Thursday, October 31, 2013

Game Day Food: Stuffed Mushrooms

Growing up, I despised mushrooms (to be fair, I never actually tried them... they just look so shriveled and gross!), and it wasn't until I started dating John that I ventured to try them (I am sure it went something like this... John: "Let's get mushrooms on our pizza."  Lisa: "Ok! I love mushrooms!").  And basically, it has been a love affair ever since.

Entertaining should be easy... that way, as the hostess, it will be more fun! For a very easy, but equally tasty appetizer, try these stuffed mushrooms.

If you have the urge to be extra wonderful, there are recipes here and here which have you make the filling to stuff your mushrooms... Me? I will stick with the easy way.  I'm convinced that no one cares how much time you put into the food - they just want it to be tasty and to enjoy your company.  So below you'll find the slacker version of stuffed mushrooms!

How to: 
1. Begin by washing and drying your mushrooms, and then remove the stems (they should break off pretty cleanly, but if they don't, use a spoon to gently scoop it out).
2. Place your mushrooms stem-side down on a cookie sheet with olive oil, and bake for 5 minutes at 350 degrees.
3. Remove the mushrooms from the oven, carefully flip them over and stuff with your cheese (I used a garlic and herb spreadable cheese). Sprinkle the top with Parmesan cheese.
4. Place mushrooms back into the oven and bake for 10 minutes.

Pray-fam Life Updates

I recently joined a small group at the church we are going to, Sagebrush.  We meet every Thursday night, and the girls in the group are great.  The group is very recently formed, which is nice so that I'm not "the new girl."  We are studying the women of the Bible, which makes the variety of topics that we discuss interesting.

Alsooo, I got a job! I will be working at the University of New Mexico in the Human Research Protections Office as a Human Research Review Analyst.  I am excited about the position, and it seems like I will be working with a great team.  I don't start until mid-November, which is totally fine with me.  My wonderful friend Hannah is coming out to visit (and will be here later today, actually!!), and it is nice that I can enjoy our time together without having to worry about work-prep.

John has been staying busy with work and basketball practice... yes, you read that correctly - he joined the firm basketball team! He will tell you that he doesn't have a great shot, but plays aggressively.  He is playing in a lawyers/accountants league, so hopefully no one will be too riled up about getting fouled by my husband.

Aside from work and basketball, John has been embracing all things New Mexico, and bought his first pair of ropers (they were actually an early Christmas gift from his mom)!  The boots look very nice on him!  He also has been loving all the FSU and famous Jameis action on ESPN.

Scout has been busy being social and just started going to the Central New Mexico Brittany Club on the weekends.  John and Scout wake up very early and head over to the West Mesa where Scout is being introduced to birds, gun fire, and the New Mexico terrain.  She is looking forward to quail hunting on opening weekend in mid-November!

Shadow finally has her cone off her head and is looking extra cute because of it.  Shadow has this terrible habit of ripping out her fur and leaving bald spots on her legs and tail. Since she had her cone on for a couple months, her fur has grown back and she is looking great!  In a couple weeks she will be 15 (yes, 15 years old).  This is crazy to me... if she was human, she would be able to drive a car with a driver's permit. Weird.

Winnie just turned 12 years old (yesterday, actually), and is enjoying life in New Mexico.  She spends most of her time trying to avoid Scout, sleeping in the warm sun, and every once and a while, enjoys hunting a fly or two that enters our apartment.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Game Day Food: Parmesan Potato Wedges

Looking for the perfect half-time snack? I mean, really, who doesn't love potato wedges? And oh my goodness... these definitely out-kicked the coverage - so make sure you make enough for everyone!  

John enjoys these so much that he has insisted we make more to use with some sort of poutine (I, of course, thought that this was a brilliant idea).

What you need:
- 4 russet potatoes
- 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil (EVOO)
- 1/4 teaspoon sea salt
- 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
- 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder
- 1/4 teaspoon paprika
- 2 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley
- 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese

How to:
1.  Cut the potatoes into wedges and soak in cold water with ice for 30 minutes.
2.  After soaking the potatoes, dry them and place them into a Ziploc bag with the salt, pepper, paprika, and garlic powder and shake.  After shaking, add 1/4 EVOO and shake again.
3.  Place the potato wedges on a lined baking sheet and bake for 35 minutes at 450 degrees (for the last 5 minutes, I put the oven on broil... just watch the wedges closely to make sure they don't burn).
4.  After baking, toss the wedges in your chopped parsley and Parmesan cheese.
5.  Serve with ranch, or whatever fry sauce you love.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Weekend Activites!

This past weekend, John and I went to an event for his firm at the University of New Mexico.  The UNM Law Alumni Association was honoring one of the named partners at his firm as a distinguished alumni.  It was fun to get dressed up, head out, and eat a yummy dinner with some of his co-workers.

John also spent a day away fly fishing on the San Juan river, just south of Colorado.  He caught a bunch of trout and certainly kept up his sunglasses tan! The San Juan is beautiful - especially this time of year!

We finished the weekend by having breakfast at possibly the best place in the world, Range Cafe.  The Range Cafe has a Zingerman's type of vibe with (very) tasty food, fun decor, and a great atmosphere!

Game Day Food: Homemade Salsa

I eat an absurd amount of salsa... really, it is kind of obnoxious.  I am not the kind of girl that politely dips her chip into the bowl either - I am a scooper (who leaves a trail of salsa behind on my shirt...).  Sometimes, I feel like John thinks I am too scoop-a-licious and that I am not leaving any salsa for him (I tell him to eat up too).  That is why this recipe is so great, because it makes a good amount - it's enough to share (or, Lisa size)... and, not to mention, it tastes much fresher than store bought jars.  

When I was in college I would beg my mom to buy me a Costco size tub (really, a tub) of Jack's salsa.  I am pretty sure I would go through the whole thing in a week (I told you, it is obnoxious).

Oh, and by the way, this recipe... it came from our good family friend, Marsha - and that's how you know it's good (I am obsessed with basically everything she makes).

So, make a batch (or really, just go ahead and double it) and enjoy for this weekend's football game! 

What you need:
- 1 can petite diced tomatoes
- Chopped green onions
- Diced Garlic
- Jalapeno pepper
- Chopped cilantro
- Fresh lime juice

How to:
- Mix together the tomatoes (do not include the juice), green onions, garlic, jalapeno pepper, cilantro, and juice from a lime.
- Add as much, or as little, of the ingredients as you want... make it fit your taste.  If you like your salsa with more juice, add in some of the tomato juice.

...For mine, I used 1 can of tomatoes (not the juice), about a 1/4 cup of green onions, 1/4 cup of cilantro, a tablespoon of garlic, 1/2 the jalapeno pepper (I did not use the seeds or membrane) and 2 small limes. 


Monday, October 28, 2013

Game Day Food: Buffalo Ranch Chicken Sliders

These sandwiches are pretty amazing... in fact, this recipe originally came from my friend Jan who makes this as a dip! Whenever we had an office potluck I would basically beg her to make it, and then insist she keep it outside of my cubicle until the potluck was ready to start.  (I would make sure no one was watching and then sneak spoonfuls.)  I mean, really, I am pretty possessive over this stuff.

What you need:
- 3 chicken breasts cooked and shredded (I cooked mine in the crock pot)
- 4oz cream cheese
- 6oz (1/2 bottle) of hot wing sauce
- 1/2 cup ranch dressing
- 1 cup shredded cheese
- Slider buns/rolls

How to: 
1. Combine cream cheese, hot wing sauce, and ranch dressing into a large sauce pan and slowly cook until cream cheese is soft.
2. Add cooked chicken to the sauce pan and mix well.
3. Pour into baking dish and top with shredded cheese.
4. Place in oven for 30-35 minutes at 350 degrees.
5. Serve on a slider bun or eat as a dip with tortilla chips.

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Game Day Food: Home Made Spinach Dip

Spinach dip is so great and pretty much the best game day food ever... you can eat it with chips, bread, pretzels - basically anything you want!  

What you need:
- 1 cup sour cream
- 1 cup mayonnaise or miracle whip
- 1 small bag of frozen spinach
- 1 package of Knorr's dry vegetable dip
- If you choose, add nuts, artichokes, or whatever else you please

To lighten the calories in this recipe, substitute portions of the mayonnaise and sour cream with Greek yogurt using this substitution chart.  I would love to do this, but for a few months I went on this Greek yogurt kick, and everything I made had some sort of Greek yogurt substitution.  I slowly noticed that my husband no longer wanted to eat my food.  Finally, I got him to admit that everything that I was cooking tasted like Greek yogurt!  I was not at all offended, and actually found it quite hilarious... he was very sweet about it.  :)  Since then, I don't substitute anything since I clearly don't know how to do it correctly.

ANYWAY! Back to the recipe...

How to (it's super simple!):
1. Thaw spinach and squeeze out excess moisture.
2. Mix all ingredients well.
3. Chill for an hour in the refrigerator.

This recipe is perfect to use with a DIY treat stand!  Serve with pretzels, bread, chips... whatever you please!

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Don't freak out, but...

Ok, I just want to let you know that it is officially less than two months until Christmas... I know, I know, don't freak out, but it is probably about time you start brain storming for your Christmas card (just sayin').

I am pretty much obsessed with just about everything that comes from so I have been scouring for my favorite Christmas card ideas since July (yes, I'm running late this year).  So turn on some music, grab a glass of wine, and start clicking away... Once you're on the website it won't be easy to leave! :)

(Val, I will kick you if you don't use some of these brilliant newlywed ideas... Just kidding, but I'm totes jelly I didn't think of these!)


For the newlyweds:

For the family:

For the newborns:

Non-picture cards:

For the animal freaks (This is my category):

Friday, October 25, 2013

Fashion Friday: The Sweater Dress

Sweater dresses... what can I say?  I love 'em!  

And they happen to be totally versatile.  Head to work with a scarf, belt and boots, then come home and throw on some tights, grab a clutch and some booties, and voila, you're good to go out!

I found 8 really great tips to wearing a sweater dress that I thought I would share...

1. Belted - As sweater dresses can be quite shapeless, try cinching them in at the waist with a belt. Creating this contour is a great way of defining your silhouette. For thicker knit dresses, create balance by teaming them with wider belts. If you’re going to belt your sweater dress, stick to looser-fitting styles.

2. Layered - An artfully layered look is just one way of how to wear a sweater dress. Layer a sweater dress underneath a structured coat, with thick tights, and a cozy scarf. The looser the sweater dress, the more structured your coat should be. To add extra detail, try popping a collared shirt on underneath your sweater dress.

3. With Tights - Tights look great when paired with looser-fitting sweater dresses. Thick black tights are a staple, but also try branching out with patterned or colored tights. To stay extra warm, add another layer by wearing a pair of knee-high socks over your tights.

4. Accessorized - Glam up the humble sweater dress with a range of opulent accessories. A chic long statement necklace, drop earrings, or high-shine cuffs are all great ways of styling a sweater dress. When looking at how to wear a sweater dress, accessories are a great way of updating your look.

5. Off the Shoulder - An off-the-shoulder sweater dress is one way of making this look work during the evening. Accentuate your bare shoulders by popping on a pair of statement-making drop earrings. For a chic evening look, choose an off-the-shoulder dress with a more fitted design. Finish the look off with a patent clutch and stiletto heels.

6. With Boots - For an edgier take on sweater dressing, team them with a pair of boots. Ankle boots are all the rage this season, so a black leather pair with a thick heel is a stylish option. Alternatively, sweater dresses also look great paired with knee high boots.

7. Contoured - A fitted sweater dress is well suited for dressier occasion. When choosing a fitted sweater dress, opt for one made from a finer knit fabric. As they will be quite body-hugging, it might be wise to wear some contouring shapewear underneath.

8. Contrasting Textures - Play up the tactile factor and team your sweater dress with contrasting textures. A woolly sweater dress would look great paired with a sleek leather jacket. Alternatively, patent and high-shine metallic accessories would also work well to complement a sweater dress. These are all things you should consider when thinking about how to wear a sweater dress.

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