I cook about 3-5 nights a week (depending on if one or both of us is traveling, has dinner plans, or how lazy I am). I get most of my inspiration from a few go-to sites on the internet, but cooking with my laptop is not always the smartest or cleanest idea.
For my bridal shower, I was lucky enough to get some AMAZING cookbooks. It has been so fun to look through them for recipe inspiration and the past two weeks I have cooked exclusively from these books and let me tell you...dinners have been pretty impressive.
One cookbook I have been really impressed with is the one from The Smitten Kitchen. I only perused her site sparingly before getting the cookbook, but now I am hooked!
I made this delicious (and easy) recipe last week and it was a hit! The meatballs were delicous and the chickpea salad was spicy and a filling.
1 pound (455 grams) ground turkey
2/3 cup (40 grams) fresh breadcrumbs (I used panko)
1/4 cup (60 ml) water
1 teaspoon table salt
1 large egg
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
1/2 teaspoon ground coriander
1/2 teaspoon Aleppo pepper (I just skipped this)
Pinch of cayenne pepper, or 1/4 teaspoon Aleppo red pepper flakes
2 tablespoons (15 grams) sesame seeds, toasted
1. Preheat your oven to 400 degrees. Combine all of the meatballs ingredients into a bowl with a fork. Form into 1 1/2-inch (about the size of a golf ball) and arrange them on a plate.
I cooked the meatballs on a pan in the oven heated to 350 degrees. I flipped the meatballs over every 7-10 minutes until their internal temperatures reached 160 degrees.
1 3/4 (440 grams) cooked chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/2 teaspoon ground sumac, plus more for garnish (didn't use it, tasted great)
Chopped fresh parsley
2 tablespoons (30 ml) freshly squeezed lemon juice
1 small garlic clove, minced
Pinch of cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon table salt
1. Mix everything but the oil in a small to mid-sized bowl. Very lightly smash the chickpea mixture with the back of a fork or potato masher - this ends up looking more like a course chop than puree. I tend to leave mine pretty chunky.
2. Dress the chickpeas with a drizzle of olive oil and stir to combine. Adjust seasoning to taste.
I am a pretty lucky woman for a lot of reasons. Not only do I get to marry a cute boy in about 8 weeks, but I get to have not 1, but 2 bachelorette parties. The first one took place a few weeks ago in Boston with my hometown loves!
We began at Harpoon Brewery with some beers and pretzels and then went on the brewery tour. We got to wear some killer safety goggles and try a lot of different beers which was really fun.
After Harpoon we headed over to our hotel to check in, change, and get ready for he night's festivities. While I was getting ready, my friends transformed one of the sweets into the bachelorette party center....complete with snacks, drinks, a hilarious cake, and panty line. We had appetizers, shots, and played a game where I had to guess who brought what lingerie. Needless to say I was terrible at it and ended up having to take a few shots because of it!
I have zero photos of the rest of the night (which means it was a great time). We went to dinner at a great little restaurant, and then went to a bar called Ned Devines that had a live band. We danced the night away until I had to take my heels off and go home (no judgement, it was my party).
The next day we got a little brunch and then headed back to CT. It was so great to spend time with my friends that I have know for so many years! I am so lucky to have so many friends from High School (some even from elementary school!)
And in a few weeks I get to do round #2 on the West Coast. Hope I can survive!
This year, I got to spend Easter at home in Connecticut with my family for the first time in over 5 years! It was so nice to be home and see all my aunts, uncles, and cousins, and to eat all the amazing Italian Easter food that you just can't find on the west coast.
For those non-Italians out there, Easter means apizzagain, or "Easter Pie". What is apizzagain? Two types of ham, eggs, cheese, pepper crust. Healthy? Hell no. Delicious? Hell yes.
This is little lady and I got to spend a lot of time together while I was home. I can't believe the next time I will see her will be when she is the flower girl in my wedding. But for now, we are just two bunnies hanging out on Easter.
My mother, as usual, went a little crazy for our Easter Baskets. Yes, I am 28 years old and yes, that is a Hello Kitty kite because Mom said we needed "a toy". Now if only I had enough self control to not eat all that candy in under a week...
Also, can you believe my cousin and I showed up to Easter in the same exact outfit? I guess everyone loves a pair of pastel jeans and silk shirt no matter where you live.
“I participated in an Influencer Activation on behalf of Influence Central for Wedding Paper Divas. I received a product and a promotional item to thank me for participating.”
I mentioned a week or two ago that we decided to go with Wedding Paper Divas for our wedding invitations. (You can take a peep at that post here if you are so inclined.) Now that all the invitations are in the mail (as of one weeks ago), I feel safe (and excited) to share the details of the invitations with the world aka the 20 people who read this blog on a regular basis (ps. I love you).
Yup, that's a cupcake and champagne celebration after we finished all the invites.
After a lot of trial and error (we may or may not have ordered over 8 samples before deciding on the look we were going for) we decided that a simple, clean look was really what we wanted the most. Bold typeface, black and white with gold accents, and a clean, modern look are what we finally settled on and we could not have been happier.
I love how the gold really made the invitations pop and I loved all the ways I was able to customize the invitations to fit our needs. All I had to do was put a little note about what I wanted added, deleted, or changed, and it was taken care of for me quickly and easily during the proof review process. I even ended up calling customer service at one point to get a little more information during the process and I have to say that everyone I spoke with was friendly, efficient, and genuinely helpful (which we all know from calling customer service, is unfortunately not always the case). We started out with the Perfect Simplicity invitation suite and went to town turning it into our own perfect invitation.
We were able to:
Have the corners of all the inserts, including the invitation, rounded
Have the back be solid white instead of a pattern
Change the title of the insert card from "Directions" to "Information"
Have a fourth dinner option be added to the RSVP card
Get upgraded to gold envelope instead of standard white
Tie it all together with a white satin ribbon (also purchased on the site)
All of this for a fraction of the price of what I was getting quoted elsewhere! And I do mean a fraction...hundreds of dollars cheaper! And when you are planning a wedding (especially one with over 200 people invited) every bit of savings counts!
The fiancé and I have really been enjoying our Disneyland Annual Passes. It has been so nice to leisurely enjoy the parks and take part in events we may not have "bothered" with in the past. When you only have one or two days a year to go to Disneyland, you don't want to "waste your time" on Dapper Day when it will be very crowded or the Egg-Stravaganza Easter Egg hunt (which we did last weekend). But when you know you can come back any day you want, you get to experiment, relax and have fun.
This past weekend, we went to Disneyland Saturday after a morning stair hike (you know we love those) and a late morning breakfast. Even though it was a little hot, the park wasn't too crowded and we got to see a lot of characters (which is always fun).
It is also nice to see how the park changes almost every time we go. At Disneyland, they are gearing up for the 60th anniversary of the park. This time we noticed changes to the castle and a new restaurant and re-vamped attraction at California Adventure.
This time, we also decided to try the Cove Bar. The Cove Bar is in California Adventure right on the boardwalk and is the only full bar in the park. We ended up getting the Fun Wheel and the Melrose Place. They were both yummy and refreshing and it was nice to sit outside by the water during the heat of the day. We will also be back for the famous lobster nachos very soon...too bad we weren't hungry!
Unfortunately, this might be the last time we visit Disney for a few weeks. I will be back east this coming weekend, have our "Engaged Encounter" weekend coming up in April, and will be going back east again at the end of the month as well. Can't wait to see what they come up with next!
One of the caveats about getting married in a place other than where you currently live is that the rest of the wedding activities also take place in a location other than where you currently live. I am extremely fortunate and have not one, but two showers planning in my honor. However, both will be taking place on the East Coast. Because of this, everyone is very thoughtfully shipping their gifts to my home in California. Also because of this, I get about 2-3 packages delivered to my house a day.
I am confident my mailman thinks I am one, if not all, of the following:
A housewife spending all of her husbands money on items from Macy's and Crate & Barrel
A scam artist running some short of mail-order fraud
A shopaholic who needs an intervention
This is what my "office" looked like as of two weeks ago:
Needless to say, that pile has grown by about 25% in the past few days and soon we will have to climb over stuff in order to use the bathroom.
On top of it all, I can't open any of them until the shower. So I have to look at them, everyday, taunting me. I know, I know...poor me.