Monday, January 31, 2011

Meal Plan Monday will be magically transformed to Meal Plan Tuesday b/c the last week or so has been cuckoo for me!

Time is of the essence though for the FABULOUS deal that my friend posted on facebook today!  Go to , type in your zip, find some good restaurants in your area, buy a 25 dollar gc for less than 25 dollars, type in code MEAL and get 80% off your gc.  I'm told they do NOT expire but there are some restrictions based on each restaurant and they are clearly stated right there for you to see.  I bought 75 dollars work of gift certs to restaurants we LOVE for SEVEN DOLLARS.   Yea boy ;)  xo, Brie


Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Talbots Sale

My cousin Sara alerted me on some great sale deals at Talbots and I couldn't resist this cute sweater dress.  I got it in black, I hope it fits ok ... sign says "all sales final" which always makes me nervous!  I think it will cute with black tights and tall black boots.   Fingers crossed for a good fit.   Stay tuned!!
View all sale items here! xo, Brie

UPDATE:  Dress is here and is super cute!  Not too clingy - I ordered a med which size form says fits 10/12.  I usually wear an 8 but didn't love the idea of wearing a dress designed to fit 6/8.  I don't think I've been a 6 since high school and it scared me.  The size I chose is definitely a smidge big - might need a belt to give if a bit more shape.  I don't love to accentuate my waist though - after 4 kids, let's just say it's not my best feature :)   Long story short - I am pretty pleased with this "final sale" purchase.  It's a pretty classic looking dress that will work for a variety of occasions!

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Sleepover Complete

and I live to tell!!  Must have been all those candles you lit for me.  I thank you :) We have a very tired yet happy girl.   GO JETS xo, Brie

Friday, January 21, 2011


I am a pop music princess.  I completely admit it, I love it,  and I eat it up with a spoon :)   I am in love with the choir version of Radiohead's Creep that they showed in the in movie trailer for The Social Network (which I can't wait to see)

In case you missed it, you have to see this... (warning: there is a naughty word in this song and it's not "Fudge." It's THE word, the big one, the queen-mother of dirty words, the "F-dash-dash-dash" word! - name that movie and proceed with caution)

Available on itunes now - and it's the clean version too :) You're so VERY special ;)  How great is this?  If my choir sang my pop tunes, I made have stuck around longer than 5th grade - a person can really only sing the Baker Woman in her humble lodge so many times....

How about some Fall Out Boy, Sugar We're Going Down (on my personal top 10 faves of all time) to some strings?

Awesome, right? Just goes to show you, good music is good in any form! I feel so cultured and sophisticated now ;) Have a great weekend!! Don't forget to light that candle for me tomorrow night, I'm in complete denial that we're actually going through with this - thus the blogging while I should be baking and cleaning the house! xo, Brie

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Garlic Knots

No, your eyes do not deceive you - I cannot tell a lie, I ate the missing knot before this photo was taken.  I had to try it to make sure they were good before I blogged it.  I did it for you :)

or not.... not everyone likes garlic bread in this house we have a few purists on site!

This was an experiment that went WAY right tonight - I got lots of accolades and since I get very few around here when it comes to dinner (several picky children eaters) I'll take what I can get!

First up, I made the pizza dough (linked) I've posted a few days ago. When it was nice and properly risen, I rolled it out onto a large cutting board in a rectangular shape and cut them into 3/4 inch strips and then cut those strips in half horizontally with a pizza cutter - yielding around 12 strips approximately 6-8 inches long.

I tied the strips very literally into a knot and tucked around the edges to make a little bun.  Spray a cookie sheet with Pam and place your cute little knot on the sheet.  Repeat this process 11 or so times.  Cover with a clean dish towel and set out of the way for one more rise for about 30 minutes ought to do it. 

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Brush the knots with a little egg wash if you are feeling fancy, it will make them a lovely and golden.  I also cracked a little sea salt over the top of them.   Bake in the oven uncovered for 12-15 minutes.

In a separate pan I melted 2 tbsp of butter, 1 tbsp of olive oil and 2-3 minced cloves of garlic  and cooked on the stove stop careful not to brown it up. 

The pizza place we like to go to puts the knots in a bowl and pours the garlic butter all over them.  They are messy and so delicious you can't believe it.   I served my garlic butter on the side for both calorie control and also because 3 out of 4 kids hate garlic bread.  Go figure!  The rolls were perfect - nice and crusty on the outside and soft and yummy on the inside. 

Will  DEFINITELY make these again!  xo, Brie

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Etsy Valentines

Another snow day here in NJ, I am hoping the kids won't be in school through August!! 

I wanted to show you this valentine crafting kit I ordered from etsy store Fresh Lemon Blossoms.

They are so cute.... little mini valentines (they measure 3.25 inches by 2.25 inches) in all your favorite lovey dovey colors, tiny envelopes, stamped and adorably cut with pinking shears and just waiting for a little glue to assemble and a pen to sign. Ms. C loves to craft and I think these will fit the bill perfectly. Much cuter than Bob the Builder cards (sorry Bob)! I also like that this pack comes with 36 valentines so there are PLENTY for all her classmates, her teacher, and a few extra to spread to the love.

I loved her packaging (shown above) and the whole presentation. I haven't shown them to her yet because she'll want to start them right away and I have to head out to my first PT appointment of many for some knee troubles I am having (DREADING THIS). I know she is going to love them. These are really sweet and special.  xo, Brie

Monday, January 17, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

with a twist.... I am trying to plan this week using what I have on hand, my freezers are looking full and I need to take an inventory and use up some things that I have.  I am famous for a BOGO on italian sausage or something similar and then forget that I even have them hidden in there!  If I can get through the week with zero or only one quicky trip to the grocery store, I will consider this week a success!

activities: holiday and piano
dinner: steaks and salad (I had defrosted the steaks for last night's dinner but then we had too many snacks while watching the Jets game and nobody felt like it) So I'm off the hook :) 

activities: none :)  but it's cleaning lady day so I don't want too much of a mess
dinner:  Linguine and Clam sauce, salad

activities:  none!?!  I'm getting a bad feeling that I forgot to input something on the calendar
dinner:  Roast chicken, some kind of potato and corn.  Hot tip:  Our Stop and Shop has a roast chicken special on Friday where you can get the rotisserie chicken all cooked for 5 dollars each!  I usually buy 1 or 2 and put them in the freezer - take it out in the morning to defrost on the counter and reheat at 325 degrees for 20-30 minutes.  So easy!

activities: swimming and basketball
dinner:  hot dog night (we ended up skipping these last week)  Stop and Shop often has a BOGO on these and I've never met a BOGO I didn't like.  Freezer looks like I am about to open a ball park.  Time to make some hot dogs :)  Hotdogs!! Get yer hotdogs heeyah!!

activities: basketball
dinner: fried chicken cutlets, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach

activities:  3 basketball games, 2 basketball practices, a birthday party to attend, and a
birthday party to host with 9 girls sleeping over.  If you think of it, please light a candle for me today ;) 
dinner:  take out

activities: 2 basketball games, ccd
dinner:  Pioneer Woman's Penne A La Betsy (linked) and salad  - if you haven't tried this you must!!  It's really good!

I have all the basics on hand already to make all these meals so wish me luck :)  My grocery bills have been off the charts high lately so it's time to organize these pantries and freezers!  xo, Brie

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Pizza Dough Recipe

As promised here is the pizza dough recipe - I really hope you'll try it out sometime because it is SO easy, SO inexpensive, and SO good! 

For ingredients all you need is

2 and 3/4 cup flour
1 cup warm water
1 packet of active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 tsp)
1 tsp of kosher salt
2 tbsp of olive oil 

First up fill up your measuring cup with very warm (but not hot) water and dissolve your yeast in it - give it a gentle stir to immerse the yeast and walk away.

Come back 5 minutes or so and you'll see the yeast is starting to foam up (you want this)

Combine all 5 ingredients in a bowl and work into a ball with a fork.  I'm sure a kitchen aid mixer would be fabulous for this type of mixing but since I've broken not one... but TWO of these so I've learned to live without one.   For this recipe, you really and truly don't need one.   Just kind of mix it into a ball with your fork, remove from the bowl and kneed it with your hands on a lightly floured counter for about 10 minutes.   I never quite make it to the full 10 minutes and usually throw in the towel around the 6 minute mark.  It's always worked out fine.

You will now have a very soft pliable non sticky ball of dough.  Spray a new clean bowl with some Pam and cover with some plastic wrap or a dish towel and set it somewhere out of the way to rise. 

It can sit there all day and will be just fine!

she's at again with the faces....

When you are ready to make pizza take your dough out - I don't bother with the rekneeding process or anything.... spray a cookie sheet and you can either 1.) spread the dough right out over the cookie sheet to make one big pizza or 2.) score it equal parts for a make your own individual pizza kind of party.   This dough can stretch to make 1 full pan pizza or 5 good sized individual pizzas but tonight we're are meeting out some friends for dinner so I am scoring this in 4 parts for the kids. 

really, she can't seem to help herself

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Spread out to make your individual pizzas.  This dough is so easy to work with, not sticky at all.  I usually bake them like this for about 7 minutes to get them going. 

Pull them out and let them cool a smidge b/c the pans will be hot.   Top with whichever toppings you like and have on hand.  Lower oven temp to 375 degrees and bake for another 10 minutes or so (eyeball it)

Delicious homemade pizza for everyone!!  Mangia ;)  xo, Brie

PS  Final Season of Big Love premiers tonight!!!  Can't wait....

Friday, January 14, 2011

Five Things I'm Loving Friday

Here are my latest faves - get ready for random and get ready for fabulous.... in no particular order

1.  Tory Burch

I've been loving her for a good long while but I am ESPECIALLY loving my 2 fabulous additions (both bday gifts for the big 4-0)  Check em out, I feel like a movie star ;)

2.  Queen Helene Mint Julep products

I can never find these in the store but thought to look them up when I was perusing for some things.  The scrub is so great - very "scrubby" which is hard to come by.  Many  promise the scrub but do not deliver.  Queen Helene delivers the goods.  Follow your scrub with the mask - try to avoid mirrors while you wait b/c you'll scare the dickens out of yourself if you catch a glimpse.  I may or may not be speaking from experience.

3.  Dexter

Sister Caitlin kept saying how good this show was but I hadn't looked into it.  Season 1 and 2 is on Netflix on Demand which our Tivo picks up so I can watch it right on the TV.  Warning... the premise is BEYOND bizarre and I completely hated the first 2 episodes.  I was about to throw in the towel but put the 3rd one on and slowly got sucked in.  I am almost done season 1 and I'm completely hooked.  Considering getting Showtime hooked (but I won't b/c surely I have the will power to wait for season 6 on dvd)  Michael C Hall is so great on the show which wasn't a huge surprise because I loved Six Feet Under on HBO. 

4.  Apples and Twinkies Blog (title is linked)

One of my new favorite blogs!  This hard working lady has some wonderful recipes up her sleeve and is very generous sharing her tips and tricks with pics!  She is also hosting a fun giveaway for a Baked Cookbook.  Stop by and say hi, you'll be very glad you did!   Special thanks to my friend Patti for telling me about this great blog :)

5. Jojo Loves You (also linked)

This is my new one stop shop for fun costume sparkly jewelry. I am LOVING the bling earrings - gave lots and lots out for Christmas gifts. Hardest part is choosing colors. Great products and customer service! Up above you'll see 2 pairs that I own. I wear the both all the time and I think the cameos are so cool - and also on sale!

In closing, and in the words of the great Vicky Gunvalson WOOO HOOO -  Hope you have a great weekend!!!  We're making pizza tomorrow with homemade dough (had to make a few switcharoos to menu this week) and I hope to get it up on the blog this weekend so get ready :)   xo, Brie

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

How to Have the Perfect Snow Day

Follow these simple steps to a fabulous snow day....

1.  Have Ms. Honeywell (our school's automated alert system) call you the NIGHT BEFORE to tell you there will no school

2.  Turn off that pesky 6 am alarm

3.  Wake up at 9:20 to find you are first one up in your house

4.  Eat fattening snacks and watch Millionaire Matchmaker in your pj's until around 1 pm

5.  Be embarrassed by a neighborhood child who appears at your door around 1 only to find you still in your pjs

6.   Round up the troops to go sledding and invite some friends

No pics of Mr. L because he was off socializing the entire afternoon on the slopes

7.  Sit in a chair on the on the hill and socialize with other moms

8.  Move on to the warm car and listen to your favorite sirius satellite station and direct the kids where to find you when they've had enough

9.  Head home and make cocoa, a fire, a glass of wine and listen to Juice Newton while you make dinner (thank you 8 on 80's for reminding me of Juice)

10.  Get back in your pjs

Best. Snow. Day. Ever!!!!  Please bring me a few more.... xo, Brie

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Ebay Tuesday

I haven't done this installment in FOREVAH but I thought of something the other day - Keeks and I LOVED playing with these and I am wondering if you remember them? 

I loved the pop on piece that made the doll look like she was riding on a bicycle.  Thanks to good old ebay you can have a reunion with DP.  Find them here!!

Thanks to good old youtube I found an old 80's commercial - can you imagine being cast as this woman? I'm imagining the direction went something like... speak in the most insane put on voice you can muster up and sell sell SELL those dolly pops!  xo, Brie

Monday, January 10, 2011

Meal Plan Monday

Another busy weekend down and another busy week lies ahead.   Lots of sports, piano, a birthday, and another snow storm all on the schedule this week. 

Monday - I am going to try Barefoot Contessa's Lemon Chicken (linked) from my new How Easy is That?  Cookbook! 

Tuesday - Beef Stew over Egg Noodles

Wednesday - sports night - hot dogs and fruit - we are expecting a big snowstorm Tues into Wed so I am seriously thinking about flip flopping Tues/Wed because in all likelihood sports will be canceled that  night and beef stew would be the better snowed in night kind of dinner.

Thursday - mucho busy sports night and an open house at the high school (how is my oldest starting high school next year??!) but.... my oldest is turning 14 today so we're having Baked Stuffed Shrimp (her choice).  I'm going to have to have my act together BIG TIME today to pull this one off. 

Friday - sports night - Make your own pizza with a REALLY easy homemade dough recipe that I am going to blog later this week, so DO stay tuned. 

Saturday - Steaks on the grill, salad, baked stuffed potatoes

Sunday - Spaghetti and Meatballs, salad

I'm compiling a list of my quick "sports night" dinners so when I have a decent collection, I'll put them up!  Have a great week!  xo, Brie

Sunday, January 9, 2011


The pink girls heading out for our day on the town!  No easy task getting a picture this am where I was not blinking.  This is the best of the worst - remind me to throw the eyeshadow in the trash - I had no idea it looked glitterific.  We were not heading to a rave. yuck. 

The show was cute and put on at our local community theatre.   I don't believe you will be catching this show on Broadway anytime soon, but Ms. C loved it.  They sang about 25 songs about being and loving pink and that was A OK with her.    It was a sold out show packed, packed, packed with little girls all dressed up in their pink best - really adorable and I loved the girl power camaraderie  that was happening in there. 

We had lunch afterwards at our favorite local lunch/ice cream place (along with the rest of the theatre goers, but we walked there fast so we got a seat).

Refusing to pose for a picture while eating her rainbow sprinkles ice cream

another refusal for a pose - but I do think it's safe to say she enjoyed our girl time :)  I did!!!  In her words.... girls rule, boys drool ;)   xo, Brie

Saturday, January 8, 2011


Tomorrow Ms.C and I are going to see Pinkalicious the musical.  Just us.  A mom and daughter date.  We will dress in pink, go see the show, and have a fantastic fattening lunch afterwards at our favorite place.  I'm dreaming of delicious paninis, ice cream, and girl time.  I can't wait :) xo, Brie

Friday, January 7, 2011

Valentine's Headbands

I just made these today while watching the movie The Notebook which always makes me cry followed by the Real Housewives of Beverly Hills (how's that for variety?)  It's how I keep this mind in tip top condition ;)

I love Valentine's Day - it's fun and the color scheme makes awfully happy! 

You can see my etsy listings here

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


As promised... here is the recipe for our incredibly complicated stromboli!

First up - the ingredients.  Pillsbury french loaf, pizza sauce ( I wish I had the pizza quick sauce b/c I love singing that old commercial) mozzarella cheese, and whatever you normally like for toppings.

Preheat your oven to 350 and spray a cookie sheet with some cooking spray.  Your might want to throw some tin foil over the cookie sheet to make clean up a little easier.  I forgot to do this!    Open up your french loaf and find the seam and carefully unroll the dough - this can occasionally go horribly wrong, so take your time and do it right.

Next up is the sauce - this is the perfect recipe to recruit a child worker if you have one who loves to help with dinner!

Add your cheese and toppings

Fold over each of the sides a little

Start rolling it up from top to bottom until you have something resembling a loaf - it doesn't have to look beautiful but I feel certain you can do a better job than this ;)

Make up another one depending on how many hungry people you are feeding - we have 6 in our house and there was not a piece left.   Some turkey chili simmering over there on the right for my lunches this week - nothing to do with this recipe :)

Bake in the over for 25 - 30 minutes.  Slice into 1 inch slices and serve with a salad and voila you are a hero with the kids. 

These also make great appetizer snacks if you are having a Super Bowl party or something! 

Here you can sing this old 80's commercial while you make it - Mangia!  xo, Brie

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Menu Monday....errr Tuesday

Got all the Christmas decor down and put away yesterday so there was no time for the Monday meal planning which I continue to do but sometimes forget to post (like almost always!)    I even forgot to use my new favorito crest white strips which I had on my Christmas list and am slightly obsessed with them, so please believe me when I tell you getting this decor down was no small feat! 

Here's our Meal Planning for the week

Monday - scrambled eggs, bacon, toast - I highly recommend breakfast for dinner!  My husband isn't all that into it so we tend to do when he is out and last night he went to a basketball game in the city.  Kids ALL loved it and it's "our" special dinner club.  Try this sometime.

Tuesday - Stromboli and salad - we have basketball practice tonight at 6:30 and I can't be bothered with a huge mess.  It is also cleaning lady day here which I LIVE for and I do NOT cook anything to over the top on cleaning lady day.  I like to keep the kitchen clean for at least 12 hours after they come.  Tomorrow it will be a mess again.   This recipe is EASY and another one the kids love.   I'll post the embarrassingly easy recipe tomorrow as my New Year's gift to you.

Wednesday - London Broil, mac and cheese (might be homemade, might be stouffers - we'll just have to see how I feel) and broccoli

Thursday - Sloppy Joes (another basketball night at 6:30 and also swimming lessons for Ms. C- these sports schedules are insane)

Friday - Chicken Pot Pie - my quick and easy go to.  The recipe is on the blog here somewhere and while we're on the topic... why isn't the search button up there working anymore?  Totally annoying!   I'll try to find the link and throw it up later. Found it!! Here you go :)

Saturday  - American Chop Suey bread salad - basically pasta, red sauce, and hamburger

Sunday - Ham, scalloped potatoes, green beans

If you meal plan - hit me up with a comment por favor.  I need some new ideas!!! xo,  Brie