Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Chicken Parm, Jalapeno Poppers, Tuscan Pasta with Tomato Basal Cream

Recipe #187 - Chicken Parmesan Bake from FoodWishes -

This recipe was pretty easy and delicious! It made enough for multiple leftovers so we were eating it for days, and the leftovers were just as good as the first time.  The only problem I ran into with this recipe was that it started a beef between me and Trader Joe's. Sure, the place is great and cheap, and even though it's 3 streets and 3 avenues away, I make the 20 minute walk a few times a week, as well as the dreadful 20 minute walk loaded down with bags, and I even brave the lines that are long enough to require theme-park reminiscent signs signifying 'end of line' and 'middle of line', but the croutons pushed me over the edge. A small bag of Trader Joe's brand croutons for $4?! I'm not spending $16 on croutons just to make this recipe!! Jeeezzzz.

Recipe #188 - Bacon Jalapeno Poppers from hellohue -

Mmmmmmmmmmm. I made a plate of these as an afternoon snack, hoping to allow them to stretch out as an appetizer for guests later that night. Well, I was incorrect. The time it took to make them, although in reality short (20 minutes), was an eon compared to the time it took to eat them. Seriously. Between me and fiance they were gone in, mmm, 3 minutes? The whole place. Devoured.
Then I spent the rest of the night telling our guests how delicious they were and how I was oh-so-sorry there were no leftovers.
... Sorry I'm not sorry.

Recipe #189 - Tuscan Pasta with Tomato Basal Cream from MyRecipes -

Another home run in the recipe standings. REALLY easy to make (the longest part was waiting 20 minutes for the pot of water to boil before realizing the gas wasn't attached to the burner), plus I added chicken & pepper to fiance's and extra tomatoes to mine to make a more personalized meal.
It was filling. Like 3 bites in we were holding our stomachs. I think it's all the cheese. Just be forewarned... this is probably better as a small dish. Like one of those tiny dishes of 4-ravioli they sell for $20 in fancy restaurants. Yeah, those.

I know, right? I'm on a recipe roll. Don't get used to it... my summer's at 4 days off and counting.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

State Update!

So... you noticed I've been MIA for 2 months, huh?

Well, the excuse is good this time. Like, really good. Like if there was any excuse for not blogging OVER MY 2 MONTH WORK-FREE SUMMER VACATION, this is it.

On top of the wedding being 4 months away.

I've been busy.

I've been busy packing. And unpacking. And re-packing. And cleaning. And shopping. And packing more, and cleaning more, then unpacking. Labeling, organizing, and more shopping.


Soooo... that happened. The big bad fiance got a big bad job in the big bad city of the big apple.

Does that mean I haven't been crafting and baking? Oh no. You can't stop me from doing that stuff. I've just been finding other things to do than write about it.

But now I'm back, coming at you from our shiny new apartment in Chelsea, with tons to talk about... where do I even begin?  Man... this is overwhelming. I need a break already.

I'll start with the recipes.

Recipe #180 - Ohmygod I can't believe I never wrote about my Salted Caramel Peanut Butter Cups from Mountainmamacooks. Like, I'm salivating just thinking about them. Mountainmama blames this on TraderJoes (which I completely understand... now that I'm a TraderJoes shopper I sympathize with the subtle call of those little brownies while waiting in line for checkout), but I blame these on my roomie. Well, ex-roomie now *sob... growing up*!  She got some from a student for teacher appreciation week, and when she let me try one I certainly did NOT appreciate the craving I had for ALL THE REST IN THE WORLD after that.
So, a few weeks later, she moved out. And in my depressing state, I made these.  The best part was... I knew fiance would HATE them... oh well, more for me *evil laugh*.
Well, I was wrong. Fiance tried one, and despite the fact that there was caramel inside (yuck) and salt touching chocolate (double yuck), even he couldn't get enough.
Except I did catch him wiping off the salt one day. From then on he was banned from all access to the goodness.
Anyways, moral of the story. Make these. They're amazing.

Ps. Puppy didn't try one for fear of, ya know, death, but I think she would be okay with me saying she's a fan.


Recipe #181 - One Pot Stovetop Lasagna from YellowBlissRoad: I made this one night when my brother was visiting so that we didn't have to spend money on eating out... again (best food in the city, right?).  It was very easy, and it was good! Sorry, no picture.

Recipe #182 - Peanut Butter Pie with Pretzel Crust from RestlessChipotle: Fiance's birthday comes only once per year, and I'm astonished at the variations of Peanut Butter Pie that I can find on pinterest to celebrate his day the way he's used to... Birthday Pie. This year, I made this Peanut Butter Pie with Pretzel Crust and it was yummy! If I were to do it over, I would not use as much chocolate. Once it hardened it made it very hard to eat.

Recipe #183 - Hummus Crusted Chicken from InspiredCraftIdeas: Yum. What a great idea! Shmear some hummus on the chicken, bake it up, and enjoy a moist and delicious chicken. Yum!

Recipe #184 - Red Velvet Truffles from Susannah's Kitchen: Another fiance recipe stemmed from his love of red velvet. And so easy! I usually go for the oreo balls to see that smile on his face, but this was a really interesting change. Delicious and easy!! I had to drizzle the white chocolate over the balls because I'm so bad at dipping, but it was still perfect!

Recipe #185 - Banana Blondies from Cookies and Cups: After so many fiance-friendly recipes, I finally made a selfish recipe with these banana blondies. In fact, it's a fiance-deterrent, as his passionate hate for bananas keeps him so far away I can guarantee delicious dessert for myself 9 nights in a row. I would have added a little more banana (I think mine was too small) as it was a little dry, but with the frosting it was still yummy yummy.

 Recipe #186 - Crockpot Honey Apple Pork Loin from Mycrossfitpaleojourney: Not sure what I did wrong with this one. I was soo excited as it cooked, it smelled so good! But when we went to eat it, it tasted of nothing. Water. That's it. There was no water in the recipe!!! It was edible, but only after I doused it with barbecue sauce.


Now, in the category of home decor:

Inspired by this picture on pinterest, I put together Graduation Shadow Boxes for myself and Fiance from each of our graduations. I used tshirt boxes found at Michael's (for $10!) and pinned everything in. Then I used cricut vinyl to put the dates on there. I love them!

Finally, we moved into our new apartment in the city.  Here's a few pictures of the place:

Week 1, still unpacking: 

Week 2: Finished unpacking, moved the cubbies and bookshelf, got our couch, ottoman, pantry, and vanity.

1 month in: Finally set up!


Coffee/wine bar inspired by TheVintageWren. Isn't it adorable? The sign says 'Give me coffee to change the things I can, and wine to accept the things I can't." Notice the wine cork G hanging on the wall? Roomie made that for us for our engagement party! The coffee cups are hanging on a curtain rod from Bed Bath and Beyond with hooks from Ikea. The drawer it is sitting on is where my sewing machine was before. Sadly, I had to leave it with my parents in Florida as it was a little too much for our studio apartment. The shelf now holds extra coffee, tea, all the sweetner etc, shot classes, tervis tumblers, etc.


 Couch/living space - the ottoman has storage!

 The pantry was from Ikea for $100, can you believe it! The only problem was the clear doors made the place look very cluttered. I fixed this by adding lace using cornstarch using the tutorial on annabelvita.
Here are some before and afters.

The etched mirror was another project from pinterest, inspired by DwellingsbyDevore.  To do this, I hand-drew a G on contact paper, cut it out, and stuck it on, then etched it using regular etching cream. I never thought about etching a mirror, but why not?!  My only problem is that since I had to hand-draw it, I see some flaws in the G, but I still love it. 

The desk/vanity is two floating shelves from Ikea inspired by curbly


 The fabric bins are from Bed Bath and Beyond, the cardboard ones on top are from Ikea.

Our little bistro table is from Home Depot... only $90!

Gallery wall :)

 Notice the monogram over the bed? I made that from foam board and mod-podged scrapbook paper on it from inmyownstyle.

Finally, my last project was a nice stool for under the vanity. I couldn't find a decently-priced stool anywhere, so I decided to make my own based on a tutorial from squidoo. Unfortunately, the page has been unpublished now, but this is the picture and description:
Easy DIY- a piece of wood- 4 legs (all of which are sold at home depot for around $5)- padding ( or an old old comforter or 2) and then staple pretty fabric :)
Easy DIY- a piece of wood- 4 legs (all of which are sold at home depot for around $5)- padding ( or an old old comforter or 2) and then staple pretty fabric :)

For mine, I ordered 16" legs online from Home Depot. They took forever to get there. When I finally did go pick them up, I also grabbed a $5 shelf that was the size I wanted. I figured this would be easier than asking someone to cut a piece of wood down for me, and it was already finished and painted.  I used an old pillow as the stuffing and covered it with some fabric I had on hand. I wanted to paint the legs white, but apparently my white paint didn't make it to NYC, so in the essence of finishing the project I painted them light blue. The legs came with built in screws on the top, so all I had to do was drill the right sized hole in the shelf, staple on the fabric covering the pillow, and screw in the the legs.
Ta-da! ... Now let's see how long it lasts. First one to break it has to...?

Well, that's all I have. School starts soon, so I'm back to work and have a new classroom to set up. 
Wish me luck!