Friday, April 29, 2011


I had to share this funny tidbit I saw online earlier today.  With all the hoopla about Kate and William's wedding today, I happened to stumble across THIS on the interwebz.   Apparently the famous Abbey Road in London where the Beatles shot their iconic album cover has a live webcam!  You can watch tourists try and recreate it over and over and over....

I watched for about 15 minutes today and saw no less than three groups of people try and take this shot. What's even better? This is a busy thoroughfare, so you can watch them all run out of the way every time a car approaches. It's strangely hypnotic and a fun thing to watch on your Friday afternoon.

You know what other tradition I would like to bring over to America from the Brits? CRAZY HATS!
Have a happy weekend!

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

On The Menu: Creamy Seafood Pasta

So, I know I said posting would be light, but I still decided to try a new dish to keep my mind off our house troubles. Everything's ok in the kitchen, as long as I don't look up...also I can't find anything. Our skillets were in the guest bedroom. But moving on...

This seafood pasta is actually lighter than it sounds and doesn't actually involve heavy cream - only 2% milk. I'm not really a fan of heavy alfredo and cream sauces, but this one doesn't sit in your stomach like some other ones do.  Plus, it passed the husband test, so that's a bonus.

Ingredients for about 4 servings:
• 8 oz. Linguine
• 1 lb raw shrimp, peeled, deveined, tail-off (you know the drill)
• 1.5 Cups sliced mushrooms
• 4 chopped green onions (I substituted a little red onion since I didn't have green)
• 1 Tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
• Old Bay seasoning to taste

For the creamy sauce
• 1 can semi-condensed oyster stew
• 3/4 Cup 2% milk
• 1 clove minced garlic
• 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
• 1/2 Cup grated/shredded parmesan cheese

• 1/4 Cup chopped fresh parsley
• Salt and Pepper to taste

1. In a blender, mix together the sauce ingredients until smooth (stew, milk, garlic, red pepper, & cheese). Set aside.
2. Cook linguine according to package directions.
3. While linguine is cooking, heat the olive oil in a skillet and add shrimp, mushrooms, and onions, and Old Bay Seasoning. Cook about five minutes or until shrimp is pink.
4. Add sauce mixture to the skillet with the shrimp & mushrooms and allow to heat through.
5. When the shrimp and sauce is heated through, stir in the parsley.
6. Drain linguine and combine with the shrimp, mushrooms and sauce. Toss lightly to coat.
7. Serve individual servings topped with extra parsely, parmesan cheese, and salt and pepper to taste.

On a side note, do you think it's a little sick that I wish the tree had done more damage to the actual kitchen? Yes, figuring out how and what to eat would have been a pain, but I could sacrifice that for some new stainless steel appliances.

Monday, April 18, 2011

You never think it could happen to you

Yes, that is a tree... on our roof.  Not a little dainty redbud, but a giant elm. This tree decided it was tired of it's boring life and decided to give us a little wake up call at 2:15am Friday morning. And by little wake-up call, picture someone throwing a grenade at your house.  How does a 60ft elm tree just uproot itself and fall on your house?  I knew living in a treed area had its dangers, but no one really expects the trees in their yard to attack them.

The timeline of events went something like this:
• 10:30 pm - both Scott and I went to bed, and set our house alarm. It had been raining and thundering all evening, but nothing crazy for Kansas by any means.

• 2:15 am - we are awakened by the loudest thing we've ever heard. Picture the sound of cracking getting louder and louder like thunder until finally the entire house gives a long shake.

• 2:16 am - Scott runs into the kitchen and lays into a few expletive laden rants when he sees this:

Tree branch on my kitchen floor

The impact opened our drawers. Everything is covered in insulation.

Hole #1 in the laundry room

Hole #2 above the fridge.

Hole #3

• 2:30am - I call my mom and 911. I didn't know if I was supposed to call 911 or not...apparently they only care if you world is ending if someone is hurt. Luckily, no one is hurt. They send out a small team from the fire department who all just look at the damage as if to say, "Yep, it's a tree."

• 2:45am - Why is there a man with a camera in front of our house?'s a news camera. My mom advises me to "Put on a bra."  Luckily they're gone pretty quickly and I don't have to talk to anyone. With my luck, I'd end up auto-tuned on YouTube. No one wants to be that guy.

• 3:30am - We call the unhelpful 800# for our insurance agent. She suggests a tarp. Tarp what?! We then call our actual agent. I feel bad about waking him, but we're kind of newbies to the whole catastrophe thing.

• 4:45am - try to sleep, but we both lay there with hearts pounding until we can finally call in to work and let them know we won't be in today.

• By 8:00am, we've had visits from my helpful Uncle who helped us tarp the holes so rainwater could collect in buckets, my dad, and our insurance agent who lights a fire under people to get a tree removal company out immediately.

• 1:30pm - Tree removal shows up with a general contractor

• 4:00pm - Tree is off of our house, off our property, the roof has been tarped, and the holes covered with plywood and tarp on the inside. Way to go tree removal guys!

So that's about where we stand. The adjuster is at our house today assessing the full amount of the damage. Thank God for insurance. It sucks having to pay for insurance, but it's times like these when you really need it. Needless to say, blogging might be a little light for a while until our lives our back in order!

Thursday, April 14, 2011

On The Menu: Chipolte Honey Orange Glazed Chicken

This is a new recipe Scott and I tried last night out of our trusy Costco cookbook. Verdict? The chicken was very good and juicy, but it was probably a lot of unnecessary work for the end result (a Marinade AND a glaze?!). But here it is anyway so you can see all the darn ingredients that went into this dish.

Ingredients for Marinade:
1 Cup Fresh Orange Juice
1/3 Cup Fresh Chopped Parsley
1/3 Cup Fresh Chopped Cilantro
3 Tablespoons Chopped Fresh Thyme
3 Tablespoons Minced Fresh Ginger (we used ground)
3 Tablespoons Unseasoned Rice Vinegar
2 Tablespoons Olive Oil
2 Tablespoons grated Orange Peel
1 Tablespoon Coarse Kosher Salt

This marinade is good for 3 - 6 chicken breasts

Ingredients for Honey-Orange Chipolte Glaze:
2 Cups Fresh Orange Juice
5 Tablespoons Honey
1/4 Cup Soy Sauce
2 Tablespoons Grated Orange Peel
2 Teaspoons Minced Canned Chipolte Peppers in Adobo Sauce

• Whisk together the ingredients for the marinade. Place your raw, thawed chicken breasts into a large freezer bag and add the marinade. Let chill in the fridge for at least 30 minutes. The recipe we have says to let it marinade for four hours...but I refuse recipes that call for something that takes four hours. Although I'm sure it would be delicious, I don't have that kind of time or the desire to prep the night before.

• Preheat your Charcoal or Gas Grill. We use a charcoal grill because my husband is a grilling purist.

• While your grill is heating up, prepare the glaze. Boil the Orange Juice, Soy Sauce, and Honey until reduced to about 2/3 of a cup. The recipe said this should take about 20 minutes but it took us more like 30 and it never really thickened up. I guess it depends on if you're simmering or really boiling.

• When the glaze has reduced, add in the grated Orange Peel and Minced Chipolte Pepper.

• Remove the chicken from the fridge. Place the chicken on the grill and discard the extra marinade. Do not use the marinade as a sauce after the chicken is cooked...unless you like the taste of salmonella. Grill for about six minutes on each side. Brush the glaze onto the chicken and finish grilling until chicken is cooked through. We saved some glaze to put on at the end as well, once the chicken was on our plates.

• Serve with rice or vegetables. We went with some Southwestern Style Corn.  Enjoy!

I will say I never really tasted the chipolte pepper on ours, so you could always use more if you like.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

It's that time of year

That's right. You've seen it in all the stores: The swimsuit section. Now we all get to regret the comfort foods of winter (the 60 or so cups of hot chocolate I drank for 5 months) and marvel at our pasty-whiteness. Isn't trying on swimsuits fun?! I sure feel dead sexy in that dressing room when I can see every blue vein through my dry, white winter skin.

Anyways, on a less depressing note, there are a ton of cute one-piece swimsuits out now, and I'm loving the trend of the retro-inspired suit like these:

From - retails for $90

A cheaper alternative from Target by Merona for $35

Yes, it's a swimsuit, and hides all those things we like to hide and shows all the things we like to show.
From, retails for around $70.

Another one from for $70.

I love the sweet little ruffle on this one from Urban Outfitters for $90.
My friend in the fashion industry explained to me why swimsuits are so freakin expensive. It's for the same reason lingerie is expensive. Fit is everything. Although there's not much fabric, swimsuits and lingerie take the most amount of labor to produce - thus the exhorbitant price tags for that strip of fabric.

Unfortunately for me, it's extremely hard to find one-piece swimsuits that fit. I have a ridiculously long torso. I was 23" long when I was born (cue me kicking my mom in the throat for nine months), and it's all torso, baby.  So if anyone finds a cute swimsuit for a freak of nature like me, be sure to pass it along. Although I did purchase one suit this year: A plain black triangle two-piece. Gosh, I am exciting...

Friday, April 8, 2011

I'm a Bad Blogger

I have been really bad about keeping up with blogging lately. We're down to our last couple months before our big PARIS trip, so we're basically trying to save as much as possible before we go. Which means less money for crafts and home projects.  I'll just have to focus on trying some new recipes for ya'll!

For your Friday viewing pleasure, I would like to direct you to Jordan Ferney over at Oh Happy Day.  She and her family moved to Paris recently to live for a year. She has lovely photos of her daily live in Paris with her husband and two children, and she's actually living in the area we will be staying, Montmarte.

Le sigh. What a life. Go check it out!

Photo Via Oh Happy Day.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Distressed Painted Dining Table

I finally found some time last weekend to get to painting the "dining room" table. I put that in quotes because we don't really have a dining room.  Anyways, my plan was to paint the table a bright color, but once I started priming, I liked the look of just white. So I decided I was going to do a white table with a more rustic/distressed/vintage look.  Here's what I did:

Here's the original table. I sanded the whole thing with a fine grain sanding block to remove some of the shiny poly finish.  Here's a closeup of the tabletop before:

 Then I added one coat of Kilz Latex Primer in white:

When the primer was dry, I sanded a little bit more before applying two coats of white semi-gloss Behr latex paint. Once that was dry, I went around the edges and sanded off the paint so I could see the wood underneath. The trick to distressing is to focus on the areas that would naturally get the most wear and tear like the legs and any sharp edges. Click on any of the images below to enlarge.

I also rubbed some old english scratch oil for dark woods into some of the sanded crevices to darken them and to seal the paint. I realize this looks is pretty country, but I love pairing something that's rustic with something really glam or modern. I would love to get these clear lucite chairs to go with the table:

But seeing how these chairs are a little out of my price range (I'm not spending $600 on chairs), I'll have to stick with my lovely outdoor folding chairs until a better option comes along:

I hope you all have a lovely weekend and manage to get some projects done!