Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Greek Quinoa Green Salad

This has become my favorite thing to make lately in different varieties. It is healthy, super easy and quick to make, the flavors are so fun for summer!

What you will need:
1 cup dried Quinoa (cous cous or bulgur wheat; whatever your favorite grain will work)
salad greens

3/4 cup Greek yogurt
1/4 cup white vine vinegar
2 tablespoons of tarragon
1/2 cup chopped fresh parsley
pepper to taste

Combine all dressing ingredients in a blender and blend well. Scrap down the sides as needed to ensure all ingredients are incorporated. Set aside or put in fridge to keep cool.

Combine quinoa with 2 cups of water in a pot and bring to simmer. Cook over low heat till all the water has been absorbed.

Preheat BBQ on low. Slice onions into rounds and slice zucchini in half longwise. Drizzle with olive oil and place on hot BBQ. Cook until little browned and vegetables are tender. Remove from heat and slice into bite size pieces. Mix vegetables with quinoa and salt and pepper to taste. From here, you can serve warm or put in fridge to serve cold. I like a hot salad and my husband likes a cold salad so whatever you choose!

Place a hand full of greens on a plate. Top with quinoa and veggie mixture. Drizzle with your dressing and serve! Easy, healthy, meatless, and fast to prepare! Have fun and play with different veggies. Add some avocado or grilled bell pepper. Let me know what you choose to add to yours!

Bon Appetit!

Tuesday, June 26, 2012

The art of cocktailing

To you, what makes a great bar? The drinks, the bartender, the atmosphere? If you had to only have 1 of those three, which would you choose? To me, the bartender makes the bar, and the chances of having a great bartender and comparable drinks are high.

Moving back to Reno has allowed us to go out and rediscover the area. This last weekend we ventured out to some of the newest spots we have heard hype about to check them out for ourselves.

We started at The Public House in mid town Reno. There was plenty of street parking, and since we went earlier in the evening, 7ish, the bar wasen't too crowded. The rustic vibe, wood bar, wood floors, amazing tap list made the whole place feel super fun and casual. We walked up to the far side of the bar and waited for our bartender's attention...for 15 minutes we waited for her attention. Again, did I mention the bar wasen't that crowded? Not even a simple, "Hey I will get to you guys in a minute," or give us a cocktails list to look over while we waited. The girls next to us had a list, so we were able to select our poison from that, but still, bad service. The cocktail list was a really fun list of craft cocktails, and art that is highly underutilized. I selected a "Gypsy Rose" which is gin, grapfruit and bubbles. My husband, the bourbon lover, had a blackberry fizz which is bourbon, egg white, lemon, blackberry, and lavender bitters. All in all, the drinks were amazing! Now if maybe we can get the bartender some help, I would say this place could definitely be frequently visited.

From there, we went up the street a block to the Biggest Little City Club. Immediately walking in the door the bartender greeted us and welcomed us to the bar. My husband was in heaven talking bourbons and whiskeys and bitters and was able to sample and taste different varieties with the bartender. Myself, I couldn't resist a Mick Jagger Mojito on the hot day and was pleasantly surprised with the brown sugar twist to this drink. The bartender was very knowledgeable and fun to chat with. He also informed us of the different bands and shows they bring into the bar; a wide fixture of music from DJs, to rock, to alternative, to Blues. Honestly, I am really excited about this place and to go back for a show one night. I like that they cater to different crowds, something for everyone. My husband and I also got to play a round of darts, where I am sad to report he won, but fun nether the less.

Last stop on our outing was dinner at Mid Town Eats. It was pretty late at this point, but luckily they had a table open so we were able to walk in with no reservations. This bar/restaurant is small but very charming. It has a very eclectic/rustic feel to it and reminds me of some of the cool restaurants we frequented in San Diego. My husband ordered a "Well Off" which is bourbon, lemon juice, pomegranate syrup, cherry syrup, and absinthe bitters. We ordered the bone marrow appetizer served with a toasted baguette. He ordered the pork belly, I had the fish, and we split a bread pudding for the dessert. The food was thoughtful and a good play of flavors. I didn’t get any pictures of the food, but it was worth going back to just to get some for you all :)

The art of making a great drink is making a comeback across the country and in every essence I am a major fan. I am so glad that Reno has some really cool places like these and can’t wait to frequent!

What is your favorite cocktail?


Friday, June 22, 2012

Potato Cheese Soup

My husband has a really bad cold, sick in bed the last two days. When he is sick, he love potato cheese soup, very comforting. This is a family recipe that has never been written down, so I am going to try my best to outline it here for you. This, like most of my recipes, are all estimations so play with it to make it uniquely yours.

Take 6 russet potatoes, peel and wash. You want to roughly cube them and add to empty pot. Once all potatoes have been added to the pot, fill with water JUST TILL potatoes are covered. You will not be draining the water so don't overfill. Put the pot of potatoes on the stove on medium low to slowly boil.

While potatoes are cooking, take about 6 strips of bacon and cube. Add to pan to cook till lightly browned. While bacon is cooking, take 1 whole onion, I prefer yellow, and roughly dice. Once bacon is lightly browned, add diced onion to the bacon pan and cook. Cook down till onion is translucent while not letting the bacon burn. Once cooked, remove from heat and set aside.

Once the pot of potatoes are slightly fluffy and potatoes are cooked through, turn down heat to simmer. 

In a separate pot, melt about 3 tablespoons of butter. Once butter is fully melted, add approximately 2 tablespoons of butter. Whisk in to fully incorporate. This part will be estimations and you may need more or less butter to flour. You will be creating a rue or roux; this is a base used to thicken up soups, sauces, or gravies. You can use this cooking technique to get a blond, medium or dark roux base which is created by how long you let your roux cook. For this soup, you just want a blond roux that will be slightly bubbly which is how you know its ready. Consult picture below.
From here, you will add 2 cups of milk to your roux whisking until fully incorporated.
Let simmer slowly, keep stirring as to not let your milk boil. Keep heat on low to medium. After mixture thickens up, about 10 minutes, add 2 to 3 cups of grated cheddar cheese. This is an approximation and based on your taste how much cheese you want to add. Salt and pepper to taste.

Mix the cheese into sauce till fully incorporated. Let simmer for about 5 minutes. From here, take you cheese sauce and pour into your pot of potatoes and water.

 Mix together and let simmer on low for about 20 minutes. Add pan on onions and bacon to pot of soup.

Let simmer for another 5 minutes at least. Again, salt and pepper to taste. Serve with some warm bread and you have a nice comfort meal for a sick day or a cold night.

Bon Appetit!

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Happily Ever After

My life feels like a dream sometimes. There are times I look around and feel like things are too good to be true and one day I will wake up and realize it all was. The times I feel like this the most is when I look at the amazing man that for some reason, fell in love with me.

My man is brilliant! He is the smartest and most driven man, which is one of the reasons I fell for him. At 16 when I met him, he was already building his resume by working for a state Senator as an intern. He graduated with honors from college and promptly got accepted and excelled in law school. His drive with his education and career never wavered and I find that so admirable. While many men his age were out partying or hanging with friends, he was spending hours locked in a room studying or wasting summers taking classes to get him ahead on his bar exam. For his hard work to take care of his family, I can never thank him enough.

He challenges me to try new things. I am a very cautious person, almost to the extend where I don't live because I am scared of bad things happening. He has got me out of that fear and exposed me to new places, people, and things I would never have done myself. A major example of this is our 3 week trip to Thailand and Cambodia where I backpacked and camped into a jungle, rode elephants, snuggled with tigers,  took a cooking class from a ladyboy,  rafted down a river in the middle of a jungle,etc. The point of this story is it was the most amazing adventure and I met the most wonderful people and had the best time of my life, and I wouldn't have wanted to have that adventure with anyone else!
The man can cook! And I mean, REALLY cook. He used to compete in culinary competitions and was offered a scholarship to culinary school but turned it down to go to law school as cooking is more a passion than a career for him. This passion has passed off on me and all my foodie inspirations are from him. I am a lucky girl that he creates these masterful meals for me to enjoy, and we found a hobby and passion we can share together.

I love that we are still so young and have so much ahead of us still. I know he will make a great dad. I am excited to see him teach his children and guide their lives. This is an exciting chapter we have yet to open, but when we do I know it will be wonderful!

I am so in love with this man and feel like I am living a fairy tale every day! Happy anniversary Steven...I love you more today than ever before!


Friday, June 1, 2012

Happiest Friday

Buying a house=no fun. Closing on your house=so much fun! 

We get the keys to our house next week after the longest year long process in finding and finalizing everything. We went the short sale route and if you have a good living situation and can wait it out, it can be worth the wait...however, be prepared to wait. 

Now that we are closing I am getting so excited with projects and furniture and cannot wait to get in and start doing stuff. 

I have a beautiful entry way wall like this and I found this picture on pintrest as my inspiration. I found a bench last weekend in my shopping adventure, it is wood and long like the above expect it is deep and the seat part opens to put umbrellas or scarves in. I love the idea of having an entry way bench so when I walk in the door i can take my shoes off, hang up my purse, etc. For the shelf, my mother in law took me to home depot and we bought 2 six foot long boards that we are going to paint and then put a decorative molding on. We also founds some really cute hooks like the ones in this picture to hang on it. I will take pictures of this project and post later for you all to see! 

Here is another pintrest inspiration. The house has a beautiful build in desk like the above, expect bigger. Since I work from home, my desk needs to be a very calming and inspiring place that I enjoy being in. Right now the desk has just regular stock cabinets and three walls. I want to paint it all white like the above and paint and frame in a chalk board on one of the walls. Again, I will post more on this project as I do it! 

Here are some of my recent and exciting purchases from last weekend! 

I got an Ethan Allen accent chair! This was originally a $1550 chair that I got on sale for $325! I couldn't even find a target or world market chair this nice for under $325.

My target guest bathroom shower curtain. I got the teal one and I will pair with white towels, white bath mat and white accessories. My mother in law got me a beautiful teal bowel for the counter to match the curtain and pull more teal in. I want a teal trash can too.

We have a pretty huge living room and a big sectional so when I stumbled upon this over sized coffee table it was love at first sight. I got the coffee table, end table and matching buffet for my living room. they are big and solid and I can't wait to put in my new house. 

We close next week and I am just over the moon excited. I feel very blessed and lucky. Thank you in advance for all my family and friends who are helping us.