Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Our Vow Renewal:: Five Years & Still Going Strong

For over a month, Seth asked me what I wanted for my birthday and Christmas.  I'm a capricorn aka a "Christmas baby," born only three days before Christmas. This year, I couldn't think of anything I wanted or even needed.  After all of the craziness this past year, I was just thrilled to be home spending my birthday and the holiday's together.

You know the saying that giving is the best gift?  Well, I was daydreaming one day and realized that I just wanted to express my love and commitment to the man I married five years ago -- and a vow renewal was what needed to happen!  So, I spoke with one of the Pastor's at the our church and he informed me the end of December should work for their schedule and to contact the admin office.  Then, I contacted Stephanie at S.Strine Photography and we set the date for 12.28.2015!

In 2010, our wedding was planned 1,700 miles away and none of the churches I contacted would allow us to use their sanctuary to get married.  To be honest, only one of them responded and informed me -- because we weren't members and didn't know any members of their church, we couldn't use their sanctuary.  I had to have my wedding in Delaware because my grandparents couldn't travel, so changing the location was not an option.  So we opted for Justice of the Peace and got married in a cute little restaurant in Bethany Beach, Delaware.  After all that we've been through, Seth and I decided to start going to church this fall.  Now, we attend religiously {no pun intended}, so it seemed fitting to have our favorite Pastor from our church to renew our vows.

Unlike the day before our wedding {sunny, gorgeous skies and close to 70* weather}, our wedding day was very, very windy and cold and the timing of the outdoor photos was terrible due to lots of shadows.  In addition, our wedding photographer was inexperienced and didn't show up with a light reflector.  He did a good job, but truthfully there are only a handful of photos from our wedding day that I have printed and put in frames around our home.

So, this time around, I wanted to ensure we had an experienced wedding photographer. I have been "Facebook stalking" Stephanie's photography for close to 18 months and she had experience photographing couples at White Sands.  So, it just made sense to hire her for the job and now I must say, I am so happy we did!

Here is a sneak peak of the the photos from our vow renewal on 12.28.2015 at
White Sand National Monument in Southern New Mexico.

 Photo credit: Stephanie at S.Strine Photography. 
What we wore:
& my sister's silver scarf; Seth's suit by Men's Warehouse

FYI:  The dress was SUPER, DUPER long for my 5'1" frame.  So I asked my mom, who is a seamstress, what kind of equipment I needed to hem the gown.  She informed me I needed polyester thread and a walking foot for my Singer sewing machine.  Thank goodness for Amazon prime because the walking foot arrived in two days and I thankfully already had white polyester thread in my sewing box.  My sister, Becky, helped me pin and hem it during the week of Christmas and 
I must say, I am uber proud of us for getting it done!

Thanks for stopping by and if you are in ever in Southern New Mexico or Southern Nevada and you are in need of a photographer--- Stephanie at S.Strine is your best bet!!


Sunday, December 27, 2015

In the Kitchen with JennyPennyAho: Shrimp Scampi

When we lived in the communal house for eleven months, we did a lot of quick and "as healthy as possible" meals.  We were limited to one bin in the fridge and one bin in the freezer for our cold items, as well as a small pantry (18" x 12").  So....imagine keeping all of your cold grocery items in one crisper drawer of your fridge, because that's exactly the size we were stuck with for eleven months!  It's tough, but we made work and had some pretty tasty meals in the process.
I bought the Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook years ago and have a couple of entree's I make including shrimp scampi & beef and broccoli stir fry!  To make the shrimp scampi, I tend to keep frozen wild caught shrimp in our freezer (~$14/pound) and always have thin spaghetti on hand.  Two fresh items are: lemons & parsley (I just used dried parsley). You can choose to use fresh lemons or the prepackaged lemon juice at the grocer (I've done both variations, but prefer to use fresh organic lemons if possible).  Whatever lemons I don't use and they start to turn bad, I cut them up and toss them down the sink drain and turn on the garbage disposal to freshen up our sink drain.  Works like a charm and if you ask me, it works better than baking soda and vinegar!

As a blogger, I love reading recipes on fellow blogger sites.  I have actually saved a few and use them all the time. However, I despise having to piecemeal the recipe items into a grocery list because the blogger 1) hasn't provided a list up front 2) separated it it by pictures and explanations! I didn't want to frustrate anyone reading my blog, so I've provided a recipe/grocery list below and also provided step-by-step directions with pictures.  :)

So without further a-do, here's the Shrimp Scampi recipe I use at least twice a month
(recipe cred:  Weight Watchers New Complete Cookbook (2006)):

Items you'll need:
  • 4 tsp EVOO (I guess-ta-mate and don't actually measure it)
  • 1 pound frozen wild caught large shrimp (peeled & deveined) -- wild caught is so much tastier (& healthier) -- we've tried farm raised and wild -- wild is soo much better!
  • 6 cloves fresh garlic, minced
  • 1 Cup low sodium chicken broth
  • juice of 2 lemons
  • 4 Tbsp dried parsley (a heaping go 1/4 Cup of fresh parsley)
  • dash of salt
  • a few grinds of fresh pepper
  • thin spaghetti noodles (cooked)
1) Mince the garlic.  

2) Cut lemons in half and squeeze the juice into a cup.  I bought this nifty lemon press (?) for less than $10 at the grocery store.  I use it all the time, so it was worth it.  Before I owned it, i just squeeze the best I could and then had my husband squeeze some more just to make sure I got all of it. :)

 3) Boil water for spaghetti noodles and cook noodles according to directions.
*My sister is gluten free, so when we made it for her, we substituted the spaghetti noodles for cooked spaghetti squash.

4) Then, add the EVOO to the frying pan (I use a deeper frying pan) and let it warm up on medium heat. 

5) Toss frozen shrimp into the frying pan with the EVOO. Cook until pink.  My grocer sells these:

6) Once pink, use a slotted spoon to remove the shrimp to plate (keep them hot because you will add them on top of the noodles shortly).

6) In the frying pan, combine the lemon juice, chicken broth, parsley, salt, pepper and bring to a boil and continue to boil uncovered until the sauce is reduced by half.

7) Fork a serving size of cooked spaghetti noodles into a bowl, spoon a serving a shrimp over the noodles and then top with a spoonful of sauce. (I've made this recipe for years and when we made it the other night, the sauce turned out thicker than usual. It must have been my sister's special touch because I don't have any other explanation for it. It was just as delicious as usual!)

8) If I have an extra lemon, I garnish the dish with a slice of lemon, but it's completely up to you!

I hope you enjoy this quick and easy meal as much as my husband and I do!
Thanks for stopping by JennyPennyAho!