Friday, December 30, 2011

A New Little Adventure...

It's hard to believe that in just two short days I will be returning to work. It feels like the start of Christmas break is far away, but it also feels like it's just slipped away right before my eyes. Very "oxymoronic". We have been traveling for the past week, spending 17 hours in the car between all of the places we've visited. We are gearing up again tomorrow to head back to NC for New Year's Eve with our friends. This will be a "quick trip" as we are only staying one night, but sadly we'll also be spending 7 more hours in our car. Good thing we like our car. Overall, we have enjoyed our vacation. It has been good to see family and friends and to be able to catch up. We spent half of the week in Lynchburg and the other half all over North Carolina. Husband got NC State bowl game tickets for Christmas so we were in Charlotte, NC for a night, it was really fun and really cold! Santa was good to us all, as usual. I got a lot of fun things including a new Schwinn bike!

family on Christmas Eve

new bike!

at the bowl game

There is a little new piece of news in the Moorefield world. We are moving. Not far away or anything, just to the next town over. We'll still be with the same Young Life area and I'll still be at my school. Just now, Kenneth will not have to commute to work and I will. Bummer. We are moving to a house that has 3 bedrooms, 1 bath, living room, dining room, finished attic, basement, and a kitchen. Right now, however, this house it not quite like I want it. There is a lot of cleaning to be done and we are going to paint practically every room. So, we have a lot of work ahead of us. Today my mom and little brother came down and we all went over and started to work on the place. I will admit that when I got in there and started cleaning I began to feel very overwhelmed. I still do, really. There is just a lot more cleaning than I had expected...mostly because I've never moved into a place this "big" before. It was really helpful to have my mom and brother there today to get things started. Mom and I tackled mostly the kitchen and bathroom while husband and my brother hung lights and replaced blinds. We still have a lot more to do if we hope to be in by mid January. We've set a budget and with that I'll be buying things to help spruce up the place. So, look for more updates as we continue in this little adventure. I hope to post some helpful, budget-friendly ways to help "make your space". You can also follow me on Pinterest where I'll be posting a lot of ideas!

With all that said, I am still super sad to leave this apartment. I have grown quite attached to this place and to the people we live next to. I am having a hard time "letting go" as you will. The Lord is growing me during this time, though. I'm learning to find peace in Him and trust in His plan for our lives. We know that for many reasons it will be good to move and helpful for us and our ministry. I just know that I am really going to miss this place. It is my first "place of my own" after moving out of my parent's home, the place we came home to after getting married, and it is filled with so many memories. I know we'll make new memories and that this next place will be a part of the, probably, many places that fit into our story. Currently, I am trying to live by this motto: "it's not about where you live, it's about where you love."

So, for now, I will leave you with some sneak preview of some design items I'll be using. I love the fabric I found. I looked around a few places and I'm glad I got exactly what I wanted! Enjoy.

dining room curtain fabric

office curtain fabric

paint colors

Monday, December 19, 2011

Pasta e Fagioli & Christmas in our home

So, I've been able to try some new recipes this month.  In all, they have each been pretty decent, but my favorite has been Pasta e Fagioli, a recipe I found on I have to admit, as I was making this I thought that it was most definitely not going to turn out well. It looked colorless and seemed it would be fairly tasteless. However, I was determined to see it through to the finish and after the first bite I was glad I did. It was so tasty! The flavors worked together really well and it made for a perfect winter's night dinner. Here is the recipe (with some revisions).

You will need: 1 tsp dried thyme (or 4 sprigs of fresh), 1 tsp dried rosemary (or 1 large fresh sprig), 1 bay leaf, 1 tbs olive oil, 1 tsp unsalted butter, 1 medium onion chopped, 3 oz bacon chopped, 2 garlic cloves minced, 5 3/4 cup chicken broth, 1-2 cans red kidney beans rinsed and drained (depends on how much you like beans), 3/4 cup elbow macaroni, salt and pepper, and 1/3 cup freshly grated parmesan cheese.

To prepare: If you're using fresh herbs tie them in some cheesecloth. Heat the olive oil and butter in a heavy saucepan over medium heat. Add the onion, bacon, and garlic and saute until the onion is tender (around 3-5 minutes). Add the beans, broth, and herbs. Cover and bring to a boil over high heat, then decrease the heat to medium and simmer for 10 minutes. (If using fresh herbs, discard herb sachet now) In a blender, puree 1 cup of the bean mixture until it is smooth then return it to the saucepan. Cover and return to a boil over high heat. Add the macaroni and boil until pasta is cooked, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

I recently joined Pinterest and since then I have found some awesome decorating ideas, including a lot for Christmas. I saved a lot of them to do for next year since it is a little late to start some projects for this Christmas. Below are some pictures of how we've decorated our house for this holiday season. A few of these ideas came from jones design company blog...a new obsession of mine!

Art Sign...from jones design

vintage jingle bells
card hanging...i used twine & clothespins
our stockings

dining table deco

red & white paper idea from jones design

Well, that's all for now...I am so glad to be enjoying some time off. It's been nice to relax, get some errands done, and finally have some time for crafting! Be sure to be on your best behavior, Santa comes in less than a week!


Thursday, December 8, 2011

Christmas begins!

Quick update tonight...
I LOVE Christmas and everything that goes along with it. We've had a great time just enjoying the season so far. Kenneth and I got a lot of shopping done last weekend as well as getting to cut down our tree. So fun! I've tried two new recipes this month that were both great. I plan to post them this weekend. But, for now here's some beginning of the season pictures!

Picking out our tree..

all decorated!

Sunday, November 27, 2011

November Highlight Reel

I'm going to post at least once here in November. Currently it is 70 degrees outside, but the warm weather isn't keeping me from watching Christmas movies! "A Grandpa for Christmas" is playing right now, a Hallmark original, haha. Here's a little about what has happened over the past month...

Husband turned 27...we celebrated at PF Chang's

Back home, we had another birthday dinner for Kenneth with his mom. We had filets, stuffed potatoes, and snap beans wrapped in bacon. Those snap beans are awesome. The recipe is below.

I made THIS recipe for Smoky Red Pepper Soup from Southern Living. It was ok...I probably won't make it again without some tweaking.

There was a mouse in my stove drawer. Gross. My little neighbor got it out for me. 

Made this really good dish called Orecchiette with sausage and cherry tomatoes from Food and Wine. Recipe below.

Made a trip to Rockbridge (Young Life camp). It was a great Fall Weekend trip for our area.

Sunset at the river while there over Thanksgiving break.
me and husband at the him.

On our last day in NC, we went to the NC State vs. Maryland game. State made an amazing comeback and we won!

So, that's November in a nutshell. Below are the two recipes I referenced above. We'll see what cooking December brings! I'm hoping for more opportunities to spend time in the kitchen and to at least make two or three new recipes!

Snap Beans wrapped in Bacon
You'll need (for 14): 1 can french style green beans, drained, 7 pieces of bacon, each slice cut in half, minced onion, 1/2 cup brown sugar
To make: Preheat the oven to 350. Take one piece of bacon and lay flat. Next, take a pinch of green beans and lay them in the center of the bacon. After that, sprinkle a bit of brown sugar on the beans. Then, put two-three shakes of minced onion on the beans. Once you've done that, wrap the bacon around the beans. Place in a baking dish. Repeat with the remaining slices of bacon. Place the snap beans into the oven and bake for 30 minutes.

Orecchiette with Sausage and Cherry Tomatoes (November Food & Wine)
You'll need:
1/2 pound orecchiette
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 pound sweet Italian sausage, casings removed
1 pint cherry tomatoes, halved
1/2 teaspoon crushed red pepper
2 ounces aged provolone or parmesan, shredded
1. In a large pot of boiling salted water, cook the pasta until al dente. Drain the pasta, reserving 3/4 cup of the cooking water.
2. Meanwhile, in a large, deep skillet, heat 1 tablespoon of the olive oil until shimmering. Add the sausage in 1-inch clumps and cook over moderately high heat, turning once, until browned and cooked through, about 8 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, transfer the sausage to a plate.
3. Add 2 tablespoons of the olive oil to the skillet along with the tomatoes and crushed red pepper; cook over moderately high heat, pressing the tomatoes until slightly softened, about 4 minutes. Add the reserved pasta cooking water, season with salt and cook over moderate heat, scraping up any browned bits and crushing the tomatoes, until the liquid is reduced by half and the tomatoes are nearly broken down, about 5 minutes. **I also added some dried parsley and basil, and garlic powder to add some extra flavor.
4. Add the pasta to the skillet along with the sausage and the remaining 1 tablespoon of olive oil and cook, stirring, until the pasta is evenly coated, about 3 minutes. Remove from the heat and stir in the provolone. Transfer to bowls and serve right away.

Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween dinner

Yesterday we celebrated our third annual Halloween dinner. Here's what was on the menu: "Monster sliders", spider eggs, candied tomatoes, ghost mashed potatoes, and brussell sprout brains. We finished dinner off with some pumpkin parfaits. We had a great time and we even dressed up this year! I forgot my camera so I got a few shots with my Dad's phone and one or two with my iPad, but they're not the best quality.
Spider eggs

Monster sliders

For the pumpkin parfaits, I used THIS RECIPE from Food Network. I feel like the recipe called for way too much whipped cream to be folded into the pumpkin mixture. Next time I make them, I will use only half of the whipped cream.

To make the spiders on the eggs, I cut whole (pitted) black olives in half. I used one half as the body and cut the other half into small slivers to make the legs. For the monster sliders, I simply took two tooth picks and topped them each with a green pimento olive and they made little monster eyes!

Well, I am off to go switch over my clothes to my fall/winter wardrobe. It's time to say so-long flip flops and hello tp cowboy boots!

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Things I love...

Just a quick tidbit for now...

Things I love as of late:

1. My fresh and clean apartment
2. My new iPad!!!!!
3. November issues of magazines
4. Fall
5. Halloween lunch this Saturday with costumes!
6. My pecan-crusted chicken salad that is on tap for dinner tonight (recipe to follow soon!)

Monday, October 17, 2011

One Recipe, Two ways & Our Apartment

My dinner is cooking in the oven right now and it smells oh, so yummy. I am in a happy mood right now because I just watched this video about teaching and it made me feel inspired. I feel slightly more healthy today because I ate a salad for lunch and worked out briefly after I got home from school. (I am forgetting about the cookies I ate at our faculty meeting) Speaking of our faculty meeting...I was just reminded today how thankful I am to work in the school division I do. Our division is about kids and what's best for them and that makes me so proud to be a part of it. And- it's fall; it may be 80 degrees outside, but its still fall and the leaves are so beautiful. Sometimes I am not thrilled about living in such a rural area (I mean, a girl's gotta shop) but fall here is beautiful. Tomorrow I get to go to my class at the Y which makes me happy, 1. because I haven't been in 2 weeks and 2. because I have a new workout shirt to wear, woo hoo.

Tonight I'm making a casserole that I found from a Mahatma rice ad in Cooking Light. I've made it before and it's definitely worth making again. The only downside to the recipe is that it does take an hour to bake. That is why I'm still currently waiting to eat...I started a bit late on dinner tonight. The first time I made this recipe I used chicken, tonight I'm using pork.

Here's what you'll need for the recipe (this serves 8-10, but it can easily be cut in half, I did it tonight): 2 tbs evoo, 2 cloves of garlic, minced, 1 onion, diced, 2 tbs basil (fresh or dried, use less if you're using dried), 1 14.5 oz can diced tomatoes, 1 8oz can tomato sauce, 4 cups of chicken broth (pref. low sodium), 2 cups Mahatma brown rice, 2 lb grilled chicken breasts OR grilled pork chops, 1/2 tsp each salt and pepper, 1/2 cup of shredded parmesan cheese

1. Preheat the oven to 400. Heat the evoo in a medium-sized skillet. Cook the onion & garlic until cooked through.

2. To the onions, add the diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, basil, salt, pepper, and rice. Bring to a simmer.

3. Cut the chicken or pork into same size "chunks". Add it the bottom of an 8x13 baking dish. Add the onion mixture on top, stir together. Cook for 60 minutes covered with foil.

4. Take the casserole out of the oven, stir in the parmesan and cook for 5 more minutes, uncovered.

Over the past month Kenneth and I have been working to make our apartment a little more cozy. We've just been adding a few touches here and there and make things come together more. I feel that's what you do when you have a place of your own- add things little by little over time. We've bought a few new accessories for various rooms, I've found some items to decorate with at family member's houses, and we've painted. Here's a look into our ever-evolving apartment!

In our bedroom, we got a new rug and bench.
 Above & Below: our office newly painted, re-arranged, and new curtains I made.

 My ever-changing frame wall.

 our living room with some new pillows & paint from last fall

part of our living room...that's one of my Graney's old hat boxes

Husband and I had a great weekend. We spent the night at The Babcock House, which is where we had our wedding reception. It was the first time we had ever spent the night there so it was so fun. We had a wonderful dinner and breakfast there. Then, we just spent time in Appomattox browsing the shops and on our way home we stopped by a local winery. So fun! Well my dinner is now finally ready so I'm off to eat! Enjoy your Monday!

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Mashed Sweet Potatoes & Office Re-deco

We have been busy bees today with painting and working on some diy projects! We have gotten the office painted, our desk painted, and have started to sort through what needs to go back in the room. Our living room is a huge mess with all the contents of the office littering the space. I have high hopes that all will return to normal tomorrow. We still have to agree on a layout of furniture, re-paint the top of the desk, hang up diplomas/art, and paint a bulletin board. Here are some sneak peak pictures of what's happened so far.

 before picture

 spray painting the desk

 new paint!

Thursday night was our date night for the week. We collaborated on dinner and it turned out very good! Kenneth marinated and grilled flank steak and I made roasted asparagus and mashed sweet potatoes. Every once in a while I love to mix things up and mash sweet potatoes instead of white potatoes. Here's how I make mine:

3 large sweet potatoes, peeled and cut into chunks
1/2 cup milk or heavy cream
1 tbs Grand Marnier
2-4 tbs butter
1/8 cup brown sugar
salt & pepper to taste

Bring a medium pot of water to a boil. Add the potatoes and cook until tender (about 30 minutes). Drain and return the potatoes to the pot. To the potatoes add the milk and the remaining ingredients. Blend with an electric hand mixer until smooth.


Monday, October 3, 2011

Let's Talk Turkey

The month of September disappeared before my eyes. I can't believe that it is already October 2nd. I'm glad though, as October is my favorite month. It's when fall sets in, the leaves are beautiful, and it's when I get to host Halloween dinner. Perfect. But, like I said, the past month has been a whirlwind which caused me to take an accidental sabbatical from blogging. I'm back today, though, taking some time to write as I have the night to myself while Kenneth is at Young Life club. I have a migraine though, so I'm keeping my head real still as I type. I can't sleep it off because the medicine I take has so much caffeine in it. Although, the medicine doesn't seem to be working...I actually feel slightly worse. The pills did have a funny "odor" when I popped them in, but if you get migraines you know you've got to have something to cut the pain- even if it smells funny. (I'm sure it's ok Mom, don't worry) All that to say, if something doesn't make sense on this post, that's why.

So I decided to give a picture tour of what we've been up to the past month. Some of the pictures are of recipes I've made, and to save time/length of this post, I'll just link the recipes under the picture. Other pictures will be of recent happenings in the life of the Moorefields.

Before I do that...let's talk about this post's title. I named it "Let's Talk Turkey" for two reasons. First is because I am teaching my kids figurative language right now so it seemed appropriate to connect that on over to the blog. (For those more literal folks out there, talking turkey means "talking business" or in this context, "discussing life".) Second, is because last month I made a recipe using turkey legs. It was gross and I'll never do it again. I will not even think about that recipe anymore past typing this very sentence.

On to the pictures...

While this isn't a beautiful picture, it was a "beautiful" recipe. I'm not even good at baking and this blueberry crisp from August's Cooking Light was awesome

Another great recipe: Pecan Crusted Chicken salad. The homemade honey-mustard dressing that goes with this will make you never want to buy bottled honey-mustard dressing again. Even my pecan-hating husband liked this recipe from Cuisine.
Sorry, I can't find the recipe online to link it, but I promise to post it next time I make the dish.
This is a chicken-pot-pie recipe I made from Real Simple. I felt that it lacked flavor and I probably wouldn't make it again unless I added some extra spices to it. It probably wasn't as good because you are supposed to use a canned-corn chowder as a "shortcut". It just goes to show that sometimes you just can't shortcut things.

 This is a lemon and oregano shrimp recipe from Food and Wine. All I have to say is: try it. So good. I paired it with sauteed green beans.

 This weekend my friend Jesse visited. For breakfast on Saturday I made bacon, eggs, and fried apples (it is fall after all). After the bacon was finished I let it sit on a plate. In the bacon grease, I fried some apples. I cut 5 Gala apples into small wedges (my mom says Roma work better, I thought the Galas were good though). I fried them over medium heat in the bacon grease until they were soft. While they were cooking, I added 1/4 cup sugar and about 1 tsp of cinnamon. My secret ingredient: a dash or two of pumpkin pie spice. Delicious. Kenneth doesn't like "cooked fruit" and had thirds on these!

It's fall and it's time for mums & pumpkins! Here is the outside of our little porch decorated a little bit for fall. We went to the pumpkin patch on Saturday and got our pumpkin. I love it!

 These two pictures are a sneak peak of our office redecorating project. We finally have all the supplies we need, now we have to take the time to begin our project. We're painting the walls a light gray and the yellow you see is the fabric I'm using to make curtains. We're also painting our desk white and doing some other small changes. We've done some other things to the house, but that's another post.

Lastly, is a picture of my brother and me at home this weekend. I love him a bunch. 

Well, that should about do it. Thanks for sticking with the long post. I will be better about posting this month! My migraine has faded thankfully, so now I'm left to decide whether or not to actually fix dinner or just have an apple and peanut butter. Until next time...