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Head of the Charles, Party and Lots of Food!

How is it Sunday morning already?

And, why am I only sitting down to update my blog, rather than lingering over a cup of coffee?!

Today is another marathon day!  Thank goodness our fridge is now crammed with leftovers to get us through the next few days.

Yesterday started off with some power oats:

Then I sprung into action and started prepping foods for the party.

I’ll share the recipes below, but here are two products that I’m loving in my cooking lately.

The pesto is awesome as a shortcut in recipes, or generously spooned over toast or pasta for a quick, go-to meal.

The spice combo goes into anything savory that I’m cooking.  It adds extra flavor-kick to any dish (or any pre-made  item that you are trying to pass off as homemade!)

If we are using canned pasta sauce or pizza sauce, I always sprinkle some in while it is heating.  It gives it more flavor and mimics that wonderful homemade taste.

I used both to prep my Spinach, Mushroom and Pesto recipe (see bottom of the post!).

It was super easy to put together and tasted amazing.  You couldn’t tell that the noodles were gluten-free and there were no problems cooking it in the crockpot.  Although, I would caution that it did burn to the bottom a bit, as it sat in the pot for serving…  hmm, that could have also been because the hostess was busy drinking wine and entertaining adorable babies…

When that was prepped and ready to go in the fridge for a few hours, I also prepped some spiced almonds and pecans.

They were yummy!  I found the recipe on a blog that I read, and couldn’t wait to try it!

Pictures here, recipe below!

After everything was prepped, I raced downtown to man the UD Alumni tent at the Head of the Charles.

I managed to plan my route to stop by a Subway-

6″ turkey/provolone/lettuce/olives/tomatoes/pickles/o & v

Cheddar Sun Chips

Diet Coke

Oatmeal Cookie

The day was amazing- clear and sunny (until late in the afternoon!).

Check out the Harvard Business School boat- rowing in dress shirts and their oars have $$ painted on them!  Couldn’t get a good picture of the oars- they were going pretty fast… it was a race after all!

After spending the day at the river, I raced home to host a dinner party for dear friends that were in town from Chicago…

It was a great evening with old friends, lots of wine, great food, and wonderful conversations!  And, lots of laughter!  There were also two adorable babies…

Spinach salad with warm (turkey) bacon dressing, pulled pork with hot BBQ sauce and apple/brie cups (Meghan, these were amazing!  Thank goodness you left the recipe on my counter!  I’m going to copy and post here before I return to you!!) :-)

Melissa made these amazing cupcakes.  She had a great name for them, which I am totally blanking on this morning.

I’ll call them Whipped Chocolatey Heath Bar Cupcakes

Heidi was such a cute, giggly and happy baby!  We had such fun meeting her- although it made me said to realize how long ago Keith and Natalie moved away and how much we’d missed in their lives!  Like, ummm.. a pregnancy and 3 months of Heidi’s life!

Heidi got a great gift from other MIT friends.  Keith kindly modeled…

The boys supervising the buffet…

And, Brian and Keith pose for a picture!  This reminds me of how much we’ve been through with the Wampler clan- an engagement, a wedding (Keith was one of Brian’s Groomsmen and Natalie was a constant source of support!), a new condo, a graduation (Dr. Wampler!),  a move to IL, a new house, a pregnancy,  another move,  another graduation (Dr. Hanna), a gorgeous daughter… more to come, I’m sure!

Well, after a day like that, you know what my morning started with!

I also had an English Muffin topped with Peanut Butter and Biscoff to thwart a low bloodsugar.  Biscoff spread is the European version of peanut butter, made of biscoff cookies.  It’s been all over the blog world lately, so I had to try it.  I’ve had it straight from the jar, on top of oatmeal, and now on the English Muffin… I wasn’t sold on it with the first two options, but it was delicious warm and melty on the english muffin this AM!

Ok, I’m off to head back to the Head of the Charles and maybe, meet up with the Wamplers for some beer punch this afternoon!

Recipes are below!  Let me know if you make them and what you think!  Also, always feel free to send recipes, if you find something you love and want to share!

Some of my best recipes come from friends or dishes that I’ve tried at a party!

Have a great Sunday!  See you tomorrow!



Spinach, Mushroom and Pesto Lasagne

(Adapted from Cooking Light Recipe, found HERE)

  • YIELD: 8 servings
  • COURSE: Main Dishes


  • 2 10oz pckgs  chopped spinach, defrosted and drained
  • 2 cups sliced baby portobello mushrooms
  • 1/2 cup commercial pesto
  • I pckg low-fat Italian Blend, shredded Cheese (~2 cups)
  • 1 (15-ounce) carton fat-free ricotta cheese
  • 1 large egg, lightly beaten
  • 1/4 cup grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 1 (25.5-ounce) bottle fat-free tomato-basil pasta sauce
  • 1 (8-ounce) can tomato sauce
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 (8-ounce) package precooked lasagna noodles (12 noodles)


Combine spinach, mushrooms, and pesto in a medium bowl, stirring to combine; set aside.

Combine shredded cheese, ricotta, and beaten egg in a medium bowl, stirring well to combine.  Combine the pasta sauce and the tomato sauce in a medium bowl.

Spread 1 cup pasta sauce mixture in the bottom of a 6-quart oval electric slow cooker coated with cooking spray. Arrange 3 noodles over pasta sauce mixture; top with 1 cup cheese mixture and 1 cup spinach mixture. Repeat the layers, ending with spinach mixture. Arrange 3 noodles over spinach mixture; top with remaining 1 cup cheese mixture and 1 cup pasta sauce mixture. Place remaining 3 noodles over sauce mixture; spread remaining sauce mixture over noodles. Sprinkle with the remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Cover with lid; cook on LOW 4-5 hours or until done.  Cheese and sauce will be fully melted and bubbly, when complete.

NOTES: Round crockpot can also be used, use 10 noodles instead of 12 and break in half to fit into crockpot.  Can be prepped the night or morning before and refrigerated until time to start cooking.


Spiced Almonds and Pecans

(Adapted from Brittany’s recipe on A Healthy Slice of Life)

  • 24 ounces roasted almonds and pecans
  • 1 egg white
  • 1 Tbsp water
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 2 tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp ground cloves
  • 1/4 tsp nutmeg
  • 1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
Preheat oven to 325 degrees.  Beat egg white with a whisk until frothy.  Add water and continue beating until well mixed.  Add almonds and pecans to egg white mixture and stir until all nuts are coated.
In separate bowl combine sugar and spices.  Pour sugar mixture over nuts and stir until well coated.
Spread nuts on non-stick backing sheets (or spray lightly with non-stick spray).  Bake for 25 minutes, stirring about halfway through.
Remove from pan immediately and spread onto wax paper to cool.
Store nuts in air-tight containers- if they last long enough to store…


Melissa’s Awesome Whipped Chocolatey Heath Bar Cupcakes

  • 1 package, German Chocolate Cake mix
  • 1 tub CoolWhip
  • 1 Heath Bar, chopped (or similar chocolate bar of your choice).
Prepare cake mix according to package directions for cupcakes.
Let cool completely and top with a generous frosting of CoolWhip.
Sprinkle with Heath Bar pieces.
Serve and watch your friends devour them!  The cake mix is super moist, the CoolWhip is light and not too sweet and the candy bar pieces add a hint of extra flavor and sweetness.
Easy and Yummy!
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  • #1
    Posted by Kari on October 23rd, 2011 at 10:00 am
    OMG is Heidi a cutie!! I think she looks just like her Dad (who I almost didn’t recognize because he has shifted his hair from the top of the head to the chin)!! Be sure to say hi to the Wamplers from us. BTW what kind of bar is a Health bar? Is that a brand or can you just pick any kind? I thought those seemed good and easy!!
  • #2
    Posted by Mer on October 23rd, 2011 at 1:09 pm
    Haha that would be a Heath bar with the assistance of auto-correct..
  • #3
    Posted by Wednesday, Breakfast Rut and Pop-Tarts... | Mer's World on October 26th, 2011 at 6:33 am
    [...] eat ‘on the go’!Monday:Tuesday:Lunch was leftovers, but had a bit more variety!Leftover crockpot lasagne, Greek yogurt with almonds, grapes, carrots/celery with hummusFor a snack, I was drawn to the [...]
  • #4
    Posted by Natalie on October 26th, 2011 at 5:42 pm
    Loved the post, the food, and the shout out. We had a wonderful time at the party and look forward to seeing you again (when the stars align:)
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