Pasta that is Gouda...

Yummmm is all I can say.

I found this recipe last week when I was planning our weekly menu.  Something I hadn't done in a few weeks due to a random schedule we've had.  (and in turn, we ate a lot of cereal for dinner.  Kind of a nice change.  It was like I was taking the Special K challenge, and Stephen was taking the Cheerio challenge.  I don't think any weight was lost though)

But it sure was nice to have REAL meals last week.

Like this one.  Spicy Pasta Salad with smoked Gouda, tomatoes and basil... a Pioneer Woman Recipe... in honor of her new show on the Food Network!!!!!

The special ingredient is adobo sauce. Say it with me A-DO-BO.

It is A-Good-A.

Here's the recipe.  It makes a ton, which I then ate left overs every day for lunch.  I loved this pasta cold.  All around, good meal ;)  I did add some roasted chicken to it when I served it to Stephen, as he needed a little more than just the pasta.  This would be a great pasta for a Labor Day Picnic! 

Anyway, it's a good recipe to have on hand.  Easy to make, and ingredients aren't all that expensive. 


Click here to see how Pioneer Woman makes it... and I've copied the recipe below.

(PS- Didn't she do an awesome job on her show Saturday?  I loved watching it.  I sat and smiled the entire time.  Loved it!)


  • 12 ounces, weight Mostaccioli  - (* I just used Penne pasta.. I bet they are the same.)
  • 1/2 cup Mayonnaise
  • 1/4 cup Whole Milk
  • 4 Tablespoons White Vinegar
  • 1-1/2 teaspoon Adobo Sauce From Chipotle Peppers (or One Minced Chipotle Pepper)
  • 1/2 teaspoon Salt
  • Ground Black Pepper To Taste
  • 10 ounces, weight Grape Tomatoes, Halved Lengthwise
  • 1/2 pound Smoked Gouda Cheese, Cut Into Small Cubes
  • 24 whole Basil Leaves (chiffonade)


Hair woes...

This morning was a sad morning... my hair straightener has died.

(insert tears)

Most of you who know me, know that I have slightly unruly, semi curly (not the pretty kind) hair.  My hair is the kind that I "can" leave curly, but that look is better served when I am not seeing any living soul in public. 

Straight is just better for me...

I was even able to get my hair straight in New Orleans for our engagement shoot.  It rained shortly after our session, so you can imagine how humid it was. 

Anyway, my straightener had a long run.  I bought my fake "chi" for $40 in 2004 (thought I was crazy at the time) and it has lasted me 7 years almost. 

(I remember the first time I used a straightener.  I was a sophomore in college.  I had gone out of town with a whole bunch of girls and someone had a Chi.  You should have seen me.  My once frizzy, dried with a round brush hair, was flat.  So flat, my mom said I looked like a wet dog.  I couldn't stop touching it.  It felt like silk.  Greasy silk by the end of the day due to my obsession with touching it.  I've grown out of that obsession now, thank goodness.)

Anyway, I did the math.  If I've straighted my hair on average 5 days a week, I've used my dead as a doornail straightener 1,820 times.  (and it's cost me $.02 each time I do my hair.  Ha! Not bad!) 

I'm just trying to rationalize my upcoming purchase of a real chi.  It's time.  I live in humid zone... I need all the help I can get.

But at over $100, it's going to cost me.  (I hope this one lasts longer than the last one!)

The price of beauty.  (I just hope I can find a coupon!)

Happy weekend ;) 


Aidan's Place...

I love granola.  I really love it when it's paired with frozen yogurt.  Or with regular yogurt.  Or on top of strawberries and blue berries.  Or just with a spoon.

(I'm hungry.)

I've found my new favorite granola... right here in Shreveport.  Made by the most darling girl.

When my parents were here, I met Bethany (her and her husband Paul are the owners of Aidan's Place). She makes her own granola in a ton of different flavors right out of her own kitchen. 

She had samples...

I never pass up free samples. 

And because of that amazing sample, I bought the Cranberry surprise.  Love it!  My mom got the blueberry (which we ate with yogurt and fresh blueberries when we got up the next morning... so good!)

Not only does she have wonderful granola making skills, but she is also a philanthropist.

Aidan's Place also provides 200 "Blessings in a Bag" monthly to local areas that desperately need nutritious food (like orphanages) that are struggling to feed the children they take care of.  What an amazing ministry in our community!

I also love the verse she adds on her labels and business cards.

Psalms 34:8
O taste and see that the Lord is good.  Blessed is the man that trusts in him.

This video will get you movin.  Trust me.

Prestonwood Baptist Church, Dallas, TX

The Lord is good...  SO GOOD!

Thank you Bethany for introducing me to your fabulous granola, but more importantly, your ministry and mission.  I know you are making a huge impact on our community, feeding the hungry and those needing to hear the love of Christ.

I encourage all of you to check out Aidan's Place today, and order some fabulous granola (online) or pick some up at the various retailers around the state of Louisiana.  You won't be disappointed and you will also help Bethany provide more bags to those in need.  It's a Win Win to me!


Visitors from the North...

Mom and Dad... thanks for coming to visit the Baker Hotel...

We loved having you ;)  I'm sorry all we did was eat.  I live in the South now.  It's how we show people we love them.

Last weekend, my parents came to visit.  We had the best time ;)  I tried to get them to move here by showing them every single house for sale in our neighborhood... but it didn't work.  I'll try again next trip ;)

For dinner when they arrived, Stephen and I made pork chops, which we cooked in a lemon cream sauce, and paired it with tortellini and roasted asparagus.  I served everything on the most amazing placemats that we got for our wedding.  They are monogrammed with a gorgeous B on them.  I need to take a picture of just the placemats... they are fabulous!

The next morning, we got up and I made home made french toast.  I introduced Mom to Blackburn syrup.

Man that stuff is good.  Have you had it?  It's made in Jefferson, TX which is about an hour from Shreveport.

We then headed out to the Farmers Market.  I love how each week, there are different vendors and new things to discover.

My dad discovered the bbq sauce people.  Babee Blue's BBQ.  They had free ribs.  Can you see the excitement on his face?

Gosh it smelled amazing.

We did get to eat some ribs... and even though I'm not the biggest ribs fan... they were really good.  Plus, they were really pretty too.

I think...

He liked them.  Yep.  We have found a winner.

After the free ribs, I found these darling little quail eggs.  I wanted some just to decorate with.  I know I know, that's wrong... but you all know how much I hate eating eggs, so why not decorate with them?  They're so little and precious!

And then, Dad found free sausage.  He's like a magnet to free meat.

It was really good though.  My first time to try boudin.  Pretty good stuff.

After the farmers market, we ran around town... and then (I know this sounds crazy) but we ate AGAIN.

I had to take them to our favorite Poboy Express... 

They loved it (who wouldn't) and then we headed to see The Help. (Best.Movie.Ever)  But, on our way... we found an estate sale.

I know... my perfect day was complete.

I walked in and immediately saw these two watercolor prints.  At $18 each and everything half off... they were comin home with me ;)  I love them!  Now I just need to find new frames and we'll have some more artwork!  Love it!

We had a great weekend... and I was really sad to see them leave.  I'm afraid we ate too much but c'est la vie!  I can't wait to have them come back... but I'm afraid it will take a lot to top this weekend!


Sticker Party...

This post goes out to girls like me... who used to scrapbook.

And by scrapbook, I mean the old fashioned kind.  Before they got all fancy.  Before there were scrapbook stores, groups, clubs.  My scrapbook club consisted of me and my best friend Sasha hitting up Hobby Lobby when their stickers were half off and we could buy a bunch of "themed" paper and stickers to match our latest and greatest adventures.  (I still own tennis ball paper.  Why?  I still don't know.  Maybe I wanted to plan ahead in case one of our outings included an impromptu tennis match.)

We had so many adventures and I had a sticker to go with every single one of those moments.

Stickers were all the rage.

What does someone like me, that is say, almost 30, do with all these left over stickers?

I've found a solution.  Make artwork.


I found this girl who makes WALLPAPER out of millions of random stickers.  Her name is Peyton Turner and she was featured on Little Green Notebook this week.  (awesome blog by the way)



I have so many thoughts.

1.  That would take WAY too much time to wallpaper with stickers.
2.  I can't imagine selling our house.  "Yes  ma'am, this is a custom stickered wallpaper.  Here's some Goo-Gone.
3.  That would take a lot of Hobby Lobby sales to buy that many stickers.


But on the other hand, I give it to her!  How different!  How cool!  The stickers arranged in such a way look awesome from a-far.  And pretty interesting close up.  But I kind of love it ;)

I definitely love the single vignette she made, that is framed.  I think would be such a fun little piece of artwork in a child's room. 


My point.  I have a lot of stickers from circa 1999 when I was in the height of my scrapbooking days.  I think I might start pulling them out to see what fun creation I can put together.  I'll let you know how it goes.  ;)


Are you Leaning?

Happy Wednesday everyone! 

This last weekend was so wonderful.  My parents were in town and we had the best time.  I've got lots of fun things to blog about... but I'll sum up the weekend:  We ate.  A.Lot.  (and saw The Help.  It was fabulous!)

This last week, Stephen and I went on a walk around our neighborhood and I found a blooming tree amidst the drought.  How beautiful and what a welcome beauty!  It made me think of Psalm 90:14.

How often do we need this reminder!  We have the Lord who loves us with an unfailing love!  What a comfort that is... I love when I am in His presence for He gives me so much peace and comfort. 

Last night, we watched True Grit.  (Well, I said I was just going to sit there and go through my magazines and play on my computer, as it didn't sound like "My" kind of movie.  But I must say, it's a good movie.  That little girl should have won an Oscar.) 

But I started watching it and noticing that the underlying song played throughout the entire movie, was actually a hymn.  It brought back memories of being a child growing up at First Baptist Tulsa, and singing out of the hymnal. 

The hymn is "Leaning on the Everlasting Arms" and I've had it in my head ever since we watched the movie.  Have you read the words to this hymn lately?  They are so simple and yet so profound. 

What a fellowship, what a joy divine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
What a blessedness, what a peace is mine,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

Leaning, leaning, safe and secure from all alarms;
Leaning, leaning, leaning on the everlasting arms.

Oh, how sweet to walk in this pilgrim way,
Leaning on the everlasting arms;
Oh, how bright the path grows from day to day,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

What have I to dread, what have I to fear,
Leaning on the everlasting arms?
I have blessed peace with my Lord so near,
Leaning on the everlasting arms.

So much of this hymn reminds us that all we have to do is lean!  He will carry you, He will provide for you, He will give you peace, He will take away all fear.  How wonderful is that?  His arms are everlasting!

So, I leave you with this thought... are you leaning on Him today?  What do you have to dread?  What do you fear?  Try leaning and see how His blessed peace comes when He is near.


Pinterest Peer Pressure

I'm feeling the peer pressure.

I had one of those days last week where I was finding all sorts of ideas for our home renovation exxxxstravaganza.  (It.Never.Seems.To.End.)  I wanted to show Stephen all my ideas... but they were no where to be found on my computer.  If only they were saved online, grouped together in a nice little organized area.  Huh. 

Last summer.  Painting.  We're still painting.  We will still be painting this time next year, I'm sure.  (He's so cute... He make me smile.  I don't mind painting when it's with this cute one.)
Anyway, I know I should do Pinterest to store all my fun ideas I find online for our house.  I know I know I know.  But I'm just overwhelmed and it scares me because I get easily addicted to things and that looks like an addiction.  (For instance, from the moment I got engaged and I met the Style Me Pretty wedding blog, it was over.  I was surfing on their wonderfulness every morning.  It's bad, it's wrong, but it was so good.)

Maybe after this weekend (we have visitors coming!!!!) I can sign up for Pinterest.  Until then, here are my recent finds that I'm loving.  Oh, and I'm not sure where they are from.  I need to be better about saving links... I apologize blog world.  Please forgive me.  I'm sure if I used Perfect Pinterest it would save the link rather than just the image.  Ugh, I know, it's wonderful.

I really like the four frames running vertical against the fireplace.  Simple, clean, and I love it.

This was a small kitchen redo I found on Country Living (I think).  How darling?  I love everything about the kitchen.  Including the small baby.  I love babies.

We have a similar (if not exact) set up in our library.  I'd love to eventually have a seat made for the area between the bookcases.  Such a perfect place to encourage reading and less TV!  (but not less So You Think You Can Dance.  Tonight is the finale.  I'm so excited.)

 I love the coloring in this room.  So inviting and calming.  Love.

Random alert.  I love this idea.  Do you know how much ribbon I own?  Lets just say I could use a COUPLE of these little baskets. I'm virtually a hobby lobby.

Ok, this is a nursery.  I know you can't tell, but I can't find the other picture I saved.  The other side of the room has a darling white crib.  What I love about this room is it's so simple, clean, can be adapted as the child grows and it looks organized, modern, and I LOVE the curtains.  Such a fun change of pace for a nursery.  (No Mom, we're not needing to turn a room into a nursery yet.  Not YET).

 I want the chairs and I want the fireplace screen thingy.  Please.

I love the big artwork.  I feel like I could make it.  You should see the large watercolor sheet I bought this week because I really think I could make something cool.  We'll see how that turns out ;)

I really need to find the girl who made these because I LOVE them!  She made them and I feel awful not giving her credit.  If I discover where I found it, I'll repost.  How darling do those ribbons make those frames? 

I'm re-doing our guest room (re-doing makes it sound like it was previously done, which is not the case.  I'm starting from scratch really.  Blank blank canvas with blue carpet (soon to be ripped up).  Anyway, see the orange bolsters?  I have that duvet.  I might be cutting up the duvet to make some pillows.  So fun!

Ok, that's all I have for today.  I can't wait to post pics of our new guest bathroom.  We're almost done.  I see the light.  And I see the paint that I can't get off my fingernails.  Might HAVE to go get a manicure.  Darn.