Saturday, April 30, 2016

Something Saturdays (4/30/16)

Ahhh things are finally back to normal here-no more food poisoning, lol. Tuesday I got to have lunch with Katie (Michael's youngest brother's girlfriend, whom I adore). Wednesday and Thursday I helped out with Macbeth rehearsals at my old high school again and also spent some time with Michael's mom. Other than that I've just cleaned a little and worked and got stuff done (and-of course-celebrated this blog's 5th birthday!) And I got the ball rolling with a loan/financial advisor for Michael and I--so we can start working on finding a house :)

Also...I can't wait for this movie to come out. I have a feeling it's going to tear my heart out of my chest </3

Wednesday, April 27, 2016

The Cooking Actress' 5th Blogiversary! guys. Today marks this blog's 5TH BIRTHDAY! Can you believe it?? I can't! SO MUCH has happened in these past 5 years and I've learned so incredibly much and met some of the most amazing people (and had some of the most amazing opportunities and experiences)! I cannot thank all of you enough for taking this journey with me--whether you're a brand new reader or one who has been with me from the beginning.


And, for such a momentous anniversary, I thought I'd share a list of 5's encompassing these past 5 years. Enjoy!

5 favorite entree recipes
  1. Turkey Spinach Provolone Pastry
  2. Just Chicken Pot Pie
  3. Homemade Cheddar Pierogi {with Caramelized Onions}
  4. French Dip Sandwiches
  5. Garlic Parmesan Chicken Lasagna
5 favorite cookie recipes 
  1. Bakery Style Chocolate Chip Cookies
  2. Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Balls
  3. Exceptional Chocolate Chip Cookies
  4. Brown Butter Chocolate Stuffed Toffee Chip Cookies
  5. THE Levain Chocolate Chip Cookie Copycat Recipe
5 favorite brownie recipes
  1. The Baked Brownie
  2. S'mores Brownies
  3. Ultimate Fudge Brownies with Toasted Pecans
  4. Super Chocolate Oreo Crunch Brownies
  5. Ooey Gooey Heavenly Brownies
5 favorite cake recipes
  1. Chocolate Decadence
  2. Buckeye Cake
  3. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Cupcakes
  4. Melting Chocolate Cakes
  5. Mini Raspberry Swirl Cheesecakes
5 favorite candies
  1. Salted Browned Butter Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles
  2. {Easy} Salted Praline Pecan Clusters
  3. Dark Chocolate Peanut Butter Pecan Truffles
  4. Peanut Butter Pretzel Truffles
  5. Dark Chocolate Truffles
5 favorite ice cream recipes
  1. Dark Chocolate and Peanut Butter Ice Cream
  2. Peanut Butter Butterfinger Ice Cream {No Cook, Egg-free}
  3. Strawberries & Cream Chocolate Chip Ice Cream {Easy, No Cook, Egg-free}
  4. Coffee Chocolate Chip Ice Cream {No Cook, Egg-free}
  5. No Churn, 2+ Ingredient Ice Cream
5 favorite pie/tart recipes
  1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Pie
  2. Dark Chocolate Dreams Icebox Pie
  3. Peanut Butter Cream Pie
  4. Salted Caramel Pecan Pie
  5. Fresh Strawberry Pie
5 favorite misc. dessert recipes
  1. Cream Puffs (from scratch)
  2. Cookie Dough S'mores-3 Ways
  3. Caramel Corn
  4. Deep Dish S'more
  5. Chocolate Covered Potato Chips with Salted Caramel Drizzle
5 favorite breakfast recipes
  1. Crisp and Fluffy Whole Wheat Waffles 
  2. Puff Pastry Chocolate Croissants
  3. Skillet Breakfast Potatoes
  4. Pecan Sticky Buns
  5. Over EASY Eggs
5 favorite appetizer recipes
  1. Black Bean Pico de Gallo
  2. Cheesy Chicken and Potato Chowder
  3. Pan Fried Zucchini
  4. Roasted Garlic Brown Butter Hummus
  5. Lightened Up Spinach Artichoke Dip
5 favorite side dish/snack recipes
  1. Crispy Baked Onion Rings
  2. Baked Cheddar and Scallion Mashed Potatoes
  3. Roasted Garlic Parmesan Tater Tots
  4. Dark Chocolate Nuts & Sea Salt Bars {KIND Bars Copy Cat}
  5. Homemade Cheddar Cheese Crackers (Cheez-Its)
5 favorite "original" recipes
  1. Chocolate Peanut Butter Coconut Nutty Granola
  2. Mom's Pot Roast
  3. Dark Chocolate Salted Caramel Cups
  4. Sicilian "Enchiladas"
  5. Toasted Ricotta Gnocchi with Parmesan Truffle Cream Sauce
5 recipes I'm most proud of/best basics
  1. Neapolitan Pizza Crust
  2. Whole Wheat Puff Pastry
  3. Homemade Flour Tortillas
  4. Perfect All-Butter Pie Crust
  5. Multi-Nut Butter
5 favorite bread recipes
  1. Easy Whole Wheat Hoagie Rolls
  2. Fluffy, Buttery, Rolls (Texas Roadhouse Copy Cat)
  3. Cheddar Biscuits
  4. Ciabatta Bread with Morel & Leek Jack Cheese
  5. Extra Flaky Biscuits
5 favorite "life" posts
  1. New York, New York...a look back
  2. Wedding Prep, Wedding Ceremony, Wedding Portraits, & Wedding Reception
  3. Finally!
  4. Honeymoon Recap {at Secrets Capri Riviera Cancun in Riviera Maya}
  5. What I've Learned About Wedding Planning (So Far)
5 most popular posts
  1. Momofuku's Cornflake Chocolate Chip Marshmallow Cookies
  2. The New York Times Best Chocolate Chip Cookie Recipe
  3. Ritz Cracker Chicken Casserole
  4. Pumpkin Cheesecake Cookies
  5. Healthy Oatmeal Chocolate Chip Cookies
5 biggest life changes
  1. Started a food blog (duh).
  2. Michael moved to NY for me.
  3. Then him and I moved back to Ohio together.
  4. Got married.
  5. Became a wedding planner!
5 biggest lessons learned
  1. Family often comes to mean a lot more as you get older.
  2. It's ok to change dreams.
  3. Once you have really good's hard to settle for mediocre.
  4. Don't put too much pressure on yourself...but also...put some pressure on yourself.
  5. Things work out the way they're supposed to--it may not be according to plan, and it might not always be good, but things have a way of working out and sometimes you find yourself loving something you never would have dreamed of (this references both the blog, wedding planning, and Michael :P)

Monday, April 25, 2016

Oatmeal Almond Chocolate Chunk Cookies

Oatmeal Almond Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Sometimes I make cookies. And sometimes I gift 95% of those cookies away. This is the fate that befell these cookies--they were like beautiful little ambassadors, endearing me to my mother-in-law and aunt-in-law and Michael's best friends and his coworkers. 
Oatmeal Almond Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Also, I'm super sorry because I meant to share these cookies with all of you last week buuut then I got sick and didn't do anything so I'm sharing them with you today. They're totally worth the wait though! Swearsies realsies.
Oatmeal Almond Chocolate Chunk Cookies
Now I will confess-even though oatmeal almond butter cookies SOUND kinda healthyish...I mean..there's still a lot of butter and sugar. So they're not really. BUT they are super chewy and delicious and kind of comforting and, as I've said, the perfect gift-giving cookies. They're tasty even when room temp (and you know I love warm cookies), they're sturdy enough to travel or ship (these will be included in my brother's birthday care package), this recipe makes A BUNCH, and...yeah. Tasty tastiness you guys. Give 'em a go!

Sunday, April 24, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan Menu (April 25-May 1, 2016)

Weekly Meal Plan 042516-mainGah! This week has been bonkers! Which means having a plan for this coming week is all the more necessary--and eeee this week's plan involves one of my new faves (THOSE PIEROGIES!) plus a bunch of other goodies from my fellow bloggers! You're gonna love it!

This week’s meal plan was brought you to by:

Saturday, April 23, 2016

Something Saturdays (4/23/16)

I had SO MUCH fun working my first wedding last weekend! It was an awesome learning experience and such a pretty day and I can't wait for my next one! 

Monday I had intentions to get a bunch of stuff done but...I ended up getting food poisoning. And then, before I knew that's what it was, I gave Michael the 2nd half of my sandwich aaand then I spent Tues/Wed dealing with his food poisoning.

Ugh. Things are starting to get back to normal around here, though! PLUS I got the shots back from a photo shoot I did a couple weeks ago with Jay Kossman Photography, here are a few:

Monday, April 18, 2016

{Easy} Salted Praline Pecan Clusters

{Easy} Salted Praline Pecan Clusters
Look...I'm as Yankee as it gets. No one in my family is from the South or ever has been. I've lived in Ohio and NYC. I'm Italian and Irish. I think the Civil War did in fact end 150+ years ago. I don't like sweet tea.

Buuut sometimes I say y'all. And I love comfort food. And I love pralines.

So...Southerners...can you just like let me sometimes be one of you? In the land of pralines, at least?
{Easy} Salted Praline Pecan Clusters
That said...I'm 99% sure these are not traditional pralines. I've actually had a few pralines and these have very little in common with them. I said...what do I know? And regardless, this recipe is insanely easy and yields DELICIOUS little pecan caramel-y clusters!
{Easy} Salted Praline Pecan Clusters
And you know what the best part of these "pralines" is? Ok....well...the best part is the taste.

But do you know the SECOND best part?? You make this recipe by just putting some stuff together and throwing it in the microwave! And...that's mostly it. Then you spoon some of the mixture onto a silpat or wax paper or something and sprinkle it with salt and YOU'RE DONE! This is actually a pretty dangerous situation we're all in now. Because we can have these YUMMALICIOUS lovelies so quickly and so easily. It's bonkers.

And seriously....they're so rich. And salty-sweet. And crunchy. It's like...pecans covered in a hardened salted caramel or butterscotch sauce...sorta. They're good, my friends. SO GOOD. That's all you need to know.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan Menu (April 18-24, 2016)

Weekly Meal Plan 041816-main

We're back and bringing you another week of meals! You're gonna looove digging in to these recipes!

This week’s meal plan was brought you to by:

Saturday, April 16, 2016

Something Saturdays (4/16/16)

Sooooo last Sunday was my first day on the job with Perfectly Planned Events and we worked on a super cool styled shoot--here are some of my favorite shots: 
Photography |  Antler's & Lace Studio
Venue | The Piggery at Anna Dean Farm
Event Planner | Perfectly Planned Weddings and Events
Hair | MJ Hair Style
Makeup | Styled by Jilaine
Bridal Shop/Stylist | Lavender Bridal
Jewelry | Chloe + Isabel
Models | Sarah + AustinHannah + BrandonTeyah + Tony
Florist | Blush Bloom Floral
Rentals | Sully's Tool & Party Rental & Be Seated
Catering | Old Carolina Barbecue Company
Monday I had dinner with Michael's dad and Jeanne, Tuesday I had lunch with Jeanne and Michael's aunt Kathy (which was so fun!), Wednesday I went shopping (yay new dresses for all the weddings!) and helped with Macbeth rehearsal at my old high school and then went to Michael's brother's school concert (he's in a music program in college). Other than that it's just been work and such. I'm SUPER excited for today because it's my first actual wedding with Perfectly Planned Events! Wish me luck!

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Strawberry Tartlets-Joanne's Virtual Baby Shower!

Strawberry Tartlets
You guyyyys!! IT'S A BABY SHOWER for Joanne of Eats Well With Others!!! You may remember when I participated in a virtual bridal shower for Joanne over a year ago (and also remember when she shared these ahhhmazing savory waffles with us before that?) so of course I had to be a part of the celebration for Joanne as she prepares to welcome her sweet little baby girl into this world!
Sooooo a bunch of Joanne's bestest bloggy friends are getting together for a spring themed baby shower--because Joanne is ALL about seasonal foods! I could not be more excited for her or about all the delicious spring eats that we're sharing with her and all of you today!
Strawberry Tartlets
When I think about foods that are seasonal in spring (and...ok...summer) strawberries are always a favorite. Especially for my fella-he love love looooves any excuse to eat strawberries so I knew I needed to incorporate them into what I shared today. And, I don't know if it's too on the nose but...I love mini desserts for baby showers. Because...ya know...babies are mini. So I decided to break out my mini pie pans to make strawberry tartlets! (Admittedly...these are not that mini. But they're smaller than a full sized tart or pie sooo....they're mini? Mmkaaaay?)
Strawberry Tartlets
For the crust I used a pâte brisée recipe--which is essentially a very firm and buttery tart dough. Michael said it was possibly his favorite part because it is sturdy and buttery and just faintly sweet (there is not sugar in the dough itself but I sprinkled some around the edges of the crust prior to baking). And then for the filling I made a cream cheese whipped cream-which has SUCH a lovely texture and is somehow both light and luscious, and has just a hint of that tangy cream cheese flavor. And then-of course-top the whole thing with beautiful red strawberries. Mmm mmmm mmmm!

Michael is obssessed. So shall you be-a must make for any baby shower, barbecue/family get-together, or just a warm spring afternoon. :)

Joanne, I hope you like these and your shower and I can't wait for you to have your little baby-nugget so I can oooh and ahhh over how cute she is!!
Strawberry Tartlets
Be sure to check out the rest of the shower menu!

Orange Ginger Spritzer from The Lemon Bowl 
Blood Orange Doughnuts from Cook Like a Champion
Lemon Raspberry Cheesecake Cups from Keep It Sweet Dessert
Meyer Lemon Soufflé from Blahnik Baker
Strawberry Tartlets from The Cooking Actress
New York-Style Rhubarb Crumb Cake from Warm Vanilla Sugar
Berry Fool Tarts from Bake or Break
Mini Pineapple Upside-Down Cakes from Baker by Nature

Monday, April 11, 2016

Zucchini & Tomato Skillet

Zucchini & Tomato Skillet
I know. I disappear for 2 weeks and then I come back to you with vegetables. Like...who am I even?

Don't worry, I'm still me. I made this for Michael :P

BUT I tried some and actually didn't mind it. And it was a super simple thing to throw together as a healthy side dish for the boy. You're gonna agree-trust me!
Zucchini & Tomato Skillet
Michael was a little wary at first...he said it looks like minestrone soup (of which he is not a fan). I informed him that it was literally just some garlic and chopped tomatoes and zucchini with some seasonings. He gave me a suspicious look and took a bite...

...and he was pleasantly surprised! "This is REALLY good, actually!" he said.

*huff* I can't believe he doubted me.
Zucchini & Tomato Skillet
SO don't you all start doubting me either! This is seriously the simplest (and most adaptable) weeknight skillet idea that works as a side or it could even be an entree if that's your thing (whether you're a vegetarian or if you wanted to mix in some cooked meat with the veggies). You can also of course mix up the vegetables according to your preference but the zucchini and tomatoes really worked out nicely. The zucchini ended up perfectly tender and the tomatoes started to cook down so that they almost became a sauce--which I didn't expect (I suppose I should have but I didn't). Anyway--flavorful, quick, easy, healthy. These are words that describe this one skillet dish that I hope your family likes as much as mine does! :)

Sunday, April 10, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan Menu (April 11-17, 2016)

Weekly Meal Plan 041116-main Hello hello my friends! Back at it again with the weekly meal plan! :P This week is ANOTHER super good one, I adore the on pot pasta I shared and just look at the chicken nuggets and pizza and....mmmmm! So much yum!

This week’s meal plan was brought you to by:

Saturday, April 9, 2016

Something Saturdays (4/9/16)

This whole week has been cuhraaazy. Michael's mom bought a house! And got it inspected and everything is good so it's all official and stuff! Michael's stepmom also returned home after a 6 week vacation and got surprised by a brand new remodeled kitchen--Michael's dad surprised her with. She was SHOCKED-and she loooved it. Seriously, the kitchen is gorgeous--and she couldn't stop crying. It was so sweet! AND my brother found out where he'll be stationed after training: Hawaii!! Lucky duck lol, guess I'll just need to go visit him :P

Sunday, April 3, 2016

Weekly Meal Plan Menu (April 4-10, 2016)

Weekly Meal Plan 040416-main snowed yesterday. One week ago it was 70 degrees. This weather is cuhraaazy.

When life is crazy, we shouldn't need to stress over what we're going to make to eat for this week, so I HIGHLY recommend all the recipes we're sharing this week! Definitely some amazing and delicious options.

This week’s meal plan was brought you to by:

Saturday, April 2, 2016

Something Saturdays (4/2/16)

Ugh ugh ugh, you guys I know--I've had no new recipes to share with you. I'm super sorry--it's just been hard for me to keep up with everything lately. I'll probably take this coming week off too so I can have a bit more time to make some more foods for you guys! I'll be back at it soon and I really appreciate you all bearing with me!

How was your Easter? Mine was ok-just spent some time with Michael's family. His brother and sister-in-law also surprised everyone by being in town so that was some excitement. 

This week I just took care of some shopping/errands, did some cleaning, talked some more stuff out/ booked some more weddings with my new wedding planning boss, worked, and I got to see some of my favorite children-things! Michael's best friend, David, had his twin girls + 2 year old daughter for the week so I went over to see them and they're always so fun and cute. I miss them oodles (they live in Dayton now so we don't get to see them as often). Today Michael is going with his mom to look at a house that she actually might put an offer on, so that's exciting! Then, after I'm done working, we're meeting up with my mom for dinner (partly for Easter and partly to celebrate Michael's promotion).

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