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Slow Cooker Sausage & Peppers

28 Jan

This past weekend I helped with the decorations and planning for my future sister-in-law’s bridal shower. I had a lot of fun doing the decorations, and I’m going to be crafting even more for the wedding in April. I will definitely share some of the projects at some point, though I’m making no promises on the timeline.

For the shower, we did a potluck, and everyone brought very delicious food. I’ll share a few recipes as I get them. This one’s short and simple, from my momma. She made a delicious sausage dish. It works equally well on a potluck table as it does for a main meal. When we walked in to set up the decorations, I could smell it cooking in her crockpot.

I was about to say “delicious and warm for a wintery night!” But I remember having simple dishes like this in the summertime, when we were off from school and too busy doing fun things to cook. Sausage and fruit salad and chips were a great summer meal when I was growing up. So I guess… it’s good all year round!

Slow Cooker Sausage & Peppers

Sausage and Peppers
1 pound sweet Italian sausage links
1 large onion, sliced
2 red bell peppers, sliced
1 small can diced tomatoes
Cut sausage into bite size pieces and brown in a skillet. Combine everything in a slow cooker and cook on low for 4-6 hours or high for 2-3 hours.

 
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Resolutions, Week 2

22 Jan

Resolutions in MotionWhew! I’m already late on this post, and now it’s late at night, so here’s a short and quick check-in on my resolutions:

Goal 1: Cook at home most nights of the week: SUCCESS?

Oh geez, I really don’t remember. These resolutions really are just showing me that my memory is terrible. I think I did well on this one? I don’t really remember eating out much, and that’s the biggest point of this goal, so I guess… success.

A little history on this one: My cooking at home goal was going well at one point in my life, but then things got busy, and well, you know. But one thing that will definitely help me get back on track — I try to spend Sunday afternoons planning meals, shopping for groceries, and cooking meals to be packaged and frozen for weeknight dinners.

Goal 2: Have a max of 4 non-water drinks per week: SUCCESS?

Again, poor memory here. But if I didn’t succeed in this one, I think I was pretty close. I drank a lot of water.

Goal 3: Practice yoga once a week and take a walk at least once a week: MIXED RESULTS

Like last week, I didn’t make it to yoga, but I walked a ton. The weather has been going up and down, so I made it outside quite a couple times on those high points. I walked a little over 6 miles total last week. Not bad. But I really do need to go back to yoga.

Woo hoo! On to week 3. Things have been crazy at work for both me and the BF — that always makes it a little harder to keep my resolutions. We’ll see how it goes!

Resolutions, Week 1

15 Jan

Alright, as part of Resolutions in Motion, I’m supposed to check in and let you know how I’m doing. I guess that’s what they call “accountability.” Pshaw. Resolutions in Motion

In some ways I had a good week, in some ways not so much. I’m also realizing yet again that I have a terrible memory. One reason I had trouble is because I couldn’t remember what I’d done throughout the week, so I had no idea if I was at my limit or not. Note to self: if you’re not sure, just play it safe.

Here’s how my resolutions went this week…

Goal 1: Cook at home most nights of the week: SUCCESS

I didn’t necessarily cook, but I think I worded this goal wrong. The point is less about cooking at home and more about NOT eating out. So on that measure, I’ll mark this one a success. We went out with friends for dinner on Tuesday night, and I went out with coworkers for dinner Friday night. But I’m pretty sure I didn’t eat out the rest of the week. I cooked, had leftovers, or had something small like canned soup most of the nights this week.

Goal 2: Have a max of 4 non-water drinks per week: FAIL

I’m pretty sure I didn’t manage this one, but this is what I mean by not being able to keep track. I can’t remember exactly, but I think I hit 5 or 6. I’m gonna do better this week!

Oh, and by the way, I am NOT counting unsweet herbal tea against me. There’s no sugar or calories, and I think it’s pretty tantamount to adding lemon to your tea. Plus, a lot of what I drink is helpful — both peppermint and ginger tea can settle the stomach and help digestion. (FYI, pregnant ladies — could be super helpful.) I tend to drink those a lot in the afternoons.

Goal 3: Practice yoga once a week and take a walk at least once a week: MIXED RESULTSGreenway in Chapel Hill

This one is mixed results, but it was intentional. We’ve had remarkably beautiful weather this week, so I took multiple walks. That’s the great thing about living in North Carolina — though it’s typically probably in the 50s this time of year, it’s just as likely to swing to 70 degrees as it is to 30. With temperatures in the low 70s, a few different times I was getting ready for yoga and then decided to go outside instead. So though I didn’t really meet my goal, I’m considering this one fairly successful — I walked over 13 miles in the last week!

I hope all y’all’s resolutions are going well! (You like that? “All y’all’s.” One of the few indicators that I actually am from North Carolina. That and I say “pee-can” sometimes.)

Resolutions in Motion

8 Jan

I’ve never really been one to set New Year’s resolutions. I don’t like the idea of spending a bunch of time trying to do things in January and then running out of steam by February or March. But I do like the idea of turning a new leaf. Each day is a new opportunity, right?

Mostly, I think I like the idea of self-improvement. That you can both have confidence for yourself and who you are while simultaneously being self-aware and having the courage to be a better person.

Maybe that statement is a big grandiose considering that the resolutions I’m about to set are typical, classic ones about eating healthier and exercising. But improving oneself can be both little and big things.

I think the key to resolutions is balance between keeping yourself motivated to do the work and also cutting yourself some slack for mistakes or weaknesses.

Okay, enough blathering. I decided to set resolutions this year when I saw a link-up for Resolutions in Motion on Covered in Grace. Having a group of people doing it together and having accountability through my blog readers should help me meet my goals!

Resolutions in Motion

My resolution is to Be Healthier. I’m going to do this through 3 sub-goals:

  1. Cook dinner at home at least 4 nights per week.
  2. Have no more than 4 non-water beverages per week.
  3. Do yoga once per week and take a walk at least once per week.

These are all rules that I’ve managed to follow at some point in the past couple years. But in the last few months, I’ve gotten off track. I got super busy at work and lost my game. And then the holidays came up, driving the last nail into that coffin. But now I’m back on the wagon.

Why not look awesome while you work out?

My inspiration: I bought myself new clothes! Sorry for the poor-quality selfie, as I was not originally intending to share this with you all, but there it is. I spent some Christmas money on new workout gear, hoping that my desire to wear it would result in actual workouts and not just trips to the grocery store.

I’m linking up with Resolutions in Motion hosted by:

Megan @ Shaping Up To Be A Mom
Brooke @ Covered In Grace
Tif @ Ramblings of a Southern Belle
Rosie @ Craftbotic

Resolutions In Motion is a 6-week challenge where the participants set a goal and work to achieve it. Join us every Tuesday for inspirational guest posts, surprise giveaways, blog hops, and more! The final link-up will include giveaways for some amazing prizes!

If you have not yet signed up for this awesome challenge, registration is STILL OPEN! Please go here and fill out the sign-up form, and then make sure you link up your first post before this linky closes (on Saturday, January 12th).

Participating in both the initial (today’s) linkup and the final link-up is required to win prizes, but we will also have a link-up each Tuesday throughout the challenge, for anyone who wants to write about their goal and progress regularly!

– Brooke @ Covered In Grace

That’s it! I’ll let you know how I do. And join us in setting some resolutions! You have until Saturday to register.

 

 
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2012: Year in Review

31 Dec

It has been such an amazing year! January seems like both forever ago and just yesterday. This trip around the sun was full of excitement in my life and on my blog, and I thought I’d end the year with a few notes about my 2012.

The best part of 2012:

I got married! That was pretty awesome. The BF and I were married on our 5th anniversary. (By the way, BF once stood for Boy Friend, then stood for Boy Fiance for a brief 6 months, and now stands for my Boo Forever. Just so you know.) Here’s my favorite picture from the wedding. We did a “First Look” before the ceremony, and we were both incredibly nervous and excited and giggly.

Our First Look

My biggest accomplishment of 2012:

I got married, I started exercising (walking/yoga), I ate pretty well, I read a lot, I made new friends, and I joined a book club. And I’d say that I’m really happy that I am doing this blogging thing on the regular. I’ve posted every week since October, sometimes more than once. Maybe that’s not a very long time, but it’s an accomplishment for me! So on that note…

My favorite posts of 2012:

According to the Annual Report that WordPress kindly prepared for me, my most visited post so far is my Rainbow Tie-Dye Cake. My busiest day was the day I posted the DIY Memory Game I made for the BF as a Valentine’s gift, which was the first DIY craft I wrote about. My favorite post in terms of what was most delicious: a tie for the Chocolate Mousse and my Pumpkin Brownies. The post with the prettiest pictures, courtesy of the BF? Banana Fluffernutter Cupcakes.

Aerial View

My favorite book I read in 2012:

I really loved The Woman Who Gave Birth to Rabbits by Emma Donoghue. I usually am not a fan of short stories, but these are so great, I got over it. Donaghue based each story on some snippet of actual history, and after each story, she gives you the known history. I love creating back stories for unknown history. The stories all have female protagonists, some are politicized, some are light, some are sad, some are funny. Together they create a fantastic collection. Click here to see what else I read in 2012.

What I’m looking forward to in 2013:

Our honeymoon! We decided not to immediately take a big vacation for a few reasons: Planning a wedding and honeymoon at the same time seemed a bit much, I wanted to spread out the fun, and it worked better for our work schedules. But plans don’t also work out as you hope, and we’ve hit a snag. The BF switched jobs last month. I’m really proud of him and glad that he’s trying something new, so neither of us regret the decision. But it has also wreaked havoc with our schedules. So I don’t know when we’ll go, but we plan on honeymooning in Costa Rica sometime soon!

What I hope to accomplish in 2013:

I hope to continue with the general healthiness I’ve established for myself… regular exercise, healthy eating, exploring new food and whatnot. I want to be way better about cooking dinner instead of eating out. I hope to read a ton of good books — I think my new book club will help with that. And I hope to get even more into this blogging thing. It seems I have food down pretty well, and now I hope to build a Wedding section that talks about how I planned and DIYed my wedding. I’ve posted a couple times in Travel, so maybe I’ll expand that too!

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The Blogger’s Ball from Glossy Blonde, lala Lists, and Jessica Who?

Best Songs of 2011

18 Feb

Every year I make a Best Of list, and every year it’s this late. That’s because I wait to see everyone else’s list, fill in any gaps in my collection, get to know the new music a bit, and then make my decisions.

As for best album of the year, I’d say a tie between Barton Hollow from The Civil Wars and Pockets Run Deep from Feather & Belle.

The Civil WarsThe Civil Wars are the obvious choice, having made a smash entry on the music scene via Grey’s Anatomy and also receiving a resounding endorsement from Taylor Swift herself. Their two Grammy awards for Best Folk Album and Best Country Duo/Group Performance are certainly well-deserved. Just listen to their star track “Poison & Wine.” But honestly, the entire album is simply amazing. After I got it, I listened to it on repeat for weeks. If you don’t have their album yet, BUY IT NOW. And good news – You can download their live album free on their website.

Feather & BelleFeather & Belle is another new duo, and another album that I set on repeat. These two lovely ladies have plenty of musical experience in other groups and have joined together to create a really lovely sound. My words really can’t do them justice, so please, just give them a listen. In cool recent news, I just read on their website that their live debut was at the Sundance Film Festival with none other than… The Civil Wars.

So here we go. The List. In no particular order. Enjoy!

Best of 2011

“Shake It Out,” Florence + the Machine

Grammy Nominee for Best New Artist.

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“Hidden Staircase,” Feather & Belle

Can’t find a full video for this one, but this video is a snippet of “Hidden Staircase.” You can watch a couple videos of their other songs on their YouTube channel. You can also listen to a few select songs on their website. When you launch the site, a video of their song “Walk in Gutters” will start playing immediately, but after watching that, look for the player at the top right of the page and play “Hidden Staircase” and then “Tennessee Baby.” And then head on over to iTunes and buy their whole album. Trust me, you’ll be glad you did.

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“Arms,” Christina Perri

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“Wonderful (The Way I Feel),” My Morning Jacket

This album, Circuital, got a Grammy nomination for Best Alternative Music Album.

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“Real Slow,” Megafaun

For my readers in the Chapel Hill area, Megafaun will be playing the Haw River Ballroom in April!

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“Lucio,” Mary Johnson Rockers

Can’t find a video for this one, but you can preview and purchase her music on iTunes. Mary plays pretty small, local shows, but she’s definitely a well-known regular on the Chapel Hill/Carrboro music scene. It’s only a matter of time before she’s playing on a national stage. And just fyi, as Mary says, “It’s a last name, not a band.”

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“Don’t Carry It All,” The Decemberists

It was difficult to pick one song off this album. The BF voted for this one, so here it is. I’m also partial to January Hymn, Down By The Water, June Hymn, and This Is Why We Fight. “Down By The Water” got Grammy nominations for Best Rock Performance and for Best Rock Song.

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“Helplessness Blues,” Fleet Foxes

This album got a Grammy nomination for Best Folk Album.

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“Poison & Wine,” The Civil Wars

Haunting, gorgeous, beautiful. Best song on this list. Their debut album earned them two Grammys: Best Folk Album and Best Country Duo/Group Performance.

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“Lovesong,” Adele

I felt like I had to pick an Adele song. I mean, she swept up SIX GRAMMYS. “Rolling In The Deep” got Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Short Form Music Video; 21 got Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album; and “Someone Like You” got Best Pop Solo Performance. But honestly, I am getting a little tired of 21 after the amount of play she’s getting. But I liked her cover of Lovesong from the first time I heard it, and I’ve always loved the original from The Cure.

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“The Bad In Each Other,” Feist

This song rocks. Go ahead – jam out.

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“Holocene,” Bon Iver 

Overall, I thought For Emma, Forever Ago was better, but Bon Iver is pretty awesome too. I do love Holocene. Pretty stoked they won two Grammys for this album – Best New Artist and Best Alternative Album. They also got nominations for Record of the Year and Song of the Year.

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“What’ll I Do,” Lisa Hannigan

Lisa used to sing with Damien Rice – she’s the awesome female vocals in O. They had a somewhat messy split, but she’s gone on for a successful solo career. This song is really fun, and the rest of the album rocks too.

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“Hard Times,” Gillian Welch

This song sounds like a cold winter day. I just got the album, and I can’t wait to play it on a drive in the mountains. This got Grammy nominations for Best Folk Album and Best Engineered Album (Non-Classical).

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“Civilian,” Wye Oak

Wow, love her voice. For serious. Also, I can’t help mentioning that “Take It In” is my most favorite song of theirs ever, even though it’s off their 2009 album and therefore irrelevant to this list.

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“Yoü and I,” Lady Gaga

Gaga didn’t get any Grammys this year, but she did get a few nominations. Born This Way was nominated for Album of the Year and Best Pop Vocal Album, and “Yoü And I” was nominated for Best Pop Solo Performance.

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“I Wanna Go,” Britney Spears

Get it, girl! This my jam!

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“Super Bass,” Nicki Minaj

Honestly I’m not super excited about Nicki’s rapping (or any rap, for that matter), but I really like the chorus. Also I love singing this super loud in my car. Super. Nicki didn’t go home with any Grammys, but she did get a nomination for Best New Artist, “Moment 4 Life” was nominated for Best Rap Performance, and Pink Friday was nominated for Best Rap Album.