Thursday, September 30, 2010

Day 273 - Baby Registries

One thing I have been dreading with this whole pregnancy thing is creating a registry. Of course I am excited and thankful we have family & friends who want to support us, but the whole idea of figuring out what we will need when our babes enter the world has been daunting.

So tonight I finally made some time to get after it. I figure, the easiest thing to do is to just start adding stuff. I think I have a good list started at a couple of stores. Sometime this coming weekend, or next week I will talk to my sister, sister in-laws and friend who have been down this road before and get some advice, but for now I am feeling a little less stressed about thew whole thing and actually had some fun adding items to our registries.

P.S. We hit the 22 week mark yesterday . . . time is flying by!!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Day 272 - Neighbors over for Dinner

Tonight we had our neighbors, Patrick & Ashley over for dinner for the first time.

I didn't take any pictures, but we had a really fun time. I made fancy mac & cheese and they brought dessert. After dinner & dessert we headed down the street to their house to check out the nursery for their new baby on the way - they are expecting their first too and are due in just about 2 weeks!

It was a great night and we are so excited for their new addition to arrive :)

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Day 271 - Chewy Chocolate Ginger Bread Cookies

The cover of my Martha Stewart Cookie book has been calling my name! The picture looked so good, that tonight I finally made these treats for myself. The cover cookie is for
Chewy Chocolate Ginger Bread Cookies

Ingredients (makes about 2 dozen):

7 ounces best-quality semisweet chocolate
1 1/2 cups plus 1 tablespoon all-purpose flour
1 1/4 teaspoons ground ginger
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon ground cloves
1/4 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 tablespoon unsweetened Dutch-process cocoa powder
8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter
1 tablespoon freshly grated ginger
1/2 cup dark-brown sugar, packed
1/4 cup unsulfured molasses
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup granulated sugar


Line two baking sheets with parchment. Chop chocolate into 1/4-inch chunks; set aside. In a medium bowl, sift together flour, ground ginger, cinnamon, cloves, nutmeg, and cocoa.

In the bowl of an electric mixer, fitted with the paddle attachment, beat butter and grated ginger until whitened, about 4 minutes. Add brown sugar; beat until combined. Add molasses; beat until combined.

In a small bowl, dissolve baking soda in 1 1/2 teaspoons boiling water. Beat half of flour mixture into butter mixture.

Beat in baking-soda mixture, then remaining half of flour mixture.

Mix in chocolate

Turn out onto a piece of plastic wrap. Pat dough out to about 1 inch thick and seal with wrap.

Refrigerate until firm, 2 hours or more.

When Ready to Bake:

Heat oven to 325 degrees.

Roll dough into 1 1/2- inch balls; place 2 inches apart on baking sheets. Refrigerate 20 minutes. Roll in granulated sugar.

Bake until the surfaces crack slightly, 10 to 12 minutes. Let cool 5 minutes; transfer to a wire rack to cool completely.

They were so chewy & delicious and a really interesting, but oh, so yummy flavor combination.

I will absolutely be making these wonderful cookies again - soon!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Day 270 - Balsamic Glazed Carrots

Tonight to go with dinner I made balsamic glazed carrots. I had a good amount of extra baby carrots to use up and knew I wanted to cook them, so here's all I did.

First I warmed up a skillet at medium heat and sliced the carrot in half. Then I added the carrots, about a 1/4 cup of balsamic vinaigrette and kosher salt & some cracked black pepper

I cooked the carrots for about 20 minutes, until the carrots were fork tender and the balsamic made a nice glaze on the carrots

This was a very tasty & simple side dish and it will work well for other veggies too.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Day 269 - Mass at Loyola & Brunch at Eatt (Bye-bye Chicago)

We are heading back home this afternoon, but still managed to pack a few things into our morning. We went out to Loyola University to go to mass with Nick and check out his dorm.

Then we had brunch at Eatt. My waffle was delicious!

Now back to reality . . .

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Day 268 - Billy Goats, Uncle Julio's & the Purple Pig (more Chicago)

Today was so much fun!! I am exhausted now, but it was so worth it.

This morning I woke up early for a prenatal massage that was wonderful and then Quinn and I worked out a bit. By the time we got back to the room and ready for the day it was lunch time.

We headed to the originally Billy Goat Tavern

The burgers were actually really great! And even though I tried to order a single and was told it had to be a double, I am glad - I had no trouble finishing the entire burger

They noticed I am pregnant and gave me a special hat to wear

Another satisfied customer :)

After lunch we were all fueled up and ready for some serious shopping! First stop - the Land of Nod. With the babies on the way I really wanted to see this store in person while we were in Chicago. We didn't end up buying anything here - but everything was so cute!

While trying out a glider, Quinn had me toss him a couple stuffed footballs so he could 'practice' :)

After lots of walking & running around we decided it was snack time and went to Uncle Julio's where Quinn and I shared some tasty nachos

We followed lunch with more shopping & walking and then headed back to the hotel where I was ready to crash, but instead we rallied - My mom, Quinn and I headed to the hotel bar for drinks, expecting a quite little bar, but basically ending up at a club. Eventually Michelle and some friends met up with my mom and Quinn and set out yet again for a late dinner.

We went to the Purple Pig and had a really nice time. On our walk there we noticed this construction sign for Q&C Enterprises . . . I guess we will need a more original name when start our own business ;)

Good night!!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Day 267 - Trump Tower, Pizzeria Duo & Berry Chill Yogurt (Chicago)

After a morning of business meetings in Chicago, I so ready to get out & enjoy the city.

My parents , sister Michelle and I started with a wonderful lunch at Volare. I had actually been here 2 other times before and loved it! and today was even better than the last couple of visits. After lunch we relocated hotels and checked into our suit at the Trump Tower - fancy!!

(We had to wait much longer than we would of liked, but the 4 of us made the best of our time and actually ended up having some fun while we waited for our room to get ready).

Once up in the room, it was so fun to explore our 'home' for the weekend

Check out this view

Earlier in the week, my mom got an email about their pillow menu (fancy) so she decided to try one of each, well we ended up with one for each of us :)

There was a selection of fancy water . . . $25/bottle - no thanks!

Here's the room Quinn and I shared . . . not too shabby!

We even got a fancy tray of chocolates & fruit :)

Quinn flew in to meet us this afternoon - Yipee!! He has been out of work this week, so I haven't seen him since I took him to the airport on Monday morning. Now the Chicago fun can really begin :)

We had dinner at Pizzeria Due Everything was so yummy!

After dinner we walked around a bit and tried a frozen yogurt place, Berry Chill

It was pretty good - nothing too amazing.

The inside of the shop was bright & modern looking

I ordered the mango yogurt with raspberries

Oh and Nick met up with us earlier in the night, back at our hotel, and was with us for dinner & yogurt - hooray!

It was a fun-filled Chicago day!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Day 266 - Benny's Chop House

Hello Chicago! It's a gorgeous day here (even if I was in meetings for the afternoon). I am traveling for work today and am in the windy city. Tonight we had a business dinner at a fabulous restaurant, Benny's Chop House.

I did't want to whip my camera out during our meal, but here's everything I had to eat . . .

Lobster Ravioli

Lobster Bisque

Surf & Turf

It was all so delicious! We had a custom menu with a couple of selections for each course and I didn't even notice until I was served my lobster bisque that every part of my meal had lobster in it :)

I know work dinners aren't normally too great, but I really enjoy this one! Especially because my dad is also part of the meetings we are in town for so we got to have dinner together and then after dinner, my dad, mom and sister Michelle (they flew in with my dad and Quinn is coming out after work tomorrow for the weekend) went for a nice walk and took in some interesting sites - like a guy who redid his car to include 21 TV's!

It's been a long day and I need to get these babies & me to bed!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Day 265 - Pastichio (Greek Food)

Quinn is out of town for work for a couple of days, so when I went out to Mr. Gyro today to pick up a gyro for lunch, I thought I might as well grab something for dinner too. I ordered a serving of pastichio. Here's how it was described on the menu: Casserole of layered ground beef & macaroni. Baked with a cream topping.

It was interesting, some of the flavors I noticed were a bit unexpected, like cinnamon, but I really did like it and had no trouble finishing my piece of pastichio for dinner tonight :) Next time we are at Mr. Gyro it will be a bit tougher choice . . . to go with a gyro or the pastichio

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Day 264 - A Rug for The Nursery

Today we bought our first item for the babies room - the rug. We are starting from the ground up :)

The room is already painted a tan color with white trim and a lighter wood floor - we have so much to do to get ready for our babies that the last thing we need is to paint the room, so I am going to keep the neutral color on the wall and add some color with the rug, probably curtains and accessories. The overall plan is white furniture and then muted, soft blues & yellows to add some color. I really want the overall decor to be light, fresh & calming. It will be interesting to see how it all actually comes together, but it really does feel good to have this first purchase made (plus we had a $100 coupon to use towards the purchase - gotta love that!)

The rug isn't available to arrive our house until early November . . . patience.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Day 263 - Blue Fin (Springdale, AR)

I am traveling for work tonight in lovely Springdale, Arkansas. I have lots to do to prepare for a meeting but some coworkers and I did get out for a good quick dinner. We went to Blue Fin - even though I couldn't have any sushi I really enjoyed my meal - scallops & veggies with rice.

Now back to work . . .

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Day 262 - Plaza Pzazz (for the Ronald McDonald House)

This afternoon we went to the first birthday celebration for our neighbor. Happy Birthday Sam!! While there another neighbor asked if Quinn and I would be interested is using some tickets they had for an event that they could no longer go to. The event was called Plaza Pzazz and a fundraiser for the Ronald McDonald House. We were in!

We actually got 4 tickets, so we ended up calling Anne & Andy just about an hour before we had to head out and they were up for joining us - so the 4 of us headed to the Plaza and ended up having such a good time!

Basically the event had a bunch of different restaurants set up with all types of food. We all joked about how we were judging an episode of The Next Top Chef.

Between the 4 of us we tried just about everything there

It was a fun evening outdoors, with great friends, good food and some very entertaining live music :)

Thanks again Pam & John for thinking of us to use your tickets!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Day 261 - Budlight Party Deck at the Royals Game

Quinn's work had a team event at the Royals game tonight. There was a big storm that rolled through just before we were going to head out, so we waited a bit and then set off for the game. When we got there we went to the Bud light Party deck, which is part of the recent renovations and was a really fun set up.

We had some food, talked with a few different groups of people, had a fun raffle (where we won more Royals tickets) and then the rain came . . . and it just kept coming.

Luckily it was ladies night and we all got Royals snow caps, which I ended up wearing to stay warm and keep my head & hair dry.

We tried to leave at a break in the rain, but by this point it was really coming down, so we grabbed a seat in the bar below the party deck and waited out the storm.

It's really too bad that the game was a rain out, but we still got to spend a good 2 hours or so at the stadium and I got to visit a bit with Quinn's co-workers and their families which was nice.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Day 260 - Zarda's BBQ (for Quinn's 28th)

Happy Birthday Quinn!!

One little thing I did for Quinn when he got home from work today was I had a tray ready with his favorite drinks all ready for him to enjoy

He opted for the beer.

After his drink we headed to dinner to meet up with Quinns parents (they were in town baby sitting our nieced) and a couple of his aunts and uncle who live in town came too.

We went to Zarda's for BBQ and Quinn and I shared the variety platter.

It was a lot of food, but perfect for sharing. (since BBQ isn't a favorite of mine I am going to skip the review).

After dinner we headed back home and had some friends over to sing Quinn 'happy birthday', share the cupcakes I made for Quinn and to enjoy the gorgeous night.

We had such a wonderful night!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Day 259 - Peanut Butter Cupcakes

Quinn's birthday is tomorrow, so tonight I decided to bake him something fancy to help celebrate his big day. Since his favorite candy is Reece's peanut butter cups or pieces I decided to bake the chocolate & peanut butter cupcakes from my Martha Stewart cupcake book.


2/3 cup all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
4 ounces semisweet chocolate, chop coarsely
2 ounces unsweetened chocolate, chop coarsely
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

Peanut Butter Filling
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) unsalted butter, melted
1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, sifted
3/4 cup creamy peanut butter
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract


Preheat oven to 325 degrees F. Line cupcake/muffin pan with paper liners of your choice. Whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt; set aside. Put butter and chocolates in a heatproof bowl and set over (not in) a pan of simmering water

Stir until melted

Remove from heat and let cool slightly.

Whisk granulated sugar into cooled chocolate mixture. Add the eggs, whisk until mixture is smooth. Stir in the pure vanilla extract, then add the flour mixture. Stir until well blended.

Make the peanut butter filling. Stir together all ingredients until smooth and use immediately.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of the chocolate batter into each lined cup. Place 1 tablespoon of the peanut butter filling on top. Put an additional tablespoon of the chocolate batter over the peanut butter filling layer.

Swirl 1 teaspoon of the peanut butter filling with the top layer of chocolate batter with a toothpick or wood skewer.

Bake, rotating pan halfway through, until a cake tester inserted in center comes out with just a few moist crumbs attached, about 40 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack to cool completely before removing cupcakes.

There was no frosting and in my opinion they didn't need any, they were just right! And most importantly Quinn loved them. He doesn't have a major sweet tooth so these treats were the perfect balance for him :)