Wednesday, March 28, 2012


i think it's time for another funnies post. here are some things that have been making me LOL lately:

Sunday, March 25, 2012

RECIPE: Hot German Potato Salad

I can't remember now what first provoked me to test out this German potato salad recipe. It's served hot and has a heck of a lot of celery seed. On paper, it sounded iffy to me. But I am so glad I tried it out because now it's one of my favorite side dishes! It's a great accompaniment to pork or steak and it's excellent reheated as well.

4-6 red potatoes
10 slices bacon
1/3 c chopped onion
2 T flour
2 T sugar
2 t salt
1/2 t celery seed
1/4 t pepper
1/2 c, 4 T water
6 T white vinegar

Boil potatoes (with skin) about 45 minutes, until tender. Drain and allow to cool almost completely. Slice thin. Cook bacon in skillet until brown. Crumble and set aside. Saute onion in bacon drippings until golden. In a small bowl, whisk together dry ingredients. Add to onions in skillet. Stir until bubbly. Add in water and vinegar, then bring to a boil for 1 minute. Add potatoes and bacon and stir until well coated. Allow to heat through. Serve warm.

Friday, March 23, 2012

i hope these days go on forever

paul mcdonald & nikki reed | now that i've found you

i have been listening to this song on repeat lately. i am pretty sure that should brandon ever convince me to record a duet with him, this'll be the one. i think i'm going to call it our unofficial wedding song. sound good, b?

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

a rainy wedding day: engagement photos

{our engagement photos were taken by the amazing leah robbins with boy & girl photography. we had a wonderful time working with her and can't wait for her to photograph our wedding day! i absolutely can't say enough wonderful things about this gal! check out her blog and facebook page for more photos, prices, and promotions!}

Tuesday, March 20, 2012


it's officially springtime, though it feels like summer here in nc. with the temperature right at 80 degrees today, i'm lamenting the fact that my summer wardrobe is packed away in my closet at my parents' house. my first order of business this weekend is to dig up my shorts, tank tops, and summery dresses. bye bye winter boots and sweaters! it's a gorgeous first day of spring. this is the view from my porch:

the ducks/geese (?) in the pond keep making all kinds of noise, distracting me from the paper i'm unhappily trying to write. i'd much rather be outside on a day like today. over the weekend i got into the spring spirit and set out a few of my easter decorations. this year, easter is on sunday april 8th.

easter is one of my favorite holidays. easter baskets are fun and easter nests are even more exciting (i made nests with my godsister when i was a kid). however, my very favorite part of easter is the easter morning sunrise service. winston-salem is home to the largest sunrise service in north carolina and i snapped this photo from the top of the moravian archives building in old salem a couple of easters ago:

i have fun things to look forward to this spring:

  • finishing my first year of graduate school
  • the wedding of a close friend
  • the wedding of my godsister
  • honeymooning in disney world
  • a new job (somebody please hire me!)
  • turning 24

what new and exciting things will spring bring for you?

Monday, March 19, 2012

chef #52: grilled chicken & tortellini with roasted red pepper cream

i'm still not sure how i ended up subscribing to betty crocker emails but i'm glad that i did! there are so many great recipes at betty crocker and many are very quick and easy to prepare. this is one such recipe.

9 oz cheese tortellini (frozen or refrigerated), prepared
2 c frozen broccoli florets, prepared
1/3 c roasted red bell peppers (from a jar)
10 oz jar alfredo sauce
6 oz pkg. refrigerated grilled chicken breast strips
2 T diced roasted red bell peppers (from a jar)
2 T butter, melted
1/4 c italian style breadcrumbs
fresh ground pepper

puree 1/3 c peppers in a blender. add alfredo sauce and blend until mixed. combine with tortellini, broccoli, and 2 T diced peppers in a large saucepan. cook and stir over medium heat for 5 minutes. spoon into ungreased shallow baking dish.

combine butter and breadcrumbs. sprinkle over dish. broil 4-5 minutes or until topping is golden brown. serve with fresh ground pepper to taste.

Sunday, March 18, 2012

weekend excursions

i thoroughly enjoyed my weekend. did you?

{friday evening: after a walk at bur-mil park, we stopped for dessert before dinner!}

{friday night: dinner on the porch, thunderstorm for entertainment}

let me note here that over the course of the weekend i saw the first and second paranormal activity movies. can anyone recommend a good horror flick? neither of these fit the bill in my opinion.

{saturday morning: gorgeous day for a wedding at carrigan farms. congratulations amy + chris!}

{saturday afternoon: st. patrick's day wedding cake! cake by cakes by tami, photo by picture this photography}

{saturday afternoon: i wore my swallow's heart jewelry and received several compliments!}

{sunday afternoon: fell in love with this pup at the animal shelter}

{sunday night: bowling!}

now i'm getting ahead on blogging while brandon watches a very weird disgusting movie, daybreakers, on netflix.

Friday, March 16, 2012

Cheesy Chicken Enchilada Pasta

It's no secret that I love mexican food. All day all the time.... Can't. Get. Enough. I'm already craving mexican food and I haven't even written the post yet! ah! I found this recipe on Pinterest (where else?) and tried it out over the weekend.

EDITED 4/18/2013: I wasn't very happy with this initial recipe and knew it was something I wanted to try again. It took me over a year to come back to it, but I revised the ingredients and made it again and I promise it's even better now. :) Edits are noted below!

1 lb bow tie pasta
2 chicken breasts, cooked & shredded
1 can cream of chicken mushroom soup
16 oz container sour cream
4 oz. can diced green chiles
1 small yellow onion, diced
1 can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 can yellow corn, drained
1 small can sliced olives
3 c shredded cheddar cheese
1 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 c shredded mexican blend cheese

8 oz can tomato sauce
1/3 c water
1 t chili powder
1/4 t oregano
1/4 t cumin
1 clove garlic, minced

Cook pasta as directed. While pasta cooks, sauté onions in olive oil or margarine until soft. Mix soup, sour cream, chiles, onion, and 1 c sharp cheddar cheese in a large bowl. Fold in pasta and chicken. Pour into large glass casserole dish.

In a small saucepan, mix together the last 6 ingredients and bring to a boil. Stir occasionally and cook for a few minutes to allow flavors to blend. Pour over the pasta. Top entire dish with remaining cheese. Bake at 350 degrees for 30 minutes or until cheese on top begins to brown.

NOTE: I'm also guest blogging for my friend Grace today. For my thoughts about St. Patrick's Day weekend, check out her blog!

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

DIY: Spice Containers

My friend Meghan blogged a couple of weeks ago about a new organization system for her spices: magnetic tins on the side of your fridge. I had seen similar ideas elsewhere on the web, but her post inspired me to update my spice cabinet once again. You may remember that I had this itch almost exactly a year ago. This time around, the goal was to get some of my spices out of the cabinet and into a more accessible space.

Before I get into the details of my project, I first want to talk about spices. As someone who cooks a LOT, I have quite a supply of spices! They can often be costly, especially if I'm buying something for a specific recipe and don't plan to use it very often.

Enter the Farmer's Market. I've written about my love of the Farmer's Market before and I've been dying this winter without my weekly visits. I noticed during one of my trips last fall that one of the sellers has an entire wall of spices for super cheap! How cheap, you may ask? Take a look at my little comparison chart:

I bought little tubs of the 4 spices I knew I was running low on and I am going to return asap to purchase some more nutmeg and chili powder! I encourage you to check out your local Farmer's Market for spices. I can't get over the price difference!

Back to my project...  Meghan recommended using Ikea's Grundtal magnetic storage tins so I immediately planned a trip to Charlotte to stock up! I had thought that I'd order some tins online and glue magnets on them myself, but these were much easier! In preparation, I picked out some of my most-used spices from the cabinet: 24, to be exact. I use a lot of spices. ;)

I printed and cut labels for the tins using large mailing address labels I purchased for wedding invitations. There's no need to make exact measurements or cuts. The best DIY projects look like DIY projects, in my opinion. About half an hour later I had my finished product!

Having the spices out of the cabinet and on the fridge makes them so much more accessible! I'm so pleased with the result of this project. It's perfect for someone who spends a lot of time in the kitchen.

Monday, March 12, 2012

RECIPE: Chocolate Chip Cheesecake Bars

Today I'm going to share a dessert; something I don't do very often. I saw this on Pinterest yesterday morning and had to make it immediately. It's super easy, affordable, and sweet!

3 (8 oz) packages cream cheese, softened
3 eggs
3/4 c sugar
1 t vanilla extract
2 (16.5 oz) rolls refrigerated chocolate chip cookie dough

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. In a large bowl, beat together cream cheese, eggs, sugar and vanilla until well mixed. Grease a large glass casserole dish. Slice one cookie dough roll into 1/4 inch slices and use them to line the bottom of the dish. Press dough together so that there are no holes. Pour cream cheese mixture evenly into dish. Slice second roll of cookie dough and use to top. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until golden. Remove from oven, allow to cool, then refrigerate until serving. Cut into 16 bars.

Saturday, March 10, 2012

chef #49: chicken casserole

this recipe is an old family favorite and i can't believe i've been posting recipes for over a year and haven't published it yet! it's super easy to make and very yummy. the only problem i have when making this is trying to decide what side to serve. the casserole has broccoli and pasta in it, so that throws out my go-to sides of mashed potatoes and green beans. i don't want my meal to be too redundant! when i made this casserole earlier this week i just served salad with it. what would you suggest?

4 c chicken, cooked & shredded
4 c cooked rotini
4 c uncooked broccoli florets
1/2-3/4 c mayo
1 c sour cream
2 cans cream of chicken soup
2 T lemon juice
3 c grated swiss cheese

mix together all ingredients, reserving 1/2 c cheese. bake at 350 degrees for 25 minutes. sprinkle with remaining cheese and bake for additional 5 minutes until cheese is melted.

Friday, March 9, 2012

chef #48: cheeseburger soup

i've been m.i.a. from the blog for the last week or so. i could blame it on the fact that i've been on SPRING BREAK, but that's not really a valid reason. my break has been very low-key and i've been home in davie county with my family. to tell you the truth, i've been in a funk lately and i think i'm finally starting to get through it! i always cook when i'm a) in a funk and b) with my family, so of course i have a recipe to share! this is one of my favorite things i've made lately. i had high hopes and i was not disappointed!

i've now typed out all of the ingredients and realize that this looks a bit daunting. i promise it isn't. it just takes a bit of prep time to chop everything!

1 lb ground beef (or turkey!)
3/4 c chopped onion
3/4 c chopped celery
3/4 c shredded carrots
3/4 c diced tomatoes
4 c peeled & diced potatoes
1 t dried basil
1 t dried parsley
1/2 t garlic powder
4 T butter, divided
3 c chicken broth
1/4 c flour
8 oz velveeta processed cheese, cubed
1.5 c milk
1/4 t salt
1/2 t pepper
1/4 c sour cream

brown beef & drain. set aside. in a large saucepan, melt 1 T butter and sauté onion, celery, carrots, basil & parsley for 10 minutes or until veggies are tender. add broth, potatoes, beef, tomatoes, and garlic powder and bring to a boil. reduce heat, cover, and simmer 10-12 minutes until potatoes are tender.

meanwhile, in a small skillet, melt the remaining butter. add flour and stir. cook for 3-4 minutes, stirring frequently, until bubbly. add to soup and allow to boil. cook for 2 minutes. reduce heat to low. stir in cheese, salt, pepper, and milk. continue cooking until cheese has completely melted. remove from heat and stir in sour cream.

the best thing about this soup is that you can be really creative with the recipe... especially with garnishes! the next time i make this i might consider adding some ground mustard seed to the soup. or a dash of cayenne pepper. there are so many choices! original recipe here.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

can't stop pinning

still trying to decide if you should jump on the pinterest bandwagon yet? check out my boards and get some more information here: