Tuesday, January 31, 2012

a good day for grilled cheese & tomato soup.

one day last weekend was cold & rainy, so i got to spend the day snuggled up with my husband.  it was a gorgeous day to listen to the rain, watch a movie, & eat some fabulous cold weather food.

after blakey fell asleep on this post-call morning, i started on our feast.  cooking a meal all day long has become one of my favorite things to do.  i love building flavors throughout the day & enjoying the aroma every time you walk by the kitchen {which in our loft is every moment}.

so this tomato basil parmesan soup recipe i found on pinterest {obviously} was perfect!!  {you can find the recipe HERE.}  it is made for a crockpot, but i wanted to use my awesome new gigantic le crueset, which worked absolutely perfectly.  i only made a couple changes to the recipe to suit our taste: used the entire 48oz box of chicken broth {instead of 32oz} & used 1 cup half & half and 1 cup low fat milk.  i don't like super thick soups, so we ended up thinning it some more with water, but that is a personal preference.

i do love chunky soup.  & i love creamy soup.  this was divine!

& for the grilled cheese - i took a note from urban & another from pinterest to create one of the best grilled cheeses we've ever had. 

for the most important part, we used american {don't judge.  i love melty american on a grilled cheese...}, havarti, & goat cheese! 

for the bread, i baked honey beer bread {found on pinterest.  duh.} & cut super thick slices.  {you can find the recipe HERE.}  i will warn you, cut your bread slices pretty quickly after you get it out of the oven, or you might accidentally eat the whole thing first.  it was delish.

ooooh, rainy days & comfort food with my byrds.  love it.

{yes, that makes the count for the word "love" at 5.  it was a great day.}

love love,

Monday, January 30, 2012

let's bonfire!

ogden's TWENTY-NINTH birthday was this weekend!  & what better way to celebrate than burning some stuff.

christmas trees, to be exact.

it felt very texan of us.

& it was a ton of fun!

 {the hosts & the initial building of the fire}

 {ogden's second annual ridiculously crazy tree burning moment}
{please note the awesomely giddy look on his face}

 {so, of course, matt had to have his own ridiculously crazy tree burning moment}
{i was only slightly terrified.}

& if i have my camera out, you know a photoshoot will ensue:

 {the newlyweds!!}

 {our fellas}

 {to the ladies}

 {apparently elyse had wanted to take "this picture" the entire time on their honeymoon...}

{sure...we'll take one too...}

{oh, goodness}

the pups had a marvelous time too!  rogers, it is now that time for y'all to get a puppy to join in tanky & lola's fun.

the second annual christmas tree burning party was a huge success!  & i think ogden quite enjoyed his birthday.  

love our friends.

love love,

Friday, January 27, 2012

a christmas miracle!

i completely forgot to tell you -

remember in the fall when blakey decided he was going to grow a magnolia tree in our loft {HERE}...

well, i will be honest.  i had given up on our little plants.  a couple of months had gone by with nothing.  no trees.  no sprouts.  no sign of life.

but when we got home from our christmas vacation home, we discovered our christmas miracle: 

one of the seeds is growing into a tiny little plant!!  

who would've thought.  apparently you can grow a magnolia tree in a loft.  or at least a tiny little sprout.  but we are very proud of our little seed-that-could.

grow, little guy, grow.

happy friday to you!

love love,

Thursday, January 26, 2012

thankful thursday - to start the day.

this morning blakey turned on the hit jams radio station while we were getting ready for work.  heck yes.  jammin' out to nelly at 5 o'clock in the morning.  heck yes.

that is a fantastic way to start out your day.

it's amazing how little things really can make or break your whole attitude for the day.

i hope you can think of something for which you are thankful today.

love love,

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

mother nature is a little confused.

mother nature is a little confused.

it is january.  the high today is 65.  & there is expected to be "abundant sunshine."

in january.

& there was a substantial tornado that came through alabama early yesterday morning.  we are just fine {thank you to those that thought about us!} but others were much less fortunate.  

a tornado.  in january.

oh, mother nature, you are confused.  but after a lovely run in the park with the tanky yesterday, we did come home & enjoy some hot chocolate with mini marshmallows!  {in my awesome new le creuset mugs!}

it is still january, after all.

love love,

Monday, January 23, 2012

amazing shredded beef {& green beans too}

this is officially blakey's favorite meal of all time. 

ok, that might be an exaggeration, but it is pretty darn close. 

while we were home for the holidays, my stepmom made some a.freakin.mazing shredded beef sandwiches.  blakey has been talking & talking & talking about it since we ate it...twice.  so clearly that means i needed to make it.

the recipe she uses is a combination of two different pioneer woman beef recipes.  & that, in my book, makes it now her recipe!  so thank you thank you, ruth, for this fantastic recipe!

amazing shredded beef sandwiches

2.5 lb to 5 lb chuck roast
4 T butter
1 onion, sliced thick
3 cloves garlic
8 oz jar whole pepperocinis + juice
1/2 c soy sauce
1 c sherry
1/2 tsp salt
2 T italian seasoning
serve with: buttered & toasted deli rolls & a delicious melty cheese

1. heat butter in dutch oven over medium high heat.  saute onions for a few minutes, until starting to brown.

2. set roast on top.  add remaining ingredients.  cover.

3. bake at 275 for at least 6 hours, until beef is completely fork-tender & falling apart.  if it is not, keep cooking until it is!

4. shred completely.  serve, continue heating, or chill.

so so so good.  so good.

& here is my embarrassing side note:  ruth made this recipe for new years two years ago.  i loved it then.  so i went searching for the recipe shortly after blakey & i got married.  i searched & searched & searched & couldn't find it.  so i made my now favorite & completely overused pw dr pepper pulled pork.  

yep, that's right.  i apparently did not know the difference between pork & beef.

great find though.  so i'm ok with it.

oh!  about the green beans.  blakey loves green beans.  i, on the other hand, would rather eat just about any other vegetable.  but i decided to make a "blakey's favorite dinner", so i went with a green bean recipe in my awesome food network magazine.  

believe it or not, these are pretty darn good!  they sound super strange - green beans, tarragon, & whole-grain mustard.  {so strange.} but you should seriously try them!  {recipe is HERE.}

fabulous meal.  

love love,

Friday, January 20, 2012

happy friday, even to the sec!

{my current seasonal cupcake: caramel cupcake!}

{by the way, i learned we say "caramel" wrong in oklahoma.
in the south it's care-a-mel, not car-mull.
must pronounce it right.  
butter & sugar is, after all, very southern.}

yesterday, we had a big lunch & cupcake order, which we later found out was for an SEC meeting going on in birmy.  one of my super SEC fan cohorts knew that all of the coaches were in town for a meeting. 

so we're pretty sure we made lunch & cupcakes for saban & the like yesterday.

even though i very much dislike the SEC, that is pretty darn cool.

certainly my cupcakes are now his favorite cupcakes ever.

happy friday, friends!!

love love,

Thursday, January 19, 2012

thankful thursday - pinterest.

yes, i'm saying it.  i am thankful for pinterest.

certainly i waste a lot of time on the website, but it has truly been a great source of information {& entertainment}.

two things have specifically been so helpful:

#1.  the abundance of recipes.  the owner at urban always wants me to be more creative.  however, creative i am not.  but i can search the internet for awesome recipes.  first it was allrecipes, but i really wore out my ability there.  then foodgawk.  now pinterest.

& there has been no shortage of awesomely creative & delicious recipes!

two fantastic ones that you should probably try:

#2.  an impressive amount of at home workouts.  some days i just don't want to go to the gym or take tanky for a run.  i just don't want to.  but i still would like to do something good for myself.  i've found great circuit cardio workout, arm workouts, ab workouts...  you name it, it is out there.

don't want to workout?  try one.  you'll feel better knowing you did something.

that really is my life in a nutshell, right?  working out enough to eat the food i want :)

i hope you can think of something for which you are thankful today.  even if it is a little thing.

love love,

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

a DIY coffee sack ottoman!

while we were home over christmas, my mother-in-law made us a super awesome ottoman using old coffee bean sacks & a used footstool!

she took photos along the way in case it "turned out cute enough for a blog post".  well, it is so darn cute, so here we go:

things you will need:
an ottoman of some sort
2 coffee sacks
thick cording
jute string
a yarn needle
pins, sewing machine, tan thread, marker & yardstick {she LOVES yardsticks :)}

she found these awesome coffee sacks at one of her favorite shops & the footstool at a used furniture store.

our footstool is actually a "sewing bench" with a top that opens to reveal a stash of old sewing supplies.  so cool!  since we always need more storage, i am positive i will find a good use for the new hidden extra space.

#1.  remove the side stitching of the coffee sack, so you have one long piece of burlap.  you can either rip or snip the side stitches with a seam-stripper or small scissors.  be VERY careful not to snip any of the burlap, as it will unravel.  the safest way is to loosen a stitch & then unravel the rest by hand.

{key: burlap ravels terribly.  the sewn sides are "selvages" or finished edges.  save them to use later to finish edges.}

you will end up with a long strip, about 6' long by 2' wide.  {ours had been sliced open along one side....machette-like...}

#2.  decide how you want the printing from the sacks to be on your ottoman.  we wanted the design on top but not perfectly centered.  we made the top & three sides from one sack and the fourth side from the second sack.

mark edges with pins.

#3.  measure & cut your pieces.  remember to allow for the seam & cording.  {we had a 5/8" seam allowance.  & a 2" cording circumfrence which means 1" allowance.}

double check all your measurements!  {measure twice...cut once.}  make sure your bottom edge is on the selvage edge.  so each side piece will have three cut edges & one selvage edge.

{tanky helped!}

#4.  using a sewing machine, sew the pieces together with a tight, straight stitch.  {goal: to keep the burlap from unraveling}.  burlap is double-sided, so make sure the pretty side is on the outside.  & make sure the selvage is the opposite end from the sewn side.

then sew the side seams to create a slip cover.  be careful with your seam allowances.  press open all of the seam allowances & press the hem.

{check out the progress!}

#5.  cording!  cut twelve pieces of cording - four for each side of the top & four for each corner edge & four for each side of the bottom.  cut each 1 1/2" shorter than the edge measures, as the corners will be pretty stiff on their own.

cording also unravels easily, so tape the ends & cut through the middle of the tape, leaving it taped.

{how the end will fray if you don't tape it!}

sew the cording in by hand with jute string & a yarn needle.

place the cording along each seam with the seam allowance flat & pin it in place.  start sewing about an inch from the corner - take a little stitch & pull the thread almost all the way through, then tie the ends together for the first knot.  pull tight.

stitch with a running stitch, making sure the stitches are even.  knot at each corner.

sew the cording in the hem with the same running stitch going right through the selvage.

 {please play, grandma!}

& the finished stool is fantastic!!  we absolutely love it.  perfectly urban & homey all at the same time.

total cost = $66:
footstool: $40
two coffee sacks: $20
7 yards cording: $6.

{confession: i know NOTHING about sewing.  so not only did my MIL make this awesome coffee sack ottoman, she also wrote the crafty blog post.}

thank you, lisa!!

love love,

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

sol y luna date night!!

saturday night, blakey took me out for an awesome date night! 

we met up with alpha & omega to watch the end of the saints vs 49ers game at a sports bar.  there were tons of band wagon saints fan {i say band wagon because no one in alabama cares about pro sports.  college is life.}, so it was kind of fun to be cheering for the underdog & win.

then we dined at a little restaurant we've been wanting to try since we moved here!  sol y luna is an adorably authentic Mexican tapas restaurant in our favorite lakeview district.  they have fantasticly interesting margaritas.  i went with the sol y luna house special with a spicy sangrita.  & blakey had to try the puerto vallarta in honor of our honeymoon.  both were delicious!

we tried quite a few dishes, as is the fun in tapas restaurants.  we had queso fresco, a guacamole sampler, sea scallops, shrimp ajillo, & beef tenderloin medallions.  all of the food was super inventive.  our favorite was definitely the tenderloin - served with chimichurri & yuca strings.  yum!  

a fun fun night out with the byrds.  love it.

love love,

Monday, January 16, 2012

day of service #1.

my new year's resolution for 2012 is to make a solid effort to do good. 

last year, my resolution was to be more thankful.  after a full year of consciously thinking about all of our blessings, big & small, i truly recognize that blakey & i have a pretty amazing marriage & home & life.  

so now it's time to focus outside of us & on others.  i'm pretty darn excited about it.

to make it feel like a realistic resolution, we are going to attempt to have a day of service each month.  i honestly have no idea what twelve things we will be doing.  if you have any fun or special volunteer/service/good things you've done, please tell me!  we would really appreciate any ideas.

as with most things in life, you ask God to help & He provides.  so i prayed about our january project & received an email about our church's day of service in january!  {no joke.  that's actually what it was called.  how awesome is that.} 

there were a ton of projects to choose from - some indoor projects, some outdoors, some donating, some creating, some physical, some sedentary.  but one stuck out as exactly what blakey would want to do.  & to get him on board with my resolution, that sounded like the perfect place to begin.

framing walls for a habitat house! 

awesome.  outdoors & manly.  i had no clue what i would do, but let's give it a try.

we were in a group with a few 30something dudes from our church at a habitat house just a few doors down from the one we worked on last year {HERE}.  when we arrived there were only a couple of walls up, so we knew we had a full day ahead of us.

 {building one of the walls}

 {holding up a wall while it was being nailed in}

can you believe an entire house can be framed in a morning??  it blew my mind.  there were three habitat workers, a group of girls from the university of new hampshire, a few fellas from hands on birmingham, the lady who would be purchasing the house, & our group.  & we built a house.  pretty darn cool.

{our framed house at the end of the morning!}

month #1 is a success!  looking forward to where God will lead us.

love love,

Friday, January 13, 2012

roll tide red velvet.

i am being a big person & congratulating my fellow crimson & creamers from the south on a big national championship win with these roll tide red velvet cookie sandwiches.

well done, bama.  a shut out in the national championship game. 

& i will stop at that.


happy friday!!

love love,

Thursday, January 12, 2012

thankful thursday - a phone call away.

i am really thankful for my family for always being just a phone call or text message or gchat away.  for helping, for advice, or even for listening to me complain.

y'all are the best.

i hope you can think of something for which you are thankful today.

love love,

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

a little healthy in the new year.

for christmas, my super awesome bro-in-law {ehemmm, his super awesome wife} got me a subscription to the food network magazine!

it's pretty darn awesome.  i've read every one i've ever purchased cover to cover, so now i get to do that with each month!  heck yes.

january's magazine theme is, i know this will shock you, healthy eating.  although that is never really my thing, a few of the recipes looked quite good.  & i guess i can participate in this ever so popular tradition.  {& it probably never hurt anyone to eat less butter...}


this is one of the most surprisingly delicious meals i've ever made.  blakey & i both devoured it.

do it.  you will be really really glad you did.

food network magazine's falafel-crusted chicken with hummus slaw:  a little different & slightly blah sounding, right?  super easy baked chicken with the fried crunch with out the fried oil.  awesome.  but the hummus slaw was the real kicker.  so so good.  i'm still craving it & i ate it 5 days ago.   i might never make slaw without hummus again.

{by the way, this dish apparently has only 366 calories!  that's nuts.  well, it is only supposed to have one pita, which i only realized after taking the picture.  & with the next side dish, you will only be able to eat one anyway.}

food network magazine's roasted carrots with red onions:  carrots, red onions, canola oil, allspice, salt, dried cranberries, walnuts, lemon juice & zest, cilantro, & dill.  strangest grouping of ingredients.  & the whole is so much greater than the parts.

so go on, friends!  join the crazy let's-eat-healthy-just-because-the-last-number-in-the-date-just-changed tradition.  

love love,

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

home for the holidays at dad's!

to complete our home for the holidays tour of oklahoma, blakey & i spent a couple days at my dad's!

food, football, wine, sleep... we did it all again.  & it was just as marvelous this time.

you know about my love for kendall jackson chardonnay, right?  when we arrived at my dad's, there was an entire case awaiting us in the wine fridge!  it was fabulous.  love you, dad.

ruth made some super delicious food.  really really good.  pioneer woman's shredded beef sandwiches.  {ironically, the recipe i was originally searching for the first time i made her pulled pork.  so good.  i will be making this!}  steaks & potato boats.  fried catfish.  {the one seafood we do better in 'homa.  much better.}

& i was worried about there being good food in oklahoma.  there is.  great food.  you just have to cook it :)  challenge accepted.

new year's eve was celebrated while we were in oklahoma!  not my favorite holiday, but we celebrated anyway.  three of us might have gotten a little nap in, but we all woke up in time to countdown & drink some champagne!

 {happy new year!!}

{hehe.  love our generation.}

one of our great friends from medical school was in oklahoma too & joined us for dinner one night!  so so good to see you, newton!!

after all of that eating, blakey & i decided some exercise might be in order.  an actual neighborhood & a gigantic house are being built behind my dad's house, so we went to explore.  fun stuff.  i never would've imagine my dad's house being in town.  our little city is growing up!

{the sky is so big in oklahoma}

{the insanely gigantic house with the even bigger pond}

{in the very middle of the picture, 
the right stick-looking figure is in the devon building.
yes, you can see 17 miles north when the building is that tall
& there is not much in between :)}

home for the holidays to home sweet 'homa.  

love love,