Sunday, April 30, 2017

Happy Birthday, Kendall!

Today is Kendall's birthday! Happy 22! And yesterday, we had the pleasure of seeing these two for a couple of hours while they were passing through. Daniel took some photos at the end of our little party, and now that I think about it, I should have taken more!

We planned a cookout on the deck, but the weather did not quite cooperate, so Don stilled grilled the burgers and dogs, but we ate in the dining room.

Kendall's dad was being a bachelor this weekend, so he came over for dinner too. See...I told you I should have taken more photos!

Kaitlin (maid of honor) and her boyfriend, Conner also stopped by. Such a sweet couple. Well it happened to also be Conner's birthday, so he got a present too!

Aside from the burgers, dogs, spaghetti slaw, fruit salad, and macaroni salad, we had all Kendall's favorite desserts - Triple chocolate cake, Birthday Cake Oreos, and ice cream.

Saturday, April 29, 2017

Aunt Pam's Spaghetti Slaw

This is a recipe I sort of "stole" from Kendall . Here's what happened. For Kendall's bridal shower, all the guests were supposed to bring a recipe card with one of their favorite recipes to give to Kendall. Well, Aunt Pam's recipe card kind of floated through my house on the way to the shower, and I caught a glimpse of it and I made a photo copy of it! Sorry, but it looked so good.

I finally had a chance to try it out today because we had a little birthday celebration for Kendall. Unfortunately, I couldn't eat it because of the pasta, but everyone who tried it told me they loved it. I sent all the leftovers home with the guests.

It's a unique salad that is good for a picnic or potluck. Very kind of that's why I stole it!

Aunt Pam was a little vague on the instructions, but I gathered what she meant.

Aunt Pam's Spaghetti Slaw

1 box spaghetti
1 bag slaw mix
Lots of celery salt
Chopped green onion
2 shredded carrots (I left these out because the slaw mix already had carrots in it)
1 jar Marzetti's Slaw Dressing
Salt & Pepper

Cook spaghetti per box instructions then toss with remaining ingredients. Refrigerate!

Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Grilled Pizza

I've been dying to try this recipe I heard about on the Sorta Awesome podcast. Don was my willing guinea pig.

There are really only three required ingredients: Naan bread (comes in original, garlic and whole wheat), pizza sauce, and cheese. But you can add whatever toppings you like. I had some pepperoni on hand.

It came out perfectly. Don said, and I quote: "It tastes like pizza." He really did like it!

Grilled Pizza

Light your grill and let it warm up on medium heat.

Take the Naan bread out of the package. Brush some olive oil on the bottom of the bread.

Spread pizza sauce on Naan (not too much). Add any toppings you like. Sprinkle cheese on top.

Place on heated grill.

I turned the center burner off to give it indirect heat. I was afraid the bread would burn. Keep an eye on it because it cooks fast. Close the lid to get the cheese to melt, but open the lid every minute or so to see how it is doing. It took about 6 minutes.

This would be a great way to have an impromptu cookout with friends - make your own pizzas and plop them on the grill.

Best part: You don't even have to clean the grill! Fastest dinner ever.

Monday, April 24, 2017

Mind Over Munch

I was watching a video on YouTube this morning, and I glanced over to the side and saw some suggested videos for me to watch. One looked interesting, so I clicked on it.

I was taken to a channel from  Mind Over Munch which had some awesome videos on food and food prep. I watched one that was titled $50 Whole Foods Meal Prep Challenge which had some great recipes to make for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

There was another one called Healthy Chipotle that was very interesting.

Looks like I've discovered a new channel to watch for healthy eating! And Alyssia Sheikh is also pretty entertaining.

Thursday, April 20, 2017

A Makover of Peter's Room

With Peter moving out and getting married, he left me no choice but to do another re-decorating project here at home. I've been working on it for several months, but it all came together just before the Easter weekend because he and Kendall were coming to say, and I wanted them to enjoy the finished product.

To start, I painted the walls a color that is in a couple of other rooms in the house (kitchen and guest bedroom). The paint color is Sherwin Williams Prairie Grass (SW 7546). Depending on the light, it either looks light olive green or a nice shade of tan.

I bought the quilt at West Elm on Kendall's recommendation. She and Peter got the exact one only in white for a wedding gift, and they love it. The lamp and pillows are from Target, and the mirror is from Home Goods. The canvas, pouf stool, and side table are from Pier 1.

Here is a shot of the other side of the room. You can see the lovely painted book shelf from an earlier post. Hanging between the windows is a butterfly that Peter made in high school art class. I've always loved it. It is painted on cloth, so I pressed it between glass in one of those floating frames.

The color scheme is cream, gold and touches of red. I bought the desk at Pottery Barn and the chair at Pier 1. I love the way it all turned out.

One last angle so you can see the rug and little bulletin board I hung on the other wall. I plan to buy some Roman shades for the windows in the near future.

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

Official Homeowners

Peter and Kendall closed on their house in Columbus tonight!! They are officially homeowners now.

Several weeks ago, Don and I went to the inspection, and I took a few photos. This is a better shot of the front.

And this is a shot of the back. It has a two-level deck.

I don't want to share too many photos of the inside, because they plan to paint and re-do the kitchen/dining area before they move in. But this is the foyer.

It's a great house for a big backyard party, so I know they are going to invite everyone over sometime this summer and have a cookout. I'll have my burger medium rare without the bun, please.

Tuesday, April 18, 2017

Banned from Petsmart

I told Riley he was no longer welcome at Petsmart grooming, and this was his reaction.

For the past year or so, the groomers at Petsmart have told me that he doesn't like the hair dryer and that he bites it, nearly missing their hands. Therefore, they would put him in the cage to be dried by forced air.

Well, apparently, Petsmart has a rule that dogs over the age of eight cannot be cage-dried. It has something to do with their breathing capabilities. For the same reason, they cannot muzzle him.

So, the otherwise sweet little groomer told me she can give him a trim, but he has to have his bath elsewhere (like at home or the vet or another groomer who can get around the blow-drying thing).

While I scramble for solutions, Riley doesn't seem to be too concerned.

Monday, April 17, 2017

Blueberry Crisp

This is technically a dessert, but I made it for breakfast yesterday (since it was Easter).

This blueberry crisp comes from the book Bread & Wine by Shauna Niequist. It is a gluten-free recipe, so I could eat it! And let me tell you, it was sooooo good! I'll admit that other than two servings eaten by others, I ate the entire pan over the course of the day. Fortunately I had cut the recipe in half.

Blueberry Crisp

4 cups blueberries (or any other fruit - including frozen)
1 cup old fashioned oats
1/2 cup chopped pecans
1/2 cup almond meal/flour
1/4 cup maple syrup
1/4 cup olive oil
1/2 t. salt

Pour fruit in bottom of an 8 x 8 inch pan.
Mix rest of ingredients together in a medium bowl.
Pour mixture on top of fruit.
Bake at 350 degrees for 35-40 minutes or longer if using frozen fruit.

Sunday, April 16, 2017

Happy Easter!

Have a blessed day!

We attended the Easter service at Parkside Church. Pastor Begg gave a beautiful message that you can listen to here.

After church, we went to brunch at Barrington with Daniel, Heidi, Chris and Jim.

Don and I don't have our photo taken together often enough.

Saturday, April 15, 2017

Let's Hear it for No. 42

It was a beautiful day for a baseball game. The Indians won against the Detroit Tigers 13-6.

It was Jackie Robinson Day, so every player, manager, coach and umpire in the MLB was wearing the retired No. 42 jersey

April 15 was opening day in 1947 - the year Jackie Robinson made his major league debut as the first black major league player. He was also honored as the National League Most Valuable Player that year.

 Daniel & Heidi were able to join us.

 And Peter & Kendall too!

Katherine & Josh were at home in Indiana enjoying their beautiful blooming tree (bush). Can anyone identify it? We are thinking it might be a rhododendron.

The Goodyear blimp hung around the whole game, and Daniel got this shot of it on our way out of the stadium.

Friday, April 14, 2017

Hiding in Plain Sight

This is how Riley hides from me 
when he knows I'm going to put him in the car.

Wednesday, April 12, 2017

When Breath Becomes Air

When Breath Becomes Air by Paul Kalanithi was the second book I read in Punta Cana on the beach. It's not your typical  "beach read," but it had moved up on my to read stack over the winter.

Paul Kalanithi was a 36-year-old neurosurgeon when he was diagnosed with metastatic lung cancer. At first he was in denial because how many 36-year-old, non-smoking men get lung cancer? After reality set in, Paul moved from doctor to patient, but he still practiced while he could.

This is the story of how one person faced his impending death at what would be considered a very young age. He chose to go on living his life until the end. He and his wife even decided to have a baby after his diagnosis. His daughter, Lucy, brought much joy to the last six months of his life.

This book is beautifully written. Before Paul chose the medical field for his career, he planned to do something with his English Literature degree. Abraham Verghese, author of Cutting for Stone, and a professor at Stanford University Medical School, wrote a very eloquent prologue to the book in which he commended Dr. Kalanithi for his writing.

I highly recommend this book - five stars.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Steak & Asparagus

It was nice enough outside today to cook these steaks on the grill, but I wanted to try this recipe, so they went in the oven. They turned out so tender and delicious! I usually burn steaks on the grill.

Oven Seared Steak & Asparagus

1 large bunch of asparagus, ends trimmed
2 8-ounce ribeye steaks
olive oil
garlic powder

Preheat oven to 450 degrees.
Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper.
Place asparagus in a bowl, drizzle with olive oil and then sprinkle with garlic powder, salt and pepper.
Spread the asparagus out on the parchment paper.
Place steaks in the same bowl and drizzle with a little olive oil and sprinkle with salt and pepper. Toss them around to coat both sides.
Place a baking rack over the asparagus and put the steaks on top.
Bake for 10-12 minutes on the first side.
Turn steaks and bake 10-12 minutes on the second side.
Cook longer if you like your steaks medium. These came out medium-rare.

Saturday, April 8, 2017

Goal Accomplished!

It feels so good to check something off my to do list. I finally printed, framed and hung (well, Don hung) the wedding photos! Don't they look nice?

I have to thank Daniel, too, because I sent the photos to him and he made sure all the heads lined up and the he lightened the photo of Peter and Kendall a little so it wouldn't be darker than the others.

I'm still working on the tablescape. Don would not let me move the large statue. I have to choose my battles around here.

Wednesday, April 5, 2017

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

I know...I need work on my food photography!

I was listening to back shows of the Sorta Awesome podcast and heard about this easy recipe that I had to try. It has only seven ingredients and all you do is put them in the slow cooker. My kind of recipe!

I made the Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos tonight and served it over rice. If I hadn't had to run out the door, I would have added some black beans on top of the rice. For sure next time. Don and I both enjoyed this tasty dish.

One tip: chop the chipotle chilis into a very small dice to spread the heat around. I had a fire in my chest for about 15 minutes after chewing a pretty big chunk.

Slow Cooker Chicken Tacos

2 pounds boneless, skinless chicken thighs (I used two packages of 6 thighs)
4 t. jarred minced garlic (found in the produce section)
1/2 cup salsa
1-2 t. chipotle chilis in adobo, chopped (found in hispanic foods aisle)
1 T. chili powder
1 t. salt
1/2 t. pepper

Put chicken in the bottom of a slow cooker. Top with remaining ingredients. Stir to combine.
Cover and cook on low for 8 hours or high for 4 hours.
Shred chicken with two forks and serve alongside your favorite taco fixings such as rice and beans, limes, cilantro, cheese, salsa, guacamole or avocados. You can use taco shells (hard or soft) if you like.

You can double this recipe for a party...or cut it in half if it is just two of you. Freezes well.

Sunday, April 2, 2017

Columbine and A Mother's Reckoning

I chose Columbine by Dave Cullen as my "current events" books in the 2017 reading challenge. Although the event took place in 1999 and the book was published in 2010, school shootings are still a current topic in the news.

This is horrific story in which 15 people died and many others were injured in a Colorado high school on April 20 of that year.

My first question after reading the news was, "How could the parents of these two boys not know that they had guns and bombs in their possession and planned to blow up the school?"

After reading this book and the one that follows, I now understand. Both are books I feel every person should read.

Columbine is very well written and covers all the details leading up to the shootings as well as the aftermath. The book was published 11 years later, so a lot of evidence is recorded that was not in the news. It was very enlightening.

The two boys who were responsible for the murders and their own suicides were Eric Harris and Dylan Klebold. In 2016, Dylan's mom published A Mother's Reckoning: Living in the Aftermath of Tragedy. 

You can feel her heart breaking on every page as she tells her family's story and what she knows now about Dylan's state of mind that day through Dylan's diary, talking to other students, and her own research.

I can't recommend these two books enough.

All proceeds of Sue Klebold's book will be donated to research and to charitable organizations focusing on mental health issues.