September 23, 2009

Clemson Reunion

Last weekend, for the first time since my graduation, Peter and I went back to Clemson. For 22 hours. Why so short? Logistics and dogs. We started planning for a 2nd Girls Reunion back in June. The consensus was to meet up in Clemson for a football game and to let the guys come along. After comparing schedules the TCU game won out. I was psyched, especially since I had to miss out last year. It rained for the entire second half and beyond. But fear not, because, for the first time in years, Peter and I were prepared for the weather. The weekend was super quick but it was a blast. Next year, we fully intend on take Friday off.

September 16, 2009

Chickpea, Tomato, and Spelt Soup

In an effort to live with less waste and excess, I began meal planning about two months ago. Each week I scan our pantry and plan our meals around the things we already have; going to the store only to get the food we need and not to stock the cupboard. Peter and I are spending far less on food and I'm making only what we can eat. It's been marvelous. Mostly.

For whatever reason I have had a can of Chickpeas on my shelf for almost a year. Whatever recipe it was originally purchased for has been long forgotten. Each week I'd stare the can down and resolve to use it but the plan never came to fruition. Until now.

Meal planning last week I looked for an entree recipe that would include my Chickpeas. I found one on Martha Stewart's Chickpea, Tomato, and Spelt Soup. Initially, the thought of a veggie soup with some foreign grain seemed like something from Aunt Kate's kitchen but it ended up being pretty delicious.

1 cup spelt
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 medium onion, chopped
1 carrot, halved lengthwise and cut into 1/2-inch lengths
1 celery stalk, diced
4 garlic cloves, chopped
Coarse salt and ground pepper
2 bay leaves
2 teaspoons sweet paprika
1 teaspoon ground cumin
1/8 teaspoon saffron (optional)
4 cups chicken broth, homemade or canned
1 can (14 1/2 ounces) crushed tomatoes
1 can (15 ounces) chickpeas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup chopped flat leaf parsley, for garnish

1. Place spelt in a medium bowl and cover with cold water. Let soak for 1 hour; drain

2. In a 5-quart Dutch oven or large soup pot, heat oil over medium. Add onion, carrot, celery, and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook for 5 minutes. Add bay leaves, paprika, cumin, saffron (if using), spelt, broth, and 1 cup water. Bring to a boil, reduce to a simmer, and cook for 30 minutes or until spelt is tender.

3. Add tomatoes and chickpeas and cook for 20 minutes or until flavors have blended. Discard bay leaves. Sprinkle with chopped parsley before serving.

September 15, 2009

Al & Christina's Wedding

Last weekend Peter and I made our first trip to Louisiana, where we had the honor of attending Al & Christina's wedding. It was classic, elegant, colorful, and, without a doubt, true to the style of the couple. The ceremony was in a small chapel with beautiful stained-glass windows and absolutely gorgeous flowers. The reception was in a local museum. All of the food was exceptional; my favorite was the brie with honey. Peter liked the crawfish dip the best. Both of us enjoyed the glass bottled Coca Cola. Believe it or not, as the couple made their get-a-way we threw bird seed. Though it is very traditional, I have never had the chance to do that before. I loved it!

Peter and me at the reception.

Stacey, the happy couple, and us.

September 11, 2009

House Tour

As I previously mentioned, I have be rearranging the furniture and artwork in the house (for those of you that know my family- I think it's in my blood). Anyway, here are the results. The red room is now my office and our guestroom.

The twin beds are still in the teal room. Initially, I felt like I was breaking a major rule of decorating by separating the twin beds but overall the look works. The new furniture arrangement allows for more free space. Ma Scott's Orange Chicken surprised me when it gave the room a more finished look- but I like it.

Gigi's paintings were recently mailed to me with hope of ending up in the teal room but the oil paintings looked much better against the North Hampton Putty (which by the way, is a fabulous not-so-boring-neutral).

Our living room seems extremely limited in terms of ways to move the furniture. The architectural details - arches, walkways, built ins, fireplace- basically define where the furniture can be placed. I did manage to have some fun switching the lamps and bringing the armoire into room.

Organization Station

With the copious amounts of time I've had on my hands recently, I've taken to organizing and reorganizing our closets and furniture. In my master plan for the house, we're going to add some built-in shelving and cubbies in my closet but in the mean time I've settled for a pop of color and tidy shoe storage. Between the kitchen and dining room is this odd little hallway that has a large closet but no clear purpose. Initially, we only used the space to give the dogs water. I saw the multitude of organizational boards in a Pottery Barn catalog and they called my name. In addition to watering the dogs the odd little hallway now houses our Organization Station. I love it!