Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Millions of Peaches, Peaches for Me...

Who knows this song? "Going to the country...gonna eat me a lot of peaches...Going to the country, gonna peaches. Peaches come from a can, they were put there by a man..."

Or how about, "Really like your peaches want to shake your tree."

Ever notice there are a lot of songs about peaches?  Probably because they are freaking delicious! Or because they are such a sign of late summer.  Or because every loves them...I mean, does anyone not love them?

But enough reminiscing over slightly inappropriate peach songs with female body part innuendos.  How about I just share a peach recipe with you?

Chicken, Peaches, Green Beans, and Orzo

Effort Meter (1 to 5): 3.5
Delicious Meter (1 to 5): 3.5
Serving Suggestion: I serve this alone, as a one-dish recipe, but a nice spinach salad and bread would work too.  Makes four servings.
Weight Watcher Points - 11 points for 1/4 of the recipe.

1-1/3 C of dry Orzo
Fresh Green Beans, trimmed
1 lb of Chicken Breasts, thawed or fresh
2 Peaches, cut into wedges
2 TBSP Olive Oil
4 oz herb-flavored cheese (you can use feta, or I used some herb-flavored cheese curds from the discount counter in the cheese aisle
Dried Thyme
Garlic Salt


1. In a large saucepan, cook orzo until tender in water.  Add green beans to water/orzo mix for last five minutes.  Drain (but do not rinse).  This will be tricky because orzo will slide through most colanders, so you may have to use a slotted spoon.

2. Coat chicken and peaches with olive oil (I use a spritzer) and lightly coat with a rub of thyme spice, salt, pepper, and garlic salt.

3. Grill chicken and peaches on the BBQ until no longer pink and the chicken and peaches have grill marks.

4. Add all ingredients including chicken, peaches, orzo, green beans, and cheese to saucepan and add remaining olive oil.  Toss over high heat for 1-2 minutes.  Season with salt and pepper, and thyme if needed. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Feels Like Fall...Might As Well Look Like Fall Too!

The other day while on a long car ride with my husband, we decided to name our favorite things about each season.  As I went through the seasons, I realized even though I've always been a summer girl, I actually had more things I love about Fall.  Among them:
  • The colors: the burnt oranges, brick reds, and sunset yellows.
  • Scarves and woven hats.
  • The food: spaghetti, chili, squash, and soups!
  • Crisp, cold nights.
  • Halloween and Thanksgiving...my favorite holidays.
  • Back to school. 
  • College football season and tailgating.
  • Fall hiking.
So, when I woke up on Saturday morning to a brisk morning sunrise, I couldn't help but think that Autumn had arrived.  So, why not just embrace it?  And so I did.  I headed down to the craft store with some pictures of the door arrangement I wanted to make, and started sprucing up the entry for Fall.

I loved the look of this door arrangement, but I wanted to do it in Autumnal colors.

Heres' the finished product. I found an egg-shaped twine basket at Michael's for $14.99 and figure I can change up the arrangement every season.
And then I had to change the flowers in my antique pedestal lantern...just because!

Tah Dah...about $30 later, I've got a nice Fall arrangement.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Back to School Lunch - Cold Asian Noodles

My Sister and son at her MAT Graduation
Well, school is just about in session.  Not for me, or even for my son, but for my sister!  Yes, she has put on her big girl pants and is headed out to the workforce with her first big girl job--a 5th grade school teacher. 

Transition is always a time when both my sister and I struggle to keep on top of our weight. So, to try to make this transition as easy as possible, I've been carefully meal planning our lunches and dinners to be both delicious and nutritious.  But I realized that all the "lunch to go" foods I know are a little childish.  So what does one pack for a 25 year-old (ok, 24 for one more month) teacher?

Solution: Cold Asian Noodles!  What a great idea!  Not only is this recipe vegetarian, low in points, and high in fiber, but will keep well in a (sophisticated, adult) lunchbox or fridge for up to five days.  And double kudos because Asian food is one of my sister's favorites.

Cold Asian Lunch Noodles

Effort Meter (1 to 5): 2
Delicious Meter (1 to 5): 3.5 - 4
Serving Suggestion: Make ahead and separate into 2oz portions in Tupperware containers.
Weight Watcher Points - 6 points for 2 oz 


8 - 10oz of Whole Wheat, High Fiber Linguini (about 1/2  the package)
4TBSP of red pepper garlic infused oil (you can make this by heating red pepper flakes in a saucepan with the oil)
2oz of Linguini
1TBSP of Sesame Oil
2TBSP Honey
2 Packets of Equal or Splenda
6TBSP of Soy Sauce
1/2C Shredded Carrots
1/2C Cucumber, Cut into Sticks
Green Onions, Diced
Sesame Seeds (to taste)
Cilantro (optional, to taste)


Cook linguini in boiling water until tender.  Drain and rinse with cold water.  In a bowl, combine oils, honey, sugar substitute and soy sauce and mix.  Add carrots, cucumber, onions, and noodles.  Stir until mixed well.  Garnish with sesame seeds and cilantro.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Change the First Impression - In Less Than an Hour!

My first impression of the first house we bought: "Wow! What a great entry!" Of our second (floating) home: "Wow! What a great view!" Of the third home: "Wow! What a lot!" And of our current home: "Wow! You have no idea how nice this house is until you get inside..."

Point to this little exercise? (No, not to tell you we've moved more times than an Army family.)  The point is, with all the homes we've ever bought, the first impression sealed the deal, with the exception of our current home.

That's not to say our house has no curb appeal.  In fact, when the tulips are in bloom, it's completely lovely, with a nice walkway, good lighting, and a nice garden off to the side... 

Our Springtime Blooms

...But it's just not as lovely as it should be.  So, for the past couple months, I have been trying to think of ways to bring it all together. Then, while scanning through Pinterest one day, it hit me! PAINT THE FRONT DOOR!


You know, sometimes the answer to a design isn't so obvious.  The obvious design problems are as follows: lime green paint, orange shag carpet, weeds in the garden.

Usually, however, the design problem can not be explained, and my theory is, it's because it wasn't that hideous to begin with.  In this case, the door color (just a plain wood) was just fine.  Fine, but not awesome!

I have to admit my husband thought I was crazy when I showed him the quart of black...totally black...paint.  I think he said, "Really?  You want to paint our stained wood door, black?"  And I believe my response was, "Honey, it's just paint."  It's a good thing I'm usually right...


So, out came the paint brushes and black paint, and in came a home with a whole new personality.  You may be asking at this point, "Where did you come up with the idea to use black?"  Well, that was the hard part.  I went down and snagged one of those free color charts from Home Depot with exterior paint ideas.  I found color combinations that used colors already on the house.  Given the colors on the house, the complementary colors were as follows: Forest Green, Brick Red, Burgundy Purple, or Black.  Always a minimalist, of course I chose the black, but in truth, I think that was actually a very non-traditional color choice!

The black also coordinated very well with some accessories I had bought and never used, including an antique pedestal turned lantern ($150 from Cricket on the Hearth in Redmond, OR), black twig house numbers ($3.99/ea from clearance at Pottery Barn), acorn door knocker ($35 from Bend Bungalow in Bend, OR), and an antique mail box from an antique show ($35).  Now all I need is a new door mat that looks like this...

After taking another look at it once the black door was painted, we decided that there wasn't enough black to tie it all in.  We thought about painting the Adirondack chairs black instead of antique white, but opted to paint the window trim, flag pole, and porch ledger black instead ("Gloss Black Universal Spray Paint 245196 (Set of 6)" (Google Affiliate Ad)).  Not realizing it at the time, but doing that really brought focus to the beautiful siding on the ceiling of the entry.

All and all, I wish I would have taken photos of the "before." I got so excited that I forgot and had to use the ones I happened to have on-hand.  The impact is undeniable.  So if you have $25 for paint and an hour, consider painting your front door...and going from "Blah" to "Ah ha!"