♡ All finished!
It took many nap times, but I finished! Hopefully Eric likes it and it looks good with the Stanford diploma in his fancy new home office! He deserves a nice present for all of the hard work he has done. Now to just get it framed... ♡♡♡
Bacon Wrapped Lava Filled Yummies!
So I decided to make Eric a treat last week and put together an amazing meal that tested my skyllz. I tried a bunch of new things like roasting the garlic before I added it into my mashed potatoes, and cooking fillet mignon and getting it to medium rare and wrapped in bacon! Then I thought it would be fun to try to make my own kind of lava cake with the compote fruit topping that Eric always loves. For the compote I just chop up strawberries, mangoes and add some orange juice and sugar. Then I just simmer it down while I cook until it is a tasty sauce. I guess that is a compote? I dno, I just made it up. Anyway, check out the photos and click on the mini galleries to see their captions!
Who Wants Some Fried Chicken??
My dad gave us a fancy griddle for our wedding. As soon as we unwrapped it Eric wanted fried chicken! So, a few days later I decided that I would see what I could do! It was early enough in the morning to thaw our Costco chicken breasts and soak them in a milk bath with lots of garlic, paprika and honey. That afternoon I put paprika, garlic powder, onion powder, pepper and a few secret things into a mixing bowl and whisked the seasonings in with the flour.
I then pulled the strips of chicken breasts out of the milk bath, dredged them in the flour and seasonings and then popped them in the pipping hot oil in the skillet. For a first attempt at fried chicken, it was pretty dang perfect! Crispy, golden brown, a little sweet, a little spicy. We dipped the strips in honey and enjoyed the chicken with green beans with caramelized onions and herb infused mashed potatoes. I think this was Eric's favorite dinner thus far! Check out the pictures of the experimental process!!
I am proud to announce that I have cracked the code! The other night Eric and I had a craving for paninis, but all we had was frozen Costco chicken, a can of peeled tomatoes, shredded taco cheese, a lonely onion, and a bag of spinach. Just your regular fridge full of bleh food. But enough bleh food to potentially be able to render out some form of awesome paninis.
So, taking a note out of Alton Brown's book, I thawed the chicken just under one hour by letting lukewarm water trickle into the Tupperware of water with the frozen chicken. I guess the transfer of heat energy in then out of the water speeds up the thawing process? I don't know.
Anyway, after that I "brined," the chicken in salt water with Italian seasonings, dried onion, garlic, pepper and a bit of brown sugar for sweetness. The salt helps the Chicken open up its little pores and drink in the yummy flavors.
I let that brine while I sauteed the canned taste out of the tomatoes and caramelized the onions. I like my onions just barely caramelized, where they're still crunchy, you know?
Then I took the chicken out and plopped it onto our new Calphalon griddle. (aka my new favorite thing) I covered the top of them with more dried onions, waited until it was time to flip them and then sprinkled the other side with them too. I love how crunchy, sticky and sweet the crust from dried onions can be.
Then I put the bread on the grill with a little bit of oil and garlic salt, sprinkled the cheese over the bread, laid on the chicken (now golden brown and sliced) and smushed another piece of bread on top. We don't have a panini smusher, which is a bummer, so I did all the smushing with my spatula and grilled the sandwiches on both sides.
The Sandwiches turned out to be AMAZING! :)
Eric couldn't eat his fast enough. Hooray for first time panini success!!
Lazy Saturday Mornings are the Best!
Today is our first lazy Saturday morning (Not afternoon, though. Because errands :) in our house! We have gotten so many cool kitchen things that I have been dying to try. So I decided to make waffles with a bit of cinnamon and vanilla splashed in with a spinach scrambled egg. Eric was TOTALLY fine with that idea. Haha, so while he played FIFA World Cup (he would like me to add that he does not play video games all the time) I got to play in my new kitchen!
It tasted really good! And Eric liked it a lot to. He also ate it really quickly Haha.
Afterwards, I made this blog post and Eric and Bailey got back to their FIFA pwning, or something like that. Bailey likes to lay on the back of our couch and hug his head. ♡ Yay for Saturday mornings!
P.S. Eric is wearing a coat since our heater likes to think that 62° is a reasonable temperature to wake up to.
The Princes Do Vegas!
A few weeks ago, Eric and I decided to go to Vegas to celebrate my new job! We both love EDM and dancing, so what better place to let loose? We stayed at our favorite hotel, The Venetian. We love it there because you don't get lambasted with the icky side of vegas. (This side is, of course, the backsides of the ladies which adorn everything on the strip. We don't much go for that.)
They were super nice and upgraded us our room when they saw we were military. I LOVE the decor here. And of course white sheets at a hotel are a must. Eric has been to Venice and I spent a semester studying it's art and culture (from a classroom... boo!) So we both just LOVE the ornate halls and cute shops built to look like the Rialto.
We like to hit up Casanova Ristorante, they definitely have a tasty menu, but the restaurant I will tell you about below is MUCH better. We also love the delicious gelato shop, Cocolini's, in the middle of the courtyard where there is always live music being played in the evenings. They have a great selection of amazing gelato flavors. You can't walk past it without getting some at least once!
Our NEW favorite place to eat in the hotel is called Trattoria Reggiano. It is this little hole in the wall restaurant that is ALWAYS packed for dinner, so we decided to try it. The food was absolutely amazing. Totally authentic Italian cuisine. The Italian maître d' loved chatting with Eric about his travels through Italy. We ordered the caprese salad to start which came with luscious, fresh mozzarella imported from Italy daily. They also had imported Italian Basalmic Vinegar and Olive oil which was to die for. I ordered the pesto gnocchi with pine nuts and Eric ordered the Quattro Formaggi pizza. All of this was mouthwateringly delicious; and the prices are reasonable too :)
On the first night we saw Zarkana, a Cirque du Soleil show at the hotel/casino, Aria. It was my second time at a Vegas show, but Eric's first. He was skeptical, since he definitely isn't a theatre gent. But the acrobatics, music and amazing visuals sucked him in. I had seen LOVE previously at the Mirage, and there was little to no crowd participation there. (and I was fine with that since I usually find that sort of thing a bit camp) Zarkana used its spritely characters to mess around in the audience while people were finding their seats. Then the two goofy gentlemen brought a pretty girl on stage (as seen in the picture below) and had a pretty charming routine with her on stage. I thought it was charming enough to be worth the campiness. ;)
The next night we wanted to get in some good EDM time at a club with adequate temperature control, as is so often difficult to find. We decided to go to the Marquee nightclub at the new hotel/casino, Cosmopolitan. Ashley Wallbridge was DJ for the night, we could have seen a few other bigger names, but went for the option that would probably be less crowded. Marquee was gorgeous, the sound was great, the temperature was perfect and the outdoor areas were to die for. There were beautiful views of the surrounding hotels making the night perfectly romantic and awesome.
All in all our impromptu Vegas weekend was totally worth it. We got to enjoy the Bellagio fountain together and spend time soaking in the sun as well as in our own private little pool at the TAO Beach day club. (public pools at day clubs are, once again, not my fave. So finding our own little private area was a total win) Vegas can totally be done without venturing into the trashier netherlands of its culture. We will definitely be making another trip! Especially since it is only 5 hours away from our house in Utah! Ciao!
ALWAYS scan for great groupons or living social deals when you are thinking of planning a trip. There were so many 50% off deals we were able to score for quick lunches and services. It worked for us!
So lately I have been missing the heck out of this:
Like... really missing having him around... So I think I get to treat myself to some of this:
(strawberry, mango, banana, and almond milk smoothie!)
While cuddling with this:
It'll work for now :) Happy Friday!!
Eric & Stephanie's First Christmas!
This Christmas was so special for us. It was the first official Christmas that we could spend together and it was also the first Christmas that we spent in our new house. The spirit of Christmas was so strong this year! The snow, the icicles on our roof, the smell of baking cookies and the family we were able to be with all blended together to create an amazing Christmas spirit. This is our blog post documenting all of the awesome times we had during "Our First Christmas," 2014!
I kept my presents a secret from Eric by wrapping them at work! My OCD goes a bit crazy when it comes to gift wrapping...! We decided to spend the morning of Christmas Eve alone together. It was the first time that we had actually been together on Christmas!
As part of Eric's Christmas present I splurged and bought bacon to have with our Christmas breakfast. I also scrambled some eggs, seasoned with a dash of garlic salt, chopped onions, some pepper and melted sharp cheddar over the top. I made whole grain pancakes, plain for the first batch and chocolate chip as a special surprise when he wanted second helpings. And on the side I put out some yummy diced peaches!
Below is a pic of Eric's face when I served the food. Gotta love that bed head and those sleepy eyes!
Now for presents!! I got Eric some great Nautica dress socks because I LOVE how it looks when he wears a clean dark suit, but has that flash of color when he crosses his legs and his socks show. Is that weird? I also got him a super awesome tie that can work in any season! Eric was ALWAYS complaining of how his wallet was uncomfortable to his bum, and lately I had noticed that the compartments were literally only held on by a thread. So I found this gorgeous bifold wallet by Kenneth Cole. It still had tons of compartments and a flap for his ID, which I know he likes. He LOVED IT! Yay! I also gave him some great indoor-outdoor slippers. They're great for when he has to take out the garbage in the snow. You can see those on his feet in the picture below.
For Christmas Eric got me a whole suite of ski gear!! He got me a matching set of gloves, hat and neck gaiter by Columbia. They are so fuzzy and gorgeous! He also got me a ski suit that fit perfectly and ski socks! (Pink of course)
He also got us a Groupon for an Ice Skating double date, because he knows Ice Skating is my favorite! Last but not least, he framed a photo from our honeymoon. Over all it was a wonderful first Christmas in our first home together <3
Above is a peppermint chocolate chip milkshake for a treat before we headed to his parent's house. (made in our new ninja blender. Get one. They're amazing)
We had to buy all new ornaments for our cute little fake tree (which was also new) P.S. Being newlywed is expensive! The angel on top of the tree was given to my by my grandma when I was just a little girl. Bailey is afraid of it because it's arms move. lol
All in all, we feel so blessed to be where we are in life right now. We have wonderful friends with beautiful hearts, loving families with warm welcoming arms, and a beautiful home that we can call our own. Thank you to everyone who celebrated the beginning of our new life with us. The love and celebration surrounding our wedding has helped kick off what has become the best four months of our lives. Love to all!
Honeymoon in Kaua'i! Pt 1
In between our Utah and California ceremonies, Eric and I spend two amazing weeks on the Island of Kaua'i. After three months of house buying, moving, job finding, wedding planning and more we were SO ready to press pause on life and relax. Or at least I was. Eric wanted to climb every mountain on the island.
So we compromised ;)
For the first night we stayed at this sprawling estate vacation rental. Which was REALLY nice, don't get us wrong, but they hadn't been super upfront in their correspondence with Eric. We ended up having to stay in an older structure than they had promised, the pool wasn't lit, the owners were living right across from where we would be staying and there was tons of gecko poop in the house! So we decided on the second day to switch to a resort. BEST IDEA EVER. Click on Read more to continue reading!!
Wedding Photo Shoot!
Eric's cousin Catherine took our wedding photos today! Eric had the billiant idea of shooting at Silver Late in the mountains. The sun and light was absolutely perfect and the scenery was nothing short of EPIC! was so mad that I couldn't be the one behind the camera, but Catherine ended up being totally amazing. We pinned a bunch of inspiration shots to Pinterest before hand and she was able to totally recreate the look we wanted. We are feeling so amazed at how wonderfully everything is turning out. <3
Happy Birthday, Eric!
Today is Eric's birthday! Woohoo! lol
Cynthia, Gary, Michelle, Mathew and Aubrey all came over to celebrate Eric's day and to enjoy a super yummy dinner made by Cynthia. Eric is NOT very into birthdays, but I thought it would be nice to take a break from wedding planning and make him his favorite dessert: Skookies! I used the uh-mazing recipe on the underside of the Quaker Oats lid and instead of nuts or raisins I just added chocolate chips! Pulled them out of the oven while they were still soft and gooey and quickly scooped a big dollop of vanilla bean ice cream on top. The finishing touch was a drizzle of melted chocolate over the Ice cream, which hardens to be a yummy crunchy treat!
Since he totally deserves a cake, I made a HUGE cookie with happy birthday wishes on it in chocolate :) He may not like a big fuss, but when it involves s huge cookie covered in ice cream I think he was willing to make an exception!
After 2 years of dating