Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Wedded Bliss Wednesdays

What is the best gift to give your husband?
 He likes "toys."  Golf clubs, bag toss set, washers, board games, etc.  He also loves getting sports tickets.  This year, he has is eye on a shiny, new snow blower!  I know, we're getting pretty crazy over here. 
What is a meaningful gift that you can give that does not cost money?
I think we both enjoy just spending time together.  Holidays tend to be a really busy time in our lives; trying to spend time with both of our families, so one thing we make sure we do is to spend Christmas morning together at home.  I honestly do consider that to be a gift and I think he does too.

What is the best gift you have given to him?
Hmm..good question.  I think he really loved when I got him tickets to a Lion's game.  He had never been to an NFL game so he was pretty excited about it.

What is the best gift he has given to you?
Umm does my engagement ring count? :)

What are you giving this holiday?

My husband reads my blog, so I can't say!  I always struggle with getting him several smaller gifts or one or two big gifts though...we'll see!

Tuesday, October 30, 2012

The Liebster/Versatile Blogger Awards!

Thanks to Angela for nominating Mise En Place for the Liebster & Versatile Blogger Awards!
Her blog is seriously cute, so be sure to check it out!

  • The Liebster award is given by bloggers to up and coming bloggers who have less than 200 followers.
  • The meaning: Liebster is German and means sweetest, kindest, nicest, dearest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant, valued, cute, endearing, and welcome.
1. Each person much post 11 things about themselves
2. Answer the questions the nominator made for you and also create 11 more questions for the blogs you nominate
3. Choose 11 people and link them to your post
4. Go to their page and tell them.
5. No tag backs!
Versatile Blogger Award
If you are nominated, you've been awarded the Versatile Blogger award.
 Thank the person who gave you this award. 
 Include a link to their blog. 
 Next, select 15 blogs/bloggers that you've recently discovered or follow regularly.
 Nominate those 15 bloggers for the Versatile Blogger Award with a link to their blog. 

 So, 11 things about myself!

1.  I am Scottish on both my Mom's side and Dad's side, but married into an Irish/Dutch family.
2.  I love to travel and have been to Europe 3 times; Paris twice and Austria once.
3.  My favorite dessert is a brownie with mint chocolate chip ice cream.
4.  I very rarely/never go a day without something chocolate.
5.  I'm addicted to coffee.
6.  Sometimes I wish my husband and I could drop everything and just move away (even though I love where I live, the adventure of it is what attracts me).
7.  My #1 dream in life is to be a mother.
8.   Before I became a chef, I wanted to be an history teacher.
9.  I love music; I listen to everything from classical to opera to musical theater to rock to country.
10.  I have 3 tattoos.
11.  I'm a dog person and have the best puppy in the world, but also love cats.  Unfortunately my husband hates them/is allergic.

1. What is your current VICE (TV Show, hobby etc)? 
With it being October, I'm obsessing over scary movies/shows right now.  My husband and I also recently got really into The Walking Dead.  I can't help it.  I'm addicted to all the zombie killing goodness!

2. Do you have a Secret Skill? 
 I don't know about secret.  I think unless you went to high school with me, most people don't know that I can sing.  I was the ultimate choir looser for 4 years, but since then I have apparently developed a mental block that has made me terrifying of letting anyone hear my voice.  Like, my husband has heard me sing one time, and that was only because I promised to sing for him before we got married.
3. If you could only live with 3 Items from your closet, which would you choose? 
 A good pair of jeans, yoga pants, and a comfy sweater.
4. What is your favorite part about blogging?
 I love to write, so it's a really fun outlet for me!  I also love finding other blogs and getting to know their writers.
5. How did you come up with your blogs name? 
 Mise En Place is my favorite  phrase in the cooking world and in generalI love order and organization, so it's very "me."

6. Do you have a favorite TV Show? 
 Modern Family, The Walking Dead, and Friends (3 way tie).
7.What's your "Dream Job"? 
 Hosting a show on Food Network, writing for a national food magazine, and authoring cookbooks.  All at the same time.

8. What's your Dream Vacation? 
 To spend 3 months traveling through Europe with my Husband.  Someday!

9. Do you have a hobby? 
 Yes, several.  Cooking and baking is my livelihood and also a hobby.  Aside from that, knitting, writing, reading, shopping, and Pinteresting!
10. What is your "Ideal ME Night"?
 Usually if my husband is out of town, I tend to enjoy things that I know he doesn't--super spicy food covered in cilantro, lots of wine, trash TV, scary movies..

11. If you could have dinner with Anyone who has ever lived, who would you choose & why? 
This is so hard for me!  Either Julia Child or Giada DeLaurentis.  I love strong female chefs who have made something of themselves!  Or Gordon Ramsay because he is an amazing chef and so sexy.

Questions for my nominees!

1.  What is your favorite part of your personality?
2.  What is your least favorite part of your personality?
3.  Where is the best place you've ever traveled?
4.  What is your favorite meal (entree and dessert)?
5.  What is your favorite article of clothing you own?
6.  If you could own any car, what would it be?
7.  If you could live anywhere in the US, where would it be?
8.  What is your greatest fear?
9.  What are your top 3 favorite movies (because, seriously, who can only pick one?)?
10.  Who do you think is the sexiest man on the planet (other than your significant other)?
11.  What is the best book you have ever read?
And, my lovely nominees:

Monday, October 29, 2012

Culinary Bliss

In my never ending quest to discover foods that not only taste great, but also shrink my waste line, I have seriously fallen in love with turkey burgers.
Here's the one I created last night.  Let's just say it didn't suck.

I used a toasted onion bun because, well, I'm obsessed with them.
Also, being the veggie lover I am, I sauteed some fresh kale, onions, and mushrooms together.

On one half, I spread dijon mustard and crumbled feta cheese and one the other, a little bit of mayo, pesto, and the sauteed veggies.

Terrible picture, sorry.

My husband was out of town at the World Series last night, so I made my burger super spicy (he can't stand the heat).  It was stuffed with peppers, onions, and herbs and seasoned with salt and cayenne pepper.
I seared it in a pan with olive oil, then let it cook through in the oven.  Since it's turkey, make sure it hits 165 degrees internally!  No medium rare allowed when we're talking poultry, people.
I was seriously in a state of culinary bliss for every bite.
Not kidding, I would take this over a bacon cheeseburger any day!

Saturday, October 27, 2012

Just some goodies

Here are a few things I've been working on lately!

These are my favorite new creation--pumpkin, sausage, and cheese stuffed mushrooms.  So great for fall!

Yesterday, I catered my husband's office lunch.  Just in case you ever wondered what 20 lbs of raw pork looks like.

The same pork, after roasting for 6 hours.

I also made a slaw of cabbage, carrots, onion, and jicama for the pulled pork sandwiches.

Next were mini peppers stuffed with cheese, bacon, and herbs.  This photo is before they were baked.

 These were dangerously good- peanut putter brownies with peanut butter-vanilla frosting.

 Stupid good!

Have you entered Kay's 500 follower giveaway yet?  You still have a few days!  Enter here!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Wedded Bliss. Hubby's Perspective!

Ladies and Gentlemen (but mostly ladies), Mr. Scott Foley...

What was the first thing you noticed about your wife?
Well this is a tough one because when I first met her I was in college and was working seasonally at a Christmas tree farm.  She came in with her Mom and I ended up walking out into the farm and cutting down a Christmas tree for them.  This isn’t exactly normal seeing as I’ve done that 3 times in the past 8 years.  So all that said I was hoping her Mom would give me a tip, which I didn’t get….. As far as I remember, considering Jen didn’t talk the entire time, the first thing I noticed was her blond hair.  

When you first started dating your wife, what kept you calling/asking her out?
This is a very simple question. I was in college and she was extremely hot. So naturally I wanted to spend as much time as I could with her.  What can I say, I’m a guy.

What is your wife's best quality?
Jen is a very strong, confident women and I admire that about her. I have been watching her confidence grow daily as she continues to build her business.  One of her best qualities is loyalty, I could not ask for a more loyal and affectionate wife.  It’s so great coming home every day and knowing she will always be there to make me smile or pick me up if I’ve had a rough day.  But I would have to say that her best quality would have to be when she walks out of the room and I get to look at her butt. :)

What is your favorite thing to do with your wife (ahem, keep it clean!)?
I wish we could have more time to do it but I would say new experiences together.  Whether it be vacationing, eating out, or finding a fun spot to take our dog (someday kids :) ).  I absolutely love being able to spend time together and grow as a couple.

What are you most excited for for the future with your wife?
What I’m excited most about is continuing to build our relationship together.  We have formed such a strong bond already in such a short period of time that it is almost amazing to think about getting stronger, but I’m very confident it will.  We are on the same page about most things and we both realize life doesn’t go how you plan it, even as hard as I try to plan…. I’m so excited to see us grow even closer together in the future.
How do you make your wife feel loved?
I try to make her feel loved on a daily basis but I know that the day to day life can sometimes feel dull. I enjoy surprising her when she doesn’t expect it with just a simple dinner out or drinks at our favorite lakeside restaurant.  Anything to make her smile.

 Am I not the luckiest girl in the world?!

Don't forget to enter Kay's 500 follower giveaway!  10 prizes, 1 winner!  Enter here!

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Pretty Awesome Giveaway!

In honor of reaching 500 followers, Kay from Life After... is hosting a pretty awesome giveaway over at her blog (I may or may not be giving something away :) )

Check it out!!

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Sunday Social. Getting Deep.

Sunday Social

 1. What do you value most in life? 

My relationships.  Specifically, my marriage.

2. What do you think is the greatest invention in your lifetime and why?

I honestly don't know.  I think I value modern technology too much to pick just one..
Can I say electricity/running water in general?
3. What do you think is the secret to a good life?

Gratefulness.  Feeling thankful for what you have and not cheated for what you don't.  I also firmly believe that everyone has the right to enjoy their job.  Obviously not every day is a good day, but life is way too short to hate what you do on a daily basis.
4. What would you most like to be remembered for when you’re gone? 

I just hope to be remembered as a kind person, a loyal wife, and a good mother.  If "celebrity chef" is in my future, that wouldn't suck either :)
5. What accomplishment in your life are you most proud of?

My marriage.  And for taking the risk of starting my own business.
6. If a movie was made about your life, who would you want to play you?

That's tough.  I've been told I resemble Emily Vancamp (disagree) and, most recently, Scarlett Johansson  (seriously disagree).  If we're going by what actress I love but don't necessarily resemble, probably either Amanda Seyfred, Rachel McAdams, or Kate Hudson.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Rainy Day Comfort

It's a scientific fact.  Soup tastes better when it's raining.  As a bonus-homemade soup!

I started with some left over chicken carcasses I had in my freezer, covered them in a large pot with water, onions, carrots, celery, peppercorns, thyme sprigs, and garlic cloves and allowed it all to simmer for about 1 to 1 1/2 hours.

I then strained out all of the "stuff" and kept just the liquid.  And voila!  Homemade chicken stock.  Seriously, it's so much better than the store bought packaged stuff--you can really taste the difference and control what goes into your soup.

I then sauteed onions, carrots, garlic, red potatoes, jalapeno, and zucchini for about 10 minutes.  I added a few whole sprigs of thyme (you can fish the twigs out of the soup later) and the chicken stock.  

After allowing the mixture to simmer until the potatoes were tender, I added a can of white beans, which I had drained and rinsed.

Season to taste with salt and pepper.  I also added a few pinches of red pepper flakes to mine-  I felt like it needed a little heat!

 Also, feel free to add Parmesan cheese.  Or try the trick where you place an old Parmesan rind in the pot while the soup is simmering to achieve a really great cheesy flavor.

Isn't it pretty?  I love the colors. :)

Sorry for the lack of measurements--if there's one thing I think my readers are figuring out about me, it's that I kind of just throw things in a pot until it tastes good!

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Wedded Bliss Wednesdays!

If you could give one piece of advice to any married (or soon-to-be married) couple, what would it be?
First and foremost--be friends!  Being in love is such an amazing thing, but I really believe that love isn't the only thing that will keep your marriage together.  You also have to like the person you're with!
Also, be sure to have the "talk" before you make the commitment of marriage.  You know, the babies, finances, religion, put-the-damn-toilet-seat-down-so-help-me-God talk, etc.  Whatever is important to you!  It would seriously suck to get a couple of months into your wedded bliss and realize that you disagree on something that one of you considers to be a deal breaker.
What is an absolute MUST for any marriage/relationship?
Talk, share, communicate.  Don't bury things emotionally--they will come out eventually and it probably won't be pretty!  
Have fun with each other.  I firmly believe in the saying "the couple who plays together stays together."
Life gets so busy that it can be easy to fall into a rut of go to work, have dinner, clean the house, sleep, repeat.  Don't forget to do something enjoyable together every so often!
What is the #1 no-no in a marriage?
Again, keeping things inside that need to be talked about.  If something bothers you today, it will most certainly still bother you a week from now when you explode about it!
Sarcasm.  The best way to get me seriously angry is to make a sarcastic comment in the middle of a disagreement.  It's insensitive, hurtful, and childish (and I certainly can't say I'm completely innocent of it).

What is the biggest lesson you have learned from your marriage?
Well, apparently I'm stubborn.  I would have never described myself that way until I got married and was offered some pretty convincing examples.  I've learned that marriage is a great way to reflect on who you are as a person.  My husband knows me better that anyone else in the world, so who better to help me realize when I need to work on something?  And, trust me, it goes both ways!
I've also learned what it feels like to be ridiculously proud of something.  My marriage is my greatest accomplishment and has really turned me into the woman I know I want to be (so cheesy!!!).
 I think this was 3 years ago. Babies!

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Sunday Social: Books!

 Sunday Social

1. What is your favorite childhood book?

As usual, I'll probably have multiple answers for every question.  When I was really young, I loved the Junie B. Jones series.  Later I got into the Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging books.  I guess funny books were my style back in the day.  And, as I was 10 when they started being published (that makes me feel old), Harry Potter.

2. What is your favorite book lately?

I finally read The Hobbit this summer and I loved it!  I read Lord of the Rings when I was a teenager and it's always been one of my favorite trilogies, so it was kind of a long time coming to read it.  I also really enjoyed the Hunger Games and The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series.
3. What is the book you wish you could live in?

Oh, Pride and Prejudice without question.
I also wouldn't mind going to Hogwarts :)
4. If you could be any character from a book, who would it be and why?

Elizabeth Bennet.  Or Jo March.

5. What is your favorite book turned movie?

 Harry Potter and Lord of the Rings.  It's a tie.

6. What is your favorite magazine?    

I have a subscription to Food and Wine which I love.  I also love catalogs.  Like Pottery Barn and that HUGE one J C Penney used to put out (or do they still?).  And I can't lie, I can't not love flipping through a People.

Friday, October 12, 2012

Shopping Spree!!

A recent couple that I did some catering for happens to own a new boutique in downtown Kalamazoo called Gibson Girl Clothing Co.  So for those of you from Michigan--if you're ever in Kalamazoo, stop by!  They have some seriously cute things.  Here are a few of my "scores" from today.

Button up blouse and Silver jeans.

This amazing blush jacket and...wait for it....pleather leggings.  Yes, I bought pleather leggings and I love them!

This chiffon berry blouse and, again, pleather leggings!

This great navy wrap dress.  So comfortable and easy!

The website is under construction, but eventually you'll be able to shop online at:

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Help a fellow blogger out? A quick poll.

I need a little help from my blog world!
I'm currently working on some menu planning for a series of cooking classes I'm teaching in the next couple of months.  
Right now, I have a few ideas about class themes, but I would love to get some outside input!

If you could learn how to cook any type of cuisine, what would it be?

Some of the ideas I've come up with are Autumn meals, Thai cuisine, French cookery, and Holiday tapas and treats.

I'd love feedback on those ideas and any others you may have!

Thanks in advance :)

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Wedded Bliss- Date Night

So excited to link up with Allie and Kay for week 2 of Wedded Bliss Wednesdays!

  All about Date Night!

How often do you and your husband have a date night?   
Well..that depends on your definition of "date night."  Because we don't have kids yet, we have a lot of time to spend together and we do sit down to a meal every night.  Actually going out on a date?  Not so often.  We love to do it, but we're kind of obsessed with saving money so eating out is usually a special occasion thing.  We do at least go out for happy hour once a month or so.
What did you do on your first date?
We were at Michigan State.  He took me to this nature path and we took a long walk and talked.  Then he took me to a little Italian restaurant off campus for dinner and then back to his house to watch a movie.  We watched "The Sound of Music"--he knew it was my favorite and the fact that he knew and loved it too was a pretty big selling point :)
  What is your favorite kind of date night?
As much as I like to save money, I am still a foodie at heart so whenever we do go out for a really nice dinner, I love it!  At the same time, I love getting ice cream and taking a nice walk.  I'm pretty simple.

 How do you do date night on a budget?
Make a nice dinner at home and rent a movie.  That, or we go to a restaurant near our house with happy hour every day.  We're talking $2 for a drink happy hour--it's awesome!

 What is the best kind of date your husband could surprise you with?!
I love when he calls from work and says "Hi, I'd really like to take you to dinner tonight."  It's so sweet to know that he's thinking of me during the day.

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Can we talk about this amaze new blog design?!

Big shout out to Kay from Life After... for creating this beautiful and much needed new blog design for me with literally no direction whatsoever.  She completely captured exactly what I wanted!  

Okay, so she's known me since potty training days, but still--pretty impressive!

Kay in the sexy floral headpiece and yours truly in the bejeweled golden crown.

Thanks, Kay!

3 Different Meals, (almost) the same ingredients

After the wedding I catered this weekend, my fridge has quite a few left overs.  Pretty awesome for my grocery bill, not so awesome for meal variation.  I'm really just trying to use it all up before it goes bad!  Here are a few things I made today from (almost) the same ingredients.

Spinach, cucumber, red onion, roasted red peppers, tomatoes, feta cheese, toasted pine nuts, olive oil, and Italian herbs make for a fresh and delicious salad.

The very same ingredients, with the addition of whole wheat capellini noodles took a yummy salad and turned it into a more filling Italian pasta salad.

And, for dinner, topped it with left over, sliced flank steak--yum!

Sunday, October 7, 2012

Wedding craziness

Last night I catered a wedding at a mansion on the lakeshore (Lake Michigan).  Guys, this house was unreal.  It was three huge stories, had an elevator, a full bar, and something like 10 bedrooms.

I wish I would have had time to take a few more pictures, but it was sort of a busy night.

The wedding went really well.  Aside from the elevator being broken and having to lug everything up and down three huge flights of stairs and one of the two ovens deciding not to work, it actually when very smoothly!

The menu consisted of antipasti platters, crostini with ricotta cheese, figs, prosciutto, and honey, pumpkin and sausage stuffed mushrooms, grilled flank steak skewers, spicy baked chicken with dipping sauces, and a small salad bar.

Again, I struggled in the photography department, but here are a couple I took from Instagram.

Prep phase of the pumpkin and sausage stuffed mushrooms.  We topped them with olive oil and Parmesan cheese when we baked them.  So yummy! 

Incase you have ever wondered what enough flank steak for 75 looks like, now you know.  Obviously this was before it was grilled, but it turned out really tasty!  We did mini skewers and served them with the marinade (after I simmered it and made it food-safe) as a sauce.

The true champion of this weekend was my husband.  He literally came home from his 50 hour work week on Friday evening, helped me prep until 10:00, woke up on Saturday and helped me prep until 3:00, came to the wedding with me, and helped until we left around 10:00.  All voluntarily.  Girls, be jealous--I think I got a good one :)

Today has been a lovely Sunday of relaxation (after unloading the car and doing dishes for about two hours).  Hope you're all enjoying your day as well!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Can I just eat breakfast all day every day?

Seriously.  If pancakes/waffles/crepes etc. would just make themselves available to me for every meal, I think I'd be okay.
Unfortunately, I care a bit too much about my waist line to give in to that kind of temptation.
For days like today when I literally need some breakfasty goodness, I turn to a healthier pancake recipe.

I went with these today--Whole Wheat Greek Yogurt Chocolate Chip Pancakes

The fat free Greek yogurt replaces the butter, making them guilt free, protein packed, and super rich.  Instead of using pure sugar, you get sweetness from a little bit of natural honey, vanilla extract, cinnamon, and semisweet chocolate chips (seriously, a little chocolate never hurt anybody).  Using whole wheat flour instead of white flour not only makes them healthier, but also adds a really nutty and delicious flavor.

I can't say no to syrup.  I have a weakness for it.  Just don't use the cheap, fake junk!  If you're going to have something sugary, at least make sure it's real and natural.  Pure maple syrup only.

If you would like the full recipe, let me know!

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wedded Bliss Wednesday

Linking up with Allie and Kay for their new "Wedded Bliss Wednesdays!"

Introduce us to your husband! (What's his name? How old? What does he look like?) 

His name is Scott Donald Foley and he's 25.  And he looks like that ^  Cute, right? :)

What is your husband's favorite thing to do?

He loves watching sports.  Baseball, football, basketball, etc.  He also loves playing golf, traveling, and being outside.

What does your husband do Monday-Friday? 

He works about 10 hours a day for a company that distributes industrial finishing equipment.  He's kind of a jack of all trades--purchasing, inventory, inside sales, etc.  Mr. Smarty Pants, basically.

What was the FIRST thing you noticed about your husband when you met?

His eyes!  He has the most beautiful blue eyes and the longest eye lashes.

What is your husband's BEST quality?

How do I choose?  He's such a good provider and makes me feel safe.  He works ridiculously hard.  He's goal oriented and driven. He's loving and affectionate.  He's an amazing husband and my best friend.

What is your husband's biggest pet peeve?

He's a very logical person, so sometimes illogical people or dreamers can frustrate him.  In regards to me; he hates the way I load the dishwasher. It would embarrass him if I go into to much detail, but he has one extremely sensitive/ticklish body part that if I even talk about going near he gets SO mad.  I can't help doing it for fun every so often :)

How does your husband feel about blogging?

He likes it a lot.  He knows how much I love writing, so any time I get a chance to do that, he's happy.  Also, when I told him that there is a potential for monetary gain in the future, he was ALL for it!

 What is something you do/can do that makes your husband feel loved?

A man's pride is hugely important.  I try to make sure I show appreciation for everything he does and for how hard he works.  I also really believe in the little things.  For example, if I can have dinner ready when he gets home from work, I will.  It's not that I'm trying to be a 1950's housewife, but it's just a little something I can do that he appreciates.  I also firmly believe in the power of conversation.  We have real conversations every day and always confide in one another.  That connection of friendship is almost as important to me as our marital connection.  Physical affection means a lot to both of us too.