Inside the Life of Me.....

Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Whole Wheat Pasta with Vegetables and Lemon

Sticking with the pasta theme for this week, here is another recipe I would like to try... don't worry, we are not eating pasta ALL week Tyler, I call this "recipe research"... :)

Whole Wheat Pasta with Vegetables and Lemon

What you will need:

  • 1 cup frozen shelled edamame

  • 10 ounces asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 1/2-inch pieces

  • 1 pound whole-wheat shell-shaped pasta (such as chiocciole)

  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons extra-virgin olive oil

  • 1 shallot finely chopped

  • 1/3 cup dry white wine

  • Finely grated zest of lemon, plus 3 tablespoons fresh lemon juice (1 lemon total)

  • 2 1/2 teaspoons coarse salt

  • 2 cups baby arugula (about 1 ounce)

  • 6 ounces yellow grape tomatoes (or other baby tomatoes), halved (about 1 cup)

  • 2 tablespoons freshly grated ricotta salata

  • 2 tablespoons chopped fresh chives


  • Freshly ground pepper

  • How to:

  • Cook edamame and asparagus in boiling water until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. Drain, and set aside.

  • Bring a large pot of water to a boil. Add pasta; cook until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup cooking liquid; set aside.

  • Heat 2 teaspoons oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add shallot; cook, stirring occasionally, until translucent, about 4 minutes. Add wine; bring mixture to a boil. Cook until liquid is reduced by half. Add lemon juice, edamame, asparagus, pasta, and 1 cup reserved liquid; sprinkle with 1 teaspoon salt. Toss well. Add arugula and tomatoes; toss. Top with ricotta salata and chives. Drizzle with remaining 2 tablespoons oil; sprinkle with lemon zest and 1 1/2 teaspoons salt, and season with pepper.

  • Enjoy!!

    Gemelli with Tomatoes, Olives and Ricotta Cheese

    So, pasta is easy to make and always so good, so I thought we would try this one this week sometime:

    Gemelli with Tomatoes, Olives and Ricotta Cheese

    What you need:

    • Coarse salt
    • 8 ounces gemelli (or fusilli or penne)
    • 1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
    • 10 sun-dried tomatoes in oil, drained
    • 1 tablespoon red-wine vinegar
    • 2 teaspoons salt-packed capers, rinsed
    • 2 garlic cloves, coarsely chopped
    • Freshly ground pepper, to taste
    • 1/2 cup grape tomatoes, quartered
    • 1/3 cup Kalamata olives, pitted and halved
    • 1/3 cup fresh basil, torn
    • Fresh ricotta cheese, for serving

    How to:

  • Bring a pot of salted water to a boil. Add pasta, and cook until al dente. Drain. Drizzle with just enough oil to coat. Spread on a baking sheet, and refrigerate 10 minutes.

  • Pulse sun-dried tomatoes, vinegar, capers, and garlic in a food processor. With machine running, add oil in a slow, steady stream, and process until smooth. Season with salt and pepper.

  • Toss together pasta, sun-dried-tomato vinaigrette, grape tomatoes, olives, basil, and salt. Transfer to serving plates. Top with a scoop of ricotta, drizzle with oil, and sprinkle with pepper.

  • I also am going to make some breadsticks with oil and olives to go along with this meal, sounds good!

    Monday, August 30, 2010

    Fall is coming!!!

    I am beyond excited to start decorating for Fall... I love harvesty looking items, and the warm colors that Fall brings. I have started a small collection of items, which Tyler would probably say is not so small, but I love all the pieces I have so far. Looking through websites and magazines, here are my inspirations for the Fall....

    Can't wait to decorate!!! :)

    Mustard Peep Toe Pumps

    Mustard Peep Toe Pumps! For some reason lately, I have been really into some strange colors... like mustard and green.. not together, mind you, but separately, I love them! I am trying to branch out a little bit on my colors in  my wardrobe, I have a lot of black, gray, and white, so... I found these super cute heels online and can't wait to get them so I can start wearing them! :)

    I have also added a wallet, and credit card organizer to my yellow collection. Now I suppose I need some yellow clothes.. maybe a sweater to go with my mustard collection?? :)

    Friday, August 27, 2010

    West Coast Grilled Vegetable Pizza

    We are making pizza tonight!! I am excited to try the fresh pizza dough!! Tyler loves to grill, so this is perfect for both of us! We shall see how it turns out! ;)

    West Coast Grilled Vegetable Pizza


    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • All-purpose flour, for shaping dough
    • 1 pound store-bought pizza dough, fresh, or thawed if frozen
    • 2 plum tomatoes, thinly sliced crosswise
    • 2 scallions, white and green parts separated, thinly sliced
    • 1 log (5 ounces) soft goat cheese, crumbled
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 1 bag (5 ounces) baby spinach
    • 1 avocado, halved, pitted, peeled, and diced
    • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar


    1. Heat grill to medium. Brush a large rimless baking sheet (or an inverted rimmed sheet) with 1 tablespoon oil. On a lightly floured work surface, roll and stretch dough to two 8-inch ovals or rounds. Transfer to prepared sheet. Brush tops with 1 tablespoon oil.
    2. Transfer dough to grill. Cook, without turning over, until undersides are firm and begin to char, 2 to 3 minutes. Using tongs and a large spatula, place crusts on baking sheet, grilled side up.
    3. Scatter crusts with tomatoes, scallion whites, and cheese; season with salt and pepper, and slide back onto grill. Cook, rotating occasionally, until cooked through and cheese begins to melt, 3 to 5 minutes. Transfer to a cutting board.
    4. In a medium bowl, combine spinach, avocado, scallion greens, vinegar, and remaining tablespoon oil; season with salt and pepper, and toss to combine. Pile mixture onto pizzas; halve, and serve.

    Oh Coffee, how I love thee.....

    If you know me (or Ashley) at all, we LOVE our coffee!! I really have an addiction to it, and it's not even the caffeine, since I go decaf (your welcome mom)! There is something about an iced coffee that just makes my morning! There are a few coffee shops I love that make yummy coffee... and I am pretty sure they know me by name... that can't be good! I decided that I need to learn how to make my own coffee drinks.... so I looked up a few recipes.... hope they turn out!!

    1. Creamy Iced Coffee Recipe


    • 1 1/2 quarts brewed coffee, room temperature
    • 1 cup milk
    • 1 cup half-and-half cream
    • 1/3 cup white sugar
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    • 2 tablespoons creme de cacao


    1. In a pitcher, combine cooled coffee, milk and half-and-half. Stir in sugar, vanilla and creme de cacao. Chill in refrigerator until ready to serve.

    2. Iced Coffee from a French Press

    1. The night before, start with 1/4 cup of coarse ground coffee, and add 1 cup of cold filtered water.
    2. The next morning add 1 more cup of water.
    3. Strain and pour into a chilled glass over ice (makes two glasses).
    I add a generous amount of milk and a spoonful or two of raw sugar. You could even make a simple syrup with a little vanilla. If you like extra milk, then add less water. Freeze leftovers in ice cube trays for next time.

    3. Cafe Latte Milkshake.. OK, so this one looks like a ton of calories, but soooo good!
    1 1/2 cup cold coffee
    2 scoops vanilla ice cream
    2 tablespoons chocolate syrup

    In a blender, combine cold coffee, ice cream and chocolate syrup. Blend until smooth. Pour into glasses and serve.

    I will try these recipes next week and let you know which one actually works, or doesn't! Hopefully this will save on our coffee bills!

    Wednesday, August 25, 2010

    Mediterranean Salad with Artichokes, Penne pasta and Sundried Tomatoes

    The salad last night was so good, we decided to try another one for tonight! Check out the recipe below! More salad recipes to come next week.... :)

    Mediterranean Salad with Artichokes, Penne and Sundried Tomatoes

    Coarse salt and ground pepper

    • 1 cup penne pasta
    • 1/4 cup sun-dried tomatoes (not oil-packed), thinly sliced lengthwise
    • 2 tablespoons red-wine vinegar
    • 2 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
    • 1 head romaine lettuce (1 1/4 pounds), torn into bite-size pieces
    • 1 can (15 ounces) cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
    • 1 can (14 ounces) artichoke hearts (water-packed), drained and quartered
    • 4 ounces feta, crumbled (1 cup)


    1. In a large saucepan of boiling salted water, cook pasta until 1 minute short of al dente. Add sun-dried tomatoes, and cook until tender and pasta is al dente, 1 minute more. Drain pasta and tomatoes, rinse under cold water, and drain again; transfer to a large bowl.
    2. Make dressing: In a large bowl, whisk together vinegar, oil, mustard, and 1 tablespoon water; season with salt and pepper.
    3. Add pasta and tomatoes, romaine, beans, artichoke hearts, and feta; toss until combined, and serve immediately.

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Chicken, Rice and Black Bean Salad!

    I am excited to try a new salad tonight for dinner! Since, as you have seen, we have done some more "fattening" meals lately, I decided to research some yummy salads for this week. The first one we are trying tonight is Chicken, Rice and Black Bean Salad... should be good!


    Serves 4
    • 1 cup brown (or white) rice
    • 1 cooked chicken (about 2 1/2 pounds), shredded (about 4 cups)
    • 1 can (15 1/2 ounces) black beans, drained and rinsed
    • 6 plum tomatoes, quartered lengthwise, seeded, and thinly sliced
    • 1 jalapeno chile (seeds and ribs removed for less heat, if desired), minced
    • 1/4 cup white-wine vinegar
    • 3 tablespoons olive oil
    • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 4 scallions, thinly sliced


    1. Cook rice according to package instructions. Spread on a baking sheet; refrigerate until cool.
    2. Place cooled rice in a large bowl; add chicken, beans, tomatoes, scallions, jalapeno, vinegar, oil, and cumin. Season with salt and pepper; toss to combine. Serve immediately, or refrigerate, covered, up to 1 day.

    Oh Pottery Barn... Someday...

    I LOVE POTTERY BARN... there is something about their stuff that makes a room look warm, inviting and classy! I never really noticed them before Tyler and I registered for our wedding there, but now that I have had experience with their things, I love them...

    I have this idea that my house is all of a sudden going to look like a pottery barn catalog... um negative, and although I have some items from them, and some others that look like theirs, I definitely do not have the whole house looking like it. This is a BIG GOAL, but someday I would love for my house to have that "look". I have started with things here and there, but unless I revamp my entire house, and savings account, it is not going to happen right now!

    I get a catalog from them every so often and love looking through the pages to see what I might be able to make that looks similar to what I see... thought it never looks EXACTLY the same, I get close! Tyler and I both like dark furniture, but the more I look at the catalogs, I am starting to like some lighter colored elements as well! One day, when we have kids, I would like to make a baby room that is white... so unlike the rest of our house, but it looks so pretty and I am excited to design it someday!!

    Here are some pictures of pottery barn things that I love (oh there are many more, but these are the few I pulled from for today!) Maybe someday we will have rooms that look like these!

    Would LOVE this for our bedroom some day! I think I would have dark wood side tables, but I love the plant on the window sill and the curtains that are over the bed!
    Isn't this a cute bathroom?!! I really like the oval mirror and the the square mirrors around it... maybe I will do this to a guest bathroom in our next home?? :)
    I have had my eye on these jars for a while!! They are also at Pier One and Joanne Fabrics. I do not like the monogram, but I would love these jars for a baby room someday!

    And there you have it, my love for Pottery Barn.... hey a girl can dream right?? :)

    Monday, August 23, 2010

    Tyler's BBQ Ribs

    I promised Tyler I would blog about his recipe for BBQ ribs... so here you go! They were super yummy and he did a great job making them!

    Tyler's BBQ Ribs: Dry Rub

    - 1/2 c. brown sugar
    - 1/4 c. paprika
    - 1 Tbs. black pepper
    - 1 Tbs. salt
    - 1 Tbs. chili powder
    - 3/4 Tbs. garlic powder
    - 3/4 Tbs. onion powder
    - 1 Tbs. cayenne (or mustard powder)


    1. Tyler soaked the ribs in a large cooking pan filled with beer (he used two large cans) for two days in the fridge prior to putting the rub on the meat! After two days, drain the beer and add rub! (see #2)
    2. The day before you want to cook the meat, make the rub and apply to ribs.. then back to the fridge until the day of cooking!
    3. On the day you want to cook the ribs, add BBQ sauce to seasoned ribs... I would suggest a sweeter BBQ sauce since the rub for the ribs has a sweeter taste to it.
    4. Cook on BBQ grill for up to 3-4 hours!

    Here are some pics of his creation!!

    After draining beer and adding dry rub

    After adding BBQ sauce

    On the grill
    Finished Product! :)

    Broiled Salmon with Spinach and Feta

    Here is the dish I am going to make for us tonight! Tyler and I both love salmon, so I think this recipe will be great!

    Broiled Salmon with Spinach and Feta Cheese

    What you need:
    • 4 skinless salmon fillets (6 ounces each)
    • Coarse salt and ground pepper
    • 1 tablespoon olive oil
    • 2 bags (5 ounces each) baby spinach
    • 1/2 cup feta, crumbled (2 ounces)
    • 1/3 cup pine nuts
    • 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice


    1. Heat broiler, with rack set 4 inches from heat. Place salmon on a rimmed baking sheet; season with salt and pepper. Broil until opaque throughout, 5 to 7 minutes.
    2. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add as much spinach as will fit; season with salt and pepper. Cook, tossing spinach and adding more to skillet as space becomes available, until tender, about 2 minutes. Remove from heat; drain off excess liquid. Stir in feta, pine nuts, and lemon juice. Serve salmon with spinach saute.

    Saturday, August 21, 2010

    Cheesy shells and chicken bake


    I found this recipe in a magazine (don't remember which one), a long time ago, switched it up a little and made it for dinner last night! Tyler and I both loved it and it is super easy! I might suggest to eat this on a cold day in the Winter, or another state other than AZ, because although very tasty, it is a rather warm dish for 109 degrees!

    Either way, here is the simple steps to make it!

    What you will need:

    - 3 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
    - shells and cheese (boxed)
    - 3 to 5 green onions
    - bread crumbs
    - 1 can of cheddar cheese soup
    - 1 tbs of black pepper
    - 1 tbs butter
    - 1 cup of frozen vegetables

    How to....

    1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees, grease baking pan
    2. Prepare the shells and cheese
    3. In a large saucepan, heat the 1 tbs of butter til melted
    4. Saute the onions and chicken in the saucepan for about 2 minutes
    5. Add the veggies, pepper, prepared shells and cheese and the cheddar cheese soup and STIR!
    6. Once chicken cooked through, transfer mixture into a baking pan and sprinkle bread crumbs on top.
    7. Cook for about 25 minutes!
    8. Let Cool and ENJOY!!

    Here is what it looks like right out of the oven...

    Hope you enjoy it as much as we did!! Makes for about 6 servings!

    Friday, August 20, 2010

    Things I have discovered about life lately...

    So, it is quite possible that I have known these following thoughts for quite some time, just was too busy to actually let it sink in... now that I have more time on my hands, I am realizing just how true these things really are...

    1. There will ALWAYS be something that I dislike about my appearance... as a woman gets older, this seems inevitable... whether it is a bad hair color, hair cut, zit, too many freckles, tired eyes, dry skin, the side of my nose that somewhat collapsed after I pierced my nose (which I still believe is God's sense of humor since my dad told me NOT TO DO IT, and I did anyways...), a little too much weight in certain areas, etc. I have come to the reality that "God don't make no junk" (which my mother has taught me for years through me bawling my eyes out about something probably lame) and that I need to be happy with "what my momma gave me".. or in my case, mostly my dad! If there is a little more cellulite on me this month, then God intended for it to be there!! Haha, just kidding, really I need to start working out more, but.... there I go again, wishing something were different...

    2. I have an incredibly soft side that I HATE for people to see... given to me a la my mother and grandmother and I can't seem to come to grips with it. Don't get me wrong, my family and Tyler have seen it (usually during moments of heartbreak), but I rarely let it slip out. It is so strange to me why I am like this, have been trying to come up with reasons for years... this is what I have come up with:

    - I am just not an emotional person (so not true)
    - I am tough and don't need anyone's help (wrong again!)
    - I am more like my dad (he's a tough guy)--- possibly!
    - I have been burnt too many times in the past so I put up the infamous "walls" (hmmmm, doubtful)

    So, I am back to wondering, why am I like this? Crying is like pulling teeth for me (Tyler is still offended that I didn't cry coming down the aisle at our wedding.. shame on me, right?!!) I cannot stand mushy talk (my mother knows this about me)... please don't tell me that you are so proud of me or give me a speech about how special I am to you because that would mean I have to tear up, and as you just read... not comfortable. I told my parents I have the perfect mix of them both, I can cry at Hallmark commercials (like my dad, haha j/k, like my mom) and I can be tough as nails (like my dad), so you put those two together and I feel emotionally unstable most of the time! :) No, really, I have accepted that is how I am, proud to say that I am a blend of the two that made me.... and believe it or not, have come to show more of my emotional side lately...

    3. God IS important... I grew up in the Beaver Cleaver religious family, so I guess I have always known this, but as I get older I realize it so much more. My mother would say, I had you in church when you were in a baby carrier, and I know I will do the same with my kiddos. I joined a bible study over a year ago and am learning that you cannot put God in a box.... nor will you ever truly understand everything he wants to teach you... but I know that I would have never experienced love, success and what it means to pick yourself back up (by the bootstraps my mom says) without in the effort to stop all this emotional talk (we all know how that is for me).. that is all I will touch on right now with this one...

    4. You have to lose to truly gain... now there are women out there that found their soulmate early on (ahem... ashley and pat) and it worked out perfectly, but for those of us "unlucky" or in my case "lucky" ones, it "took kissing a lot of frogs".. or however that saying goes. In the past year, I finally realized that I can thank all three of those "frogs" for leading me to Tyler. Each one of them, though ending not so lovely, taught me something that I needed to know to be with Tyler. We will call them 1,2,3. #1 taught me what it feels like to have someone truly care about me, how to trust someone other than myself. #2 taught me that love is based off a friendship and romance, even if we didn't have both of those! #3 (haha, oh man #3) funny that he is numbered this since this is how many times we dated before I realized that I am better off without him! But on a serious note, #3 taught me how to have a relationship that is based on Christian principals, something that I now have with Tyler.

    Because of these 3... I have Tyler, I know how to laugh with him, cry with him, pick myself back up, have a best friend and a romance, and a Christian partner... and for that I thank #'s 1,2, and 3.

    Have you fallen asleep yet? I seem to have a lot on my mind today...

    5. I DO have a creative side, it's just not as creative as my sisters... since I can remember Melissa was always the creative one. She got my grandmothers talent for art and it stuck. I don't remember Ashley really liking "crafts" until she was older, but now looking at her shabby chic house, I see that it made an appearance. I have always wondered, where do I fit in?? I cannot draw to save my life, my sewing is minimal and you don't want to see what my homeade outfit would really look like!

    Since I quit my job, I have tried to find a more creative side in me.... hence forth I started this blog and my interest in making "small crafts"... haha. I will never paint murals like Melissa, or build chandeliers like Ashley, but gosh darnit I can make a mean lipgloss! ;)

    6. Last but not least..... life is exactly the way it was supposed to be... every single part of it. I don't know if I ever really believed that until now. Life is hard, it is fun, it is challenging, it is unbelievably complex, but I wouldn't change the people in my life or the stage I am in for anything in the world...

    And THAT, is what I have discovered about life lately........ ;)

    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    Pasta with Zucchini and Toasted Almonds

    I found this recipe on a friend's blog and thought I would steal it and post it on mine (told ya I was a blog stalker!!) I think it looks super yummy and can't wait to try it with Tyler next week!!


    ·         2  cups  cherry tomatoes, halved
    ·         2  tablespoons  minced shallots
    ·         1  teaspoon  minced fresh thyme
    ·         2  teaspoons  fresh lemon juice
    ·         3/4  teaspoon  kosher salt
    ·         1/2  teaspoon  freshly ground black pepper
    ·         1/4  teaspoon  sugar
    ·         5  teaspoons  extra-virgin olive oil, divided
    ·         1  (9-ounce) package refrigerated linguine
    ·         1 1/2  teaspoons  bottled minced garlic
    ·         3  cups  chopped zucchini (about 1 pound)
    ·         3/4  cup  fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
    ·         3  tablespoons  chopped fresh mint, divided
    ·         1/3  cup  (1 1/2 ounces) grated fresh pecorino Romano cheese
    ·         3  tablespoons  sliced almonds, toasted

    1. Combine first 7 ingredients in a medium bowl. Add 2 teaspoons oil, tossing to coat.
    2. Cook pasta according to package directions, omitting salt and fat. Drain well.
    3. Heat a large nonstick skillet over medium-high heat. Add the remaining 1 tablespoon oil to pan, swirling to coat. Add garlic to pan; sauté 30 seconds. Add zucchini; sauté 3 minutes or until crisp-tender. Add broth; bring to a simmer. Stir in pasta and 1 1/2 tablespoons mint; toss well. Remove from heat; stir in tomato mixture. Place 1 1/2 cups pasta mixture in each of 4 bowls; top evenly with remaining 1 1/2 tablespoons mint. Sprinkle each serving with 4 teaspoons cheese and 2 teaspoons almonds.
    Olive tapenade breadsticks: Combine 1 tablespoon extra-virgin olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons minced garlic, 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/8 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper, and 15 finely chopped pitted kalamata olives in a small bowl. Spread olive mixture over 1 (11-ounce) can refrigerated breadsticks dough. Twist each breadstick; bake at 375° for 15 minutes or until browned.