Wednesday, July 16, 2014

married · one year

{one year anniversary · st. louis, mo}

We've been married a whole year!

I guess technically a year and 18 days since this post is a little overdue... But it's been a wonderful year. It seemed fitting that we were in St. Louis over our anniversary weekend - we went there after our wedding last year! We had a great time with our friends, but we snuck out on our anniversary to have breakfast alone.

{I finally got the crepes I have been craving for months!}

I love my bearded guy. He's pretty awesome. I'm constantly thinking about him and still get flutters when a mid-day text comes in.

I'm not sure we've learned anything new about each other over the past year - it has been eight years total - but we've learned how to be homeowners together. It's not always fun or glamorous. And I think you can say the same thing about marriage!

I always laugh when people ask me how married life is - for us it's exactly the same as it was before! And I think that's a very good thing.

I still attribute our strong relationship to our communication and independence {both as a couple and individually}.

Some people stare in amazement when Steven tells them that I 'let him' do his own thing. We do lots of things together, but we don't control each other's lives, so why shouldn't we each be allowed to do what we want to do? We have freedom, but usually choose to do things together. We enjoy each other's company. But we don't get hurt feelings if we opt to do things without the other.

Relationships are a lot of give and take. You just have to balance the two.

xoxo, christa

Monday, June 23, 2014

roasted corn & kale salad

Kale. It's like the in-thing right now, apparently. Corn. Well, I can't get enough of it during the summer.

The first time I ever had kale was when I made a modified version of this kale & quinoa salad. I bought 'green kale' and we decided it tastes a lot like raw broccoli, which was a good thing in our book. We chowed down that salad and I knew we'd have to work more kale into our diets.

Steven grilled some corn and we ended up with some leftover ears. We could have just eaten it as is, but I thought it would taste great with the kale. A little sweetness with the earthiness.

It was really good. Really light, yet filling. Perfect for a summer meal. And it's super easy to throw together, too.

roasted corn & kale salad
2 ears of roasted or grilled corn, kernels cut off
1 bunch of kale, chopped
2 medium tomatoes, diced
1 1/2 cups shredded carrots
1/4 cup of sliced almonds
1/4 cup feta cheese, crumbled
1 lemon, juiced

Put all the veggies and almonds in a bowl, toss together. Drizzle the lemon juice over the salad and toss again. Top with feta crumbles and enjoy!

A few notes: I recommend adding the feta to each individual bowl in case you have leftovers, the feta can get a little soggy if you mix it all in.

I just used lemon juice to dress this salad, but you could easily use your favorite vinaigrette instead.

What are your favorite summer recipes? I tend to go for things off the grill, or meals that don't require any heat!

xoxo, christa

Thursday, June 19, 2014

new house numbers · DIY

So, let's talk house numbers. Probably the most important part of your house, if you want anyone to find you that is.

Our house came with numbers, prominently displayed and easy to see. Right under a light fixture so you can even see them well at night. So when we order food at 9pm, the delivery driver can easily find us. Priorities, right?

But they were less than attractive. Brassy-gold numbers on a white-ish, beige-ish plastic frame. The numbers were off-center, the screws were all rusty.

So I started looking at different options at the hardware stores. I really liked the metal ones that you had to special order with your house number and street name. But as you can imagine, with the phrase 'special order' those babies were much pricier than I was going for.

Then I thought I would just take the numbers off the existing frame thing, spray paint that with a fresh coat of something other than sun-faded beige, and add new numbers. Yeah, no. Those shiny brass numbers were there to stay for all of eternity.

Plan C. DIY that B.

I bought a plank of wood that was the height I needed and had the Lowe's man cut it down to the width I needed. I bought the pretty numbers that matched the finish of the light fixtures and front door hardware, used the template to drill holes into the wood, painted the wood white, screwed the numbers in, screwed the wood into the existing holes in the brick. Wah-lah!

{before & after}

Our new house numbers are so much cleaner and go better with our style. Not to mention, they thankfully didn't cost an arm and a leg.

xoxo, christa

ps: I definitely photoshopped our house numbers for safety. 

Wednesday, June 18, 2014

around here · an update

Life is ticking along and I'm thoroughly enjoying summertime, even the rainy days. We're spending time outside when we can, doing lots of grilling, eating lots of fresh fruit and veggies.

A few days each week, Steven & I have been going to a trail close to our house after work. He runs and I walk or bike. I'm still going to gym a couple days, too, but it's really nice to go together. And I love that we still have hours of daylight left when we get home.

It's hard to believe, but we've been in the house for over a year now. It's wonderful. I still love it. We've only hung exactly five things on a total of three walls, so it's on my summer to-do list to buy frames, print some photos and get lots more things hung. I also have some crafty projects I've had on my list for ages... I miss being crafty!

Our front flower bed is finally done! We have a little more work to do in the front yard, but the flower bed is done and mulched. I've also got another container garden going. Tomatoes, lettuces, peppers, parsley and basil. Posts in progress...

Steven & I are working on planning out the rest of our summer. We know we're going to Chicago in August for Lollapalooza, but we'd like to get to St. Louis a couple times and maybe take a mini-honeymoon since we never took one. And I want to visit more places in Columbia, or near by, that we've not been to yet.

xoxo, christa

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

italian burgers

I made these burgers back in the fall and am finally getting around to posting about them! I was inspired by a yummy italian sandwich I had on a ciabatta roll. I thought it would make a fun and yummy burger. I think I was right.

We are huge fans of mozzarella cheese. And pesto. And sun-dried tomatoes. And just burgers in general. I'm sure we'll be grilling up some of these soon!

italian burgers
1 pound ground beef
italian seasoning
fresh mozzarella cheese, sliced
sun-dried tomatoes
basil pesto
ciabatta roll, warmed

To season my ground beef prior to grilling, I used about a tablespoon of italian seasoning and a couple tablespoons of the pesto. I formed them into patties that would fit onto the ciabatta rolls I picked up at the store. They were a little smaller than your traditional burger buns.

I grilled the burgers to the temperature we like while the rolls warmed in the oven. I cut the rolls in half and spread a good amount of pesto on each side. Then I layered the burger, tomatoes and mozzarella.

The mozzarella was warm and gooey, the pesto worked itself into the nooks of the ciabatta, and the sun-dried tomatoes offered a little bit of sweetness. Quite tasty!

These would probably be pretty good with avocado pesto in place of the basil pesto... maybe we'll have to try that next!

xoxo, christa

Friday, April 18, 2014

our dinner deal

{kale & quinoa salad}

This begins a long narrative about my kitchen counters and table. It does end with a point. But you've been warned.

A couple months ago, I was in the kitchen one weekend afternoon prepping food for future dinners. One of our cats, Elliott, ran into the kitchen, jumped right up on the counter behind me and started across our warm stovetop. I didn't even have enough time to turn around and stop him before he jumped back and ran out of the room. I checked him out, and luckily he was fine.

So first, yes. Yes, the cats jump up onto the counters and sometimes walk across the stove. It's not ideal. I always wipe them down with a cleaner before I prep or cook anything. I've tried to keep them off, but it's not worth me stopping what I'm doing or getting up every 2 seconds to get them down. They're cats and they are going to jump on things. They like to be up high. They are cats. So I'd rather just have to clean the counter tops and stove before I start working in there.

{homemade pizzas, at the dinner table!}

The night after the almost-burned paws incident, Steven and I were in the kitchen fixing dinner. Elliott was on the kitchen table and I remarked that I was sorry that he hurt himself, but I was glad he didn't want to be on the counter tops. Steven said that he shouldn't even be on the table. And I responded by saying something like "Who cares if he's on the table, we don't use it anyway. Only if people come over for a meal." You'll typically find us at the coffee table eating and watching TV simultaneously.

When dinner was ready, I suggested we eat at the table. Steven agreed. We ate and actually had a real conversation that wasn't about the dumb show on the television!

{grits with collard greens & roasted tomatoes, crab cakes & chipotle aioli, 
cheesy quinoa cakes & roasted green beans, chicken parmesan}

We cleaned up the kitchen and were heading back to the living room when Steven said "How about this. How about any night you cook dinner, or I cook dinner, and it's not take-out or delivery, we eat at the table. No phones, no computers."

I was very happily shocked. "Deal."

I had thought about suggesting the very same thing for a while, but figured Steven would object. I was glad he made the suggestion. :) We've been at it for over three months and are still going strong. It has also encouraged me to keep up with meal planning and cooking meals at home because I enjoy the time so much.

We're both enjoying our dinner time. I hope we keep it up forever.

xoxo, christa

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