Friday, February 27, 2015

Friday Favorites ~ Lately

Favorites Lately
Happy Friday Everyone!
Once again, I'm super excited that the weekend is here and can't wait to have 2 days off from working. I am linking up with the usual suspects, Andrea & Erika to share my favorites.
Starbucks Iced Caramel Lattes
~As if this needs a reason why it's my fave. Even though it's cold, I am digging the iced latte.
Lady Stella - Stella D'oro Cookies
~These little pieces of heaven were discontinued for a while there and they are BACK now! WooHoo - I saw these in the grocery store with the saying:
"Your favorite lady is back" - MADE MY DAY
These cookies were ALWAYS at my Grandmoms house.
So I buy them, often.
Our New Comforter (my bed in general)
~I don't know why, but lately, my bed is SO comfy. When I get into it at the end of a day (cold and long lately) it is just so relaxing and comfy. This might sound odd - but I'm a huge fan of the bed as of late!
(please note the bear all the way to the left of my bed that I've had FOREVER!!)

My New Hair Dryer
~I bought it at Sally Beauty Supply and actually spent like $45 on it BUT got a free 2" curling iron FREE! So it was well worth it! And I absolutely LOVE it.
This is the curling iron I got free.... LOVE LOVE LOVE it
Pure Leaf Unsweetened Tea
~This is by far my favorite beverage. I drink one whilst at work and have a large jug of it at home that I drink a glass of at night. I love tea. Especially unsweetened tea, ESPECIALLY this one. It's totally addicting. So refreshing and not full of crap!
Rainbow Cookies
~A bakery near us makes THE BEST version of these cookies AND my co-worker does as well. My father in law always makes sure he gets me some when he goes there. They are hands down THE BEST cookies ever!! :)
Dr. Seuss
This exact quote and hat is drawn on the big marker board outside of my office.
Compliments of yours truly. 
We celebrate Dr. Seuss's birthday on March 2nd & I wanted to share his wisdom. I actually love that marker board. The kids stop in the hall and read all the different fun things I write. 

My Bird Feeder
I love cardinals.
I've heard they are visitors from Heaven :)
And I believe that. 
This male & female pair live nearby and always come to eat. 

I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!! 
Be sure to check out my two recipes from earlier this week!!


Thursday, February 26, 2015

Is it spring break yet?

Counting Down to Spring Break!!!!!!
So funny to think about what Spring Break means now vs. what it was in my late teens/early 20's and what it actually meant then & what it means now.
Then: A week of partying that I saved my paychecks for to blow on whatever I wanted.
Oh to be young, not own a home and be carefree! haha
Now: It's a break from the day to day 6am-6pm life.
Not having to set my alarm for 5:30am
And a chance to catch up on things like laundry, the book I've been putting off, painting projects and things that any adult/homeowner/wife looks forward to when they get a free break from work! haha
So much different than what it was years ago......
Not saying I was a crazy party girl, but I did go to Daytona Beach one year...
It's surely something I look forward to each year about this time because school gets to be so crazy. Middle school kids are crazy enough without being stuck inside, and state testing, and exams etc. etc. etc. ~ I can't wait for our break.
Ted & I have been going back and forth with what to do on my spring break from school.
We considered going to visit his family in Florida...
road tripping to New Hampshire/Maine
Read all about this place here

(but warm weather is more appealing when it's cold where you live)
I mentioned going to Hershey Park in Pennsylvania, because who doesn't love wall to wall chocolate and a tour of how it's all made!?
We thought out going to Texas
We thought about jetting off to an island.
Then we said we might wait to go on a vacation until we celebrate our 1 year wedding anniversary and possibly go with our best friends who will also be celebrating their 1 year anniversary around the same time.
What to do. What to do.
If we wait, we would go back to Aruba or possibly the Bahamas.
Personally, with all this frigid cold weather and snow lately, I'm just in the mood to go ANYWHERE!!
Who is going away for Spring Break or just a vacation in general??
Any suggestions?
See you tomorrow for Friday Favorites

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

What's Cookin' Wednesday ~ Chicken Meatballs w/ Oriechette

Orecchiette with Mini Chicken Meatballs

OMG Ladies.... this is INSANE!!
Compliments of Ms. Giada DeLorentis (with a few minor tweaks)
Here is what you need:
1 pound orecchiette pasta
1/4 - 1/2  cup plain bread crumbs
1/4 cup chopped fresh parsley
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1 tablespoon whole milk
1 tablespoon ketchup
3/4 cup grated Romano
3/4 teaspoon salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 pound ground chicken
1/4 cup olive oil
1 1/2 cups low-sodium chicken stock, hot
4 cups cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan
8 ounces bocconcini mozzarella, halved
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tablespoon of corn starch
Here is what you do:  
Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil over high heat.
(I add olive oil to the pot so my pasta doesn't stick)
 Add the pasta and cook until al dente, stirring occasionally, about 8 to 10 minutes.
In a medium bowl, stir together the bread crumbs, parsley, eggs, milk, ketchup, Romano cheese, and the salt and pepper. Add the chicken and gently stir to combine.
With damp hands, roll the chicken pieces into mini meatballs.
In a large skillet, heat the oil over medium-high heat.
Working in batches, add the meatballs and cook without moving until brown on the bottom Turn the meatballs over and brown the other side, until cooked.
Remove and place into a bowl off to the side for later.
Add the chicken stock and tomatoes to the skillet. Bring to a boil.
Using a wooden spoon, scrape up the brown bits that are stuck to the bottom of the pan.
At this point, take a tablespoon of corn starch and two tablespoons of the hot liquid from the skillet, and mix it together in a little bowl to get a slurry. 
Add to the skillet and stir around. 

Reduce heat to low and simmer until tomatoes are soft, then add the meatballs back.
 Drain the pasta, reserving about 1 cup of the pasta water.
Transfer pasta to a large serving bowl and add the Parmesan.

Toss to lightly coat orecchiette, adding reserved pasta water, if needed, to loosen the pasta. Add the meatball mixture,
mozzarella cheese. Gently toss to combine.
Garnish with the chopped basil.
This meal is seriously amazing. It reheats well for lunch the next day too!
I was sketchy about chicken meatballs, but I absolutely LOVE this dish!!

 Linking up with Andrea for Recipe Club to share this amazing dish! 

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

Coffee Rubbed Steak, Roasted Cauliflower and Easy Oven Potatoes

I have a fabulous Chicken Meatball Pasta recipe for tomorrows What's Cookin' Wednesday, but I just need to share this rub with you along with the delicious sides I "threw" together.
Chipotle Coffee Steak Rub
For the rub:
1/4 cup ancho chili powder
1/2 cup finely ground coffee (I used fresh ground local)
2 tablespoons paprika
3tablespoons  brown sugar
1 tablespoon dry mustard
1 tablespoon dried oregano
2 teaspoons ground ginger
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon ground black pepper

1/4 teaspoon cayenne (optional)
What you do:
Mix all the spices in a bowl and cover steak of your choice liberally on both sides with rub.
I used NY Strip
Cover with plastic and refrigerate over night; let sit at room temp before grilling
Grill to your liking

 Roasted Cauliflower
For the Cauliflower Prep:
6 cloves of garlic, finely chopped
Red pepper flake
Head of Cauliflower
Jelly Roll Pan

What you do:
Pre Heat oven to 450*
Break up one head of cauliflower and scatter it about on a foil lined jelly roll pan.
Drizzle entire thing liberally with EVOO
Sprinkle your garlic on top of all the pieces of cauliflower
Then simply add your salt & pepper then sprinkle on as much or as little red pepper as you would prefer. I used about half a tablespoon of red pepper and it wasn't too spicy.
Bake in the oven at 450* for about 20 minutes or until tender
Remove from oven & Enjoy!
Easy Oven Potatoes
These taters' were a complete after-thought. I had my meat. I had my veg. I needed my starch. I usually cut up potatoes and throw on some oil and a packet of Good Seasons but I'm over that for now, so I was in need of something else...
What you need:
5 or 6 Russet potatoes
1 Onion, slices very thin
Salt & Pepper

Potato Prep:
Peel and slice your potatoes whichever way you like your potatoes sliced. You have options, I won't tell you how to eat your taters. I like to slice mine in half.
Then in half again and slice them up thin.
Then sprinkle them out on a pan (I put the potatoes and cauliflower on the same pan)
Worked like a dream...
Ok - so your potatoes are sliced and on the pan, throw on your sliced onion, I used a half for this many potatoes. And stick a few chunks of butter throughout. Then sprinkle on the salt and pepper amount that your taste buds desire.
Bake on 450* for 20-25 minutes (if cooking on the same pan as cauliflower)
Now go to the grocery store, get yourself a bag of potatoes, head of cauliflower and some red meat and get to work because this meal is all sorts of delicious!

Monday, February 23, 2015

Weekend Wrap-Up ~ hockey snow and food

What a weekend! 

We had so much fun. 
We ate a bunch of amazing food. 
We had a fabulous time at the Devils game! 
And we tried a new donut place ln town!

First up... This amazing shot from our wedding.  I love it. 
Friday at work was college sweatshirt day. UPenn is one of my favorite colleges because we got VERY good news from there last year. 
It was 5° on Friday. All day. #frozen
I came home from work to see this cutie getting weird with Jakes snow towel. I love her though she's just so cute. 

Saturday we had a busy day planned. 
We got up and had breakfast...
And these are the amazing donuts we had. The place is called:
Go Nutz 4 Donuts 
They were amazing. 
Ted and I split each one. In one sitting. 
Yes folks, we ate all 6 in like 10 minutes. 
Flavors from left to right top:
Fruity Pepple, Apple Crumb, Maple Bacon
Bottom: Black Raspberry Jelly, Bavarian Cream, Cinnamon Sugar.

They were so good. Like. Insane. 
Then we got ready for the rest of the day. As we were leaving the snow began. We were expecting about 5 inches near home but we were headed north. This was the parkway about 20 minutes in. It was awful. Thank God for 4 wheel drive. 
This was an interstate road in north jersey... Pretty, but scary. 
Then we got to the restaurant we were headed for. 2 hours later, but so worth it. 
The place is called Clover Leaf Tavern. It's absolutely AMAZING.  
Below is the appetizer we shared:
Ham and smoked Gruyere cheese stuffed mushrooms ~ I didn't care for the extreme smokiness. But they were delicious. 
I had the short ribs over mashed potatoes with Guinness brown gravy. All scratch made. All absolutely out of this world. 
Ted had the smokehouse burger. I had zucchini, chipotles, cilantro, bacon, the kitchen sink... OMG awesome burger. 

He also had one of their specialty beers exclusive to this place from our favorite brewery by us. Overall amazing experience. Then we bundled back up and headed to the truck... 
I saw this and chuckled...
My view from inside the truck. Poor Ted was covered in snow after clearing it off. 
The roads were atrocious. And now it was dark making it so much worse. 
We paid $30 to park right across from the arena and slushed through the snow smacking us in the face to get into the building. #blanketscarf
Yay! Decent seats for the upper level and such a great game. 
During the first intermission I scoped out the roads. Still terrible. I said to ted we had to brace ourself for a bad, long ride home. And that it was indeed...
The Devils Win!!! Awesome game. 
Me rocking my blanket scarf at the game
#hugedork #keptmewarm
Love this guy. 
The parking lot was a MESS. And so was the truck. Ted got soaked again. Poor guy. 
Laughing at the crazy snow. 
The horrific ride home. So so scary. 
Again. Amen for 4x4
We couldn't believe that the turnpike and the parkway (NJ's two most major roads) were so so soooo bad. Not cleared or salted at all. 

It took us about 2 hours to get home Saturday night. It was awful.
Sunday we hit up Home Depot and fixed up a few things around the house and went to dinner at Ted's parents house.
What a weekend!
** Please say a prayer for my brothers sweet pup Cooper... He hasn't been doing too well lately**