Tag Archives: Wedding Planning

Milestones

Today marks the three year anniversary from when I entered the real world.

Sure, you could say that my graduation from The University of Scranton back in May of 2008 was my official push into the “real world,” but I like to think it didn’t officially begin until a week later, when I pulled on my big-girl panties and set off on my very first day of work at a “real job.”

Me & Two housemates, post graduation

Looking back, it seems surreal to think I’ve already been out of college for three years, have been working for that long, and am just beginning to embark on more exciting things within my life. Today also just so happens to be a special marker in our wedding planning.

That’s right folks, a mere 100 days until I walk down the asile and marry my very best friend! It seems like just yesterday we started dating. Now we’re in the crunch zone with wedding related things arriving in the mail, etc., almost daily. My how time flies.

I can’t wait to see what the future holds – I have grand plans and can’t wait to fill you all in! 🙂

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Muffin Remix

I haven’t been posting much these days, but I promise I’ve been in the kitchen! Even though I’m done with classes for the semester, a new project has taken it’s place – wedding planning! Obviously, I’ve been planning the wedding for quite some time now seeing as that we got engaged back in January 2010, but with the wedding a mere three months away, I’m in wedding overdrive.

Having taken off two weeks from running to try and rest my achey and less than perfect legs, I set out for a two mile jaunt sans music and GPS, just to get myself back in the swing of things. It was hot (85 degrees with 70% humidity), so of course it felt much worse than it actually was. Either way, it was nice to be back out there. I’ve been having a lot of fun experimenting with yoga, and I can already see some extra definition in my arms, but running is still my favorite.

After the run and a much needed shower, I decided to make some muffins. I basically took the same recipe from my Coconut Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins, and made them Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins… YUM! I left out sugar simply because I wasn’t paying attention. So, if you want your muffins sweeter, I would suggest adding 1/2 cup of brown sugar to the mix. Whoops!

I love muffins for one simple reason – you can eat them at any time of day as an acceptable snack. Sure you typically associate a muffin with breakfast, but you really can eat it at any time of day without breaking eating rules. We all know I’m not one for following rules, especially when it comes to eating, but you get my point.

Peanut Butter Chocolate Chip Oatmeal Muffins
–  makes 12 muffins –

Ingredients:
1 1/2 cups flour
1 cup oatmeal (not instant)
1/4 cup chunky peanut butter
1 Tbsp baking powder
1/4 cup butter
1 cup milk
1 egg
1 cup of chocolate chips

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Combine dry ingredients in a medium bowl (including coconut)
3. Heat butter, and stir in milk and the egg. Add that mixture into the dry mixture, to combine, finally adding in the chocolate chips.
4. Spoon mixture into greased cupcake/muffin tin, and bake for 15 minutes.

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Filed under Baking, Recipe, Running, Wedding

Feeling Free

For the first time in I’d say probably about a year (since I started grad school), I didn’t have any solid plans on Saturday aside from yoga in the morning. The thought of being able to do whatever I wanted, whenever I wanted sounded absolutely glorious; I felt like a 17 year old that had just gotten her license and was free to cruise around town with her friends (well, one non-family member these days).

Don’t get me wrong, I like having things to do and structure in my life is important. However, it was great to not have homework and assignments plaguing me in the back of my mind. Taking the summer and fall semesters off so I can train for the Philly marathon and even more importantly finish up planning my wedding will hopefully leave me with a few more ounces of sanity. And it lets me start my weekends with things like this…

Beginning the day with yoga is great – it’s a relaxing way to get your body warmed up and ready for the day, while getting in physical activity. By the end of our hour and fifteen minute session, I could feel the weakness in my arms. In addition to logging miles, I’m hoping to incorporate more fitness-y activities as well; yoga, strength training, some different classes at the gym here and there, and of course reconnecting with the pool, etc. I’m hoping that by upping my overall fitness level, I’ll also help my running and even more importantly, prevent more injuries.

So, after yoga I got to work in the kitchen. I’ve had a few things I wanted to make backed up for awhile, so I figured it was time to actually make something. Since I hadn’t gone to the grocery store and needed important ingredients like flour, I opted for a recipe that only called for one cup of flour, and saved the other recipes for Sunday. I stumbled on this recipe from Andrea’s Recipes, and aside from using regular flour instead of whole wheat, chunky peanut butter instead of smooth, and less chocolate chips, I stuck to the recipe, and it ruled.

The only problem is that now I have it sitting my fridge, screaming my name. In order to ignore the cries, I went out for a solid 3.15 mile run, just to make sure I could enjoy more of the goodies later. And oh, they were (and still are being) enjoyed!

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A Wedded Weekend

On Saturday, my fiancĂ© and I set out to conquer more to-dos on our wedding list. With my mom in toe, we headed up to a florist near our venue to discuss flowers. This is the second florist we’ve met with, and we’re meeting with one more before making a final decision. It’s really hard, because I’m not super picky when it comes to flowers; I don’t have a favorite flower, for example, and I’m really clueless about them too. So, I’m really looking for someone that can use their creativity and the little bit of input I have to make something gorgeous. All I know is that I want bright beautiful green and yellow in my bouquet, with more muted colors for my girls since they’ll be in green. As for centerpieces, I just want something low, and bright. Maybe like this…

After meeting with the florist, we headed to the hotel where we’ll be booking a block of rooms for ourselves and our guests. By booking with that hotel, we also get a deal on transportation for all of our guests to and from the venue, which was extremely important to us. We’re also in the process of finalizing our invitations… Things are starting to come together!

On Sunday, we spent the morning trying to clean up our townhouse, since I have my bridesmaids coming next Saturday for their dress fitting! After that we headed out for a run. We still have it on our heads that we’ll be “running” the half marathon April 17th, and I think my fiancĂ© finally realized that it’s something we’ll be doing together, slowly. On Thursday after my 4-miler, I noticed that when I accidentally hit my shin, I felt pain. Pain very similar to my shin splints in December. Low and behold, I’m definitely on the road to get shin splints again. This time, though, I’m not ignoring it and I’m icing, compressing, rolling, and not increasing my mileage like crazy. I was supposed to run 6 miles Sunday, but kept it at 4 just to be safe. I’ll try and tackle 6 on Tuesday, followed by 2 on Thursday. I can’t seem to catch a break with these injuries!

Since we’re back to running, I’ve welcomed yummy desserts back into our routine. On Sunday evening, I decided to make How Sweet Eats’ Triple Layer Cookies & Cream Crunch Bars. Ohh yes – they were absolutely amazing. Of course, they didn’t look quite like Jessica’s, but they tasted awesome! Everything she puts on her blog looks so scrumptious; I wish I could be that creative in the kitchen. And checkout the sweet plate – these awesome Maleficent (from Cinderella) plates were on sale at Target for 75 cents! So I scored four!

This week’s kitchen adventures were first squashed when, again, the avocados at ShopRite were nowhere near ripe. I’m hoping they’ll be ready sometime this week to use in other recipes, but the homemade sushi I was planning on making Sunday night was a no-go. Maybe next week. But, I’ll be making some veggie burgers and sweet potato fries, falafel, and finally the huevos rancheros I wanted to make last week. Maybe I’ll even bake something else!

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Filed under Baking, Food Blogging, Running, Wedding

Veggie Calzones

Even though I haven’t been running (but started again this week, yay!), I’ve still been wearing myself thin in terms of everything I’ve been doing. This became apparent on Tuesday morning when I woke up to a raging headache, stuffy nose, sore throat, and the general inability to move. So, I decided it would be in the best interest of not only myself, but my co-workers, to stay home.

I’ve been in full-on wedding planning mode, trying to get as much done as I can in terms of ordering bridesmaid dresses, setting up floral appointments, invitations, and all those other little (but important!) things. This past Sunday I had my first hair and makeup trial, which was awesome. I actually had the opportunity to act as a hair and makeup model for DeVenir Beauty at a tasting event at The Mallard Yacht Club in Manahawkin. The property is absolutely gorgeous, so it was fun to see such a glamours venue. Plus, getting to show off my awesome hair and makeup and hear people say how much they liked it was really fun! Here’s a sneak peak at the back (I don’t want to completely give it all away!)…

This was at the end of the day, after I took the hair comb out

I started the day off with my last sick day creation, and added almond butter to the mix. After resting for a few extra hours, I was able to get started on the loads of homework I had. My fiancĂ© is always adamant when I’m sick to make sure I’m doing everything I can to get better. So before he left for work he instructed me to take medicine, drink an entire glass of water he placed by  the bed, and to rest. Unlike last time, I actually listed to him, and am feeling much better.

Even though I was slated to start running again on Tuesday (2 miles), I pushed it off until later in the week. My fiancĂ© is also going to give it a shot. This is the first time he’ll be running since our half marathon in January. I’ve made a few attempts in the weeks since then, but haven’t been completely discomfort free. I’m hoping that I will be this week, as we’re signed up for a half marathon in April. I have no intention of racing, but would like to complete it so I can get my medal! I’m trying to convince the fiancĂ© to run it with me – it’ll be our last long distance race before we’re married, it would be fun to cross the finish line together!

Since I was home all day, I had an opportunity to make something that took a little more time than the rest of the meals that were planned for the week – veggie calzones! Since I used pre-made pie crust (or you can use premade dough) it was really just a matter of getting all the ingredients together, and then baking it. Thankfully this came out better than my buffalo chicken pizza.

Veggie Calzones
– Serves 2 –

Ingredients:
1 pre-made pie crust or pizza dough
3/4 bag of frozen veggies (any mix you’d like)
1 small yellow onion, sliced
1 cup of mozzarella cheese, shredded
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 tsp red pepper flakes (or more if you like it spicy!)
1/2 tsp garlic powder
2 Tbsp olive oil
1 egg plus 1 Tbsp of water for the egg wash

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
2. Roll out pie crust or dough on a floured surface, and sprinkle half of the cheese on just one half of the dough
3. Heat oil in skillet, and add onions and veggies. Saute for about 3 minutes, then add oregano, red pepper flakes, and garlic powder. Continue to saute for an additional 5 minutes, until the veggies are starting to get tender
4. Add vegetable mix on top of cheese, and sprinkle with the remaining cheese. Carefully fold the empty side atop the filling, making sure to roll the edges together
5. In a small bowl, whisk egg and water together. Using a pastry brush (or spoon if you don’t have one) coat the dough with the egg wash.
6. Bake for 20-30 minutes until crust is golden brown. Cut in half or in quarters, and enjoy!

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Filed under Recipe, Running, Vegetarian/Vegan, Wedding

Roll With It

After struggling through last week in terms of work stress, piles of homework, and wedding planning, the past few days have had their share of good news. In going with the theme of wedding planning since we’re really in the thick of it now (6 months to go!), fiancĂ© and I just realized we have officially reached our savings goal to comfortably pay for the wedding, and still have plenty left over. This is a great realization and relief, since we really cut back on our day to day activities and spending to make sure we met our monthly savings quota. Not that we plan on changing anything that we’ve been doing, but it’s nice to know we’ll have some cushion room too!

Even though I haven’t been running (thanks, foot) I have been dreaming about the moment I can comfortably go for a run without feeling like my foot might snap in half. I’m still not sure if I’m going to run the half marathon in April (just because I haven’t been able to train properly, aka at all), but I have every intention of signing up for the Philadelphia Marathon on April 1st when registration opens. My first full mary will probably be my first race post wedding – double excitement!

For dinner on Tuesday, I wanted to somehow use wonton/eggroll wrappers, but I wasn’t sure exactly what to do. I grabbed a bag of rainbow cabbage mix at the grocery store over the weekend, and just hoped for the best. What I actually got were some pretty awesome veggie eggrolls, that served alongside some steamed vegetables and a salad was the perfect weeknight meal! The best part was that they tasted fried, but I didn’t have to actually suffer through any flying oil, and they wound up (hopefully) healthier. It took about 20 minutes in total to prepare, and was super easy. The package of wontons I got had quite a few in it, so I’m hoping to try my hand at some Southwestern eggrolls later this week.

Easy Baked Eggrolls
– Makes 8 rolls –

Ingredients:
8 eggroll wrappers (I used Nasoya brand)
1/2 bag Rainbow cabbage mix (I used  Mann’s)
1/2 green pepper, diced
2 celery stalks, diced
2 Tbsp oil
2 Tbsp soy sauce
1 Tbsp Sambal Olek
1 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 Tsp Chinese 5 spice

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees
2. Heat oil in skillet, and add cabbage mixture, pepper, and celery. Cook for 5 minutes, until cabbage mixture begins to wilt
3. Add soy sauce, Worcestershire, Sambal Olek, and 5 spice. Cook additional 5 minutes
4. Once mixture is well combined and heated through, remove from heat. Place about 1 1/2 tablespoons of mixture into middle of wrapper, and fold in each side, starting at the bottom and rolling as you work your way up.  Place the rolled wrappers on a greased baking sheet.
5. Brush some oil on the top of each of the rolls before placing in the oven. Cook for 10 minutes on the top rack in the oven.

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Filed under Recipe, Vegetarian/Vegan, Wedding

A Perfect Little Sunday

This past Sunday, still high from my bridesmaid dress shopping win, the fiancĂ© and I set out to make our guestbook for the wedding. I had seen on The Broke Ass Bride, the idea to use a picture calendar (made on Shutterfly) as a guestbook instead of the traditional plain page books. That got my creative juices flowing, and after receiving a coupon code from David’s Bridal for a free 8×8 20 page hard covered picture book, I knew exactly what we were going to do! So after combing through a bunch of pictures we put everything together and ordered it! I’m so excited to see the final product.

We then only spent $50 at the grocery store for the week (win #2), and decided to celebrate with a trip to Chipotle. Well, the trip had already been planned, but we felt a lot less guilty about spending the money on dinner, especially since we had a coupon for buy one get one free thanks to the new show America’s Next Great Restaurant! As you can see, this whole wedding planning and saving money idea has really been rubbing off on me – I’m hell-bent on finding the best deals for everything. I’m pretty sure the fiancĂ© and my wallet are thanking me! And the burrito I devoured could barely be rolled and wrapped shut… YUM!

Baking was done, as well. I made a batch of Kalyn’s Kitchen’s Sugar-Free and Flourless Chocolate and Oatmeal Cookie Clusters. They were SO good! I added 2 Tbsp of coconut oil to give it some extra flavor, and they were really great. They’re so easy, and you probably have all of the ingredients already. Go make them!

I came home to an e-mail to find out I had won RunAddict’s Zensah giveway was a sweet addition to the already positive weekend, too! It ended peacefully watching The Oscars, with dreamboats James Franco and Anne Hathaway (yes, they are BOTH dreamboats).

(source)

I hope everyone else had a successful and enjoyable weekend – I know I needed it! Now on to tackle the week… at least it’s above 35 degrees!

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Filed under Baking, Spanish Food, Wedding

Pumpkin Cake Cookies

After being out of the baking scene for awhile, I decided to hop back in with what was hands down the easiest recipe ever. Aside from going to the store and buying a box of cookies, I don’t think this could have been easier (and it didn’t require me to leave my house!). This particular recipe comes from PB Fingers, who’s blog I stumbled upon recently. She’s got some super yummy recipes, and I love to see how her wedding plans are unfolding – everything is so cute!

I made a batch of these cookies and decided to bring a bunch to work the next day. Of course, I left some at home to enjoy as well. They were gone in a flash! My co-workers couldn’t stop talking about how great they were, and they were in shock after finding out they only required two ingredients, and a 10-12 minute bake time.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a big skeptical about the whole cake mix + a can of pumpkin = deliciousness, but I’m glad I went ahead with it anyway. All you need to do is combine a box of spice cake mix, and a 15 oz. can of pure pumpkin, plop them on some baking sheets, and bake at 350 degrees for 10-12 minutes. That’s it! They’re going to be super moist and cakey which is just how I like my cookies. I have every intention of making these over and over again, and you should give them a shot too!

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Open Faced Tacos

In a perfect world, there would be more hours in the day available for me to do the things I enjoy: run, cook, read, SLEEP!, etc. However, as we all know this world is far from perfect, and most of my day consists of driving in New Jersey traffic to and from work, sitting in a cube for 9 hours, and then trying to create a delicious meal as quickly as possible to leave enough time to do homework, getting in a workout, and somehow having a little time to relax and plan a wedding. Boy oh boy, life is going to be so fun when I throw kids into the mix!

But I digress… Monday night’s dinner was a nice twist on our regular burrito, with a little less work. I actually had a little more time available, because it’s been rainy and I finally got back to running over the weekend. I was able to complete a mile on Saturday before stopping because the uncomfortable feeling in my ankle/heels started to become a little more painful. Then on Sunday I tackled two miles, and immediately came home and threw my entire foot in a bowl of ice water. I probably could have done another mile, but I didn’t want to push it and I also felt terribly out of shape. I struggled to keep myself going slowly enough not to make things worse, but by the end of that second mile, I was glad I stuck to a 9:30 minute mile pace. Tuesday’s 3 miler was back to an 8:40ish pace, but it definitely hurt afterwards. I’m slated to run a 5k October 9th so I’m hoping I’ll be up to 3.1 miles somewhat comfortably. As of right now, I’m not sure if I’ll pull out of the race or not. We’ll see what the next week and a half has in store.

Dinner was pretty straight forward – some taco sized tortilla shells, refried beans, cheese, ground beef with taco seasoning, and salsa. From there you can really make it your own, depending on toppings (of course you can swap the ground beef for soy crumbles, or nothing at all). I decided to dice up and sautĂ© a few pieces of yellow onion, and a habanero pepper to add some heat. I mixed it into the ground beef that had been cooked with some taco seasoning, chili powder, and adobo. Other than that, I just had to slather the taco shells with refried beans (Old El Paso has a fat-free spicy version – yum!), throw the toppings on the shells, and bake. I suppose this open faced taco is similar to a tostada, however I didn’t use actual tostada shells. My parents have them, though, and they’re awesome.

They were definitely like mini Mexican pizzas, which I was more than okay with. Combine Mexican food and pizza? I’m sold. Next time, though, I’ll probably switch up the toppings and do something a little out of the box. But I encourage you to give these a try!

Open Faced Tacos
– Serves 2-

Ingredients:
1/2 lb. lean ground beef
1/2 yellow onion – diced
1 hot pepper – diced (jalapeno, habanero, etc.)
taco seasoning and other spices to taste
4 taco sized torilla shells
1/2 can refried beans
1 cup shredded cheese blend (“taco” or “Mexican” will work)
1/4 cup salsa
(sour cream, guacamole, and other fixin’s are optional – and delicious!)

Directions:
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees
2. Grease baking sheet(s) and place torilla shells on them
3. In a skillet, brown ground beef with onion, pepper, and seasoning until completely cooked
4. While skillet mixture is cooking, spread the refried beans evenly on the taco shells
5. Drain the meat, and evenly distribute on top of taco shells, finishing it off with an even coating of cheese
6. Bake for 10 minutes, or until taco shells have a slight brown crisp
7. Top with salsa and enjoy!

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