a super chewy and gooey oatmeal chocolate chip cookie with just the right amount of sweetness, but....ya pie form. The graham cracker crust gives it a little extra oomph and there's delish chocolate chips and yum yum yum sea salt on top! Michael took one bite and exclaimed "MMm! This is REALLY good!"--he particularly loved the chewy texture. I'm right there with him.

You'll be right there with us when you try some!

Monday, February 9, 2015

Chocolate Chip Clouds

Chocolate Chip Clouds
These meringue cookies are called clouds. And it makes perfect sense. They are light and airy and looovely!

They melt in your mouth but are somehow chewy at the same time. And when they're warm? Somehow these incredibly light (and fat-free!) cookies taste rich and decadent. The chocolate makes them feel indulgent. But you're not really cheating on your diet. So we're good all around, really.
Chocolate Chip Clouds
I had never made meringues before and even though they're usually super pretty (when I make a non-chocolate chip version someday I am def. going to try to make the swirly pretty piped kind!) and seem crazy intimidating--it's true that they are SO simple to make! Really really easy, honestly. Girl scout's honor!

And since these clouds are not piped they're even easier.
Chocolate Chip Clouds
You just whip together egg whites with some cream of tartar and sugar and then mix in cocoa powder and chocolate chips. And you plop 'em on a silicone baking mat. And bake. The end! The hardest part is consistently inspecting your whipped egg whites to see if they're "stiff" yet. Which I'd say is something we can all deal with, yes? Yeah-we're smart, talented people!

Here are your orders: make 'em. Place one in your mouth (when just slightly warm). Let melt in your mouth. Chew. Smile. Repeat! :)

Saturday, February 7, 2015

Something Saturdays (2/7/15)

Jimmy Fallon makes all my dreams come true:

This week our new bedroom furniture set got delivered and we put on our new comforter set (there's an instagram photo below where you see a bit of the bed)! It's like we have a grownup bedroom now-it's craaaazy. And...this means...we are one step closer to me finally taking photos of the whole house to share with you all.'s gonna happen.

I am so excited about tomorrow! Our reception location has a big open house where they serve all the food that is available for them to make for the wedding--so it'll help us make our menu selections. Plus there's other stuff and...I just love going there! And before that we're meeting with the florist to see some sample arrangements-I made the appt. for February figuring that would make it easier for them since red roses and...ya know...Valentine's Day. I assume they have plenty hanging around right about now. Anyway I'm super stoked about it *claps*.

Friday, February 6, 2015

20 Recipes for a Delicious Valentine's Day

Ok so for the fourth year in a row I'm posting a round up of Valentine's Day recipes. 


I just...I love love. Red is my favorite color. Hearts are my favorite shape. And roses are my favorite flower.
So this is kind of my holiday. Even though I never do much for it, that's ok. I like the spirit of the day! And it is going to be here in just over a week! eeee!

This year's round up is made up of only the BEST of the best dessert recipes that I have accumulated that I feel will work best for Valentine's Day! And...obviously...there's a lot of chocolate. You're welcome.

20 Recipes for a Delicious Valentine's Day

Flourless Chocolate Peanut Butter Cake (pictured top left)
Super gooey and rich-this cake will impress any loved one and make both your mouths water!

Chocolate Decadence
To date this is my favorite flourless chocolate cake/torte recipe. It is unbelievably silky and decadent and indulgent!

Cream Puffs (from scratch) (pictured top middle)
Cream puffs just seem fancy and sophisticated. And if you get some whipped cream on your face-perfect excuse for someone else to kiss it off!

Chocolate Chantilly
A super simple chocolate mousse, this chantilly is light and individually portioned, so you won't feel too full!

Chocolate Cobbler
Just chocolatey yumminess. Best served with ice cream!

Molten Chocolate Lava Cake (pictured top right)
My fave. lava cake recipe-it is foolproof and makes you seem like you have serious kitchen skills! (And-once again-they're already individually portioned!)

Deep Dish S'more
This sweet treat is best served for 2! Dig in and enjoy the nostalgia of childhood with the s'mores flavors and then go "mmm" because it tastes sooo good!

Dark Chocolate Truffles
Feed each other these truffles. Trust me.

Salted Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles (pictured middle left)
THESE TRUFFLES. Serve them to anyone and I'll be surprised if they don't propose. Michael and I were both obsessed with just how good these cookie dough truffles are-super high quality and irresistible!

Mini Raspberry Swirl Cheesecakes
You each can have your own little mini cheese cake! And if you want to get fancy try to make a heart with the raspberry swirl <3

NY Cheesecake with Strawberries (pictured middle right)
Ooooh la la-this cheesecake is so luscious and perfect.

S'mores Pie (pictured bottom left)
S'mores pie...I mean...come on. Need I say more?

Salted Caramel Ice Cream (No Ice Cream Maker!)
This ice cream is amazing on its own or served with one of the other recipes on this list!

Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl Ice Cream (EASY method)
(pictured bottom middle)
Such a great (non-ice cream maker and crazy easy) ice cream recipe. It is just delicious.

Raspberry Ice Cream Cake-Pie 
This is one of Michael's favorite desserts that I've ever made him-it straddles the line between being refreshing and sweet and indulgent.

Peanut Butter Caramel Pie
It's essentially a pie made of peanut butter caramel. It's just yummy.

Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
I miss this pie. It's just sinful!

Dark Chocolate Dreams Icebox Pie (pictured bottom right)
Another Michael fave! This pie is pretty and tasty and...I mean...chocolate + peanut butter. Need I say more?

Nutella Crack Pie
This pie is straight up addictive. Like lurrrrrve.

Chocolate Raspberry Ganache Pie
And...again...a Michael favorite. This ganache pie is so rich and delightful and then the raspberry adds an extra special punch (plus it's red and pretty for Valentine's Dayyyy!)

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Baked Parmesan Hash Brown Cups

Baked Parmesan Hash Brown Cups
Crispy hash browns are the beeeest.


But messy fried hash browns are no bueno for our kitchens and our waistlines. This recipe is the solution!
Baked Parmesan Hash Brown Cups
You guys also know how much I love Parmesan cheese, yes? It's like my favorite cheese. So when I was that this recipe not only makes crispy hash browns baked in a muffin tin but that there's Parm up in there? I was SOLD. And I will tell you that they 100% live up to the hype!
Baked Parmesan Hash Brown Cups
First of all-yes. These are super duper crispy. And yes-they taste amaaaazing.

But they're also little portable cups! So I feel like they're perfect for kids or entertaining and because they're cups they have sort of this fun little area on the top where you could place a cooked egg or a dollop of sour cream with chives or whatever! Make it fancy! Or don't. You can be like me and just dip them in ketchup while sitting on the couch and watching The Originals on TV. Really, you're gonna have a good morning either way.

Monday, February 2, 2015

Flourless Dark Chocolate Cookies-Cookie of the Month {Chocolate}

Flourless Dark Chocolate Cookies
Michael's mom's family does a cool sort of Christmas gift exchange, it's called "Kris Kinder". In this exchange you must make something for the person whose name you've drawn. I was like "Uh...I'm not crafty," but once they reassured me that food counts I was on board! And, luckily for me, I got Michael's Aunt Alayne who LOVES chocolate. love chocolate, Alayne? Challenge accepted.
Flourless Dark Chocolate Cookies
I decided I wanted to make cookies since I knew I'd be busy and cookies are fairly simple to make-plus they're easy to package and travel with!

Then I made this recipe. And they were delicious. And all was right with the world.
Flourless Dark Chocolate Cookies
Look...I sampled a couple cookies before packaging them up for Alayne. I HAD TO! Quality control people. And I can attest that they are super chocolatey and rich and perfectly crisp on the outside and insanely gooey on the inside. They're everything I wanted them to be. They're even sturdy so absolutely perfect for gift giving! And I was right-Alayne went crazy for them! She insisted I give her the recipe and raved about how incredible they are.

She's right.
Flourless Dark Chocolate Cookies
AND-as if everything else about these cookies isn't enough, myself and some of my blog friends have teamed up to share a different themed cookie each month! This month is chocolate (obviously) so these beauties fit right in. And here are the other cocoa-licious goodies shared by my fellow foodies:

Chocolate Lava Cookies from Jen's Favorite Cookies
Triple Chocolate Cookie Bars from Crumb: A Food Blog
Flourless Dark Chocolate Cookies from The Cooking Actress
Caramel Chocolate Chip Cashew Butter Cookies from Magnolia Days
Chocolate Orange Ginger Cookies from gotta get baked
Peanut Butter Compost Cookies (gluten-free) from Heartbeet Kitchen
Fudgy Kahlua Brownie Cookies from Bake or Break

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