Thursday, April 17, 2014

Dream Vacation

There are too many places on my list of dream vacations but lately I keep seeing tons of people vacationing in Mexico. I have always wanted to go, especially to Mexico City and visit Frida Kahlo's house, and now after seeing these pictures the capital of Yucat√°n. Here are a couple of my favorites, but you can see all of them from the link.




Tuesday, April 1, 2014

What's For Dinner

Thai Beef Stir Fry with Mango Carrot Salad

 Ingredients:
  • vegetable oil
  • 2 red chilies 
  • 1 tbsp minced fresh ginger
  • 1 pound beef sirloin-fat trimmed and thinly sliced
  • salt
  • 1 tbsp worcestershire
  • 1 tbsp soy sauce
  • 1-2 cups fresh basil leaves, plus more to garnish
  • rice-to serve
For the mango carrot salad
  • 1 ripe mango-julienned
  • 1 large carrot-julienned
  • 2 scallions-thinly sliced
  • 2 limes-juiced
  • 1 tbsp honey
  • pinch of salt
Directions:
  • Heat a large skillet (I used my wok) over high-heat with a few tbsp of oil. Add the chilies and ginger and cook for about 30 seconds. Stir in the beef and saute for about 2 minutes or until no longer pink, seasoning with salt.
  • Drizzle in the worcestershire and soy sauce and toss to coat. Remove from heat and stir in fresh basil.
  • Serve with rice and mango carrot salad
  • For mango carrot salad- toss together the ingredients in a bowl and serve room temperature or chilled.
 I thought this recipe was super easy and fun to make! I tend to steer clear of Asian dishes because I don't have any experience but when I found this dish I knew I could make it successfully. 

Can you believe I finally remembered to take a picture?!

Tuesday, March 25, 2014

A Few Tidbits

Lately...

 Actually getting my butt outside to either walk or jog. It's a start!
 Louie loves laying by the warm vent
 Starting to bloom
 Louie hard at work next to me
 Did my first beer tasting!
 Took a drive to Deception Pass


 Bellevue Botanical Garden...where plants grow out of trees
 Suspension bridge at the garden



Perfect little pine cone

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Dinner Party

This past Saturday Brian and I had a group people over for dinner. I was slightly nervous only because it was mostly guys, there was only one other girl, so I knew I had to make enough to feed everybody and their big appetites. So I'm sure it's not surprising, to those who know me, that I went with spaghetti and meatballs, salad and bread. However, what might surprise everyone including myself, is that I made a dessert! Panna cotta served with fresh berries on top. I had never made it before but it has always been a favorite of mine. Thankfully it's easy to make. From now on it will always be a go-to stress free dessert for me.
The recipe I used is from Giada's book Everyday Italian.

Ingredients:
  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 tbsp unflavored powdered gelatin
  • 3 cups whipping cream
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 2 cups assorted fresh berries
Directions:
  • Place the milk in a heavy sauce pan. Sprinkle the gelatin over and let stand for about 5 minutes to soften the gelatin. 
  • Stir over medium heat just until the gelatin dissolves but the milk does not boil, about 5 minutes. 
  • Add the cream, honey, sugar, and salt and stir until the sugar dissolves, about 2 minutes.
  • Remove from heat and let cool slightly. 
  • Pour the cream mixture into pretty glasses (if you are going for presentation) or a bowl like I did. Cover and refrigerate until set, at least 6 hours, and up to 2 days. 
  • Spoon the berries atop the panna cotta and serve. 

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Lately

I don't feel like I am exaggerating when I write that the weather has been pretty yucky lately. Although, two pluses have been that we had about 2 days of sun (was it last week? I can't even remember) and it's not quite as cold. Let me tell ya, those two days of sun go a long way when you see days and days of consecutive cloud cover. Meanwhile I have just been keeping myself busy with buying little fun crafty things from Michaels, visiting the library (finally got my card and checked out my first book!), cooking, listening to music and watching probably way more tv than I need to be. 

House plants make a room more cheery

Louie getting cozy

Constantly

Costco sized bag...set for a while

Louie's Lookout Point

The Sun!

Hangin

The park by my house...I will sit there when it dries up a bit

Favorite Smell

Caprese Salad

Kale & Sausage Rigatone


    

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Chicken and Rice

If you're anything like me, there is always rice and frozen chicken hanging around. I always make it in a pinch or if I just feel like making something quickly. I really wanted to change it up so I found this recipe where else... thechew.com. I really enjoyed this and Brian tried saffron for the first time. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 1/2 pounds chicken-cut into pieces
  • extra virgin olive oil
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 spanish onion-roughly chopped
  • 1 red bell pepper-roughly chopped
  • 3 garlic cloves
  • 2 tsp smoked paprika
  • 2 tbsp tomato paste (i used a sofrito mix by goya)
  • 2 1/2 cups rice
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • 1 dried bay leaf
  • 1/4 cup chopped green olives 
  • fresh chopped parsley to garnish
  • fresh chopped cilantro to garnish
Jalapeno Aioli
  • 2 egg yolks
  • 1 jalapeno-finely minced
  • 1 clove garlic-finely minced
  • 1 lime-juiced and zested
  • salt and pepper
  • 1 cup extra virgin olive oil
Directions:
  • Heat a dutch oven over medium high with a few tbsp of olive oil. Season the chicken liberally with salt and pepper on all sides. Cook until golden on all sides, about 10 min. Remove from pan to a plate.
  • Combine the onion, pepper, and garlic in a food processor and pulse until finely chopped. Add to the pan with more oil as needed. Season with salt. Cook for about 3-4 minutes until soft and slightly caramelized. Season with the paprika.
  • Add the tomato paste and allow to cook until darkened. Once tomato paste is dark plum colored, add the rice and toast for 2 minutes
  • Deglaze pan with white wine then pour in chicken stock. Stir in the saffron, bay leaf and olives and top with chicken. Bring to a boil then reduce to a simmer. Cover and cook for 15-20 minutes until rice is cooked. 
  • For the aioli-whisk together the egg yolks, jalapeno, garlic, a pinch of salt and freshly ground pepper. Whisk in olive oil until emulsified.
  • Serve the chicken and rice with parsley, cilantro and aioli.


Friday, February 21, 2014

4 Years

Four years ago yesterday I married my best friend. The time has flown by incredibly fast which is kind of scary. I honestly can't believe that we started dating almost 9 years ago! Wow. Marrying Brian has undoubtedly been one of the best decisions I have ever made and I can't wait to see what the future holds. Now, sorry in advance for the multitude of pictures I am posting. I had fun taking a trip down memory lane.

Right after Brian proposed we took a trip to Big Bear

Maui

Goofy 3D glasses

Palm Springs

Honeymoon

Christmas Family Photo

Bumbershoot Music Festival

One evening at Dargans 

Matrimony! Unfortunately all my wedding photos are on a different computer so this is as good as it's gonna get for tonight.


Friday, February 14, 2014

Love


This morning I read something that has really stuck with me. It stated rather than saying "marriage is hard work" say "marriage is effort" or "an investment." Hard work generally implies back breaking work that may or may not bring a reward in the end. Effort and investment brings an expectation that there will in fact be a pile of gold at the end of the rainbow. Just like everything that is worth while it doesn't come easy and we all need to know the work we put forth will not be forsaken. Is that the right wording? And I love that this applies to any relationship, not just marriage. Anyways, I'm sure this could be written more eloquently but I really liked this and thought I would share. Tell someone you love them today! 

Tuesday, February 11, 2014

I'm Back!

It's been almost a month of dead silence on this end. Whoops! To my defense I have had a lot on my plate and everything is finally settling down again. Slowly returning back to normal. Almost. 
Since I've moved to "suburbia" (we get a kick out of saying that) it has taken a few days to get the kitchen set up but let me tell you, that was the first part of the house I really wanted unpacked and ready to go. For four years now all my kitchens have been smaller than my current. Everything was always within an arm's length which suited me well. It was always cozy to cook and even more alluring, faster to clean. But, now that I do have a bit more space to move around in and store all my stuff I certainly appreciate it.  
Unfortunately my dear husband is on round 3 of sickness this winter. So he's been home with me for the past few days trying to get better and my care taking duties have been upped. When Brian gets sick he really likes to have a meat and potatoes kind of dish so I decided to give chicken pot pie a go. I have never made one before, nor am I a huge fan, but because he LOVES it I thought it might make him feel better. Well, to be honest and not to toot my own horn but I actually really liked it. In fact, it's the first pot pie that I have ever liked! I'm sure Brian will be happy to know I will make this down the road. 

Ingredients:

  • 3 lbs ground chicken (I chopped mine into chunks)
  • olive oil
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 5 medium carrots, peeled & finely chopped
  • 6 celery ribs, finely chopped
  • 1 large yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 4 garlic cloves, minced
  • 3 tbsp flour
  • 2 cups chicken stock
  • 1/4 cup heavy cream
  • 6 fresh sage leaves, chopped
  • 4 sprigs fresh thyme, leaves
  • 2 sprigs fresh rosemary, chopped
  • 2 dried bay leaves
  • peas
  • pie crust (I bought the store bought fridge kind)
Directions:
  • In a large dutch oven, heat a few tbsp of olive oil over medium. Add the chicken and season with salt and pepper. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the meat is dark brown, about 10-15 minutes. Using a slotted spoon, remove meat to a plate.
  • Saute the carrots, celery and onions in the same pot and season with salt. Cook until softened, about 5 minutes and stir in the garlic for about 30 seconds or just until fragrant.
  • Return the chicken to the pot along with any drippings on the plate. Sprinkle the flour and stir to coat the veggies and meat. Cook for about 3 minutes before stirring in the chicken stock. Add the herbs and peas and adjust seasoning to taste. Bring the mixture to a boil and reduce to a simmer. Cook for 10-15 minutes or until mixture has reduced and thickened. (Almost all of the liquid should be cooked off)
  • Stir in the cream and remove from heat. 
  • Top with the pie crust
  • Bake in oven on low broil or high heat to brown the crust on top. 
From now on I will try to take pictures. I always kick myself for not taking the time. 

Thursday, January 16, 2014

Salmon with Rosemary and Garlic

I admit I am not the best at cooking fish. The window between undercooking and overcooking is so small that it makes me nervous and frustrated if I don't get it just right. And who wants to eat either raw fish or rubbery fish? No one. So tonight's recipe seemed easy enough. Well, there's one detail that would have been nice to know ahead of time so unfortunately my fish came out a little over done. All well. I have made a mental note and will prepare it right the next time. 

Ingredients:

  • 4 (6 ounce) salmon fillets
  • kosher salt & freshly ground pepper
  • 4 sprigs fresh rosemary
  • 1 tbsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 cups dry white wine
  • 1 cup torn fresh basil leaves
  • 2 cloves garlic, sliced
  • Sliced jalapeno if you desire
Directions:
  • Preheat a grill or grill pan to medium high heat
  • Season the salmon on both sides with salt and pepper. Lay out 4 large pieces of aluminum foil for the "boat." Lay the salmon fillets in their own foil boat and on the center of each fillet put a sprig of rosemary, red pepper flakes, and olive oil. Evenly distribute the garlic on top with the jalapeno. 
  • Bring up all 4 corners of the foil to begin to form a pouch. Before sealing add 1/2 cup of wine to each boat. Tightly seal.
  • Put the boats on the grill. Cook until hot throughout, about 4 minutes..
  • Remove from the grill, open and top each boat with the fresh basil. Serve immediately
I paired the salmon with a salad which made for a healthy little dinner. Despite the salmon being a bit chewy it was still very good. 

(not my picture but I am happy to report mine looked just the same)