Tuesday, August 30, 2011

weekend update: August 26-28

Friday my mom, sister, niece (the 18 month old), aunt and cousin celebrated my mom's birthday with dinner and dessert at the Olive Garden.

On Saturday I spent the day baking my mom's birthday cake and ruining frosting. Josh and I stopped off at the grocery store to pick up some whipping cream and my mom finished off her own cake because I just couldn't handle it anymore!

Almond-White Cake (recipe HERE - they call for 1 T almond extract,
I only used 1/2 T and it was perfect in my opinion)
with seedless raspberry jam, whipped cream, raspberries and almonds.

Saturday night I met Kristen and Staci at Molly Brannigan's for some appetizers and then we went over to Coconut Joe's/Boardwalk.

Sunday Josh and I went to church, took a trip to the library, got gelati's at Rita's, took naps, I read my books and we had a yummy dinner of chicken with homemade BBQ sauce.

Erie Blasco Library

Up the stairs to the fiction section

New books: Specials & Extras from The Uglies series
and The Oracle of Stamboul (it looked cool, so I grabbed it!)

Hope you all had great weekends. Yay for Labor Day 3-day weekend coming up!!

Monday, August 29, 2011

Bloggers Bible Club?

Lately I've been really feeling the effects of not reading my Bible like I should - and feeling the guilt, though not really doing anything to change it. I had a kind of serious break down this weekend over something ridiculous and I've been struggling with envy/jealousy a lot lately as well, not to mention a general lack of guidance for my career path. I know that my lack of Bible-reading isn't the reason these things are happening, but I'm sure it isn't helping.

I know I don't talk a lot about God or my faith on this blog. It's not that I want it to be a secret, it's just that I've tried to keep a focus on this blog, and it has always been an outlet for my other passions - food and design - while I felt like my God-passion was satisfied through church on Sundays, being in the worship/praise band and occasionally attending small group.

I've always had Christian girlfriends, but as I've been growing up I've noticed most of these friends are no longer my age and are at different stages of life - most are my sister's friends or have kids. The small group I attended with my sister went through it's own changes and is full of married friends now with kids. Most of the friends Josh and I have at church that are our age are in small groups already, and due to his more hectic work schedule, it's hard for us to meet regularly with others.

I've been meeting new blogger friends recently across the globe and it got me to thinking. Is there some sort of Blogging-Bible-Club-Study any of you are a part of or is it something you might be interested in? I'm not even sure how it would work, so I'm definitely open to suggestions. Maybe a certain portion to read weekly and it can be posted about (if you want) or discussed via email? Or maybe even a new blog that anyone in the "club" can contribute too and discussed in the comments?

Please let me know your thoughts or if you have any suggestions of reading plans that you may follow. I know as we get into fall and then winter...that seasonal depression is going to kick in and I need to be prepared and motivated before that gets here!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Don't Forget!

Don't forget to enter the GIVEAWAY! Closes Thursday, September 1! Check the post for more details.

Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Bread

Another delicious recipe from How Sweet Eats - Chocolate Peanut Butter Banana Bread.

My favorite breakfast is whole wheat toast, peanut butter, chopped bananas and dark chocolate shavings. Yum. This bread (toast it with some peanut butter) might be my new favorite breakfast food.


Chocolate Chip Peanut Butter Banana Bread
(recipe adapted from How Sweet Eats. ingredients below reflect the changes I had to make due to not having all ingredients required on hand)
makes one loaf


1/2 cup butter, at room temperature (I was out of butter so I used canola oil, though I would suggest not substituting unless necessary)
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/3 cup brown sugar
1/3 cup white sugar
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 large ripe bananas, mashed
2 cups all purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons baking powder 1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 cup milk
1 cup chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon and salt in a bowl and set aside.
  2. Cream butter and peanut butter in the bowl of an electric mixer. Add sugars and beat until fluffy, about 3 minutes. 
  3. Add egg and vanilla, mixing until combined. Add bananas and mix. 
  4. Add dry ingredients slowly, mixing until just combined. 
  5. Stir in milk, adding more one tablespoon at a time if batter is not wet enough. 
  6. Fold in chocolate chips.
  7. Spray a loaf pan with non-stick spray and pour in batter. Bake for 50 minutes, or until knife inserted comes out clean. (it took over an hour for my bread)

Friday, August 26, 2011

fabric friday: 08-26-11 / KnollTextiles Nail Polish Giveaway!


After I won my awesome bottle of CATO PINK nail polish courtesy of KnollTextiles' Facebook giveaway, I knew I had to score another bottle for my boss Dory. Last time we heard about the Knoll Red color coming out, we contacted our sales rep and he sent us each a bottle. I emailed him again and requested one be sent for Dory, since she doesn't have a Facebook.

We received...several bottles.

As far as I know - you can't purchase these, you have to 1) know someone (from Knoll) or 2) win them on Facebook giveaways.

This picture does NOT do the color justice.
I was unable to get a good shot with my camera at 10PM,
so let it be known the color is PINK and it is SHIMMERY!
Check KT online for a better shot of the color.

Since I came across an extra one, I talked to my KnollTextiles rep and she thought giving away a bottle of CATO PINK would be a great idea to spread more awareness of Knoll and KnollTextiles to the architecture and design community and, well, everyone!! So - here we are today - giving one bottle away to a lucky, lucky reader!!

Here's a better representation. Image via KnollTextiles Facebook.

Here are the rules:
*Entry gained by comment below - tell me about your favorite or
what's the most you've splurged on a nail polish.
* One bottle. One winner. One comment per person.
No additional entries gained by other methods.
*Winner must be located in the US.
*Please make sure you leave a way for me to contact you
(email, blog, Twitter, etc.) so I can notify you if you win!
*Giveaway will close at 11:59 PM next Thursday, September 1, 2011
and will be announced on next Friday's Fabric Friday post (on September 2, 2011).

KnollTextiles did not provide me with this for a giveaway, however I am choosing to give an extra bottle because I love Knoll & KnollTextiles, I love my new nail polish and I love all my blog readers! I wanted to share the love with all of you.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Overnight French Toast Casserole

I've always liked french toast, but there is something about a crispy, sugary, browned french toast that beats any skillet egg-dipped bread in my book.

Ah - this casserole. More delicious than I could have imagined. It has the crispy, sugary taste that I love. I also love that it's an "overnight" recipe - meaning prepare, sit for 3-12 hours, bring to room temperature the next day and bake till crispy.

The original recipe I found was from Ezra Pound Cake. But I made a few changes, other than halving the recipe for just Josh & I.

Overnight French Toast Casserole
adapted from Ezra Pound Cake
serves 2-3


2 tablespoons (1/4 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/4 + 1/8 cup firmly packed brown sugar
5 slices Texas Toast, cut into about 1" cubes (alternatives: brioche or challah)
4 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/2 cup milk (I used 1%)
1/2 tablespoon pure vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground ginger
Pinch of salt
    • 1/4 cup chopped pecans
    • 2 T brown sugar
    • 2 T butter, melted
    1. Combine the melted butter and 1/2 the brown sugar in a baking dish.
    2. Toss the cubed bread with the remaining brown sugar, arrange at bottom of baking dish (they will overlap)
    3. In a large bowl, whisk together eggs, milk, vanilla, cinnamon, ginger and salt. Pour the mixture over the bread, and let it soak in
    4. Cover with plastic wrap, and refrigerate for 3 to 12 hours
    5. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F while the casserole sits at room temperature for about 20 minutes
    6. While you wait, make the topping - chop the pecans and mix with the brown sugar and melted butter. Top the casserole with the pecan mixture.
    7. Bake the casserole until it’s browned and set, 30 to 45 minutes. Let it cool slightly on a wire rack. Plate the casserole and finish with sifted confectioners’ sugar and maple syrup

    I loved how the casserole was crispy on the top and almost bread-pudding-like on the bottom. The pecan-crunchy topping was such a great addition - I would have never thought to add the pecans if it weren't for the original recipe!! Monday morning I microwaved the leftovers then popped them in the toaster oven for about 5 minutes, and it was just as good as when it was freshly made!!

    Tuesday, August 23, 2011

    current obsessions: August

    Things I'm digging this month:
    • cooler temps
    • weekend getaways with my hubby Josh
    • celebrating our 1 year anniversary!
    • taking our cars in to the shop to get fixed (Just kidding, I'm hating this actually. It seems to be happening a lot this month and I don't like it!)
    • homemade pulled pork sammiches with homemade barbeque sauce
    • foursquare
    • Pinterest - of course! But here's my question - do you mostly re-pin other people's pins, or do you pin from websites, blogs, shops, etc. that you frequent?
    • my new KnollTextiles CATO PINK nail polish 
    • barefoot contessa's California BLT sandwiches (post coming later this week)

    Monday, August 22, 2011

    weekend update: August 19-21, 2011

    This weekend was wonderful, mostly relaxing and awesome celebrating with Josh our 1 year anniversary! Again, I can't believe it's been a year already!!

    Breakfast on Friday - Overnight French Toast Casserole + real maple syrup! (recipe coming this week)

    Friday packed lunch/dinner - California BLT Sandwiches

    Our hotel for Friday & Saturday

    Niagara Falls, NY - the American Rapids

    Our comfy room! (I was standing right next to the entry door)

    We spent a lot of time site-seeing while riding around on the trolly. It was $2/person for all-day riding, so it was worth it!

    Saturday early afternoon we went to the aquarium and spent a good amount of time there.

    Josh made friends with the fishies.

    This guy was looking right at me!

    A swimming turtle!

    Another one of Josh's new friends...

    We stayed for a 30 minute sea lion show. This was Dina - she was almost 25 years old and very talented!!

    Me as a penguin.

    Riding the trolly to Goat Island.

    Horseshoe Falls from the US side.

    Dinner @ Top of the Falls restaurant. Kinda pricey (that was expected), but the food was pretty good, service was quick (we were there for an early dinner) and it was a nice view of the falls.

    Anniversary dinner @ Wine on Third. Very cool place - not your every day eatery, you're paying for fresh food, presentation and atmosphere.

    Their own sangria. Very tasty and in a HUGE glass.

    Bread with dipping sauce of olive oil, balsamic reduction, pesto and asiago cheese. Delicious.

    Josh's meal: NY Strip steak, veggies, baked potato and onion rings. A little disappointed they had NO steak sauce - it's not like the steak was cooked with a special sauce...

    My meal - Blackened pork tenderloin (done medium well - and perfect), mashed potatoes, veggies and a demi-glaze. Absolutely delicious. I could have licked the plate clean (but used Josh's onion rings to mop the last of that delicious sauce up instead).

    Chocolate lava cake with raspberry + white chocolate sauce and whipped cream. Delicious, though I would have liked more melty fudge in the middle.

    Breakfast outside Sunday before we headed out. Forgot to get a picture of my food :(

    Thanks for sticking through to the end - there were a lot of pictures!! We got back home around 3 on Sunday and spent the rest of the day playing Josh's video game "Heavy Rain." It's like one of those "Choose your own adventure" books where you make choices to dictate where the story goes and your decisions affect the ultimate outcome (people can die...etc).

    Oh - and today I've been off! It's been nice lounging around - this weather is gorgeous and screaming jeans, scarves and light jackets (meaning: FALL!!!). Yeah, everyone in Erie is looking forward to fall today!