Brussels Sprouts Salad

Now that David and I have discovered that we LIKE brussels sprouts, we are now finding all these different ways to cook and serve them, like with anything we make. This one was good because it added some extra flavors in there, and it was a little more rustic than a traditional pan seared brussels sprout or even an oven roasted one, and it was pretty light for summer. Its a great and easy side dish for grilled dinners, and I also think a good starter for someone who might not be on team brussels sprouts yet! Definitely give this one a try, its quite tasty!

 

Ingredients: 

  • 1lb. brussels sprouts, halved
  • 1 – 1 1/2 cup of crasins
  • 3/4 up of feta (or as much as you want)
  • 2 tbsp butter
  • salt and pepper
  • 1/2 cup pecans
  • 1 tbsp maple syrup
  • 1 tbsp balsamic vinegar
  • 2 cups of cooked barley

Instructions: 

In a pot of boiling water, add two cups of cooked barley and prepare according to package instructions ( this usually takes about 30-45 minutes to cook, so about 15 minutes in you can start with the brussels sprout). To cook the sprouts, melt the butter in the pan and the sautee the brussels sprouts over medium high heat until they are tender. slowly add in the crasins as you cook them and mix well.

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Once they are tender, turn the heat down, while they are still hot drizzle the syrup and balsamic vinegar over them and fold in to coat all the brussels sprouts. Then let them cool.

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After they have cooled pout into a bowl, then add the barley, pecans, and feta cheese and mix well. We ate it the first time at room temperature, then tried it the next day cool, and then decided that warmer was better, so just a little tip, if it sits for a bit, maybe keep it on a warmer or in the microwave, but its definitely not as good straight out of the fridge. I felt like the flavors were not mixed together as well.

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Like I said, this dish is definitely a great spin on traditional brussels sprouts and a good way to get people to try them that might be a little apprehensive! Might be a fun and healthy side dish to try with all your tasty grilled treats for the fourth!

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Movement Mondays – Ninja Twins

In honor of my faaaaaavorite summer sensation, So You Think You Can Dance (SYTYCD), I thought I would bring you one of my faaaaaavorite audutions. It really has nothing to do with technique or movement or anything, I just love these guys. They auditioned last year I think, but I still laugh whenever I come across their video on youtube, which I did the other day while stalking some of the numbers from this season on youtube. So, if you need a little pick me up this monday morning, enjoy some comedy from the Ninja Twins!!!

Chicken Parmesan Rollotini

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We are always looking for new takes on some of our old standbys. I mean you can only eat the same spaghetti so often before it becomes the same old same old. Apart from our beloved mexican dishes, we really try not to repeat things too often, and even try to get creative with leftovers if we cook things in bulk on the weekend, which we have been doing a lot of lately. Anywho, so our most recent spin on a favorite has been Chicken Parmesan. You can see our original recipe here, but I found a recipe for little rollotinis on pinterest, which just means you get to stuff to chicken parmesan with cheese and top it with… more cheese, so it was pretty much an all around win. We did add some spinnach to the mix so it wasnt ALL cheese, but ya know, mostly! So here’s how to create this delectable dish yourself!

Ingredients: 

  • 8 thin chicken cutlets, 3 oz each
  • 1/2 cup whole wheat Italian seasoned breadcrumbs
  • 1/4 cup grated parmesan cheese, divided
  • 6 tablespoons egg whites or egg beaters
  • 5 oz frozen spinach, squeezed dry of any liquid
  • 6 tbsp part skim ricotta cheese
  • 6 oz part skim mozzarella (I used Polly-O)
  • pam
  • marinara sauce
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • 1 cup flour

Instructions: 

 

Wash and dry cutlets, season with salt and pepper.  Preheat oven to 450°. Lightly spray a baking dish with pam. Combine breadcrumbs and 2 tbsp grated cheese in one bowl, flour in a second and 1/4 cup egg beaters or egg whites in another. Make sure to season all three portions with salt  and pepper so that all the different parts and pieces add a bit of seasoning to the dish!

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Shred or finely chop 1.5 oz of mozzarella cheese and combine with remaining grated cheese, spinach (make sure you squeeze it dry), 2 tbsp egg beaters, and ricotta cheese.

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Lay chicken cutlets down on a working surface and spread 2 tbsp of spinach-cheese mixture on each cutlet. Loosely roll each one and keep seam side down.

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Dip chicken in the flour, then the egg mixture, then in breadcrumbs and place seam side down in a baking dish (no toothpicks needed). Repeat with the remaining chicken. When finished, lightly spray with pam.

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Bake 25 minutes. Remove from oven, top with sauce then cheese.

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Bake until cheese is melted and bubbling, about 3 more minutes. Serve with additional sauce on the side and grated cheese, and on a bed of pasta if you choose. We used rotini noodles. Twas tasty. Definitely a great way to spruce up that traditional chicken parmesan and it really wasn’t too had to make because we did cook this from scratch on a week night, so, no excuses! You can totally to do, and it will be a big tasty success!

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Master Bedroom – Work in Progress

Even though I said this was the first room I was determined to get looking right…I have put a ton of other things ahead of it. We are getting much closer but I still have a few projects left to do. I am sure you remember this picture from when we finished the headboard:

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So, here is an update on our progress since then, we are working for something to fill the void over the headboard, because even though it doesnt look like it in this picture, there is a HUGE space there. and then on the other wall across from the bed, we finally got our dresser from ikea and built it…

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IKEA- HEMNES 8 drawer dresser

well now our room is a disaster as we try to switch dressers and try to figure out what to do with the old one, and now we need something for that wall, and then I bought this table from a FB friend off FB that I want to use as a dressing table, but it needs to be painted, and I am thinking some kind of metallic but I am not sure how to pull it all together and I think I want to swap out the hardware, but I have an awesome mirror hanging above it right now so I do have that going for me. We have also picked out curtains, buuut we haven’t gotten them yet were just doing sheers to make the room a little more light and luxurious. I also think we might bring David’s old recliner up and do a sitting area in one corner… or I would really like an awesome full length mirror, something kind of dramatic, like this

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I know, I know, so much white, I don’t want it to feel sterile, so I might try to find something more metallic or we might just stick with doing some kind of sitting area in the corner with a comfy chair and a light or something. im not sure, I have just never had this much space to deal with in a bed room, so its KIND of overwhelming! But I love the challenge. I can’t wait until we wrap up these two projects in progress so I can post pictures of the room so far, that will probably be in July, when we have some more time… oooor after the wedding because lets be honest about what all my spare time has been devoted to lately!!! Speaking of the wedding I have my bridal portraits this weekend! SOOO excited! Im trying to think of a creative way to blog about it without giving anything away so we will see what I can come up with. YIPEEEE! Only 53 days to go!

Po-tay-to, Po-tah-to — chips

David and I have been trying to get our week night dinner routine in sync, so were trying to revisit old recipes, which means… lots of our new recipes are now side dishes. Soooo get ready for a ton of new ways to spice up your weeknight dinners. Last Friday we actually had a weekend at home, but we had a huge list of home projects to tackle, including yard work, house cleaning, and the awesome bench we refurbished!! So, meals kind of took a back seat and on Friday night we made out avocado egg salad, and wanted to add a little something extra to the meal so we made some homemade potato chips… Probably not our best effort for lack of consistency, we definitely need a mandolin to avoid differences in cook times. But the ones that just happened to be cooked perfectly were quite tasty, so we will definitely be trying this again… POST mandolin purchase.

Ingredients:

  • russet potatoes
  • olive oil
  • seasoned salt

Instructions:

Wash the potatoes, then slice them as evenly as possible, consistency is key!

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Once you have sliced them all, coat them in olive oil and the toss with seasoning salt until they are well coated with the seasonings.

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Spread them out on a cookie sheet and then bake them at 425 for 30 minutes

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Once they are done baking let them cool for 5-10 minutes and then serve!

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Movement Mondays – New Romantic

Another work of wonder by THE Kate Jablonski! I just love her! And I love how synchronized everything is. Its like they are little dance robots of perfection. Apart from the ending (which is so cooooool!) I loved when the whole group hopped en mass across the stage. She has such an awareness of space and it shines through in her dancers and the way they move. I also really appreciate her focus on small little movements that make an impact. Not everything has to be big and sprawling across the stage, which is something I struggle with when I choreograph. Sometimes I’m so worried about making an impact that everything becomes a string of big moments… and then you get to the big moment and its kind of a let down. I guess its something to work towards… ya know, scaling things down sometimes. Oh well, back to business. Enjoy the intricate awesomeness that is New Romantic by Kate Jablonski and the Beyond Words Dance Company.

Mimi’s Banana Pudding

God bless the southern woman who decided putting sour cream in banana pudding was a great idea, because IT TOTALLY IS! My mom’s mom has been making this banana pudding since I can remember, and when I was learning to cook, it was one of the first desserts I was determined to conquer. A) because its SO tasty and B) because its super easy and always a hit! Since summer is getting into full swing, and I’m sure you’re lining up all your cookouts and trying to prep for the fourth of July, I thought it was the ideal time to share this tasty treat with you all! I made this a few weeks ago when David and I had a week night cookout with our friends Tyler and Melissa at their new house, it was so much fun to see them and catch up, I feel like we’re so busy running around all the time, it was nice to just sit and enjoy the company of some of our local friends! Melissa and I were talking and our grandmothers have really similar recipes, like I said, those good ole southern treats, always a hit. Here’s all you’ll need for this simple, tasty, hit!

Ingredients: 

  • 3 – 4oz. packages of Vanilla Pudding
  • 1 – 8oz. carton of sour cream
  • 5 cups of milk
  • 1 -90z carton on cool whip
  • 2 boxes of vanilla wafers
  • 8-10 bananas

Instructions: 

In a large bowl mix together the 3 boxes of instant pudding and 5 cups of milk and cool in the fridge. After the pudding sets, add hte sour cream and mix well.

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Once you have the sour cream mixed into the pudding evenly, add the whipped cream. Just add it a bit at a time, folding it in slowly. You dont want to break down the whipped cream, or the pudding will become too runny.
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Once you have the mixture made, slice your bananas, and grab your cookies and get ready to layer it up! Start with a layer of cookies on the bottom of your bowl or pan (clear dishes are better so you can see all the layers (trifle dishes are the best!).

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Once you cover the entire bottom with vanilla wafers, add the sliced bananas, you can use as many or as little as you like, depending on personal preference. I like at least a banana in every bite, so I tend to load it up, but David isn’t a huge fan of a ton of bananas, so I am trying to use a little less!

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Top those two layers with 1/3 of the banana pudding mixture, and try to spread it as evenly as possible! Once you get it nice and even, start over and layer cookies-banana- pudding until you run out of pudding!

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Make sure you have enough pudding left to completely cover the top layer, and then jazz it up with some left over wafers, my grandma used to crumble cookies on the top, but I made this one a night ahead of a cookout we went to with friends so I didnt want the crumbles to be soggy!

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I hope this tasty southern treat brings you as many smiles and memories as it has brought us over the years! I promise you won’t regret making it!!!!

Bench Warmers

I have always been a big supporter of curb appeal… also, I am a huge supporter of breathing life back into something that seems old and forgotten, so I was more than happy to marry the two in my most recent project!!! We have a cute little front entry on our house perfect for some rcoking chairs and a table or some kind of little bench, but before we bought the house, neither of us had anything like that to set out, so it was pretty common knowledge that we were eventually going to spruce up the front of the house, well this project kind of fell into our laps… FO FREE! The first weekend we were out the house we were trying to organize some things in the tool shed on the side of house and we stumbled upon this beauty

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I had my fingers crossed that when we finally pulled it out to investigate that it would have all its parts and pieces, and it DID! So this past weekend I finally had an immense amount of time and energy to devote to bringing this sad little bench back to life, and I knew just what I wanted to do with it! Once she was all fixed up, I knew she would be the perfect piece to start our little curb appeal project, so I started planning and picking up a few extra pieces here and there, waiting for a day I had time to get the project under way. Here is a look at what our front entry looks like (don’t judge the dead flowers, apparently our front yard gets NO sun, so were going to have to pic some different flowers!)

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So, like I said, this past Saturday was D-day, I was finally going to get to fix up the little bench we found for free in the shed! Once we checked all the pieces were there, I gave all the wrought iron pieces a pretty intense scrub down to get rid of cob webs, dirt, etc etc.

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Once I got them all wiped down and let them dry for a bit, I spent the next few hours applying layer upon layer of teal spray paint to the wrought iron pieces. I used valspar outdoor color with anti-rust, so fingers crossed that that turns out to be true! haha!

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While those were drying I worked on sanding… and sanding… and sanding… until my arms were numb. NO, we don’t have any type of fancy sander so it was the old elbow grease trick for this gal. I had to have David come over and shake my arms a few times because I thought they were going to go numb! After a few hours of sanding I was finally done, and I wiped down all the boards, let them dry and they were ready for a stain!

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David found this awesome stain with polyurethane in it, so I didn’t have to stain it, wait for it to dry, and then seal it, which was really a HUGE time saver!!! So… after a few hours of drying time… and my in ability to wait any longer, David and I put the bench together, probably before it was ready, but I just couldn’t stand it! And I’m glad I made him do it because I LOVED IT!

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We picked up these fun outdoor pillows at Garden ridge and I think we spent less than $30 fixing up the bench! I was really glad we found it because I know I would have NEVER been allowed to buy a brand new wrought iron bench and make it over like this. Just goes to show that sometimes all you need is a little elbow grease, TLC, and a creative vision! Although, now that we have this great bench out there, I am way more aware of how much our house needs a little brightening up on the outside, everything is just looking a little faded! But here is the whole look for you!

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What do you guys think?! Its so fab, right? What outdoor fixer upper projects are you working on? Maybe you can help inspire our next work weekend.

Crockpot Chicken Tacos

I know what you’re thinking because everyone at my office said the exact same thing when I talked about these, and NO, you don’t leave the shells in the crockpot, so don’t worry you won’t be eating soggy tacos! David and I love mexican meals. We eat them probably once a week, but we are trying to save money by cooking at home, so we have tried our hand at a few different dishes… nothing too complicated: tacos, enchiladas, tace salad with the tortilla bowls, quesadillas, gaucomole, pico, you know the simple stuff. But sometimes pan seared chicken breasts shredded and put on a taco (and even ground beef for that matter) get a little old. So, I was looking for a different way to cook the meat and I found this, which was perfect for a week night meal since very minima preparation was needed! You only need a crockpot and 3 ingredients. I came home and put my together on my lunch break one day, it really only needs to cook like 5 or 6 hours. So, here’s what you’ll need:


Recipe

Place the chicken breasts in the crock pot, dump the salsa over it, top with half of the taco seasoning (I don’t use the whole thing because its so salty.) Cook it on low heat for 5-6 hours, I have found that 8 really dries it out. Then once its cooked, break the chicken apart in the crockpot with a fork, and serve in a tortilla with all your favorite toppings, and enjoy. Literally the easiest week night dinner ever and you can really put as much chicken in as you like, so if you’re cooking for 8 instead of 4, add a few extra breasts. We had tons of the sauce left over when we made ours, so we definitely could have cooked a few more pieces of meat with it.

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I will keep you guys posted as we continue to explore our love for mexican cuisine. I feel like we really need to brach out, but we’re working on it. Right now were just trying to get those week night dinners on the table and have some left overs for lunch!

Movement Mondays – Mirror Spirits

YEEE! I had nothing to do with this dance, but my old studio just had their recital and this year they got a few new teachers, including and awesome new hip hop teacher (Josh Lubeck)!!! I am so proud of all the girls who decided to branch out and try his class this year. I think they have grown so much, and this number is pretty awesome. I love the new spin he put on the character in the piece, and I just can’t get past the fact that they are doing hip hop, haha where was that class when I was growing up?? Because my krunk-o-meter is running pretty low sometimes and I am terrible at hiphop. Anywho, beyond proud of these ladies and can’t wait to see how they progress with this style in the coming years!