Throwback Thursday: My 30th Birthday

So, I turned THIRTY this year. I had a bit of a freakout realizing I am no longer in the 20-29 range when filling out a registration check box for something. Thankfully, I ended up getting over that pretty quickly. We had an amazing weekend in Maryland and we have a lot to look forward to this year so here we go, 30.

I came upstairs to the biggest balloon bouquet as soon as I woke up (I’ll spare you the picture of me in my pajamas)

unnamed-2

Shortly after breakfast, my grandma and I jumped into the car to pick up a sweet treat from a local bakery. These were mini cupcakes and they were VERY good! I enjoy mini cupcakes better than big ones so I can try a taste of each one.

unnamed-3

Adam made dinner reservations for the two of us in Baltimore at Woodberry Kitchen. If you are ever in the Baltimore area, I highly recommend this restaurant! The restaurant is not high-end but it’s charming atmosphere, skilled service and phenomenal food puts this high on my top food list.

unnamed-6

We started off with two appetizers. Homemade chips with a sour cream and onion dip and a sweet corn soup with lump crab meat. I wish I could recreate both!

unnamed-8 unnamed-9

For dinner I ordered the chicken and biscuit dish and Adam had the seafood jambalaya. I never order chicken at a restaurant but this particular dish was pushed by our waiter. I am so glad I did because it was cooked to perfection!

unnamed-10 unnamed-11

We ordered a CMP for dessert (cream, marshmallow and peanuts) and they also brought out a mini chocolate cupcake wishing me a happy birthday.

unnamed-12 unnamed-14

I don’t think you can go wrong with anything on the menu here.

The next day my mom planned a dinner with our large family at a new restaurant in Annapolis, MD, Blackwall Hitch, and my Aunt even flew up from Florida to surprise me!

unnamed-15

unnamed-16 unnamed-17 unnamed-18 unnamed-21 unnamed-22 unnamed-23

My mom isn’t one for crafting but she worked hard putting everything together and it all turned out beautifully! The restaurant was very impressive getting all 20 of us all the correct food and everything tasted delicious. Adam ordered a Lilly Pulitzer theme cake from Cakes by Rachael that was funfetti on the inside with salted caramel buttercream filling. Yes, that is real life.

unnamed-19 unnamed-20 

It was a perfect weekend with the most perfect people. Bring on 30!

Advertisements

Skinny Funfetti Cheesecake {Valentine’s Day Style}

 

I am a sucker for pretty things that are the color pink. When I went to Target a few weeks ago, I spotted pink and red sprinkles, small vases with love quotes and sparkly valentines day cards and of course I just had to purchase them. Adam loves funfetti just as much as I do (soulmate!), so last week I made this cheesecake as his Birthday cake. I used my Valentine’s Day sprinkles in this recipe and it turned out better than we expected for being so “healthy”. This would be perfect to make for your significant other this weekend since bikini season is right around the corner… Um, hopefully.

 

unnamed (1)

 

Skinny Funfetti Cheesecake  {Valentine’s Day Style}

Ingredients:

  • 2 sleeves of Low Fat Graham Cracker (Or use Gluten – Free), crushed in food processor or by hand
  • 3 Tbsp. Light Butter, Softened
  • 8 Oz. Neufchatel
  • 8 Oz. Fat Free Cream Cheese
  • 1/2 C. Organic Sugar
  • 6 oz. Vanilla Greek Yogurt
  • 1 Egg
  • 1/4 cup Egg Whites (or from 2 Eggs)
  • 1 1/2 Tbsp. Corn Starch
  • 1 Tbsp. Flour
  • 1/2 Tsp. Vanilla
  • 1/2 C. Valentine’s Day Sprinkles

 

Directions:

  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Mix together the graham cracker crumbs and butter until combined.
  • Coat the inside of a 10″ spring form pan with cooking spray and press the crumbs onto the bottom.
  • Bake until browned, about 5 minutes. Let cool, about 10 minutes.
  • Beat both cream cheeses and the sugar with a mixer on medium-high speed until smooth, then beat in the greek yogurt on a lower setting.
  • Lightly whisk the egg whites in a bowl, then add to the cheese mixture along with the whole egg, corn starch, flour and vanilla.
  • Beat on medium speed until fluffy, 3 minutes.
  • Add the sprinkles to the mixture last and fold in until distributed pretty evenly through the cheesecake mixture. Pour over the cooled crust.
  • Bake until the cake is set but the center still jiggles, about 40 minutes.
  • Remove from the oven and run a knife around the edge, then cool.

 

Anniversary Weekend

10 days ago, we celebrated our 1 year Wedding Anniversary!

1756_770877984219_614571923_n

We went back and forth on how to celebrate. Did we want to spend a week on the beach? Should we put our passports to good use and travel overseas? Should we drive up the California Coast? Or maybe we should go somewhere a bit closer for a long weekend? In the end, our indecisiveness made our decision for us.  We were staying home for the weekend but would plan some fun “excursions”.

We had a semi-lazy day Saturday morning so we would be wide awake for our plans that night. Adam said he had an errand to run and came home with a bouquet – my wedding bouquet, to be exact! He had a local florist recreate them and they were just as beautiful as I remember.

photo (11)

We signed up for a couples cooking class at ICE with the theme “He said, She said”.  We originally thought we would be making 4 courses but we were surprised when we saw our menu for the night

1380396_581963385198459_510353569_n

Um, how will we cook and eat all of that? Somehow, we did it. There were 6 couples in the class so we split into groups of 2 (4 people). Our group was in charge of making the shrimp caesar salad, the roasted butternut squash salad and the bruleed banana tartlets. We immediately started prepping our food so we could get to eating.

photo (4)

So professional with the tucked fingers. The quicker we got to choppin, the sooner the wine came out. No drinking until knives are away… I thought that was a good rule.

photo (9)

I took charge of the dessert (duh) and everyone said it was their favorite. With nutella, puffed pastry and whipped cream, how could it be bad?

image

 

Once the groups were finished cooking we placed everything on the buffet table to make our plates.

photo

Food:

Butternut Squash Salad with Ricotta Insalata

Butternut Squash Salad with Ricotta Insalata

Ratatouille Crostini (with goat cheese!)

Ratatouille Crostini (with goat cheese!) 

photo (6)

Grille Steak Salad with Spicy Grilled Peaches

Grille Steak Salad with Spicy Grilled Peaches

Duck Meatballs in Creamy Polenta

Duck Meatballs in Creamy Polenta

Roasted Head-on Shrimp with Creamy Caesar Salad

Roasted Head-on Shrimp with Creamy Caesar Salad 

Peanut Butter Ice Box Cake with chocolate crust and warm berry compote

Peanut Butter Ice Box Cake with chocolate crust and warm berry compote

Bruleed Banana Tartlets with Nutella Cream

Bruleed Banana Tartlets with Nutella Cream 

My favorite dish was the steak and peach salad. We’ve already created this at home, it was that good. I went from not eating meat for 2 years, to picking steak as my favorite meal. Adam’s favorite was the Duck Meatballs (which were last on my list). Everything was amazing and we had such a great time. Our chefs were a married couple as well, so it was fun to hear how they cook together. We can’t wait to go again!

photo (2)

The next morning we dove into our year old cake! We were a bit nervous since it had been an entire year since it was made, but it was just as good as we remembered!

photo (14)

We headed to the spa for 4 hours of relaxation. It was a dreary day outside so it was almost perfect that we planned these couples treatments.

photo (13)

We had grand dinner plans but with all of the food from Saturday night, the cake for breakfast Sunday Morning and the mimosas during the day, we just felt like hanging around. We picked up some fro-yo (first pumpkin taste of the season!) and watched football for the rest of the night.

photo (12)

It was the perfect weekend to celebrate our 1 year anniversary. Looking forward to many many more!

379411_770878188809_1408222186_n

Friday Favorites

Happy Friday everyone! This week went by soooo soooo slow. I am extremely happy the weekend is here, but unfortunately, the only things I have on my agenda is a root canal and going to the DMV on Saturday morning… Awesome!  In more exciting news, here are some of my favorite finds from around the blogosphere this week.

Favorite View: Favignana, Egadi islands, Sicily 

3978105744f0c17d8f35406750a24770

Favorite Indulgence: Red Velvet Poke Cake

6911c7a7f7a5e524098fbeacff14309f

Favorite DIY: Polka Dot Shoes

f4a97eb2ffcf2924edc8bc3f6f1ad08b

Favorite Funny: Reasons My Son is Crying

fcd7d763251afa4f17f7109e405d2aa2

Favorite Hostess Gift: Beautifully Designed Cocktails with a Monogram

1f8707a02be41ed0954cd07cf2cb3183

Favorite Summer Polish: Essie – Mint Candy Apple

IMG_6950

Favorite Splurge: Jimmy Choo – Lance

df3543cf638ee3f2587bc388f5e5c3a2

Favorite Fall Craving: Chicken Pot Pie Soup

df6bce5a05037abc5e457d6e6f682350

Favorite Quote: Work Hard & Stay Humble

il_570xN.471324163_ml1y

Favorite Memento: Loved Ones Handwriting on Jewelry

il_570xN.299866742

Cinco De Mayo Healthy Choices

Happy Cinco De Mayo!! I’m in Mexico right now enjoying all things unhealthy but if you’re not on vacation and looking for healthy options, I thought I’d share some tips from Shape Magazine for choosing the healthier meal.

Quesadillas or Nachos?

Quesadilla! Both choices are full of fatty cheese, but the nachos pack a second whammy: a mountain of deep fried chips. Quesadillas are no grease-free zone, but they’re mas bueno because they’re made on the griddle with less oil than the chips. Cut down on the cheese by asking yours to be stuffed with vegetables!

Margarita or Beer?

Beer! Thanks to sugary mixes, a margarita can set you back 500 PLUS calories (NOT WORTH IT!!) The exception: versions made from scratch with only tequila, triple sec and lime juice. One on the rocks is about 150 calories – same as a Regular Beer.

Burrito or Fajitas?

Fajitas! At 888 calories, a chicken burrito is a belly-buster, not a meal. Fajitas let you customize your feast. Opt for corn tortillas (50 calories apiece vs 300 for a ginormous flour wrap) and pile on the meat and veg. Love guac or sour cream? Pick one, but skip the high calorie beans and rice.

Beef Tacos or Taco Salad?

Beef Tacos! A fried taco bowl with meat, cheese, sour cream and guac is a salad in name only. Ditch the shell and you’re still OD’ing on fat. But two soft tacos, with 346 calories and 17 grams of fat, leave you room for the chips and salsa.

Chiles Rellenos or Enchiladas?

Chicken Enchiladas: Yes, peppers are healthy–before you add cheese and fry them. The chicken enchiladas have about the same amount of protein as the melty dairy in the chiles but without artery-clogging fat. Let’s toast to that!

Dips are deceptively caloric. Try these slim-dunk strategies.

Salsa (15 calories per tbsp) Feel free to pile it on as high as a Mayan temple. Salsa is low-cal, fat free and full of veggies

Guacamole (50 calories per 2 tbsp) Avocado deserves its healthy rep, but think of it as green butter. Each fruit has 322 calories and 30 g fat. Take two spoonfuls and pass the bowl

Chile con Queso (62 calories per tbsp) A single bowl of this dip supplies twice the amount of saturated fat you need per day. Scoop up only if you’re livin la vida loca.

If you’re staying in here are some awesome recipes to make:

Vegetarian Tortilla Soup

Nina’s Mexican Rice

Black Bean Quesadillas

Fish Tacos with Cabbage and Tangerine Slaw

Rosemary-Skewered Shrimp Marinated in Chipotle

Mexican Lasagna

and buy some of this – 100 calories for a 4 oz drink (it already has alcohol inside). It uses agave nectar as a sweetener, no dyes and is all natural!

Cinco De Mayo isn’t all about pouring yourself a margarita though.. Here are some fun facts about the history.

Cinco de Mayo Fun Facts:

  • Cinco de Mayo is celebrated on a much larger scale in the United States than in Mexico.
  • Chicanos celebrate this day in appreciation of Mexico’s culture.
  • General Ignacio Zaragosa was born in Texas when it was still part of Mexico and is considered to be a Chicano hero.
  • Cinco de Mayo is often confused with the Mexican Independence Day, which occurred on September 16, 1810, about 50 years earlier.
  • Cinco de Mayo is one of more than 365 festivals celebrated by people of Mexican descent.
  • The holiday was popularized in the U.S. in part by Chicano activists in the 1960’s and 1970’s who identified with the Mexican Indian and mestizo soldiers’ triumph over European conquest attempts.
  • Cities such as Los AngelesChicago and Houston host annual Cinco de Mayo celebrations that draw hundreds of thousands of celebrants.
  • The Festival de Fiesta Broadway in Los Angeles is the world’s largest Cinco de Mayo event. More than 600,000 gather to celebrate with food and music each year.
  • Mexico is the largest Spanish-speaking country in the world.
  • Guadalajara is Mexico’s second largest city and where the Mexican Hat Dance, sombreros and mariachi music originated.
  • Mexico’s capital, Mexico City (one of the world’s largest cities) is sinking. Some of its buildings are sinking by as much as 4 to 12 inches a year. The city was once an Aztec capital on an island surrounded by a shallow lake. When the Spanish explorer Hernan Cortes captured the city, he drained the lake. So Mexico City rests on soft land that continues to sink.

Happy Cinco De Mayo everyone =) Be safe!

Mexican Colored Triple Layered Cake

Hello from the plane to Mexico 🙂

This is a throwback post from my old blog. I had no recipe to share because I won’t be in town but this cake was DELICIOUS and if I was in town I’d be making it right now.

No party is complete without cake.

This festive cake was REALLY easy to make and super delicious. Check it out.

Mexican Colored Triple Layered Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 Box Funfetti Cake Mix
  • 1/3 Cup vegetable oil
  • 1/2 Cup water
  • 8 oz fat free vanilla yogurt
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 small box instant vanilla pudding mix
  • Food Coloring or Decorating Paste (red and green)

Directions

  •  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • With an electric mixer, mix the cake mix, oil, water, yogurt, eggs and pudding mix until well combined; about 1 1/2 minutes.
  • Divide batter evenly into 3 bowls.
  • Add red and green to two of those bowls.
  • Once mixed, pour each colored batter into well greased 9 inch cake pans (3 total).
  • Bake for 15-17 minutes or until cakes are cooked through.  Cakes will be thin.
  •  Once cooled completely, remove from pans and place first layer of cake onto a cake stand.  Spread frosting over top layer then place second layer of cake on top and continue this pattern until all layers are frosted.  Frost top and sides once layers are frosted.
  • Add decorations as you see fit. I’ve added pepper toothpicks to the side and a sombrero in the middle.
Ok so maybe it’s not the easiest cake ever… But it’s pretty darn simple. I like to serve this with ice cream.

But I like everything with ice cream.

Enjoy!

Shabby Chic Bridal Shower

This past weekend I headed to Maryland to celebrate the beautiful bride-to-be, Jenn!

062

As bridesmaids, we were up late the night before and early the next morning to set up for the event so excuse the bags under our eyes 😉

136

Each bridesmaid made two or more dishes to create a huge spread for the guests to snack on during the day.

041019 018 017 016 020042

The dessert table was OF COURSE, my favorite.

009

Cake!

Cake!

010

Cutest Cookies

  015

012 013 014

Jenn’s wedding colors are mint & coral so we used the same theme for her shower with thoughts that she could use everything for the wedding too.

044

The drink station included something blue lemonade, iced tea, sangria and custom water bottles (wrapped with lace and an engagement sticker)

039 038 051

Flowers were placed in mason jars and pictures of the couple surrounded the room

036 037 035030 024 023

We set up a table near the entrance with homemade (by Jenn’s mom) favors of sugar scrub and an advice station for the almost newlyweds.

028 027 026139 140

We also had a banner that said Getting Hitched hanging over the couch that was hand made by our friend Crystal. Jessica painted the birdcage, cross and bird feeders that were placed around the sign.

033

We played one game, which was called “the almost newlywed game”. We asked Jenn’s fiance, Andrew, 18 questions ahead of time and asked Jenn the same questions. Every time she got an answer wrong we had her stick half of a jumbo marshmallow in her cheeks.

092 090

Jenn needs to quiz Andrew more often.

Next, came gifts and Jenn got a lot of great things for their new house! Our friend Danielle gave her a personalized hanger that goes perfectly with her theme to hang her dress on during her wedding day.

100

I can’t wait for June 8th to celebrate Jenn’s big day! I know it’s going to be beautiful – Just like her!

121

Birthday Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Have you ever had Birthday Cake Oreo’s?

birthday-cake-oreo-cookie

I literally could demolish a box of these in 5 minutes. It’s a serious problem.

I only buy them when there’s a special occasion and since yesterday was one, they made the cut on the grocery store list.

When I first woke up and saw them I knew I needed to get rid of them fast – or there would be none for the birthday boy! So, I whipped up the easiest birthday cake possible – an Ice Cream Cake!

023

Birthday Oreo Ice Cream Cake

Ingredients

  • 1 package of Birthday Oreo Cookies
  • 1/2 cup Caramel Sauce
  • 1/2 cup Chocolate Sauce
  •  Vanilla Bean Ice Cream (I used Edys)
  • 1 container of Cool Whip
  • Colorful Sprinkles

Directions

  • Set out Ice Cream on counter for about 30-45 minutes until really soft/half way melted
  • Line a 9″ springform pan with Saran Wrap
  • Place Oreos on sides of springform pan.
  • Twist of Oreos and place them down on the bottom to make a crust

003

  • Spoon ice cream into a bowl and stir until easy to work with
  • Add 1/2 cup of caramel sauce, 1/2 cup chocolate syrup and as many rainbow sprinkles as you’d like

004

  • Crush a row of Oreo’s in a bag and add to mixture

005

  • Stir, stir and stir until well combined. Your ice cream should look chocolate-y by then.
  • Pour into springform pan carefully
  • Drizzle some extra caramel on top

006

  • Freeze for 2 hours
  • Remove and spread entire container of cool whip on top
  • Add more crushed Oreos and sprinkles

008

  • Freeze for another 4-6 hours
  • Remove from pan, saran wrap and cut each slice where the Oreos stand

026

Enjoy every last bite of this one – It’s not healthy, but it’s worth it!

We’re expecting a blizzard so we need to get this out of the house immediately – If you’re in Hoboken and want it, let me know 🙂

Wedding Recap: The Reception

After our pictures it was time for the fun to begin!

I had Adam pick the song for our bridal parties entrance and his choice was Europe – The Final Destination.

416 (2)

Adam and I chose to be introduced for the first time as Mr. & Mrs. Adam Kartzman to Calvin Harris – Feel so Close.

421 (2)

Honestly I felt that this part was SO awkward! We picked a clubbish kind of song so I wasn’t sure if we were supposed to fist pump or what? Ha, looking at this picture reminds me how weird we felt with all eyes on us.

425 (2)

Our first dance song was Making the Movies Jealous. I asked the DJ to invite others on the dance floor after a minute of us dancing because we really didn’t all eyes on us. I know, weird when it’s our wedding!

149 (2)

Next came the Horah… Adam had no desire to do this but it was important to his parents so he went along with it.

445 (2)

448 (2)

155 (2)

Then the scary part..

461 (2)

 

 

Adam’s friends were a little rough trying to throw him out of the chair… Luckily I had family members!

462 (2)

The DJ asked everyone to grab their place card and head to their respective table.

129 (2)

007 (2)

We had 19 tables with 10-12 people at each and a separate head table for the two of us.

472 (2)

473 (2)

While everyone else was  being served their salads we were served dinner so we would be able to eat. We chose Filet & Crab Cake with mashed potatoes, asparagus and a corn relish to serve to everyone so there were no confusions.

474 (2)

My Father in Law kicked off the speeches for the night! His speech was filled with memories and well wishes for a lifetime of happiness.

484 (2)

My Maid of Honor shared memories full of laughter and a few tears.

490 (2)

Adams best man shared plenty of laughs and a few embarrassing moments as well – He had to get him back from his wedding last May!

498 (2)

We finished up with a blessing from my mom which was very sweet and sentimental.

480 (2)

Cheers!

After Adam and I made our rounds of thanking people for coming it was time to hit the dance floor.

159 (2) 368 (2) 374 (2) 389 (2) 399 (2) 400 (2) 518 (2) 539 (2) 548 (2) 550 (2)

Our DJ was AMAZING and I couldn’t recommend him enough. He kept everyone on the dance floor from age 3-90 all night long.

215 (2)

He also added uplighting to our room in a light pink color. We had about 18 lights around the room to give it a warm feeling.

504 (2)

Halfway through the reception we had our cake cutting.

409 (2)

 

I am giving Adam the “Don’t you dare smear cake on my face” look.


573 (2) 576 (2)

Whew. Mission completed.

389485_752200049949_398595118_n

We also had a grooms cake for Adam but served it the night before at the Rehearsal Dinner.

I changed right after the photographer and videographer left (video on Thursday!) to a BCBG dress I found at Saks a couple of months prior.

404082_4351724202643_1354814903_n

I also removed my shoes because my feet were KILLING me. Classy, I know.

304000_10101047845905459_578596047_n

The night ended around midnight and I can honestly say this was the best night of my life. It’s hard to explain how perfect everything was in a couple of blog posts but I hope you enjoyed me sharing our memories with you. I feel blessed to be married to such an amazing man and I can’t wait to celebrate our love for each other year after year.

380

All Wedding Posts will be here for future reference.

DJ – DJ Kopec

All pictures taken by MB Photography

Cake and Grooms Cake – Creative View Confections

 

 

Sunday Stuff – 1/13

via iPhone

Juice to kick off Sunday morning: Frozen Peaches, spinach, cucumber, kiwi, apple, lemon, broccoli ice & water

Juice to kick off Sunday morning: Frozen Peaches, spinach, cucumber, kiwi, apple, lemon, broccoli ice & water

Tempting cake at church... I passed it up. Whew.

Tempting cake at church… I passed it up. Whew.

Husband snapping pics of us walking around in Hoboken

Husband snapping pics of us walking around in Hoboken

Red Dragon Crunch Roll at Whole Foods

Red Dragon Crunch Roll at Whole Foods

Major Grocery Shopping today!

Major Grocery Shopping today!

Salad with buffalo cauliflower from Peta's website.

Salad with buffalo cauliflower from Peta’s website.

Um. Get these.

Um. Get these.

How did I manage to pick the ugliest color for my gel manicure??

How did I manage to pick the ugliest color for my gel manicure that will last 3 weeks?? Ugh.

 How was your Sunday??