Tuesday, October 30, 2012

Happy Circumstances

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Every Day That's Not the Weekend is the Worst Day


We had a wonderful (albeit stormy) weekend in Wilmington. Since returning home I've been swamped with work and school. Registering for my last semester of graduate school yesterday actually brought me to tears (and NOT because I'm sad it's almost over). Whew. I'm ready for the weekend again. I promise I'll write much, much more soon! I have lots to share!

UPDATE: My dad drove 45 minutes to Greensboro to bring me all of my winter coats I had been storing in my old bedroom at home. Any day I get to see my dad is not the worst day. ;)

Friday, October 26, 2012

A Few Lil' Things

I'm writing this from a little hotel in Raleigh, NC. We decided to start our weekend trip early because Brandon didn't have to work last night (yay!). We left Greensboro when I finished work at 5 and came to Raleigh for 2 reasons:

1. The Pit is one of my favorite restaurants. It's the classiest bbq joint I've ever been in, in fact. I first heard of The Pit at an Anthony Bourdain event in 2010. Apparently he likes their food, too. If it's good enough for Tony it's definitely good enough for me! My favorite nom from last night was their bacon bruschetta. You'll see a photo of it in a later post. Maybe I'll even attempt to re-create the recipe!

2. Build-a-Bear is a necessary stop on our way to Wilmington... because I need to stuff a flamingo! That sentence sounds weird. My husband promised to buy me a Build-a-Bear flamingo when I reached 100 GFC followers and that happened earlier this week! Woohoo! Now I'll have a little mascot for the blog who can go with us on our adventures. Next week I'll let you vote on a name for him. ;)

Relating to GFC, I want to thank Jenn for being my 100th follower! You should all go visit her blog and say hi. I'm going to go across the street to the mall now to stuff my flamingo. Yes, we got a hotel room across the street from the mall. Aren't all of you as obsessive with your trip planning as I am?

Next stop, Wilmywood!

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PS) Happy Birthday #2 ;)

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Carolina Renaissance Festival

As promised, here are pictures from our recent trip to the Carolina Renaissance Festival. We had a great time and I got sunburned! Oops!


Our first stop was to get hats. Well, I guess mine isn't really a hat. What do you call that? Next year we're going to go all-out and rent costumes.


The joust was interesting, but not my favorite part of the day.


We decided that $2 wasn't too much to pay to shoot some arrows. I am not as good at archery now as I was in high school!


This lovely lady is my college roommate, Dianna!


Which of these mugs does not belong?


Om nom nom on a turkey leg.


We're leaving tomorrow for Wilmington, NC... stay tuned next week for photos from the NC coast!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

RECIPE: Buffalo Chicken Mac & Cheese Casserole

Do I really even need to write an introduction for a post about buffalo chicken mac & cheese casserole? You're right, I didn't think so...


BUFFALO CHICKEN MAC & CHEESE CASSEROLE (serves 6-8)
1 stick unsalted butter
8 slices white bread (cubed into small pieces)
5 c low-fat milk
1/2 c flour
3 t salt
1/2 t nutmeg
1/2 t pepper
1/2 t cayenne pepper
1 t garlic powder
5 c shredded sharp cheddar cheese
2 c shredded jack cheese
1 lb cooked pasta (i bought medium shells)
1 lb cooked chicken, shredded
1/2 yellow onion, chopped
3/4 c frank's red hot sauce

Preheat oven to 375 degrees and grease a 3 qt casserole dish. In a large saucepan, melt 6 T butter and whisk in the flour. Continue to whisk until the mixture turns golden brown, about 3 minutes.

Slowly add milk to the mixture, continuing to whisk to break up clumps. Continue to whisk the mixture until it thickens, about 10 minutes. Add the seasonings, then gradually add 4 cups of the cheddar cheese and 1.5 cups of the jack cheese. Continue to stir until all cheese is melted.

In a medium bowl, combine chicken, hot sauce, and onions. To build the casserole, layer the ingredients twice: noodles, then cheese sauce, buffalo chicken, then remaining cheddar cheese. Melt 2 T butter and combine with bread cubes, then spread them across the top of the casserole. Bake for 30 minutes or until top begins to brown and cheese begins to bubble.

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Cory vs. Chris

It's no secret that Brandon and I are big fans of Glee. The story line is ridiculous at times and the drama gets old, but we love the musical numbers so much. Plus, Darren Criss is my boyfriend! Don't worry, Brandon knows.

I was really excited to see the last episode of Glee that aired on 10/4 because I knew they were going to cover one of my favorite songs ever: Coldplay's The Scientist. (I posted about this song recently, on a rainy day.) After the show aired, Brandon told me that Cory Monteith has a better voice than Chris Martin.

WHAT! I love Glee, but my loyalty to Coldplay is stronger. Brandon says I am wrong. so I turn to you, readers... who is better: Cory Monteith or Chris Martin? Before you answer, here's some evidence from the song that sparked our discussion:



Leave a comment with your vote: Cory or Chris?


(PS, every time you see a link on one of their names in this post it's directing you to more songs from each respective artist... so you can educate yourself!)

Calm

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Friday, October 19, 2012

Favorite Song Today



Brandon and I saw Drew Holcomb open for NEEDTOBREATHE last month. We bought all three of the Drew Holcomb and the Neighbors albums at the show but I just started listening to them this week! I love one song above all the others:


What do you think?

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Me Myself & I (October Edition)

I loved Me Myself & I so much last month that I was really excited to write it again for October, even if I'm a couple of days late. Here we go!


1. WHAT IS YOUR FAVORITE SEASON AND WHY?
This is a tough one! When it's spring I usually say spring and when it's fall I usually say fall. Each spring, I'm SO relieved that a nasty winter is over, but the fall means that the miserably hot days of summer are gone. I like the "in between" times I guess. There are a lot more festivals and fun things to do during the fall, so I guess that's my answer for now.

2. TALK ABOUT A MOMENT THAT CHANGED YOUR LIFE.
In January of 2011 I met my husband for the first time. A mutual friend wanted to set us up, but we had arranged to meet each other at Starbucks on our own, without her help! I anxiously waited for him to arrive and when he did we sat and talked for a few hours, then went to Staples

3. IF YOU COULD BE ANY CRAYOLA CRAYON COLOR, WHAT COLOR WOULD YOU BE?
Man, I can't remember the last time I saw a pack of Crayola crayons. I had to look up the color names online! I think I'd choose Manatee, which is a gray shade. It makes me think of the cute manatee stuffed animal I had when I was a kid.

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4. DESCRIBE YOURSELF AS A SUPERHERO. NAME? SIDEKICK?
I'm not sure about my name or what my superpowers would be, but this guy would definitely be my sidekick:

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5. IF YOU HAD ALL THE MONEY IN THE WORLD, BUT COULD ONLY SHOP AT 3 STORES, WHICH ONES WOULD THEY BE?
This is a seriously easy question. I'd shop at Target, Ikea, and Kohls.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

RECIPE: Chocolate Rum Cake

One nice thing about having three hour long graduate seminars at night is that sometimes we get food. In one of my classes this semester we signed up for dates to bring in something for everyone to eat. Score! My good friend Patrick brought this chocolate rum cake a few weeks ago and I practically forced him to email me the recipe. It is good, folks! 


CHOCOLATE RUM CAKE
1 box yellow cake mix
1 small box instant chocolate pudding mix
1 c water
1/2 c oil
3 eggs
1 c semi-sweet chocolate chips
1 c sugar
1 stick butter
1/2 c rum
crisco
flour

Grease and flour a bundt pan, dumping out excess flour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Mix first 5 ingredients with an electric mixer until well blended. Pour chocolate chips evenly into the bundt pan, followed by the cake batter. Bake for 55 minutes.

While cake is baking, melt butter in a small saucepan. Add sugar and rum and simmer for 20 minutes or so until most of the sugar has dissolved. When cake comes out of the oven, immediately pour the liquid over it while still in the pan, going very slowly to let the liquid sink into the cake. Use a knife to gently pull the cake away from the side of the pan so that the liquid will go down all the way to the bottom.

Wait 30 minutes and then turn the cake out onto a cake stand or a plate. I personally think it gets better the longer you let it sit!

Monday, October 15, 2012

NC Zoo

Brandon and I decided to have an adventure every weekend this month. Last weekend it was the fair. This weekend it was the zoo. For some reason I returned home to discover that I didn't take many photos of animals. Instead, I took photos of plants. So that's what you're going to see the most of:


Brandon and I both wore the ugliest and most comfortable shoes we own (Merrells). Visiting the NC Zoo requires a lot of walking.


Poor baby giraffe didn't know which way to go!


I am sure the parents with the tiny kiddos were confused about why a grown man was trying to get a photo inside of the "egg."


This is a reflection on the water where the alligators were!


Next weekend we're planning a trip to the Renaissance Festival and the weekend after that we're going to Wilmington! Can't wait to share these upcoming adventures with you!

Friday, October 12, 2012

Friday Morning, 7:30 am


I usually have the mornings to myself while I get ready for work. Today, Brandon is up working on an exam for his business class. It's weird! Here are my thoughts at 7:30 on a Friday:

Hello and welcome if you're new to following my blog! I've noticed a trend lately that I've had almost as many new visitors as returning visitors and that makes me smile. I decided to read up on how you're finding my blog and discovered the search terms that are driving traffic from Google. Some A lot of them make me laugh:

  • About 10 different variations of the song "Below My Feet" by Mumford & Sons
  • A couple gives out a pile of raincoats to kids on the street
  • A bunch of different ways to say DIY cake topper
  • Cheese corn with butter
  • Fluffy Westie puppies
  • Groom lingerie
  • June Cleaver costume
  • Pomeranian stick out tongue Instagram
  • Silly raincoats

I have NO IDEA how a search for "groom lingerie" directed someone to my blog. I don't know what that is and Brandon and I certainly don't own any. In fact, I Googled it myself and my blog did not come up in the search results. :) A lot of really interesting things did, though.

Those are my thoughts for this morning! If you're reading this and haven't started following me via GFC, go ahead and do so! My husband is going to take me to Build-a-Bear to make a flamingo as soon as I reach 100. I'd love to have my lil flamingo before we go on a mini vacation in a couple of weeks.

Hope you all have lovely weekends! 

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

RECIPE: Braised White Beans

One of the first restaurants I fell in love with when I moved to Greensboro was Zoe's Kitchen. They describe themselves as "Mediterranean inspired comfort food" and offer great kabobs, wraps, and sandwiches. I loved getting their Greek salad as my side dish until I discovered their beans.

Zoe's serves the best braised white beans ever. I've never had white beans anywhere else, so I don't have anything to compare them to. But they're pretty darn good! Here's a "copycat" recipe that I found online and tweaked a bit. Make sure you have your crock pots ready!



BRAISED WHITE BEANS (serves 6)
4 cans white beans, drained (I used 2 great northern and 2 cannellini)
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 yellow onion
1 T dried rosemary
1/4 c olive oil
1 c chicken broth
salt & pepper to taste

Finely chop the onion. Add all ingredients to a crock pot and allow to simmer on low for as many hours as you can. Mine simmered for a whopping 11 hours, but I don't really think that's necessary. With one hour remaining, mash a third to half of the beans white a potato masher to create a thicker texture. Add more rosemary and salt and pepper to taste, if you wish. Serve as a side dish for any meal!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

How to Pester Your Officemate, East Coast Style

hilarious blog that I follow has a short series entitled how to pester your officemate, the latest of which had me laughing out loud at Jar Jar Binks. I happen to have two officemates here at Market America. Andrew and Cait are both lovely co-workers and I would hate to pester them...

But last week Andrew abandoned us for three days to go to a conference in Texas. We missed him terribly and to show just how much we were grieving his absence, we did the only logical thing:

We foiled his desk.


And everything on his desk.


And everything in his desk.


I even foiled his pushpins.

It was really shiny.

Chase It

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Monday, October 8, 2012