Thursday, April 30, 2009

Tag you're it

Katie Lake tagged me for a little Q & A. Here it goes.

1.Respond and rework: answer the questions on your blog, replace one question that you dislike with a question of your own invention, add one more question of your own.

2. tag other un-tagged people.

The Questions:
What is your current obsession? getting back into shape after law school

Do you like your name? sometimes, but it can get confusing because I'm just Katie, not Katherine

Who was the last person you hugged? If you have to count a person - the BF, but I just gave the dog a big good morning hug!

What’s your favorite dinner? Lamb Chops with mashed potatoes

What was the last thing you bought? A calculator for my Partnership Tax exame

What are you listening to right now? Passport to Europe w/ Samantha Brown

What is your favorite weather? I like snow

What is your least favorite season? Spring (it's pretty but my allergies are insane right now)

What's in your bathroom cabinet? Bathroom cleaner and 4 unopened boxes of Proactive (I just recently figured out how to stop the bi-monthly shipments, now I get it every 4 months)

Say something to the person/s who tagged you. Katie Lake, can't wait to see you tomorrow, will be in route on the way home as soon as the HVAC guy returns to finish fixing the AC

What is your favorite tea flavor? Mint (in the summer my mom adds fresh mint from her herb garden to sweet tea, so refreshing)

What did you want to become as a child? A lawyer (I haven't changed that much)

What do you miss? Having a life outside of school

What's your favorite brand of jeans? Seven for All Mankind or Hudson

What designer piece of clothing would you most like to own (new or vintage)? I'd love to have either a LV Speedy (graduation perhaps?) or a Chanel bag (but I don't know which one)

If you could go anywhere in the world for the next hour, where would you go? Prague (I didn't get enough time there when I went)

Who do you want to meet in person? Justice Scalia, I bet he'd be a trip

What is your most challenging goal right now? Passing the bar exam and getting a job

What’s your 5 year plan? Um, getting a job so I won't be living in a cardboard box underneath a bridge.

What is my favourite sport to watch? To play? College football; snow/water skiing or running

What is your favorite piece of jewelry that you own? I have three: my black pearls, the Tiffany earings that the bf got me for Valentine's Day, and my watch (my ultimate favorite piece, I think it's so classic)

What is your favorite charity or cause? any one that has some sort of road race to raise money (because I'll actually get my booty out of bed on a Saturday morning to go run the race)

What color do you feel looks best on you? Green

Favorite pair of shoes? My silver Chanel ballet flats that I got at a used shoe store. I've worn them out

And I tag:

Angela Darling

Happy Thursday!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Random thoughts

Besides taking my last exam today, the bf (who is also a graduating law student) and I also attended a memorial service for one of our beloved professor's wife who passed away unexpectedly late last week.

This professor was one of our favorite professors and he and his wife (a former dean at the law school) were always so great to open up their home to students like the bf and I. The memorial service was wonderful -- it definitely illustrated what a special person she was.

The bf and I asked our professor when would be a convenient time to stop by and bring some food and he made a really interesting comment that I can definitely identify with because I felt the same way when my dad passed away. He said that his house was full of food and people at the moment but that he'd love to have some company next week when the house is empty. I couldn't agree more, I think that once the wake, and funeral are over and all of the chaos of the death has initially passed, I think that is the time when you need the visitors and food the most. Personally, that is definitely when I felt the most alone after my dad passed away.

That said, I know it is a very southern thing for people to bring food to the family of the deceased which brings me to the point of this post. Call the family and ask if they need food, or wait until that next week and bring food that freezes well with portions already packaged for the freezer. It sounds weird but I can remember throwing away tons of food after my dad passed away but thinking how nice a thoughtful meal would have been in the weeks following.

Taking my own advice, what the bf and I are going to do is go visit our professor next week at his home and I'm going to make mac and cheese and put it in individualized take out containers that can straight from the freezer to the oven (Dollar Tree has these and they even come with lids). I'm also going to make labels identifying the food and attaching reheating instructions.

Anyway, that's about all. I'm going to go enjoy a beer with a friend to celebrate the end of exams!

I'm Done!!!

I'm finished with law school exams, forever (well except for the big one in July!) Now all I have to do is graduate and start my bar exam reivew classes! That said, thanks to Ms. USCEmily at From the land of cotton for the lemonade award!

This award's rules are:
1. Put the logo on your blog or post
2. Nominate at least 10 blogs that show an attitude of gratitude
3. Link to your nominees within your post
4. Comment on their blogs to let them know they've received this award
5. Share the love and link to this post and the person who nominated you for the award.
6. Tell us how you've come to have an attitude of gratitude
I have an attitude of gratitude because I realize every day how lucky I am to live the life I live. I have to thank my parents for being able to provide me with everything I ever wanted or needed and for telling me that I could do whatever I put my mind to. I realize that not everyone has had the opportunities I have and because I am so lucky I am extremely thankful.
I am also thankful because I have been blessed with a great family and great friends who always support me in my endeavors. After going through a tough time I think that you really learn what a great gift this is.
And I tag:
Angela Darling at 20-Something Dreams
Christina at This Girls' Life
Have a great Wednesday!

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Food for thought

Still studying. Have and exam and a paper due tomorrow, then have to start studying for exam on Wednesday. I need to take a study break so I thought I'd do a quick post to show how my eating habits have deteriorated over the past 3 days. I don't have time/care to cook right now so the extent of my kitchen appliance use is my microwave and George Foreman grill. As the picture below shows, I'm a little obsessed with making paninis with my Foreman. It's like getting food at a restaurant but I don't have to spend the money, plus I use Pam instead of olive oil or butter so I feel like its a healthier option as well.
I have a ton of guacamole leftover from my birthday party so I served my sandwich with chips an guacamole and also used it as a spread on my sandwich. I'm not a mayo eater (unless it's in something) but I have read that guacamole is a good substitute for mayo because its creamy and full of the good fats. Just some food for thought. Back to studying!

Saturday, April 25, 2009

I'm so excited (and wasting time)

I'm supposed to be studying for my criminal procedure exam right now, but I've decided to take a break to watch the NFL draft and do a quick post about the previously mentioned LV bag that I still need a dust bag for (any suggestions about where I can get one? Let me know.)

So here it is, I don't remember the name of it but I do know that its cute. Does anyone know anything else about this bag? I know some of you are LV collectors.

So that's about all for today, I need to get back to studying. I realize this post is short but all I really wanted to do was dedicate a post to my new bag.

Have a happy Saturday and think of me stuck at the library studying in spite of the beautiful and finally warm weather!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Finally -- a food post!

I realize that a lot of my, posts this week (or lately) have been about things other than food. This is mostly because I haven't really cooked, I've just been too busy. This does not mean that I have been eating out three meals a day (too expensive plus unhealthy) it just means that I've made a lot of sandwiches. I also made a huge pot of chicken noodle soup on Sunday to eat all week! Plus, as an experienced law school exam taker, I have a freezer full of premade dishes, more on that later (it's a great thing to do that I learned from my mom!).

The first part of this post is dedicated to the things in the kitchen that I couldn't live without! They are what I call my kitchen powerhouses!

This is the most used pot in my kitchen. Of course, it is my dutch oven. Mine is Le Creuset and I've had it since I started law school. It is actually a thrifty find since my mom bought me an entire set at an antique auction for what one pot would have cost at Williams Sonoma. It may sound weird to buy used cookware, but this was gently used and Le Creuset lasts forever so it had many cooking years left in it (even with my cooking). As I have said before, everyone needs a good dutch oven and this is something that you need to buy the best you can afford. A lot of the time, high quality dutch ovens will occasionally show up at your local thrift store, and Home Goods and Tuesday Morning usually will have a good selection of top of the line cookware, so check out these places before you purchase. But again, a good dutch oven is like a nice handbag, piece of furniture, or pair of shoes, meaning that you need to buy the best you can afford, it will be worth it in the long run!

This is the cookbook that taught me how to cook! And I would describe it as the original Rachael Ray since most of the dishes are ready in about an hour. My mom has had it since I can remember and a lot of my favorite dishes that she makes are recipes from this book. I think it may be out of print at this time, I actually found mine at a charity book sale. However, or your local used bookstore may have a copy of it. While the title may not be exciting and it may seem little old fashioned and not gourmet, I promise that the title is deceiving. The first dish I ever made was corn and bacon chowder out of this cookbook and I love it as much today as I did in 7th grade when I first made that dish. Word of warning - don't expect tons of lovely pictures of the food because there are none, but there are plenty of easy to follow, fast, and inexpensive recipes that are just waiting for you to personalize!
I know that I mentioned earlier in this post that I was going to talk about my freezer full of premade dishes. This is a great idea because it gives you several entrees that you can just defrost and add a little something extra too and dinner is finished. I do this with chili, pasta sauce, and soup. I find these foods freeze the best and they are most often the dishes that I create a ton of leftovers. I started taking those leftovers and putting them in plastic containers and freezing them for exams (or a particularly stressful day). I highly recommend doing this, it's a great way to keep leftovers from being wasted and it definitely stops me from eating fast food 3 times a day during exams! Just add either some extra tomato sauce and parsley to the frozen sauce and add pasta (if reheating pasta sauce); add some extra cilantro and top with cheese, sour cream, and salsa to reheated chili and you've got dinner that doesn't taste frozen!
Happy Friday!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

An exciting day

So I'm sitting in my last law school class.. EVER.. Part of me wants to jump for joy and the other part of me really wants to cry..

Random question

Because she is awesome, my mom got me a vintage Louis Vuitton bag and a vintage Ferragamo bag at an antique auction (I'll post pics when I can find my camera -- its exam time at my house so I can't find anything). Both bags are awesome and real -- all have the proper identification marks (date codes, etc.) plus this auction company only carries really high end products and has experts who can determine authenticity before the items are ever sold so Mom if you read this -- you're really awesome!

Anyway, since these items did come from an auction I don't have dust bags to store them in. I'm not carrying my Neverfull right now so it is resting in the storage bag that it came in so I can't use it. Also, all of those little bags that bed sheet sets come in that I also use as dust bags for my purses that didn't come with dust bags are either too small or already in use.

I'm a huge fan of storing my purses (all purses) in dust bags, I feel that it really extends the life by protecting it from becoming either scratched or covered in dust/dog/cat hair and need a couple for these new bags!

I realize that is a lot of build-up for a really simple question -- where can I find purse dust bags? I've checked on ebay and only found one which I am probably going to buy (assuming the risk that I'll be sued and/or arrested because I bought what is probably a knockoff dust bag and the powers that be will assume I'm either a collector or seller of LV knockoff products -- that will be fun to attach to my bar application, j/k) but I was wondering if I have any other options. Does sell stuff like this?

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

P.S. My furniture is thrifty as well

And I'm moving in less than a month and wanted to dedicate a blog post to my house because I am really going to miss it. I am also really happy at how well I think it turned out. The only room that I am really not 100% happy with is the master bedroom (see previous post for pics of that). Otherwise, I love the way my dining room, living room and guest room all look, so I thought I'd share with you some pics and talk about some of my good deals in the world of home decor!

Above is the far wall in my living room. The polka dotted chair and the chest (which is actually a tv cabinet from the 50s) are both Salvation Army finds. I had to do quite a bit of work to each piece, but I was able to get great quality custom furniture for a fraction of the retail price. Granted, the stuff was not in good condition when we bought it, the chair was this awful mauve color, but the cushions were down filled and it had hand tied springs and a hardwood construction (i.e. it had great bones). I found the fabric at a discount fabric store and with the designer's discount my mom (the antique dealer/teacher) receives, I got the 10 yards necessary to recover it for less than $80. Recovering the chair was another $200 and I paid $15 for it, but I got a really good quality piece that would retail for at least $500 for around $300 and I will be able to use it for years to come. The tv cabinet is a similar find -- it was like $60 and all I had to do was paint it black. Eventually I am going to turn it into a really cool bar, replacing the interior shelving with mirror and somehow making another door out of the remaining t.v. screen.
This is another view of my living room that shows another one of my favorite things -- my couch. This was not a salvation army find, but it was a hand me down from my parents. It was actually the first piece of furniture they ever bought together as a married couple and my mom saved it for me for my first home. I think it is one of the most classic sofa styles on the market and I intend to keep it for many years to come. I should also note that I did not receive it in this condition -- it was bought in like 1982 and the fabric definitely showed its age. So again, I was able to use my mom's designer connections for the fabric and upholstery. Because the fabric was a little hard to find this piece was very expensive to recover ($800, yikes!), but considering that mom and dad paid over $1,000 for the couch itself in 1982, I still consider this a good deal because buying a new piece of the same quality would probably be over $2,500 at this point, especially for one with custom fabric. Also, because of the quality of the piece, it will grow with me as I start my career and am able to move into a larger home. Plus, a good piece of furniture will only increase in value, and you can save money in other places. In my living room case it is the ottoman which was a Target find and my area rug which is from Lowes! The white chairs were bought as a pair from an antique store and apparently were also quite a find -- they are covered in white linen and have a hardwood construction and are also a piece that will grow with me.

This is a picture from my guest bedroom. I would love to have an identical type of feel to my master bedroom, and hopefully mom or CraigsList will come through soon with cherry queen size 4 poster bed. Anyway, this is my favorite piece of furniture in the entire house. I saw it in my mom's antique shop and had to have it. You can't tell it but the grain on the wood on the drawer fronts is very unique and beautiful. This picture is also a great example of a place to save money -- artwork. The photo arrangement above the chest is compliments of Wal-Mart and a disposable camera. They are photos I took while on vacation in Austria that I enlarged myself at the Kodak picture maker at Wal-Mart and the frames came from the picture frame section. I love the way it turned out -- I think it adds a very personal touch to the room.

This is what I wish the master bedroom looked like. Like I said before I really hope to find a queen size similar bed. The bed was an antique auction find by my mom (she's so good y'all) and is solid cherry and handmade. I love 4 poster beds, I think they seamlessly fit into any type of decor. I also love the bright colored sheets mixed with the white duvet and bedspread, I feel like it makes the room pop. The bed linens are also a place where I saved money, the sheets are Ralph Lauren which I got on sale at the Polo Outlet. The bedspread was on clearance from TJMaxx and the duvet is from KMart on sale. Again -- don't discount your local KMart or Wal Mart for bedding options as many of their higher end lines are of very good quality.

This is a pic of my dining room. I actually made the table runner with leftover fabric from an upholstery project. I inherited the table and chairs from my grandparents and the buffet from my mom (again, learn to love the hand me downs, you can always personalize them to your taste). The wine glasses are also an auction find from my mom that she couldn't sell at her shop, I think they make a very nice collection.

This is the final picture from my living room. The marble top chest was another piece that my mom couldn't sell in her shop. I love it -- it's probably my second favorite piece in the whole house. The print was another find - $20 at a consignment shop! New lampshades made the three lamps in this pic more current and in line with my tastes (another good tip -- a new shade can completely change the look of a lamp).

Finally we have a pic of my mantle. The fireplace does not work so I use it as my entertainment center. I wish I had a little shelf to sit the tv on, but oh well I will eventually talk my mom and stepfather into making me one! My favorite find in terms of the mantle is the artwork -- that's a Goonies movie poster that I purchased at a college poster sale for like $8. The frame is from Target for less than $40. I think its a really cool looking piece that I intend to keep forever (mostly b/c the Goonies is my favorite movie ever)!

That's all I've got folks! I realize this post is long, but hopefully it will give you all some thrifty decorating ideas! Remember -- any piece can either be (1) painted, (2) refinished, or (3) recovered. I should also note that (in honor of Earth Day) it is way greener to buy a quality piece of furniture that you can have recovered as your tastes change because fewer resources are destroyed by the recovering process than by the disposing of and buying a new piece process. To me, quality furniture is like a good pair of shoes or a good dutch oven, you should buy the best you can afford as it will be worth it in the long run because the piece will last forever! That said, don't discount your local thrift store, consignment shop, etc. in your furniture search. These places are full of good quality items at affordable prices and the money you save by buying a used piece you can put towards custom upholstery or refinishing!

I realize this post was quite long, but I really wanted to dedicate a post to my house because I'm really going to miss it! Hopefully my new home will be just as charming, which I am hopeful for b/c I hear that Chicago is full of vintage apts!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Yummy Chicken Dinner

We really like chicken in my household so I'm always looking for a new way to cook chicken so that it is exciting and different. Since we have a ton of snacky food leftover from my surprise birthday party (BF is so awesome!) I decided to make pretzel crusted chicken and potatoes last night. I have to say that I was very pleased at how it turned out.

Pretzel Crusted Chicken:
1 package boneless skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup flour
1 egg beaten plus 2 tablespoons milk
1 cup pretzels crushed
1/4 cup bread crumbs
1 teaspoon of each: grill seasoning, salt, pepper, granulated garlic and sage
Preheat oven to 350. Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a large skillet on the stove top. Mix the spices with the flour and place in a dish. Mix the egg with the milk and place in another dish next to the flour mixture. Finally mix the pretzels with the bread crumbs and place in a dish next to the egg mixture. Coat the chicken in the four. Next dip the chicken in the egg mixture. Shake off excess. Now coat the chicken in the pretzel mixture.
Place in the skillet and cook 3-4 minutes per side until the coating is golden brown. Place the skillet in the oven to finish cooking the chicken for about 15 to 20 minutes.
Crispy Baked Potatoes
2-4 baking potatoes washed and peeled
3 tablespoons butter
2 tablespoons olive oil
Salt and Pepper to taste
Cut the potatoes into big chunks. Place in a pot and cover with water. Add a bit of salt. Boil the potatoes until fork tender. Drain and allow to cool. While the potatoes cool place the butter and olive oil into a baking dish. Place this dish into the 350 oven to allow the butter to melt. Remove from oven and add the potatoes. Coat the potatoes well with the butter mixture and add additional salt and pepper to taste. Bake 20 minutes (or until the chicken is ready). Turn the oven onto broil and broil the potatoes for an additional 5-10 minutes until crispy. Add more salt if you wish.
Serve with steamed broccoli. Enjoy!

CTB your made my day!

I got another award! Yay! Thanks CTB at Well Bless Your Heart for the Friends award! You have made another day in a stressful week much better (my last set of law school exams start on Monday, boo!). You are so sweet and I really love your blog, it always makes me smile.

Here are the rules: These blogs are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbon of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers. Deliver this award to eight bloggers who must choose eight more and include this cleverly-written text into the body of their award.I'd like to pass the award on to these blogs. If you have already received it once, please forgive me. You shouldn't be so friendly! :)

I love each and every one of the blogs that I read but I pass this award on to:

I'm sorry if I left anyone out, or if you have already gotten this award! Also, I've got a couple of new recipes to post as well, so get excited! Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, April 19, 2009

So the surprise was on me!

So last nights surprise party was actually a surprise birthday party for me! The BF did such an amazing job planning everything! It was one of the best birthday parties that I've ever had!!

I have to admit that I did suspect that the party may be an early birthday party for me, since my actual birthday is in the middle of exams (and has been for the last 7 years!). The BF was very sly in telling me that our friends wanted to host a joint surprise birthday party for their significant others! He even had our other friends bring gifts for the boys!

He did such a good job, he even had the way that I was going to be surprised planned down to the smallest detail! He even called my BFF (Ms. Katie Lake) and had her drive down for the party so I got not one but two awesome birthday surprises!

Even though I won't be 25 until May 1, I have to say that the BF and the BFF made this one of the best birthdays I've ever had! I love you guys!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

I need some help!

The BF and I are hosting a bit of a party tonight. I can't give a lot of details about it right now b/c it's supposed to be a surprise party. I will post pics from it later when I can blog about it more. BUT I do have a bit of a problem -- I can't figure out what to wear! I need some opinions from all of my fashionable blog friends!

I have two questions. First which outfit do I wear? Do I go with the shorts and yellow cardigan? Or do I go with the dress?

Do we like this outfit? And if we do which shoes do I wear (see below)?

Or is this one better?

Do we like these with the shorts/cardigan outfit?

Or would these look better?
We're having a bit of a bbq/house party. Food will be chips and dip and such. We may go out after the party. If any of this information is helpful in you decision!
Thanks guys! I'm having the hardest time picking out clothing lately! I've gain a bit of weight so I think my wardrobe crisis may stem from that but any way you look at it I need help for tonight!
Have a good Saturday!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Fast somewhat healthy lunch

In an effort to save some money and lose weight, I've starting preparing my own lunches a couple of times a week instead of grabbing lunch out after class. One of my favorite restaurant lunch dishes are paninis, which are really easy to make at home! I also found a way to save calories in the side dishes by giving myself a smaller serving of potato chips and adding a side of fresh veggies.

As you can see this lunch consisted of a turkey panini, potato chips, a pickle and celery with 1 tablespoon of light ranch dressing. I also made an iced coffee with the coffee leftover from this morning.
Turkey Panini:
1-2 slices deli turkey
1 slice Swiss cheese (I used light Swiss)
2 slices bread
Sprouts (or other veggies)
Preheat a tabletop grill (like a George Foreman). Assemble sandwich and spray grill with cooking spray. Place sandwich on grill and allow to cook until golden brown and the cheese melts.
Serve with chips, sliced veggies and a pickle
Iced Coffee (a great use of a cocktail shaker)
Leftover cold coffee
Sugar or Splenda
Place ice in a glass. In a cocktail shaker combine the milk, coffee and sugar. Shake well and pour in the class.

Thrifty isn't just for the kitchen!

So have I mentioned that I'm also quite thrifty when it comes to home decor? Well I am! I think this is somewhat of an inherited trait since my mom's hobby is her antique shop. Although she does sell things at retail price in her shop, our family home as well as my home are almost completely decorated in her auction finds. This is especially true of my home since her decorating budget is much larger than mine! While this may be seen as a problem for some people, I think it is quite fun! I love the way my home looks and I love that a lot of the furnishings have come from interesting places, like the Salvation Army.

Now I have to admit that my bedroom only contains 1 Goodwill find and you can't really see it in this picture.

I love the bed! I got it at an antique store at an extremely reduced price. The bed isn't an antique but it was at a price I could afford and gave me the look I wanted. I love four poster beds, I also have a cherry one in my guest room and eventually want another cherry one for the master bedroom (which I may be getting soon as relatively new ones often go pretty reasonable at auction). The black is also a good find (not only price wise) because it was easy to get other pieces to match it (all you need is a can of paint!).
The bedding was also a thrifty find! The sheets are a found item -- my mom redecorates often and these had been cast aside for a new look which means score for me! The bedspread was a HomeGoods find for $20 (a steal for a queen size bedspread). The duvet was probably the best find! I got the entire set (excluding the down comforter) for $60 at KMart. It is from the Martha Stewart line and is equal in quality to the extremely expensive Pine Cone Hill bedding that is on my bed at my mom's house. When decorating a room, don't forget to check out your local discount store for things like bedding, most places will have a "high end" like that is equal in quality to things that you would find in a more expensive department store. Don't forget that taking the time to iron your bedding before making your bed! It will make even the most plain and simple of bedding look much more luxurious!
What are your thrifty decorating tips?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Yum Yum!

So I know I promised a couple of posts about Easter and Passover dinners, but I haven't gotten around to that yet! It's been a super busy week already and its not over yet. I have a paper draft due on Thursday and I have my first court appearance tomorrow. I am extremely excited about my first court appearance, the clinic I am participating in has assigned me to a guardianship case and I get to represent our client in court tomorrow (with supervision of course).

Anyway, I do have a fun new take on pot roast and potatoes but I don't have any pictures unfortunately.

Pot Roast:
Sirloin Roast (or whatever looks good)
3 carrots sliced into strips (or whole baby carrots)
1 onion quartered
3 stalks celery cut into strips
2 sprigs rosemary
1/2 to 3/4 shiner bock beer
1 tablespoon each: pepper, salt, steak seasoning

Preheat oven to 350. Place a large dutch oven on the stove over medium heat. Add olive oil to coat bottom of pan. Mix about 1/4 cup flour with the pepper, salt and steak seasoning. Place the roast in the dutch oven and brown on all sides. Remove from heat. Add the vegetables, rosemary and beer. Bake for 1.5 to 2 hours. Serve with scalloped potatoes (below).

Scalloped Potatoes
1 onion
2 - 4 baking potatoes peeled and sliced
1 cup milk
1 cup Cheddar cheese
Salt and Pepper to taste
2 teaspoons flour
1 tablespoon butter

Preheat oven to 350. Place sliced potatoes in a greased casserole dish. In a saucepan saute the onions in the butter until soft. Add the flour and stir well. Add the milk and cook for a couple of minutes to dissolve the flour. Do not allow the mixture to thicken too much. Add the white sauce to the potatoes. Top with cheese and bake until the potatoes are soft, about 45 min.


Sunday, April 12, 2009

Happy Easter!

Happy Easter everyone! I originally planned on posting some Easter recipes, BUT the bf and I have had a very busy weekend visiting with friends and family and unfortunately I did not have the time.

Since this year both Easter and Passover are at the same time, the bf and I have a lot to celebrate. We had a great time in my hometown spending Easter with my family, especially since that also included having a fantastic birthday celebration with my bff Katie.

Since the bf's family isn't in driving distance for a weekend, we were not able to celebrate Passover with his family, but since we will be living in Chicago starting May 25 we will definitely be able to celebrate it next year -- but I may try and make a Passover dinner this year!

In honor of both holidays I am going to dedicate two posts this week to holiday dinners. I'm thinking a lamb dinner as my Easter recipe and brisket for my Passover recipe. What are your thoughts? Any suggestions?

I hope everyone had a great holiday!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Can you guess what's inside?

Two of my favorites have a birthday this weekend. The bf's birthday is tomorrow! I haven't gotten his present yet (I'm a bad gf). In my defense; however, he is extremely hard to shop for so I'm just going to let him pick it out tomorrow when we're shopping at South Park Mall in Charlotte.
My bff's birthday is on Sunday and the lovely picture above is a great teaser since she is the lovely Katie Lake at A Southern Girl in the City. I promise whats inside the package is as lovely as the package looks! Can't wait to see you on Saturday.
In case you're interested, the entire gift is a thrifty girl purchase! The wrapping paper and ribbon came from Dollar Tree and what's inside came from a consignment shop and the thrift store (and no I'm not cheap -- it's a very nice gift that I would have totally bought for myself)!
Anyway, happy early birthday to my bf and my bff!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

A Spring BBQ - Good Topic for my 50th post!!

Since it was finally supposed to be spring-like outside on Sunday the bf and I decided to have our friends over for a little bbq. Of course this required me to pick out the perfect outfit, clean my house and pick up some spring flowers at the supermarket. I took pictures of the chips and dip buffet, my outfit and the flowers; however, I forgot to take pictures of the star of the show -- the food! Oh well, I still had a house full of great friends and plenty of pictures to share with all of you! The pictures follow my descriptions!
The outfit:
Since this was a casual get together I decided to keep my outfit casual as well. The jeans are True Religion (that I found at the thrift store for $14). The shirt is J.Crew that I was required to get for sorority recruitment a few years ago that has become a wardrobe staple. The shoes are my absolute favorite -- they are my monogrammed Jack Rogers that are perfectly broken in! I also love the bracelets which my mom picked up for me at an antique auction, apparently they're Italian but that's all I know about them.

Again Gus had to get in on the fun!

The Flowers: part 1
I usually keep a small vase of flowers on my mantle, because it is white and my walls are white (the house is a rental) I feel like the flowers add a nice splash of colors. My supermarket had a beautiful selection of tulips when I was there so I decided to go with red, mostly because my living room is mostly green, black and white and I love splashes of red with the green!

The Flowers: part 2
I kept the red theme for the flowers on my dining room table. Again, since the vase is green and black I love the way the red pops! Besides the tulips, I also thought the carnations at my supermarket were the most beautiful color of red and while some people may think carniations are tacky, I think they are beautiful if arranged in the right way -- especially if all you see is the flower and very little of the stem when arranged.

We started with a chips and dip buffet:
Because we were making baby back ribs and flank steak the bf and I decided to ask our friends to bring the side dishes. We did; however, provide our guests with a chips and dip buffet while they waited for the main dish to be completed! I have to admit that the RoTel dip was the only dip I made -- the guacamole and hummus were made by the lovely folks somewhere else. The RoTel was super easy -- 1 can diced tomatoes with green chilies + 1 block Velveeta cheese chopped. Add the tomatoes to the diced cheese and microwave in 1 to 2 minute intervals until the cheese is melted.

And now onto the recipes!!

Baby Back Ribs:

1 large package of pork baby back ribs (I recommend Costco for this)

1 tablespoon of each: salt, pepper, Emeril's Essence, Steak Seasoning, granulated garlic

2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes

2 sprigs of rosemary

1 beer (we used Shiner Bock)

BBQ sauce (any brand you like)

First of all, I have to thank the bf for this recipe! Line a sheet pan with sides (I use a jelly roll pan) with foil. Mix all of the dry spices (except for the rosemary) in a small bowl. Place the ribs on the pan bone side up. Sprinkle with the spice mixture. Turn the ribs over and season the meaty side with the remaining spice mixture (season this side more b/c this is where the meat is). Pour the beer (you'll need 1/2 to 3/4 of the beer) into the pan until the ribs are just sitting in the mixture (don't cover the ribs with the beer - that would make a mess). Place the rosemary on top of the ribs. Cover with foil and bake for 2 hours and 30 minutes at 170. Remove the ribs from the oven and place on a heated outdoor grill. Brush with bbq sauce. After 5 to 10 minutes turn and brush other side with bbq sauce. Allow to cook for an additional 5 to 10 minutes or until done.

Grilled Flank Steak (we made 2)

1 piece of flank steak (get a pretty large one)

1/4 cup balsamic vinegar (or a little less)

1/2 cup olive oil

1 tablespoon of each: steak seasoning, granulated garlic, pepper

2 teaspoons of each: lemon pepper seasoning, salt, dried Italian Seasoning

Mix dried ingredients in a small bowl. Add the vinegar and olive oil. Whisk well. Add flank steak to a Ziploc bag. Add the olive oil mixture. Coat the steak well and allow to marinade while the ribs bake. Once the ribs have finished place the flank steak on the grill. Grill for 4 to 5 minutes per side for medium to medium rare. Longer if you like a more well done piece of meat. Remove from the grill and allow to rest for 10 minutes. Slice against the grain of the meat and serve.


Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Angela at 20 Something Dreams, this post is for you!

I did some research for a mashed potato candy recipe and found several! So here three that I thought sounded really good! Next time I make mashed potatoes I think I'm going to one of them!

1/2 c. mashed potatoes (without butter or milk added) - plain
1 lb. confectionery sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla

Put mashed potatoes into a bowl, slowly add 1 pound confectionery sugar. Keep beating and add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla. Beat good. Place half of the mixture onto a sheet of plastic wrap sprinkled with a little confectionery sugar. Do the same with the other half. Roll out to a circle.
Spread creamy peanut butter over each half and roll up carefully and cover tightly with the plastic wrap you rolled it out on. Keep in refrigerator overnight, then slice after unrolling the paper off. Keep what you are not eating right away tightly covered and in refrigerator.


4 c. coconut
3/4 c. cooked, cold mashed potatoes
1 lb. powdered sugar
6 oz. chocolate chips
A small piece of paraffin

Mix the first 3 ingredients together. Shape into balls the size of a walnut. Let dry on wax paper. Melt chips and paraffin on low heat. Dip balls into chocolate. Taste like Mounds candy bars.

1/2 cup mashed potatoes
powered sugar
peanut butter

Combine 1/2 cup mashed potatoes and power sugar till is firm enough to roll. The mixture will become very wet; just keep adding powdered sugar. roll out on powdered sugar like noodles. Cover with peanut butter. Roll into jelly roll cut into small pieces. Very rich!