Sausage Egg “McMuffin”

Goooooooood evening, friends. I’m actually going to make a breakfast (in case you couldn’t figure out by the title)!

I found the recipe on Pinterest (don’t I find basically everything there? I mean, come on), and it’s actually a Paleo recipe. The Ryan and I do not eat Paleo, so I am not going to follow the recipe exactly (I only have margarine, not ghee, and I bought my sausage from Giant. It’s the Bob Evans kind. It was on sale), but the principle will be the same.

In fact, I ordered pastry rings specifically to try this. But in all honesty, I needed some pastry rings. So this just happened to work out! I’m excited to try them, and I figured I could pre-make these, wrap them up in some foil, and send the Ryan and myself to work with them tomorrow and Friday. We can nuke them up in the microwave real quick at work, and they’re nice, filling protein without the added carbs of buns. πŸ™‚ Sounds win-win to me (and they’re only 220 calories, so I’ll happily add in my normal morning oatmeal for some nice, filling fiber. OHYEAH, FIBER. You know you wanna eat it).

BUT! Before I get started, IΒ have to show you the greatest thing I just discovered. I’m probably late to the game, but the Ryan and I don’t generally set foot in the yogurt section of the store…the closest we come is when we buy milk or half and half, and that’s still down the aisle from yogurt. We were eating it more often a little while back, but that was before I had to take a massive hours cut at work. Sadly, yogurt (the good kind, at least) is expensive. ;__; When I graduate, I’ll eat so much yogurt…Mmmm.

Anyway, check these out:

ImageThese are so good. I have so far only tried the vanilla golden crunch and a raspberry chocolate vanilla one (which isn’t pictured. BECAUSE I ATE IT), and I like the vanilla one the best. But I’m lookingΒ sooooooooooooo forward to the rest of these. Chobani, you’ve got the right idea, friends. Don’t stop making these! πŸ˜€ They make my heart happy.Β 

And another gratuitous off-topic picture, I just walked into our bedroom and look what I saw:

ImageIn my next life, I would like to be our cats. Thanks.

SO! Let’s get started with those work breakfasts! (Complete with iTunes spewing out Angry Scottish Pirate Metal. Oh, you’ve never heard of it? It’s definitely a genre.)


First, let’s cook the sausage patties. They came pre-shaped, but as it turns out, my muffin rings are a bit wider, so I smooshed them down to make them a little wider and to help them cook a wee bit faster. I melted some butter before putting them in there, btw. Well, margarine. But you get it.


When the sausages were cooked, I set them aside and placed the rings in the pan, after melting a bit more margarine. I forgot to grease the rings – oops! Note to self: next time, use Pam. I then cracked the eggs on in there and seasoned them with salt & pepper.

ImageΒ (Hah, yeah, the top right one went under the ring, ooooooooooops!!)

After the eggs solidified a bit, I poured in 1/4 cup of water and *tried* to cover them. Hah, I don’t have a lid that large, so I just set them over. When that didn’t seem to be working, I flipped a stainless steel bowl (that was the correct diameter) on top of the pan and set that over everything. πŸ™‚Β 

One thing I hate about this stove: It’s UNEVEN!! But the leg is broken so we can’t fix it. And we’re renting, so I’m not inclined to fix it. Not my problem. But oh man does it annoy the al;skdjf;lasdkflkjfff!!!! out of me.


Ahhhhhhhhhhhhh, there. Cooked. Granted, they’re not the picture of perfection, and I might use a different pan next time, but…They look good, no? πŸ™‚ At least, I think they do. Edible, anyway (so my pictures aren’t super fancy. I’m an archaeologist, not an artist, sorry).



I gave the Ryan the better ones, because I always give him the better cooked ones of all things. That’s probably why he sticks around. That, and he’s married to me now. MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!


So they’re not the most beautiful, but I’m still looking forward to eating them. I wrapped them in foil and stuck ’em in the fridge. Tomorrow I will nuke for 30 seconds and NOMNOMNOM. I hope the Ryan will do the same, but he would probably just eat them straight up. Because that’s how he rolls.




Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Sesame Chicken – Done Easy!

Man, guys, I’m telling you. Today is surely not Monday but boy does it feel like it. Today was one of those days where you are certain by 9 am that you will need a glass of wine by the end of the day, even if you don’t know why. As it turns out, it was an ever-so exciting day at work, what with the men’s bathroom on the first floor catching on fire, and pipes bursting in at least three separate places of the building, flooding the third and second floors (that we know of)…After standing outside in 11 degree weather complete with a windchill of -5 (cold as heck but thankfully not as cold as it was this morning when I left for work) for about 30 minutes, just as we were starting to complain about not being able to feel our toes, we were all directed back inside and told to resume our business. Yep, the Federal Government will close for an inch of snow and clear roads, but won’t send its employees home after a fire and some flooding.

To top that off, I tried to grab a prescription on my way home, and since they didn’t have my new insurance yesterday, rather than call me, they just set it aside and decided not to fill it. You know, until I came in to get it and then told me I’d have to wait. That’s okay, I’ll get it tomorrow.

SO! How’s that Polar Vortex working out for YOU?

The good news, however, is that when I got home from work today, I received an email from my school congratulating me on being in the top 15% of my class. πŸ™‚ Well thank you! That made my evening slightly better. As did coming home and not finding any of my pipes burst or any leaks (yet) anywhere in the apartment. The night is looking up. Maybe when the Ryan comes home from work we can snuggle and enjoy some good ol’ bad TV together. And, of course, have dinner.

Tonight, I was feeling like something quick, tasty, and warm, so I opted for stir fried sesame chicken. Of course, I found the recipe on Pinterest, because with this cool winter break thing that I’m doing, I actually haveΒ free time at the end of the day. What I’ll do with myself after I graduate in May remains a mystery. Hopefully perfect my ability to make omelets (because last night I tried for the first time, and let’s just say that the Ryan is a gracious guy. I didn’t find the omelet I made him in the trash this morning, so I think that means he ate it. What a trooper). I kind of suck at omelets at the moment.

So let’s get started!


First, for the chicken, you will need 1 lb of chicken thighs cut into 1″ cubes. I didn’t have a pound, so I used 10ish ounces. Mix together one large egg (I did two) and two tbls of cornstarch in a bowl, then add the chicken and toss.


Heat 2 tbls of oil in a wok and let it get hot. Then add the chicken. DON’T BE TEMPTED TO MOVE THE CHICKEN ALL AROUND!! That is my worst offense, and I messed it up the first time I did it. Leave it be for a few and let it get nice and crispy golden before you go tossing things around. When you turn it over, then would be a good time to add any veggies if you want to. I added snap peas.


While the chicken is cooking, mix up the sauce. You will need 2 tbls soy sauce, 1 tbls water (I used rice wine instead), 1/2 tbls sesame oil, 1.5 tbls brown sugar, 1.5 tbls rice vinegar, one inch piece of ginger, grated, and one garlic clove, minced. I didn’t realize I needed the ginger and garlic until my chicken was almost done, so I added garlic powder and ginger powder. It’s a sin, don’t do it unless you must. It’s soooooooo much better with the fresh stuff. Also, add two tbls sesame seeds.


I forgot to take a picture of the chicken with the sauce and (in my case) snap peas in the wok together, all nice and pretty. But here they are in a bowl of rice looking beautiful. I sprinkled more sesame seeds on and cut up some green onions for garnish. YUM.


See? Wasn’t that quick? (P.S. Sorry for crappy phone pictures, the Ryan and I’s camera died in the airport on a layover going to our honeymoon. We photographed our entire honeymoon with our phones πŸ˜› And didn’t replace our camera).


Leave a comment

Filed under Uncategorized

Holy Yum Chicken (And Happy New Year!)

The title speaks for itself. It’s not my recipe, though. Chances are if you’re on Pinterest, you’ve seen this gem floating around being pinned hither and yon. It’s totally worth pinning. Fifty times. Yeah, I said fifty times. I wish I could make it fifty times a week, but then we’d probably get tired of it, and that would be a shame. Also there aren’t really that many meal opportunities in a week, so…:(

The Ryan and I decided to stay in and have a quiet evening tonight. Our friends are off with their families, other groups of friends, whatever. We weren’t invited anywhere, and that is fine with us. With all the things going on recently, it’s nice to just be able to lay on our couch and do nothing. This evening has consisted of watching Star Trek: Voyager and Stargate: Atlantis. Yeah, SG-1 is better, but Netflix got rid of it. 😦 CURSE YOU, NETFLIX! Though we got Atlantis on Amazon Prime, so. Meh. Oh, and now a documentary called Secrets of the Sun about how the sun is going to destroy life as we know it by smacking us with a solar flare and killing our electronics (the Ryan always finds the good documentaries). Science!!

Anyway, since it’s a “special occasion,” (though to be fair, 2013 was kind of badass. I got engaged to and then married the Ryan, I met Mommy and Daddy S’s baby Cambria when she was just brand new and a day old and have watched her grow alongside them, I made some amazing new friends, got closer to existing friends, took one more step toward my degree, and got to sit on a tropical beach paradise in Jamaica for a week. I mean, come on! That’s awesome!) I decided to make this recipe. I tried it a while back when we first moved here, and the Ryan liked it so much he actually put it as his favorite food (out of all the things I’ve ever made him! Lol!) on the questionnaire game we did for my bridal shower. Clearly, he digs it. And I don’t blame him, I love it too. It’s called “Holy Yum Chicken,” and oh man, does the title totally do it justice. But enough of me raving about it, you should make it yourself. And here’s how:


I was a little bit tired, and had mixed the ingredients before I decided, hey, I should blog this! It has been a looooooong day. Actually it has been a long week, y’all. Santa was good and all, but I’m tired! Anyway, for the sauce you’ll need 1/2 cup dijon mustard (Emeril’s is my favorite: I can actually read all of the ingredients on the label, and I think it tastes better. Especially in this recipe. No, Emeril isn’t paying me to say that. But wouldn’t it be badass if he did? Hellooooo, money! But I digress). You will also need 1/4 cup of pure maple syrup.Β REAL. MAPLE. SYRUP. Not Log Cabin (as much as I love it) or sugar free nonsense, the real deal. And then 1-2 tbls of rice vinegar. I like to use 2 tbls because I find one leaves the sauce a bit too sweet for my liking. But it’s up to your taste. I like the tang. Add that deliciousness to a bowl and whisk it till it’s nice and smooth and ya can’t whisk no more!


The original recipe calls for 1.5-2 lbs** boneless, skinless chicken thighs. I made the super fabulous mistake of only thawing out one chicken thigh that was folded in on itself and looked like two. WHOOPS! I frantically ran out to the grocery store to get more (as my oven was heating to a whopping 450 degrees, yep, you read that right), and elbowed my way through the New Years Eve crowd to find: bone-in, skin-on chicken thighs. Well, crap. But that’s all there was that was organic, so I bought it and just dealt with it. I cut off all the skin and fat, and voila (having the bone there didn’t make a difference that we could tell anyway).


Line an 8×8 pan with a double layer of tin foil (trust me, do it. Two layers), and stick your beautiful chicken thighs on in there. Salt and pepper each side, and then pour your mix right in. Move them around to get them nice and coated with the sauce on both sides. Mmmmm, look at that. Stuff those bad boys in the oven, uncovered, for 40 minutes.

Meanwhile, I cut up some potatoes and tossed them in olive oil, seasoned salt, garlic powder, pepper, and a dash of paprika and stuck them in my new (YAY WEDDING STUFF!!!) Le Creuset 9×9 bake pan. πŸ˜€ Lined with foil, of course, but I love that thing! Best. Cleanup. Ever. Anyway, I baked those for 30 minutes (so 10 minutes after the chicken went in – it’s real easy to prep when you’re lazy and chop them with the skin on :D).


Mmmmm, out of the oven. Look at those bad boys. While it bakes, you will be drooling, it smells soooooooooo amazing. Let them sit for about 5 minutes, and then remove them to a plate and cover (or don’t, because you know, 450 degrees is frickin’ hot!). Return the pan to the stove, and add 1 tablespoon of cornstarch to 1-2 tablespoons water (this is the only part of the recipe I diverge from, because adding cornstarch directly to the leftover sauce has only ever left me with lumpy grossness, and you’re not really supposed to do that anyway), and whisk to incorporate until the sauce thickens. I’m too lazy for all that, so I just whisk it in and then turn the heat up a smidgen and let it come to a slight boil to thicken (don’t worry about safety, the sauce boils for a long time at 450 in the oven), and then whisk it more and remove it from the heat.


Pour your sauce over your chicken, and voila! Dinner. πŸ˜€ And it’s soooooooooooooooooo good!!!! Β Holy Yum!!! Go make it NOW!

**Normally, I only make 2 thighs and I halve the recipe, but today since I had to go to the store, I ended up making the whole thing. And now the Ryan and I have lunch for tomorrow! πŸ˜€




Leave a comment

Filed under Baking, Cooking, Food, Holidays, Uncategorized

Tis’ The Season – For Kicking Cancer’s Ass!

Afternoon, folks!

Today I am taking a turn from my normal subject of food to discuss something that is very hard to discuss, but needs to be shared.

As many of you know, I did a post a few months back in which I was preparing food for Mommy and Daddy S for baby girl S’s little arrival. πŸ™‚ She is now 4 months old, and quite a happy little girl.

However, on Thanksgiving, Mommy and Daddy S announced that baby S – her name is Cambria, in case you were wondering, has been diagnosed with neuroblastoma cancer. As you can imagine, Mommy and Daddy S are absolutely crushed…but being the kind of people that they are, they are remaining positive and bright admist it all. The good news is that they found it very, very early. Their pediatrician is amazing, and we just so happen to live close to Washington D.C., and as such, Cambria is able to receive treatment at National Children’s Medical Center. Neuroblastoma is also, I guess, “the” cancer you’d want…if you wanted cancer (which no one does), because it has a very good rate of going into remission, and isΒ actually curable.Β That’s not a word to use lightly with the “big C.” But it’s possible. And if they hadn’t found this until she was much older, her life would be very different. For now, she’s just a bubbly 4 month old baby that has a bunch of new people paying attention to her and giving her lots of hugs. She has no idea what cancer even is, and that is a blessing in and of itself.

On top of all of that, the people around Mommy and Daddy S are pulling together to support them in any way they can, and the outpouring of support and prayers has been an awesome thing to watch. I am honored that they are my friends, that I know little Cambria, and I am inspired by their strength. πŸ™‚ I can’t even imagine what they are going through.

BUT! I can gain insight. And so can you.Β Mommy and Daddy S have set up a blog that will detail, for the coming months, Cambria’s fight with this cancer, as it looks as though she will more than likely be going through chemo (something babies are more tolerant of than adults, so it would seem). The blog is written from both Mommy and Daddy S’s perspectives, and it is quite insightful, as well as a great way to stay updated with the goings-on, as there are so many people inquiring.

The internet is an amazing thing these days! So many people can stay connected, share struggles, help each other, and do a bunch of other amazing things.

So today I come to you as a friend of these remarkable parents and this wonderful little baby, and ask for your support in helping them. A cousin of the family set up a donation fund for baby Cambria to help her kick cancer’s ass. With the end of the year, all of the family’s insurance deductibles (their plan has recently been downgraded after the Affordable Care Act’s implementation as well) will be reset to $0, and as you can imagine Mommy S (the breadwinner and only working parent) is not able to work much. Between pregnancy and maternity leave, she is basically out of PTO, so they’re taking a big hit. Any assistance possible is needed, and if there was any time to contribute to a good cause, this would be it. Help these parents help their baby. πŸ™‚ And help make the struggle ahead a bit easier, if you can. If nothing else, Mommy and Daddy S have asked for prayers for baby Cambria. So even if you can’t contribute financially, you can contribute spiritually.


(Cambria on Thanksgiving)



Filed under Uncategorized, Wellness

Snowy Sunday Lazy Soup!

Omg it’s snowing!!! AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH! For real, snow is my favorite. Forever. And ever. And ever! If you live anywhere in the United States that is capable of actually receiving winter weather, chances are you’ve had some this week. πŸ˜€ Sadly, it is supposed to rain tomorrow and will wash it all away, but for now, I am enjoying it immensely! ImageIt has been a fairly quiet day at the house, I’ve got a test tomorrow, one on Wednesday, a semester project due Thursday…you know how it goes, school forever. So, I’ve been spending my day reading page after page, and powerpoint slide after powerpoint slide. I finally decided to give up on it for a bit and do something else. I wanted to go buy ornaments for the tree, but the Ryan wasn’t keen on me driving in this weather, so I had to stay in. Sad, because yesterday during the break from my studies I managed to string lights up on the Christmas tree. πŸ™‚ It’s our first real, big tree, huzzah! (Last year was just a dinky 2 foot table top dude because we traveled out of state for Christmas, and the year before that we celebrated Christmas in separate states so we didn’t have one then either!)


The house is still messy from the wedding, but I cleaned enough to put this guy up, as well as some of the other decorations we’ve got. The Ryan and I have both inherited Santa figurines from our deceased grandparents over the last few years, so I have decided to keep the trend going and collect Santas for decoration every year. I am really excited to build up my stash! πŸ™‚ And someday when we own a grown up house, I hope to have a fireplace to hang the stockings with care by. But for now, the bookshelf will have to do. I think later on this evening when I take a second break, I will put up all my tiny ornaments from last year’s tabletop tree. At least the top of the tree could be decorated. Anywho, for my first break, I decided to make the Ryan and I some lunch, and then started thinking about what I could do for dinner. I didn’t really feel like cooking anything, and I knew that the time I spent hovering over the stove would be time I wasn’t studying. So I turned to my almighty crockpot. Sadly, I won’t be testing out the new one just yet, as it’s still over at our friend’s house. I had to work the day after Thanksgiving, but people were demolishing my cider (which, by the way, tasted AMAZIIIIIIIIIIING!!!!!) so I left the crock pot there. Today I just have our tiny old one, which is just peachy. After Googling crock pot potato soup recipes, I settled on this one. I have all the ingredients, and since the Ryan didn’t want to go out (for stuff like, you know, bacon), it was perfect. Plus, all I had to do was cut stuff up and walk away. Yay! I decided to leave all the skin on the potatoes, mostly because I am lazy and wanted to save time (and was so not in the mood to peel them today), but also because that’s where all the nutrients are. I have an immersion blender, so I don’t actually care whether the skin is there or not. It’s going to get chopped up anyway. So I rinsed my potatoes and set to cutting them.Image

I chose to cut them into fairly small pieces, so as to help them get mooshy and cook better.Β Image

Normally I would have used a white onion, but I had this red guy leftover from an enchilada casserole I made up the other night (it was really good, in case you were wondering :P), so why cut a new one when I can use this? Also, another thing I have recently done was decide to freeze all my garlic. Why, you say? Well, the Ryan and I were out at the store one day and he saw a giant bag of probably 20 heads of garlic in it for a really good price. He looked at me (we all know how much he loves garlic) and gave me puppy face, so I was like hey, let’s buy this. I’ll figure out something to do with it! And then promptly didn’t because the wedding was crazy. I didn’t want it to go bad, so I researched ways to preserve it. The easiest was to break the cloves off and pop them in the freezer. They will keep for a long time, and you can thaw them out as you need them. They thaw out pretty quickly, though they get mushy, if that matters to you. Since I always send my garlic through a press, I honestly don’t care.


I decided to go a little astray form the recipe and saute my garlic and onions first to bring out the aromatics and open up the flavors for the soup.


Meanwhile, I made ready the potatoes (YARRR MAKE READY THE SAILS, MATEYS! Yeah, I’ve been listening to Scottish Pirate Metal over the last week. Don’t judge me!) by adding the basil and parsley, and I also found a recipe that called for adding butter for richness while I was browsing, and decided to do that as well. The recipe I saw called for 1/4 cup of butter, but I felt like that was WAY too much, so I just added a thin spoonful.Image

When the garlic and onions were soft and fragrant, I added them into the potatoes and stirred them around a bit to get them mixed in well. Then I added the chicken stock, stuck the lid on, and turned that bad boy to high.Β  Image

About 45 minutes before the 3rd hour was up, I decided to get the half-and-half out and mix it with the flour, and then let it sit to bring it down to a warmer temperature so it wouldn’t seize and curdle in the hot soup. I have had this happen to me in the past and it is no fun. Like how I stirred it with a fork because both of my whisks were in the dishwasher? Yeah, me too. πŸ˜› Image

When the time arrived, I quickly mashed the potatoes with a spud masher. Just to be on the safe side, I decided to go ahead and temper the half-and-half/flour mixture by slowly pouring some of the soup into the bowl.Β  Image

And then I stirred in the cream. Nom. And put the timer on for 30 more minutes. I might have also added the pepper and salt because I forgot that. And then I might have also added a dash of seasoning salt and some garlic powder too. Almost there!!


I asked the Ryan to help me out with grating cheese to go on top, of which he did a mighty fine job. Just look at those skills!


And then when the timer went off, I hit the soup with the immersion blender (which, by the way, is basically the greatest invention known to man. Thanks to my mother in law for it, I don’t know how I survived for so long without one!).


And voila! Creamy potato soup. Nothing better on a cold, snowy night than cuddling up on the couch, eating a bowl of hot soup, and admiring your Christmas decorations. πŸ˜€

Leave a comment

Filed under Cooking, Food

Thanksgiving! And stuff.

Well ‘ello there, all! πŸ™‚ Long time no write!

Things have been totally crazy! I always say that, right? Well, it’s true. The good news: I’m freaking married now! WOOOOOOO! *celebratory dance*

It was a beautiful day, the Ryan looked stunningly handsome, and even with the little blips, the wedding was more perfect and magical than I ever could have imagined.


In the course of the last couple weeks, we ran around like headless chickens wrapping things up at work and at school, and then off we went to Jamaica for a week! True story, I cannot recommend Sandals, Negril highly enough! They made our honeymoon completely romantic and completely awesome! Besides, whoΒ wouldn’t like endless rum (Jamaican rum! YUM) filled drinks and food whenever you want it while snorkeling or jamming on a party catamaran out on the ocean? Duh. Sandals, Negril. Go there. Get a butler room. You won’t be sorry you did.


And now we’re back. It’s Thanksgiving week! YIKES! I’ve spent my day today making brownies (as requested by my aunt, whose house we’re going to before heading over to a friend’s) and preparing my “grown up” apple cider for tomorrow. And by preparing, I mean putting the crock pot and Caramel Vodka next to the front door. The cider is still in the fridge. Because it should be. Also, today I learned that you can use coconut oil in place of butter in baking batters! But be careful, the melting/solid threshold on coconut oil is only 76F, which makes it kind of unwieldy when you add things at or below room temperature (depending on the temperature of your room, that is. Ours is around 70, so…yeaaah). Fear not, however, I sampled a brownie and they’re just as good and smooshy as if I were to have made them with butter. TAKE THAT, FATTY BUTTER!

Tomorrow I plan on making a variant of a recipe I saw on Pinterest for Apple Cider with Vodka in it. I went and bought myself some Smirnoff Caramel Vodka and some Apple Cider from the Amish. The Ryan and I got a new programmable crock pot as a wedding gift, which I will be taking to our friend’s Thanksgiving dinner tomorrow evening. One gallon cider, half a bottle of vodka, put the thing on “Keep Warm” and get my friend to light up the fire pit while we set up the telescope (yeah, we have one of those too. It’s fun being married to an engineer) to see if Comet Ison blows up in the sun or not. It should be a nice evening tomorrow! And even if Ison blows up, we will have cider with booze in it. So it’s a win either way. Plus, turkey coma.


(How did I get the same cider as in that picture on the original recipe, you ask? Turns out that Philadelphia isn’t that far from Maryland and the Amish bring it down with them to the market. Ohhhhhh yeah. ^_~)

Anyway, I’ll let you know how it turns out.

In other news, our honeymoon was a bit of an overindulgence and we put on a few *cough* pounds while we were in Jamaica. I mean, drinking fruity cocktails all day and eating fried red snapper and all sorts of other goodies (and desserts) will do that. I don’t regret it, even if my belly does. VIVA LA HONEYMOON! But that, plus the holidays, means that we’re in that tough spot of watching what we eat while not starving ourselves through the numerous gatherings we’ll be attending (especially since I bought a case of 18 Holiday cookie cutters, and I want to make Christmas cookies, damnit!). So if the rest of you are curious, I managed to find this resource for Thanksgiving/Christmas food lightened up. Because Skinny Taste is the I will definitely be turning to some of these recipes to bring to our group Christmas dinner.

That’s about it for now! I’ve got to run and start reading a book for a review I need to write this weekend. And Β I have a presentation due Tuesday. Gotta work Friday (and work out my purchasing finger with internet Black Friday sales)… never ends! Oh! And the ballet on Saturday! The Joffrey Ballet is back in DC performing the Nutcracker at the Kennedy Center! It’s a yearly tradition, so I’m excited!! Let’s hope my dress clothes fit after that awesome honeymoon. πŸ˜‰


Happy Thanksgiving, everybody!!


Filed under Baking, Cooking, Food, Holidays, Uncategorized

Update! And Wedding Money Saving Tips!

Good evening, gentle readers…

Oh, who am I kidding? Hiya, all! Still waiting for New Parents Freezer Meals Part 2? Don’t worry, it’s coming! Just a little later than expected. πŸ™‚ Mommy and Daddy S got a drop freezer, so they can handle more food, but Daddy S’s mom came in from out of town to cook for them and help care for Baby S (who, by the way, is GORGEOUS!! The Ryan and I met her last week and she is just so tiny and soft and smells like baby!), so that plus all of our meals has kind of put a kibosh on more meals..for now. Also, one of the others in the group is making all of her meals this weekend and taking them down on Monday, so I don’t need to do a second round just now. πŸ™‚ We got Mommy and Daddy S COVERED! *fistpump*

In other news, I have been spending a good amount of time on’s forums this week..for a few reasons. The first being that now that I’m back at work (yay money! yay air conditioning!), I find that I am relegated to scanning piles of payroll material yet again. And while I do so, I sit still in my chair, staring into the corner of my cube, watching Adobe process the scan, decompose all the images, and do whatever other magic it does. It’s so boring. It’s not stimulating. I can’t do any homework there because it’s all on a very specific software package that is installed on my laptop at home…Oh, and apparently while I was gone they shortened our lunches from an hour to 30 minutes. It’s not even worth it to get up and go to the cafeteria. I’ll just have to turn around and come back. So I’m basically stuck at my desk ALL DAY.

If I don’t do something to keep myself entertained, I might lose my mind and start throwing whatever few available office supplies we’ve got left at people (How are we coping with sequester? We’re not being allowed to order office supplies. Like staples, pens and sticky notes. Yeah, it’s pretty great…until your pen runs out of ink and you need to sign your name to a shipping slip, so you’re forced to go on a scavenger hunt around the office and steal that unfortunate person-who-isn’t-here-today’s pen. Don’t judge me, I did what I had to do!).

Anyway..Another reason I have been lurking there is that I am feeling pretty overwhelmed by this whole wedding planning thing, and have been experiencing a lot of emotionsΒ  and frustrations. I wanted to know if others were feeling the same as I am. And if so, how did/do they deal with it? Back in January, my granddad was diagnosed with nonhodgkin’s lymphoma. Yesterday, I heard from both him and my mom that his test results indicate the cancer is still in his neck (so chemo didn’t work). He’s too old to do radiation, and has ruled out many treatment options by having gone through the chemo. My granddad is the one that is supposed to give me away. He’s my only living grandparent. I call him at least once a week to just chew the rag. I am feeling very sad and worried. SO, I turned to the other “Bees,” as they’re affectionately known, and let me tell you…There are some FABULOUS ladies on that site! There are so many supportive, friendly, sweet, thoughtful, kind people on there, and it’s really nice. There are also some others who I sort of sit back and question, but that’s true of anywhere there are a lot of personalities in one place.

It has also given me great perspective on myself and the Ryan’s relationship. I look at some of the things others are going through, and it just reinforces the way I feel about him, how solid our relationship is..And it’s fun to share stories about us too! Like when we first met, silly dates we’ve been on, stuff like that. All in all it’s a nice group and it’s nice to have a sounding board.

Something else that has come up quite a lot is wedding budgets!! The average American wedding, according to CNN, cost $28,400 last year! Holy crapballs, you guys, you can buy a new Prius with that!! Or put a down payment on a house! Or pay off student loans! Or go on a killer vacation! Props to us ladies keeping the economy afloat, AMIRITE?

One particular Bee was stressing over finances, and I offered to help her out by sending her a bunch of tips on how I saved money on the Ryan and I’s wedding so far. πŸ™‚ I spent a long, long time thinking about all of the details, writing it out, and after I hit the SEND button……WeddingBee promptly cut off 90% of my message to her and I hadn’t saved it! I almost died right there in my chair. Right. There. I have also received other requests and carried on conversations about this topic, so I figured it’d be a good reference for me to refer people to if I just wrote it out here. And then there will be no more eating of the messages by WeddingBee’s forums. Also no need for personal email exchange either, to protect anonymity. Win/win!

TL;DR: Tips Start Below πŸ™‚

So in taking the beginning of the email I sent this Bee this morning, here is how I have saved $$ planning my wedding:

I only did small things with us that saved us a ton of money. For instance, we’re getting married in Annapolis, where the average rate for venues is $4500-5000 (half my budget!!), and the average for food is $60-99/head…even if it’s just hors d’ouevres. Our wedding is small, we’re expecting 60 people, but even still, that’d be the whole budget!

I chose the venue as a local, public park. For 8 hours, the hall was $1200, $500 of which we get back after we clean (it’s a cleaning deposit), so the venue is $700. The gazebo we’re having the ceremony at was another $180, but I’m not complaining! I’ve even seen some people do barn weddings and just ask to borrow or use someone’s field before. πŸ™‚ Public places are always, always cheaper, and some of them are even free! Look in your area for places such as this, even mansions or other historical landmarks can be cheap – there are several important, historical mansions around Maryland that are “public property” in that they are owned by the historical society and used for tours and education. They are inexpensive and quite lovely!

We had to use a caterer that was on the park’s approved list, and luckily, we happen to live right around the corner from our caterer. It’s a small, locally owned restaurant, and we went there to have dinner and try it before we even considered it (we hadn’t been there yet). The food was surprisingly good, and their catering prices are very good as well. Our menu is chicken, two sauces (Marsala or lemon caper – they can choose which one they want), roasted potatoes, grilled vegetables, salad, and rolls, for everyone, for $8/person. Also, their rates for staff are $25/hr per person, which is actually really great given that most people are $50-100/hr for a wedding. They will come in, set up, bring linens (they rent them, and extend the rental price to us without markup), serve food, serve booze, and clean up. All in all, our staff is ~$400 for the entire event (all 8 hours), start to finish, and it is well worth it to us because we won’t have to clean up. And since my caterer has worked the park many times before, they know what needs to be done for us to get our deposit back. It’s a really good investment and so much less headache for me!

As for alcohol, we are obtaining our own one-day liquor license and anything brought to the event is covered under us! $55 and we can even have hard alcohol! We’re serving champagne for the toast ONLY, and the rest will be beer and wine with some hard and a few mixers. I picked Menage a Trois Blanc and Menage a Trois Red for my two wines – they are a lovely combination, serve a lot of different palettes, and they are only $7.97 a bottle where I’m buying. That means a case (12 bottles), is less than $96 each. And given that half of our guests are not going to drink wine (let’s face it, the groom’s side and all of my uncles are going to want beer! And Scotch!), we’re not spending a whole crap ton on wine. A 1/6th keg will serve everyone, so we will get two with two different types of beers. Probably Sam Adams Oktoberfest and a Lager or something. This is the Ryan’s choice, but the price of a 1/6th keg is around $60 (less than a bunch of 12 packs – We ended up buying 4 cases of different beers, it was barely drunk anyway – and we could return it!). Not too shabby. We can use the rest of our alcohol budget on some nice, hard alcohols and some mixers. We also are going to just buy soda and water at Sam’s Club – a 36 pack of soda there is about $8. (Now that the wedding is over, I feel confident in telling you guys that my uncles went insane on the scotch and didn’t touch the beer hardly *at all*. My aunts drank a case and a half of the Menage a Trois red, but barely touched the white. All said and done, we returned almost $500 worth of booze. MAKE SURE YOUR BARTENDER DOESN’T PRE-OPEN A BUNCH OF IT! Ours was kind of a moron and opened one bottle of Seagrams 7 and poured a finger out of it. Then she opened the 2nd bottle and poured a finger out of it. We had two barely touched open bottles of Seagrams left. Be firm with your bartender!! We ended up just having to give it away, haha! We also had a *ton* of soda leftover. People went for the water to keep up with the booze. People will drink far less than you think they will,Β keep every single receipt!!Β You will be so glad you did later!)

Next up is FLOWERS! Flowers are expensive, right? WRONG! Not if you’re smart. I got my flowers at Giant. Yes, that grocery store place. Those of you out west don’t have a Giant, so your best bet is probably a Kroger store or Safeway. But for me, I went to Giant. My florist is an actual, legitimate florist, who has an amazing portfolio and was so excited to do a wedding (something she does not get to do often), she was practically dancing! She was so enthusiastic about my color and flower choices, helpful with designing, and just an overall sweet lady. I got my bouquet, a free toss bouquet, a MoH bouquet, a bridesmaid bouquet, two bridesmen (yes, I have two men on my side) boutonnieres, Groom boutonniere, Best Woman (yes, his best man has boobs!) bouquet, and two groomsmen boutonnieres, along with corsages for my mom, his mom, and boutonnieres for his dad, my grandfather, and my little brother for just under $300. My primary flower is roses. No, I’m not kidding. She buys the flowers wholesale, which she extended to me, because anything she doesn’t use she can make arrangements for and sell in the Floral department for the store, so she is making money either way!


Sure, you can make bouquets yourself, and it’s probably cheaper that way, especially if you buy wholesale! And if you’re really trying to pinch pennies, do so!! I am just not that creative. And wouldn’t honestly know what to do with the things! Or how! She is hand wrapping them all, and they are just one more thing I don’t have to do. It’s worth the money to me. I have also known brides who used all fake flowers from Michaels or Hobby Lobby, and they were inexpensive as well and looked just great!

My officiant is someone who has been an ordained reverend for about 12 years now, and she is a very special friend of mine. She was very excited when I asked her, and is going to charge us $100, dinner and cake. Okay! It’s sooo much better than paying a stranger $300 for 15 minutes of his time and his signature! If you live in a state where you can be ordained online or in person for very cheaply, definitely consider getting a special friend or family member to do it for you! πŸ™‚ Here is a complete list of how to go about being ordained for a wedding and the states that do and don’t allow you to do so!

For invitations, check out No, seriously. They have really great patterns and the invitations are nice and cheap! And the quality is really, really nice! A bride I know got married last year and got 120 invitations, response cards, Save The Dates and ~200 Thank You cards for right around $150. She recommended it to me, as did another person currently planning (wow, a lot of us are getting married!). Or, if you have creative friends, ask them to design you an invitation in Photoshop as their gift to you, and print it out on card stock (I actually designed our invitations and printed them on cardstock I bought at Target. $10 for 50 pieces of cardstock AND envelopes. The Ryan printed the invites in color at work and I printed the addresses on the envelopes on our printer at home. Done and done!) I am not personally doing response cards. Instead, I’ve set up a wedding website for myself and the Ryan (for free on, which contains our venue location, hotels in three different price points, their photos, their amenities, directions to the venue from each hotel, both local airports, directions to each hotel from said airports, our engagement story, bio of our wedding party, our registry information, a map of the park and the hall, and the RSVP option. I have tested it out by RSVPing to myself, and even if the answer is no, it goes to my inbox and I get a notification. I have a “Wedding” folder in my email, so everything (and everyone) will get stored there. I plan to personally call any guest I haven’t heard from (and ask the Ryan to do the same for his side) about a week to a week and a half out to get my final count. I feel that it’s more personal that way, and more courteous. And hey! I’m not paying for double postage, the cost of double envelopes, don’t have to worry about things getting lost in the mail, and I don’t have to pay for response cards.

My centerpieces are DIY: All fake (sort of…), and basically all of the materials are from Hobby Lobby. You know, except the lanterns that I got at IKEA for $8 each. Yes. $8 each. Because IKEA! I have two different centerpieces, this is what my first set looks like (I’m finished with these – yes, that is Super Mario characters under the trees, so glad you asked):


And the other will hopefully like this (Just gotta get the flowers and sit down with the glue gun…):


Why did I choose two? Because it was suggested to me to have different “levels” for the eye. That way everything wasn’t the same, and the cost was lowered as well. The branches were $2.50 per bundle at Hobby Lobby (keep an eye out for sales. I got most of my items there for 50% off) and the 14″ diameter grapevine wreaths I am using (which are real, as are the curly willow branches) were ~$4 each. I got fake leaves to go in them, and the girls’ (and my) bouquets will also double as parts of the centerpieces. We will have vases to place them all in. A good hint is to give items multiple jobs (in this case, the bouquets are bouquets and also centerpieces). All in all, I got all of the components for under $250…so each table’s centerpiece is approximately $31. Given that my florist offered to do my centerpieces at $75/table, I’m not complaining.

Men’s Wearhouse has a special on tuxes – if you have X number of men in your party, you get the Groom’s tux for free…So we did that, and got the Ryan’s tux for free. πŸ™‚ All of the guys will pay for their own tuxes, and all of my girls paid for their dresses, HOWEVER I’m gifting them their hair. πŸ™‚ And since the hair stylist is friends with my mom, I got my own hair for the cost of her having a seat at the ceremony/reception and attending with my mom. Given that the cost per head is less than the cost of my hair, I agreed. Plus, she’s a nice lady (but I am paying for everyone else’s hair as one of the gifts for them being so awesome). As for shoes – I got nice shoes. I ordered them from David’s Bridal and had them dyed the color of my girls’ dresses. My “something blue” is going to be everyone signing the bottom of my shoes (including the Ryan)…The girls? The girls get to wear flats. Black ones. And they are oh, so grateful that they don’t have to stand around in heels (nobody will see anyone’s shoes except my MoH’s anyway because the dresses are long. My MoH chose a short dress, but she’s cute and will totally pull off the shoes ^_~). Besides, the guys’ tuxes are black with red vests, and the girls’ dresses are red with black shoes. It works! And I get to stand out. The best part is probably that their shoes are $20 at Payless, two of them already own that pair, and they say they are quite comfy…Everyone is happy!


(My car is a hot mess. Don’t judge!!)

As for cake, well…we splurged here. We are paying a lot per slice (’s actually about average – $5.50/piece) for our cake. That said, it is OH SO WORTH IT. You don’t even know how awesome this cake is. Our baker made this for Mommy S’s baby shower:


And it’s so delicious! That said, we are cutting the cost of the cake by having a simple design, only two tiers (as opposed to the third for us to keep in the freezer), and having a very vibrant, colorful and fun cake topper that I bought off Etsy for $35. πŸ™‚ If enough people respond and are coming, we will just go buy a sheet cake or some cupcakes from Sam’s Club if people want second helpings. And then we’ll take a slice of wedding cake for ourselves to freeze and share on our 1 year anniversary (haha just kidding, we ate that shit the next day). If you’re really pressed for cash with the cake, you can do the Sam’s Club cake thing, or you can even try Giant…grocery store again! I actually looked at Giant before I looked at our current baker, and while they had some very lovely cakes, I didn’t like the fact that they were “kits” and everything came pre-built and pre-colored. Sure, they could change the color, but there just wasn’t enough customization for my liking. That said, they had some very simple, elegant options if you want something inexpensive to feed a lot of people and don’t care to terribly much about the cake’s “customizability,” as it were. (We didn’t have to buy a sheet cake, only 50 people showed up ^__^ We had a lovely two tier cake to feed 65 people for $250. We ate the shit out of that leftover cake, let me tell you).

Wedding favors! They’re next! I have gorgeous favors. Gorgeous! I ordered them online, and I think I got them for $1.79 each from They are bottle openers made to look like vintage skeleton keys, and I was worried about what their quality would be like being so cheap, but they are just lovely! They are heavy, sturdy, well made, and just..I love them! To cut back in this area, not only were the favors inexpensive, but I ordered either one per couple (because really, do you think my uncles want two bottle openers with tassels in their kitchen drawer? No! To them it will just be some frou frou thing their wives got that will totally open their beer, and is therefore practical enough to live in said drawer), or one per person & one for their partner/date. This way, people living in separate households can each have one. I had originally counted incorrectly, and I had to email customer service and ask to add more items to my order. They were AMAZING and so nice! And fast with the customer service. I highly recommend them for cute, inexpensive, good quality favors. (Barely *anyone* took the favors, if I were to do this again, I’d just not have them. I forgot to tell people that the key was actually a bottle opener, and I think they all just thought they were useless trinkets that would take up space. So! I’d nix them. Or put up a sign that tells people what they are – those that have found out since the wedding think it’s awesome. But mostly, I’d nix them).

The Ryan and I are having a bit of a nerd wedding, and one thing he told me very early on was that he wanted to incorporate the Super Mario question mark boxes into our reception – whether it be as the vases for the centerpieces, the boxes we gave favors in, whatever. Well, as it happens, we’re using it as the boxes to give the favors in. I looked online to see if I could purchase some novelty ones, even from Etsy, and they were just…expensive. I decided to make my own somehow and started to search for free Printables via Pinterest and Google! And I’ll be damned if I didn’t find just the perfect sized printable. We are going to go to Kinkos or Staples and print them on card stock. πŸ™‚ Always check for free patterns and even fonts (for thank you cards, invitations, whatever). (We ended up not doing this, we just put all our favors in a basket, and nobody missed the yellow question mark boxes that they didn’t know were supposed to be on their place settings).

By now you might be wondering about music! Did I hire a DJ? Nope. We’ve got laptops. We’ve got iTunes..and we’ve got an audio hookup inside of the hall for their sound system! Yeah, it cost an extra $135 to rent. But that’s way better than $900 for a DJ! My caterer couldn’t recommend a good DJ, and the Ryan’s friend (and one of his groomsmen) will be MC for us. After all, the Ryan was the MC at this same friend’s wedding. We are going to do a bunch of playlists for various parts of the evening and call it good. πŸ™‚ It may not be for everyone – a lot of people like DJs, and I’ve been to weddings where the DJ has made it very fun! But I believe in the Ryan’s friend to make it fun and also get the Ryan back (apparently there was some sort of music playing shenanigan the Ryan duped this guy with at his reception), which will add just that next level, in my opinion, of intimacy and sharing with friends instead of strangers. (Dustin and his wife Lisa did an INCREDIBLE job MCing for us. It was wonderful. Everyone dancedΒ the whole time! I had people telling me that our wedding was one of if not THE most fun weddings they’ve been to. And that’s saying something. I agonized over the playlist but it was sooooooo worth it! I know there are a lot of horror stories about people MCing for themselves, but I’ll tell you ours was AWESOME!)

I picked a very upbeat, quasi traditional/modern song to walk to (omg, the Piano Guys *die* they are AMAZING! Go look at everything on YouTube RIGHT NOW. NOW. I promise, you won’t regret it), and we’ve got an iPod and a portable set of speakers. Technically we’re not supposed to have amplified music outside, so we felt like it was stupid to rent a big sound system just for one three minute song…Yuck! (Yes, we have permission to play our song) In addition, while people farther away may be able to hear a little of it (I doubt they’d complain, it’s gorgeous), everyone that is concentrated in the ceremony area of the gazebo will hear it and see us and get all of the lovely pieces put together.

(Yea, this is it –^)

One thing that we didn’t skimp on money-wise was our photographer. The right photographer can make or break your day and your memories. We got extremely lucky, and the Ryan has a friend in California (who would have been a guest anyway) that is a professional photographer on the side. After getting quotes and looking at rates here in Maryland, we discovered that his friend not only had a way better package, but a better package for less! We are paying this man’s price (though we get a small friend discount), his plane ticket, and his hotel fee — for less than it costs us to book a Photographer here. (Bonus: We got his wife, too, for free!) Shop around! See if they’re willing to travel! If you’re in the California area, message me, and I’ll recommend him to you, his pictures are absolutely stunning and wonderfully artful. If you’re in Houston and need a Photog, I’ve got a friend out there who is also an AMAZING photographer and has her own photography business. I’m quite happy to recommend her as well.

That said, if you’re looking to cut costs on the photographer but don’t know anyone, I have read that you can advertise at local colleges for photography majors, and possibly hire one on the cheap (after looking through their portfolio, of course!). Stipulate that you get digital prints of all the photos, and you get your amazing pictures for cheap, and they get a giant reel of stuff to add to their portfolio and help get their name out there! It’s a win for everyone.

Next I will go into dishes. I am NOT…I repeat NOT…going to pay to rent glass/ceramic plates…or cups…or real silverware. “But it’s etiquette!” you scream. Or even just, “But it looks WAY better!” That could be. But again maybe not. And consider this: not only is it totally possible (and probable, if you’ve got clumsy people in your midst like we do) that someone is going to get a little too tipsy or a little too wild and break something, but you have to pay for all of that, keep it safe, lug it around, or pay someone to lug it around for you, set it out, make sure it stays safe, and then take it back or pay someone to pick it up to wash it! Ugh! What a hassle! Especially since a lot of rental companies (ironically) around here that rent dishes are closed on the weekends so they charge an extra fee for someone to deliver/pick-up on an “off” day. Why not just get lovely plastic plates that you can throw in the trash and not have to worry about replacing items or paying someone to wash them? Easy clean up AND unbreakable. Duh! I have been Googling my little heart out and found a combo pack of 20 gold rimmed dinner plates and 20 gold rimmed dessert plates for…$20. So if we have 60 people, I can buy 3 packs (I’ll get 4 just in case someone gets some food, throws their plate away, and then decides they want more) for $60 that gives everyone a dinner plate and a dessert plate.Β  Helloooooooooo! Duh!! And we all know plastic utensils are cheap..they even have really pretty ones that look real! So make it easy on yourself!

But what about the wine?! What about it? Plastic. If you have witnessed the tremendous amount of wineglass death on account of too much drinking, too much rowdy, too much dishwasher being angry (that was a fun day), or even too much clumsy as I have…you’d be down with the plastic just like me. Now, I don’t generally like Party City or their stuff…But I do like these. They look elegant and real (though I’ll be driving there to look in person), and they will serve for wine and champagne. As for the beer and mixed drinks, we’ll probably just go with Solo cups. Because no party is complete without red solo cups! More than likely, it will be pretty, clear, plastic cocktail cups. Also likely from Party City…and I don’t even have to pay for shipping on that stuff! (My wine glasses looked really nice, and nobody complained about using them! In fact, most of the younger crowd walked around with vodka filled clear plastic cups most of the evening, so take that into consideration too! Haha.)

One thing I will caution about when sourcing online vendors for things – READ THE REVIEWS! Google reviews. Read as many reviews as you can! Luckily, a lot of the vendors out there that sell wedding things are highly reviewed on both WeddingWire and TheKnot. I spent a lot of time researching my vendors and reading up on them to make sure I wasn’t going to get shitty items, not receive my shitty items on time, or pay way too much money for said shitty items. Please do this, you won’t regret it!

Another big tip has to do with paying for items. I will first start out by plugging for my future in-laws…If not for them, none of this would be possible and the Ryan and I would not be having this amazing wedding we have worked so hard to plan. They generously gave us most of the money we are using for our budget, and we could not be more grateful and thankful!! I will also thank my mom, who bought my dress, veil and undergarments, and who also contributed to our budget and allowed us to expand the things we could get even further. Thank you all soooooooo much!

Anyway, back to paying — the Ryan has a Discover card that has cash back and bonus rewards points on it. Given that we’ve got the cash in hand, anything that doesn’t require a cash deposit or cash full payment is being routed through the Ryan’s card, which he immediately pays off….but in the mean time, he’s racking up extra points and extra cash back (which adds up quickly!!) to use on our honeymoon. If you are in a position to do this, I highly recommend it!!

My final piece of advice would be, if at all possible, DO NOT SAY THE WORD WEDDING when dealing with vendors. From my experience (and that of many others), the cost of “weddings” are about triple the cost of “events” or “gatherings.” Call it one of those. Also, be competitive. It was recommended to me once to call around and get quotes for XYZ package from someone and call someone else and say “So-And-So will give me XYZ for $$…What can you do for me?” Generally, they’re willing to negotiate, and you can get some really amazing stuff (in this case, this person did it with their photography package) for a steal!!


As for future plans, instead of hiring a calligrapher, I have seen a lot of places on Pinterest that offer free wedding/fancy fonts, and will be making pretty labels with them! I will print onto clear labels so it looks as if it’s written onto the envelopes…but isn’t! And it will save so much time and hassle (and money!). That’s my latest money-saving tip.

So that’s all my unconventional wisdom for now. I’m sure there are other things that I could do to cut back on expenses, but as we want a semi-formal, semi-supernice, and mostly fun party/wedding, this is right within our comfort zone. πŸ™‚

If you have any questions, feel free to ask or email me, and if you have any tips you want to share, feel free to do so!! πŸ˜€


Filed under Budget, Planning, Uncategorized, Wedding