Friday, September 12, 2014

Who wants to see a wedding video?

If you are anything like me your hand shot into the air when you read the title of this post.The real question is who doesn't want to see a wedding video? I am one of those people who will find a friend of a friends wedding video on Facebook and watch it. Then I tear up watching a 5 minute highlight of two people I have never met in my life getting married. I'm sentimental like that.

Anyway, you all probably saw my tweet yesterday saying I got my wedding highlight video back. I cried like a baby all day. It is one thing to actually live the day from your own bridal perspective, but another thing to see what everyone else was seeing. As a bride you don't get to see your bridal party walk down the aisle, or see if the cute ring bearer and flower girl were nervous (they were but they did great!) Basically you just hide with so much anxiety until it is your turn. Then you see it all at once and try to digest it all as you walk down the aisle. Needless to say i was thrilled to finally see what was happening while I was hiding.

Now what kind of blogger would I be if I wrote an entire post about our wedding video but didn't share it? A terrible one. So because I love all of you, and this video I am sharing 6 minutes of our special day with you.


Wednesday, September 10, 2014

One Pot Southwest Pasta

Hey guys! I am here with your weekly recipe that has been used in the Messmer home. As always, I am sharing a favorite from the week because I am not trying to share disgusting food. Also, I don't share food that is hard to make because I am really not that great in the kitchen and my laziness is just getting worse. So this week I went super easy with my dish but that does not mean it wasn't super delicious.

I have implemented a new meatless Monday tradition over here because as much as we love chicken, beef, and pork sometimes it is nice to experience other kinds of protein including beans. Black beans are a staple in this house. We use them in everything. So let me share this EASY recipe with almost no cleanup needed (does it get much better?)

Original recipe here
Ingredients 
  • 1 13.5 oz. box of whole wheat rotini (or any pasta)
  • 2 cups frozen corn kernels
  • 1 medium green bell pepper cut into thin strips
  • ½ medium red onion, sliced
  • 1 15 oz. can Rotel canned tomatoes and chilies (I used the Mexican blend with lime and cilantro)
  • ¼ cup taco seasoning
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 4 cups fat-free chicken broth
  • 1 15 oz. can black beans, drained and rinsed
  • ¼ cup Mexican cheese blend, plus more for topping
Directions
  1. Add all but the last 2 ingredients (beans and cheese) to a large pot. Stir, cover, and bring to a rolling boil.
  2. Reduce heat to medium-low and cook, covered, for 12-15 minutes, stirring occasionally. There should be ¼ to ½ inch of liquid in the bottom of the pot when it is done.
  3. Remove from heat. Stir in the black beans and cheese (optional). Let it rest for 5 minutes to warm the beans, melt the cheese, and absorb the excess liquid.



Monday, September 8, 2014

Go Natural: A Lifestyle Series

Today is the big day!
I teased about a big project and I am excited that the day is finally here so I can share our new lifestyle series with all of my readers! I am most excited that I get to take on this adventure with two of my favorite bloggers The Florkens and Notes from a Newlywed. At this point I think we have all teased about it enough individually, and we are finally ready to give you the full scoop about what we are doing.


The Series:
We have planned a lifestyle series specifically dedicated to taking steps to live a natural life. Every other week we will be posting about a specific topic that we feel is important. In our posts we will give product reviews, talk about chemicals that can be found in certain products, and even let you know what chemicals you should be looking out for. Our goal as a group is to help spread the knowledge. We aren't making any money from this series, or forcing you to participate in anything (although if you keep coming back you might find a surprise at the end) and we definitely are not trying to push our lifestyle choices on you. We just want everyone to leave our pages knowing a little more about going natural.

We are challenging you!
Sometime during this series journey, we hope you will make one switch from your regular routine (beauty, cleaning, food, etc.). Taking one step towards living a little more naturally will make you a healthier, happier person. Just that alone will make our crazy little natural-loving hearts spill over with pride. If even just one of you take on this challenge it will make the entire series worth every second of collaboration, research, and writing these posts.

About my Journey:
The past several years I have been taking steps to live a more natural lifestyle. I have dabbled with different aspects of the lifestyle change including going "no poo" (no shampoo) for over a year. The real desire didn't start until much more recently, when I wanted to clean out my fridge but I had no cleaning products in my house that I felt comfortable using where I keep my food. Since then I have slowly been changing little things in my life, one step at a time to make the transition easier. Eric and I have talked about it multiple times since then, and we agree that we want a chemical free home for our future children.

I think we all can agree that I like to do things the easy way. I am so lazy. I work from my couch, sometimes while watching Criminal Minds, and reheat whatever I have leftover from dinner the night before. I like minimal effort. Minimal effort is my way of life. So it is totally okay if you are at home thinking I am so tired of people preaching at me about this natural stuff. I get it. I am 23 and it was just a few years ago that I thought Taco Bell and Spaghetti O's were the dinners of champions. I am not here to preach to you about what you should do.

This series is going to be a bit different. I am not going to tell you to do anything. Instead, I am going to show you what works for me, then explain why I do it. I don't work for any of these brands, none of these posts will be sponsored, and most of all I am going to show you products that a newlywed can afford while searching for her first home. So basically if I can afford it as a broke-ass college graduate with student loans and a potential mortgage knocking on my door, so can you.

The truth is that if I didn't have people in my life who explained this lifestyle to me (including The Florkens and Notes from a Newlywed) I would be lost. There is a lot of information to know, and even a bit of science. So sit back and let us do all of the work for you.



Some of our topics include:
Makeup & cosmetics, cleaning products, medicine, and food.

There are a few topics I really look forward to touching on during the coming weeks and I am going to give you just a small sneak peek. So if you are interested in any of these, make sure to come back. 
  • "no poo" (no shampoo) -my experience and if it is worth it. 
  • essential oils- are they worth the investment? What can they be used for?
  • Natural medication - there is a natural prescription for that.

Friday, September 5, 2014

Cheesy Cajun Chicken Pasta

You thought I was gone didn't you? I'm not. It has just been a busy week. Believe it or not, I am preparing for a HUGE blog project that is in the works for next week. It also might include some other blog friends that you guys might know and love. While I prepare for the big reveal, and to keep my sanity I have been taking some "Casey time" (at least that's what Eric calls it). This doesn't mean that I forgot my promise to bring you guys a recipe a week! I am still in the kitchen on a nightly basis over here. So lets get started, shall we?

I'm Italian which means I love pasta. By I love pasta I mean sometimes I dream about pasta and bread at night. It is a curse and a wonderful blessing.  A curse because my body says please no while my mind gives in to the Thanksgiving lasagna served every year with our normal Thanksgiving turkey.

So today I am going to share a new favorite around our apartment. I know Eric is super happy to smell this one cooking when he comes home. It is seriously better than even going out for pasta! Here it is:

 Ingredients:
  • 8 ounces uncooked fettuccine
  • One large white onion cut in half and sliced
  • 1 medium green pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 1 medium sweet red pepper, cut into 1/4-inch strips
  • 2 cups cubed cut chicken
  • 2 Tablespoons olive oil
  • 2 teaspoons Cajun seasoning
  • 2 teaspoons minced garlic
  • 1 jar (15 ounces) alfredo sauce
  • 1/2 spaghetti sauce
  • 2 cups mozerella cheese
  • 1/2 grated parmesan cheese 

Directions: 
  • Cook fettuccine according to package directions. Meanwhile, in a large skillet, saute onion and peppers in oil until tender. Add the chicken, Cajun seasoning and garlic; heat through. Transfer to a large bowl. Drain fettuccine; add to chicken mixture. Stir in Alfredo and spaghetti sauces.
  • Transfer to a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Sprinkle with cheeses. Cover and bake at 375° for 15 minutes. Uncover; bake 10-15 minutes longer or until golden brown.
 I totally suggest you try this one guys. You will be thrilled you did!  
Eat Drink & Be Mary



    Wednesday, August 27, 2014

    Pecan Pie Bars

    I know, this isn't a dinner or lunch recipe. Dessert is just as good though right? Actually it is way better, especially this dessert. It is one of Eric's favorites and I don't make it often but when I do, they are gone quick. So why don't I just share this delicious dish?  I originally got this recipe from here. I made a few changes though, including adding chocolate chips because, reasons.


    Ingredients
      for the crust:
    • 1 cup plus 2 tablespoons (2 1/4 sticks) unsalted butter, softened.
    • 3/4 cup packed light-brown sugar
    • 1/2 teaspoon salt
    • 3 cups all-purpose flour
    • for the filling:
    • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, softened
    • 1/2 cup packed light-brown sugar
    • 1/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons honey
    • 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
    • 2 tablespoons heavy cream
    • 1/4 teaspoon salt
    • 2 cups pecans
    • 1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
    • 1 cup chocolate chips
    Directions

    Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Line a 9×13 inch baking pan with parchment paper. Make the crust: With an electric mixer on medium-high speed, beat butter and brown sugar until fluffy, about 3 minutes. Mix in salt. Add Flour, 1 cup at a time, mixing until fully incorporated after each addition. Continue mixing until dough begins to come together in large clumps. 

    Press dough evenly into baking pan (it should be about 1/4 inch thick). Pierce the dough all over with a fork. Chill until firm, about 20 minutes. Bake until golden brown, 18-20 minutes. Transfer pan to a wire rack and cool completely. Reduce oven temperature to 325 degrees F. 

    Make the filling: Combine butter, brown sugar, honey, granulated sugar, and heavy cream in a medium saucepan. Bring to a boil, stirring constantly, until mixture coats the back of a spoon, about 1 minute. remove pan from heat; stir in salt, nuts and vanilla. Pour filling into the cooled crust. 

    Bake until the filling bubbles, 15-20 minutes. Halfway through add chocolate chips to top.  Carefully transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. Gently lift the bar out of the pan by gripping the parchment paper. Transfer to a cutting board. Peel the sides of the parchment paper down and use a sharp knife to cut bars to desired size. Bars can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature up to one week.

    Eat Drink & Be Mary

    Tuesday, August 26, 2014

    I am an aunt

    I am back. I know, I suck. I took like a week off of blogging but I swear I have an excuse. Ava Rose was born last Wednesday August 20th at around 7:00am. She has already made our family so happy, and we are so excited she is here. Mom and baby are happy and quite healthy.

    Eric and I really like being an aunt and uncle.This post will be short because I am yet again going to see Ava for some baby snuggles. In the meantime, look at all these cute photos.

     
    four generations in this photo.
    We were pumped.



    Tuesday, August 19, 2014

    Chicken Cordon Bleu

    Here I am just posting another recipe like a pro. I am getting good at this cooking thing guys. Like I haven't even burned anything yet. Crazy. Plus, now Eric has something to look forward to other than seeing my face when he comes home at night. Basically I check Pinterest constantly for ideas on what to make for dinner and it hasn't let us down just yet. I got this recipe here.
     
    This chicken cordon bleu was very easy to make, and I even prepared it earlier in the day so all I had to do was pop it in the oven for 35 minutes when I got the call that Eric was on his way home for the day. I love being able to prepare meals earlier in the day and then just bake them when Eric calls me on his way home, because I never know when he is gonna be home these days.

    So lets get started. First I took one chicken breast and sliced it longways down the middle to make 2 thin pieces instead of 1 thin one. Then I used a giant glass measuring cups to beat the chicken so it was thinner. Obviously some people would use a kitchen mallet but I don't have one of those so you gotta do what you gotta do. I also prepared 3 bowls. One with flour, one with breadcrumbs, and one with 1 beaten egg.
     Next I rubbed the chicken with olive oil and sprinkled on some salt & pepper. Then I placed a piece of ham (I used just regular lunch meat ham) and cheese (I used pepperjack because it is what we had). 
     After placing the ham and cheese on the chicken I rolled them up and locked them into shape by using toothpicks. It took about 3 toothpicks to hold each piece of chicken. Then I dipped each roll in the egg mixture, then the flour mixture, then sprinkled breadcrumbs on them. Make sure to wipe of any excess between each step so it all doesn't just slide off later. 
     At this point I just put the uncooked chicken on a baking pan and placed them in the oven for about 35 minutes at 350 degrees. Make sure to use a meat thermometer though because you want to make sure the inside is cooked all the way. 


    Enjoy them! They are delicious! 

    Ingredients:
    1 lb chicken cutlets (I had 5) 1/4 cup flour 1 egg, whisked 1 cup panko breadcrumbs 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp onion powder 1/2 tsp paprika 1/4 tsp dried thyme 1/4 tsp salt salt and pepper about 2 tbsp olive oil, for drizzling 1/3 lb thinly sliced black forest ham 1/3 lb thinly sliced Swiss or Gruyere cheese (or you can do grated cheese instea - See more at: http://www.yummykey.com/2014/05/chicken-cordon-bleu.html#sthash.GNaNIX8J.dpuf
    1 lb chicken cutlets (I had 5) 1/4 cup flour 1 egg, whisked 1 cup panko breadcrumbs 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp onion powder 1/2 tsp paprika 1/4 tsp dried thyme 1/4 tsp salt salt and pepper about 2 tbsp olive oil, for drizzling 1/3 lb thinly sliced black forest ham 1/3 lb thinly sliced Swiss or Gruyere cheese (or you can do grated cheese instead) - See more at: http://www.yummykey.com/2014/05/chicken-cordon-bleu.html#sthash.GNaNIX8J.dpuf
    • chicken breasts 
    • 1/4 cup flour 
    • 1 egg, whisked 
    • 1 cup breadcrumbs 
    • 1/2 tsp garlic powder 
    • 1/4 tsp salt salt and pepper 
    • about 2 tbsp olive oil, for drizzling 
    • 1/3 lb thinly sliced black forest ham (I used regular lunch meat)
    • 1/3 lb thinly sliced Swiss or Gruyere cheese  (I used pepperjack)
     Directions:
    1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Set a wire rack on top of a baking sheet.
    2. Set up your breading stations by placing the flour in the first bowl, the egg in the second, and the breadcrumbs the third.
    3. Lay out your chicken cutlets on a cutting board and gather up some toothpicks, about 2 or 3 per cutlet (or you can tie it up with kitchen twine if you prefer that). Season both sides of the chicken cutlets with salt and pepper, and drizzle on a little bit of olive oil. Place a single layer of both ham and cheese on each cutlet, and roll it up tightly. Secure with the toothpicks or tie it up with twine to keep it closed up.
    4. Dip the rolled chicken slices first in the flour, then in the egg, then in the breadcrumbs, shaking off the excess coating every step of the way (if you don't do this, your breading will want to fall off later). Place on the wire rack.
    5. Baking time will vary depending on how big your chicken cutlets are, but 30-35 minutes should be about right. I bake the chicken until it's about 152 degrees F inside (rises to about 155-157 during resting), to make sure it doesn't overcook. Let the chicken rest about 5-10 minutes out of the oven so the juices don't run out, and remove the toothpicks or kitchen twine before serving. Enjoy!

    1 lb chicken cutlets (I had 5) 1/4 cup flour 1 egg, whisked 1 cup panko breadcrumbs 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp onion powder 1/2 tsp paprika 1/4 tsp dried thyme 1/4 tsp salt salt and pepper about 2 tbsp olive oil, for drizzling 1/3 lb thinly sliced black forest ham 1/3 lb thinly sliced Swiss or Gruyere cheese (or you can do grated cheese instea - See more at: http://www.yummykey.com/2014/05/chicken-cordon-bleu.html#sthash.GNaNIX8J.dpuf
    1 lb chicken cutlets (I had 5) 1/4 cup flour 1 egg, whisked 1 cup panko breadcrumbs 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp onion powder 1/2 tsp paprika 1/4 tsp dried thyme 1/4 tsp salt salt and pepper about 2 tbsp olive oil, for drizzling 1/3 lb thinly sliced black forest ham 1/3 lb thinly sliced Swiss or Gruyere cheese (or you can do grated cheese instead) - See more at: http://www.yummykey.com/2014/05/chicken-cordon-bleu.html#sthash.GNaNIX8J.dpuf
    1 lb chicken cutlets (I had 5) 1/4 cup flour 1 egg, whisked 1 cup panko breadcrumbs 1/2 tsp garlic powder 1/2 tsp onion powder 1/2 tsp paprika 1/4 tsp dried thyme 1/4 tsp salt salt and pepper about 2 tbsp olive oil, for drizzling 1/3 lb thinly sliced black forest ham 1/3 lb thinly sliced Swiss or Gruyere cheese (or you can do grated cheese instead) - See more at: http://www.yummykey.com/2014/05/chicken-cordon-bleu.html#sthash.GNaNIX8J.dpuf