Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Pasta Salad Roundup

Sunday night there will be some Easter feasting with in-laws and I have been assigned to bring a pasta salad. (I was given a choice of dessert or salad, but after going round-and-round in a great external monologue of indecision, I was assigned salad. Then the process started again to decide what kind of salad, and I was just told to bring a pasta one.)
chopped cilantro
So now to pick which pasta salad. I have searched all my starred Google Reader items for "pasta salad" and narrowed it down to:

Cooking for Assholes | Trailer Park Pasta Salad II 
Cooking for Assholes | Zucchini, Kalamata, Basil, and Feta Pasta Salad
Smitten Kitchen | Summer Pea and Roasted Red Pepper Pasta Salad
Budget Bytes | Pasta Salad (literally)

Currently Smitten Kitchen is winning, with Budget Bytes in second. Although it would be fun to say "I'm bringing a Trailer Park Pasta Salad." Very classy.

Thoughts? Other recommended pasta salad recipes?

Monday, March 29, 2010

Early Bunny Gifts

The Easter Bunny came early this year (or my parents came to visit this weekend) and I'm excited to add the Williams-Sonoma Message in a Cookie Cookie Cutters to my baking tools!
cookie cutter
I'm already thinking of clever cooking messages, but would love your ideas!

P.S. The house we saw on Friday was a no. Thanks for the continued well wishes and kindly listening reading my excitement and frustrations. The search goes on...

Friday, March 26, 2010

Week in Review: 3/26

Caitlin and I started photoblogging at 1000 miles between so come visit!

I discovered I Love Charts and it is awesome.

Jenn now does Take Five Fridays. It's pretty much the same as the Week in Review, except it's all recipes all the time.

A wonderful post from Little Brown Pen on travel and what makes a place really special.

I've been reflecting on my frustration with wanting a house and not finding a house and wondering how much less frustrated I might be if I didn't spend so much time at home decorating blogs looking at things like this adorable workspace, this cheapo kitchen reno, or this cottage. But I love my decorating blogs and will not leave them.

I have a new favorite YouTube video.

Happy weekend! We're looking at a house tonight and then my parents are coming in tomorrow night for Palm Sunday mass on Sunday morning. We have bagpipes on Palm Sunday so I'm very excited! Also, Go Cats!

Thursday, March 25, 2010

Full as the Moon

"'It looks like a circle,' I said. 'Love is a circle, full as the moon.'"
- C.B. Christiansen's I See the Moon

I think I first read C.B. Christiansen's I See the Moon when I was in middle school. It was my favorite book until Pride and Prejudice stole my heart away. I hadn't read I See the Moon since then, but I picked it up a few weeks ago and I still love it.

I can promise you it's a wonderful book because even though it had been over a decade since I last read it, I could still remember some scenes so clearly. Although I must warn, I cried through pretty much the entire thing. Thankfully it's only about 100 pages. And it's more bittersweet than sad.

image: Anindo Ghosh

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

The Wall

When Lee goes running with me, he often instructs me on "the wall": that place where you feel like you can't run any farther, but if your husband is with you he makes you keep going anyway because he's mean, but then in five minutes you realize you're doing just fine and feel awesome and maybe husband was right.
Walls in Europe are extra pretty. Even the leaning ones.

As part of my ongoing struggle with running, I had been going through a phase where I decided not to tackle the wall. If I just took it easy and avoided the wall then I would be happier, run more, and improve more. Except I didn't start running more and I still ran at the pace of a fast walk.

So after months of running rarely and always stopping for a walk break after a mile, on Saturday, I ran through the wall, and ran my whole loop of 2.18 miles without stopping! We don't need to discuss my pace (Okay, it was 12 minutes.), but I ran a little over two miles without stopping! If that doesn't deserve a handful of cookies, I don't know what does! (Curing cancer definitely. Also, completing your EGOT. How did I not know before that Audrey Hepburn is an EGOT-er?!)

But I don't think metaphorical walls are just present in athletic activities. I hit walls every afternoon, Monday through Friday, right after lunch. And last night I came home and was convinced that I would not be able to get anything done on my to-do list (Hello, chore chart!) and would probably just wind up being lazy and frustrated at my laziness all night. Somehow though, I managed to give Zoey her bath, and after that, I had a sudden burst of energy! I conquered my "I've been sitting at a desk for eight hours and am now incapable of accomplishing anything" wall and crossed most of the things off my to-do list! In under an hour too! I am master of wall conquering! For the past 72 hours at least.

(You get a virtual pretend cookie if you thought this post was going to be about The Greatest Wall of All Time. I'm looking at you Pinju.)

Edited to add: I ran 12 minutes per mile, not two miles in 12 minutes. Oops! That would've been pretty awesome though!

Monday, March 22, 2010

7 and 2 Are Very Different Numbers

On Saturday night I tried Simply Recipe's hamburger and macaroni. It was delicious. But for some reason I read "2 cups uncooked macaroni" as a whole box (7 CUPS!) of macaroni. Needless to say we'll be eating macaroni all week. 
hamburger and macaroni

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Announcement! (not a house or baby)

Caitlin and I are starting a 365-day photoblog today! *shoot off confetti* *celebrate*

As you might know, Caitlin and I went to college together and are BFF, brought together by a shared love for movie nights and cookie dough. Sadly, we currently live 1000 miles apart (Louisville, KY to Austin, TX), but since we both like blogging and photos, this seems like a great way to stay in better contact and see what the other sees everyday.

I took this picture yesterday on my way to work, so sadly I couldn't use it today since that's against the rules. 

Check it out (and subscribe!) at

Friday, March 19, 2010

Week in Review: 3/19

vintage camera
My mom's vintage camera. Can you believe she just had it sitting in the garage? It deserves at least an indoor shelf. ;) 

Jill shared some of her favorite casserole recipes and I can't wait to try one!

Cute embroidery ideas via CRAFT and dooce.

Kath says you can use frozen bananas to make ice cream. Jenn tried it and says it's awesome.

Have a good weekend! Mine will be filled with basketball definitely, but hopefully some crafting and reading too!

Thursday, March 18, 2010

My Empty Mood Board

Last Thursday Lee and I returned home from house hunting, gleefully calling our friends and family to let them know we had found the house. Once I calmed down (a little), I started making the mood board background that I had planned to make to use in home decorating. I was so excited about mood boards I even tweeted about it.
edited bulletin board
But a week later the mood board sits empty because the house didn't work out. And even though as I assembled the mood board last week I could not even think of the heartbreak that would ensue if this didn't work out, I'm actually doing just fine.

The sellers had to get the full price of the house to pay off the mortgage, but the house wasn't worth that much in this market, so we walked away and we're feeling good about it. So in a few minutes we're heading back out with our realtor. Here we go again!

Future house, I'd like to dedicate this song to you.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

An Ampersand Found in the Wild

I have a thing for ampersands. They're the prettiest button on the keyboard: &

I found an ampersand on my shoe the other day and that was pretty happy.

ampersand shoelaces

Monday, March 15, 2010

A Really Good Weekend (honest)

Friday night I had dinner with some of my very good friends from my sorority (Yay ADPi!). We had been at Centre earlier that evening to mourn celebrate our chapter advisor's retirement, and afterward we gathered to talk some more, gossip a lot, and split some pizzas. We've scattered a bit across the state and country, so evenings like this--when SIX of us are able to gather together--are rare and wonderful. As I left the restaurant at 11:30 on Friday night, I realized that already my weekend had been so great that it didn't matter how the whole making-an-offer-on-a-house went.
It continued to not matter all weekend. As we were signing the contract, UK was destroying Tennessee and I hate Tennessee. While they were countering our offer with the list price (for reals?!), I was celebrating my sister-in-law's 21st birthday. While UK played for the SEC championship (Go Cats!), Lee, Realtor, and I decided on our counter-offer plan.

So with all sincerity, I say that I'm okay with possibly not getting this house. We'll make another offer today, and I'm going back and forth over if this is as high as we'll go or not, but I don't need to worry about that yet. I've spent the weekend with people I love and Kentucky is a #1 seed. Life is pretty good!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Week in Review: 3/12

The Maple Syrup Festival last weekend was awesome (Even though I missed the llama!), as evidenced by me shoving waffles supreme into my face.
I love waffles!
Those are my waffles! With syrup, blueberries, apples, strawberries, ice cream, whipped cream and chocolate chips.
waffles supreme

This weeks links are generally home related links because the only thing I can think about is the house that I think we might buy! Yes, you read that right! Lee and I saw the house last night, we're going to look at it again tomorrow morning with the in-laws and will very likely make an offer tomorrow afternoon! Say your prayers! Cross your fingers! Arrange your magic voodoo spirits in our favor! We LOVE this house!

I want need the kitchen island/table in the second to last picture here at dress, design & decor. Exactly what I see in my head!

If this pans out, I'll need to start planning the garden ASAP! Here's some tomato growing tips from The Kitchn.

The moment there is an accepted contract in our sweaty little palms, I will virtually move into the Young House Love How-To archives.

Have a wonderful weekend!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Bloggy Cooking Night

Last night I cooked, cooked, cooked. Largely because my allergy/sinus mess caused me to postpone a couple planned dishes, which made last night the night to tackle them all.

As I was getting ready for my cooking marathon (Okay, it was probably more like a cooking 5K. Thanksgiving dinner would be the marathon.), I realized that all my recipes were from fellow bloggers.

First up was Budget Bytes' Mediterranean white bean salad, which made a delicious lunch today. I put it on a pita with some garlic hummus. All my coworkers were jealous. 
Mediterranean bean salad

For last night's actual dinner, we had Redhead Recipes' sticky chicken. This was tastier than the picture suggests. I was going to serve it with brown rice and steamed broccoli, but I was craving macaroni and cheese, so we had it with macaroni and cheese and broccoli.
sticky chicken

And finally, I tried my first Smitten Kitchen recipe: jacked-up banana bread.
jacked-up banana bread

The bread was actually a thank you gift for a coworker's husband, who so kindly made me a UK paper sculpture, just in time for the SEC tournament. Go Cats! But I sampled the banana bread and it was delicious! (There is no classier gift than a banana bread with a slice missing!)
Go Cats!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Hello Again

I've been a bit MIA lately. A combination of being both lazy and busy, some writer's block and allergy/sinus misery.
will return
For the past two nights I have come home from work and directly plopped down on the couch to watch TV until an early bedtime. This has made me realize that I think I need more time to let myself do nothing, even when I can breathe through my nose.

Last night was the first night I've been able to watch a whole episode of American Idol since the real competition has started. Didi was my favorite, but I also voted for Crystal and Lacey. Oh Idol, I have missed you.

image: ilovememphis

Friday, March 5, 2010

Week in Review: 3/5

Zoey likes to get her drink on 
Zoey's ready for the weekend.

I'm liking some stencils.

How can I not link to a Jane Austen style wedding!?

iDiY shares so many Japanese masking tape ideas it requires two parts! part 1 and part 2

Because I always wonder about this, find out if expiration dates really matter. Apparently it requires more common sense than I thought! ;)

Have a wonderful weekend! I'll be going to a Maple Syrup Festival. Oh yes!

Monday, March 1, 2010

Be Healthy

It's March (crazy huh?) so it's time for a new resolution to tackle: be healthy.

I have never been athletic. In high school, I started trying to take up exercise. Not that I looked like I needed it, but I didn't want to be the skinniest person to get winded by a couple flights of stair. (It's so annoying when people look at you and say "You don't need to exercise." The thing is: Everyone should exercise.) And I figured that some day eating whatever I wanted would catch up with me (Hello, that day!) and if I started doing healthy things now I would either never reach the point of having to start a for-real diet or if that point is reached, I could just step up my existent regiment.

I have yet to establish a consistent regiment though. And I've developed a bit of a muffin top. Hopefully this month I can start something that sticks. For forever.

On the exercise front, I want to workout 4-5 days a week. I like working out in the morning best and last week I actually worked out four mornings for 20-30 minutes. Hopefully this will continue and hopefully I can add in some strength (crunches and arm weights). The earlier it gets lighter out , I'll run outside. Otherwise it's to the apartment gym. (And hopefully when there's a house and no apartment, I'll get some kind of exercise equipment for cold, dark or rainy mornings.)

As far as what I eat, I'm currently avoiding foods with ingredients I can't pronounce and making sure I have an apple lying around instead of a box of Tagalongs. In the spirit of full disclosure, I actually have six boxes of Tagalongs sitting by my desk right now, waiting to go into storage until after Easter. Some say that Lent is about more than giving up candy, and I agree, but Lent is also the only thing that can get me to give up candy. (I'm doing other more spiritual things too, in case you're curious.) And I'm not opposed to eating candy, I just eat way too much of it. Oreos do not make a proper snack, even if I've had a rough day (Or so I'm trying to convince myself.). They do make an excellent dessert though.

Any healthy snack ideas or secrets to sticking to a work out plan are much appreciated! (I hear I need to sign up for a 5K.)