Friday, July 30, 2010

Happy Birthday!

Sending my mama-in-law, Karen, lots of love & very happy birthday wishes today!  I know that she's having a great time celebrating with extended family... and we can't wait to celebrate with her too!

Now on the hunt again for birthday cake ideas... I'm already debating the Smitten Kitchen Lime Cake with Blackberry Sauce that Amy suggested last time... and the Blueberry Lemon Cake that Jen recently blogged about.  Send suggestions or thoughts this way, if you have any!

Happy Birthday, Karen!!

Nice & Green

For breakfast this morning, we had his & hers Green Monsters!  We had some spinach and a few bananas that, at the end of the week, really needed to be used.  So I decided to try these out... The verdict?  Delicious!

Definitely adding to the weekly rounds after this... I never quite believed it when people said you couldn't taste the spinach, but it is so true.  I pretty much used Angela's basic recipe, with a few modifications.

His:  2 cups organic spinach, 1.5 bananas, 1 scoop protein powder (chocolate), 1 cup skim milk, few ice cubes
Hers:  2 cups organic spinach, 1 banana, little skim milk, little 0% greek yogurt, few ice cubes

Plus it was fun to wake up a little earlier than usual, and enjoy breakfast with the hubs on Friday!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Beach Breakfast Casserole

Per the too-long-for-most-people recap of our beach weekend, I was in charge of breakfast on Saturday morning.  I had a breakfast casserole recipe picked out, then forgot it on my kitchen counter in Charlotte.  So I decided to just kind of make one up as I went along... And, to my surprise, everyone seemed to really like it!

Breakfast Casserole
5 slices of bread (I used pre-made, store-bought croissants and think it gave it a nice extra crunch)
5 large eggs
2 cups of milk
2 cups of Colby Jack cheese, shredded
½ bag of frozen hash browns (the 'Potatoes O'Brien' with peppers & onions)
1 tablespoon dry mustard
Several generous shakes of hot sauce
Salt & pepper to taste

1.  Slice bread into small cubes and cover the bottom of greased baking dish (for the croissants, I also sliced them in half).
2.  Mix eggs, milk, dry mustard, hot sauce, salt & pepper well.  Pour over bread cubes in dish.
3.  Cover and refrigerate over night.
4.  In the morning, sprinkle cheese evenly over top of casserole.
5.  Top with frozen hash browns (be sure to break up any frozen chunks first).
6.  Bake (uncovered) at 350 degrees for 45 minutes to 1 hour, until edges and top are browned.

Obviously, not part of this effort... But delicious!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

If it's free...

We Whittakers love cheap things... And nothing is better than f-r-e-e. Well maybe I should amend that to say that Jeff loves free & cheap things... And I am getting there (oh so slowly and yes, sometimes painfully).

When I came home from the beach trip on Sunday night, Jeff announced that he received a free set of brown leather chairs for our house to... drum roll please!  ...Replace the dual-recliner!

Hallelujah!  I have a strong feeling that these...

Will look so much better than this...

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Now & Then

Now:  This past weekend, I headed to the beach with the amazing group of girls I went to high school (and most of them, middle school) with!  I absolutely love that it felt like we hadn't missed a single day, and I love that there was no 'occassion' - just a fun-filled girls weekend at the beach!

I picked up Hannah bright & early on Friday morning, and we made it to the beach in time to enjoy lunch with Christine and Megan (in from Raleigh) and Renee (in from Atlanta).  We packed up the golf cart with chairs & our cooler and headed to the beach... until 7:30!

Keeley & Erin made it into town about the same time we were leaving the beach... and just in time for pre-dinner drinks!  We had a delicious casserole (thanks Megan!) for a late dinner, and of course spent quality time around the kitchen table chatting away.

{This may have been when we were sharing favorite middle school and high school stories of each other}


Saturday morning we were up for breakfast casserole (I'm planning to post the recipe later this week, since I combined a few recipes I'd used before, and I think it came out pretty well!) and an early day at the beach.

We spent all day relaxing beach-side... Even running into a friend from the afternoon before.  His name was Skippy, and I'm not sure if we loved him or his 80+ year old dad more!  His dad told us that Skippy is his 'chick magnet' and apparently Skippy works!

Saturday night was more drinks and another delicious dinner (jambalaya provided by a NOLA native, Renee!)  Not to mention the fried green tomato appetizers that Christine whipped up... amazing!  Anyone else see the weekend themes here?


I have to admit that Monday was a hard fall to reality after such a fun weekend!  I feel so fortunate to have friends who I've known forever and still love spending time with!  I second the idea to make this an annual trip... Sorry boys, girls-only.

Oh and, of course, in keeping with this post's title...
And Then:

Food for Thought

For those Charlotteans out there, check out this article posted today on the Charlotte Observer.

A local family is on a whole-foods diet for 100 days.  That means no fast food, no processed foods... Just fresh vegetables, fruits, whole grains, and local grass-fed meat.  I was so excited to see this article, especially since I've recently made a similar (not quite as ridged) commitment after a multi-hour discussion with Sarah.

Goodbye diet cokes & meat (for the most part), and junk food... Hello daily fruits & veggies and water (lots of it)!  Now if I could only get the family on board with this too... 

{my breakfast bowl... with fresh South Carolina peaches from this weekend}

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Busy Week

Sorry for being so MIA lately... The last few weeks have been hopping at work!  And at school... 3 more weeks to go until the end of the summer semester + 2 classes = tons of final projects/papers/presentations due!

I can't promise that there will be too many posts coming your way this week either... But in the meantime, check out Sarah's new blog, the yogi monster.  I'm so excited that she has decided to share her healthy lifestyle with the masses!

And if you can't get enough there, Jeff's cousin also recently started a blog, Organic Girl, on holistic health.


Monday, July 12, 2010


... to our sweet friends, James & Stephanie on their engagement this weekend!  We are so incredibly happy for these two, and were so glad to share a quick glass of wine with them last night to celebrate! 

Funny story:  Last weekend, over July 4, my dad's friend was giving James a hard time for not being engaged... Even (jokingly) telling Stephanie that he knew some guys she could meet.  James must have had so much willpower not to let it slip that he had the ring already!  Unknown to all of us, the proposal was just around the corner!

All that patience paid off... Much love & happy wedding planning, Stephanie & James!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010


...could you not love this puppy face?

My father-in-law has been trying out his birthday present, a new camera, and I am in love with this sweet little picture of Ellie.  It is also making me think that a camera and perhaps some photography lessons need to be on my birthday wish list too!

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

YHL Kick

As I mentioned a few weeks ago, I've been trying to make all our rooms feel fresh, uncluttered, and bright.  I'm calling it my Young House Love kick.

The guest bedroom couldn't escape.  With most of our immediate family in town, the room doesn't get much use... Making it the prime spot for us to throw things when we don't have a place for them right away. 

Example:  Jeff's younger sister came by a few weeks ago to browse through our expanding Goodwill pile.  She left with a side table, a nightstand, a set of curtains, 3 throw pillows, a wall clock, and an area rug.  All of which had taken over any available floor space in the room.  We are so thankful she has a place for everything in her college house this year!  (Although seeing it all loaded up made me feel slightly like a hoarder)

With the room cleaned out, we were able to get the space ready for our guests... Notice the beverage cart from the kitchen is now a nightstand.  Jeff is slowly getting used to my love for moving things around.  I kind of like the look in here, and the cart was too much for the small space in our kitchen.

This room is full of hand-me-down furniture... The bed is from Jeff's parents, the duvet set is mine from before we were married, and the beverage cart & lamp are from each set of my grandparents.

I love Amy's thoughts on keeping a guest room uncluttered.  Unfortunately, we have storage issues in the house and use this china hutch (also from Jeff's parents) to help us store our fine china and serving pieces.  I try to keep it as easy on the eyes as possible, since it has to be in the room.

Finally we have Jeff's old dresser in the room for out of season clothing storage as well as kitchen towels, place mats, etc.  I absolutely love this dresser, and I really hope to have it refinished one day.

You can notice our skinny, high windows here... We're hoping they'll go when we eventually remodel the front of the house.  I'm waiting until then to add some curtains to the room as well.

So now you've seen almost every room in our house... well, how they look for now at least!

Happy Couple

Hope everyone had a wonderful 4th of July! Pictures & a quick recap of our fun weekend to come!

For now, be sure to check out Sarah's amazing engagement pictures here and at her photographer's blog.  I've looked at them a million times already and am absolutely in love!  The pictures totally showcase Sarah & Ryan's love for each other and their personalities.

Can't wait for their wedding in October!

Thursday, July 1, 2010

#100: Happy Anniversary!

Happy Anniversary to my grandparents, Yiayia & Pappou!  Here's to their 53 years of wedded bliss...

I couldn't ask for better grandparents and role models for what marriage is... Or a better 100th post for Wedded Whittaker!

July 4th Baking

With July 4th upon us, I wanted to share one of my favorite holiday recipes.  I made the Barefoot Contessa's Flag Cake last year and have plans to whip one up again for our beach trip this weekend!

While the frosting and decorating can be a little time-consuming, it is a really fun cake to make... And even more fun to serve at July 4th cookouts and festivities!

{my cake last year}

Barefoot Contessa's Flag Cake:

2 1/4 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
3 cups sugar
6 extra-large eggs at room temperature
1 cup sour cream at room temperature
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
3 cups flour
1/3 cup cornstarch
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda

For the icing:
4 sticks unsalted butter at room temperature
1 1/2 pounds cream cheese at room temperature
1 pound confectioners' sugar, sifted
1 1/2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract

To assemble:
2 half-pints blueberries
3 half-pints raspberries

Heat the oven to 350 degrees F.

Butter and flour an 18 by 13 by 1 1/2-inch sheet pan.

Cream the butter and sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment on high speed, until light and fluffy. On medium speed, add the eggs, 2 at a time, then add the sour cream and vanilla. Scrape down the sides and stir until smooth.

Sift together the flour, cornstarch, salt, and baking soda in a bowl. With the mixer on low speed, add the flour mixture to the butter mixture until just combined. Pour into the prepared pan. Smooth the top with a spatula. Bake in the center of the oven for 20 to 30 minutes, until a toothpick comes out clean. Cool to room temperature.

For the icing, combine the butter, cream cheese, sugar, and vanilla in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mixing just until smooth.

Spread three-fourths of the icing on the top of the cooled sheet cake. Outline the flag on the top of the cake with a toothpick. Fill the upper left corner with blueberries. Place 2 rows of raspberries across the top of the cake like a red stripe. Put the remaining icing in a pastry bag fitted with a star tip and pipe two rows of white stripes below the raspberries. Alternate rows of raspberries and icing until the flag is completed. Pipe stars on top of the blueberries.

Cake can be served right in the pan. If you want to turn it out onto a board before frosting, use parchment paper when you grease and flour the pan.

{with my cake & an incredibly messy kitchen in the background}

What are your plans for the holiday weekend?