Category Archives: Food

Merry Friendmas!

I threw my first Christmas Party last night! I have always loved this season, but this one has been especially difficult for myself and friends. Our studies have grown a lot harder and I feel like we have all been so focused on school that we haven’t had much time to see each other. We normally have weekly dinners together, but that fell out as the semester progressed and we got busy with exams and assignments.

So I wanted to throw a little something together to celebrate the end of finals and the end of this semester! This is particularly exciting for some of us as it’s the penultimate semester of our undergraduate careers. My finals this week were pretty brutal, but I am glad they are over and I can enjoy the company of my friends before we go our separate ways and enjoy the company of our families.

I wanted to keep the menu pretty simple since I wouldn’t have a lot of time to cook, plus it is a celebration so all I really wanted to eat was a bunch of junk food. I baked most of my cookies last weekend, partly for my enjoyment, partly for Andrew, and partly for the party so I mostly had to just throw thing in a crockpot or pull it out of the fridge!

Peanut Butter Hug Cookies
Peanut Butter Hug Cookies

The Menu

Appetizers:

  • Toasted Ravioli, served with marinara dipping sauce
  • Rotel Dip, served with tortilla chips (and whatever else you want to dunk this glorious spicy cheese dip with)
  • Vegetable Tray, served with French onion dip and ranch
  • Little Smokies, served in KC Masterpiece BBQ sauce
  • Crackers, cheese, and summer sausage tray

Dessert:

  • Banana Cream Pie
  • Brownies, with green icing and sprinkles to look like Christmas Trees
  • Milk Chocolate covered pretzels
  • White Chocolate covered pretzels
  • Peanut Butter cookies, with either a Hershey’s Hug or a Reece’s Peanut Butter cup in the middle
  • Haystacks, which are butterscotch coated chow mein noodles and peanuts

Drinks:

  • Hot chocolate
  • Jello shots, stacked in the shape of a Christmas Tree
  • Seagram’s Wild Berry, Strawberry Daiquiri, and watermelon flavored beers
  • Various assorted vodkas, rums, juices and soda (I am no bartender)
Christmas Tree Brownies
Christmas Tree Brownies

My Outfit

Friendmas Outfit

A couple of weeks ago, I found this cute holiday skirt at Kohl’s that I just couldn’t pass up. It was originally $25 but I got it down to about $17 with some coupons that I had. I paired it with some black leggings since it’s a bit cold out and the skirt is a bit short, a black shirt, and some fuzzy polka-dot socks because my feet always get cold. If I were to have been going out, I would’ve opted for either some plain black flats or heels. I also had a green scarf to make the outfit less dark, but I ditched that because it kept getting in the way of my food, haha. Food before fashion!

The Party
We had seven friends over, which seems kind of small, but it was perfect for our tiny apartment. I’m not sure we could have fit many more. :P We ended up having waayyyy too much food. We didn’t even hardly touch the desserts I made!

We started out watching Jurassic World, though about halfway through we all got really chatty and didn’t pay much attention to the movie. It’s the booze talking. Then we did our Dirty Santa / White Elephant gift exchange. I ended up getting a cowbell. :D I keep teasing Andrew I’m going to ring it to make him come to me. :P We also gave out the presents we individually got for our friends.

We finished the night with Cards Against Humanity. Somehow earlier in the night, my grandpa’s racism came up as a topic of conversation, so I kept getting all the racist cards. My friends are terrible.

It was a really fun night. It’s something that I definitely want to continue in the future!

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How I Plan my Meals for the Week

As a new wife, I have slowly started to become adjusted to some of the new roles that I’ve taken. One of those things that I’ve had to adjust to is cooking every night. I really enjoy cooking, but when I lived by myself, I wouldn’t say that I actually “cooked” that often. It was usually eating popcorn for dinner, eating a salad, or throwing in a frozen pizza. Whatever was easy, I did it because it was just me.

Now that I’m cooking for Andrew, it’s harder for me to justify eating popcorn every night – though there are still nights where I don’t feel like cooking so we have popcorn and pop in a movie and make movie night! At first, I was a little lost. I would come home from work or class, stare at the fridge and freezer and try to come up with something to make. I’d think of something but then remember Andrew didn’t like it or wouldn’t have enough time to make it because we had something going on later. After pondering for half an hour and finally coming up with something, I’d be halfway through prepping before I realized I was missing an ingredient (or four or five…).

It just wasn’t working.

So I sat down and I made a rough list of 30 dishes that I could think of that Andrew and I both enjoyed. This would give us 30 different meals for every day of the month so we weren’t eating the same thing over and over. I could only come up with around 23 off the top of my head (we are picky and boring, I know), so to find some inspiration, I went to Pinterest. I made a board for new dishes and a board for dishes that we’ve made and have been “Mr. & Mrs. Smith” approved.

Note:  I wanted to make a list of meals and not just look at a recipe book, because there are dishes we love that you don’t need a recipe for. For example, we love grilled hot dogs and grilled cheese sandwiches, but we don’t need recipes to make those. So looking at a recipe book would not provide me with a meal idea for either of those. There are many more dishes like this. I find the list gives me way more ideas of meals to pick from.

Meal Blackboard

I found this cute chalkboard a couple of weeks ago at Hobby Lobby where you can write in the meals you plan to cook for the week. This was the best find ever and it was only $6! I usually go grocery shopping Saturday mornings, so before I leave I plan out the meals for the week. This way I know what I’m making and can make sure all of the ingredients are on my grocery shopping list. I like to sit this on my window sill – it makes for a cute decoration while still helping me remember what I’m cooking that night. :)

Picking out the meals for the week is now really easy, because I’m not restricted by not having proper ingredients or not knowing what to make. I can easily pull up our list of dishes that we enjoy, which is now way over 30 since we’ve been trying new meals and adding to it, which makes picking even easier.

This also keeps our grocery bill lower because I’m not buying fresh ingredients that aren’t being eaten for meals that I didn’t actually end up making. It also tends to make prep time a bit faster. If I know I’m making tacos tomorrow, I’m going to get the beef out of the freezer and let it thaw. Or if I’m making chicken tonight and I’m also using chicken in the dish tomorrow, I can go ahead and cook chicken for both meals, and then tomorrow I just have to throw it into whatever I’m making.

It’s not a complicated process, but just doing those few simple things have been making planning meals for the week so much easier!

Do you cook a lot? If so, do have a meal planning process or just do it as you go?