Sunday, September 30, 2012

Should You Eat That Bacon?

Ever have a wonderful and a terrible day (in this case... weekend) all at the same time? That's how I'm feeling now, on Sunday night, as I prepare to face the week ahead. I was going to post photos from said wonderful/terrible weekend, but my camera is in my car, down two flights of stairs. Not happening.

For now, enjoy this. I'll have more to write tomorrow:


Wednesday, September 26, 2012

RECIPE: Balsamic Marinated Steak

When I first published this recipe I said to purchase flank steak and then shared a story about buying hanger steak instead because my grocery store didn't have flank steak. I've finally solved the problem! I'm going to let you pick whatever kind of steak you'd like. The marinade is the real star of this show!


BALSAMIC MARINATED STEAK (serves 3)
1.5 lb steak (I purchased top sirloin and cubed it for kebabs)
salt & pepper to taste

1/4 c balsamic vinegar
2 T olive oil
1 T chopped fresh basil
1.5 t dijon mustard
1 clove garlic, minced
1/2 t sugar

Combine marinade ingredients in a small bowl. Place steak and marinade in a large plastic bag and refrigerate for at least 6 hours (I did mine overnight), turning occasionally. Remove steak from marinade and place on a grill until your desired tenderness.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Below My Feet

(via)

"Keep the Earth below my feet
for all my sweat, my blood runs weak
let me learn from where I have been
keep my eyes to serve, my hands to learn"

The new Mumford & Sons album is out today, a day I've been eagerly anticipating for some time now. I may or may not have scored an advanced copy and I may or may not have been listening to this album for the past 4 days on repeat...

It is perfect. More perfect than Sigh No More. Favorite album of the year by a landslide. Favorite album ever is a possibility. Go buy it, buy it now! (Side Note: Just because I maybe obtained a copy in advance doesn't mean that I didn't make my husband purchase the actual album first thing this morning. Support your artists!)


It's kind of impossible to explain all of the reasons that I love Babel. You'll simply have to listen for yourself!

Friday, September 21, 2012

Introducing...


That's right, guys! I NOW HAVE A .COM! CAN YOU TELL I'M EXCITED? I BROKE OUT THE CAP LOCK FOR THIS!

Okay, seriously... I'm happy to share that this is now a .com blog. It doesn't really mean anything other than I feel like a legitimate, savvy blogger. All that's different now is that typing in flamingosinraincoats.com will automatically redirect you to blogger. Still, it's a big step for the girl who maintained a little 'ol LiveJournal for 6 years.

So, feel free to change absolutely nothing (ha!) about the way you access my blog. Most of you are here from GFC, other blogs, or Facebook. But in the case that you do ever want to type "flamingosinraincoats.com" into your search bar I promise you it will work. ;)

Yay! Time for me to celebrate my .com by working hard on some aesthetic changes to the blog... nothing major, but I'm constantly changing my mind and trying to improve things around here.

Do you have a .com? What convinced you to buy the domain?

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Me Myself & I (September Edition)

This is my first time linking up to anything besides a GFC hop... exciting stuff! I came across Me Myself & I and thought it seemed like something fun to write about. I realize that many of you don't know a whole lot about me! Well, that's about to change. I hope I'm interesting! :)


1. WHEN YOU'RE FEELING DOWN, WHAT DO YOU DO TO PICK YOURSELF UP?
I probably have really stereotypical girl answers here. If I'm feeling down, my immediate impulse is to go shopping. My wallet gets mad at me every time, but my mood drastically improves. Lately I've taken to visiting Michaels where I always have discounts via their smartphone app. What's in the same shopping center as Michaels? TARGET! Target is really the best shopping site to cheer me up. And you don't even have to spend a lot of money! Oh man, I'm not feeling down right now but I really want to go to Target!

If I'm really, really down my answer is ice cream and tv on dvd: probably Friends or The Big Bang Theory. And if I'm upset, I want to be alone. My husband would tell you that he's totally down with me being alone. I'm not very nice to him when I'm having a bad day. oops.

2. IF YOU HAD TO LIVE IN A DIFFERENT TIME PERIOD, WHICH WOULD YOU PREFER?
Ooh, this is a great question! Honestly, the first thing that comes to mind is the 1950's... the decade during which both my parents were born. Why? I would make the best housewife ever. June Cleaver has nothing on me. Seriously.


On a side note, remember the American Girl Dolls you used to play with when you were a kid? I had 6 of them. Each time I got a new one, that doll's time period was the time period I wanted to live in.

3. WHAT IS THE MOST CREATIVE HALLOWEEN COSTUME YOU'VE EVER WORN?
I could go with so many different answers to this one! One year I found a blue dress, wore my pearls, and was Allie from The Notebook. I thought it was a pretty cool idea but nobody knew who I was.

 

4. FIVE WEIRD THINGS WE WOULDN'T KNOW ABOUT YOU WITHOUT BEING TOLD?
  • I once broke my mom's windshield with my big toe!
  • My biggest pet peeve is when people confuse your and you're.
  • My second biggest pet peeve is people who talk on their cell phones in inappropriate places.
  • I'm a creature of habit. I'll often pick one menu item at a restaurant that I like and never try anything else. Case in point: I've been eating at Moe's since 2004 and have ONLY ever ordered the Ruprict nachos.
  • I'm a terrible swimmer and hate being under water.

5. WHAT WOULD YOU TELL YOUR 16-YEAR-OLD SELF?
"Listen here, Hannah. Your LiveJournal is silly but it'll give you a good laugh when you're older. Listen to your dad when he tells you to be wise with money. Try not to stress out about everything under the sun. Oh, and when you get married your husband is never ever ever going to want to put his dishes in the dishwasher or his clothes in the hamper. So start dealing with it now. Lastly, order something besides the Ruprict. It's probably delicious."

Sleeping

It's a rainy day here in North Carolina and I'm not ashamed to say this is how I feel:

(via)

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Honeymoon (Part Five)

WAIT! Did you read 1/2/3/4 yet?

DAY 6 | THE DAY MY CAMERA HATED ME

Day 6 of our honeymoon was our last full day at Disney World. *sad face* We planned to spend some major time in Epcot. We arrived slightly before lunch in Future World and got our Fastpasses for Soarin'. This attraction has been out for a couple of years now, but it's still so popular that all of the Fastpasses are distributed by lunchtime every day! We walked around The Land pavilion and then sat down to lunch in the cafeteria, where I got out my camera.

My camera wouldn't turn on.

Right there, in the middle of the happiest place on Earth, I nearly cried. I was sure it was broken. I had charged it the night before so something must be seriously wrong, right? I put my camera back in my bag and pulled out the good 'ol iPhone 4s to take snapshots for the rest of the day. :(

Soarin' was, indeed, very impressive. The regular line was over an hour long or else we would have definitely wanted to visit it again. We also explored Nemo's The Seas and then we...

sat through the most MISERABLE 14 minute long interactive film we've ever experienced: Captain EO. Directed by George Lucas and starring Michael Jackson, it had some promise. But man was it terrible. I'm not sure what made it so bad... the film quality? The weird animatronic creatures? Michael Jackson? The music? The "special effects?" This was apparently a quite popular attraction once upon a time at Disney World and they brought it back, no doubt, after MJ's death. I have never seen anything quite so terrible at Disney World and Brandon and I have frequently mentioned Captain EO since returning from the honeymoon:

"Hey, remember that time we saw Captain EO?" <burst into laughter>
"Well at least it's not as bad as Captain EO." <burst into laughter>
"Guess what! ..... Captain EO." <burst into laughter>

Honestly, I just have to look at my husband and say "Captain EO" and we will laugh for a very long time. He's asleep right now. I'm going to go wake him up and say "Captain EO" and see what response I get. Be right back...

And more than 24 hours later... I'm back! He laughed but was not amused that I woke him up just to remind him of the horrors of Captain EO. It's about time for a photo, isn't it?


One of the Disney Photopass photographers took this shot right after our shock of seeing Captain EO had worn off.

I did have my iPhone and was able to take some pics as we walked around the World Showcase:


Chocolate/caramel covered frozen grapes may look weird but they were so delicious, fyi.

I had planned a very, very special dinner at Bistro de Paris, reserving double the sit down dining credits, for our last night at Disney World. I researched the fanciest restaurants at the resort and Brandon and I picked this one because it was supposed to have delicious food in an intimate setting.

We showered and changed into our nice clothes before heading back to Epcot for our reservation. On the way, disaster struck.


It rained as hard, if not harder, than it did on our wedding day. Our plan had been to park at the Boardwalk and take a ferry to the World Showcase entrance to Epcot, which is right beside the French pavilion. I was wearing nice shoes and a white dress... not the best choice for a Florida storm. The ferry was stopped because of all the lightening, so we took refuge along the Boardwalk.

The pic above of Brandon? See how he's holding an umbrella? We were actually standing under a HUGE umbrella and he had to have his umbrella open because the rain was still coming in. It was awful. And it didn't stop until about 5 minutes before our dinner reservation. And the ferry refused to run. So we had to speed walk along the long path to Epcot. Indeed, I was very grumpy and had very poofy hair when we sat down to dine.

My thoughts on Bistro de Paris are that the food is delicious and the atmosphere is awesome if you are not seated uncomfortably close to a family with two young children who scream, cry, and draw with crayon on the tablecloth. Bistro de Paris advertises an adult-only dining room that has a strict dress code, but we found that they were lax on both of these policies. Boo.

Though the atmosphere wasn't what I was hoping for, the food was glorious. In fact, I ate the most delicious dish of my entire life:


It doesn't look that amazing in the photo, but this butternut squash soup with shrimp + chestnuts was incredible. And guys, this is a $15 bowl of soup. Yikes! I all but licked the bowl. I plan to spend my entire winter trying to replicate it.

And as for my camera? Turns out I hadn't charged it properly. Nice job, Hannah.

TO BE CONTINUED...

Friday, September 14, 2012

Real Conversations // Budgets and Boxes

H: Actually, I live by a budget in my head
B: Obviously
B: Otherwise we would live in a box
H: Haha
H: We do live in an apartment box
B: I meant a box box
B: Like the kind puppies and printer paper come in


Boxes full of puppies are terribly cute.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

RECIPE: Ravioli with Spinach + Squash

For some reason whenever I type "ravioli" lately I type "raviolo" first. What's that all about? Anyway... I've decided that Pinterest has negated the need to ever subscribe to magazines anymore. Seriously, have you thought of that? I subscribe to Family Circle and Cooking Light and guess what: I haven't read either one in over a year. All of the issues are taking up precious space in our tiny apartment in case I ever get around to thumbing through them.

You can find recipes for anything on Pinterest! You can find decorating ideas, travel ideas, party ideas, workout ideas, etc. Why do you need a magazine subscription? I'm curious to hear what other people think of this subject.

At any rate, all of that is to say that this recipe came from a magazine. I clipped it probably 2 years ago and decided it was time to use some of my stored paper recipes before going back to good 'ol Pinterest.


RAVIOLI WITH SPINACH + SQUASH (serves 4)
1 bag frozen cheese ravioli (somewhere around 1-1.5 lb)
6 oz fresh baby spinach
2 medium yellow squash
1 medium zucchini
1 package (5ish oz) light spreadable herb cheese (i used alouette)
1/2 t salt
1/2 t pepper

Cut squash and zucchini into 1/4 inch thick half-moons. Cook ravioli according to package directions, about 9 minutes. Add spinach during the final minute.

Meanwhile, heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Coat with nonstick cooking spray and add squash and zucchini to the pan. Lightly coat squash mixture with the nonstick spray. Cover and cook, stirring occasionally, for 6 to 7 minutes or until tender.

Drain pasta, reserving 1/4 c pasta water. Return pasta mixture to the pot and stir in herb cheese until well blended. Gently stir in squash, zucchini, salt, and pepper. Stir in pasta water by the tablespoonful if mixture becomes too dry.

This meal is EASY, LIGHT, and FAST. Mine looked nothing like the photo in the magazine, but that's okay. It still tasted delicious. :)

Great Success

I didn't have much time until I needed to be back at work. I would just swing by Target quickly to grab the cd, pick up lunch at Panera Bread, and be at the office asap.

They were sold out... at 11:30 am. WHAT? Frantically (yes, frantically) I called the closest Target to see if they were in stock. Yes, but they wouldn't hold one for me. Surely they'd be gone by the time I left work at 5 pm.

raced drove at a perfectly normal speed 5.2 miles to the other Target. A man in the parking lot was trying to pull into a parking space and repeatedly cut it too close. He was in my way, holding me up. Finally I parked and hopped out of the car. I tend to walk fast on a normal day, but I really sped it up as I went into the store.

A guy about my age was walking beside me on my way to electronics. I paused momentarily to check out a beach towel on clearance. When I looked up, my parking lot nemesis was also heading for electronics. I picked back up my brisk pace and passed them, as they quickened their steps.

I arrived at the cd endcap seconds before my competitors. Two other men (where were all the ladies?) were already standing there. I gracefully reached between them, grabbed the very last copy of the cd, spun on my heels, and marched off to the register.

I didn't even look back when I heard my parking lot nemesis start to say something. I bought my cd and unwrapped it as I walked to the car. Great success!


(via)

...And it is an amazing collection of songs. I'll probably be listening to The Carpenter on repeat from now until Christmas. Here's the guys performing the title track at the Americana Awards last year:

Monday, September 10, 2012

Good Music

So, when was the last time I did a "Music Monday" post? Oh, August 20th? And before that? ... My bad. This is a wonderful week for music in my life. On Friday morning I learned that one of my favorite bands, Sister Hazel, was going to be playing in my hometown on Saturday night.

I called up my best friend who jumped at the chance to go with me! We saw them together at the same venue in high school and I saw them a couple of times in undergrad, the last of which I attended while having the flu (what a trooper!). We had a good time at the show, although it was your typical crowded, hot & sweaty, surrounded by drunk people encounter. I was hoping they'd play my favorite Sister Hazel song and they did not disappoint! Indeed, Champagne High was their first encore.


It was a nice spur of the moment decision to see Sister Hazel and I'm so glad I did. These guys are great! In even bigger news, one of my all-time favorite bands has an album release tomorrow that I'm pretty ridiculously excited about. If my local Target doesn't have a copy for me first thing in the morning I'm going to cry.


On Thursday, Brandon and I are catching the first stop of NEEDTOBREATHE's The Reckoning tour. I've never seen them live before and I'm really excited! If my cd burner hadn't died (AGAIN) I would be listening to their latest album on my drives to/from work every day this week. *sigh* Here's the lastest NEEDTOBREATHE single:



And here's my very favorite song from the band:


 There you have it: The latest music news from Hannah. Enjoy your week! :)

Friday, September 7, 2012

The Time we Grilled in the Rain

The forecast was calling for rain; let me start by saying that. But who pays attention to forecasts, unless it's their wedding day? Brandon and I had already decided to grill out for dinner and we'd had chicken marinating in italian dressing for over 24 hours. The grilling was happening, rain or shine.

You're not allowed to have personal grills on your porch at our apartment complex, which is fine because there isn't room. There are several charcoal grills located on the property for tenants to use and a gas grill to use at the pool. The closest one to us is across the parking lot at the "playground." I say playground in quotation marks because it's not much. What kind of a playground doesn't have swings? Anyway, I'm getting off track.

We Brandon started grilling while I carried everything outside. Our menu? Chicken, green pepper, and onion skewers, grilled white corn, turkey kielbasa, and grilled cheesy bacon potatoes. I found the potato recipe on Pinterest and was really excited to try it.


The skewers were finished first, so I'll call them the appetizers. (Although I actually had Flavor Blasted Goldfish for an appetizer... fancy!) The kielbasa was the second course. The potatoes were taking forever and the corn was still on the grill when it started to sprinkle. And then rain. And then rain harder.

I REALLY didn't feel like carrying everything back into the apartment, so I turned to the sad little playground. We would seek shelter there. Doesn't it look cozy?



Brandon finished up the corn and cursed the potatoes while I stayed dry:


We enjoyed our corn from our very own clubhouse, complete with spider webs! No wonder I never see any kids playing on it. When the rain stopped the potatoes were FINALLY ready. We'll call them dessert.


And that, my friends, is the time we grilled in the rain. A happy memory. :)

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Real Conversations // Disney World

Facebook chat between my husband and I this afternoon while I was at work:

H: i am so busy  just want to crawl in a hole and...
H: go to disney world
B: wow...
H: it should just dump me off right in the middle of the magic kingdom
B: so we could have dinner at liberty tree
H: YES I LIKE THE WAY YOU THINK
H: AND GET DOLE WHIP
B: of course
H: *sigh
H: ok, back to work
H: love you
B: love you


I'm so glad I married someone who gets me. When you're overwhelmed with life, where do you want to go?

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

RECIPE: Squash Casserole

I was born and raised in the south, yet I didn't taste squash casserole until I was 23 years old. WHAT? This is true, I promise. I decided to attempt it on my own a couple of weeks ago and who did I turn to? Paula Deen, of course. It was easy and delicious!


SQUASH CASSEROLE (serves 6)
6 c raw squash
1 c water
4 T butter
1 large onion, chopped
1/2 c sour cream
1 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
1 t salt
1 t pepper
1 t house seasoning
1 c crushed Ritz crackers

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Add squash and water to a large pot and allow to stew for around 10 minutes. Drain squash in a colander. In a medium skillet, saute the onions in butter for 5 minutes. Remove onions from skillet and, in a large bowl, combine squash, onions, sour cream, salt, pepper, seasoning and cheese.

Pour mixture into a greased dish and top with Ritz crackers. Bake for 25 to 30 minutes.