Monday, March 24, 2014

the round up

by the way, some of the random goodness that has been happening:

We finally got a Chuy's!!! Seriously, I can't even explain how happy this made me -- delicious Tex-Mex finally to be had in North Carolina. I will eat all of their flour tortillas if you let me.  Also, look at that adorable caped corgi! I love this place. 

We won a cheese ball at trivia! We were at the Pinhook in Durham for awesome trivia and came in second and won a cheese ball! Can you even believe? Best trivia winnings ever.

Casey put both dogs in a box.  And they stood their like the good pups they are.  They weren't in time out or anything, just hanging out in a box...


Chloe was a party animal for Halloween.  Get it?! 

Jonathan made me many a feast, including this one -- eggplant parm, delicious! 


better together, but a tad ridiculous

I'm talking about Mac & Cheese and Sloppy Joe's (or Jeff's in our case).  Oh yes, why not turn Sloppy Jeff's into a casserole by topping it with Mac & Cheese?  Obviously it had to be done.  
This past fall was a cold one, so I was inspired to make some more ridiculous comfort foods. This one is pretty straight forward to make as well as being delicious, assuming you are comfortable making the two parts separately.  

Mac & Cheese Sloppy Jeff (Joe) Casserole Recipe

1 recipe Mac & Cheese mine has:
         1 1/4 cup macaroni noodles
         2 Tablespoons butter
         2 Tablespoons flour
         1 1/2 cups milk
         1/2 - 1 cup shredded cheese 
Extra shredded cheese for topping the casserole 

Preheat the oven to 425 degrees
Bring a pot of salted water to boil (for the pasta) and cook as directed; drain when done

While that is happening, make up some Sloppy Jeff's (vegetarian) or Joe's (I used my vegetarian recipe) and place in a 7 x 11 pyrex pan, like so:
Then head back to the Mac & Cheese: 

Melt the butter in a saucepan over medium-high heat
Then whisk in the flour and cook for 1 minute
Turn down the heat to medium and slowly pour in the milk
Continue to whisk frequently until the mixture begins to bubble and thicken 
Turn the heat down to low and slowly add in the cheese, as much as you like, which is obviously a lot
Once it is all melted and up to your desired cheese-level, mix in the drained cooked pasta:

Then spread that mac & cheese over your sloppy jeff's and top with some more cheese for a good crust

Bake the casserole for 25-35 minutes until golden on top

And then, enjoy!

Sunday, March 23, 2014

cabin camping in the mountains

last weekend we went camping.  it wasn't actually camping - we rented a cabin, but I kept calling it camping, because really, for me, it's the same thing.  We got a place near blowing rock, north carolina.  Jonathan & I joined the team late on Friday due to an exciting party (more on that later). 

Saturday we spent most of the day hiking the Julian Price Memorial Trail off of the Blue Ridge Parkway

We managed to get some decent photos of the group in front of Casey's VW bus, which is actually challenging with 6 people & 3 dogs

and then we set out on a lovely hike
with lots of mini waterfalls

on the way back to the cabin we hit up the Blowing Rock Brewing Company
They (along with a handful of B&Bs) cater to a weekender/resorty crowd in downtown Blowing Rock. The beer was fine -- not the best and not the worst, but certainly refreshing after an afternoon of hiking. (btw - we could sit outside with the dogs)

We basically did nothing except for lounge and eat for the rest of the day.  On Sunday on our way out of town we stopped at two more breweries: Fonta Flora Brewery in Morganton and Olde Hickory Brewery in, you guessed it, Hickory. Olde Hickory was good with lots of choices including some fancy ones like the 11% Bourbon Honey Stout Jonathan had. The atmosphere was less enticing as it's also a pretty large restaurant. 

Fonta Flora, however, was special.  
It's housed in a charming corner building with lots of open space but plenty of seating. It has a solid local crowd that filled the place pretty well for a Sunday afternoon in the South. The beer was delicious with a decent variety for a small setup. 
It's dog and people friendly -- they were all very lovely and friendly.  A friend of the brew team stopped by to hand out cupcakes and candied bacon because she was testing out some new recipes! I mean really people, a brewery with bacon?! What more do I need? (Nothing is the answer.) 

They are also trying cool things with beer and local ingredients to make things like a beet saison! I had their irish stout on nitro and it was awesome. Hopefully, we will be going back to this one sooner rather than later.  

I (obviously) highly recommend Fonta Flora if you are ever in the area.


happy hours

happy hours are wonderful of course but actually illegal in north carolina, for bars that is.  i kid you not, they think it encourages binge drinking... Ignoring the ridiculousness of this, the ban on drink specials means that we host our own, with lovely cocktails and treats. so each month, the ladies gather and we gab, sip, and munch, like so:

keep sipping ladies.


Saturday, March 22, 2014

book clutch -- part 2, sort of

A while ago Ashley and I began a three-part craft to make clutches from books.  The first part went pretty smoothly but then we were put on hold by her being in DC for the summer. 

Upon her return we attempted part 2, which was just to cut out the pages to form the cavity.  This seemed pretty straight forward. And I guess it is, but it's pretty time after one attempt and a hundred or so pages cut, the books are on hold.  

Thin books make for thin clutches...but they would have been done by now.


well, back from the break

i'm not going to even try. it's been a long time. life is busy, but good. so,
here are some pictures from today! look at me being on top of it!

Jonathan, Jen, Evan, and Tom all ran the Merge 25K this morning like crazy/impressive people.  Because what better way to celebrate 25 years of records than by running from Chapel Hill to Durham? I know. This is why I was support crew, along with Chloe of course.  They all rocked it with amazing times, despite all the hills this area brings.  Luckily, the weather was perfect, a beautiful 75 degrees today, giving me hope that spring is actually around the corner...even though we have snow predicted for Tuesday...But anywho, some pics:

Miss Chloe stealing the show, per the usual:

Miss Olive making the best face ever:

 Some of the crowd, soaking up the sun and beverages:

Hope you are enjoying the weekend and lovely weather!