Friday, January 31, 2014

Fun Facts Friday

1. Who else watched Sean and Catherine tie the knot on Sunday night? I felt compelled to watch it after spending every Monday night with them during their season of the Bachelor. I loved hearing all of the references to the Bible and scripture.

2. We have to talk about Taylor's performance at the Grammy's. She nailed it. Amy and I were texting back and forth about it and decided we want to be her friend.

3. Apparently, the internet thinks I am engaged. Bed Bath and Beyond sent me an email about registering and Pinterest sent me an email about wedding inspirations I can't miss. Clearly they know something that I do not.

4. Rebecca and I went to dinner at Nose Dive in Greenville earlier this week and it might be one of my new favorites. You can't beat great red wine and sides of brussel sprouts.

5. I have been on a big soup kick this week. I've tried both Tom Yum and Mushroom Barley. Neither were homemade but both were delicious.

6. I had a revelation earlier this week that men are like the weather. Hot and then cold. A downpour and then a drought. They leave you in anticipation only to leave you disappointed. And some of them just need a swift kick in the pants.

7. Speaking of the weather, we did get snow on Tuesday. Not enough to cancel work but a light dusting if you will.

8. Can you believe that it is almost February? Where did this month go?

9. I'm looking forward to another weekend in Sparkle without too much on the agenda.

10. Happy Friday!

Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Weekend Recap

Friday night, we headed to Charleston for the Hibernian Ball. We met up with some of our college friends and kicked the weekend off with a dinner at Sara's house. Nothing says reunion like 5 bottles of wine, a whole bag of peanut m&ms, and multiple games of Heads Up.
Saturday morning, we headed downtown to check into the hotel and get ready for a fun night. We stayed at the Elliott House which is conveniently located a block away from Hibernian Hall. It is not often that I stay in a hotel in Charleston but I would definitely stay there again.
After getting settled in and walking over to see the Hibernian, we headed to Poogan's Porch for a late brunch/lunch. We all went the breakfast route and had shrimp and grits, chicken and waffles, fish and grits, pulled pork eggs benedict, and a breakfast platter. Everything was delicious, including the bloody marys and biscuits they brought to the table.
We spent the afternoon tooling around downtown before putting on our party dresses and dancing shoes. The evening was so much fun. Lowcountry Eats catered and Second Nature was the band (fun fact: they also played at my sister's wedding).  
I'm not sure if we had more fun on the dance floor or in the photo booth.
Once the band stopped playing, we headed back downstairs for more singing and breakfast food before calling it a night.
Sunday, we ate lunch at Bull Street Gourmet before heading back to the upstate. It was such a fun weekend spent with great friends. 

Friday, January 24, 2014

Fun Facts Friday

1. I told you last week how I was experimenting with growing my own green onions. Look at them go! An added bonus is that they don't need sunlight.

2. We stepped up our dodge ball game this week. We gave the soccer team a run for their money by winning two of the matches (or games or whatever they are called but we lost overall). I got three people out and was way too excited about it.

3. I finally finished watching Season 3 of Downton Abbey. Mainly because Sara made a point to turn it on every time we went home for lunch. Now I just need to catch up on the beginning of Season 4. I'm hoping to make it through this season without hearing or reading any spoilers. I knew the outcome of Season 3 long before I started watching it.

4. I have been so mixed up on my days. Mom came to visit on Tuesday of last week and I was convinced that the week should be over after she left. Having an event on Monday of this week has also thrown me off.

5. CB hit the nail on the head with this post. Something out of nothing. I need to be reminded of this constantly.

6. We went to lunch at one of my favorite Thai places earlier this week. They bring fried noodles to the table to munch on. After going through two small bowls and asking for more, our waitress brought us this. Never mind that there were just three of us. We took it as a challenge to finish the whole plate. Mission accomplished.

7. I had my first Cookout milkshake (or first Cookout experience for that matter) this week - chocolate peanut butter fudge. Holy moly. So good. I'm not sure what took me so long to jump on that train.

8. I baked a cake for Ashley's birthday and used the batter finger that May Lo got me for Christmas. It might be my new favorite kitchen utensil. I also subbed the oil in the cake for coconut oil and once again everyone loved it. I think from now on I will only use coconut oil when I bake.

9. Ashley and Jason came over for game night and introduced us to Imaginiff. It's a board game where players answer silly questions about the other players. We were laughing out loud in no time. Make sure you add this to your list of games to play!

10. We are heading to Charleston today for a weekend full of shenanigans with our college friends and I can't wait to see everyone.

11. Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Pad Thai Soup

I am a huge fan of all things Pad Thai related. When I stumbled across this recipe on Pinterest, I knew I had to make it. Thankfully, I found all the ingredients at Publix. This is the perfect soup for these cold nights. Make it tonight!

Pad Thai Soup   Adapted from Closet Cooking

  • 6 cups chicken broth
  • 1/2 pound shrimp, shelled and deviened
  • 1 large shallot, finely diced
  • 2 cloves garlic, chopped
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 3 tablespoons fish sauce
  • 3 tablespoons brown sugar
  • Sriracha to taste
  • 4 ounces shiitake mushrooms, sliced
  • 2 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 6 ounces rice noodles
  • 2 cups bean sprouts
  • 2 green onions, sliced
  1. Bring the broth to a boil in a large sauce pan while preparing the remaining ingredients.
  2. Add the shallot, garlic, lime juice, fish sauce, sugar, Sriracha and mushrooms to the broth and simmer for 10 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile cook the noodles as directed and divide between 4 bowls.
  4. Add the shrimp to the soup and simmer until cooked, about 3 minutes.
  5. Pour the eggs into the soup in a thin stream while stirring the soup.
  6. Add the bean sprouts and remove from heat.
  7. Ladle the soup over the noodles and garnish with green onions, extra bean sprouts, and Sriracha.
Option: You can also garnish the soup with chopped peanuts and cilantro. Enjoy!

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Weekend Recap

Friday night, we kicked off the weekend by heading to Speakeasy, which is a classic 1920's inspired bar, complete with Prohibition-era cocktails, fine wines & rare ales. It opened a while ago but this was my first time going. They had a variety of cocktails to choose from and I liked the atmosphere. We stayed there for a few drinks before heading to Main Street. It has been a while since I've been out on a Friday night in Sparkle and it was fun to see everyone. 
Saturday morning, I decided to branch away from my normal breakfast and I made fried eggs with sauteed kale and tomatoes. It was the perfect breakfast to eat before heading to the barn to ride a few horses. I was full for most of the morning. 
Saturday night, we headed to a coworker's house for dinner. We had the best time just being together and playing Heads Up. Two of my favorite moments were when we were acting out Stop, Drop, and Roll and Receiving a Shot. If you haven't played this game, you need to download it asap.
Sunday morning, I pulled out my crock-ette to try a new recipe. I was only slightly afraid of catching the apartment on fire but thankfully Sara kept an eye on it while I went to the barn. This crock-ette was a wedding present to my parents 30 years ago and doesn't even have an on/off switch or a high/low setting - all you do is plug it in. Now that I know it is safe, I can't wait to use it again.
Colleen was coming over for dinner so I decided to make Sweet Tooth, Sweet Life's Slow Cooker BBQ Pulled Chicken. I halved the recipe and subbed red wine vinegar for the cider vinegar but kept everything else the same. I served the chicken on a sandwich thin with a broccoli slaw mix and homemade sweet potato fries. This is a meal that I will definitely make again.
We had an event yesterday so it was not a long weekend for us but I enjoyed being home without too much going on. 

Friday, January 17, 2014

The Friday Five

1. What I'm Reading:
From Amazon: The acclaimed, award-winning author of the national bestseller The Financial Lives of the Poets returns with his funniest, most romantic, and most purely enjoyable novel yet. Hailed by critics and loved by readers of literary and historical fiction, Beautiful Ruins is the story of an almost-love affair that begins on the Italian coast in 1962...and is rekindled in Hollywood fifty years later.

2. What I'm Watching:
Meredith and I started watching Season 1 of Homeland. It is intense but I am enjoying it.

3. What I'm Listening to:
"XO" by Beyonce
I may or may not have Shazamed this song during Zumba last week.
4. What Recipe I'm Bookmarking:
These sound really good to me. I wonder if you could sub pork for the duck.
5. Things I'm Loving:
This article about Sugarless Gummy Bears
Happy Friday!

Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Girls Night

On Friday night, Sara, Ashley, and I had a girls night at our apartment. Sara and I always say that Ashley would be our third roommate if she wasn't married, so it was the perfect time for the three of us to hang with her husband being away. I'd pinned a few recipes from How Sweet Eats that I wanted to try and the two of them were happy to indulge in my finds.

We started the evening with chips, salsa, and gauc. Normally, I make my own guacamole but Publix had a premade variety on sale that we doctored up with some onion powder, salt, and lime.
For the main dish, we made Jessica's Brussel Sprout Tacos with Caramelized Shallot Salsa. We pretty much followed her recipe to a T, other than leaving out the cilantro in the salsa because I forget to buy it and subbing regular paprika for smoked. This may be my new favorite way to eat Brussel Sprouts!
We washed everything down with her Pomegranate Margaritas. We ended up using Pom-cranberry juice instead of straight Pomegranate. Don't be turned off by the use of simple syrup. It is really easy to make! We also took her advice and bought lime juice instead of squeezing a bunch of limes.
For dessert, Ashley made this Skinny Brownie Batter Dip that we dipped Teddy Grahams in. I had forgotten how much I like those bear shaped graham crackers!
We had the best time just chatting and playing Cards Against Humanity. We only had to Urban Dictionary a few things. My favorite by far was "pixelated bukkake" which means casually checking urban dictionary while playing CAH. Clearly we are not the only ones.
It really was the perfect way to end the week. I wouldn't mind having a girls night every Friday. 

Monday, January 13, 2014

What I Baked on Sunday

Crunchy Quinoa Granola
     Recipe from Iowa Girl Eats

2 cups old fashioned oats
1/2 cup uncooked quinoa, rinsed
1/2 cup sliced almonds
2 Tablespoons flax seeds
1/4 teaspoon cinnamon
dash of salt
1/4 cup honey
2 Tablespoons coconut oil, melted
1 cup raisins

  • Preheat oven to 325 degrees and line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper.
  • Combine all ingredients except raisins in a large bowl and stir to combine. Spread mixture on prepared baking sheet then bake for 15 minutes or until golden brown stirring halfway through.
  • Let cool. Stir in raisins then store in an airtight container.
Serve with yogurt or milk or just eat by the handful!

Friday, January 10, 2014

Fun Facts Friday

1. Good thing blogging more hasn't made it on my list of goals for 2014. Maybe next week I will catch you up on everything that has been happening over the last few weeks. Thanks for continuing to read in my absence.

2. Speaking of goals, I'm not usually one for new year resolutions but I want to make a list of things that I want to accomplish this year. Nothing earth shattering or life changing but things like experimenting more in the kitchen, actually going to the gym, and being more in the present.

3. Even though I worked Thursday and Friday of last week, I had a hard time getting back into the swing of things on Monday. Turns out it was Blue Monday aka the most depressing day of the year.

4. In order to get out of my funk on Monday, I tried my first Zumba class and absolutely loved it! My dance skills are certainly lacking but it is a fun way to burn calories. When was the last time you have laughed all the way through a workout?!

5. I have been in such a nesting mode since I have been back. I don't know if it has anything to do with being away for so long over break but I have loved spending time in the kitchen and cleaning our apartment.

6. This week, I am experimenting with growing my own green onions. I had some left over from a recipe and have seen multiple posts about it on Pinterest. We will see if it actually works.
7. The office is participating in intramural dodgeball this month. So far, we are not off to a good start. I'm hoping we can recover for the rest of the season.

8. I am furiously trying to catch up on season three of Downton Abbey now that season four has officially started. Never mind the fact that I've owned it for over a year.

9. 2014 has started with remarkably few plans on the weekends and I am loving it. Last weekend was spent dining with friends and riding and I can't wait to do the same this weekend.

10. Happy Friday!