Wednesday, December 28, 2011
Alrighty, let me get back to updating while I try to contain my excitement! Since we knew that it would be just the two of us, we wanted to make Christmas special (and maybe start a new tradition!) by creating a fun menu. We decided we would make "Christmas Calzones" on Christmas Eve and Eggs Benedict from scratch on Christmas Morning...errrr I mean afternoon :)
The "Christmas Calzones" were inspired by some beautiful photos of homemade dough I spotted over at http://poppytalk.blogspot.com/ (one of my top blogs for inspiration). The dough recipe is originally from Everybody Likes Sandwiches and you can find it here: http://everybodylikessandwiches.com/2009/07/pizza-blanco-the-easiest-pizza-dough-in-the-world/
It was really easy to follow and make! All you need is:
1 packet of yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1 c warm water
2 1/2 c flour
1 t honey
1 t salt
2 T olive oil
2 T fresh rosemary, chopped (optional)
cornmeal (to sprinkle around the pan/stone)
We just mixed all the ingredients together and kneaded the dough until soft and smooth. The recipe says to break it apart into 4 equal globs, but we just split it in half. With that being said, this recipe is definitely enough for four calzones. Ours turned bigger than our heads. We filled them with sauce, ricotta, mozzarella, mushrooms, and pepperoni. Here are some photos of the finished product:
Overall, size is the only thing I would have changed. We could have easily divided the dough and made 4 normal calzones. Oh well, taste is what really matters!
Now, moving on to our brunch. I found a super easy to follow recipe for Eggs Benedict in one of the cook books my mom gave me. The only obstacle we ran into was finding an egg poacher. Even our trip to the Super Wal-Mart in Locust failed us. Andrew, however, saved the day! He did some research and found directions explaining how to poach eggs using a muffin pan in the oven. Basically, you set the oven to 400 and while it's pre-heating boil water in a tea pot on the stove. Once the water is boiling, pour 2-3 tablespoons into each muffin cup, and then carefully break an egg into each cup filled with hot water (Andrew actually broke the eggs into a small cup first, so that it was easier to gently pour them into the muffin cup of water without breaking). We then put them in the oven for about 7 minutes and kept an eye on them the whole time. Remember that eggs continue to cook even after they've been removed from heat, so don't wait until they look super done. When our eggs were looking good to go, we carefully scooped them out with a slotted spoon. I swear this is the best way to poach eggs! It really is simple, once you get the hang of the cooking time. Check it out!
This is the recipe I used for the Hollandaise Sauce (it was really easy and delicious):
3 egg yolks
1 T lemon juice
1/2 cup firm butter
Stir egg yolks and lemon juice vigorously in a small sauce pan. Add half the butter and start to heat stove on very low. Stir constantly with a wire whisk until the butter is melted, then slowly add remaining butter. Keep stirring and stirring until the sauce begins to thicken. Remember to keep stove on a low heat while the butter is melting to avoid curdling. Serve when the sauce reaches desired thickness.
Needless to say, we had a Christmas filled with good food and giant portions and I loved every minute of it. I am off to finish packing for our trip tomorrow, but I will be back with a Baltimore post as soon as possible!
Wednesday, December 21, 2011
I used some of my nice, soft, natural paper and then used my awesome pair of decorative scissors to cut the edges. The trees were drawn with my crayola markers. Easy, fast, and adorable (if I do say so myself). Just goes to show that taking a little time to create something handmade goes a long way. I didn't have to spend any money and the end result is a thoughtful, one of a kind, Christmas card.
I also spent a few moments this morning taking some black and white photos of our new ornaments. Andrew's Aunt Lori sent us a box full of really beautiful and interesting ornaments to put on our first tree as husband and wife.
I am in love with our little tree! I am very much looking forward to spending our first Christmas together. We have planned out a delicious little dinner menu for Christmas Eve and decided we also want to make brunch on Christmas morning. Yum! Pictures to follow, promise!
Tuesday, December 20, 2011
These look great mixed and matched for everyday use, but I was also thinking about turning some of them into serving/display platters. I have two light pink goblets (also a Goodwill find, via my Mother-in-Law) that would make the perfect serving platter base.
I could attach the goblet to the plate using super glue, or epoxy. Aaand voilà! I'll have a really special serving platter that cost almost nothing to make! LOVE.
You can find many more examples like this out in blogland. So simple and chic. It would be perfect to display treats at a holiday party, or even just your regular ol' rolls at dinner.
That is all the pretty I have for you today. Check back all week, though! I have many more things I want to show you.
Tuesday, December 13, 2011
I also got some more art put up in the second bedroom. The three bird themed pieces were also used at the wedding and now they have a permanent home next to Frida.
As you can see, I have been able to put some of our supplies to good use. I really like how the vases turned out with the branches and feathers. Hopefully Andrew can help me put up shelving in the second bedroom this weekend, so that I can create a few more. I have also been busy recycling the large amounts of lace we brought back with us. Some of the pieces were turned back into curtains and some of them are becoming stitching accents. In other words, I have been using cut out patterns of lace to jazz up some boring old sweaters and shirts. Here is the first one I finished:
This was a simple black shrug that I have had forever. I love the idea of reinventing it with the special detail of lace. I am doing the same thing with a few other shirts/sweaters; I'll post upon completion.Yesterday I also explored a new DIY project. One of my favorite blogs had a post about using wax from old candles and pine cones to create scented "fire-starters." Basically, you melt down wax from old candles and then dip the pine cones. When you are finished you have a delightful way to start a fire at home, complete with aromatherapy benefits. Here are some pictures that capture the process.
First, I melted some old wax and added in some drops from my fav essential oils:
Then I lined up my pine cones for dipping:
After dipping in the melted wax, I have a beautifully frosted and scented pine cone:
Easy and cool. It did get a bit messy, but I remembered to put foil down before, which totally helped.
I think these would make a great gift! Imagine how pretty they would look wrapped in some wax paper and tied with a festive ribbon. Andrew and I are going to try one tonight in our little fire pit. I will let you all know how it goes!
(Follow this link for a more detailed tutorial:
Wednesday, November 30, 2011
First things first, take a look at the title of my blog. Notice something? That's right, the "(almost...)" part has officially been removed. Now the blog is just called "The North Carolina Newlyweds" and I have one word: Hollaaaaaa! Needless to say our wedding weekend was nothing short of magical. Between the place, the people, and the positive support, we could not be more thrilled. Memories were made, love was shared, and dance moves conquered the night. I would not have changed one thing.
Now that we are back in our North Carolina cottage I have been busy getting us settled once again. We have a lot of people that love us and with that love comes a lot of awesome wedding gifts. It took me 2 full days to break down boxes and unpack. Just as I finished, we hopped in the car to spend Thanksgiving with Andrew's Aunt, Uncle, and Cousins in Virginia Beach. I had never been to Virginia Beach and it was a lot of fun to explore a new spot (always a top activity in my book) and to spend Thanksgiving surrounded by such an amazing family. The Sciortino's definitely made it a weekend to remember. We tried new food, saw the sights, watched movies, and went on quite a few double dates with Aunt Holly and Uncle Pat. All in all, I am so grateful that we decided to make the drive (even though it meant getting back in the car once again).
So, now we are back home and back to somewhat of a normal routine. Andrew is back to work and I have been busy writing a million thank you cards to all of our amazing friends and family. Last night we put up some lights outside and turned our little cottage into a magical, twinkling, love shack.
I have also jumped back on the soup train, which makes me very happy. A few of our friends were nice enough to buy us some much needed soup supplies, like a hand held blender (that I can use directly in the pot, instead of transfering ingredients to a blender and back) and we also scored a life changing Magic Bullet set. In addition, I got a brand new soup cook book that rocks my world. I have already made two new kinds of soup from scratch. Here is one of the most recent finished products (Tuscan Tomato Basil):
Furthermore, I am very excited to announce that I have been getting into sewing more and more each day. My next post will include some of my projects!
Sunday, October 23, 2011
That's my new hat Andrew is sporting. We went to the Concord Mills Mall yesterday, so that Andrew could check out some jean options for the wedding. The mall just so happen to have THE best Burlington Coat Factory, EVER. So I scooped up a cool new winter hat. Although, Andrew may end up wearing it more than me.
I have also been creating some handmade cards. We had a lot of left over card stock from our wedding invitation supply that I have been using for various art projects. Here are some of my finished little cards:
Oh! I have also started making my Mermaid, Queen of the Sea costume. Next weekend I will be attending the Mann's Annual Halloween Bash with my parents and this year's theme is "Kings & Queens". I already knew that I wanted to go as Queen of the Sea and it just so happened that my dear friend, Dawn, sent me this link outta the blue. It's fate! http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2011/how-tuesday-halloween-mermaid-makeup-tutorial/?utm_source=bronto&utm_medium=email&utm_term=Image+-+http://www.etsy.com/blog/en/2011/how-tuesday-halloween-mermaid-makeup-tutorial/&utm_content=etsy_finds_100511&utm_campaign=etsy_finds_100511
This is the finished mermaid make-up tutorial product:
When we went to Salisbury last weekend I found some awesome green, stretch material in one of the second hand stores. I am going to use it in combination with other sea foam green material I already had, some burlap-ish material, and part of my sea shell collection. I can't wait! My tail is starting to come together:
Doesn't the pattern on the material kind of resemble scales? I am so happy I stumbled upon this material last weekend. I will keep posting photos as I work on the overall look. I can't wait to create my mermaid face!
Thursday, October 20, 2011
Uhhh, can you tell I have been using the cocoa...? I have been looking up recipes designed around the spices in the box. There are some really unique flavors and I cannot wait to delve a little deeper.
Now, back to the Hot Cocoa. First I tossed a couple of tablespoons of cocoa, water, and sugar into the saucepan. I kept the temp super low and stirred it until it turned into a delicious chocolate goo. I also added a splash of my new vanilla extract. Then I added a few cups up almond milk and a couple of shakes of cinnamon and continued stirring on a low temp until it was all blended and hot. Take a look at the finished product! YUM!
Sunday, October 16, 2011
Here are a few of the items that made the trip home with us:
On another note, did I mention how beautiful the weather has been? I am currently sitting on the floor, with the doors open. Check out the scenery:
I can't wait to get out there and run later. The leaves are changing and I have witnessed some of the most powerful shades of red. I will try to remember to stop and take a picture later and post them in my next entry.
Go and enjoy the day!
Monday, October 10, 2011
Naturally, after creating a masterpiece, I was jonesin' for another go around. So, tonight I researched and found a soup calling for sweet potatoes and pears. Yum! I even added my own additional ingredients, since last night pumped up my impromptu skills. The original recipe included sweet potatoes, onions, and pears, Cinnamon, salt, and pepper. I also threw in 2 small jalapenos and brown sugar. The best decision I made, however, came after I had been cooking the soup for awhile. I still had a pear left over that I wanted to use, so I googled "brown sugar pears" and found a perfect idea. I basically mixed butter, brown sugar, and some more Cinnamon in a glass until it turned into a syrup type consistency. Then I peeled and cut the pear into large pieces. I threw those into a baking pan and drizzled the "sauce" on top. After baking at 400 degrees for 15 minutes, the pears looked amazing! I then tossed a pear on top after serving the soup. Here is the finished product:
I am kind of a bad-ass! All kidding aside, I am actually really thrilled to have found something I am good at in the kitchen. I love making soup and I can't wait to see what kind of soup adventures I encounter! You can find the original recipe for the sweet potato and pear soup here: http://www.tasteofhome.com/Recipes/Sweet-Potato-and-Pear-Soup
It was a little bland for my taste as is, which is why I added some jalapenos. It's a pretty simple base, so I am sure you could play around with even more ingredients.
Wednesday, October 5, 2011
This is actually one of many lanterns like this that I own and most of them are intended to be used at the wedding. I brought this one with me to North Carolina though, since the metal does not actually let light shine through. It still looks really cool hanging up and I though I would just leave it at that. However, upon further examination (and reluctance to leave my beautiful flowers in an Aggie beer pitcher) I realized that this would make a really beautiful hanging vase. And Voila! It holds a good amount of water and everything! I love how it turned out.
Our Art Wall in the living room is also coming along nicely and we can't wait to add some more interesting prints, paintings, and objects. And just FYI, we added some really awesome art from Etsy onto our registry! Check out how it's coming along.
I think one of my favorite spots in the house is the little reading nook we created. We put shelves up using pieces of wood we found out behind our barn and a few supplies we picked up from Home Depot.
Aaand finally, we added some more decoration to our bathroom. Even though it is small, it's starting to feel a lot more peaceful and comfortable with the addition of another mirror and some art.
On another note, I am craving corn like crazy. There are few things I love more in this world than corn on the cob. With that being said, here is an awesome recipe that I found for a healthy version of corn chowder. I am going to try it out this weekend!
1 small onion, peeled and chopped
2 ribs celery, diced
8 sprigs thyme
salt and freshly ground pepper
3 cups veggie stock
2 ears yellow corn, kernels removed
5 ounces small fingerling potatoes, chopped
1 small chili, chopped (use bell pepper if you don’t like the heat)
1/2 cup coconut cream (half/half will also work)
2 tbs olive oil
1) add onions, celery, thyme, and salt and pepper to stockpot; cook over medium-low heat until translucent, about 8 minutes. add stock and bring to a boil.
2) reduce heat to medium and add corn, potatoes, and chile; cook until potatoes are tender, 8 to 10 minutes. remove and discard thyme. add coconut creamer, and simmer until soup is hot.
Yum! I will let you know how it goes! xoxo