Thursday, June 28, 2012

Italian Zucchini Pie

Can't wait to Nom! Italian zucchini pie. #gardengrown #wemissitaly

After instagramming the making of dinner this week, some you guys requested the recipe. It's been a while since I've posted on here anything food related, so I'm glad to remedy that. But I do post what I make for dinner several times a week on Instagram! Follow me @lattelove.

The best part of this particular recipe is that I was able to find half of the ingredients in my garden! (zucchini, onions, parsley and basil). Nothing like a recipe made with freshly picked produce from the backyard.

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This is a family recipe from E's mom and I make it every summer because our garden produces SO many zucchinis. (Sometimes I like to switch up by shredding the zucchini instead of slicing it.)

Italian zucchini pie in the works. Zucchini, onion, basil and parsley from the #garden.

Italian Zucchini Pie
1/4 c butter
4 cups of thinly sliced zucchini OR 2 1/2 cups of shredded zucchini (approx 1 1/4 lbs or 3 med zucchini)
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic, minced

1/2 c chopped parsley
2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
1 tbsp chopped fresh oregano (or 1 tsp dried)
salt and pepper to taste

2 c shredded mozzarella cheese
2 eggs

1 can of crescent roll dough

Melt butter over medium low heat and saute onions and zucchini for 8-12 minutes (6-8 if using shredded zucchini), adding garlic half way through.

While that's cooking, chop up your herbs and set them aside. In a mixing bowl lightly beat the eggs with a fork, and stir in the shredded cheese. Preheat oven to 375.

Remove onions and zucchini from heat and stir in herbs, salt and pepper. Spray a pie pan with cooking spray and unroll each crescent roll as if it were a pie slice, gently pressing the pieces together to make a crust.

Pour the zucchini mixture into the bowl with the eggs and cheese and combine well. Pour mixture into crescent pie crust and bake for 3540 minutes at 375.

Slice up and serve with arugula salad and a glass of your favorite vino!

Italian zucchini pie recipe up on the blog today! Www.latteloveblog.com

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Graduation party planning: the details

I thought it might be helpful to go through some of the work we did and costs to E's graduation extravaganza. We had an open house for 80-100 (I never did get a final count as people were in an out all afternoon/evening) and we had a friend cater, so the costs were significantly lower that if you'd hire a restaurant.


Seating
We borrowed the tables, chairs and canopies from our church, which was a huge relief and saved us a lot of money. E and my dad picked up everything on Friday morning and set it up in our backyard.


Food
You guys saw these photos (and sadly, I did not get photos of main dishes, or desert), but we did not skimp on food. I wanted a 'foodie' barbecue, and it was the highlight of the party. It was so fun to have everyone be surprised by the lack of typical backyard barbecue food like hamburgers, hotdogs and potato salad, and instead enjoy:

-Baba Ghanoush with pita chips
-Roquefort cheese dip with honey-marinated pears with rice crackers
-Grilled pineapple salsa with tortilla chips
-Smoked haloumi cheese with pickled cherries

-Tri-tip with chimmichurri sauce
-Pulled pork with peach barbecue sauce
-Grilled corn with spicy mayo and cotija

-Brownies with vanilla ice cream and stout caramel sauce

Food for 80 people + tip for our friend: $650


Beer
We picked up a half keg from a local brewery, Stone Brewing Company. It was a hit, but we overestimated how much people would drink. We were drinking flat beer for days after to use it up!
Cost: $110 (our friend got a discount)




Sangria
While E arranged to have beer for most people, I wanted to cover our bases, so I made a large batch of Sangria. We paid a little more than I usually would, so we could get a good Spanish red wine. We used this recipe, but skipped the maraschino cherries and accidentally doubled the sugar (DON'T make this mistake!)
Cost: $38
Time: 20 minutes (+ refrigeration overnight)



Bunting
I made the bunting we used by cutting triangles from a set of  blue fabric quarters from Joann's. I pinned them in double fold binding tape (also from Joann's) and stitched along the top. I had originally planned to put the bunting on a drop cloth wall hung on the canopy, but it ended up being too windy.
Cost = $13 (Fabric: $5, Binding tape: $8)
Time: 2 hours




Graduation caps
I found this idea after Beka pinned the inspiration photo. To keep it easy, I bought blue frosting in a squeeze can which I used attach the pieces together and for the tassel. The tops are fudge-covered grahams from Keebler and the bottom is mini Reese's with mini m&ms to top it off. It took seconds to put together each one and they were a hit, especially with the kids!
Cost: $18
Time: 30 minutes


Chinese Lanterns:
I trolled Weddingbee boards to find suggestions for cheap reliable chinese lanterns. We ordered them from  jadetime.com. The shipping price is pretty spendy ($11 via UPS), but we got 28 blue and white lanterns in three sizes and they arrived in two days.
Cost: $47

Napkin rolling!
Plates, Plasticware, Napkins
The leftover cloth from the bunting was cut into strips and used to tie the plastic ware/napkin sets together. We purchased the plates, plasticware and napkins in large quantity at Costco and only used about 1/2 of them.
Cost: $45
Time: 30 minutes


Total cost for party


Food and tip for our friend: $650
Beer (1/2 keg from local brewery)& Sangria: $148
Decor & Supplies: $168
Rentals (canopy, tables, chairs): free!


Total: $966 (or about $12/pp)

Thankfully, E's parents helped with some of the cost, and my parents and sister put almost everything together the day before and day of! In some ways I feel like we planned and executed a mini-wedding. I hope someone finds this helpful when planning their own graduation party or backyard barbecue in the future. I definitely loved hosting a big party, and I can't wait to find an occasion to do it again!

Tuesday, June 19, 2012

three.

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The first year was exhilarating.
The second year was maturing
This year, the third, is blossoming.

Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove.
Oh, no, it is an ever-fix├Ęd mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark
Whose worth's unknown, although its height be taken.

-William Shakespeare

E, I love you with all my heart - for who you are, and who you will be. Thank you for loving me the same, and better.

p.s. our two year photo shoot, and our second anniversary party in Italy!

Friday, June 15, 2012

Advice from a Seminary Wife

What's written below is taken from a speech I prepared for a seminary wife gathering at the end of the school year. It was also posted on E's school blog. I don't usually blog about this kind of stuff, so I thought this might give you a glimpse into what the school part of our life was like for the last three years. (It's hard to describe how intense it has been!) Thanks for reading. 

When my college boyfriend (now husband) E told me he was changing his graduate school plans from law school to seminary I was surprised, but surprisingly unresistant. I certainly had no idea what I was getting myself into. As I adjusted to the idea, I was curious about his desire to attend seminary when at the time he didn't necessarily feel a call to pastoral ministry. I will never forget what he shared about why he needed to study the Bible full-time for four years – it was because he felt it was the only thing he could do. I’m so thankful that in the four years he has spent here, God has made his calling stronger and clearer.


Seminary is an intense, immersive period of study for students. It commands more hours than most full-time jobs and is far more emotionally, spiritually, and mentally taxing. But for future ministry, a seminary education is an absolutely irreplaceable step in that process. Our time at seminary has been real life practice and preparation for gospel-centered service at home, at church, and in the world. It has not just been his time to study, it has also been my opportunity to learn from the faculty, and from a unique community of fellow students and their wives involved in the same journey.

I have learned more lessons than I thought I would from our time in the seminary community and I thought I’d share just a few in reflection.

1. His mind is engaged in study (his ‘work’) even when it doesn’t look like it.

When we first got married and E’s second year of seminary started, I was working hard at a new job and found it difficult to reconcile that his work sometimes involved him sprawled on the couch with books and coffee, while I made dinner and did laundry after being in the office all day. I got jealous when he spent time and money going out to lunch with a professor or fellow students, while I ate leftovers. While we quickly worked out a better way to split household chores, it took me until nearly the end of his time at seminary to respect and understand how much important education happens outside of the classroom and library.
 But the friendships he has made with the faculty and his fellow students are going to be the fuel, encouragement and edification for years of ministry to come. It is for this reason I would urge anyone considering seminary to attend a small seminary, on-campus. The experience has been indescribably valuable.

2. Listen first, ask questions next, offer criticism last and sparingly.

Seminary is different from many graduate programs in that it involves the student's family. I have learned to listen carefully as my husband explains a new concept from his classes, because I finally realized that his being able to communicate ideas to me allows him to gauge how well he understands the material. It is also my opportunity for theological education and edification and it has prepared me for a lifetime of learning from him both at home and in a future church.

From painful personal experience, I also learned the value of offering constructive criticism sparingly, carefully, and never the same day as the sermon is preached. Most guys feel drained and disappointed by their weaknesses immediately following their sermon, so encourage first and often by sharing what you learned, how you were fed, and especially, where you heard the Gospel clearly.

3. Encourage time away from studies to pursue hobbies.

E realized in his third year his need for an outlet away from seminary. Because I work at there, we both spend all day on campus. He learned he needed a break from studies and the seminary community to pursue other interests. For us, this meant he pursued a few hobbies on his own and a few we share (archery, backpacking, and gardening, to name a few).


4. Seminary involves sacrifices, but it is only temporary.

These next two, three, four years will test your faith in a sovereign God, your choice of spouse, your spouse’s choice of career (err, calling). It may test all the things you thought you knew about the Bible and church, and it will test your sanity.
You will make enormous sacrifices to attend seminary. You’ll wonder how many more books can possibly fit in your tiny apartment. Or why on earth he needs ALL of them. You will wonder why his professors are torturing him with so much work. There will be a temptation to resent other seminary couples who have more financial aid, better or cheaper housing, fewer semesters left in their program. There will be a temptation to give up when the going gets tough. Seminary life may not be comfortable, but it does not last.

There is no greater privilege than to spend these years getting the tools for a lifetime of studying the Bible. Which is why, looking back on my three years in San Diego as a seminary wife, I have deep gratitude to God and to [E's school] for keeping the Gospel at the center of all they do. It was all worth it.

Friday, June 8, 2012

Graduation celebrations: He/we did it!

To celebrate after E's graduation last weekend we planned a big backyard barbecue. I went with a blue and white theme since those are the colors of his school, and it was the easiest. Here is some of my inspiration gathered on Pinterest.

The main project I worked on was sewing a fabric bunting. It was too windy to use it how I had intended, so we strung it up to the canopy. I used the leftover fabric strips to tie the plasticware together.



Meanwhile my dad and E cleared and set up the backyard




My parents and sister especially did an amazing job helping get things together before the party. It was great to have them in town for a week. My dad attached a surface I made from another cable reel to the big stump in our backyard for a cocktail table - and we loved it so much we left it there!

First, though, was all the graduation festivities. E won an award for academic excellence. :-)




Below is Jeffrey, our 'roommate'. He's one of E's best friends from school and for the past two years we rented out an apartment attached to our garage to him. We have a lot of fun memories, and we're both really going to miss him. (He's the most complimentary dinner guest - always taking 2nd and 3rd helpings!)


Then it was time for the party! For food, we hired a friend of E's who is just a hobby chef and he did an amazing job on the spread. I almost feel like the menu deserves it's own blog post. Completely a relief not having one worry related to the food - although I wish I could have taken credit for it, with all the compliments we got.
I made sangria, and the adorable edible graduation caps with some help.



It was an open house for almost 100 people over six hours. I'm just going to let the pictures do the rest of the talking. I'll do a recap/budget breakdown in another post.



Appetizers: baba ghanoush with pita chips, roquefort dip with honey-marinated pears and crackers, and grilled pineapple salsa




our stump cable spool table in action



The main course was tri tip with chimichurri, and pulled pork with peach barbecue sauce. I cannot even describe to you how good it was. People kept nibbling all night and didn't leave us any leftovers!



The whole party made me appreciate our backyard in a way I don't usually (sometimes it's easy to see the weeds and lawn care instead of the vineyards, hills and greenery). We really have one of the best living situations I could have imagined and I know my heart will be broken when we have to move out of this house! 



It was really wonderful to celebrate with so many friends, family, and church members. Some friends stayed  late and hung out over a bonfire. It was the perfect farewell to E's four years of school.

Friday, June 1, 2012

nothingness, and a return

I was going to write a post yesterday, but then I thought good riddance, May - I'll just wait until June.

I don't know where May went, but it is gone, gone, gone. Family has returned home and festivities are over. I gained back all the weight I had just started to lose, and my refrigerator is still full of leftover stout caramel sauce, grilled pineapple salsa, and roquefort cheese dip with honey marinated pears, from our amazing graduation party spread. (more to come on this NOM)

I was too busy this month to use all those birthday coupons flooding my email inbox. I didn't even get to Starbucks for my annual birthday venti caramel frappuccino with extra EVERYTHING. Because you know, you have to get an entire day's worth of calories in the form of frozen sugar and dairy when it's free.

But it's nice to feel the [relative] freedom of summer, despite that I'm stuck in my windowless office on a gorgeous day, in a quiet office because half of my coworkers are on vacation. Summer is very slow at work, so I guess that means I'll be here a little more.
Happily, I'm not the only one who's just coming back around. After a six month hiatus, some blog friends have returned - go say hi to Couple of Crumbs!

Also, I'm going to take this opportunity to say HI to new followers! (and hope you say hi back). I am amazed I gained any readers with the complete lack of content going on lately, but welcome! I hope to be more interesting, for a while anyway. What's going on with you?
 

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