Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Weekly | Links I'm Likin' (Thanksgiving Detox Edition)

Hey there! I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving! Our dinner went off without a hitch and was quite delicious.  I hope I get to cook every year (famous last words, I'm sure)

That being said, I feel like I really need to chill out on the Thanksgiving leftovers.  So, last night I hunkered down with some of the healthiest cookbooks I could find and made a grocery list that puts last week's eating habits to shame.  By about Saturday, I was craving simple things like, oh I don't know, a banana, or some lettuce.  But there was still so much left to eat.  I froze as much as I could, and am now on the road to recovery (I hope.)  (Spoken like a true addict.)

So, this week's links are dedicated to healthy eating and will hopefully give you some ideas for detoxing after Bingefest 2013.  I know I will be trying a few of these.

Re-stocking healthy food!

Curry Sage Butternut Squash Soup
Southwest Quinoa Salad with Chile Lime Vinaigrette
Asparagus Corn Salad
Chickpea Sweet Potato Burgers
Baked Balsamic Chicken
Almond Butter Soba Noodles with Garlic Shrimp
Poached Eggs in Tomato Sauce
Farmer's Market Skillet (might have to make this one with frozen veggies)
Turkey Santa Fe Lettuce Wraps (if you still have turkey left over!)
Curried Chicken Soup (this was featured on the links a couple of weeks ago, but I have to repost because it is very healthy and PHENOMENAL...like, seriously)

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Thanksgiving Lineup

Ok, I know this is supposed to be a "food blog" of sorts and I have not given you any Thanksgiving recipes.  And for good reason.  I freaking love Thanksgiving, and if I start making and eating Thanksgiving food well before the "big day" actually gets here, I am worried that 1) I will quickly be on a downhill spiral of eating "Thanksgiving style" for more than my (1) alloted day per year, and 2) that it will take the luster and excitement out of Thanksgiving when the day actually comes.  Thank goodness for the other food bloggers and recipe makers out there who don't have these superstitions and are fully committed to making nothing but Thanksgiving food for practically the entire month of November.  Otherwise, none of us would know what to make on Thursday.  So cheers to them!

What I will give you is a very simple list of what we have have planned to make, with photos to follow!  (I feel like such a bad blogger right now...sorry!)  What do you all have planned?

Truffle Mac - from Homeroom's Mac n Cheese cookbook, which I have already raved about.

Garlic Mashed Potatoes (I am going to try adapting a simple family favorite)
Pies (from my dad)
Turkey and a chuck roast that Denny is in charge of :)
Giada's Quinoa Salad with some adaptations, from one of my new favorite cookbooks.

Have a great Thanksgiving!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Weekly | Links I'm Likin' (10)

Today I found the love of my life - truffle gouda cheese.  The Thanksgiving mac n cheese recipe that I will be making revolves around this cheese and I am scared to find out how I will act around other people with whom I am supposed to share this dish.  Is it going to be like when people ask if we should all share sushi in a group larger than 2?  I sure hope not.  An anxiety rises within me that convinces my little brain that I will not get my fair share, or I will leave feeling cheated by the very people I love most.  Issues.  I have issues.  Anyway, here are some links.

  1. What if we always had Instagram?  Like even when the Mona Lisa was being created.
  2. This song is so damn catchy!  This is a great rendition.
  3. Get your family in line this holiday season.  Powerpoints help.
  4. Justin Beever.  Zach G.  YES.
  5. My dad cracks himself up, I can picture him pulling a few of these stunts :)
  6. These are the types of projects that I would love to do.  Unfortunately for me, they are also the types of projects that I start and never finish :(  Maybe this year can be different! I do really love the clock.
  7. These people need a big hug from life. Or maybe some bubble wrap.
  8. I felt so giddy while watching this, I couldn't stop smiling!!
  9. Just a good laugh, that is all.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Open Faced Dippin' Eggs Sandwich

Weekends with my dad were always fun, but some of my fondest memories are of him making breakfast for my brother and I.  I have told you before about how he is the master of egg frying and taught me what I know today.  His specialty is eggs over easy.  Or as we liked to call them, dippin' eggs.  Back in those days, eggs in our house were never without their counterpart, bagels and cream cheese.  We loved puncturing the soft, runny yolk with the toasted bagel and making a mess on our plates.  For a very long time, mopping up the yolk with a toasty piece of bread was the only way I would eat eggs.  Today, even though I have learned to love eggs in all forms, I still return to this way of eating eggs quite often.

Last Saturday was one such occasion.  Denny and I awoke from a (rather...ambitious) Friday night and all I wanted was a sloppy, hearty, flavorful egg dish.  I don't know how I scrounged this all together, because let me tell you, I was in rare form, but I will tell you that I had this recipe in the back of my mind so it couldn't come out all that bad.  When all was said and done, Denny and I scarfed.this.down.  It was delicious.  But it also may have been the type of morning where almost anything would have tasted delicious to us, who knows.  You guys will just have to make it and tell me if we are crazy or not.  It was tart, yet rich and creamy and had a whole lot of textures going on.  And messy, boy was it messy.  See Exhibit A below.  If you think you are going to daintily eat this like a normal breakfast sandwich, think again, because once you break the yolk it's game over.  You better save yourself the time and humility and just grab a fork and knife from the get-go.

Open Faced Dippin' Eggs Sandwich
(makes 2 sandwiches)

4 eggs
1 everything bagel
Enough cream cheese to spread on a bagel.  1 tsp or half a cup.  Your call.
2tsp dijon mustard
1 cup arugula
1 shallot, finely chopped
Juice of 1/2 lemon
1tbsp goat cheese, crumbled
1tsp butter
Non-Stick cooking spray
Salt and pepper to taste
1/2 an avocado, sliced

In a small frying pan, melt the butter and sauté the shallot until translucent, 2-3 min.  When finished, add the shallot and lemon juice to the arugula and toss together.  Sprinkle with salt and pepper.  Set aside.  Pop two bagel halves in the toaster until golden brown.  Top each half with cream cheese.  Spread 1 teaspoon of dijon mustard on each bagel.  Set aside.

Spray down your small frying pan with non stick spray and heat at medium low.  Crack 2 eggs in there.    Top with salt and pepper.  For sunny side up eggs, cover the pan and let cook until the white is no longer runny.  For over easy eggs, flip when most of the white, aside from the top layer, is no longer runny.  Repeat with 2 more eggs for the second sandwich.

Divide the arugula mix in half and pile on top of each bagel.  When the eggs are done, place them on the bed of arugula.  Top each with half of the avocado.

Sprinkle generously with goat cheese and go to town.

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Weekly | Links I'm Likin' (9)

Today, I need a break from work.  I want to go home, put on some PJs and watch endless episodes of Friends.  Who feels me?  Hopefully this gives you the break you need!  Oh, and here is another pretty picture from Moab!  Have a great week!

  1. I really really want this mug :)
  2. I really really want these napkins :)  I mean, mapkins.
  3. Surreal places to see before I die.  Hopefully I will have a life of travel some day.
  4. Hanger.  It happens to the best of us.
  5. I want this soup in my stomach, now!
  6. I'd like to think that I could do better, but I probably can't.  Sad face.
  7. Someone needs to prove to me that these images are not fake.  So crazy!
  8. Who knew?  Giant arrows that guide you across America.
  9. So cute, I can't handle it!!
  10. I recently bought this cookbook and I cannot say enough good things about it!!  I have made 5 recipes from it and all were amazing.  Like seriously, amazing.
  11. And finally, a great laugh.  Oh, what was life like before the internet again?

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


This weekend we went to Moab.  I hope you like pictures of rock formations, because....

Denny and Whistler
I spy with my little eye...a train!

Tuesday, November 12, 2013

Weekly | Links I'm Likin' (8)

Yesterday was Kora's 14th birthday!!  I always pictured her making it to 14.  It makes me so happy that she is still with us!  Tonight I am making her a birthday cake, or maybe birthday cupcakes, stay tuned.  For now, here are some links!!

  1. I'm sorry I make you cry on a weekly basis.  I can't help it!  Animals can be so awesome.
  2. I hope I can be an awesome parent someday!
  3. Musicians reading tweets of themselves.  Hilarious.
  4. This blows my mind on so many levels.  These photos are incredible.
  5. ELF!!  I can't believe it has been out for over 10 years.  I officially feel old.
  6. Oh Lady Gaga, you make it too easy.
  7. You either have to have a really good sense of humor to work at Starbucks or just be really bad at spelling.  Or both.
  8. I have always wanted bangs like this!  I have nightmares about looking like Tiffany cerca 1994 so I never get them.  Maybe after the wedding?
  9. Ok, that's it.  I need to get a donut pan.  Too many good donut recipes out there.
  10. See, too manyToo, too many.
  11. I always get a kick out of these.  Crazy architects.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Weekly | Links I'm Likin' (7)

Hey there, friends.  Happy Tuesday.  The highlight of this week's weekdays so far (which was yesterday and today) was that I went to the doctor's office and was super tempted to write "Tiffers" under Nickname.  Don't worry, I didn't do it.  But could you imagine!!??  (said in the voice of, say, maybe Amy Poehler).  And THAT is how exciting Monday's can be.  These links are close second runners up for top weekly highlights.

  1. I feel like I have always been more in the 30-something party.  It's warm and cozy in there.
  2. Oh Banksy, stirrin' the pot.
  3. This is a new workout that my friend Annie shared on Facebook and it will KICK. YOUR. ASS.
  4. She also posted this one, and I want to try it.  Who couldn't use a firmer butt?
  5. This is hilarious!!  "It tastes like a poopy piñata!"
  6. Haha, in case you fell for this - it isn't true!  Are you as sad as I am?
  7. Kids really are just tiny drunk adults.  True story.
  8. Oh Bill Cosby - so wise.  Like Buddah.
  9. Holy crap.  Cryfest.  So cute.  (Taking the crazy cat lady thing to a whole new level here)
  10. It's time to start planning!  Nom nom.
  11. This is ridiculous.  Nobody hop on this bandwagon, please.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Inspired | Fancy Grilled Cheese

You all had a great weekend, yes?  Mine was SUPER productive, filled with home improvement "stuff", wedding dress shopping (!! great success !!), photo shoots, and dinner with friends.  I even got around to another cheese-filled post for you guys!

I'm wondering if my "niche" might be grilled cheese.  Every time I try to be creative with it, it just works.  (Okay fine - I'm sure there is no such thing as a "bad" grilled cheese.  I mean, bread, cheese and butter - I don't think you can go wrong.  But for now I am just going to act like I am really talented in this arena.)

Last week was a friend's birthday and we were asked to bring apps.  We were due for a shopping trip so had basically no food left in the house.  I actually enjoy the challenge of trying to make a recipe out of "nothing."  I think that is actually closer to being "my thing."  So all day I tried to think of what I could make out of what we had.  Fancy grilled cheeses came to mind because we had leftover havarti from this recipe, some sandwich bread, 1/2 an onion and mustard.  I wanted some sort of twist so I reached for some garlic infused honey from Indigo Blooms.

After I made the first sandwich I thought to myself "Eek, I can't call these fancy.  They look like soggy, butter-soaked pieces of sandwich bread."  But, Denny and I tried one bite and there was a series of "Mmm's" and "Omg, so good's" to follow, so I decided to still bring them.  Bless the people who ate them at the party.  They hardly looked appetizing, but I think I can say the taste was enjoyable!

I felt like the bread was the only problem with this recipe, and if that was remedied then this could indeed qualify as a "fancy" grilled cheese, so I recreated it.  I bought a French bread loaf and it made all the difference.  Seriously, fresh artisan bread really makes a grilled cheese - there's no comparison.

Fancy Grilled Cheese

Makes 2 sandwiches
4 slices of french bread
1/2 large yellow onion, sliced
2 tbsp dijon mustard
About 1/2lb Havarti cheese (cut into about 6-8 slices for 2 sandwiches)
2 tsp garlic infused honey (if you don't have this I think regular honey would work, and adding some roasted garlic would be divine)
2 tbsp + 2tsp butter

First heat 2tsp of the butter in a small pan on medium low heat.  Sauté the onions slowly until they are completely translucent and light brown and have released some of their sugars.  About 7-10min depending on how high the heat is.  You can add a teaspoon of sugar about 1/2 way through, but I did not for this recipe.  Remove from heat and set aside.

While the onions are cooking, spread 1 side of each piece of bread with the remaining butter.  Flip each piece and spread the other side with dijon mustard.  Put 1/2 of the cheese on 1 slice and 1/2 on another, enough to cover the bread slices.  Drizzle 1 teaspoon of the honey on top of each cheese-covered slice. Top with caramelized onions and place leftover slice of bread on top, dijon side down.

In a medium sized non-stick pan, on medium heat, place both of the buttered sandwiches and seer until cheese just starts to melt inside and the toast is turning a golden brown.  Here is the point where I say "Do whatever you need to do to make that cheese melt!!"  Anything it takes.  Sell your first child, donate a kidney, move your family across the country.  With a hearty bread, it can take a little while longer for the cheese to start melting, and you don't want the bread to burn.  Covering it the pan usually helps, and is usually not as drastic as donating a kidney.

Then you flip.  This sandwich is loaded with lots of goodness so flip wisely.  The cheese should now be ooey and gooey and the bread is perfectly golden on each side.  Remove from heat, cut that bad boy in half and try not burn your tongue by tearing into it too quickly.

I could say that I will try to start posting non-cheese recipes, but I might be lying to you, and I don't want to lie to you.  I value this relationship.  So, 'til next time - which may or may not include cheese.

Wednesday, October 30, 2013

Weekly | Links I'm Likin' (6)

Happy Hump Day everyone!!

The light on our coffee table is much better than in the kitchen, and perfectly in the dogs' reach.  Here is Winston interrupting a photo sesh.  And below are the links you all know and love.  Have a great week!

  1. This made my day.  I need to know where to buy this!!
  2. I'm not sure I know any mom who has this much time on her hands.  But still a really cute idea!
  3. I found a new dream.  To have a tiny studio in my backyard someday.  Someday.
  4. I strongly disagree.  It said New Mexico for me (not that there is anything wrong with NM).  But maybe you guys will get better results :)
  5. Ah memories
  6. I have a feeling this isn't a "Halloween only" type of thing for some of these people.  On another note, when are they going to start making costumes big enough for our dogs??
  7. For all my cat loving lady friends - you're welcome.  Also seems like a really great cause!
  8. God, maybe I'm becoming a cat lady.  And I don't even have any cats.  Last pet link I promise - it's a good one!
  9. Are you kidding me??  Werthers?  Hershey's?  Milk Duds?  Tootsie Rolls?  They're all amazing.  The rest I totally agree with.
  10. I got this book in this week and I'm loving it!!  Thank you, bestie, for the Amazon gift card!
  11. Waiting on this book to come next!

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

A Special Occasion | Sriracha Mac n' Cheese and Apple Pie

Today marks the day that Denny and I started "dating" I guess you could say.  I don't really know how people start dating nowadays.  Nobody says "Will you be my girlfriend/boyfriend?" (circle yes, no, or maybe)  This isn't the old days.  For us, we simply found out that a band we both liked was playing a show, it was Halloween weekend 2 years ago so we decided to dress up in ridiculous costumes.  We both remember it as the day "sparks flew" and we have pretty much hung out ever since that day.  One day shortly after that we decided to move in togther, one day shortly after that we decided to buy a house, and one day shortly after that we decided we would get married.  And that's how it happens, I guess!

On Sunday night I decided to make a "special dinner" in celebration.  I saw this recipe on Shutterbean a while back and immediately knew this was "the one".  One of our favorite things to eat on a lazy night is boxed mac n cheese with tuna and sriracha, so there was no doubt that this was the mac n cheese recipe to end all mac n cheese recipes (for us, anyway).  Then of course, I got the Mac n Cheese cookbook for my birthday and it was game over.  I now have mac n cheese recipes earmarked for every upcoming holiday.  It's a sickness.

Sriracha Mac N Cheese

For the Mac Sauce (without this your mac n cheese ceases to live)
3 cups whole milk
1/2 cup unsalted butter
1/2 cup flour
2 tsp salt

In a saucepan heat the milk over medium heat until it just starts to bubble, right before it comes to a boil.  Remove from heat.  In a heavy bottomed pot, melt the butter then add the flour, whisking constantly (I mean constantly, ya'll).  Cook this for only a few minutes until it turns a light brown.  Slowly add the warm milk, one cup at a time.  Whisking, you guessed it, CONSTANTLY.  You will at first think you burned it and did something wrong because it's going to do a super thick coagulating thing.  But keep trucking, add the rest of the milk, one cup at a time and keep stirring that mo'fo'.  You will alas get a super creamy bechamel sauce (look at us being fancy), that should coat a spoon.

For the Mac
3/4 lb dried elbow pasta
1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
2 1/3 tbsp unsalted butter
2 cups grated Havarti
2 tbsp sriracha sauce
1 cup chopped scallions (green onions)
3/4 cup Panko crumbs

Pre-heat the oven to 400 degrees.  Cook the pasta until al dente.  Drain and rinse with cold water, continue to drain.  Mash together the ginger and butter.  Combine the mac sauce with the Havarti and ginger butter over medium heat.  Stir in the sriracha.  Stir in the cooked pasta.  Commence drooling.  Add the green onions (although I would probably have preferred them sprinkled on top of the finished mac, rather than cooking them.  Up to you!)

Pour the mac mixture into a 14" casserole baking dish.  Top with Panko and put in the oven for about 20-25min until the top is a golden brown and the mac is a' bubblin'!  Remove from oven and try not to get drool into anyone's servings but your own.  Don't be gross.

Denny was eyeing some apple pie the night before, so I made that too.  Making my own pie crust might have been a tad too much to take on after an overwhelming (and disappointing) day of IKEA shopping (the word "stroke" comes to mind).  But I was determined.  In the end, the crust fell apart (likely because I added too much shortening), but we were left with a gooey apple crumbly thing on our plates, so we were happy :)  Ask me if I took a picture of the whole pie when it came out of the oven and the answer is no (except maybe one on my phone) because I was brain dead by the end of the meal, and was also in a mac n cheese coma.  The best kind of coma there is.

Apple Pie from Smitten Kitchen

For the Crust (Non-lattice)
2 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp sugar
8 tbsp vegetable shortening
12 tbsp unsalted butter, cut into 1/4" pieces
6-8 tbsp ice water

1. Pulse flour, salt and sugar in a food processor fitted with steel blade until combined.   I used a blender and it worked but was pretty fussy. Add shortening and process until mixture has texture of coarse sand, about 10 seconds. Scatter butter pieces over flour mixture; cut butter into flour until mixture is pale yellow and resembles coarse crumbs, with butter bits no larger than small peas, about ten 1-second pulses. Turn mixture into medium bowl.

2. Sprinkle 8 tablespoons ice water over mixture and mix.  Add up to 2 tablespoons more ice water if it will not come together. Divide dough into two pieces and wrap separately in plastic and refrigerator at least 1 hour or up to 2 days before rolling.

The Filling
3 1/2 lbs apples (I used Honeycrisp - the recipe calls for a mix between Macintosh and Granny Smith)
 1 tbsp lemon juice and 1 tsp lemon zest
3/4 cups + 1 tbsp granulated sugar
2 tbsp all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp salt
1 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ground nutmeg
1/4 tsp ground allspice
1 egg white, beaten

1. Adjust oven rack to lowest position and heat rimmed baking sheet and oven to 500°F. Remove one piece of dough from refrigerator (if refrigerated longer than 1 hour, let stand at room temperature until malleable).

2. Roll dough between two large sheets of plastic wrap to 12-inch disk. Transfer dough to pie plate by peeling off the top layer of plastic and flipping the rolled dough face down onto the pie pan.  Peel off the second piece of plastic, which should now be on the top. Working around circumference of pie plate, ease dough into pan corners by gently lifting dough edges with one hand while pressing around pan bottom with other hand. Leave dough that overhangs lip of plate in place; refrigerate dough-lined pie plate.  I stuck mine in the freezer because I was short on time and my dough was falling apart :)  The colder the better in my case.

3. Peel, core and cut apples in half, and in half again width-wise; cut quarters into 1/4-inch slices and toss with lemon juice and zest. In a medium bowl, mix 3/4 cup sugar, flour, salt and spices. Toss dry ingredients with apples. Turn fruit mixture, including juices, into chilled pie shell and mound slightly in center.

4. Roll out second piece of dough to 12-inch disk and place over filling.  Tuck this rim of dough underneath itself so that folded edge is flush with pan lip. Flute edging or press with fork tines to seal. Cut four slits on dough top. If pie dough is very soft, place in freezer for 10 minutes. Brush egg white onto top of crust and sprinkle evenly with remaining 1 tablespoon sugar.

5. Place pie on baking sheet and lower oven temperature to 425°F. Bake until top crust is golden, about 25 minutes. Rotate pie and reduce oven temperature to 375°F; continue baking until juices bubble and crust is deep golden brown, 30-35 minutes longer.

6. Transfer pie to wire rack; cool to room temperature, at least 4 hours. (Ha, if you can wait that long)


At the end of the night I asked Denny if it feels like we have been together for 2 years.  His response was, "Psh, no it feels longer."  And I have to say I agree.  I keep expecting this to be something more like our 5th, or 6th, or 7th year anniversary.  Like I said, we moved in together, bought a house, got a dog, decided to get married - all in less than 2 years.  You can trust that a whole hell of a lot happened in between that as well.  A lot can be said about how fast it all should go - this relationship thing - but all I know is I have someone who shows me everyday that he is up for life's challenges and still loves me at the end of it all.  The good, the bad and the ugly.  And I feel pretty good about that!

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Confessions of a Photo Booth

I love a good photo booth sesh.  I love when weddings have photo booths.  Here is proof that we thoroughly enjoyed all of our friend's weddings this season :)

Kate & Nick' Wedding

 Lori & Bryan's Wedding

Ingrid & Nolan's Wedding

Thank you, friends, for the laughs and an amazing night!

We have one more to go in January and it's going to be a good one!