03/29/2013

Easter Entertaining

This Easter weekend, Tim and I will be spending a lot of time with our families and just like every holiday celebration, there is bound to be plenty of delicious food just waiting to be enjoyed.

During my own family holiday dinners, we tend to stick to the more traditional fare. Every once in a while we will try something new and different, but typically we prefer the usual favorites made with simple ingredients.

We enjoy mixing-it-up at get-togethers, summer barbecues, and parties, but there is just something special about long-established holiday dinners that we don’t like to change too much year-to-year. I like knowing all I need to do is close my eyes, take a bite and I can travel through my memories back to Easter at age 6, age 10, age 15, etc. The smells and tastes of food can truly keep holiday traditions alive and it is definitely something we keep in mind every year when we are planning the menu.

Typically we pick one or two items each holiday to experiment with a new recipe, while keeping the rest of the menu items the same. This past Thanksgiving, I made Roasted Balsamic Butternut Squash and Brussels Sprouts, and a homemade Pumpkin Pecan Pie for my family and a homemade Chocolate Chip Pecan Pie for Tim’s family dinner. A Red Velvet Cheesecake Brownie made its appearance for the second year in a row at Christmas. It was quite the hit once again, especially when topped with homemade vanilla ice cream, and may have even become a new permanent menu tradition.

I am still undecided as to what new item to add to Easter dinner this year. However, I sure have been doing some recipe research! In case any of you are still trying to decide what to make or bake this weekend, I have created an Easter Recipe Round-Up filled with links to many varieties and styles of traditional recipes and meals that will freshen up any dinner table this year.

Pinterest Easter

Ham

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Mashed Potatoes

Roasted Garlic Mashed Potatoes Recipe from addapinch.com

Vegetable Side Dishes

Bread / Rolls

Dessert

Best Carrot Cake

If you are looking for a new tablescape idea for this Easter, how about taking bits and pieces from these gorgeous settings and putting them to use in your own home!

Click on the pictures to be directed to the websites.

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Garden Table Setting

I hope you and your family have a wonderful Easter weekend filled with yummy food, lots of laughs, and an abundance of pure love!

1 Peter 1:3

Praise be to the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ! In his great mercy he has given us

new birth into a living hope through the resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead…

Talk to Me!

  • What are your plans this weekend? Do you have any Easter celebrations to attend?
  • Do your holiday dinners tend to stay on the traditional side, or does your family and friends like to mix up the menu each year?
  • What is the one meal item you look forward to most during the holidays?
  • What do you plan on making for Easter this year?
03/27/2013

WIAW: A Snowy Sunday

Sunday was one of the most relaxing days I have had in quite awhile.  With snow falling outside, the temperature dropping and no specific plan for the day; staying inside and wearing my cozy clothes, and treating myself to some delicious comfort food didn’t seem like a bad idea at all!  There may not be as many greens in these meals as I usually have in my diet, but today’s WIAW is a good reminder that we all need those treat days for our mental health and sanity, (which is just as important to take care of as our physical health)!

 

WIAW GOES GREEN

Breakfast:

There were no chia seeds, ground flax, or protein powder to be found in my Sunday morning meal.  Lately I’ve been craving a simple-to-make, classic breakfast dish that is no frills and no thrills.  My breakfast consisted of two eggs over easy and two slices of whole wheat toast spread lightly with butter.  Simple.  Satisfying.  Delicious. 

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Sometimes I forget how good a basic combo like eggs and toast can be on its own when I am always trying to create or try something new and original.  It isn’t a bad thing to step outside the box, but every once in a while there is just no replacing a classic breakfast favorite.  To round out the meal I had a large cup of ice water with lemon, coffee with a splash of cream, and a little reading material.

Lunch:

Saturday, Tim and I met up with good friends of ours to catch up over drinks, and then decided to keep the evening going and headed out for dinner too.  We went to J. Alexander’s, a steakhouse filled with a variety of the usual fare of New York strips, filets, ribs, fish and chicken.  Although I am most definitely a steak loving lady, this restaurant has the best veggie burger that I’ve ever had and I always tend to order it whenever I go. 

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On the side, I had the macaroni and cheese that was indeed cheesy and delicious, but also extremely filling.  This was quite alright with me though since I was able to take my leftovers home and enjoy it Sunday for lunch.  Complete with a snowy view!

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Snack:

By around 4 o’clock, I was more than ready for a little snack and thought it was high time I fit a little green into my day while I was at it, not only to stay in theme with WIAW for March, but also for my own health as I continued to battle my sickness on Sunday.  Into my green smoothie went almond milk, peanut butter, banana, spinach, ice and cocoa powder, enjoyed alongside a little blogging and emails.  (I also realized this meal was eaten at my dining room table just like breakfast and lunch.  In fact, all of my meals Sunday were eaten at the table…This had to have been a first)!

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Dinner:

As I shared Monday, dinner was a 3-Cheese Lasagna from Cooking Light that I had found on Pinterest. 

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I had a package of chicken tenderloins in the refrigerator that needed to be cooked, so I threw them in a grill-pan and served on the side of a slice of lasagna for a little extra protein.

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As you can see, it may not have been the healthiest day ever, but all of these delicious comfort foods sure were good for the soul!

** I have had an Instagram account for a while, but am just finally starting to get the hang of it!  Make sure you follow me at: NWHealthyLife

Talk to Me!

  • What is the best thing you ate this week?
  • What is your favorite classic breakfast? 
  • Do you ever need to step away from unique recipes and enjoy a simple dish?
  • What is your favorite meal to order at a steakhouse?
03/26/2013

Book Worm

As sad as I am when The Bachelor season is over, it sure is nice to finally have my Monday evenings back. If I just estimate the time I spent watching the last month of episodes the total number of hours comes to roughly eleven. That is a) insane b) embarrassing to admit c) eye opening and d) all of the above. The week there were two episodes back-to-back Monday and Tuesday nights, I spent four hours of my life that week invested in the crazy reality show. Like most shows on television, there finally came the season finale and all I can say is thank goodness there was finally an end to the madness. Just in time for another bit of madness might I add!

Instead of curling up on the couch to watch girl drama and heartbreak, I instead spent Monday evening cuddled up with a good book. It is official.  I am obsessed with The Hunger Games series. I realize I am late to the party, but I literally cannot put the book down once I start. The Hunger Games was a great read and pulled me straight into the plot, I finished Catching Fire in two days after reading 6+ hours last Saturday, and I finally picked up Mockingjay this past Saturday after the library emailed me that it was ready to check-out. I read four chapters Sunday night and another during yesterday’s lunch break and an additional four last night. I guess if I have to replace two hours of The Bachelor with something else, it may as well be with some reading!

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If you are looking for a good book and haven’t read it yet, definitely check out The Hunger Games series. I was a little skeptical to jump on the bandwagon, but now I am more than glad I did and I have even gotten my mom hooked on the books too. My only question though is how these books can be considered teen fiction? The writing and story line is actually pretty complex, thought-out, and there are hidden meanings and undertones throughout the book that I find difficult to understand at times even as an adult. It may be a pretty quick read, but it definitely makes the mind think; quite the step-up from my usual Monday evening Bachelor routine!

In between my reading of Catching Fire and Mockingjay, I finished Emily Giffin’s Where We Belong.

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I thought it was an entertaining and easy read that I finished in just a few days, but I have to admit that it wasn’t my absolute favorite of Giffin’s. I believe part of that may have had to do with my struggle to relate to the characters, but it was a good read that would be great to take while traveling since it can be finished pretty quick. As far as the other books of Giffin’s goes, I really enjoyed Something Borrowed and thought Something Blue was good as well, but my absolute favorite book is Love the One You’re With. It has been a few years since I’ve read it, but I loved it at the time and it is actually the book that made me such a big fan of Giffin’s writing. If you have never read any of Emily Giffin’s books, I would encourage you to read those as well, especially if you’re looking for some easy-going beach reads for upcoming vacations this spring and summer.

Another book I have enjoyed reading recently is Style by Lauren Conrad, which was published a few years ago and isn’t a fiction novel like the others I mentioned above.

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It is a great coffee table book that is filled with tips and tricks on everything from shopping, make-up application, packing for a trip, closet organization, tailoring clothes, and hair styling tips. I borrowed it from the library, but would actually invest money into purchasing this book for myself to reference all the time. I already tried the 5-minute make-up application yesterday morning before work and am eager to compare the key pieces I have in my closet to the ones that are recommended in the book. If you like fashion, style tips, make-up and all of those girly-girl things, this would be a great read for you.

 

After I finish Mockingjay, I am hoping that Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn will be ready for pick-up at the library just in time for my weekend getaway next month.

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I have heard great things about this book and am really excited to read it, especially after my girlfriend encouraged me a few weeks ago to definitely put it on my reading list.  Can’t wait to see if it lives up to all the hype!

Talk to Me!

  • What have you been reading lately?
  • Who is your favorite author? Any suggestions as to whose work I should check out next?
  • What is your favorite book series? Since I read books so quickly, I think it would be better if I found a few series to read as opposed to singular books.
  • What is your favorite beach read?
  • What is your favorite book?