Tag Archives: Family

Puppy Playtime

4 Sep

My parents invited Chris & I up for dinner tonight & we happily accepted. It was also a good opportunity to get all of our dogs together for some puppy playtime!

Tonight’s menu? Grilled steak kabobs (with peppers & onions), potato salad & dinner rolls. I also brought my apple cake for dessert!

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My dad took care of grilling the kabobs, & my mom made the potato salad using a recipe from Kraft Foods Magazine. I ate most of my kabob (they were more filling than I expected), a serving of potato salad & two rolls.

One of the best things about my parents’ house is their large, fenced-in yard; this is especially important since we are surrounded by dogs! After dinner, we watched the dogs run around & play together.

Soon it was time for dessert, & I enjoyed my piece of apple cake ala mode (again!); this time with some fudge swirl ice cream – yum! I think this cake is even better a day later.

Now it’s time to relax for a little. Even though tomorrow is Labor Day, I’ll definitely be laboring – trying to get a jump start on the week ahead!

Hope you’re making the most of this long weekend!

Are you a dog person, or a cat person (or a fish/bird/turtle/etc. person ;-))? I think it’s pretty obvious where my heart lies. 🙂

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No Words

7 Aug

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Don’t forget to stop by Monday, Wednesday, & Friday for a few wedding re-cap posts! 🙂

Grandma’s Butter Pound Cake

1 Aug

My Grandma was an amazing woman, & I’m so happy to share this recipe with you all today. (Thanks again for passing along another great recipe, Aunt Tisa!) Sadly, my grandma passed away when I was in the sixth grade from breast cancer. Happily, her recipes live on & it’s a way for us to still feel her presence.

A thing of beauty   I mentioned yesterday that my uncle is visiting PA from Florida, so my aunt baked up my grandma’s delicious butter pound cake for us to all enjoy for dessert.

(Disclaimer: They don’t call it pound cake because it’s healthy!)

Ingredients:

  • 1 c. butter (not margarine)
  • 1/4 c. vegetable oil (like Crisco or Wesson)
  • 3 c. granulated sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 3 c. flour
  • 1 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 c. milk (not low fat or skim milk)
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp. of almond, lemon, or rum extract (my aunt noted that my family prefers almond)

Directions:

  • Cream together butter, oil, & sugar.
  • Add the eggs.
  • Sift together flour & baking powder.
  • Gradually add flour to the butter/egg mixture.
  • Next, add the milk.
  • Lastly, add the vanilla & almond/lemon/rum extract.
  • Pour batter into a greased & floured angel food pan (you can also use Pam baking spray).
  • Bake for 90 minutes at 325*; cool the cake upright in the pan for about 30 minutes before turning over onto a wire rack to finish cooling.

Finished cake   With toppings

My aunt included a few “hints” when sharing this recipe:

  • Use a wooden skewer (instead of a toothpick) to test for doneness.
  • Combine the ingredients using a standing mixer because this recipe makes a large quantity of thick batter. (Can’t wait to try this out with my new KitchenAid mixer!)
  • While baking, this cake will develop a crunchy sugary, top crust. (Also known as, the best part!)
  • When you remove it from the pan, you will need to flip the cake over so that it is standing on its flat bottom. (This cake will not help you achieve a flat bottom yourself, however!)
  • A “serving suggestion” from my uncle: Toast a slice of the cake & top with butter!

We topped our slices with so fresh fruit salad & Cool Whip… perfection!

My slice    Topped! Delicious!

Let me know if you try this recipe & how it turns out! Like I mentioned above, I’ve got a brand new (pink!) KitchenAid mixer, so I’ll have to try it myself soon! I also remember a fantastic homemade brownie recipe of my grandma’s, so I’ll have to track that down & share that as well.

What’s your favorite “family recipe”?

Family Dinner

31 Jul

Things for the wedding are really starting to come together. Only 6 days left to go, so please don’t mind me if my posts are short & “to the point” in the next few days! 😉

This afternoon, my family got together for a big family lunch/dinner. My uncle (mom’s brother) lives in Florida, but just made the drive up to PA for the wedding, so he treated us all to a fantastic meal at one of our family’s favorite places – Victor Emmanuel.

“Victor’s” is what I would describe as a “no frills” restaurant. It sort of seems like you’re eating in a cafeteria! However, what Victor’s lacks in atmosphere, they make up for in taste! The food is delicious & very reasonably priced! They serve all Italian food, & have specials each night of the week. Sunday’s special is homemade linguine, so that’s what I went with!

Before I got to the linguine, I enjoyed a slice of pizza. This pizza is by far my favorite (& I’m sort of a pizza connoisseur.)

My picture turned out really blurry, but I’m posting it anyway! 🙂

Best pizza!     Not long after the pizza, my linguine with meatballs (sauce on the side!) arrived!

Time to eat!         I almost always have leftovers when we go out to eat at Victor’s, but not today! I devoured the meatballs & finished almost all of the linguine (I gave Chris the tiny portion I couldn’t eat).

For dessert, we headed back to my aunt’s house, but you’ll have to come back tomorrow for more on that! I’ll give you a little sneak peek though…

Pound cake!       You definitely don’t want to miss this recipe tomorrow! 😉

For now, I’m off to enjoy what’s left of the weekend. My sister has dubbed the upcoming 5 days as “Wedding Week,” so I need to get my relaxation in while I can!

Sort of random question, but…

What are your recommendations for a good, affordable camera? I’m in the market for a new one!

Full House

11 Jul

We’ve got a full house this week!

Full House (source)

No, not that kind of Full House! This kind of full house:

Tobey Tyson Stewie

You see, Tobey is my parent’s boxer (& of course I consider him my boxer too!). We’ve had him since the summer between my junior & senior year of high school. If you notice in the picture, his tummy is a little “bulgy” & he isn’t in the best medical condition right now, poor guy. But, he loves to sit outside & enjoy the sunshine… even in the intense heat & humidity we’ve been experiencing in PA!

Next up is Tyson. Tyson is my sister’s boxer. We call him “Skinny Minnie” & I think you can see why from the picture above… he’s all skin & bones! He’s staying with us for the week.

Last is little Stewie who has been living at my parents house since I moved home last August.

It’s certainly a full house when these three get together! For the most part, they get along fine, but there’s a little friendly fighting that goes on as well. 😉

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This morning I headed to the car dealer bright & early to get my car’s oil changed & tire’s rotated… exciting stuff! 😉

I came home, did some work for school, then was off to the gym.

Today’s Workout

  • Arc trainer – 15 minutes
  • Elliptical – 30 minutes

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Last evening, I was reading Tina’s blog, & saw her recipe for oatmeal chocolate chip cookies. The recipe was easy, & I had most of the ingredients on hand, so I figured I’d give them a go this afternoon.

I followed this recipe very closely, but here are the changes/additions I made:

  • Substituted 1/3 c. peanut butter for 1/3 c. almond butter
  • Added 2 tsp. chia seeds
  • Added about 1/3 c. chopped walnuts

Ready to mix Ready to bake!

I thought I’d have a few “baking assistants” but apparently something interesting was happening out back!

DoggiesThis cookies turned out great! Definitely a step up from last week’s “Magic Walnut Cookies” . These are very hearty, filling, & healthy-tasting, but still delicious! 🙂

Finished productI realize this is the third dessert recipe I’ve posted recently & I’m starting to think I should have named my blog “For the Sake of Cookies”! 😉

Now I’m off to keep a watchful eye over the pups!

 What’s your favorite thing to make for dinner? I need to change up the recipes on here! 🙂

Asian Salad Recipe

9 Jul

Happy weekend everyone! 🙂 Hope it’s off to a great start.

This morning I hit the gym first thing & completed 20 minutes on the treadmill followed by BodyPump class. I upped my weights on the squat track & I’m definitely going to be feeling it tomorrow!

Later this evening, I’m headed over to Chris’s house to celebrate his birthday a little early. His actual birthday is this Thursday, the 14th, but they’re having their family celebration tonight.

You might remember the Asian salad side dish I had at my family’s 4th of July festivities last Sunday. This dish was brought by my aunt, who said the recipe was given to her a long time ago from a friend.

This salad is so good, so I asked for the recipe to make as my contribution to tonight’s celebration. And now I’m going to pass it along to all of you! 🙂 (Thanks Aunt Tisa!)

Asian Salad

Ingredients

  • 1 bag of cole slaw mix
  • 1 bunch of green onions/scallions
  • 1/3 cup unsalted peanuts (I added in a little more than 2 handfuls)
  • 1 tbsp. slivered almonds (I used more than this)
  • 1 & 1/2 tbsp. sesame seeds (Again, I added in about 1 & 1/2 handfuls, give or take)

For the dressing…

  • 1 Ramen Noodle chicken-flavored powder packet (I got one of these packages)
  • 1/4 c. rice wine vinegar
  • 1/3 c. vegetable oil
  • 1/4 c. sugar

Ingredients Directions

  • Combine the cole slaw mix, scallions, peanuts, almonds, & sesame seeds; mix together & refrigerate.
  • Mix the chicken-flavor, vinegar, veggie oil, & sugar to make the dressing.
  • Just before serving, toss the slaw with the dressing & add the crushed, un-cooked Ramen noodles for extra crunch (the best part! ;-))

Mixed salad Dressing Crunchy topping

Now I just have to keep myself from digging in before the party!

Enjoy your Saturday evening! 🙂

What are you doing this weekend?

What’s your go-to party recipe?

Picnic Eats

3 Jul

Hope everyone has been having an enjoyable holiday weekend!

This afternoon I headed to my aunt & uncle’s house for a family get together.

For my contribution, I volunteered to bring fruit salad. I saw this recipe on Chocolate-Covered Katie at the end of May, & had been looking for an excuse to try it out ever since.

On the menu was steak, two kids of salad (Greek & Asian), corn on the cob, & pizza potatoes. Here’s a look at how I balanced my plate:

Lunch    Steak, a few chips, Greek salad, Asian salad, & pizza potatoes

I enjoyed this plate with an un-pictured serving of corn on the cob. I also went back for seconds of the Asian salad… so delicious!

For dessert, we enjoyed the fruit salad I brought, plus a cake that my mom made.

Fruit salad   Fruit salad     The fruit salad was just as yummy as I expected it to be! I included cantaloupe, honeydew, strawberries, & blueberries.

The cake my mom made was dubbed “Poke Cake.” It’s a recipe that she’s had forever, & found several renditions of the same thing online. This cake was light & refreshing – perfect for a summer get-together!

Cake!       Here’s the recipe that she followed…

“Poke Cake”

Ingredients

  • 1 package whipped topping mix
  • 1 package instant pudding (4 ounces)
  • 1 & 1/2 c. cold milk
  • 1 package Jell-O gelatin mix
  • 1 box yellow cake mix

Directions

  • Dissolve gelatin with 3/4 c. boiling water & 1/2 c. cold water; set aside.
  • Mix & bake the cake mix according to package directions.
  • Cool cake 20-25 minutes. Poke holes on the top of the cake (hence the name!) about 1 inch apart & pour gelatin into holes; refrigerate.
  • For the topping, mix 1 package whipped topping mix with package of instant pudding. Add 1 & 1/2 c. cold milk & blend until stiff (about 8 minutes).
  • Frost cake & refrigerate!

Like I said, this cake is perfect for summer because it is so light, & you can mix up the flavor with different types of Jell-O!

My dessert plate It was a day full of good company & delicious eats! Now, I’m off to enjoy the rest of the night relaxing with Chris!

What did you do this holiday weekend?

Ladies Who Brunch

2 Jul

Sorry for the lack of posting yesterday! Just a quick recap… I hit the gym early (around 6:00AM… yikes!) for a quick workout. I needed to be quick, because I had a dentist appointment later in the morning (no cavities! :-)) & then I got to pick up the keys to the new apartment! I moved some things in on my own for a few hours, ran a few errands, then returned home to work on some stuff for school! Phew… it was busy!

In the evening I enjoyed a yummy pizza dinner & some furniture shopping with Chris & my parents.

Now, onto the good stuff!

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In lieu of a “traditional” bachelorette party, I decided I’d like to do a nice brunch with my family & wedding party (even though a few members couldn’t make it).

The day began with brunch at 10 Arts Bistro & Lounge by Eric Ripert located in The Ritz-Carlton, Philadelphia!

Philly

I was particularly excited for this brunch, because this is where Jen Carroll, of Top Chef fame, works! Sadly, she wasn’t working that early in the morning, but we still had a delicious meal!

Everything on the breakfast menu looked awesome, so it was difficult to decide. I went with the Crispy Belgian Wafflewith assorted berries, whipped cream, & chocolate-peanut butter sauce!

Yum! It was a-maz-ing! I only wish there were more chocolate-peanut butter sauce, preferably for me to drink by the glass! 😉

Group shot     After brunch, we headed to the Nail Bar for manicures & pedicures… such a fun time!

My sister lives in Manayunk (right outside of Philly), & when we arrived back from the city, my mom, sister, & I decided to try out a new frozen yogurt place, Whirled Peace. My mom & sister had been there before, but I was a first-timer! I loaded up my cup with red velvet & vanilla frozen yogurt, topped with strawberries, sprinkles, & Reeses!

Fro yo!It was a great ending to a great day!

I just finished working on a fruit salad for a family picnic tomorrow, & I’m ready to crash after a long day. I’ll leave you all with this picture, because it’s just too cute to leave out:

Stewie      Stewie says “Catch ya tomorrow!” 🙂

Meet Chris

23 Jun

Time for you to meet the man I’ll be marrying in 44 days! 🙂

Chris & I started dating in the summer between my sophomore & junior years at the University of Delaware. Here’s a picture of us from that summer; we were just babies!

Summer 2006We continued to date throughout my remaining 2 years at UDEL. While I guess technically the relationship was “long distance,” he visited me often & I came home frequently as well. (Delaware is not too far from where I live in Pennsylvania.)

When I graduated in 2008, I came back home, found a teaching job, & we happily got to see each other much more often! Chris is a few months younger than me, & was a year behind me in school, so he graduated from Penn State in May 2009.

Me & the graduateChris works for a local landscape company, but his true passion is music. He’s in a band, Always Second Favorite, & you can find out more about them on their facebook page —> right here!

Chris Chris

We’ve been together for nearly 5 years (as of June 27!) & will celebrate our wedding day on August 6, 2011.

Engagement picture

Here are a few more pictures from our time together. Enjoy! 🙂

Spring 2007 Summer 2007 Spring 2011

Winter 2007 Winter 2010