Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Boston Tea Party

I can't stop looking at these images from a shoot by Justin & Mary!  I just love the pastels and pinks of this Boston Tea Party.

source:  all images from Justin & Mary

P.S. The winner of the iPhone sleeve + iTunes giftcard giveaway is Katie of Pas de Bourgeois!  Katie, email me your mailing address so your goodies can get in the mail!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Snickers Cheesecake Brownies

The past week has been crazy:  Caleb has been wrapping things up at work, I worked on finding a place to live, we've been trying to get rid of our place here, the house is a maze of boxes, and we're moving in three days!  Last week I had had enough of the craziness and just needed to bake something. This recipe has been stashed in my to-make file for three very specific reasons:  Snickers. Cheesecake.  Brownies.  

Snickers Cheesecake Brownies
for the brownies:
8 Tbsp unsalted butter
4 oz unsweetened chocolate
1 1/4 cups sugar
1 tsp vanilla extract
1/4 tsp salt
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour

Place butter and chocolate in a double boiler or a bowl over simmering water.  Stir frequently until mixture is melted.  Remove chocolate mixture from heat and stir in sugar, vanilla and salt.  Add the eggs one at a time, stirring until each is incorporated before adding the next.  Stir in flour and beat with a wooden spoon until mixture is glossy, about 1 minute.

Pour batter into a greased 8x8 baking dish and bake at 400 degrees for 20 minutes, or until the brownie starts to pull away from the pan.  While brownies are baking prepare an ice bath.  Fill a pan with ice cubes and water 3/4 inch deep.  When the brownies are done baking, remove the pan from the oven and place it in the water bath.  Allow brownies to cool completely in water bath.

for the snickers cheesecake layer:
1 egg
1 Tbsp vanilla extract
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1/2 cup plus 2 Tbsp confectioners' sugar
8 Snickers (fun size 4.62 oz), chopped

Add all ingredients except Snickers in a bowl and mix to combine.  Pour on top of cooled brownie and bake at 400 degrees for 25-30 minutes, or until set.  Cool to warm then press chopped Snickers into cheesecake layer.  Cool completely before serving.  Store in refrigerator.

source:  recipe from bakers royale, originally from Alice Medrich

P.S.  Today is the last day to enter to win an iTunes giftcard and iPhone sleeve!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Guest Posting!

Today you can find me guest-posting over at Life with the Hawleys!  Darby was kind enough to ask me to participate in her Marital Monday series she's had this month.  So head on over and check out my post to find out some things I've learned about marriage!  And leave Darby some love!

Happy Monday!

Friday, August 26, 2011


Yet I am with you; you hold me by my right hand.
You guide me with your counsel, 
and afterward you take me into glory.
Whom have I in Heaven but you?
And earth has nothing I desire but  you.
My heart and my flesh may fail,
but God is the strength of my heart
and my portion forever.
Psalm 73: 23-26

This is what I have clung to all week.  Thank you, Aimee, for encouraging my heart.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Striking My Fancy

1. beautiful wedding flowers and program (image via).
2. amazing applewood necklace (image via).
3. bridal party carrying giant balloons (image via).
4. diy cake plate out of vintage records (image via).
5. a tub i'd love to soak in (image via).
6. confetti goody bags from poppies for grace.
7. essie's fall collection (image via).
8. a best friends photo shoot (image via).
9. fun crayon art (image via).
10. a hidden washer & dryer (image via).

Some News

If you haven't figured it out already, we're moving!  Caleb received a job offer on Saturday for a job that will allow him to do exactly what he loves, so we are very excited!  We are moving to an area that we have wanted to settle down in, and we can't wait to figure out a new place together!

I spent the beginning part of this week trying to secure a place for us to live, and everything is finally settled so I am relieved.  We decided to rent for the first year that we're there, so we can get to know the area and spend time looking for a house to buy!  We didn't want to feel pressured to find a house, so that should give us enough time to find something we love.

Caleb starts his new job in less than two weeks, so we have a lot to do!  I've been packing up some things but am beginning to realize how much stuff we have!  I hate clutter so everything in our house is put out of sight all of the time.  This means that as I'm packing, I'll fill up 10 boxes and it will look like I haven't done anything!  Kind of discouraging but we'll get there!  Thankfully everything we have now we want to keep so we don't have to try to have a yard sale or get rid of a bunch of things.

Does anyone have any packing or moving tips?  I'd love to hear them! 

(images via pinterest)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Pesto Chicken Roll-Ups

Some of my girlfriends from home and I threw a dinner party once during college.  I will never forget that dinner party.  Mostly because that was the day I woke up with a kidney stone, but also because we made the best alfredo sauce I've ever tasted.  We also made the above pesto chicken roll-ups. When we made it that day for the dinner party, I remember my mom had the recipe--rather, the ingredients, scribbled on the back of an envelope.  Unable to find that same scrap of paper, I recreated best I could what we made that night.  This is SO simple but looks so fancy!

Start with three large chicken breasts.  Flatten them with a meat mallet, then cut them into strips.
You want them to be pretty flat, because you will be rolling them up.

Place a slice of Swiss cheese on each flattened chicken strip.
Again, you want them to be kind of thin (thinner than what I did).

Next spoon 1-2 Tbsp of pesto over each slice of cheese.  
Don't overload each piece because it will squish out if there's too much.

Starting at one end, roll each piece of chicken and secure with a few toothpicks.
Place on greased sheet of foil on a baking pan.
Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

You can remove the toothpicks once the chicken come out
of the oven; they should stay rolled up.

3 large garlic cloves
1/2 cup pine nuts (I used macadamia nuts)
2/3 cup coarsely grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3 cups loosely packed fresh basil leaves
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil

With food processor running, drop in garlic and finely chop.  Stop motor and add nuts, cheese, salt, pepper, and basil, then process until finely chopped.  With motor running, add oil, blending until incorporated but not completely smooth.  Cover the surface with plastic wrap and keep refrigerated, for up to 1 week.

source:  recipe from The Gourmet Cookbook

Pesto Chicken Roll-Ups
1 cup pesto, homemade or store-bought
deli-thin slices of Swiss cheese, cut to fit chicken strips
3 large chicken breasts (2-2.5 pounds total)

Flatten chicken with a meat mallet until very thin.  Cut into strips.  Place one slice of Swiss cheese on top of each chicken strip.  Spoon 1-2 Tbsp pesto on top of each slice of cheese.  Starting at one end, roll chicken up and secure with several toothpicks.  Place on greased sheet of foil on baking pan. Bake at 375 degrees for 20-30 minutes, or until chicken is cooked through.

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

GIVEAWAY: iPhone sleeve + iTunes giftcard

I'm so excited about this giveaway!  Today's giveaway is sponsored by rhymes with smile, a brand-new, eco-friendly etsy shop.

Not only are the items in the shop homemade, they are upcycled!  Meaning items that would otherwise be heading for the landfill are transformed and repurposed to keep them in use.  I love this!

One winner will receive this iPhone/iTouch sleeve and a $10 iTunes giftcard!

The iPhone sleeve has velcro closures and measures approximately 3x5 inches, fitting an iPhone or iTouch without a case.  

How to Win: 

Leave a comment on this post letting me know what a favorite song of yours is.  Easy, right?!

Additional Entries:  (leave a comment for each)

1. Follow life of a wife through GFC and let me know you follow
2. Check out rhymes with smile & leave a comment on this post letting me know your favorite item
3. Follow me on twitter
4. Blog or tweet about this giveaway

So that's five chances to win the iTouch sleeve & iTunes giftcard!  

You have until Tuesday, August 30 to enter.  Winner will be announced August 31!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Greek Orzo Salad

For Saturday night dinners, we like to throw some meat on the grill and serve it with some sort of salad.  I like that I don't have to spend a lot of time on Saturdays fixing dinner, and we love finishing our day together with a "summer-y" meal.  Lately we've been doing a lot of pasta salads.  This is our newest favorite.  It tastes so fresh and the dressing is absolutely delicious!

Greek Orzo Salad
for the dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
1 clove of garlic, finely chopped
3/4 tsp dried oregano
3/4 tsp dried basil
1/2 tsp freshly ground pepper
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp Dijon mustard
1/8 cup red wine vinegar

Place all of the ingredients in a blender and pulse until well incorporated.  

for the salad
1 1/2 cups uncooked orzo pasta
1 large tomato, cut into chunks
1 cucumber, seeded and chopped
1 green bell pepper, seeded and diced
4 ounces crumbled Feta cheese

Cook pasta according to directions on box.  Drain and then rinse with cold water to cool off the pasta.  In a large bowl, combine the pasta, tomato, cucumber, pepper, and Feta.  Toss with dressing and chill for at least one hour.

source: recipe altered from my baking addiction

Friday, August 19, 2011

Inside-Out Carrot Cake Cupcakes

Several things were going through my mind as I was making these cupcakes.

I hate grating carrots.  For all that work you get such tiny pieces.

What do I do with the little nubbin of carrot that is impossible to grate for fear of grating my knuckle?

Separating the foil cupcake liners from the paper liners that are in between them is really satisfying.

I like the idea of a surprise in the middle of these cupcakes.  Kind of like a king cake.  But cream cheese instead of the baby Jesus.

I hope these can be classified as muffins.  Because I want one for breakfast.

Inside-Out Carrot Cake Cupcakes
1 pound carrots, peeled and grated
1/2 cup sweetened flaked coconut
3 eggs, room temperature
1/3 cup buttermilk
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 tsp pure vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1 tsp baking soda
2 tsp baking powder
1 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon

For the filling:
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 cup confectioners' sugar

To prepare the filling, combine cream cheese and confectioners' sugar in medium bowl until well blended and smooth.  Transfer the mixture to a piece of plastic wrap and shape into a log about 1-1/2 inches in diameter.  Smooth the plastic wrap tightly around the log and reinforce with a piece of foil. Place in the freezer and chill until at least slightly firm, about 2 hours.

Line standard muffin tins with paper muffin liners.

Whisk together carrots, coconut, eggs, buttermilk, sugar, oil, and vanilla.  In another bowl, whisk together flour, baking soda, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.  Stir flour mixture into carrot mixture until well combined.

Fill each muffin well with a small amount of batter, just enough to cover the bottom of the liner (1-2 Tbsp).  Slice the log of cream cheese filling into 24 equal pieces.  Place a slice of the cream cheese mixture into each of the muffin wells.  Divide the remaining batter among the muffin cups, placing on top of the cream cheese to cover completely.

Bake at 325 degrees until a cake tester inserted in centers of cupcakes comes out clean, 23-28 minutes.  Transfer muffin tins to wire racks to cool 10 minutes; turn out cupcakes onto racks and let cool completely.

source:  cupcake recipe altered from Martha Stewart's Cupcakes, cream cheese filling from annie's eats

Thursday, August 18, 2011

August: Best Time to Buy Bathing Suits

I've read that August is the best time to buy bathing suits, and I believe it.  We're ready for fall and are excited about fall fashion, so bathing suits are the last things on our minds.  I looked around and found some great deals!  So if you want to find a bathing suit for next summer at a great price, here are a few that I found.  There are a ton of great deals out there so just take some time looking around to find what you want.

was $48, now $14.99

was $42, now $24.99

was $60, now $29.99

was $56, now $29.99

was $98, now $19.95

was $78, now $9.95

was $44, now $10.43

was $34, now $10.43

was $243, now $85

Where do you like to shop to find a good deal?

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

Linking up for What I'm Loving Wednesday!

1. ballet flats with a bow from j.crew.
2. vintage scale from etsy.
3. juice boxes. 
4. bright decorations at a diy wedding. (image via)
5. the afternoon at the pool with a friend. (image via)
6. banana split bites - so cute! (image via)
7. september's issue of everyday food. 
8. lightbulbs & vintage pieces in a band photo shoot. (image via)
9. rugby stripe bin from the container store.
10. fresh blueberries to add to my fruit smoothies.

What are you loving today?