Monday, June 30, 2014

Mixology Monday: Ginger Slush

It's no secret that I'm a fan of anything flavored with ginger. I simply can't get enough of the stuff. That's why this summer cocktail Bon Appetit magazine is so delicious. It doesn't have a name, but it can best be described as a frozen, boozy, peach ginger slushy.

Here's what you'll need (serves 2):
  • 2 cups of ice
  • 3 cups of sliced, peeled peaches
  • 2 tbsp. finely grated ginger
  • 6 oz. bourbon
  • 3 oz. simple syrup 
  • 2 oz. fresh lemon juice
Mix together in a blender until a slush forms.

Tuesday, June 24, 2014

Lego Fusion Is Here!

Have you heard about LEGO's latest release that lets you view your LEGO creations in 3D and interact with them? It sounds amazing! All you need is a special fusion kit and a tablet or smartphone with the LEGO app loaded on it. So cool. I can't wait until my boys are old enough to enjoy stuff like this.

Friday, June 20, 2014

Champagne Vinaigrette and Fig Chicken

We were low on dinner options a few nights ago so I pulled a bottle of champagne vinaigrette salad dressing from the pantry and started Googling recipe options. Within minutes, I found this beauty from Trader Joe's. Since we didn't have a full chicken on-hand, I made a few adjustments. We ended up with one of the juiciest chicken dishes I've ever had in my entire life. So good!

The end result. Looks good, doesn't it?
Here's how it's made:

  • 4 chicken breasts
  • 1/2 bottle of champagne vinaigrette dressing
  • 1/2 jar of Dalmatia orange fig jam
  • 1/2 jar of Maille Old Style whole grain dijon mustard
  • 4 tbsp. melted butter

Preheat oven to 350. Place the chicken breasts in a 9x13 baking dish. Put the dressing, jam, mustard, and butter in a blender for 30 seconds, then pour over the chicken breasts. Bake in the oven for 1.25 hour or until the chicken reaches a temperature of 165.

If you're feeling adventurous, you could even stuff the chicken with dried fruit and cheese before baking. Maybe a gouda/cherry combination. Lots of possibilities!

Friday Funny

Will chain mail ever die? Happy Friday everyone!

Friday, June 6, 2014

Friday Funny

Happy Friday! If this week left you feeling like you did nothing but run in circles (true for me, anyway), then you'll enjoy this video. Have a great weekend everyone!

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Sweet Nectar(ines) of the Gods

Summer is here and so are delicious nectarines, one of my favorite fruits. In fact, I went a little overboard at the grocery store the other day and came home with a whole bag of them. Not such a bad thing, as it got me thinking about new recipes. Why eat a plain old nectarine when you can have nectarine upside-down cake or nectarines with basil and fried mozzarella? Am I right? Here are some of the ideas I considered whipping up. In the end, my sweet tooth prevailed and I made the upside-down cake. It's absolutely delicious with a scoop or two of Talenti Butter Pecan ice cream. So good!

Fried mozzarella, basil, and balsamic

Upside-down cake

Pancakes. Sweet and simple.


Monday, June 2, 2014

Mixology Monday: Bulleit Bourbon Lemonade

Happy Monday, everyone! I hope you all had a fantastic weekend. It was a low-key couple of days for us. We took a trip to the petting zoo and the grocery store and lounged around in the sun the rest of the time. (Yes, Seattle is actually sunny and warm... for about 4 months out of the year, anyway.)

Last night I decided to experiment with leftovers from our Memorial Day barbeque. I took some Bulleit bourbon and combined it with some other yummy things and the result was absolutely worthy of a Mixology Monday share. Enjoy!

Bulleit Bourbon Lemonade

2 oz. Bulleit bourbon
1 oz. Cointreau
4 oz. lemonade
2 oz. of ginger ale (or ginger beer if you prefer a bite!)

Combine ingredients in shaker with ice. Shake for 30 seconds. Strain into a lowball glass filled with ice. Add floater of ginger ale or ginger beer on top to taste.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Restaurants with Unique Themes

I'm not much of a foodie, but I do love trying new bars and restaurants. There's something about soaking up unfamiliar atmospheres and people that makes me feel like I've escaped everyday life. I suppose it's the equivalent of taking a mini-vacation, but without the required travel.

That's why I think this story from Hello Giggles is so cool. If you're a fan of pop culture or the unusual (hello, undersea dining!), it's not hard to see why these "themed" restaurants catch so much attention. How lucky are the people who live near these places?

You can view the complete list of restaurants here.

Giger Bar, Switzerland. Inspired by the movie, Alien.

The Way Station, New York. Fans of Dr. Who, eat your heart out!

Red Sea Star, Isreal. It's underwater!

A New Business Website

As some of you may know, several years ago I started a wedding flower business. Flower arrangements are one of my passions. I can't imagine not working with flowers, even if it's more of a hobby at this point than a source of income. It's a fantastic creative outlet and it's certainly provided me with great opportunities.

In an effort to continue bringing in those opportunities, I created a website for my business. Initially I used Wordpress to help me build what I wanted, but I found the interface to be too difficult to use. So recently, I made the switch to a website builder called Wix and I couldn't be happier with the results.

Here is the URL for my business, Big City Blooms - If you know anyone looking for a budget-friendly florist in the Pacific Northwest area, please send them my way!

 Seattle wedding flowers and bouquets

Monday, May 19, 2014

Blending Baby Foods (or how to make homemade apple & pear sauces)

After purchasing baby food from the grocery store for the last month, I saw firsthand how quickly it can add up. Baby food is expensive! So I decided to experiment with homemade food using a Magic Bullet Blender. What a machine! It works wonders for fruits and vegetables and the clean-up is quick and easy. If you're in the market for a blender, I highly recommend checking it out.

Here are some of the blended concoctions I ended up giving to my boys. Nothing fancy here. Just simple, healthy stuff that goes a long way.

Vanilla Cinnamon Pear Purée (makes 8-10 ounces)
  • 2 ripe pears, peeled and cut into cubes (if unripe, steam for 5 minutes)
  • 1/2 tsp. of cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. of vanilla extract
Put ingredients into blender for 30-60 seconds. Add water to reach desired consistency.

Carrot Applesauce (makes 8-10 ounces)
  • 1 cup of baby carrots (steam for 5-7 minutes or until tender)
  • 2 large Honeycrisp apples (peeled, cored and cut into slices)
  • 1/2 tsp. cinnamon

Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.  Fill a baking dish with enough water to coat the bottom (1/4" deep) and add apple slices. Bake for 25-30 minutes. When finished, drain the water and then combine carrots, cinnamon and apples in a blender.  Blend for 30-60 seconds or until smooth. Add water as needed to reach desired consistency.

Pears with cinnamon and vanilla. My boys couldn't get enough of this!

Friday, May 16, 2014

Friday Funny

Have a laugh! It's Friday!

Lost cat found next to its own "missing" poster.

Grilled Grilled Cheese

I'm not usually a fan of cooking shows (they just make me hungry), but I stumbled upon this Alton Brown video the other day and was blown away. Have you ever wondered what makes "grilled cheese" grilled? Alton asks the same question in this short video and the result looks so delicious. I will have to try this the next time my hubby gets the grill going. Enjoy!

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Crayon Art Sculptures

An artist by the name of Hoang Tran takes Crayola crayons to a new level with her amazing pop culture sculptures. I can't believe she's able to get this much detail on the tip of a crayon. Incredible!
I LOVE the Game of Thrones set, but they're all equally impressive, don't you think?

Beauty and the Beast 
Game of Thrones sigils
Star Wars

Monday, May 12, 2014

Mixology Monday: Basil Blush Cocktail

Summer is just around the corner which means rosé wines will start popping up on menus all over the place. Personally, I drink rosé wine no matter what time of the year, but it's typically reserved for warmer weather. In preparation for upcoming warm days and nights, here's a fun little cocktail to keep in mind for yourself or for entertaining.

You will need:
  • 2-3 fresh basil leaves
  • 1 lemon wedge
  • 1 oz. citrus vodka
  • 5 oz. rosé wine
  • Simple syrup to taste
  • Ice cubes
Muddle basil and lemon in a glass. Fill glass with ice then add wine and vodka. Use a swizzle stick to stir, adding the simple syrup as needed. For added flair, garnish with a lemon wedge or a basil leaf...or both!

(Hat tip: She Knows)

Thursday, May 8, 2014

What Have We Been Up To?

Well hello everyone! Long time no post, right? Life has been crazy busy lately and I feel like I've treated the blog like a bit of a redheaded stepchild - it just hasn't been a huge priority compared to everything else going on in my life. What the heck has been going on, you might ask? Here's the rundown:

I've been working on decorating our master bedroom, which I'm ridiculously excited about. For the past two years the room has basically been a blank slate with zero personality so I'm looking forward to completing the transformation. I should probably share before and after photos, but I'd like to wait until I'm a bit farther along in the project.

We also ran our first 5k as a family. To be honest, the incentive for me was the free donut at the end of the race (Top Pot Donuts here in Seattle sponsored the event). Still, it felt good to complete something together and I'm sure there will be more races in our future, possibly even another marathon.

Let' see, what else... The boys turned 7 months old. I can hardly believe it! They are finally on solids as well. So far the only foods that trigger automatic gag reflexes for them are broccoli and blended meats. Can you blame them? Here they are enjoying squash puree. Mm... squishy mush.

I was also part of a friend's wedding in California back in April. Man did it feel good to have somebody throw me in a nice dress and then do my make-up and hair. After months of looking completely disheveled, which comes with the job of being a stay-at-home mom, I finally felt like I looked semi-presentable. Of course I bawled my eyes out through the entire wedding ceremony (it was beautiful) and quickly smeared away all of the make-up, but it was nice while it lasted. P.S. I'm convinced that tears flow much more freely after you've had kids, but that's a debate best saved for another time.

We also somehow ended up hosting one or two dinner events at our house PER WEEK during the month of April, which was insane, but also a lot of fun. Then there were trips to the zoo, birthday celebrations, and multiple twins club gatherings.


Here's to getting back into the swing of things with the blog this week and sharing inspiring things once again with you all!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Mixology Monday: The Violet & Gold

The hubby and I were lucky enough to enjoy a romantic sushi dinner the other night while the boys stayed at home with their grandparents. It was wonderful! I ordered a cocktail called Violet & Gold and it was so unexpectedly yummy that I've tried to replicate it at home.

Here's how I think it's made:
  • 2 oz. bourbon (Bulleit is best, I think)
  • 1 oz. Creme de Violette
  • 1 Tbsp. lavender-infused honey*
  • Lemon twist
Place all ingredients except for the lemon twist into a shaker with ice. Shake for 30 seconds. Strain into a cocktail glass. Drop in the lemon twist and gently swirl. Add remaining ice.

*In place of lavender honey (it's hard to find in your average grocery store), a simple syrup works just as well. Add equal parts water and white sugar to a sauce pot on medium heat - 1/4 cup each should do it. Bring to a boil, remove from heat, add fresh lavender, and let stand for a minute. Then strain mixture over a jar or bowl to remove lavender bits.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Broccoli Almond Spread

I just found a recipe for the most delicious spread and it's packed with yummy greens and nuts. It's a simple combination of broccoli and almonds and it's featured in this month's Bon Appetite Magazine (page 109).

*Note: this is not my photo. I wish
I could make a spread look magazine-worthy like this.
Just blend 1/4 cup of roasted almonds with one and 1/4 cups of cooked broccoli in a food processor and boom! Instant spread. You can also add chunks of your favorite cheese to the mix before blending for even more flavor.

Depending on how well you blend the ingredients, this spread can be served on a sandwich or as a chunky, protein-packed dip with crackers.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Bachelorette Party Fun

I'm flying into Burbank tomorrow morning to kick-off a weekend of bachelorette party fun in honor of my best friend Briana. I'm looking forward to pool time, pedicures, and of course, the party itself, as this is a solo trip (kids are staying behind with daddy.) Thank God! This mama could really use a break.

Although most of Briana's party is already planned, I'm considering making something fun to add to the mix. Like a survival kit for everyone. Thank you Pinterest for having so many fun ideas!

Now if Saturday could only come a little quicker...

Snacks, water, bandaids, gum, Advil and breath mints.  
I love the title of this one. Very clever. 
I love the custom labels on this one.
A cute, cost-effective way to carry all the goodies. 

Friday Funny

You know those "shame on [insert company name here]" big banners that are often used by non-unionized workers to protest the unfair treatment of actual union workers? Well, this car dealership in Wichita clearly gets the insanity of it all.

Happy Friday, everyone!

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Easy Egg Casserole

Right after I had the boys, someone signed me up for Parents Magazine. I never thought I would enjoy reading it, but it actually has some great material. Case in point: this delicious egg casserole recipe. It has bread, eggs, veggies and cheese and it took me all of 10 minutes to prepare before popping it into the oven.

I made this dish when we hosted company over the weekend and everyone went back for second helpings so I know it's good. I love easy cooking!

The prep work

The end result. Yummy!

Cheesy Egg Casserole:

  • 8 large eggs
  • 2 1/2 cups of low-fat milk
  • 1/2 tsp. salt 
  • 1/2 tsp. pepper
  • 12 oz. whole wheat bread, cut into 1" cubes
  • 4 oz. Canadian bacon
  • 1 cup of grape tomatoes, halved
  • 2 cups broccolini
  • 1 cup shredded Gruyere cheese
  • 1 cup shredded cheddar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In large bowl, whisk eggs, milk, salt and pepper. Place half of the bread cubes on the bottom of a 9x11 Pyrex dish. Layer with bacon, tomatoes, broccolini, and cheese. Repeat layering with remaining ingredients. Let stand for 10 minutes (or overnight if you'd prefer to cook the following day).

Bake uncovered for 50 minutes. Serves 8-10 people.

Monday, March 17, 2014

Mixology Monday: The Blarney Stone

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

In previous years, I would've been lined up at the pub by now with my friends and family, eagerly waiting to celebrate together. (Because nothing says "togetherness" like having a pint at 8am, right?)

Well, that sort of fun and chaos is not on the docket this year for me, I'm afraid. But if you're among the young and carefree who will be happily imbibing today with the masses, why not try something other than a Guinness? How about a Blarney Stone? It's a blend of Irish whiskey, lime juice and ginger beer. Sounds good, doesn't it?

 Drink with lime rind

The Blarney Stone:

2 oz. Irish whiskey
1 oz. lime juice
Ginger beer
Lime twist (a strip of the lime rind)

Add the whiskey and lime juice in a shaker. Shake for 15-30 seconds. Strain into a glass, top with a float of ginger beer, and garnish with the lime twist.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Friday Funny

In keeping with the body confidence theme today... Have a great weekend everyone!

"Soon the process will be complete!"

The Real Problem With Barbie - Soapbox Style

Have you heard about the new Barbie doll competitor named Lammily? She was created by artist Nickolay Lamm in order to draw attention to Barbie's "unrealistic body proportions."

The Lammily doll
Lamm's project has sparked discussion about how the doll might positively influence body acceptance among young women. While I think that's a nice thought, I don't believe that a doll with more realistic body proportions is going to shift body confidence in little girls or tweens alike. In fact, I don't know anyone who played with a Barbie doll as a kid who then compared herself to one as an adult. (I understand that there are plenty of Barbie doll types who are alive and kicking in the world. One only needs to look at the beaches of sunny, Southern California or watch any "Housewives of [insert city name here]" reality TV show for examples of that.)

The bigger issue here, for me at least, is that young girls get their body confidence from their mothers (or equivalent parental figures), and what mother out there hasn't dieted or fretted about her weight? Or her make-up? Or her hairstyle? Or wrinkles? I know my mom certainly worried about all of these things so I grew up worrying about them too.

I think it's sad that some mothers are willing to put their faith in a doll when it comes to improving body confidence in their daughters. Isn't confidence a learned behavior? We're fooling ourselves if we expect our daughters to love and tolerate their bodies when we aren't even willing to do that ourselves. No doll is going to change that.

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Survivalist iPhone Case

Check out this iPhone case that a Vermont woman invented. It has pliers, a ruler, a wire cutter, a bottle opener, a saw, three screwdrivers, and more. It's hard to believe all of that can fit into one little phone cover, but somehow it works. What an amazing invention.

Friday, February 28, 2014

Friday Funny

I'm not sure why I find the tyrannosaurus rex so funny, but I do. Who's with me?

Have a great weekend everyone!

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

What I'm Watching

As a new mom, my evenings are significantly simpler than before I had children. Give me a glass of wine on the couch and a good show to watch and I'm set...for a few hours at least, until the kids wake up for a feeding.

So here's my current list of must-watch shows:

1. Boardwalk Empire. If you liked The Sopranos, you'll love this one. I can't get enough of the history in this show either. The Prohibition Era was certainly an interesting time in American history.

2. True Detective. Matthew McConaughey is on fire these days! Most times I see him on the screen, I'm 100% aware that I'm seeing the actor play a character. Not the case with this show. He becomes the character. It's an amazing sight to behold.

3. Downton Abbey. Between the talented cast of relatively unknown actors, the soap opera-like storylines, the beautiful English countryside, and the fabulous British accents, I'm hooked.

4. Game of Thrones. It has all the sword fights, dragons, and damsels in distress that one could hope for in a sci-fi show.

5. Modern Family. I don't necessarily agree with some of the content, but I have to give it props for the way it can make me laugh. It's the only show besides Arrested Development where I find myself literally laughing out loud at the TV. If you love the kind of humor that's derived from awkward situations and fast-paced, witty dialogue, don't miss this one.

6. Mad Men. The clothes, the clothes, THE CLOTHES! Hello, Joan Holloway! Curves and cocktails abound in this show which often leaves me feeling like I was born in the wrong decade.

7. House of Cards. Political discussions usually lead to heated debates in my family, which is why I'm not usually a fan of anything even remotely related to politics. However, there is something about Kevin Spacey playing a southern politician that is undeniably entertaining. I can't take my eyes off of him!

And that's it! If you have favorite shows that didn't make the list, please throw out your suggestions. I've got to keep this list going or else I'll be forced to do something productive at night instead, like *gasp*, read a book.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Best Brussels Sprouts

Did you ever have to eat Brussels sprouts when you were a kid? I did and boy did I hate them! Jump to 30+ years later and now they are one of my favorite vegetables. Funny how your tastes change over time, isn't it?

So the other night I was experimenting with new ways to cook Brussels sprouts and I came up with this tasty little recipe. If you like your vegetables cooked, but slightly crunchy (so not all the nutrients are zapped), you may enjoy this.

Photo courtesy of
Preheat oven to 350 degrees for roasting. Combine the following ingredients in a mixing bowl:

16 oz. Brussel sprouts, cut into halves
1/4 cup virgin olive oil
1 tsp. chopped fresh thyme (or 1/2 tsp. dried thyme)
1 tsp. chopped fresh rosemary (or 1/2 tsp. dried rosemary)
1/4 tsp. pepper
1/4 tsp. minced garlic
2 tsp. sugar
1/4 tsp. salt

Add 4 tbsp. of olive oil to a roasting pan or baking dish for additional coating. Add Brussels sprouts and cook for 25-30 minutes. Serves 6 people.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Mixology Monday: Key Lime Delight

Here's a fun dessert-inspired cocktail that's sure to please anyone with a sweet tooth. It's called Key Lime Delight and it contains a whipped cream vodka that appears to be quickly gaining popularity among the lady folk. Cheers to Mondays!

Photo courtesy of

Key Lime Delight:

1.5 oz. Smirnoff Whipped Cream vodka
0.75 oz simple syrup
3 dashes of orange bitters
A squeeze or two from a fresh lime
Ginger ale

Mix the first four ingredients in a shaker with ice. Shake for 30 seconds. Strain into a glass and top with a float of ginger ale.

Friday, February 14, 2014

Friday Funny

If your job requires you to be on conference calls, you can probably relate to this one. I know I sure can.

Happy Friday, everyone. Have a laugh and enjoy the weekend!

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

When Fish Can Drive

This is so cool! The fish pictured in the video below is actually driving the car, which is operated via a webcam that tracks the position of the fish within the tank. Living proof that positive things can come from people who have too much time on their hands.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mixology Monday: Kahlua Candy Bar

I've had a major sweet tooth lately so this edition of Mixology Monday sounds especially delicious. This tasty beverage is called a Kahlua Candy Bar and here's what's in it:

1 oz. Kahlua liqueur
1 oz. heavy cream
1/2 oz. creme de cacao
1/2 oz. Frangelico hazelnut liqueur

Thursday, February 6, 2014

Pinterest Pinwheel Sandwiches

I recently joined a twins club here in Seattle and once a week, there's a little get together with other members. We each take turns hosting each other at our houses. Last night was my turn so I had to whip up something for everyone to snack on. After several hours exploring Pinterest, I settled on pinwheel sandwiches. I didn't snap "real" photos so these iPhone photos will have to do, but you get the idea. Though I prefer meat on my sandwiches, the wrap with veggies was just as good as the one with turkey and bacon. Plus these were basically my own recipes, as I combined ideas that I saw online. I love it when a plan comes together.

Turkey, bacon and guacamole

Turkey Bacon Guacamole Pinwheel (approx. 6 servings):

1 container of turkey deli meat
3/4 cup guacamole
1/4 cup ranch dressing
1/2 cup chopped tomatoes
8 slices pepper jack cheese
1/2 cup baby spinach leaves
8 strips of bacon (cut it up into 2"x2" squares before cooking it)
4 veggie tortillas

Veggie Pinwheel (approx. 6 servings):

1 cup pickled carrots*
1/2 cup pickled red cabbage*
1/2 Red onion, chopped
1 orange bell pepper, thinly sliced
1 cup baby spinach leaves
1 container of hummus
1 tbsp. capers
4 veggie tortillas

*Quick pickling: shred veggies and place in separate bowls with 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1 tsp. sugar, 1/2 tsp. salt, and half of a fresh squeezed lemon. Add pepper to taste and let sit for 15 minutes.

How to make a pinwheel: start with your spread first (guacamole or hummus in the examples above). Spread it across one side of your tortilla. Then sprinkle ingredients over the spread and roll up the tortilla. Slice the tortilla log into 3 to 4 pieces and place a toothpick in the middle of each. I've found the toothpick really helps the roll maintain it's shape.

Monday, February 3, 2014

Mixology Monday: The Truffle

With Seattle winning the Super Bowl (yay!),  it seems fitting to feature a coffee-flavored drink in this edition of Mixology Monday. This one comes from Cosmopolitan magazine from a few years back, and features Frangelico, vodka, and espresso. Smooth, but sweet, with just enough caffeine to wake you up. Cheers!

The Truffle:

1 oz. Frangelico
1. oz Vodka
3/4 oz. cold espresso

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Valentine's Day Treats

Instead of blowing money on an overpriced restaurant meal last Valentine's Day, I made my husband heart-shaped peanut butter French toast instead. It was a fun way to start the day and I'd love to repeat the experience, though what's the fun in having the same thing again? So I'm on the hunt for something equally fun and delicious to surprise him with this year. Here are some of my favorite treats so far. They all look yummy!

Doily-shaped cheese with Ritz crackers and strawberries

 Heart-shaped Rice Krispies treats

Heart Fruit Kabobs - pineapple, canteloupe, and watermelon.
LOVE pancakes. Easy to do with a batter dispenser. 

Monday, January 20, 2014

Mixology Monday: Sage Brown Derby

Hello all! I hope you had a fantastic weekend and you're ready to start your week off with a bang. But if you're not, I may have just the thing you need. Now that I've got the mommy thing mostly under more control, I'm bringing back Mixology Mondays. Hooray!

So if you have a case of the Mondays, today's little pick-me-up may be just what you need to relax, recharge, and get your creative juices pumping tonight. It's called a Sage Brown Derby, it features grapefruit juice, and it's fabulous. There's just something about the scent of citrus this time of year that gets me out of my January blues and into better spirits.

Sage Brown Derby (courtesy of this month's Bon Appetite magazine)

2 oz. rye whiskey
1 oz. Ruby Red grapefruit juice
1/2 oz. lime juice
1/4 oz. agave or simple syrup
2 dashes of bitters

Combine in a shaker with ice. Shake for 30 seconds. Strain into a glass. Squeeze one sage leaf between your hands until your palms become fragrant. Float atop your cocktail and enjoy!