mba lesson of the week #7

grilled shrimp with mango salsa

After rock climbing yesterday with my two brothers, my arms are incapable of doing anything productive today…they feel like lead. So because I can barely use my arms today, I gave up on doing anything productive, instead looking through recipes outside in the sun.

I’ve been hoarding Oprah recipes for the past 5+ years in a folder on my computer, and when cleaning them out this weekend I came across the most amazing shrimp recipe! I’ve had this recipe saved since 2006 – so worth the extra space on my computer!

Grilled Shrimp with Mango Salsa

Adapted from

For the salsa:
2 large mangoes, peeled and chopped into salsa-size pieces
1/4 cup of red onion, minced
1/4 cup of cilantro leaves, chopped
1 teaspoon of ginger, minced
3 tablespoons of freshly squeezed lime juice
1/2 teaspoon of salt
1/4 teaspoon of pepper

For the shrimp:
1 1/2 pounds of large shrimp (I used pre-cooked tiger shrimp)
4 tablespoons of soy sauce
4 tablespoons of orange juice
2 tablespoons of olive oil

1. For the salsa, mix all ingredients together in a bowl. Refrigerate until serving.

2. For the shrimp, place shrimp on a tray and cover with 2 tablespoons of soy sauce and 2 tablespoons of orange juice. Let marinate for about 10 minutes.

3. Place marinated shrimp in the saucepan with 2 tablespoons of olive oil. Add 2 more tablespoons of orange juice and soy sauce. Cook for about 8 minutes, flipping when necessary.

4. Serve with mango salsa! Enjoy!

memorial day strawberry cake

Hope you’re having a great Memorial Day weekend so far! I was able to (finally) catch up on my much needed sleep, reorganize the 5,000 files that were cluttering up my computer desktop (also much needed), and spend time with my family. And do a little bit of baking!

This recipe is from Barefoot Contessa Parties! and is my go-to summer staple. It’s not one of those heavy cakes that you feel sick after eating, but is amazing nonetheless! Plus, you feel like it’s healthy because there are strawberries on it…or at least I do! You will not be disappointed.

Memorial Day Strawberry Cake

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Parties!

Ingredients for Cake
3/4 cup of softened butter
2 cups of granulated sugar
4 eggs
3/4 cup of sour cream
1/2 teaspoon of lemon zest
1/2 teaspoon of orange zest
1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract
2 cups of all-purpose flour
1/4 cup of cornstarch
1/2 teaspoon of kosher salt
1 teaspoon of baking soda

Ingredients for Whipped Cream Frosting and Strawberry Filling
4 cups of heavy whipping cream
1 cup of granulated sugar
2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
3 pints of fresh strawberries, sliced

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees, and butter and flour two 8-inch cake pans.

2. Mix butter and sugar until light and fluffy (I used a KitchenAid electric mixer).

3. Add eggs, sour cream, zests, vanilla, flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda one at a time until very well-mixed and smooth.

4. Pour batter into the pans and bake for 30 minutes (or until a toothpick comes out clean). Remove from oven and let cool for 30 minutes.

5. To make the whipped cream frosting with strawberry filling, whip the heavy whipping cream with a handheld electric mixer until firm. Add in vanilla extract and sugar, and continue to whip.

6. Remove cake from cake pans. Place one layer on cake plate, then cover with whipped cream frosting. Cover whipped cream with sliced strawberries. Place second layer on top, and cover with whipped cream and strawberries once more. Enjoy!

i love outdoor spaces

Pretty outdoor spaces are my favorite – and these pictures reflect perfectly my daydreaming today in this gray, gloomy weather! As soon as the sun comes out, I am planning a little picnic outside with lots of pillows, Shabby Chic blankets, and flowers galore. So romantic. I might even dress up and pretend I’m Keira Knightley in Pride and Prejudice.

Gorgeous. So relaxing. I could spend hours on this bench reading the next book on my list: Belle in the Big Apple. Very intellectual.

The perfect picnic and most romantic setting in the world.

I love these pillows and chairs for the beach. So cute! And I want that fabric.

Hammocks: amazing.

I love prairie-style pictures like this. And the lanterns hanging from the tree are beautiful!

Twinkle lights AND a hammock: heaven!

Imagine having a rose-covered tree swing as a little girl – too precious!

All images are courtesy of Pinterest.

make your own bookplates

One of the most thoughtful graduation gifts I ever received was a collection of my favorite classic novels – Pride and Prejudice, War and Peace, Anna Karenina, and Crime and Punishment – in special collector’s edition hardcovers. Is it nerdy how much I love them?

If you’re looking for a graduation gift over the next few weeks, this is an easy, affordable, and meaningful gift for that lucky graduate! You can personalize it by adding one of these homemade bookplates too. I made these with decorative paper (the kind I was busy searching for at Michael’s yesterday!) and a template I made for the bookplate insert itself. These templates are attached as PDFs below in maroon, black, light blue, and light green! The PDFs are already sized, so all you need to do is print!

Template for Light Blue Bookplate


mba lesson of the week #6

May 25, 2011

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my favorite things: cupcakes

May 25, 2011

Today was my C&C day – Cardio & Color – with my lovely mom, aunt, and baby cousin…who I’ve decided is the cutest little thing in the entire world. Just love her!

The four of us went on a nice walk by the beach. And everyone knows that after you engage in any exercise at all, you are deserving of a cupcake (or two, or three). On our way home from the walk, my mom and I stopped by this amazing bakery, thanks to my aunt’s excellent taste, and I just had to share the pictures with you.

If any of you have seen the movie Bridesmaids, it reminded me of Annie’s “Cake Baby” cake shop (a fantasy of mine!). And what’s even better is that the bakery is vintage-style – the girls wear vintage aprons, they serve cupcakes on vintage trays, all of the signs are vintage, and everything is perfect!

Isn’t this sign the cutest?

And this sign too?

Such a princess cupcake with a pink glitter rose on top.

Chocolate heaven.

Bumble bee chocolate cupcake with delicious honey frosting.

Mint dream dipped in chocolate.

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“life is precious” jar

May 23, 2011

I made one of these jars for my mom on Mother’s Day last year to express my gratitude for everything that she does for me, and today decided to expand it to everything in life that I am grateful for – what makes life precious.

I thought it would be a cute gift idea that you might enjoy! Happy Monday!

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chocolate-dipped macaroons

May 19, 2011

Last month, while I was drooling over Reese Witherspoon’s pink wedding dress in her exclusive article in People magazine, I came across a recipe for homemade macaroons by…who would have thought…one of my favorite women from the Real Housewives of New York City, Jill Zarin!

As a former devoted Real Housewives fan (until I started taking night classes), I knew I HAD to try this recipe. Especially when I saw how easy the recipe is, and that it only has six ingredients. They taste incredible!

Chocolate-Dipped Macaroons

Adapted from Jill Zarin

Makes 30 macaroons.

2 14-ounce bags of sweetened, flaked coconut
1 14-ounce can of sweetened condensed milk
2 tablespoons of sour cream
1 tablespoon of heavy cream
1 1/2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
1 12-ounce bag of semi-sweet chocolate chips

1. Preheat oven to 325 degrees.

2. Mix coconut, sweetened condensed milk, sour cream, heavy cream, and vanilla extract.

3. Scoop small spoonfuls of coconut mixture (I’d recommend using your hands) and press the mixture firmly together so that it doesn’t break apart after baking. Place on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper.

4. Bake for 22 to 24 minutes. Let cool.

5. Double boil semi-sweet chocolate chips until melted. Dip macaroons into the melted chocolate, and let cool. Enjoy!

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mba lesson of the week #5

May 18, 2011

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