Monday, November 24, 2014

Spinach Artichoke Cheese Fondue

This past Saturday Wade and I hosted our 4th annual Friendsgiving. We had a larger group attend this year and a lot of dishes to coordinate.  To make sure we had enough apps I decided to make something quick but that could feed the masses easily. In comes the copy cat Melting Pot spinach artichoke cheese fondue! Recipe was found over at {Favorite Family Recipes} and altered a smidge.

What you need:
  • 7 oz. vegetable broth
  • appx. 8 oz. fresh spinach, chopped
  • appx. 8 oz. artichoke hearts, chopped
  • 2 1/2 Tbsp. chopped garlic
  • 8 oz. Butterkäse cheese* (if you can't find this, you can substitute Farmer's Cheese or Romanian Cream Cheese.)
  • 8 oz. Fontina cheese
  • 2 tsp. grated Parmesan cheese
  • a small amount of flour (to toss with shredded cheese before melting)

What to do:

  1. Heat vegetable broth in fondue-type unit or similar cooking pot. When hot (do not bring to a boil) add spinach, artichoke hearts, and garlic and mix well. 

2. Coat cubed cheese in flour
 3. Combine Butterkäse and Fontina and add a little bit at a time to spinach/artichoke mixture, stirring constantly until you reach your desired consistency. (if too runny add some flour)

3. Stir in Parmesan cheese.

4. Serve with french bread pieces and/or lightly steamed vegetables. 


Friday, November 7, 2014

The Wedding Chronicles: Wedding Dress Shopping

For me, finding a dress I loved was not easy. I knew exactly what I wanted; something classic, lacey and non strapless. Keyhole back possibly. I stalked Pinterest for months and made various appointments at local boutiques in the Frederick area all before finding my perfect dress- an Allure Couture lacey, capsleeve, v-neck, a- line dress with keyhole back. I also just adored the eyelashes on the lace and the buttons going all the way down the train.

TLC Boutique

I was super excited to try on wedding dresses for the first time. {TLC} is located in the heart of Downtown Frederick, MD. My Maid of honor Ashley, Maria and Amy met up with me and my Mom to help pick the perfect dress. I made little "chimes" for them to ring if they liked a dress which made for a fun time. TLC was decorated amazingly and had the most beautiful dresses. I had called ahead to inquire about specific dresses and the sales lady had pulled each dress for me to try on. Unfortunately, the dresses I loved did not fit me. They pulled some samples they had in bigger sizes but they were way too fashion forward for me. (feathers, etc) Feeling a bit defeated, we all headed to brunch at {Cafe Nola}.

David's Bridal

A few weeks later when my Aunt was in town, my Aunt Cindy, Mom, Future MIL, and Bridesmaids Lisa & Sara came with me to {David's Bridal}. I found two dresses that I semi liked. I was not sure if it was because it was the first time a dress actually fit me or that I actually liked them. Nonetheless I did not LOVE any of them and off we went to the next appointment.

Potomac Bridal

{Potomac Bridal} went a little bit better. I found a beautiful high neck line, lacey ballgown that made me feel like a princess. I thought that this could possibly be the one but thought the dress was way too poofy for a summer wedding.   I was at least happy I had found something and decided to wait and see what the final place had to offer.

J&B Bridal

Next was {J&B Bridal}. It was a long drive out of the way so only my Aunty Cindy and Mom came with me. The first dress I tried on, my Mom and Aunt LOVED! The sales woman brought out a little cap that clipped in to give it a lacey look to fit my style requirements. Although I liked it.. I wasn't sold.
{My Aunty and Mother's Pick}
The next dress was my favorite. It was comfy, lacy and had a key hole back. This was my favorite by far! I just loved the back!
{My pick}

The next dress was a beautiful strapless dress which I said I would never try on. This dress was wayyyy out of my price range and did not look the best on me but was absolutely beautiful with its lace underlay and beadwork.

I decided to sleep on it before taking the plunge and purchasing the dress I loved. I think it mainly had to do with my Aunt and Mom not loving it.. but also because I felt that there had to be something else better out there.
Posh Bridal

I had heard of {Posh Bridal}, but was reluctant to visit because of the rumored high prices. Nonetheless with not being 100% in love with my 1st choice dress from J&B. I made an appointment in July  and headed on over to the Posh Bridal Boutique with my Momma. I walked in and was greeted by Brandi, the shop owner.  I was impressed by the decor and atmosphere of the store. I loved the big chandelier hanging front and center when you entered the store as well as the big white leather couches.  I told Brandi what I envisioned wearing on our big day. Brandi knew exactly what I was looking for and went straight for 3 dresses. Each ones I loved on the hanger. They were everything I wanted; lace, non-strapless, A line with a little bit of bling.  As soon as I tried on the 2nd dress, a more covered, Allure Couture Lace gown.. I knew. I LOVED IT! I didn't want to take it off. Since I am so indecisive. I needed to sleep on it and made another appointment with Brandi for a few days later.  

I asked for some of my bridesmaids, Lisa and Amy, to come help me make the big decision and see their opinions on the dress I loved.  When I came back Brandi told me that she was actually hosting an Allure Trunk Show in the next few days which would give me 10% off! I tried on the dress for everyone and tried on a veil to get the full bridal effect. The choice was clear that THIS was my dress.  Brandi allowed me to pay 50% upfront versus the normal 100% and off I went.

Come January, my wedding dress had shipped to the store! I was so excited to see it again that I left work as soon as I got the phone call. It was as beautiful as I remembered except this time it actually fit me! I was to take the dress home until my 1st real fitting in March with the in house seamstress, Tirza.  In addition to needing dress alterations, I had brought in my mother's veil to Tirza, which had been yellowed by age and also sported a lace cap. Tirza removed the cap and was going to try to restore the color. 
Fast forward to March I had my first fitting and Tirza revealed a less yellow veil. Luckily I did not need my dress hemmed as that would have been pricey. She pinned a few things here and there and I was to report back a month later in April.
At my 2nd dress fitting my dress fit perfectly and everything was becoming more real. My final dress appointment would be the week of my wedding where I would pick up a nicely pressed dress. 

Thank you so much Posh Bridal for helping me find my dream dress! Brandi & Tirza- You guys are the best!

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Dining in Richmond

A few weekends ago I headed to Richmond, VA to meet up with my old college roomies for a fun filled time.  We always have a blast every time we get together. We all can go months without  talking to eachother as life tends to get in the way; however when we finally get the chance to meet up, it is like time never happened.  Any who.. besides the amazing company I have when visiting Richmond, one of my favorite things are their amazing restaurants.  Every single place I have dined at in Richmond has been spectacular.  

On Friday night Allie, Ashley and I dined at a place I had heard about many a times from Ashley (the Richmond hostess with the mostess) and I had been dying to try: {COMFORT

The restaurant specializes in good old fashioned comfort food (shocker) however with a little more sophistication.  We shared a bottle of wine and drooled over what to order. After much debate we all agreed to let eachother try our choices.  I ordered the pulled pork BBQ, Allie the pork chops and Ashley the meatloaf.  All of the entrees were delish, however the meatloaf is probably the best I have ever had! {sorry Dad} I loved how it was topped off with mushrooms. Now to the sides... Allie and I both got the mecca of comfort sides- mac & cheese- and also tried the well renowned squash casserole, while Ashley went for the brussels sprouts, potatoes au gratin and roasted beets. Every. single. side. was delectable.  Above the greatness of the food, the atmosphere was wonderful and I loved the use of mason jars as water glasses. I will be revisiting Comfort for sure!

{pulled pork bbq w/ slaw+ mac & cheese + squash casserole}
 {meatloaf w/ potatoes au gratin, brussels sprouts & roasted beets}
{pork chops!}
When Andrea arrived on Saturday morning- we all headed for brunch at the {Sidewalk Cafe}. We walked into a crowded small dive restaurant and waited at the bar with a pitcher of mimosas.  Right off the bat I could tell this was a fun place and popular among locals. Once seated we took our time ordering food and may or may not have downed a pitcher or two of mimosas. {which by the way was only $10 for a huge pitcher!!!!} I ordered the Eggs Edwina which was an english muffin w/ tomatoes, bacon, fried eggs and fontina cheese all with a hearty side of breakfast potatoes. I was pleasantly surprised on how fresh and delectable my dish was.  On top of everything- the prices were extremely reasonable.
{mimosas on top of mimosas}
{thats a lot of champagne}
 {Eggs Edwina}

If you are looking for a fun, delicious and wallet friendly place to brunch while visiting RVA. Head over to Sidewalk Cafe in the fan!

The rest of the day was spent hanging out and catching up. When night came around we ordered pizza in and had some more friends come over for some fun before heading out for the night to {Social 52}for a few drinks.  {which by the way has some yummy late night cheese/bacon fries if you are hungry} Here are some pics from the night:

 {Gus + iced coffee}
 {soaking up the last warm days of the year}
 {the original roomies}
 {posing with Ashley & Allie}
 {great time with old & new friends}

{ran into these beauts}

Stay delicious Richmond! 

Friday, October 31, 2014

Halloween is here!

I cannot believe today is Halloween.  Where has fall gone? Luckily I was able to do a few festive activities in honor of the spooky holiday.

Last weekenday one of my best friends, Casey, had an early Halloween party. She always has the best parties. {Examples here & here}Wade and I did not really know what to dress up as and kind of put something together last minute. Wade's skeleton costume turned out amazing! I decided to be Ke$ha. Casey made this beef cheese dip which was to die for.

Last Sunday had beautiful weather so Wade and I decided to have a day date.  We first headed to {Beans In the Belfry} in Brunswick, MD to grab a quick bite. I had heard such great things about the adorbale old church that was turned into a cozy resturant and they did not disappoint!  Wade and I shared a smoked turkey panini and Tuscan panini. Delish! A jazz band was playing for their Sunday Jazz Brunch special.. which I want to try!.. any takers?

After lunch we  hit Jumbo's Pumpkin Patch.  We decided on smaller pumpkins this year to carve. After finding the perfect pumpkin,  We walked around and looked at all the cute animals while we sipped on hot cider. It was the perfect fall day date.

The week leading up to Halloween was filled with scary movies each night {Hocus Pocus, multiple Halloween's, etc} pumpkin carving, and roasting pumpkin seeds.

I hope everyone has a Happy Halloween! What are you dressing up as? The hubby and I plan on staying in, eating lots of candy, watching scary movies and staying warm next to the fire. Have a great weekend!