A Brunch Sandwich: Ham, Egg & Gruyere on Toast

Happy Wednesday, All!

I’m coming off of two consecutive snow days from school and absolutely loving it!  It’s been nice to work from home for the past few days; sipping coffee in my pj’s on the couch and grading the seemingly endless pile of exams in front of me is absolutely delightful.  Lucy has been keeping my feet warm while I work.

I’ve also had some time to experiment in the kitchen!  I’ve had to be creative because I can’t get to the grocery store because of the snow.  This recipe was dreamed up because it was what I had in the pantry.  I hope you like it!

A Brunch Sandwich: Ham, Egg & Gruyere on Toast

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Ingredients:

  • 1 egg
  • 2 slices thinly sliced deli ham (I used Trader Joe’s Rosemary Ham)
  • thinly sliced Gruyère cheese (Swiss or Gouda would work, too!)
  • 2 pieces of bread, toasted (I used multigrain.)
  • 1 tbsp. mayonnaise (more or less, to taste)
  • 1 tbsp. whole grain mustard
  • salt + pepper, to taste

1. Toast two pieces of bread.

2. Heat frying pan over medium-high heat.  Lightly coat a frying pan with non-stick spray (butter, margarine or olive oil work, too).  Crack egg into pan and add salt + pepper to taste.  When bottom of egg is solid, break yolk.  Fry 2-3 minutes until ready to flip.

3. Flip egg.  Add ham to pan (alongside the egg).  Place cheese on top of egg.  When ham is hot, place on top of cheese to melt.  Let egg cook until cheese is melted and yolk is firm (but not dry).

4.  While egg, ham and cheese are frying, spread mayonnaise on one side of bread, then spread mustard on top of mayo.  Transfer egg, ham and cheese to plain bread, cover with the mayo and mustard slice.

Ngorongoro Crater // Favorite Photographs

I returned from Tanzania 5 months ago and I still think about my time there every day.  As part of the travel series of the blog, I plan do document my travels, (past and future) through words and photographs.  I already blogged about my travels to Africa here, here, here and here, so I won’t bore you with more details.  But, I recently went through my photos on my new computer (yay!) and made some small edits.  That’s the best part of digital photos, isn’t it?  That you can relive the best moments in your life over and over again.  Sometimes I go searching for one photo and get caught up going through the whole album and looking at all of them.  Anyway, without further ado, here are my 10 favorite photos from the safari I went on to the Ngorongoro Crater.  Enjoy!

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::::2014::::

Happy 2014 friends!

I’ve never been a huge fan of the New Year hype.  I would much prefer to snuggle on the couch with a glass of wine and go to bed promptly at 12:01am.  And that’s just what I did (sort of).  Dan and I went to a swanky restaurant for dinner (Butcher and Singer), thanks to a gift card from Christmas.  We decided late that we were going to go out to eat and most of the places we called were booked for the whole night, but we got lucky and got a table without any wait.  Pretty lucky.  We ordered fancy cocktails, fried oysters, steaks for dinner and Baked Alaska for dessert.  We ended up bringing home a good amount of food, which was our brunch AND dinner the next day.  We had planned to meet up with some friends, but had to drop the food off first (duh!).  When we got home the couch was calling our name, so we sat down and never got back up.

I can’t remember if I’ve ever made any resolutions before, but I’m going to go for it this year.  I’m not going to put any numbers or be too specific, because I don’t want to feel too bogged down or add any stress to my life, ’cause I’ve got plenty of that already!

So, without further ado, here are my goals for this year:

1. Read more.

I LOVE reading.  Love, love, love.  It’s actually a problem sometimes.  When I actually pick up a book, I can’t  put it down.  I don’t get out of my pajamas, don’t shower, or eat.  It’s bad.  So, maybe if I read more, I’ll actually be able to function like a normal human.  I’m already off to a good start; I read Gone Girl last week (in two days) and loved it.  Scary and crazy, but good.  I’m currently on book 2 – The First Phone Call from Heaven by Mitch Albom.  Has anyone read it yet?  More book recommendations are welcome!

2. Practice more yoga.

I LOVE yoga.  It makes me feel good.  It makes me feel happy.  It makes me feel strong.  But the thing is, I’m SO tired when I come home from work that I can’t get my bum out the door.  But I need to because it’s good for me.

3. Drink more water.

When I was marathon training, I drank lots of water because I had to.  But now that I’m no longer running crazy miles each week, I forget to drink water and I feel crappy.  Probably why I feel so tired at the end of the day (see goal 2).

4. Learn to knit.

I have always wanted to knit.  I love hats and scarves and mittens and I want to make my own!  My Nana also was a beautiful knitter and she was a pretty special lady, and I wish I had more patience when she tried to teach me.  So, here I go Nana.  This is it.  I WLL LEARN! (I’m off to a good start, so far…I think I have the basic stitch down and purling is up next!)

5. Use my summer vacation to relax.

I have never ever, in six years of teaching taken a summer off and done things that I want to do.  I come back to school tired and burned out and I refuse to let myself do it again.  Don’t get me wrong – I’ve done some really valuable and enriching things in the summers, but I need one to just relax and to be.  To travel and to be.  And, to soak up the sun.

Home sweet home

Vacation.  Sweet, sweet vacation. How I adore you.

I needed this.  Time away from work to visit family and friends and mostly, to be.  Dan and I spent last week traveling to New York and Massachusetts and now we’re back home in Philadelphia.  And as lovely and wonderful as it was to visit loved ones, there is nothing better than sleeping in our own bed.  I think Lucy is glad to be home, too.

I’ve been unpacking and organizing all of our Christmas gifts and settling in.  Tomorrow, I will start to chip away at my to-do list.  I can’t hardly wait to start crossing things off.  It feels so good, right?!  I have also left some time for me: knitting, reading, catching up on TV shows, yoga, blogging.

I’ll leave you with my favorite picture from last week’s trip to Lake George, New York.  That background looks fake.  But it’s not.  It’s real life.  How lucky I am to know that place and call it my home!

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Christmas tree picking

Happy weekend, friends!

Yesterday was the first day of winter vacation and I have been thoroughly enjoying every minute so far!  Yesterday, I ran to Target at the end of the school day to pick up some last-minute Christmas items and treated myself to a bag of peanut butter m + ms.  Then, I continued the celebration with a Chipotle lunch (man, those burrito bowls are big!).  When I got home, I promptly put my pjs on and took a nap with Lucy…too much Chipotle will do that.  When we woke up, we went to the dog park.  Usually, Lucy is pretty antisocial when it comes to playing with other dogs at the park (she prefers humans because she thinks she is one), but yesterday she made friends with another yellow lab, Winston.  Progress!

Anywho. Back to the original post!

A few weeks ago Dan and I went to visit his sister and to cut down our very first Christmas tree together!  We brought Lucy, planning to take some photos for our Christmas card and to get her out of the city for a bit.  I did a bit of research and made some phone calls beforehand to be sure we could have her on the farm.  We ended up at Beck’s and it was a good choice.  Not only was the weather spectacular, the views were incredible, they had an enormous amount of beautiful trees to choose from, and not to mention, they took good care of their customers, helping to package and load trees on to cars and Santa handed out candy canes to the little ones and dog treats to the furry ones.

Before we left we took measurements to make sure we didn’t get a tree that was too big.  We don’t have a ton of space to work with in our cozy apartment.  We decided on a Fraser fir when we got there for the shape and traditional Christmas scent.  We walked around for a while and finally decided on the perfect tree.  It was the right size and the most perfectly shaped tree I had ever seen!

I will spare you the details, but in the process of cutting down our perfect little tree, Lucy got excited, pulled Dan’s sister to the ground and we ended up in the ER for the remainder of the afternoon.  Lucy is so unaware of how big and powerful she is!  We ended up getting our tree before leaving and Dan’s sister was such a good sport about the whole situation.  I don’t know if I would have been as calm and understanding as she was.  So sorry, M!

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Below is the finished product.  Felt garland is apparently a hot item this year.  I tried to order it at West Elm, but they were sold out, as was Paper Source.  I bought a small strand of garland from Crate + Barrel which was made in Mexico at a women’s co-op out of dyed straw as a back up.  I was still set on finding felt garland, and stumbled upon it at Anthropologie in Rittenhouse Square.  I even tried to DIY it, but I couldn’t find felt balls anywhere.  So, I settled for the pre-made stuff.  And, I think it looks pretty darn cute with the Crate + Barrel strand and the rest of our ornaments.  The skirt is just a  piece of red sparkle burlap I found at Michael’s wrapped around the base of the tree.  Maybe next year I’ll plan ahead and make my own felt garland.

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 In the meantime though, I did DIY some sparkle garland, which I absolutely LOVE.  I found a tutorial online tutorial at Dear Friend Blog.  The only difference was that I glittered both sides of the card stock and made smaller circles.  Pretty, no?

Despite the chaos, cutting down our own Christmas tree was lots of fun and I was glad to be able to share the day with Dan and his sister.  I think it will be an annual tradition for us.  I think we’ll even invite Lucy next year, but make sure to keep her on a short leash–HA.  Merry Christmas!

 

Thanksgiving in Philadelphia

Happy Monday! Here is a late Thanksgiving recap.

For the first time, I hosted Thanksgiving at my house in Philadelphia.  Dan had to work that night, so rather than spending the holiday alone, we decided to have our families come to us.  My mom, brother, Dan’s sister, Dan and I all packed into our tiny little apartment!

We sat at our leaf table, which was small for 5 people, but worked out just fine.  We set up the food on the peninsula in the kitchen and we all grabbed our food there and went back to the table to eat.  The table decorations were pretty simple; most items I already had (the pumpkins, candles & holders, napkins and table runner.

I bought the place tags at Target.  I had been looking for something to put names on and I just so happened to be walking by the sale section where the sales clerk was in the process of putting them on clearance.  Score!

The flowers were from Trader Joe’s and lasted for 3 weeks.  That’s a long time, people!

I had big plans to pick up some new chairs from an antique store.  I love nothing more than old furniture and un-matching dining room chairs.  Unfortunately our apt. is jam packed and we don’t have anywhere to store more furniture, so we stumbled upon the red folding chairs at Target for 11ish dollars each.  They’re actually pretty cute and I have some DIY ideas up my sleeve for these babies in the future (seat cushions, painted design, ?!?)

Here’s the table all set up!

The recipes I used are listed below (Thank you Martha Stewart, for not making my first Thanksgiving as a hostess a complete cooking disaster!)

Herb-Roasted Turkey

Mushroom and Walnut Stuffing

Scalloped Potatoes
Trader Joe’s Green Bean Casserole (recipe on side of mushroom soup box)

Trader Joe’s Premade pumpkin pie

Butternut Squash:

1. Cut squash in half, remove seeds and strings.

2. Add butter (the more the better!)  I use a couple tablespoons for each half.

3. Add brown sugar (2 tablespoons-ish).  You can also use maple syrup.

4. Sprinkle with salt + pepper

5. Roast at 425 degrees until you can put a fork through the squash

6. Enjoy!

I put my mom, brother and Dan to work and all the food came out on time and edible.  I would do a couple of things a bit differently next time so that the food would be even better, but over all everything was a success (except when I cut off the tip of my thumb.  Note: Ikea knives are NOT good knives.  oops!).