Friday, April 30, 2010

Yum: Chicken with Mushrooms and Artichokes Over Pasta

My friend Tara made Pioneer Woman's Chicken with Mushrooms and Artichokes and highly recommended it. As only a crazy person would do, I made it Wednesday night, in addition to all the other things I planned to make for dinner (Greek chicken and potatoes, asparagus and salad). It was kind of gross how much food there was (we did have one guest over) but it was all so good and provided lots of leftovers. This dish involves a little time to prep everything but then it's easy as can be to make. Next up to try is her Asian Noodle Salad which Tara also raved about.
That night I also learned a new salad dressing for the Salad with Goat Cheese & Pear. My friend Marly whipped this up and it was perfect for that salad. I'm never going to get sick of that salad with all these different vinaigrettes to make.
Marly's Vinaigrette
2-3 T apple cider vinegar
1/4 cup olive oil
1 T syrup
1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 t dijon
squeeze of lemon juice
touch of salt
freshly ground black pepper
Put everything in a jar and shake vigorously to combine.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Is Marriage Good for Your Health?


Interesting article about the effects of your relationship on your health...

(It actually gets more interesting toward the end.)

Swedish Rye Bread

My friend Therese (one of my favorite names by the way) just moved to Seattle from Denmark. When we first met, I asked her what she missed most about Denmark. She said she really missed the hearty bread that's a staple for Danish people. She said the closest thing she could find in Seattle was, funny enough, Ikea's Swedish Rye Bread Mix. You gotta love Ikea!
She gave me a box to try and told me all the ways they love to eat it... as an open-faced sandwich with a slice of cheese, salami, pate, or tomato, buttered with an egg, as regular sandwich bread for tuna fish, or with salmon cakes.
So of course, here I go with my rye bread phase. She instructed me to stir it in a bowl (rather than shake in the carton as the directions say) and add three generous pinches of salt and 2-3 squeezes of syrup. It turns out soft on the inside and crunchy on the outside.
I made it last night and at 9pm my husband, daughter and I enjoyed a piece fresh out of the oven, slathered in butter. Delicious. This morning, I toasted a piece and ate it buttered with a poached egg on top. Again, delicious. For lunch, I made an open-faced sandwich with salami and Parrano cheese. You know it... delicious!
Next on my list... salmon cakes.
Therese's Salmon Cakes
1-2 fillets of salmon
Squeeze of lemon or lime (be generous)
Some whole grain flour – wheat or spelt
A teaspoon or two of capers
1 egg
Pinch of salt

Mix it all in a blender or food processor until you have the desired consistency – add an extra egg if it’s too “dry”. Form cakes with a spoon and fry them in a pan with butter. Serve with a bit of salt and lemon on top and of course the rye bread…heaven!

Simple Salad with Goat Cheese & Pear

Inspired by my friend Tara, I whipped up this salad with goat cheese, pear, and cranberries. It's great and I love her salad dressing. It's good on everything. I know a lot of salads of this sort use walnuts, regular or candied, so I've also made it twice now with a walnut oil vinaigrette to capture the walnut flavor. Either way - it's delish!

Simple Salad with Goat Cheese & Pear

Mixed greens
Pear (been using the red ones)
Goat cheese
Dried cranberries

Tara's Vinaigrette

2 T olive oil
2 T white or golden balsamic vinegar
1 t syrup
freshly ground pepper

Walnut Oil Vinaigrette

2 T walnut oil
1 T white wine vinegar
1 t dijon
freshly ground pepper

Monday, April 26, 2010

Farmers Market Goods & Weekly Meal Plan

Sunday Lunch
Old school tuna melts

Sunday Dinner
Jamjuree Thai (current favorite)

Monday Breakfast
Robbcakes (buckwheat banana pancakes)

Monday Dinner (meatless night)
Tomato Sauce with Onion & Butter
Broiled asparagus with olive oil, kosher salt, pepper
Simple salad with goat cheese & pear (recipe coming soon)
Quick pasta salad with extra noodles, leftover tunafish and black olives

Ina's Turkey Lasagna with hot Italian chicken sausage from Stokesberry Sustainable Farm
Broiled asparagus with olive oil, kosher salt, pepper
Sauteed spinach with lemon juice and garlic

Greek chicken & potatoes
Broiled asparagus with olive oil, kosher salt, pepper

Chicken lettuce wraps
Asparagus with soy sauce and butter
Cabbage with hot sauce

Dinner out (Hallelujah!)

Friday, April 23, 2010

Eating for Pleasure


Good article on emotional eating from Harper's Bazaar:

One Woman's Battle With Emotional Eating

After years of fighting emotional eating, Elizabeth Bard finally learned to separate food from feelings in the culinary capital of the world.

By Elizabeth Bard

The summer I turned 17, I fell for a boy at camp. Though we spent every spare moment gazing and groping in the clubhouse, I was certain we were too young to be in love. We considered our options. I can't remember who blurted it out first: "I rhubarb you." That was my introduction to emotional eating: food that embodied -- even substituted for -- feelings.

Most emotional eating, however, is not quite so warm and fuzzy. It's something we do to compensate. Boss is a bitch? Have a cupcake. He didn't call? Get in line at Ben & Jerry's. It says a lot about the harried relationship Americans have with food. We use it like gas: If your tank is running low in one area, fill it up in another. I knew it well. My favorite method to ease the stress of final exams was with a tub of Pillsbury vanilla frosting and a plastic spoon.

I was familiar with the phenomenon through my family. My parents divorced when I was seven. The day my father left, my mother took a bag of potato chips off the top of the refrigerator and reached in. She caught herself and shoved the bag into the garbage. She was not going to be divorced and fat. Then she went back to the garbage can and emptied the chips over coffee grounds. You can never be too careful.

We've all focused on food when we shouldn't have or made it mean something it didn't. My father died of a sudden heart attack when I was 23. He was alone in his apartment, eating a turkey sandwich. More than his body, which I never saw, or his absence, which I could not yet feel, I obsessed over that turkey sandwich. I dreamed about the stale rye bread crawling with roaches, taking over the building. It got so bad that I demanded that a police escort take me to the apartment so I could throw the sandwich away. I didn't overeat when my dad died; I found myself a 40-year-old boyfriend instead -- another obvious attempt to fill the void.

Paradoxically, all the weight I packed on after college was gained in England, where there is little good to eat. I consumed endless slices of white toast slathered with lemon curd to keep warm in my London flat. The chill was not simply a matter of the weather. The toast and preserves were a perfect match; England and I were not. I understood the books, not the people. As a result, I drank tons of vodka tonics in my attempt to figure out the English system of dating by intoxication.

When I moved to France, where I now live with my husband and baby son, there were times early on when I used food to hide out. When sitting through a dinner party in French still made my head hurt, it was easier to excuse myself to check on what was cooking in the kitchen than to say "This exhausts me" or "I feel invisible." Food was my first language in Paris. My husband's friends didn't know if I was witty or accomplished, but they knew that I made a mean celery-root purée. But as time went by, I discovered a different kind of emotional eating, a happy strain resulting from tarts so gorgeous that they can genuinely make your day and meals lingered over with friends or lovers. I'd go so far as to say that in France, all eating is emotional. It's a celebration -- ritual, not fuel. The French don't worry about food. They enjoy it.

When I finally quelled my shame at feeling like a size 10 Michelin Man in a city where women who have borne several children look as if they just graduated from high school, I noticed that naturally moderate eating habits were all around me. Smaller portions, no snacking, lots of water, and cleansing herbal teas prevent the yo-yo of excess and starvation that has become the reality of many American women -- including my own family and friends. If you never go overboard, you never have to struggle back to shore.

Eating for pleasure -- as opposed to solace -- yields great results. I haven't gained a single pound living in France. I eat everything: cheese, pastry, bread, chocolate. But I do it the French way. Instead of buying a package of cookies, which my American self would devour while procrastinating on a deadline, if I'm craving a chocolate éclair, I make myself walk to the boulangerie to get one (and only one). Now emotional eating means browsing the outdoor market for glistening whole fish or oozy Vacherin cheese. It makes me happy just thinking about it. Pillsbury vanilla frosting has gone the way of the dodo.

The Plastiki Makes The Oprah Show

My latest crush, David de Rothschild, was on Oprah yesterday. I missed it, darn it. If you missed it too, click here to read up and see video on Oprah's website.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Farmers Market Goods & Weekly Meal Plan

Asparagus is popping up at the farmers market. Hallelujah!

Pasta with Prosciutto & Asparagus
Butter lettuce salad with grapefruit & blue cheese

Greek chicken & potatoes
Grilled asparagus

Penne gorgonzola & chicken
Apron Anxiety salad
Grilled asparagus

Roasted Asparagus with Scrambled Eggs (for breakfast, with leftover asparagus)


Lasagna: A Labor of Love

. .
I rarely make lasagna because it takes so stinking long but any time I have an excuse, I take it. We're bringing dinner to a friend's house tomorrow and I have some Skagit River Ranch hot Italian sausage in the freezer. Perfect excuse for this labor of love.
Now the tough question... which lasagna should I make????
I love my mom's basic recipe. It's always a hit and she uses cottage cheese which keeps it light. I also enjoy Barefoot Contessa's Turkey Lasagna (although I use Italian chicken sausage instead of turkey). Her recipe uses goat cheese which adds a great flavor and texture without it being too heavy. And you can't go wrong with Tyler Florence's Ultimate Lasagna. It's fantastic.
What's your favorite lasagna? I'm always looking for a new one to try. And while you're add it - do you use dry noodles, no-cook noodles, or fresh noodles? If you use dry noodles, do you boil them like most recipes call for, or do you do the Ina-soak? I usually do the Ina-soak because it's faster, easier and works great. Tomorrow I'm going to try fresh noodles because it's even faster and easier. We'll see how it goes.
The Ina Soak
Fill a large bowl with the hottest tap water. Add the noodles and allow them to sit in the water for 20 minutes. Drain.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Attention Sassy Seattle Ladies

My friend is hosting a fantastic Designer Consignment Sale starting tomorrow. Get designer pieces at a fraction of the retail price. Choose from designers like Marni, Prada, Dolce Gabbana, Etro, Missoni, Tory Birch, and so much more! They have lots of great summer clothes and accessories, as well as sweaters, coats, handbags and shoes galore.


Helen Gleason's House

609 W. Highland Dr.
Seattle, WA 98119
View Map

Dates and Times:

Thursday, April 22nd: 10-7
Friday, April 23rd: 10-6
Saturday April 24th: 10-4

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Spring Cleaning

Now that’s we’re full swing into spring, it’s time to dust off your dusters and get to work. Below is a list of items I thought of plus here’s a quick Spring Cleaning Checklist from Martha Stewart.

  • Open all your windows and doors. Leave them open for 30 minutes to turn over the air. I like doing this at least once a week once the weather permits.
  • Change your furnace filters. This should be done every 1-6 months depending on what type of system you have and what size filters it uses.
  • Clean out your refrigerator and freezer. You know there are things that expired a year ago! We all have those hidden in the dark depths of the back corners. Get movin'!
  • Flip and spin your mattress (I never do this but they say you're supposed to).
  • Pull out couches and chairs that you don’t normally vacuum behind and vacuum the area once in each direction (a carpet cleaner told me to do it in both directions for maximum cleaning).
  • Go through your files and get rid of statements and invoices that are too old. I think "they say" you need to keep these items for 3-5 years so anything older than that should have a rendezvous with your shredder.
  • Clean out your closet. Take a load of clothes to consignment and a load of clothes to a charity. Spread the love. There's no reason the sweater you’re not enjoying shouldn’t be loved by someone else.
  • Look underneath your bed. Yowser. Forgot that was there, didn’t you? Clean her out and vacuum if you have a proper attachment.
  • Tackle the garage one Saturday afternoon. You can do it! Think of all the space you could clear out for more junk from the house. Sort, relocate, donate, dump.
  • Check your fridge to see if the condenser or coils need to be cleaned. Manufacturers recommend doing this two or three times a year to keep it running efficiently.
  • Take apart your oven hood to see if the fan or vent needs to be cleaned. I checked ours and was appalled at all the build up behind the pristine metal cover. That fan really pulls the grease up. They recommend cleaning this multiple times a year as well (not once every five years like I'm averaging). Seeing the build-up made me all the more happy that I run the fan religiously when I cook so the grease is being sucked up into the vent rather than dispersing in the air.
  • Pull out your washer and dryer and collect missing socks.
  • Make it a point to clean out one drawer, cupboard or closet every day or every week. You don't have to make it perfect, but 20 minutes can do wonders for an over-stuffed drawer or piled high closet.
  • Buy a new toothbrush if your bristles aren't straight (every three months roughly).
  • Exfoliate.
  • Go through your kids toys. Downsize, donate, store for the next bambino.
  • Burn your CDs (or have Ripstyles do it for you), then move 'em out. (Easy Street Records in Seattle will pay $2-5 for unscratched CDs.)
  • Dust those places you may forget about or can't reach (tops of mirrors or artwork, baseboards, bookshelves, closet shelves, etc).

If you manage to check two or three off your list - then bravo ladies and gentleman! You gotta start somewhere. I'm slowly chippin' away one by one.


I'm kind of going crazy for these Celine bags. Pre-fall 2010 above and Spring 2010 below.

Photos courtesy of My Many Bags.

Style Watch - The Stripe

Everywhere I turn - stripes, stripes, and more stripes. I love the look and the endless possibilities of this timeless piece. Buy now, wear for decades!

Easy Dinner: Greek Chicken & Potatoes

I made this chicken dinner last week and loved it so much that I whipped it up again tonight. It's a dish that requires a little prep in the morning and then you throw it in the oven an hour before dinner. Voila... meat and potatoes. Throw in a salad or green veggie and it's the perfect dinner. Great leftovers too!

Greek Chicken and Potatoes

2 chicken legs and 2 breasts (bone-in, skin-on)
8-10 large garlic cloves, chopped (roughly 1/4 cup)

3/4 cup olive oil
3 lemons

4 T fresh oregano, minced
1 teaspoons dried oregano, crumbled
kosher salt
freshly ground black pepper
5 Yukon Gold potatoes

Add garlic, olive oil, juice of 2 1/2 lemons, fresh and dried oregano, salt and pepper to a large zip lock bag.

There are two ways to make this dish. You can leave the breasts and legs as they are and have bigger chunks of potatoes. Cook time will be longer. Or you can cut the chicken breasts in half and cut the leg between the drumstick and thigh. If you go this route, you must cut the potatoes into smaller pieces so they don't take as long to cook. I prefer the second option because it's faster, but it may not be as pretty if that's important to you.

However you cut the chicken, add it to the Ziploc and wiggle it around so the marinade disperses all over the chicken pieces. Marinate for 4-8 hours (the longer the better).

Preheat oven to 375°F. Transfer chicken to a large baking dish. Cut the potatoes and throw into the Ziploc. Toss to coat with whatever marinade is still in the bag. Add potatoes to the baking dish. Sprinkle with a little more olive oil and juice from that last half of lemon. Sprinkle with more salt and pepper. Bake for 20 minutes. Stir and bake for another 15-20 minutes. Check chicken and remove from oven. Tent with foil. Continue to cook the potatoes for another 15 minutes or so, stirring and checking regularly. I like to turn the oven to broil and cook them that way for several minutes to give them a little crisp.

Remove potatoes and serve with chicken and any juices from the baking dish.

Friday, April 16, 2010

Applying Ancient Wisdom

“Set aside all your contemporary self-help books and read this classic slowly, in pieces, at your leisure. It is beautifully translated, presented and introduced. It is calming, inspiring, solid, and useful. A book to keep at hand, ready for emergencies, a steady companion.”
– Thomas Moore, author of Care of the Soul and A Life at Work

My friend Matt sent me a copy of The Essential Marcus Aurelius which offers a translated introduction into the Roman emperor's meditations. I loved it. I find myself reflecting back to his teachings on a regular basis and it always brings a little mental relief - a freeing of worry, stress, disappointment or sadness. Some segments remind me of Eckhart Tolle's The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment which is also a very powerful book. If you’ve read that then you know that you can’t re-shape your thought processes overnight, but are constantly challenged and reminded how to live and how to be more present in your life, one moment at a time.

I highly recommend The Essential Marcus Aurelius. It’s a book you can read cover to cover or just pick up from time to time when you're in the mood for some ancient wisdom.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

A Book for the Everywoman

I thoroughly enjoyed "Someone Will Be with You Shortly" by Lisa Kogan. It was a quick read filled with humorous and poignant essays that every woman could appreciate. I loved it.

From The Harper Studio site:

Lisa Kogan is a 49-year-old single woman who maintains that every human being deserves a great mattress, a comfortable pair of shoes, and a very smart shrink-and that no one has grown a decent tomato since 1963. She used to think the world wasn't all that complicated, but along came AIDS and crack and Rush Limbaugh, and she had to grow up. Still, she's nostalgic for that time when you had to walk across a room to change channels and there was no such thing as a spy satellite capable of spotting a pre-cancerous mole on her inner thigh.

In SOMEONE WILL BE WITH YOU SHORTLY, Kogan grapples with issues big (her 7-year-old daughter, Julia, and the 8,000 miles that separate them from Julia's father) and small (her recent apartment renovation, which consisted of turning over the sofa cushions, and then realizing that they looked better the other way) with the self-deprecating humor-and deep appreciation for what really matters-that have made her so beloved by her legions of fans. Here is a book for everyone who has ever been frightened by superstores, lunch meat, or ambivalent men (not necessarily in that order), but believes that life is a fragile bit of luck well worth living.

A Bonding Moment

It's a sunny afternoon in Seattle so I thought I'd take my little studly-pants for a stroll. There's nothing I love more on a sunny day than drinking white wine, but seeing as though I was on a walk with my boy I decided to skip to my second favorite thing to do on a sunny day, and that's listen to the Grateful Dead. It energizes me and makes me happy. So I blasted the music on my iPhone and introduced the little man to his first of many Grateful Dead sunny afternoons. He fell asleep. I cherished the moment.

Simple Salad


My heart goes pitter-patter at the site of a croque monsiuer or croque madame. J'adore. But while reading over this recipe in Elle Decor, something else caught my eye. Salad dressing with walnut oil? Very interesting, I thought. I must try. And I did. And... j'adore!

I changed my weekly meal plan and had this salad the last two nights along with our main dishes. It's refreshing, light and a burst of new flavor.

Simple Frisee Salad with Radish and Walnut Oil Vinaigrette

Radish, sliced thin
4 T walnut oil
3 T white wine vinegar or champagne vinegar (I used a bit of both)
2 T shallot
Salt & pepper

Rinse frisee and rip or cut large pieces into a few smaller ones so they're manageable on the plate. Add sliced radish. Put oil, vinegar and shallot in a jar and shake vigorously in a jar. (Salad dressing is a rough estimate since I didn't measure anything.) Toss over salad. Add fresh ground pepper and a pinch of salt. Toss more and serve.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Pasta with Prosciutto and Asparagus

A great new pasta dish I whipped up last night. Easy to make, not to heavy considering the cream and egg, and great flavor. I'm counting the minutes to lunch so I can have leftovers.

(Thanks for your help Marly!)

Pasta with Prosciutto and Asparagus

1 small bunch of asparagus
1 T butter
1-2 T olive oil
3 T shallot, minced
3 T garlic, minced
3/4 cup prosciutto, cut into small pieces (I use a 4oz package)
freshly ground pepper
1 egg yolk
1/4 cup heavy whipping cream
2 t lemon zest
1/2 - 1 cup freshly grated Parmesan, plus more for sprinkling on top
1 package spaghetti noodles, fresh or dried (dried noodles usually make more pasta so don't use the entire package)

Bring a large pot of water to a boil for noodles.

Bring a small amount of water to boil in a small saute pan. Add asparagus and boil for 2 minutes. Remove and run under cold water to stop the cooking. Once cooled, cut the asparagus spears on the diagonal into roughly 2" pieces.

Heat a little oil in a large stockpot or sauce pan over medium-high heat. Add the prosciutto and cook, stirring regularly, until it gets crisp. Season with pepper mid-way. Remove prosciutto from pan and take pan off heat to cool.

Mix the zest, parmesan, egg yolk and cream in a bowl. Set aside.

Heat the butter and remaining oil in the same pan you used for the prosciutto. Add the shallot and sauté for a few minutes making sure not to burn. Add garlic and saute for a few minutes. Add the prosciutto and asparagus. Remove from heat.

Season pasta water with a lot of salt. Add noodles and cook according to directions. When using fresh noodles, under-cook them slightly and finish them off in the sauce. Strain pasta, reserving a 1/3 cup of the water for the sauce. Add noodles to pan with prosciutto and asparagus. Quickly pour in the egg/cream mixture and stir. The heat from the noodles will cook the egg. You want a light creamy sauce and want to avoid anything gooey. Add a little pasta water as needed. Season with pepper and salt if needed.

Spoon into bowls and top with a bit more parmesan.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Reduce Your Impact, Think Before You Buy

The Great Eastern Garbage Patch: where plastic to sea life ratios are 6:1; where birds and mammals are dying of starvation and dehydration with bellies full of plastics; where fish are ingesting toxins at such a rate that soon they will no longer be safe to eat. - Daily Kos article

Rustic uber-babe David de Rothschild is helping to bring awareness to the disturbing amount of plastic and garbage swirling around in the ocean, and pulled into large masses by the currents. One such area, called the Great Eastern Garbage Patch, located between the US and Japan is twice the size of Texas. Yes, you read that right. Twice the size of Texas! Everything from water bottles to lighters, toothbrushes, and rubber duckies floating around, killing wildlife and getting into the food system.
David and his shipmates boarded The Plastiki, a boat made from plastic water bottles, to venture out to sea and shed some light on the issue. Click here to see Christiane Amanpour's interview with David. Click here to peruse the Plastiki website and blog. Click here to read an interesting article in the LA Times. Click here to watch a disturbing YouTube video. Click here for a overview and links to more info.

Don't turn your back on this issue denying that you have a role in it because we all play a part. Do what you can, it's not that hard... think before you buy, limit use of plastic by being more resourceful (for example - use old sour cream or yogurt containers for snacks rather than plastic bags), don't use plastic water bottles, recycle. I'm guilty of buying plastic toys to no end, but the more I read, the more I think twice and aim to be better.

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." - Mahatma Gandhi

Monday, April 12, 2010

Farmer's Market Goods & Weekly Meal Plan

Jamjuree (my new favorite Thai place in Seattle)

Pork Carnitas with Shut It Down Tomatillo Sauce
Roasted asparagus

Salmon cooked in parchment paper with lemon, butter and dill
Spinach salad

Greek chicken and potatoes (olive oil, lemon juice, garlic, fresh & dried oregano)
Sauteed spinach with garlic and lemon juice
Butter lettuce salad with grapefruit & blue cheese

Chicken Caesar (with leftover chicken)

Pasta with prosciutto and ___ (any ideas?)
Kale chips

Absolutely no clue

Dinner out

Healthy Home Checklist

The Environmental Working Group just published their Healthy Home Checklist. Give it a quick once-over to see if there are any healthy changes you could put into action.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Tell me you've seen this!

If you haven't seen the new Lady Gaga & Beyoncé video for Telephone, watch it now. Pulp Fiction meets Kill Bill meets Thelma & Louise meets the queen of crazy Lady Gaga. It's artistic, weird and wildly entertaining.

How are people in your hood spending their cash?

My friend Mark works for a great company called Bundle. Their site offers insight into how Americans spend their money. You can fiddle around in the Everybody's Money section to see how people like you - people in the same zip code, age range, income bracket - are spending their hard earned cash. Are you spending more than most on groceries or dining out? Click away to see the trends or check out how your city compares to another. You can also post comments or discussion topics. You can even see a comment from yours truly about the cost of our dinner the other night, and how I justify buying organic.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Quick Chocolate Fix Plus Health Benefits

I'm currently addicted to the Attune chocolate almond probiotic bars. It totally satisfies my afternoon sweet tooth plus I get all those good live active cultures (5 times that in yogurt). My way of justifying more chocolate. And it tastes like a real chocolate bar too, not some healthy alternative.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

Quick & Healthy White Bean & Kale Dish

The other day I opened my fridge to find a bunch of odds and ends from various other recipes. I didn't want to waste anything so I threw it all in a pot and voila, a perfect lunch or side dish. I've made it three times now and each time I used different measurements. It always turns out great so no need to follow the recipe exactly. Such a healthy little concoction that's perfect for lunch or a side dish for dinner.

White Bean & Kale Side Dish

1-2 T olive oil
10 cloves garlic, thinly sliced (about a 1/4 cup)
1/8 t red chili flakes
4 large handfuls of chopped kale (Maybe 3-5 cups worth. I used lacinato kale.)
1 t fresh oregano, minced
1 - 1 1/2 cups chicken stock
1/2 - 1 can 15oz can whole peeled tomatoes
1 can cannellini beans
freshly ground pepper
kosher salt

Heat olive oil in a large sauce pan or dutch oven over medium heat. Cook garlic for a few minutes being careful not to burn. Add chili flakes and kale. Saute for 5-8 minutes, stirring occasionally. Add more olive oil if garlic is starting to burn. Add oregano and cook for another minute. Add chicken stock and tomatoes with their juice, mashing tomatoes with your hand. Bring to a quick boil, then reduce heat to simmer and add beans, salt and pepper. Cook on low heat for 20-45 minutes.

You could even top with a little freshly grated parmesan since everything in life is better with cheese.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Must Have for Spring: the Romper


I love these spring rompers. I'm on the lookout for one. Seen any great ones?
Found via Monica Rose.

Hair Trend: Long Side Braid


My daily newsletter from Who What Wear featured the side braid today. I've been rockin' the side braid lately and love it. It's the perfect fix for those days when you don't want to wash and style your hair but still want to look stylish. I think it even looks better with day old hair because you want it a little messy. I wear this look casually for day, and also love it for nights out (my very few and far between nights out) paired with my current uni - an oversized boyfriend blazer and black skinny jeans.

Photo courtesy

Photo courtesy of Mouton Salon

Monday, April 5, 2010


I'm crazy for these Bottega Veneta Paille Raffia Wedges. Perfection.

Friday, April 2, 2010

Apron Anxiety

My friend Mark just introduced me to the delightful blog Apron Anxiety. I feel the author's pain... "apron anxiety" sums up my experience entertaining. Oh the stress of it all - the menu, the recipes, the timing, the presentation and of course, the house is always a mess that day. Entertaining is like an abusive relationship for me. It makes me crazy, but I keep coming back for more.
I love what I've read from Apron Anxiety and will be checking back regularly. (Thanks Mark!)
About Apron Anxiety from Food52:
Alyssa Shelasky, the writer behind the hilarious blog Apron Anxiety, used to be a celebrity writer and Manhattan "It" girl. But after she met and fell in love with former Top Cheffer, Spike Mendelsohn, she went from living on brown rice, Zone bars and Pinkberry to learning to cook and appreciate food. Shelasky dreamed up Apron Anxiety almost two years ago but kept it to herself: "I wasn’t sure anyone would care about my cold feet in the kitchen, or my life with a chef." She got serious a few months ago, and we’re glad she did, in part because of lines like this: [My fiancé] comes home starving...too sweet to complain about my overcooked chicken du jour–prepared with reluctance, red wine and a push-up bra."
Shelasky breathes life into the food blog medium, and Apron Anxiety, still in its infancy, reads a bit like a juicy, tell-all diary entry written after a little too much wine. It is personal, and always fun to read. And the food isn’t half bad either. When Shelasky and Mendelsohn moved in together in Washington, D.C., Shelasky’s life slowed down. She stopped eating "fake food" and started thinking seriously about groceries, good knives and copper pots. She also began baking: "I could eat cake all day, every day."
Shelasky cooks and blogs about foods she can’t screw up – Rainy Day Rigatoni with Eggplant and Killer Chocolate Chip Cookies that Make You Feel Talented. It's still easier for her to write about Zooey Deschanel and cheap massages, but that’s the charm of Apron Anxiety – Shelasky's authenticity and naivete as she feels her way around the food world and her own apartment kitchen. We can laugh with Shelasky when she screws up a recipe because we know what it feels like to burn a tray of brownies. We can even chuckle at her expense. She doesn’t mind: "I want to communicate what it's like to be the partner of a chef, because it's both enviable and impossible. I also want non-cooks to get over themselves and try a few things.’’

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Pretty Little Things

More adorable kids' clothing from Nonchalant Mom. Check out Makié and Wovenplay. I never get sick of looking at this stuff. It's all just too cute.

Pottery Barn Kids - They Got it Covered


I was in Pottery Barn Kids today when my friend Sarah pointed out the most darling miniature outdoor Chesapeake Table & Bench set. The table had an umbrella and two benches with thick navy and white striped fabric. It was SO cute. We're re-doing our backyard and I'm dying to have this for the kiddos.
I'm also a lover of these mini Adirondack Chairs. The chairs can be personalized with kids' names but I think they're actually cuter without.
I can't wait for Pottery Barn Kids to come out with the world's cutest outdoor playhouse. I'm sure that's right around the corner since they think of everything.

A Keeper: Crisp Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Slaw


Tonight I made a variation of Smitten Kitchen's Crisp Black Bean Tacos with Feta and Slaw and loved them.
With a little extra prep last night, I was able to do most of the work for tonight's dinner. I made Cumin Black Beans to go with the chicken enchiladas so I just doubled the recipe. I chopped extra cilantro and green onion last night so that was also ready to go. Tonight, all I had to do was re-heat the beans, slice up some cabbage to mix with the green onion, cilantro and lime juice, and heat the tortillas. Could it be any easier?
I think one trick to this recipe is making sure the tortilla is nice and crisp, hence the name. I'm also a fan of hot sauce so I used two different kinds (Cholula and my aunt's homemade hot sauce). My husband added thinly sliced jalapenos to his too, for added kick. I wouldn't have thought to use feta cheese for this type of taco but it was delicious.
I loved these and will definitely be adding them to my rotation. You can't beat a dinner that's quick, easy, tasty, and cheap. Perfect for meatless night too.