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!!
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 🙂
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!
Rush, rush, rush, rush. That has been the theme of my life over the past few weeks as we try to cram everything in before the holidays.
Don’t get me wrong, it has been lots of fun rushing. There have been dinners to attend, holiday parties to celebrate, gift exchanges with friends and plenty of shopping and present wrapping. But on top of all those fun holiday extras we’ve still had to keep up with the normal hustle and bustle of every day life. You know, like work and laundry and dinner. The less fun stuff.
The television played in the background as I cooked dinner the other night and Robert stopped in his tracks to stare at a Dominoes commercial. “Maybe we should just order pizza” he said.
Helpful Husband Hint: When your wife has been standing at the stove for an hour making you a home cooked meal, it really isn’t the best time to suggest ordering a pizza.
I glared at him over my bubbling pot and he quickly back tracked “I mean it would just be quick and easy and then you wouldn’t have to cook!”. Thankfully, once we sat down to eat, he raved over my enchilada casserole and forgot all about the pizza. Smart man.
This is the face of a dog who doesn’t really like to pee in the cold and would rather cuddle upside down in daddy’s chair.
This is also the face of a dog that could care less that he isn’t supposed to be in said chair. “Busted! But look how cute I am mom!” – Renly
Winter came to South Carolina this week, whether or not it’s actually here to stay remains to be seen. It has not been abnormal to have the temperature fluctuate from 40-70 from one day to the next this year. For now, I’m happy to finally be able to wear sweaters and boots without sweating…whether or not that attitude will last also remains to be seen.
One undeniable winter positive is the fact that I can now make as many stews, roasts and “hearty” dishes as my little heart desires. One of my first orders of business is this delicious roasted vegetable lasagna.
Last year was the first Christmas I spent with Robert’s family and although it was wonderful, nearly everyone got the stomach bug leading up to the holiday. Since no one felt well enough to cook, his aunt’s sweet best friend brought over some delicious vegetable lasagnas for our Christmas Eve meal. They were warm and cheesy and full of healthy veggies so of course everyone was instantly cured!
Ok, so maybe they weren’t miracle medicinal lasagnas, but they sure were yummy and since I magically avoided the bug, I helped myself to seconds and thirds 🙂
Every Sunday afternoon, before I make my weekly trek to the grocery store, I ask Robert what he wants to eat that week. And every Sunday afternoon, Robert tells me the same three things: stuffed mushrooms, Salad with fish on top, That stuff in a bowl. 9 times out of 10, I take exactly 0 of those three suggestions. Why? Well for starters, Robert doesn’t really like my stuffed mushrooms. He forgets this, and then when reminded he admits that “yeah, he isn’t really sure why he always suggests them, they are just the first thing that pop into his head.” I burnt both of us out on salads with grilled fish on top last summer, so that is usually out too.
His saving grace, when it comes to meal suggestions, is definitely “that stuff in a bowl”. It is MUCH tastier than my stuffed mushrooms and Robert truly does love it, so it makes a somewhat regular appearance on our dinner table during the cooler months. It has a few too many ingredients to come up with a comprehensive name, so we’ll go with savory fall hash…unless of course you want to just call it “that stuff in a bowl”. Whatever works.
The recipe itself is quite easy, but there is a lot of prep work involved. Chopping, chopping, chopping. You could buy pre-cooked and crumbled sausage, already diced onions and pre-chopped butternut squash and make your life much easier. Or maybe you’re one of those people that finds chopping vegetables cathartic and prefer to do it all yourself. I’m not really into veggie chopping for relaxation but I’ll remain a DIY girl until my local Publix figures out the pre-diced squash bit. Whatever you fancy, the end result really is worth it.
And just like that it’s Monday again. They always come back around so quickly don’t they? Robert and I had a great, full weekend. We went on a dinner date Friday night, spent Saturday on the boat with friends and spent Sunday at the beach celebrating the first birthday of a friend’s darling daughter. It doesn’t get much cuter than a baby at the beach. Except maybe a baby Renly at the beach
On a serious note, I realized today that summer break is half way over Four weeks down, four to go. Most of last summer was so full of wedding craziness that this one has seemed so much more laid back and relaxing. A girl could really get used to this! I am always ready and excited to start the new school year when it is time, but I will definitely miss all the sleeping in extra time in the kitchen.
During the school year I typically go to the gym in the morning on my way to work. This means waking up VERY early and packing my breakfast to eat at school. I relish weekend breakfasts during the school year because I actually get to take my time making something a little more laborious, and enjoy it with my husband!
Baked oatmeal is a great dish to enjoy slowly on the weekend, fresh out of the oven, BUT it is also perfect for the work week because it re-heats beautifully. Mangoes can be tricky to cut, so if you are struggling (and haven’t youtube’d it yet) let me show you how I do it. The easiest way I have found to cut a mango is to basically slice it into thirds. The pit of a mango is flat and in the middle. You will want to place the mango upright on the cutting board and cut along the sides of the pit (from top to bottom) so you are left with three pieces. The middle piece which contains the pit, and the two outside halves.
These halves are where you will get your fruit. I then like to score the halves, vertically and horizontally, taking care not to cut all the way through the peel.