Thursday, June 2, 2011

Delicious Dinners: Buttery Halibut with Smashed Potatoes

DANG! This was a good meal! This is a Rachael Ray concoction and to be perfectly honest, I think I tore this recipe out of the magazine because it is what I could call "pretty food". I wouldn't really consider us tremendous fish eaters--- I mean, we certainly eat fish, but I only make it once or twice a month max. Regardless, the colors in this dish just looked really appealing so I tore it out and figured I would get around to making it eventually.

I was digging though my recipe binder this past weekend and though, "Huh, haven't made this dish yet. Let's give it a try".

We were not disappointed. I mean, look at this gorgeous food. Yum. (By the way, it's not my picture... I borrowed it from Rachael's website.) View her version here.

6 tablespoons butter, 3 tablespoons softened
1 sun-dried tomato packed in olive oil finely chopped-- I used a regular tomato and it was more than adequate.
1 tablespoon finely chopped scallion
1 teaspoon finely chopped garlic
Salt and pepper
1 pound small new potatoes
Four 6 to 8 ounce halibut fillets-- I used 2 fillets. There was no way we were going to be able to eat 2 fillets each. I didn't halve anything else in the recipe though and it worked out just fine.
2 tablespoons flour

In a small bowl, combine the softened butter, sun-dried tomato (or regular tomato if you are me and like to make your own substitutions), scallion and garlic; season with salt and pepper.

In a large saucepan, add the potatoes and enough salted water to cover. Cover and bring to a boil, then lower the heat and simmer until tender, about 15 minutes (mine took closer to 20 mins). Drain, then smash the potatoes with 1 tablespoon butter; season with salt and pepper.

Season the fish with salt and pepper, then coat lightly with the flour. In a large nonstick skillet, melt the remaining 2 tablespoons butter over medium heat. Add the fish and cook, turning once, until golden and firm to the touch, 7 to 8 minutes total.

Transfer the fish to serving plates and top with the tomato-scallion butter. Serve with the smashed potatoes.

Enjoy! Like I said, we thought this dinner was fantastic and it was easy to make, too! Even if you aren't a big fish eater, I would still give this one a try. Halibut is such a mild fish that you might be pleasantly surprised!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Container Gardening

Despite the fact the thermometer reads 92 degrees here today, I have been wanting to get the flowers and hanging baskets that we put on our front porch together. It's Memorial Day weekend and that means it's the start of summer and considering the flowers have been out at all of the garden centers since before Mother's Day I felt like I was really beind! Not anymore!

As I was pondering what to do for the baskets and such this year, I came across what Better Homes and Gardens calls "container gardens" in their June edition. Someday when I have a huge porch or deck and tons of room for planters that are as tall as me, I will exactly copy what you see below. Gorogeous, right? I love the way that they look and great a living area on an otherwise plain looking deck.

For now, this is what I came up with. One of my favorite plants in the small lime green one in the front of the pot. It's a sweet potato vine and grows downward into this really beautiful chain like vine. Can't wait to see how it grows over the summer!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Monday, May 23, 2011

Checking Projects off the List

I'm beginning week two of lay off adventure and it's been a bit of a blessing. I never thought I'd be able to say that... but it has. I've had time to think about what my next career move will be, apply to openings with careful thought, and really make a smart choice, not just the quick and rash choice.
One of the HUGE positives that has come of this time is that I have been able to get some projects done around the house that MrMarried and I have been putting off forever for a while. They aren't hard projects, but they are just ones that we never see to get around to. It feel good to tackle a few of them though!

Our front door's kickplate-- I don't even know if that's what it's called-- had seen better days. It was showing it's old green, yes sea foam green trim that we had painted over a few years ago and really needed some TLC.

See what I mean? Exposed wood = bad.

I scraped all of the old, chipping paint off of the wood, (Be sure not to skip this step if you are going to paint over something-- it's important!) and broke out the patch and paint. I call it patch and paint, but as you can see from the photo, that's not the correct term.

Just fill in the big holes, let dry, and sand it down. Then you are ready for paint!

Not bad, eh?

Of course, I did have some help throughout this whole project. He was mostly there for moral support. It was a tough day for him. Look how sleepy he looks.

Sorry for my cat momma moment.

The new threshold looks great though and I'm glad to check this off my list!

Friday, May 13, 2011

I've Been Laid Off. {Again}.

This is a hard post to write.

This is a REALLY hard post to write.

But, this is also my blog, and it’s a place where I want/need to write down what is happening in my life so in five or ten years, I can look back at my thoughts and remember what was going through my head at that moment in time.

Let’s take a trip down memory lane. Shall we?

It was January 2010 and I was working for a small start up. I had just returned from the extended Christmas holiday that the company graciously provided as a perk. I knew the company was in trouble and needed to find a buyer, as the venture capital funding they were relying on was drying up. I never thought the buyer they had found would be conducting MAJOR layoffs…. To the tune of 1/2 of the company.

I was part of the group that lost their jobs that January morning, but I was one of three people asked to stay on and transition work for a 30 day period. At least I still had a job for 30 days.

I worked my butt off, and became quite close with the new management team. If my memory serves me correctly, on the 2nd to last day of the transition period, I was asked to stay with the company full time and forget any of the layoff talk had ever happened.

I accepted my employer’s proposal to say on, because even if the situation was tough to “forgive and forget”… I was (1) still employed , (2) it was a job I was comfortable doing, and (3) I knew I could quietly keep looking for something better.

Well, I found something better at the end of March 2010. I resigned, {Remember this post? I was scared to death!} and thought I’d never look back.

I looked back this past Monday, and every part of my being screamed, "WHY? WHY? WHY?"

I was laid off on Monday. For the 2nd time in a year and half.


I liked my job and was happy with what I was doing. Managment seemed to be really happy with me too. I had my annual review in March and recieved glowing remarks as a result. Things seemed to be going really well. But, businenss is business, and over the last week, I've learned that the company is really struggling and as a result laid off me and three other people.

Fore me. being laid off is a soul crushing feeling. You feel like you’re worthless, incompetent, and just no good. It hurts to the core.

So, why am I writing this recap of despair for the entire internet to see? Because, if you’ve been laid off, no matter how many times someone tells you “It’s not your fault”, it can NEVER hurt to read it, see it, or reinforce the idea in your brain. I’m finally starting to understand what “It’s not your fault” means.
The first time I was laid off, I didn’t get it. I thought there had to be SOMETHING I could have done to have prevented it. The truth is, there wasn’t. I couldn’t prevent the new owners from buying the company. I couldn’t do a song and dance to prove how much talent they would be losing if they let me go. There was nothing I could do.

This time was different. Even when they were telling me my position ceased to exist, my uncontorable tears and hypervelentaing did nothing to change the situation.

I won't to get into the details of my most recent organization and how messed up it is and why at least dozen people have been laid off in the last year. It doesn’t matter. What matters is that I’m going to take hold of the things that I CAN control and that I CAN influence.

I’m going to come back stronger. It might not be tomorrow, but, watch me. It will happen, and I’m not looking back this time.

My sweet, supportive husband gave me a card this week that has some of the truest words ever written. Good old Hallmark. Here they are:
I am so sorry.
There’s nothing fair or right about any of this, and nothing I can say will make it okay—as much as I wish it could.
There’s so much suffering and loss given these times we’re in, but you’ve got to believe it’s because of the times and not because of you that this is happening.
I know that’s true, because I know you.
You intelligence, your humor, your hard work, and your attitude are just a few of the reasons that I also know you will get through this—and you know I’m hoping that happens sooner rather than later.
So please, when you’re ready, take heart, take care and trust that everything really will turn out okay.

Monday, May 9, 2011


We just returned from a long weekend in Savannah, and I will certainly blog more about the trip later. It was a wonderful, rejuvenating weekend and I'm to thankful that we were able to get away for a few days.

I have lots to catch up on before I can sit down and blog, but I thought I'd leave you with one of my favorite images from the trip.

This was taken during out biking tour of the gorgeous Historic District. I must have been Southern in a previous life because everything about this city was wonderful.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

My Love/Hate Relationship with Paneling

I've always thought that I had a love/hate relationship with paneling. Well, if we're being honest here, it's more like just a hate/hate relationship with paneling; but recently, I may be warming to the thought of letting some paneling back into my life.

DH and I live in a home built in the 1920's. When he moved in, saying that some of the decor was outdated was an understatement.

A. Serious. Understatement.

He worked on updating things here and there before I moved in, and after we got married, we've continued to work room by room to remodel much of the house eradicating all forms of the horrible paneling.

Remember my 70's era kitchen before photos? Okay, this isn't really my kitchen, but it looked a lot like it. I almost shudder just thinking of the old kitchen.

If you wish, you can read updates on my kitchen here and here.

Recently, however, I have really been getting into wainscoting.... and it scares the living daylights out of me.... because it's PANELING! I just tell myself that it's refined paneling and not the gross 1970's paneling that we had everywhere in the house not that long ago. I am really falling in love with it. 

We have a bathroom that we'd like to remodel and I think I'm going to incorporate wainscoting into the redesign. The bathroom has a multitude of sins that come along with an old house like slightly uneven walls and sloping floors. We need to cover these things up. Enter the solution to messy walls.... wainscoting. 

How could you not love this stuff? 

From what I have read, it isn't even that hard to install. Given that, and the fact that I have a pretty handy husband, I think we will okay with this remodel! Fingers crossed, of course. If the bathroom goes well, I like the stuff enough that I would put it in other part of my home, too. Look at this gorgeous entryway. This just screams my taste. We of course do not have an entryway like this, but a girl can dream, right?

Does anyone have any experience with wainscoting? Let me know, send me links, school me on your wonderful ways! I can't wait to tackle this project. 

Friday, March 4, 2011

Water for Elephants

I was a little late to the party when I read Water for Elephants last summer, but I truly enjoyed the book that everyone had been talking about for months. When I finished the book last August and discovered it was being adapted for film, I wrote about my excitement here on my blog.

Then I stumbled across this piece of eye candy for the movie this morning, and it has totally refueled my excitement for the movie! I can't wait!

How gorgeous is Reese?

Love it!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

A Daily Laugh Over Thin Mints

The back story:
MrMarried loves Girl Scout ThinMints. It's as though the he has a magnet that attracts all Thin Mint favored goodness directly towards him.

Exhibit A: My "Thin Mint" shampoo. I had a free coupon for a bottle of Organix shampoo not long ago, so I thought I'd try the stuff. I ended up really liking what it did to my hair, and have been using it quite regularly. I noticed that I was going through the bottles really quickly, and my suspisions were correct...MrMarried was using the stuff. I'm almost sure he has completely converted to the "Thin Mint" brand (as he calls it).
The man has about and inch and a half of hair... he could wash it with the stuff thats $1/gallon and it wouldn't matter.... but oh well. At least his hair smells good, right?

The conversation:
An actual conversation that occurred between MrMarried and I (via text) at 9:02 AM this morning.

MissMarried: Babe, the cookies are here. (I attached this picture to the text)...

MrMarried: Finally! Bring them home right now. I'll meet you at the house.

MissMarried. Haha. You will have to wait until tonight.

MrMarried: Fine.

Now for the hilarious part: You can't really understand his tone based on this blog post, but I promise you, my husband was dead serious when he suggested that I leave work and meet him at home for the cookie exchange.

Sorry, honey, eight hours won't kill ya. See you tonight.

Friday, January 28, 2011

Dancing with the Stars-- Beginners Style

Last fall Mr. Married was a groomsman in a friend's wedding. Although the bride and the groom live in Texas, they decided to have the wedding here in Pennsylvania and bring the Texas crew up here for some good old northern hospitality (if that even exists). Kidding-- I love my hometown!

We got to meet the Texas half of the bridal party before the wedding at various pre-wedding events and were particularly fond of the best man and his wife. They were just kind, fun people who could TWO STEP LIKE LIKE NOTHING I HAVE EVER SEEN... and waltz... and cha-cha... and salsa. I could go on. It was unreal. 

At the wedding, Mr.Married and I were on the dance floor all night holding our own, but with absolutely no dance training between the two of us other than elementary school tap and ballet lessons we couldn't hold a match to their candle bonfire. 

I could tell by husband's face-- he wanted to dance like that. 

Then we started watching Dancing with the Stars. Religiously. I could see the "I want to learn to dance like that" flame that was lit inside of him grow a little more. 

Let's pause for a second here... my husband's favorite store is Home Depot. He owns and uses(!) more power tools that a small army of handymen. Given the choice he would eat steak and potatoes every night. He lives for hockey and when the players bleed on the ice. He is just very much a manly-man. He is not one that I can consult about decorating and the fine arts.... and HE wants to Learn How to Dance?!?! This rocks! Now, for the record, you I get that you can be a manly-man and still be in touch with your feminine side, so please don't send me nasty comments. 

Fast forward to Christmas. Under the tree this year, Mr. Married crafted an idea to give us dancing lessons and we are starting the week of Valentine's Day.

I don't expect it to be anything like this, beacuse let's face it, this woman has practically zero clothes on:

Or like this: 

But I know it's going to be a blast. It's a 10 week class, I am hoping that we will have some skills at the end... or at least enough skills to move on to the advanced class! 

Have any of you ever taken a ballroom dance class? What do I wear? What kind of shoes do I need? What can I expect? Fill me in on the details. 

Have a great weekend!