armadillas


Lavender and burlap

Last night was a very special occasion. Sarah Beth, one of my good friends from college, got married! It was a simple yet elegant affair that took place at a beautiful vineyard nestled at the base of the Blue Ridge Mountains. The view was majestic. She couldn’t have chosen a better venue.

Of course, I kept things classy by changing in the parking lot. It’s possible the van driver got a couple sneak peaks. Guess I’ve always been a bit of an exhibitionist but in my defense I was only following the boyfriend’s lead. Oh well.

I’m pretty sure the reception hall was once a stable or carriage house. That’s the feel I got from it anyway. But I’m telling you, it was a pretty nice looking converted stable. Honestly, one of the best settings I’ve ever been to.

Aside from the fact that the place was just gorgeous, I’m sure the fact that Sarah did her own decorations only added a special touch of charm to the wedding. Her theme was wheat and lavender, her colors purple and burlap. I really liked that she used mason jars in her center pieces. I brought a few home I loved them so much!

Seriously, how cute!

It has become my opinion that all weddings should be held in the evening. I think it makes the event more magical, more enchanting. Maybe I’m just a fan of stars and candlelight. Plus, the favors were these adorable little s’more kits. I’m sure the fire pit looked nicer under the moonlight than it would have in the sunlight.

Of  course, there is the matter of food as well. Savory pulled pork served on warm baked buns. Crunchy coleslaw and creamy potato salad. Fresh green beans served with red peppers. And last but not least, some of the best macaroni and cheese I’ve ever had the pleasure to taste. Needless to say, I filled up my plate with everything. Then went back for seconds. If I wasn’t so stuffed, I would’ve made a third round just because it was all so delicious. The caterer (or who I assume was the caterer) was as sweet as a button and we had a nice little conversation. She did good!

Yes, most definitely the best wedding I’ve gone to yet. And by far the most enthusiastic dance floor I’ve ever experienced. Those groomsmen know how to get down! Perhaps that’s one of the perks of getting married young. Most of us dancers were in our early to late twenties. But don’t worry. Some of the older folk joined in, too. Good DJ! Oh, and since the wedding was held at a vineyard, I took the liberty to enjoy a bit of wine. Their Crozé mixed with some lemonade was the perfect combination. That particular wine was described as being dry, but I found it to be more on the sweet side. The lemonade really helped to cut down that sweetness.

I just want to emphasize one more time what a beautiful ceremony the whole thing was. I really enjoyed what the preacher/pastor/reverend/minister/official (Aaron) had to say about love. I’m going to ask him if he has an available copy of his sermon/service or if I can at least have a list of his sources.

What a beautiful couple!

I only hope that one day my own wedding is such a success. I think I’m going to wrangle the new MRS into being my wedding planner. I think she could find a nice career in the business, haha. She has a wonderful eye for detail and creativity. Did I mention she did the whole thing herself (with the recruitment of her mama)?

I wish them all the happiness in the world!

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Seeing pink

WINNER WINNER CHICKEN DINNER

Actually, it was a steak dinner. A very delicious steak dinner if I do say so myself. It was juicy and meltinyourmouth tender. Never have I experienced a steak like this before. I don’t know if it was the marinade I used or the cooking method, but a sun is on the horizon. I’ve always been a white meat kind of girl, whether that be pork or chicken, but I think steak might start appearing on the menu a little more often. Who ever would’ve thunk I could be converted!

So, let’s start from the beginning. Almost a year ago to the date, the boyfriend’s grandparents send him some steaks in the mail. Some Omaha steaks. Ooooh, yeah (said in a deep deep voice- draw it out!). Even I was excited, and I don’t eat a lot of red meat. Plus, the steaks came with a wok (though I’m not really sure why…), which I thought was pretty cool at the time- by the way, I’m in the market for a new wok. But all that is beside the point. My point is, those babies have been sitting in our freezer a few days shy of a year now. Sure, we cooked a couple when we first got them. Who lets steak go for that long (cough cough- us apparently)? Well, we still had two left so I pulled them out and set them in the fridge to thaw. Then today, I put them on the counter to warm up a little bit. Truth be told, I didn’t mean to leave them on the counter. I just got preoccupied. But we can say it was our intention!

Alright, now I had these steaks to cook and no idea how to do it. The weather outside was hotter than Florida and there was no way in hellfire that I was going to fire up our little grill. Nooooo noooo. I’d probably end up cooking myself, considering my cool temperature preference. Send me out in snow, not blazing heat. I supposed I could have done it on the stove top, but every time I tried to picture that, I imagined grease popping everywhere and the steaks burnin’ to a crisp. Some cooking methods I just don’t have down yet and simply cooking meat in a pan on the stove top is one of them. That left the oven. But I’m pretty sure we cooked them in the oven last time and I can’t remember a thing about them. Obviously, it wasn’t a meal to remembered. I was determined to do better this time.

After a little research, I discovered two genius things. The first, was a recipe for Korean Barbecued Flank Steak by Rachael Ray. We had beef tenderloins, not flank, but the marinade sounded too good to pass up. And I had a bag of stir fry veggies in the freezer. Sounded good to me. The second thing I discovered was a site called The Kitchn with an article on how to broil steak. Find it here I never thought about broiling steak before, but Lord was it good! It was like cutting into butter. And the flavor! I don’t use a lot of Rachael’s recipes, but this one is for keeps. For sure. I think the boyfriend may have made some threats about me not writing it down. Yes, it’s that serious.

Anyway, enough blabbering from me. Try it yourself. This steak will speak to your soul (which is obvious by the length of this post!)

Recipe courtesy Rachael Ray

Ingredients:

2 tbs grill seasoning ( I used Szeged steak rub)

1/4 soy sauce

1 tbs honey

1 tsp red hot pepper flakes

1 tbs garlic, minced

2 tsp sesame oil

2 beef tenderloins (or any cut of your choice)

Okay folks, this recipe is SUPER easy. That’s mostly because the marinade is doing all the work for you. And then the broiler will finish the rest. All you have to do is listen for the timer! To make the marinade, whisk together the grill seasoning and pepper flakes into a medium bowl.  Add the honey and oil

Whisk in the soy sauce and garlic and that’s all she wrote! Did I say easy, or did I say easy?

The aroma alone is enough to set your tail wagging. Or I suppose your booty shaking?

Such bad lighting! That’s okay. No biggie. Now, here are those tenderloins I was talking about. They sure do look awfully dark. Hopefully we won’t die from eating them. They have been in the freezer, after all

I’m inclined to rinse my meat so that’s exactly what I did. Then I submerged them in that bowl of marinade and left them on the counter to become the lovely things that they became. This took maybe 10-15 minutes. However long it took me to decide to boil some water for some noodles. We were serving stir fry on the side, remember?


If you want to make stir fry, too, all I did was boiled up some egg noodles and cooked up my frozen veggies. I didn’t make my own stir fry sauce. I felt the marinade for the steak was sufficient enough. I was lazy. It happens more frequently then you know

Spicy spicy! Mix it all together (pictured somewhere above)

I don’t know when I became such a hardcore carnivore. As a child, I followed my mother and my grandmother’s suit and always ordered my burgers/steak/what-have-you well well done. No pink please. Now I like the pink. Medium-rare is just fine for me, which means the steaks will take no time under the broiler. Ten minutes tops. But if you want yours blood-free, add a few extra minutes on there. To each their own! So, turn on your broiler! I actually had a broiling pan. You’re gonna want to spray it down with PAM. Or you could rub it with some olive oil

For medium rare, broil on the first side for 5 minutes. Oh yeah, make sure your oven rack is relatively close to your broiler. I heard it recommended about 4 inches. Mine was probably around 6 inches away from the ceiling of my oven

Then flip! Cook for another 5 minutes. Remove from oven and let rest. If you’re really concerned that it’s not cooked to your liking, I suppose it’s okay to make a little cut to see. A little released juice won’t kill us

Oooh nellie, does that look good. Just look at it! Look at those juices!

Ah, perfection on a fork. I’m still in shock! Hope you were as impressed as I was. This steak right here is marriage worthy, I tell ya!

Tijuana