Tuesday, January 15, 2019

Prosciutto and Pea salad

This is one of my favorite salads to make! Last week, Dan mentioned that it was also his favorite salad and asked if I could make extra for him to take for lunch. I'd call that a win!


Prosciutto and Pea salad
Serves 2 large portions, 4 small

Ingredients:
4 pieces of prosciutto
2 large handfuls of arugula or spinach
1/2 shallot (can use red onion)
1/2 cup peas
sprinkle of parmesan cheese
*I usually eyeball this recipe, so amounts may be slightly off.

Dressing ingredients:
1/3 Olive Oil
One Lemon juiced
1 tsp Dijon Mustard

Directions:
Heat oven to 350 degrees. Place prosciutto on baking sheet and bake for 8 minutes until crispy. Tear into pieces. Combine prosciutto, greens, chopped shallot, peas, and parmesan cheese. Toss with salad dressing. You will have plenty of dressing leftover.

Enjoy!

Monday, January 14, 2019

Snowman Cupcakes

These are the best chocolate cupcakes I've ever made. I've actually made them 3 times and am considering making a cake out of the same recipe. I just need an occasion. These cupcakes start out with a cake mix but with some special add- ins, they are so delicious and rich! 
 
I will preface this to say that this particular combination of cake, frosting and excess sprinkles might be a sugar overload for some. 
 
To make the cake, frosting and decorate the cupcakes does take time. If you want the snowman look but short on time, I would suggest just using a cake mix and pre-made frosting.
 
Snowman Cupcakes 
Cupcake Ingredients:
Original Recipe
  • 1 box chocolate cake mix
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup all purpose flour
  • 1/3 cup cocoa powder preferably dark cocoa powder
  • 1 cup water or cooled coffee (I used coffee
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 cup mini chocolate chips, optional.
  • 1 cup sour cream
Directions:
Heat oven to 325 degrees F. Line cupcake pans with cupcake liners. This recipe made 30 cupcakes for me.
 
In a large mixing bowl, combine cake mix, sugar, cocoa and flour. Mix to combine. Add in water, eggs, vanilla extract, mini chocolate chips if using, and sour cream to the dry ingredients and mix well using an electric mixer. Mix for approximately two minutes.
 
Scoop cupcake batter into cupcake liners. Batter should fill the cupcake liners about 2/3 of the way full. Place cupcakes in oven to bake for 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Allow to cool completely on cooling racks.
 
Once cooled completely, frost and decorate.

 Frosting Ingredients:
  • 4 cups powdered sugar
  • 4 Tbsp butter, softened
  • 4 Tbsp milk
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (clear is best for a truly white frosting)
 Directions:
Combine ingredients. Beat with mixer. Add additional milk if frosting is too thick.
 
Snowman Ingredients:
  • (snow) Sparkling white sprinkles, I used Wilton brand.
  • (eyes) Chocolate chips
  • (carrot nose) Orange M&M’s or Reece’s Pieces
  • (mouth) Mini chocolate chips
 

Monday, January 7, 2019

Celebrations

Roman turned 4 on December 22nd. We celebrated with a birthday party at Sky Zone with a few of his buddies. We went straight from the party to Christmas with Dan's family. We continued the week with more Christmas celebrations and time with my family as well.
 
 Roman is really into the Transformers Rescue Bots.





Cute snowman gift wrapping my in-laws did this year!

My in-laws and nieces with Roman and their snowmen presents

Baking cookies

 Roman ended up with a 24 hour fever that kept us from Christmas Eve mass and celebrations, but he was all better by Christmas morning.

Santa came!
 This year we opted for a smaller get together with friends in lieu of a larger party. It was a really fun night!
We prepared as much food as we normally do and have amazing leftovers for days!


Roman with his cousin Rye

 Matching PJs with my mom and sister
 



Another eventful and fun holiday season! Not a single picture of Dan, Roman and I as a family though. I can't believe it's over and that Roman is 4! Happy New Year everyone!

Monday, December 17, 2018

Oh What Fun!

There is nothing like the joy of a child at Christmas time. It's been a wonderful month of activities and celebrating the season. We can't wait for the week ahead to celebrate Roman's birthday and Christmas with our families. Here's what we have been up to so far this season.

 decorating the tree
 
Roman pulled the tree out from the wall, so he could physically "rock around the Christmas tree".

First snow. Outside in PJs.


Decorating his felt tree
 
Decorating a gingerbread house. He immediately ate all the candy off the house.



Ice skating at the Carmel Christkindlmarkt.


Shopping with my mom and sister
 

Trying to get a Christmas card photo with the cutest little model

Roman's school program

Monday, November 19, 2018

Thanksgiving Sweets

Every year I volunteer to bring the sweets to Thanksgiving. I prefer to bake and since we travel, baked good travel better than appetizers and sides. I usually make pumpkin pie, but I also have some other favorites I thought I would share if you need some ideas.

Bourbon Chocolate Pecan Pie
This pie is always a crowd favorite. It's really simple to make too! I can't wait to have this again on Thursday!

 
Pumpkin Cream Cheese bread - excellent recipe. I just made 2 loaves yesterday for Dan and I to take to work. I make this every year multiple times during the fall season.
 
 
 Pumpkin Snickerdoodles - these are the softest cookies! Go ahead and double the batch. They are that good!
 
 
 Pumpkin Chocolate Cheesecake - This takes a bit of work, but definitely worth it. These are old Iphone photos, but believe me, it'd delicious!


Happy Thanksgiving!!

Friday, November 9, 2018

Life Lately

Happy Friday! I thought I'd do an update on what we've been up to this fall. It's not as easy to post on the blog as it once was, but believe it or not I've been blogging for 8 years! I love the change of the season saying goodbye to the heat and mosquitos. Fall is extra special in our neighborhood as it's lined with huge colorful trees. I posted about our Halloween festival and it truly is just the most amazing month where we live! I've enjoyed the weather, comfort foods, and fall trends. Here's some of what we have been up to:

Cooking: My style of cooking changes with the season. In the summer we grill out a lot and eat fresh salads and veggies. In the fall and winter we eat soups, casseroles and crockpot meals. One of my favorite fall foods is butternut squash. This recipe for butternut squash lasagna is amazing! The combined sweet and spicy flavors are amazing! The lasagna is a little bit of work, but totally worth it! I also really like just combining spicy sausage, spinach and butternut squash for another low carb meal idea. The recipe here.




Air Frying: I have been interested in an air fryer for some time, but worried that it would be like my Instant Pot and I would never use it or it would be too intimidating.  When I visited my brother, I saw that he had one and I asked if he used it. He said no and told me to take it home with me. I took it home and have used it non-stop. I absolutely LOVE IT! I've made chicken, pork chops, bacon, salmon, and so much more. Everything takes about 10-15 minutes. It's so easy! I would highly recommend it. This would make a great Christmas gift! I have this one. It's on sale at Walmart for $39.



Running: I've always enjoyed cooler weather running. I run all year round, but love fall the best. This year in October I decided I wanted to run our neighborhood Halloween race which is 5 miles. I was only running around 2-3 miles a couple times as week. So I started adding mileage to work my way up. I ran the race and was happy with my time. Roman assumed that I won and I didn't correct him. :) I'm planning to do another race on Thanksgiving. I run about 3 times a week and I'm still doing the Beachbody Liift program. I still love that program because it's only 4 times a week and about 35 minutes of lifting and HIIT.



Shopping: When am I not shopping? Fall and holiday shopping are my favorite. The influx of fashion bloggers and Instagram influencers has not be good for my wallet. But my closet is full and here are some of the items I've added this fall.

I bought these Forever 21 overalls on a whim and they are awesome! They look exactly like Madewell but were a fraction of the price!

I've been stalking this vest all season. It has been sold out, but finally my size came back and currently J.Crew has a Friends and Family sale, plus cardholders get an extra 15% off. I'm thrilled with this purchase. It's coming in the mail today!

I bought this J. Crew sweater early on in the season and I do love it, but the fit is small. Also, now Target has an almost exact version of it.
 
I've been a real fan of Ebay and Poshmark lately. Anytime there's something I want, I always look to see if I can find it at a better price. I knew I wanted this leather Madewell bag, so I started looking on Ebay and Poshmark. I ended up buying it used on Ebay. I love it so much! The leather is really nice!
 
 
Sewing: I haven't made anything for a really long time, but I did sew Roman's blue ninja Halloween costume. He insisted on helping me by sitting on my lap and pulling the pins out which made it a bit difficult, but still a fun activity!

 
Reading: I read this entire book in 6 hours while flying for work. At first I thought it might be cheesy generic advice, but I ended up loving the advice coupled with her life stories. After I read it, I went back and highlighted the areas I loved and then bought another copy for my sister. I highly recommend you read it!
 
 
 
Watching: To honest, I've been mostly sleeping. But Dan has been watching Making a Murderer  2 and the Bodyguard. I lost interest in MaM because I didn't see the first season, but the Bodyguard on Netflix is pretty good!
 
Planning: A lot of planning goes into the holidays but one of my favorite things to plan is our annual holiday party and Roman's birthday party. I'm already in planning mode for both. I love to plan the theme, d├ęcor and food for any get together. It's always a bit stressful along with gift buying and multiple family events, but I'm really looking forward to the craziness and fun!
Table setting from last year.

Monday, November 5, 2018

Halloween

Halloween is a special time for us every year. Our neighborhood celebrates like no other! We have a huge festival and a month long of activities. The entire neighborhood really gets into the season decorating more than most do for Christmas.

This year, Roman entered the window painting contest, we went to the "Slightly Haunted Puppet Show", I ran the 5 mile Vampire run and we all attended the festival and parade.

Leonardo


Window painting masterpiece


 One of my favorite decorated homes in the neighborhood.
 



We had some friends over for chili and a bonfire after the festival.



Awesome costume in the parade!


Roman's school parade

Blue ninja costume.




Roman had a blast trick or treating. He's a champ at running from house to house. We came home after his bucket got too heavy and passed out over 800 pieces of candy! Another great year for Halloween in Irvington.