Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Un-Leashed


Having our happy little puppy has been one of the most wonderful things!  Having all of the mess that comes with a puppy has been... a little less wonderful.  One of the worst offenders is the small table in our kitchen:


With the food, the treats, the puppy pills, the plants, and the leashes the table was just overrun and completely useless for any kitchen prep work.  I decided that some of the clutter had to be organized, so I bought a wall hook from Home Depot and installed it near our back door as a leash hanger.

Be sure to use the leashes (or whatnot) on the hanger to help place the hanger before you screw it in
Now our leashes are now in one handy, organized spot for quick access on our way out the door, and the table is much much clearer.

 And it's ready to use for some tasty recipes :)  Hopefully the first in many organization projects!

Friday, May 25, 2012

Apple Salad

If you couldn't tell from my last couple of posts, warm weather makes me want to eat a bunch of salads.  Fruit salads, savory salads, and salads that blend the two together like this one.

For two servings, you will need:
  • 3 gala apples, chopped into cubes
  • 2 stalks of celery, thinly sliced
  • 2 ounces crumbled blue cheese
  • 2 tablespoons of walnut pieces
  • 2 tablespoons of dried cranberries
  • Red wine vinaigrette
Simply toss the ingredients together and drizzle with dressing.  It's a very refreshing salad with the perfect blend of sweet and savory.  Enjoy!  And have a great holiday weekend :)

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Stone Fruit Salad


This is a delicious and refreshing fruit salad that would be perfect for dessert, paired with ice cream, or as a side.  I paired it with this healthy version of french toast for a delicious breakfast.

You will need:
  • A pint of blackberries
  • 2 white nectarines
  • 1 yellow peach
  • 4-5 mint leaves, chopped finely
Just add the blackberries to a bowl, chop and add the stone fruit, add the mint, and toss.  You can of course use any stone fruit you want, and you can either serve it immediately, or let the salad sit in the fridge for an hour for a mintier salad.


Monday, May 21, 2012

Summer Salad with Artichoke Hearts


This is such a delicious salad!!  In fact, it was so good, I made it again and I'm eating it right now :)

For one salad, you will need:
  • 3-4 romaine leaves, rinsed and torn
  • 5-6 grape tomatoes, halved
  • 3 romaine hearts, halved
  • 5-6 asparagus stalks, blanched and chopped
  • 1/3 cup cannellini beans (or great white beans)
  • Red wine vinagrette
Blanching asparagus is such a tasty way to prepare it.  The color is great, it's crisp, and it's cold so it is perfect for salads in the summer time.  Bring a pot of water to boil and have a large bowl of ice water set aside.  Once the water is boiling, add the asparagus (with the ends trimmed) and let boil for 3-5 minutes.

Remove them from the water with tongs and submerge in the ice bath.  Let sit until cool.  

Then, chop the asparagus and add it to your salad!

What I love about this salad is that there are lots of great flavors and the protein from the beans makes it nice and filling.  To make the salad even better, you can add some crumbled feta.  Cheese makes everything better, right? 

Friday, May 18, 2012

Copycat Parisian Sandwich


While I was in D.C., we went to Brown Bag and had the Parisian sandwich.  It's an amazing panini style sandwich with tomatoes, basil, brie, and olive oil.  As soon as I tasted it, I knew that I had to make it when I got home!  Unfortunately, I don't have a panini press.  Instead, I made this sandwich using the broiler setting of our oven.

Per sandwich, you will need:
  • 1/2 French baguette
  • 2-3 slices of tomato
  • several leaves of basil
  • 3-4 slices of brie
  • a drizzle of olive oil
Preheat your oven to broil.  Then, simply cut the baguette down the middle to open it up.  Then, drizzle the olive oil on both sides of the bread.  Layer the tomatoes and basil on one side and the brie on the opposite side.  Then, simply pop in your oven until the cheese is melty (about 5-6 minutes).

We made one with provolone, too- you could use any cheese you want!

Once it's melty, just fold the sides back together, let cool a bit, and dive in!

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

D.C. Cupcakes


I made a trip out to Washington, D.C. this past weekend to visit my friend (and bridesmaid), Kim and her husband.  One of the highlights was getting to have cupcakes from Georgetown Cupcake.  Word to the wise: order in advance.  It was so slick to be able to walk in, wait mere minutes, and take our cupcakes out the door. 
Chocolate Ganache
Chocolate Coconut
PB Fudge
Red Velvet
Lava Fudge
German Chocolate Fudge

I was so impressed with Georgetown Cupcake!  Not only were the cupcakes delicious, but I watched them packing up the cupcakes for other orders.  One cupcake was dropped on the counter and got a little smush on the side of the frosting.  Instead of sticking it in the box with a minor smudge, the woman got a new cupcake so that the whole box would be perfect.  How sweet!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Wine Country Food


The final installation of my honeymoon posts: food!  While John and I were in the area, we had the pleasure of visiting the Mayo Family Winery.  It was such a wonderful experience.  They have a tasting room and, at a separate location, a reserve room.  We did a tasting at the tasting room (obviously) and then moved onto the reserve room for a seven course tasting menu paired with their wines.  It was amazing!

Fragrant fish mousse, cucumber salad, and banana leaf pair with a pinot gris
Crisply fried chicken with tahini dipping sauce paired with a chardonnay
Miso braised pork belly paired with Reserve Barbera
New York strip satay paired with a zinfandel
Chicken and beef meatballs with jasmine rice paired with a meritage
Lamb shank stew paired with a cabernet sauvignon
Pineapple brulee and ginger custard paired with a late harvest gewurztraminer
It was AMAZING!  John and I actually joined their wine club and are eagerly awaiting our first shipment.  A big thank you to the Mayo family for giving us a wonderful experience!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Zip Lining!


One of the best parts of our trip was our zip lining excursion.  It was terrifying, thrilling, and SO much fun!
I was a little scared at first; I hugged that tree pretty tight :)

My first blog video!  Watch me zip down the longest line on the course- it was so cool!  The length of the line let me look around and enjoy the scenery.  The redwood trees are so amazing!

video
The only way to end the trip was to belay down from the last platform. 

Seriously, if you EVER have a chance to zip line anywhere, DO IT!  It was by far and away the most amazing adventure on our honeymoon. :)

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Hot Air Ballooning!


Another honeymoon adventure that John and I did was going on a hot air balloon ride.  If I had a bucket list, riding in a hot air would be on it.  It's out of my comfort zone for sure, and I'm really happy we did it.
It started at sunrise!  There were beautiful mists all around- it was a perfect way to begin the ride
We're so high up!  I was a little uncomfortable with the heights, just that numb feeling in your feet sort of thing, but the views were unbelievable
We had company :)  There's two major hot air balloon companies in Santa Rosa.  I'm happy to report that we got the longer ride!
Our reflection!  I had to have John take this picture- I was too nervous to look straight down!
 

They typically include a champagne brunch at the end of the flight.  Sadly, ours had to be canceled, but John and I just added champagne to our hotel breakfast!

Can you imagine what it would be like in autumn?  Gorgeous! 

Monday, May 7, 2012

Russian River Valley Bike Ride


John and I got back from our honeymoon yesterday, and it was fabulous!  This week, I want to share some of our highlights, starting with a bike tour along Russian River Valley.





It was beautiful!  If you find yourself in the area,  I would highly recommend this experience! 
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