Friday, February 27, 2015

all curled up


wheph!  the past few weeks have been an absolute whirlwind.  the show that we have been working on opens tonight, and we are so excited to be finished with it after this weekend is over.  we don't get a break though, because work on the next show starts right after this one closes.  i try to keep telling myself . . . just a few more months until "show season" is over.  after this weekend, we'll have one show down and two more to go.  we love working on the shows, but we sure are looking forward to being able to relax . . . sometime.

all of these late night and weekend rehearsals haven't left us much time to be home with leko,  so we try our best to squeeze in as much quality time as we can whenever we are home, even if it is only for a few minutes to inhale dinner between work and rehearsal.  this past weekend i found leko curled up in a perfect circle taking an afternoon cat nap on one of his favorite cozy fleece blankets.  he's so cute, i just couldn't resist snapping a picture.  i texted the picture to ryan since he was at rehearsal and he really enjoyed it.  that kitten of ours sure knows how to make us smile!

we're looking forward to seeing our parents this weekend when they come up to see the show tomorrow.  we will have a few hours of "free time" on sunday night before the next show starts, so we are really looking forward to being able to sleep and curl up with that kitten of ours!

have a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, February 26, 2015

my top 5 winter skin care must-have products (for under $5)


we have been experiencing record low temperatures in the northeast over the past few weeks.  the deep cold winter weather sure takes a toll on my sensitive and fair skin.  it seems like every year my lips chap and the skin on my hands cracks no matter how much a bundle up.  during these cold months, there are a few must-have products that i swear by for combating chapping and cracking, and for healing my skin.  here are some of my favorite skin care products during the winter months:

1. kiss my face pure olive oil bar soap - my mom first introduced me to this olive oil bar soap when i was just a kid.  i have used it as a face soap for my whole life.  i wash my face with this soap twice each day, once in the morning and once at night.   i totally credit this soap for keeping my face clean and clear from breakouts for years.  when i met ryan in college, he had a lot of acne breakouts.  i convinced him to try this soap and he has been using it ever since.  it drastically reduced the amount of breakouts on his face.  ryan's mom even uses this soap now too.

2. suave smoothing body lotion with cocoa butter and shea - we first learned about this lotion on a trip to north carolina to visit ryan's brother a few years ago.  ryan's brother was using it and we gave it a try.  we instantly feel i love with it, and as soon as we came home we bought a bottle of our own.  we have been using it daily ever since.  i am typically not a fan of lotions because i don't like lotions that leave me feeling greasy.  this lotion doesn't leave a greasy or oily residue at all.  it drys wonderfully while still keeping skin hydrated and moisturized.  both ryan and i put it on our hands religiously every night before bed.  bonus: it smells great too!

3. olay age defying body wash - i am a big fan of olay products, so i was excited when olay came out with a line of body wash with olay moisturizer in it.  this is by far, hands down, my very favorite body wash.  i am in love with it and it has done wonders for my skin.  (by the way, there are always coupons available for this olay body wash online.  i have never paid full price for this soap at target because there is always a coupon available!)

4. burt's bees beeswax lip balm - i'm not someone who likes to wear chap stick or lipstick, but i do love this lip balm.  ryan has been using it for years, and he got me into it.  it is so soothing and has a great peppermint tingle too.

5. neosporin original ointment - whenever i got a cut or a scrape as a kid, my dad would always whip out a tube of neosporin.  it is a miracle product for healing cuts and wounds fast.  when my hands get really bad in the winter and when lotion just won't do the trick anymore, i turn to the neosporin.  i usually put it on my chapped hands right before bed and cover my hands in a pair of old socks.  it looks silly, but it works like a charm!

. . .

all of these products can be found at your local target, drugstore, or online for $5 or less!  keep your eyes open for coupons too.  whenever we restock these products in our house, we almost always use coupons that we find online.

i'm curious . . . what are some of your favorite skin care products?  for years my parents have absolutely sworn by a+d original ointment for healing cracked skin, not just in the winter, but year round.  what are your must-haves?

stay warm!
love, laurie

. . . 

*please note: this is not a sponsored post.  the content is based solely on my own personal opinion.

Wednesday, February 25, 2015

oatmeal cranberry white chocolate chip cookies


i needed to make a quick dessert to take into work this week for a co-worker's birthday.  (it seems like it's always someone's birthday in our office!)  i knew that i had oats, dried cranberries, and white chocolate chips in the pantry, so i decided to make a batch of cookies with those ingredients since i had them on hand.  the result was a delicious cookie with great flavor.  it was a huge hit with my co-workers too!


oatmeal cranberry white chocolate chip cookies
prep time: 10 minutes
baking time: 12-14 minutes
yields: 18 cookies
adapted from cooking classy

ingredients:
6 tablespoons salted butter, softened
1/4 cup granulated white sugar
1/4 cup dark brown sugar
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
3/4 cup + 3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/8 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg
3/4 cup old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup white chocolate chips

directions:
preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.  in the bowl of an electric mixer, cream the butter and the sugars until light and fluffy (about 3-4 minutes).  beat in the egg.  add the vanilla and mix well.  in a separate bowl, sift together the flour, baking soda, baking powder, cinnamon, and nutmeg.  add the flour mixture to the butter, along with the oats.  mix until incorporated.  fold in the cranberries and white chocolate chips.  roll the dough into balls, about 2 tablespoons each, and place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper.  use a flat-bottomed glass to gently press the cookie dough balls into disks.  bake for 12-14 minutes until lightly golden.  once baked, allow the cookies to cool on the baking sheet for 5 minutes before transferring them to a wire rack to finish cooling completely.


enjoy!
love, laurie

Tuesday, February 24, 2015

a much needed haircut!


it's been over five months since the last time i got my hair cut and it was in need of some tlc.  so, yesterday i got my hair trimmed a bit.  since i tend to only get my hair cut about twice per year, i opted to get it a little bit shorter.  it's a nice change and it feels so light and healthy again!

happy tuesday!
love, laurie

Monday, February 23, 2015

no-bake cranberry pistachio chocolate ginger granola bars


i'm absolutely in love with making homemade granola and granola bars.  don't get me wrong, store-bought granola is great and all, but there's nothing quite like making your own and knowing exactly what's in it.

over the weekend i made these no-bake granola bars.  they have such a wonderful depth of flavor thanks to everything that's packed in them: cinnamon, peanut butter, oats, pistachios, cranberries, chocolate, and ginger.  i opened up my kitchen cabinets and threw into these granola bars whatever i could find.  all of those ingredients are held together by dates.  dates are truly amazing.  they are like a natural sweetener (no need for sugar or honey in this recipe) and they act like glue to hold all of the ingredients together.


these granola bars taste amazing and they come together in no time at all.  you don't even need to turn on your oven to bake them.

they are packed with power ingredients, they are hearty, they are wholesome, and they are naturally sweetened.  they're vegan and gluten free too!

they make a great on-the-go snack.  healthy and easy!


no-bake cranberry pistachio chocolate ginger granola bars
total time: 10 minutes
yields: 8 granola bars

ingredients:
12 medjool dates, pitted
2-3 tablespoons water
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1 tablespoon natural peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1 1/4 cups old-fashioned oats
1/2 cup unsalted pistachios, chopped
1/2 cup dried cranberries, chopped
1/2 cup 60% cacao bittersweet chocolate chips, chopped
1/4 cup crystallized ginger, chopped

directions:
in a food processor, puree the dates.  add the water gradually as the food processor purees the dates until a moist paste forms.  blend in the cinnamon and peanut butter.  transfer the paste to a large bowl and add the salt, oats, pistachios, cranberries, chocolate, and ginger.  stir well until everything is evenly incorporated.  line a 8-inch square baking dish with parchment paper.  spread the mixture evenly in the baking dish.  press the mixture down firmly with your hands.  cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour before cutting into bars with a sharp knife.  store in the refrigerator until ready to eat.


enjoy!
love, laurie

Friday, February 20, 2015

this cold weather is no joke!


we are in a deep, deep freeze here in the northeastern part of the country.  yesterday, our local meteorologist said that temperatures are currently warmer in alaska than they are here in pennsylvania!  there is something very wrong with that.

this weather seems to make everyone so angry, and i can't blame them.  it is brutally cold and it is so depressing.  the cold temperatures really aren't funny at all, but my dad called me this morning with a few cold weather-related jokes, including this winner: "how cold is it?  it's so cold that i saw a politician with his hands in his own pockets."

it doesn't look like this cold spell is going to break any time soon.  it's predicted to last for at least the next week . . . gross.  in the meantime, i'll be dreaming of tropical places like hawaii and trying my best to keep myself warm.

have a great weekend, and stay warm!
love, laurie

Thursday, February 19, 2015

almond poppy seed pancakes


we are always looking for new breakfast ideas for weekend mornings.  we made these almond poppy seed pancakes for breakfast on sunday morning this past weekend, and they were so wonderful.  the almond extract gives these pancakes an awesome flavor, and the poppy seeds give them a great texture.  we garnished the pancakes with toasted sliced almonds and a sprinkle of some additional poppy seeds.  we served them hot off the griddle with warm maple syrup.  such a delicious way to start a sunday!

almond poppy seed pancakes
prep time: 5 minutes
cooking time: 6-7 minutes
yields: 2 servings
adapted from cooking classy

ingredients:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon sugar
1 tablespoon poppy seeds
3/4 cups buttermilk
1/3 cup milk
1 large egg
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract

directions:
in a large bowl, whisk together the flour, baking powder, baking soda, sugar, and poppy seeds.  in a separate bowl, whisk together the buttermilk, milk, egg, almond extract, and vanilla extract.  pour the milk mixture into the flour mixture and whisk just until combined.

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 4 minutes, until small bubbles begin to form.  flip the pancakes when they start to bubble, then cook for 3-4 minutes, until they are golden brown and cooked throughout.  once cooked, transfer the pancakes to a baking sheet and place in a preheated 200 degree F oven to keep warm while you cook the remaining pancake batter.  serve warm with toasted sliced almonds and warm maple syrup.


enjoy!
love, laurie

Wednesday, February 18, 2015

mini cherry cupcakes with chocolate cherry frosting


i wanted to make a dessert to take into work for valentine's day last week, so i decided to make mini cupcakes.  mini cupcakes are perfect for the office since they are practically bite sized.  plus, everything is just so much cuter in miniature format!

since it was valentine's day, i opted for a cupcake with a pink hue.  after debating what to make, i decided on mini cherry cupcakes with chocolate cherry frosting.


these cupcakes were a huge hit at the office.  one of my co-workers said: "wow, these little cupcakes sure pack a big punch of flavor!"  she was right.  the cupcake itself has a wonderful flavor thanks to chopped maraschino cherries and the juice from the maraschino cherries.  (the cherries not only give these cupcakes a great flavor, but a great pink color too!)  dark chocolate is a great compliment to cherries, so i topped these cupcakes with chocolate frosting that had a splash of maraschino cherry juice in it.  talk about a great combination!

for decoration, i added a few white nonpareils on top of the frosting.  the bright white nonpareils were so pretty against the dark color of the chocolate frosting.

these cupcakes were so good, and they didn't last long.  at one point throughout the day, i saw one of my co-workers break off the bottom of one of the cupcakes and place it on top of the frosting to make a cupcake sandwich.  i couldn't help but laugh.

no matter how you eat your cupcakes (regular or sandwich style), these cupcakes are delicioius!


mini cherry cupcakes with chocolate cherry frosting
prep time: 10 minutes
baking time: 20 minutes
yields: 24 mini cupcakes and 2 regular cupcakes

cupcake ingredients:
10 maraschino cherries
1/4 cup salted butter, softened
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup maraschino cherry liquid
2 tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon pure almond extract
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
1 egg white

frosting ingredients:
1/4 cup salted butter, softened
2-3 cups powdered sugar
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
3-4 tablespoons maraschino cherry liquid

directions:
to make the cupcakes, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F and line two mini muffin pans with 24 mini cupcake liners.  set aside.  finely chop approximately 10 maraschino cherries.  place the chopped cherries on a paper towel-lined plate to drain.  in a large bowl, beat the butter and sugar with an electric hand mixer until creamed together.  in a glass measuring cup, stir together the cherry liquid, milk, and almond extract.  in a medium bowl, sift together the flour and baking powder.

beginning and ending with the flour mixture, alternately add the flour mixture and the milk to the batter.  beat well after each addition.  in a separate bowl, beat the egg white with an electric hand mixer until stiff peaks form.  gently fold the beaten egg white into the batter.  fold in the chopped and drained cherries.  evenly divide the batter among the prepared muffin cups.  (note: this recipe makes enough batter for 24 mini cupcakes and 2 regular cupcakes.)  bake for 20 minutes, or until a toothpick inserted into the center of the cupcake comes out clean.    allow the cupcakes to cool completely before frosting.

to make the frosting, beat the softened butter with an electric hand mixer until smooth.  add 1/2 cup of the powdered sugar along with the cocoa powder and 2 tablespoons of the maraschino cherry liquid.  beat well to combine.  continue to add additional powdered sugar and maraschino cherry liquid as needed to reach desired frosting consistency.


enjoy!
love, laurie

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

happy mardi gras!


happy mardi gras / happy fat tuesday / happy fasnacht day!  no matter what you call it, it's a great excuse to eat a doughnut today!

here are some of my favorite homemade doughnut recipes:
- baked mocha cake doughnuts with coffee cream cheese glaze
- baked strawberry cake doughnuts with strawberry glaze
baked pumpkin doughnuts with brown butter and apple cider glaze topped with pecans
- baked apple cider doughnuts

have a great day!
love, laurie

Monday, February 16, 2015

valentine's day 2015


we were excited that valentine's day fell on a saturday this year, and that neither of us had to go to work.  the forecast was threatening several inches of snow, so we opted to keep things simple.  we ran a few errands in the morning and did some grocery shopping before the snow started (very romantic, i know) and then we headed back home to have a quiet valentine's day at home.  we spent the day together, enjoying each other's company, cooking dinner together, and watching a movie.  it was so nice, especially since we have been so busy lately.


^we decided not to exchange gifts, so i was surprised to see that ryan came home with two pink roses on friday night after work.  it turns out he got them for free from an event that was happening at work.  nothing better than free roses!  they were so pretty and have been so nice to look at, especially considering all we have had to look at lately has been snow.^


^i made a batch of mini cherry cupcakes with chocolate cherry frosting to take into work on friday.  they were so good and our co-workers absolutely loved them.  i took a few of the leftover cupcakes to ballet class on saturday morning and they didn't last long at all.  the girls attacked them like little ballerina vultures!  good thing i saved a few at home for us!^


^we were surprised when we checked the mail and found a card address to leko in our mailbox!  ryan's aunt sandy sent leko a valentine card along with a picture of her kitty (named miss kitty)!  we showed leko the card and the picture and he thoroughly sniffed it and checked it out.  it was the cutest thing ever!^


^for dinner on saturday night we made garlic basil pasta tossed with shrimp and vegetables.  it was so good.  we finished off the night my cuddling on the couch with leko to watch this movie while eating the last of the leftover cupcakes.^

hope everyone had a lovely valentine's day!
love, laurie

Friday, February 13, 2015

clever ideas for valentine's day


today is friday the 13th and tomorrow is valentine's day!  i am thrilled that ryan and i don't have work tomorrow and that we have the whole day free to spend with each other.  that is a great valentine's day gift if you ask me.  (this will be the 11th valentine's day that we have celebrated together as a couple!)  if you are looking for what to do/make for valentine's day, here is a little round up of some clever ideas . . .

> this valentine's day magazine has lots of clever ideas in it.  i think the recipe for honey ginger grilled salmon sounds delicious!

> this pink and gold tissue paper tassel garland is so pretty and really easy to make

> if money is tight, here are 20 valentine's day date ideas for $20 or less

> super cute heart-shaped pie pops

> make your own word search valentines

> a homemade valentine card using old birthday candles

> and, a super easy to make d.i.y. candy-filled paper valentine heart that i made this past weekend for ryan

have a great weekend and a sweet valentine's day!
love, laurie
xoxo

Thursday, February 12, 2015

silly kitten


leko sure keeps us entertained.  for the last few years, he has been fascinated with licking ryan's hair.  we're not exactly sure how this habit started, but leko seems to really like licking ryan's hair, especially if ryan's hair is wet right after he gets out of the shower.  i caught leko in the act over the weekend, and had to laugh at this picture of his little tongue sticking out.  he gets in such a trance whenever he licks ryan's hair.  maybe he thinks he is a mama kitten and he is cleaning a baby kitten?  who knows, but it sure is funny.  he does it quite often, and every time it keeps us laughing.  luckily ryan is a good sport about it!

silly kitten.
love, laurie 

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

chocolate-dipped mini pretzels for valentine's day


we tend to keep valentine's day pretty low key around our house.  we usually skip the overpriced dinners at crowded restaurants on february 14th and instead stay at home and make a nice meal together.  we like exchanging handmade cards and keeping things simple.

over the weekend i decided to make ryan a little valentine treat.  i used mini pretzels and chocolate that we already had in our kitchen to make chocolate-dipped pretzels.  (ryan is a big fan of chocolate covered pretzels.)


there is hardly a "recipe" for this.  all i did was melt white chocolate and dark chocolate, dip the pretzels in the melted chocolate, and then decorate them with red and white sprinkles, red sugar, and white nonpareils.  super easy.

once the chocolate set, i put the dipped pretzels in a little bag, tied it up with a ribbon, and decorated it with a label.  if your looking to make a simple, easy, and inexpensive treat for your valentine, chocolate-dipped pretzels are just about as easy as you can get.


happy valentine's day!
love, laurie

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

d.i.y. candy-filled paper valentine heart


looking for something cute for valentine's day?  here's a simple craft using things you most likely have around your house.  a cut-out paper heart with a plastic window, filled with candy!

i made this little valentine for ryan over the weekend in just a few minutes.  (leko helped!)  it was so easy to put together and would make a cute (and super inexpensive) valentine for your special someone.


step one: gather your supplies.  for this project i used supplies that i had around the house: red paper, a plastic sandwich bag, a pencil, a hot glue gun, scissors, and candy.


step two: cut two identical hearts out of the paper.  arrange the candy on top of the one heart.


step three: cut the sandwich bag in half.  run a strip of the hot glue around the outside of the heart and place the sandwich bag on top of the heart.  press the plastic to the hot glue and trim the excess plastic with the scissors.


step four: cut out the center of the second paper heart.  run a strip of the hot glue around the outside of the heart and place the second heart on top of the plastic.  press to make sure the glue sticks.



there you have it!

happy valentine's day!
love, laurie

Monday, February 9, 2015

sweet potato black bean burgers (vegan + gluten free)


i asked ryan what he wanted for lunch on sunday, and of course he had no idea.  he grabbed the ipad and started scrolling through my pinterest boards and within a few minutes exclaimed: "how about these sweet potato black bean burgers?!"  man after my own heart right there, i'm telling you.

these burgers are loaded with black beans, walnut meal, pecan meal, rice, and some spices.  the mashed sweet potatoes act as the glue to hold all of the ingredients together.  these veggie burgers are vegan and gluten free too (without the roll of course).

we served our veggie burgers on fresh brioche rolls with a few mixed greens, sliced avocado, and tomato.  they were insanely delicious, and they sure were filling!  we made a few homemade french fries to go along with our burgers.  after all, some things are just meant to be together like burgers and fries.

this recipe made a lot of burger patties, so we left some in the fridge to eat this week and froze the rest.  it's so nice knowing that you have things like homemade veggie burgers in the freezer when you need a meal in a pinch!


sweet potato black bean burgers
prep time: 40 minutes
baking time: 35 minutes
yields: 12 burgers
adapted from minimalist baker

ingredients:
2 large sweet potatoes
1 cup uncooked white rice
1 1/3 cups water
1 cup black beans
1/4 cup walnuts
1/4 cup pecans
1/2 cup diced scallions
1 teaspoon paprika
1/2 teaspoon cayenne pepper
1/4 teaspoon curry powder
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

directions:
preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  cut the sweet potatoes in half length wise.  rub the cut side of the sweet potatoes with olive oil, and place them cut side down on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil.  bake for 30 minutes until tender.  meanwhile, combine the rice and the water in a sauce pan.  bring to a boil, then reduce the heat to low.  cover and let simmer for 20 minutes until the rice is cooked.  once cooked, fluff with a fork and set aside.

once baked, remove the skins from the sweet potatoes and mash the sweet potatoes along with the black beans.  pulse the nuts in a food processor until they are the consistency of nut meal.  add the nut meal to the potato and bean mixture, along with the scallions and spices.  mix well.  add the cooked rice and mix to combine.

reduce the oven temperature to 375 degrees F.  scoop 1/3 cup amount of the mixture into your hands and roll into a ball.  flatten into a patty and place on a baking sheet lined with aluminum foil and greased with olive oil.  bake for 35 minutes.

enjoy!
love, laurie

Friday, February 6, 2015

fun links


it's been a heck of a week with lots of snow, crazy work schedules, late nights, little sleep, and a ton of car problems.  needless to say, we are both beyond exhausted.  i'm glad to put this week behind us.  here's hoping that the weekend turns out to be better than this past week!

here are a few fun links that i found around the internet recently:

1. instant photo transfers with blender pens!

2. brilliant things you can do with mason jars (my dad found this and sent this link to me!)

3. 32 places people have mispronounced their entire life - i'm guilty of mispronouncing most of these!  (and, number 21 . . . ha!)

4. i have a weakness for the combination of dark chocolate and raspberries.  these cookies look delicious!

5. 5 tips to make grocery shopping easier.

6. such a pretty cake topper

7. a cute valentine

8. a nice reminder

9. and, i want this vanilla almond baked french toast for breakfast.  yum!

have a great weekend!
love, laurie

Thursday, February 5, 2015

spinach artichoke dip


one of the snacks that i threw together for our impromptu little super bowl party on sunday was spinach artichoke dip.  it couldn't get any easier.  just mix all of the ingredients together in a bowl, spread the mixture out in a pie plate, and bake it in the oven.  voila!  a dip that is easy to assemble and super yummy.  it's a crowd pleaser for sure!


this dip is dangerous.  it's easy to make and it's easy to eat.  especially if you are distracted by watching something like the super bowl.  you'll look down and realize you ate half of the dip without even noticing.  oops!  (calories don't count on super bowl sunday, right?)

spinach and artichokes are such a great combination.  the artichokes give the dip a bit of a tang, and of course all of the cheese makes it so creamy and wonderful.  there are three different types of cheese in this dip, and there's more cheese on top too.  after the dip is done baking in the oven, a few moments under the broiler will make the cheese golden brown and delicious.  yum!


spinach artichoke dip
prep time: 5-10 minutes
baking time: 30 minutes
adapted from yammie's noshery

ingredients:
1 (10oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
2 cups fresh baby spinach, chopped
1/2 onion, chopped
3 garlic cloves, minced
4 oz. cream cheese, softened
1 cup shredded mozzarella cheese
1/2 cup shredded parmesan cheese
2 tablespoons mayonnaise 
2 tablespoons milk
1/2 teaspoon garlic powder
1 teaspoon italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper

directions:
preheat your oven to 400 degrees F.  in a large bowl, mix all ingredients together until well combined then pour into a greased pie plate.  smooth the mixture evenly in the pie plate.  top the mixture with additional mozzarella.  bake for 30 minutes until golden and bubbling.  (optional: after baking put the dip under a broiler for a few moments to brown the cheese.)  serve warm with chips, crackers, pretzels, or veggies.


enjoy!
love, laurie

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

artichoke and black-eye pea salad with tuna


i threw together this salad in less than five minutes this weekend and was amazed at how good it was!  it just goes to show you that you don't need to slave in the kitchen for hours to make good wholesome food.  this salad is full of artichoke hearts, black-eye peas, tuna, celery, and onion.  it has a wonderfully light dressing of just olive oil and fresh lemon juice too.  it tastes so fresh.

this salad is perfect for lunch or a light dinner.  you could eat it on a bed of greens, between two slices of bread, or with a spoon right out of the bowl (which is what i seem to do every time i walk by the refrigerator)!

artichoke and black-eye pea salad with tuna
total time: 5 minutes
yields: approximately 4 servings
adapted from kelsey nixon

ingredients:
1 (5 oz.) can low-sodium tuna fish, drained
1 (15 oz.) can black-eye peas, drained and rinsed
1 (10 oz.) jar marinated artichoke hearts, drained and chopped
1 celery stalk, diced
2 tablespoons diced red onion
1 teaspoon dried parsley
2 tablespoons extra virgin olive oil
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
salt and pepper to taste

directions:
combine all of the ingredients in a large bowl and toss well to combine.  season with salt and pepper to taste.


enjoy!
love, laurie

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

snow day


february welcomed itself with one heck of a snow storm yesterday!  we got a ton of snow . . . it just kept coming and coming!  our schedules have been beyond crazy lately, so we were thrilled when we found out that we did not have work yesterday.  we enjoyed our snow day at home with leko.  it was so nice to be able to spend time together and to not be able to go anywhere.  in between shoveling, we caught up on shows on our dvr and spend a lot of time relaxing.  it was so therapeutic.

today we're back to our normal schedules.  the roads near us are absolutely horrible.  driving to work this morning, my car slid five times in a stretch of less than three miles.  ugg!  the forecast is predicting that we are going to get even more snow this week.  i'm honestly not sure where we are going to put any more snow!  i am ready for winter to be over.  spring, where are you?


stay warm!
love, laurie

Monday, February 2, 2015

super bowl sunday 2015


i've mentioned before that we are really not into sports, but we do like to watch the super bowl each year (mainly for the commercials and the half-time show).  we were pretty bummed when we found out that ryan was scheduled to have rehearsal for the show that he is working on during the super bowl.  as it turned out, his rehearsal ended early because of the snow, and he got to come home just in time to sit down and see the beginning of the game!  we threw together a little super bowl party for ourselves.  i made spinach-artichoke dip, cut up some celery and carrot sticks to dip in blue cheese, and made some boneless chicken wings with garlic hot sauce for ryan.  we followed it up with some ice cream for dessert too.

as soon as ryan sat down on the couch, leko wasted no time at all.  he jumped right up on ryan's lap and that's where he stayed for the remainder of the night.  it was great!  it was so nice to finally have some free time to be able to sit down on the couch, relax, and vegetate.  i snapped two pictures on my phone while we were sitting on the couch watching the game.  i couldn't resist how cute leko was when he was sleeping.  he sure knows how to make himself comfortable!  all three of us really enjoyed our impromptu little super bowl party.

overall, most of the commercials were pretty lame, but i did love budweiser's "lost puppy" commercial.  the budweiser commercials get me every year!

today we woke up to find several inches of snow on the ground, and it is still snowing!  by some act of god, the university where we work actually closed so we have the day off today.  i'm telling you, that is nothing short of a miracle!

happy groundhog day!
love, laurie

. . .

previous super bowl sundays: 2013 and 2014