Thursday, September 29, 2011

Blackened Chicken Alfredo

I planned our weeknight meals this past weekend and chicken w/ pasta in Alfredo Sauce was on the list. But when it came time to make it, I was craving something a little different. I've had "blackened" chicken before, but never knew what it took to make it.

I found a bunch of recipes online, but took my measurements and ideas from this recipe. I used 1 tsp of almost everything but paprika. Then I covered my chicken breast in it. The whole thing. On one breast of chicken. TOO. MUCH. FLAVOR.

It was tasty, but way too much seasoning for the amount of chicken I had. I suggest using enough chicken for 3-4 servings (at least 2 chicken breasts) and don't feel like you need to use up all the seasoning!

Blackened Chicken Seasoning

1 tsp salt
1/2 tsp paprika
1 tsp ground pepper (white or black)
1/2 tsp cayenne or chili powder (or more if you like spicier. we don't)
1 tsp onion powder
1 tsp garlic powder
1 tsp dried or fresh thyme, chopped fine
1 tsp dried oregano
2-3 chicken breasts

  1. Combine seasoning ingredients.
  2. Pound out chicken breasts, coat with seasoning mixture.
  3. Melt about 1 T butter over medium/low heat, add chicken breasts, cooking 1-2 minutes on each side. Finish off in the oven (5-10 minutes in 350 preheated oven) or keep cooking on the stove (that's what I did), until juices run clear. 

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

current obsessions: September

  • Macintosh apples! That's right baby - I love when my faves go back in season!
  • Even cooler temps than August! I've even brought my slippers out on a few occasions!
  • Family time - we've seen Josh's family two weekends in a row! I've enjoyed spending time with them. I've also been visiting my parents on the weekends, and it's been fun catching up.
  • New shows back on! FRINGE was back this past Friday and this past weekend our favorite cartoons were back up (American Dad, Family Guy, The Simpsons).
  • Leaves changing - I love this time of year! Hopefully I'll be able to get out with Josh to take a walk with all the leaves changing!
  • WINNING! I've been winning a lot of things this month...nail polish from Joy the Baker (okay, so that was in August but I'm still waiting on the package so it gets thrown into this month too), dress from Shabby Apple via Michelle's giveaway (hoping to get it this week!) and a new office chair from our rep group KMA & Associates in Pittsburgh!

(Dress JUST came in! YAY!)

Side Note: I can't believe September is almost over!!! It feels like just yesterday I was posting about how I couldn't believe it was September 1 and now we're in the last week of it!! Craziness. Holidays will be here before you know it!!!!

Monday, September 26, 2011

weekend update: Sept 23-25, 2011

This weekend wasn't that busy, but I'm still exhausted from it!

Friday after work I visited my parents who were babysitting my little niece Chloe. I hung out with them for a while then headed home to make dinner for Josh & I, but worked in a quick run (walk) in before he got home. We were excited about the series premiere of FRINGE but remembered 15 minutes after it started that we were going to attempt to watch it live (we only have 5 channels that don't come in very well, no DVR, no cable).

Saturday I slept in late (awesome), caught up on some blogs, made some meal plans for next week, did some quick exercise, went grocery shopping, made lunch for Josh and went out for dinner with Staci, Kristen and Nicole. We went to The Plymouth Tavern (free popcorn and yummy food) then stopped by Sluggers to play some pool. When 11PM hit I immediately said I had to go home and fell asleep almost immediately when my head hit the pillow.

Sunday was another lounge-y day after church. Josh is currently working on another one of his video game theme song recreations on guitar (you can check out his previous ones on his YouTube channel) and I'm laying around because I'm SO SORE from the pathetic amount of exercise I did this weekend.

I've got two bids due for work this week and not much else going on other than that!

Hope you all had fun and (more) exciting weekends! What are you looking forward to this week??

Friday, September 23, 2011

fabric friday: 09-23-11: Clarence House

Because I work on mainly commercial projects, most of my Fabric Friday posts are filled with the great commercial or healthcare fabrics I get to work with every day. However, residential fabrics should have their spotlight as well!

I'm going to start to highlight a few residential fabric and wallcovering companies that I'm seeing around the web and in magazines.

Today's spotlight is on Clarence House.

Clarence House was founded in 1961 and came up as number 1 in a Google search for "residential textiles." They have been featured in many interior design magazines including, but not limited to, Architectural Digest and Elle Decor. Clarence House is headquartered in New York City and is open to the trade only. Their line includes woven fabrics for indoor and outdoor use, sheers, velvets, tapestries and wallpapers.

Alnus: Sabbia

Sea Thistle / Neisha Crosland collection

Juno (woven fabric)

Cosette / from Fall 2010 Collection

Arboles color #1 / Velvet Collection

Arboles color #2 / Velvet Collection

Vase wallpaper / photo by Michel Arnaud from Elle Decor

Bed and armchairs in Clarence House fabric / photo by Eric Piasecki for Elle Decor

Check out their website for more fun fabrics!

information and images all from
swatches from Elle Decor design center/Clarence House

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Emmy's: Blogger Shout Out!

Okay - so I won't pretend - I don't watch real/live TV (I watch episodes of shows), so I did not watch the Emmy's. However my very good friend, former roomie and fellow SKANK member KRISTEN over at andthenifound5dollars did, and she has some great comments about her loves and hates on the red carpet.

If you are a fashion fan and love to pick apart what the celebs are wearing, you should definitely check out her post!

***EDIT: Per Hannah's request below - SKANK - "Staci" "Kristen" "Amy" "Nicole" "Katie" - 5 girlfriends from high school - first initial from first name - listed in birth order - happens to spell out that great word!***

Roasted Chicken + Veggies

I posted on my weekend update that we had homemade chicken soup on Friday. What was great about this soup is that it was so easy since it was leftover chicken that I had roasted two days earlier.

I found the recipe from FoodNetwork and I loved everything listed on the ingredients list. I used split bone-in chicken breasts, garlic + butter + rosemary + oil rubbed over the salted/peppered chicken. Carrots, onions and celery were added plus a splash of white cooking wine, lemon juice and water. Baked for about 40 minutes on 400 degrees. We ended up eating one half for dinner that night and the rest I shredded up for the soup. It was delicious!

I love when you can get two meals (or more - I had even more leftover chicken soup on Saturday!) from one night of cooking!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

style obsessions: retro credenzas

Another style obsession of mine is RETRO CREDENZAS or sideboards. I love them in their original 70's orange-y wood, I love them repainted in fun colors, I love modern, streamlined styles in metal or laminate. I love them all!

Here are some faves:

originally from Apartment Therapy Harper + Caleb House Tour.
(also, can we talk about how awesome that wallpaper and starburst mirror are!?)

originally from Apartment Therapy Vintage Furniture post.

originally from Apartment Therapy Vintage Furniture post.

Florence Knoll credenza. Painted with marble top.

Okay, so this is more of an end table/chest, but I still love it!
Florence Knoll Chest 125 from Knoll Museum.

MG-4 Credenza from Luna Lounge Design
Sussex Credenza by Terence Woodgate from Design Within Reach

Design*Sponge Before+After: Mary's Credenza

Monday, September 19, 2011

weekend update: September 16-18, 2011

Um, how is it half-way through September already!? My gosh, time is just flying by.

I'm sad summer is pretty much over, but I love fall! Except I'd love it even more if I could spend all the money I wanted on boots, scarves, jeans and jackets.
After my crazy-busy work week, I finished up things on Friday and was out of there by noon. I had a few errands to run like going to the bank, getting tomatoes from the grocery store and stopping at the post office to mail a package for a certain special nail polish winner. I had a nice, relaxing lunch at home then took a well-deserved nap.

About 30 minutes into the nap I was awakened by my cell phone from an out of town caller, assuming (correctly) that it was from one of our vendors calling to ask me about that bid we won and had been working on this past week. Unfortunately the call was not a good one - saying the vendor product cost was way too high and there was some mistake. This set me into a crazy frenzy - shoes back on, keys, purse and out the door, leaving the room a mess from my blankets and lunch.

I got back into work after the longest 5-minute drive (yes, that's how long it takes me to get to work, I'm so spoiled) of my heart pounding, tears forming, talking to myself saying "There is no way. This could not be. Please God may this be a mistake on their part." I got into the office, explained quickly to Dory through panicked words what was going on. I immediately looked at my order to the vendor - it was way less than the amount they were saying it was. There was no way I could have gotten this wrong.

After several phone calls back and forth to my CSR and asking if they were sure they got all the discounting right, I relaxed a little and finished up a few other things. Then - the power went out. Awesome. No email access for me (like - for good - our server is at our office, so, nothing is coming in or out). I go to tell my boss and it turns out they had just witnessed a transformer blowing. AWESOME. So, I call my CSR, tell her to call my cell, and within 10 min she is calling back saying they didn't discount one line item and everything is now fine.

Holy. Not the way to start a relaxing weekend.

After this fiasco, I stopped off at the library to drop off and pick up more books, then visited my parents for a few hours. Josh and I enjoyed homemade chicken noodle soup and biscuits for dinner and by 10 PM I was falling asleep on the couch.

Saturday was a relaxing morning, Josh off to work and me hanging out and catching up on some blogs. The rest of the day was spent photographing a wedding with my sister - check her blog for pics!

Sunday I sang at church, Josh and I had lunch, I took a nap and we celebrated his Gram's 86th birthday at his aunt's house with all his family!

I'm looking forward to another busy week at work, but with a lot less stress! We have lots more bids to work on this week and an open house with one of our vendors in Pittsburgh on Thursday! Can't wait! Hope you all had great weekends!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

busy busy busy

I've been pretty MIA for the last two weeks - I had blog posts last week but they were all scheduled - and haven't been able to post anything for this week let alone be able to read all of your lovely blogs! I've also got some new readers out there which means expanding my blog reading as well, so I've missed catching up with you all the last few weeks. I've been working late every day this week plus I have wedding to shoot this weekend and I'm singing at church (so that means band tomorrow and a nap on Sunday).

Hope you're all doing well and I'm looking forward to be back next week with some fun things to share!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

California BLT's

I saw this recipe several weeks ago while watching Barefoot Contessa at my parents' house. It's a simple recipe and now that my tastes are expanding as I'm getting older, it's a sandwich I'll finally enjoy.

I've always liked bacon, but only in the last few years have I liked mayo or Miracle Whip, tomatoes or lettuce on sandwiches. Yes my sammies were pretty boring, especially before I liked cheese or even Italian dressing. Bread. Meat. That was it.

This is so much better.

Look how cute this Boston lettuce is!! I bought them because they were adorable. And perfectly sized. I hate throwing out bad lettuce. Well, I hate throwing out any bad food.

Thick, white, country bread toasted (Texas Toast in our case), smear of Miracle Whip on each side, three slices of bacon each, a few pieces of lettuce, some beautiful tomatoes, salt & pepper and a few slices of avocado on top. Yum. Yum. Yum.

We wrapped these sandwiches in foil and packed them for our trip a few weekends ago. They are a great sandwich to take for picnics! We ate these again several times after our trip. And of course you can always use turkey bacon if you prefer it that way.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

mid-week update

Some things I've been thinking about this week:
  • Tonight I babysat my sweet niece Chloe and got to spend some time chatting with my brother-in-law, Brian. It was nice catching up with him and it's so awesome to be able to get along with my sister and her hubby so well and to call them friends - not just family.
  • I'm still definitely interested in doing some sort of Bloggers-Bible something. I'm really hoping to focus this for women - specifically young/young-married and currently without children. I'm not trying to squeeze people out, but I'd like to do internet-Bible-study-type thing with like-minded females who are in the same situations as I am. I have three ladies interested so far, so if you are also interested let me know! I've been tossing ideas around in my head on how we can do this. My thoughts are to have passages to read weekly and to encourage one post a week - about the passages, what you learned, what you question, etc. Anyway - more on this when I get my head wrapped around it.
  • My husband is great. He works hard to provide for us and keeps us in check. He doesn't have the benefit of two days a week off, so spending three days with him this past weekend was just so wonderful. 
  • I've been really feeling like I need to get my eating and health under control recently. I have a hate-hate relationship with exercise and a love-love-love relationship with food, so it's quite a struggle. I wish I could get motivated about exercise and eating healthy, but what excites me is napping and chocolate.
  • This weekend I have a baby shower for a friend of mine that I worked closely with for 2 1/2 years. I also have plans this weekend to see a friend of mine (and her new baby) that I was close with years, but probably haven't seen in almost 2 years!
So. That's what's been going on in my head this week. What's been going on with you?

Cinnamon Roll Cake w/ Cream Cheese Frosting

As I mentioned quickly in my last weekend update post, and made - and ruined - a lot of frosting that weekend. I suppose it wasn't actually ruined, but I made a batch of cream cheese frosting that was runny and seemed unusable for a cake. I threw it in the freezer, knowing I would need to figure out some way to use it so it wouldn't get wasted.

The frosting was a brick (8 oz) of cream cheese, 1/4 c of butter, powdered sugar and a few spoonfuls of the other ruined frosting I made (but you could just use milk to loosen it up). The other frosting that got ruined was Whipped Cream Cheese frosting from Joy of Baking. I suggest you attempt making it, but don't add too much powdered sugar...or will just get more runny. I know I had it at the perfect stage and it tasted amazing, but I kept adding and whipping, hoping it would get just a little thicker, but somehow it kept getting RUNNIER. I have no idea what happened and it really hurt my self-esteem! I felt pretty useless in the kitchen after that. Anyway, the addition of that frosting helped smooth out my cream cheese frosting while giving it a nice flavor because of the addition of the marscapone cheese.

Anyway - the cinnamon cake recipe was from (I did only two layers) and brown-sugar and cinnamon swirled in before baking like the cinnamon roll cake from my baking addiction. I really think the brown sugar-cinnamon swirl gave it an even more cinnamon-roll-esque flavor.

Sorry - didn't get many pictures until I had already half-eaten the cake...but everyone loved it,  including me! My dad begged me to whip up another one the other day! I suppose the frosting was still a little runny - but it was perfect for this cake.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

weekend update: September 2-5, 2011

Yeah, I'm lumping Monday in as part of the weekend for this post because we had a nice relaxing day off, so I think it counts!

Friday was girls night - Katie was up from Pittsburgh, so Stace, Kristen and I all met up to hang out. Since I was going to the east side, I stopped and visited my parents, then walked over to Katie's parents (they are neighbors) for dinner and some chill out time. We went back to Kristen's to get ready then hit downtown!

Katie, Kristen and Staci lookin cute!

We slept over at Kristen's and I shared the air mattress with sweet Daisy.

Saturday Josh and I bummed around most of the day and had band practice for Sunday.

Sunday was filled with lots of fun with Josh's family. His dad, aunt and gram surprised us by coming to our church. Later that day we were invited over to his great aunt's house for a family picnic. We had margaritas and lots of yummy food thanks to Josh's mom!

Josh, his dad and his younger sister Alyssa

His great aunt lives right by Lake Erie, so some of us took a walk down the path to check it out!

It was a hot, humid, rainy and gloomy day in Erie on Sunday...

Alyssa and her fiancé Dolan!

Josh's dad practices his balance.

Josh's brother Dan with Alyssa

My in-laws!

My handsome hubby!!
I love him :)

Practicing with Rach's camera.

Goofy :)

After all that fun, we went back over to his aunt's house later that evening to hang out some more!

Monday was another day of relaxation for the most part. Sleeping in, pancakes, then I did some cleaning, laundry and started rearranging a few things at our townhouse. I took away one of the smaller bookcases in the living room and replaced it with a bigger one that was previously in my closet. After that I pulled out, tossed out and reorganized my closet! Pictures to come from that when it's all done.



So - it doesn't look that much different - and I didn't clean anything up before taking the after picture. Also, you can see Josh's head in the bottom right corner haha. I would like to replace the lamp shade over in the corner still, but for now - I'm happy! I like having my cookbooks more organized and I have a nice pull out canvas box to hold all my (Rachel's) camera equipment.

Oh - and Monday also included homemade pizza (dough and sauce) and breadsticks for dinner!

It was a great weekend. Relaxing, got some stuff done, spent some quality time with my SKAK's (the N was still out of town - boo) and my hubby and his family. Hope you all had a relaxing and fun weekend too!! Anyone else attend any last-summer picnics?