31.1.10

two meals in one: chicken and quesadillas

The chicken recipe is something I came up with for the FH and I after looking at a bunch of different recipes. I was craving black beans but the FH doesn't really like beans. He doesn't mind eating some, though, as long as they aren't the main course. The black bean salsa recipe is enough to top the chicken as well as to use later for quesdillas.

SPICED RUBBED CHICKEN WITH BLACK BEAN SALSA
serves 2

3 Tbsp paprika
1 Tbsp freshly ground black pepper
1 Tbsp sea salt
1/2 Tbsp chili powder
1 Tbsp brown sugar
2 pinches cayenne pepper (or less if you don't like spicy)
2 chicken breasts
1/2 black bean salsa recipe

1. Pre-heat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix first six ingredients in a bowl.
3. Rub both sides of chicken with spice mixture.
4. Pan sear both sides of chicken until golden brown.
5. Transfer to an oven safe dish (unless your skillet is oven safe) and bake until chicken is cooked through.
6. Top with black bean salsa (recipe below).

BLACK BEAN SALSA

2 15 oz. cans of black beans
4 medium tomatoes, diced
1/2 red onion diced
3 green onions, chopped
1/2 cup fresh cilantro, chopped
1/2 jalapeno, minced
1/2 lemon, juiced
1 Tbsp chili powder

Combine all the ingredients in a bowl.

BLACK BEAN QUESADILLAS
serves 2

4 whole-wheat burrito tortillas
shredded cheddar cheese
1/2 black bean salsa recipe (after marinated for one or two days)

1. Top 2 tortillas with some shredded cheddar cheese depending on how much cheese you like. (Make sure not to put cheese all the way to the edges since the tortillas will shrink when they get hot and you don't want the cheese running out.)
2. Split the black bean salsa between the two tortillas and then top with more cheese.
3. Place another tortilla on top of both tortillas.
4. Place them in a skillet on medium and heat the tortillas through so that the cheese is melted and holds the two tortillas together. Flip once with a spatula.
5. Let the tortillas cool for about three minutes so that the cheese sets. Cut with a pizza cutter.

25.1.10

berries with marscapone cream

We had some friends over a few weekends ago and I wanted a dessert that was quick and easy. This would be an excellent summertime dessert when berries are in season. It is light and fresh while still satisfying your sweet tooth.

BERRIES WITH MARSCAPONE CREAM
serves 6 (with a generous amount of cream)

16 ounces marscapone cream cheese
1 cup heavy cream
1 cup confectioners sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
assorted fresh berries

1. In a medium bowl, whisk together marscapone, cream, sugar, and vanilla until well blended.
2. Refridgerate for at least one hour or overnight.
3. Spoon some of the cream into the bottom of six individual dessert dishes, then add berries, and then top berries with more cream. To give it a fancier look, I used white wine glasses.

24.1.10

my marie

I finished my first wearable garment about a month ago, so I guess this post is a little late but I didn't get a chance to wear it and take pictures until last night.

I used the free Marie skirt pattern from BurdaStyle. The pattern was a little confusing, especially for a first time sewer, but I figured it out eventually. I made the waistband thicker and added lining.

It turned out decent for my first skirt but when you look closely there are definitely a few flaws. The skirt lays a little strangely and the waistband is not as tight to the body as I think it should be (but I didn't follow the pattern for that part either). My zipper is kind of messed up as well. It is wearable though. Overall, I am very happy with it. And I just LOVE the brocade fabric I used!

Here are some pictures I took before going out to dinner last night.


Gosh, I am an awkward "model."

20.1.10

to record or not to record - that is the question

So a few weeks ago, my fiancé and I decided, to save money, we were going to forgo the videographer for our wedding day. I wasn't particularly thrilled but after a few days I was at peace with it.

This weekend our friends came over and brought their wedding DVD. There were shots of her getting ready with an added Micheal Bublé song. There were their wedding vows (along with the mispronunciation of names by the minister.) And of course, there was dancing! They said they are so glad they got a video because the day is a blur and there is so much you end up missing.

Crap.

I want to be able to curl up in my sweats on the couch with a pint of Ben & Jerry's (which I will have deprived myself of for so long to look smashing in my wedding dress) and laugh and cry and cringe at all of the things that I missed. I want to watch myself excitedly getting ready while my bridesmaids help me fix my make-up and put on my garter. And I want to hear his voice shake as we say our vows. I want to be able to show it to our children 20 years from now while they are whining wondering why the heck they have to sit and watch it. Man, since when did I get so sentimental?

Crap. Crap! CRAP!!!!

Ok so now I am on a mission to find a way to affordably have our wedding video recorded. I feel bad asking one of our guests to do it. I want them to be able to relax and have a good time and not be stressed (unless one of them offers to take on this pain).

I have found professional videographers who will hand over the video in a digital format for you to edit yourself. I mean I have a Mac and iMovie and lots of Frank Sinatra in my iTunes. I think I could piece together something nice. But even that costs a lot.

I suggested to the fiancé about looking on craigslist. Or posting an ad. But he was very skeptical. "What if he gets in the way of the photographer or you get someone really sketchy or someone who doesn't follow through?" I mean of course I would interview them first but he was still not fully on board.

So then I was thinking. We have Salisbury University right here. And they have a Communications department. I was talking to one of my friends from work and she said that she had gone on a field trip with her son's elementary school to visit their Communications department and they seemed to be a good group of kids. And I don't know about you, but I knew some pretty creative kids in college that I would have absolutely trusted to do my wedding video.

We could pay them or maybe they could do it as an independent study or for their portfolio. And of course we would feed them (which was a big plus when I was in college - or even a big plus now!) Maybe I should contact one of the communications professors for recommendations.

What do you think?

19.1.10

operation office makeover: pretty diy pencil holder

Besides putting up shelves and switching around some of the furniture, I have found little motivation to organize the office. So tonight I decided to take on a small task - making some pretty holders for my pencils, paint brushes and such. This only took me ten minutes to do three cans and I used stuff I already had around the house so this project was essentially free!

DIY Pencil Holder
What you need
pretty paper
soup or sauce can
sponge
modge podge
scissors or paper cutter
pencil

1. Measure a rectangle to go around your can. You can measure with a tape measure or just place the can on top of the paper like I did and mark with a pencil.

2. Cut out the rectangle. Use your sponge to paint the modge podge on the paper.
3. Press the rectangle against the can. If your can is ribbed like mine, make sure you press more at the top and the bottom and very lightly in the center of the can otherwise you will have ribbed imprints on your paper.
4. Let the modge podge dry completely.
5. Fill your new pretty can with pencils or other goodies!


*Note: I used larger sauce cans but only had 12x12 scrapbook paper. This didn't allow the paper to wrap all the way around the can so I just cut an extra piece to cover the space and will just use this as the "back" of my holder.

14.1.10

j. crew, what's your secret?

As I have made it a new year's resolution to buy less and make more clothes, I just can't help in being overwhlemed about where to start. Along with fact that I only have sewn one garment half successfully, there are just too many patterns to choose from. The ones that really catch my eye are the ones inspired by the runway from the designers themselves.

Cynthia Rowley, Michael Kors, Badgley Mischka, Oscar de la Renta, along with many others have made their designs readily available to those who dream about the beautiful clothes in Vogue but know they will probably never be able to afford them. So as long as you are willing to put in the work, you too can have a garment designed by Oscar himself, just made by you.

But what about us who just graduated college, are up to our ears in college loans, and are working with a meager income? We can't even really afford those lovely places like J. Crew and Anthropologie unless stuff is REALLY on sale. (Ok maybe only I think of these things but just play along.)

Can you imagine if J. Crew made sewing patterns too? What a beautifully dressed world it would be!

11.1.10

operation office makeover

So the pictures I am about to show you are kind of embarrassing. Well, I guess really embarrassing. Our office is in shambles. We don't even use it as an office. It has become a dumping ground. And because we rarely go in there it has remain this way for a few months now.

And these were even taken after I had straightened up a little.

So with all my new sewing and craft projects, I have been wishing for a extra room so our dining room isn't always in disarray. And then I realized I had another room. It was just in need of a little - ok A LOT - of organization. Oh and I have to do it on a budget. A very small budget. This means finding cheap shelving (IKEA anyone?) to hold my craft stuff in an organized but beautiful way. And finding a way to beautify our very ugly but very functional and big file cabinet desk.

I am not allowing myself to take on any more craft projects until this is finished. But I am very excited. Look at some of these fabulous inspiration rooms:

This one is from casasugar. It is not overly done but very functional and organized. This is really what I am trying to achieve.

I found this one on pink street. This is what really inspired me to create a nice craft space.

I love this with the galvanized buckets. Check out all the other great ideas on Thread Banger.

sewing room
I am definitely going to have to put up some sort of peg board like this one on Home Designing.

You have to check out the rest of the pictures of this craft room on Something Old Is New Again.

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How adorable it this from the project girl? Very anthropologie. I am going to have to start searching thrift shops and yard sales so I can find a cool desk like this.

Obviously some of this is not attainable on a budget but I sure can try! So if you have any suggestions for me, feel free to comment. I would love some more inspiration for my inspiration room!

8.1.10

i'll pin my heart on my sleeve

I figured it was time to use the local search on Etsy to see what super cool people are around Salisbury. I came across The Pink Samurai and immediately clicked on it. Pins! I love pins! I used to collect those American Girl pins like crazy when I was younger. (I should really find out where those are.)

I also love CORNDOGS!!! (Well I really love any food you can get at a fair.) Even if I have been eating super healthy for weeks, I see a corndog and I lose it. So I am absolutely going to have to buy this:

But then I saw these, as well:

Two of my favorite things on pins! How great are these for a bachlorette party or bridal shower or even cute pins to wear while gettting ready the day of your wedding?! No, but really, I am absolutely obsessed.

7.1.10

rip fondue pots

I LOOOOVE fondue! My grandmother has been doing fondue for as long as I can remember and it has become a family tradition. So in high school it was only fitting that I receive a fondue pot of my own. A few years later, I got another from a friend in college. This is great because you don't have to clean out one to have another course. And no they do not just sit in my closet. I do actually use them. My favorite is definitely dipping apples in mexican cheese, Melting Pot style.

One night, though, I left them at a friends house in college after a fondue night and when she returned them she forgot to put in the magnetic breakaway cords. I never checked the boxes and she has since moved. But no worries, right? I should just be able to call up Rival to get replacement cords and I will be throwing fabulous fondue parties in no time.

Wrong. Rival no longer has these replacement cords. So basically my dreams of having fondue soiree is shattered. I searched everywhere online and cannot find them. I did find a website where someone talked about taking apart the pots somewhat and using some other type of cord but that sounds kind of dangerous to me. Any ideas? It feels like such a waste to just throw them out. They are model numbers FD 325 S and FD 300 D, in case that helps.

6.1.10

fall wedding inspired palette

So I really don't want the typical fall wedding colors of red and oranges. And if we decide to go with Green Hill as our venue, I really want to work with the browns that you see in the wooden rafters and wall paneling.

I also want a very rustic but elegant feel with branches and lanterns and candles and mismatching. So I am thinking chocolate brown, mossy/olive green, and cream with accents of gold. I found some wedding boards that have inspired me:

These first three boards are from Kelly Oshiro Events

woods
This inspiration board is from Prost to the Host

This is probably my absolute favorite from Snippet and Ink

So what do you think?

5.1.10

wedding porn

Hello. My name is Morgan and I am an addict.

I am addicted to porn - wedding porn, that is. This is really how I see the countless websites, blogs and magazines for those brides that are wedding crazed.

Now this is not just a symptom of engagement for me. In middle school, I was convinced I was going to be a wedding planner. I used to get a subscription to Brides and would cut out all the beautiful pictures and helpful bits of information and paste them in a notebook. And more recently, I have discovered wedding blogs, making the copy and paste function on my computer that much more appetizing.

So over the years I have had many friends and family call me with questions that I almost always knew the answers to. Yet, I have never actually gotten the chance to fully plan a wedding. And now that I have my chance, I can't even stand to be around myself. The house is in shambles and the laundry is overflowing but this is all alright as long as I have my computer and magazines beside me.

So what rehab program do you check yourself into if you are addicted to wedding porn? Well, I am not sure. I mean I guess I really just have to get through the wedding. But I don't think this is going to stop my urges. I suppose one day I am just going to pull a Monica, get myself a headset and grab some helpless bride off the street and force her to hire me.

3.1.10

venue shopping: green hill country club

We went to look at our first reception (and maybe ceremony) venue this weekend, Green Hill Yacht and Country Club. The grounds will look a little greener in the fall than it does in this chilly weather. And the inside will lack the Christmas decorations, although they are beautiful.

Here are some not so great pictures we took while we were there:

This is the room where the reception would be held. I love the wooden rafters.

This is the room where the buffet would be set up if we opted for a buffet.

This is where the bar for the cocktail hour would be along with space on the outside deck depending on the weather.

If we decided to do an outdoor ceremony, this is where it would be held. It was kind of a gloomy day but I think you can still see how pretty it is.

These were some bridges we thought looked cool.

Donna, who is the facilities coordinator really was awesome and answered all of our questions. She really seemed to know what she was doing. We also went to the Delmarva Bridal Show today and asked some of the photographers if they had shot weddings at Green Hill before. Not only did they say what a beautiful place Green Hill is for pictures but that Donna is really on top of her game.

I have always wanted to get married on the water so I am really leaning towards Green Hill for the reception and the ceremony. I guess we have a lot of time to decide. We aren't planning a to get married until Fall of 2011!