Basil-Peach Chicken Breasts

As previously mentioned Mom visited shortly after we moved so that we could ... go shopping for wedding dresses! She knew she would be starting back to work at the end of August so it would be easier for her to come up then. When she visited Granny sent with her some peaches (and other various goodies)! Usually when Mom visits her best friend, Glenda, will come up for the day and we will meet Patrick for lunch. It's always a great day! Since we go out for lunch I usually don't want to go out again for dinner. I found a recipe that utilized peaches and basil as I was browsing a summer edition of Southern Living that we decided would be perfect for dinner.

It was called Basil-Peach Chicken Breasts (follow the hyperlink there or read it at the bottom of the post). We served it with couscous and steamed broccoli. 

Since we were shopping for wedding dresses Mom brought hers up from the late 1970's. It was preserved in this "Liftime of Loveliness" box that Granny and Poppa stored in their attic. You can see on the side that Granny labeled it appropriately as "Charlene's wedding dress".

We invited Rachel to come over after dinner for dessert and dress revealing. It was preserved very well; in two different boxes and wrapped in tissue. 

Taking the dress out of the box.

Here I am! This was quite the fashion costuming statement. Mom said these poofy headpieces were all the rage in her day. I believe her but this will not be making an appearance in 2012. The dress also has a very high collar and long sleeves. Other than the fashion trends the dress is in really good shape! The dress has lots of possibilities and I'm crossing my fingers that we can have it altered.

In other news my wonderful, brave mother has battled breast cancer and is as beautiful as ever! In January she had a double mastectomy and then started chemotherapy. Her chemotherapy ended at the beginning of the summer. We are celebrating life and what could be more appropriate than wedding dress shopping. I am so glad that my mom has been able to accompany me to each appointment and give her input on the wedding; I will cherish these memories forever! Now... I can't wait to see how she'll style her hair for the wedding.

As promised, here's the recipe
Basil-Peach Chicken Breasts from Southern Living, June 2012   Ingredients
4 skinned and boned chicken breasts (about 2 lb.)
1 1/4 teaspoons kosher salt
1/2 teaspoon freshly ground pepper
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 shallot, thinly sliced
1 teaspoon freshly grated ginger
2 garlic cloves, minced
12 fresh basil leaves, finely chopped
1 cup reduced-sodium fat-free chicken broth
4 large peaches, peeled and cut into 1/4-inch-thick slices (about 2 cups)
Garnish: fresh basil leaves
1. Preheat oven to 350°. Season chicken on both sides with salt and pepper. Cook chicken in hot oil in a large ovenproof skillet over medium-high heat 2 minutes on each side or until browned. Remove chicken from skillet, reserving drippings in skillet.
2. Reduce heat to medium. Add shallot to hot drippings in skillet, and sauté 3 minutes or until tender. Add ginger and garlic; sauté 45 to 60 seconds or until fragrant. Add basil, chicken broth, and peaches. Return chicken to skillet, and turn to coat.
3. Bake at 350° for 15 minutes or until chicken is done.

Where we cook dinner and eat

The "tour" of the house continues! This post will feature the kitchen area and dining area. The downstairs is an open layout so the kitchen has a bar which opens to the dining room and then right into the living room. We are really enjoying the layout so far.

This view is from the dining table into the kitchen. I found us some cute kitchen curtains; a plaid valance with privacy curtains... makes me feel like we have a cute little country kitchen with the plaid! We're able to place the bar stools at the bar which is nice because the past few houses have had really short bars.

Step away from the previous view and you will see the whole table! Fortunately we will be able to seat 6 at the table by moving one of the chairs to the other side and utilizing a bench that came with the dining set. I sure do miss the large dining room table (hope Richard is taking good care of it)

 To the left of the window we have set up our wine rack and hung the shoe pictures that the Revelle's gave to me as Christmas / birthday presents last year. They are appropriate for the dining area because, if you can't tell, they are food shaped into shoes! The top one is an artichoke and the bottom is onions. Aren't they cute?

On one side of the bar I have set up a double basket for mail catch-all and then pens and our scissors. This basket is intended for use with peanuts--peanuts in the shell on one side and then you place the empty hulls in the other as you eat them. The embroidered picture is one Mom did a long time ago and is a chart for which herbs pair with what meats. It comes in handy sometimes. 

Patrick and I don't have a lot of UNC-Duke memorabilia throughout the house but I did put a fun little collection of magnets together here in on the refrigerator. My magnets are prettier, right?

Finally here is a small collection of treasured kitchen utensils that we've picked up throughout our travels. The first item that started our collection is the olive oil bottle which we bought in Chicago. The second item is the yellow pottery piece, a small bowl with spout and whisk perfect for making vinaigrettes, purchased in Asheville as we celebrated our engagement. Then the next month when we were in DC visiting all of our friends I spied the glass utensil jar. These are nice remembrances we use on a daily basis that remind us of where we come from, who we love, and what we've done. What will we add next?!

Welcome Home; Grilled Cheese

It has been about one month since we moved into the new place. And we're finally  ready to say "Welcome!"

Patrick requested we get a front door mat so I picked out a blue bird to welcome everyone.

We've got a cute little walkway to the front door. The ferns have been hung. And the grass was even cut yesterday! Yay HOA-provided lawn care. I was a little sad that we wouldn't be giving Carter our lawn care business anymore. Carter was a high school kid living in our old neighborhood who had his own little lawn care business. He would walk to his patrons house with his push lawn mower and weed eater thrown over his shoulder then mow the lawn. 

Last weekend Patrick went to visit his new nephew and family in Chicago so I was able to tie up all our loose ends inside. And by that I mean I took everything downstairs and found it a home upstairs. There are two bedroom upstairs; one we are using as an office and the other as a guest bedroom / craft area. The upstairs will take a little while longer before it is all settled. The master bedroom is downstairs as well as a living room, dining room, kitchen, and laundry. In the next few weeks I will feature pictures of different area so stay tuned for a "tour" of the house.

Our kitchen is all set up and we are able to fix our dinners with ease now. In fact we hosted my cousins, Rachel and Thomas, last night so we have had our first dinner with guests! Unless you count Mom from a few weeks ago (more on that later). We fixed bolognese sauce, a strawberry salad, and ice cream with Granny's chocolate sauce.

While we were getting settled fixing dinners was a bit of a task. What's easier than grilled cheese sandwiches? One of our first meals in the house was indeed grilled cheese sandwiches.

Patrick snuck a photo of me.
Patrick wanted fancy grilled cheese sandwiches. To the havarti cheese slices we added sliced tomatoes and basil leaves then grilled in a buttered nonstick pan until golden.

Yay weddings!

The first weekend in August we had the wonderful pleasure of attending the wedding of Bryan and Angela Fox. Angela was a beautiful bride and Bryan was a dashing groom. Bryan and Patrick were friends at Duke and in the same fraternity. We had a really nice evening celebrating their marriage with friends.

Here we are with the newlyweds!
This was the first "one of our really good friends" wedding Patrick and I have attended together so that really made it a lot of fun! It's also a heightened experience when you are planning your very own wedding and paying attention to details.

I could really tell Patrick enjoyed all his "bros" being back in town. It's always great when they come back to Durham to visit no matter what the occasion is! I imagine they'll be back down next August for another wedding...

Towards the end of the evening all the bros got down on one knee and serenaded Angela with their fraternity sweetheart song which was really sweet.

August Update!

Hello there!

Just wanted to send a quick little update that Patrick and I have not forgotten about the blog! As you know we have just finished a move and getting settled in the new place. There are just a few more things to put away and pictures to hang. Rest assured we will be back in action in the next few weeks. There are wedding details, new house shots, fun recipes, and visits with friends to share. :-)

Patrick is off meeting his new nephew this weekend in Chicago so I will be taking advantage of quite time at the house to get everything in order.

Stay tuned!