Monday, October 29, 2012

Koda and the screen door

This video was taken awhile ago, but I just had to share it. When we first screened in the porch, we knew we wanted a cafe door. My parents' dog Lily goes in and out of their screened in porch herself, and we knew we didn't want to have to open two doors to let Koda out -- how lazy can we be? First world problems, huh?

Well Koda, from very early on, realized that doors only open one way. The doors in our apartment, and all three doors in our house, have to be opened one specific way, in order for her to go out. She's observant like that!

So the cafe door must be the same. You can only walk through it when it is pushed a certain way! Which means -- heading outside, you simply push straight through. Heading back in, though, is a more complicated maneuver. Take a look:

If it doesn't play, try this link here. And we have since stained the new wood to match -- in case you were concerned.

Over a year later, this is how she gets in and out of this door. Every now and then she gets too excited and runs straight through. At that point she stops, looks all around, amazed, wondering how she could have ever made it through. She usually doesn't try it again for awhile.

One day she might learn, until then, we just think it's cute!

Monday, October 22, 2012

Our weekend in Atlanta

We packed up our dancing shoes and our furry child and headed to Atlanta around 7 pm on Friday. Because of some lovely road construction, we arrived at about 11:30 pm.

We gave tons of lovins to my mom’s dog Lily. Have you read about her? She seems to be doing better, but it is a slow process. I think she enjoyed having company!

Saturday my mom made French toast, which we topped with delicious apple butter. (We ate a whole jar while we were there). And then spent the rest of the morning drinking coffee, catching up, and touring her garden to check out what is in bloom. My parents built this beautiful stone and wood shed in their backyard (mom – can you blog about that?), and she will be in the Georgia Master Gardener’s Garden tour in May. So while she says she has a lot of work to do (and I don’t doubt that her garden is a lot of work!), for my standards, it is tour ready now!

After that, it was time to head downtown to celebrate the marriage of two wonderful people. 

Thanks mom for the picture!
The wedding was at 2:30, the shuttle from the hotel left at 4, cocktail hour started at 5, and I don’t think we left until about 10:30. This allowed for lots of time catching up with friends and celebrating the beautiful couple. I love how they did the schedule that way.

The wedding was absolutely beautiful with no detail spared. The church was gorgeous, PAIGE was gorgeous, the cocktail hour was outside in the Atlanta Botanical Gardens, baskets were filled with flip flops as dancing shoes, tea and lemonade were served prior to the bar opening, the flowers on the tables were beautiful, the food was some of the best I have had, the mother / son dance turned into a flash mob to "Staying Alive," the photobooth / guestbook made for lots of laughs, and I could go on and on.

Chihuly Fountain

Table 13:

The place card table. Blurry ... but a glimpse of how beautiful the wedding was and the details involved.

Dance moves by the groom:

He swept her off her feet (pun intended):

After the wedding, we all headed to The Ivy. Somehow, in all of downtown Atlanta, one person mentions "people are going to The Ivy" and all of us head over there. It was like an unofficial after party.

Now. The part I wish I had documented: The cajun fries. Wait. Let me back up.

It's now 3 am (which is way past my bed time, and the Matchbox 20 song is playing in my head, along with "Closing Time," because it just seems fitting .. I'm rambling). Well Brett decides that he needs something to eat. None of us thinking it is a good idea .. just yet. He asks the lady at the front desk who delivers at this hour, and she hands him the menu of a Chinese Place. 

I know. ...You are wondering where cajun fries are coming into play? We are still wondering that today. 

You see. On the menu, they had cajun fries. And, as much as it pains me to tell you this, they sounded like a wonderful idea at the time. None of the following went through our heads:
  1. What non-sketchy restaurant delivers at 3 am? Exactly.
  2. Oprah says not to eat past 7.
  3. What Chinese place serves cajun fries? Identity crisis? Who. Are. They?
Let me tell you. These were the worst fries ever. They were clearly baked in 2002 and microwaved around midnight. Unfortunately, we ate way too many of them. Moral of the story: don't order cajun fries from a Chinese place. Oh, you never would? Well someone should have told us.

After the cajun fries and a few hours of sleep, we went back to mom's to have brunch with my Aunt and Uncle, who I hadn't seen in too long. It's always so good to see them, and I end up with wonderful recipes and other creative ideas from my Aunt. She is an awesome cook!

My mom made her Chicago Breakfast Bowls. As soon as she puts the recipe up on her blog - I'll share. If it takes too long, I'll post it myself. 

We watched the Falcons win and headed back to Charlotte just in time for bed. It was a great weekend!

PS. You now have "Closing Time" stuck in your head don't you? You don't have to go home but you can't, stay, here.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Apple Butter

The whole house smells so good when I make this apple butter. It cooks in the crockpot for 24 hours.

So far we have had it on french toast, regular toast, and crepes. I think it would taste good heated up and poured over ice cream! The recipe is here. (I wish she still blogged!).

Before tomorrow is over, I will have a re-cap of last weekend in Atlanta. We have been unpacking, doing laundry, cleaning, catching up on fall TV, etc. But, until then:

Fall bucket list cross-off:
  • Make homemade apple butter. Can it. Share with friends.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Roasted chicken, butternut squash, and potatoes

It might seem like recipe overload lately (and for that, I apologize). I’m sure I have other things to talk about than food… Maybe not.  Some recipes are so good that they need to be shared. Others, like this, are more ‘thrown together’ items – that I never remember what I put in them – never write down – and therefore, never have again.

Poor Dan: “You made some pasta thing that was so good! Can you make that?” “What was in it?” “I don’t know. Vegetables?” Helpful.

So this post might be more for me than you. But it should be for you, too. Because it was delicious, easy, and looks fancy. First, I roasted a chicken with Trader Joe’s Everyday Spices. (Intimidated about roasting a whole chicken? Don’t be. Ready? Preheat oven to 400. Put in bird upside down. Turn oven to 350. Wait 15 minutes. Flip bird over. Take it out when it has been in for a total of 20 minutes per pound. Rest 15 minutes before cutting. Easy Peasy.)

Then, I cubed the butternut squash. Read this article before you attempt to cube butternut squash. It shows how to do so, while keeping all fingers. I read this after I attempted the cubing process. I’m pretty sure I found the hardest way possible to cut up this gourd.

I roasted the butternut squash with some olive oil and cinnamon.

I roasted teeny tiny potatoes (no. literally. that’s the name on the package.) with about 8 garlic cloves, olive oil and some salt.

I threw the squash, the teeny tiny potatoes (how fun is that to say?) and the garlic on the bottom of the plate, and put pieces of the chicken on top. Topped the dish with rosemary from our garden. 

Bad lighting - but you get the idea.


Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Sunday's breakfast


Fall bucket list cross-offs:

  • Make homemade apple pie. Eat it for breakfast. With icecream.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Homemade apple sauce

As a girl who could eat fruit all day, every day (seriously .. I challenge you to a fruit-off) – this homemade apple sauce is one of my favorites.

And since it’s homemade, it seems more appropriate for adulthood. 

And silences questions when you bust out applesauce at work. Especially when you are younger than most colleagues by at least 15 years. You can imagine the jokes that ensue.

But when you say, “I made it last night with apples that I picked myself” people seem to let applesauce slide.

Microwavable corndogs, though? You’ll never live that one down.

I digress.

I have to thank my wonderful mother in law for showing me how easy this is to make. With her apple peeler / slicer this takes her only minutes. I have altered her recipe a little as far as the spices / sugar goes.


1 cup of water
1/3 cup sugar (or sugar substitute)
1.5 teaspoons cinnamon

Start with 8 peeled apples. Remove the core, and chop into large chunks.

Place the apples and the water in the bottom of a lidded pot. Cover in the cinnamon and sugar. Boil covered for 10 minutes.

Place the cooked apples and the liquid in a blender and blend until smooth. (Or less, if you like chunky applesauce).

It’s that simple! And delicious warm, as well!

This recipe is very forgiving .. add as little or as much cinnamon as you like. If you’d rather use Truvia or Splenda, it works just as well. I think for my next batch, I am going to try skipping the additional sugar. I'm hoping the fresh picked apples will be sweet enough.

Fall bucket list cross-off:
  • Make homemade apple sauce with the fresh picked apples

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Our fall wreath

This actually turned out even better than I imagined:

You might remember my inspiration pictures here. I never found any one wreath that was exactly how I imagined -- so I decided to go to the store and wing it.

First of all - wreath supplies are expensive! You can buy flower picks for $7.99 per flower! That can add up very quickly, and suddenly the Pottery Barn wreath no longer seems expensive after all.

I wanted to do this on a budget - so I clipped coupons, looked up sales, and made multiple trips to 3 different stores. I spent a total of $18 and am SO happy. 

First, I started with a grapevine wreath. I like how you can have parts of the base showing -- unlike a styrofoam base.

I had bought a few branches and garlands that I could cut up, and used flower wire to attach to the wreath. Another pro of the grapevine -- attaching was easy.

In case cutting these is much harder than you imagine, get out your bolt cutters. Oh wait. You don't have bolt cutters? You don't have a mother who has a love for both crafts and power tools and decides that every female should have bolt cutters in her craft box? Hmm. Well then, come on over! My bolt cutters are your bolt cutters.

Once cut, it was just about that simple. I started with the leaves and the gold pieces.

Added the white flowers and the berries.

Made a bow out of burlap. (Note: In case you decide to buy burlap on your lunch break, walk into the fabric store in your suit jacket, grab a very heavy burlap roll and hug it to carry it.. you have a bit of explaining to do when you get back to work. For the burlap will be all over you. Just something that I have heard).

Secure the worth-the-dry-cleaning-bill bow to your wreath with another piece of wire. 

And ta-da .. the finished product!

I think it looks so good with our brown door. I love seeing it every time I drive home. 

Despite the 80 degree weather, our front door knows its fall!

Fall bucket list cross-off:
  • Make a fall wreath. Consult Pinterest if necessary.