Sunday, December 22, 2013

Happy Holidays

It's that time of year again when I need to sign off for a couple weeks. Joe and I have a lot of exciting things planned for the upcoming Holidays and I cannot wait for it to get started. Check back in a couple of weeks to see how our Holidays unfolded.

Until then...

Wednesday, December 18, 2013

The Winter Months Have Begun

This year I am fully able to enjoy the winter months because I no longer have to drive to work. In fact I have the best of both worlds because I get to take the train and commute with my Husband. We have welcomed two winter storms this past week and I couldn't be more excited. I have always had a soft spot for photography so during this last snow storm I decided to dust off the old camera (that was gifted from my dad a few years ago) and have a little fun. Enjoy:

Snow & Blue Skies = Perfection!

So long snow... see you soon!

Sunday, December 15, 2013

It's Cookie Season

Sense we have flown home every year for Christmas, Joe and I have yet to have a New York Christmas tree. It never really feels like Christmas till we are home in CA. This year I wanted it to feel just a little more like Christmas around our treeless house. I decided to spice my normal chocolate chip cookies with a little Christmas flavor. So there I sat in the kitchen listening to Christmas music and making my very own Christmas cookies. It also felt a little more like Christmas because this weekend we welcomed a snow storm. I am not sure about other people but I think snow storms that come on Saturday are like a gift. I love sitting in my living room with nothing to do but watch the snow fall. Joe and I were able to get a ton of chores done around the house in preparation
for our trip. We are very excited to be heading home for the Holidays and spend time with our friends and family. Although this year will be somewhat of a short trip I am sure we will come home more tired than arrived. Also, following the tradition from last year we are not coming back alone. It seems like every year there are always people ready and willing to fly back with us and visit over New Years. I am not going to spoil the surprise, so just check back for updates to learn who this years New Years visitor is. 

 Christmas Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 lb Butter 
1 Cup Dark brown sugar 
3/4 Cups white sugar 
1 Tablespoons vanilla 
2 Eggs 
3 Cups all purpose flour 
3/4 Teaspoon salt
 3/4 Teaspoon baking soda 
2 Cups of Nestlé Chocolate Chips 

Until next time, Happy Cookie Season!

Thursday, December 12, 2013

Learning The Ropes

Believe it or not I am beginning to discover my inner chef in the kitchen. I know, it's a little unbelievable because I was the one who didn't know how to make scrambled eggs when Joe and I first moved in together. Not long after we moved in together I casually mentioned I don't "do" dishes. (Yes, I actually said that and no Joe didn't go running for the hills.) Amazingly, I learned how to do dishes and have become an expert now that we are living without a dishwasher. Now to the cooking part, the thing that really got me started in the kitchen was the planning aspect. We all know that if there is an event or important moment in the future I will be the first one to jump in and plan it out to a T. I began to research different recipes on the internet and found a one blog that I follow religiously now. At first I just loved how the recipes were both dumbed down and budget friendly. It also helped that the author posted huge photos of each step of the recipe process. It took a while for me to jump in an actually make something. Once I made my first meal (Chicken Enchiladas) I wasn't necessarily hooked (although I was hooked to those enchiladas... yum!) and tended not to shy away from my staple recipes. Soon after I started my new position in New York City I began to really get the cooking itch. I think it was due to the fact that after arriving home from work each day Joe and I had little time to cook, eat, and relax. I was determined not to let my new hours cause us to be fast food junkies. So I took to my favorite blog and started to realize that the ingredients for most of these recipes were already sitting on my shelf. I began to cook two to three times a week and not only surprised the hell out of Joe (sorry for the cursing) but surprised myself as well. Here are just a few of the amazing recipes I have made over the past few months:

Chipotle Chicken Chili & Buttermilk Cornbread

Pesto Stuffed Shells

Creamy Pesto Pasta with Chicken and Broccoilli

Mother-in-Law's Meatloaf

Oven Fajitas

Clam Chowder

Greek Marinated Chicken & Lemony Cucumber Couscous Salad

To end this entry I want to explain something, although this blog might make me sound like I was a spoiled brat growing up, (I mean who doesn't know how to scramble eggs or wash dishes) I was not! My parents raised me well but didn't focus so much on chores. I did however have to correctly write my mom a fake check out of my fake checkbook at age ten to be able to get some gumball money. (How awesome it that!) My parents taught me a HUGE work ethic and for this I am thankful. I even asked my mom to drive me to Baskin Robbins a week before my 14th Birthday so I could get the job and start on my Birthday. I then proceeded to purchase my 1st and 2nd car before I turned 16. I have very fond memories of me and my neighbor (one of my best friends) sitting in my car for hours doing nothing because I was not old enough to drive. I am very grateful for the way I was raised because washing dishes and cooking hundreds of different recipes is something I can teach myself. I can honestly say that if I was not taught the life lessons I don't know where I would be today, Thanks Mom & Dad!

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Husband is 30!

Today is the day that my Husband begins life in his 30's! Although I am not far behind it's kind of hard to believe. This past week every time I checked the mail there was something new for the 30 year old. He is very grateful for all the love that was sent his way this past week. One day last week I arrived home after work excited to see a package on our doorstep. The package was from my mother and because she regularly sends care packages I was eager to rip into it. A moment later I noticed that the package was addressed ONLY to Joe, so I had to hand it over. (darn!) He opened his package and found the following:
I couldn't help but laugh because I had told my mother during one of her visits how much Joe liked Fluff but just the thought of having it in my cupboard made me ill. My mom also mentioned to Joe and he does not have to share any of his pistachios with me. (How rude!) =D Today on Joe's official Birthday he has work and then has to take a final at school. Not really a fun filled Birthday but it's what being an adult is all about! If you are wondering I still have not had one of Joe's pistachios!!

Saturday, December 7, 2013

8th Visitor of 2013

We are on our 8th visitor already? Some I didn't blog about so lets recap:
Visitors of 2013:
  1. Jerrod - January
  2.  Brian & Mallory - Febuary
  3. Mommy Schaffer - Febuary
  4. Mommy Schaffer - April
  5. Jenny & Fam - July 
  6. David - July
  7. Mommy Schaffer - September
 and our 8th visitor was... 
8. Sis-in-Law Nicole!

 Nicole took the very long trip across the country to spend the short 4-day Thanksgiving weekend with us! She was beyond thrilled to get the chance to see us and see where we lived/worked. We were just as excited to show her around and spend Thanksgiving together.
For Thanksgiving dinner we went to our Diner and had a great meal. (No dishes to clean for us!)

 Joe and I were excited to have time to catch up and not have to worry about cooking a cleaning on the day of Thanksgiving. It has been a while sense the three of us have been able to spend time together uninterrupted and it was much needed. We spoke about everything from her school to Joe's school. I still feel like she's 15 but she has sure grown into an adult. I still can't believe she will be turning 20 in 2014!! One thing that Joe looks forward to every Thanksgiving here on the east coast is the amazing meal that our local Diner makes. They offer everything that you would find on your own Thanksgiving table. I am not sure Nicole knew what to expect when we told her our dinner plans. All three of us ended up ordering the exact same
meal: roasted turkey, cranberry stuffing, and garlic mashed potatoes. When the food came we were all surprised about how good it really was. Great minds do think alike because we all agreed that the stuffing was the best part of our meal. I can officially report that we all ate too much and fell deep into food comas after the meal. It wasn't over there we still had my homemade pumpkin pie at home. Dessert was also included in our meal at the Diner but none of us were able to eat anymore. I asked to have all the desserts packed to go. pecan pie for Joe, pumpkin cheese cake for Nicole, and pumpkin pie for me. (To compare to my homemade pumpkin pie of course.) When we got home and I took my pie out of the fridge, I wasn't too confident but put a slice on a plate next to the slice from the Diner. I am not the biggest fan of pumpkin pie so when I sliced into my own
pie I thought the consistency was a little off. To my surprise after tasting both pies all three of us agreed that my homemade version was much better. Another recipe under my belt and added to the recipe book! I am still not someone that is going to crave pumpkin pie but I did enjoy a slice. The remainder of the pie went to work with Joe on the following Monday and was finished off within one day, I guess you could call that a success. 

The day after Thanksgiving (yes, Black Friday) the three of us took the train into the city to explore and shop. To say the city was a madhouse would be an extreme understatement. We enjoyed it the best we could and just tried to stay off the beaten path. With it being Nicole's first time at Grand Central Station we focused on the usual touristy spots like the main concourse. Then we took her to The Listening Gallery on the lower level of GCT. We were able to get her in one corner and Joe in the other so they could talk to each other across the room. We attempted to so to the Transit Museum but it was just too packed to be able to see anything. We then ventured into Bryant Part where all the Holiday booths were set up for the season. We were able to walk near Times Square but because it was daytime there really wasn't much to see.While we were walking down Broadway it started to snow
unexpectedly. We thought it was so cool that although nothing was sticking Nicole was able to see it snow even if it was just for ten munutes. After a quick lunch we headed to my favorite place, Dylan's Candy Bar! We spent a quite a bit of time here just wondering around the store while Nicole had some chocolatey treats. After this the temperature had dropped pretty low and we were lacking energy so we headed home. Nicole didn't want to stop there, once we got home we went Black Friday shopping around town without one complaint from Joe.

On Saturday, Nicole's last full day in NY we loaded up once again and caught the train. This time we were headed to Joe's school, Fordham University to watch their football team play in the FCS National Championship Playoffs. Once we arrived on campus we do what normal people do, go to the bookstore to shop for Fordham stuff! We picked up a few things and then headed to the stadium. At the beginning of the game the weather was cold but nothing to complain about. As time wore on it began to get colder and colder. No matter how long you sat in one place the bleachers were still ice cold. During halftime we made the decision that because Fordham was so far ahead that we were going to head home. That night we made a homemade meal and enjoyed our last night with our 8th visitor of 2013. We had so much fun during those four days we wished she could have stayed longer. I was an amazing trip and we made lasting memories. We talked about Nicole visiting again soon and we are already looking forward to it! Did I mention Nicole now wants to go to college in NY? You didn't hear it form me!. ;)

Sunday, December 1, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving

This year for Thanksgiving Joe and I did not spend it alone. We had a very special visitor, but thats a lengthy post for another time. 

Some of you might remember that Joe asked me to bake him a homemade cheesecake last year. This year as his Thanksgiving treat he wanted a good ol fashioned pumpkin pie. I have never made a pumpkin pie before but I figured I would try. I have to say I was a little nervous just because I didn't know what I was doing.

 I have to admit I don't think the outcome was too bad.

We went to the local Diner as we always do for Thanksgiving Dinner. To make things more interesting I asked for a slice of the Diner's pumpkin pie to go. When we arrived home I set up a taste test, my pumpkin pie vs. The Diner's.

My pie (lower left corner) completely blew The Diner's pie (upper right corner) out of he water! (So says Joe and My Secret Judge)

All in all we had a fabulous Thanksgiving weekend. I will post more details soon about our very fun and crazy Thanksgiving weekend. (And I will reveal my secret judge)

I hope you all had an amazing Thanksgiving weekend with the ones you love.

Gobble Gobble :)