September 28, 2011

Anniversary Specials

Hi Friends,

First, let me please say thank you so much for continuing to follow along with us and comment on our journey. I love reading the comments and connecting with so many sweet friends, new and old, near and far, virtual and real life. :)  Seeing new friends pop up on the 'follower' list is so awesome. Not to mention reading your sweet words of support and encouragement. You all make my heart swell.

We had a sweet anniversary. I mentioned that we cooked a fabulous meal on Monday. Recipes featured below! :) I can be traditional in a lot of ways, contemporary in others. For anniversaries, we acknowledge the traditional themes of each year. Do you all do that, too?

Number one is paper. This boy is super romantic anyhow, but this gift just blew me away:
Okay, let me explain what he did. He HAND MADE paper flowers and created this beautiful centerpiece. I am obsessed with autumn anyhow, so it was a great start. But, it doesn't end there. On each flower, he wrote a special memory from our first year of marriage together. I was all tears when I saw it and just could not have imagined anything more perfect. It's back on our coffee table right now as part of our fall decor. :)

My gift paled in comparison! I created a "paper" collage of our wedding. I included all things paper: our invitation for wedding and showers, readings, special cards, napkins, etc. I framed it and it hangs in our bonus room. I love looking at the gallery of those sweet details we spent so much time planning!

Well, year number one was going to be hard to top. And, we've been through the RINGER since then. I was adamant about still celebrating every bit of the joy that is our union. No matter what else is happening in our lives, we are "us" and I'm so darn thankful for that.

Year number two is cotton. Cotton is harder to shop for! :) I knew I wanted to get hubby a shirt he had been eyeing and took the opportunity to buy this sweet little addition:

He found these little gems which I love, and would maybe like to have monogrammed soon!

But, he also bought this fun item for our kitchen:

I am always making just one cup of coffee in the morning, and love to switch it up based on season/mood/caffeine content/etc. We love it so far! Pumpkin Spice is currently my favorite, of course.

And, I may or may not have purchased these as my own "anniversary gift". Quick, funny, off topic story: A sweet friend treated me to a pedicure supporting cervical cancer, called teal toes. So precious and thoughtful, and pampering for a good cause? Yes, please. Well, let's just say that I {almost} ruined this pedicure because as soon as I got home today and saw these sitting on my doorstep I had to try them on right away. It is the little things, remember?

Well, I digress. This anniversary was really about celebrating our love, our triumphs, and our determination to survive and thrive through this life and the bumpy roads we walk on. I'm proud of us. It was a tough year. It was one of the highest highs and lowest lows I've ever experienced. I have moments where I think, "if we can get through this, we can get through anything" and then the other side of me comes back and says "count your blessings, girl." I don't know what lies ahead, and I don't know what challenges we have yet to face. It's just not my crystal ball to read. While I admittedly want to scream out "why me?!" at the top of my lungs at times, I have to remember that we are SO blessed in so many ways. I found my soul mate. We have the support of our amazing friends and family. We became pregnant and spent the most perfect days with our angels, of which I cherish with every ounce of my being. I do not lose sight of this. If anything, it is another gift from my boys, reminding us that life is so very precious and we need to appreciate and enjoy what we have in the present moment. Sweet boys. So wise.

Would I erase this year? No. Would I choose not to have experienced the pain and suffering? No. I feel as though I'm being unfolded now. I am a changed person because of having known my boys. Being any other way would say that I am not changed by their being. And that, my friends, is just impossible. Thank you, God, for choosing us to be their parents. We are blessed.

Let's switch gears. (This post is so random, I apologize!) We made a fabulous meal and I would love to share the recipes. We found them from Oprah's cookbook, and if it is good enough for Oprah, it's good enough for me. And, it is good!

Oprah's (and Margot and TJ's) Favorite Crab Cakes
1 egg
2 tsp. lemon juice
2/3 cup {light}  mayo
1/2 tsp. dry mustard
1/4 tsp. celery seed
2 tsp. old bay seasoning
1/4 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. pepper
1 pound jumbo lump crabmeat
1 tbsp. flat-leaf parsley
2 tbsp. bread crumbs, plus 1 1/2 cups for coating { I used panko}

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Whisk the egg in a bowl until blended. Stir in the lemon juice, worcestershire sauce, and mayo. In a separate bowl, mix the dry mustard, celery seed, Old Bay, salt and pepper. Add the dry ingredients to the wet ones.

Add parsley to the crabmeat. Gently mix with your fingers, taking care not to break too many of the jumbo lumps.

Gently fold the crab mixture into the wet mixture until blended. Form into 3-inch cakes and coat with remaining bread crumbs. Chill for one hour.

Place the cakes on a large greased cookie sheet and bake for 15 to 20 minutes, or until lightly browned on the outside, turning once with a metal spatula. Serve with cocktail sauces, tarter sauce or simply with a lemon.
*Credits to hubby for the lovely 'm' design here. I asked him to help me make the photo look pretty (haha) and he used the remoulade to create this:

Roasted Carrots, Pearl Onions and Wild Mushrooms with Tarragon
1 1/2 pounds peal onions
two (1-pound) bags of baby carrots {I used yellow and orange}
16 large thyme sprigs
2 tbsp. extra-virgin olive oil
1 1/4 tsp kosher salt
3/4 tsp freshly ground pepper
8 ounces wild mushrooms
2 tbsp. butter
1/2 cup chicken broth
2 tbsp. sherry vinegar
2 tbsp. coursely chopped fresh tarragon leaves

Bring a large pot of salted water to a boil; add onions. Blanch 2 minutesl drain in a colander and let cool. Trim stem and root ends, then slip onions out of their skins.

Preheat oven to 450 degrees. Place onions and carrots each on a separate baking sheet with sides. To each sheet, add 8 thyme sprigs, 1 tbsp. olive oil, 1/2 tsp. salt, and 1/4 tsp. pepper; toss until vegetables are coated evenly. Roast 25 minutes, tossing vegetables several times until lightly caramelized and slightly tender; cool.

In a large, deep skillet over high heat, melt butter and saute mushrooms until tender, about 4 minutes. Add roasted onions, carrots, broth and vinegar. Cook, tossing vegetables with a large spoon, until broth and vinegar have evaporated and vegetables are heated through, 3 to 4 minutes. Add tarragon and remaining 1/4 tsp. salt and 1/4 tsp. pepper; toss.

Cheers to year three being our best yet.



Annie said...

TJ knows how to give some gifts! LOVE your TB shoes!

ChelseaTheo said...

So many comments, here we go:

1) I CAN NOT believe TJ handmade the paper flower bouquet?! Heck, even if he bought it...ADORABLE.

2) Great idea of the framed scrapbook - genius, in fact! Whose foot is that? :)

3) Cotton is a tough one. I probably would have ended up with're much more creative with your monogrammed pillow!

4) Loving your TB shoes...possibly worth ruining a pedicure for :)

5) I'm glad you were able to cherish all of your blessings on this special day despite life's curveball. You're doing great <3

6) Happy Anniversary!

Jess said...

Wow, your hubby is one sweet guy! That paper flowers gift-amazing! And um those crabcakes? Amazing!

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