Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Little things

Flowers and a surprise visit at work?... Always make for a great work day. Thankful for these beautiful flowers & a thoughtful husband.

I am also thankful for beautiful sunsets in the Port City & Will's photography skills.

Monday, September 24, 2012


Oh the trip to Charlotte from Wilmington... its goes a little like this: 45mph, 70, 35, stop light. 70, stop light... traffic in Monroe... 

We sure do hate the drive from Wilmington to Charlotte, but it is SO worth it to see the people. I enjoyed spending time with my sweet family this past weekend! Here are a few snapshots from the weekend.

Date night with Grannie: "The King's Speech" and dinner

Lunch outside with the family (minus Will)

...and Prissy pretended she was sitting outside.

we love this boy.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Glorious fall weather.

It is finally cooling down here (upper 70's are incredible)! We are so excited to walk out and not sweat immediately. With the cooler weather comes my desire for fall foods, especially pumpkin flavored anything. I recently made one of my favorite fall snacks with a friend: Pumpkin Granola. Its sweet, yet slightly salty and I add a few dried craisins to add even more of a fall flavor. 

Its really easy and I think its perfect as cereal, a morning snack or in my case a late night snack while waiting for Will to get home.

Pumpkin Granola

Heres what you need. You probably have most of it on hand.

5 c. rolled oats (not instant)
1 tsp pumpkin pie spice
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp nutmeg
3/4 tsp salt
3/4 c. brown sugar
1/2 c. pumpkin puree
1/4 c. applesauce
1/4 c. maple syrup
1 tsp vanilla extract
craisins (however many you'd like)

Preheat oven to 325 and line a baking sheet with parchment paper. In large bowl, combine oats, spices and salt. In medium size bowl, whisk together brown sugar, applesauce, pumpkin, maple syrup & vanilla extract. Whisk until smooth. Pour wet ingredients over dry and mix until it is completely coated. The mixture will be wet. Spread it out over the pan.

Bake for 20 min, remove and stir. Bake an additional 15-20 min until golden and crisp. **Tip: I always think that the granola isn't done, but it does get crispier as it sits out of the oven. Add in craisins & enjoy!

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Porch sittin with friends

This past weekend I headed up to Durham to celebrate Elizabeth and her upcoming wedding. It was wonderful to be reunited with all my old roommates and friends! We had such a blast and enjoyed lots of time sitting on the porch and catching up. I was quickly reminded of how much I want a porch when we buy a house.

homemade pizzas on the porch

 Saturday, we went to a pottery place and painted coffee mugs for Elizabeth & Mike. Lets just say they're going to have a LOT of mugs. I can't wait to see what they all look like when they are finished "cooking."
the whole gang together again


Sujie is back in the U.S.A!

I am so blessed with sweet friends! We had a blast reminiscing about good times in college and complaining about the working world. 

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Sunday boat rides

For the past few Sundays, we have been taking the boat out (let me clarify that its not OUR boat... its Will's family's). It is so relaxing to just cruise on the waterway and now that all the tourists are gone its less crowded. I am thankful to live on coast; the salty air and ocean breeze make my heart happy.

One of the best parts of our boat ride a few weeks ago was bringing along our little four legged friend. Hunter has a new dog, Patton, and the two are best buds. We took Patton on his first boat ride and he absolutely loved it!

The story of how Hunter got Patton is the best! A family from our church was living in an apartment while their house was being renovated. They asked Hunter to keep Patton for the summer & the two become fast friends. Patton followed Hunter everywhere and would not let him out of his sight. After Hunter returned Patton to the family, they noticed that Patton was moping around. They gave it a few days but he continued to just act depressed, so they called to tell Hunter they wanted him to have Patton. When Hunter walked into the house and Patton heard his voice, they said he immediately perked up and started sprinting towards Hunter. We love little Patton & are so excited he is officially part of the family.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Breakfast smoothie

In attempt to feel more energized and healthier in the mornings, I've been making smoothies this week. Its pretty easy and they do taste yummy. Only problem is that the blender is so loud & I don't want to wake up Will. 

Here is the smoothie I've been making this week:

1/2 c. plain yogurt or greek yogurt
2 T. peanut butter
4 frozen strawberries
1 frozen banana

I was hesitant about the peanut butter but its actually really good. After going to the grocery store, I went ahead and put the bananas in the freezer & I've been using frozen strawberries from when we went strawberry picking at the beginning of the summer.

Monday, September 10, 2012

Strawberry Scones

This recipe is from Cooks Illustrated. I won't try to claim to have edited it; its too good to make any changes. The scones are so flaky and there is a slight hint of lemon which I love.

Scones (makes 8)

10 T. unsalted butter, frozen
1 1/2 c. fruit (I used frozen strawberries, although I'd suggest fresh fruit  if possible. Blueberries, raspberries etc work too)
1/2 c. whole milk
1/2 c. sour cream
2 c. all purpose flour
1/2 c. sugar
2 T. baking powder
1 tsp. grated lemon zest
1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda

1. Heat oven to 425 and line baking sheet with parchment paper (this is different from wax paper!!). 
2. Cut one stick of butter in half and grate the butter using a box grater. Weird, I know but this is what makes them especially flaky. Place the grated butter in a bowl & put in freezer.
Melt the 2 T. of butter remaining and set aside. 
3. Put the berries in the freezer if they are not already frozen.
4. Whisk the milk & sour cream together and place in fridge. 
5. In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar, baking powder, lemon zest, salt and baking soda. Make sure its mixed well. Then add the butter and work in with your hands. 
6. Fold in the milk mixture. Do NOT overmix. Just fold until it is combined.
7. Flour the counter and your hands and start working the dough. Knead dough until its a ragged ball. 
8. Roll ball into 12-inch square, then fold the both sides in (make it look like a brochure). Then fold both sides again so it becomes a square. Place square dough in freezer for 5 min.
9. Roll chilled dough out & into 12-inch square again. Press berries evenly over dough. Roll dough up into tight log and pinch seams closed.

10. Lay log seam side down, then press down so that it is no longer a "log" but rather a flat rectangle. Cut into triangular scones. 

11. Place on cookie tray and brush the melted butter from before onto them. Sprinkle lightly with white sugar. Bake 18-25 min... until lightly golden brown.

They are so delicious. Will bought some homemade honey from his coworker and I drizzled a little honey on mine which was awesome! Sometimes I wish I were British. I think I'd fit right in. Scone and tea for breakfast? Who wouldn't want that?

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Remind me of this down the road...

In an effort to remember this quote from Will, I'm adding it here. We were talking about pets the other day and Will brought up once again how he desperately wants a dog once we get a house. He later said something about our two dogs. I said "two!!" Three kids, two dogs and a cat? Thats crazy. He then said, and I quote, "I'll take the two dogs and all the kids and you can have time with your cat. I love chaos." I will not forget this quote, William. Years down the road when the kids are driving you crazy, I will remind you of this wonderful quote. Almost as good as when I slipped up and said that you are "usually right."

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Twist on the Classic Apple Pie

When I was in college, my roommate and I wanted to enter the State Fair Pie Contest. We heard about the contest just days before and frantically racked our brains for a new twist on the classic apple pie. We attempted to make an apple pie that would have the flavor our one of our favorite treats: the "apple pie apple" from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory. If you've never had one, you are missing you.

We knew that they dipped their apples in a concoction that included white chocolate and peanut butter. Unfortunately our attempt sort of failed and we decided not to enter the contest. The flavor of the pie was delicious, but the consistency was all wrong. 

I decided to a take another stab at this pie. This time it was a success! 

I started by making my own crust. Although I do think Pillsbury makes a pretty mean pie crust, homemade is always better. I actually got this crust recipe off of another blog that my sweet husband showed me. Check this awesome blog out

For the Crust:
2 1/2 c. all purpose flour
2 T. sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 c. butter (2 sticks)-- very cold & cut into cubes
6 1/2 T. ice cold water
1 tsp. Apple Cider Vinegar 

First, cut the butter into cubes. I just places the cubes onto a plate and popped it into the fridge to keep it cold. Then, combine the water with the vinegar and place that in the fridge as well. Combine dry ingredients in a large mixing bowl. Once the butter is nice and cold, incorporate into the dry mixture. I started with a pastry cutter since I was excited to try out a wedding gift, but to be honest, I ended up ditching it and just using my hands. Once all the butter has been incorporated (butter pieces should be no larger than pea size).  Then create a little well in the center and pour in water/vinegar mixture. Begin incorporating until you can form into a ball. Then, continue to knead on a floured surface. Once the dough is smooth and sticking together, you're ready to wrap it up. Split the dough into two equal size balls; then, flatten each and wrap. Pop them into the fridge and let them chill for an hour.

For the pie:
6 large granny smith apples (I think I used 8 normal size)
1/4 c. white sugar
1/4 c. brown sugar
1 T. lemon juice
1 T. cinnamon
1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/4 tsp. salt
1/2 tsp. corn starch
1/3 c. peanut butter
1/3 c. white chocolate chips

Begin by peeling, coring and slicing the apples. I went ahead and mixed in the lemon juice as I cut so the apples wouldn't turn brown. 

Combine apples with both sugars, cinnamon, nutmeg and salt. Let this sit for 30-45 min. Then drain the apples for about 15 min and SAVE the liquid. Pour the liquid mixture that was drained from the apples into a small saucepan. While that is heating up, add corn starch to the apples (to keep the pie from being to liquid-y).  Heat up the mixture in the saucepan and let it reduce for a few minutes. Then, add the peanut butter and white chocolate chips. Be careful not to burn the chocolate. 

Assemble pie crust and add apples. Pour the peanut butter yummyness over the apples. Then add top crust. Make sure to cut slits to allow air flow. 

Bake at 375 for about 45 minutes. Just watch the crust to make sure its not getting to brown. The peanut butter tastes wonderful with the apples & its not too strong!

The pie before it went into the oven. The homemade crust doesn't look as beautiful as pre-made ones, but it is so flaky and yummy.