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Monthly Archives: January 2012

Things We Love: Little Happies


You know you married a keeper when he brings you home little gifts like this guy. Love it.

How fine do you dine?

My grandmother is moving out of her house of 30 years into a small apartment. My family has been helping her go through the house and a life’s worth of possessions. Naturally we are all bringing home boxes after each visit.

On my last visit I came home with a set if my grandmother’s china when she married my grandfather and my great-grandmother’s crystal.

When Bryan and I got married we registered for one set of dishes for our everyday use and a set of simple glasses. I knew that we would one day we would inherit a set of china from one of my grandmother’s. I’d much rather have something from a family member than something new from the store.

But now that we’ve come into possession of some finer things, we’re faced with the question of when to use our fine china and crystal.

Do you use fine china and crystal? When?

Foodie Friday: Chicken Marengo

A few months ago my husband, a history buff, decided we should write a cook book based on historical recipes. His first request was Chicken Marengo, which was Napolean’s favorite dish. He loved it so much he named his horse Marengo after it. We didn’t have a horse to name, but we did name the latest stray cat to inhabit our porch Balls Marengo.

Anyways, this dish does take a few hours, so prepare ahead. I was not amused that it took me three hours to make dinner when I was starving. The results were totally worth it, though.

Chicken Marengo
found in Quail Country cookbook

1/4 cup butter
2 celery stalks, chopped
1 carrot, peeled and chopped
1 cup chopped onions
1 strip bacon, sliced
1 tomato, chopped
bay leaf
salt and pepper
1/4 cup flour
1 can tomato puree
1 pint chicken stock
1 tablespoon sherry

To make sauce, melt butter and saute next 9 ingredients until golden brown. Add flour and stir well. Add tomato puree. Remove from heat. Slowly add stock and sherry. Bring to a boil then simmer 1 hour. {I cut this step short by boiling on high for about 15 minutes. Results still ended up favorably.}

3 1/2 to 4 l bs cooked chicken
8 oz mushrooms, chopped and sliced

Cut chicken in bite size pieces; place in a 2 quart casserole. Add mushrooms. Cover with sauce. Bake uncovered for 1 1/2 hours at 350 degrees. Serve over rice.

This may take a long time, but you can do it in steps. And trust me, my onion, tomato, and mushroom hating husband loved it.

Things we love to hate: Ridiculous Names

Yesterday Allyn and I spent a good deal of time making fun of discussing this guy’s interesting sounding name. It was one of those names that is so fun to say when you are delirious tired. I won’t say it here since it is a real person’s name who I do randomly see out and about. But still… After repeating it endlessly for a while we then decided it sounded like a body part, in a private area.

We don’t just make fun of regular people’s names. Celebrity baby names are even more fun. Apple, Blanket, Michael Rainbow, we could go on and on.

Tell us we aren’t the only ones! And what is your favorite ridiculous name to make fun of?

Wasted Wednesday: Holland House Bar and Refuge

Image from Holland House Facebook page


If you’re ever in Nashville, you have to go to our favorite bar, Holland House Bar and Refuge (they also have killer food).

I know that a lot of people say that Patterson House is the best bar in Nashville, but our money is on Holland House.

The first time we walked in, we fell in love. We even got a lot of our wedding inspiration from their decor. Rustic wood, fairy lights, and 1920’s music playing in the background. Part of my bachelorette festivities included drinks here.

We really love it.

I’ve had so many drinks here that it’s hard to pick a favorite, but the one I tried last time is definitely in the running. It’s called a Clyde Bank Sour, and it includes (according to their website): senior orange curacao, lagavulin 16 islay scotch, ginger cordial, fresh lemon, egg white.

The result is a smoky, fruity masterpiece that’s made to be sipped slowly. I knew from the first whiff that it would be good, and I was right.

My amazing husband Josh has been working on recreating it at home, and while we’re still trying to perfect it (egg whites are tricky!), it’s really close.

Which means I’m in danger.

If you get a chance, go check it out!


Hot Mess: Beauty Blogs

Some people seem to have learned a million ways to do their hair and makeup effortlessly, always having a fun style and easily dressing things up when the occasion arises. These people seem to include many of my friends.

I am not one of those people.

I don’t know if it’s a lack of ability (probably not) or intimidation  (probably so), combined with a love of lolling, but I know that I get stuck in beauty ruts for years sometimes, and they tend to be pretty simple/borderline boring. Now that my hair is longer than it’s been in years (see here), this is especially true.

I’m not much of one for New Year’s resolutions, but I do want to try to take more risks and put forth more effort this year and in the future. I want to take more pride in my appearance, and not just hide behind “good enough, with a great personality.”

These are a few of the blogs I’ve found to get me motivated and give me some much-needed direction:

  • The Beauty Department– This might be my new favorite. Fun ideas with lots of tutorials. Especially great about hair. I need tutorials.
  • The Concerns of Mindy Kaling– Oh how do I love Mindy? Let me count the ways… This blog is awesome. She’s hilarious, and she actually has some great fashion tips/reviews. Some of it is a little out of my price range for sure, but she’s definitely no GOOP.
  • What the Frock? – Dana used to work for Anthropologie, and has flown all over as a wardrobe stylist. She emphasizes super affordable pieces, and isn’t afraid to use bold colors. Love her.

These are just three of my favorites for now. Hopefully they’ll help me start this little journey of mine.

Anyone have any other favorites? Help a girl out!

Foodie Friday: Mulligatawny

We all have those recipes that we think of on the low days. The days when you’re worn out, the weather sucks, and you can’t quite seem to shake the sniffle and scratch going on in your sinuses. On those days you want some comforting and familiar and hearty, and this soup is our solution to that.

Some people like to serve it over rice, but we like it better with the rice cooked in. We’ve tried it with different types of apples, different types of meat, and different amounts of various ingredients, but this is the mix that makes us the happiest. Feel free to tweak it to the perfect comfort food for you.

And yes, I can hear Seinfeld’s Soup Nazi in the background whenever I make it (No soup for you!).

Mulligatawny (adapted from here)

  • 2 whole Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts, Cut Into Bite-Sized Pieces
  • Salt And Black Pepper To Taste
  • 4 Tablespoons Butter
  • 1 whole Medium Onion
  • 3 cloves Garlic, Minced Finely
  • ¼ cups All-purpose Flour
  • 1 heaping Tablespoon Curry Powder (really good powder makes a HUGE difference here)
  • 32 ounces, fluid Chicken Broth
  • 1 can coconut milk
  • 1 whole Granny Smith Apple, Peeled And Diced
  • 3/4 cup uncooked rice

Season diced chicken with salt and pepper. Heat 2 tablespoons butter over medium-high heat. Add chicken and cook, stirring occasionally, until golden. Remove chicken to a plate. Set aside.

In the same pot, add butter and reduce heat to medium. Add diced onion and garlic and stir to cook. Onions should be starting to brown.

Sprinkle flour over onions. Stir to combine, then stir in curry powder. Cook mixture over medium heat for one minute, stirring constantly.

Pour in chicken broth. Stir to combine, then cook for five minutes. Add coconut milk, salt, and pepper, then cook for another five minutes.

Add rice and stir well. Cook for about five minutes, stirring often to keep the rice from sticking to the bottom.

Add chicken and diced apple and cook for another 5 to 10 minutes, stirring occasionally, or until rice is done. Turn off and allow to stand 5 or 10 minutes before serving. Top with cilantro and chives for a little freshness.

Cozy comfort.