Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Lilly Giveaway....Why wouldn't I be interested?


A chance to win more fabulous Lilly Pulitzer clothes/shoes/accessories? Its this southern girl's favorite, so of course I'm entering a giveaway instead of working on a project that's due later in the week!  Check out her blog at http://www.longdistanceloving.net/2011/11/jungle-glam-giveaway-via-lilly-pulitzer.html to enter!

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

2 Blogs in 1 Week

Who am I? Here's a few pictures of my fall semester, including Halloween last night. So excited for all the fun November holds (but definitely not excited about all the work I have to do between now and finals)!

 Soaking wet at the first Tennessee game of the season
 My first ever race--Cooper Young 4 Miler
 Chancey's Rehearsal Dinner
 I was a bridesmaid for the second time this year
 Dressed up as "Bike Cops" for ASP Bowling Tournament
 Having SO much fun out with friends
 Halloween Party...he sure doesn't look like Mickey Mouse!
Sorority Sisters and Fraternity Brothers

 Jason Aldean Concert
Some of my Pharmacy School Favorites
Happy November!

Monday, October 31, 2011

Surviving the Last Month of Classes

Its already Halloween?! Tomorrow is November?! I turn 25 on Thursday?!

Where has this year gone?

This has been my favorite semester of Pharmacy School so far. We've got fewer classes, less busy work, and more time for fun!  I'm so thankful for the group of friends I have gained through graduate school...who knew that the people I met and befriended at Pharmacy Weekend three years ago would become some of my best friends? We are a big (sometimes dysfunctional) family, but I genuinely love the people who I've spent nearly every day of the last two and a half years with.  We are down to 27 days of classes left together before we split up for rotations...while thrilled on one hand to get out of the classroom and practice what I'll actually be doing in life, I'm also really sad that I won't be seeing my friends day in and day out. I'm even more sad that one of my best friends (also my boyfriend) is moving to Nashville in December to start his rotations there.

Thank goodness Pharmacy School has slowed down some, because my MBA program is good at keeping me occupied! I'm taking two classes this semester (one online and one that I actually attend class for) and while they aren't difficult, they definitely require work.  Its hard to be working on stuff for those classes when all my pharmacy school friends are relishing in the fact that we don't have much to do! I do think this program is going to be worth my time as far as my future career goes.  While I want to practice as a pharmacist for a while, I can't imagine working 14 hour days when I have a family to take care of. Hopefully this MBA will allow me to get into hospital administration work or distract managing a pharmacy chain.

My parents always said that the older you get, the faster time goes. I'm currently experiencing this phenomenon in my life...where has 2011 gone? How can it almost be 2012? How am I turning 25 this week?  Turning 25 seems like a milestone to me, however silly that may seem. I'm a quarter of a century old. I'm in my mid-late 20s. I've been terrified to turn 25 for the longest time, mostly because my life isn't what I always thought it would be by the time I reached this age.  While I'm not married or planning a family (hey, I'm from the south...I'm a rarity here!), I'm truly going to be able to say that I did things for me. I've gone somewhere far from home to get an education (6 hours is a lot for me!), I'm going to graduate from a top 15 graduate school, I'm going to have 2 graduate degrees (a doctorate and an MBA), and I've done it because its the best thing for me. No one else influenced my decision, and I didn't settle for an unfulfilled life to please someone else. I'm convinced that 25 is going to be one of the best years of my life, and I can't wait to see what it has in store for me!

Back to watching lectures, working on a patient presentation, and getting ready for our Halloween Party tonight!

Friday, September 16, 2011

to Fathom God's Faithfulness

I'm in shock. There's really no better way to describe it.
A guy in my class had a change of heart this morning about where he was going to travel abroad for his international rotation, making it not only possible for me to go to Europe, but also for me to go with my travel partner of choice. I've spent the past several days on my knees about this, praying that there would be a way for me to get to travel Europe through this opportunity, but had pretty much given up on the thought of Kirsten and I getting to travel together. I spent the morning with my hands shaking during class because I was so nervous about the selection process....I hate when things are out of my control. After it was all said and done, Kirsten and I will be in Stockholm, Sweden for a month in April 2013 and will have the chance to travel for the month beforehand with 4 other girls from school.
Praise the Lord, He is ever faithful! I've always known this, but sometimes its nice to be slapped in the face with the goodness of His hand! Thank you, Lord!

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Juggling Life

Its been a full month since I've blogged, and this is largely due to the fact that I'm trying to settle down into school again! This year I'm a graduate student x2....I'm not only finishing my last semester of didactic course work in pharmacy school, but I'm also taking two classes in pursuit of my MBA. Effectively, I'm taking 22 hours of classes this semester! Add on top of that the fact that my class is currently trying to finish up the selection process for our rotations that start this January, and you have yourself one chaotic month.

It hasn't been all work and no play though....I've already made a trip to Knoxville to watch my VOLS play, I've made my last trip to the lake for the year (very sad about that...it rained pretty much all of Labor Day weekend), I've caught up with friends from pharmacy school, and am headed to a Bachelorette Weekend (my 3rd this year....yikes) this weekend.

I've got several recipes and projects I'm hoping to have the chance to try in the next few weeks.....Pinterest could be detrimental to my grades, but its great for creativity!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Hosting a Bridal Shower

Lots of people say that your mid-twenties are a time to try new things, to figure out who you really are, and to settle into life post-college. For me, my mid-twenties has largely been about attending weddings! Wedding fever is in full swing in the south, and several of my good friends are in the process of starting their lives as Mr. and Mrs. My college best friend, Kat, got married last month, and one of my childhood best friends, Chancey is getting married in October!

Chancey is one of those people who has the most infectious laugh.  If she's laughing, you can't help but laugh along with her. My mom and I threw a bridal shower for her last night at our house and had a wonderful time! It was her first wedding event of several, and I'm sure the rest will be just as fun! She got amazing gifts!

 The Table

 Fruit Bowl (Confession: its fruit from Chik-fila! It was delicious and beat cutting up all that fruit myself!)
 Almond flavored cake with Chancey's new monogram

 Chicken Salad Tarts (foreground), CheeseBall and Crackers (background)
 Veggie Tray
 Caprese Salad Kabobs with Reduced Balsamic Vinegar Glaze (my new favorite appetizer...I'm taking it everywhere!) I previously made it here
 White Chocolate Covered Strawberries (foreground), Pork Tenderloin on Rolls (background)
 Sheilah (hostess), Jeannie (Mother of the Bride), Chancey (Bride), Me (Hostess/Bridesmaid), Teresa (Hostess/My mom)
Lifelong Friends
 Chancey with 3 of her 5 Bridesmaids

We had a great turnout, I think in part because we held the shower on a Tuesday after work! Lots of guests came straight over from their jobs, instead of having to get out again after church on a Sunday.  We made sure to have some heartier food (pork tenderloin, chicken salad, etc), plus some wine--it is a party, afterall--to make sure our guests didn't go hungry!

Friday, July 29, 2011

My Best Friend's Wedding

My college best friend, Kat, got married almost two whole weeks ago! She was a beautiful bride and so calm throughout her big day! We've been friends through many ups and downs in both of our lives and I'm so thankful to have her in my life. Here are a few pictures from her big wedding weekend...
Rehearsal Dinner: Meghan, Kat, Me (college bffs)
Zeta Girls
Beautiful Bride and Best Friend, Kat
Favorite picture
My date, Darrin, who was such a good sport. The wedding weekend was busy!
Congratulations to Kat and Tyler! So happy for you and love you both!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Caprese Salad Kabobs!

I've never been a big dairy eater...I don't drink milk, I eat cheese in moderation, I'm not even a huge ice cream fan. But in the past year or so I have fallen in love with Caprese Salads. In case you are unfamiliar with them, they are made up of Tomato, Mozzarella, Basil, and Balsamic Vinegar. I needed a quick appetizer to take to a friend's house for a porch party, and decided to make a mini-version of a Caprese Salad. These are a great, easy-to-make appetizer to make (and take) somewhere when you need something last minute!

You Need:
Cherry Tomatoes
Mozzarella Cheese
Basil Leaves
Balsamic Vinegar

1. Rinse the cherry tomatoes and thread a toothpick through the center.
2. Tear basil leaves into small pieces. Thread them onto the the toothpick beside the tomato.
3. Slice the Mozzarella into the appropriate size and place them onto the toothpick
4. Pour Balsamic Vinegar into a small bowl to use as a dip.

So cute. So simple. So good!

EDIT: Found tiny mozzarella balls (similarly sized to the cherry tomatoes!) at Sam's Club in a medium sized tub. They were absolutely PERFECT for this appetizer....much cuter than the slices I had to use the first time around!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Jack Rogers Giveaway!

I recently bought my first pair of Jack Rogers Navajo Sandals (alright, I bought two pairs!) I've been looking at my roommate's pair for over a year now and decided it was time I had some of my own! I bought them in Black (with Black Stitching) and in Silver (with Silver Stitching) and have worn nothing else for the past week! I'm completely obsessed!

The College Prepster (www.thecollegeprepster.com) is hosting a giveaway for a pair of Jack Rogers Sandals, so naturally I'm entering! They're just coming out with a collegiate inspired line, and I'm hoping they'll venture into making me some Tennessee Orange and White ones before too long!


4th of July Goodies!

I fully intended on posting this on July 3rd (the day I made these yummy snacks), but the excitement of the 4th of July Weekend (which I love) and a date that night resulted in me not getting a post completed. So, here is a sampling of the yummy 4th of July goodies I made for family and friends to enjoy at the lake!

Red,White, and Blue Strawberries
As I've said before, I absolutely love strawberries. They've been my favorite fruit since forever and I love them in most anything: salads, desserts, snacks, it doesn't matter! One of my best friends, Melissa, showed me this idea and we decided they were too cute to pass up!
You need:
White Chocolate Chips
Blue Food Coloring

1. Wash the strawberries and dry them off. Drying them off is important because it allows the chocolate to actually stick to the strawberries.
2. To make the granulated sugar blue, place sugar into a Ziploc bag and add drops of blue food coloring until your desired color is reached.  It helps if you drip the food coloring onto the side of the Ziploc instead of onto the sugar. Then, work the color throughout the sugar by kneading the closed bag with your hands. Place the colored sugar into a bowl.
3. In a double boiler (or a sauce pan on low heat), combine 1 tablespoon of Crisco per cup of White Chocolate chips.  The Crisco helps the chocolate chips to stay creamy enough to dip the strawberries in.  The first batch I made didn't turn out as pretty because I didn't use enough Crisco, thinking it was unnecessary--this made the chocolate lumpy and the dipping process not as easy. Let the chocolate chips and the Crisco melt together, stirring pretty continuously.
4. Dip the strawberries into the melted white chocolate (holding onto the stem), then immediately dip the bottom tip into the blue sugar. Repeat until you run out of strawberries (or chocolate!).

These were some of the first done...they aren't as pretty as the ones at the end, but of course, I forgot to take pictures of the pretty ones!

Red, White, and Blue Cupcakes
I wanted to make cupcakes in the shape of a flag after seeing them done in a magazine (I have no idea which one). I searched the internet for a made from scratch cupcake recipe, but I'm still in the process of tweaking it so it is exactly the taste I want. They turned out fine, but were nothing to write home about just yet...here's a picture of the finished product!

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Chocolate Pie and a Homemade Crust

I'll be honest, I'm very particular about my pies. As in, I really only eat chocolate pie and strawberry pie... Growing up, my dad's mom always made a ridiculous Thanksgiving Dinner. She would prep for days, get up before the sun, and took great joy in cooking an amazing meal for her family. To finish off this meal, she would have a table of desserts. I'm not talking a table that contained one or two desserts, but literally a table containing everyone's favorite desserts!  For me, this was chocolate pie with no meringue; my cousin wanted apple pie; my dad wanted german chocolate cake; my mom wanted coconut pie; my grandfather caramel cake; and on, and on, and on until all 15 of us had exactly what we wanted.

My grandmother died in a freak accident at the beginning of my sophomore year of college (five years ago this September), and the holidays just aren't the same anymore. She's missed everyday, but Thanksgiving was always "her" holiday. We all try to make it as special as possible now, but no one can do it quite like Granny. I learned how to make her chocolate pie in the months after she died, when my grandfather gave me her recipe box. Every time I make this pie, I miss her terribly, but know that she smiles when she sees me do it.

Chocolate Pie
1 cup of Sugar
1/3 cup of All Purpose Flour
1/4 Tsp of Salt
2 Cups of Milk
3 Eggs (yolk only)
2 Tbsp Butter
1/3 cup Cocoa
1 Tsp Vanilla Extract

Combine the sugar, flour, and cocoa into a mixing bowl and gradually stir in milk. Once combined well, stir over medium heat (in a decent sized sauce pan) until it bubbles. Once the bubbling occurs (it will be subtle, not a full on boil), continue to cook and stir for 2 minutes.
Take the mixture off the heat and continue stirring. Take 2-3 tablespoons of the mixture and combine it with the egg yolks, then pour the egg/mixture combination back into the saucepan and place it back on the heat.  Add the butter and vanilla extract, then continue cooking for about 1 minute. Pour into a pre-baked pie crust that has cooled.
Dry ingredients
Dry ingredients + Milk
Egg yolks and vanilla extract
Addition of eggs, butter, vanilla extract
Pie Crust
Now, I'm not going to lie. I've been known to use a frozen pie crust more times than not, but last night I learned how to make a REAL pastry pie crust that is absolutely to die for!  You'll need....
1 1/2 Cups Sifted Flour
1/2 Tsp Salt
1/2 Cup Crisco (converts to 8 Tbsp)
4 Tbsp Water

Combine the flour and salt in a large mixing bowl. Add in the Crisco with a pastry blender (had never seen one of these until last night!) or a fork until it looks uniform.  Sprinkle 1 Tablespoon of water at a time over small portions of the mixture (repeat for the 4 tablespoons total) and mix it in well.  Work the dough into a bowl (try and touch it as little as possible...) and roll out for a pie plate.  You have to kind of eye how big the plate is (a standard 9 inch plate is best).  Once the dough is at the desired thickness, place the pie plate upside down on the dough and then use your mat to flip it over. Smush (yes, that's my technical term for it) it so it fits in the plate well, and then roll the excess pastry under the edges around the top of the pie plate. To make it extra pretty, get some flour on your fingers and you can squeeze the pastry to make "waves" around the top--great for hiding imperfections! Prick the bottom and sides of the crust with a fork, then bake at 425 for 10-15 minutes!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Homemade Pesto

Pesto was not something my family ate as I was growing up. Heck, we didn't even eat alfredo sauce at our house--we are very much a tomato-based sauce family. Imagine my surprise when I moved to grad school and my roommate has this green sauce she smears over pasta, chicken, fish, and pretty much anything else you want to be delicious.  Her mother makes it in large batches and we store it in the freezer and ration it for as long as possible! With some extra time on my hands this summer, I decided to try and make my own...here is the story that ensued!

You need:
3-4 Cups of Basil Leaves (fresh, not the spice kind you get in flakes in a jar)

  • Note: Its best if these come fresh out of the garden, but seeing as my mom and I kill every plant in sight, I had to resort to store bought.  While this sounds simple, I went to 3 grocery stores and ended up having to go to Wal-Mart before I found enough to make it! I bought some that was stored in a plastic container in the fresh produce area. I bought three containers containing 2.5oz apiece, but ended up only needing two.

4 Cloves of Garlic

  • My roommate's mom's recipe said to use four cloves, but the next batch I make I think I'll include a little more....its hard to beat good, fresh garlic! On that note, I'm obsessed with my mom's garlic press and am definitely going to need to get one before I go back to school in August!

1/2 Cup of (good) Olive Oil

  • I used what we had in the pantry and chose it over the other brand in the pantry because the bottle was prettier. In my head prettier = better quality.

1/2 Cup of Parmesan Cheese, grated

  • I bought a small container of Parmesan from the grocery store. It can pre-grated and looked good. You could easily by a chunk of Parmesan and grate it yourself, and I'm sure the kind you shake out of the bigger containers on pasta would work just fine too!

1/2 Cup of Pine Nuts

  • I used the Alessi kind that I found in a jar at our local grocery store.  I bought two containers, not knowing quite how much it would take me to get to 1/2 cup. The small container I bought gave me just under 1/2 cup and I just went with that.

Sea Salt

  • Add to taste!

Food Processor

  • As I discovered when I was attempting to make the Oreo crust for my Peanut Butter Pie, my mom didn't own a food processor. However, we did find one in the cabinet at our cabin and brought it home for me to use. I washed it, plugged it in, placed the ingredients in and......nothing. Broken. So I called a neighbor/friend of my mom's who likes to cook and asked if I could borrow her food processor. She said that she had one but never used it so I was welcome to take it and have it. I went and picked it up, washed it, placed my ingredients in it, plugged it up and.....nothing. Again. This one was also broken. So I had to make a quick Target run to purchase a food processor so that I could use all the fresh ingredients I had already bought!
First, you wash the Basil leaves, place them in a colander (you know, the strainer you use to drain water out of pasta, etc) then pat them dry with a thin hand towel. Place the leaves into the food processor and add the Pine Nuts, then turn on the processor and let the two combine.  Then you add the garlic (not the whole clove, actually put it through the garlic press first) Sea Salt, and the Parmesan cheese and combine these into the Food Processor with the Basil Leaves/Pine Nut concoction (turn it on and let them mix).  Then you'll add the olive oil and turn on the food processor again, running it until you like the consistency! 

Its really a pretty simple, easy thing to make, unless you've got to go to four stores for basil leaves and try out three food processors!
Basil Leaves

Basil Leaves, Sea Salt, Pine Nuts
Basil, Pine Nuts, Sea Salt...Mixed
Olive Oil, Parmesan

Will definitely be making this again soon! 

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Peanut Butter Pie

Being informed I had to make dessert for 12 people on Friday afternoon left me worried that one dessert wouldn't be enough. So, I decided to make a second dessert that I'd found the recipe for in my mom's [junk] drawer which also happens to contain recipes.  

The ingredients are relatively simple and straightforward.
  • 1 cup of creamy Peanut Butter (Peter Pan is the only acceptable kind at my house!)
  • 1 8oz container of Cream Cheese
  • 1 8oz container of Cool Whip
  • 1 1/4 cup of Confectioner's Sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of butter
  • 25 Oreo cookies

First, you want to make the Oreo crust. To do this, you put the Oreos into a food processor and let it grind them into a fine crumble....of course, this is the easy way to do it.  When I called my momma to question her as to where our food processor was, she told me we didn't have one. WHAT? She and my dad have been married for 34 years and they don't have a food processor? Okay, well then Momma, where is the blender (thinking I could break them up that way...) to which I am informed that she dropped her 34 year old blender and it is no longer working/living in our kitchen.  So I regrouped and put the Oreos in a big Ziploc bag and beat them to a pulp with a rolling pin.  Once the Oreos are crumbly and small with the icing invisible, put the crumbs into a mixing bowl and add in 4 tbsp of melted butter.  Then press the mixture into a 9inch pie dish to form your crust (bake at 350 for around 5 minutes).

To make the filling, put 1 cup of peanut butter into a large mixing bowl along with the cream cheese and beat it with a mixer until its somewhat smooth.  Then add the Confectioner's Sugar and mix that together. Finally you add the Cool Whip (not frozen) and mix it all together until the consistency/color is the same throughout.  Pour the filling into the cooled pie crust and place it in the refrigerator to set. The recipe says to let it set for at least an hour, but mine sat overnight and set up beautifully! 

I liked the pie (to be honest though, the crust was my favorite part), but it was very rich.  The recipe says it serves around six people, but with how rich the pie is it could easily be served in smaller pieces and everyone would still get their sweet fix!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Better Than Sex Cake

On Friday my mother informed me that I needed to make dessert 12 people for our weekend at the lake with family and some friends. She said cookies or brownies from the package were fine, but I wanted to go a little further and make something more homemade.  My roommate made "Better Than Sex" Cake over Spring Break this year and it was a huge hit, so I decided to try it out for myself.  She got this recipe from Recipes.com and emailed it to me.

You will need:
  1 box Duncan Hines yellow cake mix (if no pudding in mix, add 1 small. box instant vanilla pudding)
  4 eggs  1/2 c. oil
  1/2 c. water
  1 c. sour cream
  1 bar German's sweet chocolate, grated
  1 (6 oz.) pkg. chocolate chips
  1 (6 oz.) pkg. butterscotch chips
  1 c. chopped pecans or walnuts

Mix first 7 ingredients by hand and beat only a few strokes (it doesn't need to be well mixed at this point). Then add last 3 ingredients and mix the concoction well. Bake in greased and
floured Bundt pan at 350 degrees for 55 minutes or until cake tests done. Invert immediately to cake plate.
Note: Grease the Bundt pan WELL. I didn't grease the part in the middle as well as I should have       and my cake didn't come out cleanly. However, it still tasted great!

This was a big hit with the family and our friends and is definitely something I'll be trying again! Here are some pictures to show you what it looks like!

Some of the ingredients (minus eggs, sour cream, oil, water)

Cake Mix, Eggs, Oil, Water, Sour Cream, and the beginnings of the grated chocolate
Chocolate Chips, Butterscotch Chips, and Pecans added
Gooey mixture

Finished Product (ideally, there should be a hole in the middle. Like I said, I didn't do a great job greasing the middle of the Bundt pan!)!