Friday, October 28, 2016

Five on Friday!

Time for another Five on Friday and like always I am itching to get away from this desk! Halloween in one of my favorite holidays and I'm so excited to celebrate this weekend with friends.

- ONE -

Did anyone hear about the Kate Spade sale that happened last night? 75% off of purses, bags, jewelry, etc. My friend texted me as soon as she found out and I promptly went onto my computer to check it out.

My eyes were instantly locked on this gorgeous bag that was down to $79 from $248 - that is an amazing deal in my book! I can just see this being perfect for toting around stuff for work, interviews, etc. Plus I've learned that it's worth it to pay a little extra for something you use everyday. The quality is much better and lasts longer!





- TWO -

While we're on the subject of shopping, has anyone tried the Target C9 leggings?? They're fantastic! Hands down, my favorite brand. I've wear leggings at least 4-5 times a week and these have lasted through every wash without pilling or thinning out. At $25 a pair they are definitely worth it, and cheaper than a lot of other brands.


- THREE - 

Andy and I got away for a little date night on Tuesday - something we typically don't do on week nights. We did a little shopping at the Roseville mall and had dinner and drinks at Granite City. Andy got a flight of beers, and I had a glass of white zinfandel. To eat, I had one of their house salads (that dressing is to die for) and a maple bacon tomato flatbread - wow!!! Everything was so great.



I will be attempting to make this salad on my break today :)


- FOUR - 

Also for date night, we rented the new movie Nerve. I highly recommend seeing this movie. The acting in it was good and the story kept me on edge the whole time! The music was also super good and I'm seriously considering buying the soundtrack. Plus there's two OITNB actresses in it for all my fan friends :)




- FIVE -

Even though I'm kinda bummed about the abnormal high temps in October for Minnesota - you can't beat this beautiful view down the street. At least the leaves are gorgeous this year!



Happy Friday, Happy Halloween, Happy Fall, etc. !!! Cheers!

Thursday, October 27, 2016

How to: Conquer Your Sickness

I've been battling some bug for the past few days and it is taking so. much. out of me. It's that achy, tired, sore, scratchy throat sickness that just makes anything you do feel like you're running a marathon. I'm making it my personal goal to be curled up in bed by 8:30pm tonight with netflix and a cup of tea! I'm hoping that a good nights sleep really kicks this bug's butt and gets me feeling better by this weekend.

Using my break at work today to blog (no shame) about some things I'm currently loving this week... and the theme is centered around (surprise, surprise) things that make me feel warm and cozy when I'm feeling under the weather!



Vick's Vapor Rub // Ya'll, this was an essential part of my childhood and the smell gives me alllllllll the memories. I really underestimated it's secret powers until I became an adult. Rub in on your chest and neck after a hot shower and crawl under the covers and you'll be snoozing away (with a less conjested chest and nose) in no time.


Warm Socks // Staying warm is essential and what better way to do this then to wear a pair of new, fuzzy wool socks?! Definitely a treat in my book :)

Tea // I searched high and low yesterday for some "feel better" tea.. and couldn't find any! How is this not a staple in stores?! They had sleepytime tea, but I can't be drinking that when I'm trying to get work done during the day. I finally decided to settle for Sugar Cookie Sleigh Ride tea (don't judge me for buying holiday tea already - the need was real) because it had a hint of sweetness and just sounded like liquid coziness. It did not disappoint.



Vitamin C Drops // Perfect for when sickness is going around your office, home, etc. and you're trying to steer clear of that junk. Unfortunately, it was a little late for me but a vitamin C boost is great even if you're already sick! Bring on all the vitamins!

Blanket Scarf // Okay I have an obsession with these even when I'm not sick but again - best to stay warm. Especially sensitive parts like your neck! I bought a new one at Target in their dollar section for seven dollars people! Deal. Added bonus - these can literally become a blanket if you need a quick snooze wherever the need strikes you.



Simply Orange Juice/Chicken Soup/Mashed Potatoes // All my favorite foods for when I'm not feeling well.

Cute Pajamas // Yes, I have specific Aerie pajamas that are reserved for sick days. They're blue and plaid and make being sick a little more glamorous.

Chapstick // My favorite brand is a toss up between Burt's Bees or Baby Lips.

Heating Pad // Self explanatory. They feel awesome.



Watch Netflix. Read a book. Cuddle with your pet, boyfriend, mom, whatever. Treat yourself as much as you can. Take 5 hot showers a day. Pick up a cold Icee from Target. These are all tried and true :)

And if you're not one of the unfortunate ones who have caught a bug already this season, make sure to use lots of sanitizer, take your vitamins, and get some rest! It's that time of year again.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Five on Friday!

Still desperate over here to get (and stay) in some fall temps.. While we've had a few days this week that truly felt like fall, we're still getting up into the 70's and that is not my favorite. I took my lunch break on Tuesday to go grab a coffee at the Starbucks about 6 blocks away and was just sweating by the time I got there! Which didn't put me in the mood for a warm, fall coffee like I thought I would get.. so - iced green tea peach lemonade it was! It felt like summer all over again.. so backwards. 

Let's get to it...


- ONE -


Has anyone else tried these pea snacks from Trader Joe's?? The texture is like a cheeto-puff, but they're made with pea pods, rice, salt, etc. and the nutrition is wayyyy better. I packed a bag in my lunch this week and I've been munching on them when that mid-morning hunger hits! They'd be great with some kind of creamy dip too but are just fine plain on their own!


- TWO -





These apple cider donuts were a big hit this week! I love love love my donut pan and trying new recipes - but the only downside about baked donuts is that they only last about 2 days before they get sticky and old. This is obviously not ideal because I can't down 12 donuts in two days (to be honest I probably could, but that sounds dangerous). They were super fun to bake though and tasted delicious while they were fresh!

Also - why are donuts so fun to photograph?! :)


 - THREE -





Andy took some gorgeous photos of the city from across the river last weekend and I just have to share them! Minneapolis, you (most parts) are gorgeous!


- FOUR -

What is it about kitchen aprons I just love?! I always find myself adoring the different patterns and styles.. I bought this one from Target last night for $7 on sale!


I just love the fall look to it and can see myself using it for many years to come!



Also, isn't this an adorable way to display them? 


- FIVE -

Still contemplating a Halloween costume. We have plans next weekend to go to ValleyScare (halloween/haunted version of Minnesota's theme park Valleyfair) on Saturday but not sure if we are going to have a chance to dress up or not. I'm banking on dressing up Friday night.. I have some ideas in mind :)
 

Have a good one everyone!

Thursday, October 20, 2016

Fall Happenings

We've been soaking in all the fall adventures lately and I just thought I'd share what we've been up to...


Last Saturday, Andy and I had an official fall "date day". We did this last year and were able to knock a few things off of our fall bucket list, so the tradition continues!

We started the day by filling up with breakfast at a local cafe, and then heading over to some outlets where we got coffee (for Andy) and apple cider (for me), and proceeded to spend way too much money... whoops!

We then headed over to Peter's Pumpkins and Carmen's Corn, a little family run pumpkin patch just out of Shakopee, MN. We found the "perfect pumpkin" and called it a successful trip!





The final product we completed on Tuesday.. anyone else doing the painting trend this year?? They last so much longer this way and I HATE the smell of carving pumpkins!


To continue our date, we then headed over to Badger Hill Brewery for some beverages. 



I was sipping on the Minne Ale Kolsch the whole time.. and made a mistake by ordering our last glasses as a whole pint instead of just the 1/2.. needless to say - thank god our restaurant was only a short drive away.

Speaking of which.. our restaurant choice was the fancy Pizza Ranch.. so classy ;) but hey, it tasted delicious after all that beer!

Then we headed over to to finish off our night at the Trail of Terror  - a huge Halloween attraction that has a bunch of haunted trails and houses. It was kiiiiind of a let down.. or maybe Andy and I are just getting harder to scare! But the atmosphere was awesome. They had tons of concessions, carnival rides, beer tents, and bonfires among all the haunted stuff.

Also on the fall to-do list this year was to make some homemade apple cider doughnuts.. take a look at what I did last night!



Limiting myself to only one was not easy :)



Tuesday, October 18, 2016

Fiesta Engagement Party

This past weekend we hosted an Engagement Party for our friends Chelsea and Michael. It was the perfect night to celebrate the love of these two, and all they have to look forward to!

While there were a few hiccups along the way (think: oversized party tent blowing away and tipping completely upsidedown in the front yard - and breaking!) it turned out to be a great party.

Huge thanks to my parents for letting us host it at their house!




 Dessert table - Fruit tray, homemade pumpkin bars, and a yummy vanilla cake!



For drinks we went with housemade margaritas with salt, a variety of beers, soda, and water.



Taco bar! We offered both hard and soft shells, beef, chicken, spanish rice, refried beans, queso, and all the toppings to go with.







Some of the wedding party




The guests of honor!





The bride and her maids of honor - and party planners!

Wednesday, October 12, 2016

Two Things

ONE.

I picked up this book on a whim from Target on Monday afternoon. It's called The Good Girl and I've been immersed in it ever since. It has suspense, romance, thrill.. everything I like in a book! I highly recommend it and hope hope hope they will be making a movie about it soon.. I really think it could be a great film! There's so much that can be done with it too to make it a unique thriller.


TWO.

Maybe it's because Halloween is around the corner and there's candy advertisements everywhere I go.. or maybe I just have a bad sweet tooth :) But guys - I have been craving gummy candies for about a week now. I typically consider myself more of a chocolate/caramel/candy bar girl but woah - gimme allllllllll the sour patch kids, gummy worms, laffy taffy's. It's not stopping!

I did something I never do last Saturday.. I was at the checkout at Home Goods and I grabbed a bag of gummy bears from the super-tempting candy racks by the registers and bought them. Usually I'm super good at resisting this temptation, but I needed them that day. and they did not disappoint! If you're a gummy bear fan, you've got to try these! The brand is Happy Yummies and they come in a ton of amazing flavors :) you can check them out here !





Yepp, all I got on my mind today...books and gummy bears. I'll be sharing an awesome recipe for Chicken Stirfry sometime soon (Andy said it was his favorite thing I've ever made! wow!), and a recap from this Engagement Party we're throwing this weekend.. stay tuned :)

Monday, October 10, 2016

Lemon-Parm Chicken with Spicy Cream Sauce

Quick recipe for today that I promised I would share! This ones another good one, but it does require some prep and patience!

Grab a glass of wine, a significant other/friend/mom/whoever, and enjoy a night in the kitchen :)



Lemon Parmesan Chicken

1 and 1/2 pounds chicken breast or tenders
1/3 cup flour
1 cup panko (in Japanese section of your grocery store)
1 cup parmesan cheese, separated
1 tsp. dried parsley
1 tsp. garlic poweder
3-4 lemons
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 stick butter, melted
1 tablespoon lemon pepper seasoning
3 tablespoons honey
3 tablespoons olive oil
optional: fresh parsley and lemon for serving

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. Line a large sheet pan with parchment paper and set aside.
Grab three bowls. Add the flour to one bowl. Combine panko, 1/2 cup parm, dried parsley, garlic powder, and about 1/2 tsp of salt and pepper. Stir.
In the final bowl, add 1-2 tsp of lemon zest, 4-5 tablespoons lemon juice, minced garlic, and 5 tablespoons melted butter. Stir. Remove 4 tablespoons of this mixture and set aside.

Slice chicken breasts to the size of tenders. Coat in flour, heavily dredge in garlic lemon mixture, and then coat in the parmesan panko mixture.

Place on prepared sheet pan. Use any remaining parm panko mixture and sprinkle over tenders. Sprinkle lemon pepper seasoning over the tenders. Bake in preheated oven for 10 minutes. Flip tenders and bake for another 10-12 minutes.

Meanwhile, whisk remaining set aside mixture with 3 tablespoons olive oil and 3 tablespoons honey in small bowl. Add parsley and pepper if desired.

Remove chicken from oven and top with the honey lemon mixture.

Spicy Lemon Cream Sauce

Now we topped this already yummy chicken with this cream sauce - which enhanced the flavor even more and made for a creamier dish.. I would highly recommend this!

2 garlic cloves, minced
1/4 tsp. dry red pepper flakes
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 cup heavy cream
juice of 1 lemon
1/2 tsp dry basil
Salt and pepper to taste

Mix all ingredients in small sauce pan and bring to a boil. Let simmer.

We also added a little flour-water mixture to thicken it up more.

Drizzle over chicken tenders.

Friday, October 7, 2016

Five on Friday

Thought I'd pop in today for a little ~Five on Friday~ as I have been MIA every Friday lately..




- ONE -



I'm so excited to share another great recipe with ya'll that we had this week. We kind of merged two recipes into one dish and it turned out fabulous.. like restaurant quality fabulous. I would pay for a dinner like this! We combined the "One Pan Parmesan Chicken" via chelseasmessyapron.com and this delectable lemon cream sauce via damndelicious.net .

The end result? Crispy lemon-parm chicken strips with a spicy lemon cream sauce drizzled over the top. To say this ended in a food coma is an understatement. We practically rolled off to bed.

I'll be formally sharing this recipe next week sometime!


- TWO -

The engagement party Emily and I are throwing is in ONE week. We went shopping for decor this week, and I was able to cross a few things off my to-do list. I'll also be going home Saturday so my mom and I can grocery shop/food prep as much as we can to take some stress off of us on party day!


- THREE -

Our Spring vacay is officially booked and confirmed - where are we going? San Francisco!! Neither Andy or myself have ever been to California so we are so excited. We'll be going in the end of February for 5 nights. Any tips on things to do, must see, restaurants, etc. - throw them my way! 


- FOUR -

I scored a major deal last week on two new arm chairs. So when I was visiting Andy at his store a few weeks ago, I laid eyes on the most beautiful chairs. They have a soft floraly pattern, in navy and light blues, burnt oranges, and olive greens. I checked the price tags - $118 each marked down from $150! Good deal, but not good enough to sell me on both. So we waited it out to see if they would get marked down again - and 2 weeks later they were $83 each! What a steal!

So I hurried over there after work last Thursday and picked them up. Also by using my RedCard and Andy's discount, I was able to get the two of them for $150!! I was ecstatic and they are currently looking so lovely in my livingroom and bedroom :)


- FIVE -

Tonight we're celebrating our friend's birthday at a little nook bar downtown called Grumpy's. They do have some of the best burgers and even serve tatertots with them - um, yum!! TGIF. So looking forward to sleeping in past 6:30 the next two days, some time with my mom, and some yummy food that comes with being home!

Sooo lots of words, barely any pictures.

Guess I'll end on this idea I found on pinterest. DONUT PUMPKINS?!?!

How adorable!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


Wednesday, October 5, 2016

Tomato Chipotle Chicken with Avocado Cream

Happy hump day! Today I'm sharing a recipe that I found via skinnytaste. Now I loooove me some mexican food.. and this really hit the spot on Monday! It was relatively easy, quick, and turned out so delicious. I even got the thumbs up from Andy so you know it's a good one :)


Tomato Chipotle Chicken with Avocado Cream

2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
3/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp cumin
Black pepper, to taste
Olive oil spray
Olive oil
1/2 small onion - sliced
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 cup tomato sauce
1/2 cup chicken broth
1 tablespoon chipotle pepper in adobo (we added a little more to enhance the spice)
Juice of 1/2 lime
2 tablespoons chopped cilantro (fresh! the dried kind does not taste the same)

For the sauce:
1/4 cup sour cream
1 half avocado
2 tablespoons cilantro
1/2 small jalapeno pepper, seeds and membrane removed
1 small garlic clove
1 tablespoon lime juice
salt and pepper to taste
1 tablespoon water (we added about 3 to make the sauce thinner)

Place the chicken breast halves between two pieces of plastic wrap and lightly pound to even thickness. Season both sides with salt and pepper.
Heat large non-stick skillet over medium high heat. Spray with olive oil spray, add chicken breasts, and brown each side for about 2 minutes - do not cook all the way through. Remove chicken from pan and set aside.
Reduce heat to medium, add oil and onions and saute until onions are tender. Add garlic and saute for about 30 mote seconds. Add tomato sauce, broth, salt, cumin, chipotle pepper and adobo sauce and bring to a boil. 
Reduce heat to medium low, return chicken to pan, cover and cook until chicken is cooked through. Add lime juice.

Meanwhile, to make the avocado sauce - combine all sauce ingredients in a small blender and process until smooth and uniform in color

To serve: top each chicken breast with tomato sauce mixture, avocado sauce, and garnish with lime and cilantro.

We served ours over brown rice and a side of beans.

Monday, October 3, 2016

Life Lately

Sorry for the complete silence here lately.. Fall is just such a busy busy time and I find myself strapped for time most days lately. Here's a recap of life lately:



- We celebrated Oktoberfest this past weekend by spending the weekend with our good friends in La Crosse, Wisconsin. La Crosse is so beautiful in the fall and it really was a great weekend. Also - they have a bar called "Carlie's"! How cool is that?! We celebrated big and I'm still exhausted today at work even after being in bed by 9:30 last night! 




- Two weeks ago my friend Chelsea and I were able to attend some birthday festivities for one of our childhood friends. We went to Shout House, a dueling piano bar in downtown Minneapolis. I highly recommend this place for any out-of-towners! It's such a fun atmosphere and the performers are extremely talented! They do so many fun things for birthdays, bachelor/bachelorette parties, etc. 





- I also spent time dog/kitty sitting last weekend, and got to hang out with these goofballs for a weekend...


- It's finally cooling down a bit this week, and we are currently transitioning to fall foods.. not easy on a limited carb diet during the week! It's definitely not as easy as throwing some meat/corn on the cob on the grill, cutting up some fruit, and calling it a day. We're experimenting with varieties of roasted veggies and different seasoned/marinated meats! Last night we had 3 different flavors of chicken thighs (the best cut of chicken) and a pan of roasted tomatoes, carrots, peppers, onions, and garlic!
 

- The month of October is going to fly by.. and we've still got a lot on the agenda. Coming up this month: C & M's Engagement party, Diplo concert, annual fall bonfire party, pumpkin patch, UofM homecoming, Valleyscare, two birthdays, and good ole' HALLOWEEN!



Oh, and Happy 5th Birthday-week to this handsome fella :)