Thursday, February 28, 2013

Oooooooh it was SO good.

I made that minestrone I kept talking about on Tuesday night. I had heard someone mention a butternut squash minestrone and I thought it sounded like exactly my kind of soup. It WAS! The bread I made went nicely with it, but I was still unimpressed with my first homemade bread adventure; the dough didn't rise very much at all so it was a dense little loaf - good for butter and soup.

No pictures, by the way, but I am going to get up the recipe!

Butternut Squash Minestrone

1 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped carrots
1/2 cup chopped celery
 * I had no celery and I had a lot of carrots, so in went about 2 cups of carrots and no celery*
28 ounces of chicken or vegetable broth...* I ended up putting in 4 cups which is more than the 28 ounces*
1 cup water
2 cups diced butternut squash {or any winter squash or sweet potato}
1 tsp dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon dried basil
salt and pepper to taste
1 28 ounce can of diced tomatoes, undrained
1 15 ounce can of Great Northern beans {or another white bean}, rinsed and drained
1 10 ounce bag of fresh spinach, coarsely chopped or 1 box/bag frozen chopped spinach defrosted and drained

In the large pot you plan on using for the soup, heat up about 1-2 tablespoons of olive oil and saute the mireopoix {onion, carrot, & celery mixture} {I added in some minced garlic here for extra flavor} until it's tender.

Add the broth, water, squash, oregano, basil, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and beans.

Bring to a boil, cover, reduce heat, and simmer for 30 minutes or until the veggies are very tender. Stir in the spinach and cook until just wilted. 

The recipes I read online {this is from several} suggest this provides about 8 servings and I could definitely see that. It might be enough to freeze half which is always a good thing.

Garnish with parmesan cheese if you like that sort of thing.
xoxo, natty ♥

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Biscuits for baby.

Baby dog that is. 

And he isn't even a baby anymore.

For Christmas this year my sweet cousin gave me a bag of home-made dog biscuit mix. She's in the eighth grade and I loved this gift so much, probably more than Guinness.
Ready for the oven!

I had meant to put these things together since we got home but kept putting it off. It was only the dry ingredients that she gave me so all I had to do was add in the good stuff {cheese, butter, an egg}, knead, cut, and bake.

They're in the oven right now and I hate to admit it but they smell sooooooo good. It makes me want to bake some cheesy bread/crackery stuff.

Actually, I am attempting bread tonight. It's in the microwave trying to rise. The soup planned out on Sunday got scrapped for tuna melts but we have no bread in the house. Since it's one of the nastiest days we've ever had, weather-wise { steady and heavy rain, in the low 40s, very windy}, I thought the idea of baking bread seemed warmer and nicer than walking to the store. 

But it didn't rise in it's first go round - did I knead it too much? It's gonna go in the oven no matter what but we may end up with something very dense for tuna melts.

Oh well. At least our apartment smells nice.
xoxo, natty ♥

Monday, February 25, 2013

For the birds.

It was a breezy and chilly weekend but there are some great things going on.
Is there ANYTHING better than Christmas morning?
Let's think about them! 

1} The birds. I'm hearing them sing more and more in the mornings and in the afternoons and if there ever were a harbinger of spring, it's them and their song.

2} I still have up my valentine's decorations and the reflections of paper hearts all over our apartment is a sweet eye-catcher.

3} There's a Dar Williams Pandora station playing in my home right now. I love her voice and her lyrics and I love the dear sweet friend who introduced her music to me {in the Bigelow basement at Mac}.

4} I've got some soda bread coming up in the near future...if there ever were a thing to smear with butter!

5} Our apartment came furnished but we also came as somewhat newlyweds with our beloved wedding gifts. The owner has a family member in the area who is willing to store the things we don't need {mostly plates and cookware since we have our own [obvi] and there's practically zero storage in our abode} and a couple of weekends ago we finally took over the goods. I might have mentioned this but it deserves a reiteration since our little apartment feels much more open and less cluttered to me; that is a Good Thing.

What are you up to this week? Have you been running through the ice and snow? Are you still making soup dinners like we are? Did you watch the Academy Awards last night? Do you also love Dar Williams?!

Happy week!
xoxo, natty ♥

Sunday, February 24, 2013

For to be eaten!

What's on the menu this week folks?

Sunday: As a semi-vegetarian these days, I still crave meat some times so tonight we had boneless pork ribs in cream of mushroom soup, rice, and asparagus.

Monday: I think I might finally try that butternut squash minestrone I mentioned last week. I had a hankering for pasta on the day I was supposed to make this.

Tuesday: Leftovers, please.

Wednesday: Mikey's got soccer on this night so I might do the pasta thing again since he isn't a huge fan of these particular carbs.

Thursday: I think I'm going somewhere this night so maybe, hopefully, leftovers from the night before? There's also a masala curry simmer sauce in a jar that I have which I could crockpot with some bell peppers this day.

Friday: Pumpkin black bean soup {thanks Becs!}. I have several cans of pumpkin in the cabinet that should be put to use.

Saturday: Sunchoke soup.

Lots of soups on the agenda this's not freezing but I think we're still in warm soup territory.

Have a peaceful and productive week Dear Reader!
xoxo, natty ♥

Saturday, February 23, 2013


It's raining today in a very drizzly {gross} sort of way. But. I persisted and got out for a run this morning {glory BE!}. Then I walked to pick up our CSA haul for the next two weeks {lettuce! eggs! apples!}. After a home-made brunch and some thank you note writing, I'm still enjoying being inside and away from the weather. This American Life is playing on the radio and I'll start some earnest primping in the next hour or so. We're going to a dinner type-thing tonight and girlfriend's gotta look good. Or at least try.
I hope that your weekend is going well and do you have any idea what we could possibly do with so many apples?!?! I've earmarked several recipes in my Joy of Cooking but I'm worried it won't be enough...
xoxo, natty ♥

Friday, February 22, 2013


I have today off which is always a lovely thing. On the agenda? Not much =)I'll be in search of a dress for a thing we're going to tomorrow evening and tonight we have reservations at a restaurant in our neighborhood {an actual date night?!?!}. We got a gift card for this restaurant {thanks Mom & Dad-in-law!} which is a wonderful gift idea because it gives us a chance to try somewhere we probably wouldn't normally {we're a very cautious sort of person}. This place is pretty popular so our dinner starts at 5:30 which is a-OK with me because part of being cautious is a strong need to be in my home after 8 PM.
On that agoraphobic note - have a great Friday!
xoxo, natty ♥

Thursday, February 21, 2013


From "A Return to Love" by Marianne Williamson.

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness, that most frightens us. 
We ask ourselves, who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.
Your playing small doesn't serve the world.
There's nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people won't feel insecure around you.
We are all meant to shine, as children do.
We are born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us.
It's not just in some of us, it's in everyone.
And as we let our own light shine,
we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others.


In my cleaning earlier this week I came across a piece of paper that I've been holding onto since May. It's the program for our senior goodbye luncheon that we do at my old school and on the back of the actual program/order of events, there's usually something inspirational/uplifting/etc.. I really liked what was printed this past year and it was something I had heard snippets of before but when I got it in writing, with the author's name, I made sure to haul that piece of paper everywhere {across the country} with me until I could do something like copy it onto my blog. Now I think I'll actually put it up on our fridge or tape it to my mirror but for cyber-perpetuity, here it is.

I think what I like so much is the idea of not being afraid to excel. It's not a fear I've ever thought I've had, but when I roll it around in my mind, I guess I have. I guess I do. I think that fear might manifest itself in a variety of different ways, each unique to the individual experiencing it. I'm not eloquent enough to really encapsulate what I feel when I read this but it's good and inspired and motivated and I want to feel that way as often as I can. I also respond well to a bit of tough love from time to time and I appreciate the idea that my pity parties really don't do a dang thing for a dang person.

Somethings to keep in mind from time to time.

On that note, I wish you all a peaceful beginning to your weekend.
xoxo, natty ♥

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Le Menu.

As glorious and decadent as it would be for us, I don't think we'll ever again have the privilege of eating/carrying out for dinner several nights a week. There was a time {when we were living with family} that we rocked that lifestyle but, then again, we were living with family.

With that in mind, I actually really enjoy cooking. Yes, there are nights where I dread the daunting task of taking care of dishes {because it's a necessity to have an empty sink and dishwasher before one can begin any food preparation} and I don't relish putting away left-overs but on a whole, I really love my little kitchen and the things that come out of it.

I've seen other bloggers do the weekly menu thing and I think I might take a stab at it, though I'll spare you pictures. I've been trying to keep a hand-written weekly menu to help with grocery shopping but I kind of like the idea of having them here {and sorted by electronic label} so that I can go back and recreate something delicious.

Without further ado, this week:

Sunday: hhhhmmm...I can't remember! Oh yes, veggie stir fry and rice. We didn't use any special sauce or anything, just S&P, a drop of sesame oil, and soy sauce. Future amendment: add a protein - this dish was all carbs and veggies.

Monday: lentil soup in the crockpot; I used Trader Joe's ready-made lentils {which are great} and threw in some left over cooked greens, carrots, and mushrooms. It's a broth based soup. To start it, though, I sauteed some onions and garlic in a regular pan and threw in a generous teaspoon of cumin to toast at the end, then I transferred it all to the slow cooker. Salad and steamed artichokes on the side.

Tuesday: Mikey made mushroom melts using the peppers that they sell at Potbelly's sandwiches. And steamed baby bok choy.

Wednesday: I heard about butternut squash minestrone somewhere and I have designs on attempting this soup for Wednesday.

Thursday: Leftovers, hopefully, because I have an evening meeting and would like to eat before I go.

Friday: Date night! At a real live restaurant.

Saturday: This is kind of another date night. We're going to an event for the school I'm working at. Dinner may or may not be involved. If not, probably we'll do something easy-sloppy like boxed mac & cheese {at least it's Annie's!}.

Do you compile a weekly menu Reader? Is it helpful? Something to look back at?
And to finish off this post, last night I watched Season 1 Episode 2 of Downton Abbey and I'm hooked.
xoxo, natty ♥

Monday, February 18, 2013

Getting things done.

I had a day off today so I finally {FINALLY} got my booty in gear and cleaned/organized/felt better about life in our apartment.
Each one of these had a random assortment of things in it before I cleaned today; clutter be gone!!
 In other news.

1} In all of that cleaning, I cleared off the top of our loooooong dresser {there's a lot of surface space and it easily and often gets eaten up by Many Sundry items. The left side of it is still the home of my make-up/jewelry things but this little project really did a lot for the feng shui of our sleeping room.

2} My hyacinth has been perfuming our apartment with a delightful scent for the past week or so. Some of the petals are starting to wither a bit but I believe we'll have at at least another solid week of its glorious odor.

3} Mike is busy a few nights this week which would be not a good thing but I can {again, finally} get into Downton Abbey. I'm way behind the times on this one, even coming from a BBC-aholic family {Masterpiece Mystery!} and I've only ever seen the very first episode of the very first season via Netfilx. Tonight, my friends, episode number two.

4} I've got the coffee pot set, lunch made, and maybe an outfit ready for tomorrow.

5} Spring is coming! Spring is coming? It's going to be kind of a gloomy week here, weather-wise, but I still can't help but notice longer days and some different sunshine angles; yea!

Also, I had mentioned last week a menu-type thing. I'm still thinking about it! 

How YOU doin' reader? I hope that you're enjoying whatever it is that this week is bringing to you, though if you're on one of those "Ski-Week" vacations {certain California schools}, I'll at least admit my jealousy.
xoxo, natty ♥

Sunday, February 17, 2013

101 in 1,001 January 2013 Update {FINALLY!}.

More than midway through February, here's a January 2013 update for  posterity's got a little hectic {new job} but I was at least thinking about all this.
Background reading:
You can read about what this is all about HERE.
HERE'S last month's post {the first monthly post}.
You can check out my Google document HERE, which I'll try to update a bit more than once a month.
Goals complete: 1/101
Goals in progress: 9/101

In the past month...

I accomplished:

#88 Subscribe to a magazine...this one was unanticipated! I actually got a subscription as a gift but I'll count it!

Things begun/in progress {an "*" implies a regular monthly/weekly goal}:  

#38 Read four books a year...this one was unanticipated! I read "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian" by Sherman Alexie. I'll be putting a little bit of a review up here I believe.
#61 * Call my grandmother once a week.
#63 * Talk to my parents once a week.
#64 * Go to mass or another spiritual/meditative event twice a month.
#69 * Call a friend once a week.
#73 * Go on a date with my husband once a month...I cannot remember exactly where but it happened.

#77 Celebrate my birthday and continue our birthday traditions 
#81 * Send a handwritten note to someone once a month...I sent early Valentine's in January and that counts!
#82 See four movies in the theaters each year...this one was unanticipated! We saw "Zero Dark Thirty".
#95 Walk Guinness once a week.

Things that did not happen that I had hoped to accomplish:

#29 * Back up my computer once a month. 
#24 Cancel our cable TV.
#36 Quit Facebook.
#41 Update this list each month...uh-oh.
#87 Try dramatic eye-make-up for a night {maybe my birthday?!}

In the next month I'd like to begin/accomplish {apart from regular monthly/weekly}:

#24 Cancel our cable TV.
#36 Quit Facebook.

I'm keeping it pretty simple for February, especially considering it has only 11 more days left. I think that #24 might be difficult what with March Madness coming up and Mad Men beginning in April.
xoxo, natty ♥

Saturday, February 16, 2013

In the hopper.

I've got a bit in the works for tomorrow...but until then, Happy Saturday!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Three days!

Some professional development and work and mushroom melts for dinner: I'm ready for the weekend!!
xoxo, natty ♥

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Baby berry.

I was making some chocolate covered strawberries tonight and I found this little guy at the bottom of the container.
Happy Valentine's Day y'all!
xoxo, natty ♥

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Dirty window.

xoxo, natty ♥

Tuesday, February 12, 2013


Here's what I was talking about yesterday.
Hopefully the amaryllis keeps shooting up and gives us some pretty blossoms soon.
Are you watching the State of the Union? We recorded it because we stopped focusing and started harassing the dog which means Bed Time.
xoxo, natty ♥

Monday, February 11, 2013


I didn't get any pictures but my days {Saturday, yesterday, today} have been so exciting because my amaryllis is starting to shoot up! #easilypleased
Monkey Island Closing, 1995ish.
In other Good News.

1} Day Light Savings Time is a mere month away! Longer days here we come!
2} We're finally starting to see the end of our extreme potato collection; the CSA we belong to has been showering us with these guys. 
3} In connection with #2, Mike came up with preparing twice-baked potatoes and they've been so good; thanks sweetie!
4} I'm thinking up a weekly menu that I might like to post; lucky you Reader! More on that soon.
5} It's Lunar New Year. I love any chance for new beginnings and celebrations. I also miss the candies one of my dear old coworkers used to bring for this holiday; I miss you all at that place where I used to work!

What're YOU up to this week Reader? Are you digging yourself out of some snow {Fence & Andrew!}?
xoxo, natty ♥

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Hearts afire.

Our neighborhood window display for the month of February.
I was not disappointed!
xoxo, natty ♥

Saturday, February 9, 2013

Cold day.

It was chilly here today folks! But not much to complain about considering other places right now.
It's also a good 'ol regular type of weekend: errands, catching up, sleeping, TVing, and hanging out.
I hope you yourself are also having a lovely few days!
xoxo, natty ♥

Friday, February 8, 2013

Get me outta this RUT!

I'm in an undesirable holding pattern these days.
In December I got off of my running because I was at home and busy and then I got whatever the he&* it is that made me cough for three straight weeks. And be congested. And ache. And everything else.
Then January was a bit of a cold blur and I had a couple of job interviews. Then I started a new job last week. Then they sent me to Georgia last weekend. And then my body started to remember what it's like to be a teacher, talking and whatnot, on my feet {just about}.
Mike has been helping a great deal, even though he just began a new semester, but I'm still dragging. 
But I feel gross. I'm not running and on my day off today, I slept. Literally, the nap count surpassed just one which is not something I like to allow unless it's New Year's Day and there's a legitimate excuse {I fell asleep around 10:30 last night, not a bit evening out by any stretch of the imagination}.
So, I'm looking for a bit of accountability. If I get it put down here maybe I'll be more apt to drag my languishing self out of doors for a bit of movement.
On that note, happy Friday!
xoxo, natty ♥

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Guinness says:

Happy Thursday!
In my current gig, Thursday is the new Friday so I'm most certainly feeling the love today.
The little hound joined me on the couch for a power nap before heading to a talk at Mike's school and then a quick dinner.
And now we're home.
Over and out.
xoxo, natty ♥ 

Wednesday, February 6, 2013


xoxo, natty ♥

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Tuesday, Tuesday.

It has been a day and I got home late so there's not much I can say right now...more later this week!
xoxo, natty ♥

Monday, February 4, 2013


Y'all, Ive been dazzled.


Savannah, I dare say, is one of my All-Time-Favorite places and I was only there over a long weekend for a work conference; imagine the future trip and visiting possibilities!
These gutter fish {& many other Victorian/Southern embellishments are all over the place in Savannah. The gift shops even sell heavy-duty plastic versions of this guy for you to take home.
 In Other Good News.

1} I made it home safely; something for which I always say a little thanks.
2} It's February!
3} I'm back in education! If you're curious, let me know, I'll fill you in.
4} I'm ready for bed and it's not yet 9 PM; yesterday's travel and such didn't leave me well rested for today and the prospect of my dear old bed is making me downright giddy.
5} There are some more teacher workshops I might be checking out this weekend.

What's new in your neck if the woods Reader? Snow? Sleet? Spanish Moss? 
No matter what, have a fantabulous week!
xoxo, natty ♥

Sunday, February 3, 2013

How beautiful.

What must this place be like at the height of spring when everything is green and it's not too hot and there are jasmine and magnolia everywhere?
I think I would never leave!
This has been a wonderful little weekend in Savannah and I'm so grateful for this experience.
In the next week I'll hopefully get up some more pictures and a bit of an explanation of our ghost tour as well as a 101 in 1,001 update.
Let's go 49ers!!!!
xoxo, natty ♥

Sitting in a drag show crying.

Tonight, on a whim, we went to Lady Chablis' show. If you've read the book Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil then you'll know to whom I'm referring. If you haven't, then please read this book {it's one I've loved for a while, far before arriving in Savannah}.
I had a delightful time watching the performers sing and dance and interact with the audience. I laughed SO hard. And as wont to happen to me every once and a while when I have these joie de vivre moments, I started to tear up, y'all! What is up with that? I think that when or if I'm in a moment that finds me and full of life, it spills over. It's not like a sob-fest, just a bit of lacrimal leaking.
Anyway, I'm exhausted and sore-throated from screaming and lauging so happy night y'all!
By the way, we did a ghost tour last night that was an amazing experience, mostly because our tour guide is, in his words, "a historian who went off the deep end 15 years ago." I'll try to recap that experience a bit later.
Let's go Niners!
xoxo, natty ♥

Friday, February 1, 2013

A month in pictures; January 2013.

 1. Joy. 2. Wicker. 3. Frango! 4. Bully. 5. Beware! 6. Bowl. 7. Red eyes. 8. REUNITED. 9. Looking at the window. 10. Salsita. 11. More Joy! 12. Alone on his chair. 13. Prognosticated. 14. Windows. 15. Amaryllis. 16. Flurries. 17. Pitchers. 18. Trouble. 19. Serving. 20. Bed. 21. Cold feet. 22. Birthday cupcake!!! 23. Blotter. 24. Snow-Snow-Snow-Snow. 25. Mac. 26. "Let's go bowling." 27. Stir-fried. 28. Slush. 29. Card catalog. 30. "Hola." 31. Sangria.
xoxo, natty ♥