With Fall comes certain activities, like wearing sweaters, eating chili, decorating with pumpkins and how ’bout apple picking?! I love that I consider all of the above ‘activities’. Well, living in the Bay Area has inspired me to do all kinds of things I never considered doing before and this includes visiting an apple orchard. The hubs and I drove north to visit Twin Hill Ranch where we spent the day picking apples of all kinds for my first apple pie (recipe to come) and to share with neighbors and friends. It was such a fun afternoon, next time I plan on packing a little picnic basket.
It’s very easy for me to spend way too many hours devouring cookbooks. After a major recipe gathering sesh, I head to the grocery store to pick up ingredients, flip to the latest post-it tagged page in one of my cookbooks, and voila (hopefully) I’ve just made something wonderful. Cooking is my happy place and the kitchen is my sanctuary. I don’t have my dream kitchen quite yet, but I’m trying to make the most of what I got. And making the most right now is trying to get as much storage as possible.
I’ve been looking for a piece that will give me more storage for my constantly growing cookbook collection as well as house some kitchen essentials that are used on a daily basis. With lots of baking and cooking coming in the next few months, I want to have an efficient kitchen, as well as a pretty one, of course. Currently, I have to wrestle through haphazardly stacked dried goods in the cupboards to get to some quinoa and trip over miscellaneous items in the pantry to reach my food processor. It’s no bueno.
I spent months lusting after this West Elm shelf, but I finally accepted that’s it way too big for the little nook it will live in. Instead, I think I’ll be purchasing this shelf, which is much more friendly on the wallet and won’t be very hard to let go of once I move to my next home (which will hopefully be home to my dream kitchen ;p). It should do just fine.
Images via here
It’s that time of year when I want everything I eat to be filled with cream, pasta or cheese (ideally all three together). I’ve accepted that I will probably put on some winter weight, but that is the cycle I choose to live, so here we go with some yummy cream of mushroom soup. Seriously, this dish is sooooo good and will warm your soul.
6 tbsp. of unsalted butter
1 c. yellow onion, diced
1 c. leeks white and green parts, chopped (about 1 leek)
2 c. of crimini mushrooms, diced
3 cloves of garlic, minced
salt and pepper, to taste
1 tsp. thyme
1/4 c. all purpose flour
4 c. chicken stock or broth
2 c. half-and-half
Heat butter in a large pot over medium-high heat until melted. Add in onions, leeks, mushrooms and garlic. Season with salt and pepper and cook until all ingredients are tender.
Add in thyme and flour until everything is evenly coated and cook for 1 minute.
Add in broth and half-and-half. Scrape the bottom of the pot to get all those yummy brown bits. Stir continuously for about 10 minutes until soup thickens. Taste and season with more salt and pepper if necessary.
*I used half-and-half for less fat, but you could definitely do 1 c. half-and-half with 1 c. of cream for an even creamier soup.
It’s been a little over two years that I’ve been in San Francisco and my how the time has flown by. The hubs and I celebrated our SF anniversary (and his bday) with a little staycation at the most amazing camping spot ever. Getting one of the four camping sites at Kirby Cove is no joke. I impatiently waited at the computer every morning for several weeks ready to hit the ‘Reserve” button right when the clock struck 7am to get a spot at this coveted camping site. Seriously, it was like trying to get Radiohead tickets. Alas, I was able to reserve the best site for the exact weekend I wanted. When we got there, we unloaded the car, set up camp and had lunch with this view.
I don’t know what it is about the great outdoors, but everything seems to taste and smell better. Holding a hot cup of coffee first thing in the morning is just about the best thing. And soyrizo and egg burritos is a staple breakfast when I camp, in this case we went for breakfast tacos.
Camping at Kirby Cove was so relaxing. All we did was read, sit, enjoy the view, nap, eat…pretty much all my favorite things to do. And then the fog started to roll in…
I learned how to start a fire, so if I ever get dropped into the woods like Bear Grylls, I think I’ll be good.
Thanks SF for an amazing weekend.
Today marks two months of being married and I’m finally feeling somewhat recuperated from all the wedding planning. I still have my thank yous to do, but I’ve been avoiding them like the plague because I really (really) needed a break from anything wedding related. It’s not that I didn’t want to say ‘thank you’ to all our wonderful friends and family that showered us with their presence and gifts, but I just needed a wee bit of time to not think about any of that stuff. According to Emily Post, you should write your thank yous within three months of receiving gifts, so I’ve got just enough time.
The wedding went almost exactly as planned. It’s so strange how sooooo much planning goes into this one day and just like that, it’s over. There were many months of planning and budgeting, disagreements and tears, almost calling off the wedding (not to be mistaken with calling off the marriage), parental annoyances, crafting overload and too many trips to the flower mart. Despite all the months of planning, what it came down to was the week of the wedding, probably the most stressful week of my life. There were at least 2-3 close calls to a nervous breakdown, definitely a lack of sleep, a clementine emergency, and at least one private cry. Was it all worth it? A definite yes!
I’m happy to say that the morning of my wedding, after the beating of that last week, I woke up rested and feeling like a brand new person. I wrote my vows early that morning with my husband-to-be still sleeping next to me. Yes, you’re supposed to start writing your vows a couple months before the actual wedding, but neither of us had actually given the ceremony part any thought until that last week. My brother-in-law was the officiant and he was professional and inappropriate all at the same time. Our vows were heartfelt and humorous with Andreas being the bigger crier by far. It all happened the way it was supposed to and the ceremony was perfect.
I still can’t believe how amazing it was to have all the people you love and care about in one place. And they’re all there for you. We had entertained the idea of eloping for a while, but I am so glad we didn’t. There are not many opportunities in life where all the people that are important to you are in the same place to celebrate such a momentous day.
Because we are such event, marketing, design, planner people by nature and trade, Andreas and I spent the first few days of our honeymoon analyzing the whole wedding. Don’t get me wrong, we had a TOTAL blast at the wedding. Drinks were had by many, dinner and dancing ensued, a joyous (and drunken) rant reminiscent of those infamous Anthem x Coachella parties occurred (not by me but my better half) which included calling out babies in wombs to get on the dance floor and a necessity of earmuffs for my 8 yr. old nephew. It was a good time for sure and things that we noticed after the fact I’m sure were not noticed by anyone else. Here are the things we wish we could do-over…
- I absolutely loved the venue we picked, but I wish that we could have had at least one more hour for the festivities. They gave us a 5 hour block for the event and we could have really used that extra hour. Five hours is just not enough time for a ceremony and reception and partying, I think six hours is the minimum for any wedding. Also, there was a sound ordinance after a certain time, so the volume of the music was not up to my standards towards the end.
- The caterer we hired was great and accommodating up until the actual day, but they kinda failed us on a few levels day of. I was hands off towards the end because I didn’t want to be a micro-manager, but I realized I should have micromanaged.
- The biggest ‘wish we could do-over’ we both had was not making the rounds with all the older folks. Our parents had a handful of friends and some distant family members that came that neither of us ever see and we didn’t get a chance to say hello. This was a big regret
- I wish we would’ve played ‘Blurred Lines‘.
So, now that I’m a Mrs. I think I’ve had enough experience to offer you brides-to-be some advice.
- Don’t sweat the small stuff the day of your wedding. Do it before or after. I was (surprisingly) cool as a cucumber the entire day and it was awesome.
- Don’t be a bridezilla, just don’t.
- If you can afford it, hire a videographer, or have many of your friends video instagram throughout the day.
- Party hearty with your friends, but make sure to say hello and pay respect to your elders. They probably won’t be around as long as your friends.
- If you can remember, take your groom and escape to a vantage point just for a few minutes during your reception. Take a look at all your loved ones, all your hard work, and just take it all in. You’re married now!
- Have a wedding. Big or small, expensivo or super budg, just do it. You won’t regret it.
That’s all I’ve got and I’m stickin’ to it.
If you grew up in Southern California, you probably know about chimichangas. If you didn’t, then let me just tell you a chimichanga is deep fried goodness, as if the burrito was not good enough as is. Chimichanga is also a Mexican restaurant with locations throughout the UK. I would equate it to something like our El Torito, but with wayyyyy more fun design. Don’t you agree?
Images via here
My latest dish from cooking with Pinterest comes from this yummy recipe using soba noodles. I’m somewhat acquainted with many different types of Asian noodles but rather new to soba noodles. They were delicious and very easy to cook. Can’t wait to dive into more recipes with these noodles.
1 bundle of soba noodles (about 4 ounces)
1 cup snow peas (trimmed, and peel the string off the side)
1 cup edamame
olive oil, for the pan
orange & lime wedges to squeeze in at the end
few teaspoons of aji nori furikake (a new favorite!) or sesame seeds, for garnish
juice from 1/2 an orange (about 1/4 cup)
1 tablespoon lime juice
1 tablespoon tamari (or soy sauce)
1/2 teaspoon sriracha (more if you like it spicier)
1 teaspoon toasted sesame oil
2 teaspoons minced fresh ginger
Whisk sauce ingredients together or place all ingredients in jar and shake.
Cook noodles in boiling salted water for 8-10 minutes.
While noodles are cooking, heat a large skillet with just a bit of olive oil. Once the pan is hot, add snow peas and a pinch of salt, stir fry for few minutes until tender and they get a slight char on both sides. Remove from the pan and set aside. Turn off heat and let the pan cool down for a few minutes.
While the (same) pan is off but still a little hot pour in the sauce. Let it bubble just a bit. Stir continuously as it thickens, about 2-3 minutes. The sauce should reduce and become slightly syrup-y. Don’t let it burn or reduce too much.
Add the noodles, snow peas and edamame to the pan. Stir to mix everything together with the sauce. Add a squeeze of lime, and cook a few minutes more. Taste & adjust. If necessary, add more soy sauce, another squeeze of orange or lime, perhaps more sriracha if you want more heat. Top with a drizzle of toasted sesame oil and sesame seeds.
Recipe via here
Have you had a chance to check out the May issue of Emma?? They featured some before and afters from yours truly (starting on page 44)!
Image via Emma
San Francisco is a city full of artisan coffee and it’s also a city that makes me feel totally ashamed about drinking Starbucks (sometimes). The Mill, a collaboration between Four Barrel Coffee and Josey Baker Bread, is the newest establishment on Divisadero where you can get your caffeine fix and carb it up with a chunky piece of toast. Not only did I enjoy my almond milk latte and cinnamon sugar toast, I was delighted with the exposed rafters and classic white herringbone tile. The custom wood shelves add warmth and are a great backdrop to display all the houseware goodies. It’s places like this that make me love SF.
Images via here
There are tons of recipes that I save, tag and pin and what usually happens is they end up collecting dust or getting lost in the interwebs. I’ve started to make a conscious effort to not only cook more, but actually cook the recipes I’ve been saving for however long. Some turn out good, and some not so much, but it’s all about the effort and trying something new. I recently made this fried quinoa with shrimp since I happened to have all the ingredients in my pantry and it was super yum in my tum (and healthy!).
Recipe via here