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Menu Plan Monday

Monday:  Corn Chowder and Greens Salad
Tuesday:  Antipasti Salad
Wednesday:  Pork Tenderloin with Lentils and Broccoli
Thursday:  Kale and White Bean Soup
Friday:  Catherine's Bachelorette party!


Loosening My Grip

These verses calm my heart.....I'm so grateful for the Word and the way God uses it to change my heart, help me understand who He is, allow me to loosen the controlling grip I try to have on my life and surrender to Him.  His Word reaches deep into my soul. 

“For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Then you will call upon me and come and pray to me and I will listen to you. You will seek me and find me when you seek me with all your heart.”  (Jeremiah 29: 11- 13)

“But whoever listens to me will dwell safely, and will be secure, without fear of evil.” (Proverbs 1:33)

“Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths.” (Proverbs 3:5)

“I will instruct you and teach you in the way should go; I will guide you with My eye.” (Psalm 32:8)

“For this is God, our God forever and ever; He will be our guide even to death.” (Psalm 48:14)

“Delight yourself also in the Lord, and He shall give you the desires of your heart. Commit your way to the Lord, trust also in Him, and He shall bring it to pass … Rest in the Lord, and wait patiently for Him.” (Psalm 37:4,7)

Thank you sweet Jesus. 


Winner Winner Chicken Dinner: Dijon Crusted Chicken

Friday's dinner was our favorite of the week by far.  I ended up not being 'wowed' by the coffee braised brisket - I thought for sure that would be the winner this week.  Friday's chicken was moist and so flavorful.  I'm not usually one that's keen on breading, but this was just enough to have a warm, satisfying winter meal but not be too overpowering.  If you don't like mustard, you might not be a fan of this chicken. I happen to love it, so this dish was a standout for me this week.  I served it with a wild rice dish that had cranberries, onions and lots of fresh herbs and some green beans with almonds.  Enjoy!

1/3 Cup Dry Breadcrumbs
1 T greated Parm
1 t Italian Seasoning
1/2 t dried thyme
1/4 t salt
1/4 t pepper
Boneless skinless chicken breast pounded out
2 T Dijon mustard
1 t olive oil
1 t butter

Place the first six ingredients in a shallow bowl. Brush chicken with mustard; roll in crumb mixture. In a large skillet cook chicken in oil and butter over medium heat for 5-6 minutes on each side until cooked through. 

Adapted from Taste of Home


Honey Do Update

I was going to write a post titled, "Honey Do Later," but we seriously had the most productive, hard working weekend. There isn't much on the "Do Later" list at all!

I think we need a weekend from our weekend to let our sore bodies rest from the hard work we put in.  We accomplished a lot.  I'm so thankful for my awesome teammate/husband and all the time and energy (a little sweat and blood too) he gave to check some things off our list and get our home looking great! Here's how we did....
  •  Finish staining the farm table/desk for my office  - CHECK!  Drying in the garage now.  Will be up and ready for the office soon. 
  • Find fabric and finish this project that we started when we first got married. Can't wait to see how it turns out!  CHECK!  All that is left for this is some detail work.  Debating between a nailhead trim or some tufted looking buttons.  It's on the wall!
  • B's planning to fix our master bath toilet that won't stop running when it's flushed, argh! CHECK!
  • Frame some beautiful prints from our wedding and hopefully get them hung up as well.  CHECK!  We spent a small fortune, but they are going to look wonderful hanging in our home once they are ready in a couple of weeks.  We decided it was an investment and worth the $$.....
Some pictures will be coming soon!  Stay tuned!


Golden Globes Fashion Round Up

I wish I had a reason to wear a gorgeous gown.  More than that I wish I had a stylist come to my home, begging me to wear a certain style or designer, totally Rachel Zoe style.  That would be totally bananas...

Loved the looks at this year's Golden Globes.  I'm not always much of an award show watcher, but always love seeing the style recaps the next week.  There were some risks taken for sure.  Some worked, some were a disasterous fail.  I'm gonna stick with the postive rather than dog on the not so lovelies. Here are my favs....

Loving the neutral color pallets on these beauties.  I think Anne took a big risk with the long sleeves and found her classy self a winner.  Sandra's bangs have me back with bang envy.  Haircut last Friday for me....I got inspired :)

Emerald was the color of the night.  I'm always a fan of jewel tones done right.  Each look is so different but loving each of them.  Only Mrs. Brad Pitt could pull that one off though.  If it was on anyone else it might just end up on my least favs list.  She scares me.  She looks evil and hot all at the same time. 

More fabulous neutrals.  Loving the Tadashi on the left.  My mom and B's mom both wore Tadashi for our wedding so I'm a little partial.  Helen Mirren looks so elegant and so perfectly age appropriate.  Heidi's look is certainly a risk and she got some heat for it - but I think she pulled it off.  Maybe a little loud for January/Winter but this is one I'd love to have in my closet for a tropical vacation.  I heart this orange get-up.  A bit adventurous in color, but beautiful lines.  I fall for anything with ruffles or pleats. 

 Who were your top picks?


Happy Birthday McKenna!

Clockwise from upper left:  M&K with our Goddaughter Emerson, Vacay in Cabo, Transiberian holiday family outing, Mac's graduation weekend in Norman
Today is my sister, McKenna's, birthday!  Mac, I hope you feel loved and celebrated today.  We are thinking about you from Austin!  I'm grateful to have you in my life and now have the chance to see a lot more of you in Texas!  Hoping your day is filled with joy and you feel blessed by those around you.  You are a beautiful, smart, tenacious, witty, Christ-seeking woman.  I am proud to call you my sister and my friend!  We love you.   Happy Birthday!


Menu Plan Monday (Sunday edition)

I have a special post for a special day coming tomorrow, so today's edition of Menu Plan Monday comes to you a day early! 

Monday:  Homemade Pizza topped with roasted corn, grape tomatoes, goat cheese, basil and arugula (LGO style) with Salad
Tuesday:  Grilled chicken with Brussel Sprouts with lemon vinegarette and cous cous
Wednesday:  Herb crusted salmon with creamed spinach
Thursday:  Gnochi and chicken sausage with homemade red sauce and salad
Friday:  Dinner with the Kersey's :)


Happy "Birthday" Dad!

Praising God for what He has done in my dad's life during these last 4 years. 
So proud of you Dad!  I love you!

This Weekend....

....we will be working on our honey-do list around the house.  We've finally put a little fire under our "tails"  with a deadline to wrap up some of our projects before hosting a weekend of friends in February. 

Our plan is to...
  • Finish staining the farm table/desk for my office (up until last week it was standing on saw horses) :)
  • Find fabric and finish this project that we started when we first got married.  Can't wait to see how it turns out!
  • B's planning to fix our master bath toilet that won't stop running when it's flushed, argh!
  • Frame some beautiful prints from our wedding and hopefully get them hung up as well
We'll see how much actually gets finalized.  Here's to hoping!


Alexis visits the ATX

You know the feeling of just being able to pick up where you left off with a friend?  That's exactly what happened when Alexis came to town this weekend.  I loved having her here.  It felt like we never missed a beat (or 5 months apart) and just jumped right back in where we were when we left Arizona.  I loved getting to catch up, hear her heart and understand more details of what is going on in her life, talk about Jesus, show her our new (and rainy) city and just BE together.

On Friday, Alexis arrived and I had some work to finish up before the weekend could officially begin.  She baked some cookies (nothing makes B happier!) and then we headed out to a coffee shop so I could wrap up my to do list and Lex could get a little reading/quiet time in.  That night we went to a hole-in-the-wall Mexican restaurant we had heard great things about.   The restaurant wasn't all we had hoped it would be, but with a little bit of greasy Mexican food in our tummies, we headed to 6th street.  We were on 6th early so she didn't have a chance to experience the craziness that it normally has to offer later in the night.  We saw a concert of a band that I had seen a few times when I was in college, Alpha Rev.  They were fantastic and it was a great show.  I would love to see them again.  Loving that Lex got to experience the Live Music Capital of the World in all it's glory.  :) 

Saturday morning we woke up to rainy skies so we enjoyed our coffee on the couch where we chatted and had some great girl time.  We decided to head out of the house and hit up Austin Java for a egg in the hole and Lex had another cup of coffee (because she hadn't had enough yet).  There is no way that she could leave without touring the Whole Whole Foods HQ.  After she saw the amazing foodie mecca, Lex said she was ready to move to Austin.

Since our plans of hiking or walking Town Lake were not going to happen due to rain, we headed to Alamo Draft House to see The Kings Speech.  Definitely an Austiny place - we had some lunch and watched a flick to stay out of the rain.  Loved the movie and highly recommend it!  Afterwards, we made a fantastic dinner after a trip to Central Market (because Alexis needed to see more TX grocery stores I always talk about) complete with serveral kinds of bruchetta, a fresh salad and a lovely glass of Malbec.  To wrap up our evening we headed to my cousin's surprise birthday party and then decided to call it a night.

This makes me miss Postino (and cooking w/ Alexis)
Sunday turned out to be a delightful surprise.  We had called Stubbs the night before to make a reservation for their Gospel Brunch, but the voicemail said that they were full.  The next AM Blake put on his charm and we ended up with reservations for 11.  It was fantastic!  The food was so heavy, but so delicious.  Fried catfish, garlic cheese grits, BBQ brisket and sausage, migas and more.  The make-your-own Bloody Mary bar didn't hurt either.  We were seriously full until we went to bed.  Not only was the food wonderful, but the Gospel band was just as amazing.  I will be taking future visitors here - so let us know when you're coming!

Enough Soul Food to feed an army!
Because we didn't want to just sit inside for the rest of day, we headed out to driftwood for some wine tasting at Duchman Winery (previously Mandola's).  We had fun people watching and trying some of their wines.  A really great spot for only about 30 mins away.  We were wiped out and really needed a nap after sipping wine mid day.  A quick power nap rejuvenated us and we then went to Cafe Medici followed by church.  I was so happy to be worshiping next to my dear friend, Alexis.  It was fun to have her see the awesome community we have been so blessed by since we moved to TX.  Don't worry, Alexis gave us a "church hug" after the service.  Felt like we were back in AZ at OTBC. 

We came home and made a "detox" salad to eat something healthy after all of the caffine, wine and fatty foods we had put in our bodies.  We popped in a movie and all snuggled up on the couch, just like old times of being "roomies."
Detox Salad :)
What a great weekend.  I'm so thankful for this visit and time to catch up together.  Can't wait to plan another time when we get to see each other again.  :)  Love you Lex!


In Honor of the Wednesdays....

I. Miss. These. Girls.

It seemed fitting to write about the "Wednesdays" on Wednesday.  These lovely ladies (several are missing from this pic) were some of my closest friends while we lived in Arizona.  Weekly, they brought truth, joy, laughter, comfort, celebration and true friendship into my life.  I miss this group for the tight knit community of women and the aspects of life we experienced together.  I think it's truly remarkable that such a large group of girls would meet together and do life together week after week together - especially at our age!

It's been so fun to see so many of these ladies have such exciting things in life happen to them in the past several years that i've know them.  Engagements, new jobs, weddings, decisions to go back to school, graduations, moving back home, etc.  I loved knowing their stories. 

So many of us have now moved away from Arizona.  We never quiet understood what God was doing as he gave and took away so many of these girls.  It was so hard to let go - but He was faithful in always providing more women to bless us.  These ladies were never replaced, God was just growing our circle.  Wednesdays always seemed to be a constant.  Even on the days I was tired and dragged my feet to get there, I was always glad I went in the end.

Kathy was a our fearless leader.  Weekly she poured hours of effort into teaching us the Word and bringing the text to life in a meaningful and applicable way.  She desired us to be intwined intimately and really be real with one another.  I love her love for Jesus, for us and her servant-hearted leadership that pointed us toward Christ. 

I'm continuing to pray for a community of women like this to surface in my life here in Texas.  I've certainly been blessed by a few here and there, but continue to pray for unity and community to grow more richly in our lives! 

I love and miss you Wednesdays!


Menu Plan Monday

We're really getting back into the swing of our normal routine this week.  Hopefully, no more sickness (I was down for the count all last week) and I think our Gospel Community (Small Group) starts back up for the 'semester'.  Isn't it funny to think in terms of semesters when you're not in school anymore?  Some oldies and some goodies mixed in below.  A couple inspirations taken from Real Simple again - looking foward to seeing how they turn out.  Good thing my hubby doesn't mind trying new things and rarely turns up his nose at my cooking experiments.  :)

Monday:  Pork Tenderloin over salad w/ Quinoa
Tuesday:  Out to dinner with friends!
Wednesday:  Slow Cooker Coffee Braised Brisket with Carrots and Potatoes with a side salad
Thursday:  Dijon Chicken with Wild Rice with Cranberries and Green Beans
Friday: Salmon Feta Pasta w/ Salad


Meal of the Week Winner: Marinated Flank Steak

We voted this week's favorite dinner to be the Flank Steak we grilled for date night. My aunt put together a calendar for our family last year that included a bunch of our family's favorite recipes.  Each family unit submitted one of their favorites.  I found the flank steak recipe in the calendar and decided to give it a try.   I think this is the recipe similar to the one my grandma used to make.  I marinated during the day and Blake did a great job grilling for us.  We topped it with sauteed onions and mushrooms with a little red wine.  A lovely date night for two!

1/2 cup ketchup
1/2 cup water
1 t salt
1 t pepper
2 T sugar
2 T cider vinegar
2 T Worcestershire
2 T olive oil
2 T soy sauce
1 T Mustard (dijon)

Stir together and pour over steak.  Marinate for up to 2 days.  (Overnight works best) Grill to desired temperature.  Allow to sit for a few minutes before slicing.


Tour de Tejas: McKinney Roughs Park

New Years weekend Blake and I enjoyed taking another day trip near Austin to explore the Texas country around us.  This excursion led us to McKinney Roughs Park.  It was a beautifully designed park done by the LCRA.  They had extensive trails that could lead us down multiple different paths through the Lost Pines Region.  The park was bordered by the Colorado River.  It was a beautiful hike on a beautiful day!  

We also drove through the Hyatt Lost Pines Resort which is right down the road from McKinney Roughs. A long, windy road led us back to the resort. It was really rustic looking, yet looked extremely nice and looked like there was so much to do. Maybe a weekend trip is in order?

Totally worth the 20 minute drive outside of Austin! I think we will be making a repeat visit soon and explore more of the trails.

Blake by the Colorado


Alexis is Here!!!

We couldn't be more excited to have my old "roomie" in town this weekend in ATX!  I feel so special that she would want to come visit us all the way from AZ!  Alexis is such a dear friend to me and I am so excited for our time together.  Can't wait to post our adventures from this cold and rainy weekend!  Even if we just get to cook together again, sit on the couch and drink coffee all day and chat, it will be perfect.  Yayyyyy!


Writing on the Wall....

We have been checking a few things off the honey-do-list lately that we've been hoping to do since we moved into our house in Austin.  Besides filling a few empty frames that have been hanging on the wall empty, Blake has also been doing some refinishing projects for us and we've even rearranged our furniture downstairs as well.  I'm really happy with how it has all been coming together.  Now I need to get my DIY on and pull out that sewing machine for some new pillows and maybe curtains.  Does anyone have any good reccomendations for great fabric shops in Austin?

Here are a few shots of one of our guest rooms.  Blake hung the window pane we used from our wedding as part of our guestbook above the bed for our guests to enjoy.  It is so fun to go back and read through the sweet notes and thoughts people signed on the window panes for us.  This is such a great memento from our wedding and one we can look back on for years to come!  I think it really pulled the room together - we definitely needed something over the bed. 

More house updates to come!


Thank You!

Just wanted to say thanks for all of the comments and recent encouragement about the blog.  It's fun for me to put my thoughts on paper and actually record some of my reactions, emotions, etc.  I've never been a great journaler so I think this is actually working for me!  I'm glad others are enjoying it too.  So, thanks for your support!  I feel super encouraged!


Shower for Liz and Baby Elston

Beautiful invites by Kristen
This weekend I had the chance to throw a shower for my sweet friend and mom-to-be Liz.  I co-hosted with several of my high school girl friends.  It was by far the best high school reunion we've ever had!  I loved having the chance to catch up with these ladies and hear about life as of lately.  We had the shower at Katie's beautiful new home.  It all came together so nicely with beautiful decorations and drinks, tasty food, and fun games.  It was a wonderful opportunity to celebrate Liz and the arrival of Baby Elston!

Awesome diaper cake from Kristen and incredible sweets by Katie!  We had too much food but it was tasty! 

A fun DIY paper flower project that I came up with from blog browsing.

Dear friends!  Nicki was such a fun surprise all the way from Hawaii!  Isn't Liz the cutest prego you've ever seen?

LB playing the toilet paper game.  :)

We love you Liz and can't wait to meet Baby Elston!


Menu Plan Monday

Last week turned out to be quite the social week so we didn't end up having the Curry Shrimp or Pork Tenderloin as planned.  That said, they are showing up again on our menu for the week.  Bon Appetit!

Monday:  Curry Shrimp with Snow Peas Over Rice
Tuesday:  Pork Tenderloin with Honey Lemon Glazed Carrots and Salad
Wednesday:  White Bean Chicken Chili with cornbread toppers
Thursday:  Steak, Sweet Potato Fries, Salad
Friday:  Alexis comes to visit!!!!!!!!!!!!!  Dinner out most likely at one of our favorite local spots


Meal of the Week Winner: Chicken Fajitas with Sweet Potato and Poblano Peppers

Photo from
This was by far my favorite meal of the week that we cooked from home.  Another favorite was the white bean and tomato basil side dish from earlier in the week.  This was a tasty dish that B and I threw together - inspired from Real Simple's November issue.  We had a couple friends over and I think they enjoyed it as well!

On a side note - I've been trying to cut out recipes or ideas that inspire me for my weekly menu plans and put them into a notebook.  It's been fun to try a few new things recently.  I would have never picked sweet potato in fajitas but it was yummy!  Here is my best idea of what I actually put together to make the dish....

1 large sweet potato (about 12 ounces), peeled and cut into 1⁄4-inch pieces
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
1 large poblano pepper, seeded and thinly sliced
kosher salt and black pepper
4 Chicken breasts or the chicken tenders ( Marinated for about 1/2 a day in the following:  1/2 packet taco seasoning, juice of 1 lime, 1 T worchester, 2 T Apple Cider Vinegar, 2T Cumin)
Heat one turn of oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the sweet potato, onion, poblano, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon black pepper. Cook, tossing occasionally, until tender, 10 to 12 minutes.  Meanwhile, light the grill and cook marinated chicken tenders until cooked completely through but still juicy!

Serve in fresh tortillas (the ones you have to cook up in the skillet) and top with sour cream and cheese.  We served it with Spanish rice, my mom's black beans (recipe upon request) and margaritas! Ole!


11 Goals for 2011

1.  Learn to sew a garment (maybe a skirt or a simple dress)
2.  Take a photography class and/or improve my skills and understand our camera
9. Bake 10 loaves of bread and a cheesecake from scratch
3.  Join a gym or get a yoga membership and commit to going 3X per week to work off that bread and cheesecake
4.  Partner with B in increasingly reading and meditating on scripture and pushing each other in theologically heavy books
5.  Take 2 trips with my husband
6.  Be intentional with family relationships near and far
7.  Foster community and inclusion at Church and in our community
8.  Share the Gospel more and more
10. Celebrate a special occasion by cooking beef bourgionon out of Julia Child's cookbook
11. Push myself to think out of the box more in my job and find creativity and challenge in my work regardless of the project

It's a tall list....but I'm energized about it.  Keep me accountable!


2010 In Review

2010 has been one incredible year for me.  Just thinking through some of the highlights of my year, I'm blown away by God's goodness and rich blessings!  Hope you enjoy reading through this recap as much as I did reflecting on the year that's now behind us......

I started my 2010 as an engaged woman.  I kissed B on new years knowing that next new years I would be kissing him as his wife! Though we had a little longer of an engagement than we both would have liked, our pre-marriage counseling experience was most definitely one of my highlights of the year. We had the opportunity to sit in the home of Heath and Lisa Taylor and do life with them for weeks on end. We loved watching them parents their kids, talk through potential road blocks with us and pour truth and God's love into our minds and hearts.  We felt so loved and encouraged by the entire body of Old Town Bible during our engagement season. We grew so much as a couple during this time and I think this opportunity got us off to the best start possible in our new marriage.

Bittersweet, since we had to leave them, but definitely a highlight, were the friends and community that we had in Arizona.  From Old Town Bible to the large circle of friends we were blessed to call our own - God was overwhelmingly gracious to us in providing solid, meaningful relationships in our lives. We were honored that so many of our friends would travel to Austin for our wedding to celebrate us in April. I have so many great memories of potluck dinner parties, FBR golf weekends, hikes or even road trips to Cali.  I also had the sweet blessing to be near all of my grandparents, several cousins and aunts and uncles in Arizona.  I cherish that time we had while we lived there.    

In April we tied the knot.  Marrying the love of my life was by far the best highlight of 2010.  Our wedding day was everything I dreamed of, even with the rain, a day I will never forget.  I have been amazed by how much I've learned this year as we have started into our first months of marriage - about the Lord, about myself, about B and about us as a couple.  God's goodness has shown up in so many ways through this sweet and intimate blessing.  Marriage has been richer and deeper than I could have imagined.  I'm so blessed to be married to my very best friend for the rest of our lives. This takes the #1 spot for 2010, hands down. 
After our wedding day we took a wonderful honeymoon in Costa Rica.  We loved our stay there and felt like we only experienced the tip of the iceberg of all that you can do and see.  We had the perfect mix of relaxation and adventure with days spent by the pool enjoying our all-inclusive drinks in the cabana or taking surf lessons, snorkeling, kayaking, zip lining or exploring the volcanic mud-baths.  We wished it wouldn't end!  We are already planning our next beach trip to celebrate our one year anniversary!

Having the opportunity to move back to Texas this summer has been an unexpected and incredible blessing for the year.  We landed in a wonderful location in Central Austin on a fabulous street, with fantastic neighbors and have loved exploring this city once again as "adults".  We've had numerous visits by family and it has been so special to be able to go back and forth to see them and not have to hop on a plane to get there for a visit.  We've had the chance to travel to Blake's grandparent's house on Lake Quitman and have been able to venture home for other celebrations too!  This has been such a blessing and one that we did not expect to have happen in the way it all fell in place. 

Within a few weeks of coming back to Texas, God led us to Providence Church.  We felt like we had clear direction to be a part of the church as it was in the core team phase, looking to launch in early fall.  We were so blessed by the community that quickly loved and embraced us.  It felt like we were almost immediately surrounded by friends we felt we had known for a long, long time.  Providence is such a perfect name and so pertinent to what we have experienced by God's grace this year.  He's provided in so many ways for us and in ways we don't deserve. We are so excited about what God has in store for Providence!

This winter we spent our first holiday season as a married couple.  The biggest blessing is the way our families have blended so well together.  Our dads are nearly inseparable and love spending time together working on projects, racing their mustangs or just being "dudes."  I love that our moms are so similar, yet so uniquely different.  They also have enjoyed shopping and lunching together.  They knew each other through Bible study before Blake and I even considered dating!  The holidays were a wonderful time and each family made it so easy on us to be a part of all of the celebrations and really "share us" well.  After all of the horror stories you hear - we really have it easy.  So happy to be able to have both families under the same roof on many occasions as well. We couldn't have asked for a better situation.

There are so many other highlights that have made 2010 wonderful.  To name a few...but I know there are so many more....Visits from Loren or Jen to Austin; weekly date nights to musicals, the ballet, concerts or trying out new restaurants; a getaway weekend in San Diego before we moved; weekends filled with hikes and being in the great outdoors; seeing almost all of my family this year between 2 family weddings; standing up for my cousin Jessie at her wedding in Chicago; traveling to some amazing hotels and sites this year for work including the Trump Tower; having a stable job and the opportunity to start a brand new role and build it from the ground up; having a fantastic bachelorette party in Austin - a weekend not to forget!; and a second 80's themed party in Scottsdale; throwing showers and attending weddings for several dear friends; the list goes on!

So, so, so blessed by 2010.  Can't wait to see what's in store for 2011.


Black Eyed Peas and Football

No, I'm not talking about Fergie and Will I Am. 

B and I have had the chance to spend our last 4 new years eves and days together despite some long distance dating along the way.  We have fun memories of Tempe Beach park parties, piano bars, nice dinners at home with friends, falling asleep before midnight and nights out on the town with friends or just the two of us.  One tradition that seems to have stuck is our Black Eyed Peas (or Hoppin Johns) new years day meal and lots of football.  Our tradition would not be complete without "Blake's Secret Cornbread" and some Chili to go along with it. :)

I thought I would share the recipe for the Hoppin Johns.  Most people think about black eyed peas and turn up their nose.  I think this recipe might change their minds.  It's full of flavor and really satisfying.  You have to eat them for good luck anyway, so you might as well enjoy it!

3 Cups Black Eyed Peas (Fresh is best - but Frozen or Dried are good substitutes.  Avoid canned)
1.5 C Yellow Onion Chopped ( I tend to add a little extra, maybe up to 2 C)
1 C Celery Chopped
1 C Bell Peppers ( I like both red and Green)
1 T Minced Garlic ( I also go pretty heavy here, maybe double it)
1.5 T Thyme
1 t red pepper flakes
1 t Cayenne
1 Bay Leaf
2 C Chicken Broth
1 Can diced tomatoes
Salt and Pepper
1-2 Links of your favorite cooked sausage
3/4 C Green Onion
2 C. White Rice

Soak black eyed peas (if needed).
In large pan coat with olive oil and add onion and saute on med high heat.  Add celery and bell pepper until vegetables are soft.  Add spices and garlic then stir in beans.  Add can of tomatoes (with juices) and cover with broth.  Bring to boil and then reduce heat to simmer for 15-20 minutes.  Salt and Pepper to taste.  Add in sliced sausage links and top with green onion before serving.  Serve over cooked white rice with extra hot sauce. We like ours more like a soup - so add more broth if you would like.  Always better on day two or three!

This also sounds quite delish!  A great alternative for some obligatory BEPs!


Ringing in the New Year Austin Style

This year's new years was so special because we got to enjoy it with two of my best friends from college and their husband/husband-to-be!  These wonderful ladies were two of the first I met when I came to UT.  Clearly by God's design, he allowed Aleigh and Catherine to become potluck roommates and I ended up right next door!  We loved exploring Austin together, trying new restaurants, shopping and loving life as Longhorns during our time in college.  We have all been living in different cities and states since we graduated and outside of weddings have had little opportunity to be together (all 3 of us). 

 It was so fun to all get ready and sip on wine (beer for A) and champagne in my bathroom upstairs while the boys had a beer and hung out on the couch.  It felt like old times in the dorms or red door house!  We had a few appetizers and took a few pictures and then hopped in cabs and headed downtown.  The boys in 1 cab and the girls in the other.  We were a little early for our reservation at Cru so we went over to check out the new W Hotel and snagged a few free drink coupons for January.  Unfortunately Cru was not all we had hoped it would be.  It took over 45 minutes to get our table and then the food service was painfully slow.  Thankfully, they had comped our entire meal by the time we had finished waiting for 3 hours for 3 courses.  We were starving! 

The rest of the evening was a blast spent at Cedar Street listening to Radio Star, a great 80's -decked-out-in-track-suits- cover band.  We danced hard, and toasted with our champagne and kissed our beaus at midnight. 

Getting back home was quiet the ordeal.  We tried our best to flag down cabs for over 30 minutes in the cold, windy weather.  Finally, B, Carlos and I decided we would attempt to try to walk home.  We don't live that far - but at 1am in chilly weather, it certainly seemed like walking would take forever.  We tried to flag down each cab that went flying by us with no avail.  Luckily about 1/4 of the way there - someone finally stopped and got us home.  After some Taco C in our bellies, we headed to bed.  2010 was in the bag, 2011 here we come.  Quiet the memorable evening, in more ways than one!  So special to share it with A & C.  Can't wait to do it again in just a month for C's Bachelorette Party!

Happy New Year to all!


Menu Plan Monday

B and I feel like we need a detox after all of our holiday eating.....Here are our (somewhat) healthy options to get us back on track for the week:

Monday: Grilled Chicken with White Bean/Tomato Basil Salad and Sauted Spinach
Tuesday:  Date Night!  Paella!
Wednesday:  Curry Shrimp and Snow Peas over brown rice
Thursday:  Pork Tenderloin with Honey Lemon Glazed Carrots and Salad
Friday:  Chicken Fajitas with Sweet Potato and Poblano Peppers

I'm hoping to post our favorite recipe of the week after they are 'taste tested'.  Stay tuned!
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