Monthly Archives: May 2012

One month garden check

Chip and I planted a garden about a month ago on the side of our backyard. We had been really excited about this project but weren’t sure how successful we would be since neither of us had any garden experience. We were worried that not all of the plants would take root or that the San Antonio weather would slowly kill them off. Fortunately, this garden has completely surpassed our expectations! Everything has really grown and we’re already seeing the signs of some vegetables. We have lots of fun checking out the garden everyday and seeing if anything new has started to sprout (I might do this a little obsessively… haha). We still need to work on the path and lighting down the middle of the garden area, but that will hopefully get done in the next month or so. Here are some pictures of how our garden has come along in the past month!

Our garden one month ago

Our garden today!

Our front squash plant has grown particularly well. We have been so surprised at how it has completely taken over its space and is spilling into our future garden path area! One thing I enjoy about this plant is the shape of its leaves… totally reminds me of the tree stars Little Foot and his friends search for in The Land Before Time, a movie I watched who knows how many times growing up thanks to my brother… haha

Squash plant really growing

Little baby squash!

Can you spot the six tomatoes?

Close up on some of the tomatoes

I can’t forget about the flowers we planted in the garden, too! We planted these a few weeks ago and they are slowly starting to grow. One of my favorites are the pink gerber daisies. Found one of them starting to bloom today!

Gerber daisy

Pizzeria di Nance

It’s no secret that Chip and I became big pizza fans on our honeymoon. We probably ate pizza at least every other day while we were in Italy and I think it changed our lives for the better (we really like food…). Inspired by the awesome pizza we had on our honeymoon, we’ve tried making homemade pizzas a few times. It’s always turned out pretty good, but last Friday evening was particularly delicious.

Provider of the best pizza dough recipe

We used a dough recipe from a cook book we got for our wedding called the Bride and Groom Cookbook. We haven’t used a whole lot of recipes from this book just yet, but we have utilized the pizza dough recipe more than once (for those that are interested, the recipe is at the bottom of this post!). Anyway, we got to work preparing the dough when we got home Friday evening and like good pseudo Italians, we had some red wine while we cooked and ate.

Wine from our anniversary trip to Fredericksburg

Once the dough had risen, we separated it into different sections and let that sit for a while. While we waited for the dough to finish its preparation process, we started making our pizza sauce. We couldn’t find the recipe we’ve used before, but found a different one online that got the job done (was a lot better once we added a small can of tomato paste to make the sauce thicker).

Pizza dough!

Homemade pizza sauce

We made two different types of pizza: margherita and a meat lovers version. Both pizzas called for fresh basil… luckily we have some very fresh basil growing in our garden! I may have been overly excited about this… :)

Putting our basil plant to good use

Fresh basil? We’ve got it covered.

Margherita pizza

Pepperoni and pancetta pizza

Needless to say, dinner was delicious. I’m sure there will be many more homemade pizza nights to come! Who knows, maybe we’ll open up our own pizzeria… Pizzeria di Nance. Sounds pretty good :)

Pizza Dough Recipe:

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 2 envelopes (2 1/2 tsp each) active dry yeast
  • 2 tsp red wine vinegar
  • 3 tbsp olive oil, plus oil for greasing
  • 4 cups flour, plus flour for dusting
  • 2tsp sugar
  • 1 tbsp kosher salt

Directions:

  • Combine the water, yeast, vinegar and 3 tbsp olive oil in the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Mix on low speed until just blended, about 30 seconds. Add 1 cup of the flour and mix on low speed for 30 seconds. In a separate bowl, stir together the remaining 3 cups of flour, sugar and salt until well blended. add the flour mixture to the wet dough mixture in 3 batches, beating on low speed after each addition until thoroughly combined. When all the flour has been added, raise the mixer speed to medium and mix for 2 minutes more. The dough should pull away from the sides of the bowl, come together in a ball and feel soft tot he touch.
  • Place the ball of dough in a well-oiled bowl and turn it several times to coat the surface lightly with oil. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen towel. Let the dough rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.
  • Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and roll each piece into a smooth ball. Place the balls on a baking sheet and cover with a damp kitchen towel. Allow the dough to rest for 10 minutes. Use immediately or refrigerate for up to 4 hours.
  • If you’ve chilled the dough, take it out o the refrigerator about 30 minutes before using it to bring it to room temperature. Using your hands and a rolling pin, roll and stretch each ball into an 8-inch round (doesn’t have to be perfectly round).
  • To cook pizzas, heat oven to 500 and bake for 10-13 minutes.

Mom’s visit to San Antonio!

Someday, my blog posts won’t be so delayed. Not sure when that day will be, so in the meantime I guess my posts will be a couple of weeks behind!

Chip went to a CFA bootcamp at Creighton two weeks ago in preparation for his exam in June. He would be gone from Wednesday afternoon to Monday morning, so my mom came to visit me so I wouldn’t be alone those days (she’s a good Hispanic mom!). I hadn’t seen my mom since March so I was really looking forward to getting four days together.

My mom flew in on Wednesday evening and we had been planning to go to San Marcos on Thursday from some quality mother-daughter time shopping (yes, my Type A mother and I planned out our itinerary in advance for the four days she would be here). Unfortunately, the weather that Thursday was downright awful. There was heavy rain in the morning (which didn’t stop us from going to Anthropologie!), but the storm got pretty intense when we were getting ready to head up to San Marcos. We checked the weather out on our phones and since it looked the storm would be traveling with us towards Austin, we decided to postpone our trip until Friday. We then decided shift some things around in our weekend itinerary and go do some shopping at Home Goods for a few really cute planting pots to use later in the weekend (Saturday, per our schedule).

Planting pots from Home Goods!

Waiting to go to San Marcos on Friday was a very smart decision. The weather couldn’t have been any more different than it had been the previous 24 hours! Whereas Thursday had heavy rain, thunder and lightning, Friday was sunny and gorgeous (and a little humid… oh, well). We got to San Marcos shortly after all the stores opened so we were spared from all of the usual madness and traffic that comes with shopping at the outlets. My mom and I enjoy a good bargain, so we had a great time going to a lot of the stores there. One store we went to for the first time was Tory Burch. They had some awesome stuff and my mom was able to get some really cute outfits!

Post Tory Burch shopping

Stocking up at Lowe’s

After spending most of the day in San Marcos, we made our way back to San Antonio and stopped at one of my favorite stores: Lowe’s! My mom also really enjoys gardening, so we had planned to do a little bit of flower planting together while she was in town. So after stocking up on flowers, succulents, potting soil and mulch, we made our way back home to unload my car from the day’s purchases. Once my car had been emptied out, we took a break to relax and make some yummy fish tacos for dinner (mom, you better make these for dad now! :)). After we ate and rested with the dogs for a bit, it was planting time. We chose to put the pots from Home Goods along the side of the patio where we have a small strip of soil. I had originally planted some blue plumbagos here, but dear Wrigley destroyed them (twice because I was foolish enough to try again) while wrestling with Duke. We figured pots would be more dog-proof, and by figured I mean hoped.

The dogs checking out my mom’s planting skills

Let me tell you, I think I prefer planting flowers in pots than in the actual ground… it’s so much easier! It really felt like we were done in no time at all since we didn’t have any big holes to dig through the rocky Texas soil. Here’s what our finished project looks like:

Ta-da!

I am so excited about how this turned out. It really gives our backyard some personality and I love how it filled out this space. And thankfully, Wrigley hasn’t found a way to ruin these flowers! I hope I haven’t spoken too soon… once we got these flowers finished, it was time to get to the succulents. I knew I wanted succulents in our garden area, but had originally been thinking about making a wreath with them. However, that plan was thrown out the window once I saw this cute vegetable planter pot at Home Goods.

Working on the potted succulents

Love it.

Now, my mom and I don’t always have the best depth or quantity perception (just ask my dad about it!). So we accidentally bought too many succulents for the pot pictured above. Instead of returning the succulents we didn’t use, we decided to get a cute hanging basket to put the rest in! So back to Lowe’s we went for this little extra project.

Leftover succulents

On Saturday evening, we went to Picknikins for dinner. We had originally chosen this place because they are dog friendly and we thought it would be a lot of fun to take Wrigley and Duke with us. Unfortunately, poor Duke is still pretty scared of cars and there was no way we could get him in without giving him a panic attack. So we left the dogs to enjoy the backyard while we went out to dinner. We had a great time talking over dinner with wine and sangria (my mom even almost finished her glass of wine! :)).

Wine and sangria with dinner

Sunday was Mother’s Day and my mom’s last full day in town. I was so grateful that I would get to spend this special day with my mom. I sadly can’t remember the last time I got to be with my mom on Mother’s Day as it almost always fell before finals were over at Trinity. Because of this, I really wanted to have a special brunch with my mom. After brainstorming some places, I surprised my mom and made reservations at the Plaza Club. I knew my mom would absolutely love this since this is where Chip and I had our wedding reception. It was a bit surreal being back at the Plaza Club and I definitely caught my mom getting a little emotional a couple of times!

Brunch at the Plaza Club

Our view of downtown at brunch

Happy Mother’s Day!

Our brunch was absolutely delicious. It was probably the best tasting buffet I’ve ever had! We had mimosas and really tasty shrimp, ceviche, caprese salad, crepes, Texas shaped waffles and more… we definitely left feeling very full! We spent the rest of Sunday relaxing and making sure everything would fit back in my mom’s suitcase (that shopping trip to San Marcos made it a little tricky!).

I am so thankful for the time I got to spend with my mom. It’s probably the most consistent amount of time we’ve had with each other since before the wedding and the days together just flew by. Looking forward to the next time I’ll get to see her and my dad!

Anniversary weekend!

As I mentioned in my last post, Chip and I celebrated our one year anniversary on May 7th. In honor of our first year of marriage, we decided to take a quick weekend trip to Fredericksburg. For those non-Texans out there, Fredericksburg is about an hour outside of San Antonio and is known for its hill country beauty and various wineries. We really hadn’t spent any time in Fredericksburg prior to this trip, except a quick afternoon at Wild Seed Farms last spring, so we thought it would be a great little city to spend some time at for our first anniversary.

Off to Fredericksburg!

We made our way out to Fredericksburg last Saturday 5/5 around noon and went straight to Pedernales Cellars (thanks, Katy, for the recommendation!). While we both love wine, neither of us had ever been to a wine tasting so we didn’t really know what we were in store for. Pedernales has a great and attentive staff and takes walk-ins for tastings, like most of the other wineries in the area. So we made our way over to the wine bar when we got in and met Robert, who guided us through a great first wine tasting! He was extremely informative and descriptive in all of the different tastes to the wines. Pedernales also offers tours of the vineyard every 20 minutes or so, so after our tasting we went on the tour and learned all about the wine making process. Who knows, maybe someday we’ll work on our own vineyard (hopefully in Italy!) :)

Enjoying the patio at Pedernales!

Tour at Pedernales

In true Texas hospitality, the staff at Pedernales encouraged us to check out some of the other vineyards along the highway and recommended Hilmy as well as Four Point O. We couldn’t ignore the advice of the experts, so off we went to these two wineries! Both are fairly new and also had great and attentive staff. We particularly liked Four Point O Cellars and would definitely recommend it to friends. They had a really open design to their space and just provided a great overall experience. We also made a stop at Becker Vineyards afterwards, which is probably the most well-known winery in Fredericksburg.

Afternoon at the wineries!

At Hilmy Cellars

Enjoying our tasting at Four Point O Cellars

Tasting room at Four Point O Cellars

Cellar tour at Becker

After our time at Becker, we made our way to Trois Estates to check in and get ready for dinner. One thing we learned from planning this quick trip was that bed and breakfasts get filled very quickly in Fredericksburg and most reservations should be made a good four weeks out (as opposed to three days). We were so lucky to find an empty room at the lodge at Trois Estates! The property was very pretty and felt like it’s own town, but the stuffed game in the lodge freaked us out a bit…

Yikes.

But there were a lot of cute signs around the property which were perfect since there was a wedding going on that evening!

Awww…

We drove back into Fredericksburg for dinner and had an extremely delicious meal at Crossroads Saloon & Steakhouse. We chose to sit outside and take advantage of the surprisingly pleasant Texas May weather and try to catch a glimpse of the super moon (sadly, we didn’t get to see it!). We both ordered the salmon, which was probably some of the best I’ve ever had. We definitely recommend this restaurant if anyone is looking for a special place to eat!

Dinner in Fredericksburg!

We spent a surprising amount of time Sunday morning trying to find a place for breakfast since most of the brunch spots were for bed & breakfast guests. After driving around for a good 30 minutes, we found Fredericksburg Coffee and Tea and had the best breakfast we could have found! Seriously. It was delicious…

Awesome breakfast

Once we finished breakfast, we went over to Grape Creek Vineyards since it got a lot of recommendations by the other vineyards. The grounds here are absolutely beautiful! Their tagline is “Tuscany in Texas” and they did a great job trying to capture the Italian essence.

Driving into Grape Creek Vineyards

Ready for another wine tasting!

At Grape Creek

After our tasting at Grape Creek, we went to Wild Seed Farms and bought some flowers for our front yard (we still need to plant these…. oops). We had a great time in Fredericksburg and are looking forward to our next trip there!

Anniversary dinner at Dough

The following day (Monday) was our actual anniversary, so we decided to have dinner at one of our all time favorite restaurants: Dough! We’ve gone here several times this past year and love it more each time we go there. The pizza is phenomenal and went perfectly with the last bottle of wine we had left from our honeymoon cruise.

After dinner we went back home to eat our thawed out one-year old wedding cake. We had been excited to try our cake out since we loved it so much the actual day of our wedding (Cathy Young makes some awesome cakes!). Unfortunately, it really didn’t taste that great a year later just like we had been warned… but the dogs didn’t mind! Oh well, we still technically followed the tradition even if we didn’t eat much of it :)

Happy one year anniversary, Chip!!

Chip trying out the cake

The dogs loved it!

Our first anniversary

Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.- 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

I married my best friend a year ago today. These past 366 days (remember, it was a leap year!) have flown by and have been so incredibly special. This year has made me very grateful for the covenant of marriage and I feel so blessed that I get to spend the rest of my life with Chip. We were both a little anxious about the first year of marriage, hearing people say that it can sometimes be the hardest year a couple experiences. Fortunately we’ve been blessed and our friendship and love has only grown deeper for each other as we continue to pursue Christ together. We have been so grateful for the way God continuously works in our hearts to help us become a better husband and wife to each other. I don’t want this post to get overly mushy, so all I want to say is thanks, Chip, for a wonderful first year. Thank you for all the laughs, conversations, house projects, patience, hours spent watching Downton Abbey and all the ways you encourage me to be a better person and a better spouse. More importantly, thank you, Lord, for being with us every step of the way and being the perfect example of sacrificial love.

In honor of our first anniversary, here are some memorable pictures from our first year as husband and wife as well as some of my favorite pictures from our wedding day (there are lots!) :) Hope you enjoy them! Also, keep an eye out for my next post on our anniversary celebrations, which includes a trip to Fredericksburg!

In Barcelona the first day of our honeymoon

Ready to board the cruise for our honeymoon!

In Rome on our honeymoon

In Croatia on our honeymoon

In Venice on our honeymoon. Definitely one of our favorite cities!

At a housewarming party for some sweet RUF girls

In Arizona on Thanksgiving

Out on the River Walk, checking out the Christmas lights

Our first family Christmas card picture

In California

May 7, 2011:

Chip with his groomsmen outside the Westin Downtown

Love him

Bunch of goofs

With my mom at the Westin Downtown

Ready in my dress and veil

With some of the sweetest girls I’ve ever known

With my dad before the ceremony

The guys praying over Chip before the ceremony

Married!!

With our parents after the ceremony

First dance to George Strait’s “Carried Away”

Taking a quick break from dancing

Family and friends ready for cake

Grease megamix with my bridesmaids

Flutterfetti madness after our last dance to Bruno Mars’ “Just the Way You Are”

Flutterfetti!!