Miss New Foodie 3/52 & 4/52

by Maggie Griffin


There's a whole-lotta yum happening around the Griffin house these days. This is the most fun project I have ever challenged myself with and I am so happy that I have stuck to it this first month! On week 3 of the year, my new ingredient was determined by what I was craving--Orange Chicken. I wanted to try and make this Chinese Take-Out staple myself and the ingredient list provided me with my new items. 

There are so many types of vinegar... Even at the end of this year, I'm not sure if I will be able to detect which one is used in different recipes and dressings, and to be honest, I'm not really sure that it matters...but I'm sure Gordon Ramsey and all the Masterchef Juniors would tell me otherwise. So far, I have bought Apple Cider Vinegar, White Wine Vinegar, Red White Vingera, and the Rice Vinegar above. Let me know if you use those in any of your favorite recipes/dressing recipes...and let me know if you can TRULY tell the difference. 

For the Orange Chicken, my new ingredients included Rice Vinegar and Sriracha Sauce. I found my recipe on Pinterest, of course. Try it yourself. That girl from 'Damn Delicious' never does me wrong. This was so yummy. Does this not look like restaurant (read: Panda Express) quality? 

MOVING ON...

I have been so thrilled about week 4's ingredient. I am not sure why I haven't tried this before, but I have now and my life is better for it. THE POMEGRANATE. Who knew seeds/arils could be this delicious? 

I did my research on this little guy. I found out the best way to de-seed it without making a mess, though I ended up doing that anyway. And the best recipe to use him in. Once again, I turned to my web-buddy, Pinterest to find a recipe suitable to my liking and to this ingredient's tastes. I found this Pomegranate Pear Salad with Creamy Pomegranate Recipe and knew that I had found a winner. 

I used 3 different pom products--the pom itself, pom greek yogurt, and pom juice. I also used Sweet Red Chili Sauce, another new ingredient, as part of the dressing. Whoa! This is a twofer post featuring two weeks where I featured two new ingredients-WOO!

I am still on pomegranate week...so, tell me....

how do you enjoy this amazing fruit??


Miss New Foodie 2/52

by Maggie Griffin


Look at this thing! How could I ever pass it up in the grocery store aisle?

I never saw eggplants in my house as a kid, and I have always glossed over "eggplant" when reading menus, so I knew that this veggie had to make my #missnewfoodie list.  

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I did know I was going to make the classic Eggplant Parmesan, but I didn't know what I was going to find when I cut inside. The eggplant is so light, I thought it might be hollow. Spoiler...it wasn't! When I approach new recipes, I always turn to Martha first, and she did not disappoint with this baked version.   It was such an easy recipe...and delicious! 

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This might easily become a classic in the Griffin house! Tastes like lasagna...without meat and noodles...with the mysterious eggplant taste! Winner, winner, eggplant dinner! 

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I bought two, so what should I do next? 


December Daily Wrap Up

by Maggie Griffin


In December 2013, I came across a scrapbooking project by Ali Edwards called Daily December via the bloggers of A Beautiful Mess. I knew that I wanted to start my own December Daily project to celebrate this past holiday season and the days leading up to Christmas. And since I just got around to finishing...I thought I would share it with you all!

I loved having an excuse to buy paper goods and glitter stickers, and I loved thinking more about what moments I wanted to capture and remember throughout the years. I can't wait to see my collection of these little books grow and grow and include all the memories that we dream of having. I definitely want to find more ways to collect and record our memories during the non-holiday seasons of the year, so...

How do you record memories? Let me know! 


Miss New Foodie

by Maggie Griffin


I found you, Miss New Foodie. Get it together and bring it back to me. 

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Did you read our resolutions post? This year I am going to make an effort to try new things by setting forth on a new culinary adventure each week, selecting one new food item to cook or bake with. This week, I picked Tomatillos! 

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I first heard about these little green tomatoes in 8th grade from my middle school Spanish teacher, but I never dared to get one while grocery shopping. But yesterday, I picked out three little guys and made creamy tomatillo dressing to use in avocado chicken burritos...meaning I doubled up on pins from Pinterest, and recipes with avocados. Give it up for healthy fats! Am I right, Dr. OZ?!

I am excited to make this dressing more often.... using it as a dip, on salads, in quesadillas, on enchiladas & etc... and to try using tomatillos in other ways this week!  Do you know of any good ways to use tomatillos?? Let me know! 

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What uncommon ingredients do you love? I want to hear from you on what I should be trying...below is my brainstorming list...tell me how you use these ingredients or if you have things you think I should try! 

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Keep up with my culinary adventures this year by checking out #missnewfoodie on instagram!


2015 Goals...Ready, Set, Go!

by Maggie Griffin


Resolution writing...people have such mixed feelings about this! Neither Byron nor I are the kind to wake up on January 1st, goals already made, ready to begin the new year as new people. We don't put pressure on ourselves or serve as the Resolution Police for one another. But, we do like to reflect on ourselves and our lifestyle and make some goals as to how to live and be better versions of ourselves in the new year. Below, we have shared our written resolutions (I forced Byron to write his...), because writing it down makes it more likely to happen! 

Do any of ours resonate with you? Do you want to share in any of the challenges we have set for ourselves? I'd love to see how some of you interpret these into your routines and families! 

Here are some of the things we hope to accomplish together:

  • Share our life more through this blog...as I was writing our 2014 review, I was disappointed in how little I shared! Hoping to share more this year!
  • Have more meaningful conversations around the dinner table...we often sit down together and share our dinners, but we tend to have Wheel-of-Fortune on in the background. Sorry, Pat and Vana...we've got some talking to do!
  • Save, save, and save more! At the end of last year, we discussed how we'd like to be more fiscally responsible. We should be millionaires by the end of this year. 
  • Exercise our dogs more! Poor pups...we let them run in our large backyard, but they need more than that, and we are determined to give it to them!
  • Host more gatherings at our house...when we both started new jobs, we let our social life slide...time to bring it back. Game night, anyone?

Those are the major goals we hope to pursue together this year!
Tell us: what are you hoping to do, learn, make, create, or be this year?


2014: Year in Review

by Maggie Griffin


As always, this year has both flown by and dragged on. When I think back to January it seems like forever ago and just yesterday. Time baffles me, and still, here we are again celebrating the countdown of 2014 as a new year, shiny and bright, arrives. Byron and I are full of resolutions this year, but before we get to those, here are our highlights of this year. 

To offer you this report of our year, I am jogging my memory with iPhone photos, so this will be a chronological review, rather than sorting by importance, most memorable, or favorites. Here we go!

JANUARY //

Byron started his first job after graduating in Dec 2013! (SPOILER ALERT: he also left his first job this year and started his second.) I began creating a healthy living cookbook for patients at Waco health clinics, for my work with Community HealthCorps, a division of AmeriCorps. This was one of my proudest accomplishments from that job. We also kicked off a revamped second semester of hosting a community group at our house,  which provided us with meaningful friendships and great conversation. We got into our 2014 groove.

FEBRUARY //

February was all about love...of animals. I rescued a pup from the streets of Waco, named her Sochi, and gave (sold) her to my older sister on Valentine's day. Her name was obviously inspired by the Olympics which we enjoyed watching this month, and the Olympics inspired our White Russian obsession, which made a return in December.

Byron and I celebrated our wise decision of not keeping that puppy with a delicious meal at Homestead Heritage in Waco, one of the best meals of our year. We then rushed into another rescue animal situation when Byron brought home two turtles from the Waco wetlands. I enjoyed naming them Teeny and Tiny. That was the end of my enjoyment of the turtles. I don't even call myself a turtle mom. Byron cares for them, and they are satisfied.

During the shortest month of the year, I was busy with my side project, magpiewrites, working on items for a show the following month. I had lots of fun and explored new possibilities, which is hope becomes a theme of 2015 for me. My bestie, Kaytlyn visited and brought enough joy into my life to last the year. This was the only time we saw each other this year, and that is by far the worst thing of this year. 

Though the turtles were a fun thing from B's work, he was slowly but surely discovering that lab work was not for  him. 

MARCH // 

March kicked off with a weekend in Dallas for my 2nd handmade craft show, hosted by my in-laws mortgage company. It was extremely fun and I made some great connections! It is always nice to have people confirm that you are indeed doing what you hope you are -- creating something beautiful.

March was also an amazing month for my hair. I jumped on that ombré bandwagon, and it am not looking back. 

This month we celebrated Byron's 24th birthday! It fell on a Tuesday, which had become our trivia night at a local pub. I brought brownies and we made it a mini party with our close friends. 

It appears not much else happened, because there are lots of meaningless selfies with the dogs in March.

APRIL // 

Another month, another weekend in Dallas. This time, Byron bought a road bike and took up cycling as a passion and it stuck! 

I also began something new, which is now a huge part of my life, @magpiewrites365, a daily project where I create and sell an original calligraphy piece.

We quit trivia, because some professors and old folks were dominating and leaving  no chance for us youngins to even have fun, and took to bowling instead!  

Byron's dislike for his work was taking a big toll on both of us, and we began to dream of different possibilities. We found a short-lived passion in donut making in April and invested in a fryer and dreamt up different icing options. Every once in a while we still dream of our donut shop, but it did not become a reality this year. 

MAY //  

We did it!  We hit our one year anniversary! Yay marriage! We celebrated by returning to our rehearsal dinner spot and our first date spot, and thawing and eating our cake with friends! We love love! It is fun to be young and in love, and we are lucky and blessed to have what we have, and we are super grateful.

We celebrated cinco de mayo! 

We went to Dallas a lot!  We went to Dallas some more! (This month began a 14 weekend streak of going to Dallas...phew!) 

We ended this month with a trip to the George W. Bush Presidential Library & Museum with my parents, in Dallas, of course. That place is awesome--go! 

JUNE //  

Byron made the decision to leave his job and pursue alternative teaching certification (SPOILER ALERT: he is a teacher now).

I kept on keeping on and explored teaching calligraphy classes with a practice class of 2, it was so fun, and definitely something I am thinking about doing in 2015. 

June was ALL ABOUT Nantucket, the trip we eagerly await each year. For a complete review, click here.

JULY // 

Byron and I both had extremely lax schedules. He was not working, but was studying to take his content test for teaching, and I was wrapping up my last month of service with Community HealthCorps. We were hitting up Dallas every weekend, and our weeks in Waco felt like short pauses between the fun. 

At the end of the month, we took a road trip with the Jones' to celebrate the now Hollers' wedding shower in Tulsa. Friends are fun and we are thankful for such fun times this year!  

AUGUST // 

Byron and I both had secured new jobs that began this month! He was offered an elementary teaching position at Lake Air Montessori Magnet, and I was offered a part time position at Baylor with the Spiritual Life department doing some PR/graphic/social media work. 

We slowed down our Dallas weekends and were able to extend our pause in Waco and make it our main location again. Byron busied himself with preparing his classroom and I kept working at expanding my side project to make it a better income supplement.  

We also decided to start looking at houses in Waco to purchase. (SPOILER ALERT: we renewed our houses' lease through May 2015.)  Then we came to our senses and realized that two new jobs don't mix with moving. 

We ended this month with Byron's first day of school and my 24th birthday (in Dallas)! 

SEPTEMBER //  

September is a busy month in the life of two people working by an educational institution's calendar.  The typical beginning of the school year push of activities proved true for both of us, and we were quickly adjusting to our new positions. We worked hard and rested harder and made the most of our downtime! 

OCTOBER // 

We celebrated our favorite little person's birthday at the beginning of this month, hosted a gathering of young professionals at our house for a game night, and traveled to Chicago to be a part of our friend's wedding party! October was very special and it event by fast, but we still had time to dress up and serve at a local community center's Halloween event.  

NOVEMBER //  

At the beginning of November, we celebrated the birth of our new niece! We weren't able to meet her right away, but we did later in the month--she is too cute to handle.  

I had my second craft show of the year, and worked hard on making lots of festive holiday goods...I had a wonderful and successful time and the ladies of my family drove down to see my new collection! 

Perhaps my biggest accomplishment of domesticity occurred--I brined and cooked  a turkey for our church's Thanksgiving lovefeast and it was AMAZING. Soon after, we celebrated Thanksgiving with our families. We are extremely grateful that our families live close enough that we can spend time with both during the holidays! 

DECEMBER // 

The second we returned to Waco after Thanksgiving, I broke out the holiday decorations a and turned our home into a winter wonderland. We kicked off December with gingerbread pancakes and I decided to take part in December Daily, a scrap booking project that helps you record the days leading up to Christmas. I'll share more of December when I do a post on that book.

We also took our friends' kiddos to Waco wonderland, went to a few Christmas parties,  and attended a choir concert at Byron's school. Then we headed home for the holidays! 

2014 was grand.


2015, what do you have in store?
We can't wait to see!