Saturday, September 29, 2012

Crockpot Breakfast Burritos

Okay, not to sound too full of myself (okay, maybe a little) but.. I have created the easiest, most delicious breakfast burritos you will ever try. And the best part? You can throw all of the ingredients in a crock pot the night before and, voila, breakfast is ready when you wake up (minus the assembly)!

I can guarantee you that this is waayyyyy better than my last crock pot mishap

This recipe is perfect for overnight guests, holidays or for your Sunday morning breakfast!

  • 1 pound ground sausage
  • 10 medium tortillas
  • 1 can Rotel (including juice)–I used hot for a little extra kick, but you can choose your temp.
  • 1 can black beans (drained and rinsed)
  • 1 TBSP. jalapeno juice
  • 1/4 cup jalapenos (optional)
  • 4 eggs
  • 4 TBSP. milk (for eggs)
  1. Spray non-stick cooking spray on crockpot.
  2. Add sausage to bottom of crockpot. Add Rotel, black beans, jalapeno juice and jalapenos over top.
  3. Cook on low for 6-8 hours.
  4. Scramble 4 eggs and milk (4 is how many I used–you may use more or less depending on how much you add to the burritos.
  5. Heat each tortilla in microwave for 20 seconds (to soften and make easier to roll). Add spoonful of sausage mixture to tortilla with slotted spoon (there will be leftover juice from the Rotel –the slotted spoon helps strain it). Add spoonful of egg to tortilla and roll.
This is a versatile recipe, so you can easily add and substitute ingredients. I rolled all my burritos in aluminum foil (Chipotle style) and stuck them in the fridge for later. Enjoy!


Tuesday, September 25, 2012

My Top 8 Celebrity Girl Crushes

Admit it, we all have them: Girl crushes. In case you've never heard the term, let us Urban Dictionary the definition: When a girl has a crush on another girl, but they don't want to date them. It's more like they want to be their best friend. Bingo!  

So, without further ado, here is my Top 8 Celebrity Girl Crush/Women I Admire/People I Wish I Could be BFFs With! list.

8.) Sandra Bullock
I have loved Sandra Bullock since she starred in “While You Were Sleeping” way back in ’95. She is a dynamic actress who can play a fun, energetic role like Grace Hart in “Miss Congeniality” or a dynamic and gripping character like Linda Schell in “Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close.” But the real reason she made my girl crush list? She is one of the nicest, most genuine actresses in Hollywood. I have read on several occasions how giving and down-to-earth she is–most Hollywood actresses could (and should) take a lesson from Sandra.

7.) Toni Collette
I don’t know what it is about Toni Collette, but I think she is absolutely fabulous. She is one of those actresses who doesn’t get as much credit in Hollywood as she deserves (Hey, Academy–remember “Little Miss Sunshine”? Yeah, you screwed the pooch by not giving her a nod). Collette brings extra heart and likeability to any character she plays which is why she comes in at #7 on my girl crush list.

6.) Meryl Streep
Umm, duh. She’s Meryl freaking Streep. Enough said.

5.) Adele Arakawa
I have been watching Adele Arakawa on the news for as long as I can remember. She is epitome of professionalism and is an amazing role model for women in broadcast. When I was in high school, I had the opportunity to meet Ms. Arakawa; she was very kind and humble, which made me admire and respect her even more.

4.) Kristen Wiig
She is hilarious. She is talented. She is fearless. How can anyone not love Kristen Wiig?

3.) Natalie Portman
You have to admit that Natalie Portman is pretty amazing–any actress that can play an obsessed, psychotic, bi-sexual ballerina so believably is alright in my book. Not to mention she is gorgeous, stylish and a Harvard grad.

2.) Sheryl Crow
I have been girl crushing on Sheryl Crow, since my dad gave me one of her CDs when I was 13. I loved her music from the get go (so much so that over the years I’ve bought all of her albums) but began to admire her when I saw the kind of person she is. Ms. Crow is not afraid to stand up for what she believes in, which I think is refreshing and admirable (the 'one square of toilet paper' comments she made a few years back were a little questionable.. but hey, she didn’t care what anyone had to say–she was going to spread her message!). I have also heard that she is extremely down-to-earth and generous.

1.) Kate Winslet
There is no actress quite like Kate Winslet. She is incredible–she can seriously play any role you throw at her. I also think she is the most beautiful actress in Hollywood. Plus, she’s freaking hilarious (if you’ve never seen her on “Extras”, watch this now)–and smart. All that being said, she is most definitely #1 on my list of girl crushes.

So, girl crushes. Do you have them? Agree or disagree with my list? Let me know!

Sunday, September 23, 2012

My Two Person Emmy Party!

I don't know what it is about television and movie award shows, but I have loved them since I was in utero (okay, maybe that's a little bit of an exaggeration.. but I've been watching for as long as I can remember).

I have always been fascinated by all the glitz, glamour and pettiness that is Hollywood. I'm not really sure what got me interested in the first place, but I can still remember reading the "Lordy, Lordy, Look Whose 40" issue of US Weekly (featuring Tom Cruise) 10 years ago--when I was 12-years-old. So, maybe it was all the tabloids I read as an easily influenced tweenager?

Oh, and a side note: I have correctly predicted the Oscar's best actress winner since 2001, when Julia Roberts won for "Erin Brockovich." Just sayin'.

Annnnnnddddd... back to the Emmy's..

Since high school, I've made my family (and now my loving fiance) fill out ballots for prizes. The prizes used to always be something different: candy, a random novelty item, or a heart shaped frame housing a picture of Danny Glover (classic..).

Before this years Oscars, I decided to finally get an official award that could be used for years to come. And where did I go to get this award? Goodwill. And you will see what this said award is shortly.

And now, pictures from my two person Emmy party!

The completed ballots.

Pizza and wings for dinner (which was Brandon's favorite part..)

Reeses Cup Cookies (store bought--I was too lazy to make anything today)

And the winner is.....

ME (it really is me, but it was a terrible, terrible picture.. so I cut my face out)! The award ($3.99 at Goodwill) and title are still mine!

This little guy can now go back to sitting in his normal spot on my bookshelf until the Golden Globes in January!

Now you've seen how college students/a couple trying to pay for a wedding celebrate the Emmy Awards! Did you get to watch? What did you think?

The Fake or Real Quiz: Wedding Bouquet Edition

Can you tell which flowers are real and which are silk?

Now, without further ado, here are the answers:
A: Silk
B: Real
A: Real
B: Silk
A: Real
B: Silk
A: Silk
B: Real
A: Silk
B: Real

Hard to tell, huh?

That’s one of the reasons I decided to go with silk and wax flowers–you can hardly tell the difference!
Plus, fake flowers cost a fraction of what real flowers cost.

Brandon and I checked out Hobby Lobby this summer (they were having a half off sale on their silk and wax flowers) and got all of the flowers for my bouquet PLUS the flowers for my six bridesmaids bouquets for only $70. Yep, you read that right: $70. We are even going to get our boutineers and corsages from Hobby Lobby. They really do have a gorgeous selection and the flowers look real.

I was talking with a friend who had an absolutely stunning wedding last year. We were discussing prices on flowers and what not and she told me that the florist they went through charged over $600 (and they got a good deal!) for the bouquets, boutineers and corsages alone.

Brandon and I anticipate spending close to $150 on the bouquets, boutineers and corsages by using silk flowers.

If you are planning a wedding on a budget, check out your nearest craft store and see what you think of silk flowers. I can guarantee you won’t be disappointed.

So, how'd you do on the quiz? Did you use silk flowers at your wedding?

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Beautiful South Dakota Wedding

This summer, I went to a gorgeous western themed wedding in South Dakota--Wow! The wedding had everything: a spectacular backdrop for the ceremony, an atmosphere that fit the couples fun and down to earth personalities, and a head over heels in love bride and groom–it was truly a perfect day! Since I'm in total wedding mode now (3 1/2 more months!), I've been paying especially close attention to details so I can get ideas for my big day.

This wedding was full of them. It looked like a beautiful, fun wedding you'd see on Pinterest!
Such a spectacular backdrop for a wedding–the ceremony and reception both took place at a hunting lodge outside of Pierre–VERY pretty!
This is the second time I’ve seen this and I LOVE it. Have your guests dip their thumbprint in green ink and then “leaf” it on the tree for a personalized piece of artwork that the couple can hang up and look at every day (you can also ask your guests to initial their print)! 
This is a fun idea that I wouldn’t have thought of–have your guests sign quilt squares that will later be assembled into a quilt.
Unique wedding favors–mason jar with lid and straw!
Eye catching, easy to assemble candy bar. The couple provided baggies for guests to fill up and take home!
Brandon and me enjoying the wedding–we have lots of new ideas for our wedding now!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Do NOT make this cake.

I'm not being cute and saying "oh yeah, don't make it because it's so chocolately sinful and will add inches to your waistline," I'm saying "it's disgusting and made me want to vomit; do not make it."

Tomorrow is Brandon's birthday and I wanted to do something new for his cake. So I thought something in the crockpot would be moist and delicious. Right? Wrong.

I found the recipe here and couldn't wait to make it! It calls for chocolate and peanut butter.. what could go wrong? I mixed together all of the ingredients and threw it in the crockpot this morning before work. When I came home for lunch, the aroma of chocolate filled the apartment. I couldn't wait to try it!

8 hours later...

This is what it looked like after slow cooking--not too bad, right?

I decided to go ahead and dish it up and add a scoop on ice cream on top. Oh yeah, it was going to be amazing.

My mad photography skills.

I made Brandon and I both a bowl, took a huge spoonful, shoveled it in my mouth and... 

It tasted like what I'd imagine watered down, soggy, tasteless dog food tasting like. 

Don't make it. 

But I do have a question: is there such a thing as a good crockpot dessert recipe? I'd love to try it if there is! 

Anyway, Happy Birthday Babe! Sorry your cake sucked!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Chicken Fingers with a Sweet Surprise!

Not to toot my own horn, but...

...I really did it this time.

I was debating what to make for dinner the other night. I'm always down for something chicken (if you know me,  you know that's a given..), but wanted to try something new. So, I figured chicken fingers would be an easy and delicious Friday supper.

Good call, Annie. Good call.

I always have Italian breadcrumbs on hand and figured I'd just use those for the breading but decided to throw in something else. So, I sifted through my spice rack and found the usual Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder, pepper flakes, etc. that I typically put in EVERYTHING I look.. but then I discovered a spice that I hadn't even opened yet.

What is this neglected spice you may ask?


Trust me, this recipe is money. And, the chicken is baked--so it isn't bad for you! This is a classic recipe with an unexpected surprise that I promise your family will love!

  • Two chicken breasts, cut into strips (you should be able to get about 6 strips out of each breast)
  • 1 cup Italian breadcrums
  • 1/3 cup ground cinnamon
  • 2 eggs, beaten
  1. Pour eggs into small bowl. In separate bowl, mix breadcrumbs and cinnamon. Dip each chicken strip into beaten eggs, then in breadcrumbs (coating evenly).
  2. Place breaded chicken strips on tray and cook in 375 degree oven for 15 minutes (BE SURE TO FLIP THEM ON OTHER SIDE AFTER 7 MINUTES! This ensures they will cook evenly on each side).
  3. Let cool and serve with your favorite dipping sauce. 

Friday, September 14, 2012

Why EVERY wedding needs a photo booth

..yes, EVERY wedding.

As some of you may know, I am engaged and am marrying the most incredible man EVER in less than four months. We were engaged in December and since then my life has been completely consumed with school, work, dress fittings, school, cake tastings, work, wedding board pinning, yadda, yadda, yadda.

While all of this has been fun (except the school and work.. that wasn't necessary.. ), my favorite part has been going to bridal shows with one of my dearest friends, Abby.

Abby is getting married next weekend (CAN'T wait!), so we got to share our engagement/bridal fair experiences together. We attended wedding gown fashion shows, survived several sugar induced comas from all the cake we sampled, chatted with potential DJs and photographers together, the whole nine yards. While all of this was a blast, the best part had to have been trying out the photo booth machines.

Fun, right!?

Now, actual photo booth machine rentals can be a bit pricy (they will typically run you around $500-$800 for 3-4 hours which doesn't cut it for this thrifty bride!), but there is an alternative: set up a backdrop (whether it be a solid colored hanging sheet, scenic background, etc.), pick up fun props from a thrift store and grab a friend/family member/acquaintance/photographer/anyone to take pictures for you and voila! You have your own, personalized makeshift photo booth. 

The homemade photo booth works just as well for a fraction of the price. AND you can fit even more people into the pictures (whereas with a machine, you're lucky to squeeze in 6 people). Photo booths will capture the personalities of your guests more so than your regular, generic professional snapshots and you have the ability to make a fun scrapbook with all the pictures you receive.

So, the moral of my post tonight is this: EVERY wedding needs a photo booth (hence the title) and, if you're engaged, grab a girlfriend or two and head to a bridal fair. You will get all sorts of ideas and discounts for your wedding and you'll make new memories with your girlfriends that you'll cherish forever.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Our Memorable Proposal

It's hard to believe that Brandon and I are getting married in less than four months--our engagement is flying by so quickly!!

Over the last few weeks, Brandon has been working on our wedding website (we’re looking for ways to save money with the wedding so we’re doing all of our RSVPs via the website). Anyway, Brandon asked me to write our proposal story to post on the site, so I did–except it was the edited, condensed, less embarrassing version.

Friends: I will now share the full, unedited proposal story with you. Enjoy!

The day started off like any magical day at Magic Kingdom.

We’d spent the morning and early afternoon taking in parades, perusing shops and riding rides. It wasn’t until the 3 o’clock parade that I became suspicious that something big might be happening..

I was sitting on the curb watching the parade when Brandon informed me that we needed to get going–so I got up and followed him and his cousin, James, to Cinderella’s Castle. When we got there, we stopped outside of Cinderella’s Royal Table, an incredible restaurant that is impossible to get reservations to. This is when I started getting a little suspicious..

When we got into the restaurant, we were greeted by Cinderella herself (who was gracious enough to take a picture with us.. however, I can't find the picture at this time)! We then toured around the castle and headed up the stairs to the dining section of the castle. While we munched on our decadent Hors d’oeuvres, several Disney princesses made their way around the restaurant to meet and snap pictures with the guests (including my favorite, Sleeping Beauty!).

I had butterflies–I just knew something was going to happen. But the butterflies started turning into nerves.. but in a good way! I knew that if something was going to happen, I wanted it to happen then and now. So I continued to eat the incredible food. It was around the time we met Ariel that I knew I was going to be sick–the butterflies/anticipation/excitement/nerves were not settling well with the stuffed chicken breast I was eating..

So I went to the bathroom.. and puked. And puked. And puked. I sat in there for about ten minutes when I decided that I was feeling better and that needed to head back out so I wouldn’t ruin the whole moment (if there was going to be a moment!). When I got back out to the table, I was informed that Belle had visited and was coming back so we could get a picture. While we waited, I chugged water. I really was feeling better! Until I stood up to meet Belle..

The smile on my face in this picture is a little forced.. I knew I was going to be sick again. Once Belle danced off to the next table, I once again excused myself to the restroom. And I puked. And puked. And puked some more. So after another 10 minutes in the restroom, I headed back to the table to find a concerned Brandon. I sat down and told him I was fine and that I was just a little nervous (which totally clued him in to my suspicions..) but was better now. The concern on his face quickly turned to disgust. This is how I remember the dialog going:

B: Oh, Annie.. you have something.. *points to face*
A: *curses in head* Sick… I’ll be right back.
B: Right now?
A: Yes! I have to clean up!

So, I once again excused myself and ran to the bathroom to clean up a little and fix my makeup.

I came back to the table, sat down and that’s when the waitress came up behind me, announced she had a special dessert for me, laid down a white tray and lifted the lid to reveal the most incredible ring I have ever seen. Brandon then got down on one knee and asked me to marry him (this should go without saying but I said yes!). Everyone in the restaurant then began applauding and “aww”ing as Brandon and I hugged and kissed. I really couldn’t have asked for a more perfect proposal—or fiancĂ©!
Just FYI: I am chewing gum.. I chewed a lot of gum after my little incident!

Brandon and I immediately called our parents and I sent a picture of the ring to several of my girlfriends. When we got up to leave, the restaurant broke into applause once again (it was REALLY cool). We celebrated our engagement by riding my all-time favorite ride, Splash Mountain, and then a few others before retiring back to the hotel.

Oh, and apparently when I went to clean up my face, the waitress was bringing out the tray–that’s why Brandon was asking if I really needed to leave right then.

So, folks, now you know the REAL story of Brandon's and my proposal (and I’m sure you’re thrilled).
Even with the excessive nerves, it was absolutely perfect–my dream proposal!

Do you have a memorable proposal story? I'd love to hear about it!
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