Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Decisions, Decisions

I think my favorite thing about my life right now is that the possibilities seem endless. 
However, I feel like while I love the direction I'm headed in some aspects of my life (my relationships and my job), in others I'm a little bit confused about where certain decisions will take me further down the road. 

I have been blessed enough to be surrounded by encouraging and inspiring men and women who listen to my dilemmas and offer superb advice--even if they contradict one another. The trouble is no matter what they suggest, they all wrap up with (roughly) the same thing, "At the end, of the day you need to do what makes you happy."

What if I know what makes me happy now, but am not sure if I will like where I end up because of it? I often find my heart at war with itself, one half raging on for what I know is more practical and I'm fairly certain would make me happy and the other crying out for what appears to be risky, but I know would make me truly happy--but only if it worked out. 

If only we knew with certainty how different decisions would impact our futures... 
I guess the risks wouldn't be worth it if we always knew how each of them would turn out though. 

In the mean time, I'll continue to listen to advice, pray and consider my options, never forgetting:

"It's never too late to be what you always may have been."
-George Eliot

I hope if you're going though a season of tough decision making that this quote brings you comfort as well!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Homemade Ravioli

I've been so busy lately I haven't been able to cook, but I cleared some time on Monday night and decided to do something special: I made ravioli from scratch!

Here's final product:

Want to see how I did it?
Keep reading on!

First start with the filling. I choose to do two types--cheese and mushroom/spinach.

For the filling you need:

1 small container of ricotta
3 low fat string cheese mozzarella sticks (chopped fine)
1/4 cup of parmesan cheese
1 egg
2 garlic cloves FINELY chopped
A dash of salt
A dash of pepper

After mixing it all together, separate 1/3 of the mixture into a separate bowl.

To the smaller mixture, add:
1 cup of spinach (I used fresh, but I think cooking it would be better)
About 1 cup of cremini mushrooms finely chopped

Now, for the actual pasta.
Here's the deal, it's REALLY rough at first, but you need to be patient and keep working the dough until it's smooth.

To make it, combine:
2 1/2 cups of flour 
2 eggs
Olive oil as needed (not very much)

Mix with your hands for best results.

THEN comes my favorite part:

You need a machine to roll the pasta into thin strips.
I use a manual pasta roller that has attachments for spaghetti and linguine, but you can get attachments for your Kitchen Aid or other machines.

This is important: Roll the dough slowly and start on the thickest rolling setting, slowly working the dough thinner and thinner until it's at the desired thickness. 

Then spoon filling onto pasta sheets, leaving about two three inches between the fillings.

Then, simply fold the dough over the top to cover, cut with a knife to trim to the desired size and use a fork to press the top layer of pasta into the bottom one to ensure the filling doesn't come out during cooking.

Cook for a few minutes until they float to the top and let cook one minute longer.
Then enjoy!!

This project took me about two and a half hours, but it was SO worth it!
Let me know if you try it out!

Thursday, May 19, 2011

My Celebrity BFFs

When I was a little girl, my mom used to watch Oprah and tell me that Oprah was her favorite pretend girlfriend.  I always giggled, my mom is and always has been hilarious, but now that I'm older, I've totally understand what she means--sometimes I see a celebrity on TV or read about him/her and catch myself thinking "Umm, can we just be best friends? Because I know we would be if we met."

This is my collection of Celebrity BFFs:
Enough said.

Rory and Lorilie Gilmore
Okay, okay, I realize their real names are Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel AND I realize that they may be totally different from their characters in real life, but let's not forget that we're pretending anyway... :)

Donald Miller
Author of Blue Like Jazz, A Million Miles in a Thousand Years and several other very inspiring book on Christian spirituality. Miller takes a look at the line between loving your neighbor and holding to Biblical theology and while I don't always agree with every stroke of his pen, I do love that he talks about it and in such an open and honest way. I would LOVE to just get coffee and hang out with him and his dog, Lucy. 
(Yes, I met him. I didn't want to freak him out though so I just thanked him for his work and left him with some encouragement. That way, next time he sees me, he'll be like, "Hey! You're that girl from Nashville that was so nice to me!" I always have a plan, my friends, always.)

Ina Garten
Food Network Celebrity Chef and author of the Barefoot Contessa cookbooks.
Not only did she teach me how to make pesto at the tender age of thirteen, she also hangs out with me when I have lunch in my apartment alone. (Barefoot Contessa, Food Network, 12 to 1 Central time. Check it out!) If I had Tivo, we'd hang more often. 
But seriously, I'd love to be invited to her Hampton's house for dinner and sit with her and her husband, Jeffery, over a nice glass of wine and garden roasted vegetables... I'm convinced we'd have crème brûlée for dessert.

Carie Underwood, Kelli Pickler and Miranda Lambert
This would be my Friday/Saturday night crew. I think these girls are so talented and would be SO much fun.

I tried to stick to living people, but Jane Austen and C.S. Lewis would absolutely be included in this group!

Who would your celebrity BFF be?

Sunday, May 15, 2011

My Little Sister Graduated!

My sweet little sister, Jennifer, graduated yesterday!!

During the ceremony Vince Gill was given an Honorary Doctorate of Humanities. He has been a big advocate of our basketball team for years and you can often find him working out in out gym.

I'm so proud of her! She graduated a whole year EARLY!

That night we went to one of her favorite restaurants, PM, and calamari for the first time:

I was pretty surprised how much I liked it!

Hope you had a good weekend too!

-Nicole Jeannette

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

New Happy List

Here's a few things that have made me REALLY happy lately:
  • Finishing one very important essay
  • Finally getting a phone that works
  • Drinking a cup of tea with no sugar and enjoying it
  • Puppy kisses
  • Sleeping in on Saturdays
  • Mango salsa
  • Lunch with friends and boyfriend during the workweek
  • Getting organized
  • Having time to read
  • Singing harmonies with my sister
  • My sweet boyfriend
  • All of this sunshine
  • The Contributor 
Today was a stressful day at work... to say the least.
There was a bomb threat at our school that turned out to be fake, but sweeping a building for a bomb is probably the scariest thing I've done... ever.
 Good is good, my friends, and I'm so thankful for the little blessings like these things on my happy list.

What's on your list?

    Sunday, May 8, 2011

    A Very Artsy Weekend

    This weekend in Nashville there were several really fun arts-related events going on!

    Not to mention music, friends and fair food--aka too greasy to enjoy food.

    Even though the food was kind of gross, we had a really great time together and taking a walk around the lake afterward.

    Then later last night we went to our first art crawl with some close friends:

    It's been a lovely weekend and I hope yours has been great as well!

    Happy Mother's Day to all of the moms out there!
    You have the most important job in the world!

    Friday, May 6, 2011

    Happy Weekend

    Hurray for Friday!
    It's been a busy week over here and I'm ready for the weekend!

    I just started The Good Earth and I'm hoping to spend some time reading it out in the sunshine.

    I'm also hoping to get some good running time in... hope being the operative word. Spring is never kind to my asthma, but I'm bound and determined to get fit.

    And, barring anything crazy, I'm FINALLY getting an iPhone tonight! Waahoooooo!

    Have a lovely weekend!

    Wednesday, May 4, 2011

    DIY Office Art

    So, I have a nice big office with a window, a shelf, a couch and I love it... except for the fact that it's all white and super boring.

    So, this is phase one is decorating:

    Paper Cranes

    I found a bunch of origami cranes for $1 per box (about 40 sheets) and I bought 2.

    I learned how to fold them by watching this:

    (This guy is intense!)

    And I got a few of these guys:

    As you can see, I also bought some translucent thread ($2.50) and found a container of various sizes of quilting needles.

    String each crane through the top of the midsection and tie the knot at the ends like so:

    Once you've done several of these, make sure to do them at various lenghts so your cranes won't all be in a straight line.

    Using scotch tape, place a small piece of tape at the knot and lightly push up the ceiling tile and tape on the top (unseen) part of the frame. Pull ceiling tile back down and rinse and repeat!

    Here's what just a few look like:

    Since I took this picture, I've added several more and extended them out a bit, but play with it and I bet you'll love watching the boring corners in you office or home take flight (bahahaha, you know you laughed.)

    Total cost: $4.50

    Tuesday, May 3, 2011


    So, I joined the club...
    I used to think they were ugly, but they're WAY more comfortable than flip flops and they've made their way into my heart. 

    Happy Tuesday!

    Sunday, May 1, 2011

    My Favorite Royal Wedding Pictures

    Even I am at the point where I'm ready to move on from all of the Royal Wedding coverage, but I had to do this one last post.

    I think these pictures are so beautiful!

    I think this is my favorite picture of the sisters

    This is my favorite one of the couple (and her dad!)

    Whoever chose those dresses did a WONDERFUL job!

    They're a little bit out of order, but you get the idea.

    I know there were a lot of Negative Nellys out there who talked about what a waste this was or how stupid people care about it. To that I say, when do we EVER get to celebrate in two people making a covenant before God with people all around the world? The news is filled with war, death and deceit and I, for one, was happy to have a little break and wish the happy couple well.

    Hope you have a great Monday!