Tuesday, December 29, 2009

he loves me, he loves me not

No, he definitely loves me! I came home to this little surprise around Thanksgiving! Love him :)


home improvement

These are wayyyyyy overdue:



(bathroom before)


(bathroom after)


(bathroom after 2...john haggled that mirror from $100 to $10, yes I love him!)

Yes, we finished this project in August and I'm just now posting it. John ripped up the nasty tile and replaced it with lovely stone tiles. I painted and refinished the tub (nope, I never thought I would be able to say that I refinished a tub but I sure did it and I may have lost some brain cells in the process). John installed the hardware and voila! We have a gorgeous bathroom! No more Finding Nemo tiles :)

its official...

I'm a horrible blogger. Oh well, sorry about that. I will sum up what has happened in the past few weeks with a lovely list:

  1. The Christmas party we hosted was incredible (if I do say so myself)! Yay! Much thanks to our dear friends, Matt and Anna, who helped :)
  2. Everything worked out and now I am still employed with SharpVisions but instead of being in HR, I'm a Job Facilitator (yay!). That's still the same job that I described in previous posts, its just with the company I was already with.
  3. We went to TN and had a very relaxing Christmas. We caught up on sleep and had fun just laying around, it was so great to see John's family and be able to spend Christmas with them!
  4. We made it back to PA last night (at approximately 8:45) and we promptly brought all of our luggage in, then I began to prepare for my first day in my new job (no, we don't stop...just call us the Energizer Bunnies).
  5. My first day in my new position was wonderful! This is definitely going to be different from what I was doing, which will be awesome and scary (because I have to learn everything) at the same time.
  6. My family is coming to PA on Thursday! We'll get to celebrate our Christmas with them and New Years, wahoo! Please pray that they have a safe trip (you know they're from NC and ain't used to driving in that there snow :)
  7. Seriously, the snow was really coming down yesterday in WV, thank goodness John is good at driving in scary weather because I bout near had a heart attack in the passenger's seat.
  8. It was also great to see some of our sweet friends while we were in TN, love ya'll!
  9. Yes, I saw New Moon for the 2nd time in the theaters...what? I had to take Kathy and Heather, hello, they are Twi-nerds too! Plus we almost got in a fight with the loud people behind us (well....kinda....).
  10. I read a hilarious book my Mom let me borrow, Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster...seriously, ladies if you've ever tried to lose weight (who hasn't?) and can look past a little bit of bad language this is the book for you! I seriously laughed out loud (and promptly felt like an idiot) but still so. stinkin. hilarious! You must pick it up :)
  11. This is a shout out to all of my family and friends in NC that I didn't get to see over Christmas...I miss ya'll so much and love you dearly!! We will meet again soon :)
Happy early New Year ya'll!


(photo courtesy of google search)

Saturday, December 12, 2009

christmas party!

Today I will bustling around my house preparing for my first ever Christmas party! Yay! I've been preparing all week and sweet Anna has already come over twice this week to help (wow, she really is a good friend). Ok, I'll report back later and tell ya'll how it went :)

Sunday, December 6, 2009

happy birthday Emmy!

(photo courtesy of Em's facebook and yes, I am wearing a babushka)

I would like to wish my dear cousin Emily a very HAPPY BIRTHDAY! I love ya so much and I'm so thankful that we're cuzzies :)

5 things I really like about her:
  1. She tells people how it is (gotta love that honesty)
  2. She is a fellow veg head
  3. She is one of the craftiest, most creative people I know
  4. She does an awesome slow motion fist pump
  5. She has a huge heart and she's extremely compassionate
Loves ya Emmy!!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

peachy keen

Hey ya'll guess what? My cousin, EMILY is PREGNANT!!!! Yay!!!!!!!!! I am so freaking thrilled for her!!! She just passed her first trimester and has nicknamed the babe, Peachy (which I love, duh). I'm so happy for her and Tommy, they will be wonderful parents! Please look at her presh baby bump pics. Heck, I'll just post one so ya'll can see it right here. Em, as if you didn't already know I CANNOT WAIT to meet Peachy!! Ya'll are in my prayers everyday :) Loves!


ice skate much?

Last night Carnegie Mellon's Graduate Student Association (GSA) threw a happy hour/pizza party/ice skating event and of course J and I went. Anna (who's been skating since she was 5) and Matt were there also and of course she has been hounding me this whole week about how I had to ice skate. Well, I honestly thought about not going and staying in my warm home (yes it was in the low 30s last night!). For those who know me well, you know that I don't enjoy doing things that I don't enjoy (hmm go figure). Aka, basically I hate doing anything active/somewhat risky that I'm not prepared for, what, I can be a brat sometimes. Anywho, I was coaxed onto the skate rink (begrudgingly...and I'm pretty sure Anna was a little scared, John knew better and just ignored me) and sweet Anna was arm in arm with me all the way around the rink...my other arm was hanging onto the wall for dear life. She is so patient, she dealt with every squeal and scream for my dear life. I think I ended up making it around the rink about 4-5 times (I lost count). Much thanks to Anna for being a sweet friend and a good teacher, thanks for putting up with me because I know I looked like a hot mess out on the ice. And yes, I would do it again :)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

its the most wonderful time of the year!

Christmas-y things that I've done so far:
  1. Bought Christmas gifts
  2. Bought decorations
  3. Bought wrapping paper and cards
  4. Put up the Christmas tree
  5. Replaced candles and air fresheners with Christmas smells
  6. Put a Christmas dog collar on Dixie
  7. Wearing Christmas pajamas (well technically I do that all year)
  8. Started listening to Christmas music
  9. Decorated the house with Christmas decor
  10. Planned a Christmas party and sent the invitations (evites...nothing fancy
  11. Remembered how much of a sucker I am for anything that is Christmas related when shopping...I seriously have to restrain myself sometimes
  12. Put a Christmas background on my blog

sanksgiving

Well we had a wonderful Thanksgiving here in PA. My family came to visit and we pretty much spent Thanksgiving day talking, cooking, hanging out, eating and then playing card games, it was awesome! Then of course we went out shopping on Friday (who can resist a great Black Friday shopping trip?!) and Saturday...that was fun and exhausting in itself! Saturday night we went to see Steel City Christmas and then came home to decorate our home for Christmas. Sadly they had to go home on Sunday morning. Thanks so much for coming up fam, we had a wonderful time with ya'll!! Love you so much!

Thursday, November 19, 2009

happy birthday J!

(one of my fave pics ever of him...courtesy of his facebook)

This is a shout out to my incredible husband who turns 25 today!! What an old man (haha). He is so wonderful and hands down the love of my life. Happy Birthday John, love you!!!!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

glee


Well, now I have a new show that I'm obsessed with (big surprise there). I went to Anna's apartment Friday night and we had pizza, beer and ice cream and we had a Glee marathon (a new show on Fox) and let me tell you, its awesome!! Seriously, so hilarious, I absolutely loved it! Its basically based on a Glee Club (go figure) in high school and all of the happenings that go on around that--there's high school drama, witty dialogue and great music (and yes the actors and actresses are all really singing!). I highly recommend it!!! The next two links are some of my fave scenes in the whole series (make this mental picture, I was literally squealing and clapping on Anna's futon in my Snuggie) haha.

Singles Ladies--Kurt

Single Ladies--Football team

dog park

It has been beautiful here this past week (sorry for the folks in NC, I know its been crappy...don't worry my time is coming). I took a half day on Friday and Dixie and I met Anna at Frick Park. In Frick they have a dog park where little pups can roam free and make friends. I LOVE IT!!! Oh by the way, Dixie likes it too. Its great because she can run free, play with little pup pals and by the time we get home, she's exhausted. See, its a win-win-win situation (The Office viewers, please recognize that reference). Its very close to our house, I'm not sure why we haven't gone more often but believe you-me, if the weather stays nice (ha, fat chance) we'll be visiting a lot more!

new snack/meal

Over the last week I have created a new snack/meal that I love! Its quite simple, I take the little tray from the toaster oven, line it with foil...layer some tortilla chips, salsa, black beans, corn and onions...toast for around 8-10 minutes and voila! You have some delicious, healthy nachos! Mmmm I may have had it 4 times this week...honestly, I lost count (what, I was busy and didn't have a lot of time to make a meal...plus I crave Mexican food like 24/7).

snuggie


Apparently people have really strong views on the most incredible invention ever, Snuggie. Well its not really the most incredible invention but it is pretty freakin awesome! My cuz, ABby got one for her birthday and I've been wanting one for quite awhile now so that pretty much pushed me to go buy my own and I LOVE IT! So for all you nay sayers out there, hush. And for all of ya'll that like to be warm and yet functional, go on and get one! (Bed Bath and Beyond, $14.99 plus make sure you use that 20% off coupon) Holla!

Monday, November 9, 2009

oh happy day!

Well, all of your prayers and thoughts paid off...I GOT THE JOB!!! Holla!! I'm sooooo happy!!! If I weren't in my office when I found out I would've screamed! I will officially work for Mercy Behavioral Health as a Job Coach. That means that I will have a caseload of around 12-15 mentally retarded adults. I will help them to assess their skills, create a resume with them, apply for jobs, go to interviews and train for jobs. I seriously cannot wait! Everyday will be something different...which is very different from the current job that I have. I will probably start somewhere are the middle of December. I'll be driving a lot more so any little prayers throughout the winter weather would be much appreciated :) Thanks again for all of the prayers, love and support! Love ya'll!!

happy (late) anniversary Seabolts!

Yesterday was my wonderful cuzzie, Emily's wedding anniversary! I simply adore her and Tommy, they are perfect for each other! I love ya'll so much!!!


(photo courtesy of indigo photography and emily's facebook :)

Friday, November 6, 2009

new icons

I wouldn't be the fashionista that I am if I couldn't channel other females' styles before me. Here are a few of my fab iconic women lately:


my girl Reba



old school Dolly...I mean how gorgeous is she??



June Carter...what a doll
(all photos courtesy of google search)

Can you tell that I'm diggin the country western/big hair look lately? Ok good.

nobody puts baby in a corner

I like to think of myself as a naturally good dancer. I took ballet/tap/pointe lessons for around 10 years or so, so maybe it was that experience or maybe it was just because I was born with them boogie genes (I'm gettin a little country these days...I think its all the Tay Swift and Carrie Underwood). Nonetheless, I have decided on two dancing goals. I would like to learn how to two step (the country version) and how to do the Irish stepdance (hello, I'm embracing my heritage ya'll even if it is through marriage that I'm Irish...I say tomato you say tomAto.). I don't know when or where this will happen, if I'll learn with or without my husband or if I'll actually pay for lessons or learn on youtube. But I'm learning them both, so mark my word!





(photos courtesy of google)

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

here and there

I like to list things, sometimes it makes it easier to write:

1. Anna and I have come up with a workout plan, thank goodness! And she's a pretty tough cookie so hopefully she will hold me accountable even when I'm difficult (and we all know that's very rare...insert roll of eyes here...)
2. Apparently I had a good interview on Monday because they called me back for a second interview on Friday, plllllease throw some prayers up that it goes well, this job would be awesome!
3. My cousin ABby had a vampire themed birthday party yesterday and I'm really jealous that I wasn't there (do I sound like a 5 year old? ok good, that's what I was going for)
4. It's cold here (surprise) it was like 45 degrees today and my friend said he thought it would snow tonight (doubtful), but we'll see.
5. Today I remembered the one thing that I like about cold weather is the snow.
6. I got my November Southern Living in the mail today and literally wanted to eat the front page, it was a yummmmmy looking picture of pumpkin pie.
7. John is still crazy busy with school (surprise)...but it'll be over soon (thank you Lord).
8. We're going to a baby dedication for my friend's newborn son on Sunday, does anyone have ideas on what's a good gift for that?
9. I literally filed all 8 hours of my workday today (yikes!).
10. I have decided that we're going to have a Christmas partay, wahoo!! (more details on that later)
11. Lately, I have next to no motivation to do wifely house duties (oops).
12. Still no heat...(insert sarcastic tone here) our love will warm this home...geez we're cynical...

birthday shout out to my cousins

I wanted to give a (belated) birthday shout out to ABby and Will! Happy Birthday! I would like to list some things that I admire about ABby and some things that I learned from Will's life:

ABby:
1. Her style--she is a true fashionista
2. Her dancing skills--she can put anyone I know to shame on the dance floor
3. Her patience, she waited like 10 years to be married to Jared :)
4. Her sweet demeanor, she is just so...sweet, I really can't think of another way to put it
5. Her ability to make me laugh with almost anything she says

Will:
1. To love others without limits
2. Live everyday like its your last
3. To have a big, open heart, because after all, that's what life is all about--loving others (see #1)
4. Appreciate the loved ones that surround you and make sure you show it
5. Eat as much as you want (we all know the boy could eat :)

ABby I enjoy every time that I'm around you, you make me so, so, so happy and Will, we all miss you so much but I know you're having a big ol' party up there in heaven!


(pic courtesy of Ab's facebook, sanks girl!)

Friday, October 30, 2009

doubleJK update

Here are a few updates from our busy home:

1. Yes, we are still alive.
2. John is busy, busy, busy with school...we're hoping that it will slow down and he can sleep again (no seriously) sometime around mid-November (prayers for his sanity...and mine...please)
3. I have a job interview on Monday...I would love some prayers for this since I have decided that HR is not my career path of choice, and yes, for all of you worriers out there, my current employer knows that I'm job searching.
4. Volunteering at WCN is amazing! I've already met some incredible women of God and I'm building great friendships with them. More importantly I'm going through the training process (it'll be over in 2 weeks) so that I will be able to counsel women in need, yahoo!
5. We went to a FABULOUS wedding this past weekend in the FABULOUS city of Nashville, TN!! Definitely one of my favorite weddings of all time (more on that later) and one of my fave cities of all time!
6. Still no heat in the house. Luckily it was almost 70 degrees today (thank you Lord) so we don't have frostbite yet.
7. We woke up to 7 mini piles of poop on our living/dining room floor this morning. And by "we" I mean John...Dixie started barking early this morning and I asked him to check it out...well he stepped in a mini pile of poop (yikes!) and found 6 (or even more) little piles. It was a great way to start off a day (insert sarcasm here). Poor little Dixie (and John). We assume that the poop parade was due to her eating some kind of ham bone last night (dog chew toy...not literally a bone from a ham...I think?).
8. I went to see Couples Retreat last night with my best movie bud (Anna Banana) and it was great! I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars, soooo hilarious!
9. I am slowly but surely making my way through the Twilight saga, I'm about 130ish pages into Breaking Dawn (the last in the series). Anna Banana and I shamelessly bought our New Moon tickets last night (it premieres November 20, Mom you should be so proud that I'm planning ahead!)

That's it for now folks, more later, I swear :)

Thursday, October 15, 2009

have i told ya'll that i love my sister?

Well I do! Today J and I arrived at home after a loooooong coooold day and there was a sweet little package waiting for us! This is what the next 3 minutes looked like: J was the responsible adult and took the overly excited dog out to pee and I skipped over to our cutlery block, picked a knife that looked good and carefully (stabbed/pricked my finger twice in the process) opened the package. I ripped through it like a 4 year old at Christmas! It was filled with a Christmas ornament for each of us, candy, 2 homemade CDs, weird family paraphanolia and a shirt that my mom bought for Katie (while she was in the burgh) with a receipt (still not sure if I'm supposed to return it or keep it...it didn't fit her). Well let me tell you, after a pretty crappy week this pretty much brightened up my life! Right now I'm listening to one of the CDs that she made me and I'm loving life! Thank you so much Katie, little things like this remind me why we're sisters/best friends/soulmates/perfect pals for each other!!


(pictures circa Thanksgiving 2006)

this old house 101

Last time I checked it was 41 degrees outside. I know you're thinking oh that's not bad, well....our furnace is broken. Broken furnace=no heat. Sweet. Oh the perks of owning a senior citizen house. But no worries, hubby has resolved the problem (thank God because I wouldn't know where to start) and it won't cost us our first born. Just wanted to update everyone. (I'm wearing tights, sweatpants, long sleeve tee, sweatshirt, socks and bedroom boots)

Loves and warm wishes :)

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

hearty potato soup



This stuff is yummmmmy (and super healthy...207 calories and 0.3g of fat per serving)!!

Ingredients

  • 6 potatoes, peeled and cut into 1/2-inch cubes (2 1/2 pounds)
  • 2 medium onions, diced
  • 2 carrots, thinly sliced
  • 2 celery ribs, thinly sliced
  • 2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans low-sodium fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 teaspoon dried basil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon pepper
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 1 1/2 cups fat-free half-and-half

Preparation

Combine first 8 ingredients in a 4 1/2-quart slow cooker.

Cook, covered, at HIGH 3 hours or until vegetables are tender.

Stir together flour and half-and-half; stir into soup. Cover and cook 30 minutes or until thoroughly heated. Serve in Italian Bread Bowls, and garnish, if desired.

*I cooked one batch of this as directed (for someone at work) and then I cooked one for myself for 8 hours on low then followed the rest...I liked the consistency of the second recipe better.

(photo and recipe courtesy of cookinglight.com)

chocolate chip pumpkin bread

Can ya dig it?

Ingredients

  • 2 cups sugar
  • 2 cups canned pumpkin
  • 1/2 cup canola oil
  • 1/2 cup fat-free vanilla pudding
  • 4 large egg whites
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 teaspoons ground cinnamon
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Combine first 5 ingredients in a large bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour, cinnamon, salt, and baking soda in a medium bowl, stirring well with a whisk. Add flour mixture to pumpkin mixture, stirring just until moist. Stir in chocolate chips.

Spoon batter into 2 (8 x 4-inch) loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in the center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pans on a wire rack, and remove from pans. Cool completely on wire rack.

(recipe courtesy of cookinglight.com)

Sunday, October 11, 2009

cookin up a storm

Today I've made:
  • grits
  • garlic cheddar biscuits
  • homemade (healthy) potato soup x2
  • pound cake
  • meatball sandwich (for John)
  • chocolate chip pumpkin bread x2
  • guacamole
  • microwave popcorn (my dinner)
I just had to let ya'll know how busy I've been. By the way, these are all yummy dishes so if you want any of the recipes just holla and I'll post them.

(chocolate chip pumpkin bread, recipe and photo courtesy of cookinglight.com)

ohhh niagara!

Last weekend Mom, Cis, Abby and Emily came up to visit me! They came up Thursday night, we ate dinner, chatted and went off to bed. When I rose to go to work they got up to go explore Pittsburgh (i.e. went shopping and ate). Then John and I took them to our fave Irish pub (The Claddagh) Friday night for a yummy dinner. We woke up early on Saturday and set out to go to Niagara Falls! None of us had ever been there so it was quite an experience! We arrived at Niagara, took some pics, went to a lovely dinner (some 700 ft. in the air....yes my stomach was a little queasy on the way up to the dining room), took more nighttime pics, went to a bar/restaurant for a drink, Starbucks for another type of drink and then back to the hotel room. What a fun filled day! You can check out pictures from the trip here on my cousin Emmy's blog...yes I am too lazy to copy and paste pics, sorry you knew what you were getting into. We headed back to the burgh on Sunday, however we stopped at a wonderful little winery that serves chocolate wine...you read that correctly, chocolate wine (!) and it is soooo gooood then we stopped at some outlets (around an hour away from my house) that I didn't know existed...now I have a new place to shop wahoo! All in all it was a fab trip, thanks so much ladies for making the hike up to see me, I love ya'll!!!

Sunday, September 27, 2009

what you're lookin for...

Please take a look at the right hand side of the screen, thank you. I have started backtracking and labeling all of my posts so that if you ever have a "oh yeah, what was that yummy recipe that Jessi made?" moment you can go on the right hand side of my blog and find it much more easily. This means that I want you to use my recipes--no need to feel pressure, except kinda. I've only been able to backtrack to March (come on people I do have a life) but I promise soon enough I will have them all labeled. Enjoy!! :)

calling all pumpkin lovers...


The air is a little crisper and cooler here which of course threw me into a fall frenzy. This resulted in me making my first wreath (with precious little yellow and orange flowers), decorating the house with fall decor and of course making something with pumpkin in it...this time it was pumpkin muffins. This may come as a surprise to ya'll but I get intimidated by long ingredient lists and usually skip over the recipe, however this recipe was super simple...plllease try it, it is light, yummy and a perfect fall treat. Enjoy!

Ingredients

  • 2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup canned pumpkin
  • 3/4 cup fat-free sour cream
  • 1/3 cup fat-free milk
  • 1/4 cup vegetable oil
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 large egg white
  • Cooking spray
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons brown sugar

Preparation

Preheat oven to 375°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups; level with a knife. Combine flour and next 5 ingredients (flour through salt) in a medium bowl, stirring with a whisk. Make a well in center of mixture.

Combine pumpkin and next 6 ingredients (pumpkin through egg white); add to flour mixture, stirring just until moist. Spoon the batter into 18 muffin cups coated with cooking spray.

Combine 1 tablespoon granulated sugar and brown sugar; sprinkle over muffins.

Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until muffins spring back when touched lightly in center. Remove muffins from pans immediately; cool on a wire rack.

Fat: 3.5g
Calories: 164

(recipe and photo courtesy of cookinglight.com)

shrimp & grits casserole


This is what we had for dinner tonight and it was YUMMY!!!

Ingredients

  • 2 cups 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 3/4 cup fat-free, less-sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup uncooked quick-cooking grits
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) shredded Parmesan cheese
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 (3-ounce) package 1/3-less-fat cream cheese
  • 3 tablespoons chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 tablespoon chopped fresh chives
  • 1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
  • 2 large egg whites
  • 1 pound peeled and deveined medium shrimp, coarsely chopped
  • Cooking spray
  • Hot pepper sauce (optional)

Preparation

1. Preheat oven to 375°.

2. Combine milk and broth in a medium heavy saucepan; bring to a boil. Gradually add grits and salt to pan, stirring constantly with a whisk. Cook 5 minutes or until thick, stirring constantly. Remove from heat. Stir in Parmesan, butter, and cream cheese. Stir in parsley and next 4 ingredients (through shrimp). Spoon mixture into an 11 x 7–inch baking dish coated with cooking spray. Bake at 375° for 25 minutes or until set. Serve with hot pepper sauce, if desired.

(recipe courtesy of cookinglight.com)

Thursday, September 24, 2009

movie time

So in the past week I've gone to the movie theaters twice (with Anna...we're movie buds). The movies that we saw were Julie & Julia and Love Happens. Here are the reviews:

Julie & Julia:
I love, love, LOVED this movie, it was so stinkin cute that I would like to own it! Basically Julie decides to take on Julia Child's famous cookbook: Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and make all of the recipes (I believe that there were over 500) in a year. Plus it also goes back and forth between Julie and Julia's lives (at the point in Julia's life when she was writing the cookbook). Its really, really cute and if you enjoy cooking (or eating) you should definitely see it!

Love Happens:
This is your basic cutesy love story...although there is a little sad element to it so don't be blindsighted when that comes about. I thought it was cute, definitely worth the $5 I paid to see it but I don't know if I would see it again. However, Jennifer Aniston was stunning as always and I left the theater with plenty of cute outfit ideas thanks to her fab wardrobe!


today in the burgh...

The first day of G-20

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

homework

Well, not quite but I am working from home for the next few days. Thanks to Pittsburgh hosting the G-20 Summit my office has been shut down for the rest of the week. Therefore I was given the option to work from home or take time off. Thanks G-20!


My (temporary) new office

Sunday, September 20, 2009

angora

This is where your Angora wool comes from...



John showed me this picture Friday and I just wanted to share it with ya'll, doesn't this sweet little animal/possible monster look pitiful? I feel sorry for how much wool it has on it, I mean you know that little rabbit has to be really hot under there. But on the other hand it is kinda funny lookin...

cauliflower, pasta and cheese gratin

Last night I was really in the mood for some baked pasta. After minutes of searching I found this yummy recipe:

Ingredients
  • 8 cups water
  • 6 cups cauliflower florets (about 1 1/2 pounds)
  • 3/4 teaspoon salt, divided
  • 8 ounces uncooked small seashell pasta
  • 1/4 cup all-purpose flour
  • 3 cups 1% low-fat milk
  • 2 teaspoons chopped fresh or 3/4 teaspoon dried thyme
  • 3 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 cup (4 ounces) shredded reduced-fat sharp cheddar cheese
  • 1/2 cup (2 ounces) grated fresh Parmesan cheese
  • 3/4 cup finely chopped green onions
  • 2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
  • 1/4 teaspoon black pepper
  • 2 (1-ounce) slices white bread
  • 2 teaspoons butter, melted

Preparation

Preheat oven to 400°.

Bring water to a boil in a large saucepan; add cauliflower and 1/2 teaspoon salt to boiling water, and cook 4 minutes or until tender. Remove cauliflower with a slotted spoon, reserving cooking liquid; set cauliflower aside. Bring cooking liquid to a rolling boil. Add pasta, and cook 7 minutes or until al dente; drain and set aside.

Lightly spoon flour into a dry measuring cup, and level with a knife. Combine flour and milk in a saucepan, stirring well with a whisk. Stir in thyme and garlic; cook over medium heat until thick (about 8 minutes), stirring constantly. Remove from heat; stir in 1/4 teaspoon salt, cheeses, onions, mustard, and pepper. Combine cauliflower, pasta, and cheese sauce in a large bowl. Spoon the cauliflower mixture into a 13 x 9-inch baking dish. Place bread in food processor; pulse 10 times or until coarse crumbs form to measure 1 cup. Combine breadcrumbs with butter; sprinkle evenly over cauliflower mixture. Bake at 400° for 20 minutes or until lightly browned.

pineapple upside-down cake


This is one of John's favorite desserts (he says that his Aunt Brenda's is the best) so I decided that I would make an attempt at creating one of my own. I chose a CookingLight recipe to keep the fat and calories to a minimum and let me just say that it was delicious!! Here's the recipe:

Ingredients
  • 1 (20-ounce) can pineapple slices in juice, drained
  • Cooking spray
  • 1/3 cup fat-free caramel topping
  • 9 maraschino cherries, drained
  • 5 tablespoons butter
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup low-fat buttermilk
  • 1 teaspoon baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Press 9 pineapple slices between paper towels until barely moist; set aside. Reserve the remaining pineapple for another use.

Coat a 9-inch square baking pan with cooking spray; drizzle caramel topping over bottom of pan. Arrange prepared pineapple slices in a single layer over caramel; place 1 cherry in the center of each slice.

Place the butter in a large microwave-safe bowl. Cover and microwave at high 1 minute or until the butter melts. Add sugar, stirring with a whisk. Add eggs, and stir well. Stir in low-fat buttermilk and next 4 ingredients (buttermilk through baking soda). Lightly spoon 1 1/4 cups flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Add flour, stirring just until blended (do not overstir). Pour the batter into prepared pan.

Bake at 350° for 30 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool for 1 minute in pan on a wire rack. Place a plate upside down on top of the cake, and invert onto plate. Cool completely. Cut cake into squares.

Fat: 7.9 grams
Calories: 264

honesty

Well I've been tagged by my sister-in-law, Heather, to state 10 honest things about myself...do I get the Honest Scrap award too Heather or was that just for you? I like to think of myself as an honest person, I've actually been complimented by a couple of friends that I am quite honest. I like to think it's "my thing" (for those of you who don't know, I am half jokingly searching for "my thing" or in mine and John's case, "our thing"...whenever I say something is "our thing" he rolls his eyes...man, does he love me!). Here we go:
  1. I LOVE celebrity gossip!
  2. I truly want to help make the world a better place...whether that's by being a recycling Nazi and/or by devoting my life to those in need...every little bit helps
  3. I have crazy, vivid dreams every night...I sometimes confuse them with my day to day life
  4. I have finally reached a point in my life where I can feel beautiful just the way I am
  5. I can eat a Chipotle burrito in less than 5 minutes...who I am kidding, less than 3 minutes, its kind of disgusting but I'm kind of proud
  6. I am a nosy person, I like to call it being well informed :)
  7. I would like to travel all by myself one day, truly travel, some place that I've never been. (Don't worry, John and I have already talked about this and he said that he would like to live in the wilderness by himself for a month....ok honey, you said wilderness I say Paris...)
  8. I want to achieve something incredible, absolutely amazing in my life and I have no idea what that may be
  9. I would like to own a pair of Manolo Blahniks just once in my life
  10. In this moment my soul is at peace, where I've been, where I am and where I'm going...its at peace.

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

for real kanye?


I'm sure that you've all heard about Kanye West's stupid little stunt the other night at the VMA's. Well for those of you who live under a rock (yes, I would be in this category if not for my sister and her texting updates)...my sweet, favorite country singer, Taylor Swift was accepting the Best Female Video award at the VMA's (her first VMA to be exact) and stupid Kanye jumped up on stage and said...and I quote: “I’ll let you finish, but Beyonce had one of the best videos ever.”

What a jerk. Poor Tay Sway. Well being the class act that she is, Beyonce later invited Tay up on the stage after she (Beyonce) won Best Video of the Year so that Tay could enjoy her moment.

Moral of the story: Beyonce and Taylor are awesome. Kanye is an idiot.

eggplant boats

When I went grocery shopping the other day I went on a fresh veggie binge, resulting in an eggplant that needed to be cooked before it went bad. And this is how the eggplant boat came to be:

Cut the eggplant in half, lengthwise and carve the insides out. Chop up a handful of the insides into hefty chunks. Chop up a half of a squash, half of a zucchini, part of an onion, some mushrooms and throw in some minced garlic (and add whatever spices you wish). Saute veggies for about 5ish minutes until they look good. Now dump veggies equally in the eggplant boats. If you have fresh mozzarella, cut off little chunks of it and stick in the eggplant boat. Cover with marinara sauce and sprinkle with Parmesan cheese. Bake at 350 for 15-20 minutes and viola! You have a yummy eggplant boat!! Note to eaters: don't eat the actual eggplant, just the yummy mixture inside. Oh and if you like meat, you can cook up some chicken or whatever you prefer and mix with veggies.

Creation by jkelly :)

PA friend no.3

Yes, I count my friends here, hey, I can count them on one hand so I guess that's ok. My first friend was Tayla, my second was Gorana and now I've met my third friend, Anna (I occasionally confuse John when I reference her considering we have a toddler niece named Anna...for instance "Anna texted me today!" followed by a "are you serious?" look with an eye roll...then I remind him that the Anna I hang out with is 24). Anna (the 24 yr. old) is from Wisconsin (please read that in a Wisconsin accent and yes, that's how she speaks...love it!). She is the girlfriend of one of John's friends/fellow graduate students, so we have plenty in common! Our sig. others are crazy electrical engineer smarty pants and we are obsessed with Twilight (bonus!), like shopping, eating, walking, talking...umm basically she covers all of the requirements to be a good friend of mine. She's great and I'm sure that ya'll will be hearing more about her in posts to come. Oh yeah, by the way, she said "ya'll" the other night (holla!)!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

things i'm lovin:

I figured since I was in a posting frenzy I might as well post my latest faves, come to think of it I'm like a binge blogger, haha. Here we go:

  1. Gaelic rock-call me a dork, call me a loser, it doesn't matter...this music is freakin awesome...check out this band (Gaelic Storm) that we heard yesterday, and I dare you to tell me that you don't enjoy their music
  2. Sweet Potatoes made like baked potatoes with some butter (just a tad) and some brown sugar...mmm mmmm
  3. Corn bread, I finally tried my Momma's recipe and man, do I love it (so does John, which is a plus)!
  4. New accessories...when I went shopping with Mom and Katie I bought some new earrings, head bands (with flowers attached) and cute bobby pins with flowers attached and they are so fun to pair with an outfit
  5. Babies, no none of my own, but I volunteered yesterday for a function for an unplanned pregnancy center and I plan to keep volunteering there, and those babies are freaking adorable!!
  6. Mushroom risotto--this is an incredible recipe that my aunt Cissy made at the beach and it is hands down one of the best dishes I've ever eaten and re-created...I've made it 3 times since we were at the beach...find the recipe here
  7. Target, I've gone ummm only 3 times in the last week (hey, it was all stuff that we needed!) and I still looooove that store!

this is my obsession...

I have now finished New Moon and Eclipse (the next two books in the Twilight series) and I am officially (well I have been for awhile) OBSESSED!!! I stinkin love these books, they are so captivating and well written! I am so obsessed that I may or may not occasionally peek in the TeenBeat-type magazines to see what's the "latest" with the Twilight stars...don't judge me. Anywho, I'm anxiously awaiting the release of New Moon in the theaters...November 20th (I already have two separate movie dates set up to see it) and I can barely wait to begin reading Breaking Dawn (the last in the series...sniff sniff). So if you haven't yet begun the Twilight series, throw your judgements aside and begin...NOW!


(photo courtesy of Google search, duh)

irish fest 09

The Pittsburgh Irish Festival was this weekend and of course we had to go, our last name is Kelly after all! It was so fun! We loved the Gaelic music and delicious food, however I'm not a big fan of Murphy's beer (just a side note there). I felt so festive and like I was a part of a strong heritage (if only by marriage, but hey, who's being specific?). There was green, plaid, pale skin and red hair everywhere! While browsing the Irish crafts I found a craftsman (who happened to be from Deep Gap, NC...holla!) who makes wooden signs with Irish last names on them...hello, perfect! I quickly found "Kelly" and pulled it out of the bin, I then took John back later and we purchased it! I will put a pic up soon (I feel like I say that about everything) but it is so...Irish. The word "Kelly" is carved in a Gaelic-Irish type script on a piece of wood that is about two feet long, it has has a Celtic knot carved at both ends of the board. We plan to hang it somewhere in the house, location soon to be determined. All in all it was a great time and we're so glad that we went...a little sad that there were no leprechauns or pots of gold but there were plenty of kilts :)


(photo courtesy of Google search)

fall


That's right, it's that time of the year, wahoo! I love the fall of the year, there's nothing else quite like the crisp, cool air and the beautiful multi-colored leaves. I also love all of the smells and foods that come with fall! I have already lit my multiple pumpkin spice candles and baked a pumpkin pie Friday night, yummy!! Now we can start having heartier meals that just warm your body all over. Yay for fall!

(photo courtesy of Google search)

fam time

I just want to give a short, sweet report of last weekend...it was awesome! I am so thankful that my family was able to visit us on such short notice, we had such a great time together! We basically just hung out around the house, we were able to chat and spend some good quality time together. Dixie was thrilled to have four new people playing with her...I think they wore her out though, thank goodness. The guys went to a Pirates game on Saturday night and the gals did some shopping and then we cooked a yummy meal mmm mmm. Sunday we basically just hung around the house, shopped a little more and grilled out. Monday my friend Taylor and her boyfriend came over so that everyone could meet, what a great time! Thank ya'll so much for coming up, it was so refreshing to see ya'll and spend time with you. I love you guys!!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

etsy

So after seeing Etsy posted on a few blogs and hearing it in conversations I decided to finally check it out. And man am I in love with a new website! Etsy is a website where you buy and sell homemade gifts. They have everything from paintings, wine glasses, earrings...you name it, they've got it. I seriously recommend you check this site out. And oh by the way, those of you who want gift ideas for me in the upcoming months, umm yeah...just go look at the site and I'm sure that you'll find something right up my alley (but hey I'm always open to giving my suggestions!). Enjoy!

Monday, August 31, 2009

Callie's gonna be a Momma!

That's right! My dear friend Callie is pregnant...with twins!!! What a (double) blessing!! I am so very, very happy for her and her sweet husband, James! They will make incredible parents. They are both so patient and kind...and I've heard that those are really good qualities to have as a parent. I seriously couldn't be more thrilled for them! I'll be stalking her blog for many baby bump pics, she is going to be the cutest pregnant lady! Callie and James, congratulations! We love you dearly!!


An old pic of them when they were dating (can't wait for Halloween pics next year!)

Saturday, August 29, 2009

three little birds

My cousin Emily is one of the most crafty people I know, she is truly blessed with a talent to create beautiful things. I have a lovely pillow that she stitched for us as a wedding gift and a sweet picture that she stitched for us as a shower gift and I adore them both. Which is great for me and for you (my blog readers) because she has now opened her own side business, Three Little Birds (yes, it was inspired by the Bob Marley song, love it!) which is going to display an array of crafty things that she can create. I'm seriously amazed by her talent, just go take a look at her site and I think you may find something that you want :) Congrats Em, I'm proud of you! Loves :)

the life of a dog

Oh I'm just sitting here watching my sweet dog lay on the hardwood floor near the AC and thinking what a stinkin good life she has. I often think that I would love to be a dog (that may sound weird but hear me out...). I mean, Dixie gets to stay home all day and roam the downstairs at her leisure. She gets to play with all these great toys that she has (and might I add I think she takes them for granted). She gets fed twice a day with yummy food (for a dog). She gets to run around outside and use the potty wherever she wishes (outside of course). And then whenever she feels like she needs attention she can always bug the crap out of us until she gets what she wants. She gets to cuddle (if she stays still long enough), gets rubbed and belly scratches. And she gets to nap whenever she pleases without judgement...hey, we encourage her napping. Man, what a life. I'm a little jealous of her...


yummy yummy


Yesterday was definitely the day of yummy food for me. I began the day with my Marbled Chocolate Banana Bread for breakfast then we ordered lunch from Kassab's (a Lebanese restaurant that is quickly becoming one of my fave places). I have had the Falafel platter from Kassab's which is delish but yesterday I thought I would try the Vegetarian Moussaka and let me tell you it far exceeded my expectations! It was so freaking yummy I almost passed out at my desk! For those who don't know (I didn't before yesterday) moussaka is basically a Mediterranean lasagna dish. It was layered with eggplant, peas, corn, cous cous, potatoes, cheese and other various veggies that were stuffed in there. I ate that thing so quick and then quickly regretted eating the entire thing (my tummy was a little more than stuffed). I'm going to try my own recipe but if you are ever at a restaurant that serves this you MUST try it, I promise you will not be disappointed! Oh yeah, and I also ordered a piece of baklava from Kassab's as a mid afternoon snack.

Then for dinner I made a pizza...this is what it looked like: the entire pizza had pizza sauce, mozzarella, ricotta, fresh basil and mushrooms...1/3 of the pizza had halved cherry tomatoes and the other 2/3 had lots of pepperoni. It was sooooo good! Mmmm, I forgot how much I love fresh tomatoes (we've been blessed with neighbors and co-workers who have grown some this year and want to share). I love fresh veggies and I love homemade pizza! What a yummy day :)

Surprise!

Haha, no, there are no babies on the way here (don't act like you didn't think that). However, I did have a wonderful surprise today that I was not expecting (well, isn't that what surprises are?)...I was talking to Mom this morning and we were just chatting away while in the background my Dad suggested that they come up next weekend...all I heard was chatter in the background and then Mom's silence. She then told me that he suggested that they come up (in a very excited voice!)!! So of course I asked John if it was ok (how could it not be) and he thought it was a good idea too. So Mom, Dad, and Katie are coming up to the burgh to spend Labor Day with us WAHOOOOOOOOOO!! I'm so freakin excited! Not only do they get to see the new improvements to our house (well sooner than I thought they would see them) but I get to spend a looong weekend with them!! Yay! And its already in the plans for John and Dad to go to a Pirates game Saturday night (that means fun girl time!). Man, I can't wait! I love ya'll and oh yeah...I can't wait!!!!



Sunday, August 23, 2009

M.I.A.

Sorry I've been M.I.A. for awhile. Guess what we've been doing? You guessed it...more home repairs! It seems like we've become addicted to renovating this 80 something house. We finished the bathroom last Saturday (I still need to do some minor touch ups on the paint) and on Sunday I decided I might as well knock out the kitchen while we were in "fixer up" mode. So I put 1.5 coats on and decided the shade of yellow that I picked out was so bright that it was an eye sore--literally, my eyes hurt after I looked at it too long. Monday night I went to Lowe's and picked out a more golden hue of yellow and now 3 coats later I'm finally done! So that's 4.5 coats total on our kitchen walls almost as much as our bedroom (5). Now I need to finish the trim (tomorrow night's job if I'm not too pooped from work) and voila I will be done! Yes, I have officially painted EVERY room in our house except the basement. And no, the basement will not be painted during our duration in Pittsburgh, I am sick of painting. However, we have a lovely home now in all of the colors that we want and it is very rewarding to sit and look around at all that we've done. Later this week I promise that I will post pics of the updates. Also, I will post pics from the beach (a month ago, wow!). My computer (John's old computer) pooped out on me and for the time being I'm using the laptop I had in college (which acts like a grouchy 85 year old woman...so slow and temperamental--sorry 85 year old ladies) but it does not agree with our camera and USB hook up so I'll have to wait a few days for that to be fixed (cough cough...John...). Anywho, I just wanted everyone to know that we're doing ok (I know you were all oh so worried), we're just busy with home stuff...soon to be done (praise the Lord!). See ya'll soon!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

things i'm lovin right now:

  1. Cracker Barrel-well, I've always loved this wonderful place, however I just found one that's not too far from us and of course I made John go today and it was sooooo delicious!
  2. Green onions-they smell so good and add so much flavor to dishes
  3. The song Do You Realize? its originally by The Flaming Lips but I prefer this version
  4. Tazo Awake tea, with a little milk and sugar
  5. The Twilight series (duh), I'm currently reading New Moon (the 2nd book in the series)
  6. Ikea-I made my first trip here this past week and please know that this is an understatement: I freakin LOOOOOOOOOOVE this place!!! Talk about incredible furniture and appliances for niiiice prices!
  7. Magazine subscriptions-within the last week or so I've been receiving my latest month's worth of magazines (I receive Southern Living, Cooking Light and Marie Claire) and I set them aside and flipped through them all this morning, so relaxing and fun.
  8. Coke Zero-when John's parents were here over July 4th, Gary had an 8-pack of Coke Zero bottles, I tried one and it was sooo good, since then I've bought two 8-packs (so much for trying to lay off of the sodas...oops). I honestly think they taste better than Diet Coke.

the boondock saints

Last night, hubs and I decided that we were way too tired/lazy to do anything except eat a make-shift meal at home and watch a movie. The meal(s), I will say were pretty darn good for make-shift...I took a fresh tomato and cut it in slices then cut up some fresh basil and put it on top of the tomato slices and then topped it with mozzarella cheese. I drizzled olive oil and garlic powder over top...guess whose meal that was...uh huh, not John's that's for sure. His meal was homemade nachos complete with taco meat, black beans, green onions, corn and cheese plus baked so they were deliciously (I'm guessing here) crispy. Anywho, now that the food description is out of the way (hey, what can I say? I'm a foodie for Pete's sake)...the movie we chose to watch was The Boondock Saints which I really, really enjoyed. It's set in Boston and its about two Irish brothers (love their accent!) who become vigilantes. I recommend it to anyone who doesn't mind actors swearing a lot (after awhile you start to ignore it) and quite a bit of killing...its not too gruesome though. Even though I may have just made you stray from the movie, it actually is really good. I highly recommend it...4 out of 5 stars.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

happy anniversary Kelly's!

Today is John's parents' (Gary and Kathy), anniversary! I hope ya'll had a wonderful day celebrating all these years of marriage!

happy birthday daddy!


Today is my dad's 50th birthday! 50 years young, right Dad? My dad is an incredible man and I'm so blessed to have him as my father. He has a great amount of patience and a wonderful sense of humor (I like to think that I inherited both of those). We are both easy going, we love popcorn, Cheez-Its, naps, laughing and movies. Dad, I love you a lot and I hope that you had a wonderful birthday!

I thought I would commemorate this day with pictures from one of my favorite moments with my daddy!







happy late anniversary Ginn's!


This is a big happy anniversary shout out to my sweet cuzzie ABby and her hubby Jared! I cannot believe that (yesterday) they were married for 2 years! Congratulations, I love you both!!



(Picture cred: I took them off of Abby's facebook--the first is a lovely picture of the newly married couple and the second pic is one of my favorite pictures from their big day!)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

twilight con't...


After I posted yesterday I completed the 70 pages left to read in Twilight. I then rented the movie from Redbox. Then I sat down (with many interruptions...thank you, Dixie) and watched the awesome movie! So when it was time to go to bed I read the first 50 pages of New Moon. I was warned that once you started reading the series you become obsessed and I'm here to completely validate that. If you don't want to read four 400-500 page books in two week's time, I suggest that you don't pick up Twilight. However, if you want a really great book(s) to read plllllllllllease pick it up so that I can have yet another person to join me in this obsession!

Saturday, August 1, 2009

twilight


Yes, I am obsessed with Twilight. I once judged the others that were obsessed but now I have become one of them. And let me tell you, the book is AWESOOOOME! My cuzzie Emily brought them to the beach last weekend to lend to me and once I picked it up there was no going back. The story just captures you and it's hard to put it down. I have about 70 pages to go in the first book but so far I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

PS-I know this will sound sort of weird but I kinda wish I was a vampire!

megan and kyle


Two sweet friends of ours, Megan and Kyle, were married last weekend! We met them through YoungLife in college and they are such great people! I'm very inspired by both of them because their faith is so real and they're very honest people. I had the pleasure of being in a Beth Moore study with Megan (and other awesome friends) during my last year at State, and it was so great to get to know her on such a deep level, she's an incredible woman with strong faith. Anyway, they're wonderful and we love them and now they're married! Wahoo! Congrats Megan and Kyle!

(the pic was taken off facebook)

Monday, July 20, 2009

ha-larious

Please check out this site:

awkward family photos


Now try to look at this site without laughing....yeah it's pretty much impossible. Enjoy! :)

Sunday, July 19, 2009

staples

Below are two recipes that I've made quite a lot (hence they've become staples in our house), I hope you enjoy them :)




Marbled-Chocolate Banana Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1/4 cup butter, softened
  • 1 1/2 cups mashed ripe banana (about 3 bananas)
  • 1/2 cup egg substitute
  • 1/3 cup plain low-fat yogurt
  • 1/2 cup semisweet chocolate chips
  • Cooking spray

Preparation

Preheat oven to 350°.

Lightly spoon flour into dry measuring cups, and level with a knife. Combine the flour, baking soda, and salt, stirring with a whisk.

Place sugar and butter in a large bowl; beat with a mixer at medium speed until well blended (about 1 minute). Add banana, egg substitute, and yogurt; beat until blended. Add flour mixture; beat at low speed just until moist.

Place chocolate chips in a medium microwave-safe bowl, and microwave at HIGH 1 minute or until almost melted, stirring until smooth. Cool slightly. Add 1 cup batter to chocolate, stirring until well combined. Spoon chocolate batter alternately with plain batter into an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2-inch loaf pan coated with cooking spray. Swirl batters together using a knife. Bake at 350° for 1 hour and 15 minutes or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool 10 minutes in pan on a wire rack; remove from pan. Cool completely on wire rack.

(Much thanks to cookinglight.com for the above recipe.)




Blackberry Crumb Bars

Ingredients
  • 6 tbsps. unsalted butter, melted, and 1/2 cup room temperature, plus more for pan
  • 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour plus more for pan
  • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 tsp. baking powder
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. pure vanilla extract
  • 2 large eggs
  • 2 containers (5 oz. each) blackberries
Preparation
  1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Butter an 8-inch square baking pan. Line bottom with parchment paper, leaving an overhang on two sides; butter and flour paper, tapping out excess.
  2. Make topping: In a medium bowl, whick together melted butter, brown sugar, and 1/4 tsp. salt; add 1 cup flour and mix with a fork until large moist crumbs form. Refrigerate topping until ready to use.
  3. In a medium bowl, whisk together remaining 3/4 cup of flour, baking powder, and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt; set aside. In a large bowl, using an electric mixer, beat room-temp. butter, confectioners' sugar, and vanilla until light and fluffy; add eggs, one at a time, beating well after each addition. Reduce speed to low; mix in flour mixture. Spread batter evenly in pan; sprinkle with blackberries, then chilled topping.
  4. Bake until golden and a toothpick inserted in center comes out with moist crumbs attached, 40-45 minutes. Cool completely in pan. Using paper overhang, lift cake onto a work surface; cut into 16 squares.
Much thanks to Martha Stewart for the above recipe.