Tuesday, August 31, 2010

I Really Did Cook....

...And now I am catching up! Here is what I made last Thursday night for the Hubbs and I!

First I made some chicken breasts. These were just simply seasoned with salt and pepper, then put into the pan. After the first flip I seasoned them with some seasoning salt. Flipped one more time to season the other side of the chicken. Wait until they are cooked through, and viola! Easy, tasty chicken!

Now onto the side dish:

~Baked Sweet Potato Fries~
(adapted recipe from Paula Deen)
House Seasoning:
1 c. salt
1/4 c. black pepper
1/4 c. garlic powder
Olive oil
2-3 sweet potatoes, cut into uniform fry-length shapes (about 1/4 in. thick)
1/2 tsp. paprika

Combine the first 3 ingredients for the House Seasoning, store in an airtight container for up to 6 mo. Preheat oven to 450 F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with non-stick spray. In a large bowl toss sweet potatoes with enough oil to coat (too much will make them too soft). Sprinkle with about 1 tbsp. of House Seasoning and the paprika. Toss to coat. Spread the potatoes in a single layer on the prepared baking sheet. Bake until potatoes are tender and golden brown, turing occasionally, about 20 min. Let cool 5-10 min. before serving. 

I served the chicken with some mustard and ranch to dip it in. The sweet potatoes got ketchup. I would, in the future, like to experiment with a sweet ketchup to dip the sweet potatoes in. I will keep you posted!

I loves me some sweet potatoes! When I go to a restaurant and they are offered as a side, I always get them! (unless I know if they are good or not) I have had a bad sweet potato fry and it is just tragic! Hahah! I hope you enjoy these ones as much as I/we did!


Monday, August 30, 2010

Cool List From a Magazine!

Woah! What a whirlwind of a weekend! (lots of w's there!) Twas fun, but busy. On Friday night I went out with the Hubbs and one of his friends for some drinks. Then on Saturday night I went to another friends house and we grilled for dinner, and then chatted over drinks. And, finally on Sunday night I went to another one of Hubbs' friends house. The gals were participating in a presentation by "Gold Crayon" which sells candles and the like. Again, there were drinks and food. What an exceptional weekend!

There was one thing that I did realize this weekend. I want to be an entertainer, and by this I mean sort of mock "hostess". I am still looking for a word or phrase to describe what I want to do. Earlier I described it as a "take home" chef concept: Want to throw a part, but don't want to cook? Call me, I'll cook it for you! Prep could either be all on me and I just bring the food, or half & half (like grilling for example - I would do it at the clients house). What do you think? Should I do it? I am still mulling over the idea, and it need to work some things out. Just an idea.

Anywhoo, I was looking through on of my favorite magazines, Food Network Mag, and I found this really cool list, so I am going to share it with my readers!

America's BEST

Comfort Foods

  1. Best No-Nonsense Pizza = Lucali, Brooklyn NY
  2. Best Old-Fashioned Biscuits = Loveless Cafe, Nashville TN
  3. Best Hand-Cut Fries = Boise Fry Co., Boise ID
  4. Best Spaghetti w/ Red Sauce = Scarpetta, Miami Beach FL & New York NY
  5. Best Chicken Soup = Famous 4th Street Delicatessen, Philadelphia PA
  6. Best Southern Fried Chicken = Watershed Restaurant, Decatur GA
  7. Best Mashed Potatoes = L'Atelier de Joel Robuchon, Las Vegas NV
  8. Best Real-Deal Burrito = La Taqueria, San Francisco CA
  9. Best Mac & Cheese w/ A Twist = Zingerman's Roadhouse, Ann Arbor MI
  10. Best Haute Grilled Cheese = The Foundry on Melrose, Los Angeles CA 

Regional Classics

  1. Best New Shrimp 'n' Grits = Hominy Grill, Charleston SC
  2. Best Hot Dog Menu = Hot Doug's, Chicago IL
  3. Best NC-Style Pig = The Pit, Raleigh NC
  4. Best Gumbo, Any Style = Commander's Palace, New Orleans LA
  5. Best Late-Night Burger = Holeman & Finch Public House, Atlanta GA
  6. Best Old-School Steak = Keens Steakhouse, New York NY
  7. Best Riff on a Cheesesteak = The Bazaar by Jose Andres, Los Angeles CA
  8. Best Lobster Roll Duet = Neptune Oyster, Boston MA
  9. Best Lone Star Brisket = Kreuz Market, Lockhart TX
  10. Best New England "Chowdah" = Captain Parker's Pub, West Yarmouth MA


  1. Best Beer-Spiked Cupcake = Gingerbread Cupcake w/ Stout Beer & Cream-cheese Frosting. Miette, San Francisco CA
  2. Best Drinkable Dessert = Strawberry Shakes. Parkesdale Farm Market, Planet City FL
  3. Best Pie on A Stick = Key Lime Pie Dipped in Chocolate. Kermit's Key West Lime Shoppe, Key West & DeLand FL
  4. Best Exotic Ice Cream = Salty Caramel, Molasses-Praline, Goat Cheese w/ Cognac Figs. Jeni's Splendid Ice Cream, Columbus OH
  5. Best-Dressed Doughnuts = Hand-Split Yeast Doughnuts w/ Seasonal Fillings: Strawberry & Pumpkin Cream-cheese. The Donut Man, Glendora CA
  6. Best Little Box of Chocolates = Cinnamon-Cayenne Truffles. Gail Ambrosius Chocolatier, Madison WI
  7. Best Upside-Down Frozen Treat = Frozen Custard "Concrete" Mixers Shake. Ted Drewes, St. Louis MO
  8. Best Flaming Treat = Bananas Foster. Brennan's, New Orleans LA
  9. Best Spin on Souffle = Raspberry-Truffle Souffle w/ Ice Cream. Falai, New York NY
  10. Best Big Whoopie = Super-sized Whoopie Pies, Pumpkin w/ Maple Filling. Two Fat Cats Bakery, Portland ME
Hope you like all of these and can maybe even try a few!
**Click on the establishment name for links!!**

(I will be posting my photos and recipes from this weekends cooking adventures soon!)


Friday, August 27, 2010

Easy, Yummy Meal(s)

This is what the Hubbs and I had for dinner on Wednesday night this past week: Turkey sausage w/ sautéed mushrooms, herbed barley, and steamed corn. Pretty simple and pretty straight forward. And here are the "recipes"

~Turkey Sausage w/ Sautéed Mushrooms~
5 Sweet Turkey sausages, de-thawed 
5-6 sliced button mushrooms
2 cloves garlic, minced
1/4 red onion, minced
1 tbsp. olive oil

Preheat a skillet over med-high heat. Add olive oil when warm. After chopping the garlic, onions, and mushrooms add them to the skillet, stirring. Saute for about 5 min. or until onions and mushrooms are soft. Once done remove from pan. Add turkey sausage. Cover and cook for 10 min. turning every 3 min until sausages are done, or a thermometer reads 180 degrees.

The herbed barley was left over from lunch the same day. It was plain so I added in some italian seasoning, a dab of olive oil and some salt and pepper. It was yummy. The barley recipe that I made for lunch was easy as well!

~Mixed Vegetable Barley Salad~
1 c. uncooked quick barley
2 c. water
olive oil
red onion
cherry tomatoes

Bring the water to a boil in a med stock pot. Once the water is boiling, add the barley, stir, reduce heat to low, and simmer, covered, for 10-12 min. Meanwhile, chop all the veggies (amount of each veggie differs based on amount of barley used). I used 2-3 cloves garlic, about 1/4 of an onion, 1/4 of a pepper, 4 baby carrots, and 4-5 cherry tomatoes. Place all the chopped veggies in a med saute pan, with a drizzle of olive oil, over med heat. Saute for about 5-6 min. or until the veggies are cooked though. Fluff barley with a fork when done cooking. Add to sautéed veggies. Stir to combine. Season with salt and pepper. Serve warm.


Thursday, August 26, 2010

What I made on a Wed Night

I made a quick and simple supper last night. But I did try making something new!

For my Hubby's lunch I tried my hand at making some barley. I had read somewhere that barley is good for you...I am not very familiar with it, so I decided to give it a try. I hear its better nutritionally than white rice, and being someone who likes to try new things...I decided to give it a go!

I saved some of the left over barley from lunch and seasoned it slightly different for dinner. A dinner that consisted of sweet turkey sausage, sauted onions and mushrooms, barley, and corn. Yummy. I loves me some corn! (Although, I wish it were fresh off the cob, but alas, cannot be had in this neck of the woods)

The day has gone by so fast! I did not get a chance to edit ANYTHING today! Dang! Oh well, more to do tomorrow! I will post picture and the recipe here soon. As well as tonight's dinner: Chicken, beans, and sweet potato fries! YUMMY!!


Wednesday, August 25, 2010

A Break From our Scheduled Program...

....For a little "get to know me" session!
  1. I am married
  2. I graduated college w/ an art major and a management minor
  3. I love organizing things
  4. Cooking and baking are passions of mine
  5. Someday I would like to own a restaurant with an art gallery/studio space above
  6. I want to travel the world - Place to go before I die = Russia
  7. I like movies, but I cannot just sit and watch, I have to be doing something
  8. I want a German shepherd
  9. I love Indie/Alternative music
  10. I prefer FroYo or sherbet over ice cream
  11. I Cut out and save recipes from every magazine I look at
  12. My favorite season is Fall
  13. I LOVE the water
  14. Favorite sport is Hockey
  15. I eat an apple every day
  16. My biggest pet peeve is when people have their windshield wipers going to fast for the amount of rain falling from the sky
  17. I have really, really frizzy hair. 
  18. I love to take pictures of food, mainly macro stuff, oh, and signs
  19. I am addicted to Starbucks coffee (WCMFL x2 Pumps)
  20. I like pearl necklaces
Well, there ya go! I did this list because last nights dinner was a little bit of a fail. Fail in the visual category. It did not look very photogenic, but it did taste alright! I tried a new way of cooking chicken. I coated it in a mustard mixture and then seasoned bread crumbs. The dish started to go downhill when I went to turn the chicken and all the breading either fell off or was horribly burned. I guess it would have been better to bake it. Oh well, now I know! 

To make up for this I cooked both a wonderful lunch and a pretty standard dinner today. I will post about it tomorrow! With pics as well.

I am going to leave you with some pictures of our most recent trip to CA. Twas fun! 

Napa Vinyards
View down into Napa Valley from my Sister-in-laws, husbands, family's house
Pretty flowers and valley below
Early morning valley fog from the deck
They had a high tower at the De Young Museum looking down into the gardens (being worked on) and a great view of western San Fran.
Wing tips and sunshine on the plane ride home

    Tuesday, August 24, 2010

    Keeping Up Cooking - A New Week

    What a day: Monday. They are good and bad. Good in that you get to start a brand new week, and bad in that you just came off the weekend of fun! Well, this monday was not to bad, not bad indeed. I woke up with my Hubby, made him breakfast (quick egg white omelette w/ bacon and toast), rolled his sleeves for work, and then away he was. I was feeling rather productive so I:

    1. Vacuumed the living room, kitchen, front entry way, hallway, and our bedroom
    2. Started 2 loads of laundry
    3. Organized both my side and hubby's side of the closet
    4. Raided the fridge for old food
    5. Edited Photos

    Most of these things I had done before 9:30 am! Woah, sometimes I just amaze myself!

    When the Hubs got home I whipped him up a quick lunch. Having veggies that needed to be used up (already grilled) I decided on a quesadilla. I just took two whole wheat tortillas and toasted them in a pan, then, on top of one tortilla in the pan, I put the grilled veggies, swiss cheese, a few herbs, and topped it off with the other tortilla. Flip it after about 2 or so min. and toast the other side and melt the cheese. Presto! Easy Veggie Quesadilla. Some celery and cucumbers w/ ranch dip rounded out this meal. Yummy!

    Dinner was another easy one. Again, I used leftover veggies from the kabobs. These ones were not yet cooked, just cut. I made a quick stir-fry with seasoned chicken. Basically I cooked the veggies in a little bit of olive oil and seasoned them with salt and pepper. I took the veggies out and placed the chicken, cut into bite-sized cubes, into the pan. I seasoned the chicken with salt, pepper, and seasoning salt. Once the chicken was cooked through, I threw the veggies back into the pan, stirred, and viola, Veggie Stir Fry!

    These two meals are cooked with a "recipe" to look at. I just kind of wing it as I go! Both are very yummy and a great way to use up leftovers or an abundance of vegetables!


    Monday, August 23, 2010

    Kabob Cookout Weekend!

    I have finished my first week of cooking new meals! Albeit, with a slight adjustment: I swapped Friday for Saturday (hubby was gone & we had a guest over Saturday night). Wanting to impress, and also wanting something good, filling, and healthy....we decided on veggie and meat Kabobs. Steak kabobs at that!

    Let me tell you, they were a lot of work, but very very worth it. We also decided on an appetizer and a dessert. For the app I made "Cali"-schetta, which is basically bruschetta but with avocado, cheese, and other stuff added in. For dessert I decided to make some lemon bunt cake. My hubby loves things with lemon. I think its the tart/sweet combo.

    Everything turned out wonderful. We grilled the kabobs, veggies, pineapple, and meat outside. I made the appetizer, baked the cake, and made a batch of cornbread ( I was craving some...with honey...yum). Hubby helped with the prep work, cutting the veggies, mixing the cake, and stuff like that. When the guests arrived, drinks were passed out and the appetizers were eaten! Then, not to long after, dinner was served!

    1/2-1/3 baguette, cut into 1/2 in. slices on the diagonal
    3 tbsp. olive oil
    1 lg. garlic clove, peeled, plus 1 clove, peeled and finely chopped
    2 med. ripe tomatoes, seeded and chopped
    2 avocados, pitted, peeled and chopped
    1/2 onion, finely chopped
    1/4 c. grated parmesan cheese
    2 tbsp. chopped cilantro*
    2 tbsp. lime juice
    1/4 tsp. salt
    1/4 tsp. pepper

    Heat oven to 350 F. Lightly brush both sides of the bread slices with olive oil. Toast on a baking sheet for about 4 min. per side. Remove from oven and rub one side with the whole garlic clove. Let cool. In a med. bowl mix together chopped garlic, tomato, avocado, onion, cheese, cilantro, lime juice, salt, and pepper. Cover and refrigerate for 30 min. Top each bread slice with a spoonful of tomato/avocado mixture and serve.

    *I left the cilantro as an optional garnish, I am not a fan of it, at all...

    ~Steak & Veggie Kabobs~
    Steak, cut into 1 1/2 in. cubes
    Marinade (10-30 min. stuff)*
    Red, yellow and green peppers
    Red onion
    Cherry tomatoes
    Button mushrooms
    Kabob Skewers

    Preheat grill. Marinade the steak in refrigerator. Soak skewers in water. Cut all the veggies into uniform pieces, about 1 1/2 in. each. (with the exception of the tomatoes). Peel and core the pineapple and cut into 1 1/2 in. cubes. Thread the veggies onto skewers, alternate veggies for looks. Thread the pineapple onto skewers. Thread the meat onto skewers. Grill the veggies and meat directly over the flame on med. heat. Place the pineapple above to warm with veggies and meat are cooking. Cook until meat is at your preferred doneness (We went for med. so it was about 10 or so min. each side) and veggies are charred and soft. Remove from grill. Place pineapple directly on grill and char, about 2 min. each side. Remove. Serve family style.

    * I used a Teriyaki-style marinade

    Ingredients before cooking
    Nice char grilled meat, veggies, and pineapple!

    ~Lemon Cake~
    2 sticks unsalted butter, room temp.
    2 1/2 c. sugar
    4 XL or lg. eggs, room temp
    1/3 c. grated lemon zest (6-8 lg. lemons)
    3 c. AP flour
    1/2 tsp. baking powder
    1/2 tsp. baking soda
    1 tsp. salt
    3/4 c. + 3 1/2 tbsp. freshly squeezed lemon juice
    3/4 c. buttermilk, room temp*
    1 tsp. vanilla
    2 c. powdered sugar

    Heat oven to 350 F. Grease and flour a bunt pan. Cream butter and 2 c. sugar in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with a paddle attachment for about 5 min. or until light and fluffy. Mixing at med. speed, add eggs, one at a time, and lemon zest. 
    Sift together the flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt in a bowl. In another bowl combine 1/4 c. lemon juice, buttermilk and vanilla. Add flour and buttermilk mixtures alternately to butter and sugar mixture, beginning and ending with flour. Pour batter into pan, smooth the top, and bake for 45 min. to 1 hr. until a cake tester comes out clean. Remove and let cool
    Combine 1/2 c. sugar with 1/2 c. lemon juice in a small saucepan, and cook over low heat until sugar dissolves.** Pour over slightly cooled cake. Let cool completely. For glaze, combine powdered sugar and remaining 3 1/2 tbsp. lemon juice in a bowl. Mix with a whisk until smooth. Pour over top of cake, letting glaze drizzle down sides. Cut and serve.

    *I accidently bought half & half instead on buttermilk. I used it, and it worked just fine.
    **I missed this step. I added all the sugar and the full 3/4 c. lemon juice in the batter. Again, it worked just fine.

    This meal was wonderful! It was also very fun, I love to entertain! (and a little bit of showing off my cooking ability...  :-) all in good fun) Everything tasted oh so yummy! All the "Cali"-schetta went, but we did cut up a few two many veggies, but, as you will see soon, they will not go to waste!

    Oh, how I love desserts. This lemon cake satisfied a craving that I have been having for some time now. I get that typical craving for a baked good every now and again, but I cannot justify baking a whole batch of cookies for just 2 people. Enter entertaining: I can make a dessert! Aha! Wonderful.

    Well, I hope that this inspires you to try these recipes. And soon too! Grilling season is almost over! (depending on where you live of course) Use those summer veggies, fruit and meat! Try something new, even if you don't stick to the recipe, it can be done and taste good!

    Great way to spend the evening!


    Friday, August 20, 2010

    Tilapia on Thursday

    I love fish, I really do! I would have to say that my favorite would be shrimp, in its many forms, followed by a close second of raw or slightly seared Tuna steaks. Yummy in my tummy!

    Well, I tried to make some tilapia fillets last night. I think they turned out okay, again they can be better, but than again, everything can always be better! I believe the recipe that I used was from either the Food Network magazine, or a Rachel Ray magazine. This meal was served with steamed asparagus with mushrooms and onions.

    ~Pan Seared Tilapia~
    2 tbsp. AP flour
    2 tsp. chopped, fresh oregano*
    2 tbsp. chopped, fresh parsley
    4 6oz. tilapia fillets
    4 tbsp. unsalted butter

    Combine the flour, oregano and parsley in a shallow dish or pie pan. Season with salt and pepper. Place a large skillet over med-high heat. Dredge the fish in the flour mixture, shaking off the excess. Melt 3 tbsp. butter in the skillet, then add 2 fillets and cook until golden brown on the bottom, about 4 min. Flip and cook through, 1-2 more min. Transfer to a plate and keep warm. Repeat with remaining 2 fillets. Serve with lemon wedges to squeeze over top of fish. 

    This dish turned out really good and it was really easy and quick! My only critique is that the fish could have used a bit more flavor in the flour coating. Maybe some garlic or salt or something. But it was yummy, light and fresh!


    Thursday, August 19, 2010

    Salmon on Wednesday

    I had bought some smoked salmon at the grocery store over the weekend with the idea of making some "salmon toasts" or something equivalent. Well, I decided to make them tonight as an appitizer of sorts. Along with the Salmon Crackers, as I am now calling them, I served curried potatoes, and a large spinach salad. There was no real recipe used for any of the dished served for this dinner, just kind of tasted and seasoned as I saw fit.

    Here are the "recipes" 

    ~Curried Potatoes~
    8-10 small fingerling potatoes
    1/3 c. olive oil
    1-2 tbsp. curry powder
    1 tsp. onion powder
    1 tsp. garlic salt

    Preheat oven to 375 F. Spray a baking sheet with not stick spray. Combine the olive oil and spices into a med bowl and mix to incorporate. Wash the potatoes and cut them into med uniform pieces. Mix with the olive oil and spice mixture until well coated. Place on baking sheet and bake for 30-40 min. or until fork tender and cooked through. 

    ~Salmon Toasts~
    1 pkg. cream cheese, room temp
    1-2 green onions, chopped
    1 tsp. salt 
    1/8 tsp. pepper
    1 pkg. smoked salmon
    Ritz Crackers

    In a med. bowl combine the cream cheese, onions, salt and pepper. Mix well. Spread a tsp. amount of cream cheese mixture onto a Ritz crackers. Top with small slice of salmon. Serve!

    The salad that I made was pretty basic. Just spinach, feta cheese, red onion, celery, sunflower seeds, sweet peppers, leftover turkey burger, and dressing. 

    I liked the potatoes! The flavor was good, but they were a bit oily, maybe less olive oil next time, but I do like the curry spice. The Salmon Crackers were okay. I thought the salmon would taste a little different. I found myself liking the cream cheese mixture better. Oh well, maybe salmon is better paired with something else. Its an experimentation! 


    Wednesday, August 18, 2010

    Turkey on Tuesday

    I am keeping it up! I am so very proud!

    I decided to make some turkey burgers for dinner. I love, love, LOVE ground turkey! In burgers, meatballs, meat loaf, tacos, sloppy joes, and just about any other combination that you can imagine. Normally I add some sort of Italian seasonings and parmesan cheese and bread crumbs, but this time I wanted something different. The recipe I used was clipped out of a magazine, not sure which one, but one of the larger known cooking magazines.

    ~Grilled Turkey Burgers~
    2 tsp. grated lemon rind
    1/2 tsp. salt
    2 garlic cloves*
    1 lb. ground turkey
    1 10oz. pkg. frozen chopped spinach, thawed and drained*
    1 lg. egg white
    1/8 tsp. pepper
    1 tsp. garlic powder*
    1 tsp. italian seasoning*
    1 tsp. chopped thyme*

    Combine all ingredients in a large bowl, mixing gently. Divide turkey mixture into equal portions, shaping each into a 1/4 in. thick patty. Heat a grill pan with cooking spray. Add patties to pan; cook 8 min. on each side or until done.

    *NOTE: I did not use garlic cloves, I used minced garlic in water, about 2 tsp. I also left out the spinach because I did not have any on hand. I also added the last 3 ingredients to "spice" things up a bit.

    Both Hubby and I liked the burgers! The stand-out flavor is the lemon rind, it beings a nice fresh taste to things. I am going to be adding it to my turkey burgers from now on!


    Tuesday, August 17, 2010

    Shrimp on Monday

    Yesterday I made some shrimp! I am starting this new integration into my cooking repertoire by cooking at least 2 or 3 new recipes each week. We'll see how it goes, but so far so good!

    The recipe I used was from Redbook Magazine. I had clipped it out and put it into my recipe scrap book (I now have 3 going on 4 of these "recipe books") a while ago and I asked my Hubby to look through it and find a recipe he wanted me to make. This was the one that he chose.

    ~Scampi Gratin~
    24 extra large peeled, deveined shrimp, thawed
    4 slices white bread, crusts torn into pieces
    1/4 c. marinated sun-dried tomatoes, drained, minced
    1/4 c. chopped basil
    6 tbsp. grated parmesan cheese
    1 tbsp. capers, drained, chopped
    1 tsp. garlic paste
    1/2 tsp black pepper
    1/4 c. olive oil 
    Lemon wedges

    Arrange oven rack in middle of oven; preheat to 400 F. To butterfly the shrimp, lay shrimp on a work surface. Make a deep slice with the tip of a knife into shrimp, following the curve where the vein was removed and cutting about 3/4 of the way through the meat. Spread incision open and flatten slightly with fingertips. Move to baking pan brushed with 1 tbsp. of the olive oil. 
    Pulse bread in a food processor until corse crumbs form; transfer to a bowl. Stir in sun-dried tomatoes, basil, 4 tbsp. parmesan, capers, garlic paste, and pepper until combined. Stuff each shrimp with breadcrumb mixture, slightly pressing stuffing down to adhere. Drizzle remaining olive oil over shrimp, then sprinkle with remaining parmesan. Bake 5 min. Shut off oven and turn broiler to hight. Broil shrimp  until stuffing is browned, about 2 min. Serve with lemon wedges.

    NOTE: I made a lot of changes to this recipe. Nothing to grand, just some swaps here and there.
    1. I used plain bread crumbs (no food processor, yet)
    2. I used minced garlic
    3. I used dried basil
    4. I added some olive oil to the bread crumb mixture before putting it on top of the shrimp
    5. I did not use capers

    Hubby and I both thought that this recipe was good, or at least it had the potential to be even better! It's an experimentation process right? Next time I am going to used a little less stuffing mixture on each shrimp, add more salt (capers?), more cheese...basically make the amount on top of the shrimp less, but amp up the flavor.

    I served this meal with a simple spinach salad. On top of the spinach I added sweet salad pepper, roasted red peppers, feta cheese, sunflower seeds and a simple olive oil, lemon, salt and pepper dressing. Twas tasty!


    On another note, here are some bands that ya'll should totally check out!
    1. Alpha Rev
    2. She & Him
    3. Neon Trees
    4. Beach House
    5. Delta Spirit 

    Monday, August 16, 2010

    Do I need to be stimulated like this?

    So, over the weekend I went and saw the movie "Eat, Pray, Love". It is a movie based off of the book by Elizabeth Gilbert in which a newly divorced woman, Liz, takes a year to travel around the world. For 4 months she goes to Italy to "eat", then another 4 months she spends in India to "pray" at a hindu workshop of sorts, and finally she spends 4 months in Bali to find balance and love once again.

    The move was okay, and, as most always is the case, the book is by far much better. While watching the movie and taking in all of her surroundings I was intrigued by two things. The first was the food styling used when Liz goes to Italy, and second was the utter uncomfortable feeling when she travels to India and takes a taxi through the city. I remember thinking to myself, "I need to be stimulated like this!" I need to go and do something out of the ordinary for me. I need to be forced into uncomfortable places and I need to learn to survive, to become comfortable first with myself, then secondly, with said place.

    I read an article about the food styling used in the move here. The food here reminded me a little of Julie & Julia but more from the eating and restaurant dining side than the cooking. It was wonderful. I want to go to Italy and eat! Yes please!

    Things I want to Eat in Italy
    1. Gelato
    2. Classic Pizza
    3. Spaghetti Bolognese
    4. Prosciutto
    5. Coffee
    6. Fresh, Local Fruit
    7. Seafood
    8. Classic Bread
    I am excited to get out there and TRAVEL! I cannot wait to move to Okinawa, it's just the start of what I am predicting to be a wonderful adventure of traveling, eating, experiencing, photographing, and growing!


    Friday, August 13, 2010

    Refresh me!

    So, in leu of getting back from a California trip not to long ago, I would like to share a review of a landmark in St. Helena CA.

    I am not sure as to when the original location opened up, but I believe it has been a popular dining establishment for quite some time. Taylor's Refresher gained popularity in the early 2000's and it had been going strong until a change in owners in 200  . Then it became known as Gott's Roadside. The menu is pretty much the same. They are known for their burgers, shakes and fries. Chicken, seafood, salads and other options are served as well.

    Some of the Awards that the Refresher as received include one of San Francisco Magazines 50 Very Best Restaurants, and it has made appearances in Food & Wine Magazine, Savor, Travel + Leisure, Gourmet and Bon Appetit to name a few. As well has being visited by Guy Fieri of Diners, Drive Ins & Dives. In 2006 it received the James Beard Foundation Medal for America's Classic Restaurant
    "The James Beard Foundation America’s Classics Restaurant Award is given to a locally owned restaurant with timeless appeal, beloved for quality food that reflects the history and character of its community.  James Beard Foundation Awards have become the highest honors awarded to fine food and beverage professionals in North America."
    Needless to say, when I heard we were going to Taylor's I was super excited! Upon arriving I was shocked to see that the name had been changed. Why would you do such a thing?! The other thing I noticed was that the line was wrapping around the entire patio! It was about 2ish in the afternoon, but I guess a nice, sunny, summer day brings out all the tourists to this place! Luckily the line was very quick and entirely worth the wait! (even if I only got a chance to eat the fries)

    What we ordered: Wisconsin Sourdough Burger w/ mushrooms, bacon, mayo, and BBQ sauce. 1 order of sweet potato fries w/ chili spice. 1 order of garlic fries.

    What we thought: The burger was good according to my hubby. He sure likes his sourdough bread, one of his favorites! The garlic fries were good as well, nothing special. They came out very green and tasted like your basic french fry covered in garlic and herbs. The sweet potato fries were by far my favorite. I am a huge fan of them and try them at most every restaurant that I go to if offered on the menu, this was the first time I had them with chili spice. Most of the time they come plain or with cinnamon sugar sprinkled on them. I liked the idea of the sweet and spicy combo. Very good!

    Over all rating: 3 out of 5

    I think that I would need to go back and sample some more of the menu items to make a better overall review. French fries, as good as they are, are not an adequate sampling of a restaurants menu! Hopefully, some day I will get to go back, but until then...my rating stands!


    Thursday, August 12, 2010

    Changes Changes Everywhere!

    Once again, this Blog has been reformatted! I think that I like this format the best, as of right now at least. It is much more simple and clean. Not to busy. The perfect backdrop for my photography!

    San Francisco City Hall

    The hubby and I recently got back from a 9 day trip to California. We were visiting grandparents in the San Francisco Bay area and siblings in the Sacramento area. We had a wonderful time visiting Downtown San Fran, Napa, and other adventures!

    One "Adventure" that sticks out in my mind is the obligatory trip to World's Fare Donuts! This place is very significant to my hubby because he has memories as a child going to his grandmothers house and always, repeat, always getting doughnuts from this place. Of course, one we go to CA we had to have them as well!

    Hubby's Fav: Maple Long John (but will pretty much eat anything that has frosting and not cream filled)
    My Fav: Glazed Old Fashioned (they also have chocolate and maple glazed) These are the little ones that "crack" open while cooking and look like, to me at least, little flying saucer doughnuts!

    I highly recommend going to Worlds Fare, their doughnuts are fresh and there is a vast selection to please everybody, but I understand that doughnut stores are a dime a dozen in CA. Its just so big! But the place is so significant to us, we will stand by them through and through!

    Soon I will be posting some pictures from our sparkling wine and wine tours and tastings. I will also include a review on a historic restaurant in St. Helena CA. Can you guess what it may be? If not, stay tuned!