28 January 2011

Key Lime Pie--- entirely homemade

I am not sure I need an excuse to bake.  But I make them anyway!!  All.the.time. 

~Oh!!  The hub would love to have fresh blueberry muffins for breakfast for the week.  Done and done!!~

~While I'm at it, I might as well make a streussel.  Because, you know... whatever.~

~Did someone say cupcakes?~

I have been making this particular Key Lime Pie recipe for years now, and it never disappoints.  And this time, I really DO have the perfect excuse.

[Husband]:  Will you cook a Key Lime Pie for my mom's birthday dinner? (My amazing in-laws will be over on Saturday for a feast).

Yes, Brenny.  I shall make the sweet treat you've requested on your mom's behalf.  And it shall be gloooooorious!!!

Thought I would share the process with ya'll, and torture you with unfair pictures.

The Recipe: Key Lime Pie


The Pie Crust
It's easy peezy, trust me.  And it makes a HUGE difference.

1 1/2 c. graham cracker crumbs-- you could crush them in a food processor or by hand.  OR you could buy them pre-crumbled... just sayin'

6 tbsp. butter-- melted

3 tbsp. granulated sugar

Pinch of salt

Pinch of cinnamon

The Filling

1 tsp. lime zest-- zest the limes before you cut and juice them... it is WAY easier that way.

1/2 c. fresh lime juice-- preferably with key limes (or so "they" say).  I use regular limes and they have never failed me.

1 8oz. can of sweetened-condensed milk

5 egg yolks

The Whipped Cream Topping

1 c. of heavy whipping cream

1/2 c. granulated sugar

1 tsp. of vanilla extract

Pinch of salt-- because salt is gooooood.

The Process:

1- Preheat your oven to 325

2- Combine all the components for the crust in a large bowl and stir with a fork until thoroughly combined.  It should resemble wet sand.

3- Press into a pie dish.  You want to be careful the crust doesn't have any cracks in it.  The best way to ensure it stays in tact is to press it with a glass measuring cup

Like so...

4- Once preheated, throw this bad-boy (the pie crust) into the oven for 15 minutes.  Then remove and let it cool to room temp.

5- While the crust is baking, assemble your filling.  Combine your egg yolks and lime zest and whisk until smooth.

6- Add the sweetened-condensed milk and lime juice to the eggs and zest, and beat until it thickens slightly.  Once the pie crust has cooled to room temp, pour in the filling and put the pie back into the oven for another 15 minutes.  The pie is done when the filling has set but still jiggles in the center.  Let cool to room temp. again and then pop it in the fridge to cool for at least 3 hours

7-  The whipped cream is pretty easy as well... 1 cup of heavy cream and 1 cup of sugar into a large bowl with the vanilla extract, cinnamon and salt.  Use an electric mixer to whip the cream... real good  ;)  You'll see soft peaks form... and you'll see it look like... well, whipped cream.  Go figure, right?  Put this is the fridge too, until you're ready to serve/devour it. 

Last but not least, in the least....

8- Make sure you taste the whipped cream with the finger test.  This is very important, for the simple fact that you deserve it!

Hope you try it, and I hope you enjoy it!!!  :)

26 January 2011

i'm sowwwie

We sit and ring our hands, thinking of ways to feel better.  What could we say?  What could we do?  We hurt someone... how can we come to terms with that?

We used our voice to intimidate and we showed them what we were made of.  Now if only we could stop thinking about it.  If only we could figure out how to move on from the anger we feel and the offense we took.

Maybe we could take it out on someone else... continue the chain of destruction.

Perhaps we could yell or scream... release some of the confusion out loud.

Maybe just try to forget about it... pack the frustration away for the next battle.

Or... we could be brave enough--- we could be big enough--- to apologize

We could choose to look at our own behavior as a contribution.  We could face ourselves and hold ourselves accountable for our part in things.

And then we could let out a collective sigh and begin again...

...with dignity and a smile.

This can be our choice.

25 January 2011

Things I Love... On the 3's

Watching my husband put on a suit

piece by piece, adjusting each component along the way.
My favorite parts are the tie and the belt.
I suppose I really just love looking at him regardless,
but there is a certain confidence about him when he's suiting up.
-shoulders back, chin up-
Just such a sexy process.
Note: I also like watching the other end of this transaction....

Jeweled rings

I love big jewels that bling up my finger.  
Since I don't enjoy having a ring on every finger, I
sometimes like to double them up like this... it adds fanciness.  
These rings in particular are rings that my momma passed down to me.  
The top one--silver and blue--was from her dad (my PopPop).
When she was a young girl, 
he used to use his breaks from work
to buy her pretty jewelry from local pawn shops.
I just love that.

Finding new music, artists, songs on Pandora

I sit at a computer 8 hours a day, 5 days a week.  
And while there a certainly times that I have 
numerous projects to manage, 
my work can get quite mundane (to say the least).
If there's ever a point in my day where I feel like I've lost myself,
it is more than a likely fact that Pandora has not been on at all that day.
Case in point-- Music carries me.

20 January 2011

Balsamic Glazed Salmon with Deconstructed Bruschetta

I have been trying to find fun/interesting/yummy material for this blog.  Along with all the fashion blogs I follow, I also am a huge fan of anything food related.  So yep, the time has come for me to jump on that blogwagon too.

Disclaimer:  Neither my hub or I are professionally trained foodies.  Just thought I would throw that lil' tidbit out there  ;)

When we aren't playing with toy fire-engines & helicopters, and when we aren't busy pretending to be Mickey and Minnie Mouse, (all for Liam's amusement, of course), Bren and I love to spend time in the kitchen.  Actually, when Liam hits the sack, we typically hang out by the oven and microwave for the remainder of the evening, cooking our dinner, sipping on a cocktail, laughing and catching up.  (It's been awesome this winter with our kitchen fireplace!)

As much as I love to cook, Brendon has found a passion in cooking.  And I'm not complaining... I'm happy to hand over the proverbial apron as often as he wants me to.  Not only can he execute a flawless meal, he essentially makes up all of his own recipes and somehow memorizes them... (as a recipe-follower/woman, this really perplexes me).

I digress...

He made this for dinner the other night (he knows it is one of my absolute FAVORITES... and I will beg for it if I have to).  I figured it was the perfect meal to share- easy, affordable and downright heavenly.

Without further ado...

The Recipe: Balsamic Glazed Salmon with Deconstructed Bruschetta

Ingredients (Balsamic Salmon)

* 2(two) 3-4oz. salmon filets
* 3/4 c. balsamic vinegar (any will do)
* 1/4 c. dry white wine
* 2 large garlic cloves, diced
* 1 tbsp. honey (any will do)
* 1.5 tbsp. dijon mustard (preferably Grey Poup)
* 1/4 tsp. ground ginger
* salt and pepper

Ingredients (Bruschetta)

* sliced Italian bread (good quality)
* 3-4 large tomatoes, roughly chopped
* 1/2 large red onion, thinly sliced
* 2 garlic cloves, diced
* 1/4 c. fresh basil, sliced/ribboned
* 1/4 c. scallions (green onion), sliced
* 1 c. fresh mozzarella, cubed
* 2 tbsp. olive oil
* 2 tbsp. balsamic vinegar
* 1 tbsp. red wine vinegar
* salt and pepper

The Process:

1- Start by cutting up all of your produceI am usually in the kitchen doing this for/with Bren, but if I'm not, he finds it best for the overall flow of the meal to just man the cutting board initially, then go from there. 

Preheat your oven to 375°

Austin Powers voice:  Juno CHOP!

A tear duct's worst nightmare

Fresh herbs make a huge difference

2- Combine the tomatoes, onion, basil, scallions and mozzarella in a baking dish of some sort... we used a glass bread pan because it was the right size.  **Bren "chopped and dropped" as he cut the veggies (as you'll see in the pictures).** 

In a bread dish... or whatever works

Isn't she gorgeous?!
3- Stir the dressing into the tomato mixture: balsamic and red wine vinegars, olive oil and salt and pepper.

4- Once all the veggies, herbs and garlic have been broken down accordingly, begin the balsamic glaze for the salmon in a small pan over med-low heat by combining all ingredients besides the salmon. 

Simmer away, deliciousness

Part of the balsamic symphony

5- Turn your head toward your stove and inhale... do you smell that tangy aroma drifting your way?  Yeah... you did that, and you will reap the benefits come fork-and-knife time.

6- That glaze should be ready to go on the fish.  Take your salmon, place it in an 8x8 in. baking dish (greased/sprayed), and lather on the perfection!!  We like to drizzle a little in the bottom of the baking dish as well for extra flavor... so if you feel so inclined, give the fish a puddle or two to splash in.  

You will most likely have extra glaze.  Save it for dipping. 

Holy Cow Fish


7- Your fish can go in the oven at this point.  It should take anywhere from 10-12 minutes.  You want it moist still, with a little pink.  (That's what he said).

8- Now it's time to butter the bread and get it ready to toast.  I didn't list the ingredients for the whipped butter up top, because honestly, you can do what ever the heck you want with your butter.  Bren softened it before adding garlic, parsley, thyme and pepper.  Then he whipped the hell out of it and spread it on.  (That's what she said).  


Whipped herb butter

Artist at work

9- When the salmon is 7 minutes in, have the bread join it in the oven and increase your temp. to 425°.  This should ensure that they are all done at the same time and that you ultimately get a plate that looks like this:

Viola! Masterpiece!

I hope you try it!  And I hope you enjoy!!

16 January 2011

Date Night Spectac-you-lar

As previously mentioned, this weekend was destined for magnificence.  I had lunch with Miss Melissa (one-of-a-kind lady), and watched the Raven's play, face off against, lose to the Steelers (grummmmmmbleeee!!!).  After watching the massacre, I put on my big girl boots and Brenny and I went out for a much needed romantic night together. 

Obviously, this was the highlight of our weekend.  We sat at the bar for a few drinks before getting a private table, and spent the rest of the evening laughing, eating, kissing and... well, enjoying each others attention. 

Without further ado, these are just a few ton of photos that capture [or at least come close to capturing] the friendship and infatuation that Bren and I continue to maintain.  

I love this man to pieces!!


Treats  :)

decor a la Benihana

Grrreat... now I'm thirsty

Kirin Ichiban

we love love

Obligitory soup

It has always and always will be like this...

self explanatory  ;)

okay so we were a little drunk... blame the goose


infectious love

The Onion Express... never gets old

Action shot

Hypocracy: Captured

He's seeeeeeeeeeerious

End of the night

Woke up at 8:00......  stayed in bed til 10:00.  Went to get brunch and coffee.  And then Bren went skeet shooting while Liam napped over Mimi and Happy's house.  
(Mimi and Happy are Bren's parents, and yes, Liam came up with those names and has NOT let go of them).  
So, while the boys were away, I had the afternoon in to me, myself and I!!!  :)

14 January 2011

This Weekend: Perfection

Let alone the extra day off in honor of Martin Luther King, Jr., this weekend is filled with so many people and things that I love and cherish:

2010- Melissa and me

Melissa is a dear friend of mine.  She and I have been connected since we were 12-year-old pubescent pre-teens.  Let's just say we have some hilarious memories, as well as some heavy yet priceless experiences that would not have been possible without each other.  She helped shape me, just as most people who I have crossed paths with have.  Anyway, enough poo-poo stuff.  We're having lunch together on Sat., our little boys in tow.  I can't wait to see her (even though she's, dare I say it, a STEELERS FAN!)

Battle of the Beltway, yo

Another thing I am looking forward to this weekend:  PLAYOFF FOOTBALL!!!  I have not blogged at all about my obsession with professional football, and more specifically, The Baltimore Raven's.  My boys play against the Pittsburgh Steelers this Sat., and this game couldn't carry anymore weight (literally... har har).  I'm also looking forward to watching the Packers and Falcons duke it out.  Good games all around!   Brendon is a Redskins fan, and consequently, I have adopted them as my second NFL team.  God forbid there's ever a Raven's/Redskins match-up that matters...


And, the cherry on top of an already delicious cake?  Date night with my hub!  These nights are so  rare that when we are given the chance to enjoy each others company exclusively, it means so much to me.  Now the BIG question is what to wear, what to wear!  Bren tells me all.the.time how beautiful he thinks I am (ahem- sure sign of an amazing man), but I want to look dy-no-mite for him!  We'll see what I come up with, and maybe I'll do a follow-up outfit/date night post next week.  Keyword:  Maybe  ;)

The 3 best friends that anyone could have

If nothing else, I have an extra day on Monday to spend with the loves of my life, Bren and Liam.  How could I not be thankful!?

Happy long weekend!  Smile!

Oh, and GOOOOO RAVENS!  Ca-Cawwww!

The Raven

13 January 2011

Any Other Name

I play Pandora while I work... whistling hurts my lips  ;)

I wanted to share Thomas Newman's Any Other Name It has been in movies such as American Beauty and Revolutionary Road, and I remember it's significance as a part of a story, a plot, an emotion.  But when heard unconnected with a film, this song has a beauty and a specialty of its very own.

Every time I hear this song, I am instantly at peace. It makes me think about breathing.  It stirs up an appreciation in me for the simplicity and totality of life on our Earth.

What does it make you feel?  What and/or who does it make you think of?

12 January 2011

A Favorite Song: Jar of Hearts

officially obsessed with these lyrics

I know I can't take one more step towards you
Cause all that's waiting is regret
And don't you know I'm not your ghost anymore
You lost the love I loved the most

I learned to live half alive
And now you want me one more time

And who do you think you are
Running 'round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don't come back for me
Who do you think you are

I hear you're asking all around
If I am anywhere to be found
But I have grown too strong
To ever fall back in your arms

And learn to live half alive
And now you want me one more time

And who do you think you are
Running 'round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don't come back for me
Who do you think you are

Dear, it took so long just to feel alright
Remember how to put back the light in my eyes
I wish I had missed the first time that we kissed
Cause you broke all your promises
And now you're back
You don't get to get me back

And who do you think you are
Running 'round leaving scars
Collecting your jar of hearts
And tearing love apart
You're gonna catch a cold
From the ice inside your soul
So don't come back for me
Don't come back at all

10 January 2011

Keep Moving!

Around this time of year... every.year, people start making their highly anticipated New Year Resolutions.  And whilst I hear all of these magnificent objectives being averred with full intent, I also hear the same people simultaneously declare their eventual failure to see any of their resolutions into full fruition. 

"My resolution is to exercise more... but I know in two months, my running shoes will be covered in dust, hiding in the back of my closet."  

"I am going to make an effort to volunteer more... but we'll see how busy I am at work."  

Lighting a cigarette: "I'm going to quit smoking."

Don't Limit Yourself
These are all wonderful goals!  They are all things, that if acted upon, would contribute to a balanced lifestyle.  In fact, I have similar goals.  So yay!  Yay for conjuring up a few ambitions!

But BOOOO!  Boo for setting ourselves up for failure, year after year after year.

Rather than resolving to modify my lifestyle on an annual basis and watching change fly away, I have decided to look at resolution as an attitude as opposed to a goal.

And my attitude of resolution goes a little something like this:

To be better and better and better, to keep looking ahead, to strive to be the best version of myself that I can possibly be.  To embrace variance.  To love and be loved.

Endless Possibilities
I, for one, believe that once I stop setting myself up for failure, and once I make a promise to myself that life is not about yearly delusions, but rather a shift in overall attitude, that I will accomplish all that I need and want to... whenever I am supposed to.  Maybe not in 2011, or in 2019.

2042, perhaps?

But one way or another, I'll get there.  Because I know that I'm not done.  I never will be.

Keep Moving!
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