Sunday, February 26, 2012

Pizza Party!

Yesterday, T and I hosted a pizza party!  It's such a fun way to do a casual dinner with friends.  We buy our dough from Trader Joe's and then pre-grill the dough until it's about halfway cooked.  Then we set out all of the sauces, cheese and toppings and let everyone go to town.  Then it's just a few more minutes in a 500 degree oven until everyone has their own personal pizza pie.  Mmmm, and now our fridge is full of extra dough and toppings, that's a plus.

I kept it all pretty simple: $8 worth of flowers, a bunch of red wine, some appetizers, a good variety of toppings and homemade pudding for dessert.

I don't iron my linens, ha!

The apps were strips of London Broil that I cooked in olive oil with pepper and black lava sea salt, then I drizzled some good balsamic over the top and let it rest before slicing it up.  It's paired with roasted bell peppers in olive oil, salt, pepper, your favorite Italian herbs and a bit of balsamic.  Put a piece of each on a toothpick, et voila!  Yummy.

For toppings, I made the meatballs and tomato sauce and then just bought pesto, lots of cheese (fresh mozzarella is key), mushrooms, spinach, basil, tomatoes and pepperoni.


And for dessert, I used this recipe from Joy the Baker.  Chocolate, hazelnut, and whipped cream... it can't be anything but good.  And it was, even though I forgot the fancy salt that I had to put on it.  Oh well, I have some leftover, it's OK.

And now I'm cleaning my red wine and pizza sauce stained linens, that's how you know it was tasty.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

I Quilled Again

I've been sucked into quilling, it's so fun and there's so much of it to look at on the internet.  I'm loving 'All Things Paper' for inspiration.  Everything from quilling to papier mache and some pretty great links to artwork.

I've been seeing couples monograms paired with prints of their home states lately, and loved the idea.  Alas, T and I are from the same state, but we are from two different cities.  So I quilled the great state of Texas with hearts in our hometowns and our initials below.

I still don't think I've achieved awesomeness with this one, but it's my second quilled piece ever, so that's okay.  I do like this one a lot more though.  I like the mixture of tight and more open curls and flourishes and I started out with the outlines printed on the paper this time, much better for accuracy.

I'm still encouraging people to try it, such low start-up costs and so easy to do (not master, but do).  Now I have to think of what I'm going to make next.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Happy Valentine's Day!

Everyone needs a little ganache in their life.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

My First Time: Quilling

The other day, I pinned this quilled piece by Sabeena Karnik, and then I immediately ordered a beginner's quilling kit from Quilled Creations.

Sabeena's heart is utter perfection and her typography is awe inducing (so, go look at her site), but I wanted to give it a go myself and this is what I came up with.

Not nearly as cool, but definitely fun and a low cost craft.  It will take a lot more practice for me to come up with anything amazing, but that is just about time.

And, in the kitchen, I made these scones for our V-day breakfast today.  They're from Vegan with a Vengeance by Isa Chandra Moskowitz and they are T's favorite scones.  We're not vegan, and we totally consumed them along side bacon and eggs (and some fruit), but damn near everything I've tried out of that book is amazing.  I added cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger to the recipe and, for half of the batch, I added about 1/3 cup of oats and 1/3 cup of mini chocolate chips, then I sprinkled the tops with red and gold sanding sugar for a little bit of a festive feel.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Flora & Hearts

With Valentine's Day coming up, I've had flowers on the brain, I've also been taking lunchtime walks at my new job.  These two things, combined with my fave app (hipstamatic) have led to these pictures.  I love SoCal in February!

 Ah, the perfection of a succulent.

Speaking of Valentine's Day, here's a list of all things pink and heart-filled from my past posts.

Packaging up homemade candies with links to recipes: here.

Brunch complete with heart shaped butter and waffles: here.

Handmade valentines: here.

My version of I am Baker's Heart Cake: here.  That is still my favorite red velvet cake recipe, FYI.

The pink macarons, with chocolate ganache filling, from my winter tea party would be lovely.

Heart shaped sable cookies: here.  These are the easiest cut out cookies I can think of, the dough is just sturdy enough.


Sunday, February 5, 2012

12 Weeks are Up

Man, it's been a busy three weeks, sorry about the pause.  In these past few weeks, I finished up the 12 week meal and exercise plan I was on, got new glasses and started a new job!  Hooray! 

But for this post I want to talk about the 12 week plan.  I finished up last Sunday.  As with my last update, it's painfully clear how bad I am at following a meal plan, but I still love the exercise routines that Ali introduced me to. 

Now for the results:  I lost 4 pounds and a total of 4.5".  Which, I feel, is awesome!  I'm not sure I have a ton to lose, so, a bit over a pound & inch/month is not too shabby.

The After, pretty similar, but the stomach looks a touch flatter and there are the new glasses.

The before, for reference

I did almost completely remove dry, processed cereal from my diet (maybe 4 bowls of cereal over the 12 weeks!).  My breakfast now consists of a small bowl of oatmeal, greek yogurt and blueberries.  That's protein, fiber and fresh fruit every morning, I'd say that's a significant improvement from straight carbs and some skim milk.  I now eat more protein and fresh produce, and rely less on carbs, I also greatly reduced my cheese intake (I did not realize how much cheese I was eating).  The biggest lesson I learned from following a meal plan (or attempting to) was portion control.  After measuring my food out, I now know what a proper serving looks like, big lesson. 

On to my strength goals: I'm so excited about these!  Adding Ali's exercises helped me shave 3:32 off of my 10K time (over 30 secs/mile!).  I had been stagnating a bit when it came to my running speed, I'm convinced that squats and sprints helped me out on this front.  I also love my running club, a little weekly competition and some friends to pace you never hurt.  I'm feeling much stronger in my upper body, which is still a new concept for me, I'm kinda loving that my shoulders are looking straighter and stronger, and I feel muscles all over my body that I didn't notice before.

I have no idea if I'm doing that correctly, but I feel strong.

The part where I failed was sweets, though I have baked far less in these last 12 weeks (which means no half pan of brownies in a couple of days), I still eat something sweet most days.  I think I'll try to work on that when I'm not trying to change up everything all at once.  But that may have to wait until after Valentine's Day, I love to bake for V-Day.