vacation is over…

Hope you’ve all been well!  I took a much needed vacation from blogging for the past few weeks as I’m sure you’ve noticed. The bathroom is progressing, albeit slowly. My sister-in-law got married and looked gorgeous. My finger is a million times better thanks to hand therapy and I may be able to stop going soon. Work is absolutely insane and I’m overwhelmed and stressed to the max. Oh, and the Pope took over Philly.

Because the university I work at is in Philly, we were closed on Friday as well as today – yay! That meant I got “vacation” – work at home, do massive laundry, do massive cooking. I have to say, I have not felt this productive in a VERY long time. Between Friday and today, I made 4 loaves of pumpkin bread, 1 loaf of white bread, a beef/carrot/tomato/mushroom stew, 2 batches of meatloaf, 3 pounds of turkey basil meatballs, and chicken cordon bleu. Needless to say, I’m now EXHAUSTED, but have a very well stocked freezer!

It probably sounds crazy to cook all of those things in such a short amount of time, but having an extra freezer means that I can do a lot of cooking and freeze it all for those times when we just can’t deal with making a meal when we get home from work, which is often. Plus, we have barely had free weekends since June. In October we have two weddings, in November we have another one, and in between various work functions that take over nights or weekends. But for now? No worries! We have plenty of food to keep us busy for a while 🙂

easter joy

Spring is truly here! The crocuses are in bloom and my daffodils have started peeking their heads out. I have to say that our Easter weekend was a beautiful one. We started off Good Friday with an amazing meal. I was able to run to the farmer’s market early on Friday morning and picked up a gorgeous piece of King Salmon.

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the prep

Fish is always the Man’s job, so he turned on the grill and broke out the cedar planks. He seasoned the salmon with dill, scallions and lemon. It was amazing. On the side, he grilled some portobello mushrooms and we had some herb rice.

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the chef in action (who hates it when I take his picture)

Saturday was spent going to the grocery store and stocking up on tons of meat and veggies. I had a big meal planned for Easter Sunday! Abby was excited for Easter.

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not sitting still…

But finally agreed to sit like a good girl.

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pretty puppy!

After church, we were cleaning up some branches in the yard. Abby loved this, of course.

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fetch!

And then I had an epic failure. While just standing and HOLDING the telescoping tree trimmer, I managed to get myself a nice avulsion, which is just a fancy word for forgetting about gravity and slicing off a chunk of flesh on my thumb.

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there will be blood

And of course, my planned meal was something the Man had never cooked before – and neither had I on my own, without my mom – so I was on my own! But by wrapping it up to the size of a carrot, and being very careful, I managed to pull it off!

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feast!

I made chicken cordon bleu, a mushroom shallot sherry cream sauce, broccoli rice au gratin (thank you Rice A Roni!) and fresh steamed broccoli, all paired with a nice white wine. I have to say, it was absolutely AMAZING!

It’s sad that our families are so far away, but we still had a beautiful holiday. Sometimes having great phone conversations and a nice hot meal can be just as lovely. And even Abby got some chicken for dinner. And she had no complaints.

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end of the day exhaustion

I hope everyone had a beautiful holiday weekend! Spring is finally in the air, and I can’t wait to see what the coming months bring our way.

it didn’t fail…

I personally love seeing Pinterest Fails. I find them absolutely hysterical. BuzzFeed always has a lovely collection of the fails and I find myself laughing my ass off at multitudes of baby pic and culinary disasters.  I, however, have been very lucky thus far and have not had any epic failures despite my many, many pins and adventures. I figured what better place to share my Pin Wins than here!

A week ago I was making an amazing chicken dish that had a mushroom cranberry sauce, but wanted something green for the side as The Man and I are trying to eat healthier. While grocery shopping I picked up a beautiful bunch of asparagus but had no idea what I’d do with it. When all else fails I go to Pinterest and found this recipe which looked pretty fool proof.

It was, as advertised, the easiest and quickest asparagus, on top of being ridiculously yummy. The only thing I did different was cutting the asparagus spears in half so they’d fit nicer in the wok I used to cook them in (which was the only pan that would fit on my otherwise occupied stove).

How about you? Any epic Pinterest wins or fails? And while you’re at it – follow me! I’ll keep on documenting my Pin Wins (I think I need to trademark that phrase) when I try something especially yummy or crafty 🙂

workin’ 9-5

For the first time in three years, The Man and I are on the schedule. He received a promotion at work (yay!!) and so now we’re both working 9 – 5. While this is amazing, I all of the sudden realized that instead of cooking something small and simple for myself, two of us were going to be home for dinner each night. Prior to going to the grocery store on Sunday morning, I made a game plan. I was going to cook. Every. Night.

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I had placed this cling dry erase board on our kitchen cabinet a long time ago. We use it for notes we need to remember, messages, and sometimes grocery lists.  I decided to use it for our menu for the week which has kept me on track. The nice thing about all the meals is that we had most of the ingredients already – just needed some meat – so grocery shopping was easy and pretty cheap. One of my friends thought I was crazy to cook every night, but it has worked out really well. All of the meals take 30 min or less to prep, and with the exception of the meatloaf only about 20 – 30 minutes to cook.

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Tonight was Tuna Mornay with a spinach salad including croutons, chopped eggs, some shredded cheddar, and sliced almonds. The dressing we used was a yogurt dill. I didn’t realize until I assembled it all on the table that our meal was all the same colors. Very spring like, though, so I’ll take it!

The best part is so far we’ve had leftovers from everything, including making an entire extra meatloaf to freeze as individual slices. The perk is that The Man and I had a very yummy lunch of meatloaf and tater tots today which was perfect with the impending snow.

I’m so excited we’re now finally on the same schedule, and The Man is super excited that I’ve been cooking. I just hope he knows that next week is his turn! 🙂

my plants overfloweth

A lot of people have been complaining that it’s been a crappy summer weather wise, and it has been if you’re a big beach person. It seems like just when it was getting warm, all the sudden fall is here. BUT, if you’re a tomato plant in my backyard, you are REALLY happy.

Last year my cherry tomatoes were horrible. The pollen got burnt out really early in the season, and if I got twenty tomatoes the whole summer I’m exaggerating. This year, as a preventative, I planted three Patio Tomato plants, and four cherry tomato plants just in case. I figured they wouldn’t all thrive. BOY was I wrong.

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They didn’t just thrive, they become EPIC TOMATO PLANTS OF GREATNESS. (Also pictured is some lemon thyme over on the left and some mint taking over near the front). In the beginning of August, the above is what it looked like. The one is, no joke, now six feet tall. I now have about three stakes with various parts of the cherry tomato plants strung up all over the place.

Every day when I come home from work, I have about six cherry tomatoes, and about every third day I have at least one Patio tomato. It has been like that for about three weeks now. I’ve started bringing them in to coworkers just so they wouldn’t go bad. Needless to say, dinner almost every night is tomatoes and something. A burger, on grilled cheese, cut up in pasta… And later this week i’m going to try to make sauce. I literally have four patio tomatoes and about thirty cherry tomatoes sitting on my counter right now, all ripe and happy and just begging to be used.

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I don’t know about you, but if this was a “crappy” summer, I’ll take it! Bring on the tomatoes!

avocado addiction

I may not be a ridiculously healthy eater, but I do have a slight obsession with avocado. Whenever I can get it on something – burger, sandwich, taco – I always ask for extra. I’m usually hesitant to buy them, though, because I don’t have much luck with picking good ones, and they’re typically pretty expensive. When I visited my mom last weekend, there was an AMAZING deal – 5 for $5!!! So needless to say I returned home from my visit with 5 gorgeous Hass avocados, slightly unripe so that I’d be able to spread out the usage.

I keep reading about all these recipes that use avocado as substitutes for other ingredients in recipes, and one that intrigued me was as a mayo substitute in tuna fish. So tonight, I busted out my sharpest knife, plucked the stem off one of the avocados, and got lucky – perfectly ripe. I used one can of white tuna fish, half an avocado, about 1/2 tsp of minced onion, a little salt, and a little garlic. Mashed all together and on low fat Triscuits, it was PERFECT. I think I have officially sealed my fate on my addiction. Next try, avocado egg salad.

fluffy feline friday – Valentine’s breakfast edition

Don’t worry – I’m not calling the kitties fluffy or fat.  I’m just referring to the AMAZING pancakes that the Man made for breakfast this morning.  The Man has never made me pancakes before, so why the change? Well when we bought the house we got this amazing stove that has a ginormous oval center burner that you can use with a griddle. And said griddle does not actually come WITH the stove. But about a month ago I had the idea to finally order the griddle insert that goes to our stove as a surprise, and gave it to the Man this morning.

1779684_10202497731261330_29437927_nNeedless to say he was excited, and more than willing to make pancakes which was a fabulous start to the morning.

The cats didn’t get anything special this year for Valentine’s Day, and they didn’t even get to share our breakfast.  Well… sorta.

IMG_20140214_143931_721Happy Valentine’s Day! Here’s a kitty with a pancake on her head. ❤