Jun 27, 2010

J and J's Wedding

We are currently recovering from a fun filled weekend!  Our good friends Jon and Jackie got marriend in my home town of Cary, NC.  Ryan was honored to be a part of the wedding:)  I have known Jon since he was in Elementary school and he also happened to be in Ryan's fraternity in college.  So not only was half of Delta Sig at this wedding, but also friends I have known since Middle school!
Friday was the rehersal dinner and it was held at The Pavilions at  the Angus Barn.  The night was perfect....well except for the fact that it was 110 degrees outside.

The Angus Barn is known for its delicous food....which we of course enjoyed!  We also got to meet the head chef, Walter Royal, who competed on the Food Network's Iron Chef Competition.
Jon is a big hunter, but we all thought it was weird that they used a deer head as a center piece...then we realized it was the grooms CAKE.  Amazing!!!
At the end of the night we went down by the water and made smores:)

The big day.....This is truly an amazing couple who has a tremendous amount of love for each other.  Jon's face melted every woman's heart in the church when he saw her walking down the isle.
 (No I didn't take this picture...I pulled it off facebook).
I have to say I have been to several wedding recpetions at PrestonWood Country Club, but have never been to a sit down dinner.....it was beautiful.  There were hydrandras spilling over the entire banquet hall.
The minute the band started playing the dance floor was full....and it stayed that way.  I don't think I have ever seen that many guests dance at a wedding before.  I only had my camera out for the last 45 minutes of the fun...which was after I played the tamberine with the band and after the first half of the limbo using the bridesmaids sashes.....so much fun!
Here is Ryan and I with the happy newlyweds.  For some reason my camera showed the time and date...can't figure out how to get that off the pic??
Congratulations Jon and Jackie.  We love you both and wish you a long happy marriage.

Jun 25, 2010

Dinner For One

rRyan was gone for the entire month of May....yes I was VERY lonely without him here.  After 5 years of cooking for two I was wondering how it would be to cook for just me.  I would not say that I enjoyed being home alone, but I did like the challenge of coming up with good meals for just me:)

1. Grilled chicken and Salad
This is a simple salad...but one of my new favorites!!  Just combine spinach leaves, blueberries, feta cheese and a fruit dressing (I used pomegrante vinegarette).

2.  Portabella Pizza
You can usually buy portabella mushrooms individually.  I pan grill them for about 2 min per side.  Preheat Broiler.  Place your favorite pizza toppings: sauce/pesto, basil, pepperoni, tomatoes and cheese.  Place in broiler until cheese gets a golden brown...mine took about 5 min.

3.  Chicken Delight.  I got this idea from a blog I read...so easy and versatile.
You can use chicken or fish.  Just preheat oven to 350.  Place chicken on a piece of foil.  I used sun dried tomato pesto, olives and white cheddar cheese.  Wrap it up in the foil and cook for about 25-30 minutes.  I have also made it with olive oil, lemon slices, zucchini, tomatoes and Parmesan cheese.  Like I said before this is very versatile.

4.  Sitr Fry.
I used the other half of the split chicken breast from the first meal.  To make sauce I just combine 1 tsp of cornstarch and soy sauce (wheat free of course).  For veggies I used broccoli rabe and red pepper.

5.  Stuffed Mushrooms
These are regular button mushrooms.  It is stuffed with sauted spinach, bread crumbs, the mushroom stems(chopped), juice of 1/4 lemon, 1 garlic clove and Parmesan cheese.  I place the stuffed mushrooms on a foil lined cookie sheet and drizzled it with olive oil.  I then baked them for 15 min at 350 in the oven.  These little guys go great with....

6.  Nutella panini.  Ok so this should not be a dinner....more like a dessert.  I made this one night when I had a salad and some veggies and hummus for dinner.  Around 7:30 I was starving....so I made this for dinner #2.
I use my special bread....most gluten free breads are awful ok, this brand is the best I have found.  I put Nutella on both sides of the bread, add sliced banana and olive oil on the outside.  I do not have a panini press so I just pan cook it and smush it down with a spatula.  This is pure heaven....
I got this idea from the crepes we got on our trip to Italy a few years ago.

7.  BALT open face sammie.  Just a BLT with avocado.  Refreshing and so yummy!
So no excuses next time you are fending for yourself for dinner.  Treat youself to a yummy home cooked meal:)

Jun 20, 2010

Summer Days

We have been enjoying the summer...even though it has been really hot!  Here is some of what we have been up to...
Movies by Moonlight, put on at a local amphitheater every Thursday night during the summer.  We sometimes pack an entire dinner and bottle of wine, but since the movie doesn't start until dark...around 8:45, we couldn't wait this time and just packed movie snacks and margaritas. Also can't forget your blanket, bug spray and beach chairs.
We arrived early because they always have live music...and you want to get a good seat.  This time we saw The Blind Side.
What a great way to spend a summer evening.
We also have been to my parents pool with my little brother Jake.  We love spending time with him...and we love the pool:)
He loves sliding down the slide and even passed his swim test while we were there so he can swim in the deep end and jump off the diving board.
We have spent countless hours working in our yard lately too....meanwhile Riley has enjoyed her pool while we are sweating in the yard!  I think she sees it as a big water bowl and likes to drink it:)
After a hot day in the sun we cooled off with homemade Ice Cream Cake.  This week I made this Mint Chip Ice Cream Pie.  I didn't have enough chocolate (because I put most of it in the ice cream) for the crust, so mine is not as dark as the picture in the recipe, but it was delicious. I didn't get a picture before we dug in, but here is one after we tried it!
Hope you all are having a great summer and staying cool.
Happy Fathers Day Dad, Paul and George.  Love you all and hope you know how much you mean to Ryan and I.

Jun 17, 2010

Cherry Palooza Part 2

Part 2: Cherry BBQ sauce and Jam
Here is some of the leftovers of my hard labor!  This was our favorite cherry recipe.  First, let me say my husband makes the BEST barbecue sauce.  He also makes awesome ribs, chicken and basically you can slather the sauce on anything and I will eat it.  I came up with the idea of spending the afternoon playing Ryan's su-chef, while he transformed his BBQ sauce into Cherry BBQ sauce:)
In a large saucepan, saute onions and garlic with Krazy Janes in the butter and Canola oil until tender.  While they cook I heated another sauce pan med/low and and heated up the cherries, while I mashed them with a potato masher.
Stir in the cherries and remaining ingredients.  Cook uncovered, over med/low for 20-30 minutes until cherries are tender and sauce is thickened, stir often.  We did not want a chunky sauce so we used a slotted spoon to remove large chucks, pureed them and added them back to the sauce....beware this is messy:)
We of course then tried our sauce!  First at lunch on sammies:)
It was so good we made ribs for dinner....
I then went out and bought all the stuff to can all the leftover BBQ sauce to give to family and friends.
Once you figure out the whole canning process and don't mind your kitchen temperature rising to 90 degrees...its really fun and easy!

Last thing I made was Jam.  I made it really easy....
1. Wash and pit several cups of cherries.
2. Dump them into a pan over med heat.
3.  Use your potato masher and mash like before with the BBQ sauce.  I added juice of one lemon and about 1/4 cup water to the pan.
4.  After about 10 minutes I added 1/2 cup sugar and a few sqirts of agave nectar.
5.  Stir until it is as think as jam should be:)
6.  Can the jam and make cute lables!
And at last I was ready to create little gifts for some family and friends with all our creations!
Hope they all enjoyed the cherry goodies!!!

Jun 14, 2010

Cherry Palooza

I'm back with what we did with all those cherries:) First we had to pick and wash them.  I put Ryan on the top branches (we still could not reach half the cherries with the ladder).
 We then cleared room in the fridge, while we decided what to do with them.
First I made Cherry Garcia Ice Cream with my Ice Cream maker:)  Just to be honest with yall....I made a HUGE mess doing this.  When making homemade ice cream, you actually cook the cheries and milk/cream. I put the mixture in the blender when it was too hot and it literally exploded all over my entire kitchen...ceiling to floor:)  Good thing I could laugh at myself and start over!
Then I made Cherry Tortes....several for gifts and one big heart shaped one for Ryan.  I used this recipe, but changed a few things....to make it healthier: substitute 1/2 butter for applesauce, regular flour for gluten free flour, and used 1/3 of the sugar it called for, but added a tablespoon of agave nectar, and used fresh cherries (obviously) not frozen.
I don't have pictures, but I also made muffins and pound cakes.  The first try of pound cakes didn't turn out right....so I cubed them and created a bread pudding recipe with white chocolate chips that was awesome!
Let me say at this point...I have not only eaten my weight in cherries, but pitted so many that my fingers are purple!  I know, I know, I need a cherry pitter....I went to 3 stores looking for one and couldn't find one.  Can someone find me one please!  Be back with a few more recipes!

Jun 8, 2010

Beach getaway with the girls!

This past weekend I got away with the girls (and Walker).  All of our husbands happened to be playing golf that same weekend so we took advantage and went to Sunset Beach to Jennifer's beach house. 
Here we are at dinner one night: Jennifer, Alice and Walker, Caroline, me.  When we all came downstairs to go to dinner we noticed we all had on silk tops and white bottoms and sunglasses on top of our heads...too funny!  Overall we enjoyed the trip...beach time, girl talk, dinners out, baby talk, and lots of laughs. 
This was also Walker's first beach trip.  He loved the sand, splashing in the baby pools and all of the attention he got.  I have to say he  is the most well behaved and happy baby! After I got home and looked at my pictures I realized that instead of most of them being of food (which is sadly what usually happens), they were of this adorable little boy...I could just eat him up!!
I am so blessed to have such great girl friends and just wish we all lived in the same city and could see each other more often!

Jun 1, 2010

Baby Lee...its a BOY!

Ryan Andrew Lee
8 lbs 3 oz
Born 5/29/10 at 10:35PM

My best friend Rachel and her husband Andy welcomed baby Lee to the family last Thursday!!!
Here is the first picture I took of the new mom and her baby, while Rachel and I were alone in the room.
Rachel looked amazing all throughout her pregnancy and still looked stunning after:)  If we could all be so lucky!  It is such a miracle to look at a newborn and really see both parents in their face...truly a blessing.
We made several trips to visit the new Lee family of 3 and just wish we lived closer and could see them more.  Ryan and I did manage to spend some quality time with him.
Congratulations Andy and Rachel, Ryan and I are so happy for you both and can't wait to watch the little guy grow up!