•  photo DSC_0346-001.jpg
  •  photo DSC_1169-001.jpg
  •  photo DSC_0906-001.jpg
  •  photo DSC_0009.jpg
  •  photo DSC_0131.jpg
  •  photo DSC_0078.jpg
  •  photo DSC_0063 2.jpg
  •  photo DSC_0436 2.jpg
  •  photo DSC_0066.jpg
  •  photo DSC_0294.jpg
  •  photo DSC_1413_1.jpg

What I Love About...


Fresh blooming trees and flowers.
The smell of fresh cut grass.
Warm, but not hot, weather.
It is the season we were married.
Gardening projects.
Asparagus, lamb, strawberries + fresh spinach.

Citrus Marinated Pork Chops

4 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 lime, zested and juiced
1/2 orange, zested and juiced
1/3 cup olive oil
salt and pepper
4 boneless pork chops

Mix marinade well. Pierce porckchops with a fork and cover with marinade. Refrigerate for 4-6 hours, turning pork chops at least once. Cook on grill until meat is cooked through.

New York Style Cheesecake

From The Joy of Cooking

5 8oz packages cream cheese
1-3/4 cups sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
5 large eggs
2 large egg yolks
1/2 cup heavy cream

Preheat oven to 500 degrees.

In a large bowl, mix cream cheese until creamy. Gradually add sugar until until mixture is creamy and smooth. Then mix in vanilla. Mix in eggs one at a time, just until incorporated. Then mix in heavy cream.

1-1/2 cups chocolate wafer crumbs
6 tbsp butter, melted
1/4 cup sugar

Mix well and line spring form pan with crumb mixture. Pour cheesecake mixture in pan and smooth the top. Bake at 500 degrees for 15 minutes. Turn temperature to 200 degrees and bake for 1 hour. Prop oven door open with a wooden spoon and let cheesecake cool for 30 minutes in oven. Remove from oven and let cool completely before unmolding from spring form pan. Refrigerate for at least 6 hours before serving.

Easter Sunday

We spent Easter Sunday in Charlottesville with the In-laws. We went for brunch at the Omni Hotel in downtown. I had leg of lamb with au jus, steamed mussels, rice pilaf, shrimp lasagne, assorted cheeses, blueberries, strawberries, oranges, and pastries and cheesecake for dessert. After the Omni, we watched a little TV and visited before heading back home.

I can honestly say that I didn't eat a single piece of candy this Easter (a first fro me). As a matter of fact, the only Cadbury Creme Egg I had was one that my coworker brought in for me after our long conversation about how much we enjoyed them as kids. Mmmmm... Cadbury egg filling!

Thinking about Easters past, I have to giggle when I think about our families annual Easter Egg Hunt in the front yard where my parents hid the eggs and my brother and I found them, and then we reversed it and we hid the eggs and watched our parents find them. What a great twist on an Easter tradition!

Overall, it was a nice day, just wish the weather had been warmer.

Happy Easter!

PROJECT :: porch

This porch has seen better days, so we decided to give it a face lift. Matt started by filling all of the settlement cracks in the concrete. We attempted to match the brick color, and after our second trip to Lowes, we made it home with the best choice.
We made the executive decision to paint the top edge of the brick because the builder had done such a poor job and there was tons of concrete on the brick layer anyway. We like it for now and may consider repainting it the trim color of the house at some point.

PROJECT :: sidewalk (before)

I don't even know where to begin, but at first glance, I'm thinking we should take out the entire front row (grass side of the sidewalk). It is jsut a mish-mash of stuff and has no definition. Now, what to replace it with.... so many choices:

low lying /taller
colorful/just greens
all color/spots of color
seasonal/all season

I don't even know where to begin with the bushes. We have boxwoods, evergreen type bushes, one large lime green bush and one red prickery bush. I think I would like more consistency, but don't know what will work best. I plan on doing lots of reasearch over the next few weeks, so I will post ideas when we actually have a clue where we want to go with this project!

My Current Playlist

Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow
Amy Winehouse
The Funeral
Band of Horses
Marching Bands of Manhattan
Death Cab for Cutie
I Will Follow You Into the Dark
Death Cab for Cutie
A Lack of Color
Death Cab for Cutie
Mr. Blue Sky
Bring It On
Far More
The Honorary Title
The Way I Am
Ingrid Michaelson
Are You Gonna Be My Girl
Can't Get it Right Today
Joe Purdy
Kindly Unspoken
Kate Voegele
Red Morning Light
Kings of Leon
The Truth
La Rocca
La Rocca
Lily Frost
Who Am I
Lily Frost
Here Comes the Sun Again
M. Ward
Where I Stood
Missy Higgins
Silver Lining
Rilo Kiley
Take You There
Sean Kingston
American Girl
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers
The Weepies
Sky Blue Sky
The Thanks I Get
New Soul
Yael Naim

Scalloped Potatoes

Adapted from a Tyler Florence recipe.
1-1/2 cups heavy cream
1 sprig fresh thyme
2 garlic cloves, minced
1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
2 lbs russet potatoes, peeled and sliced thinly
salt and pepper to taste
1/2 + 1/4 cup shredded parmesan

Preheat oven to 375 degress F.

In a saucepan, heat up cream with a sprig of thyme, minced garlic and nutmeg.

While cream is heating, butter a casserole dish. Place a layer of potato, overlapping as needed, and season with salt and pepper. Remove cream from, then pour 1/3 of the cream over. Top layer with Parmesan cheese. Repeat with 2 more layers. Bake, uncovered for 45 minutes. Sprinkle with cup of Parmesan cheese and broil until cheese browns, about 5 minutes.


On the Menu

Recipe by Paula Deen.

Cheddar-Dill Scones
Recipe by Ina Garten.

Buttermilk Biscuits
Recipe by Bobby Flay.

Potato Salad
Recipe by Paula Deen.

Hot Chicken Salad
Recipe by Paula Deen.

Almond Chicken Salad
Recipe by Paula Deen.

Scalloped Potato Gratin
Recipe by Tyler Florence.

Cold Cucumber Salad
Recipe by Paula Deen.

Italian Style Baked Beans
Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis.

Macaroni and Cheese
Recipe from The Joy of Cooking.


Grilled Chicken with Thai Peanut Sauce
Recipe by Rachel Ray.

Penne with Five Cheeses
Recipe by Ina Garten.

Pesto Pasta
Recipe by Tyler Florence.

Herbed Chicken
Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis.


Chocolate Chip Pancakes with Cinnamon Cream
Recipe by Paula Deen.

Bark (Chocolate Saltines)
Recipe from a friend.

Mini Orange Chocolate Cheesecakes
Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis.

Chocolate Mousse
Recipe by Tyler Florence.

Recipe by Ingrid Hoffman.

Berry Cobbler
Recipe by Emeril Lagasse.


Recipe by Giada De Laurentiis.

Recipe by Emeril Lagasse.

Bloody Marys
Recipe by Paula Deen.

Hot Cocoa

2 cups milk
4 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp cocoa
1 dash of salt

Heat milk in microwave for 3 minutes. Add sugar, cocoa and salt and whisk together. Serve.

My favorite winter drink, and the perfect recipe created by my mom!

French Dip

French Onion Soup

1 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp butter
4 medium onions, thinly sliced
salt and pepper to taste
2 tsps fresh thyme
1 bay leaf
1/2 cup dry sherry
6 cups beef stock

Using a large stock pot, add olive oil and butter to the pan and heat to medium high. Add onions as they are sliced. Once onions are in the pot, season with salt, pepper, and 1 tsp fresh thyme. cook onions about 10-15 minutes, or until they are tender and caramel colored. Add bay leaf and sherry to the pot and deglze the bottom of the pan. Add 6 cups of stock and cover pot to bring to a boil.

Dipping Sandwiches

1 loaf french bread
thinly sliced roast beef
sliced swiss cheese

Slice french bread into 1/2 thick slices. Place on baking sheet and broil until tops are brown. Place roast beef and cheese slices on top of toasted bread. Place sandwiches undre th broiler again until cheese is melted.

Serve sandwiches on top of or beside the soup.

Stuffed Bell Peppers

Recipe adapted from Paula Deen.

4 green bell peppers
1-1/4 lb ground beef
1 onion (diced)
2 garlic cloves (finely chopped)
2 tsps beef bouillon
salt & pepper to taste
1 cup rice (cooked)
1/2 cup shredded cheddar
1/2 cup sour cream
1 cup tomatoes (diced)
1/2 cup green onion (diced)
1 Tbsp soy sauce
1 cup hot water
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Cut off the tops of the bell peppers. Remove seeds and insides of the pepper. Set aside until ready to stuff.

Brown the ground beef over medium heat. While beef is draining, add onion, garlic, 1 tsp bouillon, salt and pepper to the pan and saute until onion is soft. Remove from the heat and add beef back to the pan. Stir in the rice, cheese, sour cream, tomatoes, green onion and soy sauce. Mix well and stuff into the peppers.

Mix hot water and remaining bouillon. Pour water mixture into the bottom of a glass casserole dish. Place peppers into dish. Cover with aluminum foil and bake for 25-35 minutes. Remove foil and spoon juice from pan over the peppers. Bake for an additional 10-15 minutes without the foil.

Remove from oven and serve.

Our New Roof, yay!

The new roof is finally complete! We chose a darker color because I really like the aesthetic of the darker roof, and think it is great for curb appeal. The roofer we chose gave us a 10 year workmanship warranty, which we thought was very generous. Next project for the summer, painting the siding, trim and porch railings. We also plan to replace all of the windows at within the next few years! And how could I not include this wonderful truck that was parked in our driveway over the course of the project! Gotta love it... Git-R-Done, haha!

Chocolate Cake with Orange Cream Cheese Icing

Bake packaged Chocolate Cake following the instructions on the box. I followed the Bundt cake instructions for my Bundt pan. (Again... cheating... you get the idea!)

Orange Cream Cheese Icing

1 8 oz. packages of cream cheese, softened
1 stick butter, softened
4 cups confectioners sugar
1 large orange, zest and juice

In a bowl, mix cream cheese and butter together until smooth. Slowly add confectioners sugar, mixing well and removing all lumps. Add the zest of 1 orange and 1-2 Tbsp of the juice from the orange. Mix until well incorporated.

Once cake is cooled, begin adding icing!