Tuesday, January 31, 2012

"Homemade" Chicken noodle soup

I love making dinner when it is simple but delicious. And sometimes I like making everything from scratch and other days I just want to take shortcuts! Sometimes those shortcuts work and sometime they don't. Tonight, I took some short cuts and made a delicious semi "homemade" chicken noodle soup. It tastes like I spent hours and hours making it but it really only took me a matter of minutes. Using a rotisserie chicken and some of my very own frozen carrots from my garden make this a cinch! Plus the best part? I had to Costco for a free Rotisserie chicken! So not only was my meal delicious  but it was cheap! Really the hardest part of this soup was chopping up the celery and the chicken, which doesn't really count as hard work because it only takes seconds to do.

Chop your celery. PHew... that was hard!
 Melt butter and EVOO
 Saute veggies
 Cut or shred your chicken

 Drain cooked pasta
 Add chicken broth to veggies and simmer
 Add chicken and pasta

 OOOH yum. Take a big bite!!

Oooh. I love it when dinner turns out to be easy and delicious. My baby girl even loves it and she is one picky eater. This recipe makes a ton of soup but I love all the leftovers because this is one thing my baby girl will eat over and over, and I am going to take advantage of that!


Here is the recipe:

“Homemade” Chicken Noodle Soup

1 Rotisserie Chicken; shredded or chopped into bite size pieces

14 oz Fusilli Pasta

6 C Chicken Broth

2 C Carrots; chopped

1 C celery; chopped

Olive oil

2 T butter

Salt & Pepper to taste

1 ½ tsp Onion Powder

1 ½ tsp Garlic Powder

2 tsp Dried Thyme

1 T cornstarch combined with 1 T water

Warm butter and olive oil together in a large stock pot over medium heat. Add carrots and celery and sauté until tender. Season with salt, pepper, onion powder, garlic powder, and dried thyme.

Add chicken broth and bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat to low and let simmer for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile in a separate pot, cook fusilli pasta until al dente, according to product instructions. Chop or shred rotisserie chicken. Add cooked pasta and chicken to chicken broth mixture.  Let simmer for 5-10 minutes.  

In a small bowl combine cornstarch and water and stir until cornstarch is dissolved. Add to chicken soup and let simmer for another 5-10 minutes.  Test taste and adjust seasonings as needed.

Enjoy! This is delicious with sourdough bread or my fabulous French bread.

Monday, January 30, 2012

stay tuned

This is the beginnings of a project I'm currently working on. Can't wait to show you the finished project! Pictures to follow this week, so stayed tuned!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Martha's Banana Cupcakes with Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting

I was craving cupcakes. It's been a couple weeks since I have made some. I don't necessarily crave cupcakes to eat them but I just LOVE baking them and frosting them. Then I try to pawn them off on family and friends so that I don't eat them all by myself! Lately I have been obsessed with peanut butter, honey, and banana sandwiches, oh so delicous. With this in mind I thought that bananas & peanut butter would make a great combination for a cupcake. So I looked through my trusty Martha Stewart Cupcake book and found a few recipes. The great thing was that I had been saving my ripe bananas in the freezer and have just been waiting to find the perfect treat to use them in. Oh my gosh, these are delicous whether they are frosted or not. I went with a creamy peanut butter frosting on mine but I think these would be delcious with a chocolate frosting or caramel buttercream. So many ways to eat these cupcakes but here are how mine turned out:

Perfect weekend treat!


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Here is the recipe:

Creamy Peanut Butter Frosting

6 oz cream cheese or Neufchatel Cheese, room temperature
1/2 C confectioners’ sugar
½ teaspoon salt
1 C creamy peanut butter
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
½ C heavy cream

1.       With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat cream cheese and sugar until pale and fluffy. Add salt and peanut butter, and beat to combine. Beat in Vanilla.

2.       In another bowl, with an electric mixer on medium speed, whisk cream until medium stiff peaks form. Fold cream into peanut butter mixture. Use immediately, or refrigerate, covered tightly, up to 2 days. Before using, bring to room temperature and stir with a flexible spatula until smooth.

Banana Cupcakes
(Adapted from Martha Stewart’s Cupcakes )

3 C all purpose flour
1 ½ tsp baking soda
¾ tsp baking powder
¾ tsp salt
1 tsp ground cinnamon
2 C very ripe bananas, mashed
¾ C buttermilk
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
¾ C unsalted butter, room temperature
3 large eggs
1 ½ C packed light brown sugar

1.       Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners. Whisk together flour, soda, powder, salt and cinnamon. In another bowl, whisk together bananas, buttermilk, and vanilla.

2.       With an electric mixer on medium high speed, cream butter and brown sugar until pale and fluffy. Add eggs, one at a time, beating until each is incorporated, scraping down sides of bowl as needed. Reduce speed to low. Add flour mixture in two batches, alternating with banana mixture and beating until just combined after each.

3.       Divide batter evenly among lined cups, filling  each ¾ full. Bake, rotating tins halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in centers comes out clean, approximately 20 minutes. Transfer tins to wire racks to cool completely before removing cupcakes. Cupcakes can be stored overnight at room temperature.

4.       To finish, frost cupcakes with creamy peanut butter frosting. Once frosted, you may keep cupcakes refrigerated for up to 3 days in airtight containers.

Friday, January 27, 2012


Today I did my nails. Seems to be pretty popular these days, but I got a hot date tonight so it was the perfect occasion to jump on the bandwagon. I had so many colors to choose from but I narrowed it down to my dark purple and gold, once again it seems those colors are another popular trend.

The Goods.


1. I started out with the usual trimming and filling of my nails.
2. Then I painted my nails with Banana Republics nail lacquer called Black Wisteria (don't let the black in the name fool you, It's really just an awesome dark purple.)
3. After the second coat of polish I immediately dipped my wet finger nails into a bowl filled with cold water for about 20 seconds. This helps eliminate all the little dings and smudges I would normally get in my nails.
4. I then grab a paper plate and my glitter (I just use craft glitter) color of choice and begin by painting my ring fingers with a third coat one at a time. So I first paint a third coat on my left nail and then sprinkle glitter onto that nail.
I then move to my right hand and paint my ring finger nail with a third coat and immediately follow with sprinkling glitter. Don't worry there will be excess but this is why you sprinkle it onto a wet painted nail and have a paper plate underneath.
5.After you have sprinkled glitter now remove the excess by just whipping it off with your fingers onto the plate.
6. now paint a clear coat onto each nail (clear coat will help keep the glitter on you nail)
7. If you have any nail polish or glitter that is on your skin I normally just wait until I get in the shower to scratch it off, because it comes off quite easily in shower. Otherwise just grab a Q-tip and dip it into polish remover and your set.

much love,

Thursday, January 26, 2012

White Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream

So I have been trying to make a new ice cream each week. So far I have made Dark Chocolate & Butterfinger which were both delicious. One day my Mr. ate the butterfinger ice cream for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Healthy, I know. This last week I was trying to come up with a new flavor that was decadent and different. I had in my refrigerator 1 lb of strawberries and somehow wanted to incorporate that into my next ice cream flavor, but I didn't want just regular old strawberry ice cream. Then I remembered that I had a bag of white chocolate chips in my pantry. I immediately though of how I loved White Chocolate dipped Strawberries and thought combining this idea with ice cream  would be stellar. So I googled it just to see if anyone else had done this and sure enough I found this recipe from Gimme Some Oven. I read it and knew that was my flavor of the week! I did change it up a little bit.

Here is the recipe that I used and I changed it up a little:
White Chocolate Strawberry Ice Cream Recipe(Adapted from Gimme Some Oven)
  • 8 oz white chocolate, finely chopped
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup low fat milk
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 1 cup heavy cream
  • 1 cup half & half
  • 1 tsp. vanilla extract
  • 2 cup strawberries, finely diced
  • 3 oz white chocolate chips (add at the end)
Put the chocolate pieces in a large bowl and and set a mesh strainer over the top.
Warm the milk, sugar, and salt in a medium saucepan. In a separate medium bowl whisk together the egg yolks. Slowly pour the warm milk into the egg yolks, whisking constantly, then scrape the warmed egg yolks back into the saucepan.
Stir the mixture constantly over medium heat with a heatproof spatula, scraping the bottom as you stir, until the mixture thickens and coats the spatula. Pour the custard through the strainer over the white chocolate. Stir until white chocolate is completely melted and the mixture is smooth, then stir in the cream, half and half, and vanilla. Stir until cool over an ice bath.
Chill the mixture thoroughly in the refrigerator, then freeze it in your ice cream maker according to the manufacturer’s instructions. Add the strawberries and remaining white choc chips about 5 minutes before the ice cream maker’s cycle is completed.

The Ice cream turned out DELICIOUS. So decadent and reminded me of a white chocolate  dipped strawberry. And look how cute it is! I think it would make a perfect Valentine's Day Dessert:


Wednesday, January 25, 2012

I am a Belieber

I know someone who knows someone that knows Justin Bieber.
What I'm trying to say is I know Justin Bieber, we are like Bff's. He might not know it yet.. but we are and I'm cool with that.

much love,


Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Valentine's Yarn Wreath

So... last week I finally caved in and joined Pinterest. I was holding out because I was worried I would spend too much time on it. Oh the things and ideas you can find on that website! So far I have loved it. It sparks a little creativity in me and makes me to want do more. (And I don't feel bad about myself if I don't, because let's be honest, I won't do everything I put on my pin boards) I found a few ideas for yarn wreaths and decided to make one. I knew for a while that I wanted to make one for Valentine's Day. I knew I wanted the color gray incorporated in it somehow because well, I'm a little obsessed with the color gray. If you remember, I started working on my wreath over the weekend and I didn't get very far. I finished it tonight and hung it up on my door. YAY!!

Here is what you will need:
 Felt (for rosettes)
Straw Wreath
Fancy Ribbon
Hot Glue

First, make your rosettes. Then, put your yarn into yarn balls. Trust me,  if you do it is much easier to
wrap your wreath.

 Glue your starting end to the wreath and get wrapping!!
 This part takes the longest. It took me approximately 1 1/2 hrs or so just to wrap my wreath. Maybe I'm slow? But I thought I was going pretty fast. (I was also watching Ellen so I might have been a little distracted. Thank goodness my little one was napping)
 After you are done wrapping add your felt rosettes.
 Then the rest of your embellishments:
 Last of all, I used some left over lace and glued it on the back so that I would be able to hang my wreath on my door.
 And VOILA! Here is my wreath on my door and everything.
I am LOVING the gray, with the cream and pink. Well, I just love gray anything. And I love Valentine's Day. I don't know why but I always have. Must be the romantic in me?

On to my next V-Day craft!


Monday, January 23, 2012

weekend tidbits

Started off the weekend with this lovely little storm.

After the storm was a little more under control we headed off to watch the jazz game. We watched it from one of the suites which is quite nice with our growing family! It was such a fun game the jazz pulled out the win against the timberwolves. Go jazz!

After the game my friend and I headed over to Dolcetti Gelato to get some gelato. I have been a few times now to know the flavors are rotated daily, and have always found a flavor I love. But Saturday night I might as well have died and gone to heaven. I walked excited to see what flavors where on the menu tonight and there was Salted Caramel! I think I passed out and went to even for the hour I was there eating the gelato. It was amazing. I wish you could taste how good it was through the picture but you can't Whit already tried. So instead just head over to Dolcetti Gelato and hope they have Salted Caramel gelato the day you go. Obviously it was a great weekend!

Much Love,


Sunday, January 22, 2012

Rainy Day

Yesterday was such a rainy, snowy, blustery day and it turned out to be the perfect Craft Day. I got together with Kelli and made/started some super cute crafts. First we went to Hobby Lobby to get all of our supplies. I have about 4 Valentine's Day crafts that I have been wanting to make. First, we made a framed subway art that Kelli found on Pinterest:

Then we started working on making a Valentines Day Yarn Wreath. Well, I made all my felt rosettes for the wreath but wasn't able to finish the whole wreath. We ran out of time since we had to make it to the Jazz game last night.

Here is a preview of my soon to be Valentine's Day wreath:

Can't wait for it to be all finished. Let's just say I may or may not have bought enough felt for a lifetime of craft projects! Ha ha.

I have 2 other Valentines Day crafts I will be making as well. Can't wait to show you.


Friday, January 20, 2012


Obviously I'm super excited to have this watch in my hands.
ps sorry for the awkward iPhone pic, but i just had to capture my excitement for you all.

much love,


Thursday, January 19, 2012

Sparkling clean - no more rinse aid needed! ~~Take that Hardwater~~

 We have been using the Kirkland brand Gel dishwashing detergent. It cleans the dishes fine but since we have really hard water we have to also use a rinse aid along with it or else our dishes come out cloudy. Lemi Shine has been our friend for the last few months and has really saved our dished from the hard water.  Well, I recently was at Costco and was in need of some dish detergent and came across the new Kirkland brand Dishwasher Pacs.

I used them for the first time yesterday. I figured that I would try them first without the help of a rinse aid just to see how well they worked. I was a little weary about it. I mean a pack of detergent? Seems so small! And you don't unwrap it? Well an hour later when my dishwasher was done I hurried and opened it up. My dishes were literally SPARKLING clean. No hardwater cloudiness or grime. This made me so happy. I no longer have to use rinse aid and this is really going to save me some $$$. (Thanks for being there for me when I needed you Lemi Shine but it's time to say goodbye!) I will never go back to any other dish detergent, I never thought dish detergent could make my day! I just had to send my Mr. a text to tell him about it. He was excited too... seriously. Best dish detergent I have ever used, I highly recommend it, especially for those of you with hard water. It does wonders.


Wednesday, January 18, 2012


I think my sister in law aka whitney is a little rude.

I clicked on the image to get this picture in my face....

Obviously Whitney knows of my obsession for Audrey. She keeps taunting me with her face remember the last post I did about Audrey, well much thanks to Whitney for sending me that picture of a picture of her and this picture of a picture of her. Probably payback for when I threw her under he bus a little bit ago for not blogging. It's fine though because ya know what a picture of a picture is good enough for me especially when I went ahead and just purchased this baby....

After recent events of loosing my other nixon watch I figure I better get one more in case I lose one again... or did that just increase my chances to lose my watch to 2 instead of just 1... hmm.
Oh well I'm happy with it as well as with my audrey picture from whit. all in all it's been a good day.
P.S. I really don't hate Whitney, not even a little bit I love her and her taunting text messages. She told me she was really just being considerate and letting me know where I can find her... I believe her.

Watch Happy,


Tuesday, January 17, 2012

May the odds be ever in your favor

First of all... I just finished reading the last book in the Hunger Games trilogy. Now what am I supposed to do? I wish it didn't have to end...ever. Yep, I loved it that much. Possibly more than Twilight, yes, I just said that. But on a positive note... the movie comes out in 66 days.

And second of all, my marathon training officially started up this week. So far it is not anything real different  from what I already do every week. I actually normally run longer distances during the week so I am feeling pretty prepared at this moment but then again it is only week 1. We will see how I feel around week 5 when my Friday long runs start increasing from 12 miles+.  I just have to keep positive - my positive for this week's training? I'm getting new shoes! I have had the same shoes for 3 years and they have lasted me that long!! Can't wait to see what shoes are waiting for me at the store.

Here is my schedule for this week:

3 m run
5 m pace
3 m run
cross train 

Happy Training!


Monday, January 16, 2012


My personal favorite/best dressed of the golden globes.... Channing Tatum. This could be due to my excitement for the vow which is coming out on valentines day. None the less I thought he looked quite handsome last night presenting one of he golden globes.
I just wasn't really a fan of many of the dresses this year they weren't bad but I wasn't blown away.

much love,


Sunday, January 15, 2012

Do's & Dont's of Dark Chocolate


Make some homemade Dark Chocolate ice cream in your new icecream machine. It is decadent and delicious.


Think that you love dark chocolate so much that you buy yourself the darkest of dark chocolate that is 90% cocoa. It tastes like chalk. And you will be gagging.

Enjoy one square of Dark Chocolate with Sea Salt per day. Besides, a small amount of dark chocolate per day is good for you.

Hope you are all having a fantastic weekend!


Friday, January 13, 2012


The life of an online college student-
Listening/Watching video lectures. The joys.
Not having to get ready until it's hang out time, which leads me to my next point.....
Not having a social life. The best.
Rocking a high bun everyday.
And that's about all the upsides of the online student life I can think of right now. Although not much else could beat the above list.
R U Jealous?

much love,


Thursday, January 12, 2012

Cucina Toscana

Its my anniversary today. We are celebrating four amazing years of marriage. I can hardly wait for our tradition tonight. Every year so far for our anniversary we go to dinner at my most favorite restaurant in the whole world... Cucina Toscana.

Seriously, it is amazing. They hand make their pastas. The gnocchi and the ravioli literally melt in your mouth. The bruschetta? The best. And don't even get me started on the Tuscan Dark Hot Chocolate that they serve to you after your meal. I can't wait to over indulge on everything. I just might have skipped lunch today so that I could stuff my self silly tonight. Ok... I did skip lunch but I want to make the best of it because we only go once a year. (Too expensive otherwise) But I love that we only go once a year because it makes it that much more special and I don't care that we go to the same place every year for our anniversary... I hope that is our tradition until the day I die!


Wednesday, January 11, 2012


Last Sunday I was in primary when my team teacher? asked me what time it was.. I looked to tell her the time when I noticed I didn't have a watch on. Suddenly my mind began racing and I couldn't remember packing it in my purse. I kept thinking about where it could be but my mind kep going to the nightstand at the Hilton hotel in costa mesa from our trip. I went home from church and I tried to not think about the tragedy that had unfolded. I even decided to not unpack my purse because I didn't want to actually look and have a confirmation it was lost. If I didn't look, there would still be that possibility of it being in my purse. foolish I know. So later that night I calmly and discretely went to my room to finally find the whereabouts of my watch. I was saddened to find it no where in my purse, nor my suitcase... I even went to the lengths of searching all my pockets. I finally sat down with a lump in my throat and maybe even a tear on my face to say a quick and sincere (yet maybe silly to some) prayer to help me know where to look for my watch and maybe I even threw in a please just let it appear? I ended my prayer and decided I would search the Internet for the exact same watch because I was willing and desperate to have it again that I would consider buy another one. After no luck of finding my same watch online I got an even heavier lump in my throat. I then had the thought and feeling to tell me my mom and ask her to call the hotels lost and find and see if they had it there, which was out of the ordinary for me seeming I have been taught ever since I was young to not leave anything in the room because it could be stolen. So I finally got the guts to tell my mom of my stupidity. I told her and she said something like oh no, well do you know where you left it. So I told her the hotel and that it was probably on the nightstand. Then I got the second gust of courage to mention something so stupid in my family I knew the response but I asked her to call lost and found anyways. Like I had expected my mom said that they probably wouldn't have it because somebody would have already taken it. I responded with a "but what if they didn't this time, mom could we at least just try." Mother responded with an unassuring "yeah I guess we could." Monday came around and more and more I knew it would be at the lost and found if we would just call. That night after class I asked my mom if she would call the hotel tomorrow to see and she agreed. Well Tuesday night came around and she still hadn't called, she apologized and said she would call tomorrow (ignore the fact that I'm an adult and could have called on my own) Well tomorrow came and it was 8:00 pm and she still hadn't called, finally I told her to just call right then. She did and it was late enough that when they transferred her to lost and found it was the answering machine, so mother left a description of the watch and then we just had to wait. Well the next morning came around and I ate some breakfast and then went into my room to get ready for the day when my mom in an excited voice walked down the hall and said nicole, nicole guess what! guess who called! The hilton called and they have your watch and they are going to send it to us! I was shocked, amazed, relieved, ecstatic, and beyond happy. I knew I had that feeling for a reason and that if we called the called the hotel it would be there! and it was. Thank goodness.

 Receiving this package today was just as amazing as hearing the lost & found had my watch. I am so so grateful and thankful for the maid who cleaned room 347 if I knew who she was I would probably send her a year supply of cookies. I seriously just had Christmas all over again on January 11.

a very thankful,