Monthly Archives: September 2013

Harvest Salad

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I discovered this salad last fall when I had my CBD girlfriends over for dinner and Emily brought the ingredients to make this delicious salad. I was HOOKED and this salad has become a staple in our house. It’s quick and easy and a great way to use those local apples that are in season right now. If you’re looking for more protein you could try adding chicken to the salad. Enjoy!

Harvest Salad

You’ll need:

  • Spring mix greens
  • 1-2 apples
  • 1/2 cup walnuts
  • 1/3 cup feta cheese
  • balsamic vinaigrette
  • butter (optional)
  • brown sugar (optional)
  • honey  (optional)

1. First you’ll need to decide if you want your walnuts to be candied. If you’re looking for a healthier salad simply toast your walnuts for a couple of minutes in a frying pan on medium heat. If you want to candy your walnuts (really, really, delicious) then melt 1 tablespoon of butter in a frying pan over medium heat. Once the butter is melted begin toasting your walnuts. After a minute or so add some brown sugar (maybe a tablespoon) and drizzle some honey over your walnuts. Keep stirring them around in the pan until they are fully toasted.

2. Set the walnuts aside and grab a bowl to put your lettuce in.

3. Chop up your apples into bite sized pieces (I like to leave the skin on) and thrown them into the bowl.

4. Add your feta and walnuts and finish with balsamic vinaigrette.

 

 

Our Honeymoon in Maui

It’s hard to believe a little over a week ago I was sitting on the beach enjoying a Mai Tai for happy hour! Hawaii was nothing short of amazing and totally worth the long trip there. While we were in Maui we spent lots of time on the beach and exploring. Here’s my review of the different activities to do in Maui.

Sunrise on Haleakala

On the second day there, we decided to do the drive up Haleakala to watch the sunrise. This is a very popular thing for tourists to do in Hawaii and I’m really not sure why it has so much hype. Yes, watching the sunrise was nice, but there are way too many downsides for me to ever want to do it again. You will have to get up at 2:30 in the morning and drive 2.5 hours in the dark to the top of a 10,000 ft. mountain. At the top of the mountain there’s a big parking lot full of cold tourists wrapped in beach towels and comforters stolen from hotels. Everyone sits in the brisk sub 40 degree air waiting for the sun to pop out. Once the sun rises everyone rushes right back to their car and drives back down the mountain. I rushed back to the car and promptly turned on the seat warmer that we were laughing about when we picked up the car at the airport. On the way home there’s a cool place to stop at for breakfast called the Kula Lodge. This was probably my favorite part of the Haleakala experience. There was a fire to warm up by and I had a nice stack of pineapple macadamia nut pancakes.

Sunrise at Haleakala

Sunrise at Haleakala

Surf Lessons

Hawaii is all about surfing! This was definitely one of my favorite things that we did. We took a lesson through Maui Wave Riders and it was excellent. They gave you rash guards, booties, a surfboard and an instructor to share with three other people for two hours. If you’ve never tried surfing before this place is great and they make it super super easy to catch a wave. Bonus: I didn’t see any sharks. YAY!

Black Rock Beach Snorkeling

This activity takes the cake for the best thing to do in Maui. Want to see sea turtles? Go here! Black Rock beach is located at the Sheraton hotel. Drive right on up the the lobby and have a guy valet park your car. If you go have lunch or a drink at the bar then they will validate your parking and then you only have to pay five bucks. Better yet? Simply ask the guy at the bar to validate your parking and skip the $50 lunch. 🙂 Every time we came to the beach we saw turtles! They come right up to the shore and swimming with them is amazing. The first time we came here we didn’t see any at first but as soon as we got out of the water, people start pointing to turtles. The Sheraton also has a sweet pool with a mini water slide and bean bags to float on in the water. They tell you the pool is for registered guests only but as long as you don’t lay your own hotel’s towels out on a chair no one will know you’re not staying there.

Swimming with Sea Turtles

Swimming with Sea Turtles

Road to Hana

This was another somewhat disappointing activity. Everyone will tell you that you need to drive the road to Hana and I’m not really sure why. It was a nice drive with lots of waterfalls to see and a cool beach that has black sand. However, it is a LONG drive. And the destination? Not so awesome. We spent three hours driving to Hana expecting a cute little town when we arrived. Instead we got an overpriced popsicle made with real fruit from a stand next to the road. There’s maybe a convenience store and a restaurant and that’s about it. Probably not worth the three hour drive.

Black Sand Beach

Black Sand Beach

 North Side of Maui

This was another drive we took and I thought it was much better than the road to Hana. You will still see the beautiful Hawaiian landscape, but it’s about half the length of the road to Hana. On our drive we took a nice walk along the rocks by the seashore, saw a blowhole and got some delicious banana bread from a treehouse stand next to the road. Sounds like a good day to me.

North shore of Maui

North shore of Maui

Restaurants

We had two favorite restaurants in Maui, and they were both located right next to each other. They’re called I’o and Pacific’o and they were right on the beach and “farm to table restaurants”. Such a great place to watch the sunset and have a nice dinner. They were both pretty pricey but at Pacific’o we got more food than we could possibly eat. Also, all food is expensive in Hawaii and you’ll just have to get over it.

Sunset dinner at I'o

Sunset dinner at I’o

So that’s my mini review of Maui. If you get the chance, you should definitely go! The 12 hour flight really didn’t feel that long and if you’re lucky you’ll be on one of Delta’s planes that doesn’t charge for movies. Yes, some of them charge and some of them don’t… But definitely go to Maui and you’ll see sea turtles and rainbows every day!

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How I Personalized My Wedding

I think it’s safe to say that everyone wants their wedding to be unique and to reflect their own personal style. There are so many ways to do this! The dancing, decorating the tables, color schemes… really the list can go on forever. Some brides like to plan out everything months in advance. I, on the other hand, was focused on passing my CPT exam for the majority of the summer and had no room left in my brain for deciding how to make place cards and what color ribbon should be tied around the vases. Everything worked out GREAT! My best advice is stay flexible. On the day of the wedding there were some left over flowers at the venue from the wedding the night before and we used them for outdoor decorations. This is where being flexible really paid off! Did they match everything perfectly? No. Did I care? Nope. Free flowers=awesome. Here are a few things (aside from our family and friends) that I thought made our wedding special.

Dance Lessons! We took dance lessons for a few months before the wedding and it was awesome! We took them at American Ballroom Dance Academy in Portland. Even Angus thought they were fun!

Dance Lessons! We took dance lessons for a few months before the wedding and it was awesome! We took them at American Ballroom Dance Academy in Portland. Even Angus thought they were fun!

Consignment store shoes. Both Angus and I found our wedding shoes at consignment stores. I found these beautiful Vera Wang shoes at a store on Newbury St. in Boston for a fraction of the price they'd be new!

Both Angus and I found our wedding shoes at consignment stores. I found these beautiful Vera Wang shoes at a store on Newbury St. in Boston for a fraction of the price they’d be new!

"Gurgle Pot" vases from the Christmas tree shop were a steal at 4.99 each! My friends and I made the starfish candles.

“Gurgle Pot” vases from the Christmas tree shop were a steal at 4.99 each! My friends and I made the starfish candles.

Escort cards made by me and (easy) wooden table numbers from the craft store

Escort cards made by me and (easy) wooden table numbers from the craft store

Decorated table inside the McKernan Center

Decorated table inside the McKernan Center

My almost pink dress from Andrea's Bridal. Flowers from Blooms flower shoppe in Wells, ME.

My almost pink dress from Andrea’s Bridal. Flowers from Blooms flower shoppe in Wells, ME.

Best wedding kiss ever! Headpiece from David's Bridal and earrings from Sworovski.

Best wedding kiss ever! Headpiece from David’s Bridal and earrings from Sworovski.

Closer picture of our homemade cake. A rustic cake decorated with white chocolate shells from Haven's Candy in Portland

Closer picture of our homemade cake. A rustic cake decorated with white chocolate shells from Haven’s Candy

Party favors. Hand stamped thank you bags with coffee and chocolate!

Wedding favors. Hand stamped thank you bags with coffee and chocolate!

Chocolate beach rocks for wedding favors

Chocolate beach rocks for wedding favors

So there’s a few shots of the special details from my wedding. Sorry the quality isn’t excellent, they’re all from my iphone and guest’s facebook pages. If you’re planning a wedding just keep it simple and don’t stress out about every last detail. You’re going to have such a great time on your wedding day you won’t even notice how many starfish are on each table. 🙂

Homemade Wedding Cakes

I’m back online! Maybe it wasn’t the best idea to start a blog right before my wedding and a 10 day honeymoon to Hawaii… I have some blogging to do now! 🙂 This week I will write posts covering some of my favorite parts of our wedding and honeymoon. Today I will start with the cupcakes! Enjoy!

Most people thought I was absolutely crazy when I told them that I was making my own wedding cake and over 100 cupcakes. It’s actually not as hard as you might think and it will save you ~800 dollars and taste so much better than a bakery cake. I was also super lucky to have the help from my good friend and bridesmaid, Bella who also happens to be a seasoned cake decorator. She also kept me sane when we were putting the final touches on the cake at 1 a.m., and when we decided to make zucchini fritters for dinner in a very messy kitchen. (Getting take out would have been a great idea!) We made the cakes on Wednesday and Thursday (due to lack of time closer to the wedding) and the wedding was on Sunday and they still tasted fresh and delicious!

Here is the recipe that I used for the wedding cake. I searched for years for a good white cake recipe and had such a hard time finding one. This one is truly “the perfect white cake”. If you have an almond allergy just double the vanilla extract and omit the almond and it will still taste great 🙂 Also make sure your eggs and milk are at room temperature. If they aren’t then your cake will be too dense.

This is a picture of my kitchen about midway through the whole process. Take note of where my computer is...

This is a picture of my destroyed kitchen about midway through the whole process. Take note of where my computer is…

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A much needed bike ride after an afternoon of tasting various cakes and frostings.

Back to work! Bella putting the cake together.

Back to work! Bella putting the cake together.

 

The finished product!

The finished product at the reception

So there’s my recap for anyone who wanted to know more about the process. It took some work but it was so satisfying to see them displayed so nicely at the reception (many thanks to Bella’s boyfriend, Chris, for arranging them) and to know that they were homemade! Stay tuned for more wedding posts this week 🙂