Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Five Things!

It's another Five Things day, and I've got five pretty quick ones today! Here we go...

1. My New Job
I started work last week! I'm not officially a lawyer yet (bar exam results still aren't out), but it felt good to get started. For now at least, I'm having fun getting dressed in cute business clothes and driving into downtown and spending the day up in a skyscraper! It's the same law firm I worked at last summer, so I was already pretty familiar with the office, my co-workers, etc., which made for a pretty comfortable first week. I doubt I'll write much about work on the blog ever, but I figured it was worth documenting this start to a new phase of our life! 

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The pretty view from my office when it's dark outside! 

I wanted to get Jeff to take a "first day of work" photo to document the occasion, but he was still asleep when I left last Monday, and it didn't seem worth waking him up for. Haha!

2. Jeff's New Job
Speaking of new starts, Jeff found out he's getting a new position at work as well! It was about time, since he's been in his current position since 2010. He'll be with the same company, but he'll have a different job and a different group of people to work with. And he'll be working downtown like me (I foresee lots of lunch dates)! He's excited to do something a little different and learn new things, and I'm excited that he'll be primarily in Houston with only occasional travel (in the engineering world, it's pretty common to have jobs overseas, or jobs where you travel to crazy places for half of each month). 

3. A Wedding in Tulsa!
When I blogged about our trips to Alaska, South Padre, and Singapore, I forgot to mention one smaller trip we took! We spent a weekend in Tulsa, Oklahoma for a friend's wedding! It was a quick trip, but we were happy to be there for the wedding and we got to stay in the cutest hotel (an old life insurance company office renovated into a hotel!). 

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Pretty hotel (that's our room, a converted office, on the top left!)

Here we are at the wedding:

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4. ThredUP
I may be really late to jump on this bandwagon, but I love this secondhand clothing website! I shop almost exclusively at Banana Republic for work stuff, so I was able to restrict my search to Banana Republic stuff and select the sizes that I know fit me and I love everything I got! It all looks brand new, and all three of the things I bought are even cuter in person (and they work for work outfits AND more casual outfits, which is great)!




So yeah. I think everyone should check out ThredUP. I hear there's a similar one called Twice... has anyone had shopping success with them? 

5. Mesothelioma Awareness
September 26th is Mesothelioma Awareness Day, so I told Heather that I would post a link to her mesothelioma survivor story to help spread awareness. It's an inspiring story of hope and motherhood, and definitely worth a click over!  

Monday, September 23, 2013

Tailgating at A&M: Alabama and SMU

We were out of town for the first couple football games of the season, but now that we're back we're LOVING tailgating at the Texas A&M games. We started going to all the home games last year (it's about a 90-minute drive), and this year we've improved our set-up a bit. My parents gave us a maroon tent for Christmas, so now we have two tents (yay more space!), and Jeff built an awesome TV box/stand that makes transporting and watching the TV easier and better.

Jeff's new TV box (complete with dry-erase back and removable/adjustable legs!)

We even made a Facebook group to share updates on where exactly our tents are each week so our friends can find us (cell phone service is pretty awful on gameday, so this is a giant help!). Our first game of the season was the big A&M-Alabama "rematch," and it was SO fun to be in College Station that weekend. We went to College Station on Friday night and took my littlest sister with us. We staked our spots in Spence Park, then went to Midnight Yell Practice (definitely the most crowded one I've ever seen!)

Jeff and Karoline staking our tents in Spence Park on Friday night!

Midnight Yell!

Karoline at Midnight Yell

Jeff and Me at Midnight Yell

On Saturday we got up bright and early and spent the entire day in Spence Park! Since the Alabama game was a big deal, there were a LOT of people in College Station from out of town, so we got to see lots of friends and family. My parents also gave me a tailgating cookbook last Christmas, so I was able to try out some new tailgating-friendly recipes.


My cousins (both current students) and Karoline

Some of my sorority sisters!

These are my dear friends Pilar and Amy (they were both bridesmaids in our wedding). The three of us live in three different cities now, so this was the first time all three of us had been together since my wedding! My heart was so happy all day to see them both! 

...and one with the boys! :)

My aunt and uncle!

My parents and Karoline!

Two of my friends from college - we all met in our dorm freshman year right after we moved in!

My friend Emily (who also happens to be dating Jeff's brother)!

It was like a giant reunion and we had such a great time!





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I feel like Jeff and I make a really good tailgate-hosting team. I love to cook and plan, so I take care of the meals and coordinating with friends and family.  Jeff loves football and building/engineering stuff, so he takes care of the TV-satellite set-up (which is actually pretty complicated) and transporting everything from our garage to Spence Park. We both love college football (he actually loves the sport... I love the atmosphere and traditions!) and hanging out with friends and family, so tailgating has kind of become a shared hobby for us, which I love!


The SMU game was much more low-key. College Station wasn't nearly as crowded, and we watched the game with just my parents and littlest sister (although a few other people stopped by to say hello!). Spence Park seemed pretty empty after the chaos of the Alabama game the week before, so it was really relaxing to be out there just hanging out with family. So fun!



Gig 'em, Aggies! 

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Slow Cooker Pulled Pork

Now that football season has arrived (Gig 'em, Ags!), we all need some good game day watch party food, right? And what could be better than mouth-watering pulled pork sandwiches? Here's the best and easiest recipe I've found for pulled pork - just grab some rolls/buns (and maybe some toppings... pickles? cheese? red onion? cole slaw?) and you're good to go! 
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Recipe adapted from here.
3-4 lb Boston butt roast
1/2 a large onion, thinly sliced
4 cloves garlic, minced
1 cup chicken stock
2 tbsp paprika
2 tsp dry mustard
2 tsp cayenne pepper
2 tsp brown sugar
1 1/2 tbsp salt
1 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup apple cider vinegar
3 tbsp brown sugar
1/2 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp cayenne pepper
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 tsp ground black pepper
1. Put onion and garlic in the bottom of a slow cooker. Cover with chicken stock.
2. In a small bowl, mix the paprika, dry mustard, cayenne pepper, brown sugar, and salt (the ingredients for the pork, not for the sauce). 
3. Pat the roast dry, and rub all over with the spice mixture.
4. Place the roast on top of the onions and cook in the slow cooker until pork is fork tender (6-8 hours on high, or 8-10 hours on low).
5. While pork is cooking, make the barbecue sauce. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, stir together all sauce ingredients and simmer until sugar has dissolved (ten minutes or so). Set aside.
6. When pork is tender, remove it from the slow cooker and set it aside. Let the pork rest for ten minutes, then use two forks to shred the meat completely.
7. Strain the remaining liquid from the slow cooker, reserving the onions, and add the shredded meat back into the onion mixture. Stir in the barbecue sauce, mixing to coat. 
8. Serve with buns and any toppings you want! 
This is what you want to buy. A "pork boston butt roast." Added bonus: you can tell your husband you're cooking butt for dinner and see his surprised face. :) 
onions + garlic + chicken stock
dry rub ingredients
rubbed pork
shredded meat (pre-sauce)
Ready to serve! Ta-da! 

Monday, September 16, 2013

Dan's Chicken Stir-Fry

While we were in Singapore, I cooked dinner with our friend Dan. I was pretty excited about how delicious his stir-fry recipe is, and he was pretty excited about his handiwork being photographed for good old Spirals & Spatulas, so today I'll be sharing (straight from Singapore!) Dan's Chicken Stir- Fry!


But first, you must meet the chef:



Recipe adapted from Stir-Fry: Tasty Recipes for Every Day

2 tbsp red curry paste (find it in the Asian foods section)
6 tbsp oil, divided
4 tbsp fish sauce (find it in the Asian foods section)
Juice from 2 limes
1 bunch cilantro, chopped
2 tsp ground ginger
2 tsp sugar
2 tsp sesame oil
1.5 lb chicken breasts, cut into cubes
2 bunches green onions, cut into short lengths
12 oz snow peas, ends chopped off
Steamed rice (I suggest jasmine rice!)

1. In a medium-sized bowl, whisk together red curry paste, 4 tbsp oil, fish sauce, lime juice, cilantro, ginger, sugar, and sesame oil. Add chicken and mix until chicken is coated.
2. Heat 2 tbsp oil in a wok. Stir-fry chicken in batches, cooking for 4-6 minutes (stirring once to flip over chicken pieces), or until cooked through. Remove from the wok and set aside.
3. Stir-fry snow peas and green onions for 5-7 minutes, or until crisp-tender. Add chicken back in and mix.
4. Serve with steamed rice.

Snow peas, ends trimmed (if they're long, you may want to chop them in half too).

Green onions, cut into short lengths.

Chopping vegetables is fun when you do it with friends! :)

Sauce ingredients!

Chicken coated in cilantro-sauce mixture!

Stir-frying the chicken in batches...

Cooking the chicken...

Stir-frying the veggies...

(adding chicken back into the veggies)

Mmm, stir-fry! 


Oh, and just so you know, everything tastes better when you eat it on your luxurious 27th-story Singaporean balcony. :)