Friday, March 9, 2012

A little bit of this, a little bit of that

Hey's been quite some time since my last post; over a month to be exact. But, we are still alive and well...we are just alive, well, and busy. But, I have some good recipes to share and a DIY project or two to tell you about, so let's get to it.

First off, I must blog about one of my favorite appetizers- spinach and artichoke dip. My friend Megan and I discovered a recipe for this scrumptious dish in college by Alton Brown (Food Network). It is hands down the best spinach and artichoke dip I have eaten so far...and I've tried a lot of them. This is not a health conscious recipe, so if you're looking for a healthy version this is not the one to use. Me? I don't really's too good to give up. I've tweaked it just a bit from the original recipe. Here's what you need:

1 box of frozen spinach (preferably thawed)
1 can of artichoke hearts, drained OR  1 1/2 cup frozen
6oz cream cheese
1/4 cup mayo (I use Duke's)
1/4 cup sour cream (I use Breakstone)
1/3 freshly grated parmesan
1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp garlic powder

Boil the spinach and artichokes until they are tender, about 5 minutes. Drain. While that is working, heat the cream cheese in the microwave until softened. Then, in a medium bowl, stir together all of the ingredients. Eat. My favorite dipping tool is a tortilla chip.

His original recipe calls for red pepper flakes. I'm not a huge spicy fan, so I leave them out.

The next recipe I want to share is one we had tonight. Since we are Catholic, during lent we can't have meat on Fridays. So, we opt for fish instead. Tonight we had tilapia with a tomato and onion saute. This is a take on a recipe that I found in Real Simple a few years ago. I feel like tilapia is such a versatile fish that you can do just about anything with it. I typically season mine with evoo, garlic powder, paprika, salt and pepper, panko bread crumbs, and lemon slices. I then roast it for 12-15 minutes at 375 degrees.

Tonight I switched up our saute a little bit. First, I heated about 2tbs of evoo. Then, I sliced a small onion. I then started getting the onion soft in the pan. While that was working, I sliced a pint's worth of cherry tomatoes in half. I then added them to the pan. While they were softening, I added 1/2 tsp dried basil, salt, pepper, garlic powder, and a generous drizzle of honey. I let that work for a few minutes and then covered the pan for 3 minutes, just to sweat the onions and tomatoes. After that, I uncovered the pan, let it saute for about 2 minutes more and then served my fish on top of it all. It was so tasty! The honey really took the saute to another level. This whole meal took about 25 minutes to make. A great weeknight option.

One last recipe suggestion... In January, Southern Living printed a recipe for ratatouille. I had never made ratatouille before so I was excited to try this classic dish. It was so good. Husband ranted and raved about it for days. You should check it out here.

Now for a few simple projects...

Since we moved to a place with a lot more wall space, I've had to get a little creative to fill the spaces. It's all still a work in progress, but we're getting there. Here are two simple projects I did to add a little something to our new walls.

First is a super easy, super fun way to make some "word art". From a website called you can create a word shape using any words that you like. I typed in words describing our marriage and generated them into the shape of a bird. You don't have to register or anything at Tagxedo, just go in and follow the directions. The more times you type in a word, the more times it appears in your word creation. Here's the one I created for our dining room.

The second piece I made was one I made for Kenneth for Christmas. I saw the idea on Pinterest. My suggestion for making something like this is to download fonts that you think will work for your piece. I downloaded ten or so fonts and played around with them until I got something I liked. I create this whole piece in Microsoft word.

Making and printing out the two projects above was virtually free. I then just put them both in nice frames and there you have it!

In other news, I got a haircut this past week. I hate it. This is not unusual, though, I pretty much never like my haircuts. (Isabella House is nodding right now) I went in thinking I was going to a medium length and came out with a much, much shorter length. I think I lost at least four inches of hair when it was all said and done. All I know is that this head of hair isn't going near scissors for a long, long time. My husband is sweet and keeps telling me he likes it...we even went out to eat to make me feel better about it. Here's my first day of short hair picture. (Ignore the fact that my hair is slightly covering my eye)

That's all I have for now...perhaps my next update will come sooner than a month from now! Enjoy the new blog design!