October 30, 2012

Archer and Henry's Wedding - West Palm Beach

This past weekend we braved the beginning of Hurricane Sandy and flew into West Palm Beach to celebrate Archer and Henry's wedding.  After a bit of rain on Friday, the weather cleared up and we enjoyed sunny skies and warm Florida temperatures.

Not only is Archer a college friend, but since she lives in DC, she has been one of my dearest and closest friends for the past four years.  It was an honor to be included in the wedding party and we had a fabulously fun weekend!

The Beautiful Bride and me -- she was radiant!


Another dear friend I have known nearly a decade now - Virginia!


The sunset at the reception was perfect...and Kern had a great time playing golf earlier in the day (can you tell?)


My Lizzie - it was so fun to see her!


The waves came right up to the building and we could feel them knocking against the lower level.


We had a lovely brunch on Sunday at the Everglades Club.  It was the perfect chance to slow down, relax and continue visiting with everyone.


Matthew, Charles, me and Kern (and the wind)


Constance, Ruth (all the way from London!), Mrs. Dudley, Elizabeth and me


We brunched on the croquet lawn


After the brunch, Kern and I walked up and down Worth Avenue



We made it down to the beach - no sign of Sandy here!



A big thank you to the Davis Family. the Dudley Family and Henry and Archer for making the weekend so special and enjoyable for all of us!

October 26, 2012

Wedding Bells: Archer and Henry

It's finally time!

Archer and Henry are getting married this weekend in West Palm Beach.

It was fun to pack my suitcase with Lilly and sandals for the weekend--the weather looks warm and I can't wait to lay eyes on the ocean one more time in 2012.


I am so thankful for Archer--she has been such a rock in my life, particularly during our years in DC together.


It's been so fun to get to know Henry (I remember when they met!  When they started dating!) and watch their relationship progress.  They are so good together and it's just plain fun to have another couple that Kern and I enjoy spending time with in the city.


Cheers to a fun weekend of celebrating and many memories!

October 25, 2012

Guest Post: Pumpkin Iced Cookies

Hi Friends!

I'm excited to bring you a yummy recipe from my roommate, Holly!  She made these the other evening and they made our entire apartment smell like fall.  Take it away, Holly:

"Since I was a little girl, pumpkin pie was a staple at Thanksgiving and Christmas but I was not a fan. As an adult, I began to expand my food choices and discovered that I actually do like pumpkin!


This recipe is perfect for both pumpkin flavor skeptics and pumpkin lovers alike because it is light but still remains rich in flavor. The icing glaze adds a hint of sweetness and seals the harvest flavor without overwhelming the cookie.


I baked a batch of these for my office before I told them I was moving on to another job and they were just the ticket to ease the blow. The cookies pair nicely with black coffee or a harvest lager."




Ingredients:


·         2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

·         1 teaspoon baking powder

·         1 teaspoon baking soda

·         2 teaspoons ground cinnamon

·         1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg

·         1/2 teaspoon ground cloves

·         1/2 teaspoon salt

·         1/2 cup butter, softened

·         1 1/2 cups white sugar

·         1 cup canned pumpkin puree

·         1 egg

·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract

·         2 cups confectioners' sugar

·         3 tablespoons milk

·         1 tablespoon melted butter

·         1 teaspoon vanilla extract


1   Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Combine flour, baking powder, baking soda, cinnamon, nutmeg, ground cloves, and salt; set aside.

2 In a medium bowl, cream together the 1/2 cup of butter and white sugar. Add pumpkin, egg, and 1 teaspoon vanilla to butter mixture, and beat until creamy. Mix in dry ingredients. Drop on cookie sheet by tablespoonfuls; flatten slightly.

3 Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven. Cool cookies, then drizzle glaze with fork.


4 To Make Glaze: Combine confectioners' sugar, milk, 1 tablespoon melted butter, and 1 teaspoon vanilla. Add milk as needed, to achieve drizzling consistency.




As a professional cookie tester, I approve!

I hope she makes another batch...hint, hint...

October 24, 2012

Happy Birthday, Jordan!

Instead of grilling the standard burger to celebrate Jordan's birthday, Carolyn came up with a genius idea: homemade grilled pizzas!

We rolled out the dough and everyone piled on toppings!

Clay was concentrating...



Kern spent a lot of time getting his crust juuuuust right!


Mozzarella, basil, garlic, pepperoni on an herbed crust. 



Jordan fit all five pizzas on the grill.



Carolyn made Buffalo Chicken Cupcakes...

Yep, you read that right.  There's no icing involved...just delicious buffalo chicken stuffing in a tortilla.

Ah-mazing.


And the grand finale: homemade cake with a chocolatey butter frosting that was heavenly.


I ate way too much.   But it was worth it.

I did it for Jordan.

Happy Birthday, Jordan!

October 23, 2012

Crock Pot: Vegetarian Enchiladas

I am a huge fan of making some of my favorite Mexican dishes with all veggie insides.  If I choose to splurge on cheese I don't even miss the meat.  Such was the case with these delicious veggie enchiladas--made even easier by using the crock pot!


Ingredients:

For the sauce:
1 TBS olive oil
1 white onion, chopped
6 cloves of garlic, chopped
2 anaheim peppers, deseeded
1 can of coconut milk
2 tsp cumin
2 tsp salt

For the enchiladas:
1/2 bunch kale, chopped
1 can of white beans
1 1/2 cup butternut squash, cubed
1 green pepper, chopped
6 small red potatoes, cubed
2 TBS olive oil
salt and pepper to taste

For the end (not in crock pot):
4 cups of Mexican blend cheese
Tortillas

In a skillet, heat the olive oil, add the onion, garlic and peppers.  Cook for 3-5 minutes until softened.  Add the coconut milk, cumin and salt--puree in the Vita Mix.

Add the kale, white beans, butternut squash, green pepper, potatoes to the crock pot and cook for 4 hours on high.

The original recipe that inspired me to make this suggested putting the already made up enchiladas (tortilla + stuffing) into a greased crock pot and covering it with the white sauce.  I decided to just put the "stuffing" in the crock pot and once it was cooked, remove it and assemble the enchiladas in a baking pan, drizzle with sauce, sprinkle the cheese and bake them in the oven at 375 degrees for 10 minutes.  This added step was easy and made them seemed more "baked" and less mushy.

I served them with chips and salsa on the side!

October 22, 2012

Adventures at Community Forklift

Thanks to a tip from a friend who works in the construction business (shout out to Laura) I found out about this little gem that is a mere 15 minute drive from my house: Community Forklift.

Community Forklift is a huge warehouse that collects donations from construction companies and individuals who are demolishing old properties as a way to salvage building materials instead of dumping them in landfills.  They sell the items at an extreme discount, making them easily available to DIY'ers and small businesses.

After perusing the website and seeing the potential goodies, I was intrigued.  I was even brave enough to ask that Kern drive me there on a football Saturday.  I know.  I begged.  Once I told him there was a tool section, he agreed.


 It was like Christmas.  I saw all kinds of fabulous pieces and unique trinkets.


 I absolutely loved a gorgeous drop leaf table I saw, but alas, I had no where to store it, so I left it.  Same goes for a neat old desk that would have looked fabulous in chalk paint.  

BUT...

I did find a chair!  I love chairs.  I love chairs with cane.  I also love tufting.

I spied this little beauty on top of a high platform (if you look at the photo on the top right you can see a line of chairs above some reclaimed mantles).  I had to ask for assistance to get it down, but once she was in my arms I knew I would take her.  I asked the price...


Originally $20, 50% off.  Yep. $10.

She's sturdy and the cane backing is in perfect condition.  I plan to hunt for fabric to reupholster the cushion when I'm in Mississippi in November (it's just more fun to shop with my mom) and then I'll decide what color I'm going to paint her.

She will be the perfect side chair addition in any room.  Or maybe I will sell her.

The fun is in the journey...or shall I say...the painting!

*I apologize for the grainy iPhone pics--I brought my Big Camera but I was so excited upon arriving, I left it in the car!*

October 19, 2012

Happy Friday!



Have a great weekend!

I plan on making these.
I plan on visiting this little gem.
I plan on watching football.
I plan on watching one of my favorite movies.

What about you?

October 17, 2012

White House Fall Garden Tour

Instead of taking the metro to the White House, Kern and I decided to take advantage of the perfect fall weather and ride our bikes!


This was the first Garden Tour that we have been to in the last two years where it has not rained!


Antique affect on the Washington monument view from the South Lawn


Did you know that President John Quincy Adams developed the first White House flower garden in 1825?


In 1878 President Rutherford B. Hayes began the tradition of planting commemorative trees around the White House grounds.

I made sure to pose in front of the Rose Garden...only fitting for Ask for Roses!
In 1961, President Kennedy had the Rose Garden redesigned to serve presidential functions.


The playground


Kern and the putting green


The spring and fall Garden Tour tradition began in 1972.


October 16, 2012

Staying Conscious

"Try to stay conscious of Me as you go step by step through this day. My Presence with you is both a promise and a protection. My final statement just before I ascended into heaven was: Surely I am with you always. That promise was for all of My followers, without exception."

Excerpt from Jesus Calling by Sarah Young


This was my view walking home from work on Monday--scary dark skies and quickly moving clouds.  The piece of sky not pictured (behind me) was perfectly clear.

Nature and weather constantly point me back to my Creator.  Even at a moment when I have to start briskly walking (because of course I don't have an umbrella and it's about to pour) I pause to snap a photo--to take it in as a brief moment in time.  A reminder that even when I forget, God is always present.  Always powerful.  Always in control.

And by the way, if you were wondering...I did make it home before the storm hit!

October 15, 2012

Sometimes you just need a grilled cheese and soup...

We've had some lovely cool evenings in DC this fall and it has left me craving comfort food.  It also inspires me to cook with pumpkin...

I decided to put my VitaMix to use for something other than making green smoothies and whip up a batch of homemade pumpkin soup.  I already had most the ingredients and it took less than 15 minutes to pull the entire dinner together.

Kern made grilled cheese in his sandwich size black skillet which was the perfect companion!


Ingredients:

1 cup vegetable broth
1/4 cup unsweetened coconut milk (gives the creamy texture without the cream!)
15 ounces (about one can) of pumpkin
1/2 cup of sliced onions, sauteed
1 1/2 garlic cloves, roasted
1 1/2 TBS brown sugar
1/2 tsp paprika
1/4 tsp cayenne pepper
1/2 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper, to taste


The VitaMix not only blends, but also heats the soup--so its completely done (piping hot!) after about six minutes of blending.

Grilled cheese + soup = instant chilly evening comfort food.

What is your favorite comfort food?

October 12, 2012

Upstate New York: Watkins Glen

On Sunday night, we stayed in cabins at the famous Seneca Lodge--it was definitely a unique experience!

Carolyn and I each had our own bedroom off the main room, but we could talk through the wall, so that was fun!

Carolyn's dad had two races on Monday--we got up early so we could watch both from different spots around the track.


First we made a pit stop {pun intended} to see the preparation of changing from road tires to racing tires and getting the car ready.


I got a new perspective on Nascar fans this weekend--I loved watching the cars zip around the track.  Carolyn's mom knew several of the other drivers so we were constantly discussing who was passing whom and eagerly anticipating the cars racing around the corner.


The gorgeous scenery only added to the experience.


Back in the lot between races, I was given the opportunity to sit a in few cars and "test" the comfort level of the seats--they all passed my inspection!


Now isn't this a fun sight?


After the second race, it was time to begin the drive back to DC...alas, in our regular car...not a sports car.

We had to stop on the side of the road and snap this photo though--oh the beauty!




My first visit to upstate New York was so memorable--we packed in a ton of sites and experiences in just one weekend.  Even though I checked off a few bucket list items, I ended up adding more.

Do you find that happens to you, too?

The more you travel, the more you realize how little you have actually seen?

It's a good problem to have.