Tuesday, August 19, 2014

chicken and broccoli lemon pasta

I think it's about time for a recipe post!  I made this pasta a little while ago, and Austin and I both really enjoyed it.  It's healthy as can be and tastes great.  That's a win-win if I've ever heard one!

Chicken and Broccoli Lemon Pasta

2 chicken breasts
salt & pepper to taste
garlic powder to taste
1 TBS olive oil
1/2 lb of spaghetti (or whatever pasta you want)
1 TBS butter
3 cloves of minced garlic
1 head of broccoli, chopped up into little florets
2 lemons, one cut in half and the other sliced in wedges
1 1/2 TBS chopped parsley, plus more for garnish 


1) Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Season the chicken with salt, pepper, and garlic powder and set aside.

2) Heat a large sauté pan to medium-high and add in the olive oil to get it hot.  Once the oil is ready, brown the chicken.  You're not trying to cook it through, just get some color on those bad boys.  It should take a few minutes per side.

3) Throw the browned chicken onto a sheet pan and stick it in the oven to let it finish cooking.  This should take about 25-30 minutes depending on the size of your chicken breasts.  Once the chicks are done, take them out and let them cool off for a little while (10 minutes or so) and then cube them up.

4) While all of that chicken stuff is happening, get going on your pasta.  Cook it according to package directions, drain, and then set it aside.

5) If you're feeling frisky, you can also start on the broccoli while the pasta is cooking and the chicken is in the oven.  If that's too much going on at once though, you can wait.  Either way, you'll want to use that chicken pan with all of the lovely brown chicken bits to heat up the butter at medium-high.  Once the butter is hot, add the garlic and stir it around for about 30 seconds.  Once the garlic is fragrant, throw in the broccoli.  Stir that around until it's tender and then squeeze in the juice of a lemon and add in the parsley.

6) Once the broccoli is ready, stir in the pasta, and then add in the chicken.  If the pasta looks too dry, you can add in some more olive oil and/or lemon juice.

7) Serve the pasta with chopped parsley on top and a lemon wedge.  Enjoy!      

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

dinners lately

One thing I love about summer is that I have lots of time to try out new recipes.  I went a little crazy on pinterest a few weeks ago and have made it my mission to test as many of the new dinner ideas that I pinned as I can.  

The first thing I want to talk about isn't a new recipe, but I wanted to show y'all anyway because it's easy and delicious.  

There isn't really a "recipe" for this...I just browned some turkey meat and then seasoned it with salt, pepper, chili powder, cumin, and a pinch of cayenne.  I also heated up some beans and grated two types of cheese (pepper jack and cheddar).  Once everything was prepped, I just spread the beans on some tortilla chips, topped that with some of the turkey, and then sprinkled on the cheese.  You can either melt the cheese in the microwave or in the oven (broil for a few minutes).  The result is deeeee-lish.

Baked Fish Sticks

I saw this fish on eatliverun one morning, and I made it the same night.  The panko gives it a nice crunch, and the fish had great flavor.  It's also very simple to make and tastes fab with a side of green beans and a crusty roll.  Jenna recommends using cod or flounder, but I used halibut because that's all they had at Central Market.  I'm sure any white fish would be fine.

BBQ Chicken Thighs

I wish all the time that we could have a grill at our apartment, so when I saw this baked version of BBQ chicken on The Pioneer Woman's website, I knew I had to give it a shot.  The chicken ended up getting a really nice glaze and was super moist.  Mashed taters and a giant cob of corn were the perfect sides.

Buffalo Chicken Fingers

These are basically a big kid version of chicken nuggets.  That's why I served them with Ninja Turtle mac n cheese.  Austin and I both really liked them though!  Also, the leftover chicken made for a delicious quesadilla the next day for lunch.

The final thing I wanted to share today is this peach ice cream.  The last time Austin and I went to Houston we stopped to get peaches on the way home.  I decided that I'd make this since I had fresh peaches coming out of my ears.

Peach Ice Cream

It was SO yummy and the perfect thing to have on a hot day.  I just love my ice cream maker!  If you have a Kitchenaid stand mixer, it is definitely worth it to invest in the ice cream maker attachment.

Hopefully this post made you hungry!  Have a happy Tuesday!

Monday, August 4, 2014

bachelor bagz

About a month before our wedding, Austin and some of his guy pals took a little trip to the beach.  In other words, they had a bachelor par-tay!  

Luckily, my guys didn't get as crazy as these fools...

I was terrified excited for them to go on their trip, so I wanted to send something along for the boys to have fun with.  Off to Party City, Walmart, and Spec's I went!  I found lots of great supplies that I thought would be fitting for their beach getaway, and I think these little bachelor bagz are a good idea for any bride-to-be.  It's a sweet way to show your almost hubby (and his friends) some love.  Here's how I put them together:

First, think about your theme.  I went for "crazy beach party", but other ideas could be Vegas, Mardi Gras, Sports, etc.  Since it's a bachelor party, you'll want to make sure you include things like alcohol, snacks, funny accessories, and anything you know your man and his pals would enjoy.  For example, Austin loves a good fake mustache, so those were a must.  Once you have everything, lay it out in piles to make bag stuffing easier.

I ended up getting each guy a snack bag of cheez-its, tiny bottles of Crown and Fireball, a crazy straw, a fake mustache, a water gun, a pair of sunglasses, a few poppers, a lei, a kazoo, and some glow sticks.  It also worked out because Party City had everything in matching colors, so each guy's bag was color coordinated! (I know the boys really appreciated that!)    

One Bachelor Bag, Please!

Walmart sells colored paper sacks for mucho cheapo, so that was the perfect package for the bagz.  I just did a little assembly line using my piles, and everything came together pretty quick.

In the end, Austin and his amigos got a kick out of their party favors (unless they lied to me), so I was glad I made them!  

Other good ideas would be to bake cookies or some other snacks for the trip, make muffins or scones (do boys eat scones?) so they have something for breakfast, or create a personalized cup for each dude to drink out of during the party.  The possibilities are endless; you just have to think about the guests and make sure it's something they would love and appreciate!  

**NOTE: If you want to do this for your man, make sure you keep in mind how much extra space the guys will have as they travel.  I asked one of the drivers (shoutout, Stephen!) if he wouldn't mind hauling the loot for me, and he happily obliged.  This shouldn't be a problem for most boy trips since they don't pack as much as girls. :)  If the men are flying somewhere and don't have room for bagz though, think about getting a small gift for your groom to use during the trip.  A set of nice dominos, a shirt for when they go out, a bottle of his favorite liquor, or whatever else you think he might love!  

Thursday, July 24, 2014

our reception

After our wedding ceremony was over, it was party time!  The cool thing about our venue, Ashton Gardens, is that the reception ballroom is just a few steps away from the chapel.  While the wedding party and our family took some final formal pics, the rest of our guests went into the ballroom for  snacks and cocktails.

The wedding party was introduced, and then Austin and I came down some stairs and had our first dance.  We swayed along to Hunter Hayes' "Wanted".  Love that song!

By this time, everyone was pretty hungry, so Jimbo gave a really sweet welcome speech and then we chowed down on caesar salad and chicken parmesan with roasted veggies and garlic mashed potatoes.  

Following dinner, we heard from my big sister Fox and Austin's BFF Blake.  Both of them had great speeches!  We've all been to weddings where the toasts are too long, or awkward, or embarrassing for the couple.  Not the case here!  Thanks, guys! 

The mommy/son and daddy/daughter dances were next.  Austin and Dana danced to "My Wish" by Rascal Flatts.  So cute!

My dad and I started off dancing to "My Girl" by The Temptations, but then we transitioned into something a little more upbeat.

I can't wait to get the video back, but the pictures Amanda got are priceless!  I had so much fun, and shoutout to Jimbo for being such a trooper.  If you know him, you are aware that going out on stage and performing in front of a bunch of people isn't exactly his idea of a good time.  He was awesome though, and I think he secretly loved the attention!  

Cake cutting was next.  Austin and I were really pleased with the way our cakes turned out, not to mention they were delicious!  

Frosting smooches

Once all of the business was taken care of, it was time to start cutting some rugs.  And cut rugs our guests did!    

Some of our favorite party people

When Austin and I were planning our wedding, people (family, friends, potential vendors) would always ask us what kind of event we wanted to have.  Our answer was always the same, "We want a party!  We want everyone we love to be there, and we want them to have a great time.  We want music and dancing and eating and drinking.  We want to celebrate!"  And if I do say so myself, I think that's what we had!  I had the BEST time, and I will always remember how much FUN it was.  

Love this one of my sister and her hubby!

My gals

In addition to the dancing, there was also an appearance from DJ J-Me!  Check me out on the ones and twos!

Mandy, Caesar: you guys are next!

We ended the night with one more dance, just Austin and me.  While our guests got in exit formation, we had the whole ballroom to ourselves and Jason Mraz's "I Won't Give Up" played.  It was a special moment, and it was nice to just have a minute to take everything in one last time.  

We ended the party by walking (and kissing) through the sparkler line, and then we rode off into the sunset!  It was magical, the whole night.  What a way to start our lives together!  Thanks again to all of our friends and family for everything.  We had a blast!!

All of these photos were taken by Amanda Jameson Weddings.  She is just the best!

Monday, July 21, 2014

our wedding

About a month ago, Austin and I said our "I do"s.  Our photographer, Amanda Jameson, and her second shooter got some really awesome pictures of our day.  I can't say enough good things about Amanda.  We have been super pleased and impressed with everything that she has done for us, and I would highly recommend her for anyone getting married in the DFW area.  She is seriously the best!

We started the day by getting ready in his and hers suites at our hotel.  It was so fun to have all of my girls there to hang out with all day.  

I do remember feeling like the day was going by SO SLOW though.  I couldn't wait to just be ready and at the chapel seeing my groomie.  By the time my sister zipped up my dress, I was so pumped!

Austin and I did a "first look"...

Ta Da!!

...and I loved it!  It was so nice to be able to give him a big hug and kiss and just have some time to talk before the ceremony.  Not to mention, we were able to get almost all of the pictures out of the way before the ceremony, so we were able to get the party started ASAP.

Our wedding party was made up of our best friends in the world.  We felt so lucky that they were all standing up there supporting us on our special day.  We could feel the love coming from everyone!

Austin's getting a little too much love!

My cousin's son and daughter, Brycen and Payton, were the most adorable ring bearer and flower girl that I have ever seen.  They did a great job!

The actual ceremony was beautiful.  It was short and sweet, but I think it was definitely "us".  There were funny parts, sweet moments, and some serious stuff too.   

I will never forget walking with my dad down the aisle.  We stood outside of the chapel, and our cousins Josh and Kyle opened the big brown doors when our pianist started playing my song.  I saw all of our friends and family smiling at Jimbo and me, and I felt so overwhelmed with love and emotion.  I needed a tissue when we got to the end!

Austin and I decided to do a unity cross as part of our ceremony, and I am really happy with that decision.  The cross represents the two of us coming together, and then there are three pegs that hold the pieces together that represent the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit.  It is something that we will have in our home forever.

In the end, we both had rings, we said our vows, and we sealed it all with a kiss!

I was so happy to head to the reception as Mrs. Austin Harmon!

We did it!

(Speaking of the reception...more on that later this week!)

All of these pictures are courtesy of Amanda Jameson Weddings.  Thanks again for our lovely memories, Amanda!!!