Wednesday, November 26, 2008

50th Post!

Happy Thanksgiving everyone. We're headed to Mr. Prepster's parents house this afternoon and will be there until Sunday. I can't wait to have a relaxing weekend outside the city in a quaint, small town and am excited that as soon as Thanksgiving is over, Christmastime will be here! I love the month of December and will surely want to hurry home and put up our tree and decorate our house on Sunday. Some things I'm thankful for this year... a healthy family, a loving husband, a warm home, a rewarding job and wonderful friends in my still relatively new city, oh, and that the Phillies won the World Series. Some things I'm looking forward to for this weekend... seeing my little nephew and Mr. Prepster's family, helping cook a yummy meal, eating pumpkin pie, sleeping in, watching football and shopping for Christmas gifts on black Friday.

Can you believe Prepadelphia has 50 posts! Thanks for all of your support and comments.

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Cute Paper Cafe Recipe Cards

I was so enamoured with the recipe cards I won from The Paper Cafe on MMM's blog giveaway that I decided to order them for my Mom, Mother-in-Law and Sister-in-Law. The cards are so cute, personal and make a fab gift for the bargain price of $25 for 20 cards. Actually, I think these would work as holiday gifts for assistants, co-workers, hair stylists, nannies, etc. who love to cook. Below are pictures of the ones that I chose. You can find more designs if you search "recipe cards" on The Paper Cafe's website or you can design your own!
For my Mom:

For my Mother-in-Law:

For my Sister-in-Law:

Monday, November 24, 2008

Preppy PJs

Like so many others, Mr. Prepster and I are going away this Thanksgiving. While it would be fun to host someday, we are still at an age where it is nice to relax at his parents' house for 4 days rather than having to worry about putting on the whole shebang ourselves. Here's the thing though... Mr. Prepster's family tends to like to "get comfy" shortly after dinner and so everyone puts on sweats/pjs/robes, etc. and hangs out in them for the rest of the night. As you can imagine, I suffered through a couple of awkward holidays there in the last several years with my really inappropriate and/or uncute sleeping garmets on full display for my new family. Luckily I remembered this "tradition" in time to get some cute new PJs to take with me this year. I found these preppy, comfy pants from Old Navy and this cami and henley from Gap for ridiculously cheap, and now I'm all set for comfy family time this Thanksgiving!

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Try a New Recipe Thursdays - Goat Cheese Mashed Potatoes

These potatoes would make a unique Thanksgiving side dish and would provide a nice savory complement to the sweetness of the traditional candied yam dish so many people make. Bonus points because it is easy to prepare and can be made ahead of time. Turkey day is only a week away, so get cooking!

3 pounds russet potatoes, peeled, cut into 1 1/2-inch pieces
1 cup whole milk
1 onion, chopped
6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter
4 ounces soft fresh goat cheese (such as Montrachet), crumbled

Cook potatoes in large pot of boiling salted water until tender, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, bring milk, onion and butter to boil in small saucepan over medium-high heat. Remove from heat. Drain potatoes and return to pot. Add hot milk mixture and mash. Add goat cheese and mash until blended. Season to taste with salt and pepper. (Note: dish can be prepared 2 hours ahead of time.) Let stand at room temperature. Before serving, stir over low heat until heated through. Sprinkle with parsley or chives for added flair.

Yield: 6 servings

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Is it too early to talk about Christmas decorations?

I hope not because I am very excited to decorate a real house for the first time this year! Granted I've had a few good tiny apartment Christmases, but I've never had a substantial space inside or outside to decorate. Plus, seeing all of the holiday catalogs and December magazines has really gotten me in the mood to start brainstorming what to do this year. We are definitely going to put candles in our windows and lately, I've become obsessed with the idea of hanging small wreaths from red ribbon in our windows too. The windows are very tall, so I think it might be ok to have both a candle and a wreath, as long as the wreath is up high.

The wreath look I want is basically a combination of what is in the pictures below. I like the look of hanging the wreath in an outdoor window like the picture on the left, though I would hang it higher up, but I like the actual wreath better in the picture on the right. I am excited to hear what others in the preppy blog world are doing for their Christmas and holiday decorations, so feel free to share your favorite ideas.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Christmas Lists!

Mr. Prepster and I made up our Christmas lists this weekend. Until I got married I didn't really buy in to the concept of a Christmas list. In my family we were always just surprised with our gifts, but I have to admit it has been fun to pick some things out on put them on a "wish list" the past couple of years :) So here are some of the suggestions I gave my in-laws this year. What's on your list?

Footed Soup Tureen and Soup Bowls from Crate and Barrel

Sunday Soup cookbook

Stainless Steel Charger Plates from Crate and Barrel (these were on my wedding registry but I didn't get quite enough)

Oval Vegetable Dish in my formal china pattern, Herend Queen Victoria

Cardy Ugg Boots

Cachepot from To Bee Named

Desk Calendar from The Paper Cafe

Notecards from The Paper Cafe

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Try a New Recipe Thursdays - Banana Bread Pudding

This week's recipe is inspired by New Orleans and is just as incredible as it looks in the picture!Banana Bread Pudding with Banana Rum Sauce is a fantastic cross between the classic bread pudding and Bananas Foster, the great flaming bananas and ice cream dessert.

6 cups bite-sized pieces of day-old French bread
3 cups milk
3 large eggs
⅔ cup plus 1 tb sugar
2 large very ripe bananas
¾ tablespoon vanilla extract
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
½ cup seedless raisins
½ cup roasted pecans
3 tablespoons unsalted butter
¾ cup heavy whipping cream
Preheat the oven to 300F. Put the French bread pieces into a 9x12x2 inch baking pan. In a blender or food processor, blend the eggs, milk, 2/3 cup of sugar, bananas, cinnamon, nutmeg and 1/2 teaspoon of the vanilla until smooth. Pour this mixture over the French bread pieces. Fold in the raisins and the pecans and let the mixture set for 20 minutes. Top with small pieces of the butter. Cover the pudding with aluminum foil and place the pan into a larger pan. Add warm water to a depth of 1 inch in the larger pan. Bake for 1 hour. Remove the foil and bake uncovered for 15 minutes until set. In a deep, medium bowl, whisk the cream just until it begins to thicken. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon of sugar and 1/4 teaspoon vanilla. Continue whisking until soft peaks form. Cover and chill.

⅔ cup unsalted butter, room temperature
½ cup packed light brown sugar
6 large ripe bananas, quartered
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
¼ teaspoon ground nutmeg
3 tablespoons dark rum
2 tablespoons banana liqueur
½ teaspoon vanilla extract

Heat a large saute pan or skillet over low heat. Add the butter, sugar, bananas, cinnamon and nutmeg. Moving the skillet back and forth, cook until the butter and sugar become creamy and the bananas begin to soften, about one minute. Remove the skillet from heat and add the rum and the liqueur. Return the pan to the heat. Tilt the pan, avert your face and and light the liquid with a long match. Shake the skillet until the flames subside. Add the vanilla, remove from heat and keep warm.

To serve, place a large scoop of bread pudding in the middle of each serving plate or bowl. Place 2 slices of banana on each plate and top with about 3 tablespoons of sauce. Spoon the whipped cream over the bread pudding and serve immediately.

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Eating our way through NOLA!

Wow, is this city fabulous for those who enjoy all things rich, fried and generally delicious! I have a feeling I'm going to want to step up the workout routine when I get back, but boy is it worth it since I get to enjoy all of the delightful cuisine here. Tonight we had the pleasure of dining in a New Orleans landmark, Galatoire's, and I have to admit, it lived up to its rep. With the whole old-fashioned "jackets required" rule, the dining room made me feel like I was in another era! Everyone was dressed up and it was tremendously southern. I'd definitely recommend it if you are looking for a fancy, memorable date night. Tomorrow morning we're getting up early to venture to the famed Cafe du Monde in the French Quarter for coffee and beignets (French doughnuts) before work. If only all work travel could be this much fun.

Monday, November 10, 2008

More Fab Freebies from Blog Friends

Wow, Christmas is coming early this year for a couple of lucky blog readers. Check out MMM to win one of these or Adventures of a Southern Newlywed to win one of these! Both items would be absolutely perfect on a desk at work and would get you through some long, cold winter days. Thanks girls for being so generous and special thanks to the Paper Cafe and Keurig for sponsoring. One lucky Prepadelphia reader won MMM's last giveaway, so let's hope we can repeat. Good luck!

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Blogging from the Big Easy

Sorry for the lack of updates these past couple of days. Everything seems to happen all at once for me lately. After the busiest week at work I've had in a year(!), I had a weekend that included a baby shower, a housewarming party, a birthday party, a baptism and a flight to New Orleans! That's right, I'm coming to you live from this lovely French Quarter hotel where I'll be spending the rest of the week. I'm here on a business trip, but should have time for some sightseeing, shopping and dining, so any recommendations from those familiar with this town would be much appreciated. I have to say New Orleans has made a great first impression so far. When I arrived at my hotel a little while ago I was greeted with a "bedtime snack" in the lobby that included a PB&J bar, milk and a hot chocolate bar (with whipped cream and marshmallows). Yummy.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Try a New Recipe Thursdays - Cranberry Chicken

With Thanksgiving fast approaching, I'm getting to be in the mood for some cranberry flavor. I'm thinking of making this dish tonight. You should try it too.

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts - you could also use any other type of chicken you prefer (thighs, bone-in breast, etc.)
1 can cranberry sauce
1 packet onion soup mix
1 small bottle of Russian dressing (ff you can’t find Russian dressing, use Catalina)

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a 9x13 baking dish with cooking spray. Wash and dry your chicken and set in the baking dish; salt and pepper to taste, In a small bowl, combine remaining ingredients. Pour cranberry mixture over chicken, covering generously. Bake covered with foil for approximately 45 minutes (cooking time will vary depending on the size and type of chicken you select).

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Great Final Sale Deal at J.Crew

Are you lusting after a soft, warm cashmere sweater in a pretty fall color or a nice pair of wool slacks? Take advantage of this extra 30% off coupon for final sale items at J.Crew, now through Saturday, November 8. Enter EXTRA30 when you check out to redeem the coupon. I'm very tempted by the cashmere turtleneck sweater in bright saffron. Happy deal-catching!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Get out the Vote!

Just a friendly reminder ladies - do your American duty tomorrow and vote for your favorite candidates! Remember, every vote counts, especially for those of us in the 11 states that are considered "in play" for this election and could go for either campaign - PA, VA, NC, FL, OH, IN, ND, MT, CO and NV. I, for one, can't wait to vote in my third presidential election ever (and the first with a real, non-absentee ballot).