Monday, May 31, 2010

23. Smoked Salmon & Cream Cheese Omelette

I don't know how many times I've made this omelette since Mother's Day. It was the second part to our brunch that day, and it was incredible.

Not only is it incredible, but it's easy. I love eggs. I love smoked salmon. And I especially love cream cheese. Too bad I'm allergic to cream cheese. Lame, I know.

The most surprising part of the whole recipe was finding that I loved it after making it dairy free. We used soy milk instead of cream and tofu cream cheese instead of real cream cheese. My milk friendly family memebers even liked it, but I don't know if we told them before or after they ate it. Sneaky, I know.

Fun Fact of the Day (have I mentioned this before?): I'm allergic to dairy. Not lactose intolerant, just allergic. To what we believe after 20+ years of confusion to be a protein called casein. I've tried a whey protein on it's own with no problems, but anything with casein gives me a headache, sore throat and makes me super congested. It's only continued to get worse as I've gotten older, like an instant headache even from butter, as to when I was younger things like butter and cheese had no effect. Milk (which I think tastes horrible), yogurt, ice cream, cream cheese and sour cream have always been terrible. If I over indulge, I should always expect a terrible cold, strep throat or a sinus infection. Lame.

I found this recipe after we started watching the Food Network religiously after work every morning. Tyler's Ultimate is my new favorite show. I thought he was weird at first, but he won me over with his amazing food and amazing kitchen. Who wouldn't want that awesomely green tiled kitchen?

All you need are a few eggs, cream, cream cheese, smoked salmon, green onions, salt & pepper. Most people probably already have these on hand, except maybe smoked salmon. That probably makes me weird.

This recipe is a test of patience. You have to cook the eggs slow and steady to avoid any browning. You want it cooked, but not brown. Have you ever noticed that when eggs end up with the tiniest bit of brown, they taste weird? Almost burnt? Maybe I'm just sensitive to burnt food. Yeah, I'm probably weird.

8 eggs
1/4 cup heavy cream
2 tablespoon unsalted butter
1/3 pound smoked salmon, torn into large piece
1 cup cream cheese, room temperature
4 green onions, finely chopped, garnish
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper


Whisk eggs and heavy cream together in a large mixing bowl.

Take a large nonstick pan and set over medium heat. When the pan is heated add the butter and spread out evenly over the surface of the pan. Once it starts to foam turn the heat down and add eggs. Using a spatula swirl the eggs quickly in a circular motion as you gently shake the pan back and forth to cook evenly, you don't want any color.

Once the eggs begin to set, drop the pieces of salmon, small spoonfuls of cream cheese, and green onions over the top. Season with salt and pepper, then as you slide it out onto your cutting board, roll 1 side over the top as you go to form an omelette.

Slice crosswise into portions and serve.

Happy cooking everyone!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

hello sunshine!

Or if we're getting technical here, hello grey sky.

Hey! It's my weekend! It actually started yesterday when I got off work at 7:00am. It was raining, like I mentioned, so I decided to get some sleep with my husband until he got up for work. Then when he left, I went back to sleep until 3:30am. Good news: I've finally caught up on sleep. Bad news: I've gotten myself off on a really crappy schedule for the weekend. Who wants to be ready for bed at 3:30 in the afternoon?

I'll have to get over it. This Memorial Day weekend we actually have plans! I'm excited to be heading out of town later this morning to a friend's house. He's taking us to to the horse races at the Emerald Downs. I've never been, but I'm excited.

He's also husband's BFF, and the driving force for the purchase of our Traeger barbecue. He's going to also make us dinner tonight. Man, he's a good cook and I always feel so spoiled when we head to his place for dinner. He goes all out for us, just like I do for him when he comes to spend the weekend with us.

But hey, the rain is gone! I'm heading out for a run today and I'm excited like it's Christmas morning or something. It's bright and cool this morning, with patches of blue sky. I'm definitely looking forward to a run.

It's a new week and I'm starting my 4th week of training. I'm 6 weeks out from my half. This week is run heavy, but I know I can handle it. There is less room for adjustment because I have less days off. Next week is my recovery week with 3 easy runs and a 5k race, so I'm not too worried.

Here's this weeks schedule:

Sunday: Easy Run - 3 miles
Monday: Easy Run - 2 miles
Tuesday: Long Run - 8 miles
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Speed Run - warm up, 3x1600 with 800 jogs, cool down - 5 miles
Friday: Easy Run - 2 miles
Saturday: Tempo Run - warm up, 4 miles @ 12:00 pace, cool down - 6 miles

Have a fun & safe Memorial Day and happy running!

Saturday, May 29, 2010

And for today, more rain.


This rain is rudely interrupting my running schedule. We're on day two of an almost constant downpour. The rain let up yesterday for a bit around 6:00 and then started back in full force. I haven't seen rain like this in Washington in a while.

What I appreciate about my running schedule is that it's precisely planned out, but there is room to adjust should something come up. I already rearranged my schedule this last week (hence why my 7 miles fell on Thursday rather than Tuesday) because of overtime at work.

It's really hard to run 7 miles after you've just worked 12 hours over night, for the 5th night in a row, after only 4 hours of sleep because I didn't get the call until I had already chosen to not go straight to bed when my weekend started. But I'm not complaining, it makes for a good paycheck.

But it's still raining. And this is the last day of my week and I need to get in my 5 miles today. If I don't, I'll feel like a failure on week 3. I'll have missed a day, and that just doesn't work for me. So I guess my only option is to hope it clears up by this evening. If it doesn't, I'll be one very wet runner. 

Friday, May 28, 2010

22. Stuffed French Toast

On Mother's Day I treated my mom to a few new recipes for brunch. One element of brunch included stuffed french toast. It was ah-maaa-zing! The best part is that it was super easy.

A loaf of french bread, some cream cheese & strawberries. A few tablespoons of strawberry preserves. An egg bath with a little milk & cinnamon. You've got stuffed french toast!

You honestly don't need anymore than one slice, unless you're really hungry. But it's perfect topped with strawberries and powdered sugar. I was told plain old maple syrup wasn't bad either.

Here's the original recipe, taken from Tasty Kitchen. Make it! It's the perfect spring breakfast on a lazy weekend.

Stuffed French Toast

1 loaf french bread
3tbsp fruit preserves
4oz cream cheese
2 eggs
1tbsp ground cinnamon
1/2 cup skim milk
2tbsp butter

Heat skillet or electric griddle to 325 to 350 degrees.

Cut french bread into 2-3 inch wide slices. Then, with a paring knife, go back and cut halfway into each slice, in the center, creating a ‘pocket’ that your fruit mixture can be stuffed into.

In a bowl, place the room temperature cream cheese and three tablespoons of fruit spread of your choice. (I used all organic blueberry spread in the picture.) Combine well.

In a separate bowl, break 2 eggs; add cinnamon and milk and combine well.

Now, take fruit mixture and stuff into the ‘pockets’ of your french bread slices. Place on a baking sheet.

When done stuffing each piece of bread, completely coat each piece in egg mixture. Make sure all sides are covered. Do all pieces before starting to fry.

Put 2 tbsp (you can use less!) of butter into a hot skillet and melt completely. Add all of the bread to the skillet and cook roughly about 3-6 minutes on each side, until it reaches a nice golden brown. You want to make sure the cream cheese mixture heats through.

When done cooking, serve immediately with butter and syrup.

Thursday, May 27, 2010






You'd think I'd have no problem with any of these things after choosing a half marathon. That's what I thought too. Until I'm anticipating the next long run that will set my record for my longest workout to date. Until I'm facing (what appears to be) a huge hill. Until I hear that I've only made it one mile and I have more to run ahead than I've already completed.

This has been a huge test of independence for me. When I started running last year I didn't go unless my husband went with me. That poor, sweet man of mine. I didn't realize how much I tortured him. With all of my whining, complaining, crying. And most of all, just being flat out slow! He's not a long distance runner anymore, but he was at in his younger years. He's fast, much faster than I.

Today was my longest workout to date. I finished 7 miles in 1:09:41, with a pace of 9:56. Huge improvement for me. The best part of it all was that I didn't walk one bit of it. Either run it, or don't.

Here's what did happen:

1. At mile 2, I had to tinkle. Again. Even though I made my way in to the bushes, I'm pretty sure that at certain vantage points along the higway someone saw me with my pants down. Wouldn't be the first time, we were all 21 once. Right? Maybe that was just me.

2. At mile 3, I realized I hadn't situated my undies quite right after my pit stop. I'm pretty sure that at certain vantage points along the highway someone saw me readjusting my undies for running comfort. This was done while running.

3. At mile 4.85, I had a stretch break. This was only because I hit an intersection on the highway that had an actual light and I was required to wait for the cross walk. Lame. Benefit, my legs did feel refreshed.

Regardless of all of my anxiety and worry, the thoughts that I might not want to go for my run, I absolutely love it when I'm out and about. I didn't feel done at 7, but I'm trying to stick to my program the best I can so I don't get burnt out. I'm almost through the hardest part, the first three weeks of making this a habit. I'm thankful for the cool and cloudy weather, and the beautiful ocean breeze today. Made for the perfect run and now it's going to make for perfect sleeping weather. Work has claimed me tonight.

Hope everyone has a wonderful day!

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Lovely Lunartrainers

I thought it was about time I invested in a new pair of running shoes. I've had my beloved New Balance for well over a year now. Since I've started training for my half, I've noticed on my longer runs that I'm lacking the spring and padding they used to have.

We headed to the Nike outlet last week to take a look around for new running shoes. I wanted once that were compatible with my Nike+ Sensor. After trying on 7 or 8 pairs of shoes, I found my true love.

The Nike Lunartrainer. They're blindingly white at this point. I'll have them all broken in by race day and I hope to dirty them up by then. I want to look like I'm actually running in them, you know?

Though they're lower on the ankle than my last pair, they have great support in the heel. The padding is ample with lots of spring. I immediately noticed a difference in my pace the first time I wore them.

They're ultra light, weighing in at about 8oz each. They have great breathable mesh on top with a snug fit, but still feel like they have a roomy toe box. I felt like they ran pretty true to size.

Nike+ Sensor ready.

Fits right under the insole of the left shoe.

This iPod Nano was the best Christmas present I ever bought my husband! It was actually bought to go in to his patrol car as it has a USB port. I figured it would be nice for him to have his music collection with him. He uses it a little less now that his satellite radio has been put back in (new car). It's a friendly running companion for me though.

I'm feeling fast already!

I'm in the middle of my third week of training, and here's this weeks schedule:

Sunday: Easy Run - 3 miles
Monday: Off
Tuesday: Long Run - 7 miles
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: Easy Run - 2 miles
Friday: Off
Saturday: Tempo Run - 5 miles

Happy running!

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

21. Enchiladas Verdes con Pollo

I feel like I fell of the face of the planet. How many days have I been missing? I've had crazy writers block when trying to put this recipe post together. Kate, I'm sorry I've held out on you for so long. Please forgive me!

I'm pretty particular about my Mexican food. This recipe is my own, and it's given me a reason to stay at home, yet again. It's getting harder and harder to go out to eat when we make it so much better at home.

This recipe has three parts to it if you so choose. The marinade, the tortillas and the rest. Each party is pretty simple. The marinade is simply tomatoes, lime juice, salt & water blended in a food processor or blender. It's thrown in to a ziplock back with the chicken and put in the fridge for 6 hours. Over night if you so choose, or if your plans get canceled, then the freezer. When you're done marinading, just drain the chicken and you're ready to start on the "rest" part.

The "rest" is a diced onion, diced jalepeno, diced green onions and the marinated chicken. The topping includes half of the diced green onions, cilantro, verde sauce & monterrey jack cheese. The chicken is thrown in to a pan over medium heat to brown. About 5 minutes on each side. Remove the chicken from the pan, add the diced onion, jalepeno and half of the green onions to cook while shredding the chicken. Add the chicken back in and start on your tortillas. If you so choose to not make homemade tortillas, just use store bought and you can skip to the assembly part.

When it comes to the tortillas, you'll need 12 either way. Whether you make them or just use premade. Set up your assembly line including your pan sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, your meat mixture and tortillas. Fill your tortillas, roll and place in the pan. I found that the homemade tortillas rolled a lot easier than premade. In other recipes I've had to heat the tortillas in a little canola oil for about 30 seconds each to soften them up to avoid splitting. In the spirit of trying to keep this moderately healthy at the same time, I avoided this step and had pretty good luck.

When your 12 adorable enchiladas are rolled and put to bed in their pan, top with a can of green enchilada sauce and monterray jack cheese. It's ready to go in to the oven at 350 degrees for 25-30 minutes or until the cheese is lightly brown and bubbly.

When it comes out of the oven, top with chopped cilantro and the other half of the diced green onions. You're ready to serve! I served it with my easy "refried" bean recipe. Delicious and impressive if you ask me.

Beautiful! Enjoy!

Enchiladas Verdes con Pollo

3 tomatoes
1/3 cup lime juice
1 tsp salt
1 cup water

2lbs chicken thighs or breasts
1 onion
1 jalepeno
1 bunch green onions
1 bundle cilantro
1 can verde enchilada sauce
12 homemade or corn tortillas
Monterrey jack cheese

In a blender or food processor, blend 3 diced tomatoes, 1/3 cup lime juice (about 2 limes), 1 tsp salt & 1 cup water. Place in a ziplock bag & add chicken. Seal the bag, pressing the air out. Toss to coat and place in the fridge for 6 hours or over night.

Drain the chicken and place in a pan heated over medium heat. Cook for about 5 minutes on each side to brown. Remove the chicken and set aside. Add 1 diced onion, 1 diced jalepeno (remove seeds and membranes if you'd like to tame down the heat), and a half bunch of diced green onions to the pan. Allow to cook while shredding the chicken. When the chicken is shredded, add back to the pan and allow to cook for an additional 5 minutes.

If you choose homemade tortillas, prepare them now. You can find the recipe here.

Set up your assembly area. You'll need a 9x13 baking dish, sprayed with non-stick cooking spray, 12 tortillas, the meat mixture and 1 can of verde enchilada sauce. Fill each tortilla with the meat mixture, roll and place in the pan. When all 12 enchiladas are rolled, top with the verde sauce & monterrey jack cheese.

Place in the oven at 350 degrees and cook for 25-30 minutes, or until cheese is lightly brown and bubbly. Remove from the oven and top with chopped cilantro and half a bunch of diced green onions. You're ready to serve!

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

9 weeks. And I'm getting nervous.

A week and a half ago I finally decided to commit to running a half marathon. Yikes.

I'm excited, but so nervous. This is going to be the longest distance I've ever run. It will be a test of courage, patience and endurance on my part. Though I have a friend running it, we aren't running together. I'll be doing this on my own. It's all up to me to make it through it.

My husband told me I'm a little too dependent in some areas of our life. Sometimes I need to venture out on my own and have some me time. That's hard for me. I really like to have his support 100% of the time, and I don't often choose activities that don't include him. I have to come to accept that if running is something I want to continue, I'll have to do it without him. The biggest reason being that physically he's unable to run a distance like a half.

Don't panic. Deep breath. You can do it alone.

Oh my. I know it's possible, it's been done before. My biggest running inspirations are Kate, Care & Ange. Care ran the Mercer Island Half in March, you can read about it here. She's awesome.

I've gone back and forth on whether I wanted to mention and document my training. I don't like to be the person who sets out with big goals in mind, announcing it to the world, only to fail publicly. I feel like I've done it on here before with my resolutions at the beginning of the year. I haven't kept up on all of them, but that's a post for another time.

I was encouraged my my coworker and given the advice of using Smart Coach through Runner's World to draw up a training plan. I've got a calendar that started May 9th, up to race day on July 11th. I've already completed my first full week of training! I can't tell you have motivating that is. I itch to run, even on my days off. That's a huge improvement for me! I've been most excited about the leaps and bounds my running ticker has made in the column off to the side. I can't wait to hit the 100 mile mark. I still fully intend to live up to my resolution of running 520 miles this year. I can do it!

Here was my first week:
Sunday: Off
Monday: 2 mile Easy Run - Run easy & slow
Tuesday: 5 mile Long Run - Just make it through!
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: 5 mile Tempo Run - Easy warm up, 3 miles @ 11:00 pace, easy cool down
Friday: Off
Saturday: 2 mile Easy Run - Participated in the Bay View Women's 2 mile Fun Run with Mom!

On the schedule this week:
Sunday: Off
Monday: 3 mile Easy Run
Tuesday: 6 mile Long Run
Wednesday: Off
Thursday: 2 mile Easy Run
Friday: Off
Saturday: 5 mile Speed Run - Easy warm up, 2x1600 with 800 jogs, easy cool down

Does anyone else have a big race planned for the summer months! If so, I'd love to hear about it!

Monday, May 17, 2010

An identity crisis of sorts...

I feel like that's where I am.

As much as I tried to maintain a blog of all things life, I think I've developed more of a cooking blog. I don't mind that by any means, but I'm not sure if my current blog name is fitting for such avenues should I focus my energy in that direction.

What do you like or don't like seeing here? Thoughts from my dear blog friends?

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Mother's Day, with Mom.


That I'd have to mention I spent Mother's Day with my mom, that is. Because I did drive by the track on my way to my mom's place and noticed a guy and girl dressed in running attire, but not running. They were casually walking around the track and their body language lent to them being very flirty. A "running" date on Mother's Day?


I went to my parent's place on Sunday to provide my mother with both my presence, and amazing food. Yep, you can always rely on my for amazing food. And the pleasure of my company... even if you're not interested (my poor coworkers, ha!).

The sun was shining, and after a quick nap I was refreshed and ready to take on the day with the family. I hit the grocery store to pick up my last minute items and made the 45 minute drive to my parent's place.

My mom always has the best flower pots, she did all purple around her fountain this year. So pretty.

We had a brunch planned of stuffed french toast, smoked salmon olmelette & bacon. It sounded like a strange combination but I was sure it would present well on the plate. While us ladies got to cooking in the kitchen, my dad cooked the bacon on the grill.

And had a bit of an accident. Good thing I forgot I told my mom to buy the bacon and brought a package. The second batch turned out less tragic than this.

Smoked Salmon Olmelette with Cream Cheese & Scallions

French Toast stuffed with Cream Cheese & Strawberries

My mom added the pretty tulips I brought her to the table.

The plate turned out beautifully. What a combo of flavors too. It was a truly gourmet brunch.
(notice the second batch of bacon, we spared it from being flamed broiled)

My parents are the best. I'm so glad my mom felt so loved.

I hope you had a wonderful Mother's Day with us, Mom! We love you and had so much fun. Thanks for letting us spoil you with a fabulous brunch!

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

20. Easy "Refried" Black Beans

I've been searching for an easy and perhaps more healthy way of whipping up a batch of refried beans. My search ended after I was inspired by the Food Network.

Best part about this recipe, it only took me 5 minutes to think up with the help of my husband, and prep was even faster. I even made it again to take to work with me that week and topped the beans with tomato & avocado. Yum.

Get out your food processor (or I'm sure a blender would work too), a can of black beans, olive oil, salt, pepper, cumin, cayenne pepper, white wine vinegar & one lime.

Drain your black beans and dump them in the food processor. Add a teaspoon of cumin, a dash of cayenne pepper (more if you like the heat), a splash of white wine vinegar and the juice of a whole lime. Add salt & pepper to taste, drizzle a couple table spoons of olive oil over the top, then blend.

This is a give & take process when it comes to the spices. Add more if you want the heat & spice, add less if you don't. You'll know when it tastes right.

Nice and smooth! You can serve them cold as a dip or throw them in a pan and heat them to serve them as a side dish.

We had ours with enchiladas verdes con pollo. My recipe for the enchildas are to come!

Easy "Refried" Black Beans

1 - 14oz can black beans
2-3 tbsp. olive oil
1 tsp. cumin
1 lime
white wine vinegar
cayenne pepper
salt & pepper

Drain 1 can of black beans and place in a food processor or blender. Add 1 tsp cumin, the juice of 1 lime, a splash of white wine vinegar and the cayenne, salt & pepper to taste. Then add 2 tbsp olive oil & blend until smooth. Less oil will give a chunkier paste & more oil will give a much smoother consistency. It's all up to you!


Monday, May 10, 2010

Review: Organic Wear

I mentioned here that I had purchased new makeup products from I had decided I'd take the route of testing a newer line of organic products I'd seen out. They were a little spendy for what I'm usually willing to pay at Walmart, but when I found the prices to be considerably less online I thought I'd give them a try.

It was mentioned to me (thank you, Mom) that just because a product is labeled as organic, doesn't necessarily mean it is organic. If the ingredients don't say specifically that they are organic then your product may not be 100% organic. As this may have been the case with these products, I chose to do a little research online. I looked at their website, Organic Wear Makeup and was reassured that the products I purchased were either of natural origin with no chemicals added or certified organic.

ECOCERT is the organic certification for cosmetic products (as the USDA does not certify cosmetics, only food). As long has your cosmetic product has this label it meets the standards to be organic. All three of the products in this post hold the ECOCERT label.

The first product is the Organic Wear Natural Bronzer in Natural Glow. The packaging is adorable. The compact is paper and similar to the box my Benefit 10 is packaged in. It has a clean scent, applies evenly and is soft to the touch. It wears well for over 12 hours and at the end of the day it doesn't make my skin feel greasy. I absolutely love this bronzer.

Next is the Organic Wear Eyeliner in Black Woods. I wasn't sure what their clever names were for and then I realized woods stands for brown. Sometimes I'm a little slow. I've always had trouble applying eyeliner until I found this one. I get a smooth line and it blends easily. If you were to rub your eye it would smudge, but it doesn't run on it's own. I avoided wearing eyeliner, but gave this a shot and I was sold.

Last is the Organic Wear 100% Natural Origin Mascara in Black (why the long name?). The packaging is a little silly and the wand was a little whimpy. However, wand judgement comes solely from my usual mascara being Bad Gal Lash by Benefit and their wand is huge. Even with the whimpy wand, this mascara gives full, lengthening coverage. It doesn't have a harsh smell and I don't have a problem with clumping or flaking. I'm impressed with the overall look even when my lashes are lacking curl that day. I will definitely buy this product again.

I'm very happy with all three products, which is always nice and unexpected when trying something new. I feel like they're good quality and priced decently for a drugstore brand. I've been able to thin out my makeup bag and the majority of my products are now Organic Wear & Benefit. If you're looking to try something new, I encourage you to spend the money to try these products!

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Girlfriends, we all need them. Right?

Maybe we just want them. Either way, I sometimes feel like girlfriends are lacking in my life.

Over my years growing up, I've always felt I'd been burned by every close girlfriend I've ever had. I'd like to credit it to the fact that I was young, trusting, impressionable and naive. It seems as though they've always come and go no matter how much effort I put in to the friendship. At the age of 17, the way I felt caused me to change who I was.

I became honest and outspoken. I began to give up the fear of confrontation and spoke my opinions freely when asked. I've still struggled with caring too much of what people think of me, but not enough to keep me from being honest. I'm not one to just agree if I don't.

I consider the title of best friend to be a little juvenile now-a-days. That could very well be because I easily hold grudges. Though I'd like to say I'm not holding a grudge against my last best friend, when I think about what transpired between the two of us, I still feel like I was wronged. Her and I are still in contact. We talk every few months and travel the hour and a half to see each other once or twice a year, but with the directions our lives have gone our friendship just isn't the same.

I call my husband my best friend now. As I think all marriages should be, he and I love spending time together. We rarely do something without the other and that's simply because we just don't want to. We share the same friends and we feel equally liked as both individuals and a couple. I find it sweet when I mention I don't have a best friend and he inqures to know where his title went. I sure love him.

In the end though, I still wish I had a close girlfriend like I did in my past life. Someone to talk to every day. Someone to run and grab a coffee with just to get out in the sun for a while. Someone to run to the store with just because you feel like ravaging the clearance racks at Target. I still wish I had a girlfriend who I saw every weekend because it was rare that we ever made plans without each other.

I think this just goes to show I'm growing up. I'm two months from 27, I'm married with a busy career. Not everyone has the time that we used to for the same relationships. Instead of taking the women in my life for granted, the ones who care about me and like spending time with me when their schedule allows, I should embrace the fact that I still have girlfriends. Just not the same kind of girlfriend relationship I used to have.

In the end, I think we all need someone. Right?

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Tea Time for Two (or more like 45).

On Saturday I attended the cutest tea party. Every year my mom's church has a ladie's tea, and this year she hosted a table and invited my sister and I to come.

Table hosts are in charge of decorating their own table and filling it with guests. I may be biased, but I have to say my mom had the cutest table ever!

Each table had a three tier server filled with fruit, cookies & tea sandwhiches. I ate my weight in tea sandwhiches & mini brownies. YUM!

Each place setting had your  name. It was a little tea cup on the card with a little tea tag hanging out. When you looked inside the place card there was a tea bag! Genious! Each table host also brought gifts for their guests. In the little pink handmade boxes were beautiful glass magnets.

The teacups were all covered in flowers. They were all different shapes and sizes but similar in pattern. I loved the eclectic look. The little water glasses were picked up at the dollar store, 5 for $1! You never would have guessed. My mom is so thrifty.

I'm madly in love with those little white salt & creamer dishes. I attempted twice to stash them in my purse but my mother refused to give them up. They came from her own house. I will have them one day. One day, you hear me mother?

My favorite part of the table was the large vase with the gerbera daisies, the candle sticks and the cute little lollipops shaped like flowers & butterflies.

The tea party was 'Mad Hatter' themed, and the tables were decorated in whimsical garden themes. They had prize giveaways, a raffle for a beautiful tea set and a message at the end that related to Alice in Wonderland. In the middle of the tea a group of the young ladies graced us with a Mad Hatter Fashion Show. they came out dressed in Wonderland type attire and modeled their awesome hats. It was so fun. If I remember correctly, they had five tables of 8 to 9. Almost 50 ladies in one room dressed to impress for a tea party. I loved it!

It ended up being a family affair at our table! Here is my mom & sister.

My cousin Rachel & Aunt Nadelie were there as well.

My sister, myself & our mom.

My sister, my cousin & myself.

My sister, Aunt Teresa, Cousin Rachel, myself, Aunt Nadelie & my Mom.

My mom is from a family of 9 and most of her siblings live here in Washington state. It was fun that two of her sister's came. I haven't seen my Aunt Teresa in two years. That's really a shame when we only live an hour apart. Aparently I should attend family gatherings more often (even though work doesn't allow me to usually spend holidays with my family).

Overall it was a really fun morning. I was beginning to get very sleepy since I had just gotten off work that morning at 0700, but I made it through. My sister was sweet enough to drive. I was excited to have seen the ladies from my family and get to spend a fun morning with them.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Favorites: In the Kitchen

Last weekend I took a ton of photos. I had borrowed a DSLR camera from a coworker who is interested in selling it. They were nice enough to allow me to use it for a few days to decide if it would be the camera for me. And though it wasn't, I was snapping away in the kitchen of some of my pretty vintage things.

That's when I realized they were some of my favorite pieces in the kitchen. And to top it off, they all have something very sweet in common. They all belonged to my husband's grandmother. The relationship he had with his grandmother was similar to the one I had with mine. Though I don't have anything but a memory left of my grandmother, I was more than touched to have the opportunity to have some of his grandmother's things in my kitchen to use.

This beautiful yellow Pyrex bowl. It's small and dainty, perfect for a hearty serving of salsa.

These peach depression glass relish dishes. I use these when I make tacos. I place my diced tomatoes, onion, cilantro & avocado in them.

Another peach depression glass relish dish. This is usually on my counter filled with fruits or vegetables. Onions, apples, bananas, potatoes. Anything I've brought home from the store that week.

This blue Pyrex mixing bowl. I realized I had this and the yellow bowl over Easter. I was looking for something to put the rolls in that would have a little spring color. I now keep it on the counter in my kitchen because it's the same color as my KitchenAid mixer!

My last piece of peach depression glass. This serving tray held the pulled pork & tortillas from my earlier taco post. It's also out in the kitchen to be seen. It's just too pretty to put away.

The mixing bowls were something my husband received many years before our time together. They've always been something he's enjoyed having. The glass pieces were my birthday gift from my mother-in-law last year.

I couldn't say enough good things about that woman. When we had been down at her house in the spring of 2009 I had admired the pink glass dishes in her china cabinet. She told me they were her mother's and that they used to use them during holiday meals. I had never seen depression glass in pink before and thought they were beautiful. Mind you, I never go to her house and comment on her things in hopes to have them gifted. You'd imagine my surprise when she sent us home with my birthday gift but made me promise not to open it until July. I pulled out that gift on my birthday and cried. How sweet to receive such a beautiful and thoughtful gift. I felt so absolutely blessed that I was unable to find the words to thank her.

I love vintage things that have a story. I look forward to adding to my vintage kitchen collection whether they be meaningful heirlooms or just items we find on our own. Remeber to enjoy those things around you that hold special meaning.

Saturday, May 1, 2010

18. & 19. Spicy Smoked Potatoes & Oven Steamed Asparagus

These are both super simple side dishes that take just minutes to prepare. We love both potatoes and asparagus. Potatoes are a treat for us, I don't care to eat the boat load of starch potatoes have to offer.

We do however eat a ton of asparagus. I make it for most meals, and a lot for work lunches. Since we work nights it's a little more natural to just eat dinner type food for our meals throughout our 10 & 12 hour shifts.

You'll need two large bakers potatoes & one large bunch of asparagus.

Any sort of spicy seasonings you'd like to incorporate on your potatoes. I've chosen a Traeger Beef Rub we picked up where we buy the pellets for our barbecue.

Olive oil, salt & pepper for the asparagus.

Go ahead and wash both. I made sure to get the potatoes nice and clean since we are leaving the skin on them.

Cut up the potatoes in to large cubes along with one stick of butter. Slice the butter up so you have about 10 little pads that we'll layer in to the potatoes.

Grab a baking dish you're willing to put in the oven and on the grill. Place half the cubed potatoes in to the dish and sprinkle with the seasonings of your choosing. Then place 4 to 5 pads on top.

Add the other half of your cubed potatoes and repeat.

Season the potatoes and place the last of the butter on top. I put a little extra seasoning on top just for good measure.

After washing & snapping the ends off your asparagus pull out a sheet of foil and place the asparagus on top. Drizzle with olive oil and generously salt & pepper it. You'll wrap the asparagus up in to a little pouch for the oven.

Place the potatoes & asparagus in to the oven and cook at 425 degrees for 30 minutes.

Here are the potatoes after 30 minutes. He's taken them out of the oven to place on the grill to add the smoky flavor. You can see I've thrown on a few diced onions. I had a little extra from our onion slices we grilled for the meal. If you choose to not place your potatoes on the grill for 30 minutes, just leave the potatoes in the oven for another 30 minutes.

Another pretty picture of the whole thing. Everything went back on together to finish cooking.

Here's the asparagus after an hour in the oven. It came out soft and perfectly steamed. They were salted & peppered to perfection. Be careful though, let the foil package sit for a few minutes to cool before you open it. The steam is hot and doesn't feel great on the fingers if you open it right away. Can I say this from experience? Yep.

When you pull the potatoes off the grill (or out of the oven if you skip grilling) give them a good stir, much of the butter will have collected in the bottom. We don't want them butter soaked, we just wanted to give them a little buttery flavor.

Beautiful! They were so tender. A few even came out a little crunchy. It was a really great mix of flavors. The buttery flavor was sporadic and soft, and the spice was the perfect amount.

Spicy Smoked Potatoes

2 large bakers potatoes
1 stick butter
Seasoning of your choice

Wash and diced potatoes. Cut butter in to 8-10 thin slices. Take half of the diced potatoes and layer in the bottom of a baking dish. Place half of the butter on top and sprinkle with your seasonings. Repeat with the second half.

Place in the oven at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes remove from the oven and place on the grill. If you choose not to grill your potatoes, leave in the oven for an additional 30 minutes.

After 1 hour of cook time, remove from the oven and stir to ensure the potatoes are well coated with seasoning and butter.

Oven Steamed Asparagus

1 bunch asparagus
Olive oil

Wash and trim the ends of your asparagus. Lay out a piece of foil large enough to fold in to a pocket around the asparagus. Lay the asparagus in a pile in the middle of the foil, drizzle with olive oil, then sprinkle with salt & pepper.

Fold the foil up around the asparagus and seal off the edges. Leave a little room to allow the steam to circulate. Place in the oven at 425 degrees for 30 minutes. Remove and allow to rest for 10 minutes prior to opening the foil pocket.