New project!

It is a GORGEOUS fall day here in Nashville, and I've started a new project. I was really inspired by Julie and Julia and decided that I, too, wanted to cook my way through a cookbook. I have a whole shelf of them that I rarely ever try recipes from, and decided that needed to change!

So, I'll be cooking through Giada de Laurentiis's book, Everyday Italian. We all know I'm a huge fan of hers: I DVR both of her cooking shows and watch them in my down time and I often try the things she cooks on her show. Our favorite pork recipe is actually a Giada recipe!

So here we go. My plan is not very strict. I'll cook when I have time, and try to do 2-3 recipes at a time until that gets too ambitious. The first section of the book is Everyday Antipasti and I've done 2 of those for today. I love that each section has a "cooking from the pantry" section how many of these recipes can be done with little or no special grocery shopping since these are items many of us have in our pantry already. I, myself, actually did have to pick up a few things, but not much. And I don't really feel right about posting the actual recipe, since I'm working from a book, but I bet you could find them on the Food Network website.

The first thing I tried was the Tuna and White Bean Salad.

This was very a light and refreshing, simple recipe. There are only a few ingredients: cannellini beans, tuna (it called for dark meat tuna in olive oil, but I had albacore in water, so sue me), red onion, red wine vinegar, s&p. I've never actually thought to put red wine vinegar with tuna, but I loved the tangy zip it gave the salad. This would be a great light lunch, especially over some arugala or romaine.

The next one I did was the Crostini with Sun-Dried Tomatoes and Chickpeas.

I loved everything about this. The texture of the dip is very similar to hummus, which I love, and has the yummy flavor of the sun-dried tomatoes. I didn't have the dried basil or parsley that it called for, so I just used some herbes de provence and I think it tasted great! And then a little garnish with some fresh basil from my garden and some lemon zest. The crunchiness of the baguette complimented the creaminess of the dip very well, and it was easy to make. Who doesn't love just throwing things into the food processor and letting it do its thing? Needless to say, I'll definitely be making this the next time we have people over.

An added bonus to this project is that I'm trying new recipes, of course, but it's also giving me a way to practice with the photography. You can only take so many pictures of the dog.

I have the ingredients for the next one, so I'll probably try that tomorrow.

In other news, I'm down 8 pounds total with Weight Watchers, and Billy and I have started Power 90. The weight's not falling off as fast as I'd hoped, but I think this is really setting me up to live a healthy lifestyle from here on out and it's not so much about losing a bunch of weight quickly. Fad diets never work anyway, so I think this is the right program for me. I love that we are working out again and I feel stronger with every workout.

Billy and I also celebrated our 1st wedding anniversary last Sunday, the 10th! It was extremely laid back--we had friends over and hung out outside around the fire pit. I also made homemade marshmallows and graham crackers, but would you know I did not take a single picture! It was really laid back and we had a great time. We even had thawed out the top tier of our wedding cake and ate a slice for breakfast that morning and it was so good! We didn't do the traditional first anniversary paper gifts, unless you count the concert tickets we bought ourselves. Actually, a few weeks ago we went out to the Prime Outlets in Lebanon, TN and got our gifts together. I got a new Coach purse and Billy got a new Coach wallet and some new Oakley sunglasses.

So anyway, that's what's going on with us right now. Talk to you soon! Enjoy the day!