Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Fondue for Two

We've made a tradition to "eat in" on Valentines Day to spend a quiet night at home and not have to deal with the crazy crowds at restaurants. I have to say that this year definitely didn't disappoint. With my recent trip to The Melting Pot, I got inspired to copy some of their recipes and do the same thing at home so we could enjoy it together. It was a lot of preparation, but it definitely paid off in the end! We gave the night an extra flair by dressing up in our fancy clothes, pouring our Martinellis, and turning on Frank Sinatra in the background.

I prepped a full three-course dinner with a gouda cheese fondue appetizer, coq au vin broth fondue for the main course, and chocolate fondue for dessert. Thanks to the Google I found almost all the original recipes from The Melting Pot.

I think my favorite part has to be that for the entree course. I love that you don't have to worry about under or overcooking the meat. 

And the filet mignon was a huge hit with Nick...

Of course, the chocolate fondue is always a favorite no matter what. I think we might just have to make fondue night a Valentine's Day tradition from now on! 

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Snowy in Dallas

My hopes for escaping the Utah winter and heading to sunny and 65 degree weather in Dallas were foiled when literally one of the biggest storms of the century hit (just my luck, right?). The BYU Bradley PR Agency got a grant from the university that let us have the opportunity to do PR work for Project Hope's new initiative, Habits 4 Life. Project Hope has been doing humanitarian work all over the world since 1958 - they are the organization that takes the huge navy ship converted into a hospital around the world in the wake of natural disasters. Habits 4 Life is a new state-of-the art mobile clinic that provides free health screenings for heart disease and diabetes for people in the communities it travels to. 

Habits 4 Life partnered with several organizations including the NFL Players Association. They planned the event for the mobile clinic for the week leading up the Super Bowl in Dallas in conjunction with several other events that were going on in the area. In the weeks leading up to the event, we got do do a lot of research and media pitching from campus to start raising awareness about the free screenings that Habits 4 Life was providing in communities throughout the area. 

So unfortunately, the 3 screening events that were scheduled after the initial kick-off event (when that picture was taken) were cancelled because of the crazy weather. Even though it was only a couple inches and a lot of ice rain, the entire city literally shut down because there is no such thing as snow removal services there. 
This ice rink was just the parking lot of our hotel. Imagine that, just on the highways. Recipe for disaster! Haha. 

I was hoping that they day after I got there would bring decent weather so I could catch the last schedule screening event, but instead we woke up to this....

Can you believe that?? There was more snow in Dallas than in Provo! 

A better view of the 5 inches - we had some trouble clearing off the windshield!

Because of the crazy weather, we spent the entire Friday in our hotel room. Stores and restaurants weren't even open! So we relied on room service and curled up next to the fireplace in our room... with the last two logs the hotel had on hand. Haha. 

Luckily the weather on Saturday cleared up a bit so we could make it to the last two events on our schedule. But we were still disappointed that the Snoop Bowl (Snoop Dogg and Deion Sander's famous little-league football matchup) got cancelled because it was an outdoor event. I guess you can't really play football with 5 inches of snow on the ground! 

But we did get to attend the private art auction at the Dallas Museum of Art which was really impressive. The NFL Players Association hosted this event where they auction art created by current and former professional sports players. 

I'm sure if I were more into football I would have recognized several of the people there, but it was still fun to be a part of! 

The second event we went to was sponsored by another partner of Project Hope, the Living Heart Foundation. They provide free screenings for all retired NFL players and they were hosting a big event at hospital in downtown Dallas. 

When our events for the day were over we drove over the Arlington to see the Cowboys Stadium. That place is unbelievable! Even though we didn't get to go inside, it was fun to see all the crazy tailgating parties that were going on before the Super Bowl. 

I have to say that one of my favorite parts of the trip was the amazing food we ate! Thanks to our per diem and our awesome agency director, Jeff, our stomachs were definitely well-fed. 

My first authentic Texas steak. I think it's the first time I've ever been served a steak with a ginormous slab of butter on top. Here's to more cholesterol! 

Gottta love that Texas pride - even at the hotel breakfast!

Benihana with our hibachi chef, Miguel. Not quite authentic Japanese, but hey, he played the part well! Haha. 

My first experience at The Melting Pot. Definitely love at first taste. I got lots of inspiration to use my own fondue pot at home for more than just chocolate! 

Friday, February 4, 2011

Is it really February already?

Wow, January sure did fly by quickly. Even though my first wave of midterms has passed, I still don't feel like I'm really in the "groove" of the semester yet. Maybe I'll get there by the end of this month if I'm lucky! 
Well, we started off the month by saying goodbye to two of our best friends, Kiel and Emily. They had been gone to D.C. all of fall semester, but we were lucky to have them in town for a few days before their big move to California. We'll miss them lots, but hopefully we'll be able to visit them when we're in the mood for warmer weather :)

We also got to brush up on our babysitting skills thanks to the Driscolls, our good friends in the ward. With our little nieces spread out all over the country we never really get to be around kids anymore, but we certainly love getting to see Shaylee. We love her little attitude and her dancing skills!

On a different note, I think Nick's good luck is rubbing off on me. I mean, it's not too often that someone wins a trip to LONDON right? That's only the beginning of his good luck streak, too. OrangeSoda had their holiday party right after New Years, and my name got drawn out of the raffle for Oakley sunglasses! I was pretty surprised, but I attribute my luck to Nick. Haha. 

I met up with Lindsey and Kyndra at the Grand America bridal fair and I absolutely had to try the goodies at their new French pastry shop. They definitely didn't disappoint. 

I've also been looking everywhere for a place to get French macarons in Utah and I was so excited to hear that they had them! I'm a little bit obsessed with them. 

I'm also a little bit obsessed with the Grand America chandeliers as well. After seeing how they're actually made, they're so much more amazing to look at. This one was so perfect for the new pastry shop. 

We finally ordered our wedding canvas wrap! I know, it only took us about two years, but we're so happy to have it in our apartment. The flowers on the table are thanks to my floral design class. It's so nice to actually take a fun class for once. I love it!

And last but not least - my birthday festivities! It fell on a Thursday this year so we used it as an excuse to celebrate all weekend. Thursdays are probably the busiest out of the week for Nick and I, but he was so sweet to take me to my favorite dessert cafe, The Chocolate, for some yummy cupcakes. 

My sweet mom drove down on Friday and took us out to dinner at Happy Sumo - one of our all time favorites. Then on Saturday we couldn't pass up using my birthday coupon from Tucanos. It was definitely the best weekend for food we've ever had! 
I'm typically not a huge beef fan, but every once in a while I crave really good steak - the filet mignon wrapped in bacon is a recent favorite. I always take the bacon off, but the beef itself is a-mazing. 

 And I couldn't pass up the opportunity to get a non-blurry picture of the Riverwoods mall. I love that they keep the lights on even after Christmas. 

My dad got this adorable Cath Kidston bag for me. I had never heard of her brand before but my dad is way more exposed to the world's fashion trends than I am. He has some killer shopping skills :)

We also decided to use my birthday as an excuse to upgrade my camera. I've been using the same little Cannon since my dad bought it back in 2005. I loved how little it was, but after 6 years the buttons were starting to wear out. I'm seriously surprised it even lasted that long though!
We went from this:

To this! We stuck with the Cannon but we upgraded from 4 mega pixels to 14. Haha. Thanks to a great sale and an awesome BestBuy giftcard, we got a great deal.

And I couldn't pass up sharing my other favorite birthday gift - my sister put this little message on her blog for me on my birthday. It seriously melted my heart and I watched it a million times. I'm so excited to see them in a couple weeks!