Tuesday, May 30, 2017

Memorial Weekend Recap

We had a super awesome, fun-filled, long Memorial weekend! Can't every weekend be three days??? It truly was that good - and sleeping in three days in a row felt incredible.

We kicked off the weekend on Friday with a little at-home happy hour. Drinks, pizza, and sitting outside - a great combination. We also hit up our favorite local bar for some chatting and people watching.



We were up Saturday morning getting the car packed and ready to go to Duluth for the weekend. We had a wedding to attend that afternoon for one of Andy's fraternity brothers. After a pit stop for breakfast, we made the two hour haul up to the north shore and checked into our hotel. The ceremony was in a gorgeous cathedral, and was just so breathtaking. We had about an hour and a half to kill between the ceremony and the cocktail hour, so we hung out with some of Andy's fraternity friends at the hotel. Our hotel was actually connected to the event center, which made is super easy to get around! Not to mention is completely eliminated the need for a sober cab.





They served complementary beer and wine throughout the whole night. They also had a "candy bar" which satisfied my sweet tooth all night :) Their food was great - we got steak and chicken! and the reception was so, so much fun. We partied until midnight, and collapsed in our room with full bellies and sore feet. The best way to end a wedding.




On Sunday we met up with my friends, my family, and my friends' families (Yes I'm aware how confusing that is) for lunch at Fitger's. Andy had to head home then as he had to work Monday morning (whomp...) so in true child-fashion I bunked with my parents at their hotel that night. It was so nice catching up with my two best friends and their families, and holding sweet miss Harper who's already a month old now! We had some burgers and milkshakes at Gordy's Hi-Hat, and spent the night playing cards and chit-chatting.






My parents dropped me off back at home yesterday, and I spent the day cleaning, grocery shopping, cooking dinner for us, and baking some cookies.

Back to reality it is! :) Another weekend in the books. Hope you all enjoyed your Memorial weekend! xx.

Friday, May 26, 2017

Five on Friday | 5.26.17



We've finally made it to Friday again! This weekend is going to be extra great because it's a holiday weekend and I love any holidays that I get off work for!

For this weeks post, I decided to switch it up a little and go with five things I want to do this summer. Woohoo!


ONE // Find new walking paths. We love love love to go on long walks in the summer. In college, Andy and I would frequently go for little date-walks around the lakes near uptown. There's nothing better than getting outside and being active together. Also a little ice cream doesn't hurt afterwards (let's be real, sometimes that is my main motivation strategy)


TWO // Go to the drive in movie theater. We have an awesome little drive in not too far from home called Vali-Hi Drive In. It's like $8 to see three movies (and they're always ones that are recently released in theaters) - so cheap! Also they sell $1 hot dogs that are surprisingly super good!


THREE // Host a summer get-together before we move. Complete with a bonfire and s'mores - the ultimate dessert (in my book)


FOUR // All the drink recipes. Andy and I are making a point to play bartender and mix up new drinks every now and then. We are building up our bar cart so that we can just whip up something good for guests whenever.


FIVE // Celebrate! In these three short months we have a trip to visit Andy's family planned, I finish up my Master's degree with a 50-60 page dissertation, I have a bachelorette party and wedding shower to host, we're moving, we're getting our puppy, heading to Wisconsin for County on the River, and my best friend is getting married! So many exciting things on the horizon. It's going to be a fun couple of months!


Happy happy Friday and enjoy the long weekend! xx

Thursday, May 25, 2017

Blackberry Mojitos

Just popping in on this lovely thirsty Thursday to share a cocktail recipe that's easy, delicious, and so so fresh.


and this line automatically came to my mind when I took my first sip...




Blackberry Mojito

5-8 plump blackberries
1-2 tablespoons sugar
6-10 mint leaves
1 shot of light rum
3 tsp lime juice

Add ingredients to glass. Muddle until blackberries are crushed and juiced, and mint leaves are slightly broken up. 

Top with soda water.





See? Easy as pie. Try one this weekend!





Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Wednesday Rambling

Isn't that everyday though?
My brain is all over the place today so here's a little post filled with the thoughts currently occupying my mind.


- I think I've already ate my weight in watermelon this year. It's just that good lately! All I've been craving is fresh and juicy fruits - so watermelon, grapes, pineapple, anything like that has been my jam lately. 

- Speaking of watermelon, I was working off site yesterday and accidentally forgot my lunch sooo the only other option was Chick-Fil-A... and it was glorious. I tried their new watermelon mint lemonade and holy wow I was so impressed! What a treat.

- I've been searching for a dress to wear to a wedding we've got this weekend. I could probably find something to wear in my closet but we all know that's not going to happen. Fingers crossed I can find something at the mall tonight.

- Andy graciously (I mean, extremely graciously) surprised me Monday night with a new tablet to use for blogging and to take on my work trip this June. I am completely in love with it and am most excited that I can use my tablet while also watching netflix on my computer... :)

- Andy and I watched Whiskey Tango Foxtrot last night. It was super, super good! Tina Fey stars in it, and while I'm pretty much only used to seeing her in comedies, watching her in a more serious drama was awesome! A strong female lead is always a good thing, and her character is seriously kick-ass. 

- I am so excited to get my nails and toes done tonight with my friend Megan and just catch up. Girl time is always a favorite of mine, and a little pampering is a nice mid-week treat. 

Monday, May 22, 2017

Fried Chicken on Black Pepper Biscuits

I was in the kitchen for what seemed like alllll day yesterday. I was able to make a giant salad (complete with peppers, cherry tomatoes, carrots, cucumber, peppers, and blue cheese) for this week's lunches, cut up a huge watermelon and cleaned some grapes, make a berry-custard pie, and make a delicious dinner for Andy and I to enjoy when he got off work.

Andy's mom gave us a cook book that we absolutely adore.. I reference it in this post where we made the best sandwiches ever. It has yet to fail us! Last night I decided to take myself on a little challenge and try frying my own chicken, and making homemade biscuits. It was actually pretty simple, and I can see us using both recipes in the future.



- For the biscuits -

2 cups all purpose flour
1 tsp salt
1 tablespoon aluminum-free baking powder
3 tablespoons granulated sugar
1 tsp black pepper
1/2 cup unsalted butter, diced into 1/2 inch cubes, chilled
1 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy whipping cream, divided

Combine flour, salt, baking powder, sugar, and pepper in food processor. Process until mixed together. Add in butter and pulse until butter resembles coarse crumbs. Your dough will look a little like sand. Just make sure all the extra large clumps are broken down.

Add in heavy whipping cream and mix until just combined. Do not over mix or your biscuits will be tough. You want the butter to still be in little clumps because when the dough bakes, it will create little air pockets that make your biscuits nice and light.

Refrigerate dough for at least an hour. When you're ready to bake, preheat over to 400 degrees. Roll out dough to 1 inch thick, and use a round cookie cutter to make biscuits. Lay on greased cookie sheet.

Brush tops of biscuits with heavy whipping cream. Bake about 15 minutes, or until tops start to turn light golden brown.


*** You can easily omit the pepper and add more sugar if using these biscuits for dessert (like in strawberry shortcake) or add a different seasoning based on what you're using them for. It's a very versatile recipe. I think they would be perfect for biscuits and gravy.


- For the chicken -

Chicken:
4 boneless, skinless chicken thighs
Vegetable oil or canola oil for frying

Spice mix:
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp dried oregano
1 tsp dried thyme
1 tsp dried marjoram
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
2 tsp salt

Flour dredge:
1 cup flour
1 tsp cornstarch
1/2 tsp baking powder

Buttermilk dredge:
1 cup buttermilk
1 egg

Toppings:
Grainy mustard
Pickles
Honey


Combine spice mix and sprinkle over chicken thighs, saving about 1 tsp of the mix. Wrap chicken in plastic wrap and let sit overnight.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Add oil to pan on stove so that it is about 3/4 of an inch deep. Heat to 170 degrees. Mix the flour dredge and the buttermilk dredge in two separate shallow bowls. Dip chicken in buttermilk dredge, then flour mixture, then back to buttermilk, and then flour again. Set chicken on plate. Continue with each piece.

Fry each piece of chicken in oil for about 3 minutes, and then flip to do 3 minutes on the other side. Chicken should be a nice golden brown when you take it out. Set fried chicken on a clean baking sheet and bake in the preheated oven for about 10 minutes - or until cooked through.

To assemble sandwiches, cut biscuits in half. Smear grainy mustard on one half of the biscuit. Top with chicken. Add pickles and drizzle honey. Add top biscuit.


**** Personally, I think these flavors are great - but combined they can be a bit overpowering. I think next time we will try a chipotle mayo and pickles and lettuce for an added crunch. You can pretty much personalize them however you want.

Friday, May 19, 2017

[Three] on Friday | 5.19.2017

Happy Happy Friday!! This week has completely turned around after a rough start but I can honestly say, I an ready for the weekend. But isn't that every week? ;)

ONE // I keep forgetting to post about this genius idea, and I finally pulled some pics of our camera so I can finally talk about one of my favorite things in the world - homemade cream cheese frosting! But I didn't make just any homemade frosting, I made a black cherry cream cheese frosting - with one simple ingredient... Kool Aid!!!

Flavoring frosting with kool aid is the greatest thing I've ever heard of. And the possibilities are endless - really! There are over 60 different flavors. Bonus: this also makes your Kool Aid a super pretty color.

I made funfetti cupcakes (the box kind... no shame) and then whipped up a homemade cream cheese frosting and added one packet of black cherry kool aid to taste. (I wouldn't recommend adding the whole packet, it makes it a little too tart. Adding and tasting as you go is what you should do).

I brought these to a BBQ we had at a friends last month. They were a hit!





TWO // I bought my first Lipsense this past weekend after hearing rave reviews about it. My friend became a rep - and I'm all about supporting friends and their businesses :)

I got the Persimmon which looks like a nice light red. I'll report on my thoughts once it comes in the mail.


THREE // I've got plans to do some baking this weekend and I'm thinking cookies and some sort of pie pie. I love love love baking pies in the summer and my mom recently gifted me an adorable pie pan that I'm excited to put to use!


Andddd we'll just stop at three this week because it's been pretty uneventful.


Enjoy your weekend!





Thursday, May 18, 2017

Midweek Shoutout


Made me laugh because it pretty much sums up the beginning of the week

I have to admit, I had been in a complete slump this week. It was just one of those weeks that were not starting the way I wanted to.. maybe the rainy weather, or this allergy/cold thing I've got going on, or possibly just some crazy hormones us ladies are so lucky to experience much too often. It's not like me to be negative or down.. and I hate it! But the worst is when you know you're upset about nothing, but that still doesn't fix your mood/attitude.. I just wanted to curl up in my bed for the past few days and come out when I was feeling better.

Okay so this is where some minor bragging starts... 

After a super hard, sweaty workout Tuesday night - I came home to Andy cooking fabulous dinner (Mexican - my faaaavorite), complete with brownies baking in the oven, and a movie sitting on the counter for the night. He picked up some Halo Top ice cream despite the higher price - because he knows it's my favorite. He had gone out of his way to pick up a new bedroom fan for us - because he was afraid I wasn't getting enough cool air circulated to me at night. He washed my favorite bathroom towel with tons of fabric softener - so it was clean and fluffy for my post workout shower. Guys...I am too blessed and too fortunate to have this compassionate, loving, and caring man in my life. He is so generous, and so wonderful, always putting others before himself. God do I love him.

Long story short, he turned my whole week around and made any sort of negative attitude clear right up. They may seem like little things, but they add up to be everything.

So thank you, Andy. I don't know what I would do without you... :)


Friday, May 12, 2017

Five on Friday | 5.12.17

This week has seemed to fly by since it was a shorter one. Also I've had no class this week so it made my evenings a lot more productive and enjoyable, and I was able to get in three gym days which is a complete win - and makes me super deserving of the biggest ice cream cone ever this weekend!

ONE // Thursday nights I'm alone, so typically it's an easy dinner consisted of some sort of sandwich or soup. However, I decided to treat myself last night and wing a chicken dish. I seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper, brown sugar, cayenne, chili powder, garlic powder, and onion powder and threw it in the oven at 400 for 20-25 min. Meanwhile, I sauted some red pepper, zucchini, sweet onion, and corn until cooked through (but still crisp). I also threw some of the same seasonings in the vegetable mix, and squeezed some lime juice in. This dish together with a little dollop of guac was so fresh and easy - and accompanied some binge watching of Teen Mom perfectly.




TWO // Andy has been buying us flowers every week (insert heart eyes) and this is the bouquet he bought this week! I am in love with them and much color and happiness they bring to this little area.


Bad quality picture - but it was taken at night!


THREE // We had some superb salmon this week for dinner. I never considered myself a seafood person, but this recipe is slowly turning me around. We coated the outside in a flour/seasoning mixture, seared the outside of the filet, and then finished baking it in the oven. The topping consisted of a butter/honey/lime juice/garlic glaze and OMG I could eat that meal everyday. 

FOUR // I'm a little late jumping onto the La Croix train but I am finally coming around to enjoying their flavors. Not going to lie - the initial bitter taste takes a lot of getting used to. Especially when I'm so used to sugary (and artificially sugary - eek) drinks. But their cran-raspberry flavor is really super good and definitely the best one I've tried yet! They are perfect for that mid-afternoon slump and I love putting them in the freezer for awhile so they get a little icy,

FIVE // I just ordered a couple Piko shirts off of their website after seeing their cute styles they had for spring. These shirts are my absolute favorite! They are so soft and flowy, and lay just right on the body. You can get them in tons of different looks, and they have dozens of colors to choose from! I purchased these two, and am excited to dress them up with a pair of jeans and wedges.




I'm spending tonight with some of my girlfriends - complete with appetizers and a yummy drink. Mother's Day is also this weekend, and I plan on celebrating accordingly with my most favorite woman in the whole world - my mom!!





Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Asheville Part Two

We woke up at the crack of dawn on Sunday morning knowing it was our last full day there. There is so much to see and do in Asheville and the surrounding areas, we knew we wanted to fit in as much as we possible could.

We started off with a hearty breakfast at Biscuit Head. Holy moly - the food was so deliciously greasy and satisfying - I would highly recommend it to anyone. I ordered the Fried Green Tomato Biscuit which had brie, fried green tomatoes, 2 poached eggs, and smoked tomato hollandaise sauce (WOW). and Andy had their Mimosa Fried Chicken Biscuit - which had fried chicken,, sweet potato butter, sriracha slaw, and a poached egg. We also sampled a few of my parent's lemon curd biscuit donuts - which were just as wonderful!












After breakfast, Andy and I went to Double D's Coffee & Dessert for a warm cup of coffee and to plan out our day. This coffee joint was in an old double decker bus - it was so neat!









We then explored a ton of shops all over, including The Gormet Chip Company, the Mass Store, a cigar store (for Andy) and Rocket Fizz. It was a shopaholics dream!








It's not a vacation without splurging on some sweets - so we had to check out the French Broad Chocolate Lounge. We bought some yummy truffles for ourselves and my parents.





Also while here I met the sweetest food blogger from Charlotte - you can check out her blog at hungrytotravel.com . Her insta is filled with amazing food! I've definitely had to put some on my bucket list :) 

After all this walking, we got a little thirsty. So we ventured over to Sky Bar for some cocktails and views. We didn't know what to expect with this place when we walked into a hotel looking building and came to a sign that said to call the elevator attendant with your ID ready. Sure enough, he came down shortly after calling and brought us up about 8 stories in a super old elevator. When we got to the top we walked out to the 3 story patio and some gorgeous views!






Andy enjoyed a Bourbon drink and I had a berry Moscow mule.

After Sky Bar, we walked over to The Wicked Weed for an appetizer and beer while we waited for my parents to meet up with us. The had a tropical sour and it was everything I love in a beer. We snacked on their black bean hummus and fried tortillas, yum!




We ended the night with burgers at the one and only Farm Burger - fast, easy, and a good last dinner out!

Back at the house that evening the competitive juices were flowing with a couple rounds of 6-5-4. What a perfect way to spend our last night!! (And Andy and I walked away $5 richer ;) yes!!)

We are so sad our vacation is over, and I can say that Asheville ranks as one of my favorite cities (right up with Cinque Terre, Italy) in the whole world! We are already planning to go back, soon!