Thursday, December 29, 2011

Recipe Thursday: Swiss Green Beans

I'm going to start off this week's recipe post with an apology. Somehow I have managed to make this recipe TWICE in the past week and neglected to take pictures of it both times. My mom made this green bean casserole recipe one year as an alternative to the traditional cream of mushroom soup/fried onion variety, and we Wonuses were immediately hooked. I brought it to our Secret Santa work party and then made it again for the Bussells' Christmas day feast.

Swiss Green Beans
-serves 8

2 (1 lb.) cans French style green beans                       1 c. sour cream                       
1 T margarine (or butter)                                            ½ tsp. grated onion
2 tbsp. flour                                                                ¼ lb. grated swiss cheese
1 tsp. salt                                                                    1 c. crushed corn flakes
¼ tsp. black pepper                                                    1 tbsp. melted butter
1 tsp sugar                                                                 

Drain green beans.  Melt margarine. Add flour, salt, pepper, sugar, sour cream, and grated onion.  Fold the beans into the above mixture.  Spread in a 2 qt. buttered casserole dish.  Sprinkle the top with Swiss cheese.  Mix the corn flakes and melted butter, and top beans and cheese dish with the buttered, crushed, corn flakes.  Bake in 375 oven for 30 minutes.  

The second time around there was no Swiss cheese available at the grocery store so I made it with monterrey jack instead and it turned out just as good. If I make this again any time soon I'll post a picture. I hope everyone has a wonderful New Year's- I'll be back Sunday with my week 1 resolution results!

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Three Days and Counting

Season's greetings! I hope everyone is enjoying the Christmas- New Year's limbo where you don't know whether it's acceptable to continue listening to Christmas music and keep your tree and lights up and eat copious amounts of cookies... I am, of course, doing all of these things with wholehearted enthusiasm. If only I didn't have my pesky job to be back to I'd be the happiest girl in the world! Carl and I spent the weekend in Columbia where Julie and Ernie treated us to a wonderfully relaxing, fun holiday. This was my first Christmas not spent with my family and I've got to say, I was a little nervous at first. Thankfully I didn't burst into tears Christmas morning or anything embarrassing like that. I know that I must have been really good this year because look what Santa brought me:

Before you pass judgment I should note that he also gave me the car payment to go with it- yay, adulthood! Me and Carl are a little obsessed with the Subaru. There were a few days where we even fought over who got to drive it. Don't tell him, but this is actually just a ploy on my part to get him to want to chauffeur me everywhere. Sadly I think I'm still having a little PTSD from the Jetta era because I keep having nightmares about the Subaru overheating, and waking up disappointed and angry that I bought a car with the same problems. So far it's treated me well, so let's hope that continues.

In other news, we came home Monday to find a little package with our many wedding pictures waiting inside. If you're my Facebook friend you may have already spotted the albums I posted. It's taken a lot of time to sort through all of them because there's so many (4,400!!!), it's a little overwhelming. I'm still picking out my favorites and drafting out the long-ago promised wedding mega post, so don't think that I got lazy and flaked. It's coming, I promise!

Can you believe we only have 3 days left in 2011!? This is going to be a hard year to top, but I've got really high hopes for 2012. I'm gearing up for the start of the ABC's on Sunday, and getting somewhat anxious about the possibility of picking a super hard letter fresh out of the gate. I've got a yummy recipe for tomorrow, so until then, while the merry bells keep ringing may your every wish come true. Annnd now that song will be stuck in my head for the rest of the night.

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Kitchen Gadget Recommendations

One of my favorite things in the world is finding a good kitchen gadget. Carl will vouch for the fact that, if left unattended, I could stand and drool in Williams Sonoma for hours on end. Who knows, maybe I was a chef in another life! These two gadgets both feature lawn mower- style pulls that make them super fun to use, and also extra handy when the power is out. Behold, the Chef'n VeggiChop Vegetable chopper:

We received this as a wedding gift and really love it. And when I say love it I mean that we fight over who gets to pull the handle to do the chopping. It's just as effective as a mini food processor and perfect for small batches of veggies. You can also swap out a regular lid for the one with the handle to store your veggies in, if need be.

Next up is the Zyliss Easy Spin salad spinner, another awesome wedding gift.

One thing that I think really puts this salad spinner in a league of its own is the stop button on the lid and the fact that it's made out of BPA-free plastic. It was recommended in Flanagan's Smart Home, which I talked about here. I was somewhat surprised that a salad spinner was included in such a small list of essential household items, but mostly excited that her recommendation validated my need for another nifty kitchen tool.

If anyone is looking for a last minute Christmas gift, these would both be great. A special mother-in-law of mine might just be getting one of them (don't worry, I didn't ruin the surprise- she was with me when I bought it)! An added bonus: anyone working on losing weight for the new year can achieve their goal quicker with the arm workout from the pulleys- truly the gift that keeps on giving.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Recipe Thursday: Green Juice and my New Year's Resolution

I can't believe it's already Thursday! Actually, let me rephrase that: I can't believe this is the second to last Thursday before Christmas. Meaning the year is almost over. Holy smokes! Is everyone ready for the holidays? Aside from some tree decorating and non-stop listening to Christmas music (just while I'm in the car, really) I feel like I haven't done anything festive. No cookie baking, no hot chocolate drinking, no present wrapping- Carl and I didn't get each other gifts this year so all of the ones under the tree are for people who won't see that they're not yet wrapped!- and no holiday parties yet. Also, it's hard to get in a holiday mood with the weather being what it has. Singing "Baby it's Cold Outside" when it's 70 degrees out just feels wrong. Oh well, I guess it's coming no matter what. Here's our little tree:

This was taken before we received a beautiful new tree skirt from Mama Wonus. Although the white blanket sort of looks like snow, right?

Today's recipe involves no cooking- it's a juice! We're going to Columbia for the weekend so I'm trying to use up any produce we have that might not be in the best shape by the time we get back. Juicing can be expensive but I always remind myself how good it is for me when I get pouty about the grocery bill. These past few weeks I've been making a glass in the morning to have before my green smoothie, and that way my juicer doesn't get jealous of the new blender. Here's what went in tonight's batch:

2 stalks of celery, 2 green apples, a cucumber, a lemon, 2 big collard leaves, and 4 romaine leaves.

This is what the finished product looks like:

One for me and one for Carl. It got Carl's stamp of approval tonight!

Since we're on the topic of healthy stuff, I'll go ahead and tell y'all my New Year's resolution plans. I'm a notorious resolution abandoner if there ever was one. I think it's a no-brainer that we set ourselves up for failure when we expect to change over night and stay that way. The only resolution I have ever kept for good was to quit biting my nails, which was no small feat for me. Even though it was hard, I think what helped was that I wasn't simultaneously changing every other aspect about myself. And so, with baby steps as my inspiration I came up with my plan for next year: The ABC's of 2012. I've assigned each letter of the alphabet a word (for instance 'T' is for Totinos, 'F' is for fried food, 'L' is for liquor), and each week on Sunday I'll pick a letter and work on modifying my lifestyle or diet over the course of the next week, depending on the word. Here's where it gets interesting: the letter will be picked at random, so I won't know what I'm up against until the week starts. Some of them are really tricky... if you think that 'T,' 'F,' and 'L' are bad, just wait! I had also planned on rewarding myself by putting $20 into a savings account for each successful week and using the money to buy a new blender at the end of it all, but I guess I ruined that. A new rewards system is in the works and I'm definitely open to suggestions. Also, if anyone feels like they are up to the challenge and wants to participate please let me know! I'd be more than thrilled to have a resolution buddy. And don't be intimidated- I do plan on allowing myself to cheat a little bit in social situations, etc. What's life without some good-natured rule bending?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

IT'S HERE!!!!!!

The wait is finally over! Here's our wedding video:

I wish I could go back and relive the day in slow motion- this made me realize how fast it all went by. Thank you to all of our friends and family for making it so awesome and memorable! And yes, I'll admit that I've watched this about 3 times in the past 20 minutes- I'm not ashamed.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

The End of an Era: Emptying the Storage Unit

When I first came to Charleston five years ago my family was in the process of moving to England. This meant that unlike most other college students, I was forced to bring everything I owned with me to school rather than leaving it in my parents' basement for all of eternity. All the trinkets and mementos and clothes and CDs- basically every belonging that I had amassed in my 19 years- it all came. I remember the day I moved into the dorms we hadn't separated the college living necessities from what would soon get put in a storage unit, and everyone looked at me like I was absolutely insane. It was truly a ridiculous amount of stuff. It all sat in a storage unit in Mount Pleasant for three years. After graduation when my car no longer had to be housed in the unit I took some time to downsize and get rid of a few things here and there; just enough to get it all to fit in a smaller unit. That was a process that I had no desire to repeat until recently, when my parents made a deal with me involving the emptying of the unit by the end of the year, or the adoption of the monthly bill. Of course I chose the former option, which meant the beginning of a long and painful journey. Here's a portion of the unit on the first day of cleaning a few weeks ago:

The fact that Carl is wearing shorts in this picture is making me even more depressed about the onset of cold weather

Going through that amount of stuff is exhausting! I can totally relate to those crazy people on 'Hoarders' after a day of sorting. The problem was that they were all things that I used infrequently enough to house in a unit a half an hour away, but once I starting going through it all I realized how much sentimental value so much of it had. I had to take a moment and play therapist to remind myself that throwing away things doesn't equate to throwing love or memories away. Yes it's cheesy but it helped. After several trips to Goodwill, the dumpster, and down Memory Lane we finally finished up the project today:
Allison: 1 Storage Unit: 0

Other life updates: I've been ever so patient in waiting for the professional pictures from our wedding to be ready for everyone's viewing pleasure. Our photographer was awesome and I know that she's working really hard to make everything perfect. She emailed me on Friday to say that she was finishing up, and in the time since then I've been compulsively checking my email every five minutes, dying to see the pictures. I can't wait to share them with everyone, so hopefully we don't have to wait too much longer- I might go crazy otherwise.

Car shopping was sort of fun but mostly not. We found one we really liked, a 2010 Subaru Forester, and we're just waiting to hear back from the seller. Fingers crossed, folks! Subaru owners all have really good things to say about their cars, and the longevity is impressive. Hopefully this will be a car purchase that lasts us for quite some time. Plus I think it'll give me a lot more street cred than the Jetta... at least when I'm shopping at Whole Foods. Right?

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Recipe Thursday: Lazy Time Nachos

I realized around Sunday that I forgot to post for Recipe Thursday last week. Yikes! I wish I had something really incredible to put up to make up for the lost week, but alas, it's me we're talking about. I've been doing a lot of smoothie-making, juicing, and salad eating this week, but tonight I was feeling down in the dumps and big time lazy so I decided to make one of my favorite comfort foods: nachos.

These nachos feature slightly stale Tostitos Hint of Lime tortilla chips, halfway heated black beans, left over Moe's queso, and lazy time guacamole (avocados that I didn't put much effort into mashing, haphazardly diced tomatoes, and a splash of Italian dressing). They turned out great!

Carl and I have officially started the hunt for a new car to replace my Jetta. After trying to overheat on the way home from work the other day- yes, in December- I decided I really need to look for something more reliable that doesn't make me cry every 4-6 weeks when something goes wrong with it. One thing about car shopping that I didn't expect: it's an emotional roller coaster. I keep getting waves of buyer's remorse without actually having made a purchase, I can't decide whether to lease or to buy, and I really have no idea what I want, aside from something not too boxy that won't need repairs ever. We're going on Saturday to look at a few dealerships and I'm a little nervous! In my whole 24 years I can't say that I've exactly mastered the art of negotiation or keeping a poker face, so this could be really interesting. And when I say interesting I mean that Carl might want to kill me by the end of the day. Wish us luck!

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Christmas Come Early

For those of you who haven't yet seen Carl's Facebook status, today was a very exciting day for me. Bed Bath and Beyond has an event for their registrants where they offer a 20% discount on all the items you didn't receive, as well as anything else in the store. It's pure genius! All of us brides stampeded through the store foaming at the mouth and ready to do some serious spending on household items. For the past year or so I've been contemplating getting a high-end blender, but every time I started to save for it something else would come up and the blender would get put on the back burner for another couple of months. When I found out about the BB&B event I decided that it was time to go for it. A 20% discount is huge, and I probably won't be able to get such a good price, well... ever. I've heard great things about Vitamix and Blendtec, so it was a really tough choice for me. After reading through a jungle of research, product comparisons, and consumer reviews I chose the Vitamix and finally got to bring it home tonight. I'm not ashamed to say that I am giddier than a 4-year old on Christmas morning. You might be thinking, "Allison, why in God's name would you spend such a disgusting amount of money on a kitchen appliance?" Good question. Between our gift cards and the aforementioned discount I didn't end up paying too, too much out of pocket. The blender has a 7 year warranty and I read numerous reviews from people who've had theirs for more than double that amount of time without any issue. For the amount of blending I do, that means a lot. I've already used it twice tonight:

Its first green smoothie! I was really impressed with how quickly it blended and how smooth it was.

Homemade salad dressing- Sweet Dijon Vinaigrette

One of my favorite things about it: for cleanup all you have to do is fill it with water and a few drops of dish soap, blend it for a minute and that's it. It's so powerful that it turns it into its own mini-dishwasher! Now I only wish I was hungrier so that I could make more smoothies.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Melman's Hungry

I think this picture speaks for itself.

I feel like I should submit it to one of those websites that posts pictures of pets in funny situations with dumb captions to accompany them. This could be Melman's big break! I've been saying for years that he at least deserves to be on a greeting card.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

1 Month Anniversary

Today is our 1 month wedding anniversary. Before you start to gag, I promise that we won't be tracking our marriage in months from this point on. We are having a little mini celebration, however, that involves eating our cake topper. Yum! It was taking up entirely too much space in our freezer and we knew if we waited the customary year it wouldn't taste good. Solution: celebrate a smaller milestone. So here we are, resting and digesting a little after dinner before cake, and I thought I'd give the blog a little love. It seems like it's been nothing but go-go-go for us these past couple of weeks and I haven't been updating as much as I'd like. This is partly because I've been dedicating a lot of time to reading and researching up on what will be my big project for next year. I'll tell you all about it really soon, I promise. I've also been vigilant about keeping up with the 23 Days of Christmas, so between working out, eating dinner, getting ready for the next day, and watching the occasional zombie show- has anyone kept up with "The Walking Dead?" I'm only a little ashamed to say that I'm a fan- anyways, most days I feel like I come home from work, blink, then go to bed and do it all again. Here's to hoping they find a way to put more hours in a day! I'm off to enjoy my cake and relive this moment:

This is my "how the heck do you cut it?!" face.  We didn't anticipate it being so tricky!

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

Recipe Thursday: Fall Eats and Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone! Are you all ready to stuff yourselves silly? I know I am. Today's recipe post features what I consider to be fall and winter foods- while our grocers have made it possible to buy most fruits and veggies year-round, there's something really nice about eating seasonally. Not to mention, it's a lot more environmentally friendly to do so.

We were given several butternut squashes (thanks, Julie and Ernie!), and I wanted to find a new way to prepare them. In my first culinary encounter with butternut squash I made soup, which turned out to be really yummy-check it out here. It's been in the 70's all week, though, so I wasn't in a particularly soup-y mood. My friend, co-worker, and fellow vegetarian, Devon enlightened me on the way to roast butternut squash. You really do learn something new every day! I made this simple meal when Carl was on his hunting trip last weekend:

Broccoli, Texas toast, and roasted and mashed butternut squash, topped with a little butter and brown sugar. 
A google search for butternut squash recipes led me to this one, and so I prepared myself for my first lasagna-making experience. Was it a success? Yes! Here are a few pictures:

The ingredients for the sauce. This was also my first time making tomato sauce from scratch! I used our new glass prep bowls so that I could pretend I was on a cooking show. 

The onions and spinach being sauteed. As a pretty religious onion-hater I was proud of myself for tolerating this much onion in the recipe.

Here it is! Apparently I neglected to take too many prep pictures... but the layers were butternut squash, noodles, sauce, a ricotta/italian cheese blend, and the spinach and onions. 

Making use of our new dinnerware. I even attempted to make a fancypants Caprese salad.
Keeping with the fall theme, I "baked" pumpkin bread for dessert. Not really- we received this mix as a a wedding gift, so not too much effort was required. Even so, it was really tasty.

Pumpkin bread with pumpkin spread. We're crazy!

Also, cranberries were buy one, get one free this week- are you starting to notice a trend in my grocery shopping? I went a little overboard 1) because cranberries are such a deliciously festive fruit and 2) it's nearly impossible to find them fresh or frozen any other time of year. I froze the majority and have been using the rest in my smoothies. Pear-vanilla-cranberry, apple cranberry, pear-cherry-cranberry, blueberry-pineapple-cranberry, and the list goes on. Yum!

All the goodies, ready to be blended: 
Berries, Apple, Celery, Sprouts, Kale, and Banana

A not-so-green smoothie. Looks like swamp sludge but tastes much better.

Now I'm off to a big Bussells Thanksgiving celebration, followed by some serious Christmas tree decorating. I hope everyone has a wonderful holiday and is able to enjoy the presence of friends and family. Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Happy Birthday, Lauren!

Happy Happy Birthday to my sister Lauren! On this day 19 years ago I was impatiently waiting for my parents to come home from the hospital and introduce me to my new playmate. I was beyond excited when I found out I was going to have a baby sister, and probably made my mom's pregnancy seem ten times longer than it already was by asking how big the baby was on a daily basis, and other important questions. Naturally, I was disappointed when Lauren didn't want to play games with me fresh out of the womb, and seemed only to cry when I tried to "entertain" her. Her birth brought a never-ending parade of women with pre-made meals to our doorstep, all of which were lasagna- one of my very least favorite foods growing up. And so I quickly lost interest in the baby who would not play with me and began to resent her for causing night after night of torture at the dinner table. How cruel 5-year old girls can be! I'm truly sorry for all the years of torture, name-calling, etc that followed.

Fast forward to the present, and Lauren has turned out to be an incredibly smart, gifted, and motivated young woman (who, on occasion, actually does like to play games). She succeeds in most everything that she pursues and, let's face it- got through her teenage years much more gracefully than my brother and I did. I know the future holds very big things for her. Happy Birthday, little sister!!

Saturday, November 19, 2011

The 23 Days of Christmas

Happy, happy weekend! Is anyone doing anything exciting? Carl left yesterday after work for some sort of hunting man fest... after that I lost interest, so who knows what he's really doing, but I have been left to my own devices for the weekend. So far that has entailed a yummy dinner, some reading, and going to bed at 9 on a Friday night. On the agenda for today: a trip to the grocery store, laundry, probably lots more reading, and a workout.

Which brings me to today's topic: the 23 days of Christmas! It's a new exercise tally I've devised as a follow- up to my "Pre-Wedding Workout Tally." Here she is, all completed before the wedding:

I was so proud of myself for following through with a goal. Then we went on our honeymoon and probably ate double our weights in food. Not to mention, the mirrors on the ship are incredibly cruel, making us look shorter and stumpier than we really are. And so, after feeling on top of the world before the wedding for getting in shape, I left the cruise with the lowest of self esteems, and the resolve to jump back on the wagon. Can the wagon be used in reference to things besides alcohol and smoking? Not sure. I apologize if I've mis-used it here. Anyways, I know myself well enough to know that just saying that I'll work out 4-5 times a week isn't going to actually happen. I have to be held accountable, like a small child, using charts, graphs, and calendars. So I came up with a shorter version of the wedding tally to get me through 2011. I've got all kinds of secret plans for 2012 that I'm dying to share with you all, but I have to keep reminding myself to stay focused on the present, and not just throw the rest of the year out the window. Why 23 days of Christmas, you might ask? It makes no sense! Actually, it's the number of workout videos that I own that aren't scratched or otherwise damaged. I just have to complete each video once before Christmas and that's it! I just know I can do it; in fact, I already have 4 days under my belt.

Now it's off to run my errands so that I can be a homebody with these two precious angels.

Have a great weekend!

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Recipe Thursday: Gardein

Another week has gone by and I have absolutely no new recipes to post. Such a failure! Tonight Carl and I went on a much-needed dinner date to Nirlep, which I wrote about here. Okay, okay, to say it was a much needed date is an exaggeration- we did just get back from our honeymoon. But boy, I've missed Nirlep and was starting to go through serious withdrawals. Anyways, I do have a few recipe ideas cooking (get it!?), but they require a little more time in the kitchen than I'm willing to dedicate on a weeknight. This Sunday I'll be putting my culinary skills to the test and you'll get to hear all about it next Thursday. As for today, I thought I'd do a product review for Gardein. These were recently buy one get one free at Publix so Carl and I decided to give them a try. Here's what we ended up getting:

We were really impressed with both of these. I've more or less gotten past the stage in my vegetarianism where I'm trying to find meat replacements in order to keep it up. That said, it's hard to get out of the mentality that dinner needs to be a well-rounded meal, with distinct protein, grain, and vegetable components in order to be complete. That's where these meatless entrees come into play. Recently they're something I've been trying not to buy as much of: a) they tend to be on the pricier side, hence our enthusiasm for BOGO deals, and b) they're usually all jacked up with sodium and a mile-long list of artificial ingredients. Gardein, however, boasted a surprisingly short ingredients list, all of which were recognizable. And they were pretty darn tasty to boot. Go check and see if your favorite grocery store has them! 

Monday, November 14, 2011

Not a Post About the Wedding

I know, I know-  y'all are probably itching to read my great big wedding post and are wondering why, two full weeks after the big day, I haven't yet put anything up about it (or at least I would be if any of my friends had just gotten married... I might be a little more wedding-obsessed than the average person, though). Anyways, I have my reasons:
1) I wanted to wait to get our professional photos back so that I could better illustrate the whole experience. After all, a picture is worth 1000 words and therefore saves me a lot of writing. 
2) I haven't actually written it yet. Doing so will only bring me closer to the realization that the wedding has really and truly already come and gone.
3) New memories keep popping back into my head! It's like when you have a dream that comes back to you slowly throughout the day, and finally you're able to piece together what it was about. I figure if I wait long enough, I'll have a lot more to say... as if that was going to be an issue. 

Hence, another post that's not about the wedding. Instead I thought I'd talk about the fact that our house is finally clean, probably for the first time in months. Carl and I clocked some major time kicking clutter's butt this past weekend. Anyone who has seen our condo knows that we're more than a little short on space. I think when we decided to buy it we were so blinded by our excitement at the prospect of having our own place that we neglected to actually look at it. Never again will we make this mistake! People, count closets and drawers and cupboards before you move in- or worse, commit to a mortgage. It's been such a challenge trying to find homes for all of our new goodies, but we were determined to make it work. I now present to you the two new pieces of furniture that we acquired over the weekend:

<---- A book shelf, doubling as a china cabinet. We already have so many other pieces of free-standing kitchen furniture to make up for the lack of cupboard and drawer space that we were a little reluctant to invest in another one. When we move into a house one day, I think we'll have more use for a book shelf. As for now we're hoping the earthquake that Charleston is supposedly overdue for doesn't come, because this thing is jam packed with 90% of the breakable things that we own. And yes, we now have enough dishes to feed 20 people a three course meal. Come on over!

Our condo is also really limited on bathroom storage space or a linen closet of any kind, so we got this new little cubby system for towel overflow. We're still registered for quite a few more towels so this was an anticipatory purchase. I suspect it will be completely full within the next few weeks. 

After all this, Carl and I have really mastered the art of assembling moderately priced furniture from big box stores. We whipped these up in an impressively short amount of time! And speaking of whipping things up, we rounded out the weekend with a nice batch of waffles:

Looking particularly domestic. Apron, courtesy of World Market.



Friday, November 11, 2011

Excuses, Excuses and Creamy Cauliflower Soup

Somehow this week has gone by and I have gotten little to nothing accomplished. Nobody tells you that after the months and months of planning a wedding you'll come back and be completely unmotivated to do anything- or maybe it's just me. The week before the wedding I gained superhuman strength, waking up disgustingly early and going nonstop until late at night. The only other time in my life that I've been able to survive on such little sleep was when I first started seeing Carl, back in the days of scandal and secrecy. So here's to you, Carl, for being the only person able to hinder my dedication to a full 10 hours of sleep each night (and sometimes a nap during the day). Now that's true love!

I've given myself a free pass this week; after all, I was getting adjusted to being back to work and being back on land. My equilibrium was so off when we first got back, I felt drunk and loopy for a few days after getting off the ship. Now I'm back to normal, and thanks to today's holiday I finally feel caught up on sleep. I'm ready to tackle the huge mess in our house, get back into an exercise routine, and be an all-around productive person.  Last night after work we drove to the Bussells' house in Irmo to collect our dogs and visit a little before we head back to Charleston. Carl and Ernie are out kayaking (brrr!), which left me the opportunity to post a belated Recipe Thursday recipe.

Creamy Cauliflower soup comes from this cookbook:

We registered for this after participating in a CSA in 2010. It seemed we were always looking for new ways to prepare our many weekly vegetables. We planted our own patio garden last spring and opted not to do the CSA, but the heat got the best of a lot of the plants since they were in pots, so we didn't harvest as much as we'd hoped. It's likely that we'll participate again next year, since it's such a great support to our local farmers and we're getting organic produce at a fraction of the cost of grocery store produce. Anyways, I highly recommend the cookbook. Many of its recipes, including this one, are very simple and feature only a few easy-to-find ingredients. In fact, the only ingredients for this soup are cauliflower, water, onion, and salt and pepper. Here it is, in the bread bowls we got from Publix, garnished with cheddar cheese and extra pepper (and featuring some of our new kitchen items!):

Next time I make this I might try using vegetable broth instead of water, and adding a potato to make it a little more hearty and flavorful. The bread bowls and cheese complemented it nicely, though, and we really like it as is.

Well, I'm off to go play with the dogs a little more and enjoy this cool fall day. Have a great weekend!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Now That the Honeymoon is Over...

Hello, long lost blog! Carl and I got back from our honeymoon this afternoon and now, after barely scratching the surface of all the general post-wedding life organization that awaits us, I thought I'd stop in to give a quick recap. I've been sorting through tons and tons of pictures and plan on dedicating a mega-post to the cruise in its entirety very soon, but in the meantime here are a few of my favorite pictures:

Enjoying some poolside pina coladas

Getting ready to snorkel in Haiti

The gorgeous beach

Getting fancy on formal night

We found the Apples to Apples competition- and Carl won!

Zipline in Haiti 

Dessert, Dessert, Dessert

Carl and Karl

Quite possibly the first ever picture of me holding a fish!

Carl, enjoying our deep sea fishing day in Grand Cayman
We had such an awesome, awesome time. Leaving the ship this morning was a struggle; we weren't sure if we were ready to cope with the drive home and the knowledge that real life awaits us tomorrow. Who will bring us breakfast in bed, or take our picture every 5 minutes, or sing us the "Happy Honeymoon" song, or tell us that it's sippin' time? How will we survive without the 16 meals a day that we've become accustomed to? It's going to be a hard adjustment.

With all this honeymoon talk you might think that I've already forgotten about the wedding, but don't be fooled! All I can say right now is that it was beyond perfect- a day that we'll cherish forever. After a good night's sleep I'll be able to give a much more coherent rundown than I possibly could right now, so stay tuned for that.

Here's to life after the honeymoon!