Friday, September 22, 2017

Chicken Noodle Soup From Scratch

Happy first day of fall!  While I'd love to start wearing my flannel shirts, Charleston thinks it's still summer with temperatures in the 80s expected all weekend.  However, I've been dreaming about fall cooking for weeks now, so I decided to crank up the A/C and just go for it last weekend.  During the fall, I love slow cooker recipes and meals that take hours to cook over the stove that have tons of flavor.  My mom has made homemade soup my whole life, but I've never tried it.  When we bought a rotisserie chicken last weekend to use for buffalo chicken dip and chicken lasagna, I had a bunch of meat left over.  Mike suggested soup, and not only did I make the broth from scratch, but I also tried homemade egg noodles for the first time.  Let me tell you, while it's time-intensive, they're so worth it!
For the soup:
- rotisserie chicken (at least one breast of meat intact)
- 3-4 quarts of water (enough to cover the chicken in the pot)
- 1 yellow onion
- 4-5 peeled and sliced carrots
- 3 sliced stalks of celery
- 4 diced cloves garlic
- 2 bay leaves
- 1 teaspoons rubbed sage
- 1 teaspoon dried thyme
- 1/2 teaspoon dried rosemary
- 1/2 teaspoon dried oregano
- salt and pepper (have a couple tablespoons on hand to divide and use throughout cooking)

For the noodles:
- 3 cups flour (separated into 2 cups and 1 cup)
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 4 egg yolks
- 1 whole egg
- 1/3 cup water

1. Place the rotisserie chicken (including all bones and skin) and 1 tablespoon of each salt and pepper in a large pot and cover with water.
2. Bring the pot to a boil, cover, and reduce heat to simmer for one and a half hours.
3. While the soup is cooking, begin to make the noodles by combining the flour (2 cups) and salt.
4. Make a well in the middle of the flour mixture and pour in the egg yolks and egg.
5. Mix together the dough, by hand, until it is combined evenly (it will be very dry).
6. Add water to the dough mixture 1-2 tablespoons at a time, until the dough sticks together to form one ball.
7. Use some of the reserved flour on a flat surface to roll out the dough.  Make it as thin as possible, and use a pizza cutter to slice noodles to be 1/2 inch wide by 3-4 inches long (depending on preference).  Place the cut noodles in a bowl that is well-floured so they do not stick together.
8. After the soup broth cooks for an hour and a half, remove all bones and chicken.
9. Add onion, carrots, celery, garlic, bay leaves, sage, thyme, rosemary, oregano, an additional teaspoon of salt, and an additional tablespoon of pepper into the broth.  I choose to cut my onion in large pieces and fish it out (along with the bay leaves) at the end of cooking.
10. Bring the broth back to a boil.  When it's boiling, reduce the heat, and simmer covered for an additional 20 minutes.
11. While you're waiting, shred the chicken.
12. When the vegetables are tender, bring the soup back to a boil.  Add in the shredded chicken and start to cook the noodles by dropping them into the soup a few at a time.  Make sure to shake off excess flour before doing this.
13. Stir to make sure no noodles stick together, and allow them to cook for 4-5 minutes in the boiling soup.
14. Ladle the soup into bowls and garnish with chopped parsley.
From start to finish, this recipe takes about two and a half hours, but if you're watching football and looking for something to do on a Sunday afternoon, trust me, this soup is amazing.  It made enough for us (2 people) to enjoy that night as well as bring to work each day for the next week.

Wednesday, September 20, 2017

Anniversary Reflections: Year Three

Happy third anniversary to my love!  I cannot it's been three years since my favorite day ever.  The last year can be summed up in three ways: traveling, making our house a home, and with kickball.
In addition to making our few trips a year back home to New England to see family, we went to Oahu in January, a trip we've been dreaming out since we met, as well as took weekend trips to Sacramento, Daytona Beach, Augusta, GA, Milwaukee, Atlanta, St. Augustine, FL, Cooperstown, NY, Cleveland, and Chicago.
We worked on so many little house projects like our porch swing, a stone patio, and lots of wall art.  We even took a few anniversary photos with our neighbor, Ashleigh, earlier this month, and our home was the perfect backdrop.  I can't wait to share more of these fun photos soon!
And lastly, kickball.  It's kept us active this year, in addition to golf and tennis, and it seems fitting that we'll be playing tonight, albeit against each other.  We play on two teams on Wednesday nights, so we had to choose sides for our first round of playoffs against each other.  We did most of our celebrating on Monday night with dinner at our favorite place in Charleston, Hall's, and a spin around the neighborhood to celebrate the leather anniversary.
Mike, thank you for being my forever love.  I treasure each and every adventure together, and I cannot wait to see what the next year holds for us.  I love you, guy!

Reflections of year one ||| year two

Monday, September 18, 2017

Third Anniversary Gifts: Leather

Happy Monday, friends!  I hope everyone had a great weekend.  We started our anniversary celebrations early (3 years this Wednesday!) with Friday night Mexican dinner, some golf on Saturday, and kickball, brunch, and football-watching on Sunday.  Every year, I love sharing inspiration for traditional wedding gifts.  
Here are my links to year one (paper) and year two (cotton).  Year three is leather, and we stretched this one a little bit with our new driveway addition of a golf cart.  It has leather seats, right?!  Well, we decided that was our gift to each other for the year (even though I had already bought Mike a little something else), and I'm so glad we did!  So because we already did gifts, I don't have to worry about spoiling mine to him (yes, he reads my blog - haha!), I thought I'd share my ideas ahead of our anniversary.
1. Coasters: We collect leather coasters from different breweries we travel to.  A fun idea would be to stash one away each time you go to a different brewery and tie them all together for one gift on your anniversary.

2. Anchor bracelet: I love gray leather!  You could go with something cheesy about being the "anchor" in your life ;)

3. Earrings: Every lady loves some jewelry, and how unique is this rose gold leather?!

4. Trinket tray: These are so versatile and we can personalized with your wedding vows.  Perfect mix of sentimental and practical.

5. His and hers watches: I gave Mike a watch as a wedding gift, but if I hadn't (and honestly I almost forgot I did), I would have gone with a watch as a gift.  I love that many can be engraved on the back, too.

6. Passport cover: This would be a great little gift to go with the traditional theme, then you could go over the top and surprise your significant with tickets somewhere awesome inside!

7. Luggage tag: Same idea as above!  Why not plan a fun trip for the two of you.

8. La-Z-Boy recliner: When Mike first said he wanted a La-Z-Boy, I seriously rolled my eyes because I thought they were all old man-looking chair.  Well, we got an awesome navy blue leather chair with a brushed nickel handle, and it's SO comfortable!

9. Golf scorecard holder: Like 6 months ago, I actually bought Mike one of these to save for our anniversary, so I did give him something other than our golf cart.  This Etsy shop is fantastic and can personalize the scorecard holders with different colors and/or embossing the leather with names or initials.  I guess he liked it because he shared it on Insta, and he never posts on social media - haha!

10. Coffee sleeve duo: Gifts you buy for someone else where you also get something for yourself are the best!  This would be awesome to keep in my purse, along with my beer koozie.

There you have it!  Anyone else have leather ideas for me to add to my list?

Friday, September 15, 2017

Friday Five: Summer of Baseball

Last weekend, Mike and I traveled to Chicago.  We had planned this trip a few months ago, but it worked out that we were escaping Hurricane Irma in the Southeast over the weekend.  We had the best time and checked two more ballparks off our bucket list.  We started our baseball trips over Memorial Day, taking advantage of as much of the summer (and baseball season) as we could.  Here are a recap of the five we visited in 2017:

1. Milwaukee Brewers: It was the rainiest of days, but it was awesome how many people were still tailgating before the game in the parking lots (tailgating before a regular season baseball game, right?! SO. COOL.).  Well, I'm not sure how many of those people really made it to the game, because we had our own section in the upper deck, but at least we were dry and warm with the closed convertible roof!
2. Atlanta Braves (again): This was our second time checking the Braves off our list, since their new stadium just opened this season.  It was also our second rainy game of the year, but, unfortunately, Atlanta doesn't have a close-able roof.  We didn't care, bought the cheapest $5 seats we could, and were still determined to see the stadium, even if there wasn't a game.  The good thing about being the only ones there was getting awesome inside food info about H&F Burger who usually has lines around the lower concourse during games!  The burger was so good!  On top of that, the game was only postponed a couple of hours so we to watch baseball, too.
3. Cleveland Indians: I love stadiums that are right downtown.  We walked 3 blocks from our hotel and were there.  They had the best assortment of food, and the stadium was PACKED.  We also got to see my Yankees, which was a sweet bonus!
4. Chicago White Sox: At the beginning of this year's baseball season, I went through a ton of teams' schedules to see when we could make home games.  To kill two birds, I thought I'd see if we could watch the White Sox and Cubs in the same weekend.  Well, there was one weekend in the entire season where they were both home, so we immediately booked tickets.  I grew up a Cubs fan, so checking off the White Sox started off was just a necessity, but Guaranteed Rate was a really cool field.  We had delicious Mexican food and even went on "Halfway to St. Patrick's Day," so we brought home ridiculous Irish hats and watched a fireworks display after the game.
5. Chicago Cubs: OMG the Holy Grail.  I think I squealed when I caught a glimpse of the stadium for the first time on the L.  It was everything I pictured and more.  We got there early to check out the Wrigleyville bars, headed into the stadium with time to spare to walk down to the dugouts and take photos, ate deep dish pizza, and walked every foot of every level.  This was the perfect way to end our 2017 baseball tour.
Next week, I cannot wait to share more posts all about our trip to Chicago.  We had the best time during our first trip to the Windy City, and we have some first-timers tips for all of you who are looking to visit the Midwest, too!  Have a great weekend!

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Porch Swinging at the Beach

Do you have a favorite spot?  Somewhere that you just dream of spending time that's comfortable and has the perfect view?  Mine is an hour and a half away from home, on Hilton Head Island, on the veranda at Harbour Town Golf Links.  
At the top of the stairs is the perfect porch swing.  The views are wonderful; in one direction the golf course and the other, the yacht basin.  Over Labor Day weekend, we spent a day in Hilton Head with my parents and walked all around Sea Pines, of course, making a stop at the golf course.
The weather was wonderful: low 80s and sunny.  My first shipment from the Lilly Pulitzer After Party Sale arrived that morning, so, of course, I had to throw on one of my new pieces.  Would you believe I bought this tassel top for $19?!  I LOVE the Sparkling Blue Hey Bay pattern this year!
Every outfit needs a comfortable pair of shoes, too.  One of my best friends in Charleston introduced me to Oka-B last month.  Their company is right down the road in Georgia, and they have an array of sustainable shoes, made with recycled material.  The bright colors are fantastic, and I love the attention to detail.  These "Carson" sandals are so comfortable for a full day of walking and have the perfect pop of bling in the "Katrina" style.  You can shop Oka-B at boutiques around the Southeast or online.  

Monday, September 11, 2017

Summer Bucket List Recap

First of all, I hope all of my friends in Florida, getting hit by Hurricane Irma, are doing well.  Please know we're praying for you!  Also, I am remembering all of those who lost their lives 16 years ago today in New York, Washington DC, and Pennsylvania.  

Even though there are still technically a couple weeks left of summer (no, I'm not wishing them away), we just came back from our last summer weekend trip of the year, so I thought it'd be the perfect opportunity to finish off my Summer Bucket List with a recap.  Here was my last check-in, mid-summer.

- Attempt to grow Confederate Jasmine: We have planted a whole bunch of annuals for this year as well as bulbs for next year, but this one will wait until the winter when it grows best.  
- Build a blanket ladder: Check! ...well, bought one.

- Stay active 5 nights each week: Still playing golf, tennis, and kickball each week; I like our routine.

- Finish our back patio: We put up string lights, have lots of plants growing, and even laid a stone patio for our grill - post on that coming soon!  
- Watch the solar eclipse: Check! So much fun on Sullivan's!

- Try 5 new Charleston restaurants: Tattooed Moose, The Southern General, Verde, Brown Dog Deli, and our 5th will be added when we decide where to go for our anniversary next week!

- Shoot under par: June 24th! I did it. I shot a 68 at my home course, and even had an eagle!

- Read at least 2 books by the pool: 1/2 here - still a few more pool days this year - any suggestions?

- Go berry picking: Picked raspberries in Cooperstown!
What was your favorite summer accomplishment?

Friday, September 8, 2017

Friday Threes

I am loving all these "retro" blog post topics floating around, so while I spend my Thursday night boarding up our house and prepping for Hurricane Irma, I thought this would be a fun way to waste a little time (while watching FOOTBALL!!!)...

Three favorite foods
Kraft white cheddar mac & cheese
veal parmesan
any type of dip and chips
Three things I'd never give up
Three favorite cocktails
Vodka cranberry - my go to
Pineapple Habanero Margarita from Mex 1
Sweet Tea Mojito from the Ryder Cup Bar

Three favorite movies
13 Going on 30
You've Got Mail
Star Wars

Three favorite simple pleasures in life
cat videos
my cats
Three things that are always in my car 
Home Team dry rub... weird, I know, but we go there every week and I hate asking for extra spice everytime
nail polish
about 10 empty water bottles

Three things I always have with me
...and Mike says my self-confidence haha!

Three things I regret doing / not doing
Hmmm... Googled this one and love this Buzzfeed article

Three most recent places I traveled to
Rhode Island
Cooperstown, NY
Three most often used makeup products
Maybelline Instant Rewind Eraser
Maybelline MegaPlush Mascara
Covergirl Contouring Blush

Three things that make me cry
engagement videos
watching other people cry
military homecoming videos

Three things that make me smile / laugh
cat videos
Mike laughing at 30 Rock... even when watching the same episode for the 101st time

Three places I want to visit inside the US
Palm Springs

Three places I want to visit outside the US

Three blessings in my life
My husband
My parents
My sight

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