Monday, April 30, 2012

{Life}: Random Update.

It's about time for another random update. We've been busy busy busy lately (isn't that what I say every time? well it's true). Jake finished his boards and his second year of medical school. He started his rotations this week so last week his class had a social. Here we are:

Sidenote: after that picture, I researched shampoos that are good for frizzy hair. Because my hair was straight and sleek about 10 minutes before that picture. I'm now using Garnier Sleek and Shine.

Sunday morning we drove by our midtown Starbucks on the way to church and the drive through line was to the street. So instead we went to the Starbucks by the Fed Ex Forum downtown and got our drinks and pastries. The seats outside were taken and it was so pretty so we walked over to the Forum and sat on a picnic bench. It was so lovely and a little nod to the playoff game that night.

Sunday always means Target runs around here and this past Sunday was no different. I was looking for new workout shorts and I let Jake wander as I tried them on. I got finished and went looking for him, knowing he'd be exactly where he was - playing the demo video games. How cute is he?

In dog news, Harley and Beamer are the best of friends. They regularly hang out together on the couch like this, just chilling together.

(For the Sebastian fan club - he was napping in the front room per usual at the time of this photo)

Add in a little cooking, a lot of working, and some house cleaning and you've been caught up on life lately around here!

In 3 weeks left of the school year,
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Sunday, April 29, 2012

{Make this}: 3-ingredient Spaghetti.

Last week on Sunday night I wrote a goal in my (absolutely precious) planner. The goal was to cook at home 3 of the 5 week nights last week. Now I realize for some that is no lofty goal, but with a busy medical student and a tired teacher, you have to understand how alluring eating out at the end of the day can be. So with my budget and waistline in mind, the goal was set. Challenge accepted.

Day one of the three-day challenge was our go-to easy dinner: a grab and go rotisserie chicken. We added a salad and some fried okra and it was delicious. Day two brought our Mexican Pita Pockets (which were delicious). So here we were. Thursday. On a roll. Can't stop now.

We were *this* close to giving up. To going out. But instead, I decided to make our go-to spaghetti recipe. And I'm so glad we did. First of all, it can be made with THREE ingredients. THREE. All three are pantry staples so it is a great last minute dinner. Secondly, it is legendary. This spaghetti recipe has made the rounds on the interwebs and I've decided to help spread the gospel. So here we go:

3-Ingredient (Poor Man's) Spaghetti 

You'll need:
large can whole San Marzano tomatoes
1 stick unsalted butter
1 white onion, halved
spaghetti noodles, cooked

You'll do:
1) dump your tomatoes, butter, and onion in a large saucepan
2) cook the sauce on medium low for 40 minutes, stirring occasionally and pressing the whole tomatoes against the side until they are finally broken up
3) Discard of the onion and pour the sauce over your spaghetti. enjoy.

It's that easy! And now you know.

In meeting goals and spreading the word,
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Thursday, April 26, 2012

{Make this}: Mexican Pita Pockets

You know how sometimes you make something and it is SO delicious but just looks heinous? That is this recipe. An alternative theme for this post could be "how many dishes can you make out of the black bean/corn/rotel combination"? Addiction. I know, right?

So this recipe comes from the depths of my brain. No links or inspiration here, just sheer innovation. The premise is a mixture of Mexican-ish deliciousness stuffed into a pita, which is the vehicle by which one ingests the deliciousness.

You'll need: 
- fresh chopped cilantro
- lime juice (fresh)
- avocado, chopped
- pita pockets
- shredded cheese
- can, refried beans
- can, Rotel (Mexican flavor)
- can, corn
- can, black beans

You'll do:
1) In a medium saucepan, combine the black beans, refried beans, corn, and rotel to warm. Add cheese and stir.
2) In a bowl, combine above mixture with avocado, cilantro, and lime juice
3) Heat pitas in oven, then stuff mixture inside pita
4) Eat carefully (mixture spills out)

As I sit here eating the leftover mixture (it makes enough for about 12 pitas), I am reflecting on the other uses of this divine concoction. Jake suggested making the mixture into a dip by putting it into a serving dish, covering with cheese and sour cream.

In cilantro and lime juice,

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

{Make this}: Chicken Pockets.

So today I'm sharing a recipe that is so easy a kid can make it. In fact, those of you with kids, you should probably pawn off the cooking duties on your spawn for this dinner. With supervision, naturally.

I came up with the idea to do this recipe for Chicken Pockets after a bit of an obsession with pizza rolls combined with some serious Pinterest-trolling.

The basic premise of this recipe is some chicken in a crescent roll. I know, right? With that base + some cream cheese, you can make pretty much any variation you want (Mexican with lime, cilantro, black beans, rotel, and corn? Bacon and mushrooms?). Can't deny a choose your own adventure recipe.

My adventure the other night involved some goat cheese and spinach with a little Greek seasoning. And I can't tell a lie, it came out quite delightful.

You'll need:
- crescent rolls (the real perforated ones are best, not the sheet)
- cream cheese (soften per instructions)
- chicken (we used a rotisserie chicken, shredded)
- spinach leaves, destemmed (is that a word?)
- goat cheese (feta would have worked too)
- Cavender's Greek Seasoning (or the like)
- salt and pepper (I just needed a parenthesis here)

You'll do:
1) In a bowl, combine the softened cream cheese, the shredded chicken, the spinach, goat cheese, and seasonings to taste. Stir

2) Pop your roll of crescents and unravel. Spoon chicken mixture into wide part of crescent and then roll up, making sure to tuck in the sides so it doesn't ooze out. I sprinkled some Greek seasoning on top for good measure.

3) Cook the chicken pockets per crescent roll directions (note: we used pre-cooked chicken - you'll probably want to do the same unless you want to figure out how long it takes to cook chicken in the stove for this recipe, which I don't advise).

I was going to take a picture of them mid-meal so you could see the inside but then I decided that might be a little disgusting. Also I got full after two so I suppose that is about how many you'll want to make per person.

Until next time,
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Sunday, April 22, 2012

{Make this}: Simple Spaghetti with Garlic, Olive Oil, and Red Pepper Flakes.

When the weather turns nicer and the days are brighter longer, for dinner I really crave something light and fresh. I love eating on our back patio and just simply being outside.

This recipe is perfect for that kind of night. Simple enough for a school/work night but still delicious. When you read what is in it, you'd think it wouldn't have flavor but oh does it!

I used this recipe from Yum Sugar as a base but went to the comments section to get ideas on how to improve it (hint for making something off an internet recipe - the comments are always helpful).

You'll need:

spaghetti pasta
fresh garlic, minced (as much as you prefer - for me, that is LOTS)
good extra virgin olive oil
red pepper flakes (about 2 teaspoons)
fresh parmesan or romano cheese, grated

You'll do:
1) Boil the pasta - make sure to watch and not let it get too cooked. You want it "al dente" for this since it is the feature of the recipe.

2) In a saucepan, heat your olive oil on medium heat. Once it gets hot, add your garlic and pepper flakes and let them infuse in the oil. Be careful not to let the garlic burn so only leave it on about 2 minutes.

3) Toss the olive oil/pepper flake/garlic mixture into the pasta and stir in grated cheese.

We served with a fresh spring mix salad. And there you have it! That easy!

In garlic-laden meals,
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Wednesday, April 18, 2012

{Go there}: Old Venice Pizza Company.

Usually on Sundays Jake and I go to our favorite, Garabaldi's. But a few Sundays ago, Garabaldi's was closed for Easter. So we had to branch out - we headed to a place we never go because it is always too crowded - Old Venice Pizza Company on Perkins in East Memphis. Apparently on Easter Sunday not too many people eat out for dinner (too much ham and deviled eggs at lunch, perhaps?).

So there we were, dining out to celebrate our own little Easter. And what I'm about to say will shock you - we went to a restaurant that serves pizza. And we didn't order pizza. I know. But I was craving pasta so there we were, looking at the menu of delicious pastas:

Jake chose the Trausclaire and I got the Godfather:

While we were waiting for our food, I took in the rustic Tuscan environment (Old Venice? Tuscan?). I called the style "ruscany" - I think it will catch on.

We both ordered caesar salads. Old Venice does these well - light enough but still lemony and a caesar zing. Croutons seemed to be homemade, perhaps from the breadsticks they provide before dinner (which were delicious - we ate those without a picture, THAT is how good they were).

And before we knew it (no really, the service was great), it was on to the main show: PASTA. Sometimes I just really want to eat the crap out of some pasta. And now I've found the perfect place to do so (well, second most perfect but Lavoro's Italian is too far out East for the everyday).

My Godfather pasta was like they took an inventory of my favorite things and put them in one dish - gorgonzola cheese, vodka cream sauce, pepperoncinis, spinach, sun dried tomatoes, and chicken. And let's talk about the chicken. It wasn't chunked, questionably uniform chicken pieces like some places. It was thinly sliced freshly cooked chicken breast that tasted unreal.

Jake reports that his pasta was also life-changing. He even tolerated me taking these pictures at dinner, which is his way of saying that it was so good that it deserves to be blogged about. So there you have it. If you're in Memphis and love pasta as much as me, you better check out Old Venice.

In pasta with a side of carbolicious breadsticks,
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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

{Make this}: Cheap Chinese Fake-Out Dinner.

I love cheap dinners. I love easy dinners. So cheap and easy? I'm sold.

When Jake and I were strolling around Target the other night on one of our hot dates, we found two great things in the frozen food section. The first was frozen spicy Szechuan green beans that you can microwave and the second was a bag frozen potstickers you can boil and then pan fry to crisp.

Immediately we knew that one of the dinners we'd be trying at home the next week would be a chinese fake-out meal. We're still attempting to cook at home as much as possible. So one night when I didn't get off work until 6pm was the perfect night to cook those bad boys. And I have to report - the frozen food section of Target delivered.

You know when I find something good I've got to share - the green beans are Archer Farms and the potstickers were Ling Ling brand. Both found in the frozen foods aisle of your local Target!

In chinese fake-out,
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Saturday, April 14, 2012

{Life}: Random Update.

It is time once again for another random life update. Compiling the pictures taken in the past weeks, this is a little trip through typical life, in no particular order. On to the pictures..

Two weekends ago I decided my beautiful car was too dirty and needed a bath. Beamer and I spent an hour driving around Memphis looking for a car-wash (the kind you just pay and go through) - apparently there are tons in East Memphis but not so much in Midtown. We finally found one and then I waited in line because the machine said it took cards. It didn't. Then I was ok because I had cash - except all I had was a $10 and it only took $1's and $5's... so I had to drive through the car wash without a wash, go inside and pay for a code, then get BACK in line. After all that, the car wash didn't even get my car entirely clean. I spent an hour this past weekend truly cleaning it by hand. But at least Beamer loved his car ride:

This next story is about Beamer too... he has struck again. I came home the other day to find our treat jar empty under the dining table. Somehow he took the full jar of treats down from the counter and ate the entire jar of pupperonis. I'm still not sure how he managed to carry the jar down without breaking it.  He's getting defiant in his old age.

The other day I got my first gel manicure for Easter. I went with my favorite color, Lincoln Park after Dark. So far it has withstood several beatings with no chipping so this may be worth the extra money. It was $25 at Nina's Nails on Poplar. A regular manicure there is $12 but those chip after a day for me so the extra money seems worth it.

Last weekend we had dinner at my parental units' house and their dutch irises had bloomed by the garage. I thought they were so pretty!

Also at dinner the other night my dad pulled out a 1982 red wine from his cellar. It was delicious. And deserved a picture.

And of course no blog post would be complete without pictures of puppies. Here are Harley and Beamer snoozing the other day:

I've been sitting outside a lot reading and the dogs have been out with me too. Here's Sebastian sunbathing by the steps:

And Harley in the shade by the garage:

I had a bit of retail therapy the other day at Ross (dress for less!) and got this purse for $15. It is brown "leather" at the top and then black canvas for the base. I like it because it is casual and I can wear it with either black or brown outfits. Isn't it fun?

And lastly, after the Easter vigil the other night we came home and watched the last of the Grizz game. They won, which was especially exciting because they were coming off two big wins and this really stepped up their street cred in the league (apparently - so says twitter).

So there you have it. A random update. Until next time!
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Thursday, April 12, 2012

{Go there}: La Baguette.

I love "La Bag." It is the lunch place of choice for my friends when we're all back in town. It is Midtown-ish in location (important) since it is by the Main library on Poplar. La Baguette is a French bakery that serves lunch to a "ladies that lunch" kinda crowd.

Their set up is a bit confusing - they have three different counters. From what I've gathered over the years, you go to the front counter for pick up orders and for buying things out of the cases (breads and pastries). The middle counter is for to-go or quick service lunches from the menu and the back is to sit down and eat a meal.

Usually we go to the back and sit down since we're in for a chat and visit with each other. This option is good because of endless baguette bread you get. I usually get the tomato soup (which is good and spicy) and a half of a turkey sandwich (on baguette, what else?). They have your typical lunch offerings - sandwiches, pasta salad, soups, etc.

But the other day I went a different route. It was pretty outside and I wanted to have a garden lunch with the hubs, who was on his study break. So I stopped by and got a baguette to go ($2.45 - what a steal).

I came back and prepared a plate of cheeses (brie and cheddar), apples, and edamame to go with our bread and we sat outside and enjoyed a light, refreshing meal in the beautiful weather.

So next time you're interested in having a meal at home but want to make it fancy, stop by and get some bread from "La Bag." They have other kinds of bread too - all delicious and fresh.

In fresh baked goods,
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Wednesday, April 11, 2012

{Browser Window Shopping}: Summer Avenue Antique Mall.

I'm back for another installment of browser window shopping! Last weekend I went to my favorite antique store within reach, Summer Avenue Antique Warehouse (I love Sheffields but it is TOO FAR out there).  The last time I did a post about them I found all sorts of goodies. I love Antique Warehouse because it is big enough to find lots of treasures but small enough to be manageable for a quick antique fix without spending all morning.

So what did I find this time to lust after?

This side table/coffee table would be so fun with bright legs -

This library cart actually went home with me! I've been needing another bookshelf for the books I brought over from my room in the parental units' house. This one is two sided and on casters. So cool.

I spied these neat barstools, perfect for someone with a retro kitchen. How fun are they?!

Then next to them was this great chest of drawers that had been painted and refinished. It was very nice looking and a reasonable price.

Lurking under all those dishes is a really fun laminate retro table. Gotta love turquoise.

And this red cabinet? Ah - I'm in love. Narrow enough to fit in most spaces, glass front doors? LOVE.

Spied these Mae Sibley pieces for $75 a piece hanging on a wall. Very beautiful.

Down the way a little bit I saw these neat winter scenes for $25 a piece. There was a third one unframed for $15 as well.

These tupperware measuring cups found a home with me - they remind me of the yellow ones my mom has and still uses. You can never have too many measuring cups. We have some stainless OXO ones but seems the one you need is always dirty!

This same booth had some fun Pyrex pieces. I went home with two bowls, a casserole, and a refrigerator dish (on the 2nd shelf):

Also in that booth (where the winter paintings and Pyrex were), there was a stack of unframed art. This is where the 3rd winter painting was. This ballerina print would look so classy framed in a little girl's room!

All in all, it was a good day for the Summer Avenue Antique Warehouse. Such a quirky, fun little spot on Summer amidst some sketchness!

Until next time, there are treasures untold.

In antiques and treasure hunting,
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