Oct 292014
 

A few weeks after our wedding the certificate finally arrived. I was slightly disappointed that it wasn’t an actual certificate and just an official form that had been certified. Kinda lame, but whatever. I took a half day off from work to go to the Social Security Office and DMV to get that done first.

I have to say, the SS office is hell on earth. The DMV was actually fine. That took like 30 minutes, start to finish, and they had like 9 or 10 people working the counter so the line moved very quickly. Social Security? Not so much. I got there about a half hour after they had opened and the place was full.

There were people standing, there were a few empty seats but they were so scrunched together I felt claustrophobic. The waiting room sucked. Why did they have to make it so awful? The chairs were all in a line (similar to the photo below) in four rows. Who creates a waiting room like this?

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The chairs were all facing the same direction, looking at basically a wall and the screen updating the numbers. Hell on earth. Seriously. The numbers moved at a snail’s pace and seemed to have no rhyme or reason. People were coughing, sneezing, there were kids fussing, there were angry people arguing with the workers. Ugh. Just awful. I was there for nearly an hour and a half and 5 minutes of that was the ACTUAL process of changing my name and getting a new card. 5 minutes. The rest was waiting; feeling like your number is never going to be called.

But, the good news is that it’s done and I am now officially Mrs. W!

For our 1 month anniversary (I know, I know, eye roll) I cooked us dinner at home and I also made Michael his favorite drink–an Old Fashioned. I’ve never made it before so I did my research and I bought some fancy bitters to make it official! Here is the recipe I used:

Old Fashioned
Prep time: 
Total time: 
 
From: http://liquor.com/recipes/bourbon-old-fashioned/#.
Ingredients
  • 4 dashes Angostura Bitters
  • 1 tsp Sugar (or 2 sugar cubes)
  • 1 Orange wheel
  • 1 Maraschino cherry
  • 1 splash Club soda
  • 2 oz Bourbon
Instructions
  1. In an Old Fashioned glass, muddle the bitters, sugar, orange wheel, cherry and a splash of soda. Remove the orange rind, add the bourbon and fill with ice.
  2. Garnish with a fresh orange wheel and cherry.
  3. Old Fashioned drinkers are divided on the question of muddling the fruit. To prepare the traditional version, muddle only the sugar, bitters and splash of soda but keep the fruit as garnishes.

I didn’t quite get the muddling down, I need to give it another try. Other than that, it was pretty easy to make and Michael loved it! I’m so glad.

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For dinner I made us a baked gnocchi dish and used our new French Onion Soup LeCreuset bowls that we got as a wedding gift. They were perfect for this recipe. No, I did not make the gnocchi from scratch. I’ve never done that before and while sometimes I think I want to give it a try, I also kind just want to use the easy stuff from Trader Joe’s…

Baked Gnocchi with bacon, tomato and mozzarella

Prep Time: 30 minutes

Cook Time: 30 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour

Yield: 3-4 servings

Calories per serving: 820 for 3 servings

From: http://simply-delicious-food.com/2013/07/16/baked-gnocchi-with-bacon-tomato-and-mozzarella/

Ingredients

  • 500g store-bought gnocchi
  • 250g bacon, chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 teaspoon smoked paprika
  • 1 400g tin chopped tomatoes
  • 1 tablespoon tomato paste
  • handful cherry tomatoes, halved
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 2-3 tablespoons cream/yoghurt
  • large handful fresh parsley, chopped
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 100g mozzarella, sliced

Instructions

  1. Pre-heat the oven to 200°c.
  2. Bring a large pot of salted water to the boil.
  3. In the meantime, make the sauce.
  4. In a large, hot frying pan, fry the bacon until starting to crisp with most of the fat rendered.
  5. Pour off most of the fat then add the garlic and smoked paprika and fry for 30 seconds.
  6. Add all of the tomatoes and the sugar and allow to simmer for 5 minutes.
  7. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the cream/yoghurt, parsley and seasoning.
  8. Cook the gnocchi in the salted water until it starts floating to the top. Remove with a slotted spoon and add to the sauce.
  9. Transfer the gnocchi and sauce to an oven-proof dish and top with the sliced mozzarella.
  10. Place in the oven and bake for 10 minutes until the mozzarella is melted and golden.
  11. Remove from the oven and allow to rest for 5 minutes before serving.
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The recipe was pretty easy to make. I cooked the bacon and when it was time to add the tomatoes I used canned tomatoes from my garden! It was so cool to be able to finally use them for something and they worked great. I am so glad I spent the time the summer to can all of those romas.

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The recipe called for either cream or yogurt. I thought I had some plain Greek yogurt (because I almost always have some on hand) but I was out! I panicked for a second and then googled what alternatives I could use. I found a website that gave some other options and one of them was sour cream–which I did have on hand. So I used about 2 tablespoons of that and it added such a rich, tangy flavor pretty similar to what plain Greek yogurt would have done. It was amazing.

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The recipe claimed to be 2-3 servings. When I was measuring everything out I thought it was more like 4 servings. But when I spooned everything into the Le Creuset bowls it turned out to be three generous servings. I love our new bowls! They worked perfectly for this. I baked them for about 15 minutes (using the broiler for the last 5 of those) to brown the cheese on top.

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It smelled so good. But then, doesn’t bacon always smell good?? So whenever I do a new recipe I always check the calorie count online first. Sometimes I disregard certain recipes if the calories are too high. This is the ONE TIME I didn’t do that first and of course, the calories were a lot higher than I’d normally like. Oh well, it was fantastic….so worth it! Look at this dinner:

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It was so amazing and an easy enough recipe to make for a dinner party and impress everyone. Michael loved it. I loved it. I wanted to keep eating it. This recipe was a winner! Michael mentioned that adding some fresh basil would be nice and I agree. Next time I’ll add some fresh rosemary and basil to the recipe.

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We sat at our bar in the kitchen and ate our delicious dinner, listening to some jazz music. Michael enjoyed is Old Fashioned and I broke out the mini bottle of champagne that we got on our wedding night from the hotel manager that we never actually drank. To one month! Cheers!

I will most definitely be making this recipe again. When I do, I will portion it out into 4 servings instead of 3 and I’ll serve a spinach salad with it or something. That will reduce the calories in the dish dramatically. It’s a heavy dish, so reducing it a little and making a salad would make sense. Make this recipe! You won’t be disappointed.

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Oct 212014
 

You know what’s nice? Going to a wedding you didn’t have to plan and you can just kick back and relax and enjoy it. :) It’s so nice not having ANY wedding things to plan or obsess about or think about. Suddenly I have all this free time and it’s SO NICE. Life feels calm and relaxed and just…nice. You really don’t realize how much it takes over your life until you’re in the middle of it.

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Over the weekend my cousin Joey got married here in Portland. Him and his fiance, Cat, had moved to Denver a few years ago but the wedding was here. The wedding itself was at a church in Lake Oswego (I was happy it was a nice, sunny day after a week of rain! As a recent bride I know how stressful it is checking the weather forecast!). Check out their sweet ride!

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Then the reception was at a country club in West Linn. The wedding started at 2pm because the drive from the church to the reception was kind of a long one. The country club was gorgeous and nestled in between farms and ranches and rolling hills. It was beautiful countryside I’d never seen before.

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The reception was actually in the tent-looking building next to the club (left in the photo). It was a big space and there were a ton of tables but still room to move around and not feel crammed in there. I’m not sure how many guests were there, I’d guess 200? Definitely bigger than my wedding. It was a cool space. There was a dance floor in the middle, too.

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My aunt, the mother of the groom, used to own her own floral business and she did the flowers for the wedding. She did a great job. They were really beautiful. Some of them were dahlias, like my wedding. Awwwww. :)

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The best part about the wedding was that we were guests! And could have fun and socialize and actually talk to people we didn’t have much time with at our wedding last month. It was nice. Things were so chaotic at my wedding and I felt badly that I didn’t get more time with each guest. This was the perfect opportunity to see everyone. I even got to see one of my cousins, sister of the groom, that I hadn’t seen in several years.

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And there was a photo booth! Michael and I actually got to enjoy it, too. Unlike our wedding where I never actually got to use the photo booth, I used this one. So did my parents.

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photo

So did Grandma. :) The diva. She loves those photobooths.

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They had a live band, a pretty talented guy who I’m guessing was a Dave Matthews Band cover band? They played a bunch of DMB and then other songs and there was a DJ, too, that would play music when the band took a break. It was a fun vibe and everyone was dancing up a storm.

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Dinner was buffet, chicken or steak with blue cheese, two different kinds of salad, broccolini, potatoes, bread and fruit. I got the steak and a few potatoes. The salad had candied walnuts, blue cheese and apples in it. The cake was vanilla with I think raspberry filling? I didn’t eat a ton and I only had 2 glasses of wine and one glass of champagne for the toast. I don’t think I did too much damage to my diet..I guess I’ll know in a few days when I do a check-in on the scale. My hope is that all the dancing burned off some of those calories!

It was a great wedding and Michael and I had a lot of fun catching up with people, talking about our honeymoon and kind of reliving the best parts of our own wedding. Everyone was so sweet and complimentary about our wedding and that made me happy—all the planning had been worth it.

It was so cute seeing the new couple so happy, too. Made me a bit sentimental. :) Awww weddings.

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