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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

One of the things we really made room for in our budget for our wedding was a videographer. At first I didn't think to even get one, thinking you hardly ever watch your "wedding video".
My amazing sister in law, Sarah has been in so many weddings, and one day I saw a reel she was tagged in as a bridesmaid. I instantly knew I wanted this!

Terrence Lighten did an absolutely amazing job. It was worth every penny.
Enjoy!




Our wedding highlight reel

from Lighten Films - 702.266.6226 on Vimeo.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Guest Blogger: Eden Sherman Attempts Cakepops

Hi all,
My best friend Eden was deliberating buying a cake for a birthday dinner. I told her to bake one and she laughed at me. I then realized she could make cake pops, as they are truly not that difficult! I wrote her an "idiot-proof cake pops for my bff" word document, and was excited to see the results. Below is Eden's post about her cake pop making journey. Enjoy!


(me and eden in the limo home from my wedding - I was already in my change-out dress)

Cake Pops 101: For the baking-challenged.

Yesterday, I decided to take a stab at making some cake pops, at the suggestion of my BFF Avigail (aka Aggy) for a special someone's birthday.  Who makes boring cakes these days anyway? Armed with mental images of the beautiful (and probably professional) examples I found on Pinterest and my How-To Guide that Avigail wrote especially for me, I was ready to go.

I went to Michael's after work to pick up the supplies. I must know myself pretty well because I went back in after I made my initial purchase to grab another bag of candy melts, just in case. (these became necessary later on as you will soon read)

Here are the ingredients I used:

1 box of Betty Crocker Triple Fudge cake mix
1/2 container of Betty Crocker Whipped Buttercream Frosting
3 bags of Wilton's Candy Melts
1 vial of Wilton's tinting nonsense in "royal blue" 
1 bag of Cookie Sticks (aka lollipop sticks- I didn't do their marketing, trust me)


Take a good look at this nice and neat picture, because it's about to get really messy really fast...





















First, I baked the cake according to the directions on the back of the box. Simple enough, right? Not so much...turns out we only had JUMBO eggs in my house, and I'm pretty sure at least one of the 3 I used was a double-yoker. Oh well...in the oven it goes! After a solid 35 minutes at 325F and a brief scare that the cake was going to outgrow its pan, I did the old toothpick test. Let's just say the cake failed miserably. After another 15 minutes, it was finally done. Avigail had suggested that I take it out of the pan to let it cool, so I loosened it, and then flipped it upside down onto foil on the counter since I don't have any fancy cookie racks. (love you BFF) As Avigail pointed out, there was a nice chunk missing. Thank you non-stick spray!






















At this point, I'm already beginning to doubt my baking abilities. Brody agrees with this doubt and thinks I should just quit before I even really get started. Doesn't he look like he's thinking, " are you sure this is a good idea?"






















Meanwhile, Kona is more interested in the toys that I packed up for their weekend getaway at Best Friends. He's a smart boy, that Koki!





















Back in the kitchen, I let the cake cool while I showered. I came back downstairs and broke the cake up into pieces, put them in a mixing bowl and then added about half of the container of frosting to the bowl. Good thing I remembered to take off my rings first because I would have been picking chocolate cake and frosting out of them for the next year. I mixed the cake and frosting with my hands until it achieved a dough consistency. I would tell you what it resembled, but I will let you use your imagination because I'm supportive like that ;)











































After I let the dough harden in the fridge for an hour, I formed balls and put them onto a foil-lined cookie sheet and put them in the freezer to harden for another hour. When they had hardened, I inserted the sticks. 




























What happened next was a bit too messy for pictures, and my iPhone thanks me for not covering her in goo. I carefully read the instructions on the back of the bag of the candy melts, making sure I used a glass bowl to melt them in the microwave. Once the candy was completely melted, I attempted to darken the blue coloring of the candy by slowly adding in this highly concentrated gel. I figured the gel would be intense but I didn't think it would stain my fingers and cause some weird chemical reaction when mixed with the melts, to the point where the melted candy quickly hardened and became unusable. At this point, I was grateful for that extra bag I decided to get last minute. I realized that I would have to abandon my goal of creating a nice deep blue colored pop and instead settle for a shade of blue that bares a strong resemblance to baby shower decorations. Oh well...

I repeated the melting process of the candy and made sure to steer clear of the mutant gel. I then dipped the pops into the melted candy as best I could. I even tried to get a little fancy and added some sprinkles to a few. What resulted was some unfortunate-looking cake pops...






















Don't they look delicious? ;)

At this point, I was running low on the blue melts. But I still had a few cake pops to go, so I opened the last bag of candy melts (this one was white).  I melted the white candy per the instructions, but for some reason the white melts didn't want to cooperate and began to harden as soon as I took the bowl out of the microwave. This resulted in me speedily trying to dip the pops and smear the coating on them before it became unusable once again (fun times). 

Here's the second batch!






















I finally finished my creations at 12:30 am ( I started at 7pm). After wreaking havoc in the kitchen for a solid 5 hours, you would think I'd have these beautiful cake pops to present at tonight's birthday celebration. If anyone has a heart, they will still try one because after all, it's the thought that counts, right?!

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thankful (no pictures, copied from fb)

I am thankful for the values my parents gave me and my sister, and the fact that my husband shares those values - values of giving and welcoming. 

I am thankful for my best friends and the laughter they bring me. 

I am thankful for the iron dome. 

I am thankful for my allergy medicine that allows me to live with my
 dogs.

I am thankful for the Union for Reform Judaism that led us to go to a gay Jewish wedding last night - "she-hechyanu at a whole new level".

I am thankful for the fact that my family is healthy and safe, for the love they give me, and for all my new family that I gained this year.

At this very moment, I am thankful for the healthy cooking habits my mother taught me, and that I was able to evade them today and put an entire stick of brown butter in the stuffing!





Menu and pictures another time. 

Monday, November 12, 2012

Creative things to do with kids (for the future) and a meager catch up

I just saw this pin on pinterest:



I remember my mother was SO creative with us. I need to ask her for ideas. I hope that when we have babies I won't just get so completely overwhelmed and forget these ideas by the time our kids are old enough for them.


Some I am adding:
-surprise them with an indoor picnic
-send them on a scavenger hunt
-cut their food into fun shapes
-put all toys in storage except 10, cover the rest in wrapping paper, and once a month they get "present day", plus they can earn extra present days. Don't forget to put the old toys back into the rotation!
-have a s'more night
-go camping in the living room (my sister and I used to love doing this!)

In other news, I haven't posted in over a month. I've been really bad since summer. Stupid military base with poor internet got me into some poor blogging habits.

Lots of recipes and wedding details coming soon!

Also - look at this amazing website my sister-in-law Sarah sent me! I want to make a million, or one for each season, or at least just one iPhone 5 cover.

New How I Met Your Mother in 2 minutes.

I leave you with a few of my favorite pictures from lately: (ps, I decided to only post 10, but I have so much to catch you all up on, not even including the wedding!)

This morning - how could I drag myself out with these two cuddle bugs? Yes, I did get in trouble by Charlie for having the dogs upstairs.
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Charlie in Baghdad in 2007 - Happy Veterans Day to my favorite Veteran!
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Dinner the other night - I love our wedding serve ware!!!! The chicken is a pomegranate chicken that I tried to copy from Market Grille Cafe - it was pretty good but not yet perfect.
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Clara playing with the "Daddy Bear" at our house. She said "the bear is going to work", how cute.
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I'm wearing a Lee scarf! So warm and stylish
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Katy and her bff Maya Marie (Katy gave my dog a middle name)
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Shredded brussel sprouts salad, recipe to come!
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Charlie and Jeff with Grant and Todd (Charlie had just shaved his head)
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Texting Sarah (my gym buddy) during balletone, such a good class.
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AH there is another one I want to post but that's enough.

HIMYM wooo!

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Green smoothie - weight loss trick

Disclaimer! Does not taste green! Even Charlie drank one yesterday!!!!

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Hello. Do you love my no make up puffy eyed look? Gotta love allergy season.

On a non-sarcastic note do you like my pink polka dot straw???? Aunt Nancy got them for me from Sur La Table!

Every day I've been eating one of these for lunch. They're always a little different. For example, I used canned pineapple today but yesterday I used a tropical frozen fruit mix from Costco. You can really use anything.

Basic Recipe:
-1 cup of canned pineapple chunks with juice (not syrups) *note* you can really use 1 cup of frozen, canned, or fresh fruit of any kind.
-1 cup of unsweetened vanilla almond milk or coconut milk (the carton not the can)
-1/2 cup nonfat plain yogurt (greek or regular)
-1 frozen banana, cut into slices (tip, peel and slice your bananas before freezing them in ziplock bags)
-2 cups fresh spinach

Directions:
1. Blend everything.
2. Put in a cute straw
3. Drink!
























Sometimes I'll add a tbs or so of chia seeds. Today I didn't.

Enjoy!


(ps - that's the same picture, I just took out my make-up-less puffy eyed face!)

Some wedding preparations

We are taking dance lessons. Of course Charlie wants to learn how to throw me in the air. We settled for dirty dancing at the end of the lesson.





I'm also losing weight. How, you ask? Well, I don't eat breakfast, and I have a green smoothie (will post recipe next) for lunch, and then a big dinner. Yes, I know, you're not supposed to do that, I have it opposite. I've tried that. Doesn't work for me. But I've lost weight! Woooo! 

In the mail today was my PJ library book of the month "Room for the baby". I think PJ Library is giving me a hint.

Look what Birdie "scent" me!!!! She's the best, miss you and baby!
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Oh what's that? a scentsy BRICK the size of my computer. In love.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Mom's "meat" turkey sauce

Craving: a healthy "meat sauce"

My mom is a great cook. She's really the reason I know how to cook. My whole life my parents were always diet conscious. Not diet as in, "I'm on a diet" but diet as in, "we eat a healthy and balanced diet."

I've spoken before that we always, always, always have a few vegetables and salads with meals, and rarely have red meat. Add to that the fact that my dad doesn't eat cheese - the true story is that when he was a kid his parents took him to a cheese factory and it stunk so bad, he's never been able to eat cheese. He is weird about it - if something is too "creamy" but doesn't actually have cheese, he still can't handle it, but he can have certain types of cheese like if ricotta is in a pastry, or the rolls at Red Lobster. Until he KNEW that there was cheese in them, he would gobble them up. Now he knows and he can't do it anymore.

What was I talking about? Oh yeah, my dad doesn't eat cheese, so we never had that added fat in our diets. Now I am a cheese lover and I have found that if I keep good quality fatty cheeses, I can satisfy a craving with one bite and move on.

What was I talking about..????? Oh yeah, healthy cooking....mom's "meat" sauce. Sheesh, sorry for the digression!

Well, mom would always make these healthy dishes. Before I went to college she decided I should know how to make her sauce, and only then did I realize it was lean ground turkey, and not beef! I have since added a couple ingredients to this recipe that I think make it even meatier! Red wine and worcester sauce.  The next time I make it, I am going to soak some dehydrated shitakes, and then grind them up in my food processor and add them in. I have heard this gives it great meaty flavor, without making it taste like mushrooms actually!

Okay so this recipe was made back in Alabama at Sarah's house (Charlie's sister).

Ingredients:
-about 2-2.5 pounds of lean or extra lean (I used a combination) ground turkey.
*note: lean is 97% fat free, extra lean is 99% fat free. You can use 93% fat free if you want but I have really found that the lean and extra lean work great.*
-olive oil (regular vegetable oil is fine for this recipe though)
-1 large onion, or 2 small onions

-2 tsp minced garlic

-salt and pepper to season
-1 big jar of tomato sauce
-1/3 cup red wine
-1.5 tbs worcester sauce
-1 tbs ketchup

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Directions:
1. Chop your onion and sautee it on medium heat. Add salt to cover it. Then add garlic.
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2. Once your onion has softened significantly (about 5 minutes), add the turkey. Break up the turkey with a wooden spoon so it cooks up ground.
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*Most recipes say to make sure that the turkey cooks all the way through before adding sauce. I have NEVER done it like this. I cook this for so long to let the flavors meld that I know the turkey is cooked through.*

3. Add the worcester sauce, then the jar of tomato sauce right after all the turkey is broken up, mix it all in together.

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4. Add ketchup and wine. Keep stirring until it all is incorporated well together.
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5. Cook it for about an hour on low, mixing every so often.

I forgot to take a picture of the final product. I think we ate it all!

Serve over pasta, by itself, with beans, or however you want! In college I used to make big batches and freeze them.

Homemade Jewelry Cleaner

Craving: Something sparkly! Diamonds are a girls best friend.

After posting that craving, I am realizing that dogs are actually a girls best friends. But they aren't sparkly. Unless you count their eyes when you take pictures of them and they get all glowy!

I forgot my jewelry cleaner while I was in Alabama.

I LOVE my ring. LOVE it. Charlie got me the exact ring that I always dreamed of, and went beyond any expectations I could ever have in terms of quality etc. With that in mind, I do actually try to clean it as often as I can remember!

Usually with all the cooking and dishes I do, I remember to clean it frequently. I also try to remember to take it off when I put hair cream in or lotion/moisturizer on, but sometimes I forget.

While I was staying with Charlie's sister Sarah, I asked if she had any cleaner and she did not, so while she was at work I decided to put pinterest to some good use.

I totally forgot to take a before picture!

Ingredients:
1 cup of hot water
1 tbs salt
1 tbs baking soda
1 tbs dish soap
dirty ring

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Let it soak in for a few minutes:
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(I wear my grandmother's band, which is why there are two rings in there).

When it's finished, you can clean it off with a clean toothbrush or tinfoil, or you can just rinse it off with hot water.
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The result:
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Not the shiniest the ring has ever been, but pretty clean, especially compared to what it was!!!

I definitely recommend just getting jewelry cleaner (in fact, most jewelry stores will give it to you for free).  I usually take my rings off when I shower, and then when I'm finished applying all my lotions etc, the ring is good to go.

Engagement Pictures

Craving: something to check off the wedding to-do list!

Back in February, Charlie got me my dream present for Valentines Day, a Canon Rebel.
AMAZING. I love that I can take professional looking photographs now. Sadly, most of my blog pics are still from my phone, just because I always have it with me.

Our good friend, Ryan Malone, is our wedding photographer, but it was already July 4th and we did not have our engagement pictures. I started getting nervous and decided to ask Charlie's Uncle Will to snap some of us at the family Lake House.

My instructions for Uncle Will? "Just keep clicking, take pictures the whole time."

My instructions for me and Charlie?
1. Look online at engagement pictures and see what you like.
2. Have a beer. Or two. (seriously, this helped us).

There were SO many pictures. SO many. It was so hard to choose a few good ones. Uncle Will did such a great job, Thank you!!!

Here are some of my favorites:
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Yes I know the photoshop on that is kinda overdone w/the sepia etc, but I love it!!! We actually chose that picture for our ketubah (Jewish marriage contract), and are having the text that we sign printed over the picture ( I used photoshop to do it, easy-peasy if anybody wants it done), and then we had it printed on a canvas from Sam's Club. Sam's and Costco both do canvas prints and it's much cheaper than going off of etsy.

After our engagement pics (and the two beers) we decided to jump off the dock. Dressed. Two beers in I was still clear enough to realize to change out of my silk shirt and put on a swim top!
Enjoy us jumping in!

I changed out of my silk shirt for the jump

Ready???

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Set....


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Go!

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The really funny pictures come next when we jumped in again. I guess when I jumped in the first time my swim suit top fell a bit from the impact. Well on my second jump in, you can see that my hands are....supporting myself, shall we say, the WHOLE WAY DOWN! Hahaha. I didn't even realize I did that, but only Charlie gets to see my girls :-)

Back to July: "I want an apple for my birthday"

Craving: Catching up on the blog! Expect many posts and recipes coming soon.

No idea why I fell off the blogging bandwagon. I have replaced it with scentsy and wreath making. And working out - been working out a lot! Wedding weight goal - I will do it!

Back in July I turned 24 again (for the 4th year in a row).

As you all remember, Charlie and I were living in a hotel room for 2 months this summer. We were staying on base, and stores are closed on Mondays on military bases. We got back from a weekend away and it was too late to get some fruit. Then my birthday was on a Monday and all I wanted was an apple. Starting Sunday night, I just wanted that darn apple!

Monday morning Charlie came into the room during one of his breaks and when I came back in this is what I found:
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Mmmmm coke zero. That was a buritto big enough for 3 of me, but I think I probably ate it all considering how much I weighed when I came back from AL, hahaha! (Okay in reality, my AL weight gain was not that drastic, and I attribute it to lays bbq chips).

Well, I opened my present, and it wasn't an apple, but an apple!!!!
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I was in TOTAL shock. I had needed a new computer for forever, and was seriously not expecting it. It was actually from my parents and Charlie, and it's been phenomenal in wedding planning etc.

I have the best family in the world. Thanks Charlie and Ima/Aba.


Two recipes coming soon!

Monday, August 27, 2012

Savta Brownies, aka the best brownies you will ever have

Cravings: some cooler weather, enough August!

Hi all,
I thought maybe I would bookend the month of August with some blog posts seeing as I went from posting once or twice a day to 0. I got some inspiration today though.

While in Alabama, I got to spend some great time with lots of Charlie's family. Uncle Jim is his mom's youngest brother, and I got especially close to his two daughters Jessica and Samantha. We even have a  picture up on our fridge right now that Samantha drew for us (she is 6 years old, despite Charlie thinking she's 2). This has led to many jokes of walking toddlers being "2 weeks old" etc. Funnier if you're there for it.

Anyway, while visiting them in Auburn one weekend back in July, I asked Jessie if she wanted to bake some brownies. She ran to get a box mix and I told her she didn't know me well enough yet. After making this batch a couple of times over a few visits (sometimes with butter and sometimes with vegetable oil), I hope Jessie will never make boxed brownies again!!

My grandma is one of the best cooks I know, and she is famous for her "oogiot savta" (grandma cookies, little hard round butter cookies with ground almonds as their base), and her decadent brownies. She used to put walnuts in them but stopped a few years ago when one of my cousin's husband disclosed he was allergic. I like them both ways.

Now the debate: My grandma eats these freezing cold. Literally - she freezes them, and lets them sit out just long enough to thaw so they don't break your teeth. I'll take my beer cold, but my brownies hot, thank you very much!


Ingredients:
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-4 eggs
-2 cups sugar
-4 ounces butter
-4 tbs cocoa powder
-1 cup flour
-2 tsp vanilla
-1 tsp instant coffee
- tbs liquer (originally the recipe called for brandy but in auburn alabama at 9 pm we only found some baileys - it worked)

Jessie really wanted to crack the eggs separately (which is a smart thing to do to ensure no shell gets in the batter).
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Directions.
1. Melt your butter and cocoa together in the microwave
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2. Measure your sugar and eggs and put in a stand mixer (hand mixer would work find too)
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Beat sugar and eggs together and add in the butter/cocoa mixture:
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3. Add in the baileys, vanilla, and coffee - mix until combined.
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4. Slowly add the flour in and mix until combined.
5. Pour into a baking dish, and let settle for about 10 minutes before baking.
6. Bake at 350 for about 25 minutes. Let cool (if you can resist), cut them into squares, and enjoy.

The brownies come out fudgy, almost as if they are slightly under-cooked.

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Yummmmmm. I want some now.

By the way, after you make them, refrigerate in an airtight container, and they last for a really long time. You can freeze them as well, but unlike my grandma, I recommend you nuke them before eating them from the freezer.