HAPPY HOLIDAYS – “Deck the Halls with Bells of Holly”

Yep, the weekend is here, Mr. Darcy and I are going to get our tree tonight and I will be decorating the Darcy home this weekend!!! I cannot WAIT! Now, this is actually a week late for me. Typically I am decorating the day after Thanksgiving. However, since we were traveling for Thanksgiving my decorating was put off…and I am SO excited to get into the holiday spirit!

I’ve already pulled together my inspiration map – pulled from my favorite Pinterest Pins:

I am a red/gold/silver and GREEN holiday color scheme kind of decorator ;-)

I am a red/gold/silver and GREEN holiday color scheme kind of decorator 😉

I will DEFINITELY be tuning into KOIT 96.5 (they live stream their Christmas music here if you don’t live here in the Bay Area) OR listening to Songza’s “Classic Christmas” Playlist – have you checked out Songza.com yet?! You should, the Classic Christmas playlist is PHENOMENAL!!

Happy Holidays Dear Readers!

XOXO, Karen

Nom, Nom, Nom: Easy Brown Sugar & Garlic Chicken Recipe Review

Shocking, “EASY” is in the name of a recipe I Pinned! I know, I know, BUT it really is easy AND it is SUPER tasty – a wonderful combo for a workweek dinner. ALSO, it is perfect if you are looking for a healthy comfort food. (NOTE: I think anything with sugar on it can be categorized as a “comfort” food). So, the next time you get home from a long workday wanting to curl up under a blanket and watch Holiday Movies (oh wait, is that just me?!), throw together this easy dish and impress your loved ones: Easy Brown Sugar & Garlic Chicken Recipe from Food.com.

All you need is:

  • Boneless Skinless Chicken Breasts
  • 1 Garlic Clove per breast, minced
  • 1 tablespoon of brown sugar per breast
  • Olive oil
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It says to cook for 15-30 minutes and in my lil old oven, we had to cook for 25 minutes + a few minutes of broiling (I like my chicken to look a little brown).

I paired it with broccoli sauteed with a little garlic left over from the chicken and a Negro Modelo…MMM, DELISH!

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Nom, Nom, Nom…

OK, the chicken was delicious. Mr. Darcy even liked it AND I noticed he took a breast to work for lunch the next day! I had it for leftovers last night, so it is good cold as well! My only caveat, add some fat to your side. I should have added cheese to our broccoli. Mr. Darcy had to eat two chicken breasts to fill up and I grabbed a little helping of my new “addiction”: THINaddictives.

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Have you tried these suckers?! They also have a green boxed one that are JUST as good!

I bought them for Harper’s birthday party thinking they were like a cracker and to my HAPPY surprise, they are like a little delicious biscotti. And, the nuts make them more filling AND the dried fruit give them a great little chewy texture. They are packaged in little portions of three “biscottis.” One bag of those was JUST enough to fill me up after our Easy Brown Sugar and Garlic Chicken Dinner.

OK, last caveat, Mr. Darcy and I just had Negro Modelo’s in the fridge. I don’t necessarily think this type of beer with this chicken dish is the perfect pairing. Typically I find a beer consistency similar to Guinness is a great pairing for “comfort” food ;-).

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Everyone loves an empty bottle shot..no?! Well, I drank it before I could capture a shot…it was one of those days!

HAPPY NOMING DEAR READERS!!!
XOXO, Karen

The Darcy Family Grew by One Today: Newborn Gift Ideas

That’s right, my sister and brother in law welcomed a baby girl this morning at 5:05am CST – 8lbs, 4oz. She is gorgeous and I cannot wait to meet her!

Out of habit, I went to Pinterest to see if I could find unique “birth” day gift ideas beyond the clothes and other lil things I’ve already purchased for her. I, of course, found a few I HAD to share!

Look at these ADORABLE burlap pillows from Etsy, personalized with the baby’s name:  My girlfriend gifted Mr. Darcy and I with a sign when we were married that read “The Darcys est. 2010.” I think it is so cute and a fun play on words. Why not a pillow?! Plus, this pillow would look cute in my in-laws home! I may need to get one to match for my nephew so they can place on both sides of the couch ;-).

Baby Girl Darcy – est. 2012

DIY Growth Chart – I don’t know about you, BUT I LOVE a growth chart. My parents had one for my brother when he was little and my sister started tracking our growth on the edge of her door when we were a bit older. It is funny looking back. This blogger shows you step by step tips for creating your own chart here.  OR you could just buy it here.

Such a cute growth chart! I also love the one going around Pinterest now that takes a 2×4 piece of wood and is painted to look like a ruler…so cute! This one is a bit easier to ship ;-).

Teddy Bear – In my opinion, no matter what the sex of the baby, you really can’t go wrong with an adorable teddy bear. Etsy has some INCREDIBLE homemade bears – I especially love the little crochet bears  – but any soft bear would work. Look at all of the Teddy Bear inspiration that pops up when you Pin the term “Teddy Bear”: http://pinterest.com/search/?q=Teddy+Bear

I am so overjoyed. Congrats to the entire Darcy family! Welcome to the world baby girl Darcy. We love you so much.

XOXO, Karen

Not that I would EVER compare my dog to my niece, but I thought you might enjoy a “baby” photo and since I don’t have permission to share Baby Girl Darcy’s photo, I thought I’d share Harper’s newborn photo!

Nom, Nom, Nom: Easy & Delicious Holiday Veggie Side Dish Recipe – Green Bean & Cherry Salad

Too many cooks in the kitchen? Here is a great recipe that calls for a few minutes at the stove and a little room in the fridge! OH, and I’m sure this will come as no surprise, it is easy and very tasty!

As you know, this weekend we celebrated Thanksgiving with Mr. Darcy’s family in Texas. On Friday afternoon I was sharing the kitchen with my mashed-potato-making mother –in-law, turkey-&-gravy-baking-grandma-in-law and appetizer-preparing-cousin-in-law, with a few additional family members coming in for drinks, snacks and misc. items. SO, I was THRILLED when I realized the green bean salad I found on Pinterest called for some chopping and quick cooking times. Mr. Darcy and I made EPICURIOUS’ GREEN BEAN SALAD –http://www.epicurious.com/recipes/food/views/Green-Beans-with-Toasted-Walnuts-and-Dried-Cherry-Vinaigrette-361791

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By the time I remembered to take a shot of the final product, it was basically gone. SO here is a shot of my helping!

We chopped and prepped the few ingredients at the kitchen table, freeing up space as my water boiled.

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The dressing for the dish not only smelled delicious, it looked festive thanks to the dried cherries!

Thanks to the blanching process, I only needed the stove for about 10 minutes total – boiling to cooking. THIS WAS MY FIRST TIME BLANCHING; I’ll admit, I NEVER thought this would work. I know, I know, people blanch veggies all of the time.

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A crispy veggie lover myself, I questioned whether the veggies would have a good texture after this process…

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Although not crispy like a grilled veggie, I was wrong re: bad texture! They were great!

I was in and out of the kitchen and since the dish calls for refrigeration, I was able to make it early in the day and then pull it out about an hour before dinner. The dish itself was VERY quick to make and since it was cold, it was a nice addition to a notoriously filling and warm-dished meal.

We, of course, had to make a few tweaks because the store in Texas was pretty picked over. We swapped:

  • French green beans for regular green beans
  • A mixture of Sherry with Red Wine Vinegar for Sherry Vinegar – Next time, I will just use what it calls for vinegar wise, but the above combo worked if you don’t have SHERRY VINEGAR.
  • Next time I will add more cherries – mostly because they look festive!

Although I was nervous serving a side that I had not yet tried myself, it came out wonderfully – in fact, I was told it was one of the best dishes on the table by multiple people. Thank you Pinterest! SO, if you are assigned a side this coming holiday season, this is definitely a great go-to whether you have to make it in a busy kitchen OR make a trek to the celebration – “it is best served at room temperature.”

Happy noming dear readers, Karen

Nom, Nom, Nom: 4-Ingredient Holiday Mint Chocolate Cookies

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

I know I am a day late, but we are celebrating with Mr. Darcy’s fam today so we have basically been celebrating “Thanks” for the last two days – it is pretty great! Yesterday was dedicated to cooking and preparing for tonight. I had to do something festive on the actual Day of Thanks. SO, I made the easiest, and delicious cookie recipe to nom on as we prepped –
http://www.sixsistersstuff.com/2011/04/

andes-mint-cookies

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It called for few ingredients and was a fun one to invite my little nephew to help me – he stirred the batter and molded the cookies.

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I have to admit, I wasn’t sure if the mints were going to melt, but they really did, and they spread out nicely after a few minutes on the hot cookie. And they were DElish!!

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Mmm…andes mint cookies! perfect for the holidays!

Happy Black Friday dear readers! Oooh, for those of you decorating today, these are easy and festive for your “decking of the hall” festivities!

Happy Holidays!
XOXO, Karen

Holiday Travel Organization – The Pinterest Way

This holiday might be the most organized I’ve ever been for one. I am headed to Texas for Thanksgiving – we are doing Thanksgiving on Friday – so I needed to prepare for a long distance menu, days worth of outfits, a treat for our doggie/house sitter AND do it all during an extremely busy workweek schedule! So this Sunday I set out to work on my laptop and within 30 minutes I was organized:

  • A bottle of wine wrapped in a cute holiday kitchen towel for our housesitting friend
  • My outfits listed out (photos and all) in a word document. As well as a separate document listing the items I need to pack (from my toiletries to my accessories)!
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Printed out and followed while packing – I packed in under 45 minutes – that is the QUICKEST I’ve EVER packed

  • An email to my mother-in-law with the ingredients for the veggie side I am contributing (Mr. Darcy and I do not arrive in time to shop so she is gathering everything in advance)! Oh, if interested, I am preparing this Epicurious green bean dish because my colleague tested it this weekend and said it was “easy and REALLY good.” It reminds me of a salad I was obsessed with at a cute salad place that recently went under, so it was an easy choice when I was assigned “a vegetable” – plus Mr. Darcy loves green beans.

mmm, I cannot wait to report back on this one!

Happy Thanksgiving dear readers! I will be sure to check in from Texas! XOXO, Karen

30 Days of Pinspiration by Pinterest

Pinterest just released 30 days of Pinspiration – “for 30 days, pinners, non-profits and brands will share what inspiration means to them.” I cannot WAIT to see what everyone brings to the table. Day 2 featured Dale Partridge and I must say, I repin MANY of his pins on a regular basis.

I LOVE this so much and will definitely plan on circling back should there be any Pins that I particularly think you should check out…Dale Partridge is definitely one guy to follow!

Loving the layout too!

CHECK IT OUT: http://holidays.pinterest.com/#

Thanks to my girlfriend for tagging me in a tweet about #Pinspiration. #ILoveIt!

XOXO, Karen