Super bowl prep !!

Friday, January 31, 2014

The biggest day of food football is almost here!!!
I mean the game should be fun to watch and all... but come on. We all know where the importance lies.

So I thought I'd share our menu we have planned for our Super Bowl Party in case you guys are looking for any ideas!

For me, it is all about bite-size food. Mini anything. Mini everything. Skewers. Toothpicks. Finger food. Fun size. You get the picture.

I made the hot jalapeno corn dip for our little Christmas Eve get together and it was so easy and SO delicious. I cut out the seeds and veins of the jalapeno so it had just a bit of heat. If you like things hotter you can leave the veins and seeds in. 

What you need...

2 cans sweet corn, drained
2 jalapeno peppers, seeded and minced
2 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup shredded monterey jack cheese
1/2 cup cheddar cheese
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp onion powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
dash of hot sauce (we used Frank's)
salt and pepper to taste

What you do...

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

In a medium bowl, mix mayo, sour cream, spices and hot sauce. 

Fold in corn, minced jalapeno peppers, onions and 3/4 cups of the blended cheese.

Pour the mixture into a 2 quart greased baking dish. Top with remaining 1/4 cup cheese.

Bake for 20 mins or until cheese is golden brown and bubbling. 

Serve with tortilla chips. 

picture via the sunny side of life
So creamy. The corn adds the perfect amount of sweetness to counter the spice of the jalapeno. Definitely my new staple party dip.

For the pigs in a blanket I buy mini hot dogs and crescent roll dough. Cut the dough into smaller pieces and wrap the little wieners up! Best thing about these is getting some fancy mustards for dipping. One of my favorites is Jack Daniel's hickory smoked mustard. 

I loved the mini crab cakes my mom and I made for m+d cooking day that I have to make them again for our party (you can see the full recipe and instructions here). These fit the mini/funsize/onebite theme perfectly. Another great thing about this recipe, as well as the corn dip, is you can make them a day ahead of time and just pop them in the oven on game day. I absolutely LOVE hosting parties and making all this food but I never want to let it interfere with enjoying the party itself. That's the whole point isn't it?!

And now for the GUAC. I love guacamole. Who doesn't love guacamole?!!! It's not a party without it. I use my step-mom's recipe as my go-to. It's super easy and you can make it in literally 5 minutes.

What you need...

8 avocados
1 16-oz container of fresh pico de gallo
3 seeded, minced jalapenos
handful of cilantro, finely chopped
squeeze of lemon, to taste
salt and pepper, to taste

What you do...

I usually mix together the meat of the avocados, lemon, salt and pepper and cilantro first until it's a flavor I like. Then I add in the jalapeno and pico and call it a day! Serve with tortilla chips. So easy, so tasty. And this will make a LOT. You can adjust amounts based on how many people you're serving (it's really easy to just eyeball it). Also, if you like your guac with less tomato in it than don't add as much pico. 

For the meatballs we're doing the 3 ingredient crock pot recipe... 16-18 oz grape jelly, 12 oz chili sauce & 2 lbs of meatballs. Cook in the crock pot on high for 1-2 hours until heated through. 

The rest are new recipes I've never tried before! You can find the sources here...

Mini banana cookie cream pies (already drooling)

Fruit dip (I wanted to get something healthy on the menu... not sure this even counts....)

Whew!!! I'm so pumped for the party! 

I am also excited that the sun is out today and the temperatures have actually spiked above 40 degrees today!!!! Praise you mother nature! Time for Hadley and I to get out of this house and hit the pavement. Stir crazy much?

From this 8 month old gal (AH!) and myself, we hope you have a wonderful weekend ahead!!!

Beers & cheers,

City trip

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Last Friday Hadley, Jeremiah and I headed into DC to run some really annoying errands (working with the DC courts is so frustrating!!!!!!!) but we made the best of a beautiful day!

We rode the train into the city and took metros around town. Using a stroller on the metro can be such a pain in the butt so I strapped my little gal into a baby carrier instead. It ended up working out really well!

She even got a nap in...

Our little weed is finally growing out of her 3-6 months clothes so we just purchased a few 6-12 month jamjams and they are so big!!! It's only a matter of time until she's growing out of those and I just can't believe it.
We put the cutest pair on her last night...

jammies currently out of stock at babygap

....and then she threw up all over them. 
Poor baby girl :( She must of had some sort of stomach bug going on because she didn't have a fever but she kept tossing her cookies. She did it about 5 times and then finally fell asleep. Had a big ole nasty poo while she was sleeping and now she seems fine. She was a total trooper throughout the whole thing though... she would barf and then smile like nothing just happened. Gotta love that!

I hope none of you are tossing your cookies!!! Cheers!

For all the curls in the world

Monday, January 27, 2014

Growing up with what I like to call a white girl afro (WGA) is tough. Especially when no one else in your family has one or knows how to tame one. What is a lost, teenage girl supposed to do?! I remember searching the internet back in the day looking for advice and coming up empty handed.

So to all my curly girls in the world... 
I present to you my guide to managing your unruly, medusa-esque locks. 

C L E A N S I N G  &  C O N D I T I O N I N G

First thing is first... conditioner is your best friend. You can think of shampoo as a friendly acquaintance. You still need to shampoo sometimes since we can't avoid sweat and dirt in our hair but only when necessary. If you shower every day don't wash your hair every time. Curly hair dries out so easily and your beautiful locks will be frizzy and frayed. I usually shampoo twice a week and condition about every other day. 

When it comes to which shampoo and conditioner to buy I think it's completely up to you. I've tried more expensive salon products and didn't notice a huge difference. I think it's more important to invest in your styling products. Right now I'm using Tresemme shampoo and conditioner for flawless curls. 

C U R L Y  S T Y L I N G

For me there is one huge importance when it comes to styling and it is frizz control. 

Fear the frizz!!!!!!

After you're done showering I have found that the best way to preserve your curls is to squeeze them dry with a towel a bit and then to let them air dry. When I'm in a rush I usually wrap my head in a towel but I try to avoid it if I can.

If you need to brush your hair, I suggest doing it while you're showering rather than after. Nothing produces frizz faster than running a brush through dry curly hair. Just don't do it!!! You can use a wide-tooth comb on damp hair, or even better, just run your fingers through. 

Now you're ready for some product.

I've always been more of a low maintenance beauty gal but now that I have a baby it's all about quick and easy. These are my three go-to products.

Moroccan argan oil makes your hair so incredibly soft and helps with rough ends as well. I usually spray this all over right when I get out of the shower and then let my hair dry a bit before doing anything else to it. This oil is also really great for when you blow dry, straighten or curl your locks. Spray it on before blow drying and spray a bit more after you're finished straightening or curling for added shine and smooth hair.

Next, I use Miss Jessie's leave-in condish once my hair is damp. It's taken many years for me to find the right products for my hair. I just stumbled upon this product a few months ago when a little sample came in my Birchbox and I am obsessed! It leaves your hair touchable, defined and best of all, frizz-free. Editor's note: You can find Miss Jessie's at Target stores.

To finish off your look or to rejuvenate your curls you can use DevaCurl mist-er right spray. This stuff is great for those days that you don't wash your hair to spruce it up and add some extra definition. 

I hope some of these products and tips will help you in your everyday battle with your lovely locks!! 

Please feel free to share any of your own tricks and favorite products... I am always on the look out for the next best thing in the curly hair world! 

Happy Monday to you all,

Smoothies on smoothies on smoothies

Thursday, January 23, 2014

It's official. My smoothie kick has turned into a serious way of life. 
I am loving this new breakfast to start my day! There are so many perks... it's portable, so many variations and great ways to get your fiber, nutrients and vitamins. 

To make this even easier, I put together some different smoothie recipes and froze the ingredients in small baggies. Now I can just pull it out the night before, plop in the blender in the morning and add almond milk or ice. Makes breakfast, literally, a 3 minute process and mama is happy about that!

Here are a few of my favorite recipes...

Tone it up's Get Well Smoothie
1 banana
1 large orange or 2 small oranges
1 cup spinach
1 cup kale
splash of almond milk

Martha Stewart's Green Ginger-Peach Smoothie

If you like ginger, you will LOVE this smoothie. It's my favorite. 

2 handfulls spinach
1 tsp grated peeled fresh ginger
2 cups frozen peaches
2 tsps honey
1 1/4 cups water

I don't really measure when I do these... AKA I don't measure at all and just throw things in. For this I did more than a teaspoon of fresh ginger because I really wanted to get that flavor in there... and it was delicious. I also didn't add water but it might help to blend it if you need it.

Apple-Strawberry-Mango Smoothie

Mango lovers.. this one is for you.

1 peeled, chopped mango
1 peeled, chopped apple
handful of strawberries
1 tbsp chia seeds
splash of almond milk

I love adding chia seeds and ground flaxseed for added fiber, omega 3s and antioxidants. The flaxseed gives a bit of a nutty flavor but I don't taste the chia seeds at all. Mostly, they just add texture. You can find both of these in the organic section at your grocery store. 

Blueberry-Apple-Pineapple Smoothie
1 peeled, chopped apple
1/2 cup chopped pineapple
2 handfulls blueberries
1 tbsp ground flaxseed
splash of almond milk

Avocado-Pear Smoothie
1 ripe avocado
1 peeled, chopped pear
squirt of honey

I adapted this from Martha Stewart's recipe since I didn't have tofu on hand. I was a little weirded out about drinking avocado but it was really delicious. The first taste to hit your lips is the fresh and citrus pear and then you get the creamy, mild flavor of the avocado. The honey adds the perfect amount of sweetness. It's a wonderful combination. Definitely my 2nd favorite!

On that smoothie grind. 

Next on my list is this Yogurt-Ginger-Pistachio number. As Cam from Modern Family would say... it looks DIVINE.

In other news, our little angel has been on Earth for 34 weeks now. Lately she is so squirmy when you try to change her diaper or clothes so it is a serious battle. And, I'm embarrassed to admit, that usually she wins. That girl is so STRONG. And loud. We are in so much trouble.

bow babygap | bicycle onesie | striped pants

IS IT FRIDAY YET? It feels so much like a Friday to me today it is torturing my soul!!! I hope you all are having a wonderful week :)


Till death do us part?

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

The other night while Josh and I were sharing a bottle box of wine he asked me a question...
"Why do you think people break up?" 

At the time I told him, "I'm not really sure... I feel like there are so many different reasons for different people."

Communication is important but that's what everyone says, isn't it? I thought about it a little more and then I told him, "Maybe people don't know who they are or exactly what they want. But they get married anyways and then they realize later that things have changed. That they have changed."

Josh told me he thinks people forget why they were infatuated with that person in the first place. And he added, "People just give up too easily."

With our wedding coming sometime in 2015 (nothing is scheduled yet but that's what we're shooting for!) it's no surprise that these things are on our minds. And while no one wants to think about the D word, divorce has become a reality of the world we live in and dare I even say... a normality?

photo source: foodchannel.com
Do you know they make divorce cakes now?! I mean I love cake just as much as the next person but COME ON MAN.

I grew up with divorced parents but I feel like one of the lucky ones. My parents split when I was two years old and I don't remember it. To me, them being divorced is normal. It's all I've ever known. I'm also lucky enough that my family has stayed close physically and we all get together for family events. I have a little brother and sister from my dad and step-mom, a large extended family and I'm grateful for all of the love they all bring me!

But of course it still comes with its challenges and hard times. There have been plenty of awkward moments over the years, not-so civil times and some yelling fights for sure. But as I sit here writing this now, I wouldn't change my family if I could. We are who we are and we can't change the past. I'm excited to see my entire family grow... see my hilarious little brother grow into a hilarious man, my dad and Ginger grow old together, my youngest and toughest sister become her own person, my mom find her life love, my sister Devon accomplish more than humanly possible. To me, everything does happen for a reason... even my parent's divorce.

Recently, there has been a social shift where people are waiting to marry, cohabiting prior to marriage and even refusing to marry at all. I remember when I was in college I always said I didn't want to get married. And now look at me... foot in mouth. The thought of getting married and then possibly getting divorced was always something that weighed on me and I thought about it a lot. I didn't want to end up like my parents. Not that I think they did anything wrong, per say, I just knew it was a heartache I didn't want to suffer.

Now that I am here with Josh, wearing this promise to him on my finger and staring at this little human we made... I know 100% in my heart that marriage is for me. It is for us. And I can't wait to be his wife.

It really was an easy decision. I knew when I met him that he was different. I told one of my closest friends less than 24 hours after meeting him that I had this feeling about him... like he was going to be important in my life. Little did I know only a mere weeks later that important thing was already growing in my belly. Ahhhh, life... you clever little minx.

For me, love has always been a gut feeling. An emotion, not a thought. I think that is why I waited so long before getting into a relationship. I never felt that feeling with anyone until I found Josh... or did he find me? And maybe... I wasn't ready for that kind of love all those years before. If I had met Josh a year or two earlier we may not be where we are today. In the end, I feel really lucky to have found my one and thank the stars every day for leading us to each other.

Now when I think about marriage I think about a commitment to the person who knows me best... my partner in life instead of a terrifying promise on a piece of paper that's bound to crumble at any second. It's a mutual respect and understanding that we're in this for the long haul... no matter what may come. I think about us old and wrinkly with white hair sprouting from our ears and so many grandchildren we can't remember all of their names. I think about the ruts that are bound to come and how we can navigate through them... how we can remain honest with each other even when we might be embarrassed or scared to say how we feel. I think about our children growing up and learning from our love for each other and for them.

We all are different in how we love, when we love, who we love... even why we love. But we all love. And while divorce has been on a bit of a rampage in this country... I think long and loving relationships, even marriages, are making a comeback.

Are you all throwing up from too many feelings???

Only Ron Burgandy can say it so perfectly.

Here's to you and your found loves, your future loves and your forever loves.


Weekend recap

Monday, January 20, 2014

Woah, my friends. Mama hasn't been that hungover in a long time. 
But that means it was an absolute awesome weekend! My little sister turned 23 last week and we celebrated with a delicious dinner and piano bar fun with friends and family. 

Yes, I am that girl who takes pictures of her food. 

And her cocktails...

And her neighbor's food.....

Is this getting annoying yet? GAH I'm so hungry now!

bow onesie baby gap last season | cheetah leggings nordstrom rack

Hadley had some fun too. I love this bow onesie so much! Reminds me of a little tuxedo like Diane Keaton would wear. 

We had such a great time and got some wonderful, hungover snuggles in on Sunday. 

This is totally random but I've been meaning to share this sweet potato fry dip with you guys! I threw this together with stuff I had in my fridge/pantry and ended up liking it a lot. It's sweet and a little spicy all at the same time. 

What you need...

3 tbsps sour cream
3 tbsps mayo
squirt of ranch
couple dashes of frank's hot sauce
squirt of siracha 
1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
1 tsp honey

Such a yummy little treat.


Valentine Loves

Friday, January 17, 2014

Valentine's Day is less than a month away and we are starting 
to get in the season of love over here. I have been obsessing over tons of Valentine's inspired baby clothes so I thought I'd share some of my favorites!

I love the little elbow patches on the navy dress and even though the first crush sweatshirt is in the boy's section.. I'm totally thinking about getting it for Hadley. So cute!! 

Some of my other loves right now...

The baby shake

and this new fun game...

Happy Friday to you all!!! 

M+D Cooking Day

Tuesday, January 14, 2014

The other day my momma suggested a mother + daughter cooking day, and since I have a lot of trouble denying anything to do with food.. I jumped at it! And of course, I'm glad to spend more time with her, my sister and little Hadley! 

I love this idea because I have SO many things on my "Get in my belly" Pinterest board so now I can finally make them all. BOOM. It's also a great excuse to drink wine during the day. 

This week was our first one and my mom & I both brought a recipe (Devon couldn't make it this week, sad face). I chose mini crab cakes and my mom brought a recipe she saw on the Today show for pizza strudel.  

Hadley and I hit up Wegmans (aka MECCA) to get all of our ingredients and I had no idea they have the best invention EVER in their bathroom. A baby seat. Right next to the toilet. GENIUS, I'm telling you. I mean... you're not allowed to bring your cart in, I didn't have a car seat because it's too friggin heavy to carry, she can't stand up yet and wait for me and I can't strap her to the changing table because she is a ninja escape artist. So what is a girl to do?! I usually just sit her on my lap while I go... no lie. But this is way better. I wonder if she was peeing while I was?....... mother daughter bonding!! Just kidding. Kind of.

And I realize she's missing a shoe... it's around there somewhere. Can you say, hot mess?

Okay, back to the food...

P I Z Z A  S T R U D E L 

Here's what you need...

3 cups spinach, leaves lightly packed
1 cup shredded part-skim mozzarella cheese
6 sun-dried tomato halves
8 fresh basil leaves
1 large ripe tomato
1 tbsp cornmeal
1/2 pound whole-wheat pizza dough, thawed if yours is frozen
3/4 cup part-skim ricotta cheese
1 large egg white

Here's what you do...

Preheat the oven to 450 degrees.

Finely chop the spinach and shred mozzarella if not already shredded. Finely chop the sun-dried tomatoes and cut the basil into ribbons. Ribbons? Yeah, my mom and I asked the same question. The fancy word for that cut is chiffonade and you can see how that is done here. I don't think it really makes a difference but, hey, we're learning here. After all that fanciness, chop the tomato into thin circles.

fancy basil ribbons

My mom trying to style the picture... 

The final product.. that knife is so menacing. Great work mom!

Sprinkle cornmeal on your counter. Using your hands or a rolling pin, stretch the dough into a 10 x 16 inch rectangle. Spread the ricotta along the middle of your dough, leaving about a 3 inch border on each long side and a 1/2 inch border on the short sides. Spread spinach and sun-dried tomatoes over cheese. Arrange tomato slices on top, then mozzarella and finally the beautiful basil ribbons. 

Next, whisk the egg white and brush it along each side of the dough. Fold the two short sides of dough together over the filling and then roll the entire thing lengthwise like a jelly roll. Press the sides with your fingers to seal it. 

Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and transfer your strudel to the pan. You may have to lay it diagonally for it to fit. Cut a few slits in the top and then bake for 15 minutes. 
Slice & serve!

First off, I couldn't believe that this bad boy only took 15 minutes to cook! This would be a great meal to make up ahead of time, freeze or refrigerate and then bake when you're ready to eat. I am a tomato-basil-mozzarella fanatic so this was right up my alley. Soft dough, gooey cheesey-ness and delicious flavors. 

M I N I  C R A B  C A K E S

Now that I am officially a Maryland gal (I still miss you Virginia, I always will!!!!! Drivers suck here!!!! Whoops.... that just slipped out. I hope my neighbors aren't reading...) I have decided to try and embrace the Maryland culture. AKA crab everything. And crab cakes are one of my favorites. 

I've been in such a mini mood lately (you can see more mini meals here) so once I saw these little adorable cakes I knew I had to make them! 

What you need...

24-well mini muffin pan
8 oz cream cheese, room temperature
3/4 cup finely grated parmesan cheese
1 large egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1/2 tsp lemon zest
3 tbsp fresh chives, minced
1/4 tsp kosher salt
pinch of cayenne pepper
8 oz fresh lump crabmeat, patted dry & coarsely chopped
1 cup panko breadcrumbs
4 tbsp unsalted butter, melted
additional fresh chives for garnish (optional)

What you do...

In a medium bowl, beat the cream cheese, 1/4 cup of parmesan and the egg on medium speed. Add in the sour cream, lemon zest, 1 tbsp chives, salt, cayenne pepper and continue beating. Gently fold in the crab.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 24-well mini muffin pan with cooking spray. 

In a separate medium bowl, combine the panko, 1/2 cup of parmesan and 2 tbsps of minced chives. Pour the melted butter over the mixture and toss with a fork. Place 1 tbsp of the panko mixture in each muffin well and press down (this should leave you with half of the mixture left). Next, spoon 1 tbsp of the crab mixture over the crust. Sprinkle the rest of your panko mixture over the crab to top them. I actually had to make more panko mixture because I ran out so make sure to leave enough for the topping.

Bake for 30 minutes, until golden and set. I suggest rotating the pan half way through. Allow the mini cakes to cool for 5 minutes. Run a knife around them to pop each out, garnish with some chives, dip in some tartar sauce and DIG IN my friends.

Try not to look at my beautifully painted nail......

These were SO good. Crunchy and crabby goodness. They are the perfect appetizer for really any event (can we say super bowl??) and so easy to throw together. One of my new favorites!! 

I'd say our first m+d was a success! I'm already searching pinterest for my next recipe. My mom and I were saying today that we want to try things we've always been scared to make so one of these days I am definitely going to try out a souffle. I'm sure that'll be comical. 

Cheers my friends,

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