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!

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

Weekly | Links I'm Likin' (5)

Hey guys!  I PROMISE there will be more food posts on here soon.  After traveling and eating tons of rich food, I decided to take a hiatus for a while.  I tried Gwyneth Paltrow's cleanse and this salad is the only thing I liked :(  Enjoy these links until I get more food up here and I promise you won't be disappointed with what I am making next!

  1. I feel like I have been in the stage of not knowing how to make our house a home for a long time.  Glad I'm not the only one.
  2. When I do figure out how to decorate the house, I have a feeling this will be part of it.  So cool.
  3. So funny, and so true.  I'm just jealous because I am not in a high enough tax bracket to shop here, ha!
  4. This will probably be my kid.  I have a list making problem.  I have once or twice made lists where items on that list include reminders to make other lists.  Sad face.
  5. My emotions about Gwyneth are so complex right now...maybe more on that later.  But in the meantime, maybe we'll see a cat fight between her and Martha soon?? 
  6. Kora's 14th(!!) birthday is coming up!!  I'm totally making this - although I don't have a dog bone-shaped pan.  I mean, who does?
  7. I'm skipping right over Halloween and going straight to Thanksgiving.  Here's some turkey roasting tips!
  8. There's no way this woman just had a baby.  Total conspiracy theory!
  9. Supposedly this is old, but it's new to me and so hilarious.  Whoever married this gal is a lucky, lucky man.
  10. This is so fascinating to me.  What does a week of your groceries look like??
  11. For all my marching band friends - this is super impressive!
  12. Mmmm...who wants to do brunch?

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Weekly | Links I'm Likin' (4)

This week = success.  Denny and I went back to California and I got to see old friends and family.  A lot of them got to meet Denny for the first time.  We got to see 2 great friends get married, and I also got my In n' Out and beach fix :)  

  1. I'm starting this week's links off with a bang!  If you are as anxious for Anchorman 2 to come out as I am, this will curb your cravings.
  2. I am in danger of suffering from this problem....
  3. It's like this girl!  Last week was a guide to weddings, now it's a guide to the gym (which I desperately need to get back into!)
  4. All of this wedding stuff has me thinking of what we what to do for ours.  I really like this.
  5. Ridiculous is the only thing that comes to mind.  And annoyance.  Don't ask me why!
  6. One of the very few architecture links I like, probably because it makes fun of architecture. 
  7. After cleansing last time, I have come to like homemade nut milks.  This one looks like it is worth a try!
  8. I'm trying to make a list of healthier recipes and healthier blogs to follow.  This is just one of the many recipes I like from Rabbit Food For My Bunny Teeth, a new blog that I will be following!
  9. Think of this as a Ted Talks for self-help and success.  There's so much on this site, I'm sure it will touch everyone differently.  I went straight to the video called "What if Money Didn't Rule Your Life"
  10. Lately sucking at #1, always sucking at #5.  Almost never sucking at #3.
  11. I did not need to see this.  Fortunately they look pretty darn complicated to make, so at least you will have earned it by the end.

I hope you all had a great week!  Til next time!

Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Weekly | Links I'm Likin' (3)

Tomorrow we head out to Californ-i-a for wedding no. 6 of the season!  This one is particularly special because my childhood friend, Lori, is getting hitched!  I will be in her wedding and she will be in ours :)  Here are some links to hold you over until we get back... And here is us at weddings...

Us at weddings.
  1. I am torn between being really grossed out and really impressed.
  2. I always get jazzed about a recipe that replaces typical ingredients with cauliflower, but have yet to try one.  This could be the one!
  3. I really think I would wear this, in public, probably while waiting in line at Chipotle...stop judging me...
  4. Warning:  this link does contain partial nudity.  Partial nudity of the hilarious variety.  My goodness.
  5. Chowders, actually creamy soups in general, are my weakness.  I kind of wish I hadn't seen this recipe.
  6. Since I officially entered the last year of my 20s this weekend (!), a lot of these resonated with me.  I still have another year to get to the rest :) 
  7. What better way to ring in 29 than to look through reminders of my childhood?  # 12 had me laughing out loud.
  8. It's ok if you don't find this to be funny.  This is really just for my friend Agnes, who loves a literal interpretation of hip hop just as much as I do :)
  9. If you are awkward, and go to as many weddings as I do, this definitely comes in handy.
  10. I don't know if it is the photography, or the delectable bread, but doesn't this sandwich look crazy good??  Also, I love the message about how we view excessive food and over-eating.  I am currently trying to get out of a glutinous mindset myself.
  11. I so need this right now.  When you feel like poop, maybe Goop can help!  And I still need her cookbook in my house.  It never came when I ordered it and now I have to re-order.  It shall go right next to the Mac N Cheese Cookbook, yes, yes.

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Eggplant, Heirlooms, & Smoked Lavender Pepper

Hey there!  It's been a while since I put a food post on here!  Things have been crazy busy - but all fun things are just around the corner.  Weddings galore, birthdays (ahem), visits from family and lots of yummy dinners!  Not to mention, doing some photography for someone other than me, myself and I (and YOU of course!).

I have been working with Laura over at Indigo Blooms Botanicals and shooting all of her amazing body care products.  She also has some cooking products like seasonings, honeys, teas, etc.  You may remember the lavender scones I made with her lavender infused sugar.  I also made some mean sugar cookies with it and they were REALLY good (sorry, no post about that one - they were gone too quickly).  But, don't be surprised if you see a few things from her company on here from time to time.

Today, I share with you grilled eggplant with heirlooms and parmesan cheese, marinated in her smoked lavender pepper.

1 Heirloom tomato, cut into 1/4 thick slices
1 Small eggplant, cut into 1/4 slices
1 Tbsp smoked lavender pepper
Lavender salt to taste
1/3c olive oil
2 Tbsp shredded parmesan cheese

Toss eggplant and tomato slices in oil and pepper.  Let marinate in the refrigerator for up to 1 hour.  Grill eggplant slices on medium heat 4-5 minutes each side or until tender.  Sprinkle lavender salt on remaining tomato slices to taste.  Stack tomato and eggplant slices, alternating between each.  Top with parmesan cheese!

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Weekly | Links I'm Likin' (2)

Tonight's links are brought to you by Kora the Beautiful...enjoy.
  1. I'm always looking for on-the-go breakfast ideas.  This sounds like it might be worth a try!
  2. Just thinking about living with this person gives me anxiety.  But heck, if you are gonna hoard, do it like this guy.
  3. Anything that makes fun of hashtagging is fine by me.  I wonder if there will ever come a day that I stop loving J.T.
  4. Just in case you needed a good cry.  It's a happy cry, I promise.
  5. Having a comedian as a parent = Score!  Love A.P.
  6. I'm pretty sure I would have picked the exact songs Jimmy Fallon did, and would have had a hell of a time trying not to belt it out for real.
  7. Only Louis CK can make the depressing truth so funny.  Just cry it out!  Also, #5.
  8. One day you are living a normal life, the next Vince Milligan is knocking on your door.  No spoiler alert here if you have yet to see the last episode of Breaking Bad.  Although I'm really not sure what else in your life was more important yesterday at 8pm.
  9. Oh, and I kind of like these :)  More to come soon!