Red Snapper with Marinara over Angel Hair

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

One of my hard to break bad habits these days is ordering take out when I get home late and am too hungry to cook.

The freezer is well stocked with steaks, chicken breasts, and fish but to defrost it and cook it can be time-consuming. I was determined yesterday morning to cook no matter what time I got home and put two frozen red snapper fillets in the fridge to thaw. I had a freezer stash of marinara sauce too so I was going to have red snapper with marinara sauce over angel hair.

Of course as I sat in the office at 6:15, about an hour after I was scheduled to leave I had to mentally prepare myself to run home, walk the dog and prepare dinner- stomach growling or not!

I am writing because dinner was ready in under 25 minutes. It was healthy, hearty, and “Brilliant!” (Brent’s words).

Here’s what you need to feed two:

2 red snapper fillets (8-10 ounces) be sure to remove bones/scales

3 – 4 cups of marinara sauce (depends on how saucy you like it)

½ box thin spaghetti or angel hair pasta

Directions:

Set up a large pot of water to boil.

20150518_193422

In a large frying pan, heat 1 cup of marinara sauce. Place red snapper skin side down. Add ½ cup more sauce to the pan to cover the red snapper slightly. Cover and allow to simmer on low for 20 minutes.

When 8 minutes of cook time remain for the fish, place the pasta in boiling water. Cook for 6-8 minutes, or according to box/preference. Drain reserving 1 – 2 tbsp of starchy water.

20150518_194256

Remove the fish from the pan with a large spatula. The fish will be tender- be careful when transferring to a plate. Place drained pasta in the pan with the leftover sauce adding a little more sauce and the starchy water to coat the pasta. When the pasta is coated, transfer to plate- top with snapper.

We sprinkled some parm cheese and red pepper flakes on to this.

20150518_194240

It was so good. The red snapper really holds up well to marinara sauce. It’s not fishy at all, either! I highly recommend for anyone trying to get more fish in their diet and those that want something quick for dinner.

Sausage, Cannelini, and Tomato Ragout over Rosemary Polenta

Tags

, , , , , , , ,

Now that hubby and I are back from Negril (and can’t wait to go back) we are trying to get back into the swing of things. The wedding is over. The honeymoon is over. And the gorging on take-out is definitely over.

I came home to a STACK of my favorite magazines. Cooking Light. Food and Wine. Bon Apetit.

My schedule has been a little crazy but once I had a moment, I sat down with my post-it tabs and got to tabbing. While tabbing away, I came across a recipe that reminded me of my favorite comfort dish and the fact that I haven’t made it in FOREVER.

Bolognese over polenta. Really, anything with a marinara sauce and a sharp creamy polenta is heaven to me. It’s simple but so filling and really good! Inspired by this recipe, I tore apart my pantry and freeze and found everything I needed to make this dish- plus a few tweaks.

sausage cannelini tomato ragout

Sausage, cannelini and tomato Ragout

6 ounces bulk hot Italian sausage (6 sausage links with casings removed)

1 tablespoon olive oil

1 cup chopped onion

1 tablespoon unsalted tomato paste

2 garlic cloves, minced

1/3 cup dry red wine

3/4 cup unsalted chicken stock (such as Swanson)

1/4 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper

Dash of crushed red pepper

1 (14.5-ounce) can unsalted diced tomatoes, undrained (I used Fire Roasted for more heat)

1 (15-ounce) can unsalted cannellini beans, rinsed and drained

2 teaspoons chopped fresh oregano

Directions:

Heat a large skillet over medium-high heat.

Add sausage to pan; cook 2 minutes, stirring to crumble.

Remove sausage from pan.

Add oil to pan; swirl to coat. Add onion; sauté 3 minutes. Add tomato paste and garlic; cook 1 minute, stirring frequently.

Add wine chicken broth; cook 1 minute, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Stir in stock and next 5 ingredients (through beans); reduce heat to medium-low, and simmer 8 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Stir in cooked sausage and oregano.

bowl of sausage bean and tom

Rosemary Polenta
Ingredients
1 cup ground corn meal
1 cup cold water
2 cups boiling water
1 tsp salt
4 ounces non-fat Greek yogurt
4 Tbsp reduced fat parmesan cheese
1 tbsp dried rosemary

Directions
Combine cornmeal and cold water. Place in medium pot. Place over medium low heat. Add boiling water and stir. Lower the heat and allow to bubble. Add yogurt, cheese, salt, and rosemary. Allow to simmer for 5 or 8 minutes.

Serve polenta with sausage and bean sauce on top. Sprinkle with parm cheese. Enjoy!

bowl 2

This dish didn’t take long to make but it made SO many servings. I had polenta and ragout for days! I love it with lots of grated parmesan!

Alice’s Tea Cup

Tags

, , ,

As we “speak” my husband and I are off to a faraway land where frosty beverages flow and sandals are the only acceptable footwear. We are off to our honeymoon! It’s been a long time coming since our last vacation and it is so needed. Here is a recap of the second afternoon tea we did during out mini-moon in NYC.

**************************

Part of the reason we didn’t jet set right after the wedding was that we wanted to spend some time with my new in-laws. My sister-in-law has two gorgeous (and so sweet!) daughters that truly melt my heart. Brent and I wanted to spend some time with them and since we bought them American Girl dolls for Christmas, we thought brunch, lunch, tea, or dinner at the American Girl café would be a real treat. But reservations for American Girl are SOOOO hard to get and when I couldn’t book a decent time for a meal I searched for Plan B.

Enter Alice Tea Cup.

alice tea 2

One, my love for Afternoon Tea. Two, the Alice in Wonderland décor was reminiscent for the grown-ups while being completely appropriate for the littles. We went on a Thursday afternoon, around 2PM. It was freezing outside so the warmth of Alice’s Tea Cup was everything. Our table wasn’t quite ready so we sat in the waiting area surrounded by books and fairy tale lore. I spied some fairy wings hanging in a corner and gave the girls their own set of wings for the occasion. Staff really play up the fairy tale and greeted our newly winged fairies with fairy dust. We all got to make a wish while the girls put the fairy dust (AKA glitter) on their face and hair.  (why didn’t I take more photos!?!?)

We were seated at a huge table and the girls took some fairy tale books with them; to do a little reading while the adults chat I guess. I decided it was in our best interest to order the Mad Hatter.

alice tea 1

A tower of scones, sandwiches, and sweets and a pot of tea. The scones and sandwiches were unlimited (!!!) and all the additional pots of tea were an additional fee. Brent got earl grey, I share a pot of chai with my sister in law and the littles shared a pot of berry tea- which they quickly realized was not fruit juice; we tried.

20150220_154013 (1)

The sandwiches were by far our favorite. Unlimited BLTS? Yes please. Some sandwiches were a miss (smoked salmon) but the tuna was pretty great too as well as the egg salad.

Service here is relaxed which I love for tea service but if you are looking to fill up on sandwiches, you may want to order your next round while you are still working on the current.

Overall, I LOVED Alice’s Tea Cup and the unlimited sandwiches and scones in the Mad Hatter platter really sealed the deal for me- that and the awesome décor. There are three locations in NYC, this post is referencing the West 73rd Location. Great spot for a ladies brunch, date with the significant other or a day with the kiddos.

*photos courtesy of yelp

Afternoon Tea at the Ritz

One of the things I love most these days is a good afternoon tea. Reading blogs during the day, I discovered afternoon tea at some of NY’s finest hotels. The entire experience of afternoon tea appealed to me with comfy chairs to relax in, wonderful background music, a wide selection of teas to choose from and the delicious treats to accompany said tea.

My first afternoon tea was with B on our 1 year anniversary of dating. Since then, we have relished opportunities to hurry up and relax- even going so far as to take a mental health day JUST for the sake of having afternoon tea at our favorite hole in the wall.

A week before the wedding, I wanted to do something that was US and something that we could splurge on that we would never treat ourselves too. Afternoon Tea was a must but one of the first glimpses into afternoon tea I had was from Kathy Yl Chan when she wrote about Afternoon Tea at the Ritz Carlton.

unnamed

It was perfect. I called B and asked if he was interested and of course he was. With little convincing, we booked THE LAST reservation for the day after our wedding for afternoon tea. The experience was definitely once in a life time – but *spoiler alert* I like our humble hole in the wall a lot better.

Walking into the Ritz, we were seated in plush high back chairs. The table itself was a little high for the seat but it was meant for leaning back and relaxing.

I was slightly disappointed in their tea selection so I went with a spiced chai tea. unnamed (2)

Thumbs down for no lumps of sugar.

Our tea service came in courses.

unnamed (3)

Scones.

unnamed (1)

Sandwiches.

unnamed (4)

Petit Fours.

The sandwiches were TEENY TINY but so good. I loved the lobster roll and the ruffled egg salad. We enjoyed them so much we ordered some more. The scones were massive and fluffy and crusty and dense. So much going on in those bad boys.

Alas, I was disappointed in the clotted cream. It was lackluster. I had such high hopes for this tea and I think I over-hyped it in my head.

We left barely able to finish our sweets when the staff brought out a slab of cheesecake with Congratulations written on it.

unnamed (5)

When I made my reservation, I mentioned it would be the day after our wedding- that was a nice gesture.

On the way home with our doggy-bag filled with the sweets we couldn’t finish, we couldn’t help but think the Ritz was severely overrated. We made the best of it and still enjoyed ourselves but it’s likely we will not return.

Smith and Wollensky

In lieu of an immediate honeymoon after our wedding reception, B and I decided to spend a week with our in-laws who were visiting from England as well as be tourists in our own city. For one week, we were people of leisure. We got a couples massage on a random Wednesday Morning followed by a steak lunch in the city for restaurant week.

February will be the shortest month filled with the most occasions. When booking our wedding, we simply saw a 3 day weekend in February. Not Brent’s birthday or Valentine ’s Day. So, for the rest of our lives together the shortest month of the year will likely be the most expensive- and you better believe once he realized that, he made a deal with me to have separate gifts.

Separate gifts.

So, for Valentine’s Day, he got chocolates and a card. On our wedding day, I gave him a new phone (hello family cell phone plan!). And on his birthday (well, a few days before), I got him a steak lunch at New York City’s own Smith and Wollensky – complete with surprise birthday cake and singing; a first for B.

Smith and Wollensky’s is a spot for the local businessmen having client meetings or work meetings in general. B and I walked into Smith and Wollensky’s completely and utterly relaxed after our couples massage and started the lunch out right with glasses of champagne.

“We got married yesterday!”

“Next round of champagne is on us, then!”

We perused the Restaurant week menu and after having only a large coffee for breakfast we were ready to go in on some steaks. Wanting to experience as many dishes as possible, B and I opted to split our appetizers. The usual picks: Calamari and a Caesar Salad.

I used to be so adventurous trying new things. Now? I just want to stick to what I know I like and compare. The calamari was fried perfectly and I loved the marinara dipping sauce. The Caesar salad was very tasty as well but a little too heavy on the dressing- and TONS of homemade croutons. We love bread. And the warm buttery brioche they brought to the table was addicting. We knew were in trouble when they refilled our bread basket… twice.

Smith and Wollensky Surf and Turf

For my entre, I got the surf and turf. A lobster tail and an 8 oz filet mignon. B ordered a New York Strip with a side of garlic mashed potatoes and roasted Brussels sprouts (upon my request).

The dishes were amazing. The steak was cooked just the way we like it – Medium rare. It had a nice char on the outside and was buttery soft on the inside. The whipped potatoes were addicting. Even after ALL THAT BREAD, we stood there diving our spoons into the silky mashed potatoes.

Smith and Wollensky

When it was time for dessert, we were so full. But I saw our waiter getting a few other waiters gathered- no doubt to sing happy Birthday to B. They arrived with a slab of coconut cake and ice cream and sang happy birthday. The look on that man’s face as he realized they were singing to him was priceless. In all his life, he had never had waiters sing happy birthday to him. The moment inspired me to do it again a few days later while having dinner with his parents.

I’m an evil wife.

We had to walk around the city for a bit after the huge lunch at Smith and Wollensky’s. It was such a nice treat!

The Wedding 2.15.15

Rodriguez 02-15-15 210

After ReBar happened, Brent and I had to start over again with our “dream” wedding. With all the hiccups that come with planning a wedding plus all the unexpected disasters, by the time February rolled around, we just wanted to do the damn thing already.

I think a lot of couples feel this way- but along with the anxiety of watching the weather reports, making time for dress fittings and finding all these last minute details- it was all worth it. Even the 15 lbs of stress weight I put on (the dress still fit!).

I foolishly planned to work up until the day before my wedding. Thanks to the flu this year I took an unexpected week off from work recovering from the flu and bronchitis and had two weeks of HECK trying to catch up. I was given the green light to take an extra day off to prep and boy was it needed. Our wedding was the day after Valentine’s Day. I had to prepare for the rehearsal dinner which we wisely decided host at our apartment to keep things intimate and to keep costs down.

Prior to that, the weather report showed February 15 was going to feel like -20 degrees outside. ::insert groans here:: I mean, we DID opt to have a wedding in February so I guess we were asking for this – all in the name of keeping costs down. Because the weather forecast was “bone chilling cold” I made a snap decision to add hot cocoa to our favors. A small item that guests were so thankful for when they went home. Hot chocolate and S’mores. My friend Patty, and my Maid of Honor, Danielle, made the favors happen and worked till the day before the wedding getting them all ready for the wedding. They were beautiful (and delicious).

At the rehearsal dinner, we cleaned the apartment like never before! We had it at a 1pm and provided an assortment of bagels, spreads, muffins, fruit, cheeses, jams, cookies, brownies, quiche, champagne and orange juice. The spread seemed to make everyone happy- especially the quiche. (A big pat on the back to me because most of the leftovers were eaten on the morning of the wedding.) I had to fight tooth and nail with some people over whether or not having a rehearsal was necessary- if anyone is debating the matter- you NEED to have a rehearsal for a number of reasons. As the bride, I had my own expectations of the wedding. My father- in-law, who performed my ceremony, was gracious enough to tweak his sermon to accommodate my wishes- the end resulted in 3 dry runs of the wedding (and still on the wedding day people forgot when they were supposed to walk and when they were supposed to stay- good times).

Leading up to the big day I thought I would be too nervous to sleep… nope. Slept like a baby the night before right beside my future husband. I awoke early on my wedding day for my hair and make-up appointment. I kissed him goodbye and went to the salon leaving him to chill with his best man- my now brother-in-law.

I brought with me a platter of bagels and muffins from the rehearsal dinner to the salon. It gave us life! We sat under the dryer. We got all pretty and somehow 4 hours flew right by.

Rodriguez 02-15-15 011

I left the salon with the girls and at least 2 cans of hair spray holding my hair together as the frosty BONE CHILLING winds whipped around and headed for my parents’ place where the photographer was already clicking away at photos of my shoes and dress.Rodriguez 02-15-15 025

Even as they zipped up my wedding dress I felt calm. COLD. But calm. I was marrying Brent.

Rodriguez 02-15-15 043

I was looking forward to the best party ever.

Rodriguez 02-15-15 063

Our limo arrived completely filthy – that sucked. We were on our way to DUMBO to shoot the first look with Brent. Only living one block from my parents, timing the limo with Brent’s cab could have gone better. His brother let it slip that the saw me entering the limo as his cab was pulling away… Rodriguez 02-15-15 103

But he still gave a good WOW when we had our first look. I think the first look was probably my favorite part of the entire wedding.

Rodriguez 02-15-15 111

It was our Alone time. It also made the big walk down the aisle less nerve-racking.

Rodriguez 02-15-15 152

Once we arrived at the wedding venue I got news that the weather was not cooperating which made my heated tent useless. Rodriguez 02-15-15 203

My wedding coordinator was amazing. He worked around every obstacle and got us up and running smoothly despite all the hiccups and set me up with champagne and let me relax.

It all seems like a blur. A beautiful blur.

Rodriguez 02-15-15 349

My bridesmaids were AMAZING pillars of support and strength. They checked on me every so often to make sure I had assistance in the ladies room- that brought our friendship to the next level!

Rodriguez 02-15-15 430

I walked down a makeshift aisle to A Thousand Years and managed to keep it together without crying. Even though the tent was the original plan, having the wedding in the actual restaurant was perfect. It felt perfect.

Rodriguez 02-15-15 594

As we were pronounced husband and wife, At Last by Etta James played. No truer words have been sung. Our first dance was to All of Me by John Legend (so cliché, I know).

Rodriguez 02-15-15 610

I danced with my father to I Loved Her First by Heartland and we made each other laugh so neither of us would cry. Our Grand Entrance was to Uptown Funk by Bruno Mars because I wanted to “kiss myself, I’m so pretty”.

Rodriguez 02-15-15 633

We cut our cake the My Everything by Michael Buble. We got the cake from Milk Bar! Salted Pretzel Naked Cake for the win… and we already at the top of the cake!

Rodriguez 02-15-15 799

My dress was an Allure Bridal gown that was heavy but beautiful- dancing in that thing was an art. And all the rips in the back from being stepped on prove that when getting a bridal fitting, one should make sure there is a proper bustle for dancing!

Rodriguez 02-15-15 029

I made my bouquet from my grandmother’s brooches. I made boutonnieres, bridesmaids bouquets, and corsages out of silk flowers, burlap and brooches. My Centerpieces were IKEA mini lanterns with LED flicker tea lights on top of burlap and lace doilies (made by my maid of honor), with mini rose vases filled with baby’s breath (and leftover Valentine’s Day roses from the restaurant). The table numbers were numbered cards printed on a chalkboard template. ETSY provided my wedding cape, cake topper, cards banner and cards holder.

Rodriguez 02-15-15 800

Hot chocolate favors!

Rodriguez 02-15-15 805

One of our vegetarian appetizers – a mushroom dish! A popular item

Rodriguez 02-15-15 809

The langoustine appetizer was also a big hit!

Rodriguez 02-15-15 812

The suitcase to hold our cards. Burlap and lace everywhere.

Rodriguez 02-15-15 813

S’mores Tower!

At the end of the night, we were a sweaty mess. We had an AMAZING time at the wedding. We got to enjoy our AMAZING dinner without interruption- seriously, how many couples can accomplish this? And the food was amazing- albeit small portions but delicious.

We drank endless glasses of champagne and celebrated our two families becoming one. What had me most nervous was meeting my in-laws for the first time just a day before the wedding. I can now say that I love my in-laws to pieces. Our two families got along so well and I am certain we will all have a long happy life together! We all danced the night away, hugging and laughing together. It was such a perfect evening that I cannot even imagine our wedding any other way. I owe the former owner of ReBar a proper thank you for running out on us- our DREAM wedding was fulfilled.

We will cherish that memory for the rest of our lives.

Rodriguez 02-15-15 797

Hubby’s Birthday Pelau

Tags

,

Life is different. I was thinking the other day how I used to map out my entries and plan my food menus and thought wow, times have certainly changed. It’s not that I have nothing to say, believe me, i have TONS. But with the new job (long hours), the new role as wife, and life in general – finding the time is really tough.

But I really miss blogging. I miss the outlet this was for me and how it pushed me creatively in the kitchen. One of the things i promised myself after the wedding was to make time for myself and to blog. Shortly after the wedding, like, days after was my husband’s birthday. I just said husband. Still not used to it. We had just spent a great deal on our staycation so something low key and at home was in order.

I wanted to make a special dish for Brent as well as a birthday cake. He is a many of few wants and requested a dish he loved as a child and a plan vanilla cake. I had been promising to make him Pelau since before we were living together. That’s a promise 3 years in the making.

Pelau is a Trinidadian dish that reminds me of Arroz con Pollo. Its a chicken and rice dish with a few extras that might raise a few eyebrows but the end result was delicious. I watched a YouTube video for a step by step tutorial on to get it done the right way.

the video is great. The step-by-step process brought us this masterpiece:

20150221_171422

Parboiled Rice, black eye peas, brown sugar, cilantro, chicken and pepper sauce. The dish came together nicely and Brent could hardly contain his excitement. No sooner than it was ready, we were both plopped on the couch with steaming bowls of Pelau. not speaking.

20150221_172219

Just stuffing our faces.

Brent says I’m Trini now. :-)

…and of course after dinner-

IMG_0534

There was funfetti!

20150222_175539

Last Night of Freedom

I have been thinking about this post for WEEKS. Maybe even months. Since we last spoke there has been a slew of news. Every moment I sat down to write or send an update something happened that took me away from it.

Since we last spoke, I had lost my grandmother. And after that the following happened:
– I got the flu with bronchitis (3 weeks before the wedding)
– Brent got the flu right after (2 weeks before the wedding)
– I needed an emergency root canal a week before the wedding
– I had a bachelorette party
– The weather predicted -20 degrees for my wedding day
– I GOT MARRIED
– I have been working 60 hour weeks
That’s quite a bit of things.
But let’s start from where we left off.
10987470_10153075430955421_5650668674393165486_n
My bridesmaids got to work on creating a night of pure good fun after all the Flu and Root Canals or whatever. I was told to dress nicely and be ready by 6pm.
10955608_10153075066135421_8675989441100052853_n
When they arrived at 6, we took pictures and adorned ourselves with naughty pins, the traditional Bride to Be Sash, and a bridal tiara. I kissed my fiancé goodbye as he went out for steak and whiskey with his buddies and hopped in a cab with my ladies to Midtown East.
LIPS.
10978517_10153075066160421_2852102737191604020_n
When my engagement became public info, there was lots of talk about party buses and male strippers. I quickly but the kibosh on those notions as the last party of the sorts I went to like that still gives me the creeps.
10988539_10153075066590421_107561177333331460_n
The girls were very open to my idea of a drag show and told me to let them figure out the rest. I wanted a group that was small and intimate as Bachelorette Parties, to me, are for the bride and her bridal party plus a few more close friends.
I got just what I wanted as we pulled up at LIPS for the 8pm show. My last roommate, Diana, was holding down our table while Patty (my bestie from Kew Gardens), my bridesmaids (Arlenys and Danielle), and I made our way to the table. The décor is gaudy and tacky with leopard print wall paper with hot pink pillows, chandeliers and wigs- I loved every bit of it!
10934053_10153075127695421_4162156693221624938_n
We were greeted by a Queen who looked like Lucille Ball with the mouth of a sailor. We cracked jokes and were given an explanation on the menu. Ticket admission guarantees a 3 course dinner: Salad, main course and dessert. Drinks and appetizers are extra. The choices in entrée were slim. Burger. Chicken Parm. Penne A La Vodka. Salad. The choices were safe. Something easy to reheat and something nearly everyone would eat. We all got the pasta or chicken parm.
Drinks were pricey, small, and sweet.
10959423_10153075127865421_6336667750804874923_n
The bridesmaids were whispering to our waitress and before I knew it, another crown was being placed on my head.
Trouble would soon ensue.
10155653_10153075066215421_2844874445250718156_n
We were served our food immediately and just as soon as the plates arrived, we ate and soon the plates disappeared. We were left with dessert to eat while the show started. Some great parodies of Call Me Maybe and Its Raining Men. Birthday shout outs and the like.
10955766_10153075127795421_8179024224631504196_n
Midway through the show, I was brought on stage and asked ridiculously embarrassing questions about my fiancé. Great photo ops and laughs. Shortly after my stage time, the show was over and we got a group shot before we hit up the nearest bar for shots, shots and more shots.
10958820_10153075066545421_3284420733899075750_n
As the night progressed, one by one the girls started to part ways and I was left with just my bridesmaids. It was the perfect end to the night. The 3 of us decided to find a bar for one more drink with just the three of us. We end up at some pub in midtown Manhattan that couldn’t have been more depressing inside if it tried. When one of the bridesmaids went in search of a restroom, I was approached by a very tipsy brunette who asked in Spanish when the wedding was… mind you, I was wearing a tiara with a veil so it was hard to misunderstand why I was celebrating. This young woman got all the necessary details and proceeded to bring every intoxicated man in the bar to my seat to buy me a shot in honor of my wedding.
Only in NY.
10987716_10153075127515421_216360583371094884_n
What was supposed to be just “One more Drink” turned into an undisclosed amount of shots. We went from feeling a little boozed up to extremely incredibly OMG drunk. I don’t know who this woman is. I don’t know her name. But she was my bachelorette party angel. We three had never had so much attention in our lives. The entire bar seemed to come alive raising their glass celebrating the single ladies’ last night of debauchery.
10670244_10153075127455421_6479354814632524998_n
We were lucid enough to know it was time to go home. I hugged my fairy Bachelorette mother and hopped in a cab, got home, passed out and proceeded to have the nastiest hangover ever.
So worth it.
It was a night to remember.

Grandma

10422074_10152909080825421_1048691244811345447_n

Four years ago, doctors told us her days were numbered because of an aneurysm in her stomach. And with that warning, we treated every day as if it were her last; extra dessert, more kisses and hugs! But the Lord above gave us four years with my grandmother before her took her home.

The last 4 years weren’t particularly easy. With her mobility decreasing and her strength weakening- she was still fighting, I began to think the doctors didn’t know what they were talking about. Almost 2 years ago, grannie took a fall. And then another fall. And with each fall it became more and more difficult to get back up. It was then that the family made the decision to place grannie in an assisted living facility. A place where she would be independent but have the safety net of 24 hour assistance, should she fall or need immediate medical care. Oh boy was grannie upset. But our family decided together that this was the best decision for her and if she opened up to it, she would have a great time.

In the last year, she has fallen several times breaking a hip and even cracking her head to need staples! But every time, she pulled through.

My grandmother was so strong. With her 87th birthday just weeks away, I never once thought “this is the end”. But I saw her the day after thanksgiving with my fiancé, mother and father. We brought her leftovers and she went to town on them even after saying she wasn’t hungry. She kept telling us she saw my grandfather who has been passed away for over 15 years now and even then it still didn’t sink in.

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, grannie got to speak to ALL of her children and grandchildren. And on December 4th, she took her last breath. She woke up at the crack of dawn like she always did. Got dressed, brushed her hair, put on her perfume and lipstick and made her way to breakfast but she wasn’t feeling well.  She complained of a stomach ache and said she was going to lay down for a little while.  She laid down and never woke up.

10424334_10152896836740421_5185844144688104850_n

To sit here and cry over the loss of my grandmother is selfish. Her life was long and full of love. I am so grateful for the time that I have had with her- 31 years of love! And there were times where she forgot what day of the week it was or whether or not she had lunch but she always knew my name and asked how my dog was, how my fiancé was, how my new job was.  She always put others and their needs before her own.

Her heart was physically unhealthy but spiritually, it was pure and filled with love. It saddens me she didn’t live to see Brent and I walk down the aisle but I am comforted by knowing she gave us her blessing and loved him as if he were her own grandson.

This year has been filled with challenges but one thing is certain, I feel closer to my family more than ever before. Brent is not my husband yet but he FEELS like my husband and he has been my ROCK through all of this.  We have come together and are connecting on deeper levels.

10421437_10152898015780421_7450393281544607541_n

Just goes to show you that, grandma is bringing us all together in the name of love, even after her passing.

Rest in Peace, Grannie!

Bridal Shower

My Bridal Shower was two weeks ago.

I.

Had.

A.

Bridal.

Shower.

The fact that I am a bride has not fully sunk in.

10013642_10152847108945421_6313567745581918819_n

My wedding is in 3 months! THREE!

Building up to the Shower, my lovely mother and amazing bridesmaids made the executive decision that I wear a “white” dress to my shower. As a plus sized woman, white is probably the one color that I would NEVER EVER wear (wedding day doesn’t count). And as the all showed me their gorgeous black and lace dresses, I was trying on sheets, tents, and even potato sacks. Of course, I’m exaggerating. But after weeks of online ordering and returning, I finally found a dress that was comfortable, stylish and not at all like a potato sack.

1981905_10152847096990421_1954637813023732754_n

Thank you Modcloth.com. The dress was named White Haute Cocoa. Very appropriate.

1457565_10152847094425421_7419441357298901771_n

The one thing I got to decide for my shower was WHERE. We had all toyed around with different ideas but jeez NYC is an expensive place.

1422517_10152847097445421_1922804173214426830_n

Speaking with recently wed Sarah, she inspired me with her lovely dim sum bridal shower to have just that. A Dim Sum Bridal Shower. I love dim sum and I love something different.

10801723_10152847094255421_7977933078946725571_n

I gave the tip to my planners and they went with it. My job was to wear something white and arrive.

On November 9th, Brent escorted me to the bustling area of Chinatown where I entered Jing Fong for several hours of delicious dishes. I wish I had pictures of the food but being the honorary guest made me feel obligated to bounce from table to table to speak to my dear friends. Some highlights: Bacon wrapped shrimp, dumplings, steamed broccoli, shrimp fried rice, sweet and sour pork, walnut shrimp, beef with broccoli and roasted chicken. (took home leftovers for days!)

1453271_10152847109230421_3372261527646883477_n

We played a few bridal shower games. Toilet paper bride. Whats in your purse. Etc.

10394011_10152847093540421_7047848008912092748_n

And my cake. Oh Me, Oh My. I requested a Dominican Cake and boy did they deliver. A huge cake with strawberry filling and meringue icing. Dominican cake can be pretty hit or miss but this was awesome. The cake was dense but not dry or overly moist. The frosting was sweet but over powering at all. Score to the girls for choosing a bakery in my hood that sells the cake by the slice ($1.25 for a slab!!!) 10410270_10152847110610421_6997482719957952679_n

We had some extra time to kill so I opened presents! Yay Presents! I got 2 ninja blenders (!!!!!!!) 2 cake plates, an awesome wine basket for the first year of marriage, and a beautiful spa basket (from my bridesmaids!) I also received monetary contributions to my honeymoon registry. ^.^

This really happened.

10453460_10152847090840421_567993798951153829_n

I hear there is a bachelorette party in the works.

Pray for me.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 64 other followers