Thursday, April 24, 2014

Granola ~ Sweet Tooth

As much as I love every breakfast food ever created, I am not one to make my own breakfast every morning. So lately I've been trying to make one thing every week or so that I can grab every morning as I head up to the office.

I made apple muffins for a few weeks and then I finally got my hands on my friends granola recipe. And it's oh-so-yummy.

1 stick butter
1/2 cup honey
4 cups rolled (old fashioned) oats
3 toppings - 1/2 cup each (almonds, assorted nuts, unsweetened coconut, raisins, dried cranberries or other fruit. If you want to use chocolate chips, I'd mix them in at the very end.)
Spices (cinnamon, nutmeg, allspice, vanilla, a little brown sugar, etc)

Preheat oven to 400. Combine dry ingredients and make a well in the middle. Melt butter and honey on the stove. Mix in spices and let it reach a quick boil. Pour butter mixture into dry ingredients and mix to coat.

Spread on a baking sheet and bake at 400 for 10-15 minutes. (I stop to stir the granola around on the sheet after 8 minutes, then after 4, and then bake for a final 3 minutes.) Remove from oven and allow to cool before breaking up to store.

It's a really flexible recipe, so you can put in all your favorites or make it a little differently every time.

I think the longest we have kept any so far is a week and a half in an airtight container. But I doubt it will last long enough to get stale.

I eat it with yogurt and sometimes with a spoonful of nutella. I also want to try it as a crumb topping to some baked apples.

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Marissa & Adrian ~ Sneak Peek

I love shooting engagement sessions in Virginia Beach. This town is so versatile and there's something for everybody. Marissa & Adrian wanted their engagement portraits to feel very springy, so we found the perfect little garden spot for their shoot!

This is just a sweet little peek at the fun we had on Monday night! Much more to come next week!

And don't be shy... leave this beautiful couple some love in the comments!

Monday, April 21, 2014

Sunshine & Raindrops - Easter Weekend

Easter this year was simple. Ryan and I had a blast at a fun Easter themed party last weekend, so this weekend we could focus on Jesus.

And that all started with a Passover Seder on Friday night. My friend Kerry wrote a great article explaining the significance of the Seder meal to the Christian, and in it, she says that after having a Seder meal "suddenly Easter Sunday was no longer a church-centered event."

I think one of the reasons I have such a hard time staying focused on the real meaning of holidays like Easter is because all of the traditions, decorations, and fun activities overwhelms the one church service focused on it.

But this weekend was completely different. There was much less "pretty wrapping" and much more focus. Jesus is not someone we worship just at church. We worship Him at home too and we did that through the Seder.

As much as I love jelly beans and chocolate bunnies, it was really nice to keep things simple and focused this year. I'm already thinking about next year's Seder and how I can take this mentality throughout the year and cut through some of the (literal) pretty wrapping surrounding Christmas.

I could go on, but I'll just say, if you have the opportunity to attend a Messianic Seder next Easter, do it!

Other Life Tidbits:
- The big family Easter picnic takes place outside every year and it was so windy we had to hang tarps up to block off a corner of the picnic shelter. I'm voting for warmer weather next year!

- Turning off work on the weekends is still a bit challenging for me. Facebook is at least 50% business for  me (if not more), so I almost have to ignore it on the weekends if I want to go completely work-free.

- It often feels like we're running in 5 different directions with house projects but we were able to get a bit of furniture painting done this weekend. Hopefully the top half of our china cabinet will finally be finished soon!

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Feature: Jordan & Paige's 20s Themed Wedding on DIY Bride

It's always a treat to have a wedding featured on a wedding blog! I got the acceptance email for this beautiful DIY wedding over 2 months ago, so you can imagine that there was a lot of page refreshing yesterday waiting for this little beauty to pop up.

I'm so excited to have all of Paige's hard work featured on DIY Bride. She put so much time and effort into every little detail, from the brooch bouquet to the crossword puzzle on the back of the ceremony program. And Stephanie deserves a little shout out as well, for rocking her maid of honor duties and then baking up a yummy 3 tier red velvet and funfetti wedding cake.

I loved all the personal touches that Paige and Jordan included in their Historic Obici House wedding. Head over to DIY Bride to see them!

Monday, April 14, 2014

Sunshine & Raindrops - Food, Fashion, Flowers, & Festivities!

Our little yellow house has been getting a little bit of love lately. We planted some flowers and a couple of rose bushes in the front flower bed and we're gearing up to start a little garden in the backyard. I'm so excited for fresh (and free!) produce!

What better way to welcome spring than with an epic Easter party. I can always count on Chelsea to throw the best themed parties and her adorable carrot and egg themed spread did not disappoint!

Ryan and I don't have the best luck with cars. Fortunately the two that we have right now are fairly new and very reliable. But that was not the case with our old car. It seems that any time we have any car-related appointment, it takes absolutely forever. Choosing a Saturday for car maintenance did not help, and that certainly won't happen again.

In spite of a few "raindrops" this weekend, I've been overwhelmed with feelings of how blessed we are. Saturday morning brunch with the ladies from my Sunday School class is one of my favorite times of the whole month. There's nothing better than surrounding yourself with people who love you and who love Jesus.

Homemade goodies are the best. Over the past two weeks I've made homemade chicken stock, pizza dough, bread, granola, granola bars, and zucchini bread. And while a couple things need a few kinks worked out, I'm happy to have more nutritious versions of the foods we love to eat. And going crazy in the kitchen is a nice way to force myself to take at least one day off.

I've been craving pad thai and sushi lately. Move over, Italian food. I have found a new love. We're hoping to find a cheaper Thai restaurant so we can enjoy it more often. And it's definitely time for another sushi date night.

If you've been following along on Instagram (@caitlingerresphoto), you've seen that I've been asking a lot of fashion advice lately. I'm testing out a couple of new trends, like cropped pants and patterned pants. I usually jump on the trend towards the end, so we'll see how long I can pull of these looks without looking "so 2012."

Last week, I added another CGP bride to the 2014 calendar. I'd love to get 3 more brides for this year, and I'm excited to start filling up by 2015 calendar!

And probably the best news ever... tax season is over on Tuesday and I get my husband back!
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