Friday, April 29, 2011

Royal Perfection

I was going to do a super wordy post about how much I loved the wedding, her dress, the couple, blah blah blah. If you somehow were under a rock, I'll let the pictures speak for themselves. I'll just say I laughed, I cried, I cheered, and I drank sparkling cider.

Two alarms set to ensure I wouldn't miss a beat.

At the first commercial break I opened the Sparkling cider to enjoy something bubbly during the wedding. (unfortunately I had to be at work as soon as the kiss was over, so no mimosas or Pimms for me)

 The Guests... (from

The Groom (From Huffington Post)

The Maid of Honor (from

The Bride and her GORGEOUS dress (from

 The Ceremony (from

The sly looks from the groom. He loves his new wife. (From Huffington Post)

The Kiss at Buckingham Palace (from

The getaway car (from

All in all, sheer perfection. I loved every second of it. My next wedding will be exactly like this one (British public and all)

*First two pictures are my own.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

He loves my cooking so much he bought me flowers

True story. I came home from work last Friday and there was a bouquet sitting on the counter. Then I started to look around and he had cleaned the whole condo too!!! What a man. The note with the flowers said he's enjoyed my new found love for cooking so much that he wanted to say Thank You. I'll take that any day!!!

So I have been cooking a lot more recently. I borrowed The Hungry Girl 1-2-3 Cookbook from a friend and starting making up every recipe I could. They are all super low in points, SUPER easy to make, and delicious to boot!!!! I loved them so much that I sprung for her 300 under 300 Cookbook as well. Our three favorite recipes so far have been her Yumbo Gumbo, Exploding Chicken Taquitos, and Slow-Cooking BBQ Chicken. Like the bad little blogger I am, I haven't taken any pictures. As soon as it's done cooking, I'm ready to dig in!

One of my favorite parts of her cookbooks is that once you stock up on some basics, you can make almost anything. You get the spices for a couple recipes and then you can mix and match for most of the others. She has a lot of chicken recipes, so as long as I take a quick look at the beginning of the week, I can grab all of the supplemental ingredients in one stop at the grocery store.

Let's start with the first recipe that made us say "Holy cow, this is amazeballs". We had it just with a salad and a vegetable, but this would be amazing as pulled chicken bbq sandwiches and would be a definite crowd pleaser. I made this one night when my mom came over for dinner and was nervous about serving crock pot bbq chicken, but this blew our socks off. (I have made a much simpler version of just pouring bbq sauce over chicken in the crock pot, but this is SO much better and I'll never go back.)

Hungry Girl 1-2-3: The Easiest, Most Delicious, Guilt-Free Recipes on the Planet

slow-cookin' bbq chicken (From The Hungry Girl 1-2-3 Cookbook)
1 serving (1/2 Cup) = 3 PointsPlus*

Ingredients: 1 cup canned tomato sauce, 1/2 cup ketchup, 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons of both brown sugar and cider vinegar, 2 teaspoons garlic powder, 1 1/2 lbs raw boneless skinless lean chicken breasts, halved, optional: crushed red pepper

Directions: Mix all ingredients except chicken in a crock pot. Stir until well mixed. Add chicken and coat well. Cover and cook on high for 3-4 hours or low for 7-8 hours. About 10-15 mins before serving, shred chicken with two forks and stir into sauce.

Next up....Taquitos!!!!!!!

*PointsPlus calculated by me based on nutritional information provided by Hungry Girl.
**This is not a sponsored post, Hungry Girl has no idea who I am, just sharing some amazing recipes that I've enjoyed.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

Busy with The List

We've crossed off three more from my 101 in 1001 list in the past couple of weeks! I've completed 30 goals so far and with a little under a year left, better get working on the rest!!!

#79: We bought a king sized bed a couple weeks ago after a few too many sleepless nights on our old crappy mattress. It was fun trying out all the beds and we were happy to both agree on our favorite. So I hit the interwebs and several brick and mortar stores to outfit our new bed. I got a duvet from, the sheets from Home Goods, and a bed skirt from Target. I got two pillows from Etsy and then we were done! We have been LOVING our good night's rest for the past couple of weeks and I can honestly say getting a new mattress really has made a world of difference. I'm sleeping through the night and waking up feeling rested and refreshed. Here is what it looks like when everything gets made up, which is maybe twice a week. The headboard I made for the queen sized bed doesn't even look so out of place. I had made it a little big to begin with, so it's just a teensy bit short for the king size.

#56 We also completed our visits of 5 different states with our trip to Chicago. Like I said in our trip recap post, we have a blast exploring new places and this has been fun to see so many different parts of our country. I know we'll continue to make travel a priority and are already day dreaming about our next trip.

#94 I also blew the Open Table points out of the water. Our anniversary dinner would have been our 20th reservation and put my points at the 2,000 goal, however, that reservation was worth 1,000 points by itself!!! Getting to 10,000 to cash in for the $100 gift card doesn't seem so impossible if we book a couple more 1,000 point reservations!

Are you working on a list of goals? How are you doing on yours?

Friday, April 8, 2011

Adventures in the Windy City

This year Hubs and I took off to Chicago for our Anniversary. We love exploring new places and love big cities. Last year it was NYC, then on to Chicago, maybe next year I'll find some place warm to go since heading north isn't generally a good idea in March.

We only had 2 1/2 days there, so we had to squeeze as much in as we could. On Saturday after checking in at The Drake

and taking a quick power nap, we headed to the Hancock Building. There is a bar/lounge on the 96th floor. We headed up to grab some cocktails and watch the sunset over the city. 

From there we headed out for none other than Chicago Deep Dish. We had seen the Food Network's challenge of Chicago vs. New York pizza. We knew we would probably be squarely on the New York side, but that doesn't mean it wouldn't be delicious! We headed to Giodorno's. Half an hour into our hour wait we had to order so our pizza would be ready shortly after our table was ready. 

I thought it was delish. You can't compare it to NY Style pizza. They are so different. Deep dish was more of a pasta dish than pizza to me, I had to use a fork and knife to eat it. They are good at what they do though, good enough for us to decide we needed to try Lou Malnati's later in the trip. 

The next day we woke up, enjoyed brunch, booked a tour for the next day, then headed out on foot to explore the city. We walked down the Magnificent Mile but didn't stop to do any shopping. Our first stop was at Millennium Park. It is such a cool place next to the skyscrapers and historical buildings. Of course we had to get some pictures at The Bean:

We then walked up to the top of the Art Museam for some more pictures until my camera died. (Note to self: check that camera is charged before vacations). We hiked from there over to the Navy Pier. It was pretty empty, but it was also in the 30's. Not a ton of people out enjoying the icy wind like we were!

For lunch we went to try out Al's Italian Beef. Hubs had seen something about it on Man Vs. Food, but I didn't know anything. When they asked me if I wanted my sandwich "dipped" I had no idea what the right answer would be. It turns out, even if you say No, it'll still probably get dipped. We were not impressed with Al's, so with that, we headed back to the hotel to nap before dinner.

That night we went to Rosebud for dinner, I had no idea when I was booking the reservations, but it was on the same block as the hotel, that worked out nicely!!!! We had a fantastic steak dinner and then headed down a couple blocks to Jilly's, a piano bar I had found on Yelp. 
The description said this place would be a hit for fans of The Rat Pack. It did not disappoint. We had a blast at Jilly's. 

On Monday we had booked a tour with The Untouchables to see all the Gangster and Mob historical places around the city. We saw bullet holes left over from one killing at a cathedral (Sorry, I didn't take any notes and lost the handouts they gave us)
They took us through Capone's history along with several others. The guys leading the tour were SUPER cheesy, but it was fun and a good way to see much more of the city. (We also drove by Harpo Studios, too bad we couldn't get in for one of Oprah's final shows)

Then it was back to the hotel for another nap (we love sleeping) and to get ready for our big anniversary dinner! We had brought wine from the vineyard where we got married and stopped at Sprinkles for a red velvet cupcake to share. 

Dinner that night was a Cafe Spiaggia, again I managed to book a dinner right across the street from our hotel. Dinner was amazing. We were in our own little world, lingering over each course, just chatting and enjoying our evening. From there we went back to The Drake to have a night cap in their bar.

Tuesday was a relaxing morning of breakfast and packing and then we wandered over to Portillo's for hot dogs. These dogs are LOADED. Hubs got a traditional dog that is served with everything including tomatoes and pickles. I got a chili cheese dog. Both were amazing.

From there it was back to the hotel to collect our bags, hop in a cab, and wave adios to a spectacular city. It was another successful trip and an amazing anniversary. I can't believe it's been two years already! Seems like just yesterday I was running down the aisle to marry my man! And what kind of anniversary post would it be without gratuitous wedding pics??? Here you go!!!!!!