Easter Lunch

Last weekend was so busy, but we spent so much time with family, which made it great.  I hope you all had a wonderful Easter.  We spent ours with my in-laws this year and although the holiday has passed, I have to show you the lunch that my mom-in-law put on for all of us — there is so much inspiration to share!  🙂

Tables View

There were quite a few people at the lunch, and also included were two kiddos, so plenty of seating was needed.  This is one of the covered areas of their outdoor space, and there is usually some nest seating here.  My in-laws changed the ‘room’ around to accommodate two tables, and have the lounge seating nearby the dining tables for extended hanging out.  Isn’t that farmhouse table amazing?

Long Table Place Setting

This was what the place setting looked like for the long table.  I love that my mom-in-law used these paper plates as chargers, and had white heavy-duty plastic plates up at the buffet line for food.  The ‘silverware’ is also plastic, but it fooled me until I picked it up.  😉  Some of the placemats were ruffled, like this one, and others were made out of the same material but were flat.  And how cute is the napkin and napkin ring?  Those napkin rings make an appearance each Easter, and she tucked in a couple of sticks, plus the flower, which has a sticky back.

Long Table Centerpiece

The centerpiece was amazing for this table.  A moss runner started the layering process, and then more moss was added for even more texture.  Eggs, the sticky flowers, bunnies, birds nests, moss-covered sticks, an egg crate, and a birdcage with roses cut from the backyard created this gorgeous Springy centerpiece.

Round Table

This was the other dining table that guests could use out on the patio.  I really liked the rug layered underneath!  Made it feel nice and cozy.  😉

Round Table Place Setting

I love this place setting, too — different napkins, a gingham bow, green ribbon, and a sticky flower.  🙂

Round Table Centerpiece

Aren’t those lettuce “leaves” cool?  I love them paired with the flower in the center.  Cute little egg cups and a porcelain bunny, plus matching gingham ribbon complete the centerpiece.

Fireplace Decor

Food 1

The meal that we had was Greek-inspired, so there was lamb, pita, hummus, cucumber salad, orzo salad, tzatziki, olives…  And then there was also ham, potato salad, and coleslaw.  Some of the food had little labels listing what the dishes were, and the stands for the labels were tiny faux wood tree stumps — ridiculously cute!

Drink Station

There was also a drink station, with a large tub of glass water bottles, ice bucket, cups and faux bois straws, iced tea, and my favorite thing — stickers so that we could put our initials on our cup to keep track of it.

Dessert Table

Mini Cheesecakes

Inside there was a dessert table FILLED with treats.  Jordan almonds, M&M’s, peanut butter eggs, carrot cake, and mini cheesecakes.  No one could choose so we all pretty much had a little bit of everything.  😉

Grey and Me

My mom-in-law seriously outdid herself.  It was such a beautiful day surrounded by all the people we love, and she really made it extra special with all of the time that she took to make it so amazing.  I hope you had a beautiful Easter, too!

What We’ve Been Eating

Last month, I shared what recipes we tried and enjoyed.  I am no food photographer but I am a good cook!  😉 We’ve been trying to eat healthfully on most occasions (but that doesn’t mean there isn’t the occasional Sonic drive-thru/pizza night — gotta live a little!) and these recipes are making that easier because, well, they’re good!  We don’t do non-fat, we don’t do diet-y, and we don’t sacrifice flavor for low-cal.  There’s so much good food out there and we’re just trying to all-in-all make wise choices so we feel good.  I’m at the point where I don’t care about the number on the scale, I just want to feel nourished and healthy.

Homemade Sauce

Quick 5-Ingredient Tomato Sauce

Since we’re doing the low-/no-carb thing, spaghetti squash has become our jam.  This tomato sauce is absolutely incredible — and it is very quick to come together.  I squeezed in about a tablespoon of tomato paste to make it a little bit richer.

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Spaghetti Squash with Bacon, Spinach, and Goat Cheese

Another great spaghetti squash recipe that was super satisfying.  I used turkey bacon in lieu of regular bacon.

Jicama Tacos

Jicama Shrimp Tacos

I think this is brilliant — using thinly-sliced jicama as your “tortilla” for shrimp tacos.  This was a really quick recipe but I only used the shrimp portion from the how-to.  I made this mango salsa and added four avocados to it, plus doubled the lime juice.  It’s my go-to guacamole recipe now.

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Baked Salmon with Parmesan Herb Crust

I really have never met a salmon recipe that I didn’t like, so this was a win for me.  It’s tasty and very quick to throw together.  My husband wasn’t crazy about it.  He doesn’t love salmon (or fish at all, really) so while he thought it was good, it’s probably something that I will make for just me next time.

Kebabs

Speaking of my husband, he has become The Grill Master.  😉 He made these steak kebabs for us last week and they were so good.  The marinade is (in order of quantity) soy sauce, honey, sesame oil, garlic, and onion powder.  We had made a version of these a couple of weeks back from a recipe from a blogger, and they were crazy salty.  Not good.  His version is so much better.  He put mushrooms, peppers, and zucchini on the skewers, too, and he makes a separate batch of marinade to brush on top of the kebabs while he’s grilling them.

Random Salad

This was just a random salad that I threw together that ended up being really good, so I thought I’d share.  Chopped spinach, quartered cucumbers, one bell pepper, a little bit of red onion, chopped fresh dill (the most luxurious herb!), crushed red pepper flakes, red wine vinegar, one squeezed lemon, a drizzle of olive oil, salt and pepper.  Something I always do when making salads — while you’re preparing, throw a bowl in the freezer so that you have an ice cold bowl when the salad is ready.  It’s one of those things that I always do and it just makes every salad that much better.

To follow along with the recipes that we are trying and loving, check out this Pinterest board!

What recipes are you loving lately?

Spring Sunday Brunch

First let me just say that we are so blessed with two amazing families.  To have family at our house is the most incredible gift, and not one that we take for granted.  It feels so special to be making memories in our first house.  The emotional aspect of that is not lost on us — we worked so hard for this, and our families had such a huge part that they played by supporting us to create opportunities for this to happen for us.  Being homeowners is so huge for us…to the point that little annoyances like a slightly overgrown lawn or a bunch of dirty dishes after an elaborate meal for just the two of us raises reactions like, I’m so glad I have a lawn to MOW! – My husband, and We’re so blessed to be having dinner in our HOUSE!  Can you believe we have a HOUSE?! — the dishes aren’t even noticed.  We truly feel just completely overwhelmed at this point with our blessings.  Our cups are overflowing, and we’re taking opportunities all day long to give the glory to God and thank Him for all of this.

To have our families at our house, to putter and nest, to fill our house with flowers and plants, to cozy up on the sofa together and watch movies, to occasionally have a pizza night in our pajamas… It’s a wonderful time.  🙂

So we invited our family for a Spring brunch, and we wanted to make it fun and festive.  I made this egg casserole (so good), my mom-in-law made some lemon danish-type treats and a cinnamon roll French toast bake, and my sis-in-law brought this awesome fruit salad with blackberries, grapes, mandarin oranges, etc. — delicious.  All yummy stuff.  🙂

Cadbury Snacks 1

Cadbury Snacks 2

Trail Mix Snack

Tabletop snacks included mini Cadbury eggs which are ridiculously addicting, and Trader Joe’s trail mix because it is seriously my favorite.

Spring Flowers

Orchid

Not like our living room needed any more plants but I found the hydrangeas and the mini orchid at TJ’s and fell in love.

Coffee Station

Espresso

Coffee

I set up a coffee bar on a table in our kitchen — that way everyone could get what they needed and I just stayed in charge of refilling the coffee pot.  😉

Mason Jars and Straws

Juice Station

We had cranberry and orange juice at the ready and my in-laws brought over a bottle of champagne for mimosas.  The straws were a little too long when I bought them so I just snipped the ends so that they would fit inside of the mason jars at a good height.

Table

A blog that I love, A Thoughtful Place, was where I first saw the idea of using wrapping paper as a table runner.  LOVE that idea so much and I’ve done it once before for a birthday party.  It’s inexpensive and easy clean-up.  It’s also fun to use that as a starting point for the table design.  I decided to go with gold accents and those blue flowers were a Target Dollar Spot find.  They have adhesive backs so I just stuck them where I wanted them and was able to save them for another purpose — they’re in a craft bin now.

Beads

Which brings me to the beads.  🙂 These were my Gramma’s, and I’ve used them here, too.  I’ve been missing her a lot lately and these beads remind me of her.  She loved to decorate and make spaces pretty, and she made everything special.  She was a beautiful entertainer and I can still remember her putting fresh mint in lemonade and letting me pull the leaves from the stems.  Having this little pop of red added a splash of personality to the table — and reminded me of her wild and free personality that I loved so much.

Linked up on The Chronicles of Home

What We’ve Been Eating

A few weeks ago, I decided to try to cut out bread/grains/etc. and also desserts/refined sugar from my diet.  There really aren’t any rules, besides just to try my best.  I’ve been eating a lot of veggies, fruits, 2% Greek yogurt, nuts, protein…  It really has been great and my body has responded well to it.  I’m not putting a limit on how much of all of those things I can eat — if I am hungry, I eat.  If I feel like I want something, I have it.  On Saturday night, I wanted a milkshake and I couldn’t stop thinking about it… so, we got milkshakes.  Eating this way consistently, though, has really made me want those things less and less.  That was the first real craving I had in weeks.

There’s so much out there in the way of healthy recipes, and some things are not good.  We’ve tried a few things that have left us feeling like it was diet food.  I do not want diet food!  I want real food that tastes good and leaves me feeling really satisfied.  I don’t do non-fat — I don’t see the point.  So I thought I would round up some meals we’ve been loving lately in case you’re looking for healthy weeknight recipes that leave you feeling nourished and satisfied.

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Spaghetti Squash with Mushrooms + Parmesan

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Mini Meatloaf Pepper Rings

(These are really good, but best to prepare a little bit ahead of time.  They take a little bit longer than the rest of the meals in this group.  Worth it, though!)

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Carnitas

RIDICULOUSLY good.  I served with this Mango Salsa recipe, but I added four avocados to it and doubled the amount of lime juice.

Mango Salsa and Chicken

This was also very good… Mango Salsa on top of Grilled Chicken.

Greek Chicken Burgers

We’ve had these burgers twice now, and they’re amazing.  I make a little salad to go on top of them and you really don’t even miss the bun.  Slice up spinach, quarter a cucumber, put in as much red onion as you want, and chop up some fresh dill.  Red wine vinegar, one squeezed lemon, a little bit of olive oil, and some salt and pepper.  SO good.

What are you loving for dinner lately?

Linked up on The Chronicles of Home.

Fall Nesting: Pale Pumpkins

Good morning and Happy Friday!  🙂  It’s been a very busy week for me but I am grateful — things are picking up at work now that the Summer is coming to a close and I’m enjoying a more bustling workflow.  I hope you had a great work-week, too!

We’re in full-on Halloween mode around here (I can’t wait to start showing you around!), but I know some of you like to invoke just a little bit of Fall decor in your space first before bringing out all the spookies for October.  I went through my Fall Pinterest board and discovered that I seem to LOVE the look of decorating with pale pumpkins!  I wanted to do a little spotlight on ways to decorate with this variety of gourd today.

I think what I love about these pumpkins is that they are softer on the eyes than traditional orange pumpkins, so using ’em is a nice way to sort of ease into the season.  I think that you really can use them in any decorating style or color scheme, but they seem to look especially beautiful in neutral, traditional, or transitional interiors.

Mix these pumpkins with all of the organic elements and textures you can find — dried flowers, leaves of varying hues, baskets, moss, pine cones…  You really can’t go wrong.  🙂

Screen Shot 2017-03-16 at 11.08.46 PMThistlewood Farms

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Common Ground

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French Country Cottage

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A Thoughtful Place

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Original Source Unknown

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HGTV

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French Country Cottage

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Stone Gable

Have a great weekend!

Around the House

Happy Monday!

This past weekend was so great…one of those perfect weekends with the best combination of busy and relaxed, family and friends.  Greyson had the whole weekend off so we really savored that and spent a lot of time together.

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On Saturday, I decided to make us a little romantic dinner, complete with a fun table setting.  I used to set special tables for us all the time, even if it was just for Tuesday night pizza — it’s one of the ways that I love on him.  🙂

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Aren’t those big green leaves cool?  I decided to use fancier china for this meal because I was trying to make it extra special, so I found these plates in the cabinet that holds some precious things.  They are beautiful and perfect for Summer, in my opinion.  My mom-in-law has a giant stack of chargers, and I always love to add these because they just give the whole table setting a simple something extra.

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 You could say that we had a tomato theme going on with the dinner that night, although each way was different.  I made this kale salad, subbing goat cheese for ricotta, and red beets for golden.  It was amazing.  Once you try grilled kale, it ruins it for you any other way!  It’s amazing.

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 We had a good amount of crusty bread already available to us, so I threw together this panini.  Mozzarella cheese, heirloom tomato (salt + pepper it a bit before you toss it on the sandwich!), basil pesto, and some homemade tomato jam that my sister-in-law made, which added the perfect spicy-sweetness to the sandwich.

I’m making a conscious effort to take everything one day at a time lately, and I’m finding myself feeling more inspired than I have in so long.  Looking around, taking everything in, life is good!

Hoping you have a great week!

Easy Table Decorating

Good morning!

A couple of weeks ago we celebrated my dad’s birthday at my parents’ house.  My mom usually puts me in charge of setting/decorating the table, which I love.  She had purchased some carnations and set me loose!  😉

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 I had a leftover roll of craft wrapping paper from my dad’s gift, so I thought I would use that as a runner.  This worked out great — we just threw the paper in the recycle after we were finished using it.  My parents have a round dining table so usually when decorating with runners, I use two and criss-cross them.  This can obviously work with any wrapping paper, and the nice thing is that if it’s for a child’s birthday or other themed party, your runner matches your gifts.  It’s cute and ties everything together.

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 I always like to play around with napkin/silverware placement — it’s an easy way to get creative.

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For a little bit of added interest, I sprinkled a bit of gold confetti in the center of the table around the flowers.  And speaking of flowers — if you want to keep them on the table during the meal, keep them low so that they’re not blocking anyone’s view across the table.  These were originally pretty long, but I snipped them and tossed them in a mason jar.  Simple!

Wrapping paper and confetti found at Paper Source

Easter Flowers

Can you believe Easter is this month?  It’s so early this year!  I’ve got a few Easter posts in store for you, and we’ll kick off the little series today with some flower inspiration.

Flowers are your easiest and most accessible decorating tool.  They’re in your yard, or the furthest away they’ll be is the grocery store.  I think flowers are my favorite way to invoke a little spring happiness in my space.  When I was going to design school, my instructor told us her main rule about flowers:

“Trust the flowers to be beautiful.”

What she meant by this was to just throw ’em in a vase and be done with them.  They’re already beautiful.

I think on any given day I would have to agree with her — this is sort of the motto I’ve adopted.  But for a special occasion, it’s nice to do a little something extra.

Use what you have on-hand to make your flower arrangement unique.  Candy, veggies, eggs — those are all good things to use as a springboard.

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 9.37.01 PMWedding Chicks

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Southern Living Magazine

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Midwest Living

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Martha Stewart

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Original Source Unknown

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Original Source Unknown

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Hi Sugarplum!

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The Cottage Chick

Clever Valentine’s Day Food

Good morning and welcome to Monday.  I hope you had an awesome weekend.

Valentine’s Day is seriously right around the corner at this point and Grey and I are still undecided on what we should do — stay in and cook, or go out and brave the masses?  The thought of staying in has me thinking about all kinds of V-Day inspired food that we could make.  Because heart-shaped everything is clearly the only way to go for this holiday.

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 8.37.51 PMThe Clean Dish

I love this heart citrus salad.  Really pretty and makes a good foundation for mass quantities of chocolate later.

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 8.38.49 PMReclaiming Provincial

A good and easy quick breakfast gesture.

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Jenni Kayne

This I love.  A heart-shaped vessel, and plenty of red vegetables.  Great for an appetizer and super unique and festive.

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How Sweet Eats

Heart-shaped pizza.  Say no more.

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I Spy DIY

This isn’t overtly theme-y, and I like that about it, but it also works perfectly for the occasion.  Plus — who doesn’t like those little sprinkly mints?

Screen Shot 2017-03-15 at 8.42.34 PMAnnie’s Eats

If staying in is your choice, this would be a really fun project dinner to make with your significant other or heck, even a group of your best friends.  I’ve never made my own pasta but now might be the time.