LA and San Diego


This past week, my company sent me out to Los Angeles and San Diego to visit some of our top clients. And lucky for me, my husband agreed to tag along! I had some free time on the weekends and the evenings, so we got to see quite a bit of Los Angeles, Santa Monica, Burbank, Hollywood and San Diego. It was definitely a whirlwind of a week!

Last Saturday, we started off our day in Los Angeles with

a quick trip to In ‘n’ Out. Eric had been to LA a few months ago to see Michigan State win the Rose Bowl, and he came home raving about In ‘n’ Out. I’m not a big fast food person, so I’ll be honest…I wasn’t expecting much. But oh my goodness, is In’ n’ Out delicious. Their burgers and fries are made fresh for every order and you can definitely tell. I honestly think this was one of the best burgers I’ve ever had. Well done, west coast!


Since we arrived on a Saturday, we had a day and a half to explore the touristy parts of LA before I had any work appointments. We started our Sunday morning with a visit to Griffith Observatory, where we had some incredible views of the city.

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Next we hit up Hollywood to see the “walk of fame.” I had to snap a pick of Barbra’s star for my mom, as we share a love of Funny Girl.

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Later we strolled around Beverly Hills and were far too intimidated by the high end stores to go inside, but window shopping was fun nonetheless!


We then wandered through the Beverly Hills hotel, which was like a time capsule of the 1950s. The whole hotel just oozed old Hollywood glamour. I’d love to stay over night some day, but for now I will stick with my cheap Hilton employee rates!


The best thing about the trip, was getting to see some of my best friends from home. Lo moved out here 3 years ago, and it was wonderful to see her and spend a little time in her new city.


We even got to see her band, LoJo and the Truth, perform live. They are incredibly talented and it was such a great show


After the show, we spent the evening with Lo and our friend Jon. Lo, Jon and I met in high school, and though we didn’t know each other during childhood, I still feel like we “grew up together.” We got each other through the angsty high school years, the first broken hearts, the transition to college, and later the transition into adulthood. We often go a long time between visits, but as soon as we’re together, we’re able to pick up right where we left off. Prior to this trip, I had had a rough week at work, and was just generally feeling a little down. But being back together with two of my closest friends left my heart feeling full and my mind feeling refreshed. Sometimes a quick visit with friends is all you need.


After four days in the Los Angeles area, we were off to San Diego for my last round of appointments.


San Diego is one of the coolest cities I have ever visited. The weather is absolutely perfect (and apparently stays this way year around) and the views of the ocean are stunning. We only had a day and a half to explore, but we quickly decided that we would love to come back. Our hotel was situated right near San Diego’s Gaslamp District, which is a fun downtown area filled with restaurants, shops and bars. We had a great time strolling around, people watching, and enjoying the weather.


Before we knew it, it was already time to go home. It was such a fun trip, and we hope to visit again to explore the west coast a bit more. But for now, I will leave you with a few “food pics” of our LA/San Diego Eats.


Fonuts featured baked or steamed vegan donuts. My favorite was the Strawberry Buttermilk. Delish!


Housemade veggie burger and sweet potato fries from Lab Brewery. This baby was topped with caramelized onions and tasted way more decadent than any veggie burger I’ve ever had.


Eric’s BBQ bacon burger from barleymash in San Diego. #typicalboyfood


Kale salad with quinoa, goat cheese, grilled chicken and peaches from barleymash. This was SO good and I am dying to recreate it at home.


Veggie and hummus sandwich from Joan’s on Third. I heard about Joan’s on the Food Network and was so glad we stopped by. Everything was so fresh and delicious.


Hasselback Potatoes


At the end of December my mom’s very best friends threw me a beautiful bridal shower. My “aunts”, as I call them, put so much thought and detail into the special day. From the green and white “Michigan State” color scheme to the perfectly festive Christmas centerpieces, everything about it was perfect. They even gave every guest a jar filled with cookie ingredients with an attached recipe.


Our festive table


My beautiful bridesmaids and best friends

But one of my favorite details had to be the Recipe Box that they gave me, filled with recipes from all the guests who were able to attend. It was such a sweet and thoughtful gift and will serve as a wonderful memory of such a great day. So now, well after the holiday season has calmed down, I am finally getting around to sampling the recipes that were carefully stuffed into my recipe box. The first recipe I tried was a recipe for Hasselback Potatoes from my Aunt Renee. You slice russet potatoes and sprinkle with herbs and cheese for a delicious and decadent side dish. Make sure you fan the slices out well, or the potato will not bake through all the way. I served these potatoes with a simple pork loin and it was an incredibly delicious dinner.

Ingredients: Makes 4 servings

  • 4 medium russet potatoes
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons melted butter
  • 2-3 tablespoons fresh herbs ( I used a combination of chopped thyme & sage)
  • 4 tablespoons grated cheddar cheese
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons grated parmesan cheese


  1. Scrub and rinse potatoes
  2. Cut potatoes into thin slices but not all the way through
  3. Put potatoes in a baking dish, fan them slightly
  4. Sprinkle with salt and drizzle with melted butter. sprinkle with dried herbs
  5. Bake potatoes at 425 for 50 minutes
  6. Remove from oven and sprinkle with cheeses
  7. Bake potatoes for another 10-15 minutes until lightly browned, cheeses are melted and potatoes are soft inside


Chicago Weekend


This past weekend, Eric and I took a quick little trip to Chicago to celebrate our 4 year anniversary. The nice thing about having Eric as a travel companion, is that our vacation philosophies are very similar. We both like to get up early and fit in as many activities as we can. And I’ll be completely honest.. about 90% of these “activities” typically revolve around food. No wonder we get along so well. We scouted out quite a few places beforehand, and were able to hit each and every spot in the short time we were there. The first stop was of course a quick trip to the well known “bean.” Because you can’t really visit Chicago without a few obligatory “bean shots.” Next up was a trip to Sprinkles Cupcakes.


As a huge fan of the show Cupcake Wars, I was pumped to taste the cupcakes from one of Cupcake Wars’ judges. And these cupcakes did not disappoint. I had a Peanut Butter Cupcake with Chocolate Buttercream Frosting. It was perfectly sweet and delicious. Eric had the classic Black and White Cupcake and was also a huge fan. Nothing starts off your day better than a cupcake.


Later on we stopped by Eataly, which is a gourmet Italian marketplace owned by Mario Batali. There was delicious, high end food in every corner, and a huge selection of Italian wines. There are even areas for shoppers to stop and enjoy a glass of wine or a charcuterie platter during their shopping trip. We didn’t end up eating anything, as we were still on a Sprinkles induced sugar high, but I would love to go back and roam around again.

Our next stop was a trip to a bar we had seen on Bar Rescue. If you’ve never seen the show, it is definitely worth a try. A “bar expert” remakes failing bars throughout the U.S., and though the host is incredibly obnoxious, the show is one of Eric and my favorites. The bar we visited is called Blue Frog’s Local 22 and it was remade to be a burger and beer bar. We just went for a beer, and it was nice little reprieve from walking around the streets of a very snowy Chicago.


For dinner, we went to RPM Italian, which is owned by Guiliana and Bill Rancic. A few years back, when I worked at a country club, I had a crazy work schedule and was only able to see Eric for a few hours on Monday nights. And since I was too exhausted to ever do anything, we spent a lot of our Monday night date nights watching TV together. The only problem was that there is absolutely nothing to watch on Monday nights in the summer. So somewhere along the road we started watching Guiliana & Bill’s reality show. When we used to watch the show, they talked a lot about opening up an italian restaurant, and eventually RPM Italian came to be. We thought it would be a fun little anniversary date to visit the restaurant we had heard so much about. We started with an appetizer of grilled baguette served with fresh ricotta and marinara sauce.


It was so delicious, and we both said we easily could have eaten 3 pieces each, but we had to save our appetites for the main course. I chose Mama DePandi’s bucatini and it was definitely one of the best pasta dishes I’ve had in a while.


Eric had the spaghetti and meatballs and loved his as well. It was an all around successful anniversary.


To end our night we did our own little Irish bar crawl with my cousin Kristin, who lives in Chicago. She was a fantastic tour guide and it was so great to catch up. And with that our little weekend trip was over. It was a nice little break from the norm and a fun way to celebrate our last “dating anniversary.” Because in a little less than 3 months we’ll be Mr. and Mrs. Jones…Crazy!

Best Posts of 2013

2013 has been one heck of a year. For me personally it has been filled with wedding planning, races, and a busy year at work. For the blog, it has been filled with an even mix of sweet treats and healthy recipes. I thought I would share the top 3 blog posts that I had this year, based upon the number of views each post had. And then, I’ll share my 3 favorites. My favorite thing about blogging is getting to share different stories from my life. So these 3 posts are more about the stories that go along with them, then the recipes themselves. (Though the recipes are delicious too!)

Reader Favorites:

1. “Pinterest” Greek Yogurt Chicken


Based on the name of this post, you may have gathered that this is a recipe I found on Pinterest. I posted the recipe here on my blog and it has become one of the top searches that have brought people to Miss Petite Sweets. It reminds me of the Parmesan and Mayo Chicken that my mom used to make growing up, but it’s just a tad bit healthier. Plus it includes Lawry’s seasoning, so my fiancee has requested it on several occasions.

2. Whole Wheat Pancakes with Peanut Butter Syrup


This recipe is one of those great examples of finding inspiration in the blog world itself. A few years ago, I had never heard of PB2, or powdered peanut butter, but thanks to my new hobby of reading health and fitness blogs, I discovered this product and have used it in a couple different recipes. It tastes similar to peanut butter but has half the amount of calories and fat. And when mixed with a little water & honey, it makes for a delicious, protein packed syrup for pancakes

3. Faygo Cola Baby Back Ribs


Eric bought me a Faygo Cola cookbook this year and this was the first recipe I tried. I don’t know what it is about cola, but it has an amazing effect on meat. Using Michigan’s favorite pop, or “soda” for you Southerners, made these ribs tender and delicious. And the recipe couldn’t be easier to make.

My favorite posts of the year:

1. Lemon Blueberry Muffins


As the years pass, I get more and more  appreciative of my brother. Not everyone gets a built in best friend from day one, and I am so happy to have him. We may be total opposities, but I love that we teach each other new things. This recipe reminded me of after school snacks that we shared growing up so it just made sense to share yet another story about Sean.

2. Oatmeal Appleasuce Muffins


A few of my family members think I’m crazy for how much I enjoy running. In this post I shared what it is about my sport of solitude that I love so much. I wrote it just before I finished my first half marathon, so it also reminds me of that great time in my life. Running a half marathon has been a lifelong dream of mine so it’s always nice to look back on the journey that got me there.

Heaven Cookies


This is a recipe I posted quite recently, sharing my thoughts about my best friend Anne. The older I get, the more thankful I am for the true friends I’ve made in life. I’ve had quite a few friendships fade away over the years so it makes me feel that much more lucky that one of my best friends is still the first friend I ever had.

So thank you for yet another great year of readership and I wish you all the Happiest New Year!

Recent Eats: 4-7-13



I hope everyone had a fantastic weekend! Mine was full of lots of relaxing, baseball, and a long run by the lake. Can’t get much better than that. But before we start another work week, I thought I would share some more “recent eats”


1. Last Monday night, Eric and I decided to combat the Monday blues with a quick dinner date. One of the perks of working a few blocks from each other is that it gives us the chance to meet up right after work and try out some of the new spots Downtown. This week we tried Mercury Bar in Midtown. They are known for their burgers and milkshakes, and since I’m not a huge burger gal, I was happy to see a black bean burger on their menu. It’s served topped with sliced avocado, chipotle mayo and fresh made pickles. My burger was slightly spicy and full of flavor. And Eric? He of course got his classic choice of a cheeseburger. Typical boy.


2. This has become my favorite weekday meal. A baked sweet potato with a touch of coconut oil, roasted brussels sprouts and chicken sausage. All of these come together in a flash, perfect for a quick meal after a long day.


3. Chicken Noodle Soup at Mati’s Deli. Eric recently took me to this old school deli in his hometown, and I could not stop raving about their soup. You could tell it was homemade from the extra flavorful stock and the soft and chewy homemade noodles. So, so good. I have a feeling we will definitely be returning here soon.


4. Friday was Opening Day for the Detroit Tigers, and seeing as I work at the closest hotel to the ballpark, it was a really fun day at work. Baseball season is a crazy busy time for the hotel, so they had ballpark hot dogs brought in for the entire staff to kick off our busiest time of year. It was like having a taste of summer for lunch. Hopefully the weather will follow suit!


5. This isn’t really an “eat” but it was definitely worth sharing. Eric and I recently set a fun challenge for ourselves-we are going to try to visit every brewery in Michigan. And seeing as Michigan has seen a huge growth in breweries the past couple years, I have a feeling this challenge may take us a while. But since we were near Ferndale running some wedding related errands, we decided to visit Woodward Avenue Brewers t0 knock one more spot off of our list. I tried their Custom Blonde, which was a light summery beer, and Eric tried the Czech Red. We were both fans of our brews.

So there you have it. A few “Recent Eats” from Miss Petite Sweets. Hope you all enjoy the rest of your Sunday!

Dinner at Red Crown


I live in a relatively small town, so when a new restaurant opens up, pretty much the whole town is abuzz. And that was definitely the case with the newly opened Red Crown. The building started as a Standard Oil gas station but was recently transformed into this trendy new restaurant. Ever since it opened earlier this month, the parking lot has been absolutely packed with new patrons, so my family and I decided to give it a try as well.


I had heard that the drink menu was going to be quite impressive, and it definitely did not disappoint. They have an extensive wine list and a number of Michigan beers on tap, but it’s their cocktail menu that really jumped out at us. Each cocktail listed a number of different liquors, liqueurs and juices, many of which I had never even heard of. Since my mom and I are not too adventurous when it comes to drinks, we both played it safe with the only vodka cocktail on the menu- The Moscow Mule. This cocktail featured vodka, ginger beer & fresh lime juice and was served in a copper mug. It was so unique and the ginger flavor really shined through. My dad chose a rum based drink that he wasn’t too crazy about, but Sean and Eric both chose the Paper Plane. A drink featuring Maker’s Mark bourbon, aperol, amaro montenegro and lemon juice.


Next up was dinner. The menu had a mix of barbeque and classic comfort foods like meatloaf and shrimp & grits. We all decided to sample the barbeque and we all ended up very happy with our picks. I chose the Brisket Sandwich which featured spice rubbed brisket and cole slaw served on an onion roll. The brisket was tender and juicy and full of flavor. It was served with delicious fresh cut fries which were right up my alley. In my book, the crunchier the fries, the better, and these were perfect.


Eric went with the ribs with a a side of mac and cheese. I’ve heard that you can always tell if it’s good barbeque if you don’t need to put extra barbeque sauce on them. Well, Red Crown’s ribs definitely delivered on flavor sans the extra sauce.


Eric’s meal also came with some delicious cornbread and honey butter, which he let me take a bite of. (what a guy)


All in all it was a great meal with my favorite people.

Dinner at Jolly Pumpkin Brewery

This past Saturday Eric and I ventured out to Ann Arbor to see our friends Arielle and Dave. We met up for dinner at Jolly Pumpkin Brewery and had a fantastic time. Eric and I have been saying for some time now that you can truly never go wrong with dinner at a brewery. I don’t know what it is, but every brewery we have ever eaten at has not only had delicious brews, but has also had some delicious eats. And Jolly Pumpkin was no different. Luckily we had some great company as well.


We started off the night with a few beers. The Seasonal Porter for me and the Bam Noire for Eric. My beer was rich and slightly bitter. I don’t often get darker beers but this one was really good. It had an almost chocolate-y flavor.


For dinner I chose the “Not Just a BLT” and it was definitely more than your typical BLT. The sandwich featured fresh mozzarella, fire roasted tomatoes, fresh arugula, salsa verde and bacon. It came with Jolly Pumpkin’s signature truffle fries. The truffle fries are shoestring fries tossed in fresh rosemary and truffle salt. Arielle fondly refers to them as “crack fries” and I can see why. So good.



Eric got one of their pizzas as per usual. He got the Margherita, a simple pizza topped with fresh mozzarella, tomatoes and basil. Although it wasn’t the best pizza he’s ever had, he said it wasn’t too bad.


And since Dave is a huge fan of pumpkin flavored anything, we all decided to try out the Pumpkin Whoopie Pies. Fun fact: We actually referred to Dave as “Pumpkin Dave” the first few months of our friendship, because of his affection for all things pumpkin. Anyway… back to the eats. The whoopie pies were filled with buttercream and served over a ginger creme anglaise. Although the filling was a little too sweet for me, the pumpkin cake was awesome. Altogether, it was a great meal and a fun night!

What I’m Loving Lately

It’s no secret that I love food. And I really love discovering new foods at the grocery store. Because I don’t know if you guys knew this… but grocery shopping is kind of a hobby of mine. So I thought I would share a few of my new food finds:


1. Love Crunch Granola: I’ve seen Love Crunch Granola featured on a number of blogs lately and everyone has been giving it such rave reviews. I try not to buy granola too often because it’s easy enough to make on my own, and it is usually pretty expensive. But when I saw a bag of Love Crunch Chocolate & Red Berries granola half off at Marshalls, I thought I would give it a whirl. And I am so glad I did. This granola is so, so good. It’s extra crunchy and full of granola clusters and the flavor is incredible. Chocolate and dried berries make it more of a sweet treat than your typical breakfast granola. My only complaint is that I can’t stop eating it.


2. Chobani Pear Greek Yogurt Once upon a time I used to buy a ton of “light yogurts” and I never understood why I had such bad stomachaches after eating it. And then my best friend Lo shed some light on how bad these sugar-free foods can be. Thank goodness for her healthy living know how.Nowadays I tend to try to eat things with as few ingredients as possible and ingredients that I can actually pronounce. And that is where Chobani came in. This all natural Greek yogurt is creamy, delicious and devoid of all that fake crap that made my stomach hurt. I’ve recently been loving their new pear flavor. Unlike a lot of fruit flavored foods, this yogurt actually tastes like pears because it has real pear puree swirled through.

IMG_06673. Dr. Praeger’s Veggie Burgers: My coworkers make fun of me because I bring a veggie burger to work pretty much every day for lunch. And Dr. Praeger’s is by far my favorite brand. I stumbled upon it one day at Trader Joe’s and thought it sounded pretty delicious. And oh, it is. It has a great flavor and texture and is perfectly acceptable to eat every day for lunch.


4. Celestial Seasonings Sleepytime Vanilla Tea: About a year ago I had terrible insomnia every night. So to avoid being a total zombie I started drinking this tea to help me fall asleep. And even though I think the cure to my insomnia had very little to do with the tea and had way more to do with leaving a terribly stressful job for a job I really love, the tea is still pretty delicious. It has a subtle vanilla flavor and is a nice way to end the night.


5. Easter M&M’s: Does anyone else think seasonal M&Ms just taste better than the regular M&Ms? I don’t know why, but the festive colors always make these classic candies even more appealing and I can’t help tossing a bag in my grocery cart every time a holiday comes around. This bag will actually show up in a fun new recipe this week. Yum!

My Favorite Blogs

I mentioned before that I read quite a few blogs and I thought it would be fun to share my five favorites with all of you. But it may come as a surprise that despite my incessant chattering about food and recipes, not all of my favorite blogs are food blogs. So just in case any of you were looking for a few fun websites to check out, here are my top 5:

1. Peanut Butter Fingers


This healthy living blog follows 20-something, Julie. She is a full time writer who shares fitness tips and healthy recipes. Her style of writing is very casual and fun and she writes about everything from race recaps to wedding planning tips. Ever since I got engaged myself, I’ve loved going through her wedding recap posts to read her tips about everything from dress shopping to cake tastings.

Meals and Miles


A few weeks ago I was reading this blog and Eric asked me if it was “one of my food blogs or one of my running blogs?” but it happens to be both! Meals and Miles follows the life of Meghann, who shares running and cooking tips. What’s not to love? I especially love the fact that she shares her journey from out-of-shape post graduate to marathon runner. Meals and Miles is a great read whenever I get nervous about my first half marathon this October, because her story is so inspiring.

DIY Playbook


This is a blog I discovered just the other day, but has quickly become one of my favorites. It is a home decor blog aimed at 20-somethings who are decorating their first apartments on a budget. I especially love the fact that Bridget and Casey give tips on how to blend your own style with your significant other’s. Seeing as Eric owns more sports memorabilia than a typical sports bar, it will be great to have some tips to incorporate both of our styles into our first home together.

Espresso and Cream


Madison’s blog is actually the first blog I ever started reading. She shares recipes for healthy meals and decadent desserts, which promotes the balanced kind of attitude I try to have here on Miss Petite Sweets. I actually just shared one of her granola recipes. Plus she shares picture of her puppy, Nutmeg. And he is just too cute.

Cupcakes and Cashmere


Emily is like the modern day Martha Stewart. From decorating tips to fashion ideas and recipes, Cupcakes and Cashmeres covers a variety of fun topics. I love her entertaining ideas and beautiful pictures. And even though I may never be as fashion forward as her, it is definitely fun to read her style posts.

Have fun reading!

Recent Eats

For the last 2 years I’ve shared only recipes and stories here on Miss Petite Sweets, but lately I have been thinking about switching it up a bit. There have been so many times that I have wanted to share a story about somewhere I’ve traveled or a new recipe that I stumbled upon, but I haven’t had a recipe ready to share it with. So I’ve decided to start varying my blog posts beyond the typical recipe + story model. Don’t worry, there will still be plenty of recipes shared here, but I also plan on sharing some stories about travel, new restaurants, and maybe a little wedding planning and race recaps thrown in as well. This will mean more blog posts and more variety here on this little blog of mine. And to kick off my pledge for a bit more variety here on Miss Petite Sweets, I thought I would share a few “Recent Eats.”  Detroit’s food scene may not be as well known as some bigger cities, but let me tell you, it is alive and well and absolutely delicious.

1. Sliders at Green Dot Stables. This little restaurant-bar is known as one of Detroit’s “hipster hangouts” And though I’m not always decked out in flannel and dark rimmed glasses, I do have an appreciation for craft beers and unique eats. Eric and I ate here a few weeks ago and were really impressed by the slider menu. Because they weren’t just your typical mini cheeseburgers. Their menu featured Venison Sliders, Lamb & Rosemary Hummus Slider and even Korean Kimchi Sliders. We tried 3 different sliders and each was unique and delicious. We had the BBQ Bacon which featured  beef, bacon and barbeque sauce..or in Eric’s eyes..the trifecta of delicious. It also had mashed sweet potatoes on top which was really unique. Next we tried the Grilled Cheese slider, which was just a slider featuring Jack, Cheddar and Mornay Cheese. But honestly, the star of the show was the Fried Chicken Slider which was topped with a sage infused maple syrup. Amazing. We can’t wait to sample a few more of their varieties


2. House made Veggie Burgers at Vinsetta Garage. We went to this restaurant shortly after it opened in July and I still can’t get over how delicious their Veggie Burger was. The burger itself was filled with vegetables and beans and it was topped with feta cheese and a tomatoe relish that was tangy and sweet at the same time. And to make it even more unique (and delicious) it was topped with shitake mushroom “bacon.” Apparently this restaurant is completely packed all the time. And judging from their veggie burgers, this is not surprising at all.


3. Short Ribs at Coach Insignia. This restaurant is one of Detroit’s top notch steakhouses. Translation: It is very expensive. But when they came out with an incredible deal through Groupon, Eric and I jumped at the chance to go. In fact, we both bought the Groupon the day it came out to surprise the other. Apparently great minds do think alike. We gave one of Groupons to my parents and used one ourselves. After looking over the menu, I knew we would most likely order the same entree. And we did. Short ribs served over creamy polenta with crisp asparagus. The meat was so tender that it literally fell of the bone and was perfectly complemented by the cheesy polenta. Food comas were had by all that night.