I've been...

I looked up and realized that it has been a year (a year!) since my last post. And quite a year it's been.

I think I got burned out from starting a new blog while writing my thesis and finishing my grad program. And then once I had free time, all I wanted to do was be lazy. Which I am excellent at being, by the way.

But over the past year, I've done more than be lazy. I've spent time with my husband - he finished his grad program in December and we finally had evenings to spend together again, even if just in front of the TV. I've been acclimating to a new job. I've traveled all over the place, spent time with friends (old and new), visited my family more often, and picked up reading for fun again (after reading for school for years, I avoided books for quite some time).

I've been helping my sister get ready to marry the love of her life in October. I've been wrapping my brain around the idea that one of my best friends has a terminal illness and thereby making it my mission to do nothing but have fun with her and let her know how much I love her.

I got a tattoo.

I've slowed down and realized that being involved in a million things and not being home for dinner 4 out of 5 nights a week isn't what makes me happy. I've focused on what DOES make me happy.

And last but certainly not least...I've been growing a baby. For the past 18 weeks to be exact. No easy task, I must say. But in 22 short weeks, we'll have a baby girl. And the way I spend my time for years to come will drastically change.

Looking forward, I'm getting back to blogging again. I enjoy the release of writing. I enjoy learning to take pictures that make my posts more visually appealing. And I enjoy the idea that I might be helping someone along the way. So I'll be posting again - but probably not as frequently as I once did. Quality over quantity is what I want to strive for.

I'm excited to see what this brings...and I hope you'll join me for the ride.

Until next time -



Heirloom tomatoes are so pretty. Seriously, have you ever seen a prettier tomato?

Sadly for this particular tomato (but joyously for me), it soon became this:

(Yes, that's dried basil. I did not plan well. Don't judge me.)

I have a serious addiction to Caprese in all forms - salads, stacks, pizzas, pastas, you name it. If it's on a menu, I'll order it. If I have the stuff to make it, I'll make it. If tomatoes are in season...well, you get the idea.

Speaking of tomatoes in season...

My mother has a green thumb. Oddly, I inherited a black thumb from who-knows-where and I can't keep a plant (or a fish, for that matter) alive even if I try really, really hard.

So, my green-thumbed mother decided to grow a garden this year. In one of the hottest summers in Texas in a long time. 

It's thriving. Over-producing, even.

I think she's come to visit us simply to pawn off produce. Which I have no problem with.

She's grown cucumbers, jalepenos, beautiful red tomatoes, and the most delicious green tiger tomatoes in the history of the world.

So what did I do when she dumped the fruits of her labor off on me?

I'm telling you - OB. SESS. ION. Add in the love and sunshine from a homegrown tomato and there's no comparison.

A better summer meal than what is shown above does not exist. Period.

Unless you plan well enough to have fresh basil around.


My Big Fat Italian-Food-Filled Weekend

Weekends are heavenly.

This weekend consisted mostly of a reading marathon. 

{Pause to push glasses up on nose.} 

After weeks of not being able to get into The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, I got finally got sucked into the story and couldn't put it down. Couple that with multiple glasses of wine, afternoon naps, an action movie at an air-conditioned theatre (holy crap it's hot), and a short trip to the pool, and you have one lazy, relaxing weekend.

Saturday night we engaged in one of our most favorite pastimes - eating pizza. Luckily, there's a great local-ish place about 10 minutes from our house that has gluten-free pizza is BYOB...AND we just happened to have a previously purchased Groupon for. Score! 

We each got a pizza, not because we each needed a whole pizza, but because I'm stingy and like to have leftovers to eat later. Hey - it's not very often I get gluten-free pizza made FOR me! My pizza was topped with pesto, artichoke hearts, roasted chicken, tomatoes and mushrooms.

Yeah. It was good.

I pretty much had to go straight to bed when we got home. I ate entirely too much of it. I don't care - it was worth it.

This morning, after a cup of coffee and a small breakfast, The Hubby and I went to the grocery store to beat the crowds (and the heat). There is nothing I love more than looking into my refrigerator after a trip to the grocery store (especially during the summer) and seeing a drawer full of fresh produce and protein. 

Fresh shrimp was on sale, as were cherry tomatoes, so we decided on a light pasta dish for dinner tonight. As an extra special treat, The Hubby cooked while I attempted to keep our kitchen cool with this:

No, I'm not being dramatic. Yes, it was (is) that hot. 

Did I mention it was 108ยบ today?


Shrimp pan-seared with olive oil and garlic (and salt & pepper).

Pan-seared shrimp removed from pan. Hot pan de-glazed with white wine.
Addition of burst cherry tomatoes, salt & pepper, more wine, butter, and more olive oil.

Shrimp added back in to pan sauce, then tossed with freshly cooked pasta.

Fresh basil added at the end.

Hear that? I hear angels singing. 

I think I could eat pizza and pasta for every meal. It's so easy to make both healthy and still satisfying in a way that nothing else is. 

Add some wine...and you have heaven.