Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Spice Up Your Life!

    I talk about cooking fairly often on the blog and I have also mentioned how DFH and I enjoy creating our own recipes which sometimes turn out restaurant quality and at other times the meal turns into an inedible mess ( not too often, but it certainly happens).    One of my favorite ways to jazz up a recipe or change the flavor is with spices.  It is amazing how a little Cajun seasoning when pan frying chicken can bring out so much flavor and crisp or adding a specialty salt to a soup can be a game changer. 

   Knowing my love for spices and cooking My aunt took me to The Savory Spice Shop in downtown Littleton while I was visiting her in Colorado this summer.  The whole store is full of any kind of  spice, rub, dip mix, etc. that you could possibly think of and probably a hundred more that you have never even thought of.   There were seasonings to make your own marinades and salad dressings, seasonings to make your own dips, or to put on popcorn.   My favorite part of Savory Spice Shop was that you can taste all of the spices and each bottle contains a list of suggested uses.  I also loved that you could purchase as little or as much of a spice as you wanted.  Spices can be expensive so it was nice I could try a 2 oz bag of a spice or seasoning before committing to a bottle depending on how much I used it.  

  Savory Spice Shop has locations all across America and you can also order online.  This is not a sponsored post, I just really enjoy their product and think they also make great gifts for the cook in your life.    I wanted to share my favorites with you.

 Alderwood Smoked Sea Salt:  I use this salt on pretty much a daily basis in the kitchen.  If you like smokey flavors this is the seasoning for you.  DFH and I add it to pork, fish and veggies to give it a smoked taste.  I have never used another spice that brings out so much smokiness. 

Supreme Shallot Salt: I put this on everything! Literally.  If you love the flavor of shallots you need to purchase this salt.  I add this to my dressing when making homemade salad dressing, I also love it on corn on the cob, raw veggies, and especially soups. 

Platte River Rib Rub:  I promise you this is for more than just ribs. We have added to rub to basically anything we bbq ( burgers, pork, ribs, wings, etc.)  Want to turn this rub into a sauce for marinading, just add a couple tablespoons of ketchup or tomato sauce and you are set. 

Smoky Hills Cheese Powder: This tastes out of this world in pastas.  Think Mac and Cheese.  I have also tried this on top of my popcorn.  Savory also recommends turning this into a dip by adding mayo and sour cream or adding this seasoning to potato salad. 

These four are my tried and true favorites, but I am dying to try so many of their other spices/seasonings.  Next on my list is Buffalo Bleu dip and dressing mix and the black pepper mint chocolate sugar.    The Brew Meister gift pack would also be perfect for DFH. 

 Check them out!

Tuesday, January 27, 2015

2014 In Review: Part Two


   Yesterday, I posted about the first part of my 2014 and today we finish the year

We celebrated ALV's 30th birthday in Atlantic City
We spent the 4th of July on LBI with my family.
DFH and I traveled to Colorado for my cousin Scott's wedding. We also got to visit with my aunt uncle and cousins on my mom's side.
Cousins celebrating Scott and Bethany.
We spent one of the last weeks of the summer in OBX with almost twenty of our high school friends.

At the end of August we celebrated LES's 30th birthday tailgating for the Pittsburgh Pirates.

DFH, ALV, BS and I went to a Pirates Game.
I traveled to North Carolina to celebrate one of my oldest friend Meghan's marriage.
My college bestie Falon joined me at the wedding as DFH was unable to attend and we made a pit stop at our college campus on the way back to Charlotte.
In September and October we did a lot of work on the house both mine and DFH's parents came to visit and helped us with some home projects.  ( More posts on our progress to come soon)

DFH and I survived skydiving.
DFH and I celebrated our 1 year wedding anniversary.
All the girls at Paula and Steve's wedding
We traveled back to NJ for our friend Nick and Suzie's wedding.
Our friendsgiving tradition continued.
DFH and I came home to NJ for Thanksgiving and spent Saturday in the city with my family.
We got to meet Hugh Jackman when we saw him in the Broadway play The River.
ALV and I saw the Pittsburgh Ballet performance of the Nutcracker with our Junior League

DFH and I attended an ugly sweater party and ALV's holiday party in the same night.

ALV got engaged.

We went to NJ for Christmas to visit both of our families and came back to Pittsburgh to celebrate New Years Eve with friends.
Cannot wait to see what 2015 has in store for us!





Monday, January 26, 2015

2014 In Review ( Part 1)

This is probably my favorite post each year.  I love looking back on the past year and remembering all the fun things we did.   I tried to limit each month to two main events, but some months I just couldn't choose, so I am going to make this a two part post.  Here we go.
DFH and I had our friends ALV and BS over to play a home version of Chopped, like the TV show.  It was a ton of fun and perfect winter activity.  You can read more about our Chopped challenge HERE
At the end of January our friends JLM and BHB visited us in Pittsburgh and we celebrated BHB's 30th birthday. 
In February we had a girls night at the Pittsburgh Penguins game courtesy of ALV.
At the end of the month DFH threw me a surprise 30th birthday party.
And boy was I surprised.
LES and I went to the Old Crow Medicine Show and Avett Brothers concert.

I celebrated my 30th birthday in Charleston, SC with my mom and best friend Falon and a few of my mom's friends.
We had such a great trip in one of my favorite cities.

We enjoyed great seats and green beer on St. Patrick's Day at the Pens game.
DFH and I visited my friend Jenna in Chicago. A stop at the bean for selfies was necessary.
Our wedding photographer from NJ came to Pittsburgh and took pictures of us in and around the city. It was a bit tight putting on my dress 6 months later, but I LOVE the way the pictures came out.
   In May we bought our first house!!!
I chaired a Home Tour on Mt. Washington in Pittsburgh with my Junior League
I planned a scavenger hunt bar crawl for DFH's 30th birthday.
We spent Memorial Day weekend at Delfest in Maryland and jammed out to some great tunes.

DFH and I surprised my dad in LBI for his 60th birthday.
I traveled to Charlotte to celebrate my college friend Falon's 30th birthday.
DFH and I packed up our first apartment together in Shadyside ( and the apartment we got engaged in and planned our wedding in) to move into our house. be continued.


Friday, January 23, 2015

Five on Friday

Hi!  It is Friday WOO!  and I am linking up with A. Liz and Co. for Five on Friday

1. I'm going back back to Cali Cali

Well I haven't traveled to California in about fifteen years, but if I am going back it still counts right?  Anyways, next week I fly to LA to visit two out of three of the awesome ladies in the above picture ( and we will be missing the third).  I. can. not. wait. to go to Sur, go on a bike bar crawl, and to enjoy some warmer weather with my girls. 

2.  The Softest Tee Ever

My friend JLM gave me this cute Wifey tee for Christmas and it is literally the softest thing ever.   I wish I could wear it on a daily basis. ILY Couture has so many cute designs too, I may need to pick up a few more.  Go check them out.
3. Hot Tub Love 

We were lucky enough to have an outdoor hot tub come with our new house. DFH and I were clueless when it came to the cleaning and maintenance of a hot tub so for awhile we let it sit not sure what to do with it. We finally called in the professionals and now we are set.  This past weekend we used it for the first time and I am obsessed.  Sitting in a hot tub outside in the cold with a drink in your own back year is pretty incredible.    PS- This is a terrible picture.

4. Bathing suit in January = gym motivation

Though I was happy as a clam sitting in my new hot tub, putting on a bathing suit in January was not a happy moment.  In fact when I looked down at my stomach in the suit I'm pretty sure that is what I would look like if I was 7 months pregnant hahah.  Anyways it did motivate me to get my act together and I have already signed up for a cycle class to pedal away my tum.  

(Picture not included for obvious reasons)

5. I'm a Bridesmaid!

This past week ALV sent me the sweetest letter and this adorable collage with pictures of all the weddings she has been in ( ALV could literally be in 27 dresses haha)  I am so pumped that it is her turn and cannot wait for the celebrations!!!


Tuesday, January 20, 2015

Year End Catch Up

Wow. My first post of 2015 and it is January 20th, not off to a good start.  Well, I guess I should start off and say Happy New Year, readers.  Here is what we have been up to since my last post one month ago....(cringe)!

On December 20, 2014 we celebrated our last wedding of the year for some of DFH's co-workers. 
In December DFH laid new tile in the little nook in between our kitchen and basement.  I cannot wait to have a mudroom. 

   We enjoyed decorating our new home for Christmas.  For our wedding we were given newlywed ornaments and we finally have the space to put them on their own special tree this year.
Our sunroom has the perfect space and window for our large Christmas tree.  We had an incident where our tree fell in the middle of the night shortly after we put it up.  I woke up to glass breaking at 4 am and was confident someone was breaking into our home.  Luckily it was only our tree and we didn't lose too many ornaments.  Once we put our tree back up it was a little crooked, but we weren't risking trying to straighten it again, and luckily it did not fall.
I finally framed our Christmas cards from the past three years.  It is so fun to look back each year.

My BFF ALV got engaged!! 

We had so much fun celebrating her and BS on the night of their engagement. 

ALV, LES, and I

We went home to NJ for Christmas and we were able to spend time with both our families.  This is the only picture I took the whole week.  We bought my sister and her boyfriend a corn hole set for their new home with each of their favorite football teams. 

DFH and I ended the year celebrating downtown with friends. 

LES and I

So far 2015 has been off to a great start.