Thursday, July 28, 2011

Almost Vegan Smorgasbord (round 3)

Had I realized in time that this could also be a vegan smorgasbord, I would have used Earth Balance or olive oil in the soup instead of butter. If you sub out the 3T butter, this is another great vegan smorgasbord.

Tomato soup (simple and delicious)

Roasted broccoli (recipe below)

My mother-in-law's salad (perfect this time of year with cucumbers, tomatoes and lettuces from the farmers market)

Grilled garlic crostinis

Roasted Broccoli

2 heads broccoli, cut into large florets
olive oil
kosher salt
freshly ground pepper
3 cloves garlic, minced and tossed with olive oil
red chili flakes

Preheat oven to 425. Toss broccoli florets with olive oil, salt and pepper. Spread over two cookie sheets so as not to crowd them. Roast for 7 minutes. Toss and return to oven. Roast for 7 minutes. Toss with garlic and red chili flakes and roast for 3 more minutes. Toss and roast for 2-5 more minutes. Depending on how big or small you cut the florets, this may be enough time. You want them to be tender and a bit charred on the edges. Return to the oven if they need a few more minutes.

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Vegan Smorgasbord (round 2)

We decided to have a little dinner party with two vegan friends and one very un-vegan friend. The plan was to make a vegan dinner, but have some beef burgers on hand too. Here was the delicious vegan smorgasbord we whipped up...

Gwyneth's homemade veggie burgers *
- Served with Bubbies bread & butter pickles, pickled jalapenos, and veganaise.
- I used Earth Balance vegan butter on the buns before toasting them on the grill.

Grilled corn on the cobb
- Before I grill it I shuck it, brush with olive oil, then sprinkle with a mixture I prepare with chili powder, cayenne pepper, cumin and paprika.

Grilled broccolini
- Tossed with olive oil, salt and pepper before grilling.

French fries
- I bought the frozen ones and they did the trick.

Green salad
- My friend Marly made a great salad from Alicia Silverstone's The Kind Diet cookbook.

* I love love LOVE these veggie burgers. I love them so much I ate four over the weekend (Friday dinner, Saturday lunch, Saturday dinner, Sunday lunch). The toppings really take it to the next level. Love the spicy and sweet combo.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

The State of Babies' Names

Interesting article from The New York Times about recent trends in baby names:

"Say Goodnight, Grace (and Julia and Emma, too)"

And here is the list of the most popular baby names for 2010 from the Social Security Administration. It's always interesting to see what the latest trends are.


Vegan Smorgasbord

On Thursday night I cooked up a vegan smorgasbord. There was so much food that we called in last minute dinner guests to come join us. We didn't mention that it was a vegan meal, but no one even noticed. Everyone gobbled it up.

These are vegan dishes I've mentioned before, that I now make on a regular basis. I mixed it up the other night by cooking three veggies instead of one, adding my own cauliflower dish into the Madhur Jaffrey mix. Lots of different flavors from nutritious ingredients and spices that all compliment each other so well. You can get zucchini, cauliflower, and cilantro at the farmers market these days. You'll never miss meat or dairy with a vegan smorgasbord like this!

Vegan Smorgasbord

Rice Pilaf with Almonds & Raisins

Pan Grilled Zucchini

Red Lentils with Ginger

Swiss Chard with Ginger & Garlic (I threw in some diced onion too

Roasted Curried Cauliflower (I used half the curry)

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Thursday, July 21, 2011

A Face You Won't Forget


If you haven't seen Lady Gaga's "Born This Way" video then you might not have come across Zombie Boy yet. Rick Genest aka "Zombie Boy" was discovered by Lady Gaga's stylist and Mugler creative director Nicola Formichetti on Facebook. Now, he's a men's wear muse, has walked the runway, starred in Lady Gaga's video, been written about in countless articles including a few in The New York Times, and won two Guinness Book of World Records for the most tattooed bones and the most tattooed insects. Wow, amazing how a few tattoos (ha ha) and Facebook can change your life and career overnight. I have a feeling we'll be seeing a lot more of Zombie Boy.
A bit thrown off or scared by his look? You can see a softer side of Rick in this cute male model lip-sync video where he has a 2 second cameo.


Look of the Day


I like this simple look worn here by Karolina Kurkova.


Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Zucchini Season


I was so excited a few weeks ago to see zucchinis popping up at the farmers market. I love me some zucchini, and there are so many ways to cook with it.

First order of business every year is to bake a ton of Zucchini Bread to freeze. There is nothing better than pulling out home baked zucchini bread in the middle of December when it's cold outside. A cup of coffee and some warmed zucchini bread with butter on it hits the spot every time. Bake away, then cut each loaf in half before freezing. I wrap tightly in saran wrap, then in foil. You can have zucchini bread every few weeks through fall, winter and spring!

I've been making a ton of Madhur Jaffrey's Pan Grilled Zucchini, either fried in the pan or grilled on the BBQ. Great recipe.

I've made Gwyneth's Fried Zucchini Spaghetti twice in the last few weeks. It's delicious. I add a tiny bit of lemon zest plus extra cheese and basil. Easy and delicious.

Zucchini is great for fried rice, frittatas, soup, or sneaking into smoothies, sauces or beans for kids.

Next up on my list is this delicious Vegetable Tian. Great as a side or tossed with pasta.

Do you love zucchini? If so, what are some of your favorite recipes????

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Mermaid Birthday Party

I was planning a teeny tiny birthday party for my daughter and had planned on no theme. Just a few little girls, some art projects and face painting, cupcakes and that's a wrap. But wouldn't you know it, some mermaid plates from Pottery Barn Kids caught my eye, and next thing you know a theme was born - a mermaid party! I do love a project to get the creative juices flowing so what was I thinking not having a theme??? You could really go wild/overboard with a theme though, but I forced myself to keep it simple. It still turned out pretty darn cute. Here are all the simple little details...

The Guest List
There was a rule among my mom's friends and neighbors when we were young... a child can invite one friend for every year. Makes sense to me. So, since my daughter was turning 4, she got to invite 4 friends. Small and manageable. I like it. I made it a drop-off party so the moms could have a few hours to run errands and I could focus on the birthday girl and her friends.

The Food
I whipped up a few PB&Js, some ham & cheese sandwiches, fruit, and pirates booty. I'm into simple and fast. For dessert we had cupcakes with cute cupcake toppers from Bug & Boo Designs.

The Decor
Cute mermaid plates on pink & white placemats from Pottery Barn Kids, a mermaid pinata, colorful lollipops and party favor bags. I let my daughter pick out the balloons and cupcakes.

My sister wanted to come over so I put her in charge of face painting. The girls loved it. Everyone got to decorate a crown with stickers and jewels. We did bubbles from the ice cream cone bubble containers and threw water balloons in the driveway. A little lunch, some cupcakes, a pinata and gifts. Simple and easy. The girls had a blast.

Party Favor Bags
I was shopping for another party at Cost Plus and saw these sparkly little boxes. I put a pink sparkly bracelet inside so each girl got her own little mermaid treasure box along with a pink sparkly crown. Took me two seconds and I thought they turned out adorable.

Mermaid table for five

 Pink, pink, and more pink

A theme inspired by the mermaid plates

The party favor bags with mermaid treasure box and crown

It's not a party without a pinata!

 Lollipop centerpieces

All the girls got to decorate a pink crown with mermaid stickers and jewels to take home with them

Cupcake toppers by Bug & Boo Designs

Pink water balloons, of course

I let my daughter decorate party hats and pick out balloons
(hence the dolphin and "Have a nice day!" balloon)

Face painting was a hit

Followed by bubbles

Now that we're done with bubbles, who wants to do water balloons????

They all loved throwing water balloons in the driveway

Funny photo of my daughter mid-toss

Pinata time!

Happy Happy Birthday to my little Butter Muffin!

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Tweet Tweet: Fashion Inspiration of the Day

Here are two great looks tweeted by Amanda Brooks in the last few months (I'm behind on my posts if you can't tell). I love these outfits, especially the top one. It's perfection.

"A Thakoon sundress makes me feel like I'm at the beach, even though I've been at the office all day"

"I really love this Isabel Marant safari-jumpsuit. It makes me feel like a glamorous zookeeper!!"

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Run, Don't Walk! Parfait Ice Cream & Life Changing Ice Cream Sandwiches


I recently had Parfait Organic Artisan Ice Cream for the first time and it blew me away. I had the Mint Stracciatella and I could not get over the flavor of real mint. It was not that artificial mint flavor that comes from a thick syrup. It was fresh and light and deeeeeeeelicious. You could completely tell the difference.
I had a conversation with Adria, the passionate owner of Parfait, who told me all about her artisan ice cream and how they make everything from scratch using the highest quality, organic ingredients, sourced locally whenever possible. They make their own toffee for the Butter Toffee Crunch, their own chocolate peanut butter cups for that flavored ice cream, their own cones and more. Adria said that people always say it's the best ice cream they've ever had. I had half a dozen dinner guests tell me the same thing.

So the first lesson of the day is, run(!) - don't walk - to get yourself some Parfait ice cream. Click here to drool over the menu, then click here for their roving locations or click here to have it delivered to your home. That's right, with a minimum order of 2 pints, you can have it delivered to your home! You can even rent the whole truck to come to your house for a big party. That's what we did and it was a hit.

Now once you get your hands on the ice cream, if you don't gobble it up too fast, try making some of these homemade macaroon ice cream sandwiches.

The guy who cuts my hair just got back from France and said that macaroons filled with ice cream are all the rage right now in Paris. You know you can't tell me these things and not have me race out to re-create it. So tonight I got some macaroons, cut 'em open, and filled those bad boys with Parfait's amazing ice cream. You could get so creative with all the different flavor combos. Here's the combos I did with the ice cream flavors I had on hand....

- strawberry macaroon with strawberry ice cream
- strawberry macaroon with honey ice cream
- chocolate macaroon with mint stracciatella

These little macaroon ice cream sandwiches were so cute, but more importantly they were melt in your mouth delicious. I cannot wait to make them for a dinner party. I'm sure you could make them ahead of time and wrap them in cute bags or white parchment paper, tied with colored ribbon or a cute sticker to label the different flavors.

I got macaroons from Metropolitan Market that were a touch smaller than normal. They're bringing them in from a "famous pastry chef in Vegas". I was quite impressed with them, although I'm the first to admit I'm no macaroon aficionado. I know that Honore in Ballard and Bakery Nouveau in West Seattle are said to have great macaroons too.

Next on my list to try...

- chocolate macaroon with hazelnut ice cream
- pistachio macaroon with vanilla bean ice cream
- raspberry macaroon with chocolate ice cream

Are you kidding me? How good do those sound?!


White Sangria

(cute bartenders shown here with a batch of my white sangria)

This past weekend my husband and I hosted a fiesta party in our new backyard. A fiesta just isn't a fiesta without sangria and it turned out to be the hit of the party. I opted for white sangria to prevent red wine stains and I'm happy I did. Two many glasses of this sangria and next thing you know it's a 1:00 in the morning dance party USA complete with break dancing and old high-school cheer stunts. ("One, two, down, up!" Thanks to those who stayed late night for that! The best of times!)

My friend Sarah got me this recipe for white sangria and then we had fun messing around with it. A little more of this, a little more of that....

1st Annual Terpening Fiesta White Sangria

Rough measurements...

4-6 cups chopped cantaloupe
4 cups pitted cherries (I used Rainier because I liked the color)
2 oranges, sliced thin
3 lemons, sliced thin
4-5 bottles white wine * (I think I used 4 1/2)
1.5 containers frozen lemonade concentrate
1/2 - 1 cup triple sec

Combine everything but the triple sec in a large container and let sit overnight. The day of, add the triple sec and dilute the sangria a bit with 4 or 5 cups of ice. Serve over ice with a festive stir-stick and have fun!

* I used La Vieille Ferme white wine which cost about $9/bottle..

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Five Things I'm Obsessed with This Week

1. Pure Simple Health juice at Healeo

2. Raisin Pecan bread from Essential Bakery, toasted with butter.

3. Ginger apple fizz drink at Nettletown

4. Chocolate haystack cookies with candied ginger and peanuts on top, also at Nettletown

5. Fra' Mani Salamis. I love this stuff. You can buy it locally at Delaurenti, select Whole Foods locations, and some restaurants (I recently saw it on the menu at Spinasse). It's my fave!.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Veganize It

Over two years ago I posted a recipe for a great asparagus appetizer I learned from my mother-in-law. It's been a hit every time I've made it. Last night I decided to veganized it by using Follow Your Heart Organic Veganaise instead of Best Foods Mayonnaise. You would never know the difference. Still just as good. Still a hit at the party.

I didn't follow the recipe exactly, so these are rough estimates for the veganized version. Start with the measurements below, then adjust to your liking. You don't want any one ingredient to stand out too much.

Veganized Asparagus Appetizer

3/4 c organic veganaise
3 t soy sauce

2 t wasabi paste
½ - 1 t sugar
3 t fresh squeezed lemon juice
1 or 2 bunches asparagus
Boil water and cook asparagus for 2 minutes. Remove and let cool. Mix other ingredients together to make dip. Serve asparagus cold or room temp with sauce.