Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Smoked Mac-N-Cheese Lasagna Cupcakes

I am someone who loves to cook but never seems to find time to do it.  I am going to attempt to throw some recipes out here every now and then to share some of the foods I love.  While reading People magazine (June 6, 2011), I came across this Smoked Mac-N-Cheese Lasagna Cupcakes recipe that had been adapted from Heirloom L.A..  I love cupcakes and mac-n-cheese so I thought I would give it a try.

Makes 12 cupcakes

15-16 pieces (1 lb box) lasagna, cooked until tender and drained
olive oil
3 cups grated Parmesan
3 cups grated smoked Mozzarella 
3 cups grated sharp Cheddar
white sauce

Notes: I went with regular mozzarella b/c my hubby is not a fan of smoked cheese.  Also, I used shredded mozzarella and cheddar because I am lazy and could buy them already done that way.

For white sauce:
4 Tbsp. butter
3 Tbsp. flour
2 cups hot milk
pinch of salt

To make white sauce:

Melt butter in medium saucepan over medium heat.  Add flour and stir for 2 minutes.  Slowly add hot milk, stirring constantly.  Add a pinch of salt and cook over low heat, stirring until thickened, about 10 minutes.

To make cupcakes:
1. Trim lasagna pieces into 6x2-in strips and place on a lightly oiled sheet pan.  Cut remaining pieces into 3 equal sections and place on sheet pan.
2. Brush a 12-cup cupcake tin with olive oil.  Lay 2 i-in lasagna strips in the bottom of each mold to form an X. (Strips will hang over)
3. Sprinkle 1 tbsp of each cheese over pasta, packing well.  Top with 1 tbsp of sauce.  Place 1 smaller lasagna piece on top.  Repeat for each.

4. Fold the 2 overhanging pieces over the top of each cupcake (Make sure you do this!  I didn't and it led to crispy sides!).  Use sauce to seal edges.  Sprinkle with each cheese and dab of sauce.  Cover with plastic wrap; chill for at least 2 hours.

5. Preheat over to 325 degrees.  Bake cupcakes for 25-30 minutes.  Let cupcakes rest 10 minutes before serving.

End result?

They were a big hit!  My hubby and I loved them, as did the kids.  We served them with a caesar salad and spiced it up with a glass of wine for us and a glass of sparkling cider for them.  They were rich, yummy and if you are trying to watch calories, do not attempt.  I will definitely be making these again!

I LOVE New York!!!!!

Not suprising, I know.  I just absolutely fell in love with New York City from the moment I stepped out of our hotel and began walking the streets.  I have been to other big cities (i.e. Chicago, San Francisco, Dallas) but NOTHING compares to the energy and excitement of New York.  I could write for days on my trip but that may not be that interesting to you, so I am going to show some of my "first" experiences, along with other great places I was able to enjoy while there.

First Tourist Spot

Since I love sweets (as do my children), this was a definite on the list of stopping by.  Since it was only a few blocks from my hotel, it was the first place I visited once arriving.  All I have to say is, three stories of candy.  Fabulous!  I was able to pick up so many great items for the kids (and for myself) and wish we had one nearby to hold a birthday party at!

First Subway Ride
Canal Street

Yes, this public transportation snob actually took the subway, not once, but many times while there.  My interest rose after two cab rides that almost made me lose my lunch.  So, I moved on to the subway and by the end of the trip, I could actually read the subway map!

First Department Store

Bloomingdales was my first experience at a New York department store and I about died when I saw that it was 9 floors!  I wanted to stay away from department stores but Saks and Bloomies were a definite since they are SO much better than the ones here at South Coast Plaza (nothing against those, they are nice, but come on, 9 FLOORS!)  I was extremely happy to pick up the Rag and Bone Cobalt Blue Flare jeans I have been searching for forever (more on those in another post)!

First Museum
One of the only "musts" on my list was to see the Alexander McQueen exhibit at the Met.  It had received incredible reviews and surpassed all expectations.  The exhibit was an experience and there is no way to describe his collections in person.  It was the only exhibit I went through but I would love to go back to see so many of the others that we missed.

First Dining Experience
All I kept hearing about was how good the food was going to be.  Everyone was right.  I thought that shopping would be the most enjoyable part of the trip but it was actually the dining experience that I loved.  Marc Forgione's restaurant had fabulous decor and an incredible menu.  I also ate dinner at Hearth and Buddakan NYC, both which were also fantastic.  I am currently on detox from eating the ENTIRE time I was there.

First Sample Sale

Lucky for me my best friend new that I was in NY and sent me a tweet that Yumi Kim was having a sample sale in SoHo.  I was actually standing about 5 stores from where it was being held so I headed over and I was able to pick up two gorgeous tops at amazing prices!  I love them both and am now a Yumi Kim fan!

SoHo Shopping Experience
There is nothing like SoHo.  It was my favorite place to shop in all of New York.  So many familiar stores among amazing boutiques that you cannot find anywhere else.  Those were my favorite.  Places that I had a great time spending money at were:

* I could have purchased the entire store

First Happy Hour

Every afternoon we stopped for a little happy hour.  I mean, why not, we have no children and shopping is exhausting!  I visited the Plaza Hotel for the first time and loved sitting in the Oak Room, looking out at Central Park while I indulged in a fabulous cheese plate and glass of wine.  

Sorry for the long post but I cut other things out to not make it a novel.  Overall, an amazing first trip and I am excited to go back again.  The hubby is already onboard for a couple's trip so... 

New York, until next time!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

This Weekend Is Sponsored By...

American Express

They tell me it is everywhere you want to be.
They are correct.  It is shopping with me in New York.

Thank you Amex for making this weekend possible (and for all the points I am earning...BONUS!)

Happy Memorial Day weekend everyone!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

MUCH Better!

Thank you New York!  I appreciate the change of heart.  See you tomorrow at 7am!

Working For Vacation

As I have mentioned in previous posts, I am heading out of town tonight for a girls trip to New York.  You would think that this means I am spending every opportunity that I have packing myself, prepping my books and magazines for the flight and simply getting excited for all that I am going to see.  Oh how wrong this is.  Yes, I am spending all my free time getting ready for my departure, but for everyone else.

Every time the hubby heads out on a trip (business or pleasure), I do not see him running around like a maniac making sure the laundry is done, there is food in the fridge, carpool is taken care of, the schedule is set and the entire house is in order for while he is gone.  He packs, leaves and returns.  Sounds pretty nice.  Usually when I head out of town I have spent so much time prepping the household that I end up throwing whatever I can into a suitcase, not quite sure of what I packed and always assume I forgot something.  Annoying.

Then there is the whole issue of while I am away.  Back to when the hubby travels, it is almost like he never left.  Housework has not piled up.  There is not a mountain of laundry to do.  It is almost as if he was not necessary at all to maintain normal functioning of the house (shocking, I know).  When I return, I have so little expectations that if everyone is still standing (including the house), it was a success.  I then take on the "mommy was gone so all hell broke lose around here" clean up duty.  Again, annoying.

We shall see how this trip goes but so far, the fridge is stocked, carpool has been switched, nanny is booked, the laundry is almost done and I have not even opened a suitcase.

** Disclaimer: There is a small chance I wrote this post knowing full well the hubby reads my blog and I could be pleasantly surprised come Sunday morning when I return.  

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

The Diagnosis is...

My three year old is currently going through what I would like to call the  "Terrible Three's Bi-Polar Disorder".  I am not sure, but this might be worse than an emotional teenage girl (I will let you know in 12 years).  One minute, he is the happiest kid on the block...

 And then suddenly...

"Angry Anakin Skywalker eyes" (yes, that is what he calls them).  The second he gets mad, these eyes come out, followed by one of the following overly dramatic phrases:

1. I don't love you
2. I don't like anyone in my family
3. I don't like outside, it is not beautiful (okay, I have only heard this once but it made me laugh, I mean, how dramatic are we going to be here?)

And then, a few minutes later, he comes back with "I love you mommy!"

Yes, Bipolar.

Hearing "I don't love you" does not break my heart as everyone said it would, it just pisses me off.  I am not sure where he heard this or came up with it but it is obviously something I don't want him saying.  So, we continue to deal with our emotional roller coaster in hopes that he QUICKLY outgrows this stage.

As a note: Middle Man is a good kid and was such a good sport to allow me to take pictures of his faces.  When asked to show me his angry Anakin eyes, this was originally what I got.....

Monday, May 23, 2011

One of My Favorites: Oversized Sunglasses

I have a slight obsession with oversized sunglasses.  They just work for me.  I have tried other styles but I always go back.  Because of having children, I always keep a couple pairs of child-friendly sunglasses on me, but love to have a nice pair when I know they will not be destroyed.

These are my favorite child-friendly pair.  I have about 5 pairs scattered around the house.  If they break or I lose them, I always have a backup.  LOVE that they are $5.80.

Forever 21 Sunglasses

I am currently pondering the purchase of one of these two pairs.  They are both adorable but the Chloe might take first place.

LOVE the scalloped trim on these!

But I love the color and detail on these ones too...


Whatever New York.  Rain and thunderstorms won't stop me.  See you in three days.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Similac, I Bid You Farewell

Dear Similac,

It is time to say goodbye.  For 6 years and three children, you have ripped me off and made them strong.  I appreciate you taking the place of breastfeeding, as we both remember, I was not a fan.  I do not appreciate, however, the smell that you left behind on my favorite shirts or the stains you left behind on some of my favorite baby outfits.  I must say that you did teach me that even though a liquid may be white, an item could be washed and years later still potentially turn yellow. 

Thank you for all the memories, specifically of the bugs that you so generously placed in my daughter's formula last October.  I promise that it was not a big deal to throw perfectly good formula away, send back a huge box of already purchased formula and spend a crap load of money on the pre-made formula until you could get your sh#t together.  I especially appreciated whatever substance you put in the bottle that made my daughter prefer you so that when I did try to change formula, it was not possible. 

Now that my hubby says we are at the end of having children, I bid you farewell as I will no longer waste spend money on you.  I am excited for this raise that we have now received and hope to potentially keep it this way.


P.S. There is a small chance my hubby could be wrong so if that is the case, and I need to purchase you one last time, please do not hold any of this against me.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Your "Not So Boring" Trench

I absolutely love my trench coat.  I have had it for years and it continues to be a go-to for me.  I am always cold so even in the summer months, I always keep it near by.  This year I am motivated to brighten it up with a new trench with a bit more color.  I have been browsing the internet looking for just the right one when I came across this ASOS '70s Belted Trench.  Perfect.  I just adore the color and the classic style of a trench coat (note: my hubby will adore the price).  Thrown over a tank, some skinnies and flats, I am good to go!  Now the only question is, can it be here by next Wednesday for my trip??

Here are some other styles of blue coats that I thought were also incredibly cute on ASOS....

ASOS Pleated Swing Trench

ASOS Hitch Hem Trench

ASOS '60s Trench with Contrast Hem

Wednesday, May 18, 2011


In one week from today I am heading off to New York City for a girls weekend.  I AM VERY EXCITED (did my uppercase/underline emphasize enough how excited I am?  If not, here are the exclamation points)!!!!!  This is going to be my first time (shocking I know!) and I am convinced this is because my hubby has purposely kept me away for fear that I will drive us into bankruptcy within 72 hours.  Lucky for me, an opportunity has FINALLY come up and I am off on the red-eye, planning on waking up Thursday morning ready to over-indulge in all things shopping, eating and seeing until I am told to leave on Sunday.  Needless to say, there is so much to see and do and here are some of the suggestions I have received so far.

 Alexander McQueen's Savage Beauty at the Met - DYING to see this and tickets are already purchased
Century 21 Department Store in Manhattan - I was told a place to over-indulge my shopping habit at amazing prices.
TriBeCa - spa day booked over here!
SoHo - apparently more great shopping!
Serendipity 3 and Dylan's Candy Bar- who doesn't like a frozen hot chocolate and candy? May be touristy but whatever.
5th Avenue - again with the shopping (okay, so maybe my hubby's concern is valid...)
Too many restaurant suggestions to count - I will most likely come home 5-10 lbs. heavier

If you have any additional MUST SEE'S for me, let me know!

Happy First Birthday Baby Girl!

Happy First Birthday Baby Girl!  I cannot believe it has already been a year.  It seems like just yesterday you arrived and SHOCKED us all with being a little girl.  I was most certain that you were going to be Baby Boy #3!  Having you has been such a joy and you bring such a new dynamic to our family.  Your brothers adore you and I know you will always be protected by them.  And it is pretty obvious that you are "daddy's little girl".  Over the last few months that little baby I brought home as left and a little toddler is forming in her place, who has learned to already hold her own and is quite stubborn (your daddy says you get this from me).  It is so fun to watch.  You and your brothers make me smile everyday.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Show Me Some "Flare"!

I have two favorite styles of jeans.  Skinnies (preferably Jeggings) and Flare/Bellbottom.  They are on completely opposite sides of the jean spread but that is me.  Always extreme one way or the other.  I live in my J Brand Love Story jeans and they are starting to see their last day.  The question is, do I replace what I know and love or venture out to try something new?  Here are some of my options.....

Know and Love

Or Perhaps a little more flare?

Potentially a higher rise?

Or embrace summer and go with a white?

Options!  Options!  Options!

Monday, May 16, 2011

The party was a SUCCESS!!

After a week of running around like a crazy lady, I am happy to report that the 1st birthday party was a success!  Everyone had a great time and I always love when family and friends can get together to celebrate.  Here are a few of my favorite details of the party.....

The guest frame - love this and it is going up in her room today!
The Baby Cake: Before

The Baby Cake: After (she has a sweet tooth like her mommy!)

The party bags - It took a lot of saving and gathering to get all these!

The bounce house and slide - HUGE hit for the bigger kids

The center pieces, done by Ladera Flower Shoppe, who always does an amazing job!

The garden tables and chairs done by Signature Party Rentals

 I am still exhausted but it was all worth it.  Happy 1st Birthday Baby Girl!  XOXO

Friday, May 13, 2011

Was I Bored?

This week has been a pretty hectic week (that is putting it mildly).  Next week looks even worse.  It has gotten me to think back to before I had kids and I wonder, what the hell did I do with my time?  Was I bored?  Didn’t seem like it.  Did I waste time?  I don’t think so.  That being said, I obviously did not know what busy was until I threw three children and a husband into the mix.  I laugh now at the “stress” I used to have with my one job, one husband, and evening and weekends that were all mine.  Here are some of the comparisons I have been able to come up with…..

THEN: 6:00am – wake up, shower, get myself ready for work, eat some breakfast and get out the door by 7am.

NOW: 5:45am – wake up, throw on some clothes, pull my hair back, wake up all three children, get all three dressed, get all three fed, get school materials together, grab a bar and get out the by 7am.

THEN: 7:30am – 5:30pm – WORK

NOW: 7:30am – 5:30am - drop off kids at school, gym (sorry, I need something), do laundry, empty the dishwasher, put baby down for a nap, make snacks, play Trouble, mop the floor, change laundry, fold clothes, read a story, clean the house, make Dr. appointments, confirm logistics for sports, make lunch, attend a school benefit meeting, pick up from school, make more snacks, go to baseball practice (okay, all this does not always happen at once but this week these were my days.  Promise.)

THEN: 5:30pm – Happy Hour OR make dinner OR go out to dinner OR go to the gym OR go to the gym and then go out to dinner.

NOW: 5:30pm – Make kids dinner, feed kids dinner, give baths, give bottle, throw on a show, make lunches for the next day, get baby to bed, make hubby and I dinner, inhale dinner, read a story, get the boys to bed, crash on the couch with a glass of wine staring blankly at the TV.

And I wonder why I am tired????

One of My Favorites: Joe Malone Orange Blossom Cologne

I just adore all things Joe Malone.  The candles, the cologne, the lotions and cremes.  They are all fabulous.  A few months ago I was introduced to the Orange Blossom Cologne and I fell in love.  It reminds me of Spring and all that I love of the season.  It is light but still maintains it scent throughout the day.  It is a cologne that just makes you feel pretty.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Y'All Come Back Ya Hear!

O.P.I had me at "Lincoln Park After Dark", my absolute favorite nail color shade of all time.  I am quite an O.P.I addict at this point.  Every time I go get my nails done I run into the local beauty store to grab a new color (if, of course, I am not sticking with the LPAD).  After reading a post by fellow blogger Paid Up Top, my next color purchase was definitely going to be from O.P.I's new Texas line.  I just adore this orange, officially titled "Y'All Come Back Ya Hear".  Ah-MAZING.  Looks fabulous on the fingers and is a nice shout out to Spring!

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Countdown Is On!

In 5 days I am throwing my Baby Girl a 1st Birthday party.  In actuality, it is probably more a party for me than for her but don't tell her that.  Oh, I just love to throw parties.  Not just love it.  I actually have issues with it.  I get an idea in my head and it gets bigger and bigger.  I cannot seem to control it.  My husband does not seem to share in this love for party planning and I am constantly told I need to tone it down.  I feel as if with this party I have met him in the middle.  Here is why:

1. Yes we got a bounce house but there are no face painters
2. Yes I have rentals coming but I have agreed to plastic plates and silverware
3. Yes the cake and cake balls were more than he would have spent but I am not catering the rest
4. Yes I have flowers coming but only the bare minimum
5. There will be alcohol - we both agree!

See, half way!

Here is the invitation for the event (I mean party).....

This was created by Pad and Paper, whom I adore and use for everything we mail from this house (more to come on them later).

I am still shocked that my little one is turning 1 and cannot wait to celebrate!

Side note: Can anyone guess my two favorites movies (hint: my daughter's name and theme of the party)

Monday, May 9, 2011

One of My Favorites: Lululemon Wonder Unders

When it comes to working out, there is one pant that I just adore.  They are the Lululemon Wonder Under Pants.  Can we say obsessed.  When I first received them from my husband I assumed he simply walked into the store and purchased the tightest thing he could find.  BUT, once wearing them, I understood why, as he put it, "the girl told him to buy them".  They are extremely comfortable and also extremely flattering.  I live in them.  And as a note to any husbands that may think $88 is a lot for workout pants, my hubby wants you all to know that they make the ass look great and are worth every penny.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Happy Happy Mother's Day!

I love Mother's Day.  Not because I expect to be showered with love and gifts (though I will not refuse if offered) but because it is a day to thank my mom.  Thank her because being a mother is f&*king hard.  At 32 I can say I am FINALLY starting to realize all the crap that she has had to put up with over the years to raise 6 children (note: my father was great too, but it is Mother's Day).  With half as many children as she had, I really do not understand how she handled it without:
1. going to therapy
2. becoming an alcoholic
3. giving one of us up for adoption (possibly even two)

She is what I would like to call Superwoman (without the cape and knee high boots) and I hope that I am half the mother she is one day.  Thank you Mom for everything.
Happy Mother's Day to my mom and to all the mommies out there and cheers to us all for doing the best we can!

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Weekend Read: The Help

I know, I know.  You are all wondering how in the world it has taken me this long to read a book that has been recommended for years.  I was given this book two years ago and FINALLY read it over the past two weeks.  All I have to say is "AMAZING".  Such a fantastic read and kept me captivated from start to finish.  I will not go into details on this book (because I am sure you have already heard them) but if you have not read it yet, you are missing out.

Friday, May 6, 2011

I Hate Crawling

I absolutely do.  I remember when my first one became mobile and I thought it was the most amazing thing I had ever seen.  Fast forward to the third and I absolutely cannot stand the crawling stage.  For a child, this stage means a gain in independence.  For a mother, this stage means scratched knees, ruined clothes, messy hands, child proofing and overall, a dirty child. Right now my daughter is a lightening bolt.  Within seconds she is eating plastic from the sandbox at the park, then off to the dirt where she covers herself, then back through the playground, tearing holes in her pants.  It drives me INSANE.  I know some would say that I should embrace this stage as I might miss it when it is gone.  I think they are full of crap.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Wish List: Foley + Corinna Mid City Tote

This Fall my husband and I will be jetting off to Europe to celebrate our 10 year anniversary.  Obviously this means that I must start packing now.  One thing I do not have is a fabulous bag that can be carried cross-body.  This Foley + Corinna Mid City Tote would be absolutely perfect.  Love the color and style and I can just picture myself walking through the Louvre wearing it.  Can't you honey?

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

Cut It All Off

I have major impulse issues when it comes to hair.  I have been blonde, brunette, red, back to blonde, back to brunette.  It has been short, long, really short and back to long.  I can never make up my mind and when I decide I want to do something different, I really do not think about it much, I just go with it.

This occurred this afternoon.  On the way to my hair appointment I had the sudden impulse to chop off my hair.  Thank goodness for the new cut of the moment, the Lob.  I instantly decided that I too need to follow in the footsteps of Jennifer Anniston, Nicole Richie and January Jones.  I went in getting color and a trim and walked out with an entirely different look.

And I LOVE it!  Welcome summer, sunglasses, beach days and short hair!

And The Oscar Goes To......

My boys are confused when I say it is time for bed.  My understanding is that this means they will obediently walk upstairs and brush their teeth.  They, on the other hand, have interpreted this phrase as a time to break out in their Hollywood best.  And the performances?  They would put any actor to shame.  Some of my favorites are:

The "Mommy my arm hurts so bad (kneeling over, grabbing his arm) that I think my stomach hurts from it (now grabbing his stomach) and I just cannot go to bed"

The "Mommy my eyes hurt so bad (with obsessively rubbing them until they are bloodshot) when I close them that I just cannot fall asleep right now"

The "Mommy I am so thirsty I must get up (tears of thirst begin to form) and get something to drink.  And I am so hungry now too because dinner was so long ago."

And my absolute favorite?

The, complete collapse to the floor, bawling, all while screaming "I'M NOT TIRED!"

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Love for the Little Ones: TOMS Classic Canvas Slip On for Infants and Todders

While this "Easter Bunny" was out shopping for baskets, I came across these TOMS Classic Canvas Slip on for Infants and Toddlers.  Without hesitation, I immediately walked over and purchased the silver for my daughter.  Yes, I know she is not walking yet but that should not take away from her owning fabulous footwear.  They are incredibly cute on and a perfect shoe for a more casual day.  Also, the velcro makes them extremely easy to put on little feet.  I love them (and am convinced she does too).  I see the pink in her future.....       

Monday, May 2, 2011

Why Won't They Just Sleep In!

My children hate sleep.  At least that is my assumption based on the fact that no matter what time they go to bed, they love to come wake me up any time between 5:45am and 6:30am.  I just do not understand it.  This past Friday night we had a couple families over.  While parents enjoyed a bottle (or possibly a lot more than that) of wine and dinner, the kids were able to run around until their hearts content.  This led to children falling asleep in front of a movie at 10:30pm.  One would assume that this would be late for all children and due to complete exhaustion, they would sleep in.  Apparently not my boys.  While I am texting with a friend at 9am the next day about what a good time we had with them, she mentioned that her child is still asleep.  WHAT?!  All three of mine have been up since 6:30am!  NOT FAIR.  When will they learn that sleep is Ah-mazing?  Oh, I hope soon.
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