26 New Recipes

I was perusing Instagram this morning while recuperating on the couch and came across a picture from Megan_NerdNest. She talked about how she’s documenting 52 new recipes this year in a book. I’ve now been thinking about this idea for the remainder of my afternoon and decided I wanted to do something similar. I’ll incorporate it into my regular Project Life album but I’m going to challenge myself to document 2 new recipes a month (less pressure for me not having to do it weekly!) This will require a little more planning on my part and cooking these recipes during the weekend so I can photograph them but I am up for the challenge!

I’ve already cooked at at least 3 new recipes so far this year and we’ve determined that 2 of them are coming into a regular rotation. I’m trying really hard to use my cookbooks and not just peruse the internet for recipes, so far it’s been a win! From here on out I’ll be sharing the new recipes and what we thought here on the blog!

 

 

 

San Francisco {Part 2}

I am a total food junkie. While I love to cook I also love to find those amazing restaurants and give them all my money so I can eat everything there. I can say that SF had more than their fair share of these places! I knew that I needed to go to Tartine for a chocolate croissant. I knew that I had to have brunch because SF does brunch. The boy, ahem the husband, had to have Chinese food.

I still can’t stop dreaming about the croissant from Tartine. There was a long line to wait in but I knew that it was going to be worth it. We weren’t hungry since we’d just come from brunch. We finally get to the counter and I was overwhelmed by the aromas of everything there. We picked up a chocolate croissant (huge mistake. should have gotten 2!!) and a ham and cheese croissant along with a few drinks to enjoy a bit later. We walked. and walked. and walked until we finally made it to the park across the street from the painted ladies. Full House anyone? We had our Tartine picnic right across the street with the view of the beautiful victorian houses. Seriously. I can still taste the amazing croissants  Now if only I could have some here…

On our walk back from the park we went through Hayes Valley. I loved it there!  The shops, some restaurants and a macaron store, plus the tree lined streets…it was great. {This trip I fell in love with macarons. I couldn’t get enough. I tried one everywhere I could.} We walked into Chantal Guillon and I instantly knew I had to have some treats. I wound up ordering six but had I known just how incredible they were I would have ordered 2 dozen. No seriously.

Imagefrom left to right: espresso coffee {yummy. good coffee flavor} raspberry lychee {delicious. so light and refreshing} salted caramel {outstanding. the middle was caramel.} coconut lime {yummy. I’m not usually a coconut person but this was good.} passion fruit {delicious! I love the flavor of passion fruit.} dark chocolate yuzu {so yummy. what a great flavor pairing}

When we were in the Ferry Building exploring all the delicious food options we came across the donuts at the end of the building. I ordered one and didn’t even realize they were vegan until I had paid and read the sign. They were outstanding! Seriously the best donuts ever. Pepples Donuts are delicious! I had a salted caramel one and it rocked. I couldn’t stop thinking about these donuts and on Sunday when we were walking from brunch to Tartine we happened to walk past a bake sale and they had the donuts! I was one happy girl. I had lemon poppyseed the second time around. Equally as delicious, really yummy lemon flavor.  Apparently they are open 7 days a week at the Ferry Building. Had I known this I would have been there daily for a donut. Probably better that I didn’t 🙂

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Writing this I think that perhaps most of our trip was centered around food! Good thing we both like to eat. And walk…

Our first day we wanted to grab lunch but nothing heavy or crazy. We found ourselves at Wayfare Tavern {Tyler Florence’s restaurant} and we snagged some seats at the bar. We had a light lunch complete with his melt in your mouth popovers. Oh my god. They were so good! We ordered the tartare and the brussle sprouts and the poutine. I had the iced tea which came with a scoop of lemon sorbet in it and a pomegranate simple syrup {best iced tea I have EVER had.} the boy, ahem, the husband, had a local beer. Everything here was wonderful. We could see into the kitchen. Our server was awesome. It was the perfect light(ish) lunch before we went exploring. I wanted to go back for a full meal but there were so many places to see and eat that we never went back. I would certainly go when we fly back to SF!

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Have I made your stomach growl? Have you drooled yet? If so then I’ve done my job! More food reviews to come….

enjoy the rest of your weekend….Go ILLINI!

Hello 2013

Happy New Year! I feel so excited about a new start and have a million things I want to do this year. I don’t make resolutions but like to make a list of things I want to do for the year. Same thing I suppose but I like lists and being able to cross things off of them. I’ve also seen a lot of talk floating around about choosing a word for the year. I haven’t invested the time to figure out where this started or what it entails but I like the idea of choosing a word to embrace in 2013 so I’ve chosen one. Create is my word of the year. I’m thinking that I can createmore opportunities to help my photography grow, I can createa healthier me {cutting things out of my diet isn’t me at ALL. things in moderation are good. I love fruits and veggies to begin with so I know this can’t be difficult. The one thing I am cutting out? Soda. It’s terrible. I can drink it by the gallon and it needs to stop. Water? yes. Iced Tea? yes.} I’m also excited to createa Project Life album. I know that this will be a big project to undertake but I already know it’s going to be awesome. I’m going to take more pictures. I’m going to be in more pictures. And things will get printed which will make the boy (ahem, I mean husband) so happy. I’m also looking forward to createa new space in our room. One that shows off all the awesome pictures that we take, the places we go, etc. Not sure how that’s going to happen but it will.

My 2013 List

  • Take at least 2 trips this year with the boy (ahem, I mean husband) that don’t involve going to visit anyone. We love our friends and family and I know there will be plenty of visits but this is something we need to do for us! I’m excited to note that we’ve already planned our first adventure–San Francisco! I’ve never been and am giddy at the thought of traveling.
  • make. the. bed. every single day. I hope that this will create a more organized feeling in our bedroom.
  • I’m writing one line (ok maybe more like 5) in a gratitude journal. Nothing fancy, just a little notebook that I’ve decorated but I’m going to take note of my days and the things I’m grateful for. Each and every one.
  • Get back to running. I like working out. I love how I feel. I am just the least motivated person on the planet. And I plan on staying that way for the next six weeks while everyone hits the gym to keep their resolutions. Then I’ll get moving again and feel good. be happy. and look good. YAY. {and MAYBE run a half marathon in May. That is a big fat MAYBE}
  • Pick up my camera more often. Not just my iPhone because it’s convenient but also my big beautiful camera. Take pictures and document our life. Attempt to complete a Project 365 which will be helpful in also completing Project Life. And yes that does include food pictures. Probably a lot of them. I like to eat. I like to cook. I like to feed people. There will be lots of food 🙂
  • Be IN the picture. Not every single one but lots of them. Take self portraits, whatever it is I need to do. I want to be documented!

I’m sure I’ll add to my list throughout the year but these five things are the basis for my year which is going to be awesome.

The boy (ahem, the husband) and I at the Cherry Cricket.

The boy (ahem, the husband) and I at the Cherry Cricket.

 

Happy 2013!

InstaFriday!

I LOVE Instagram. I know that I’m not the only one out there! The way camera phones operate these days is outstanding, and let’s face it…who wants to lug their giant cameras around all the time? Insert my iPhone. I love it. It takes amazing pictures {and I’m sure my new iPhone takes amazing ones too! I’ll have to play with it this week and get lots of pictures.} I like being able to share my life with friends and family scattered across the country and I love it even more because I’m able to see my friends and family from a far.. Here’s my week according to Instagram. Want to link up? Go see all the fun happening over at Life Rearranged!

life rearranged

 

Ummm, yeah. That’s snow…and a good amount of it! Hello crazy weather in Colorado! No worries, it melted .2 seconds after I snapped this. Well not really but it melted fast.

How cute is this pup? We got to hang out with him for a few days and it was a treat. I want a dog sooooooo badly but I know that it’s just not the right time for us to get one. Until then we’ll just keep borrowing 🙂

I made broccoli cheddar soup! While it wasn’t as good as Panera’s it was still pretty tasty. Read about it here. I’d make it again, but make some changes.

Hello beautiful! I’ve been wanting one of these FOREVER. I waited. And waited. And waited some more. I knew when I got married my mom would give it to me as a gift. She’s the one who taught me to cook and bake and love the kitchen so I thought it was a fun reason to wait. I’m SO happy that it’s finally time to break it out and use it.

A good friend is having a baby next month and I went to her baby shower on Sunday. Three of us decided to go in together to get the gift and I was in charge or buying it. If you know me you know just how much fun this was. If you don’t know me then I’ll just say that if this could be a profession I’d do it in a heartbeat. Babies make me happy. I sent my girlfriends a quick text showing them most of what we were giving the lucky mom 🙂

Jameson and Ginger Beer? Best drink invention ever. Apparently I didn’t look like I needed the grownup size but this one worked just fine.

I spent yesterday editing photos from my first holiday season photo shoot. yay! Love this family .

Impromptu(ish) dinner party on a Wednesday night? Always a good idea. Chatting a bit too long after work and getting stuck in traffic? That means whipping up something as fast as I can for friends to snack on while I whip dinner together. Whoops. Green bowl on bottom that you can only see a sliver of? That’s good old Pace salsa. And how fun is that awesome platter? It goes so well with my Anthropologie bowls and was a wedding gift from a great friend.

The remains of dinner from the dinner party…and let me tell you those leftovers are so tasty! Want the recipe? Check it out here…It was pretty tasty again and a great dinner party meal. Easily made vegetarian (I subbed veggie stock for the chicken stock and made two bowls of it, adding chicken to one.)

Met some girlfriends here for happy hour today. The menu looked amazing! I tried a delicious new beer (for $3!) and we had some awesome fried pickles, house made corn nuts and green eggs and ham deviled eggs. Yum! Nothing better than gabbing away with girlfriends over treats. Must come back for dinner.

 

And finally….the best part of the week! We’ve been waiting… and waiting…and waiting… and it finally arrived! We are OFFICIALLY married according to the state of Colorado. Yay! Two months later and now I can start the long and tedious (so I’ve heard) process of changing my name.

HAPPY FRIDAY!

Cooking, Soup and Cookies!

Have I mentioned how much I LOVE my job? Not only because it’s awesome but because I know that I will have the time to cook dinner. From scratch. Any night of the week. Sure things come up and we get busy, I’m tired, don’t feel like it, etc. but I have the ability to do so and that makes me so happy. We had friends over last night for a low key weeknight dinner party. I had one friend ask how I manage to pull things like that together and another friend marvel at my food plan for the week on the fridge. That my friends is the key to my current kitchen success. Sure it takes time, a little extra effort and it doesn’t always work out. It’s a start though and I know the longer I continue to do so the more success I’ll have!

It begins with me browsing through all the weekly sale ads, taking note of proteins that are on sale and then sitting down and finding recipes that match up. OR if my freezer is stocked with protein then I go through that. However since we’ve recently emptied said freezer it’s the weekly sale ads for now! Last week I rounded up my recipes, what I have on hand and what I needed from the store. After grocery shopping on Friday and having a few new ideas in my pocket I spent Saturday cooking and baking.

It was cold, SNOWY and just a good day overall to spend in the kitchen. Also a good day for soup! So I decided to try to recreate Panera’s Broccoli Cheddar soup because it’s amazingly delicious but not cheap. I have to admit that Panera’s soup still takes the cake. Perhaps it just needs more tweaking or perhaps they use some sort of secret ingredient but I didn’t love this. It was way way way to thick for my liking and the taste wasn’t the same. It made a good, quick lunch but I’ll probably have to keep searching for recipes.

 

Broccoli Cheddar Soup

1 tablespoon melted butter
1/2 medium chopped onion
1/4 cup melted butter
1/4 cup flour
2 cups half-and-half cream
2 cups chicken stock
1/2 lb fresh broccoli
1 cup carrot, julienned (I used 3 carrots, peeled and grated…)
1/4 teaspoon nutmeg (I omitted this step, I’m not a huge fan of nutmeg…)
8 ounces grated sharp cheddar cheese
salt and pepper
In a large pot sauteé the onions in the butter…
Remove onions from the pan. Cook melted butter and flour using a whisk over medium heat for 3-5 minutes. Stir constantly!
Continue stirring consistently and add in the half & half. Simmer on low for a few minutes while continuing to whisk.
Add in the chicken stock and let it simmer for 20-25 minutes. Stir occasionally!
Add in broccoli, carrots and sauteéd onions. Continue to cook for 20-25 minutes or until vegetables are tender.
After the vegetables have cooked you can choose to pureé the soup or leave it chunky. I used my immersion blender and slightly pureéd it so the chunks of broccoli weren’t as big. Add in the shredded cheese and stir. If you’re adding nutmeg also add that in. At this point I decided that the soup was really thick and that I was going to add in another cup of chicken stock. I heated it up before adding it to the pot. I probably would add more next time.
Serve with a nice crusty piece of french bread like at Panera and top with a little extra cheese. Yum!
Serving soup in Anthropologie bowls makes me happy 🙂 Well let’s be honest, serving anything in these bowls makes me happy. And following up soup with the tastiest chocolate chip cookies ever? That makes for one awesome Saturday!
Happy Thursday! Come back tomorrow to see my InstaFriday post!

Recipe Roundup

I love cookbooks. I have a ton of them…some are very well loved and some have lots of pages marked but rarely get used. Why you ask? The internet. It is SO easy for me to search for a recipe and pull it up on my computer or iPad and just bring said device into the kitchen. I know I’m not the only one who is guilty of this. I try to use my cookbooks, I can’t stop wanting to buy cookbooks but I always seem to turn to my computer. How can you not though when there are so many awesome recipes out there? I read a bazillion blogs and have come to rely on some of them for my go to recipes. Do you have anywhere you rely on for tried and true recipes? Pinterest has also become a favorite tool. I can find delicious recipes all over the internet and then pin them onto specific boards and easily find them when I’m ready to make them.

Here are a few recipes I’ve rounded up that I’m hoping to make!

How delicious does this simple popcorn snack look? I love that she uses an air popper, if only I had room to store one…

 

These are just calling my name. Probably should try them out one weekend soon and serve them for football fun…I’m guessing they’d pair really well with an icy cold beer.

 

 

 

I know this HAS to be delicious. It comes from Bree over at Baked Bree and she is one of my go to blogs for recipes. Everything I’ve made from her recipes has been delicious.

 

 

I need to make these. Probably sooner rather than later. I’ve been eying them for YEARS. How delicious do these look?!

 

 

These seem like the perfect weeknight fall dinner. Paired with roasted veggies and brussel sprouts. Yup I said brussel sprouts–they’re delicious and probably deserve their own roundup!

 

 

And finally…I’ll be making this tonight! It’s cold and gloomy here today and it seems like the perfect meal to combat that. Yum. Pairing it with a crisp loaf of french bread and a nice green salad.

Green Goddess Salad

This salad rocks. I’ve eaten it three times within the past week and I could eat it again today. Thank you to my friend Blake for serving it for dinner last week! The best way to enjoy this meal is outside with friends and a nice cold glass of white wine! I’ve adapted the recipe to make it a heartier salad which also included leaving out the bread so it’s gluten free. The salad dressing is really the star here and I’ve already got a list of ways to use it in other dishes (next up I’m thinking shrimp and pasta!) I forgot to take pictures of the dressing ingredients but you’ll find them listed below. Also left out of the ingredients picture is the sliced almonds that we topped the salad with. Oops!

The awesome thing about this salad is that the dressing can be made ahead of time and the veggies can be prepped ahead of time so you can have dinner on the table in under 10 minutes. I love rotisserie chicken, there is something about it that is so delicious! If it wasn’t so hot here then I probably would have roasted my own chicken but then my cooking time would have been a lot longer. When it’s summer out I love the simplicity of being able to throw together a healthy meal that doesn’t take long and doesn’t require the oven or stove. The awesome thing about this salad is you can adapt it to your liking. Don’t like olives? Leave them out! Love beets? Toss them in (I bet they’d be delicious!) This could even be vegetarian if you omit the chicken.

Green Goddess Salad (adapted from Food&Wine)

1 cucumber, peeled and sliced in half. Cut into small bite size pieces.

1 bell pepper, sliced thinly

1 avocado, diced

1 pint cherry tomatoes sliced in half

2 ribs celery thinly sliced (thinly sliced is key for this salad!)

2 ears of corn, sliced off the cob (I know there’s only one pictured, I wanted more corn though)

1/2 red onion, thinly sliced

1 rotisserie chicken, shredded

1/2 a package of goat cheese, crumbled

1. Place all veggies except the avocado in a large bowl.

2. Top with chicken

3. Toss with dressing (see recipe below)

4. Dish into individual bowls, top with goat cheese, avocado and sliced almonds

Dressing:

I wasn’t too exact with my measuring here, it’s all about taste though. If you don’t like one of the herbs then swap it out with something you do like. I’m sure cilantro would be good in here I just don’t care for it (gasp!)

1 bunch flat leaf parsley

1 package of dill

1 package of oregano

1 package of chives

2 cloves garlic

6 oz. container of plain greek yogurt

1/2 a small container of sour cream ( I just scooped out what was left of ours)

the juice of 2 lemons

salt and pepper to taste

1. Trim herbs from stems and in food processor (I used a Vitamix)

2. Add in remaining ingredients and blend.

Pour into mason jar and stick in fridge. Use a generous helping when dressing the salad. Leftover dressing will keep for two days.

Last night when we at this we had some baguette that we served with goat cheese and a little ramekin filled with excess dressing for dunking. It was delicious! Try this out, I promise it’s delicious and a filling meal (even the boy agreed the first time we ate it and has been raving about it since.) Great for a quick lunch or dinner this weekend, especially if you’re busy. I know we are! (10 days ’til our wedding!) Happy Weekend!