Friday, October 23, 2015

foodie friday : breakfast fried rice

I mentioned last week that I tried out 2 of the stir fry ideas my phone news feed gave me.  The first was Thai Basil Beef with steamed rice.  I made a ton of extra jasmine rice and saved the rest in the fridge for the next stir fry day's meal of bacon and egg fried rice; recipe here!  Unfortunately we had just confirmed with the allergist that Myles is in fact still very much allergic to eggs (but can now have cow's milk!), so I had to make his a little special. 

All of the steps are done in a medium heat pan.  Unusual for a stir-fry dish, but you need it lower heat to properly crisp your cut up bacon, and not scald yourself on too hot bacon grease for the rest of the steps.  Because steps 3-6 are all done in bacon grease.

(1) Scramble your eggs, set aside (this is when I washed the pan so that Myles' portion would not be contaminated with his allergen).  (2) Cut up your bacon before you fry it so that you don't have to mess with crumbling it later. (3) Slowly fry the bacon until desired crispness, then scoop out the bacon to a separate bowl, leaving the grease in your skillet.  (4) Toss your diced onion into the grease and stir until they start to brown.  (5)  Dump your cold rice into the skillet with the grease and onion.  Sauté for a few minutes to soak up the grease and make sure the clumps of rice are all broken up and add your sauce.  (6)  This is the part where I added bacon crumbles and set aside enough for Myles, then dumped in egg to the rest.

I served this with roasted sweet potato, and the last of the Aldi's pork egg rolls that we now love.  I really loved the flavor of the sweet potato with the fried rice together.  Myles enjoyed his eggless portion, but who wouldn't like bacon rice?  And Kyle was very excited about this one.  He went to work the next day and told everyone about it.  I'd say this one is a winner!

Friday, October 16, 2015

foodie friday : thai basil beef

This recipe was on the news feed of my phone.  It was part of a 5 days of stir fry idea, and we ended up using 2 of them this week!  First up was thai basil beef by The Woks of Life (recipe).  I wanted to make sure I did this right, so instead of using whatever basil I could find at Walmart, I went to our neighborhood asian store and had them grab real Thai basil for me.  Y'all... the smell of this stuff is heaven.  Do not be afraid to go to your own local Asian store to get the correct ingredients!  It is so worth the trip.

This was made even easier, because Walmart had stir-fry ready thin cut beef so it was pretty much a toss in the pan and done recipe.  I missed the step of tossing the beef in cornstarch first, and wish I had because it would have helped keep the pieces separated better and would have helped out with the sauce at the end.  So don't forget that step!

We just ate this with some Jasmine rice and Aldi's frozen pork egg rolls (amazing!!!).  I really need to do an Aldi's post soon.  Kyle wished there had been a little more sauce to mix in with his rice, but enjoyed this dish, and Myles was a major fan!  I enjoyed it but agreed there should have been a little more sauce (easily remedied) and I might enjoy a squeeze of lime over it next time!  Overall, we have a winner folks.

For more information about Thai Basil, this post is very informative!

Tuesday, October 13, 2015

packing light : cruise capsule

not shown is jeans, hoodie, accessories (sunglasses, necklaces, wristlet) bathing suits, coverup.  no links to anything because well its all "old" stuff there aren't really links for anymore :-)

Packing for me is a little easier to do lightly than it is for Kyle.  I can mix and match and re-wear items at different times in a trip to make it look like something new.  The items above made up my main outfits for the duration of our cruise.  Supplemented with jeans and a light hoodie for cold nights walking inside, 2 bathing suits with coverup, and you have pretty much all that I packed for our 5 days away.  Full cruise recap can be found here.

I kept the amount of space my shoes took up to a minimum by wearing my tennis shoes through the airports instead of packing them, and taking a versatile pair of sandals that looked great poolside or with my casual dinner wear.  One pair of heels for formal night topped off the 3 pairs I needed for the trip.  

Unfortunately I do not have photos for every combination that I wore to make this more understandable because (1) Kyle is terrible at taking pictures unless I explicitly tell him to, (2) sometimes we were in a hurry and it was the last thing on my mind (like our last night when I was seasick after dinner...).  (3) Because sometimes selfies were all we could manage.

Basically, my plan of attack was, wear a tank or t-shirt with the skirt for dinner, and then the next day or so wear that same barely-worn shirt with my variety of shorts for exploring.  So all shirts were worn with the khaki, navy, or light blue shorts that I packed; the white t-shirt was worn with the blue pencil skirt our first casual night, the tropical dress for our 2nd, and the coral tank with sweater and blue pencil skirt the 3rd.  I wore my NY&C floral Eva Mendez dress from the graduation dinner 2 years ago as my outfit for formal dinner (after doing some quick alterations myself).

All in all, it made deciding what to wear easier because there wasn't a whole suitcase to dig through.  I originally planned this because we were going to pack everything in 2 small carry on suitcases, but then we needed to packed a lot bigger ones after we found out we had a formal night (Kyle needed his suit) and that we wanted to take snorkel gear.  So I really only did this as a little challenge to myself; so I should have packed a couple more shirts or tanks just because I did have extra room and plenty of storage in our small cabin.  I managed quite well though!

Today I am linking up with Angie at  #reasonstodress real mom street style!  Check it out... I was featured last Tuesday!

Monday, October 12, 2015


Last week, as I mentioned last Wednesday, we were gone on a 4 night cruise to the Bahamas.  We left a day early since we were flying out of Atlanta at the crack of dawn on Monday.  Thankfully the rain was over for the time being, for those of you wondering, we did escape the worst of what our poor state ended up with, no major issues back in Greenville that I know of.

I worried a little that we were being a bit ambitious leaving Myles for the first time overnight, for almost an entire week.  It was just fine.  Sure we thought about him, but for the most part, it felt like we were "just a couple" again.  I think we needed that.  As for the cruise... not the greatest cruise ship experience ever, but we got a great deal, time together, and a lot of sunshine; we can't complain too much.  

The filet tenderloin dinner and Captain's champagne greeting was the best night of food we had.
We had one towel animal the whole trip, room service didn't show up with our breakfast but sent us chocolate covered strawberries as an apology, our waiters didn't really talk to us much and were not too great at their jobs, overall the running of programs/events was a little unorganized,  about half of the evening shows were just terrible (but the good ones were REALLY good!), and the food was just ok.  First world problems indeed.

The stops were fine.  CocoCay was the best.  We packed our snorkel gear and did our own little exploring with that.  I soaked up some sun and Kyle played some beach volleyball with a few other cruisers.  

on the nature trail and Kyle playing volleyball with some other multi-national cruisers; Kyle's shoes make great cup holders in the sand!
The lunch provided by the ship was ribs, chicken and burgers, and pretty darn good.  It never felt overcrowded on the small island because there was plenty of different areas to stop and relax.  That evening we enjoyed a poolside viewing of Pitch Perfect 2 (so good!).

Nassau was interesting.  I loved getting up on my own to catch the beautiful sunrise beside Atlantis, but going into town was another story.  I had several ideas of exactly where I wanted to go but was a little psyched out about how much crime people talk about there being in the city (including tourist areas), so we ended up just going to all of the jewelry shops on Bay street close to the ship.  We followed the shopping guides from the ship and I ended up winning Kyle a men's bracelet during one of the raffles.  We made a quick run through the straw market where we bought souvenirs for Myles (a wooden fighter jet and a biplane made out of old coke cans for his room) and Eliza (next week is her birthday so its a surprise!).

I never found anything my style on the island so went back to the ship and got the simple tanzanite ring that I had my eye on from the beginning, and ridiculously cheap Crown Royal Black to bring back for Kyle and my parents.  The rest of the time we just spent by the pool because we just really didn't feel like going back down just to sit in a bar.  So no conch fritters for me.  

I thought it was pretty awesome that they back the massive ships into the dock!  The view of Nassau was amazing!
That night was a fun midnight buffet and dance party around the pool.  Then the last full day was a day at sea.  We spent most of our time on the pool deck either reading, watching the bellyflop contest, or playing pingpong.  We did end up climbing the rock wall that afternoon.  That evening though, a storm set in and I did not handle the rocking ship so well (at least dinner hadn't been amazing that night...) and eventually got locked out of the room and had to go find Kyle without my shoes or glasses, in the rain, to let me back in.   We ended  up with only about 5 hours of sleep that night because I woke us up way too early to make sure we were ready to get going, then had a 6 hour wait in the Orlando airport (all of the good stuff is before security fyi) before our flight, followed by a 3 hour drive back to Greenville.

The entire trip had its ups and downs, but we definitely loved the all inclusive way to travel to more than one place.  Not having to cook or clean the whole time was amazing.  Definitely not interested in taking a kid on one anytime soon.  In the future we will try to pick a port that we fly directly to, because we never want to have to deal with a city-to-city transfer service again (but we highly recommend Cortrans!).  And really, just a newer ship next time.  We really really did love getting away to reconnect no matter all the details while we were away.  

I am quite convinced that Myles never knew we had been gone until we had been home for almost 24 hours when he finally announced "mommy home", "daddy home".  He had quite the time with my parents as I knew he would!  Now excuse me while I go buy him a toy airplane that he can actually play with.

Later this week, I will share a few more photos from our trip, along with my capsule style wardrobe for how I kept my share of the packed bags to a minimum.

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

currently : cruising!

Currently... I'm on the Enchantment of the Seas Royal Caribbean ship with Kyle.  Specifically, we should be in Nassau today.

Oh don't you worry... I'm not blogging from the cruise ship.  This was written weeks ago!  But the Currently prompts this month were just too perfect to not participate!  It will be fun to see what actually happened on our cruise vs what I'm predicting here.

eating : hopefully some amazing foods on our ship!  From what I've read, conch fritters are a must in Nassau!

exploring : We flew out of Atlanta, landed in Orlando, boarded in Port Canaveral, spent the day on CoCo Cay yesterday where I hope we had some great snorkel time, Nassau today where I plan to do a few tourist attractions before parking our butts at a beach bar, and tomorrow is a day at sea before we head back Friday!

wearing : I managed to pack significantly light (compared to Kyle) because my wardrobe is much more versatile than his.  I hope to share my capsule style suitcase when I get back!  I packed for 3 casual nights and one formal night for dinner in the main dining room.  But I definitely made sure we both have swimsuits in our carryon so we can be sure to enjoy ourselves even if the airline happened to lose our bags!  

admiring : those crystal blue waters and palm trees; plus all the great activities to do on the ship!  I'm sure we will do the rock wall and mini golf at least once!  

collecting : souvenirs to bring home.  Hoping for some great finds in the straw market, and maybe some rum from the distillery I'm hoping to visit!  And lots and lots of good times with my man.  We needed this trip away!

Friday, October 2, 2015

foodie friday : shepherd's pie

I have never had shepherd's pie.  I'm not sure why, especially since Kyle is such a meat and potatoes person.  I have had a million versions of it come across my screen lately though, so when I scored 3 pounds of ground beef on clearance for my freezer, I decided it was time to test one of them.

I chose this recipe from since it seemed straightforward and all I needed was the beef broth.  The only change I made was that I made my own mashed potatoes (a little creamier than normal so that they didn't dry out during the baking step) and I baked at 375F for 30 minutes per other recipes I had seen.  I did this because I had put it together during nap time and put it in the fridge for a bit while we waited on Kyle, so I wanted to make sure it heated all the way through.  

Tips for making it... make sure to have all of your ingredients ready to go before you start throwing things into the hot pan.  I felt like I was scrambling and justcouldnotfindtheteaspoon when it should have been a simple dump and stir.  Also, if you have plenty of potatoes, make more than what you think you will need.  This should have been a really quick recipe to make but took a long time for me because I only used 3 potatoes at first and that barely covered all of the meat in the dish, so I had to boil some more.

Overall, it was good.  I will file it under the occasionally make again tab for those times I need something that will have leftovers when I have a pound of beef to use up.  Next time I will probably throw in some thyme like I saw in a similar recipe just to add a little different dimension to the flavors.  I think maybe I would have enjoyed some roasted or sautéed veggies as a side.  Myles thoroughly enjoyed it, and Kyle ate his whole plate without any complaints.