Sunday, November 30, 2014

PRETTY IN PINK AND POLISHED METAL

We took the bikes out for a ride around town this weekend and decided to do a bit of an impromptu photo shoot.  If you ride a bike you get it; if you don't ride a bike all too often I will let you in on a little secret: we love our bikes and the way they look!  Pictures are always a must.  And never a bad idea to have at least one.  Always comes in handy if someone jacks your bike.  We were headed off toward Ardsley Park / Daffin Park area and decided to stop by the old Starland Dairy to take some shots.  

Enjoy!









Phew.  And that's a wrap.
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GOBBLE, GOBBLE, SNOOZE

This year marks Wes and my second Thanksgiving together and our first Thanksgiving cooking everything on our own.  We decided to stay in Savannah for the holiday and give it a shot.  I love cooking.  I love Thanksgiving.  I now know that I love cooking for Thanksgiving!
I must quickly say that I also love HomeGoods.  I realized while at work Wednesday I would  need to pick up some serving dishes for Thanksgiving dinner.  I found everything that I needed and it was all so inexpensive!  I truly believe that a way to a girls heart is through a massive octopus bowl, so they did well.  Accidentally left out the platter for the duck, but you'll see it below.  Now, back to food.
Beginning to plan our first Thanksgiving and realizing that we only have to make the foods that we love and nothing more has to be the human equivalent of a puppy realizing that even when he eats your shoes you will still love him.  Queue the deviled eggs.  Now being that this was my first Thanksgiving taking over the kitchen, I didn't have all of the time I wanted to take pictures of everything I was cooking as I cooked it.  You will have to just enjoy the pictures of the feast at the (coffee) table.  Our menu broke down as:

Sweet roasted duck breast
Garlic and onion mashed potatoes
Homemade gravy
Stuffing
Cranberry sauce (obviously the good can shaped kind)
Dinner rolls
Pumpkin pie
Side note: I really wanted brussels sprouts, however everyone was sold out.  I guess I will have to get over the fact that there are no greens at our table this year.  That'll be tough...
I handled the eggs and potatoes on Wednesday night and left everything else for the day of.  I was even able to deep clean the house while cooking!  This may not sound like too much fun to some, but to me that is the idea of heaven.  
Everything turned out extremely well.  Never having cooked duck before, Wes and I were very proud of ourselves.  I gave the pie enough time to set up and taste great, and I finally perfected a homemade gravy when my protein won't allow for a pan gravy.  In the end, I would call the first Thanksgiving in our home a complete and utter success.  See below for proof.*
*models in this photo may not actually be sleeping.  They may have been asked to pose for the shot.

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CELEBRATING THE MATRIARCH

I know I had posted on my mom's birthday to wish her a happy one, however she was in St. John for the actual birthday so we weren't able to celebrate with here in person.  We decided on a family dinner up at their house when she got home.  My mother is one of those people that doesn't really want gifts that you can go out and buy.  She much prefers something from the heart that she can hold onto for years to come.  This year was no different.  Mom had asked that Ali and I write a few new memories to put in her memory jar - another gift from another year that she keeps asking us to add to.  I didn't much like the idea of just adding on to an older gift so I got to work on a different birthday idea that would be sure to make her cry. 
Not to stray too far away from the memory idea, I decided to enlist those around Mom to help bring together a ton of memories from different people.  All together I think we had 45 different submissions for her to read over.  I had them typed up on some simple stationary and stuffed in envelopes for her to hold onto.
In addition to Ali and I working tirelessly for a month to get the letters together, we planned to have Ali and John come down for the actual celebration as another surprise.  Ali is extremely busy with law school, so it was no news to mom that she "wouldn't be able to make it" for the weekend. We planned out a nice dinner of filet, vichyssoise, and bananas foster since those are some of Mom's favorites, and set out to surprise her with her eldest daughter and one super awesome birthday present.  
Below are some shots of us reading the letters to Mom.  There was an abundance of laughter as well as a few happy tears reading through everything.  Reading what these people had to say about our mother throughout her years was really something great to be a part of.  And for the record, I really don't see how she thought I was trouble as a kid.  She was a total nightmare!
I didn't get a chance to get any photos of dinner or the always mortifying Cards Against Humanity, but we've all got those memories painted in our heads.  I'll leave you with some photos that give a tiny glimpse into one amazing woman's life...






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Friday, November 21, 2014

CHIPOTLE ROASTED POTATOES WITH VIDALIA ONIONS

Last weekend Wes and I went downtown for the day and found this great shop called The Ancient Olive that had opened up last month.  After spending way too much time enjoying samples, we settled on some chipotle olive oil.  We wanted to try it out as soon as possible so we decided to make a version of a staple in our kitchen the following night: roasted potatoes.  
Who doesn't love potatoes?  If you ask anyone who knows me, they can tell you that I probably like potatoes too much.  I think that's ridiculous.  You have to be a lunatic not to love potatoes.  I love all potatoes equally.  Fry them, mash them, scallop them, I won't turn a potato away.  These roasted potatoes are no different.  They are so easy to make and take such little effort, it's always a great go to when we want comfort food without really having to try.  Take a look below at the recipe we came up with...
What you will need:
-half bag of baby golden potatoes (any small potatoes really, these are just our favorite)
-1 medium vidalia onion
-chipotle olive oil
-crushed red pepper flakes
-salt and pepper
-1 foiled baking sheet
-llama salt and pepper shakers for photo ops


Preheat your oven to 400 degrees.  While your oven is preheating, give the potatoes a rough chop.  I cut some in half and quartered the larger ones.  Whatever size you like will work.  I don't like to cut the potatoes too small though, the rustic look is nice.  Give your onions a rough chop as well and throw those bad boys on the lined baking sheet.
Drizzle a generous amount of your olive oil over the potatoes and onions. Give them enough so that you can shake the pan up and get a nice coating over everything.  Next, add the crushed red pepper as well as salt and pepper to your liking.  I probably used about a tablespoon of crushed red pepper since we like a bit of a kick, but that is entirely up to you.
Place your potatoes in the preheated oven and let them kick back and really get to know each other.  Depending on how small you cut the potatoes your cooking time may vary slightly.  These take about 40 to 50 minutes.  I like to shake the pan around every 15 minutes or so.  You get some good crispy bits that way and I've never met anyone who wasn't a fan of some crispy potatoes.
                                      
And that's it!  Easy as that, you've got a side to feed the whole family without any real effort.  And I was just told these leftovers make some seriously good breakfast potatoes the next day with a fried egg or two.  Hope you enjoy.

-Louisa
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Monday, November 17, 2014

A COFFEE BEAN, AN OLIVE, AND A JELLYFISH WALK INTO A BAR...

I'm still getting used to taking pictures throughout the day so you'll have to hang in there with me.  There has been quite a bit of 'damn, should have gotten a picture of that.  Oh well...'
We decided to head downtown this past Saturday since there were a few different festivals going on in the area.  We stopped by The Coffee Fox first to get some energy for our afternoon of walking ahead.  They may not have my beloved Foxy Loxy tacos but they make a seriously good iced horchata latte down there.  I had a second while waiting for my coffee to get some shots of the awesome wall and coffee growlers they have for sale.  Sadly I drank my latte too quickly to get any pictures, but I assure you it was beautiful.  Wes decided to prepare for my impending energy boost in his own way so he had a Terrapin Pumpkinfest.  I'm easier to handle after you have a drink or two in you.
After grabbing coffee, we walked up Broughton to take the long way around to the Telfair Art Fair and checked out this awesome new shop on West Broughton called The Ancient Olive.  Those people are very big on samples, I'll tell you that much.  We tried a few different sauces and oils and then found this amazing chipotle olive oil.  They had a ton of size options and we decided to get a little 200 ml to try out.  After making roasted chiptole potatoes and vidalia onions for dinner tonight, I realized I should have gone bigger.  I will definitely be posting a recipe for that tomorrow and the link to The Ancient Olive's site is up above so you can pick out your own goodies that they ship!  Before you ask, yes, I will gladly go sample anything for you if you're not in Savannah.  
 We had a great time checking out all of the booths a the Telfair Art Fair.  There were so many talented artists and so many beautiful things to dream about having in our apartment!  I fell in love with this artist from Ashville, NC (that's her in the corner.  I promise she was much more enthusiastic than she looks in this picture).  We talked with her a bit about the whole process she uses to make these amazing jellyfish.  They're all porcelain and each tentacle is connected separately so they move around somewhat like a chime.  
We spent about an hour meandering around before heading over to the Savannah Food and Wine Festival.  The picture of the Kress building below is the last picture I took before walking into the mob that is the Food and Wine Fest.  We did one quick lap and decided to head home.  It was just a bit too crowded to actually enjoy.
We had a pretty mellow weekend other than that outing.  Unfortunately I had to watch the Celtics lose to the Cavs, the Eagles lose to the Packers, AND the Browns lose to the Texans (new addition to my team roster, but you've got to team up in our household to avoid bitter rivalries.  I teamed up to become a newly inducted member of the ever-hopeful Browns fan world).  After all of the loss I was fine with having a mellow weekend.  


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Sunday, November 16, 2014

HAPPY BIRTHDAY MOM!

Something I take great pride in is the fact that my sister and I are very big on taking care of our own.  We look out for each other.  We look out for the ones we love.  That's something that our mother taught us.  Not a sit down conversation or anything like that, but something that we learned from watching her.  If you ask any of Kate's friends or family what they love about her you will hear from all of them how loyal she is.  She goes to bat for people when they might not have the strength to go to bat for themselves.  I just wanted to take a minute today, on my dear mother's birthday, to thank her for instilling that in Ali and me, for teaching us so much over the years and molding us into the very strong and very dysfunctional women we are today.  
I love you with everything I have and I am lucky to have you, not only as the best mom, but also as the best friend anyone could ask for.  I hope you are having a wonderful birthday vacation and I cannot wait to celebrate with you when you get home.  Happy birthday Mom!

Love,
Louisa
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Thursday, November 13, 2014

RUNNERS AND BIKERS AND NEW CITIES OH MY...



Last weekend Wes and I decided to stop by the Savannah Rock N' Roll Marathon and head downtown for lunch.  I was so in awe of how many people are just insane enough to run a distance that I normally don't have the energy to drive.  It was really great to see Forsyth Park so packed and energetic.  I was so distracted by the amount of people around that I didn't even manage to take any photos of the runners!  

We ended up in the Historic District for lunch and took in the sights at Ellis Square afterwards.  A bit cold for anyone to be running through the fountain but that's fine with me.  It's great living in a city where everything is familiar and at the same time nothing really gets old.  

The park had cleared out quite a bit on our way back to the house but there were plenty of runners taking the obligatory Forsyth Fountain picture for us to see.  The next day we headed down to Jacksonville to race in the AlleyKitty Race for the Titties (I think that was the name).  It was an alley cat style bike race with 9 different checkpoints throughout about 16 miles of a Jacksonville suburb.  It was both of our first times in any bike race and we decided to kind of take it as a joy ride more so than anything competitive.  

By the end of the ride I had dubbed myself as the girl "out of town and out of shape".  We had a blast seeing a new city and getting to know some new people.  Being "out of town and out of shape" got me to the finish line in last place.  I had zero problem with coming in last as I just had so much fun doing it at all.  Little did I realize last place was definitely a spot I wanted to come in.  I ended up getting more prizes than the male racers and they even gave Wes a 'what a nice guy to ride with his slow girlfriend' t-shirt.  

I guess I'm okay living in an 'everyone is a winner' world when I'm the one benefitting.  
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