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
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