Saturday, April 28, 2012

City Garden Season 2

Tomato plants, herb box, and the good old lemon tree
Last summer I planted a "city garden" on my balcony. I was pretty excited to do the same thing again this summer and incorporate my lessons learned. Of course we have our lemon tree. I wish that thing would grow some more of it's leaves back, but we are constantly battling each other about something. I imagine it something like having a teenager. In the earth box this year I decided to go with just two tomato plants. This year I bought more mature plants in the hope that we get actual tomatoes earlier. I felt like we were getting tomatoes into December last year. Hopefully this strategy helps. I also brought back the herb box we had last year. This year we are doing parsley, basil, cilantro, and apple mint. Matt would not leave the gardening store without the apple mint.  What we will do with it, I have no idea, but it does smell good. 
Hens and Chicks
Lastly I did a pot of hens and chicks. I did two plants in a pot and I'm hoping since they are ground cover they will take over the whole pot and look really cool. They are already starting to sprout off so it might just work. For those of you who haven't heard...hens and chicks are the main flower, well I guess plant, in our wedding. I hope they don't look like this since I want mostly the lime green color, but they didn't have that at the store. Anyway I thought it would be cool to have some. 

I planted everything about two weeks ago. I really didn't think that the temperatures were going to get so low again. It's been a little bit of a pain really. I have had to move the plants in and out of our little water heater room on the balcony so they don't freeze. Reminiscent of the hurricane event in late August. Except right now its like an every night event. Hopefully the temperatures get warm and stay warm in the next few days. So maybe I didn't learn enough lessons last year? 

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Recipe of the Week!

Bourbon Street Chicken
This chicken is delicious! I have made it twice recently. The recipe was originally recommended to me by my Boo. The first time I made it I made 2 pounds of chicken, but doubled the sauce ingredients because I knew I was going to use the cornstarch to make it a little more dense. I highly recommend doing this if you like sauce, especially thick sauce. I also used red wine instead of water. After eating it the first time I adjusted the amount of soy sauce for the second time. I thought it was really over powering. What I have below is the way I make it. If you want the real recipe you can find it here


2 pounds boneless chicken breasts; cut into bite-size pieces
1 tablespoon olive oil; (1-2)
2 garlic cloves; crushed
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 1/2 teaspoons crushed red pepper flakes
3/4 cup apple juice
2/3 cup light brown sugar
4 tablespoons ketchup
2 tablespoon cider vinegar
1 cup water (or red wine)
1/3 cup soy sauce
2 tablespoons cornstarch; (if thick sauce desired)...I think I probably did more than this. I just kept adding until it was the consistency I wanted.


Heat oil in a large skillet. Add chicken pieces and cook until lightly browned. Remove chicken. Add remaining ingredients to skillet, heating over medium heat until well blended and dissolved. Add chicken and bring to a hard boil. Reduce heat and simmer for 20 minutes uncovered. Serve over hot rice.

Sunday, April 22, 2012


You might recall that the tenants of 709 have a love for all things Jeopardy. Well you can imagine my reaction when we found out that Jeopardy was coming to DC for a few tapings. I promptly went to My Eye Doctor to get a ticket request form (as well as an eye exam and the new glasses pictured below) and sent it off waiting and hoping. I waited and waited for my self addressed, stamped envelope to make it's way back to the east coast with tickets and finally on the first day of my fabulous spring break it did! We got tickets for the Friday evening taping! 

It was pretty much all I had ever hoped for, with one exception. I will get my complaint out of the way first. It was advertised that they were taping a sort of celebrity, power players edition. Well on Friday they were still taping the finals of the Teen Tournament. A little bit of a bummer, but no big deal. It was still pretty cool to see the very, very excited teen win (aren't you so jealous I know the results of the Jeopardy Teen Tournament!?!?). Anyway, we stood in line with a lot of interesting (nicest way to put it) people for what felt like forever, and then we got some pretty good seats. It was interesting to watch all the behind the scenes preparation too. We also met the Clue Crew (wow, I sound like such a dork).

The highlights of the taping include Alex telling stories and taking questions during the commercial breaks and the most surprising thing of all...Alex making a big mistake. When he was giving a clue he accidently gave away the answer. It was hilarious. We had to stop the taping and he said that he had only ever done that a few times in the history of Jeopardy. It was really funny he tried to just keep going and do whatever back-up plan they have for this, but the producer had to stop him and they had to edit over what was already taped. 

I can't wait to see our episodes air. Tune in on May 10th and 11th to see the finals of the Teen Tournament, and see if you can pick out where Alex made his mistake :)

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Outer Space

Today at work it truly was a little dose of outer space. I mean this in many respects, but I am going to stick with this video example. We were lucky enough to have the space shuttle Discovery fly over BES on it's way to retirement about four times today! Twice it was so close I felt like I could touch it. It was pretty cool. Enjoy the video and my future astronauts :)

Sunday, April 15, 2012

Recipe of the Week!

Baked Lemon Pasta
I love lemons! Have a mentioned that? I wasn't completely sure how this would go since it seems really simple and had the potential to be bland. I would say that on the original day I cooked it, I loved it, but it's one of those dishes that you have tons of leftovers. The leftovers were good, but definitely not as good as the same day prep. The advantage here is that you get a lot of food (if you need it), and it's very simple. I was also skeptical about the amount of parsley because I am not a parsley lover, but it was very, very good in this dish! Enjoy!

1 box spaghetti
4 tbsp butter
2 tbsp olive oil
2 cloves minced garlic
1 lemon (zested and juiced) plus a little more for topping.
2 cups light sour cream
parmesan cheese
chopped parsely

Preheat oven to 375. Cook spaghetti. Meanwhile, in a skillet, melt butter with olive oil over low heat. When butter is melted, add minced garlic. Squeeze lemon juice into the pan. Turn off heat.

Add sour cream and stir mixture together. Add lemon zest and salt. Taste, then add more salt if necessary. Pour mixture over drained spaghetti and stir together, then pour spaghetti into an oven safe dish.

Bake, covered, for 15 minutes. Then remove foil and bake for an additional 7 to 10 minutes. (Don’t bake too long or the pasta will dry out.)

When you remove it from the oven, squeeze a little more lemon juice over the top. Top generously with Parmesan cheese, then chopped parsley. Give it a final squeeze of lemon juice at the end.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

Mushroom Invasion

So one random Saturday morning I wake up and there's mushrooms in my lemon tree. I was appalled. Seriously. I promptly plucked them from the pot and told them never to come back. Low and behold about two weeks later they returned. Once again I ripped them out and told them no more. They haven't been back since. But what in the world? How does this happen? And how do I ensure they are never a part of my life again? Any advice?

Monday, April 9, 2012

Best Break Ever. Seriously.

I can't explain to you how amazing my break has been. I had this mile long to-do list and only two things remain, but they are fun things I actually enjoy doing and they didn't really need to get done over break. One is a list of books I want to read over the summer, and the other is researching things to do on our upcoming trip to New York City. If you would like to contribute to either of those list please leave a comment to get me started!

I mentioned last week that I would be doing some wedding DIY...I have decided not to share that quite yet in order to keep some aspects of my wedding a surprise for those attending. If you are just dying to know what I spent some serious time on just ask. I also did some life planning and revamping. This was probably the most trying of the to-do list since they weren't very fun items compared to wedding DIY. I got to clean in the middle of the day, meet Matt for lunch, go to Pittsburgh for Easter and see my family, sleep in, stay up late, and everything else I wanted to do. I wish I could be a trophy wife and lead this daily life. Too bad.

It's back to work tomorrow...only one quarter left until summer! And I'm serious about those recommendations...leave some for me :)

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Recipe of the Week!

Buffalo Wings
So here is another recipe left over from the Superbowl. This was easy, but I don't think I will ever be making my own wings again. I just can't handle chopping up chicken wings again. It was one of the more disgusting kitchen escapades of my life. All I did was chop up the wings into their sections then I covered about half the wings in Frank's Red Hot Buffalo flavor and left the other half plan since Matt doesn't like buffalo (so unfortunate, I know). I baked them in the oven until they were ready to eat. At this point I removed all the plain wings from the oven. I recovered the buffalo wings in red hot and put them back in the over for just a few minutes. My wings were super hot, but very good. This served the wings on the Superbowl craving, but like I said...I'm just buying them next year.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012


I wish Spring Break was every week. I have been out of control productive. Yesterday I did so much housework, wedding planning, and life planning I decided I should quit my day job and keep up with my personal life a lot more. Plus I would be my own boss and coworkers, although that might get lonely. Today I did some more of my to-do list then decided that I would meet Matt for lunch and take a little walk around DC since it was soooo nice out. Here's a little pic from our Library of Congress picnic table. Let's hope my productivity and adventures keep up!

Monday, April 2, 2012


“There’s something sacred about reading a blog post on someone else’s site. It’s like visiting a friend’s house for a quick meal ’round the breakfast table. It’s personal — you’re in their space, and the environment is uniquely suited for idea exchange and uninterrupted conversation. In many ways, we should be treating our blogs like our breakfast tables. Be welcoming & gracious when you host, and kind & respectful when visiting.” – Trent Walton

It's Spring Break. Finally. I had to work on Saturday. Technically I was given the choice between Easter Monday and Saturday, so I chose to just get it done and to shorten my work week next week. I know what your thinking (if you aren't in the field of education)...what is it you could possibly have to do? There were no kids, it was a Saturday. Guess what? You know all that stuff you do at your desk during the day? We have to do it too, we just don't get to do it during our typical workday cause we get to stand at the front of the room, or at a table with a small group, or a number of other things that don't involve sitting at our desk all day. 

Anyway, I couldn't help but think as I drove to work about how I have a master's degree and here I am driving 22.3 miles to work on Saturday. Next year I can do it for a half hour longer. I like to call this my abusive relationship. This post is turning into a whine fest about my job, but also during that drive I was thinking about how I wish I could be a professional blogger. I saw the quote above about blogs on Friday night and I really liked it. I did set a goal to improve and promote my blog when I had my one year anniversary in February, but it has kinda fallen by the wayside with life and wedding planning. Maybe I can find some time during my break...which also needs to be productive (you should really see the to do list). Any suggestions of what you would like to see on my "breakfast table"?