Daily Happenings, Holiday, Sunday In Pictures, Weekend

Sunday In Pictures Vol. 31

Happy Monday! I hope you had a wonderful weekend. If you’re a mother, I hope you got spoiled by your children. Even though it was a grey and rainy weekend, we made the most of it by spring cleaning on Saturday and some time outside yesterday. This week it looks like it might rain most of it but I’m actually okay with it. The rain is washing away all the pollen that’s been killing me – I didn’t even take an allergy pill yesterday! We’ll ignore the fact that I woke up at 1:13 am in order to take on though… Hopefully the sun will shine for you this week. Have a great day 🙂

Strawberries

Alex slept much later than Bailey and I so while we played, I  snacked on some strawberries.

Blueberry Waffle

For breakfast, we had waffles and bacon (not pictured).

Piping

I finally worked on my piping skills with the set Alex gave me for Valentine’s Day. Spoil alert – it was AMAZING. I kept commenting on how amazing and awesome it was lol.

img_6707

Called my mom to chat a bit and to wish her a happy Mother’s Day. This was from exactly a year ago today at my graduation from Rutgers. Time flies you guys…

img_6714

I made a tortilla pizza and paired it with a big salad for lunch.

img_6716

We attempted some obedience training outside… It’s a work in progress but she’s got it in the apartment.

img_6722

I made a key lime pie (from a mix )with whipped cream for dessert. The piping needs a little work but not too bad for a second try!

img_6723

We went to Alex’s parents house for dinner. Steak, roasted potatoes and some asparagus for dinner before dessert and his mom opened gifts.

Question of the day: What’s one highlight from your weekend?

Holiday, Sunday In Pictures, Weekend

Sunday In Pictures Vol. 25 – Easter 2018

Happy Monday! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend and Easter. I didn’t mean to disappear for the weekend but Alex and I were a little busy… We got our puppy Bailey! She is a 14 week old black lab and the sweetest little pup around. This weekend was fun and a lot of learning for us. So with getting a new pup and figuring her out plus Easter blogging took a bit of a back seat. I’m back to normal posts this week though. Have a great day 🙂

img_6747

The Easter bunny stopped by our apartment and brought my favorite jelly beans.

img_6749

When you’re on puppy duty but haven’t had breakfast, a mandarin orange makes the perfect snack.

img_6756

Homemade cinnamon rolls for Easter breakfast. I used this recipe I found on Pinterest.

img_6758

A morning walk near woods then ended with lots of ticks on her since we think she walked through a nest. Thank goodness the grocery store was open for an emergency stop.

Mac & Cheese

Mac and cheese for a quick lunch.

img_6759

I was in charge of a chocolate dessert so I made a no bake chocolate cheesecake and topped it with homemade whipped cream.

img_6762

The place settings at dinner were so nicely done. Can you tell which seat was for the kids by the chocolate bunnies? I definitely missed a picture of my dinner but I had spinach salad, ham, pineapple, scalloped potatoes, rolls, and green beans.

img_6771

This was the first dessert plate – the cheesecake and a lemon tart from Trader Joe’s. I definitely went back for a piece of cake someone brought. My favorite dessert was the cheesecake though. It reminded me of the chocolate mousse one from Cheesecake Factory!

img_6770

I’m so in love with my little fam ❤

Question of the day: What was the highlight of your weekend?

Holiday, Recipes

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

Hi friends! We’re halfway through the week so I figured the best way to get over the midweek hump is to share a delicious cupcake recipe. These would be perfect for Valentine’s Day next week with the pink frosting 🙂

FullSizeRender

Who else loves a good chocolate covered strawberry?? I can’t possibly be the only one with their hand in the air and waving it around like I just don’t care. Now if you’re like me somehow the chocolate on the strawberry cracks when I bite into it. Then I’m left with broken chocolate in my hand on the plate.

This is where these cupcakes come in! The cupcakes are incredibly easy to make from scratch. The moist chocolate cupcake’s flavor goes perfectly with the strawberry buttercream. To get the strawberry flavor, I used frozen strawberries to get a really fresh flavor to it even though berries aren’t currently in season. Nothing fake is in these bad boys! These are perfect for Valentine’s Day next week or just anytime because who doesn’t love cupcakes?

Make a btach and bring them to your office to show some love to coworkers. I brought some of these into work and everyone loved them! Or keep them for yourself and hide them from everyone, no shame in that!

Chocolate Cupcakes

Recipe adopted from the peanut butter truffle cupcake recipe in the Taste of Home Baking book.

Ingredients:

fullsizeoutput_280c

1/2 cup butter, softened

3/4 cup sugar

2 eggs

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

3/4 cup all-purpose flour

1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder

1/2 teaspoon baking soda

1/4 teaspoon salt

1/2 cup 2% milk (if you don’t drink 2% then whatever you have should be okay)

1/2 cup strong brewed coffee

Directions:

FullSizeRender

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Cream the butter and sugar together in a large bowl. Add the eggs one at a time and beat well after each addition before mixing in vanilla.

Combine the flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually add to the butter mixture. Alternate adding dry ingredients with milk and coffee. Mix well.

Line muffin tin and fill 2/3 full. Bake for 15-20 minutes until a toothpick comes out clean.

Cool for 10 minutes in pan than transfer to cooling rack.

img_6032

*Note – somehow I got 14 cupcakes out of this recipe so keep that in mind*

Strawberry Buttercream Frosting

Ingredients:

IMG_6035

1 cup frozen strawberries

6 tablespoons butter

3/4 cup powdered sugar

3 tablespoons half & half (or milk)

1/4 teaspoon vanilla extract

Directions:

FullSizeRender

Place the frozen strawberries into a blender. Blend until there are no big chunks 30 seconds to 1 minute. It’ll look a little powdery and that’s okay!

fullsizeoutput_280a

In a saucepan, bring the blended strawberries to a boil. Stir regularly until it has been reduced to half. I did this before I even started the cupcakes. This needs to be completely cool before you can make the frosting.

Take off heat and cool completely.

In a bowl, cream the butter. Trade off adding in 1/4 cup of powdered sugar and 1 tablespoon of half and half. Blend completely after each addition.

Once fully blended, add in vanilla and blend.

fullsizeoutput_2807

Slowly add in the strawberry reduction. I recommend starting with 2 teaspoons and go from there. Blend after each addition. Stop when the strawberry flavor is as strong as you want it to be.

Chocolate Covered Strawberry Cupcakes

Once that is all done frost the cupcakes and enjoy! I stored them wrapped on a plate in the refrigerator for a few days. Sometimes I ate them directly from the fridge and it was equally as delicious as when they were on the counter for a while. Any leftovers can be put in the freezer in a freezer bag to enjoy at a later date.

Question of the day: Are you a fan of chocolate and strawberry together?

Holiday, Travel

Christmas 2017 Recap

Happy Tuesday! I hope you all had a lovely weekend and very merry Christmas if you celebrate! Have a great day 🙂

Christmas Eve

A tradition that my family has on Christmas Eve is we start the day by going to the movies. It started when my siblings and I were little. My dad would take us so my mom could clean, wrap presents, get ready for guests or just have some quiet before the craziness began. This year we went and saw “Darkest Hour” which is about when Winston Churchill first became the British Prime Minister. Everyone loved the movie and I highly recommend going to see it!

After the movie ended, we had a little downtime at my parents before we needed to go to church. Alex and I packed some stuff up for my aunts house and watched some “Stranger Things”. Once it was time to go, we gathered around the Christmas tree for pictures and to open one gift. For as long as I can remember, we have always gotten a pair of pjs for Christmas. I’m convinced that all of the winter pjs I own are from years past. It’s a fun tradition and a lot of times we’ll wear them to bed on Christmas Eve too.

The 7 of us headed to church and then my aunt’s house. Even though it had been snowing all day and the highways and roads weren’t plowed very well, we got to my aunts house fairly easily. When we got there the party began. Majority of my mom’s side of the family was there and it’s always a good time when we get together!

img_5788.jpg

While at my aunt’s, Santa comes to visit. The adults all get a joke gift from him over something that happened during the past year. Mine was a Christmas card with two giant pictures of me in my cap and gown from graduation in May. 2 years ago, all of my siblings graduated from a school so the Christmas card had them in their cap and gowns. It was extremely obvious that I was the odd man out so I said in 2017 the card better just be me. That didn’t actually happen but it was a good gift.

img_5781
Both our sweaters were from Target!

The rest of the night was spent hanging out in our ugly Christmas sweaters, eating dinner and open the grab bag gifts. When it was way too late, we headed back to my parents house.

Christmas Day

Christmas Day started super early for us. Alex and I were dressed and ready to go by 7 am. The family woke up then so we could open gifts and have a yummy breakfast. I didn’t take many pictures since I was trying to enjoy the last little bit of time with everyone at my parents. Breakfast was a mimosa, monkey bread and a potato casserole. It was the perfect fuel before packing everything into our bags and heading to the airport.

img_5784

When booking our travel, we wanted to be as fair as possible since each family would have to deal with some of Christmas without their child. We booked a flight that was scheduled to leave Chicago at 12:40 pm but didn’t leave until 2… It was delightful. When we landed at Newark, we then had to wait for our one checked bag before getting the car and driving to Alex’s parents house. I felt so bad since we didn’t get there until about 6:15/6:30. They put the last things for dinner in the oven and then we exchanged gifts. Dinner was delicious and I don’t know what it was except for some sort of beef, potatoes, asparagus and salad.

img_5786

After dinner, Alex’s older brother and his fiance got to the house for dessert and the last of the gifts from us to them and vice versa. It was a nice way to end the day before we headed back to our apartment. Alex decided to bring a furry friend home with us for the night. His parents dog Grace had a sleepover with us which made his Christmas and was fun to see how the apartment would feel with a dog in it.

Question of the day: What was the highlight of your Christmas? 

img_5788.jpg