Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Homemade Chicken Salad and Strawberry Jam

Good Morning! So I have decided to become domestic the past couple of days and experiment in the kitchen :)

When we were in Edisto this weekend, an Arby's commercial kept coming on introducing their enticing chicken salad--I mean my mouth literally was watering! So on the way home, after a little convincing, Drew and I stopped at Costco to pick up a rotisserie chicken so I could make homemade chicken salad :)  A small money saving tip: Costco always has rotisserie chickens for 4.99 and Harris Teeter has chickens on sale on Sundays for 4.99 (usually 7.99).

When we were at Costco--I just had to buy strawberries too!  It was a steal at 5.99 for a huge thing of strawberries and I decided that while I was in the mood to cook/prepare food, I might as well attempt to make strawberry jam again (fingers crossed that it would work this time--last time a little too runny for my liking).

I made the chicken salad by pulling apart the chicken, then added a couple dollops of miracle whip (I know, I know-I'm more of a mayo gal too, but it was on sale), a hint of spicy mustard, sliced up 3 celery stalks, a bunch of grapes (halved), added some slivered almonds with salt and pepper :)  It was delicious--one of the biggest reasons I like to cook/bake for myself is because I can make food how I want it to be and how I like it.  I love chicken salad--but a lot of times there is too much mayo or they use dill (which I am not a fan of)--so it was the perfect recipe for me (I think others liked it too ;))!

Chicken Salad 

After my last attempt at strawberry jam went a little south and a whole lot of runny, I decided to use a different recipe and try again.  I used the whole thing of strawberries (came out to 5 cups after food processing), 6 cups of sugar (I used splenda--gotta love my artificial sugar), lemon juice (from half a lemon--if I had a whole lemon I would have used it all), and the remaining fruit pectin packet (I got sure-jel a couple weeks back when I made a strawberry pie and only used about a tablespoon of it so decided that it could be alright to just use the rest--if I had a whole pack I would have used that). I put the strawberries, lemon and pectin in a large pot, brought it to a boil, then added the sugar--stirring for 1.5 minutes while it is boiling, then took it off the heat and put the jam in prepared jars!  Surprisingly, it worked this time--not too runny (think this recipe is a keeper)!!

The whole recipe made 2 big jars and 1 small
And it's spreadable!!! YAY!

Off to my internship...after I eat some fried eggs with strawberries :)

Dont knock it til you try it ;)

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Glass Onion Date and Relaxing Weekend :)

Good Morning!

I forgot to post this yesterday...but it's better late than never-right?!

The start of my weekend started with a wonderful meal at Glass Onion.  Glass Onion is a great little southern restaurant off of highway 17 in West Ashley.  Drew's sister, Meredith, recommended it to us a while back and after going a couple weeks ago we were hooked!  It has an absolutely wonderful atmosphere with a restaurant/diner feel and their food is literally out of this world delicious...I do have a special place in my heart for good downhome southern cookin ;)

Starters--great deviled eggs!
Ate them All :)
So good.

My weekend continued with amazing food.  I went out to eat with some of my best girlfriends before heading downtown for the night.  We ate at J.Paulz off of Maybank and had a great time catching up.  We usually have a "girls night" once a week, but all of our busy schedules kept us from having our weekly ritual.  The weekend was a perfect time to catch up :)
Dinner with Friends

After our Friday night out on the town, I was feeling pretty sluggish on Saturday morning.  I have been promising myself for the past month that I will make it to the farmers market in Marion Square on the weekend.  I asked around, but everyone was wanting to go to the beach, brunch or fish--so I decided to keep the promise to myself and go to the market by myself!  I rarely do things by myself, though I always say that I want to, and found this Saturday morning was the perfect time to have some independent time :)
Farmers Market!
Stools (I had one of these growing up)

I went early, but the market was already packed!  I absolutely love all the fresh produce and looking around at all the neat nicks and nacks that they have.  I picked up a red tomato (found out after purchasing it that it was grown in FL--what a crock!) and some asparagus (was homegrown)!  I am glad that I kept my promise to myself and really enjoyed some alone time.

I finished up my weekend by going to Edisto to hang out with Drew's mom and sister.  It was a lot of fun (despite the bad weather--tropical storm watch) and awesome to just relax.  We even saw a rainbow when we were eating at Moconkys! 

Edisto Sunset

Happy start of the week :)

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Coconut Banana Bread and Baseball

I made an incredible banana bread--if I do say so myself--and even health-ified it some :)!  Last week I picked up a few bananas, and I usually am good about eating fruit before it goes bad--but since I was gone this past weekend--my bananas got a little too ripe for my liking.  Which means--either freeze them to make smoothies or make banana bread (oh, the decisions in life)!  

I decided to try out a semi-unique recipe! I wanted to spice the traditional banana bread up some, and since I am cheap--I decided against a uber-nutty version and chose a coconut banana bread recipe instead.  I love coconut and it is the perfect treat on a spring/summer day--a hint of paradise so to speak!

Flour/Coconut Mix
Using my Kitchen-Aid: Thanks Mom :)
Pour, baby pour...
Into the Oven...

Banana bread is really quick to make and tastes delicious; with 10 minutes of prep time and around 50 minutes cook time--bread was done!  It wasn't as moist as I like it to be, I think the coconut soaked up some of the moister, but it is still pretty stinking good.  I will definitely use this recipe again--and maybe break the bank and add some walnuts next time ;)

Last night, I ended up going to the Riverdogs game.  Sadly the team lost, but it was a great time and we all really enjoyed the cheap beer :).  On Tuesday nights, the Riverdogs have a two for Tuesday deal- where you get 2 tickets for the price of one (so that means 3.50 a ticket)!  And a little known secret--they have dollar beer all the time, as long as it doesn't run out.  Drew and I ended up having a super cheap date night and had a great time with our future roomies, Jake and Tess! It was a lot of fun--we definitely did a lot more talking than watching, but thats usually how baseball games go!


Me and Drew--See I sport a baseball hat at the game!
Drew photo pic! 

Today was my first day back at my internship!  And boy, oh boy did it feel great to finally get back in the swing of things.  It really is crazy how much I enjoy going to the office and helping out in any way I can. It really puts all the things that I have been learning into perspective--and is always cool when you actually get to apply things that you learn in the classroom- crazy right?!

After the office, I decided to make myself a nice big late lunch.  I had frozen a shrimp burger from a couple weeks ago, de-thawed it and pan seared it!  I put the burger with some edamame on top of salad mixed with the homemade sesame about a nice lunch!  It was the perfect end to the day!  
Shrimp-Sesame Salad :)

All mixed up--SOO good! 

Off to read more of my book (I'm addicted) before going to body pump :)

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Bachelorette Night!

Good Morning!

I finally figured out my summer plans :)!  I am so excited to get back on a normal routine--it really is crazy how much I crave structure in my life.  I wish I was a person that could just get a long laizze-faire but since I'm not--I have to take joy in having some structure!

Last night was a busy one.  Drew and I went on a nice 3 mile run around his neighborhood.  I honestly can't tell you how nice it is to have running routes that you know the exact milage of--it really makes the run go by quickly!  After our run, I whipped up a nice meal with fried calamari and tartar sauce, salmon steaks with soy sesame vinaigrette dressing, side salads with fixings and some edamame.  

Drew's mom gave me a wonderful recipe for soy sesame vinaigrette and I just had to try it when I got home.  It was super simple to make and delicious: we drenched almost everything on our plates with the vinaigrette.  The calamari was something that we recently found and is really easy to prepare as well.  Harris Teeter sells calamari steaks- they are really fine patties and real slimy- all you have to do is slice the steak into strips drench it with House Autry breading (we add some red pepper flakes for a hot kick) and dip it in the deep fryer (we double dip it--to make it extra crunchy).  All and all the meal was satisfying and surprisingly didn't leave us in a food coma :)

Salad with Vinaigrette
Dinner--big steak!

After dinner, we assembled Scout's crate while waiting for the bachelorette to start!  We are so excited for the little puppy to come home--I can't explain it!  We went shopping on Sunday night to pick up a few toys for her and to get the essentials (bowls, leech, mat, etc); literally we are doing everything possible before we get her. 

Drew with Scout's Crate--nice pad too!
Toys and yes, Clemson Leech is a necessity ;)

As for the bachelorette--I was so excited for it to start.  Drew, Brandon and I all watched it on the big TV while putting 21 Jump Street on during the commercials.  I don't know if I was more excited for it to start or if the boys were, but regardless as always it is going to be another summer addiction.  My vote is Brad from Athens or Augusta, GA, he has the sweet southern accent and was a pro athlete--winner!  

Monday, May 14, 2012

They Say Things Come in Threes--3 Big Life Decisions

Good Morning and Happy Monday!

I have a world of new news! I have been contemplating big girl, big life decisions over the past few months and finally have made some decisions!  After much thought--I have come up with three major life developments...

The first is not as big of a surprise--but after 3 and a half years (off and on times) Drew and I are finally moving in together.  I am very, very excited!  I used to always say that I will never live with a boy before I was married or at least engaged, and I still do value that opinion that I once had. But I have come to realize that sometimes you can plan or say things that in the end really don't make sense when the time comes.  I know that some people do look down upon living with a significant other before marriage, but for us it just seems like the right thing to do.  We are both at a place in our lives that it seems like a good next step, so after much debate (mostly by me and my indecisive nature) we decided to move in together!

That being said--we are also moving in with another couple: Jake and Tess.  Jake has been Drew's best friend since high school (literally they are two peas in a pod) and his girlfriend, Tess, is just as awesome!  They both have been crewing on a yacht for the past year and finally decided to land back in Charleston.  Drew could not be happier to have his best friend back!  Drew and I talked a lot about just living with each other, but decided that it just makes more sense to live with another couple for now.  Also, Tess and Jake are wonderful and they are some of the most laid back people I have met so I am elated that we all get to live together!
Future Roomies :)
Jake preparing dinner on the dock!
Drew and Me at our future home :)
Jake and Tess
View from our future dock--so pretty

On the other big news I have for this wonderful Monday--we are going to be welcoming a new addition: a little boykin spaniel!! For the past year it seems I have been bugging Drew about getting a dog.  He is much more rational than I am and always said that we could get a dog once we had a yard--well since we are about to move into a house with a yard (and dock) we decided that it was finally time to get a little puppy!
Welcome Scout!

This weekend I was able to finally see the little girl.  Drew and his mom got to visit Scout a few weeks back and I was so excited that I got to see her this weekend.  Drew and I went up to Chapin for a friends wedding and on the way got to stop in and see the new addition.  She is a bundle of energy and I can't wait to have her home :)  We get to pick her up at the end of the just a couple more weeks!
Drew and Scout

Trying to get her to look (she wasnt having it)

She is a handful--and strong :)

Scout :) soo cute!

Our first kiss!

And lastly, I have decided to run a marathon come December.  As always running marathons is a huge time commitment and takes a ton of dedication.  I always like to have a little break in training after running marathons--but for whatever reason I seem to get the drive to run more!  So come December 9, 2012 I will be running the Kiawah Marathon with my dad, sister and Mimi! I am soo happy to have such a support group and blessed that my family enjoys the challenge as well :)

Off to finish breakfast before going to body attack express and maybe even body pump if I can handle it?! 

Breakfast with homemade Chai Latte, bagel and cottage cheese
(totally the breakfast of champions)!

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

New Shoes, New Day!

Happy Hump Day!  My mom used to always say that on Wednesdays--it used to gross me out haha, but now I think its sort of cute--the hump in the middle of the week and its all smooth sailing from Wednesday on :)

Yesterday was my "last day of freedom" so to speak!  I start orientation for my research position today and then starting next week I will be back in full swing of research and internship!  I am definitely a person that has to have something to do--and having nothing to do stresses me out more than when I am swamped!  I know it seems crazy-but I just feel so guilty/useless if I don't have anything going on...

I decided to relish in my day off! I planned to go for an afternoon run around the battery, but instead decided to take the time off and lay by the pool while reading Mockingjay.  It was a gorgeous afternoon with the sun shining through the clouds.  I lasted a couple hours by the pool, before I decided that my skin had gotten too much sun and turned it in for the day.  I love getting tan, but I only like being out in the sun for a couple hours because I don't want to get too fried!

After Drew got off work- we decided to go downtown and check out a store before going on a short 2.5 mile run. I got new shoes in the mail on Monday and was dying to try them out.  I have been running in Brooks Adrenaline for the past year and officially have gotten every color of the 11th edition (they a really pretty 12th edition- but they are about 50 dollars more than the old edition- so 11th it is)!  Drew's knee has been hurting and he has been so busy lately that he got out of the "groove" of running and needs to ease back in.  So we took it slow and completed a pretty course downtown--I know he was happy when we finished! 
Purple Pair of Running Shoes :) 
Kinda Clemson!
Running in Historic Downtown
Running to the Battery off of King
Hat is a must in the summer :)

After our run we decided to go to the store and pick up dinner.  The other week we made these huge wedge salads and decided to recreate them but on a smaller version (side dish) and pair it with some broiled salmon! The wedge salads were filled with bacon, raisins, croutons, sunflower seeds, red onion, tomatoes and asian dressing (I know not the healthiest salad--but boy it was tasty).  We ate our dinner while watching---The Vow!  It was such a cute movie and even though Channing Tatum isn't the worlds best actor, he certainly is easy on the eyes ;) 
Wedge Salad filled to the max!
Someone looks a little creepy or hungry?
I like my salmon--big piece please!
Our dinner formation--in front of the TV
(the salads were too big for plates--had to bowl it)
Nothing like ending the night with some 
homemade kettle corn!

As for this morning, I planned to wake up and go to the gym early with a session of bodypump--but that turned into me sleeping in until 9..which is unheard of!  I guess my body just needs its rest so I took the morning easy and did some chores I needed to get to (cleaning, bills, appliance fixing call, etc)! Now its off to shower and get ready for some research orientation--talk about exhilarating whoop whoop!
Bagel Sandwich with some Chi Latte :)