Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Date Do

After a day of running errands, cleaning house, and/or work, my hair is just not presentable for date night; nor, is my attitude ready to tackle my hair into something presentable for the public. My hubby and I had a double-date on Friday night and I was SO excited, until I looked in the mirror and realized my hair looked like it had been hit by the humidity nightmare that is Houston.   I felt like I hadn’t seen people in months so I had to glitz myself up, but I didn’t have time for the glam.  What’s a gal to do?!

I remembered earlier in the week, Beth from A2Z posted a picture of her hair-do (yes, I said “hair-do” hehe) and I thought that maybe, just maybe, I could replicate it with the 15 minutes I had before we needed to be back in the car and on our way.

I put my hair in 2 low pony tails.  I took a few small pieces of hair, twisted them, and pinned them up with a bobby pin.  There was no method or pattern to my madness; just twisting and pinning.

I know these aren’t the best pictures, but keep in mind that I was in a rush, and taking pictures over your shoulder is really hard.  DSC04768DSC04769DSC04773DSC04777

This date do took no time at all.  In fact, I spent more time taking the pictures than I did actually putting my hair up.  I really liked this quick date do and felt it was sassy enough to wear out to dinner with some great friends without having to fight with my hair.  Thanks Beth for the tips!

Easter with the Hawleys

He is risen! He is risen indeed!  We had a fantastic Easter and hope that you did as well.  We spent the morning at church singing some of our favorite praise songs and celebrating the resurrection of our Savior, Jesus Christ.  It was spectacular! 

Since we’re not big fans of ham, we decided early last week to have a turkey instead for Easter dinner.  And since we had an action-packed weekend, I started cooking on Friday.  I’m so glad that I did; it made Sunday so much more enjoyable. 

Here the table is, set, and ready for us to dig in!DSC04784

I, of course, took tons of “during” pictures of the preparations, but totally forgot to get an “after” picture until it was almost too late. 

I made my famous green pea & cheddar salad, deviled eggs, turkey, my grandmothers homemade mac-n-cheese, rolls, and sweet tea.DSC04786-2DSC04788-2DSC04791

Phil asked for cheesecake with strawberries on top for the after dinner sweet, and I was MORE than happy to make it for him.

After lunch, we spent the afternoon by the pool.  It was a great day to celebrate and enjoy Easter.  We hope that your Easter was just as great as ours.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Weekend Breakfast

I made this delicious breakfast on Easter morning and served it to my groom. This is a delicious and easy breakfast that is one of my famous weekend breakfast go-to’s (hence the name). It’s really simple and I want to share the recipe with you. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees and grease a cupcake/muffin pan. Put a slice of bacon around the edge of each cup (turkey bacon works well here). Crumble up some left-over sandwich bread from the week into the bottom of each cup (so now the bacon is surrounding the crumbled bread). Then crack an egg into each cup, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and cook for 20 minutes.


Voila! A delicious and pretty breakfast treat for you and your sweetie <3 Stay tuned for our Easter dinner meal…it was so yummy!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Foodies Review

It’s that time in the week where I share with you the new recipes I tried last week for my cookbook club, and give you hubby & I’s review of the foodies (because we’re professional food critics of course! Ok not really. While I did write for a newspaper in college as a food critic for a few years, I don’t think that makes me a professional…but that would be awesome. I’ll add it to my running to-do list).

Penne with Chicken, Artichokes, Red Pepper, & Goat Cheese- This tasted like something you would order at a fancy Italian restaurant, & coming from someone who does not even like artichokes I think this says A LOT! Now you may be asking yourself, “Darby, why on earth would you select a recipe with artichokes in the title if you don’t even like them?” Easy answer: goat cheese! Yes, it was solely the goat cheese that captured my interest. Yum-o! I will admit though, since I don’t like artichokes I have never bought them; in fact, I have never even seen them in the frozen food section (I have seen them in the produce section, but the recipe called for frozen artichokes, and I was trying to follow instructions), but keep looking they are there. There are a lot of ingredients in this recipe but it’s totally worth it. Some things I think you could cut back on: garlic (the recipe calls for 8 cloves, only do that if you want to have stinky breath for the rest of the year) & goat cheese (as you can see from my picture, it’s pretty creamy; I would cut back to about 4oz.). I used whole wheat penne pasta & will again next time I make this as well. I think I might add some spinach too. 30-Minute Chicken Fricassee with Mushrooms- This meal is so good you are going to want to lick your plate- I kid you not! I have no idea why I picked this recipe, but I did, & it was wonderful. Instead of microwaving the chicken I boiled it, & I added a little bit more bacon (because for real, who opens a pack of bacon for only 1 piece?!) This was fantastic. Skillet Lasagna- This recipe is one that is featured in the small photo section of the cookbook. After reading the note, where it boasted that this is a fast, one-pot recipe (the exact reason why I hide from lasagna recipes normally), I had to try it. They were right: it is a very fast recipe. I will probably make this again, but I would just add a few more things. It was a little boring for us, so next time I will add some oregano and other Italian seasonings and probably some more red pepper flakes. Maque Choux- The note said that very few people are aware of this dish outside of Louisiana. I think we fall into this category: not only have we never heard of this dish, but we don’t even know how to pronounce it. This was another delicious one-pot dinner. I can’t believe how easy it was to make, yet still so flavorful. We absolutely loved this dinner and will certainly make it again. I used Hillshire Farms Polish Turkey Kielbasa and it was fantastic!Simple Pan-Seared Pork Chops with Worcestershire & Butter Sauce- Well the pork chops were exactly like the title suggests: simple. I’m really not sure it gets easier than this. They would probably be delicious on their own, but I added the Worcestershire and butter sauce. (2 recipes in one meal?! Woah I’m on a roll!) In the very last step, when you turn the sauce down to low, I added the pork chops back into the sauce so the flavors could mellow together. I totally forgot to add the parsley and it was fine; I’ll try to remember it next time though. I will say that because the Worcestershire sauce is salty enough on its own, you probably don’t need to add anymore. Because I need variety on the plate, I paired the pork chops with rice pilaf and some fresh green beans. This was a “simple” week night meal that I will certainly make again. Well are you hungry now? I think I am. What new recipes did you try last week? I’d love to read your recipes and add them to my to-try list.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Guest Basket

‘Tis the season for company, at least in the Hawley house it is. A lot of our family & friends will be, or have already, visited us this spring & summer. Since our house turns into a bed and breakfast occasionally (which we LOVE), we always want to make sure our guests feel as comfortable and rejuvenated as possible. We want them to check what is in the fridge, flip through the magazines on the coffee table, walk around barefooted, etc. For the past couple years, we have been doing something that has really added to the comfort of ours visitors: a guest basket.
I put this basket in the guest room and fill it with goodies for them:

First and foremost, a bible

Granola bars

Bottled water

Lotion

Hand sanitizer

Fingernail clipper set

Small sewing kit

Toothbrush, I make sure these are individually wrapped for sanitary reasons

Loofa

Shower gel

Channel guide (some TVs are just harder to navigate)

Chapstick

A Houston magazine

Pen and stationary

If you want to add a guest basket to your guest room, don’t forget to refill it between visits or else that could be really awkward (especially with the loofa and toothbrush LOL). Be sure to let your guests know that they can feel free to dig through the basket for anything they may have forgotten. Hope this helps when you have visitors :-)

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Egg Hunt Sweet Treats


With Easter right around the corner I wanted to give you some sweet ideas just in time for the festivities. In both of these recipes, I used my favorite Easter chocolate, Cadburry Eggs, because I wanted you to have your very own egg hunt.
Egg Hunt Brownies- For these brownies, all you need is a box of brownie mix (I used Kroger brand and they were delicious), and some Cadburry Mini Eggs.
Prepare the brownie mix and pour it into your pan. Top the mix with enough chocolate eggs so that every piece will get an egg (no one wants to be left out on the chocolaty surprise!). Oh yea, let’s get a closer look at that chocolate, yummmmmm! Lastly cook the brownies as directed on the box and they will come out looking like this.
Egg Hunt Cupcakes-This is another simple recipe. You can use pretty much any cake mix that you have; I chose funfetti because I was trying to be festive.

Make the cupcakes as directed on the package and pour them into your pan. Press a mini Cadburry Crème Egg into the cupcake mix (you want to really press it into the mix so that the chocolate doesn’t burn). Cook the cupcakes as directed and let them cool. Now the fun decorations begin! Dye your icing and some sweet coconut green, and then top your cupcakes with both; first the icing and then the coconut. You can use more coconut to cover the cupcake if you want. I didn’t because Phil doesn’t like coconut very much and I didn’t want to kill the cupcakes for him. Then placed some jelly beans on top of the coconut. Again, just like with the chocolate eggs, you want to push the jelly beans down so they don’t go rolling all over the place. Don’t these look so cute!? And just when you’re eating your cupcake and you think you’ve found all of the eggs at the hunt.....you’ll find the golden egg hidden inside your cupcake. I promise this post was not sponsored by Cadburry, I just really like their chocolate...a lot. So go, and make some egg hunt treats for Easter!
Linking up at Liz Marie's Hop To It Party

An Award!

Last week I got an email informing me that Life with the Hawleys won an award. Yes you read that correctly, we got a Stylish Blogger award for our blog! I am beyond thrilled to receive such an honor from Moss & Clover who said we had a “sweet little blog with some great cooking going on!” Please click on over to Terry’s site and check out all the awesome things she is doing, from fantastic DIY projects to delicious treats :-) I have loved reading her blog and trying her tutorials, which makes it that much more of an honor to be given an award from her. Thanks Terry!

Monday, April 11, 2011

A Phase?

We all know that in life, we go through phases. I think I’m in a phase right now. A silly, weird phase. A bird phase? Yes, a bird phase. As I was posting the pictures of our Easter decorations a couple weeks ago, I began to notice how many bird things have accumulated in my house over the past 6 months or so. Check it out:

I painted this last September and have it hanging in the guest room.


I purchased this bird cage shelf for the office.

I put this glittery raven on the mantle for Halloween.

I put an owl on the mantle for autumn.

Our smallgroup hosted a baby shower in October and I was in charge of decorations....some how this became a bird thing as well.

Check out our Christmas mantle decorations....more birds.

For Valentine’s Day Phil took me to a gorgeous restaurant with delicious food. However, the only pictures I got of the evening were of the swans and peacocks. Notice the peacocks in the trees? I had no idea that peacocks could fly!

This is our spring tablescape in the dining room.

Then don’t forget about the birdhouse pedestal I made for spring.

And now here is my latest Etsy purchase from Vintage Green Limited: love birds

Aren't these love birds (and by "love birds" I'm not referring to the framed couple in the background ;-) hehe) just so cute?

Look at how their feet make a heart, awwwwwwwww

Has anyone else noticed this about me? Do you think it’s a phase? Maybe I’m not in a phase, and I’m just a collector? Can you be a collector if you’re not conscious about your collecting?


All I can do is laugh, because I MUST like birds more than I thought I did. :-)

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Texas Love

Texas: Where the tea is sweet & accents are sweeter, summer starts in April, front porches are wide & words are long, macaroni & cheese is a vegetable, pecan pie is a staple, y'all is a proper pronoun, chicken is fried, & biscuits come with gravy, everything is darlin' & someone is always getting their heart blessed.

I saw that a great friend posted this on Facebook and I just had to repost! I'm not from TX, but I have lived here long enough to appreciate this :-)

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Aid Sudan- Take 2

I didn’t want to post about this earlier because I thought if I did it would be a REAL commitment. I wanted to give myself a way out, in case I was going to quit. Last year Phil ran the Aid Sudan 5K sponsored by our church & I was so proud of him (I was probably the loudest cheerleader there). This past February they mentioned it again at church. Phil turned to me & said, “Would you like to run the race with me this year D?" I looked at him & smiled.

Me? Ha, I don’t run! He is so funny! What a jokester I married. Wait, was he really asking me seriously? Oh.....he was! Does he even know me? Oh no, he doesn’t even know me!

My smile quickly faded...to blank stare....to sheer terror.

Then he said, “I would be so proud of you if you ran it with me.”

Great, now I HAVE to run it.

Ok, so if I was going to run anything, I needed some serious training. But I figured if I posted about the training then I wouldn’t be able to use any excuses to back-out at the last minute. The blogosphere would hold me accountable. And for the record, I was looking for reasons to back out. Any number followed by a ‘k’ freaks me out, so my mindset going into this race was, “Darby, please don’t die. You’re way too young to die. You have so much to live for.” I had a nightmare about being trampled in the sea of perfectly trained runners. I had another reoccurring nightmare where the officials had to call for a giant crane to come peel me off the trail, pancake-style, with an enormous spatula. Needles to say I was scared! But, while I was scared, I was also secretly hoping that I might lose some l-b’s, so the training commenced.

Fast-forward to race-day. I was sooo scared. When the trigger was pulled on the start gun, I almost ran back to the car, but my body ran forward instead...and ran...and ran.....and ran.

I was so touched by the runners who finished before me, who instead of getting their awards or snacks or water or tons of victory pictures, returned to the sidelines to cheer on the rest of the racers (I admit I got a little teary eyed).

I realize that this race fell on the same day as the Monument 10K back home in VA. So I know I didn’t run as much as y’all did & I know a 5k is hardly anything, but for me, it was a huge feat. It was a big deal to me. Clearly I didn’t die & there were no giant spatulas called in for reinforcement. In fact, I finished 6 minutes under my goal- I will not share my time though, that falls under the Too Personal To Share category, like how much I weigh, my bra size, & how much money I make.....I’m just not sharing. All-in-all, this was a great experience; I feel like I would do it again next year. Maybe I will do it again BEFORE next year. I’m so grateful that Phil asked me to run with him; I’m so glad that he does in fact know me better than I know myself.

The runners at the starting line

And we’re off


This is about 2 miles in- I still had enough energy to give a thumbs up, though my thumbs are more sideways than up


I’m closing in on the finish line- I promise I didn’t run the entire race with my hands in the air.


I did it!

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