Pot-Roast Hash

A few years ago, I tried the pot-roast hash at Bob Evans and fell in love.  I know it doesn't sound that amazing, but it is pot-roast, home fries, shredded cheese and eggs.  I made pot-roast last week, so over the weekend, Nick made the Bob Evans dish at home for us.



Nick and I have been trolling our local Goodwills looking for good deals and diamonds in the rough.  Our latest purchase was this mirror.  We knew it had great potential, and we were right.

Here is the before picture.  It has a great design, but the tan color was too drab for us.

We thought red would look much better!


 What do you think?  We put it next to our door, as an entryway kind of thing.  


Break Time

Sorry for the hiatus folks.  I have been working a lot of hours lately, and life has just gotten a little overwhelming here.

So, tomorrow I will be back with a great post about the mirror we snagged from Goodwill!!


Meatless Monday

"One eyed, one horned, flying purple people eater".....eggplants make me think of that song/ I'm very tired this morning lol.

Rigatoni with Eggplant and Pine Nut Crunch
from Bon Appetit

Nonstick vegetable oil spray
1 unpeeled large eggplant (1 1/2 to 1 3/4 pounds), cut into 1/2-inch cubes
2 medium yellow bell peppers, cut into 1/2-inch squares
2 cups grape tomatoes
3 large garlic cloves, divided
1/3 cup olive oil
2 cups (firmly packed) fresh basil leaves, divided
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan cheese, divided
1/4 cup pine nuts
1 28-ounce can whole tomatoes in juice
1 cup heavy whipping cream
1 pound rigatoni
1 pound whole-milk mozzarella cheese, cut into 1/2-inch cubes

Preheat oven to 425°F. Spray large rimmed baking sheet with nonstick spray; add eggplant and peppers. Cut tomatoes in half lengthwise; add to sheet. Using garlic press, squeeze 1 garlic clove onto vegetables. Drizzle vegetables with oil; toss. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Roast vegetables until tender, stirring often, 35 to 45 minutes.

Combine 2/3 cup basil, 1/2 cup Parmesan, pine nuts, and 1 garlic clove in mini processor. Blend until crumbly. Season topping with salt.

Blend tomatoes with juice, cream, 1 1/3 cups basil, and 1 garlic clove in processor until smooth. Season sauce with salt and pepper.

Cook pasta in pot of boiling salted water until just tender but still firm to bite, stirring occasionally; drain. Return to pot. Toss with vegetables, sauce, and 1/2 cup Parmesan. 

Transfer to 13x9x2-inch baking dish. Sprinkle with mozzarella and pine nut topping.

Bake pasta until heated through, 25 to 35 minutes. Let stand 10 minutes and serve.

- I made a few adjustments to this recipe.  We didn't use the pine nut crunch part.  Nick doesn't like pine nuts.  Also, we used dried basil, but I think it would have been better with fresh.


Window Box Dream'n

We have this cute little patio off of our apartment.  It is pretty large.  We have a round table and chairs out there for when it is nicer.  I've been thinking about putting some plants out there.  I can't decide if I should do a basic window box design-thing or something different.  Here are some pictures for my inspiration though.


On Our Nightstands: #4

I finally finished Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger.  I loved The Time Traveler's Wife and that inspired me to read this novel.  I also liked the idea of the story. 

A set of twins goes to London to live in their aunt's flat.  In her will, she left the twins her flat and instructions that their parents (their mother being her twin) not enter the flat and that the girls had to live there for a year before selling it.

I was intrigued.  

Now, however, I am depressed.  It was such a sad book in the end.  There were some triumphs and at least two happy endings, but they are all overshadowed by the sadness and mistakes.  I don't feel good about the book now that it is over.  I like that good feeling, you know the one, when a song is in a minor chord and then it finishes off in a happy major.  This book did the opposite.  It started out happy and just ended all minor-y on me.  

I am moving forward though.  Each read is an experience, and even if this one did give me a few nightmares, I'm glad I read it.

Next on the list is Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy.  I've always had a desire to read this novel.  I'm not sure why, but it has seemed like the book I would read when I am grown up.  Odd, I know, but I've decided it is time to tackle it.

During all of this, Nick read The Last Hero by Terry Pratchett and is listening to Thud by Terry Pratchett on his i-Pod.  



Until a few years ago, I did not really like lasagna.  I'm not sure why.  I'm a huge pasta, meat and marinara fan, so I don't know what caused me to dislike lasagna.  

During my junior year of college, however, I made my first lasagna, just to try it out.  Now I can't get enough.  It is on Nick and I's short list of dinners to get us through the week.  With only two of us to feed, lasagna keeps us fed for two dinners and Nick's lunches for almost a whole week.  

One-Step Lasagna with Sausage and Basil
from Bon Appetit

3/4 pound lean ground beef
1/2 pound Italian sausage, casings removed (we just use ground sausage)

1 26-ounce jar thick spaghetti or marinara sauce
1 1/2 cups water
1/2 cup chopped fresh basil (we typically use dried)
1 1-pound box of lasagna noodles
1 15-ounce container part-skim ricotta cheese
1 pound mozzarella cheese, coarsely grated (we buy shredded)
1 cup grated Parmesan cheese

Preheat oven to 350 F. Saute beef and sausage in heavy large skillet over medium-high heat until cooked through, breaking up meats with back of spoon, about 4 minutes.  Transfer meats to a bowl.

Combine spaghetti sauce, water and basil in large bowl. Spread 1 1/2 cups sauce mixture in bottom of 13x9x2-inch glass baking dish. Arrange 1/3 noodles, slightly overlapping if necessary, atop sauce. Spread half of ricotta over noodles. Sprinkle with half of mozzarella cheese, half of meat mixture and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Top with 1 1/2 cups sauce. Repeat layering with noodles, ricotta, mozzarella, meats and 1/4 cup Parmesan cheese. Arrange remaining noodles over. Spoon remaining sauce over, covering completely. Sprinkle with remaining 1/2 cup Parmesan. Cover tightly with heavy-duty foil. Place on baking sheet.

Bake until noodles are tender and lasagna is heated through, about 1 hour. Uncover; let stand 15 minutes. (Can be prepared 1 day ahead. Rewarm covered in 350°F. oven about 45 minutes. ) Cut lasagna into squares and serve.


Meatless Monday...FAIL

"The best laid plans of mice and men oft go awry."- Of Mice and Men, Steinbeck

So, I've had this awesome dish of pasta, eggplants, yellow bell peppers and cheese planned.  I bought all of the ingredients and was ready...but I never made it.  

The recipe is from the latest issue of Bon Appetit.  I hope to be making it this evening for dinner, and tell you all about it next Monday.  

I'll be back tomorrow though, with a great post!


The Nest Love

Back when I was planning our wedding, I was crazy about The Knot.  It provided me with checklists and programs to put my guest list in.  It also gave me more inspiration than I needed.  

After the wedding, I started getting emails from The Nest, their newly married counterpart.  I ignored the emails initially, but have come to really enjoy the information provided on the site.  The have information ranging from weeknight meals to how to handle your money to decorating.  

Here are some of my favorite living rooms from The Nest.  Don't they seem so cozy?

We are working on finding our design style right now.  So I am trying to find all of the inspiration I can, filter through it, and then show it to Nick.



So I've had this dream, to own an Inn.  It all started with my obsession with Gilmore Girls.  I love this show.  It is witty, smart and the mother daughter relationship between Lorelai and Rory is very similar to my relationship with my mother.

In the show, Sookie and Lorelai open an Inn together.  It is beautiful and amazing, and I want to own one...someday.  

The idea of feeding people and giving them a place to rest is very appealing to me.  I want my inn to be on the smaller side.  Maybe 20 rooms or so.  It will have a big library/sitting room and dining room.  The furniture will be comfy and welcoming.  The whole idea just makes me happy and warm inside.  

Nick is on board with the idea too.  Every once in a while, when we make an amazing breakfast, he will say "this will be perfect for our inn."  

In my dream, Nick and I live nearby.  Near enough to solve problems, but far enough away that we have a life separate from the inn.  We can't decide if we should wait to own the inn until we are older or if it is something we want to do when we still have kids in the house.

Either way, there is a lot that we need to do before we can own an inn.  For one, we need to save.  I also need more experience.  Have I mentioned before that I graduated with a degree in Hospitality and Food Management.  I've got a lot of food knowledge, but I need to learn more on the hotel/hospitality side before we jump into this endeavor.  

What dreams do you have?



Nick and I have lived in our current location for about 7 months now.  The town we live in is one of those Midwest towns that was really thriving during the industrial age, but has been on the downward slope for a while now.  It has the classic strip of fastfood chains and Old Navy-esque shops, but it also has a "bad" side of town.  

At any rate, we haven't truly explored the area yet.  Today, we decided to check out the local library because we love books and reading and libraries (in all honesty) and we weren't sure why we hadn't gone yet.

Let me just say, this library went way beyond what we were expecting.  It was amazing!  Three stories of wall to wall books.  We fell in love.  

Now I'm already reading a typical Lauren-style fiction novel, but I wanted some pretty design books and cookbooks to look through.  Here is what I grabbed today.

I can't wait to start looking through all of these amazing sources of inspiration.   


Etsy Fun

I love Etsy.  I realize that most people know about it and love it just as much as I do, but I love discovering new stores.  My current favorite is lalbert.

Here are some of my favorite prints.

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