Is it bad that I already dislike wedding planning?

Pretend I didn’t say that.

But it is true.

The good news is I have a bunch of wonderful friends who have offered their help. So, ladies… help!

I have the idea and feel of the wedding down pretty good, I just can’t quite put it all together.

I thought I would put together a little inspiration post, showing what I have in mind for the style and feel of the wedding and then whoever wants to jump on in and make suggestion can go right ahead. Feel free.


I’m going for a warm, cozy, rustic, winter-y feel. Warm neutrals, lots of texture, kind of vintage-y, with some natural elements…

I know this is a picture of gift wrap, but it has the feel of what I am going for, i.e. the warm neutrals and different textures with the burlap, twine and the soft wools.

Love the table decorations. But keep in mind the tables we use will most likely be round. This was found here if you would want to check out their whole wedding.

Those are just some more centerpiece ideas, but still nothing that completely strikes me as “the one.”

Love the not-so-perfect frosting and the wood cake stand, not so much the flowers though.

I’m actually not wanting flowers at all for the decorations.

I liked the idea of maybe doing like a hot cocoa mix or something in a jar for favors…

I also just like the idea of using jars somehow, just not quite sure how.

And also maybe having some kind of dessert/coffee/hot cocoa/hot tea bar as well. That depends on when we have the wedding and what kind of meal would be served.

Don’t look at the colors or anything… I just like the dessert table idea and the branches and lanterns.


Well those are all the pictures and ideas I have now. So, please ladies, or fellas if you desire, please help me out!

Let me know if you have any ideas for decorations or any idea at all.

Looking forward to hearing your ideas!



November 2, 2010

Just another reason I will forever love October.


happy owl-o-ween.

October 25, 2010

I can’t believe October is almost over.

I can’t believe how long it has been since I have last written.

To be honest, a lot has been going on, but I just haven’t felt like blogging about it.

I’m still not feeling too chatty, but I wanted to share a little of our Fall fun. I love this time of year too much to not talk about it at least once.

You can reread my love for October here.

If you remember, last year I bought 8 jumbo cans of pumpkin.

The last bit of it was finished this past weekend.

You see, about 4 months ago I stopped drinking coffee. I didn’t drink a lot of it, mostly just in the morning and the occasional mid-afternoon pick-me-up. However, once Fall rolled around I went to Starbucks daily to feed my Pumpkin Spice Latte fix. I have been drinking chai tea every morning since I gave up coffee and it is pretty Fall like, but it’s no Pumpkin Spice Latte.

Brandon and I went to Chicago earlier this month and we went to this amazing little cafe called Argo Tea where we had Pumpkin Chai Tea. It was incredible and I knew I had to figure out how to make it.

I’ve seen recipes for Starbucks’ Pumpkin Spice Latte all over the blog world, so I decided to use one of those to create my Pumpkin Chai.

I used the recipe from the blog Peas and Thank You and instead of adding coffee, I used my favorite chai tea mix.

My changes to the recipe:

1 cup Chai Tea

1/2 cup milk (I use Almond as well, but that’s what I have. Feel free to use the milk of your choice.)

No creamer, or garam masala

A little honey to taste

Delicious. Pumpkin Pie in a cup.

Later that night it was time for our annual Pumpkin Carving Contest.

We went to the local produce stand to pick out our pumpkins. We both already had our design in mind so it took us a little bit of time to find the perfect pumpkin canvas.

Brandon’s is the one on the left. Mine, obviously, on the right.

We also got a couple small pumpkins to use for their seeds. Mine is the smaller and lighter colored one.

We were kind of bummed because we loved using the white pumpkins last year, but this year the selection was kind of crappy so we went with the classic orange.

We like to carve pretty random, usually not related to Halloween, pictures into our pumpkins and not show each other until they are completely finished.

Removing the guts:

Hard at work:

Stencils or templates are not allowed. However, I did get a picture from Google and then drew it onto my pumpkin with a dry erase marker first. Brandon just started carving.

In the midst of the pumpkin carving extravaganza we roasted three different kinds of pumpkin seeds.

The first flavor was Pumpkin Spice.


A little bit of cinnamon, sugar, pumpkin pie spice and maple syrup.

The second flavor was The Plain-Jane


Just a little sprinkling of salt.

The third flavor was Spicy Chipotle.

These looked gorgeous and were super spicy.

And now for the big reveal:

Mine-left, Brandon’s-right.

Brandon wasn’t very happy with his so he declared me the victor. And while I will gladly and oh so humbly accept, I think his is pretty awesome. It just wasn’t exactly how he wanted it.

Anyone care to cast votes?

The whole gang:

He carved the face, I did the polka dots.

We always try to get a picture with our pumpkins, however, they always turn out blurry and awkward. Oh well.

a weekend to make me whole

August 31, 2010

Last week was rough. Do you ever have those weeks where everything is just off ?

Work was exhausting, I was crazy emotional, I ate terribly and didn’t exercise (not like I really do anyway), etc…

…you get the point.

Well, Friday could not come soon enough and I knew I was going to need an extra special weekend to help me recoup and refill my tank.

Thankfully, my weekend hit the spot and by Monday, I was back.

While it wasn’t anything terribly spectacular, it was exactly what I needed.

Here’s a little recap:

Friday night consisted of dinner with Brandon at Magpie’s Cafe on Main Street in St. Charles. We ate outside, talked, and just relaxed. It was the perfect way to start the weekend.

Saturday morning I got up early with my mom to go to a few garage sales. You know how much I love old stuff.

My treasures this week:

Luther’s Small Catechism,” which was an exciting find, because earlier in the summer, Brandon and I found a similar small, blue book which was a  commentary on Luther’s Small Catechism.

A beautiful copy of “Alice in Wonderland.” It’s not that orange in real life. This picture is kind of crappy.

The inside though has a charming little note which makes me love this book even more.

Helen and Kenneth just so happen to be my grandparents name. (On  my Dad’s side)

I also found this old edition of Scrabble:

I was quite  happy with my finds. Can’t wait to dig into those books and play some Scrabble!

Later that day, Brandon took me to Whole Foods. I had never been before so I was pretty darn excited. I knew I had to have a mission first or I would get swept away and its nickname -“Whole Paycheck”- would become a reality for me.

I love baking, but hate using all that white flour and sugar. My goal at Whole Foods was to pick up some healthy baking supplies so I could whip up some delicious and nutritionally packed baked goods.

Honestly, it was all a little overwhelming. I mean, the store is amazing, but the aisles are a little on the small side and maybe because it was a Saturday afternoon, but it was packed. Everyone else knew exactly what they needed and I was just standing there in awe trying to decide on what to get. I felt like I was in everyone’s way so I quickly grabbed a few things and rushed out. I managed to get a lot of the things I had in mind though.

Whole Wheat Flour, Whole Wheat Pastry Flour, Sucanat, and Spelt Flour. (all organic)

I love the bulk section at Whole Foods. These were so much cheaper than buying them regularly.

I also picked up some chocolate chips.

Can’t wait to get baking! Now I just have to decide what to make.

Question- Any bakers out there care to explain when exactly to use pastry flour? I’ve Googled it a bit, but haven’t found too much. Are there some things that it really makes a difference for or is it just a matter or preferences? I may just have to experiment.

Brandon picked up some Sushi Rice (from bulk section) and organic dried Seaweed to make, yep, you guessed it… sushi!

First assemble the team:

Cucumber, Avocado, and Red Pepper (which we cooked a little in the microwave after slicing)

A visual progression:

Then, just slice and…

… you’ve got homemade sushi!

So easy and tastes just as good as getting it at a restaurant.

Just a note- we used Alton Brown’s recipe for the rice.

That about wraps up our weekend.

Photography sidenote- Almost all pictures you see taken of food/cooking, with the exception of baked goods (which is probably at my house), are done at Brandon’s, where his kitchen has one flourescent light and zero windows. This doesn’t give me the grandest setting to take photos of food in, but, sorry for the cliche, what you see is what you get. No fancy lighting or staging or props, just real life. Where sometimes, we eat sushi from paper plates.


August 10, 2010

Oh boy.

(Caution- Skip past the first picture if you have a fear of gross, nasty, slimy, squirmy, slithering, things.)

Part of my weekend involved this:

With a little bit of this:

I will spare you the details, but I will say this- PETA would not be pleased.


In other news, there seems to be some type of virus going around.

The kids in my class are hacking up lungs and going home sick with fevers. Not to mention what’s happening with their diapers/potty situations. Not good.

I’m starting to feel the warning signs coming on so I’ve begun Operation Immune Boost.

Pretty much eat double the amount of fruits and vegetables and drink lots and lots of this:

Nature’s immune enhancer with a spoonful of honey to coat my throat. Absolutely delicious.

Anyone else ever drink this line of tea before? I LOVE IT.

For having the only ingredients being the tea leaves and herbs themselves, I am so impressed by how well they taste.    I  have the Organic Peppermint for digestive help as well and it is insanely good too.  They have a tea for pretty much any health need you may have. Seriously, check them out.

I also got a new book. This is a definite in Operation Immune Boost. Or in any operation for that matter.

I’m quite excited for this read. Definitely my kind of book.

Has anyone read it before?

Hope you have a great rest of your week. Hopefully no appendage-less friends or virus monsters visit you this week!

Happy Friday!

Tonight I was majorly craving some cookies, but knew I didn’t have all the necessary ingredients, nor did I want to bake an entire batch of cookies. So I checked out the kitchen to get an idea of the ingredients I wanted to use and then went on a Google spree, looking up different cookie recipes.

-I knew I wanted to use oats and chocolate (my favorite). And I knew I wanted it to be raw or no-bake.-

After exploring Google and all of my wonderful foodie blogs, I came across something called The 3-Minute Cookie.

Sounds perfect, right?!

I found many variations on different blogs, but it seems the original comes from Tina at Carrots ‘N’ Cake.

I was feeling a bit frisky tonight and decided to create my own version.

My Almost Vegan “Gotta Have It Now” Cookie

Combine the following in a microwave safe bowl:

  • 1/4 cups oats
  • 1 vegan egg white (mixture of 1 tsp chia -or flax- seeds and 1/8 cup water)
  • 1 tbsp natural peanut butter
  • 1/4 tsp baking powder
  • 1 tbsp rice crisp
  • 1/4 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/2 tbsp dark chocolate chips (this is what makes it almost vegan)

I knew I wanted chocolate in it, but all I had was a Green & Black’s Organic Dark Chocolate bar (70% Cocoa Content).  I just used three small squares and chopped them up into chunks…

Combine ingredients in microwave safe bowl and place in microwave for about 60 seconds…

After I took it out of the microwave, I ran the edge of the spoon along the edge and placed the bowl upside down, on top of a plate…

Let it cool for about a minute, remove the bowl and enjoy!

I’d say it was a pretty solid first attempt. Next time I will probably smash a small banana in it to make it a bit softer.

Definitely a quick (and nutritious too!) way to satisfy those cookie cravings.

Has anyone else tried a 3-Minute Cookie?

earth to table.

July 20, 2010

There is so much I want to share with you, friends.

It’s almost the end of July and I haven’t even introduced you to our little farm yet.

That post is coming, along with one on food & nutrition.

But until then, I wanted to share with you a delicious and completely nutritious meal. Using simple ingredients, straight from the garden.

Simple Bruschetta on a Whole Wheat Baguette

I love bruschetta because it is so simple to make and packed full of health-boosting nutrients. It is rich in antioxidants, cancer preventing, immunity boosting, and good for your heart, hair and skin. All in one bite!

Brandon had already collected most of the ingredients early that day, we just had to go out and pluck a few basil leaves.

I made a new friend along the way:

Our bounty:

The rest of the gang:

From the garden: Red Cherry Tomatoes, Yellow Tomato, Rosemary, Basil

From the store: Parsley, Garlic, and (not pictured- Whole Wheat Baguette)

Served with a plate of black olives:

My happy plate for a healthy meal that makes both my taste buds and my insides smile.