Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Wednesday's Weekly Menu

I'm trying to resurrect the weekly menu post I used to do like Christie, Margaret, and Kate.  I love being able to scour other's meal plans for inspiration or great ideas and look back at my own blog to see what's been cooking!   Here's what's been had and what's set to be had at our house this week:

Sunday:  Crab Cakes with Grits, Shredded Zucchini, and Roasted Tomatoes

My in-laws came into town Sunday night to take us to supper, and we ended up having them over to our house for dinner.  Sometimes, its so much easier to stay in than go out!  Lash and I went crabbing Sunday morning, and were able to whip up some crab cakes last minute for supper and served with grits and some of my favorite veggies.  This has got to be one of my favorite comfort meals.  My mom's crab cake recipe is fabulous- I will post the recipe soon!

Monday: Crab Nachos

A repeat dish inspired by Pawley's Island's Chive Blossom, but it is always a winner.  I loaded the tortilla chips with cheddar and monterry jack with tons of fresh veggies- julienned zucchini, corn, cherry tomatoes, peppers, onions- and topped with the secret and key ingredients- a diced mango and avocado (or gauc) with a dash of lime and orange juice.  We inhaled this at an embarassing speed.

Wednesday: Shrimp and Corn Pie from the Kudzu Bakery with Roasted Asparagus

I'm taking a night off and pulling out a shrimp and corn pie from the freezer!  I can't wait for the Kudzu Bakery to open in Mount Pleasant.  It's always a stop whenever I pass through Georgetown- everything from their sandwiches, cookies, cakes (esp red velvet), special cheeses, and pies- its all fabulous!  I wish I could find a recipe for this shrimp and corn pie because it is so delicious.

Thursday: Country Fried Steak, Rice and Gravy, and Green Beans

Per my man's request! It's hard to admit this calorie bomb is on the weekly meal plan, but I feel like we've eaten okay all week so one night of glutony won't kill us.  I hope.

Weekends:  I never plan out meals for the weekend... Who knows where we will be and what we will be doing.. Plus, we love to treat ourselves out for a meal or two or just fly by the seat of our pants and cook what inspires us.

What's going on in your kitchen?

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Desperate Housewife

A recap of how I survived being married to a medical student during test week

When we first moved into our sweet home, we mistakenly set up our rice bed before first laying down the rug beneath the bed.  When we finally realized our mistake, we were all so exhausted from moving that we just put the rug at the end of the bed and decided we'd move it later.  Well, five months later, the rug was still awkwardly at the end of the bed.

Monday night, all of a sudden, the rug had to go. At that minute.  It could not wait any longer. I was shocked at how far I could get move it by myself, but eventually got stuck and sent a "don't kill me when you get home but we have a small project to do" text.  Thankfully, Lash just laughed at my crazy antics and we finished moving it that night... but look what a difference it makes!

Clearly we've also settled a little bit more since my "before" picture - 
with curtains, a chair, etc.. 
which reminds me I need to do an update of our house! 

On Tuesday night, I decided it was time to tackle my unorganized closet and switch out the summer and fall wardrobe.   At this point, I was totally beginning to question my decision to make a gigantic mess...

but with Glee and eventually The New Girl {p.s. did anyone watch this show? I thought it was hilarious!!} on in the background, mission accomplished!

Wednesday, I completely vegged out with Modern Family and Bethenny's E True Hollywood story.  I have never watched more TV this week.  I was so sick of cleaning, organizing, and being myself by that point that I sent a last minute invite to Anna, Hanna, Ashley, Frances and Caroline to come over for dinner Thursday night.  I was so excited to have some company and people to cook for!

Lots of wine and a delicious meal later, we had an absolute blast.  I was having too much fun to remember taking any other pictures. Oops!  But it was the perfect final fling to pass the week with flying colors.

Friday was finally d- day, and I have never been happier to count down the hours for Lash.  Before Lash got into medical school, a wise friend told me that you would plan your weekends around the test schedule.  She wasn't kidding. I've been giddy thinking about it!  When I finally got home from work, my sweet husband surprised me with beautiful bouquet of gerber daisies, a bottle of Malbec (my fav!), and a dinner date to the Wild Olive (It was out of this world!)!

I'm so happy to have him back for the weekend!  Be back Monday . . .

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Bourbon Marinade

While in Litchfield recently, my father grilled a tenderlion that had been marinating all day in a bourbon, brown sugar, and soy sauce mixture.  Our entire family could not get over the incredible depth of flavor and knew immediately that recipe was a keeper.  For no particular reason, Lash and I don't really eat a lot of red meat at our house, though we do love a good steak every now and then.

 I'm so intimidated to fire up our charcoal grill by myself.... especially on a test week when Lash is AWOL.. so I decided to use our Cuisinart Griddler.  Let me tell you, if you do not have one of these, go find a 20% off coupon to Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and get one ASAP.  I use it for everything- from paninis, breakfast, grilling vegetables and proteins... It is the best! 

I was so pleased when this flank steak turned out just as good as my father's.  Be sure to marinate for several
hours so the flavors really permiates the meat. Below is the original recipe.  I halved it for a 1.31 lb flank steak and marinated for 8 hours

Bourbon Marinade

4-5 1b Beef Tenderlion
1/2 cup Jack Daniels
1/2 cup Soy Sauce
1/2 cup Brown Sugar
4 Cloves Garlic, Minced
1/2 cup Dijon (doesn't need this much, can omit)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Married to a Med Student

Despite my apprehension and anxiety, our transition from blissful summer newlyweds to the back-to-school reality has been very smooth.  While I certainly miss the carefree days of summer, we both knew going in how limited those days were and prepared by enjoying our time together as much as possible.

As we enter week four of the semester, every day I am thankful that Lash is following his passion and truly loves the medical field.  Being married to a medical student is not easy, but watching him follow his heart and seeing his joy makes me so proud of him and helps to encourage him all the more.

Most weeks, Lash's typical days begin at 6 for a workout, followed by a morning of class, and an afternoon of studying.  After work and a quick sweat at the gym, I get home around 7 and try to have dinner on the table by 7:30.  Lash meets me at home for dinner, and this is our hour to get a good visit in before he heads upstairs to our guest room to study until 10 or so.  Sometimes, we'll watch TV or play cards after 10, others we are so exhausted we just hit the hay.  The schedule has been very easy to adjust to, and though it takes my every bone not to bother him when he is upstairs studying, I am so happy that he is at least at home, and I'm not by myself.

Test weeks are a different beast, though.  Starting over a week in advance of the test, Lash is out the door to the library by 7:30 (unless he works out in which he leaves earlier), and will not return home until 10 at the earliest.  These are long days, with seemingly even longer hours... specifically for Lash, but also for me too.

Knowing I have an empty home and a week of way too much time on my hands, I am trying to keep myself busy and distracted.

Thankfully, so far, so good.

I am trying to make a list of things I want to accomplish each day . . . including those things that I have been putting off and should be able to accomplish with some extra free time on my hands.  This week I'm trying to iron (ugh), change my summer wardrobe to fall, work out 3-4 times a week (I feel like lately I'm only getting in 2-3), clean the house... and meet a friend for happy hour or dinner.

Despite my attempts at passing the time, I do miss Lash, and its weeks like this I am especially grateful for friends, family, and blogging.  I will certainly be leaning on you for the next few days, months, and even years throughout his school, rotation, residency, and ultimately profession.

So even though its not my favorite week, being a single lady does have its perks for me including . . .
  • Watching whatever fabulous TV including all things Bravo, Modern Fam, Glee, and Wednesday E True Hollywood story on Bethenny without judgment 
  • Perusing that ever growing stack of magazines
  • Eating whatever the heck I want for dinner at whatever the heck time
  • Leaving on an exfoliating mask without sideways glares and giggles
  • A spotless house, updated budget, bills paid, organized pantry, and other checks on the to- do list
and some things that are totally not so stellar....

  • Solo kitchen clean up including having to taking out the trash (totally my least favorite chore)
  • Finding dead palmetto bugs, thanks to our recent pest control visit (sickkkk)
Countdown until the test is over: 3 days, 21 hours.  Come on Friday!!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Nana's Chess Pie

Thanks for all of your kind words regarding my previous post. I really do not like to use this blog to vent, but last week was completely bizarre and I am so happy to put it behind me and move on :)

My man is in lockdown mode with his first medical school test this Friday.  While I don't expect to see him too much this week, I do want him to come home to a fully stocked fridge and comfortable, welcoming environment.

One of the things that Lash loves is a bite of something sweet at night.  I do not have a sweet tooth so I take the easy way out and always have some kind of ice cream in the fridge for him.  To make a little something special for this week, this weekend I bake him a chess pie.  Chess Pies are a very Southern, old timey dessert, and this recipe is my grandmother's.  I hope you enjoy.  It was so easy!

Nana's Chess Pie

1 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 teaspoon flour
2 eggs, unbeaten
1/2 egg shell milk
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup butter melted
1 pie shell

Mix sugars and flour in a large bowl.
Add eggs and milk, only mix with a beat.  Do not beat.
Add vanilla and butter.

Bake 325' in unbaked pie shell for 30- 35 minutes.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The Wednesday I'm NOT Loving

Today was one of those days...  One of those days when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, and all day long you wish you had a reset button.

I didn't sleep well, woke up late, and rushed to work.  Since I always eat breakfast at my desk, the only thing I really have to do in the morning is shower and get dressed.  Because of that routine, it typically is not a problem grabbing a few more z's; however, this morning the sheets were extra cozy, and Lash all but had to kick me out of the house to work.

As some of you newish readers may not know, I work in the service department of an insurance company here in Charleston.  To say the least, service is an interesting, and very exciting, department.  I stumbled into the field, and had no idea how much I would actually enjoy it.  There is a constant strive for excellence, professional, and efficiency.  Every day, every email, and every call is different.  When the phone rings, you never know what you are going to get- praise, complaints, confusion, updates, we see it all, and I love it- the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Unfortunately, by 9:30 am (i mean come on, I was just finishing my coffee!!), I received a rotten phone call... the most rotten call of my career.  And it completely unglued me for the rest of the day.  The 20 minute call, quite lengthy compared to our 3 minute average, left me questioning my professional approach and response.  It was a completely bizarre situation- maybe even a one in a million situation- and though I handled it with more- than- necessary class and much tact, I spent the entire day reliving it and thinking what I should have done differently.  

Afterwards, I never feel like I got my feet planted firmly on the ground.  Meetings and conferences calls consumed my afternoon and I felt completely unaccomplished by the time 5:00 rolled around.  In a department driven by productivity and service, the day was humbling.

Once I finally got home and kicked off my heels, Lash and I had an event tonight to attend.  While I welcomed the opportunity to get together with people we don't know very well, I struggled to put on my game face given the day's challenges.  It's hard to put your best foot out there when you don't feel 100%.  I'm glad we went, but boy I'm ready to put this day behind me.

At least we're over the hump, right?  TGI(almost the day before)F!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

To My Mother

With love, happiness, and much good cheer,
Wishing you a very happy, happy birthday today!

You are my role model and my hero.

Monday, September 12, 2011

An Upstate Affair

We had the best time in Clemson this past weekend. Despite my original expectations, the drive across the state honestly wasn't too bad.  We arrived just past dark thirty and anxiously awaited our "ferry" ride from our house for the weekend to the party house.

It was such a welcome surprise to be in the upstate and have cooler temperatures at night!  You really did need a light jacket.  I did a terrible job taking pictures Friday night, but our evening consisted of visiting with everyone and a late night game of Catchprase- my favorite! 

Saturday morning after a hearty breakfast, our tailgating train left at 10:30 for Death Valley.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day, and we all had a blast catching up with so many Wofford friends.  


We unfortunately will not be making it to Homecoming this year, but based on the incredible turn out of the weekend, we pretty much had our own little mini-Homecoming at Clemson.  This wasn't even everyone!

Once the kickoff was upon us, we were all anxious to see the Terriers play.  Typically, Clemson and Carolina have a little bit of difficulty playing against the option offense that Wofford runs, and that was true to form again on Saturday.  It was an exciting game, and we almost came out with a victory!!

With the grueling temperatures and absolute direct sunlight from our nosebleed highrise seats, at one point I literally was getting lightheaded from the heat.  Thankfully, Lash found some ice for me and let me take a time out in the shade before we had any medical emergencies.  As you can see from the pictures, I wasn't the only one struggling!

I left cheering on the t-dogs to my buddies and sought out some much desired AC at a nearby establishment and the Georgia/ Carolina game.  Being the nail biter thriller it was, we didn't leave Clemson until 8:30 that night as we couldn't peel our eyes from the game... Once we did finally make it back, we headed back to the boat and to our friends house for a very late supper and an even later pool party.

The guys, all fraternity brothers and best of buds, had the best time pretending like they were twelve again with a pool party and even chicken fighting (ha!). I thoroughly enjoyed waiting from the side and playing DJ... there is absolutely no way you're get me in a bathing suit after an all day of drinking!

After two nights of going to bed in the weeeee hours of the morning, our house was completely dark by 9:30 last night, and ten hours of sleep did us goooooood.

Yet, give me a thousand more sleepless nights if it is the company of friends.   

We're coming to discover that even though we may not see our people very often, it really is amazing how you can get back together, pick back up right where you left off and not miss a beat.  It was a great weekend of phenomenal fellowship with friends old and new.

Friday, September 9, 2011

Tiger Town

We're making the trek basically the entire way across South Carolina this afternoon to see our beloved Wofford Terriers take on the Clemson Tigers tomorrow.

It's going to be a monster drive in the 5:00 traffic leaving town, but we have been anxiously awaiting this weekend for a while!  It's basically a fraternity reunion for Lash - 20 of his closest friends + significant others divided between two houses... I am certainly not expecting to sleep much!

Though I've grown up in SC my entire life, I've actually never been to a Clemson game. With my dad's family being from Columbia and sister a varsity athlete at USC, we've all grown up as Gamecock fans and done our fair share of Carolina games. 

However, I am really looking forward to experiencing the tailgates around the stadium, that run by the rock down the hill (whatever its called?), seeing all that orange, and being back in the collegiate atmosphere...

I've got our tailgate packed with plenty of mimosas, dips, and other munchies... Bring on college football!!

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Triggerfish Picatta

A dear friend dropped off some triggerfish he’d caught yesterday, and I made a wonderful piccata last night.  In the event any fish lands in your lap in the near future, I thought I'd pass along.  This can easily be adapted for chicken as well... just make sure you pound out chicken to a uniform thickness and adjust the cooking times.  The depth of the savory, flavorful sauce makes this easily one of my favorite meals.  I served over penne pasta with parmesan- reggiano and roasted broccoli, and we were licking our plates clean. 

 - Dredge fish in all-purpose flour
 - Melt 2 T butter and 3 T EVOO over medium heat
 - Pan sauté fish until golden brown and flaky on each side, remove from pan
 - Deglaze with ½ cup white wine until reduced 2-3 mins, scraping up any browned bits
 - Add the juice two lemons, the zest of one lemon, 2 T capers and ¼ cup chicken stock, and simmer
 - Remove from the heat and whisk in 2 T butter.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Sept 2? Step Back.

I feel like a brain dump is the best kind of post for today... the day before a holiday and a three day weekend.  Whoo hoo! 

- Call me old- fashioned, but I still go by the rule of "no white after Labor Day."  My work and play outfits this week have consisted of white pants, white skirts, and seersucker.  A little overkill on repetition, but you can't blame a girl for trying to get it all in one more time.

- Cue the hallejulah chorus: I am on a five day of detox from Diet Coke {and BOOZE too (!!) --though that detox will be over promptly at 5pm today}. While I do understand my beloved DC is nothing more than chemicals-in-a-can and arguably worse than the original, I l.o.v.e. a cold DC.. especially with a salty snack. I typically only drink one a day, but this week I've realllly just wanted to cleanse my body.  In case you are wondering, it is going okay... day three was miz but other than that, I've managed pretty well.

-Never ask me to save the world between 2 and 4 pm.  I am a morning person and fail prey to the worst afternoon slumps that includes glazed eyes, no energy, and embarassing productivity.  I really wish it was appropriate to leave the office from those hours and then come back for a few hours later refreshed and motivated.

-Lately, I've been so disappointed with the Living Social and Groupon deals in town but today, I bought the Living Social deal here for two hours of house cleaning.  I usually don't mind cleaning but for a special treat, I'll gladly take some time off and have someone else do it!

-I can't believe that summer is "over," yet, I'm also so excised about cozy fires, scarves, a slight chill in the air... and college football.... Go cocks!