Sunday, November 25, 2012

Weekend Update ~ Football, NFL Style

Another weekend update!?

 A week late, but you get the idea.

Last weekend was filled with lots of sports. I told Ryan he's lucky I love sports as much as I do; otherwise, he'd be doing all this spectating alone!

The Clemson basketball team was playing Furman, a small university in Greenville, on Friday night in Greenville, so a group of us bought tickets. Ryan played basketball in high school, really loves the sport, and had a great time giving me a thorough background of every new player. Plus, Clemson won, so everyone went home happy!

(I forgot to snap a picture, but the concession stands at Furman are "all you can eat!" How legit is that?)

We were up early Saturday to head to Clemson to cheer the Tigers to another victory against NC State. A few of my college roommates were in town so it was great to have everyone together again!

Sunday was the grand finale of our sports-filled weekend: my first NFL game!! I've never taken professional football too seriously because it's all about college football here in the south, and South Carolina doesn't have a professional team. My mom grew up in Charlotte, NC, so we've always casually followed the Panthers and were thrilled when they made it to the Super Bowl a few years ago. 

But now that Ryan has to keep his eye on several fantasy football teams and his beloved Packers, Sundays are usually spent horizontal on the couch watching more football! It's a way for me to still get my football fix since we usually miss all the college games when we're out tailgating. 

My dad hooked us up with some awesome tickets to the Panthers game and he and my mom picked us up in Greenville so we could head to NC for the game! It was another chilly day outside, but we had a great time! The Panthers are actually terrible this year, but I still had fun cheering and taking in the atmosphere! 

I'm hoping it won't be my last NFL game, either! 

Saturday, November 24, 2012

First Annual Friendsgiving!

Hi friends!

The old laptop died for good on Tuesday and it took me awhile to figure out how I was going to upload my pictures from my phone so I could keep blogging! I think I've finally figured it out, but bear with me while I do some recapping from the past two weeks!

Our first Friendsgiving was a success!! Everyone brought delicious side dishes, we had an 11 pound turkey and a 6 pound ham, and 13 people in our little apartment for dinner!

The roomie and me! (We need to figure out a better background in the apartment for picture taking!)

Ryan's coworker, Gina, and me - so happy to host her first Thanksgiving! (She's from Cameroon, Africa)

Trent and Holly carving up our turkey!
The table's all set and ready to go!

With Holly

Lauren and Heather - besties growing up!

I caught Ryan mid-grab

The boys piling up their plates

I'm the most thankful for this sweet boy
The aftermath...
I can't wait to make this an annual event! So thankful for such a wonderful group of friends in my little home in Greenville!

Friday, November 16, 2012

{Recipe} ~ Football Friday: Buffalo Chicken Bites

This might be my favorite appetizer recipe I've tried recently (except for maybe this one)!

I made it for our Halloween football watching party and they were such a hit. The only change I would've made to the recipe would've been to double it! These went so fast! I think everyone loves buffalo chicken dip, and this was such a new fun way to eat it without having to stand over the chip and dip bowl. Just put twelve a few on your plate with some bleu cheese or ranch dressing and you're free to roam around and enjoy!

The recipe can take a little time since you have to roll and dip each ball individually, so it certainly helps to have another set of hands! When you first pull them out of the oven, they'll be a little soft from the melting cheese, but if you let them sit for a minute or so before transferring them to a plate, they harden back up and will be easier to eat!

Make these for your next tailgate or party!

Buffalo Chicken Bites
from Plain Chicken

  • 3 cups shredded cooked chicken
  • 1/4 to 1/2 cup hot sauce (or more to your taste)
  • 3 1/2 oz. cream cheese, softened
  • 2 cups sharp or medium shredded cheddar cheese
  • 1 tsp onion powder
  • 1 cup all-purpose flour
  • 4 eggs, lightly beaten
  • 3 – 4 cups Corn Flakes cereal, crushed

Preheat oven to 350˚F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, mix the chicken, cream cheese and hot sauce until combined. Stir in the cheddar cheese and onion powder.

Using a small cookie or ice cream scoop, spoon out the chicken mixture and roll into about 1 1/2 inch balls. Place on a plate or separate baking sheet until ready to dip.

In three separate bowls, set out the flour, eggs and Corn Flakes. Dip each chicken ball first into the flour, then the egg and ending with the Corn Flakes. Place on the prepared baking sheet and bake for 20 to 25 minutes. Serve warm with ranch or blue cheese dressing.

**If freezing for later, place the dipped and uncooked chicken balls onto the parchment lined baking sheet and flash freeze for 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer to a freezer bag and store in the freezer until ready. To bake, place the frozen chicken balls back on a baking sheet and bake at 350˚F for 25 to 30 minutes, until crispy and golden brown.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Tuesday Randoms

I can't promise today's post is going to be a coherent one, but I wanted to write a quick little update on the Thanksgiving dinner we're hosting at our apartment on Thursday.

Let's just call it our 1st Annual FRIENDSgiving!

I did this with my group of friends during grad school, and I still consider it one of my best memories from that entire year (and even college). We all dressed up, piled 20 people and even more food dishes into Tom and Jacob's tiny little apartment, drank way too many bottles of wine, and had a million laughs.

I remember looking around the apartment that night and finally feeling truly lucky for how my life had turned out. Grad school was a big change, my boyfriend of 5 years and I broke up, and then I immediately fell head over heels for another boy (Ryan and I were just friends at this point; it obviously didn't work out with the other boy - although, he, Ryan, and I remain best friends to this day). Grad school was a lot of ups and downs and November wasn't even close to the start of it all, but that dinner was probably one of the most fun nights I had in my college years.

I jumped at the opportunity to recreate some of that fun in our new home of Greenville! Lauren and I have lived in our apartment for 15 months and since I'll likely buy a house before next Thanksgiving, there was no time like the present to celebrate what we're thankful for!

We're doing a potluck dinner where everyone brings a side dish or dessert and Trent and Holly ordered our turkey from Publix. We really wanted to fry the turkey, but that was going to require too much work and time!

I started dreaming of all the things I could make - we're having a Thanksgiving Lunch at work next Monday and then of course our actual Thanksgiving dinner with family on Thursday, so I wanted something different so I don't get burned out on the traditional Thanksgiving feast!

Side note, it's not really possible for me to get burned out on food. I love Thanksgiving! It's tied with Christmas for my favorite holiday!

I've finally narrowed it down: I'm making this creamy confetti corn and these apple pie bites. I'm really excited about these new recipes and will have quite the crowd to test them out on!

But herein lies my problem: the apartment is not equipped for the 13 people we're expecting. I called my mom in a panic today saying, "I don't even have enough plates, wine glasses, and knives for 13 people!"

Haha, Mom to the rescue. She's coming to Greenville with backup and even bringing me some table decorations!

Let's hope next year's dinner is a little more organized! But I hope to have lots of pictures and a success story after the big event!

Monday, November 12, 2012

Weekend Update

Happy Monday friends!

The picture-taking was extremely scarce this weekend, so I apologize in advance.

Sarah and I had a fun girl's night at Brick Street Cafe, where there was way too much brie, cake, and wine. They have the most divine sweet potato cake. No matter how full you are after a meal there, you just have to order cake, too!

Wine tasting!
Ryan picked us up after dinner and a group of us went to see Skyfall (the new James Bond movie) in IMAX. It was a good thing I took a nap Friday afternoon or I wouldn't have made it through that movie - it wasn't over until 1 am. It was a good movie though!

I realize I totally failed on my Football Friday post last week, but promise not to forget this week!

We headed to Clemson about 8:30 am on Saturday morning for a day full of tailgating and football. Clemson won (ranked #11 now!) and we stuck around to watch #1 Alabama fall to Texas A&M (gig 'em Aggies!).

My first attempt at a panoramic shot of the stadium wasn't the best...
I spent Sunday cleaning and doing laundry, then headed to the outlets in Gaffney for a little Christmas shopping. I ended up with more items for myself; my family is so hard to shop for. (Mom, Katie, if you're reading this, send me your Christmas lists!)

Ryan's gifts were the only ones I crossed off my list, which is shocking since boys are usually the hardest. 

I'm hoping this week will fly by. Lauren and I are hosting a Thanksgiving dinner with our friends on Thursday night and I'm so excited for the potluck dinner! Hopefully I'll have some new delicious recipes to share with you by then! 

Hope everyone is off to a great start to the week! Also, send me any recommendations for your favorite Thanksgiving recipes.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

{Recipe} ~ Corn and Black Bean Chili

We're having another "cold wave" here in SC and the high temperature yesterday was only 47 degrees (but will be back up to almost 70 by the weekend). When I hunkered down to watch the Presidential election results, I wanted nothing more than to curl up with a bowl of chili and a glass of red wine.

I headed to my Pinterest board, excited to cross another item off my bucket list. I wanted something that didn't involve the slow cooker or 20 ingredients. Enter this recipe I found over the weekend. My mom had seen my pin and had already made the chili and considered it a success, so I figured I could give it a try too!

I did modify it a little bit, so I will include my changes here, but know you still have access to the original recipe if you want it! I chose to use the southwestern corn mix because I'm not a huge fan of beans and didn't want a lot of black beans in the chili. This was a perfect compromise! I also placed a generous amount of shredded cheddar cheese on top, obviously.

 I had a large bowl myself but made enough for leftovers. Nothing like a comforting bowl of soup for a cold day!

Corn and Black Bean Chili


  • 1/2 pound ground turkey
  • 2 teaspoons salt-free chili powder blend
  • 1 (14-ounce) can of southwestern corn (should have some black beans also)
  • 1 (10-ounce) can fat-free, less-sodium beef broth
  • 1 (15-ounce) can seasoned diced tomatoes for chili
  • Reduced-fat sour cream (optional)
  • Sliced green onions (optional)
  • Shredded cheddar cheese (optional)


1. Combine turkeyand chili powder blend in a large Dutch oven. Cook 6 minutes over medium-high heat or until turkey is browned, stirring to crumble. Drain and return to pan.

2. Stir in corn mixture, broth, and tomatoes; bring to a boil. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 10 minutes. Uncover and simmer 5 minutes, stirring occasionally.

3. Ladle chili into bowls. Top each serving with cheese, sour cream, and onions, if desired.

Sunday, November 4, 2012

Weekend Update

This weekend was pretty low-key but awesome! The weather was great and Ryan and I crossed something off my bucket list!

I spent 3 hours in the Apple Store Friday trying to get all my photos transferred from my old phone to my new iPhone 5 (which I love). After that long process, I headed to the Fresh Market and picked up some steak and chicken kabobs for Ryan and me to grill. Top that off with a bottle of red wine and that's my kind of Friday!

Saturday we were up early because I had rented bikes for us for a half-day. We went to Starbucks and picked up some fuel (coffee for me, bagels for both of us). I was so excited to finally cash in on my Living Social deal. I now have my eye on a used bike (it's mint green and so aborable) so I can cruise around all the time! I'm obsessed! We biked 30 miles!

The Swamp Rabbit Trail is a great running/biking trail that goes right through the city of Greenville and then extends to other towns on either side of the city. We rode the trail all the way to the end in Traveler's Rest (almost to the mountains) before we turned around. We passed Furman University along the way and stopped to take some pictures around the lake. The leaves were so pretty even this late into the season!

We celebrated with post bike-ride brews at Ale House, then napped before watching our Tigers beat up on the Duke Blue Devils! I must admit, after we were winning by almost 30 points, I kind of lost interest. We spent the rest of the evening switching between the other exciting football games (Bama/LSU, Kansas St/Oklahoma St, and Oregon/USC).

We had brunch this morning at Mary Beth's, where I gobbled down some pumpkin spice pancakes. Now I've got a beef stew cooking in the crockpot in preparation for dinner with Trent and Holly and the whole apartment is sparkling clean!

I'd say that's a pretty successful weekend!

Friday, November 2, 2012

{Recipe} ~ Southwestern Stuffed Peppers

If you're looking for a quick, healthy weeknight dinner, look no further!

I made a run to the farmer's market last week and wanted to throw something together for dinner using some fresh veggies. I tend to eat big lunches at work since we're always eating out and usually want nothing more than a salad at dinner. But that can get old pretty quickly, so I try to balance it out with other healthy dinner alternatives. This dinner is perfect because you can eat as many (or as a few) peppers as you want based on how hungry you are! But the ground turkey and beans do an excellent job of filling you up (I ended up only eating one and saving the other for a leftover lunch)!

Southwestern Stuffed Peppers
adapted from Skinny Taste


For the filling:
  • 1/4 lb 99% lean ground turkey
  • 3/4 cups canned black beans, rinsed and drained
  • 3/4 cups frozen corn
  • 1 jalepeño pepper, chopped
  • 1 large diced tomato
  • 1 cloves garlic, minced
  • 3 tbsp chopped onion
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • kosher salt to taste

For the peppers:
  • 2 red bell peppers, cut in half lengthwise
  • 9 tbsp shredded reduced-fat Sargento Monterey Jack cheese
  • 1 tbsp chopped scallions, for garnish


In a large skillet brown the turkey and season with salt. When the turkey is browned, add onion, garlic, black beans, jalepeño pepper, diced tomatoes, and cumin. Mix well and simmer on low, covered for 20 minutes. Remove lid, add corn and simmer an additional 5 minutes or until all the liquid reduces.

Preheat oven to 350°. Cut peppers in half lengthwise, removing seeds and stem.

Place peppers, cut side up in an oven-proof dish. Fill each pepper with 1/2 cup turkey mixture.  Bake for 10-15 minutes, or until the peppers become soft (personal preference as to how soft you want the peppers to be).

Remove foil, top each with 1 1/2 tbsp of cheese and bake uncovered an additional 5 minutes. Top with scallions and serve with reduced-fat sour cream if desired (optional).

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Real World - Year One

Once upon a time, I promised you a post on how I became an accountant. What better time to write such a post than on the one year anniversary of my first day of work in the real world?

On this day last year, I walked into my office and settled into the cube that would become my home away from home (depressing as that may be). I had interned with my company twice before, so I didn't have the usual "first day jitters." I was just excited to see everyone again and earn that paycheck!

But let's rewind to how I actually got here.

I've always liked math. But I also really like people. There aren't too many professions that marry the two, except for maybe teaching. I have the patience of a gnat, so that was certainly out of the question.  When I went to Clemson, I majored in Business, and took all the prerequisite business classes my first year. After that first year, you have to choose a concentration (Economics, Finance, Accounting, Marketing, or Management). 

I chose Finance with the intention of being a financial planner. That way, I could still use math (and money!) but I would work with people all day long. Win win!

It wasn't until I was semesters deep in corporate finance classes that I realized I hated all of my classes. I wasn't doing well in them and I was frustrated because I would never need to know half the stuff I was learning to be a financial planner. 

I was however doing well in my accounting classes. I guess I never really knew what an accountant did (besides taxes, ew) so I never really gave it any thought. I sat down with one of my professors and he encouraged me to switch majors. 

Next thing I knew, I was an accounting major on the fast track to becoming a CPA. I got a job with an accounting firm (the same firm I work for now) as a summer intern working in their Accounts Receivable department. Turns out, I loved the job and I loved the people even more! I did some finagling of my schedule, and ended up graduating a semester early from undergrad so I could intern in the audit department during busy season with the same firm.

I was given a full-time job offer at the end of my internship, returned to graduate school to get my master's degree, passed the CPA exam, and started work last November as an auditor. (I still remain firmly of the opinion that I will always hate taxes. I don't/can't/won't even do my own.)


A little bit about what I actually do as an auditor:

We have a bad rap. I get it. No one likes the guys who come in looking for fraud. But most of our clients are really great and we're not all that bad, I promise! We just come in and make sure the accounting transactions during the year are legit. No harm, no foul.

I work in a team and deal with the people who work at our clients all day long, so that's how I maintain sanity with people interaction. I don't sit at a desk all day by myself and crunch numbers. I'm usually sitting at a tiny conference table with a coworker, taking breaks to chat about anything under the sun. It's amazing what you learn about people when you share close quarters and a meal together for 9 hours a day, 5 days a week!

I can't believe I've already been working for a whole year! It certainly flew by, even with the fun that is busy season. I was on a panel this week for our new hires and was amazed that I had any sliver of advice for them. It's crazy to look back at how much I've learned in the past year. 

I don't plan on going anywhere any time soon. I think I'm one of those rare people who truly likes loves their job! I'm blessed!

And funnily enough, I actually have my own financial planner now. Weird how things turn out!