Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Caprese Pasta Salad




One of our favorite pasta salads just happens to be one of the simplest ones to make! Our caprese pasta salad is fresh and light, and just perfect for a potluck lunch or picnic on the beach. If you love the combination of tomato, basil and mozzarella cheese, we are positive you will love this recipe!

1 box of Campanelle Pasta (or Ziti pasta)

1 tsp. salt
8 oz. of store-bought Italian dressing
1/4 cup olive oil
Juice of one lemon
3 oz. of black olives
1 cup of cherry tomatoes
1 cup of fresh mozzarella cheese
Handful of fresh basil, chopped

Kitchen Essentials:

Stove
Large pot
Cutting board
Knife
Measuring cups and spoons
Spatula or wooden spoon
Can opener
Large bowl

Prep:

Bring a pot of water to a boil with a teaspoon of salt. Tip: the water will boil faster if you put the lid on the pot. Pat the mozzarella cheese dry and chop into bite-sized pieces. Chop the cherry tomatoes in half.

Directions:

Cook the pasta according to the directions on the box. Turn off the stove. Drain completely and pour back into the pot. Add the Italian dressing, lemon juice and olive oil right on top and stir until all the noodles are covered with the dressing. Wait a few minutes for the pasta to cool before adding the rest of the ingredients. Once the pasta is at room temperature, add the olives, tomatoes and mozzarella. Stir again and pour into a pretty bowl. Sprinkle the chopped basil over the pasta salad. 




Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Spring has Arrived

(Ground Orchids)

Spring blooms are in full swing in Miami. Weather wise we can say that we skipped Spring's cool temperatures and are experiencing summer temperatures already.  All of the photos in this post were shot in our backyard this weekend.

(Lanvender)
(Lavender)
(Yellow Bougainvillea)
(Tropical Milkweed)
Tropical Milkweed is a butterfly host plant. As you can see, we already have come caterpillars.


We are very excited because the mocking birds made another nest in our tree. The chicks finally came out of their eggs and we can hear them chirping for food! We were so curious to see the new babies that we climbed on a ladder to snap some pics. We did not touch them or disturb their environment of course! The defensive mama came and swatted us away after we only took four photos. Aren't they cute!?!


Of course we had to show the proud mama!

(Portulaca)


Our fountain is quite the sight to see birds taking a quick dip! They love to come a little before sunset. There are so many bluejays that stop by on a daily basis.

(White Duranta)


We've converted our backyard trees into all-you-can-eat buffets for the birds in the neighborhood. We've had the blue bird feeder for a while now but recently painted it blue. The red one is from Lowe's.

(Bleeding heart vine)
(Ground orchid)

Thursday, May 16, 2013

A look back at our Wedding...4 years later!


Four years have gone by, but it feels like just last week that we celebrated our wedding day! We were married on May 16, 2009, the happiest and most fulfilling day of our lives! Sometimes we think “could we ever have a more perfect day than that day?” but then we realize that the best is yet to come!



Our wedding day was everything we had hoped for and more. The entire day was filled with love, joy, unity, peace and happiness! 


Before the ceremony, Mrs. P and her bridesmaids Patty and Michelle took some photos in the lobby of the Sonesta Coconut Grove, where they stayed the night before and where we held our reception.






Although it rained a little in the morning, we saw it as good luck, and by noon the skies had cleared. Our photographer said that the puddles of water on the ground helped illuminate our outdoor photographs.


Our ceremony began at 4pm at St. Hugh Catholic Church in Coconut Grove, FL. 


One of our DIY projects included our ceremony programs, which featured our very own cartoon characters designed by a friend of ours.


Mr. P and his mother before the ceremony


Mr. P and his groomsmen






On the alter were two large urns filled with baby’s breath, which looked like white clouds from the pews. We choose these simple flowers because we did not want to take attention away from the beautiful stained glass windows behind it. 


Approximately 140 of our closest family members and friends witnessed our matrimony during our traditional ceremony, which included the lighting of the Unity Candles representing the coming together of two families, the  laying of my grandmother’s “mantilla” (veil), and the exchanging of coins, which symbolizes the sharing of wealth and finances. 







After we recited our vows and shared our first kiss as husband and wife, we exited the church as soul mates and life-long partners.



Mrs. P's family


Our grandparents


Mr. P's family


Below are some fun and creative bridal party pictures we took after the ceremony:








Before joining our guests at the reception, we took a few minutes to take some newly married photos:







Instead of hiding out during our cocktail hour on the rooftop of the Sonesta Coconut Grove, we choose to enjoy every minute of it! 



We joined our guests at the rooftop of the hotel after snapping a few pictures outside the church and we were glad we did! It’s not every day that you get to see everyone you love under one roof at the same time!


While our guests made their way into the ballroom, we went up to the penthouse of the hotel to snap a few more pictures.









We poured our hearts into the ballroom decor and feel that the end product was truly a reflection of us. We choose bright colors - fuchsia and lime green - as our wedding colors, so we made sure to keep the rest of the details simple and clean. 


The florist used fuchsia roses, green hydrangeas and lime green cymbidium orchids in short, square vases for the centerpieces. We wanted low centerpieces so that our guests did not have anything blocking their view of the ocean outside.


Because we love to travel, we incorporated that theme into our reception. Some of our other DIY projects included the table numbers with photos of our favorite cities, the Mr. & Mrs. wooden signs on the chairs of our sweetheart table, and the luggage tag place cards. We found the aluminum tags online, but added the silver ribbon and the guests' names and table numbers.




We danced to the song "Truly, Madly, Deeply" from Savage Garden. Every time we hear the song on the radio, we remember that special moment we shared on the dance floor.



A few weeks before our wedding, we decided to spice things up and have a belly dancer entertain our guests during dinner. Boy are we glad we went through with it! We've never seen our family dance as much as they did at our wedding, and we feel that the performance had a lot to do with it (as well as the open bar!)






Mrs. P made sure to have some "bling bling" on our fondant wedding cake by Edda's Cake Designs. On top is a bouquet of lime green cymbidium orchids, which our florist provided.


As you can see, Mrs. P changed into her second wedding dress for the cake cutting photos and dancing!


Our cake was delicious! We ordered an orange-flavored cake just to be unique!


We literally danced the night away...


...and reached for the stars!


Our guests enjoyed a variety of pink and green candy on the way out of the ballroom at the end of the evening. It was a hit!


Our flower girl was exhausted at the end of the night, as were we! And to think just a few hours after our reception, we were on a flight to Seattle for our Alaskan cruise honeymoon! We'll blog about that trip some other time. We have some amazing pictures! Thanks for reading all about our special day!
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