Sunday, September 30, 2012

Project Pinterest - Chocolate Peanut Butter Cookies

For this week's linkup with I Love You More Than Carrots, I wanted to bake again. However, I accepted J's challenge and used a recipe that had ingredients that we already had in house. Also, this is a good opportunity to try out recipes for the upcoming holiday season. 

J is a fan of peanut butter and chocolate, so it was an easy decision to use this recipe, pinned from Pinterest.

After reviewing the recipe, I knew I had to get the "big guns" out. AKA the heaviest mixer known to home cooks.

When I got to this point of the recipe, it took all my will to not start chowing down.

This was also the point of the baking process when Baby Jack woke up from his nap, so I chilled the dough for around 30 minutes.

I made two tweaks. I used 10 ounces of dark chocolate instead of 8-9 ounces. Also, I did not have dark brown sugar, so I used light brown sugar.

The recipe states a yield of 30 cookies, but I got 4 dozen. I used a cookie scoop, so my cookies are a bit smaller than the original recipe.

I'll definitely repeat this recipe around the holidays. It is very easy! The cookies have a cake texture. No crispy cookie here!

I'm resisting the urge to bake again for next week's linkup, but I'm not making any promises!

Friday, September 28, 2012

The Look for Less

I miss "The Look For Less", which was a show on the Style network. Originally hosted by Elizabeth Hasselbeck, stylists would help people recreate a runway looks on a budget. They would shop in a mall and had a "time limit" of an hour. Even if staged, it was great to see ways to achieve a similar look with more budget friendly buys. The stylists would focus on silhouettes and color, rather than looking for a "knock-off".

I pinned this pair of J Crew flats earlier this year. They retail for $138.

Certainly not completely out of range, I hesitated to pull the trigger on purchasing them. However, I'm glad I did because I found these Antonio Melani flats, which retail for $59.99!

I ordered them right away. I am so pleased. They did not require any breaking in. They are 100% leather too. I think Target has a similar style as well, but my feet do not do well in Target shoes :(

So, what do you think? A good "Look for Less"?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Date Night: Publix Cooking School

I never understood the importance of Date Night until Baby Jack came along. I mean, Jeff and I went out regularly pre-baby so why did we need to call it something like Date Night? Boy. I'll say it now. I LOVE DATE NIGHT! We are very fortunate to have both sets of grandparents nearby. They are so incredibly helpful, so we get breaks to run errands, go to appointments and have regular date nights!

Normally, we'll just go out to dinner with friends. However, we had a pretty unique date night last week. Funny enough, we scheduled this one before Jack made his debut! We bought tickets to attend an event at the Publix Apron's Cooking School. This was an Iron Chef competition between the Exec Chef at Restaurant Orsay (the best restaurant in Jacksonville, in my opinion!) and the Apron staff. We were greeted with an array of appetizers and WINE (Boy, have I missed wine). We got to vote on one of the secret ingredients. We watched them cook and were encouraged to go up to them and ask questions. Each team prepared 4 to 5 tasting sized bites the 40 or so attendees. In my opinion, this is harder than cooking for 3 judges plus the host! It was a fun and different date night.

I visited the Apron School's website and saw they have several locations in the Southeast. They offer demonstration as well as hands on events. They offer Couples Cooking classes. These themes include Grilling, Mexico, Holiday Entertaining, and Steakhouse. They even have a special event for New Year's Eve!

For the family, they are hosting several Gingerbread House sessions. I can't wait for Jack to be old enough for that activity. They also offer kids cooking courses aimed for 8 to 12 year olds.

Of course, how can I post about Date Night without including my OOTN! When you spend your days in shorts and nursing tops, getting dressed up is quite the treat!

Dress: Lilly Pulitzer, purchased during the big sale!
Shoes: Tory Burch
Earrings: Charming Charlie's

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Jack in Review

Anyone else obsessed with making collages on Picasa? Since I imported my Instagram pictures onto my laptop, I've been even more obsessed. So, what better subject to "collage" than my 2 month old son!

Speaking of Jack, he is 24.5 inches long and weighs 13.25 lbs! We just started using size 2 diapers too. YIKES!

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

What to Wear Where: Football Tailgate

Today, I'm linking up with Melissa at I Pick Pretty and Amy at Forever 29 for their "What to Wear Where" series. This week's theme is "Football Tailgate". Now I know y'all will have your darling gameday dresses in your college colors, complete with coordinating trendy necklace and/or earrings and/or bracelet stack. NFL tailgating is a bit different, in my opinion. It is a bit more casual, so my outfit is a true representation of what I plan to wear, nary a dress in sight.

Suffice to say, if I was going to an Auburn tailgate, I'd have to pick up this darling dress. I spotted this at a local boutique last week and fell in LOVE! The dress is from Jude Connally, a brand I was not familiar with, but very much covet now!

Anyways, where was I? Oh yes. What I would wear to a Chicago Bears tailgate. I'm praying for chilly weather so I can wear something like this:

What I would wear if it wasn't 80 degrees

What I would wear if it wasn't 80 degrees by natylite78 featuring reiss

However, I'll probably wearing this as we're still in the 80's here in Jacksonville!

Chicago Bears Tailgate

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Project Pinterest - Almond Cookie Crisp

I am linking up with I Love You More Than Carrots for her Project Pinterest Monday. I knew I wanted to bake for my project so I asked J what he would like. He requested something with almonds, so after some searching on Pinterest, I found these Almond Cookie Crisps:

The recipe was very simple to follow. That's a good thing since I am not a natural talent when it comes to baking!

A few notes on my experience with this recipe:

* The recipe states the yield is 2 dozen, however I only got 1.5 dozen. I think I made my cookies too big.
* This recipe is very heavy on the almonds and light on the cookie. Personally, I would like more cookie, but J really likes them.

I would make these again though as there were not too sweet and had a great crunch!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Laptop Bento Lunches - Not just for kids!

I had my first Bento box while dining at a tiny Japanese restaurant in San Francisco. They are hard to find here so they remained quite the novelty. Fast forward to last year, when I started reading Smiles Go With Everything. Diana posts a weekly wrap-up of her Bento lunchbox meals. Her meals are so colorful and organized. I also love the idea of reducing waste and portion control. She ordered her Bento from Laptop Lunches.

I shared her blog with J, who really liked the idea for his own lunches. I ordered the Bento Lunchbox 2.0 in Black/Blue as well a set of Bento Buddies.

Here is one of the lunches I have packed. As you can see, I need to work on this!

We are very satisfied with the quality of the Laptop Lunches' Bentos. The tops seal tightly, proved to us when J brought soup to work. The variety of configurations makes this an incredibly flexible way to pack lunches.

To gather inspiration, I've been scouring Pinterest for Bento lunch ideas. What I have found is most Bentos are geared towards children's lunches. While J wouldn't hate a sandwich shaped like a dog, it isn't conducive to his daily lunching needs! Eventually, we'll need these ideas for Jack. But that is at least a year away!

Aside from Diana's blog, here are a few other adult Bento resources.

Bent on Better Lunches - She typically features her kids lunches, however she occasionally posts her on "adult" Bento lunches.

Wendy Copley's Flickr account - A nice mix of family Bento Boxes.

Easy Lunchboxes Photo Gallery - Various Bento ideas for kids and adults!

I highly recommend these Bentos as a fun and creative way to pack your lunch. They will definitely find their way to other family members this Christmas.

Note: This is not a sponsored post. While I plan to tweet this post to Laptop Lunches, they did not ask me to write this.

What to Wear Where: Transition to Fall

I'm participating in What to Wear Where?, hosted by Amy at Forever 29 and Melissa at I Pick Pretty. Today's theme is "Transition to Fall". I own the scarf, earrings and shoes. I have a very similar dress. The bag? It's on my wish list ;)

Transition to Fall

Monday, September 17, 2012

Project Pinterest

Today I am linking up with I Love you More Than Carrots for her Project Pinterest link up! I ebb and flow in my use of Pinterest. When I was planning a baby shower last year, I was addicted to Pinterest. I  also created a Wish List that I not so subtly told J about for Christmas purposes. Lately, I've been pinning recipes for J to make. So while I didn't make this one by myself, I did pin it and tell asked him politely to make it!

Twice Baked Butternut Squash

J made a few variations to the recipe, including the addition of sausage, rosemary and Parmesan cheese. It was delicious and filling! 

I did share this recipe with my friend Melissa who made it for her twins...who hated it! So consider yourself warned :)

Here is his version!

Nursing Wardrobe

Nursing Wardrobe

Old navy

T shirt

Lands End lands end

Converse shoes Udder Covers 100% Cotton Breast Pads -4 Pack: Health &...

My wardrobe has taken a temporary turn. For the next several months, the above will be my "everyday" look. I hope that this may help other new moms and moms to be. Dressing to nurse can be challenging and expensive, but it doesn't have to be!

Some notes:

* Most of my tops are darker colors as leakage is inevitable! It is a bit easier to hide this in dark colors.
* Cardigans are a good way to cover up potential leaks also!
* A hairdryer? Great way to quickly dry off :)
* The Target top is not intended for nursing, but it works great! I have it in the blue polka dot and navy.

I left off my nursing bras as I couldn't find them on the Target website. I have 2 bras that are good for sleeping and hanging around the house. I have one that is good for going out. I also wear my Stephen Bonannos quite often while running errands, but sadly those don't show up well on Polyvore.

If you have any wardrobe advice for the nursing mom, please share!