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...