Friday, November 30, 2012

Christmas Wish List

December first is almost here which means it's time to kick the Christmas shopping into high gear! I'm almost done and what is left I hope to get done online. My goal is to not set foot in a mall for the entire month of December. I even have the gifts I've already bought wrapped and under the tree!

Speaking of gifts, we make our lives easier and everyone in our family makes lists. I always love seeing other people's wish lists so I thought I'd share mine:

Wishlist12

  1. Cuisinart K-Cup Coffee Maker - The old roomie had a Keurig and while I'm not a coffee drinker, I did love making tea, hot chocolate, etc. I currently have a little one on loan that my parents use in their guest bedroom and I love it! Since I'm not a heavy user, I will happily give up the big water reservoir for extra counter space in my kitchen.
  2. Pearl Bar Necklace - I love this delicate necklace that I found on etsy. I actually love everything in their shop, but I guess I can't really put an entire etsy shop on my wish list... 
  3. Cuisinart Smoothie Blender - I have been really into making these for breakfast lately. I use an immersion blender, but I think this would be easier since the spinach takes up so much room. And it comes with four travel cups!
  4. Ina Garten Back to Basics - A good classic to have on the shelf.
  5. Scrap Trap - Brilliant! I am not a fan of Rachel Ray, but I have to admit that her "scrap bowl" concept does make a lot of sense for a messy cook like myself. Only this one is even handier since it hooks on a drawer and doesn't take up room on the counter.
  6. Cheese Markers - I could have a cheese plate for dinner once a week. When it's just me I don't really pay attention to what cheese is what, but how cute are these for entertaining? 
  7. Michael Kors Wrap Watch - I've loved wrap watches since I saw Jennifer Connoly wearing one in He's Just Not That Into You. I've been on the lookout ever since and this is one of my favorites that I've found.
  8. Leopard Flats - Even cuter when they are Tory Burch Revas, but that might be a little unreasonable.  
  9. Nesting Bowls - Space is obviously a hot commodity in my kitchen. These bowls would just make so much sense for my teeny apartment kitchen. 
  10. Smashbox Palette - The only Smashbox product I've ever tried has been this blush but I LOVE it, so I thought this would be a fun way to try out some of their other products. 
Funny how your wish list changes so much even in just the span of a few years. My grandmother has been giving my mom a subscription to Southern Living for YEARS and this year is the first year that she is adding a subscription for me. I can remember flipping through my mom's issues as a teenager thinking "BORING... how does she enjoy reading this? I would fall asleep!" Sort of ironic now that I'm a subscriber. I swear, one day you're vowing to never get old and boring and the next you're in the check out line at the grocery store voluntarily pulling Southern Living off the shelf to check out the latest Hill Country Bed & Breakfast while simultaneously rolling your eyes at the ridiculous "932 WAYS TO PLEASE YOUR MAN" headlines on the cover of Cosmo. 

Touché, life. Touché.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Things I'm Loving

  1. Trader Joe's Chocolate Hazelnut Cookies. Dallas FINALLY got a TJ's a few months ago and I am a little obsessed. These cookies have been my favorite find to date. If you like Nutella, you'll love these. 
  2. My sweet niece arrived on Saturday to spend a week with us! Of course I'm happy to spend the week with my brother and sister-in-law as well, but their thighs aren't nearly as fun to squish (and let's face it- that would just get a little awkward!)
  3. Christmas decor that's on sale BEFORE Christmas! I rarely wander out into the post-Christmas sale madness for fear of my temper getting the best of me while parking. So I was very excited when I saw that Hobby Lobby has all Christmas goods on sale for 50% off through 11/24! They have some really great holiday decor and their wrapping paper comes on massive rolls.
  4. Speaking of gifts, thanks to Partner's Card and a little advanced planning, I already have over half my Christmas shopping done! Last year was the first year that I made an effort to get things done early and it made the holidays so much less stressful! My holiday secret weapon is Amazon Prime. I enrolled two years ago on accident after I didn't cancel my free trial as I had planned. With the free shipping and streaming, it's turned out to be the best $79 that I spend every year. I even did some of my shopping last year from my phone while waiting to check out at other stores.
  5. Dennis and I went to see two of my favorites, A Fine Frenzy and Joshua Radin, at House of Blues last week. I loved Alison Sudol of A Fine Frenzy- she was the cutest thing. I told Den that I wanted to meet her backstage after the show and ask if we could be friends. I've loved Joshua Radin ever since I heard What if You. Sadly, he did NOT play that song- at one point another girl and I were screaming "WHAT IF YOU" but I don't think he got the message since he responded with "I love you, too!" Even though he didn't play my favorite, he made up for it by introducing me to his song "Today" (which would be a lovely wedding song):

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

We'll Marry Your Girlfriends

I saw this on Huffington Post this morning and had to share.... "a mother f-ing quiche."

So funny!


Friday, November 9, 2012

October in Pictures

October is my FAVORITE. It finally feels like fall in Texas, football is going strong, and best of all- Halloween!

Dinner at my parent's house. They supplied the wine, I supplied the cooking skills to make Chicken Tequila Fettucini. Fair trade, I'd say!

I was so excited to see pumpkins at the grocery store in late September. I bought one to add some seasonal flair to my front door step and some a-hole stole about a week later. My sweet boyfriend sent me these a few days later with a note that said "maybe this will make up for the one that was stolen." 

It didn't make the desire to find/punch the person that stole it subside, but it DID bring a smile to my face. We'll count that as a win.

Working on my disguise for my revenge mission.  I kid, I kid... this is apparently what happens when you attend a football watching party at a house that has small residents. 

Out for Jodi's birthday!

Our favorite dinner on our vacation. The hibachi chef was so funny and by far one of the nicest people we met in the Dominican. I love the top right photo of the lady giving Den the side eye while he caught the shrimp in his mouth. 

He got two entrees at dinner every night. They would look at him like he was a jerk at first because I'm sure a lot of people do that at all inclusives and then don't finish either, but he finished every last bite as well as the rest of mine. 

 Glass of wine in one hand and a spoon with chocolate mousse and I am all smiles.

The last Cool Thursday concert of the season. It was PERFECT weather- maybe even a little on the chilly side. My dad forgot a jacket which is why my mom is feeding him wine while his arms are tucked in his shirt. If that isn't true love, I don't know what is.

 Tailgating for Tech vs. TCU.
We hit up the State Fair of Texas the same day that Big Tex met his demise.
1. Our first stop was to get beers and a giant turkey leg. I loooove turkey legs!
2. The healthy eater humoring me while I tasted the bacon wrapped cinnamon roll.
3. Did I mention it was also fried and covered in powdered sugar?
4. He was skeptical.
5. Obligatory photo with the Ferris Wheel in the background.
6. Strapped in and ready for the first ride.
7. Y'all. These chairs were magical. They were massage chairs made by Mattress Giant and they were so amazing that Dennis and I were trying to rationalize spending $50/month for the next five years to buy one. (No one freak out- there were also half-joking discussions on who would get custody of the chair if we were to go our separate ways!)
8. The view from the Stratosphere about an hour before it got stuck up there holding 24 people captive for over two hours. Thank goodness we narrowly missed that mess- I would have freaked out.

 I chopped all my hair off! I'm having some serious remorse. Mainly because I look like a soccer mom (and not the hot kind) most of the time, but I was just so over it being long. It was constantly driving me crazy and I needed a break. I'm already looking forward to it growing back out.

 All dressed up at his cousin's wedding.

 The cutest little niece ever. 

 I had to share this one of my cousin's little girl, Cameron. I just about died when I saw this one. Who wants to be a princess for Halloween when you can be Cruella DeVille?! Homegirl has some sass to her for being so little. 

 I sure did enter moose into a Halloween costume contest, and.... HE WON! I know, I'm crazy. I really can't help it though. I have a fairly serious hot glue gun burn on my thumb from making his gondola (and a very amused/perplexed boyfriend), but it all paid off when he won "Most Creative" at the Three Dog Bakery Costume Contest.

I felt kind of bad because when they said "the winner of Most Creative, goes to... Moose!" and another girl with a lab by the same name thought it was her Moose. Um, back off lady... your lab is wearing a store bought pumpkin outfit and I have HOT GLUE GUN BURNS and a dog wearing a hat I had to pay for in Euros. I'm thinkin' you best step off.

Yes. Crazy, indeed.

We ended my favorite month celebrating Halloween as Popeye and Olive Oyl at friend's party.

Hope everyone had a great October/Halloween!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Spinach & Goat Cheese Pasta

It helps to actually publish the blog posts that you write when you have a blog. This one has been chilling in my drafts for about a week and a half with about four other half-written posts. A for effort, D for execution. 

***

I'm pretty much settled into my new place and the weather has been inching towards cooler weather. Totally unrelated facts, but those two things together have greatly increased my desire to break in the new kitchen!

In the last 24 hours I've made:
  • Banana Bread
  • Pumpkin Bread
  • Chicken Salad
  • Homemade Chicken Stock
  • Spinach and Goat Cheese Pasta
It looks like a bomb went off in my kitchen. I will spare you the photo. 

Banana & Pumpkin Bread recipes are a dime a dozen on the interweb, so I won't bore you with those, but I was pretty impressed with this quick and easy pasta recipe I found on Pinterest!


Spinach and Goat Cheese Pasta {adapted from this recipe}

The beauty of this pasta is that it's easily made for one or for eight- just adjust the amounts. The recipe didn't have measurements so I just eyeballed everything and it turned out just fine. These are rough estimates of measurements that I used cooking for one.
  • Pasta of your choice (I used about two cups of whole wheat egg noodles)
  • 2 T Olive Oil
  • 2 Cloves Garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 Onion, chopped
  • 3 C Spinach
  • 5 oz. Greek Yogurt
  • 2 oz. Goat Cheese
  • Pinch of Cayenne Pepper
  • Handful of Cherry Tomatoes
  • Salt & Pepper
  1. Cook pasta per package instructions to al dente. 
  2. Heat oil in a sauté pan. Add onions and garlic and season with salt and pepper. 
  3. Add spinach and cook down (add in batches if necessary). 
  4. Add cooked pasta to spinach. 
  5. Stir in greek yogurt and goat cheese and cook on low for 3-5 more minutes.
  6. Throw in cherry tomatoes if you fancy. I just had some on hand that needed to be used. The original recipe didn't include this.
  7. Season with salt, pepper, and cayenne to taste. 
This took me about 10 minutes total and looks/tastes indulgent without actually being indulgent (thanks to subbing the sour cream for greek yogurt). I will definitely make this one again. If you need a little more heartiness, a handful of shredded chicken would be a wonderful addition. 

Speaking of chicken, did you know you can make chicken stock with the carcass of a rotisserie chicken? I think I knew this in the back of my mind but had never tried it. Cooked chickens are a staple in my grocery cart because of the ease and flexibility. I'm so happy to put this trick in action and get one more use of of my rotisserie chicken before it hits the trashcan. 

I currently have one simmering away with celery, carrots, mushrooms, onion, garlic, rosemary, parsley, and a bay leaf- all of which I already had on hand or growing on my patio. If you want to try it yourself, here's a great blog post about it from one of my favorite food bloggers.