Sunday, October 31, 2010

Happy Halloween!

I used the regular ole' rice krispy recipe to make these bite sized guys for a Halloween party tonight:

I jazzed them up with some gel icing for a bit of holiday cheer. Hope you have a frightfully fun Halloween! Trick or Treat!!!

Meal Planning for the week

Another Sunday is upon us, so this morning after church, Jake and I sat down and looked through our pantry and recipes and decided our grocery list for the week (this was after Jake wanted to go sans list to the store and I was not ok with that...)

I wanted to keep this week's recipes light and simple because I feel like we ate really heavily over the weekend. I looked to Real Simple and got 4 recipes I was interested in... so here they are. 

Monday: Linguine with Asparagus and Pine Nuts
 Tuesday: Rigatoni with Roasted Sausage and Broccoli
 Wednesday: Spiced Shrimp with Green Beans and Lime (but we'll do chicken, as I don't eat shrimp)
Thursday: Cheesy Baked Pasta with Spinach and Artichoke

 So that is the plan for the week.... I haven't ever made any of these so if they are good, I'll report back!

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Make this: Italian Sausage and Potato Pizza

So I made this awesome pizza. And then when I went to take a picture of it, I realized the camera was so dead that I couldn't even get one picture out of it. Which presented an issue. Like I said, this pizza was awesome.. and I wanted to eat it. So I did. So I have no pictures. You'll have to trust in the awesomeness (or just stop reading now). 

This pizza was inspired by one we had at the famous-in-my-mind Tony's in San Fran. Basically I....

- browned Italian sausage (Dino's brand, if you care)
- minced fresh garlic
- thinly sliced small yellow potatoes
- mixed basil, red pepper flakes, and diced tomatoes with garlic and onion (1 can) together, pressing on the tomatoes to crush them
- unrolled my pizza dough, slathered on the tomato mix, put on the potato slices and browned sausage meat, added the garlic, topped with fresh mozzarella pearls, and then seasoned with italian seasoning and red pepper flakes

And .... it was GOOD. Like, can we make this tomorrow good. I know you're thinking - potatoes? On a pizza? But really. Good. 

Maybe I'll make it again and make sure my camera is charged. Until then, you'll just have to trust me. 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

I'm loving..

A friend of ours is looking for a retro red-boomerang formica topped table/chair set and so I've been really feeling the retro look lately. So, this installment of "I'm loving.." brings this picture of a retro kitchen from Country Living:
 I love the red stove, the aqua/red combo, the little touches around the counter, the farm sink, the display above the cabinets, I love it all. 

PS - why can't my kitchen have that much light in it?

Monday, October 25, 2010

Kitchen Progress.

Well, as I mentioned in my recent post, we ordered our cabinets this weekend. Yes, in fact work is being done on our kitchen. The cabinets take 5-7 weeks to ship/deliver so we've got a bit to wait but there are some signs of progress, small as they may be:

- Cabinet pulls ordered (off a website, where I found them for 2$+ cheaper than Lowes/Home Depot)

- Light fixture for above the sink procured (From Lowe's, and it looks like the top is bronze in the picture but in real life it is actually a black/dark brown), as well as the faucet (which is matte black):
- Also, our contractor/handy man/whatever you call it started exploring what was inside the drop down thing-ees in our kitchen to make sure we could take them out and there isn't anything in them so we're a go there:

 - We had our electrician come and re-wire the entire panel and take the random panel that was in our kitchen out, leaving us with a very exciting hole in the kitchen:

 I'm very ready to begin. I may regret saying this, as living without a kitchen will be interesting, but I have just been waiting for a while...

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Busy, Busy

Remember last week how I cleaned/organized all the clothes on the floor of our guest room? I talked about it here

Well, here I am a week later and the clothes on the bed have not been put up. No, in fact, they are now a space for Ty to hide in:


Thursday, October 21, 2010


Its been a while since I posted about the kitchen reno so I thought I'd add this in - this time tomorrow, our cabinets will be ordered! There is a 5-7 week wait so it will be a while before things get underway but I'm very excited. 

Here's the picture from their website:

I am especially excited because ours will have glass doors on the ones on either side of the window!!

We had wanted to paint ours but by the time we paid someone to paint them (spray them so they didn't look amateur), for a bit more we could have new cabinets and get something that was updated and bigger. We're going to hang them from the ceilings instead of having a "furdown" (is that what those are called)?

Hope that satisfied your kitchen renovation craving... I should have more news soon. 

Oh and thanks, Mom, for trucking out to Olive Branch to find these with me!

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Make This: Fancy Pants Grilled Cheese

A quick recipe today - we like to make fancy pants grilled cheeses around here. For a night when you don't have much time or are craving something light, it works out well. 

You need:
bread (of some sort)
cheese (of some sort)
pesto sauce

1) butter your bread (I recommend a sourdough, personally) on the outside and on the inside, smear the pesto sauce
2) pile on sliced tomato, cheese of your choosing (a nice cheddar/provelone combo is always in good taste but you could branch out and be even more fancy pants if you wanted) and another tomato slice
3) grill

*note: this would be great on a panini press. we don't have one. but it would be great.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Craigs List Love.

I love some craigslist. And a while ago, Chic Little House blogged about a site called Craigs Easy. I finally got around to trying it and it has changed my life! What you do...

1) Go here to Craigs Easy's website

2) Drag their bookmark button into your toolbar

3) Do a craigslist search for something you want - or just a category (so maybe "kitchen table" or just hit a category like "pets")

4) Once you're on the page you're wanting to view, hit your "easy" button that is now on your toolbar

You'll be given a page with each ad that has a picture so that you can browse the ads without having to click into each one to see their pictures. It seriously has changed my life and I wanted to share!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Date night.

Friday night we went out for a date on the town - my parents graciously gave us their 4 tickets to Wicked (my FAVORITE show, I blogged about it last time I went here). And here is when I went to multiple Halloween events as Elpheba last year.

Here we are, gussied up for a night out:

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Purging and organizing.

One great thing about our house is the storage space. We've got two double closets (one in the office and one in the guest room), as well as a regular closet in our bedroom. For a midtown house, that is a fair amount of storage.

One issue, though, is that I have so many clothes that I haven't entirely unpacked my clothes. I still had one big box of clothes from the move, as well as three tubs of clothes still not unpacked from camp (!) and one suitcase from our summer trip left unpacked. The middle room (guest room) was getting to the point where I could not walk so Saturday I spent 5 hours folding/putting away clothes, mostly organizing. Saturday night I was left with this:

 Nothing on the floor (miraculous if you ask me), with piles by category on the bed. We haven't done anything really with this room - still white walls, no decor. In fact, it is the last untouched room in the house. A bit of a challenge lies ahead... Once those clothes are put away. 

So my first pile to tackle was the "cardigan" pile. I started hanging them in the armoire. I tried to color categorize. When I was finally done, I counted how many cardigans I have. As I announced on facebook, I have over 50 cardigans. Now, I wear cardigans to work often so this isn't too much of a shock but I didn't realize I have over 50!
 Now I must finish putting away clothes and do the massive piles of laundry that resulted from unpacking my summer travels... Hi, my name is Kathryn and I own 50 cardigans.

We've got air! (and heat)!

I mentioned in my earlier post about MLGW's contractors coming to install a new heat and air system in our house. Well, today was the day! The guys (all 7 of them) came in, took our old furnace and compressor, patched our duct work, and replaced everything within one day! We've now got a new energy efficient unit that actually pumps air through the house. Before we had trouble getting any air flow in one side of the house at all, and now we can actually feel a breeze. They said that there were a lot of leaks in our duct work up in the attic so I'm sure that had something to do with it as well. 

Here's our old guy (with Tyson as a model) and our new guy:

I don't know too much about HVACs but this guy's a beaut. 
I'll have to report back on whether there are any energy savings - our old system wasn't very efficient at all and we essentially froze our booties off in our bedroom last winter versus paying for heat.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Let there be light.

When we bought our house, one of the first things I decided to do was add some lights in the living room. I didn't notice as we toured the house (probably because 1) it was afternoon so there was good light, 2) all the walls were white, and 3) I was too freaking excited) that our living room was a cave. As it was, there were two lamps that lit the entire living room, plus two small lamps on the entry side, and no ceiling light. The roofline of the house, combined with the porch on the front as well as the orientation of the house causes that particular room to be dark. Well, here we are a year later and I finally have light! Thanks to Kevin the electrician, we are out of the dark ages:

Before - 
I didn't edit these pictures, there really was that big of a difference in the lighting. Isn't it amazing what six bulbs can do? And yes, Sebastian's favorite spot is on top of the couch - what can I say, he is a weird one.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Homeowners for a year!

On October 15, 2009 Jake and I signed our lives over to the mortgage company. I can't believe it has been a whole year since we bought the house! The process was all such a whirlwind anyway. To sum it up - 

1) We decided to buy a house after looking at the tax credit and interest rates
2) We looked on the MLS online (I had actually looked for a long time because I love looking on the MLS so I knew what was out there and what was reasonable/etc) and started sending each other endless links
3) My mom got in the game and sent us even more links!
4) My mom and I found a foreclosure house we liked in Evergreen Historic District. We called my parent's agent (who didn't even know we were looking) and she met us at that house that afternoon
5) We put an offer on the foreclosure house but were competing with 2 other bids
6) They turned down our offer
7) We kept searching and found our house within two weeks.
8) The day we were going to take our parents through the house to see if we should get it, the foreclosure house called back, wanting us to offer again.
9) We toured both and finally decided for the money this was better (the other was a major risk but was in a great neighborhood and had a lot of character). 
10) We offered on this house and got it!

Den before and after:

 Dining Room before and after:
Living Room before and after:

Here's my posts chronicling come of our house projects over the past year:
We've still got a lot of work to do but I can't believe how different things look a year out. My favorite improvement was ripping out the carpet, closely followed with the laundry room. It is finally starting to feel like home! Now... on to that kitchen project that has been in the works for a while. 

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Chicken Noodle Soup

I love Carrabba's chicken noodle soup so I went searching online to find a copy-cat recipe and ended up modifying one I found online with suggestions from various commenters. I used this recipe from but I changed it a bit so I'll post it below with my changes. 

I really liked this soup and I'm pretty picky about chicken-noodle soups - the consistency has to be right and the noodles can't be soggy. This was just a little spicy, which is always good in my book. 
 You need:
5 celery ribs
4 medium carrots, peeled
1 large onion
2 medium potatoes, peeled
1 (14 ounce) can whole peeled Italian tomatoes  
1 rotisserie chicken
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 large cans of chicken broth
cajun seasoning
salt and pepper
short pasta
  1. Dice celery, carrots, onion, and potatoes into 1/4-inch pieces.
  2. Chop tomatoes; reserve all juice.
  3. Place vegetables, tomatoes with their juice, chicken pieces, and garlic in a stockpot.
  4. Add water. Season with salt, pepper, and Cajun seasoning.
  5. Slowly bring soup to a boil over low heat.
  6. Skim off foam that rises to the surface; may have to skim 2 or 3 times.
  7. Partially cover pot and simmer 2 hours.
  8. Mash vegetables in the bottom of the pot with the back side of a large cooking spoon or a potato masher.
  9. Notes: Soup is best served the day after it is made.
  We used ditalini pasta in it, boiling
it separately and adding it right before serving so it doesn't get soggy. I might add cayenne pepper next time too, to spice it up more. 

This made enough for probably 8 servings, so we'll have soup for a while. Probably will freeze some!

Monday, October 11, 2010

Meal Planning

So, I mentioned a few weeks ago that I plan out our meals and go to the grocery store on Sunday night so that we can make sure to only buy what we'll eat and save money. In an effort to keep myself in line with my plan, as well as share my ideas with the blog-0-sphere (my fans, as Jake calls my readers oh so seriously), I am sharing my meal plan for this week. I looked in our pantry for things that I could use as sides (we always over buy those when we go to Big Lots and Targ and such) and made the meals around that. Here's to keeping myself accountable!

Sunday, October 10, 2010

I (hesitantly) love MLGW!

So a while back, we applied for an energy efficiency grant through our utility company, MLGW. We had to call in and get put on the list. The first people that called got an application - we got put on a wait list but luckily got an application a month later. We qualified based on income (since Jake is a student... we have no money...) and this woman came out and inspected the house to see what kind of energy improvements they could give us. We also had to go to a class on energy efficiency. This was all in July.

Well, the other day a guy at MLGW called to come over on Friday. He came with a heating/cooling guy and it turns out that they are going to be installing a new heat/air system. So no more this...
 (taken when the AC went out this summer and we had to get it fixed)

We will be getting a new unit (whatever that thing above is called) and compressor, plus new attic insulation. I (tentatively) love MLGW! And the government (!!). This should all go down next week so we'll see how it goes. 

Saturday, October 9, 2010

A little piece of inspiration.

I think my style must be "modern country" if there was such a thing. Traditional country makes me cringe but the sight of banged up old antiques in the farmhouse style mixed with bright, fresh colors and a few modern pieces makes me smile. 

I found these handtowels at Targ the other day and decided they will serve as an inspiration piece for my kitchen:
I really want to get one of these to go above my new(old) sideboard/buffet thing that was my bday present:
 I think the towels would be cute hanging from the knobs above the side board - not to use, just for decor! Wouldn't my (newly acquired from mother via hand-me-downs) fiesta ware look super cute displayed there?

 I've also been pondering knobs for the sideboard - it is from an estate sale and is a bit beat up, especially one of the knobs. I could paint the existing knobs black again to fit in with the stain it has... or maybe use these fun knobs from Home Goods that I have (seen in the picture at the top). 

As you can see from this picture I posted when we got it, it is really neat but a bit beat up from age:
If you look at the sides, you can see the detail of the gold - I don't want to repaint it because 1) I like the gold detail (it is on the drawers too) and 2) I like the country chic look of the beat-up-ness but on the top it is a bit much (see first picture). How to clean up the top while not messing up its vibe? Hmm..

Friday, October 8, 2010

And I shall call him Squishie

A while back for my birthday I ordered myself a painting from Cari Humphrey's art collection. Her style called to me and I just had to have the goldfish painting I saw on her site. And so I got it - it was my birthday after all. 

It came in a few weeks ago and is now residing in the den, where the colors match perfectly with the bright, bold look we've got going on in here. 

I put him next to the shelves above the TV - which I recently painted black. Oh and did you notice my super cute wooden birds I scored from Home Goods on my trip to Knoxville? On clearance for 1.99$ a pop. In fact, I don't know that I've shown these shelves since I painted the frames. I think the last showing on the blog had them looking like this....

*Yes, I realize one of the pictures is missing from my blue frames - there was an incident with stepping on the frames by a dog during the painting of the frames process...

Fall "Break"

Well, it has been a busy week around here. Lots going on at school, trying to keep up and not do a terrible job. Today is our "fall break" and so the guys and I are doing a lot of this:
 And a bit of grading and syllabus making - what would be the fun in a fall break if you didn't have to do a bit of work too? Right?

Monday, October 4, 2010

Callin' Baton Rouge

This past weekend we made the trip down to Baton Rouge to see Jake's brother play football. Team Jasper was in full force, with the entire immediate family in attendance plus two honorary family members. It was an eventful weekend, between the 2 hour traffic jam, tailgating starting at 9AM, the confusing and crazy way the game ended, and the family party after the game. Overall, what a great trip. I'm still feeling conflicted about the ending (as a Vol fan but an LSU sympathizer due to Josh), but what an experience to be in the stadium for that!

A few pics from the weekend..

At the tailgate:

Josh at the Tiger Walk:
 LSU's beautiful campus:
 Death Valley:
 Josh warming up:
 Hellos before the game:

 The band at gametime:
 Josh's second field goal attempt (GOOD!):

Friday, October 1, 2010

Holy Wrought Iron, Batman!

I was just glancing through my post from Sunday about our new patio furniture and couldn't help but throw up in my mouth a little bit at the picture of the massive amount of wrought iron on our front porch:
 Our house looks like a tween with braces. Perhaps soon we'll be able to put in those columns and new front door like I want. Our ugly duckling will get its makeover one of these days.


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