Friday, January 29, 2010

Lonny Magazine

One of the things I've noticed a lot lately is magazines going out of print. Wedding magazines and home decor magazines seem to be among the hardest hit- especially the ones I like! I was so disappointed when Domino stopped production, but I did go out and get the design book compiled from the articles that appeared in the magazine. Love it! It's on my bedside table.

So when I found out about Lonny, I was instantly intrigued. It's put together by some of the creative team from Domino, and it's got everything that I've missed! It's an online publication, so it's a little bit different to read than what I'm used to, but it's very easy to navigate.

Hope you enjoy it as much as I do!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Knockout Knockoffs

As we get more into the decor of our house, we get further and further into our wallets. I have always been a fan of a great deal, which is why I really shouldn't go to Costco unsupervised. (Sure, we may never go through all 180 of those freezer bags, still on the first box actually, but it was such a good deal!)

Most of the blogs you see in my Google Reader list (on the left side of the page) are about ways to get high style without the high price tag. It leaves me with a warm fuzzy feeling to know that I don't have to spend $500 on an awesome end table, that I can recreate it or find it somewhere else for $100 or less. But let's be honest, I'm only so crafty. I can only do so much to recreate something or refurbish. Let alone start from scratch.

It's been a long time, but I used to know my way around a wood shop. For one of my theatre classes I had to put in hours building sets. There's something about seeing a sketch on paper, getting some simple instructions and then seeing the finished product come to life.

So where am I going with this? Glad you asked. I recently stumbled across a new blog- mostly because several of the blogs I read have mentioned it already. In her blog, Knockoff Wood, Ana lays out the plans and step by step instructions so that you can recreate some amazing pieces.

The plans are really easy to follow- even for someone with my limited power tool knowledge. It's enough to make a girl want to clear out the garage and make it a work room!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Thanksgiving Table

Not only did I have fun with the food, but I had a lot of fun setting the table. Sounds silly, I'm sure, but it was the first time we really got to use our china. My mom always sets a beautiful table, and she does it the night before so that the day of it's one less thing to scramble to get done. She's a smarty! Here's what our table looked like.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipe: garlicky Mashed Potatoes with Thyme

4 pounds Yukon Gold potatoes (about 8), peeled and halved
Kosher salt and black pepper
1 cup whole milk
1 cup heavy cream
4 tablespoons (1/2 stick) butter
1 head garlic, halved horizontally
12 sprigs fresh thyme
1/8 tsp freshly ground nutmeg

Place the potatoes in a large pot and add cold water to cover. Bring to a boil and add 2 tsp salt. Reduce heat and simmer until tender, 16 to 18 minutes. Drain the potatoes and return them to the pot.

Meanwhile, place the milk, cream, butter, garlic, and thyme in a small saucepan and bring to a boil. Set aside until the potatoes are cooked.

Strain the milk mixture into the pot with the potatoes. Add 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper and mash. Sprinkle with the thyme before serving.

I adjusted this recipe just a little bit. My mom can't eat anything that has milk/cream in it, so I substituted vegetable stock. It was a little bit of a guessing game, just adding a little bit at a time to get the potatoes to a nice fluffy consistency. Mashed potatoes are a must for Thanksgiving at our house.

Thanksgiving Recipes: Orange-Rosemary Turkey and Gravy

The most anticipated part of any Thanksgiving dinner is the turkey. And of course, it was the part I was most nervous about.

8 sprigs fresh rosemary
3 small oranges, cut into halves
1 turkey (size of your choice), giblets removed

Heat oven to 375F. In a large roasting pan, place 4 of the orange halves, one in each corner, cut side up. Take one of the remaining halves and cut it into small chucnks. Place these inside the turkey as you stuff the cavity with the stuffing. Take the last half, slice and arrange on top of the turkey in the roasting pan. (You may want to use toothpicks to hold the slices in place. We didn't have any, and I think it would have helped.)

Roast the turkey until a thermometer inserted into the thickest part of a thigh registers 165F. Carefully tilt the turkey to empty the juices from the cavity into the pan. Transfer the turkey to a cutting board, let rest for 20 mintes before carving.

I made regular stuffing with bread crumbs, I'm pretty sure it was Pepperidge Farm, using the instructions on the package. I added some butter when I checked on the turkey to keep it moist as it roasted, which also gave it a nice golden brown color on top.

I think it turned out pretty good!

Roasting pan contents
1 cup dry white wine
3 cups chicken broth (I used vegetable broth)
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
1/3 cup all-purpose flour
Kosher salt and black pepper

Directions- Gravy
Strain the pan drippings into a large measuring cup or bowl. Let stand for 5 minutes, then skim off and discard the fat. Squeeze the juice of the roasted oranges into the cup of skimmed drippings.

Place the empty roasting pan over 2 burners. Add the wine and cook over medium-high heat, scraping up the bits stuck to the pan, 1 minute. Pour the liquid into the skimmed drippings and add enough broth to make a total of 4 cups of liquid.

Melt the butter in a large saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, whisking, until golden brown, 4 to 5 minutes. Whisk in the broth mixture and bring to a boil. Reduce heat and simmer until thickened, 8 to 10 minutes. Season with 3/4 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Strain, if desired, beore serving.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Homemade Apple Sauce

I made this a few weeks ago and was really happy with the flavor, and the simplicity of the recipe!

3lbs apples, peeled and cored
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup white sugar
1 Tbsp lemon juice
1/2 tsp vanilla
1 tsp cinnamon

Place apples in large saucepan. Just cover with water.

Simmer over medium-low heat until apples are tender- 15 to 20 minutes. Run cooked apples through the blender until smooth.

Return apple mixture to pan. Stir in sugar and lemon juice, vanilla and cinnamon. Cook over medium heat for 5 more minutes.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Clean & Green: Oven Cleaner

Oven Cleaner

Dampen with water

Sprinkle liberally with baking soda

Leave 20 minutes, then scrub until clean.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipe- Broccoli Gruyere Gratin

2 large bunches broccoli, roughly chopped (about 12 cups)
4 Tbsp (1/2 stick) butter
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
2 cups whole milk
2 cups grated Gruyere (8 ounces)
Kosher salt
black pepper

Heat oven to 375F. Fill a large saucepan with 1 inch of water and fit with a steamer basket (or fill a large pot with 1/2 inch of water). Bring to a simmer. Place the broccoli in the steamer basket, cover, and steam until just tender, 3 to 4 minutes; transfer to a large bowl.

Melt the butter in a medium saucepan over medium heat. Add the flour and cook, stirring, for 2 minutes (do not let it darken). Whisk in the milk and simmer until slightly thickened, 3 to 4 minutes. Remove from heat and stir in 1 cup of the cheese, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/4 tsp pepper. Toss with the broccoli.

Trasnfer the broccoli mixture to a shallow 3-quart baking dish and sprinkle with the remaining cup of cheese. Bake until bubbling and golden brown, 35-40 minutes. Let sit 10 minutes before serving.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Clean & Green: Refrigerator Cleaner

Refrigerator Cleaner

2 tbsp baking soda

1 quart warm water

Wipe down inside & out and rinse with a clean wet cloth.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Thanksgiving Table #1

I had a lot of fun at our trial run Thanksgiving dinner. And of course I played around with the table as well as the food. I used our china and formal linens with our parents (pics coming this week) but still wanted our friends to see a pretty table.

Here's the set up!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipe- Apple/Cranberry Sauce

1 pound cranberries, fresh or frozen
1 cup apple cider
1/3 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup brown sugar

In a saucepan, combine the cranberries, cider, and sugars. Simmer until the cranberries begin to burst and the sauce thickens, 12-15 minutes.

Yup, that's all there was to it. Throw everything together and let it cook. It came out great. It's really tart, so if that's not your style you may want to add a little more sugar. Was great with the turkey, would also be nice warmed up and served over vanilla ice cream .

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Thanksgiving Recipe- Sweet Potato Bisque

I know what you're thinking. Thanksgiving? Really? And my answer is- yes, really. I've been a little caught up in the hectic whirl that is the end of the year. But now I have some time to stop and relax and smell the roses. Which means I also have time to get caught up on about two months of blog posts. So, we'll start right about where I left off- Thanksgiving.

I'll have some pictures up tomorrow of the table for both Thanksgivings. Yup, we did two. One we did about two weeks early as a trial run. I'm so glad our friends were willing to be guinea pigs for us! It went great, and we found a few minor twaeks to make before the big day with our parents.

One of the recipes that was a big hit- my Sweet Potatoe Bisque. That's it on the front right corner of the stove.

1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup chopped onions
1 cup chopped celery
2 large sweet potatoes, peeled and diced
3 cups chicken broth
1 cup milk
1 tsp nutmeg
salt and pepper to taste

Melt butter in 4 quart saucepan. Add the onions and celery, saute for 10 minutes. Add the sweet potatoes and broth. Bring to a boil, lower heat to medium. Cover and cook for 25 minutes, until potatoes are very tender. Puree the potatoes with a hand held blender. (I used the immersion blender we got as a wedding present. Love it!) Stir in milk and nutmeg. Season to taste with salt an pepper.

What's nice about this dish is that you can make it the night before and simply warm it up on the stove top when you're getting ready to eat. So simple, but so tasty!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

Every year I get determined to do something big and grand for a New Year's resolution. Rarely, if ever, do I come anywhere close to keeping it. I'm a bit of a cliche when it comes to that. SO I've decided to take a different approach to the resolutions this year. Here's what I've come up with:

1. Read 20 books in 2010. I read 15 in 2009, so this is only a small increase. I think I can manage this pretty easily, and I've already got one down. I'll keep track of the books I've read in the list on the left of this page. Some of them will be girly, some of them will be nerdy, but hopefully for me they'll all be at least a little bit entertaining.

2. Run 500 miles. I decided to do this instead of my traditional I-want-to-lose-x-pounds resolution. It's a much better way for me to keep my focus without getting down if the scale doesn't move as much or as fast as I think it should. I'll find a place here to keep track of that as well. As of this morning- only 499 miles to go!

3. Get into an MBA program. I took the GMAT, did pretty well, and now it's time to put it to use. I've got three applications already started, and should be able to finish them this month. That way I've got time to apply for scholarships, grants, and other ways to get the cash needed to pay for my next round of education.

4. Keep doing one new or cultural thing with the big guy each month. We've been doing this for two years now, and it's been fun. It's given us an excuse to try some things around town that we normally would have skipped and it's always a fun way to have a date night.

So that's the plan for 2010. I'm sure there will be more work done around the house, and more random things thatwe do throughout the year, but at least for now these are the most important ones.

What are your resolutions?

Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Clean & Green: All-Purpose Abraisive Cleaner

All-Purpose Abraisive Cleaner

liquid castille soap

2 tbsp baking soda

mix to make a foamy paste