Entertaining + Mom’s Birthday Dinner

Tim and I love entertaining, and I think we make a great team when we host people at our apartment.  This may seem like a shocker, but I get everything organized ahead of time in terms of planning, logistics, and lots of to do lists.  Most of the time we’ll go grocery shopping together, but if it’s an especially busy or rushed week we’ll decide who has more time to go pick up any necessary food or supplies.  In terms of appetizers and munchies, we usually will set out the usual cheese and crackers, veggies and hummus, chips and salsa, etc. but sometimes we’ll make a dip or get fancy depending on who has a good idea for something new to make.

As far as the meal itself goes, Tim is definitely the master chef in the kitchen.  I could do it, but Tim likes it more and is a better cook than I am.  And it’s okay because while he makes sure everything is timed right, I play hostess extraordinaire.  I greet everyone at the door, take their coats, make sure everyone has a drink, is comfortable, clean up after Tim in the kitchen as he cooks so there isn’t a huge mess later, yadda yadda yadda.  Plus, I usually have baked up a storm prior to everyone arriving anyways.

It works out well.

Last weekend we had some family over for my mom’s birthday.

It wasn’t anything big, just my parents, brother, aunt, and uncle.  Uncle Jimmy brought over some fun wine.  Tim and I set out the “usual appetizers” as I mentioned above, plus some grapes and a pumpkin cheese ball, courtesy of Stonewall Kitchen.  I promise the crackers weren’t sitting out for a couple of months.

On our dinner menu:

Spinach, Feta, and Tomato Stuffed Pork Tenderloin:

Greek Style Green Beans:

Seasoned brown rice:

Teropita (fancy Greek word for cheese pie), made by Auntie Tina!  Hers are the best!

My dad brought over a salad too, so all in all, here was our display:

After dinner, my mom opened her presents.  I only took one picture here, of my parents and my mom’s bottle of ketchup.

Yes, that’s right, I said ketchup.  Aka, my dad’s gag gift about my mom’s age.  Heinz’s 57 varieties… get it?  Sorry mom, now all F&F readers know how old you are.

Finally, I set out many desserts.  The “main” dessert was chocolate chip oatmeal cupcakes with a cinnamon sugar chocolate chip frosting.  They may not look like it, but these seriously are hands down the best cupcakes I’ve baked to date.  I’ll post the recipe soon, I promise.

I also set out soooo many leftovers from Thanksgiving and from my co-worker Lauren’s baby shower that afternoon.  We had mini pecan pie phyllo tarts, mini maple walnut cupcakes, and apple blondies with brown sugar frosting.  And grapes.  I tried to have at least one healthy option on the table.  Oooof.

Was an entertaining success, if I do say so myself.  Hope you had a nice birthday, mom!

Do you like to entertain?  Why or why not?  If so, do you have a “system?”

I am stepping AWAY from my computer, blogging, and Y work for the rest of the night.  Have a good one, friends!

Perfect Little Weekend

Morning, friends.  This weekend was exactly the kind of weekend I needed.  I’m not going to lie, it was probably one of the unhealthiest weekends I’ve allowed myself to have in a longtime.  In terms of what I ate (lots), what I drank (lots), and how much I exercised (none)…yup, definitely unhealthy.  However, I’m considering it a healthy weekend for the win because it was exactly what I needed mentally.  Mental health is something I don’t write enough about on the old blog, but it’s so important.  I’ve really been missing girl time, which Friday night helped with, and I’ve really been missing relaxing time, which my little overnight getaway helped with.  And you know what?  Splurging this weekend felt freaking awesome.  And now that it’s over, I feel a little more “balanced” and ready to tackle this week with a more positive mindset.

Friday night a group of us went over to Katrina & Geoff’s apartment to celebrate their recent engagement.

We are all so happy for the soon to be married couple.

The rest of the weekend was spent up in Portsmouth, NH.  Last year Tim and I used one of our free Marriott nights up there, and we loved it so much we decided that a Portsmouth overnight needs to be an annual event.  I had another free night to use up (one year rewards member right here) and we put it to good use!  Saturday we spent the afternoon walking around the Portsmouth downtown shops.

If you’ve never been to downtown Portsmouth before, it’s so cute.  Portsmouth to us is on the same level as Boulder, CO in terms of how much we love it.  Aka… we would live there.  It’s very quaint with tons of shops and restaurants.  Fun fact – I think Portsmouth is known for being the city with the most bars per square mile in the entire country.  There really are so many places to choose from!  During our shopping excursion, I ended up buying salt and pepper shakers (I’ve been looking for THE perfect cute set and found some that look like owls… they were the ones!), four mini loaf pans, pumpkin spice cheeseball mix from Stonewall Kitchen, 3 bottles of wine from Attrezzi, and an outfit from lululemon (hooray!).  Aside from shopping we did a lot of food and wine tasting, and stopped in at Popovers for a pumpkin spice latte and caramel apple cider.

Saturday night we tried out three different bars and restaurants.  First we sipped a round of drinks on the comfortable couches at Rudi’s Wine Bar.

Next we had a wonderful dinner at Radici Restaurant.


I strayed from my normal one out of three rule where I try to choose either bread, alcohol, or dessert… but not all three.  By strayed I mean that I went with all three on Saturday night.  I’m not going to write too much about Radici here because I’m hoping to do a separate write-up on it after exchanging contact information with our waiter.  We really had a great experience there.

After our dinner we went to the Gas Light Company and sat at the bar for the rest of the night.

Let’s just say that by the time we were ready to call it a night we had made friends with the one man band, and Tim started a dance party with the table of four sitting near us.  So funny!

On Sunday, we slept in and then headed to New Castle Island to enjoy the beautiful day and walk around outside.  Look how pretty it was!

It’s not huge, we probably were only there for about half an hour, but it seriously felt like we were walking around Cape Cod.  I think if we go back next year, this would make for picnic material.  Just saying.  We also got to enjoy some fall foliage after being near the water.  Check out my “senior portrait” in the leaves.  Dork alert.

Finally, we wrapped up our overnight getaway with lunch and a brewery tour at Red Hook Brewery.

The brewery is pretty big and has a good vibe inside.  I had a Southwestern chicken salad for lunch and tried one of their Pilsner beers, but I decided Red Hook is not my cup of tea when it comes to beers.  We took the brewery tour for $1 and were annoyed with our tour guide… he was extremely weird and made horrible jokes and over enunciated the last word of every sentence.  But I guess we had a good laugh about that.  Moral of the story is that even though I didn’t love the beer I tried, it was still a fun time and you can add Red Hook to the list of breweries that Tim and I have tried together (Red Hook, Boulder Brewing, Portsmouth Brewery, Magic Hat, Cape Cod Brewery, and Griddy’s).

Rest of last night was spent prepping for the week and then watching Homeland on the couch with a big cup of peanut butter hot chocolate.

Perfect little weekend.

How was your weekend?  When’s the last time you went on an overnight somewhere?  What about the last time you cheated on healthy eating and exercising for a splurge weekend?  Anyone have any other breweries that Tim and I should try?

Be back later with my Weekly Workouts post!

Fun Ladies + German Apple Cake = Great Night!

Happy Friday!!

Last night I had some friends over my apartment.  What a fun night!


There was vino, Shipyard, and Slesh’s drink of the week – The Grape Cognac Cocktail.

And lots of yummy snacks to go alongside them!

Winner = Cristin’s spinach artichoke dip.  All natural from Stonewall Kitchen and she used all low-fat or fat-free ingredients.  Score!


For dinner we ordered from Naked Pizza.  As you guys know from one of my first posts on Naked Pizza, I love it because it’s all natural and better for you than regular pizza.  Also, one of my friends has celiac disease and we wanted to make sure she could still join in the deliciousness with some yummy gluten-free options.

Note:  Cute Halloween plates.  Thanks Bridge!


Remember in yesterday’s post when I said I baked an apple cake for dessert?

Here it is!  I got the recipe right off the Honey-Pot Hill Orchards flier I picked up when I went apple picking last weekend.

This recipe was really easy to make since pretty much all it takes is mixing everything together in a big bowl!


  • 2 cups flour
  • 2 tsp cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 2 cups sugar
  • 1 tsp baking soda
  • 1 cup oil
  • 1 tsp vanilla
  • 3 eggs
  • 4 cups chopped apples
  • 1 cup chopped nuts


  1. Mix all the above ingredients in a bowl.
  2. Bake in a 13 x 9 pan at 350 degrees for 45 – 55 minutes.  Recommended check in at 40 minutes.
  3. May frost if desired or cut into squares and serve with ice cream.


Really yummy.

Thanks ladies for coming over!

Question of the Day:  What are your plans for the weekend?

Later 🙂