Monday, November 25, 2013

RECIPE: Pumpkin Alfredo Tortellini

If I'm not searching Pinterest for recipes to try, my other go-to source is the Food Network. Their dishes are delicious and the recipes aren't difficult to follow. I knew they'd have some good meals featuring pumpkin this fall and they did not disappoint! This pumpkin alfredo tortellini was just the right amount of sweet & savory for me.

18 oz cheese tortellini
1 T butter
1 small shallot, finely chopped
1/2 c canned pumpkin
pinch of nutmeg
1 1/4 c heavy cream
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
fresh ground pepper
fresh parsley, chopped

Prepare tortellini as directed. Reserve 1/2 c cooking water, then drain. Meanwhile, heat butter in a large skillet over medium-high heat. Add the shallot and cook, stirring occasionally, for 2 minutes. Add pumpkin and nutmeg and continue to cook for another minute. Stir in the cream and bring to a low boil.

Reduce the heat to medium-low and allow to simmer for 5 minutes. Slowly add in cheese and stir until mixture has thickened. Season with salt and pepper. Serve with chopped parsley and a sprinkle of cheese on top.

Monday, November 18, 2013

November Essentials

I know I'm roughy one million years behind the rest of the world, but I decided to play around with Polyvore last night and it was a lot of fun! I love being able to visually organize my thoughts and ideas (hence why I'm a Pinterest addict) and Polyvore is a great creative outlet to design inspiration boards and other collages. I'm thinking about doing a monthly 'essentials' post with products I'm loving. Here's my first one... we'll see if my boards look a little more polished once I get the hang of it. :)


1 // I wore a similar Old Navy chambray dress for our Christmas card photo shoot last weekend. I ordered our cards on Friday and I can't wait for them to arrive! It's my second year of using Shutterfly and I'm so pleased with the options and designs they offer.

2 // On a whim, I purchased this Garnier Fructis Sleek & Shine Straightening Mist earlier in the Fall. I love the look I get when I straighten my hair, but it usually doesn't last long! My hair gets frizzy very easily. When I use this spray, it stays stick straight all day long. I love it!

3 // I don't like coffee, so it's no surprise that Starbucks has never been on my list of favorite places. But that all changed this summer when I fell in love with their Valencia Orange Refreshers. Now that it's colder outside, I've switched over to my favorite drink: a Steamed Apple Chai. It's similar to the Caramel Apple Cider but it's even more flavorful. I wish I could have one every day.

4 // I love Motives Cosmetics, and this month my favorite beauty item is La La's Court Mineral Eye Shadow Palette. The colors are perfect from transitioning from Fall to Winter and I love the brush that's included, too.

5 // I'm still not over my Macklemore obsession yet and I've been listening to The Heist on repeat since September. Brandon and I are going to see Macklemore and Ryan Lewis in concert tomorrow night and I can't wait!!

What are your essentials this month?

Thursday, November 14, 2013

RECIPE: Apple Cider Champagne Cocktail

To begin with, I think it's only fair to say that I discovered this recipe from one of my favorite bloggers, Christina, at Carolina Charm. I decided to try it out earlier in the fall and made it twice in one week: once for Brandon and myself and once for my family while we were on vacation at the beach. It's so good! My only gripe is that you should really double the recipe because it goes quick!

1 bottle chilled champagne
1/2 c peach schnapps
2.5 c fresh apple cider
2 honeycrisp apples
2 green pears
3 whole cloves
2 cinnamon sticks
1 t ground nutmeg

2 T sugar
1/2 t ground cinnamon

Chop your apples (if you can't find honeycrisp, any red apple will do) and pears into cubes. In a large pitcher, throw in apple and pear cubes, cloves, cinnamon sticks, and nutmeg. Slowly pour in champagne, peach schnapps, and apple cider. Stir gently and refrigerate for several hours (overnight is best!).

When you're preparing to serve the drink, mix sugar and ground cinnamon on a plate and use to rim your glasses before you pour the cocktail over ice. Enjoy!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

RECIPE: Perfect Pupcakes

Schmidt's first birthday was on Monday and we celebrated by making pupcakes together that we found on Pinterest (where else?). Schmidt was a big fan and swallowed his whole. Literally. I was afraid he was going to choke. He loved them so much! I brought a pupcake in to work for each of my co-workers to take home to their doggies and they loved them, too! They contain very simple ingredients and would be absolutely fine for humans to eat as well!

1 c whole wheat flour
2 t baking powder
2/3 c canola oil
2/3 c applesauce
2 eggs
4 T honey

6 T plain Greek yogurt
3 T all natural peanut butter

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a mixing bowl, combine first 6 ingredients. Divide into a lined muffin tin and bake for 10-12 minutes until a knife inserted in the center of a cupcake comes out clean. Allow cupcakes to cool completely.

Mix together Greek yogurt and peanut butter to form icing. Frost each cupcake and serve immediately. Cupcakes can be stored for up to 5 days in a sealed container. Frosting should be stored separately in the refrigerator. I added miniature Milk-Bones to mine for decoration. Milk-Bones make everything better, according to Schmidt.

Monday, November 4, 2013

Schmidt's First Birthday

I've been absent for a month and guess what? I didn't really miss blogging that much. I read a great post from Jenni at Story of my Life today called When a Blog Starts to Suck and I feel that's the direction my blog was heading before I left it alone for a month. Truth be told, I'm only back today because it is my sweet puppy's birthday and I want to document how awesome he is and how much I love him. So let's talk about Schmidt, shall we?

Schmidt is my little buddy and my best furry friend. I was nervous when we brought him home in January, but adding him to our family is one of the best decisions we've made. Getting Schmidt is without a doubt the best thing that has happened so far in 2013. Pet owners told me before that it's nice to have a happy face to come home to every day, but I didn't realize just how much I would appreciate it. Oh, how I love coming home and giving Schmidt a hug at the end of a long day!

I went all out for Schmidt's first birthday today. We made pupcakes (recipe to come!), which were very well received. We wore party hats. We ate filet mignon. We played with new toys. We took lots of photos. Schmidt was very excited for a while...


...And then was completely over it...

I went a little bit overboard on gifts, but I regret nothing. At least one of the items pictured has already been destroyed. Le sigh. His favorite "toys" nowadays are deer antlers. They are, of course, the most expensive toys at the pet store. After the great success of Schmidt's Halloween costume, I decided to buy him a pair of pajamas as part of his birthday gift. They are my favorite purchase by far and I don't think he completely hates wearing them!

Schmidt was absolutely terrified of his birthday candle and repeatedly scooted as far away from it as he could before crawling out of the chair and around to hide behind my legs. When I finally blew the candle out, he was still afraid of the pupcake itself. Poor dude. I tortured him before I allowed him to gobble it up.

It's funny, because Schmidt shouldn't be afraid of anything. During my blogging hiatus we had quite a scare when Schmidt jumped out the window of Brandon's car while he was traveling 65 mph down the road in morning traffic. What should have killed him only left him with some small cuts and a bruise or two. Wonder dog, I'm telling you!

Schmidt liked his new pajamas so much that he yawned as soon as I put them on. Now we are both sleepy and heading off to bed soon. I'd say it was quite a successful birthday! I'm already scheming ways to celebrate his first Christmas with us. I love you, pup!