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Monthly Archives: March 2012

This Week’s Recap 3/23/12

I didn’t even get a chance to my weekend recap because the week is over! I went up to San Francisco for a fun little weekend getaway. In a few words, it was GREAT. I ate, danced, explored and had a lot of fun. I’ve never done a St. Paddy’s day pub crawl and it was one of the best places to do that.

Heading out!

Yummy granola and coffee at Blue Bottle Coffee. I bought a freshly roasted bag of coffee home and it smelled so good and tasted great days later.

Farmer Brown’s skillet place was delish! We had the Sunday brunch right after a soothing day at the spa.

I went home and decided I wanted to make a home cooked meal. Here’s our chicken piccata.

The recipe for the chicken piccata comes from one of my fave, easy-to-follow chefs on Food Network – Giada. I didn’t want anything that took hours to make so this recipe was great. Daniel really enjoyed it because he said it tasted fresh, lemon-y and peppery. This was my first time cooking with fresh cracked pepper and I must admit that it makes the dish taste so much better than regular ground pepper.

Chicken Piccata Recipe – Courtesy of Giada

Ingredients:

– 2 skinless and boneless chicken breasts, butterflied and then cut in half (or purchase scallopini chicken which means it’s already the prepared nice and thin for you)

– Sea salt and freshly ground black pepper

– All-purpose flour, for dredging (aka dusting your chicken)

– 6 tablespoons unsalted butter (I cut this in half and it still tasted great)

– 5 tablespoons extra-virgin olive oil (I put only one tablespoon)

– 1/3 cup fresh lemon juice

– 1/2 cup chicken stock

– 1/4 cup brined capers, rinsed (I omitted this as I don’t like capers)

– 1/3 cup fresh parsley, chopped (and I didn’t have this either)

– Handful of cremini mushrooms (if you’re a mushroom fan like me)

Directions

– Season chicken with salt and pepper. Dredge (dust) chicken in flour and sake off excess.

– In a large skillet over medium high heat, melt 3 tablespoons of butter with 1 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add 2 pieces of chicken and cook for 3 minutes. When chicken is browned, flip and cook other side for 3 minutes. Remove and transfer to plate. (You can keep cooking in the butter that is there instead of adding more like this recipe asks for) Melt 2 more tablespoons butter and add another 2 tablespoons olive oil. When butter and oil start to sizzle, add the other 2 pieces of chicken and brown both sides in same manner. Remove pan from heat and add chicken to the plate.

– Add the lemon juice, stock and capers into the pan. Return to stove and bring to boil, scraping up brown bits from the pan for extra flavor. Check for seasoning. Return all the chicken to the pan and simmer for 5 minutes. If you’re adding mushrooms, throw the mushrooms in for about 5 minutes with the lid on. Remove chicken to platter. (I didn’t remove the chicken but instead just left it sitting in the sauce and ate it like that). Add remaining 2 tablespoons butter to sauce and whisk vigorously. Pour sauce over chicken and garnish with parsley.

Bon appetit!

Weekend Recap 3/11/12

Are we really almost halfway through March? Time has really flown by since I launched this new blog. This weekend was another action packed weekend. My awesome friend came to visit and we went to the House of Blues on Friday where we saw a great performance by Trevor Hall. Although this video is quite old, I started to send it to some friends to tell them about who I saw this weekend and they all said “I never imagined he would have that kind of voice.” Remember, never judge a book by its cover. What lies beneath may shock/amuse you.

After hanging in the Hollywood scene (which is totally different from my old hood of San Diego), we spent the next day lounging at the pool. Again, it’s still ‘winter’ and we are tanning pool side. Number one reason why I cannot leave California (southern, that is). After the pool festivities, I got crafty. Daniel and I were planning on taking our engagement photos on Sunday so I had to make sure all of our props were ready to go. Props included a picnic basket, blanket, large piece of burlap, several dresses, an old milk jug, a stitched piece of art and wooden signs. I had collected old pieces of panel wood from random places (like the street) and re-purposed them for wedding decor. Since we are country music fans, I wanted to include one of our favorite lyrics in our photos on the wood. It’s from Blake Shelton’s Honey Bee where he sings about how two people compliment each other.

Although the font didn’t come out the way I imagined it (in classical handwriting), I think my handwriting fit the theme of the session which is rustic country, not fancy elegant.

Our photo shoot was the focus of my Sunday. I was trying to get chores done, make some chili for work for our potato bar and Daniel wanted to make lunch for his family. He’s a great sous chef and this weekend, he was a sushi chef. He made us some rolls with dried pork, fish cakes, carrots and cucumbers.

Right after making lunch, we went to our fun photo shoot at the Huntington Beach Equestrian Center. I never knew directing a horse was difficult or that when they step on your toe, they are quite heavy… Luckily, I saved my toes and none were broken even though the large toe suffered a five second horse stomp. Our photographers were so great! They made the whole event really fun and they were great with incorporating my ideas into the photos (soft glowing light, horse, ranch, dirt areas, flowers). I can’t wait to see them! My face totally hurt after smiling for three hours. I hope I don’t have an awkward grin :D.

Mmm mmm soup

I didn’t make Campbell’s tomato soup but I did make a soup that was mmm mmm delish. After having an 80+ degree weekend, Monday’s weather took a turn and became what most would regular winter weather. When it’s cold, I love to have a big heaping bowl of soup. I haven’t been in the mood for making soup that requires raw meat or anything. I wanted something hearty and with lots of vegetables. This soup didn’t have a lot of veggies but it had a good amount. It also had some pasta bits in it which made it delish.

I read two recipes on Allrecipes.com and ended up devising my own version of Minestrone. Just remember that when you make it, you gotta taste it too. I didn’t taste it until the next day at lunch which makes me a very bad chef!

Minestrone for two (enough to be entree)

Ingredients:

– Two stalks of celery (sliced thinly)

– A handful of baby carrots (sliced thinly)

– Five cups of chicken/vegetable broth

– One can of diced tomatoes (I think it was 14 oz.)

– One clove of garlic

– One tablespoon of olive oil

– Quarter of an onion diced (if you wish)

– A handful of pasta shells (or any small pasta)

Directions:

– Chop all of the vegetables and put them aside.

– Pour the olive oil into a stock pot and then pour the vegetables in on top of the oil. Let it cook for about ten minutes.

– Stir the stock and tomatoes into the stock pot. Bring everything to a boil and then let it simmer (with the pot cover on) for about 15 minutes.

– After 15 minutes, take the lid off and pour the pasta shells in. Let it boil (without the cover) for another ten minutes. Taste the soup to see if it’s too tart because of the tomatoes. You may want to either add more broth or water. Voila!

Weekend recap 3/4/12

March is here! I can’t believe it. We’re only seven months away from the wedding. There are still many things to craft and prepare for the big day but the sunshine here has made that difficult. I don’t want to stay inside because it’s just too nice. Here’s a weekend recap:

– Daniel and I went line dancing at The Ranch in Anaheim. We ate a great dinner there (smoked chicken and crab cake sliders) and then danced the food off by learning a basic two-step and line dance to one of my fave songs – Firecracker.

– We took our dog Tirami to the dog park. It was his first time there (he’s only two months, it’s been his first time almost everywhere) and he was shy. He’s so sweet to other dogs, it’s really cute to see how he interacts with other dogs.

– My family came over to visit and they played with the puppy.

– Daniel and I went to the Great Park’s antique market. There are so many great things there, we just don’t have enough space for all of it!

GOAL: Need to take pictures of these weekend adventures!

One goal met – taking another picture for Feet First!

Beautiful day for a picnic in Newport Beach!

Traveling Feet

I wish I had thought of this grand idea before but it’s never too late to start. I found a photographer’s website that features a blog post called “Feet First”. In 2005, he began taking photos of his feet and his girlfriend’s feet with different vacation locations as the backdrop. The product – an amazing collage of travel photos taken from a unique perspective (no one ever thinks of feet first when they take a picture). Daniel and I began doing this a couple of weeks ago so that we can also create a unique collection of photos to show where our feet have been. The best part of the photographer’s blog post is when you see baby feet :).

ImageIt’s not an exotic travel location but it’s a place where Daniel and I have spent many many Thursday nights bowling. This also documents my first pair of bowling shoes. It’s official, I’m a bowler.

And this is Daniel’s drawing of our feet.