Monday, July 26, 2010

Happy Birthday Andi!

It seems like all we are doing in our house these days is living from event to event. Our family calendar is FULL of excitement this year. This week's celebration? My sweet sister Andi's 23rd birthday!!! I will not embarass her and post all 87 nicknames that she has acquired over the years but I will sprinkle the love and say that I'm so glad she was born 23 years ago.

I cannot believe I am even making this public, but we are breaking the Nido girls birthday cake tradition tonight and heading to Big Daddy's Burger Bar for what we have heard are TO DIE FOR milkshakes.

Happy Birthday Lovie!!!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Peace, Love and Pasta with my Favorite Co-Chef!

Oh what a wonderful night Wednesday was! Ashley and I were finally able to collaborate our calendars for a dinner night. I have been dying to see her new loft in Dilworth. Ash is probably one of the most crafty and creative girls I have ever known and the do it yourself projects she has crafted in her new home are enough to create a blog! She never ceases to amaze me and whenever she decides to grace the blog world with her presence, believe me you all will be the first to know.

We had the best time catching up, sipping our wine and prepping dinner. I have missed whipping up kitchen magic with this girl just like we did nearly every night in our cozy little apartment home together for two and a half years. This pasta dish we enjoyed together was so easy and simple. Now is the time to get fresh peppers and who doesn't love pasta swimming in creamy dreamy goat cheese? This recipe comes from Mario Batali and calls for Orchiette but Ashley made it with bowties and it was delicious! Ashley cracked open a bottle of wine that was surprisingly sweet for a red zinfandel but it was so tasty and we drank every last drop! Definitely one of the most random wine labels we had ever seen. As soon as we find out what it was, I will post it immediately- DELICOIOUS! Side note on this wine- for all of you cork collectors, don't expect this funky label to come with a crazy's completely plain! To go with our dinner, I popped over to Trader Joe's and picked up ingredients for a salad inspired by my favorite Charlotte restaurant. The arugula, kalamata olives and feta tossed with lemon, olive oil, cracked pepper and salt was the perfect accompaniment to this delicious dish. In my excitement with eating, I forgot to snap a picture but I have posted Nina and Ashley masterpieces before so you should have no doubt that what was on our plates was as delectable as it looked!

Orchiette with Sweet Peppers & Goat Cheese


  • 2 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil, plus more for drizzling
  • 1 red bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into thin strips
  • 1 yellow bell pepper, cored, seeded, and cut into thin strips
  • 2 tablespoons sherry vinegar
  • Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 pound orecchiette
  • 4 ounces goat cheese

To make the peperonata: In a 12- to 14-inch sauté pan, heat the 2 tablespoons of olive oil over high heat until almost smoking. Add the red and yellow peppers and sauté over high heat for 4 minutes until browned at the edges and softened. Add the sherry vinegar, salt, and pepper, reduce the heat to medium, and continue to cook for 5 to 7 minutes, or until the peppers are tender. Adjust the seasonings and set aside to cool. Place pepper mixture into a food processor and finely chop. With the motor running, drizzle in oil until you've reached a smooth consistency. Transfer mixture into a large bowl. Cook the pasta until tender yet al dente, about 6 to 8 minutes. Drain the pasta well and add to the sweet pepper puree. Add goat cheese to the pasta and toss for about 2 minutes and then pour into a warm serving bowl.

recipe via {here}

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Go Ahead...Lick the Screen

Tomatoes, basil and mozzarella. I will forever be convinced that there are no other three things that will ever compare to what I have dubbed as the "holy trinity" of all foods. When placed on a plate, some people may just see it as it is. I see this creation as the epitome of a culinary dreamland about to be indulged in. My sweet friend Laura brightened my afternoon with this mouth watering morsel and I was inspired to share.
image found via {here}

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

La La Land

I have been living in la la land for the past 8 months and could not be happier! Our wedding is 46 days away and the huge smiles plastered on our faces are stuck for a lifetime. My sweet blog has sadly taken a backseat but have no fear! I have full intentions to be back in the kitchen, pretending to be Giada once MM and I get settled in and back from our wonderful wedding festivities and honeymoon in early September. My kitchen is increasingly becoming the best stocked kitchen and I have filed away enough recipes and ideas to last us at least through my favorite time of year! (insert jingle bells here)

{practicing for the big day!}

Pre-wedding celebrations are in full gear for the soon to be Moore's and it seems as though there is a festive morsel to look forward to each day from now until September 4th! I have yet to post about my wonderful girls bridal shower. Some dear family friends threw a fantastic "Stock the Bar" themed party for us this past weekend and we could not have had more fun. I am trying to track down pictures of the food because the spread was amazing and looked like something out of Food & Wine magazine. A local restaurant and catering company, Carpe Diem, wow-ed everyone's tastebuds witht he ecclectic mix of flavors. Dainty fresh summer rolls were served with a spicy asian inspired sauce alongside wonderfully flavorful beef and pineapple skewers! Roasted chicken breasts were coated in a pesto like marinade and a mixed greens salad featured fresh corn tomatoes and blue cheese with a perfect vinaigrette! The corn fritters were the talk of the night and I am mad that i didn't eat more than two! I am still dreaming about that food and the delicious strawberries and cream cake that MM and I got to cut in preparation for the big day!
{our wonderful party hosts, Mary & Kelly!}

We are so blessed to have so much love surrounding us during this blissful time in our lives!

Friday, July 16, 2010

The Muffinship

Exactly three years ago today, I walked into my very first grown up job, right out of college. I always say that God puts us in the perfect situations at the perfect time...and knows exactly what He is doing when He does it. Yes, this stint in what is otherwise known as the "Boys' Club" (vrooom vrooom....hello NASCAR) gave me wonderful work experience and a jumpstart in the event planning industry, but I believe that the real reason I ended up at MMI was far beyond building my resume. Little did I know that I would be blessed with a sweet lifelong friendship that makes my heart glow. My life would never be the same without this little piece of spun sugar spice that I call my Muffin! I love you sweet thing. Thank you for every little thing. Yes, this includes answering your phone at 1:00am among everything else that I will not post to the public, because, well, just because we don't judge, doesn't mean others will do the same. I know that Miss Mary and Aunt Theresa sprinkled the pixie dust 3 years ago...this friendship was fate!

Peace. Love. Muffins.

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Citrus Kick

I love fresh citrus, especially in the summer when produce stands are bustling with business and cooking is really effortless. Summer lends itself to bright colorful meals and some of my favorite summer meals consist of nothing but garden picked goodness.

When my sweet Godmother, Angela, came to share her culinary skills for Natalie's gradutation party last month, she concocted a mouth watering citrus orzo salad that my taste buds fell in love with. The flavors were so simple, yet stunning and like any perfect outfit, had just the right pop of color to enhance the presentation. I was inspired to get zesty in the kitchen and create my own version of this light summer side dish. I have made it twice already and both MM and my family enjoyed every last bite!

Citrus Orzo

  • 1 lb. orzo pasta

  • 1 red bell pepper

  • 1 yellow bell pepper

  • 1 orange bell pepper

  • 1 small red onion

  • Handful of flat leaf parsley

  • Several fresh basil leaves

  • A few sprigs of fresh oregano

  • 1/4 cup crumbled, low fat feta cheese

  • 2 lemons

  • 1/3 cup estra virgin olive oil

  • salt & pepper to taste

Boil orzo and cook until al dente. Once cooked, strain and run cold water over so that it does not continue cooking. Once orzo is cold, transfer to a large bowl suitable for mixing. Chop all three peppers and the red onion into small pieces. Chop up the parsley, basil and oregano. Once the fresh ingredients are chopped, drop them into the bowl with the orzo pasta. To mix the "dressing", squeeze the juice from two whole lemons and combine with 1/3 cup of extra virgin olive oil. Add salt and pepper to taste and whisk until emulsified. Pour mixture over orzo and mix together with love. Once the dressing is fully incorporated, lightly toss in the feta. I only used 1/3 of a cup and I truly believe the small amount of feta is what makes it so delicate. This recipe is best served cold so stick in the fridge until you are ready to eat.

I love orzo because, as Meghan says, it's basically "guilt free" pasta and can be paired with anything! When MM and I enjoyed this as part of our very first meal in our Midwest kitchen, we had it with roasted tilapia and a mixed greens salad. I repeated this recipe for my family on the Fourth of July. We dined al fresco and accompanied the orzo with grilled citrus chicken (saving the Nina created marinade recipe for another post), corn on the cob and watermelon. Orzo can also act as a one dish meal. This recipe would be fantastic with a piece of grilled chicken breast cut into strips atop the orzo and voila!

Friday, July 2, 2010

BIG (as in 6 Quarts) Time

My kitchen dreams have come true! Last weekend at my bridal shower, our dear family friends, the Baileys, surprised me with my dream registry item...a Kitchen Aid Mixer! I have been bursting at the seams since Saturday and yesterday, the 6 Quart Pearl Nickel mixer arrived on my doorstep. I could hear the kitchen angel choirs singing (and mixing and whisking) when I opened the box to find my shiny new best friend. Oh what a happy day! My mind is going crazy with all of the things I am going to make with this beauty. I don't know how this item became known as the "must have kitchen dream piece" but I knew our kitchen needed one and I can't believe I have one to love of my very own. It is sure to mix up a whole lot of delight in our new Midwest Nest and any other kitchens that we call our own. MM thinks that I am crazy and says that I think I am "big time" now that I have this breathtaking addition to our kitchen. I just told him that it makes me legit.
"The overachiever of the stand mixer family, it has a Flour Power Rating of 14 cups. That means it can mix enough dough for 8 loaves of bread or 13 dozen cookies in a single bowl. All you have to do is hope they're hungry." Photo and specs via {here}

Thursday, July 1, 2010


Thanks to my sweet little sister, I was reminded that exactly three years ago from yesterday, we were hiking the Cinque Terre Trail. To date, this is the most magnificent and breathtaking place that I have ever been to. If this doesn't look like bliss, I don't know what does. Frolicking around the motherland taking in all that we could and tasting everything in sight along the way seems like a far and away dream. Alas, this trip was nothing short of magical. Whenever I need a a little pick me up, I click through my pictures and re-live these perfect 16 days. Venice...Cinque Terre...Florence...Rome. I am trying to convince MM that we need to take an Italian holiday as soon as possible. Maybe if I give him a spoonful of nutella a day, that will do the trick?!