Catching Katy

Reads, Eats, & Everything Else


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White Sandy Beaches

Since I took a hiatus from the blog, I want to go back and cover some things that happened during that hiatus. Our wedding was a major part of the time which could cover many, many posts. Those posts are TBD. But the honeymoon was definitely the best part of my hiatus (besides the vows of course, honey) and I definitely want to share that.

My husband planned the honeymoon with a little help from Jennifer at Epperly Travel. Regardless, it was one thing I did not have to think about at all and yes, I completely trusted him with this planning. And he actually succeeded in keeping it a surprise! Jennifer was very helpful with the details and it was nice to know there was someone there to handle any last minute details or unforeseen disasters. He had some parameters we discussed together – beach, all-inclusive, and not somewhere that took a lot of travel time (have to maximize that vacation time). I definitely recommend going the travel agent route for your honeymoon and Epperly Travel was fantastic.

We ended up at Sandals Emerald Bay Resort in Great Exuma, Bahamas. I won’t lie – when I heard we were going to the Bahamas, I was a little underwhelmed. When I think Bahamas, the only thing I picture is Atlantis and super water slides and tourists. But that image could not have been further from the truth. Great Exuma is further south than Grand Bahama, Nassau, and the better-known parts of the Bahamas. It was a 2 hour non-stop flight from Atlanta (perfect) to the quaint little airport in Georgetown then we were shuttled the mere 20 minutes to the resort.

My next recommendation for an all-inclusive trip is to splurge at least once for the butler service. It just makes your trip feel that more special and personal. Our butlers made our dinner and spa reservations, claimed beach chairs for us every day, brought drinks and snacks to the beach, brought dinner to the room if we wanted to dine in, and just made sure we had everything we needed at all times.

So how was it?! The beach was beautiful and about a mile long, private just to the resort guest. The weather was perfect – not too hot and I think I wore a sweater one evening while we were there. April is a great time to go. Two pools – the party pool and the quiet pool gave good options depending on your mood. The food was delicious. There are 11 restaurants and we ate at 10 of them. One is just coffee and desserts and some are just for lunch. Our favorite was definitely La Parisienne, the French restaurant. It was so nice to not have to worry  about paying for anything.

There are also plenty of activities included if you are not the lay and do nothing on the beach type. We do enjoy laying doing nothing (at the beach at least), especially after the wedding, but we made sure to try out a couple activities. There is a cruise-ship type schedule of activities every day (corn hole tournament, karaoke, etc.) if that’s your thing. There are water sports included. We went out on a hobie cat (like a sailboat) and took a kayak out one day. There are also swings and hammocks along the beach which was a nice change of pace from the lounge chairs. This resort also has golf if that’s your thing!

I realize this post is getting long so I am going to save our excursion for a separate post because there is plenty to say about that as well. It really is like a cruise on land! We also hit up the spa for a couples massage and it was wonderful and relaxing. You have to treat yo’self on your honeymoon!

This was my first all-inclusive and my first Sandals experience and I really have nothing but good things to say about it. Sandals Emerald Bay was perfect for us. We have a list of others we would like to visit because we will definitely be repeat Sandals customers.

I leave you with a little video I made. It was fun to have a Go Pro on the trip to get some extra memories and water pictures and video. Look for the excursion post to come – it was definitely the icing on the cake.


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Pasta Primavera

This was a Home Chef delivery I got recently. It was a simple recipe that seemed to be easily modified, so I gave it a shot. It’s easy to make, very little prep, and has a pretty easy shopping list. All the amounts are estimates, so you can easily add more or less of something. Or you can completely change items (pasta type, specific vegetables, type of cheese). Home Chef recipes are for 2 servings, but pasta recipes usually make more than 2 for me. And my recreation fed me 4 meals.

Full recipe below after an overview of steps and pictures. Enjoy!

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Pretty simple and easy to find ingredients. The original recipe called for cavatappi pasta, which my grocery store did not have. Easy to substitute your favorite pasta though! I used whole grain penne.

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Start water boiling for the pasta and prep your ingredients. Halve the tomatoes, cut zucchini into quarter-slices, trim asparagus and cut into 1 inch pieces, and drain the artichokes. Roughly crush a handful of croutons.

 

 

Sear the vegetables. Start with asparagus and zucchini, then add tomatoes and artichokes.

 

When pasta is cooked, drain, return to pot and toss with some olive oil.

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To make the sauce, heat evaporated milk until slightly thickened. Add Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Remove from heat and add butter. Season with salt and pepper.

 

Add everything to pan with sauce and toss! I added some chicken to mine.

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Serve with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and crumbled goat cheese (I totally forgot the goat cheese before I took pictures and dug in – sorry)!

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Pasta Primavera

Ingredients:

  • 5 oz. (half a carton) grape tomatoes
  • 5 oz. (8-10 stalks) asparagus
  • 1 zucchini
  • 6 oz. jar artichoke hearts
  • Handful of seasoned croutons
  • 8 oz. (half a box) pasta (whatever kind you want – I used penne)
  • 2 tsp. + 2 tsp. olive oil
  • 12 oz. canned evaporated whole milk
  • ½ C grated Parmesan cheese (+ extra for serving)
  • 2 Tbsp. butter
  • 2 oz. (half a container) crumbled goat cheese
  • Salt & Pepper
  • optional addition: cooked protein (chicken, shrimp, sausage)

Directions:

Start water to boil in a medium pot for pasta. Cook according to directions on box.

Prep ingredients: halve grapes tomatoes; trim bottoms off asparagus and cut into 1 inch pieces; cut zucchini into half moons; drain artichokes; put croutons in a ziploc bag and crush into coarse breadcrumbs.

Heat 2 tsp. olive oil in a large pan on medium-high heat. Add asparagus and zucchini and cook 4-5 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add grape tomatoes and artichokes and cook 2 more minutes. Transfer to a plate or bowl and set aside.

When pasta is finished cooking, drain in colander, return to pot, and toss with 2 tsp. olive oil. Set aside.

Return same large pan to medium heat. Add evaporated milk to hot pan and bring to a simmer. Cook 4-5 minutes or until slightly thickened, stirring often. Stir in Parmesan cheese and breadcrumbs. Cook 2-3 minutes or until sauce is thick enough to coat the back of a spoon, Remove pan from burner and swirl in butter. Season with salt and pepper.

Add pasta and vegetables (and cooked protein if you have it) to pan with the sauce. Toss to coat everything in sauce.

Serve topped with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese and goat cheese crumbles.

[modified from Home Chef recipe]


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Nicaragua

If you know me personally, you probably know that I have been lucky enough to have done several international service trips in the past 10 years to Guatemala (3 trips) and Haiti (1 trip). Those trips were unforgettable and gave me a chance to not only experience other cultures and grow personally, but to see first-hand both the struggles and strengths of other cultures and people.

Over the past few years, Buckhead Church (a campus of North Point Ministries) has become a very important place to me. I volunteer in the children’s ministry as well as on the Singles Volunteer Team. I have also built wonderful relationships through two different small groups over the years. And this year, I decided to apply for a Global X trip.

June 18-25 this year, I will join 12 others to Nicaragua to serve the people there. I am excited for the relationships that can come out of an experience like this, both within our group and abroad. I am also excited for what we, as a group, can do with the people of Nicaragua, both physically and relationally. We will work with HOI, a nondenominational, nonprofit Christian organization headquartered in Tucker, GA, in Finca el Peten, Nicaragua. Our team will have the opportunity to help with construction projects as well as work with children at VBS.

This trip cannot happen, however, without the support of you, my wonderful and supportive friends and family. I am asked to raise $2,250 and I am asking you for any support you can offer – $5, $20, $100 – no amount is too small or too large, and it’s tax deductible! If you cannot support me financially I totally understand, but do ask for your thoughts and prayers in preparing for this trip.
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Thank you in advance for your support (and for those have already donated) and I can’t wait to share my experience with you later this year!

If you would like to write a check, please contact me for details.

Peace and love,
Katy