Friday, April 29, 2011

Lincoln Time!

We are in Lincoln, Nebraska for the weekend so the hubs can compete for a spot on the national guard marathon team again. I will be running the half along with our friend Sean who is home on leave. Wish some luck for the PA team, my hubs, Sean and myself!
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Thursday, April 28, 2011

Now Back to Your Regularly Scheduled "I Nailed It"

OPI for Sephora "special request" please pardon my alien toes.
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Happy Easter Everyone!

For those of you able to spend time with your family I hope you have a blast and for those of you with deployed loved ones, its 1 day closer to them being home!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Don't Worry Ladies!

Now ALLLLLL of your man will be protected lol. US Soldiers to Get Bulletproof Underoos!

I Got Em!

I am sooooo excited to sport these puppies. My toes are wiggling in anticipation. Im pretty sure this is me in a running shoe. Now i just need to wear them in before Lincoln next Sunday! Ps after more than a year in our house i have finally decorated lol. More on that later :)
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Top 25 Restaurants in Pittsburgh: 3 Down

 You may remember that one of my New Years resolution's is to eat at all of the restaurants on this list and so far I have made it to three. Hopefully this will increase drastically since I can come out of hibernation since its spring.

    First Dan took me to Iovino's Cafe for Valentines Day.
I feel kinda weird taking pictures of my food if I think people are going to see me lol and this place was cozy so I don't have any. The food here was excellent! We had the Crab Cake as an appetizer. I had Pancetta Salad with baby arugula, toasted pancetta and pecans, Chianti poached pears, house made gorgonzola dressing. For my Entree I had Pan Seared Sea Scallops with linguini, spinach, shiitakes, sweet porcini cream sauce, apple and roasted pepper salsa. It was absolutely amazing but rich. Dan had a French Onion Soup and the Grilled Center Cut Rib Eye horseradish mashed potatoes, zucchini, crimini and pancetta hash, house made au jus. He ate it all so it was good!  We then enjoyed Key Lime Pie Gelato and Creme Brulee for dessert.  Would definitely go back here!

    A few weeks ago we went to Typhoon for a girls night out.
Their menu is pretty extensive and they even had a special of sea urchin that night! It was $18 and no one else was willing to try it with me so I passed!  They had a delicious drink menu, I had a Lychee Martini. They were rumored to have the best Pad Thai in Pittsburgh so I got that.  The rumors were true! Very good and unlike any other Pad Thai I have ever had. It is also probably the most expensive Pad Thai in Pittsburgh ha.  For $6 cheaper I enjoy the Thai Place's Pad Thai also.  The atmosphere was super modern and clean.  I would go back again to try different things also.

    One of my good friends Rachel graduated Grad school this week so we went to Dinette to celebrate! I was super excited because the chef there was a James Beard  Rising Star finalist for the last two years.  This place specializes in thin crusted pizzas. They  have beer cans for $1 too!  I started off with the Bibb Wedges salad with red onions, bacon, and a creamy gorgonzola dressing.  I could have eaten about 10 heads of lettuce with the dressing on it and the saltiness of the bacon was a perfect addition to the salad.  I got the Fingerling Potato Pizza. It wasnt what I expected it to be. I still ate the whole thing and it was good ha but I think next time I will get the Prosciutto Pizza instead.  Their menu changes daily so maybe something more delicious will pop out at me!

Anyway for the next reviews I'll try to take some pictures!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Guest Post: BUI Yellow Cake with Dark Chocolate Frosting

    My good friend Mark called me on Thursday and was already sort of drunk and said he was going to bake a cake. I told him if he took pictures he could be a guest post ha! Thanks Mark- I wish I could have been there to try some!
    A little background Mark and I have been bffs since 9th grade when we got sat next to each other in Science.  Since then we have gone to college in different cities but Mark has always been there for me over these past 12 years (wow). Anyway Mark has evolved into Martha (or Marktha) Stewart with peen and he is excellent at organizing, baking, decorating, and pretty much anything crafty. Mark this post is in Penn State blue for you :)
Mark and I at my rehearsal dinner
 Here is the recipe and Mark takes it from here. Please be sure to read his tips following the recipe :)
Yellow Cake
2 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature plus more for pans
1 ½ cups all purpose flour, plus more for pans
1 ½ cups cake flour (not self-rising)
1 T baking powder
½ tsp salt
1 ¾ cups sugar
4 large eggs
2 tsp pure vanilla extract
1 ¼ cups milk

Dark Chocolate frosting (follows)

Preheat the oven to 350 F.  Butter two 9-by-2 inch round cake pans; line the bottoms with parchment paper.  Butter parchment, and dust with flour, tapping out excess; set aside.  Into a medium bowl, sift together flours, baking powder, and salt; set aside.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat the butter and sugar until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in eggs, one at a time, then beat in vanilla.  With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture in three parts, alternating with the milk and beginning and ending with the flour; beat until combined after each addition.

Divide the batter between the prepared pans, and smooth with an offset spatula.  Bake, rotating the pans halfway through, until cakes are golden brown and a cake tester inserted in the centers comes out clean, 30 to 35 minutes.  Transfer pans to a wire rack to cool 20 minutes.  Invert cakes onto the rack; peel off the parchment.  Re-invert cakes and let them cool completely, top sides up.

Using a serrated knife, trim the tops of the cakes to make level.  Place one layer on a cake plate, and spread top with ¾ cup dark chocolate frosting.  Place the other cake layer on top.  Spread the entire cake with remaining frosting, swirling to cover in a decorative fashion.  Cake can be kept in the refrigerator, covered with a cake dome, for up to 3 days.  Let cake sit at room temperature for 20 minutes before serving.

Dark Chocolate Frosting

1 pound best-quality semisweet chocolate, finely chopped (I used Callebaut)
6 T Dutch-process cocoa powder
6T boiling water
3 sticks unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup confectioners’ sugar
Pinch of salt

Place chocolate in a heat proof bowl set over (but not touching) simmering water.  Turn off the heat; stir occasionally until chocolate has melted completely, about 15 minutes.  Set bowl on countertop, and let chocolate cool to room temperature, 25 to 30 minutes.  Meanwhile, combine cocoa powder and boiling water in a small bowl; stir until cocoa is dissolved.

In the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter, confectioners’ sugar, and salt on medium-high speed until light and fluffy, 3 to 4 minutes.  Add melted chocolate; beat on low speed until combined, 1 to 2 minutes, scraping down the sides of the bowl as needed.  Beat in the cocoa mixture. 

The Details:
The beverage of choice was a Pink Russian.  Delicious and easy.  Mix equal parts Chambord, good Vodka, and cream, shake over ice and strain into a glass.  

 The key to any good cake, for me, is something with lots of butter, and this fit the bill.  There were 2 sticks in the batter, and 3 in the icing.  It should be room temperature!
 The recipe I used was from one of my favorite books, “Martha Stewart's Baking Handbook.”  It starts by having you butter the pans, line the bottom with parchment paper, butter the parchment, then flour.  A couple tips:  The easiest way I find to fit the parchment paper perfectly to the pan, simply place the pan on top of the paper and trace the pan with a very sharp knife.  If you get the tip of the knife slightly under the pan it will glide along the edge and cut out a perfect circle.  Second, butter the parchment before you put it in the pan so you can hold it still.
You start the batter similar to a cookie dough and cream the butter and sugar, then add the eggs.  It will be semi stiff.

Next you alternate the sifted dry ingredients with milk.  Another tip: To prevent over-mixing but still getting a well mixed product I like to make my first addition of dry ingredients the largest so the last one is pretty small and incorporates quicker.  The end batter is pretty stiff, and it can actually hold the beater upright.
 Divide the batter equally between the two pans and smooth with an offset spatula.  VERY IMPORTANT.  Pay extra attention to make sure the batter is perfectly level.  The cake rises and sets the same way it was put in.  It does not level itself out in the oven.  I didn’t do it perfectly and my cakes came out slightly uneven and required extra trimming.  
The icing was really easy, although I wish it was a bit thicker.  You creamed the 3 sticks of butter with powdered sugar, and then add 1 pound of cooled melted semisweet chocolate.  Then you add a slurry of cocoa powder and water.  This adds an intense chocolate flavor, which by itself makes the icing kind of bitter so I’m not sure if I would add that again (this could also what makes the icing thinner) .  However, the intense chocolate flavor is balanced AMAZINGLY with the sweetness of the cake.
 Final tip: if you are going to ice the cake directly on the beautiful platter your maker (note from Jules- I am what Mark calls his maker, ala True Blood, because he says I made him gay :p) bought you, slide a few pieces of parchment under the cake and carefully slide them out when you’re done icing for a clean platter.
To continue the drinking I served the cake with a delicious champagne drink consisting of champagne, Midori, and a cherry
Maker bought champagne flutes too :)

Hope everyone enjoyed Mark's guest post - Thanks again Markie! 




Tuesday, April 12, 2011

I'm It!

I was tagged for 10 things I love :)
10 Things I love
The rules are as follows:
1.- State who tagged you.
2.- State 10 things you love.
1. The hubs
2. My family and Friends
3. Our pups and really any dogs
4. Ice Cream and FroYo
5. Cupcakes
6.White Wine and American honey
8.Cooking and Baking

3.- Tag ten friends at the end of the post and notify them through a comment.

Ashley @ Life After the Aisle
Kayla @ Stethoscopes and Dogtags
Mrs. Monkey @ A Monkey in the Navy
Christina @ Skip to My Lou
The Mrs @ The Diary of A Mrs.
Guinn @ Guinn and Bare It
Mrs. Stethoscope @ 5ks and Chardonay
Jayme @ The Cherry Chronicle
Lauren @ Going The Distance: An Air Force Couple
Whispering Writer @ Airing My Dirty Laundry, One Sock at A Time

Friday, April 8, 2011

My 100th Post! BUI: Trav and Jules' Diabeetus on Stick

First all I just wanted to say thanks everyone for reading! I can't believe I hit such a bloggie milestone. To all of my new followers (and old ones too) please feel free to introduce yourself!

A bit ago I made these cookies- sooo delish

chocolate chip impregnated by oreos!
  Which got my friend Travis and I we came up with  these which are cookie dough balls (no egg in the batter- I used a bit of milk instead), stuffed with a mini oreo ball, dipped in chocolate and pretzel peices or Diabeetus on Stick for short.  I also had a major eff up and at the end with the chocolate so I just smushed some mini M&Ms on then instead of chocolate.

I take things to work so I dont eat them all
To make these I used my favorite recipe for chocolate chip cookies:
  • 1 cup (2 sticks) butter, softened
  • 1 cup white sugar
  • 1 cup packed brown sugar
  • 2 eggs*
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 3 cups all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 2 teaspoons hot water
  • 1/2 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees
  2. Cream together butter, white sugar, and brown sugar until smooth (this tastes amazing by itself). Beat in the eggs one at a time, then stir in vanilla.  Dissolve baking soda in hot water, add to the batter along with the salt. Stir in flour and chocolate chips. Drop by large spoonfuls onto ungreased pans.
  3. Bake for about 10 mins or until edges are nicely browned.
** Now if you are not going to bake these and make diabeetus treats then do not add eggs. Instead mix everything together and then add a few splashes of milk before adding chocolate chips to make the dough moist.**

Ok now you have made the cookie dough so we need to make the oreo truffles to put inside them.
Oreo Truffles
  • Food processor
  • 1 package of Oreos
  • 1 stick of cream cheese
  • 1 bag chocolate
Put oreos in food processor until they form a powder the consistency of coffee grounds. Break up the cream cheese and add to the the Oreo powder. Blend until it forms a dough ball. Afterwards it helps to put this in the freezer for a bit so that it is easier to scoop out the balls.  Form into balls and dip into melted chocolate (Ive found making a double boiler with a glass bowl and a pan of water works the best).

    To make diabeetus treats use a 1/2 tablespoon measuring spoon to scoop out oreo truffles. 

 Take some cookie dough and stretch it around the truffle until completely covered. Put the stick in the middle of the ball of delishness, dip into chocolate and roll into broken pretzel pieces. Freeze to set up the chocolate. Enjoy!

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

We Went Out Last Night

Oh boy! My friends and I do a intramural sports league called PSL and this season we are playing kickball.  We usually try to arrange a happy hour before games to blow off some work steam and chat with each other.  We had our first game yesterday, except it was cancelled but a few of us were already on the way by the time we heard sooooo we went to happy hour anyway. The bar was awesome but nothing pretty to look at ha. The drinks were cheap, they had free hot dogs for happy hour, the food was great (they have many varieties of pierogies!).  We made friends with the regulars (yinzers) who bought us lots of drinks and shots (we were the only girls in the bar!) and had a great time for a few hours. They have a nice little outside space which would have been nice if it wasnt pouring outside.  We are looking forward to going back! OH and they have many varieties of 5lb food ha- hot dogs, hamburgers, gyros, pierogies.  If you can eat them in an hour they are free!

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Fill In

Don't forget to link up @ Wife of a Sailor!

1. What romance movie scene reminds you of your s/o or spouse and the LOVE you share? submitted by Simply Sunshine and Daisy’s
Cliche but just the love they have in the movie The Notebook2. If you were allowed to deploy with your husband to a war zone would you and why? submitted by I & J
I would as long as the base wasn't a bunch of plywood with a wall around it.  I would go with him because I think that seeing him everyday would make the deplyoment much easier. Obviously you would still have the worry when he goes out on missions but seeing his face would make it alll better.

3. Have you ever done anything (intentionally, or unintentionally) to embarrass your spouse/significant other in front of his military cohorts?  submitted by Marrying the Navy
Ummm probably..I am really good at embarassing myself. Im clumsy, I run twice as slow as him, sometimes my brain and mouth dont connect properly ha.

4. What is your most irrational fear? submitted by Eights on the Move
Omg stink bugs. If you dont have them you should be redonk happy becasue they are ruining my life. If you want to know more about them, google them, becasue I cant even look at their pictures.  I am terrefied of them becasue I just envision one flying into my hair and getting stuck. I am pretty sure my body has a self destruct button and that would be the trigger.  A bug about an inch big would make my body kill itself yes.

5. If you could only live in one kind of climate for the rest of your life, what would it be and why?  submitted by Many Waters
ahhhhh somehwere with a beach that is warm becasue I hate being cold and I think putting toes in the sand would make any day better.