About Me

I grew up in the Blue Ridge Mountains of Virginia where I also attended college and met the love of my life. I lived in NYC for five years with my husband and Westie, Mack Brown before recently moving all the way across the country to Los Angeles. I'm an amateur chef, total foodie, lover of Westies, sports fanatic and self-proclaimed book worm. You'll find a little bit of all these things I love on this blog. And...most importantly, I'm a new mom to the most precious baby boy, Austn Robert, born this past October.





Austin Robert

Austin Robert

Mack Brown

Mack Brown

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day

Brad found a new app for his i-phone a couple of days ago called WordFoto, and he made me these.

Very appropriate for today, so I thought I'd share.  
Hope you're surrounded lots of love {and lots of candy!} today.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Valentine's Chex Mix

Looking for something homemade to make your Valentine, but not in the mood to bake?  I have the perfect solution...Valentine's Chex Mix.

It couldn't be easier.  Make the chex mix, wait for it to cool and then add festive candy, like pink, red and white M&Ms.  Distribute the chex mix into pink or red containers and tie with a bow.  And, that's it.  You're done and you have the perfect gift to show those in your life how much you love them.

Chex Mix

3 cups Corn Chex cereal
3 cups Rice Chex cereal
3 cups Wheat Chex cereal
1 cup mixed nuts
1 cup pretzel sticks, broken in half
1 cup garlic-flavored garlic chips, broken into 1-in. pieces
6 tbsp. butter
2 tbsp. Worcestershire sauce
1 1/2 tsp. seasoned salt
3/4 tsp. garlic powder
1/2 tsp. onion powder
1 large bag M&Ms

Preheat the oven to 250 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix the cereals, nuts, pretzels and bagel chips.  Set aside.  In a small, microwaveable bowl, melt the butter.  Stir in the seasonings.  Add the butter mixture to the cereal mixture, and stir gently.  Spread the chex mix evenly onto 2 baking sheets.  Bake in the oven for 1 hour, stirring every 15 minutes or so.  Spread on paper towels to cool, about 15 minutes.  Pour the chex mix back into the large bowl and mix in the M&Ms.  Store in airtight containers.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Westie Wednesday

Mack celebrating the Giants win by watching the Puppy Bowl...

Cue the barking.

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Zoo Day

A couple of weeks ago, my best friend Jess and her husband Steve were in San Diego for a conference that Jess was presenting at, and since San Diego is only a couple of hours away, we couldn't miss the chance to spend a day with them while they were here.

We had SUCH. A. FUN. DAY.  I wish we could do it more often {sigh}.

We began our day at the San Diego Zoo, which by the way, is one of the most amazing zoos I've ever been too.  Or maybe I just spent to many days at the Bronx Zoo as a NYC school teacher, who knows.  Either way, I was impressed.  The zoo is well laid out, immaculately clean, lush and green, and has a huge variety of amazing animals {including pandas!!}.  They also have tons of restaurants in the zoo, of the fast food and sit down variety, where you can get a snack or grab some lunch.

Here a few shots from our day...

After the zoo, we headed over to Coronado Island to have a drink at the famous Hotel del Coronado {for all you Disney lovers, this is the hotel that the Grand Floridan is modeled after} while watching the sunset.

And, we ended the day with delicious Mexican food from Miguel's Cocina.  The perfect end to a perfect day.

Monday, February 6, 2012

Red Curry Chicken & Vegetable Stir Fry

Have I told you all yet that I got a wok for Christmas?  Well, I did.  And, it's so cool.  It was one of those gifts that you never knew you wanted until you got it.  Thanks, B :)

This is first recipe that I've made in the wok, but it was definitely an easy and delicious way to break it in. {Don't worry if you don't have a wok.  You can still make this in a normal frying pan.}

Red Curry Chicken & Vegetable Stir Fry

1 cup brown rice
4 tbsp. vegetable oil {or peanut oil, if your husband's not allergic!}
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts, chopped into 1-inch pieces {about 1 lb.}
1 tbsp. red curry paste {In reality, I probably used a little more than this.  You be the judge.}
2 garlic cloves, minced
6 scallions, sliced
1 zucchini, cut into thin strips
1/2 lb. green beans, trimmed and cut in half
1 lb. asparagus, trimmed and cut in half
3-4 fresh basil leaves {Thai basil will give a more authentic flavor, if you can find it}, chopped

In a medium-sized sauce pan, cook the rice with 2 cups of water and pinch of salt.  Once the rice has absorbed all the water, remove it from the pan and allow to cool.  Make the rice a few hours before you cook the stir-fry or even the night before, if you have time.

In the wok, heat 2 tbsp. of the vegetable oil over medium high heat.  Add the chicken, and cook all the way through.  Once the chicken is cooked, remove it from the wok and set aside.

Add the remaining vegetable oil to the wok along with the curry paste and saute for 1 minute.  Next add the scallions and garlic, and saute for 1-2 minutes.  Then add the vegetables and cook for 5-6 minutes.  Stirring everything together, moving it around the pan often.

Finally add the chicken back to the wok along with the rice.  Cook everything together for another 3-4 minutes, or until the chicken and rice are warmed through.

Remove the stir fry from the heat and stir in the basil.  Serve hot.

Source: Adapted from a recipe given to me by a friend :)

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Homemade Cheez-its

I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE baked cheese crackers.  {think Goldfish, Whales, Cheddar Bunnies, Cheez-its...I've tried them all}  At this point, I'm practically a baked cheese crackers connoisseur...you know you're jealous.

So, when I found a recipe on another blog for homemade cheez-its, I couldn't wait to make it, and share the results with you guys.  The cheez-its turned out great, and while they taste a bit more like cheese straws than actual cheez-its, they are just as addictive.  And, preservative-free and not hard at all to make, might I add.

Homemade Cheez-its

1 cup flour
4 tbsp cold butter, cut into small pieces
8 oz. extra sharp grated cheddar cheese
3/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. cayenne pepper
3-4 tsp cold water

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Prepare a large baking sheet with parchments paper cut to fit the size and shape of the pan.

In a food processor, combine the flour, cheese, butter, salt and cayenne pepper.  Pulse until crumbly.

Add cold water, one teaspoon at a time, to bring the dough together.

Place the dough on the parchment paper and use a rolling pin to roll the dough to about 1/8 in.-thick.  They thinner you go, the crunchier the finished product. {I'm going to make mine even thinner next time}

Use a pizza cutter to divide the dough into squares and sprinkle with extra salt.

Cook for 25 minutes, cool and serve.


Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Westie Wednesday

Some oldies, but goodies from our days in NYC...

Happy Wednesday everyone!