Tuesday, August 31, 2010

The Go- To's

I've been in a little bit of a recipe rut lately and had the thought earlier today to email some girlfriends to do a recipe swap!  After deliberating what the theme/ parameters would be, I settled on a "go- to" recipe swap- you know, the classic recipes that you pull out when you are in a bind or when you've got nothing else or when you don't know quite what to do!!

And then, one thought lead to another, and I started thinking about my other go-to's and of course, I got so distracted that I never sent that email out. . .

Anywho, this may just be diarrhea of the mouth (err, keyboard), but hey, play along and leave me a fun comment with your go- to's or blog about it yourself and keep me posted!!

Go To Song:  "Georgia" by Boz Scaggs Or "Oh Praise Him" by David Crowder Band

Go To Movie: Father of the Bride
No matter how many times I see this, or how many scenes I know by heart, I love it more and more every time.  And always cry during when Annie and George play basketball in the middle of the night and it starts snowing.

Go To Take Out: Red Orchid

A hidden gem in West Ashley!  Note: They do not have a good website, but I swear by it- all you Charlestonians must try it! Great bistro atmosphere, too, if you want to dine in!

Go To Recipe: Shrimp Risotto

Comfort food at its finest if you ask me!

Go To Cocktail: Vodka Water

So refreshing in this summer heat! And not to mention lower in calories than other cocktails!

Go To Summer M.O.:

A fun day on the water with best friends!!

Go To Website: www.google.com/reader, of course, to keep up with you all!! Thanks for reading!! :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Fancy Bacon

Let me reiterate a not- so- secret secret that I was reminded of again today.

I totally believe that the way to a man's heart is through his stomach . . .  And most specifically through bacon!!! :)

Case in point- After church today, I 100% bribed convinced Lash to stick around for lunch because I had the ingredients for Fancy Bacon BLTs.

I owe my work colleague a major thank you for introducing me to the concept of "fancy bacon."  What is fancy bacon you ask?  Well, there is no specific recipe or methodology- fancy bacon is just bacon drizzled with a generous shake of cayenne pepper and pinch of brown sugar.  You can apply the cayenne pepper/ brown sugar on the bacon while it is cooking in the pan or after when it is draining on paper towels.  Ok, maybe it isn't very 'fancy' after all, but I swear, your taste buds will think it came straight from heaven itself!!  The brown sugar and cayenne lend an incredible kick- sweet, spicy, savory, crunchy. Ahh. I love it.

Unfortunately, I was too wrapped up in my BLT to remember to take any pictures of the creation, but please, do yourself a favor and go make yourself a FB BLT.  It will change your world!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Rollin' down the highway. . .

In the next two days, this will be my whirldwind: 

2 states, 417 miles, 5 cities, 7 meetings.

Ahh ... I hope I'm well rested. . . let the journey begin!

Monday, August 23, 2010

The White Coat

 As many of you may know, in May, Lash was accepted into the Medical University of South Carolina's College of Medicine.  It truly has been amazing watching someone's lifelong dreams come true. . . especially someone who is near and dear to your heart.  

We've both been so thrilled about his upcoming adventures in school and subsequently, tried to live each day to the fullest this summer before he is diligently living in the library until December.  It's been a great summer, but I'm excited to say that this weekend, we officially kicked off his medical school career!

There are two traditional, and very important, ceremonies associated with medical school. The obvious, of course, is the graduation and hooding ceremony once all coursework is complete. The other is the white coat ceremony.

In this empowering ceremony, the incoming students receive their own white coat and stethoscope, a gift that symbolizes the strong values represented by their medical profession.  Both universal symbols of the medical profession, the white coat and stethoscope signify the high standards of medicine's thrilling challenges and awesome responsibility.  They remind physicians of their professional duties to lead their lives and practice their art in the highest uprightness and honor.

It truly was incredible watching Lash receive his white coat.  Of course, I tried a little unsuccessfully to keep the waterworks to a minimum- but I couldn't help it, I'm so proud of him!!!

Dr. Springs to be, I am so excited for you to begin this awesome chapter of your life, and cannot wait to watch you blossom into the incredible physician God has planned for you to be.  You sure do look handsome in your coat!

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Couponing is the Jam!

In my attempts to be a little more conscious of my spending, I've casually turned to coupons to save a dollar here or 50 cents there.  Being recently new to the coupon world, I had no idea that such a cult (for lack of a better word) existed.  I also had no idea how much of a hobby coupon-ing can become.  My inbox is filled daily with fun savings from coupons.com and groupon.com.  (If I'm missing another great site, let me know!!)  Some of the stuff that pops up for sale I would never buy (read: go-gurt, toaster strudels), but sometimes there are straight gems in there!

So anyways, I've been collecting coupons for a month or two, and today I had to make a big grocery run.  I've been traveling so much lately with summer fun that my cupboard was absolutely bare when I started to make my list.

And let me tell you, I could not believe my eyes when I saw my savings when the cashier rang me up.

I saved $17.22 shopping today!!! Can you believe that?!? I think it is so awesome- I'm totally inspired now.  It really makes a difference!

Friday, August 20, 2010


Cheers to Friday, dreams coming true, family visits, and God's peace that passes all understanding.

Thursday, August 19, 2010

To Cut Or Not To Cut?

That is the question.

You probably don't even care. It is not important.  Not earth shattering. . . But it is stressing me out!

For the past 5 years, I've had SHORT hair.  A cute bob with tons of layers.  And it's looked incredible short.  I love it.  It takes 5 minutes to blow dry, and no styling involved- I am out the door.

But, for some reason, I've let my beloved hair dresser talk me into switching it up and growing it out.  At first, I was all about it  (I love a pony tail), but now I'm in the awkward in-between stage and I don't know what to do.  I can't stand how it looks right now.

Long (relatively speaking here folks):

Uggh. Decisions, decisions.... Help a sista out!

Tuesday, August 17, 2010


My biggest diet buster?  These two partners in crime:

1.  Cheez It (hey, it is made with 100% real cheese)


2.  Wheat Thins (reduced fat only, per my mother's upbringing)

Seriously, the hardest thing for me to bypass in the grocery store is the cracker aisle, not the sweets, not the wine, not the pizza.  Seriously, they must put crack in crackers or something!!   They are like the sirens and sea nymphs from Greek mythology who lured sailors to their death by their enchanting songs and then, the unsuspecting sailors shipwrecked (say that five times fast) on the island's rocky coast.  Quite the parallel, no?  Consider my diet the ship crashing violently ashore.

So, I'm trying to jump this giant hurdle by substituting my afternoon snack with an apple instead of crackers. . . oh but how I miss the grainy crunch!  Or even worse, I miss the deadliest diet demolisher (alliteration must be my friend today) of all- the cheese and crackers combo. . . Mmmmm. . . Specifically, the cheese part because this here is heaven in a refridgerator for me:

Seriously, have you tried any Cabot cheeses?  I'm extremely partial to the "seriously sharp" variety.  It is amazing.  Sometimes I compromise and sneak a little slice o' cabot in with my apple.  Ooooh, the things we give up for our girlish figures!!

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Friends and Monsoon Season

Happy Sunday evening!  Hope everyone had a great weekend!

Two of my best friends came into town Saturday night, and we had the best time catching up.  It always fills my tank whenever I get to spend quality time with great friends.  It's so wonderful to catch up, retell old stores, relive our glory days (or at least try to), and laugh until our cheeks hurt.  As Elisabeth Foley once said, "the most beautiful discovery true friends make is that they can grow separately without growing apart." In my year outside of college, that's one of the biggest lessons I've learned. . . and it's been great learning it.

After a fun night hopping around town, we woke up to a nasty monsoon.  Holy Rutledge River!  After over a year, I still cannot get over the bad flooding downtown.  Its not uncommon to see people kayaking down side streets after a heavy storm!

Even my neighbor's trash can was knocked over in the flow!

I felt really bad for this guy.  You know he was soaked.

All in all, the rain didn't bother me too bad though. It was nice to have a day to relax and sit around the house and not feel too guilty doing it!  And it kinda fit my somber mood after the girls left because in addition, it was also Luci's d-day.  Yes, please lower your flags to half-mask and mourn with me- she has flown the coop and headed back home for a few days before heading back to Wofford :(  I'm already having separation anxiety. . . Empty nest syndrome at 23. . . That's normal, right?

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

My Sister's Keeper

It's been a great summer.  Lots of time with family and with friends, beach days, a vacation to the Keys, friends' weddings, time in the river. . .  But the highlight of my summer?  

My sister has been living with me!!

A rising senior at Wofford, Luci has had a great internship with a local wedding planner in town, and moved in at the end of May.  Though we see each other frequently, we had not lived together since before I went off to college.  Needless to say, we were both excited to be together again! And honestly, it is probably one of the few times we will be able too again. . . which is sad to think about.  We've grown up so fast!!  

Anyway, regardless of our excitement, I think we were both a little nervous about the summer, knowing we'd be living in tight quarters, sharing a bedroom and a bathroom. But my sister is my best friend and deep down, I knew we'd make it out just fine. Plus, I think it's probably a little different living with your sister in a tight space than it would be with a friend.  And speaking of tight spaces, our beds have been literally inches apart.

Unfortunately, summer's drawing to a close and schools are getting ready to start back up.  My heart is already breaking at the thought of Luci heading back to Spartanburg.  I'm going to miss always having someone to exercise with, cook with, laugh with, falling asleep talking way too late at night with, and just live with. . .  :(

So, yes, while I am looking forward to getting this back

I'm depressed to be saying goodbye to this:

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Buffalo Chicken Sandwiches

These were great, y'all!  Buffalo chicken sandwiches are not typically something I order or even crave, but I decided to try something completely new today, and I'm so glad I did!  This recipe could be easily doubled/ tripled/ whatever to serve a crowd for say football games or parties and it is so easy!! Also, I don't do leftovers, unless you can somehow tweak the dish into something new. So with my leftovers, I'm making Buffalo Chicken Pizza.  Two meals with the effort of one?  Music to my ears!!

Before I get into the recipe, I had to share this picture below. . . My crock pot is a hand-me-down from my parents, who received it as a wedding gift circa 1983!  Clearly, crock pot technology has developed since the early eighties, but this bad boy is still crockin' like a champ, honey!  

Allow me to introduce you to my "crockette:"
{Crockette. Definition: a crock pot designed for two. 
Origin: probably some crazy family member reading my blog :) 
Who would have thought this thing is still going 27 years later?  hehehe}

Anyways, excited about my culinary adventure today and knowing my beloved crockette did not have the luxury of a low setting (or any heat setting for that matter), I came home at lunch to set it and forget it!

I used two chicken breasts cut in half so they would fit in my small space and I reserved 1/2 of the breasts just in case it didn't turn out and I needed an alternate dinner plan.  I told you: I'm an inexperienced crock potter.  Anyways, in addition to the chicken, I used 1/2 ranch dressing seasoning packet and about 5-6 oz of Frank's hot wing sauce.  With the remaining ranch seasoning, I made ranch dressing to use on my sandwich/ general purposes.

After work, I anxiously came home and anxiously peeked inside:

It was looking good!  I wanted to go ahead and shred it so that it could continue to cook and absorb the sauce while I went for my run.  So I shredded away and tossed back in with 1/2 T. butter, per the recipe's instructions, and let it continue to . . . crock on!

Cook's Note: I actually removed about 1/4 cup liquid because I thought it was a little too soupy.

And after I got back from exercising, I toasted my bread, melted some cheese, and voila! Dinner was served!  It's nice every now and then to not have to slave away over pots and pans.  What a nice change!

Yes, I made the mistake of also cooking some sweet potato fries to go along side.  Hey, if you are going to go all in, go in all, right??  

Monday, August 9, 2010

Monday's Musings

Today's 8/9/10.  I love when dates do something fun like that.

I've turned into quite the bookworm this summer and I'm loving it. . . However, I am currently on the market for a new book.  I just finished Redeeming Love, and have already read The HelpFirefly Lane, Charles Martin's latest book The Mountain Between Us (amazing!).  Any ideas?

I got my dental bill from my misery a few weeks ago.  Holy cavity!!  If I already did not have enough reasons to brush harder, I officially do now.

After receiving said Christmas present from the dentist, I'm determined to get better about budgeting.  Not quite the most fun topic, but I was wondering if any of you fellow readers had any suggestions.  I've always been conscious of my spending, and have a close idea of what's in my account, so that's not the problem.  I want to create a spreadsheet or something that allocates what portion of my income is going where (groceries, gas, fun, etc). . . So I can know what I'm spending. . . Does something like that exist?? A friend has suggested mint.com, but I just have not had a bunch of time to sit down and figure it out.  What's your magic trick?  Sometimes this real world with its big girl reality is tough!

Moving on to a happier subject- - -Tomorrow night, I'm throwing my culinary (in)expertise for a whirl and trying these slow cooker buffalo chicken sandwiches.  I'm really excited to see how they turn out!  This is definitely not something I've ever done before- I am totally inexperienced with the crockpot.  But, I figured it was a great time to practice the recipe so hopefully I can whip them out at a tailgate this fall.

Speaking of tailgates, football season is almost here!  Which means summer is almost over.  What?!? Crazy how much time flies.

Anyways, I hope everyone is doing well.  I'm so glad to see some new followers joined the bunch.  :) Have a great week!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Good, The Bad, and The Skinny

The Good:  I finished Redeeming Love last night.  I could not put it down!
The Bad: I stayed up until midnight soaking in every last word.
The Skinny: I'm exhausted today, and can't stop thinking about it! It is so good.

The Good:  Lash and I are going on a date night tonight!  Hooray!

The Bad:  I've been procrastinating at work looking at menus and day-dreaming about where to go.
The Skinny:  Lash is leaving for the Bahamas Sunday for 10 days with his family (lucky duck), and then starts medical school the week he returns . . . so this may be the last date night for a while!

The Good: Our kitchen, laundry room, and dining rooms are *finally* back to normal after last week's renovations.
The Bad: I got my first taste at home remodeling- yikes! It was supposed to take a max of 5 business days. . . of course, it took eight, not including the weekend.  I'm not looking forward to the day when I have to go through a remodeling again.
The Skinny:  I hadn't been able to do laundry since the work started- last night I had to do four loads. Wow.
The Good:  Because of our troubles/ pains with the renovation, our land lord pro-rated our rent for the month. Woohoo!
The Bad:  Knowing this, I went shopping Saturday. (Bad ML)
The Skinny:  I tried to control the VISA swipes, but everywhere was having awesome sales and I had 20% off coupons.  I ended up with some great purchases from Banana Republic. . . their stuff is so great for work and play.
Ending on a good. . .
The Good:  Thank Goodness It's Thursday, and I'm going home this weekend! I can't wait!

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Buried In A Book: Redeeming Love

When I get really into a book, I tuned everything else out.  I love to sit by myself, sometimes for hours, and get completely lost in someone else's story.  I majored in English in college, and honestly, I got a little burnt out reading for "work."  I'm so glad to be out of school and be able to focus on what I want to read, versus what I'm required to read!!

Currently, I am fascinated with Francine River's Redeeming Love.  I'd heard so much wonderful things about this book, and knew it would eventually make its way to my reading list.  What a pleasant surprise when my sister showed up with a copy in hand earlier this summer! 

Have you read it? You definitely should!

Set in the 1850s in the height of the California Gold Rush, Redeeming Love is a historical romance that parallels the book of Hosea from the Bible.  I am captivated by the story. . . the themes of unconditional love, grace, forgiveness.  Rivers' words hold your attention and touch your deepest emotions. . . . it makes you think about your life and how you react to those around you and you love.  I started it earlier this week, and have stayed up way too late two nights in a row reading, but I cannot put it down!   I cannot wait to see how it ends, but I also really don't want it to end! It is a must read!

Monday, August 2, 2010

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Summer Tomato Pie and Sweet and Sour Crunch

The perfect summer meal!

Sweet and Sour Crunch

I've been meaning to share this recipe for the longest time because I make this slaw literally twice a week.  . . I just never remembered to take pictures of the process until tonight!  This recipe is so easy to make and is a great accompaniment to many entrees.  You can mix it up a little bit by using Napa cabbage or Romaine lettuce, adding sliced green onions for an extra burst of flavor, or chopping up grilled chicken over for a complete meal.  I hope you enjoy it as much I as I do!

Toast broken up 1/2 package ramen noodles, 1/2 c. slivered almonds, and 2-3 tbsp sesame seeds until golden brown.

Combine dressing ingredients: 3/4 c. cooking oil, 1/2 c. sugar, 1/4 c. red wine vinegar, and 2 tbsp soy sauce.   {I love homemade dressings.  Note: you do not need to use all of it in the portions outlined here; it makes a lot!}

Toss with 1/2 bag of your favorite slaw and serve!  Serves 2 big portions or 3-4 smaller ones.

Also on tonight's menu . . .

Summer Tomato Pie

A tomato pie is one treat I look forward to all summer.  With fresh, local tomatoes all around, it screams summer at its finest.  Be sure to squeeze as much water out of the tomatoes as you possibly can to prevent a runny mess! 

I peeled and sliced 5 beefsteak tomatoes and drained on paper towels (blotting with more paper towels) while I diced 1/2 of a yellow onion and minced about 3 tbsp fresh basil leaves.  Once everything was chopped and the pie crust pre-baked, I layered 1/2 of the tomatoes, onions, basil, and then the remaing 1/2 of the tomatoes.  No pictures to show- my hands and kitchen were a wreck!  Then I grated about 6 oz extra sharp cheddar cheese and combined it with a small handful of parmesan cheese, 1/3 cup mayo, and salt and paper.  Spread atop final layer and viola!  Your tomato pie is ready for the oven.

Bake at 400 degree for 25-30 minutes.

If you're like me, and like extra golden brown/ crunchy cheese, you can broil on high for a few minutes until your pie reaches perfection. . . But as always with broiling, don't lose sight of the oven.  Things can go downhill fast!

Bon Appetite!