Throwback Thursday: San Diego

For Adam’s 31st birthday he requested a trip “somewhere warm”. If I had my way, we would’ve gone to Fiji. But since he likes “shorter” flights, I chose the furthest one possible… California. I researched the places with the best food, must-do’s and must-see’s and ended up planning a trip to San Diego and L.A. I have an entire itinerary (literally breakfast/lunch/dinner/activities planned) so if you ever need that, just e-mail me! For now, I’ve summed up our favorite places from San Diego below.

We tried to stay on the East Coast time as much as possible so waking up to the sunrise was easy.

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We stayed at the Catamaran Resort and Spa which was right on the “beach”. I wouldn’t exactly call it a beach even though it had sand and water but I noticed a lot of the beaches in the San Diego area were different from what we see on the East Coast. We grabbed an acai bowl from Juice Kaboose (SO GOOD) and headed to our first stop,  hiking at Torrey Pines. This trail for us was very easy but it had really amazing views!

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After hiking we quickly changed into our bathing suits and put our name down on the waiting list at the restaurant, Poseidon in Del Mar. The beaches in Del Mar were all wet sand which made it a bit awkward to lay out so we took a walk along the water before they called us to let us know our table was ready.

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We had one of the best seats in the house! We decided to eat light and ordered a Thai Salad and Fish Tacos to save room for our dinner later on. The food was excellent and the view was even better.

Dinner reservations took us into the gaslamp district which I assume is San Diego’s “downtown”. I had read great things about Searsucker (Brian Malarkey from Top Chef is the chef) and we couldn’t wait to try it all!

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and…we did. From top to bottom — Spicy shrimp and grits, chimichurri steak, cheddar croissants, pretzel crusted salmon, jalapeño chorizo corn off the cob (melt in your mouth) and the s’mores bar.  10003452_933084585889_707331379_n

Phenomenal.

The next morning brought us to The Mission, which we ended up eating at twice during our stay. They had a ton of options and San Diego does not cheap out on portions, that’s for sure.

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I had the green tea latte and that huge platter on the bottom which was papas con chorizo. Adam ordered the gluten-free french toast and you would’ve never guessed it was Gluten Free. We headed to La Jolla to walk around shops and see the stinky seals beach.

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The seals were stinkier than you can imagine but it was still a cool experience. Dinner was at C-Level, another amazing restaurant with ridiculous views. We sat outside and listened to the steel drum singer while the sun set over the skyline.

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As usual, we ordered a ton of food but all of the walking we did every day made up for those extra calories.

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From top to bottom – Seared Ahi Stack (crab, ahi tuna, avocado/mango salsa, caviar, plantain chips), Lobster and Fontina BLT sandwich, Peanut Butter brownie sundae with butterscotch fudge and bruleed bananas, oysters and butternut squash gratin.

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This is getting kind of long… so part 2 of San Diego next week. Happy Thursday!

 

 

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Valentine’s Day {Menu} at Home

Since we are expecting a nor’easter (which is the norm around here lately) tomorrow we’ve decided to cancel our reservations at Catch and enjoy dinner at home for Valentine’s Day. Adam will be taking over the appetizers & main course parts of the meal and I’ll be in charge of the drinks + dessert. Here is what is on our menu!

Appetizer:

Fresh Peach Crostini with Whipped Honey Feta & Balsamic Drizzle (via Iowa Girl Eats)

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Main Course: 

Caesar Salad with Heart Croutons (via Martha Stewart)

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Classic Shrimp Scampi (via Brown Sugar)

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Dessert:

Chocolate Covered Strawberries (via The Yummy Life)

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Drink: 

Strawberry Heart Mojitos (via Young Married Chic)

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Eating in also saves money + calories and we could afford to save a little of both right now in anticipation of our 9 day trip to California! 3 more weeks til we’re out of this snow can’t come soon enough… What are you doing for Valentine’s Day? If you’re staying home, what’s on your menu?

 

Thanksgiving Ideas

Today is my Friday and tomorrow is one of the best days! Thanksgiving has always been one of my favorite holidays because it means LOTS OF FOOD. I’m not really a Turkey fan but gimme gimme gimme those side dishes (aka carbs). Mashed potatoes, cheesy-broccoli rice, stuffing and pumpkin desserts GALORE! Yes, please. If you are hosting Thanksgiving or even just attending one, here are some ideas for you!

 Autumn Apple Cider and Champagne Sangria

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Thanksgiving Nails

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Thanksgiving Place Cards: 

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Thanksgiving Tablescape: Obsessed with gold

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Thanksgiving Dessert: Mini Cheesecake Shots

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Thanksgiving Dessert Table:

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Thanksgiving Side Dish: Grandma’s Cheesy Broccoli Rice

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Thanksgiving Decor:

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Thanksgiving Appetizer: Roasted Pumpkin Brie Fondue (sooo good!)

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Thanksgiving DIY: Wreath(s) — I couldn’t just pick one.

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Best way to use your leftovers: Breakfast Sandwiches; Biscuits, Cranberry, Mashed Potatoes, Turkey, Poached Egg.

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Happy Thanksgiving!

Halloween Friday Favorites

Can this year slowwww dowwwwn? I didn’t realize Halloween was next week until my little brother texted me asking what he should dress up as. I used to go out on Halloween and buy 3 outfits for the “events”. But now I’m much more of a homebody so I think I’ll just be me this year. I do however, like any excuse to decorate – so here are my Halloween favorites!

Favorite way to store drinks at a Halloween Party

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Favorite Halloween nails

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Favorite Spooky Drink (add champagne)

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Favorite no mess pumpkin design

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Favorite Halloween sweet treat

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Favorite creative couples costume (DIY)

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Favorite tablescape

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Favorite non-sweet Halloween treat

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Favorite Halloween party decor

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Favorite casual piece to wear to work on Halloween

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Favorite creative kids costume (DIY)

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Favorite Halloween centerpiece 

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Tailgating Tips & Recipes

This past weekend I traveled to Maryland for the Redskins game. I’m a huge football fan so anytime I can watch a game live, I make the dreaded trip down the NJ Turnpike. Tailgating before a game is essential to having a good time. Seasoned tailgaters always come prepared (and so should you), so here is a list to make sure your tailgating party is a success.

1. Show up Early

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In order to get the full enjoyment out of tailgating, you need to make sure you leave yourself enough time before the game. We show up about 3 to 4 hours before the game to set up. That should give you plenty of time to cook the food, play some games and just hang out with your group.

2. Find a Good Parking Spot

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We park in the same spot for every game. There is always someone playing music with their speakers, we’re close enough to the bathrooms and in a spot with easy leaving access to beat the traffic at the end.

3. Get decked out.

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Show your team spirit. This past week was particularly tricky in the dressing department. The parking lot was windy and chilly and the stadium was HOT. Bring layers so you can accommodate the weather change.

4.  Don’t forget the booze.

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Alcohol is expensive inside. We’re talking $12 for a beer and $14 for a liquor drink. Drink (responsibly) before the game to reduce the amount of purchases you will want to make inside.

5. Bring delicious food!

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Knowing what is on the menu for the day gets me excited. We like to make a variety of finger foods because food is also very expensive inside (not to mention,  unhealthy). Here are some of my favorite tailgating recipes.

Pumpkin Spice Chex Mix

Bacon Double Cheeseburger Dip

Pizza Rolls

Touchdown Brownies

Avocado Egg Rolls

Bacon Wrapped Jalapeno Poppers

Potato Rings with Buttermilk Ranch Dressing

Buffalo Chicken Dip

White Pizza Dip

Mini Pretzel Dogs

BBQ Chicken Quesadillas

Sloppy Joe Sliders

Cheesy Stuffed Meatballs

Beer Mac & Cheese

Bourbon Bacon Baked Beans

Apple Cider Margaritas

Grown Up Hot Chocolate

Peanut Butter Football Dip

Oreo Football Truffles

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 

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Favorite Indulgence: Red Velvet Poke Cake

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Favorite DIY: Polka Dot Shoes

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Favorite Funny: Reasons My Son is Crying

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Favorite Hostess Gift: Beautifully Designed Cocktails with a Monogram

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Favorite Summer Polish: Essie – Mint Candy Apple

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Favorite Splurge: Jimmy Choo – Lance

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Favorite Fall Craving: Chicken Pot Pie Soup

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Favorite Quote: Work Hard & Stay Humble

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Favorite Memento: Loved Ones Handwriting on Jewelry

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Guest Post: Baked Chicken Parm with Zucchini Pasta

Happy Wednesday! I have a guest post for you today by the amazing Ali. She uses one of my favorite kitchen tools to prepare creative dishes so her boyfriend eats more of the green stuff… When i first met Adam, he ate ZERO veggies. Um, this isn’t going to work for me… Adam slowly but surely came around and eats his greens with almost every meal. But the one thing I’ve been having trouble getting him on board with, is zucchini pasta. Ali to the rescue!

A Healthy Bowl of Manly Pasta: Getting The Man in Your Life to Eat Zucchini Pasta

The first time we met, Alyssa told me she already owned a spiralizer. Of course, I then realized that we’d be instant friends. She had told me that she tried making some zucchini pasta dishes for her husband, but he wasn’t exactly thrilled. I took this as a challenge and offered to guest blog for her and create a recipe JUST for ‘Life a la Wife.’ Now, here we are.

For those of you who haven’t heard of me, I’m Ali, the blogger at Inspiralized, a website dedicated 100% to spiralizing. Spiralizing is the act of converting whole vegetables into noodles by using a spiralizer (an inexpensive plastic counter-top kitchen tool) By replacing regular wheat pasta with these veggie noodles, you’re sneaking in more vegetables into your diet while reducing your calorie and carb intake! Find out more about this cooking method by visiting my blog, Inspiralized.com.

Although I’m not married (not yet!), I have been living with my boyfriend for about 6 months and completely understand the constant struggle between cooking healthy and cooking for a man. Most men are not as calorie conscious as us ladies are and I get it…. If I had the metabolism of a dude, I’d be wolfing down triple-decker peanut butter and jellies like there’s no tomorrow!

Everyone (especially men) love pasta. Zucchini pasta is a healthier, low-calorie, low-carb alternative to regular pasta. In order to get your man’s feet wet to the zucchini pasta movement, I present to you a dish that he’ll not only be impressed with, but will feel better after eating. In this healthier version of the classic Italian Chicken Parmesan, I skipped the frying of the breaded chicken in oil and baked it instead. I’ve also excluded butter and have used homemade whole wheat breadcrumbs.

Next time you make one of my healthy Inspiralized dishes and mention “zucchini pasta” he won’t shrug his shoulders or roll his eyes – he’ll be excited for a big bowl of pasta! The couple that eats healthy together stays together, I say.

NOTE: Recreate this in a skinny version for yourself by skipping the breading of the chicken. Then, when adding the mozzarella to melt, use half the amount of cheese. After plating, top with 1-2 tablespoons of breadcrumbs to get a bit more of that crunchy chicken parmesan feel. Almost half the calories and just as much deliciousness. Now you can eat alongside your manly man and not feel as guilty!

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Baked Chicken Parmesan with Zucchini Pasta

Serving size: 1
Time to prepare: 10 minutes
Time to cook: 25 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 zucchini, Blade C
  • 3/4 cup marinara sauce OR 1 cup of my tomato basil sauce (below)
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 piece of whole wheat bread
  • 1/4 tsp oregano flakes
  • 1/4 tsp garlic powder
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 chicken breast
  • 1 long ball of mozzarella cheese
  • cooking spray
  • 3 tbsp grated Parmesan cheese

For the tomato basil sauce (makes 1 cup)

  • 1/3 cup of chopped onions
  • 1 (14oz) can of diced tomatoes, no salt added
  • 1 pinch of red pepper flakes
  • 2 tsp oregano flakes
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 clove of garlic, minced
  • 1/3 cup loosely packed basil

Directions

Preheat the oven to 405 degrees.

Place your piece of bread into a food processor and pulse into breadcrumbs. Pour into a bowl and season with the oregano, garlic powder and then salt and pepper to taste.

Take out a baking dish or tray and pour the breadcrumbs onto the tray. Add in Parmesan cheese and mix thoroughly to combine. Set aside.

Start your sauce. Place a large skillet over medium heat and pour in olive oil. Once oil heats, add in garlic. Cook for 30 seconds and then add in red pepper flakes. Cook for 10 seconds and then add in onions. Cook, stirring frequently, for about 2 minutes or until onions begin to soften and are translucent. Add in diced tomatoes, oregano and season with salt and pepper. Crush tomatoes with a potato crusher, stir and lower heat. Simmer for 15 minutes.

Coat a baking dish with cooking spray. Dredge your chicken in the beaten egg then dip in the breadcrumb-Parmesan mixture. Dip on both sides and pat breadcrumbs into any crevices on the chicken breast. Place on the baking tray and put into the oven for 17-20 minutes, depending on how thick the chicken breast (thicker = longer).

Continue to simmer the tomato sauce until all the juice is absorbed. Once done, reserve half of the sauce and keep the rest in the skillet, but turn off the heat.

After the chicken is done, take out, pour on the half cup of tomato basil sauce, top with mozzarella slice and place back in the oven for 5 minutes or until the cheese melts and starts to lightly brown on top.

While the chicken is cooking for the last 5 minutes, turn the skillet back on, throw in the zucchini spaghetti, and toss to combine, cooking for 3 minutes or until zucchini softens and sauce is heated. Place the zucchini pasta down on a plate and set aside.

Top the pasta with the Chicken Parmesan and serve to your thankful and adoring husband! This dish is sure to please his tastebuds.

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Thanks Ali!! Adam has already asked me when I will be recreating this for him… Better get on it!

Weekend Stuff

Chocolate Protein Oats

Chocolate Protein Oats

 

Trying out a new location

Trying out a new location 

 

Bowling

Bowling 

 

My husband didn't let me win once. #rude

My husband didn’t let me win once. #rude 

 

Whole Foods Bar

My Favorite kind of Bar 

 

 

OK, fine... Maybe this is my favorite kind of bar.

OK, fine… Maybe this is my favorite kind of bar.

 

Yep, most definitely.

Yep, most definitely. 

 

 

Sunshine

Sunshine 

 

Hoboken

Hoboken 

 

Banana Smoothie

Banana Smoothie 

 

Accessories

Accessories 

 

We chose two different items. Guesses?

We chose two different items. Guesses? 

 

How-to

How-to 

 

Great recipes!

Great recipes! 

 

Check it out..

Check it out.. 

 

No bake cake for the win.

No bake cake for the win.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

4th of July Inspiration

Happy Fourth everyone!! I hope everyone enjoys this beautiful day with their family and friends… Here are some last minute patriotic ideas if you forgot to plan something (ahem, mom).

 

Fruit Kebabs 

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 Subtle Outfit

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Bacon Flag Pizza

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Sophisticated Outfit

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Cake

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Handsome Outfit

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Sangria

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Casual Outfit

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American Pie

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Fashionable Outfit

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Streusel Muffins

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Nail Art

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HAPPY FOURTH OF JULY FROM NYC!

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Newport, RI

Last week Adam and I took off to Rhode Island for a few days to celebrate my sissy getting married! I had never been to Rhode Island but had heard great things and did A LOT of research on where the best places to grub were, of course.

Our first stop when we arrived in Newport was to Easton’s Beach. I read that their snack shack (of all places!?) had an amazing lobster roll. To make it even better you could order TWO for $11. Music to my husband’s ears…

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We both ordered the lobster roll and sat on the beach to inhale them.

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Mmmm. The best COLD lobster roll I’ve ever eaten (Boston holds the number 1 for a hot roll in my heart).

We walked along the beach before heading back to our hotel to check-in. Rehearsal was at 5 so we had a few minutes to walk around near the shops. I decided we needed something sweet and had my eye on The Fudgery ever since we drove into town.

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It was a tough choice but we went with the Oreo Fudge. You buy a slab, they throw it in a bag and then you eat as much as you want (aka the entire slab).

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We headed off to the beautiful venue where The (now) Fiora’s practiced their I Do’s.

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The rehearsal dinner was at The Landing which was a cute restaurant right next to our hotel. We had the entire upstairs and custom menus for the event.

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I’m not usually a fan of Key Lime Pie but this was phenomenal! The bride also planned a grooms cake made out of rice krispie treats since Chris does not like cake (he is a weirdo).

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There were lots of drinks and plenty of dancing but after a full day of travel i was ready for bed. Adam and I headed back to the hotel around 11 so we could get up early for a run by the mansions and a delicious breakfast… More on that later!

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