February 27, 2012

Quinlan Maternity Shoot

This weekend I had the pleasure of taking our next door neighbors, the Quinlan's, maternity photos. The weather was perfect and I learned a lot from my first ever maternity shoot. Their sweet baby boy, Chase, is due at the end of March. We can't wait to meet you, little guy!

February 20, 2012

Recipe: Coconut Red Curry Soup


I have been a huge fan of Asian cuisine, particularly Thai, for as long as I can remember. I love red curry (the local Thai place that we hit up puts pineapple in theirs!). One of my favorite soups is, Tom Kha Gai, which is a coconut milk based soup with lemon grass, cilantro, mushrooms and chili peppers.

It struck me that I could combine my two favorites... I present you with, Coconut Red Curry Soup. This recipe is the perfect combination of spicy, tangy, creamy deliciousness!

Recipe serves 6 (large dinner size portions):

(Disclaimer: I made this soup fairly spicy, if you are not a huge fan of spicy food, halve the red curry paste and don't add the sriracha sauce.)

Ingredients:

2 tablespoons vegetable oil
3 cans (24oz) coconut milk
2-3 cups (I did this to taste) chicken or vegetable stock (use vegetable if you would like this dish to be vegetarian friendly)
4 oz red curry paste (check the Asian section of your grocer)
2 zucchinis
2 red peppers
2 carrots
1 can baby corn
Fresh spinach (I probably added about 5 generous handfuls - fresh spinach shrinks down a lot when cooked)
2 cans bamboo shoots
1 tblsp garlic
2 tblsp fish sauce
3 tablespoons sriracha sauce
juice from 4 medium sized limes
Noodles of your choice I used "curly Japanese noodles" from the Asian section in my grocery store

Instructions:

Julienne (chop into thin strips) red peppers, zucchini and carrots. Meanwhile, in a saute pan on medium high heat add one tablespoon of vegetable oil. Add garlic and saute, careful not to burn. Toss in zucchini, red peppers and carrots. Season with salt and pepper (tip: if vegetables start to brown, lower heat - you are simply trying to cook vegetables until tender).

In a separate stock pot on medium high heat add one tblsp of vegetable oil. Add red curry paste and let simmer (while stirring) for 30 seconds. Whisk in the coconut milk and vegetable/chicken stock. Whisk in lime juice, fish sauce and sriracha sauce. Once broth reaches a boil, lower heat. When vegetables are tender, toss them in. Toss in bamboo shoots and quartered baby corn. Add spinach handful-by-handful. You will notice that it begins to shrink down right away. Follow instructions on the back of whichever noodles you choose and keep them separate from the soup.

Add noodles to a serving bowl and ladle soup on top. Garnish soup with cilantro and a lime wedge. I typically keep any soup that calls for noodles or pasta separated, so that the noodles do not overcook when reheating the soup.

I think that this soup would be great with the addition of chicken or shrimp (for all of you non vegetarians out there) but it is delicious as is.

Enjoy!

February 19, 2012

Best of Instagram Week 4

I'm linking up with Jenni from Story Of My Life again this weekend! Below are my favorite instagram snapshots from this week.

1.) Barnes & Noble Classics 2.) Penelope with her new bone 3.) Sushi chef 4.) Raja, my sister's cat 5.) Enjoying a ring pop with Addie 6.) Lacy taking a break 7.) Tea party with Addie 8.) Salad 9.) Sage growing in our kitchen window.

I hope that your weekend is going fabulously :)

February 16, 2012

Tea Time

Every Thursday I get the absolute joy of watching my almost 3-year-old niece, Adelaide. This child is wildly imaginative and has the best sense of humor I have ever seen in someone her size. Here is a peak inside (via my cell phone) of the tea party that we had this morning.

I dare you not to laugh at the video.


Care For Some Tea? from Brhea Koneman on Vimeo.

Every princess is allowed a diva moment once in a while right?

February 14, 2012

Our Love Story Chapter IV


If you have not already done so, you can click on Chapter 1, Chapter 2 and Chapter 3 to read the first parts of Our Love Story.

I won't leave you in suspense any longer, about six weeks after college graduation, Jake moved down to Charlotte. We lived with my parents while we looked for jobs and saved money to buy our first home.

That summer, Jake proposed to me in a very Jake-like fashion (sweet and understated). We had looked at rings together, so I had a feeling that it was coming - but did not expect him to propose when he did.

I grew up playing tennis and Jake and I had been playing a lot together that summer. During one of our matches, Jake lobbed a ball really high into the chain link fence that surrounded the court. When I went to retrieve the tennis ball, I noticed that there was writing on it. Scrawled in Sharpie read, "Bre, will you marry me?". Jake came over to my side of the court, got down on one knee and revealed the ring that I had really wanted. Clearly, I said, "Yes!". Later, Jake told me that he had hit that ball to me several times and I unknowingly hit it back to him.

That winter, we bought our first home together. The night after we closed, we were so excited that we slept on the floor of our empty house, even though we had a bed to sleep in about twenty minutes away at my parent's house.

For the next year, we were very busy settling into our new home and planning our wedding.

On April 16, 2011, after nearly twelve years of dating, living in eight different cities combined and spending four years long distance, Jake and I committed our lives to each other.

I would like to share a reading from our wedding that I feel sums up marriage perfectly,


"Why do people marry? Because we need a witness to our lives. There's billions of people on the planet. What does any one life really mean? But in a marriage, you're promising to care about everything. The good things, the bad things, the terrible things, the mundane things... All of it, all of the time, every day. You're saying, 'Your life will not go unnoticed because I will notice it. Your life will not go un-witnessed because I will be your witness'." 


(Full disclosure: This quote is from a kind of horrible movie, starring Richard Gere and J. Lo - but, when I heard it a few years back, it really resonated with me.)

Disclaimer: On this Valentine's Day, I am going to sing the praises of my husband, if this makes you want to vom, now would be a good time to click that little x up at the top of the screen ;)

Jake,

I appreciate you for understanding that when I am in the kitchen, all bets are off. Usually, by the time I am finished cooking it looks like a bomb went off. Thank you for always doing the dishes and accepting food as payment.

You are the kindest person that I know. I have looked far and wide, but have yet to meet a single person that does not instantly love you. There is not a mean bone in your body.

Thank you for making me feel like the greatest stand up comedian around. The fact that you constantly laugh to the point of tears at me does wonders for my self esteem.

I know that I can be a downer sometimes, I am working on it. You, on the other hand, never complain. You are appreciative for the smallest things and you  n e v e r  ask for anything. I admire you very much for this.

You are affectionate without being over-the-top with the PDA. You always kiss me before you leave for work in the morning (most of the time when I am still asleep) .

When I watch you with our nieces (and with Penelope), I get a glimpse of the father that you will be some day. This makes me very excited for our future.

You are supportive of all of my crazy ideas and big dreams.

You bring out the best in me.


I love you.

February 13, 2012

Best of Instagram Week 3

Just in case you were wondering why I have been MIA lately (not to be confused with the Sri Lankan super bowl halftime show bird flipper), I started a new job last week and have been settling in to a new schedule. So far so good!

I use this blog as a creative outlet and make a conscious effort not to beat myself up about when or how much I post. This place is an escape for me from day-to-day pressures and expectations - not something that I feel compelled to check off of a list. I blog when it works for me. I hope that you understand :) 

Now that we have that out of the way, I am linking up with Story of My Life again this week. I really enjoy using instagram on my iphone to capture little moments throughout the week. Below are some of my favorites.

1.) The beautiful Carolina sky from the entrance to our neighborhood 2.) Penelope laying in the sun 3.) We are slowly but surely building up our vinyl collection - one of my faves, Cat Stevens 4.) Pitiful little Penny taking a bath 5.) I treated myself to a long overdue manicure 6.) Fortune 7.) My silly niece, Adelaide 8.) Playing play-doh with Miss Addie 9.) My workday dog, Lacy (she is the sweetest!)


This weekend was full of filing taxes, piles of laundry and lots of organizing for me. Did you do anything exciting? I'd love to hear about it!

February 6, 2012

DIY: Frameable Valentines

I love Valentine's day. Sure, it is commercialized (like most other holidays), but I think it is great to have a day all about telling the people you love that you love them. I know that we should do this every day, but some of us need a little reminder. The chocolates and flowers don't hurt either.

This year, I wanted to create valentines that were unique and from-the-heart. Inspired by art that I saw from sarahandbendrix on etsy, I decided to make my valentines as something that the recipients could frame and display.

I chose to incorporate the Beatles, "All you Need is Love" lyrics since it holds a special place in my heart. It was the first song that Jake and I heard as a married couple (the recessional song at our ceremony).

With the help of my niece, Addie, and some really awesome Martha Stewart Craft supplies, (her heart paper punch and customizable rubber stamps - found at Michaels) the task was fairly simple.

I used card stock, and cut it to fit a 4x6 frame. I played around with the hearts and liked the mismatched look best (I used scrapbook paper). Simply punch them out, fold them in half and use a glue stick to glue down only one side of the heart.

 

My favorite part was using the leftover hearts as confetti!


Are you a Valentine's Day person? Why or why not?

February 5, 2012

Best of Instagram Week 2

Below is a weekly wrap up of the Instagrams that I took this week. Jenni, from Story of My Life, inspired me to use my iphone to capture specific moments when my camera isn't handy. I hope that you all are having a great weekend! I have lots of cooking and baking planned for the super bowl today. Who are you routing for?

From let to right: 1.) Bob Marley's Legend on vinyl 2.) A carousel at a nearby mall 3.) Dunkin' 4.) My first attempt at a cat eye 5.) Me, sporting my new red lipstick 6.) Roses from my husband 7.) My sister's great dane, Winston 8.) My sweet niece, Addie 9.) Addie's magic ring

February 3, 2012

Seize the Weekend Vol. 4

Seize the Weekend is a weekly feature on No Place Lyke Home. I have scoured the internet looking for 5 crafts/recipes/projects that are easy to tackle in a weekend. My hope is to inspire you (and myself) to roll up our sleeves and get creative.

1.) Wow your man with some delicious game day food. I look at the Super Bowl as a way to celebrate the end of football season (aka the return of my husband). Whatever your reason for watching the big game this weekend, Martha Stewart has compiled a list of awesome chicken wing, dip, and chili recipes that are poi-fect for Super Bowl Sunday. Recipes here.

via 

 2.) Make upcycled coasters out of old magazines. I found this idea on Apartment Therapy. For step-by-step details click here.


3.) Wear red lipstick, as seen on Drew Barrymore (one of my girl crushes) below. I have yet to try this beauty classic and vowed to be more adventurous with my hair and make up in 2012. Check out this Glamour article on how to find the perfect red for your skin tone.


4.) Speaking of spicing up your beauty routine, try a braided headband. I found this look on Pinterest, and tried it out on myself (the instagram below is of my final product). This style was super easy to create, even for the hairstyle challenged. To learn how to create your own click here.


5.) Make art on the cheap using shoebox lids. I know, I couldn't get over how genius this idea was either! I found these on Pinterest originally posted on Spunky Junky. Click here for more details.


 Please forgive me for the delayed post today, damn you Blogger auto post scheduler! ;)

Hope that you all have an adventurous weekend!

February 1, 2012

Recipe: Chicken Piccata

I've kind of been slacking in the kitchen for the past few days, so I thought I would make it up to my husband with a satisfying meal. I've always loved Chicken Piccata, but have never actually made it myself. I searched through cookbooks and online recipes, and eventually ended up combining a few and adding my own twist. I kept it simple, and let me tell you - it was delicious! Comforting, with bright and lively flavors. I served ours on a bed of arugula, which I think pairs nicely with the tartness of the lemon and saltiness of the capers. Enjoy!

 

 Ingredients

2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts butterflied, cut in half and pounded out until fairly thin
Salt and freshly ground black pepper to taste
Enough flour for dredging
8 tablespoons unsalted butter 
5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil 
3/4 cup fresh lemon juice  - Lemon zest from one lemon
1/2 cup (or a bit more if needed) chicken stock 
1/4 cup brined capers (rinsed)
1/3 cup fresh parsley (chopped)

Instructions: 

It is important to start with very thin chicken breast. To accomplish this, it helps to both butterfly the chicken and pound it out (I usually put mine on a cutting board, stretch plastic wrap to fully cover the chicken and use a rolling pin to pound it a couple of times to become thinner). Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge (coat both sides of) chicken in flour and shake of excess. In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter with 5 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to lightly sizzle (careful not to get the oil to the point of smoking), add chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is bowne, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate.
 
Add the lemon juice, chicken stock, remaining olive oil and capers (remember to rinse them first!) directly to the pan that the chicken was cooked in (do not wash out or rinse pan in between). This will allow you to deglaze the pan, scraping up bits from the pan for extra flavor. Also, the flour left in the pan from the chicken helps to thicken the sauce. Add the remaining butter. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Bring to a boil, whisking regularly - careful not to burn. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.
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