Archive | August, 2011

Taste of the World

29 Aug
Since I’ve done a lot of cooking/baking lately, I thought I’d another one on food.

This is a picture taken in May at my parents’ house in Charleston.  This is the French String Beans recipe from the Barefoot Contessa’s Barefoot in Paris cookbook.  I love this cookbook!  We only had a yellow pepper on hand, so I just used one whole yellow pepper instead of 1/2 a red pepper.  I’ve made it with the red bell pepper and either way, it’s still a great, light dish perfect for a summer dinner after a day on the beach!

Before mixing the ingredients to make the dough
Letting them dry under the fan

Chris wanted gnocchi for his birthday dinner, and when I went to the grocery store the night before, wouldn’t you know they didn’t have any!  It was late enough that I didn’t want to try another store, so my Droid 2 came to the rescue!  After looking up this recipe by Michael Chiarello on, I realized the only thing I didn’t have on hand were potatoes so I picked those up and a bottle of sauce and was on my way!  I used whole wheat flour instead of white all-purpose and ready-grated parmesan because it was what I had.  I also found it was easier (for me) to peel the potatoes before baking them, then place them in a shallow dish with about 1 inch of water to be baked in the oven.  I made these the night before and froze them overnight.  When I got home from work, I let them sit on the counter for about 15 minutes while I waited for the water to come to a boil to poach them.  This was plenty of time for them to thaw!

I also made a Mexican Chocolate Snack Cake for a little party for Chris and his twin, Brad.  We decided on a Mexican Fiesta theme, so for dinner Chris’ sister-in-law made tacos and we all sipped on margaritas and Victoria beer.  By the way, if you have not tried Victoria, it is my new favorite.  Definitely worth checking out.    This cake is rich, decadent, and spicy.  I didn’t have Mexican chocolate, so I added an extra 2 oz of baking chocolate and wound up doubling the cayenne pepper (1/2 tsp. instead of 1/4).  I also melted a stick of SmartBalance 50/50 Buttery Spread and used this instead of vegetable oil.  I like my cake to have a nice buttery flavor!  Since one of Chris’ brothers doesn’t like nuts, only sprinkled them on top of half of the cake, then mixed up the rest of the ingredients for the streusel and poured them on top to bake.

This past Saturday morning I woke up and decided to make some banana muffins since I had a bunch of bananas that were about to go bad and wanted to enjoy them!  Banana Nut Bread has always been a favorite of mine, so this was something I made and tasted along the way.  I also added 1/2 cup of walnuts in mine and some extra spices.  These are only 4 Weight Watchers PointsPlus a piece, and they are a great start to the day!

Snack Time!

25 Aug

I’ve decided to add a food segment to my blog, even though it seems every blog has them and there are countless websites to share recipes. Not to mention I’ve started a few myself and then always wind up deleting them. So since I am already talking about things I love on this blog, it only makes sense to me to add one more. Especially since I enjoy cooking and trying new types of food, and love talking about it too! Also I read a friend from high school’s cooking blog recently and it inspired me to get back in the kitchen a little more.

So here’s my first food post, today it’s about a supermarket discovery I made. I love EarthFare, when I can afford it! Tuesday I was there at lunch time indulging in their goodies – smoked Gouda pasta and herbed pork! Came across their veggie hummus and thought it would make a great pre-workout snack. This hummus is not only a great bean dip, but it is also full of carrots, squash, and broccoli. I’ve been eating it with RW Garcia Classics Mixt Bag Blue & Yellow Tortillas. They are crunchy, delicious, and a Non-GMO Product (Genetically Modified Organism)! They are also Gluten Free for anyone out there watching that. I personally don’t but still take note of it because so many people talk about it these days.

Also found recipes for smoked Gouda pasta and herbed pork. Definitely see more of that in my future, it was amazingly good… together or separate!

Mad Men’s Revamped Credits

25 Aug

Truth be told, I kind of love this. It sounds like background music at a posh 1960’s apartment party in New York (yes I’m thinking of a certain scene in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s”). True, the images are obviously computer-generated, but whatever. I will, however, seriously miss the current theme music. It’s pretty fabulous.


Banana Republic’s Mad Men Collection

17 Aug

LOVE this collection! Love the show too for that matter. The necklines, the tailored looked, the simple sophistication. The silhouettes are fantastic and work well on any figure type. There is also a men’s collection and it’s pretty fabulous too.

Banana Republic | Women | Mad Men® collection

All Hail the Mighty KitchenAid!

16 Aug
Find of the Month: Vintage KitchenAid mixer that works like new, with all the attachments.  We have put this baby to work!  Chris likes to make The Best Homemade Chocolate Chip Cookies in the Entire World.  He adds white chocolate chips to them too, making them even better!  I have been putting my Barefoot Contessa cookbook to good use by making the baked chocolate pudding!  Pictures of these treats to come…
6 Aug
Found these cute vintage jars that we have turned into canisters for sugar and flour… LOVE them!

Sew Fabulous

2 Aug
I bought this beautiful old Brother sewing machine and table a while ago for a real steal! I plan to refinish the table since it has some water spots on the top of the lid. Thinking about maybe changing the knobs too.  Have decided to learn to sew and try to make some dresses.  Already have some Vogue patterns, so now I just have to learn how to sew them. 🙂

Here are some of the patterns I have bought.

The Butterick pattern is the easiest, so it will be the first one I’ll tackle, I’m sure.  I saw on Dress A Day that Erin McKean was able to make Vogue 8728 twice.  After reading her first blog from the first time she attempted this dress, I’m a little intimidated by this pattern.  However, I do have a beautiful robin’s egg blue lightweight knit cotton that I intend to use for this pattern and am still very excited about it!  
I love the Simplicity pattern (6549).  It has an adorable little collar and I love how versatile it is.  You can make a dress that, with the jacket is perfect for work and then take the jacket off for a cute little Happy Hour look!  
It’s pretty safe to say that there are BIG plans for this machine.