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February 26, 2013

another birthday around here

& this time it was the man of the house's big day! 

^^^confused & then excited about the mini wad of cash he recieved
{i might have had sort of a hard time with his gift this, money it was!}^^^
^^^not the cutest candles, but they sparked a bit & it took mark a few attempts at finally getting them all to blow out^^^

mark celebrated his 28th birthday on saturday! he started off his day with a nice long, 4 hour GMAT class which ended around noon. {who wouldn't enjoy that, right?} then he decided it was cake time. this cake wasn't my proudest moment, but when the birthday boy requests funfetti from a box then that's what you make! i wanted to get tall, cute candles but all i could find were these horrid black sparklers. so forgive me for the slanted, creepy candles. :) it was fun watching mark try to blow all of them out, though.

he spent the rest of the afternoon relaxing while i slaved away in the kitchen making a french inspired meal. mark lived in paris for 2 years so i thought it would be fun to have some "french" food. i made a whole roasted chicken, ratatouille and homemade baguettes. totally my idea of what french people eat :) and everything turned out delicious! {recipes to follow!}

around six mark was picked up by some buddies & they headed out to wendover, a mini-ish vegas a few hours away from salt lake, for a late night of gambling! it was his day & i was happy to encourage him to have fun with his friends! although, it had been snowing really badly earlier in the day & i was a bit nervous about their drive. but they arrived safely, had a blast, mark didn't lose any money!, and they got back into town around 4am...crazy boys! & what did i do while he was gone you ask??? well i ate a few more slices of cake & watched back to back lifetime movies, what else? i am too predictable! ;)

it was a hectic day for the both of us, but so much fun!
hope you had a HAPPY BIRTHDY, babe.

February 25, 2013

recipes {apple cider glazed pork chops}

happy monday, y'all! the beginning of the week is always so hectic for me. trying to get back into the swing of things & waking up early again...ugh! i hate that cooking begins to feel like a chore on the weekdays, but we all have to eat, right? so in order to stay excited about making a meal after a long day i am always on the look out for quick, easy & lean options for dinner. i am typically a chicken gal, but today i have a must try pork recipe for you that is so simple & definitely a weekday option!

pork chops typically come with the bone in & are about an inch or so thick...they are delish & look gorgeous on a plate, but this time i picked up some thin cut chops that i knew would cook quickly! i paired them with a simple apple cider glaze that boosted these chops to a whole new level! mark was crazy about it & i am still wishing there were more leftovers...

>> what you'll need
pork chops {any kind you prefer. i used about 8 thin cut, center cut pork chop without the bone}
salt & pepper to taste
3 tablespoons apple cider vinegar
1 glove garlic, minced
11/2 cups apple cider
1/2 teaspoon fresh rosemary, finely chopped

>> directions
1. pat chops with paper towel to remove any moisture. sprinkle with salt & pepper on both sides.

2. heat large skillet to medium-high heat. spray with oil & add a touch of butter. when the butter slightly browns then add the chops. {if your pork chops don't all fit into the pan at once then work in batches. do not over crowd}

3. depending on the thickness of your chop you will leave it in the pan on each side for about 3-6 minutes.

4. once you have fried all of your pork chops remove them from the pan and set aside on a plate.

5. lower the heat to medium and add your garlic. stir continuously & keep your eye on the garlic because you don't want it to burn. let it cook for about 30 seconds until fragrant. then add the vinegar &, with a wooden spoon, scrape the bottom of the pan to release any bits of goodness stuck to the bottom of the pan.

6. add the apple cider & crank up the heat until you have a low simmer. let the sauce simmer for about 5-10 minutes until it reduces & forms a glaze.

7. add the chopped rosemary & allow it to cook for a minute or two. turn off heat. add the pork chops back into the pan & cover with the glaze!

pair these puppies with some mashed potatoes, roasted root veggies and a fresh garden salad & you are all set!

**the recipe for the glaze is just enough to lightly coat each chop. if you want more of a sauce then you may want to double the recipe. 

follow five foot seven on bloglovin' & never miss a post!!
stay tuned for homemade french baguettes coming later this week!!

February 23, 2013

preview // sadie & a fur coat

last weekend i went out with my friend sadie for a fun little photo shoot. here is a little preview. 
head over to jenna bechtholt photography to see more!!

& check out five foot seven over at bloglovin & follow along!

p.s. i'd like to say HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my sweet little hubster! he is a whopping 28 years old today. :)

February 22, 2013

calories calories calories

the other day i was struggling hard core with not eating a happy meal that one of the little kids i nanny didn't touch. luckily for me mark texted me some encourging words, "don't eat it", & i didn't! he also sent me this really interesting video about calories & the food industry today.

as some of you know i used to count calories hard core with my husband & we both lost a good amount of weight doing so! but after watching the video below i am a bit shocked about our success...

it is wild how many calories go into meals that you eat at when dining at a restaurant, or a simple snack that you pick up from a cafe & even your favorite drinks! for those of you who wish to continue living blindly to the fact that the food you are served by others is often TERRIBLY bad for you, then don't watch the video below. but if you are curious about how truthful listed calories are then take a look...

crazy, right?!

when mark sent me this link the other day i was really shocked. well, sort of. to be honest i was more disappointed than anything. it's awesome that food companies are required to show the calories in their products these days, but what good are they if they aren't accurate? for all i know they could be simply picking a random number & slapping it on a label!! no wonder the folks in our country are LARGE & in charge!

p.s. i'm not saying i will never eat out again! i am a lover of tasty food, even mcdonals...i know i know, but i would rather be educated about these kinds of things & go from there.

February 19, 2013

this week's menu

in order for me to actually eat healthy i have to plan my meals for the entire week. i thought i'd share my menu this week so that you guys can check back in & make sure that i actually made these items instead of ordering take out like we did last night. :/

^^^is anyone else already planning their dream kitchen for their dream home??? i'll take tons of counter space, classic white cabinets, new appliances, cute pops of color & tons of windows please^^^

spaghetti with ground turkey tomato sauce
garden salad on the side

curried veggie burgers topped with a yogurt sauce & fresh mango or pineapple
steamed//broiled artichokes

asaian salad with a sesame chili vinaigrette & shredded chicken

pork chops & mashed potatoes with homemade apple sauce
garden salad on the side

mark's bday! it's a surprise!! 


now, on to the grocery store!

February 18, 2013

recipes {yellow cake & chocolate frosting}

i realize i've kind of been on a recipe kick lately, but i can't help but share a good recipe when i've got one!! anyway, on valentine's day i made a fabulous cake for mark & i to enjoy. this recipe is one of my good friend's favorites & has quickly become one of mine as well. this cake isn't overly sweet so it's perfect for those of you who love treats but hate the sugar comas that often follow.

the perfect yellow cake

>> what you'll need
2 cups all-purpose flour, spooned and leveled, sifted after measuring
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup butter, softened
1 cup milk
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
2 eggs

>> directions
1. preheat oven to 350 degrees. grease liberally and flour two 8-inch cake pans. {i used 3 6-inch cake pans}

2. in a large mixing bowl sift together flour, sugar, baking powder and salt.

3. add butter, milk and vanilla. beat with a hand mixer on medium speed for 3-4 minutes, occasionally scraping sides of bowl. add eggs, beat for 3 more minutes.

4. pour batter into prepared pans, dividing equally among both. bake 30 to 35 minutes or until toothpick comes out clean. {mine were done at around 25 minutes when split among 3 smaller pans}

5. cool in pans on wire racks 10 minutes. turn out and cool thoroughly on wire racks.

& now for the frosting...

chocolate frosting

>> what you'll need 
1 cup sugar
4 large egg whites
3 sticks plus 2 tablespoons butter, softened {i prefer salted butter}
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 cup cocoa powder

**this recipe makes a lot of frosting! it is the perfect amount if you wish to add some decorative touches like i did or have some leftover, but if you'd rather simply frost the cake then 2/3 this recipe & you will have a more appropriate amount!

>> directions
1. whisk egg whites and sugar together in a large metal or glass bowl over a pot of simmering water. whisk occasionally until you can’t feel the sugar granules when you rub the mixture between your fingers.

2. transfer mixture into a bowl for an electric mixer or you may use an electric hand mixer. whip until the egg & sugar combinations turns white and about doubles in size.

3. add the vanilla and continue to whip until incorporated. 

4. add the butter a stick at a time and whip until you have a fluffy & well combined frosting!  

February 16, 2013

breakfast at sundance

this morning mark & i met up with our good friends, the saffords, for a late breakfast at the foundry grill at sundance! taylor, kacie & baby liv had spent the night at their family's condo, which is actually a part of the sundance resort, & they thought it would be fun to invite us up for breakfast. the food was amazing & we had so much fun catching up!

^^^i love the rustic cabin feel^^^
^^^liv is getting so big! she is 15 months now & loves to copy anything her dad does^^^

isn't sundance just dreamy?? it is such a fun place to visit. it's only 15 minutes up the canyon, has amazing restaurants & a few runs for local skiers...not to mention it's adorable! we really don't go up there enough, so i'm glad we got to spend a few hours exploring today :)

February 15, 2013

our day of love

valentine's day was great this year. mark & i kept it really low key, which i was totally happy with.

i spent the morning making a DELICIOUS cake & had some fun decorating it. mark then surprised me around noon with flowers & a few gifts and took me out to lunch. on top of all of that when he came home from work he made dinner for us. i wasn't allowed to help or even look in the general direction of the kitchen while he was preparing everything. sneaky guy! he made such a tasty meal, too!! fresh salmon, rice & bacon wrapped asparagus. pretty impressive, right? after dinner we watched the vow for a little romance & spent the rest of the night just hanging out.

how did you spend your valentine's day//night????

February 13, 2013

A VALENTINE SPECIAL: recipes {layered chocolate torte}

looking for a cute & festive valentine's day dessert?? well here it is!
although this looks like a layered cake, it is actually a torte! 
which is a bit more dense than a normal cake and you will be in chocolate heaven.

while you can make this torte in a more traditional 8, 9 or 10 inch springform pan, i used a cute little set of mini springform pans found at target. they are about 21/2 inch in diameter.

{adapted from smitten kitchen}

>> what you'll need
8 ounces bittersweet (not unsweetened) or semisweet chocolate, chopped
1 cup unsalted butter
1 cup sugar
5 large eggs
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup all purpose flour

1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 tsp vanilla
1 tbs sugar
fresh raspberries

>> directions 
1. preheat oven to 325°F. butter 3 21/2-inch-diameter springform pans; dust with sugar. {or you may use any size pans you like}

2. melt chocolate and butter in heavy large saucepan over low heat, stirring constantly. cool to lukewarm.

3. whisk in sugar. whisk in eggs 1 at a time, blending well after each addition. mix in vanilla and salt, then flour.

4. pour batter into pans. bake until cake just rises in center (tester inserted into center will not come out clean), about 35 minutes.

5. run sharp knife around edge of pan to loosen torte. release pan sides. transfer tortes to a cooling rack and chill while making the whipped cream.

6. pour the cream into a large bowl, using electric beaters or the whick attachment on an electric mixer, beat until soft peaks are formed. sprinkle sugar and vanilla into cream. continue whipping until stiff peaks form.

7. once the tortes have cooled completely {you don't want a warm torte or the whipped cream will melt and create a big mess!} the fun begins! place one torte down and spread an even layer of whipped cream on top. repeat this process 3 more times for a total of 4 layers. top the last layer with whipped cream and then decorate with fresh raspberries! {repeat this entire process once more for a total of two 4-layer tortes.}

i hope you enjoy your holiday!!
& if you don't have a significant other to share this tasty treat with, then make it with your girlfriends & watch some chick flicks!
you can never go wrong with that :)

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