Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Give Away!

Hi All!  Today I'm joining some fabulous bloggers in a $225 Kate Spade Giveaway!  I think we all know and love Kate Spade bags, shoes, and purses, but I'm a particularly big fan of KS Home wares (including my Wedding China as you know). Be sure to enter for your chance to win and find some great blogs along the way!


 Ashley ::::: Melyssa ::::: Lindsay ::::: Caroline ::::: Steph ::::: Allie ::::: Magen ::::: Kippy ::::: Kayla ::::: Paulina ::::: Sevi a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Restaurant Week

So Candied Spiced Bacon Pops happened...

That's a sure fire sign that RESTAURANT WEEK is here!  Only my favorite week of the year that doesn't involve gifts.  

My first stop was the Olive Cafe.  I've been dying to try it since they opened.  I had these bacon pops as my first course and let me just say, they did not disappoint.  Crisp-yet-chewy bacon, drizzled with a sweet maple-balsamic glaze and spiced just right - how could you go wrong?  I'm definitely going to attempt to reproduce these at home. 

We followed with truffled mac n cheese, ham and pimento cheese toasties, and a delightful pumpkin bar for dessert. 

Have you made any restaurant week stops? My vote is we turn this into Restaurant Month next time around! 

Monday, October 21, 2013

Tomato Soup

The crisp fall air has finally arrived!  With the fall chill comes my inspiration for those yummy, hearty transitional foods that carry us through winter.  I, of course, am extremely cold natured, so I could reasonably eat soup any day of the year.  Mike, however, refuses to eat soup if he is even the slightest bit warm.  This tomato soup is his absolute favorite, so after he excitedly declared yesterday that soup weather had arrived, I knew this recipe would be my first stop.

This soup could not be easier to put together. Sometimes I like to puree it (before I add the noodles of course), and sometimes I leave it chunky – you really can’t go wrong either way.  For something a little more decadent, try adding a splash of heavy cream and some chopped fresh basil.  Yum!

* 2 tbsp. olive oil
* 1 yellow onion, finely diced
* 2 garlic cloves, minced
* 1 (28 oz) can crushed tomatoes
* 32 oz (4 cups) chicken stock
* 1 c. ditalini, orzo, or star pasta
* salt, pepper
* parmesan cheese, for garnish

In a large pot or dutch oven, heat olive oil over medium heat and add onions.  Saute the onions for five minutes or so, until soft.  Add the garlic and saute one minute.  Add the tomatoes and chicken stock and season with salt and pepper.  Bring the soup to a boil, then reduce heat to medium low and simmer for 15 minutes or so.  Meanwhile, prepare the pasta according to package directions.  Add the cooked pasta to the soup and serve, garnished with Parmesan.  Enjoy!

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Halloween Decor

I must admit, I've never been particularly big on Halloween decor, but as it turns out, I am marrying a man who is nothing short of obsessed with Halloween.  I wish I were joking, but he actually wanted to wait until October 2014 to get married because next year, Halloween will be on a Friday.  I'm certain that he was envisioning an entire wedding party in costume. 

Of course, I had to burst that bubble, so instead I have accepted his enthusiastic holiday spirit as my own.  After all, if there's one thing I DO love, it's a themed party. 

Gourds are a fall staple and at about 50 cents a pop, they won't break the bank. 

Target is really in the spirit this year - they've organized all of their potentially 'dark' wines, like this Apothic Dark, and put them in the Halloween section so they're easy to find. I found the witch hat wine topper last year at Pottery Barn, hopefully they have more this year!

I'm also loving these wine labels I found in the dollar bins at Target - 4 for a dollar? Can't be that!

More from Target!  Loving these paper plates and napkins I found for my annual pumpkin carving party.

I loved this glass pumpkin candy jar, which reminded me of one my mom always had when I was little.  Try to act surprised- I found it at Target!

I just love a festive straw.  I found these at Sur la Table, though you can really find paper straws anywhere these days.

I made the mistake of taking Mike to Michael's with me (Halloween excitement overload), where he promptly found this door mat.  After a thirty minute debate, we chose this pattern!

Bails of hay are also adding to our outdoor decor.  We found these at a nursery in Ogden (along with the pumpkins - Roscoe was separate) and they were only $20 for 4 bails.

Now we wait!

Monday, October 14, 2013

Burrito Bowls

So here's the deal: I live dangerously close to Chipotle.  By close, I mean I could very easily walk, if I were into that sort of thing.

Now let me loop this in to my pre-wedding diet.  Weight Watchers is OK with Chipotle.  For a mere 13 points (reasonable amount for dinner), I can enjoy my absolute favorite: the burrito bowl..  That was until we met heavy-handed Kate (I don't actually know her name, but I've decided it's Kate).  Kate fills that burrito bowl with at least 4 pounds of food.  I would estimate 3 cups of rice, two full chicken breasts, and I don't even want to talk about the size of the spoon she uses for sour cream.  Mike gets so excited when Kate is working, last time I could actually feel his blood pressure rising when he saw another employee glove-ing up to start working the line. Thankfully, Kate swooped back in and made Mike's 30 pound burrito to his liking.We went home happy, incredibly full, and reaching for the extra large bottle of Tums.

At this point in the game (less than two months till the big day!), running into Heavy Handed Kate at Chipotle is just not a risk I can take. Instead, I decided to make these  lightened up, portion controlled at-home burrito bowls.  These will be a weeknight staple for me; they're fresh, so simple to put together, and incredibly flavorful.  I actually forgot to top these with cheese and neither of us even noticed.  Yum!

Ingredients (for two):
* 2 chicken Breasts
* 1/4 tsp. each: paprika, cumin, chili powder, garlic powder, onion powder, salt, pepper
* 2 c. brown rice, cooked (I love Trader Joe's frozen brown rice)
* 1 tsp. lime zest
* 1-2 tbsp. cilantro (depending on your preference)
* Garnishes, to taste: Romaine lettuce, pico style salsa, light sour cream, lime wedges, sliced avocado, shredded cheese

Preheat grill or grill pan to medium heat.  Combine all seasonings in a small bowl and rub generously on the chicken.  Grill until chicken is cooked through.  Meanwhile, prepare the rice by stirring in lime zest and cilantro.  Add to a bowl, add your garnishes of choice and top with sliced chicken.  Enjoy!

Monday, October 7, 2013

Chicken Enchilada Stuffed Shells

First things first, let me just say that I took probably 50 pictures of these stuffed shells.  Between the low light (days really are getting shorter around here) and brightly colored enchilada sauce, I just couldn't make them look as great as they tasted.  Regardless, I'm sharing them with you because they really were delish!

This recipe is super basic and couldn't be easier to put together.  I use the same method whether I'm making enchilada stuffed shells or traditional enchiladas in tortillas.  The chicken and onion can be cooked in the crock pot so it easily shreds, or you can grab a rotisserie chicken at the store and shred it yourself.  Next time I might try customizing the enchiladas with sauteed peppers or other veggies.

* 16 jumbo shells pasta
* 2 large chicken breast, cooked and shredded
* 1/2 white onion, finely diced
* 1 tsp. canola oil
* 2 c. enchilada sauce 
* 2 tbsp. sour cream
* 1 c. cheddar cheese or Mexican cheese blend, shredded

Preheat the oven to 400.  Prepare the pasta as directed.  When the pasta is done cooking, drain it and immediately stir in a few tablespoons of enchilada sauce to keep it from sticking together.  Meanwhile, heat a large skillet over medium heat and add the canola oil and onion.  Saute until the onion is soft, the add the chicken and 1/2 c. enchilada sauce.  Remove from heat and stir in sour cream.  Spray a small casserole dish (I used a 9x9) with cooking spray and pour 1/2 c. enchilada sauce in the pan.  To assemble the shells, add a heaping tablespoon of the chicken mixture to each shell place them in the pan.  Once the shells are assembled, pour another 1/2 - 1 c. (depending on how saucy you like it!) over the shells.  Top with cheese, cover with tin foil and bake for 25 minutes.  Remove the foil and continue to bake for 10 minutes, or until the cheese is brown and bubbly.  Enjoy!