Friday, December 31, 2010

a break from the regular programming

In light of 2010 being over in mere hours, i thought I would reflect on the year. I borrowed this survey from my sister's blog.

1-What did you do in 2010 that you had never done before?
Purchased a car with my own money.

2-Did anyone close to you give birth?
It seems like so many people had babies this year. My sweet friends Jessica and Andy had a baby this summer, a junior to be exact! AND Jessie and David had a very cute little boy, Nolan!

3-Did anyone close to you die?
These questions are starting to make me feel nervous, like what if I forget to mention someone....

4-What date from 2010 will remain etched in your memory and why?
Memorial Day was very memorial to us, our house was flooded, boo!

5-What was your biggest achievement this year?
Celebrated my 1 year anniversary at my job. I've never worked at the same place for that long.

6-Did you suffer any illness or injury?
Not that I can remember :) I am thankful that my pain is not something I remember.

7-What was the best thing you bought?
a new car!

8-Where did most of your money go?
the new car and the flooded home!

9-What song will always remind you of 2010?
Any Chris Tomlin song, the CD is on repeat in my car, not by choice though!!

10-What do you wish you'd done more of?
Spent more time trusting Him.

11-What do you wish you'd done less of?
Spent less time trusting Him.

12-What was your favorite TV program?
I only watch TV when I am on the treadmill, so it is not something I look forward to, EVER.

13-What's the best book you read this year?
The Bible!! It is the my favorite book for all circumstances!

14-What was your favorite movie this year?
I saw a few good ones, not sure what my favorite was. The ones I am able to recall as good are the ones I most recently saw. The following are not the best, just what my clouded mind can currently offer: Wall Street: Money never Sleeps, the newest Narnia movie, and the King's Speech.

15-What did you do on your birthday? How old were you? I turned 23. and still am. The verb tense used here is sort of confusing :) My Grandmother (who is from Puerto Rico) hosted a Puerto Rican themed birthday dinner. It was delicious!

16-Did you travel anywhere this year? Yes, I did.

17-What national/world event stirred you the most? The Chilean miner situation definitely caught my attention. All of the chaos occurring internationally continually reminds me how thankful I am that the Name of the Lord is a Strong Tower.

18-What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying? Giving the Lord more of the worries that I held on to and in turn TRUSTING HIM.

19-What merited celebration? birthdays, anniversaries, graduations, weddings, babies, the list does not end! Even recently, a few friends have gotten engaged and others have found out that they are expecting babies this year!

20-Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2010? The Lord truly is the orchestrator of all circumstances. He is worthy to be wholly trusted. I have ascertained (To discover with certainty, as through examination or experimentation--Thank you ) this year more than ever to place all joy and to hope wholly in Him. May I never forget this, if I am able to simply remember :) I will not be disappointed. (Romans 10:11)

Monday, November 22, 2010

Meanwhile, back at the ranch

When I was younger, that was definitely one of my favorite books! Today, I hear it more often from adults as just a phrase.... My children will definitely have a copy of this book in their library. I digress....


We are back in our home and it is wonderful! I cannot, on this blog fully tell what we went through the past five months. What I can say is that it helped T and me learn how to work together in unplanned circumstances, depend on the Lord even more that we thought we were, and that is was exactly what we needed, but we didn't know how to get it. The Lord did! He is so clever the way He orchestrates our lives. T and I are so thankful for that season in our lives, but we are beyond THRILLLLLLLLEEEEDDDD that is is over :)

While I was gone, we celebrated many birthdays, the normal holidays, and we reached our first of many- our Anniversary! I can't believe we have almost been married 13 months. It seems like yesterday I was looking for the perfect dress, even last week that I was on my first date with T...

Now we enter the Holiday Season... We have two Thanksgivings, two Hanukkahs, one work party, two Christmases, and New Years. For T's family Thanksgiving, I will be bringing a salad, oatmeal coconut cookies, cranberry and blueberry pie. I am contemplating bringing a from scratch green bean casserole. For Thanksgiving at my parents house I will be bringing two pumpkin pies, 5 cup salad (which is now 6), deviled eggs, and possibly another dessert? Did I mention his family will be eating mere hours before mine. I learned my lesson last year after I attempted to eat at my parents house at 12 and his parents at 1. I didn't think I'd make it to Friday morning. I did, seriously, think I would die. This year the key is portion control! oh dear.

I am trying to figure out how to blog and enjoy blogging. I love having the past to scroll through, but I don't love taking photos while I cook. So please, be patient with me as I attempt to discover my style of food blogging. I will continue to show you what I make and the places I dine.

Today, I will leave you with a review of Andrew Michael Italian Kitchen, where T and I ate Saturday evening.

We had an early reservation so that by the time we got home Saturday night we would have enough energy to watch our wedding video. We are already so old, by 8:30 we are ready for bed. Stay tuned to hear about our "late night" movie marathon! All that to say, we were the second couple that arrived at AM that evening. We were greeted by a very friendly host who after finding our reservation took us to a table for two. Our table had a view of the patio, which on this warmer than usual November evening looked like a lovely place to dine. The restaurant is in a home, so there are a few rooms in which diners are seated. The ambiance of this place is great! It is lit well and has great art throughout. While we looked over the menu we had thinly sliced baguette with a shredded olive tapenade? It was good, minus the fact that I don't like olives or bread, really :) Moving on, We decided to split the AM salad which was :farm greens, buffalo mozzarella, balsamic reduction, shallot vinaigrette, tomato confit. It was good. I love salad and I loved this one! We also shared the potato gnocchi: gorgonzola cream, arugula, and balsamic reduction. I LOVE gnocchi and I love gorgonzola, arugula, and balsamic, but I do not love cream sauce. It was a cream sauce, it was pretty good, just not awesome. Their website doesn't have the other items on it that we ordered, but T got the duck with polenta, pecan stuffing and I got the pheasant with chestnut risotto. Everything was good, but like the gnocchi, not awesome. I liked the chestnut bits running through the risotto, but I did not prefer the addition of beef? to it. I told T before we were even on our way to dinner that no matter where we went, we had to get dessert even though we were going to have our freezer burned wedding cake that night. I explained that we were only going to taste our wedding cake and it was probably going to be subpar. Well, we ordered what I thought looked the best on the menu although it wasn't too tempting to either of us. It was an apple and pear crostata with pecans and a cinnamon gelato. The gelato was GREAT! The crostata, not so much. It doesn't help that I don't prefer baked apples, but it wasn't just me, T said it reminded him of potpourri. After dinner, we headed home to find that the interior or our cake did taste better than the exterior. We also discovered what we already knew, neither of us made it through the wedding video. We fell asleep watching it at probably 9:24. But it's ok, because I feel asleep in my home, with my sweet T and the Lord has shown me over the past 5 months, that there is so much I look to in vain for satisfaction. I know what matters now and I pray that as we enter our second year of marriage it doesn't take such a huge fiasco for Him to catch our attention. I'd much prefer something less drastic. So here is to year two with listening ears, watchful eyes, and broadening palates. oh and maybe a house sitter when we go out of town...

Thursday, July 1, 2010

my life is a movie

T and I bought our first home together last year, we moved in on November 7, 2009 after remodeling the kitchen and fixing up a few things. Remodeling the kitchen while planning a wedding and working full time is not an easy juggle, but we did it- Thanks to a LOT of help!

Six months later we left our home and went to the beach with my family and two close friends.

9 days later we returned to

I know I am southern because I cannot live without this

lots of towels were used.... lots of pictures were taken (for insurance purposes)....

so we've since moved and I am pretty sure we receive an award for being some of the only people who have remodeled their kitchen twice in less than a year! I will try my best to continue blogging while cooking in my apartment and traveling from town to town working, checking on my house, and eating/cooking/grocery shopping!

all in the name of ice......

Sunday, June 13, 2010


I think I have mentioned before that for my wedding I received subscriptions to several magazines. Thanks to my Grandmother, my mother, and my dear friend Pat, I have endless resources to fabulous recipes!

I made Black Bean and Coconut-Lime Rice here are the pictures, the recipe, and most importantly the REVIEW!



ADD the black beans

the rice

final product

close up

1 cup sweetened flaked coconut
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper
3 tablespoons butter, divided
1 1/4 cups uncooked basmati rice
1 small onion, chopped
1 poblano pepper, diced
2 (15-oz.) cans black beans, drained and rinsed
2 teaspoons chili powder
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1 lime
2 green onions, thinly sliced
1/2 cup chopped fresh cilantro

Toppings: lime wedges, diced mango, sliced radishes, sliced fresh jalapeño
peppers, sour cream

1. Preheat oven to 350°. Bake coconut in a single layer on a baking sheet
8 to 10 minutes or until toasted.

2. Bring broth, next 2 ingredients, 2 Tbsp. butter, and 1 cup water to a
boil in a 2-qt. saucepan. Stir in rice. Cover, reduce heat to low, and
cook 15 to 20 minutes or until rice is tender and water is absorbed.

3. Meanwhile, melt remaining 1 Tbsp. butter in a medium saucepan over
medium-high heat; add onion and poblano pepper, and sauté 5 minutes or
until tender. Stir in black beans, chili powder, cumin, and 3/4 cup water.
Cook over medium-low heat, stirring occasionally, 15 minutes.

4. Grate zest from lime, avoiding pale bitter pith, into a bowl; squeeze
juice from lime into bowl.

5. Fluff rice with a fork. Fold lime zest and juice, coconut, green
onions, and cilantro into hot cooked rice. Serve bean mixture over rice
with desired toppings.

The texture combo was great the crunchy from the raddishes (which I had never cooked with before this recipe) was a great twist on rice which is usually just soft. The spicy from the jalapenos was necessary (but then I again, I add red pepper flaked to EVERYTHING), The coconut was a little too much sweet for me, and I would've gone heavier on the cilantro and cumin.

oh p.s. I didn't have a poblano, so I used jalapeno.

The verdict is, I wouldn't make it again, but there aren't many recipes I repeat. Besides Bobby Flay's greek orzo and my family favorite open faced tomato, basil, cream cheese sandwich- YUM!

stay tuned for a dramatic post!!!!

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

I don't even know

I love fruit! A lot! When I was working at the bakery, two summers ago, I ate fruit for dinner every night. A ziplock container filled with strawberries and purple grapes, yum! I remember one Friday, we were out of strawberries. My mother was stunned on how I devoured them so quickly, she doesn't really like fruit. I don't remember what I brought to work that day, maybe just grapes? The bakery wasn't even open yet when I heard a knock at the door. Usually, the disturbance would perturb me as the knocking was usually someone seeing if they could come in to buy cupcakes before we were open?! Nevertheless, I looked up and it was SWEET T! He was going out of town that day, so I had already told him goodbye the night before, I thought he just wanted to say goodbye again, but no--- he had strawberries :) What a nice guy!

All of that to say, fruit it one of my favorite things to eat. Blueberries, have yet to capture my heart though. I do not know what it is about them, but I don't like them as much as all of the other berries. Or really much at all. I especially don't like blueberry muffins. T does though and so does the muffin monster. The muffin monster is my Dad's brother who lovingly earned that name when I was a little girl. My mom baked some muffins, when my uncle was in town, I am not quite sure how many--- but when we woke up the next morning they were all gone. My uncle had eaten EVERY single one and that morning affectionately earned the title the muffin monster. Well, a few weeks ago it was the muffin monsters birthday and I stumbled across a recipe for blueberry muffins and thought I would bake them for his birthday. The only problem for you guys reading and for the muffin monster is I have no idea where I got this recipe. :)

First I made the topping

then zested a lemon

coated the frozen blueberries with sugar, the recipe called for frozen ones


blueberry batter


T, the topping man



the muffin monster's muffins

ready to go

T's muffins

wait, I don't like muffins right, especially blueberry

These muffins were incredible. I will search high and low for the recipe and post it when I find it!

Monday, May 17, 2010


ok. Two of my favorite foods of the moment, along with T's = a great dinner! Just like cookies, I am not the biggest bread person, only because it isn't often that I have incredible bread. I was in Whole Foods a few weeks ago, I broke down and bought some of their bread; I was desperate. I picked out a large, round loaf. I can't remember what it is called, but it is filled with different seeds and it DELICIOUS when served in the following way.

Toasted to your desired browness AND topped with whipped, kosher cream cheese, sliced ripe tomatoes, and fresh basil (from T's herb garden!!! I would say mine, but he does all of the nurturing; I just cook with the herbs.) WOW! This is a family favorite on New York Bagels, but now I can enjoy this delicacy when we are bagel-less.

II. cous cous

I was determined to make a better cous cous than a restaurant in town. I made this by following the box's directions for cooking the cous cous. When it was finished, I put it into a bowl and tossed it with lemon juice, vinegar, and olive oil. Then put that into the refrigerator to cool. Later, I added matchsticked radishes, shredded carrots, quartered grape tomatoes, sliced green onions, and chopped mint. To top off the cous cous I toasted some macadamia nuts and golden raisins that were reconstituted in warm honey. Of course, I seasoned it with kosher salt and freshly ground pepper. wow, delicious!

III. What would a meal be without a filet of venison. It actually isn't bad! It is surprisingly good, for all the skeptics that still exist. Just a little butter, oil, salt, pepper, parsley.... Just like I prepare beef.

perfect dinner!

Monday, May 10, 2010


I was two classes shy from having a minor in Spanish, but I am lazy and did not get it! A year later, I sometimes wish I would've done it, but I haven't lost sleep over it. Mexican wedding cookies are a family favorite, so when I was asked to make them for a friends engagement party, I knew I could give some to my mom as a happy as well. Whenever I bake, I more often than not turn it into gifts as well.... I love to and I always have way more than T and I need especially since I only like to taste what I make, haha- Taste! Remember my 90 minutes on the treadmill??!

I think I have said it before, but toasted nuts are THE ONLY WAY TO GO! They taste a
million times better; in my opinion, they are only edible this way.

Pecans, toasted!


the dough

in the oven, the lens got foggy


cooling AND close up

They have to cool completely before you submerge them in powdered sugar.



These cookies are buttery, smooth, and velvety AND if you bake them long enough, they are crunchy as well. As I've said before, I am not the biggest cookie fan due to the plethora of the poorly made ones out there. I don't love these, but I can tell they are good!!! I know that doesn't sound convincing, but you should try them! They are worth your time, effort, and workout :)