Thursday, September 27, 2012

some weeks...

Thursday happy hours are very necessary. Gotta love the rooftop dining at Del Frisco's (the mac & cheese and cheese fritters are awesome - clearly I enjoy cheese way too much!). 

Some work friends enjoying some wine and tapas.

Sunday, September 23, 2012


I can't believe we've already been back from Europe for a month. Feels like just the other day it was Dec. 2011 and we were booking out flights! Here's a look back at Antwerp, Belgium, one of our favorite places!

We loved:

  • The architecture. Plus the cobblestone, windey roads and old wooden doors
  • Our B&B was a-mazing. A big comfy room, with an large attached sitting room and huge bathroom - all to ourselves! The welcome drink really was perfect too.
  • Delish breakfasts on the patio
  • We arrived on a Catholic holiday so no one was working and everyone was out enjoying the big market
  • De Koninck - Antwerp's beer
  • Our leisurely lunch
  • View from the Mas
  • Ice cream there is unbelievably good
  • Sunflowers in the middle of town
  • Stumbling upon the big food and drink festival

Saturday, September 22, 2012

birthday weekend

I turned the big 2-8 yesterday. But I don't mind getting older when I feel so lucky and blessed to be surrounded by my amazing fiance, friends and family. Friday morning, my coworkers surprised me with my fave Starbucks coffee, cookies, a cupcake and other goodies. Then a few of them took me lunch at Christopher's which was delish. If you haven't been, it's a must try. I had only been for happy hour before, but their food is exceptional. Dave and I topped off the day with a fun dinner at the new Del Frisco's Grille at the Esplande. I love that restaurant week always falls on my bday! The night before, Dave took me to the Luke Bryan and Jason Aldean concert for my early bday present. We had a great time (after we finally got there) and realized it was our very first concert together!

Today, the celebration continued. My family took me to lunch at my favorite Mexican food place - Macayos (because I'm obsessed with their baja sauce). I got the best cards ever and my parents gave me my favorite shade of old fashioned roses, plus a perfect Kate Spade picture frame for Dave and I. Can't wait to have a wedding photo to put in the new frame!

 concert time, d's eyes + iphone flashes = bad combo

am birthday goodies from my awesome pr coworkers

loved my smoked salmon blt at christopher's and topped it off with dessert. 

 del frisco's 

 family lunch

 my fave roses and a beautiful kate spade frame from my parents


Monday, September 10, 2012


August 11 marked my first trip to Europe and my first two week vaca with my fiance. I was a little unsure of what to expect - but the entire vacation was better than I even imagined!

Our first stop was London. When we got on the plane and were given cocktails, a delish steak dinner with wine, dessert and the waiter kept telling me I was 'grand,' I knew it was going to be a fun trip. Lots of new movies and great tv episodes to watch on the plane, and I had about four books with me and several magazines. The flight there was great, until about the ninth hour. Then I was ready to land already. 

We had a great time - enjoyed our quaint b&b, climbed more than 500 stairs at St. Paul's, toured Westminster Abbey, saw Big Ben and Houses of Parliament, toured the Tower of London, walked across the bridge with the Olympic symbols and walked around the Notting Hill area.

The food was not so great and we weren't fans of the warm beer. It also took us awhile to get used to the time change - one night we were up until 2:30am. And then exhausted the whole next day. Oh and there was a moment on the metro where I had a bit of a panic attack when we were stuffed in like sardines and I couldn't breath. But other than that, we enjoyed London...although the next two countries we loved even more.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

simple sunday

I love Sundays with no plans. It's so nice to have the time to clean, cook, shop, etc. One of my favorite things to do is peruse Trader Joe's for no real reason other than to discover new things which is just so much fun to do there! I found my new fave snack there today - fresh figs halved with a dollop of mascarpone cheese and topped with a sweet and spicy pecan. It may not look amazing, but if you like fig, you will love these. Snacking on these and flipping through a stack of magazines I had to catch up on made for a great cap to the weekend.

healthy dining

After eating our way through France and now focused on getting fit for our April wedding, we're really sticking with our healthy eating kick. The other night we made teriyaki chicken with brown rice. Super simple week night meal and not terrible for you. Just slice and cook up whatever veggies you want, steam some brown rice, dice up chicken and cook it in your fave teriyaki sauce. Then you're done!

let them eat cake

A few days before we left on our European vacation, we celebrated Dave's 34th birthday! We celebrated early with his family with a barbecue and I brought the dessert - Whipped Cream Cake. It was a hit and so easy to make. My mom has been making it for years! The  next day we celebrated on his real birthday, just him and me. We went to dinner at Sidedoor and had our favorite $2 Pastrami Sliders and drinks. A birthday on a budget but still fun!

Here's the Whipped Cream Cake recipe from my mom's Joy of Baking cookbook with a few changes: 

*Preheat oven to 350 degrees. 
*Sift 2 cups of cake flour before measuring
*Resift twice with 2 3/4 teaspoons double-acting baking powder and 3/4 teaspoon salt
*Whip until stiff 1 cup whipping cream
*Fold 1 1/3 cups powdered sugar into the cream and add 1/2 cup water and 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla gradually, stirring gently until smooth
*Whip 3 egg whites until stiff but not dry
*Combine the cream and the egg whites. Fold the sifted ingredients into the cream mixture, about 1/2 at a time. Bake in a bundt pan for 25-30 minutes.
*For the frosting, I just use the basic butter-cream frosting on the back of the powdered sugar bag. You'll have extra frosting which always great for dipping graham crackers in. Yum.

That's it, super simple and delish!

Monday, September 3, 2012

mom's bday

The long weekend has been a great time catching up with girlfriends and my family. My mom's birthday was earlier in the week while they were at their cabin, so yesterday, I was cooking up a storm making my mom the annual tradition of German Chocolate Cake. I decided to make brunch as well and it just so happens, that Cupcakes and Cashmere recently did a post on Pancetta and Caramelized Onion Quiche that looked amazing, so I tried it out. Everyone loved it so I'll definitely be making it again (my dad ate three slices!). Highly recommend it and it really is easy!

Cooking up the frosting - my fave part of the cake

Frosting is done!

Pancetta and Caramelized Onion Quiche

Brunch time!