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Friday, April 29, 2011

Kale, Spinach and Pear Smoothie (Sterling Style)

It's been one of those uninspired weeks for me.  I haven't cooked, haven't crafted, haven't read (much), and the past two nights I parked it on the couch and watched movies (I recommend Coco Before Chanel).

However, I've still mustered up enough energy to make myself smoothies.  Last night I whipped up a tasty kale, spinach, and pear smoothie for dinner (found the recipe @ Sterling Style).  I may be "blah" but at least I feel healthy!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Creamy Chicken Salad

I loathe light-mayonnaise, but after eating this Creamy Chicken Salad, I'm definitely rethinking my opinion.

The dressing for this salad turned out complex and flavorful, even without the extra fat.  The tender poached chicken, smoky almonds, and sweet/tart cranberries rounded out the dish nicely.

Note: our plastic wrap basically slipped off the chicken 2 minutes into the poaching, therefore I suggest you either use heavy-duty wrap designed for poaching or skip the wrap altogether. 

Monday, April 25, 2011

Short Hair

One of the first things I did when I got to college (upwards of 10 yrs ago) - was chop off my hair and dye it jet black.  Sigh.  What a mistake that was - seeing how I was also dealing with the dreaded freshman fifteen.

Needless to say, when I grew out of that phase in my life I let my hair get longer and longer and longer - sometimes snipping off two inches or getting bangs "for a change."

Well, a couple days ago (on a whim) I took the plunge and chopped it off again.


I got a little inspiration from here.  My stylist Tamara, who has been cutting my hair since I was 21, also gave me dark brown highlights.

(p.s.  I bought yet another striped shirt on Saturday and its so swingy and chic - you can find it here)

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

(Light) Clam Chowder

There are a couple things that are deal breakers for me when it come to clam chowder, these being: the potatoes (they must be firm, not mealy), the soup base (fluid not pudding like), and the overall melding of flavors (no overwhelming bacon taste please).

Taking this criteria into account, I am happy to announce that last night I had the best, most delicious, clam chowder in recent memory (recipe here).

The fact that it had only 320 calories, 11.1 g of fat, and 24.3 g of protein was just icing on the cake.

Note: Little neck clams are expensive! 3 1/2 lbs came in at $20+.  Ed and I decided that next time we'll try using frozen or canned clams (which would also be a time-saver). 

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Extreme Couponing

Have any of you caught TLC's newest show, Extreme Couponing?

When I was in LV I caught an episode with my sister and I was: (1) riveted ($10 for pallets of groceries, amazing!), (2) disgusted/saddened (all the hoarding, all the waste!), (3) inspired.

This past Sunday I tested out my feeble coupon skills.  I saved $6+ (woohoo!) on:

Athenos Hummuus, buy one get one free when you
"Like" them on Facebook

$2.00 off soy milk when you register and
take a brief survey on their site

$0.50 off sugar

I don't think I'll ever become an extreme couponer, it just takes too much time/effort, but it sure was nice to save a little $$$.

Hint: if you are going to search for and clip coupons online, set up a separate email account so your primary account isn't spammed.

Monday, April 18, 2011

Lis' Baby Shower

Lis' baby shower went off without a hitch!

Photos of the lovely food and what-not below.

Flower sugar cookies (cookie recipe here, icing here)

 Favors for the guests (sage/lavender note cards from Paper Source
Lis and I embossed each guest's initial on the cards)

The spread

Friday, April 15, 2011

Where to buy royal icing flowers (and other edible cupcake toppers)

A pretty icing flower or fondant/gum paste topper can really add pizazz to your cupcakes.  A couple suggestions on where to buy:

mochasof lovely Etsy shop

fondant animal toppers from cookiecovers
 edible gum paste forget-me-nots from sweetdejavu

peas in a pod from cookiecovers

You can also check out:
Cake Art (I bought pretty royal icing violets from here)

I'll post pictures of my purple-velvet cupcakes with royal icing violets next week!

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Kung Pao Chicken

I made my sis and bro-in-law this healthy and super-easy dish over the weekend (recipe here).  No fancy pans, unusual ingredients, or exotic utensils required.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Name Banner

The inspiration for this project came from The Land of Nod.

Project: Name Banner!!

You need: Paper
(we got ours from the scrapbook section at the
craft store; name: All About Boys)

Letter Stencils (also from the craft store, about $3)

A hole punch (to punch holes in the tops of the letters)

And ribbon (tada!)

We made two banners for less than the cost of one if we purchased the banner from The Land of Nod - AND we still have tons of paper and ribbon leftover!

Monday, April 11, 2011

Weekend in Las Vegas

Some people go to LV to party - I go to hang out with my family.

Baron eating the cover of Dinosaurs Love Underpants

Mason modeling his new outfit for me

Red Velvet Cupcakes (Mason's request)

Mason painting....
...while Christie, my sis, and I craft (I'll post the project later this week!)

Friday, April 8, 2011

Red Pants

I have no idea why I've been so obsessed with red lately, but it may somehow be tied to the movie Body Heat (thanks for making the connection Leigh).  The movie + a fever + illness induced hallucinations made me open to a color I don't even really like.

I mean, I'm really open.  I just bought red pants.

Go-Getter Pants from Anthropologie

Some other options:

Moto Red 7/8ths jeans from Top Shop

Trousers L Sigro from Mango

Women's Slim Leg Cropped Chino from Land's End Canvas

Thursday, April 7, 2011

The Slip Dress

A couple of days ago, when I was getting off the bus, a woman's outfit caught my eye.

She was wearing a tough looking faded jean jacket, an off-white slip, black tights, and flats.

At first I thought, "If she wasn't wearing tights I could see her panties (hee, hee)" - but then I thought, "Hey, that's kind of a cool look."

Of course, when I got home I had to get online and look for a slip dress (I bought the one in the 1st set below from

I also reinterpreted the woman's look to fit my tastes/wardrobe. 

In the set below, I included "high," "medium," and "low" options for the re-imagined look.  If you want details, click on the pic.

Sugar cookies (w/almond frosting) & freezing cookies

Update (4/6/2011):  I took a couple frozen iced cookies out of the freezer last night and let them defrost on the counter, and: (1) they still tasted excellent, (2) were a tad bit softer than when they were fresh, (3) the icing wasn't pretty and glossy any longer (just a matte lavender).
Conclusion: freezing cookies is great!  Next time I plan on freezing cookies, I'm going to bake them a little longer and, if I want pretty/glossy cookies, I'll freeze them un-frosted.


On Saturday I drove down to JoAnn's in Tukwila and picked up a pot of violet food coloring (among other things), which gave me the perfect excuse to: (1) bake a batch of sugar cookies to test out the frosting color, (2) see if I can successfully bake, frost, freeze, and defrost a batch of cookies.

I used this recipe for the sugar cookies and this recipe for the icing.  The tiniest dot of food coloring (I dipped a toothpick in the dye, then dipped in the frosting) turned it a pretty dark lavender color.

When I frost my cookies, first I pipe on an outline using a thicker consistency of frosting (add powdered sugar to thicken):

Then I "flood" the outline using thinned frosting (add water or milk to your frosting by the teaspoonful) in a squeeze bottle (note: my outline color was slightly different than the flooding icing, since I was still experimenting with the color):

When the icing hardened, I put two dozen cookies on a cookie sheet and stuck them in the freezer.  After about an hour, I removed the cookie sheet from the freezer and placed the cookies in a freezer bag (layers separated by wax paper), making sure I got as much air out of the bag as possible.

I'm going to try defrosting a couple cookies this weekend, to see how they look/taste.  I'll let you know!

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Banana bread (serving suggestion)

Toast your banana bread (post and recipe link here) and serve with a scoop of vanilla ice-cream on top (yumm).

You can find more ideas on how to spice up your banana bread here.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Turkey Chili

There are 3 really great things about turkey chili: (1) it's virtually impossibly to screw it up, (2) you can toss whatever you like in it (I added red bell peppers), and (3) leftovers are great for lunch.

Yesterday, I spiced up some leftover chili with a little chipotle powder, sour cream, and avocado.  Delicious!

Tip: if your chili seems a little too liquidy after the prescribed cooking time is up - let it simmer uncovered until it reaches your desired consistency.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Thai-Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing

Ed whipped up this dish, Thai-Chicken Salad with Peanut Dressing, when I was at my book-club meeting a couple weeks ago, so I didn't get to experience its deliciousness until day #2 (which is when I took the photo above).

I'm usually not a fan of "Asian salads" in general, but this salad was tasty, had a lot of interesting texture, and didn't have any of those canned mandarin oranges (blech). 

Another plus - it's only 262 calories a serving.

(Happy Monday!)

Friday, April 1, 2011

Eric Rivera's Cooking Blog

Eric Rivera's Duck Prosciutto

If you haven't already heard (from me) - for the next month I'm guest blogging on a real chef's cooking blog while he, Eric Rivera, is working at Noma (the world's best restaurant).