Adios, Au Revoir, Goodbye

After a little over three years, we are sorry to say goodbye to The Plan. Since our foray into blogging, we have both been married, moved to new cities, and tried countless recipes involving cheese. We will continue to follow our favorite blogs with interest, and may be back sometime in the future (hopefully with our own store or business, which was always the ultimate "plan") . So goodbye for now, and thanks for reading over the years.


Farrell and Lauren

Closed for the Holiday

Enjoy the long weekend!  We certainly will!

Tomato and Corn Pizza

I know, all I seem to blog about lately is food.  Mostly because it is too darn hot out to do much else than stay inside and cook.

We whipped up this Southern Living Tomato and Corn Pizza on Saturday night, and it did not disappoint.  We modified the recipe a bit, using a whole wheat thin crust pizza dough, but it was great.  The bonus was we got to use things from the garden (tomatoes, basil, homemade pesto, etc). 

No photos of the finished product -- we were in too much of a hurry to get it on our plates!

Recession Garden: Season Two

After learning a few things last year (mint will take over your entire garden), we tried another year of the garden. 
Per usual, the cucumbers, squash, and zucchini are going crazy!  The broccoli was a big fail, and the tomatoes (heirloom, cherry, and one other kind that escapes me) are starting to kick in.  Eggplant and peppers are still TBD.

The best part about the early crop of cucumbers?  Our favorite summer salad:  cucumber, red onion, salt, pepper, and your choice of vinegar.

Recycle, Reuse

I don't generally post pictures of where I live, mostly because I moved to New York with two suitcases and things haven't been exactly picture perfect since then.  However, we've been slowly working towards having more of a home.  Last weekend my parents (very nicely) brought up all of our wedding gifts along with two items we "won" at an auction of items from the Virginia State Capital.  And so our collection of furniture grows, with a very nice little china cabinet and surprisingly trendy round table:

Registry Update and Summer Dinners

My wedding presents all arrived over the weekend and despite my husband's insistence that he doesn't "get" Fiesta ("Why doesn't it match?"), I am very pleased with my new kitchen cabinet:

Another thing that pleases me is summer "cooking":

(Disclaimer:  the blackberry filled puff pastry was not nearly as good as it looks, so I'm trying again.)

Jamie Oliver's Roast Chicken

There is really nothing I (or my dog) love more than the smell of a chicken roasting in the oven.  One of my favorite food bloggers turned me on to this amazing recipe from Jamie Oliver. 
I made it Sunday night for guests and it was devoured instantly.  The potatoes are some of the best I have ever tasted (you really can't go wrong with bacon).  I should have taken photos -- but honestly by the time I thought of it, there was hardly anything left!
Pick up the simple ingredients and whip this up for your next weeknight dinner or casual dinner party.

Magazine Selection

Farrell and I recently compared magazine subscriptions and were surprised to find very little overlap- only Southern Living.  Which magazines come to your house?

Real Simple
Cooking Light
Food and Wine
Southern Living
Sports Illustrated
Martha Stewart Weddings
Food Network Magazine
Martha Stewart Living
Garden & Gun
Virginia Living
Southern Living
Traditional Home
House Beautiful
ESPN The Magazine
New York Magazine
Vanity Fair
(wishlist:  US Weekly, Marie Claire)

Sticky Buns

We had a house guest this weekend who doesn't eat eggs in the morning, so casseroles were out for breakfast and I didn't have a lot of time to make a coffee cake.  The solution?  Easy Sticky Buns courtesy of Ina Garten's Back to Basics.  I wish I had read the reviews on the Foot Network website, because the butter was a little overwhelming.  However, with a bit of tweaking I think these will end up being an easy but impressive treat for friends and family.

What We're Reading Lately

Recent additions to our bookshelves....

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

Omnivore's Dilemma

The Girl Who Played with Fire

The Art of Racing in the Rain

What's on your summer reading list?

Easy App

Hummus is a crowd-pleasing appetizer that goes well with a variety of "dippers."  Making your own is SO easy and much more cost effective than buying it in the store. 

Homemade Hummus
1 can chick peas, drained and rinsed
1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
juice of 1 lemon
2 TBS tahini (this is optional)
2 TBS minced garlic

Combine all ingredients in a food processor and blend until smooth.  I usually drizzle some extra olive oil on top and sprinkle with paprika before serving.  If you want to play with flavors, try adding:  fresh herbs, olives, roasted red peppers, etc.

Party Favors: The Candy Buffet

Made popular as a wedding-favor alternative by Martha Stewart, Candy Buffets are also a great option for shower (bridal, baby, engagement, whatever) favors.  My favorite on-line candy vendor is Oh Nuts -- they sort their candy by color, tell you how many pieces are in each package (no matter how small the candy pieces), and ship quickly with cool-packs to protect against melting.  Candy Buffets are actually relatively simple - just order the candy, round up clear vases and jars of varying sizes and heights, procure some spoons or scoops, and display everything with clear plastic candy bags and ribbons or even miniature Chinese take-out containers
These buffets are always a hit!  Below are some real-life photos of recent buffets I have done for baby and bridal showers.  The color selections coordinated with the invitation and decor colors for each shower.

Spicy Chicken Comes to Chick-Fil-A

Sign up here to get a free *new* Spicy Chicken Sandwich from Chick-Fil-A. 
I have never met anyone who doesn't love Chick-Fil-A, so had to post this!

Taste of Deliciousness

I was recently introduced to Taste of the South Magazine.  Has anyone seen this in person? I was a bit skeptical until I came across this recipe for fried pimiento cheese balls.  Does anything sound better than that?

Wedding Wednesday: Reader Request

A reader request regarding wedding gift etiquette:

If you are invited to a wedding but do not attend the wedding/reception, should you send a gift?


When I was growing up there were certain things young ladies didn't do:  pee, puke, poop.  They either used the bathroom or had to be sick (or throw up, under dire circumstances).  It seems that these restrictions no longer apply since I hear girls saying these things all the time.  Were you allowed to use these words when you were young?  Do/will you let your kids use them?

Did you know.....

...that macaroons are the new cupcake?

Stamps to the Rescue!

Are you a pet-lover in need of stamps?  These new pet-inspired stamps are so adorable -- great for birthday invitations, fundraising mailers, or just general correspondence!
I'm partial to this one:

Go-To Marinade

Try this out on pork, chicken, salmon, beef...whatever you have on hand. The best part about it is -- most of the ingredients will already be in your pantry!

2 garlic cloves, minced

2 T balsamic vinegar

Juice of 1/2 lime and Juice of 1/2 lemon

1/3 cup light brown sugar

2 T. Dijon mustard

1/3 c. honey

1 t. Kosher salt

1/2 t. pepper

4 T. olive oil

Whisk together all ingredients until well blended. Marinate!

"The Fabric of American Life"

NYC Toile!  This and others like it found at Town Toiles.

Everything Old is New Again

This week New York explores "the new old" trend in interior design, and all the ways it can manifest itself.  While I am fascinated by the NeoVictorians, the article on NeoEnglish is probably more in keeping with my decorating goals.  Some of you may recognize Rita Konig, former editor at Domino.  I love her comments, especially this one about how she approaches her own apartments:

I have always liked decorating my small apartments as though they are just a few of the rooms in a much larger house, so you have the feeling that you could, should you want to, wander off to the drawing room, library, dining room, but for the moment are just choosing to be in this rather cozy study. Maybe it is peculiar to the English, but you know how people in huge houses live in a tiny room with all the dogs and the television? This is sort of the reverse of that.

(Energy) Bar Hopping

Anyone else overwhelmed by the vast array of energy/snack bars out there? They are so convenient, but there are SO many options.  Luna Bars, which are specifically geared towards women, are my usual go-tos.

Cooking Light has an interesting article on what the best choice is for you.

Check it out.

New Favorite Drink

Enjoying a Poipu Passion on Kauai.  To make your own, mix Absolut Citron, Blue Curacao, and lemonade.  Fresh pineapple optional, but highly recommended.


Lauren was eagerly anticipating her wedding flowers, and they did NOT disappoint.

Bridal Bouquet

Cocktail Arrangement

Bridesmaid Bouquets (and Liz!)

One of the table centerpieces

Let them Eat (Wedding) Cake!

Lauren will undoubtedly have many, many more photos to share, but while she is enjoying Hawaii, I will post a few previews (like she did for my wedding!).

The wedding cake was not only gorgeous and classic, but completely delicious -- carrot cake (so moist and light) with a sweet cream cheese filling.  One of the best wedding cakes I have ever had!

Otherwise Engaged...

We'll be back soon....
Someone is getting married this weekend, so there is no time for blogging until next week!

Wedding Wednesday: Paper Goods

Back in February, I posted about my front-runner for invitations.  We ended up choosing them and were so happy with the final product that we went back for menus and escort cards.  I probably shouldn't post these but I'm just really excited about them.  Didn't they turn out well?

Hibiscus Flower Cocktails

We came across these Hibiscus Flowers in Syrup in a Virginia gourmet store this weekend.  They make an impressive presentation in a simple glass of champange or prosecco.  You can also check out a more elaborate cocktail list on their website. 
What a great idea for a spring bridal shower or cocktail party.

Make Mine Mini

How cute are the mini, 90-calorie Coca Cola cans that started hitting grocery stores this winter?  They debuted in New York and DC and have finally made their way down to Virginia stores.  All food and drink items are more appealing in a smaller version, if you ask me (sliders, anyone?)!

Liberty of London

Has anyone checked out the Liberty of London line at Target?  A branch of the original UK line, the items at Target are fun, springy, and so reasonably priced!  Definitely worth checking out....

Porch Drinks!

With Porch Drink Season upon us, the latest issue of Southern Living featured a cocktail I am dying to try.  Their Raspberry Beer Cocktails look quick, easy, and delicious.  Can't wait to whip up a batch and try them on the back porch soon!

Breakfast of Champions

This could be a post about eating organic, or about eating proteins and dairy at breakfast (which I have found to be a great weight loss tool) but I'm going to keep it simple.  I just want to tell everyone how much I love Organic Valley milk.  I've tried many brands of organic dairy products and this is just the best choice and well worth the extra money.  Even the skim milk is (relatively) creamy and delicious.  Organic Valley employs farmers all over the country so you will get a local product, no matter where you live. 

The only other thing I can say is that this has to be some really good milk to write a whole post about it!

Head on Down to Starbucks this Morning!

Today before 10:30, pick up your free pastry at any Starbucks, with a drink purchase!

Wedding Wednesday: Flowers

Yesterday we finalized the flower order at Flower Girls.  Because of the crazy weather this year, they may (disappointingly) have to ship in more flowers than originally planned.  However, we're still hoping that the timing will be just right to use plenty of local Virginia flowers.  I like that we are mixing it up a bit and not relying solely on roses and hydrangea, although they will certainly be used a little bit.  Some other items on the list:
White double tulips
Double narcissus


We had beautiful yellow and white tulips at the shower, which really helped jump start my excitement for the wedding flowers.  Thanks to Farrell and the other girls for that thoughtful attention to detail- I love the way the shower colors aligned with the wedding colors!

Lauren's Shower Recap in Photos

A few photos from Lauren's Bridal Shower this past weekend at L'Etoile in Charlottesville....