Sunday, July 31, 2011

Reunion Party

Last night we had our annual college reunion party! It was a ton of fun and so good to see old friends that we don't often get to see during the year. Per usual, it was also filled with great food made by all the girls. It was a great way to end my summer. There are some party pictures below. I am sorry to say goodbye to summer, as tonight is my last night- back to school tomorrow. And so, since it is my last night I am going to go spend it with my husband watching movies and eating leftovers. Until next time..

Party Food (and you can see the decorations somewhat inside & out)

Tomato Caprese (recipe below)

The girls!

Tomato Caprese- a no cook appetizer
You need: 8 campari tomatoes, thinly sliced, 1 "block" of mozzarella cheese, thinly sliced, 12 basil leaves, julienned, and a bottle of balsamic glaze

Lay out your mozzarella slices, top each with a slice of tomato, and sprinkle on the basil. Then, drizzle the glaze over it all.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

My First Roast Chicken

Tonight I embarked upon roasting a whole chicken. It was 7:30 and I had not even really given dinner a thought yet. Husband was in town at a meeting, so I was just getting some things done around the house and dinner wasn't on my mind. When I did finally give it a thought, I realized the only meat we had that wasn't frozen was the whole chicken we bought today. So, roast chicken it was. I used Ina Garten's recipe "Jeffery's Roast Chicken" that she makes for her husband every Friday night. Let me just tell you that this was one of the best chickens I have ever eaten. The recipe was perfect as was the chicken. It was crispy on the outside and moist on the inside. The vegetables surrounding it were awesome too. This will be my go to recipe for every roast chicken I do.

Here's the recipe (c/o Ina Garten "How Easy is That"): You need- 1 4-5 lb roasting chicken, 2 lemons, 1 whole head of garlic, cut in half crosswise, and 2 Spanish onions cut into thick slices (I used white).

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Remove and discard all of the chicken giblets and pat the outside dry. Cut the lemons into quarters and place 2-3 quarters in the cavity along with the garlic. Salt and pepper the inside. Tie the legs of the chicken together and tuck the wings underneath. Brush the chicken with evoo and then liberally salt and pepper the outside. Place the chicken in a small roasting pan. Coat the remaining lemons and onion slices with 2 tbs of evoo 1 tsp salt, and 1/2 tsp of salt, and add them to the pan close to the chicken. Roast the chicken for 1 hour and 15 minutes until the juices run clear when you cut between the leg and thigh. Cover the chicken with foil and let rest for 10 minutes.

At this point you can make a sauce with the remaining juices. I didn't do that this time because it was 9:30 and I was ready to eat, but here's the link to the Ina recipe that makes the sauce. There's also more details on roasting the chicken if you want them on the link.

This recipe was so easy and so good. You have to try it.

I didn't have a roasting pan so I used a deep baking pan.

Final Product!

Husband couldn't stop eating it!


Sunday, July 24, 2011

We're Back

Today husband and I arrived home after a few days of vacation in Charleston, SC. We had an awesome time and it was a great way to wrap up summer vacation. You see, next Monday, it's back to school for this girl. I'm sad that summer break is over because I love being home in the summer, being able to travel and spending time with my favorite people. We have one last shindig this Saturday with some of our best friends from college, and then its back to reality. Husband leaves the second week of August for two weeks for an assignment at Young Life camp. I can't go since I'll be back at work which I'm sad about. I'll get to see him on the weekends so that is nice.

Back to Charleston...we had such a great time. Some of the highlights: we took a horse-drawn carriage ride around town, we ate at so many fab restaurants and every single meal was incredible, we went to a cooking demonstration at an awesome local cooking store, shopped, bought things as we shopped, and basically just had a wonderful time just the two of us. Below are some pictures from the trip...

after a house tour

our horse from our carriage ride

some favorite Charleston finds

On our way home, we stopped in Raleigh to send off one of husband's very best friends, Adam. He is moving to Texas, so he had a going away party. We got to see some great friends there. Here's a pic of some of the pals!

Tonight we had a hodge podge, what could we find in the fridge, dinner. I pulled out some sliders that I had made up in the freezer, cooked up some squash from my parent's garden, sauteed some spinach that we needed to use up, and roasted some potatoes coated in Willie's Hog Dust. If you have never heard of or eaten Willie's Hog Dust, you need to. It was used in the cooking demonstration we went to in Charleston. It is so yummy and you can use it on a ton of different foods. Check out the link!

I have some goals for this week such as doing one last really good clean on the place, riding a horse for the first time, going to the pool, and enjoying having nothing really to do. For now, I'm going to go watch Food Network Star.

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Travels, Basil Pesto, and a Little Redecorating

Back again! July this year has been the month of travel for husband and me. We started off the month at the beach, then he took kids to Young Life camp while I visited my family and my mother-in-law. Next week we are headed to Charleston! I'm very excited. Here's some photos from our travels.

All the girls at the beach had matching 4th of July headbands

My little brother & me on his 21st birthday

MIL and I got matching tanks at a local marina at the river

Last night we went to see Winnie the Pooh. I was super excited since I grew up on Pooh; it was a precious movie. And- we were the only ones in the the theater! I love when that happens.

Last week when I was home for a few days, I made some basil pesto. I have so much basil growing that I have to start using it up! It was a super easy recipe from Southern Living and tasted good too. Here's how to make it...
You'll need: 2 cups loosely packed basil leaves, 1 cup grated parmesan cheese, 2/3 cup olive oil, 1/4 cup of almonds (I used almonds instead of pine nuts), 2 garlic cloves, 3 tbs cold water, 1 tbs lemon juice, and 1/2 tsp salt.
Process all the ingredients in a food processor until smooth.

I have recently been in the mood to redecorate. Sometimes I just want a change around the house. So I decided to make a frame collage on one of the walls in our living room. It is still a work in progress. My dad and I cut out an M to include in the collage. It's my favorite part of the whole thing.

I'm ending this post with a favorite Pooh Bear quote...
“If ever there is tomorrow when we're not together.. there is something you must always remember. you are braver than you believe, stronger than you seem, and smarter than you think. but the most important thing is, even if we're apart.. I'll always be with you.”

Monday, July 4, 2011

And the Winner Is...

Today ends the give away, so I had husband pull out a name out of a cup for our winner. And, the winner is Becky!! Congrats!! Thanks to all who entered!

We are at the beach celebrating the Fourth, it is so nice! We're having a big cookout tonight complete with hot dogs, sliders (Ina's recipe), caramelized onions, marinated cucumbers, baked beans, and much more! I'm looking forward to it. I'll post beach pictures when we get back.

Happy 4th of July!