happy royal wedding

“Always act like you’re wearing an invisible crown.”

mba lesson of the week #2

peanut butter rampage

I’ve been on a bit of a peanut butter rampage lately. I cannot get enough of it.

While on my peanut butter frenzy, I had the urge to make homemade jumbo peanut butter cups. Like Reece’s, but so.much.better. They can’t even compare. And what’s so great is, for you chocolate lovers like me, you can put as MUCH chocolate as you want into these peanut butter cups. I prefer a tiny thin layer of peanut butter in my enormous mound of Ghirardelli’s dark chocolate. And when I’m in the kitchen, I am in charge.

These homemade peanut butter cups are surprisingly easy. Here’s how you make them:

Homemade Peanut Butter Cups

Makes about 15 jumbo cups

– 2 cups of smooth peanut butter
– 1 cup of powdered sugar
– 3 teaspoons of vanilla
– 3 12-ounce bags of chocolate chips (semisweet or milk)
– 15 muffin liners

1. Mix peanut butter, powdered sugar, and vanilla until smooth. Set aside.

2. Double boil the three bags of chocolate chips over low heat. For those of you who don’t know about double boiling – the greatest invention for melting chocolate in the world – place chocolate chips in a saucepan, and place this saucepan in a larger saucepan filled with water. This prevents the chocolate from burning.

3. Line a cupcake tray with muffin liners.

4. Once melted, drop one large spoonful of chocolate into each muffin liner. Using a spoon, coat the sides of the muffin liner with chocolate. It won’t look very pretty initially…

5. Drop one spoonful of peanut butter mixture into each chocolate-filled muffin liner. This is the ugliest stage of the process… I promise it looks pretty eventually.

6. Scoop melted chocolate on peanut butter to cover completely.

7. Refrigerate for 20 minutes until firm.

For a cute packaging idea, you can put the peanut butter cups in small plastic bags and tie with a ribbon.

peanut butter lovin’

Last week, my younger brother’s nineteen-year-old pro triathlete friend brought over some homemade peanut butter cookies. I was skeptical, to say the least, when I saw the mound of what I now know to be heaven sitting in a plain ziploc bag in the hands of this triathlete.

When I tasted that sweet bite of bliss, I knew I had to have the recipe. But no, much to my disappointment, this triathlete friend of my brother’s just “throws a bunch of stuff together in a bowl.” No recipe.

So today, when I really should be working on my big business consulting final project… I am on a mission to figure. this. out.

I ended up making a few adjustments to Ina Garten’s – a true domestic cooking goddess – Peanut Butter Chocolate Chunk Cookies (minus the chocolate chunks). Her cookbooks are my go-to, life-saving treasures. They have taught me how to cook.

And I have to say, these cookies are pretty darn good.

Here’s how you make them:

Peanut Butter Cookies

Adapted from Ina Garten’s Barefoot Contessa Parties!
Makes 40 cookies

– 2 sticks of unsalted butter, melted
– 1 1/2 cups of golden brown sugar
– 3/4 cup of granulated sugar, plus more for topping
– 2 eggs
– 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
– 1 cup of peanut butter
– 2 1/2 cups of all-purpose flour
– 1 teaspoon of baking powder
– 1 teaspoon of salt

1. Blend butter, brown sugar, and granulated sugar in an electric mixer (or do this by hand if you are in need of a workout) until mixed.

2. Add eggs, vanilla extract, and peanut butter one at a time until combined.

3. Add flour, baking powder, and salt one at a time until combined.

4. Drop small spoonfuls of dough onto parchment-covered cookie sheets. Press down a fork in criss-cross patterns before placing in oven. Or use a chicken pounder, like I did for one of my batches.

5. Bake at 350 degrees for 8 to 10 minutes, or until lightly golden brown. Immediately after taking cookies out of oven, sprinkle extra granulated sugar on top.

my favorite things: kitchen-inspired vanity

Jewelry and cake plates. Two things that you can truly NEVER have enough of. One of my favorite things in the world is having a pretty vanity area…made complete by a cake plate, some china, an Anthropologie ceramic farmer’s egg crate, and matching Anthropologie ceramic bowls. And lots of pretty, sparkly baubles.

Today, I am busy hiding up in my bathroom color-coding my earrings, organizing my hair bands, and cleaning out old Mascara tubes. Next I’m going to clean out my sock drawer.

My masterpiece. After polishing, arranging, organizing, rearranging, and then rearranging some more.

One of my favorite things to do is spend hours carousing the aisles of little bead stores around town…I’ve compiled a collection of hundreds of antique-looking beads to make these cute bracelets! The bead store is always a good pick-me-up.

I love these bowls – they are very multi-purpose. I store craft supplies, earrings, candy, pushpins, and all sorts of things in them.

This is the perfect container for all of your smaller earrings – it’s great for easy access to those diamond studs (cubic of course!) and it shows off your shiny collection!

easter cards

This might be a little bit of Easter overkill by now, but I just had to share these homemade Easter cards I made last night while watching The Office, Community, and Modern Family. It was a big TV night at my house.

These cards are so easy to make – all they require are some white and light turquoise cards (my favorite color in case you can’t tell from the logo…and everything else on this site), a few scraps of fuzzy fabrics (I used stretch velvet), a hot glue gun (can’t live without it), and some embellishments. The embellishments I used were ribbons, mini-rosettes, and Martha Stewart’s mini pearl stickers in white. I saw them at Michael’s and just HAD to have them.

Here are the finished cards:

In case you are in need of a template for the bunny and duck fabric cutouts, I’ve posted mine below (be sure to size the templates for the card before printing):

mud pudding springtime treat

When I was in first grade, I attended a tiny little school with fifteen other first-graders, the girls clad in little schoolgirl pleated skirts and the boys in khakis with polo shirts. Of that entire year, I can only remember three things about my first-grade experience.

The first of these memories is the day that Katrina, the mean, loud “party” girl (if you can call a first-grader that) that always wore pigtails and had red rubber bands on her braces (I knew this was trouble) told me that my eyes were “crooked.” We were standing by our cubbies putting our lunch boxes away, and out of the blue, my delicate, insecure first-grade mind was in a state of frenzy. It was scarring. I then ran to the bathroom crying, frantically inspecting my eyes to see what the problem was. What I realize now is that there are always going to be people like Katrina that try to make others feel insecure. Even in my MBA program, I was told – in another Katrina moment, minus the crying – by a twenty-eight year old (see, it doesn’t go away with age), that I “blink an abrnormal amount.” She then went on to ask if I have an eye disorder.

Thank you, Rohini!

The second memory from my first-grade experience was the time logged at the sports field with my best friend watching the two cute twins at my school play tag. We would watch while simultaneously planning our double wedding…it was really irrelevant who married which twin, because either way we’d end up sisters. We were very strategic for six-year-olds.

The third memory I have of first grade was our Earth Day snack booth where I was introduced to the most delicious, fun, creative treat in the world – mud pudding. I thought it was the COOLEST idea to make pudding with oreo crumbs and gummy worms that actually look like mud and dirt… whoever thought of that genius idea clearly knew the minds of first-graders and their fascination with eating snails, dirt, real mudpies, and whatever else we could get our hands on. Clearly this treat had a big impact on me, as I felt the urge to recreate this joyful moment fifteen years later.

Mud Pudding


3 cups of nonfat milk
1 package of Oreos (crushed)
1 package of Instant Chocolate Pudding (Jell-O)
1 package of Cool Whip (I recommend Truwhip, a natural alternative with no hydrogenated oils)
Gummy worms

1. Crush Oreos into small pieces to use as the “dirt” in this yummy muddy treat. You can also buy pre-crushed Oreos, which makes the job much easier!

2. One bicep workout later…you’ll have crushed Oreos that look like this:

3. In a bowl, combine milk with the package of instant pudding. Beat with a whisk for two minutes or until smooth.

4. Let sit for five minutes until the pudding begins to thicken.

5. Mix three large dollops of Cool Whip with about one-third of the Oreo crumbs. You don’t need to be too precise here – you just want enough Cool Whip to form a sticky mixture that holds the Oreo crumbs together.

6. Scoop Oreo and Cool Whip mixture into the bottom of teacups (fill about ½ inch).

7. Scoop pudding into teacups almost to brim. Leave enough room for a thin layer of more Oreo crumbs on top.

8. Sprinkle Oreo crumbs on top of pudding until coated.

9. Add two gummy worms to each dish.

10. Refrigerate for 45 minutes until firm.

11. Serve!

mba lesson of the week #1

ideal bookshelf

There are so many times when I wish I could paint more than just roses (and very elementary, low-quality roses at that), and now is one of those times.

I found this blog, Ideal Bookshelf, in InStyle’s Valentine’s Day gift guide, and was instantly hooked. This has to be one of the cutest ideas ever.

And it got me thinking, what’s on my bookshelf?

We’ve got the captivating operations, managerial economics, and financial accounting books that I have accumulated throughout my years and years of business studies… then the Atlas Shrugged, Don Quixote, and War & Peace-type books. There are dozens and dozens of Lunch in Paris, Summer in Tuscany, Nice Girls Do, Fabulously Fashionable, and Belle in the Big Apple-type books. The chick-lit, read-on-the-beach type of books.

I tried to recreate the Ideal Bookshelf’s genius idea with a few of my favorite book titles. The keyword is tried. It’s a really poor attempt at painting my ideal bookshelf with watercolor pencils, but you get the idea!

the chicken pie shop

One of my favorite restaurants is the Chicken Pie Shop, a restaurant actually devoted to making their famous chicken potpies. It’s a little hole in the wall… the type of place that people keep coming back to for the rest of their lives.

It looked delicious. Except that I ordered the wrong thing… a salad.

If there’s one thing to learn from this experience, it’s that you do not order a salad at a restaurant devoted specifically to chicken potpies. Big mistake.

And now, after deep, long-lasting regret, I am making my very own chicken potpie. With the help of my grandma and her “heirloom recipe.”

These potpies are just a little bit healthier than the gravy-coated chicken pie stew that awaited me at the Chicken Pie Shop… but that doesn’t mean they are any less tasty!

Grandma’s Heirloom Chicken Potpie Recipe

Makes 2 Large Chicken Potpies

You will need:
-2 boneless, skinless fresh chicken breasts (white meat)
-2 medium-sized white potatoes
-2 sweet white husks of corn on the cob
-2 stalks of celery
-1 yellow onion
-3 carrots
-1 tablespoon flour
-2 Pillsbury pie crusts

1. Preparation:
a) Preheat oven to 375 degrees.
b) Wash all vegetables.
c) Cut corn off the cob and be sure to remove all silk strings.
d) Peel and slice carrots (1/2 inch pieces).
e) Peel and chop potatoes (1/2 square inch chunks).
f) Cut celery stalks (1/2 inch pieces).
g) Slice onion.

2. Vegetables:
a) Place corn, sliced carrots, and chopped potatoes in a large saucepan.
b) Fill saucepan with water until vegetables are completely submerged in water.
c) Add 2 teaspoons of salt and 1 teaspoon of pepper.
d) Cook on medium to high heat for 20 minutes, or until potatoes and carrots appear soft, though not overcooked.

3. Chicken:
a) Cut boneless, skinless chicken breasts with the grain of the chicken in 1 inch cubes (an option is to use a pre-cooked rotisserie chicken).
b) Melt 2 tablespoons of butter in a large saucepan.
c) Add cubes of chicken to saucepan, and add salt and pepper for seasoning.

d) Sauté until chicken is lightly cooked and no longer pink.
e) Add onions and celery to chicken stir-fry, mix together, and heat for 5 minutes.

f) Turn off heat after 5 minutes.
g) Add 1 tablespoon butter and 1 tablespoon flour (this will make the yummy gravy inside).

h) Mix!

4. Mixture of Vegetables and Chicken:
a) Add vegetable mixture of carrots, corn, and potatoes to chicken sauté – be sure to add some of the liquid to add moisture to the pie.
b) Stir, place lid on saucepan, and let sit without heat for 10 minutes.

5. Pie Crust:
a) Unroll pie crust and fix in pie pan, smoothing down the bottom of the crust to remove air bubbles.

b) Scoop vegetables and chicken into pie crust. Spread 3 tablespoons of butter across hot vegetable and chicken mixture.

c) Unroll other piece of crust and place on top of vegetable and chicken mixture. Attach bottom crust to top crust and fold together to make a pleat (visible below).

d) Cut 4 vents into top of pie.
e) Bake for 25-30 minutes, or until golden brown.


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