Thursday, March 31, 2011

Flashback Friday: Wedding Dress Fitting

It's been brought to my attention by my blog manager and intern (husband) that I haven't blogged since last week.  My glamorous job has put me through quite the week and I have had barely enough time to run home, walk the pup, and try to get to the gym for yoga before crashing out.  Everyone is busy and I know that, so here I am trying to get back into what I love- my little blog home with you guys.

When I started my blog about 2 years ago, I was in wedding planning fun and I shared some of my planning with you.  You can click here to see some more wedding posts.  One aspect of the planning that I couldn't share was my dress, because my intern could have read the blog and my surprise could have been ruined.  It's not that we waited until the ceremony to see each other, I just wanted the dress to be a surprise. 

I did not make a big production over my dress.  I took my mom and nobody else with me to select the dress and to the fittings.  In my head it made sense since she was my shopping partner of choice at any other time and she has the gift of honesty and would tell me if I looked like crap.  I purposely wore my hair down and curly so that I could make sure I saw 'me' and not some other girl when I tried on my dress.

We went to a local bridal shop and I tried on a bunch of stuff.  I never got the 'it's the one' feeling about my dress, I just sorta liked this one.  I wasn't looking for perfection.

About this time 2 years ago (eek!) I started the fitting and measuring process.  They pin it up and they cut it up and put it back together.  I had no idea- I thought they just gave it to you all pretty and fitted- genius, huh?  How else did I think it would fit my waist to booty ratio?

My favorite part was the back and the side.

This would all turn into a huge mess later when the train decided it wouldn't stay put on the actual day of the wedding (until my maid of honor hooked me into it with tweezers), but looking at myself in the mirror and adjusting the bustle was pretty fun.

And so was walking around and 'floating' because I couldn't see my feet.

Playing dress-up is my favorite and I'm so glad I have these pictures to look back on.

The final result was not too bad either.  Nothing is perfect- even when it looks like it is on the hanger.  Here are some of my favorite 'outtakes'.  At least the dress fit :)

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

High Maintenance Sundae

In the last 5+ years of our relationship, I have been lucky enough to witness my husband's awesome relationship with food.  I mean this in all seriousness- he truly loves food and savors it. He never acts like a girl or something after he eats it.  Food is food and delicious. He gets over it and often sweats out most of it with a hard workout anyways.

In celebration of this attitude and love of chocolate, I've always loved making desserts for him since the boy can put them away.  I also really like feeding people.  We have moved past the break and bake cookies and onto high maintenance sundaes.

I had warm brownies (Trader Joe's Guiltless brownies) straight out of the oven and this monster was born.
  • 1 layer of warm brownie
  • 1 scoop of ice cream of choice (So Delicious dark chocolate for us)
  • Trader Joe's salted Caramel
  • repeat as desired
 This dessert is definitely not for the weak but I promise it will not let you down.

Your dream sundae: What's in it?  Mine has real chocolate syrup and a cherry on top.

Monday, March 21, 2011

Square Salmon Cakes

I'm pretty sure I'm not going to get any awards for the title or for the recipe, but I made square salmon cakes!  Like crab cakes, but salmon and not round, but square!  I'm easily amused here, so let's entertain me for a few minutes.

  • 1 can wild Alaskan salmon (I used Trader Joe's brand)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/2 cup panko bread crumbs
  • 1 shake white pepper seasoning
  • dried dill to taste
  • garlic powder to taste
  • salt to taste
-Mix all the ingredients above
-Preheat oven to 350 degrees as you mix everything
-Spray muffin tins (they don't have to be square) with olive oil/cooking spray
-Fill muffin tins and bake at 350 degrees for 20 minutes or until golden

Optional: Sweet Chili Aioli Sauce
  • 1/4 cup organic mayo
  • 1/4 cup sweet chili sauce
Mix together and serve in your favorite sauce contain.  We were classy and ate ours in our mini I <3 NY mug.

You can eat these from square plates, but that's optional too.  One recipe will serve 3-4 people as an appetizer or one very hungry husband.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

One Meal Fits All

Although there are only two of us (and one handsome beggar dog), we still have our own food quirks and serving styles.  Of course I will never be a short order cook, but with a couple of extra steps I make enough food to make the whole family happy when we have our family Sunday dinner.  Of course nothing I am about to say is revolutionary or professional quality, but it's easy, fast, and delicious.

I start with the protein- since I usually bake, grill, or broil our food, I find it easy enough to add different seasonings to the fish/chicken/tofu and bake it all at the same time.  This time I made honey mustard salmon and chipotle seasoning salmon and it didn't take any more time than making only one variety.

While I'm baking, I thrown in a veggie- this time I roasted red onions for a side.

Next, I like to have a fun side or an appetizer. This time I used some simple ingredients (onion, pesto, vegan cheese) and topped a brown rice tortilla for some flatbreads.  Again, I threw them in the oven as my salmon was baking and wasted no time.

The final step is selecting a base.  I usually like to load up a bowl of spinach and throw my food on top so I can have more of the fun stuff.  In that case, I just fill a gigantic bowl with greens like so:

The more refined members of my family have learned to eat from plates rather than bowls and I usually have a grain, such as my quinoa dish pre-cooked and ready for enjoyment.

The easiest part about a bigger dinner?  I cook 4-6 servings so I can always pack up the extras and 2-3 lunches are covered for the week.

Question: Do you cook multiple meals for family members?

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Weekend Report: Petites

Happy Weekend!  I say that every Friday evening because each weekend is a holiday except without Santa Clause or presents, unless I buy them for myself on my Target expeditions.  I started off my weekend on Thursday by buying one of their new Starbucks Petites
TSA disclaimer: I paid for this myself and this review is based on my own opinions.

I got the peanut butter and chocolate cupcake because they were out of all their other flavors and I needed sugar.

My first impression is that they needed a better packaging plan.  The asshat who took it out of the case for me put it into a pastry bag...upside.down....hello?!  I fished it out before the frosting was ruined and took it back to my desk.

Overall, it was a good little treat for under 180 calories- as all of the petites are.  However, I found it too sweet.  This is a very rare term in my vocabulary and it right up there with 'too rich', 'too fluffy', or 'too much sleep' and I was shocked at how it actually exploded in a sugar bomb.  I still ate it though because I don't waste chocolate, coffee or liquor.

I am looking forward to trying some of their other treats when the mood strikes since I don't usually carry delicious mini desserts with me.

I'm off to enjoy what I can of this rainy, stormy weekend.  I've got a yoga class and a UFC event on the books for tonight.

Enjoy your weekend!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Flashback Tuesday Night

I'm back from the gym after a late evening at work.  I ate some food today- actually lots of it and didn't take any pictures.  
Instead I'm doing a flashback post of my favorite vacation pictures.  I always dreamed of traveling when I was little and I'm so grateful I have had the opportunity to travel with my husband- we even named the tables at our wedding after the places we went together.  In my twisted little mind, traveling almost makes my uber-glamorous job worth the hours and stress.  I love looking back on the pictures and thinking of the fun experiences we had.  

I wish I were on a beach right now, or hiking, or walking through museums or something.

Here are a few favorite travel pictures:

Chicago on a layover from Eastern Europe
 South Beach
 Costa Rica

 New York
 South Lake Tahoe
 Portland, Oregon
St. Petersburg Russia (fun fact- this was taken about 1 minute after we got engaged and I was sure dressed fancy, huh?)

 Moscow, Russia
 Saratov, Russia (hubby's home town)
 Odessa, Ukraine (my motherland)
 We got stuck in a rain storm- fun memories

 What is your best vacation memory?  I won't lie- my first time at Disneyland rocked my world when I was 8.  Of course my trip to Eastern Europe with hubby is at the very top of the list.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Cheap Thrills

Totally not what you think- I'm talking about an easy snack that can cure a sweet tooth.

I didn't buy any Girl Scout cookies since I like to control the amount of sugar that voluntarily gets into my house.  If you know me, then you understand.  What I do love is thin mint cookies.  I replicated the taste at home this weekend.

The grand recipe:
Take 1 container of Trader Joe's French Vanilla Mint Yogurt
Plus 1 teaspoon unsweetened cocoa powder
(picture source)

And you get thin mint cookie yogurt for about 140 calories and $1.00.  I'm freezing it next time :)
Please excuse the rain and dog gear.  It was late and I was hungry.

I'm trying to straighten out the comments issue- they all got eaten, so please bear with me.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Real Adults Play

I hope you have had a great weekend.  Mine has been spent with some of my favorite people while playing outdoors.  The weather has been in the 60s and quite sunny and it was a perfect weekend to hit the trails and climb some hills with my boys. Walking or hiking is one of my favorite forms of exercise because unlike being on a treadmill, there is a purpose and end result to the workout and when the scenery is so beautiful, it's so worth it.

I'm pretty much convinced that the reason we get old is because we stop playing and I can't let that happen. 

We roamed through open space and saw some old farm houses.

Some of us drank water from the little river while others observed.

We totally ran into this bad boy while he was grazing.  I'm not gonna lie- I ran and almost peed my pants a little bit.  Scary bull- no you can't eat our furry child.

We discovered our new hiking buddy likes the water almost as much as he likes disturbing the wildlife.

We found our way through new trails and practiced our balance skillz.

We climbed hills and looked out on beautiful views.

Finally, we came home for frozen yogurt, hugs, and baths.  All in that order.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Expanding My Horizons

Despite being a blogger and expected to try new brands, recipes, and foods, I have talked about how I eat the same foods over and over again.  Part of it goes back to when I discovered some foods were healthy and others were not and I decided to just pick a few and repeat them over and over again (lame sauce).  Now that several years have passed and I'm into more of a variety, I still rotate the same 5-10 meals every single week.  I also have the same status calls and meetings, workout schedule, and TV schedule every single week so I decided to shake it up this week.

  • I have had a mango for a snack every single day.  I know they are from Peru and not organic and not local and good for the environment, but they are delicious and make me feel like I'm on vacation.
  • I bought flavored yogurt- crazy right?  I usually like to add my own toppings, but french vanilla mint sounded like a win-win situation.

  •  I bought granola and ate it for dinner.  It is called Ancient Grains and made me feel worldly 
  • I got over my doggie separation anxiety and took 3 classes at my yoga studio this week.  Turns out my dog still loves me when I leave him for an hour
  • I wore a skimpy top to one of the said yoga classes and didn't care
  • I ate beef for dinner on Monday night and spent the next two days eating veggies because I thought my body was confused
  • I left work at 5:00 every day this week
  • I switched to gummy vitamins for my multi because even if I'm an adult, I don't have to act like it, right?  Plus gummies are delicious.
  • I tried running outside.  I got winded but it felt good.  Thank goodness my dog stops to sniff stuff or I would have passed out.
  • I walked out of Target without half of the store's inventory.  Just a prescription and nail clippers.  This is progress
I just came back from a late walk and now I'm off to catch up with Modern Family.  I heart that show and it's staying on my weekly rotation along with my mangoes.

Monday, March 7, 2011

Easy Quinoa Veggie Pilaf

I like the concept of instant gratification.  Maybe it's a generational thing, but I like it a lot especially when it comes to cooking.  Although I enjoy the process of making some foods with complex flavors, my inability to follow a recipe and complete lack of patience keeps me from making foods like risotto and other slow meals.
This recipe is simple, easy to adapt, full of flavor, and healthy.  It can be served on its own with a salad or makes a great side to a main dish- I present my quinoa veggie pilaf.

-1/2 box of your preferred quinoa (I used Trader Joe's organic quinoa)
-1 cup stock of choice (I used veggie stock)
-1 cup frozen peas
-1 cup broccoli or any veggie of your choice
-1.5 cups water
- salt, pepper to taste
- 1 clove garlic finely minced
- dried dill to taste

*Cook quinoa in water, stock, garlic, and spices, adding the broccoli about 10 minutes into cooking.
*Once 15 minutes have passed, add frozen peas and cover pot to steam the peas and absorb extra liquid
*Serve and feast

Quinoa is one of the staples that I'm still eating up despite being done with our 'cleanse' and it's a filling grain with lots of protein and complex carbs.  It keeps me full long enough to not go looking for my next piece of chocolate, which is surprisingly not my main sustenance these days.
Tonight my husband ate this pilaf with beef tri-tip.  I ate my beef with a mixed herb salad.  For whatever reason, I've been wanting red meat, so I'm rolling with it.  It only took a mere 15 years for me to get back into red meat but I suppose tastes change.  I wasn't going to mention it on here because I have been so bipolar on my diet but everything in moderation, right?

P.S. Happy Anniversary to my parents- 37 years together and still in love <3