Friday, January 31, 2014

FACT: I took a break to smell the roses

Came home to these beauties yesterday! It's been a crazy few weeks, and these melted the stress away (at least for a minute!) Thank you for the surprise, D <3

They smell just as pretty as they look :)

And it's already Friday! D's cousin J is in town until Monday and I'm off to Arkansas for a weekend with the Sutherlands (complete with a Saturday morning charity 5k). 

Have a great weekend, everyone!!


Monday, January 27, 2014

FIGURED: Stew and snuggies will keep us warm.

We finally decided to thaw and use up some extra ingredients leftover from our New Years feast. D whipped up a potato, kielbasa, and mustard green stew for dinner, complete with garlic toast and parsley.

Nothing like a beer-based dutch oven dish to keep us warm as the Nashville temps drop down to around 8 degrees. Brrrr! I might just sleep in this snuggie tonight... 


Saturday, January 11, 2014

Welcome to 2014

The new year snuck up on us. It came out of nowhere, knocked on the door, and then entered with a BANG! 

We rang in our first New Years in Music City USA at, you guessed it, a concert! Moon Taxi played at one of our favorite local spots, Marathon Music Works. Its a groovy old warehouse that was converted to a concert venue. I won the tickets for the NYE show when I successfully defeated three other ticket-hungry folks in a battle of Rock-Paper-Scissors and a grand-finale championship round of Thumb Wrestling. Yes, really.

Class is also back in session at Vandy. Here are a few first day snapshots!

(S and I awaiting statistics class.)

(Peabody campus is pretty even when it's 6 degrees outside!)

I successfully finished my first few weeks already and am really excited about my new work, research, and classes this semester!

D is keeping busy doing accounting things. This is the craziest time of year for the accounting staff but hopefully there will be a little break in the numbers soon! His company was also recently bought out by a larger company, so hopefully there are some new job perks on the way!

In his free time, however, he's still whipping up all kinds of FIGUREDs. 

We started 2014 with a New Years Day feast, complete with pork, sauerkraut, friends, and football. 

(Forgot to photograph the feast. Just trust me, it was as delicious as it looked!)

We used the leftover potatoes and sauerkraut to make perogies. They turned out pretty well, thanks to some last-minute tips from the perogie master herself, K Reed :)

We made our first ever batch of dill pickles too, and they were SO GOOD.

I spent my last day off making broccoli/spinach/leek soup, complete with rye bread croutons (from my earlier failed attempt at rye bread). It was the prettiest color green! 

We also concocted a bunch of other meals to be served in bowls. Bowl meals tend to be my favorite this time of year, mostly because the warm bowl keeps my hands warm while I eat, ha.

Braised pork chili with poblano and black beans. It was insanely good, and it made great lunch for the days that followed. 

Roasted curried carrots with brown rice and yogurt. Such a good example of a cheap, minimal ingredient dinner. And crazy good!

The always classic pot roast with mushrooms and garlic mashed potatoes.

Toasted farro with pickled carrot and onion, shiitake mushrooms, and an egg. We're obsessed with farro these days, it's so yum.

We are also becoming masters at the asian noodle bowl, thanks to the abundance of insanely cheap ingredients at K&S World Market, (the most magical and plentiful international market around). Here's one made with rice noodles, radish, and an egg. Ramen the real way!

While we're on the asian trend, here is another, carrot and coconut soup served with bok choy stir fry.

We also tried our hand at bahn mi sandwiches with pork meatballs. Next time we're aiming to make the bread ourselves (although I'm notorious for failing at bread recipes...)

We used the leftover meatballs here, asian glazed and served with soba noodles.

We whipped up these homemade carnitas tacos with avacado. This may have been the best carnitas I've ever eaten, hands down.

Back to the American classics, roasted chicken with garlic mashed potatoes.

Steak primanti sandwiches, complete with fries and cole slaw.

Pan-seared pork loin with apple raisin compote and goat cheese, served over couscous with a side of sauteed zucchini.

And finally, bananas foster french toast (made the traditional way, WITH rum). A great way to start the day, if you ask me.

Well, 2014 is in full swing. Let's make this the best year yet!

Happy New Year, all!


Wednesday, August 14, 2013


Oh sweet sweet grad school. It was a hectic four weeks, to say the least, but I'm officially 6 credits deep!! Sadly, the madness of it all sorta stole me away from the blog, sorry for the hiatus! As a peace offering, here's a brief recap of some FACTs we've experienced over the past few weeks. 

FACT: College football season is FINALLY here! Thursday night, Vandy played in their home opener against Ole Miss. As anticipated, they ran out of student tickets. BUT after a bit if sweet talking (props to D and Rach) we were able to find some "tickets" and even scored some seats in the special reserved section. We had a railing to lean on and a great view!

FACT: How am I just now discovering World Market?! We took a spontaneous excursion last weekend to check out some shopping plazas we hadn't yet explored. We happened upon a little place called World Market, which has, in one visit, become my new favorite store. They have food and decor from ALL OVER THE WORLD. It took me right back to my life abroad, I was even able to find some of the infamous EFES! 

FACT: The music scene is Nashville really is DA BOMB. Monday night in Nashville was really groovy. Country artist, Jake Owen, decided to throw a #1 single block party in the BMI parking lot (INFO HERE, right near campus) FREE OF CHARGE. Special guests (and apparently friends of Jake) Dierks Bentley, Florida Georgia Line, and Thomas Rhett, all made an appearance and Jake sang along with them to their top new hits. We waited for 2 hours in line (nothing compared to the people who were out there almost all day) and it was totally worth it! Free concerts thrown by top artists?! Uh, yeah, sign me up. Thanks, Nashville (and Jake Owen, too) for a fantastic (and free) pre-semester show!

FACT: August weddings are the best, as long as Mother Nature isn't PMS-ing. A few weekends ago, D and I nabbed a half-day off and made a journey to attend the wedding of his cousin Jamie (and new hubs Evan)! It was gorgeous; the bride, the dress, the location, the celebration. We had such a blast, and we're so very happy for J and E! Unfortunately we didn't get a chance to visit everyone we wanted to on our journey, but we did get to catch up with 2.0 and check out her new abode (which is super groovy)!

FACT: Nannying is the best form of birth control. Especially when your kids are as exciting as ours! My good pal Gee and I (ahem, Rach) recently started nannying for a wonderful fam nearby, and it's nothing but FUN! We take turns watching the brother/sister duo after school, and in the past 3 weeks we have officially played more games of tag than we ever played during our own childhoods. Never a dull moment with these two, definitely a gig that keeps us on our toes! 

FACT: We love visitors!! Two weekends ago, D and I were lucky enough to have B and K Reed (Dan's brother/sis-in-law) spend a weekend exploring Nashville with us! We hit a few spots we hadn't yet had a chance to visit ourselves, including The Pharmacy (the iconic beer garden and burger joint), The End (a little dive bar where we got to watch our friend Vuce aka Alex play with one of his bands), Hattie B's (hot chicken joint), McKay's (a gianormous warehouse of used books, movies, and music), and a tour of the VU campus. Can't wait to have them visit again, we have lots more exploring to do!

Now that all that has been settled, time to get back on the blog train. Stay tuned!


Sunday, July 14, 2013

FIGURED: Kahvaltı çok guzel

D and I decided to take a stroll down memory lane and prepare our first Turkish breakfast since my return to the US. I seriously can't believe it's already been over a month since I left Istanbul! Although it wasn't a perfect rendition (not nearly as fabulous as the one my dear friend, Mine, prepares), and missing two of my favorite staples (simit and poaça), it was still a fabulous way to start the week! We even had POWER Türk radio playing in the background! Almost felt like Istanbul :)

**Shoutout to all of the wonderful people I had a chance to meet in Turkey, I miss you all so much! 

Ok, time for a post-Turkish breakfast nap!


Friday, July 12, 2013

FACT: Nashville has a rockin' park system

The weekend passed so quickly, and we had to say goodbye to Amy on Tuesday morning :( We hope she enjoyed her visit as much as we did!! The rain FINALLY let up on Sat. night, so we were able to do some outdoor exploring. A highlight of the weekend was our trip to J. Percy Priest Reservior, where there are TONS of awesome trails, park spaces and outdoorsy things to do. 

We rented a boat (with oars) early in the afternoon and "cruised" around Couchville Lake then did a 4 mile hike along the reservior. It was humid, as usual, but a gorgeous day. And somehow, no one sustained any sunburn on our excursion, success!!

Can't wait to go back!


Friday, July 5, 2013

FIGURED: Breathing Fire

We started off our first Nashville 4th of July at the annual Music City Hot Chicken Festival on the east side of the city. Along with my college roommate and BFF, Amy (who is here for the weekend!), we headed down to the fest (in the pouring rain) to see what this hot chicken hullabaloo was all about. 

Beverages, in these novelty cups, provided  by Yazoo local brewery.

Tennessee hot chicken is simply fried chicken (perfectly fried, might I add) that is dipped, drenched, and coated in either a blend of hot spices or mouth burning sauce, served with slices of white bread and (traditionally) pickle slices. 

Amy and I opted for the "Medium" tenders from Hattie B's (a famous local joint) while Danny chose the "Damn Hot". Amy and I were pretty teary-eyed from the Medium, but Danny actually had real tears running down his face.

Flaming tears. But seriously, though.

I have to admit though, even with my mouth almost literally on fire, it was the best darn fried chicken I've ever had. 

Wanna try it for yourself? Come visit and we'll take you around to some of the most famous TN restaurants for hot chicken!