Thursday, January 27, 2011

Thank you very much...

I am currently super-overwhelmed by the amount of thank you notes I still have left to write. We have gotten so many great gifts and I want to get my thank you notes out in a timely manner. I wrote thank you notes up until a week before we got married, in an effort to have fewer to write after the wedding. I wrote some when we got back in November, and honestly didn't write very many in December because of the stress level at work. In January I've gotten back at it. The other day I went through my list to see where I stood....after having written them for the last 6 months you can imagine my disappointment when I counted 89 thank you notes left to write! In hopes of not letting them get away from me I've made a new goal...I want to finish them by the end of February. One happy part of writing thank you notes is that I love my stationary. The same lady who designed our invitations designed 3 different style thank you notes as well as enclosure cards. All the paper involved with the wedding go together and match our invitation, which makes me happy! As I spend so much time thinking about thank you notes I have a few tips for the brides out there...

1. It really is worth it to write as many thank you notes as you can before the wedding. After the wedding you would much rather spend your time hanging out with your husband. Plus it is exhausting to plan a wedding and I definitely felt like doing nothing after we got back from the honeymoon!

2. One thing I would encourage every bride to do is to start a google document (it is a component of google where you can store spreadsheets, word documents, etc). Fletcher and I made the guest list on a google doc so that we were both able to access it. My google doc has 5 columns. The full name that went on the front of the invitation, the address, the names on the inner envelope, the gift, and then a column for me to write the date when I wrote the thank you note. It is so helpful! If I could give one piece of wedding planning advice it would be to make sure you have a gmail account and to manage your guest list through a google documents. It is the best way to keep things organized.

3. Up until this week I felt bad asking Fletcher to help with thank you notes. But as soon as I asked him he happily agreed. So don't feel bad asking for help! The groom can be thankful too!

4. Invest in a return address stamp. I wish I knew how many hours I had spent writing our return address. Because our current residence is so temporary I couldn't rationalize spending the money to invest in a nice stamp when we will be moving in a couple months. But I kind of wish I had. And if you are living somewhere for a while, invest in a stamp! It will be so worth it!

5. Bite the bullet when it comes to stamps. I have been to the post office so many times to buy stamps (and I didn't even get the ones that went on the wedding invitations). I finally realized I just needed to buy 100 stamps every time I went because I was going through them so fast.

Chicken Parmesan

This is a recipe that I tried last week and we really enjoyed!It was also my first experience with any frying chicken. And it wasn't completely fried. But it was definitely a first! First you should line up three shallow dishes. In the first combine eggs and milk, in the second put panko crumbs, and in the third flour.

Dip the chicken in the egg mixture, then panko crumbs, then flour, then put in the skillet...

Drain the chicken on a paper towel then lay in the bottom of a greased casserole dish.

Cover with tomato sauce, Parmesan, and mozzarella. Top with pepperoni.

Bake in the oven at 450 for 15 minutes.

We served it with noodles (because we have so many) and it was delicious!


Ingredients:
4 chicken breast halves
2 cups Panko breadcrumbs
2 eggs
1/2 cup flour
1/4 cup milk
1 cup shredded Mozzarella
1/4 Parmesan cheese
2 ounces turkey pepperoni
1 large jar marinara
1/4 cup canola oil
Salt and pepper to taste


recipe from eatliverun.com

Monday, January 24, 2011

Hamos, Homos, Houmous, HUMMUS!

I have a recent OBSESSION with hummus. It has seriously become a problem. The main component of the problem is the fact that Zoe's is 1 mile away and has delicious hummus. It is way too accessible! I decided since I love it so much I needed to try to make it myself, and when I recently saw a recipe here I decided to give it a whirl.

It is really simple, you just pretty much put all this in the food processor...

Once you process it for a minute or so you will need to add some of the liquid from the chick pea can. Also, I kept tasting it and then adding more salt and pepper. Next time I think I will add a little bit more olive oil to give it a smoother texture. Also, the recipe called for parika or cumin. I did paprika and it was really good, but I will probably try cumin next time just to see the difference.

Ingredients
2 cups drained canned chickpeas, liquid reserved
1/2 cup tahini, with some of its oil
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil, plus oil for drizzling
2 garlic cloves, peeled, or to taste
Salt and black pepper to taste
1 tablespoon ground cumin or paprika, plus a sprinkling for garnish
Juice of 1 lemon, plus more as needed

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Pecan Pie Muffins

I have been wanting to try this recipe for a couple weeks and when I woke up early this morning for church I decided today was the perfect opportunity. Since I'm not the most bright-eyed-and-bushy-tailed person in the morning, there are no pictures of the process. But the recipe was yummy so I wanted to post it. I might even try it with some cream cheese icing next time and make it a dessert. But it is more of a muffin...

Mix together pecans, flour, and brown sugar in a large bowl. Separately mix together two eggs and melted butter until foamy. Create a well in the flour mixture (a hole in the center of the flour mixture where you can pour the liquid mixture) and pour the egg mixture in the well. Stir just until moistened. Pour in muffin cups and bake at 350 for 20-25 minutes. This recipe is from my new favorite lady! Her name is Christy Jordan and she is the Birmingham version of Paula Deen! I just bought her cook book and I already want to make every recipe. Also, her cookbook is divided by seasons, which I thought was neat!

Ingredients
1 cup chopped pecans
1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup flour
2 eggs
1/2 cup melted butter
Makes 9 Muffins


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Nesting

Fletch and I are finally getting around to decorating---when we took down all of our Christmas decorations our living room felt really bare! We have been purchasing items over the past few months (sofa, a rug, seagrass chairs, coffee table, and a leather chair on the way) but need to make a few more final decisions on fabrics, artwork, a few lamps, and accessories. We found a cool, free(!!!), mood board creator online (www.olioboard.com) and enjoyed putting together all of the items that we do have with some possible future purchases. We've narrowed it down to 2 favorites, but are having trouble picking one!

Option 1:
Option 2:

Do you have a favorite? We'd love any feedback!

Images Courtesy of PotteryBarn.com and BallardDesigns.com

Monday, January 17, 2011

Weekend Recap + Quiche Cups

This weekend Lace came to town to visit for her long weekend! It was so fun to spend the weekend together. It was a very laid back weekend...We ate at good places, cooked, walked, shopped, went to see Country Strong and watched Miss America and the Golden Globes. I wish we had taken a picture to document our weekend together, but we didn't! On Saturday morning I made one of my favorite breakfast items! Quiche Cups!

The night before you mix together cream cheese, milk, onion (optional), eggs, and shredded cheese. Then the next morning you press biscuits into a muffin pan. Fill with the egg mixture and top with bacon. Then you bake at 350 for 21-26 minutes. They are my FAVE!

Ingredients
8 oz cream cheese (softened)
2 Tbsp. Milk
2 Tbsp. chopped Onion
2 eggs
1/2 cup shredded cheese
10 oz. Biscuits
Bacon

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Check out Kree!





Click on the link above to here Kree's new songs! She will be on itunes in February! I for one am counting down the days until she will be on my ipod!! Until then, be one of the cools kids who gets to listen to all her songs early!

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Its great to be an AUBURN TIGER!

All we do is WIN...
National CHAMPS! And it feels so good!

Sweet Chicken Bacon Bites

This is an appetizer recipe that I tried last week! Since I had no occasion that called for appetizers I just made it our main course, which means we ended up eating too many! But they were easy and delicious!

Preheat the oven to 350 then cut the bacon into thirds.

Cut the chicken into bite size (about 1 inch) pieces.

Mix together brown sugar and chili powder.

Wrap the chicken with the piece of bacon and secure with a toothpick. Then (Paula Deen's word choice) "dredge" the chicken in the brown sugar mixture. Coat a pan with cooking spray and cook for 30 to 35 minutes.

ENJOY!

Ingredients:
1 (1 lb.) package bacon
1 1/4 lb. boneless skinless chicken breasts
2/3 cup brown sugar
2 Tbsp. Chili Powder

Monday, January 10, 2011

Snow Day + Game Day

Much like the rest of the south I am snowed in in Alabama! I didn't know snow days existed in the real world, and I've been loving a day stuck inside. I am still in my pajamas and have spent the morning doing some much needed cleaning and organizing. It is kind of nice not to be able to leave the house. One thing I tackled this morning was our pantry. I wondered how after two months it was already time to clean it out, but we never really organized it in the first place so it ended up being quite the project. Many of you know this, but Fletcher has an unreal love for things on clearance/on sale. Well, his love led to this...

Did your jaw just drop? Probably! This is what happens when target puts pasta on sale. If any of you have any great pasta recipes, please send them my way. All this pasta takes up almost an entire shelf in our small pantry. But I did my best to organize it.

And of course I can't blog today without mentioning the big event that is taking place in less than 9 hours...

Snow day + Auburn game day = the best day ever! Can't wait to cheer on the tigers!!

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

White Chocolate Bread Pudding

Warning: Proceed with Caution. This recipe is delicious, but it might be one of those recipes that is easier to enjoy when you don't know what is in it. But it is really good! I made it for the Flynn family Christmas and the Cox family Christmas!

First, you cut up croissants in to 1-inch pieces. Then, you soak the croissants in 4 cups heavy cream for at least 30 minutes.

While it soaks mix together sugar, eggs, and vanilla.

Add sugar mixture to croissants, then add white chocolate chips. Spread mixture in 9x13 pan. Bake at 350 for about 45 minutes.

You can serve it alone...

Or with the chocolate ganache! I recommend the ganache. It is best when you eat it warm! Yummy!

Bread Pudding:
8 croissants
4 cup heavy cream
2 cup sugar
2 Tbsp vanilla
3 eggs
12 oz white chocolate chips

Ganache:
12 oz Semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 cup heavy cream

Monday, January 3, 2011

Off to a Good Start!

For new year's eve I hit the road to Nashville to celebrate New Year's Eve with my college friends (+ julie!). We hadn't all been together since my wedding and it was so fun to spend the weekend together. The most exciting part of New Year's eve was the announcement that these two...

ARE ENGAGED!

Sweet Sarah and Tom have dated for over 6 years and I could not be more excited that they are engaged!

It worked out perfectly that we got to be with them right after they got engaged and spend the weekend hanging out and celebrating together!

So now we know for sure that 2011 is going to be great!