Monday, November 25, 2013

Sunday, November 24, 2013

early morning hikes...

our new favorite thing to do on weekends is go for an early morning hike in palos verdes with wilfred.  last weekend, we went with friends, which also included wilfred's best bud, bailey.  we have to go early in the morning to avoid rattle snakes, and i always make sure we get some coffee on the way.  the chill air, the views and a good work out make for a fun outing and wilfred loves his off leash adventure...

Saturday, November 23, 2013

pork tenderloin roast...

we didn't eat much pork growing up, that is probably why as an adult i thought i didn't like it (until i had jarad's uncles roast).  everytime we visit uncle dean, i request his famous pork roast dinner.  now after having it multiple times, i have realized that he does it differently everytime, but he knows how to perfectly cook it, so it always comes out amazing.  here is the secret to cooking uncle dean's perfect pork...

if you are cooking for 3-4 people, a 1.5-2 pound roast is plenty.  i strongly believe marinating meat for long periods of time is the best, so i get it marinating in the morning or even overnight if you can.  for this roast, i marinated the meat in olive oil, crushed garlic, balsamic vinegar, rosemary, red pepper flakes, salt and pepper.

then i sear it on each side on the bbq.  from the bbq i place it on a baking sheet into a 375 degree oven.  i use a meat thermometer to get it to an temperature of 170 (make sure you are testing the thickest part of the meat).  the pork roast is usually not even in shape, so i cut off the tip of the roast to prevent it from drying out or becoming over cooked.

i served this roast with sweet potatoes and zucchini, and it would be perfect paired with a balsamic glaze on top or a reduction of your favorite jam or jelly.  i think apricot or raspberry preserves would be good, and for an extra kick, you could throw some jalapenos in it.  

made with love in the shape of a heart

Friday, November 22, 2013

mentally strong...

have you ever had to fight for something you want or believe in.  fight so bad that it leaves you drained and even questioning your efforts?  that has been my week, and with the coaching and support of my husband and family, i am glad to report my week ended on a positive note.  i think the tests i went through this week were a good learning experience, one of negotiating, compromise and self worth.  i came across this article today and it seemed appropriate to share.  please check out "13 things mentally strong people don't do" here...enjoy!

Friday, November 15, 2013

texas junk...

as i mentioned in my previous post, we just got home from visiting jarad's parents in houston, texas.  before we left jarad scooped out this place online, and knew i would love it.  it is called "texas junk company" and is located in downtown houston in a warehouse.  it is filled with old records, picture frames, interesting collectables and my favorite...vintage cowboy boots.  in fact, they advertise that they have over 1,000 pairs.  the owner is a little crazy and they only take cash or check, but it is worth checking out. 

boots start at $30 and they have a variety of mens and womens sizes and styles.  i found a great pair of grey boots for $55, what a steal!  they are already broken in perfectly and have great character.  for more information on this fun find, check it out here, on the houston visitors website.

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

birds the word...

jarad and i spent a long weekend in texas visiting his folks.  i thought it would be nice to celebrate an early thanksgiving with them since we don't see them for the holidays.  i told them we would do all the shopping and cooking and the end result was an awesome meal served in the backyard by the pool on a warm fall day.  the menu consisted of; turkey, potatoes al gratin, stuffing (actually dressing since it was not cooked in the bird), and pumpkin pie.

as much as i like to cook, it's funny that i have never cooked my own turkey, nor do i even eat it on thanksgiving.  as a little girl, i used to like to help and watch my mom prepare the turkey.  after i saw the giblets and gross things that came out of the turkey, that was the last year i ate it.  as an adult, i have overcome this (mostly), but i still prefer to indulge on all the side dishes that are at the table, like mashed potatoes (my dads are the best by far), stuffing, roasted sweet potatoes, rolls, salads and green beans.

jarad and i went to the grocery store and we selected a 10 pound butterball frozen turkey.  we let defrost in a water bath for several hours and overnight in the fridge.  the next day when we were ready to cook, jarad was in charge of cleaning it and prepping it.

we put butter under the skin along and olive oil on top with plenty of seasoning.  we used salt, pepper, rosemary, and chili powder on the skin and stuffed the cavity with onion, celery, carrots, lemon and rosemary. 

we covered the turkey with tin foil (so the skin does not burn) and pop it into a 350 degree oven.  i think the basic rule of thumb is 30 minutes per pound. we started basting it around 2 hours in and it took about 3 hours for the turkey to be cooked through.  we let it rest for about 15 minutes and then sliced it.  it came out very moist and full of flavor.

it was a good first try at a turkey of my own, and i now i know not to be intimidated by it next time.  it was a great early thanksgiving celebration and a fun way to share the holiday with my in-laws. 

Friday, November 8, 2013

non-traditional guest book...

i wanted our guests to sign something other than a book that we could enjoy long after the wedding.  we had a welcome table when the guests walked in with a framed photo of us with a large border (for signing) and a big bin of jenga blocks (the wooden block game) and a bunch of fine tip sharpies.  our guests were able to write their words of wisdom on the wooden blocks and sweet messages on the photo.  we love playing games in this household and the photo lives in our family room. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

leftover produce...

jarad and i are about to leave for vacation and i have produce in the fridge that is still fresh, but probably won't be when we return.  i hate being wasteful, so this is what i do...i prep my produce (wash and cut) and package them into ziplock baggies.  i create meal ideas ahead of time, such as "chili starter,  frittata starter, or stirfry veggies" and package them up, label and date them and pop them in the freezer.

my chili starter has lots of bell pepper and onions and can go right into my crock pot chili frozen.  the frittata starter has onion, bell pepper, zucchini and  asparagus, and is ready to be sautéed before going into my egg dish.  you can create any "starter" bag with the produce you have on hand and will be happy to find them in the freezer to use for a time saving and money efficient meal.

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

shadow box...

shadow boxes can be found at most home good stores, and they are a great way to display photos and other keepsakes, but i am using mine as a jewelry box.  i used pearl pins to hang my jewelry and my shadow box has a knob on it, so you can easily open and close...

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

green onions...

i think it is safe to say that our 2nd attempt at our garden box is a fail.  not sure if we started too late in the season, our soil is bad or if we just don't have the "green thumb".  but this is a fool proof way to grow your own green onion.  next time you buy some at the store, cut them down to the white part and put them in water, they will regrow (and fast) this is mine after 4 days of growth...

Monday, November 4, 2013

the bigger picture of marriage...

erin and jarad sitting in a tree
k i s s i n g
first comes love
then comes marriage
then comes the baby in the baby carriage

we get married for love, but i am starting to realize as a newlywed that there is so much more to marriage than just the two of us.  i came across this article that explains the bigger picture of marriage, check it out here