Thursday, June 28, 2012

From my kitchen

Since I'm just counting the days until we head to Atlanta (1!), I haven't been able to find a really exciting post to write about. I was looking through my iPhone pictures and thought I'd share what we've been eating the past month or so. Enjoy!

Iowa Girl Eat's Buffalo Chicken Quinoa "Mac" & Cheese 
 This was REALLY yummy. SINFUL. Connor is a Mac & Cheese snob and really enjoyed it. It's definitely not trying to be Mac with the texture, but it was a really good cool night casserole. HIGHLY recommended!

 My own frankenstein creation of Greek Nachos. Use Pita Chips (tortilla chips get soggy) and top with canned tomatoes, black olives, red onions, chickpeas, artichokes, & feta. Bake until the cheese gets melty.

I definitely love a good Greek Salad and this was very interesting. I know I would eat it again, but I'm not sure Connor loved it.

 So there's this restaurant in Charleston called Five Loaves. They used to have this amazing pasta dish on their menu with fresh pasta, salmon, peas, & bacon in a light cream sauce. I instantly fell in love and try to make different versions of this whenever I feel Charleston home-sick.

1. Boil water for whatever pasta shape you desire
2. Cook the bacon pieces. Try not to eat them right out of the pan. Drain them but keep most of the oil in the pan for the veggies.
3. Sautee onions & garlic in a little oil and add asparagus (farm fresh! yum!) & peas (frozen, but frozen is still really good!). Cook until they're bright green.
4. Add in the bacon bits and cooked salmon. This is a great way to use leftover salmon from the night before.
5. Your pasta is probably done by now, so once you've drained it (SAVE 1 CUP OF THE PASTA WATER!), throw it in with the veggies. Put that pasta water in as well.
6. Now, depending on how naughty you want to be you can do one of 2 things. For a lighter version add in a squeeze of lemon juice, a healthy drizzle of olive oil, and parmigiano cheese. If you're REALLY sinful, throw in some marscapone or cream cheese. Up to you.
7. Devour
 You might not know this about me, but consider this a little gift. INA GARTEN is my idol. Seriously. That girl is FAB in so many ways. I have all of her cookbooks (One's coming out in Octoberrrrr. Holla!) and constantly refer back to her recipes whenever I'm not feeling creative (ummm. like every weeknight).

So I had some fresh scallions, mint & basil from the market, and some mayo I needed to use up. DINGDINGDING! Ina's Basil Green Goddess Dressing. Seriously you can make this with anything! I didn't use the sour cream because I didn't have any, but I think you can substitute greek yogurt for the base, no problem. Just blend up garlic, mayo, lemon juice, and your fresh herbs. Miracle! I also didn't have any anchovy paste but there was definitely plenty of tang. Don't go buy it if you don't have it. This was an amazing snack!
I was so happy when I went home the other weekend for Father's Day (oh shoot, I haven't posted about that yet! Gotta upload pics first! Blogger fail), my sister & I went to the farmer's market to get stuff for our picnic that night. We stopped by No Bull Burgers and sampled more than we should have. I picked up an original pack for Connor & I, and a mushroom/roasted garlic pack for Meredith. Seriously guys, these are THE BEST veggie burgers on the planet. And I have tried a lot.
From their website: "NoBull Burger, the Gourmet Veggie Burger ® is a mouth-watering burger that is loaded with hearty organic ingredients packed into an organic & natural veggie burger. NoBull Burger is filled with high protein, whole grain fiber and nutrients. Not meant to be meat imitation, but a bold flavor, whole food, true veggie burger. But most of all it tastes amazing! We start with organic lentils and barley with chunks of organic carrots, spinach, onions, spelt, free range eggs (from happy chickens!) and wheat free tamari sauce. Each burger is handmade and pan seared in 100% canola oil creating a revolutionary, power food that leaves you feeling good about eating a burger!"

I can tell you what, I do feel good about eating this! The texture is awesome and so hearty. Not trying to mimic the texture of beef (ewwww). Hope you can try them someday if you're in VA, MD, DC!

Anyways, I really wanted to have them one night but we didn't have hamburger buns. Not a problem, I just turned it into a hot dog! It's weird but I think I prefer eating it this way? Served with local green beans sauteed/steamed with lemon juice, and an avocado/tomato/lemon juice "salad" served on the Basil Green Goddess Dressing.
This was a really yummy dinner that we still have leftovers from (my lunch today!). We had some ground lamb in the freezer that I thawed and cooked with all of the veggies from the fridge. Easy! I used up our zucchini, onions, spinach, basil, and tomatoes. I also added some canned sauce (cheating! But the simplest trick in the book!) and a hearty GLUG of red wine and let that simmer for a while. I put this over whole wheat angel hair and it was delish!

My weeknight meals are always about using the last of this-or-that veggie. I'm not good at all about planning meals. Which is weird because I'm really organized with almost everything. Not meal planning, though! Oh well. Luckily I have cooked long enough that I can usually throw something together without needing a recipe, and in time for when Connor gets home.

Are there any inspiring meals y'all have tried recently? Please share!


Tuesday, June 26, 2012

DC visit

 We had such a wonderful time in DC/Falls Church/Warrenton visiting our old friends! We had an eventful flight to Reagan on Friday after work: Some air-traffic control tower in Atlantic City caught fire (?) and so they were orchestrating all of the east coast flights MANUALLY. We ended up getting in 3 hours late, but I know some people had cancelled flights, etc. We were thankful to actually get to DC at all! Our friends Charlie & Christina picked us up at the airport and we went to one of the new hot spots in their neighborhood (that we could walk to!), called Spacebar. They had an awesome beer list (with Devil's Backbone & Starr Hill! VA represent) as well as a yummy bar food menu. 

I had some IPA, per usual, but I forget what it was.

 Our hosts!

 Only in DC would you find an academic bouncer reading Tom Wolfe
After our night, we were definitely feeling up for some Farmer's Market goodness. They have an awesome one within walking distance! Loved it! Here was my first stop: Crepes!
 I ate most of this local strawberry & nutella crepe. Divine.
We ordered a bag of tiny fresh donuts. These were so yummy
 After a nice walk around town, we picked up our friend Paul from the Metro. We then went to have lunch in Tyson's then said bye to Charlie & Christina as Connor, Paul, & I drove an hour south to Warrenton. We got ready for the wedding in record time and headed over to Molon Lave Vineyards.

The view was incredible, and the weather wasn't too hot. Beautiful day to get married!
 The ceremony was nice, and the cocktail hour gave us a chance to escape the sun and catch up with people we haven't seen in forever.  The passed hors d'oeuvres were really good!

This wedding was DIY by the bride and her mother. They made the invitations, baked the cake, and set up the decorations!
Portrait time! Loved being able to re-wear my Bridesmaid's dress from my sister's wedding (Lula Kate Chandler in Petunia....obsessed!)
Dapper. Love him in a bowtie!
 Self-portrait time!
Sunday morning, we were ready for brunch & coffee. We drove back into the city to pick up Charlie & Christina before heading to Founding Farmers for Brunch. Y'all, this place was AMAZING! Everything is made from scratch daily. Including juice, sauce, sausage, etc. They also used all local ingredients. You know that's my kinda place!
Huge menu!
If you can, order the Beignets! They were fabulous
Chicken & Waffles & Eggs
After a nice leisurely brunch, we dropped Paul off at the station and got an impromptu drive-by tour of Charlie's new office space he's helping build. Impressive! 
We had such a fun time with our friends, and hope to set up a weekend in the Fall in Charlottesville to see everyone again!


Friday, June 22, 2012

Wedding weekend in DC!

I'm so excited that today is FRIDAY! This means that in just a few hours, Connor & I will be flying CLT--> DCA to visit with lots of our dear friends.

We will be picked up & chauffeured to their new home by VA Belle & VA Beau. I am ecstatic to FINALLY see their house! Connor has stayed with them once already, so I can't wait! Her decorations and taste are admirable! Love her design aesthetic! I literally haven't seen them in 1 year! The last time we were all together was for their 5-year Reunion at UVA!

This was when we went wine tasting during the day at Barboursville Winery on Saturday.
Dressed up for Reunions!
LOVE a good photobooth! And a Jefferson photobomb :)

We always have SO much fun together! They are such gracious hosts, and I can't wait to see what we'll get into tonight!

Saturday, we'll meet up with Connor's friends from Law School. It is Molly & Spencer's wedding weekend at Molon Lave Vineyards! Yay for these 2! They met in Law School and are so perfect for each other! (sorry for stealing these pics...only ones I could find!)
 Molly, Spencer, myself, Connor, Jackie & Am-D at 2L Barrister's Ball (i.e. Prom), Poker Night!
Hoping that most of this group will be there this weekend! This was 3L Barrister's Ball, the Masquerade!

 Molly with the boys, Summer 2009
 2010 Reunion at Biltmore!

I haven't seen the entire group since the Fall of 2010! It has been WAY too long!

Hope y'all have a great weekend!


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Weekend Update: Texas!

2 weekends ago I packed my bags (yet again) and flew to Dallas for a Wedding celebration. As I mentioned in this post, we celebrated the 1 year anniversary of my dear friends Carly & Dave. Carly's dad hosted the party on Friday at his country club, and lots of shenanigans ensued. I'll let the pictures (not mine, I didn't take any?) do the talkin'...


I worked a half day and then headed on over to CLT for a direct flight to DFW. It was about a 2.5 hour flight and I gained an hour so I had almost a whole day to spend with my girls! 

They picked Kelly & I up at the airport and then we met everyone back at the hotel for silliness and card games. Oh, and some serious snuggling.
This is almost everyone! I loved meeting the new boyfriends and the old best friends.  
We gussied up for night #1: Kacie's birthday! We call her Cap'n. Carly & Jess set up a surprise birthday dinner at Jalapeno's Whapalengo's, a yummy authentic Tex-Mex place. Margaritas were a'flowing. My kinda place!
They even got our Cap'n a cake!

So my nickname amongst these ladies is DG...Domestic Goddess. I handle things like cutting cake and cooking.
Kacie Cap'n, DG, & Kelly
The HAPPIEST couple. YAY  
Out at the smokiest honky tonk ever.
SPICE GIRLS KARAOKE. We sang Wanna Be, natch
OH this night. Amazing.

I woke up not feeling hot at ALL. I was definitely thankful for a cold pool and diet coke. Thanks for dealing with me, y'all!

We lazed around Friday until about 3, when we headed over to the country club to get ready. Carly's dad rented us a cottage right across from the event so we could walk (err....stumble) home later that night. We LOVED the cottage!

Our dresses: Carly, Me, Kacie & Katie (Kelly, where was yours?)


 Attempting to braid
 LOVE these 3! Arita & Abbas surprised Dave by flying in on separate days! Amazing! 
Our view. Spectacular!
My hotel roomie + Aritha
It was AMAZING to meet the boyfriends. Chad, OPEN YOUR EYES.
Gussied up & sunburned (just me, I guess)
Hoping to find a picture of the 5 of us dressed up!

The event space was beautiful. The cocktail hour was on one half of the upstairs, and then the other rooms opened up for dinner. Lots of speeches were made, and fabulous toasts were given. Katie & Cap'ns were the best, natch. Katie literally said "Let's stop talking and start DANCING. I've been dancing for the past 30 minutes in my head. CHEERS" This is why we get along so fabulously.

At the end of the night, after lots of boogy-ing, the Brits/Sri Lankans treated us to "Saturday Night"
Here's the real version...

Then Katie & I had a photoshoot, thanks to Chad. Roomies for lyfe.

Saturday morning, I definitely felt MUCH better than I did Friday. I was up and about with the boys in the morning...we went to the store and got the girls their favorite hangover remedies, and the 5 of us got Whataburger. It was pretty good. We also got In 'n Out that night. That's right. What? In 'n Out wins best burger by far. YUM.

We had to stop by TO's house and drop off some stuff for the party later that day. We had a photoshoot.

After breakfast and a long, lazy morning at the pool that was right next to the cottage (where we played NAME THAT LIFEGUARD: Prince Eric, King Triton{a.k.a. beefcake}, & Scuttle), we got ready for a Texas BBQ at Carly's dad's house. Lots of pictures were taken but here's just a few...

TO's incredible house
 Photobombing TO's bathroom
MORE Saturday Night! We insisted that the boys teach us so everyone got in on the action!
We then went back to the hotel to take naps and get ready for the night. We actually ended up hopping a fence into a nearby apartment complex's pool/hot tub. The Legends are rebels.

As you can see, I had an INCREDIBLE weekend catching up with old friends and making new ones! Happy 1 year anniversary Carly & Dave! Thanks for getting married so we could have a reunion! And see you at our wedding next year!


PS. Thanks to Kacie, Katie, & Abbas for letting me use your pictures!