Sunday, January 29, 2012

cover boys

today i'm writing about some very talented singers that you should know about. michael henry and justin robinett team up to cover popular songs from artists across the musical spectrum: from adele to the band perry to mayday parade to katy perry to linkin park, etc. they blow my mind every time they release a new video on youtube. they also have music available on itunes! their new album harmonic hyperbole just came out and i high recommend that you click on over to itunes right now and snap it up. you'll be glad you did. if you don't immediately trust my word, watch this:

or watch this:

or this:

or this:

ok, i'm done. :)

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

RECIPE: Chicken Enchilada Casserole

One of my favorite go-to recipes is chicken enchilada casserole. It is easy to make, inexpensive, and it's a crowd pleaser! My mom requested that I make it for her birthday a few weeks ago and it was a big hit!

7-9 flour tortillas
4 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
1 can cream of mushroom soup
16 oz jar medium chunky salsa
2 c shredded mexican cheese
1 c milk
garnishes: shredded lettuce, shredded cheddar, sour cream, tomatoes, olives, etc.

Mix shredded chicken, cream of mushroom soup, and salsa together. Divide between tortillas. Roll and place seam down in a casserole dish. Top with shredded cheese. Pour milk over the whole dish. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese begins to brown. Serve with garnishes. I also served mine with refried black beans on the side.

Sunday, January 22, 2012


i had been looking forward to this weekend for a very long time. weeks ago, i formulated a plan to surprise brandon (early) for his birthday. we planned to go to charlotte on friday to see mat kearney in concert. (he was amazing, by the way!) little did brandon know that i had gotten us a reservation at the marriott for the evening and also arranged special dinners for friday and saturday nights. i intended to post photos from the weekend, but i didn't take a single shot while we were in charlotte. it was a wonderful time!

HOWEVER... all of that pales in comparison to the surprise that brandon had for me upon our return. i walked into my apartment on saturday night to find him waiting with the best gift i've ever received: a proposal + engagement ring! we're thinking of a summer wedding. :)

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

chef #38: charleston cheese dip

this is a recipe from country singer trisha yearwood. i only edited it a bit.

1/2 c mayo
8 oz cream cheese, softened
1 c sharp cheddar cheese
1/2 c monterey jack cheese
2 green onions, chopped
1 package (15 strips) microwaveable bacon, prepared
dash of cayenne pepper
8 ritz crackers

preheat oven to 350 degrees. mix mayo, cheeses, and green onions together. stir in 10 strips of bacon, crumbled, along with cayenne pepper. top with crushed ritz crackers. bake for 15 minutes or until the crackers on top are golden brown. remove from oven and top with remaining bacon crumbles. serve warm with dippers.

Monday, January 16, 2012

hard times

hard times have fallen upon my family recently and i haven't felt excited about blogging. school has started for the semester and i'm already counting down the weeks until the end of april when i'm finished again! two weeks into the new year and i can already tell that there are some interesting times ahead for me this year: some amazing and exciting things and some very difficult things. i'm sure i'll elaborate on all of this eventually. for now, i leave you with a cute photo of little hannah + mom. today is her 58th birthday!

also, this song is stuck in my head:

Sunday, January 8, 2012

RECIPE: Honey Beer Bread

After I finished preparing my beef stew the other day, I still had a good amount of Guinness left over. I decided to test a simple bread recipe I found online that uses beer as an ingredient! This bread is super easy to make and has a very unique flavor. It's great served slightly warmed with a butter or margarine spread.

HONEY BEER BREAD (makes 1 loaf)
3 c flour
1 T baking powder
2 T sugar
1 t salt
2 T honey
12 oz beer (I used Guinness. I don't know how this would taste with a lighter beer.)
1/4 c unsalted butter, melted

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Grease a large loaf pan. In a bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, sugar and salt. Stir in the beer and honey. Pour half the melted butter in the loaf pan. Spoon batter into pan and top with the remaining butter, making sure to pour it evenly over the top. Bake for 50-60 minutes, until top is golden brown and a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

RECIPE: Hannah's Beef Stew

I am pleased to say that my first new recipe of 2012 was a complete success! Winter finally decided to show up here in Greensboro, so I felt that a warm, hearty beef stew would be the perfect meal on a cold night. After pulling from 3 different recipes, I created my own version. Note that my stew is made in a crock pot, so you have to let your anticipation build for several hours. :)

1.25-1.5 lb stew beef, cubed
1.5 c red potatoes, cut as you like
1 c celery, cut as you like
1 c carrots, cut as you like
1 yellow onion, roughly chopped
3 cloves garlic, minced
3/4 c red wine
3/4 c guinness
3/4 c beef broth
2 T tomato paste
1 T light brown sugar
1 T worcestershire sauce
2 T olive oil
2 T butter
1/4 t thyme
1 T dried parsley
2 bay leaves
salt + pepper

Place the chopped vegetables in the crock pot. Rinse beef, pat dry with paper towels, then season with salt + pepper.

In a large skillet, heat olive oil at medium heat. Add beef to the pan and brown on all sides, about 5 minutes. Add garlic and cook for an additional minute. Season with salt + pepper. Remove beef and add to crock pot.

Add butter to the skillet and allow to melt. Add all liquids, tomato paste, sugar, worcestershire, thyme, and parsley. Stir. Bring to a boil and allow to boil for at least 2 minutes. Reduce heat and let simmer for 10 minutes. Season with salt + pepper if you like.

Pour liquid into crock pot, add bay leaves, cover, and cook on low for 6-9 hours. (I left mine just shy of 8 hours.) Remove the bay leaves and serve! This stuff is delicious!

Monday, January 2, 2012

hello, 2012

(not to discredit someone else's brilliant work, i took this photo from another site who took it from shutterstock)

well, here i sit on the 2nd day of 2012 and it's pretty much like many of my days in 2011. this is by no means a complaint! i loved 2011 and i am just as excited about 2012. i have exactly a week before things start back up for spring semester at uncg and i intend to do the following between now and then:

  • finish reading the hunger games (this was on my christmas vacation to-do list)
  • get a jump start on teaching for spring semester (also on my to-do list)
  • prepare notebooks for the classes i'm taking and read ahead (ugh)
  • continue to clean and organize my apartment (this never stops)
  • cook dinner for friends
  • take a friend out for her birthday
  • work out (i'm only saying this for brandon's sake. he's forcing me to.)

so maybe it won't be the most exciting week of all-time, but that's okay. i am sure that plenty of exciting weeks are ahead for me this year.