Let’s Celebrate With Cake!

Happy Monday! Phew, I feel like ever since I took my last final over a week ago, I have been on the go! With Jason and I in Northern California last weekend, and on a retreat this past weekend, last night was the first time that my family could get together for dinner to celebrate my completion of college.

My mom asked what I would like for my special meal, and since I haden’t had salmon in awhile, that was my choice! She marinated it in a mix of Orange juice, wine and soy sauce and then simply baked it in the oven. It was delcious! We all commented on how it was some of the juicest salmon we had ever had!

I also requested a side of Sun Dried Tomato and Goat Cheese ravioli and steamed asparagus.

It was all fantastic! And what better way to end a fantastic meal than with a slice of cake?!

The baker who made my 22nd birthday cake, and who will be making our wedding cake, put together this work of beauty for me to make the celebration extra special.

 It was a mousse cake filled with white, milk and dark chocolate mousse

Covered with butter cream and topped with juicy, sweet raspberries.

And yes, it was just as amazing as it sounds. So amazing, that I may or may not have gone back for seconds!
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My First Foodie Penpal

Is it really already the last day of March? Where is the time going?!

Since it is the last day of the month, I have something special to share with you…my March Foodie Penpal package of goodies!

Never heard of the Foodie Penpals? Started by Lindsay over at The Lean Green Bean, the program pairs bloggers and readers alike every month to send each other packages filled with fun foodie products. This was my first time participating in the program and I can’t wait to be part of it next month!

This month, I received a package from Brianne over at Cupcakes and Kale Chips (<- be sure to check out her awesome blog!). As a New Jersey native, Brianne wanted to send me a variety of local products that represented where she was from. I loved the idea!

In my package I received a jar of Mia Cucina Marinara Sauce


Pure New Jersey Honey

And a bag of Jess’ incredibly delicious home made granola! This stuff is packed with dried fruit and nuts…I can’t keep my hands out of the bag!

Hmmm….granola and honey? I see many greek yogurt parfaits in my future!

Thanks Brianne!
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Finger Lickin’ Good

My day was totally made when these beautiful flowers arrived on my doorstep!


My sweet, sweet friend, Hannah sent them to me as a congratulations for graduating!


What a beautiful surprise!

One of the best things about being home is having people to cook for! In college, when I was cooking for one, I rarely took the time to make elaborate meals because it just wasn’t worth all the work. But now, I have people around who will enjoy it!

Tonight, I volunteer to make dinner. Nothing too fancy, but I still enjoyed being able to get cookin’! So what was on the menu?

Chicken Fingers!
Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken Fingers

Ingredients

1 lb. chicken, cut into strips
1 c. pretzels, finely crushed
3 Tbsp honey
2 Tbsp mustard
1/8 Tsp salt and pepper

Directions

Pre-heat oven to 425*
Combine honey and mustard in a small bowl, mix well to combine
Place crushed pretzels and seasoning in a separate bowl
Dip chicken strips into honey-mustard mixture
Coat in pretzels
Place on cookie sheet
Bake for 15 minutes, flipping once halfway through

They were a hit!

Served with a side of broccoli

Off to relax for the night!
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WIAW: The Graduate

Who is the proud, new recipient of a Bachelor’s of Science Degree in Clinical Nutrition from the University of California, Davis?
This girl!
It took three and a half years of hard work and dedication, but I did it, and I couldn’t be more proud! It feels great to have completed such a big stage of my life, and I am excited to move on to the next…wedding planning and job searching! I may be done with school, but I don’t expect things to slow down anytime soon!

My first full day of being back home started with breakfast. I decided to do something different this morning when I found a box of waffles in the freezer.

I don’t eat waffles often, so it was a fun change!

I topped them with Naturally More Crunchy Peanut Butter.

This brand was new to me, but I loved it! But, really, how could I not…it’s peanut butter after all! What made this particular brand stand out to me was that they fortify their products with Omega 3’s, Flax and Flax Seed Oil. Additionally, their products contain 50% more fiber, 25% more protein and 20% fewer calories than other brands.

Naturally more turns PB’s already amazing nutrition facts into something totally stellar!Once I digested, I headed to my old gym to renew my membership and hit the treadmill for a 6 mile run. After 3 refreshing days away from exercise, it sure felt good to get my legs moving again!Once I came home and showered, my mom and I went downtown to meet my dad for a special meeting….wedding catering planning! The amazing baker who is making our wedding cake has also agreed to cater the reception, and we couldn’t be more excited! We met at her bakery to go over all the details, and it looks like everything is going to come together perfectly!

After our meeting, we went around the corner to grab lunch at the pizza shop that our wedding caterer/baker owns.

My mom split a the Mixed Baby Greens Salad,was topped with carrots, tomatoes and goat cheese with a Raspberry Vinaigrette on the side.

And the Turkey Pesto Melt which included oven roasted turkey , pesto aioli, arugula and provolone cheese on a warm baguette.

Dinner was oven broiled fish with roasted carrots


and basil and herb couscous, which we joked looked like green caviar!

Good night!

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There’s No Place Like Home

Ahhh, there is nothing like being home! I officially moved out of my college rental house on Saturday, and then Jason and I headed north to spend some quality time with his family. It was a great weekend, filled with lots of food and laughs. This morning, after breakfast, we said our goodbyes and headed back home to southern California.
My mom asked me last week what my dinner request was for my first night back at home. I love so many of my mom’s dishes, but my choice for tonight was easy.

Slow-Cooked Barbeque Pulled Pork Sandwiches!I have been looking forward to this meal all week long.

With a side of sweet potato fries.

It was so worth the wait!

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I LIke to Run, Becuase I Really, Really, Really Like Dessert

Yesterday as Jason, my fiance, was driving up to Northern California we made plans for the night. We decided that we would go out for an early celebration dinner, come back to my house and work on packing up my room and then go back out to enjoy dessert. With the promise of dessert later that night, I knew that I should go for a run. The weather was perfect, but putting my running shoes on and sweating did not sound very appealing. After sitting around and avoiding my workout for awhile, I dug deep, using the promise of dessert as my motivation to get my booty moving.Once Jason got into town, it was dinner time! We headed downtown to the same local restaurant that my parents and I went to for my 22nd birthday.

I started with a glass of much needed wine

And we shared a few slices of bread.

I ordered the same lasagna that I ordered last time

Only thing time, I wasn’t blown away…it was just okay this time, which was kind of disappointing. Unfortunately, Jason wasn’t too excited about his dinner either. We decided that we would make up for it at dessert.We searched around town, and stopped into a few spots, but didn’t find anything that really stuck us. We wanted to go all out, but we wanted to make it worth it. After a while of searching, we decided to take a 25 minute drive out to a place we knew would satisfy our cravings.


Fenton’s is famous for their amazing, over the top ice cream creations. They had so many tasty sounding combinations, but our choice was easy.


We went for the Sundae of the Month.

You know that run I had to force myself to go on earlier in the day…I was so glad that I got in those 7 miles!

When the waitress brought the delicious monstrosity to our table, we both said “Oh my Gosh!” in unison.

Ice cream sundae the size of my head? Don’t mind if I do!

We left nothing behind.

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A Goodbye Cow Pie

TGI(Almost!)F! I had my second to last final today, and my last is on Saturday…just have to get thought the next two day, then I’m outta here!
A few weeks ago, I shared a lunch that I had with my good friend, Amy, and tonight, we met again, but for dinner! Since pickings are slim in my kitchen because I am about to move out, and I was feeling a little too mentally exhausted to cook, I pulled this out of my freezer.

This was my first time having an Amy’s frozen meal, but knowing the quality this company puts into their products, I knew I was in for something good.

Ohhhh, I was so right! I was love at first bite.

The best part was the enchilada sauce…it had a wonderful flavor!

I try not to rely on frozen meals too often, but with 0g Trans Fat, no Added MSG, no preservatives and a wholesome ingredient list, this was a great, convenient and healthy meal!

With a side of beans and rice.

And, there were no dishes to clean up. How much better could it get?

As a reward for all the hard studying we have been doing, my friend and I met for our favorite dessert! Before I tell you about this special treat, I have to give you a little background information. The university I attend in Northern California is kinda in the middle of nowhere…it is often referred to as “Cow Town”. Along with our somewhat secluded location and our university’s reputation for being a big agricultural school, we are known for our cows. Yes…our cows. There are pictures and statues of them everywhere! Yeah….we are really cool, I know.

Back to dessert! We met downtown at a ice cream and dessert shop called “Sugar Daddies”. They have tons of tempting, yummy looking options available

Including a mesmerizing case of cupcakes!

As good as they looked, we only had one thing on our minds…

Cow Pies!

I think this is what heaven looks like.

Two freshly baked cookies of your choice with ice cream sandwiched in between. My choice tonight was one White Chocolate Macadamia Nut cookie and one Double Chocolate Chip cookie and Salted Carmel ice cream. The ice cream was all nice and melt-y when I got it, so a spoon was necessary. It was a glorious mess.

My friend and I have been obsessed with these things since we discovered them our freshman year, and I couldn’t graduate without having one last goodbye Cow Pie.

My heart is happy. I will miss you!