Fast, Fancy Breakfast!

I don’t know about you, but breakfast is usually a hard meal for me.  I’m typically running late, scrambling to find my keys, bag, etc.  I know that breakfast is the most important meal of the day, but I usually end up grabbing a cookie from the cookie jar on my way out, or just coffee.   If I do have any spare time, it might be a bowl of cereal that will leave me hungry 10 minutes later.  I’m tired of eating ALL of my lunch that I’ve packed before 10 am, because it means that I will talk myself into swinging through a drive through on my way home for a “Snack.”  It’s a vicious breakfast cycle.  

But I say NO MORE to to yucky power bars, or breakfast food that doesn’t stick with you.  This morning I truly amazed myself.  I did something really unthinkable.  I made this scrumptious, beautiful breakfast sandwich:

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In SIX MINUTES!!!!!

6 minutes people. Six. If i can do this, I know you can!!  This beauty includes:  1 whole grain english muffin, 1 egg, baby spinach, red onion, sun-dried tomatoes, and gruyere cheese.  Fresh ingredients for a fancy breakfast!  There are many variations to the breakfast sandwich.  You can basically put anything you like on it.  These are just the things I had in my fridge.  Here are a few tips as to how I made it so fast (six minutes, remember?)

1.  Have your ingredients ready to go in the front of your fridge the night before.

2.  Simultaneously toast your english muffin and get your pan hot for the egg.

3.  Put your egg on a really hot pan. When the egg touches the pan, it only takes a second before it’s ready to be flipped!

And VIOULA! You start your day off fancy, fresh, and you might even eat your lunch AT LUNCHTIME with your co-workers.  

Until next time….:)

Change

Hello again.  This next installment of the Dinner Diaries does not have a recipe.  While I’ve been cooking a good bit, it’s been nothing blog-worthy.  I will spare you the cheese toast and PBJ recipes!  Today’s blog is about what’s been going on in my heart and head lately.  The word for today is CHANGE.  For some, a very scary word.  For others, an exciting one!  It’s both to me.  Lately I’ve been experiencing a lot of change in my life.  Some of it has been exciting (getting married, moving to a new city, making new friends, starting grad school).  Other change has been scary and uncomfortable (moving away from a great community, finding a new job, etc.).  In times of change we are vulnerable.  I think the devil often uses times of change as a way to sneak into our heads and try to trip us up.  I’ve experienced this recently.  

Example 1:  I see pictures on instagram of my friends doing fun things without me and I get jealous.  I think, “Do they not miss me or care about me anymore?  Have they moved on from our friendship?”  Of course this is a totally ridiculous thought.  OF COURSE they still care about me…I just live in Nashville and they know I can’t make a 9-hour drive to come hang out every weekend, so they don’t invite me.  

Example 2:  I read all of the accomplishments and background stories of my new classmates online and become intimidated.  I think, “am I intelligent enough to sit in class with these people?  Do I have anything to bring to the table?  They all seem so smart and have accomplished so much!”  Again, a very silly thought.  OF COURSE I can hang with them.  I took the same tests, filled out the same applications, and got accepted just like everyone else.  

These thoughts prove that I am not fully trusting in God during these times of change.   There’s a quote I see a lot that is very applicable:  “Comparison is the thief of joy.”  So true!  So as I’m floundering in my worry about all kinds of things in my life, I wake up this morning to 64 degree sunshine.  Glorious!  I take my coffee outside and read the Jesus Calling devotion for today.  It was so relevant:

 “I AM YOURS FOR ALL ETERNITY. I am the Alpha and the Omega: the One who is and was and is to come. The world you inhabit is a place of constant changes—more than your mind can absorb without going into shock. Even the body you inhabit is changing relentlessly, in spite of modern science’s attempts to prolong youth and life indefinitely. I, however, am the same yesterday and today and forever. Because I never change, your relationship with Me provides a rock-solid foundation for your life. I will never leave your side. When you move on from this life to the next, My Presence beside you will shine brighter with each step. You have nothing to fear, because I am with you for all time and throughout eternity.”

We need not fear or worry, because while our lives are always changing, God is constant.

 

Oh, and happy hump day! 🙂

Open for Business!

Hello again! I’d like to start this post with a big CONGRATULATIONS to the newly weds, Mr. and Mrs. Matt McCalley!  It was such an honor to be a part of their special day.  Audrey and I were college roommates and friends.  Tyler and I traveled to Charleston last weekend for their wedding festivities.  Highs of the weekend:  Bridesmaid/Groomsmen dance-off, gouda mac n cheese, and seeing long lost friends!  

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One of my favorite visits was with Mrs. Britt McCrea, my friend teaching in China!  She’s been there for a year, and will be there for 4 more because her husband has landed a great job there as well!  So blessed to know her!  Tyler and I hope to be able to visit Britt and Pat while they are there.

In other news, Tyler and I moved into our first home this week!  It is painted, cleaned, and unpacked!  Through the process,  it’s become apparent that God has blessed us with some pretty stellar friends in Nashville.  We had help moving and unpacking, along with a sweet house warming basket.  The basket was filled with things from markets and shops in our new neighborhood.  So thoughtful!  Our guest bedroom is officially open for business, so COME VISIT US in Nashville!

To give myself motivation to get house things done this weekend, I decided to invite our small group from church over for brunch yesterday.  Minus the fact that I almost burnt down our new house with an oven I’m not used to (oops 🙂 ), it was very successful and I have a new recipe for you.  It’s called Vegetable Quiche.  It’s basically a combination of items I had in my fridge that I whipped together to save myself from another trip to the store!

Vegetable Quiche:

1 frozen pie crust

4 eggs

1 small onion (chopped)

1 small yellow or orange bell pepper (chopped)

1 small package of sliced mushrooms

1 small package of fresh spinach, (roughly chopped)

1/2 cup of milk (or creme)

1 tbsp of butter

Directions:  

-Heat butter in a pan and saute onions, peppers, mushrooms

-Combine saute mixture and all other ingredients in a bowl

-pour into pie crust, bake at 425 for 40-45 min. 

SO EASY and DELICIOUS!

I’m sorry I don’t have a picture of this lovely brunch dish, but it was all gone before I could take a pic!

That’s all for now…take care folks!

Vacation Part III: Blueberry Cobbler

Last but not least on our southeastern tour, Tyler and I went to Savannah to visit his family and some more of our friends.  Our first stop was Tybee Island, where Tyler’s dad and stepmom rented a beach house for her birthday.  Happy Birthday, Maureen!  This was my first time on Tybee.  Cute, quaint, country beach town!  We ate some great local seafood and did some night-time beach walking.  (This was the first time we’d been on the beach our whole vacation when it wasn’t raining!).

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After Tybee, we headed to a cute little part of Savannah called Thunderbolt (T-bolt for short) where Tyler’s mom (Kay) and stepdad (Ed) live.  We got to spend some good quality time catching up.  Kay and Ed are great party planners, and threw a little get together with some family and old friends!  It was so great getting to see everyone!

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Before we headed back to Nashville, we made a stop at Tyler’s Grandparents house to visit.  His grandfather has a couple of huge blueberry bushes.  We were lucky enough to get to pick some and bring fresh blueberries back with us!

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So what do you do with a bunch of fresh blueberries?  You make blueberry cobbler, of course!  Unfortunately I do not have pictures of my blueberry cobbler.  It was made in a rush for my girls bible study this week.  But it was SO GOOD…and so easy to make!  To get the recipe, see my Peach Cobbler post, and sub blueberries for peaches.  The only other difference is I mixed a cup of sugar with the blueberries and brought them to a boil in a skillet before I added them to the cobbler.  Served with vanilla ice cream!

***Disclaimer:  I only make these super unhealthy recipes (you know, the ones that call for a whole stick of butter) when I’m hostessing.  I mean, I want people to come to my house and really enjoy what they eat!  No shame in that, right? 🙂

B.V.E.  That stands for Best Vacation Ever.  It wasn’t necessarily relaxing and refreshing, but we had so much fun spending time with each other and our family and friends.  While on vacation, we learned that I received a position at Vanderbilt as a Research Assistant for a special education research project.  This is a HUGE blessing for us.  The position will give me a stipend and waive my tuition for my first year of grad school.  THANK YOU JESUS!  It felt so good to go home with a plan for the fall.  And…no more Mary Poppins for me!  Can’t wait for this new adventure.  Tyler also found out this week that he will no longer be traveling for work.  We are so excited because when he first took this job, we were told he would be traveling 4 days a week every week.  Woo Hoo!  

Up Next:  Audrey and Matt’s Wedding and OUR NEW HOUSE!!!!

Vacation Part II: Low Country Boil

After we left the O’Steens at Lake Blalock, we headed down to our old stompin’ grounds….Charleston.  Chucktown.  The Holy City.  There is a special place in my heart for this city.  It’s really one of the most beautiful and friendly places in the world.  I think what I love about it most, though, is all of the wonderful and sweet friends we have there. It was so fun catching up with everyone! It rained for most of our time there, but we didn’t let that get us down.  It just gave us a good excuse to constantly eat and drink! We checked out some new restaurants and visited some old favorites.  

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One of the most special parts of our week was coming together with a few other friends and celebrating Matt and Audrey with a Couples Shower!  This was one of the first showers I’d ever planned…and I enjoyed it so much.  I even got a little crafty!  Shout out to Tyler McCoy for making the floral arrangements and garland…the girl is a genius!  Here are some pics:

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America’s Birthday also landed in our vacation, and we were so happy to get to celebrate it with old friends and new!  We hung out at Tyler and Britt’s pool, and listened to my new favorite pandora station:  hip hop bbq.  That’s right.  Everyone go check it out!  We cooked a meal that sums up lowcountry living:  

The Lowcountry Boil

-Small Red Potatoes

-Old Bay Seasoning, Lemons, Onion, Garlic (the Flava!)

-Hot Keilbasa Sausage Links

-Corn on the Cob

-Fresh Shrimp

Add the ingredients into a pot of boiling water in the order in which they are listed above in increments of about 10 minutes.  Cook shrimp until they are pink.  Get a disposable table cloth and dump the drained boil on the table.  Serve with cocktail sauce and cornbread.  Warning:  There are rarely leftovers from this delicious meal.  The thing I love about it most is how social and interactive the meal is.  How fun it is to pick at a low country boil and swap stories!  Clean-up is easy too:  Just fold up the disposable table cloth and throw it away!  Lookout Nashville friends:  This Lowcountry favorite is coming to a porch near you very soon!

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Our 4th of July ended with fireworks and sparklers on the water….absolutely beautiful!

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As much fun as we had in Charleston, and as much as we miss it, I realized something while we were there.  It was hard to leave Charleston to go to Nashville: to leave our friends, our church, my job, and our comfort zone.  But had we stayed, I don’t think our marriage would be as strong as it is.  What a blessing it was to be able to get married and start fresh together:  exploring a new city together, making friends together, and having time for each other.  How wise God is.  He knows exactly what we need when we need it…even if the transition is hard.  

Up next:  the third installment of the southeastern tour!

 

Vacation Part 1: Apple Bacon Coleslaw

Hello, Blog!  Long time, no see.  It’s been awhile since I’ve posted, and with good reason.  Tyler and I have been so busy with fun things.  Mainly our vacation (aka the southeastern tour).  Filling you in on vacation is going to take multiple blog posts.  Too hot for one blog post to handle!

So, I thought I’d start at the beginning.  We left Nashville on Saturday too early to talk about.  We drove to my parents new house on Lake Blalock in the upstate of SC.  I am so excited for my parents.  They have their dream lake house, and it’s pretty awesome.  I can’t help but give thanks to God for how good He’s been to our family.  Just a few short years ago, my mom was in the hospital for a massive stroke, learning to walk and talk again.  Now my parents are loving life on the lake!  They mostly spend their days taming wild lake animals, fishing, and floating.  While we were there we were able to visit with some of my family, and some of my all time favorite family friends:  The Griners.  Jenna Griner and I have been besties since DARE camp in 5th grade.  Her mom, Sue, is like my second mom.  Mainly because her and my mom are both equally a good kind of crazy.  Jenna’s dad (we’ll call him lil country) is always a good time, along with brother Charlie and pup Oliver.  

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Here are Tyler and Oliver enjoying the dock!

We had the Griners over for a summer cookout. My contribution and new favorite summer-time side dish:

APPLE BACON COLESLAW

This is a party in your mouth.  So many different flavors come together to make an out-of -this-world addition to your cookout.  

Ingredients:

1/4 cup cider vinegar

1 cup mayonnaise

1/3 cup honey

2 teaspoons kosher salt

1/4 cup pulp free orange juice

 juice from 1/2 fresh lemon

1 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 bag of pre-shredded cabbage

1/2 pack of bacon fried crispy then broken up into small pieces

1 bunch scallions, thinly sliced

4 firm apples, peeled, cored and shredded (or chopped)

 

Mix all ingredients together and let sit overnight.  Stir before serving.

This is what mine looked like:

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Stay tuned for more highlights of our southeastern tour!! Happy Monday!

Meredith

Trail Blazin’ and Peach Cobbler!

Hello again!  I’m very excited about this week’s blog post.  Lots of fun things to share.  

First, Tyler and I had the opportunity to serve our community with our church home group at a ministry called Front Porch Ministries.  This Ministry is truly incredible and gives new meaning to the phrase “Love your neighbor.”  Long story short, Front Porch Ministries is run out of the home of a pretty incredible family who felt called to move to the East side of town and love the people of that neighborhood.  For more information about the ministry, check out their website!  frontporchministry.org  On Friday night we volunteered with a summer movie night for the kids in the neighborhood.  Here are some pics:Image

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We also had the great pleasure of hosting two of PMI’s finest, Tyler and Katie!  They were on a volun-tour, recruiting for their medical mission trips around the southeast.  While they were here, we did lots of fun things.

Saturday morning began with the three of us girls getting lost during what we wanted to be a 30 minute hike.  After dismissing the trail map and off-roading through the woods, we realized we had no clue where we were.  (we may have not even been in the park we started hiking in).  Things became dramatic very quickly.  It was basically the beginning of the movie “127 Hours” (or a Criminal Minds Episode).  We were lost, with no water, cell phone, snacks, survival or directional skills.  Finally, we came along another hiker, who when we asked for directions laughed at us, and informed us that we were about 5 miles away from our cars, and that it was all uphill.  Not good news.  Luckily we made it out of the park before any of us became too Hangry.  

We ate a delicious brunch and went to the Musicians Corner, which is a free concert in another park.  On Sunday, we did some cooking.  Here is another Salad in my summer salad series:

Fruit, Walnut, Goat Cheese Salad:

-Arugula

-Baby Spinach

-Strawberries

-Green Apple

-Candied Walnuts

-Goat Cheese

-Champagne Vinaigrette (or Asian/Sesame dressing is really good with it!)

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Katie also had some friends in town that were selling peaches at Bonnaroo and the Farmers Market.  So, we got some complimentary peaches!  

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And what did we do with those free peaches?  We made Peach cobbler, of course!

Recipe:

Melt one stick of butter in a baking dish in the oven.

Cut up 4 cups of peaches.

In separate bowl, mix 1 cup of milk, 1 cup flour, 1 cup sugar, and a tsp of vanilla.

Pour flour mixture over butter.  Do not mix!  spoon peaches over mixture.  Bake at 350 until golden and bubbly!  (About 45 min).

Serve in a martini glass with ice cream and a mint leaf for garnish!

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(and of course we had to serve it with a little bubbly!)

 

Hooray for summer produce!  Have a great week!

Meredith