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!


  • 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


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

shrimp & grits casserole

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


  • 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)


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

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


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


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:

  • 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


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:

  • 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


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


Well I've been tagged by my sister-in-law, Heather, to state 10 honest things about 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, 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) 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 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)


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 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


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, 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!