Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Hello again...here's what I have been up to lately

So I took a break...a 4 month long break.  

I haven't completely disappeared, even though it has felt that way more than a few times in the past couple of months. It wasn't a conscious decision to be absent from the blogosphere for so long, as much as I was drawing a blank...granted, a very big blank... over what was inspiring me.

Breaking my foot...and the subsequent sequestration from the rest of the world...and the inability to do anything for myself...let alone diy house projects... made me realize that I needed to take some time and reevaluate what was making me happy at that moment.  I started...and completed...the #100HAPPYDAYS challenge and I can truly say that... life has been full of "happy" lately : )  I find myself with a lot to share all of a sudden.  It could be the fact that I did not post anything for four months...could be.

I do hope  to jump back into angenuity, because I have truly missed it.  That being said, I am so grateful for the uninterrupted time I had with my girls this Summer.  The time I had with them and the memories we made will be a lifelong treasure for me...and hopefully for them too : )

So, here is a peak into what I have been up to lately through my #100HAPPYDAYS lens...

     With a little help from Isabella, we perked up the front porch

     My vanilla iced coffee was a rare treat when I was house bound

     Margaritas at sunset

     Being able to drive after 10 weeks was soooooo nice

     Isabella's movie night birthday party was a huge success...you may just see it pop up on the blog soon

     Dinner outside...yes please : )

     A return to work...a very happy day

     Gathering artwork for my dining room gallery wall...you may see this soon too : )

     A week in the mountains...full of water, sun and plenty of relaxation

     Summer movies with two of the sweetest girls

     Learning patience at a train stop.  Perfect time to sing my favorite song at the top of my lungs : )

     Fostering a love of the classics early

     Date night at SOUL Gastrolounge...sooooo gooood

     What's not to love about live music and glow in the dark hula hoops?

      Worth the hike...even though I may not have thought so while I was doing it : )

     Love me some Sputnik : )

     Waiting in line with Clint is never boring

     Bella and I could have watched this guy for hours...quite a good mending job

     When was the last time you flew a kite?

     Deer in our front yard at the beach. Every...single...day.  Loved it.

     An annual beach staple...and so good every time

     New beach...new mode of transportation

     Found my mid century dining chairs...you will definitely see these guys again soon : )

     Isabella and her hot pink tail. It made every excursion a little more interesting this Summer

Just a few of my happy moments from the #100HAPPYDAYS challenge. I hope you have had a wonderful Summer and I can't wait to share some of the DIYs I have been up to lately : )

Until then....

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Monday, May 12, 2014

My Pinterest Menu: Week of May 12th

After this weekend, I got pretty spoiled and did not have to cook even one meal.  Lots of great food...

lots : )

But now, it's time to get back to reality.  And I have picked out some great looking recipes. Here, in Charlotte, we jumped right into Summer, so I wanted to try out a few lighter recipes this week.  

I am excited about the Grilled Honey Orange Chicken Salad.  Even though everyone knows that apples and pork go together, I have never made them together myself.  The Apple Cinnamon Pork Chops look too good to pass up though, so this week I will be trying them out.  

Here is this week's menu...Enjoy : )

via Baker by Nature

via BH&G

via Gimme Some Oven

via Gimme Some Oven

via Rock Recipes

The Grocery List:

Roasted Garlic and Lemon Rigatoni with Browned Butter and Gruyere-
1 head of garlic, bottom cut off
1 pound rigatoni pasta
*reserve 1/3 cup of the pasta water
5 tablespoons butter, browned
1/4 cup fresh parsley
2 lemons, zest and juice; divided
1 cup fresh grated gruyere cheese, plus more for sprinkling
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
Salt and pepper to taste
Crushed red pepper for sprinkling

Grilled Honey-Orange Chicken Salad-
pound skinless, boneless chicken breast halves (about 3)
teaspoons finely shredded orange peel
1/3 cup orange juice
cloves garlic, minced 
tablespoons honey
1 1/2 teaspoons dried thyme, crushed
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
tablespoons olive oil
tablespoons white wine vinegar
tablespoons orange juice
cloves garlic, minced
1 1/2 teaspoons finely chopped shallot
cups torn baby salad greens
medium red sweet pepper, thinly sliced
medium oranges, peeled and sectioned
Sliced almonds, toasted (optional)

Apple Cinnamon Pork Chops-
4 Ribeye (rib) pork chops, bone-in, about 3/4-inch thick
Salt and pepper
3 tablespoons butter, divided
2 apples, peeled (optional), cored and thinly sliced
1 large white onion, halved and thinly sliced
2 tablespoons packed brown sugar
2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
Pinch ground cayenne pepper
2/3 cup apple cider
1/3 cup heavy cream

5 Ingredient Black Bean Soup-
3 (15 oz) cans black beans, with liquid
1 lb. (about 2.5 cups) good-quality salsa, homemade or store-bought 
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro, loosely packed (plus extra for garnish)
2 tsp. ground cumin
1 clove garlic, minced

Double Crunch Honey Garlic Chicken-
large boneless skinless chicken breasts
2 cups flour
4 tsp salt
4 tsp black pepper
3 tbsp ground ginger
1 tbsp freshly ground nutmeg
2 tsp ground thyme
2 tsp ground sage
2 tbsp paprika
1 tsp cayenne pepper
4 eggs
8 tbsp water
2 tbsp olive oil
3-4 cloves minced garlic
1 cup honey
1/4 cup soy sauce (low sodium soy sauce is best)
1 tsp ground black pepper
 canola oil for frying

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Monday, May 5, 2014

My Pinterest Menu: Week of May 5th

We're going to kick off the week with Carne Asada Tacos to celebrate Cinco de Mayo.  Feel free to toss in a couple margaritas too : )  I love that all the recipes this week look super simple to make, but I love all the color even more!  It's easy to get excited about dinner when it looks so good! 

Some favorites from last week were the Spring Chopped Salad and the Garlic-Yogurt Baked Chicken.

Here is this week's menu...Enjoy : )

via The Picky Palate

via Gimme Some Oven

via Minimally Invasive

via Love Grows Wild

via The Novice Chef

The Grocery List:

Carne Asada Soft Tacos with Guacamole & Corn-
1/2 cup of extra virgin olive oil
2 Tbsp lime juice
1/2 tsp ground cumin
1/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
1 lb of carne asada beef or flank stank
1/2 cup finely chopped white onion
2 cloves minced garlic
2 Tbsp extra virgin olive oil
2 avocados, peeled and seeded
1 Tbsp lime juice
1/4 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp freshly ground black pepper
3/4 cup yellow corn
1/2 cup finely diced red bell pepper
4 soft tortilla bread

Bourbon Old Fashioned Shrimp-
1/2 cup freshly-squeezed orange juice
1/3 cup bourbon
2 teaspoons granulated sugar (or honey)
pinch of cayenne pepper
1 pound large or jumbo shrimp, raw, peeled and deveined
salt and freshly-ground black pepper
1 Tablespoon olive oil
4 cloves garlic, minced
zest of one orange
2 scallions (green onions), thinly sliced
(optional garnish: orange and lemon slices)

Skillet Rosemary Chicken-
3/4 pound small red-skinned potatoes, halved, or quartered if large
Kosher salt
2 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 1 1/2 tablespoons leaves

2 cloves garlic, smashed

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Juice of 2 lemons (squeezed halves reserved)

2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil

4-6 skin-on, bone-in chicken thighs (I am going to substitute boneless chicken breasts)

10 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved

Crunchy Romaine Strawberry Salad-
1 package ramen noodles
1 cup chopped walnuts
1/4 cup butter
1/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup canola oil
2 Tablespoons red wine vinegar
1/2 teaspoon soy sauce
8 cups torn romaine lettuce
1/2 cup chopped green onions
2 cups fresh strawberries, sliced

Caprese Chicken-
4 skinless chicken breasts
kosher salt & freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil, divided
3 large garlic cloves, minced
2 pints cherry tomatoes, halved
10 large basil leaves, finely chopped
8 oz fresh buffalo mozzarella, sliced in 1/2 inch thick slices
balsamic vinegar, to taste

Saturday, May 3, 2014

A Saturday Song...

After getting used to solitude in my house for the past two weeks, yesterday was full of activity.  My best friend Courtney picked me up, and we went to a walk-a-thon where she proceeded to push me in my wheelchair for 4 miles- great workout for her and I got to enjoy the scenery and the conversation : )  Then my wonderful neighbor, Monica, picked the girls and I up and took us to happy hour at Starbucks- half-priced frappacinos for everyone! And finally, after Jason got home we went and met my brother-in-law and nephews out for dinner. Overall, it was a GREAT day and I love everyone for helping me get out of this house!

We are heading to a family reunion on my dad's side today, and it looks like it will be a beautiful day for it!

Here is a song for your Saturday...

I hope you all have a wonderful weekend!

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