Things I'm Loving Thursday | April 9, 2015

Today I am headed down to the Bay area with my mom to attend the Bloom Workshop. I am so excited to go and learn some new things and meet more creative ladies. I plan on doing a recap of the workshop once I return so until then, here are some of the things I am loving this week.

Homemade Rosemary Soap
One of Travis's aunts has recently started her own soap making business. This summer she is opening up a produce stand/farmers market at their house and will be selling fresh produce, homemade soaps, handmade cards and other goodies. I am excited for her new adventure and to visit/support her shop! While we were there on Easter she gave us a couple bars of her 100% natural, homemade soap and I love it. We have been using the rosemary scent in the kitchen but also have a sweet almond and oat scent one to try. I love it because it it does not leave my sensitive prone skin feeling dried out and itchy plus, they smell great. I told her she needs to open an Etsy shop to sell her goods but until then, let me know if you would like to try some and I can send you her way!



Old Navy Chambray Shirt Dress
When I was little I would get a new, fancy dress to wear to church on Easter and Christmas each year. The older I grew the less I did this, until this year. I decided this year to bring back that tradition. Partly because it gives me an excuse to go shopping but also because dressing up for occasions is seeming less common. Travis and I went to see Swan Lake at the Portland Ballet a couple years ago and I was shocked to see people wearing jeans. It was a matinee but come on people, really??? Or even just going to the grocery store and seeing way too many people wearing pajama pants. It is just as easy to put on a pair of jeans as it is pjs, just sayin'. While this dress is not fancy, it is cute and very comfy. I wore it with tall boots because it was a little chilly Easter morning but I can't wait to wear it with sandals and flats once the weather warms up. 



Liege Waffles
I first had this type of waffle in Hawaii last winter but the vendor called it a, "Street Waffle." I had to patiently wait 10 minutes at the local farmer's market for it to be made but it was well worth it. It was a crunchy, sweet and chewy waffle, topped with fresh bananas, macadamia nuts, shredded coconut, whipped cream and caramel...Heaven in a breakfast/dessert form. After much research I figured out what made these waffles so great and different; yeast and pearl sugar. The yeast adds the chewiness and the pearl sugar creates little pockets of caramelly sweetness throughout the waffle as it is being cooked. I decided to try my luck at making these waffles for Easter brunch and they were just as good as I remember! I plan on writing a blog with a recipe for these soon, mostly because I want an excuse to eat more of them, so stay tuned!



Mid Century Modern House for Sale
Three of my coworkers are all currently house hunting, which I love because I get to talk to them about different houses for sale and kindly invite myself to tag along to their house viewings if they would like :) I love houses that are diamonds in the rough. I know this isn't always a good option for people that have a hard time envisioning the potential of a place but that is what designers are for. This gem is currently for sale in Madras and I am IN LOVE with it. This is a classic mid century modern house that has so much potential but I think this home will have to attract a very specific buyer, someone that can appreciate the design period and who will also restore and update it. It appears that at one point they added-on to the home and used pine, totally making it look mismatched. I hope whoever buys this home understands the style and does not add to the random look. 


637 SE B St, Madras, OR 97741

Write_On Campaign
The other day on Facebook I saw a fellow friend post a picture of the cutest stationary she received in the mail with a caption saying she was participating in the Write_On Campaign. I had to know more, so I asked her to send me a link to the website. This is such a great idea and it is inspired by a fellow Oregonian. April is National Letter Writing Month, and Tess Darrow from Egg Press, is challenging people to hand-write a letter to someone every day for 30 days. In a day and age where communicating is mostly done electronically, letter writing is becoming a dying trend, which is sad. I still save all of the cards and letters I receive because they are special and fun to go back and read later on. Also, who doesn't love receiving snail mail?! They provided lovely starter kits to participants and I am super bummed I missed the boat on this. Since I am a week behind I have decided to do this for the month of May, even though it is not National Letter Writing month. I also might, just might, be featuring a set of downloadable cards for you to use as well :)


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Orzo Chicken Salad Recipe

A couple weeks ago I was in the Willamette Valley for a work trip. Whenever I am there I always try and meet up with my girlfriends who live in the area since we do not get to see each other very often, now that we have all grown up and live in different cities. Being an adult isn't fun sometimes. I was lucky enough to get to meet up with TWO of my BFFS this last time, so I was super excited!! 

My BFF Lauren, and I met up for dinner at one of the places we normally like to go to for good salads. We both share the similar quality of having over sensitive stomachs and hold the title of, "Most likely to get food poisoning," so salads are generally a safe bet...as long as they are not from a salad bar...which ironically we have both gotten food poisoning from at the same time. Anyway, we were very disappointed to find out the restaurant did not carry our go to Chicken Orzo Salad anymore and removed it and ALL orzo from it's menu. Poor orzo and poor us :(


I think this picture best describes LV and I. Also the other BFF I visited on the trip was the
VERY talented photographer and all around great person, Hannah O'Leary.
Check her out her photos, link in the photo.
If you have not ever had orzo or do not know what it is, I like to describe it as the rice of pasta. It is about the same size as rice but it is pasta. It is very versatile; you can eat it cold, warm, as a side dish, on top of salads, ect. If you have not ever had it, give it a try! 

One of my favorite ways to have orzo is in Chicken Orzo Salad. Even though I can no longer order this dish I can still make and enjoy it home. This is one of my favorite salads in general and Travis requests it often. This salad makes A LOT, so you should have plenty of leftovers if you are just making it for two or it is the perfect amount for a group of four. I hope you enjoy it as much as I do, enjoy!





Chicken Orzo Salad Recipe

Ingredients:
  • 2 Chicken Breasts
  • 2 tsp. Olive Oil
  • 1/2 C. Dry Orzo
  • 1 large head Romaine Lettuce
  • 2 Tomatoes
  • 1 Cucumber
  • 1 Jar Roasted Red Peppers
  • 1 Small Red Onion
  • 8-12 Kalamata Olives
  • 8 oz. Feta Cheese
  • Parmesan Cheese (Optional for Sprinkling on Top)
  • Your Favorite Italian Vinagrette or Homemade Vinagrette (I like to use Brianna's French Vinagrette or Newman's Own Family Recipe Italian)
Directions:
  • Heat pan over medium heat. Add olive oil and chicken breasts that have been sliced into thin strips. Season lightly to taste (salt, pepper, garlic powder). Remove from heat and let cool.
  • Cook orzo according to package directions. Rinse, strain and set aside. 
  • Wash and dry lettuce and chop or tear into bite size pieces. Slice tomatoes into small chunks and thinly slice half of the red onion. Peel the cucumber (optional) and slice into chunks the same size as tomatoes. Slice the roasted red peppers into thin strips. Mix all of the vegetables together in a large bowl. Toss with feta cheese and kalamata olives.
  • Plate salad by layering: mixed salad, a scoop of cooked orzo and chicken breasts. Drizzle with your favorite dressing and top with shredded Parmesan cheese if you wish. Serve with warm french bread.
  • Store leftovers in the fridge, keeping orzo and chicken separate from the salad mix. 

Easter Weekend Wrap-Up

Easter is such a fun and joyful holiday. I just love everything about it and this Easter was no exception! This last weekend was spent filled with faith, family and food. Here are some fun photos to recap the weekend!

Travis's family has a huge Easter egg hunt every Easter weekend that has been going on over 35 years.
Each year a giant bin of eggs are hauled out of storage and then stuffed with treats. 
One of Travis's favorite parts of Easter. 
The coveted Golden Egg. There is only one and it is filled with the grand prize! The first year
Travis and I were dating he tore the butt of his pants on a tree limb trying
to get the golden egg from his Aunt Bean. 
Bible story time with Charlotte.
A special Easter craft for the kiddos while the Easter Bunny hides all of the eggs. 

Charlotte had the kids make stained glass crosses, super cute!
They all did a great job!

We went to Mass Sunday morning and then had the most delicious brunch at my parents,
followed by an Easter egg hunt for my nephews.

The boys thought it was SO fun, we had to hide the eggs again.
We cut it off at two times.
Coco may or may not have found a couple eggs herself and eaten the candy, yikes.
Dog owners of the year. 

Another family photo where Coco refuses to cooperate, she is such a gem.
 Happy Easter!