Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Hello, 2012. It's nice to meet you.

I hope everyone had a fabulous Christmas, or Hanukkah, or Kwanza, or Ramadan! Andrew and I very much enjoyed our first holiday season as a married couple. We stayed in North Carolina, enjoyed a quiet Christmas eve at home and a not so quiet Christmas day at our friend's home. Tomorrow we are off to Baltimore to ring in the new year with our dear friend, Colbey. I can't wait! I have never been to Baltimore and I am pumped to explore the city. We are also planning to take the train into DC, which only makes the trip that much more cool.

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 (one of my top blogs for inspiration). The dough recipe is originally from Everybody Likes Sandwiches and you can find it here:
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

Rainy Day Activities

Good Day, Friends! It is quite the rainy day over here, so I spent the morning making handmade Christmas cards. Andrew informed me (at the last minute, of course) that everyone at work was handing out gifts and cards. I decided that it would be best for me to help and make some cute little cards for him to give to his colleagues.

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

Put Some Pretty In Your Day

I've decided to take some time to showcase some of the pretty things around me. The best part about said pretty things is that they are all thrifty finds. I love treasure hunting at Goodwill, yard sales, estate sales, antique stores, and consignment stores. Andrew and I built our entire wedding around second hand finds, which added so many elements of magic and whimsy! But why wait for a special occasions to roll around? I like including unique and thoughtful details in our everyday lives. So, with that being said, I thought today I would highlight some of the plates we have gathered from various Goodwills over the last year or so. We decided that we wanted to mix and match vintage porcelain plates for our wedding guests to enjoy. We asked our families to keep an eye out and before long we had the most amazing collection of interesting plates. Wanna know the best part?! All of them were priced between $0.99-$2.00ish dollars. I can't believe some of the plates people parted with! After the wedding we brought A TON back with us to use everyday. I love sitting down for dinner each night and having something really pretty to eat on. Check out some of my favorites.

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 voilĂ ! 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

Oy, I have been terrible about updating recently. I sorta fell into a blog slump and I greatly apologize. Today I took some time to brainstorm and seek inspiration. Then it occurred to me, what better place to start than my own home! I love our house. Most days I look around and think to myself, "I love this house and all of our meaningful collections." With that being said I decided to take some more pictures of pretty things around our home. I have been adding some decor here and there since we have been home from the wedding (we came home with a lot of feathers, birds, branches, and moss...) and I thought I should share.

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

Im a Wifey

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

3 Weeks To Go!

Hello! Happy Sunday! Andrew and I are currently watching football and relaxing. We had a busy morning finishing up some wedding stuff and getting the rest of Andrew's groom attire ordered. It is still quite chilly, so we are bundled up and enjoying an array of hot drinks. See!

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!

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


Brrrr. That is the word of the day. Last night a huge cold front blew in and it was the real kind, not the kind that periodically comes through Texas. It dropped below 40 degrees in .2 seconds. This morning not much had changed, so I threw on my ear warmer and a sweater and got to work. I decided to once again make the soup that made me famous. You know the one...corn, sweet potatoes, regular potatoes, jalapenos, etc... all in a delicious creamy broth. The only difference is that this time I made a whole lot. Aaaaand once again it was delicious! Seriously my favorite soup, ever. Andrew has a half day on Thursdays, so he was super pumped to come home to a giant bowl of magic soup. Then, to really rule the day, I decided to make hot chocolate from scratch. That's right - no packets, no squeeze bottle of Hershey's, I am talking about legit Hot Cocoa. One might ask, how on earth were you able to accomplish this? Enter my Great Auntie Jane. Not only is the woman the best Great Auntie ever, she is also the best gift giver. She sent Andrew and I the most amazing array of spices and seasonings from around the world. And to top it off, they came in the most amazing raw wooden box. It's like the Narnia of spice boxes! The box is also the "wedding selection", meaning it came with special spices that specifically signify the tradition of marriage. For instance, a whole nutmeg, a star anise, and whole rosemary. Take a look and be jealous:

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!

Needless to say, today was a success in the world of all things delicious. Tomorrow I am going to make a butternut squash, apple, and pear soup. Stay tuned!


Sunday, October 16, 2011

Sunshine is Delicious

The weather has been beautiful. On Saturday Andrew and I ventured out into the sunshine and traveled to Salisbury, NC to check out some of the various stores. We went in search of some thrifty finds, unfortunately, Salisbury is a lot of talk and no action. They claim to have some of the best shopping in North Carolina, but I am going to give them a big ol' SIKE. The goods were average and the prices were high. Lame-O. We still managed to find a few items to bring home (one of the consignment stores had some awesome/cheap fabric to offer) however, I think I will stick to the antique stores in Concord and Albemarle for my treasure hunts.
Here are a few of the items that made the trip home with us:

I found the awesome 70's inspired throw at the last consignment store we visited and couldn't resist for $2. I also found some white material that I am going to use to make the furniture suitcase chair and some stretch/lace/aqua/green material to make my mermaid tail for Halloween. All in all I walked away with everything for around $6. The awesome 70's inspired boho velvet bag I found in another random store earlier in the day. I couldn't resist the color and material combo. Andrew brought to my attention that the purse I carried that very day was made out of the same material. The small purse I carried inside that bag (to serve as my wallet) was also made out of the same material. Andrew's response, "you are like a Russian nesting doll of velvet bags" and I realize this now. Ah well. I have cool velvet-esq bags, shoot me.

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

The Soup Whisperer

Hey! Guess what?! I have been cooking good meals! Like, really good meals. I know, I know, it sounds crazy, right? But listen, I think I just needed to find my niche, and boy have I! I am good at making soup. There I said it.

This all started awhile ago when I spotted the most delicious looking corn soup on one of my favorite blogs:

The author specializes in healthy alternatives to some of the most popular dishes and this one caught my eye, because I LOVE CORN. LOVE IT. SO MUCH.

Yesterday Andrew and I were enjoying a day of relaxation and I decided to give it a go. I tweaked the recipe just a little, by adding some sweet potatoes and using jalapenos for my choice of pepper. I also added some brown sugar at the end. And let me tell ya...this was the best dinner I have ever made. Even Andrew said so. The sweetness of the corn mixed with the spice from the jalapenos was magical. All the other veggies were delicious as well and each bite was a burst of fresh, warm, hearty, goodness. And in true soup fashion, it was even better re-heated today. Success! I successfully cooked something other than scrambled eggs! I am like a grown ass woman. Here is a picture of my finished product:

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:

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

Happy Hump Day

Hello, Hello on this lovely Wednesday. I decided to include some more pictures of the house in this post, since some of my favorite nooks/walls have really started to come together. I also love nothing more than re-purposing something I already own...which happened last night! Andrew brought home some flowers for me on Monday night and I realized that we don't have a vase (we ended up putting the flowers in Andrew's Aggie pitcher for the time being). Thankfully I soon I discovered my new favorite place to put flowers. Ever.

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.

Those are all of the house updates I have for you today!

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