Google Analytics

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Faking It & When Being Easy is a GOOD Thing

Sometimes even I fake it.

Exhibit A - the lovely chocolate/peanut butter buttercream cupcake above. 

Don't let it's "Calina slaved in the kitchen for 2 hrs" appearance fool you.  The deliciously moist devil's food cake came from a box and it took me approx 5 minutes of mixing and 20 minutes of lounging on the couch watching tv to make.  The peanut butter buttercream is homemade - but the recipe is wonderfully easy.  All you need is:

1 stick butter (softened)
1 c powder sugar (sifted)
2/3 c peanut butter

Just throw the butter and peanut butter in a bowl and mix/cream...then gradually add in the powdered sugar.  Voila!

The cupcakes taste like peanut butter cups and are totally in-haleable.

If you feel like you need a little dinner with your cupcakes, a salad is always a good option (at least for me, since I'm not keen on buying a new wardrobe one size up).

If you're one of those people who can just toss a little oil, vinegar, salt, and pepper on a salad and make it taste like manna from heaven (like my amusing husband) - I hate you.  If you're like me and are a little salad dressing challanged, check out the super easy vinaigrette recipe below:

Juice of 2 limes
1/3 c olive oil
1 tablespoon mustard
1 tsp sugar

Whisk together and toss with some colorful veggies...and you're done!

Monday, January 25, 2010

Cookie Monster & Braised Chicken All'Arrabbiata

Sometimes I crave cookies the way a frat boy craves a case of PBR on a Friday night.

On Sunday I woke up with cookies on the mind.  After scoffing at Ed's suggestion I eat an apple to get rid of the craving - I hopped on the computer and starting surfing for a chocolate chip cookie recipe.  I wanted big, chewy, chocolaty-chip cookies....droool...

So - if you craving something similar, check out the recipe below from (submitted by Elizabeth).  You'll end up with a dozen or so yummy cookies - that kinda' look like they eat other cookies for breakfast.


2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup unsalted butter, melted
1 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup white sugar
1 tablespoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
2 cups semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat the oven to 325 degrees F (165 degrees C). Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.

Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.

In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies should be about 3 inches apart.

Bake for 15 to 17 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a few minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 285
Total Fat: 13.9g
Cholesterol: 43mg

If , unlike me, you frown at the idea of spending the entire day only eating cookies (well, I dream of days like that - luckily Ed's here to make me see reason) may want to check out this recipe for Chicken All'Arrabbiata.  The chicken is fall off the bone tender and swimming in a spicy tomato sauce.  Served on top of polenta - it's almost good enough to make me forget about cookies...almost...

Saturday, January 23, 2010

The Selfish Side of Crafting & Happy-Happy Hour

Now that the holidays are over and my frantic gift crafting has ended - I'm finally making things for myself (me, me, me, me, me).  Not only do I have a virtually endless supply of bath fizzies stocked in an apothecary jar in my bathroom - my earring collection has started growing.  The newest additions (crafted this very morning) are:

Green and Purple Fluorite Drops

Green Quartz

On a totally unrelated note - Ed and I went to Meza for happy hour for the second Saturday in a row, which is pretty notable since we actually have to DRIVE there (usually, I won't eat anywhere outside a 10 block radius from our house - unless its a special occastion). 

Meza is up on Capital Hill (14th & Pine) and serves delicious, inexpensive Latin food.  On the weekend, happy hour starts at 3PM ($3 wine, $4 tapas, $2 off bocadillos).  Service can be slow and sometimes they play rave-ish music (which can be grating on a Saturday afternoon) - but the food makes it toally worth it.

             La Peula and Side Salad (w/happy hour red)             

Maria Elena (w/cava)

Friday, January 22, 2010

Pasta w/Walnut Pesto

I know the words "healthy" and "pasta" are rarely, if ever, uttered in the same sentence, even though carbs are considered a little less evil than five years ago.*

But - no more!  I am here to herald a delicious, easy and quick to make, healthy walnut pesto pasta (yipee)!  Chock full of vitamin packed walnuts, arugula or watercress, basil, walnuts, and olive oil - this pasta recipe is hard not to love.

Also - the recipe is even healthier if you don't cheat, like I did, and actually use whole-wheat pasta (blech - I just couldn't do it - call me a purist).

Check the recipe out at:

* please note: I should have said SOME carbs are less evil - cupcakes will still happily adhere themselves to your ass and contribute to muffin top

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Black-Bean Tacos w/Lime & Sour Cream

Yesterday, for a change, I decided to cook dinner (gasp).  Ed almost fainted.

Yes - I suppose it does prove small miracles happen everyday.  Even more miraculously, the meal I made tasted DELICOUS!

Okay - I admit I cheated a little and made an old stand by I knew wouldn't fail me (and by "old" I mean a recipe from last year's Food and Wine...double-gasp). 

Also since I'm cheap, kinda' lazy, and watching my waistline, I stuck with a healthy, quick recipe that cost me under $7.00 in ingrediants.  (Luckily - we had most of the spices in our pantry and what we didn't (i.e. the cilantro sprigs) I omitted).

So - if you're in the mood for a couple (or 6) black-bean tacos garnished with lime and sour cream - check out the recipe at:

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Beautiful (Expensive) Things

Since I cut myself off from buying any new crafting supplies this month - I've been crafting a bit less - therefore there will be NO craft blog this weekend (I know you are ALL devasted ;) 

Although, I must admit I did fall off the wagon and bought some lovely purple fluorite drops and turquoise beads - so I should be busily making earrings some time this week (yay!).

I've also cut myself off from retail therapy, at least for the month of January, to give my bloated debit card a little time to recover from the holidays.  Its been tough.  I constantly dream and obsess over the beautiful items I want to purchase once Febraury rolls around and the self-imposed freeze is lifted.  I know it defeats the spending hiatus to just hold-off on making a purchase, but who knows - I may eventually see reason.

Booties from J.Crew

Classic Trench at Banana Republic

Pink cardi from Anthro

Stripe lace cardigan from Anthro

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Chocolate Chip (Peanut Butter, Oatmeal) Cookies

I found this recipe on after an extensive search for a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie recipe (eating peanut butter on a spoon and dreaming of cookies while surfing was making me a little desperate to locate a recipe ASAP). 
The peanut butter in this cookie is an accent rather than the main show, but the cookies are chewy, delicious, and really easy to make (come on - 700 reveiws and 4 1/2 out of 5 stars can't be wrong,  right?!).

I strongly suggest investing in Ghiradelli, or an equivalent quality, chocolate chips.  You won't be sorry.



1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup white sugar
1/3 cup packed brown sugar
1/2 cup peanut butter
1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 egg
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup rolled oats
1 cup semisweet chocolate chips


Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).

In a medium bowl, cream together the butter, white sugar and brown sugar until smooth. Stir in the peanut butter, vanilla and egg until well blended. Combine the flour, baking soda and salt; stir into the batter just until moistened. Mix in the oats and chocolate chips until evenly distributed. Drop by tablespoonfuls on to lightly greased cookie sheets.

Bake for 10 to 12 minutes in the preheated oven, until the edges start to brown. Cool on cookie sheets for about 5 minutes before transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Nutritional Information

Amount Per Serving Calories: 207
Total Fat: 12g
Cholesterol: 25mg

Just an aside - if you have an iPhone check out the free app "Words With Friends."  Download it and you can play a scrabble type game with anyone else who has it.  My sis clued me into it and now I'm addicted.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Parmesan Cheese Risotto w/Mushrooms

Lately, we've received a plethora of cookbooks  from my mom, since she knows Ed likes to cook - and he's a really, really hard person to by presents for.  I've already warned him that every box from my mom will prob include a cookbook for him - not that we're complaining ;)

Anyway - Ed cracked open the Vegetarian Bible (Fresh From the Garden) and made the delicious risotto pictured above.  Unlike some risottos, it wasn't too "gummy" and suprisingly it wasn't cheesy in a way that makes you want to loosen your pants and run 3 miles after eating it (the parmesan is an accent rather than the main show).

So - if you're not scared of chopping and you want a healthy (there's tons of veggies in this), delicious risotto - check this recipe out. 

4c vegetable or chicken stock
2 tbsp oilive oil
1c risotto rice
2 garlic cloves (crushed)
1 onion (chopped)
2 celery stalks (chopped)
1 red or green bell pepper
8 oz mushrooms (thinly sliced)
1 tbsp fresh oregano (or 1tsp dried)
1/4 cup sundried tomatoes (packed in olive oil, drained and chopped)
1/2 c finely grated parmesan
salt and pepper
garnish if desired (parsley or bay leaves)

1)  In a saucepan, bring stock to a boil - then reduce heat and keep at a simmer.
2)  In another saucepan or deep skillet, heat the oil - add the dry rice - and stir constantly for 2 to 3 minutes.
3)  Add garlic, onion, celery, and bell pepper to the rice in the skillet - stir frequently for 5 minutes.  Add the mushrooms and cook for 3-4 minutes.  Stir in the oregano.
4)  Gradually add the hot stock (ladleful at a time) to the rice mixture, stirring constantly.  Increase heat to medium - Cook for 15 minutes, add sun-dried tomatoes, and then cook 5 more min. until all the liquid is absorbed.
5)  Remove from heat and stir in half the parm.  Remaining cheese can be used to garnish.
Serve :)

Mmmm....leftovers taste even better when you eat them for lunch at work the next day!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

The Costs of Crafting & Creamy-Garlic Seafood Soup

If anyone has ever given you a home-made gift, chances are they didn't do it because they're cheap. Unless the gift was a couple popsicle sticks with googly eyes pasted on them - the person made you a gift because they really, really, really, really like you.

Trust me.  Crafting is expensive and takes a LOT of time.  Especially if you're a perfectionist like myself and my fellow crafters (I'm thinking specifically of Lis and Leigh). 

For her collages, Lis buys beautiful artisan papers from a speciality shop and it takes hours (in a scrunched up position) of cutting and gluing to complete one.  Leigh is constantly sourcing new ingrediants for her bath bombs (shea butter, walnut oil, and vitamin e oils are not cheap) and any bomb that's not a perfect sphere never gets seen by her adoring fans (there must be the equivelent of the "Island of Misfit Toys" for craft projects gone wrong, right?).

My Lovely Owl Collage from Lis

Anyhoo - one of my New Year's resolutions is to think twice before I pull the trigger on crafting supplies.  I already have a closet full of stuff, probably worth the monetary equivalent of a quick jaunt (or two) to Europe.

On to the food (yay!).  The other night Ed made a delicious creamy-garlic seafood soup from the Jan 2010 edition of Cooking Light magazine.  Not only was the soup delicious and good for us, it was also light on the pocket book since he substituted cod for the snapper - and we bought the spices from the bulk section in the spice aisle.  You def. should check this recipe out!