Sunday, December 29, 2013

music...alice in chains

an oldie, but goodie and a fav on my workout playlist...

alice in chains, "i stay away"


Wednesday, December 25, 2013

happy holidays!

wishing you a merry christmas and hoping 2014 is out of this world!!!

with love,
erin, jarad & wilfred


Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Saturday, December 7, 2013

winter mornings...

doesn't get much better than waking up to these two on a cold winter morning...isn't my family cute?!?!?


Monday, November 25, 2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

early morning hikes...










our new favorite thing to do on weekends is go for an early morning hike in palos verdes with wilfred.  last weekend, we went with friends, which also included wilfred's best bud, bailey.  we have to go early in the morning to avoid rattle snakes, and i always make sure we get some coffee on the way.  the chill air, the views and a good work out make for a fun outing and wilfred loves his off leash adventure...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

pork tenderloin roast...

we didn't eat much pork growing up, that is probably why as an adult i thought i didn't like it (until i had jarad's uncles roast).  everytime we visit uncle dean, i request his famous pork roast dinner.  now after having it multiple times, i have realized that he does it differently everytime, but he knows how to perfectly cook it, so it always comes out amazing.  here is the secret to cooking uncle dean's perfect pork...

if you are cooking for 3-4 people, a 1.5-2 pound roast is plenty.  i strongly believe marinating meat for long periods of time is the best, so i get it marinating in the morning or even overnight if you can.  for this roast, i marinated the meat in olive oil, crushed garlic, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

then i sear it on each side on the bbq.  from the bbq i place it on a baking sheet into a 375 degree oven.  i use a meat thermometer to get it to an temperature of 170 (make sure you are testing the thickest part of the meat).  the pork roast is usually not even in shape, so i cut off the tip of the roast to prevent it from drying out or becoming over cooked.


i served this roast with sweet potatoes and zucchini, and it would be perfect paired with a balsamic glaze on top or a reduction of your favorite jam or jelly.  i think apricot or raspberry preserves would be good, and for an extra kick, you could throw some jalapenos in it.  


made with love in the shape of a heart

Friday, November 22, 2013

mentally strong...

have you ever had to fight for something you want or believe in.  fight so bad that it leaves you drained and even questioning your efforts?  that has been my week, and with the coaching and support of my husband and family, i am glad to report my week ended on a positive note.  i think the tests i went through this week were a good learning experience, one of negotiating, compromise and self worth.  i came across this article today and it seemed appropriate to share.  please check out "13 things mentally strong people don't do" here...enjoy!

Friday, November 15, 2013

texas junk...

as i mentioned in my previous post, we just got home from visiting jarad's parents in houston, texas.  before we left jarad scooped out this place online, and knew i would love it.  it is called "texas junk company" and is located in downtown houston in a warehouse.  it is filled with old records, picture frames, interesting collectables and my favorite...vintage cowboy boots.  in fact, they advertise that they have over 1,000 pairs.  the owner is a little crazy and they only take cash or check, but it is worth checking out. 


boots start at $30 and they have a variety of mens and womens sizes and styles.  i found a great pair of grey boots for $55, what a steal!  they are already broken in perfectly and have great character.  for more information on this fun find, check it out here, on the houston visitors website.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

birds the word...

jarad and i spent a long weekend in texas visiting his folks.  i thought it would be nice to celebrate an early thanksgiving with them since we don't see them for the holidays.  i told them we would do all the shopping and cooking and the end result was an awesome meal served in the backyard by the pool on a warm fall day.  the menu consisted of; turkey, potatoes al gratin, stuffing (actually dressing since it was not cooked in the bird), and pumpkin pie.

as much as i like to cook, it's funny that i have never cooked my own turkey, nor do i even eat it on thanksgiving.  as a little girl, i used to like to help and watch my mom prepare the turkey.  after i saw the giblets and gross things that came out of the turkey, that was the last year i ate it.  as an adult, i have overcome this (mostly), but i still prefer to indulge on all the side dishes that are at the table, like mashed potatoes (my dads are the best by far), stuffing, roasted sweet potatoes, rolls, salads and green beans.

jarad and i went to the grocery store and we selected a 10 pound butterball frozen turkey.  we let defrost in a water bath for several hours and overnight in the fridge.  the next day when we were ready to cook, jarad was in charge of cleaning it and prepping it.


we put butter under the skin along and olive oil on top with plenty of seasoning.  we used salt, pepper, rosemary, and chili powder on the skin and stuffed the cavity with onion, celery, carrots, lemon and rosemary. 



we covered the turkey with tin foil (so the skin does not burn) and pop it into a 350 degree oven.  i think the basic rule of thumb is 30 minutes per pound. we started basting it around 2 hours in and it took about 3 hours for the turkey to be cooked through.  we let it rest for about 15 minutes and then sliced it.  it came out very moist and full of flavor.


it was a good first try at a turkey of my own, and i now i know not to be intimidated by it next time.  it was a great early thanksgiving celebration and a fun way to share the holiday with my in-laws. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

non-traditional guest book...




i wanted our guests to sign something other than a book that we could enjoy long after the wedding.  we had a welcome table when the guests walked in with a framed photo of us with a large border (for signing) and a big bin of jenga blocks (the wooden block game) and a bunch of fine tip sharpies.  our guests were able to write their words of wisdom on the wooden blocks and sweet messages on the photo.  we love playing games in this household and the photo lives in our family room. 


Thursday, November 7, 2013

leftover produce...

jarad and i are about to leave for vacation and i have produce in the fridge that is still fresh, but probably won't be when we return.  i hate being wasteful, so this is what i do...i prep my produce (wash and cut) and package them into ziplock baggies.  i create meal ideas ahead of time, such as "chili starter,  frittata starter, or stirfry veggies" and package them up, label and date them and pop them in the freezer.


my chili starter has lots of bell pepper and onions and can go right into my crock pot chili frozen.  the frittata starter has onion, bell pepper, zucchini and  asparagus, and is ready to be sautéed before going into my egg dish.  you can create any "starter" bag with the produce you have on hand and will be happy to find them in the freezer to use for a time saving and money efficient meal.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

shadow box...

shadow boxes can be found at most home good stores, and they are a great way to display photos and other keepsakes, but i am using mine as a jewelry box.  i used pearl pins to hang my jewelry and my shadow box has a knob on it, so you can easily open and close...



Tuesday, November 5, 2013

green onions...

i think it is safe to say that our 2nd attempt at our garden box is a fail.  not sure if we started too late in the season, our soil is bad or if we just don't have the "green thumb".  but this is a fool proof way to grow your own green onion.  next time you buy some at the store, cut them down to the white part and put them in water, they will regrow (and fast) this is mine after 4 days of growth...


Monday, November 4, 2013

the bigger picture of marriage...

erin and jarad sitting in a tree
k i s s i n g
first comes love
then comes marriage
then comes the baby in the baby carriage

we get married for love, but i am starting to realize as a newlywed that there is so much more to marriage than just the two of us.  i came across this article that explains the bigger picture of marriage, check it out here


Wednesday, October 30, 2013

sweet potato mash...

you know it is officially fall when the markets start to carry interesting root vegetables and squashes.  i saw sweet potatoes at the grocery store and i was inspired to create a meal around using them as a side dish.  i came up with a pork tenderloin, sweet potato mash and grilled zucchini.  it was delicious and the perfect meal for a weekend evening at home in the chilly weather.

ingredients:
2 sweet potatoes
2 T cream cheese
2 T  melted butter
2 T brown sugar
dash cinnamon
dash ginger powder
salt and pepper to taste

how to:

poke the potatoes all over with a fork and start the cooking process in the microwave, i cooked them in there for 10 minutes.  then transfer to a 375 degree oven for approximately 20 minutes or until completely tender.  once they are fully cooked remove from oven and allow to cool until they can be handled.


cut potatoes in half (length wise) and scoop out the insides into a bowl.  add all ingredients and mix until smooth and combined.  you can put the mash back in the shell for serving or just serve right out of the bowl.


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

music...lana del rey

she has become my new favorite these days and this song is in "the great gatsby" soundtrack, which is another one of my new favorites...

lana del rey, "young and beautiful"


Sunday, October 27, 2013

macaroons...

when i heard the word "macaroon", i usually thought of a coconut cookie, but the new trend is the french macaroons that come in bright colors and unusual flavors.  they are traditionally made with almond extract, they are two meringue like cookies with a gooey filling in between.  some of the common flavors are pistachio, chocolate, and hazelnut, but i prefer the more exotic flavors like rose, lavender, and salted caramel.


these delicate treats go well with coffee and tea and come in such beautiful colors, you see them often times served at weddings.  i am on a quest to find the best french macaroons in los angeles, but until then you can also get a 12 pack at trader joes in the frozen section, and they are pretty tasty (especially the apricot one).

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

name change...

 now that the wedding is over, your facebook relationship status is updated and you are settling into married life, it is time to start the process of changing your name.  there are many different ways to go when picking your new last name...you can take your husbands last name, your maiden name can be your new middle name or you can hyphenate.  whatever you decide to do, you will need to make this decision BEFORE your wedding when you apply for a marriage license.  after the wedding you have 10 days to send in your completed marriage license (a task that is usually done by whomever is officiating the wedding), and once you get your marriage certificate back (usually 6-8 weeks later), that is when you can start the process of changing your name.  it is not something that happens overnight, so be patient...

step one - you must change your name with the social security office first.  you can fill out the application and either walk it into your local office or mail it.  i mailed it in (along with my marriage certificate and passport) and within 2 weeks i got a letter stating i would get my new card within two weeks and it also had my original documents in there to send back to me.  this is one of the few free things that come along with getting married...there is no cost to apply for a new social security card.

step two - DMV.  this is one thing you have to do in person, no shortcuts can be taken and you can not do this at AAA.  i made an appointment online, and it can take up to a month to get an appointment.  i went to a lease desirable location and got in within 2 weeks.  the cost to change your name at the DMV is $26.00 and you also need to take a new picture.  your new drivers license should come by mail within 10-14 business days, but they will give you a paper copy of a temporary drivers license until you receive your new card.

step three - change your name on important things like payroll (may require you to fill out a W4 & I9 form), health insurance (i had to submit a change form to my insurance representative) and credit cards.

step four - passport.  i had to get my passport renewed before our honeymoon, and if you change your name on your passport within one year of renewal, it is free!!!  so get on it!

step five - make a list of other accounts and memberships and start checking them off...

~bills (utilities, phone, etc.)
~bank accounts (this also had to be done in person, and they needed my marriage certificate, new social security card and my temporary drivers license)
~doctor offices (this was done once my new health insurance card came in the mail)
~car insurance
~gym membership
~magazine subscriptions
~update your emergency contact info or beneficiary info

a few tips to remember when changing your name...

~practice your new signature.  i had to sign documents but wasn't sure how i was going to sign my name.
~don't book your honeymoon with your new name unless you are absolutely certain you have enough time.
~get an extra copy of your marriage certificate.  it is good to have, because you will need to send originals in when applying for a new social security card and passport (they always send back, but good to have an additional copy on file)
~don't buy the "name changing packages" that they offer on the wedding websites.  it seems like a rip off.  so far the only cost i have incurred in this process is the DMV fee.  i guess if you are renewing your passport than you would have that as well, but since i renewed mine before the honeymoon it was free.

Friday, October 4, 2013

amish cinnamon loaf...

this fun and yummy science project has been going around my office and i wanted to share. i was given a ziplock bag with a "starter" in it, and ten days later and a lot of "mushing" i baked a delicious sweet bread and gave the rest of the new starters away...here is how it works.


~do not use any type of metal spoon or mixing bowl
~do not refrigerate
~it is normal to rise, bubble and ferment and burp as needed

day 1...do nothing
day 2...mush the bag
day 3...mush the bag
day 4...mush the bag
day 5...add to the bag: 1 cup of flour, 1 cup of sugar, 1 cup of milk & mush the bag
day 6...mush the bag
day 7...mush the bag
day 8...mush the bag
day 9...mush the bag
day 10...follow these instructions:

~pour the entire contents of bag into a non-metal bowl
~add 1.5 cup flour, 1.5 cup sugar and 1.5 cup milk and mix
~measure 1 cup of batter into each of (4) 1 gallon ziplock bags
~give away 3 bags along with the recipe to friends and keep 1 bag for yourself
~preheat oven to 325 degrees
~to the remaining batter add:

3 eggs
1 cup vegetable oil
2 t cinnaomon
1  cup sugar
1/2 cup milk
1 t vanilla
1 1/2 t baking powder
1/2 t baking soda
2 cup flour
1 box vanilla instant puddling
1/2 t salt

how to:

grease 2 loaf pans or muffin tins and in a bowl mix 1/2 cup sugar and 1 t cinnamon to dust the pans with.  pour batter into pans and sprinkle any remaining sugar on top. bake for one hour and allow to cool


if you keep a starter for yourself you will be baking every 10 days.  you can add dried fruit or nuts as well.

Monday, September 30, 2013

programs...

i bought a ream of recycled looking card stock at staples for about $15 to use for my wedding invitations, and i had a bunch left, so i decided to make my own programs as well.  jarad helped me with the design and i printed them at work, making this project costing hardly anything. 


it was a 2 sided program and we placed them on each chair before the ceremony.  the first page had our bridal party info, and the second page had a thank you note from us to our guests, the dinner menu and instructions on how to upload photos from your phone to our website. it took a while to get our design just right and to print and cut the programs, but i feel it was worth the time and effort.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

dream big....

i have been anticipating a stressful work week, and i had to take a moment today to acknowledge things i am grateful for and appreciate the little things...

***doggie cuddles, supportive parents/family, best friend wine nights,  a good work out this morning, listening to the new kings of leon album for the first time today, the chill in the air that feels like the start of fall and my AMAZING husband (just to name a few)***


Saturday, September 21, 2013

stuffed bell peppers...

trying some new low carb dinner options and this one came to mind when i saw bell peppers on sale in the market.

ingredients:

3-4 medium sized green bell peppers
1 lb. chop meat
1 zucchini
1 ear of corn
3 stalks of green onion
1 packet taco seasoning
1 T tomato paste
1/2 cup of shredded mozzarella cheese

how to:

grate zucchini, shave the corn off of the cob and chop green onion.  saute in pan until cooked through and put aside.


 cook chop meat, drain extra fat off and mix in taco seasoning.


combine veggies and meat.


cut bell peppers in half length wise, and clean out insides.


stuff with mixture and bake at 350 degrees for approximately 20-25 minutes. for the last few minutes of cooking, sprinkle cheese on top and turn broiler on.


***you can put any veggie mixture you want with the meat.  i used those because that is what i had in the fridge, but you could use mushrooms, onion, ortega chilies, black beans, rice, etc.***


we had a one half left over and jarad fried an egg to put on top for breakfast, it made for good leftovers!

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

symptoms of inner peace...


1.  a tendency to think and act deliberately, rather than from fears based on past experiences.

2.  an unmistakable ability to enjoy each moment.

3.  a loss of interest in judging others.

4.  a loss of interest in judging self.

5.  a loss of interest in conflict.

6.  a loss of interest in interpreting the actions of others.

7.  a loss of ability to worry.

8.  frequent, overwhelming episodes of appreciation.

9.  contented feelings of connectedness with others and with nature.

10.  frequent attacks of smiling through the heart.

11.  increasing susceptibility to kindness offered, and the uncontrollable urge to reciprocate.

12.  an increasing tendency to allow things to unfold, rather than resisting and manipulating.

this is my "to-do" list, and although i don't practice yoga, i looked up the meaning of "namaste" and it's quite beautiful...



Monday, September 16, 2013

new england vacay, rhode island...

we always go back to the east coast once or twice a year, usually in summer to visit jarad's family and friends.  this year we timed our vacation so that we could meet up with about 10 of jarad's college friends at a beach house in rhode island. he grew up there and has shown me around before, but this time our trip was full of fun and new things i have never experienced, here are some of my highlights...

we spent 2 days in rhode island, i had my first new england beach day (which also happens to be my first beach day this entire summer).  the water was surprisingly warm and we enjoyed the sunshine, snacks and sand!  that evening we had a clam bake, although jarad and i don't eat it, it was a fun experience.  they use huge burners with metal trashcans to steam the seafood, corn, potatoes and sausage.



from rhode island we made our way to boston for some family time.  but first we did a driving tour of some of jarad's childhood homes and a lunch stop at his favorite pizza parlor.  and we also did a mansion tour.  in the early 1900's rhode island used to be a summer home to the wealthiest socialites, occupying these mansions for 10 weeks during summer and throwing huge parties!  ( think great gatsby style).  these mansions are now used for weddings and other large events, and some of them are open for tours.















i had such a great time in rhode island with good friends, good food and good weather.  i am excited to continue this new tradition of "staycation" (as this group of new englanders call it), to meet up in summer with this awesome group of friends. 


stay tuned for new england vacay part 2 (boston and new hampshire)...

Sunday, September 15, 2013

bridal party...

when it comes to weddings, you are not the only one who is aware of the high price tag...your bridal party is too!  with all the gifts, parties, travel and attire, a typical wedding can cost your groomsmen and bridesmaids nearly $1,000 or more.  we had our bridal party dress in black cocktail dresses and black suits.  they didn't all match, but it would be something they already had, would wear again and could purchase in their own price range.  and they all looked fantastic!




this can be done with any color or color palet, and your bridal party will appreciate the savings as well.  it was also nice that the girls could wear a dress that suited their style as well, i am sure we all have at least a few bridesmaid dresses in our closet that we will never wear again.