12.21.2016

Kiss My Apron: Baby Girl Nursery


Being how long it took my husband and I to finally get pregnant, I took a lot of pride in doing the nursery (a little too early lol). Of course, my husband wasn't very into the decorating part, which was great for me because I got to choose everything I wanted! Yes, once in a while on something pricey, I would ask for his OK to purchase, but Kev is an easy guy like that - he's got the whole "yes, honey" down pat. Happy wife, happy life, right?

Since our unborn baby is a girl (9 more weeks!!), I wanted something elegant but with that pink flare to add something that shouted "girl." Below you will find pictures of baby Kora's nursery and links to where most of the items were purchased. I really do love the way this came out, but I still have some items in need such as pink curtains, the rocker which is on order, and a pouf or ottoman for our feet. I have been keeping my eyes open and look forward to updating this post once it is fully complete!

BEFORE: 
Our house, built in 1986, was owned by an older gentleman and his wife. Both had passed, and we bought the house from their four children. Not much updating was done, until we moved in. The doors and trims were all dark brown, and the entire house painted in a beige color.

INSPIRATION:
I would save random pics from the internet of the styles I liked, and tried to do my best to match them.

AFTER:
We started with painting the walls. The color was silver bullet by Behr. One of the biggest issues with the nursery was finding an actual gray color. Still not entirely satisfied, silver bullet has a bit of a purple undertone to it. The other colors we tried had blue undertones, which just wasn't right for a girl's room in our opinion! After finally giving up, we just stuck with the silver bullet.


One of my favorite parts of the nursery is the wallpaper. My husband probably hates me for wanting to do one wall with wallpaper (hey, better than wanting to do all four walls), but after putting it up, he agreed the sweat and hard work was worth it. It is not easy to match up the designs, paint the wall with glue, and the paper with glue before finally pressing it against the wall evenly and smoothly. I love how the paper is textured, which also helps to hide the seems. The wallpaper was 32$ a roll and I needed two rolls to do one wall, and the inside of the closet.


My next favorite item! My dream rocking chair (way over priced) from Pottery Barn. The Radcliffe rocker is so perfect for this nursery and it took me weeks of deciding to get it or not. Eventually (after my husband got a raise lol), we decided to splurge and ordered the chair which takes about 8-10 weeks to arrive (special order). It comes in so many different colors and has different wood options. We are expecting the chair in early February 2017. Radcliffe Rocking Chair from Pottery Barn


We get tons of compliments on this next piece. I hand painted the medallion on the ceiling, which was purchased from Etsy here for about 34$ plus shipping. Painted medallions get really pricey on there, so it is worth doing yourself. The actual chandelier is from Home Depot. It was perfect size and not cheap or gaudy looking. It is elegant and the lighting is perfect for a nursery - very soft and not too bright. It also adds the pop of pinks we were hoping for.


 We had quite a bit of space on this wall and I wanted to fill it with some shelving. My husband offered to build some for me, but I saw these two shelves on Pottery Barn Kids and hit a good sale around Black Friday. I am really happy with them!

 I found this book case on wayfair.com and already started filling it with my favorite childhood books! I cannot wait to read to baby Kora. Book cases are always a wonderful idea for the nursery if you are looking to fill some space on a wall.



 We built the closet ourselves, with shelving from Home Depot. If you can see, we took the door off and covered the back wall with the same wallpaper above (also from Home Depot). I bought storage containers from home goods to use for socks, head bands, shoes and other smaller items.

 The baby's dresser was a gift from my parents. It was apart of the Pottery Barn Blythe Collection. We had to get the smaller dresser to save some space, and we topped the dresser with a gray mirror from Home Goods. We will use the top of the dresser for a changing table.

The crib is also from Pottery Barn's Blythe Collection and was the first item we bought for the room. I saw it on Pinterest and knew it was a must have. We are still waiting for a mattress and the bedding (which we hopefully get for our baby shower in mid January)!
*Note: the baby chair and ottoman was purchased from Home Goods



The rug was also purchased from Home Goods (clearance deal for 100$)! It is super soft and neutral in color to match the furniture. Adding pops of pink through the crib bedding, a canopy for over the crib, pillows for the rocker and pink curtains for the window. We hope you enjoyed our nursery progress and again, I look forward to updating the post when our rocker and other items arrive!

11.15.2016

Kiss My Apron: Bumpdate

I am 26 weeks pregnant this week! One week away from the third trimester which is so exciting! We will be meeting baby Kora in about 99 days! My cooking has still been slacking due to a great deal of morning sickness everyday. My doctors even give me the whole, "you're still sick?!" thing. Anti-nausea medication has helped a bit for the day time, but my morning sickness is literal - the morning!


I was in my first wedding ever this past weekend and that was not easy! I woke up very early (and very sick) but was able to make it to the hotel by 7am to get my hair and make up done! It was a very long day, so by the end of the night (close to 11pm) both of my calves were throbbing with charlie horses. But hey, I did it, and had a great time being in my best friend's wedding! The food was outstanding, as I enjoyed my filet mignon to the fullest!



My husband and I finished the nursery and we are just waiting for the last pieces of furniture to be delivered this weekend. To have baby girl's room done is such a relief, as I didn't want to be doing a lot when my belly is too big to move! We painted, put up one wall of wallpaper (never want to do that again lol), set up the crib and hung a few things. I also built baby girl's closet all by myself, and hung the many clothes I can't stop buying!



Last week I tried a new recipe, passed down from my grandma to my mom, and it was such a good dish! I love being half Puerto Rican and being able to celebrate my past family through food. I made arroz con pollo at my hubs request for his birthday, but I did cheat a little bit (hopefully my deceased grandma wasn't too upset with me)! Instead of using raw chicken, I bought an already cooked rotisserie chicken. It was perfect! The meat was so moist and tender because it didn't have to cook for long. I started out with homemade sofrito (there is a bunch of recipes online for this, but I can't give away my secret family recipe - sorry ;) ), a small can of tomato sauce, corn oil, salt & pepper, a packet of sazon by goya and about a cup of water. Once the Spanish mixture was melted, I shredded up the rotisserie chicken and boiled it for about 5 minutes, then removed the chicken. I added more water to the pot, and brought to a heavy boil. Once boiling, this is when we cook the white rice. The water will evaporate, and then the rice covered with foil, the heat lowered and the pot covered to finish cooking for about 40 minutes. By the end, I added the chicken back in. On the side, I had a small pot of pigeon peas cooking - my husband's new favorite! And how can you not add green olives? I can't wait to make this again!



I'm also very excited about my new long plates, which we served filet mignon topped with a cipollini onion, brussels sprouts and tortellini on! Thank you target :)

8.26.2016

Grandma's Homemade Mac and Cheese

Who doesn't love their grandma's recipes? I sure do! From gram's cakes, to her mac and cheese, to her delicious knot cookies every holiday, we sure are lucky to have a grandma like her! I am happy to share this delicious mac and cheese recipe with you.

*pics to come*

Serves: 10 (or lots of leftovers, yum!)
Cook prep time: 30-35 minutes
Bake time: 30 minutes
Total time: 1 hr, 5 min

What you will need:
1 box medium shell noodles (or elbow)
1 stick of salted butter
1/2 cup flour
6 to 7 cups of milk (the more milk, the creamier)
16 oz. cheese, shredded (mix it up, use yellow cheeses, or white cheese, or smelly cheeses lol whatever you like) 
1/2 tbs ground mustard (powder)
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp salt
1/2 cup seasoned breadcrumbs


What to do:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cook noodles per box while you work on the below -

1. In a large pot on medium heat, melt the butter then add the flour and stir until blended. This will create a rue which is a tan, creamy paste.

2. Slowly add milk, about 1/2 cup at a time, and stir constantly. (this step will take about 15-20 minutes, try not to rush it - keep the mixture on the thicker side)

3. Once all of the milk is added, lower heat. Add ground mustard, salt, paprika, and stir. Stir in cheese. Remove from heat and stir until cheese is melted in, creating a creamy cheese sauce.

4. Add noodles, then cheese sauce to a large casserole dish. Sprinkle the top with breadcrumbs. 

5. Bake for 30 minutes, until bubbling. Remove from oven and let sit for 5-7 minutes before serving.


With any leftover mac and cheese, be sure to check out my deep fried mac and cheese balls! Fried mac and cheese balls

It's a.....

GIRL!


I'm a little over 14 weeks today. We found out the gender of our baby thru a panorama test, which tests for down syndrome and chromosomal disorders, but also allows us to find out the gender. More importantly than finding out she is a girl, was the negative/super low risk for any chromosomal issues. We are very relieved for that!

I tried cooking for the first time last night - first time in a long time! It didn't go too well. :( We BBQ'd chicken cutlets, I made homemade mac and cheese and baked up some corn on the cob. I think the baby is not too fond of chicken because I haven't been able to look at it, and it hasn't sat well!

So far my pregnancy has been a really rough one. Lots of nausea & sickness, lots of weight loss, and lots of stress! I try my best to relax.  Even so, I am very thankful for this baby girl, after all the time spent trying to have a baby. I would go thru this sickness for her over and over, but I am wishing it lets up soon. 

Our next ultrasound is in less than 2 weeks, and mommy and daddy can't wait to see her again! And by her, I mean little miss * Kora Rose * 

The Filet Mignon Martini

                                                                      (PHOTO FROM WEB)

If you want a little taste of heaven, you need to head over to Legends Restaurant in New Suffolk (North Fork) Long Island. We joined some people for a friend's birthday, and the birthday boy (John) ordered this filet mignon martini. I heard the words "bleu cheese" and it was a total turn off, not only because I am pregnant, but because I definitely do not care for bleu cheese.
The cream sauce was melted gruyere cheese and black truffle, topped the bleu cheese and olives. The filet mignon was like butter! It was cooked perfectly, and topped with the sauce was a magical combination. At a pretty steep $18 for four slices of steak, it is worth every penny in this case!

I really look forward to recreating this dish at home, with my own little twist on it.

Happy birthday John, and thanks for introducing us to something so incredible!

7.05.2016

Kiss My.. Baby Bump!


Ooh, I am so excited to share the news with my followers! I'm pregnant! Kevin and I have been trying to get prego for about a year and six months. It's been a very long, sad, and frustrating journey, but we finally made it! Still in shock..after six positive tests... lol


Welcome our growing little peanut to the world. He or she is NOT allowing me much joy right now, as I am hugging the toilet most days. I repeat the words, "it will be worth it" about 100 times a day. We are so excited to share our upcoming months, and can't wait to shower our baby with love and kisses!

5.31.2016

Tuesday Things

Hope everyone enjoyed Memorial Day! We had a nice weekend while remembering what the holiday is truly about. The weather was also gorgeous here in NY! Here are some things to share with you all:


  • Welcome home, Tyson! We picked up our baby boy on Saturday and had a long 5 hour drive home with him. He did really great! When Tyson met our current puppy, Truffle, it was like they've known each other forever. A few sniffs, and then they started playing tag and tug of war with toys. Typical fur-siblings!
  • The below words should be thought about by all. I hate going out to dinner with my husband and seeing families on their cell phones. We sit at the bar sometimes and will see another couple barely say more than two sentences to each other. It's become such a sad thing!
  • This weekend will be the 3 year anniversary of when I decided to start dating my best friend, Kevin. Now married for 1 and a half years, it was the best decision I ever made! I wonder if he will take me out to dinner? (Will he read this? lol)
  • Our bowling league ended last week and we finished in 3rd place (We're on Strike). We missed second place by ONE pin! It was a sad drive home because of that, but we are still proud to be up towards the top out of 17 teams! Next week we will get our money prizes. Thanks to all of the other teams for making our first league experience such a good one!
  • This has been our "go to" meal the last couple of weeks. A simple Asian rub on the chicken, grilled on the BBQ. Zatarains boxed yellow rice (so good), but sometimes we mix it up and have brown rice instead. And sauteed veggies- zucchini, broccoli and white onion. It is quick and easy to make during the week, especially with two puppies running around your feet.

5.16.2016

Fresh Fruit Shortcake Shells

This past weekend I hosted a [late] cinco de mayo party with friends from our bowling crew. Of course there were margaritas, beef tacos, tostones (fried plantains), and Spanish rice. We started off with appetizers that included my husband's famous guacamole, taco dip, and chips with salsa.

Dessert was really quick and easy, not to mention delicious. Try these fruit shortcake shells for your next party and see what your guests think!


Serving: 5
Prep time: 10 minutes

Ingredients:
1/3 cup blueberries, washed and drained
1/2 cup strawberries, sliced small
1/2 cup raspberries, washed and drained
6 shortcake shells
Honey
Whipped cream


1. Prepare your plating, and place one shortcake shell on each plate.

2. Fill the shortcake shell and plate with a mixture of the fruits.

3. Drizzle small amounts of honey over the fruit and shortcake.

4. Finish with the amount of whipped cream that makes you happy!

4.19.2016

Tuesday Things

It is Tuesday, and that is better than Monday! Here are a few tid bits from the last few weeks of my very busy and hectic life:


  • I have finally become.. that crazy dog lady. My husband and I picked out a little boy to bring home at the end of May. Truffle will have a baby brother! We are soo excited, but we know that we will have even less time for the life we used to call "normal." Our new furry son, named Tyson, will be a show dog and shown by a professional handler who also happens to be my best friend. We will be traveling monthly to shows up the East coast, and hoping to earn some beautiful champion ribbons! Here is a picture of our new cutie -




  • Spring has finally arrived, after a brutally cold winter. Although not tons and tons of snow (sad face), I am happy to have some warmth back. I am looking forward to the fresh vegetables that are to come! Living by many farm stands, we are super lucky to have so much organic goodies to choose from!
  • BOWLING! It is our new favorite sport. At one point, my husband and I were bowling about 4 to 5 times a week. Now down to two times a week. On the league we joined, team name "We're on Strike," we placed 3rd for now. Trying to slowly sneak our way back into first, as we only have 5 weeks left in this league!
  • Now with Truffle in our life, we've made a ton of new friends! We go out almost every weekend to different dog parks, and dog events. The picture below is from Old Westbury Gardens, which they only open up to the dogs twice a year. What a great time it was, and so beautiful out!


  • A few weekends ago, Kevin and I visited our friends Arielle & Bryan. We were in for such a treat! My first time having homemade pasta.. and it was to die for! Fettuccine alla vodka with baked chicken cutlets, and a delicious salad made up of frizze lettuce. I looked at this salad and thought to myself, "there is no way I am going to like this," and of course I was wrong. I mean, it had bacon on it... how would anyone dislike that? Frizze lettuce, although on the more expensive side, is something I would definitely have again! Apologies for my not so great cell phone pictures.



  • This bad ass truck... is mine! I just leased a 2016 Nissan Frontier, Pro4-X. She is mint.. black on black with leather heated seats, huge tires, back up camera and navigation. My new favorite part of the day is driving to and from work! I am finally the pick up truck girl I always wanted to be.


Hope to be back at my stove, experimenting with new ingredients (shishito peppers) very soon! 

1.11.2016

Brussel Sprouts with Bacon and Gruyere


This recipe is for my handsome husband. As much as he can be salty, he is also sweet! This recipe has the perfect sweet and salty combo with a tasty char to go along. My husband Kevin and I recently tried brussel sprouts for the first time on Christmas day. The typical recipes from my family call for salt, pepper and olive oil - bake in the oven and wah lah! Thinking of things to add to this, bacon was a must. But I had some extra gruyere cheese in the fridge and had to use that too!


We also found truffle salt last week in a local shop we go to. When you open the jar, the smell is heavenly! This was a nice little touch to the recipe.
Hope you like it!

Prep time: 5 minutes
Cook time: 25 minutes

Serves: 6 servings

Ingredients: (*see bacon note)
24 oz trimmed brussel sprouts - if small, you can leave them whole (or half them if preferred)
1 tsp truffle salt
Pepper, to taste
2 tbs EVOO
8 whole garlic cloves, peeled
4 slices of bacon, cooked and crumbled
1/4 heaping cup of shredded gruyere cheese
*Optional: 1 tbs grated parmesan cheese

Directions:

Preheat oven to 400 degrees

1. In a large bowl, mix together (with your hands) brussel sprouts, garlic cloves, salt, pepper, olive oil.

2. Place mixture on foil lined baking sheet.

3. Bake for 20 minutes, shaking pan occasionally.

4. Carefully pull pan out of oven and add bacon crumbles and gruyere cheese.

5. Bake for an additional 5 minutes.

Sprinkle on some parmesan cheese, and you are ready to serve!





12.01.2015

Green Goddess Wedge Salad


This is such a fitting name for this salad. The green goddess can be found at multiple restaurants such as Applebee's and Bonefish. I order it most times that I visit there, and it is always a treat! I mean, there is crumbled bacon on it, so need I say more? I found the copycat recipe for the Applebee's version and it came out way too perfect! The recipe link can be found here: Green Goddess Wedge Salad - try it yourself and let me know what you think!

Iceberg lettuce cut into wedges.

My husband is the ultimate bacon maker. Cooked perfectly every time.

A mix of mayo, yogurt, lemon, salt, pepper, garlic powder, parsley & chives.

Crumbled bacon, bleu cheese, and honey roasted pecans.