Monday, July 29, 2013

Baked Italian Mozzarella Sticks [Live and Learn]

I spent most of my weekend in The Hamptons.  
Ok, so I spent my weekend on the couch watching and getting hooked on Revenge.
 I was able to peel myself off the couch long enough to try a new concoction in the kitchen: Baked Italian Mozzarella Sticks. The "Italian" part was a last minute addition when I realized I didn't have eggs. I also realized after I had cut the cheese sticks that I didn't have bread crumbs either. So this is what I came up with.

I didn't measure any of these ingredients. Really professional, right? I just filled the bowls with as much as I thought I would need. I opened a package of mozzarella cheese sticks and cut them in half; you could use them whole if that's what floats your boat.

1.  Roll the cheese in flour.

2.  Dip the flour covered cheese in Italian dressing. This is where most recipes use egg...but I had none. 

3.  Cover cheese in crumb mixture (crushed Ritz crackers, black pepper, and a little bit of Italian seasoning). This is where most recipes call for bread crumbs. I didn't have those either. 

Lay them out on a baking sheet and pop them in the freezer. They need to freeze for at least 15 minutes for the breading to stick and so the cheese won't become a melty mess in the oven. Cook for roughly 10 minutes at 400 degrees.
 These obviously don't look as beautiful as all of the Pinterest recipes I've found, but they tasted pretty good.

What I would change next time: The Italian dressing gave a good flavor but was a little over-powering--next time I will try cutting it with half milk or water. I got impatient and didn't let them freeze long enough--the cheese should be frozen before trying to cook them.

For the most part, I was pretty happy with the result. Let me know if you try it or if you have a good mozz stick recipe!!
xo Steph

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Social

Sunday Social

1. If you could only eat one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? 
If you know me, you know I love food and this is a difficult question to answer. I'm going to go with macaroni and cheese. The tasty, homemade, gooey, extra cheesy kind. 

2. What's your guilty pleasure/comfort food? Ice cream, of course. 

3. What's the weirdest/craziest thing you've ever eaten? I don't really eat a lot of weird things. I guess the most interesting combination lately has been nacho cheese Doritos and cottage cheese. 

4. What foods do you avoid at all costs? I can't really avoid them because everyone cooks with them and they're in almost everything, but I hate onions. 

5. What meal reminds you of your childhood? My family has always been into hunting. We ate a lot of venison, and my mom always made this dish with chopped venison in a mushroom gravy over mashed potatoes. So good. 

6. Share one of your favorite recipes and the story behind it. This Sweet and Sour Chicken recipe is one of my favorite things to cook. It doesn't have much of a big story behind it, except that my roommate in Florida and I cooked it together quite a few times. When I lived there I didn't do a whole lot of cooking; my half of the pantry was only filled with a few essentials and most of my meals consisted of a store-bought salad or buttered noodles. Rachel loved to cook and was a really good teacher. She showed me how to make this so I could have at least one meal in my arsenal to cook for Justin when we got married. It takes forever and the first time I made it on my own was a disaster, but it's delicious and is better than takeout. 

Thanks, Sunday Social, for making me want to go eat everything that's bad for me.
Xo Steph

Friday, July 26, 2013

My Experience With the Royal Family

In light of the recent royal baby news, I thought I'd share some tidbits from my trip to jolly old England and my run-in with the royals.
From Left to Right: Prince Charming William (waving at me and my camera), Princesses Beatrice and Eugenie, The Queen  
 The summer between my junior and senior years of college I went on a trip to England. The trip was for a British Romanticism class at a nearby college. Each of us on the trip had to choose one author/poet and write a paper before the trip. During the trip we had to present our papers to the group. I chose Byron. We spent about half the time up north in the Lake District visiting spots that had to do with our authors (I think that's a post for another time) and then headed down to London. 

We had a few things planned while we were there (like crossing "see Les Miserables" off my bucket list), but found out that we would be there for the Trooping the Colors celebration. I'm not from England and will not pretend to have extensive knowledge on the subject but this is the official celebration of the British sovereign. The queen processes down the mall and does an inspection of the troops.

It begins at 10, but when we got there at 8:30 the whole mall was pretty packed. Somehow we ended up with really great spots. Even though we all got split up, all of the girls managed to find each other at the end and compare royalty photos.

Unplanned excursions like this are the best kind.
Xo Steph

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Hot & Cold

"You're hot and you're cold. You're yes then you're no" First order of business: I do not like Katy Perry's music, so I am miffed that this song is stuck in my head. 

What else has been going on lately? Well, yesterday I misread my schedule. I was supposed to get out at 12:30 but I read the wrong day and stayed until 3. Normally I wouldn't care but 1) I feel stupid; I went in and told my boss that there was a misprint on the schedule I had and asked her to print me a new one--when it was in fact my bad. 2) My parents are visiting for a limited time and it would have been nice to know I had the afternoon off to spend with them.

This morning I broke Justin's glasses while trying to get clothes out of my dresser. Thankfully he is a saint, was not upset, and had a back-up pair.

My parents are leaving today. The day after Nate left, they arrived and stayed for a week. We haven't been alone in our house for two weeks; it's going to feel very empty. But it will be oh so nice to be able to come home from work and go to bed early.

This is also Vacation Bible School week and I'm in charge of music. I was really nervous but it's been awesome to take a break from my every day toddler class and lead two sections of music. Kind of reminds me why I wanted to be a music teacher in the first place.

We finally finished the floor in the living room and put everything back together. Our piano got moved in. And we got some sweet red bookshelves to unload all of our books. It actually looks like a home in here now. But as always, there are a ton more projects to start on.

I keep feeling like today should be Friday. Thursday is being rude and getting in the way. Just hang on 'til tomorrow.
Xo Steph

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Sunday Social

 I haven't Sunday Social-ed in a while, so here I am. 
Sunday Social

 1. What was your favorite TV show as a kid? I loved watching I Love Lucy reruns when I was a kid. Ok..I still do. But my favorite kid show was probably Rugrats.

2. What is your current favorite TV show? How I Met Your Mother, Pretty Little Liars, and Big Bang Theory.

3. Which reality show would you NEVER do? Fear Factor. I would never make it to or through the first round. Also I have no desire to eat gross things, even for lots of money.

4. Which reality show would you LOVE to do? Worst Cooks in America. I would love Anne Burrell or Bobby Flay to teach me how to cook. I have always wanted to try out for American Idol but since all of the original judges are gone I'm less interested. 

5. What is the TV personality/character that you feel is most like you? Our friends joke that Justin and I are like Marshall and Lily from HIMYM. Although I think it's just because I am much smaller than Justin, have red hair and am a teacher.

6. Which TV character would you want to date? Umm..Caleb from Pretty Little Liars. 

Our week with Nate was great, and now my parents are here. I love having visitors but I feel bad that our house still looks like we just moved in. 

In other news, I'm going to finally get my acrylics taken off. They're really grown out and starting to look gross. They're also starting to get really annoying. I've been reading up on how to do it myself, but I'm too chicken to try, so I'm just going to let the professionals do it. 

I hope you're all enjoying your weekend!
Xo Steph

Monday, July 15, 2013


 Today, Nate is coming to visit. Nate was the best man in our wedding, Justin's college roommate and is one of our best friends. He spent the year living abroad and now that hes back for the summer, he is staying with us for a week! 
There may not be much blogging happening, but I can guarantee there will be laughing, dancing (specifically to the musical stylings of Mr. Tail Cruz), and bonfires happening all week long. Happy Monday!! 

Xo Steph

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Home Improvement

  Well, we're all moved in. Justin-the-Tool-Man-Taylor has been creating projects non stop. So far we've (and when I say "we" I mostly mean Justin) repainted the downstairs bathroom and living room, ripped out carpet, dug a fire pit, and are in the process of refinishing the hardwood floor we found underneath the living room carpet. 
Gray and yellow bathroom, shiny new floor
 So what have I been doing while Justin has been doing all of that? Cleaning. I'm not the tidiest person in the world but I hate dirt. Especially inside my house. Especially when it's someone else's. 

Maybe I have a problem. I scheduled our friends to help unload our moving truck an hour and a half after we could get into the house so that I could clean up first. My first task was the bathrooms. It was inevitable that sometime during the unloading process I would have to use the bathroom and there was no way I was putting my hiney on a strange toilet that I hadn't cleaned myself. I also knew that at the end of the day I would want to take a shower so I bleached those bad boys...yep, cleaned them both even though only one is usable

That's pretty normal, right? Well...the ripping apart and painting of the usable bathroom was one of the first things we did (we bought the paint the very first night we were in the house...J is a bit impulsive) so the shower was cleaned every day before I used it until the project was done. The thought of standing in a shower with paint chips, dust, and whatever other debris makes my skin crawl. In the words of Sheldon Cooper, I'm not crazy. My mother had me tested.

Anyway, I've also been working, trying to finish an online class, prepping for visitors and getting ready for VBS (where I get to be the music leader!). Never a dull moment, I tell you.


Tuesday, July 9, 2013


Well, here we are. Almost a month since my last blog post. I'm going to go ahead and be honest and say I needed a break. Trying to keep up with social media is frustrating, exhausting, and it's not worth missing out on real life. I'm still working on finding exactly what I want my blog to be, but I know that I do not want it to became a chore or a place where I feel like I have to write to please other people.

I needed some time to recharge and I'm ready to be back and blog for me. See you soon.
xo Steph