The Berger Bungalow

How I mix it up when eating alone
Posted on:6.25.2017

This post was sponsored Tai Pei as part of an Influencer Activation for Influence Central and all opinions expressed in my post are my own.


As all of you know, Ian has been in grad school for the past year. He goes to work five days a week (six during busy season) and then 2-3 times a week after work, he is in class from 6pm-11:30pm. On his free time, he studies constantly for the CPA exams that he is taking and works on projects and homework for grad school. #Dedication

This leaves me eating by myself quite a bit and while I love to cook, I don't necessarily love to cook for just myself. Most of the time, I am tired from a long day and just want an easy and fast dinner, so I tend to lean towards leftovers, or frozen meals. The issue with frozen meals is that most of them have a lot of preservatives and unhealthy ingredients in them, so they don't really agree with what my body needs to thrive.

I thought all frozen meals were the same until I found the all-new Tai Pei single serve line of Asian inspired entrees. They are made with real, quality ingredients and do not include any of the bad things like preservatives and artificial ingredients. I purchased five of the entrees to try them out for myself and I was really shocked by what I discovered - they were great! Every one I tried had amazing flavor (I really loved the infused rice) and on top of that, they are super easy to make. With the new packaging, I just pop them in the microwave and 5 minutes later, yumminess is in my bowl, ready to eat! 


One of my issues when eating alone is that I tend to eat the same thing over and over again and I end up getting bored and then splurge on things I really shouldn't be eating. With Tai Pei, there are so many different choices to choose from, so it really does prevent me from being bored with what I'm eating by helping me mix my dinners up! 

One more month of eating by myself, but even after that, Tai Pei will definitely be in my meal plans. I am not kidding when I say that these babies taste just like asian takeout without the raised prices and long wait. SO GOOD. 

If you guys are interested in trying out Tai Pei single serve (you totally should), check out the store locator to find where it is available near you (in the frozen food section). You can also save $1.00 on ONE (1) Tai Pei® EntrĂ©e (7.9 oz. or larger) or Appetizer with this coupon!



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House Adventures // Half Bathroom
Posted on:6.14.2017

This will probably be my shortest house post yet because there is just not much to say about it, but I had to post it anyway! Our half bathroom is downstairs, right in between the stairs, our entryway, future playroom, office, dining room AND living room. It's in the middle of everything, but tucked off to the side so it's not the center of attention, either. 




There is a lot that I want to get done in this bathroom, but thankfully, they are not big ticketed items, so we are good to go! When we first moved into the house, this bathroom was the exact same as it is now, except for the paint color and popcorn ceilings. We haven't spent much time investing in this bathroom yet, but the time will eventually come. Here is what we have planned:


Plans & Inspiration:

1. Replace the toilet
This is an easy fix. We have already replaced all of our other toilets in the house, so this one is next! When we first started shopping for toilets, Home Depot told us that we should invest in the toilets that allow you to flush a basket of golf balls if you are eventually going to have kids, so that is what we did and we LOVE them! I highly recommend. This is the toilet we get (and no, I'm not paid to share that - we just love it so much!)

2. Change out the countertops
When we do our kitchen countertops, we are also going to do our bathrooms! Hopefully this will get done in the next 6 months or so! :) 


3. Replace the flooring
This is probably my biggest issue with this room. I HATE the floor. I have scrubbed and scrubbed it and it never looks clean. Also, I hate the way it looks from the wood to the bathroom floor. 


4. Maybe change out the vanity and mirror?
This isn't a huge deal - I'm fine replacing it, or not replacing it. The vanity has a bit of paint on the front of it (I didn't get a good enough picture for you to see) AND it's peeling a tiny bit, so my gut is telling me that we probably should replace it, but then again, I don't really care that much, so I'm not sure. Same with the mirror. It's not the most trendy, but it's just a bathroom...


There you have it - our downstairs half bath! 

If you want to see other parts of our house, check them out here:

If you liked this post, check these out:

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May Recap + June Goals
Posted on:6.01.2017

Hey y'all! So sorry for the lack of posts lately -- I am going to try my best to keep up with it now, but you know how life goes. I have been working NONSTOP. Seriously, nonstop and when I am not working, we have had event after event after event - I just have not had a chance to just sit down and write on here, or even relax, BUT today I am back and I will try my best to keep up with it. Hopefully, it will become a bit easier because Thursday is my last day at my job woooohooooooo, so I will officially become a "full time blogger" (for the most part). Super excited about this! 

May Recap:

May was full of fun events and A LOT of work. Here are a few fun things we did over this month --

We went to TWO graduations - one for my sister, Jenny who graduated from UGA and one for Ian's sister, Tori who graduated from high school!!! Congrats, guys!!


We went to quite a few Braves games and watched them on tv almost every night they were not in town! 


We ate really well! Check out the two recipes I posted: Chocolate chunk ice cream cookie sandwich and tapas-style scallops


We went to Zac Brown



I went to a Dining Out Atlanta Mixer (I will post about this as soon as I get a chance!)

We went paddle boarding

We had our first beer olympics


We celebrated my birthday at dueling pianos!


and we spend a lot of time with friends! 

Also, before you go, check out this video Ian made of me of my birthday. It includes a little bit from paddle boarding, beer olympics and dinner.


Here's how I did with my goals:

- Finish a 3 day juice cleanse
This was A LOT easier than expected and I really enjoyed how my body felt after. Would you guys like a review?
- Find time to work out more
nope. :(
- Feel more tone at the end of the month
Definitely not.
- Write twenty freelance articles
I knocked out SO many!
- Share at least two recipes on the blog
I linked them above :) 
- Keep my house clean!
I think I did a decently good job at this!
- Go to at least two Braves games
We went to more than two! 
- Save at least $500 more for Italy
I met this goal in the first four days of May!
- HAVE FUN!
We definitely had A LOT of fun in May! 

June Goals
  • Write 5 more freelance articles (at minimum) - I technically have 3/5 due today, so I'm really close to meeting this.
  • Plant my hydrangea and peony plant. They have just been sitting out and need to go in the ground.
  • Host our friends from out of town this weekend and have fun!!! 
  • Enter into the world of full time blogging - super excited about this!
  • Celebrate our neighbors wedding wooooohooooo! 
  • Get my hair done again before our trip
  • GO TO ITALY and eat lots of cheese and proscuitto and wine and stuff.
  • Seriously start working out and eating healthy. I couldn't find the time this past month at all, but it's going to happen this month.

What's on your June Goal list?!


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Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich
Posted on:5.09.2017

Disclosure: This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. #SoHoppinGood #BlueBunny #CollectiveBias

Spring is here and for me, that means it is the start of fun events with all of my friends. From Braves tailgates to spring cookouts, our calendar is packed and I am beyond excited about it! We never throw a "cookie cutter" party, but one thing that is the same with each party we throw is the food. Ian and I both have a love for cooking, baking and trying new recipes and we usually ask our guests to be taste testers.

We have quite a few events and new recipe ideas coming up, so last night we invited our neighbors over to taste test an ice cream cookie sandwich recipe that we wanted to make for an upcoming party. Once we nailed down our recipe, we headed to Walmart to pick up our ingredients! Thankfully, this recipe uses mostly ingredients that you would already have in your fridge and pantry, so all we needed to buy was chocolate chunks, toppings and ice cream! 

My original plan was to use Cherrific Cheesecake for the ice cream, which is a flavor that Blue Bunny® used to have seasonally, but is now available year-round, but as soon as I got to the store, I completely switched my plan. I found the new Blue Bunny® snacks in the ice cream aisle and fell in love. They are the perfect bite-size treat in four awesome flavors: Salted Caramel Pretzel, Chocolate Vanilla Twist, Chocolate Chip Cookie and Cookies 'N Cream! I absolutely love that they came up with this great idea to use classic flavors with a fun twist. 



I also saw that Blue Bunny® released their new 2017 lineup of flavors! They include Rockin' Rocky Road, Monster Cookie Mash, Toffee Brownie Twist and Mint Cookie Crunch. Plus, the Cherrific Cheesecake. I might or might not have picked up a few containers of these new flavors while I was at Walmart. :) #NoRegrets


When we got home, we started working on the recipe. Our neighbors came over, taste tested the recipe and LOVED it! Since they loved it so much, I had to share it with y'all. Check it out:


Chocolate Chunk Ice Cream Cookie Sandwich

Ingredients:

Blue Bunny® snacks (or ice cream), in any flavor.
2 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1 teaspoon salt
2 sticks butter, softened
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
2 large eggs
1 1/2 cups chocolate chunks
1/2 cup chocolate chips
Toppings of your choice

Steps:

Step 1: Turn your oven on 375 degrees.
Step 2: Mix all of your wet ingredients together in a mixing bowl. In a separate bowl, mix all (except for the regular chocolate chips) of your dry ingredients together. Slowly start mixing them in with your wet ingredients. Do not mix in the chocolate chips!!! 
Step 3: Create a double boiler and melt your chocolate chips. When you are finished, add your melted chocolate to the wet and dry ingredients that you mixed together. This should give you a nice chocolate batter.
Step 4: Spoon your cookie batter on a baking sheet. I used a tablespoon sized scoop.
Step 5: Bake your cookies for about 11-12 minutes. Once out of the oven, let your cookies cool completely (definitely learn from my mistakes here).
Step 6: Deconstruct your Blue Bunny® snacks by crushing them up and mixing it together. Once it is to the consistency of regular ice cream, you are going to scoop it and place it between two cookies, making a sandwich.
Step 7: Roll your cookie in toppings of your choice. I used chocolate chips, sprinkles and nuts, but you can be as creative as you want on this one! 
Step 8: Enjoy! 



The great thing about this recipe is that it is so versatile! You can use any cookie recipe, any type of Blue Bunny® ice cream or snacks and any toppings. As you can see, the chocolate chips were definitely the hardest to "stick" on the ice cream, but they were so good! The sprinkles and nuts were easy and such a great addition. You could also do crushed cookies, mini marshmallows, and more! 

For your next party, add these yummy chocolate chunk ice cream cookie sandwiches on your menu and let me know what you think! Don't forget that you can find Blue Bunny® products at Walmart's nationwide.


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How To Throw The Perfect Spring Party + A Tapas-Style Scallop Recipe
Posted on:5.03.2017

This shop has been compensated by Collective Bias, Inc. and its advertiser. All opinions are mine alone. The following content is intended for readers who are 21 or older. #Chardonnation #SpringWine #CollectiveBias

When Ian and I first turned 21, we were in college and couldn’t afford much. Anytime we wanted to host a party, we would walk down the wine aisle and choose the cheapest bottle of wine possible. We didn’t know anything about wine, our friends didn’t know anything about wine, so why would we get an expensive bottle, right?! Well, times have definitely changed...for the better. We are now both in our mid-twenties and our friend group has gone from uneducated wine drinkers to “currently learning about wine” drinkers and we love to throw parties to celebrate learning about wine and of course drinking it, too! Find out how I throw the perfect spring party below:

How To Throw The Perfect Spring Party

Brainstorm a theme
Since we are all in the stage where we are slowly learning about wine, I thought it would be such a fun idea to have a spring wine and cheese tasting party! I came up with the idea to set out cheese, provide “blind” wine glasses and have our guests try to figure out what region the wine is from. National Chardonnay Day is coming up on May 21, so this is the PERFECT excuse to throw a wine and cheese tasting party!


Decorate
I went pretty simple and classy with our decorations. I used mostly white and marble decorations, but the great thing about spring is that color is in style!!! I love using pastel colors for spring - pinks, light blues and yellows are perfect.

Pick your food
When shopping for the party, my first stop was the farmers market - I wanted to make sure I had the best cheese around, so I picked up some local, grass-fed cheese from one of my favorite vendors. I also picked up a few other items to make a tapas-style dish to make sure that my guests did not get hungry throughout the evening (more information below).


Pick your drinks
My next and final stop was my local grocery store. I browsed the wine aisles and decided to stick with a few spring chardonnays for our tasting. This is where I came across Notable Wines. I automatically noticed that the flavor profiles were on the front of the bottle, which helped me navigate the (sometimes confusing) wine aisle. This really stood out to me because other wines explain where they are from and what style of wine it is, but if you aren’t familiar with that region, how will you know if you are actually going to like it or not? With Notable Wines, you know exactly what taste you are getting just by looking at the front label. I followed the flavor notes and it helped me choose the taste I was looking for.

For our wine tasting specifically, I picked out the Notable: California Chardonnay and the Notable: Australian Chardonnay. According to the bottle, the California Chardonnay is supposed to taste like butter, oak and vanilla. The Australian Chardonnay is supposed to taste like Citrus, Melon and Peach. I set out our cheese and the wine flowed out. Most of our guests were not able to identify the different regions, so this was a fantastic learning experience for everyone. We not only tasted both wines, but also learned some about the regions and different wine types, as well. 



After we had our wine and cheese tasting, I cooked and served our appetizers. I wanted to make sure that my guests had bites here and there to accompany the wine, so Ian created an amazing tapas-style scallop dish on top of a creamy, rosemary parsnip puree. It was amazing - all of our guests love it and it was the perfect pair with our Notable Wine! In fact, it was so amazing that I just have to share the recipe with all of you:


Ingredients:
3 Parsnips
3/4 cup of cream
3/4 cup of milk
1 bay leaf
1 sprig of thyme
2 sprigs of rosemary
1.5 sticks of butter
1 pound (or more) of fresh scallops
salt
pepper
dill
I used appetizer spoons to plate the dish on.


Steps:

Parsnip Puree:
Step 1: Peel your parsnips and slice them up. Then place them in a pot with your cream, milk, bay leaf, thyme, and rosemary and simmer for 20 minutes, or until tender.
Step 2: Carefully transfer your parsnips to a food processor and add 1 stick of butter, salt, rosemary and pepper to taste. Puree your parsnips until the consistency is smooth. You can add more cream to the mixture to thin it out, if needed.

Scallops:
Step 1: While your parsnips are in the food processor, add butter into your pan to melt.
Step 2: Add your scallops to the melted butter and season with salt and pepper.
Step 3: Cook your first side for 90-120 seconds and flip. Season your scallop again and remove from the heat as soon as your 90-120 seconds is up.

Plating Instructions:
Place a small spoonful of puree in the base of the spoon. Top with a scallop. Garnish with a few dill fronds.

Enjoy!! 








I hope you enjoy this party idea and amazing recipe! If you are in the process of learning about wine, definitely look for Notable Wines on your next trip to the store and if you need another excuse to purchase some wine, don’t forget that National Chardonnay Day is May 21! Who’s celebrating with me?!
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April Recap + May Goals
Posted on:5.01.2017

















April was a great month for us! We had so many fun events and celebrations - my calendar was definitely completely full, but they were all great things! 


  • We had our air ducts cleaned and it was MUCH needed. They found so much dust, dander, hair and other junk in our ducts. I highly recommend getting it done.



  • We took the pups on a hike.




  • I went with Jenna to find her wedding dress!!


  • We got a new grill and had our first summer cookout.


  • We went to the Braves home opener at the new park.



  • We celebrated Brenden and Katherine’s marriage! (Side note: Katherine is CANCER FREE as of last week and we could not be more excited for her!).



  • We celebrated Easter with family





  • We had lots of fun food experiences -- Lesley and I went to the Dining Out Atlanta Magazine Issue Launch which was so much fun! We started getting our strawberries again each week at the farmers market. Plus, Ian and I ate at Zeal and The Mill Kitchen and Bar using our Dining Out Atlanta City Pass (AWESOME DEAL IF YOU DON’T HAVE ONE -- use code “BergerEatsPass2017" to bring your price down to $35)








  • We celebrated Tax Day at Seed and Stem. Then, we had fun relaxing over the next few days.





  • I went to a wedding tasting with Jenna and had so much fun helping her choose the perfect food! 


  • We watched Emma for a night and she had so much fun with Ian!




  • We purchased some new flowers for our yard (we still need more, but we are getting there) and started our new herb and veggie garden!



  • We had the cutest house guest!





  • We hung out with friends that we haven’t seen in a while and made great, new friends, as well.




  • and we both worked A LOT.
________________________________________________________________

May is my birthday month, so it is obviously THE BEST month and we have so many fun things coming up. We do not have one weekend open this month, so we are trying to pack in all of the fun stuff, but at the same time, we are trying to save since we leave for Italy NEXT MONTH! 
I am really looking forward to our next braves game, Jenny & Tori’s graduations, seeing Zac Brown again, celebrating Lesley’s birthday, going to another Dining Out Atlanta mixer, having my sister stay with us to celebrate my birthday, my birthday (obvs) ANDDDDDD drum roll, please......... OUR FIRST ANNUAL BEER OLYMPICS!!!!!! 

May Goals

- Finish a 3 day juice cleanse
- Find time to work out more
- Feel more tone at the end of the month
- Write twenty freelance articles
- Share at least two recipes on the blog
- Keep my house clean!
- Go to at least two Braves games
- Save at least $500 more for Italy
- HAVE FUN!
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