Tag Archives: dinner parties

life according to my iPhone lately

1 Dec

Life according to my iPhone lately…well, the last two months.

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early morning family selfie

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snug as a bug

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baby Glodney’s first photo…don’t worry we couldn’t spot the baby either

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new morning routine

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Franks thoughts about walking the neighborhood in his halloween costume

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early morning hike

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baby Glodney’s second photo…my how you’ve grown!

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decaf coffee is just not the same

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celebrating two years of marriage

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bed head

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exploring a hollywood parklet

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visiting my step father Irv in Kansas City

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fall colors in Kansas City

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more fall colors!

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exploring the Nelson-Atkins museum

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you must eat bbq when in Kansas City, right?

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arriving in Atlanta to visit my friend Chantal

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her sweet little guy helping me with my bag

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love that sweet boy

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love his mama too

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our best attempt at a group photo

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giving the baby thing a test run

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oh, hi!

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street art in Atlanta

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appetizer spread at a little dinner party we hosted

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these two

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Oh, hi baby Glodney! Looking cozy

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morning coffee with Rachel and Ben

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more baby test runs

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your baby is a…

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BOY!!

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with the new man in my life…

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fusilli alla vodka

26 Oct

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I’m a pasta girl. If it was appropriate to eat pasta for every meal I would happily oblige. In addition to enjoying the art of eating pasta I also enjoy preparing it. They are so easy to throw together and you can pretty much add any ingredient to them and it works…meat, veggies, spice, dairy, seafood…anything! Last night we had Brian’s parents over for dinner and we decided to make our new favorite pasta dish…spicy fusilli alla vodka. We first made this dish a few weeks ago when we had our friends Rachel & Pj (and their new baby Ben!) over for dinner. It was a big hit that night so we decided to give it another go, this time we upped the spice factor. Brian likes to sweat when he eats food. While I enjoy spicy, he takes it to another level. I gotta keep my eye on him when he’s adding the spices to our meals.

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I found the recipe on Bon Appetite’s website (they pulled it from the Italian restaurant Jon & Vinny’s in Los Angeles. I’ve been dying to try this place so we made reservations for our wedding anniversary in November. I plan to eat lots of pasta that night) The dish is incredibly easy to make, we usually make the sauce before our guests arrive and then reheat it once we are ready to eat.

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Frank is absolutely no help unless food makes it onto the floor and needs to be cleaned up. Otherwise he sleeps nearby with his beloved tennis ball.

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Voila! Dinner is ready- we served the pasta with an Italian salad & fresh bread.

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ingredients-
servings: 4
¼ cup olive oil
½ shallot, finely chopped
1 small garlic clove, finely grated
½ cup tomato paste
2 tablespoons vodka
1 cup heavy cream
1 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt, freshly ground pepper
1 pound fusilli
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1 ounce finely grated Parmesan, plus more for serving
¼ cup chopped fresh basil

directions-

Heat oil in a large skillet over medium. Add shallot and garlic and cook, stirring occasionally, until softened, about 5 minutes. Add tomato paste and cook, stirring occasionally, until paste is brick-red and starts to caramelize, about 5 minutes. Add vodka and cook, stirring constantly, until liquid is mostly evaporated, about 2 minutes. Add cream and red pepper flakes and stir until well blended. Season with salt and pepper; remove from heat.
Meanwhile, cook pasta in a large pot of boiling salted water, stirring occasionally, until al dente. Drain, reserving 1 cup pasta cooking liquid. Add pasta to skillet with sauce along with butter and ½ cup pasta cooking liquid. Cook over medium-low heat, stirring constantly and adding more pasta cooking liquid if needed, until butter has melted and a thick, glossy sauce has formed, about 2 minutes. Season with salt and pepper and add 1 oz. Parmesan, tossing to coat. Divide pasta among bowls, then top with basil and more Parmesan.

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celebrating my momma’s bday…

28 Sep

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My momma’s birthday always feels like the kick-off for the upcoming celebratory season. Her birthday, September 24th falls the day after the first day of fall- my absolute favorite time of year. Even though it’s usually still unbearably hot in Los Angeles on her birthday I am in full fall mode.

Her lovely friends Mary & Francesca hosted a casual dinner for fourteen of us to celebrate her birthday. I am a fan of celebrating my mom because she is hands down one of my favorite people to walk the earth. She’s full of so much joy, love and laughter. She’s the kind of person you want to be stuck in a room with for hours. She’s just fun.

We feasted on a Moroccan chicken dish, roasted veggies, an arugula salad & a fruit salad while sitting outside in the garden. After dinner we moved into the living room to eat dessert (the most delectable bread pudding I have ever tasted) while watching her open gifts.

It was the kind of evening that left me heart feeling full.

Happy Birthday to my beautiful Momma.

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july 4th weekend

6 Jul

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July 4th weekend did not disappoint this year. I spent most of it at the beach and eating tasty food- both favorite pastimes of mine. I started the weekend off right by taking Frankie for a three-mile walk Friday morning. We start every day with a long walk actually- it’s our thing. I’ve become rather attached to the routine of it. It throws my whole day off if I can’t make it work for some reason! We explore different streets, houses and alleys each day. Frank is a pup who appreciates a new tree to pee on and I am more than happy to comply. After our walk I met a girlfriend for a juice date at Kreation. I opted not to get a healthy green juice and instead ordered a chailicious smoothie. It was to die for- like sipping dessert through a straw. Then I met my mom and my brother for lunch at Back On The Beach to celebrate my birthday a few days early with them. The food isn’t mind-blowing but the restaurant overlooks the ocean and your table is literally on the sand so it makes up for it. After lunch my mom and I headed down to the water for a few hours (we couldn’t convince Nik to join us though). It was a cloudy afternoon so instead of sunbathing and swimming like we had planned we spent most of the time lying on a blanket fully clothed chatting. When I got home Brian made us dinner on the grill- cilantro lime chicken, zucchini and sweet potatoes.

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back on the beach

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Nik looking dapper in my moms hat and my sunglasses

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we worked hard to get this selfie

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I know I’m biased but he’s the cutest griller I ever did see

On Saturday, after sleeping in and drinking copious amounts of coffee in bed, we packed up the car and headed to the beach to meet some friends. It was packed with happy people as far as the eye could see celebrating the holiday. Luckily, the sun was actually out this time and I proceeded to spend the next few hours working on my tan, reading magazines and swimming in the sea. I haven’t swam in the ocean since we were in Bali for our honeymoon over a year ago. I almost forgot how invigorating the salty water can be. After the beach we debated going to a party with our friends but decided a quiet night at home was more our speed. We are getting old, huh?!? So we (Brian) grilled yet again and had a picnic on our coffee table so we could watch a movie (we watched The Judge – meh) while eating dinner. Around 9pm (with ten minutes left to spare in the movie of course) the loud pops began so we grabbed Frank (who was totally freaked out by the commotion) and headed up to the roof to take in the firework show across the city.

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clearly, not impressed with July 4th

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July 4th at Santa Monica beach

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lunch at the beach

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our picnic dinner

On Sunday we spent most of the day doing things around the house. There is nothing that brings me more joy than organizing my home. I know…I really am getting old. In the evening we hosted my Dad and Pamela for dinner to celebrate Pamela’s birthday. That’s another thing that brings me great joy…hosting dinner parties. Especially to celebrate ones I love. Brian and I made salmon, corn on the cob (with cilantro lime butter- with a pinch of lemon zest) and potato salad. I also baked a vanilla cake with fresh strawberries on top for dessert.

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chubby paws

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very busy at work making potato salad

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ever hopeful that something might drop…

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Happy Birthday Pamela!! (please excuse the weird face I am making)

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mi familia

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love

the end.

“Be happy for this moment. This moment is your life.”
Omar Khayyam

 

saturday night dinner party

15 Jun

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On Saturday night Brian and I had my best girlfriend Taline and her 11 month old son Liam over for dinner. The last time we had Liam over he was a teeny tiny little babe. He didn’t do much other than look cute. Cut to now…he’s a super mobile (he gave Frank a run for his money), giggly & fun little guy. Having him at the dinner table like one of the adults cracked me up. When planning the menu for the evening I tried to accommodate everyone. I’m new at cooking for a baby thing- what can they eat at 11 months??? I settled on a pasta dish & a peach crisp for dessert ( I figured both could be modified for Liam to eat). Definitely not the healthiest of dinners (helllllo carbs!) but it’s all fun and games until your jeans don’t fit, right?

Of course Brian helped me put the meal together. I swear no matter what I do he will always be a better cook than me. It’s ok I guess…I think I might like baking better anyway. I’ll let him be the cook in the family and I’ll handle the desserts. I mean who doesn’t want to be in charge of the desserts, right? I’ve been wanting to make a crisp/crumble type thing for a while now. They always look so damn good to me when I scroll through pinterest. I’ve also been wanting to make something with peaches because nothing says summer to me like a dessert with peaches.

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I couldn’t help but laugh at the last picture. Dinner parties sure do look different in your thirties! In the best possible way too. As I looked around the table my heart-felt incredibly full.

Below you will find the two recipes…

spaghetti all’ amatriciana 

* ingredients

1 tablespoon extra virgin olive oil
8 ounces pancetta (thick cut), diced
1 small white onion, finely diced
3 large garlic cloves, finely minced
2 tablespoons tomato paste
2 teaspoons dried red pepper flakes*
1 (28-ounce) can of crushed San Marzano tomatoes
3/4 ounce parmigiano-reggiano cheese, finely grated (plus more for serving)
salt
freshly ground black pepper
1 lb dried spaghetti pasta
1 tablespoon unsalted butter

* directions

-Heat the olive oil in a large (straight-sided, preferably) skillet over medium heat. Add the diced pancetta and cook, stirring frequently, until most of the fat has rendered into the pan and the pancetta is crispy and caramelized slightly. Using a slotted spoon, remove the crispy pancetta and place in a separate small bowl, leaving any fat behind in the pan.
-Over medium-low heat, add the diced onion and saute in the rendered fat for 3 to 5 minutes, stirring frequently, until the onions are soft and lightly caramelized. Add the garlic and continue to saute for an addition 2 to 3 minutes, being careful to avoid burning the garlic or onion. Deglaze the pan with a tablespoon of water, if necessary, to remove any bits of crispy pancetta or bits from the bottom of the pan.
-Add the tomato paste and red pepper flakes, and continue to cook, stirring frequently, over medium heat for an addition 1 to 2 minutes, or until the paste has thickened slightly.
-Add the pancetta, and any extra rendered fat, back into the skillet, along with the crushed tomatoes. Bring the sauce to a low simmer, and cook, stirring every few minutes, for 15 to 20 minutes. The sauce should be relatively thick. Add the grated cheese to the sauce, and season to taste with salt and pepper. Place over low heat while you cook the pasta.
-Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to boil. Add the pasta and cook until al dente. Reserve 1/2 to 3/4 cup of the pasta cooking water in a measuring cup, and then drain the pasta. Return the drained pasta back into the pot, toss with a tablespoon of unsalted butter, and add the sauce, thinning with pasta cooking water as necessary until the pasta is evenly coated. Serve pasta with extra grated parmigiano-reggiano cheese on the side.

pasta

peach crisp with gingersnap crumble topping 

* ingredients

Filling
6 cups sliced peaches (peeled and sliced into ½ inch pieces)
¾ cups granulated sugar
1 tablespoon lemon juice
4 teaspoons cornstarch
Topping
1 cup all-purpose flour
⅓ cup granulated sugar
⅓ cup brown sugar (packed)
16 gingersnap cookies ((or 4 oz); crushed)
⅛ teaspoon ground ginger
½ cup butter (melted)

* directions

-Pre heat oven to 375 F.
-Mix peaches, ¾ cup sugar, lemon juice and cornstarch in a 9 X 9 inch pan.
-In a separate bowl, combine flour, sugars, crushed gingersnaps, ginger, and melted butter. Spread evenly over peach filling.
-Bake for 40-50 minutes, until topping is golden and filling bubbles. You may need to cover with foil at around 30 minutes to prevent topping from overcooking.

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home decor – patio

30 Mar

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Considering it is officially spring, our patio space has once again become my focus. Let the outdoor living begin! Our loft was designed to be an indoor / outdoor space. It’s one of my favorite things about our home. When we bought the place the previous owners were nice enough to leave behind an outdoor couch, coffee table and a slew of planters- which was amazing because we had zero outdoor furniture when we moved in.The only problem…none of it is really our style. Our loft is very modern and all of it is rather traditional looking. Because of this I have been wanting to give the patio a makeover. The only things we have added over the last two years…a few bright green planters (which Brian has begun planting his dream garden in), a grill, an umbrella & Franks “special” patch of grass.

Current patio space…

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My new vision for the patio…

modern furniture with bright pops of color!! Oh and a designated garden area for my love.

Here are my inspiration photos…

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Moroccan short ribs

3 Mar

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Recently, I have been obsessed with our slow cooker (I’m trying to remember who bought it for us as a wedding gift so I can send them an extra thank you card). Seriously, we are currently like, best friends. It just makes cooking so easy! Not to mention I look like a master chef when dinner is served- it’s pretty much idiot proof. You just put a bunch of ingredients in it and viola 7-8 hours later you have a tasty dinner. Although, I did make some hybrid Filipino chicken dish this past Sunday that was pretty horrible…I blame that solely on the recipe though. Moving forward I will be avoiding recipes that combine apple cider vinegar and soy sauce. Anyway, back to my recent favorite slow cooker recipe…Moroccan short ribs….it was AH-MAZING and so easy. As you can see from the photos below…even Frank wanted in on it. I guess it was rather mean of us to eat dinner on our coffee table that night.

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ingredients:

3 pounds bone-in beef short ribs

1 14.5-ounce can diced tomatoes

4 garlic cloves, sliced

1/2 cup of dried apricots, halved

1/2 cup of pitted olives

1 tablespoon chopped fresh ginger

2 teaspoons ground cumin

1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

kosher salt & black pepper

1 cup of couscous

fresh cilantro, for serving

directions:

-combine the short ribs, tomatoes (and their juices), garlic, apricots, olives, ginger, cumin, cinnamon, and 1 teaspoon of each salt & pepper in 4-6 quart slow cooker. Cover and cook until the beef is tender, on low for 7 to 8 hours or on high for 5 to 6 hours. Skim off and discard most of the fat

– ten minutes before serving, cook the couscous

– serve the short ribs over the couscous, topped with cilantro