Sunday, January 29, 2012

5 smiles - recipe edition

I swear I was going to try to update this blog 2-3 times a week, but life really got in the way the last two weeks. Oh well - I'm back to it today! My five smiles this week are all recipes that I have tried lately and loved. I hope they come in handy to someone! I apologize for not having my own pictures of anything - I somehow cannot remember to do that while I'm cooking. In no particular order -

1. Ina Garten's Parmesan roasted broccoli, from Barefoot Contessa's Back to Basics. It was DELICIOUS! Hands-down the best broccoli I've ever eaten, though I guess when you add olive oil and a little cheese to anything, it is going to taste better.

2. Tuna Salad Pockets, from the Better Homes and Gardens Eat Well, Lose Weight cookbook. This is one of my favorite lunches. I will make a duoble batch of it on Sundays, then it is so easy to just stuff into a pita pocket in the morning and go.

3. Crockpot BBQ brisket. We got this from our friends the Yoo's. It is so good - one of my favorite things we have made so far. We served it up on a baked potatoe with a little cheese and sour cream...not exactly healthy, but very tasty. Instead of all the spices, we just useed a bbq rub. Using the crockpot has quickly become one of our favorite ways to cook lately. It is so nice for it to be cooking while you are at work, and always has great leftovers so you don't have to cook for the next few nights either.

4. Speaking of the Crockpot - Three-Bean Turkey Chili, from the actual Crockpot cookbook. Really healthy since it uses turkey, and it is so good. Great leftovers too. Aaron actually made this one, and the one above...gotta give him credit for being a great cook!

5. Ina Garten's Baked Chocolate Pudding, from Barefoot Contessa's Back to Basics. I made this for our Christmas dinner dessert (we ate on our wedding china - very fancy). I am usually not even a chocolate cake person at all, but this is seriously so good. It is so soft and stays soft for days. It's kind of brownie-ish. I loved this dessert, but can't make it too often! ha!

Hope you enjoy!

Sunday, January 15, 2012

5 smiles

This is a blogging idea from my friend Abby. Every Friday, she would write a "5 smiles" post that simply lists 5 things that she loves, or that wrapped up the week, or went with a certain theme. Of course, I am a little late this time. But, I love reading these on other people's blogs, so I decided to give it a go on here as well. Here are this week's 5 smiles.

1. A good friend's brand new baby girl - Bethany Len Lowe. This really is "The year of the baby". She's beautiful in every way and I can't wait to meet her! You can see more of her amazing newborn photos on Sarah's blog.

2. A brand new NIV study Bible with my brand new name!

3. Friday Night Lights - our nightly date. Maggie gave me the boxed set of the entire series for Christmas and we are already addicted. It is really good!

4. Camp Gladiator. I'm really not smiling before or during a workout, but I usually leave with a smile. I love getting back into bootcamp and hopefully getting back into shape after the long hiatus I've been on lately. So far being married hasn't exactly been "motivating" for being healthy!

5. Origins Ginger Float cream bubble bath. My favorite bubble bath, especially for winter.

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

Salad Dressing

In the spirit of being domestic, I thought I would share a recipe today. It was always a common joke at my bridal showers for people to give us kitchen items and then ask, "So are you actually going to cook with all this stuff?" Well, I (we) have been working really hard at trying out new recipes and it is super fun to use all the new gifts we got! I have tried a lot of new recipes, and so far no disasters, but I have to say that my favorite new thing is making my own salad dressing! We got the recipe from Marilyn, Aaron's best friend from growing up. This salad dressing is seriously good...I make it almost every night now for us to have as a side to our meal. It's kind of like a dijon balsamic vinaigrette. I thought I would post it because I haven't seen anything like it in a cookbook.

You need:
garlic cloves
walnut oil
balsamic vinegar
dijon mustard
sea salt
fresh cracked pepper
pinch of sugar

What you do:
- Using a wooden salad bowl, crush up the garlic with some salt and pepper. The amount of garlic depends on how much you like. I just use one clove for a salad for the 2 of us. Crush it using a pestle or the back of a wooden spoon until it makes a coarse paste. You can also add a pinch of sugar in here too.
- Once a coarse paste is formed, add some oil and a splash or two of balsamic vinegar. The amounts all depend on the size of the salad, but I will say that a little goes a long way.
- Add just a squirt of dijon mustard and whisk it all together.
- Once it is done, you just add the lettuce and toppings to the bowl and hand toss it. The dressing isn't runny - it is supposed to just coat the salad.

It tastes best with butter lettuce, sliced onion, tomatoes, and some shaved parmesan in my opinion. I love this salad and I am so thankful to Marilyn for handing down the recipe! If you decide to make it, let me know how it turns out.

This is us with Marilyn and her precious kids who were in our wedding! Sorry - didn't have a picture of the salad! I'll try to remember to add one on this post next time we have the salad.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

2011 - year in review

I think I will name 2011 "The Year of the Wedding". There was our wedding, of course, and with that comes about an entire year of thinking about it. But this year was extra special because we also got to attend the weddings of so many special friends (and were sad to not be able to attend some too). Some other highlights occured along the way too. 2011 was a wonderful year for our little family and we were blessed beyond measure. I can't wait for what 2012 will bring...maybe "The Year of the Baby"?? Just kidding if you are reading this Aaron! Here is a little 2011 recap in pictures.

Rang in the New Year at an Old 97s concert
Traveled to Houston to see my college best friends for Pam's wedding shower

Had the craziest winter weather ever in Dallas and got a total of FIVE snow days! Daily s'mores!

We celebrated the wedding of Aaron's sister Kim and her husband Ryan! They got married at the Old Red Courthouse in Downtown Dallas and it was beautiful.
Ran my first half marathon in the Dallas Rock and Roll! More importantly, I got to develop an amazing friendship with a coworker Jennifer through our training together after school. She has truly been a blessing in my life this year. This year, Aaron and I are running it together!

On Tuesday, April 12th, Aaron and I got engaged on a walk around White Rock Lake! I love our engagement story!
I got to go to Austin twice - once for Adrienne's wedding shower!
And then for Pam and Jason's wedding...absolutely gorgeous wedding at Camp Lucy in Dripping Springs.

4-wheeled in Mineola visiting Aaron's Granny on her farm
Watched a ton of Ranger games with Aaron and the fam...start of another great World Series season! I also finished up my 6th year of teaching - hard to believe!

On June 11th, my best friend Sarah Brewer married Brock Jeffus at Winfrey Point on White Rock Lake.
I also leased and moved out of my condo and in with my parents. It was a little sad to leave my cute little home of 4 years, but it was really exciting to have only 5 more months until I could move into Aaron's house.

In July, Carter and Mallory got married in St. Louis, Missouri at the Hilton at the Ballpark.
We also toured the Budweiser factory and discovered Shocktop!
Adi and Garrett got married on the same weekend in Crested Butte - it was a very sad day for me to not be there, but the wedding pictures are fabulous and I know the wedding was just perfect.
On July 16th, my cousin Caroline married John Mark and I got to be a bridesmaid again! Their wedding was at Park Cities Presbyterian and Bent Tree Country Club.

This month, it was Jordan and Brian's turn to get married! I absloutely loved their reception site at the Hickory Street Annex. Clearly, I have repeated this dress for many weddings this is my spring/summer version of the purple plaid dress!
August was also my 10 year high school reunion celebrated at Mattitos. Unfortunately, this was the only picture I have from that fun night. I won an award for teaching in Lake Highlands...I think I actually gave myself that award. Anyway, we had fun!

We had our first wedding shower - a couple's stock the bar party!

In October, I had like 3 showers, my bachelorette party, and turned 29 and so sadly, do not have a single picture to show from any of it! I know pictures were taken, so whoever you are, I need those!

WE GOT MARRIED!!! November 26th - Park Cities Baptist and the Addison Conference Centre

Honeymoon in the Riviera Maya
The Todd Twins were born on December 7th! Welcome Ruth Keller and Liam Ross Todd!
Jenny and Adam got married on the 17th at St. Marks School.
And finally we celebrated our first Christmas together! We went to Mineola to celebrate with Aaron's family (along with lots of other family celebrations).

I feel like I need to take a deep breath were super dedicated if you read through this whole thing! Here's to 2012!