Tuesday, April 30, 2013

taste of tuesday: cedar plank salmon

Guys, I am pumped about today's Taste of Tuesday post!  I've been wanting to try Jenna's Cedar Plank Salmon forever, but I never have because I don't have a ding dang grill.  However, I recently discovered that some things taste absoulutely delightful when made in the oven instead of on a grill.  Soooooo, I just took Jenna's original recipe and adapted it to fit my apartment lifestyle.  Here's how I did it...

1/4 cup chardonnay
1/4 cup fresh dill, minced
zest of one lemon
juice of one lemon
1 tablespoon salt
1 1/2 teaspoons black pepper  

for the salmon
1 large salmon filet (about 2 1/2 lbs)
1 lemon, thinly sliced
4 sprigs fresh rosemary
2 cedar planks, soaked in water for at least 30 minutes


Mix together the marinade ingredients and pour over the salmon.  I used a pyrex baking dish, but you can use whatever container strikes your fancy.  Stick that in the fridge for at least 30 minutes but preferably an hour.  While your little fishy is marinating, preheat the oven to 325 degrees.

Once you're done with the marinating, place the salmon onto the cedar planks and top with the thinly sliced lemon and rosemary.  Stick those in the oven for about 30 minutes, or until the salmon is pink and can be flaked with a fork.

Once your salmon is done, serve it up with a lemon and some rosemary.  I also whipped up some roasted asparagus and mashed taters.  This was good eatin'! 

PS- I did not eat that entire piece of salmon by myself.  This recipe serves about 4 or 5 people, but I just stuck the whole 1 1/4 lb piece on my plate because I felt like it. 

I'm linking up with Ashley and Jessica for Taste of Tuesday today...I hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Monday, April 29, 2013

weekend update: jimbo & sherbo visit dally bar

This weekend was a fun one!  My mom and dad were in town to hang out, and we had a great time.  We kicked things off with dinner at a Mexican place around here and then we went to times ten cellar for some after dinner drinks and dessert.

Saturday was filled with even more exciting activities.  We started with breakfast and then headed to top golf.  Jimbo and Sherbo had never been before, and I think they loved it!  We had to wait a bit for our little golf station, so we went to the batting cages first.  I actually gave the cages a try, and I was pleasantly surprised...I can kind of hit!  I was definitely sore yesterday from all of that swinging action though.  Blah.  After TG, we went to get some fro yo.  Yum.

We met my sister and her boo for dinner, but I didn't get any pictures because my hands were covered in crawfish juice.  Whoops.  We ended the night by watching The Hangover and a little bit of television.  We were tired from such a big day!

Yesterday morning was fun...we took my mom and dad to see our gorgeous wedding venue!  They really really liked it (good thing since we've already signed a contract and paid the initial deposit...)!!

We ended their trip with some in-n-out.  They'd never had it before, and they were both fans!  I love spending time with the 'rents.  Fun times all around.

I hope everyone had a nice weekend.  I'm looking forward to a lack of STAAR testing this week.  Wahoo!

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

staar tests & fruit salad

Hi guys!  Just checking in to say that I'm still alive (despite the nauseating amounts of standardized testing that's going on in my life right now) and to share a funny.

In case you're not familiar with what goes on during the dreaded STAAR Test, please refer to this post that I wrote last year at the end of the testing week: staar wars.  I like this post a lot, so in case you're a new reader and haven't seen this yet, or if you've been around for awhile and just want to read something funny again, click the link!

On to the funny stuff...

On Monday, I made Austin and myself a ding dang quesadilla with some fruit salad for dinner.  I wanted to serve our 'dillas up hot, so time was of the essence.  In an effort to speed things up, I asked Austin to take a picture of the fruit salad for my bloggy blog.  Here's what he came up with:

Very close
Way too far
Extreme close up!
Silly boys...

Monday, April 22, 2013

weekend update!

Happy Monday!  I am trying very hard to be chipper this morning, but I'm struggling.  We have testing all week long, and I am not looking forward to it.  Monitoring a group of 25 7th graders for 4 hours and 40 minutes for multiple days is not exactly my idea of a good time.  Oh well, once this week is over, we're on the downhill slide to summer.  Sweet, sweet summer.  I cannot wait!

Anyway, let's forget about the dreaded STAAR test and focus on my weekend!  It was a good one...lots of balance between work and play.

1) Austin and I took a trip to the Allen Outlets on Saturday.  That is one of my favorite "happy places". I got some shorts and a dress from J. Crew and a dress, some shirts, and a necklace from Banana Republic.

2) Some of Austin's friends from high school were in town on Saturday, so we hit up the town.  It's always fun to see old pals.

3) One of Austin's "old pals" decided to ride a bull at one of the places we went on Saturday.  It was a hoot.

4) Sundays are for grocery shopping.  I was super pumped this trip because I remembered to bring my reusable bags.  I felt very green.

5) & 6) Sushi and basketball to cap off the weekend.

I hope everyone had a great weekend!  Keep me in your thoughts this week and pray that I don't have a STAAR-induced nervous breakdown :)

Thursday, April 18, 2013

what we've been eating

Gooooooooooood morning!  And happy Thursday, everybody.  I am in a good mood today because I got my hair did yesterday, and I painted my toenails.  Those are two very good things.  Anyway, I have some recipes to show you guys today that I think you'll really enjoy.  All of these are both barefoot ballerina and Austie Marie approved.  Take a look! 

This Thai Red Curry Chicken was grrrrreat!  It had wonderful flavor, but my favorite part was the sweet potato.  Any dish that includes those orange beauties immediately has my vote!

Click here for the recipe

I also recently made these pulled pork sammies.  I used my go to recipe for crock pot pulled pork, and I stuck the end result on a sweet hawaiian roll with some extra BBQ sauce and sliced avocado.  I served these babies up with a side salad and called it a meal.  

This is how I made the pork

The Pioneer Woman was the source of another yummy meal I made the other day.  Her beef and bean burritos were perfect.  They were pretty quick and fairly easy to put together, and Austin was a big fan. These are definitely man friendly.  As you can see, I served them with a side of corn.

Get the recipe here

This recipe for pasta with chicken and veggies in a light cream sauce was a pinterest find.  It is the perfect thing for the warmer months that are ahead, and it's also a great alternative to heavier, creamier pasta dishes.

Grab the recipe here

Again, we had a little salad on the side.  This is the same recipe for my simple shrimp salad, but I just left off the shrimp.

Here's the link for the salad

A favorite dinner around these parts is this turkey spaghetti.  It's very easy to make...cook pasta, cook turkey, open a jar of sauce, combine.  Yum!

Another quick and easy meal we eat a lot are these turkey burgers.  To prepare these, I make patties out of a pound of ground turkey, season them with salt, pepper, chili powder, and cumin.  Once the patties are cooked, I top them with cheese, spinach, and avocado slices.  I ate mine with some pita chips and hummus.  It was a very pleasant little meal.

Hopefully you found something you might want to make soon!  Like I said, all of these meals were totes delish.  Try one out!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

greek chickpea pasta salad

Today I want to show you guys a new lunch favorite.  I made this light and delicious greek chickpea pasta salad on Sunday night, and I plan to munch on it every day this week.  I originally found this recipe at one of my favorite spots, eatliverun, and it came out tasting great.  Here's how to make it!

Greek Chickpea Pasta Salad

1 cup dry pasta (I used rotini)
  • ¾ cup chickpeas, drained and rinsed
  • 1 6-oz jar quartered artichoke hearts
  • ½ cup chopped olives
  • 1 tsp dried oregano
  • 4 sun-dried tomatoes, chopped
  • ½ cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1/8 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/8 tsp black pepper
  • pinch of sea salt

  • Directions:
    1) Cook you pasta according to package directions (mine went in the pool for 10 minutes).  Drain the pasta and set aside to let it cool.

2) In a big bowl, mix together the chickpeas, artichoke hearts, chopped olives, oregano, sun-dried tomatoes, feta cheese, red pepper flakes, salt, and pepper.

3) Stir in the cooled pasta.

Viola!  This stuff is literally as easy as 1, 2, 3!  Like I said, it's great for a light lunch or as a side dish for a summer potluck or picnic.  I'm linking up for taste of tuesday with Jessica and Ashley.  Won't you come and join us?!

Monday, April 15, 2013

weekend update: it's wedding season!

This weekend went by too fast (don't they all?).  I think it has to do with the whole "time flies when you're having fun" thing.  Two of our friends got hitched on Saturday, and another one of our friends that came from out of town was staying with us, so we definitely had some fun!

This is our friend Ashley.  Austin and I both knew her in college, and she is actually the one who introduced us!

Austin, Cupid (aka Ashley), and me!
 Megan and Matt's wedding was so pretty.  Megan looked beautiful, and their reception was a blast.  It was so great to see Ashley and our other pals while celebrating two great people coming together.

I'm a big fan of the photo booth at weddings, and this one definitely did not disappoint.  The props were some of the best I've seen.  Austin and I took advantage... 

Yesterday was spent doing the usual Sunday stuff...laundry, groceries, cleaning, etc.  I also made my lunch for the next few days (I'll share it with you guys tomorrow for taste of tuesday!) and whipped up some funfetti cupcakes for a bake sale at my school.  

We ended the weekend at Eno's for some pizza with friends.  The pizza at this place was delish.  I can't wait to go back!

I hope everyone had a nice weekend!  Only 5 more days until the next one :)

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

taste of tuesday: homemade oatmeal cookies

If you've ever met my sister, you probably know a few things about her.  First, she has red hair and resembles a fox (that's why I call her "Fox").  Seriously, she should've auditioned for the part of "Foxface" in The Hunger Games Movie.  Second, she's really good at math.  Finally, she makes 
awesome desserts, specifically these oatmeal cookies.  

My family used to BEG her to make these on special occasions.  They are chewy, soft, and just plain yummy.  I think today is the perfect day to show you how she makes 'em!
Homemade Oatmeal Cookies

-1 cup Crisco (I use their baking sticks)
-1 cup sugar
-1 cup brown sugar
-2 eggs
-1 tsp vanilla
-1 tsp salt
-1 tsp baking soda
-1 1/2 cups flour
-2 1/2 cups old fashioned oats


**Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees!

1) In the bowl of a stand mixer, mix the Crisco, sugar, and brown sugar.  Make sure you scrape down the sides of the bowl afterwards to get any stray stuff!

2) Crack in the eggs, and add the vanilla.  Stir that up!

3) Add in the salt, baking soda, and flour, and give that a whirl.  Be sure to start your mixer on the lowest speed so you don't end up with flour all over the place.  Not that I'd know from experience or anything...  

4) The last step in the mixing process is to add in the oats.  I like to do this in two groups (add 1 1/2 cups of oats, mix, add in the other cup of oats, mix) so everything can get incorporated correctly.  

Your finished dough should look like this:

5) Roll the dough into balls, and place them on a lined baking sheet.  Stick this in your 350 degree oven for 8-9 minutes.

6) When your timer goes off, place the cookies on racks to cool.  

These cookies come together really quick.  I managed to make these and dinner last night before Austin's kickball game.  Since I've been dubbed "team mom", I took the cookies for the team to enjoy as a victory snack!

Let's Go Kickerbockers!!

I'm linking up with Ashley and Jessica for Taste of Tuesday today...come click around for some new food ideas!

Monday, April 8, 2013

weekend shenanigans: perot science museum

Happy Monday morning everyone!  Our weekend was relaxing and fun but much too short (as always).  We went to dinner with some friends on Friday and did a bunch of boring/grown-up stuff on Saturday (work, taxes, laundry, grocery shopping, naps, etc.).  Basically, the first two days of the weekend aren't much to write home about.

However, yesterday was a little more exciting!  We (Austin, our friend Ashley, and me) went to the Perot Museum of Nature and Science.  It was a very interesting place, and it kept us entertained for the entire afternoon.

Like most museums, there was a mix of exhibits and interactive stations.  Here are some of the cool things we tried out...

Clockwise from top left: Austin and I doing a weather forecast (it was raining!!), checking out my veins with some crazy light, Austin checking his reaction time, and Austin and I racing a professional football player (we lost).

My favorite exhibits, however, are the following three pictures.  First, there was a giant wall of wooden squares, but when you walked by or stood in from of it, all of the sqaures where you were standing would flip down, creating a silouette.  See if you can guess which picture is Austin and which picture is me...

The other station I loved was the "motion lab".  Basically, you got to choose a skill that you wanted to perform, this lady would film you doing the skill, and then you could compare yourself to a professional athlete.  I chose to see how my pirouette sized up to a memeber of the Dallas Black Dance Theatre, and Austin tried to throw a football like some famous NFL player. 

We ended the trip with a 3D film about all of the different weather that occurs in space.  Extreme heat, crazy lightning storms, giant "dust devils", oh my.  

Austin and I went to dinner at one of our favorite spots, Park Tavern, to end the evening.  It was a really great day.  I hope everyone else have a nice weekend.  I'm linking up with Sami today!

Friday, April 5, 2013

pay it forward

 Alright.  I'm just going to lay it out there.  This has been the LONGEST week of my life.  We've had STAAR testing, I've subbed a handful of dance classes on top of my regular classes, and a toilet overflowed all over my shoes on Tuesday.  

And those were the high points, friends.  

Needless to say, I'm in need of some sunshine and lots of chocolate this weekend.  However, because it's Friday, because STAAR Writing is over, and because all of the toilets I've used today have been in working order:   

That's right.  Joy it is today!  And I thought I'd kick off the weekend full of joy and chocolate with something to brighten my spirits a bit...

I originally saw this "pay it forward" thing on Jessica's blog, and I knew I wanted to be a part of it.  

Here's how it works:
The first 5 people to comment with their e-mail and blog address will receive from me, sometime in this calendar year, a gift - perhaps a book, a baked good, music - a surprise! There will likely be no warning, and it will happen when the mood strikes me. The catch? Those five people must make the same offer on their blog. And who knows, I might be feeling extra generous and pick more than 5! ;)

So there you go!  Comment away!  Even if you don't have a blog, you can still comment, and I will probably send you something anyway because I have lots of extra baked goods laying around here most of the time.

Have a fabulous weekend, everyone!  I'll see ya Monday with my weekend update!

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

taste of tuesday: easter brunch

Sunday was the first time Austin and I have spent Easter as just the two of us.  I wanted to do something special, so I decided to make us brunch!  The recipes I'm featuring today are great for entertaining, and they would be perfect for breakfast or brunch ANY day, not just Easter.

While I was watching The Pioneer Woman on Food Network last Saturday, I saw these hash brown egg cups.  I knew I wanted to give them a try, and they turned out great!  Austin told me that they were, "really good", so I think I'll definitely be making them again.

Get the recipe here! (photo by Ree Drummond)

Another thing Austin and I both love are these cream cheese sausage balls.  They are easy to whip up, and the recipe makes enough for a crowd.  I thought the sausage paired nicely with the eggs and hash browns, and Austin agreed.

Grab the recipe here! (photo by Plain Chicken)

The last thing I made was a fresh fruit salad.  I used strawberries, apples, pineapples, bananas, and oranges.  I always like to use oranges in my fruit salads because the citrus keeps the apples and bananas from turning brown.  

Here's how our plates turned out:

Like I said, these recipes are wonderful breakfast/brunch ideas, so give 'em a try!  I'm linking up with Ashley and Jessica for Taste of Tuesday today...come check out the link up and read all about food!