Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Make-ahead/freezer meals

{Photo credits: Martha Stewart and Taste of Home}

Erik and my friends and family have been amazing/thoughtful/kind/supportive over the past couple weeks. They've provided company, meals and many gifts for our little girlie.

I thought I'd post a few of the meals that were brought over that fueled us for days and allowed us to not have to think about dinner beyond running the microwave. Also, these meals were tasty!  Note, the recipes linked aren't representative of the recipes my friends/family actually used.

Lasagna - My brother and sister-in-law brought over lasagna. Actually, three different sets of friends/family brought lasagna. You would think that was lasagna overload but it wasn't. Erik and I love it. And each one was different enough that it didn't feel like we were eating the same thing.

White turkey chili - My brother and sister-in-law brought over chili a few days after bringing over lasagna. They recently had a baby and know how nice it is to have people bring over meals. The chili was amazing along with the bag of lime tortilla chips that I devoured over the next week or so (I believe I've already mentioned how hungry breastfeeding makes me?!)

Potato pizza casserole - sounds kind of strange, right? But it was awesome. Total comfort in a bowl. Erik LOVES any kind of casserole and this was right up his alley. Thanks to Mel and Justin for making this for us!

There were many others that stopped by with lunch (my parents brought gyros, yum!) and awesome desserts (Libby brought homemade pie, twice and Kristin brought the most amazing ice cream from a local ice cream shop) that I haven't listed here but you get the idea. Erik and I are blessed for sure.

This week has been a bit slower.  The weather has been terrible in MN so I am truly cooped up with strict orders from my husband not to leave the house.  The little gal and I have been trying out playtime on the play mat and we've been reading stories and of course the always constant eating/cuddling/sleeping.  Maternity leave has been pretty great so far, yesterday I never got out of my pajamas!  Last night I got pretty good sleep between feedings so I'm feeling refreshed today.

Thanks for your patience as I haven't posted much lately. I'm not sure if I have the stamina and/or time for a separate mom/baby blog...still comtemplating it, but if not, I'll continue posting snippets of baby Juliet on Eat Drink Pretty.  Here is my sweet little girl yesterday morning wide awake, I adore those eyes!

We'll be back tomorrow with a quick 2 week update!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Favorite weekend moments

A few Instagram photos of my favorite moments from the weekend...

Above: holding my sleepy baby girl and staring at her sweet face while she napped and napped.

Erik's bday was Saturday and we had a few friends over to celebrate.  I was proud of myself for having time to make a big strawberry spinach salad, a few appetizers and Erik's favorite, pistachio dessert (I couldn't have done it without the help of my friend Libby).  We kept the rest easy by ordering pizza.
Sunday evening included storytime with daddy and Juliet.  I bawled while I cleaned the kitchen as I overheard Erik read Juliet "Love You Forever".  We hope to have storytime every evening before bed and I plan to ban that particular book until post-partum hormones are at bay.

I hope you had a wonderful weekend as well!  This is a quick post because little miss Juliet has newborn photos today at 1pm. Wish us luck!

Friday, February 24, 2012

Simple breakfasts

When Erik was home with me the first week with Juliet, breakfast was my favorite meal. We would hold our baby while we ate in our favorite nook in the kitchen and she slept in the quiet morning hours. The last day before Erik went back to work he volunteered to make breakfast and surprised me with that beautiful plate filled with bacon, eggs, an english muffin and fruit. I ate the entire plate.  Have I mentioned how ravenous breastfeeding makes me?  I wasn't prepared for that!

This evening a few girlfriends are bringing over dinner.  I'm going to have my first glass of wine! 

Enjoy your weekend!

Thursday, February 23, 2012

One week

Juliet is one week already today. Wow. What did I even do last week? It's been a blur. A sleepless, snuggly, beautiful blur.  And Erik went back to work today (boo) so it's just me and the little sweetie.  We have a busy day planned of napping, eating, cuddling and a visit to the dr.  Please wish me luck on my first venture outside of house alone with the baby.

I've been toying with the idea of starting a separate blog to talk about all things baby (specifically my baby), mom stuff, etc. It would be more of a personal blog, meant mostly for myself, to document baby Juliet's milestones and everyday in between and also to share things like the birth story, which I know a lot of you are interested in hearing. Also, it would be a great opportunity to get advice from all the amazing moms that already read Eat Drink Pretty. Mostly though, I think/act like a blogger...taking photos constantly and wanting to share my exeriences, so a mom/baby/personal blog would be the place to do that (and not Facebook!). This would not be a blog where traffic-building is a goal.

So that's where I'm at. We'll see if another blog unfolds (first, it would need a name!). After some thinking I decided that Eat Drink Pretty isn't really the place to share things like a birth story, the same venue where someone might be coming to get a quiche know what I mean???

In meantime, I will provide snippets of Juliet and what I'm up and I still have a few posts coming up including my maternity photos and Juliet's nursery.

Thank you for all your continued kind words for me and baby girl!

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Sleepy girl

Thanks so much for all the congrats and sweet words for our new baby girl, Juliet. The first few days at home have been spent with a very sleepy baby, lots of cuddling as well as:
  • Dealing with a bit of jaundice and photolight therapy to treat it.  It's a little stressful but she is doing better now thank goodness.
  • Daily dr. visits to track the jaundice and weight gain.
  • Constant feedings.
  • Plenty of skin-to-skin snuggling.  One of the best things in the entire world, hands-down.
  • Visits from friends and family (thanks you guys!)
  •  Lots of photos of her sweet "newborn-ness".  Erik has gotten annoyed with me and my camera just a few times.
It sounds like you are all interested in hearing her birth story and I definitely will be posting it soon but need to find the time to sit down and write it!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

She's here!

Juliet Katherine arrived, almost 4 weeks early, on February 16th at 2:08pm. She weighed 6 pounds and 2 ounces and gave her momma an absolutely wonderful and amazing labor experience. Eat Drink Pretty is probably not the best place for a birth story but if enough of you are interested in hearing about it let me know!

Juliet is a sweet, tiny, lovely little darling. My husband and I are are so happy. So far she has been an easy baby with lots of sleeping, eating and awesome times of alertness when I get to see her pretty eyes wide open. Our friends and family have been wonderful and supportive, stopping by for visits and bringing us food, flowers and gifts.

I am reeling a bit from being a new parent and tying up loose ends from an unexpected early delivery so please forgive the lack of posts for the next week or so. I definitely will be posting maternity photos and Juliet's nursery sometime very soon.

In the meantime, I'll be snuggling with my lil' babe.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Valentine's Day in Instagram

Valentine's Day evening was relaxing and filled with good food and quality time with Erik (he bought me pretty pink roses!).
We baked the cake on Monday evening and frosted it on Valentine's Day.  Erik did most of the work. 
I didn't really taste the batter but I wanted to.

The cake was homemade from this red velvet cake recipe.  We used store-bought cream cheese frosting.
Erik is awesome with frosting cake!  He was such a perfectionist about it.
Our heart shaped pepperoni and mushroom pizza was delicious (though not the best shaped heart).

How gorgeous is this cake?! 
It was really tasty, I would make this recipe again for sure.  I realize that is a huge piece of cake in front of me.  Erik and I shared it, I swear.

We packed the rest of the cake up and Erik took it to work with him today.  As much as I'd love to I really shouldn't eat a whole cake this week!

I hope you enjoyed your Valentine's Day!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

This is sort of what my Valentine's Day evening will look like with my honey. We are keeping it low key and having a take and bake heart shape pizza for dinner and this red velvet layer cake for dessert. We actually baked the cake (from scratch!) yesterday evening and just have to frost it. Pizza and cake...a pregnant woman's dream meal. Add my honey into the mix and I am one happy lady.

Ok, maybe I'd be a tad happier if I was enjoying a glass of that gorgeous champagne, but I have just about a month to go and I will definitely pop open a bottle of bubbly.

If you're in need of some last minute Valentine's Day ideas check these out:

Red velvet triple stacked cupcakes
Papa Murphy's heart-shaped cake
Rose champagne
Raspberry cupcakes with pink buttercream and lacy chocolate hearts
Doily Valentines

Oh and don't forget about these yummy heart-glazed cornmeal cookies I made last year!

Happy Valentine's Day!

Friday, February 10, 2012

Red velvet layer cake for Valentine's Day

{Photo credit: Food Network}

I spied this red velvet layer cake on my friend Libby's Pinterest page and promptly emailed it to Erik. I asked, "can you make this for me on Valentine's Day?" to which he replied, "honey, I got this...looks like a piece of cake, literally". Ah, he's a dork but he really did agree to make me this cake on Tuesday. We know that we've both been on cake-eating overload lately but our sweet-filled days are limited so we may as well take advantage of it now. We're both going on Weight Watchers after baby girl arrives. He doesn't really need to but wouldn't mind losing 10-15 pounds. Me? Well, I have a few more than that.

Erik thinks that because he made one chocolate cake (from a mix, don't forget) that he he is now a cake-baking pro. I will admit that his decorating skills were impressive, but we'll see how this cake turns out on Tuesday. I have a feeling we may just use this photo as inspiration and end up going with a mix again. We keep Valentine's Day pretty laid back, we'll either order or pick up pizza or make a simple meal. What are your plans? If you want a Valentine's Day appropriate dessert check out the recipe for red velvet layer cake.

Thursday, February 9, 2012

My birthday in Instagram

My birthday was awesome.  My coworkers/friends (Sasha and Maija) hosted a wonderful shower for me with a delicious cake and lots of sweets.

Maija and Sasha took my maternity photos and played them on a loop on a huge screen. My coworkers were more than generous with gifts, I'm pretty sure Erik and I are set for Juliet's arrival.
When I got home Erik was busy making dinner.
He created the menu that included crab legs, carrots, a pear/gorganzola salad and mashed potatoes.  It was delicious, he did an amazing job.

Even though he made the cake from a mix, I was hugely impressed.  He made a two layer cake and mastered the art of frosting it.  It was beautiful.
And delicious!
After dinner we were full and lazy and spent the rest of the evening lounging on the couch. 

Thanks to everyone for making it a great day!

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Today is a very good day

Today is my birthday (32!). It's only 8:30am and I've already been bombarded with phone calls and texts from friends (not to mention a Facebook explosion of happy birthdays). I got a white chocolate mocha and small chocolate donut from Starbucks (I say "small" so you don't judge me later for how many sweets I intend on eating today!) for breakfast. My favorite coworkers/friends are throwing me a baby shower this afternoon. And then my honey is making me dinner and a chocolate cake for dessert (after much debate he ended up going with a mix).

All in all, a VERY good day.

PS.  That donut was way too small.  I could've eaten 10 more.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Real party: rustic garden cocktail party

Though we've been having a mild winter I still look forward to the spring/summer when I can go back to hosting backyard parties.  I know where I'll be looking when I need inspiration for my next outdoor event. 

How lovely is this cocktail party submitted by Katie of Petite Social. Katie sent me a wonderful description of all the details below:

Event: Rustic Garden Cocktail Party
This was the official launch party for my client Little Choux, an online children’s boutique. Inspired by Little Choux’s brand of handpicked products and their purple and green cabbage and garden elements, we decided on a Rustic Garden theme, which was also very fitting as our backdrop was in the charming and quaint town of Old Town Alexandria, VA.

Distressed furniture, burlap, mason jars, natural/wood serving pieces, purple and green floral arrangements and plants, and lots of lanterns and candles for an intimate garden/cocktail party feel.  What I loved most was how I was able to repurpose furniture found around the house and on Craigslist. And, I was even more excited because I spent $25 on TWO dressers!

I was only looking for one dresser, but I never walk away from a deal. So when I found this crackled, chipped, distressed, and absolutely perfectly dresser for $20, I thought it was a no-brainer! We kept the bar menu simple and selected several different red, white, and local Virginia brewed beers, using mason jars as our beer mugs. The drawers functioned perfectly as our wine display.
Food table
We used my client’s desk and side table and covered it with cream colored burlap. This was a cocktail party so I wanted the menu to be fuss-free, colorful, and rustic. We kept it minimal and served mini tenderloin sandwiches, savory tarts, caprese pops, and a selection of cheeses, nuts, fruit, fresh vegetable platter, and crusty baguettes. I loved the vibrant colors of the vegetable platter (and use of with cabbage as serving bowl) and caprese pops. It looked like everything was picked from the garden!

Dessert Station
I jumped on Craigslist and found a shabby old dresser listed for $20, which I bargained down to $5 (yes, FIVE!). SOLD! It didn’t matter that the only drawer that opened up was the top one, which we used to hold our serving pieces. The dresser was a faded gold color which coordinated beautifully with an old picture frame I found at a local flea market. We bought cardboard, sprayed it with chalkboard paint, and voila!

Going along with the garden theme, we filled our dessert table with homemade Lemon Tarts, Peach Melbas, Raspberry Brownie Bites, and Strawberry and Blueberry cupcakes from Alexandria Cupcake.

Thanks so much to Katie for sending this beautiful party my way.

Event Planning & Styling and custom-designed party printables: Katie Wells of Petite Social.  Check out her Facebook page!

Photography by: MoxieSox Photography

Dessert: Cupcakes from Alexandria Cupcake

D├ęcor Items: Flea Market, Craigslist, HomeGoods, and Marshalls
Everything else was homemade

Friday, February 3, 2012

Maternity photos sneak peek

{Photo credit: Canary Grey Photography}

Canary Grey photography took my maternity photos a few weeks ago (you might remember the details in this post here).  Today she posted a bunch of photos from the session on her blog, so head over there to check them out if you want to see more.

Wing is amazingly talented and I have never been so happy with photos taken of me (and the hubs) ever.   I love the lighting, how beautiful she made the nursery look, the outdoor photos, etc.  She somehow captured the way I've felt this entire pregnancy perfectly, and even got a few of my hubby looking so sweet and cute.

I plan to do a full post with many more photos next week so stay tuned.  I'll be including lots of details of the nursery with sources to vendors and how I stuck within my budget (plus DIY projects).

Thanks so much to Canary Grey Photography for these photos!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Chocolate cake for my birthday

{Photo credit and recipe: Martha Stewart}

It's my birthday next week and I really want to keep it low key. I'm thinking an evening in with my honey, making dinner together and just hanging out. Our evenings with just the two of us are limited and as excited as we are about our baby girl coming, we also want to make the best of the alone time we have now.

The only thing I want for my birthday is for Erik to bake me a chocolate cake. Erik has never baked anything, so he's kind of nervous about this. I need to find a good, yet easy recipe for a moist chocolate cake to pass along to him. Do you have any recipes to share?

If not, I may let him off the hook and allow him buy a mix and store-bought frosting.

Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Super Bowl Sunday appetizers

What happens when you host a Super Bowl party and ask your guests to each bring an appetizer? A random-ass menu, that's what!

I sent an email this week to our guests and asked everyone to respond with what they planned to bring.

Here's the menu:

Cookies - Nick and Deanna
Veggie tray (not pictured) - Nick and Deanna
Buffalo chicken dip (photo credit to Franks Red Hot sauce) - Erik and Jenna
Slow-cooked beef sandwiches (not pictured) - Erik and Jenna
Taco dip - Libby and Biffer
Fruit pizza - Willie and Summer

Seems random but you know what? It was be delicious. Especially the cookies and fruit pizza because I'm into sugar these days.

I love football. Wait, what? No I don't.  But I do love any gathering that gives me the excuse to make buffalo chicken dip.  It's the best dip ever.  Trust me.

What are your plans for Super Bowl Sunday???