Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Crockpotpalooza: "Gourmet" Angel Chicken

I'm linking up to Kelly's Korner today to share a crockpot recipe I recently tried that was both delicious AND easy!  It took about five minutes of prep in the morning, but then I threw it in the crockpot and let it go all day, and it was really yummy.  Definitely work this one into the dinner rotation soon!


recipe from Pearls, Handcuffs, and Happy Hour

4 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1 8oz. pkg. baby bella sliced mushrooms
1 6-oz. pkg. fresh shiitake mushrooms, stems removed, caps sliced

1 can condensed golden mushroom soup
1 stick of butter
1 pkg. dry Italian salad dressing mix
1/2 cup chicken broth
1/2 of an 8oz. tub of cream cheese spread with chive & onion
rice or pasta

Melt butter in a saucepan and add the Italian salad dressing packet. Stir in the soup, chicken broth, and cream cheese until it combines and melts.

Place the mushrooms on the bottom of your crock pot and place the chicken breasts on top.

Pour the sauce mix on top of the chicken, cover with lid, and cook on low for 5 hours.  (I put it in before I went to work, and it actually ended up cooking for more like 10 hours on low, but it was still wonderfully delicious and tender.)

Serve over rice or angel hair pasta, and enjoy!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Papaw's Tilapia...

I used to hate fish, but my when I was living with my Mamaw and Papaw in between college and law school, my Papaw made some tilapia that was absolutely scrumptious.  It's still my go-to fish recipe, so I thought I'd share it with y'all.  I like to bake it and serve it over rice with jalapeno cream corn.

Papaw's Tilapia 

(not my picture, but this is about what it should look like)

tilapia fillets (we use frozen and just thaw them out a few hours beforehand)
lemon juice
Worchestershire sauce
seasoning (we use Tony's)

Preheat the oven to 375 and grease a baking dish.

Lay however many fillets you want on the baking dish.  I usually make three - one for each of us and one extra.  Then squirt a generous amount of lemon juice on each fillet.  Micah adds more than I do, and I'm always glad he does.  Add a splash or two of Worchestershire sauce and season each fillet with the Tony's.  Lastly, add a pad of butter on top of each fillet.

Bake at 375 for 10 minutes or so, until the fish is white all the way through.  Don't overcook - it really doesn't take long to bake fish.

Serve over rice or whatever side floats your boat. :)

Thursday, August 25, 2011

I'm 26 and old...

Apparently 26 is the age at which one officially becomes old (and lame).  

During practice before my kickball game last night I must have stretched my quad muscle just a little too much because it quickly became almost unbearable, and I'm fairly certain that I pulled it.  I can't remember if I've even told you guys about the kickball league yet, but I'm playing on a team with some people from work, and it has been super fun (even if we haven't exactly been winning every game).  Anyway, I'm definitely still hurting today, but it's definitely better, so hopefully I'll be good to go for next week. :)

And this week has been fairly crappy for Micah, too, because he dislocated his shoulder on Sunday.  (Side note - his brother had to pop it back in place for him.  Just thinking about having to do that makes me sick.  Clearly I couldn't have cut it in medical school.)  It's the same shoulder he injured and had to have surgery on in high school, so we're really hoping he didn't tear everything again.  He's got a lot more movement today than he had on Sunday, though, so I'm optimistic that it's getting better. :)

Anyway... we're both on the mend and looking forward to feeling normal again.
I also forgot to tell y'all about my celebrity encounter this week!

I looooove Kidd Kraddick in the Morning, and Kellie Rasberry is my absolute favorite.  She has mentioned several times how much she loves Al Biernat's, so I thought we'd give it a try for my birthday dinner.  I wasn't sure what was good there, so I commented on her facebook to ask her what we should order.

Imagine my surprise when she actually commented back!

Micah laughed at me when I got the facebook notification because I squealed like a little girl.

Anyway, that was my brush with fame this week. And we really enjoyed our dinner at Al Biernat's (although I have to admit that I think Nick & Sam's is better).  Hope you guys have had a great week! :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

PB Copycat...

I shared a few weeks ago that we found this table for a steal at the Pottery Barn outlet in San Marcos:

We're currently chair-less, but we (ahem, Micah) have been eyeing these beauties:

I'm mostly drawn to the pretty curvature at the top of the chair and the nailhead trim, which would really echo the nailhead on our living room furniture. 

The problem is that they're $300 apiece, which just seems unreasonable for dining chairs.

But after digging around a bit, I stumbled upon this chair, which looks eerily similar.

AND, it's $100 cheaper!  $200 a chair is still probably more than I want to pay, but if I get really desperate, I'll know where to look. :)

Tuesday, August 23, 2011


Every day I thank my lucky stars that I decided to go to law school.  For the obvious reason, of course - I'm crazy about my job.  It challenges me and frustrates me at times, but it's definitely what I'm meant to do.  

But it has also been useful in another way.  It gave me (1) a basic knowledge of the legal system such that, even if I don't know what the law is, I can usually figure it out, (2) negotiation skills that come in handy in the real world.

For example, last week Micah went to our old rent house to drop of a check for the guys who mow the lawn.  When he went around to the back of the house, he saw a car in the driveway.  This was odd because our lease isn't up until the end of September, and we're still paying rent and utilities, even though we don't live there anymore.  After talking to the landlord, Micah found out that they had found a new tenant.

Needless to say, I was livid.

Texas law doesn't permit a landlord to collect rent from a tenant after they have surrendered the premises and the landlord has found a new tenant.  It was especially frustrating since we were also still paying utilities and for the lawn service.  

So I sent a cordial, but firm, email to the landlord explaining that we would appreciate the return of (1) a prorated portion of the rent for August, (2) our security deposit, and (3) our pet deposit.

He responded that he wasn't sure if he could return the rent and that he'd be docking us the expenses to replace a dead bush in the yard.  After a bit more back-and-forth (wherein I informed him that we absolutely would not be paying for the bush, since it was dead when we moved in [I attached a facebook picture uploaded on the day we moved in as proof]), we received an email today informing us that he'd be returning everything we asked for.  Whoo hoo!

Maybe it was the signature block on the email, or my clever negotiating skills, or maybe it was the time-stamped facebook picture, but I'm just happy that we'll be saving a bundle of money!  Maybe we won't have to wait so long to buy those dining room chairs, after all! :)

Monday, August 22, 2011

Why I Love My Husband: Part 6,332,198

So, first off - I turned 26 today!  It's the first time I've been at home for a birthday in four years, and it was REALLY nice to be here.  And my friends at work were so sweet to take me out to lunch (and even refused to let me pay!).  Plus the sweet ladies at work had a delicious spread of desserts this afternoon. Yum!

But for some reason (totally apart from the fact that I turned a year older - it hasn't even registered yet that I'm no longer 25), I've just been kinda down today.  It couldn't possibly have anything to do with the fact that it's a certain time of the month. :)  But for whatever reason, I've just felt very blah.  I even postponed our plans to have dinner at Al Biernat's tonight because I was just ready to be home.  

And my sweet husband... God bless him.  When I got home, he was pulling up behind me after having gone to pick up one of my favorites - shrimp and scallops from Red Lobster.  And he had already given my my birthday present (a Kindle and a green cover - such a perfect gift for me given how much I love to read!), but there was a gift bag and a card on the counter, too.  This may seem lame to everyone except me, but he had bought me new mascara.  The other day I was saying how much I hated the new mascara I bought and how I should've stuck with the tried and true stuff I loved.  So he checked my blog because he remembered that I had posted my favorite mascara awhile back, and he bought it on the way home from work today. Isn't that just the sweetest?

It really is the little things, I guess. :)  Right now, we're curled up on the couch watching The Bachelor Pad (I hate myself for loving it so much), and I'm thinking about how lucky I am to be with a man who loves me enough to brave the cosmetics department for me. :)

Saturday, August 20, 2011

This weekend plus a craft...

It has been a loooong week, y'all.  But we've had a great weekend so far!

Last night one of Micah's friends and his wife came over for dinner and ended up staying the night so they didn't have to drive all the way back to Fort Worth.  We had a wonderful time catching up. And then we spent some time with Mom and Steve today, which is always so fun.

After dinner we headed to Home Depot and Hobby Lobby to pick up some things I've been wanting for a project I saw on Pinterest.  It turned out pretty great, so I thought I'd show you what I did.

Here's what you'll need:

8 4X4 tiles - Home Depot sells them for $.16 apiece.
mod podge
sponge brush
scrapbook paper of choice
felt sheets with a sticky side (which I forgot to include in the picture)

Set the tile on top of the paper, and cut around it with the razor.  
Flip the paper over to the white side, and cover it completely (in a thin layer) with mod podge using the sponge brush.
Carefully place it on top of one of the tiles, lining it up evenly with the sides, and press it down.  There should be just a teensy bit extra on all the edges.  Make sure it's all completely smooth.  

Apparently, you're then supposed to put mod podge on top, too.  You're supposed to do several layers of it, letting them dry in between each coat.  I somehow missed this step, so there's no telling how durable these things are going to be. :)
But, in any event, after you've got them all covered, line them up on cardboard or wax paper or whatever flat surface you've got laying around outside.

Then spray them with a light, even coat of the Shellac.  Let them dry for 30 minutes or so, and then go over them again with another coat.  Let them dry for a few hours, and then, if you're feeling more thorough than I did tonight, give them a coat of a clear sealer or varnish to make sure it's all even. 

Once the varnish dries, attach a large square of felt to the bottom of each coaster so they don't scratch whatever surface you set them on.

  Voila! You've got yourself some customized, pretty coasters! :)

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

A few randoms...

1.  For the past couple of weeks, I have been knee-deep in a project for work, but I finished it yesterday, got it served, and now I feel like a brand new woman!

2.  I decided to take the chaise/couch that I bought for the master bedroom back to Urban Outfitters, and it was a nightmare.  First, they didn't have a dolly or strong man to come unload it for us, so we had to carry it from our car into the store.  And then they couldn't find my purchase in the system, so they wouldn't return it.  After sitting on the phone with corporate for an hour and a half, they finally figured it out, and we got a refund (minus the ~$100 it cost to ship it to me).  Although I haven't even decided for sure to have any extra seating in the bedroom, if I do bring another piece in, I'm leaning toward something like this:

Or maybe this:
3. I found out today that my dad has been unknowingly paying $25/month for AOL dial-up internet for me since 2003.  I stopped using it in 2005. 

4. My mom and Steve bought me the coolest birthday presents!

Who knew that Pottery Barn made design books!??  I've already finished this one, and I can't wait to read the others they got me!

5.  I've decided to make a list for each room in the house of all the pieces I'm looking to find.  As I get them done, I'll post them here with pictures of the kinds of things I'm looking for. 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

For my precious niece...

Stella Jo

Today you are two months and twelve days old. Already, you are the center of your parents' world, and you have your grandparents (and aunts) wrapped around your tiny fingers. When you cry it absolutely breaks my heart, and when you smile the world feels right. If ever there was a little girl who was totally and completely loved, she is you.

When you were first born, you looked just like your daddy to me. Now I'm not quite sure who you look like, but you're gorgeous anyway. It's so much fun being your aunt, and I can't wait to watch you become the woman God has called you to be.

As you grow up, I pray that you learn to love the Lord. I hope you have your daddy's spirit and your mommy's sweet and happy nature. I hope you chase your dreams but always remember where home is. I pray that you'll guard your heart and save it for a man who is worth loving. I hope you'll be strong enough to do what's right - even when it's hard.

For your daddy's sake, I hope you learn to hunt, rope, and play golf (so that you're prepared for all of his hobbies as he circulates through them), and for your mommy's sake, I hope you love to shop! But even if you don't, I hope you always remember that you are fearfully and wonderfully made and that God has an incredible plan for your life. He may lead you down a path you're unsure of, but know that His way is always best.

Above all, remember that you are totally and completely loved - unconditionally and for always.

Aunt RyRy

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

More pretty...

I really am sorry for all the home decor talk lately, but apart from this project that's due at work on Friday, it's all I can think about right now!

Today I just wanted to share a few of the blogs I've started following in my quest to decorate the house.  I think blogs are great for decorating because the blogger is often just a regular person with great DIY tips for those of us who are new to this game.

They're a young, married couple renovating/decorating their first house.  Super fun and great style.  One of my favorite features is actually not strictly design-related.  It's their "Favorite Things" post, where they showcase his and her current obsessions.

Secondhand Charm

They're actually a resale shop, but they've got gorgeous pieces, and they're located in the North Dallas area.  I'm totally lusting after this sideboard, but I don't think I've got anywhere to put it.  Maybe it can find a home with one of y'all?

I happen to have known this blogger since kindergarten. :)  She's brilliant and beautiful, and she and her husband just bought their first house and are having fun decorating, as well. She has great money-saving tips and apparently wonderful taste, because I also own that wrought-iron hanging (yay Hobby Lobby!). :)

Rhoda posts some lovely things and always includes plenty of pictures.  I was so happy when I stumbled upon her blog.  One of my favorite features is her "Thrifty Treasures" linking parties, where everyone posts pictures of their thrifty finds.
Can you believe someone found this couch for $80 on Craigslist?!

I'd be surprised if you're into decorating and haven't heard of The Lettered Cottage (particularly if you're a PW fan like me - they helped redo Ree's friend Hyacinth's living room and are currently working with Ree on the upstairs room for her daughters).  They're a husband and wife design team, and they're fun and creative, and I love their site.  Definitely go check them out.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Pinterest Fun...

It's been awhile since I've done a Pinterest post, so I thought I'd share some of my favorite finds from the past month or so.  I've found so many wonderful ideas, and I'm excited to incorporate many of them into our house!

**Update** If a link to the pin is available, I linked it to the title of the pin, not the actual picture.

I actually bought a set of these for one side of my mantel (or wherever else I end up sticking them).  They haven't arrived yet, but I can't wait to see them!  Jillian was great to work with, and she sent pictures of the product so we could be sure they were what I wanted.  If you're in the market for anything burlap-ish, give her a shout! :)

2. Anniversary Picture
I LOVE this idea! To take a picture like this every year on your anniversary.  Imagine what it'd look like at year 50!

3. Fist Pump
How perfect is this, right? He's so proud to have her as his wife.  I just love love.

Doesn't this look scrumptious??! I'm a huge fan of hot sandwiches - particularly those involving bacon.  I'll definitely be trying this soon.

5. Tattoo
 If I were thinking of getting another tattoo, I would definitely consider this spot.  It looks so dainty and lovely, and I particularly love the verse.  Too cool.

6. Apothecary Jars 
I like the idea of putting things in apothecary jars for the master bathroom.  I want to keep it classic, but I need to bring in some color in there.  I'll definitely do the fancy soap idea - I've inherited my Mom's love of yummy-smelling homemade soaps, so this would be a fantastic excuse to buy some! :)

7. Cork Letters 
My Aunt Gem and Uncle Larry gave us a whole lotta wine corks to use, and I love the idea of making them into a letter or two.  I think they'd go perfect above my cabinets in the kitchen, although I think I need something a bit darker.  Does anyone know if the cork would absorb color or stain?

8. Fabric-Covered Styrofoam as Art
I'm definitely not in love with these particular fabrics, but I do like the idea of using fabric as wall art.  It's cheap, and you could achieve the exact look you're going for by choosing the perfect fabric.  This would be great above the console table I have in the master bedroom. :)

Are you guys hooked on Pinterest yet?  Any amazing finds out there that I'm missing? :)

Monday, August 8, 2011

PB finds... and a surprise!

I'm just going to go ahead and apologize in advance for the quality of these pictures. I waited until the sun went down to take them, and these darned energy efficient lightbulbs (which are amazing for our electricity bills) are horrible for pictures. But I wanted to go ahead and post these pictures anyway. Once I get everything in the right spot and all accessorized, I'll take more pictures in the daytime. :)

Ha! Fooled ya! This is the table we bought, but I definitely didn't take that picture. I just wanted to show you what it looks like all staged and everything.

Here it is in our house. We don't have any chairs yet (and judging from the ones Micah's really wanting, it'll be awhile - we're going to have to buy them one at a time!), but I'm already in love. The distressed wood planks are just perfect for the rustic style of the house, and the wrought iron brackets (is that what those things are?) echo the wrought iron we have in other places in the house. There are a few scuffs, but once I get them stained with the touch-up pen pottery barn sells, it'll be perfect! And I love it even more knowing that I got it over $800 off - all because it was missing a few bolts!

Here's a closeup. It's such a lovely mahogany color, which goes perfectly with the front door. I promise that once we get all the chairs and the piano painted, I'll post a picture of the whole room. I'm so excited to see it all come together!

Here's the desk! It's such a classic style in such a classic color, and it feels casual, yet elegant. I hate the stuffy, boxy, massive executive desks I see in a lot of places - this is streamlined but not too square or sleek. It's also a little distressed, so it'll go well with the overall theme throughout the house.

When we got home tonight we got a bonus surprise! I had tried to order the chaise I'd been eying from Urban Outfitters, but I never got a confirmation email, and it hadn't gone through on the credit card yet, so I thought it had been backordered. But two gigantic boxes were on the porch when Micah got home today, and it was the chaise! We put it all together, and this is what it looks like:

The color in the picture isn't super accurate. It's a bit darker than the bright spots on the arms suggest, and the color really is perfect.
The problem is mostly that I'm not sure if it's the right piece for that space. I'm not actually sure if we need anything there at all. I'll be getting some creamy white drapes to go on the windows behind it, and a tree for the corner to the left. I was planning on getting a large mirror to lean against the wall opposite the bed in the corner to the right of the windows, so I'm not actually sure we need anything there in front of the windows. I'd like to have some sort of seating, but I'm not positive this is what I want. Maybe just a creamy white wingback chair. What do you guys think?

Apparently we're spontaneous...

Sorry I haven't blogged in a few days, but we've been busy!

I came down with a cold on Wednesday and had to stay home for the next two days. I went back in on Friday, but I still wasn't feeling very well. My day got infinitely better, though, after I decided, on a whim, to call the Pottery Barn outlet in San Marcos to see if they had the dining room table Micah and I had been looking at. Turns out they had one (at over $800 off!!), so I called Micah to see if he wanted to take an impromptu trip down to San Marcos to buy it. He said yes, and we decided to go ahead and leave that evening. We got on the road and made it down there around 8 PM.

We were too tired to go anywhere interesting for dinner (we're so old!), so we ended up driving through Round Rock Donuts to try their famous donuts. I wish I had taken a picture because they were bright orange! And although I couldn't totally taste them because of my cold, what I could taste was really yummy. Plus, they were still hot - so hot, in fact, that the box was burning my legs. There ain't nothin' better than a hot donut, y'all.

We also made a quick run into Ikea before we went to our hotel. There's one about 45 or so minutes from us, but we're never in that area, so we figured we'd go ahead and drop in so that we could get a replacement drawer frame to replace the one someone (ahem, Micah) broke during the move. I also grabbed these cute candlesticks (and you know they were cheap - gotta love Ikea), that I'm planning on painting and distressing and putting somewhere in the master bedroom or bathroom.

In Saturday morning, we slept in (halellujah!) and, after soliciting suggestions on Facebook, decided to go to The Salt Lick for lunch.

For those of you that have never been, The Salt Lick is probably the most popular BBQ restaurants in Austin. Actually, it's outside Austin, and the drive to the restaurant was gorgeous. It was hilly and country, and we so enjoyed the drive over there. And, thankfully, we got there early, because apparently this place gets CRAZY at lunch time on Saturdays. I remembered to snap a few pictures to share.

We both ordered a plate with ribs, brisket, and sausage. It was all scrumptious (particularly the sausage), and the sauce was to die for.

After lunch, we headed to the outlets. I was, in no way, prepared for the craziness of the San Marcos outlet stores. There were just so many stores. And there were so many good stores, although we didn't get a chance to check any of them out apart from the Restoration Hardware and Pottery Barn outlets. The RH store was fantastic, but, for the most part, the style is just a teensy bit too masculine and monotone for me. But there's no denying that their stuff is gorgeous (and pricy, of course). We did see a bunch of really cool vintage trunks that I'd LOVE to use as a coffee table (I've already been on the hunt for a cheaper one on Craigslist) and some fun burlap pillows.

When we walked into Pottery Barn, I felt like I'd died and gone to heaven. It was humongous and filled with all the lovely things I'd been lusting over in the catalogs and stores, but for 30-50% off! I can't believe that I forgot to take pictures while we were in there, but we did come home with several things, and I promise I'll share pictures soon. (I just didn't have time to take any with my good camera, and the iPhone pictures just don't do them justice.)

Yesterday, we went to church, grabbed lunch with my Mom and Steve, visited with friends, grabbed dinner with my Dad and Lori, and put together one of the pieces of furniture that we bought. I'm in love. :)

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