Summer Brussel Sprout Salad!

Aside

Hello again!  TGIF!  What a time I have had since I last posted.  Let me start with a little update.

As you know, I am a nanny (call me Mary Poppins).  Last week, I went to beautiful Rosemary Beach with the little darlings and their family.  I was very anxious about the trip.  Just the idea of being stranded with these small children for an entire week, 3 states away from home, was enough to make my stomach turn.  However, I was (as usual) being dramatic, and the trip was not half bad.  I mean, who can complain about this view everyday for a week?

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The trip actually included minimal babysitting, I got to drink free wine, I had lots of alone time to read, and I got paid for it!  Pretty sweet if you ask me!

Another highlight of the Rosemary Beach trip is I got to see this little Poodle, the lovely Lulie Wallace!

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I had the privilege of visiting Lulie and her family at their beach house.  What she made is also the highlighted dish for this post, which I promptly made for another cookout as soon as I returned home:

Summer Brussel Sprout Salad:

-Brussel Sprouts

-Lemon Juice

-Olive Oil

-Salt/Pepper

-Pistachios (shelled)

-Dried Cranberries

-Goat Cheese

Mix the juice from one lemon with 1/2 cup of olive oil and salt/pepper.  Let sit while you mix the rest of the ingredients.  Cut the stems off of the brussel sprouts and separate all the leaves.  You can chop/shred the leaves, or leave them whole.  (I made the mistake of putting them in my Ninja blender, which DESTROYED the leaves, so if you want a rough chop, I would do it by hand).  Mix brussel sprouts with cranberries and pistachios.  Break up a small package of goat cheese and combine into the salad.  Finally, pour the dressing over the salad and mix.  You can top with bacon pieces if you wish!  Let sit for at least an hour in the fridge and stir again before serving.

**another variation of this salad was given to me by my dear friend Tyler McCoy, where you roast the brussel sprouts.  This is also delicious, but I like the cold salad for summertime!**

Once I returned from Rosemary beach, my hubs and I hit the ground running.  This week has been filled with fun.  Our friend Dan from college flew into town for Navy flight training.  We were excited to be able to have dinner with him and catch up!  We went to Burger Up, and for you Nashville friends, I do not recommend it.  I had the most bland turkey burger ever.  In my next post I will show you what a real Turkey burger is 🙂

Tyler talked me into going to play golf with him for the first time (and by golf, I mean I drove the golf cart, picked flowers, and sipped a cocktail!).  It was so much fun!  We went with our friends Josh and Olivia!  I think I could get used to playing golf!

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I’m also continuing to nest and create our home.  I made exciting big-girl purchase this week, and can’t wait to entertain with it!

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I found this gem at Nadeau.  There’s one in Nashville and in Charleston (and lots of other cities).  If you’ve never been, go check it out!  Lots of great furniture pieces from all over the world at wholesale prices!

That’s all for now.  Have a great weekend!

Love,

Meredith

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4 months!

Today Tyler and I have been married for 4 months.  For the 4th time in a row, he’s had to remind me that it’s my anniversary (oops!).  It has been a fun and busy couple of weeks! I am so thankful to GOd for providing everything we need in our new city.  Nashville is definitely starting to feel like “home.”  Here are some highlights of what’s been going on with us as of lately:

 

Last week, we were visited by these precious poodles!

ImageWe were so excited to see Elizabeth and Joel!  They were passing through town on their way to Memphis for her brother’s graduation.  We went to a fancy steakhouse called Stockyard and Honky Tonk Central with them and Liz’s fam.  Such a fun bunch of people.  Love them!

This past weekend we went to ATL to visit with Kay Kay and Ed.  We had a blast just hanging out with them and some other ATL family.  We hadn’t seen them since the wedding, so we decided to meet in the middle.  We also made our first trip to IKEA, which is not for sissies.  We came home with this cool new bookshelf, our first furniture purchase as a married couple!

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Kay Kay also brought me some old Rachel Ray cookbooks (so sweet!).  I’d never looked at a Rachel Ray cookbook, mainly because she gets on my nerves on TV and her cookbook covers are ugly.  BUT, I underestimated her.  Almost all of her recipes require only a few and simple ingredients, and can be made quickly!  I tried a lemon pepper chicken recipe.  It turned out great!  You can find the recipe here:

http://www.rachaelrayshow.com/food/recipes/lemon-pepper-chicken/

ImageYUMMY!

This week we started a new book in our church home group:  “Life Together”  My Dietrich Bonhoeffer.  It’s all about the importance of Christian community.  It’s a harder read than our last Tim Keller book.  I feel smarter when I read it (however, Tyler says it makes him feel dumber :)).  I’ll let you know what we learn!  

This week was our friend Lauren’s 24th birthday!  We celebrated by going to a restaurant in our soon-to-be-neighborhood called M.L.Rose.  I was inspired by something I saw on my friend Tyler’s blog (chasingtulips.com):  Save jars (like jam jars, etc.) and when you need to give someone a gift, put flowers in a jar you’ve saved and give them the flowers and the jar to keep.  I tried this and it was so much fun (for me anyway!).

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On Friday, I took my kiddos to the Nashville zoo.  It was my first time there.  I think I enjoyed it more than they did!  Definitely going back without kids.

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Oh, did I mention that I’m writing this blog post from beautiful Rosemary Beach??!!  The only thing that would make it better is if my hubs was here with me, and I wasn’t babysitting!  But highlight:  I will get to see the wonderful Lulie Wallace this week!  Woo Hoo for Charleston Friends!

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Tyler is in Hilton Head Island this weekend playing golf with some old and new friends.  We are so thankful for all of our friends!

That’s all for now!  Someone in Nashville please take care of Tyler while I’m gone!

Love,

Meredith

Proscuitto & Gruyere Crossants

Can I get a YUUUUUUMMMMM??!?  I found this little gem of a recipe on pintrest.  It was literally the easiest recipe EVER (Only 3 ingredients…they are in the title!).  Making them took 15 minutes from start to finish. This recipe also makes you feel fancy and french.  Great with cup of coffee. This would also be a great recipe for a shower or brunch.  I imagine you can substitute with thinly sliced ham and a less-expensive cheese if you’re on a budget.  Here we go:

ImageRecipe can be found here:  

http://www.alexandracooks.com/2013/03/26/prosciutto-gruyere-croissants/

My Picture:

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Enjoy!

 

Caramel Cookies and a Chemistry Lesson

I’d like to think of myself as good cook.  I can follow a recipe, make substitutions if need be, and add ingredients “to taste.”  But when it comes to baking….well that is a whole other story.  I have to confess that my baking skills do not extend past a Duncan Hines box cake or break-and-bake cookies.  (shameful, I know)

But last night, I got inspired (by Pintrest).  I decided I was ready to put on my big girl apron and bake these cookies from scratch.  This is what I was trying to bake:

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Salted Caramel Chocolate Chip Cookies.  MMMMM.

Don’t they look great?!  You can find the recipe here:

http://www.twopeasandtheirpod.com/salted-caramel-chocolate-chip-cookies/

These are mine:

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My cookies turned out…ok.  They were very fluffy and cake, almost like a flat cupcake.  Tyler and Trevor were over to try them.  Their reaction was “Well, they taste good, but why do they feel like that?!”  I racked my brain to figure out what had gone wrong.  The only thing I’d done differently was substitute baking soda for baking powder.  So, being the perfectionist and nerd I am, I googled the difference.

Both baking soda and baking powder produce carbon dioxide in baked goods, causing them to rise.  The difference is that baking soda is pure sodium bicarbonate, and will react when it meets acidic ingredients.  Baking powder is sodium bicarbonate that already has the acidifying agent in it.  Which one is used in a recipe is determined by the other ingredients in the recipe.  So basically, I gave my cookies a double shot of carbon dioxide, making them cake-like.

Lesson learned:  Baking is more intense than cooking.  Follow the recipe, be precise about your measurements, and don’t make substitutions.

Happy Hump Day!

Summer Salad Series: Egg Salad Salad

Hello again.  In my last post, I mentioned how excited I’m getting about summer veggies and playing around with new salad variations.  So I decided to start the “Summer Salad Series” to the Dinner Diaries.  Stay tuned for delicious (and maybe weird) salads!  But to start us off, I’m going with a classic.

Dijon-Dill Egg Salad 

(sorry for the blurry picture!)

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Ingredients:

10 hard-boiled Eggs

1 Tbsp Light Mayo

1-2 Tbsp Dijon Mustard (depending on how creamy and tangy you want it)

1 Splash of Vinegar

1 Tbsp Sweet Relish

1 Tsp Fresh Dill (chopped)

Salt & Pepper to Taste

Directions:

-Peel and Chop Eggs

-Mix all ingredients in bowl

-Refrigerate for a few hours

-Serve on sandwich bread, with crackers, or over a bed of your favorite lettuce!

 

Steeplechase and Summer Salads!

Hello again.  In this edition of The Dinner Diaries, I’m giving a recap of our first Steeplechase.  We had a great time tail-gating with some of our HCA friends (Tyler’s co-workers).  In the south, tail-gating is an art form.  We do it right.  I would consider Steeplechase the “Masters” of taile-gates (Yes, I use golf analogies now because I’m married to a golf-aholic!).  Here are some pictures from the day:

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Best part of Steeplechase:  My fabulous fascinator!

No pictures of the tailgate food and bevs, but here are some highlights that I can’t wait to make myself:

-Strawberry, marshmallow, angel food skewers

-Buffalo Chicken Sliders

– Chicken and Broccoli Stromboli

-homemade Doughnuts

And yes, I did see a horsey race!

On another note, today I bought a copy of Cooking light magazine for a little healthy inspiration.  With summer comes lots of yummy veggies.  Tyler and I are trying to slim down for bikini season, so look for some healthy summer recipes to come!  They had a great article about summer salad variations.  I didn’t have any ingredients for the ones in the magazine… so i improvised! I call it the Fajita Salad!

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This salad includes:  Romaine lettuce, cherry tomatoes, grilled chicken, grilled onions, grilled yellow pepper, grilled mushrooms, shredded cheese, croutons.  I’m excited to experiment with some new ingredients and make creative salads!  Stay tuned!

It’s Cookout Time!

Well hello again!  Lots of fun and exciting times since I last posted.  Shout out to my hubs who cooked us dinner last week before we went to see the Black Keys in Concert!

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Chicken breasts topped with bacon and cheese.  Don’t worry, we ate some roasted broccoli to balance it out!

ImageWe had the.worst.seats.ever.  My fault.  We had a nice view of backstage and the ceiling of the arena.  We had bottomless popcorn.  And of course, Tyler made friends with the old lady security guard.  All in all a fun date.  After the concert, we were in walking distance to the honkey-tonks.  So we had to stop by and see these cats:

ImageSome of Tyler’s fun friends from work, minus Sumedha who I’m assuming was taking the picture.  

That pretty much sums up our weekend.  Can it get any better?  Oh yes it can!  On Monday we took our first Salsa Dancing lesson from Tony, our bible study leader from church.  He is a professional dancer/teacher/fitness instructor, and he’s pretty awesome.  We had so much fun getting our Shakira and Enrique on!  You’ll see us on Dancing with the Stars next season.

On Tuesday, I got accepted to GRADUATE SCHOOL at Vanderbilt’s Peabody College.  Say WHAT?! Woo Hoo!  This was such a blessing.  Thanks Lord.  I’ve been kind of down in the dumps lately.  I’ve been applying to countless jobs and getting rejection letters or in some cases no response at all.  My nanny job is just not cutting it.  I’m no Mary Poppins.  It feels great to have somewhat of a direction for the near future.  Now I just have to figure out a way to pay for it.  Something you can being praying about for me is an interview I have coming up on June 4th for a Research Assistant Job for the fall.  The part time assistantship would COVER MY TUITION and give me a stipend.  Wouldn’t that be just fabulous!?  Please please pray that the Lord will lead me where I need to be next fall.

On Wednesday, we went to a super awesome baller cookout at our friends Lauren and Robert’s house!  They live just a few blocks from where our new house is, and we’re so pumped to have them as future neighbors!  What did I bring to the backyard feast?  Why potato salad of course!

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Ranch Potato Salad:

Ingredients

1 bag small red potatoes

Ranch dressing

Yellow Mustard

1 cup chopped celery

1 cup chopped red pepper

Salt/Pepper

Directions:  

1.  Cube potatoes and boil until tender.  Drain and let cool.

2.  Mix all ingredients together.  

3.  I have no measurements for the condiments.  More ranch than mustard.  Just keep adding and tasting until it looks and tastes like ranch potato salad, ya know?  Sorry for those of you who like detailed directions!

4.  Refrigerate for at least 3 hours and serve!

5.  Eat in moderation.  I can’t promise that the food on this blog will be healthy, but I can promise that it will be delicious!

Lots of Love! 

Meredith