Blog Police

8 Sep

If there were such thing as the Blog Police, I’m sure they would arrest me for Blog Neglect.  It’s true, i’ve been neglecting my own little space on the web; but not by choice.  Many of you know about the devastating events that occurred a few months ago, leaving me without a computer to blog from.  I was trying to work from Jake’s old hunk-o-junk, but eventually it gave up on me and crashed – kaput.

Anyway, I’m back baby – again!  Here’s a few things you missed out on:

  • I’ve become a 5AM gym-er! Jake and I have been so off track with our workouts since we moved, and it honestly has to do with how exhausting the whole moving process has been.  Finally, we got motivated – by money.  We are paying for a flipping gym membership every month!  What better way to waste our money than to never actually make it to the gym?  We both decided that the only way to get a good, consistent workout in was to rise before the sun. Plus, we have a big vacation coming up in a little less than two months – I need to be in fighting shape!

    I do not have cankles, I swear

  • I maimed myself.  Making Toast.  Only me.  This might be the worst burn i’ve endured – it doesn’t seem like much but it is in the most inconvenient place EVER! and by the way…ouch.

    Sick

  • My South Carolina Gamecocks won their first game of the season!  Jake and I headed up to Charlotte last weekend with a few of our lovely friends (Hart & Alison) to watch the Gamecocks spank East Carolina.  It was a rough game and I may have a little less hair than I did before the game, but it was a “W” so i’ll take it!  This weekend is a HUGE game for South Carolina as we head down to Athens, GA to play the Georgia Bulldogs.

    Photo Courtesy of garnetandblackattack.com

Go Cocks!

I also found the inspiration for our spare bedroom:

Gorgeous and Relaxing!

I’m obsessed.  I was originally leaning toward a Nautical themed room, but this just seems so much more relaxing.  You know what this all means, right? Another weekend project!  I’ll be back early next week with some project progress – see ya!

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Becca’s Belly Busters

19 Aug

Last night was…you guessed it…Girls Night In! Its been awhile since we’ve had a GNI, and I was so excited to kick back with a glass of wine and enjoy the “cooler” weather we’ve been having.  After work I headed over to my friend Alison’s house, and the lovely hostess had some wine ready — just in time!

The other day I cornered Chef Becca and I convinced her to do a recipe tutorial for the blog! She graciously obliged to my begging; and on the menu for the night was….(drumroll please)..Beef Enchiladas a.k.a. Becca’s Belly Busters.  Or if  you ask my sister, they are “cheesy roll-up thingys.”  Becca’s Mexican food is a staple on Girls Night – its something I always look forward to!  Even though the recipe is easy peesy (and cheesy, ha!), until now i’ve never known how to make enchiladas.

Here’s what she did:

1lb ground beef

1 can Rotel (diced tomatoes and green chili peppers)

1 packet taco seasoning

1 bag shredded cheese

1 can red enchilada sauce

1 pkg Large Tortillas

1.  Pre-heat the oven to 375

2. Brown the ground beef and drain well

3.  In a bowl: mix beef, taco seasoning and Rotel (un-drained)

4.  In a casserole dish: pour a small amount of enchilada sauce to lightly coat the bottom of the dish

5.  Spread the beef mixture on the tortillas and sprinkle with cheese

A generous sprinkle

6.  Wrap up (burrito style) and place in the casserole dish

7. After preparing enough to fill your casserole dish, pour the remaining enchilada sauce over the rolls and top with cheese (Becca makes ours extra cheesy)

8.  Bake for 15-20 minutes.  Cheese should be completely melted.

Voila!  It’s called “Amazing in your mouth!”

For those of you that don’t know, Chef Becca moonlights as a bartender.  See? She made us dessert!

Ay Ay! Tequila!

Two nights in a row I have stuffed my face, looks like the gym will be seeing me this weekend after all!!

Chocolate Heaven

18 Aug

Birthday season is flying right on by!  Yesterday evening we spent some time with Jake’s family to celebrate his mom’s birthday.  Happy Birthday Miss Julie!

For dinner, Jake’s younger sister Becca marinated a mouth-watering Pork Tenderloin; it was grilled to perfection!

Jake’s dad threw some vegges on the grill that were delectable.  We also had one of my most favorite foods, cosume rice! It was so creamy that it resembled mac and cheese.  The food was great, but I still saved some room for my favorite part of every meal – dessert!

Becca picked out a peanut butter cup triple chocolate ice cream cake. Chocolate Heaven is no exaggeration.  I ate my piece, and even stole a bit (or two) of Jake’s.

Mouthwatering

We spent some time chatting away and looking at pictures taken so far this year. (sorry for the blurry photo below..I couldn’t keep a steady hand!)

Mr. Jake and his Mama

Eventually we headed home stuffed like turkeys and wanting nothing more than to hit the hay.  That is, until I saw this pathetic little face staring at me when I walked in the door!

Schweetness

Oh Please!

This house is Project City!

17 Aug

Part of the reason I have not been posting lately is the fact that I have been completing project after project, after project.  Not work assignments (although work is as busy as ever), but fun household projects.  Jake and I are not in the position to start replacing expensive essential items, so we have resorted to “renewing” the old ones!

When we moved we did some inventory of our belongings and got rid of things that take up too much space, or things we simply do not need.  We held on to things that we couldn’t live with out, or things we knew we could up-cycle.

My first project was one that I have been meaning to do for awhile now.  Jake’s mom gave us some blue storage jars that she got a great deal on, and we ended up using them to store utensils in the kitchen (remember the seventeen spoons?).  Unfortunately, they became a bit of an eyesore seeing as they did not match with anything else in the kitchen.  Rather than spending more money on new stainless steel canisters, I decided to paint these as close to S. S. as possible.

Taa-Daaa

I took my creative self to the hardware store and ended up finding a can of textured spray paint.

I got "Hammered"

The color is actually similar to our stainless steel appliances, and dries in a “hammered” texture.  They turned out great!  I got a little paint happy and also covered our Olive Oil container to match!

My next project was not an “up-do”, but rather a decorative project that saved us some moolah.  A lot of our artwork could be considered hand-me-downs (aka Jake’s man-art).  While most of it is “cool”, none of it really matches with the look we’re going for.  We really needed something fun to hang above the couch, and it seems that everything I like is $$$.  Then, like a ray of sunshine, I found this pattern online.  It seemed pretty easy, so I gave it a shot!

Inspirational!

(Photo courtesy of apartmenttherapy.com)

I purchased a large canvas at a nearby craft store and measured out my pattern with painters tape.  Then, I covered the whole thing in two coats of green paint and waited for it to dry.  I was a little disappointed when I pulled off the tape only to find that the paint had bled through :(.

Jaggedy Lines 😦

Once I removed all of it, the bleeding actually looked kind of cool — so I went with it.  I may just be in denial, but I kind of like that it’s imperfect.

My next projects will be focused toward the outside areas of our house.  I have two tables that are in need of some TLC!

Yek...

Double Yek

Frozen Dog Treats

16 Aug

Thank goodness gracious that this heat is starting to slow down because, phew, i’m so done with it;  and as a matter of fact i’m 100% sure the dogs are done with it too! Brock and Sully usually love being outside and playing around – but not lately.  What was the run? 2 weeks? Two freaking weeks of temperatures over 100 degrees, what are we coming to people!?

I’ve been downing smoothies and frozen yogurt like its my job (this heat is the perfect excuse).  I have even stooped to taking a cold shower on the weekends just to cool off.  My poor little pups have had to grin and bear it.

Jake figured out that they love it when you fill their water bowl outside with ice cubes.  They go crazy and try to catch the ice like they are bobbing for apples.  Seeing them do this reminded me of the Puppy Party we had for Brock at a local pet shop earlier this year.  All of the canines were served “Doggy Ice Cream”, and they loved it so much that the owner was kind enough to give me her recipe!

It’s simple really, kind of reminds me of the way I make my dog biscuits (just throw in what you’ve got).

Here’s what I did:

1 large sweet potato

1/2 cup water

1 cup plain non-fat yogurt (use less if your dog has a weak stomach)

1 small banana

1. Peel and chop the sweet potato into large chunks.  Boil the sweet potatoes for 10 minutes or until soft

Bubble and Boil!

2. Combine the boiled sweet potatoes and 1/2 cup of water in a blender (or food processor) and mix until smooth.  It should look like baby food at this point.

Baby Food Mush

3. Add yogurt and banana split into chunks.  Hit that magical “liquefy” button and viola!

Mmmm..Looks Like Dessert

I poured my mix into silicone ice trays left over from the Fourth of July and stuck them with straws before freezing.  This will make it easier to pull the treats out of the tray.

Two Hours, and We're Ready to Go!

After about 2 hours I let the pups try the frozen treats with every intention of snapping some cute pics.  Yeah, that didn’t work out so well – Sully took hers in one bite and Brock grabbed his and ran.  This is all that was left:

Little Brats!

After a little research online, I noticed that some people add peanut butter or beef bouillon. Brock and Sully would go freaking nuts for that!

I’m Back, Baby!

16 Aug

Wahhhh! I’ve been gone for S-O long! So much has happened in the last few weeks that I have had almost no time to blog. Today is the first, yes first, afternoon that has left me with nothing to around 5pm.  After all the craziness, it feels great to be back to a schedule and have a sense of organization.

You’ve really missed out on a lot, my friends!  Here’s a quick re-cap to keep you up to date on my goings-on:

  • We moved! Yessir! Since signing the lease on our most favorite home to-date, we’ve packed up and cleared out.  We’ve already gotten all of our important items unpacked and have only one room full of “junk” (i’m saving it for a rainy day).  It is so relieving to come home to an open, clean and comfortable home.
  • Heather hosted girls night to celebrate Becca’s birthday!  I won’t reveal her age; she might sock-one-to-me if I do.  We enjoyed a delish Italian meal made by Ms. Patterson, and a heavenly cake made by our lovely friend Hannah
  • We celebrated my birthday! Yes, this old girl is now 23.  Let me know when I can pick up my walker 🙂

    Me and Mr. Jake

    We had a great night at Brew at the Zoo, an incredibly fun Beer Festival hosted by Riverbanks Zoo. Despite the fact that the Heavens opened on us, we had a great time touring the zoo with our 2-ounce sample glasses.  My favorite, by far, was the ACE Pear Cider made by The California Cider Company.

    Heaven in a Bottle

    It was bubbly, and light, and oh so refreshing.  Although it is a Pear flavored cider, it had a hint of banana – which I loved!

    The Ladies I Love!

  • Slightly less interesting than the above three, however so important to Jake and I – Brock became a crate-dog.  Jake was really resistant to it, but as a condition of our lease, we needed to at least HAVE  crate for him in the house.  Baby Brock ended up crawling into his crate while no-one was even paying attention. Ahhh…I can just feel the anxiety rolling off my shoulders!

    I want to lick your face!

I have some really fun posts planned for the next few days, so keep your eyes open!

Great Night To Celebrate

26 Jul

When I think Monday I normally go straight to “ugh, back to the real world.”  This particular Monday, however, was one I have really been looking forward to!  Despite all the crazy things that have been happening lately, I have found excitement in some small things.

After work I skipped the gym and went straight home to knock a few things off of my to-do lists (yes that’s plural) and get ready for this evening.

When Jake made it home from work we quickly changed and drove a few minutes down the road to the home of our new landlord. We have sealed the deal, folks! The lease is signed! I can now breathe in, breathe out and retrieve my sanity.

Is this even normal?

As soon as we finished up with the lease, we rushed over to one of our favorite little sushi restaurants to celebrate.  Our celebrations were not limited to our new home though; we were joined by our favorite couple: Amber and Joe Ben!

JB embarassing Amber...again.

Amber and I have known each other for a few years now, and is one of my best friends.  She and Joe Ben also had some celebrations in order: Amber’s Birthday!

Happy Birthday to the one person who will answer the phone in the middle of the night when I have something stupid to say 🙂  We have spent our birthdays together for the last few years and I have to say that this has definitely been the most tame (except for some Sake).

Apple Infused Sake = Amazing

The restaurant where we dined, SakiTumi, is actually a place I worked while in college.  In my opinion they have some of the best sushi in town, and I surely wasn’t going to turn down an invitation to stuff my face enjoy some time with Amber and JB.

On Mondays, SakiTumi has an awesome special – 2 for $28.  Jake and I definitely took advantage of that!  The deal includes an adult beverage, an appetizer, and an entree per person.

Jake enjoyed a draft Sapporo, while I sipped on a light and refreshing glass of Pinot Grigio.  My appetizer choice was the Miso Soup, which I loved.

Fire Island Roll

And oh. my. goodness. My favorite sushi roll in the whole world was my entree of choice.  The Fire Island Roll.  Shrimp tempura with avocado, rolled in soy paper and topped with spicy tuna tartar and crispy tempura flakes. Delish!  Jake and I shared a few pieces of Butterfish  too (also amazing).

Post Sushi Attack

I guess Amber liked her sushi roll too!

And if you thought our indulgent meal wasn’t enough, Amber directed us to one of the best little dessert spots in the city.  Nonnah’s is only a few blocks away from SakiTumi and has the most delectable and coma-inducing desserts I have ever had.

Jake's slice of Heaven

Mr. Jake chose the “Chocolate Temptation”.  A rich chocolate cake with Godiva liquor, layered with vanilla cream filling, finished with chocolate ganach.

My Sinful Delight

I, however, chose the Turtle Cheesecake.  A pecan-filled cheesecake topped with chocolate, caramel and even more crunchy pecans.  The cheesecake was so wonderfully airy and though I’ve never tried nuts in a cheesecake before – I’m in love.

Phew, now I’m super Fat and Happy and I seriously cannot complain.  What a productive, fun, relieving kinda Monday!

Crazy Pants

25 Jul

Who does this!? Three to-do lists, really? Only me.

image

T minus 5 days!

I guess I wore my crazy pants today.  Time to get crack-a-lackin’ before the celebrations start tonight!

Buffalo Chicken Dip

24 Jul

It was really great to be able to enjoy a standard Saturday for a change.  Due to all of the events we have had lately, most of my weekends have been dedicated to planning this and doing that.

With our move coming up very quickly, Jake and I spent most of the day packing and cleaning.  Late in the afternoon, when our efforts were exhausted, I headed to the kitchen to get cookin’.  Earlier in the week one of my friends, Heather, asked if I would bring a dish to Tyler’s Cookout.  Of course I was happy to do so, and she specifically requested my Buffalo Chicken Dip.

Sure, everyone and their mother has this recipe; but I like to think mine is a little something special for all my favorite people.  The dip is pretty basic, recipe-wise, however I end up making it a little differently every time.  This is one of those things that you really just have to make your own.

Here’s what I did:

2 Cans Chicken (yes, cans)

2 Cups Cheddar Cheese (shredded)

2 Packages Cream Cheese (cubed)

2 Cups Ranch Dressing (I used Fat Free)

2 Cups Buffalo Wing Sauce (I used Texas Pete Wing Sauce)

1. On Medium, heat the hot sauce in a large saucepan until warm.

Hot Hot Heat

2.  Add chicken and stir until chicken is broken up and completely shredded.  Allow to warm until the mix begins to bubble.

3.  Add chunks of cream cheese and allow to melt.  Stir mix until there are no more chunks in the pan.

Packing in the Calories

4.  Fold in Ranch dressing and warm until mix begins to bubble.

Ranch-a-holic

5.  Add Cheddar and allow to melt before folding in.

I keep my dip in a crock pot when serving, to keep it warm.  However, it is still delicious when eaten cold.  Sidenote:  this dip is obviously in no way healthy at all. Whoops!

Not to toot my own horn, but this dip was delish! I made sure to put some aside for the Honorary Guests for their long drive.

Gift for the Road

I think everyone had a great time at the cookout.  It was wonderful to be able to spend time with all of our friends in a laid back environment (even though it was 108 degrees outside).  This was perfect for all of us to be able to spend one last fun night with Tyler and Biff before they ride off into the New Hampshire sunset.

Tyler & Biff

While this was surely bittersweet, I know these two enjoyed being with their loved ones.  We stayed up late and all avoided the “goodbyes” for as long as we could; I was able to escape without tears.  The evening ended on a happy note, and we all took some memories with us for sure.

T & B will be back as soon as possible (they better be), because football season is right around the corner, and I know they cannot miss a little Gamecock action! In Tyler’s Facebook words: “This is not goodbye South Carolina, its see ya later!”

Movin’ on Up, Cleanin’ on Out

21 Jul

Drumroll please…..we got it! Yes! We finally decided on a house, and put down some moola today; and if you can’t tell, I’M SO EXCITED!

House hunting is over, which means it’s moving season y’all!  Our house is filled with boxes, newspaper, tape and smells like a Sharpe. By the way, packing up a house has got to be the most boring and tedious thing I have ever done.  It should be second nature by now, but I seriously cannot understand how some people do this for a living.

We’ve officially started the moving process, Hallelujah, and I have started to realize just how much junk stuff we have.  When Jake and I moved in together, we brought an entire household of possessions, each.  Now we’ve ended up with TOO MUCH!

Instead of moving all this crapola, we’ve decided to start cleaning house. Out with: the duplicates, the stuff we don’t actually need or want, items that are broken, or things we can easily replace (I have no clue why we held on to some of this stuff).  The more we bag up now, the less we have to pack and move later.

Bag 'o Junk

There really is something so therapeutic about letting stuff go.  It almost freeing! Even liberating! Kind of exciting!  While digging through the junk-ola, I’ve found little surprises left and right – who actually needs 17 serving spoons (yes, 17)? Or 200 t-shirts (eh em, Jake)?

Believe me now? seven - freaking - teen

Thankfully, Jakers has been pretty generous with his trash pile – he dreads hauling all this as much as I do. Out with the t-shirts that haven’t been worn in 3 years; out with old worn shoes; and finally out with that fugly old recliner (can I get an AMEN?!)

Yeck! These are falling apart!

A few down, plenty more to go!

Do you think Jake will notice if I get rid of these?! 🙂

Dirty, Stinky, and Nasty