Tuesday, April 24, 2012

What I Baked on Sunday

Vegetarian Edition

I turned on the Cooking Channel while babysitting on Saturday night and was happy to see Giada on the screen. She is one of my favorite Food Network chef's, mainly because the majority of her recipes involve pasta. On this particular show, she was making a variety of vegetarian dishes including Veronica's Veggie Meatloaf and Baked Penne with Roasted Vegetables. Don't get me wrong, I am by no means a vegetarian but sometimes I enjoy a meatless meal. So on Sunday, I decided to get adventurous and try my hand at vegetarian meatloaf.

I used to follow recipes to a T but now I find myself improvising in various ways. This recipe called for Checca Sauce which is a combination of cherry tomatoes, scallions, garlic, basil and evoo that you pulse in a food processor. After coming to the realization that we do not have a blender or food processor in my new house on Saturday when I tried to make a smoothie, I decided to take the easy way out and buy salsa instead. Here is the cast of characters I used:
I was excited to find a soup starter mix complete with carrots, celery, and onion. It made the prep super easy and I didn't have to worry about finding ways to use the extra celery stalks or carrot sticks.
 I cooked the rice in vegetable broth and then added in the lentils and veggies.
After cooking for about 30 minutes, I turned the burner off and added the frozen corn to the pan to defrost. Then I combined the rice mixture with the cooked spinach, cheese, beaten eggs and salsa. 
Instead of using a loaf pan, I used a casserole dish. Although I had so much of the mixture, I think I would have needed two loaf pans. I covered the mixture with extra cheese and added tomatoes on half and put it in the oven.
Once the cheese was melted and the dish was warmed throughout, I served it with a side of salsa and roasted broccoli. It was so good - filling and healthy!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Ben Rector and NeedtoBreathe

Last night, I did something spontaneous. At approximately 6:30pm, I decided I would go to a concert. Not just any concert, but Ben Rector and NeedtoBreathe. I had been debating on whether or not to go for a while. Their first show on Saturday night sold out and I had to babysit, so that one was easy to rule out. But then I on Sunday, I read Steph's Facebook status that said not only was she going back for night two but that it was the best concert she had ever seen. And with that I was sold. So I hopped in my car and headed over to the 9:30 Club. It was a fantastic decision.

Ben Rector is one of my favorite artists and he was so fun to watch live. He seemed to be having such a blast on stage. He didn't play for very long but covered all of my favorites including White Dress, the Beat, and When a Heart Breaks. Then it was time for The Reckoning.
Check out the typewriter background
NeedtoBreathe is one of the few bands that I think is better live than on their albums. The put on one heck of a show. It was neat watching brothers, Bear and Bo, interact on stage.

Their acoustic encore brought down the house.

If they were playing again tonight, I would definitely go. It was such a great start to the week!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Vineyard Tour and Wine Tasting

On Saturday, I went on a Vineyard Tour and Wine Tasting with the South Carolina State Society. The bus picked us up in Crystal City and we headed out for the day.
A little mimosa to start off the day!
Our first stop was La Grande Winery in Haymarket, VA, where we tasted over 14 different wines and enjoyed a picnic lunch.

We then headed to Bluemont Vineyard in Bluemont, VA, with an elevation of almost 1,000 feet.

Seven wines later, it was time to head back to the city. We could not have asked for prettier weather. It was the perfect day to catch up with old friends and make new ones.

Friday, April 13, 2012

5 Minute Mac and Cheese

I came across this recipe from Picky Palate the other day on Pinterest. It was so simple and easy, I was kicking myself for not thinking of it before. All you need is cooked pasta, cheese, milk, and a microwave. How much simpler can you get?! Now go make this tonight for dinner, that's what I did.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Books, Books, Books

Another one of my new year's resolutions included reading a book a month. Not a terribly ambitious goal but more of a reminder to make an effort to read at night instead of succumbing to trash television. Here is a glimpse of what I have read so far:
Difficult to read at times but what an incredible story.
 I do love Nicholas Sparks. Keep the tissues handy.
I loved this one.

I am hoping for a sequel or a movie. Or my own Marlboro Man.
I am also in the middle of this, which is apparently being made into a movie. I cannot wait.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Home is Where the Heart is

Last week I had a spring break of sorts as I flew home for a few days before a work event in Columbia. I landed Friday night and was greeted at the airport by some of my best friends from Wofford. We spent the night on King Street catching up and hanging out. Early the next morning, my sister picked me up so we could visit before going our separate ways for the rest of the weekend.  I finally got to meet their cute puppy!
The leaning tower of Collins
Then it was off to Columbia for Lightsey's engagement party. It was so fun to celebrate her with so many family members and friends! Now I just need to track down the pictures. Sunday morning I headed to Beaufort for a few days. I loved being able to work remotely and spend time at home.
My office
Wednesday it was off to Columbia for our event. It was the first one I had worked solo and the family came out to show their support. It was neat to be able to share what I do with them.
Thanks for coming Tucker and Caroline!
Thursday it was back to DC to regroup and get ready for a fun filled weekend. If only spring break existed in the working world.