Monday, October 31, 2011

Weekend Highlight

Happy Halloween!! Whoa, I can't believe it's already Halloween and the last day of October. Crazy how time flies! And my birthday month begins tomorrow (it's all the way on the 30th, so I've got some time!). Still though it's exciting! My week is going to be insanely busy and scary (hahaha scary, it's Halloween! I crack myself up!). Just kidding, but really it is going to be busy, so hopefully I'll stay afloat!

My weekend highlight was having Ellen and Cody down here to visit. We had a great time and definitely got into the Halloween spirit. I was Rosie the Riveter. Jessica Quirk's halloween costume definitely inspired my own. It was so cute and easy to do, if I can than anyone can! The two of them were...singers from the band Creed? Must be an inside joke, because everyone else was confused too! But having them to visit and spend time with was definitely nice. I felt like such a bad hostess since I spent most of my weekend at coffee shops writing lesson plans! But what can you do? We went to several Halloween extravaganzas. Here is a picture from the first night where my sister, my friend Rachel and I were all sporting our good sides as angels one night. It was a fun weekend and as always I could have been more productive, but we can only do so much, right??

If I get ahold of our other fun Halloween pictures I will definitely post them! Did you celebrate Halloween yet? I have to say one of my favorite parts is going to Walgreen's tomorrow for the half priced candy. Some things are just worth waiting for!

Happy Halloween!


Thursday, October 27, 2011

No tricks, JUST TREATS!

I've been a pretty absent blogger again this week, sorry about that! But I did want to share a few of my favorite treats and since  one of my favorite blogs and a daily read of mine, breakfast at Toast, has had great Halloween ideas all week, I thought I'd share in the fun.

I love treats, probably more than I should, but I think you're crazy if you don't indulge in a few! Here are some of my favorite Halloween themed treats you shouldn't be missing out on!
Source: via Chris on Pinterest

Hope you are all enjoying indulging a little bit the next few days. After all, it is Halloween! My favorites would have to be the oreo spiders or the peanut butter eyes. I've loved those since I was really little. Hope you are all having good weeks. It's already Thursday!!


Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Saturday Brunch

Hi ladies! So I never was able to repost yesterday. Sorry! It just turned into one of those crazy Mondays (I wanted to practice the piano! Something just had to give! haha). But anyway, on Saturday an organization I am involved in hosted a big brunch on Saturday that I was partially in charge of. It was a big job, but because lots of people stepped up, it was a great event. I cooked for about 75 people, so lots of food was made. We had a delicious table, see below.

Bacon Quiche
  • 1 recipe pastry for a 9 inch single crust pie
  • 6 slices bacon
  • 1 onion, chopped
  • 3 eggs, beaten
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups shredded Swiss cheese
  • 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
  1. Preheat oven to 450 degrees F (230 degrees C).
  2. Line pastry with a double layer of aluminum foil. Bake in preheated oven for 8 minutes. Remove foil and bake for 4 to 5 minutes more, or until crust is set. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C).
  3. Place bacon in a large, deep skillet. Cook over medium high heat until evenly brown. Remove bacon from pan, crumble and set aside. Reserve 2 tablespoons bacon grease in skillet. Cook onion in reserved drippings until tender; drain and set aside.
  4. In a large bowl, mix together eggs, milk and salt. Stir in bacon and onion. In a separate bowl, toss cheese and flour together. Add cheese to egg mixture; stir well. Pour mixture into hot pastry shell.
  5. Bake in preheated oven for 35 to 40 minutes, or until knife inserted into center comes out clean. If necessary, cover edges of crust with foil to prevent burning. Let quiche cool for 10 minutes before serving. 
I love quiche and of course you can put whatever type of cheese in that you like as well. We also put sausage in the quiches and they were so so yummy!

The table. We had quite an assortment!

Some of my favorite recipes that we made (and some of the most popular!) were the several different types of quiches we made and the different types of stromboli! It was absolutely delicious, and so worth all the time it took for the bread dough to rise.

Meat Stromboli

  • 4 (1 pound) loaves frozen bread dough, thawed
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced salami
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced deli ham
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced pepperoni
  • 1/2 pound thinly sliced provolone cheese
  • 2 cups shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 1/2 cup grated Romano or Parmesan cheese
  • 1 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1 tablespoon dried oregano
  • 1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
  • 1 teaspoon pepper
  • 1 egg yolk, beaten
  1. Let dough rise until doubled, according to package directions. Punch down. Roll each loaf into a 15-in. x 12-in. rectangle. Arrange a fourth of the salami, ham, pepperoni and provolone cheese over each rectangle. Sprinkle each with a fourth of the mozzarella cheese, Romano cheese, garlic powder, oregano, parsley and pepper.
  2. Roll up each rectangle jelly-roll style, beginning with a long side. Seal seams and ends. Place seam side down on two greased baking sheets. Brush with egg yolk.
Bake at 375 degrees F for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Let stand for 5 minutes before slicing. Serve warm and refrigerate leftovers. 

I didn't use all of that meat. I didn't use salami because I had already made sausage for the quiche and that was delicious with it! The amounts are kind of subjective, depending on how much you want in there, but it's so so so good! You can put whatever meats or veggies in that you like. There's no veggies in the recipe but I put in onions, peppers and tomatoes. So.good.

Baked Brie with Apricot Jam
  • 1 wheel of brie cheese
  • Apricot Jam
  • Puffed Pastry or biscuit dough
This is about the easiest recipe ever and crowds love it! Take your brie wheel and cut it in half. Spread jam on one of the halves. Place the other half on top. You can put more jam on the top if you wish (I did!). Then, take your pastry dough and cover the entire wheel of brie in the dough and wrap it sort of like a present. Finally top it off with an egg wash and bake it for about 15-20 minutes. You won't regret it. It's my favorite hours'doerve.

So there are some recipes for you on this gray Tuesday morning! Hope it gets a little brighter from here on out for everybody!



Monday, October 24, 2011

Always Remember..

Here's a quick thought to jumpstart your Mondays! Keep your strength and believe in your best qualities. We are all beautiful in so many different ways. Weekend Highlight is coming later today and you don't want to miss it! I'll be sharing my favorite recipes from my big brunch this weekend!


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Friday's Fancies: Thinking PINK!

Thinking PINK

This week, {av} over at Long Distance Loving asked us all to think about October being Breast Cancer Awareness month, and when you think breast cancer, you think PINK! I love this pink wool dress. It's so perfectly fall and I'd pair it with tights, some black booties and that beautiful double breasted jacket! It's flawless in my book and perfect for the weather changes we've been having. Top it off with an arm party of pink, and you're good to go. I think that celebrating breast cancer awareness is so important and we should always be thinking PINK anytime of year (although October is always such a fun time to do so, I think!)

Happy Friday once again! Thanks for all your sweet comments yesterday on my big cooking extravangaza this weekend. I'm so excited and can't wait to post pictures next week! It's going to be such a busy weekend. I seriously do not know how I am going to get anything done. Well, we can't worry about tomorrow. Tomorrow will take care of itself! Right (Who knows what that's from?!) In the meantime, I'm just going to accomplish as much as possible, even though it's hard to do that on Fridays! I can't wait to catch up with some old friends this weekend and remember a few too. It's going to be one heck of a busy weekend. What are you all up to?? Anything exciting?

Have lovely weekends ladies! Don't forget to relax and celebrate you this weekend!


Cooking for a Crowd

This weekend, some friends and I are in charge of cooking a large meal for an organization that we are a part of. This meal has to serve about 75 people, so it's a pretty big deal! This is the third year in a row that I've been a part of this yearly process and, though it can be stressful at times, it's actually really fun! I get quality time with friends cooking and making mass amounts of delicious food! That's all I really need to be happy. I'm excited to just plunge in and do it. Here are a few tips I would give for cooking for a big crowd:

  1. Know your guests! Well obviously with a guest list of that size, you do not personally know all of your guests. We certainly do not know them personally, but you should know what they can eat, what they should not eat, if there are any allergies you should be aware of, and their dietary habits (vegetarian, vegan, gluten free). Knowing that you cared enough to make a menu full of food that they can actually eat means a lot! It's difficult and takes extra effort, but it really pays off in the end.
  2. Have a plan...and stick to it! Know your budget and the type of food you can get with your budget. Sure, we'd all love to have free range, organic everything but it's expensive and when cooking for a crowd, it's best to just stick with the basics. Chances are, your guests won't even notice the difference if the food is made and served with care. 
  3. Seek out help. Lots and lots of help! Don't do this alone! It's stressful and unnecessary for one person to handle an entire meal. Grab a few other pals and have them come to your rescue. It will make you feel so much better. 
  4. When cooking everything, set timers for everything! Cooking food in excess can lead to lots of food needing to be in the oven at the same time, but they do not all need the same amount of cooking time. Set timers for everything know which is which. It's kind of a lot to keep track of, but it's worth the hassle and your food won't be burned or overcooked.
  5. Label every food item! Make sure that your guests know what is in everything so that they know whether it fits their dietary needs. It's a little detail, but it's very important.
  6. Make sure that the spread looks appealing and thoughtfully placed. Even though you may have a bunch of different foods doesn't mean that they all have to be slapped on the table. Thoughtfully plan where everything is going to go and the order in which the guests are supposed to serve the food. 
Here's a few things that we're planning on making (and I'll document the process to show you guys next week but in the meantime):


Spinach Spaghetti
Stromboli! It's so doughy, hot and delicious!

These are the items that will definitely take the most time and work but they are really worth it and guests have enjoyed them in the past. Of course there will be sweets, crackers and cheese, and a few other goodies that I will share. 

Has anyone had to cook for a large crowd? What did you serve? How did it go? 
I love entertaining and cooking for people and this is just so fun!
We're getting ready for parent-teacher conferences, so things are busy around here! But I wouldn't have it any other way. I hope you ladies are all having fantastic weeks! The weekend is just around the corner!


Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Snuggle up!

It's that time of year again: the time when the air can become damp within minutes and the temperatures can fall so fast, by the time you get home your windows are still open and your room is freezing! (Ok, maybe that's just me!). It is most definitely blanket season! Blankets of all kinds are taken out of the linen closet, ready to be used for the very chilly winter and autumn months. Now, I do not have as many blankets right now, but if I were to get a few more, here are a few favorites:
Source: via Susan on Pinterest


Do you like a tighter, more worsted wool blanket or a loosely knit, big chunky one? I have to say I like both and seeing all of these really just makes me want to have nights in with a good cup of cocoa. What about you? Have lovely Tuesdays!

P.S. I won Meg of Henning Love's Stella and Dot giveaway!! I'm so psyched. Meg is a wonderful, wonderful person and I love going back and forth with her all the time. Show her some love and visit her beautiful blog!

Monday, October 17, 2011

Weekend Highlight: Headed to Nowhere...

This weekend my gals and I decided to venture out of our little world and discover something new, something different. We wanted to get out of town for a few hours and go anywhere, but we didn't know where. After work on Friday, one of my friends and I decided to just take a drive (that sounds really old, but remember when people just used to take drives? Well that's what we did!). We took a drive in the opposite direction of home, using no map and no GPS. We just drove, and saw beautiful barns and open farms and you could see for miles. It was a beautiful sunset too. We drove and drove until we saw a water tower.

We figured there had to be a town where the water tower was. We stumbled across this town of about 1,000 people and it was so cute. It was a cute little town with one of those "greasy spoon" type diners. We knew we had to go back and eat there. So that's what we did. We recruited a few more of our pals and drove off the 45 minutes to the town we barely knew the name of and had a delicious dinner there! It was such a fun, "down home" place and feeling and such a fun adventure. After our great meal, we took more of a drive. We were able to see thousands and thousands of stars. In fact, we even lay down in the middle of a road (no one was harmed, no worries!) to look up. I know I was feeling us channeling the Notebook when they both lie down in the middle of the street! This was seriously in the middle of nowhere. No cars. No streetlights. No action. Just a town with a a Main Street and long highway beside it. It was a gorgeous night and we had so many laughs and a great time.

Oh Central Illinois. This place was definitely a Small Town, USA.
Have you ever ventured out to nowhere before? Would you ever do it again?

Hope everyone else had fabulous weekends! In addition to this little night, I did go see the Illinois Symphony Orchestra and they were fabulous. Such amazing talent and they played one of my favorite piano concertos. It was a gorgeous fall weekend, one of those straight out of a movie. I want another one!

Real fall (aka damp rains and cooler temps) come this week, so I can't wait to break out lots and lots of layers.

What'd you do this weekend?

Happy Monday!


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Friday's Fancies: Fall Colors!

Fall Colors

So Happy Friday! For a short week, it took a while to get here! I was a tad bit stressed out this week, trying to accomplish everything, and it took a little bit of a toll on me, but now I'm back to normal and oh so ready for this little weekend! But I was pretty happy when I got {av}'s email saying that this week's theme was fall colors! The fall colors are in full force down here and I'm loving strolling down the walking trails seeing the changes. I wanted a color that I love that could go two ways, and I definitely found that in this sweater. First of all, I love the color! It's so perfectly fall and pairing it with a big chunky knit cowl. That to me says the season all over it. I love the skinny jeans with a simple black tee, the sweater, chunky bangles and some gorgeous Tory Burch flats! I love them and would love to have them someday. On the flip side, I love skirts with boots. Such a great combo, in fact I did it today, with rain boots no less! This sailor tee is everywhere this fall, but I'm a fan with the simplicity of it and it looks effortlessly classy. Don't you love both? I'd take both home in a heartbeat!

So excited for this weekend! Tonight I'm going out to see a local symphony orchestra concert and out to dinner with friends at one of my favorite restaurants in town that has the best hours'd'ouerves that take the place as meals. They' I can't wait! I'm hoping to take a fall run on the trail and have a deliciously rich hot chocolate to welcome in the cool weather. Ahhh, hopefully it'll happen.

What are your weekend plans??

Enjoy it ladies! Have fabulous weekends!


So, what's your costume?

So I'm stuck on what to be for Halloween this year. I'm not a crazed costume fanatic, but I usually like to look cute/funny/festive on Haloween. Two years ago, I thanked my Catholic high school roots and used my uniform as a costume (in a cute manner of course!) and last year, I was an '80s neon wearing ripped up tee shirt dancer person. So I'm stuck on what to be this year and I thought I'd ask for advice!

What have you been in the past? Mind you, I would preferably like to be something that doesn't involve me spending a whole lot of money and would like to try to make the most of what I have here at home. Any suggestions? In the meantime, if you didn't see Jessica Quirk's What I Wore a few weeks ago, she had some cute costumes on her blog. Here are a few I thought she did impeccably:

I absolutely LOVE the Sound of Music. It's my favorite movie. of all time. This is so cute, I'd love to try this someday!

Cute and easy Rosie the Riveter! Always makes me smile :)

Pan Am is bringing back the flight attendant chic look, and I'm definitely a fan, I think it's fantastic!

So what are you being?? Mind sharing? Or are you waiting for the big night to reveal?

Sorry I've been a little MIA this week, things have been crazy around here. Lucky for me the weekend is right around the corner (and I can't wait!)

Have fantastic Thursdays!


Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Take your own best advice

I really want to believe in myself every single day.

and I try to.

Really, I do.

But sometimes (this weekend for example) it's just been difficult and sometimes the advice that I give others is hard to give myself. I called my best friend on the phone last night because I was a tad bit sad, and no one can make you feel better like your good pal. She was telling me things that I usually would tell myself. For some reason, last night it sounded better coming from someone else than hearing it in my end from me. I told her that I know she wouldn't use this same advice that was applicable to her life. I told her that she should take her own best advice.

I should take mine too.

In fact, we all should really.

Because in our hearts, we all really know what is best for ourselves. We sometimes just don't want to hear it all the time. So here's my own best advice (that I really need to take right now):

  1. Stay organized! Don't let "stuff" get the better of you. It just makes you feel better everyday if you are neat. 
  2. WRITE EVERYTHING DOWN! Somewhere. Anywhere. Or virtually write it. (I'm partial to actually writing it, but still). If you write it down, and look at the places that you write things, you won't forget anything.
  3. Stay on top of your work. When I mean work, I mean anything from your day job commitments to your church commitments, or even if you're a student like me and working. Stay on top of it and don't let procrastination get the better of you!
  4. Have a good cry. Seriously, I think I've had my fair share this weekend and though I've felt a little down, it has made me feel a little better. Don't let your feelings bottle up inside you, because that makes you feel even worse. 
  5. Vent on the phone to someone for even five minutes, even if it's just to a person's answering machine. You're getting your frustrations out vocally and that's the most important thing (you could also just do this on a sheet of paper too, or just talk out loud when no one's in the room).
  6. Unwind and relax. Seriously, does this need to even be said? Take a walk, enjoy the fall colors, and know that this bit of relaxation is good for you. Don't make yourself feel guilty about it.
  7. Have a pumpkin latte. Or two. 

Again, I'm no professional, but I know my faults and what has not been working for me lately, and I thought I would share that with all of you. That being said, here's something else I would say: 

So there's my advice to take your own best advice. We all need to do that every once and awhile!

Happy Tuesday (and a four day work week!)


Friday, October 7, 2011

Friday's Fancies: Blaze On!

Blaze On

There's just something about a blazer! I love 'em...a lot! I've been so into belting them, dressing them up, or dressing them down with jeans and a Hanes T. When {av} announced that this week's theme was blazers, I couldn't wait to find a type of blazer I did not own and pair it with other fabulous items! I'm loving the whole sequins trend and this sequined beauty would be a lovely addition to the closet! Add some classic black, beautiful flats, a big watch and a subtle clutch and you're ready to go. I absolutely love this look and hopefully I can be able to recreate it soon. Are you into sequins? What kind of sequined pieces do you have?

I get a three day weekend this weekend!! I could not be more excited about it. I can't wait to go home and spend time with my sisters, my parents and my girlfriends. We're having a potluck to celebrate one of my best friends' birthdays and I can't wait to catch up with them, it's been awhile! Luckily this beautiful weather is going to hold out for the weekend. I can't wait to do a little bit of grading and catch up on all the TV shows I've missed this week (The Sing Off, the X Factor, and I still want to watch Pan Am!).

What are your weekend plans? Do something to relax and celebrate you this weekend!

Happy Friday!


Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Coat Conundrum

Happy Wednesday! Can't believe it's Hump Day already! Crazy this week has gone by so fast, and it's been such a lovely week (other than me still having a cold that I caught from the lovely 10 year olds at school! Honestly, I thought my immune system was supposed to get better? I feel like it's gotten worse!). I don't feel horrible but still colds are annoying, especially with weather this nice.

So this may seem like a silly topic to talk about when it's so nice out, but I wanted advice/opinions. So in March my beautiful black Pea Coat that I purchased just about three years ago was stolen at a bar. It was not a cheap coat (ahem, I saved for it a lot. It fit perfectly. It was so flattering!) I won't go into details, but I should've been more careful. I could have prevented this, but unfortunately this kind of thing happens to the best of us, and I guess this was just my turn. Well, winter will be upon us shortly (strangely enough!) but I was looking up Inspiration for Winter Coats! Yes I know, odd especially this week since it's so nice out. Oh well! Heres what I came up with:

Source: via Susan on Pinterest

Of course, all of the following are way out of my price range. But still, I need some inspiration in order to find the one! Haha. It's true though, coat shopping is rough. I try to go as classic I can so the coat can last a long time. I'd take any of these in a heartbeat. Do you have any coat recommendations or places to look? I'll take any advice I can get!

 Happy Wednesdays everybody!