Saturday, April 19, 2014

Jeff's 27th Birthday

Jeff turned 27 on April 9th, so we had a little party the next weekend with our families to celebrate! We all met for dinner at Tin Roof BBQ, home of the very best barbecue in northeast Houston (in our opinion) and live music on the weekends.

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It was a lovely day weather-wise, so we had a great time hanging out with our parents and siblings. 

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After dinner, we all came back to our house for dessert - strawberry rhubarb pie (Jeff's favorite, and the official dessert of his birthday). 

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For whatever reason, Jeff turning 27 was a little surreal for me. It really seems like not that long ago that he turned 17... yet here we are getting closer and closer to thirty! There's no one else I'd rather grow up with though. :)

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Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Last Year's Easter Decor

Last spring was so busy that I never got around to posting the photos of our house decorated for Easter, so I figured I'd kick off April by posting them this year! We hosted Easter dinner for Jeff's side of the family at our house, so I had a lot of fun decorating our dining room for the occasion! 

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Here's our wine storage rack in the dining room:

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And the console table in the dining room...

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I used some doilies made by my great-grandma on the table!

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I decorated a few other areas of the house too. Here's a table in our entryway:

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Here's our kitchen table:

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I particularly loved this arrangement because after Easter, I just switched the egg tree for some fresh flowers, and it was instantly a "spring" table instead of an "Easter" table!

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Here's our powder room:

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And, of course, here's our DIY Easter wreath

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I can't wait to put out our Easter decorations for this year! 

Thursday, March 27, 2014

Baja Chicken Sliders

This is a really delicious recipe - yummy little chicken sliders, topped with a flavorful southwestern version of coleslaw (I don't like coleslaw, but I love this!) and a zesty sour cream lime sauce.

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Recipe adapted from this book.

Ingredients:
{sour cream lime sauce}
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tsp lime zest
1/2 tsp fresh lime juice
{slaw}
4 tsp fresh lime juice
2 cup broccoli slaw mix
1/2 sweet red pepper, diced
1/2 red onion, diced
4 tbsp chopped cilantro
1/2 jalapeno, finely chopped
2 tsp sugar
{sliders}
2 lbs chicken breasts, cut into 16 slider-size pieces
1 tsp ground cumin
1 tsp chili powder
1/4 tsp salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
16 hawaiian rolls, sliced down the middle
16 small tomato slices (optional)
16 small lettuce leaves (optional)

Directions:
1. To make sour cream lime sauce, combine sour cream, lime juice, and lime zest in a small bowl. Refrigerate.
2. To make slaw mix, combine all slaw ingredients in a bowl. Mix well and refrigerate.
3. Flatten chicken breast pieces to be 1/2-inch thick. Season with cumin, chili powder, salt, and pepper. Grill for 4-7 minutes on each side, or until cooked through.
4. To assemble sliders, serve chicken on hawaiian rolls and top with lettuce, tomato, sauce, and slaw.

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(sour cream lime sauce)

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(slaw)

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(grilled chicken)

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Ta-da!

Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 26, 2014

Valentine's Day 2014

I'm only oh... over a month behind on blogging about Valentine's Day. Haha. But I have to document it anyway, right? We were never big Valentine's Day celebraters before we got married (mostly because we were long-distance dating and not ever in the same place, I think), but over the past few years we've really enjoyed doing something special for the 14th of February. We don't do really expensive gifts or meals or anything, but we try to just do something sweet and use it as an excuse to spend some quality time together.

First of all, a few little house decorations:

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I ended up stuck at work late on Valentine's Day, but when I finally got home Jeff surprised me with a really sweet card, tulips (my favorite!), and chocolate covered sunflower seeds (another favorite).

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The tulips were still attached to the bulbs and in a special vase that keeps the bulbs and roots growing, so they bloomed beautiful red flowers for weeks! Jeff also gave me a little gift - a heated blanket! It sounds like a silly gift, but it was actually really sweet. I had been complaining about how I get so cold at night when he's out of town for work, so he bought me the blanket to solve the problem and make me miss him a little less when he's on business trips. I gave Jeff Little Mermaid on Blu-Ray (he's collecting all the Disney classics as they come out on Blu-Ray).

We went out to dinner a couple days after Valentine's Day (once the deal I'd been working on day-and-night on finally closed) at our favorite little Mexican restaurant. Mmm, enchiladas! :)

I look pretty tired, huh? You can tell I'd been working really long hours for a few days.

So that was Valentine's Day 2014! Nothing spectacular, but lovely nonetheless. :)

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

Southwest Chicken Chopped Salad

Here's a quick-and-easy one-dish dinner recipe! If you go easy on the dressing, it's pretty healthy too!

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Recipe adapted from here.

Ingredients:
3 cups cooked, cubed chicken
1 green bell pepper, diced
1 15oz can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can sweet yellow corn, drained
2 roma tomatoes, diced
4 green onions, chopped
1/2 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 large romaine hearts, chopped
crushed tortilla chips
{dressing}
1 cup mayonnaise
1 cup sour cream
1 packet ranch dressing mix
2 tbsp taco seasoning
1 tbsp fresh lime juice
2-3 tbsp milk

Directions:
1. To make the dressing, stir together the mayo, sour cream, ranch dressing mix, taco seasoning, lime juice, and milk in a medium bowl. Mix until smooth and completely combined. Cover and refrigerate for at least one hour.
2. In a large bowl, mix together the bell pepper, beans, corn, tomatoes, green onion, and cilantro. Add the chicken and lettuce.
3. Pour the refrigerated dressing over the salad and toss.
4. Top with crushed tortilla chips (and lime wedges and additional cilantro, if desired) and serve!

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(dressing ingredients)

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(finished dressing)

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(salad!)

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Ta-da!

Enjoy!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

Mini Polenta Pizzas

The biggest Kroger in Texas opened a while back pretty close to our house (and RIGHT next to our church!). It's by far my favorite grocery store. I could spend hours just wandering up and down the aisles! I always seem to come home with something fun and new - recently it was a tube of polenta.

There are probably about a million things you can do with polenta, but we made little pizzas! So yummy. 

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Recipe idea from here.

Ingredients:
116-oz tube of polenta (I used the garlic flavored kind!)
3/4 cup pizza sauce
Italian seasoning
1 cup grated mozzarella cheese
handful of pepperoni

Directions:
1. Slice the polenta into eight circles. Lightly spray a baking dish with olive oil spray and put the polenta circles in the dish, adjacent to each other.
2. Spread pizza sauce over each polenta circle. Sprinkle Italian seasoning over each one, then add cheese and pepperoni.
3. Bake at 400 for 10-12 minutes, or until the cheese is bubbly and browned. 

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(polenta circles + sauce + seasoning)

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(topped with cheese!)

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(...and pepperoni!)

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(out of the oven!)

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Ta-da!

Enjoy!

Thursday, March 20, 2014

Strawberry Lemonade Cookies

These cookies are the perfect little springtime treat. They're easy to make and pretty cute too!

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Recipe adapted from here.

Ingredients:
1 box lemon cake mix
1 box strawberry cake mix
4 eggs
2/3 cup canola oil, divided
2 tsp lemon juice, divided
2 cups powdered sugar, divided
1-2 tbsp milk

Directions:
1. Put each cake mix in a large bowl. To each bowl, add 2 eggs, 1/3 cup oil, and 1 tsp lemon juice. Mix until combined.
2. Refrigerate dough for 20-30 minutes.
3. Form cookies by taking a piece of each dough and rolling into a ball.
4. Put 1 cup of powdered sugar in a bowl. Roll each dough ball in the powdered sugar before placing on a baking sheet.
5. Bake at 375 for 10 minutes, or until cooked through. Cool on a wire rack.
6. When cookies are cool, make a glaze by whisking together 1 cup powdered sugar with 1 tbsp milk until combined. Add additional milk if necessary to reach desired consistency. Drizzle glaze over the cookies.

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(lemon dough)


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(strawberry dough)

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(ready for the oven!)

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(fresh out of the oven!)

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(drizzled with glaze)

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Ta-da!

Enjoy!