Thursday, January 28, 2010


Look what I made!

Not the greatest pictures, still need to find the proper setting!

there is lace in some of the cream colored ones!

how pretty would these be bunched and pinned on a cardigan, on a necklace, in your hair, on a ribbon belt! ooooh the possibilities!!
one thing i might do to make my mundane office environment more lovely would be to string them on a garland in colors of my office (coffee, merlot, gold, cherry wood, chocolate brown, cream)! see the inspiration below!

I'll be making more variety in the next few weeks, yay!!

*tutorial here if you are interested in making your own!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Wine Wednesday

ahhh perhaps i smell a new weekly feature coming along!
since i'm not cool enough to have random followers, you all know that i am a wine-o. an EXTREME {cheap, tasty, did i mention cheap?} wine enthusiast, if you will. (Thanks, Papi)

usually, i indulge on the cheaper side (pregames don't call for classy broads), but occasionally i'll mooch off Papi for an nicer bottle...

anyway, this week i'll start with my very favorite.

Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc - a constant value and a constant top 100 wine from Wine Spectator.
i found this last week at Costco for 11.95 a bottle, genius.

Tasting Notes from their website:

Tasting Notes

Pale green. (what?!?! i'm sorry, it's pale yellow. it appears pale green in the bottle)

Lifted aromatics of tropical fruits combined with the traditional nettle and herbaceous aromas of Marlborough Sauvignon Blanc. (grapefruity goodness)

Firm acidity is surrounded by tropical fruits and herbaceous notes with hints of citrus sneaking in. A whopping mouthful of Marlborough.

Ready to drink now, however this wine will continue to develop for 2-3 years.

Good to drink with anyone at anytime. Ideally suited to asparagus, oysters and summer salads. (ideally suited for ALL DAY EVERY DAY!!)

while i LOVE Kim Crawford, I am partial to any sauvignon blanc from the Marlborough District of New Zealand :)

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


oh my beautiful.

this is perfect. PERFECT. if i was getting married tomorrow, Fig and Blush would be my colors and this would be my PERFECT bouquet.
who cares if it doesn't match with my skin color? completely erroneous.

inspiration board *via Snippet&Ink

Happy Tape! I want!

heart skipped a beat at the sight of these pretty tapes....NO clue what i'd use it for, but just look at it:

skinny tape:

deep colors:


it makes me want to put tape on EVERYTHING! look at those stripes!

*via HappyTape

Monday, January 25, 2010

Another Monday Pretty!

how adorable!

these prints can be found here!!

Monday Pretties


I hope you had an amazing weekend!

How cute are these cards?

Perfect for Valentine's Day coming up!

buy them here!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Chimichurri x2


hi again, lovely blog friends!

Last night's din consisted of more chimichurri deliciousness! follow the recipe from yesterday (double or triple for more! taste as you go!) to get started!

Cumin rubbed Steak

  • 3 lbs flank steak - i forget the REAL name for it. good thing i'm so descriptive.....flat steak.
  • Goya Mojo sauce (int'l section of the grocery store...hispanic foods)
  • cumin
  • s&p

rub the cumin, s&p into the steak and place in a big ziploc or dish - pour liberal amounts of Mojo sauce on top. Marinate for as long as you like (2 hrs for me!)
grilling instructions: find them yourself.
pan-searing instructions: put some evoo on the bottom of the pan and heat - place steak in and cook about 3 minutes per side if the steak is an inch and a half thick for a pink middle. remove steak once done to your liking, and let it sit for a few before you start cutting it, let the juices settle.

Brown Rice with Red Peppers and Cucumbers

  • 1 cup brown rice
  • 2.5 cups fat free reduced sodium chicken broth
  • 1 cup red bell peppers - roasted (s&p, evoo, diced peppers in glass baking dish for 30 mins on 375 should do the trick)
  • 1 cup diced cucumbers
  • s&p
  • 1/3 cup evoo
  • 2 lemons - zest and juice
  • a few sprigs of green onion - chopped (use both green and white parts)
  • reduced fat or fat free feta cheese - if you please :)

boil chicken broth, add rice, reduce to simmer for 40 mins or until cooked through. in another bowl whisk together lemon juice and some zest, green onions, evoo, s&p. Add peppers and cucumbers. let sit while rice cooks. add rice, stir, yay it's done! so simple! don't forget to top with yummy reduced fat feta cheese! can be served hot, warm or cold :)

this makes me happy, i hope it makes you happy too! it's so simple, and so worth the ridic 40 minute wait for the rice!

and for dessert, SUCK ON THAT MICHELLE!
Italian Wedding Cookies - this time properly plated!

might i just add that i made this for 8 people :) it's not all for myself ...hahaha

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Atlantic Cod with Chimichurri Sauce and Spicy Black Bean Quinoa Salad

This meal was to.die.for. and it doesn't get much healthier!

White, flaky, wild caught fish - baked - and quinoa...a superfood! Throw in veggies, beans, and a ton of fresh herbs - what more could you ask for??


1 lb of Atlantic Cod

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees. lightly s&p the fish, sprinkle some evoo over the top and place in a cooking dish. Bake for 10-15 minutes depending on the size of the filets. When it turns a solid white, it's done. Don't overcook this flaky goodness!

Chimichurri Sauce (adapted from here):

  • 1/4 cup (packed) fresh cilantro (I used a cup)
  • 1 cup (packed) fresh Italian parsley
  • 1/2 cup olive oil
  • 1/3 cup red wine vinegar (i used rice vinegar, didn't have red wine - couldn't tell the difference)
  • 2 garlic cloves, peeled (i used way more..probs 6 or 7.)
  • 3/4 teaspoon dried crushed red pepper
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt

place all ingredients in a food processor or blender and wa-la!

Spicy Black Bean and Quinoa Salad (adapted from here):

  • 3/4 cup red quinoa (rice/couscous section of the store...)
  • 1 1/2 cups water (double whatever amount of quinoa you use)
  • Juice and zest of one lime, about 1.5-2 oz. juice, and 1-2 teaspoons zest
  • Kosher or sea salt
  • 1/2 teaspoon ground cumin
  • 1/2 teaspoon chili powder
  • 1/2 teaspoon chipotle powder
  • 1/4 cup extra virgin olive oil
  • 6 scallions, thinly sliced (white and green parts)
  • 1 cup chopped red bell pepper (yellow and orange work well too!)
  • 1 can cooked black beans
  • 1/2 cup picked fresh cilantro, roughly chopped (i think i used more...i LOVE cilantro)
  1. Bring the quinoa and water to a boil in a small saucepan. Cover, reduce the heat to low, and simmer for about 15 minutes. Fluff with a fork and set aside.
  2. In a large serving bowl, whisk the lime juice with the zest, a pinch or two of salt, the chili powder, chipotle powder, and the cumin. Add the olive oil and whisk until the dressing comes together.
  3. Add the quinoa to the dressing and toss. Add the scallions, red peppers, black beans, and cilantro and toss well to combine. Garnish with additional cilantro and lime zest, if desired.

the texture of this meal is unreal, and it tastes even better than it looks! definitely a repeat!

i suggest a fruity white wine as a pairing....sauvignon blanc (my personal fav!) from the Marlborough district of New Zealand is ALWAYS a winner in my book.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Sienna's Joker Face

can't read her joker faceeeee

50 lbs of pure athleticism - unlike her momma


only sienna would swim in the ocean in the winter....

haha she was SO funny!

a flower for the lady

i mentioned that i'd blog about these flowers long ago - and here you go!

i've been feelin' kinda crafty recently and made these little fabric flowers as hair clips, headbands, brooches...and well, whatever you want really :) i made quite a few for my cousins over christmas and actually remembered to take pictures!

i'd write up a tutorial, but lets face it, i don't even know how i make them. i just "sew" (i wouldn't exactly call it sewing....i have no talent...and i did most of it while watching tv...) little beads on layers of circles - and flower petal shapes - of organza and fabric. i burn the edges to prevent them from fraying! it's fun!

thats most of them - most have alligator clips or bobby pins on the back - but really they can be on headbands or pins or belts too! (sorry for such a shiny picture - organza doesn't photograph well - maybe on the new camera!?!?)

or in sienna's case - a collar! cutie pie is such a ham.

making a mess - story of my life.

Monday, January 18, 2010

Oh Monday!

Happy Monday, folks! Hope you all had a fantastic weekend - and for those lucky enough to have today off, i hope your extended weekend was amazing!

my little escape to the beach was perfect!

mom and papi paid for everything (can't go wrong there!) and they were SO much fun to be around!

Sienna was a freaking gem - unheard of. Pictures to come of her frolicking on the beach (wait for it...) LEASHLESS! *gasp*

Friday, January 15, 2010


Off to the beach for the weekend, see you on the flipside :)

have a happy, love-filled long weekend!

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Petak: A regular Martha

to say Ashley (my EXTREMELY smart roommate) gets confused in the kitchen is an understatement - but yesterday, she proved to everyone that she is a true domestic deeev!

She made some friends a delicious eggplant parm with sauce from scratch last night, so freaking proud of her :)

isn't she the prettiest?!?! (the yummy eggplant parm doesnt look too shabby either!)

Italian Wedding Cookies

i found these little suckers here and after seeing the picture, i knew i had to make them!

every other week or so we have a potluck with the girls and last night's theme was italian - perfect opportunity to make the cookies! oh how i wish i took more pictures! in addition to my little italian wedding cookies, we had baked ziti, garlic bread, meatballs, bruschetta and caprese!

I used unsalted butter in the first batch, and added a pinch or two in the second - i couldn't taste the difference... :)

Adapted Recipe:

Italian Wedding Cookies

Preheat your oven to 375 degrees. For the dough, combine 1 c. soft butter, 2 c. all-purpose unbleached (i used bleached) flour and 1/3 c. heavy whipping cream in an electric mixer. Mix until combined. Roll out dough 1/8" thick on a floured pastry cloth and cut out circles with a shot glass {or a very small cookie cutter if you prefer a different shape} -- ** BE SURE TO FLOUR HEAVILY, this is sticky if it warms up**. Gently press both sides of the cookie into a little bit of sugar that you have placed on a small plate (whoa just read this part for the first time - haha missed this all together). Transfer cookie to baking sheet and prick 3 times with a fork. Bake for 7 (I did 8) minutes. Remove from oven and let cool completely before icing.

For the icing, combine 1/4 c. soft butter, 3/4 c. powdered sugar, 1 tsp. vanilla and food coloring of choice (TEAL!). Mix with electric mixer until well combined and fluffy. Spread icing between 2 cookies to make little sandwiches.

as you can see, mine were quite messy (like most of my baking) but they were sooooo good! i should have presented better, but they went so fast that there was no point :)

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thai Shrimp Noodle Soup

**Adapted from Thai Shrimp Bisque (cooking light)


  • Marinade:
  • 1 1/2 pounds medium shrimp
  • 1/2 cup fresh lime juice
  • 1 1/2 tablespoons ground coriander
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1 tablespoon minced peeled fresh ginger (i used ginger paste...tasted DELISH)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground red pepper
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed (two huge tsp's of minced garlic)

  • Shrimp stock:
  • 2 24oz boxes of chicken stock
  • 1/2 cup dry white wine
  • 1/2 can of tomato paste

  • Soup:
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • 1/2 cup chopped onion
  • 1/2 cup - 1 cup spring onions (scallions? whatever those little green and white onions are)
  • 1 (14-ounce) can light coconut milk
  • 1/2 can tomato paste
  • 1 cup 2% reduced-fat milk
  • 3 limes for juice
  • 1 tablespoon minced fresh cilantro
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • extra ginger to taste
  • udon noodles - cooked and drained. (as much as you want...really noodle-y or not so noodle-y?)


To prepare marinade, peel shrimp, reserving shells. Combine shrimp and next 8 ingredients (shrimp though garlic) in a large zip-top plastic bag; seal and marinate in refrigerator 30 minutes.

To prepare the shrimp stock, combine the reserved shrimp shells, water, wine and tomato paste in a large Dutch oven. Bring mixture to a boil. Reduce heat; simmer for 10-15 minutes). Strain mixture through a sieve over a bowl, and discard solids.

To prepare the soup, heat olive oil in a large Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, and sauté 8 minutes or until browned. Add all shrimp stock, coconut milk, and tomato paste, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Bring to a boil. Add reduced-fat milk. Add to pan; reduce heat, and simmer. Add udon noodles. Add shrimp and marinade, and cook 5 minutes. Stir in 1 tablespoon lime juice, 1 tablespoon cilantro, and salt. Add more S&P to taste as needed.

mine came out great even though i chose to make it more soup-y instead of bisque-y! :) enjoy!

A Month Away is Love Day

click on it to open it and make it bigger - set it as your desktop background for love season :)

see michelle's here!!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

12 things I love right now

  1. My 2010 Sarah Pinto Planner - get one for yourself! they are adorable!
  2. Red and lavender together. oh how i love you. this room just needs a few more pops of red - perfection.
  3. This is a cabinet dedicated to sprinkles and fancy dessert decorations - i want it. now.
  4. These are just SO pretty - i'd love for these to be hanging from the ceiling at a party or wedding i throw or attend!
  5. Champagne diamonds - stacked. i die.
  6. A beautifully simple cake - k.rose cakes - she is in DC, people!!!!!!!!!!!!
  7. Peonies - they look so light and fluffy and lovely
  8. Lipgloss - don't get me started. i might as well post a "12 lipglosses that i love right now" blog - thats how much i love it.
  9. Cooking Light magazine - delicious, healthy recipes - perfect for after a heavy duty eating season
  10. E-sessions or love shoots with balloons - so fun and carefree and PERFECT
  11. Kitchenaid mixer - dear God, please send me one from above. i'll be good and make plenty of yummy treats. this is #1 on my "things to buy myself" list - need to save up for this pretty machine
  12. Wii! My new obsession - i don't know how it took me SO LONG to actually play, but i started over the holiday season (after taking two years to get over my hatred for video games...) and i LOVE LOVE LOVE it! sore arm though....haha
read from left to right and then onto the next line! :)

Me & You

I just think this is precious :)

this weekend, me and the boyf are headed to the beach (i looooove the beach in the refreshing) for some relaxation! I'd love to start a new book :)
only 3 more days....

(picture from here)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Eye Candy

i know the holidays are over and we have to wait a WHOLE YEAR for them to roll around again, but i couldn't help but to post this gorgeous piece of eye candy as an idea for next year!

the colors are beautiful, and the ornament wall art is amazing. i love.


this is terrible, but please roam over to my friend Alex's bloggy for a real treat!

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

twenty ten - my words

2010 - I have decided to come up with words to theme my year!

ready for them??

Frugality & Abundance

seem like opposites don't they? i will make them work together.

Frugality is the practice of

1. Acquiring goods and services in a restrained manner,and
2. Resourcefully using already owned economic goods and services, to achieve a longer term goal

1. A great or plentiful amount.
2. Fullness to overflowing: "My thoughts . . . are from the abundance of my heart" (Thomas De Quincey).
3. Affluence; wealth.

frugality because in 2009, especially, i kept finding myself making purchases "because i can" - when in reality, i can't. one day i need to buy a house!
Sure, I have a million pairs of cute shoes and plenty of cute jewelry and clothing...but really, where does that get me? Why not spend money on a useful hobby? My current hobbies include crafts which i can double as jewelry (which are somewhat expensive, but well worth the time and money in the end!) and cooking!!! I'd love my own set of kitchen supplies - nice ones. not hand-me-down knives that chop my fingers off at every opportunity.
for right now, i don't need these things. i will use what i have, when i can, to make do. and i will spend wisely, "because i can."

abundance because i need to learn about to continue to live the crazy life i currently do, in a healthier manner. i know, i know - everyone wants to be healthy in the new year. but i will look at it differently, i need to live with an abundance of heart, while working my way up to affluence and wealth. I will work hard to reach my goals, they are important to me. in 2010, i'll take/give all the overflowing love that I can :) and if you want to give me money, i'll take that too!

combining these two should give me a pretty healthy balance of what my life should be this next year - i think it'll be just perfect!

Monday, January 4, 2010

Vanilla cupcakes with lemon buttercream

holy deliciousness!

these are BY FAR the most fluffy cupcakes i've eaten to date! and so easy to make (even I didn't mess up this time!)

Vanilla Cupcakes with Lemon Buttercream! I adapted the vanilla buttercream recipe for a lemon flavor!

Magnolia’s Vanilla Cupcakes:

  • 1 1/2 cups self-rising flour*
  • 1 1/4 cups all purpose flour
  • 2 sticks butter (softened)
  • 2 cups suger
  • 4 eggs (at room temp)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

In a small bowl combine the flours and set aside.

In a large bowl use an electric mixer to cream the butter until smooth. Gradually add the sugar and beat until fluffy. Add the eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Add the dry ingredients in 3 parts, alternating with the milk and vanilla. With each addition, beat until the ingredients are incorporated. Spoon the batter into the cupcake liners, filling them about 3/4 full. Bake for 20 minutes.

Adapted to be Lemon instead of Vanilla: Lemon “Buttercream”:

  • 2 sticks unsalted butter (softened)
  • 1 box of confectioners’ sugar
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons lemon extract

Place the butter in a large mixing bowl. Add the sugar and then the milk and extracts. Beat with an electric mixer until smooth and creamy, about 3 to 5 minutes until the icing is thick enough to be piped. After frosting these cupcakes I sprinkled some clear sugar crystals on top of each.

*I am told self-rising flour can be purchased, however, when I did not see it at my local grocery store I went ahead and made it myself without much trouble. The standard rule is for every one cup of self-rising flour your recipe calls for add 1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder + 1/2 teaspoon of salt to 1 cup of all purpose flour and sift.

Yellow food dye for the icing
colorful sprinkles! - in my eyes, not optional. essential.

both pb&j cupcakes and vanilla cupcakes! mmmmm!!

It's Peanut Butter Jelly Time!

I had a massive craving for a Peanut Butter & Jelly Sandwich on NYE, Eve!

So, being the new domestic deev that i am - i made them into CUPCAKES for Michelle's party!

They turned out awesome! and once again, i have to give credit to Martha for these babies! I found them here at 52 cupcakes!

here is the recipe - i followed it exactly (with a few usual. baking is HARD, ok!?)

Peanut Butter Cupcakes


Makes 18
1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) unsalted butter, softened
1 1/3 cups sugar
2/3 cup natural, creamy peanut butter
3 large eggs
1/2 cup sour cream
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
Peanut Butter Frosting
Strawberry jam, for topping


Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line standard muffin tins with paper liners.

Whisk dry ingredients in a large bowl. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer until light and fluffy. Add peanut butter. Add eggs, 1 at a time, beating after each addition. Mix sour cream and vanilla.

Add dry ingredients to mixture. Scrape sides of bowl.

Divide batter among muffin cups, filling each 2/3 full.

Bake cupcakes until testers inserted into centers come out clean, about 20 minutes. Let cool in tins on wire racks.

Once cupcakes are cool, frost tops with peanut butter frosting. Place a dollop of jam in center of frosting. Decorated cupcakes will keep, covered and refrigerated, for up to 2 days.

Peanut Butter Frosting and Jelly


Makes about 3 cups
6 ounces cream cheese
1/3 cup confectioners' sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup creamy peanut butter (not natural)
1/2 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1/2 cup heavy cream


Beat cream cheese and confectioners' sugar with a mixer on medium speed. Add salt, then peanut butter, then vanilla. Whisk cream until soft peaks form, and then fold into peanut butter mixture. Use immediately, or cover and refrigerate for up to 2 days. (Bring to room temperature, and beat on low speed until smooth before using.)

Final result - amazing