Sunday, July 14, 2013


It's official - after two bachelorette parties in Nashville, I can confidently declare it the Vegas of the Midwest. If Nashville's tourism office hasn't jumped on that marketing ploy, they are seriously missing out.

My dear friend Ally - who got married yesterday!! - decided Nashville was the perfect place for us to celebrate her impending nuptials, and surrounded by sorority sisters, we had a blast. Here's a brief look at our weekend in country music's home.

The Lone Lauren Rapp

My beautiful sister-in-law is married! And has been for a month - I'm just super behind!  I still hope to share pictures from their adorable rehearsal dinner, but we shall see at this rate. Yeesh!

However, her wedding means I am now the sole Lauren Rapp, a very strange place to be in! For the past three years, Lauren graciously shared her name with me everywhere - home, family events, CVS, doctor offices, you name it. I'm sure that's not every sister-in-law's dream, but I couldn't have shared it with anyone better.

The wedding was absolutely gorgeous and a complete blast. The entire day and evening was so filled with love and joy, and it was beautiful to behold. Lauren and Ryan are such a wonderful couple, and everything about their big day was elegant and stunning! Since I'm so behind, I won't get into too much description, but I'm sharing a few pictures from her big day.

Congratulations, Lauren! And, welcome to the family, Ryan!

See some of my favorite photos from the wedding, below!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Vegetarian Mexican Casserole

I promised I had some more new recipes ahead! This one came together as I was attempting to use all the remaining produce and pantry items before leaving for Chicago. I wanted to leave with John with plenty of freezer meals to get him through the summer. I saw this recipe for stuffed pepper casserole on Jourdan's blog, and it inspired me to put my own casserole together.

Not only is this dish packed with veggies and great flavor, it'a breeze to make and absolutely delicious! You can easily substitute other veggies - or even add ground turkey - and really make this your own. John and I both agreed this was a light, yet satisfying, take on Mexican food. I was quite tempted to take some with me, but I left it for my sweet hubby. Lucky for me, he's worth it. :)

Vegetarian Mexican Casserole
Recipe by Call Me Mrs. Rapp
Serves 4-8, depending on portions
{Bonus: It freezes and reheats very well!}

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Moroccan Salmon Salad

Yikes! This recipe is from May - still editing photos, eek! - but it's a great to time to share it. The flavors are so unexpected and refreshing! Such a great meal to kick off your week, and so very simple to do. Thanks to Jourdan for posting this, and for Ally, who gave her the original recipe!

Moroccan Salmon Salad
Recipe by Whole New Mom, via Jourdan Leigh in the Kitchen
Serves 2

Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Where to Begin?!

Hello! I can hardly believe it's been so long since my last post. As the school year came to a close, I found myself with multiplying to do lists, and editing photos and writing photos fell to the bottom of that list.

So...where to begin?
I can honestly say that this year has been filled with so many challenges, yet even more blessings. It's hard to put into words how much I grew professionally, spiritually and relationally. The challenges led me to trust in God and His plans, even when I could not always see or understand His purpose.

I know my struggles often come back to control - plans, reactions, events, circumstances, and, my own path. However, I could feel that God was trying to rid me of that burden, as it never really belonged to me to begin with. Though enormously difficult to do, especially at first, I felt more free with each baby step. I walked by faith and not by sight, and I felt more peace and perspective than I had in a long time.

Once I stopped waiting and longing for things on my time, my little family was overwhelmingly blessed. A year ago, John made an admirable and brave decision to leave dental school. He knew in his heart that a career in dentistry wouldn't fulfill him, and he decided to pursue a career he was passionate about. His perseverance and faith during that time is indescribable. Even when I struggled, he would remind me that he hadn't given up hope. And his faith was rewarded when in one week he was offered not one, but two positions in his field of choice - finance.

As we celebrated his accomplishments and diligence, I learned I was selected as an Education Policy and Advocacy Fellow through Leadership for Educational Equity. I was thrilled by this opportunity, but nervous as it meant I would spend the summer in Chicago without my little family. John's unwavering support and encouragement led me to accept the summer fellowship and venture back to the Windy City.

I had faith that my living arrangements would work out - as hard as it was for me to not return to worrying or fretting. God provided - again! - and an amazing opportunity from a generous friend brought me to one of the best addresses in Chicago.

I miss John and Hoosh terribly, but I was fortunate enough to see them both the last two nights, as John was in Chicago for some business meetings. I'll be able to see them every weekend until the end of my fellowship, and I know we will get through this short time apart. If we managed to date long-distance for two years, we can make it two months. When we have a lifetime together, eight weeks is but a blink.

I'm in my second week of the fellowship, and I am loving my work. I can't go into details just yet, but I can say that it combines my passion for education and my background in communications. I hope to share more as the summer progresses, but I have lots of other posts to catch up on before then - weddings, bachelorette parties, recipes, gift ideas and more!

Stay tuned, and, if you made it through this wordy post, thanks for reading!

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Indy 500 Fun

Hey there, friends! It's almost the end of the school year, and I'm feeling my usual sadness at getting ready to say goodbye to my little ones. I have so many new posts and recipes to share, yet I am completely distracted by needing bid farewell to my students.  It still amazes me how each class is so different, yet beautiful in its own way.

Anyhoo...after an awesome field day, I came home and needed some quiet time to process. John graciously gave it to me, and I felt inspired to finally finish and publish a new post. So, here's a quick recap of our Indy 500 weekend!

Saturday began with a mini Alpha Phi reunion. Our dear friend and sorority sister, Annie, was in town from Colorado, and we all got together for a brunch that lasted until nearly 7 p.m.  It was just too hard to part sooner!

Ally, Rachael, Annie, Me, Swade and Linds

After our late brunch, John and I drove Annie back to the 500 lots, where she was camping out with her dad and older brothers. It was her dad's 50th race in a row (!), and we stayed to enjoy some quality time around their campfire. I hadn't been in that lot since I camped out for the 500 in 2006, when it was a record-high temperature and unbearably hot. This time I was able to enjoy the night and atmosphere!

Race day was cool, yet oh-so-refreshing! I spent time with John's family, as well as with Annie, and I couldn't have been happier.

It's "Christmas" for this handsome guy!

Annie and I for a mid-race meet up outside the Pagoda

Race fun

Kisses for my love

To top it off, our favorite driver, Tony Kanaan, won the race! Little bit of a "toot-toot", a couple years ago TK actually replied to some of my tweets! John was so impressed, and I think it earned me wife points for years to come. I dug through to find the tweets, and put the screen shots together as proof.

{My lawyer-filled family and justice-seeking first graders have clearly rubbed off on me.}

Friday, May 24, 2013

Salmon w/ Dijon Cream Sauce + Garlic Butter Breadcrumbs

If you liked this Tilapia with Toasted Basil Butter Breadcrumbs, you will most definitely like this modified salmon version. I've made another version of Salmon with Creamy Dijon sauce, but today's recipe absolutely outshines it. There are a few extra steps and a few different ingredients, but it is so worth it. This salmon was creamy and packed with flavor. Served alongside some sauteed zucchini, and you have a fabulous meal. Cheers!

Salmon w/ Dijon Cream Sauce + Garlic Butter Breadcrumbs
Recipe adapted from How Sweet Eats, via Jourdan Leigh in the Kitchen
Serves 2; can be easily multiplied

Thursday, May 16, 2013

Caramelized Veggie, Prosciutto and Alfredo Pizza

One of John and my favorite things to do is make our own pizza. We've tried a million different combinations, and I try to share some of our favorites. This definitely makes the cut, and is packed with veggies, creamy sauce and golden cheese. John loves anything with prosciutto, so that's just an added bonus!

The best thing about making your own pizza is that you can do just about whatever you want. Sometimes my combinations aren't winners, but most of the time I'm pleasantly surprised by the results. Have fun and share any good pizzas with me, please!

Caramelized Veggie, Prosciutto and Alfredo Pizza
Recipe by Call Me Mrs. Rapp
Yields 1 pizza 

Wednesday, May 15, 2013

Bruschetta Chicken + Balsamic Glaze

Inspiration struck the other day. I looked into the fridge, trying to decide what to make with the ingredients in front of me. I spied chicken, cheese, garlic, tomatoes and basil. What else would I make but chicken bruschetta? Never having made chicken bruschetta - let alone bruschetta, period - I used what I had and went loosely off the method for stuffing and cooking chicken in this post.

The result was so, so good! It oozed freshness, and I quite literally gobbled mine down. It was altogether quite simple to make, too. I would definitely recommend this for new cooks, as its simple yet looks pretty darn fancy! The balsamic glaze really added something special to the dish, and it saves well, so don't skip out on it.

Side note: balsamic glaze is merely a fancy way of saying you boiled and simmer balsamic vinegar for 20-30 minutes. Pretty sweet.

Bruschetta Chicken
Recipe by Call Me Mrs. Rapp
Serves 2; can be easily multiplied

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Crispy Avocado BLT Salad

I'm going to keep this short and sweet, much like this recipe. Crispy Avocado is fantastic. And easy. And going to be making many appearances in the coming months, thanks to this amazing salad. The drizzle and dressing compliment all the tasty treats in this perfectly. The entire salad came together in less than 15 minutes. Do yourself a favor, and put this on your list to make this week!

Crispy Avocado BLT Salad
Recipe by soufflebombay, via Tasty Kitchen
Serves 2

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Thai Turkey Burgers

It should be no surprise that Jessica created a turkey burger that I actually loved. I found it especially ironic that I stumbled upon this tasty treat right after I proclaimed that I only like beef burgers in this post. Isn't that the story of life?

Anyhoo, If you're on the hunt for a really flavorful and satisfying turkey burger, then this is definitely the recipe for you. I completely forgot to take pictures along the way, but if you check out my other Thai recipes (links below), you should find some more pictures to help you. Cheers!

Thai Turkey Burgers 
Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is 
Yields 4 burgers 

Monday, May 6, 2013

Fuchsia Flash at Bluebeard

Happy Monday! I have a feeling this month will FLY by, thanks to several events planned for each weekend of the month. It will be June before I know it!

John and I had such a fun weekend! We had friends over Friday, tried a new restaurant, saw Iron Man 3, caught up on much-needed sleep, and ended the weekend with a great dinner with John's family. Instead of sharing every detail, I want to make sure you know about a fun new-to-us restaurant in Fountain Square (for you Indy people!).

John and I had about eight friends over Friday night for a few beverages and appetizers. It was a nice way to start our evening, while waiting for our table to be ready! From our apartment downtown, we headed to Bluebeard, a unique and fun restaurant in Fountain Square. According to this Indy Star piece, it's one of Indy's top 50 restaurants to try!

The restaurant had a great vibe and a very eclectic menu. John and I opted to share the mussels and scallops. At $16 each, the dishes are a bit pricey. I would highly recommend the mussels if you're looking for a good "bang for your buck." John and I easily could have split them, though I highly enjoyed my {2} scallops.

Mussels | Scallops (only 2!)

Our table was filled with laughs, stories, and debates about the best shows on TV currently. {No clear winner!}

Linds and I even discovered we had the same lipstick {Fuchsia Flash by Maybeline}, and we even got Swade in on the party. We had some major photo issues, and fortunately for me, John has learned to take several shots to ensure there's at least one I like. I married a smart one!

John and I had a wonderful evening with friends, and I'd highly recommend the restaurant to anyone looking for an eclectic menu, relaxed atmosphere and excellent service. Thanks to Moyer for coordinating this wonderful night! Cheers!

Friday, May 3, 2013

Southwestern Steak Salad

I have a fantastic and fast recipe to share with you today. As a former salad-hater, I understand the "meh" feeling that can come from seeing a recipe for rabbit food (or, "cow food", to my dear husband!). However, I learned that the key is to include lots of colorful ingredients and whip up an easy, homemade dressing. I promise, it makes all the difference!

The dressing on this salad is unbelievable and was so surprising. It is a bit spicy, but you can turn down the heat by reducing or omitting the canned chipotle chiles. I have terrible heartburn, but this salad was so good I couldn't help but dig in. This would be great for a relaxing night at home or for entertaining a group. Enjoy!

Southwestern Steak Salad
serves 2-4

Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Tilapia with Toasted Basil Butter Breadcrumbs

+ Angel Hair Pasta with Garlic White Wine Sauce

Or, as John and I called it, the tastiest tilapia we have yet to encounter...Seriously.

I've always enjoyed tilapia, but I've never had it like this. It was rich, flavorful, decadent and absolutely fantastic. In spite of that adjective overload, I'd use more if I could. I will hands-down make this again. I really think it would be a great dish for company, and hopefully I will have the chance to do that soon!

While the ingredients and preparation instructions may appear, at first, a bit lengthy, I assure you this is very doable for the average cook. I highly suggest combining the tilapia with the pasta and sauce listed below (and pictured!). They come together easily, including preparation timing. Enjoy!

[I adapted the tilapia from Jessica at How Sweet It Is and the pasta sauce from My Bizzy Kitchen (and one of my most popular posts).]

Tilapia with Toasted Basil Butter Breadcrumbs + 
Angel Hair Pasta with Garlic White Wine Sauce
Recipes adapted from How Sweet It Is and My Bizzy Kitchen
Serves 2 to 4

Monday, April 29, 2013

Shopping for a Cause

John woke me up Saturday morning with a proposition I never thought possible: shopping. What, pray tell, inspired my sweet hubby to eagerly offer to accompany and encourage this trip? A great event, with a truly wonderful cause: Pink Label event.

John read an Indy Star article about the Pink Label event, learning it offers designer and popular name designs at significant discounts during a 2-day event, with all proceeds benefiting the Caroline Symmes Endowment for Pediatric Cancer Research through the Riley’s Children’s Foundation. And, with that, we headed out for a bit of Saturday shopping.

While I'm sure most of the big-ticket items were grabbed the first day, we managed to snag some amazing deals during our little trip. I stopped at the accessories table almost immediately. I snagged a bangle bracelet I spied at Nordstrom recently, and it was a steal at $8. I also grabbed a four-piece bangle set for a whopping $2.

As we walked around the space, I spotted some great Cole Haan shoes for John. While they were a tad bit big, John was happy to get a deal ($20!) on some comfy - and quality! - shoes that will be perfect for summer.

I'm a big hat lover. A table full of adorable caps drew my attention. Especially, this sassy number. At retail, the hat values at $150. However, thanks to this event, I walked away with it for $15. That, I can do!

Before leaving, John and I returned to the accessories table. I picked up a lovely turquoise cross necklace for $5, and a pair of gold and peach earrings for $5.

In total, we spent $55. We walked away with some steals and deals, but we also left feeling really good about the money spent and the cause it served.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Cheeseburgers + Dijon Aioli

In the last year, John and I cut out a lot of red meat from our diet. I almost always substitute ground turkey, and we haven't felt deprived. The only time I really want actual beef? Burgers. I know turkey burgers can be great, but I usually crave a burger, burger.

As soon as I saw this recipe I knew I wanted to play around with it. John asked me to try incorporating mushrooms a bit more - I'm not a huge fan - and I thought this recipe seemed like good baby steps. I broke down the steps below, so you can feel free to omit, add or play around with the toppings however you'd like.

I loved how the arugula, cheeses and dijon aioli complemented the burger. The whole thing had a "fancy" feel to it, and I'll definitely make these again, especially with summer weather on the way. If you're looking for a fresh burger idea, this is definitely the one for you. Cheers!

Cheeseburgers + Dijon Aioli
Recipe adapted from How Sweet It Is
Yields 4 burgers

Wednesday, April 24, 2013


Also known as, my sister-in-law Lauren's bachelorette party in Nashville!

This weekend was an absolute blast! I could not have had a better time celebrating the beautiful bride-to-be with her aunts, my mother-in-law and fellow bridesmaids. Here's a glimpse into our fabulous bachelorette weekend. Congrats, Lauren!!

After a long drive from Indy, we arrived at our hotel and quickly went for dinner.

Bride and her bridesmaids!

We opted to stay in Friday night, as we had a very busy day Saturday, beginning with a tour of the Grand Ole Opry. I really enjoyed the tour, and that's coming from someone who doesn't listen to country music regularly. Though I do love the show Nashville!

Name twins!
The gang (minus Leslie, who graciously took the picture!)
The famous circle!
Bridesmaids and Bride on stage
Rayna's dressing room on Nashville! Loved seeing this one!

After the tour we went on a historic Nashville pub crawl, complete with trivia, ghost stories, fun facts and history about the city. It was a great way to see more of Nashville and actually learn a few things too!

First stop!
The bachelorette with her special hat and veil!
End of the pub crawl (and with the other group of girls who went on it with us)!

We returned to the hotel after our pub crawl to get ready for the evening. We played bachelorette games, ate tons of food and snacks, and then went out to celebrate our bride. Lots of dancing and laughing ensued, and it was a perfect way to round out our day. 

Beautiful bride with beautiful mom and aunts!
Rapp ladies!
Maid of Honor, Bride and Matron of Honor

"Love" it!
Dancing queens!

After breakfast Sunday morning we journeyed back to Indy. It was a perfect weekend, and I can't wait for Lauren's wedding in less than two months! We love you!

On a side note, I have to give a HUGE shout out to my sweet hubby who has been beyond thoughtful this week. He ran all my errands and picked up dinner Monday night so that I could focus on unpacking and getting the house back in order (I'm a spaz!). Then I came home yesterday from a long day, and he had cleaned the entire kitchen, including hand-washing all the pots and pans that I'd neglected for a few days. To top it off, he went out last night and got me a McFlurry because my heartburn was unusually bad. Very blessed girl over here, who is oh-so-thankful for her hubby. Men...take note! :)

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Crispy Baked "Fried" Chicken Drumsticks


This easily tops the list of favorite new creations. When I saw that Trader Joe's had packages of 6 drumsticks on sale for $2.40, I grabbed them and set out to create an easy, healthy and cheap meal. We couldn't believe how much these drumsticks tasted like real fried chicken (minus the grease!) and how flavorful and crispy they were. Served with a simple side of asparagus, this was a very satisfying meal. I will definitely make these again!

Crispy Baked "Fried"Chicken Drumsticks
Recipe adapted from Cat Cora and my Crispy Baked "Fried" Chicken
Yields 6 drumsticks

Friday, April 12, 2013

Herbed Ricotta Spread with Toasted Bread

A quick note: This was one of my very first blog posts, almost two years ago to the day. I looked back over it recently and noticed some of the awful pictures. So, I decided to reshoot some finished pictures and then repost this. It's a versatile and oh-so-simple recipe. I hope you enjoy!

I was inspired to make this after viewing my good friend Jourdan's blog. She served this with an amazing vegetable soup with chicken and cheese tortellini, which I immediately tried and loved. Jourdan used Jimmy John's loaves while I grabbed a loaf of French bread while I was at the store. This was delicous with the soup, but John and I have enjoyed it with so much more. We love this as an afternoon snack - with crackers! - or with any simple dinner. The best part is the that by using a low-fat ricotta cheese you have a filling and healthy snack/meal addition! :)

Herbed Ricotta Spread with Toasted Bread
Recipe via Jourdan Leigh in the kitchen
Easily serves many people or just a few 

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Simple Spring Skillet

How's that for some alliteration? A big thank you to my middle school English teacher, Mrs. Pepe, who introduced me to Greek and Roman mythology, metaphors, similes and alliteration, which is easily my favorite literary element.

In fact...confession time... I secretly hoped I'd marry someone who had a last name ripe with alliteration opportunities for future children. Unfortunately, I've yet to find many "R" names I'm crazy about. I suppose a great husband is better than a name. :)

Back to this dish! This meal came together as I attempted to use all the produce in the fridge before it spoiled. Fortunately for me, it was a great success! I heard "yummm!" coming from table before I sat down, and I quickly snapped a couple pictures at John's insistence. We absolutely loved the lightness and freshness of this meal. Hopefully you will, too!

Simple Spring Skillet
Recipe by Call Me Mrs. Rapp
Serves about 4, depending on portions

Sunday, April 7, 2013

{Slow-Cooker} Bolognese Sauce

I have loved bolgonese sauce since I was little. I ordered it whenever we ate at California Pizza Kitchen, so it's surprising this is the first time I've attempted it myself. It was worth the wait, though, as this recipe was so, so good! I made some modifications, including omitting half and half and pancetta, as well as swapping ground turkey for ground beef. John and I both loved this, so I can't say it was missed - and it lightened it up. Enjoy!

Crock Pot Bolognese Sauce
Recipe adapted from Skinny Taste, via Jourdan Leigh in the kitchen
Serves 4-6, depending on portions

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