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Ever since the amazing Mexican honeymoon, I’ve suffered from a severe Vitamin D addiction. Thankfully, Texas is hot, and I can come home and spend my evening in this:
Here’s how I made the refreshing sangria:
1 bottle of red wine (you can use white, too)
2 shots of triple sec
1 can club soda
1 orange (cut in half, squeeze into pitcher, throw leftovers in for flavor)
2 limes (same deal as the orange)
1 cup of orange juice
a splash of lemon juice
Ice (lots of it. It’s hot out!)
Throw in a straw and badda bing! Yummy summer treat.
The book, The Girl Who Played with Fire, you can find at Barnes & Noble. It’s book two of Stieg Larsson’s Millenium Trilogy, which I am loving right now.
The chair is an adjustable chaise I got from Bed Bath and Beyond for $40 (with wedding gift cards). I like to simply call it the “tanning chair.” It’s where I plop down, grab a book and soak up some rays.
I love summer. Don’t you?
I’d been feeling in a crafty mood recently, so last week I stopped by Michael’s and picked up some painting supplies, some new frames and some other random artsy bits & pieces. What come out of it was some meaningful decor for mine and my new hubby’s home.
Here’s what I came up with:
The quote I painted on the canvas ($3, by the way) is from our song. Not only doesn’t it tell our story almost exactly, it’s also the song Jeff proposed to me during (at a concert!) and it’s the quote that littered all our wedding stuff – napkins, programs, even our cake! I really wanted to find a way to incorporate the quote into our home decor.
I framed a one of my fave wedding pics (thanks, Tresor Photography), hung everything above our bed, and here’s how it all turned out:
I’ve got a few more things I’m working on, including some photoboxes, a mirror and another canvas, so stay tuned!
Since I’m fresh off the wedding-planning circuit, I figured I’d share my infinite wisdom with all you future brides out there. (This group includes a ridiculously large number of my close friends right now. It’s been the year of engagements in my social circle!)
Music makes ALL the difference at a wedding. I’ve been to weddings where only4 or 5 people were out on the dance floor (including me). It’s a real snooze! I was so excited to see the dance floor packed at our wedding, and I think it was due largely to our hard work on the playlist.
Start planning your wedding music EARLY. Talk with your fiance about the special dances and get with your dad about the father-daughter dance. If the men in your life are anything like mine, they’ll be just as indecisive as you!
Also, start a running list of songs you want to dance to. Take into account the age groups that will be present at your wedding, and figure out what will get your guests out on the dance floor.
The biggest hits at my wedding, you ask? The dance floor was FULL for new hits by Usher and Rihanna, but also for the classics like YMCA, the Cupid Shuffle and the Cha Cha Slide. Yes, they’re lame dance songs, but everyone knows them (including the kids) and get to join in the fun. The best moments at our wedding came from the sing-along songs like Journey’s “Don’t Stop Believin” and Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline.” It was like a karaoke party!
Here’s what good music can do for your wedding:
It’s no secret that Jeff and I are huge fans of Mexican food. We could probably eat it for every meal and have no problem with it (other than getting huge!)
So to satisfy our cravings but still stay healthy, we’ve come up with a great quick & easy taco salad. It’s full of veggies and healthy stuff, but it’s still got that spicy Mexican feel.
All ya need is: 2 leaves of cabbage, 4 leaves of lettuce, 2 cups of pico de gallo (store-bought or homemade, no matter), light sour cream, light shredded cheese, cilantro, 2 limes, 1/2 lb lean ground beef, 1 packet taco seasoning, 1 can whole black beans.
Notice there aren’t any tortilla shells or chips involved? That’s why we’ve added the cabbage – it gives it that extra crunch and almost fools your mouth into thinking you’ve got some crispy tortilla strips in there!
This serves 2.
-Brown your lean beef in a skillet on medium. Follow the directions on the taco seasoning packet.
-Warm black beans in a bowl or on stovetop.
-Tear up the lettuce leaves. Split evenly onto two plates.
-Cut cabbage into thin strips. Put on top of lettuce pile.
-Cover lettuce/cabbage mix with large spoonful of black beans.
-Layer the meat, a small amount of cheese, a small dollop of sour cream, and a large pile of pico de gallo and cilantro on top
-Squeeze one lime over top of each plate.
Serve with a Skinnygirl Margarita (super low cal brand) and ta-da! You’ve got an easy peasy (and healthy) Mexican night.
I’m a big fan of the chicken dan dan noodles at Pei Wei, so when I came across a recipe for a super low-cal version, I couldn’t wait to get started. I made a few changes to suit my tastes, so here’s MY version of the recipe.
This was definitely a WIFE WIN. Both hubby and I loved this recipe. I can’t wait to eat the leftovers.
Makes 4 servings.
1 box wheat pad thai noodles
2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
1/2 cup unsalted, roasted peanuts
6 tablespoons low-sodium soy sauce
3 tablespoons carracho sauce
1 tsp sugar
2 garlic cloves
1-inch piece peeled, fresh ginger
1 pound lean, ground pork
1/8 tsp salt
5 tablespoons lime juice
1 tablespoon lemon juice
3/4 cup thinly cut green onions
1 large peeled, chopped cucumber
1/2 cup chopped cilantro
-Boil a pot of water (enough to cover the noodles.) Once boiling, add noodles and cook 3-5 minutes, or until tender. Strain the noodles, but save 3/4 cup of the liquid and put to the side.
-Put noodles in bowl. Toss with green onions, lime juice and lemon juice. Cover and put aside.
-Start by heating the oil in a non-stick skillet on medium-high heat. Once it’s hot, add the peanuts and let them roast 2-3 minutes. Toss them once or twice while they’re in there. The peanuts should get darker when they’re ready.
-Pour the peanut/oil mix into a food processor/mixer/blender. Add the carracho, soy sauce, sugar, garlic and ginger. Blend until fine.
-Put the ground pork in the already warm skillet. Cook on medium-high until crumbly and brown.
-Add 3/4 cup leftover boiling liquid and peanut mixture to skillet. Heat to boiling. Let mixture boil 3 minutes, stirring frequently.
-Pour pork mixture onto noodles. Toss.
-Plate two servings. Put the rest in tupperware containers for later – YUM!
-Add cilantro and cucumbers on noodle piles. You can put as little or as much as you like – but the more the merrier in my opinion!
Hey, there! Thought you may like to know a bit about me before you peek around in my life. 🙂
I’m Aly Yale (still getting used to the new name!)
I’m an impulsive, passionate, crazy person, who’s happy to be newly married to Mr. Jeff Yale. I love writing, concerts, singing, board games, animals, word games, margaritas & Mexican food.
My hubby, Jeff, is a laid-back, cool & collected kinda guy. He’s got a killer sense of humor and is the goofiest person I know. He’s generous, super smart, and quite handsome, if I must say so myself. 😉
That’s us in a nutshell. More to come!