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Thursday, September 30, 2010

st. louis bound!

By this time tomorrow we'll be on our way to St. Louis!
Looking foward to...

time away,
a Saturday afternoon Cardinals game,
seeing the mighty Mississippi River for the 1st time,
checking out the infamous arch,
not cooking (i really do love it, but i also love a break from it :-)),
fabulous fall weather (in the 60s),
cruising the city,
& most of all-time with my babe!

meet me in st. louis!

Friday, September 24, 2010

meatless meal #3...black bean lasagna

Thanks to Courtney for sharing this with us...

Black Bean Lasagna

9 lasagna noodles
1 large onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
1 teaspoon of canola oil
2 cans of black beans, rinsed & drained
1 can of diced tomatoes, undrained
2 cans of tomato paste
1 cup of water
2 tablespoons of fresh cilantro, minced
1/4 tablespoon of crushed red pepper flakes
4 egg whites, beaten
15 oz. of reduced-fat ricotta cheese
1/2 cup of grated Parmesan cheese
1/4 cup of fresh parsley
2 cups of shredded Mexican blend cheese

Prepare noodles according to package directions. Drain noodles.
Meanwhile, heat oil and saute garlic & onion over medium-heat until tender. Add tomatoes, beans, tomato paste, water, cilantro, & pepper flakes. Bring to boil. Reduce heat & simmer, uncovered, for 15 minutes or until slightly thickened.

Combine egg whites, ricotta, parmesan, & parsley.

Coat 9x13 glass baking dish with cooking spray. Spread 1/2 cup of bean mixture onto bottom of dish. Top with 3 noodles. Cover with a 1/3 of the ricotta mixture, 1/3 bean mixture, & shredded cheese. Repeat layers twice.

Cover & bake @ 350 for 3-35 minutes. Uncover & bake 10-15 more minutes until bubbly.
Let stand for 10 minutes before cutting.


Thursday, September 23, 2010

up & running.

thanks to Hollie, my tumblr page is up & running...

it's totally fun...

check me out @ starrfaves!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010


I can't believe i've forgotten to share a mouse update...
(drumroll, please)
We caught a mouse just a few days after i posted about the mouse drama.

It was quite a traumatic event for me, so i will not recount all of the details (you really don't want them anyway).

i'm so glad that Chris was here to handle the situation
i'm certainly hoping this one was the only one

our food is back in the pantry,
Chris' sweaters are back in the storage box,
& hopefully our cozy home is mouse-free.

i'm thankful for small blessings!
(p.s.s.---this is my 300th post!!!)

Monday, September 20, 2010

what's new?...

*Fall is coming...my decorations around the house say so, if only the day-time temperatures agreed. Loving the cool mornings though.

*We're taking a mini-trip to St. Louis the 1st weekend in October. We have tickets to the Saturday afternoon Cardinals game!!!...super exciting!!!

*I got an 8-pack of Bounty papertowels last week @CVS for $3 (with tax!)...it was on sale for $5.49, i had $1 manf. coupon & $2 in Register Rewards. i so love CVS & Walgreens.

*We've been running a good bit in the past few weeks...up to 3 miles, working on adding a bit of speed now. I'm so loving my iLuv iPod armband that I got FREE as a prize from ZoomPanel.

*This weekend is the Tennessee Arts & Crafts Association festival @ Centennial Park...i can't wait!

*We're enjoying our meatless meals so far...this week's meatless menu, Courtney's black bean lasagna.

*i'm headed to Hobby Lobby tomorrow...can't wait to check out their fall stuff!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

no pantry, no problem!

I love a pantry...
in my book, it's a kitchen neccessity!

When we moved into our apartment in Durham as newlyweds, we had a small closet that we used as a pantry.
One of the drawing points to the house we bought in Durham was the awesome pantry which was huge with lots of built-in shelves.

So, when we moved into our cozy rental house here in Nashville, I was so disappointed that we had no pantry.
That coupled with the general lack of storage space led us to consider other options for a pantry.

Meet my mock pantry...

It's a black 5-shelf bookcase from Wal-Mart that my husband was kind enough to assemble for me. It sits in the open area just off of our kitchen & laundry closet. It was sort-of a wasted space anyway.

I didn't like the fact that the contents of my "pantry" were so exposed.
So, I found a dowel rod...painted it black...found some inexpensive material @ Hobby Lobby & sewed this curtain.
We keep it tied up & out of the way most of the time, but if anyone comes over, we usually close it up to fully hide our pantry goods.

It's not perfect, but it works!

I'm linking this idea up to...

Sunday, September 12, 2010

meatless meal #2-veggie frittata

my second go at preparing a meatless meal...turned out even better than the 1st!

Veggie & Potato Frittata

1 medium zucchini, sliced thin
1 medium yellow squash, sliced thin
4-5 tablespoons of extra-virgin olive oil
1 medium onion, sliced thin
6 eggs
1 cup of grated cheddar cheese
salt & pepper

Rinse zucchini & squash & mix in a colander with 1 teaspoon of salt. Toss well. Allow to drain for 30 minutes.

Heat 3 tablespoons of oil in a cast-iron skillet over medium-high heat. Add the potatoes & onions, turn the heat down to low & stir occassionally until the potatoes are soft, about 20-25 minutes. Increase the heat to medium-high & cook potatoes until slightly brown, about 5 minutes. Remove the potatoes from the skillet with a slotted spoon, but keep the skillet on the burner.

Pour the veggies out on a clean kitchen towel & pat dry. Add the veggies to the skillet & saute over medium-high heat until tender, about 5 minutes. Remove the veggies & add to the bowl with potatoes & onions. Continue to leave the skillet on the burner.

Beat eggs with a dash of salt & pepper until well blended. Fold in potatoes & veggie mixture. Add cheese & mix well.

Preheat the oven to 350. Add 1-2 tablespoons of oil to cover the bottom of the skillet. Pour in the mixture into the skillet and cook over medium-low heat without stirring until the bottom is set, about 10 minutes.

Transfer the skillet to the oven and bake until the top is set, about 10 minutes (check often).

Place a serving plate over the skillet & carefully invert so the frittata falls out of the pan.
Cut into wedges & serve.


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

meatless meal #1-pesto.

Here's the recipe for the delicious pesto we made this weekend:

Fresh Pesto

1 1/2 cups of fresh basil leaves, washed
2 garlic cloves
3 tablespoons of toasted pine nuts
1/4 cup of extra-virgin olive oil (plus extra)
3 tablespoons of freshly grated Parmesan cheese
salt & pepper to taste

Combine basil leaves, garlic, & pine nuts in food processor (or blender, which is what I used since we don't have a food processor...it worked fine). Process until finely chopped. Pour in olive oil and mix until a smooth paste forms. Add the cheese, salt & pepper and mix briefly.

Set aside for atleast 20 minutes to allow flavors to intensify. You can then serve immediately or freeze (my favorite part!). If freezing, place in an airtight container and pour additional olive oil over the top until pesto is completely covered & sealed off from air.

You can store it in the refrigerator for up to a week & in the freezer for up to 6 months.

Super easy & super yummy...enjoy!

deals, deals, deals...

I have run across some fabulous deals lately...
I love a good deal!

Like this dress I scored at Macy's...cute, huh?
It was regularly priced @ $119..I found it on the clearance rack for $59.50 & got to take an additional % off...I paid $35 for it!

Last week at Walgreens, I bought a tube of Colgate Advanced Whitening toothpaste on sale & had a coupon...I paid a grand total of $0.24!

I scored ground turkey @ Kroger last week for $1.00/pound! I've frozen it in preparation for fall, also known as chili season!

I found the most adorable Paula Deen thank-you notes @ Michaels. They're purple, green & white with a sweet little bird & they say "Thanks Y'all"...love them!!! Best part, I paid $0.77 for a pack of 8!

Hoping to score more note-worthy deals this week!

Monday, September 6, 2010

makings of a fabulous weekend...

enjoying Friday night dinner at the famous Loveless Cafe...i can't get over how amazing the biscuits & peach preserves were!

high temperatures on Saturday & Sunday of 78-82...I feel fall coming on!!!

chilling in my front porch rocking chair with coffee on a cool Saturday morning

browsing the neighborhood Farmer's Market Saturday morning taking in the cool air & the sounds of The Young Republics, my new favorite folk/bluegrass band

picking up this amazingly fresh basil at the Farmer's Market...we turned it into yummy pesto on Saturday afternoon!
the smell of our freshly mowed grass

taking in some football on Saturday...especially taking in UGA's 55-7 victory!

taking a walk across the Shelby Pedestrian Bridge Sunday afternoon taking in views like this...

enjoying my fresh gerberas & zinnias from the local flower shop...I could get used to fresh flowers in the house all the time!
finding Cheri a perfect birthday gift at Willow Tree, my favorite little local store

an extra day off to enjoy the weekend :-)


Chris & I have recently challenged ourselves to change a few things about how we live...
I think we're up for the challenges!

(1) Eat atleast one meatless dinner meal/week---In an effort to eat healthier and just to eat less meat in general, we are trying out atleast one vegetarian dinner entree each week.
Last week, we made fresh pesto & for 2 nights ate whole grain pasta with pesto, pine nuts & fresh parmesan...delicious! I'm thinking of posting the recipe we try each week here on my blog.

(2) Stick to a grocery budget--- This is mostly a challenge for me. I've gotten good at using coupons & finding sales, but often this means that I spend the same amount of $ but get more stuff. I'm going to make an effort to save $ by shopping sales, using coupons, and buying less!
We're aiming for $50/week, so we'll see how it goes!

(3) Get in shape again--- I know, I know...this is such a cliche challenge, but we really mean it! We both have free access to the gyms at Vanderbilt & Belmont. We have fabulous parks & neighborhoods around to jog in. We just have to make it a priority to do it! So far, so good...I'm going to an hour-long spin class @ the gym on Monday nights, we're running atleast 3 nights a week, and I'm doing pilates or hitting up the gym another day each week.

(4) Floss--- You can't laugh...just after we moved I got on a kick about forming good habits. I decided that I would start with flossing. I've always been the kind that flosses once a week or so until the week of my dentist appointment in which I start flossing religiously (you know you do it too :-)). I've always wanted to be better at doing it, so I took to making it a habit. Now, I'm at almost 8 weeks & flossing strong! (To be entirely honest, I have forgotten 2 times in 8 weeks...oops!). It may seem small, but cementing this habit for me is proof that I can take other good behaviors & make them daily habits.

Stay tuned for updates on our progress towards meeting our challenges...

Saturday, September 4, 2010


So, I had a little emotional breakdown Wednesday evening.

It all started as I'm making Chris' lunch for Thursday...
I'm grabbing a granola bar out of our snack basket in the pantry (aka the bookcase we fashioned into a pantry)...
Just before I tossed it into the bag I see a hole in the back of it, a good-sized hole...
I start hoping it's a faulty one that was damaged while in the box, so I grab another from the basket...
It has a hole in it too, a smaller one, but a hole...
The next one I grab does too, so now I'm freaking out.

Chris comes to check out what all the uproar is about, probably assuming that I'm over-reacting.
Then he said the word...MOUSE...ahhhhhhhhhhhh!

He starts grabbing stuff off the shelves of the pantry...
I'm still standing in the middle of the kitchen with the heeby-jeebies...

Long story short, Chris packs most of our food in coolers & a Rubbermaid storage box that usually has his sweaters in it (for some reason this is what threw me over the edge)...

Now we have sweaters that belong in an under-the-bed storage box in my clean laundry basket,
our food is in various coolers & boxes,
and worst of all...there's a MOUSE IN MY HOUSE!

I'm crying, I'm fuming, I was so ugly to my sweet husband who was creating a game plan for catching this darn mouse...

Suddenly, I want my house back (my house with no mouse),
I want my current house back in order,
I miss my job (I love my job now, but I still miss my Duke job),
I miss my friends,
and some stinking little mouse is causing me to have this crazy emotional breakdown.

Anyway...our food is still in boxes, Chris' sweaters are still not in their home, and we have traps set all around the house.
And we still haven't caught this darn mouse...Chris keeps coming up with creative ideas so hopefully we'll have him soon.

Luckily, I'm coping better, for now...
I'm still frustrated that the house is in disarray and that there's still a mouse in my house.

I rarely wish death upon living things, but this mouse has got to die...and soon!