Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Girlsss


I think these girls have just got it going on.

Much Love,

nicole

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Life Changing Levi Jeans

I'm back from my Thanksgiving break. I took a little hiatus from blogging. But can you blame me? If you read Nicole's post yesterday you would know why! I was enjoying the warm(er) St. George weather, being around amazing family and of course- SHOPPING. I love Thanksgiving shopping, especially Black Friday but I do it the "old fashioned" way. I do not look ahead online at any of the Black Friday ads. I wait until the Thanksgiving newspaper comes and then my searching begins. I study all of the ads and decide what stores I want to go to.  The Mr. isn't a fan of this so he does his shopping online. I'm not very good at online shopping but he sure is and got some great steals.  I will then wake up super early and shop 'til I drop. I don't wait in line all day night in the freezing cold... I'm not that crazy! This year most of the stores that I wanted to shop at were opening at midnight rather than 5am which turned out to be super convenient. I was able to get some of my shopping done at midnight, go home and sleep in. After sleeping in until 9am I was back out shopping for pretty much the rest of the day. That night we were roaming around the St. George shopping outlets when Nicole decided to check out the Levi's outlet. The associate started telling us about their new jeans that fit you according to "your curve". Then I saw an ad that asked: Do you jeans gap in the back? YES!! Mine always do. I have a small waist but some junk in the trunk so my jeans never seem to fit my waist right. So I had the associate measure my "curve". I was a "bold curve". I wasn't really interested in buying a pair of jeans but I decided I would just try them on to see if they really fit as well as explained. Then what happened next was life chaning. Yes-

Life. Changing.


The BEST fitting pair of jeans I have ever tried on. EVER. Thank you Levi's. Even better... they were on sale for $34.99. Nicole and I each bought a pair and talked about how amazing they are for the rest of the evening. Best $35 I have ever spent. They are flattering, fit my waist and are ridiculously comfortable. Needless to say I have been wearing them for the past four days. (Don't worry, I have washed them in between) The only bad part is... I only bought one pair. So I just had to share with you the world's best jeans (according to me).

XOXO,

Whitney

Monday, November 28, 2011

Tidbits

Tidbits from our very happy Thanksgiving weekend







video


- Family reunion of 100+ people
-Pickle Ball, court pictured above. In our Family we like to call it old mans tennis.
-Late night "Pillow Talk" with all the girl cousins.
-Shopping
-Buying Levi Jeans, they are the best thing that have ever happened to me. Invest in them.
-Receiving unexpected texts from a boy that ask for it a month ago. Did I mention he is a junior in high school and I didn't respond because it'd actually be illegal to do so.
-Memorizing a picture slide show at 1 o'clock in the morning.
-Quoting the YouTube video from jimmy fallon. YOUUUU sneaky Mom!
-Playing cards.
-Eating delicious food.
-Spending time with the most incredible family ever.
-Having so many things to be thankful for!

Lets just say it was the best weekend ever and I was little sad to leave everyone, so we've just been heytelling each other everyday since then. Hope everyone else had as good of a Thanksgiving as I did. Lets be honest though... I bet my family beats yours cause they are the greatest and that's only one side. I just love me some family time. Can't wait till the next reunion, but until then.. we Heytell.

Much Love,

nicole








Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Is this ever okay


Is this every okay? 2002 mom jeans... cable knit leg warmers... paired with men's hiking boots.
I'm thankful I don't see this on a regular basis.

Also I'm thankful for people who heytell, it's really great to know other people do it as well.

Happy Thanksgiving!

nicole

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Soup? Again?

Yep... Soup. It is pretty much a staple at my house during the winter months. I can't help but crave soup when it is cold. Something about soup just warms me up and puts a smile on my face when it is dark and cold outside. Last night was one of those nights when soup sounded amazing. My freezer is full of frozen veggies from our garden. I also had one extra zucchini hanging around that needed to be used up. Last night my home-grown goodness became this delicious Zucchini Tortellini Soup.

What you will need:
Heat oil in a pot. Saute onions and carrots for approximately 8-10 minutes over medium-high heat. Add chopped garlic, thyme, salt, pepper, and rosemary.

Add chicken broth and zucchini and bring to a boil. My zucchini chunks are rather large because I was feeling a little lazy.  Ideally chop up your zucchini into bite size pieces.


The next 2 ingredients totally make the soup amazing.  

Homemade Canned Tomatoes

 Buiotoni Three Cheese Tortellini
Add them to your soup. Bring to a boil. Place the lid on your pot, turn down to low and let simmer for 10-15 minutes until tortellini is done cooking.

Serve with fresh parmesan cheese on top:



This soup is so delicious you really don't need anything else to go with it. The tortellini in the soup make it hearty and filling. And the best part about this soup? It tastes good and is GOOD for you! Yes, I do cook other things besides soup and goodies... but 'tis the season so other things just have to wait their turn. I love cooking but I am kind of excited to take a break this week and let family do all the cooking for Thanksgiving! Yay! Happy Thanksgiving to you all!

XOXO,
Whitney

Here is the recipe:


Tortellini & Zucchini Soup
Ingredients
· 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
· 2 large carrots, finely chopped
· 1 large onion, diced
· 2 cloves garlic; minced
· 1 teaspoon dried rosemary
·  ½ teaspoon dried thyme
· Salt and pepper to taste
· 2 14-ounce cans chicken broth
· 2 medium zucchini, diced
· 9 ounces (about 2 cups) fresh or frozen tortellini, preferably spinach-&-cheese
· 4 plum tomatoes, diced – with juice. (I used one quart of home made canned tomatoes)
· 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
· 2 tablespoons cold  butter
Preparation
1.     Heat oil in a Dutch oven/stockpot over medium heat. Add carrots and onion; stir, and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is soft and just beginning to brown, 6 to 7 minutes. Stir in garlic, salt, pepper, thyme and rosemary and cook, stirring often, until fragrant, about 1 minute.
2.     Stir in broth and zucchini; bring to a boil. Add tortellini and tomatoes. Boil for 3 minutes.
3.       Cover, reduce heat to a simmer and cook for approximately 10-15 minutes or until tortellini is cooked completely.
4.       Top with fresh parmesan cheese. Serve.


Monday, November 21, 2011

It's just that....



I really want to go to Disneyland today, and it's just that I haven't been in a really really long time.
I want to go so bad that I was considering going by myself until I decided that was a bad idea, adult by herself in Disneyland with multitudes of children = creepy... like who does that. Plus I wouldn't have anyone to take pictures of me. So instead, today I will just look at pictures of the happiest place on earth.

teacups

The cutest old man that ever lived

Just your basic Princess info

When you wish upon a star
{Images via}


Happily Ever After,

nicole

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Pumpkin Waffles with Brown Sugar Syrup

It is Sunday. Sunday has always been a special day to me because it is a day so different from the rest of the days of the week. For me, Sunday is a day of worship, a day of rest, a day with the family, and also a day of delicious food. Growing up my Dad would always make Sunday special with our Sunday dinners and I looked forward to them all week long. He not only made Sunday dinner special but he started out the day with a special Sunday breakfast. I would often wake up on Sunday to the smell of hot pancakes. As I have mentioned before, my dad is a professional chef so his pancakes aren't your usual pancakes. They are unique, delicious and out of this world. When I got married I wanted to carry on the tradition of making a special breakfast each Sunday for my family. The last few months my Mr. has had to work on Sundays so I have been slacking and just fixing the regular cereal or oatmeal for my baby and I.  Well, I was thinking that I wanted to do something special and then I thought of  my post about Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. That was the first time this season I had done anything with pumpkin. Since then my mind has been going crazy with all of the pumpkin recipes I want to make before the Holiday season is over. Today brought on the perfect chance for me to put my cravings in action! I decided I could make a Sunday breakfast and incorporate pumpkin in it some how and to me the perfect way was to make:
Pumpkin Waffles with Brown Sugar Syrup

Yep. They are just as delicious as they sound. And the syrup? A perfect compliment to the pumpkin. Here is how I did it:

First I combined all the dry ingredients:


Then I combined all the wet ingredients:
 I combined the dry & wet ingredients. Then I whipped up my egg whites and folded them into the mixture:
 I poured the waffle mixture into my hot waffle iron and let them cook for about 5 min. (While these cooked  I started making my syrup) Removed them from the waffle iron:
 Then, I drizzled them with the brown sugar syrup:
 Then, I stuffed my face!!


These waffles were even better than I expected them to be. So crispy, light, and full of flavor. The cinnamon and nutmeg really compliment the pumpkin and the brown sugar syrup?? Totally made me want to lick my plate. I think I will make this recipe a tradition each Holiday season. Plus, what a great way to start off my Sunday!! Hope you all have a relaxing Sunday.

XOXO,
Whitney

Here's the recipe:


Pumpkin Waffles with Brown Sugar Syrup



Pumpkin Waffles
Adapted from Smitten Kitchen

1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoons ground cinnamon
1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
2 large eggs, separated
1 cups milk
1/2 cup canned  pumpkin
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
Whisk together flour, brown sugar, baking powder and soda, salt, and spices. Whisk egg yolks in a large bowl with buttermilk, pumpkin, and butter until smooth. Whisk in dry ingredients just until combined.
In a mixing bowl with a whisk attachment, whisk the egg whites until they hold soft peaks. Fold them  into the waffle batter, until just combined. Do not overmix.
Spray waffle iron with cooking spray and pour batter (about 1 cup for 2 waffles, 1/2 C per waffle) Cook approximately 4-5 minutes.

Yield: Approximately 6 waffles or 3 1/2 C of waffle batter.

Drizzle with Brown Sugar Syrup. (I am sure maple syrup would taste just fine with these.)

Brown Sugar Syrup:
Adapted from several different recipes

Ingredients:
2 T butter
3/4 C brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup water

Directions:
Put brown sugar and butter in a sauce pan.
Melt together.
Add vanilla and water. 
Heat on meduim/high heat until it boils.
Turn down a touch and boil for 4 minutes.
**Note- You may want to double this recipe!**



Friday, November 18, 2011

Winter Defense


Winter months = dry skin, and staticy hair, not cool winter.. not cool. So as I was getting my daily dose of Blog Stalking in and I found this pledge with ten tips over at The Beauty Department.

  1. I will try not to let my scarf or the collar of my coat rub against my chin and cause chaffing.
  2. I will try not to take scolding hot showers but warm ones instead. Sigh. And I won’t blow the car heater onto my face, but use the vents on the floor boards only.
  3. Every morning I will start with a hyaluronic acid serum and follow it with a moisturizing cream containing SPF.
  4. Throughout the day I will refresh my face with a hydrating mist that I will keep in my purse.
  5. Every evening after I wash my face, I will apply a deep moisturizing night cream, no matter how tired I am from a long day.
  6. I will avoid harsh facial scrubs that could cause irritation but instead gently use a wash cloth to keep my cell turnover turning.
  7. Once a week I will slather a moisturizing mask all over my face for 10 minutes.
  8. I will apply and re-apply lip balm numerous times every day.
  9. I will keep hydrated by drinking plenty of water.
  10. I will wear SPF 50+ when skiing/snowboarding and try not to let my coat collar massacre my chin like last year.
The only tidbit of advice I'd like to add would be for that Staticy hair. I like to grab a dryer sheet and run it through my hair, it's a life saver so I always keep one in my purse.
Anywho, I wish you all the best in combating these upcoming dry winter months. It's always a tough fight but I always seem to get through the dry skin and staticy hair, someway somehow. It's not always pretty but I do it. Good Luck!

Happy Friday,

nicole

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Miley Cyrus- the role model?

Who would have thought that Miley Cyrus aka Hannah Montana would actually be setting a good example to other women? If you haven't heard the latest controversy, then I guess you are now! Basically, a news article mentioned that it appears Miley Cyrus has put on a little bit of weight. I don't do the whole Twitter thing but supposedly Miley Cyrus backlashed and came out on Twitter defending herself and other women. I am sure she is used to being critized, (I guess that is what comes with the fame) but good for her for standing up for herself!

As a woman I know that positive self body image can be a struggle. Many times I have to try to not  compare myself to other women. Especially women in Hollywood, it seems as though they have the perfect body, perfect hair, perfect clothing, perfect everything. There is an ideal out there that is just not realistic for women to achieve. What is most important is being healthy in your own skin and loving yourself for you. I am not always great at this but I know that when I feel healthy I am happier with myself.  Thanks Miley for the reminder that it is ok that I am not perfect and that I can love ME for ME.

XOXO,
Whitney

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

I was busy


If you are wondering why I am blogging so late today, well worry no longer. I was busy indulging in this holiday milkshake. Peppermint Chocolate Chip Milkshake from my most favorite Chick-Fil-A. It was a party in my mouth, peppermint pieces swirled into the peppermint ice cream. To Die For.
All you have to do is run along to your nearest Chick-Fil-A and try it out for yourself. And if you aren't a peppermint fan you must be crazy just try their Oreo Milkshake, you won't be disappointed.

Much Love,

nicole

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Ridiculously Moist Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

I just realized that it is mid-November and I have not made anything with pumpkin in it. WHAT?? That is just not acceptable. November is the month when you can indulge in all things pumpkin so what am I thinking! I better get with the program before my pumpkin time is up. Every November I am normally baking my super moist Pumpkin Chocolate Chip cookies. No lie, I usually make them at least every week throughout November and so far I have not even made them once. So here I am... getting my priorities straight and finally baking up these Ridiculously Moist Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies. I am serious when I say they are ridiculously moist. I have made them so many times that I have been able to tweak the recipe for an almost perfect Pumpkin Chocolate chip cookie. So if you are a slacker like me here is a fool-proof recipe to get you back in the groove. It's November people!!! Thanksgiving is just around the corner...









 If I feel like sharing them with others I will double the recipe, otherwise I would probably end up eating 4 dozen cookies! The recipe I use only makes about 2 dozen, that way I eat less! I am trying to keep the Thanksgiving lbs from packing on!

Happy Pumpkin Month!

XOXO,
Whitney



My Ridiculously Moist Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies

Ingredients:
1/4 C butter
1/4 C shortening
1 C white sugar
1 egg
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/2 can of pumpkin puree (about 1 cup)
2 C all-purpose flour
3/4 tsp baking soda
3/4 tsp baking powder
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
1/2 bag semisweet chocolate chips

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Grease cookie sheets.

In a large bowl or stand mixer cream together the shortening, butter and white sugar until smooth. Beat in egg. Stir in the vanilla and pumpkin until well blended. In a separate bowl, combine dry ingredients. Mix dry ingredients with wet ingredients until well combined. Stir in chocolate chips.

Drop by tablespoonfuls onto the greased cookie sheets.

Bake for 11-12 minutes. Allow to cool completely on a wire rack.

Yield: Approx 2 dozen



Monday, November 14, 2011

A Word to the Wise


When drinking hot coco....
Allow sufficent time to for your hot coco to cool down. (I always forget this, results= burnt tongue.)
Always add two Andes mints to your at home hot coco. 1, too little... 3, too many. 2, perfect.
Don't forget to snag two straws, provides for a more enjoyable slurp. hehehohohaha.
Seriously though... drink with two straws, its A must.

Much Love,

nicole

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Picky? Try Chicken Piccata!

My most favorite restaurant in the whole wide world is Cucina Toscana. It is an award winning authentic Italian restaurant and it is amazing to say the least. The Mr. and I go there every year for our anniversary and I look forward to it all year long. (We would definitely go more often if we could afford it!) They have home made gnocchi and raviolis that literally melt in your mouth, delicious bruschetta, delightful salads and for the main course I usually get Chicken Piccata. It is scrumptious. Then I can't wait for the Tuscan Dark Hot Chocolate.... ohhhh yum. Since I only get to have this delicious meal once a year I have tried to re-create Chicken Piccata at home. First, I watched my favorite TV chef, Giada DeLaurentiis, make it on Food Network. So, I printed out her recipe and gave it a shot. It turns out that it is just as tasty and super easy to make. Now I make it all the time for dinner and tonight my Mr. was even licking his plate!!


LOVE ME SOME CAPERS!!! If you haven't had a caper before you will fall in love. They are delicious. They are salty and pickly and add a burst of flavor in your mouth!









Here is the recipe that I use. I like to double the sauce just so I have a little extra to pour over my pasta. Trust me, you will probably want to do so as well.  Try it this week. You will not be disappointed.

XOXO,
Whitney

Chicken Piccata

Recipe courtesy Giada De Laurentiis


Ingredients

Directions

Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge chicken in flour and shake off excess.
In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 2 tablespoons of butter with 3 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.
Into the pan add the lemon juice, stock and capers. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. Remove chicken to platter. Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.