Monday, February 28, 2011

{My Life} Weekend Recap

Photo Credits: PokerNews

Hello!  I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!  My mom and sister were in town, which was great because my husband is out of town for work.  It's always nice having people around while he's gone because I'm not the greatest at being alone.  We did some shopping and some relaxing.  It was the perfect combo.  My little sister found her prom dress.  It is beautiful, and she is going to look stunning in it.

I watched the Oscars for the first time in forever.  There were so many amazing dresses on the red carpet.  A few of my favorites were Mila Kunis's dress, and Anne Hathaway's red carpet dress, which actually reminds me a little of the dress my little sister bought for prom.  I thought Anne Hathaway did an awesome job hosting.  She has such a great personality, and took the role very seriously.  James Franco was a little awkward at times.  He seems like he'd be an interesting guy in person.  Anyways, after watching last night, I decided that as soon as Jason gets home we need to go see The King's Speech.  It cleaned up.

Now onto one of the more important happenings of the weekend.  Jason is in Los Angeles for the LA Poker Classic.  The main event started on Friday, and he is currently doing pretty well.  There are only 37 players left from the 681 that entered, and he is sitting somewhere in the middle of the field.  He has to make it through today and tomorrow to make it to the final table, so everybody out there send him your good vibes.

Have a wonderful week!            

Sunday, February 27, 2011

{Scrumptious} Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

Cupcakes are one of my favorite things to bake.  It's not because I love eating cupcakes either; it's because I love to decorate them.  This recipe doesn't leave a lot of creative room for decorating, but they are a crowd favorite.  

Oreo Cookies and Cream Cupcakes

- 30 Oreo cookies
- 1 package white cake mix
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1/2 cup vegetable oil
- 3 large eggs
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Count out 12 Oreo cookies and separate the tops and bottoms, making sure each side has some icing on it.  Place one 1/2 cookie in the bottom of each cupcake liner, icing side up.  Crush 18 Oreos in a ziplock bag and set aside.  In a large mixing bowl combine cake mix, sour cream, oil, eggs, and vanilla.  Blend on low for 30 seconds.  Increase speed to medium for and additional 1 1/2 minutes.  Add 1 1/2 cups crushed Oreos and fold into cake batter.  Fill the cupcake liners three quarters of the way full.  Bake cupcakes for 18-20 minutes on the middle rack.  They should be golden brown on top, and a toothpick should come out clean.  After cooled, top with cream cheese frosting (recipe below), and garnish with remaining crushed Oreos.  

Makes 24 cupcakes.

Cream Cheese Frosting

- 16 oz cream cheese, softened
- 4 cups powdered sugar
- 1 cup unsalted butter, softened
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Mix cream cheese with butter until smooth.  Add vanilla extract.  Slowly add sugar and continue mixing until light and fluffy.  

Makes enough frosting to frost 24-48 cupcakes.  

I use this frosting recipe a lot.  It's extremely easy, and there are many ways to alter it for the cupcakes you're making.  For example, you could use lemon extract instead of the vanilla to top angel food cupcakes, and almond extract instead of vanilla is great on top of chocolate cupcakes.



{Fab Finds} Sea Breeze Studio on Etsy

Photo Credits: SeaBreezeStudio

Today's "Fab Find Friday" is coming to you a couple days late because I've had family in town, but I figured better late than never.  Yukiko Kamioka over at Sea Breeze Studio makes some beautiful handmade bags and covers.  The fabrics she uses are just awesome, and her prices are very reasonable.

I hope you all had a fabulous weekend!  

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

{Random Things} Distractions....

I have a midterm on Thursday, and instead of studying, I'm here blogging.  My brain is fried, and I just can't seem to focus at all.  Here are just a few things that are distracting me today.....

1) Should I change majors.....again?  Ugh.  I had a talk with a professor today, who strongly thinks I should major in Art History instead of History, and to make my major focus of study be Architecture History.  It all sounds great, but so far nothing has been working out the way I want it to.  I wish they just offered an Architecture History degree.  It would make things a lot easier.

2) Blogs, blogs, and more blogs.  I read so many that it is literally a part time job keeping up with all of them, but I just can't get enough.

3) Anthropologie.  I wish I could buy everything.

4) My husband, who is making a poker training video for Blue Fire Poker in the next room.  I don't really understand half of what he's talking about, but I still get caught up in what he's saying.

5) My house needs to be vacuumed again already, and Doggert really needs to get groomed.

Alright, I better get back to studying.  Wish me luck!

Monday, February 21, 2011

{Random Things} Snowy Monday

Happy Monday everybody!  The last few weeks have been beautiful here in Minnesota!  It had me all excited for spring.  A bunch of our snow melted, and you could even see a little grass here and there.  It was nice while it lasted, but it appears now that winter is back.  We have gotten 15 inches of snow since yesterday morning, and it's still coming down.  Fortunately, I have had a ton of studying to do for an upcoming midterm, so I didn't mind being stuck at home in the slightest.

On a more exciting note, I'm having colored hair extension put in tonight.  I had dark sapphire ones put in a few years ago, and they were so fun.  Most people think it's funny that I would do something so crazy because I'm somewhat conservative.  Anyone who's known me for a long time though, knows that I'm pretty daring when it comes to my hair.  Of course I would never go color all my hair purple or anything, but some temporary little highlights of color, that I'll do.  I'm pretty excited.  I'll have to post a picture of the results next week.  

I hope you all have a wonderful week!    

Saturday, February 19, 2011

{Soirees} Staging Your Edibles

Photo Credits: Modern Moments Design via HostessBlogA Blissful Nest via HostessBlog, and Sweet Designs.

There are lots of fun things you can do to stage the edibles for your soiree.  It's not only a great conversation piece, but it's a sure fire way to get your guests excited right when they walk in the door.  Plus, if you're like me, you'll have a lot of fun doing it.  Above are a few examples of some truly stunning tables.  Try to think outside the box, and use items you wouldn't normally think of.  For example in the top right picture, Jessica used a mail sorter to house cookies and licorice on the dessert buffet.  Such a cute idea!  

I hope you all are inspired to step up your next soiree, and equally as important, I hope you all are enjoying your weekend!

Friday, February 18, 2011

{Fab Finds} Fink Shop on Etsy

Photo Credits: FinkShop

After several hours of online window shopping on Etsy the other day, I stumbled upon a fun little shop called Fink Shop.  Their accessories are beyond adorable.  I had such a hard time narrowing it down to just 4 pictures to put on this post.  I will definitely be buying some shoe clips in the near future.  You all should check them out.  They have some really cute stuff!
Enjoy your weekend everybody!    

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

{My Life} On Wednesday instead of Monday...

Hello everybody!  I couldn’t wait until Monday to introduce to you all Isaiah Matthew Senti.  He is my husband and my first niece or nephew.  We made a quick trip up to see him, and he is absolutely wonderful.  I was beyond impressed to see how the new mommy and daddy eased into their new life, even though they've barely been able sleep.  :)

Congratulations Dave and Jody!  

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

{Scrumptious} Semi-Homemade Chicken Tikka Masala

I am fairly new to the indian food scene, but I've loved everything I've had so far.  A good friend of mine (you know who you are) loves trying new indian recipes.  For some reason I've been a little weary thus far to try to make it on my own.  On Sunday, I was at Williams Sonoma and they were sampling a Tikka Masala Simmering Sauce.  It was delicious, and since chicken tikka masala is one of Jason's favorites I bought some for dinner.  I was both happy and sad to hear that it was one of the best meals I've ever made (sad of course because it wasn't made from scratch).  I paired it with some cilantro basmati rice and garlic naan with coriander chutney dipping sauce.  The label on the simmering sauce said to saute 2 pounds of chicken, but I broiled it instead.  I followed the rest of the instructions exactly.  For the rice I just followed the cooking instructions on the package.  I bought a box of rice which had 6 servings in it.  I then added about 5 heaping tablespoons of finely chopped cilantro, the juice from one lime, and 1 finely chopped serrano peppers.  I just got store bought garlic naan, and the coriander chutney can be found in the ethnic food isle.  The chutney I bought actually tasted identical to the stuff our favorite indian restaurant has.  All in all, I'm sure that made from scratch tikka masala would probably be better, but if you want a quick easy meal I would give it a try.  It was very good.

I hope you're all enjoying your Tuesday!

Monday, February 14, 2011

{My Life} Valentine's Day

Photo Credits: Doyea Photography

Today is Valentine's Day, and while I'm not necessarily a hopeless romantic, I'm very thankful today that I have someone so wonderful to share it with.  My husband and I have been together for eight and a half glorious years, two and a half of which we've been married, and I love him more now than I ever thought possible (cheesy I know).  This last year has been both challenging and amazing at the same time.  We've spent more time apart then ever before, and it's only made us stronger.  I was at a good friends bridal shower recently when we were asked to give marriage advice to the new couple, and I was slightly embarrassed because I couldn't think of any to give.  I kept thinking to myself that this should be easy, but it wasn't.  We have always gotten along great, but I couldn't think of one grand reason to point to as of why.  We just did.  Well I had some time to think about it, and here is what I came up with.  The reason we work so well together is because we are good to each other, each and every day.  We make each other our top priority, and we do it because we want to not because we are suppose to.  When it comes to each other we are selfless.  So there you have it.  I'm sure that throughout the years we're going to have our ups and downs, but I hope that in 50 years I can still say that we are as good to each other as we were during these first few years of marriage.  I count my blessings everyday to have the relationship we have.

Happy Valentine's Day everybody!

Sunday, February 13, 2011

{Scrumptious} Garden Harvest Bread

Photo Credits: CookingLight

This is a recipe I found last fall in Cooking Light Magazine.  I know it's not the best "seasonal" recipe, but it's one of my favorite things to make, very delicious.  It's a great breakfast food because it's enough to fill you up, and it's easy to eat on the go.  When I make it I usually make 4-5 loafs and then freeze the extras.  To thaw them you can either leave them out or put them in the fridge for a day. 

I hope you all enjoy!  

Garden Harvest Bread 

- 1 cup flour
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon baking soda
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup shredded Granny Smith apples
- 1/2 cup shredded carrots
- 1/2 cup shredded zucchini
- 1/4 cup chopped walnuts
- 1/4 cup canola oil 
- 1/4 cup buttermilk
- 2 large eggs
- Cooking spray

Preheat oven to 350.  Combine flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking soda, and salt in a large bowl, stirring with a whisk.  Stir in apples, carrots, zucchini, and walnuts.  Make a well in the center of the mixture, set aside.  In a small bowl, canola oil, buttermilk, and eggs, stirring with a whisk.  Add egg mixture to the flour mixture, stirring just until combined.  Spoon batter into a 8x4 loaf pan coated with cooking spray.  Bake for 50 minutes.  (9 servings at 223 calories per serving)

Saturday, February 12, 2011

{Soirees} Shabby Chic Tea Party Baby Shower (Part 1)

Photo Credits: MarthaStewart and PomLove

In order to plan a proper soiree you need to do your research.  It's my favorite part.  I save picture after picture to look back to for inspiration.  The next event that I'm involved in is a baby shower for a good friend that I will be throwing along with two other lovely ladies.  The mother-to-be has opted not to find out if the baby is a boy or a girl, so we are able to run freely with the theme, no all pink or blue for this shower.   Here are a few images, of the many I've saved, that have inspired me so far.

I hope you all are enjoying your weekend so far!

Friday, February 11, 2011

{Local Find} Nadeau

A few weeks ago the Groupon of the day was to an amazing store called Nadeau.  I had never heard of it before, but scooped one up because I have a new house to furnish.  I finally went to check it out yesterday and wow!  Their items are pretty unique and very reasonably priced.  I definitely recommend checking it out.  They have locations all over the country.

I hope you all enjoy your Friday night!

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