Friday, July 25, 2014

Friday Love

{ONE}

Picnics. I always love the idea of going on a picnic, but some time struggle with what to pack for them. It always seems like a lot of maintenance, or like the food just isn't all that fantastic for the occasion. I like this little picnic slot machine for ideas.

{TWO}

Chipotle Orders. Really Chipotle could be on my every Friday love. It's so yum! I thought this article about what your chipotle order says about you was pretty interesting, but none of them really describe me or my order, so I'm slightly disappointed.

{THREE}

Pool with friends. Twice this week I have been able to enjoy pool time with friends. So much fun to have company :)

{FOUR}

Nostalgia Machine. Um, if you do nothing us with the links on this post, I don't care, but please do yourself a favor and click on this gem. You can choose a year and it brings up all the best songs from that year. Seriously it will take you back. I tried 2000 (when I got my driver's license), 2004 (college fun-ness), and 1998 (K-Ci & JoJo All My Life, yes please), but every year will take ya back! I promise!

{FIVE}

Real Conversations. It's easy to get caught up in texting and social media these days, but I have been reminded a couple of times this week about the value of having real in person conversations, or at least talking on the phone :) It's something I want to work on :)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Recipe of the Week!

Italian Sub Chopped Salad
This picture is not so good. I was in a rush and should have taken better pictures along the way. This is a recipe I used for game night this summer. It was very easy, and also pretty filling. I took the recipe from Smitten Kitchen, and followed it pretty much exactly...adding a subtracting some ingredients until I thought it looked good.

Ingredients:
Oregano dressing:

4 cloves garlic
2 tablespoons dried oregano
2 teaspoons kosher salt
Freshly ground black pepper
2 tablespoons lemon juice, or juice of 1 lemon
1/4 cup red wine vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil

Salad:
1 (15-ounce) can chickpeas
1 small red onion, peeled and sliced into paper-thin rings
1/2 pound provolone, sliced 1/8-inch thick then cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
1/2 pound salami, peeled, sliced 1/8-inch thick then cut into 1/4-inch ribbons
4 medium or 8 small pickled pepperoncini, sliced into rings
3/4 pound cherry tomatoes
Sea salt
1 head iceberg lettuce, halved, cored, and cut in 1/2-inch ribbons
1 head radicchio, halved, cored and cut in 1/4-inch ribbons

Directions:
To Make dressing:
Roughly chop the garlic and then add the oregano, salt and up to 1/2 teaspoon ground pepper. Chop the mixture together and use the side of a knife or a mortar and pestle to make a grainy herb paste. Transfer the paste to a large salad bowl, and add the lemon juice and vinegar. Mix with a fork allowing the salt to dissolve, then add the oil and whisk with a fork until well combined. The dressing should be thick with garlic and oregano.

To Assemble salad: Gently fold the chickpeas, red onion, provolone, salami, pepperoncini (including seeds and juice) into the dressing, one at a time. Halve the tomatoes lengthwise and season with 1 1/2 teaspoons sea salt. Set aside until ready to serve. When ready to serve, gently add the tomatoes, lettuce and radicchio to the salad bowl, and toss to combine with the dressing.

Friday, July 18, 2014

Friday Love

{ONE}

No humidity. We have had a couple wonderful weather days this week! There was no humidity, the sun was out, and it was still warm. Please sign me up for a couple more of these. I will gladly take them.

{TWO} 

American Ninja Warrior. So I will admit I'm a little bit of a secret fan of this show. I watched it a lot more last summer, but this video did catch my eye. This girl is absolutely insane.



{THREE}

Peet's Coffee. Peet's recently took over all the Caribou Coffee's around here. I went to Peet's this morning with my mom and had coffee for the first time in over a week! I decided I would kick my out of control caffeine addiction last week. I was so happy to be drinking that DECAF coffee.

{FOUR}


My Crepe Myrtle Tree. It's blooming (and taking over my sidewalk)! I love this tree. I think it is just so pretty with it's bright pink flowers.

{FIVE}

Grilled Peach Splits. How great do these look. I want to try this recipe from Smitten Kitchen and report back ASAP.

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Arlington National Cemetery & The Pentagon Memorial


Last weekend Matt and I decided to be tourists in our own area. I had been saying for a while that I wanted to visit Arlington National Cemetery. I have never visited in my six years of living here. I also wanted to visit the Pentagon Memorial, another place neither of us have been.


We left our house early on Saturday to run a quick errand with plans to head to our destinations for the day right after. When we left the house it was actually a little chilly to be wearing shorts and a tank top. By the time we got to the Pentagon I sure was glad I was wearing the shorts and tank top. It was hot, and more devastatingly it was humid. We circled the Pentagon quite a few times before we figured out that you can for sure park no where near the memorial. We found some parking on Army Navy Drive and then walked over.

The area of the Pentagon when the plane crashed
The Pentagon Memorial is the third in the trio of 9/11 memorials that Matt and I have visited. I think the most intriguing thing in each of the memorials is all the symbolism that goes into them. Everything that is part of the memorial has meaning, even the wall around it. Each person who died at the Pentagon has a bench with their name on the edge of it. If you can see their name when facing the sky they died in the plane that crashed. If you can see the name when looking at the Pentagon, they were working in the building that day. I'm really glad we visited. It was a nice memorial. I recommend it if you are in the area, just remember there is no parking at the Pentagon.


Arlington House and Edward Kennedy Gravesite
After we finished up at the Pentagon, we headed over to Arlington National Cemetery. They are actually kind of like neighbors. At this point it was incredibly hot and humid. We probably should have brought our water bottles out of the car and maybe had a snack. We stopped in the visitor's center and got a map and plotted out our course for the morning. Matt wanted to see President Taft's grave so we headed there first. We had to walk up a small hill to get there. After that we started heading back through the cemetery passing Lincoln's son's tomb. We then decided to go all the way up to the Arlington House at the top of the hill. It was a hike. I'm not kidding you. About halfway there I told Matt walking around Arlington National Cemetery was harder than the Pittsburgh Half Marathon. It might have been the heat, it might have been that I was hungry, or I might have been being dramatic, but I really was not loving the walk up to the Arlington House. 

Kennedy Family and the Eternal Flame
When you get to the Arlington house, though, it's a great view of Washington. You can see in the picture at the top of the post. Matt was having great conversations with the Park Rangers while I stood in front of their fan. I was really glad to be walking downhill to the Kennedy Family gravesite and the eternal flame after that.

Changing of the Guard
We finished our day in the cemetery by walking over to the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier. We also wanted to see the changing of the guard. We made it just in time to watch. This was my favorite part of the day. If you are going to visit Arlington I highly recommend you visit this area on the hour, or half hour, so you can watch. After watching the change and the guard for a little while we walked back to the car and headed into DC to finally have something to eat. I was starving!!!

Tomb of the Unknown
We had these plans to go to Grilled Cheese DC, or GCDC, a grilled cheese bar, but when we arrived looking like hot mess, hungry tourists they were closed. I almost cried. Very thankfully there were a plethora of other places to eat on the same street. We selected Taylor and had regular sandwiches. I had wanted to go to Taylor anyway. They opened one in our old neighborhood just as we moved out. It was a really good sandwich. Everything was really fresh and their bread was also really good!

We were very close to the White House when we were eating. We decided to walk past it on our way back to the car. It was an interesting walk. We saw a protest and the lady that lives in the tent across from the White House was also out and about talking to people. I had never seen her close up and was intrigued. Finally as we headed through the park, I think a guy though Matt was Abraham Lincoln. As we walked past he started yelling, "Abraham Lincoln, you nasty stinkin' dirty ho!" Good thing Matt likes Abe.


Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Karen & Billy


Over the fourth of July weekend Matt and I traveled to Boston for his sister's wedding. The trip was quite action packed from start to finish. We decided to leave after Matt was finished with work on Wednesday as to avoid as much holiday traffic as possible. The problem with that is we had to deal with a lot of rush hour traffic in both DC and Baltimore. We also hit terrible thunderstorms in New Jersey where we actually had to stop driving because the road started to flood. Not a big deal we were hungry anyway...then all the electricity went out in the restaurant. Then the GW Bridge through NYC had a 245 minute wait...we detoured and finally arrived in Massachusetts at three in the morning, twelve hours after leaving my house.


Over the next few days we were all in wedding mode. Lots of errands to run and last minute details to finish. Then there was good old Arthur to add to the mix. Remember him? The hurricane. Well he ended up knocking out the electricity...so we had to move wedding central to a hotel room. It was also hot..and no electricity=no air conditioning. I was never so thankful for my luxurious 21st century life.

Matt and his BFFs
Matt's family lives all over the country, so we got to visit with a lot of people we hardly get to see, some that I had never even met. It was nice to spend time with everyone. Thankfully good old Arthur got out of town in time for the rehearsal and the wedding. Both of those days were beautiful.

mid walk around the alter
Karen's fiance, Billy, is Greek. I had never been to a Greek wedding ceremony before. They use a lot of traditions in the ceremony like crowns, holding candles, and walking around the alter to symbolize different aspects of marriage. After the ceremony we headed to the reception in downtown Boston. The venue was right on the harbor and had a beautiful view of the city skyline. I really liked having the cocktail hour outside since it was a beautiful day. The reception had a lot of nice touches as well. They had both a DJ and a Greek band. I really liked watching/attempting the Greek dancing.

 

Our whole visit to Massachusetts was a nice one, despite all the craziness that occurred pre-wedding. Congratulations to Karen and Billy, who are now vacationing in Thailand and the Maldives. On another note, I am happy to report that our drive home was a lot less eventful.

I love Greek food!

Friday, July 11, 2014

Friday Love

{ONE}

Motivational Passwords. Have you seen this article on passwords? I think I might try it during the school year when I have to continuously change my passwords. I like the positivity.

{TWO}



Kmart Back to School Ads. I don't exactly love the fact that back to school commercials have already begun to grace my television, but I do love when that girl talks about Julio's mama being fiscally responsible.

{THREE}

This Is Where I Leave You. I'm currently reading the book by Jonathan Tropper...it's pretty good and an easy read. I'm excited for the movie to come out...I can tell there are differences, but it looks funny, with a good cast.


{FOUR}

No plans. After a very busy start to our summer, I am glad to have no major plans in the foreseeable future. We plan to start this weekend off with little to no driving.

{FIVE}

Grilling. Last summer we hadn't got on top of our lives yet after our move, so we didn't have a grill. I think we bought it sometime in the fall. I am just loving having it this summer. I also love our grill basket for grilled veggies. If you don't have one of those, you are missing out.

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Recipe of the Week

Homemade Pesto
I have been growing basil this summer, and at one point had so much I decided to make some pesto. I had a couple of kitchen disasters during this recipe, but in the end it all worked out. Making this pesto was the first time I had ever used my food processor. I could not get that thing to work for me. Turns out I put it together backwards. Thank goodness for google. Then I accidentally dumped too much salt in and completely forgot to add the parmesan cheese. It still tasted good once the whole meal was together though! Next time, though, I will add that parmesan. I served my pesto with pasta, fresh mozzarella, and some grilled chicken.

Ingredients:
2 cups packed fresh basil leaves
2 cloves garlic
1/4 cup almonds (I used almonds, but you could also use pine nuts)
2/3 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
1/2 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese

Directions:
Combine the basil, garlic, and almonds in a food processor and pulse until coarsely chopped. Add the olive oil and process until fully incorporated and smooth. Season with salt and pepper and mix in parmesan cheese.