Thursday, April 28, 2011

Eat Drink Pretty is 2!

{Photo credits: Martha Stewart Living Boundless Beauty iPad app, Country Living, Tartelette, Sunday Suppers}

Eat Drink Pretty turns 2 this week! I can't believe I have been a crazy blogger for two whole years. It's been fun. And pretty. And about 10 extra pounds.

Thanks for hanging around and coming back post after post. I appreciate it SO MUCH.

Does this bubbly brunch inspiration board look familiar? I planned this event for my 31st birthday and then had to cancel it because of water damage in my home. And now my blog turning 2 gives me another great reason to celebrate! I am hosting this bubbly brunch in May and will photograph all the lovely details and even lovelier guests.

In honor of Eat Drink Pretty's blogiversary, here are some of my favorite posts over the past two years:

- Remember my one year blogiversary dessert table (part 1 and 2)? A near anxiety attack, a very messy house and a crabby husband later, it turned out to be a beautiful success. Best part? It was featured on Style Me Pretty! I couldn't have been more thrilled.

- I was so happy to host a Breakfast at Tiffany's Bridal shower (part 1 and 2) for my sister, Katie.  The shower took place in my backyard under a white tent and crystal chandelier.  It was an intimate shower with lots of love and attention to each perfect little detail.  This shower was featured on Hostess Blog!

- Cooking and baking has become a passion and favorite hobby of mine over the past few years.  I love experimenting with different recipes and there is nothing better a cookie out of the oven tastes better than you ever imagine.  That was the case with these delectable rosemary shortbread cookies.  The photo I took of the shortbread appeared in Fresh Home magazine!

- In 2010, not only my sister got married but also my best friend Kristin.  I co-hosted a vintage garden themed bridal shower (part 1 and 2) for her on a warm, summer day.  One of her bridesmaids brought hundreds of flowers right out her garden and there was no shortage of mimosas and bloody marys.  It was a memorable day.  This flowery shower was featured on The Party Dress!

- When good friends Libby and Jason got engaged, I couldn't wait to throw them a fun engagement party!  A perfect, crisp fall day inspired this party with a hot chocolate/coffee bar, caramel apples, lots of comfort food and a cozy bonfire.

- I never thought homemade crackers would be so easy!

- On a wonderful and relaxing day off work, I baked this homemade bread.  So warm and soft, it was perfect with just a slab of butter.

- My first ever experience poaching an egg was a success!  I served it with an amazing, savory cheddar herb bread.

- Delicious, comforting Monkey Bread will always remind me of my momma.

- I became a bit more confident in the kitchen over time.  I even tackled making homemade baked donuts!  They were the best warm out of the oven, dipped in sugar and served with a cup of cold milk.

- Red velvet cupcakes are classic.  And even better served in a jar!

- Sometimes hot soup is all you need on a cold, winter evening.  This chunky tomato soup was the perfect Friday night meal.

Wow...I could go on and on.  And each post (whether listed above or not) was always accompanied with lots of sweet comments from all you wonderful readers.  Thank you for those comments!

Do you have a favorite Eat Drink Pretty post?  Or how about any ideas for future content you'd like to see?  Please comment and share!

It's not too late to donate to the Walk MS event I am participating in!  Click here for more details.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Walk MS

This is a shameless solicitation post so please forgive me.

I am participating in the Walk MS event this Sunday, May 1st.  I'm walking in honor of my momma.

My momma is an awesome woman; strong, funny, loving.  She has lived with MS for 26 years. My entire family (including my mom!) will be walking in this event. 
I would be forever thankful if you would consider donating for this cause.

Click here for my personal donation page. Thank you!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Relaxing weekend with family (and kitties)

Erik and I spent a relaxing, fun weekend with his family in North Dakota. Our time there consisted of playing bingo at one of the townie bars, eating good food, drinking clamato beers, an Easter egg hunt and snuggling with kitties. Erik's mom recently got two cute cats and they were fun and cuddly little gals.

Confession, I really tried to stay within my Weight Watcher points but clamato beers and butter noodles add up, unfortunately.  I went over by 22 points for the week.  This week will be much better!

A North Dakota photo collage (taken and edited with my iPhone camera + app)

Yes, there was still plenty of snow on the ground in ND. Crazy!

Sorry for the short post today but Erik and I spent the majority of the day Sunday driving back to MN...the drive is already 6 hours but then we got stuck in some craptastic traffic. Needless to say after a couple loads of laundry and spending time quality time with our kitty, Kody, there wasn't a whole lot of time for the blog

Fun posts are in store for the week though, I promise! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Earth Dinner winner

Thanks so much to everyone for participating in the Earth Dinner giveaway!

The winning comment is number 34, Andrew who "liked" Earth Dinner on Facebook.

Congrats Andrew! Please send an email to eatdrinkpretty{at}gmail{dot}com with your mailing address.

I am heading to North Dakota for the Easter weekend. That means I will have a constant struggle for the next 48 hours on whether or not to ruin my diet with dumplings.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Lemon garlic tilapia

If you are in need of a quick, weekday meal, this lemon garlic tilapia is a great option. Erik and I always have a bunch of frozen tilapia fillets in the freezer and tend to pull them out when we don't feel like spending too much time in the kitchen.

Tilapia is a fairly mild, white fish. It easily takes on other flavors so lemon and lime juice are usually what we use for an easy, fresh flavored fish.

Lemon garlic tilapia (recipe adapted from All Recipes)

Ingredients

4 tilapia fillets
3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 cloves garlic, finely chopped
1 teaspoon dried parsley flakes
2-3 tablespoons parmesan cheese, optional
Salt and pepper to taste

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.

Rinse tilapia fillets under cool water, and pat dry with paper towels.

Place fillets in baking dish. Pour lemon juice over fillets, then drizzle olive oil on top. Sprinkle with garlic, lemon zest parsley, salt and pepper.

Bake in preheated oven until the fish is white and flakes when pulled apart with a fork, about 30 minutes.

Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

We served the tilapia with a parmesan cous cous with tomatoes and roasted asparagus. This meal was only 8 points on the new Weight Watchers point systems, which is really low for a satisfying meal. It also only took 30 minutes to prepare.

Are any of you on Weight Watchers? I've been on and off it for a couple years now but recently joined the online program with the new points system.  I really love it so far! 

Do you like the new point system? I'd love to hear your thoughts! Please comment and share.

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Baby brunch

When you get to be a certain age...around your upper twenties/lower thirties things start to change a bit in your friend group. Bellies get bigger and babies start attending brunch dates. It means that mimosas don't flow quite as freely as they used to, but the new brunch guests sure are cute.

Last Sunday, a group of my girlfriends and I got together to have brunch with new mom, Natasha.  Remember the gorgeous blessingway I posted about a few weeks ago?  Well little Mr. Jude showed his lovely face recently and we were meeting him for the first time.

Mama Natasha is relaxed and happy.  Baby Jude is precious.  Daddy Keith is a dream dad.  It was all so wonderful to see. 
 And of course we couldn't gather without a proper meal. Brunch is a fave of ours these days and we had a delicious menu.

Spring salad with a tangy lemon vinaigrette
Fresh fruit salad with mint
French toast baked in honey-pecan sauce (recipe below)
Some super sinful dessert that I did not have a piece of (pictured above)
Mimosas

This baked french toast was made by Shannon.  It was incredible and super indulgent...which meant I only could eat one piece (Weight Watchers!), but I could have eaten at least three more. 
Sorry for the blurry photo.  Apparently I was too eager to eat to get a proper focus.
Jude in his vintage, refurbished crib. 

French toast baked in honey-pecan sauce (recipe from Intercourses, An Aprodisiac cookbook...yeah, seriously!)

Ingredients

4 eggs, beaten
¾ cup half-and-half
½ tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
4 thick slices French bread
¼ cup butter (1/2 stick)
¼ cup brown sugar
¼ cup honey
¼ cup maple syrup
¼ chopped pecans

Preparation

Combine the eggs, half-and-half, brown sugar, and vanilla extract in a small bowl. Pour half the mixture into a baking dish. Place the bread in the pan and top with the other half of egg mixture. Refrigerate, covered, overnight.

Melt the butter in a 9x13-inch baking dish and stir in the brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, and pecans. Add the soaked bread slices. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 to 35 minutes until puffed and brown. Serve immediately.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Earth dinner giveaway

As someone who spends the entire winter dreaming of the day the farmers' market opens in MN, today's giveaway is totally up my alley.  Strolling down Nicollet on Thursdays and Lowertown St. Paul on Saturday mornings is always the highlight of my week in the spring/summer/fall months.  I buy so many fresh fruits and vegetables during my visits at the market that my arms get sore from carrying such a heavy load.  Nothing is more beautiful or tastes better than local, fresh ingredients. 

Today's giveaway is sponsored by Organic Valley, the company behind the Earth Dinner program.  Founded in 2004, Earth Dinner is about celebrating the Earth, one meal at a time.

As told by the folks behind the Earth Dinner program:

The Earth Dinner is a joyful, animated, and inspiring theme dinner party held at least once a year, connecting people to the earth, their food, and each other. It can be as planned or as spontaneous as you like. At its core Earth Dinner is a chance to highlight local, seasonal and organic cuisine—and most importantly, to have meaningful conversation about food, farming and our connection with the Earth.

There are three tenets to a successful Earth Dinner, no matter the style, size or season:

1. Use as many local, seasonal and organic ingredients as possible
2. Know the “story” behind the food you're eating: Who grew it? Where did it come from? How was it produced?
3. Have meaningful discussion about your connection to food, farming and the earth, and why it matters.

To learn more about the Earth Dinner program check out their website and Facebook page.

Enter to win your chance to host your own Earth Dinner with the following package:

1) One Year’s Worth of Free Organic Valley Products in the form of 52 free-product coupons ($520 value)
2) 4 Earth Dinner Books
3) An Organic Valley reusable, packable shopping bag for carrying all those delicious Organic Valley goodies.

There are Earth Dinner events happening all over, click here to find one near you.

To enter all you have to do is "Like" Earth Dinner on Facebook and leave a comment on this post telling me you did so. 

For additional entries you can also:
or
  • Comment on this post and share a memorable food story
Eligible to US residents only.

The winner will be chosen at random (using random.org). The giveaway will end on Thursday, April 21 at 11:59pm CT. The winner will be announced on Earth Day!

Monday, April 18, 2011

Real party: a sock monkey first birthday

I have the cutest of all cute birthday parties to share with you today. This sock monkey themed party was sent to me by Jennie of Sewell Photography. Sound familiar? Jennie photographed my wedding and the Eat Drink Pretty blogiversary dessert table. Turns out she has many talents beyond photography, including throwing a great party and baking up gorgeous creations in the kitchen. 

Aren't these sock monkey cake pops amazing? Bakerella would be proud! Head over to Jennie's blog to find out how these were made.

Photo credits: Sewell Photography.

Adorable sock money invitations created by Etsy seller Stylish Creations


Sock monkey cupcake toppers also designed by Stylish Creations.






A cake ball pop in action and Jennie's cute nephew about to take down a homemade sock monkey cupcake.
Jennie's nephews and son, Dane (in the middle).  His cute little onsie with the tie is from Etsy seller Mama Me Loves.
Cake smash time!  Dane is a serious cutie.


Jennie's nephews heading home from the party.  Brrrrr, how chilly does it look in MN?  Thank goodness spring is finally here!

I love the uniqueness of the party and the fact that it only took a few details to really bring this sweet theme to life. Thanks so much to Jennie for sharing this party with us!

Vendor details:

Photography: Sewell Photography
Onesie with a tie: Mama Me Loves
Invitations, cupcake toppers and birthday hat: Stylish Creations

Do you have a party you'd like to share with Eat Drink Pretty readers? Please send your submission to eatdrinkpretty(at)gmail(dot)com.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Colorado trip - part 2

Thanks for stopping back for part 2 of my Colorado trip! 

On Monday we headed to Estes Park for a hike and the scenery.  Wow, it was simply beautiful.  We couldn't have asked for bluer skies or a more perfect day. 

We went on a leisurely hike and stopped for many photo opps.  Amy, Melanie, Nick (Lobo), me and Kristin.  PCG baby!  Sorry...that's a highschool thing.
Nick impressed us with his rock-jumping.  Seriously though...this is a cool photo isn't it?
See what I mean about that blue sky?


Nick and his awesome girlfriend Jillian.  We love her.  Don't screw this one up Lobo!  Just kidding, you are both super lucky to have each other.  A perfect pair.
We drove back to Fort Collins and Amy had to leave for the airport.  The rest of us gals had a little happy hour back at Nick and Jillian's loft.  Nothing like a nice glass of Pinot Noir after an active day.

For dinner on Monday we went to Coopersmith's Pub.  Kristin and I shared a great black bean burger.  We are now inspired to recreate it for summer BBQs.  I think it had wild rice in it which gave it a really great texture.  Oh and I may have had one too many vodka soda's this evening...


Melanie left early Tuesday morning and Kristin and I had the entire day to hang out in Fort Collins.  We had breakfast at Little Bird Bake Shop, an adorable cafe that had amazing thyme and potato quiche.  Kristin had baked oatmeal and hot chocolate (yes, that's a homemade marshmallow!).
Pretty Kristin.
Enjoying some green tea and wishing I never had to leave...
After breakfast we went shopping and Kristin spent a bunch of money at this awesome little boutique called White Balcony.  They carry clothes, accessories and home decor.  It was one of our fave shops in Fort Collins (along with Sole Mates, of course!). 
Just when you think we couldn't possibly eat yet another meal we lunched at a Mexican place called Beach House Grill.  They had $2 tacos on Tuesdays and I had an awesome fried grouper taco.  The guacomole was really tasty, as well. 
Kristin and I toasted to a wonderful vacation with a Corona and then headed to the airport (where our flight was delayed!)...we finally made it home around 11pm on Tuesday evening. 

Wow, what a freaking awesome vacation.  Jillian and Nick, I can't thank you enough for your hospitality and total awesomeness. 

Mel, Kristin and Amy...you ladies will always be my besties and I loved every moment we spent together on this trip!  Can't wait to do it all over again next year!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Colorado trip - part 1

My recent trip to Colorado was incredible. It was the kind of get-away you look forward to all year long and then far exceeds all expectations. It was amazing food, quality time with best friends, too much wine, gorgeous scenery and much more.

Warning...if you are hungry I strongly urge you to grab a snack prior to consuming this post.  Ok...don't say I didn't warn you!

Amy and I flew into Denver on Friday evening and had dinner and drinks at El Diablo.  Great atmosphere, great drinks, good-look waiters and spicy/tasty food.

On Saturday morning Amy and I picked up Melanie and Kristin at the airport.  We drove to Fort Collins where our friend Nick lives.  We stayed with Nick and his girlfriend Jillian the rest of the trip in their loft right downtown Fort Collins.  For lunch we went to Ingredient, a great place with fresh food and a lot of vegetarian options (Melanie, Jillian, Kristin and Amy are all vegetarians).  Shown above is Kristin's veggie burger.  She loved it.

We spent Saturday strolling around Fort Collins and enjoying the fresh Colorado air and warm weather.  We stopped in a bunch of cute shops including Jillian's shoe and accessorie boutique, Sole Mates

For dinner we went to Tasty Harmony, an all-vegetarian, organic restaurant.  It was amazing.  I didn't get any photos since it was late and there was no natural light.  I had Jackfruit tacos.  I had never even heard of Jackfruit before. All I can say is wow.  It was so unique, tasty, awesome.  Jackfruit has a meat-like texture,and sort of tastes like artichokes but also easily takes on other flavors (in the case of tacos, cumin and other spices).
On Sunday morning we headed to Boulder for a girly day filled with brunch, shopping and the spa.  Brunch at Brasserie Ten Ten was by far my favorite meal of the trip.  No big surprise, brunch included bellinis and french fries. 
Besties Kristin and Amy.
Mmmmm, warm beignets.  These were fluffy, not too sweet...divine.
Fries.  Little pieces of love.  Dipped in a truffle aoili.  Need I say more?
Melanie ordered eggs florentine.  Isn't it just beautiful?  She said it was delish.
Kristin's Pomme et Brie crepe.  It had apples, walnuts, brie, balsamic vinegar and wild arugular. She was in crepe heaven.
Delicious waffles with pure maple syrup and fresh fruit.
Strolling around Pearl Street in Boulder, just before heading to St. Julien for spa treatments. 
After the spa we stopped at the Boulder Dushanbe Tea House.  This place was colorful, beautiful...like stepping into another world. 


I had a sparkling hibiscus cocktail (cava and hibiscus tea) and Kristin had a mojito.  Others tried the house-made chai.  Yum.

Stay tuned for part 2 tomorrow which includes a scenic hike in Estes Park and more restaurant recommendations and of course...lots more food!