Sushi!!!!!

Who says three little ladies can’t put away some sushi?

Interwebs, meet Colby.

Colby

 

You’ve met her before, but, also meet Katie (again).

Katie

Last night, Katie, Colby and I went out to Koi Koi in Falls Church for some chit chat and a heck of a lot of sushi.

Sushi Spread 2And some free edimame. ūüôā

It was delicious. Yes, that is six rolls of sushi you see there. I can’t even remember what everything was, but I DO remember that it was all fantastic and delicious. This post has no other point except to prove that no amount of sushi will go uneaten when we put our minds to it.

DamageSmile!

Smile!

 

 

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Acorn Squash and Sweet Potato Soup

You guys. I told you. I have an addiction.

Finished SoupI can’t stop making soup. And therefore I can’t stop eating soup. I’d say it’s bad, but it’s really just so, so good.

Acorn SquashThis recipe is adapted from Tartlette. I’m sure I’ll be making it again, although I will admit it was missing… something. I still can’t put my finger on it. More maple syrup? Apples? Bacon? Probably bacon. But I don’t eat pigs anymore, so that idea’s shot. Suggestions, please?

Sweet Potatoes & OnionBut other than the missing ingredient, this soup was pretty good. I ate it for about a week after I made it, so it couldn’t have been terrible, right? It did pack a lot of flavor. Squash based soups are always so deliciously creamy without all the extra calories. Plus, they’re chock-full-o-nutsvegetables so they’re like, healthy or something.

What You Need:

  • 2 mini acorn squash, peeled and cubed (about 3 cups)
  • a little more than 2 tablespoons of olive oil, divided
  • 1 sweet onion, coarsely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon curry powder
  • 3 medium sweet potatoes, peeled and cubed
  • 8 cups vegetable or chicken stock¬†
  • 1/4 cup maple syrup
  • dried spices to taste (thyme, rosemary, oregano, nutmeg, whatever you can find!)
  • coarse salt and freshly ground pepper

What you Do:

1. Preheat the oven to 375F.

2. Put cubed squash in a baking dish, drizzle with one teaspoon of olive oil (or use your handy dandy MISTO!!!) and roast until soft – 20-30 minutes.

3. Heat about a tablespoon of oil in a large soup pot over med-hi heat. (le sigh, someday I will have my Le Cruset cookware…). Add the onion and curry powder and cook until onion is soft and almost translucent.

Onion & Curry Powder4. Add sweet potatoes, stock, syrup, spices, and cooked squash. Bring to a boil for a moment, then simmer, uncovered, until potatoes are soft. (This should take about 30 minutes.)

Simmering Soup

5. Let the soup cool a bit, and then blend the ish out of it with your immersion blender. If you don’t have an immersion blender, you can use a blender or food processor.

Blended Soup

 

What’s your favorite winter soup? Any I should try to recreate here?

Finished Soup 2

 

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Goal Update … Click It?

Hello friends! It’s past the halfway point of January, so I thought I’d give you a quick update on where I stand with my goals. Warning… it’s not pretty. But, it could be worse!

You may recall that my first due date was on Tuesday, the 15th. It was admittedly the easiest goal on my list… and I didn’t exactly accomplish it. Oops. The goal was to put my training clicker on a bracelet so it was easily accessible and so I could use it whenever Jameson starts acting like a brat. (My baby, act like a brat? Never!)

8388573814_077750d0b3_hWell… the clicker didn’t make it on to a bracelet, but it DID make it onto my coffee table! Baby steps. And I’ll even call it a win (maybe a tie? work with me here) because it achieved the goal of being easily accessible. We’re working hard on the no barking thing, and I think it’s very slowly starting to sink in. You bark, you go to time out on the stairs. We’re having to do less and less time outs, so I think it’s working! Here’s to actually accomplishing goals and doing what we say we’re going to…

I’m not going to go into detail here, but you may have noticed some extra awesome pictures on the blog lately. Dan has taken it upon himself to be my own personal photographer, and I think he’s doing a damn good job. ūüôā

 

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Chicken Schnitzel and Brussel Sprouts

Full Meal

Growing up, we had a pretty standard list of dinner options that we cycled through weekly: Spaghetti (with sauce from a can usually), Stouffer’s Lasagna, meatloaf, baked chicken with bar-b-que sauce, and my favorite – chicken schnitzel. I’m pretty sure that traditionally, schnitzel is made with pork, but my dad grew up in Israel, where pork is hard to come by. Jewish schnitzel = 100% chicken.

Schnitzel Cooking

This is one of those recipes that you could make your own, this is just my family’s take on it. It’s still one of my favorites, and is up there with spaghetti as one of my go-tos in the kitchen. ¬†It’s one of the only ones I make regularly that I don’t use a recipe for ūüôā This is alllll from my memory baby. This meal can be made in about 30 minutes, and tastes like it’s out of a restaurant kitchen. (Maybe it’s all the oil? Who knows.) I dip mine in honey. I have no idea why, but it’s delicious. Dan uses ranch. My brothers have been known to use ketchup. Whatever you do, it’s okay to make it your own!

Schnitzel Cooked

What You Need (Schnitzel):

  • 1 lb of chicken breast, thinly sliced¬†
  • 1-2 eggs, beaten
  • 1-2 cups of Italian seasoned bread crumbs
  • 1/4 cup of vegetable oil

What You Do (Schnitzel):

  1. Heat oil in large skillet on med-hi heat.
  2. Lightly beat the chicken with a meat tenderizer. (If you don’t have one of these, or if you’re lazy like me, it’s okay to skip this step.)
  3. Dredge chicken first in egg, then in bread crumbs. Be sure to thoroughly Рthis is what gives your chicken that beautiful brown crispiness!
  4. Place chicken (carefully!) in HOT oil, it should sizzle as you put it down, and cook until golden brown on one side. Flip and repeat on the other side.
  5. Place on a plate with a paper towel underneath to catch the excess oil.
  6. Serve over rice or mashed potatoes with a vegetable.

What You Need (Brussel Sprouts):

Sprinkled Sprouts

  • As many brussel sprouts as you can eat, quartered
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbsp of Olive oil

What You Do (Brussel Sprouts):

Cooked Sprouts

  1. Preheat oven to 400 F.
  2. Place quartered sprouts on a baking sheet – I line mine with tin foil for easy clean up
  3. Mist or pour olive oil on sprouts, coating evenly – I use my Misto and I LOVE IT IF YOU DON’T HAVE ONE GO GET ONE RIGHT NOW!
  4. Salt and pepper to taste – you can play with the spices. I also use garlic powder occasionally
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 20-25 minutes, until edges start to turn brown and crispy

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My New Obsession

Does it count as an obsession if I’ve only made it twice?

Chopped

I think at this rate, I’m well on my way. I simply cannot stop making and eating soup. Not like from-a-can-Campbell’s-condensed-crap. Good, hearty, home made soup. I think it all started with making Lasagna Soup at Gretchen’s a few weeks ago. Last week I made this delicious Broccoli, Cheese and Potato Soup¬†from SkinnyTaste.com. And it was. So. Good. Plus, it gave me a good excuse to use my immersion blender for the first time in forever, so, win for kitchen gadget usage! It wasn’t even that hard! The most time consuming bit was the chopping – other than that it could have been ready in less than 45 minutes. Not too shabby for a weeknight meal. And then for lunch a few days as well.

Onions, Carrots, Celery

One quick note about reheating – it does get pretty thick in the fridge from all the potato starch, so adding some milk or water when reheating is not a bad idea.

Recipe from Skinnytaste.com

Soup 3

What You Need:

  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 carrot, chopped
  • 1 celery stalk, chopped
  • 2 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbsp butter
  • 2 tbsp flour
  • 2 1/2 cups fat free chicken or veggie broth
  • 1 cup fat free milk
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and diced small
  • salt and fresh pepper
  • 4 cups (about 2 heads) broccoli florets, chopped into small pieces
  • 1-1/2 cups 2% shredded sharp cheddar
  • 2 slices 2% American cheese
  • 1 tbsp parmesan cheese

What You Do:

  1. Chop onion, carrot, celery, garlic in a chopper or mini food processor.
  2. In a large soup pot, melt butter.  Add chopped vegetables and sauté on low heat until soft, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add flour, salt and pepper to the pot and stir until smooth.
  4. Add broth, milk and potatoes and set heat to high until it comes to a boil, then cover and cook on low until potatoes are soft, about 10-15 minutes.
  5. Add broccoli florets, parmesan cheese, and stir well. Adjust salt and pepper to taste.Cook uncovered until broccoli is cooked, about 5 minutes.
  6. Add cheddar and American cheese, stir well and remove from heat.
  7. Using an¬†immersion blender, quickly¬†blend¬†part of the soup for a quick second or two. If you don’t have an immersion blender, remove about 1-2 cups of potatoes and broccoli, place it in your chopper, then add it back to the soup. This helps thicken it a bit.

Soup done

**Note: The broth adds a lot of salty flavor, so go easy on the salt!

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On Simultaneously Planned Weddings

Welcome to Monday, everybody.

This weekend, a very important question struck me: When did I become a grown up? Obviously I know when I turned 18, but like… when did it become normal for me to choose to do things like laundry and cleaning and working instead of fun things? (The giant laundry pile in my bedroom begs to differ… I digress.)

On Saturday, instead of parking it on the couch to watch the last six episodes of Gossip Girl, I actively chose to sit at the kitchen table and work on some stuff. Granted, it was all personal – this blog, replying to emails, paying bills, planning Katie’s bridal shower – but still. Possibly as recent as a month ago that would not have been the logical choice for me to make. And the weird part? I liked it.

Speaking of planning Katie’s bridal shower, some people may be wondering what it’s like planning a wedding at the same time as your best friend. I definitely can’t speak for all best friends out there, because I’m sure that sometimes it is a ginormous disaster and friendships are ruined. But not in our case! Katie and I have been incredibly happy for, and supportive of each other for the last six months. Actually, for the last eleven years. (Seriously? Maybe we became grown ups somewhere in that time frame…)

Of course, when Katie and Patrick got engaged¬†I was over the moon. Getting engaged myself was the furthest thing from my mind, and immediately I began offering to help her with whatever she needed. (Mainly, figuring out how to work Excel and create a budget, because apparently nurses never learn the extremely valuable life skill that is Microsoft Office…)

And then, my time came. I’ll admit there were some feelings of apprehension – I didn’t want Katie and Patrick to feel overshadowed. As it turns out, that was a completely illegitimate fear – she has been so happy and supportive the whole time. We just had to find a balance and set some ground rules. We really just had one golden rule – one bride at a time; one thing at a time.

This didn’t mean we couldn’t accompany each other to our dress appointments (we definitely did that). It just meant focusing on one of us at a time. Some appointments/dresses/weekends are for Katie to be the bride and find her perfect dress. Others were/are for me. Having this basic rule helped us both feel bridely and gave us each an opportunity to be a bridesMAID as well. Giving and getting support are equally important, and it would be impossible for me to give her my full attention if I was focused on ME. Planning a wedding and things like dress shopping are¬†stressful¬†enough¬†already, no need to make them more so.

I’ll admit – sometimes it can be confusing and challenging. Just this weekend, Katie and I both had important things to knock off the list, and we both wanted to involve the other person. The chain of text messages is hard for even me to decipher, but what it comes down to is being flexible, supportive, and understanding.

So, while I am extremely excited to make the next moves in my planning process: bridesmaid dresses (some decisions were made this weekend, yay!), save the dates, ceremony planning… I am even MORE excited to plan and throw an awesome shower for my best friend! It’s next month, so I better get to work!

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The Dawn of a New Era – Reese’s Cheesecake Brownies

Today is Dan’s last day at his job. The only job he has had since he was in intern at the same company over seven years ago.

final with reece's

Because I am a (self-proclaimed) awesome fiancee, when Dan asked if I would be willing to make one last tasty treat for the guys in the office, I couldn’t say no. After all, how on earth are they going to survive without my delicious treats? Dan’s expertise?

Mix batter

So, the office is probably currently feasting on my delectable Reese’s Cheesecake Brownies (recipe slightly adapted from Pip & Ebby), and I want to share their experience with you with pictures and words, since you can’t taste it yourself. Unless you work at Dan’s office. Then you are a lucky bastard.

reece's pieces

While you’re feasting your eyes on these bad boys, can you help me with something? I have an opinion/favor to ask of anyone who reads this little bloggy blog. You see, I love writing about my life, however I sort of get that my day-to-day experiences may not be super¬†riveting¬†to anyone else. It sometimes feels like my blog lacks a focal point. I mean, it’s not a “wellness” or “healthy living” or “food” or even “wedding” blog. It’s all of those things, depending on what’s going on in my life.¬†As a reader, do you prefer to read blogs with one focal area?¬†I’m hesitant to put myself in a box and label myself as any one sort of blogger, because I love writing about all things. That said though, I do want to keep people entertained and coming back! So tell me, even if I don’t pick one thing to write about everysingleday,¬†what do you like to hear about most?

  • Recipes/food
  • Wedding updates
  • Goal updates
  • Fitness
  • Jameson ūüôā

Jameson

I will pick a random comment and send you cookies ūüôā

Now, onto the good stuff:

final post bake

Reese’s Cheesecake Brownies (recipe from Pip & Ebby)

What You Need:

  • 19.5-oz box of chocolate fudge brownie mix
  • 8-ox package of softened cream cheese
  • 14-oz can of sweetened condensed milk
  • 1/2-cup of creamy peanut butter
  • 12-oz package of Reese’s Pieces candies
  • 12-oz bag of milk chocolate chips
  • 3 tablespoons whipping cream (or half and half or milk)
  • 12 large Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, chopped

What You Do:

  1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly coat a 9×13 pan with cooking spray. (I use an olive oil & water mixture in my Misto.)
  2. Prepare your favorite packaged brownie mix according to package directions. Spread batter in pan and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, beat softened cream cheese with a hand-held mixer until fluffy.
  4. Add in your sweetened condensed milk and peanut butter and beat until smooth.
  5. Stir in Reese’s Pieces candies.
  6. Spoon peanut butter mixture over the brownie batter and spread evenly using a spatula.
  7. Bake for 40 minutes or until the cheesecake layer is set and the edges are golden brown. Cool for 30 minutes and refrigerate for 30 minutes.
  8. Add chocolate chips and whipping cream to a small microwaveable bowl or double boiler. The idea here is to melt the chocolate chips (without burning them). In the microwave, I usually do about 30 second increments, stirring each time until smooth.
  9. Spread over the cheesecake layer. Sprinkle chopped peanut butter cups over the top. Store covered in the refrigerator.

final

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