Sunday, October 31, 2010

My Little Pumpkin



Happy Halloween! I hope you all had a wonderful weekend! Just wanted to share a few pics of my sweet baby as a pumpkin. I am sure you have seen enough Halloween costume pictures, but I couldn't resist!

After all the pictures, someone was not happy with mommy!

Friday, October 29, 2010

Dear Santa

Dear Santa,
Now that Halloween is almost over and Thanksgiving is near, I wanted to go ahead and send you my list. I 'm easy this year there is only one gift I want- this beautiful Louis Vuitton Purse. And don't worry I've been good!
Love,
Natalie


Happy Friday! What's on your Christmas wish list?

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Barefoot Contessa Strikes Again + Middle Eastern Salad


Any of you avid cooks know that Barefoot Contessa's new cookbook, How Easy is That, came out this week. I had already read a great article about it in House Beautiful (love that magazine) and watched her cook some recipes on the Today show that looked fabulous. I couldn't wait to pick it up and start cooking! There are so many recipes I wanted to try but I started with this simple salad, Middle Eastern Salad. I had most of the ingredients already at home and true to her word it was easy to make. This salad is filled with chick peas, tomatoes, cucumbers, fresh feta, parsley, mint and basil! It is delish! Ina recommends serving this with hot pita bread, so I am going to try that today, but it is amazing all by it self! I think this salad could also be great served at a party with pita chips as a dip, since it is more of a chopped salad. Either way it will knock your socks off!



MIDDLE EASTERN SALAD
- 10 SCALLIONS, WHITE AND GREEN PARTS THINLY SLICED
- 1 POUND RIPE TOMATOES, SEEDED, CORED & 1/2 INCH-DICED
- 1 HOTHOUSE CUCUMBER, HALVED LENGTHWISE, SEEDED & 1/2 INCH-DICED
- 1 CAN OF CHICKPEAS, RINSED AND DRAINED
- 1/3 CUP CHOPPED FRESH PARSLEY
- 1/3 CUP CHOPPED FRESH BASIL
- 1/3 CUP CHOPPED FRESH MINT
- 1/2 CUP FRESH LEMON JUICE (4 LEMONS)
- 1 TABLESPOON MINCED GARLIC (3 CLOVES)
- 1/2 CUP GOOD OLIVE OIL
- 8 OUNCES GOOD FETA, 1/2 INCH-DICED
- TOASTED PITA BREAD FOR SERVING

PLACE THE SCALLIONS, TOMATOES, CUCUMBER, CHICKPEAS, PARSLEY, MINT AND BASIL IN A LARGE BOWL AND TOSS TO COMBINE.

IN A SMALL BOWL WHISK TOGETHER THE LEMON JUICE, GARLIC, 2 TEASPOONS SALT AND 1 TEASPOON PEPPER. SLOWLY WHISK IN THE OLIVE OIL TO MAKE AN EMULSION. POUR THE DRESSING OVER THE SALAD, TOSSING GENTLY TO COAT ALL VEGETABLES. ADD THE FETA, SPRINKLE WITH SALT AND PEPPER, AND TOSS GENTLY. SERVE THIS SALAD WITH THE TOASTED PITA BREAD,.

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Girl Crush


I have always thought Olivia Palermo was gorgeous. Once she started filming The City, I loved her style even more but she seemed so snooty and bitchy. I can and will look past her personality (or lack there of) and envy her impeccable style. She always looks so chic and put together. I wish I could browse through her closet one day, I am sure it is insane. I gather so much style inspiration from her! Maybe, just maybe, she is nicer in person than she appears on TV?? Do you love her or hate her? Either way I am loving this girl!


These are new pics of Olivia from this week, how fabulous does she look? I love her sleek new haircut and I die for that fur vest and vintage looking clutch! Also loving the skinny black jeans. Once again, an amazing ensemble!

Photos: whowhatwear.com and pacificcoastnews.com

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Taylor and Jake????


Is this for real??? I just read on People.com, which is usually a pretty reliable gossip source, that Jake Gyllenhaal and Taylor Swift had been seen hanging out. Not just hanging out as friends, cuddling and more. WTF, Jake you can do so much better! You can't even take her to a bar to grab a drink!! I'm pretty sure she is not even 21 yet. I actually like Taylor Swift, I think she is cute and super talented and I really like Jake- what a hottie, have you seen the shirtless pics of him filming the King of Persia??! But what a random couple! I bet Reese is getting a good laugh over this!

You can check out the article on People HERE
photo: people.com

Organizing by the Rainbow

Yesterday after Matt was already at work, I realized my keys were locked in my car. He couldn't leave work to bring them to me, so I was stranded all day. I was so bored, no trips to the grocery store, Target or any errands. I decided to take advantage of my time while Sterling napped and clean and organize my kitchen. I cleaned out my pantry, polished all the stainless appliances, organized drawers and mopped. A very productive nap time. I was inspired by Megan at Honey Were Home's bookshelves. They are organized my color and look gorgeous! Unfortunately we don't have any bookshelves, but I do have an abundance of cookbooks that I decided to organize. I love the result, it makes me happy to look at this rainbow on top of my fridge. If you had seen the top of my fridge before covered with baby food, dog food, cookbooks, jugs of water, etc- this is a huge improvement!



I also found one of my mom's old silver trays and used it to arrange my salt and pepper and oil shaker. I think this brings a bit of glamour to the kitchen!

Sadly, my kitchen only stayed immaculate for a few hours, once the dog came inside, the hubby got home, and dinner was cooked it was kind of a mess again!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Just Call me Martha

My sister-in-law turned the big 30 this weekend. In honor of her birthday and to help her celebrate I made her these delicious Pumpkin Cupcakes with Cream Cheese Icing.

They take literally like 5 minutes to mix and make- icing them takes a bit longer, but still they are super easy. This recipe comes compliments of my girl Martha Stewart, who I strive to be like (minus the jail time of course), she is so organized and a genius in the kitchen.
I substituted sprinkles instead of candy corn. I found these cute sprinkles in the dollar section at Target and thought they would be perfect on the birthday cupcakes.

I highly recommend you make these cupcakes if you have a Halloween Party coming up, everyone will be impressed!
Print this Recipe: PUMPKIN CUPCAKES WITH CREAM CHEESE ICING

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm on a Boat

We finally took Sterling on his first boat ride this weekend! He really loved it and didn't even cry once. This made his daddy very happy because he is boat obsessed and was worried about his son not loving boats as much as he does. We had a lovely afternoon cruising around. This time of the year is just gorgeous here!

Matt's pride and joy, his boat, AKA "peanut". Sometimes I think he loves this boat more than us:)

Matt's requirement to take the boat out, fried chicken and Bud Light. I did manage to sneak some LaCrema for me (it's hidden in the Perrier bottle, the captain prefers no glass bottles on his boat)!

Loving his first boat ride!

our self portrait

Cuddling with my little man- it was quite chilly out on the water!

Helping daddy drive the boat

Trying to get a smile out of my little man, useless when the camera comes out. Normally he is so smiley but once he sees the camera, he is all Mr. Serious.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Monogram Obsession



I love, love, love a monogrammed outfit on a baby! While I was pregnant, I had so much stuff monogrammed that Matt said he was scared I was going to monogram the baby when he came out. If we have another boy, I am seriously considering choosing a name with the same initials so we can reuse all of the stuff I monogrammed for Sterling. I couldn't resist sharing these sweet pictures of my little man in his monogrammed outfit yesterday. I mean how cute is the royal blue corduroy jumper with the red monogram:)
I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Roasted Carrot and Ginger Soup


I love making homemade soups. They are usually pretty easy and healthy. This recipe comes from one of my favorite cookbooks (I have mentioned it before) The Comfort Table by Katie Lee Joel. At first the hubby sneered at this so-called carrot soup, but after he tasted it, he was sold. This soup is rich and creamy. The combination of carrots and fresh ginger is out of this world good!

ROASTED CARROT AND GINGER SOUP

- 1.5 LBS CARROTS CUT INTO LARGE DICE (ABOUT 4 CUPS)
- 2 TABLESPOONS OLIVE OIL
- 1 TABLESPOON UNSALTED BUTTER
- 1 MEDIUM YELLOW ONION DICED
- 1 TABLESPOON FINELY MINCED FRESH GINGER
- 2 BAY LEAVES
- 1 QUART CHICKEN BROTH
- 1 TABLESPOON FRESH LEMON JUICE
- 1 TABLESPOON WORCESTERSHIRE
- 1/2 CUP PLAIN YOGURT
- MINCED FLAT LEAF PARSLEY

PREHEAT OVEN TO 400 DEGREES AND LINE A BAKING SHEET WITH PARCHMENT PAPER. TOSS THE CARROTS WITH 1 TBLS OLIVE, SALT AND PEPPER AND SPREAD IN SINGLE LAYER ON BAKING SHEET. ROAST UNTIL FORK TENDER ABOUT 20 MINUTES.

MEANWHILE IN A DUTCH OVEN OR STOCKPOT, HEAT THE REMAINING OLIVE OIL AND BUTTER OVER MEDIUM HIGH HEAT. SAUTE THE ONIONS, GINGER AND BAY LEAVES UNTIL THE ONIONS ARE TRANSPARENT, ABOUT 5 MINUTES. ADD THE CHICKEN BROTH, LEMON JUICE, WORCESTERSHIRE, 1/2 TEASPOON SALT AND 1/2 TEASPOON PEPPER, AND BRING TO A LOW BOIL. ADD THE CARROTS, REDUCE TO A SIMMER AND COOK ABOUT 10 MINUTES. REMOVE THE BAY LEAVES. USE AN IMMERSION BLENDER OR TRANSFER IN BATCHES TO A BLENDER AND BLEND UNTIL CREAMY. ADD THE YOGURT AND BLEND TO COMBINE. SERVE GARNISHED WITH FRESH PARSLEY.

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Master Bedroom Update

I am in the (long) process of updating our master bedroom and making some changes. I have do it in stages because it is too darn expensive to buy everything at once. Now that I am a stay at home mommy, we don't have quite the money flow that we used to. My sister gave me a zebra rug that she had bought for her house, but that didn't work in the space. I don't know about you but I love zebra! I immediately brought it home and put it in our bedroom and I love it. It is amazing how one new piece can make a room seem so fresh and new. Next on my list recovering the yellow chair, some new artwork, and I would really love an upholstered headboard.



Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Blog Love and Cheesy Green Chile Taco Pie


As you all know I love cooking! I just found a new cooking blog that I had to share. It is Kitchen Belleicious. Jessica is a sweet southern girl, stay at home mom to a baby boy, and an avid cook! We have alot in common, so I knew I would like her blog! She also has a second blog she just started called Belleicious Kids. It features kid friendly recipes for all you mommies. She is currently trying to win the Pink Bake for the Cure Baking prize, so stop by her blog and leave a comment to help her out!

Last week I made her recipe for her Cheesy Green Chile Taco Pie and it was amazing! My husband and I loved it! You know I love a Mexican meal and this one did not disappoint! The homemade green chile cornbread bottom mixed with the flavors of the beef and veggies was insane! I highly recommend you try this recipe!!



Print this Recipe HERE

Monday, October 18, 2010

8 Months and Pumpkins


This weekend we went home to Charlotte because my poor mom broke her arm and had to have surgery. I thought a little visit from her grandson might cheer her up. While we were home Sterling turned 8 months old. I can't believe how fast this year is flying by! I love this age so much! We have finally mastering sitting up and I am certain crawling is soon to come as my baby boy is very antsy now.

While we were in Charlotte we went with my sister to pick out pumpkins for her front porch and couldn't resist the obligatory pumpkin photo op.



We then tried to recreate our own photo shoot with the pumpkins we bought but somebody was tired and not enjoying all the photos we were taking. I couldn't get him to smile for anything or even look at the camera! Oh well, maybe the hubs and I will take him to the pumpkin patch this weekend, since he didn't get to join us in Charlotte.



Thursday, October 14, 2010

Am I a Cougar?

Today at Chick Fila the guy ringing me up called me 'mam'. I appreciate his politeness, but I mean really, do I look like a 'mam'? I was at the drive thru too, so he couldn't even see that I had a baby in the back. It made me feel very old.

I also have a huge crush on Zac Efron, which is probably wrong because I am almost old enough to be his mom. Well, techically I would have had to had him when I was 10 or 11, but he is still way young. And if you are wondering, yes I did go see 17 Again in the theater just to see him on the big screen. So does that make me cougar? If loving Zac Efron is wrong, I don't want to be right. But don't worry I will never be one of those moms wearing a Zac Efron t-shirt waiting outside the studio to try and catch a glimpse of him. I'm way too cool for that. I will however continue to talk about how young and hot he is to my hubby just to keep him on his toes.

PHOTO: WWW.TOPNEWS.IN

Only saving grace today is I was carded while buying wine- thank god! Someone doesn't think I am a 'mam'! Someone in fact thinks I look 21 or just didn't want to get fired for not asking for id:)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Zucchini Bread



With fall here (although you wouldn't know it by the temperatures) and summer over, I had an abundance of extra zucchinis left from the farmers market. I was tiring of steamed zucchini, so I thought I would bust out a recipe for one of my favorites treats, zucchini bread. I love all breads, I don't discriminate. I do however try not to make them too often because I can easily eat half a loaf in a day, and my waistline does not appreciate that! This recipe is super easy, it took me like 10 minutes to make and it is so delicious! It is is great by itself, but it is melt in your mouth good when you eat it warm with butter and a touch of honey. Enjoy!

ZUCCHINI BREAD
-2 Eggs
-1 cup sugar
-1/2 cup oil
-1 cup grated unpeeled zucchini
-1 teaspoon vanilla
-1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
-1/2 teaspoon baking soda
-1/2 teaspoon salt
-1/8 teaspoon baking powder
-1 1/2 cups flour

Beat eggs, sugar, and oil together. Add zucchini and vanilla. Mix the rest of the dry ingredients together and add to the zucchini mixture until blended. Bake in a greased and sugared loaf pan at 350 degrees for one hour. Sprinkle top with a little sugar.
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Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Somebody Stop Me

I am about to spray paint my whole house white. My love affair with white gloss spray paint continues. My newest project is a mirror my mom was getting rid of. It was pretty heinous before but a cute shape and size. I thought the white spray paint might modern it up. I think I was right, It looks much better now. Still trying to decide where to hang it. For now it is above the wine rack in my dining, but the white paint kind of blends with the gray walls so I am thinking of moving it. I am sure there will be more white spray paint projects to come.....
THE BEFORE:

THE AFTER:

Monday, October 11, 2010

It's a Nice Day For a White Wedding

It is official Matt's sister is longer a Mason, she is now a Hawk. We are thrilled for her and her husband Rob. The weekend went perfectly, great weather, amazing food and drinks, and most of all wonderful company. It was so nice to have two nights out with a babysitter for Sterling. Only downside I got about 4 hours of sleep both nights because we got in so late, oh and I was attacked my mosquitoes Friday night, the joys of living near water. I managed to stay awake long enough for Desperate Housewives last night and then I was out until this morning. Honestly it was the best night of sleep ever because I was so exhausted. Sterling must have been tired too because he was still asleep at 7:15 and had not moved from the spot I laid him in his crib last night (normally he flips and rolls and is in a completely different spot in the morning). Here are a few pictures from our fabulous wedding weekend!

Pre-Rehearsal Dinner

The bride to be carved all these amazing pumpkins (its two people kissing)

The view from the tents at the Rehearsal dinner

Bridesmaids

me and the hubby

the happy bride and groom to be!

our standard self-portrait, you can tell we have had fun!

me and my sister and brother- love my family!

Family portrait before we head to the wedding, Matt did tie his bowtie for the wedding!

The bride, her cousin and me

Proud Parents, The Masons

me and my Mother-in-law

The bridesmaids, she let us pick out our own black dresses to wear and gave us the necklaces as gifts

Mr. and Mrs. Hawk

outside the church post wedding (you can tell I have already enjoyed some champagne)

Matt and his besties from high school