Friday, September 30, 2011

One Out of Two Ain't Bad

The same weekend I made the amazing spice cake, I also attempted a couple soups: Richard Olney's Garlic Soup and Smitten Kitchen's Roasted Tomato Soup with Broiled Cheddar.
These are their stories (insert Law and Order sound).
This was my countertop after a visit to a Farmer's Market, the Healthy Home Market (OMG this place is unbelievable...a vegetarian / vegan's dream), and Harris Teeter. Let the cooking commence!

I chopped up the garlic and let it simmer in water for 40 minutes with salt and bay leaf. When I added the eggs, something went wrong. It was SUPER watery and tasted just TOO eggy for me. Sadly, this soup went down the drain.

But try, try again! The next day I whipped up the tomato soup.

Before roasting

 After roasting for an hour...yum! Roasted garlic in the little tin foil package.

 I pulsed it in the blender and simmered for a bit. SIMMER DOWN NOW!

 Finally, top with a crispy piece of toast, some shredded Parmesan cheese, and finish off in the oven for a few minutes. This pic turned out very dark and yellow, but this soup was FANTASTIC. I'll definitely be making it again and adding some more veggies like zucchini and spinach, and more broth. It could absolutely be a simple marinara sauce too! One outta two ain't bad, right?

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Oh Sweet Spice Cake!

When I saw this applesauce spice cake recipe on Today's Letters, I bookmarked it for that "someday" when I would make it. Well that "someday" was last Saturday, and the cake was amazing! I halved the recipe to make a smaller would be dangerous to have too much of this laying around. It totally tastes like Fall!

 There she is, fresh out of the oven. First you let the cake cool.

Then you make some caramel. Yes, I made caramel for the first time! I could not stop having just "one more taste." After all, a good chef always tastes her creations right?

Finally, you pour the caramel over the cake and let that cool.

Look at how that caramel sinks in! This is one of the best cakes I've had, and it's VERY easy to make! Pair with an ice cold glass of almond milk.


Monday, September 26, 2011

Purple Mashed Taters

Mom enrolled in a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) this Fall and shared some of her goodies last time she came to visit. The coolest veggie by far was the purple potatoes! Yes, I said it. Purple potatoes! What else to do but make my favorite...homemade mashed potatoes? She also brought me a few Shittake Mushrooms and some to-die-for baked coconut granola. Thanks mom!

I couldn't believe how purple they were on the inside. What a nice shade!

I boiled them with some Kosher salt and hand mashed them with a dash of skim milk and just a touch of butter.
Can I have some more please? They tasted like regular mashed potatoes, but were much more fun to eat since they were purple. My plate looks like a mess but that meal was fantastic. I sauteed the shittake mushrooms with some onion, carrots, and broccoli and topped with a bit of grated white cheddar. Also, a spinach salad topped with avocado and lemon. Such a warm, flavorful, filling meal!

Friday, September 23, 2011

Cupcake Love

Sure, you might be getting sick of me talking about the cupcakes at Just Baked, but I don't care! They're delicious! I was delighted to see my favorite flavor (so far) on the menu this week so I picked up a couple for the husband and I to share. Amazing!

Pistachio Vanilla Bean Caramel and Dark Chocolate Almond Sea Salt (my fave). The pistachio cupcake was super creamy and had a wonderful pistachio mousse inside. But alas, I'm a chocolate lover, so I still declare this masterpiece to the right my favorite! I highly recommend pairing with an ice cold glass of vanilla soy milk.

Watch out for the CUPCAKE MONSTER!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Monday, September 19, 2011

Sippin' and Strollin'

I love when my family comes to visit! Mom and Mammol came down on Saturday for a wine tasting event downtown. Despite gloomy skies, we had a wonderfully bright time!

First we had to stop by Just Baked Cupcakes for some sweet treats for later! We got a mini cupcake sampler and a caramel brownie. Each bite was exquisite!

Beside the cupcake store is Bebe Gallinis, an awesome boutique! This was my first time visiting the store, and I'll definitely be back. Very French chic Anthropologie-ish products!

Finally...the wine!

We tasted lots of delicious wine, met talented local artists, and attended a Johnson and Wales class about wine tasting! Such a fun day! Our favorite was Polka Dot medium dry Riesling.

Sunday morning we had a delicious breakfast at Cafe Monte French Bakery & Bistro while the dogs protected the fort. Can't wait to visit with my family again!

Friday, September 16, 2011

Luna's Breakfast!

I took myself to breakfast last weekend...Luna's Living Kitchen again! I'm officially addicted to this place. After my awesome lunch I couldn't wait to try it again. I had "The Biblical Breakfast which is artesian & local bread served with organic peanut, almond, and coconut butter, fig preserves, banana, and seasonal fruit." It was absolutely delicious, especially the coconut butter! And of course I had the homemade chai tea with almond milk. I can't wait to go back!

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Puppy Love

Let's play tug of war!

Intimidating glare

mmmm...I like to break sticks, and taste them too!

beautiful dreamer

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wine & Cupcakes

You can't go wrong with wine and cupcakes right? A couple friends and I attended a wine tasting at a local cupcakery, Just Baked Cupcakes. They have some seriously creative flavors, and they're DELICIOUS! Shelton Vineyards came to let us sample some wine. Our favorite was the Madison Lee White, a blended wine. Here are some shots from the evening!

 First we bought our wine and cupcake tickets ($5)

The tables looked very vintage cute.

The best part...cupcakes! Starting with the pink and moving clockwise we had: Pink Lemon Chardonnay, Signature Chocolate, Vanilla Salted Caramel, and Dark Chocolate Almond with Sea Salt. I must say, the Dark Chocolate cupcake stole my heart! Pink Lemon Chardonnay came in second.

 Check out all these flavors! They serve 6 per day and post a cupcake schedule weekly.

This might be my new slogan for life!

Friday, September 9, 2011

Chalkboard Project

Remember when I bought this frame at the antique fair a while back? Last time I went home, my grandpa cut me a piece of wood to fit perfectly in the back.

 I painted the board with chalkboard paint and the frame with silver spray paint. Murphy totally helped me decide on the color!

Here's the final product! I love it! Now we have a message board in the living room!

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Kayakin' n Snackin'

I adore long weekends! We finally got our kayaks out for a ride. It was a beautiful morning!

The night before we left I decided to prep these whole wheat raspberry ricotta scones from Smitten Kitchen to take on the lake with us. You can freeze the cut dough the night before and bake fresh in the morning!

On a last-minute whim I decided that we should take Murphy...not the best idea. The further we got out in the water, the more he cried and tried to escape. I took him home and we gave it another go!

Yummy, scones on the lake! We paired them with triple berry preserves and iced tea. I wish my breakfast was like this every morning!

Hello Blue Heron! Hope to see you again soon!

Monday, September 5, 2011

Luna's Living Kitchen

I finally got to try Luna's Living Kitchen! Luna's uses all organic and as many local ingredients as possible. I've been wanting to go a while, and I was not disappointed! I sat outside on the patio and started my meal off with their homemade Chai tea with almond milk. It was so creamy, gingery, and cinnamony (I think I just invented a word).

 For my meal I had the Fire and Brimstone veggie burger served with a salad. It was an absolutely beautiful presentation! The quinoa-kamut burger was served on local whole grain bread with chipotle hummus, cukes, guacamole and onion. The local green salad had lovely soft butter lettuce leaves, grapes, raspberries, zucchini, sprouts, and an edible flower. It was tossed in a very light sweet vinaigrette. I'll definitely be going back to Luna's!

Friday, September 2, 2011

Lazy Lake Day

I love reading by the lake. Random note, I was reading the Hunger Games trilogy in this pic. I've never read a series so fast! I couldn't put these books down. It's a dystopian, futuristic, suspenseful story! And that's all I'm saying...just read it!

Murphy likes napping while I read. I love 70 degree weather!

Forgot to Mention...

I went to a My Morning Jacket concert recently, and it was amazing!