Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Tilapia and Asparagus...yummy and healthy!

This past week I traveled up to Boston but had one meal that I was able to cook.  As you can probably see, we do not eat too many cooked veggies because I am not a huge fan of them.  Lately, I have been trying VERY hard to try and eat a couple more cooked veggies (I eat all of them raw!) and so I wanted to try and make asparagus.  I knew that Joe would be busy this week because it is a short week and he had interviewees in town so I wanted to have something quick to make.  Fish always cooks quick, so I found a great deal on tilapia while stopping by the store.  Below, you will find two super simple recipes that made for a very flavorful meal!

Lemon Garlic Tilapia
  • 4 tilapia fillets
  • 3 tbsp. fresh lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp. butter, melted
  • 1 clove garlic, chopped
  • 1 tsp. parsley
  • pepper to taste 
  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Spray a baking dish with non-stick cooking spray.
  2. Rinse tilapia fillets under cool water, and pat dry with paper towels.
  3. Place fillets in baking dish. Pour lemon juice over fillets, then drizzle butter on top. Sprinkle with garlic, parsley, and pepper.
  4. Bake in preheated oven until the fish is white and flakes when pulled apart with a fork, about 30 minutes.
Grilled Asparagus
  •  1 lbs asparagus
  • 1 tbsp. olive oil
  • salt/pepper to taste
  1. Lightly coat the asparagus spears with olive oil. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  2. Grill over high heat for 2 to 3 minutes, or to desired tenderness.

Monday, August 26, 2013

Taking the long way home...

After the bachelorette party, I had quite a week ahead of me planned.  The drive up to NC is far, so I planned on making quite a detour back to Atlanta and take care of some wonderful business calls along the way.  Two days were spent in Raleigh, where my sister lives. Although I came into Raleigh fairly early on Sunday, she was busy with the start of school so I had some time to relax and unwind on Sunday night.  Monday evening after a day of calls with a customer, I went to dinner with my sister and we had a great time catching up.  It is always good to see her and since she is getting closer and closer to her due date each time, it is always interesting to see her as her pregnancy progressed.  After a lovely dinner I headed back to the hotel to unwind because she had some work to do.

Tuesday was another busy day of calls, so I knew I wasn't making it back to Atlanta at any reasonable hour of the night so I decided to drive part of the way back and stop in Charlotte since it was right at dinner time and I knew I would have company!  After checking in to the hotel and caught up on emails (as much as you can in the working world), Meredith picked me up and we headed to her place to wait on Amber to come into town then headed out for a late dinner.  Although I have only known them for such a short time, I feel like I have known them forever and I count down the days until I get to see them again (3!!!!) It's crazy to think we only met a couple of months ago. Dinner was at a restaurant called Cowfish.  We got there past 8 and we still had to wait to get seated!  It is such a cool restaurant and I would definitely suggest it to anyone that lives there.  It is hard to explain the food but they have sushi that is made from burgers (so sushi with ground beef, lamb, bison, bbq, etc.) and burgers that are made from sushi.  I went for the burger (well really sandwich) option and had a sandwich where they took rice paper to wrap a very thin layer of rice into a patty and used it as the bread, then put lettuce, tomato, and ahi tuna in the middle as well as other sauces.  It was absolutely amazing and a little lighter than a burger which was nice!  After dinner we headed out to desert at a place called Crave right near my hotel.  We had so much fun making smores and catching up and before we knew it it was incredibly late and bed time!  I always love seeing these girls because they are the sweetest most genuine girls out there.  Since I had a lot of work to catch up on after all my calls, I did some work in the morning before heading back south.

LOVE these girls!
Recap of Charlotte!
Since my parents live along the way, I stopped there and got more work done.  Around lunch time I met up with Amanda for lunch and it is always so amazing to get to catch up with her and plan our next super fun day together :)  I went home and worked some more then cooked dinner for my parents.  Dinner was a new recipe that I made twice last week, a Greek Marinated chicken that is full of flavor but very healthy.  At my parents we ate it with oven roasted potatoes.  Below you will find the recipe:

Greek Marinated Chicken

1 cup Greek Yogurt
2 tbsp. olive oil
4 cloves garlic
1/2 tbsp dried oregano
juice from 1 medium lemon
pinch of salt and pepper
1 tbsp. fresh chopped parsley
2-3 lbs chicken

Mix all of the ingredients together in a bag then place chicken into bag.  Let it sit for a few minutes then bake the chicken on 350 for about 30 minutes.
yummmmy chicken :)
 Since I was done with calls for the week and I was working from home the remainder of the week I stayed in Greenville for the night to avoid all traffic and then woke up early the next morning and hit the road to Atlanta.  Although it was a really round about way to get back to Atlanta, it was great seeing friends and getting to eat dinner with family/friends instead of the normal lonely meals on business trips.   Thursday evening we had a fun time walking to watch Olejack play in his basketball league then walking to Buckhead Saloon for wings.  It is such a perk to be able to walk somewhere for dinner!

Friday was here before I knew it and it was the weekend!  This weekend was reserved for cleaning out Joe's old house since he had his move out inspection coming up and there was still lots to throw away/sell/move/clean.  Friday we had some friends come over (Kellie Ann, Reza, and Tareq) for an evening of fun.  After hanging out at the house for a bit we headed out to the bars that were a bit further away and walked a full mile!  It was so fun getting to walk somewhere because the weather was nice and it wasn't raining.

After a late night, we got moving fairly early on Saturday to start cleaning the house and then headed up to Joe's place to do some cleaning.  After cleaning for a bit we went to Joe's parent's house to hang out by the pool and eat dinner before going back to the old house to clean.  Sunday was a lot of the same, house cleaning and some pool time, before heading home for dinner.

Dinner on Sunday was an impromptu belated birthday for Kellie Ann!  They came over and instead of celebrating Kellie Ann's Birthday, they brought us a house warming gift that is beautiful!  We love plants and its just a perfect fit for our roof top :)  We grilled out on the rooftop since it was perfect weather.  We had Kellie Ann's amazing buffalo chicken dip( I'll have to get that recipe to share one day) and kielbasi for appetizers and burgers, asparagus, and baked potatoes.  After grilling out we headed downstairs to get desert ready.
Grilling time on the roof top :)

LOVE our housewarming gift!

Desert was a peanut butter chocolate souffle.  I had never made one and I heard they were heard but I had ramekins that I wanted to use so it was the perfect challenge.  It takes time, but it was well worth it.  The batters can be made a day in advance so if you don't have all day to make them it is easy to break it up!  I made the batter earlier in the day so it was easy to assemble once dinner was done and then stick in the oven since you serve it hot.  It gave us time to clean and let our food settle before desert time.  Below you will find the recipe.  After desert, they headed out and after a long weekend of cleaning/moving, it was bed time for Joe and I because we both have quite the week ahead of us before vacation!!!  So, 3 crazy days and a quick trip to Boston ahead of me but it is almost cruise time!!!



  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 cup half and half
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg yolk
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon cornstarch
  • 1 tablespoon all purpose flour
  • 1/2 cup smooth peanut butter (do not use old-fashioned-style or freshly ground)


  • 10 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
  • 5 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 5 large egg yolks
  • 7 tablespoons water
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 1/2 teaspoon cream of tartar
  • Pinch of salt
  • 1/2 cup sugar 


  • Bring milk and half and half to simmer in heavy medium saucepan. Whisk egg and egg yolk in medium bowl. Add sugar, cornstarch, and flour to eggs; whisk to blend. Gradually whisk hot milk mixture into egg mixture, then return to same saucepan. Bring to boil over medium-high heat, whisking constantly. Boil 1 minute, whisking constantly. Remove from heat. Whisk peanut butter into hot pastry cream. Strain into medium bowl. Season with salt. Place plastic wrap directly onto surface of pastry cream. Chill until cold, at least 3 hours. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Keep refrigerated.


  • Place chocolate and butter in large heat-resistant bowl. Set bowl over saucepan of simmering water; stir until mixture is smooth. Remove from heat; cover.
  • Whisk yolks, 7 tablespoons water, milk, and cocoa in medium bowl until cocoa dissolves. Using electric mixer, beat whites, cream of tartar, and salt in large bowl until frothy. With mixer running, gradually add sugar to egg white mixture; beat until shiny peaks form, about 3 minutes. Add yolk mixture to white mixture; fold (there may be a small amount of liquid that will not blend in). Fold half of egg mixture into warm (not hot) chocolate mixture. Fold in remaining egg mixture. DO AHEAD Can be made 1 day ahead. Place plastic wrap directly onto surface of soufflé mixture; chill.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and sugar eight 3/4-cup ramekins or custard cups. Fill halfway with souffl mixture. Spoon rounded tablespoon peanut butter pastry cream into center of each. Spoon remaining souffl mixture atop pastry cream to cover and fill ramekins. Bake until soufflés rise about 1 inch above dish and are almost set in center, about 24 minutes. Serve immediately.
    Chocolate Souffle with Peanut Butter Center!

    Desert Time :)

Friday, August 23, 2013

Cupcakes for Two...

So more often than not, you want a desert but making a dozen+ cupcakes just isn't healthy.  If you are like me, you will go ahead and eat them within a couple of days, because I have no self control (I tell myself it is because I don't want them to go to waste).  So, due to that, I try to limit how many sweets I have sitting around the house.  I have wanted to try a smaller number of cupcakes for quote some time, and today was just the day!  With the cruise coming up, all I wanted was a desert that would be here one day and gone the next without overeating.  So, with that, I made two batches (of two) so four cupcakes in total.  You can always play around with the recipe with substitutes and adding different flavors, but I made one peanut butter cupcake, and one plain...both with a truffle in the middle!  Below are the recipes!

Peanut Butter Cupcakes with Lindt Truffle
1 egg white
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons room temperature peanut butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup flour
1/4 heaped teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 Peanut Butter Chocolate Lindt Truffle

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cupcake pan with 2 liners.Mix all ingredients except for truffle in a bowl.  Put a teaspoon of the batter on the bottom of a the cupcake wrapper.  Place truffle into the center of the cup.  Distribute remainder of batter between the two cupcake wrappers.  Bake for 20 minutes.

Peanut Butter Cupcake with Truffle Center

Plain Cupcakes with Lindt Truffle
1 egg white
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons room temperature butter
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup flour
1/4 heaped teaspoon baking powder
pinch of salt
1 1/2 tablespoons milk
1 White Chocolate Lindt Truffle

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.  Line a cupcake pan with 2 liners.Mix all ingredients except for truffle in a bowl.  Put a teaspoon of the batter on the bottom of a the cupcake wrapper.  Place truffle into the center of the cup.  Distribute remainder of batter between the two cupcake wrappers.  Bake for 20 minutes.
Plain Cupcakes with White Chocolate Truffle Center
I made icing for both of the cupcakes but did not measure out exactly how much of everything I put in it so below you will see brief details of how I made it.

For the peanut butter cupcakes I wanted peanut butter icing so I got 2-3 tbsp. peanut butter and whisked it with a bit of milk.  I then added powdered sugar until it was desired  consistency.  If you put too much powdered sugar and it is too think just add a splash of milk.

For the Plain cupcakes I made cream cheese icing.  I did the same thing as the peanut butter, and whisked about 3 tbsp. cream cheese.  I then added only powdered sugar since it is already creamy due to the cream cheese.
Fully Iced Cupcakes!

If you want more detail on the icing just let me know but both of these made just two cupcakes and turned out awesome!


Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Deserts for Everyone!!!

So the past couple weeks there have been several occasions for making some yummy deserts in my new kitchen.  Truffels are one of those deserts that are easy to make and are so easy to package so it is an easy desert to make when you are making something for someone else.   Joe and I were making a gift basket for Julia who helped us get our beautiful new home, so we wanted to add some home made goodies to put in the basket as well.  I made two different truffles, Oreo and Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough as well as a Peanut butter Toffee Cookies.

There was also the wonderful opportunity of celebrating Lisa's bachelorette party!  Mallory (Lisa's sister) had ordered a cake for one night but I volunteered to make some deserts for the other night/lunch desert!  I made two of my favorite recipes.  One is a white chocolate peanut butter brownie that is gooey and rich but not too sweet! The other was a simple oreo cheesecake cupcake, because who doesn't love oreos and cheesecakes.  So, with that, below you will find all the recipes!

Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Truffles

2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 cup (2 sticks) butter, room temperature
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup packed brown sugar
1 tsp. vanilla
1/3 cup milk or soy milk
1 cup mini semi-sweet chocolate chips
14 oz. dark chocolate candy coating
Beat butter and sugars in large bowl with electric mixer on medium speed until light and fluffy. Add milk and vanilla. Stir in flour, baking soda and salt and mix on low speed (or stir by hand) until incorporated. Stir in chocolate chips.
Cover and chill dough for 1 hour.
When dough is firm enough to handle, form dough into 1″ balls and arrange on a baking sheet lined with waxed paper. Place sheets in freezer and let chill for 30 minutes.
Melt chocolate candy coating in microwave according to package directions. Using toothpicks as a dipping tool, dip cookie balls into candy coating to cover. Tap on side of pan to remove any excess coating, and return to waxed paper-lined baking sheets. Chill until set. Store, chilled, in an airtight container for up to 1 week.

Oreo Truffles

1 pack Oreos
1 8 oz. pack of cream cheese
12 oz. white chocolate
Beat cream cheese.  Blend Oreos and then add cream cheese mixture.  Roll into balls then freeze for 1 hour.  Melt chocolate then dip balls into chocolate.  Allow to cool.

Toffee Chocolate Chip Cookies

1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 to 1 tablespoon milk (add this at the very end just to make dough smooth and creamy)
1 cup Toffee
In a large mixing bowl beat butter and peanut butter with an electric mixer on medium to high speed for 30 seconds. Add the granulated sugar, brown sugar, baking soda, and baking powder. Beat until combined, scraping sides of bowl occasionally. Beat in the egg and vanilla until combined. Beat in as much of the flour as you can with the mixer. Stir in any remaining flour. Add milk (from 1/2 Tablespoon to 1 Tablespoon just enough to make the dough moist and creamy. Add toffee and mix till just incorporated. If necessary, cover and chill dough about 1 hour or until easy to handle

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Drop cookies by scooping them out of the bowl with a spoon dropping them in small balls onto your greased cookie sheets.  Bake for 7 to 9 minutes or until bottoms are light brown. Transfer to a wire rack and let cool. Makes about 36 cookies.

Oreo Cookie Cheesecake Cupcake

21 Oreos (12 whole, 6 chopped)
½ cup sugar
2 eggs
½ cup sour cream
2 8 oz. packs of cream cheese
1 tsp vanilla
Line about 15 muffin pans and place full Oreo at the bottom.  Beat cream cheese in a bowl then add sugar and beat until fluffy.  Beat in vanilla then eggs and then add sour cream and salt.  Stir in chopped cookies.  Pour batter into cupcake cups.  Bake for 22 min at 275°F.

White Chocolate and Peanut Butter Brownies

2 cups white sugar
1 cup salted butter softened
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
1 tsp vanilla
4 eggs
11/2 cups flour
1/2 tsp baking powder
1 cube cream cheese softened
1 can Eaglebrand sweet condensed milk
1 tsp vanilla
6 oz. peanutbutter chips
6 oz. white chocolate chips

Cream butter, sugar and vanilla. Add one egg in at a time. Mix in cocoa, flour and baking powder. Beat until smooth. Mix peanut butter chips (or cut up Reeses) into batter.  Bake at 350 degrees for 20 to 30 minutes in a 9 x 13 inch greased pan. Do NOT over bake.   Allow brownies to cool for one hour.  For the frosting beat together the cream cheese, sweet condensed milk and vanilla. Beat for 2 minutes. Mix in white chocolate chips.  Spread on top of the brownies. Sprinkle the remaining reese's, peanut butter chips, or white chocolate chips on top and refrigerate for 2-3 hours before serving.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Lisa's Bachelorette Weekend!!!

This past week has been quite an exciting week with getting the house unpacked, buying new decorations, settling in, etc. so I was very ready for the weekend to get here.  Lisa, one of my very good friends from college and a fellow Spring Club member, is getting married in October, and the bachelorette weekend that had been planned months ago had finally arrived. With all of the house buying, I was not sure if I would be able to go, but it all worked out perfectly, and Friday evening was the beginning of a fun filled relaxing weekend!

Although what happens at the lake stays at the lake (just kidding) I did want to write up about the fun filled weekend.  I think as the weekend weather forecast came out, we were all expecting the worst! As many of you know, it is pretty much fall weather here in the SE USA and NOT the weather we are use to at this time.  Although normally it is very enjoyable, it is quite cold to go to the lake.  Luckily, we still got some beautiful lake time.
The Pucci's BEAUTIFUL home

Friday was a relaxing evening at the lake getting to know everyone!  It was so good seeing Sarah (Schoeff) Smith at the lake so there was a lot of catching up to do.  It was also great to catch up with Taylor and Kate who had also been on the swim team as well as meet Mallory and Sara (the MOH/sister and Lisa's high school friend).  After getting to the lake, we had an amazing dinner and then took a trip out on the lake with the boat and saw a beautiful sunset.  After getting back for the evening it was relaxation time and we sat by the bonfire and then enjoyed a couple of hours in the hot tun!  We were quite ready for bed and Sarah and I were sharing a room.  Since we had not seen each other in quite a while we stayed up chatting late into the night catching up on our lives!

Fire Pit on the Lake
Piece of Cake Carmel Cake :)

First Boat Trip all bundled up :)
The morning came quick, and we woke up and had an amazing spread of food before heading out on the lake.  Although it wasn't sunny (and at times even rained a bit) we were determined to get some time on the water.  I wasn't going to re-injure my ankle any more than it already is, so I stayed away from the wake boarding, but it was so much fun watching some of the girls stand up on a wake board for the first time!  The water was warm so I did get a swim in with Lisa's doggies.  After some time on the water we headed in and warmed up in the hot tub before eating an amazing lunch prepared by the Pucci family!  After lunch it was raining out so we stayed in and watched a movie/napped before starting to get ready for the evenings festivities!
View while eating Breakfast

Coach Lisa giving lessons!


The Whole Group!

After getting all glammed up it was time to take some pictures and open gifts!  Every girl LOVES a lingerie shower and it was so fun watching Lisa open gifts.  After a couple drinks we headed out for dinner at a local restaurant where we all enjoyed some amazing seafood.  While at the restaurant we realized it might be a bit cold in our dresses to stay out in those for the night so we headed back to the house to change before heading out to watch a local band that played.  The bad was amazing and the night was VERY entertaining to say the least!  After getting our fill of entertainment we headed back home for the evening and called it a night shortly after.

Jello Shots!!! Cheers to the Bachelorette

Just hanging out at the downstairs bar :)

All the LOVELY ladies all dressed up :)_


Sunday (this morning) we ate another amazing breakfast and hung out before it was time to say our goodbyes.  Lisa's mom had made us beautiful gifts to take back with us (YAAAY for more decoration for the new home!) and shortly after we hit the road.  Since I am staying in Raleigh for the week, I took Sarah to the airport and it was so good having company for the trip.  The weekend was exactly what I needed and such a fun girls weekend catching up with old friends, talking weddings and girly stuff, eating way too many deserts, and just having a great time!  This week should be a fun filled week in NC as I slowly make my way back to Atlanta.  This evening will be filled with relaxing (and getting a workout in to work off some of the desert) before hitting the ground running tomorrow morning with a busy schedule!