Monday, April 30, 2012


Okay - not sure what everyone else uses to view/create blog posts, but I use Blogger (is that ghetto?  Or even the right name for it?) and it recently changed on me.  Whoa.

I have no "official" pictures, but I thought I'd share a few fun little ditties I created in the kitchen a few weeks ago.

Derby Pie 
What is Derby Pie?  It's delicious, that's what =)  It's a Kentucky twist on your typical Pecan Pie...the twist coming from chocolate.

I can't take credit for this recipe - I completely stole it from the internet after doing multiple Google searches.  This one caught my eye for some reason, and I've now made it several times.  Each time has been absolutely divine =)

Here's the recipe...

...and a picture
I used the first version of the recipe listed and omitted the bourbon.  I'm sure it would be just as good with the bourbon, but I didn't have any and to be honest, didn't really miss it.  I love this pie =)

Now, for the next recipe.

Test-o Best-o Pesto!
What?  What the heck is this, Nicole??
Let me explain.  I made a boo-boo when I bought pecans for the aforementioned Derby Pie.  I'm slightly moronic and while I was at the grocery store, I seemed to think that 1cup of pecans = 1 lb of pecans... can now tell you that 1 cup pecans is definitely much much < than 1 lb of pecans.  Oopsie.

So I made my pies and had oodles of pecans leftover.  What to do?  I ate a few here and there on yogurt, popped a few as a snack, froze a bunch...but I really wanted to USE them in something.

So I decided to make pesto!

I really don't do pesto that much, but it's pretty easy.  I think a 'typical' pesto has pine nuts, herbs, olive oil and garlic, but you can really make pesto out of anything.

I didn't have any herbs, but I had recently purchased a big bag of spinach and a big bag of arugula.  And I had my pecans. processor to the rescue!

This thing is my fave kitchen tool =)
I added a bunch of pecans,

several huge handfuls of spinach and arugula,

some salt, lemon juice,
and drizzled with olive oil...
...and voila!  Test-o (because this was totally a test...) Best-o (because this stuff was fantastic...way better than I expected it to be!)  Pesto!

It's actually so good, I've been eating it as a dip, too =)  Seriously...dipping some Triscuit Thin Crisps in this stuff...yummy.

Have you made any boo-boo's in the kitchen that turned into something fantastic?

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Introducing: The Treehouse =)

Marc and I have decided to give our mountain retreat a fun nickname.  We threw around boring stuff like "the condo" or "the mountain house", but we decided "the treehouse" was more fun...and the name of our complex is called "Treehouse", so it worked =)

We're tackling this project one step at a time, but overall, we're so insanely excited and loving the place so far.  I'm kind of sad I'm not there right now!

Here are some pictures of our progress from the weekend - enjoy!
About to open the door as homeowners for the first time!  Yippee!!
Here are some of the "before" pictures, so you can see the starting point:
Welcome!  Standing in the kitchen - that's the door to the master bedroom on the right.  Stairs in front lead up to the loft.  One of the first small projects is relocating the dining table.
Kitchen.  You can see the edge of the fridge on the left - another one of our first projects was to move that sucker so it wasn't the very first thing you saw when you walked in.
Fireplace!  I love it.  And yes - the treehouse came furnished so we got to keep the TV!
The previous owner left us a bottle of champagne and beer with a note - so thoughtful!

Standing in the living room, stairs leading up to the loft.  That's the front door under the stairs and you can see the edge of the fridge on the left.
Now a few "after" pictures:
Still cleaning, but standing in the loft looking down.  That door on the right is the master bedroom and just to the right of that is the bathroom.
Loft - we de-bunked one bed to make a little more room...
...and moved the futon over.  You can see the railing that leads down the stairs on the left - and look at all that sunshine coming in from the skylight!
Our new kitchen table and chairs.
Another "after" looking into the kitchen - you can see the fridge and table have moved.
Fireplace!  And our very first fire =)
Drinking our champagne after a long day of cleaning =)
Our master bedroom!  My girlfriend's mom made us that quilt for our wedding and I LOOOVE it =)
Bathroom - fully stocked and ready to be used by guests =)
The shower in the bathroom had been recently redone and it's awesome and huge.  It extends all the way to the wall where the vanity is!  We could seriously have a party in there.
Good morning, Polly!  Enjoying your new bed?
We have a tiny little deck with a killer view.
 Now for some of the views we get to enjoy =)
You can barely make it out, but Lake Dillon can be seen up beyond the trees above the railing.
The view out the side window - the master bedroom also has this view!!  I love it.
On our way down the mountain to head home, you can see Lake Dillon even better!
And that's it!  Like I said, still a work in process, but we are very pleased with the work we've done so far =)  Can't wait to have you join us!

I took a bunch of pictures, so if you want to see more, you can check out the full album here:

Thanks for checking in and seriously - invite yourself over =)

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Why I Love Easter

I know it's been a few days, but I had to express my thanks for the most wonderful holiday that we just experienced.  I love Easter, and not just because of the food, the freshly cut grass, the Easter egg hunts, chocolate or sundresses.

I love Easter because it's one of the days of the year when I'm reminded that I will get to see my dad again.
I must explain this picture.  First - it's the only one I have of my dad on my work computer...for some reason.  Second - it was taken before my little brothers orchestra concert where my dad threatened to show up looking like this...the sign says "Cello's Rule!" because Christopher plays the cello =)  Goodness...I miss this man =)
I'm not usually one to post something too political or touchy, but I know that many people are dealing with loss right now, and I'm no stranger to it myself.  I know it's hard, and you wonder how you will function in your daily life knowing you can't physically see or touch someone you love anymore.

But I always find peace in remembering that because of the greatest sacrifice of all, I will get to sing and dance and be joyful for eternity...and my dad will throw me a huge "Welcome to Heaven - I've Been Waiting For You" party. 

So, I hope you had a wonderfully blessed Easter holiday with those you love, if you feel the same way I do.  If not, I hope you find peace in your own Savior.  I know I have found peace and faith in mine.

Also, I recently re-discovered a website that one of my dad's old work buddies created for him.  Just wanted to share:  Ed Porcheddu.

Happy Easter!!

Thursday, April 5, 2012

Closing Day!

This has been a VERY difficult secret to keep from the facebook and blog world...but Marc and I are closing TODAY on a condo in Silverthorne, Colorado!  Yippee!!!

Even though we weren't planning on buying our "second" home before our "first" home, this opportunity sort of fell into our laps and we couldn't say no.  We are so so excited about it!

We're heading up there today to sign all the paperwork (joy) and pick up the keys (actual joy!) and then we'll be spending the weekend cleaning the place and stocking it with our own stuff.  Once we actually have possession of the condo, I'll take some pictures so you can see the "before and after" transformation.

For those of you who aren't familiar with Colorado, here are some pictures of the area:
Silverthorne is juuust about 1.5 hours from Denver.

To give you an idea of where the ski resorts are in relation to where our condo is.  Breck is about 20 minutes and Keystone is about 10 minutes away!
Lake Dillon =)  I plan on riding my bike around here frequently.
Stay tuned for more pictures of views from our condo =)  Eeeck can't wait!!  So so excited!!

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

11 Things (Thanks Ryn!)

Alrighty, the lovely and fabulous Mrs. Neidhardt tagged me in her 11 things thing...and while I am thankful for the excuse to post, I should inform you that I am a slacker, and I haven't been on my personal computer in several months, so I have no pictures to share.  However, I'm committed to participating and doing the bare here we go!
  1. What is your adult beverage of choice?  
    • White wine (sauvignon blanc) or vodka soda with lime (the lime is key!)
  2. Desert, Mountains, Plains, or Tropics? 
    1. live or vacation?  We close on a house in the mountains on 4/5 (future post!) but I will never ever tire of beach trips in the tropics.  We're actually in the midst of planning a Fiji vacation for the fall - can't wait!
  3. If you had to repeat one of these again, which would it be and why? Preschool, Elementary, Jr High/ Middle School, High School, College.  
    1. Is it lame for me to say high school?  I would relive high school the exact same way - I feel like I was blessed with a truly fantastic high school experience.  I would say college if I wanted to change things...I would have done a few things differently =)
  4.  What is your favorite "saying"? Doesn't have to be a famous quote. 
    1. I've noticed that I've been overusing the phrase "this isn't rocket science" or "this isn't brain surgery" a lot.  I'm sure it's driving some people nuts.
  5.  Have you ever been cow-tipping or snipe-hunting?  
    1. Snipe hunting as a victim.  Never been cow-tipping...I feel like that's something I could accomplish pretty easily, given my current location.
  6.  If your personality was an ice cream flavor, what flavor would you be and why?  
    1. Neopolitan...I can be boring vanilla, exciting chocolate, or healthy strawberry.  And I'm Italian.  Represent.
  7.  What one food do you wish you liked, but just don't? 
    1. Salmon - totally with you, Ryn!!  Also raisins...just not a fan.
  8.  When you were little, what did you want to be when you "grew up"?  
    1. I think a vet was the most impressive.  Then substitute teacher.  Then house wife.  Clearly, I was shooting for the moon as a kid...
  9.  Have you ever met someone famous? Who? Where? 
    1. I feel like I've met someone famous.  Oh yes!  Terrell Owens and Charles Barkley at the ACC Championship in Atlanta in 2010 or 2009.  TO is actually quite skinny.  I also met Jamal Anderson at band camp in 2001.  I'm somewhat of a sports-celebrity groupie.  OOh I also met this kid from the Disney Channel in Charleston...don't remember his name though...
  10. What song makes you crank the volume in your car?
    1. Anything by Akon.  Or Bon Jovi.  Or Adele. 
  11. Who was your first celebrity crush? 
    1. First?  I think JTT was the first I really remember.  Or Macaulay Culkin. 
Am I a poor sport if I don't want to tag anyone?  At least I responded =)  

Monday, April 2, 2012

Weekend Recap

*sigh* I'm just bad at keeping up with the blog =)  No more excuses, so I'm just going to post when I can.

Here's a recap of the highlights of our weekend:

Dinner at Lala's!
I've been wanting to try this place for a while!
Lala's is a cute little Italian place that's really close to my house and I finally had a chance to try it out with some friends!  It was also exciting because I "de-winterized" my bike for it's first ride of 2012 =)  I always love having dinner with friends on a Friday after a week of work - such great way to kick off the weekend.  Thanks to Val for organizing!

The Hunger Games

I feel like I'm always reading the latest craze in exciting book series' long after everyone else has read them.  Last weekend, I read the first book after hearing so much hype about the movie.  I finished the first book on Monday, started the second, and saw the movie on Wednesday by myself =)  This weekend was devoted to finishing the second book and starting the third.

I should also note - I've been having nightmares about killing people and being hunted.  I also had nightmares while I was reading the Twilight books.  I am a huge nerd.

So now I'm wondering - when I'm finished with Mockingjay, what's the next book series that everyone is obsessed with?  I received the Mayfair Witch Trilogy for Christmas, is anyone reading those or excited about them?

Hiking in Evergreen!
Marc is not such a fan of hiking, but I convinced  him to take advantage of the beautiful weather on Sunday to go on a hike in Evergreen.  My new favorite park is Elk Meadow and there was a hike I was dying to try - I promised him it wouldn't be more than 3 miles of hiking and we'd be home in plenty of time to do our other household chores.
Well...I am apparently very bad at reading trail maps.  Our 3 mile hike turned out to be 8 miles.  Oopsie!

Even though we are both a teensie bit sunburned, and our muscles are super sore, we had a great time hiking with Polly and spending some time outside.  However, I think I've maxed out my "hike" card with Marc for the next few weeks  =)

There you have it!  A quick highlight of our weekend - hope you had a great one!
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