Post Holiday Update! A Christmas Card Craft and a Detox Side Dish: Roasted Winter Salad

Happy New Year! Well technically happy January 4th but close enough! I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday. Ours was fabulous, full of family and joy and FOOD. My parents and sister came to town to spend Christmas with us and having them here along with Robert’s whole family was really a special treat!

They got to experience some of the fun Christmas traditions we do with Robert’s family like his mom’s fun Christmas Eve Birthday Lunch where everyone wears Santa hats.

And the most beautiful Christmas day dinner hosted by our Aunt Vanessa.

V's Table

Her place settings included a special ornament for everyone which was so creative and thoughtful!

After being told at my 36 week Dr’s appointment the Friday before Christmas that I was already 2 cm dilated and 70% effaced and that they wouldn’t be surprised if the baby came within the week…we are still waiting and not much appears to have changed :/

On the bright side, it did cause us to hurry up and get all of our baby gear assembled and hospital bags (half way) packed. So we are “ready”, and now we wait…and wait…and wait. Luckily I have found plenty of ‘nesting’ activities to keep me busy. Besides the usual laundering and cleaning, I put all of our Christmas decor away and completed an easy Christmas card craft!

Card Tree
My card tree

I LOVE getting Christmas cards from family and friends, especially photo cards! I also hate the thought of tossing them out post holiday, it seems like such a waste! So a few years ago I came up with this idea to save my cards…just in case I ever get extra nostalgic and want to flip through them all (which I do every year!).

All you need for this craft is a hole punch and a set of loose leaf rings. I bought mine in a pack from Michaels but I’m sure you can find them at Staples or on Amazon.

Rings

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Super Simple Salsa Crudo

Happy Thursday! How about an easy recipe?

salsa crudo

I’m back in the swing of things after a great week away for spring break. I spent a long weekend in DC visiting my best friend Caite (more on that in my next post!), a few days at home with my mother and sister who came for an all too brief visit and finished it off with a fun final weekend at the annual RBC Heritage golf tournament here in Hilton Head. It certainly wasn’t the most relaxing spring break I’ve ever had, but all the friends and family were well worth the lack of sleep (and lack of warm, sunny weather…hurry up summer!).

It was so fun re-living my trip to Italy and re-capping those posts and going through those old pictures got me pretty excited for our next big trip… Thailand!!

Thailand
I snapped this photo of the plane magazine on the way to our honeymoon

Our tickets are officially booked and we are headed across the globe in June! I am 100%  ecstatic, Robert is probably more like 70% excited, 30% a nervous wreck who doesn’t know what to expect, but he’s getting there 🙂

elephants
We are spending a day here…and I’m so excited I could wet my pants

Since Robert couldn’t take as long as we had planned away from work, my sister is going to join us. She and I are leaving ahead of him and coming home a little after him which should work out great. Our rough itinerary is Bangkok, Chiang Mai, Koh Tao, Koh Samui, but more on that later. I’ll take a brief break from the trip talk and get to the kitchen talk. This salsa crud0 recipe is super simple and dresses up everything from eggs to grilled meats!

ingredients

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Super Simple Side: Pan Roasted Parmesan Asparagus

And just like that it’s almost August! Summer, where have you gone? Anyone have any tips for prolonging these next few weeks? If so I’m all ears. Besides being the first week of August, next week is also my last official week of summer break. True to style, we have packed a lot into it already. Robert has an end of the summer party with his tennis buddies on Sunday, my mother and sister are tentatively coming for a few days of girl time Tues-Thurs and then we leave for North Carolina to spend the weekend with my grandparents. On top of all of that (in just the first week!) we also celebrate my birthday and the anniversary of our engagement in August Smile  Robert and I got engaged in Las Vegas while on vacation with my family and it was hands down the best few days of my life. Our wedding was absolutely amazing, but getting engaged in Vegas was SO MUCH FUN! I’ll be sure to recap that fabulous trip next.

 

It probably isn’t traditional to celebrate the anniversary of your engagement, but Robert surprised me last year and I sure hope it becomes a yearly tradition (hint hint). He set his alarm to wake me up after he left for work and I found a sweet card by the bed telling me to get up and get ready because he was on his way home to pick me up for a breakfast date! There aren’t many things I love more than a breakfast date, and the fact that Robert took an hour away from a busy work morning meant the world.

 Anniversary

It was such a sweet surprise and a nice low key way to celebrate the best “yes” I’ve ever given.

 Olive Oil

As summer winds down, I hope everyone is taking advantage of all the yummy produce it has to offer. I guess technically asparagus is a Spring vegetable but whatever, we’re still enjoying it in this neck of the woods. Full disclosure, I used to dislike asparagus. It’s got a pretty distinct flavor, it definitely makes your trips to the bathroom more fragrant and getting a thick, not quite done stalk is quite unfortunate. Luckily, as my taste buds have matured and as I’ve been exposed to fresh, well prepared asparagus, I’ve developed a new appreciation for the pointy green little guys.

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Easy Summer Side Dish: Crispy Smashed Potatoes

Happy Friday! Hope everyone is having a wonderful last weekday and has fun (or relaxing!) weekend plans. Lately, Robert and I have had weekends that seemed just as chock full of plans as did our weeks, and between weddings and travel, we have quite a few more busy ones on the horizon. This weekend is completely plan free (so far!) and I’m determined to keep it that way…well almost…we DO have a planned stop by the hospital right after work today. Before you get too worried, this is a HAPPY hospital stop! Remember when I threw this baby shower for our sweet friends Ben and Annie?!?

Well I am happy to announce that their darling baby girl was born yesterday afternoon! I know they will be the BEST parents and Robert and I can not wait to meet sweet baby Cooper later today! I have already let them know that we are on call to babysit for their first date night so we can check out this parenting thing for ourselves Smile

Annie and Cooper
Beautiful New Mama and Baby

Speaking of babies, I got a call from the opposite of one yesterday, my grandfather! Was that the weirdest segue ever or what? Sorry. Back to that phone call, I love talking to my grandparents and try to call them weekly to catch up. These phone calls typically take place during my commute which my grandma seems fine with but the second my grandpa gets on the phone and finds out I’m driving he ends the conversation as quickly as possible. Always worried about my safety, that one. So sweet. Anyway, I was excited and surprised to hear from him yesterday while I was preparing dinner. Even though I was safely in front of my stove rather than behind the wheel, he kept the conversation brief and let me know that he was only calling to let me know that it was time to dig up my potatoes.

Potato Plant Baby potato

My grandfather has the greenest thumb around and often shares plants and goodies from his garden with me. Last time he came to visit, he brought me a seed potato. To me, said “seed potato” looked exactly like every other small red potato I’ve ever seen in the grocery store, but what do I know. It must have been special because it proceeded to sprout into a lovely green plant….or at least I think it did….i could very well be seeing tall weeds growing in the pot with it, guess I’ll find out tonight when I dig it (them?) up!

Boiled Pot. Oiled Pan

This phone call couldn’t have come at a better time as I was literally in the process of marinating a flank steak for tonight’s dinner when the phone rang. By Friday, my fridge is looking a little bare and I was thinking I would probably have to make a trip to the grocery store after work today to find something to accompany our flank steak and broccoli. I mean really, what’s a steak dinner with no starchy side?

Potato Masher Smashed Potatoes

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Easter Weekend & Artichoke Salsa

I meant to get this post written Sunday/Monday but you know…life. It happens.

Per usual, it’s been hectic around these parts. Next week is my spring break and my job always seems to gear up and get even more crazy busy than usual before a break. I am definitely looking forward to the time off, as I plan to spend it in Tennessee with my family. My mom is actually flying in this weekend so we can attend the funeral of a good friend’s grandmother. Not the best circumstances for a visit, but I am excited to see her and happy to have someone to make the drive home with! Not that Renly isn’t good company, but he tends to sleep a lot in the car and doesn’t really talk back much.

 Passenger

I hope everyone had a great Easter weekend! My friend Caite got into town late Thursday night and we enjoyed a breakfast date (my favorite!) Friday morning followed by an afternoon spent in our bathing suits on a dock. It was just warm enough to be laying out and just windy enough not to be too hot, heavenly. We followed up our day in the sun with dinner at home and a late night visit to Hilton Head Ice Cream. Ice Cream is my weakness and if you are ever in HHI I suggest you give this place a try. All their flavors are homemade and chocked full of add-ins. Robert considers himself a cookies and cream connoisseur and he has deemed their Oreo ice cream “the best”. Believe it.

Oreo Cake
The birthday cake of a true Oreo lover…

Robert left us Saturday to head to his aunt’s home in Charleston. I was sad to see him go but a girls night with your best friend is certainly not something that happens every day so I didn’t stay blue for long. We took Renly on a long walk around one of my favorite neighborhoods on the water and then took ourselves shopping. That night we tried out a new restaurant in town that’s been on my to-do list, Poseidon. The food was underwhelming but the drinks were good and it was a fun excuse to get dressed up!

Green Renly
Instead of dying eggs, Renly dyed his head green with a roll in the grass

Caite left early Sunday and I had a few hours to get the house back in order before Robert got home and we headed to a late Easter dinner to celebrate my brother in law’s 40th birthday. The kids had a great time hunting eggs and it was nice to catch up with my family since I had missed them over the weekend. As Caite was leaving Sunday we discovered an Easter surprise on the front porch….

Easter Delivery Easter Delivery 2

Such a thoughtful husband I have, surprising me with wine and chocolate even when he is out of town Smile Love that man.

 Easter Basket 2

Since I knew Caite and I would be indulging this weekend I tried to make our Friday dinner at home a healthy one. I found this delicious looking recipe a few weeks ago on one of my favorite food blogs and was instantly inspired. I am not yet a grill master (summertime goal) so Robert grilled up the chicken while I made the sides, ham wrapped asparagus (the only way I like asparagus, I’ll share the non-recipe soon) and roasted carrots (yep, can’t stop, won’t stop). Grilled chicken is pretty ho hum on its own,  but a topping/sauce can make it sing. In typical indecisive fashion, I couldn’t decide between trying Kristin’s artichoke salsa or making my favorite creamy chimi churri sauce, so I went with both. They don’t call me the condiment queen for nothing! *Full Disclosure Disclaimer: I just gave myself that nickname, like right now as I was typing, but I do really love sauces so lets just go with it.

 Grilled Chicken with Artichoke Salsa

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