So Many Parties... So Little to Wear!

For all of those ladies out there with a jam packed social calendar this summer, I ask you one serious question. What are you going to wear?!?

With weddings, cocktail parties, birthday parties and business events all looming in my near future I’ve lately been questioning how to look chic and fabulous at all of these said events without being a RFO (Repeat Fashion Offender). Given the recent economic hardships everyone has been facing, it’s hard to figure out how to attend so many events (in many cases with the same people!) without wearing the same cocktail dresses over and over again.

I had read a post from one of my favorite bloggers - Tina over at Carrots N Cake - about her experience renting a dress for a friend's wedding and I immediately traveled over to Rent the Runway's site.

This website is so intriguing because they have so many top designer cocktail dresses and gowns that they rent for a fraction of the actual cost. They try and make the ordering process fool-proof and offer stylist consults live through their website, break down the gowns by body type, price, occasion, etc.

For those of you like me who sometimes vary between sizes, this site is so accommodating because they’ll send you the same gown in two sizes for the price of one!

I am very excited to give this site a test drive and order a gown for one of my upcoming events – I promise to update you all after my first order!

What about all of you – anyone order from Rent the Runway?? I’d love to hear your experiences!


Another Delicious Recipe!

In an effort to decompress from an exhausting week, hubby and I decided to spend the entire weekend relaxing - that meant eating some good food, watching good movies and drinking some tasty wine.

I know we're all guilty of always cooking the same weeknight staples - mainly because it's easy and let's face it - after working a long day, we're just exhausted! Well this weekend I decided to break out of the (recipe) box and try something new. I know I've said it before, but I'll say it again. I love Giada! I was literally drooling when I saw her recent Giada at Home episode where she made Couscous Stuffed Peppers. So I decided to attempt making them myself. I'll be honest, usually when a recipe calls for me to make my own sauce, I skip it. There's something about lugging out my blender or food processor that drives me nuts (What a waste of a registry gift!). However this time I decided to use one of my favorite products I've endorsed here before - the Fit N Fresh personal blender. It's so small and cleans up in a snap. If you're like me and shy away from making your own sauces, promise me you'll give Giada's Basil Sauce a shot. It was so delicious and could be used on so many different proteins to compliment the peppers.

1 cup low-sodium chicken broth
2 teaspoons ground cumin
3/4 cup couscous
1 cup canned garbanzo beans, rinsed and drained
1/4 cup dried currants *Hubby is not a fan of the salty/sweet combo - so I omitted these
1 packed cup chopped baby spinach leaves
1/2 cup (4 ounces) crumbled feta cheese
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
2 medium red bell peppers
1 medium yellow bell pepper
1 medium orange bell pepper
Hot water, as needed

1 packed cup fresh basil leaves
1/2 cup (about 4 ounces) creme fraiche *Substituted with Sour Cream
3 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil
1 tablespoon water
1 garlic clove, coarsely chopped
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/4 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt, plus extra, as needed
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, plus extra, as needed

Put an oven rack in the center of the oven. Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F.

Filling: In a medium saucepan, bring the chicken broth and cumin to a boil over medium-high heat. Remove the pan from the heat and stir in the couscous. Cover the pan until the couscous is tender and all of the liquid has been absorbed, about 5 to 6 minutes. Put the couscous in a large bowl and add the beans, currants, spinach, feta and 1/4 cup olive oil. Season with salt and pepper, to taste. Stir until all the ingredients are combined.

Slice the tops off the peppers and remove all the ribs and seeds. If necessary, cut a very thin slice from the base to help the peppers stand up. Stuff the peppers with the filling and drizzle the tops with olive oil. Put the peppers in an 8 by 8-inch square baking dish. Fill the baking dish with 3/4-inch hot water and bake until the filling is golden and the peppers are cooked through, about 55 to 60 minutes. **Note - if your filling begins to brown, cover with tin foil.

Sauce: In a blender, combine the basil, creme fraiche, olive oil, water, garlic, lemon juice, sugar, salt, and pepper. Blend until smooth. Adjust the seasoning with salt and pepper, to taste.

Remove the peppers from the oven and arrange on serving plates. Spoon the sauce around the peppers and serve.

This dish was AMAZING! For a little protein I simply grilled some shrimp on the side and dipped it in the basil sauce - YUM YUM YUM!! I know green bell peppers are more affordable, but I think it was worth splurging on yellow and red peppers - our plates looked so festive and colorful! Another suggestion I have is figure one pepper for every two people. Neither hubby nor I could finish our own. (Although we’re both very excited to eat the leftovers for lunch!)


The BEST Pasta Salad You'll Ever Make!

Just like the rest of America, we spent our long weekend sharing laughs and delicious food with friends & family. On my quest for the perfect pasta salad to compliment our BBQ, I searched for the quintessential pasta salad from my favorite Food Network guru - Ina Garten. After a quick search, I stumbled upon this delicious recipe. As usual, I made some modifications due to a lack of certain ingredients, but all in all this was a BIG hit!

Pasta with Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Serves: 6 to 8 servings

1/2 pound fusilli (spirals) pasta (I used the whole box - 1lb)
Kosher salt
Olive oil
1 pound ripe tomatoes, medium-diced
3/4 cup good black olives, such as kalamata, pitted and diced (Didn't have on hand, so I omitted)
1 pound fresh mozzarella, medium-diced (Only had feta, so I made the swap)
6 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained and chopped

For the dressing:
5 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
2 tablespoons red wine vinegar (Only had apple cider, so I swapped)
6 tablespoons good olive oil
1 garlic clove, diced (We love garlic, so I used two)
1 teaspoon capers, drained (Don't like capers, so I skipped this all together)
2 teaspoons kosher salt
3/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan
1 cup packed basil leaves, julienned


Cook the pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water with a splash of oil to keep it from sticking together. Boil for 12 minutes, or according to the directions on the package. Drain well and allow to cool. Place the pasta in a bowl and add the tomatoes, olives, mozzarella, and chopped sun-dried tomatoes.

For the dressing, combine the sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, olive oil, garlic, capers, salt, and pepper in a food processor until almost smooth. Pour the dressing over the pasta, sprinkle with the Parmesan and basil, and toss well.

This pasta salad was a huge hit. It was light and refreshing, but packed full of flavor. I would definitely recommend making this for any of your upcoming summer bbq's!! Enjoy!