Saturday, February 27, 2010

Make this: Elise's Chicken Cutlets and Cheesy Pasta

My bff Elise made dinner for me once in college a long time ago. She said it was a simple dish her dad made sometimes and I immediately was hooked. Simple dish? Cheese? Red wine vinegar? You had me at hello. 

Jake and I make this dish every so often - it goes in the regular rotation. I hesitated to post it because it's so simple and some critics might be like "ugh get over yourself" but then I realized a) I don't have critics and b) if you don't like it, you can leave my site! Just kidding. Kind of.

So the pasta. I've adapted it some because I didn't remember exactly how to make it.

You need - 
- a few kinds of cheeses. the only one that is a must is marscapone, we used feta, romano, and parm (shredded)
- a red onion, roughly chopped
- red wine vinegar
- pasta (we use bowtie)

1) saute your onions in red wine vinegar until they are semi-transluscent
2) boil your pasta 
3) strain the pasta and put it back in the pot
4) add your cheeses, you'll need to stir the marscapone to get it to melt

We serve it with a breaded chicken cutlet (using egg, milk, and panko for the coating). It is one of my favorite simple meals.

Friday, February 26, 2010

I'm that cat lady.

I'm a dog person at heart. I really am... but ever since we had to give our cats away when I was little (my dad was allergic), I have been wanting a cat. And I never expected to love this guy as much as I do. He really tries me - he'll be the sweetest thing one moment and then just turn and bite me and attack my arm with no warning. Yet when he comes and wants to snuggle as I type, my heart melts. I just love hearing him purr.

So, I'm wondering - if I post pictures of my cat, if I talk about my cat to people other than Jake, and if I emerge from the house daily with cat hair on my butt, am I that cat lady?

Maybe - but isn't he just precious?

Thursday, February 25, 2010

House: the Short-Tall decor theory

One of the fun things I acquired in the house purchase was this great drop leaf table of my grandmothers. I think it is so pretty and old - it even has a cigarette burn from her that dates back a while (back when it was trendy and cute to smoke (?!?!)). The table sits by our front door and acts as a console table. I drop my keys there, we put the mail there before we sort and put it away. 

I had decorated it using a pottery platter that was a wedding gift, a bowl I have had for a while, and this door knob piece I love. I loved all of those pieces individually, but it really just looked too... symmetrical for my liking. 

Recently I read a post on one of my favorite home blogs,Bower Power. Katie of Bower Power demonstrated a theory she dubbed "Short-Tall Combo" for console tables. And it hit me - that is what has been bothering me about my table! See, the short-tall combo dictates that a console table needs to be anchored with one tall item in the cluster and then have something short (and usually in a group of three) on the other side. I was trying to be too usual and it wasn't working. 

 So, taking Katie's theory to heart, I moved out my favorite door knob piece (which kept getting knocked off its stand by my clumsiness) and put my collection of Real Simple magazines under the silver bowl. While I'm not totally in love, I believe it is a step in the right direction.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Project Update: "Our Next Project" is...

A while back, I showed a snapshot of our messy hall closet and alluded to our next project. Well it is finally here! Our contractor has been working to finish our new laundry room. We are so lucky to have a lot of closet space here at our casa. When we bought our house, one thing that irked me was that the laundry was in the pantry. Having lived in a duplex with no pantry, I knew that was an issue for me. So our awesome realtor (by the way - if you're looking for a house in Memphis for real get her name because she's the best) came up with an idea to convert this hall closet to a laundry closet - it is the perfect width. 

The closet is in between the front two bedrooms. Right now it has a single doorway but it will be expanded to be a double doorway with bi-fold doors. We got a front-loader washer/dryer set on Craig's List for a steal that were less than a year old. They have been just sitting out in our garage waiting to be installed at our new place. 

Here's where we stand right now - the electrician has come and run wiring for the washer and dryer. The plumber has run plumbing for the washer. The contractor has run the vent for the dryer. What we have left: he'll finish off the wall and open the door frame. The electrician will add a light in the closet. I'm going to paint the closet myself to save money. Our contractor is making shelves for it. 

I can't wait to show you the final product!

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

House Tour: Living Room, Revisited

When last I blogged about my new and improved living room (in this post from Dec 13), it was Christmas time and so our living room was indeed decorated but also included all of our Christmas decor. Since that joyous season has left us, I wanted to post a picture of the living room in its "almost done" stage sans Christmas clutter:

This is what it looks like now. I love having the love seat in the living room. I get a magazine and curl up on the loveseat and read all about my Hollywood friends while Jake blasts away at zombies on his Xbox in the den. Having two living spaces is so nice and was really the #2 thing we wanted in a house (#1 was two bathrooms). 

Also - if you scroll back up to the first picture, you'll notice that the large window has a new shade! We got bamboo shades off for a steal. I really recommend overstock for shades because that window is an odd size and Home Depot didn't have any size to fit it, but when I searched on overstock they had all sorts of styles in that size. It was also cheaper than Home Depot would have been. We got two more for the set of windows on the other wall but Jake's poor hand was cut up and tired from one window so he's tackling the other tomorrow. It is funny how I didn't even realize how naked the window looked without the shade until I got it on there. 

Monday, February 22, 2010

A dinner party

My baby brother (one of them) was in town this weekend and so we had my parents and him over for dinner. I am blogging about this said dinner party because it was a monumentous occasion for us - we set the table like grown ups! I used my yellow place mats, my white napkins, my blue everyday china, and my monogrammed flatware. 

We cooked our favorite - Creamy Chicken Orzo. It is a great recipe, easy and fast, and yet delicious. It is our go-to recipe. 

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Make this: Buffalo Chicken Pizza

Recently, Jake and I made a batch of buffalo chicken by taking a whole bunch of Frank's Hot Sauce and a packet of ranch dressing mix and dumping them in the crock pot with a little water and vinegar and 4 chicken breasts. We made buffalo chicken sandwiches. It was lovely. 

Flash forward to now when we STILL have a tupperware bowl of shredded buffalo chicken in our fridge. We're getting creative about how we use up the rest - so, of course, we made buffalo chicken pizza. Bosco's added one recently to their menu and I love it. My hubs used it as inspiration and made one for us. 

I don't actually have any pictures of the process because right now our kitchen is so embarassingly messy that I can't even crop out the crap that is piled everywhere. BUT I'm pretty sure the steps are so easy that you could make do without a picture of every single thing we did. 

You need:
pizza dough (make your own or do the easy thing and buy Pillsbury's canned thin crust)
buffalo sauce (we used franks but I bet Buffalo Wild Wing's would be fab)
ranch or blue cheese dressing (or in our case, both)
cheese (whatever you have, mozz works, we used white american and mont. jack)
shredded buffalo chicken

1) fix your dough (in our case, pop your can and unroll it)
2) spread your base sauce - you need to decide which flavor you want more of. one time we did ranch as the base (on my side, Jake's had blue cheese) and one time we did buffalo. I liked the ranch base
3) place your toppings (cheese and chicken) on the pizza
4) drizzle your other sauce (for us, this was the hot sauce) over the pizza

Bake, then consume.

Saturday, February 20, 2010


1) Good investment: quality running shoes and spin pants. I've been going to spin classes (and loving it) and I can tell you that I love my gap body yoga pants that I wear to spinning. They are comfy, don't stretch out, and were totally worth the $40 I paid for them. My running shoes were a present from my mom, who encourages me so well by buying me things, and I got them from a runner's shoe store that fits based on your gait and feet style. I have never loved a pair of tennis shoes so much.

2) If you're interested in a good laugh, leave your xbox on the menu mode. Your cat will sit and stare at the tv for hours, occasionally attacking the rotating ball on the screen. Thank goodness he is declawed.

Friday, February 19, 2010

Our favorite tweeter (twitterer?)

Jake and I are big fans of the twitter user Shit My Dad Says. This guy moved back home, in with his parents, and started tweeting what his dad says. It is pretty hilarious. I've been following him for a while and I can guarantee a good laugh when he posts.

Jake sent me a link today to some great news - Justin Halpern, who writes Shit My Dad Says, got a TV deal for a show based on his tweets. Here's the deets:

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

My Valentine loves me...

My Valentine loves me. He knows just what I like - red meat. Jake cooked steaks for our Valentine's weekend extravaganza. He also made a salad and mashed potatoes from scratch. 

The recipe he used for the steaks is from my favorite cookbook. It is one my dad uses and I believe it has legitamtely the best recipes ever. It is called 60-Minute Gourmet by Pierre Franey.  The recipe is called Filet Mignon Bordeliase (or Filet mignon in a Bordeaux wine sauce). We're loving learning to cook and Jake is getting very good at it!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Dewey Color Career Counselor

For those of you who follow Young House Love, this is old news...

For those of you who don't - whoa. This is an awesome quiz. I love learning more about myself and this quiz has an interesting take on it. It is called the Dewey Color Career Counselor from Career

Here's the original link if you'd like to take advantage yourself:

So the quiz asks you to identify colors that you like and don't like and then compiles information about your personality and how that relates to your career choice. Here are my results:

Best Occupational Category


Tactful, Cooperative, Generous, Understanding, Insightful, Friendly, and Cheerful
This very social type enjoys working in groups, sharing responsibilities, and being the center of attention. Fields of interest are instructing, helping, nurturing, care giving and instructing-especially young people. They discuss and consider feelings in order to solve problems, lead, direct, persuade, guide, organize and enlighten others.SOCIAL MANAGER OCCUPATIONS
Suggested careers are Radio and TV Producer, Loan Officer, Elementary or High School Teacher, Public Health Nurse, Dietitian, Community Service or Human Resource Director, High School Counselor, Home Economics Teacher, Parks and Recreation Coordinator, Physical Education Teacher, Student Personnel Worker, Occupational Therapist, Social Worker, Speech Pathologist, Social Science Teacher, Nurse, LPN, Agricultural Extension Agent, Physical Therapist, Social Worker, Minister and Department Store Manager.
You are sincerely concerned for the welfare of others. Your kind, humanistic nature allows you to help those who can't help themselves. Others see you as idealistic, ethical, and responsible.
Suggested Social Manager workplaces are human resource departments, social service agencies, schools, religious organizations, medical service companies, mental and health care facilities.

2nd Best Occupational Category

You're a DOER

Emotionally Stable, Reliable, High Energy, Practical, Thrifty, and Persistent
These adventurous types prefer action-oriented, concrete problems rather than dealing with thought-provoking, ambiguous, abstract dilemmas. Fields of interest include mechanical, construction, and outdoor careers. They might also enjoy working with machines, tools, and equipment to repair or build something.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

iPhoto = my new love

Have I ever told you that we're a mac family? I've used mac computers since I first had enough motor skills to grasp a mouse. I grew up playing battleship on my dad's trusty mac, learned typing with Mavis Beacon and Mario, and penned my first great novels with the program Imagination Express. 

This morning I looked over and saw my macbook, Jake's macbook pro, and his iphone sitting side by side and knew we were committed fully to macs. As if there was ever any doubt...

One program that comes with your mac is iphoto. I've used it for years but with this blogging stuff, have taken the photos to a whole new level. All these fancy bloggers I read talk about using photoshop and I got a little jealous. I'm not about to shell out the big beans for that though. Then I remembered something about little ole iphoto - the "adjust" button. After playing with a few things, here's a before and after:

This is a picture I took of All Saints Chapel on Sewanee's campus during Camp 2 of camp this summer. All Saints is a special place for many people. For me, it is where our camp evening prayer service is held and always is a great night to worship.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Update on pizza rolls

I blogged a few days ago about my pizza rolls. Since then, Jake and I went back and tried the recipe again since we didn't get many at the party and had extra makings. 

This time, we added slices of pepperchinis to the filling and red pepper flakes to the top. I recommend the upgrade. 

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Project Kitchen: Idea board

I spent my snow day and sick day obsessing over our future kitchen - it is a new hobby of mine. I just love a good project! I gathered these pictures to try to express my vision for the kitchen. After meeting with the architect and getting firm plans in hand, I cant wait to move forward with this project. Here's what I've got:

Starting in the bottom left corner and going clockwise:
1) black matte counters (maybe granite, maybe not)
2) cream cabinets
3) black matte finish pulls for said cabinets
4) square oak wood table for the corner banquette
5) lighting for above the banquette - with black mini drum shades
6) stainless appliances with black accents
7) mini pendant light with mini black drum shade for above the sink
8) ikea fabric in my four kitchen colors for the banquette - cushion and pillows (I'll make)
9) spode baking days dinner ware (I've got the red serving pieces) as accent 
10) my kitchen colors, based on the curtains from the den: blue, green, red, and yellow
11) two toned cork flooring in a diagonal pattern
12) ikea floor rug for kitchen
13) track lighting through the kitchen

The kitchen will be painted the same koi pond color by sherwin williams as the den but we may end up choosing a slightly lighter cousin of koi pond - same idea, just lighter. 

The banquette will be painted a dusty cornflower blue. 

**Most of my pictures came from Home Depot's website or IKEA's website.**

Make this: Prosciutto Wrapped Pickles

How could these ingredients above change your life? Well, if you're a pickle lover like me, you use them to make prosciutto wrapped pickles. I made these for our super bowl party as well. The recipe comes from Jake's neighbor who made them for our engagement party. I was definitely the guest of honor hovering over the food table eating pickles during my party. Wait, that was me at our reception too, except with fried pickles that time. My receiving line? The buffet. 

So these pickles - no action shots due to the fact that Jake took off with his phone (how dare him!) and I've been using that lately as my camera. Here's the final product:
A little messy, but it was my first time making them. I'll perfect the art of making them next time. In the mean time, they sure tasted good (even if it is tacky to say so about your own food). Here's the basic instructions:

Whole Pickles ( I used Claussen dills)
Cream cheese
Worcestershire sauce
Garlic Salt (I didn't have that and used onion salt and garlic powder)
Prosciutto slices

1) Make your cream cheese mixture - do it to taste. I did a small tub of cheese, a few squirts of sauce, and a few shakes of garlic/onion. Nothing exact...
2) Let the cream cheese mixture sit for a bit until it is room temp (easier to go on the pickles)
3) take your whole pickles, make sure they are dry (easier for the cream cheese to stick), and put the cream cheese on the pickles (a layer over the whole pickle)
4) Wrap the prosciutto over the pickle
5) Slice the pickle

We served on a football place since it was the super bowl. We got a lot of awesome presents from our wedding and one of our many favorites is our football serveware!!!

Monday, February 8, 2010

An early morning gift!

Jake and I woke up at the same time this morning (which is rare since he is on school schedule of staying up late and waking up for class) because he was scheduled to have a med school interview this morning. While I was getting ready in the bathroom, drudging my way sleepily through my routine, Jake was getting up and making coffee. All of I sudden, I heard his voice: "um.... are you sure you're going to school this morning?". I had thought vaguely last night about the possibility of snow, a gut feeling, and had looked at only to be disappointed. Isn't it funny how it works out?

After finding out that my school was closed and Jake's interview was off, we hung around the house for a bit and then decided to go savor the snow. The guys were a bit thrown off, because Memphis rarely gets any snow, much less about 4 inches. In some places they couldn't even walk!
We had a nice walk around the neighborhood. I took some pictures along the way...
Now I'm spending my "found time" playing with ideas for the new kitchen. Let's just say I'm pretty excited. And should be spending my time in more productive ways!

Make this: Pizza Bites

Ever since Annie of Annie's Eats  posted these pizza bites, I've been wanting to make them. I had a similar idea in my head for the New Year's Eve party we hosted but we had so much other food that they got cut from the list. When Annie posted these, I knew I needed to make them. 

Here's the original recipe if you'd like specific instructions. I'm a sort of fly-by-my-pant's-seat (or however you say that phrase) type of gal when it comes to cooking so I have approximations and generalizations for this recipe.

Pizza dough of your choice
cheese cubed of your choice
olive oil (EVOO)
italian seasonings
parm grated

1) Take the pizza dough of your choice (we used pillsbury's canned as seen above but if you were really excited you could make your own) and lay it flat. cut squares that are about the size of bathroom tiles (3 by 3). 
2) stick a pepperoni, cheese cube (we used colby jack), and pepperoni on the square (stacked in that order). 
3) fold the pizza dough over the stack
4) stick pizza balls in a cake pan/pie pan seam side down
5) brush with EVOO, sprinkle seasonings and parm
6) cook at 400 for 20 minutes **ours cooked faster than that so watch until they are golden brown on top

Here they are in the oven - we had a little extra dough so Jake made a giant pizza bite for himself:)

These were a HUGE hit at the super bowl party we went to - they were gone pretty quickly and we should have made more. 

Sunday, February 7, 2010


Currently, here's the front of our house....

My inspiration for changes to our house comes from a blog called Urban Nest. Our house sits in a neighborhood of bungalows and I'd like to let our little ranch fit in a little better. Obviously we can't change the structure, but if we could change the overall look a bit, it would be great. Here's my inspiration:

 What I'd like to do is listed on this idea board below:

 I'd like to:
1) Get a new front door and security door. The security door will be glass paneled and the front door wooden. Paint them both the same color (like the inspiration picture), preferably that Kiwi color. 

2) Replace our wrought iron columns with white wooden ones, with or without the handrail. I do like that the inspiration house's handrail stayed wrought iron. We could use that...

3) Put shutters on our window to the left - black shutters. 

4) Take out the boxwoods, which are too tall for our house and make it look shorter, and put in some small shrubbery

5) Tear down the vinyl siding on the porch. There is wood siding underneath. Paint it beige. 

6) Lounge in rocking chairs or something similar. Relax.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

I'm a GLEEk.

Friend and blogger extraordinare Mollie Morgan posted in her gossip blog (which I prefer to TMZ now as my go-to gossip blog - TMZ focuses too much on d-list celebrities) about GLEE open auditions.  Ever since Mollie mentioned that she was putting together an audition video (btw, Mollie - I think you should totally market yourself as the hippie nerdy chick, they don't have one on the show yet), I've been thinking about it. I am seriously obsessed with GLEE. I love the vibe of the show, it is set in a high school (um, my life...), and is all about singing. HELLO, totally me. 

I've been thinking about what my character on GLEE would be if I had one. I decided today in the car that I should submit an audition video and market myself as the student-teacher that comes in and ends up falling in love with Puck or Finn (I can't decide which... too many good lookin' options). Can't you just see me doing a duet cover of the Colbie Caillat and Jason Mraz song "lucky" with Puck? I've had the serious itch to sing lately. 

This is the outfit I wore to school today - a student told me I had "swag." Could I be a member of the cast of Glee?

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Make this: Pizza Sauce

Jake and I love pizza. We eat it entirely too often. Sometimes we get it from our favorite local pizza joints (Garabaldi's, Little Italy, Memphis Pizza Cafe), sometimes from a delivery place (Pizza Hut thin crust or Papa John's regular), but sometimes we make our own pizza. 

We try to switch things up when we make our own pizza. A few pizzas ago, we made one with a pesto sauce. Last time, we made a Chicken Ranch pizza with a (you guessed it) ranch sauce. Tonight, we went for the straight and narrow and made a pepperoni pizza with a traditional sauce. We used to buy jarred pizza sauce but had been opting to make our own lately. We had been using a combination of diced tomatoes, olive oil, minced garlic, and italian seasonings and that was working quite well. 

For kicks, we tried a new sauce. This one is out of Cook's Country, a cooking magazine my parents got me for Christmas. It turned out to be quite good and really didn't require much. Additionally, I wanted to review a new product I bought. So here it goes:

I know this picture is slightly revolting but that is why I wanted to post it. The excrement looking goop is the product I reviewed below. 

Pizza Sauce:

1 8oz can of tomato sauce
3 tblsp of tomato paste
2 tblsp of fresh basil*
2 tsp of dried oregano
1 tblsp of sugar

Mix it all together. Preferably in a bowl. Put on pizza crust of your choice. Top with some pizza toppings. 

And now for the product review, my * from the recipe: 
*I wanted to use fresh basil but had two issues. First, the freeze killed my dad's basil plant. Secondly, I don't like chopping basil and this was a weeknight meal. So I tried out this tube of basil from the grocery store, which cost about the same as buying the nice pre-packaged basil leaves from the same section (about 2.50$)
You use the same amount as you would of the fresh stuff and while it looks like goo, it tastes excellent. And you just squeeze. No chopping necessary. It keeps in the fridge up for a while, I think up to 6 weeks?

For those who are curious, here's our final product. We shredded our own cheese for this one, using a Monterey Jack and White Cheddar combination. Oh and tip for you all - if you're buying pepperonis for your pizza making adventures, the ones in the pack are expensive and we don't use them all before they go bad. We started getting a container from the salad bar and putting enough pepperonis for our pizza in it. They weigh by the pound and I think these pepperonis cost us like .13 cents or something. I'm just sayin'. 

By the way, for those who have been keeping track of me on facebook, yes I'm still spinning. Keeping it up! I went straight from spinning to cooking dinner tonight and took my shoes off in the kitchen. Tyson clearly was offended. Either that or interested in what deliciousness was growing in my sweaty shoes. Yum!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Make this: Basic Brownies

I received a copy of an old Better Homes and Gardens cookbook from Jake's mom. I was perusing through it the other day and found a recipe for fudge brownies. I realized I had everything on hand and was snowed in, so I thought "what the heck!". 

Here's the recipe, in its original fabulous form:
I say basic in the title because they are truly that - your basic brownie. Don't expect flashy toffee chips here, no this is the real thing. The result is simplistic fabulousness. 


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