Wednesday, December 31, 2014

WIAW #41: That time I roasted a whole chicken.

First off, I totally forgot which number of WIAW this was for me. I had to search my blog. #cantcount

Anyways, sharing my eats from yesterday and I am SO proud of them (check out my dinner).

I slept in and ate breakfast at 8:30ish. This is my last week of break before I head back to school and I am complete enjoying it.

Breakfast: 2 scrambled eggs, clementines, and wheat toast. Plus 3 cups of coffee (I know this is a lot. Forgive me). 

I chatted on the phone with my mom while I drank my coffee. We were discussing wedding planning and my venue contract. If you missed it yesterday, AR & I found our venue!! We are so excited.

I headed to the gym for about an hour and a half. I ran 5 miles (very slowly....), stretched, and did some ab work. I love a lazy gym workout. After running, I walked on the treadmill and looked at my new magazine.

When I got home, I grabbed a banana and jumped in the shower.

Lunch: homemade vegetable soup topped with pesto, more wheat toast and clementines. And a greek yogurt. 

This soup was a mix of a million things. When I left for Texas, I chopped everything in my fridge and froze it. On Monday afternoon, I sautéed onion and garlic, then added the veggies and a can of tomatoes. I think it has bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, spinach, and potatoes. Oh, and pesto. Pesto makes an awesome veggie soup.

After lunch I ran some errands and started the epic kitchen adventure. 

I wanted to roast a whole chicken. This is completely out of character for me. 1) I hate raw meat. 2) I was a vegetarian forever and hate meat served on the bone.

It is unclear why I decided I should roast a whole bird. It probably had something to do with the cooking magazines I subscribe to, and my love of the movie Julie & Julia (anyone else?).

So I bought an organic whole chicken (4.6 lbs) and found this recipe from Ina Garten. First, I watched her video on stuffing the chicken and gave myself a pep talk.

Next, I rinsed and dried the chicken, and stuffed it with thyme, garlic, salt & pepper, and a lemon. I placed it in a roasting pan with carrots, onions, and red potatoes, then topped it with melted butter.  The recipe called for fennel, but I didn't have any, so I skipped it.

It was SO much easier than I expected it to be!

I served the chicken and roasted veggies with a simple spinach salad.

After dinner, I made some bourbon balls for New Years Eve. These are best when made a day ahead and left to dry out the night before. I may have sampled a few before finishing ;)

So there it is - my day of eats! and my first adventure with roasting a whole chicken. How are you ending your food adventures of 2014?

What are you making/eating on New Year's Eve? I am prepping bourbon balls, stuffed mushrooms, and cinnamon rolls for the next morning! 


Thanks for hosting What I Ate Wednesday, Jenn! Happy New Year!

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Wedding: The Venue

We have decided on a venue.... Ahhh!!!

We are going to say "I do" at the Biltmore Ballrooms in Atlanta in late Summer 2015. 

Must have this photo!

I cannot wait to meet with designers and decorators this week to work on the decor!! The space and includes the gold chiavari chairs. I don't think I want to do a lot of color, but keep it very light and white. 

What do you think? 


Monday, December 29, 2014

Weekending {12/29} Christmas Edition

I am so excited to be back and share my holiday travels with you! Oh.... and I booked my wedding venue (eeeekkkk!!!)

I am most excited about being back home. I have been out of town for almost 2 weeks and just got in last night. Sleeping in my own bed, cooking in my own kitchen, and sitting on my own couch never felt so good.

My trip started off in Texas with my family. My mother and I flew in early to enjoy some time with my Grandmother and aunts before all of the craziness started. We did lots of wedding planning, shopping, chatting, and baking :) I also got to wrap Grandmother's gifts, which I love to do!

Grandmother's gorgeous tree

Mom and I are twins :) 
AR, my dad, and my brother joined the group right before Christmas. Other family joined in and by Christmas day, we had 24 people at dinner! AR and I were able to slip away and grab dinner with friends from Texas on two nights, which was amazing. We have so many great friends in Houston that we miss!

Post Christmas Eve Service with my Grandmother

A small sample of the Christmas Day sweets

AR, me, Mom, Dad, and my younger brother Sam. Apparently I am marrying a giant. 

AR and I (note that he is wearing one of the gifts I gave him. I think he likes it!)

After lots of holiday fun, AR and I packed up and drove the 5 hours to his family in Louisiana. It was so nice to see his family and some of our friends (along with their cute babies!).

AR is the baby whisperer. I believe I made Ava cry here, so I handed her to AR. He fixed it. 

We left for Atlanta on Sunday morning and drove 8 hours. It took a million trips to unload our car and I may never be done sorting things out! Seriously, my entire dining room and entry way is covered in stuff.

After a grocery store trip and a yummy dinner (wheat pasta with tuna, capers, lemon, and artichokes), we sat on the couch with homemade hot chocolate and the movie Four Christmases. It feels SO good to be back home.

Almond milk, cocoa powder, coconut sugar, and vanilla. So so good

What is the first thing that you do when you come back home from a long trip? Mine in laundry!

Linking up with B Loved Boston and Champagne and Suburbs today! Check back tomorrow for the wedding planning updates! 


Wednesday, December 17, 2014

WIAW 12/17 - What I will be eating!

So I had a whole post ready to show you what I ate on Monday, but lets be honest, my eats were not amazing. I had toast. Salad. Fruit. Peanut Butter. You know the drill.

Instead, I want to share with you what I will be eating as I head off to see my family tomorrow. I am committed to a semi clean diet with lots of fresh produce and plant-based proteins. I love my family, but they are not on the same train.

My wonderful southern family cooks things in real butter and bacon grease. We eat dessert after every dinner and often during 4pm coffee break too. Does this sound like your family? Often, I leave our visits with a full, happy heart, but a sad, heavy belly.

I wanted to share some of my tips for enjoying the holidays and family, while listening to your body. Here are the things I plan on doing over the next two weeks:

1. I won't let food control my holiday. 
I confess, I have spent time stressing over holiday meals. Ex: "Oh no, we are having ham for dinner. I don't eat ham. And the potatoes are loaded with butter and cream. Actually, everything is loaded with butter an cream." Not. Worth. It. This Christmas, I refuse to let food be a stress point for me. I know that having a few bites of rich food won't hurt me.

2. I will come prepared. 
Following step one is really dependent on me coming prepared. I bring protein powder on my trip and a blender bottle - Vega is an excellent option because it includes veggie servings too. I grab yogurt, fruit, and almond milk at grocery store once I get there to enjoy as snacks. I bring a reusable water bottle and drink TONS of water each day. Those things help significantly.

3. I will modify and maintain my workouts. 
My Grandmother's home (holiday headquarters for my family) is in a more rural area of Texas. While I have done lots of running out there, I get a little worried about running on those back roads. 1) I could get lost because everything looks the same, 2) I could get hit my a truck because everyone drives trucks, there are no sidewalks, and the speed limit is 60, and 3) I could get bit by a dog/snake/other animal.
So I run the the local high school and use their track for speed workouts. I also run laps of the town square - each lap is about a half of a mile - and I break it up with stair sprints up the courthouse steps.
I also plan on using workout videos from you-tube. I have recently become obsessed with the Tone It Up yoga videos, ab workouts (this is sooo good), and butt workouts. These will come in handy over the holiday!

4. I will recognize that it is all about balance. 
Healthy eating is a balance. It is about making good choices and enjoying those choices. So I may limit breakfast more if I know we have a big dinner planned. Or, I will enjoy our large breakfast and have a fresh salad for lunch. The key is balance, and planning ahead lets me enjoy each meal.

I hope these tips helped as you prepare for your holiday travels and family visits! Do you have any other ways that you maintain your health over the holidays? Please share in the comments below!


As always, thank you for hosting, Jenn! Sorry if I didn't quite follow the rules ;) 

Monday, December 15, 2014

Weekend Recap & a Brunch Recipe {12/15}

Hello all! Thank you to everyone for your sweet words about our christmas photos over the weekend!  We loved them and are planning on using the same photographer for our engagement photos in the spring.

It is the week before Christmas and I am in full Christmas spirit!

AR and I stayed in on Friday night and got into the Christmas prep! We picked up our little tree and ran by Whole Foods for the ingredients for homemade pizza. We spent our evening decorating the tree and eating pesto chicken pizza. For dessert? almond milk vegan egg nog!

Of, and remember my elf suit I blogged about a few weeks ago? You can bet I wore that while we were decorating. Costumes are everything. AR said he can't take me seriously when I wear it.

Saturday was seriously the best Saturday in ages (I wasn't in the library!). AR had a hair appointment in the morning, so I went with him and walked to the coffee shop next door. Look at this cute sign they had hanging up:

I grabbed coffee and took it over to AR, then walked down the the Paper Source. This place is my version of heaven. I bought some accessories for my gift wrapping and some paper to make a Christmas banner (I found this DIY on Cheers Y'all).

We went to the gym, came home, and started breakfast. I made my whole wheat biscuits and turkey "sausage" gravy. So so yummy! (recipe below)

Our evening was filled with christmas shopping and dinner with friends. We went to a casual burger spot, where I enjoyed a chicken burger and a peppermint chocolate milkshake. So so SO yummy. Side note: I may need to take a sugar break post holidays. This is getting out of control. 

On Sunday morning, AR and I went to church and ran some errands. We love our weekly trips to Whole Foods so much - anyone else like this? I just love the grocery store and we have so much fun.

We took an afternoon 6 mile run on the Atlanta Belt Line, and came home for dinner and Christmas Movies. After we sat on the couch for a bit, AR said "this has been the best weekend" and I totally agreed.


** linking up with Champagne & Suburbs and B Loved Boston today. Thank you, ladies!

Biscuits & Turkey Gravy

1/2 lb of ground turkey
1 T. olive oil
1/2 t. rosemary, thyme each
garlic powder, salt, and peper to taste
3 T. flour
1 c. chicken or vegetable broth, plus more as needed
1 c. milk
Whole Wheat Biscuits - my recipe here!

In a small skillet over medium heat, brown ground turkey in olive oil until cooked through. Season with spices and salt and pepper. Sprinkle flour over turkey and stir for 1-2 minutes to cook the flour - this is important to get the doughy taste out of the gravy. Reduce heat to low. Slowly stir in broth, mixing well. To avoid lumps, pour a little bit of broth in at a time and stir well after each addition. Let the broth thicken for a few minutes, stirring constantly. Add milk and continue to cook until desired thickness.
Slice warm biscuits in half and top with turkey gravy. Enjoy!

Friday, December 12, 2014

5 on Friday

Hello Friday! 

It feels so good to be back on the blog this week. Ladies, I have missed y'all! I have a million reasons to be excited this weekend and I cannot wait to share them with you. On with the link-up!

1. I am half-a-lawyer. 
I am completely finished with my third semester of law school, which means I am half way done. Oh yes, I am thrilled. 

Has anyone else been dying for one of these? Every southern-blogger-under-40 has one but me. I wanted one last year and couldn't find one to save my life. I even searched ebay, but nothing. I almost bought a knock-off this fall, but gave up on it. 

Then, I was christmas shopping yesterday at the outlets and saw a women with the vest. I literally ran up to her and said "I have been searching for that vest! Are you buying it or can I have it?" <-- I am such a creeper. She handed it to me, I saw the size (XXS) and died. PERFECT. 

3. As I type this, there are a million chocolate covered pretzels across my dining room table. 
I shared my go-to holiday treat yesterday on the blog and made a large batch for AR's office. 

I haven't met everyone at his new office yet, but I want to be sure to get on their good side ;)

4. Our Holiday photos are absolutely perfect. (IMO - haha)

Now that my cards are out, I can share these. Here are some of my favorites:

Our photographer here in Atlanta was amazing and snapped a gorgeous set of pictures for our holiday cards on a chilly saturday morning in Piedmont Park. Didn't she do a gorgeous job?? 

5. I started my christmas shopping..
But is it weird that I'm more excited about wrapping gifts than buying them? I really love wrapping presents. My friend and I have the best trip to the mall yesterday and made a great dent in the holiday shopping list, but we are already planning a hot chocolate/holiday movie/ gift wrapping afternoon. Cannot wait. 

Have an awesome weekend!

** Linking up with the lovely ladies for 5 on Friday. Thanks for hosting! 

Thursday, December 11, 2014

My go-to Holiday Snack

Who is headed to another weekend of holiday parties? 

I love a good party. I like to dress up, eat yummy food, and sip a good drink with all of my friends. So often, I need to bring something to parties and just don't have the time to make a massive dessert. 

Yet, the Martha Stewart in me refuses to buy something pre-made. So I cheat and whip up these pretzels in under 30 minutes. 

I buy chocolate and fun toppings: nuts, sprinkles, peppermints. Anything yummy, crunchy, and pretty. 

If you are heading to a party, anticipating friends stopping buy, or just wanting something yummy and pretty to snack on, here you go. Yummy and adorable AND easy. 

Party Worthy Chocolate Covered Pretzels 

You will need:
Milk or semi-sweet chocolate (either buy bars or good chocolate chips)
White chocolate (see above)
Pretzel rods (carefully check that you bag doesn't have too many broken ones!)
Toppings - crushed peppermints/candy canes, chopped pecan or peanuts, sprinkles, mini m&m's, anything.
** To crush peppermints, place unwrapped mints in a ziplock bag, seal, place on the floor, and hit with a rolling pin. Yep, those are my instructions. #letsbereal

Line baking sheets with parchment paper (or foil, if you are in a pinch).

Pour one kind of chocolate into a microwavable bowl. Microwave for 40 seconds, stop and stir. Continue microwaving in 20-30 second increments and string in between. Once the chips/bars are half melted, stop heating and stir until fully melted. Do not add any butter/milk/oil. This can lead to grayish chocolate and prevent it from hardening.

Hold pretzel rod over the bowl and spoon chocolate over the rod. Gently spread the chocolate out evenly and place the rod on prepared pans.

Continue dipping until the pan is full. Sprinkle toppings over the pretzels while still melted and let harden. Cover with plastic wrap until chocolate is cool. If you are in a hurry, place the pans in the refrigerator for a few minutes!

For drizzle: Melt chocolate as above. Spoon melted chocolate into the corner of a plastic bag. Twist the top closed and clip a tiny hole in the corner. Quickly drizzle chocolate over contrasting pretzels. Let harden and enjoy!

What do you like to bring or eat at parties?


Wednesday, December 10, 2014


Life has been a little hectic lately, so here is where I am at.

1. Wedding planning is SO HARD! Okay, so it is not the planning that is hard, it is the decision making. I still have not selected a date/venue/STATE/anything. I cringe every time someone says "when is the wedding?" because I honestly do not know. In my defense, I had finals, and it was important that I stay focused. Because flowers and table settings are obviously more interesting than Bankruptcy Law.

2. I have made a million appointments to tour venues over the winter break. My goal is to book something by the 31st. Think I can do it?

3. Sneak peak at our fall photo session - which I threw together in time to order holiday cards. I absolutely LOVE them all and will post more after I mail out our cards. We got such perfect weather and fall colors for the shoot, I am so happy with them.

4. Speaking of cards, AR and I addressed them on Monday night and had so much fun. We have such amazing friends and family, I feel so blessed. Of course, when we ask people for their addresses, they ask if we are sending wedding invites. Nope, not yet. Just sending holiday cheer.

5. I am pretty much done with finals. I have on assignment due on Friday, and I am just about finished with it. In all honesty, I could submit it now and it would be great, but I always hold onto the last assignment of the semester because I want it to be perfect. It is a pass/fail advanced writing course. Being perfect won't make a difference, but here I am, color coding my edits.

6. I have not bought a single christmas gift. Not one. And all of my gifts need to be wrapped and ready when I fly to Texas next Thursday. I better work on that at some point...

7. My workouts have been on the struggle bus lately. I've been sick since saturday and have only worked out once. So much for combating all of the holiday sweets with strength training. Now I am just sitting on the couch eating Whole Foods organic pho-Oreos. #thisismylife

Has anyone purchased their christmas gifts? 
How many venues can I tour before I need to just pick one? 


Monday, December 8, 2014

I am alive! {Weekend Recap}

I've been off blogland for a while.... :(

I apologize for the lack of posts and email responses - finals took over my life. After posting some lack-luster posts, I decided to let the blog take a rest while I focused on my studies. but I am back and have an action packed weekend to update you on!

(linking up with B Loved Boston and Champagne & Suburbs!)

Friday morning was my last in-class final. I finished at 12:30, and brought myself back to life at Ulta. Yep, retail therapy at its finest. They had tons of products specialist there, so I got a mini-facial from Philosophy, some brow filling lessons from Anastasia brow, and a red lipstick tutorial from Bare Minerals. By the time I left, I felt like a new person.

On Friday night, I went out with a group of girlfriends to celebrate MY BIRTHDAY (which was actually November 26, but who has time to celebrate with finals?). We went to Ecco, one of my favorite spots in midtown Atlanta.

We sipped wine, shared fried goat cheese and honey appetizers, and debriefed from the week. I ordered stuffed acorn squash with pesto, brussel sprouts, and a few bites of beets.

My amazing friend Luci (who you've seen all over this blog) brought the best cake for me, complete with HW sparkler candles! If you live in Atlanta, run to Alon's bakery and grab their chocolate mouse cake. It is to. die. for.

Saturday morning I woke up feeling sick. This always happens after finals... my body just crashes. My night out probably didn't help much either :P AR and I went to Target, Whole Foods, and Barnes & Nobles, before coming home to relax for the afternoon.

Check out this adorable rosemary bush I got at Whole Foods - it is cut to look like a christmas tree!! I got out all of my decorations, plus the 5 million christmas candles I bought at Target. My apartment is likely a fire hazard, but it smells incredible.

AR and I made chili on Saturday night, watched the holiday episode of Nashville, and snuggled under blankets. It felt so amazing to relax and not study - I cannot even explain it.

Sunday morning was church and brunch, followed by an evening holiday party in Buckhead. I brought a platter of chocolate covered pretzels (tutorial coming this week!), which disappeared shortly. The party was a blast - the food was wonderful and the view was spectacular.

They even had professional Bollywood dancers (random!), who lead up in dancing, followed by a professional flamingo guitarist. We left with sore feet and full bellies.

At the end of the night, we all took the ballon decorations and released them on the balcony. It was a beautiful start to the holiday break!