Saturday, December 31, 2011

out with the old, in with the new

How is it the end of 2011 already? It seems it was just yesterday that I was deciding what I was going to do the evening of Dec. 31, 2010. (Sun's game - not a bad choice).

I decided to make a few New Year's resolutions  this time around. I don't usually since I often forget them or don't carry through on them. But this year will be different. For 2012, my primary ones are basic and simple:

#1 Boost my skincare routine (now that I'm 27, I'm beginning to realize how important this is)!
#2 Continue to post regular entries here, on my blog.

Of course, I have some other goals and things I want to accomplish next year as well, including:

*learn to cook more recipes (this morning I made pancakes for the first time - so I'm well on my way)!
*workout more regularly (it's pretty sporadic right now)
*learn some key French phrases before my August trip to Paris (Rosetta Stone - here I come)!

To launch my improved skincare routine - I decided to go to Fashion Square and stock up on some new product the other day. It was a great excuse to go shopping. Here's all my loot!

foodgawker is one of my new fave sites.  It's a "photo gallery that allows you to visually search and discover new recipes, techniques and ingredients to inspire your culinary adventures." Then you can save ones you want to try to your Pinterest board. It's like having a cookbook with photos of each recipe and endless options. It's also a great way to discover new food blogs.

Since I was on vacation this week - I decided to make salmon with ginger sesame glaze and some asparagus sprinkled with olive oil, salt & pepper and Parmesan cheese, then baked. It's much more enjoyable cooking when you've had a relaxing, stress free day.

Here's the photo from Foodgawker and originally from My Kitchen Snippets blog (you can see why I was so enticed to make this judging from the photo)

And here's my version. I think it turned out pretty good:

For the recipe, click here. Also, it called for ginger juice. Not knowing what that was, I grated fresh ginger and added a little extra honey instead. If anyone knows what ginger juice is, please tell me!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

merry christmas!

Christmas at my parent's house was wonderful. We opened presents, ate a roast dinner and then opened more presents. I always get so sad when it's all over.

{my brother and chewy}

{the tree and all the gifts}

{our old golden taz, taught chewy how to open presents. now he's a pro}

{a delish cranberry cream cheese appetizer recipe i got from pinterest. we ate it for dessert}

christmas festivities

I love doing things leading up to Christmas to get you in the holiday spirit. I hadn't drove around and looked at Christmas lights in years- so Dave and I decided to do that the Friday before Christmas Eve. We got our Starbucks hot chocolate and we were on our way!

We ended the night with Christmas Vacation. Doesn't get much better than that!

Friday, December 23, 2011

wrapping presents

I love to wrap Christmas gifts. In fact, I'm thinking about buying more presents Saturday so I have more gifts to wrap. I love the brown paper look with a variety of ribbons, sometimes even layering different colored ribbon together.

Thursday, December 22, 2011

christmas cheer

There's nothing like getting a homemade Christmas card from a little kid. One of my little gymnasts made this for me. So cute!

Monday, December 19, 2011

holiday movies

Sometimes all you need to get into the Christmas spirit is a holiday movie. Here are my faves that I tend to watch year after year:

{who doesn't love this movie? it's hysterical!}

{not necessarily a holiday movie, but it takes place during the season}

{Another great movie that just takes place during the holiday time}

{a perfect romantic comedy to watch before Christmas}

What are your favorite Christmas movies to watch this time of year?

holiday baking

So I'm one of those girls that love to bake. There's nothing intimidating to me as far as baking goes - but ask me to cook something and it turns into a long, challenging process that isn't always enjoyable. Hence why I'm always posting easy dinners. With baking, however, I enjoy every little step. 

My mom even got me this card one year - it's exactly how I was as a child and still am today (meaning, i always add extra sugar and love sweets - don't worry, i can read)!

So, yesterday I baked Almond Roca Cookies and Pecan Puffs. Nothing is better than baking with the Christmas music on and rain pouring down. Although I don't mind baking intricate desserts, these are rather simple. Especially the Almond Roca Cookies.

~Almond Roca Cookies ~

Almond Roca Cookies**
*1 cup butter
*1/2 cup sugar
*1/2 cup brown sugar

Cream above ingredients thoroughly.

*1 beaten egg yolk
*1 tsp. vanilla
*2 cups cake flour

Mix well and spread on a cookie sheet about 1/4 inch thick. Bake 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees. Melt one 10 oz. milk chocolate bar (i always use Symphony Toffee & Almond) and spread on baked cookie while warm. Sprinkle with chopped pecans. Chill and cut into pieces.

**My mom got this recipe from another customer in the grocery store when I was a baby. My brother wanted to know what the lady was using that giant candy bar for! So - she sent my mom the recipe and it's been part of our Christmas collection ever since. **

Sunday, December 18, 2011

easy dinner

After a crazy but fun filled day of Christmas shopping, baking and wrapping I wasn't sure what to make for dinner.  It was cloudy and rainy - again - so something hot and easy sounded good. I decided to try my mom's Beef Stroganoff recipe.  And it hit the spot and really was as simple as she said it would be.

Mom's Beef Stroganoff:

*1 lb. Sirloin Steak
*Egg noodles
*1 Sweet Onion
*2 tbsp. Flour
*1 can of Campbell's Healthy Tomato Soup
*1 can of Campbell's Beef Consomme
*One pack of white mushrooms sliced (I don't put mushrooms in my version)

Cut the meet into cubes and brown in a pan. As it browns, add salt and pepper and then chopped onion.  When it's almost brown, add flour.  Then add the soups (beef one first).  Simmer for an hour and 10 minutes before it's done, boil your noodles!  If you want mushrooms, add them towards the end.

Then combine and you've got a bowl of hot, delicious Beef Stroganoff!

Sunday, December 11, 2011

weekend fun

This was the start of my weekend - work holiday party at Lucky Strike!  Luckily my roommate took pictures of us before we left because we were too busy wining and dining at the Christmas party to take photos!

The weekend definitely went by in the blink of an eye.  Other highlights:
*coaching gymnastics
*lunch at That's a Wrap
*celebrating the boyfriend's dad's birthday
*deep cleaning
*volunteering at Gabriel's Angels

Monday, December 5, 2011

christmas shopping

I love Christmas shopping.  Figuring out that perfect present for your loved ones and imagining their face when they unwrap their gift...

The bad part about Christmas shopping?  Finding unnecessary items that you want for yourself and can't pass up.  Or decide to pass up for the time being but know you will be back on payday.

In addition to these jeans and these boots that I caved and purchased over the weekend (you can never have enough skinny jeans and boots I reasoned) here's a snapshot of  a few m0re things I now have my eyes on after shopping for gifts these past few days:

~ The perfect apron to wear during holiday baking ~
{available at crate and barrel}

 ~ Champagne glasses to have on hand for holiday toasts ~
{also available at
crate and barrel}

~love this - pretty and homemade~
{available at}

Thursday, December 1, 2011

bedroom decor

Your bedroom should be your place to escape from the rest of the world and should be your favorite room in the house.  I love getting ideas for what I want mine to look like.  The shabby chic look with white, grey and hints of pink is my favorite - which is evident if you follow my "home inspiration" board on 

~Here are a few of my faves~