Friday, April 30, 2010

Lime Soup

One more before bedtime!

Lime Soup is what I order when we're down in Mexico. Of course there are probably many, many ways to make it, probably even an authentic one, but this is my own creation... kind of! ... it's based on my fave, Southwest Chicken Soup.

Sopa de Lima- Lime Soup (serves 4)
1 jar roasted red salsa (I used Arriba!)
1 rotisseried chicken or cooked chicken breasts, deboned and shredded
1 tbsp cumin
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
6 cups chicken broth
4 limes, juiced + 1 more for garnish, cut into wedges
kosher salt to taste
4 cilantro sprigs, plus more for garnish
4 tbsp sour cream, for garnish

In a large saucepan, heat salsa over med hi heat. Add chicken and cumin and combine. Cook until chicken is warmed, stirring. Add beans and broth. Bring to a boil. Cook 10 minutes or until heated through. Stir in lime juice and add sprigs of cilantro. Salt to taste- may not need any depending on broth. Serve topped with sour cream, cilantro and a lime wedge. 
Oh, and a margarita! Let's hit the beach!

Shower Time!

A few inspirational images for a future bridal shower for my future sister-in-law...
So pretty... I love it when people get married! Or have babies! Or just have parties!
Images via Hostess with the Mostess. Whenever you're stuck in a party-planning rut, give them a visit!

As Promised: Lombo di Maiale Coi Porri and Chicken Farfalle in a Basil Pesto Cream Sauce

Lombo di Maiale Coi Porri (Pan-Roasted Pork Loin with Leeks)
Two of my stand-up standbys. Both super tasty.
Mom's Famous Puffy Taco Shells to follow, with her permission, of course. They might be Mom's Secret Puffy Taco Shells!

Cooking with Leeks: Lombo di Maiale Coi Porri 
(Pan-Roasted Pork Loin with Leeks, Cooking Light Sept. 2007)
This is definitely lighter than Chicken in Reisling, but there are some unmistakeable parallels. Both are super-tasty. This dish takes about 30mins active cooking time, and 2.5 hrs total.

4 large leeks, using only white and pale green parts
1 c water
1 tbsp butter, divided
1 tsp kosher salt, divided
1 tsp black pepper, divided
1 (2 lb) boneless pork loin, or tenderloin, trimmed
1/2 c dry white wine 
chopped fresh parsley

Trim and half leeks lengthwise. Chop crosswise into 1/2 inch pieces. Submerge in cold water to remove any sediment. 
Combine leeks, 1/2 c water, 1 tsp butter, 1/4 tsp salt, and 1/4 tsp pepper in a large dutch oven or deep saute pan over med hi heat. Cook for 10 minutes or until leeks wilt. Pour the leek mixture into a bowl.
Heat remaining 2 tsp butter in pan over med hi heat. Add pork to pan. Cook 5 mins, turning to brown on all sides. Add remaining 1/4 tsp pepper and wine to pan; cook 15 seconds, scraping to loosen brown bits. Return leek mixture to pan. Cover, reduce heat and simmer 2 hrs or until pork is tender. Remove pork from pan. Increase heat to reduce leek sauce, if too watery. Cut pork into 1/4 inch thick slices. Serve with leeks. Garnish with parsley. Delicious with mashed potatoes. 

Chicken Farfalle So Good My Dog Will Bite a Hole In Your Shirt 
dedicated to our late doggie, Lazlo, and Carlos, adapted from The Brick Oven

1 lb chicken breast, cut into 1 inch pieces
2 cloves garlic, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil
1 lb dried farfalle, linguine or other thick, hearty pasta
1 yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 c white button mushrooms, quartered
1/2 c cherry tomatoes, halved, or roma tomatoes, quartered
1/4 c dry white wine
1/2 c basil pesto
3/4 c cream

Heat 1 tbsp oil in a large skillet over med-hi heat. Add garlic and saute 1 minute. Add chicken and saute until cooked through (7-10minutes). Transfer to a plate.
Start water for pasta and cook according to package directions.
Add remaining tbsp oil to skillet and bell peppers. Saute until tender 3-5 minutes. Add mushrooms and tomatoes and cook 1-2 minutes more. Add wine and cook, scraping bottom of pan, 1 minute more. Return chicken, and any juices, to skillet with vegetables. Add basil pesto and toss to coat chicken and vegetables. Add cream and reduce heat to low. Simmer until sauce is thickened. Serve with crusty garlic bread and a salad with cucumbers, tomatoes, red cabbage and green leaf lettuce. Add Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing to boot! 

Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing
Ranch Dressing Packet and listed ingredients
1/4 c parmesan, grated
1 tbsp coarsely-cracked peppercorns

Make dressing as directed on package. Blend in parmesan and peppercorns. Chill 1-2 hours before serving. 

My Favorite Crusty Garlic Bread
6 cloves garlic
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/2 tsp cracked black pepper
1/2 stick (4 tbsp)unsalted butter, softened
1 loaf french bread, halved lengthwise

PH oven to 400 with rack in upper third of oven. On cutting board, mince garlic. Add salt on top of garlic and smash with back of knife until it forms a paste. In a small bowl, combine butter and garlic paste. Melt garlic butter in microwave on high for 30 seconds. Brush bread halves with melted butter. Sprinkle with black pepper. Bake 10 minutes or until brown and crispy.  



I am so excited that one of my passions is turning into regular work! 1809design, the home design branch of my little tree of creative endeavors, welcomed two new clients this week!
The first project is a living room and study area... I am channeling Ellen Pompeo's fabulously eclectic abode, featured in this month's Elle Decor. I found a new love in designer Martyn Lawrence-Bullard. Moorish inspired pieces for the modern home- ugh, his collection is just too ME!
Here are a few pieces (not Lawrence-Bullard pieces, I regretfully inform you...) that I am including in the  design. Fun stuff!

The second project is in the works and a first for me: an office space for film-makers, editors, and other young, fun, arty people. Can't wait to start researching office design.... I'll share more as it evolves!
Happy weekend!

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Cooking with Leeks: Chicken In Riesling & Lombo di Maile Coi Porri

Just thinking of this recipe gets the salivary glands going... So simple, yet such developed flavors. It reminded me of one of my standard dishes, Lombo di Maile Coi Porri or Pan-Roasted Pork Roasted with Leeks. I'll just have to post that recipe tomorrow. (Photo and recipe from Gourmet) At Central Market,  I found an Alsatian wine that changed my mind about Rieslings... Such a great spring dish!

Event: Yummy Can Happen Any Old Night
Menu: Chicken in Reisling (Gourmet, March 2008)

Chicken in Riesling
1 whole chicken (about 3 1/2 lbs), backbone discarded and chicken cut French style into 8 pieces (French style: yields 2 breast halves with wings attached, halved crosswise for a total of 4 breast pieces, 2 drumsticks, 2 thighs. You could also use pre-cut chicken pieces.)
1 tbsp vegetable oil
3 tbsp unsalted butter, divided
4 medium (or three large) leeks, pale green and white parts only, finely chopped (2 cups)
2 tbsp shallot, finely chopped
4 medium carrots, peeled and halved on a diagonal
1 c dry white wine (preferably an Alsatian Riesling)
1 1/2 lbs small red potatoes
2 tbsp finely chopped flat leaf parsley
1/2 c creme fraiche or heavy cream (heavy cream is less expensive)
fresh lemon juice, to taste

PH oven to 350 with rack in middle.
Pat chicken parts dry and sprinkle with 1 tsp salt and pepper. Heat oil w/ 1 tbsp butter in a large, deep oven-proof skillet (with cover) over med-hi heat until foam subsides. Brown chicken in batches, turning once, about 10 mins total per batch. Transfer to a plate.
Wash leeks by submerging in a bowl of cold water. Skim leeks from top- sediment will sink to the bottom. Pat dry.
Pour off fat from pot, then cook leeks shallot, with 1/4 tsp salt and pepper in remaining 2 tbsp of butter, stirring occasionally, until leeks are golden and tender, 5-7 min. Add chicken, skin sides up, with any juices, carrots, and wine and boil down until liquid is reduced by half, 3-4 minutes. Cover pot and braise chicken in oven until cooked through, 20-25 mins.
While chicken braises, peel potatoes then cover with cold water in a saucepan. Add 1/2 tsp salt. Bring to a boil, then simmer until potatoes are just tender, about 15 mins. Drain in a colander, then return to pan. Add parsley and shake to coat.
Stir cream/creme into chicken mixture and season with salt, pepper, and lemon juice, then add potatoes. Serve immediately with steamed green beans or fresh steamed peas.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Busy, Crazy Week

But I've still managed to make some tasty things... Check back next week and I'll share:

Chicken in Reisling
Lime Soup
Rotisserie Chicken Tacos with Roasted Onions, Guajillo, and Lime Sour Cream
My Favorite Guac

Monday, April 12, 2010

Whole Foods Tax Relief Week- 20% off Wine

"Feeling Taxed? Give yourself a break and save big during our 'Tax Relief' week! Between April 12-18 enjoy special deals like: MIX & MATCH ANY 12 BOTTLES OF WINE - 20% OFF!" 

Quick and Elegant Breakfast

Here's an easy egg dish to break you out of the doldrums of cereal and waffles!
From the Gourmet Cookbook (with a few of my mods), this would make an amazing brunch dish, or BFD (Breakfast For Dinner!) Only four ingredients+S&P, and you might already have them!

Event: Quick and Elegant Breakfast for Two (or half recipe for one!)
Menu: Fried Eggs and Asparagus with Parmesan and Anderson's Fair Trade Organic Coffee

1/2 lbs asparagus, trimmed (I cut it into two inch pieces)
2 1/2 tbsp unsalted butter
kosher salt and black pepper
2/3 c finely (fresh) grated Parmesan-Reggiano
4 large eggs- 

Put a rack in the upper 1/3 of the oven and PH to 425. Cook asparagus in boiling, well salted water until crisp-tender (still bright green), about 4 mins. Transfer with slotted spoon to paper towels to drain. Butter, using only 1/2 tbsp butter, one or two ramekins or gratin dishes. Divide asparagus between dishes. Sprinkle with half the cheese.
Heat remaining 2 tbsp butter in a 10 inch non-stick (I don't use nonstick, but you can!) over med-hi heat until foam subsides. Fry eggs, seasoning with salt and pepper, until whites are barely set, about 2 mins. 
With a slotted spatula, carefully transfer eggs to each dish, placing eggs on top of asparagus. Sprinkle eggs with remaining cheese and drizzle with any remaining butter from pan. Bake until cheese is melted and eggs are cooked as desired. 4-5 minutes. 

As for the coffee, you must simply go to Anderson's
Our 35th Anniversary

Dining Alfresco: Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak

Everybody took part in preparing this fresh, flavorful meal. Our toddler helped make the marinade and salad dressing, I chopped veggies, and the hubby grilled. From this month's Cooking Light Magazine (with some modifications) it is the perfect meal for easy outdoor entertaining. 

Wine Note: I paired our steak with Marcus James Merlot. Purchased at Sprout's Farmers Market- 3 for 10 bucks! It's full bodied, balanced, and easy on the palate, as well as the wallet. 

Event: Family Dinner Alfresco
Menu: Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak, Sauteed Baby Spinach, Chopped Salad

For the Steak~
1/4 c balsamic vinegar
1 tbsp Worcestershire sauce
2 tsp brown sugar
1 garlic clove, minced
1 lb skirt steak, cut into 4 inch pieces (I would recommend sirloin or a better cut of beef, thin cut for quick grilling)
1/2 tsp kosher salt
1/4 tsp black pepper

Combine first 4 ingredients in a ziploc or large bowl. Add steak and turn to coat. Marinate at room temperature for 25 minutes. Remove steak; discard marinade. (Prepare spinach and salad while marinading meat.)
Heat grill to high temp. (400-500 degrees) Sprinkle steak with salt and pepper. Grill quickly, 3 minutes per side or to desired doneness. Remove from grill. Set aside on platter and tent with foil. Let stand 5 minutes and cut steak diagonally across grain into thin slices. (4 servings)

For the Sauteed Baby Spinach~
2 tsp butter
3 cloves garlic, sliced thinly
kosher salt
black pepper
1 10oz pkg fresh baby spinach

Melt butter in a large skillet over medium heat. Add garlic and saute one minute. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Add spinach in batches, tossing frequently, until leaves just barely wilt.

For the Chopped Salad:
1 tbsp olive oil
1 1/4 tsp white (or red) wine vinegar
kosher salt
black pepper
2 1/2 c grape tomatoes, halved
1/3 c sweet (or Vidalia) onion, sliced paper-thin
1 large Hass avocado, cut into chunks
3 tbsp good blue cheese

Combine oil, vinegar, salt and pepper in a medium bowl. Add vegetables and toss. Sprinkle with blue cheese and additional black pepper to taste.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Menu for the Week

Sunday- Grilled Balsamic Skirt Steak, Sauteed Baby Spinach, and Tomato-Sweet Onion-Blue Cheese Salad
Monday- Pork Pot Roast with Braised Cabbage and Turnips, Bibb Lettuce Salad
Tuesday- Pecan~Dijon Crusted Chicken Caesar Salad- Wait! No... Mom's Night OUT!
Wednesday-Parmesan Reggiano Dusted Meatballs in Roasted Tomato Sauce, Green Beans
Thursday- Grilled Chicken with Mint and Pine Nut Gremolata, Sugar Snap Pea and Feta Salad
Friday- Hmm... Try East Side Show Room?

Friday, April 9, 2010

Outdoor Inspiration Part II

Some more pics, this time from another late-great magazine, Cottage Living. The name may imply a certain leaning towards doilies and teddy bears, but the content was anything but. I've kept my back issues for future perusing...
Another gorgeous, albeit relatively low-maintenance garden, this time right in my own backyard. (Well, it's just a few blocks away.) Such amazing use of organic and geometric, order and chaos. Divine! The cover photo is a Bradford Pear Tree alee in the back yard. The lantern is a whimsical touch and I love that the twinkling lights alternate between round and candelabra. I just bought some japanese boxwoods to line our sidewalk.
These pics are from the same Cottage Living issue. A Tucson garden that is anything but desert!

Outdoor Inspiration

The weather is just gorgeous and, if it weren't for all that yucky yellow stuff, just perfect. Our outdoor areas are taking shape... I've been having fun finding images for landscaping/hardscaping inspiration. I am a fair-weather gardener and groundskeeper, so I've been searching for plants and materials that withstand some neglect. (Thus the large amount of low-mainenance, drought-resistant pea gravel we recently installed.)
The first pics are from the website of an eco-concious landscape/building design co. in LA, Dry Design. The rest are from back issue of the late-great Domino magazine. I love the combination of soft and hard materials, the designation of areas by function, and the clean lines of the space.

Meatloaf is Good

As the week comes to a close, our little family has been feeling kinda crummy. Not sure if it's the ridiculously high pollen count or a remaining cold bug from chillier times. So we've decided to stay in for the night... and what better feel-good food is there than MEATLOAF? (Yes, chicken soup is good and is supposed to have all those immunity boosting effects...)
I was thinking that I must have posted my recipe for a great meatloaf... but no! I've only posted about one! (And I didn't even share a recipe!) That can't be!
I have more meatloaf variations (intentional and accidental) up my sleeve than you can shake a stick at. (What does that even mean? Must be the Claritin talking...)
Anyway, tonight I'll be making Classic Meatloaf from Cooking Light, March 2006. Before this recipe, I veered away from ketchup combos. But this one uses ketchup as a glaze. The outside gets all caramelized and gooey... and the inside's all moist and flavorful. I'm feeling better already!
Classic Meat Loaf

Event: Go Away Allergens!
Menu: Classic Meatloaf, Cauliflower Puree, Lemony Green Beas... Oh and some cheese from Antonelli's! Gotta go pick some up after the little one wakes up. 

Classic Meatloaf (modified slightly from CL's recipe, image courtesy of )
1 slice white bread (I use wheat)
2 tbsp milk
1/2 c ketchup, divided
1 1/2 lbs of ground meat (any combo of lean beef, turkey, veal, pork... tonight I'm doing 3/4 beef, 1/4 tukey)
1/2 c onion, chopped
1/3 c italian parsley, chopped
1 tbsp dijon
1 tsp dried basil 
3/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp black pepper
2 large egg whites
cooking spray

PH oven to 350. Pulse bread in food processor to make crumbs. Combine breadcrumbs and milk in a large bowl; let stand for 5 minutes. Add 2 tbsp ketchup and remaining ingredients, except cooking spray. 
Shape meat mixture (Freeform meatloaf! Healthier than the loaf pan meatloaf!) onto a foil-covered broiling pan or baking pan. Spread remaining ketchup over top of meatloaf. Bake at 350 for 1 hour or until cooked through. (Temp should be 160) Let stand 10 mins. Cut loaf into slices and devour!
Serve with:
Cauliflower Puree- Steam one half a cauliflower, cut into florets. Drain. Place steamed florets in food processor with 1/4 cup half and half and 3 tbsp butter. Puree until smooth. Salt and pepper to taste.
Lemony Green Beans- (Very similar to Haricot Vert with Lemon Butter) Steam green beans until tender, but still bright green. (About 7 minutes.) Drain. Place back in pot or in serving bowl. Dot with 1 tbsp butter, sprinkle with lemon juice and kosher salt.

La Primavera

It's fun to find connections between art and food...
Yesterday I was inspired by the beauty and freshness of Spring. While I chopped veggies for  pasta primavera, my mind wandered back to Art History 301... Sandro Botticelli's La Primavera.
The same exuberant colors and energy of this masterpiece are present in (perhaps) my favorite, and most used recipe, from Cooking Light. I delivered this colorful dish to friends who just welcomed their second little baby into the world. Paired with rosemary bread from Central Market and a bunch of baby's breath, I hope it brought them as much joy to eat as it did for me to cook!
Pasta Primavera
Event: Welcome Baby Carter! Welcome Spring!
Menu: Pasta Primavera (Cooking Light April 2004), CM Rosemary Bread

1/2 lb uncooked fusilli (or gemelli) pasta
2 cups diagonally cut (1") thin asparagus
1/2 c shelled green peas (I make this optional- not always in the mood for peas in my pasta)
1 tbsp olive oil
1 small yellow bell pepper, julienned
1 small red onion, thinly sliced
2 cloves garlic, minced
1 c cherry tomatoes, halved
2/3 c chicken broth
1/3 c whipping cream
1/2 tsp salt
1/2 tsp crushed red pepper (adjust the amt to desired heat)
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese
1/4 c torn or sliced fresh basil

Cook pasta according to directions. Add asparagus (and peas) during the last minute of cooking. Drain and place in a large serving bowl. 
Heat oil in a large skillet over med-hi heat. Add bell peppers, onion, garlic; saute 5 minutes. Add tomatoes, saute 1 minute. Stir in broth, whipping cream, salt, and red pepper. Cook 2 minutes or until heated through. 
Add veggie and sauce mixture to pasta mixture. Toss to coat. Sprinkle with parmesan and basil. Serve with crusty bread. Delicious hot, warm, or cold. 

The Joy of Lentil Soup

Tuesday night I made Lentil Soup with Greens via the recipe in the Joy of Cooking. It was hearty and perfect for what's sure to be one of the last chilly nights here in ATX. The funny thing is, our favorite Lentil Soup Recipe (Lentil Soup with Italian Sausage and Escarole from Gourmet 2008) seems to be a complete rip-off of Joy's recipe.
Okay, not a complete rip-off... but the only differences seem to be the use of ham/bacon vs. italian sausage and balsamic vinegar vs. red wine vinegar. 
I used spinach for this week's green... (Grown-up spinach not that baby stuff.) which I must say makes a lot more sense to the palate than escarole. Kale works well too btw.

Well, here's TJOC's recipe for Lentil Soup with Greens... Give it a go!

3 tbsp olive oil
4 oz ham or bacon, diced
3 med carrots, peeled and diced
3 med celery ribs, diced
1 large onion, diced
3 garlic cloves, minced
2 c dried lentils, rinsed and picked over
1 14oz can diced tomatoes (TJOC says to drain, I didn't and I think it makes a richer broth)
1 tsp dried (or 1 tbsp fresh) thyme
8 cups water (I think broth could make the flavor deeper, but water is cheaper!)
1 bunch kale/spinach, chopped roughly
1 1/2 tbsp+ balsamic vinegar
2 tsp salt
1 tsp black pepper

Heat oil in large soup pot. Add ham/bacon and saute 3-4 minutes. Add carrots, onions, celery, and garlic; saute until veggies are tender 5-10 mins. 
Stir in lentils, tomatoes, thyme and water. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until lentils are tender 30-45 mins. Add greens to soup for last 5 minutes of cooking. Stir in balsamic vinegar and season with salt and pepper to taste. 

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Chicken Cordon Bleu

Super easy, super tasty- no pics, we ate too fast!

Menu: Chicken Cordon Bleu
Asparagus with Shallot Vinaigrette
Spinach Salad with Simple Vegetables

Chicken Cordon Bleu (serves 2 and a toddler-modified from The Joy of Cooking)
kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper
1 pkg thin-sliced (milanesa) chicken breast (4 pieces)
1/4 lb thin-sliced ham (Easter leftovers!)
4 slices baby swiss cheese
1/4 c whole wheat flour
1 large egg, beaten with 1 tbsp water
1/2 cup breadcrumbs (or I used 1/2 cup whole wheat pretzel crumbs, just pulse pretzels in food processor)
1 tbsp butter
1 tbsp olive oil

Flatten chicken breasts until 3/8 of an inch. Sprinkle with salt and pepper. Layer ham and cheese on top of chicken. Fold over and press sides together to keep cheese and ham mixture inside. Dredge in flour, then egg mixture, then crumbs. Heat butter and oil in a large skillet until fragrant. Add chicken to pan and cook 3-4 minutes a side until golden and juices run clear. Serve immediately.

Asparagus with Shallot Vinaigrette
1 lb asparagus, trimmed and washed
1 tbsp red wine vinegar
2 tbsp extra virgin olive oil
1 tbsp minced shallots
1 tsp dijon mustard
kosher salt and black pepper

Steam asparagus until cooked through but still bright green (5-7mins). Plunge into ice water to stop cooking. For dressing, whisk together remaining ingredients and season with salt and pepper to taste.

Custom Printed Fabric from Spoonflower!

Wow! Just found a link to this site on fromthedeskofannie's blog. How much fun would it be to create your own fabric?! I usually search for months to find the right thing for reupholstering or pillow covers, but now I have Spoonflower. Genius!Get started creating custom fabric.

Library Chairs

The bookcase wall in our house has felt lonely ever since I moved our danish mod chairs to other rooms. So I've been keeping an eye out for the perfect reading chairs... Maybe I'll save my pennies and spring for two of these from Restoration Hardware:
Versailles Domed Burlap-Backed Chair
Balloon Chair in Burlap Fabric

Monday, April 5, 2010

Wine Not?

Keep your wine corks in a big, fun container. We started last year and have almost filled our giant hurricane lamp. Now, what to do with them once it's full? Hmmm...

Make Your Mark

A nice little (and pretty) trick to keeping your place in a cookbook: ribbon! Some cookbooks come with one or two (Thanks Gourmet and Gourmet Today cookbooks!) to keep you tuned to the right recipe, but it's easy to snip a few lengths of ribbon and mark as many pages as you want. Of course, a bookmark will work, but for some reason ribbon just feels right!

The Basics: Salt and Pepper

So I am kinda particular about my salt and pepper. Iodized salt has been off of my table for at least 5 years. I scoff at those paper-pepper flakes that come in packets. It's kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper or nothing. (Okay, that's not true... I have an emergency Morton's set in the pantry. And actually had to use it a few weeks ago when I didn't realize we were out of peppercorns!)
We've had good luck with a stainless/wood pepper grinder and bamboo salt cellar/ramekins from Crate&Barrel. It may seem weird to some of our guests that we pinch our salt instead of shaking... but they soon get over it.

Ham Left-Overload/Menu for the Week

So after hosting our Easter Lunch, I have decided that store-bought ham packages are deceiving. I hunted through those plastic-then-foil-then-netting wrapped bundles, trying to find the largest one to feed our hungry masses of egg-tossing champs. They all looked tiny... so I settled on the mother of all HEB hams- a 10 pounder, surely just enough to satisfy and maybe we'd have a few leftover slices. However, after everyone had served themselves, nibbled, and grazed, we were left with a whopping 7 pounds of honey-cured pork. (Okay, so some of that is the hock... which I really don't foresee myself turning into ham stock. I just don't know what I'd do with ham stock...)

So, with no further ado, but about a two month delay...
Menu for the Week
Monday~ Chicken Cordon Bleu, Asparagus with Mornay Sauce
Tuesday~ Ham Strata with Vegetables  decided on Lentil Soup with Greens instead
Wednesday~ Beef Fajita Salad with Ham-Spiked Black Beans
Thursday~Mom's Night OUT!
Friday~ Casa Colombia!

Foray into the Interior Design World...

Well,  the little guy is still snoozing, so I might as well take advantage of this time!
This winter, some good friends asked me to redesign their formal living room. First of all, I took this as a huge compliment... I mean, yes, I would love to do interior design work professionally, but I just haven't taken that leap yet. (And whether that leap means going to school or just starting my own business outright, I'm still deciding...)
This was my dream job- the clients liked my style, so I approached the design as if it were my own living room. I put together several different "looks," pulling sofas, lighting, occasional tables, rugs, paint swatches, and tile samples. After our first consultation, I created a drawing with all the elements that they selected.

Once all the large pieces arrived, I worked with them to select a paint color for the walls, and new tile for the hearth. Below is a before pic and my sketch with most of the major elements of my design. I will post final pics soon!

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Best Friends

A good margarita is a thing not easily attained. Tequila, triple sec, lime juice, ice, salt... yes, those are margarita ingredients, but how they come together (or don't) is the important thing.
Yesterday I brought together two good things: Simply Limeade and Milagro Silver Tequila. I won't say that it was the most authentic margarita, but man was it perfect under the warm afternoon sun.
I'll call it the: Simply Margarita
1 oz Milagro Silver Tequila
3 oz Simply Limeade
Pour over ice in a drink shaker. Shake. Pour into a kosher salt (or cane sugar) rimmed glass. Sigh...

Happy Easter!

Here's the invite I made for our Easter Celebration. I just love the animal font from!

Oh and here's last year's invite too!

Have a wonderful day!

Backyard Bliss!

My biggest "project" for the last couple months has been the transformation of our backyard space. Our house backs up to an alley, which definitely has its advantages, but the existing chain link fence divided the space in half... grass on this side... "No Man's Land" on the other. (Well, we did park our cars back there, and our trashcans, and a shed.. so it wasn't a complete waste, just not very aesthetically pleasing...)

We went through several design possibilities until we landed on this drawing:

Carport, horizontal privacy fence, gravel play yard, water feature, concrete block planter wall, and, most importantly, better use of the space. After a weeks of contacting contractors, getting bids, and coordinating the timing of the project work finally began. And now we open our doors to this(!!!):

We've still got landscaping to do, and a water feature to install, but we couldn't be happier with the transformation of our backyard!