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no veggie gets left behind...

I really really hate throwing away food. From left overs to fruits and veggies that go bad in the fridge, it just kills me to toss things in the trash - feels like such a horrible waste. With a few new kitchen gadgets in my arsenal, I have been able to get creative with a few ideas that use up some veggies as they are on the brink.

The last two weeks I've used some herbs and canned goods that were about to reach their expiration date to make some delish hummus. I invested (it's a bit pricey) in a jar of tahini. Tahini is sesame paste - similar to a peanut butter consistency - and really makes hummus taste just right. A few ingredients later and a few minutes in the food processor and we have a tasty and healthy snack for the week! Lasts week's flavor combo was cilantro (starting to look wilted and didn't seem to fit into the menu plan), onion and jalapeno (a jar of pickled jalapenos that I used months ago in a pork recipe). I flipped through a few of my cookbooks in search of the "right combination" of ingredients for the hummus but ended up combining a few ideas into one for my hummus. What I found is really most important is the consistency- adding more olive oil to get a creamier and smoother paste instead of a dry and choppy hummus. Oh and don't forget the garlic, garlic and more garlic and a bit of lemon and sea salt. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Who needs Pita Jungle when you have a Kitchen Aid food processor?

Today Blake asked me if I would whip him up some pesto for his sandwiches during the week. I actually had some organic basil leaves waiting for me to find a meal to fit them into (and fast!) so I was able to make it happen. I also had some wilting spinach that sat in my fridge over the weekend so I threw that in for a little more body. The last of my left over toasted pine nuts, some feta, mucho garlic, salt and pepper, and a bunch of olive oil and there you go! I scrapped the bowl with a whole wheat tortilla for my 3pm snack :).

Maybe cleaning out the fridge can actually be fun?

Menu Plan Monday

Here is our menu for the week! Some summery meals with a "fiesta" flare seems to to be the theme. Hope your tastebuds are happy like ours our this week! :)

Monday: Grilled fish with spring mix salad and creamy lemon & spinach quinoa

Tuesday: Chilled black bean gaspacho soup with grilled chicken

Wednesday: Bible Study - left overs or lean cusine again

Thursday: Potluck community dinner at SOLA. Come and join us!

Friday: Paella! I'll give this a go, Rachel Ray style

Saturday: Celebrating Lauren - party at her house!

Sunday: Sweet potato and black bean enchiladas. Southwest fiesta salad.


DIY Headboard: Part 1

We did a little shopping for the materials for our headboard DIY project last weekend. That's one happy hubby in the Orange Palace for Men (AKA Home Depot). With the help from a wedding gift card - B scored some new saw horses (on sale!), a staple gun, and some new blades for the jigsaw. We also got the plywood to cut into the backing of the headboard and some brackets to mount the headboard on the wall with. We also bought some batting and scouted out fabrics to use to complete our look. I fell in love with a certain b-e-a-utiful ikat metallic fabric (that happens to be VERY pricey) - I think I've always had expensive taste. Go figure. Looks like this project may not turn out to be such an affordable solution after all.... We haven't ordered it yet, so I'm thinking about hunting for something more reasonable; but once my heart is set on something, it's usually hard to budge!

I think B's excited about taking on a very hands-on DIY project and come up with some great results. I'm so so so thankful I married a handy man that's excited to try new things and take on fun projects with me.



Yesterday I flew to Texas, and back in one day. Quite a whirlwind but also a very productive day. Back on the plane this afternoon - I'm racking up those miles in the sky!


Backyard Gems

These little beauties are blooming in our pond this week. I think spring is still holding on and trying to not let summer rear its ugly head in the PHX. These make my day along with this perfectly wonderful weather. Nothing is better than still being able to sleep with your windows open at the end of May.


Wedding Pics Up on Kathryn's Blog!

We were incredible blessed to have Kathryn Krueger document our wedding day. Not only is she insanely talented, she's overflowing with kindess, amazing energy and a spirit that kept us going through the craziness of our day. Take a look at a few highlights of her incredible work.


My Least Favorite Sport

Once a year I am forced to play in a golf tournament for work. It's a chartity event, so I can't complain too much, but regardless I'm forced. I play once a year. So you can imagine how skilled I am in this sport. In years past I have usually started "preparing" by heading to the driving range two weeks before to brush up on my skills (or lack there of). This year I started three weeks early. I think it's gonna be a good year! :) I get so frustrated with golf because I am such a perfectionist. There is no such thing as perfect in golf and it kills me. I feel like it has got to be the most discouraging sport that exists. Maybe if I could just make consistant contact with the ball I would be much more motivated. I think I need a lesson.

I usually build up a bunch of anxiety about golfing with customers when I am such a terrible golfer. It always turns out fine - thanks to the scramble format - but nevertheless, I work myself up about this tournament, every year. My favorite part of the whole event is the beautiful views at the course. I'm pretty blessed to have a job where I get to spend a day on a gorgeous course in San Antonio, TX.

Friday, Blake and I headed to the range to get back into the swing of things. I swung and missed, a lot. At least there was a very pretty view to look at the range! Maybe once the blister on my hand heals from Friday, we can get back out there to give it a go again. Practice makes perfect, right?


Rehersal Dinner on Mercury Hall's Blog!

Our rehersal dinner made the Mercury Hall Blog! How fun! Thanks again to Ruth and Shannon (as well as the whole Parrish/Ross clan) for pulling together such a fun and special night!

Menu Plan Monday

I LOVE cooking. It really is one of the most fun, relaxing, creative, outlets I have. Most days when I get home from work I am truly and genuinely excited to kick off my heels and jump into preparing a yummy meal for Blake and me. He was pretty spoiled even in our dating days because ever since he moved to AZ, he was fed home cooked meals almost every night. I don't really enjoy recipes (I use cookbooks more as a source of inspiration, i love flipping through them for fun things to try), but I love to find creative and inventive ways to re-create something I may have seen or tasted. It's a fun challenge and I take a lot of pride and joy in my meals. Maybe too much at times. :)

I'm going to be starting a new series titled Menu Plan Monday. Blake and I usually plan out our meals on Saturday or Sunday, shop for our groceries after church and then have a week's worth of yummy ingredients for the week to whip into tasty dishes. If we think a meal was extra yummy it might even warrant its own blog post for your enjoyment. I may not have recipes for all of the meals - but feel free to inquire if you want some guidance on "a little bit of this, a pinch of that." Who knows, maybe I can even get the hubby to guest blog his reviews. I better thicken up my skin! Here's this week's plan: Bon Apetit!

Sunday (last night): zuchini tageletelli with chicken, simple green salad

Monday: marinated grilled flank steak, califlower mashed "potatoes", roasted tomatoes

Tuesday: Apricot glazed pork loin, green salad

Wednesday: Bible Study (Blake eats Pizza, I eat left overs)

Thursday: Cuban Sandwiches (with left over pork), cole slaw

Friday: Left overs - I tend to always cook for at least 3 so we can enjoy left overs for lunch or extra dinners


A Lovely Little Saturday

To enjoy one of the last cool(er) Saturdays before the insane AZ sun hits in full force, B and I rode our bikes to Vincent's Farmers Market this morning for some great eats and fabulous people watching. We skirted Camelback Mountain with some gorgeous views on our 13 mile trek. One of my co-workers, Meghan, recommended Vincents to me the first couple weeks that I moved here and we got hooked. They are a very high end restaurant in the valley but on Saturdays take over their parking lot with a very gourmet market.

It's such a relaxing atmosphere with so much to taste. We love that high school kids (we think a couple are the owners kiddos) run the show- preparing indulgent crepes, pizza, paninnis and manning the produce section. The paninni guy is our favorite. We can't seem to resist having one everytime we go. It's hard to say no - even at 10:30am to a Shrimp and Chicken Pannini fresh off the press!

I have all this free time now that I'm not planning a wedding.....

This weekend we are going to have a little fun making our rental feel more like a home by doing this. My current challenge is making our giant bedroom feel more cozy and intimate without painting or buying too many things (particularly furniture) without knowing where we will end up next. After starting with some incredibly lovely towels as my inspiration from Anthro (they probably will be less functional and more decorative) and some spa/sanctuary like bedding & pillows from West Elm - we are ready to to the rest on a budget! We've even found a few gems at Marshall's Home Goods, my thrifty decorating haven, to help complete the look. Since our sweet friends, the Kerseys, moved away to Texas this week and let us buy their king sized bed they left behind, we decided we needed something special to frame the space and make our room come together. We think a DIY headboard is the perfect (and cost effective) solution for our maybe not so long term situation.

Here's a little inspiration for what I envision our room coming together to look like. Isn't it lovely? Maybe these relaxing shades of grey with a little bit more of a modern twist (mixed with my must-have anthro style, minus too many girly touches). I'm trying my best not to make it overly feminine for my new hubby! I have a tendency to love things to be fresh, flirty and floral - that just screams masculine, right? Ohh the fun this will be!

I'll make sure to have the camera by our side for the (hopefully) successful DIY project! I'll post the results if it turns out to our liking! Happy Weekend!


Can Cookies Be a Love Language?

Because if so, that's definitely Blake's love language. Last night we christened the Kitchen Aid mixer with Blake's favorite, Chocolate Chip Cookies. Nothing fancy, nothing too complicated, just the good old fashioned Toll House recipe. Yum Yum. I also loved using new spatulas, cookie sheets and mixing bowls all that arrived yesterday. I think I could get into this baking thing. I really haven't been too excited about it in the past, mostly because following a recipe feels like you have to color in between the lines. But having some fun tools to use sure make it a lot more fun!

Isn't she beautiful?

That's one happy husband :)

We're going to try to make them last for at least five days....we will see how that goes with a cookie monster on my hands.

Thursday Night Date Night

Thursdays are usually date night for the hubby and me. We started this during our engagement and have tried to keep our standing date each week. We try to make an effort to get out and connect, across the table from one another (not sitting next to eachother - we don't want to be "that couple"; how do you chat when you're sitting side by side anyway?) and just spend some time focusing on us. It always proves to be a great time regardless of where we go, what we do, or what we eat.

Tonight we decided to try out a new spot near our house called Blue Wasabi. I love trying out new places in the valley. I think in my 3 years of living here, I've done a pretty good job of covering most of the must-eats, but I'm always up for something new! I can eat Sushi at least once a week in the summertime, but the only affordable way to do that is to make sure you hit up the good happy hour spots. We were really impressed with the food overall, the service was excellent and very friendly too. They have a very large selection of happy hour items. Maybe over half their regular menu (including drinks) is featured at half price from 4:30-6:30. I always appreciate happy hours that go past 6 for the working girl that doesn't always get out of the office right at 5. We would agree that it's worth checking out for happy hour!

What's your favorite spot for Happy Hour in the valley?

Back from Outer Space

....or at least I feel like I am.

I think wedding world seriously put me in another world. I'm trying to come back from the planet of wedding and get a reality check. It was a wonderful, incredibly special and very surreal time. The day was more special, overwhelming, beautiful and sacred than I could have imagined. The honeymoon was the perfect combination of adventure, relaxation and genuine time to connect and catch up. I need to take the time and write down all of the thoughts that I can think of and remember so the feelings and emotions of the day, week and month won't escape me. Don't worry, I'll share the details with you too. Just give me some time to get back in the groove and get my head out of the clouds. :)

I've changed up the blog's look a bit (thoughts/suggestions?), added the few wedding photos that I've gotten my hands on so far, and have a few things in the works for future posts. I'm feeling good about being back in the game again! I'm re-energized about blogging - maybe from being inspired by other blogs that i'm hooked on. I'm excited to share a little bit about our newly wed life, my domestic ideas and projects, a little creativity in the kitchen and maybe I'll even get around to putting some pics up (don't get your hopes set too high)!

For now I'm taking a quick break from working from home to say hello. I love Thursdays. By far my most productive day of the week: free from office chit chat (though I adore my work friends), interruptions, hallway traffic, and must-show-up-but-you-don't-really-need-to-be-there meetings. Plus, I get to have my husband working side by side with me. It's really a joy. No one really believes us that we actually get a full day's work in sitting side by side. I think you would laugh at us if you watched us sit there in our office, not talking, typing away. Kind of makes me laugh just thinking about it. At least he's good eye candy when my computer screen is making my eyes go nutso.

Since Blake's day wraps up a bit before mine, he's setting up our new printer in the office. Compliments of Rob & Linda. A belated Christmas present that arrived in a mondo crate today. It was insanity. So many presents in one room. A collection of gifts and treasures that we have been generously given through showers, our wedding and even last year's Christmas, all waiting to arrive in one tremendously huge (600lbs +) shipment. Our sweet dads built the crate (complete with some hilarious graffiti on the side) and our moms packed everything up to ensure that nothing would break on the transport to Texas. Have I mentioned how amazing they are? They teach me more about generosity and service than anyone I know. We are blessed.

I can't believe that we've found a space for almost everything. Another reason why I heart our kitchen in our super-fab rental. (More to come on our casa soon!) I might be most excited about two gadgets in particular: 1. the mandoline slicer (that I happened to hug and jump up and down when I registered for) 2. my shiny, cherry red Kitchen-Aid Professional Series Mixer (I called it the Motherload when it came out of the box). I already have recipes brewing in my head to utilizes these little beauties! Blake is excited about his tools and his bike repair stand (not new, just sent from his house). Oh the little things in domestic life that make you so happy!

OK, that was a lot of randoms. At least I'm writing. Back to work for me. Must finnish up so I can have a sushi date with the Hubby tonight. Yum.


A gift

Well I didn't make the countdown all the way to zero. But I never promised perfection. I had an abundant amount of blessings touching my life during the last 25 days before my wedding. Some of the moments were emotional, some stressful, some anxious, some exciting - but what an incredible, blessing experience.

More to come on all of my thoughts, preperations, reactions, etc. on the wedding. For now I am LOVING married life. It's hard to even describe what I love most about it. But I will tell you it's a gift. A sweet and special gift from the Father. I'm starting to understand just a glimpse of why He created it. It's sacred, it's intimate. I am overwhelmed by love and joy to be on this journey with my best friend....
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