Monday, April 28, 2014

A Taste Testing Weekend

I am back on track with working my way through The Barefoot Contessa At Home cookbook, which I love.  This is a great cookbook as it offers a lot of lighter dishes and loads of soups, salads and sandwiches.

The hubby thinks I am nuts for posting our meals, but I am excited to test all my recipes and compile them into one personal cookbook so I know exactly where to go when I need something.  Here are the recipes we knocked out over the weekend.

Friday's lunch was her Tomato, Mozzarella and Pesto die for yummy.  I paired it simply with a  mixed greens salad with balsamic vinaigrette. 

For dinner, we enjoyed her Lemon Fusilli Pasta.  This was so light and refreshing.  The hubby thought it was more of a side dish; but it was perfect for me.  It would make a great lunch in the courtyard!  I'll have to remember that for this summer. The best part of the dish was that it served for leftovers on Saturday - woo hoo!

After Church on Sunday, I whipped up her California BLT sandwiches (which is basically a BLT with avocado - yummy in the tummy!)

And for dinner, we grilled out her Blue Cheese Hamburger.  This picture doesn't do it justice but it was amazing.

And with that, I'll be in the gym all week and eating salads until we fire up the kitchen again on Friday.  Can't wait!!!  You can get her recipes from the fabulous cookbook or via Food Network. 



Wednesday, April 23, 2014

More Easter Fun

Now I have heard of "Booing" your neighbors (a fun idea I plan to do this fall) but was completely delighted to come home last Thursday to find this waiting for us.  Who knew getting "egged" would be so fun?!?!

12 eggs were hidden in our yard for the kiddos to find.  They were over the moon at the idea of an extra egg hunt.  It warmed my heart when Harrison found the empty egg and said, "Look, Mommy, it's Jesus' empty tomb."  I love that he understands Easter and I love, love, love our super, sweet neighbors!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Easter at Biltmore

I hope you all had a wonderful Easter!  Ours was a blast as we headed up the mountain to Asheville to spend the day at Biltmore Estate.  Here is a quick recap of our fun Easter weekend.

Saturday was the annual Egg Hunt at our club, which was a complete wash out!  But not to fear, fun games were taken inside and the Hunter's Luncheon still occupied our time.  However, come to find out, Spencer is NO fan of the Easter Bunny.  Harrison cuddled right up to the beloved animal that brings goodies and sweets...........but Spencer kept his distance. 

This was as close as I could get.  I am pretty sure this picture will crack me up for years to come.

The wee ones woke up on Easter Sunday to their baskets waiting for them by the door.......
.........that they quickly tore into.
Then we got dressed and headed off to Asheville.
The wee one didn't want brother hanging on him....

Just your typical mountain house......
......with an 8,000 acre backyard.


My picnic dates

The sun bothered Harrison so I let him borrow my sunglasses. 
Spencer thought he looked silly - his face shows his feelings pretty well.  HA!

It didn't take long before Spencer needed to.........well, water the lawn.
Life with boys....
We visited the new Antler Hill Village and played, played and played some more.

All this fun offered some well earned naps on the way home.


This was the first holiday in a long time where I didn't host family and cook a feast.  So the hubby and I just enjoyed a festive ham steak with roasted asparagus with parmesan grits.  For dessert, we enjoyed store bought Carrot Cake and with that - two tired Easter Bunnies went to bed.

Biltmore Tips:
Biltmore offers a slight discount if you order your tickets online 7 days in advance and children 9 and under get in free. Of course, pre-ordering tickets for an event like an egg hunt can be tricky; but we lucked out with the weather.  We also splurged for the $15 valet parking.  Parking is free but about a half mile walk if you get the one closest to the house.  The further parking lots offer a shuttle but with a 3 and 5 year old in toe, we felt the valet was the best $15 we ever spent.  We literally drove right up to the front door!
For Easter, they offer several hunts.  We opted for the 11AM hunt.  We arrived by 9:30 AM to register.  They had music, a story teller, a magician and crafts prior to the hunt.  The only thing I didn't like was that 2-4 year olds were on one side of the lawn while 5-9 year olds were on the other.  So the hubby and I divided and conquered. 
While there are several dining options on Biltmore, we decided to pack a picnic.  I was very glad about this because while ordering a cup of coffee in the deli, I noticed that a turkey wrap was $12.
Your ticket offers you a tour of the house (I think we set a record for the fastest tour - the wee ones were not interested but I was NOT going to visit the Biltmore and not go inside!!!), all day access to the gardens and grounds, a tour of the vineyard and a wine tasting.  We didn't go to the vineyard with the littles but can't wait to go back.  Fortunately, for us, Asheville is an hour away from where we live so I think we will be spending more time there this summer. 
Happy Spring!