Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Wedding Planning Tools from Google

For any of you out there currently wedding planning - Google Docs is now offering a suite of wedding planning tools and templates. Go here to check it out!

The husband and I used Google Docs a LOT when planning our wedding last year - it was much easier to access while not at home and made it easy to keep up with the changes each of us was making. I would have loved these easy to use templates though! :)

Monday, February 15, 2010

Busy Valentine's Day Weekend!

It appears that I am not destined to post during the week! School/work/applying for post-graduation jobs is just keeping me too busy.

But I had a great weekend and got to try out three places (some new to the area, some have been here for years - I just hadn't made it to them yet) in Chapel Hill and Raleigh. And I got a snazzy business suit for some upcoming job interviews! :) So all in all a good weekend.

On Saturday night the husband and I met up with two good friends at Isaac Hunter's Taven in downtown Raleigh. It's located on Fayetteville St. - right by the Capitol. It opened late last fall and I've been wanting to check it out for a while. It's name is inspired by the original tavern located where Raleigh now is and reportedly it was there that the politicians decided to put the state capitol in Raleigh (back in the early 1790s!). We had a great time -the bar is much bigger than you'd think when you first walked in and we particularly loved that they had a shuffleboard, darts, fussball and a Wii set up to play with! My husband likes having something to do at the bar other than just sitting and we happily had a small wii bowling tournament among the four of us! Check out the website here! I tried a Cherry Bounce drink - which supposedly would have been served at the original Tavern. It was pretty tasty :) The Raleigh Connoisseur discusses the drink a bit more here if you're interested!

On Sunday - after coming home from church to a beautiful bouquet of flowers and chocolates from my wonderful husband! we headed to Chapel Hill for brunch. We ended up going to Ye Olde Waffle House - which I've walked past many times on Franklin St. but never gone to. It was quite good - I had the french toast which was quite good and husband got the Big Omelet which he liked. Overall we really enjoyed it but there was less quantity than we got at Elmo's the week before (and no coffee while we waited!). But I'm glad we finally got there. The Waffle Shoppe has no website but it's on Franklin St. right next to Four Corners.

We also checked out Caffe Driade Sunday afternoon - husband is very into coffee and has been wanting to try it out for a while. It was a really fun place - tucked away in the woods - and our cappacinos were delicious :) It seems like the perfect place to chat or get some serious studying/schoolwork done!

Oh gosh this was a text heavy post - I need to start taking pictures when we go places! I'll do better I promise!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Elmo's Diner

photo from: www.durhamphotos.wordpress.com

This morning the husband and I had brunch at Elmo's Diner in Durham. I had had dinner at the one in Carrboro, but never gone to the one in Durham (or had breakfast at either!). I got pumpkin pancakes that were TO DIE FOR! The husband got an omelet that was filled with sausage and bacon - he somehow put it all away! We are already making plans to go back for dinner sometime soon.

If you want to check it the website is here: Elmo's Diner.
The one in Durham is on 9th St. and is fairly big - we only waited about 10 minutes on a Sat. morning for breakfast - and the best part was that they had a big pot of coffee at the front that you could grab some coffee while you wait!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Long Time, No Post

Ack - time has run away from me and it's been over a week since my last post! I've been quite busy since then so I thought a run down in pictures would be more exciting than words.

Over a week ago, one of my friends hosted a fabulous fondue party at her house - we were stuffed by the end:
And then a week later, one of my good friends and I went to Florida to visit another very good friend. We watched the sunset shortly after landing (she lives on the Gulf Coast):
Went to a tiki bar:

Went to the beach (it wasn't quiteee tanning weather):

Went to another tiki bar:

Saw lovely spanish moss and palmettos:

Played at an aquarium and was a turtle:

And had an all around great time!!! It was very fun to just get away and have a ladies weekend. We arrived back in NC on Monday - just missing all the crazy snow. But there was still tons at the airport when we landed - the husband was quite sad he got snowed in without me all weekend!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Using yogurt in baking

For some reason I keep trying to like vanilla yogurt. Mainly because it comes in such a lovely large container size unlike most other flavors. Yet - everything I try it it is just not what I'm looking for. But I didn't want to toss out a whole container of yogurt. So I thought that a simple google search would pull up an easy recipe to utilize a lot of the yogurt.

I found an oatmeal raisin muffin recipe on the Dannon website - and thought that sounded perfect! I doubled the recipe and froze half the muffins - and left out the raisins because I didn't have in the house. They came out really well and are a bit healthier than a normal muffin.

Oatmeal Raisin Yogurt Muffins

  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup old-fashioned rolled oats
  • 1/2 cup firmly packed brown sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons double-acting baking powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup raisins, plumped
  • 1 cup Dannon® Light 'n Fit® Vanilla, Cherry Vanilla or Strawberry nonfat yogurt
  • 1 large egg, beaten lightly
  • 2 Tablespoons canola oil


  • 1. Preheat oven to 375°F.
  • 2. Lightly grease 1/2 cup muffin tins or use paper liners. In bowl stir together flour, oats, brown sugar, baking powder, salt, cinnamon, and the raisins; in another bowl whisk together yogurt, egg and oil.
  • 3. Stir the yogurt mixture into the flour mixture and stir the batter until it is just combined.
  • 4. Divide the batter among 10 cavities and bake the muffins on the middle oven rack for 22-25 minutes.
Yields: 10 Servings

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Finch's Restaurant

Raleigh has a few hidden gems for restaurants. Today I got to finally eat at one of them. After church one of my good friends suggested grabbing lunch at Finch's - a breakfast/lunch place that has been around for over 50 years. I jumped at the suggestion since I had yet to go. It is located on Peace St. right by the Capital Blvd. on-ramp. Set back a bit, it definitely is your standard quick order place- walk in, seat yourself and pick from a delicious assortment of breakfast and lunch choices -most of which are under $5! My friend got her favorite- french toast, which looked delicious. And I got a club sandwich (for only$4!).

I recommend checking it out - it's a great place for a quick bite and it's a big place so you never really have to wait, even on a Sunday after church. Just be sure to have cash - that's all they take!

I couldn't find a website for them - but here's a link to the page on google: Finch's

Friday, January 15, 2010

My "Wife" Cut

Today - after not having it cut for over 8!!!! months - I finally got my hair cut. I am calling it the "wife" cut - even though I've been married for 6.5 months now! I got it cut at the Aveda Institute in downtown Chapel Hill and I thought the girl I had did a fabulous job! It's a school, so you get your hair done by students (supervised by an instructor of course!) and so it's cheaper than a normal salon. I was really pleased by my experience.


And after!!! I love it :)

Spaghetti Carbonara - Low Carb style

ok so ours didn't look quite that amazing (and I'm a bad blogger and didn't take a picture of the final product - but it looked tasty, I promise! so tasty I forgot to take a photo!) (photo from www.stan-burger.com)

The other night (I meant to blog this then but...life gets in the way sometimes!) I made spaghetti carbonara for my husband and I - mine with noodles and his with spaghetti squash! Spaghetti squash is a really awesome substitute for noodles and we've used in a few different pasta dishes so he can enjoy too. It doesn't have a lot of flavor - so it takes on the flavors of sauces and toppings really well!

I followed this recipe from Emeril off Food Network.com


  • 1/2 pound bacon, chopped
  • 1 tablespoon chopped garlic
  • Freshly ground black pepper
  • 1 pound fresh spaghetti, cooked al dente
  • 4 large eggs, beaten
  • Salt
  • 1 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
  • 1 tablespoon finely chopped fresh parsley leaves


In a large saute pan, over medium heat, cook the bacon until crispy, about 6 minutes. Remove the bacon and drain on paper towels. Pour off all of the oil except for 3 tablespoons. Add the garlic. Season with black pepper. Saute for 30 seconds. Add the crispy bacon and the pasta. Saute for 1 minute. Season the eggs with salt. Remove the pan from the heat and add the eggs, whisking quickly until the eggs thicken, but do not scramble. Add the cheese and re-season with salt and pepper. Mound into serving bowls and garnish with parsley.

I simply split the recipe in half and had two different pans to mix one half with spaghetti noodles and the other half with spaghetti squash.

Spaghetti squash is super easy to cook - just cut in half - take out the seeds and then coat each side with a little olive oil. Then put cut side down on a baking sheet and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes. Then flip over and bake for another 20-30 minutes. Then just scrape the insides with a fork and you have "Spaghetti!"

Sunday, January 10, 2010

A bittersweet project

My main project for this weekend was putting away all the Christmas decorations - which is always a little bittersweet to me because I love the holidays and the decorations help brighten up the house during the cold winter. (ok so in NC it's not normally THAT cold...but this year it is!). I managed to get most of it away yesterday - I just have a mini fake tree to pull down today and our main tree is still standing, bare, ready to be laid by the curb tonight for pickup by the city.

I picked up "holiday" colored storage bins at Target last week - unnecessary to get the colorful ones, but they were on sale and they're more fun! :) Just two bins held all our first Christmas stuff...knowing my shopping habits though that wont last long!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Tasty Rave!

I usually eat Trader Joe's hummus (b/c it's so cheap and yet so yummy!) But I picked up some hummus (traditional) at Harris Teeter yesterday and it is deliciousssss.

Thursday, January 7, 2010


My husband and I are trivia junkies - and luckily so are our friends! For the past year and a half a group of us have been playing trivia at Tir Na Nog in downtown Raleigh on a fairly regular basis. Sadly, last night was my last night of trivia for four months because I have a night class starting next week :( We didn't do as well as usual - but we had a gift card from previous winnings to spend, so it was a fun night nevertheless :)

If you're looking for trivia in the Raleigh area, I definitely recommend checking out Tir Na Nog - it's held every Wed. night at 9pm. There are a lot of other trivia nights in the area at other places as well - I might have to do some exploring into other ones so I can still get my weekly trivia fix! :)

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Dinner Tonight

I made orange peel chicken tonight - I kind of winged it. My husband loves it but regular orange peel chicken has sugar and orange juice in it and he does a low carb diet so this is changed a bit for him.

3 chicken breasts - cut into bite size pieces
4 green onions, chopped
2 tbsps or so of soy sauce
1 garlic clove
3 tbsps of vegetable oil
1/4 cup of water
~.5 lb. of snow peas - boil for 3 minutes and then rinse in cold water before adding to the pan.
4 oranges' worth of peel
1 tbsp. splenda (or sugar)
2 tbsp. of garlic chili sauce

I heated up a large saute pan with the oil and heated up the garlic over medium high heat. After the garlic browned ever so slightly, add in the green onions, soy sauce, water, garlic chili sauce, and splenda, turn the heat down to medium. Let it cook for 5 or so minutes to reduce down. Then add the chicken and orange peel. Cook until the chicken is done and add in the snow peas. Cook for another minute or two, until everything in coated. Serve over rice, or plain!

Monday, January 4, 2010

My present for following through

This is the reward I got for actually getting up a half hour earlier than normal for work to do yoga:

The sunrise over our neighborhood.

Plus I felt so awake and good this morning at work (despite it being monday!) - let's hope I can keep it up!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Happy New Year!

We started the New Year off with our two good friends at Tobacco Rd. Sports Bar and Cafe in downtown Raleigh! :)

Starting the new year off

Goals for 2010

1. start a blog. even if it’s just a picture a day at first - I think it will be a neat way to remember all that happens over the year. plus I read blogs all the time and I feel greedy not contributing something of my own! (so check! blog started!)

2. graduate with my master’s - on track for May!

3. exercise 3 times a week in some way shape or form.