Upcoming {PGH} Summer Events!

We're inching closer to our official move date, but I wanted to take a few minutes to post an update amid the boxes. We've sold so many of our moving sale items {even some I didn't get the chance to list}. Honestly, it's still a little unreal. We've been in Lawrenceville for more than a year and a half now. It'll be fun getting to know our new neighborhood. 

On top of that, there are so many great things going on this summer in Pittsburgh, so I thought I'd do a round up of a few of my favorites. 

We've been a couple of times to the farmer's market off Butler in the Goodwill parking lot. It's super convenient, and always full of the prettiest vegetables. New folks and sometimes food trucks make appearances each week. {Saturdays from 12pm -4pm, now through October.}


{Over the Weekend} Moving Prep, Shop Love and Curried Shrimp

After a long week of this:
We needed a little of this:
Of Monsters and Men Concert on Wednesday Night
And this:
Friday Evening Happy Hour
Before trying to sell this:
and pack up the basement, attic, guest room, etc. {See Moving Sale updates here.} We spent Saturday and some of Sunday chatting with our Dad's for Father's Day, moving items to the storage area in our new apartment {more on this later}, and getting a few odds and ends for the move.
We stopped in The Strip District for a jar or two of spices for our Sunday night dinner, and were drawn into Roxanne's Dried Flower Shop
It's a wonderful shop to explore, and they sell everything from terrariums to arrangements. 
Yes, they have "fresh stuff".

What a lovely shop!
They have classes, too. If you want to learn how to make a terrarium, they're teaching a class this coming Thursday (6/27) from 6pm-8pm for $35. All supplies, lecture and light refreshments included. What a deal! Call 412.281.6950 to make your reservation.
We then made out way over to Shadyside to do some errands. Soba now has a patio area! These tables accompany their new space in the corner building. Who wants to go check it out with me?
We ended the weekend with a curry.
This is a peppercorn shrimp curry with a coconut milk sauce, from the 660 Curries cookbook. 
It features chunky peppercorns, tumeric, coconut milk, and curry leaves. Good stuff.
I served it with a saffron and cumin spiked polenta, reminiscent of shrimp and grits. Can't take the Southern out of the girl...
It made enough for class night dinners and lunches. Perfect.

{Peppercorn Shrimp with Coconut Milk}
Adapted from 660 Curries

2 T Ground Tumeric
6 garlic cloves, chopped
1 lb large shrimp
2 T canola oil
2 t Mustard Seeds
1 can light coconut milk
1/4 c fresh curry leaves
1 T lightly crushed peppercorns

Combine Tumeric and garlic in a resealable plastic bag, and add shrimp. Toss to coat, then marinate for at least 1 hour, but preferably overnight. Heat oil in a large skillet, add mustard seeds and cover. Let them pop for about 30 seconds, then add shrimp. Sear on each side for 30 seconds. Pour in coconut milk, curry leaves, peppercorns and salt. Cook for 1 minute for flavors to begin to meld, then removed shrimp to a warm plate. Continue to cook the sauce until reduced and thickened, 2-4 minutes. Arrange shrimp over rice or polenta, then spoon sauce over top. Serve!

How was your weekend? Did you get any relaxing time in with your Dad? 


{Currently Reading} Kingsolver, Fitzgerald, DFW & Gawande

It's time for another "Currently Reading" update! In an effort to not spoil any of the novels for you, I've hidden the remaining reviews after the jump. If you have no qualms reading revealing notes on The Lacuna, This Side of Paradise, The Broom of the System, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men and Complications, have no fear and read on!

The Lacuna {5 Stars}
I read Barbara Kingsolver’s The Lacuna as part of the newly formed Seestor Book Club, which first met in May 2013. My sister and I are the only members, and chose this book based on a recommendation from Seestor’s friend.  I was a bit cautious at first, as I hadn't read any of Kingsolver at that point. In truth, I had some notion that her books were just pop fiction, as they were always charted – even Oprah touted them as some of her favorites. It had to just be hovering above chick lit, right? Reading the first few pages of Kingsolver’s writing, I soon learned that this was completely false. Her imagery was so fitting for the story, scenes just came alive. "The mood of the fiesta was enclosed in a perfect square: four long lines of electric bulbs strung from posts at the corners, fencing out a bright piece of night just above everyone's heads." I felt as if I was accompanying the narrator, Harrison Shepard, through the avenues of the market.


{Travel} Chicago 2013, Part 2

Instead of studying for my Six Sigma quiz for Monday, I'm going to talk to you readers about Chicago. Yes, again. However, this will be the last post for this year's Chitown trip - I've run out of photos to upload. It's true.
Day Three
We started our last full day in Chicago with a coffee and a stroll through the Loop's parks. {This seems to be a trend.} One thing I didn't pick up on last time we were there in September was that Chicago certainly loves their planters. Truly. There are pops of gorgeous color all over the city, this time to welcome the warmer months. 
Case in point:

Not a planter but a tree, ok.
 What a glorious way to celebrate the change in the seasons. Unbearable cold, wintriness to bright sunny days with flora perfume in the air.


Follow Me on Bloglovin!

I'm not sure how you guys choose to read ADOS, but something new is now available -
Follow my blog with Bloglovin
I primarily use Google Reader {added through Google Friend Connect}, which is going away forever on July 1{sad day}, and if you do, too, please consider using and adding me to your Bloglovin'. Read on!

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Update: Some of my readers have had questions about how to make the transition from Google Reader to Bloglovin - no problem! It's super simple, and here are a few tutorials on how to do it:
Nutritionella's Tutorial
Drab to Fab Design's Tutorial

Also, a note: Google Friend Connect is likely being disabled on July 1, so it will disappear from my page. I hope to see y'all on Bloglovin!


{PGH Dining} La Vite Ristorante at La Casa Narcisi Winery

Husband and I desperately needed a date night a few weeks ago.
A coworker of mine {Hi, Cathy!} mentioned La Casa Narcisi Winery a few months ago as a potential date or girls night location, and I pulled that thought out of the depths to give it a try. A quick look at their Web site events page told me that we were in luck - it was jazz night at the winery. We made the scenic 25-minute drive from Upper Lawrenceville along Saxonburg Boulevard and turned onto Gibsonia Road to find a decent-sized winery to our left.


Civic Leadership

I am a proud wife.
Earlier last month, Husband graduated from a ten-week program on civic leadership in Pittsburgh. He got a chance to see behind-the-scenes of the city, and learn more about what makes Pittsburgh tick.  The program was designed to build up the base of civic leaders, thus empowering them to put their ideas, wishes, and hopes for the city into action. As the weeks went by, three class representatives were elected, and Husband was among those selected. Insert 'Proud Wife' comment. At the graduation ceremony, Husband was asked to give a speech detailing his time in the program. It's inspiring to me that there are those in our community that take the extra step to serve our residents better.

To his endless embarrassment, I've taken excepts from his speech and posted them here. I actually think it's quite good, and gives insight into his experience with the program.
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"You may have noticed from a certain twang in my voice that I may not be originally from Western PA. My wife and I relocated here about a year and a half ago from Texas, Dallas specifically (don’t worry we’re not Cowboys fans), for my job in the oil and gas business. Many of our relatives and a few friends were surprised when we told them that we were moving to Pittsburgh. They only remember the stories from the evening news during the 80’s of shuttered mills, pollution, and massive snow storms (which is a complete unknown that is 'greatly feared' by most Southerners). It seemed to them that we were making a mistake.

In their mind, with so many people over the past two decades making the opposite decision and heading to cities in the south (and particularly Texas), why would we move here? But, we saw Pittsburgh in a different light.

A city full of promise and potential. 

There are many great assets this city holds, not the least of which is its governing body which, as I have learned through the Civic Leadership Academy, provides a multitude of services even in times of tight budgets.

[This program] provided an amazing opportunity to see the city government from the inside out. We were presented with an overview of each major department, much like an executive would receive an overview of a new company, with the ability to dive further in our particular areas of interest with data and leadership contacts. Areas that I was principally keen on where the Department of City Planning and the Urban Redevelopment Authority (URA). Pittsburgh, given its diverse economy, population, and geography, has the potential of any city in America to outpace standard growth during the 21st century. In fact, it’s already doing just that. According to the Brookings Institute, Pittsburgh is one of only three metro areas in America to have fully recovered from the great recession.

The Department of City Planning and the URA lead the development of the city through a wide range of efforts including fostering private investment, public art, strategic planning, and zoning laws. If successful, the plans being run through these departments can provide significant benefits to the city, its citizens, and businesses. This includes improved infrastructure, good paying jobs, new green space, and environmentally conscience buildings which we can all enjoy the benefits of. The public/private partnership that the URA focuses on is an excellent example of how making the right investment at the right time and in the right location can provide huge dividends. The gentrification of the East Liberty and Lawrenceville neighborhoods are proof that this method works. As a citizen, it was so beneficial to be exposed to the inner workings of these and the other departments that we covered.

Being a part of the Civic Leadership Academy has been such a privilege, not only because of the knowledge that we have gained of our city government, but from a transplants perspective, it gave me the chance to get to know parts of the city that I haven’t heard of before. It’s my hope that the graduates of this Spring’s Civic Leadership Academy take our newly found knowledge of the city’s management back to our neighborhoods to make contributions and help educate our neighbors, relatives, and friends.
The Class Representatives
We as citizens, business owners, and community volunteers each have a role to play in our community, and with the education we received through the Civic Leadership Academy and the Mayor’s office, we can make a significantly greater difference.

Congratulations to everyone and it’s been a pleasure going on this journey with you.

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Congratulations, Husband! I'm proud of your achievements and commitment to the greater good. Looking forward to what this program may have sparked within you.

You can learn more about Pittsburgh's Civic Leadership Academy here


{Over The Weekend} Pan-Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Almonds

We ended this past weekend of cleaning, baseball games and much-needed Skype dates with a chicken dish {and subsequent leftovers}. I found the recipe for Pan-Roasted Chicken with Carrots and Almonds in the May 2013 issue of Bon Appetit magazine, and the photos drew me in.
Finished Recipe
It's a good summer dish, as it marries honey and leafy tarragon with the roasting of the almonds and carrots, effectively caramelizing them. But, that caramelization all happens before you make the delicious pan sauce.
Pan, in my case, meaning cast iron skillet. The chicken simply sears in the skillet, then is tossed into the oven to finish cooking.
Look at that skin, y'all.
Everything fit onto a big platter, so we served ourselves from there. I served the chicken and carrots with herbed red potatoes. As for the two other pieces of chicken, my plans are to shred them and make Ina Garten's Chicken Veronique with extra tarragon. Wine Choice: Pinot Gris.