Texas Part Two.. Sunny Skies.

Posted by Casey // dreams and bones. on Wednesday, February 8, 2012. Filed under:
No Comments »

A couple of weekends ago, we were blessed to get to leave cold and snowy Chicago 
for the sunny skies of the South! 
Our plane was delayed more than four hours when a snowstorm hit the city.
For a while, we were afraid we'd get stuck here.

but we made it.
Strolling into the airport in Dallas at 4am, 
we were excited to say hello to family,
 joyful to see them once again.

I brought my camera along.. too eager to soak up some sun through my little lens.
What resulted was a lot of laughter, a heck of a lot of "real live Texans", 
and a cute little lady named Molly Kate. 

We visited mr. b's grandparents, where he was able to borrow a really beautiful pocket watch from his grandfather for our wedding.

This watch has travelled with b's grandfather since 1948.

 there was sun. lots and lots of sun.

 there was a funny brother in law, fresh squeezed lemonade, and a fried dough thing..

there were chickens. and cows. and pigs. and sheep.
and i loved every second of it. 
the cute little guy in the top right corner is b's dad's prize winning chicken! 

there were inherited flannel shirts..

"real Texans" haha!

and there was a sweet little lady who captures everyone's hearts.. Miss Molly Kate.

Later in the weekend, we saw the other side of the family,
who put up with my crazy love for their furry friends.
Not just any furry friends though..

we're talking.. donkeys.

 the donkey's visit with me produced my favorite pictures from the weekend.

and longhorns!!

b's mom made my new favorite treat in the entire world.
toffee, pecan, chocolate deliciousness.

we were treated to a cookout with lots of family. 
sorry there isn't more to see from our time with them. :)

in the middle of dinner, b ran up to me and said 
"grab your camera. the sky outside is beautiful." 
man, was he right.
40mph winds blew up all the dust into the sky.. and at the right moment, it was stunning.

finally.. there were two new pups in the family who were happy to be my frans.
i adored them, muddy paws and all.

we were both so thankful to see friends and family in the sunny state of Texas.
the experience showed us how much we hope to return - for good - as soon as we can.

Texas Recap Pt 1

Posted by Casey // dreams and bones. on Monday, February 6, 2012. Filed under: , , ,
No Comments »

Well, we're back from Texas. We've been settled just over a week, and I'm so excited to show you some of our adventures from the trip.

It took me a little bit to muster up the courage to whip out my camera and start shooting, so unfortunately I missed just enough to not have pictures of half the family. To those not photographed.. don't worry! I'll get you next time. :) 

Highlights from the trip:

Traveling around Dallas with our good pal, Blanton, soaking up the sunshine!

It's a bear.. with a Bear! Ahhhh

Big monuments and Texas history lessons...


 Beautiful big blue skies...

Record stores owned by Polyphonic Spree members...

woops.. was I supposed to know that?

 B and B went to The Holy Grail in Dallas, ordered two beer flights, and an hour long beer lesson commenced. Super fascinating. Super fun. 

my new fran. 

B's dear friend Blanton showed us around Dallas .. a town I had never really been in. We explored eateries, a Frank Lloyd Wright home, a gigantic mall that served delicious fish tacos, Fair Park, a historical site that has a very deserted offseason, and a bar that served delicious craft beers. During all of this I learned more about my fiancĂ©'s history, friendships and the town he grew up in. Blanton is a stand up guy.. his heart is full of compassion and kindness, and he is filled with lots of knowledge he loves to share. I'm excited he's in our lives. 

Stick around tomorrow for Part 2, featuring my almostinlaws. :)

Adventures in Cooking // Real Simple Cooking Challenge Day 1

Posted by Casey // dreams and bones. on Wednesday, February 1, 2012. Filed under: , ,
No Comments »

So I had a great idea recently.. after drooling and stomach growling while looking at Real Simple's recipe website.

What if I challenged myself to make 7 days of meals out of recipes I found via Pinterest and Real Simple? So far I have practiced with homemade quinoa patties, lots and lots of veggie mixes, and sriracha aioli salmon with herbed vegetable stir fry.

Today, to officially kick off the challenge, I tried Real Simple's  Thai Red Chicken Curry.

Note: Real Simple and I are not affiliated in anyway, nor have they sponsored this post. All opinions are solely my own!

I made a few tweaks based on groceries available at the store and what I had at home.

Instead of red curry paste, I used an 11oz bottle of Trader Joe's Thai Red Curry Sauce and reduced the amount of coconut milk I had to about 1/3 of a can. Instead of long grain wild rice, I used Trader Joe's cappinelli noodles. I know, I know, an italian noodle in a Thai dish, what was I thinking? Well, I love Thai thin noodles and had a craving for that over rice.. so I substituted what I had.

1 cup long grain wild rice // or // ½ package cappinelli noodles.
8 small chicken cutlets (1 ½ pounds total) // I used chopped fajita style chicken pieces and used a chopped Boca chicken patty for myself.
1/8 teaspoon kosher salt and black pepper
2 tablespoons olive oil (substituted since I don't buy canola oil)
2 bell peppers, sliced (I used ½ green bell pepper and  ½ red bell pepper, a compromise since the boy does not like vegetables too much)
1 15-oz can coconut milk; 2 tablespoons red curry paste // or 1 11oz jar Thai Red Curry Sauce & 1/3 can coconut milk
¼ cup torn fresh basil leaves
1 lime, cut into wedges // unnecessary if you use the sauce


Step 1: Cook the rice (or noodles) according to package directions.

Step 2: Meanwhile, season the chicken (or fake chicken, I recommend trying Gardein) with ½ teaspoon salt and ¼ teaspoon pepper. Heat the oil in a skillet over medium-high heat.

Step 3: Cook the chicken in batches until golden brown and cooked through, about 2 minutes per side. Remove from skillet and cut into strips. I skipped the "batches" part of this step, because I had pre-cut chicken. Start cutting your peppers during while the chicken is cooking, if you haven't already.

Step 4: Add the bell peppers and ¼ cup water to the skillet and cook, stirring frequently, until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes. [Note: I added the basil during this step, rather than step 6. This is up to your preference!]

Step 5: Add the coconut milk and curry paste and simmer for 4 minutes. Stir in the chicken.
 as you can see, instead of spooning the mixture over rice,
 I added noodles to the pan to absorb the flavors. It was an amazing decision.
Step 6: Spoon the chicken curry over the rice and sprinkle with the basil. Serve with the lime.

 and voila! 
There you have it, a perfectly delicious homemade Thai meal.
Maybe not the prettiest pictures this time around, but soon that will change. :)

Be sure to visit again tomorrow for another day of Adventures in Cooking!