Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Trendy Wednesday - Ruffles

Is there anything more girlie than ruffles? Layers and layers of them! For me ruffles are like ice cream or frosting - super sweet and I can't ever get enough. From tops to accessories to coats and to shoes, this fall you can layer yourself in ruffles from head to toe. Can there ever really be too much of a good thing?

Hmmmm, come to think about it, too much frosting gives me quite a headache. Once at Stephanie Vega's birthday party in the sixth grade, she had a cookie cake that was in the shape of a pizza and had all of this frosting on it that looked like sauce and cheese and toppings. It sounds weird now, but at the time I thought I had died and gone to Heaven. And after a "slice" topped with WAYYYY too much frosting pepperoni, I felt like I was dying. So maybe you should just take it one ruffly piece at a time! Here are a few of my favorites this fall...

I just love this ruffled scarf from Anthropologie. With a white tee and worn in jeans - casual perfection!

I still don't have a pair yet, but of all the booties out there, I think these are really fun.

Also at Anthropologie is this adorable white button down - the perfect way to change up a classic look.

I saw this piece on and it quickly became my "if we won the lottery" pick. Have you ever seen anything more beautiful?? I mean the coat is named "Darling" - I think it was made just for me (the me who won the lottery and lived in a place where I wore a coat more than five times a year!).

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tasty Tuesdays - Bacon and Brown Sugar Braised Collard Greens

Hi Y'all! (Said in Paula Deen's voice!!)
This past Saturday, Mark and I decided to take a field trip to Savannah. We live so close to this great city that people travel from all over to get to, and we rarely take an opportunity to spend time there. So we hopped over there with plans to really make a day of touring around Savannah. We wanted to take a trolley or carriage tour, walk the many squares, and stroll down River Street. Mother Nature had a very different idea of how we should spend our day. When we were about twenty minutes outside of Savannah, it started pouring. Oh no! What would we do? We figured today would be as good a day as any to try our luck at getting into Paula Deen's Lady and Son's without a reservation. I figured - who would be crazy enough to wait outside in this kind of rain?? A lot of folks actually!!! The line was ridiculous, but I waited in it only to see a sign that said "Sorry Y'all, We full for lunch." Heartbreak... The very helpful girl behind the counter came to my rescue and said, if it's a party of two we can take you right now at a high top table. Heck yes!

Mark and I followed the herd of people being shuffled into the elevator and landed on the third floor. Every possible seat in the restaurant was taken. Our waiter gave us a choice of several yummy menu options, but we decided on the buffet, since he said that's what first timers should do. I must admit, I am not much of a buffet eater, but this was great. Popeye's is of course the world's best fried chicken, but Paula's was very very good. We had mac and cheese, black eyed peas, mashed potatoes and gravy, creamed corn, slow cooked green beans. It was all wonderful and felt very comforting on such an icky day. But by far the best dish was the braised collard greens. They were spicy and slightly bitter, but also salty and a tad sweet. They were just the way I love them!

I love to make a big pot of greens during the fall. They are a great comfort food, and you can often find them at the farmers markets this time of year. I have tried several recipes, but this one is my favorite by far. I feel that the longer they can simmer, the better they are. So make these on a day when you can start them early and let them cook down for a while. It's truly worth the wait - much like lunch at Lady and Sons!!

Bacon and Brown Sugar Braised Collard Greens
8 servings (serving size: 1/2 cup)
2 bacon slices
1 cup chopped onion
1 garlic clove, minced
2 cups water
1 tablespoon brown sugar
2 tablespoons cider vinegar
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground red pepper
1 (16-ounce) package prewashed torn collard greens
Cook bacon in a Dutch oven over medium-high heat until crisp. Remove bacon from pan, reserving drippings in pan. Crumble bacon; set aside. Add onion and garlic to drippings in pan; cook over medium heat 5 minutes or until tender, stirring occasionally. Stir in crumbled bacon, 2 cups water, and next 4 ingredients (through pepper). Gradually add greens. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 1 hour or until tender.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Fridays Five Favorite Things - Muses Shoes

I am up to my neck in glitter! Seriously it is all over our house - on the phone, on the remote control, on my forehead. Everywhere! I have mentioned before that I ride in a Mardi Gras parade - the Krewe of Muses. I received my bead order form about two weeks ago, and since then, I have not been able to control my excitement and anticipation for this year's parade! Seriously, I have already placed my bead order, confirmed our luncheon reservation at Galatoire's with my friend Traci, organized our makeup application (think fake eyelashes and glittery lips), and finished eight fabulously glittery shoes! Our parade is a tribute to all things girly. Our signature, and highly coveted throw, are personally designed and decorated shoes. We coat them in glitter and feathers, sequins and gems. I estimate I spend about an hour per shoe, and I make the maximum amount allowed per rider, 30 shoes. It is truly a labor of love, but when you see the look of excitement and joy on the face of the lucky recipient of one of these shoes, it makes it all worth it. I remember going to a friend of a friend's house once, and she had a glittery Muses show on a shelf in her china cabinet - right next to her Vera Wang crystal. They truly are a treasure. Here are a few of my favorites that I have made over the past five years...

1. The aquarium shoes- these are new this year. they are bright green shoes with ocean blue inside. They have a trim that looks like seaweed and little 3-d fish all over. I think the little parade go-ers will love these.

2. The daisy shoes - I just thought these were so playful. They were white sandals that I glittered in green and covered in daisies!3. The LSU shoes - these are new this year and I think will be a big hit with all the 'Tiga' fans! Geaux Tigers. They are yellow shoes accented in purple trim with cute, or should I say ferocious, tigers on them.

4. The Ruby Red Slippers - Each year I make a pair of ruby red slippers. Growing up my sister always wanted a pair of Dorothy's ruby red slippers, so these are for all the little girls just like her.

5. The US Navy shoes - last year we had a promotion party for Mark and the favor for all of our guests was a Mardi Gras bead with the Navy Emblem attached. I had several pairs left over, so I made Mark and his boss (who came to NOLA for her first Mardi Gras) a pair of Navy Muses shoes. I was so nervous that in the chaos of the crowd, Tracy wouldn't get the shoe, but she did, and it was a big hit!

With eight shoes done, I have 22 to go. I better get back to work!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Trendy Wednesday - Cameos

When I was a little girl, one of my favorite past times was looking through my mom's jewelry box. There were all of these amazing treasures in there that seemed so grown up. She had her high school ring, which would eventually be worn by my sister, and all of her class pins that she had gotten at Mount Carmel. I remember thinking that one day when I was a big girl, I would have Mt. Carmel jewelry too. And she had these beautiful thin gold bangles that made the best clinking sounds when they slid up and down my wrists. But there is one piece that I always found so intriguing - a Cameo. I always thought it was so old-fashioned. It seemed like something that Samantha from American Girls would wear. Seeing as she was my favorite American Girl, I loved this piece.
Imagine my excitement seeing the return of the cameo. I think the femininity of a cameo works so well against the stiffness of a leather jacket. This look of the leather jacket over the print dress would be the perfect outfit for the cameo ring I spotted at Nordstrom.

This pin is perhaps my favorite accessory this fall. And at only $38, I think you can add a touch of class and sophistication that looks much more expensive than the price. I would pin this on a black turtleneck or on the lapel of a velvet blazer. It is simple, but it is timeless.

And just imagine how excited your little one will be when she discovers these items tucked in your jewelry box! Heaven!
PS - I finally figured out how to add a link. It's a blog milestone!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

NYC Recommendations

Hi bloggers!

We are heading up to NYC again this Thanksgiving from Tuesday night through Sunday. We cannot wait. I, being a good New Orleanian, plan my trip from breakfast to lunch to dinner. I do a ton of research before we travel, and I love to read about all of the great restaurants out there. But sometimes, the best advice comes by word of mouth.

Soooooo, I'm wondering if yall have any "don't miss" NYC spots.

Please let me know what your favorites are...

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tasty Tuesdays - Pan-Roasted Pork Loin with Leeks

I think everybody has little weekend rituals they like to take care of to get the week of on the right foot. For me, it's creating a weeks worth of menus on Sunday mornings. I wake up and browse through Martha Stewart's website, through Everyday Food magazines, and through is probably my favorite recipe search engine because it connects to Cooking Light's recipe archive. It also has a feature that allows you to save the recipe you like to a shopping list where it organizes what you need by grocery section (produce, dry goods, etc). It is so handy and makes for a very efficient shopping experience, which is important when you're having to get your shopping done before the big game starts.

When looking for recipes, I try to mix things up in terms of protein choice and style of cuisine. I also try to stretch ingredients. For instance, this week I planned to buy a pork loin, and at the commissary they sell them in two pound increments. So I chose two recipes that called for pork loin, but that were very different in preparation and flavor. We will have Grilled Fajita Seasoned
Pork Loin with a Pineapple Salsa and Snap Peas, and we had today's featured recipe - Pan Roasted Pork Loin with Leeks. It is a great recipe that was very tasty and easy to prepare. I can get stuck in a recipe rut, so this one was a perfect way to shake up things. The leeks were creamy and tender and perfect to soak up the white wine that was added to the dish. They complemented the pork perfectly. I served this over a cauliflower puree that stood in for mashed potatoes. It's an easy side that so good, and not too bad for you either! Bring a head of cauliflower to a boil in chicken stock. Once tender, puree the cauliflower in a food processor. Add a little chicken stock and a quarter cup of fat free sour cream, salt, and pepper! Delish! It was perfect for this dish because it soaked up every bit of the juice from the pork and leeks.

I hope this recipe adds a little something to you next menu!

Pan-Roasted Pork Loin with Leeks

6 servings (serving size: about 3 ounces pork and about 2 1/2 tablespoons leek mixture)
4 large leeks (about 2 1/4 pounds)
1/2 cup water
1 tablespoon butter, divided
1/2 teaspoon salt, divided
1/2 teaspoon black pepper, divided
1 (2-pound) boneless pork loin, trimmed
1/2 cup dry white wine
Chopped fresh parsley (optional)
Remove roots and tough upper leaves from leeks. Cut each leek in half lengthwise. Cut each half crosswise into 1/2-inch-thick slices (you should have about 6 cups). Soak in cold water to loosen dirt.
Combine leeks, 1/2 cup water, 1 teaspoon butter, 1/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper in a large Dutch oven or deep saute pan over medium-high heat. Cook for 10 minutes or until leek wilts. Pour the leek mixture into a bowl.
Heat remaining 2 teaspoons butter in pan over medium-high heat. Add pork to pan. Cook 5 minutes, turning to brown on all sides. Add remaining 1/4 teaspoon salt, remaining 1/4 teaspoon pepper, and wine to pan; cook 15 seconds, scraping pan to loosen browned bits. Return leek mixture to pan. Cover, reduce heat, and simmer 2 hours or until pork is tender. Remove pork from pan. Increase heat to reduce leek sauce if too watery. Cut pork into 1/4-inch-thick slices. Serve with leek mixture. Garnish with parsley, if desired.

PS - I halved this recipe, but used the full cup of wine. Turn up the heat if you need to reduce the sauce. Also, I used I can't believe it's not butter sticks instead of butter, and it was still very good. Also, it says two hours, but I like my pork a little pinker in the center, so I'd likely do an hour and a half next time.

Monday, September 21, 2009

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia

That is if you're a Saints fan! The Saints were looking to start the season 2-0 for the first time since the magical 2006 campaign, but to do it, they'd have to go into Philadelphia and pull an upset over a team most pundits have picked to represent the NFC in the Superbowl. Typically the Saints do not fair well on the road (2-6 last year), nor do they shine when playing against physical defenses who have capable offenses. It's why most people picked Philly to beat the Saints and prove that New Orleans is fun to watch but not a real contender.

I think yesterday's routing of the Eagles might make the second-guessers out there give the Saints a second look. New Orleans won on every side of the ball. The offense showed again why Drew Brees should be considered as one of the best QBs playing today. The defense came away with big plays when we needed the momentum to shift our way. But credit the special teams for making the big play that changed the direction of the game. Malcolm Jenkins aggressive strip on the opening kickoff of the second half should be considered the play of the day. Just when Philly was feeling confident that they could score on us, he snuffed out any chance they had to do so. Just a great heads up play. That's pretty much what you saw all day by the Black and Gold.

I love waking up on Mondays after a win like we saw yesterday. The sky is a little bluer. The air is a little cooler. The birds are chirping, and there is a skip in my step.

I don't know what the weather is like today in old PA, but in New Orleans, the sun is shining!


Who dat, who dat, who dat says dey gonna beat dem Saints! Who dat??

Some fun stats about yesterdays game...

• For the first time in Saints history, they scored more than 40 points in the first two games of a season.
• Drew Brees threw for 311 yards, three touchdowns and an interception. Dating to last season, Brees has thrown at least two touchdowns in eight straight games.
• Marques Colston had eight catches for 98 yards and two touchdowns, his fifth career road game with multiple touchdown receptions.
• Darren Sharper's 97-yard interception return for a touchdown tied for the longest in Saints history.

Friday, September 18, 2009

Fridays Five Favorite Things - TV Chefs

5. Mary Ann Esposito - I remember watching Ciao Italia on Saturday mornings on PBS before
Food Network had even been conceived. It has been forever since I have seen one of her
shows, but she plays a large role in my love for cooking. I would watch her show and then
pretend I was her while making tuna salad for myself. Seriously, I would even practice
looking at the camera while stirring, just like she did.

4. Sara Moulton - Sara Moulton may not be as peppy as Rachel Ray or outrageous as Guy Fiore,
but she is an amazing chef to watch. I miss her on Food Network. I loved how she could make
a complex dish that would appear in Gourmet magazine seem approachable. She had the
ability to make cooking seem fun and glamorous without having to appear like a character,
which is what it seems Food Network has been going for lately in their new chefs.

3. Emeril Lagasse - Emeril has done more for New Orleans cooking than anyone. He has
brought our kind of cooking into the homes of millions of people. I think people feel they
relate to New Orleans just by watching his show. I prefer to watch Essence of Emeril because
it is more toned down, but Emeril Live is always fun when you need a dose of home.

2. Ina Garten - If I could come back as anyone, it might just be the Barefoot Contessa! I love
her show! It is so relaxing and comfortable feeling. Maybe it's the Hamptons setting, or
maybe it's just Ina, I don't know, but I always feel happier watching her cook. It would be
my dream to own a shop like hers and thrown Ina-caliber parties!!! Plus, she always has
the neatest houseguests!

1. Stephanie Bernard - It's official. My sister is a Food Network alum. That being said, she takes
the cake as my favorite tv chef. I can't wait to see her light up the screen.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Set Your Tivos

Ok - it's finally here! My sister will be on the Food Network tomorrow night at 10:00pm EST! She and the sous chef from Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse will be representing New Orleans on Chefs v. City. We have been looking forward to this big night since we first found out in March that they'd be auditioning!

I'm so excited, that we will be having a screening party tomorrow night! Can't wait. We're having roast beef po-boys to represent New Orleans and a choice of several desserts to represent all the great pastry chefs out there! We're having, pecan sandies, chocolate chip toffee bars with a chocolate ganache topping, creamy lemonade pie, and frozen chocolate peanut butter banana loaf. Mmmmm...

Hungry yet?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Huge Thanks to Lisa

Lisa from Knitting Yarns gave me my very first blog award - thanks sooooo much Lisa!!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Trendy Wednesday - Plaid

For twelve years, I wore some variety of plaid five of seven days of every week. That is what happens when you grow up in the Catholic school system of New Orleans. For those of you picturing the Britney Spears variety of Catholic school girls, think again. We wore Peter Pan collared white button downs (monogrammed on the left collar) paired with knee-length brown, khaki, and white check skirts.

How can you enforce the length you might wonder. The answer is easy. At any given time, on any given day, you direct an order over the loudspeaker whereby each girl kneels aside her desk while her teacher ensures that the skirt rests nicely on the floor. If it is shy by the smallest margin, you have the girl call her parents saying she must go home for the day or be brought a skirt of appropriate length. On the final day of senior year, every girl would rejoice in the thought that she would be going to college, where she would never again see plaid.

Not this year. It's everywhere you look. From crop vests, to wool skirts, to mini shirt dresses paired with leggings and booties. Maybe after all this time I'm ready to embrace plaid once again. I have to say there are some really cute looks out there.

I love the look of this Quicksilver plaid mini dress. Perfect for a pair of leggings!

This Joie "Fara" Plaid Tuxedo Shirt would be great with a black blazer and dark denim.
For the girl willing to take a risk, this plaid vest from Anthropologie is amazing...

It might be a bit parochial, but plaid can be the perfect thing to add interest to an otherwise ordinary outfit. These pieces are a perfect way to start.

Tasty Tuesdays - Cilantro Lime Rice and Pineapple Ginger Rice

I find sometimes it's hard to think of new and inventive side dishes that are easy to make and tasty too. I receive Martha Stewart's Everday Food magazine, and it always has some great recipes that can be paired with a simple lean protein for a balanced and healthy meal. These two rice dishes are favorites in our house. I love rice, so when I saw these easy ways to jazz it up, I immediately made them a part of our dinner rotations. I serve the Cilantro Lime Rice with the Adobo Flank Steak mentioned in a previous Tasty Tuesday. The Pineapple Ginger Rice works great with a simple Soy Marinated Pork Loin. I mix together a little brown sugar, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, crushed ginger, and red pepper flakes. Marinate the pork for an hour or so and grill it until the temperature you prefer. It's a great meal!

Lime Cilantro Rice

Serves 4
1 cup long-grain white rice
Coarse salt
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
2 tablespoons fresh lime juice
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 garlic clove

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until water is absorbed and rice is just tender, 16 to 18 minutes.

Meanwhile, in a blender, combine cilantro, lime juice, oil, garlic, and 2 tablespoons water; blend until smooth. Stir into cooked rice, and fluff with a fork.

In a medium saucepan, bring 1 1/2 cups water to a boil. Add rice and 1/4 teaspoon salt; cover, and reduce to a simmer. Cook until water is absorbed and rice is just tender, 16 to 18 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk honey and 2 tablespoons pineapple juice; season with salt and pepper.

To rice, add pineapple chunks, scallions, ginger, and oil. Season with salt and pepper, and fluff with a fork.

PS - I used jarred crushed ginger because it saves time when cooking. Also, I never use enough ginger to keep the ginger root fresh, so the jarred is a great way to go!

PSS - I also like using basmati or jasmine rice instead of long grain. I think it adds a great flavor to the dish. You could sub brown rice in either of these though to make it a wee bit healthier.


Monday, September 14, 2009

happy new year!

I know what you're thinking, it's not January. But in my little world, September is the start of a new year for two important things to me - the Saints and the Junior Service League of Beaufort.

We were home this weekend to attend the Saints home opener. It is the best day of the year - when you're still undefeated and the hopes of a Superbowl seem oh so real. You arrive to your section and hug the guy who's sat in front of you for six years. You don't know his last name, or even what he does when is isn't spending time sitting in his seats, but you share a love for your team that runs deep. He was there to celebrate the reopening of the dome. He shed a tear with you when Deuce moved the pile to get the first down against Philly that sent us to the NFC championship. And that's the thing about the start of a new season, strangers come together and under the roof of the dome they are united in their love for their team and their city. And our boys didn't disappoint. Drew was spectacular, as was Mike Bell. The defense was much improved. Overall, a good performance, but they have a few things to clean up. Can't wait till Sunday!

We flew back to beaufort today, and I had my first junior league meeting of the new league year. It was so exciting to see all of our amazing members. We have such a great year planned and will be doing so much good here for our community. My friend Lauren and I are the co-chairs of the ways and means committee. We have a big job ahead of us, but we got such an amazing response tonight from our members. Our committee is shaping up so nicely. I have no doubt that we will be successful in continuing to make the league an organization that improves the lives of people here. Our committee will have the chance to shape the future of our league, a job which we don't take lightly. We can't wait to get started and feel so energized knowing we'll have a great group of women to help us achieve our goal of making the league the best it has ever been!

Here's to a new year!

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Trendy Wednesday - The Party Dress

I am attending what should be a spectacular fundraiser for a charity (The Al Copeland Foundation) that one of my best buddies started to honor her dad. The event is called High Speed Fashion and is presented by Saks. Well, what is a girl to wear to a fancy fashion show? That is the question that kept rolling through my mind all weekend. I mean, I LOVE fashion, but am I fashionable enough for this party?? I tried on a million outfits and nothing seemed fitting for such a glamorous night. I wanted to wear the perfect little party dress! I just didn't have the right thing in my closet. I wanted something SPECIAL - something that said "this girl knows a thing or two about fashion." So, off to BCBG, which in my opinion does a magnificent job of creating the "it" dress each season. There were so many choices, but one really stuck out. It was as though Max Azria crafted it for just such a night as the one I'll be having Saturday. It is super fun and flirty, but demure and classy as well. Not an easy combination to pull off. And it's anything but the typical LBD! That's what I love about this season's cocktail dresses. Goodbye little black dress, hello winter white mini! I love the floral applique detail, and the touch of black ribbon at the waste feels so Chanel. Imagine this paired with my favorite 4 1/2 inch black satin LAMB pumps. Gorgeous. Aren't party dresses just the best!

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Tasty Tuesdays - Spicy-Sweet Pretzel Mix

It is officially the start of the best time of year - football season. I know people are busy planning their game day menus already, so I thought I'd throw out this recipe in case it might fit in with your football feast. It's funny how food and sports are so intertwined. I know Saints fans who will not watch a game without a family meal from Popeye's. And even more than that, it must come from the Popeye's on Magazine. They really believe that if you get it anywhere else, you're asking for the football gods to betray you.

It's always interesting to see how football superstitions arise. For the Monday night game versus the Falcons when the Dome re-opened, Mark and I celebrated with a lunch at Dickie Brennan's Steakhouse. Mark told me that if he didn't order and complete the 32 oz. porterhouse, he was sure the Saints would lose. Being the most superstitious sports fan alive (aside from our very favorite Redskins fan JT), I agreed that Mark absolutely had to get and finish that ridiculously sized steak. I didn't want to go along with it at first, but I kept thinking that if we lost this game, it would be because I told Mark that he shouldn't eat that darn steak. I couldn't live with the thought of being the reason the Saints might lose. Well, what do you know, the Saints went on to win the greatest game ever played in the Dome. In my mind, I think I actually believed it had to do partly with Mark eating that steak. So the next season, when we were home for the Monday night home opener against Tennessee, I was convinced that if we did everything exactly as we had done it the year before the Saints would surely go on to claim a victory. And just as he did the year before, Mark ordered and finished his 32 oz. porterhouse with masterful surgical precision. So I wouldn't worry about the health risk of doing this annually, the waiter assured me that 3 oz. of the total weight of the porterhouse was related to the bone. Ahhh - much better. You can imagine my disappointment when the Saints lost that night. I think the only person more disappointed was Mark who realized that not only did the Saints lose their game, but he lost his excuse to consume 32, wait, make that 28 oz. of steak.

Although I don't see a 32 oz. porterhouse in our future, I know this season will bring us an array of fantastic eats. There is just nothing better on a cold Sunday than a grilled brat, a cold beer, and a Saints victory. Add this pretzel mix to your next tailgate party, and you'll have one more reason to celebrate. It's a crowd pleaser, I promise, so I recommend a double batch.

Here's to another year of football!

Spicy-Sweet Pretzel Mix

Serves 8
2 cups thin pretzel sticks
1 cup natural almonds
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
2 tablespoons dark-brown sugar
1/8 teaspoon cayenne pepper
Preheat oven to 300 degrees. Line a large rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. In a large bowl, toss together pretzels and almonds.
In a small saucepan, bring butter, sugar, cayenne, and 1 tablespoon water to a boil, stirring constantly. Pour over pretzel mixture in bowl; gently toss to combine.
Spread pretzel mixture in a single layer on prepared sheet. Bake until almonds are crisp, about 20 minutes, tossing occasionally. Cool on sheet before serving. (To store, keep at room temperature, up to 5 days.)

Thursday, September 3, 2009

A Thought for Thursday - Do-Over

Maybe it's because the school year is upon us, but it seems everyone is brushing up on their professional qualifications these days. I spent today sitting through 8 hours of continuing professional education on assessing audit risk and professional issues updates. Bleck. Meanwhile my sister, the pastry chef, has also been attending some continuing education. The difference between us, I learned that detection risk is very important, and Stephanie learned how to fill dark chocolate with a gooey coffee filling. What sounds better to you??

I sat through the class today thinking about a blogger I am following (Knitting Yarns) who asked the following question recently, "if you could start college all over again, would you change majors?" Interesting question, especially when you are trying your best to tune out your instructor with any thought not related to auditing. The pragmatic part of me says, "Even if you want to own a pastry shop with your sister down the line, an accounting degree will be really worthwhile in helping to run a business. Stick to accounting." The dreamer in me says, "Heck yeah I'd change majors."

I would love to do graphic design or marketing or tourism management. While we're at it, my dream job would be to host Sportscenter, so maybe I should have been a broadcast journalism major. The possibilities are endless! Or are they? I really want to be like Julia Child and start over at 40 - do what I love to do, you know. But have we outgrown a chance to do something other than what we are doing now? Can you actually go back (or maybe forward) and change things? And if you could, would you?

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Trendy Wednesday - The Tube Scarf

So, I stepped outside this morning and was surprised by how beautiful the weather is. It's cool and crisp outside, and if I didn't know better, I'd say fall was here. Now, I know this is just an aberration, so I won't start pulling my winter sweaters out of the attic just yet, but I might start thinking about my favorite trend for fall. The tube scarf!
As much as I love summer summer fashion - bright colors, cool fabrics - there is something about winter wear that I find so sophisticated. I love the look of dark denim and a black turtleneck wrapped in a beautiful camel colored wool coat topped off with a Burberry signature print scarf. Add a wool cap, and you have the perfect winter outfit. I only know this because two Thanksgivings ago I wore this outfit to go birthday gift shopping on Fifth Avenue in NYC. I have to edit the outfit I just described a bit to include a black swing jacket and legwarmers over skinny dark denim, but you get the picture. I tend to go overboard when dressing for New York! To my delight, when we walked into the gorgeous Louis Vuitton store on Fifth, the lovely gentleman who assisted us told me, "Well look at you. You look fabulous - so European." I don't know if he knew, but that was the sweetest thing he could have ever said to a little Southern girl pretending to know how to put together the perfect winter look.

We're headed back to NYC for another storybook Thanksgiving, and I think I already have my outfit put together. But this year, it will hopefully include (big hint to Mark on this one) a Burberry tube scarf. They are calling them "snoods." (Apparently no reference intended to the computer game that caused my second semester GPA to plummet at Loyola). They are simple and they are perfect! Instead of clumsily winding all three feet of the wool tightly around your neck, this scarf is pulled over and piles gracefully around you. Pair it with a simple tee and throw on a jacket and you're set to go. It's an easy and sophisticated trend that will surely have the shop boys in Manhattan thinking you're fabulous. (I'm still glowing from that complement, can you tell!!).

If it looks this good on her, imagine how cute it would be on you!!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Tasty Tuesdays - Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

There is nothing like eating a cookie right out of the oven. Well, I take that back, I really like eating the dough more than anything else. Sometimes, I've eaten so much dough that by the time I can take a bite of the piping hot goodness from the oven, I have a tummy ache, and can't enjoy it.

What is it about this time of year that makes me want to bake. It's not even the least bit cool here yet, but there's something about September that makes me feel like baking. Maybe it's that it's the start of fall, or maybe it's just that I've been back on weight watchers for three weeks and my body is throwing it's own revolt. I have baked two batches of chocolate chip cookies in two days! Of course, I take a bite of the dough (or maybe two bites) and send the cookies with Mark to the hospital. My WW leader would be so proud.

Here is a great recipe for cookie lovers of all ages! I recently brought them to a Baptism party and they were a hit. Warning - if your children are wearing their Sunday best, they'll likely be covered in chocolate before too long. So this might be the perfect cookie to make when everybody is in their pjs. With a cold glass of milk, I can't think of anything better!

Peanut Butter Surprise Cookies

Makes 36
1/2 cup creamy peanut butter
4 tablespoons unsalted butter, room temperature
1 cup packed light-brown sugar
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (spooned and leveled)
1 teaspoon baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup granulated sugar, for rolling dough
36 mini peanut butter cups, chilled and unwrapped
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Using an electric mixer, cream peanut butter and butter in a mixing bowl until smooth. Add brown sugar; beat until combined, scraping down bowl as needed. Add eggs and vanilla, and beat until incorporated.
In a small bowl, whisk together flour, baking powder, and salt. With mixer on low speed, gradually beat in flour mixture in two batches.
Scoop off dough by the tablespoon; roll into balls. Place granulated sugar on a plate; roll balls in sugar, coating completely. Place 2 inches apart on a nonstick insulated baking sheet.
Bake until cookies begin to puff up slightly, about 7 minutes. Remove from oven. Press one peanut butter cup in center of each cookie. Return to oven; continue baking until cookies are golden brown and chocolate has begun to melt, about 6 minutes more. Let cool at least 10 minutes on baking sheet before transferring cookies to rack to cool completely.

PS - What's your favorite cookie?


Related Posts with Thumbnails