Thursday, August 4, 2016

Recipe Roundup!

In my absence from the blog, Mr. B and I have been doing lots of cooking lately. Check out the recipes below that ended up being 5 stars!

[ one ]
made this for the 4th and highly recommend it for anytime of year! 
super simple and very yummy!!

[ two ]
used the recipe below and modified slightly by adding goat cheese and basil - delish! please disregard the quality of this picture :)

[ three ]
so good and refreshing!! modified this a little and used lemon lime seltzer instead of ginger beer and added jalapenos to the muddle - there's been a jalapeno theme around here lately!

[ four ]
had a craving for comfort mac and cheese and came across this NY Times recipe - will never use another mac and cheese recipe again!! that good and easy!

[ five ]
again with the comfort meals! this recipe comes from Cook's Illustrated and is quick and delicious. a great addition to a weekly menu!

[ six ]
you just can't get any more summery than tomato pie. i've also changed this up and made it with pimento cheese - yum!

[ seven ]
Linguine with Spicy Roasted & Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce
this was a made up recipe that ended up being so, so good!

Spicy Roasted & Sun Dried Tomato Cream Sauce
Roast grape tomatoes at 400 with olive oil, salt & pepper until they burst and juices are running. Saute garlic and 1 chopped onion until pretty cooked down. Add roasted grape tomatoes including juices to saute pan and continue to cook over medium heat. Add red pepper flakes to your liking and about a cup of chopped sun dried tomatoes. Keep cooking! Once the mixture is at your liking, add in about 1/4 cup parmesan cheese, plenty of chopped fresh basil and about 1/2 cup half and half. Continue to stir and cook a few more minutes. Serve over linguine and enjoy!

[ eight ]
perfect summer salad and makes great leftovers

Hopefully you've found something new and yummy to make for dinner tonight! What have you been making lately? I'm always looking for new recipes!

Friday, July 29, 2016

Five on Friday!

Welcome to this week's edition of Five on Friday. 
As always, I'm linking up with Five on Friday and Oh Hey Friday!

one | BABY!
Obviously, I have to revisit my  post from earlier this week about our amazing news that Mr. B and I are expecting a sweet little boy in December! We are over the moon!!

two | UnREAL
Has anyone out there seen  UnREAL on Lifetime? It is based on the Bachelor/Bachelorette franchise. The scoop is that an old producer from the Bachelor is behind the show, and most past contestants are saying the antics behind the scenes are real. Check out this  New Yorker article for more details. It is the craziest show and seriously carrying me through the slump that is summer TV. If you need something to hold you over between now and the fall lineup, check it out! Also, speaking of fall shows did you know SJP is coming out with a new HBO show called  Divorce? I can't wait for that!

three | Nursery Vibes

four | Newest Addiction
I have recently become obsessed with  Origins Shower Off Exfoliating Body Wash. It is amazing. I have never had softer skin! A must try!

five | Currently Missing
Now that I'm halfway until meeting our little boy there are already things I'm missing about BP... before pregnancy. Let's see... sushi! wine! italian subs! iced green tea from starbucks! local cheeses! fresh tuna sandwiches! oysters! I have my sights set on a delicious glass of red wine sitting by my Christmas tree with my baby boy come December, and nothing is standing in my way!

I hope everyone has a fantastic weekend!!

Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Baby Makes 3!

It feels so good to openly tell the world [blog or otherwise] that Mr. B and are I expecting our first sweet little addition! Which just so happens to be a boy! Coming December - just in time for a magical Christmas season!

I'm officially halfway and so far I've been feeling great. No real symptoms to write home about expect that lately I can cry at the drop of a hat. If you're into country music the song "Holy" by Florida Georgia Line seriously gives me all the feels!! We've recently started calling our sweet thing by his name, and it has brought me so much closer to feeling connected and protective over our little boy. Like it's me and you buddy from now until December and it really does make me high on loving him just like the song says.

You're holy, holy, holy, holy
I'm high on loving you, high on loving you

I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the other baby news in our family recently! My newest nephew made his way into the world on July 20th, and he couldn't be sweeter or more perfect. So many babies... so many boys! I can't wait to see my SON and nephew grow up together and make lots of memories!

Cheers and much love!

Friday, June 10, 2016

Hello! I'm Between the Oaks!

Happy Friday everyone! I'm back with a new edition of Five on FridayI thought it would be nice to revisit a quick introduction this week since I see we may have a couple new visitors! 

Join in on the fun and link up each Friday! 

If you're new to the blog, I'm Anna and I live in the City of Oaks (aka - Raleigh, NC) with my husband, Mr. B, and sweet 7 year old golden retriever, Callie. I started this blog at a time when I was trying to define and find intention and purpose through a creative outlet. It's been a lot of fun watching it grow! During this time Mr. B and I said "I DO!" last October on one of the most beautiful fall days.

Photo credit: Amanda & Grady Photography

The Stats...

I like my coffee just shy of dark brown and always iced. Always.

Most days you can find me working from home. My office doesn't look like anything from architecture digest, but it beats the cube I used to sit in!

I don't have a green thumb, but I'd say I'm pretty good at not killing herbs. Currently, my basil looks award winning.

I'll always be a part of the Pack... as in Wolfpack! Go NC State!

Everyone spends most of their life looking for their doppelganger, but I don't have to look too far. 30 minutes gave me full rights to be the older sister, right?


Lightening Round...

Favorite Food... huge, honking burger. Any day of the week!

Current Favorite Song... Can't Stop This Feeling - Justin Timberlake

Fries or Onion Rings... onion rings. all. day. long.

Red or White Wine... seasonal! crisp, ice cold white in the summer. cozy red when it's cold.

Mac or Windows... as progressive as I think I am, I'm a die hard Windows user to the end.

Beach or Mountains... beach, please!

Current Favorite Trend... does yoga pants count? how about athleisure?

I think that pretty much covers it! If you're stopping by for the first time, stay awhile and introduce yourself in the comments!

Happy Friday, ya'll!

Thursday, June 9, 2016

Thursday Thoughts

I've been doing some thinking lately about the tech world we live in - social media, blogging, insta-life-ing. What does it all mean and how much impact does it have on your real life. And what is truly genuine anymore? Let's start from the beginning. When I first started reading blogs it was way back when Google Reader was new and cool, and internet bookmarks where full of all your favorite blogs. They were full of actual content with actual heart and thought behind it. It was very easy back then to get hooked on blogs because people were talking about their lives, families, real stories. They were not chock full of prescribed, contrived material. Nowadays if you aren't over sharing and over posting you must think - did it even happen? If you didn't share it on some outlet - did you actually have a great time? Where are all the blogs that actually share real feelings? I totally understand the direction that the blogosphere has taken and how those that got in early are truly successful in their own right, but I've seen the shift in their content from what originally made them so popular. People tune in for realness. At least I do. I'm so tired of heading to my favorite blogs and realizing that every single one of them is sharing a sponsored post on some ridiculous product that I will never buy or use in my life. Again, where's the real content? I'd love to see the pendulum swing back to where it all began where staying true to one's self was rewarded. 

Sorry for the soap box post. Now back to our regularly scheduled programming...

Monday, June 6, 2016


Happy Monday everyone! I was going to say ladies, but I'm holding out that I have a small handful [count 3] of men checking in everyday to see what's going on #BTO. How was everyone's weekend? We had a really great relaxing couple of days!

I started out Friday afternoon with my first visit to the pool at our local YMCA. It was so hot and humid that I daydreamed about jumping into a pool all day until that became a reality. I shut things down at work [aka my home office where I still have the taunting treadmill as my cube mate] mid afternoon. It was the perfect way to start the weekend! Mr. B and I rounded out Friday with a stop at our favorite sushi joint for dinner.

Saturday was a leisurely day as Mr. B had to work most of the morning. We finally met up for lunch and headed back home to enjoy the sunny day! Mr. B whipped up some awesome ribs and grilled corn for dinner! Doesn't this picture make you drool?

If I know my husband well enough he would want this disclaimer:
Ribs were cooked and smoked on the Big Green Egg and finished on the Weber
You're welcome Mr. B :)
We had another beautiful day in NC on Sunday! Mr. B and I decided to spend most of our day watching the Ironman race in downtown Raleigh. It was so much fun watching everyone participating! We actually ended up walking quite a bit to see the finish line [read - 6 miles!]. Needless to say after our unintended long walk, we had a very low key evening. Plus, I hate to say it since we were walking alongside real athletes, but I feel crippled from the walk. The flip flops could be the culprit. I love a good race though. So inspirational!

We have a pretty quiet week ahead with a special birthday planned for this coming weekend! What did everyone get into this weekend? Anything exciting on the agenda for the week?

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Thursday's Recipes

Happy Thursday everyone! I had to drop in and share with you two awesome recipes I've made recently! They are a must try if you haven't already planned tonight's meal!

First up, Pasta Sauce Raphael. This comes to you from the popular Silver Palate Cookbook. I also mean "popular" as in popular probably to your mothers. This cookbook has been our family's go-to recipe finder for decades, and they are all crowd pleasers! This particular recipe was really good. I originally did it over rigatoni pasta, but think it could also be really delicious over spaghetti squash for a healthier version.

Pasta Sauce Raphael
Serve this over your favorite pasta!

4 pounds ripe meaty tomatoes
2 jars (6 oz each) marinated artichoke hearts
1/2 cup olive oil
2 cups coarsely chopped yellow onions
4 garlic cloves, chopped
1/4 cup dried basil (I used fresh basil)
1/2 tablespoon dried oregano (I used fresh oregano)
1/2 cup chopped parsley
1 small dried red pepper, chopped
3 tablespoons whole black peppercorns (I used 2 tablespoons)
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup grated romano cheese

Bring large pot of salted water to a boil. Drop tomatoes into boiling water and scald for 10 seconds. Transfer to a bowl of ice water. Scald all tomatoes, then drain and slip off skins. Cut crosswise into halves, squeeze out seeds and juice, and chop coarsely. Reserve (Note: You can probably use canned diced with juices to replace this step). Drain artichokes and reserve marinade. Heat olive oil in large saucepan and saute onions, garlic, basil, oregano, parsley and dried red pepper over medium heat for 5 minutes. Crush black peppercorns and add them to the onion mixture. Add tomatoes to the sauce, season with about 1 teaspoon salt, and simmer uncovered over medium heat for 1 hour. Add reserved artichoke marinade and simmer for another 30 minutes. Stir in artichokes and continue to simmer until sauce is rich and thick, another 20 minutes or so. Stir in Romano cheese and adjust seasoning.

So yummy!

Second up comes from another favorite cookbook, Cook's Illustrated.  Too many good recipes to count. If you ask Mr. B he knows the best chicken salad recipe comes out of this one! I was looking for a good banana bread recipe to use up some bananas that were in need of some loving. I found the Ultimate Banana Bread recipe, and let me tell you this totally delivers. I've had a lot of banana bread in my day, and this is by far the best yet! Enjoy!!

Ultimate Banana Bread

1 3/4 cups flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
6 large very ripe bananas
8 tablespoons butter, melted and cooled
2 large eggs
3/4 cup packed light brown sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract 
2 teaspoons sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray loaf pan with nonstick spray. Whisk flour, baking soda, and salt together in large bowl. Place 5 bananas in separate bowl, cover, and microwave until bananas are soft and have released liquid, about 5 minutes (this step had my house smelling sooo good!). Transfer bananas to fine-mesh strainer over medium bowl and allow to drain for 15 minutes (you should have 1/2 to 3/4 cup liquid). Transfer liquid to medium saucepan and cook over medium-high heat until reduced to 1/4 cup, about 5 minutes. Remove pan from heat, stir reduced liquid into bananas, and mash until mostly smooth. Whisk in butter, eggs, brown sugar, and vanilla. Pour banana mixture into dry ingredients and stir until just combined, with some streaks of flour remaining. Scrape batter into pan. *Slice remaining banana diagonally. Layer banana slices on top of loaf in 2 rows, leaving 1 1/2 inch wide space down center to ensure even rise. Sprinkle sugar evenly over loaf (*I only had 5 bananas, so I skipped this step). *Bake 55 to 75 minutes (*I used a narrow loaf pan and only needed to cook mine for just under an hour). Let loaf cool in pan for 10 minutes, then turn out on wire rack and cool for 1 hour.

What recipes have you made recently that had you really thinking you were Giada?

Friday, May 27, 2016


Who's excited for the long holiday weekend? The unofficial start to summer. I certainly am and we have a weekend full of no plans! May not sound like fun to some, but it's a ton of fun for us! We are having a staycation and planning to visit all of our favorite spots around town, and hopefully enjoy a day or two of great weather before it turns rainy. I'm linking up today for FriYAY with Oh Hey Friday and Five on Friday!

one | Thirst Quenching
Now that it's really getting hot out I've been obsessed with a morning or lunchtime smoothie! My go to combo is banana, raspberries and blueberries with a heaping tablespoon of peanut butter. I usually do my smoothies in my Magic Bullet and add a little water, but recently I started adding V8 Splash Diet Tropical Blend, and it took my smoothie to the next level! Do you have any go-to smoothie recipes?

two | Memorial Day Side Dish
With the holiday weekend already here, I wanted to share with you an awesome side that we enjoyed on our beach vacation. It's so easy and delicious and would be a great addition to any backyard BBQ! This recipe came from my aunt, so I'm not sure exactly the origin, but enjoy!

Mediterranean Quinoa* Salad
*this can be made with orzo

3 tablespoon fresh lemon juice
1 tablespoon red wine vinegar
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1 clove garlic, chopped
S & P
1/4 cup EVOO
1 cup quinoa (or orzo)
2 cups red and yellow grape tomatoes, halved or quartered
1 cup pitted kalamata olives
2 green onions, thinly sliced
2 pickled cherry peppers, diced
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
1/2 English cucumber, diced

Whisk together the lemon juice, vinegar, oregano, garlic and S&P in a small bowl. Slowly whisk in the oil until emulsified. Let sit at room temperature. Rinse the quinoa. Combine the quinoa, 2 cups water, 1 teaspoon salt and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in saucepan, bring to boil and cook until the water is absorbed and the quinoa is tender, about 15 minutes. Transfer to a bowl, fluff with fork and let sit for 5 minutes to cool. Add the tomatoes, olives, green onions, cherry peppers, red onions, cucumbers and dressing. Toss to coat. Cover and refrigerate for at least 1 hour and up to 8 hours before serving. Sprinkle with feta before serving.

three | Can't Stop the Feeling
Just a little happiness for your Friday! Came across this daddy/daughter duo dancing to Justin Timberlake's  new song "Can't Stop the Feeling" and it's adorable. Check out the video  here!

I'm keeping it short and sweet this Friday! What are your plans for the weekend? Having a staycation or jetting off? Either way, enjoy the extra time with family and friends!

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

Beachin' It

We're back from an amazing week vacation on Holden Beach, NC. If you've never been to Holden you should definitely add it to your list! It's 95% residential and rental homes with a very small commercial area which I love the most. Having grown up in a beach community that thrives on commercial establishments, it was nice to spend the week really removed and leaving behind the feeling of "having" to go somewhere. There really is nothing like taking time for yourself to relax, rejuvenate and renew, and what better way than to do it at the beach! 

This year was special as it was the first year our family [of 2!] and my sister's family went in together for a beautiful house right on the water. There is no other way to do a beach vacation than staying where you have your own walkway to the water. The weather was hit or miss, but we managed to spend almost every day either at the beach or pool. And as I like to say if you can't enjoy the beach while it's cloudy or rainy than you really aren't a beach person! Rain or shine for me and I'm still happy to be a) away on vacation and b) away on vacation!

I went into the week with only one goal, and that was to read, read, read! I managed to get through two books during the first half of the week. I would definitely recommend both books! The first was  The Summer of Good Intentions by Wendy Francis. For whatever reason this book made me boohoo cry! It was based around a family vacation house, love, life and relationships. It was such a great, quick summer read!! The second book I read was  The Glass Kitchen by Linda Frances Lee. This book was based around 3 sisters with a love for food and of course a little love story. Another great read!

If you've stuck with me until now you'll notice I literally took zero pictures the entire week or otherwise I'd be sharing! Next time I'll make sure to document better!

Until next time... Happy Tuesday!

Friday, April 29, 2016

Friday Confessions

How was everyone's week? I'm happy to be finishing up mine with ya'll here on #BTO! I'm closing out the week with my edition of Friday Confessions and linking up with Oh Hey Friday and Five on Friday!

one | I'm still dreaming about  Sally's Apizza. I literally can't stop. There's really nothing more to say about this pizza from New Haven other than it's literally the best pizza you will probably ever have in your entire life. Period. The smell, the taste, the crust... it's all perfection! Including their little ribbon for take out orders!

two | Reading shmeading... I hate to admit it, but I was sent a book from a girlfriend to read monthsss ago to then pass it along through our group and I've been a total hold up. The book  is really good, but it has taken me forever to read it. So, LMC if you're reading this I promise to hurry up (I'm half way!) and get it out the door soon! Like before year's end... jussst kidding. At least before the summer's over :) 

three | This is a real deal confession. I decided 7 years ago when I got my golden retriever that nothing will humble someone quicker (probably other than a baby) than a dog. You think you're all cute and sassy until you have to stop and pick up your dog's poop... at the groomers... inside! The topper? Another patron actually had to point it out to me because I was too busy filling out paperwork! Gahhh.... I left with my tail between my legs.

four | As mentioned we just got back from visiting my father for Passover, and I have to admit something. I have a terrible memory from when I was younger of trying Matzo Ball Soup for the first time and literally having full body chills. It was horrible if my memory serves me correctly. However, now that I'm older and clearly more mature the Matzo Ball Soup this time around was actually pretty good - like comfort food.

five | Does anyone else walk around a college campus and actually believe (even at 30) that you can still do anything you want in this world? We spent some time in CT walking around Yale and it was beautiful! I love a college campus. There's so much hope and fearlessness. It really reinvigorates me to know that there's still life ahead, and you can still do everything you set out to do as a freshman. Even if your time has passed.

What's on everyone's weekend agenda? We're finally getting around to planting our garden! Hopefully we'll see a little bit of sun here in NC even though it's supposed to rain all weekend. It may be a good weekend to go see Mother's Day though! Everyone have a safe and happy weekend!

Until next time...

Thursday, April 28, 2016

Travel Update!

We're back from our travels north and are finally back into the swing of things! It was a great trip, and much needed time away. A look at our trip through pictures...

The Coffee Pedaler - cutest coffee spot right in downtown New Haven, CT. Absolute BEST Rosemary and Sea Salt Bagels... EVER! This was such a good find we had to make a 2 day stop.

The crew at Hammonasset Beach State Park in Madison, CT right on the sound. We had the best weather the whole weekend! I was so surprised at how many people were at the beach enjoying the perfect spring day!

Grandpa and Cousin time!

As I mentioned before, I was really looking forward to an old favorite... Wentworth's Ice Cream. You just can't get ice cream like this in the south. Believe me I've done the research for you! Every last bit of that ice cream cone was gone... happily!
Ready for Passover Seder
The whole group in front of "the painting". My grandmother loved this painting and had it hanging in her house for 40 years until it recently found a new home at the   Yale University Art Gallery. Every family picture ever taken for the last 40 years is in front of this painting called "The Model" and so we made sure to document this occasion with a trip to the art museum for just that! It really was a special treat that we could all be there together!

Monday, April 18, 2016

Happy Monday!


Happy Monday everyone! We finally had a gorgeous weekend filled with lots of sun here in NC. We really had a low key weekend which is exactly what we were in need of! Lots of relaxing, lots of good eating and lots of outside time! 

My thoughts from the weekend...

I know it's getting warm out, but I'm seriously in need of a preseason spray tan! My legs haven't seen the light of day since our honeymoon, and frankly it's scary!

Is anyone else concerned about Zika or is it just me?! The repeated news reports have put the fear of god in me. Anyone else?

I enjoyed my new go-to summer thirst quencher all weekend... Cucumber Mint and Watermelon infused water! So good!

We're still waiting to plant our herbs and veggies, but on our list this year: basil, mint, parsley, oregano, jalapenos, peppers, tomatoes, and new this year green onions. We're out to make sure our urban garden is better than last years!

One of my favorite things to do on the weekend is visit the NC Art Museum. Not only are the grounds beautiful, but the extensive greenway linked to the museum is the perfect place to spend a Sunday afternoon walking. I can't wait for the new addition to be open, too! Our local attraction got some NY Times love recently as well - jump on over and it check it out!

Lastly, Mr. B and I are excited because we have a short week ahead! We are traveling north to spend the weekend with my father's family. I'm currently dreaming of Wentworth's [the most amazing ice cream...ever] and Louis' Lunch [birthplace of the hamburger]!

Until next time... I hope everyone had a great weekend!

Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Working from Home (and a GIVEAWAY)

Now that I've been working from home, as I mentioned here and here, I've come to several realizations...

one | Kathie Lee and Hoda really are as funny as you think! They make my morning routine much more entertaining. 

two | Workout clothes actually become less attractive by Friday. I'm still trying to work out my routine, and getting dressed has fallen to the wayside.

three | A coffee run in the morning to my favorite spot makes a huge difference! Sometimes it's nice to build in some "commute" time even if that's just for coffee.

four | For the first time in my life I've actually started paying attention to how many lights I use... and leave on! Now that I'm home more I've become more aware of our power bill, so I'm trying to grow up and turn off lights as I leave the room. It's a work in progress...

five | I have high hopes that not wearing makeup everyday will do wonders for my skin! Here's to hoping!

AND... since we're talking about "work" I wanted to extend an awesome GIVEAWAY to my readers! Jump on over to our Instagram and Twitter to like, follow and comment on the picture below to win this super cute tote and cooler in one! Winner can decide to keep this tote blank or imprint it with their favorite logo! Winner chosen April 6th, so hurry up!

Friday, April 1, 2016

Five on Friday!

I'm back with my favorite things with this week's edition of Five on Friday. I'm keeping it short and sweet, and linking up with Oh Hey Friday and Five on Friday!

one | Sushi Time
I made Skinnytaste's Spicy California Shrimp Stack's awesomeness for dinner earlier this week, and it was a total hit! I mean really, really good! We love our local sushi joint, but this may be our new go-to for a quick sushi fix! Next time I think I'll try it with tuna... yum, yum!

Skinnytaste Spicy California Shrimp Stack

two | What's on my DVR
I've been in a TV rut lately and have recently stumbled on the following shows... GirlsBroad City and Vinyl. If you're looking for something new to watch that's easy, breezy and funny check out one of these! On the TV note, who else is excited for Southern Charm, Shahs of Sunset and RHONY to come back?? I live for Bravo!

three | Currently Eyeing
Summer is around the corner and I've been eyeing a few new essentials... this cover up and these wedges need to make it into my wardrobe sometime very soon! We're headed to the beach in May, and it can't come soon enough!!

four | Podcasts
If you've read my blog before you know I'm a sucker for a good podcast. It really makes the time fly by while I'm working. My two new favorites are Straight Up with Stassi and Juicy Scoop with Heather McDonald. Both seriously entertaining!

five | Office Edition
Now that I'm working from home full time and have set up the basics of my office I really need to start adding some flare. Considering the broken treadmill that occupies my office taunts me everyday, I've been dreaming about this... One day. One. Day.

The Small Things Blog Office Love

Until next time... Happy Friday, ya'll!