A Cupcake For Dessert

Friday, May 30, 2014

Is it just me or would everyone else agree that weekends always need to be three days long?! This week has flown by thanks to the extension of a typically two-day weekend and I'm digging it. Last week my handsome husband planned a surprise date for the two of us. He walked in the house after work with two (yes, two) big bouquets of flowers. Flowers he also stated that would match my patriotic theme for the weekend. He's catching on to design schemes and I like it, a lot. I'm one proud décor-smitten wife. And my flowers are still thriving and as beautiful as they were a week ago!

Husband then whisked me in the kitchen to make homemade ravioli and the meal that he made for me when we had just begun dating. He's a keeper I'm telling you. But, it just kept getting better from there. We rounded dinner up and headed out for a picnic on Tech's campus. We've already decided there will be lots of dinners and hangouts there over the coming months. It is a pretty darn perfect spot.

A walk downtown and a stop in Gobble Cakes later, we were sitting on the new promenade Blacksburg recently finished up, for our first time. After splitting the prettiest crème brulée cupcake, we drove around through some of favorite neighborhoods looking for houses that were for sale. House hunting and driving around looking for said houses has always been one of my very favorite things. So now that we're actually in the market for buying our own house, this gal is reveling in all the driving-around-while-looking-at-homes that has been going on recently. And husband has been so great to let me ooh and aww as he drives us around.

A movie and mimosas at home rounded out our date and I felt quite spoiled by the end of it all. To say the least, I have a pretty incredible husband and I find myself thankful for him every single day no matter the kind of day I've had. A date day a week, whether extravagant or simple, is the perfect way to put a pause on a busy life and reconnect as a couple. It's so refreshing to leave all the hustle and bustle behind and to enjoy the blessing that is our marriage. Our dates draw us closer to one another and strengthen our relationship, a relationship that we will always strive to intentionally glorify God through.

So married or just dating, take time to make your significant other feel like they're sitting on top of the world. Take time to cherish them and love them whole-heartedly. I promise you too will be astounded at the difference it can make in your relationship or marriage!

Have a happy Friday and weekend my friends! Here's to dates of all kinds, big and small!

Land Of The Free

Thursday, May 29, 2014
Sunday was full of red, white, and blue. Appropriately so as we (a day early) celebrated those who have served and are serving for this great nation of ours. With food neatly placed around the dining room table, lavender lemonade waiting to be poured, and friendly cornhole competition brewing, the extended Hill crew partook in remembering the sacrifice from days gone to now of our service men and women by relishing the freedom we live in everyday. Dressed in our best U.S.A. inspired attire we spent most of the day outside under the warmth and brightness of the sun. In fact, we stayed outside until it was impossible to see the cornhole boards we were aiming for. Eventually we retired to playing cards and eating dessert around the table before calling it a night.

On Memorial Day, husband and I traveled to my parents' for time together and still more time outdoors enjoying the day and our blessings. I hope you had such a wonderful Memorial Day with gratefulness and thanks in you heart for all the brave who keep this country free! 

Drillfield Hangout

Wednesday, May 28, 2014
There are few things more precious in this world than taking the time to sit down, surround yourself with family, and enjoy an evening that is slowly turning into night. Saturday, after picking as many strawberries as our hearts desired, we Hills split ways for the afternoon only to meet up again for dinner downtown, followed by time on the Drillfield of our alma mater. This time though, we had husband's parents in tow who had arrived to town for the Memorial Day weekend festivities. 

The setting sun made for the prettiest light, the frisbee for great entertainment, and the blankets spread out on the grass made for a sweet spot to rest. And the view from my indian-style seated self made for a happy heart. I see a many more Drillfield nights in our summer!

Strawberry Fields

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Saturday morning, with a latte in hand, husband and I along with the other Burg Hills headed to the strawberry fields near Smith Mountain Lake. The day was beautifully sunny with a slight breeze and morning temperatures in the 70's. Taking bites as we went along, the strawberries turned out to be the sweetest I've ever had. It's safe to assume that the bucket-worth we brought home that afternoon are only taking up one small tupperware now. Did I mention strawberries are husband's favorites?? 

^^There were rows and rows of strawberries at all stages in their growth. From tiny green strawberries to the white-almost-red, there were strawberries for days that should be around for the next round of happy pickers.^^ 

^^These two are peas in a pod. Seriously, they're just the best together! And husband is loving having such a goofy little guy to share all of his goofiness with!^^

^^Aren't they lovely?! Their brilliant red is inspiring some home décor ideas for me! We shall see where this beautiful color shows up!^^

^^Strawberry picking was the perfect way to kick off Memorial Day weekend! And I'm now looking for our next berry picking adventure; I've got blueberries on my mind and I'm in search of a field!^^

Ginger: The Root Of All Evil

Wednesday, May 21, 2014
Or so I thought. And it all began six years ago while vacationing in Hawaii. After touring an incredible pineapple plantation, we ate lunch on their grounds and enjoyed the freshest fruit and accompanying meal I have ever had. Within that meal were the brightest slivers of coral colored ginger. Having never tried it, I was easily persuaded to give it a go and proceeded to put a rather big bite of it in my mouth. I was repulsed almost immediately, but finished chewing it and swallowed it reluctantly (spitting things out just isn't very lady like, ask my mama). Any who, from that day forward I hated ginger and kept my distance from it's alluringly beautiful color. 

Once I discovered my love for sushi, I also discovered how much I hated it when the ginger rested gently on the sticky rice wrap. I would happily share those tarnished pieces of sushi and offer all of the ginger on my plate to anyone who actually enjoyed it. That goes for the ginger dressing too; heck no, ranch please. The dislike for ginger didn't stop with just its fresh version. The ground spice was a no-no in my book too and I didn't dare order nor fix a meal that included it. 

All of this complete dislike for ginger lasted until two months ago when I finally decided to be brave and give it another go. Or rather, my very adventurous husband in the kitchen would slowly add in the ingredient in small quantities. It wasn't until I discovered ginger root that I opened up to the possibility of using it in cooking, especially in marinades. I kind of love the taste of minced ginger that has been added to a soy sauce based marinade. Mind you, I don't add that much because I haven't gotten to that point in my second chance with ginger. 

If I can mince it up, let it soak, then discard it, I have found that I do enjoy the slight background taste of ginger on marinated meat. And I wanted to share my two favorites that I have come to love thus far. I guess you can say in this great dislike of all things ginger, I have learned to give things another try with a fresher perspective and no biases, but eating fresh, beautifully-coral-in-color ginger still isn't happening. That's where I draw the line...for now. 

Hawaiian Grilled Chicken (below, left)
  • What You'll Need:
    • 1.5 pounds of boneless, skinless chicken thighs
    • 1/2 cup soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup water
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 4 stalks of green onions, chopped thinly
    • 1/4 TSP fresh ginger root
    • 1/2 TSP sesame oil
    • 1/2 can (13.5 oz.) coconut milk; we did not use coconut milk when we made this marinade.
  • What You'll Do:
    • Trim the chicken thighs of any fat.
    • Mix all marinade ingredients together, stirring well. Add the chicken thighs and let marinade for at least 8 hours.
    • Grill chicken on low for about 7 minutes on both side.

BBQ Beef Teriyaki (above, right)
  • What You'll Need:
    • 1 flank steak
    • 2 tsp sesame oil
    • 1 cup soy sauce
    • 1/2 cup brown sugar
    • 2 TBSP honey
    • 1 TBSP fresh minced garlic
    • 1 TSP fresh minced ginger root
    • 1 TBSP cornstarch
    • 1/4 cup cold water
  • What You'll Do:
    • Cut the flank steak into thin strips.
    • Mix the marinade ingredients, stirring well. Then add the strips of flank steak. Let marinade for at least two hours.
    • Let the bbq skewers soak in water, to prevent them from burning on the grill.
    • When it's time for dinner snake the skewers through the strips of the steak and place in a row on the grill. Using a brush, add more of the marinade to the meat for a stronger taste. 

*All recipes come from other bloggers; husband and I tweak them per our taste.

A Family Affair & A Wedding

Monday, May 19, 2014
Saturday was threatened with rain and thunderstorms, yet the rain stayed at bay and the sun managed to peak through the clouds. It was a small blessing among the bigger blessings of that day. While the air kept on the cooler side, the blazing bonfire kept us warm and the cornhole and dancing kept us moving. So we just kept on keepin' on in our jean jackets and cowboy boots, laughing and catching up. 

See, my cousin married her best friend this weekend amidst a barn themed background. And most of my extended family (a large one at that) made the trek to Charlotte to welcome in our newest family member and celebrate. Indeed a celebration and good time it was, and I would like to do it all again. Because, my favorite part of the entire weekend was having so much family in one place at one time, a rarity these days as we all run our busy lives elsewhere. Which got me thinking that we need more weddings! 

Congratulations to Margie and Randy on their sweet, happy day!