Friday, January 27, 2012

DIY: towel design

Inspired by this post by Elsie Marley, I made a towel each for Sean and Daniel with a diagragm of the butcher cuts of pork. I think they turned out great (and much cheaper than the Anthropologie towels I spotted in store)!

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Skillet Rosemary Chicken

Thanks to pinterest inspiration, I tried a new recipe. The picture looked amazing, but it tasted even better than I had imagined. The challenge Sean and I had with this recipe was using boneless, skinless chicken and trying not to dry it out. The end result flavors were nothing short of perfection.


3/4 pound small red-skinned potatoes, halved, or quartered if large

Kosher salt

2 sprigs fresh rosemary, plus 1 tbs leaves

1 clove garlic, smashed

Pinch of red pepper flakes

Juice of 2 lemons (squeezed halves reserved)

2 tbs extra-virgin olive oil

4 skin-on, bone-in chicken breasts (6 to 8 ounces each)
10 ounces cremini mushrooms, halved


Preheat the oven to 450. Cover the potatoes with cold water in a saucepan and salt the water. Bring to a boil over medium-high heat and cook until tender, about 8 minutes; drain and set aside.
Pile the rosemary leaves, garlic, 2 teaspoons salt and the red pepper flakes on a cutting board, then mince and mash into a paste using a large knife. Transfer the paste to a bowl. Stir in the juice of 1 lemon and the olive oil. Add the chicken and turn to coat.
Heat a large cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the chicken, skin-side down, cover and cook until the skin browns, about 5 minutes. Turn the chicken; add the mushrooms and potatoes to the skillet and drizzle with the juice of the remaining lemon.
Add the rosemary sprigs and the squeezed lemon halves to the skillet; transfer to the oven and roast, uncovered, until the chicken is cooked through and the skin is crisp, 20 to 25 minutes.
Per serving: Calories 413; Fat 23 g (Saturated 5 g); Cholesterol 87 mg; Sodium 1,055 mg; Carbohydrate 19 g; Fiber 2 g; Protein 32 g

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

{30 BEFORE 30}

I'm a huge listmaker...and I love the idea of accomplishing 30 things before I turn 30. While I typically would do this on my birthday (and fitting for new year's resolutions), I don't want myself to get confused between ongoing yearly goals and fun things to try at least once...but the list is full so I want to go ahead and get started!
♥     ♥     

1. Bake a pie from scratch

2. Bake a loaf of bread from scratch (…that actually rises. My banana bread doesn’t count and the babka I made once before wasn't a huge success)

3. Treat myself to a spa day (mani/pedi and a massage)

4. Treat myself to a unique piece of jewelry from Etsy or online

5. Picnic somewhere beautiful

6. Hike somewhere new

7. Go on a retreat by myself

8. Go on a camping trip

9. Get new glasses

10.See a Broadway show (on Broadway)

11.Shoot a gun

12.Consider a nose piercing or tattoo

13.Retain $1500 in savings

14.Pay off debt with the exception of my car loan (that will be in 2013 hopefully)

15.Reach the $10,000 mark in my retirement account

16.Learn how to sew

17.Make a quilt

18.Learn the art of felting

19.Sell a piece of art

20.Invest in a camera

21.Get comfortable using my DSLR camera in manual mode

22.Take pics of downtown Nashville

23.Scrapbook my childhood photos, schoolwork, art projects that I currently just have in a box

24.Open an Etsy shop

25.Travel Abroad

26.Accept a marriage proposal

27.Adopt a dog

28.Try strength training

29.Run a 5k

30.Celebrate the last night of my 20s in style

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Curry Chicken Stuffed Peppers

I recently added a new recipe to my list of favorite: Curry Chicken stuffed Peppers. This healthier take on the traditional beef stuffed peppers is really tasty. The original recipe can be found here, but below is Sean and my take with slight modifications (no raisins, no almonds, red instead of green peppers, and a little extra curry).

6 med. "orange" peppers (about 2 lbs.)
Vegetable cooking spray
1 c. peeled and chopped cooking apple
1 c. chopped celery
1/2 c. chopped onion
2 tbsp. cornstarch
1 (12 oz.) can evaporated skim milk
2 c. chopped cooked chicken, cooked without salt
1 1/2 c. cooked jasmine rice
1/4 tsp. plus 1/8 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. white pepper
1/8 tsp. coconut extract
3 tsp. curry powder

Cut off tops of peppers and remove seeds. Wash peppers and set aside.

Coat a skillet with cooking spray; place over medium-high heat until hot. Add apple, celery, and onion; saute until crisp-tender. Dissolve cornstarch in milk; add to vegetable mixture. Cook over medium heat, stirring constantly, until thickened. Stir in chicken, rice, salt, white pepper, coconut extract, and curry. Spoon 3/4 c. mixture into each pepper; top with almonds.

Place each pepper into casserrole dish; bake at 400 degrees for 30-60 minutes.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

DIY: 2012 Calendars

For one of my Secret Santa gifts at work, I decided to make a calendar with scrapbook materials I had on hand in a bowtie theme. Here was the project progression:

It's true...I have a secret love for scrapbook paper, glue dots, and washi tape. 

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

welcome, 2012!

As is my nature, I am running a little behind. I have so much to share with regards to October festivities, what Thanksgiving means to me, Christmastime cheer, and new years resolutions! I have been better with punctuality this year in general, but when I sink back into old habits, I have to rationalize by saying it's just in my nature. Even my birth date was delayed! I could've been a New Year's Eve baby, but when contemplating 1982 vs 1983, I went with being fashionably late in 1983 and wasn't the first baby that day either. It's just who I am. Nonetheless, I still feel special. :)

Last year's resolutions were again a success. While I didn't accomplish or succeed at all of them, I kept them in mind throughout the year and enjoyed 2011.

I took more photographs thanks to my camera phone. I finished a few books: The Housekeeper and the Professor, The Time Traveler's Wife. I did not get to take a mother-daughter trip this year, but I did get to spend time with my parents in Townsend, for breakfasts, perusing used bookstores, and taking walks in the neighborhood. I did not learn to play the piano yet, but I have gotten really great at playing the invisible piano on my steering wheel as I drive. I took a trip somewhere new to Seattle and Portland with Sean, and I would love to go back. I've tried new recipes and enjoyed them: blueberry pancakes from scratch, broccoli quinoa with chicken, gouda stuffed chicken breasts with potatoes au gratin, homemade pizzas, etc. We've had celebrations at our house this year with bonfires and bridal showers. We've had girls' nights and craft nights and nights to watch The Bachelor. I finished one piece of artwork from my long list of pending projects (and I use the word finish lightly because I'd like to go back and tweak it still). I was more organized. I purged belongings and made trips throughout the year to the Goodwill dropoff. I recycled more. I did not donate blood or find a service organization. I stayed healthy on the whole and excersized more with yoga. I slept better. I did blog more than the previous year, with the end of 2011 being the exception. I did seem to put myself out there more and met new people. I have been studying more and have kept a more positive outlook on life. I feel it affected me most in that I felt more observant of the little things around me and the people who needed help. I felt more outward than inward and that was probably the greatest success of the year.

Here’s my modified carryover list from last year's New Year’s “resolutions”:

1. Take more photographs.
2. Read more often. Currently on the list: Rules of Civility, The Hunger Games, Catching Fire, Mockingjay, World War Z, The Language of Flowers, The Help, The Time Traveler's Wife
3. Plan a special mother-daughter event. Would still love to do a trip to Chicago...
4. Take my dad out to breakfast each month.
5  Take a trip somewhere new. This year I’m thinking of possibly going to Savannah or Charlston with the roommates.
6.  Support Jackie Chapman on her journey.
7.  Help organize social events: maybe a book trade party, dinner party, girls' night/craft night
8.  Try a new recipe each week. I have three new cookbooks to choose from: Home Made, Super Natural Every Day: Well-Loved Recipes from My Natural Foods Kitchen, and Apples for Jam.
9.  Finish art projects: a wedding portrait for Charles and Jen, a portrait for Angela of she and her dad, a painting for Sean and one for his parents' house, clay nativity set, oval sihouette paintings, wedding day painting of my mom, etc.
10.  Stay consistent with excersize (yoga) and consider a running program or strength training class.
11.  Blog/write/think/pray
12.  Try to stay positive (be less critical, stressed, or overwhelmed).
13.  Eliminate debt by year end 2012. With my planning, I think I can accomplish this by September!

This list feels a little more inward-focused than last, but I guess I'm feeling a little desperate to accomplish as much as I can in the last year of my 20s and enjoy as much as I can. I'm reminded much too often that life is short, NOT that I'm too old, and I don't want to miss an opportunity.