Sunday, October 30, 2011

Take Me Out

My efforts at homecookery have been undone this week. The old plumbing that runs from our kitchen sink and dishwasher rotted out and has been leaking indescribably yucky stuff under our house... So, until it is repaired, and I can again wash dishes and pots, I will be a slave to the microwave, disposable dishes, and take out. (I know, so UN-me!)
In honor of this week, here are my favorite, relatively healthy, relatively inexpensive fast food options here in the ATX (In no particular order, except the order that they popped into my head.)
1. Chipotle
2. Tino's Greek Cafe
3. Santa Rita Cantina
4. Tarka Indian
5. Taco Deli
6. P. Terry's
7. Phoenician Bakery
8. Arpeggio Grill
9. Salvation Pizza
10. Central Market

Monday, October 24, 2011

Starting Over- Again! Plus- Menu for the Week

After a bumpy last few weeks, we're going flat- scaloppine, pies, pizza, schnitzel, and paillards!
Take a peek at Mark Bittman's article, Take a Pounding, in this weeks NYT Mag- image above from

Monday- Chicken Scaloppine al Limone with Sauteed Squash
Tuesday- Grilled Veggie Pizzas + PIE PARTY!!! More to follow!
Wednesday- Chicken Pot Pies
Thursday- Urban Roots Fall Harvest Celebration!
Friday- Beef Paillards with Capers and Watercress

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

Lovely Living

Some new additions to my Pinterests! Such drama!

Are you Pinterested?

Well, I am...
Sadly I haven't had time to be the blogger I'd like to be these days. But I've fallen for Pinterest- an application/site where you can keep a record of all things wonderful. From recipes to remodeling ideas, Pinterest is a feast for the eyes. Photo links can be pinned and repinned and organized in any way you desire.
So, in this time when I have so little time, I hope you will follow me and my boards on Pinterest!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Hot Off the Grill: Easy Additions to Summer Food

Sometimes a little kosher salt and fresh ground black pepper is all you need to make grilled food shine... and sometimes you want something a little more complex. Here are some quick and easy sauces and condiments that elevate simple foods- image from

Compound Herb Butters- 
Great on grilled chicken, steaks, or veggies
3-4 tbsp salted or unsalted butter (your preference)
3-4 tbsp fresh herbs such as tarragon, basil, mint, or cilantro (you can also use a mixture)
Soften the butter slightly by letting it come to room temp on the counter or microwaving for 10 seconds. Chop the herbs finely and combine. Wrap in wax paper and return to fridge. Melt over meat or veggies.

Caper Sauce (from Real Simple Magazine)- similar to a chimichurri sauce- Zesty and delish!

Herbed Salt-
Turns freezer fries into pommes frites!
1 tbsp minced herbs (thyme, rosemary, parsley)
1 tsp kosher salt
Stir together and sprinkle over hot fries.

Hello, world!

I'm back! Or... at least I am going to try to be back.
Little one is almost 4 months old. Things are going relatively smoothly and one of the biggest indicators of this is that I have been able to COOK DINNER for the last few weeks. Nothing too fancy- some good grilled dishes with herbs from the garden and simple sides. I will share as soon as I can!
Wow... so much to write about, I don't know where to start... So let's start with the birth announcement I sent out for Valentine's Day for the new little one! My sweet boys...

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Peabody Countdown

Well, we've almost passed the 38 week mark... This little guy could choose to arrive at any minute! There were no warning signs with our first son, so I'm not expecting them with this guy either! It could be tonight... or it could be two and a half more weeks...
Regardless, with all that is going on around here, I don't have the time to get it down in my blog... and so, I bid you a sweet (and short) farewell!
But, I'll be back again as soon as I can... ready to cook, share, design, and inspire!


P.S. I'll post to 1809west's facebook page when I'm back in business!

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Bittman's Cure for the Take-Out Cycle

I'm a big fan of Mark Bittman. He's a wonderful advocate for home-cooking, and, with this article, he presents a way for ANYONE to be successful at it. If you can chop, stir-fry, or boil you can make your own dinner. Cooking: it's cheap, it's easy, and it's good for you!
I encourage all to read!
Chop, Fry, Boil: Eating for One, or 6 Billion- from

Happy Birthday, Dear Hubby!

We celebrated Mark's birthday with a special dinner at home last night. When I asked our toddler what kind of cake we should make for Daddy, he said, "A pancake!" Pancake Cake? Sure, why not!? I've been dreaming about Martha Stewart's Crepe Cake since Halloween... I modified the composition from her hazelnut laced recipe to a banana and chocolate laden tower of richness. The birthday boy, and his boy, approved.
Happy Birthday to the love of my life... and the biggest fan of my Menus for the Week!
Event~ Birthday Dinner for Three (Well, technically four...)
Southwest Chicken Pizza- inspired by Brick Oven Restaurant
Spinach salad with Parmesan Peppercorn Dressing
Chocolate-Banana Crepe Cake

For the Southwest Chicken Pizza:
1 Boboli Thin Crust Pizza Dough or other thin pre-cooked pizza crust (Of course, you can always make your own!)
1/2 cup chipotle or sun-dried tomato pesto
1 1/2 cups shredded mozzarella
1 1/2 cups chopped cooked chicken (We used chicken that Mark smoked this weekend!)
1/2 red onion, sliced thinly
1/2 roma tomatoes, sliced
1/2 cup cilantro sprigs
1/4 c grated parmesan 

Place rack at top of oven. PH oven to 500 degrees. While pre-heating, assemble pizza, as follows: spread a thin layer of pesto over crust, sprinkle evenly with cheese, arrange chicken, onion and tomatoes on top of cheese. Once oven has reached temperature- switch to top-broil mode. Place pizza on rack and cook until cheese is melted and bubbly, slightly golden-brown. Remove from oven. Sprinkle with cilantro sprigs and parmesan cheese. Slice into wedges and enjoy!

For the Salad and Dressing:
1/2 cup fresh spinach per serving
1/4 c sliced, peeled cucumbers per serving
1/4 c chopped celery per serving

1 packet Hidden Valley Ranch Dressing mix
1 cup mayo
1 cup milk
1 tbsp cracked fresh peppercorns
1/4 c grated parmesan cheese

Make dressing according to package directions. Add in peppercorns and parmesan. Chill and serve over veggies. (And save it... makes quite a bit!)

For the Chocolate~Banana Crepe Cake:
1 cup all purpose flour
1 cup milk
1/2 cup lukewarm water
4 large eggs
1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter, melted
1/8 tsp salt
3 tbsp sugar
3 bananas, sliced thinly
For Chocolate Ganache:
1/4 c cocoa powder
1/4 c sugar
1/4 milk

Combine flour, milk, water, eggs, butter, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Cover and let sit 30 minutes or chill for up to 2 days. 
Place small to medium skillet, or crepe pan over medium heat; add 1/2 tsp butter. When butter begins to turn color, slowly pour 1/4 c batter into pan, covering the bottom with a thin layer of batter. Tilt and rotate pan to coat evenly. Cook until crepe bubbles and the bottom is lightly brown. Remove from heat source (Don't turn off heat!) Flip crepe over with a spatula or with your fingers. Cook second side until browned, but not evenly. Place crepe on a plate. Place 3-4 banana slices on top of crepe. Repeat process, layering crepes and bananas until cake is 4-6 inches high. 
When crepes are done, make Chocolate Ganache Sauce. In a small pot, combine sugar and cocoa powder. Heat pan over med hi heat and slowly add milk, stirring. Continue to add milk and stir until sugar has dissolved and mixture has formed a smooth consistency. Pour evenly over crepe and bananas, allowing chocolate to drip over edges. Eat and swoon. 

Monday, January 3, 2011

New Read: Style & Substance

Style and Substance: The Best of Elle Decor

I've been pouring over the pages of Elle Decor's hardbound and hard-to-beat book: Style and Substance.

The pages are filled with decor eye candy. According to the description on Amazon, it's a "lush compendium of inspiring spaces." I don't think I've ever used the word compendium in a sentence, but I concur!

Menu for the Week

Monday~ Smoked Pork Sandwiches topped with Emeril's Kicked Up Cole Slaw, Fruit Salad
Tuesday~ A Surprise Dinner for the Birthday Hubby!
Wednesday~ White Bean and Tuscan Kale Soup with Chestnuts
Thursday~ Capellini with Meatballs, Salad
Friday~ Hudson's On The Bend! (Our first time!)

Saturday, January 1, 2011


Hope it's off to a wonderful beginning!

We shared the first morning of 2011 with family and the playgroup. The menu ran the gamut of savory and sweet... Here are the recipes!

Two Paula Deen recipes for a rather over-indulgent beginning to the year:
Canned Biscuit Dough Donuts- These are SO simple, inexpensive, delicious, and FUN!
French Toast Casserole- Um, yum!

And my Baked Eggs and Asparagus, and Black-Eyed Peas with Collard Greens:

Baked Eggs and Asparagus
(15-20 servings)
1 small onion, chopped
2 tbsp olive oil

2 bunches of pencil-thin asparagus, trimmed and cut into 2 inch pieces
1 small onion, chopped

20 eggs
1/2 c milk
kosher salt and black pepper
8 slices swiss cheese, torn 
1/2 cup monterrey jack cheese
1/4 cup fresh grated parmesan for topping

PH oven to 350. In a large skillet, heat oil over medium. Add onion and cook until just softened. Add asparagus, cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until vegetables are al dente, 5-7 minutes. Spread cooked vegetables evenly in a large baking dish (or two, if needed.) Sprinkle with monterrey jack cheese. 
In a large bowl, combine eggs, milk, and a dash salt and pepper with a whisk until frothy. Pour egg mixture over vegetable mixture. Distribute torn pieces of swiss cheese on top of eggs. Bake 15-20 minutes, or until top is golden brown. Remove from oven and grate fresh parmesan on top of eggs. 
Cut into squares for easy serving.

Black-Eyed Peas with Collard Greens
3 (~16 oz) bags fresh black-eyed peas
3 slices thick bacon, uncooked, cut into 1/2 inch pieces
1 bay leaf
1 small onion, chopped
1 small carrot, peeled
1 small celery stalk
2 cups chicken stock
4 cups water  (more/less to cover veggies)
2 cups chopped, trimmed collard greens (not stalks)
salt and pepper to taste

Place first seven ingredients (through chicken stock) in a large stockpot. Add water to cover vegetables. Bring to a boil over high heat, then cover and reduce to a simmer. Cook 45 minutes to an hour, or until peas are tender. Add collard greens, cover and cook 10-15 minutes more, until greens are wilted. Season to taste with salt and pepper. Eat and enjoy good luck for the year to come!

Don't forget the drinks!

Bloody Mary Bar
Zing Zang Bloody Mary Mix (Spicy V8 works well too!)
Hot Sauce
Black Pepper
Celery Salt
Jalapeno Stuffed Olives
Celery Stalks
Worcestershire Sauce

Simple Mimosas
Pulp-Free OJ
Whatever champagne is left over from the night before!

May 2011 bring you good luck, good health, and good gatherings!