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Monthly Archives: July 2011

Things We Love: Wedding Registeries

…and by wedding registries, I mean my own.

One of my current favorite things to do while I’m lolling is work on my wedding registries (wedding in 19 days! Holla!). There is truly nothing like making a list of ridiculous stuff for other people to give you.

When Josh and I got engaged in February (fun fact: our one year dating anniversary will be 23 days after our wedding day. Hey, when you know, you know.), one of the first things we did was go to Williams Sonoma to register. As two people who are passionate about food and cooking, we were seriously like two kids in a very expensive candy store. Considering we’re both in our mid/late twenties, and had both had our own homes for years, we had most of the basics already. Now it was time for the upgrades! We added everything, from citrus peelers to $300 food processors, and enjoyed every minute of it.

A month or so later, we decided to finally do a more comprehensive registry to go along with that at Bed Bath & Beyond, so we could get important things like dishes that weren’t hand-me-downs and silverware that we liked, and that matched. Ah, the little things in life. We wandered around that store for hours, grabbing condiment dispensers and Kate Spade towels and anything else that struck our fancy.

That was just the beginning.

Ever since then, any time we think of anything, see anything, that we might possibly one day want, my default answer is “I’ll put it on the registry!” The lists keep growing longer and longer, and I’ve come to realize that when the wedding is over, I’m going to go through registry withdrawals. What will I do when I can no longer count on perfect strangers to buy me the things that I want (Hi strangers! I’ll gladly send you my registry info if you’d like to buy a present for me!)? You mean that I’ll actually have to budget for and buy the things that I want?! This is not okay.

Luckily, both of the stores have registry completion programs, where we get a discount on anything that we buy off our registry for 6 months- 1 year after our wedding.

Which means that I should probably go add more items now, just in case.

Come to mama, lover.

 

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Foodie Friday: Roasted Sausages and Tomatoes with Balsamic

I crave this dish, possibly because I have a deep love for balsamic vinegar. It’s beautiful, delicious, and most importantly, so incredibly easy. I like easy.

I typically think of this as an autumn meal, but I’m not really sure why. Summer is the perfect time, considering our basil plants are huge and our tomato plants are producing a crop that I’m having trouble being patient enough to let ripen.
Here’s the original recipe: Kayotic Kitchen

Roasted Sausages and Tomatoes with Balsamic

6 beef sausages (or 2 big links)
2 small onions (I use one red and one sweet yellow)
1 pound cherry tomatoes
5 tbsp good quality balsamic vinegar
6 garlic cloves
2 tbsp oil
fresh basil
pepper
salt

Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Peel and thinly slice the garlic. Cut each onion into about 8 wedges. Place the sausages in a large roasting pan with olive oil, onions, and garlic. Season well with salt and pepper, then toss it all around. Bake for about 15 minutes, then add the tomatoes and balsamic vinegar. Place back in the oven and bake til the tomatoes burst and starting falling apart. This typically takes at least 30 minutes for me, but I don’t have a great oven. Once it looks done, take it out and rip the basil all over it. Serve with bread and be prepared to go back for seconds. Or thirds.

 

Blog Love

We’ve been reading food and design blogs for several years now. We are always sharing with each other new blogs we stumble upon. So today we are sharing a few of our favorites. Feel free to comment with your favorites too!

The Pioneer Woman – Allyn first told me about her blog the day before I got married (I remember the weirdest things!). She basically taught me how to cook. My husband and I owe a lot to her!

Young House Love – We want to be best friends with Sherry.

Bower Power – We also want to be best friends with Katie.

Brooklyn Limestone – When we found this blog we both started from the beginning to watch the progress. Incredible renovation and creative ideas!

Food 52 – Some amazing recipes are shared daily here.

The Food in my Beard – one of the most creative food blogs out there. Not that long ago he had Beastie Boy’s week. Need I say more?

Little Green Notebook – Jenny is an amazing interior designer and takes time to do things like a series on how to upholster a chair.

Making it Lovely – another bungalow owner!

Effortless Style – Another great interior designer/blogger. She did a no-sew window valence tutorial a few months ago which I followed for my bathroom. Post coming soon (as soon as I can find those photos.)

Allyn’s Additions:

A Bloomsbury Life – Incredible design, travel, and general lifestyle blog. I want to curl up into all of her posts.

My Marrakesh – A woman’s blog about opening a guest house in Marrakesh. Beautiful design, and a fascinating window into a very different world.

Kayotic Kitchen – Fun Dutch cooking blog, originally found through our beloved PW’s site.

The Bloggess – Words can’t do her justice, so I won’t even try. Weird. Inappropriate. Hilarious. Her design ideas aren’t exactly inspiring so much as… cracked out.

The Kitchn – Mega recipe and kitchen design blog, run by people are are passionate about food. Love looking through here for ideas.

Wasted Wednesday: St. Germain Gin and Tonic

I love a good gin and tonic, and I love St. Germain, a French elderflower liqueur. The combination of the two is brilliant! Josh makes it perfectly, and I’m a very happy girl.
This could easily be made in a pitcher, with a big bowl of lime wedges beside it. It’s super light and refreshing, which is perfect for the inferno that we’re currently living in all through the glorious South. Ugh.
Added bonus? The St. Germain bottles are GORGEOUS. Seriously. It’s not the cheapest, but so worth it, and you can use the bottle as a vase aftewards. See, drinking is totally responsible and productive!

St-Germaine Gin and Tonic

•1½ parts Gin
•1 part St-Germain
•3 parts Tonic Water
•Lime wedge

Combine first three ingredients with ice. Squeeze in lime and stir. Serve with a lime wedge garnish.

How to stay cool

I live in the South. About this time of year it gets really hot. Oppressively hot. Like walk outside and five seconds later you have a sweat mustache hot.

A little over two years ago my husband and I bought an awesome house. We fell in love instantly, to the house that is, not each other, that takes time. It was everything we wanted and more: old house with charm, spacious rooms, amazing kitchen, no major renovations needed. Our only issue: no central air. To a girl raised in the South I didn’t even know such conditions existed, at least not in civilized society. But we were young and in love and decided to purchase the house thinking we’d install air when we could afford it. Well, its our third summer in the house without central air. We’ve adapted.

So today, as it is currently 99 degrees out (and feels like 112!) I’ve put together a list of ways I’ve learned to stay cool tolerate the heat.

Relax and loll about. This is not the time of year to get a lot of things done. Save that for the spring and fall. Its way too hot to be re-landscaping the yard or cleaning out the attic. Forget about it.
Fans. Our house came with ceiling fans in many rooms. While not the most attractive lighting or ceiling fixture, they are effective this time of year and I won’t trade them for anything. In the rooms without ceiling fans we’ve purchased additional stationary fans. We have several tower fans which fit nicely into corners and blend in. In my dressing room I purchased a vintage looking fan which sits atop my desk. Constant air movement is essential when you don’t have central air.
Cocktails. One of the best ways to stay cool is with a ice cold beverage. Whether its a glass of ice water, sweet tea, or watermelon mojito, its important to stay hydrated. Might as well make it a tasty one.
Watermelon. My all time favorite summer indulgence is a cold watermelon right from the fridge. I tend to stand right over the sink and chip away at a nice big wedge.
Frozen grapes. If you haven’t tried these, you’re missing out. Like nature’s popsicle.
Cold Salads. This summer my mission is to try a new pasta salad each week. These are great as the standing over the stovetop time is minimized. I also tend to serve each meal with a cold lettuce salad.
Grill out. Make your man go outside and grill your dinner for you. Why should you have to be cooking in the hot kitchen?!
Do your chores all at once. Since we can’t all afford household help, I’ve learned in the summer to save all household chores to do at one time. This way you only get hot and sweaty once. Although, don’t try to do too much or you’ll get exhausted and overheated.
Loll about. I can’t emphasize this enough: This is the time of year when you can get away with laying on the couch reading decorating magazines for hours with a cocktail at hand and not feel guilty!

Foodie Fridays: Salted Brown Butter Rice Krispie Treats

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I don’t have much of a sweet tooth. I like desserts, but I don’t crave them like some people do. If I bake a cake, I usually wind up throwing most of it away a week or two later. I love creme brulee, but only once in a while. Cheesecake? Occasionally, and I prefer it to be tart.

However, throw some salt into the mix, and I’m a goner.

Anything with the magical mix of sweet and salty I will eat until I’m sick. I love it. Love love love.

These rice krispie treats are one of the ultimate (and easy) treats. Crunchy, chewy, salty, sweet: I’m in heaven.

Too busy lolling to post the recipe here.

New Orleans: Eats and drinks

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Here’s a few of our favorite places to eat, drink, and be merry:

Jacques Imo’s. When we were going down this past winter several friends suggested it. We finally got to try it this last trip. The food portions are ridiculously large, so get an appetizer and share an entree. Also, you must get one of their signature watermelon mojitos.

Fried green tomato and shrimp remoulade appetizer


Stanley! Located right on Jackson Square this is an excellent breakfast spot. I think they also do lunch, but I heard their breakfast was spectacular and it was. Also great for people watching.

Three Muses. Located outside of the Quarter in Marigny it offers small plates and live music. Every local I asked for dinner recommendations suggested this place. We went in February and went again this trip.

Forgive the cell phone picture

Bon Ton. My parents insisted that we go. Its an institution located in the CBD. Get the bread pudding, you won’t be sorry.

Coop’s Place. Another local favorite. The rabbit and sausage jambalaya is incredible. I’d never had rabbit before and am really glad I tried it. Since it is more of a local place the beer is really cheap!

Cafe du Monde. I don’t think you can actually go to New Orleans without a stop at Cafe Du Monde. We went late in the afternoon and enjoyed some iced coffee and beignets as a pick-me-up.

Used without permission of Bryan

– Pralines. Not a place, a delicious cookie type dessert or palate cleanser. I think the best deal is a box for $7.90 (with tax!) at the New Orleans Cooking School. We had to stop and buy another box before we left town.

Irvin Mayfield’s Jazz Playhouse. One of the more respectable venues on Bourbon. Its located within a hotel and has a swanky jazz club type feel. I ordered a cucumber basil margarita, which is not something I’d normally order. But it sounded really refreshing after a hot afternoon and it was!

Fritzel’s. Also on Bourbon. Great live jazz, really expensive drinks.

Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. The oldest remaining structure in the Quarter is now serving as a bar. A local favorite and just on the edge of Bourbon, it is now our favorite bar. I ordered a sazerac which is a classic New Orleans cocktail involving rye whiskey and simple syrup among other things. Also, not a drink I’d order, but I really enjoyed it as well.

The Spotted Cat. We heard two awesome bands play at this Marigny venue Thursday evening. We’ll definitely come back.

Where are your favorite New Orleans restaurants and bars?