Thursday, January 16, 2014

Wedding Style - My Top 5 Picks for Gowns in a Motion Picture

It's RED CARPET season, and i'm sure everyone knows this (well those that care anyway).

One aspect of this blog that you will see an adequate amount of writing on will be weddings. Yes, I'm one of those women who's quite obsessed with weddings from the engagement to the last dance.

Being a movie buff, or connoisseur if you will I love a good "movie wedding" so I figured i'd play at my own red carpet of weddings past.

Shari Headley in Coming to America 1988 - I CRIED WHEN I SAW HER IN IT

- I was 7 when this movie came out and if you were an Eddie Murphy fan or part of an African American household….you KNEW allllllll about this movie. It is one of the funniest movies EVER!!!!! My husband often times walks around the house reciting many different phrases "ah haaaaaa" (inside joke). BUT….the last scene of this movie, when Prince Hakeem thinks he's about to marry someone his father (King Jaffe Joffer) arranged for him to marry. All of a sudden you see a veiled woman with this stunning bubble gum pink ball gown and a train to rival ALL trains (including Princess Diana's train) and he lifts the veil and it's LISA (the love of his life) ugh what a moment in a movie! Ok so on 2014 this dress might not be "in" but if you take a look at celebrity brides throughout the years (Gwen Stefani, Jessica Biel, and recently Kaley Cucoco) the pink wedding dress trend is very on trend.

Kimberley Williams in Father of the Bride 1991

C'mon what little girl didn't sqee when she saw "Annie" in that beautiful white (diamond white at that) wedding gown. It was one of the most EPIC wedding movie moments in history

Jennifer Lopez in Monster in Law 2005

If you didn't wish you were "Charlie" in this movie when you saw her in this gown. It was simple and so elegant. Her hair was pulled into the perfect chignon accented with a beautiful flower. She definitely was prepared to make a statement in front of her mother in law's elite friends and family. 

Anne Hathaway & Kate Hudson in Bride Wars 2010

What I love about the dresses in this movie was that the fashion stylists really paid attention to the characters that these women were playing in the movie. In the movie Anne wore "her mother's dress"which turned out to be a dress by the amazing Amsale (I don't believe she was designing gowns in that age but I digress) it was perfect for her. Meanwhile Kate adjusted her body for the wonderful world of Vera Wang in a gown that most little girls dream of but once she gets older the amount of pouf decreases to a sleeker silhouette. 

Thanks for reading…..and YES I will be announcing my Top 5 Wedding dresses TV EDITION

Monday, January 13, 2014

City Slicker Ribs

Happy Monday!!!!

I hope you all had a great weekend. I stayed in and kept it very low key this weekend. Ran some errands with hubby and went to visit a new church with some of my girlfriends.

I'm really curious to know why I keep on posting about food on this blog. Every time I make a meal I'm anxious to get onto Blogger to share it with you all (you know…those that actually ready my posts).

A few weeks back my husband asked me "Why don't you ever make BBQ ribs for dinner"…my response was something along the lines of "well..I really don't know actually". After that conversation, I forgot about it completely until last night I was food shopping and came across a nice meaty pack of country ribs and I decided that tonight would be the night he gets ribs.

But…they couldn't be just any type of rib recipe, it had to be authentic to my brain something that wasn't pulled from another cookbook etc. Somewhere out there, I know there is a Chef, or a Home Cook who has made ribs this exact way and that's fine because great minds think alike.

But…here is my version of my version of slathered, juicy, and tender ribs.

Maple Whisky BBQ Baked Ribs aka City Slicker Ribs
1 pack of country ribs
Lawry's Seasoned Salt this stuff is like the mecca of all southern kitchens
Ground Black Pepper
3-4 twists of Sea Salt
1 hefty sprinkle of raw sugar

BBQ Sauce 
1/2 an onion thinly sliced
1 lemon wedge
1 bottle of a basic BBQ sauce I used K.C. Masterpiece
1/2 c. of Maple Whiskey 
2 tbsp of Maple Syrup
2 tbsp. of  Port Wine
Throw all of this in a small sauce pan, cover with a lid and cook on low for 30 min

Step 1. Season the ribs with sea salt, black pepper and Lawry's Season Salt *
Step 2. Put ribs in a deep dish pan and cover with foil and bake on 350 for 1 hour
Step 3. Pull the ribs out of the oven and turn the temperature up to 365
Step 4. Drain the juice from the pan completely
Step 5. Sprinkle the ribs with the raw sugar and then pour the BBQ sauce on top and make sure you get every inch of those ribs covered in sauce
Step 6. Put them back into the oven for 15-20 min to let it soak up the coating
Step 7. Take them out of the oven and let them cool for about 10min (this also allows the sauce to get sticky which is how I prefer them)

* Season your meat to eyesight. I like to see sprinkles of every seasoning on the meat that's how I judge it. Be careful with the Lawry's though; because we're using sea salt we don't want the ribs over salted

I whipped up homemade mashed potatoes with ricotta cheese and a little bit of steamed kale and onions for our sides. It was probably some of the best ribs i've ever had (besides the ribs my father makes now those are game changers)


p.s. some people think I cook "fancy"….this dish is not fancy to me at all. I don't think I cook fancy nor do I think I AM fancy. I cook what I like, that's all. I don't necessarily make these meals just to play in a fantasy life thinking everyone wishes they could eat like me. I have a very versatile palette when it comes to food. I'm not a repeat player, meaning if i'm investing time to turn on a stove, you better believe I want to enjoy it and not feel completely BORED with what's on my plate. No dish is ever the same….EVER. Why? Because I don't follow recipes per se, I go with my gut and hope it turns out good. Experimentation is what I love and adore about the process of cooking/baking. So if you do read my blog and you're intimidated….please don't be. Just because it's plated a certain way doesn't mean it's so hard to make. I like to eat different things and I like it to look pretty on a plate. Plain and simple.

Friday, January 10, 2014

"Pie It Forward"

Happy New Year!!!!!!

So I made a small resolution that I think I can adhere to keeping. I am not going to promise you posts all the time, it'd just be wrong for me to do that. I don't even think I have that much of a following, but I know my time will come when I do.

Until then I'm going to keep sharing.

Anyway….I baked a pie. It was delicious, i loved it. BUT I ate 2 slices, my husband ate 1 bite and the rest I gave it to my co-workers because it was so delicious that I didn't want it to be wasted.

There are really no words because it was THAT Good. I didn't follow a recipe for the filling, but I did use Ree Drummond's Pie Crust recipe because I have yet to come up with a crust recipe of my own. She never fails me EVER!!!!!

But let's rewind, this pie was not planned, because if it had been I would have put more thought into it. I had some apples that were 1 day shy of being tossed into the garbage. I'm trying my best not to be so wasteful so I sliced those babies up and Googled a crust recipe and voila…pie. I did jazz this one up in the end a smidge. I added mini marshmallows into the lattice holes, and then drizzled some chocolate syrup on top. I thought it was add something cool, new and more oozy and … well…it did!!!!!

(Sorry about the shadow, I have to get better at taking photographs of my food)

So I'm going to spare you the dramatics of putting Mrs. Drummond's pie crust recipe here, just click the link above and there you have it.

5 apples (I used McIntosh apples)
1/2 c dark brown sugar
3/4c white sugar
Vanilla Extract (pure)
1 pinch of salt
1/2 tbsp flour

1 handful or less of mini marshmallows
Chocolate syrup

Step 1. peel and slice the apples, if there are brown spots, take them out and discard and use whatever is good of that apple
Step 2. let them sit in a bowl and sprinkle the lemon juice and mix it through so your apples won't turn
Step 3. this is going to sound like a hot mess, but in a large bowl throw in your apples and gently stir all of the ingredients in slowly making sure every slice has flavor on it
**if you notice I didn't put a measurement for the Cinnamon, Nutmeg or Vanilla extract. It's quite difficult for me because I was taught to cook without measuring, and by eyesight. What I will say is if you shake your cinnamon and nutmeg containers 3-4 times that should be enough. (sorry but it's the best I can do as I didn't plan this recipe post it just happened)

Step 4. Take 1 of your pie crusts, roll it out, and lay it into a 9" pie plate (the crust should overlap the pan so you can crimp it)


Step 5. I don't like "wet crust" so if you're anything like me you will poke some holes into that crust with a fork and crimp the edges a bit and bake on 350 until it's light golden brown


Step 6. Let the crust cool once you take it out of the oven for a good 15minutes
Step 7. Pour the apple mixtures into the pie dish
Step 8. I did a lattice top on this pie because I think it's pretty
Step 9. Bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes then remove from the oven and add mini marshmallows anywhere you can fit them in the lattice holes and put back into the oven for 10 minutes
Step 10. Once the pie has cooled drizzle some chocolate syrup on top


Tuesday, December 10, 2013

It's Beginning to look a lot like Christmas!!!

Happy Tuesday

Happy Holidays

Christmas is my all time favorite holiday! I love everything it stands for. And let me tell you WHY!

I grew up in a modest household with 4 kids running around and 2 parents trying to manage it all. Christmas was and still IS a very big deal in my childhood home. My parents made a way to surprise all of us on Christmas morning with some of the coolest toys and gifts ever! How they managed I have no idea. We weren't poor, but we damn sure weren't rich either. The smell of cookies baking, watching my mom wrap gifts into the wee hours of the morning, and watching my dad get all excited to break out his old school r&b Christmas albums to play for us. (Cue in The Temptations, The Jackson 5, Stevie Wonder and more!!!!)  It's always been my favorite holiday. If you ask my family some of them might say it's my favorite because I'm spoiled and I like gifts!!!!! Well as a child, YES this is why I loved it the gifts but now as a thirty something adult the traditions mean so much more to me than anything anyone could ever give me.

I'm a stickler for tradition! It means something to me to be able to celebrate the holidays the same way every year with a few minor tweaks here and there.

For instance, my family was never big on Christmas Eve. The most that happened was we (as a household) went to the basement where the tree was, sipped eggnog or cider while my folks and perhaps some of their siblings came over for a Christmas cocktail. We were rushed into bed no later than 10pm and were told NOT to come downstairs or else Santa Claus would pass over our house. We all stayed in our beds….not moving a beat as we heard the Christmas music getting louder from the basement. As I child I thought my parents were masking the sound of Santa's reindeers so we wouldn't come out of our rooms, now as an adult I can only hope that my parents were enjoying one another's company, laughing and smiling and getting excited to see our blended family of 4 open presents the next morning.

On Christmas morning, I would wake up the ENTIRE house no later than 7:00am. I was impatient I could not wait to open those gifts and play with my brothers and my sister. They all hated me for it lol.
But as I got older, my parents started making breakfast and that meant making ME WAIT!!!!!! No bueno guys….this was not cool.

But as we all got older my siblings left the house 1 by 1. Christmas morning just wasn't the same anymore. I missed them terribly. My brothers were married and had to split their holiday up and I realized that life is so short. Our youth doesn't last very long which is why tradition means so much more to me now.

How has Christmas changed for me since marriage?
Taking on the traditions of your spouse's family is VERY important. No one wants a spouse that isn't interested in how sentimental the traditions are. The first year was an adjustment. But it got easier with each year and I love what my husband's family does for Christmas. We celebrate Christmas Eve at my in law's house, we dance, sing, play games and then at 12:00 we exchange presents then everyone goes home to sleep and we reconvene with the majority of his family in this area for Christmas breakfast. Our first married Christmas we hosted the breakfast and it was such a great memory. CHAOTIC catering for 25 hungry men and women and I was absolutely exhausted by the end of that day but it's something I will remember forever. After breakfast we head to my parent's house for more gift exchanges, dinner and we play a game that lasts into the night. Then that's it Christmas is over!

 Just a plate of Christmas cookies homemade by yours truly
 Playing the game at my parents home
My grandmother and mother preparing the Christmas spread 

 Hubby and I at Christmas Breakfast with his family 

My sister and I modeling the stockings from our childhood that my mom still puts up

So I wish you all a Merry Christmas, I hope that you take pride in the traditions that you have with your loved ones. Life is so short, so we must cherish it and celebrate it often.

Our 2013 Christmas tree!!!! Honoring traditional red and green 

Friday, November 15, 2013

So good, just so incredibly good!

Hey Guys,

Happy FRIDAY!!!!

I've been a little MIA but it's not that bad, hope I wasn't missed or anything.

So earlier this week I was sick. I stayed home and had 2 packs of Ramen Noodle soup. But I didn't want that I wanted REAL SOUP

So I whipped this little batch up in my Le Creuset Dutch Oven (OBSESSED)

Claiming this as my go to soup for the Fall. Chicken, Sweet potatoes, onion, garlic, butter, olive oil, corn, toasted sesame oil, chili powder curry powder and cumin. Emulsified and stewed topped with slivered almonds for a texture variation. Take THAT $7.49 soup from Hale and Hearty

Savory Fall Stew

3 Chicken legs 

1 Sweet Potatoe (diced) 
3/4c diced carrots
1 Spanish Onion (diced)
4 Cloves of Garlic 
2 TBSP of Butter 
2 TBPS of Olive Oil (EVOO is perfectly ok) 
1 bag of frozen corn 
1 dash of Toasted Sesame Oil
Chili Powder
Cumin Powder
Curry Powder
2 Knorr Chicken Stock Gel

Step 1: Heat up a pot large enough to hold 5c of water

Step 2. Add your olive oil, onions, carrots, and sweet potatoes and cook for 5 min then add your garlic. Let this sautee for about 3 min (do not let the garlic burn or else your stock is ruined)

Step 3. Add 5c of water and your chicken stock gel. Put the lid on and give it time to melt into the pot.

Step 4. Add the chicken legs and corn and let this boil on LOW for 20-30 minutes

Tip: I refrained from seasoning it in the early stages because I really wanted the natural flavors of my ingredients to be the stars of this soup. If you want a heavy taste on the dry seasonings then by all means add them in the beginning but if you're like me and wanted just a hint of it wait until the next step

Step 5: If you have an Emulsifier (hand held blender) take the chicken legs out and blend your soup until it's the consistency you want. Normally I like a super chunky texture, but this time I wanted something smooth and creamy so I blended until it was just that. If you do not have a handheld blender just pour the soup into your counter top blender and do it that way. Same thing! 

Step 6: Add the chicken legs back into the soup, and season. I did not measure this part, I went by my eye sight b/c I could tell how much was too much or too little. Add the dash of Toasted Sesame Oil and let it cook on low for about 30 more minutes. The longer you cook, the better it tastes! 

I garnished mine with some slivered almonds just for texture and enjoyed every moment of this soup

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

There's No Better Place

If you know me, which through this blog I hope you get to know who I am a little bit more through each and every entry; you know that without a shadow of a doubt I absolutely LOVE NYC

It all started in high school. In my junior year we took a class trip to the MoMA (Metropolitan Museum of Art) my friends and I were so excited to get dressed up and hit the city (ugh but with classmates that we could 1/2 stand). Nonetheless, for me, it was the perfect fall day. We ate water dogs on the steps near the fountain and just enjoyed our time there. I made a mental note (and I probably told my BFF) that one day I was going to work here, live here, and be here every single day.

After I graduated college I thought for sure I would get a job making $50,000 in NYC and move here within the year. YEAH THAT DID NOT HAPPEN (Cue in reality) So I went through 2 post-grad jobs before I got my break in NYC. I worked at Bath & Body Works as an Assistant Store Manager for 2 years, and then I worked for Bare Necessities as a Customer Service Supervisor. I felt like this was not the plan, I was angry all I wanted was to be amongst the fashionable, chill, and busy streets of NYC. Finally I got a job in Soho and my love affair with this city officially began. It was a dream!!! I had amazing co-workers, a hella cool, stylish boss that literally taught me so much in just 6 months of working for her. (I really miss her) But anyway, 6 months later the dream was CRUSHED! I was laid off….I was devastated, why is my bliss being taken away from me? But this was my first lesson in the real world in that nothing lasts forever. My company was downsizing, restructuring whatever you want to call it. It was sad, so many of us were let go.

7 months later (after many trips back into the city meeting with headhunters) I was BACK IN ACTION!!!!!!! Landed a temporary job with a major major MAJOR retailer and I've been here ever since.

In between the years, I have celebrated countless birthdays in this city, took my very first out of state trip with my husband here, sent my parents to numerous Broadway shows and concerts and tasted some of the most amazing culinary treats of my LIFE!!!!!!

Some people are very anti-NYC because it's "dangerous", or there's too many people, but there's a certain calm that can really only be appreciated in the morning, when there aren't too many people on the street, or the line at Starbucks isn't quite as long….it's mesmerizing to just sit/stand and pay attention to your surroundings.

So…all the while I can complain about the many different facets of life, the one thing I cannot complain about is that I've made this happen for myself. I think of the day when I won't work in NYC anymore and I get really sad about it. There's just something about this city...

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Author Q & A

1. Why do you blog?

I blog because it's a creative outlet for me to share with readers, and passers by my thoughts and opinions on things that I find interesting.

2. How old are you?

They say a lady should never tell but I'm a woman who's not afraid of the aging process I graciously turned 32 last week 10.9.81

3. Why don't you blog consistently, like daily?

I have a full time job guys. I don't have the luxury to sit in front of my computer to search for content to blog about. I would love to do this daily but I'm not interested in setting expectations super high that I cannot achieve. I try to blog at least 1x per week, more if I can. I'm also a wife, a friend, a sister etc so my time is dedicated to more things than my awesome blog.

4. What nationality are you?

Ahhhhh the age old question that I've been getting since I was able to speak. I am an American. I am an African-American of mixed descent woman. My roots are in NJ but my mother is from a very small town in Georgia and my father's parents are from a very small town in South Carolina. My paternal great-grandmother was Cherokee Indian. My maternal great-grandfather was a white man. I don't know if his family were Italian, German, Polish etc but the rumor I've heard is Irish. I embrace all of these differences about me. Curly hair, caramel skin, slim nose it is what it is. I love me!

5. What do you do full time?

I work for the corporate offices of a MAJOR retailer. You've probably been there a time or two

6. Why do you blog about so many different things? Why not stick to one targeted audience?

I'm a "Jack of All Trades"!!! I like to juggle, i'm knowledgable about several topics.

Makeup/Beauty - I am a freelance MUA. I do bridal makeup, special event makeup, my own makeup. I like making women feel beautiful and teaching them how to achieve certain looks.

Weddings - I've started out as an assistant coordinator with Jenny Orsini Events in 2007, now I am a Senior Event Consultant with J.O.E. My ultimate passion in life is to be surrounded by all things wedding related it's an obsession. I'm the friend that you call when you get engaged and all throughout your planning to ask those crazy questions no one else would know the answer to nor would they care about it! Weddings = LIFE

This me after I picked my wedding gown up from Kleinfeld's

Food - I absolutely LOVE food! Who doesn't? I used to sit in my mother's kitchen as a child and watch/help her prepare several meals for our family because it was fun to me! I enjoy entertaining, making decadent dishes for my family and friends. I'm blessed to have skilled hands in the kitchen and not need to follow recipes line for line. My family thinks I'm adventurous  (try getting a southern family to eat Pumpkin Pie on Thanksgiving instead of Mama Duke's Sweet Potato Pie and I might get slapped)
Made this during Hurricane Sandy 
Baked brie with berries YUM

Fashion - I'm plus sized so I'm interested in fashion for my body type. Period point blank

7. What does your blog name mean?

Adhari is my first name. Renee is my middle name. As a child (and even to this day) my family likes to call me Adhari Renee amongst other nicknames. I love my name I think it's unique. It means "princess" in Hebrew or Arabic i'm not 100% sure. But if you don't believe my name is Arabic check this out Adhari

Thanks for reading. If you have questions please comment down below!!!!

XoXo, Food and Great Lipstick