Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Talk about not being good at blogging!

I am horrible. I seriously don't know why I am so bad at blogging this past summer. It was not like this with my old blog. I used to update all the time. Does this mean I am just too busy with work and the house to blog?!?! I think I need to make a pact with myself to make sure to update on a regular basis. It just seemed like such a crazy summer. But no more excuses!! I am just going to do better with this!

My sister's wedding in August went wonderfully! It was a lot of fun and they were both just so happy. I thought it was one of the best moments to get to watch my best friend and twin sister get married. Not everyone may know this but I am not a crier! Even my closest friends have only seen me cry a few times and those times were during highly emotional situations (ie death in the family). Well I definitely cried at the wedding. I knew I had to make the Matron of Honor speech but I wasn't totally sure how I would react to it so I wrote the whole thing down. And that turned out to be the best decision. I got through the first two sentences and then totally lost it. It wasn't just a few tears running down my face, no I really cried. Joe had to come over and sit in my chair and let me sit in his lap so I could make it through the rest of my speech. All I can say is I had a moment! But now my parent's can finally relax and get life back to normal because all three of us are married and weddings are over! Of course now mom can't wait to have a grandkid. . . She might be waiting a bit longer!

This past weekend I went to Chicago for a college roommate reunion. Four of us lived together for several years, Dianna, Torie, Sandi and myself! The driving factor behind us all getting together was so we could help Sandi with a few wedding details like picking out bridesmaid dresses. It was a great weekend. We haven't all been together at the same time since last October so it was wonderful to all be in the same place. Of course we had several late nights out and daytime shopping trips. We even threw a small bachelorette party for Sandi since we all live in various states across the country and won't have the chance to throw one closer to the wedding. It was a blast! However I am exhausted for the weekend and trying to catch back up this week.

Fall softball starts tonight! I am very excited because it's been several weeks since we had any intramural sports going on. Joe and I miss that!

And. . . It's football season!!!! It's my favorite time of year. Granted it means winter is right around the corner but I will learn to live with that. Fantasy football starts this week!

I leave you now with a few pictures of the wedding and the wonderful Chicago trip!


Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Finally an update!

So I seriously don't know what happened to the last 3 or 4 months. The whole house process really took over my life. But we are now completely moved in and unpacked. I love the house! It is really wonderful to come home from work everyday to a house and not just a little apartment. We got one of the bedrooms painted and set up as the guest room. And this past weekend Joe started working on the back yard. He weeded out a large area and is beginning to make it all into a flowerbed. Now we are on a break from house things until after my sister's wedding this weekend.

My original intention was to blog through the whole house process but obviously that wasn't successful. It was more consuming than I ever thought but I never thought it wasn't worth it. It was just a lot of time going and looking at houses. And then once we were in contract there was so much paperwork and what not to get together I really just got focused on getting it all done. It was worth every minute!

Here are pictures of the house. The walls are bare and it isn't quite homey yet but that will come with time! We are going to continually make changes to things and I will continue to post pictures as we do so.

Living room

Family room


Master bedroom

Master bath

Guest bathroom

I didn't post pictures of the 2nd and 3rd bedrooms because I have a before and after of one rooms that I plan on posting later. I also have pics of the backyard work to post soon. So more pictures to come soon!

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Where did the time go?

I seriously don't know where my life went the last month and a half. I owe some serious time to blogging and updating on everything that has happened. I was really planning on blogging more about the process of buying our first house but we got so busy. I feel like we haven't had any time to just sit at home in weeks! I promise to write a nice long blog with everything that has been going on lately.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

House Update!!!

Okay it's been a little while since I posted a blog. Things were so crazy the last few weeks while we were house hunting that I was not spending much time on the computer. Then last week work was busy and I barely had time to check e-mail let alone get online for my personal business.

But we have great news! We are officially in contract on a house! Here is the story from the beginning. Last Monday we were scheduled to look at 4 mores houses. The very first place on the list was a house that Joe had found online. I didn't know much about it but he really thought it was going to be a good one. The moment I walked in the house I knew I loved it. It was everything we wanted and more! So we went to two more houses and then told Drew we knew we wanted to put an offer on the first house. So Tuesday afternoon we submitted our offer. However we found out that another offer had been submitted 2 hours before us. That made us really nervous but we just had to wait to see what happened. The next afternoon (Wednesday) we recieved a counter offer from the seller. The offer included information that they were submitting more than one counter to multiple parties and they reserved the right to chose who the accepted. So within the hour we recieved the counter offer we faxed over our acceptance of the offer. The seller had originally stated that they need a response from us by Thursday at 3pm and then by Friday afternoon they would chose who they wanted to accept. So we accepted their offer but stated that they had to tell us yes or no. So Wednesday night we got word that the seller accepted our offer!!!

Here is our timeline:
Inspections this week
Apprasial next week
Closing June 30th

We have our apartment until September so we have plenty of time to move! We plan on painting the second and third bedrooms before moving but that is all the work that needs to be done on the place before we move in! It's great! The house is 3 bedrooms with a loft upstairs. There is a dining room, living room, family room that is open to the kitchen and eat-in kitchen space. There is also a basement but it is unfinished. I can't wait to move in!!! I am having Joe take pictures this week at the inspection so I will have something for everyone to see soon.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Life is BUSY!

Things have been so busy these last two weeks! Joe and I have barely been home on the weeknights. I am sad to not have any new recipes to post but honestly we haven't even been at home for meals lately. So you might be wondering what is keeping us so busy. . . Here was what went on the last two weeks

Monday - College roommate in town for the night so we went out
Tuesday - Softball league
Wednesday - walked through 7 potential houses
Thursday - Bowling league
Friday - FINALLY a night at home
Saturday - Out with friends
Sunday - Visit Grandma for Mother's Day
Monday - Nothing to do!!!! Actually went to the gym
Tuesday - Softball
Wednesday - looked at more houses

And finally tonight we are going right after work to check out a house and then rushing over to bowling. So why are we trying to fit in seeing this house tonight? Our realtor thinks it won't be on the market long. Here's the story. . . Yesterday Joe got on our listings website and saw a house that just went on the market that day. There were no pictures of the place posted but the details of the place sounded nice. He called the realtor to see if he could try and add it to the list of places to see that night. So last night we didn't get to do a walk through because the seller couldn't make it home to get their dog out of the house for us. So we decided to drive by it and at least check out the place. We followed our realtor over and as we approached I was wondering where the house was. Well it was right in front of me and it is gorgeous!!! It has so much potential for me to totally fall in love with it. So our realtor called us and said we had to get a walk thru ASAP because he is convinced this house will not be on the market long. He didn't want to even wait till next week to go see it. So tonight we are headed out there to walk through and see how it goes. If the inside is as nice as the outside we may find our favorite house tonight! I will definitely keep everyone updated!

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

We are Preapproved and Britney Spears!

Weird title for my post huh?!?!

We got the news yesterday that we are preapproved for a home loan. And as expected it's for more than we are looking to spend. Joe and I are so excited that we are going to soon be homeowners! We are headed out tomorrow with the realtor to look at our first ten houses. I am excited to see what it's like.

My sister and her fiance are also searching for a home. We are identical twins and have been pretty side by side on major life events. So I shouldn't be surprised they are also looking for a place. They went out last night and found two homes they would buy. So now they are going to have to pick which one is their favorite!

Thursday was the Britney Spears concert that Joe bought me two tickets for as my Christmas present. Torie, my college roommate come in from New Hampshire and went with me. It was a blast. We barely sat down the entire time and my feet hurt so much afterwards from all the dancing we did. We had an awesome time. Britney didn't say or do anything crazy but she sure did dance her butt off. The show was really like a circus just without any animals. She had all kinds of circus acts which made it all that much more fun.

I will edit this post later and add in a few pictures but I can't now since I am at work.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Buffalo Chicken Dip

Back in January my cousin made this delicious buffalo chicken dip for a family get together. It was so tasty and very addicting. Once you start eating it you just can't stop. Everyone at the party loved it and I knew I needed the recipe.

This weekend was the perfect opportunity to make it. Joe was having the guys over for the NFL Draft on Saturday. Guys love food so I knew it would be a hit. It didn't last more than 30 minutes once I sat it out on the table. I didn't take any pictures because it isn't too exciting to see.

Buffalo Chicken Dip:

16oz cream cheese, softened
3/4 cup celery, chopped
8oz Frank's red hot sauce
2 cups shredded cooked chicken
2 cups shredded cheddar cheese

In microwave safe bowl heat cream cheese, celery & red hot sauce on high power, stirring every two minutes until cream cheese is melted. Add chicken and one cup of cheddar cheese. Pour into 13x9 rectangular dish and top with remaining cheese.

Place in oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes.

I put the celery into a food processor and chopped it until it was very fine. I personally don't like chucks of celery in things so I prefer to have it this way. Also you can use the packages of Tyson chicken that are precooked and found in the deli meat section of a grocery store. I have cooked my own chicken and used the prepackaged kind and both taste the same.

And there you have it. You just serve with tortilla chips! It is my favorite thing to take to parties and is always a big hit. But as a said above BEWARE it is addictive!!!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Homemade "Hostess" Cupcakes

I have been seeing this recipe on several different blogs and every time I think how yummy they look. And who doesn't love a Hostess cupcake?? So this weekend I decided to try them out. We had my sister Beth and her fiance Matt over and another friend and they all really liked them. Joe told me it is definitely a make again recipe. I personally think they are wonderful!

Homemade "Hostess" Cupcakes

I won't lie to you. I was pressed for time and didn't know how long it would take to fill them and ice them so I used a box mix for chocolate cake. It was Duncan Hines Dark Chocolate Fudge. However if you have time making a chocolate cake from scratch would be great!

2 large egg whites
1/2 cup sugar
1/4 cup light corn syrup
2 tablespoons water
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
pinch of salt

Combine all the ingredients into a medal bowl (don't use too small of a bowl because the filling will expand as it gets smooth and creamy) set over a saucepan of simmering water. Beat with a handheld mixer on high for 5-6 minutes, or until smooth and creamy. Remove the bowl from the heat and continue to beat for several more minutes until it has cooled slightly. Reserve about half a cup of filling for piping swirls on the top.

This actually made WAY more filling than I used. I had 24 cupcakes and maybe used a third of the filling including piping the top. I don't know if I just didn't fill the cupcakes as much as others do or if it was just a large batch of filling. In any case you may want to half this.

Chocolate Ganache:
1/4 cup whipping cream
4 ounces (or heaping 1/2 cup) finely chopped semi-sweet chocolate chips
(the orginal recipe called for bittersweet chocolate but my grocery store was out so I went with the semi-sweet chips and it was fine)
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

Heat cream until steaming in a small saucepan. Remove from heat, add the chocolate and let stand for 5 minutes. Add butter and stir until smooth. Transfer to a small bowl for easier frosting of cupcakes.

Cut a hole in the top of each cupcake about the size of a quarter and remove that portion from the cupcake. I cut the middle section off the round piece that I removed from each cupcake so that I could replace the top once the filling was added.

Fill each cupcake with filling until full and place the top back on. Dip each cupcake into the chocolate ganache. Put into the refrigerator until ganache sets (about 5 to 10 minutes). Pipe swirls onto the top of each cupcake and returned them to the refrigerator to set icing.

Hint: I don't own the tools to pipe so I simply put the filling into a ziplock bag and cut the corner off. For the filling I cut a large piece of the corner off and for the piping I cut a very small piece. This worked great for me even though my skills at the swirls were lacking.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Starting the house process!

I have a new recipe to post that I made last week. So I will be posting that very soon.

But in other news Joe and I are going to be starting the home buying process. Our lease is up on September 30th and we want to take plenty of time to find exactly what we want. So last week I e-mailed our real estate agent, who happens to be my cousin! He said it wasn't too early to get thigns started and he set up a meeting with us for Wednesday. We are just going to go over the whole process and ask questions. I would imagine the next step would be to get pre-approved. I am trying to not get too excited because I know we still have a lot of time and we don't want to move to quickly and get stuck paying rent and a house payment. So in my free time I have been doing a lot of internet searches for houses! It's pretty fun to see what is out there and it's crazy how affordable a lot of them are. Some houses would be a smaller monthly payment than our rent! I will to be sure to keep by blog updated with the house stuff!

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Oreo Fudge Bars

Joe loves Oreos so anytime I see a recipe that involves them I usually want to try it out. So a while ago I found a recipe for Oreo Fudge Bars and I finally got the chance to make them this week. They are pretty tasty. Definitely not my favorite dessert but still quite yummy. And it was a pretty easy recipe.

Oreo Fudge Bars

1 16oz. package of Oreo cookies
1 stick butter, melted
1/4 tsp salt
1 can sweetened condensed milk (14oz.)
1 tsp vanilla
3/4 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
1/2 cup milk chocolate chips
1/2 cup mini chocolate chips

Preheat oven to 325F. Line a 9 x 13 pan with foil (this helps to get the bars out of the pan later) and lightly spray with PAM.
Set aside 7 Oreos for the topping. In food processor grind the rest of the Oreos until they are a fine crumb mixture. Add salt to the crumb mixture and stir.
Completely melt the stick of butter and stir together with Oreo crumb mixture. Press it firmly into the bottom of the 9 x 13 pan.
Chop the remaining 7 cookies into small pieces and set aside for later.
Melt together the semi-sweet chocolate chips, milk chocolate chips, condensed milk and vanilla until smooth. Spread it over top the cookie crust.
Sprinkle the mini chocolate chips and remaining the oreo pieces ontop of the filling. Press it dowm gently into the filling.
Bake for 20-22 minutes.
Allow to completely cool on the counter. Then chill in the fridge to completely set before cutting. These are very messy if you do not chill before cutting!!!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken

So I have made several new recipes lately but I never remember to take a picture of them. And I personally love to see pictures when I am looking for a new recipes. So I will try and remember to snap a few pictures. However in the meantime I would still like to share some of the recipes that I have really enjoyed.

My favorite recent recipe is Crock Pot Salsa Chicken. It is about the easiest meal I have made so far and it's delicious. Joe loved it and I think it will be a regular dinner for us. The crock pot is seriously one of my favorite kitchen items. It makes preparing dinner so easy!

Crock Pot Salsa Chicken:

3-4 chicken breasts
1 packet taco seasoning
1 can cream of mushroom soup
1 jar of salsa (16oz)
1 cup sour cream

Place the chicken breast in the crock pot. Sprinkle the taco seasoning on top of each chicken breast. In a bowl mix together the salsa and the cream of mushroom soup. Pour the salsa/soup mixture over the chicken. Cook on low for 6-8 hours. About 15 minutes before we were going to eat I used a fork and shredded the chicken and then added the cup of sour cream. We ate the chicken in tortillas and topped with shredded cheddar cheese.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

Happy St. Patrick's Day everyone! Did you wear green today? I did! This day will always take me back to college days. We always made such a big deal out of St. Patrick's Day in college. I remember Joe and the guys used to always be out at the bar early in the morning for kegs and eggs. I never joined in very early since I always seemed to be packed full of classes to attend that day. (The wonderful joys of being in the College of Pharmacy I guess. . .) Today I am spending the day working like most others I know. I do plan on asking Joe if he wants to go for at least one green beer tonight after the gym and dinner.

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Cake Balls

I have really been getting into trying new recipes lately. I have always liked to cook and bake but now that I have all the kitchen stuff from the wedding and more free time than when I was in graduate school I am enjoying my time in the kitchen.

Last week Joe and I were invited to a house warming party. So I decided it was a great opportunity to try a new recipe. I had seen so many other blogs where people were making cake balls and I knew I wanted to try them. So that is what I decided I would take to the party. Here's the recipe I used:

Cake Balls

1 box of cake mix (any flavor but in this case chocolate)

1 batch of frosting (can frosting can be used but I made my own) recipe below

1 large bag chocolate chips

Chocolate Frosting Recipe: From Betty Crocker Cookbook

3 cups powdered sugar

1/3 cup butter, softened

2 tsp vanilla

1/3 cup baking cocoa

3 to 4 tbs milk

Mix powdered sugar and butter on low speed. Stir in vanilla and chocolate. Gradually beat in milk to make frosting smooth and spreadable. The more milk you beat in the smoother it will get. If you get it too runny just ass a little more powdered sugar.

On Monday night I baked the cake in a 13x9 pan, let it cool and just covered it until the next evening. On Tuesday I finish the recipe with Joe's help. Joe crumbled the cake into fine crumbs while I made the chocolate frosting. Then in my mixer I combined about 3/4 of the frosting with the cake and mixed thoroughly. Then we rolled them into balls and put them in the freezer for about 45 minutes. I melted chocolate chips in a double broiler. Then we dipped each ball completely in the chocolate, topped with some sprinkles to add some color and set on wax paper to dry.

They were a big hit at the party and Joe really liked them. However Joe and I both agree that next time I am going to use less frosting so that the texture is more cakey and not so much like a truffle. They are definitely something I will make again!!!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

I have been thinking for the past few weeks that I wanted to start a new blog. Then the other day I was going through an old blog I had while I was in college and I realized how nice it was to go back and read everything I was going through at that time in my life. Which confirmed in my mind that I needed to start a new blog. So here it is. I plan on updating it with lots of different things including new recipes I try out as I expand my knowledge in the kitchen and any other new experience that Joe and I have. (Such as when we buy our first home this year!!!!) Hopefully you enjoy reading this as much as I will enjoy blogging!