Sunday, August 18, 2013

WIWS (Vol. I Lost Track)

Yesterday marked the first successful French Braid of my life. I can hear your applause from here - thank you, thank you. Did I take any pictures? No, of course not. Was I able to replicate it for mass today when it would have been more fitting? No way! Ah well, there's always next time...

We were treated by a yet another wonderful homily today (Ben says one of the top four he's ever heard) and Leo fell asleep almost immediately so despite the grim weather it's been a great day! Here's hoping you are enjoying your Sunday too :)

You can almost taste the mischief

Weirdest leg pose ever

Jacket : Charlotte Russe
Shirt : TJ Maxx 
Khakis : Thrift 
Shoes : Zappos (?) 

I need to figure out what to do with those khakis because the color is my favorite but the fit through the legs is too loose and has a frumpy effect. If I had mad skills like my sister-in-law I would just take them in or hem them or do something smart. As it is, I can barely thread a needle (much less use one). Ideas?

~ Happy Sunday ~

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Five Favorites (Vol. 8)

- 1 -
My Elliptical

A few weeks ago I bemoaned the fact that I couldn't quite justify a membership to Gold's Gym. On a whim I decided to post on a local give/get recycle networks that I was looking for an elliptical. I did not expect any response but a few days later I received an e-mail from an individual who was looking to get rid of her machine and only wanted $65 (this included delivery!). I was skeptical and expected it to be falling apart and basically just a piece of junk, but we decided to go for it and when it got here we were delighted to find that it was in excellent condition and working great! I really can't express how amazing it is to be able to go down in my own basement and have a solid workout that doesn't destroy my knees. Best $65 spent ever! 

- 2 -
Cold Shower After Workout

I realize that this may strike some of you as a bizarre "favorite", but truly there are few things I love as much as a cold shower after a solid workout. It's like the adult version of jumping into a pool at the peak of summer (though admittedly not as awesome). 

- 3 -
 Family Visits
Nana and Leo (AKA The Wiggleworm)

Kisses for Nana
Visits from family are the best, aren't they? My mom came down for a few days just last weekend and while no visit is truly long enough, it was awesome to grab some time together! Leo definitely enjoyed the extra attention and getting to love on his Nana :)

- 4 -
Leo Giggles

I'm sure this goes without saying after watching that video, but I would do just about anything to hear that little boy's laughter. That being said, I cannot believe I posted that and allowed you to hear my unbelievably annoying voice semi-yelling recipes. Motherhood.......

- 5 -
Fresh Peaches
So I just got back from an awesome afternoon visiting and thrift store shopping (!!!) with a good friend of mine in Leesburg and what does my husband have waiting for me? FRESH PEACHES! I am not talking about grocery store peaches, folks. I mean those melt-in-your-mouth peaches that must've grown on trees in Heaven and fell to Virginia! Time to go eat some more!

Make sure you check out the amazing Hallie!

~ Happy Wednesday ~

Sunday, August 11, 2013

WIWS : Teething Edition

Well the weekend is finally coming to a close and that means What I Wore Sunday! Make sure you head over and check out the fabulous Kendra and Emily!

The past several days have been interesting to say the least. There have been some major highlights (e.g. visit from my mom!) and some major... lowlights? I am referring to Leo and his teething crisis. Little man has been in a lot of pain lately and it's affected his sleep/nap schedule and life in general. Normally we go to the 10:30 AM mass on Sundays because it tends to fit the best with his wake up time and naps. But Leo has been waking up earlier this week so that meant that naptime came early and we weren't about to mess that up by getting him dressed up and into the carseat. I was fairly disappointed because the priest who says mass at 10:30 AM is an awesome preacher and I'll be honest, going to a later mass just throws off my Sunday groove. That and oh yeah, the 12:30 PM mass is Latin Low Mass, which I can't follow because I nospeakadalatin! My consolation was that Leo would get a good nap in and be in a great mood for mass. WRONG!!! Apparently the Tylenol just didn't help enough because my sweet little boy woke up sad/angry, impossible to please, and clingy! But Leo is indeed a sweet little boy and while he wasn't angelic during mass he did not scream and his fussing was totally manageable, albeit out-of-pew-worthy.

My poor 'lil teether

Details --
Skirt : Macy's
Shoes : Target (seriously, I need a new pair)
Shirt : Forever21
Scarf : Forever21

~ Happy Sunday ~

Saturday, August 10, 2013

Barefoot in the Kitchen (Vol. 2)

Welcome to the second post of Barefoot in the Kitchen!

Quick Reminder : If you feel like joining in then please go ahead and click the bottom at the bottom of the post, add your link, and don't forget to post a link back here in your post! If you don't have anything ready today then no worries - you have all the way until the following Monday to take part! There are no recipe restrictions so whether you made the most amazing dessert anyone ever tasted or one of the worst flops of a side dish that has come into existence I would love to hear about it! 

This past week I decided to bake one of my all-time favorite foods - Beer Bread! If you have never had beer bread before then I am sorry because you and your taste buds have been missing out majorly! Bread is already one of my favorite consumables and honestly I would bake it fresh every day if it did not take so much time and effort. But therein lies the absolute beauty of this particular baked good - it takes very little effort and almost no time but manages to taste delicious anyway. Not too shabby, eh? 

Now there are a lot of great recipes for beer bread out there and I am not going to sit here and tell you that this is the best one. This particular recipe uses brown sugar where others use honey as well as a combination of whole wheat and all-purpose flour. I opted for a recipe with brown sugar because I think it is typically easier to measure and handle than honey and I prefer the texture and sense of substance this beer bread has due to the combination of flours. Anyways, on to the recipe! 

Basic Beer Bread

Prep Time : 10 minutes

Cook Time : 50 minutes

Servings : 1 Loaf (i.e. about 2 servings for my husband and me)

Ingredients :
  • 1 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 ½ teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • 1/3 cup packed brown sugar
  • 1 (12 fl. oz) can or bottle of beer
  • 4 - 6 tablespoons butter

Remember that the flavor of the beer can affect the flavor of the bread

Step 1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Lightly grease a 9x5 loaf pan. For ease of removal I place a small slip of parchment/wax paper in the bottom of the pan.

Step 2. In a large mixing bowl, combine all dry ingredients.

Step 3. Pour in beer and stir until a stiff batter is formed. Make sure to mix well so that your brown sugar does not clump up and the baking powder is thoroughly mixed in. Scrape into prepared loaf pan.


Step 4. For a delicious buttery crust melt butter in microwave and pour over batter. Move the pan around a little for equal dispersion; you can also use a fork to poke holes in the dough if you want more than just a buttery crust.

You know what this could use? MORE CALORIES!!!

Step 5. Bake in preheated oven for 50 - 60 minutes (you want to be able to insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf and come out clean)

Not bad, eh?

Verdict : SUCCESS!!!

~ Happy Monday ~

Barefoot in the Kitchen (Vol. 6)

It's been awhile since I posted a new recipe and it's hard to know where to begin because I have tried out a fair few new ones! Most of them have been pretty good and only one or two have landed in the "Not to be Repeated" category. The recipe I'm going to share today is great for lunch or dinner, depending on what you want to do with sides and/or dessert.

Chicken Pesto Sandwiches

Prep Time : 10 - 15 minutes

Cook Time : Chicken --> 30 - 40 minutes
                         Sandwiches --> 5 - 10 minutes

Servings : 6

Ingredients :
  • 2 Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts* (Shredded**)
  • 8 oz prepared Pesto (I used a full jar from the store)
  • 8 oz thinly sliced Mozzarella cheese (tip: egg slicers are great for this)
  • 12 slices of your choice of Bread 
  • 12 oz jar Roasted Sweet Red Peppers (did not try this but it sounds amazing!)

*Boneless skinless chicken thighs work as well. Some versions of this recipe
 **I chose to shred the chicken because I felt that it was able to soak up the pesto much better that way. Other recipes call for flattening and grilling the chicken so it comes down to your preference.

Step 1. Bake chicken at 350 for approximately 30 - 40 minutes or until juices run clear

Step 2. Shred chicken and then add pesto

Step 3. Place mozzarella cheese, chicken pesto, and red peppers (optional) on buttered bread and cook as you would a grilled cheese sandwich.

Verdict : SUCCESS! I have made the simplest version of this recipe several times now and really loved it, but at some point I like the idea of adding some more flavor in there. Other recipes I have seen have used lettuce, tomato, and other toppings. I'm sure you could use a different cheese if you wanted. I really want to make this on a Friday at some point and substitute tuna for chicken!

I'm always looking for new recipes so please feel free to share yours! 

~ Happy Friday ~ 

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Five Favorites : Food Edition

- 1 -

Maybe it's angry, but my taste buds are thrilled!

I am a BIG fan of hard cider! I had some a few years ago in a delightful Pittsburgh pub and liked it then but never really saw it for sale in stores until recently (admittedly I was not looking hard). Ben bought some the other day and it was just delicious! Which brings me to my next favorite....

- 2 -

Hours of fun

When Ben and I were drinking our hard cider we felt like something was missing. Yeah, it was a yummy beverage but it needed a savory snack to go along with it. Chips wouldn't do and maybe pretzels but that wasn't a sure thing either. Then it all became clear - we needed Triscuits and Sharp (seriously sharp) White Cheddar cheese! So the next day I popped over to the grocery store and bought both. They were gone almost immediately. Why? If you need to ask then you obviously haven't tried it....

- 3 -

My name is Hannah and I'm a Pita-Chip-Aholic. It has been far, far too long since my last bag. Every now and then I can't help myself and buy a bag. How long does the bag last me? About one sitting - two if I'm very controlled. I'm not kidding and I am not referring to the "snack size" either. It's a problem. A delicious, scrumptious problem....

- 4 -

I am not a big hummus fan. If I grab some it's usually just so I have an excuse to eat pita chips (see above). There is one type of hummus that I like a lot, however - Red Pepper Hummus. It is amazing and needs to be in my fridge right now. 

- 5 - 

I don't know if you were aware of this but liquid is devoid of calories. Or rather, I have operated under this theory for many years without realizing it until recently. I could be on the most stringent diet ever but still not bat an eye over a medium (or grande if you insist on being a pretentious tool) White Chocolate Mocha. I don't care if it's Starbucks or The Daily Grind - gimme summa dat! It is the only hot beverage that I have ordered at coffee shops since I was 14 years old. You can keep your lattes and fancy espressos - I will have the obscenely sugary "coffee" that could probably provide caloric support to half of Russia. 

~ Happy Wednesday ~

Friday, August 2, 2013

7 Quicks

--- 1 ---

I found this image of the Virgin Mary and baby Jesus today on Facebook and I have to say it is now one of my all-time favorite depictions of them! Maybe it's because I hold Leo like that all of the time but the pose seems so natural and beautiful. In a perfect world Mary would look a whole lot less Caucasian but I'll take it!

--- 2 ---


We have mice. I don't know if I mentioned this in a previous blog or not but in the event that I didn't, now you know! I am actually quite proud of how well I have handled the situation. Then again, I have only had to see evidence of mice and dangling tails in mice traps (you totally wanted to know that). Aaaaanyways, our next door neighbors have a few cats to help them with their mice problem and said that that could be a good solution for us too. Seeing as how we live next to a GIANT cornfield that will be harvested sooner or later and leave a sizable population of mice homeless, Ben and I decided to take our neighbors' advice. We found free kittens on Craigslist (so sketchy yet so helpful) and picked ours up the other night. Her name is Nimue (a la King Arthur etc) but we just call her Nim for short. She is crazy and ridiculous and was skittish beyond belief the first night we brought her home but she's warmed to the three of us now and is a lot of fun. The interaction between Leo and her is comical.

--- 3 ---
Some people have to worry about bunnies and deer eating their plants - we have to worry about bears (forget the plants!). I was aware that bears lived in this part of the country and that they could be an issue on trails, buuuuuut the other day Ben tells me that some friends of ours (who live in town) had a bear go through their front yard. Still, since I hadn't seen any around here I was feeling pretty good. Then I talked with our neighbors. Apparently we do get bears. Like, a few mornings ago in our neighbors' front lawn. So yeah. Country life, man! 

--- 4 ---

We had a guy from Home Depot out today. Why? Because somehow during the whole home-buying process we missed the fact that the office did not have a door! And a few of our other doors don't quite close (oops) so there's that too. Special.

--- 5 ---

 I don't own a treadmill. The photo above just helps to capture what the fitness and exercise situation has been (for me) since the move. The thing that bugs me the most is the return on investment. If I'm going to devote six weeks to getting in shape then it better take AT LEAST six weeks before I'm back to square one! Reality, take note! 

--- 6 ---

Leo fake crying until we take him outside

 --- 7 ---

Leo in the exersaucer. Love that smile! :)

~ Happy Friday ~