Wednesday, October 22, 2014

What's Cooking Wednesday: Eggplant Parmesan

I would like to note that this serving is on a salad plate.
Even though I'm not much of a cook, the fall months motivate even me to cook. This weekend I decided to try making eggplant parmesan.  To be honest I didn't grow up eating eggplant, so it is a pretty foreign food to me, and I've always been a little bit afraid of them.  However, they are definitely in season and looked so vibrant in the produce section.  I found this recipe to be pretty easy, although as I made it I realized it's definitely not a health food with the frying and all the cheese. It is delicious though.  I still have basil in season, so I topped my portions generously with the last fruits of summer. Have you been cooking any fall dishes lately?  Every weekend I scroll through my Pinterest boards of things I would like to make acting like I'm never going to cook another meal again. Ahh, the high stakes decisions of my quiet life.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Kate Spade's Friends and Family Sale: Stationery Picks

I thought Kate Spade's sale this weekend was pretty good with 30% off.  Even though I have no need for more stationery what so ever, I really love these cards.  With the discount these cards ended up being $14.00 for ten, which I actually think is reasonable. I adore the gold foil with the lined envelopes.
I also picked up these cards for one of my friend's as her birthday gift.  We write each other back and forth, so I think she will enjoy them.
I know most normal people would buy a big ticket item like a purse or a wallet, but I'm always lured in my the stationery.  Did anyone else participate in the sale? 

Monday, October 20, 2014

A Beautiful Fall Weekend in DC

The weather in D.C. was gorgeous this weekend, making up for all the rain we had during the week.  The husband ended up having to work for most of the time, so I made up a care package for my FIL and caught up on other errands.

We did decide to venture into the city on Sunday afternoon, and since it was so nice, we took a bike ride.  First, we rode to the Jefferson Memorial.  Even though we see it all the time, we rarely make it to that side of the monuments.
We also stumbled upon a memorial for George Mason, which I didn't even know existed. Isn't this a nice little place?

We then headed to the Botanical Gardens.  We walked through the garden (probably the last time the flowers will be blooming for awhile) and then headed indoors.  They had this neat exhibit of miniature versions for all the monuments.  They even recreated the reflecting pool, which I thought was so clever.  Despite the fact that flowers aren't really the husband's cup of tea, we both enjoyed seeing this.

Aren't these replicas so neat?  It was such a treat to have the opportunity to go see them. How was your weekend?  I feel with winter looming in front of us, there is so much pressure to enjoy fall.

Friday, October 17, 2014

Five for Friday!

To be honest, it was really hard to come up with Five for Friday this week, but I'm giving it my best shot!
1. Over the weekend, I decided to use the rest of my quinoa that I had on hand. Awhile ago, I had tried this recipe and I wasn't impressed.  (I think it was the lack of cheese, which is quite arguably my favorite food group.) I remembered seeing this recipe from Alexandra Bee's blog, so I decided to give it a whirl on Sunday.  I was generous with the Parmesan cheese, but I have to say that I think it's pretty tasty.

2. I'm looking forward to starting the book Lunch in Paris.  I think it will be light-hearted and a fun distraction.
3. Get well wishes- On Tuesday my mom had surgery on her shoulder and then on Thursday my FIL had a surgery. My FIL's surgery is more serious, but everything has made it a lot to pray about.

4. It's been a rainy week, but now that the rain has cleared the weekend is supposed to be beautiful.  I'm loving the fall weather, and I think this print could be so much fun.
5. On my way home, NPR was reviewing this children's book.  While I'm not in the market for one, the story sounds so whimsical and well-crafted. I think this would be such a fun gift for friends with children.
This weekend I am hoping to catch up on some errands and such.  I hope you all have a lovely weekend and can enjoy this fall weather!

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Five Years Ago!

Five years ago today the husband asked me to marry him. A few days before he proposed we picked out a simple ring and then he asked for my parent's blessing on my dad's 60th birthday. 
From our engagement photos via
It certainly was the happiest question I've ever been asked.
From our engagement photos via
Today I feel that same joy.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Five for Friday!

I haven't been as productive this week as I would have liked, but here are my five for Friday!

1. I successfully made a Mongolian beef recipe for the husband and the dish actually turned out.  As you know, I'm not a very good cook, so any time I have a success it's a happy day.

2. A care package for my friend and her husband. I had some mishaps with printing the shipping label on USPS, but I think that I'm finally going to get this sent out.
 3.  I finally finished Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet.  I think it took me a long time to read it because it was relatively obvious what would happen, and I didn't find the writing terribly engaging.  I think it would be an okay book to use when teaching 8th or 9th grade, but I prefer When the Emperor was Divine for a book that deals with Japanese internment.
4. Registering to vote!  November will be here before we know it, so I registered to vote and now I'm just researching to figure out who I'm actually going to vote for.
 5. Saturday is my dad's birthday!  My sister is flying up to celebrate, and I will be driving to my parent's house.  In honor of the occasion, I attempted to make him a pecan pie trying this new recipe. We will also be celebrating my brother's birthday, so this weekend should be pretty festive!

What are your weekend plans? I'm really looking forward to my trip home to be with my family!

Wednesday, October 8, 2014

A Very Belated Weekend Recap: A Nationals Playoff Game, Apple Picking and Visiting with Friends!

Last weekend was filled with a little more activity than I'm used to, but it was really nice.  Friday night was low key and during the day on Saturday was filled with errands and cooking.  Saturday night though was the Nationals' playoff game.  All 18 innings of it.  There was a mishap with my jacket, so the husband gave me his.  He was freezing the entire game, but we stayed until the bitter end. (BTW, it was a record for the longest playoff game ever. Lucky us.) 
 Sunday started out rather early, as I drove down to Charlottesville to meet a friend to go apple picking.  We went to Carter's Orchard and the weather was gorgeous!  There weren't too many apples, but we finally found a few further down the hill.
 They also had pumpkins and apple cider doughnuts.  I bought a half dozen doughnuts home to share with the husband.  As of Wednesday, there is only one surviving doughnut.  I was also excited that there were pumpkins, and picked out a small one to bring home.  Most of all though, it was really important that I was able to visit with my friend.
Then I drove home in time to visit other friends of ours who just had a baby. It was great to see them and to meet their son.  I made veggie chili, corn bread, pumpkin pie bars, and then we picked up some Korean chicken (that is always the star of the meal). I also made some cinnamon muffins for later and brought over an orchid.  I probably got a little over-excited, but I think being a new parent is hard, so we were trying to do something nice! All in all, it was a fun time.  It's already time to start thinking about this upcoming weekend now!  How have you been? 

Friday, October 3, 2014

Five for Friday: Sweaters, Scarves and Apple Picking!

Happy Friday, everyone!  Here are my five for Friday!

1. I did some returns after work on Wednesday, and stopped by H & M.  When I walked in the door, I saw this beautiful scarf, and I couldn't resist buying it.  I love the color combination and pattern.
2. With such a fancy new scarf, and feeling good about my clothing budget with returns, I picked up this sweater from the Loft.  It's a nice wardrobe refresh and it's relaxed fit makes me feel somewhat chic.
3. The husband has been working late, so I've been working my way through the Ken Burns documentary on The Roosevelts.  Eleanor Roosevelt has been a childhood hero of mine since I was in the 5th grade, and I've enjoyed learning more about the family.
4. On Sunday afternoon, I'm looking forward to meeting up with a friend to go apple picking!  It will be great to see her, and will be such a fun fall activity.
5. Finally, I thought this map of the US and NYT article was really interesting.

What are your plans for the weekend?  Whatever they may be, I hope it's a good one!

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

A Meal for a Friend

Because I live a quiet life, I'm really dragging this out, but as I mentioned I brought my friend a meal on Sunday.  Cooking really isn't my strength, so I truly agonized over what to bring.  I realized that she loves butternut squash soup, so I decided to build a menu around that. 
I whipped up my favorite harvest salad and also baked some cinnamon muffins. I also picked up some bread, apple cider, and anything interesting that I saw at Trader Joe's.  (I definitely went a little overboard.)
I  wanted to bring her some flowers, and I thought the hydrangeas were perfect.
I put all the food in a basket that I bought from Michael's, and that was a great way to easily transport everything (and my friend really liked the basket).
I plan on bringing her another meal in a few weeks, so if anyone has any ideas for other meals, I'd love to hear them!  Even though my friend is adjusting great, I think it's always nice to have friends do special things during this time.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Weekend Recap!

This weekend was relatively busy, but refreshing. My sister and her boyfriend arrived on Friday night, and we visited and had a late dinner of pizza.  We were up early on Saturday for a 5k, and then we headed to Tyson's Corner to do a little shopping and have an early lunch at Seasons 52. We stopped by Trader Joe's for some dinner and snack treats, and then we went back to our apartment to regroup. It was a beautiful day, so we decided to visit the zoo.  Our first stop was the pandas.  They were up to their usual activities: sleeping and eating.

I seriously think the pandas are so funny.
We then walked by the elephants and through the bird exhibit.  The highlights included the oriole and the peacock.
We had hoped to see the tigers and lions, but it was later in the day, so we missed them.  My sister was willing to patiently pose by a bear with me, and I also convinced the husband to stand my the metal frog. 
My sister and her boyfriend had an early flight out, so we had a relaxed Sunday night, but it was just really nice to spend time with her. 

On Sunday, I drove down to visit my friend and bring her a little meal.  I was able to see her beautiful baby boy and we had a really nice visit.  All in all, it was a lovely weekend!