Sunday, August 23

Basil Pesto Cream Sauce

Here is the recipe for the sauce that I used... again sorry for no pictures!

Basil Pesto Cream Sauce
Adapted from Emeril Lagasse

1 1/2 cups fresh basil leaves (packed)
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1/4 cup freshly grated Parmigiano-Reggiano
2 tablespoons pine nuts or walnuts, toasted
1 teaspoon minced garlic
1/2 cup extra-virgin olive oil
Splash of Heavy Cream

For the sauce, In the bowl of a food processor, combine the basil, salt, and pepper and process for a few seconds until the basil is chopped. Add the cheese, pine nuts, and garlic and, while the processor is running, add the oil in a thin, steady stream until a mostly smooth sauce is formed. Wipe out sauté pan and warm pesto just a bit. Add splash of cream and allow to heat through. (Note: Pesto may be made 1 day in advance and kept, refrigerated, in an airtight container, until ready to use. If making in advance, be sure to cover the top of the pesto with a thin layer of olive oil to prevent the pesto from darkening. Pesto may also be frozen in the same manner in small quantities for use at a later date.)

Breaded Chicken

This is the chicken recipe that I used to go with the Pesto Cream sauce I served... unfortunately I forgot to take pictures while I was making the sauce, so you only get pictures of the chicken prep, but I will share the pesto recipe at the end of this post.

Breaded Chicken
Ina Garten
2 split (1 whole) boneless, skinless chicken breasts
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper
1/2 cup all-purpose flour
1 extra-large egg
1/2 tablespoon water
3/4 cup seasoned dry bread crumbs
Good olive oil


Preheat the oven to 400 degrees F. Line a sheet pan with parchment paper.
Place each chicken breast between 2 sheets of parchment paper or plastic wrap and pound out to 1/4-inch thick. Sprinkle both sides with salt and pepper. Mix the flour, 1/2 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon of pepper in a shallow plate. In a second plate, beat the egg and 1/2 tablespoon of water together. Place the bread crumbs on a third plate.

Dip each chicken breast first in the flour, shake off the excess...
and then dip in the egg
and bread crumb mixtures.
Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large saute pan over medium to medium-low heat. Add the chicken breasts and cook for 2 minutes on each side, until browned.
Place them on the sheet pan and allow them to bake for 5 to 10 minutes while you make the sauce.
This chicken came out great and stayed really tender and juicy since it is browned and then baked. You could use this chicken recipe for Chicken Parmigiana, Chicken Picatta, or just about any other recipe where you need a breaded chicken and you serve it with a sauce.

Rosemary Bread

This is one of the recipes that I had at our dinner last weekend. It is very similar to the bread that is served at Macaroni Grill (which is Keith's all time favorite restaurant bread). I had to make to batches of it as my stupid salt grinder broke on top of the other loaf... I was not excited! Please excuse my horrible picture taking...

Rosemary Bread

1 tablespoon yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons rosemary
2 tablespoons butter


Place yeast, sugar and water in large bowl or food processor and allow mixture to become bubbly.

Mix in 1 T butter, salt, and 2 cups of flour. Add one tablespoon of the fresh chopped rosemary. Knead for about 10 minutes by hand or in food processor about 5 minutes until smooth and elastic. Add more flour if necessary. Oil a bowl, put dough in it and cover with a towel.

Let dough rise in a warm place for one hour until doubled. Punch down dough and divide in half. Let dough rest about 5 minutes. Spray baking pan or cookie sheet with cooking spray. Shape the dough into 2 small rounded oval loaves. Sprinkle remaining 1 Tablespoon of rosemary over the loaves and press lightly into the surface. Let loaves rise again until doubled, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 375°F. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes, until lightly browned. Carefully remove from oven, brush with remaining butter (and salt if desired.).

And here is the finished product. No I didn't cook it in the foil, that was just to keep it warm for the dinner!

I am still alive... I promise!

Sorry for the no posting, but I have been so busy since my last post, it is not even funny!
The dinner party was a success and I have a few great recipes to share and I hope to get those up this afternoon. We really enjoyed the fellowship and the great meal and I can't wait to do it again soon! It was a bit stressful trying to get everything ready so that you make sure you have all of the parts of the meal nice and hot when it is time to serve, but it all worked out!

On Monday I started my new job at the UT Health Science Center that we are so lucky to have in our area! With five days down, I am still enjoying it immensly and I can't wait to see what each day holds for me. I am working with the teaching faculty of the school and they are all so incredibly nice. I have been put in charge of Physician Recruitment (you know showing potential candidates around the school), some hiring for our ambulatory clinics (we have three very large clinics in some of the surrounding towns and we run the student clinic at UT Tyler), and I will also be acting as backup if we have someone out of one of the main offices that supports the medical staff. Everyone I have met there is fabulous and so willing to help if you have questions and I am just so glad to be back in an office setting! I even have a nice big office (with a door, if you knew what my last office was like you would understand why this is so important) and I am working on the decorating of it and I hope to post pictures sometime next week!

Yesterday we had our Re-assembly Tea for the women's group I am in. I am actually in charge of our big fundraiser in December so I spent most of my time there begging people to volunteer to help. It was a really great afternoon and I got quite a few volunteers and am really excited to finish up the planning!
Here are a few pictures from the afternoon.
Noami running the Mah Jongg sign-up table.
Barbara (President and fellow LSU grad) and Gail (Programs Chair). Both of these ladies are professors at UT Tyler.
Myself and another member. This is probably while I was begging for her to help out with the Holiday Home Tour!
Well I hope everyone is having a great end of summer. School starts here in Tyler tomorrow so the stores are packed full of last minute shoppers so I plan on spending the rest of my day just hanging out. We are grilling hand made pizza's tonight on the grill and I am very excited about it. Just waiting on the pizza dough to rise now. Hoping to share that recipe too, hopefully if I get free time soon!

Friday, August 14

Dinner Party...

Well my dinner party is tomorrow night and we are slowly but surely getting things ready to go. I have been ironing half the day and baking fresh Rosemary Bread and am just hoping that everything turns out.

Here are a few pictures of the set up.
Here is where we are going to set the bar area up. We have an annoying chest freezer that sits in the corner of our living room/dining room cause we didn't have room outside, so I figured I would make it a little prettier and turn it into a little bar area so that no one would have to get up during dinner to refresh their drink.
Here is the table almost all set. I am still washing up silverware. As I live in the Rose Capital of course I had to have some roses for my centerpiece. There is a woman who sells roses outside one of the grocery stores and it is half a dozen for $2.50... seriously what a steal!!

Hopefully I will have a few more pictures of the food and some recipes to share early next week!
I hope everyone has a great weekend!

Tuesday, August 11

My First...

On Saturday I am going to be hosting my first adult dinner party and I am very excited about it and also a little nervous. We have had plenty of people over for dinner before or over to watch games, but this is not going to be a pizza and beer dinner like those were. This will be an actual formal sit down dinner and that stresses me just a bit.

I spent the weekend making sure that we had everything we needed in regards to dishes, silverware, napkins, etc. I decided I wanted to buy a few new things so I took a little trip to Bed, Bath, and Beyond which, as you all know, never actually is a little trip... seriously you could get lost in that place. Well we ended up buying a new tablecloth in ivory that I love, some cloth napkins in a sage that matches perfectly with my dishes, and a new glass pitcher. I really wanted some plate chargers, but shockingly I couldn't find ANY at BBB. Luckily Wal-mart of all places came through and I found some great basket-weave chargers that I love. Once I actually have a chance to set the table, I will take some pictures for sharing.

Here is our menu for the party, which I am really excited about!

Baked Brie with Roasted Garlic and Sun-Dried Tomatoes
Spinach and Bacon Salad
Chicken with Pesto Cream Sauce
Green Beans with Carmelized Onions and Almonds
Roasted Ricotta Roma Tomatoes
Rosemary Bread
White Chocolate Bread Pudding

I went with a sort of Italian theme and I am just hoping everything goes smoothly with the cooking. If I have a chance to take pictures of some of the dishes, I will share the recipes.

Now I am off to do more organizing around the house and I have a few more errands to run to prepare for the weekend.

Hope everyone has a great week and look for pictures early next week from the dinner party!

Sunday, August 9

Show Us Your Life - Wedding Reception and Honeymoon!

Well I know I am a few days late, but we left right after I got off of work on Friday and headed to Shreveport for the night just to get away. Unfortunately I have no pictures from that little get away since I left my camera at home! I really have to stop doing that.

Anyway, over at Kelly's Korner on Friday, it was Show Us Your Life- Wedding Receptions and Honeymoons! We had a blast at our wedding reception and I would love to go back to it and enjoy it all again! We had our reception at River Oaks in Lafayette, LA and they were absolutely wonderful during the planning and the event. I would recommend them to anyone that is getting married in Lafayette.

Here are a few pictures from the day... Here we are toasting with the wedding party... This is after it took quite awhile to get the champagne open... it was such a pain!
I was serenaded by my BIL and his best friend. They know I am the biggest Heath Ledger fan ever and did a great rendition of Can't Take My Eyes Off of You by Frankie Valli. You know the one Heath sings in the grandstands. Oh how I love that part of the movie. Oh and I don't have a picture of it, but half way through Keith slide across the floor on his knees... Funniest Thing EVER!
Here is a picture with some of my friends from high school. Unfortunately we all live across the world so only a few of them were able to make it, but I was so glad that those that could did come!

Being the big kids that we are, we went to Disneyworld for our honeymoon and loved every minute of it! We just knew that we couldn't spend a week laying on the beach as we get bored to easily, so we decided that we wanted to go somewhere that would keep us busy but still have the time to relax. We decided to wait a few months to go after the wedding since Keith was in school. We headed to Disney January 8-13 and let me tell you it was the best time ever to go! We waited at max for maybe 15 minutes the entire time we were there and the temperature was just perfect... you could wear jeans and shortsleeves and be perfectly comfortable. When we go back we are definitely going at that same time.
Unfortunately we also booked our vacation the same week that LSU was playing in the National Championship. Luckily we were able to watch the game at the ESPN zone that they have and after barely getting sat 5 minutes before the game, we were able to enjoy the Tiger WIN!

We were definitely the cheesy tourist the whole time we were there. We figured if we were going to be at Disneyworld, we were going to enjoy every minute of it! I wish I had a picture of us wearing our Just Married buttons, those got us all kinds of free stuff! It was great!
We definitely stood in the lines to get our pictures taken with the characters! I think we have one with just about every character that was there, but this was one of our favorites. We actually have it us in our house... yeah we are dorks we know!
And to end our rememberance of our trip to Disney, I leave you with Keith trying to get the sword out of the stone at the Magic Kingdom... no luck... the sword is still there.

Thursday, August 6

Another Book Suggestion

So today I finished another wonderful book that I just had to recommend to everyone out that wants to read about an amazing friendship. "The Girls from Ames" is about the 40 year long friendship of 11 women and it is just simply wonderful. I seriously could not put it down and more than once did I tear up a bit! It is a must read!

While reading this book, I couldn't help but think of my own sort of Girls from Ames friendship that I have with my friends from high school. I love these girls dearly and could not imagine my life without them. They helped so much in shaping the person that I am today and I thank them for that.
This is us on the last day of our sophomore year of high school. We became close friends that year and on that day we would have never known what was in store for us. Together we have been through more ups and downs than most high school friends go through in their lives. We have been through the death of a parent, death of friends, more boyfriends than 9 girls ever need to have, 1 high school graduation, 9 college graduations, 6 weddings, one birth, and awaiting the birth of 2 more. I wouldn't change our friendship for anything.

This is the last picture of all of us together. One day, when we are all rich and able to spend frivolous amounts of money on nothing I pray that we can all be together again and spend just a weekend remembering the good times together and talking about our lives apart.

I love you girls!

Monday, August 3

Just A Quick Update...

As of August 17th... I will no longer just be a part time employee working at a job a 16 year old could do! WOOHOO! I finally got a real big girl job again and am so excited!

So what and where am I going to be you ask... I will be working at the University of Texas Health Science Center here in Tyler, doing really what is a little bit up in the the air, but I will be employed by the University Physicians office (basically like Faculty Affairs) and I am just very ready and up for the challenge!

I will pass along more info as soon as I get started and into things! I am just so glad to be working full time again especially since Keith is gone quite a bit.

So I hope everyone else is having as good a week as I am and I will keep you updated on the new employment!

Have You Tried This...

Cause if you haven't you really should. I mean who doesn't love the fact that you no longer have to get in your car and drive all the way to Sonic to get a Cherry Limeade! It seriously made my day yesterday!