Saturday, February 28, 2009

Kitchen Confidential: Tenderloin with Plum Chutney Recipe Review

I'm updating this post in order to share with my friends over at Tasty Tuesday! This was one of my recent favorites and I'm planning to make it again VERY soon!!!

It's time for another recipe review...and this time, because it WASN'T a holiday, I went to my old pal Weight Watchers for some inspiration. Those of you in the program, will appreciate the points-friendly meal. Those of you NOT in the program will appreciate the killer goodness of the eats. Either way, the recipe came from the book, Meals in Minutes (pg 80). WW friends, this was a 5-pointer.

Let's hear it for Pork Tenderloin with Plum Chutney!!!

As always, I began with my most important ingredient!

Ah ha - the cast of characters.

Begin with adding your apple cider vinegar, dry mustard, and brown sugar and bring to a boil.

Idiot's note: Then reread the directions and see that they've called for a skillet, not a pot.

Once you're ingredients form a syrup-y substance, add in your plums. Let them simmer until they're soft and will you know that they're delightful? It's easy, their manners and dispositions will improve.

Meanwhile, as your plum chutney congeals, blend your italian bread crumbs and pine nuts together.

At this time, you may be ready for another glass of vino. But hey, go at your own pace. This is NOT the place for peer pressure. I'm just tellin ya what I did!
Next, coat your tenderloin in mustard, then roll that bad boy around in your bread crumb/pine nut concoction. I didn't post pictures of that process because it was kinda dirty...and this is a family show.

As you're baking your tenderloin, take your plum chutney off the burner and set aside so it chills out. (It's likely become a little stuck up due to the delightful comments above.)

After about 25 minutes in the oven (at 425), take your tenderloin out and test the temperature. If she's a burnin up at about 160 degrees, she's done...if not, throw her back in for a few.

Once it's all done, serve with rice pilaf and crescent rolls, or whatevs. Either way, you'll love your tenderloin and plum chutney. I did! It was quick, easy,
and had a very limited prep time!

PS - that may or may not be my third glass of wine.

Makes 4 Servings

1/3 cup apple cider vinegar
2 scallions, sliced
3 tablespoons packed light brown sugar
1/2 tablespoon grated peeled fresh ginger
1/2 teaspoon dry mustard
5 ripe plums, pitted and cut into 1-inch chunks
3 tablespoons Italian-style bread crumbs
1 tablespoon pine nuts
1 (3/4-pound) pork tenderloin, trimmed of all visable fat
2 teaspoons Dijon mustard
1. Preheat oven to 475 degrees. Bring the vinegar, scallions, brown sugar, ginger, and dry mustard to a boil in a medium skillet over medium heat. Boil to forma syrup, 4-5 minutes. Stir in the plums, reduce the heat to low, and cook until the plums are soft and well glazed, about 10 minutes. Transfer to a bowl to cool.
2. Meanwhile, combine the bread crumbs and pine nutes in a food processor or blender and gind to a fine consistency. Transfer the mixture to a plate. Rub the tenderloin all over with the Dijon mustard, then roll in the bead crumb mixture to coat and set in a baking dish. Roast until the pork reaches and internal temp of 160 degrees, 20-25 minutes. Remove from the oven and let stand 10 minutes before slicing. Serve with the chutney on the side.

Friday, February 27, 2009

PhotoFANatic Friday featuring David Jay

Today begins a new feature for the BLAH BLAH's PhotoFANatic Friday!

Many of you know that I LOVE weddings. Maybe it was because I had a fairytale experience at one when I was 12 and was subsequently given a BRIDE magazine subscription by my mom as a gift to dream and play make-believe with... Maybe it's because I've witnessed numerous friends find, fall in love with, and marry their best friends in beautiful ways... Maybe it's because I've been in 12 weddings and have helped friends and family plan countless others. As a single gal, I never get crabby about celebrating another wedding...but that could have something to do with the promise of an open bar - KIDDING!

Anyhoooo, as I've become more and more enamored with weddings, I've found two passions - two things that really make my mouth water: gorgeous gowns and dazzling photos. About five years ago, I started paying copious attention to the photographers at weddings and started looking them up to see more of their work. In 2004 or 2005, I found David Jay, and thus began my career as a blogstalker!

David Jay (DJ) is my #1 BLOG CRUSH! He's one of the premiere wedding photographers in the world and I'm so excited to have him as my first PhotoFANatic feature! He took the wedding industry by storm and is now internationally recognized for his work and the way he's revolutionized the way images are displayed through his "Show-It" sites and slideshows. He also did a nation-wide tour this year where he travelled to 20 cities giving other professionals and budding photographers his insight and tips.

As a photographer, his photos are dreamy and romantic, bright and clear, elegant and sassy. AND, he's a genuinely nice guy who wears his heart on his sleeve and shines for the Lord. He went to Westmont College - a Christian school up in Santa Barbara - and still lives in that area where he regularly connects with other photographers and headquarters his business, even when he's traveling the world.

I'm sad that God hasn't brought me Mr. Right, yet, because even though I've been following DJ's work for years, he's skyrocketed out of my price-range. But perhaps because of him, I've found my love for photography and have been encouraged to take it up! Thank you DJ for inspiring me and countless others with your talent, teaching, and how you share your heart with every photo!

And now on to some photo inspiration! (By the way, all these photos were borrowed with DJ's permission -- it's not too cool to go swiping pics off of people's pages without their okay, first!)

Click here to see a video of some of his's so good it makes me want to throw up.

See...he's absolutely INSANE, huh? Talk about major inspiration! Thanks DJ for being such a good sport and for putting up with my crazy emails.

PhotoFANatic Friday

For the last several years now, I've been mesmorized by photography...specifically, wedding and portrait photography. I've been a blog stalking rock star and feel like I know many of these photographers because I've watched their art grow over the years.

Not long ago, I was inspired to stop stalking and start doing...why should I only want to look at other people's craft rather than learn it myself? The road isn't an easy one, but it's one that I'm LOVING. And NOW, my blog stalking has become research as many of the products, workshops, tips and tricks I use have all been word-of-mouth recommendations...or should I say word-of-blog?

I began the PhotoFANatic Friday series not only to learn more about these photographers {and from these photographers} for myself, but to inspire others...if you're a professional photographer and would like to be featured, PLEASE contact me at!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Hooked on Fabri-Tac

I'm SOOOOOO late to the window mis-treatments party, but boy am I ever glad that I found out about this nifty way to "no-sew." I plan to post more about my experience with curtain-making as soon as the project is complete, but today, my friends at Jo-Ann Fabric and Crafts HOOKED ME UP!

Meet my new BFF, Fabri-Tac! Fabri-Tac is ever so cool. She attaches trim in SECONDS, is sticky enough to hold fabric together, but not too sticky to adhere your fingers together forever.

Not too shabby, huh?!

Head on over to Hooked on Houses to see what other blahgers are hooked on this week, too!

And, for all you "mis-treaters", what else works well for trim and adornments? I'd love your feedback!

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

25 Blah Blah Blahs

Neither my mom or dad have Facebook, which is a good thing because I'd have a million calls a day from my mom asking how to post, or what a wall is, or what's this "tagging" business all about. Sorry, mom...but you know it's true. : ) And I love you anyway. Anyhoo, I had dinner with the 'rents tonight and briefly mentioned the 25 things phenomenon, so in their honor, I'm reposting my 25 things here. Enjoy!

1. I grew up next door to my grandparents and across the street from my cousins. My grandparents owned the property and the two lots below us. Growing up, we had a barn and a number of horses that we would ride backwards during slumber parties, thanks to my dad.

2. I went to college in TX even though I didn’t like country music…I found TCU in a Dance Magazine feature and yet I only took one dance class while I was there.

3. I joined a sorority in college on a whim, because everyone else in the freshman dorm was rushing…I didn’t even really know what I was doing, but am so thankful, because today some of my best friends are still from AXO!

4. Each summer throughout my childhood, my parents sent me to church camp. For a while, we attended Rawhide Ranch where we learned horse skills (what that had to do with the Bible, I’m not sure). At the end of the week, we had to do a “performance” of what we’d learned. I’d trained to show a pony named Elizabeth, but at the last minute they switched me to a donkey named Henny. As they announced, “Now here’s Jenny on Henny,” I wanted to cry.

5. I finished college in 3 years because I couldn’t wait to move to Washington, DC. My roommate Robin and I didn’t know each other that well, but I think we were both very excited to know someone, so we roomed together. She’s one of my dearest friends now and I’m the godmother to her children.

6. I used to love everything about politics…after working in the field for the last eleven years, I’m getting very apathetic. I think my political friends hope I’ll grow out of it.

7. I do public affairs for a large developer in LA. When I took the job, they asked me if I golfed - I said no, they said take lessons. Now, golf is one of my favorite things to do. And I have a badass wardrobe of pink golf attire…yes, I’m THAT girl on the golf course.

8. I love to read, and am a self-taught speed reader.

9. I’m also a blog stalker. If you tell me you have a blog, I’ll spend countless hours learning all about your life.

10. I have the cutest niece in the whole world. It’s really too bad you aren’t related to Grey-bug.

11. I’ve taken up photography and am OBSESSED. Do not be alarmed if there’s a lens in your face or if I offer to “practice” on you.

12. My uncle Jeff taught my cousin Jake and I to burp one day on the way home from the school bus. I remember that day in great detail. He was washing his car and probably wearing some horrific dolphin shorts.

13. And speaking of that school bus stop, when we were in kindergarten, the neighbors at the end of the street had a shady son who left some playboy calendars out in the bushes. All the kids flipped through them. I told my mom - I always ratted myself out, and then sent myself to my room.

14. My longest friendship has been with Elizabeth Anne Wade Grossman. Lisa came to my 5th birthday party and we’ve been friends ever since. She always cried during slumber parties and made her mom come pick her up. Don’t even ask about church camp…

15. I can’t hear the Indigo Girls without seeing Ashley Vaught Dixon sing that Juliet song into a hairbrush.

16. My cousin Carlee and I used to act out scenes from our favorite move, Nadia, on the jungle gym in the backyard. As we got older, we lip synced Milli Vanilli songs into pool sticks on top of the pool table…ironic, no? I’m pretty sure Uncle Craig didn’t like us standing up there much.

17. My college BFF, Emily, and I were roommates in the sorority house. One night, the phone rang really early or really late, and I swung my legs over the top bunk to jump down and answer it, just as Em stood up. I rode on her shoulders for roughly 4 seconds before we crashed to the ground. It’s one of my funniest memories.

18. I learned to waterski when my dad threw me into the Colorado River in November when I was 8. I wasn’t allowed to get back in the boat until I could ski. I cried and cried and cried because it was so freaking cold. I can still feel that cold water. Now, I love to slalom, but am super picky about glassy water…which usually means when my dad wakes me up at “ski thirty” and it’s dark out, I get up. Luckily, at that time in the morning, the water is usually warmer than the air.

19. I love to snowboard and have shocked myself how I’ve taken to it. I kinda thought I’d suck at it, but I have gotten pretty darn good, if I do say so myself. When I first learned in college, a male friend told me it was “like makin love to the snow.”

20. I love working with teenagers, and have volunteered at just about all the churches I’ve attended, with the exception of the one in college…I was usually too hungover to get up that early on Sundays.

21. I LOVE going winetasting…it’s a perfect way to enjoy friends, beautiful weather, amazing vino, and incredible views together.

22. I took my first dance class when I was 2 at Bonnie's Ballet Studio in Orange. I competed through high school and loved being on a team. My dance teacher in HS, Mrs. Smith had a profound impact on my life...I even wore my permed hair just like her. : ) Dance also gave me wonderful friendships...and I've enjoyed my mini-dance reunions!

23. My brother couldn’t pronounce Jenny when he was little, so he called me Shinny. I HATED IT and couldn’t understand why he just couldn’t get the “Je” part.

24. When I talk to my college friends or anyone from the south for more than a few minutes, I can hear the drawl come back. The phone call usually ends with a “byyyyyyyyyye” or a “thank youuuuuuuuuuuu.”

25. I’ve been a bridesmaid in 12 weddings and have helped with countless others. I’m a professional. I often thought about writing a book about my experiences, like the time when my Jim Hjelm couture bridesmaid dress caught on fire while I was wearing it, but then 27 Dresses came out. I probably never would have written the book, because at the end of the day…I’m lazy.

Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Best $15 Spent on DIY...This Month

If you're on a budget, please skip your crazy Starbucks orders this month, and run on over to the Depot (or Lowes or whatevs you got). Everyone needs to have a laser level! I bought one last weekend and in the past 10 days, I've used it a ton!

I used it to paint my groovy accent wall stripe.
I used it to rehang a curtain rod.
I used it to mount my headboard.
I used it to determine if my face was symmetrical.
It's not.

I was happy to spend this $15 because I'd been wanting one, but now that I've used it and seen it in action, I'm STOKED!

What tricks do you have up your sleeve that makes life easier? If you're looking for ideas and shortcuts, please pop over to and see what Kristen has got goin' on!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Tuesday Tool Talk...and I'm not referring to the tools I've dated.

A few years ago, my dad started buying me tools for Christmas...and I've started to amass a really good selection. Sure, some of the tools are totally foreign to me and I have NO IDEA what they're for, but others I've found to be quite handy!

Now, I've got to rat out my friend Clare who didn't even own a screwdriver before she married Matt! I couldn't believe that I had to bring my tools over one day to help her out with a shakey toilet because she didn't have a WRENCH, then I realized it wasn't all that uncommon for a chickadee to avoid the Depot (where I do some of my best flirting!).

In honor of all the gals who are intimidated by owning/buying their own tools, I decided to start a new feature - Tuesday Tool Talk - to go over some of the useful tools that a gal should own (or at the very least, some of the weird ones I have)!

Hmmmm, what are you teensy weensy lil screwdrivers???
I was always confused about these precision screwdrivers...two Phillips and two flathead...why are they so itty bitty? Then I realized I didn't care because they came in really freaking handy when I needed to get to itty bitty screws... when I upgraded the towel bars and toilet paper holder in the restroom!

And let me tell you where else these babies come in handy...
when your fab Fendi's get loose!

So, here's the moral of the story...don't be intimidated by tools; even if you don't know what they are for or when you'll find a use for them - eventually you WILL!
And as for the tools I've me, I've learned the moral of THAT story, too!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

DIY Diva: How to Change a Light Fixture

About a year ago, I was goaded into trying out one of those earth-friendly lightbulbs and I had every intention of changing out every bulb in my chateau (ehem, condo). However, I'm sad to say that the earth-friendly lightbulb SUCKED. It took forever to warm up and my entry way was always really dark and it felt kind of me gusta. Anyway, it wasn't that big of a deal because I knew I'd eventually switch out the fixture because, well, the light fixture I had was heinous.

U-G-L-Y you aint got no alibi, you UGLY, ya, ya, you ugly.

Being that the Oscars weren't fully holding my attention tonight, I got a wild hair and decided to switch out the light...and I'm glad I did because it only took me a few minutes! If you've got a nasty light and have been intimidated by the electricity, let me walk you through a couple of quick steps and assure you that YOU CAN DO IT!

First, go ahead and shut off the light...if you don't, don't go a blamin' me for the fancy new white streaks in your hair!

Next, go ahead unscrew the cap on the fixture. You can usually find small screws hiding in the rim on the base of the ceiling mount.

I realize this photo is fuzzy, but I thought it was important to show you how the wires get disconnected. Unscrew the yellow caps and then merely untwist the white wire from the white wire, and the black wire from the black wire. Genius, no?!

Now bring up your new fixture and repeat the last step, only THIS time, twist the white wire to the white wire and the black wire to the black wire. You're stunned by how poetic I am, huh?! Also, if your fixture happens to have a "grounding wire", that is a plain wire that doesn't appear to have any current on it, twist it to a plain wire in the ceiling. Don't worry if you don't have this... Also, be sure to cap off your "live" wires, the black and white, with those groovy yellow cappy-thing-a-ma-bobs. Finally, stuff all the wires up inside the can. Really, I'm so technical, I can't get over it.

Now you're ready to screw the base in. Your fixture should have holes in the right dimension of the can in the ceiling. Yep, the can people and the light fixture people planned it that way. It's idiot proof...because some of us ARE idiots...just ask my mother.

Now you're ready to screw on the globe to the mount. Yippee!

And because you've followed directions so well, you may now test out the power! Look Ma, it works. Guess I'm only an idiot when it comes to ordering fabric at Big Y Yardage (long story for another post)!!!

Now my entryway is PERFECT! I'm so glad the light fixture was an easy project because just yesterday, I found the exact console table I was looking for at HALF PRICE. Wahoo!!! Doesn't the entry look so welcoming now?!

And because I love it so much, here's a close up of the fab new console you look gorgeous swathed in the glow of the new light fixture!

As you can see, changing the light took minutes. The most important thing to remember is to shut off the light switch first. The second thing you need is a healthy dose of patience! You'll also need a ladder so you can get up close and would be far too tricky if I wasn't at eye level when I was twisting the wires.

This is the second light fixture I installed myself. A while back, I changed the light bar at my vanity. I stressed over that one big time, but it was a heavier fixture and I had issues holding it and doing the wiring at the same time...and it was summer and I was a HOT MESS. For a bigger project like that, I'd ask a friend or my Daddio to help if I had it to do all over again. Sometimes, we independent chicks could use a third hand. If that's the situation you're in, follow Mom's rule and "do what I say and not what I do!" : )

Saturday, February 21, 2009

Tool Talk Tuesday

Several years ago, my Daddio started buying me tools for Christmas...we all laughed, at first, but then I got really excited. This was the beginning of my DIY Diva lifestyle! Ever since, I've continued to add to my stash and every now and again, I help my girlfriends out with little projects around their homes! But, the point of Tool Talk Tuesday ISN'T for me to go do projects for my girlfriends, but to empower them to do it themselves!!!

Here are some fun Tool Talk Tuesday posts written by me and by those whose skills I really respect!!! If you have a favorite tool that YOU'D like to share with the class, please email me at!

Thursday, February 19, 2009

DIY Diva: Lost and Need YOUR Help!

I've been working on sprucing up my house...who am I kidding, this is a never-ending project because let's face it, I am obsessed. Anywhoooo, my main wall in the living room has always bored me. Sure, at Christmas time it gets a little sassier, but for the most part the wall above my TV is a blank canvas. I keep knocking around ideas like wallpapering with something graphic or putting up some artwork or who knows...

So, it's 9pm on Thursday night and guess what I'm doing??? Watching Grey's Anatomy, stalking blogs and pulling through a year and a half of Traditional Home, House Beautiful, and Oprah at Home. I have a HOT social life, don't I?!

Regardless of my rocking single life, I'd love your thoughts and suggestions, because I clearly don't have any CLUE what the heck I'm gonna do!

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

DIY Diva: How to fix a loose seat!

I've been slacking off on fixing something in my house lately that literally takes two seconds...and everytime I get near the problem it makes me crazy. It actually makes me think of a set of Elvis lips...see, DIY Diva is crazy!
The problem...the loose seat.

If you've got a loose seat, too, just flip open the latch on the wobbly side...
find the right size screwdriver, and tighten up the screw...
then flip the latch back down, and VOILA, you no longer have a loose seat!
See, an easy fix - because let's face it...nobody likes sitting on Elvis' lips...except for Sarah Simmons.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

DIY Diva: How to Paint an Accent Wall

UPDATD: Howdy to the Living with Lindsay readers!!! Thanks for stopping by!

JJ brought her first piece of art's a ceramic installation. What that means, I have no idea. Anywhoo, I showed my friend Barbie and she recommended that I hang it above my bed, but paint an accent color behind it so it "pops" more. I had been secretly thinking the same thing, but will let her win this one. This was a big project...a project for DIY DIVA!

Tips from DIY DIVA, purchase all your supplies and get them ready...large projects like this will take a couple of days and you'll need painters tape, a laser level, primer, paint, various screws and nails, and PATIENCE!

First, get you handy dandy laser level (mine cost me 15 bucks at the Depot) and tape off your stripes in about 18 inch segments. Don't go too long on the tape, otherwise it will be unruly to get straight lines and can be troublesome when it comes to pulling the tape off. **Idiot's note: move your headboard, 600-thread count sheets, etc, before you begin a painting project.

If you have textured walls, such as the JJ does, you'll need to go through by hand and get the tape into the grooves and crevices. This is a pain in the butt, but you'll be much happier later when you don't have leaks everywhere.

If you're painting a saturated color, like red, you'll want a primer with a tinge of color. Because I was using a deep red to match my pillows and drapes on the other wall, I got pink. Don't worry, I didn't paint my wall pink!
Once the primer is finished, pull the tape off. It's important to take the tape off while the paint is still wet...otherwise, the tape can pull off the dry paint and nobody wants that!
It's also important to not sleep next to a painty might have weird dreams due to the fumes. I slept in the living room on the aerobed. Hi Whoopi!

Now, it's time to put the tape back on and get start the real paint job! Go through the motions again and get the tape down into the dreaded lumps. Then, get your paint on! **Idiot's note: even though you've primed, don't expect your saturated color to go on perfectly the first time. I needed a couple of coats to get my red to the right color!

Make sure to paint the edges just as dark as the don't want to have blotchy sections. Another trick in fighting the "blotch" is to paint in Ws, rather than straight up and down...nobody likes lines in their paint jobs!

In spite of the fact you used tape, don't freak if it didn't work out I did. Instead, whip out your base color and smooth over the edges.

Once the paint is dry, it's time to pull out the laser level again to hang the art piece!

Ta Da - the finished product!!!

Hello, beautiful! Welcome to your new home....and Dear God, please let there never be a major earthquake again...especially while I'm sleeping. I love my dresses, but don't think I'd enjoy being conked in the head by one!