Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Summa time & and the grillin's easy!

You knew I'd have to break in my new patio set with a recipe (not to mention thank my help in a non-monetary, mouth-watering way)!

So, tonight, I made portobello-gouda burgers. Yum-my!


2 tablespoons brown spicy mustard
3 tablespoons balsamic vinegar
1/2 cup olive oil
1 teaspoon kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground black pepper
1 teaspoon hot sauce

lean ground beef (I always patty hamburgers with a splash of Allegro marinade — my secret culinary weapon — and a dash of Montreal Steak Seasoning)
4 portobello mushroom caps (I use slices, caps freak me out)
4 slices Gouda cheese
1/2 cup mayonnaise
4 hamburger rolls
1 red onion, sliced
(lettuce, tomato are optional)

Combine marinade ingredients. Place caps into a baking dish and pour marinade over top. Use a brush to make sure all caps are covered with the marinade. Set aside and let marinate up to 2 hours.
Remove the portobellos from marinade (do not discard marinade) and place gill side down on preheated grill over medium-high heat. Grill 3-4 minutes per side. Top each cap with cheese 2 minutes to melt before they are finished grilling.
In a medium bowl, combine 1/2 cup mayo and 2 tablespoons of the marinade.
Spread the flavored mayo onto each bun and top with portobellos. Serve with sliced onion, lettuce and tomato.

Enjoy with friends and/or family:

Monday, May 30, 2011

Can't Nobody Hold Me Down...

Okay, so we finished laying our patio today, even though I was up half the night sick. Apparently, it's not good to be overworked, overheated, dehydrated and then to eat lots of spicy food at Taco Mac. Lesson learned. But, I wasn't going to let a little thing like the threat of death put our Memorial Day project on hold. And, luckily, neither was my dear, sweet husband ;-)

I won't make you wait until the end:

(There's nothing like seeing your hard work pay off!)

(Hard at work)

(Father-son tag team on the last row)

(The. Last. Paver.)

(We immediately tried out our new patio)

(Some MUCH-needed rest!)

Sunday, May 29, 2011

It's not called 'hard'scaping for nothin'...

I'm sorry I didn't blog all week. It was a ROUGH first week back from vacation. I didn't have anything nice to say, so I didn't say anything at all. Suffice it to say that I am reevaluating my career choice to see if it will be possible to one day manage being a wife and mother with being a journalist. It's not looking good for the latter....

Second, happy Memorial Day weekend! Hope you all are enjoying a safe, fun weekend. Also, thanks to the service men and women who have given their lives for this country. Your sacrifices will never be forgotten.

Okay, now to the reason for this blog: Mine and Jonathan's backyard hardscaping update. Today we completed phase II and got phase III under way. I'm pretty sure the blisters on my hands have blisters. I hobble when I walk, and I can't straighten my left arm at the elbow...but, I digress.

We successfully hand dug the rest of the 10' x 12' space that we planned to hardscape because the Bobcat didn't define the edges. Then we shoveled out the remaining dirt and used a flat shovel to level the area -- okay, I did most of it, actually, because Jonathan went with his dad to pick up our special paver sand. They brought home 40 bags of this stuff. I consider myself a strong gal, but I couldn't carry one of these bags (maybe it was b/c I'd nearly passed out moments before)!!!! Then, we laid the special sand and leveled it. This part took hours. You can never appreciate how much hard work this is until you've done it (thanks for your help, Rick!). But, don't do it. You'll die.

We were both thrilled to begin laying the pavers and getting to see Jonathan's beautimous design come to life. He spent forever designing our pattern in Adobe Illustrator. I love that I'm married to a graphic designer! Here's the guide we're using:

(Obviously our pavers aren't red and black...)

(J: "We will not be defeated!")

(Me raking special sand)

(At last, we begin laying pavers)

We anticipate finishing the majority of this project tomorrow (we still want to build a wall of pavers and eventually add an outdoor fireplace...). Will post proud pics when we do!!!

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Phase I Complete

No, we're not trying to take over the world. We're steadily progressing with our list of backyard projects in preparation for our July Fourth barbecue.

We thought we'd have a lot more to show for phase one, but as always, we've bitten off more than we can chew for a "DIY project"! This weekend — just since we've been home from our vacation — we've marked out the designated area that will be hardscaped, picked up the pavers from Lowe's (thank goodness for my father-in-law's trailer!) AND bribed a neighbor to bring the Bobcat by to begin leveling.

Jonathan and I are now in the process of perfecting the edges and leveling the soil. The next phase will consist of filling the area with sand and laying the pavers in the fancy design we've created. And, to top things off, we need to do this before the next rain so we don't have a giant mud pit (I refuse to look at the weather at this point — I'd rather not know).

(The reason why I have She-Ra arms)

(My leg has "wash me" written in dirt)

My new appearance, in case you see me on the street...

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Another Day in Paradise

Don't mind if I do!

At the recommendation of a friend, we opted not to return to Bud & Alley's. Instead, we ate at Great Southern. I had the Shrimp a Ya Ya (shrimp & grits):

Jonathan had the Seafood Celebration:

Can you say, YUM:

Some more shots from our day:

And, finally, a shot of us before our date night:

This truly has been our second honeymoon!!!!

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

More Seaside

By now, you guys know that I loooove food. Since we got here Sunday, we've gotten to eat at Pickles, the Shrimp Shack, the Taco Bar and, tonight, we grilled steak, corn on the cob and smashed our own potatoes. Tomorrow night we are visiting Bud & Alley's! I never want to leave...

Monday, May 16, 2011


I'm too relaxed to write much, so I'll keep this brief.

We're on vacation. This was much-needed. Seaside is paradise. Oh, and I'm finally starting to get over a monstrous head cold that came on this weekend right as we were about to leave for the beach.

Two funny things so far:

1. My husband didn't pack a bathing suit for the beach. No surprise there! The problem has been remedied, though — and I opted not to publicly humiliate him by buying him a ridiculous bathing suit... He forgot to pack sunglasses, too, btw!

2. Only my mother-in-law could drive to the middle of no where in Alabama and have the cashier at McDonald's say, "Hey, Mrs. Rita. You were my teacher!"

Okay, now I'll commence with the photographs...

(Our little beach bungalow)

(Our room)

(Taco Bar)

(Downtown Seaside)

(Only pic of us, so far...not great, but, oh well!)

(Our roomies for the week!)