Saturday, September 28, 2013

The Trappist and Zachary's Pizza

 Our week was pretty status quo around here. On Thursday, we had a team outing at Paulding & Co where we had a cooking class. We made a delicious lunch of ceasar salad(including making our own dressing with anchovies!), roasted chicken, string beans with brown butter, and a delicious dessert. 

This dessert is a plum galette. It was super easy to make and it was so good. When I get the recipe from the Chef, I'll share it. 

In spirit of #Throwback Thursday, I posted this funny pic of me on Instagram. Haha

For dinner, it was Tres Amigas night at Comal in Berkeley. This place is super cute but I don't think the food is that great. :-( Still a fun night with friends though!

On Friday, Erik and I finally went to The Trappist in Oakland. It is soley a bar that does not serve food. You can bring in your own food though which is cool. The beer list was OK but we stayed for one drink and left. 

For dinner, we walked down to Zachary's Pizza in Oakland. We had deep dish/Chicago-style 
pizza and it was so good!

Monday, September 23, 2013

A Happy Dog and Butternut Squash Stew

Monday after work, Evie and I went on a long walk - 2 miles. That is long for her but I let her take us for the walk. We went up into North Berkeley then turned around and stopped in the park on the way home. We saw this hilarious statue up next to someone's house. Looks like a memorial statue of an owner and his dog. 

Evie needed a break after our walk so we just chilled in the grass for a little while. 

She is so happy. Look at that smile!!

We got home and she ran over to Erik, who had the hose, for a drink. What a nut!!


For dinner, we had a delicious dish. A "One Pot Wonder" as I like to call it. So good!

  • 1 1/2 lb. butternut squash, peeled, seeded & chopped into 1/2-inch pieces
  • 3 1/2 cups chicken broth
  • 1 1/2 lb. boneless, skinless chicken thighs (used chicken breast and shredded)
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 1 medium yellow onion, finely chopped
  • 1/2 tsp kosher salt
  • 4 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried oregano
  • 1 can (14 oz) petite diced tomatoes (did not use & cut up a red pepper instead)
  • 2/3 cup uncooked quinoa
  • 3/4 cup pitted and quartered kalamata olives (did not use)
  • Freshly ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1/4 cup minced fresh flat-leaf parsley (did not use)

  1. Steam the butternut squash until barely tender, about 10 minutes. Remove half of the squash pieces and set aside.
  2. Steam the remaining squash until very tender, an additional 4 to 6 minutes. Mash this squash with the back of a fork. Set aside.
  3. In a large saucepan set over medium-high heat, bring the chicken broth to a simmer.
  4. Add chicken thighs, cover, and cook until chicken is cooked through, about 15 minutes.
  5. Transfer the chicken thighs to a plate and allow to cool. Pour broth into a medium-sized bowl.
  6. Return the saucepan to the stovetop and lower heat to medium. Add olive oil.
  7. Add onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until onion is starting to turn brown, 8 to 10 minutes.
  8. Add the salt, minced garlic and oregano. Cook, stirring, for 1 additional minute.
  9. To the saucepan, add tomatoes, butternut squash pieces, mashed butternut squash. Stir to combine.
  10. Stir in reserved chicken broth and quinoa. Bring to a simmer, cover and cook until the quinoa turns translucent, about 15 minutes.
  11. Shred the chicken with your fingers or a fork.
  12. Stir the chicken, olives and pepper into the stew and simmer, uncovered, to heat, about 5 minutes.
  13. Stir in parsley and serve.

Sunday, September 22, 2013

The Smallest Library and Herb Citrus Roasted Chicken

Happy first day of Fall! It was in the 70's today and we were in shorts but it's still Fall!

Today, I went food shopping at 9:30am and the store was empty - the perfect time to shop. I got home in time to go for a run and wash the car all before 1pm. Yes, I washed the car. The only reason why I wash the car now is because a) we have space and b)we have a hose to actually do it. 

I worked on a craft today that is not finished but here is a sneak peak. 

No Sew Curtains. So easy!! When I finish, I'll show you the full project. 

Evie and I took a walk today and found the smallest library every

Cute idea, huh!? 

Chillin' in the park

For dinner, I made a Pinterest recipe - Herb & Citrus Roasted Chicken. 

It required a lot of ingredients to make it but it was super easy to make. 



It was really good! The "sauce" you make to marinate the chicken in is delish. 
This is a good "Sunday Dinner" recipe!

Herb and Citrus Oven Roasted Chicken

YIELD: Serves 6


1/4 cup olive oil
4 cloves of garlic, minced
2 tablespoons sugar
2 whole lemons, one juiced and one sliced
2 whole oranges, one juiced and one sliced
1 tablespoon Italian seasoning
1/2 teaspoon paprika
1 teaspoon onion powder
1/4 teaspoon crushed red pepper flakes
Kosher salt and freshly ground pepper, to taste
10-12 pieces (about 4 1/2 lbs.) bone-in chicken parts (thighs and legs are best), pat dry
1 medium onion (any kind), thinly sliced
1 teaspoon dried thyme, or fresh chopped
1 tablespoon dried rosemary, or fresh chopped
Chopped fresh herbs (rosemary, thyme, parsley), for garnish, optional


Preheat oven to 400 degrees F.
In a small bowl whisk together olive oil, garlic, sugar, lemon juice, orange juice, Italian seasoning, paprika, onion powder, red pepper flakes, and salt and pepper.
Place chicken in a rimmed 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish. Place parts skin side up and spread them out evenly in the pan. Pour olive oil mixture all over chicken, turning pieces to coat all sides. (If you marinated the chicken in this mixture, still add it all in). Arrange slices of lemon, orange and onion around and under the chicken. Sprinkle all over generously with thyme, rosemary, salt and pepper.
Bake uncovered for about 1 hour, or until chicken is cooked and juices run clear. Remove parts to a serving platter and garnish with additional chopped fresh herbs, if desired.
Just 30-40 minutes is all that's needed to bake this recipe with chicken breasts in place of chicken parts.
For best results, chicken can be marinated in a plastic container or bag for several hours or overnight in the olive oil mixture.
This is great served with a big salad, and/or lemon orzo/potatoes, or garlic bread!
You can also switch up the seasonings to a spicy mix and toss in lemons and limes instead of oranges. Swap cilantro for the rosemary and thyme. Serve it over rice, maybe? No need to be a recipe robot – get creative!

A Busy Saturday and Fall is Here

Our Friday night looked like this...

...and it was awesome to stay home and chill. 

We also had these for dessert which were just OK. We don't eat a lot of boxed food like this anymore so when we do, it just doesn't taste that great. These are OK but you can tell they are "fake." Don't get me wrong there are a lot of boxed/frozen foods out there that taste great. We just learned that we feel better when we buy whole foods and cook/bake it on our own. 

I also got this in the mail on Friday. That means Fall is officially here because Real Simple says so! I've planned out the decorations so come Sept 30th, we can get ready for our favorite month ever!!

On Saturday ,we went into SF for our friend Nicole's 30th birthday brunch at Bin 38. I don't think this is a true brunch spot. It's a wine bar that claims they serve brunch but they're not very good at it. There were also 20 of us there so it was a big brunch. It was good to see her to celebrate and see some of our other friends though, too. 

After the brunch, we went down to the jewelry store where we bought our wedding bands to get mine taken in a little bit. It is always turning on me and it drives me crazy. Of course a "it will take 10 min" resize turned into us being there for an hour. Ahhhhh!!

As we were driving home, the clouds in the sky were super puffy. I don't know if you can see them that well in this picture but they looked like big puffs of cotton. 

We made pizza and watched Louis CK stand up on TV. He is pretty funny. 

Friday, September 20, 2013

An Adorable Frenchie and Zucchini Lasagna

Last night, we totally cheated on Evie and hung out with a super adorable 1 yr old Frenchie. We visited Amy in SF and her roomate has the cutest dog!!

He was so full of energy and so adorable. 

Cuddling with Erik

So cute!! I want one! Just kidding. We couldn't get another dog nor do we want to PAY for another dog. 

He just lets everyone cuddle with him and pick him up. He was running around like crazy playing. 

For dinner ,we brought Zucchini Lasagna with us. It was SO good. Here's the recipe!

  • 1 lb 93% lean beef
  • 3 cloves garlic
  • 1/2 onion
  • salt and pepper
  • 28 oz can crushed tomatoes
  • 2 tbsp chopped fresh basil
  • 3 medium zucchini, sliced 1/8" thick
  • 15 oz part-skim ricotta
  • 16 oz part-skin mozzarella cheese, shredded (Sargento)
  • 1/4 cup Parmigiano Reggiano
  • 1 large egg


    In a medium sauce pan, brown meat and season with salt. When cooked drain in colander to remove any fat. Add olive oil to the pan and saute garlic and onions about 2 minutes. Return the meat to the pan, add tomatoes, basil, salt and pepper.Simmer on low for at least 30-40minutes, covered. Do not add extra water, the sauce should be thick.
    Meanwhile, slice zucchini into 1/8" thick slices, add lightly salt and set aside or 10 minutes. Zucchini has a lot of water when cooked, salting it takes out a lot of moisture. After 10 minutes, blot excess moisture with a paper towel.
    On a gas grill or grill pan, grill zucchini on each side, until cooked, about 1-2 minutes per side. Place on paper towels to soak any excess moisture.
    Preheat oven to 350°.
    In a medium bowl mix ricotta cheese, parmesan cheese and egg. Stir well. 
    In a 9x12 casserole spread some sauce on the bottom and layer the zucchini to cover. Then place some of the ricotta cheese mixture, then top with the mozzarella cheese and repeat the process until all your ingredients are used up. Top with sauce and mozzarella and cover with foil.
    Bake 45 minutes covered at 375°, then uncovered 15 minutes. Let stand about 5 - 10 minutes before serving.

    Acorn Squash and Make Your Own Fridge Mats

    On Wednesday night, we had more Acorn Squash. I sliced it and put some salt, pepper, and brown sugar on top. I cooked it on the grill on some foil and it was delicious! 

    Oh Acorn Squash, we love you but you are SO hard to cut up. There has to be some trick to getting through the tough exterior without sweating and almost slicing off a finger! 

    On Wednesday night, I did a super quick and simple craft....Fridge Mats!

    Blah. Boring Fridge. The shelves get sticky, spilled on, stuck to, etc. I saw these amazing fridge mats and wanted to buy them but not for this price. To do the fridge, it would've costed over $50! Instead, I saw others online making their own for a lot less. 

    Enter Target placemats for $1.99 each. In the placemat section, there are plastic placemats in various designs. I picked my favorite and brought them home. I measured, cut, and placed them in the fridge in about 20 minutes!

    Super cute and easy to clean! Now, if something spills, we can just pull out the placemat to clean it off vs. pulling everything off the shelf to clean it. 

    Love it!!

    Thursday, September 19, 2013

    DIY: Decorative Tray

    I saw this video on how to make your own tray and thought that this would be such a simple craft. Here's the video. Watch Martha get a little snarky, throw in her own ideas, and also say how she hates to mess up. Here's the video.

    Inspiration photo:
    DIY tray from baking sheets
    I couldn't believe it but that same day I found this craft, I found an old baking sheet on the street!! Someone was throwing out a bunch of kitchen items and this was one of them. How crazy! I have no shame in digging through those piles on the sidewalk. You can find some good stuff in there!!

    Anyway, I bought this gray and white chevron fabric that I LOVE. I used it on my chair makeover and had some leftover fabric so I used it for this tray. It was super easy to make. Here are the directions from the Martha Stewart site. 
    Tray with fabric. It's not perfect. If you want it perfectly flat in all areas, you need a brand new tray. This one had some rust, burnt spots, etc. 


    • 1 yard decorative fabric
    • Aluminum rimmed baking sheet
    • Spray adhesive
    • Scissors
    • Fabric glue
    • Synthetic felt
    • 1/4-inch-thick acrylic sheet cut to fit inside of tray, with corners rounded


    1. STEP 1
      Cut fabric large enough to cover the front and wrap around the back of the baking tray. Cover the front of the tray with spray adhesive.
    2. STEP 2
      Place fabric on tray so pattern is aligned, leaving enough room to wrap fabric around all sides to the back. Smooth fabric onto tray, pressing out any bubbles.
    3. STEP 3
      Pull any extra material into corner and push around the edge. Turn tray over. Cover the back of the tray with spray adhesive.
    4. STEP 4
      Press the fabric over two edges of the tray first, then fold in on each remaining side, as if wrapping a gift. Trim any excess fabric with scissors. Use fabric glue to secure, if needed.
    5. STEP 5
      Cut a piece of felt to fit the back of the tray and conceal fabric edges. Smooth felt on the back the tray.
    6. STEP 6
      Place acrylic sheet in center of tray.
    With the glass piece. I got a piece of glass cut at a glass shop for $7. 

    All done. A nice tray to hold the remotes!

    Nice & Neat

    You could make one of these in any shape and for any need. Make a smaller one to hold your jewelry on your dresser or one for your keys by the door. You could make these to hold plants. The possibilities are endless! 

    Wednesday, September 18, 2013

    The 60 Second Milkshake

    Ever want a quick and easy dessert? I have an easy one for you. The other night, I really wanted a milkshake but was not about to get in the car to go drive to find one. So, I made one myself. 
    A tiny bit of ice cream, a splash of Vanilla almond milk, and a dash of cinnamon is all you need

    You can make this as big or small as you want. Seriously this is about 1/4 cup of vanilla ice cream and 1/4 cup of almond milk. It's a perfect little dessert!

    If you have an immersion blender, just mix this for literally 10 seconds. 

    There you go. The 60 second milkshake dessert!

    So good!!

    Tuesday, September 17, 2013

    Old Wine Faithful and a New DIY Trash Can

    On Monday night, we had a dinner loosely based on this recipe for Ginger Chicken

    I bought bean sprout noodles aka cellophane noodles. They looked pretttyyyy different once they were cooked. 

    Jelly fish or noodles?? The dish was pretty good!

    On Wednesday, two really cool things took place. 
    1)I tried to open a bottle of wine and the cork was REALLY dry. As I tried to pull it out of the bottle, it broke in half. Half cork in the bottle, half cork in my hand. My only option was to push the cork INTO the bottle and decant the rest. You know what happens next, right??

    Push cork into wine bottle, spray yourself with wine. I put the rest in a decanter and voila - wine for dinner. Buttttt I had no where to put the leftover wine until I realized I could put it in here!
    Stayin' classy over here. 

    The 2nd cool thing is I did a super quick craft. We had a small stainless steel trash can in the bathroom. Everything in the bathroom is brown, cream, and copper-ish. The silver stuck out. So, I changed it. 

    Silver to brown with some simple spray paint

    Fits in much better!! 

    Happy Wednesday!

    Top 5 Tuesday

    Top 5 Tuesday

    1. It's September which means all things apple & pumpkin. To celebrate, I added canned pumpkin to our smoothies in the AM. Yummmm!

    2. We are enjoying the apples we picked this weekend! So sweet!

    3. Coconut Oil is amazing. We've been adding it to our smoothies and it's so good. A healthy fat! Check this out from Dr. Oz. Coconut oil can also positively affect our hormones for thyroid and blood-sugar control. People who take coconut oil also tend to have improvements in how they handle blood sugar since coconut can help improve insulin use within the body. Coconut oil can boost thyroid function helping to increase metabolism, energy and endurance. It increases digestion and helps to absorb fat-soluble vitamins.

    4. Grill Mates
    Thanks to Kimmy for introducing us to these marinades. 
    Our Safeway only carries the Garlic/Herb/Wine and Mesquite so we've only tried those two. Love both of them and they are only $1.50 per packet!!

    5. Maintenance NOT Required
    Our Maintenance Required light came on in the car and we put off calling a local Auto Garage to bring it in. I called this garage today with 5 stars on Yelp for being honest. The guy was SO nice and told me not to worry about it and that it comes on every certain number of miles. He also gave me an AWESOME price on brakes.