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Archive for March, 2011

Broccoli Soup with Crusty Herb Bread

Yesterday brought torrential rains and endless clouds in the sky and I could think of nothing better to warm the soul than a bowl of broccoli cheddar soup and crusty herb bread. 
Now for the soup I didn’t do anything fancy. I have to admit it was from a mix, all I did was add two heads of sauteed broccolini. It gives it a more hearty taste and livens it up a little. 

Let’s be honest… the real show stopper of this meal was the crusty herb bread. I saw this recipe on Joy the Baker, and have been dying to try it ever since. It’s super easy and SUPER yummy.
Just whip up the buttery spread…
Don’t be shy, you can’t put too much of this stuff. Trust me.
Throw it in the oven until it is golden brown and smelling delicious. When you pull it out of the oven it will look something like this…

If you make this bread, don’t try and be all hoity-toity and just nibble on a little piece. Go ahead, eat like no one’s looking. Don’t stop to wipe your fingers or dab at the crumbs on your face, just stuff it in there. Then go snuggle on your couch and listen to the rain fall. The end.
Photos by {Blue Eyed Yonder}

Not So Vegan Herb Bread

1 fresh baguette

3 tbsp unsalted butter, softened
3 tbsp coarsely chopped parsley
1 clove garlic
1 tbsp olive oil
3 tbsp fresh grated Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper to taste
Place rack in the upper third of the oven and preheat to 350 degrees F.
On a clean cutting board, use a fork to mash together softened butter, garlic, and chopped parsley. Once incorporated, drizzle the olive oil over the butter mixture and work in the olive oil. Add the parmesan cheese, salt and pepper and incorporate with the fork.
Slice baguette into thick slices, not slicing all the way through the loaf, but keeping the slices connected. Spread parsley butter in between bread slices. Wrap baguette in foil and bake for 10 minutes, or until butter is melted and fragrant.
Remove from oven and serve immediately.

Posted 3/10/11, Topic: Eats

Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting

Forgive me father for I have sinned. 
Holy moly, this cake is one for the books! It’s the perfect marriage of bananas and peanut butter. I mean, who doesn’t love ‘nanners and peanut butter?
Two layers of moist banana cake…
packed with peanut butter cream cheese frosting and sliced bananas…
… and then topped with more frosting and banana slices.
I promise, this cake won’t sit pretty for long. While baking, the smell of warm bananas filled the air. Combine that with the tempting smell of the peanut butter and you can imagine us basically waiting oven-side for this cake to be ready.
There’s just one little thing, the cake has to chill in the freezer for 45 minutes. So just make sure you don’t start baking this beauty too late at night. Uh-hem, not that I would know anything about that.

Banana Cake with Peanut Butter Cream Cheese Frosting
Adapted from Tasty Kitchen

FOR THE CAKE:

1-½ cup Mashed Ripe Bananas (the riper, the better)
2 teaspoons Lemon Juice
3 cups Flour
1-½ teaspoon Baking Soda
¾ cups Butter
2 cups Sugar
3 whole Eggs
2 teaspoons Vanilla
1-½ cup Buttermilk

FOR THE FROSTING:
10 ounces, weight Cream Cheese, softened
½ cups Butter, softened
⅔ cups Smooth Peanut Butter, or to taste
2 tbsp Milk
2 tsp Vanilla
5 cups Powdered (10x) Sugar
Bananas, Sliced lengthwise, to add between cake layers

Preheat oven to 275ºF. Grease and flour pans. (Cake works well in most size pans: 9×13, 2 – 9″ round pans, or even as cupcakes.) Mash ripe bananas well, adding lemon juice and set aside. Mix together flour and baking soda, set aside.

In a mixer, cream together the butter and sugar until light and fluffy. Add eggs 1 at a time, beating well after each. Add vanilla extract.

Gradually beat in flour mixture, alternating with buttermilk, ending with flour. Add the mashed bananas and gently stir to combine. Pour batter into greased pan(s) and bake for 1 hour or until an inserted toothpick comes out clean.

Once the cake as baked, remove from the oven and place in the freezer for 45 minutes.

For the icing, combine cream cheese, butter and peanut butter in a mixer. Mix well until totally blended. Slowly add in the powdered sugar until you reach your desired consistency.

Once cakes have completely cooled, add a thin layer of frosting to the top of the first layer and arrange sliced bananas. Top sliced bananas with the second layer of cake. Begin frosting by applying a “crumb coat” (thin layer of frosting to catch crumbs and keep them out of the final frosting). After crumb coat, apply the additional frosting until desired look is achieved. Garnish with fresh sliced bananas.

Store in the fridge, taking the cake out about 30 minutes before serving to come to room temperature.

Photos by {Blue Eyed Yonder}

Posted 3/9/11, Topic: Blog

The Aftermath

Because it’s just too funny not to share…

I promised to keep it real. Well, there ya have it. When I get into a project I jump in all the way, my poor little townhouse is the one who suffers. No worries though, she’s all nice and tidy now… maybe a little too tidy. Hmm, must mean another project is brewing.

Posted 3/8/11, Topic: Blog

Wedding Bells a-ringin’: John + Lindsey

This past weekend, Atlanta skies were filled with clouds, rain and blustery wind, but that didn’t dampen the spirits at John and Lindsey’s wedding. There was enough love and happiness in that place to shake off even the toughest winter chill. 
You see, John and I have been friends since 9th grade. We had all the same classes, many of the same friends and enough in common to sit in his driveway and talk for hours on end. Needless to say, he’s one of my best friends. We have the type of friendship that time doesn’t change. We can go months without seeing or talking to each other and then pick back up like we haven’t skipped a beat.
When I heard the news of his engagement, I was so happy for him and couldn’t wait to help in any way. I was beyond flattered when his mom asked me to help with the florals at the rehearsal dinner. 

The dinner was held at the historic Mary Gay House in Decatur, Georgia. With the home’s quintessential Southern charm, I just knew the center pieces should be soft and romantic, with a bit of a vintage vibe. I used vintage mason jars with white disbud footballs, white ranunculus, seeded and weeping eucalyptus with a touch of dusty miller. Soft, lush, gorgeous.
Each table number was adorned with a different combination of twine, buttons and doily embellishments. The stands were created from the lids of paper mache trinket boxes. Just a quick slice down the middle and it made a perfect table card holder. 
John’s mother made homemade jam and fig preserves to accompany the arrangements on the table. It was a Southern feast for the eyes, y’all.
Words can’t explain how much it meant to me to have a part in John and Lindsey’s big day. Just seeing the smiles on their faces as she walked down the aisle. Just when I thought John’s dimples couldn’t get any deeper! I have never seen him so happy. 
A big congrats to you two love birds. May this happy day be the first of many, many more. 
Photos by {Blue Eyed Yonder}

Posted 3/8/11, Topic: Blog

Paint on Canvas

It’s inevitable. As we travel, we’re faced with an abundance of meaningless, mass-produced souvenirs. From the airport to rest stops, stores are packed with key chains, shot glasses, snow globes and of course those teeny little spoons. Now, I have to admit, I’ve been guilty of buying these little trinkets over the years, but in the end just how much meaning can a keychain stamped “Made in China” have?

The next time you and your sweetie hit the road, why not bring back something with a story of its own. Dig down deep, find that artist hidden inside of you and paint a memory the two of you won’t soon forget. You don’t have to be a snazzy artist, it’s actually more fun if you’re not.

When Mr. Blue Eyed Yonder and I planned our anniversary trip, we knew we wanted to bring home something special, something that really spoke of the memories of our first anniversary and our first trip to France. With plans to visit St. Remy de Provence, once home to Vincent Van Gogh, we decided what better way to capture that memory than to paint it – a la Van Gogh style.

What You Will Need:
Two small art canvases
Package of small art brushes
Artist board or paper plate
Acrylic paint set
Small cloth to dry brushes
Glass of water for brush rinsing

You should know I’m a busy-body and when I travel I like to pack in as much as possible. If there’s a sight to be seen, I want to see it. So as you can imagine, it was a little hard for me to give up an afternoon to just sit around and paint. But would you believe, this was one of my favorite memories of the entire trip!

It gave me the opportunity to slow down and just live in the moment. We spent the afternoon lounging in the warm sun, eating pastries we picked up at the morning market, while dabbing away at our paintings. We decided to both focus on the same lawn for our painting’s inspiration, but no peeking at each other’s work until the paintings were complete. This gave the project an element of surprise, which was fun.
A couple hours later… and voila!


Now we have these two similar, yet beautifully unique paintings to hang in our home. His being very detailed, fine-lined and meticulous while is mine more splotchy and abstract. Each such a perfect representation of us as individuals. Unpacking these canvases brought back a flutter of warm memories from our afternoon in St. Remy, memories I’m sure you can’t buy in a souvenir shop.

So whip out those artist boards and get inspired! Tell me – if you were to paint a memory with your sweetheart, what would you paint or where would you paint it? If the two of you have painted together before, by all means share your story!

Posted 3/6/11, Topic: Blog

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