Wednesday, June 29, 2011

The Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook Returns!

Well, it's been awhile, I know. I want to finish this, because I started it, but I think I honestly don't like blogging about food. And truthfully, sometimes I'm so hungry by the time I've finished cooking that I forget to get the camera. Do you need a reminder of what we were doing with it?

We enjoyed Kale, White Bean and Sausage soup before I could take a picture. We served it over rice. So delicious and healthful. Also tried out The Ultimate Grilled Cheese, but stinky cheeses don't please our palete. I'll remake this sometime with provolone, perhaps. For a church luncheon I made the Orzo Pasta Salad with Arugula and Cherry Tomatoes. I didn't have a bite left in the bowel. It was so yummy I've already made it twice, and will probably make it again. So, I'll try to post that recipe eventually.

This past week I made (and took pictures) of the Balsamic-Glazed Turkey Meat Loaf. It was lighter and sweeter version to traditional meatloaf, and easy to make.

2 Tbsp extra-virgin olive oil
3/4 cup finely diced sweet yellow onion
1 cup diced red bell pepper
1 lb ground turkey
1 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp ground black pepper
1/2 tsp cumin
1/2 tsp fennel seeds
1 tsp dried thyme
1 large egg, beaten
1/2 cup bread crumbs
1/4 cup ketchup
1/4 cup balsamic vinegar
3 Tbsp Worcestershire sauce

1. Heat olive oil in skillet, and add onions and peppers (I forgot what the red pepper in the fridge was for and ate it... so I used yellow). Cook until softened, remove from heat and let cool.

2. Put ground turkey in large bowel and add salt, pepper, thyme, cumin and fennel seeds. Gently mix in the egg and bread crumbs. Then mix in the onions and pepper. Take care not to overwork.

3. In separate bowl whisk together balsamic vinegar, ketchup, and Worcestershire sauce.

4. Add 3/4 of sauce to ground turkey mixing until just combined.

5. Pat the meatloaf into a lightly greased load pan. Brush the remaining glaze on top of the meatloaf and bake for 50-55 minutes at 350F

6. Let cool 5-10 minutes before slicing. Serve and enjoy!

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Twenty - One

Last night we had some friends over to help celebrate my twenty-first birthday tomorrow. It was so fun! We haven't really ever had a party at our house before this. I know that's sad. We thought we just didn't have the space. Turns out, with a little sprucing up our back patio works great.

Daniel and I had a great afternoon together preparing everything. After cleaning the house and the back patio, we went shopping and picked up some tiki lights, fruit and wine. (short list). Here's Daniel making orange-juice-and-fruit ice cubes for the Sangria we made:

We also made the Sweet and Hot Chicken Kabobs from our Newlywed Kitchen Cookbook, sliced up some watermelon, and a fresh tomato, cucumber and mozzarella salad. Friends brought guac and chips, chipotle dip, chicken salad, and beer too!

Will and Caitlyn

Drew and Sam

Daniel and Nathan
 Carolyn was such a help! She came early and helped with the last-minute prep madness, and brought me my favorite birthday treat: Strawberry shortcake!
Carolyn and me

Liz and Ashley
OK. Quick side note. Did you notice the pretty flowers on the table?

Better question: Did you notice the pretty vases the pretty flowers were in? (stupid prepositions... why do you always turn up at the end of my sentences?)

OK. Good. Because they were my favorite part of the table. :)

They were super easy, and turned out simply sweet. Best part: I used old jelly, salsa and pasta sauce jars, and old glue gun and some twine. :)

Birthday's are fun. I'm glad I got to celebrate with friends here in Charlotte. And now that we know our patio can host 10+ people the party-ing will be on! (there's that stupid preposition again)

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Old Friends, New Friends

For as long as I can remember Jamie and Jesse have been part of my life. My parents moved in across the street from their parents when Jamie was little, and Jesse and I were just babies in utero. And that began the friendship that has lasted a score of years, and will, we all hope, last another (or two).

Combined Family Vacation to Myrtle Beach, SC in 1996
Last Saturday Jamie, Jesse and their family traveled back to "Myrtle" for another family vacation, this time with their boyfriends, who have become our new friends!

So, guess what city is on the way to Myrtle Beach???


We met up at the Original Pancake House, which isn't original, or local, but is really good, and gives travelers a fantastic view of downtown.

Jamie's Tom, Jesse's Phil, My Daniel, Me, Jesse, Jamie

"Fake Laugh"... tradition. Tom refuses to participate though. Bad Tom.

We really missed Angela and Peter... maybe next time?

And one more picture, because Jamie's pancakes were *so* worth the picture. They were called 49ers Flap Jacks. As the picture shows they were thin and huge, compared to regular pancakes. They were so gooey, too. Definitely going to be my next order.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Twice the Blessings, Twice the Fun

My sister is having two little miracles instead of one!!!

And we celebrated with a baby shower in her honor two Sundays ago. Ashley was able to get some pictures of this special day for all of us. I'm so glad I was able to be there for this celebration, and that I had Amber to help get all the details organized (including where to host 30 women!) Amber and I had so much fun planning games and food, and coming up with cute little decorating ideas. Mom helped a lot, too, of course, with getting those last minute things all pulled together.

cupcakes, candies, and jumbo lollipops made out of baby items.

Amber and I both smiled and giggled over the fact that less than two years ago we were planning Angela's bridal shower and wedding! So fun to have the opportunity to share in both - so close together!

They may be born in Scotland, but they'll still be Americans!

I'm pretty psyched about this whole becoming an aunt again thing. Especially to have my best friend have babies. That's pretty exciting. So, when I saw these onesies at Target I could not resist, even though they had nothing matching for my lil nephew.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Happy Father's Day!

Father's Day rather crept up on me this year, so I don't have anything really planned for this post. But I do want to honor my father today, because I am immeasurably blessed to have grown up with a honest, hard-working father who loved and provided for his family.

I would be amiss to not mention my father-in-law. I know today is especially hard for my husband, since it is the first Father's Day where he cannot personally wish his own father a happy day. Daniel was also immeasurably blessed to have a wonderful father throughout his childhood and into adulthood. 

To our fathers! 
We love you. Thank you for loving us and providing a way for us to be who we are today.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Begin Summer with Vacation? Yes, Please.

Maura and Michael's last day of school was June 10th. We had a fun day at the Y swimming. Saturday I headed to Michigan and they headed to the beach. One week of vacation for me! Yay!
Mom's pretty roses
Saturday Dad, Mom and Aliza and Anna picked me up at the Detroit, MI airport and we drove south to Ohio, where we met up with the rest of the gang. Sunday, after worship, a sweet friend, Amber and I had a baby shower for my sister, Angela. (Pictures to come later). My mom, little girls, and I spent one more day in Ohio before driving back up to Michigan. We visited with my grandma, Mare, and Angela some more, played Scrabble, and did some baby shopping.

dinner at Bob Evan's Sunday night - a family tradition, for better or worse
self-portrait (thumbs up must mean she likes it)

Scrabble, of course.
Tuesday morning the girls and I walked to the grocery store to get a few extra things for dinner that night, and then we had a girls' afternoon and hit a cute little boutique called Posh Palace, and a thrift store.

Homemade "everything" pizza
leafy-green salad with EVOO and lemon juice

After a day of shopping and time together, pizza and salad in our tummies, we pulled out the lawn chairs, and popped open a bag (or two) of marshmallows. If you roast marshmallows with Willekes you must burn your marshmallow. Hands down. (Except Dad and Angela... they like theirs golden).
 Isn't it more exciting to see how fast you can blow out the flaming ball of sugar??

 And then load on the creamy chocolate and sandwich between two honey graham crackers!

Nick got home from work late, but he was there. Nathan and Noah managed to escape almost all the pictures, and Dad, too. Next time I'll have to do better getting everyone!

Wednesday morning before flying home we took Nevin and Nolan to the skate park so they could show us their tricks. I was impressed! staying balanced on a little piece of wood is tough. :)

 There was also a walking path near the skate park where the girls did some exploring. They found a giant puff-ball! That must have been one huge dandelion!

It was good to see my family's new home, and spend time with them. It all went way too fast, but I was missing my hubby. We both get to go back for Fourth of July weekend, and that's looking to be lots of fun already!