Monthly Archives: March 2012

Food & Shopping in Paris…(just the beginning)

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La Maison Blanche (right by the Seine) after our engagement! Seriously, THE BEST escargots I’ve ever eaten- they definitely use a different kind of snail here in Paris!

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Happy Cappucino

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La Gourmandise (my favorite pastry so far!!) from Paul’s Patisserie

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Le Bon Marche

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Crazy Nina Ricci mini-exhibit at Le Bon Marche

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Eric Kayser for the pain au chocolat (I finished it before I even thought to take a pic!! Lol)

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Got tons of goodies from Etam Lingerie- highly recommend this shop! Very cute designs at an affordable rate!!

More later…!

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Beautiful Paris. Best Day Ever.

In Paris, not only is it completely beautiful here but I just had the best day ever. Here’s the story in pictures:

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The view from our hotel La Louisiane, in the Latin Quarter

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Institut de France – after unpacking, we start walking to the Seine

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Pont des Arts

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MARRIAGE PROPOSAL FROM MY AMAZING FIANCÉ!!! (I said yes.) So unreal and surprised in the best way possible!

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We put our lock on the bridge & threw the keys in the river… It’s an old tradition on the lover’s bridge! 🙂

Will post more later- hope this works as I’m posting from my phone!!! I’m so ecstatic and happy!!!!!

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Off to Paris….!!!!!

Tomorrow we are off to Paris, and I am so beyond excited I haven’t wanted to blog about it just in case something happened and things fell through. I think it is safe now, because we are leaving in about 18 hours. AHHHHHH!!! I have never been to Europe, so you can only imagine how excited I am. I also wanted to let you all know because I will be MIA for the next 2 weeks and I’ve been having so much fun with my new blog friends that I didn’t want you all to think I dropped off the face of the planet… I will be back! I also got the mobile app so whenever I hook up to some wifi I’ll trying posting some pics of what I’m doing 🙂

Here are some amazing pictures of the Eiffel Tower (I could only wish that’s the view from our hotel!), raining in Paris (it’s raining there now, so that’s what we’re looking forward to!), and the beautiful Menton, France. that have been in my Pinterest account. I can’t wait for my own experience of Paris and Loire Valley and whatever else happens…

via gustaveeiffel

via The Clapping Walrus

via ipreferparis

Yippee…..Ă  bientĂ´t!!!!

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Instructions for Properly Hugging a Baby

I can’t take credit for the below – and not sure who to give credit to, because I got it on one of those chain emails a couple of years ago. Was just cleaning out my email and came across it and thought it would be the perfect post for lazy Sunday!

Super duper cute.

INSTRUCTIONS FOR PROPERLY HUGGING A BABY:

1. First, uh, find a baby:

2. Second, be sure that the object you found was indeed a baby by employing classic sniffing techniques:

3. Next you will need to flatten the baby before actually beginning the hugging process:

4. The ‘paw slide’ simply slide paws around baby and prepare for possible close-up:

5. Finally, if a camera is present, you will need to execute the difficult and patented ‘hug, smile, and lean’ so as to achieve the best photo quality:

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Happy Birthday to YOU, Dr. Seuss!

Dr. Seuss has had a profound impact on most of our lives… and today would have been his 108th birthday (he passed away in 1991). This post is in honor of a great man! Happy Birthday to YOU, Dr. Seuss!

“Today you are You, that is truer than true. There is no one alive who is Youer than You.” 
– Dr. Seuss, Happy Birthday to You!

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Wow. Red Velvet Brownie Bites with Cream Cheese Frosting. Wow.

ALERT: This recipe is NOT healthy for you. 

I know most of what I like to eat is healthy – lots of fish, greens, veggies, fruits, grains, etc. That tends to be the bulk of recipes I cook. I do occasionally bake, but usually it’s nothing more than just some chocolate chip cookies, or maybe an oatmeal cookie. Nothing too exciting. Well, yesterday, I gave my boyfriend the choice of what he wanted for dessert, and mind you, he has an extremely well-developed chocolate specific sweet tooth. Naturally, he asked for some really rich desserts, and this was the recipe that won.

I highly recommend it, but please, only bake it after you’ve had a great workout that day AND plan on doing another one tomorrow. Don’t eat this on your rest day, otherwise, you might not be too happy with yourself 🙂 Love you guys! And enjoy!!

RED VELVET BROWNIE BITES with cream cheese frosting

adapted from the much more talented than I, Brenda from A Farmgirl’s Dabbles (hers are a lot prettier too, but hey, I’m working on it!)

Hahaha, can you tell this pic was taken after we already devoured our first piece?  My boyfriend was getting anxious with me for wanting to take pictures when he wanted to eat!

Red Velvet Brownies:

  • Canola oil, for greasing the pan
  • 1/2 cup (1 stick) unsalted butter, diced
  • 3 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped (I used Ghirardelli)
  • 1.5 cups granulated white sugar
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1 fl oz liquid red food coloring
  • 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1/2 tsp baking powder

Cream Cheese Frosting:

  • 8 ounces 1/3 reduced fat cream cheese, at room temperature
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter, at room temperature
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1.5 cup sifted powdered sugar

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Lightly wipe an 8×8 aluminum pan with canola oil. Be sure to cover the sides as well as the bottom. Stir butter and chocolate in a heavy large saucepan over very low heat until chocolate is melted and mixture is smooth. Remove from heat.

2. Whisk in sugar, then eggs, 1 at a time. Stir in vanilla, salt, and food coloring. Sift flour and baking powder over mixture and stir to blend well.

3. Transfer batter to the prepared pan. Bake the brownies until puffed and dry-looking, for about 30 minutes. Test toothpick should come out with some moist batter attached, but not too much. All the brownies to cool in the pan completely on a rack.

4. Meanwhile, prepare the frosting by first beating together the cream cheese and butter until light and fluffy (remember that these two ingredients MUST be at room temperature). Add vanilla and mix a bit to incorporate. Then add the sifted powdered sugar and beat to combine. Once brownies are completely cool, spread this frosting evenly across the top and cut into desired size bites!

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Scallops, Butternut Squash Pasta Salad, and Nutmeg Spice Muffins

Random? Yes, indeed.

I was having a not-so-great day, and I didn’t feel like working out. I know, it’s crazy. Me. No running, no yoga, no lifting, nothing. It happens to all of us every now and then. The ONLY thing I could think to do that would calm my brain down was to cook. And cook a lot of different things at the same time. I don’t think I’ve ever multitasked so well in the kitchen (not surprised that I did though since I multitask at EVERYTHING and share this sentiment with David Kanigan), but I certainly did this time. And here was the result:

SEARED SCALLOP SALAD WITH ALMOND-CUCUMBER DRESSING

adapted from “Small Plates: Appetizers as Meals” by Marguerite Marceau Henderson (awesome book, by the way, I’ve made many things from it and it has served me well! Thanks Mom! :-))

Salad Ingredients

  • 1 lb scallops, patted dry
  • 2 tbsp olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp dried tarragon (depending on your taste for it, I don’t prefer a lot)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 4 cups spring mix

Almond-Cucumber Dressing

  • 1/2 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 1/8 – 1/4 tsp dried tarragon (again, can also be to taste)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1 cup slivered almonds
  • 1 cucumber, thinly sliced
  • Juice and zest of 1 lemon

1. In a bowl, combine scallops, oil, parsley, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Be sure to drudge all scallops well in the mixture. Heat a grill. Add the scallops and grill for 4-6 minutes per side.

2. Remove scallops to a platter lined with spring mix. In the meantime, whisk together lemon zest & juice, oil, tarragon, salt, and pepper. Stir in almonds and cucumber. Pour over scallops, and reserve a little for individual toppings. (I found this made a lot of dressing, so I saved quite a bit and have been using it as a regular salad dressing this past week. Very delicious with our without the scallops!)

BUTTERNUT SQUASH PASTA SALAD

adapted from Budget Bytes

  • 1 butternut squash (about 3 lbs), peeled & diced into small cubes
  • 4 tbsp olive oil, divided
  • 1/4 cup fresh sage, chopped
  • 1 lb pasta, medium shells
  • 1/2 bunch fresh flat-leaf parsley
  • 1 cup dried cranberries
  • 3/4 cup shredded parmesan
  • Sea salt and pepper to taste

1. Heat 2 tbsp of olive oil in a large skillet over medium heat. Add the squash cubes, sage, and a generous amount of salt & pepper. Saute until tender, about 15 minutes (or to preferred consistency). Meanwhile, cook the pasta until al dente (7-10 min) in a pot of salted water. Drain the pasta.

2. Once the squash is tender and the pasta is drained, add the pasta, cranberries, and parsley to the skillet containing the squash cubes. Set to low heat so everything stays warm. Stir to combine. Finally, drizzle the last 2 tbsp of olive oil over everything, add salt and pepper to taste, and stir in the parmesan. Serve warm! (Oh, and makes a TON, so this would be a great one for potlucks, etc.)

Nutmeg Spice Breakfast Muffins

adapted from The Faux Martha

These muffins were delicious. I took the recipe from The Faux Martha (she’s kind of awesome at this sort of thing), but she calls them “cupcakes” on her site. I would prefer to actually call them “muffins” because the consistency is thicker and much more bread-like than the consistency of typical cupcakes (perhaps because I used cornstarch and not potato starch..?). She also topped them with frosting, which I opted out of because frankly, I REALLY suck at making frosting, and also because when eating them like muffins, they are perfect without the frosting. I particularly enjoyed them with some french press coffee for breakfast! Ok, blah blah blah, here’s the recipe:

  • 1 cup superfine sugar (you can throw the sugar in the food processor to make it “superfine”)
  • 1 cup all-purpose unbleached flour
  • 1 tbsp cornstarch
  • 1/4 tsp salt
  • 1/2 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1/4 – 1/2 tsp allspice, depends on how much you like spice 🙂
  • 1/8 tsp baking soda
  • 6 tbsp butter, melted and at room temperature
  • 1/4 cup half and half, at room temperature
  • 1 tbsp spiced rum (I used Sailor Jerry’s, it’s our favorite for drinks), at room temperature
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla extract, at room temperature
  • 2 whole eggs, at room temperature
  • 1 egg yolk, at room temperature

1. Preheat oven to 325°. Line a cupcake pan with 12 liners. Set aside. Combine sugar, flour, cornstarch, salt, nutmeg, allspice, and baking soda in a large bowl. Whisk to combine.

2. Combine butter, half and half, rum, vanilla, eggs, and egg yolk in a container with a tight fitting lid (I used a mason jar) and shake well to combine. Make sure all ingredients are room temperature or separation will occur.


4. Lightly whisk wet ingredients into dry ingredients until well combined. Evenly fill cupcake liners about 3/4 of the way full. Bake for 20-25 minutes or until tops are golden and tooth pick inserted comes out clean. Eat for dessert, but most importantly, eat for breakfast!! Yum.

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