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Monday, April 30, 2012

Caprese Egg Sammy

one of the best trio's known to [wo]man. 

This one is pretty simple folks and it is happy-dance good. I may or may not have actually done a little happy dance while eating this guy late Saturday morning. Just sayin'... there's a strong possibility! It's that good

Caprese Egg Sammy 
recipe = 1 sandwich 
  • 1 poached egg 
    • not sure how to poach an egg? check out this awesome how-to from the Smitten Kitchen
  • 1 slice of tomato (heirloom or beefsteak)
  • 1 slice mozzarella 
  • 2-3 basil leaves, thinly sliced 
  • 1 english muffin, divided and toasted
  • 1 tbsp of butter spread of choice (I'm partial to Earth Balance)
  • s + p to taste 
pretty self-explanatory. 
toast your english muffin. spread your buttery spread. poach your egg(s).
layer english muffin with tomato slice, mozzarella slice, and place poached egg on top.
sprinkle egg with salt and pepper. finish with basil on top. 

This stuff is ___________.  I'll let you fill in the blank. 
It's gluten free, lactose free, and egg free [vegans unite!]. 
With all those things "missing" you'd think it would taste like __________. 
I'll letcha fill in that one too. But seriously trust me when I say it's one of my favorite discoveries!

Whoops. I think I drooled a little... 

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Sunday, April 29, 2012

The Top 5

I feel like we haven't really talked in a while 
[insert awkward silence]
well, let's catch up! 

1. the top 5 cooking tips... as of today 
  • CLEAN AS YOU GO. This one took some practice! It was kind of forced practice in my old kitchen, which was literally the smallest kitchen on Earth. Maybe 10 sq. feet. Seriously. I could sit in the corner and wash the entire floor-with out moving!! So I HAD to clean as I went or else I ran out of space, period. Any who-- cleaning as you go helps for lots of reasons even if you have the biggest kitchen out there. It keeps your ingredients organized [less mistakes]. Putting away ingredients after you use them will keep them fresh and less likely to spoil. And it just keeps things moving. Which means less clean-up time + more relaxing 'that was really yummy' time. 
  • Know Your Pantry. The more you know whatcha got the easier it is to create recipes + swap in and out ingredients as needed.
  • Stock Your Spice Rack. This one can get a little expensive. So something I used to do is each time I went to the grocery store (2-3 times per month) I would invest in a new spice/oil to add to my collection. I would highly reccomened investing in the basics, but also stepping out of your comfort zone with spices will have you trying new dishes you perhaps wouldn't think you could cook. Plus, having a wide selection of spices keeps things fun and low in fat because you're adding flavor without a ton of calories. 
  • Recipes are Only a Guideline. When reading a recipe don't let ingredients you don't like keep you from making it. Always adapt recipes to what you and your other eaters love. If you hate cilantro-- don't use it!!
  • Taste As You Go!! As much as I love to sample as I cook, this tip can actually be tough for me. Sometimes I get into such a whirlwind in the kitchen by the time I get my food on the plate, I sometimes wish I hadn't added that shake of salt or extra sprinkle of red pepper flakes. Tasting as you go will help you stay on top of the flavors you are combining. Remember you can always add more, waiting until the end to taste is too late, Nate! 
2. the top 5 things I LOVE about this time of year
  • SUNSHINE!! This time of year the sunshine just engulfs me in happiness. And the days are getting so much longer...which means more sunshine! 
  • Bright Colors. They are every where! Everything from rugs, to napkins, to spring fashion is bursting with bright colors. And well, that just brings a grin to my face.
lovely rugs found @ Garnet Hill

Tea Towels from West Elm
[let's face it. anything from this place would be welcome in our home.]

Spool No. 72 is responsible for this bright + colorful dress. 
  • Running! Those that know me probably just did a double-take. Yes, I said running. I used to say that I only run if I'm being chased...But lately its been so beautiful outside I find myself being an eager-beaver to get home from school and go for a little jog. The temp is ideal. Not too hot. I DO NOT LIKE TO BE HOT. Those that know me, will agree with that statement. I become a very angry-snappy version of myself when I'm too hot and without a cool body of water to dunk myself into. Hence the love I have for the current perfect running temperatures.

  • Farmers Markets. It's the most wonderful time...of the year! [bet you just sang it in your head too] We're heading into the glorious months of homegrown, fresh produce right off the truck! Here in Frederick, MD we have a fabulous Farmers Market that is actually starting up this coming weekend {May 5th}. Draws a huge crowd and has quite a diverse group of vendors. Everything from fresh mixed salad greens, cookies + pies, goat cheeses, typical fruits + veggies, and fresh cut flowers. For more about our local markets click here. Not a local Fredericktonian? Be sure to find out what markets are going on in your area. If nothing else, go for the experience... it makes for a lovely Saturday morning if ya ask me!

  • Flowers! I always admired great gardening, however I just recently discovered my green thumb. Ever since I've been diving into the gardening world with arms wide open. We have a super small "green-space"- so it's just right for my beginner status. So far I have mastered [with the help of mom] a small herb garden + a few stacked container plants. Baby steps. 
exhibit A. 

3. the top 5 things I'm pinning [we're talking Pinterest peeps!]

An instagram gallery. Brilliant!!
all those fabulous photos don't have to live in instagram-land. 
you can display them to see + love everyday. 
definitely going on the summer-project list!

so fresh + pretty for a spring-time arrangement.

these etsy prints are so sweet! usually thought of as a children's song, 
You Are My Sunshine is actually the song my husband sings to me. 
awwwwww. pretty mushy lovey-dovey huh? HA! 
sorry. won't happen again. [psshht, who am I kiddin'?!]

"Use tape to measure distance between the two holes, 
then put the tape on the wall." Sometimes Pinterest just makes me feel dumb.
Do you know how many times I could have used this trick. 
[why didn't I think of this??!] 

I find this to be absolutely true. 

4. the top media-buzzing story I'm following...
  • RGIII!! It's the end of an era and the beginning of an era. Basically the end of the Redskins sucking and the beginning of them well... not sucking. RGIII or Robert Griffin the 3rd has officially been drafted for quarterback in the upcoming NFL season. As a long-time diehard Skins fan, I have to say I feel a sense of hope. I also feel a sense of pressure for this dude. Everyone has huge expectations for this guy... let's hope he can live UP to the hype!

5 . the top 5 amusing things this week...
  1. I was so entranced [zombie-zoned] while working on my computer and "watching" SMASH, that when I finally glanced up at the TV, I was no longer looking at Kathrine McPhee prance around the stage but heavy-weight boxers "jitterbuggin" and beating the shiz out of each other. WHOA! Apparently when I want to, I can focus
  2. Overheard one of my male students planning his outfit aloud to a friend, "Nah man, if I wear my skinny-jeans with those shoes it throws the whole look off." Dude- I totally get it.   
  3. While trying to run into the house with arms full of groceries I am boggled as to why my keyless entry remote control to my car just will NOT open my front door. [here's your sign!]
  4. Listened to a woman carry on a full conversation, on speaker phone, in the dressing room next to mine. Uh hello, did this lady miss the memo? If your convo is that important, your clothes can wait. I learned more about this woman in 10 minutes via broadcasted phone call than I know about some of my co-workers. T-M-I!!
  5. Falling off the sidewalk while trying to read an email on my phone. Yep. That happened. Luckily no one but my clumsy self got to witness that one. 
funny because it's true.

glad we had a chance to chittie-chat. 
same time next week?

Friday, April 27, 2012

Mediterranean Shrimp Orzo

Mediterranean flavors are some of my all time favorites! We got totally spoiled on our honeymoon [2 years ago] when we island hopped in Greece for 10 days. Kalamata olives, tzatziki, hummus, and feta made up the majority of our diet. And it was gloriousThis dish was slightly inspired by those flavor combinations and my nagging desire for some good shrimp!

Mediterranean Shrimp Orzo
serves 4-6
  • 1 lb of raw shrimp, peeled and deveined 
  • 1 lb uncooked orzo 
  • 2-3 tbsp EVOO
  • 1 cup cherry tomatoes
  • 1 cup kalamata olives
  • 3 tbsp pesto
  • 2 tbsp chili garlic sauce
  • 1-3 tbsp lemon juice
  • pinch of salt
  • 2-3 tbsp pepper
  • 1 cup feta cheese, crumbled
  1. begin boiling water for orzo. cook according to directions. drain and rinse well.
  2. in a large bowl mix pesto and chili garlic sauce. this will be the base for your pasta sauce. set aside.
  3. then in a large skillet heat EVOO over med-high heat. add shrimp, olives, and tomatoes. stir + cook until shrimp are pink. remove from heat season with salt and pepper. drizzle with lemon juice.
  4. add orzo + shrimp mixture to pesto/chili garlic sauce bowl. mix well. finally stir in feta cheese.
  5. serve over a bed of baby romaine or your leafy green of choice.

  6. This meal is light + fresh.  
    It sends me back to our lovely days spent in Mediterranean. ahhh...
    ok, I'm back.

         happy Friday folks...and don't forget to treat-yo-self. 

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Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cheesy Chicken and Sausage Bake

I've noticed recently that I seem to start a lot of my posts about the weather. I've come to two possible conclusions about this...Either I am well on my way to early-bird-special status and have nothing better to talk about besides the weather. Or the weather usually dictates my mood and food choices. Lets go with the latter option, mkay? The truth is the weather really does affect me. It affects my mood and it affects what I am in the mood for. Take for instance Sunday evening. It was cold, wet, and rainy all day. For dinner I was in the mood for something warm, comforting, and tasty! This cheesy pasta combo was just that. As my father would say, "it hit the spot!"

check out that cheesy-goodness!

Cheesy Chicken and Sausage Bake
serves 4-6
  • 1 lb gemelli pasta [penne or rigatoni would work well too]
  • 2 tbsp EVOO, separated
  • 2 links of chorizo sausage, sliced
  • 3 cups chicken, cooked and cubed
  • 2 cups jarred marinara
  • 8oz [reduced fat] cream cheese
  • 2 tbsp red pepper flakes
  • 3 tbsp Italian Seasoning
  • 1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
  • 3-4 cups baby spinach
  • 1 medium onion, chopped
  • 1 tbsp garlic, minced 
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • s+p to taste 
  1. begin by boiling water for pasta and pre-heating oven to 375 degrees. 
  2. add pasta and cook 10-12 minutes, or until pasta is al dente. drain and rinse with water. 
  3. meanwhile, begin sauteing onions and garlic with EVOO [1 tbsp] over medium heat. after about 2-3 minutes add sausage. cook for another 2-3 minutes, stirring well. then add spinach, sprinkle with lemon juice and the remaining EVOO. season with s+p. let simmer.
  4. in a large bowl place cream cheese + marinara. add cooked pasta and chicken and mix until all of the sauce is combined.[the heat from the pasta should melt the cream cheese so it blends together nicely!]
  5. remove spinach and sausage mixture from stove, add to pasta mixture. before stirring, add red pepper flakes and Italian seasoning. stir altogether. [take a whiff...yep-gonna be good]
  6. add pasta mixture to a olive oil greased casserole dish. cover with cheese and more Italian seasoning if desired. bake for 8-10 minutes or until cheese is melted. 
this pasta bake is a triple threat.
it's cheesy, savory, and spicy.
cheesy thanks to the cream cheese & melted mozzarella.
savory thanks to the Italian Seasonings & baby spinach.
and spicy thanks to the red pepper flakes & the smoky chorizo sausage!
a triple-threat is bound to get a winning reception.{and a standing ovation}
make this and share.
you'll make new friends & keep the old ;)

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Girls Night Out- Downtown Frederick

Nothing like starting the week with a temperature drop of 30 degrees, rain and a stressful hour-long meeting. Talk about a whiplash back into reality. I was sweating working outside whilst in capri-pants, short sleeves, and flip-flops on Saturday. And now they're calling for snow in parts of western MD?? As my always quotable team leader would say, "Excuse me and do what??!" I'm usually not one to complain about the weather. But this year has been down right ridiculous with its seemingly confused weather patterns. Let's go back to a happier time, shall we?! A pleasant memory where my biggest concern was "should we walk or wait for the limo?" Ha! Oh memories... 
 Sweet memories coming atcha: Girls Night Out- Downtown Frederick
[Thursday, April 19th] Tickets were $15 which included a 
20% off shopping pass at 4 fabulous local shops. 
Plus signature cocktails at each store, yummy bites AND limo rides! Whoop whoop! 
Best part...all of the ticket proceeds benefited the Heartly House
[fun + philanthropy?!]
we had a blast playing with the props + posing at Silk & Burlap's photo booth 
with Virginia based photographer Robin Altice

one of my favorite ladies around sadly couldn't join us on this outing 
because she was too busy being fabulous and working the event @ Velvet Lounge.

arm candy--all in! spotted: matching turquoise + pink bracelets. 
yeah, those were our "entry" armbands to let each shop know we've paid [score!]. 
Oh and can ya tell we were just a tad excited for our limo transport from shop-to-shop?? 
[spoiled rotten]

doing what we do best.
[perching, posing, and party rockin']

LOVED the signature cocktail at Venus on the Half Shell. It had just the slightest hint of rosemary. All of their tasty treats + drinks were created by Veggie Annie
Which included these little bits of heaven...almond macaroons. [um, swoon]

scooped up this sweet vintage chip + dip platter from Venus on the Half Shell
Not only is it adorable, it's also perched atop a lazy-susan. It's a twofer!

Silk & Burlap was bumping the jams as we perused their tremendous selection. Always a good sign when an old friend (and beer rep) is mixing your drinks [thanks, Amanda!] This store is quickly becoming one of my favorites in town. LOVE their style from top-to-bottom and all the bits in between. In fact they may be a bit dangerous [on second thought...nahhh]. 
They have everything a girl could want in there...for herself + her habitat. 
Check it out for yourself...if you haven't already.
last but not least, this pretty green necklace. another fab find of the night. this treasure coming from the standard of coolness when it comes to Frederick-female-fashion...
the original downtown boutique...Velvet Lounge.
Now, grab a bunch of your favorite gals and get ready for the next one.
These events are FUN [with a capital F!]
A great excuse for a night out with the girls plus a little charity work. 
#Winning all around! Not sure when the next one will be...
but to make sure you're ready, go ahead and like their Facebook page here
That way next time, you'll be right there with us making some of those swell memories. 
Thanks so much to all who helped put on this event--it really was such treat! And big thanks goes out to the Heartly House for all the amazing work you do. 
Feels good to know we have contributed to a portion of the good deeds you do everyday.

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Saturday, April 21, 2012

Avocado + Tuna Salad

There's something about having a good lunch to look forward to that makes getting through those mornings that much easier. At least that's the case for me some-days at school. Newsflash- being a teacher isn't always finger-painting, sunshine, roses and rainbows. Shocking, I know. So for those days, when your patience are running thin and you have that overwhelming 'too-much-to-do' in not enough time feeling, it's nice to know you have a yummy meal to break up your day. This meal is just that. Deeelish without being heavy and nap-inducing. Don't get me wrong...nap-inducing meals are great. When you have the time and place to do so. Mrs.Weis napping under her bueno! 

yes, my tupperware lid serves as my plate. stop judging! 

Avocado + Tuna Salad
tuna salad recipe care of Momma Marj :)
serves 2 
  • 1 can [15 oz] cannelloni beans, rinsed and drained
  • 5 oz tuna in water, drained and flaked
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 2 tbsp EVOO
  • 2 tbsp red wine vinegar
  • 1 tbsp brown mustard
  • 2 tbsp lemon juice
  • 2 tbsp chopped sparsely
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 cup kalamata [or black] olives, chopped
  • s+p to taste
  • 2 avocados, ripened and halved [seeds removed]
    • tip: how can tell when an avocado is ripe? when the outside of the avocado feels the same as when you make a loose fist and feel that patch of skin between your thumb knuckle and your pointer finger knuckle. try it!
  1. in a large mixing bowl whisk together EVOO, red wine vinegar, mustard, s+p, and red pepper flakes. next add beans, tuna, onions, and olives. mix well.  
  2. sprinkle with parsley and lemon juice. stir without smashing. 
  3. serve over halved avocado and combine as you eat!
Oh wise.
You simply cannot ignore a meal this good! I am not a conventional tuna salad fan [at all!] 
and I LOVE this tuna salad recipe. I have an inkling you will too! 

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Seared Steak with Ginger-Lime Slaw

Let's get straight to it, shall we? Made this. It rocked. Time-to-share!

mmmm pretty + tasty!

Seared Steak with Ginger-Lime Slaw
adapted from Shape Magazine 
serves 2, with slaw leftovers
  • 1 cup peanuts, crushed 

for ginger-lime slaw
  • 1/4 cup lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tbsp sugar
  • 2 tsp fish sauce
  • 2 tbsp minced ginger
  • a pinch [or 3] red pepper flakes
  • s+p to taste
  • 1 bag [1 lb] of shredded coleslaw mix
  • 1 cup shredded carrots
for steak

  1. combine first 6 ingredients for slaw recipe in a large mixing bowl. whisk well until sugar dissolves. 
  2. add coleslaw + carrots and mix until it is well covered. set aside in fridge to keep chilled.
  3. season raw steak with EVOO and Montreal Steak Seasoning. heat remaining EVOO in large pan over high-heat. add garlic and saute until fragrant. add steak and don't move! keeping it still in the pan will allow to build the great crust. flip after 2-3 minutes. repeat same directions for opposite side. remove from heat and cover until desired temperature is reached. 
  4. remove from pan and slice thinly on cutting board. serve with slaw and sprinkle with crushed peanuts.  

This meal was fresh, light (298 calories per serving. yep!), and tangy with just enough crunch thanks to the peanuts. The slaw dressing was such a welcomed change from the usual mayo-based heavy cole-slaws. We had a lot of slaw leftover, but not steak. SO! We had terrific leftovers. [score!] I threw this slaw, some grilled chicken and crushed peanuts into a wrap  for a quick dinner the following night. AND the next day I took it to lunch salad style with just the sliced chicken + crushed peanuts. 3 meals in 1?! Fabulous!  


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Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Grown-Up Pigs in a Blanket

If you haven't noticed yet, I dig finger food. I dig it a lot. In fact if you are a frequent follower [bless you] you've seen quite a few finger food recipes poppin' up on this deelightful site. I think I'm such a fan of finger foods because they're just so easy and always a crowd pleaser. You can sit or stand or prance around [my movement of choice] while eating. It's fun, ok??! It makes me feel like a kid again. You know, when I'd practice my latest and greatest ballet moves around the kitchen table while stuffing chicken nuggets with honey in my mouth [totally safe]. I never let a silly thing like dinner get in my way. No no! The show must...go on. is my version of the classic "pigs in a blanket." Around here we're pretty big Capitol's fans. And unless ESPN is one of your go-to channels in your household, you might not know that they are currently in the playoffs. [COME-ON BOYS!!] So, one lovely CAPS game-day, I decided finger food was in order. I scoured the fridge and found leftover chicken sausage + biscuits. Done. The rest was history. Let it be known, from that day forth a new finger-food was found and loved by all [or just us Weis'...and maybe you? wink-wink, nudge nudge].
Grown-Up Pigs in a Blanket
  • 1 Pilsbury container of regular biscuits (10)
  • 2 Italian chicken sausage links, sliced 1/2 inch thick
  • 1 egg, for egg-wash
  • 2 tbsp Italian seasoning 
  • Jarred honey-mustard 
  1. pre-heat oven to 375 degrees.
  2. pop open biscuits. place on cutting board. slice in half. using one half, wrap around sausage slice. make sure the ends touch and are secured together.[otherwise you'll have a pig in a...towel?!] continue with all biscuits and sausage slices. place evenly spaced on a foiled lined baking sheet with seam facing up. 
  3. brush with egg wash and sprinkle with Italian Seasoning. bake in oven for 10-12 minutes or until sausage is cooked and biscuit is browned. 
  4. remove from oven. place on serving plate and drizzle with honey mustard. 
the CAPS won that night...thanks to these little guys. 

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Instagram - Week in Review 4

This time of year often feels like someone is holding down the fast-forward button. Or that perhaps life itself has been tossed in a blender and pureed. Life is whirling by, full-speed-ahead...and frankly (as obsessive as it might seem) I'm glad that I do use an app like Instagram to document all the goings-on. Helps me to pause, reflect and remember...something we preach to our kids daily. The second week in April was fast-paced and beautiful...have a look + I think you'll see what I mean. 
the princess herself. this is her spot. and she'll be glad to tell you so.

finished up Easter weekend with a lovely meal at my Momma's!
made butter roasted carrots for our Easter dinner. so easy and sooooo good!
peel and halve carrots. toss in melted butter + sprinkle with salt and pepper.
put in the oven on cookie-sheet @ 425 for 15-20 minutes. WOW! Thanks, Cooking Light!

started the week off right with a beautiful sunrise.
 [as seen from our 3rd floor bedroom]

true story. 

aww my kiddos really like me!

mid-week pedicure + dinner date with Mom! glorious!

throwbackthursdays- myself circa 1994 and our family dog, Happy.
that was in Happy's happier days. she became quite grumpy later in life.

this pic does not need any explanation. 
truly thankful for the incredible spring weather we've been granted.

TGIF!! -- datenight -- me likey. 

weekend uniform--> chambray. 

had a blast + a half at The Baltimore Comedy Factory
what a hoot ;)

nothing like catching up with a friend you've known since the 9th grade!! 

had my 1st gig of my soon-to-be summer job. 
worked a gorgeous wedding @ Stronghold Mansion
getting married? know anyone getting married? check it out! 
this place is not to be believed. so stately! 
oh and hire US! amazing food + event design. truly impressed!!
 on the flip-side: I worked my pah-tooty off. 2pm-12:30am. OUCH! 
my body is not used to all that lifting, walking, running, carrying, and drink-pouring.  

spent the majority of Sunday morning recovering. 
Yes, that is my husband's superman blanket. 
and yes it does have magical powers.  

know what else has magical powers?? this guy. 
Yacht Club Bloodymary. Found @ Isabellas [downtown Frederick] 
during a fabulous rendition of SundayFunday.
[shrimp, olive, annnd pickle? sold.] 

sat outside and enjoyed THIS incredible brunch. 
2 eggs on an open-face ciabatta bread sandwich 
with chorizo gravy, bacon, and manchego cheese. 
served with roasted potatoes + arugula salad.

Sunday ended with a mini-dinner party at mi casa. 
used my favorite bowls [crateandbarrel] from one of my favorite ladies [SDS!] 
for some yummy guac + chips!

look who came for dinner. aww sweet Murph-Murph! 

 it was just another Mani-Monday. 
I grabbed this manicure idea from Pinterest. {shocker} 


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