Thursday, April 16, 2015

Chicken with Feta, Basil, and Sundried Tomatoes

I've been so busy lately with house stuff that I haven't had a chance to spend much time in the kitchen lately. Here is a great recipe that has a nice crunch on the outside and is bursting with flavor! I served it with honey and balsamic carrots and a yeast roll.



Chicken with Feta, Basil, and Sundried Tomatoes

Ingredients

2 boneless/skinless chicken breasts
1/4 cup panko breadcrumbs 
1 tbs of crumbled feta
1 tbs of chopped sundried tomatoes packed in oil
3-4 basil leaves roughly chopped
1 wedge of lemon
Garlic Salt & Pepper
2 tsp of Olive Oil 

Directions:

1.  Dampen Chicken with a bit of water, season both sides with salt and pepper (be careful with the salt as feta is salty), and dredge in breadcrumbs.
2. Heat Olive Oil in a pan over med-high heat. Cook about 2 minutes per side or until chicken is browned.
3. Transfer chicken to a pyrex baking dish. Top with sundried tomatoes, feta, and basil. Squeeze a lemon wedge over the dish Bake at 350F for about 30 minutes or until chicken is no longer pink inside and the juices run clear.


Monday, April 13, 2015

Woohoo We've Got Walls!

We had such a great weekend--busy, but great.

Brad planned a nice date for us Saturday morning. We did a segway tour of Duke Mansion (the property) and neighboring areas.  It was a lot of fun and the weather could not have been better. Charlotte really is gorgeous in the spring with all of the flowering trees.





Afterwards we drove down to the new house (more to come on that below) and then grabbed brunch. That night we checked out the new Birdsong Brewery location which just so happens to be walking distance to our current house : ) We met up with Rob and Erin who we haven't seen in a long time so it was great to have a chance to focus on friends instead of the house, which takes up too many of our waking hours these days.

Back to house stuff...

Today we took off of work and made the final counter-top choices. We ultimately decided to stick with Quartz for the kitchen. It broke my heart to find out that it was actually cheaper to get the real thing (Marble), but it does not hold up well in the kitchen (yellows, etches etc.). Considering my kitchen gets a lot of use, and I am not exactly known for being easy on things, I decided to go with the durable choice. We also did a similar Quartz in the laundry room.


We went with Granite for the bathrooms. I found this slab that is really beautiful and I think will work well with our tile




I also wanted to include some photos now that the dry-wall is up...

 From living room looking into kitchen...


Master Bedroom...

Kitchen looking into breakfast nook (screened porch off to side)..


Early stages of brick...



 Living Room...


 Standing in dining room looking into hall...


Lastly, the start of brick up close. It's still a little wet so the color is going to be off and the bottom is slightly stained orange from the red-clay dirt. That part will eventually be covered once we do the landscaping...


It feels so good to see some progress!

Friday, April 10, 2015

FOF: The Perfect Paint



Paint can make all the difference in a house. It's a big decision, but lucky for me I have a pretty good idea of what I am looking for. I want light and neutral colors. We've gone bold in our current house, but agree neutral is a better choice for the new one.

I've mentioned before that we do not have a lot of direct sunlight due to the huge pines that surround the lot. Keeping everything light will open up the space and keep it from looking like a cave. We do have a few things working in our favor; tons of windows, an open-concept, the bright white coffered-ceiling, white trim work, and the white kitchen cabinetry/quartz counter tops. All of these elements will help keep everything feeling bright and airy...hopefully!

Here are the colors I am considering (I can pick 2 or 3)...

One. SW Repose Gray:

Via
Two. SW Agreeable Gray:

Via

Three. SW Accessible Beige:

Via
Four. SW Balanced Beige (bottom stair wall):

Via

 Five. SW Alpaca:

Via

Which is your favorite?

Tuesday, April 7, 2015

Easter Weekend

We had a nice Easter. Holidays tend to fill me with mixed-emotions; mostly nostalgia. Each year brings new changes. I am becoming more aware that my little nieces and nephews aren't so little, my family dynamics have completely shifted, and that I am married, nearing 30, and am by many measures a certified grown up..

 I am also reminded that Easter is a time for joy, celebration, and resurrection. Winter has given way to the gentleness of Spring, and new life emerges all around us. I am humbled by the goodness that surrounds me, and the people God has nudged in my corner.

Friday I spent a good part of the day preparing food for Easter. I am getting better at this cake thing, and I was so excited that my layers on my Coconut Orange Cake actually came out even...



Saturday I braved Costco pre-holiday and then stopped by the new house. Not much has changed however we now have the insulation put up...




Later that afternoon I went over to my in-laws and had an early Easter meal. My mother in law made her potato salad which is so reminiscent of my Mom's (and delicious), that it almost brought me to tears, ah, the taste of home : )

On Sunday we had brunch at my Grandma Mary's after church. She gave us some pretty flowers for our porch (forgot to take a photo), and put together an Easter egg hunt for the littlest..


I think the adults had more fun watching than Christian had Egg- hunting but he sure looked cute doing it!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Easter weekend : )

Friday, April 3, 2015

Five on Friday




//One//

I had a lovely meal with my co-worker/friend Leah. She and I went for Sushi at one of my absolute favorites, Cowfish. They have the BEST Tuna Nachos in the world, and my favorite roll in Charlotte; The Boss- Yum! What made things even better is we stumbled upon half-off wine night so we treated ourselves to a little Prosecco too! 

//Two//

More great house news, we passed our insulation inspection! They will be installing dry wall next week. It's going to feel like an actual house with walls and stuff ; ) Stay tuned for photos... 

//Three//

Jennifer hosted Her:Grow at her home this week. Her neighborhood is amazing; all of the homes look like life sized  doll-houses; beautiful, and colorful Victorians. We enjoyed some wine outside on her patio and checked in about the highs and lows of our week. We started doing this a couple months ago and it leads to some great discussions. You leave feeling heard and supported; it is honestly such a healing and wonderful group to be part of. 

//Four//

Notice anything different? No photos! 99% of the time I take photos on my phone (I am sure you can tell), it's just easier. I am focusing on being a little bit more engaged and present when I am with people and so I have decided to put down the phone. My blog may not be as pretty to look at, but it is the right thing to do (for me) so I can focus on who I am with. 

//Five//

I am making some tasty things this weekend for Easter. On the menu, Cappuccino Mousse Trifle (Brad requested), Coconut Orange Cake, and Laurel's mom's Twice Bakes Potato Casserole. Are you making anything special for Easter?

Wednesday, April 1, 2015

Food & Beverage Discoveries

Here are a few new favorite food & beverage products I have been buying lately...and no, they aren't paying me to write this ...



Okay so it's not certified organic  (it is Non-GMO Project Verified) but it is delicious. A co-worker of mine introduced me to this and it adds a whole new level of tasty to Pb&j sandwiches. If you like a slight coconut flavor then you will love this peanut butter as much as I do.



I must be craving coconut lately! I am not a big cereal person in general, but this is so delicious I can't seem to get enough. Nothing wrong with cereal for dinner : ) 



I fall prey to these guys every time they are on sale (which is often--at Target & Harris Teeter). They are surprisingly tasty and simple in terms of ingredients. I am far too lazy to make cold-pressed juice, so Suja is perfect!


Another beverage I really like is Mamma Chia. It has a texture very similar to Aloe Juice (which I love), and the flavors are fairly mild in terms of sweetness. I really like the Cranberry Lemonade which is light and refreshing when served ice-cold!



Another non-certified organic product however they market themselves on simple ingredients and whole food products. While I can't attest to this myself (read more here), I can honestly say these are a life-saver for busy work mornings. They are hot, yummy, and really easy to prepare.

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 : )
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