Monday, March 30, 2015

Weekend Recap

Here's a quick recap of my weekend...

I'll start with some wonderful news, my close friend Lindsay and Shawn welcomed their baby Norahlee Violet into the world on Friday morning. Mom and baby are home and healthy. I am so happy for them and can't wait to meet that sweet baby girl soon!


Friday night Brad and I went on a date at Dressler's . It was probably the best meal I have ever had there. My favorites were the Low Country Crab Dip and NY Strip with garlic herb butter. We ended up going home and getting to bed early since Brad had work to do at the house the next morning.

Saturday morning my friend Laura and I took our dogs to the Greenway for some much needed catch-up time, and went to lunch at Crepe Cellar afterward. I have not seen her in a few weeks but she has had some major life changes recently. She is moving to Colorado this Summer for an internship she matched for (an extremely competitive and stressful process). I am so proud of her and all that she has accomplished, but moving day is going to be one bittersweet day.

Sunday, Brad and I went to Watershed in the morning. They do a really nice service for Palm Sunday, plus it's the first time Brad has been able to join in awhile (he's been at the land working a lot). I also took down my Spring/Summer clothes from the attic (woohoo), and then we went to a couple model homes for inspiration. I am pretty sure I have my paint colors narrowed down!

I hope everyone had a nice weekend : )

Friday, March 27, 2015

FOF: Let's Talk Illumination

We have our meeting with the lighting folks this coming month and so I have been busy looking through catalogs and websites. Brad likes to tease me because I often use the same two adjectives to describe the look I am going for ; rustic meets elegant. While crystal chandeliers are beautiful, I am not sure they really fit our style. That being said here is what I have in mind...

1. Entryway/Foyer:

We have a small foyer with a lot of natural light coming in but I think a lantern-style light could look really nice. We don't have one picked out yet but here are two that may work...




2. Kitchen Island 

I have always known what I want for our island lighting. These two over-sized pendants will look amazing...





3. Breakfast Nook

While this photo looks like a different color bronze, they are actually the same manufacturer and therefore will look the same. The breakfast nook is very close to the island so I want some cohesiveness to the look without doing the exact same thing...

 
4. Dining Room 

This one is really hard for me. I haven't found much I like. We don't have a dining room set yet but know we want something fairly traditional and a bit more formal (not farm-house like). Brad found the one below that he likes and I do too but I am not 100% sold. Maybe it's the shades, I don't know.  This is one I need your help with. If you find a pretty chandelier do not hesitate to send!

 
 5. Bathroom 

This is another tough one for me because I really do not like much that I am seeing.
I want to keep it very traditional and chrome to match the bath fixtures. I would have loved to do sconces but we don't have the side walls for that so they have to be over the top of the cabinetry.  I don't even know if below is what I like or not honestly...




And that's all for now. Any great brands/websites/lighting fixtures you think would look awesome? Please comment below!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Little House Update...

I know I have been a little slack on blogging lately...

Just a few things worth mentioning.

First, I made really delicious Stir-Fry for dinner last night. I found a great Stir-Fry Sauce from Tastes Lovely that uses honey, ginger, and garlic to create amazing flavor without all that processed stuff that's in store-bought versions.

Also, a very exciting house update...

 We have FINALLY moved on to the next stage of home building. After battling winter weather, busy sub-contractor schedules, and everything else, we have passed our inspections today! In the next few weeks some major changes should be taking place. The insulation will be installed and dry wall up by next week. The following week we will have flooring, followed by the trim and cabinets. I will post photos of the progress, but I am so thrilled to be moving along with this!

Tuesday, March 24, 2015

NCAA, Vegetarian Recipes, & Turn yogurt Greek!

My weekends have been pretty tame lately. Brad has spent nearly all of his free time at the house working on projects and cleaning up the property . I've been busy getting our current house in order (spring cleaning) and ready for an easy move.

Friday I experienced the craziness of NCAA firsthand. I went to three games for work (Brad in tow for Duke), and sat five rows up center court. While I am not a basketball fan at all, I have to admit it was actually a lot of fun and people were really into the games.


We spotted Magic Johnson (hands clasped, in white, and seated up front) at the first game...



Seated right in front of me was our friend Kevin...
 He had me send a photo to Brad and I had him take one so I could say hi to his wife ...


That's what I love about Charlotte;  it's a city, but with a small town feel --so you're always running into friends!


Switching gears. I also wanted to share two awesome vegetarian recipes with you:

For lunches this week I made Sweet Potato Black Bean Quinoa Bowls from Spoonful of Flavor. 

I made everything ahead of time and just divided it into three Pyrex bowls. It was a nice break from the usual sandwiches and salads served at lunch.

VIA
This one I am really excited about;  Just a Taste's Homemade Falafel with Tahini Sauce. I love Falafel but always imagined it to be cumbersome to prepare. If you have a food processor and an hour to kill these really couldn't be much easier. They are surprisingly flavorful; and I love anything that comes with a yogurt sauce. I added a bit more flour to the original recipe, and subbed Ancho Chili Powder for regular Chili Powder for an extra kick. I highly recommend this recipe!

VIA
Tip...

 Did you know you can turn plain yogurt (regardless of fat content) into Greek without a single ingredient? All you do is place yogurt in a cheesecloth, secure over a bowl using a rubber band, . cover it in plastic wrap, and leave it in the refrigerator for a few hours. The moisture will drain from the regular yogurt resulting in thick Greek Yogurt. I have a hard time finding Organic Greek Yogurt at my grocery store so I just make my own! It increases the versatility of your ingredient;  you can prepare both of the recipes above without buying two separate types of yogurt.



Wednesday, March 18, 2015

One Year of Blogging & Slow Cooker Corned-Beef & Stout

Today marks my one year blogging anniversary. Thanks to all who have encouraged, read, and inspired : ) I really love sharing my story and recipes with you!



Yesterday was Saint Patrick's Day, and like any good hungry Irish gal I made a big batch of Corned Beef in the crockpot. I slowly simmer carrots, onions, potatoes, and beef in a Mocha Stout for nine hours and the result is fork-tender deliciousness. I generally prep this the night before and then hit high on the crockpot and let it go.

Slow Cooker Corned-Beef  & Stout



Ingredients:

Tip* when cutting the veggies keep them about the same-size

2.5lb Corned Beef (with seasoning packet)
1/2 yellow onion cut into large chunks
5 medium potatoes peeled and cut into thirds
5 carrots peeled and cut into chunks 
1 small head of cabbage cut into small wedges
 12oz Stout Beer ( I used Highland Black Mocha Stout)
2 cups water

Directions:

1) layer all veggies except the cabbage on the bottom of a crock pot
2) Sprinkle meat with the seasoning packet. Place on top of veggies (fat-side-down) and pour beer and water over the top. Cook on high about 9 hours.
3) Remove meat and vegetables with a slotted-spoon and cover with tinfoil to keep warm. Add cabbage to the slow cooker and cook an additional 1.5 hours.
4) Serve with apple-cider vinegar, butter, and a good-quality Dijon mustard

Monday, March 16, 2015

Weekend Highlights & Seared Ahi Salad

It felt like Spring all weekend in Charlotte; nearly 80 degrees and lots of sun!

I'll keep it short and sweet. Weekend highlights...

Seeing this guy test for his yellow belt AND break the board on his first try!



Going out to dinner to celebrate my Brother-in-law Jeff's birthday (which is today actually)... Happy Birthday Jeff! 

Making the perfect Seared Ahi Salad for lunch...(blurry pic courtesy of Iphone)


Seared Ahi Salad:


Ingredients:

 Low-Sodium Soy Sauce
Wasabi Powder
Lime
Arugula
Avocado Slices
 Ahi Tuna
Sesame Seeds
Sesame Oil
Sea-Salt & Cracked Pepper

Notice there are no measurements. That's because it's a salad and more of an eyeball-it recipe. Don't be scared as you really can't mess it up. 

Directions:

1) Place tuna in a zip-lock bag, add a few swigs of soy sauce (just enough to cover) and let rest for 10-15 minutes.
2) On a plate arrange a bed of arugula and slices of an avocado. Season with salt and pepper. 
3) Over med-high heat add 1/2 Tbsp of sesame oil per tuna steak and sear on each side 1-2 minutes (depending on thickness) for rare. I sprinkle on a little bit of sesame seeds as well. 
4) Slice tuna and place on arugula bed. 
5) In a separate bowl squeeze a lime and add wasabi powder to taste ( I suggest starting out  with a small amount as it can be very spicy). Thin the mixture with sesame oil (if necessary) to make a vinaigrette. I personally do not add the sesame oil to the dressing because I like the sourness of the lime on its own. Drizzle on salad and enjoy!

Friday, March 13, 2015

FOF: House Update, Serial, NYC

Lot's of catching up to do so here is my 5 on Friday...


//One//
 
A highlight of my week was spending time with some friends who no longer live in the QC. Last Saturday, Michelle, Taylor, and I had lunch at Cabo Fish Taco and then visited two new local breweries, Sycamore and Lenny Boy. Then yesterday I had lunch with my friends Lindsey and Erin at Siam Garden a.k.a the best Thai in Charlotte. I really love these ladies and spending time with them when they visit is always a priority. 

//Two//

Quick house-updates.

Last weekend I drove out with Brad and took some photos of the progress. We are hoping to get inspected soon and start dry-wall.
 
First some outdoor photos....(front)


Garage Side...



Back...


Here are some inside ones. living room...


Dining room...


Master bedroom...


Breakfast nook...


//Three//

I traveled to NY this week for work. I never sleep well away from home so it was exhausting. Have you ever been so tired that you couldn't sleep (ironic right) ? I came home expecting to crash but I have been up the last two nights; 4 hours of sleep in 48 hrs just won't cut it. Tonight I give up, I am running on fumes...going to benedryl it. 
 
This was my first time visiting our corporate headquarters (which reminded me of a college campus). It was really cool to visit, but it made me appreciate the closeness of our regional office.

Of course we ate well on this trip. The Italian food...how I miss really good Italian food.
 

//Four//


When I left my last job I also left behind my logoed laptop bag. Stubborn me refused to buy my own since I found out we couldn't expense one. Well after carrying my laptop in a reusable grocery bag for nearly two years (I know, awful), I finally caved and bought one. I really wanted to use my dad's briefcase but I want to keep it in great condition (it's currently being restored), so I have to think of another use for it. This Kate Spade Laptop bag is bright, fun, and perfect for travel since you can remove the strap and use it as a handbag if needed.



//Five//
 
 

I am probably late to the party with this one, but I have been listening to Serial (the most downloaded NPR podcast in history), and I am hooked! It's a true story chronicled over 12 weeks that recounts a gripping mystery surrounding a young girls murder. Lots of twists, turns, and suspense...download it here!


01 09 10