Sunday, July 31, 2011

Cuteness?! Watermelon Shark

In honor of Shark Week on the Discovery Channel, here is something random I found last week via Be Different…Act Normal:

I particularly enjoy the scattered Swedish Fish…can’t go wrong with those.  You can find out exactly how to carve this scary shark at the National Watermelon Promotion Board website.  They also have a lot of other carving and entertainment ideas.  Who knew that watermelons have their own official site?!


Friday, July 29, 2011

It’s Friday…let’s have a drink!

We are continuing with Wedding Season 2011 and are heading to a wedding later this afternoon.  I decided to take the day off of work to enjoy a long weekend, so of course I slept in a little this morning.  I wake up, turn on the TV and am right in the middle of a Jersey Shore marathon.  I have no shame admitting I watch this show religiously as it’s SUCH a train wreck.  You just can’t look anyway.  Anyways, the Jersey Shore-ers inspired me to do a “It’s Friday…let’s have a drink” post as I haven’t done one in foreverrrr.

My go to drink at weddings?  Rum and coke.  However, sometimes you can get lucky and they’ll have Stoli Blueberry at the bar.  If that’s the case, definitely go for that instead and ask for the blueberry vodka to be mixed with Sprite or ginger ale.  It’s a very light, summery drink and since it’s not too sweet, you shouldn’t be feeling sick later on :)  Trust me, it does not disappoint!

image source


HOORAY WEEKEND!  Never been so happy to see you before…


Thursday, July 28, 2011

Recipe - Easy Spice Cake

Wow, I am SO behind on some recipe reviews.  This cake was something I made for an Easter dessert a few months ago:

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I did want to share this, though, because it’s incredibly easy to make.  Mix a box of spice mix, can of diet root beer, 1 cup of shredded carrots, 2 egg whites, and a couple teaspoons of cinnamon and nutmeg according to the cake box directions, and then pop in the oven for about 25 minutes or until a toothpick comes out clean.

For the icing, I mixed 8 oz. of reduced fat cream cheese with 1 cup of powdered sugar.  It should be slight runny, which is good so it’s more of glaze than a frosting.  After icing the cakes, I sprinkled some nutmeg and cinnamon on top. 

This cake has the perfect amount of spice and is incredibly moist because of using the diet soda method.  Enjoy!


Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Fourth Month – Losing It!

It’s the 27th of the month, which means it’s time to do my monthly recap for weight loss.  I didn’t have a huge loss this month which is disappointing, but at the same time I’m not surprised.  We had a lot of BBQ’s and dinner night outs in the past couple weeks and I definitely haven’t been exercising on a regular basis like I should.  From last month, I am down 3 pounds.  Ehhh…not great, but at least I didn’t gain anything.  Overall, I am down 23.6 pounds since March 27th.

A major positive, though – my favorite pair of black dress pants FINALLY fit.  I haven’t been able to wear these things in like 2 years.  It was such a good feeling to put them on last night to see how they were fitting and have absolutely no problem buttoning them up.  Very exciting to wear them to work today!  So at least my clothes are continuing to fit better if I’m not seeing major results on the scale right now.

Last weekend we went to a friend’s house for an annual summer party and everyone kept complimenting me, so it’s obvious the weight loss is showing now.  It’s definitely a motivator to keep going.  I told someone I still wanted to lose another 15-20 pounds and they were shocked.  I technically should probably lose closer to 30 based on the BMI for my height, but I’m being realistic and know I would miss my beer and carbs too much for that to happen :)

Things to focus on for next month:

  • Get my butt back in gear and on the treadmill
  • Actually use the exercise bands I bought at Target a couple weeks ago (yeah, they’re still in the package)
  • Try out some new recipes from my recently purchased cookbook:

image courtesy of

  • I’ve been eating enough fruits, but I really need to focus on getting enough veggies every day
  • I haven’t been drinking coffee in the AM, but I keep forgetting to drink water with my oatmeal at work so I need to remember to do that
  • Our office is moving to a new building and we’ll be on the 3rd floor, so I should start taking the stairs each day.

Let’s hope these little things can jumpstart my weight loss again –  the last thing I want right now is to hit a plateau!


Recipe Review – Stuffed French Toast Sundaes

Who doesn’t love breakfast for dinner?  I mean seriously, look at these:

Stuffed French Toast Sundaes

I made Stuffed French Toast Sundaes a long time ago, but I’m thinking I need to add this again to one of future menus soon as they were so tasty.  The inspiration for this breakfast for dinner meal was inspired from Yummy, Yummy in my Tummy, but it looks like it’s an original Cooking Light recipe. They were very easy to make, took only about 10 minutes to bake and are actually pretty filling despite their small size.  It’s a good meal to pair with a fruit salad.  The only thing I would change for next time is to add a bit more honey to the ricotta mixture so it’s a little sweeter.  Overall, I would give this an 8/10.


Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Maine Wedding: Let’s Get Dressed!

After the practice run-through of my vows, our officiant left and it was decided I should finally put on my dress :)  Our photographer snagged a few shots of the dress before I slipped it on:

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My favorite part was the beading on the bodice; it was intricate and sparkled in the light.

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There was matching beading on the edge of the dress, which I also adored. 

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I took a deep breath as it was sinking in this was finally happening…

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and then I took my dress with me into the bedroom of the suite and asked my sister and mom to come in to help me.  My photographer and videographer instructed me to not button the dress up, but just to step into in so I was at least covered in the front.  Smart idea for dressing around strangers in case you are modest!  Once the dress was on, Sista helped me get into my shoes and then I came back out so the official pictures could be captured.  Everyone took turns helping to button me up:

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And then I put on my Something New sapphire studs, and Bridesmaid J helped me put on my necklace:

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A few more adjustments were made and I was ready to go.  My Something Borrowed veil was in place, make-up was good, hair was perfect and the dress was finally on.  I remember saying “I’m locked and loaded” as I was touching my stomach, which I never felt so flat before because of my lovely dress boning and bustier :)

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Next up…a few bridal portraits before the ceremony.


Weekly Menu 7/25/11-7/


Monday 7/25 – Margherita Pizza

Tuesday 7/26 – Caesar Salad Wraps

Wednesday 7/27 – Creamy Chicken Taquitos

Thursday 7/28 – Western Omelet Potato Skins

Friday 7/29 – wedding in CT!

Saturday 7/30 – Chicken Burger’s from Trader Joe’s

Sunday 7/31 – Lasagna Roll-Ups


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Crossing Things Off the List

As we’re in the middle of summer now, I’m realizing I need to start focusing on my 101 in 1001 list.  I’ve completed 18 out of 101 goals so far and am in the middle of completing a few other ones.  I think we will be able to cross some of them off soon, like a few of the traveling ones and the wine tasting.  Maybe we can also do a day trip to Boston one weekend to visit the Museum of Science, though Sista went a couple weeks ago and she wasn’t that impressed with what the  museum had to offer.

I really should get moving on my first goal of reading 40 books – I’ve completed 2 so far since January, which is pretty unusual for me as I love to read.  However, I just ordered some more books on Amazon last week so I should be able to start reading on a more regular basis.  I finished The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand this morning.  I haven’t read any of her books before, but I was pretty satisfied with her style of writing.  Definitely a good beach read.  Target sells a lot of her books as the small paperback format so they’re only $7 bucks a piece, which means I may pick up her other titles up this week.  If anyone has suggestions for other light and easy summer novels, let me know!

image courtesy of

Some highlights of recent items we have completed:

Back in April we went to a Celtic’s game in Boston (#2) – this was my anniversary gift to Hubby as I found amazing seats.  Only 4 rows back from the hoop!  It was so different watching the game from that viewpoint and being up close.  Luckily they also won that night :)


In May, we traveled to Mexico to celebrate our official one year anniversary.  During that trip, we went snorkeling, which completed #18.  I’ll be honest, the snorkeling completely freaked me out at first and it took a while to adjust with breathing.  Once I got comfortable, I was okay and start to enjoy it until we swam out of the lagoon farther and farther into the rocky ocean waves.  Overall I’m glad I did the snorkeling trip but next time I think we’ll have to better clarify where they will exactly be taking us :)  We ended the trip with a short excursion into an underwater cave which was amazing.  Definitely the highlight of the day and I wish we could have spent more time in there.


Sista and I went blueberry picking last weekend so I did cross off  #81, even though the item was technically meant to pick the berries and then make jam using them afterwards.  Technically I made jam back in March so I decided it was okay to cross off the entire item after we finally went picking last week.  It’s way too hot to make jam right now anyway!  I’m thinking of making a crisp or some blueberry bars for a BBQ party next weekend.


I’ve realized some of my health goals are really hard to keep track off, as they’re pretty specific.  I’ve been doing much better with eating more fruits and veggies, but I don’t think I’m eating at least 3 every single day.  And I just don’t know if I’ll ever get to the point where I drink 3 or more glasses of water a day.  I may need to modify some of these goals…I guess since it’s my list I can do what I want :)


Weekly Menu 7/18/11-7/24/11

Monday 7/18– Hosting a Dinner Party!  Parmesan-Crusted Chicken, roasted potatoes, salad
Tuesday 7/19 - Taco Bowls (inspired by Come Together Kids)
Wednesday 7/20 – BLT Ranch Pizza
Thursday 7/21 – Chicken Parm Lettuce Wraps
Friday 7/22 - Sloppy Joe’s
Sunday 7/24 - Lighter Baked Mac & Cheese – trying recipe from

Sharing at: I Heart Naptime

Monday, July 11, 2011

Monday Musings

Still trying to find a frame to fill this with…


Download this FREE printable from Eighteen25 



Sunday, July 10, 2011

Weekly Menu 7/11/11-7/19/11


For one of my 101 in 1001 goals, I wanted to do a week where we made something on the grill each night for dinner…so Our Little Casita presents the “Week of Grilling”– all recipes courtesy of Hubby :)


Monday 7/11 – Bison Mexican burgers

Tuesday 7/12 – Pesto and Sundried Tomato Turkey Kabobs 

Wednesday 7/13 – Pomegranate and Bruschetta Grilled Chicken with Rice Pilaf 

Thursday 7/14 – Grilled Hawaiian Pizza

Friday 7/15 – Grilled Chicken Caesar Salad

Saturday 7/16 – BBQ at a friend’s house (still counts!)

Sunday 7/17 – Honey Mustard Glazed Steak with Roasted Potatoes


Sharing at: I Heart Naptime 


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Recipe – Mint Chocolate Oreo Cake

I made this cake awhile ago and just keep forgetting to post the recipe.  The cake uses the “diet” recipe concept, and the “frosting” is actually vanilla pudding mixed with some peppermint extract that’s colored a bright green for a minty hue.  Crush some Oreos, sprinkle on top, and you’re good to go!  It’s incredibly simple to put together – perfect for a last-minute party or occasion you need to bring a dessert to. 

Mint Chocolate Oreo Cake

I will be honest – I did not actually try the cake.  I made it for Hubby to bring to work when they did a potluck lunch and I left it in the pan it was baked in, so I didn’t even get to sneak a piece before I sent it off.  However, all his co-workers were raving about how good it was, and since there were no leftovers brought back home to me, I’m thinking that’s a good thing :)

Mint Chocolate Oreo Cake


  • Box of Devil’s Food cake mix
  • 1 can diet cola
  • 2 egg whites
  • 1 package Oreo cookies
  • 1 package fat-free vanilla pudding mix (5 minute kind)
  • 1  1/2 cups cold milk
  • 1-2 teaspoons pure peppermint extract (adjust to how strong you want the minty flavor)
  • 3-5 drops of green food coloring (adjust to how green you want the pudding to be)
  • Non-stick cooking spray

Let’s Get Baking!

  • Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees.  Spray the bottom and sides of a 9x13 pan generously with the non-stick spray.
  • In a large bowl, mix the cake mix, diet cola, and egg whites according to the cake box directions (usually on medium speed for 2 minutes).  Pour mix evenly into the greased pan.  Bake according to cake box directions (usually 25-30 minutes) or until a toothpick comes out clean.
  • While the cake is baking, whisk the pudding mix and milk together in a medium bowl until blended (usually about 2 minutes).  Put the pudding mix in the fridge to help it set.
  • After the cake is finished baking, let it cool for at least 20 minutes.  While waiting for the cake to cool, put about 2/3 of the package of Oreo cookies into a large ziplock bag.  Crush with a potato smasher, rolling pin, or your hands :)
  • Take the pudding out of the fridge, add the peppermint extract in and mix well.  You may need to add more depending upon how minty you would like the flavor to be.  Then add 3 drops of green food coloring to the pudding.  Mix well.  Again, you may need to add more drops if you would like the color a deeper green.
  • The pudding will be thick at this point (it should have been setting in the fridge for at least 25 minutes).  Using the back of a large spoon, spread the pudding over the top of the cake. 
  • Evenly sprinkle the crushed Oreos over the top of the cake.  Enjoy!

Mint Chocolate Oreo Cake2Mmm look at all those Oreos!


A couple notes - I made this cake the night before and I’m assuming the Oreos got a little soggy while chilling in the fridge on top of the pudding cake.  It may actually be better that they were softer, but that might be a change you would like to make.  You would just need to crush the Oreos ahead of time and then add them to the top right before serving.  Also, I left the cake in the pan after it cooled so it was easy for transportation and then the pudding could continue to set on the cake overnight.  Not the prettiest presentation option, so I think I would try baking this in a glass pan next time.

Sharing at: Tatertots & Jello, Be Different Act Normal, I Heart Naptime 


Thursday, July 7, 2011

A Maine Wedding – Pretty Details

Let’s see if I can finish these recaps by the end of the summer…that will be my new goal :)

After the mini fiasco with the room and inn owners, I was finally able to relax in the suite for a few moments.  I looked over to the dining table and saw the beautiful bouquets our florist created.  They were exactly what I was looking for – simple but so beautiful.  I’m a huge sucker for hydrangeas, so they were the main flower used in the bouquets.

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That above picture of my bouquet brings me right back to our wedding day – I vividly remember our photographer delicately moving it to the coffee table for some close-ups.  After checking out the flowers, I helped my bridesmaids with some finishing touches.  I made the necklaces and earrings for the girls so they were careful with putting everything on.

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Then our officiant stopped by to check in on me and also to do a quick run-through reading of the vows.  Good thing he came over to practice, as a sudden wave of emotion came over me when I tried repeating the vows after him.  I burst into tears and then immediately tried to stop so I wouldn’t ruin my make-up.  Cue ugly cry face and shaking of my hands to dry my tears:

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Luckily I made it through the rest of the vows, but I was successful in also making Bridesmaid A tear up :)  I think it just finally hit me – holy crap I am walking down the aisle and getting married today!

After the vow run-through, it was time to start getting ready.  My photographer took some more detail shots, including the jewelry I made that had tested out my skills a few months prior.  I have no idea how people make jewelry for a living – it takes so much patience.  Anyways, the close-ups of my necklace and bracelet:

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And then she moved on to some of my “Something Blue, Something Borrowed, Something Old and Something New” details.  I don’t have a picture from the wedding, but my something “old” was the diamond in my engagement ring, as it’s from my grandma’s engagement ring.  My something “new” were the sapphire studs Hubby had given me for the past Valentine’s Day. 

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I decided to save the earrings and not wear them until the wedding day.  Now I could have considered these my something “blue” as well, however, I had these pretty things to count for that instead:

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They were the perfect height for me, as I do NOT do heels.  I broke the shoes in by wearing them for a few days at work, so they were actually comfortable to wear for the majority of the day.  Though, I ended up switching to flip flops halfway through the reception because I will just always be a flip-flop girl. 

Next up…you will see my something “borrowed” detail as I finally put on the damn dress :)


(all photos courtesy of Clare Norton Photography except for the very first one)


Monday, July 4, 2011