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Thursday, April 30, 2015

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

planting flowers with leko

over the weekend, we went to the garden store to pick out a few house plants to decorate our new offices at work.  we went out on our back screen porch to plant them in pots and leko decided that he needed to help out.  he was pretty intrigued by the potting soil in the pots.  he kept delicately placing his paw in the dirt and trying to scoop it up.  we definitely could have used another set of hands to rescue the plants and to keep leko out of the dirt so that he didn't get too filthy!

after we were finished planting everything in the pots we had to take a minute to clean off the kitten.  the plants look great on our window ledges in our new offices at work.  they add such a nice pop of color.

love, laurie

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

nyc: spring flowers in bryant park

it was so incredibly cold when we were in nyc on friday evening to see the radio city spring spectacular.  it didn't feel like spring at all when we were walking the cold and windy streets of manhattan.  however, on our way to see the show we walked past bryant park and we were pleasantly surprised to see so many pretty tulips and daffodils in bloom, despite the cold temperatures.  the poor flowers probably didn't know what season it is!  

hurry up, spring!
love, laurie

Monday, April 27, 2015

nyc: the radio city new york spring spectacular

back in november, we took a trip to nyc to see the christmas spectacular at radio city music hall and we absolutely loved it.  so we were trilled when radio city announced that there would be a radio city new york spring spectacular for the first time this year.

on friday evening, we traveled into nyc to see the the spring spectacular.  "spectacular" doesn't even begin to describe the show.  it was absolutely unreal.  radio city truly outdid themselves with this show.  it was amazing.

we had great seats in the orchestra which we snagged for a great price.  the whole show was nyc themed which was awesome, and the technology used in the show was outstanding.  of course seeing the rockettes dance in perfect unison never gets old.  they are incredible!  if you have the chance, go see the spring spectacular before it closes!  you won't be disappointed!

excuse the iphone pictures.  i didn't want to whip out my camera inside the theatre for fear of being kicked out before the show even started.  everyone in the audience was given a pair of 3D glasses and a battery operated remote controlled led bracelet.  the light board operators were able to control the bracelets throughout the show so that they could turn on, turn off, and change color depending on what scene was taking place on stage.  it was awesome!

 radio city music hall is so pretty.  especially when it is lit up at night.

we were really surprised to find out that we were able to keep the led bracelets.  they lit up and changed all different colors for 14 hours after the show was over!

leko was excited to check out the bracelets when we got home on friday night.  he loves anything that lights up and changes color too!

love, laurie

Friday, April 24, 2015

we made it . . .

we made it to friday (just barely).  after this week, that feels like an accomplishment.  i feel totally wiped out.  this weekend we are looking forward to a quick trip to nyc and hopefully resting up so that i can finally feel better and get rid of this cold i am fighting.

have a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, April 23, 2015

bits of happiness

this week has been a crazy and stressful one since both ryan and i started new jobs on tuesday.  on top of all of the craziness, i came down with a cold this week and i feel completely drained.  i can't say i'm surprised, especially since we were around our two nephews this past weekend for ryan's cousin's wedding.  despite all of the craziness and now the sickness, there are plenty of things going on right now that are making me happy.  so, it's time for a happy list.  (i just love this bits of happiness series!)

here are . . .
ten things currently making me happy:

10. decorating our new offices at work for our new jobs
9. having my very own reserved parking spot at work now for my new position
8. catching up on recorded shows on our dvr
7. enjoying our new car
6. warmer temperatures
5. green grass
4. flowers popping up in our yard
3. cuddling with leko (he is the best medicine when you're not feeling well)
2. visiting nyc this weekend
1. counting down the days to vacation - it's right around the corner!

. . . 

what is currently making you happy?
love, laurie

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

happy earth day!

it's earth day today.  i was thrilled to wake up to see the sun shining in the windows this morning.  the grass in our yard is finally starting to look green and flowers are beginning to pop up.  our daffodils are in bloom and they look so cheery!  our tiger lilies and our tulips are getting ready too.  in honor of earth day, here's a little quiz to test how "green" you are.

happy earth day!
love, laurie

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

new jobs!

today ryan and i are both starting new jobs.  i saw this cartoon and it made me laugh because we are both a bit overwhelmed with all of the paperwork for our new positions.  wish us luck on this new adventure!

love, laurie

Monday, April 20, 2015

aaron and calyssa's wedding

on saturday, ryan's cousin aaron got married, so we spent the weekend in york, pennsylvania with ryan's family.  we were able to spend time with ryan's parents as well as ryan's brother, sister-in-law, and our nephews.  we also got to see ryan's grandmother and his aunts and uncles too.  the weekend was a whirlwind, but it was so nice to be able to get everyone together.

congratulations, aaron and calyssa!
love, laurie

Friday, April 17, 2015

happy friday!

this week has been a crazy and a stressful one at work.  we are happy that it's friday, and we are looking forward to spending time this weekend with ryan's family for his cousin's wedding.

have a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, April 16, 2015

cheddar and honey cornbread biscuits with parsley and chives

over the weekend, we made a batch of our vegetarian qunioa chili recipe so that we would have it to eat for dinner this week.  we love cooking on the weekends and then having the leftovers for dinner all week.  it makes dinner time so easy when all we have to do is walk in the door after work and heat something up.

whenever we make chili, we always love to make our favorite cornbread recipe to go along with it.  however, we wanted to change it up a bit this time.  instead of making traditional cornbread, we made cornbread biscuits.

these biscuits turned out so good!  they taste like cornbread because of the cornmeal in them, but they also have a little bit of sweetness thanks to the honey, and a great rich flavor thanks to the cheddar cheese.  the chives and parsley sprinkled throughout the dough gives them fun green speckles too.

instead of cutting the biscuits into circles, i cut them into triangles (so they looked like scones).  if you are a traditionalist, feel free to use a biscuit cutter to make perfect circles.  i was simply too lazy to dig our round biscuit cutter out of the basement, and the pizza cutter was closer, so there you have it . .  triangular biscuits.

regardless of their shape, these cheddar and honey cornbread biscuits are delicious.  they are best served warm, and they are a great compliment to a warm bowl of chili.

cheddar cornmeal biscuits with parsley and chives
prep time: 5-10 minutes
baking time: 15 minutes
yields: 8 biscuits

3/4 cup all-purpose flour
3/4 cup cornmeal
2 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 tablespoons salted butter, cold
1 large egg, beaten
1/3 cup almond milk
2 tablespoons honey
1/3 cup sharp cheddar cheese, shredded
1/2 teaspoon dried chives
1/4 teaspoon dried parsley

preheat your oven to 425 degrees F.  in a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, cornmeal, baking powder, and baking soda.  dice the cold butter into small cubes and add it to the dry ingredients.  use a pastry cutter to cut the butter into the dry ingredients until the butter is in pea-sized pieces.  in a separate bowl whisk together the egg, milk, and honey.  use a spatula to mix in the wet ingredients into the dry ingredients.  fold in the shredded cheese along with the chives and parsley.

dump the dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 1 minute until it is all combined and the cheese is well distributed.  roll the dough out into a disk (about 3/4 inch thick) and cut into eight even triangles with a pizza cutter or a sharp knife.  place the biscuits on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  bake for 15 minutes, until the outsides are crusty and the insides are light and fluffy.  serve warm.

love, laurie

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

grilled foil packet dinners (fish and vegetables)

we were absolutely thrilled to be able to grill for the first time this season on sunday.  to kick off the grilling season, we grilled foil packets for dinner.  foil dinner packets are quick, easy, and delicious.  they are also so versatile because you can put just about anything you want in them, and you can customize them to each member of your family.

we love fish, but it can be a bit tricky to grill.  often, fish is so thin and delicate that it burns quickly on the grill.  it also tends to stick to the grill grates and makes a mess to clean up.  plus, who wants their entire grill smelling like fish?  not us.  the solution?  grill your fish in a foil packet!  if you are looking for a quick and easy dinner with hardly any clean up involved, look no further.

we grabbed two large pieces of aluminum foil and filled them with a pile of veggies.  we used vegetables that we had on hand: carrots, celery, onion, and spinach.  we seasoned the veggies (we love this seasoning) and then put a piece of fish on top of the veggies (i had tilapia and ryan had haddock).  i seasoned my fish with some ground pepper and dried parsley, while ryan sprinkled some old bay on top of his.  the trick to keeping everything moist is putting one ice cube in each foil packet.  the ice cube melts on the grill and helps to steam everything in the packet.  as everything in the packet cooks on the grill, the flavors all come together and make a wonderful tasting meal!

grilled foil packet dinners
prep time: 5 minutes
grilling time: 20-25 minutes
yields: 2 servings

4 carrots, peeled and diced
2 stalks of celery, diced
1 small onion, diced
1 teaspoon salted butter
1 cup fresh baby spinach
2 fish fillets
2 ice cubes
salt and pepper to taste
seasoning to taste

preheat your grill (approximately 450 to 500 degrees F).  spread out two large pieces of aluminum foil.  evenly divide the diced carrots, celery, and onion between the two pieces of foil.  place 1/2 teaspoon of butter on top of each vegetable pile.  season the vegetables to taste.  place 1/2 cup of spinach on top of each vegetable pile.  place the fish on top of the spinach.  season the fish to taste.  place one ice cube in each foil packet (in the bottom near the vegetables).  tightly fold up the foil packet, keeping the folded seam facing up.  place the foil packets on the grill.  cover and grill for 20-25 minutes, until the fish is cooked throughout.  unfold the foil packets and serve warm right out of the packets.

love, laurie

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

apple cinnamon pancakes

over the weekend, we kicked off our sunday morning by eating apple cinnamon pancakes in our pajamas.  the combination of apples and cinnamon usually reminds me of fall, but i'm happy to eat it any time of the year.  plus we had a bowl full of fresh apples sitting on our kitchen counter.

these pancakes are delicious.  the fluffy cinnamon pancakes have diced apples in them, and they are topped with additional sauteed apples.  of course you can't forget the maple syrup too!  yum!

apple cinnamon pancakes
prep time:
cooking time: 6 minutes
yields: 2 servings
adapted from creme de la crumb

1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon pumpkin pie spice
3/4 cup almond milk
1 tablespoon vinegar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 large egg
1 large apple

in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and spices.  in a separate bowl stir together the milk and vinegar.  allow the milk to curdle for a few minutes.  add the oil, vanilla, and egg to the milk mixture.  whisk well.  add the wet ingredients all at once to the dry ingredients.  whisk just until combined.  peel, core, and dice the apple.  mix 3/4 of the diced apples into the pancake batter.

heat a lightly buttered griddle or frying pan on medium heat.  pour 1/4 cup of batter onto the griddle for each pancake.  cook for 3 minutes, until small bubbles begin to form.  flip the pancakes when they start to bubble, then cook for 3 minutes, until they are golden brown and cooked throughout.  heat a lightly buttered small frying pan on low heat.  saute the remaining diced apples in butter, vanilla, and cinnamon.  serve the pancakes warm, topped with the sauteed apples and maple syrup.

love, laurie