Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Best Meal You've (Probably) Never Eaten

The Central Coast of CA- my "real" home- is beautiful. The climate is close to perfect, amazing wines are everywhere, the beach is right at your doorstep, and it's a mere 4-ish hour drive to either LA or San Francisco.
It. Is. Perfect.

I grew up eating something called "Santa Maria Style BBQ." It's a staple, and I had no idea that it really doesn't exist outside of the area around my hometown. Every fundraiser meal, every restaurant, every backyard get together…all feature the same dishes.

Saturday, August 24, 2013

Something Out of Nothing: Remodeling My Stairs

Our stairs were ugly.

Well, not just the stairs, pretty much the whole house, to be honest.  My husband purchased this home 2 years before I moved in with him, so I was lucky enough to never have to deal with it's full-blown awfulness, but I still got stuck with the carpet and ugly paint colors.  

The woman who lived here before us really REALLY liked dark blue.
The countertops were dark blue.
The linoleum in the kitchen was a dark blue pattern.
The carpet throughout the entire house was dark blue.


Thursday, August 22, 2013

Our Month of Beef :-)

We've all heard the popular tagline, "Beef, it's what's for dinner," right?  Well, it really has been the month of beef in our household, and it was for dinner MANY nights.  This month the Allrecipes Allstars program partnered with the Cattlemen's Beef Board and National Cattlemen's Beef Association.  We were asked to prepare recipes from the Allrecipes recipe collection sponsored by the National Cattlemen’s Beef Association.  I made a couple from their collection, but I also made a few other beef recipes from the site.

As always, just click on the picture to get to the recipes!

Anyway, I'll be honest- the sponsored recipes weren't favorites in our house (though they were with other Allstars that tried them, so to each his own, I suppose).  I made Beef and Blue Cheese Stuffed Mushrooms first.  The blue cheese was pretty overwhelming.  They were ok, but really nothing special.  In their defense, my husband chopped up the leftovers and put them in an absolutely wonderful omelette the next day :-)

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

The End of Summer: Soup and Housecleaning

Is August too early to start longing for Fall weather?  One of the things that I have come to love about Tennessee is the {generally} perfect season length- just as you are tiring of one season, the next is starting.  This might seem a little silly, but let's remember people- I spent the first 21(ish) years of my life in California.  6 months of Summer and the rest is mostly mild Fall and Spring with an eetsy beetsy little Winter in there around January.  And even then it rarely got so cold I wasn't comfortable in flip flops.  

Sometimes I long for that perfect weather…but then a rainy, gray day like today comes along for me to enjoy.

I always know when it's raining back home because everyone on Facebook is posting about it as if the sky itself is falling!  lol makes me giggle every time.

My kiddos enjoying last year's fall weather :-)
Anyway, as I sit here in the rocking chair in my son's room, watching the rain pour down, trying to pretend that my husband doesn't have the stereo blaring while on daddy-duty downstairs so I can have a few minutes of mommy-time, I'm grateful for the seasons- and ready for gray, chilly days ahead.

Sunday, August 11, 2013

The Golden Rule

I did a terrible thing a couple of days ago. As my daughter and I pulled out of the Target parking lot we saw a woman holding a sign. My daughter- whose reading skills continue to amaze me- saw that her sign said she had a newborn baby at home. I took a sip of my diet soda and kept driving, attempting to avoid eye contact as we passed her. I justified this by telling my daughter that I didn't have any cash on me, and that we had no way of knowing what this woman's situation really was. 

 Every word I spoke to her felt wrong to me, sending pangs of guilt to my core.

I want my daughter to know that we should always try to help.

Friday, August 9, 2013

My Biggest Problem

Hi, I'm Nora, and I'm a junkie when it comes to food photography.  I rarely make anything that I don't photograph before serving, or at least save a serving of to take a picture.  Therefore, it can be extremely hard for me to decide what images to share with you!  I've tried really hard to narrow it down to a few of my favorite photos/recipes this time so I don't overwhelm you.  It's been a summer full of fun and millions of doctor's and therapists appointments for little man and I've had zero time to sit down and write anything out- meaning I had a HUGE number of photos and recipes to dig through in order to pick a few favorites.  Enjoy!

As always, all pictures link to the recipes!

Asian Zucchini Chicken Burgers
Click on the picture to see the recipe!
First off, let me just say that my family hates zucchini.  Little man won't eat it, his sister won't eat it, my husband DEFINITELY won't eat it, and to be honest...well, I'm not such a fan myself.  So why did I plant FOUR zucchini plants in the garden this year?  I haven't a clue.  Not a smart move.  Anyway, they've been extremely prolific.  I have 50 cups of frozen/shredded zucchini, 9 pints of zucchini relish, 7 pints of zucchini pickles, I've given some away, I have more on my counter, and I still have more growing!  I had to do something, fast.