2012 Year in Review

January 

Celebrated our 2 year (dating) anniversary!

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February

Went to Disney World

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Got engaged!

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March

Had our engagement photos done.

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Ran our annual Colon Cancer 5k in memory of Uncle Chuck

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April

Visited Florida with the fam

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May

Spent a few weekends working on my tan

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June

Threw a bridal shower for my best friend!

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July

Momma came to Hoboken

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4th of July in Hoboken

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Spent a weekend in Wildwood with our friends

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Celebrated the Bride – to – be in Atlantic City

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Had the best Bridal Shower ever

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August

My best friend got married!

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Adam’s good friend got married the day after in a different state.. It was a wedding weekend!

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September

Celebrated my moms 50th Birthday and sent her to Hawaii!
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I turned 28. EEK!

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Went to Miami with the best friends for my Bachelorette party

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October

Said I do!

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Flew to St. Lucia for our Honeymoon

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Attended the Redskins vs Giants game! Not so good for me..

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Hurricane Sandy hit :/

Checking out our poor apartment

Checking out our poor apartment

 November

Celebrated our 1 month being married!

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Found out we were expecting… a new cousin! And that it was a baby GIRL!

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Attended a wedding in PA

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Lost my dad unexpectedly

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December

Moved back into our apartment!

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Attended a few Holiday Parties

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Spent a day in the city with my brother and his girlfriend

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Cut 8.5 inches of my hair off!

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Went to the Ravens vs. Giants game

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Enjoyed Christmas with the family

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And now we’re off to ring in the new year in Atlantic City! How was 2012 for you?

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Four Seasons Grille

 

I told you that we had some amazing food on Christmas Eve but now it’s time to show it! We went to Four Seasons Grille in Crofton, MD and since we had such a large group (20 people) we had our own private room.images 

I was starving since brunch was 7  hours earlier and immediately sat down to peruse the menu.

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They waitress brought out fresh, hot bread and an amazing oil mixture with sun-dried tomatoes to start.

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I seriously could have (might have) eaten the entire basket.

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Prosecco for me.

We ordered a lot of appetizers and I tried to take pictures of some that were being passed around but missed some good ones like the crab and artichoke flat-bread, crispy calamari and the imperial mushroom caps.

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Crab & Artichoke Dip with pita bread – AMAZING.

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Buffalo Chicken Spring Rolls – I didn’t try one but heard they were a winner.

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Goat Cheese Brulee – By far my favorite thing on the menu!  (I think we ordered 2 or 3 of these? That’s how good they are!)

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Mediterranean Meatballs

Some people ordered salads in between appetizers and dinner and I ended up eating my cousins Caesar salad who was sitting next to me  since he doesn’t like cheese on his… Weird child.

Once dinner came out I was stuffed but still managed to fit a little more in my belly.

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Penne Capricciosa

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Duo Parmigiano

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New York Strip

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 Cajun Salmon

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Tuna Mignon

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Filet Mignon

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Cajun NY Strip

Mostly everyone in my family got steak and just about everyone joined the clean plate club. Those who didn’t finish boxed theirs up because the food was too good to be left behind.

The bill was extremely reasonable and the service was impeccable. Hopefully we get to go back next year!

We’re off to our last Holiday Party of the year and then it’s REDSKINS time! Happy Sunday 🙂

Christmas 2012

I’ve led to the fact that my mom is a horrible cook but every Christmas morning she insists on whipping up breakfast for us. Apparently this is in place of putting coal in our stocking?

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Kidding…kinda. Any guess what this is?  Those are pancakes. Yes, pancakes.

After that small little disaster (those were her SECOND batch) she let me assist in the kitchen.

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Breakfast didn’t turn out half as bad as we expected after viewing the “pancakes” but she kept claiming this to be her “Best Meal EVER”. I’m still not sure she is my mother 😉

After breakfast we sat down to open gifts.

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As soon as I opened my Santa gift I was completely shocked!

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Vitamix!!! Santa must read my blog??

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Lots of happy faces!

We headed over to Grandma’s house in our jammies (tradition) for Christmas dinner.

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Broccoli Cheesy Rice, Cornbread Stuffing w/ Sausage, Turkey, Mashed Potatoes, Rolls & Gravy. I think we gained about 5 pounds with the constant eating we did in Maryland.

Back to the gym we go…

 

Christmas Eve

Christmas Eve started off the same way it’s started off every other year – with lots of food, mimosa’s and a loud family!

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After we ate like we were going to the electric chair we sat down to do our annual cousin present exchange.

I received a special gift from my Aunt.

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A teddy bear made of one of my Uncle Chucks dress shirts. He passed away in 2008 so this bear holds a special place in my heart.

Another creative gift was this custom calendar my aunt made – It has pictures from my bridal shower and our wedding on every month.

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Love it!

After presents and eating we somehow all got dolled up in record time to attend a 5pm Church service.

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We went to the kids service where they did a play and I’m pushing to make it a tradition. I’m a kid at heart 🙂

Dinner was next on our agenda and this year we chose Four Seasons Grille in Crofton.

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The food was outstanding so I plan to do an entire post on it (20 people equals a ton of food on the table!) I ordered the tuna mignon with mashed potatoes & vegetables.

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Unfortunately I ate too many appetizers and dipped too many pieces of bread in oil so I was stuffed by the time this came out. I had 1/4 of the tuna steak and packed up the rest to go (which I’ve already eaten). DELICIOUS!

My Grandma gives us Christmas jammies every Christmas Eve so we changed into them after dinner and went to bed around 10pm waiting for Santa!

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Christmas Post coming later 🙂

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26 Random Acts of Kindness

 I’ve seen this idea on a couple of blogs and the Today Show and I can’t wait to do it!

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Lets chase the ugly out of this world with random acts of kindness! These are just a couple of my ideas but I’m sure some of my acts will be more “random” then off of my list. I’ll keep you updated on my progress and hope you join in on this project – even if it’s just a couple!

  1. Leave bakery treats for the mailman.
  2. Let someone go ahead of me in line (preferably someone with their hands full or an antsy toddler)
  3. Make my husbands favorite meat for dinner (even though I wont be eating it)
  4. Give a homeless person a bag of food
  5. Leave a big tip and note of thanks to a server at a restaurant
  6.  Leave a random $5 bill and a note to “pay-it-forward” someone in an envelope at a random place
  7. Send a surprise card telling someone how special they are
  8.  Leave my husband a random love note
  9. Buy coffee for outside workers on a cold day (road construction crew, etc)
  10. Send a home-made thank you card to someone who has made a difference in my life
  11. Pass out compliments all day long
  12. Leave a happy note & $5 gift card on someone’s car in a parking lot
  13. Leave all the coins in my purse lying around town throughout the day (heads up, of course!)
  14. Volunteer — anywhere — even if you only have an hour to spend
  15. Give up your seat for someone
  16. Buy lunch for a stranger
  17. Bake cookies for a neighbor you’ve never met
  18. Pay a toll for the person behind you
  19. Leave a “You’re awesome” note on someone’s desk
  20. Give a hot drink to the person ringing the Salvation Army bell
  21. Take flowers to an area nursing home or hospital
  22. Donate used books to the local Library
  23. Adopt a soldier as a pen pal
  24. Send flowers anonymously to a friend
  25. Donate blood
  26.  Pay for the person behind me to get on the subway

Christmas 2012

Skipping another Pinspiration Post for Christmas inspiration outfits (FYI – Will be skipping next week for New Years Eve inspiration outfits as well).

During Christmastime with the family we usually wear 2 outfits – One casual during the day for brunch and one dressy at night for church/dinner. I’ve already picked out our (Adam and myself) outfits for the day but wish I would have found the skirt and top in my third outfit choice because I would have bought it in a second. I’m sure I can find somewhere else to wear it…right Adam?

If you’re interested in any of the pieces just click on the picture. Happy Friday!

Christmas 2012
Christmas 2012
Christmas 2012

Tramonti in NYC

Last weekend my brother Keith and his girlfriend, Brittany, came up to visit!

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We both went our separate ways while roaming the city but had plans to meet up for dinner at the restaurant, Tramonti. My brother was the one who suggested this restaurant and it was a good recommendation! Thankfully, we made reservations because the restaurant was tiny and NYC was crowded.

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Don’t you just love NYC during Christmas?

After trekking through Rockefeller center where a million other people were, we sat down at our table.

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1/2 bottle of prosecco for me. Don’t mind if I do.

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You are also greeted with a warm bread basket and olive oil / vinegar for dipping. My favorite!

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Adam and I split a salad that was on the specials menu which consisted of spinach, green apples, goat cheese, candied walnuts and a light dressing. I wasn’t a fan of these particular nuts (twss?)- they were too chewy. I was all over that goat cheese though!

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For dinner, I ordered another “Special of the Day”. Butternut Squash Ravioli in a butter and sage sauce. VERY delicious!

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Keith and Brittany split the gnocchi and a Caesar salad which they said was phenomenal.

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It’s no shocker my husband had to order the most expensive thing on the menu – Veal chop, mashed potatoes and broccoli rabe. Since the only thing left on his plate was a bone – I think its safe to say he enjoyed it as well!

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Paparazzi break while we wait for dessert!

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Adam and I chose the ricotta cheesecake and vanilla ice cream. The ice cream was no joke. I think they may have put more than a pint in our bowl!? The cheesecake was amazing… Not too sweet, which was great because the Ice Cream was a nice balance.

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Keith and Brittany went with tiramisu and chocolate ice cream. Clean plates all around!

We were going to head to Rolf’s  after dinner but well…we’re kinda old and were exhausted after a big meal! It’s probably best we didn’t attempt to go there because I heard there was a huge line out the door. Old people need sleep…

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5 more days til Christmas!

Questions: Have you seen the Christmas Tree at Rockefeller Center? It’s so beautiful but extremely packed. I would suggest going the weekend after they light it – Not the weekend before Christmas (like us)

 

WIAW

I told myself to remember to take pictures of everything I ate today so I could join in WIAW and I did it! Whew, such an accomplishment.

wiaw what i ate wednesday button happy healthy holidays

Breakfast: Pumpkin Greek Yogurt w/ Granola

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Lunch: Spicy Sweet Potato & Black Bean Chili w/ Chips

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Dinner: Skinny Shrimp & Asparagus Alfredo – Which actually turned a bit more into a Mac & Cheese?

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Snacks: Clif Z Bar

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Dessert: Dark Chocolate Covered Marshmallow and Caramel x3 -whoops

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Looks like a day full of comfort foods – huh? I vow to eat more salads tomorrow!

I did something besides eat today, believe it or not! I made some ornaments… Here’s a sneak peek and I’ll show you more tomorrow!

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Questions: What was the best thing you ate today?

S’mores Cookies

One of my favorite memories growing up was baking Christmas Cookies and Fudge with my Grandma in her kitchen. Make the dough, refrigerate the dough, roll out the dough, cut the dough in shapes, bake at 350, ice them, lots of sprinkles & EAT! They were (are) a lot of work but everyone loves them and expects them on the table for Christmas Eve brunch so we suck it up for them 😉

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(A good baker always taste tests (and washes her hands after))

Since I knew I’d be making my Grandma’s infamous sugar cookies next week – I decided to whip up some different flavors this week for Adam’s work.

I have made these particular s’mores cookies before (March 2011!) and they’re always a hit. They might even be my favorite?

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S’mores Cookies (Christmas Style)

Ingredients

  • 3/4 cup unsalted butter, softened ( 1 1/2 sticks)
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup dark brown sugar, packed
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 1/4 cup honey graham cracker crumbs
  • 1/2 tsp sea salt
  • 1/2 tsp baking soda
  • 3/4 cups semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1 cup mini marshmallows ( I used the green Christmas Trees & Red Stars)
  • 2 chocolate bars, chopped

Directions:

  • Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  • Combine the butter and sugars until fluffy.
  • Mix in egg and vanilla until combined.
  • Add the flour, graham crackers, salt, and baking soda, and mix well. Stir in the chocolate chips.

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  • Drop by rounded tablespoon onto cookie sheets

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  • Bake for 8 minutes, and remove from the oven.
  • Push 3 to 4 marshmallows and a few pieces of the chocolate bar into each cookies.

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  • Return to the oven and bake an additional 3-4 minutes until fully cooked. Cool cookies on a wire rack.

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If you like s’mores you will LOVE these cookies. Tis the season…

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Questions: What is your favorite Christmas Cookie?

Groceries I Keep on Hand

I had a special reader suggestion 2 weeks about what groceries I keep on hand. Since we just moving in and starting from scratch I thought now would be the perfect time to share. Here we go: (PS: Where I keep my food is MESSY. I warned you 🙂 )

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Fridge:

  • Plain Greek Yogurt (Big Tub – I use this as sour cream, mayonnaise for my tuna fish and of course yogurt with berries & agave)
  • Unsweetened Almond Milk (I only use milk in cereal, oatmeal etc so you can’t beat 30 calories a cup)
  • Carton of Egg Whites (Use in protein pancakes, omelets, healthy baking)
  • Eggs
  • Chocolate Coconut Water – For those days you’re feeling extra parched
  • Unsweetened Applesauce – healthy baking or snack
  • Fat Free Feta – Salad Topper
  • Tofu – Protein of Choice
  • English Muffins – They last longer in the fridge
  • Marinara Sauce – Yes, I buy store-bought
  • Vegetable Broth – You can use this in a lot of meals
  • Sugar Free Jelly
  • Natural Peanut Butter
  • Pickles –  for Tuna Fish & Burgers
  • BBQ Sauce – We use this A LOT
  • Greek Dressing – Natural
  • Turkey & Cheese – To make sandwiches for Adam every morning
  • Vegetables – Zucchini ( i use this as pasta or roast them for salads/dinner) , Cucumbers (salads) , Sweet Onion (caramelize for salads and/or soups/chilis) , Asparagus (favorite side dish) & Sweet Potatoes (home fries, sweet potato fries, roast, sweet mashed potatoes etc) (I buy all of this EVERY time I go to the store..sometimes more)
  • Fruit – Strawberries & Apples (Apple a day keeps the doctor away!)
  • Romaine Lettuce & Spinach ( Salads and omelet add-in)

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Freezer:

  • Turkey Meatballs (Adam)
  • Meatless Meatballs (So Easy to throw in Pasta)
  • Veggie Burgers
  • Chili Lime Chicken Burgers (Adam)
  • Vegetables – Spinach, Broccoli, Green Beans ( easy to throw in a dish)
  • Fruit – Strawberries, Blueberries & Bananas (Smoothies!)
  • Waffles – Whole Wheat
  • Spinach Tortellini – Takes 3 minutes to cook
  • Shrimp

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Cabinet:

  • Whole Wheat Pasta
  • Green Tea
  • Nuts – Pine Nuts, Almonds, Sunflower Seeds, Pistachios (Salad Toppers)
  • Hot Chocolate & Marshmallows 🙂
  • Old Fashioned Oats
  • Quinoa & Couscous
  • Tuna Fish (No Salt Added)
  • Beans – Kidney, Black, Red, White. Refried & Garbanzo
  • Diced Tomatoes
  • Artichoke Hearts
  • Sun-dried Tomatoes
  • Panko
  • Raisins & Dried Cranberries
  • Granola
  • Clif Z Bars
  • Builder Bars
  • Lite Popcorn

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Spices:

  • Agave Nectar
  • Stevia
  • Chia Seeds
  • Flax Seed
  • Peanut Flour
  • Protein Powder
  • Cinnamon
  • Pumpkin Pie Spice
  • Crushed Red Pepper
  • Italian Seasoning
  • Old Bay
  • Garlic Powder
  • Onion Powder
  • Lemon Pepper
  • Sea Salt
  • Paprika
  • Chili Powder
  • Cayenne Pepper

I cook every meal at home with the exception of usually Saturday night dinners which we enjoy out at a restaurant so we might carry a bit more food on hand than another couple. But if you are looking to start keeping healthy foods on hand – I hope this helps!

Now I think I have some cleaning of cabinets to do…

Questions: What are a couple of things you buy every week at the grocery store?