Friday, December 31, 2010

Our wonderful Christmas Eve

Around the last week before Christmas I started to panic. I have what my husband calls Clark Griswold syndrome. If you have ever seen National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (classic!) you know what I'm talking about. Like the main character in the movie, I want everything to be perfect and I want everyone to be happy. I'm not really a perfectionist in my life, but when it comes to Christmas, I have way too high expectations. Something to work on next year. I really wish I'd enjoyed the last week more, next year I plan to be finished everything by that week so I can just enjoy it.

Christmas Eve and Christmas Day were awesome days, and so were the few days I had off following it. 

Christmas Eve I got up early, drove Leigh to work, met up with Leigh's mom to do some shopping and grab some breakfast. We found everything we wanted and Leigh was off work around noon, so I picked him up and we headed home, grabbing some drinks and snacks on the way. We watched Home Alone and fell asleep with the tree lights on, one of those perfect holiday naps! We made our gingerbread house and then Leigh's parents, sister and her boyfriend came for a visit.

After everyone went home we had our tradition for Christmas Eve, Leigh and I gave each other new PJ's! I have been doing this with my parents as long as can I remember and now we've adapted the tradition to fit into our married life!
Our tree on Christmas Eve



He insists on making these faces yet I know he loves his PJ's!

My favourite PJ'S ever!

Cozy new socks. Sure is a Home Improvement Christmas episode in the background!
So cozy!

After our Christmas shows we headed to bed so Santa could come! But first we had to clear off this:
This is where Leigh's planes live when we have company! lol
So that was my Christmas Eve, more Christmas posts coming soon!


T's 2010 Highlights!!

2010 was a pretty crazy year for me. Here are some highlights:

We kicked off the start of 2010 with an awesome party at my parent's place:

It was a slow few months just doing wedding planning and working until...

My brother and his fiance eloped to Vegas on Superbowl Sunday, February 7! They also had a reception in May which was lots of fun!

So happy! I'm so lucky because I got another sister! :)

April: My mom randomly offers to take me to Los Cabos. My mom is like me, not very detail oriented. She accidently books us at a bikini top optional couples resort.  It should have been very awkward but my mom and I had a hilarious time anyways, we just made sure we went to bed early and missed all the "festitivies".

In May one of my best friend's got married:

Our signature pose!

In June, my LIFELONG friend got married. Yes, she has been my friend since I was born! Our moms are best friends.
she brought these lollipops back from Disneyland. That's me on the left. That's her in the white, obviously! Gorgeous!
In July, I had one of the greatest weekends of my entire life with my best friends and family in the world:
My stagette!! We went to the bar like this after! So much fun!
Night 2: My top says Bridezilla and the girl's say friend of Bridezilla. That's my sister's genius idea.
In August, we got married! I could write then posts on that and maybe someday I will. There were so many wonderful moments that day, I will never forget it.
We went to Waikiki, Hawaii for our honeymoon, which was so much fun:
I got to check something off my bucket list:

After that it was a whirlwind of settling into our new married life. We celebrated my birthday in October. I got my makeup done and had a new outfit and I felt pretty fantastic.

New Years Resolution: Look like this more! haha
 Oh I also started this blog, which I LOVE doing. Thank you everyone who reads it! :-)

In November, my little sister got engaged in San Francisco!!

One of the highlights of my year is always the Christmas Season, which I blogged a lot about. My sister has my camera so I need to get it back so I can blog about Christmas. Those posts will be coming soon!

So that was my year, all in all it was pretty damn awesome!

I hope everyone has a fantastic night tonight, Happy New Year!


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Merry Christmas!!

I hope everyone is having a wonderful day with loved ones, laughter and joy. Merry Christmas!


Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Seriously the best dinner I've ever made

Last night we had some of our dear friends over for Christmas Dinner as I called it. We started having these family dinners ages ago, our friends come over, we eat and relax and usually watch an episode or two of a shared favourite show. They have all been friends with my hubby for ages and ages, so they are really like family. Which is why I call them family dinners!

I knew I had to make something extra special for dinner, but what to make? Two of our friends eat only some kinds of meat and not the same kinds, so I wanted to make something vegetarian. I remembered the perfect thing that my dad had made once or twice before. The recipe is one of Giada De Laurentis, I've posted about her before here. I really loved this dish because first of all it was delicious, and also because it just seems a little more special than regular lasagna. The recipe does call for prosciutto which I left out.

This was so amazingly yummy. Hubby and I had the leftovers for lunch today and it tasted just as amazing. I actually doubled the recipe to make sure I had enough for our friends, so leftovers are always a bonus. I'm sure this recipe would freeze well too.

                                                            Lasagna Rolls

  • 1 (15-ounce) container whole milk ricotta cheese
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen chopped spinach, thawed, squeezed dry
  • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons grated Parmesan
  • 3 ounces thinly sliced prosciutto, chopped**optional
  • 1 large egg, beaten to blend
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, plus more for salting water
  • 1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 to 2 tablespoons olive oil
  • 12 uncooked lasagna noodles
  • 2 cups marinara sauce
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella (about 4 ounces)
  • 1 cup homemade “white sauce” like Alfredo or bechamel I used Classico Alfredo to shamelessly make this recipe easier)
Preheat the oven to 450 degrees F.
Whisk the ricotta, spinach, 1 cup Parmesan, prosciutto, egg, salt, and pepper in a medium bowl to blend.
Add a tablespoon or 2 of oil to a large pot of boiling salted water. Boil the noodles until just tender but still firm to bite. Drain. Arrange the noodles in a single layer on a baking sheet to prevent them from sticking.
Butter a 13-by-9-by-2-inch glass baking dish. Pour the white sauce over the bottom of the prepared dish. Lay out 4 lasagna noodles on a work surface, then spread about 3 tablespoons of ricotta mixture evenly over each noodle. Starting at 1 end, roll each noodle like a jelly roll.
Lay the lasagna rolls seam side down, without touching, atop the white  sauce in the dish. Repeat with the remaining noodles and ricotta mixture. Spoon 1 cup of marinara sauce over the lasagna rolls. Sprinkle the mozzarella and remaining 2 tablespoons of Parmesan over the lasagna rolls.
Cover tightly with foil. Bake until heated through and the sauce bubbles, about 20 minutes. Uncover and bake until the cheese on top becomes golden, about 15 minutes longer.
Let stand for 10 minutes. Meanwhile, heat the remaining marinara sauce in a heavy small saucepan over medium heat until hot, and serve alongside.
You simply must make this!


Sunday, December 19, 2010

Sidetracked girl makes cookies

As much as I'd love to change this part of my personality, I'm a fly by the seat of my pants kind of girl.  Being organized and prepared is not my game. I wish I knew how! Today I'm going to a cookie exchange party. I did not bake ahead of time. I woke up this morning and was out of flour and butter. Oops. 

So I was off early this morning to pick up my baking essentials for my Jam Thumbprint Cookies. I got a little sidetracked when I was there and I saw this gingerbread mix that my friend Jen just posted about. I LOOVE gingerbread, the taste of it just makes me feel Christmasy. I had a few bites of gingerbread cake at Earls last night and it put me in the mood to make it. So I picked up a box.

So this morning I finished my Jam Thumbprints. I decided I had to bake the gingerbread like now. I was too excited. Plus it's so easy, because it's a mix. While it was whirling around in the mixer, I had a look around for my cookie cutters. Could not find them ANYWHERE! I seriously can't remember the last time I used them. I found a pumpkin cookie cutter. Cute, but no. So I began rummaging around to see what I could make with the gingerbread dough.
I love my mixer. I know, I'm using the wrong attachment. It's only one I have left. I don't want to talk about it.
 In my cupboard I found some white chocolate and red candy melts. I melted some of each to drizzle over the cookies. Ta-da!
Aren't they cute?
Ok, now I'm done being sidetracked. Here is the recipe for my Jam Thumbprints!

                                                            Jam Thumbprint Cookies

  • 1 stick + 3 tablespoons (2/3 cup) salted butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup granulated sugar.
  • 2 large egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • Topping:
    favorite jam
  •  Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Lightly grease cookie sheets, set aside
  • In a large bowl, with an electric mixer cream together butter and sugar, until light and fluffy.
  • Add egg yolks, vanilla extract, and salt and beat well.
  • Gradually add flour, mix until well combined.
  • Shape dough into 3/4 inch balls
  • Place 1 inch apart on cookie sheets
  • Press your thumb down into each cookie to create a depression.
  • Bake for 15 minutes or until the edges turn golden brown. Remove from oven and move the cookies from the cookie sheet to a cooling surface.
  • Once they're cooled, fill the depression with jam.
Makes about 36 cookies.

Whether you choose to use a box mix, bake from scratch, or just eat other people's creations, it's all part of the Christmas fun! Enjoy!


Friday, December 17, 2010

Jamie Eason's Chocolate Protein Bars!

This time of year, you can't go anywhere without being offered some kind of chocolate, candy or cream puff. It's impossible. I know most of us over-indulge at Christmas time, it's well known that most people gain a few pounds over the holidays. It's very easy to let your healthy habits fall by the wayside in December, I definitely struggle with it myself. I can't remember the last time I had a free night to do laundry and make lunches.

This weekend I will be baking for a cookie exchange party and I'm going to whip up a batch of my favourite diet staple, Chocolate Protein Bars. I got the recipe from Jamie Eason, who is a fitness star basically. Oxygen model, body builder, swimwear get the picture. She is gorgeous and fit, probably because she eats chocolate protein bars instead of chocolate Santas. 

These are seriously so easy to make! So, here is the recipe for you guys:

                                           Jamie Eason's Chocolate Protein Bars

  • 1 cup Oat Flour*
  • 4 Egg Whites
  • 2 scoops Vanilla Whey Protein Powder
  • ½ cup Splenda or Truvia
  • ½ tsp Baking Soda
  • ¼ tsp Salt
  • 8oz Berry Flavoured Baby Food
  • 3 tbsp Baking Cocoa
  • 4oz Water
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
  2. Mix dry ingredients (oat flower, vanilla whey protein, baking soda, salt, baking cocoa) together in a large bowl.
  3. Mix wet ingredients (egg whites, Splenda, Berry flavored Baby Food,Water) together in a medium sized bowl.
  4. Add wet ingredients to dry ingredients and mix together.
  5. Spray cooking dish with a non stick butter spray and add batter to dish.
  6. Bake 20-30 minutes in oven.
Makes 16 squares, serving size=2 bars.
*When I first read oat flour, I went down every aisle in the grocery store looking for it. Don't do that. I don't even know if it actually exists. You can make your own oat flour by putting it in the blender, magic bullet or food processor.

So there you have it. Between the oats and the protein, these babies will keep you full until your next meal and take the edge off so you don't cave for Christmas goodies as easily. Plus they have an awesome cake-ey texture!



Thursday, December 16, 2010

Goodies and Books, yay!

Okay so it's only Thursday and I haven't posted since Monday...that's not too bad!
I can't believe how fast time is going! Thank goodness I work downtown so I can pick up Christmas presents on my lunch break! I love it though, I just find I'm full of energy this time of year, I sorta thrive on the on-the-go lifestyle I think. When it's fun and not forced by work and too many obligations at least.

This week has been jam packed with fun things! Christmas shopping, driving around with my husband looking at Christmas lights, yet another work party with the yummiest appetizers (pulled pork mini panini anyone?) and last night was our book club meeting/annual Christmas party. Yes, I've decided it's annual even though it's the first year. Our numbers were small, as people were sick and had stuff going on. We had delicious almond roca and blondies and some yummy things that I'd actually won from work! I won a giant food gift basket yesterday, which is so exciting! I never win anything!
Here it is:

For our book club we read this:

I really enjoyed this book. The main character is a 12 year old girl and I can totally relate to the way she thinks and feels about things, it totally made me remember back to that time and what it felt like. This girl went through her mother having a mental illness, and the beginning of the book is a little sad I'll warn you. Overall, it was a sweet, uplifting read. You can read the proper synopsis here if your interested in reading it. I think it was definitely a good book club choice.

I'm excited for our next book, chosen by fellow blogger Jen @
The Baked Life!

She recently honeymooned in Paris so it was a perfect choice. You can read all about this book here.

I think that's all I have for today, this weekend is packed with fun stuff, mother-in-law's birthday on Friday, hubby's work Christmas party on Saturday and hopefully Christmas Train after that, then Sunday is my girlfriend's cookie exchange party. Oh yes, so at some point I'll have to bake for that, probably Sunday morning. I'm baking Jam Thumbprint cookies so I will post the recipe once I know how it turns out. I want to make sure it's a good one before I give it to you guys!

More this weekend!


Monday, December 13, 2010

Another Great Weekend!

I know I've said it so many times already, but I really love this time of year. There are a billion fun things to do, my calendar is ridiculously full. Now it's less than two weeks until Christmas. I still have some shopping to do, and definitely a lot of baking. Next weekend is a Cookie Exchange party, so I'm trying to decide what to bake, researching recipes. I'm trying to find a good one for jam thumbprint cookies, I've always wanted to make those.

This weekend we went over to my sis and her future hubby's apartment, we watched Fred Claus and ate some of her delicious chocolate bark (nuts and dried fruit, so yummy!)
Saturday was a Christmas Party at my brother and sister-in-law's:

My brother, sister, and sister in law

My sister's fiance, soon to be brother in law, eating the last meatball. They were delicious!

Chris and Chloe's gorgeous tree

My dad is on the right, then Chris and his friend

Jenn, Chloe and I
So that was Saturday, Sunday I went to a Santa brunch two of my favourite ladies:
Most delicious brunch EVER! Pitt Meadows Golf Course
We got our picture with Santa, because your never to old to believe!
Then after several hours of hand cramping Christmas card writing, I was off to a Christmas play at a local church with my mom and mother-in-law. It was a musical and it really put me in the Christmas spirit. We actually got to sing carols like Joy to the World and Hark the Herald Angels Sing. I really love all those kinds of Christmas songs, they just fill me up with the Christmas spirit. I didn't take any pics at the play but I did take a pic of my outfit:
Don't I look classy? lol well I'm not really...this dress was $7 at Target. Awesome!
So that's it for my weekend! It was really great, weekends at this time of year are so much better, always so many fun things going on. I love it! I will try to actually post during the week this week, I promise.


Monday, December 6, 2010

Weekend Love

I can't believe I haven't blogged since the 2nd! It was kind of nice to not HAVE to blog but it does keep you in the habit. 
Ever since I started my job at work time just flies by! Unfortunately it doesn't slow down at weekends and I am missing the weekend already. Thankfully another one is right around the corner.
A picture weekend recap:
Tree is up, decorated and lit each night! I love how cozy it makes our house! 
Stockings are hung! (Do feel free to ignore the plastic bag to the left filled with wrapping essentials)
My super festive cozy outfit!

I felt super festive this weekend, I had my work Christmas party Friday afternoon, which was a blast! Saturday was a gorgeous day, I drove my husband to work, went to Walmart at 7:30am, which is a fantastic time to go. It's much quieter, neater, and lacking the crazy Walmart people. I found adorable Buzz Lightyear pajamas for my nephew's 2nd birthday, which was Toy Story 3 themed. As you can imagine, he got every Toy Story toy available. He's the first grandchild/nephew so he's kind of a big deal!

When we got home we decided to watch Toy Story 3 because it is conveniently available on our Shaw-On-Demand! It was a really cute movie! I may or may not have teared up a little at the end, I'm not telling.

We are also doggy-sitting at the moment for this little guy:
This is Leigh's parent's dog Duke! He's very easygoing and relaxed!
That's pretty much my life at the moment! This week is a little more relaxed and then after that I'm sure it will be Christmas craziness, which I love! I'm sure I will be updating with all my festivites and I'm having a great time reading about everyone else's on my blog reader!



Thursday, December 2, 2010

What I Loved: November

Happy Hour with a Housewife got me started on this last month and I love it. Basically you list what you loved about the past month. It's always nice to reflect back and be grateful for the good stuff, and also learning from the bad stuff sometimes.
So here goes, my list of what I loved in November:

  • Hosting our very first meeting of our book club. We'd read (or read almost all of) The Help by Kathryn Stockett. We talked about the book for approximately 4 minutes, the rest of the time was catching up with our lives, which was fine by me!
This was a really fantastic book and one of the things I loved about November was reading it! You should definitely check it out.

  • No matter how early it was, I loved the gear up for Christmas in November: red Starbucks cups, craft fairs, chocolate making, celebrating American Thanksgiving, decorating, all documented in my blog which leaves me to the next thing on my list...
  • NaBloPoMo, short for National Blog Posting Month! I LOVED doing this, first of all it got me writing every day, and it checked something off my "Life List" of things I wanted to do which was start a blog! It also gave me a sense of accomplishment, a feeling I could do whatever I wanted to do. Providing it was a fun thing to do anyways!
  • I also loved the two days of snow we had, it put me in an awesome winter-ey mood and I'm also soooo glad I bought my puffy jacket because it kept me super warm through the freeeezing temperatures.
  • The very best thing about November would by my baby sister getting engaged to her wonderful fiance! We all sort of knew it was coming eventually but still so exciting to make it official. I'm so happy my brother and sister have found amazing people to spend their lives with!
I am really looking forward to December, I have all sorts of wonderful festive things planned and I will be doing my best to enjoy the season to it's fullest.
Have a wonderful Thursday!