Monday, June 25, 2012

Apricot Chicken Paninis {recipe #43}

This is a recipe that we found in Pioneer Woman's newest cookbook. It sounded strange, but for some reason I wanted to try it. Plus, I had just found a jar of organic apricot preserves on clearance at Target. So we went for it! Thank goodness we did! This recipe was AMAZING! :)

Apricot Chicken Paninis

Ingredients:


Chicken Breasts (flattened if you'd like and cut to a good size for your bread)
French Bread
Mayo
Apricot Preserves
Fresh Sage Leaves
red onion slices (thin)
Oil
Butter

1) Pan fry chicken breasts in oil. Fry the fresh sage leaves also, take out before they turn brown.
2) mix mayonnaise and apricot preserves to make a spread.
3) Cut up the bread into slices. Spread with mayo-apricot mixture. Put the fried sage leaves on one side and the onion slices on the other. 
4) Put the sandwich together with the chicken in the middle and spread butter on both pieces of bread. 
5) Put in panini press, grill pan or skillet. We used our cast-iron grill pan with a smaller cast iron skillet on top. It worked out great! If using the grill pan or skillet. Flip and cook on other side as well.
6) enjoy this messy messy DELICIOUS sandwich! :)

Enjoy!

What is your favorite panini recipe?

All for now!

Alexandra


Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Summer Bucketlist 2012

Its always important to set goals, it keeps you from being bored and from feeling like you haven't done anything. 

So Kyle and I made a summer bucket list...

51 things to accomplish this summer:


1) go camping
2) watch brother bear
3) have s'mores
4) find a dance workout DVD that i like
5) have a garage sale/organize & consolidate belongings
6) go on at least 1 trip (somewhere new)
7) see fireworks
8) go to La Bodega 
9) stargaze 
10) watch beauty & the beast
11) go antiquing
12) take Kyle to an art museum
13) get an iphone
14) treat loved ones to a french toast breakfast
15) sew something
16) get into a workout routine with Kyle
17) have a LOTR marathon
18) go to Birdies
19) turn 22 and get a birthday cake shot at Henry's
20) have a picnic
21) join the Merc
22) go swimming
23) consolidate banks
24) make a berry pie
25) garden (in the plot)
26) work on my Miller scrapbook
27) read at least 2 classic novels
28) make pop sickles
29) get wedding pictures done (at least partially)
30) clean Molly (the car)
31) watch Star Wars (all of them)
32) find a new board game or card game that I like
33) update insurance stuff
34) try a new margarita recipe
35) host a gathering
36) watch treasure planet
37) have at least 1 outdoor adventure
38) go to the farm
39) go antiquing
40) go to Dave & Buster's
41) watch Poseidon
42) make something for our home
43) read at least 5 books (Done: III)
44) go to a drive in movie
45) try at least 3 new restaurants
46) begin travel scrapbook
47) try a new sangria recipe
48) go on a road trip (even a day trip)
49) watch Anastasia
50) get a coloring book
51) finish one creative project 

I will post again at the end of the summer and as these happen to update you on what we've accomplished!

What are your plans for the summer?

All for now,

Alexandra

Monday, June 18, 2012

12. 31. 11. {Our Wedding}

As most of you know, Kyle and I got married December 31st 2011.

It was a beautiful wedding and we are both just over-the-moon about being married. 

We finally(!) have some pictures to share with the world!

Here are just a few!


Married. :)


Me with my mom and my sisters.


Dad and his girls.


Kyle and his groomsmen!


Me and my bridesmaids and flower girl


Full length shot.


Flower girl & Ring Bearer


Hands, Flowers and Rings


Sparkling Exit!


Our First Dance


Grabbing the garter!


Fun shot of all of the men!

I will definitely post more later, but I am just so excited to have something to share with you all!

More to come! :)

Lots of Love,

Alexandra 

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Envirosax Reusable Bags

Everyone's going greener and greener, and that's great! One of the very easiest ways to go a little greener is to use reusable shopping bags!


Not only are you saving TONS of plastic from being thrown away each year you are often getting a discount on your grocery bill for using your own bags. $0.05-$0.10 isn't much, but it does add up throughout the year!

One of the downsides of using reusable bags is that they are easy to forget. They are often large and hard to carry around as well. Not to mention... they are often pretty boring. This is obviously not the most important part, but who wouldn't prefer the cuter version?

I have found a bag that solves all of these problems for me. They called Envirosax. {shown above} They are pretty, long lasting and extremely compact therefore HARD to forget! I have received my first one as a gift from my mother-in-law over 3 years ago and it is still really sturdy! Since then I have adopted 2 more, which pretty much covers our 2 person grocery needs on the biggest day.

These bags cost about $9 a piece online, which is steep in comparison to the $1 walmart reusable bag, but I hardly EVER forget them because I can roll them up small enough to throw them in my purse!


You can also buy them in packages where you can get more for a slightly better deal {5 for $40 = $8 a piece}. If you live in Lawrence or near Lawrence you can pick them up at Au Marche downtown. 

These bags make great gifts and stocking stuffers! All 3 of mine have been gifts and I couldn't have been happier with them!

We use them not only for groceries but for traveling (makes an extra bag when you need one) and for taking our lunches to work!

What is your favorite eco-friendly product?

All for now,

Alexandra

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Sausage Skillet Hash {recipe #42}

We had some sausages leftover from when we made jambalaya so I searched for a recipe that included that type of sausage and this is what I found. 

I was a little hesitant at first because I really really dislike the taste of apple cider vinegar. But the picture looked good and I liked the other ingredients. It turns out that you can't even taste the vinegar and that this makes a delicious and easy meal! + it is all in one pan! Always a plus in my book! :)

Sausage Skillet Hash
{borrowed and enjoyed from: taste of home busy family favorites}


Serves 4 {maybe..?}

Ingredients:

1 lb red potatoes, cubed
3 T. water
3/4 lb smoked kielbasa or polish sausage cut into 1/4 inch slices
1/2 cup chopped onion
1 T. olive oil
2 T. brown sugar
2 T. cider vinegar
1 T. Dijon mustard {we used grey poupon - it gives it a little zing!}
1/2 tsp. dried thyme
1/4 tsp. pepper
4 cups baby spinach {it cooks WAY down!}
5 bacon strips, cooked and crumbled {we skipped this to save our bacon :)}

1) Put potatoes in a covered microwave safe container and microwave on high for 4 minutes or until tender, drain.
2) In a large skillet, saute kielbasa and onion in oil until onion is tender.
3) Add potatoes and cook for 3 to 5 more minutes or until potatoes and sausage are lightly browned.
4) Combine the brown sugar, vinegar, mustard, thyme and pepper in a bowl. Stir into skillet and bring to a boil.
5) reduce heat and simmer uncovered for a few minutes or until heated through.
6) Add spinach and bacon, cook and stir until spinach is wilted.

What is your favorite all in one pan meal?

All for now,

Alexandra

Monday, June 11, 2012

Belgian Waffles {recipes #40 & 41}

For one of our wedding showers my sister-in-law Kelsey gave us a Belgian waffle iron. It was a really fun gift, especially since his family has always loved waffles for breakfast!


Its a really nice Food Network waffle iron from Kohl's and it makes square waffles which I think is kinda fun!

We tried the waffle recipe that came with the instruction manual {#41}, but it was really a let down. It had nutmeg in it and it was just ok. Not to mention we couldn't figure out how to measure the batter and it ended up all over the floor.. :)

So we tried again with a cookbook that we got at one of our showers. This recipe was FANTASTIC! We added cinnamon and vanilla {as we did with the pancakes} and it was just perfect! 

Belgian Waffles
{Borrowed and enjoyed from: The Great Breakfast Book by Nordic Ware}


Serves 6

Ingredients:

2 cups unbleached all purpose flour
1 T baking powder
2 T. Sugar
1 tsp. salt
4 large eggs, separated
1 1/4 cups milk
1/2 cup vegetable oil
cooking spray or oil

We added: 

1 tsp. vanilla 
1 tsp. cinnamon

1) Mix together flour, baking powder, salt and sugar in a large mixing bowl.
2) In another bowl, whisk together egg yolks, milk and oil.
3) Make a well in the dry ingredients and add the wet mixture. Blend the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients until just moistened.
4) In a small bowl, or kitchenaid mixer, beat the egg whites until stiff peaks form. Gently fold the egg whites into the waffle batter. Don't over mix.
 5) Preheat the waffle iron lightly coating with cooking spray or oil. 
6) Bake in waffle iron according to machine. 
7) Serve warm with your favorite topping.

Enjoy!

We served ours with strawberry slices, warm REAL maple syrup and cinnamon sugar dusted on top. It was a treat, but not too sweet! We had bacon on the side, but anything will do!

What is your favorite waffle topping?

All for now,

Alexandra



Friday, June 8, 2012

BATs {recipe #39}

Here is another fabulous idea from pinterest!


Bacon, Avocado, Tomato Sandwiches!

Who doesn't love the classic BLT? But its just as good, if not better if you swap out the lettuce for avocado slices! {this is definitely Kyle's preference as he prefers BT's} 

YUM!

What is your favorite way to switch up a sandwich?

All for now,

Alexandra

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Raspberry Cobbler

Remember the blackberry cobbler I posted a few months ago?

Well turns out that recipe is possibly even better....

with raspberries.


 Mouth watering? Mine too. If you'd like to try this recipe just click the blackberry link above and sub the raspberries for the blackberries!

What is your favorite summer fruit dessert?

All for Now,

Alexandra

Tuesday, June 5, 2012

DIY Grad Gifts // Part I


This year, nearly everyone we know has graduated. 

Some are really close friends, others acquaintances and we even had some family members thrown in there. 


(me and my girlfriends at MY High School Graduation in 2008)

A year like this can really blow your budget... so Kyle and I came up with some (we think) good ideas for graduation gifts!

Here we go:

The Preschool Grad (my sister Olivia)


Something fun that will get them excited (not nervous) about elementary school. Olivia being a girl after my own heart, was very pleased with her school teacher Barbie complete with student Chelsea! 


It was cute and under $20.

The Middle School Grad


Something fun to help them celebrate going to High School. My cousin Mallory graduated this year and she is majorly into music! Kyle and I love alternative music ourselves, so we made her a mix CD of our "Alternative Essentials" and gave her a $15 itunes card.

The High School Grad: Moving Out


My sister Jessica graduated from High School last year and moved out to live closer to her college. So Kyle and I decided to make her a move-out essentials kit. These were all things that I needed when I moved out. We numbered them and made a booklet with corresponding blurbs about why we chose the items. You can obviously tailor this based on relationship toward graduate, budget and interests. (ex. parents could include a microwave or coffee pot..) There are SO many options! Just have fun with it!

-a body pillow (making the dorm bed so much more comfy!)
-a laundry basket (for everything!)
-thank you cards (for grad gifts)
-Anastasia on DVD (essential! + a great way to bond with other girls in the dorm!)
-socks (because you always run out)
-hair bands (" ") 
-Hair clips (because I stole hers) 
-note cards (one of the best ways to study vocab, art history pieces, foreign language etc..)
-sticky wall calendars 
...

The High School Grad: Staying Home


My cousin Ellen also graduated from high school this year. She is commuting to a close by school next year and doesn't need "dorm" essentials. So I decided to make her a backpack essentials kit. It sounds silly, but college can make a long day (especially for a commuter!) and it can be a lot easier to have the right things in your bag! I decided to reuse an old ice cream bucket and a store gift bag to present this gift.

Items Included:


-mini kleenex
-chapstick (burt's bees!)
-ibprophen
-a first aid kit (trekking across campus can lead to accidents, or rubbing shoes!)
-a notepad (eco, great for to-do lists and random thoughts)
-pens (the cheap kind tend to work the best)
-snacks (Annie's cheddar bunnies and gummies)
-a mini stapler (with staples)
-post its (recycled, so great for marking important passages or pages in textbooks, especially if you want to sell them back!) 
-nail clippers (nothing is more irritating than a hang nail... nothing.)
-3 mix cd's of different varieties (great for loading onto itunes to walk around campus / drive to campus to!)

I labelled those items with little letters and made an explanatory key that corresponded to explain my reasoning.



The College Grad


I had two friends who I knew in high school graduate from KU this year. One of them I have been best friends with since 4th grade. So I really wanted to come up with a special present. This having been my first few months of marriage I decided to compile my favorite recipes, tips and tricks (so far) into notebooks for them. I typed and Printed my food recipes, DIY cleaner and Spa recipes and other tips and put them in an ordinary binder. I then created a pretty cover and tabs with scrapbooking supplies (that I have an abundance of since I began scrapbooking!) 


Kyle helped a lot with measuring and cutting and input. Then I wrote them each a heartfelt note for the front of the books. I was so happy with how they turned out! I think that they really liked them as well! I hope that they can use the knowledge that I have been compiling in the near future! 

The acquaintance grad who invited you to a party:

We chose to give a card with a meaningful note to people who fit this category. For the girls I stuck in a handmade piece of jewelry as well. This shows that you care, even if you can't attend the party or aren't super close to the person who graduated. Luckily we didn't have to "fake" any of our cards, but if for some reason you needed to... this is an easy way to do it. When in doubt: always send a card at least.

If it is within your means, a small gift card or a bit of cash is a nice addition. Especially gift cards to places like Starbucks or Chipotle! College students love a break from dining hall food! :) Even just $5-$10 is appreciated! :)

I hope this idea helps you during all the graduation craziness this year, and the years to come!

See a more graduation gift ideas here.

What are your favorite graduation gift ideas?

All for now,

Alexandra