Wednesday, December 22, 2010

New Things, and Roasted Cornish Game Hen

What with my new-ish job (math teacher at Scottsdale Prep Academy), I haven't been able to blog much, but we've had such a charmed life this last few months - I can't complain! A 2.5 week trip to Europe...

...some weekend trips (below is one of our many to California)...

...buying several pieces of furniture for our home (including the West Elm Andalusia rug that I ADORE!!)...

...and lastly (and most recently) acquiring a new dog, Ted.

Teddy is a rescued Wheaten, and we are IN LOVE WITH HIM! He is such a doll, and a total marshmallow; he loves to snuggle and most importantly, he love to play with our sweet Lucy!

They play so well together, it's such a blessing to us. What with Lucy taking up less of our time (thanks Ted!!), I've been able to be more domestic. Though I always feel like I'm not domestic enough (How DO those women hand make every meal/cake/card/gift and then have a perfectly organized and clean home, and perfect kids and they look perfect b/c they have enough time to go to the gym in their perfect life?!?! They must go to bed EXHAUSTED every night! Worth it? I don't know...), I have been improving. Yesterday evening I tried, successfully, to roast 2 Cornish Game Hens. It was an interesting recipe, and b/c I am not as awesome as the aforementioned super-women, I was out of a few ingredients and had to substitute. However, the meal looked and tasted fantastic!

The game hens did not brown the way I would have preferred, but not bad for a first try! I served them with a spinach cranberry salad and a wild rice blend. I roasted the hens (stuffed with lemon, garlic and rosemary, of course - and rubbed with olive oil salt and pepper) for about an hour (until internal temp reached 165, the standard temp for whole poultry) and then used the runoff to make a light gravy. It was uber-simple and easy to do. I found that one hen feeds us quite well for 1 meal, and we shall have delicious leftovers for tonight!

I am hoping to try some amazing new recipes after Christmas (including the green curry masterpiece pictured below!!).

Hopefully I'll be able to keep up with the blogging, but we shall see. I have 3 or 4 weddings to attend in the near future (here I come, crafty, hand-made gifts... NOT!), as well as about 1 billion evaluations of students to complete. However, I think I need to make more time for this, it's such an amazing de-stresser. Meanwhile, if I could wear any outfit I wanted to the weddings this season, it would have to be this amazing ensemble:

The Chanel earrings and Valentino clutch are just TOO amazing (read: TOO EXPENSIVE!!), and you can't have a wedding without a dance to classic Dean Martin tunes. Ahhhh, outfit bliss!

And as if this post didn't have enough seemingly random photos for you, here's another...

This is our Christmas tree this year. It had an adorable little snowman skirt, but Lucy and Ted thought it was their "play-mat" so we had to pull it up. Not bad for a cheap-o tree! And we had such a fun time decorating it! (Thanks for your help, Tovah!)

Until I have the chance to blog again, I'll leave you with a few Europe photos...

On the beach in Alicante, Spain:

Nice, France; with the Mediterranean in the background:

And the whole crew in front of Buckingham Palace!

Until next time, Ciao!!

Sunday, September 12, 2010

Our Bedroom... I wish

After having a wonderful party here last night, it became apparent how much I have neglected our bedroom in our renovations... I felt bad for the actual room as I showed our guests on a "tour" of our home. I quickly rushed guests past the door because the rest of the home is so much grander. That being said, I think it is time to begin brainstorming about bedroom spaces...

I only have a few requirements... I want a somewhat neutral color scheme, and an elegant, rich feel. I want to feel like my bedroom is a luxurious retreat, not JUST a style statement. That being said, the above picture is serving as inspiration for me (the early-American look just gets me... big surprise). I'm looking at possible layouts and textiles, but would REALLY appreciate any suggestions. So... here we go again!

Thursday, August 12, 2010

A smattering of all things grilled...

I'm BACK! Wow, its been tooo long since I blogged last and BOY have I missed it! I have been doing a bit of everything in my time away: remodeling my kitchen, starting a new job, helping my dad recover from brain surgery, and curing cancer (3 truths, one lie - you decide). I've been cooking up a storm, and I have so much to share, I'm not sure which recipe to share here tonight.

I've been doing a lot of grilling, since my energy plan includes on-peak hours from 3PM to 6PM and our AC is set to 84 degrees (read: hotter than hell and last thing on my mind is cooking ANYTHING). Consequently, I have been honing my grilling skills to near perfection - totally kidding. I was never much of a "griller" (this word sounds like one of those words that may have an alternate cultural meaning of which sheltered-me is unaware...), as my dad was always the grill master in my home, and I never wanted to sit outside and sweat while I watched him cook.

I really don't know how effective it will be to write about how to grill though... I am a teacher by trade, and it makes me ashamed to say: I am a bad cooking teacher. I never measure, I never time things, I never have any foolproof way to set someone up for success. I taste test, I watch the food, I try for good color, and somehow I never end up butchering anything too badly, or burning anything, or serving something undercooked. I think the gods and goddesses of cooking have smiled upon me, and for that, I am grateful (and so is my full-bellied hubby!)

I tried some awful things on the grill this summer, including my "Keilbasa, Chicken Tomato and Garlic kabobs." Because I have to keep my weight and calories down due to my osteoarthritis, I choose not to add fat/sugar to anything I grill (read: no butter, very little basting sauce). These kabobs were so dry, I thought I was chewing on sawdust with a nail here and there. They were terrible. However, I did recover some grilling dignity with chicken...

Chicken is my go-to protein. White meat is lean and nutritious, not to mention quite tasty when prepared correctly. We try to stay away from red meat (although, what's the point of life without the occasional steak?!), and I don't think I've EVER bought pork. We also LOVE fish: Mahi Mahi, Orange Roughy, Talapia, and Cod are some of our faves. I have had success with all meats on the grill this summer, but chicken is by far the most convenient way to go. Since the installation of our second income (hooray!), we have had enough money to shop like we've always wanted (read: how I'VE always wanted) for food. I love to by local, in-season, and organic - but it's expensive, and sometimes not very accessible. However, I have been able to find most of what we want between Sunflower Market, Sprouts, Trader Joe's and the Guadalupe farmers market (if you haven't been there... GO!! With a buddy, ladies.... it's a little sketchy).

All that to say, we have been living off fresh, local fruits and veggies and organic, grass-fed, free range chicken for the last month (why yes, I DID just take a job in Scottsdale, lol!). And do you know what? I can tell a huge difference. The chicken has better flavor and consistency, it cooks more evenly and the portions are more appropriately sized (processed chicken breasts are about DOUBLE the portion size you should have = 4 oz.). The veggies are crisper, and though many don't have the "right colors" on the outside, the inside is tasty and delicious!

Grilling veggies is a snap, and it has become a nightly staple in our home. Crank up the grill to medium high, and chop up some of your faves. Toss them in a bit of EVOO and whatever spices you like, throw them in a grill basket and let them brown. They will blow you away! I always try to include some garlic cloves (halved) and separated pieces of quartered onions to intensify the flavorings of the more bland veggies (zucchini, cucumbers, etc.).

Also, you can't go wrong by marinating chicken. Take it out of the freezer and let it thaw overnight. Throw it into a bowl with your favorite marinade - I like Lawry's Baja Lime Chipotle (reserve a little for basting later!) and let it soak while you're at work. When you come home, fire up the grill and go for it! It will be easy and satisfying... and it will keep your home form turning into your own personal sauna (as mine is apt to do).

I also did a few crock-pot masterpieces (as my husband says) this summer while I was prepping for the new job. One of which was "Garlic Chicken with Italian Beans." I cannot take credit for inventing this one (thanks, Betty Crocker!!), but I did modify it a bit - don't I always?? I served it for 18 people in my home last Monday, and get this: I was not home all day! I know croc-pots are "set it and forget it" appliances, but when is that really the way it works? Usually there's SOME prep and post work to do, but not this time! I walked in the door, changed clothes, welcomed my guests, and served dinner! AWESOME! I think this one deserves a post all to itself though, so I'll have to leave you in what is, I'm sure, mouth-watering suspense.

So, if you haven't grilled this summer, give it a go! You'll save some $$ on energy, some time on dishes (nobody has to wash a grill!), and it'll look like a million bucks (especially if you can learn to make the little cross-hatched grill marks). I am SO glad to get back to blogging again, and I can't wait to post my back-log of recipes! But for now, you can bet that grilled veggies and chicken will be on this kitchen table for two tonight!

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Projects, projects, projects!!

So, my kitchen is stuck in the 1970s. If it could talk, it would ask me for new linoleum and beg me to put in shag carpeting. And upon seeing the successful remodel of my cousin, Aaron and his girlfriend, Erin's house, I was inspired to just start. I've been putting off starting or almost 6 months. It's such a large project, and I'll admit... it intimidates me. I am a perfectionist (see earlier posts), so I'm always second guessing myself, wondering if I will actually like the finished product, or if I will end up nit-picking it for the rest of my life (in this house). I want it to look professionally done, and I want to be prepared. Also... I want it finished. One of my biggest pet peeves is unfinished projects; it's not over until everything is finished and cleaned up. If it's not a permanent fix, it's not done (read: no jury-rigging). So, with about 6 weeks to go until teacher in-service begins... I am starting. I hope 6 weeks will be enough time for me!

Other projects I would like to complete this summer are as follows:
**Refinish a pair of lamps that are about to become candle holders (strange, I know, but i promise they'll be cute - I just KNOW it!)
**Paint the frame of a garage-sale, beveled-edged mirror purchased about a year ago.
**Hang pictures and buy/make matching sheet sets for the extra bedroom
**Paint fame of another Goodwill (actually, Gracie's Thrift Store) picture to go in my kitchen
**Continue my Craigslist search for 2 reading chairs and a side table to finish off my sitting room
**Re-finish the coffee table that will be in our family room after Lucy has completely finished teething

I know there is no way all of these will get done, but it gives me something to work for. I am a list person; If I have a list, I know I will get things done because I just LOVE to cross things out. I'm sick, I know. I also have a larger/more expensive list of things to do to our home that I'm slowly putting away money for. Since I'm in list-making mode, here goes...

**Re-finish/re-paint/recover my dining room table and chairs (see previous post)
**New refrigerator: stainless steel, with water dispenser in door, and freezer on the bottom
**Deep freeze for garage
**Solar water heater: b/c I love the Earth =)
**New A/C unit (desperate need, our is soooo old and inefficient)
**2" wood blinds for the remaining 2 windows (not standard size anymore, so they'll be $$$)
**Cabinets for laundry nook (for storing mops/brooms/cleaning supplies, etc.)
**Scrape Asbestos pop-corn ceilings and re-plaster/re-paint (have done this before, not difficult, just time consuming) in the remaining 3 rooms
**Paint pantry doors with magnetic chalkboard paint (fun!!)
**Screen door for front door
**Double pane windows throughout the house ($$$$$$$$!!!! Thus, this will NEVER get done)
**Paint our bedroom/bathroom
**Replace mirror and light fixture in guest bathroom
**Paint guest bathroom
**Hang pictures in hallway
**New interior doors/door hardware (old, nasty, brown slab-doors replaced with white 6-paneled doors and brushed-stainless knobs)
**Valence for front window (Can't find anything I like well enough...)
**Porch swing for front porch
**New shower head for guest bath
**Replace/repaint closet doors in both bedrooms
**Replace destroyed carpet (read: six men used to live here...)
**Add a make-shift floor to attic so we can actually USE it
**Ceiling fan/light fixture for extra bedroom
**Ceiling fan/light fixture that DIDN'T come from and industrial warehouse for our bedroom
**New dishwasher or stainless-steel cover for the existing one
**Replace cafeteria fluorescent lighting in my kitchen with either a sky-light or trendy track lighting
**Replace poorly-done wooden archway framing with actual molding (read: EXPENSIVE!!!)
**Re-cover couch in something that ISN'T plaid...
**New washing machine when the old one finally gives out (which is hopefully never!!)
**Add curbing/brick border to backyard
**Grass inside the new curbing/brick border
**Rock surrounding the new curbing/brick border (Craigslist! People just give this stuff away!!)
**Rip out old pool?? (For those of you who don't know... I have a diving pool in my backyard... that is filled in to the tile with dirt. Also, there are two 5 foot palm trees growing in the deep end. That's how long it's been sitting like that. According to the neighbors, The guy who owned the place about 15 years ago was the one who filled in the pool - IDIOT!! Seriously, check it out on Google Earth if you have my address... It'll give you a laugh.)
**Plant citrus/ficus trees in the backyard for shade
**Re-paint shed
**Replace rotting backyard gate
**New roof (this is becoming a pressing need... Either that, or we need a permanent drought)

Holy WOW! What a list. Will that ever all be done? NO WAY. I know enough about Real Estate to know that all of these improvements will make us beyond over-improved for the neighborhood. But, there are some that we will work towards, and others, I'm sure, that will fall by the wayside. It has been, and will continue to be a fun adventure fixing up this house. And while the plan is to move away from here eventually and rent out this place, I am mature enough to know that sometimes life throws you curves that change your plans. For all I know, we could grow old, retire, and die in this house. And if we do, I think I maybe, just MIGHT be able to get through most of this list =)

A home is such a fun project to work on. It's always in front of you, always giving my more and more ideas to add to your ever growing list. Not to mention, its a blast working with your honey on home projects. We just cleaned out and set up our 3rd bedroom this last Saturday and we loved spending the time together. Whoever said that re-modeling would press your marriage to the breaking point (and MANY people have told me this), should maybe have a chat with their partner bout expectations before you jump right in. These projects ought to be fun, and with good communication, they will be! All I know is that Eric and I can't wait to see what projects a Saturday (or in the case of the kitchen cabinets, SEVERAL Saturdays) might bring.

If you have any tips/thoughts/feelings on house projects or anything I've specifically mentioned, please feel free to share!! I love new ideas and thoughts on how to save myself time, energy, and money! =) And to all you other project-lovers out there, happy DIY-ing and make sure to share your stories with me! Wish me luck as I endeavor my first HUGE project! =)

I'm freaking out, here! I'm taking "before" pics, and I'm wondering... Am I doing the right thing? I mean, I hate the way they look right now... but in the pics they look so pretty. Sheesh! I'm glad a friend is helping me tomorrow, she can offer me moral support and guidance during this understandably difficult transition ;) Here's hoping for the best!!

Friday, June 4, 2010

Chicken Artichoke Pinwheels

Ok.... So it's been FOREVER since I've been able to get two seconds to myself to blog! I'm not sure who said that Summer time means more free time and less to do, but they clearly were living in an alternate reality! Eric and I have had two mini-trips in the past month (hallelujah! They were much needed), and many many events to attend. Apparently, tis the season to get married and have babies because between all of the different wedding showers, baby showers, weddings, birthdays, and other holidays (read: Mother's day, Father's day, etc.). My budget is down to about $7.50 per event. Sorry everyone, but that's what you're getting. A big, fat check for $7.50. Feel free to see half of a movie on us. ;)

I also officially signed my contract with Scottsdale Preparatory Academy for Fall 2010, as a math instructor (woo hoo!). This means that I will be spending 6+ hours every day with hormonal teenagers trying to teach them something they don't want to learn. Yet somehow, I'm still very excited! So, my free time is feeling even more at risk, with the impending school in-service start date of July 28... *deep breath* But, I'm enjoying what I have for now.

I love, Love, LOVE to cook! However, I have some other passions that I have been indulging lately, the most interesting of which are my DIY projects. I am a newlywed, therefore I am poor. Now, do not mistake me, I have plenty to get by, and we live quite a comfortable life. However, when we got married and moved in together we had about 4 items of furniture between the two of us, and about 1700 square feet of space to fill. Also, if you don't know me, I am particular. I want a certain look in my house; I want things to fit together. Since my look is waaaaay beyond my budget, I either have to save up my money and buy one piece of furniture from Pottery Barn every 7 years, or... I have to DIY (for all the non-HGTV people out there this means "do it yourself") project the crap out of old things to make them new again!

Of late, I have re-finished a few picture frames, some wall-sconces, and am currently attempting a coffee table (finally! hooray!). Next up... my kitchen table *insert foreboding music here* This is a MASSIVE undertaking. Mostly because my table (with all the leaves in place) is not just a table for two (I know, I know, false advertising...). In fact, it is over 12 feet long, and according to Ms. Manners (who says you can seat 1 person every 24 inches along a table), it can potentially seat up to 14 people!!! Dinner Party at my house! You may ask yourself how we came to be in possession of such a grossly over-sized table for our modest 1700 square feet. It was a gift. No, not even to me, but to my husband and his roommates, none of whom wanted it when they moved out. This originally saddened me, as the 70's retro fabric on the chairs and the 80's-themed, paint-speckled finish on the wood didn't exactly "go" with the rest of my home. However, I started searching craigslist for tables of similar size and flexibility (ours can become perfectly square as well, when you remove all of the leaves), and found that people do no make quality tables anymore... at least, not at this size. Even Costco, the expert in over-sized everything, does not offer a table that seats more than 8, and even those run over 3k! So.... It will be repurposed. As the wood is in terrible condition, it will have to be painted, rather than refinished (which saddens my heart - never, I repeat, NEVER paint over perfectly good wood!!) But, all around, painting is easier - so I am thankful.

As DIY projects have consumed me, I have been making list after list of delicious recipes that need to fill this blog. However, I think I'd be typing til doomsday if I tried to post everything original that I end up cooking. Thus, I shall have to choose the best recipes, and maybe someday I'll get to all of the other delicious things that come across our table...

That being said, on deck for today... Chicken Artichoke Pinwheels! These arose form one of those nights where we had about 5 things in our refrigerator and no $ left in the grocery budget (why do I feel like that happens so often??). Since I'm not free to eat whatever I like, and have to keep to specific caloric-intake regimens (read: "my life is no fun"), I have to be choosy about what I eat and when. Here is the perfect recipe for all you low-cal peeps out there! This delish main dish is only 360 calories! Plus it packs a ton a fresh ingredients and "good fats" (the mono-unsaturated kind... Dr. Oz would be so proud of me!) Ready? Here we go!


2 Single Chicken Breasts

4 Artichoke hearts

1/4 cup Prart-Skim Mozzarella cheese (shredded)

2 Roma Tomatoes

3 Green Onion Spriggy-Thingys (chopped)

1 Tbsp EVOO

6 Cloves Garlic

1/4 Cup Chicken Stock


2 Tbsp flour

1/4 Cup Dry Red Wine

What I Did:

1. Use a meat tenderizer (or a hammer covered in a ziplock baggie... I know... ghetto) to flatten both chicken breasts.

2. Cover each chicken breast with the following: a clove each minced garlic, 1 roma tomato, 2 artichoke hearts, and 1/2 the chopped green onions. Sprinkle each breast with the mozzarella cheese.

3. Carefully roll the chicken breasts up and secure with tooth picks. This is the hardest part - however, if you've done a good job flattening your meat, it should be relatively simple.

4. Drizzle some EVOO into a medium sized skillet and allow to heat. Once the oil is nice and hot (look for ripples on the surface). Mince in your remaining garlic cloves.

5. Place your chicken rolls in the pan and let 'em brown! There will be a lot of popping and sizzling here, so have a lid handy. Brown the chicken rolls on all sides. When chicken rolls are brown, add the stock to the pan and reduce heat to a simmer. Turn the chicken every once in a while while you allow it to cook through (probably about 10 mins, depending on the thickness of your roll) in the stock.

6. Once most of the stock has cooked away, your chicken ought to be cooked. If you're not sure, give it a slice and make sure there chicken is white throughout. When cooked, remove chicken rolls from pan. Add the flour and red wine to the same skillet and whisk to thicken. Make sure you scrape all the little bits from the bottom of the pan - this will pick up all of the flavors from the pan and add them into your sauce (fancy-schmancy term for this: de-glazing).

7. Once your sauce is about the consistency of gravy, pull it off the heat. Slice chicken rolls short-ways, producing the "pinwheel" shape. Serve with red-wine gravy on the side/over the top.

Ta-da! =) The beauty of this recipe is that you can stuff a chicken pinwheel with ANYTHING! Got mushrooms? Spinach? Gourmet Cheese? Go for it! I can't wait to try this again with different stuffings. Best of all, the calorie counts are based on 1 stuffed chicken breast per serving (meaning this recipe makes 2 servings)! So, have half of this delicious recipe and get ready to fill yourself up guilt-free with only 360 calories! I recommend serving this with a toss salad in vinaigrette dressing. A filling dinner for under 500 calories always sounds good to this girl! Chicken Artichoke Pinwheels... that's what's on our Kitchen Table for Two (or Fourteen...) tonight!!

Monday, May 10, 2010

Lemon Garlic Grilled Asparagus

I have a problem. I am a garlic ADDICT. Rarely is there ever a dinner in our home that does not in some small way include this heavenly spice. So, when I stumbled upon a way to make an otherwise bland (in my humble oppinion) veggie into a fantastic side dish using my dear beloved garlic, I knew I'd need to share!

I must admit, however, this recipe is not my own. It belongs to an adorable couple who I am blessed to be related to: Aaron and Ami Rodriguez. Ami walked me through my first time making this yumm-o recipe on our recent California vacation, and I have made it twice since arriving home!

I have slightly tweaked the recipe, but the jist of it, and all of the credit is due to Aaron and Ami (my suspicion is that Ami is truly the brains of the operation!). Here's what I do:


1 bunch of fresh Asparagus

10 cloves of Garlic, finely chopped

splash of EVOO

1 Lemon quartered

1 Ziplock gallon sized freezer bag, or similar

Parmesan Cheese for zest!

What I did:
1. Wash the asparagus and trim off butt-ends (only about 1/2 an inch)

2. Combine asparagus, chopped Garlic, and splash of EVOO in gallon Ziplock bag, mix well. Don't be afraid to mush it around really good! Let stand for 10 minutes

3. Heat grill to medium-high heat. When hot, use TONGS to remove asparagus from the bag and place it on the grill. *** BE CAREFUL!! Oil is FLAMMABLE -do not be like me and burn off all your arm hair by pouring the asparagus out of the bag and torching yourself!

4. Use the remainder of the oil/garlic mixture to baste over the asparagus as it blackens. Squeeze lemon quarters over the asparagus while rotating to ensure even cooking. Grill for about 5 minutes, until Asparagus is tender.

5. Remove asparagus from grill, sprinkle with Parmesan Cheese and serve!

One bunch of asparagus will yield about 5/6 servings. This makes a great side dish to any dinner, but especially a BBQ dinner! Aaron and Ami made it as a complement to my Uncle Ron's BBQ sauce-less ribs, and it was delicious! **So were the ribs!! I'm going to have to try and make those at home soon!**

This side is also good for you, as it is a full serving of delicious veggies and it's only about 95 calories! And I must say, I've never been a big believer in asparagus without loads of cheesy sauce (which = loads of calories), until now. Ladies and Gents, Lemon Garlic Grilled Asparagus; That's what's on our Kitchen Table for Two tonight!!

**Special thanks to Aaron, Ami, Aunt Susan, Uncle Jon, Lauren, and Uncle Ron (for the rib recipe), for making our vacation such fun! We love you!!

Curried Chicken Salad

This lunch staple packs a filling punch with a mere 247 calories!! It's a one stop shop for a balanced and filling meal that you can make up to a week ahead of time. Working moms, career gals, look no further for a satisfying lunch!!

**N.B. I apologize for the poor picture quality. As gnomes have misplaced my camera cord (yes, gnomes - I have an infestation. They misplace things of mine all the time... my phone, bobby pins, etc.), I was forced to text this picture to my email and upload it, hence the poor quality of my cell phone camera (although it does add a certain "retro" flavor to the blog, it's very "MySpace 1999...")**

Anyway... My first delicious taste of a dish similar to this was on Orient Beach, St. Maarten. My mom and I were wandering down the beach (on the top ten list of worlds most beautiful beaches, fyi!), starting to get hungry when we spotted a little hut built right into the sand. When I say "hut," I mean "hut." This little place was no more that 15 feet x 15 feet square, with the ground floor open to the breeze, and the upper deck without railings or chairs, just little pillows for sitting (Moroccan style!). We sat on the upper deck, ordered something we couldn't pronounce and waited. What we got was something that resembled chopped chicken and apples in a curry sauce, served in a pita. It. Was. Delicious!! ever since then, I have been trying to re-create it at home, and I have officially come up with the perfect recipe =)

Like I said before, this is a balanced meal (food from every color and food group), and its filling! Imagine that... healthy food that's actually filling within one serving size! Woohoo! Alert the media!! So here's what I do:


2 Chicken breasts, chopped

1 splash of EVOO

2 Granny Smith Apples, chopped

1 handful of Raisins

1 cup Celery, chopped

1.5 cups Almonds, crushed

4 Tbsp Low-Fat Mayo or Mayo Substitute

4 Tbsp Curry Powder (buy 2 little Tampico packets, only $1.75 as opposed to the $145.76 jars on the spice aisle!)

What I do:
1. Saute chopped Chicken Breasts in a splash of EVOO and 2 tbsp Curry Powder until the pieces are no longer pink in center, set aside.

2. In medium size mixing bowl, combine Mayo and remaining 2 tbsp Curry Powder until thoroughly mixed.

3. Add the cooked Chicken, chopped Apples, Raisins, Almonds, and Celery to the curried-Mayo and mix well with spatula. Refrigerate.

THREE steps?! AWESOME!! For me, texture is key; that's why I love the crunchy/chewy nature of this recipe. Its totally versatile as well. Don't like raisins? Leave them out, or substitue another dried fruit of similar size. Hate celery? Try subbing cauliflower in its' place! There's a million ways to do it, just pick your favorite.

Here's the best, Best, BEST part for me: this recipe makes 7 (that's right S-E-V-E-N) huge sized portions. That's one for every day of the week! Here's another kicker: each serving had only 247 measly little calories! Add a 100 calorie sandwich roll (I recommend 100% Whole Wheat Oroweat Sandwich Thins-find them in the bread aisle), pita, or tortilla (or two!), and you've got yourself a filling lunch for only 350 calories! Who doesn't love that?? Everyone can get behind a meal that's easy to prepare, lasts all week (without getting mushy, whoohoo!), tastes great, and is great for you!

I make it at least twice a month, and it never gets old because you can change it up every single time! Got kiddos? Try packing all the ingredients in their lunch separately and asking them to mix it together in the cafeteria. Send a tortilla with them and voila! Instant healthy lunch-able with about half the calories for about half the price, and double the nutrition!

Add in your favorite veggies, or dried fruits and let me know what you think! Ladies and Gents, I give you Curried Chicken Salad! And that is what's on our Kitchen Table for Two tonight!!

Saturday, May 8, 2010

I'll have the Monte Cristo Sandwich...

...and one order of congestive heart failure please. That is how one should be required to order this particular entree at the Blue Bayou in Disneyland. As my husband and I just returned from two wonderful days at the park, I cal tell you this: we walked over 5 miles both days, and I have still gained approximately 27lbs from this sandwich. So why, why on earth would I order such a health risk? It. Tastes. Like. Heaven. I figure, I have this sandwich about once every 3 years, which gives my arteries just about enough time to recover from the damage they sustain every time.

I generally like to keep the recipes on here under about 600 calories a serving. WARNING: The Monte Cristo plate is roughly 1388563239 calories per serving - but worth it, unless your name is Jillian Michaels. If you are not from or have never visited the South, and thus have no knowledge of the Monte Cristo, here's the jist: thinly sliced ham and turkey, and liberal amounts of swiss cheese, layered between two slices of Texas toast and deep fried. In fact, the recipe is so easy I should just call this post finished... However, there are some finer points to perfect Southern Cooking so, here I go!

It is possible to fix restaurant quality food at home, I've made the sandwich at home before, and while it can be quite messy (picture a large grease fire and me with no eyebrows...), the sandwich is worth the effort.


6 thin slices of oven roasted Turkey Breast

6 thin slices of Honeybaked Ham

6 slices of Swiss Cheese (notice I left off the "thin" qualifier? ALWAYS go liberal with cheese)

12 slices of Texas Toast (use nice thick white bread, people!)

Powdered Sugar and Honey for garnish

1.5 cups Flour

1 tsp. Baking Powder

0.5 tsp. Salt

1.5 cups Water

1 Egg, beaten

Hot Oil for frying


Here's what I did:

1. Prepare batter by sifting Flour, Baking Powder and Salt together. Add Water and Egg to dry ingredients and mix well.

2. Prepare sandwiches for frying by layering the meat and cheese between the two bread slices.

3. Cut the sandwiches into 4 triangles. Using the toothpicks, place one or two through each triangle to hold the "sandwich-ettes" together.

4. CAREFULLY dip the triangles completely into the batter, remove, and fry in hot oil at 360 degrees until golden brown.

5. Remove sandwich-ettes from hot oil, pat dry, sprinkle with powdered sugar, drizzle with honey, and serve.

I personally reccomend serving them with grape jam for dipping (as do many other cooks), and also a side of Garlic Grilled Asparagus (I feel another post coming on!!). They also make a GREAT after-thanksgiving recipe. Lord knows I had ham, turkey and bread coming out my ears last year! And while it might cause your early death, the Monte Cristo Sandwich will certainly make your mouth happy! And that, ladies and gentlemen is what's on our Kitchen Table for Two once every 4 years =)

Friday, April 30, 2010

California, California, here we come!

The time has come. Eric and I have continued a tradition from my family of visiting Disneyland at least once a year and completely obsessing about it at all times when we are not there. Yes, it's true. My name is April, and I am a Disneyland addict. Not to be confused with a Disney addict, who covers their home in mickey mouse deco and wears their mickey ears to church (I have only been known to occasionally wear them to the grocery store... kidding! kind of). I love Disneyland. If you have never been, I am praying that God would allow you to visit that wonderland someday. If you have been, and you have anything childlike in your spirit at all, you know what I'm talking about. From the moment you step onto the ground, you feel it: magic. Not the "hocus pocus" kind that frightens home-schooler moms everywhere (no offense to some wonderful homeschooling mothers out there), but a a feeling of something ideal and nostalgic. No one hurts at Disneyland, everyone smiles - it's like a slice of heaven for me. Costco and Disneyland will surely be in heaven, I am convinced!

From Main Street USA, where everyone is dressed in period clothing, to The Pirates of the Caribbean what smells ever so slightly of mildew (honestly how does it not REAK of mildew? Props, Disney cleaning staff, props!), the presentation of perfection is... perfect. Even though you will inevitably spend more than half of your day in line, people of all ages, races and classes FLOCK there (don't believe me? Check out the attendance stats - crazy!). There's something about Disneyland that speaks to people's hearts, and mine especially.

So, this afternoon, Eric and I and our friend, Rachael (of mushroom Stuffed Shrimp and Lemon Garlic Grilled Artichoke fame) will bea leaving for 5 glorious days to SoCal and Disneyland! First we have the wonderful pleasure of visiting family that I wish Wish WISH lived closer to us. My Aunt Susan, Uncle Jon and their children all live in CA, and I always cherish our times together since they are significantly fewer than those I get with my family here. We even get to BBQ with them on Saturday night! (Hopefully I will be able to blog something about our dinner or the delicious beer my cousin Aaron and his wife Ami are bringing!!) After spending a day or so with our San Diego family, we jet up teh coast to see the Cylwik LA fam! Eric's grandparents and aunt, uncle and cousin live in the LA area, and I think we get to see everyone (including my in-laws who will be there visiting as well, woop woop!).

In short (unlike this post) I'm headed out for a few stress-free, blogging-free days (stress does not equal blogging, thank goodness!). Pray we stay safe on the road, and enjoy the heck out of the family we seldom see. (start sermon-ette here)I will tell you this, if you don't have a GREAT relationship with your family and you can salvage it, you should. Family is irreplaceable and demonstrates the love God has for us in such a tangible way (end sermon-ette here). OK, i'm feeling mushy right now, so I'd better stoop before i end up all weepy on the floor. Jk, that doesn't happen to me... very often.

So for the next few days you will have to wait in suspense to see what crosses our vacation table! I'll give you a taster though... Prepare for a recipe from the Blue Bayou inside the Pirates of the Caribbean!! =) Until next time, happy eating!!

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Costco: Rice-Picker Hats and 10 year old couches...

Costco... home of bulk packs of bread, 57 paper-towel rolls smooshed together into one (still ginormous) package, rice in 10 lb. bags, and lets not forget, aisles and AISLES of samples, served by some sweet old man or woman named Eunice or Bernie...

Costco holds a special place in my heart. The Costco that Eric and I normally frequent has been a place of joy for me since childhood, or rather since the days that it used to be a "Price Club." I have always enjoyed roaming the aisles of the members-only, buy-in-bulk stores. That is, except when I was very small. The forklifts used so scare me with their highly intimidating back-up "beep beep" noises. Now that I've gotten over my machinery-phobia... I have been trying to think about why it is that I love Costco so very much.

I think it is because I have been so used to the store my whole life. We belonged to Price Club, then to Costco (when it switched over), and the to Sam's Club (Boo on all Walton companies!!!), which, thankfully was short-lived.

** Brief sidenote... did you know that most major government institutions who offer reimbursement plans (i.e. Universities, Schools, etc.) for clubs/organizations/teachers will not reimburse you on WalMart purchases because of their poor business practices?? I swear, Google it.

Mooooving on...
In the end, I'm back at Costco and happy as a clam (BTW, who came up with this? Was there a study done on clams and their positive emotions??). Eric's parents have a membership and share it with us (suh-weet!), so we get all the perks of the relationship; gotta love the 'rents. In fact, the first time I ever met my in-laws (ridiculous story about to begin...), we met at a Costco. Eric's big plan was to see how many samples we could trick the old ladies out of (i.e. make multiple rounds), with one catch: Each time you made the rounds you had to wear a ludicrous hat of some sort. We brought a sombrero and a trucker hat, Eric's parents brought an Asian Rice-Picker hat. We. Looked. Insane. But we had a blast and Betty, the Pot Sticker lady, gave us extra food for our (and I quote) "gumption." And now I'm related to these people =)

I also love the food court!! Hebrew National Hot Dog with soda for $1.50?! Welcome back to 1978 prices, people! The turkey wrap is a pretty healthy option at only 500ish calories (if you remove the cheese), and I usually can't even finish it all. It makes for a super-sweet date night! and super easy on the wallet region! We make the rounds for samples and catch a quick bite if we are still hungry.

Now we get to the meat (no pun intended... kinda) of the Costco deal - everything in the aisles! We have purchased the following from Costco since our marriage (that i immediately recall):

Living Room light fixture
Kitchen Sugar/Flour Jars
A Lifetime supply of Printer Paper and Paper Towels, and Toilet Paper, and CFL lightbulbs
2 Gym memberships (which we love Love LOVE!!)
A Wii and all associated games and system equipment
A few books
A table
A swimsuit for Eric
And of course.... tons and tons of FOOD!

We have triple checked the deals we are getting and no other retailer can compare. The food deals are rockin' - the meat I can afford to buy at Costco is such better quality than Fry's or even Safeway, plus I get more for my money - love it! Eric loves the 2 gallons of milk deal, as the jury is still out on whether he is part baby cow... (jk). I love the spices and healthy cereals, and the blu ray prices can't be beat.

Also, can we talk about the LIFETIME warranty on everything?!?! Holy wow, what a smokin' deal! We spoke with an associate and asked him the most ridiculous thing he had seen returned during its' lifetime warranty. His answer: a TEN YEAR OLD couch! Yes, friends, ten years ago, a Chandler family bought a couch, kept it until they moved and wanted a new one and returned it, for the same amount they paid ten years ago! What?! Is this illegal?? No, This. Is. Costco. A savvy-shopper's heaven, Costco offers amazing deals to those who are ballsy enough to return a ten year old couch.

And, it's hard not to love a place where people buy food on FLATS. Yes, just like the ones you use at home depot to buy wood, washing machines, showers, and entire backyards. American consumerism, (in Obama's words) yes we can!

I have a hard time imagining the day when my relationship with Costco will come to an end - I feel like that day would also include things like the mountains crashing int the sea or hell freezing over... I like to think God will have a Costco in heaven, just because it brings me so much joy. And on any given day, chances are something from Costco (i.e. food paradise) will be on our Kitchen Table for Two!

Lemon Garlic Grilled Artichokes

On the same adventurous Tuesday as Shrimp Stuffed Mushrooms (see previous post), I saw that my artichokes were on the verge of spoiling (this, by the way is a MORTAL SIN). Since we have been married, I have not once cooked artichokes, largely because they were not in season, but it left me thinking... how to prepare them?

For those of you who do not know, an artichoke is actually a large thistle. The plants look like giant weeds (mostly due to the fact that they ARE giant weeds), and the artichokes are the flowers of the plant. When you buy them in the store, what you a seeing is the bud of the flower. If you let an artichoke go too long without harvesting, it blooms into a lovely flower!

However, if you harvest them on time, they can be some of the most delicious veggies you'll ever have the pleasure eating. Life most veggies, artichokes are quite tough a fiberous, and thus require boiling, roasting, grilling etc. to bring out their softer side. After the artichoke is prepared, you peel off the leaves (you may or may not dip them in some sort of side sauce at this point), and then use your front teeth to scrape off the lower "meaty" part of the leaf. As disgusting/primitive as this sounds.... Artichokes. Are. Delicious. Here's how I prepared them...

2 large artichokes

1 lemon (or equivalent amount of lemon juice)

5 cloves of garlic, minced


2 tbsp butter (the real stuff, trust me on this one)


What I did:
1. Fill a large bowl with ice water and 1/4 of your lemon juice. Slice the artichokes in half (longways) and submerge in ice bath. This will not only help infuse them with lemon flavor, it also keeps them from turning an ugly baby-poo brown while you are cooking them (Food Rule 237: food that resembles baby poo is generally unattractive).

2. While the artichokes soak in their ice bath (always best to pamper the food before cooking), bring a large pot of water to boil on the stove, and begin heating your grill to med-hi. when the water is boiling, plop those suckers into the water and let 'em boil. Give it about 15 minutes.

3. During this time, you'll prepare your grill basting sauce (the extra of which will be your dipping sauce, yay!). In a bowl, mix a few tablespoons of EVOO with the remaining lemon juice and the minced garlic.

4. After 15 minutes, pull the artichokes out of the pot onto a plate and (I feel as though I'm stating the obvious here, but...) BE CAREFUL, they will be extremely hot. At this time you will need to use a spoon to scoop out the "choke." The choke is what would've been the pretty purple leaves and inner middle of the thistle flower, had you let it blossom. Scrape out all the little hairs and purple leaves that surround them.

5. Bast the chokes all over with your lemon garlic sauce, then - Throw them on the BBQ! You want to bbq them for as long as it takes to get the leaves a little singed (probably right around 10 mins). Make sure you rotate them frequently and baste them often, the more you do, the better the flavor.

6. Pull them off the grill and serve with the leftovers of your lemon garlic sauce for dipping. It can also be helpful to provide guests with individual dipping sauces and a bowl for their discarded leaves (otherwise you will end up with drippings on your nice new tablecloth....)

**Remember, when all the leaves are gone, you can still eat what's left! This is called the "heart" of the artichoke. It's just like the meat on the leaves, but without the hassle of all that scraping. Cut it up, dip it, and enjoy!

Eric LOVED them, and Rachael, who had never had one before (SHOCKING, I know!) said they were delish! My mom always boiled artichokes for us when we were younger, and I loved them (thanks, Mom!), but I think I'll be sticking with this recipe from now on; it's got more pizazz, and who doesn't love that??

Lemon Garlic Grilled Artichokes, that's what was on our Kitchen Table For Two on Tuesday!

Shrimp Stuffed Mushrooms

Now to my first recipe! This lovely dish graced our table on Tuesday, and I had the pleasure of getting not only one review of my cooking (Eric's, or course), but two! My lovely friend Rachael eats with us every Tuesday, prior to watching God's gift to television... The Biggest Loser (let the mocking begin!).

My relationship with cooking is largely love/hate. I find a recipe I like (usually online), look at all the ingredients, and then rip it apart (hence, the "hate") and put it back together in a way that better suits my tastes (usually resulting in the "love"). Sometimes I just need a title and I'm good to go! But usually, my lack of creativity forces me to steal a bit from others to make my creations... But really, whose recipes are truly original anymore? It's not like new ingredients are being invented daily! (This is what I tell myself so that I don't feel bad about my theft/destruction-of-others-recipes/lack of creativity problems)

Tuesday I was faced with a particular dilemma: lots of perishable foods in the fridge, and only 2.5 days in which to consume them (due to the impending Disneyland trip!). As a math teacher, I am reducing this to a logic problem: Food to serve about 10 people in my fridge, only 2 remaining dinners before departure... only one conclusion... better find a recipe that uses up a whole lot of the ingredients I have!

Solution: Shrimp Stuffed Mushrooms & Lemon Garlic Grilled Artichokes.

This post will feature what I consider to be the more original of the two - Shrimp Stuffed Mushrooms.

Clearly, this will be my husbands new favorite dish. The marriage of two foods, his love of both rivals his love for me, I am sure. And sadly, God has cursed me with a shellfish allergy (which I occasionally ignore with the usual disastrous consequences...), thus I will be unable to consume the dish, which makes for really difficult critiquing... but I shall press on! Below is how I made it (feel free to rip it apart and customize...).

15ish Shrimp, small, shelled and chopped into itty-bitty pieces

Mushroom Caps (the number will vary depending on the type of shrooms - I used 16 of the small
white ones, but Portabellos could be delish as well! ) <--- really should learn the real names...

EVOO (paying homage to Rachael Ray!)

1/3 cup chopped chives 1 cup Ricotta Cheese (I used the skim variety)

2 tbsp Italian Bread Crumbs 3 cloves Garlic (I literally use this in EVERY recipe, ok...maybe not pancakes... yet)

Various dashes of Salt, Pepper, Nutmeg, Ground Cloves, and Parsley Flakes

What'cha do:

1. Throw a little EVOO into a pan and lightly brown the shroom caps on both sides (bowl side and hat side, respectively). Get the oil a little hot first. You'll know when it's ready when it starts to ripple a bit. If it's popping and smoking, ya over-did it. Start over =)

2. Put toasted shroom caps aside. Add a bit more EVOO to the same skillet (want to retain all the yummy juices of the shrooms for our filling!), and mince the garlic into the skillet. let it sizzle for jut a bit - til you really start to smell the goodness (again, smoke = BAD, watch the heat!).

3. With the heat on medium, add some dashes of Cloves, Nutmeg, Salt, Pepper to the "garlicy" oil. Then add the chives and the shrimp. Toss to coat, and let the shrimp cook. You know when shrimp is done when it turns a nice pretty pinkish color. If it still looks a bit transparent, let 'em go a while longer.

**Sidenote: I feel that shellfish are a bit more difficult to cook than your standard meats. If you undercook them, prepare to spend the night "praying to the porcelain god." If you over cook them, plan on setting aside 3 hours just to chew them. Cooking shrimp well takes practice, so be patient! =)

4. While the shrimp is cooking, preheat the oven to 450. Grease a cookie sheet and prepare to stuff your shrooms with the filling.

5. When the shrimp are done, remove the skillet from the heat. Add your Bread Crumbs, and Ricotta Cheese to the skillet and mix thoroughly (the heat will help the ricotta to spread better). You now have your delicious filling - let the stuffing begin.

6. When your shrooms are stuffed nice and full (pack it in there, friends!), place them on the greased cookie sheet and toss 'em (gently!) into the oven. If you have extra topping or extra shrooms, don't worry! Just spread them on the cookie sheet and bake, somone'll eat 'em! Bake for 9-10 minutes or until tops are golden brown!

Make sure you serve while hot; no one likes a re-warmed mushroom!

If you're looking for a little more mushroom in your stuffed shrooms (you addict!), try chopping up the stems and cooking them with the shrimp in the skillet.

Eric loved them so much he couldn't even tell me because his mouth was continuously full. Rachael loved them too, but suggested I go lighter on the cloves next time. The amounts/types of spices are up to you; thankfully the recipe is super versatile and allows for tons of customization. What do you think? Any thoughts/tips/changes you would make?

Shrimp Stuffed Mushrooms; that's what was on our Table for Two (three!) on Tuesday!

Bang for your buck

After we were first married and I was I trying to create healthy meals for Eric and I, one thing became incredibly clear: healthy food, unlike it's overly-processed lifespan-shortening counterpart (otherwise known as Twinkies...), is EXPENSIVE! Now really America, we want our people healthy, even the first-lady is on a health mission, but we charge $5.00 for a head of cauliflower but you can buy Lay's potato chips 3/$1.00 on Super Bowl Sunday. I firmly believe in a grocery budget (I am a teacher, enough said), but I also firmly believe in living past 40. Hence my dilemma...

Enter the salvation of the fruit and veggie world (no offense to Jesus)... Bountiful Baskets. The most excellent food co-op in the WORLD (i.e. the western USA). Now, when I discovered BB, I was hesitant at first... Food Co-op, I thought? I think you have to live in Portland, wear Birkenstocks, drive a Subaru station-wagon and be one of those, Produce-So-Much-Energy-From-The-Solar-Panels-On-Your-Roof-That-Oregon-Buys-It-Back-From-You kind of people, to be involved in a food co-op... But, I decided to check out the website anyway.

WARNING: For those who are novices at internet surfing, give yourself at least 30 minutes to figure the BB website out on your first try. Or recruit an internet surfing expert (i.e. any 13 year old who you see texting and walking). Even though the program is EXCELLENT, the website is.... horrid, to put it nicely.

Here's the jist: There are people in your area (If you live in WA, OR, CA, ID, UT, or AZ) who are volunteers, and weekly purchase produce in bulk and then sell it for cost to people who sign up for the co-op (that's you!). You have the opportunity to buy produce on a weekly basis-you don't have to buy every week or set up a schedule, just buy on the weeks you choose (i do every other week, sometimes every 3 weeks). It's produce on your schedule- really this is the netflix of produce, if you think about it... For those who live in the areas they serve, they provide a list of pick up sites that you can browse. Find the one nearest your home (usually a park), and sign up. You MUST, (I repeat) MUST pick up your produce on the date/time listed for your pickup site (usually at some horrible hour on a Saturday morning - 7AMish), or it will be donated to a local fire house. You have the option of signing up every Tuesday and Wednesday for a Saturday pick up (see the site's FAQ page for more info), and what you get will amaze you!

You must bring your own container in which to take home your food (like a laundry basket), to your pick up location at the listed time, and you will receive a TON of fresh/delicious produce! You will get 1/2 fruit and 1/2 veggies and a whole lot of nutrition in one big basket! I was skeptical at first regarding the amount of food I would get for the price (basic basket runs $15, certified organic basket is $25), but I was a believer after my first pick up. I received the following in my basket, on my first week:

1 head of cabbage
12 red Russet potatoes
1 head of fennel (I KNOW! Amazing!)
1 head of red-leaf lettuce
1 head of romaine lettuce
1 small crate of grape tomatoes
6 yellow squash
10 (YES, 10!) zucchini stalks
1 bunch of celery
10 apples (Pink Ladies, my FAVE!)
1 bunch of 8 bananas
3 avocados
1 pineapple
2 small crates of blueberries (it just keeps getting better!)
4 pears
And... 3 cartons of strawberries!

And I repeat: ALL FOR $15!!!! Despite the fact that I despised myself a little for being up so early in the morning and not yet retirement age, I found myself thinking on the way home from my first pick-up... Alert the media! Call everyone! Shout it from the roof-tops.... I FOUND CHEAP, HEALTHY FOOD!

The reality is that many, many people were there that morning... all sleepy-eyed and droopy-faced (clearly the honeymoon phase of cheap produce has worn off for them...). BB is clearly no secret, but how do so, so, so many people not know about this service? Hence this post (since this brand new blog must reach so many, haha!).

Now that you are incredibly stoked about BB and you feel the warm happy feeling of bargain-finding/healthy-eating all rolled into one starting to rush over you... here are a few things you should know/tips for using BB.

1. I said it before, but the website SUCKS. Give yourself a while to figure it out - visit the FAQ page... a few times

2. Know that they generally offer additional options to their weekly baskets. These range from a 5 loaf pack of bread, to a Mexican meal pack (think jalapenos, cumin, etc.), to an entire flat (yes! a FLAT) of seasonal fruits. These options are extra, but extremely economical, and will change from week to week. It's a nice little surprise.

3. You don't choose what comes in your basket. What you get is what you get, but it has some perks... you will learn (because you have to) how to fix all kinds of obscure foods in different ways.

4. If, for some reason, you are unable to pick up your produce, it will be donated to the local firehouse. In other words: Be there or be square... and nobody likes a square.

5. Volunteer! The co-ops are run by people just like you, so they ask that you give an hour of service (usually directly before pick up time) every once in a while to say "thanks!"

6. Buy a bigger freezer. No, seriously. These veggies/fruits are an incredible bargain, but unless you are a veritable bottomless-pit, or your last name is Duggar, you will never (I repeat, NEVER) be able to finish them all before they spoil. Get creative... make apple preserves, boil your Swiss chard (Yes! Swiss Chard, hallelujah!) and freeze it as a spinach-substitute for later recipes. Bottom line, clear out the fridge/freezer and prepare for overwhelming awesomeness in veggie form.

7. Don't see a co-op in your area? Start one! Anyone can - just email Sally and Tanya (the founders) and they'll get ya all set up.

I have found that since becoming a convert to the BB religion (joking... kind of...), all I ever buy at the store is chicken, ground turkey, fish, quinoa (look out for a future post!), and brown rice. Unless I go to Costco (another future post coming!), which mandates spending at least $100 before leaving, churro-in-hand. Needless to say, BB and planning all meals in advance (another future post!), has cut my healthy grocery budget in HALF. Thank God, because it was getting outrageous (i.e. I could buy a lot, Lot, LOT of BCBG/JCrew clothing for myself... and for everyone else on earth).

And finally, what you've all been waiting for... the website!! *insert angels singing here*

Check it out (when you have a free 1/2 hour), and let me know what you think! All silliness aside, I hope it changes your life like it has mine. In a world where we are bombarded by garbage in every arena (terrible television, terrible food, terrible food being advertised terribly on television...), it was a little slice of purity for me.

And that's what's on our Table for Two today!

My First!

I have never before been interested in blogging. Those who know me will attest to the fact that I am the person who still types with only 5 of her 10 fingers (that's right, ladies and gentlemen...). As if that wasn't enough to discourage me from blogging, I had the unfortunate/fortunate experience of being forced to write over 200 essays in my high school career, and consequently... I. Hate. Writing. However, I find myself in a sort of dilemma. I have found myself developing a deep love of food-and my thought surrounding it. I'm not going to hide anything... I have little, if not NO ability to write creatively. And maybe this is more for my own use to document my recipes, successes, and failures alike.

Whatever the case may be, I am making the effort. I will do my very best to document everything that passes through my kitchen, and ends up in our bellies! =)
I am excited to see where the blog goes and I can't wait to log the recipes that graced our kitchen during this last week!