Tuesday, November 25, 2014

I Won! I Won!

Like any blogger, I like to take my chances in a nice giveaway now and then just to see what can happen.   I admittedly never win, but it is always fun to check out new products and new blogs.

But this time...I ACTUALLY WON!

Alissa over at 33 Shades of Green hosted a giveaway for a $200 gift certificate to Minted and I won!  Minted is an amazing site with the nicest cards and prints and the gift card came at the best time...Christmas card time!

What's funny is, the day before I found out I won I went to the Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland.  The gardens were beautiful, and in one of the pavilions they had a small cup of sticks.  The directions had you shake the cup of sticks until one fell out. The sticks all had numbers on them and the number matched a drawer in a small chest that the cup was sitting on.  And low and behold...look what my fortune said...


Prosperity is right! Nicest Christmas cards ever coming to a mail box near you this holiday season!  Thanks again Alissa!

Monday, November 24, 2014

First Day in Portland

Last week, I spent 4 days in Portland, OR working with a few schools up in the Pacific Northwest.  Lately, I have been spending a LOT of time in this part of the country and I could not be happier about it.  Portland was amazing...albeit, VERY cold compared to Los Angeles.  

I do, however, think growing up on the East Coast has made me equate cooler temperatures with the holidays.  As much as I love Thanksgiving and Christmas, it always take a bit more effort to get into the spirit in Los Angeles when the temperatures can still be in the mid 70s when you put your tree up.  The temperatures in Portland where PERFECT and I feel ready to get my holiday on after a few days up north...it doesn't hurt that the air in Portland literally smells like pine.

My first day in the city was Sunday so I was able to spend it doing what any tourist should...eating and drinking.  My first stop was VooDoo Donut.  I only got one donut which was a mistake of epic proportions.  The second I finished it I wanted 12 more...



You know what else Portland is good at besides Holiday temperature and donuts?  Beer.  They are really, really good at beer.  I stumbled upon a really cool tap room literally steps from my hotel and indulged in a few local brews.


I walked off the beer and donuts with some exploring and got myself to Powell's.  Guys it's the strand without being anxiety inducing and a million degrees aka its amazing.  I may or may not have spent almost a full hour in there.


I realize that most of my recent posts have been about food.  Eating it, making it, thinking about it.  I wish I could say it was that time of year, but really...this is just kind of how I operate all year long.  Sorry I'm not sorry.
Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Less Dangerous than a Mandolin

I feel like I can't believe I don't talk about my vegetti more. It's the weirdest/greatest thing I have purchased in a long time. Basically it turns vegetables into fake spaghetti and it makes cooking dinner expodentially more fun (and it's not as dangerous as that god damn mandolin...torture device I tell you!) And if you use one of those 9 million Bed, Bath, & Beyond coupons in that pile of mail on on the counter (no? just me?) it's under $10.  Winner winner fake vegetable noodle dinner.

I mean look at that little guy go! Those are sweet potato "noodles" people! Noodles! And they are so cute! 


What did I make with those sweet potato noodles? This....and it was damn delicous:


Ingredients

  • 1.5-2 tablespoons of olive oil
  • 2 sweet Italian sausage links, decased, crumbled
  • 1 large (350g+) sweet potato, peeled, Blade C
  • salt and pepper, to taste
  • 1 large garlic clove, minced
  • 1/4 tsp red pepper flakes
  • 1/2 cup low-sodium beef broth
  • 2 tbsp freshly chopped parsley
  • 6 asparagus stalks
  • optional: grated parmigiano reggiano cheese, to garnish
Directions

  1. Place a large skillet over medium heat and add in the olive oil. Then, add in the sausage. Cook the sausage until browned, 5-7 minutes. Continue to crumble the sausage as it cooks. While the sausage is cooking, snap the bottoms off the asparagus and then shave with a vegetable peeler, starting from the bottom of the asparagus tips all the way down to the end of the stalk. When done shaving, chop off the tips and set aside. Set aside all shavings and tips.
  2. When the sausage is done, add in the sweet potato noodles, garlic, red pepper flakes and season with salt and pepper. Toss to combine and then add in the broth and parsley. Let cook, stirring occasionally, for 6-8 minutes or until sweet potato noodles are cooked through and soften. After 5 minutes into the noodles cooking, add in the shaved asparagus and asparagus tips. Toss to combine and let the noodles finish cooking.
  3. When pasta is done, plate into bowls and garnish with optional grated cheese. Enjoy!
Thursday, November 13, 2014

Thursday Thanksgiving Recipe Prep

This is the second year in a row I will be cooking Thanksgiving dinner. Living on the West Coast with family out east, it is just too short of a time (and too damn expensive) to fly home for Thanksgiving.  For that reason, Thanksgiving is usually spent with my "urban family".

Last year, my life-partner Grace and I cooked Thanksgiving for the first time and it was widely successful (minus the turkey juice I spilled on the carpet).  This year we are even more ready to go.  We might even be super ambitious and run a turkey trot that morning (getting to confident? perhaps hahaha).

Here are a few recipes that I am planning to bust out this turkey day:


When I made this last year, I believe our friend Andrew exclaimed, "Bacon
and carrots together at last".  It's on the menu again.


Ok, I confess.  Last year's stuffing came from a bag.  This year it's
all Martha baby.


I brought this jalapeƱo creamed corn to a friendsgiving the Saturday after Thanksgiving
last year and it was a huge it.  It's going on the main menu this time around.


A 3-year veteran of Thanksgiving dinner, it's perpetually on my menu.
Delicious, traditional, and easy.


This, this is my white whale?  Can I do it?  Maybe.  Will I try? Probably.
I'll let you know how it goes.

Any tried and true Thanksgiving recipes I should be giving a go this year?

 
Monday, November 10, 2014

Weekend Update

I did a lot of eating this weekend. A little bit of running, but really...mostly eating.

The boy and I took it easy Friday night because we had to be up early for a 5K on Saturday. We got dinner and then in the interest if not going home before 8 pm and being the oldest of oldies, we stopped by Aroma Cafe for tea and cake.  Yup, we ate all that cake...carbo-loading for the race guys...come on.


Saturday we got up bright and early for the Hard Rock Cafe 5k. It went right down Hollywood Blvd. which is always a fun time. The best thing about a 5K is how quick they are! We parked, ran, drank a beer, and left in all under and hour and 15 minutes. 


After the race I met some friends for a brunch for my friend E. It was nice to have her out without her cute little man (she just had a baby in August) and have some sangria and girls time. Too much fun to take any pictures!

Saturday night I stayed in while the boy went out with his friends to a movie and drinks. Sometimes it is just magical to do nothing on a weekend! I had sushi and watched Gilmore Girls. Winner: me.

Sunday I ate some more when I met up with a few friends for a brunch in Hollywood at this place called Littlefork. Run, don't walk there. $1.50 oysters, $14 bottomless drinks, and delicous food. I think I need to go back for the lobster roll. And they did not rush us, we sat on the patio for almost 2 hours sipping drinks...heaven.


After brunch, my friend K and I hit up this Swedish candy store in West Hollywood that we had heard about. They candy is so different than American candy, but delicous (did you guys think I was kidding when I said I ate all weekend? I wasn't).


Sunday evening was the usual grocery shopping and TV watching (are you watching Parts Unkown with Anthony Bourdain? If you aren't start NOW).

Now I have to go the gym to combat all those snacks...maybe next time I will have to make it a 10K.

Linking up with Leeann 


Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Lightened Up Potato Soup for a Fall Sunday

After a nice storm on Friday, the air in LA was so clean and clear that I knew I had to take a hike that weekend.  Sunday, a friend of mine and I went out to Temescal Canyon for a quality 3 mile-loop with a amazing views at the top (there is technically a waterfall at the end, but with our drought I haven't seen it actually being anything but a dry creek in YEARS).

This picture doesn't even do it justice...we were able to see all the way out to Catalina Island (which I need to schedule a visit to, but that's another story).  After the hike, we had a little lunch and little Target run (because that is what Sundays are for).


I was really at a loss for what to make for dinner this week and was feeling pretty uninspired that night, but as usual Skinnytaste came through in the clutch. It was "cold" in LA this weekend...read 68 degrees...so soup was a must.  And even though I love potato soup, I don't always love how it makes me feel aka like I need to lay on the couch.  This recipe was so light, but still SO flavorful...I even went back for seconds. 


Ingredients: 
  • 2 russet potatoes, washed and dried
  • 1 small head of cauliflower, stem removed cut into florets
  • 1 1/2 cups fat free chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 cups 1% reduced-fat milk
  • salt and freshly cracked black pepper
  • 1/2 cup light sour cream
  • 10 tbsp reduced-fat shredded sharp cheddar cheese
  • 6 tbsp chopped chives, divided
  • 3 slices bacon, cooked and crumbled (you can use turkey bacon if you prefer)

Directions: 

Pierce potatoes with a fork; microwave on high for 5 minutes turn over and microwave another 3 - 5 minutes, until tender. Or if you prefer to use your oven, bake at 400° for 1 hour or until tender. CoolPeel potatoes.

Meanwhile, steam cauliflower with water in a large covered pot until tender. Drain and return to pot. On medium heat, add chicken broth, milk, potatoes and bring to a boil. Use an immersion blender to puree until smooth. Add sour cream, half the chives, salt and pepper and cook on low another 5-10 minutes, stirring occasionally.

Remove from heat. Ladle 1 cup soup into each bowl. Top each serving with 2 tbsp cheese, remaining chives, and bacon.


Monday, November 3, 2014

Practically Perfect in Every Way

The past few years, Halloween has been during the week and I didn't get too excited about it.  This year; however, the planets aligned and provided us with a weekend Halloween and I knew I had to go for it.  My days of "sexy costumes" are far behind me (the sexy girl scout in college was a one time deal), so I knew I wanted to go for quality this year.  And just like she does...Mary Poppins flew in when you least expected her to make everything perfect...



Want to know the best part about my costume?  I only had to buy the bow, the hat, and the flowers. Nothing like a quality costume for under $30! ...Basically I am Mary Poppins every day.


We started the night at a friend's house for drinks and snacks and ended up at a party at a bar in Hollywood!  It ended up raining (finally...we need it) and I might have been the most popular person at the party with my giant umbrella!


What were you for Halloween?

 

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