Thursday, March 31, 2011

Chili Popcorn

I have had a lot of fun with my last two posts (the video of Ollie and I singing and pictures from our honeymoon), but now it is time to get back to posting some recipes! Today I have probably the easiest recipe on this blog. However although it is easy, it could easily take the number one spot as one of the best recipes on here (that is, if it can beat the Samoa Cookie Recipe)! My friend Lauren made this popcorn for a movie night we had with our newly married group from church and I was instantly addicted. I ate so much that I had a belly ache the entire night after leaving our small group :/ It was well worth it though. Check out Lauren's blog for more of her amazing recipes!

  • 1-2 bags of plain popcorn (depending on how seasoned you want your popcorn)
  • 1 tablespoon chili powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon garlic powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon salt
  • butter spray
-Pop the popcorn according to the bag. Place the popped corn in a large bowl and spray a few times with butter (so that the seasoning will stick). Pour on the seasoning and mix well! Done. How easy was that?

I felt a little bit guilty eating so much of this popcorn the night of our small group, but then Lauren reminded me that it is actually a really healthy snack! You could cut down on the salt if you want it to be even healthier. I'm sure it's not great to down an entire bag or two, but a few handfuls won't hurt you.

Lauren also makes an amazing caramel popcorn (Jeff's popcorn of choice). This savory popcorn however won over my heart.

So, if you are going to a movie this weekend make this popcorn! Then you won't consume a tub of butter popcorn there (which I heard on the news is equal to eating 4 hamburgers)! Or if you are on a budget like Jeff and I and can't spend over 20 dollars on a movie, make your own and curl up on the couch with a Redbox :)

Jeff and I are heading to PA again tonight. Jeff's best friend from college, Charles, is getting married this weekend and Jeff is a groomsman. I absolutely love weddings and can't wait to celebrate with this great couple! I also have a few lunch dates planned with friends and a birthday party for my trendy grandmother who is turning 70. Check back for several pictures of our busy weekend!

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Ollie & Cait's Duet

I had another post planned for today, however I thought this video deserved a post of its own. I started howling yesterday randomly. The video above is how Ollie responded. We are now practicing singing every night together!

A Look Back on Our Honeymoon

Because I started this blog after our wedding, I realized that I haven't shared any of our honeymoon pictures with all of you! And since we had such an amazing honeymoon (and will probably never be able to afford another trip like that again), I figured I would write a post sharing our experience with you. The day after our wedding we traveled to St. Lucia Sandals Regency Resort for 8 glorious days!

Can you tell we were tired? We didn't get to the hotel until 1 am and had to leave for our flight around 6 am...ugh! If I could do anything differently for my wedding there is only 1 thing I would change. Jeff and I would have liked to have spent a day after the wedding in Lancaster (the city we were married) instead of flying out the next day. We felt very rushed and exhausted.

I loved my outfit choice for the plane-cute yet super comfortable. I found the white dress at a little boutique in Ocean City New Jersey. The coral sweatshirt is from Gap. And as always, I had my camera in tow :)

As soon as we got there we ordered food. Our week basically revolved around food! There were so many great (all inclusive) restaurants to choose from. I believe I gained 5 whole pounds, but that's fine. Every bite was worth it!

Breakfast in bed the next morning since we were honeymooners :) I can still remember what I ordered-fresh fruit and banana bread.

Don't judge my morning look.

The resort was beautiful. There are 3 Sandals in St. Lucia and we stayed at The Regency (the second biggest/second nicest). I loved it!

Yellow polka dot bikini from Target. I noticed a few other ladies at the resort also had this suit...oops!

One new thing for you to learn about me-I dislike the beach. I used to say I hate the beach, however I don't necessarily hate it. If there isn't a pool, I will sit on the beach. If there is a pool though, I am definitely there instead! I would rather swim where I can see my feet and lay where there isn't any sand. I know, I am lame. Here is a picture of one of the days Jeff convinced me to swim in the ocean...

Bathing suit from Gap.

A lot of the activities on the resort cost extra money so we didn't do any outings. However snorkeling was free! We love anything free. I hate snorkeling. I lasted about 3 minutes in the water then watched Jeff the rest of the time. I really don't know when I turned so lame!

Tubing and wake boarding were also free. YES.

Of course, drinks were free.

Jeff's favorite drink was called a Pink Lady :)

Can you believe I worked out every single day there? I must have been in crazy "get fit for the wedding" mode still! What was I thinking? At least I felt better eating plate after plate of food at night!

Overall we had a great trip, as you can see!

And although we were sad to go...

...I was thrilled to get back to NY and start our lives together.

If you missed our wedding here for a re-cap!
Sunday, March 27, 2011

Whole Wheat Apple Spice Bread & A Grand Opening

First and foremost, I would like to announce the grand opening of my Etsy Shop (called Bicycle Built for Two)! I have been working on headbands for about two weeks now and am so excited to finally be able to share them all with you. If you would like to purchase a headband, or even design a custom one, visit my shop and I will work with you to make the perfect headband for you or a little girl in your life! Here are some of my most recent creations for sale now:


Now it's time for a recipe! I absolutely love the apple spice cake mix at Trader Joe's. Since spring/summer is quickly approaching and anything spiced will unfortunately disappear from the grocery store shelves, I figured it was time to try and re-create a recipe similar. I adapted the recipe from Smitten Kitchen, a wonderful blog. This is what I came up with...

  • 1 cup whole wheat flour
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 large egg, beaten
  • 3/4 cup plain Greek yogurt
  • 2 chopped cooking apples (I used Granny Smith)
-Preheat the oven to 350 degrees. Grease a bread pan, muffin pan or a mini loaf pan as I did!

-Mix together the flours, baking powder, baking soda, salt, and cinnamon, nutmeg and set aside.

-In a separate bowl, mix the yogurt, butter and sugars together. Once they are beaten together well, mix in the egg.

-Stir the dry ingredients into the wet and mix for about 2 minutes (do not over mix). Add in the small pieces of chopped apples and stir again with a large spoon.

-Pour into greased pan and bake for 15-17 minutes for muffins and mini-loafs or 30-40 minutes for a large loaf of bread.

They turned out great-surprisingly very similar to the Trader Joe's version. However I must admit that I still love how easy it is to simply buy a mix and add an egg or two then bake! At least now I will always have this recipe when I am craving apple spiced bread in the middle of the summer (I'm sure it will happen one day).

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Chicken Tortilla Soup

I arrived home late last night since I finally got my hair cut! I usually get the urge to chop my hair when the weather gets warmer, but I have been working so hard to grow it out since I chopped it after my wedding that I just added some layers and side bangs. Want to see?

Since I didn't get home until around 8:00 but both Jeff and I wanted an actual dinner, I threw together one of my favorite soups-chicken tortilla! My mom and sister also make this soup often (and we usually each make it differently), but it always turns out great. I love these kind of soups. You know-the kind where you simply pour everything into a pot and heat it up!

  • 1 jar salsa
  • 28 oz chicken broth (more or less if you want)
  • 1 can whole kernel corn
  • 1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • 1-2 cups of wild or brown rice (I used 1 cup of wild)
  • 1 whole small chicken shredded
  • 1 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1 teaspoon cumin

-Shred the chicken after cooking (you could also buy a rotisserie chicken at the grocery store if you want to make this recipe even easier).

-Mix all of the ingredients together into a large pot.

-Let simmer for about 20-30 minutes.

-Serve with crushed tortilla chips, grated cheese and/or sour cream.

We were sitting down and enjoying our soup by 8:30! That is my kind of dinner. For a thicker soup, you can also add a can or two of cream of chicken soup. However since I still try and eat gluten-free when I can, I opted to leave the creamed soup out.

I think this soup is great for the winter and summer. For the winter, add the cream of chicken soup. For the summer, simply leave it out for a lighter version! Tomorrow is a big day for me. I will be opening my Etsy shop and selling the headbands I have been working on. I will be sure to post the store link on here tomorrow! Until then...have a great Saturday night :)

Friday, March 25, 2011

A Hard Day's Work...

Although some days I don't want to get out of bed and head to work, I really do love my job. If you didn't know already, I am a nanny. And while I never in a million years thought this would be my first job out of college, I wouldn't have it any other way. I have learned so much about myself, children, motherhood and most of all...patience. This job molds me into the person I was created to be daily.

Because Jeff is in school and not working, I needed a job as soon as possible after we married and moved to Long Island. I didn't have time to really "job search" since that often takes several months. I quickly began looking into nannying positions. I quickly found the perfect family. So while at first I wasn't exactly thrilled with my job choice...I now couldn't be happier.

Today I had a Panera date with two of my favorite boys (no, not Ollie this time).

We ordered a coffee (for me), hot chocolate (for Jeff) and a much too big m & m cookie (for Seanie). It was the perfect way to spend our morning!

Sean loves trucks. He knows every single truck out there. From an excavator to a bucket truck, he loves them all. He is one of the most compassionate and empathetic human beings I know. Constantly asking me, "Caityin, are you ok?" Or reminding me after I spill an entire vase of water, "It's going to be ok, don't worry." He makes me laugh daily. He also tests my patience at times. He lives off of bananas, chicken nuggets, yogurt, pancakes and of course cookies. He knows the entire song of "Life is a Highway." He hates changing out of his pajamas, but who can blame him? He often tells me I'm beautiful, or that my earrings and necklaces are. And when I'm sometimes upset at the snow outside, he reminds me:"But Caityn, it is a beautiful snowy day outside." I can only hope to have a child as special as this one and be as good of a mother as his...

Sean has taught me more about myself than most people in my life (including highly educated people such as professors, pastors, friends, etc.) He has taught me the simplicity of life, and that is ok to "roar" like a monster truck in the middle of Panera.

Most of all though, he continues to teach me how to love.

But when it is time to go, he teaches me that it is really time to go.

This post made me cry (not really a big deal considering I cry during American Idol almost every episode as well). The crazy thing is, the kid doesn't even belong to me. So I can't even imagine how much I will love one of my own one day...

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Steel Cut Oats

Why I never tried steel cut oats before this month I am not sure! My friend Lauren eats them often, and while I was over her house one day she gave me a bag full of steel cut oats to try for myself. Once you try these, you won't go back (ok, maybe sometimes because I still do love rolled oats)! These oats are so much chewier than quick or rolled oats. They are much creamier, and a little bit "nuttier." And who doesn't love nuts?

According to my good friend (who sadly got me through much of college), Wikipedia, steel cut oats are whole grain groats which have been cut into two of three pieces by steel rather than being rolled. I find that these oats keep me even more full than a bowl of rolled oats, which is great! If they didn't take 30 minutes to cook (although you can soak them overnight for less cook time), I would probably have them every morning!

Ingredients (makes about 4 servings):
  • 1 cup steel cut oats
  • 3 1/2 cups water
  • 1/2 cup skim milk
  • 2 tablespoons ground flaxseed
  • toppings (I used pecans and oranges today)
-Bring the cup of steel cut oats and 3 1/2 cups of water to a boil. Once boiling, reduce and cover and let simmer for about 20 minutes, stirring occasionally.

-After 20 minutes, add in your milk and ground flaxseed. Continue to simmer for another 10-15 minutes.

-I choose to sweeten my oats after with toppings (such as fruit, shredded coconut, brown sugar, etc.), but if you would could add in 1/8 cup of brown sugar while cooking your oats to sweeten them.

-They oats should be very creamy after 30 minutes! Eat them warm, or place in the fridge for up to 3 days and have them cold with milk the next morning.

This is me encouraging you to pick up a bag of ground flaxseed next time you find yourself in the grocery store! You can add tablespoons of these to almost anything you bake, increasing your fiber and Omega-3 fatty acids.

Look at that creaminess...

Yum! I ate these for lunch today (I think I eat oats more often for lunch than breakfast). We unfortunately woke up with about 2 inches of snow on the ground. While Ollie was loving the white stuff, I was not :/ Thankfully the sun is melting it as I type! As the 2 year old little man I nanny for said to me this morning while waiting at the bus stop, "Cait(y)n, it is a beautiful snowy day!" He couldn't be more right.

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