Tuesday, July 30, 2013

good people, good beer, & a good game.

blakey & i had a wonderful weekend full of many fun things, not a one of them productive.  we sat in bed watching friday night lights with coffee & breakfast & a sleepy t-man all saturday morning.  we body pumped a couple of times.  we enjoyed a warm sunny afternoon at the pool.  we spent some time on the patio while tanky ran around with green man & we hung out with a few of our lovely neighbors.  we had a fantastic date night in with a delicious dinner & more friday night lights.  we made it to church to hear another great sermon on improving our marriage.  we watched the USA mens team win the gold cup at birmy's own good people brewing company with birmy's own birmingham hammers.  a couple of our friends from small group were there too, which made "watching" soccer way more fun!  & we closed out the weekend with a dinner date on the patio at rojo.  pretty perfect.

 {to good people & good beer.}

 a weekend filled with all sorts of "doing nothing" with the byrds.  simply perfect.

love love,

Friday, July 26, 2013

happy friday!

{photo courtesy of lyssmoore on instagram}

how beautiful is this photo of my lavender & vanilla bean donut with a delicious urban cup of coffee?? i love seeing my treats through another's eyes.  it's an honor & really really neat.

blakey is heading home from interview number 4 of 12 this evening!  a third of the way through.  awoohoo!  we are going to enjoy our favorite saturday tradition - after finishing work & enjoying a lovely urban breakfast, get a workout in at body pump, soak up some rays at the pool, pick out a delicious brew at hop city, & enjoy it all on our patio while tanky runs around with green man.  & then if we have any energy left in the evening, date night!  we're pretty excited.

happy friday, my friends.

love love,

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

party your porter off!!

blakey's 30th birthday was a blast!!!  we had neon balloons & pixelated sunglasses & crazy straws.  ou football, a surprise cornhole set, & a southern bbq.  lots of sun, a few showers, & truly great friends.

{our bright patio party}

the theme for blakey's birthday was "party your porter off"!!  you can thank cari for that bit of genius.  pretty fantastic, right?!  

blakey requested a true southern bbq for his birthday meal - the best wings in the world from moe's, the amazing frank stitt's pickled shrimp, watermelon salsa, bleu cheese slaw, & bourbon creamed corn.  & for dessert, the birthday boy wanted cookies.  a man after my own heart!  peanut butter, white chocolate chip macadamia nut, & brown butter snickerdoodles.  love cookies.

{tanky LOVED partying with the big kids.}

all of our best birmy friends joined in the fun!!  we were so grateful to celebrate with so many of our favorite people.  you all are the best.

for blakey's birthday gift, i gave him a custom-made cornhole set!  it's ou gameday ready crimson & cream with "PORTER" across each table.  we are officially southern with our very own game.  now we just need a lot of practice to catch up in the skill area.  i see many game nights ahead!

{asher loved his after-party with his mom & his super hip sunglasses!}

{& little man slept well after all of his partying.}

a fantastic day celebrating a fantastic man.  happy 30th birthday, byrds.  love you the most.  for sure. 

love love,

Monday, July 22, 2013

happy birthday, byrds!!

as all great birthday celebrations go, blakey & i celebrated his 30th birthday all weekend long!  friday night, we had an amazing & relaxing evening with a delicious glass of rombauer chardonnay, our favorite thai food from surin for dinner, & a few episodes of our new obsession - friday night lights.  an evening on the couch with my sweet husband... one of my favorite things.

saturday morning began with blakey's favorite breakfast - my maple pecan scone.  he even got a fresh one baked that morning, which almost never happens.  & it was served on our beautiful little happy birthday plate.

then it was present time!  our families did a fabulous job of dressing this boy for this birthday - a US soccer tee to start looking forward to the world cup next summer, neon green swim trunks, teal & brown sperrys {three years later, his wedding sperrys are in need of an upgrade}, & a set of super fancy monogramed cufflinks with a little ruby, his birthstone.

& he got a new toy for his birthday - a garden rock that projects "OU" on a nearby surface!  he immediately went outside to try it out.  pretty freakin awesome.  well done, julie byrd & benny boo.

party time next!  i'll tell you all about it tomorrow.

love love,

Friday, July 19, 2013

happy 30th birthday weekend!!

 {blueberry pie bars}

awoohoo!!  blakey's birthday weekend is here!  i think blake is most excited about his first weekend off in, well, a long time.  up tonight - relaxing :)  i believe we are finally going to open the bottle of rombauer we bought last year.  & probably watch the first season finale of our new obsession, friday night lights.

welcome to our thirties!

{my summer cupcakes:
top row - red velvet, chocolate on chocolate, white on white.
bottom row: strawberry on strawberry, honey on blueberry, & peach on peach.}

by the way, two of our best friends are marrying the loves of their lives this weekend.  two fantastic fellas.  two beautiful ladies.  we are so sad to not be celebrating this beautiful day with both couples.  to mr & mrs cross and mr & mrs kirk - we are celebrating with you & sending you much love.  may God bless both of your marriages.

{orange nutella cake bites}

happy friday, friends.

love love,

Thursday, July 18, 2013

thankful thursday - my lobster.

my sweet, wonderful, amazing husband turns 30 this weekend!!  30 years awesome, that is.  excited to celebrate him, his day, his incredible accomplishments in these 30 years.  love you, byrd.

"see!  he's her lobster."

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

love love,

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

a fabulous read times two.

when i really love a book, i have a habit of taking as long as possible to read it.  i read only a chapter or two at a time, so i can continue enjoying it longer & longer.  i just don't want it to be over!  i know, it's a little strange.  but i love it.

over the last, oh, three months or so, i have been reading two amazing books - shauna niequist's bread & wine and bob goff's love does.  i have a thing for biographies, especially religiously inspired ones.  & these two are fantastic examples.

bread & wine is a collection of experiences, memories, & encouragements that all were created around a table.  & then a recipe that was made during that time.  it's joyful & real & true.

love does is all about inspiring you to go out & do.  to act out your faith & God's love.  to be the person you were created to be.  it's written in such a fun & charismatic manner.

a couple of books to add to your "to read" list, if you'd like.  i certainly loved reading every word... for three months... or maybe longer...

love love,

Monday, July 15, 2013

watermelon & tomato salad.

i'm pretty sure i could eat an entire watermelon every day.  they are my favorite fruit, by far.  & my favorite summer food.  {oooh, that is a big statement.  it might be fresh corn from the cobb.  or fresh tomatoes.  or fresh blueberries.  or homemade ice cream... ok ok, it is definitely in my top five favorite summer foods.}  so my love for watermelon continues this week with a slightly odd but incredibly tasty dish - a watermelon & tomato salad!

watermelon & tomato salad
original idea from: fitsugar.com
originally found on: pinterest
inspiration for what i actually made: southern living magazine

1/2 seedless watermelon, chopped to bite size
2 large ripe tomatoes, chopped to the same bite size
1 red onion, sliced very thinly
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
1 tsp red pepper flakes or 1 jalapeno, finely diced
1 T sugar
salt & pepper
1/4 c evoo
1/4 c red wine vinegar
serving options: arugula {of course}, sliced avocado, feta

1.  chop up the watermelon & tomatoes to relatively the same size.  it's fun when you eat the salad & are surprised which bright red fruit you are about to taste.  by the way, i saw a pin on pinterest about how to cut up a watermelon {here} - pretty smart.  i had never thought to do it that way.  

2. in a big ole bowl, toss together the watermelon, tomatoes, red onion, cilantro, & pepper.  sprinkle with sugar, salt, & pepper.  let this sit for at least 15-20 minutes.

3.  drizzle oil & vinegar on top.  toss.  & there you go!  delicious.  i served mine over a bed of arugula.  it would certainly be tasty with sliced avocado or crumbled feta.  but the simple green & red salad made me a happy girl.

love love,

Friday, July 12, 2013

let the fun begin.

{my teeny tiny cupcakes!
strawberry & lemon & blueberry}

blakey is going on his first interviews for fellowship this weekend.  he'll be all over the place for about two months of interviews.  two months of traveling & putting his best foot forward & evaluating what will be best for us for the next three years.

we look forward to what's ahead of us!  to all of the joys in store for the next three years of our life, to where we will call home, to who will become our new friends, & to what life will be like.

if you're the praying type, we would be so grateful for your prayers - prayers for safe travels, for low stress, for clarity as to what is best for us, & for faith that God will send us where we should go.  

happy friday, friends!

love love,

Thursday, July 11, 2013

thankful thursday: serving.

last week, a few of our dear friends from small group served dinner at the ronald mcdonald house on uab's campus.  it was a fantastic opportunity for us to get together, get our hands dirty, & serve.  we truly had so much fun creating this meal together, serving the families, & just hanging out.

thanks to the always creative & healthy brooke, we served quite a tasty meal - shepherd's pie with lamb & kale, roasted broccoli with lemon, cheesy garlic bread & my chocolate chip cookies.  have you had shepherd's pie before?  i actually had to google it to find out what it was!

blakey & i are truly thankful to have found a church home with a fabulous group to call our small group & our friends.

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

love love,

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

rice krispie treat cake!

on saturday, blakey & i celebrated july 4th with our friends at an awesome cookout!  matt & elyse hosted the celebration & spent all day smoking ribs, pork butt, & chicken for us.  it was absolutely incredible!  so many of our friends joined in the fabulous day of food & fun.  & for our holiday dessert, i made a festive rice krispie treat cake.

rice krispie treat cake!
cake idea found on: pinterest
original cake idea: a subtle revelry
original rice krispie recipe: allrecipes - review by makeiteasy4me

for a three layer cake:
12 T butter
24 oz mini marshmallows
18 cups of rice krispies
{an ounce of rice krispies is about a cup,
so about 18 ounces}

1. in your biggest le creuset dutch oven, melt the butter over medium low heat, not allowing it to brown at all.  add the mini marshmallows & continue stirring until all of the marshmallows are melted & you have a lovely white smooth creation in front of you.  

2. turn off the heat.  add about a third of your rice krispies & stir until mostly combined.  add another third & stir.  add the final third & stir until completely combined.  this is a fabulous time to taste your creation!

3. prepare three 9" springform pans with non-stick cooking spray.  quickly so as the treats don't harden, evenly divide the rice krispie treats into the three pans, pushing the treats evenly into the pans & flattening out the tops.  when fully cool, pop the layers out of the pans.  

4. i used a honey cream cheese frosting to ice the cake, which tasted lovely with the treats.  i would certainly not recommend putting blueberries between the layers, as the weight was too much & the blueberries started to bleed.  all in all, a fun & tasty baking experiment!

love love,

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

star watermelon & blueberry salad.

two years ago, i discovered my favorite summer salad in the whole world - a watermelon & blueberry salad with mint simple syrup & lemon zest.  delicious!!  i make it every summer now, all summer long.

for the fourth of july, i decided to jazz up my favorite salad by cutting the watermelon into adorable little stars!  red stars & blueberries - my favorite summer salad just became the fourth of july staple!

i sliced the watermelon into 1/2"-ish slices & used a little star cookie cutter to create the shapes.  keep in mind that you want the pieces bite-sized, so adjust your slice thickness with your cookie cutter size.

to update my original recipe: i used an entire seedless watermelon, three pints of blueberries, & still only 1/2 cup of sugar & water for the simple syrup.  it was plenty sweet!  i only had limes on hand, so lime zest & juice it was.  & since amy let me use some fresh, delicious mint from her garden, i used 8 mint leaves in the syrup & finely chopped about 12 more.  love it more & more every year!

love love,

Monday, July 8, 2013

celebrating america with a feast!

happy birthday, america!!  we hope you & your loved ones had a fabulous weekend celebrating this great country.  blakey & i celebrated in our favorite way, we ate!  we cooked & ate some fantastic food.    it really was a lovely four days off of work for me & four days of great food & fun for us.  first up, our holiday meal!

what better way to start any celebration than with bubbly!  & for an american party, red bubbly!  we discovered our favorite liquor store in birmy carries our favorite summer sparkling wine - lambrusco grasparossa di castelvetro.

for our appetizer, blakey requested jalapeno poppers!  easy & delicious - my favorite kind of food.

bacon-wrapped jalapeno poppers

10ish jalapenos, halved & cleaned of seeds
8oz light cream cheese, room temp
a bit of shredded cheddar cheese
10ish sliced of uncooked bacon {or however many jalapeƱos you have}, cut in half

1. stuff the jalapeno half with softened cream cheese, filled straight across.  sprinkle each with a little cheddar cheese.  wrap each stuffed jalapeno with one half piece of bacon & secure with a toothpick or two.

2. bake at 400 for 20 minutes & then check on your poppers.  your pepper & stuffing should be hot but your bacon likely still needs more time, so broil for about 5 more minutes until the bacon is fully cooked.  enjoy!

we continued with our fourth of july tradition & made the pioneer woman's spicy dr pepper pulled pork!  oooh, we love this pork.  but you are probably fully aware of that by now.  i did make it a little bit differently this time, adding an extra onion & two bell peppers in the dutch oven from the beginning.  it was nice to have a little more vegetable in the mix.  delicious!

for some strange reason, i always want mexican food &/or beverage on the fourth.  maybe because it's summery?  i have no idea.  but i was craving my mexican corn salad, so that stared as our feast's side dish.  yum.

& dessert?  blue bell's rockslide brownie ice cream topped with fresh blackberries!  amazing.  & we pretended the fruit made it healthy :)

{how every morning over my break began - 
tanky & green man playing in the rain
while i hid in the corner on our patio out of the rain
with a cup of coffee & a fantastic book in hand.
loved it.}

love love,

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

roasted beet, arugula, & goat cheese salad.

after all of this traveling & celebrating & eating large, i have been craving a fantastic, fresh, & healthy salad.  arugula is my favorite green in the world, everything is better with goat cheese, & roasted beets are so lovely in the summer.  so born was this salad!  & luckily for me, i found a very delish vinaigrette to go with my salad on food network.  enjoy!

arugula, goat cheese, & roasted beet salad
vinaigrette recipe from:  food network
roasted beet how to: bobby flay

fresh beets {these come in all different sizes, so there is really no point in telling you how many}
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 large shallot, finely diced
1 T honey
1/4 c evoo
salt & pepper
arugula {however much salad you want.  this is an adaptable recipe.}
walnuts {i didn't bother toasting them & they were wonderful}, chopped
goat cheese {again... your call.}

1.  first up, roast the beets.  great news - this can be done ahead of time.  a few hours, a day, whatever works for you.  scrub your beets with one of those potato scrubbers.  wrap each one in foil, making sure the entire beet is covered.  bake at 375 for about an hour, depending on the size.  mine were gigantic & i only had an hour.  so after an hour, i turned the oven off, kept them wrapped up, & left them in the oven while we went for a run for about 45 minutes.  this worked great for me.  you want them fully cooked but not super soft.  helpful, i know.

2.  after that rambling, let the beets cool, unwrapped, until you can comfortably hold them.  peeling them takes awhile & thus you have to hold them for awhile.  in theory, you will be able to peel them with the back of a knife, just pulling the peel off "easily".  it took me awhile.  stick with it; it's worth it.

3. next up, vinaigrette.  thanks to one of my favorite authors, shauna niequist, & her book bread & wine, i learned a great trick when making vinaigrette of any kind - put the ingredients in a mason jar, throw on the lid, & shake shake shake.  so put your vinegar, shallot, honey, oil, salt, & pepper in a mason jar, shake shake shake, & there you go!  delicious vinaigrette.

4. in a bowl, put as much arugula as you'd like & a little less vinaigrette than you'd think & toss.  place that on a plate, top with walnuts & goat cheese, & thinly slice some roasted beets to finish.  enjoy!

love love,

Tuesday, July 2, 2013

more fun in oklahoma!!

my quick two-day trip to ooooooooklahoma was filled with family & friends & lots of little malcolm & delicious food & a swanky new norman restaurant & oklahoma beer & lots & lots of fun.  it's always so nice to be home to see a few of my favorite smiling faces & eat some of my favorite food & see how my favorite state is growing up.  a lovely site to see.

our first stop was at our okc neighborhood bar, mcnellie's!  when we all lived in our lofts in midtown okc, we would walk down to mcnellie's at least once a week for pint night or three dollar burger night or when we needed a tasty beer & fried pickles.  it's a great neighborhood bar with an impressive beer draught beer selection - my favorite kind of place.

{my okie craft beer flight!}

{malcolm's grandparents were so happy to see the little man too!}

dad was pretty darn excited to take little malcolm out to his backyard playground to swing!  malcolm would get a big ole grin on his face.  it was adorable.

brent & ally's rehearsal dinner was a fabulous party in the beller estates' backyard!  it was a gorgeous sunny evening full of the people who love & support & celebrate brent & ally, toasts to the soon-to-be-wed couple, & the one & only big truck tacos!

{dad & my sisters}

{the amazingly adorable vandaveers}

on saturday, julie & i got to enjoy brunch at norman's fantastic new restaurant, scratch, with cari & aric!!  seriously, y'all, this place is so good.  it has fancy yet completely approachable dishes all made from scratch with an impressive seasonal cocktail menu devised by a hometown norman friend who started bittercube, the acclaimed cocktail & bitters company.

to eat, we had the quinoa crab cakes & flank steak sandwich with caramelized onions & chive aioli.  & for our brunch cocktails, the truman - a lemon & ginger sparkling wine beverage, of the older fashioned - a play on the classic cocktail, & the sparrow bee - a truly incredible drink with rum, honey syrup, & mint.  pooh, vacay brunch cocktails are so much fun!

{love you, caric!}

a fun weekend, indeed.  love me some oklahoma.

love love,