Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Happy Halloween!

I might as well go send in an app for Toddlers and Tiaras because I have gone all stage mom up in here. Tiger's going to be in two dog costume contests (best. idea. ever.) and I (I mean we...) am in it to win it. Tiger's a hot air balloon! Just ignore the fact that it took approximately 35 treats for me to get these pictures.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Out With the Old

You were fun sparkles but it's time to move on...

Monday Night Dinner

Yesterday I made dinner for my boss' family and it was fantastic. I'm really loving being able to do this and get the chance to experiment and play more than I usually do. I made a green salad, roasted butternut squash soup, and stuffed zucchinis. 

I have this...thing where I am super amused by making a "green salad." The amusement stemming from the fact that it's a play on words and quite literally the salad is entirely green. I've also found that this is both really beautiful as well as delicious almost no matter what I throw in. This one has greens, including spinach and arugula, cucumber, and avocado. I also made a dressing with fresh Italian parsley incorporated. Other green things that are awesome in a green salad...zucchini, peppers, basil (just incorporate some whole leaves with the other greens and it is fantastic), apple, pear, broccoli, green beans, green onion, artichoke hearts, snap peas...the possibilities are endless!

 The soup I made was amazing and also super simple. I had some compound butter I'd made last week by cutting together butter with thyme, basil, Italian parsley and some garlic powder. I used that and placed pats of it on my butternut squash (cut in half) then sprinkled just a tiny bit of brown sugar over it. I put it in the oven at 400 degrees Farenheit (I know some of you are in Canada) and let it get soft and golden. I did peek in a few times to re-baste the liquid onto it. While that was going on I sautéed some onion with rosemary and thyme. Whenever I have too much of a fresh herb and I know it will go bad before I have a chance to use it I dice it up and put it in a silicone ice cube tray with olive oil then freeze it (I put mine in freezer bags as well so things don't smell). This made it super easy to just pop out one of the rosemary ones and one of the thyme ones to throw in with the onion.

Once the squash was roasted it scooped out of it's skin easily and I threw it in the blender with a splash of cream and the onions. I blended it until smooth and put it into a pot with some vegetable stock I had made and frozen a couple weeks ago. Once it was hot it was done and delicious.

 I worked on my zucchini filling while the squash was roasting and really there was no plan. I sort of just grabbed things we had and needed to use. I cooked lentils and diced potatoes together (the starch from the potatoes helps thicken the lentils), threw in diced tomato, some arugula, mozzarella, and some chilis I roasted.

To make the zucchini fill-able I scooped out the insides with a spoon, put the outsides on a cookie sheet, drizzled with olive oil, ground some salt and pepper over them and threw them in the oven with the squash for about five minutes. When I took them out and stuffed them because the filling was cooked already I really only had to throw them in again long enough to melt the cheese and cook the outsides a little longer, probably another five minutes or so.

Obviously the key was having some things already made in order to do the soup but if you haven't made your own vegetable stock yet you need to. It's incredibly simple and uses up a lot of the waste you have from cutting veggies. Some people cut up vegetables specifically for stock but I just use the "garbage." I take the ends of the carrots and whatever I peel off and the bottoms and tops of celery and the ends of the onion (I made my last stock while making veggie pot pies), throw in some herbs, and let it sit on the stove on loooooow low low for the entire day. It will reduce a lot but you should still have a bunch (use a BIG pot). Afterwards strain it and keep some in the freezer during the fall and winter to make quick and easy soups.

Saturday, October 1, 2011

What I'm Wearing Today

I took Tiger to the vet this morning for his last vaccine! Then we stopped at the pet store, grabbed some coffee and cocoa, then picked up Craig for a trip to the park. We actually hit up two parks and got lots of energy out before it rains. This was the perfect cozy running around town weekend outfit. 

This is the dress version of my favorite tank (seriously, I own like 20). It's the double scoop tank dress by BP (at Nordstrom) and sells for $24

Most favorite sweater ever! Laguna Coast Pullover, Free People, $88

Rebecca Side Laceup Moc Boot, Jeffrey Campbell, $138

Croc Lil' Q Satchel, Marc by Marc Jacobs, approx. $400 (I bought this a few years ago but the style is style available in new colors.)

Timeless Chunky Chain Head Wrap, Tasha, $38

Friday, September 30, 2011

Big News (coming soon!)

I know I've not been a good blogger lately but part of that (a very big part) is because I am working on a new project (the other part os the cough that will not die). I'm super excited about it and trying to get all the details worked out at least enough so that I can begin to tell you about it. It's something that combines bunches of the things I'm most passionate about and that make me happy so obviously it's a jumble of fun.

Also I promise it has nothing to do with my pets.

In other exciting but not secret news I had a review at Sur la Table recently and one of the things I brought up was wanting to help design some vegetarian classes. I never follow recipes so it will be a new experience to write recipes. I also think I'll learn a lot about how I cook and become really aware of what I do and the reasons I make food the way I do. What I'd love from any of you that want to help me out are suggestions for vegetarian meals. I have tons of things I like to make but the reason we don't do a lot of vegetarian classes is people don't sign up for them. Soooo...I need to know what people want to make. If you're a meat eater even better. Also, what do you not want to learn how to make? I'm pretty big on leaving tofu and tempeh out of my cooking because I think you can make so much better food without it so those are probably out but anything else you're tired of seeing or think sounds gross or whatever the reason is let me know. I'm pretty sure the world doesn't need any more nut loaves.

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Cooking Day!!

Recently at work my boss asked if I may be able to help her do some cooking a few times a week. Obviously since cooking makes me happier than anything and especially more happy than sitting at my desk I said yes. Today I made an amazing soup (I'm eating some right now). It's a roasted red pepper and tomato base then I added potatoes, zucchini, yellow squash, black beans, garbonzos, tomatoes, roasted red pepper pieces, fresh corn off the cob and onions. It is to die for. And even more awesome with sour cream, avocado, cheese, and/or green onion on top. Next up are enchiladas!

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What I'm Wearing Today

Sparkle and fringe and patent oh my!

October Class Schedule!

I got my schedule for Sur la Table for October and these are the classes I'm assisting with (as well as some skills classes)...I am way looking forward to this month!

Saveur Magazine's Gourmet Tailgating
Deviled Eggs with Pickled Jalapenos - Spinach and Artichoke Dip - Fiery Oven-Baked Chicken Wings - Grilled Bratwurst - Espresso Brownies

Tuscan Vineyard Supper
Grilled Tomato Bruschetta - Panzanella Bread Salad - Tuscan Rosemary and Lemon Chicken - Roasted Garlic and White Beans - Traditional Cantucci Cookies with Vin Santo Ice Cream

The 5 French Mother Sauces
Hollandaise on Poached Eggs - Sauce Tomate on Grill Bread - Roasted Chicken with a Trio of Sauces (Veloute, Bechamel, and Sauce Espagnole)

Rustic Greek
Marinated Feta Greek Salad - Homemade Pita - Lamb Leg Gyros with Tzataki and Pickled Red Onions - Crispy Olive Oil Roasted Potatoes - Toasted Walnut Baklava

Farmer's Market Autumn Harvest
Shaved Brussels Sprouts and Fennel Seed - Grilled Cauliflower Steaks with Tahini Sauce - Grill Eggplant Cannelloni with Ricotta - Farro Risotto with Jerusalem Artichokes - Heirloom Apple Tart with Almond Filling and Calvados Cream

Martha Stewart Living Halloween Treats
Brownie Coffin Cake - Halloween Whoopie Pies - Pumpkin Chocolate-Spiderweb Tart - Chocolate Rice Crispy Treats

Saveur Magazine's French Holiday Favorites
Duck Breast with Brandied Fig Sauce - Cranberries with Port - Herbed Haricot Vert - Potato Galette - French Pumpkin Pie

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Hair Obsession

Tova was in town this weekend proving to the government she should be allowed to be a US citizen so someday she can come back from Canada. It was so incredibly fantastic to see her even though it made me wish she was still living in Oregon. We decided to do some fall and winter shopping on Saturday and stumbled upon the accessories department at Nordstrom which, in case you didn't know, is filled with the most shiny and fun stuff. The girl working there showed us how to do this...thing. It's a fantastic way to wear your hair up without looking like you don't care about doing it. Even if that's totally the case.

I tried to explain the whole thing to Trista over Google Chat the other night and came up with this.

I sort of doubt she actually understood what I was talking about but apparently she did. And I can't really figure out a better way to explain with the exception of maybe weeding out some of the 'like's and 'sort of's. Here is a picture to help. You can ignore the fact that I am driving in it.

The whole thing seriously takes like 30 seconds and makes you feel like a princess. I've worn my hair like this the past two days and gotten tons of compliments. I have a feeling I'm going to be headband binging soon as well. Here are a few I'm currently lusting after.

Knotted Silk Headwrap, $38, Anthropologie

Ball and Chain Headwrap, $28, Nordstrom

Zina Stone Headpiece, $38, Free People

Shoe Love

I am absolutely 100% obsessed with these shoes. I ordered them online and while I was interested in them I didn't know if they'd actually impress me in person. They're not only gorgeous but also super comfy. I've been running around in them all day and haven't once thought I'd like to take off my shoes and work the barefoot hippie thing. Made by Seychelles, Akomeogi Peep Toes, $128, also available in Taupe at Anthropologie.