Saturday, April 30, 2011

Look of the Day

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I love the high-waisted pantelones...


Photo Credit: The Sartorialist


Friday, April 29, 2011

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Gwyneth Dinner #7

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Tonight I tried the recipe for Arugula & Tomato Pasta from Gwyneth's cookbook. While it was probably my least favorite of all the recipes I've tried from her book, it was still delicious. It was really easy and pretty basic, but I liked the added flavor from the fennel seeds and arugula. I would make it again. I served it with roasted asparagus, Spanish-Style Toast with Tomato and Marly's Kale Salad. Great dinner. If you're willing to skip the tiny bit of parmesan sprinkled on the pasta, you're got yourself a delicious four-course, vegan dinner!
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A Wedge-ucation

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If I could buy one style of shoe for the rest of my life it would be a wedge (wow, dejavu, I just said that two months ago). You can wear it with everything: dresses, skirts, shorts, jeans, trousers, maxis, bathing suit cover-ups and more.
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While a good wedge is a woman's best friend, a wedge in nude tones is your soul mate. Your summer lover. Your everyday mate.
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I just spotted these two beauties. They are even cuter in person, and adorable on. And on a tan leg? Forget about it! 
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Monday, April 25, 2011

Quote of the Day

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"Though its sales lag way behind those of beef and pork, lamb is at least as flavorful, tender and versatile. Without getting overly political here, it’s also safe to say that your average cut of lamb has a less sordid past and is of higher quality than your average cut of beef or pork."

- Mark Bittman from the article "Celebrity Roast"


Easter Brunch

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Photo courtesy of Chili und Ciabatta


My hubby has gotten really into making breakfast lately. I don't know if it's the kids, or the Sears Pancake Mix, that first got him excited about cooking breakfast, but I am happy as can be to have weekend mornings off-duty in the food department (despite my tendency to micro-manage certain steps of his preparations, though not proud that I do it).

Yesterday he planned a special Easter breakfast that knocked my socks off. He made the best French toast I think I've ever had. He used a basic recipe for French Toast (using milk instead of half & half because it's what we had) with a secret weapon.... the amazing raisin brioche bread from Macrina Bakery. It made the best French toast ever. He served it with bacon from Skagit River Ranch and fruit. Happy Easter to my belly!

If you live in Seattle and can get your hands on the bread, try making French toast with it. Or even just get a loaf to have for toast with some butter. It's delicious.
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Sunday, April 24, 2011

Kale Salad: Healthy & Delicious

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My friend Marly made this kale salad that is SO good. Not only that, it's super healthy for you. Extra points for being vegan too!


Marly's Kale Salad
Adapted from the cookbook Clean Start by Terry Walters
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1-2 bunches kale, finely chopped (Lacinato or a mix)
2-3 T olive oil
1/8 t sea salt
1 t grated fresh ginger
1 avocado, chopped
3 T finely chopped red onion
3 T finely chopped red bell pepper
1 carrot, grated
3 T toasted sunflower seeds
1 T lemon juice
1 T lime juice
1 t Dijon mustard
1/2 T maple syrup

Mix all wet ingredients in a jar to make dressing. Combine all other ingredients in a large salad bowl and toss with the dressing. Season to taste with salt. Massage dressing into salad with hands tossing lightly.

Serves 4

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Look of the Day: Kate Bosworth at Coachella

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Gwyneth Week, Dinner #6: Veggie Burgers

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This weekend I made Gwyneth's recipe for veggie burgers and was shocked and thrilled with how delicious they were. They were easy to prep, quick to grill and tasted great. I ate mine on a classic bun (white with sesame seeds) that was buttered and toasted on the grill, then topped with Vegenaise, lettuce, bread & butter pickles and pickled jalapenos. I am not a person who ever eats veggie burgers so I was shocked at how much I liked these. I will absolutely make them again.

We didn't cool them in the fridge for a few hours as directed, nor did we brush them with flour. We just let the mixture cool for 20 minutes or so, made the patties, and then slapped them on a hot grill that was brushed with olive oil. Turned out great so if you don't have time, don't worry about them cooling for hours.

Disclaimer: I did have a few glasses of white wine before I ate them so my nice little buzz could have led me to believe these were better than they really were. That said, make sure to cork a bottle while you prep the burgers so you'll love them as much as I did (and have as much fun in the process).
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Thursday, April 21, 2011

Gwyneth Week, Dinner #5: Fried Zucchini Spaghetti

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Tonight I made the recipe for Fried Zucchini Spaghetti from Gwyneth's cookbook and was pleasantly surprised. I was hoping to make another recipe but couldn't get my hands on fresh arugula so this recipe was plan B and I was much less excited about it. I didn't expect it to be that good, and was a little annoyed with the process of frying all the zucchini, but it was well worth it in the end. It was delicious and way more flavorful that I was expecting. Definitely worth the extra few minutes of clean up.

I served it with Spanish-Style Toast with Tomato and buttered broccoli. Delicious and easy. 

Is anyone cooking from My Father's Daughter? If so, please share what you're making and what you're thinking. I'd love to hear what other recipes are worth trying. I do have to say I'm impressed with everything so far, so thank you Gwyneth and thank you Jennie! 
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Gwyneth Week, Dinner #4: Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano

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Last night I made Gwyneth's recipe for Spaghetti Limone Parmeggiano. It was light and flavorful and all four of us gobbled it up. I served it with Spanish-Style Toast with Tomato and roasted asparagus (toss with olive oil, salt and pepper before cooking and a squeeze of fresh lemon juice after). I loved this meal as a whole. The lemony asparagus was perfect with the pasta and the tomato toast offered that extra kick of flavor to offset the really light pasta. It was a perfect home-cooked meal for the family that I will definitely make again.
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Spanish-Style Toast with Tomato

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Right now I'm addicted to Saveur's Spanish-Style Toast with Tomato (Pan Con Tomate). It's the easiest thing to make and is super tasty. I've been serving it with pasta lately and am now addicted to that extra bit of flavor and salt. Since tomatoes aren't good this time of year, I've been using organic canned whole tomatoes. The first time I squeezed out the juices and tried to grate the tomatoes but it's just too messy. It's just as easy and effective to squeeze out the juices and rub the tomato into the bread with your hand or a knife. Delicious. A must try!
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Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

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Leave it to me to take a healthy recipe and make it unhealthy. My friend Marly made Alicia Silverstone's Vegan Chocolate Peanut Butter Cups and they were really good. I decided to see if I could make the same recipe using your basic, non-vegan ingredients. I've done it twice now and they are rich and delicious, and just the right size to satisfy even the strongest chocolate craving or sweet tooth. These are a great dessert for kids and adults alike. They are easy to make and can be made ahead. A great option for your first spring BBQ. If you have little ones, this is an easy project for them to help with. My daughter especially loved smashing the Graham crackers into crumbs. Enjoy!


Chocolate Almond Butter Cups

2-3 T butter
3/4 cup crunchy almond butter
3/4 cup Graham cracker crumbs
1 T (heaping) sugar or 1/4 cup maple sugar
1 cup (heaping) chocolate chips
1/4 cup almond milk
1/4-1/2 cup slivered almonds, lightly toasted

Line a 12-cup muffin tin with paper liners. Set aside.

Melt butter in saucepan over medium heat. Stir in almond butter, Graham cracker crumbs and sugar. Mix well. Remove from heat. Evenly divide mixture into muffin cups.

Combine the chocolate chips and almond milk in another pan. Stir over medium or medium-low heat until chocolate melts. Spoon chocolate over almond butter mixture. Top with toasted almonds. Place in fridge for at least 2 hours before serving.

Makes 12
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(Depressing) Thoughts for the Day

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A few notes from the interesting article "
Is Sugar Toxic?" from The New York Times Magazine...
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- That the sweet stuff makes us fat is something we take for granted. That is might also be making us sick is harder to accept.

- In Robert Lustig's view, sugar should be thought of, like cigarettes and alcohol, as something that's killing us.

- By the early 2000s, we had increased our added sugar consumption to more than 90 pounds per person per year.

- "I have eliminated refined sugar from my diet," the president of Memorial Sloan-Kettering says. "Ultimately it's something I can do to decrease my risk of cancer."

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Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Print of the Day: Dorothy Draper Covered Couch

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Seen here: friends of friends, and founders of the chic line of accessories Meredith Wendall, photographed in their NYC home with the coolest couch ever: a couch from the Greenbrier Hotel and covered in Dorothy Draper fabric. Tres chic.
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Shout-out of the Day: Naturopathic Doctor & Acupuncturist

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I would like to give a huge shout-out to my Naturopath and Acupuncturist, Dr. Janci Karp, who practices at the Institute of Complimentary Medicine in Seattle. My friend Tara referred me to Dr. Karp and I've been seeing her for naturopathic care and acupuncture sporadically for almost two years now. I've loved working with her. I referred her to my dad and two friends who have all raved about their experiences as well. It took my dad more than four months to finally give in and try acupuncture for elbow pain that was preventing him from playing golf which is his passion in life. A few days after he finally saw Dr. Karp, he was waving his elbow around in the air, free of pain, saying he didn't know why he'd waited so long to try it. I know naturopathic care and acupuncture aren't for everyone, clearly my dad had his reservations at first, but you just never know what you might get out of it.
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Gwyneth Week, Dinner #3: Best Stir-Fried Chicken + Fried Rice w/ Kale & Scallions

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Once again, I'm impressed. Another great recipe from Gwyneth's cookbook, My Father's Daughter. Tonight I tried her Best Stir-Fried Chicken and her Fried Rice w/ Kale & Scallions. I thought they paired really well together. The chicken had great flavor and normally I would be prone to serve it with white rice, but this brown rice option is healthier and delicious so I would go this route again for sure.

I only used 2 chicken breasts and 1 T cornstarch but did the full batch of sauce. I like sauce so I like to decrease the meat or increase the sauce. I thought it was perfect, however after feeding 3 adults and 1 kid, there was nothing left for leftovers. Devastating, but the sign of a tasty meal! Next time I will do 3 or 4 chicken breasts. The question will be, do I do extra ingredients for sauce or follow the recipe???  I also did 1/3 cup dark brown sugar instead of 1/2 cup. I thought the sauce was perfect so I'm not sure it needs that extra bit of sugar???

The brown rice was great. Next time I might cook the brown rice in chicken stock and add a little minced ginger when I'm sauteing garlic. Otherwise it was great.

Serve with my uncle's asparagus for a perfect dinner.

And stay tuned for tomorrow night's review.... Spaghetti Limone Pareggiano.

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What's the Best Exercise?

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Here is an interesting article from The New York Times Magazine about exercise:


Great to know that walking is one of the best forms of exercise since it's hands down my favorite form of exercise (the hubby too). I sure can't say the same about burpees but good to know they're also so great. Maybe I'll throw a few in on my next walk. Ha, no I won't. But maybe you will?!
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Monday, April 18, 2011

What's the Most Unhealthful Thing You Do Every Day?

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Interesting article from The New York Times Magazine:

"Is Sitting a Lethal Activity?"


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Pattern of the Day: Pierre Frey Ikat Toiles de Nantes

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I almost used this Pierre Frey wallpaper in my master bedroom and I'm kind of kicking myself right now that I didn't. It's pretty fantastic now that I can see it on the wall. Found via Habitually Chic.


Photo credit: Elle Decor


Gwyneth Week, Dinner #2: Chicken Milanese with Endive & Gorgonzola Sauce

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Tonight I tried Gwyneth's Chicken Milanese, my first recipe from her new cookbook, My Father's Daughter. It was super easy and delicious. I served it two ways - simple with lemon (like she does for her son) and with the endive gorgonzola topping, one of the four toppings she recommends with the Chicken Milanese. Both were fantastic so it just depends if you're in the mood for something light or something rich. My husband especially loved the endive gorgonzola spread.

I served the chicken with buttered broccoli and roasted asparagus. After I roasted the asparagus (with olive oil, salt and pepper), I squeezed a bit of lemon juice over the spears. I thought it paired quite nicely with the chicken with lemon. Next time I'll stick with the asparagus as a side and toss a little arugula with lemon juice and olive oil or a light vinaigrette for the top of the chicken. That sounds like the most perfect spring dinner to me.

This is a really quick meal and can be even faster if you ask someone in the meat department to butterfly and pound the chicken for you. That is the only part of the recipe that took any time. I made sure to sprinkle my chicken with salt and pepper and gently pressed it in before dipping it in the milk. Some comes off in the milk but that's ok.

Gwyneth will be on The Rachel Ray Show this Wednesday to discuss her book. Tune in if you're interested in learning more about her new cookbook.
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Sunday, April 17, 2011

Gwyneth Week Kicked Off with Barbecue-Glazed Turkey Burgers

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I was excited to read that Gwyneth Paltrow had published a new cookbook, My Father's Daughter, in the Food & Wine magazine article "A Star at the Stove". I was even more excited when I received a copy of the cookbook as a thank you gift from my friend Jennie. Already I have more than a half dozen recipes dogeared after just flipping through it quickly.

So, I thought I would kick off GP week and try several of her recipes. I decided to start with the Barbecue-Glazed Turkey Burgers from the Food & Wine article (note: this recipe is not in her cookbook). I made them tonight and my husband and I both loved them. I loved the combo of the ground turkey, BBQ sauce, Swiss cheese, pickled jalapenos and pickle chips. Instead of brioche buns I used traditional white sesame buns that I buttered and toasted. I topped that with a little Organic Vegenaise (my first time using it) and thought it worked great. The hubby said it best... "I'd eat these any night" and he also noted that you feel a lot better after eating a turkey burger than a ground beef burger. These were also the easiest burgers ever. Serve with grilled asparagus and a crisp white wine and you are set to go with a quick and delicious dinner!  I have a few more recipes planned for this week so stay tuned to hear how they turn out.

And on the topic of burgers, what's your favorite burger recipe? I'm open to recipes for turkey, chicken, beef, or veggie burgers. Please share!


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Thursday, April 14, 2011

Rainy Day Play

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I love this idea from Tokketok, which I saw on the cute site Bloesem Kids, which I saw on the cute site Momfilter. Momfilter is a great site created by the founding editors of Cookie magazine that my friend Erika told me about. I also love this zoo version of rainy day play from Babyccino. If you've not yet visited Babyccino, it's a must. It a very fun and inspiring blog for moms that my friend Erika also told me about. I can't wait to make one of these with my little girl. She'll love it.
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Mandarino and Nero

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I love this Prada Mandarino and Nero Madras Leather Bag. The perfect splash of orange for this spring.
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photo credits: Coolspotters
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Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Broccoli: The Great Equalizer

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____________ + Side of Broccoli = Healthy Enough.



Every once in awhile I'll read something that is so "me" I have to laugh. The couple behind Dinner, A Love Story have done it twice now. First with their mathmatical equation that one glass of wine = two glasses of wine because I do agree that it's basic math. And now this broccoli equation which I also consider parenting 101. If I can get some broccoli in the kids mouth along with whatever last minute, unhealthy option I serve on lazy dinner nights, I consider the night a success. Read their full post on the broccoli equation here.
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Must See TV: Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution

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If you missed the season premier of Jamie Oliver's Food Revolution (season 2), then it's time to get the DVR set up to catch the rest of the series. You don't want to miss it. It's not okay, by any stretch of the imagination, what we feed our kids in the public school system in America. It's repulsive and unacceptable. I'm sure Jamie has lots more tricks up his sleeve like the demonstration on flavored milk or pink slime that will make you look away in horror. I'll be watching every week despite my disgust because it's a health crisis we can't ignore. Thank God Jamie Oliver is bringing attention to this matter. Hats off to him!
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Heaven on Earth

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The best travel experience I've ever had, by a landslide, was my stay at the Hotel Santa Caterina in Amalfi, Italy. My husband pulled this Letter from the Editor from Departures magazine about the hotel. Tuck this away in your travel file in case you ever have a chance to visit the Amalfi Coast. Even if you don't stay there, it would definitely be worth stopping by for the most delicious lunch and breathtaking view. The editor is right-on when he says "you will literally weep over the fried zucchini blossoms and salad caprese." It's some of the best food on earth and the place my husband and I most often daydream about.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Monday, April 11, 2011

Cacio e Pepe and a Lesson on Cheese

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I just tracked down the recipe and article about Cacio e Pepe that I tore out of Gourmet magazine eight years ago. When I originally saw it, I not only found the recipe interesting but I learned a little tip about Pecorino that I didn't know at the time...

"Pecorino, a sheep's milk cheese, is sharper than Parmigiano-Reggiano (made from cow's milk), paler in color and sometimes too salty. Most of what's available at supermarkets, especially the pre-grated stuff, is vile; one whiff is enough to turn anyone off. If that's the only Pecorino you can find, use good quality Parmigiano-Reggiano instead - it's pretty easy to get your hands on. What you'll have won't technically be cacio e pepe, but it will be delicious nonetheless."

The Cacio e Pepe recipe is delicious and I've made it here and there for all these years. What made me think of this Pecorino lesson though was Saturday night when I sat down to enjoy a delicious bowl of Pasta all'Amatriciana and my first bite was, as they said, vile. I realized instantly that it was the Pecorino grated all over the top of my pasta. I brushed it off and enjoyed every bite of the pasta. It was especially good as leftovers, with Parmigiano-Reggiano grated on top instead. So remember this if you ever make either of these recipes, or any others that call for Pecorino: if you don't like the meal, maybe the cheese is to blame.

Side note: Lately when I have pasta for leftovers such as the Pasta all'Amatriciana, I heat a little olive oil in a sauce pan and then warm the pasta up on the stove top. It might just be psychological, but I think it tastes better than when it's microwaved.


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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Quote of the Day

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IF WE ARE ALWAYS DISTRACTED, OUR CHILDREN WILL PERCEIVE US AS HALF LISTENING AND THEY'LL STOP TRYING TO TALK TO US.

- Dr. Wendy Mogel, The Blessings of a Skinned Knee


A good reminder for me after another "busy" day where I'm sure I failed to give my little lady enough face time or undivided attention when she needed it.
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Another Interesting Article

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While I don't want to live like this guy (avoiding so many delicious foods), nor do I have any aspiration to live until I'm 125 years old, I am always inspired by people who eat in a very conscious and healthful way. Article worth reading...
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"The Billionaire Who Is Planning His 125th Birthday"



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Friday, April 8, 2011

Brown Rice Bowl w/ Chicken, Asparagus & Kale


As you know, I love leftovers. I also love when I come up with a way to use them for a dinner that is just as good as the first time around. I came up with this dinner and liked it so much that I've been craving it all week. I will definitely make it again soon.

Brown Rice Bowl with Chicken, Asparagus & Kale
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I had leftover asparagus (not yet grilled) and chicken souvlaki skewers (already grilled) from Monday night. The perfect start to an easy dinner for Tuesday night. I whipped up some brown rice, roasted the asparagus in the oven, and made a batch of sauteed kale. I cubed the chicken and threw it in the oven for a few minutes to warm, then sprinkled it with a squeeze of fresh lemon juice. Throw the brown rice in a bowl, put kale on one side (don't forget the toasted almonds!), chicken on the other side and asparagus right down the middle. I also added a little dollop of hummus. A delicious brown rice bowl with some leftover protein and two green veggies. Easy, healthy, yummy.

You can make any variation of this with your leftovers. Here are some ideas:

Grain
White rice
Brown rice
Farro
Quinoa
Cous Cous

Protein
Leftover chicken breasts, pork, steak, sausage, bacon
Tofu
Nuts - toasted nuts (almonds or pine nuts are my fave) or sesame seeds are always good on rice and veggies

Veggies
Kale - sauteed
Chard - sauteed
Cabbage - sauteed
Spinach - fresh or sauteed
Broccoli - boiled, steamed, roasted
Asparagus - grilled, baked or broiled, steamed
Mushrooms - sauteed

Sauce
Tahini
Tzatziki
Hummus
Soy sauce
Chili garlic sauce
Ginger sauce (google "ginger sauce" for lots of variations)
Vinaigrette dressing
Balsamic-dijon vinaigrette
Marinara sauce
Fresh lemon juice and olive oil


The moral of the story... always make enough food for leftovers, then get creative. You might end up with a delicious new dinner idea like I did.

A Documentary That Will Make You Laugh

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In need of some mindless entertainment and a few good laughs? Rent Chris Rock's documentary GOOD HAIR. Watch the trailer here.

Mark Bittman on the White Fillet

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Check out Mark Bittman's article "Broiled, Sautéed, Roasted, Poached" for a dozen different ways to prepare a white fillet. I can't wait to try them, especially his recipes for poaching.
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Thursday, April 7, 2011

Quote of the Day

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WHATEVER YOU DO WITH YOUR CHILD, IT'S APPALLING TO SOMEONE.

-Tom Scocca, from the article "Why Walk When You Can Stroll?"


Cute article with some funny points. I laughed when I read that line because it's so true. From breastfeeding to vaccines, family bed to crying it out, feeding your kids junk food or not letting them have any, having a child misbehave at a restaurant or on an airplane and so much more - someone is always going to be appalled with your parenting. .
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Look of the Day

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Rosie Huntington-Whiteley as seen in the NYT Sunday Styles section as Look of the Moment

 
The Look: Model Symphony — a pared-down pelt balances out this season’s must-have maxi dress.

The Girl: Rosie Huntington-Whiteley, the star of the coming movie “Transformers: Dark of the Moon” and the Burberry “It” chick, checks out of Mr. Chow in Los Angeles.
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The Details: Isabel Marant jacket and shoes, Alexander Wang dress and Burberry bag.
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The Dinder House

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"Family Style" is an interesting article from The New York Times Style Magazine about a couple who renovated a Georgian manor house in Somerset, England to work for their lifestyle and their four boys. I love how they dealt with the scale of the rooms. I could settle down in this grand manor with my familia, especially after reading about the rest of the house and gardens.
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The Winter Olympics

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The Seattle restaurant scene is exploding. Every time I scratch a restaurant off my list I hear about a new one to try. It's exciting to have so many great places to return to, and even more awaiting me. Here are my medals for all the restaurants I tried this winter. They've all been pretty good but some have really stood out for one dish or experience. A few of these are not necessarily new to me this winter, but so good I had to include them.

And the medal goes to....

Gold
Delancey
Nettletown
The Golden Beetle
Eltana
Madison Park Conservatory
Mistral Kitchen
Caffe Fiore

Silver
The Independent Pizzeria
June
Book Bindery (next time I'm ordering the lamb)
Staple & Fancy Mercantile
Marjorie
Sushi Kappo Tamura
Din Tai Fung (heard it's getting better)

Bronze
Luc
La Bete
Revel

Not Worthy of a Medal
The Counter

Restaurants to Try
Fuji Bakery
Lecosho
Elemental @Gasworks
Honore Artisan Bakery
Hitchcock
Willows Inn on Lummi Island

What are your Gold Medalists for the Winter Food Olympics? What restaurants are on your list to try?

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J-A-M Jam Jam

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I think I eat jam about 350 days a year. I wish I could say that being with my children is what gets me up in the morning but none of us are morning people so it's just not the case. What really gets me up in the morning is good bread toasted with butter and jam alongside my homemade coffee. Then I'm ready for the chaos of the morning routine with the littles.

I go through jam phases and coming off a particularly long stint with apricot jam, I have become obsessed with a new flavor. I found a variety of plum jams from Ayako & Family at Nettletown. The first jar was so good that when it was gone, so was my excitement for breakfast. I hurried back and bought two more jars of different types of plum jam and they are equally as good. Just one more reason to go eat at Nettletown if you haven't already.
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Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Birthday BBQ


Photo credit: Party Perfect

I know it's not BBQ weather here in Seattle but I spent most of last summer without a BBQ so the minute spring arrived (based on the calendar and clearly not the weather) I was ready to grill. We celebrated my husband's birthday Monday night and he requested barbecued flank steak and butter rice. My friend Marly tried a recipe for Beer-Marinated Flank Steak with Aji and Guacamole awhile back that got rave reviews from her guests so I decided to try it. She served the flank steak with roasted potatoes and everyone loved dipping them in the Aji Sauce. I smothered the Aji Sauce all over my chicken skewers and butter rice. Moral of the story... don't skip the sauce! It's delicious! 

This is a really easy menu to prep and if you have your act together (unlike me) you can have everything done ahead of time and just fire up the grill when the guests arrive.


Birthday BBQ Menu 






Green Salad