Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Shabby Apple dress review

This review is a long time coming. I received this cute Grabriel dress from Shabby Apple to do a review back in the summer months. I found out I was pregnant around the same time and was convinced that the dress wouldn't look good on me since I had put on some weight.

I ended up wearing it to my sister-in-law's baby shower back in September and received tons of compliments. I was 15 weeks pregnant at the time so I wasn't showing much. I regretted letting the dress sit in my closet for so long after that!

Shabby Apple is an adorable online boutique that carries women's dresses, maternity dresses and even kid's clothing.  I've been browsing their website a lot lately looking at the maternity dress selection and have my eye on this one and this one

Check out Shabby Apple's site and "like' their page on Facebook.  They have great sales often that you shouldn't miss!

Disclaimer: Shabby Apple sent me this dress for a review but all the opinions are my own.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Turkey pot pie

Do you still have leftover turkey from Thanksgiving? Erik and I did so instead of feeding it to our cat until he is the fattest cat in the world, we decided to make this turkey pot pie. By the way, my cat is obsessed with roasted turkey. He goes crazy over it. He is spoiled.

I saw this recipe on My Baking Addiction and I had every single ingredient in my freezer/fridge/pantry. I love those kinds of recipes.

The pot pie was really good, a bit rich, but isn't that the point of pot pie? Yes, the recipe really does call for 12 tablespoons of butter. This made a huge casserole dish of pot pie, I don't have enough ramekins for individual servings so we used a medium size pyrex dish for baking. We have a ton left, we'll be eating pot pie all week.

Turkey pot pie (recipe adapted from My Baking Addiction)

Ingredients

4 cups turkey or chicken stock;
12 tablespoons butter
2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1 ½ teaspoons kosher salt
½ teaspoon fresh ground pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme (leaves only), (I used 1/2 teaspoon of dried thyme)
16 ounce package of frozen vegetables (I used a frozen vegetable medley and also added frozen peas)
4 cups turkey; cooked and shredded
½ cup Sour Cream
1 sheet frozen puff pastry dough; thawed according to package directions

Directions

1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Lightly butter the insides of six oven-safe ramekins.
2. In a small saucepan, heat stock until hot, but not boiling.
3. In a large pot or Dutch oven, melt butter. Add flour and stir constantly over low heat for 2 minutes.
4. Slowly whisk in the heated stock and simmer for 5 minutes or until sauce has thickened.
5. Add in salt, pepper, thyme, frozen vegetables and shredded turkey; heat until vegetables and turkey are heated through; about 10 minutes. Stir in Breakstone’s Sour Cream until fully incorporated.
6. Meanwhile, lightly flour a work surface and unfold your sheets of thawed puff pastry. Roll the dough slightly. Use the top of a ramekin as a template to cut out 6 circles from the puff pastry sheet.
7. Divide turkey mixture evenly between the six oven-safe ramekins.
8. Place a puff pastry circles directly on top of the each ramekin. Place ramekins on sheet pan.
9. Bake for 18-20 minutes or until the pastry is golden brown.

Note, if you make this dish the way I did, in a pyrex/casserole dish, I found it took about 30-35 minutes for the puff pastry to turn golden brown.

Monday, November 28, 2011

My Thanksgiving

My Thanksgiving, and entire weekend, was absolutely awesome.  Good family and friend time, productive, relaxing.  All the things you want out of a long weekend.  And no work (besides checking a few emails), so that was glorious.
My family always starts Thanksgiving early, around 10:30am.  We drink mimosas, eat appetizers and hang out. 
Wild mushroom tartlets.
Erik's smoked oyster apps, EW!  But he loves these things and so does my dad so every year we must have them.
My mom's cranberry bread.
Erik and my turkey. 

True to what seems to be a growing tradition, I had a minor turkey meltdown.  Erik and I tried an oven bag for the first time and we were also cooking in my brother's oven, which is very new.  The 22 lb. turkey cooked in about 2 hours and 20 minutes.  I was expecting it to take at least 3 and a half.  I've NEVER heard of a turkey cooking in that little amount of time.  So by the time I realized it was already done, it was a little too late.  It got a bit overdone and a bit dry.  I was pissed.  Really pissed.  I did so much research on oven bags and followed a recipe exactly.  Grrr.  But....I made a really tasty gravy and when the turkey had the gravy it didn't seem dry at all.  So in the end, the turkey was pretty good.  But I wanted a perfect turkey....so I wasn't happy.
Nikki (my sis-in-law) had her house decked out super cute.  Pretty fresh flowers and a lovely tablescape.




She made placecards for each person.  So cute.
My cute mom.
My little bro and his wild hair.
We all took turns cuddling with Chloe, the littlest member of the family.
Nikki's mom makes excellent apple pie. We ate it with ice cream. Mmmmmmm.
My older brother made the most amazing pumpkin whoopie pies.  I took three of these babies home and it took all my willpower not to eat them all in one day.  They are huge so that would have been impressive.  YUM.

I hope you enjoyed your Thanksgiving and long weekend!!!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Gorgeous Thanksgiving entertaining ideas

Are you ready for fabulous Thanksgiving photo overload? Chris of Celebrations at Home submitted this absolutely gorgeous Thanksgiving display, including a wine and cheese appetizer table, the tabletop for dinner and an after dinner coffee bar. I'm not sure which is my favorite, they are all so unique and pretty. I'd love to be a guest at this Thanksgiving affair.  And if you are hosting Thanksgiving and still planning last minute details, look no further!

All the details as told by Chris:

"I wanted to inspires readers to think "outside the box" for Thanksgiving decorating and pull things from around their home, as well as use a more modern color palette.

I created 3 areas for entertaining: The Tabletop, the Wine and Cheese appetizer bar, and the after-dinner Coffee bar.

I used old news print along with scrapbook paper, craft punches, stamps, and other adhesive embellishments to dress things up and make them coordinate with one another.

For the seated table I used old books, small statues, and an array of collected items to make an interesting centerpiece. A bunch of flowers for $15 adds life to the table and each place setting is complete with a mini pie and a Lucky Wishbone to make a wish with, and pull apart with another guest.

The wine and cheese area uses interesting vessels and display items to serve the food from. This is also where I set up a "thankful branch" with tags available to write on.

The coffee bar is a great place to end the meal with special add-ins like flavored liqueurs and chocolate mold stir sticks. Everything is unified by the colors and vintage-inspired details."




































Head over to Celebrations at Home for all the details on how you can set up an event similar to this stunning soiree along with DIY details and recipes.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Thanksgiving recipe round-up

This is what my Thanksgiving will look like. Not shown is the mass chaos that my family creates. What you can't hear is the sound of dogs barking, my siblings talking over each other, my parents bickering, and (a new one this year!) a sweet little baby girl crying (my niece Chloe).

I love Thanksgiving so much. It's my favorite holiday. Yes, even more than Christmas (though Christmas is as close of a second as you can get). I love the chaos that comes along with my crazy family. I love cooking the turkey with my sweetie, even though at the last hour we always stress over its doneness. Will it be moist enough? Is it overcooked? Why the hell isn't the digital thermometer working!?

Here is our Thanksgiving menu:

Appetizers
Baked brie with pecans
Smoked oysters with cream cheese and crackers (Erik must have these appetizers, he grew up with them)
Artichoke dip
Mushroom tartlets

Main course
Parmesan sage turkey (I am attempting to use an oven bag this year to ensure a moist turkey, have any of you tried this method? Any tips/tricks?)
Mashed potatoes
Green bean casserole
Stuffing (my aunt makes this each year and it's delicious)
Cranberries (simple, just the canned kind, my sister's favorite)
Pickles (another fave of my sister's)

Dessert
TBD (my brother and his wife are in charge of dessert)
By the time dessert rolls around I'm rarely hungry but this year I will save lots of room for my sweets!

Drinks
Mimosas
Sparkling juice
Beer

Monday, November 21, 2011

Banana oat muffins with oatmeal streusel topping

I had a relaxing weekend...no work (yay!) and lots of time spent in the kitchen. On Sunday we had friends over for breakfast and ate HUGE breakfast burritos and these banana oat muffins.  I can't seem to eat a meal these days without incorporating something sweet at the end...so for breakfast (at the last minute) I decided I needed these sweet muffins.

I have a bunch of frozen, overly ripe bananas in my freezer so banana muffins/bread, etc are always an option.  I remembered the oatmeal streusel topping I made for apple tarts from about a month ago and added that to the top of the muffin.  That was a good choice, it just made the muffins sweeter with a bit of a crunch.
Banana Oat Muffins (recipe from Honey and Jam blog)

1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (or half white/half wheat)
1 cup rolled oats (I used regular oatmeal)
1/4 cup white sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar
2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 egg
3/4 cup milk
1/3 cup vegetable oil
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 cup mashed bananas

Oatmeal Streusel Topping (adapted from My Baking Addiction)

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup rolled oats
1/4 cup butter

For the muffins:
Combine flour, oats, sugar, baking powder, soda, and salt in a medium bowlIn a large bowl, beat the egg lightly. Stir in the milk, oil, and vanilla. Add the mashed banana, and combine thoroughly. Stir the flour mixture into the banana mixture until just combined. Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper bake cups, and divide the batter among them.

Prepare oatmeal streusel topping by combining flour, teaspoon cinnamon, nutmeg, brown sugar, and oats. Mix thoroughly, then cut in butter until mixture is crumbly. Top muffin batter with about one tablespoon of steusel topping.

Bake at 400 degrees F for 18 to 20 minutes.

Friday, November 18, 2011

A modern Thanksgiving tablescape

Aaliyah from The Sweetest Affair submitted this gorgeous modern Thanksgiving tablescape. Her team created it for Occassions Magazine Thanksgiving Design Challenge.  Head over there to get details on the table.

Thanksgiving is my absolute favorite holiday and who wouldn't love to enjoy a huge meal among these beautiful details? 

















Thanks so much to Aaliyah for sending this lovely table my way.

Stay tuned next week for a Thanksgiving recipe round-up!

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Baby girl must haves

Ok so these aren't really "must haves" they are just "oh my god these things are so cute my baby has to have them" items.

  • Baby girl embroidered dress - Zara
  • Framed wallpaper - so there is a backstory on this.  I had a vision to wallpaper one wall in baby girl's nursery with a vintage/rose wallpaper.  A back and forth email argument ensued with my husband resulting in him not backing down from his "wallpaper is gross" stance.  Since I have no clue how to wallpaper myself and have a feeling I wouldn't' do the best job, I agreed to let it go.  Until I saw these adorable frames displaying wallpaper.  I ordered 3 different types from the Abby Rose collection at Sherwin Williams and Erik will be creating frames using white trim from a hardware store and fiberboard backing (or something like that).  Super cute, huh? Photo credit above by Pure Home blog.
  • Knit boots - Etsy seller Max and Lulus 
  • I have always known print - Etsy seller MursBlanc
  • Vintage-looking shelves - Restoration Hardware
  • Baby girl floral headband - Etsy seller MyMondaysChild
I've never online shopped so much in my life as I have since becoming pregnant.  Please don't tell my husband!

Do you have any items you'd add to this list?  How about any recommendations for cute white shelves that aren't going to break the bank?