Friday, April 29, 2011

I guess I can stop waiting by the phone with my tiara on...

Because Prince William married Kate Middleton this morning in a grand and beautiful ceremony.

I will admit that I was slightly disappointed by the tiny bouquet she carried (although I understand the symbolism behind the choice - read HERE for those details) but her regal gown that was simple and beautiful, more than made up for that.

And call me crazy but I actually liked the ensembles chosen by Fergie's daughters. Yes they were a bit wacky, but did you see some of the other feathered hats the ladies wore? I thought these were spunky (although I would have chosen a different color than beige for Princess Beatrice, as I think it washed her out).

My grandmother used to have a hat that matched every outfit. She was so precise that she had a closet that was floor to ceiling with hat boxes, all labeled, and complete with matching costume jewelry on the inside of which to wear appropriately with the hat. And we wonder where my OCD and/ or fashion obsession come from... Here are just a few quick shots of some of the other hats on display at the nuptials that reminded me of my Grandmother (she would have rocked every single one of theses!)

This wouldn't be a proper blog post about the royal wedding without pictures of Kate & William's royal smooch! Warning: major swoon factor ahead ;)

Are you like me and can't get enough of the Royal Wedding? Here is a lovely slideshow of images from the event: The Royal Wedding via The Telegraph

Fun Fridays

We made it to the end of another week... pat yourselves on the back, friends!

Tonight Mr. TL and I are staying in, grilling some burgers, cracking open a bottle of wine, and watching a movie. Low key and just the two of us - sheer perfection!

Saturday we'll run some miscellanous errands, grab lunch out somewhere then I'll head out for girls night at one of my friend's houses. There are a group of 9 women whom I get together with monthly to chit chat, drink booze, and gossip. What more could one want?!

Sunday we're headed to my in-law's to celebrate Mother's Day a week early (my father in law is workin on real Mother's Day and he always basically caters the holiday so this makes it easier on everyone!). I'm going to make a French Toast Casserole that is a twist from the one I usually make. This one has booze and cinnamon - how bad can THAT be? Sunday night Mr. TL & I are headed into Boston for an engegement session and we'll grabe a bite to eat up in the North End - YUM!

What are you guys doing this weekend? Head over to Jennie's blog and link up!

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Green Goddess Panini's & Spicy Blue Cheese Tomato Soup

This is the time of year when Mr. TL & I are gearing up for our busy season with photography so finding meals that are tasty, relatively simple, and can be prepped ahead of time are crucial. One of our favorite quick meals is grilled cheese and soup. It's just always so comforting and always super simple to throw together.

This week when I decided to go for our old standby, I decided that I wanted to mix it up. A boring grilled cheese is just that - boring. Same goes for regular tomato soup - lame-o! So I went on an internet search for interesting and easy to accomplish recipes for both grilled cheese and soup and came across two that will certainly be added in to our normal rotation going forward.

Before we get to the recipes, let me introduce you to one of my favorite kitchen appliances - our Cuisinart Griddler. Truth be told, I had no desire to register for a panini press. Mr. TL added it on the day we went to register and I, like every other wife to be out there, got home and removed it. That, along with a hot dog cooker, a chicken rotisserie cooker, and the most mismatched set of kitchen towels imaginable (who ever said giving the guys the registry gun was a good idea?!). But here's the thing... he kept re-adding the panini press so I eventually stopped fighting the "Battle Panini Press" (as I had won "Battle Hot Dog Cooker", "Battle Chicken Rotisserie"m and "Battle Kitchen Towels" ;)).

This little darling actually serves double purpose in the kitchen, as both a panini press, but also operates as an open faced grill or griddle (it comes with grill attachments as well as griddle ones!). It's great for burgers in the middle of the winter and pancakes on a Sunday morning. I recently cleaned off counter space so it can live on the counter every day (as it's a pain to pull in and out of our super deep cabinets).

Now let's get to the recipes. First up, the Green Goddess Panini! I came across this gem on the website Panini Happy and I'm so happy (ha ha!) that I did. I, of course, made some adaptations which you'll see if you compare my recipe to the one on the Panini Happy site and I think they were for the better. The taste of the herbs was far from overpowering which was exactly what I had hoped for. The creamy cheese smelled incredible all on it's own and tasted even better between two slices of hearty sourdough bread (thank you, Trader Joe's!).

Green Goddess Panini
(adapted from Panini Happy)

1 clove garlic, finely chopped
1 shallot, quartered
zest of 1 lime
3 tablespoons fresh Italian parsley (eyeballed)
2 tablespoons fresh cilantro (eyeballed)
1 tablespoon fresh basil (eyeballed)
1/4 teaspoon Dijon mustard
2 ounces cream cheese, cut into smaller cubes
1 cup shredded mozzarella
1 cup shredded sharp cheddar
8-12 slices sourdough bread
2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
kosher salt & cracked black pepper

Place garlic and shallot into your food processor and pulse until finely chopped.
Add in the lime zest, parsley, cilantro, basil, shallot, mustard and cream cheese and pulse again until well blended.
Add the mozzarella and cheddar cheeses and pulse until combined.
Preheat the panini grill to medium-high heat.
Spread a generous amount of the cheese mixture onto one slice of bread. Close the sandwich with a second slice of bread. Brush a little olive oil on top and sprinkle with kosher salt and fresh cracked pepper. Grill for 5 to 6 minutes until the cheese is melted and oozy and the bread is toasted.

Onto the soup... I'm a tomato soup fan from way back. My hands down favorite has to be the Creamy Tomato Soup from Panera. This recipe, courtesy of Michael Symon via the blog The Amateur Gourmet is as close to that soup as I could imagine but kicked up a notch. The addition of blue cheese and hot sauce ( I added hot sauce - the original recipe called for Sirrachha sauce) was refreshing and added unexpected flavor as the soup hung out in your mouth. Creamy, delicious, and with just the right amount of spice. It was the perfect compliment to the mild Green Goddess Panini!

Spicy Blue Cheese Tomato Soup
(adapted from Michael Symon)

2 tablespoons olive oil
1/2 medium red onion, finely chopped
Kosher salt
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1 28-oz can San Marzano tomatoes, with their juice
1 1/2 cups Chicken Stock
3/4 cups heavy cream
1 tablespoon hot sauce sauce
1/2 cup blue cheese
2 tablespoons butter

Heat the olive oil in a 4-quart pot over medium heat. When the oil is hot, add the onion and a three-fingered pinch of salt and sweat for 2 minutes. Add the garlic and continue to sweat for 2 more minutes. Add the tomatoes, their juice and the stock and bring to a simmer. Add the cream, hot sauce, blue cheese, and butter and simmer for 45 minutes.
Pour the soup into a blender or food processor and blend until smooth.

Favorite Things Thursday

Melanie over at Miss Melanie just started this brandy new blog hop today so I'm excited to partake!

This weeks theme: Favorite Book!

My favorite book of all time is a vintage classic - The Great Gatsby. There is something about the torrid love affair, glamorous socialites, and summering in the Hampton's that always draws me in.

What's your favorite book? Don't forget to link up at Melanie's blog!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

We're halfway to the weekend and that means it's time to take a peek at what I'm loving this week!

I'm loving... the springtime! Because the weather has been PERFECT here in Rhode Island, it's time to work a more springy wardrobe into my life. Read: basic v neck short sleeves tees, jean capris, beaded flip flops, and chunky necklaces! Today I'm wearing a crisp, white tee, my favorite denim capris, and this big, chunky turquoise necklace that I love so much that when it fell apart last year, I learned how to repair it myself so that if it were to happen again, I wouldn't be without my favorite summer necklace!

I'm loving... that our trip to Disney is in just over 2 weeks! This means I can finally start obsessively packing and planning our trip. I'm thinking about a post dedicated solely to what I think is absolutely necessary for a trip to Disney... any excuse to talk about the trip is a-okay with me :)

I'm loving... my new Camelbak water bottle. After Mr. TL mentioned that his water from his Sigg bottle was starting to taste off, I did some research about metal bottles and how the metal can, after excessive use, wear down. Needless to say, I tossed them into the trash and picked up a pink CB for me and a blue PB for Mr. TL. I love the built in straw, the convenient handle, and the ability to shove ice cubes in. All in all, a good purchase!

What are you loving this week? Head over to Jamie's blog and link up!

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Ricotta Pie

My other dessert contribution to Easter dinner was on the more traditional side of things. My Mother in Law is Italian so Ricotta Pie was something that basically runs through her families veins. In an attempt to be an awesome daughter in law, I decided to try my hand at a ricotta pie.

After many Google searches, I combined a few recipes into one that included the traditional ricotta mixture but added semi-sweet mini chocolate chips, orange zest, lemon zest, and a dash of pumpkin pie spice. The addition of the citrus zest certainly added some freshness while the chocolate chips aded another layer of decadent flavor. The result was a creamy, cool combo that even had my Italian in-laws raving about it. WINNING :)


Ricotta Pie with Chocolate and Citrus

1 2/3 cup flour
2 tablespoons sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 cup butter or margarine
1/4 cup shortening
2 eggs, beaten

1 carton (15 ounce size) ricotta cheese
1 cup sugar
1 tablespoon flour
1/4 teaspoon grated lemon peel
1/4 teaspoon orange peel
1 dash salt
4 eggs
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/3 cup semisweet chocolate chips
1/8 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice

In a bowl, combine the flour, sugar, salt, and baking powder; cut in butter and shortening until mixture resembles small crumbs. Add eggs; stir until moistened and mixture forms a ball. Cover and chill for one hour. On a lightly floured surface; roll out dough to a 10 inch circle.

Place in a 9 inch pie pan and flute edges. Refrigerate. For filling; beat the ricotta, sugar, and flour in a mixing bowl. Add peels and salt; beat until smooth. In another bowl, beat eggs until thick and lemon colored; about 5 minutes. Slowly fold into ricotta mixture. Gently mix in remaining ingredients. Pour into the crust. Bake at 350 degrees F for 55-60 minutes or until pie tests done.

Sour Cream Lemon Pound Cake

As long as I'm able to whip up something delicious, I love celebrating any holiday you throw my way :)

If you're anything like me, this time of year it's time to enjoy all things that remind us of good weather. For me, that includes lemon. I love anything flavored with lemon. So much so that I'm certain Mr. TL is already sick of my lemon chicken, lemon pasta, lemon muffins, lemon asparagus... I feel like Bubba Gump!

For Easter, I scoured the internet for the perfect desserts to bring to my Mother in Law's house. I came across a knock off recipe for the Starbucks Lemon Loaf (which is DELICIOUS!) and thought I'd have a winner. But - I made some adaptations and chose not to use any extracts - only fresh, good ingredients. The end result was a dense, rich, and buttery lemon pound cake with just the right balance of sweet (cake) to tart (glaze). The addition of sour cream to the batter gives you a moist cake with an added depth of flavor. To be honest, I was nervous once the batter was complete, as it was super runny but fear not, as long as it bakes for the allotted time, you'll be digging into a delicious pound cake soon enough :)


Sour Cream Lemon Pound Cake

4 small lemons
3 cups cake flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup (2 sticks) unsalted butter, that is completely softened
3 cups sugar that you have pulsed in the food processor for 1 minute (this basically takes your grainy sugar and turns it into superfine sugar - a great way to ensure a smoother batter)
6 eggs, warmed for 10 minutes in hot tap water before using
1 cup full-fat sour cream, at room temperature

2 lemons
2 cups powdered-sugar

Preheat oven to 325F. Grease a 16-cup tube pan and dust with cake flour; tap out any excess.

Scrub the lemons with hot soapy water. Rinse really well and dry completely. Zest four of the lemons. Juice 4 of the lemons.

In a separate bowl, combine the sugar and the lemon zest. Work the sugar and zest together between your fingers until the sugar is moist, grainy and very aromatic. Set aside.

Sift the flour, baking soda, and salt into a medium bowl and set aside.

Beat the butter for 2 minutes at medium speed in the electric mixer. Add half the sugar and mix for 2 more minutes, then add the rest of the sugar and mix again for 4 minutes, stopping once to scrape down the bowl and the beater blade.

Remove the eggs from the warm water and dry them. Add the eggs, one at a time, beating just until combined after each addition (about 30 seconds). On the lowest setting, mix in the dry ingredients, then the sour cream. Lastly, gently fold in the lemon juice. Transfer batter to prepared pan.

Bake cake until tester inserted near center comes out clean, about an hour and a half. Let the cake cool in the pan on a rack for 15 minutes. Cut around the cake in the pan, turn out the cake. Carefully turn cake right side up on rack.

While the cake is cooling, juice the remaining 2 lemons. In a small bowl, slowly add the powdered sugar to the and stir until smooth. It should look thick, opaque, and should be thin enough to it should be pourable. If it's too thin, add more powdered sugar. If it's too thick, add more lemon juice. Poke small holes all over the top of the cake using a fork or toothpick. Carefully pour about 1/2 the glaze over the tops and the sizes of the cake. Let the glaze harden for about 2 hours or overnight. Cover the remaining glaze and keep at room temperature. About a half hour before you're ready to serve, pour the remaining glaze over the cake.

Store in a covered container, either in the fridge or at room temperature.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Meal Plan Monday - I'm mixing things up over here!

As a big ole' foodie, it's only natural that I share with you all our Meal Plan for the week... Maybe I'll make it a weekly sort of post!

Meal Planning is sort of an obsession of mine. It really is the best way to ensure that Mr. TL and I aren't hitting up the local taqueria multiple nights a week (did I mention it's LESS than a block away?!). Beyond this, I get overly excited to hit the freezer and pantry on Sunday in preparation for the next week and for the pending food shopping trip. Some people would say I need a life. If your one of those people, move along ;)

Monday: Green Goddess Grilled Cheese with Blue Cheese Tomato Soup
Tuesday: Honey Mustard Pretzel Chicken Tenders, roasted zuchinni, couscous
Wednesday: Dinner at a friends house (I'm bringing the wine!)
Thursday: Wasabi Burgers with Oven Fries
Friday: Grilled Pizza (we'll probably go with something including arugula, balsamic reduction, goat cheese)
Saturday: Penne with Trader Joe's Organic Vodka Sauce with Homemade Sausage (my first foray into homemade sausage - stay tuned for the recipe!)
Sunday: Early Mothers Day brunch at my inlaws - I'm making my French Toast Casserole

What's on your menu this week??

Sunday, April 24, 2011

It's BunnyLicious!

Happy Easter!!

Of course when Mr. TL & I spotted the above sign in Target a few weeks back, we just had to snap a picture in anticipation of Easter. It's probably the most appropriate way for TanaLicious to wish everyone a fabulous holiday! :)

We're headed to my in-law's for a big old lunch spread. My contributions to the lunch: Sour Cream Lemon Pound Cake and Ricotta Pie with Semi-Sweet Chocolate. Keep an eye out for both recipes in the coming week!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Fun Fridays

Happy Friday, people in blog land! I was/ am so overly excited for this weekend to get here!!

Today (although technically NOT the weekend...) I'm again spending the day with Mr. TL & my cousins, R & C. We may venture out today to meet Mr. TL for lunch (getting twin infants out of the house is no easy feat but manageable since I made it to the mall on Wednesday with them and actually arrived early! ;))

You're probably wondering why I was/ am so excited for this weekend (or maybe you're not and I'm just flattering myself... in either case, just placate me, ok? ;)). Here's what on tap for Mr. TL & I...

Saturday: NOTHING

Sunday: NOTHING (well, Easter lunch at my in-law's but that's easy peasy)

Ahh yes. Nothingness on a weekend excites me because looking ahead at the calendar, this sort of weekend doesn't occur for Mr. TL & I again until November. I wish I was exaggerating. We do love to stay busy but also love to relish these rare "free" weekends we get.

The plan is to sleep in, make breakfast in bed, maybe go see a movie, maybe stay in our PJ's all day. The possibilities are endless.

Enough rambling - what are YOU up to this weekend? Head on over to Jennie's blog, A Girl in Pearls & A Boy with Toys, to link up!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

What I'm Loving Wednesday

It's Wednesday... which means it's time to find out what I'm loving this week!! I'm loving mine & Mr. TL's baby cousins on this dreary Wednesday! This WILW post is a gratuitous post chock full of pictures of the twins looking as cute as ever. I was on babysitting duty today for C & R which was filled with lots of gummy smiles, giggles, cat naps, and flirting!

Here's R before we headed out to the mall to meet up with our pals... Getting in a little lounging on his Boppy!

And here's C waiting at the mall for his girlfriend to show up with her posse ;)

C & R are already vying for the same girl! Little Miss A is one day younger than the twins and is the daughter of my friend Cara. Cara & her family live just a few streets from C & R and as long a sno one moves, all three kiddos will go to the same elementary school and basically grow up together.

A has her choice of men! Between the twins and the soon to be Professor X (my friend Sam, who is in this picture holding C, is due in July with her little man!), A is going to have a tough choice to make! Here she is checking out C to see if he's suitable...

After a quick bottle, R was ready to flirt his way into Sam and Cara's hearts - early accomplished when you're so darn cute!

The twins celebrated the 16 week birthday today in style, of course! I'm on babysitting duty again on Friday so I'm sure there will be more baby cuteness to ogle then! Hope everyone had a fabulous Wednesday :)

Don't forget to come play with us WILW'ers - head over to This Kind of Love and link up!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Top 2 Tuesday

Well friends in blog land, we made it through Monday. I will admit that I was sorely disappointed this morning when I woke up and realized it is in fact, only Tuesday and not Thursday like I had thought. And to boot it's a smidgen gloomy here in Rhode Island. Le sigh...

This weeks Top 2 Tuesday with the Undomestic Momma is a fun one - "Things You Collect".

1) Beauty Products: I have a small addiction with makeup, hair products, face washes, body lotions, and toothpastes (yes, even toothpastes!). I have a hard time walking into any mall or specialty shop and not leaving with some sort of beauty product. My favs: Nars' Orgasm Blush, Tarte's Clean Slate Primer, Laura Mercier Tinter Moisturizer.

2) Cookbooks: This is a recent collection addiction as I was the girl who swore that she could get all the recipes online for free. Well that changed once I fell in love with the physicality of a cookbook. My Mom bought me the perfect cookbook stand this past Christmas so my addiction keeps on growing. I love recipes so much that for my bridal shower, my Mom & bridal party had everyone bring a family recipe and insert it into a giant compilation sort of cookbook (it's the one in the far right back corner of the picture). My favs: anything by Ina Garten or Giada DeLaurentiis.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Must Have Monday

I'm a firm believer that every woman MUST have a fabulous Little Black Dress! The LBD is a staple in my wardrobe and can be used from everything from a funeral to a wedding and everything in between.

I probably own 5 LBD's that each serve their purpose so I obviously feel that you're perfectly entitled to own more than one LBD ;).

It's amazing to me how universal the need for a LBD is - so much so that most online retailers even now have sections of their website dedicated to the LBD's of the world. Here are some great ones I just found while doing a little dot com window shopping!

From White House Black Market - $168.00...

From Lane Bryant - $59.95...

From Ann Taylor - $215.00

From Igigi - $168.00

From Suzi Chin - $118.00

From Calvin Klein - $138.00

Say it isn't so!

This morning while reading the news (aka: Perez Hilton) I was sad to read that my favorite couple from Teen Mom was calling it quits! Leah and Corey... done-ski!

As we all know, Perez is fairly reliable but I knew for certain that star crossed teen lovers were done for sure when I saw these magazine covers while grocery shopping this afternoon (and yes this means that I also get my news from magazines such as Ok! and InTouch - no judging, please :)).

Now we (and by we I mean myself and anyone else who secretly watches Teen Mom) will sit and wonder why did this marriage fail so soon. Was is Leah;s cold feet lasting into the marriage? Or was Corey out with some other chick-a-dee?! Oh I know EXACTLY what did them in. Realizing they let their groomsmen wear camouflage tuxedo vests...

Whatever the reason, I do hope they can be adult enough to be sufficient parents to their beautiful twin girls... and promise to never get back together. This roller coaster just isn't good for me! :)

Sunday, April 17, 2011

I'm off in La La Land...

Michelle over at the fabulous blog The Vintage Apple has started a new blog hop and it's something I know that every single one of us does - day dream!

Mr. TL & I had a busy, but fun weekend and I'm so bummed that tomorrow is already Monday - I swear that it comes quicker every Sunday night!

So in honor of our upcoming trip... I'm off in la la land thinking about our vacation to Disney in just under 4 weeks. I'm so looking forward to warm weather, delicious food & wine, some fun amusements, and quality time with the husband!

We're staying at my favorite hotel on property, Animal Kingdom Lodge...

I am excited to visit the new tequila bar in Epcot, La Cava de Tequila, and try out their margarita sampler...

I'm looking forward to eating at the California Grill, which sits atop of the Contemporary Resort. We have a reservation for late evening while the Magic Kingdom fireworks take place close by (this picture is from California Grill during our trip last October - such a beautiful view!)

And what's a trip to Disney without taking time out to look at the beautiful castle and day dream some more?! Something about seeing that castle for the first time during the trip makes me giddy beyond compare!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Fashion Fridays: Christian Louboutin

God knew what he was doing when he gave me the balance of a toddler. He certainly had to have known that I would lust over beautiful high heeled shoes but never be able to wear them. My husband and my wallet say "thank you" while I say "not fair".

Until I'm able to master walking in heels (yes I'm in my late 20's and yes it's highly unlikely that my balance ability will change anytime soon), I'll just oogle the work of Christian Louboutin from afar. Kori's Fashion Friday blog hop is the perfect way for me to channel my CL love into one place!