29 September 2010

what's cooking wednesday: the frugal gourment edition

did y'all ever watch this?  i remember my mother watching this when i was a little girl.  i preferred yan can cook.

the beau and i work for the same university which means we're on the same pay schedule.  and at our place of employment, that means one paycheck per month.  great for learning how to budget, terrible for everything else.  needless to say, things get pretty tight in the ole wallets for us during the last week or two of the month.

last week was one such week and we had to get creative one night for dinner, working with what we had and what we could afford.  fast food was NOT an option since we are trying to be much healthier and fast food ends up being quite expensive anyways.  we had a package of chicken breast tenders and a frozen bag of broccoli in cheese sauce.  we bought some uncle ben's ready rice.  i whisked together a marinade/sauce for the chicken out of dijon mustard, some of the previous night's white wine, extra virgin olive oil, garlic powder, italian seasoning, salt and pepper.  i didn't mesaure anything; i just added stuff until it was the proper consistency and taste.  then i put all of the chicken into the bowl with the marinade, tossed it around until it was all coated, and waited while the oven preheated to 350.

once the oven was ready, i put the chicken on a foil-wrapped baking sheet coated with cooking spray and baked for approximately 20 minutes.  meanwhile, we heated up the rice and broccoli in the microwave and then mixed it all together in a serving dish.  when the chicken was ready, i just served it on top of the broccoli rice mixture.  et voila!





tres delicious!

definitely not a high-falutin' gourment meal, but it was healthy, budget-friendly, and really very yummy. this one is definitely a keeper.

bon appetit!

28 September 2010

winner winner chicken dinner

congrats to...

TELIA at a NewlyWedWifeLife for winning the gone doggie collar giveaway!

telia, please e-mail me at scg2b {at} virginia {dot} edu to claim your prize.

thanks to everyone who entered!

au revoir!

i am leaving today to travel for work for the rest of the week.  i'm headed to three different {lovely!} cities.  can you guess where i'm going?

travel for work means three things to me {at least when i travel in the south}:

tres excited.

27 September 2010

last call!

today is the very last day to enter my gone doggie giveaway!  you've got until 5:30pm EST, so get those entries in!  winners will be announced tomorrow.

how do you like your hamm?

clean-shaven and don draper-ed?

rugged and unbuttoned?



i will have one of each, please.  and the preacher said "amen."

24 September 2010

fit train friday

have you entered my gone doggie giveaway yet? monday is the last day! enter now!

damn you, bro*oklyn d*ekker.  gorgeous AND married to andy roddick.  if i keep it up, maybe i'll look like this next summer?

so i'm joining mama perfect on the fit train.  i have gained WAY too much weight over the summer and my pants are getting a little tight and it ain't purty.  a combination of it being obscenely hot this summer {which meant i very quickly fell out of my walking the dog for 5 miles every day routine} and my adopting the beau's less than healthy eating habits have me at a place i am not happy with.  luckily for me, the beau is not only supportive {and would love me even if i were the size of a house}, but also is a college men's athletics coach and played d-1 college sports himself, so he's pretty good at crafting a workout.  when i told him that i needed to get back in the gym, not only to lose weight, but to tone up and feel better, he came up with a great program for me.  i've been following it for just about two weeks now and i am loving it!

right now on the monday, thursday, and friday workouts, i'm follwing the couch to 5k plan in place of his recommended running, obviously with the goal of being able to run 3 miles by the end of october {and then hopefully more!} i have three days off each week, but generally on at least one or two of those days, i still take the puppy boy for his nice long walk.  i already feel better, but i haven't stepped on a scale yet and won't for at least one more week.  i'm also working on getting my eating habits back in order.

please help keep me on the path SKINNY and narrow!  and please enjoy the workout the beau crafted for me below:

20 minute run outside at your own pace to warm up
in fitness center:
10 DB bent over row – alternate arms {5-10 lb. weights [10 lb. max]}
10 standing squats – no weight at first, add medicine ball as you progress
10 tricep kickbacks
10 DB lunges
10 mountain climbers each leg

repeat 3 times.

30 seconds between reps. 1 minute between sets.

30 minutes on elliptical or stationary bike at own pace.
200 abs your way


30 minute run outside

repeat monday

23 September 2010

currently obsessing over

have you entered my gone doggie giveaway yet? no? shame on you.  enter today!

looooooving this kate spade five points camille bag in my favorite color.  tres chic, tres functional, tres fun! sandy claws, are you paying attention?

22 September 2010

a hodgepodge

happy hump day, sweet readers!  just a few randoms i thought that i would share today:

very excited to have won aspiring kennedy's and hello, splendor's joint giveaway from bella card company!  i don't have a use for my cute little invitation set just yet, but as the rate that all of my galpals are getting engaged, it's only matter of time until i find the right engagement party or bridal shower to host, and now i already have a ready-made theme, complete with stationery.  so lovely.  thanks, ladies!

sweet trishy is giving away a tres chic michael kors watch that i am just dying for.  bananas.

while we're on the subject of giveaways, have you entered my gone doggie giveaway yet? one lucky ready {and pooch} will win a collar of their choice from gone doggie's darling etsy shopenter now!

i'm obsessing over these two recipes: cheese ravioli with toasted walnuts and turkey bolognese. yum. big time.  can't wait to try!

thanks a million for all your input on finding the perfect nude pumps. i agree that patent wasn't really the way to go {with the exception of the loubs, obvi}. i was snooping around the nordstrom's website and i think i found the two finalists for the PERFECT pair.  cast your vote and help me decide, please!

what are you up to this wednesday, chickadees?

21 September 2010

a few questions...

have you entered my giveaway from gone doggie? check out her darling etsy shop and win a collar for man's best friend! enter now!

connecticut cupcake {who we just discovered that we're in the same junior leage. hilarious.} tagged me to do her 8 questions. so fun!! here goes:

1. how/where did you meet your best friend? i met my childhood best friend on the first day of 7th grade. we were assigned seats next to each other in english and bonded over the fact that on the day the book reports were due, we were both sitting in the back of the class still reading the assigned summer reading books. i met my best friend from college when we were both accepeted into the university guide service in the same probational class.  we bonded over mutual love of bourbon, college football, and tiffany silver and went on to host some pretty phenomenal tailgates together.  all three of us actually lived together our last year at uva and i still absolutely adore them both.

2. what would your theme song(s) be?

3. name an accomplishment in your life you are proud of.  without sounding like a total snot, can i say my life as it stands right now in general?  most of the girls i went to high school with went on to not-very-good colleges and/or had kids and got married very very very young and never left our hometown.  and if that makes them happy, then mazel tov.  but i always knew that that was not the life for me.  i graduated from a wonderful school and struck out on my own.  i have my own place, my own car, my own dog, an unbelievably amazing group of friends, a loving {and gorgeous} beau, and i feel like i'm in a very good place.  does that make me sound terrible?  i really hope not.

4. where is one place you really, really want to visit? france.  i've flown in and out of de gaulle, but never spent time there.  and not just paris. i would love to spend time in the french countryside and the south of france. and i would love to go back to italy and bring the beau with me.  his family is italian {his mom is first-generation american} and he has never been!

5. favorite ice cream flavor? at an ice cream shop, my go-to is always soft-serve chocolate with rainbow sprinkles in a waffle cone. at maggie moo's, it's the chocolate cake batter.  nom nom nom.

6. one item of clothing or accessory you are dying to own? an hermes kelly bag. NOT a birkin bag. a kelly bag.  and yes, there is a difference. 

7. what are your guilty pleasures? 'golden girls' marathons on the hallmark channel, ben & jerry's dublin mudslide, bad top 40 pop music, french fries, champagne, shoes

8. what made you decide to start a blog? i had been blurking for about 6 months or so, introduced to blogs by mrs. mindless.  i don't really know what made me do it, i just all of a sudden decided to give it a go and see what happened.  it will be two years in january! so hard to believe.

i've seen a lot of you doing this already, so i'm not going to tag anyone, but if you want to play along, i'd love to hear your answers to these questions!

20 September 2010

calling all dog lovers: monday giveaway!

y'all know how much i love my sweet puppy boy and how much i like to spoil him.  now that the beau and his freakish obsession love for his home team, the baltimore ravens, have become fixtures in our lives, i decided it was time to get the puppy boy on board so the beau could have some fan company for sunday football.  etsy seemed like the natural place to look for baltimore ravens canine gear, and lo and behold, i discovered the gone doggie store and the sweet owner behind it, kelly s.  not only are her collars GORGEOUS, but she is an advocate for petfinder.com, the website where i discovered my own sweet puppy boy in a humane society just over the mountain.  {shameless plug: if you are considering adopting a dog, please please please consider using this site.  shelter dogs are the best dogs and there is even an area where you can search by breed, so if you have your heart set on a purebred, you can still adopt a rescue.} here are some examples of her darling offerings:

fleur-de-lis-esque print that's perfect for all you NOLA and/or kappa gals

for the atlanta gals like my college bestie

for all the preppy pink and green gals

and i just love this because it's in my favorite color combo!

kelly was so sweet and easy to work with.  the first collar i ordered was just a tad too large for my boy. i sent it back priority mail and within a day, kelly had the newly custom-sized collar back in the mail.  it arrived within 2 days and it is just wonderful.  clearly very durable and high quality, and most importantly, my boy looks so handsome in his collar!

caw, caw!!

kelly has generously offered one of my readers a collar {and shipping free of charge in the USA} of their choosing.  all you have to do to enter this fabulous giveaway is be a follower of my blog AND visit gone doggie's etsy site and let me know what your favorite item is {1 entry}.  for additional entries, you can:

*blog about this giveaway {1 entry}
*join the gone doggie group on facebook {1 entry}

please leave each entry in a separate comment.  deadline to enter is next monday, september 27 at 5pm EST. i'll announce the winner on tuesday the 28th!

17 September 2010

my annual shoe quest

last year it was all about finding the perfect black shoe.  at the end of last summer, i looked in my closet and realized i had ZERO pairs of black work pumps. none for work, none for fun, none that fit the bill for both.  zip. zilch.  not really a good thing to be 2 years into the working world without a basic black pump. so i spent last fall looking to remedy the situation and ended the year with three fabulous pairs of black heels: black tweed pumps from ann taylor, black tory burch knock-offs from guess, and black suede/patent t-straps from target.

this year's quest is to find the perfect nude pump.  i only need one pair.  right now i have a pair of tan pointy toe steve madden slingbacks, but i've had them forever, the heel is falling apart, and they're just not quite right.  below are the conteders.  would love to know your thoughts!

these are currently the front runners.  reasonably priced.  conservative enough for work, sexy enough for fun. exactly the shade i'm looking for.

i really like the style of these.  i prefer suede to leather and i love the chunkier heel and stacked platform.  and they look much more expensive than they are.  my only concern is that these look more gray than nude.  the color listed is acutally taupe.  i think i would need to see these in person...

right now these are my least favorite, mainly because i would only wear these at work.  the color and price are right, but i'm not sure how much wear i would get out of these.  i have an aversion to pointy toes.

and if money were no object, i would already have these.  but they run just over one month's rent.  so sadly, these are a no-go.  but they're so pretty, i just had to include them.

which ones should i get? any other suggestions?

bon weekend, my darlings!

16 September 2010

a little thursday treat pour moi

hi lovies!  just thought i'd share a little purchase i just made for myself.  i have been a very good girl all spring and summer and did not buy any new clothes for myself.  you have no idea how much restraint this took {well...maybe you do!} but each month when i see the small {but noticeable, nonetheless} increase in available balance on my credit cards, it is SO SO worth it. 

that all said, when i was in california in april, i popped into the j.crew store in santa monica on orders from mi madre to pick up any jackie cardigans they had on sale for her.  anyhoo, i spotted the ankle stretch toothpick white jeans and tried them on and fell in love.  sadly for my wardrobe {but luckily for my wallet}, the very sweet salesguy informed me that these particular jeans were running small and most people needed to go up a size.  and the store was totally out of what would have been the next size up for me.  so i left empty handed.

on a whim, i logged on to the website this morning and browsed the sale section.  lo and behold, my jeans were there, marked down to $39.99 from $98.  and i had a j.crew rewards card for $25 about to expire.  once you factor in shipping and tax, i still only paid $25 out of pocket for these babies.  i have been needing some new white denim for years.  the ones i have are still in great condition, but they're about 2 inches too short to wear with anything but flats.  i think i'm going to take them to my tailor and have her turn them into white denim bermudas...or is that too jorts?  thoughts?

happy thursday!

15 September 2010

what's cooking wednesdays: my grandmama's kitchen

when the beau and i went to visit my grandparents a few weeks back, he fell in love with the meal my mom's mom {my grandmama} made for us, specifically her hot chicken salad and homemade yeast rolls.  she was sweet enough to provide me with the recipes and last week i tried my hand at recreating the meal.  the beau and i agreed it was a success and both recipes will be going into the remake file.  you can find both recipes below.  consider yourself warned:  if you master the art of the yeast rolls, you will find yourself dreaming of these on a regular basis.  they are that good.

grandmama's rolls
1 cup boiling water
1 cup shortening
1 cup sugar
1 1/2-1 3/4 tsp. salt
2 eggs, well beaten
2 pkgs dry yeast
1/2 tsp. sugar
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

in large mixing bowl add boiling water to shortening and stir until shortening is all melted. add 1 cup sugar, the salt and then beaten eggs.

place yeast in lukewarm water according to package directions. {note from grandmama: make sure the water is not too hot but not too cool-hot to touch but not boiling. this is important! if not hot enough it doesn't work and if it is too cool, it won't work.} mix well and add 1/2 tsp. sugar to activate the yeast. combine the yeast mixture with the first mixture. sift flour into the mixture and stir until the mixture is sticky but not too dry; you can add some flour when ready to roll out. blend well and place in refrigerator {covered. grandmama uses plastic wrap}. leave overnight and let rise. you can take as many or as few out as you choose, roll out dough, cut in circles, dip in melted butter and and fold like an envelope. place on greased cookie sheet or pie pan, cover and let rise for about 2 hours or until double in bulk. bake at 350 for about 20 minutes or until brown. this mixture will keep in fridge for a week.

one more IMPORTANT note from grandmama: making rolls comes with experience so don't give up if the first time if they aren't what you want-just keep working at it!
hot chicken salad
1-1/2 teaspoons all-purpose flour
1/2 cup milk
1/2 cup mayonnaise
1/2 cup sour cream
1 tablespoon lemon juice
2 teaspoons grated onion
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon pepper
3 cups cubed cooked chicken breast {i just used 2 cans of cubed chicken.  so much easier.}
1 cup chopped celery
1 8 oz. can sliced water chestnuts, drained and coarsely chopped
1 cup seasoned salad croutons
1/4 cup slivered almonds, chopped and toasted
1 cup soft bread crumbs {i used whole-wheat bread in a pitiful attempt at making this dish healthier.}
1 tablespoon butter, melted
1 cup shredded cheddar cheese
in a small saucepan, whisk flour and milk until smooth. bring to a boil over medium heat;cook and stir for 2 minutes or until thickened. remove from the heat.

in a large bowl, whisk the mayonnaise, sour cream, lemon juice, onion, salt, and pepper until smooth. whisk in the milk mixture. stir in the chicken, celery, water chestnuts, croutons and almonds.

spoon into a 2-qt. baking dish coated with cooking spray. cover and bake at 350° for 25 minutes.

combine bread crumbs and butter; stir in cheese. sprinkle over casserole. bake, uncovered, 5-10 minutes longer or until heated through and cheese is melted. {note: i baked it for an additional 7 minutes and then turned the broiler on so the top could get nice and crusty.}
bon appetit!

14 September 2010

tacky, tacky, tacky

it never ceases to amaze me how unbelievably uncouth people can be when it comes to weddings.  a recent trend i've seen popping up on the wedding blogs i follow has me just completely aghast and i needed to post a brief rant.

honeymoon registries.  w.t.f.  i think this is just pure greed and so terrible to ask of your guests.  this is basically asking for money, plain and simple.  i realize you can use the same argument for regular wedding registries, and while i do think there is something truly off about providing a list of your wants to your guests {basically telling them to buy you stuff}, these types of registries have become a part of the wedding culture and i think can be helpful for guests who want to buy you and your husband the odds and ends to start and furnish your new life together.  these items are seen more as necessities...pots, pans, kitchen equipment, linens, etc.  a honeymoon is not a necessity.  it is not your guests' responsibility or privilege to pay for your dream vacation.  i saw someone on a message board attempt to justify her own honeymoon registry by saying that it wasn't to pay for the trip itself, it was to pay for their couples' massages, drinks by the pools, and excursions in port.  her justification sums up quite nicely why i think this is a horrible new trend.

i realize some of you are engaged or married and may have used a honeymoon registry and i apologize if this post offends you.  but asking your friends and family members to pay for you to frolic in aruba for 10 days under the auspices of them celebrating your new life with your spouse is obscene.

what are y'all's thoughts on this?  am i being completely frumpy and old-fashioned or do you agree?

back to fluffier blog posting topics tomorrow, pinky swear!

09 September 2010

things making me happy today

these two youtube videos:

our junior league's new vineyard vines tote!

LOVING these books! almost finished with this one and already have the girl who played with fire on standby.

that tomorrow is friday and the weather has FINALLY started to cool down a bit here {knock on wood}!  what is making you smile today?

03 September 2010

home sweet f*&@$#g home

so here's the thing:  i try REALLY hard not to complain about my little townhouse.  at the end of the day, i am able to afford a fairly large space for the puppy boy and me, a roof over our heads, and a safe neighborhood within walking distance of my office.  these are definitely all things to be grateful for and in the almost three years that i've been in this place, i think i've done a reasonably nice job of making a nice little nest for myself.

and then there are nights like last night and mornings like this morning.

my place doesn't have central air.  i have a window unit in my bedroom and a floor fan in my living area.  most summers this has not been an issue.  this summer i have been miserable.  literally, i will go to the gym and work out for an hour and come home and shower and sweat more post-shower in my apartment then i did during the entire 45-minute beating i just took on the elliptical machine. 

i attempted to do the dishes last night during college football half-time.  at 9pm, i was literally pouring sweat because...wait for it...i also don't have a dishwasher.  and my kitchen is TEENY.  therefore my sink is TEENY.  so between the heat from lack of air conditioning and the heat from the hot water in the sink, i was disgusting.  and i just lost it in the middle of the kitchen.  i just really hate being miserable in my own apartment. 

so i wake up early this morning to take a shower and de-disgustify myself from last night's dishwashing marathon.  my shower has a hot water knob and a cold water knob.  i turn the hot water on.  i go to turn the cold water on and the little plastic knob just starts a-spinnin'.  awesome.  i really give it some elbow grease and manage to get it to turn on.  except now it is stuck and i cannot turn the water off.  did i mention that the pipes in my building are old as dirt and drain veeeeeerrrrrrryyyyyyyy slowly?  so the bathub is filling, filling, filling.  and the water won't turn off.  and i don't own tools.  and my landlord's office is not yet open.  and the beau is still asleep.  i wake him up and then head to wal*mart in my pj's to buy tools.  20 minutes and 20 dollars later, i return.  the beau uses the pliers to turn the water off.  it's now 30 minutes after i am supposed to be at work.  i'm crying and yelling and generally not happy.

the landlord sends the super over.  he manages to fix it in 5 minutes because apparently this happens all. the. time. at other apartments in my complex and the landlord is too tight to spring for better quality shower equipment.  le sigh.  i would love to have enough money to move somewhere nice enough to have central air and a dishwasher and laundry facilities {nope, don't have that either!}, and a functional shower.  people always seem to look back fondly on their days being young, broke, and fabulous, but i'm pretty much over it.

oh and also, our office doesn't consider labor day a holiday.  so this is not a three-day weekend for me.

i am SO in need of this jimmy buffet concert, pronto!  i decided to bring hopsy's hello dolly bars and my mom's baked ham rolls {a.k.a. kelly's bunco buns} for the tailgate.  we've got a little grill all ready to go for burgers, brats, and chicken kebabs.  bring on the strawberry daiquiris!

hope y'all have a lovely holiday weekend and wear as much white as you can over the next three days!

01 September 2010

what's cooking wednesdays: the no-cook edition

hello, my lovelies and happy september!  i am a fall girl through and through and the fact that we are one step closer to the BEST month of the year {october, duh} has me grinning from ear to ear this morning.

i mentioned awhile back that eating with the beau is making me fat.  not cute.  most of this stems from my concern when i cook for us that a} i am making enough of something to fill his {much larger} appetite and b} something that he actually wants to eat.  i don't think i've been preparing unhealthy meals per se, but certainly been making meals that are much more calorie-dense than when i was just cooking for me.  but since my pants are fitting a little tighter and we're both getting ready to head into a very busy time of year, both personally and professionally, we've decided to make a conscious effort to not only eat healthier, but eat at home more often and on the cheap.

photo courtesy of real simple

so yesterday when i got my real simple daily recipe e-mail and this chicken salad recipe was featured, i knew it was going to make its way into our recipe repitoire.  i love salads and anything that reeks of french bistro fare, so i was good to go.  the beau said that you can't go wrong with meat and potatoes in any combination, so it fit his "guy food" requirements.  i made a few adjustments based on time and heat index {no way in hell was i turning on my stove yesterday in the 90+ degree heat}.  see my slightly adjusted version below:

chicken salad with potatoes and arugula

serves 4 {or 2 if you're cooking for someone who thinks 2 servings count as one. ahem.}
1 can sliced new potatoes
1/4 cup extra-virgin olive oile
1 tablespoon champagne vinegar
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
splash of lemon juice
kosher salt and pepper
1 2 1/2-3lb rotisserie chicken {i got the lemon pepper flavor and it was SO yummy!}
1 box of mache lettuce {a.k.a. lamb's lettuce...very french, very delicious, and very healthy}
1/4 cup fresh tarragon leaves, chopped
1/4 cup Parmesan, shaved

in a small bowl, whisk together the oil, vinegar, mustard, lemon juice, and salt and pepper to taste.  using a fork or your fingers, shred the chicken, discarding the skin and bones. note: i only used half the chicken last night.  the rest is going into sandwiches for our lunch today.  in individual bowls, combine the mache, chicken, tarragon, and potatoes.  drizzle with the dressing and sprinkle with the Paremsan.

et voila!  you have a delicious, easy, no-cook dinner in literally minutes.  i served it with a side of my grandmother's homemade applesauce. what are your go-to healthy meals to please both sexes?

bon appetit!