Tuesday, December 30, 2008

KCMO Christmas

We had a wonderful time in Kansas City celebrating Christmas with Matt's mom and stepdad. They have two cats, and I am very allergic to cats, but I did pretty well. I don't know if I'm less allergic to their cats or Momma Kath just keeps a really clean house :) but I don't seem to have quite the reaction that I do at others' houses, which is a very good thing. Matt and I never had the discussion about what we would do if I couldn't stay there, and thankfully we didn't need to... because, I can't even fathom having to stay in a hotel to visit his parents!

We didn't end up getting much snow, so I didn't have enough to build a snowman. Oh well, maybe next time! It actually randomly got up to 68 degrees on Friday, but it was in the 30s or lower the rest of the time we were there. These huge storms rolled through early Saturday morning, and since I didn't sleep that night for some reason, it was pretty crazy to listen to it. At one point, I honestly thought the roof might blow off or that the window might blow in. The wind was absolutely howling! And, I thought weather in the South was crazy... thunderstorms as strong as that one was in the winter is pretty crazy!

Anyway, here's our Christmas in pictures and captions!

After Christmas Eve Mass.

Our Christmas table.

Tom carving up the turkey and ham.

Momma Kath with all the goods... yum!

One of the old train signs in Union Station.

The awesome toy train setup.

WWI Memorial and Museum.

View from the top of the WWI Memorial.


Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Merry Christmas from Kansas City, where we didn't get a white Christmas, but at least it's below freezing outside. It's in the 80s in Florida, which I think is just unconscionable on Christmas. ;) No matter where you are, I hope you have a blessed Christmas with family and friends!

We are here visiting with Matt's family, which has been so nice. I just love his parents, and I feel lucky to have been blessed with wonderful inlaws (and, no Momma Kath, I'm not just saying that because I know you read my blog). :) We got some very nice gifts, and Tom and Kath liked what we got them, so that's always a plus. I love giving gifts. Mom and my fam loved their gifts too, so we did good for our first married Christmas together.

Time to get back to cooking and drinking. ;) Looking forward to snow on Saturday, so I can make a snowman! xoxo

Monday, December 22, 2008


Not as in baby cows, but as in the lower part of your leg. Yes, calves. Mostly everyone has them, but some are skinnier than others. Mine apparently do not fall into that category. I am not normally a very trendy person, but ever since riding boots hit the scene last year, I have been dying for a pair (okay, not really dying, but maybe pining away). However, considering it took me a few years to find a pair of tall black boots that fit, I knew it wouldn't be an easy task. Now, looking at me, one doesn't immediately think, "Oh, she's got big calves." But, apparently I do. Big calves and small feet. Mind you, I am not a large girl - 5'3", 127 lbs, size 2-4 in clothes, size 6 in shoes... size "extra large shaft circumference" in boots.

I ordered three pairs of gorgeous riding boots from Piper Lime... none fit. These lovely Frye boots came reeeeeeeaaaaaalllllllly close.

And, they smell like heavenly leather. I think that's why they cost so much (don't tell Matt). I told him I was interested in some boots that were $300. But, that's what I was buying myself with my bonus and the rest was going into savings. He asked if these were the $300 boots, and I just said no. I think we can leave it at that. lol

I would need to have them stretched just a half inch or so to be perfect (right now, they slouch at the ankle because they don't quite come as high up on the calf as they should). However, I am expecting the arrival of a pair of J. Crew boots (at a much cheaper price) this afternoon. They make "extended calf" boots. Yes, that's right. What a horrible name. Can't we just call them boots for girls with athletic calves? Because, that would make me feel much better. I just hope they fit!

Disclaimer: I realize there are plenty of things going on in this world that beyond dwarf my inability to find boots that fit my "athletic" calves. But, this is my blog and I want to whine about boots. :) However, to do some good in the world, please go to the St. Jude Children's Research Hospital website and make a donation (or to your favorite charity). In trying times like these and espeically at this time of the year, dig a little deeper to help those in need when you have been blessed with good fortune.

***UPDATE: They fit!!!! I'm pretty sure I can even wear them over skinny jeans. God bless J.Crew. lol***

Friday, December 19, 2008


March 30, 2009. This is the date that my newest nephew will enter the world. I can't wait... the best birthday present a girl could ask for (mine is the 29th)! He remains nameless, and I don't even have a sonogram picture or anything to post. Instead, here's his big brother.

Not quite warmed up to the photographer, yet.

There's the personality!

Tuesday, December 16, 2008


I wanted to share a recipe I made the other night, because it was delicious! I am generally more of a primavera/marinara girl than a meatball/meat sauce girl, but I saw a recipe in Giada's Everyday Pasta cookbook that I had to try. I made some minor alterations to the recipe to suit my taste, so here it is.

Linguine with Turkey Meatballs and Quick Sauce

3 tbsp extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
2 ounces pancetta, finely diced
1/2 yellow onion, finely diced
1 lb ground turkey (I used 93/7 - I wouldn't recommend going much less fatty than that)
1/4 cup plain breadcrumbs
1/2 cup freshly grated Romano cheese
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper (1/2 to 1 tsp each)

Pasta and Sauce
1 lb linguine
1/4 cup EVOO
1 - 28 ounce can whole San Marzano tomatoes, drained and cut into pieces with kitchen scissors
1 - 8 ounce can tomato sauce
2 large cloves of garlic
1/3 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
salt and pepper to taste

1/3 cup fresh basil, chopped
freshly grated Romano or Parmesan

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. In a medium skillet, bring olive oil to temperature over medium heat and saute pancetta for about 2 minutes. Add onion and saute until tender (about 4 more minutes). Remove from heat and let cool. In a large bowl, mix all of the meatball ingredients. Form into meatballs about 2 inches in circumference and place on a foil lined, greased baking sheet. Bake for 20 minutes.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil and cook pasta until al dente (about 8 minutes). In a large saute pan, bring olive oil to temperature over medium heat. Add the remaining sauce ingredients and cook for about 10 minutes. Drain the pasta, reserving about 1/2 cup of the cooking water. Remove the meatballs from the oven and add to the sauce to coat. Plate the pasta on a platter and toss with sauce and meatballs. Add more water as needed to moisten (note: I didn't need to add any). Garnish with fresh basil and cheese. Enjoy!

Matt really liked this, and frankly, so did I. We had it for dinner Sunday evening along with a green salad with cucumber, tomato, green olives, feta and quick balsamic (equal parts EVOO and balsamic vinegar, salt, pepper, and a little bit of Dijon mustard). I had leftovers for lunch and dinner yesterday, and it was even better than Sunday night! I wish I had more, or at least a picture to share...

Friday, December 12, 2008

JW Photography

One of my dear friends, Jenny, has been doing photography for a few years now, and it has been so amazing to watch her growth. Her pictures have always been great, but I can definitely see improvement as she learns more and more about the camera and editing. She just moved up here to Atlanta and just started a blog to document her photography! She does all types of portraiture, but I would say her specialty is definitely babies. So, if I have any Atlanta readers out there, I encourage you to check out her blog (much more to come) and her website for more information. Not only are her prices great, but she's as cute and sweet as they come! :)

Monday, December 8, 2008

Da Na Na Na Na...

GO GATORS! I said it's great... to be... a Florida Gator! WOOHOO! We had a wonderful day of tailgating in the frigid cold and an even better game against Alabama to win the SEC Championship! As always, I am so proud to be a Gator, but especially after the hard fought win. Timmy Tebow is such a heartthrob... swoon.

I just love him and the way he elevates the play of everyone around him. And, our entire team just played fantastically... from the amazing TD catches of Carl Moore, David Nelson and Riley Cooper to the defense holding Bama to a couple fieldgoals in the red zone to Joe Haden's interception to Jeffery Demps' speed and of course, to Tebow's heart, determination, leadership, and sheer ability... this is just a great football team. I look forward to seeing a healthy Percy Harvin in the BCS title game and to another Tim Tebow HE15MAN. :) He deserves it (along with a few other amazing players, so it will be interesting).

Here are some pictures from "The Tailgate of All Tailgates."

Yum, Bloody Mary... hers was a virgin cocktail, of course!

J, Dai & K - BFFs!

Aunt Dai, Mommy, Baby Madelyn, and Aunt K!

The Mr. and Mrs.

Cute purses!

Where's BD? :)Katie, the official hand warmer.
And, last, but certainly not least, what a cute koozie you have!

I'm sure it's not hard to see that we had a great time. We didn't end up getting tickets to the game, so we wandered in to the Hilton Garden Inn downtown. We sat in their lovely lobby and enjoyed the game in front of a fireplace and a 60" plasma with the Legal Seafood bar right next door. The best part besides the win was getting to catch up with my college friend and sorority sister, Katie. Perfect! Next up on the CHOMPING block... the Oklahoma Sooners! You know what they say... if you're not a Gator... you're GATOR BAIT!

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Oh Christmas Tree, Oh Christmas Tree

Thank God for the Limited's Christmas tree scented candles they sold last year. Our pathetic fake tree is made so much better by the smell. If they sell them this year, I insist you all go out and purchase one. They smell exactly like a real tree... so yummy. And, I burned mine nonstop last year and it barely looks like it's been used.

Matt and I got into the Christmas spirit and decorated our little place last night just in time for our guests arriving this weekend for the SEC Championship. I bought a fake tree and all the trimmings last year, so we used what I already had. The only additions for this year are our stockings from Pottery Barn with our names embroidered on them, and we need to get a "First Christmas Together" ornament. Oh, and I got a few more Gator ornaments (that makes 4 in only two years of having a tree... I think we may need to do a Gator tree in the future). :) Other than that, I am all about shopping the post Christmas sales. Last year, I got some vase fillers from Pottery Barn for something like $3 each on what was regularly $24. I think I might wait for the PB tree skirt that coordinates with our stockings to go on sale after Christmas, but if you're interested, Pottery Barn has all of their Christmas decor on sale now and much of it is shipped free!

And, now, what you've all been waiting for... I present our lovely tree!

Thanksgiving in Pictures (and captions...)

My favorite mom and my favorite aunt. I don't like to pick favorites, but I'm her favorite niece, so it's a fair trade. ;)
My favorite husband carving up the turkey. Gobble Gobble!
More proof that God is a Gator... an orange and blue sunset.
What a view.
My favorite Memere. I'm so sad that I don't have a picture with my favorite Gram from this trip. :(
What was left...
So staged, we're such dorks.
Fish tales told here.
Another great view.
Fishing the lights.
Matt's first snook! Woohoo!

Uncle John's nice trout.

Thursday, November 27, 2008


Happy Thanksgiving to all! Well, my Thanksgiving has started off wonderfully... got up and watched the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade while drinking coffee and making my squash casserole and now the Westminster Dog Show is on, and I'm in love with the golden retriever! We're enjoying the holiday from sunny St. Petersburg, FL and looking forward to a house full of family in a short while.

There are many things I am thankful for this year... my wonderful husband, family, friends, being gainfully employed, health, the ability to travel and spend the Holidays with our families, living in a free country, the men and women who risk their lives and have lost their lives to protect our way of life... just to name a few. Thanksgiving is a great time to reflect on how truly blessed we are. I hope you and your family have a wonderful and blessed Thanksgiving and are able to appreciate the good things in your lives!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Saturday Evening Dinner Party

In celebration of my friend Kelly's 27th birthday, I threw a small dinner party (because 7 people was definitely enough to fill our little place) on Saturday evening. If you haven't paid a visit to the Good Things Catered blog, I insist you do so immediately. No, really, go now and then come back after you're done salivating. Katie is an amazing cook and posts all kinds of delicious recipes, including most of what I made for Kelly's dinner. I prepared roasted chicken with onions, garlic and herbs, garlic mashed red potatoes (my recipe), green beans with herb butter, homemade rustic white bread (from myrecipes.com), and chocolate cake. I had a few mishaps along the way (like putting one cup of milk into the frosting instead of 1/3 cup... oops), but everything turned out really well in the end.

Cocktails and hors d'oeuvres, anyone?

Jenny, Jenn (and Madelyn), and the Birthday Girl!

That's a lot of candles!

And, that's a lot of smoke! Ha!

I can't believe it, but I didn't take any pictures of the food. Oh well. It was good! After dinner, Matt, Kelly and I went out with a few of her friends from work. My trainer was celebrating his birthday at a bar called The Warren, so we joined in on the festivities. Suffice it to say, we had a good time.

Friday, November 21, 2008

It's friggin' cold

So, forget a low of 26... how about a low of 20 with a windchill that makes it feel like 10!? Is that allowed to happen in the South (or at least this far south)? Apparently. Today's high is 44 with up to 40 mph wind gusts and the "it feels like" high is 36. Sweet Jesus, it's cold.

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Baby, It's Cold Outside

But, at least it's sunny. Today isn't too bad... the high is a balmy 58 degrees! But, Saturday morning's low is 26 - brrrrrrrrr! This Florida girl has gotten much more used to the cold weather. It wasn't too much of a change, since it actually does get chilly in Jacksonville and Gainesville. However, it doesn't last as long. So, I've broken out my houndstooth coat that always gets compliments, my fake pashminas from the $10 store in the airport, and my unusally large collection of cheap gloves. Now, all I need is a car with an automatic starter and heated seats so it's not so cold when I get in and some of this...

Nutritious and Delicious Minestrone
This is a great, light and healthy soup that makes a quick and delicious weeknight (or any night) meal.

Extra virgin olive oil (1-2 tbsp)
2 small onions, diced
1-1/2 c. celery stalk, diced
2 carrots, peeled and diced
1 small green bell pepper, diced
1 bay leaf
1 15 oz can diced tomatoes
7 c. low-sodium chicken broth
4 cloves garlic, minced
2 tbsp fresh basil, chopped
4 oz. ditalini or other small pasta
1 15 oz can cannellini beans, rinsed and drained
salt to taste
parmesan for garnish
parsley for garnish

In a large stock pot, saute the onion, celery and carrots in olive oil over medium heat for about 4 minutes. Add green bell pepper and continue to saute for another 4 minutes or until it all smells really good. Add the tomatoes, broth, garlic, basil and bay leaf. Bring to a boil and then reduce heat and simmer covered for 10 minutes. Add the pasta and simmer for 5 minutes uncovered. Add the beans and simmer for 5-10 minutes or until the pasta is al dente. Remove the pan from heat, add salt to your liking, and let sit covered for 5 minutes. Ladle into bowls and garnish with fresh parmesan and parsley! Mangia!

P.S. I've already eaten some of it... several bowls since I made it, in fact, and it's still delizioso!

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Darn you, Whole Foods.

Darn you and your delicious little samples that you scatter throughout the store. Especially the delicious display of corn chips and five layer dip you laid so aptly by the salad bar, which caused me to then buy fiesta dip (aka: salsa and guac combo) and blue corn chips... along with my 1.25 lb salad bar plate. Sigh. At least I resisted the five layer dip, which consisted of sour cream (yum), black bean puree (yum), guacamole (double yum), shredded cheese (yum), and tomatoes/scallions (yum). Yay for me.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Gator Bait

Nice catch.

Mercy, Percy.

Touchdown scored after Demps turned on his afterburners.

Touchdown Tebow.

Hilarious quote from this article... "Meanwhile, his players were trying to get a grip on just who this Buffett fellow was.
"That was my first time ever hearing of him," Spikes said innocently. "Somebody told me he sang Margarita-something.""

I sure do love Gator football, especially when it's this dang good.