Recipe-less Turkey Tortilla Soup

It’s true, I love to cook, but I can’t say soup has ever been my forte. It’s never really been huge in my family either. I mean, my Memaw makes a mean chicken and dumplings and my mom will occasionally make something like tortilla soup (well, twice I think), but soup in general is not something that filled my childhood (except for Ramen). But it’s funny I say that considering this will be my second soup post since I’ve started writing.
Sunday night I did attempt to make soup – recipe-less. As much as I love trying new recipes, following a recipe step-by-step irritates me and sometimes makes dinner (or dessert) not quite as delicious. So I winged it.
I started with all the vegetables in my fridge that were nearing their death, some additional canned and fresh veggies, chicken stock, and a bag of frozen Cajun fried turkey from Thanksgiving that desperately needed to be used. Actually old food really freaks me out, but I made Jeff smell and taste the turkey and he said it was still delicious. So we used it.

Pinterest Yummy Recipes Challenge #2: Creamy Avocado Risotto

Last week I loaded up on 50 cent avocados from Sunflower Market and since they really needed to be used, I decided to tackle the Creamy Avocado Barley Risotto recipe from my Pinterest Yummy Recipes board. The recipe actually called for pearled barley, but since I didn't feel like going to the store, I winged a rendition with short grain brown rice.

To be honest, I wasn't too excited to make the recipe. 1 - For the fact that the blogger who wrote it added a disclaimer that it might not actually taste great since she made it when she was sick. 2 - For the fact that it didn't really sound amazing. BUT I promised myself I would attempt all my Pinterest recipes (I mean I did pin it for a reason in the first place), so attempt I did.

Luckily the recipe was pretty easy to make. Basically I blended together avocado, lemon juice, olive oil, and seasonings and then mixed the mixture in with the cooked rice.

A Willingham Wedding Road Trip: Part 2 - Buck Wild at Buc-ee's

 Photo from:
Photo from:

Like many of you, I've passed these billboards on IH 45 dozens of times. I've even passed the physical store many of times, and even though I find the advertising hundreds of miles away quite clever, I've never actually stopped in the store(s). If someone asked me if I knew what Buc-ee's was though, you better believe the answer would be "yes."

A Willingham Wedding Road Trip: Part 1 - The Actual Wedding

On Saturday Jeff and I teamed up with the wonderful Kelly Long and embarked on a mini road trip to Lake Jackson, Texas to see one of my best high school friends, Chase Willingham, get married. I had much anticipation for the trip for several reasons: because Chase is one of my favorites and I love his new wife, because I was excited for the mini reunion with great friends, and because it was such a relief to be a wedding attendee and not the bride. It sounds bad, but enjoying a wedding that you did not have to plan for months really is nice. I'm sure Robyn will agree moving forward.

Speaking of, Robyn Caldwell Willingham is one of the sweetest, most beautiful girls I have ever met. Not to mention that she looked stunning on her big day. Chase could not have met a more perfect match. Oh, and did I mention that I was there for some of the initial kindling of their relationship?

Color Makes the World Go Round

It's been a busy week at the Germenis household trying to squeeze in renovation work every night after  work. Since Monday we have successfully:

Patched holes and textured,

Removed the massive mirror that was glued to our wall without breaking it
(thanks to knowledge from the DIY Network and Google),
And painted baseboards.

Jeff's Birthday and a Belly Full of Pie

Jeff's birthday was on January 2nd and I was feeling like Martha Stewart. Even though I asked him what kind of birthday cake he wanted, I really had already made up my mind that I was going to make my first ever apple pie. I figured if I paired it with vanilla bean ice cream then it would be a mega hit for Jeff.

Well rather than googling a sub-par pie recipe, I decided to look one up in one of Jeff's mom's Southern Living magazines. The first one I came to was a blackberry-apple pie. Sounded like a winner to me.

I was so antsy to start baking that as soon as Jeff's dad came back from HEB I began my attack. Thank goodness I did because it took me HOURS to make to make two pies. Holy heck, no wonder people buy dessert from the frozen section.

I first had to core, peel and slice about 24 pounds of apples. Luckily Leslie had a nifty Pampered Chef gadget to help (but that's an entirely different subject for an entirely different post).

The Germenises Meet Renovation Realities

Saturday marked day #1 of Jeff and I's official renovation realities. Since he had today off for MLK, I took off as well so we could embark on a 3-day bedroom facelift. Current status? EXHAUSTED.

At first we thought we'd start our house makeover in the living room since it is our hangout spot. But considering the living room would be one of our biggest projects, Jeff thought we should start with the office so we could have at least one complete room. "Just the office" then turned into "the office and the spare bedroom." And then "just the office and spare bedroom" turned into "all 3 bedrooms." Our tackling of the floor and rental of a concrete grinder was a major factor in the decision to do all the rooms at once.

So basically our Saturday started out like this:

Pinterest Yummy Recipes Challenge #1: Homemade Mushroom Soup

Phew, 2012 has already been quite a year. Since 2011 was so crazy with Jeff and I both starting the year with new jobs, planning the wedding, moving in and living with mom, getting married, buying and moving into our first house, and then hustling through the holidays, I was definitely looking forward to January 1st. And Now since January 1st I seemed to have taken on life full force: back to the gym 3 times a week, stripping and updating our house, crunch time at work, and endless amounts of recipes. Considering it took me 2-3 weeks to unpack at set up my kitchen, I've been soaking up every minute of being it. In the past two weeks I've taken on a blackberry/apple pie, banana bread, cream cheese kolaches, white wine/spinach/feta/mushroom linguine with Parmesan chicken, and as of last night, peanut crusted buffalo chicken with..... homemade mushroom soup!

Which leads me to my next train of thought - My Pinterest Recipe Challenge.

People love Pinterest for all kinds of reasons, but one of my favorite reasons is the recipes. My savory recipe board is none other than YUMMY RECIPES. After months of watching my board fill up with untouched recipes, a few weeks ago I decided to challenge myself to actually cook them. I printed off my pins (at the time... because of course I have more now) and posted them on my fridge as a reminder. First recipe of attack: Homemade mushroom soup.

A Warm Welcome... with Flower Magnets

Well, it's official, my first blog post! I have tried this whole blog thing before approximately one year ago. I think I made it to three blog posts, and then what happened? Aside from the fact that I was using a blog host site that was technologically incompatible, I got a job - my first real BIG GIRL job. (Real = a true full-time position that I actually had to apply and interview for). Anyway, adding a steady work schedule was more than enough for me to give up on my hopes and dreams to be Kendra the Blog Queen. So now it's a year later, I still have not revived the dream to be Kendra the Blog Queen, but I do find myself often reading friend's blogs and thought I might try it out myself.

What exactly do I have in store for today? FABRIC FLOWER MAGNETS!

Being an artistic person, it did not take long before I wanted to bang my head against the white walls of my office. I immediately began to cover my desk with anything of color - pictures, magnets, push pins, pens, vases, etc (just like the good ole dorm days). One day during the summer, while crafting for my beautiful bridesmaids and finishing with extra fabric flowers, I decided I would convert my extras into fun magnets for my office. And VOILA!

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