Monday, February 28, 2011

Oscar Fashion

What did you all think of the Oscars?

I thought that Kirk Douglas was so cute.
As far as Oscar dresses....my favorites were:
Hailee SteinfeldSource

How age appropriate and fresh was this sweet dress? I thought that she looked darling.

Natalie Portman


Source
Natalie Portman did not disappoint...she looked positively glowing.

Gwyneth PaltrowSource

Gwyneth is always amazing and I loved her Calvin Klein ensemble. Her makeup was also amazing.

I did not like Nicole Kidman's dress. Something about the fans sticking out of the sides? Weird.

What were your favorites?

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Oscars

Source
I am so excited for the Oscars this year....mostly because I hope The King's Speech wins everything. I thought that Colin Firth was wonderful, and I also thought that Geoffrey Rush did a great job (remember him as Javert in Les Miserables?). Considering that I have only seen it and Winter's Bone for the category of Best Picture, I hope King's Speech wins. I've heard others rave about Winter's Bone, but I just can't get on the bandwagon.

Half the fun is looking at the dresses the stars wear to the event. Personally, I think that Natalie Portman looks adorable pregnant, so I can't wait to see what she wears.

Any favorites this year?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Fun Thing Friday: Warning

A warning to all:

When you baby-sit small children, the strangest things may happen. You may find your old beanie babies re-discovered and put to good use:
You also may find your dog dressed for the office and ready to go to his 9 to 5 job:
Have a great weekend, everybody!

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Spring Cleaning

Lately I have been thinking a lot about spring cleaning. (Note: I have been thinking, not doing.)

I decided to make a list of all of the items I want to accomplish while I am spring cleaning our house because it would make the task seem a bit less daunting. To the contrary, I am now overwhelmed.

Do you do any spring cleaning? How do you organize your time?

Also, I would like to give a little shout out to my brother Ryan, who is celebrating his birthday today! Happy Birthday, Ryan!

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Lentil Soup

Last week, when the weather was so cold, I decided to try to make lentils. Lentils are a dish that I rarely think about making but last week they tasted soo delicious. I thought I would share my very simple recipe!

Lentil Soup
- one bag dried lentils
- four carrots, diced
- four stalks celery, diced
- one onion, diced
- 4-6 cups chicken broth
- olive oil
- salt and pepper to taste
- one teaspoon thyme
- red wine vinegar

First, put the lentils into a strainer and rinse them, picking out all of the discolored pieces.

Heat three tablespoons of olive oil on medium heat. Add the onion, carrots, and celery. Saute until the onion is clear. Add the lentils. Finally, add four cups of chicken broth.

Bring the mixture to a boil. Add more chicken broth as needed (the lentils will sock up the broth). Add thyme and season to taste. After the lentils have boiled, cook on medium for 45 minutes, adding more broth as needed. At the end of the cooking process, dash some red wine vinegar onto the lentils.

When serving, serve with Louisiana hot sauce and crusty bread.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Homemade Pizza Rolls

The last time our nephew Noah came over for baby-sitting he requested pizza rolls for dinner. This is not because he is regularly exposed to pizza rolls at home--believe me. Rather, he was given pizza rolls at our house by his baby-sitters (ahem, with a side of delicious Kraft mac and cheese). I am pretty sure that his mother does not let frozen pizza rolls near her house. I got to thinking, though...is there a happy medium? Why can't we all enjoy pizza rolls without feeling the guilt that comes with eating the processed/frozen version? Enter these homemade pizza rolls.

I am giving you my recipe, but please keep in mind that you do not need to follow this recipe exactly.

Homemade Pizza Rolls
First of all, prep this pizza crust.

Filling:
- 1 cup pepperoni
- 1 cup mushrooms
- two tomatoes
- one half an onion
- olive oil
- basil, salt, and pepper to taste
- a dash of sugar

Slice the tomatoes. Brush with olive oil and roast in your oven at 350 degrees for appx. 15 minutes.

Meanwhile, put the pepperoni, mushrooms, onion, and 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a food processor. Mix well until all items are chopped finely. When the tomatoes are finished, add them to the mix. Season to taste.

Roll out the pizza dough after it is finished rising in a thin layer (I would guess 1/8 inch thick). With a pizza cutter, cut into a rectangle. Place a small amount of your pizza mixture onto one side of the rectangle. Fold over the dough and crimp shut with your fingers.

Bake on well-greased baking pans at 400 degrees for 25 minutes (I would watch this....really, my oven cooks pretty quickly so you will want to be sure yours is cooked).

Friday, February 18, 2011

Room 39


We went to Room 39 to celebrate Valentine's Day. One word: amazing. I absolutely loved the food.

Can I just say something before I talk about the food, though? The staff at the Midtown location was amazing (BTW---I had to check the grammar on that. Did you know about collective nouns?). The bartender lady was SO friendly and smiled so much that it made me happy. Then, our waiter was soft-spoken and so kind. He recommended excellent food and asked the chef to make our appetizer in a special way that I prefer. Not once did he give me the, "What do you MEAN you don't like...." I loved it.

Anyway, back to the food. So the waiter recommended the short rib ravioli. They were simply...divine. So tasteful and delicious. The insides of these things were stuffed full of fresh meat and the pasta itself was fabulous.

For my entree, I chose the pork chop, which was also delicious. The meat was cooked perfectly and so flavorful. The dish came with chopped cabbage salad and mashed parsnips. I do not get into mashed food, so I swapped my parsnips with my husband's cauliflower. He had the duck with vegetables and grape garnish. We were both very satisfied at the end.

We wanted to try dessert, but, alas, we did not have any room.

The midtown location was so intimate and fun. Have you ever tried Room 39?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Chocolate Ale

Last week a friend and I had lunch on Saturday. During lunch she mentioned the Boulevard Chocolate Ale. I had never heard of this before, so I was intrigued. She thought that it was pretty hard to find, so we decided to head to the brewery to check the status of the chocolate ale.

The people at the brewery said that they did not have it. They also said that our best bet for finding the Ale was to ask people from out of town to check in their liquor stores---their suggestion was to look in Omaha! Finally, they gave us a few hints as to where to find it on draft in a bar.

We stopped in a liquor store and asked for the Chocolate Ale. The check-out lady laughed at us and said, "Um, we are out of THAT." Okay. We go to a corner grocery store..."No way. We've had so many people coming in here to look, though." Finally, we went to a wine shop and they also did not have it! We decided that by this time we HAD to try it, so we called some family and asked them to check in local liquor stores. Again, nothing. Finally, we decided to call bars and ask if it was on draft. We called one and they had sold out of the stuff in about one night. Finally, we hit the jackpot!

Let me tell you, this was amazing. It tasted like chocolate in my mouth. In case you did not know, a local chocolate maker named Christopher Elbow teamed up with Boulevard to develop this delicious ale. Apparently Boulevard is making this an annual tradition, so hopefully we can partake again next year!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Cool song

Song I've been loving:


(P.S. I love Eddie Vedder. His entire Into the Wild soundtrack is amazing.)

Roasted Vegetable Dip

David bought me The Barefoot Contessa Cookbook for Valentine's day and the first recipe I had to try was a Roasted Vegetable Dip. It looked soooo good in the book and it did not disappoint. To give you an idea, David and I consumed it ALL in one setting along with an entire bag of pita chips. Bad, bad, bad. But soooo good.

If you want to try the recipe, here it is. I did not add garlic and I added more eggplant. So very tasty.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Mocha Silk Pie

On Sunday I decided to make a chocolate pie for our Valentine's Day treat. Pioneer Woman's recipe looked divine so I began with that.
After looking at the recipe, however, I realized that I did not have pecans at home, so instead I used chocolate animal crackers and butter for the crust. Also, I did not use any alcohol in the pie and I only added three eggs at the end.

The verdict? Everybody seems to love it, although I have to say that I think you could cut the butter to one stick for the filling.

Did you make any decadent desserts for Valentine's day?

Monday, February 14, 2011

Valentine's Day


I found this on my grocery list yesterday.

Happy Valentine's day to you and yours. Here is to the little things that make your Valentine special.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Cooooold Orzo

Yet again, we had an incident with the very, very spoiled Shih Tzu who lives at our house. I let him out the door, walk away, look down the steps, and realize that he is again sitting in the snow, as if to say, "I give up. It is tooooooo cold."
Well, Paco, for once I have to agree with you. Negative degree temperatures make for no morning walks for me. I am counting down the days until the promised fifty degree weather, car washes, and perhaps car windows rolled down. Until then, I am making food that makes me feel better about the cold weather...


I must apologize for the horrible picture.

I started with Ina Garten's Orzo with Roasted Vegetables recipe. Ina never disappoints. I did modify my recipe a bit, so I will share it with you here:

- one eggplant
- one cup cherry tomatoes
- 1/2 onion
- 2-3 tablespoons olive oil
- 2 cups orzo
- 1/3 cup lemon juice (fresh)
- 1/3 cup olive oil
- 2 tablespoons chicken broth
- salt and pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Dice the eggplant and onion into bite-sized pieces. Place them, along with the tomatoes, on a baking pan and coat in olive oil. Roast until soft, appx. 30-45 minutes.

Meanwhile, make the orzo according to package directions. Drain and place into a bowl.

Mix the lemon juice, olive oil, and chicken broth in a bowl. Whisk until well mixed. Salt and pepper your dressing to your taste.

When the vegetables are finished, mix them and the dressing with the orzo. Serve hot or cold, depending on your preference.

Have a great Thursday!

Wednesday, February 09, 2011

Somehow, we have more snow. I can't believe it, either. This is definitely the most snow-filled winter in my memory. I love winter---feeling cozy and warm is really nice. However, I do not like surprise snows. The frankly, sometimes the heavy food can get...well, heavy.

Lately I have been making some summery food to battle the winter heavy food boredom.

BLT Salad

- Romaine lettuce
- tomatoes
- bacon
- olive oil
- red wine vinegar
- salt
- pepper
- sugar

This tastes just like a BLT sandwich. Maybe adding some toasted bread chunks would be a good idea...

I love grapefruit in the winter, but I add all of this, completely making the entire idea unhealthy...
What food do you make to battle the winter blues?

Tuesday, February 08, 2011

Snow Day Chocolate Chip Pumpkin Pancakes

Last week we had a ton of snow---almost 11 inches! David and I had the luxury of staying home together two of the days. Because of that, I decided to get up early and make a delicious breakfast. I found this recipe for Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes but since I did not have all of the ingredients, I modified it just a bit.
Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Pancakes
- 2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon baking powder
- 2 eggs
- 1 tsp kosher salt
- 2 cups skim milk
- 1/3 cup vegetable oil
- 2/3 cup pumpkin pie filling
- semi-sweet chocolate chips to taste

Mix the eggs, salt, milk, and oil. Add the dry ingredients while mixing. Add the pumpkin pie filling and mix well. Mix the chocolate chips at the end.

Cook at 350 degrees on your pancake griddle (note: mine took a bit longer to cook than pre-mixed pancake mix).

Monday, February 07, 2011

Cute



This was my favorite ad last night. What was yours?

Thursday, February 03, 2011

Cooolllldd

We had a winter storm here this week. On Monday everybody was terrified that things would freeze over, and then on Tuesday the snow began. I think that I witnessed my first whiteout on Tuesday afternoon at around 3 p.m. The snow got so bad that the major interstate here was closed for a night!

I thought of Laura Ingalls Wilder in The Long Winter when I could no longer open my back door because of the snow.

Eventually, poor Paco just refused to go very far to potty because he was so cold from the snow reaching his torso:
This morning the poor doggie floundered around in the snow so badly that he just gave up. He laid down in the snow as if to say, "I just can't go on!" The temperature is -2 degrees here, and he is still shivering as he sits next to me on the sofa. Poor little pup!

How were things where you lived?

Tuesday, February 01, 2011

Measurements

2 p.m.: 7 inches of snow

4 p.m.: 9 inches of snow

8 p.m.: 10.5 inches of snow, 18 inch drift into our driveway

Pretty crazy.

You know it is bad...

when your TV station says this:

Movie Recommendations

Source
David and I love watching movies. Recently we went to see The King's Speech and I have to say that it was the best movie I have seen in a while. The movie was funny, endearing, and a good story. Colin Firth did a phenomenal job as the King. I highly recommend it and hope you have time to see it before it (hopefully) wins many Academy Awards!



Source
We rented Winter's Bone this weekend. This movie follows a girl living in the Ozarks who is strapped with the responsibility of raising her two siblings and taking care of her mother. I have heard people praise the movie for its candid look into rural, poverty-stricken Missouri. The movie was not very shocking to me, though, because I grew up in rural Missouri. Overall, the movie was good and I enjoyed it, although it is sad.

Source
I did not finish watching Babies all the way through yet, but so far it has been fun. The documentary follows four babies around the world from the time of their birth until around the age of one or two. The movie is so fun as it plays with the juxtaposition of the babies' lives. One memorable scene showed the California mother asking her doctor about SIDS, the flu, proper growing, and nutrition. The camera then cut to the Namibian mother who nursed her baby while cooking a meal on the ground, surrounded by flies. Babies is irresistible because of these contrasts.

Source

I did not expect When in Rome to be any good whatsoever, but I watched it one Friday while I was getting ready for the evening. The movie ended up being kind of cute and if you are in the mood for a goofy romantic comedy, I recommend it.
Source
Finally, we watched New in Town a few weeks ago. Again, this is a silly romantic comedy worth watching if you want to see a light movie with a few funny parts.

What movies have you seen recently?