Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Cheap & Chic

Its been awhile since I've posted something non-food related! I swear, if you read this blog, it must seem like I only eat, sleep and blog.

For new readers of this blog, I actually used to blog cool etsy finds, or neat websites and shopping/crafty links. I'm going to try to get back to that a bit. I love anything design-related - including a serious addiction to unique paper products, cool pottery, dishes and home decor. Tim & I still rent an apartment so I don't have much room or freedom to decorate our space, but I try to do little things around to make it at least a little unique.

Anyway, enough of the intro. Here is a cool centerpiece. All of these flowers were bought at the local regular grocery store - 4 mix & match bunches for $10!

Now, I usually don't like carnations. But when you make an arrangement of almost all carnations tightly packed together, it has a totally different effect than just one or two stuck in. Try it out. It works with all different types of flowers - another one is baby's breath. Normally hate it. But the other day, after arranging some flowers, I had it leftover. I put it in a small pottery cup - just the baby's breath - totally different look.

Back to these flowers. I decided to take the emphasis off the flowers (and how cheap they are) and put it on the style of arrangement - so I made several small arrangements in containers that I had around - a few different size drinking glasses, a beer glass, and one tea cup. An odd number usually works the best - 3, 5, 7.

My table is small and round, but these would work great down the center of a longer table too. I added a small succulent (hens & chicks) to the mix as my 5th piece. I think it looks pretty good! You could also separate the containers and use them around the house as a way to unite the different rooms. Try it out sometime!

I'm also entering this into the Centerpiece of the Month event - a great monthly event now hosted by Sandi at the WhistleStop Cafe. Thanks Sandi!

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Happy Anniversary to Us!

Besides being a bit busy with my business, I was absent last week because it was our first wedding anniversary! Tim and I went away for the weekend and had a blast. I'll post some travel photos to my photography blog later on, but I just wanted to post the food-related portion of our anniversary celebration here :).

Our wedding was awesome - we loved everything about it. We spent a long time planning everything and had a great time. I can't believe a year has passed already. One thing that we didn't do, that Tim secretly wanted to do (or not so secretly) was smash the cake on each other. At the wedding, we fed the cake to each other like normal, sorta joked about the smashing part but didn't do it. Well, last weekend we shot a wedding in New Jersey (it was awesome!) and the couple totally reinspired the cake smashing - see what I mean here. It was hilarious. So, in honor of our first anniversary, we went for it!

Here is a picture of our wedding cake and a funny one of us from the wedding (photo credit: the fabulous Zlatko Batistich):

We defrosted the top of our cake from last year and here is what it looks like now - pretty sad, huh? It wasn't really wrapped that well and it totally got smushed in our freezer during the year, but it still tasted pretty good.

I wasn't sure of how the cake would taste a year later so, to celebrate our anniversary, I ordered a mini-version of our wedding cake. So cute.

Ok, lastly, here is what we look like during (Tim) and after (me) our cake battle.

It was ridiculously fun. Not that fun to clean up afterwards - I never though about how greasy buttercream would be...but it was definitely worth it to smush a giant piece of cake in Tim's face!!! When do you ever get to do that? By the way, we didn't smash the whole cake :), we had plenty left over for eating.

Thursday, June 5, 2008

Let's hear it for the weekend!

Its Thursday night...WOO HOO! Weekends begin on Friday in our house :) We're having a heat wave in our part of the country this weekend and the grills will definitely be on so here is a great recipe for all you weekend warriors out there!

Kicked-up Turkey Burgers & Mustard Coleslaw
(the turkey burger recipe based on a source that I cannot name right now, but I will blog about it soon :), the coleslaw recipe is modified from Cooking Light)

Turkey burgers
1 package ground turkey (93% lean)
1 handful of cheddar or "taco-blend" shredded cheese
1/3-1/2 cup salsa (I used leftover from last weekend, any kind works)
1 cup bread crumbs
Arugula lettuce (feel free to substitute, but the arugula gives the burger awesome flavor)
Few slices of vine-ripened or heirloom tomatoes
Potato rolls (any rolls you like work here)

Tangy mustard coleslaw
~ 3/4 head finely shredded green cabbage
1 cup shredded carrot
1/4 cup white wine vinegar (I used white balsamic vinegar)
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons whole-grain mustard
2 tablespoons reduced-fat mayonnaise
1/8 teaspoon salt
1/8 teaspoon black pepper

1. Mix ground turkey, salsa, cheese, and bread crumbs until you have a uniform mixture. Separate into burgers (for me, this makes 4 burgers).

2. Mix cabbage and carrots in a bowl. Set aside. Whisk remaining ingredients until a dressing forms - I would have preferred mine a bit creamier, so I would taste the dressing and use the mayo ratio to reach your desired consistency.

3. Add vegetables to dressing, combine and refrigerate for about 1/2 hour.

4. While the coleslaw is in the refrigerator, cook the burgers on pre-heated grill pan or on the grill until desired doneness is reached (remember, this is a poultry burger, so no undercooking!)

5. Serve burgers on buns with healthy dose of arugula and sliced tomatoes. If you are like my husband, you can add ketchup; if you are like me, you think ketchup is disgusting and you'd rather have it plain :)

6. Add coleslaw to your plate, grab a beer or glass of sangria and you are READY FOR THE WEEKEND!!!

You could totally change up the coleslaw by adding some additional vegetables - broccoli slaw, some sugar snap peas, or edamame would be great.

I love burgers with a good dessert too - try this easy dessert. Great way to use all the summer produce thats out there right now!

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

Balsamic & Herb Pork Chops

I have missed blogging! I'm in the middle of wedding season, so my evenings are currently spent downloading, editing, ordering, numbering and blogging -- just not here. I am loving it, but I love this blog too and this week, I am determined to post a number of things that I have waiting in the wings.

But...this recipe is not one of them! I actually made this recipe for dinner tonight - took a quick pic in the horrendous yellow light, which you know is not easy for me :) But this dinner was so easy and delicious that I wanted to get it up right away so you guys could try it for dinner this week!

Balsamic & Herb Pork Chops

Thin-cut, boneless, center cut pork chops
Extra virgin olive oil
Balsamic vinegar (red)
Kosher salt/freshly ground black pepper
Garlic powder
Freshly chopped rosemary (or other fresh & fragrant herb)

1. Line baking sheet with parchment paper. Preheat oven to 400-425 degrees.

2. Arrange chops on pan with a bit of room between each one. I usually make 4 since these are very thin and definitely need 2 per person.

3. Season both sides of chops with olive oil (drizzle), salt, pepper and garlic powder. Put a splash of vinegar on each chop. Top with a bit of chopped rosemary. Don't go crazy the first time you make it, as rosemary can be a bit overpowering - that means don't cover the meat so you can't see it through the rosemary :) A generous sprinkle should be fine.

4. Put the pan in the oven. Turn cutlets over after 5 minutes. Bake until meat is cooked to your preference (I cook mine about 10 minutes).

Serve with whatever sides you like! The other day I served it with salad and rice/vegetable. Today I made it with Ree's (the pioneer woman) Crash Hot Potatoes (you know you were looking at that recipe too and thinking [just like I was], why didn't I think of that?!) and my roasted vegetables (I used broccoli and zucchini today).

For the first time, I am going to submit a recipe to Weekend Herb Blogging! This recipe is easy, and the rosemary makes a huge flavor difference so I think its perfect for WHB. Thanks to Maninas for hosting this week and to Kalyn for starting WHB!