Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Blue Cheese & Bacon Mashed Potatoes

This past Thanksgiving, I made these yummy Blue Cheese & Bacon Mashed Potatoes. I love mashed potatoes- but add in some cheese and bacon and I'm even more in love. These would be great with steak too... mmm...


Ingredients:
  • 3 pounds russet potatoes (about 6; peeled if desired), cut into 2-inch chunks
  • kosher salt and black pepper
  • 3 ounces bacon (6 slices)
  • 3/4 cup whole milk
  • 8 tablespoons (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut up
  • 4 ounces blue cheese, crumbled

Place the potatoes in a large pot and add 2 teaspoons salt and enough cold water to cover. Bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until the potatoes are very tender, 20 to 25 minutes. Drain and return the potatoes to the pot.

Meanwhile, in a large skillet, cook the bacon over medium heat until crisp, 5 to 8 minutes. Transfer to a paper towel-lined plate. Let cool, then crumble.

Add the milk, butter, ½ teaspoon salt, and ¼ teaspoon pepper to the potatoes and mash to the desired consistency (I added an extra couple tablespoons of butter than called for... because it was Thanksgiving... and I felt like it). Fold in the bacon, top with the blue cheese, and you're done! Enjoy!

Recipe via Real Simple

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Hawaiian Farmer's Markets

One of the really awesome things we did while in Kauai was go to a farmer's market. There are signs and fliers for them everywhere (brochures, signs on the side of the road, our hotel welcome packet- we couldn't get away from them... but we didn't want to... so we lucked out).

Anyways, we'd just spent the day lounging at Tunnels Beach when we started getting rained on (this happened a lot in the beginning of our trip). I love rain... but lying on a beach in the rain starts to turn into lying in the mud (which is only something I like to do at health spas... and even then I tend to feel weird)... so we picked up our things and ran for the car. By the time we'd pulled out of the parking lot, the rain had lessened to a trickle, and so we decided to do a little sightseeing.

Just a little ways down the street we came across one of the farmer's markets we'd been hearing about, and decided to stop. The selection here was insane

Dragon fruit, avocados, starfruit, papayas, mangoes, coconuts... we were in tropical fruit heaven

The flower were gorgeous too (and cheap!)


Danny LOVES all things coconut and therefore decided to indulge in some fresh coconut juice

Since I'm not quite the coconut loving girl, I decided to go for some of these sweet apple bananas...


But covered in rich chocolate and macadamia nuts of course... it was heaven


Have you ever gone to a farmer's market outside of where you're from?

Friday, November 25, 2011

To the Weekend

Since we're back in Wyoming, this is my 1st year not going to the Black Friday sales. And although I miss the thrill of the hunt, I must admit I love cuddling up at home on the couch just as much... especially since it's snowing outside. I hope you have a cozy holiday weekend and I'll see you back here next week with some yummy recipes and gorgeous real weddings!

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Happy Thanksgiving!!

This Thanksgiving I'm thankful for:
  1. The relationship I have with my husband
  2. My over the top, fantastic family and friends
  3. My job
  4. The beautiful geography of where I call home
  5. Every day that I'm healthy, happy, and alive
Happy Thanksgiving!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Home Again

We made it home. Yesterday we arrived back in Jackson to lots and lots of snow. Which is kind of weird since less than 2 weeks ago I was in Hawaii and 2 days ago I was in California... both of which provided me with lots and lots of sun. But you cross a few states and there's full blown winter. It's beautiful. I can't wait to get back to cooking and watch the snow fall outside.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Back to Jackson

I AM SO BLESSED. I have been surrounded by family and friends over the last month who have taken me in, taken me out, showed me love, and given up their time in order to spend quality time with me. And I am going to miss them ALL so incredibly much.

Today we are making the trek back to Jackson... and this is honestly the hardest it's ever been for me to go back. Don't get me wrong- I love Jackson and I definitely want to continue living there. But being here in California with my amazing family and friends, and for this long, has made it really difficult to leave. I'm going to miss them all so much! And now I just want every one of them to move to Jackson so I can have them around me all the time!

If you are fortunate enough to live around the people you love, stop by their house, give them a call, whatever- it will be a blessing to you both

Friday, November 18, 2011

To the Weekend!

I'm soaking up my last bit of fall before we head back to Wyoming... where it's already winter. These will be our last few days in California... I've had such an amazing time and will miss my family and friends so much! Have a wonderful weekend...

Monday, November 14, 2011

Tuscan White Bean Soup

Now that we're back in California, and I'm weaning myself off my new chocolate covered macadamia nut addiction, I thought I'd post a recipe I tried before leaving Wyoming. It's Tuscan White Bean Soup- perfect for fall and incredibly tasty. I served mine as a side but this soup could also serve as the main course with some toasted bread on the side. Enjoy!

Ingredients:
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 2 shallots, chopped
  • 1 sage leaf
  • 2 (15 ounce) cans of cannellini beans
  • 4 cups low sodium chicken broth
  • 4 cloves garlic, cut in half
  • 1/2 cup cream
  • fresh ground black pepper

Place a medium, heavy soup pot over medium heat. Add the butter, olive oil, and shallots. Cook, stirring occasionally, until the shallots are softened, about 5 minutes.
Add the garlic, and simmer until the garlic is softened, about 10 minutes.

Add the beans...

And sage...

Stir to combine.

Add the stock and bring the mixture to a simmer.

Pour the soup into a large bowl. Carefully ladle 1/3 to 1/2 of the soup into a blender.


Puree until smooth. Be careful to hold the top of the blender tightly, as hot liquids expand when they are blended.

Pour the blended soup back into the soup pan. Puree the remaining soup. Once all the soup is blended and back into the soup pan, add the cream and pepper. Keep warm and covered over very low heat. Enjoy!



Recipe via Giada

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Guest Post over at Geek in Heels!

I'm guest blogging today over at Geek in Heels! Click here to get my super easy recipe for Peanut Butter Cup Brownies!

Friday, November 11, 2011

To the Weekend!

Today we are leaving Kauai and flying back to California. I'm going to miss the absolute luxury of doing nothing... while staring out at the ocean and relaxing with my husband. Have a wonderful weekend and see you back here next week!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Real Wedding: Abby & Derek Part 2

Today we have Part 2 of Abby & Derek's beautiful June wedding. Enjoy!


Thanks so much for sharing your special day with us Abby! I wish you & Derek all the best!


Abby is wearing the Champagne Brunch hair flower

All images shot by the very talented Casey Durgin Photography

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Different & Obscure Eateries

Since I grew up in California, I figured I'd been to every great eatery in the area. This trip out- I was proved seriously wrong. Our friends have taken us out to some amazing places. One place that I definitely loved was this bakery below:

This place is crazy! My friend Anabel and I arrived at around 8:30pm on a weeknight and there was still a line out the door! I felt like I was standing in line for some new club. The bakery was at maximum capacity! It was amazing though! I LOVE Asian baked goods and this place did not disappoint. Besides being super excited to get some fresh An Pan (one of my favorite snacks), I also snacked on some Taro swirl bread, a chocolate croissant, and a delicious iced, sea salt coffee- yum...


A few days later, my friend Chris took me to The Yellow Deli in Vista. This place was incredibly interesting. Besides being open 24 hours a day/ 5 days a week, and being in an absolutely beautiful building- it is also run by the 12 tribes. You can read about the 12 tribes through the link above (which is their site), as well as through your own research. Basically, many believe the 12 tribes to be a cult. I do not know much about them, and after various research on their beliefs I even questioned posting about their restaurant. From what I have read, I disagree very strongly with many of the main parts of their beliefs, and I am not recommending at all for someone to join their community. I am only writing here to say they do beautiful craftsmanship and that the food is healthy and good.

Knowing the service can sometimes be slow as well, we brought along some cards and played a full game of Rummy. It was fun.

What out of the ordinary places do you have near you?

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Real Wedding: Abby & Derek Part 1

I absolutely love today's real wedding. Abby, the bride, looks so incredibly happy in every single photo. And I love the muted, pale pink she chose for her bridesmaids. The color is so soft and romantic.

Abby & Derek were married on June 25th at First Parish Church in York Harbor, Maine. Here she is getting ready with her girls. I remember this moment of trying to hold your dress up while the girls zip you up from behind...

Abby wore the Champagne Brunch hair flower under her veil

LOVE the back of her dress...


Time to go outside for photos...

And finally, the handsome groom Derek with all his groomsmen...

And the gorgeous bride with all of her bridesmaids...

Up next we have the ceremony and reception starting with this beautiful church...



Stay tuned for Part 2!

Abby is wearing the Champagne Brunch hair flower

All images shot by the very talented Casey Durgin Photography

Friday, November 4, 2011

To the Weekend!

Happy Weekend! This weekend my plans involve lying on the beach, reading a good book, and having the time of my life with my wonderful, awesome husband. What do you have up your sleeves for the next 2 days?

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Guest Post: Elizabeth Nixon from Clementine and Clover


Elizabeth Nixon is a journalist and lover of design, event planning and letterpress printing, which she writes about on her blog Clementine and Clover. Nixon works as an editor at Lifescript.com, a site devoted to healthy living for women.

Fall into a Healthy Lifestyle this Autumn

By Elizabeth Nixon

With autumn in full swing and comfort foods a-beckoning, this time of year I often find myself doing a great impression of a bear beefing up for winter. But those extra pounds slow me down and zap my energy. This fall, I know I need to do something differently. The problem is – I’m a diet-phobe. The word diet, to me, has negative connotations: tasteless shakes, too-skinny models, and endless baggies of zero-calorie celery pieces dance across my mind.

But after recently spying this infographic by Sarah Kliff in The Atlantic on what Americans eat in a year, I was sufficiently grossed out and determined to reevaluate what I put in my body, and, gasp, maybe even start a diet for the first time in my life.


Years of impossible-to-resist chocolate brownie bites from Trader Joe’s and an aging metabolism have caught up to me. Plus, a diet would be friendlier on my wallet – I’d buy fewer of those expensive processed foods, eat out less, and I wouldn’t need to shop for as many clothes if I always stay the same size.

I know it’s possible to achieve the body and healthy lifestyle I want. I dropped 12 pounds in one month a year ago for my wedding. Even without a diet.

So, this time around, I’ll bet I can get even better results (that stick!) with an overall lifestyle change, not just a workout DVD for 20 minutes a day, which has always been my go-to plan when I need to shed pounds.

My lifestyle change involves the following plan. It’s simple and three-fold:

1. Limit sugar intake. After spotting this interesting article in the New York Times on how fructose is actually a toxin, I decided it was time to give it the boot. I’m not quite going cold turkey – I’ll still allow myself a spoonful in my coffee and one of those brownie bites after dinner, but when it comes to “hidden” sugars, I’m going to take the extra time to root it out of my diet. When I say hidden sugars, I’m referring to the high fructose corn syrup that lurks in tons of “low fat” products and even bread. Check out this lecture on sugar given by UCSF Professor Robert Lustig, MD: “Sugar: The Bitter Truth.” He outlines the many unexpected products on grocery store shelves that are packed with fructose. Give it a listen – it was the lecture that sparked the New York Times’ article.

2. Stick to a metabolism-boosting diet with limited calories. That means lots of snacking every three hours during the day – 200 to 300 calories at a time. You know, hunter-gatherer style. My favorite snack food is baby carrots or a cup of Greek yogurt – it packs in nearly double the amount of protein found in regular yogurt, which helps satisfy hunger. I was inspired to try this method by this article from Lifescript.com (where I work) on how eating 5-6 small meals per day will speed up your metabolism.

3. A cardio, abs and weights workout for 20-30 minutes per day. I’m not a gym person but I’m big on the outdoors so I try to fulfill most of the cardio by playing with my 6-month-old puppy or hiking.

So far I’ve been doing this plan for seven days and I’m happy and excited to report I’ve lost four pounds!

Are you on a similar path toward adopting a healthy lifestyle? Or are you running interference against the holiday extravagances at the table that are just around the corner? What’s your plan to stay healthy this autumn?