Monday, May 30, 2011

Weekly Menu 5/30/11 – 6/5/11


Monday 5/30 – BBQ at a friend’s house

Tuesday 5/31 – Creamy Chicken Taquitos (didn’t make them from last week)

Wednesday 6/1 – Turkey Stuffed Peppers

Thursday 6/2 – English Muffin Pizzas

Friday 6/3 - Western Omelet Potato Skins (trying recipe from

Saturday 6/4- Drop Biscuit Chicken Pot Pie

Sunday 6/5 - Spaghetti with Sauteed Chicken and Grape Tomatos – trying recipe from


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Cherry Cola Cupcakes

Super easy recipe…

Pour a can of diet cherry coke into a large mixing bowl.  Add a box of chocolate cake mix.  Add an egg white or two to help everything bind.  Mix according to box directions.  Pour into cupcake liners.  Bake for about 15-20 minutes at 350 degrees.


They’re so good you don’t even need to frost them.  I made a batch of these for work and did add a little cream cheese frosting and a maraschino cherry on top for decoration (they were the only cherries I could find in the store…weird).  The cake itself has just a hint of cherry, definitely not overpowering.

Yes, I know they’re still not “GOOD” for you.  But they’re lower cal compared to making the mix with the normal oil required, so it’s good enough for me.  I honestly like the diet soda mixes better, because they make the cake so moist (ugh I hate that word)…let’s use fluffy and light instead :) 

Check out Grin and Bake It, as this is where I got the inspiration to make these lovely cakes!


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Inspiration – Summer Desserts

How cute are these?!

image  source via FoodGawker

They are Mini Mexican Wedding Fruit Pizzas – love how  petite they are!  It’s a nice way to do something more original than just a fruit salad or platter.  Go over to Cooking al[a] Mel for the recipe and more pictures.  She also included a great list of other finger foods to make, as the fruit pizzas were for a bridal shower.  I can’t wait to try making these for a future party.


Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Missing Mexico

Sorry for the lack of posts lately…been very busy and also got a nasty cold that knocked me on my butt for a week.  I haven’t been sick with a cold for over a year and of course I come down with one days before we supposed to leave for vacation.  Luckily I was feeling almost 100% normal by the time we left, but my ears did have some issues with refusing to pop while we were on the plane. 

But my sinuses seemed to dry right up once we got to our fabulous resort in sunny MEXICO!  It was a great week – amazing food, very welcoming staff, fun excursions and overall a relaxing time to celebrate our one year anniversary.  I’ll do a longer post later on, but here’s a sneak peek of our vacation:

May 22 109Starting the morning off right with a Coco Loco at the swim-up bar

May 22 146  Our room’s entrance was on the right…we had an awesome view of the beach

May 22 124Anniversary dessert

May 22 181Excursion to Tulum

May 22 158 That’s about all the color I got…gotta love having fair skin prone to sunburn

Of course we are very sad to be back, though, I did miss cuddling with the kitties.   There was actually a cat at the resort that snuck onto the porch outside of the Italian restaurant we ate dinner at the last night before we left.  She was cute but very scrawny, which made my heart break a little.  She loved attention and was waiting for everyone to share some table scraps.  I should have a taken a picture of her.

Worse part about coming back...getting used to counting calories again.  Ugh I gained 5.1 pounds in 7 days!  Very discouraging, but I knew it was going to happen because of all those damn mudslides I enjoyed at the bar.  I’m hoping that going back to a normal, low-cal diet will help shed them quickly this week as I was halfway to my weight loss goal right before we left.  And this is also the reason why you may be wondering why we’re eating so much chicken lately on the Weekly Menus :) 


Sunday, May 22, 2011

Weekly Menu 5/23/11-5/29/11


Monday 5/23 – Buffalo Chicken Wraps

Tuesday 5/24 – Chicken Cordon Bleu (trying recipe from

Wednesday 5/25– Strawberry Shortcakes

Thursday 5/26 - Tomato Mozzarella Pizza (trying recipe from Cooking Light)

Friday 5/27 - Parmesan-Crusted Chicken Tenders w/honey mustard dipping sauce

Saturday 5/28 -Turkey Burgers with Cranberry Mayo

Sunday 5/29 – Creamy Chicken Taquitos


Monday, May 9, 2011

A Maine Wedding: Getting Ready at the Spa

I woke up very early Saturday morning after getting hardly any sleep.  My stomach was doing flips and I remember taking a couple Pepto tablets to see if it would help me calm down before I jumped in the shower.  I didn’t need to do much to get ready, since I was going to get my hair and makeup done at a nearby day spa.  My girls and I headed down to get breakfast in the main house of the inn before, and I made myself eat some toast and fruit but definitely didn’t overdo it.  We took a couple group pictures before leaving and this became one of my favorites from the entire weekend: 


I found those zip-down hoodies on early last Spring - pretty sure they were only $15 a piece.  I know a lot of brides tend to do monogrammed or initialed hoodies or robes for their girls to wear the day of, but I didn’t want these to be personalized at all.  I really wanted something that my girls could wear again in the future, so they were left plain.  I still wear my white one since I never personalized it.

We finished breakfast and headed to my car in the parking lot.  Since hubby had my car overnight, one of the groomsmen had to follow him to the inn early that AM so they could leave my car before they went to eat brunch at a small diner in town.  Hubby left me some flowers and a wedding day card in the front seat, which made me a little teary but I held it together.  Is it bad that I never had time to give him my card until we drove home the day after the wedding?  Oh well – he’s not really into cards anyways, I guess it’s just a girl thing :)


Anyways, we headed to the salon in Portsmouth, NH, which was only about 20 minutes from York.  I highly recommend the Portsmouth Spa – all the staff there are very welcoming, friendly and attentive, and they are pretty reasonable with prices.  I got my hair and make-up trial done about a month prior to the wedding, and then me and two of my girls had our nails done earlier in the day before the rehearsal.  There were two stylists for our group of five and then also a make-up artist who did my make-up and for two of the girls.  We got there a little before 11 and were all done by 2. 

I knew pretty early on in the planning that I was going to grow my hair out to do a half up/half down hairstyle.  I have curly hair and wanted to to show it off the day of, but I also didn’t want anything in my face as I was planning on dancing all night at the reception.  I was SO happy with how my hair came out.  The curls lasted all day and held up very well. 


Lots and lots of curls!  I kinda miss my long hair but it was so high-maintenance being that length.  Took lots of gel to control all that!


I made a hair flower from a rose I found at Michael’s.  I took apart the flower and left out the stem that connected it, and then glued the petals back together so they laid flat.  I added a clip to the back and then some pearls and crystals to the front for the center.  Probably cost me about $5 – definitely something I saved money on by DIYing  it myself.

I was also pleased with the outcome for my make-up.  She really highlighted my best features and it looked very much like me, but just a little more done than normal.  The make-up held up pretty well, though my face did get a little shiny about halfway during the reception.  I had bought oil-blotting sheets but totally forgot to use them later in the night.



I didn’t give my girls too much restriction with how they wanted to do their hair.  They all ended up with some sort of curly updo, but each one was different enough so they didn’t look like clones.  My sister insisted a getting a little poof just like Snooki, but it wasn’t too over the top. 


Right before we left, the finishing touch got put into place…my veil!  The veil I wore was actually my “Something Borrowed” as it was Bridesmaid J’s veil that she wore for her wedding.  It was the perfect length and had a beaded edging which is exactly what I was looking for.  The minute the stylist put the veil in, I had to fight back tears so hard.  It was finally becoming real!


And here we are, all done up:


I had calmed down a little by this point, but now I was getting concerned with if we would have time to set up all the reception stuff once we got back to the inn.  Next up…a slight meltdown before I get dressed!


Saturday, May 7, 2011

Inspiration – Outdoor Spaces

Totally want this when we have a real backyard.  Then we can pretend we’re in Mexico all the time:


Thursday, May 5, 2011

A Maine Wedding: Our Day in Photos

A handful of my favorite photos from our wedding day…

ProfWeddingPictures 168

ProfWeddingPictures 222   ProfWeddingPictures 200

ProfWeddingPictures 334

ProfWeddingPictures 367

ProfWeddingPictures 395

ProfWeddingPictures 406

ProfWeddingPictures 460

 ProfWeddingPictures 495

ProfWeddingPictures 017 ProfWeddingPictures 044

ProfWeddingPictu 124 ProfWeddingPictures 230      ProfWeddingPictu 313

ProfWeddingPictures 420


All photos courtesy of Clare Norton Photography



Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Recipe Review – Lasagna Roll-Ups

I’ll be honest, I’m not a huge fan of lasagna.  I didn’t like it when I was younger because I thought the ricotta cheese was a weird flavor and the overall texture just did not excite me.  On a side note, I used to really hate cheese when I was little.  I hated it so much I would make my mom order pizzas with just sauce on them.  Yup, I was pretty picky.  Now I can’t get enough of cheese – I put it on everythinggggg.  I’ve had to be careful about that lately when watching my calories.

I have been wanting to try a lasagna recipe since I know it’s one of Hubby’s favorite dishes.  I found this recipe on Budget Bytes for lasagna roll-ups and thought it would be perfect to make on a weekend.  The picture below is a little messy because of all the sauce, but hopefully you get the idea.


These are not my absolute favorite meal, but they’re still pretty damn good.   I had two and I was completely stuffed.  Best part – having 2 roll-ups was just under 500 calories so it wasn’t too bad for a very filling dinner. 

Since Hubby doesn’t believe in eating veggies, I made the cheese mixture without the spinach that the recipe recommends to add in.  I told some of my co-workers about this recipe and they didn’t think you would be able to taste the spinach mixed in with ricotta, but I don’t know if I would risk it.  I used fat free ricotta cheese and egg whites to make it slightly more healthy.  Next time I definitely will not boil an entire package of noodles.  For 2 people, I probably only needed to boil 7 or 8 noodles, as they suggest boiling a couple extra in case they break during the process.  For the amount of cheese mixture, I was able to fill about 10 noodles completely. 

This is definitely a weekend meal as they take some time to put together and then bake, but I will be making them again for sure.  I would give this recipe an 8/10. 


Tuesday, May 3, 2011

A Maine Wedding: Rehearsal Dinner

Not much to say about the rehearsal dinner except we had good food, my hubby gave a very thoughtful speech thanking everyone, and we ended the night by giving gifts to our wedding party.  I ate just a little as I didn’t want my stomach to be upset all night, but everyone else said the food was pretty flavorful.

The restaurant we had the dinner at let us make a smaller menu for our guests to choose from – here’s a copy of the menu I made up.  This was printed on white cardstock and then glued to another layer of teal cardstock.  This is my Publisher file as I don’t have an actual picture of the menu…the quality is not great but you get the idea :)


For the dinner invitations, I wanted to do something baseball related as we both enjoying watching the Boston Red Sox and going to games.  I made a ticket on Microsoft Publisher, printed them on white cardstock and then pasted them onto a red piece of cardstock.  They were cute and easy to put together and our guests loved the baseball theme.  They were the size of an actual ticket, but a little wider to fit all the information.



And now some pictures from the actual dinner…


 rehearsaldinner3 rehearsaldinner4


rehearsaldinner6  rehearsaldinnerspeech

After everyone was finished eating, we gave gifts to our wedding party.  For the guys, we gave them a medium-sized duffel bag and included a bottle of their favorite alcohol and a customized flask.  For the girls, I designed the tote bags shown in the picture below on VistaPrint.  Inside the tote was a jewelry box that included their wedding day jewelry I made.  I also gave them a little silver makeup bag filled with some travel-sized things.  A white pashima was included in case it was cold on the wedding day, so we would all have something matching to wear over our dresses, and silver flip-flops for dancing at the reception were also in the bag.  The other gifts not included in the totes were their wedding shoes and I also paid for their hair styles the day of.


After the rehearsal dinner, Hubby went his separate way to the other hotel that him and some of the wedding party were staying at.  I went back to the inn with my girls, hung out for bit, and then organized all my name cards, menus, table names and other projects.  It was pouring outside and I remember hearing the rain pounding on the roof, which made me more and more nervous.  I hardly slept that night, as I had to pee every hour and my stomach was doing flips.  It was like being excited for the first day of school x 1000.  I know that Hubby wanted the tradition of staying in separate rooms the night before but I really wished we just stayed together as I was a nervous wreck and I think staying with him would have helped me actually sleep.  My advice would be sometimes it’s better to ignore traditions and just do your own thing :)  Oh well!

Next up…our day recapped in photos!