Monday, February 17, 2014

Quarter Century Celebration

On February 16th, my wonderful husband celebrated his 25th birthday. Which means he is officially 1/4 of the way to 100. Clearly, we wanted to celebrate this momentus occasion in style! Lucky for Ryan, his birthday weekend happened to start on Valentine's Day, so he got to share his time with love. We spent the evening at a new-to-us restaurant in Braintree, called Campanales, which was FANTASTIC.  Local friends, go there.

Lucky Me!
 

Saturday, we had plans to spend the night in Brighton to celebrate his big day with Eliot and Lauren. We were expecting a big blizzard, so Ryan and I headed out around lunch time. When we got there, we immediately popped a bottle of champagne to celebrate Eliot and Lauren's ENGAGEMENT! They called to tell us their big news on Friday evening, so we had much to cheers to...all day Saturday..! The rest of the night Saturday night was spent eating, drinking, breaking out into random dance parties, and walking through the "blizzard" to a local bar down the street to bring in Ryan's birthday in style. We seriously love those two so much and are thrilled we got to help celebrate their engagement and Ry's birthday together!



Told you we broke out into random dance parties!
The "Still 24 year olds!"
 
Last night, for Ryan's birthday we met up with Rachel, Chris, Ashley, and Tim at the movie theater to watch Lone Survivor, which was extremely intense, eye-opening, and sad. We closed out the night and the birthday with a late dinner at Hingham Beer Works! We get more of Rachel and Chris tonight and get to see our northern family tonight for dinner though which we're really looking forward to!

Ryan with his 25 birthday presents- one for every year of his life!
 
Overall, we had a fantastic weekend and really enjoyed the celebrations with our wonderful friends up north. Happy President's day, y'all!

Monday, February 3, 2014

An Anniversay

As  I sit here on this snow day, I can't help but reminisce on our lives just over a year ago.

Just about 365 days ago this week, Ryan and I were living in an empty townhome, sleeping on an air mattress, and saying goodbye to our wonderful friends from our time in New Jersey. We were loading up the car, driving up to our new home in Weymouth, Massachusetts, and going through the motions of moving for the third time in two years. Over this last year up north, my life has forever changed. I've made some lifelong friends, gotten comfortable in my new role as a wife, started an awesome job, and began a master's program in Elementary Education, making leaps and bounds towards becoming an elementary school teacher. Ryan and I have adventured through Boston, Vermont, and Maine, cheered the Bruins to the Stanley cup finals and the Red Sox to a World Series victory, and lived through a couple pretty epic snow storms (One of them is currently going on outside my window.) While looking back, I realized that I've never actually blogged about one of our VERY first New England experiences.


Many of you probably know this story already as it has kind of become my ice breaker story and has come up in conversation many times over the past year, but nevertheless, it needs to be documented.


So, we didn't get out much the first few days after we moved. We spent the majority of our time unpacking boxes and trying to make this new, foreign place feel like home. Suffice it to say, when the weekend finally rolled around,  we were more than ready to get out and explore our new area. However, Mother Nature had a different plan for us. Over the course of two days, Blizzard Nemo dumped over 30 inches of snow on us! Now, as you can imagine, Ryan and I clearly were not prepared for three inches of snow, let alone three feet! Luckily for us, there is a CVS just down the road from us, so we trekked it through knee-deep snow to pick up a snow shovel and finally free our cars.


Unfortunately, they were out so we had to resort to plan B. We (from this point on, when I say we, most likely what I actually mean is Ryan) grabbed what we thought would work to get our cars out of this mess, which turned out to be a Frisbee and an ice scraper. When you're snow shovel-less and your cars look like this....


Why yes that was the front of my car under there... 
...you have to get creative. I believe when all was said and done, it took Ryan about 4 or so hours working on getting the cars out before one of our nicer neighbors decided to lend him their snow shovel. Bless her heart.

Free At Last! 
 So there you have it! Clearly, New England welcomed these two southerns with open arms. I mean... who wants to be eased into a lifestyle change anyways???

Happy Snow Day, my northern friends and Happy Hump Day to everyone else!

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

101 in 1001: #25 1 of 5 (Wow...That's a lot of Numbers!)

Happy Snow Day New England!

Right before I left work yesterday afternoon, the snow began to fall and didn't stop until around 9:00 this morning. I believe we got a total of 16 inches of snow, but I can't confirm because, with the wind chill, it's -9 degrees outside. WAY too cold for this southern girl!

While the snow was falling last night, I decided to knock something off my 101 in 1001 list and try a hearty new recipe in our cast-iron skillet! I mean, when it looks like this outside, who wouldn't want some good old-fashioned comfort food?!?


Let me tell you, this recipe turned out AMAZING and will definitely be entering into our regular recipe rotation- plus it was super easy to make and only dirties up ONE pot!!

Without further ado, I present to you my take on Skillet Lasagna!


Ingredients: 


  • Olive Oil 
  • 1 lb. Ground Italian Sausage (I bought the hot variety instead of sweet) 
  • 1 (28 oz) can Diced Tomatoes 
  • 1 (8 oz) can Tomato Sauce 
  • 1/2 Onion, chopped 
  • 1 tsp. Minced Garlic 
  • 1 1/2 cup Chicken Broth 
  • 1 pkg. Four Cheese Ravioli (I bought frozen because it was cheaper)
  • 2 cups Mozzarella Cheese 
  • 1/2 cup Parmesan Cheese, plus more for topping 
  • Parsley, to taste 
Directions: 

In the cast-iron skillet, Coat the bottom with Olive Oil. Add in garlic and onions, and saute over medium heat for about 5 minutes or until onions become soft. 

Add ground sausage to the pot and cook all the way through. Once sausage is browned, mix in diced tomatoes, tomato sauce, chicken broth, and ravioli. 


Bring the mixture to a boil and then reduce heat to medium and let simmer until ravioli is tender and the sauce has reduced and thickened, about 15-20 minutes. 

Remove the skillet from heat and stir in cheeses. Serve hot. 


I served our meal with roasted asparagus and garlic bread- SO good! 


Enjoy! 




Monday, January 20, 2014

The Weekend of Games

This weekend was jam-packed with fun events and celebrations with friends!
 
On Saturday night, Ryan and I hosted our Life Group, along with our great friends, Kristen and Stephen, for a game night. Everyone came over around 6:30-7 with their favorite games and appetizers. After chowing down for a while, we split up into groups and played Telestrations, Scattergories, and Pictionary. It was so fun to have everyone over and just get to know the amazing people that make up our Life Group a little better.
 


How many girls can we fit on the couch?!
 
Sunday morning started out surprisingly snowy.  After church, Ryan and I had couple of errands to run before stopping for lunch at D'Angelo's,
 


Sunday afternoon, I attended a baby shower for a good friend, Rachel, who is having her 2nd little girl in a couple of weeks! Although I had to leave a little early since we had company at home, it was so fun to help celebrate their growing family and spend time with more good friends! (I'm telling you, we have made some amazing friends in New England! SO blessed!)

The patriots played yesterday afternoon and after some serious convincing, we FINALLY got Eliot and Lauren to come out and watch the game with us! Even though the game didn't end the way anyone wanted it to, we still had great company. There is never a dull moment when the four of us are together! While watching the game, a Domino's commercial came on, informing us that every pizza was 50% off if you ordered online. Figuring that pizza would be a great way to help drown our sorrows from the game, we ordered a couple varieties and proceeded to play Dutch Blitz and Euchre for the rest of the evening.  




Although our weekend shenanigans may not translate into the most interesting of blog posts, we truly had a blast spending time with our friends this weekend.

Happy MLK jr. Day, ya'll!

Monday, January 13, 2014

Holdiay Recipes: Mom's Pineappe Casserole

Happy Monday! Ryan and I have been home and back in our normal routine for a few weeks now, which means I'm starting to miss Georgia and family again. To ease my homesickness (if that's wasn't a word before- it is now!), I've decided to FINALLY post one of my families favorite side dish recipes, Hot Pineapple Casserole! This recipe literally takes 5 minutes or less to prepare and always turns out so great, especially paired with a Honeybaked Ham. We usually eat this as part of our Christmas dinner, but it's great for any meal of special occasion. In fact, I think this might be on our Valentine's day menu next month! 

Ingredients: 

  • 2 large cans Chunked Pineapple, drained 
  • 1 cup Sugar
  • 5 tbsp Flour 
  • 1 1/2 cup Ritz Crackers, crushed 
  • 1 stick Butter, melted 
  • 1 1/2 cups Cheddar Cheese 
Directions: 

Place the drained pineapple into a buttered casserole dish. Combine sugar and flour and pour over the pineapple. 


Sprinkle cheddar cheese and ritz crackers over the top of the casserole. Pour the melted butter over everything and bake for 30-35 minutes or until cheese is melted and bubbly. Serve hot. 


 


Monday, January 6, 2014

Holiday Recipes: Aunt Lorie's Hanky Panks

Now that we're into January, our lives are beginning to return to normal again. While we had an amazing time driving up and down the east coast and spending time with friends and family over the holidays, I'm looking forward to getting back to our regular schedule! I don't begin my second semester until the end of January though, so I plan to spend this in-between time after work FINALLY catching up on the many MANY recipes I wanted to get up here. While all of the recipes I plan to post are delicious and some of my favorites, this first recipe will always hold a special place in my heart. This Hanky Panks recipe comes from the kitchen of my Aunt Lorie and always makes me think of some amazing memories with the Schoeff family in Lawrenceburg!

Ingredients:
  • 1 lb. Ground Beef
  • 1 lb. Ground Sausage
  • 1 pkg. Velveeta Cheese
  • Red Pepper Flakes, to taste (I tend to use a lot because I like the kick)
  • Salt and Pepper, to taste
  • 1-2 packages of either (or both) Party Rye Bread or Pumpernickel Bread

Directions:

In a pan, brown both the meats. While the meat is browning, cube the Velveeta cheese. Add the cheese and spices and mix until everything is melted/well blended.



Line a baking sheet with tin foil and lay the small slices of bread out. Scoop a spoonful onto each bread and place the whole pan in the freezer. Once the mixture is frozen, transfer the Hanky Panks to a gallon-size Ziploc bag and keep in the freezer until ready to heat and serve.


To heat up:
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

Spread Hanky Panks out on a baking sheet and bake for 15-20 minutes or until heated through and bread is a bit crispy. Enjoy!


These are easy to make and will definitely be a party pleaser (at least they are for my family!)

Stay tuned for more recipes!



Sunday, January 5, 2014

Ringing in 2014 in Style

I swear our New Years Eve celebrations keep getting better and better as the years go on. This year, to round out 2013, Ryan and I met up with some good friends from Georgia Tech, Eliot, Lauren, Juan, and Jaclyn at a cabin we rented in West Virginia. Ryan and I left from Atlanta Saturday morning and caravanned up with Juan and Jaclyn. We arrived at the cabin early evening, did some grocery shopping, and wasted no time starting a fire and getting settled in!






Eliot and Lauren got a little bit later start and got stuck in some bad traffic around New York, so they didn't get to the cabin until late at night. We hung out in the hot tub a bit got caught up until around 4 a.m. before everyone finally hit the hay.

We woke up Monday morning to a dusting of snow, which was perfect since we were planning on heading to Winterplace ski resort for some skiing!


The six of us hung out for a while and ate lunch before Ryan, Eliot, and Lauren took off to the slopes for a couple hours. The rest of us got back in the car and headed back to the cabin since we didn't have any interest in skiing (I'm still working out my issues with skis).




We spent the remainder of the day/night playing Telestrations, Dutch Blitz, Catch Phrase, Heads Up, and hot-tubbing of course.


 On New Years Eve day, we ventured out to a local winery call Kirkwood winery, which was NOTHING like what we were expecting. We walked into the winery converted home and were given the opportunity to sample any and all of their wines at no cost. They specialized in fruity wines and a few of my favorites were the peach (surprise surprise), strawberry, and rhubarb wines. We left with a couple bottles and decided to continue our little adventure by driving out to the New River Gorge bridge, which is one of the longest steel single-arch bridges in the world.




Too funny to leave out of the blog



That night Juan and Ryan grilled up a FEAST for dinner, consisting of steak, pork tenderloin, salmon, and chicken. We spent the night leading up to midnight playing high-stakes pictionary (girls vs. guys with some crazy ridiculous wagers which we won't get in to), dancing, hot-tubbing (another big surprise there), and watching the ball drop!


We really did have such an amazing New Years and I look forward to carrying on the tradition next year! Cheers to an amazing 2014 filled with family, friends, and new adventures!