Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Spice It Up

Every time I take a cooking class I'm reminded of how often you should change out your spices. It reminds me that I have a few Penzeys Spices in the cupboard that were a wedding gift..... 7+ years ago!

I usually get spices in bulk from PCC or Whole Foods but I've been dying to stock up at Market Spice in Pike Place Market. I know their quality is said to be unsurpassed. I made it down to the store this fall and loaded up on all my regular spices and got small bags of some of the more unique flavors that I use every so often. It is especially smart to buy in bulk for these rare spices that you barely ever cook with. Why spend $6 on a jar when you can spend 50 cents?! If you need 5 or 6 new spices for a recipe, that adds up. It's also nice to have smaller quantities because then you know your spices are fresh. What spice is going to pack the same punch after 7 years in a cupboard?!

I re-use my jars and just mark the date on the bottom so I know when I last replaced each spice.

Market Spice is also famous for their Cinnamon Orange Tea. There is nothing more cozy than a cup of this on a cold afternoon.

A gift card to Market Spice would be a great Christmas gift or stocking stuffer for someone who loves to cook.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

New Recipe: Vij's Zucchini Soup


This summer we took the family for a weekend getaway to Vancouver BC, in part because my husband and I were dying to get back to Vij's. After our meal, we buzzed next door to Vij's sister restaurant, Rangoli, to buy cookbooks and spices. I bought his latest cookbook Vij's at Home which I used for the first time last night. I made Vij's Kitchen Staff Zucchini Soup. It was flavorful and delicious. I will definitely make it again but next time I will serve with basmati rice and curried cauliflower or a chickpea dish from Madhur Jaffrey to really complement the flavors. The soup almost tasted like a green vegetable curry which is why I'd love to serve it over rice. Delicious!

Monday, November 28, 2011

Sugar and Spice and Everything Nice


Every year I head to Kmart for Christmas tree balls and ornaments. The selection isn't as good as when Martha Stewart created a line for Kmart, but you can still find some cute things.

My sister-in-law did really cute trees for her kids rooms last year with trees and ornaments found at Kmart. I copied the theme of my niece's tree for my daughter's room. My daughter couldn't have been more excited about picking out ornaments and having her own tree to decorate and admire, endlessly. Kmart had such cute cupcake and candy ornaments with garland to match. It turned out so cute.

Girls Just Wanna Have Fun


Possibly the most fun and coveted shoes of the season...

Miu Miu's glittery ankle booties and pumps in several fabulous styles and colors

How could you not have fun in these?!



Friday, November 25, 2011

Bag of the Day: Chloe


Great color. Great shape.

Brie with Roasted Garlic and Honey

My aunt Jadine makes this appetizer all the time and it's so good. I made it yesterday and was thrilled with how easy it was. I'll be making it a lot more often now that I know it's a cinch to make.

Brie with Roasted Garlic and Honey

Round of good brie cheese
3 heads of garlic
olive oil
brown sugar
1/2-1 cup honey
Plain water crackers

Roast the garlic (this can be done a day or two before)

Preheat oven to 250. Cut off the top of the head of garlic. Sprinkle with a touch of olive oil, then brown sugar. Place on a small pan or cookie sheet and roast for 2-3 hours. You want the cloves to be soft, but not too mushy. Remove and allow to cool. Squeeze out garlic cloves.

When ready to serve

Throw roasted garlic cloves in a small pan with honey. Warm over medium heat, then reduce to low until you're ready to serve. Cut off the rind on the side and top of the brie round (bottom too if you want). Heat in the microwave for 30 seconds. Pour the honey garlic mixture over the brie and serve with crackers.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving Over Cocktails Readers!

Last year I hosted my first ever Thanksgiving dinner. Of course I took photos so I could blog all about it, and then I put it off and put it off and put it off. A year later and I still don't have the recipes merged and ready to post, but I thought I'd share my photos.

The Table

 The Kids Table

I drew circles for plates and put crayons out so they could draw pretend food before it was time to eat. 

Thanksgiving morning

Everything is prepped and ready to go

 Murphy Bird 
(My uncle gave me the recipe along with lots of advice and guidance so I named the turkey "Murphy Bird" since that's his last name and my maiden name). This year we're eating Murphy Bird II.

Thanksgiving dinner is served!

(Buffet style, of course, since we're casual folks)

All the usual suspects plus a few Murphy additions

The Menu

Turkey with apple sausage stuffing
(might I add that I made my own sausage!)
Twice baked mashed potatoes
Grand Marnier yams
Lumpia (Filipino eggrolls)
Black bean spare ribs
White rice
Green salad
Corn & pea casserole 
Cranberry sauce

Dinner is ready, candles are lit. Time to grab a plate, serve up and enjoy!

Have a Happy Happy Thanksgiving! Be grateful for this day, good food, your health, family and friends!


Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Look of the Day

I love this look...

A rad leather coat over a dress with a great pair of booties.

And a killer handbag to finish it off.

Perfection, right?!

Photo credit: Monica Rose


Great Dinner

Last night I had my in-laws over for a casual dinner. I wanted something really flavorful, but pretty healthy. I settled on this meal and it was delicious and well-paired.
It takes a bit of prep work but then all the dishes cook really fast.

Run, Don't Walk

Plum Danish on the bottom

Get your booty over to Cafe Besalu pronto for a Plum Danish with Frangipane. It is heaven on earth. They will be closed for part (or all) of the holiday weekend and they won't be making the plum danish for that much longer (they stop in early December) so the time to go is now. I'm leaving in 5 minutes and my mouth is already watering. You can even load up for tomorrow because they are delicious second day as well.


Tuesday, November 22, 2011

"Get through the season in style"


I hit the farmers market every week, rain or shine, snow or hail. I have never not gone because of weather conditions. This means that several weeks or months of the year I am frozen to the bone by the end of my shopping excursion. Miserable! I decided recently that I needed some good winter boots. I wanted the warmth of an Ugg boot, but something to keep my feet dry, like a Hunter rain boot. What shoe can accomplish both warm and dry? Ah, yes, the beloved and timeless Sorel boot. I picked up a pair this weekend, just in time to see that Who What Wear claims "to get through the season in style, you need Sorel boots." Who knew your feet could be warm, dry and stylish all at the same time?!

Buy via the Sorel website, on Zappos, or in person at REI.

Look of the Day: Kate Moss


Photo Credit: The Vogue Diaries

The Coveteur with Meredith German


I read the line "my cool friends' cooler friend" in an article recently and it couldn't be more fitting than to describe my cool friends' cooler friend, Meredith German. (No offense to my cool friends by the way, but Meredith just seems ultra cool.)

Check out Meredith's bright and colorful spread on The Coveteur. I'm obsessing over her line of Meredith Wendell accessories (bags, belts, and accessories), her shoe collection, sofa fabric and the wallpaper in her bathroom to name a few things. Love the bright, bold, colorful tour. Love it. Love it.

Monday, November 21, 2011

“We all get dressed for Bill”


I finally had a chance to watch the documentary Bill Cunningham New York and loved it. I have a whole new appreciation for his weekly photo column in the Sunday Styles section. Watch the trailer here.


“We all get dressed for Bill,” says Vogue editrix Anna Wintour.

The “Bill” in question is 80+ New York Times photographer Bill Cunningham. For decades, this Schwinn-riding cultural anthropologist has been obsessively and inventively chronicling fashion trends and high society charity soirĂ©es for the Times Style section in his columns “On the Street” and “Evening Hours.” Documenting uptown fixtures (Wintour, Tom Wolfe, Brooke Astor, David Rockefeller—who all appear in the film out of their love for Bill), downtown eccentrics and everyone in between, Cunningham’s enormous body of work is more reliable than any catwalk as an expression of time, place and individual flair. In turn, Bill Cunningham New York is a delicate, funny and often poignant portrait of a dedicated artist whose only wealth is his own humanity and unassuming grace.

Christmas Gift Idea #1

Cute and Cozy....

Who wouldn't want to wake up Christmas morning in a pair of these cozy jams?


Look of the Day: Rad Pantelones

Photo credit: Who What Wear

Click here for more great looks from Elin Kling.
I love her style.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Quote of the Day

"A family who plays together, stays together."

- said a woman to my friend Jennie


Thursday, November 17, 2011

Get Your Lanvin On


Such beauties!

And even more perfect in person!

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Shout Out of the Day: Greenlake Kids Dentistry


I was blown away by Greenlake Kids Dentistry. The office is amazing and so inviting to little ones. The exam room is bright and colorful with toys, little gift bags with their names on them, TVs above each chair showing cartoons, and multiple chairs for moms bringing more than one child at a time. There is a special gumball style machine with trinkets when kids leave and so much more. What a different experience this office was for us. My daughter could have stayed there all day. My son was exhausted so he just played with the toys in the exam room while he waited and then the doctor did such a great job making him at ease. I'm so impressed with the office and the staff.

And how GENIUS is their candy buy-back program for Halloween candy. I love you Greenlake Kids Dentistry!

(Great recommendation Steph! Thank you!)



/Photo credit: Tasty Kitchen

My husband has been perfecting his popcorn recipe (a variation of this recipe) and for almost two years now I've been convinced that it's unbeatable. Well, au contraire mon frere! I found some competition. My friend Marly served Food 52's Spicy Parmesan and Truffle Popcorn at a party she hosted and it was amazing. I ate that popcorn for hours. It was SO good. Then I got home and my husband had made his popcorn. So I ate that for another hour, pondering which I liked better. Then I wondered if your stomach could burst and you could die from over-eating popcorn. Would I survive the night? Well I lived to tell the story and I have to say it's a tie-breaker. Both are equally delicious!

* Marly says to go easy on the salt. She followed the recipe for the first batch and it was way too salty.