Thursday, November 5, 2009

Refashioned Maternity Shirt

I have recently been inspired by Stephanie's shirt refashioning, so I decided to give it a try. I took two black tops that are both too wide for my not pregnant self but to short for my pregnant self.
I cut off the shirt with sleeves just below the bust and cut the straps off the tank top and then sewed the two pieces together.

I used some of the leftover fabric to make some little roses for the collar.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009


I've been spending most of my "decorating time" working on projects for the living. But the bedroom was being overlooked and I wanted instant decorating satifaction so I did a few quick things. I think they make a big difference but I like that I feel like I can change when ever I feel so inclined.

I spray painted a mirror cream that was previously gold. For the hang squares I hogpogged scrapbook paper over thick wooden frames I found at Michael's for at $1 each. And then I hot glued the bows made with fabric left over from the pillows.
These frames are also spray-painted cream with photos Josh took while we were in Maine. The middle one is some scrapbooking paper that looks the building blue prints.

Friday, October 23, 2009


This afternoon I had the perfect fall meal that always takes me back to Switzerland. Pumpkin Soup and Grilled Ham and Swiss Cheese is a great variation on the ever classic Tomato Soup and Grill Cheese. I made this Kürbissuppe with acron squash, which I'm pretty sure could still fit the title because Kürbis is a more general term than pumpkin meaning all squash (I just don't think Switzerland has the variety of squash we do, so they almost always use a culinary pumpkin.)

Kürbissuppe is very simple to make

Start with a mirepoix of 1/4 onion, 2 carrots and 1 small stock celery
Saute the mirepoix on low heat with a T butter (this is sometimes called sweating the vegetables)
Soften a medium to small pumpkin or squash in the microwave for a few minutes, this makes it easier to shell and cube, which is the next step
Add the cut squash to the mirepoix and add 2 1/2 cups of vegetable stock (adjust amount to cover all the veggies)
Boil together for about 20 minutes or until all vegetables are tender
Pour into a blender and blend until velvety smooth (that is the magic of the soup)
Return to pot and adjust seasoning (I only like to add salt, pepper, nutmeg, and ground rosemary. Unlike with most things I don't get adventurous with this soup and the seasoning. But you could try Cheyenne pepper for a little heat, paprika or I've seen German recipes that add ginger, if you are using fresh ginger add it before you blend the soup.)

Definitely finish it off with some cream or sour cream. And enjoy.

Friday, September 11, 2009

Homemade Bread and Jam

This just seems like the quintessential stay-at-home mom thing to do. I'm rather happy to find myself in the spot of the quintessential stay-at-home mom.

I used a dough recipe that replaces some of the flour with mash potatoes. It also has lots of sugar and eggs so it has a sweetbread quality that is great with jam. Although, I'm pleased with how it turned out I'm not totally satisfied that this should be "my" bread recipe. I think next time I'll try something lighter.

Monday, September 7, 2009

I Wish I Had Invited You Over

Sometimes my lunch turns out so good, I wish I had invited someone to share it with me. This Black Bean Hummus was just such a lunch. So I guess I'll just have to share via "the internets" and try to inspire you to try it on your own.

I've been a long time fan of do-it-yourself hummus. It satisfy all of my requirements for a perfect food: inexpensive, easy (I nearly always have the ingredients on hand), and healthy.

Any can of chickpeas/garbanzo beans will have the recipes on the back:

1 can of chickpeas with the juice, a garlic glove, salt,1 T olive oil, 1T lemon juice. Blend it all up in a food processor and service with fresh veggies and pita bread.

Today, I tried a little variation. Black bean hummus is just about the same, accept I added some cayenne pepper, black pepper, and olives. A recipe I saw recommended Greek olive, but I put in some green olives and it was very yummy. Overall, the black beans variety seems pretty open to interpretation. So, go give it a try!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

A house of order . . .

The inspiration (for about $500):

My take(for about $50):

It even has a pull down cupboard that is set up to be a charging station.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

North Shore Eats

In addition to amazing waves and sea turtles, Oahu's north shore has a pretty cool little main drag with fun resturtants and shops. We got some authentic Hawaiian style pizza at Pizza Bob's.
Yup, ham and pineapple, just like you would expect.
After that we stopped by Matsumoto's Shave Ice and got a couple larges with ice cream and azuki beans. Azuki beans are these crazy little red beans that have been boiled in sugar. This may sound weird, but it was really delicious.

Here is a sign that lists all the flavors; you can choose up to three. I went for coconut cream, raspberry and mango.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Hawaiian Luau and Plate Lunch

Josh and I had a great time in Hawaii. We will be posting more pics of the trip here. We had a great time kayaking, snorkeling, hiking and seeing the sights. But for me a big part of any trip is experiencing the food. So I'm going to post a bit about our food adventures.

For many, the first thing that comes to mind with Hawaiian Cuisine is a luau. We luaued at the Polynesian Cultural Center. The pièce de résistance was the kalua pork. Kalua means it has been cooked underground. At the PCC they make a big deal about pulling the pig out the steaming oven and parading it around. (It was great for effect, but I sort of doubt that was the same pig on the buffet.)
I loaded up my plate with a bit of everything on the buffet (I passed on the raw salmon, although the Asian family at our table couldn't get enough). The purple thing on the top is a roll made with taro, called poi in Hawaiian. It was a bit sweeter than a regular roll and very good. My favorite thing was to pair a piece of barbequed chicken and a bit of fresh pineapple. It was heavenly.
As it grew dark at the PCC they lit these magicial tiki torches. I really think everything tastes better by tiki light.
There was a fairly good selection of desserts. My favorite were the little white squares of coconut pudding. I had seen a recipe for it in a travel magizine and wished I could try some, so I was pretty excited to see it on the dessert buffet. The recipe seems so simple. Although I haven't tried to make any yet, I thought I would share.

• 2 14-ounce cans coconut milk
• 2 1/4 cups sugar
• 1/2 teaspoon salt
• 1 cup cornstarch
• ground cinnamon for dusting or toasted coconut flakes

In a saucepan, combine the coconut milk with the sugar and salt. Bring to a full boil and cook for about 6 minutes, stirring occasionally.
In a bowl, combine the cornstarch with ¾ cup of water and, with a whisk, mix well into a slurry.
Immediately pour the slurry into the saucepan and cook, continuously whisking until the mixture thickens into a pudding, about 2 minutes.
Remove from the heat.
Pour the mixture through a colander.
Transfer the strained pudding into a nonstick 12"x6" deep dish or any other fun shape.
Smooth out the surface, and set aside to cool.
Refrigerate to completely set, about 2 hours.
Dust the surface with ground cinnamon or toasted coconut, slice, and serve.
This isn't from our luau but, I thought it was an inspirational presentation. The pudding could easily be poured into a tea cup or small bowl and chilled to create this fun shape.
After the luau, plate lunch is probably the most notable Hawaiian fare. Plate lunch consists of a couple scoops of rice, a couple scoops of macroni salad and a load of meat. This lunch came with fried shrimp, mahi mahi and barbeque chicken. I've become quite a fan of Hawaiian seafood, esspecially mahi mahi. Here's a picture of the weird little guy.
Josh opted for the teriyaki beef. Also note the Waialua Root Beer. We found this at a shop on the North Shore, the shop keeper explained that the soda is made with natural cane sugar from Maui, Big Island vanilla, and honey from Kauai. It tasted so good we had to go back and get some to bring home.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Mise en Place

I am very committed to the idea of mise en place while cooking. Mise en place is a French phrase that literally means "put in place" and is used in the culinary world as having everything in place ready for cooking. It also requires cleaning as you cook, so you don't end up with a huge mess at the end. My mother will cite this as the biggest difference in my pre and post culinary school cooking habits.

However, I have noticed a significant decrease in my mise en place as a result of having a toddler in the kitchen. Ainslie really loves to help out. The other day she helped by combining the contents of all the cansiters on my table. So now my flour and sugar have oatmeal sprinkled in which adds an unexcepted texture to any dish.

At a resturant in Rome in the pre-canister mixing days.

Tonight we had California Pizza Kitchen style pizza for dinner. I love how pizza has become this dynamic new forum for creative combinations. I was very inspired by some of the pizza combination we had in Rome. My favorite was this amazing arugula topped pizza. Arugula is a salad green that looks a lot like the leaves that grow on a dandy lion. It has a wonderful nutty/peppery taste. I'm not really sure where to buy it but I just read online that it is easy to grow at home so I might just give that a try.

This is what I did tonight:

Make a simple dough

  • 1 cup warm water

  • 2 Tbs yeast

  • pinch sugar

Combine and allow yeast to grow for a few minutes, then add

  • pinch salt

  • 1/2 oil

  • addd flour until it forms a nice dough

Roll out the pizza and cook,

  • Add sauce, cheese and bacon,

Broil until toasted

I topped the pizza with a salad I made with spinach, tomates, cumcumber, red onion, fresh basil and tossed with ranch dressing. It was very yummy.

Monday, March 30, 2009

Presto, Pesto

My basil plant is getting a little out of control. I have been using the leaves here and there for spaghetti, pasta salad or to spice up a panini sandwich or two. But none of that seemed to tame this wild beast, so I decided it was time for pesto.
I've gotten a little attached to the thing and felt a little bit like I was sacrificing a good friend for dinner. (Although the picture above is after dinner so as you can see it didn't really make a dent.)
Pesto is super easy and very yummy.
This is what I did:

1 cup fresh basil leaves
1/4 cup Parmesan
1/3 cup extra virgin olive oil
1/4 cup pine nuts (I used sunflower seeds.)
3 medium sized garlic cloves
Salt and freshly ground black pepper

Mix in a food processor until it becomes a thick paste.

Boil 6 oz. rigatoni

Pan fry two chicken breasts (I cut them into smaller pieces before frying.)
To pan fry chicken, first dredge the chicken in flour seasoned with salt, pepper and garlic salt. Heat about two tablespoons of oil in a frying pan and cook the chicken on both sides until golden brown.

I then mixed the pasta, pesto and chicken together in the pan (allow the pan to cool before adding pasta to avoid spattering).

Serve immediately. This makes dinner for two and a half. (Ainslie loved the rigatoni because it was big enough for her to slide onto her finger before eating it off. Silly girl.)

Thursday, February 5, 2009

1,000 Cranes

Last semester the professor of one of my public finance classes found out he had cancer. During the semester he started chemotherapy. Even though many days he was very tired and in pain because of the chemo, he still came to teach our class and advise us on our projects. He showed incredible courage. As a thank you our class got together to fold 1,000 origami cranes. There is a Japanese legend that says if a person folds a thousand origami cranes will be granted a wish by a crane.

This is a picture of some of my classmates giving the cranes to our professor. I think it turn out beautifully. It is an experience I always want to remember.

Monday, January 5, 2009

The Last Ten Years

I am not typically a person who spends a lot of time reminiscing about the past. I actually spend most of my time planning the future. I love having goals and projects. However, a couple of weeks ago, right before finals, Ainslie was sick and had a hard time sleeping one night. While I was rocking her, I was thinking about the last ten years of my life. It made me realize how grateful I am for the opportunities and blessings we have received and proud of the things I have accomplished. I am still excited for the next 10 years, but I am making it a goal to spend a little bit more time being grateful of the last 10.

Here are some highlights:

1999 started dating Josh

2000 moved out on my own

2001 first trip to Europe (Spain, France, Italy)

2002 finished Culinary School

2003 mission in Switzerland

2004 Josh asked me to marry him while we were in NYC

2005 first year of married life, graduated with bachelors in English

2006 traveled to Eastern Europe with Josh (Switzerland,Germany, Prague, Poland, Ukraine, Budapest, Vienna), other trips, worked a dream job (Paralegal at K&Mc)

2007 Had Ainslie and then took her at 6 weeks to Europe (Germany, Greece, Paris, Rome, Florence, Venice)

2008 Finished first half of graduate school, and had lots of opportunties to learn to balance family life, school, church callings, and work.
We will see what other things are in store for this little family. . .