Friday Fun! #1

Lunch at Computer

Happy Friday everyone!  I know I don’t work outside the home, but I still look forward to Friday.  I love knowing that The Hubby will be home with me and The Bug for a couple days.  I usually have at least one meal planned that is a little more special than our usual Monday to Friday fare.  And hopefully we have something fun planned.  This weekend it is a Date Night!  My dad, Grandpa Yee-Haw (since that is what The Bug says every time he sees him) is coming to babysit.  So The Hubby and I get to have a meal alone that isn’t interrupted by someone spitting out food and yelling to have his hands wiped.  Unless one of us drinks too much.  Kidding!  I love my kid, but I have practically every single meal with him, and it gets old.

So in honor of Friday, I decided to start a fun series of posts showing what I am loving this week, mainly from my reading of articles and blogs on the internet.

At this moment, I am loving lunch.  Well actually I just finished my last bite.  It was a wonderful salad inspired by this Pineapple Arugula Salad from Sumptuous Spoonfuls.  I had just cut up a bunch of pineapple the day I saw this recipe, and knew it HAD to be lunch one day this week.  I switched it up a bit using what I had in the house – feta instead of goat cheese, pine nuts instead of walnuts, pineapple juice and poppy seeds in the dressing instead of lime juice and mint, and I added a couple strawberries, just because.  Yum!

Pinapple Salad from Far Away

Speaking of pineapples and things I love, I love that The Bug calls them “Bye-Bye-Apples.”  I have no idea why, but it is so cute!

I am also excited about the chance to win a $50 Visa Gift Card and PEANUT BUTTER(!!!) from Averie Cooks, and to check out her blog.  I just found it, and it looks awesome!

Clearly, even after last weekend (or maybe because of last weekend), I still have chocolate on the brain!

Well, I hope you check out some of these links, and have a great weekend.  And I’ll leave you with what will probably become my weekly questions:

What are your plans for the weekend?  Cooking up anything special?


Pineapple Salad Closeup


A few things I love! (And some things I don’t)

This weekend was filled with so many of the things I love.

The Bug!  Cooking with The BugHe was my “Little Chef” on Friday night.  It is fun having him in the kitchen with me.  Makes Daddy a little nervous, though.

The Hubby!  Daddy and Tyler on the CarouselI may not work outside the home, but I still look forward to weekends when The Hubby is home.  One of the nice things is that he sometimes lets me stay in bed and gets up with The Bug, or I can get out for some errands without the little guy and all of his associated gear in tow.  But what I really love is the time all three of us spend together, and watching daddy and boy interacting together.  During the week, by the time The Hubby gets home from work, we have dinner, and The Bug is pretty much exhausted.

Pancakes!  Pancakes from The Brownstone DinerWe enjoyed a delicious pancake breakfast at The Brownstone Diner & Pancake Factory in Jersey City, NJ.  Awesome!  I was too busy feeding my face and The Bug’s, so I stole this picture, because I didn’t take one.

Science!Tyler at LSC  We took The Bug to the Liberty Science Center.  I think he learned more about how to climb on different shapes and sizes of chairs and benches than he did about science, but that’s OK.  He had a blast!  And I had a blast watching him run around, squealing with delight.

Cooking! Stuffed Shells & Meatballs I made a bunch of stuffed shells and meatballs for a woman in my Mom’s Group who just had a new baby.  Snuck some veggies in the meatballs, in case she is having the same pickiness issue in her 22-month-old that is suddenly and unexpectedly coming up with my 22-month-old.  With the mess I made, I wish my mom had been around to clean up after me.  Oh, and for making stuffed shells, I highly recommend this.

Baking!Pumpkin Cupcake  I made these Pumpkin Cupcakes from The Crabby Cook, Jessica Harper.  I used a little maple syrup cream cheese glaze to make them more muffin-y than cupcake-y.  Kept a few for us, and giving some to that same mom (still sneaking in veggies).

So as I was thinking about these things I love, and roaming around the blogosphere scoping out some recipes and inspiration and pretty pictures, I started to think that I should tell you a bit more about my likes and dislikes.  I was reading the name of a recipe, and it went something like this – Mushrooms (Yum!) Stuffed with (Double Yum!) Brie (Triple Yum!) and Crab (Wait, hold up, no way!!).  I love to try new foods, but there are some thing that I just don’t like.  And I only like to cook things that I like to eat.  Call me selfish, but whatever, it’s my kitchen.  So you will never see any recipes on here that contain the following:

  • Raw onions – I swear, if I ask for no onions on my salad, and if there is one little, tiny speck, I will taste it for the next three weeks.
  • Crab – I’ve tried it plain, dipped in butter, au gratined, caked, and I just cannot find any preparation that tastes remotely good to me.
  • Canned tuna – Just can’t get past the smell to bring myself to put it in my mouth.
  • Indian food – I like it, but it doesn’t like me, though I am willing to experiment with some Indian spices.
  • Sauerkraut – I am Polish, so this is pretty much sacrilege, but it’s just not gonna happen.

In my first post, I mentioned a few of my favorite foods, but there are many more things that I LOVE LOVE LOVE:

  • ICE CREAM!!!!! – ‘Nuff said
  • Cheese – Brie, Blue, Cheddar, Gouda, Gruyere, Parmigiano…  I am an equal opportunity cheese lover.
  • Butternut squash
  • Asparagus
  • Mushrooms
  • Filet mignon – Medium rare, please.
  • Grapes & cottage cheese – I know, a little weird, but it is my favorite afternoon snack.
  • Peanut Butter – My technique for eating an apple with peanut butter: 1) Get a scoop of peanut butter, and slice an apple.  2)  Smear a minute amount of the peanut butter on a few of the apple slices.  3)  Eat the apple slices.  4)  Eat the remainder of the scoop of peanut butter.  Sometimes I bypass the apple altogether.
  • Cashews
  • Chocolate Banana Smoothies – since I can’t eat ice cream EVERY night.
  • Pancakes – I am pretty much a pancake snob.
  • Wine – Pretty much anything except white zinfandel.  No, I am not a snob.  I’ll drink cheap wine.  Just don’t like white zin.

So tell me more about you.  What are some of your likes and dislikes (food, hobbies, etc.)?

Hello everyone!

BrianneHi!  My name is Brianne, and I am a Chemical Engineer-turned-stay-at-home-mom/wannabe-pastry-chef-and-wedding-planner with a meticulous, perfectionist nature and a huge fear of failure.  Somehow this all kinda makes sense to me.  But, alas, I also have a toddler, a mortgage, a wheat allergy, high cholesterol (clearly I am blessed by the genetic gods), and not enough willpower to to spend my days surrounded by flour, sugar, butter and chocolate.  Oh, and David Tutera does not yet have me on speed dial to give him input on floral design and custom table linens.

But that doesn’t mean I don’t still LOVE LOVE LOVE food and parties and such.  So here in my own corner of the interwebs I am creating a little virtual home for my recipes, thoughts, party ideas, mommy moments, and all that fun stuff.  And, just like in my real home, I hope you’ll all gather in the kitchen with me.

And why the name Cupcakes and Kale Chips?  It’s all about balance, yin and yang.  This popped into my head since I’ve been reading a bit about macrobiotics lately – the difference is that those that follow a macrobiotic diet balance tofu and bok choy with miso and millet, whereas I prefer to balance oatmeal and salad with chocolate chips and sundaes.  But the concept is a good one.  My favorite foods are butternut squash, blue cheese, ice cream, peanut butter, and asparagus – full disclosure:  not necessarily in that order, and definitely not together.  So I am hoping to share with you some good-for-you stuff and some just-plain-good stuff, and in the process, maybe even help improve my own sense of balance, which needs a little work.  And my photography skills.  And my writing skills.  Geez, I have a lot of self-improvement to do, so just bear with me till I figure this whole blogging thing out.

This is The Bug.  Ever since I got him this awesome stepstool (similar to this, but the exact one doesn’t seem to be available on Amazon anymore), his favorite phrase is, “Help Mommy!”  So he helps.  Sort of.

The Bug

And then he licks the spoons.  Not a bad gig when you are almost two. Especially when Mommy is making something with chocolate.

Mmmm, chocolate!

I also have my wonderful, supportive Hubby, who is the reluctant victim  delighted beneficiary of my culinary endeavors.  This cake was a hit.  Monday night’s quinoa casserole, not so much.

The Hubby and The Bug