It’s the Most Wonderful Time of the Year

Can you believe Christmas is so close? I sure can’t and I feel completely unprepared. The move that we are in the midst of has totally thrown me off this year. We have no tree (boohoo), no decorations, and I’ve barely done any shopping. Next year I intend to make up for this with a giant tree and copious decorations, although maybe not as many as Clark Griswald… The snow this weekend has at least made it look a little more festive outside, and I’ve been watching tons of Christmas movies this weekend to put myself in a holiday spirit, so it’s finally feeling a bit more like Christmas to me!

National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation

Here are some decorations and craft ideas I’ve been eyeing that I’ll be saving for next year when I don’t have an apartment full of boxes and packing supplies to contend with!

Snowy Winter Wreath

via creativegreenliving.com

via bhg.com

Rosemary placecards DIY

via spoonforkbacon.com

Christmas Centerpiece DIY

via justagirlblog.com

Christmas Place Setting

via pinkfrilly.blogspot.it

And I’m loving all these creative ideas for gift-wrapping!

Pretty wrapping with twine and pine

via odessamaysociety.com

Kraft Paper and Red Ribbon

via Pinterest

Kraft paper and pine

via Pinterest

Gift Wrap

via hgtv.com

DIY Gift Wrap

via the lilypadcottage.blogspot.co.uk

I’ve also been checking out Etsy of course to see what holiday related goods there are to buy out there. Here are just a few of my favorites!

This monogrammed burlap tree skirt:

Burlap Tree Skirt

from The Burlap Cottage (via etsy.com)

This cute “Let it Snow” garland

Let it Snow garland

from Crafty Belles (via etsy.com)

This adorable dachshund Christmas card!

Dachshund card

from Doggy Design (via etsy,com)

This lovely Advent calendar:

Advent calendar

from Good Wishes Quilts (via etsy.com)

This snowflake-adorned pillow:

Snowflake Pillow

from Low Country Home (via etsy.com)

Advertisements

Super Saturday (on a Sunday)

I’ve really been missing Super Saturday, so I thought that even though today is Sunday, I should get one up this week… and since it’s a holiday weekend, today is basically Saturday, right?!

So I am just loving that it’s fall. It is definitely my favorite season. I used to say that spring was my favorite, and while I still love spring, fall has risen above it. I love the chillier temperatures, changing leaves, pumpkin spice everything, and of course Halloween…. I absolutely love scary movies, haunted houses, ghost stories, and everything else associated with the holiday.

Here are some Halloween and Fall related things I’ve been loving lately!

Fall Decor

So I love carving pumpkins, but I have been loving these alternatives to the traditional pumpkin carving this year. I still will probably do a couple of traditional ones, but maybe I should get a couple extra and try some of these other ideas out…

Mouse Motel

via marthastewart.com

via realsimple.com

via realsimple.com

 

via mysweetsavannah.blogspot.com

via mysweetsavannah.blogspot.com

via countryliving.com

via countryliving.com

It is my dream to someday have an front porch so that I can create an entryway such as these:

via marthastewart.com

via marthastewart.com

via jollymom.com

via jollymom.com

from hgtv.com

from hgtv.com

via bhg.com

via bhg.com

Here are some other fall decor ideas I am loving!

via revelblog.com

via revelblog.com

via bhg.com

via bhg.com

via laurenconrad.com

via laurenconrad.com

 

via bunchesandbits.blogspot.com

via bunchesandbits.blogspot.com

Oh, and of course there are a million things I want to buy from Etsy…. as usual….

via MoseyRoseDesigns

via MoseyRoseDesigns

via 112FarmhouseLayne

via 112FarmhouseLayne

 

via LonelyHunterHome

via LonelyHunterHome

via TheCountrySignShop

via TheCountrySignShop

 

I’m sure I’ll have even more fall/Halloween related things to share next time. I just can’t get enough.

Vacation Eats: Eating In

Since some of my family (aunts, uncles, cousins, etc) were down in Chincoteague vacationing as well, some nights we got together as a family for meals,  and other nights it was just me and my parents. I have to say that I am incredibly lucky to have a lot of great cooks in my family! It was fun to see what everyone made for the family dinners we had, and is was also great to be able to cook for my family. We had some really yummy home-cooked meals that I wanted to share with you.

A yummy spread including a fabulous watermelon-feta salad, roasted vegetables, peach and green bean salad, and really wonderful quiches, including a to-die-for seafood quiche.

Bean and Corn Salad

Bean and Corn Salad (Recipe coming soon!)

Chili Dip

Our favorite chili dip!

Rainbow Tomato Crostini (Recipe coming soon!)

Crab cakes, bean and corn salad, roasted potatoes and more!

Chicken, crab cakes, roasted potatoes, bean and corn salad,and balsamic roasted vegetables (recipe coming soon!)

Corn on the cob, steamed shrimp, roasted veggies, broiled flounder, roasted potatoes.

Shrimp tacos

Steamed clams

Steamed clams

Clam Chowder and corn bread

Cooking crab cakes

Veggie-filled Crab Cakes (Recipe coming soon!)

Crab cakes (Recipe coming soon!)

Dinner

Corn on the Cob, Crab cakes, pesto pasta, salad

Crab Frittata

Crab Frittata (Recipe coming soon!)

Vacation Eats: Eating Out

While on vacation we did a combination of eating out and cooking our own food. We were lucky to be staying in a house with a kitchen, so we were able to cook a lot of our own meals. This was great for a few reasons. 1. It’s a great way to save money! 2. We were able to take advantage of the local seafood/produce. 3. Eating out is great, but when you eat out for every meal, it can get old quickly, and 4. My mom and I both love to cook! So I want to share with you both what we ate out, and what we cooked ourselves, along with a couple of recipes too!! I’m going to split this up into a couple parts, so part 1 will be about where we ate out, and then our home-cooked meals will be in the next post! And of course the recipes will follow.

Eating Out

1. Woody’s Beach BBQ and Eatery

Chincoteague is a pretty small island, so there aren’t a huge amount of restaurants (although more than you’d think), and we visited a few of our favorites, and a new one (to us)! Woody’s Beach BBQ is a relative newcomer to the island (I think they’ve been around 5ish years now) but it is an extremely popular spot to get delicious barbecue, and awesome sandwiches (and even fish and shrimp tacos!). We went a couple times to get some of their specialties- pulled pork, ribs, and smoked chicken. All are delicious! The chicken can be a tad bit dry, but it does come with barbecue sauce on the side that helps with the dryness. The flavor of it is great! The ribs are definitely a winner- falling off the bone, and super-flavorful, and the pork is awesome as well. Leftovers are a great sandwich fixing. They have a few sides you can choose from- gingery applesauce, coleslaw (another great sandwich fixing), and really great baked beans. I also got a sandwich from the Eatery (which has awesome fried chicken). My choice this time was “The Duke”- a fried chicken sandwich with braised pineapple, bacon and “the Duke” sauce. I’m usually not one for fruit on my sandwiches, but the pineapple works perfectly here. Also good- the fries! They were not crispy, and got a little bit soggy after sitting, but the flavor was good, and even sogginess didn’t stop me from eating them. One note- because Woody’s is such a popular spot, you will probably have to wait a while for your food- especially if you go during peak times. They have a bunch of games (ring toss, corn hole, etc) that you can play while you are waiting though, and the wait is definitely worth it!

Smoked Chicken and Ribs "The Duke" and Fries "The Duke"

2. Sea Star Cafe

This sandwich spot has been a favorite of ours for years. They recently moved down to the main road to the beach, and it seems like a great spot for them, as it’s a bigger location, and much shadier- something that is very important, because it does take a little while to get your food, especially during peak hours. Another place that’s worth the wait though. They have an extensive sandwich menu- including fare for vegetarians and vegans. They also have things such as soups and salads, and have specials that change daily. It always takes me a while to figure out what I want to order, as I literally want to eat everything on the menu. This year I went with the “Bistro” sandwich- honey turkey, muenster cheese, avocado, romaine, and honey mustard on a croissant. So delish!

"Bistro" sandwich

3. Saigon Village

I’ve been wanting to go to Saigon Village for years. It’s in the heart of the historic downtown area, and every year when we walk along Main St. to search for souveniers, we see it. This year my mom and I decided we had to try it out. I got the Spicy Saigon Stir Fried Rice Noodle with shrimp. This was delicious! The flavors were great, and all the vegetables were so fresh! It was a really generous portion as well. I really wanted to try the noodle soups, but for those you’d have to go in the later afternoon/evening hours, as they have to cook a while to develop the flavors. Maybe next year!! After lunch, my mom and I decided to each get Vietnamese iced coffees. These were awesome! I just love sweetened condensed milk in coffee. I’ve decided that this is something I MUST learn to make. I’ve done some research I think that I will need to buy Trung Nguyen coffee– the price is actually really affordable! So I’ll let you know what happens with that soon!

Spicy Saigon Stir Fried Rice Noodle with Shrimp Vietnamese Iced Coffee

4. Gary Howard Seafood

Gary Howard Seafood is our favorite place to pick up fresh seafood on the island, and we did this many nights! We bought flounder, clams, oysters, and shrimp to bring back to the house and cook. They also have a takeout menu, and you can order prepared meals. They have a lot of different types of fried seafood platters, they make delicious crab cakes, and they will steam crabs for you (another thing we took advantage of)! I got the fried scallop platter this year with a side of hush puppies. So, so good! I also had a bite of my brother’s soft shell crab which was also super yummy! And of course the steamed blue crabs were great as well! One night we just ate crabs for dinner, and then we used the rest of the picked crabs in a couple of recipes (which I will definitely share).

Fried Scallops and Hush Puppies Steamed Blue CrabsSteamed Blue Crabs

We didn’t get to every place we wanted to eat this year, but everything we did eat out was great!! Next year I definitely want to get ice cream at the Island Creamery (my aunt said that the salted caramel with dark chocolate chunks was amazing), coffee at the Main St. Coffeeshop, and lunch or breakfast at Bill’s Seafood (last year I had a great soft shell crab BLT from here). I can’t wait until next summer!

I’m Back!!

Hello friends!!

I’ve been back from vacation now for a little less than a week, and I still have not readjusted to my normal everyday life! I feel like I could have used another few weeks of vacation… or if I could have just stayed on vacation forever than would have been wonderful too! In the next week I’m hoping to share a couple of recipes that I made on vacation, and also do a post on the food that I ate on my trip, but I thought for my first post back I’d share some of my pictures from the trip.

We traveled to Chincoteague, VA, one of my favorite places in the world! My family has been vacationing there for about 8ish years now (my Aunt and Uncle even longer). There are many fabulous houses/condos to rent on the island, so we always stay in an awesome place that feels like home! Our house was amazing- we stayed in the same house last year, and it is one of my favorite houses on the island. It has a great view of the bay, has an amazing porch that winds around the whole house (and part of it is screened in, which is a great refuge from mosquitos), and the inside is large and spacious. We went to the beach on Assateague Island many days. Assateague is a protected wildlife refuge, and so no one is able to live or build on the island, which means that the beach is unobstructed by buildings and private land. It is amazing, and it is great for the abundance of wildlife that lives there- including wild horses. We also went kayaking, bike riding, did a little bit of shopping (the downtown area is really cute), went to the Wallops Flight Facility Visitor Center which is operated by NASA, did a lot of eating, played many board games, and had an amazing two weeks of relaxation. I read a ton (I finished all the books I brought specially for vacation and a bunch of magazines as well), slept in, and just spent time hanging out.

Here are some of my pictures… be warned- sunset pictures abound!

038

042

054

129

092

071

079

048

158

Carcasonne

Settlers of Catan

Scattergories

Rummicube

Pandemic

109 057 379 278 287

153 149 368 360 356 314 320 332 335 304 270 261 257 255 252 248 239

Oh those sunsets!! I just couldn’t get enough!

Getting Ready…

My to-do list for tomorrow…

20130802-234811.jpg

Since Ron has limited cooking skills, this is my menu for him while I’m gone! Lots of freezer meals (other than the pasta salad which he’ll probably finish in a day)!!

Tomorrow will certainly be busy! We have a summer party to go to and I also have to do laundry, pack, and get things in order before I leave… Then I will be in vacation mode!

I’m not sure what my Internet situatIon will be, but I will try to get some short posts up every now and then… Probably some random and picture-heavy posts in addition to food-related posts. I know I’ll have some gorgeous sunset pics to share, some beach pics, and maybe some wild horses!

Woohoo!!!!!!

Super Saturday: Summer Vacation Edition

Photo Source: seasidevacations.com

Photo Source: seasidevacations.com

As I’ve mentioned… because I can’t think of anything else, I’m going on vacation just a week from now!!! Because of this, and because my mind seems to be getting in vacation mode already, I thought that today for Super Saturday, I’d focus on all things related to vacation!  Oh, how I can’t wait.

Vacation Reading

One of the best things about vacation is having long stretches of uninterupted time that can be devoted to reading. I usually bring a bunch of magazines to read at the beach, but I also try to read a bunch of books as well. The beach is the perfect place to delve into a good book. I think that vacation is a good time for some light(er) reading, and here are some of the books that are on my radar for beach reads.

Joyland

Joyland by Stephen King- I’m a big Stephen King fan, so any book that he’s written is automatically on my radar. This seems like a quicker read than some of his other works (not that reading a long book is a problem, but sometimes shorter is good). Ghosts, carnivals, and a murder mystery sound like something that’ll be right up my alley.

The Cuckoo's Calling

The Cuckoo’s Calling by J.K. Rowling (under pen-name Robert Galbraith)- When I heard that this book was actually written by the author of the Harry Potter series, it intrigued me, and made me check out the description on Amazon. When I read that it was about a detective investigating a mysterious suicide I became even more interested. As you can probably already tell, I love mysteries. In fact, one of my favorite shows growing up was Murder, She Wrote…. and I of course loved the Encyclopedia Brown series.

The Man Who Ate Everything

The Man Who Ate Everything by Jeffrey Steingarten- I know this will be a shock, but one of my other favorite genres of books is food writing. I’ve been wanting to read this book forever, and I think that vacation will be the perfect time to do so! I love to read about people’s experiences with food and I’ve heard this book is especially funny, and “mouth-watering” as well.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower

The Perks of Being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky- This coming-of-age novel is one that has been on my radar for a while. Set in high school, from the point of view of Charlie, and written in his point of view in a series of letters, this book about a shy “wallflower” seems like something I’ll be able to relate to, as I also have always been a wallflower… and even though I have been out of high school for over a decade now, I think that since my recent positive experience with The Fault in Our Stars, that I will still find this book relateable even at the ripe old age of 30.

The Yard

The Yard by Alex Grecian- Okay, I needed just one more mystery novel.. I can’t help it! This book takes place in Victorian London, right after the reign of Jack the Ripper, and focuses on the “Murder Squad”, a group of 12 detectives hired to solve murders, after Scotland Yard’s failure to catch Jack the Ripper.  I mean, how great does that sound?! I hope it lives up to my expectations.

Drooling Over

Tomatoes!! My cherry tomatoes are finally ripening, and I’m so excited to be able to use them in recipes (and just eat them plain too!). I expect to be buying a bunch of fresh tomatoes on vacation as well, as there is a farmer’s market that comes to town a couple days a week, and a small market that sells local fruits and vegetables daily.

Photo Source: npr.org

Photo Source: npr.org

This Avocado Shrimp Salsa from Smitten Kitchen

This Heirloom Tomato Pizza from Heather Cristo

This Caprese Chicken from The Novice Chef

These Soft Tacos with Roasted or Grilled Tomatoes and Summer Squash from The New York Times

These Roasted Tomato and Goat Cheese Crostini from Cook Like a Champion

This Easy Feta Dip from The Girl Who Ate Everything

Lusting After

This Coral Chevron Beach Tote

Coral Chevron Beach Tote

from Vianney Creations on etsy.com

This Starfish Beach Towel

Starfish Beach Towel

from L.L. Bean

This beach chair

Beach Chair

from Land’s End

These cute and colorful sandals 

Sandals

from Old Navy