Thursday, September 30, 2010

pioneer woman pasta with tomato cream sauce.

in case you unaware, the pioneer woman is amazing.  everything she makes - amazing.  i thought this recipe was a pretty basic dinner.  so much so that i didn't start taking pictures until halfway through, when i realized "oh my gosh, this is going to be amazing."  & thus, i share with you:

{by the way, definitely check out her version.  she taught me how to chop an onion the super efficient tv way!  blake & i have been trying to figure out what they do, but never could.  this is it.}

pasta with tomato cream sauce

2 T olive oil
2 T butter {& now you know why it's delicious}
1 white onion, finely chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
30 oz marinara
salt & pepper, to taste
1 c half & half {she calls for heavy cream.  i cannot imagine it being any more rich than it was.}
shredded parmesan cheese
fresh basil, chopped
12 oz wheat noodles {she calls for 1 1/2 lbs.  i like a lot more sauce/a lot less noodle.}

1. in the largest skillet you own, heat evoo & butter.  add onion & garlic.  let it do its thing for about 5 minutes.  {i had a little red wine sitting next to the stove from the weekend.  i added it here.  great decision. i really really wish i had a picture of this step.}

2. pour in the marinara!  stir it around & let it cook for 25ish minutes over low heat.  add a little s&p.

3. this would be the time to start cooking the pasta according to the box/bag directions.  al dente, people.  no more.

4. around 25 minutes, the sauce will get a little thicker, a little deeper in color, & way delicious.

5. let it sit off the heat a minute or two.  then add the half & half.  {you don't want boiled milk. it's worse than spilled milk.}

6. add a bit of cheese to thicken.

7. if you are using a super duper huge skillet, mix the pasta & sauce now.  if your saucepan is no where near large enough, as mine was not, plate your pasta, pour sauce on top, & top with fresh basil & a little more cheese :)

8. yummmmmm.... 

love love,

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

wedding wednesday # 12: wine & cookie shower!

the wine & cookie shower brought together a touch of elegance, delightful riesling, & scrumptious sugar cookies for our family friends!

{the lovely hostesses}

{pretty flowers & pretty invite}

wine goblets & fleur de lis.
go kappa.}

{the best matron of honor ever.}

{clear glass is so so pretty}

how sweet is this idea:  each guest was asked to write a note with their piece of marriage wisdom.  it has been so neat to read these since blakey & i got married.  the thoughts range from "never go to bed angry" to "enjoy every minute together" to "never let him know that all good ideas come from you!"  all of the sweet notes are sitting out in our home.

many thanks for a wonderful day of celebration.

love love,

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

a new twist on an old favorite.

{blakey & i are in OKLAHOMA this week for his fall vacation!!  i actually made posts for every day before i left, but have still not managed to post yet.  i like sleeping in :) so enjoy the sporadic posts this week while i enjoy a week with the fams, tons & tons of great food, & a little hometown favorites.}

one of my favorite snacks is an apple with natural crunchy peanut butter.  if you spend any amount of time with me, you will see me eat this food many times.  the other day while i was lusting about fall {have i mentioned i'm ready for fall yet?}, i had an ingenious idea:  an apple with natural crunchy peanut butter topped with cinnamon! & it was as delicious as i hoped.

 {a beautifully sliced gala apple
with a smear of natural crunchy peanut butter
sprinkles with lots of cinnamon}

happy monday!

love love,

Friday, September 24, 2010

yummy yummy chick salad sandwich.

yes, i called chick salad.  because we all know it is.  but blakey actually liked this sandwich!  i, on the other hand, LOVED it.  one of my favorite recipes so far in birmy.  & i don't even like chicken all that much.  so moral of the story:  try it.  & then tell me how amazing it is.

chick salad sandwiches

4ish chicken breasts
chicken marinade
1 unpeeled, chopped red apple {as always, something crisp like pink lady.  never ever red delicious.}
1 c dried cranberries {fall is totally approaching}
2 sticks thinly sliced celery {even if you, like me, hate celery}
1/2 c chopped pecans
4 stems thinly sliced green onions
1/2 c lite mayo
2 tsp lime juice
1/2 tsp curry powder
rye bread {because it is my new favorite}
iceburg lettuce
tomatos, sliced

1.  the original recipe calls for "cooked" chicken.  i had some extra time on a sunday, so i sliced mine into smaller-ish pieces, placed in my handy dandy le creuset dutch oven, covered in a lime marinade, & baked for 45ish minutes on 350.  when it was no longer pink, i chopped it up into bite-size pieces & put it in the fridge until i was ready for it.

2.  combine chicken, chopped apple, cranberries, sliced celery, chopped pecans, & sliced green onions in a big bowl.  mix in mayo, lime juice & curry powder.  {no need to dirty an extra bowl by doing this separately.}

3.  on one slice of rye, lightly add a little more mayo or mustard, if you are inclined to do so.  then top with a piece or two or three of lettuce & a few tomato slices.  on the other rye, cover with chick salad.

4. carefully put breads together.  slice at a diagonal because that is how my mom always did it.  & enjoy!!

little better than chick food that boys like too.

love love,

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

wedding wednesday # 11: coffee shower!

my second bridal shower was designed around one of my favorite things:  coffee!  cafe evoke, a coffee catering company out of oklahoma city, came out to the shower with an espresso bar!  it was so much fun - delicious espresso, flavorings, & of course a little latte art. 

to do a little commercial for cafe evoke:  this was a super neat treat to theme a party around.  everyone loves delicious beverages.  & an at "home" barista  can teach a bit to those who know nothing about espresso.  & who couldn't sit around and talk about coffee all morning long?!  wait, that's just me?  oohhh...  :)

{how cute are these hostesses & aprons?}

{yummy yummy food.
did i mention emily made HOMEMADE chocolate-dipped biscotti.
no words for the yumminess here.}

{pretty heart with a pretty coffee sleeve}

{the beautiful hostesses: emily, louise, & julie byrd
& a missing haley}

now these invitations are one of my favorite of all time.  created by {you guessed it} the one & only

{please ignore the poor quality of the personal info smudging.
technology has never been my strong point.}

{matching stamps!  
seriously, you cannot get any cuter than that.}

so many thanks to these hostesses!  it was the perfect morning with wonderful friends & a fabulous day to celebrate our marriage.

love love,

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

a taste of fall.

fall is approaching & i am so excited!  {the autumnal equinox is tomorrow, which means: i win!  love you dad & julie.} in addition to the beautiful weather & cozy fall clothes {see my dear friend's post on her fall clothing lusts}, i am craving a bit of autumn flavors.

you already know about my LOVE for pumpkin spice lattes, but there are so many other things i am looking forward to.  pumpkin in pretty much anything:  pumpkin cranberry bread, chocolate chip pumpkin muffins, pumpkin dip with gingersnaps, soup...

speaking of soups, despite my sister's belief that it doesn't count as a "favorite", soup is one of my favorite foods.  & fall brings such great possibilities:  new england clam chowder, french onion, tomato {with grilled cheese}, potato, cream of wild mushroom, did i mention pumpkin black bean??

how good does a pumpkin cookie from city bites sound right now?

 what about spaghetti squash & butternut squash & any other random vegetable my sister introduced to me in the fall?

& then i start thinking about thanksgiving.  greenbean casserole, mashed potatoes, corn casserole, tear-apart bread...  & pecan pie.  if you haven't had the opportunity to try julie & my rendition of our grandmother's pecan pie with a crunchy pecan topping & homemade whipped cream... then i am sad for you. 

{circa 2007}

what tastes of fall are you excited about?!

love love,

railroad park is open!

railroad park is open!  & we could not be more excited.  this park is 4 square blocks, full of lush green grass, walking/jogging trails, creeks, wild flowers, & so much more.  appropriately titled, it is just south of the railroad tracks & thus just south of downtown.  we are a mere 4ish blocks from the park, so tanky & i will be frequent visitors.

our outing yesterday afternoon was so much fun.  tanky frolicked in the beautiful green grass, trampled through the creeks, & licked quite a few children in the face.  while enjoying every moment of tanky's happiness, i took pictures.  a lot of pictures.  an amount that was "narrowed down" to 59.  so... the railroad park is going to get a few posts.

today, you get the basics, as well as a few adorable pictures of the t-man.

 {the awesome view of downtown from the park}

 {graffiti below the tracks}

{the pavilion with tables & chairs,
the ranger station,
& vendor stands}

{tanky playing in the water.
we quickly discovered this is his favorite part.}

{looking south is UAB's campus.
blakey's building is to the left of the big cranes.
vulcan is very small at the top of the hill on the right.}

happy times at railroad park.  more to see soon!

love love,

Monday, September 20, 2010

learning to make espresso.

on sunday, it finally happened.  i finally got to start learning how to pull a shot of espresso.  big day.

i've been working at urban standard for over a month & haven't been allowed near the espresso machine.  did you know it was that hard to pull a shot of espresso?  i did not.  until i starting learning yesterday.  it is, in fact, quite a complicated process.  there are so many steps in the process... dosing, grooming, tamping, extraction... & so many little details during those steps... the grind, distribution, pressure, water temperature, timing...  & you thought it was just a little 17 gram shot of coffee.


{grooming & tamping}



after an hour & a half & way too many to count sips of espresso, my brain & stomach were done for the day.  i have so much to learn & so much to experience before i am awesome at it, but i am glad to have started.

by the way, my dear friend & manager, trevor, gave me two TEXTBOOKS about coffee.  not lying.  & i am actually a little excited to read them.