Sunday, August 25, 2013

pork with corn & avocado salad

This dish has become a new summer favorite of ours. 

Chili-Lime Pork Chops with Corn & Avocado Salad
to serve 2 you will need:

2 pork chops (0.3 to 0.5 pounds each, depending how hungry you are!)
1 jalapeño, diced
4 bunches green onion, chopped
1 handful cilantro, chopped
2 limes, cut into wedges
2 cans corn, drained
1 avocado, sliced
olive oil
1 tsp ground cayenne pepper
salt and pepper

In a mixing bowl combine olive oil, chili powder, paprika, salt, and pepper to taste.  Add pork chops and turn until coated.  Cook in a skillet or grill pan over medium high heat.

Combine corn and jalapeño in a skillet over low heat, stirring occasionally until warm.  In a mixing bowl, combine green onion, cilantro, and the juice of 1 lime.  Add corn mixture and avocado.  Salt to taste.

Serve pork with corn and avocado salad, garnished with extra lime wedges.

Note:  inspired by a recipe found in Martha's Everyday Food

Thursday, August 22, 2013


Just after writing my last post I decided to get moving with hanging some frames with the thought of creating a gallery wall in the bedroom.  But once I cleared off the top of the dresser I realized I like it better that way.  Simple and uncluttered.  So I just tweaked things.  There's something so satisfying about keeping that spot clear and pretty.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

living things

Adam very sweetly got me some flowers...

...which reminded me of my goal to bring more color into the home.  I haven't quite done that in a permanent way, but there is certainly a lot more greenery! For a few months we have had cuttings in the bedroom, which is otherwise still largely untouched project-wise.

And the window sill in the living room is now home to this season's basil.  Last year we bought a pot of basil from TJ's, but this time around I picked up one of the packages of fresh sprigs and just stuck it in some water.  I wasn't sure if anything would come of it but I had read that they would root and do quite well.  It seems that's true!

Lastly, remember how I was hoping to keep this orchid alive?

Well, after a few months it looked like this

Womp.  Advice: don't trust the people who say you can water your orchid with ice cubes.  The truth is you will freeze it's roots, its buds will fall off before they bloom, and it will slowly shed its leaves and die (or something like that).

BUT! if you stop treating it like a cocktail and water it normally, it juuuust might show signs of regrowth.


From the above basil photo you may have noticed how beat up our window sills are looking.  I'm hoping to get on that this summer.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

warm pasta salad

I haven't been good about posting lately, partly because I have been busy with some life / schedule changes (new job - yay), and partly because there's a new (hand-me-down) camera in the mix yet no more Photoshop.  All in all it's thrown off the rhythm I was trying to get into.  I'm also in the midst of a few home projects, none of which are finished or ready to share.  But we haven't missed a beat in terms of trying new recipes! Here's one we made last night:  

Warm Pasta Salad with Roasted Tomatoes and Poached Eggs  
to serve 2-3 you will need:

1/2 lb pasta, we used bowties
3-4 genrous handfuls of arugula or other wilt-able green like spinach
3 medium tomatoes, roasted
1-2 eggs per person, poached
fresh cheese, we used Parmesan
olive oil
salt and pepper

This is pretty simple.  Roast the tomatoes first, since this takes the most time (see how here) using a little extra olive oil.  Cook pasta according to instructions, drain, and set aside to cool slightly.  When tomatoes are done, drizzle olive oil goodness over the pasta and toss with greens and cheese.  Poach the eggs*.  Serve the pasta topped with tomatoes, eggs, and some extra pepper.

*I tried poaching eggs for the first time last week.  It's a lot easier than I thought.  If you don't know how, these instructions worked for me.

Thursday, May 16, 2013

sitges & barcelona {photodiary}

I know I'm so late with this, but finally getting some warmer weather in Boston has me thinking of our trip to Sitges and Barcelona back in September.  I even wrote most of this back in September, just never got around to posting.  Well here it is:

One of the perks of having been a consultant is the travel.  Not the weekly boring stuff, but the global trainings in Europe. Work has sent me to Nice, Prague, and now Sitges for training, and I have taken full advantage by tacking on vacations following each - Cinque Terre and Rome after Nice, Venice after Prague, and most recently a few days in Barcelona.

Day 1 of vacation - Friday
Training finished around 4pm and after rounds of goodbyes it was officially vacation time!  Adam had flown out to join me, and after a day at the pool was showered and ready to party.  I smuggled some final snacks from training (leftovers) and we headed off into Sitges to explore the beach, the city, and find some good food!

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

april 16th

A day after the Marathon and all the events that came with it, both happy and tragic, I awoke unsure whether to go to work.  After seeing Adam off and receiving notice that my office would be open, I decided to avoid taking the T.  While I love to stroll home from the office when it's warm out, I had never before walked to work.  On any other April 16th it would have been extremely pleasant - warm enough to unbutton my coat, sun shining through the just-budding trees, a mail carrier feeding the birds, construction workers lifting wood into a 4th floor apartment for some apparent renovations.  But today, glancing towards Copley along the cross streets, I could see the area blocked off, filled with news cameras and flashing lights.  Nearing the Commons I waited at the crosswalk as a Special Ops truck pulled in front of me, turning onto Comm Ave followed by two buses full of what appeared to be military personnel.   SWAT trucks on the Commons, and all sorts of security and law enforcement officials at the street corners in the Financial District.  Amidst all of this, people seem to be going about their lives, walking dogs, getting coffee, going to work or taking a walk - a cautious 'business as usual'.  But sitting in my office I'm reminded of yesterday's events as helicopters circle the area and the occasional medevac helicopter flies by.  I still don't know how to feel about all of it.  I am saddened that so many innocent people were affected, confused not really knowing what happened, yet encouraged to hear stories of how Boston's people reached out to all the runners, bystanders, and visitors in the city.  While the overwhelming outreach is heartwarming to witness, I can only hope that Boston's people don't forget this compassion as the months and years pass.  All too often we react to the immediate presence of an event, and in the aftermath, continually relive both the sad and the uplifting moments thanks to various incarnations of the media.  I can't help but feel like this is a dramatization that we've all been pulled into.  What happens as we move on?

Never intending to stay beyond college, Boston has sneakily found a way into my heart and over the years has become my home.  I would like to see the 2013 Marathon remain present for all of us without drama or bravado.  I hope that the injured heal, families of the victims find peace, and that all of us can remember to cherish each moment and look out for one another as we go about our lives. 

Monday, April 15, 2013

sad day boston

Adam and I took the day off today to enjoy the Boston Marathon.  Although I have lived in the area for years and often cheered on runners and friends along Commonwealth Ave, I had never been to watch at the finish line.  I took this photo at Boylston & Exeter just before 1pm today, within a block of the two explosions.  We didn't stay for long, moving on to take a walk through the city.  On our way home we decided to avoid the crowds and stayed closer to the Charles.  We were crossing over Exeter when we heard the explosions.  It sounded as if a large dumpster had been dropped on the ground, but so much louder that we could feel it.  There were sirens, but we had been hearing them all day.  When we made it to Fairfield we were met with a flood of people running towards us and on towards the river in panic, crying and yelling to get out of the city.  It was surreal.  I felt as if we were in a movie, but the fear and confusion around us was very real.  We are safely at home.  Thanks to everyone who has checked in on us.  It's so shocking, scary, and sad how dramatically that scene at the finish line shifted from the positive energy we experienced at that very spot to complete fear just two hours later. 

Sunday, March 31, 2013

white pizza {bacon, pear, blue cheese // 3 cheese + spinach}

I don't think I've really written about it yet, but Adam and I got a pizza stone as a Christmas gift.  It has really changed our weekly cooking routine since it's easy and quick and allows for a lot of experimentation.  It's a lot of fun too, now that we have the technique down.  We started out by recreating some of our old favorites, but have recently gotten into making 2 smaller pizzas rather than one large one.  We like the crust better this way (crispy and thin) and the variety is fun!

Since this week's dinner lineup has a lot of tomatoes, we went for white pizzas last night.

Bacon, pear, and blue cheese on one and 3 cheeses and spinach on the other.  We use Trader Joe's premade dough since it's easy and inexpensive, but you could of course make your own.

Bacon, Pear, and Blue Cheese Pizza
pizza dough
5 slices bacon
1 pear, thinly sliced (you prob won't need an entire pear)
crumbled blue cheese or Gorgonzola
balsamic vinaigrette* 
olive oil
salt + pepper

Cook bacon until crispy.  Set aside to drain on paper towels, and break into bite-sized pieces when cool.  Roll out dough.  Thinly coat with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.  Add layers of ricotta, blue cheese, bacon, and pear*.  Bake at 450-500 until crust is golden.
*We didn't do this, but next time I'd coat the pears in balsamic vinaigrette to add a bit of acid (as they say on all the cooking shows) and to get a bit of caramelization on the pears.  Yum.   

Three Cheese + Spinach Pizza
pizza dough
baby spinach
1/2 white onion, diced
1-3 garlic cloves, minced (we used 3, and it was super garlicky)
grated Parmesan cheese
mozzarella (fresh or shredded)
olive oil
salt + pepper

In a skillet cook diced onion in olive oil until tender.  Season with salt and pepper.  Add garlic and spinach, stirring until spinach is wilted.  Stir in enough Parmesan cheese to gain a slightly creamy appearance.  Set aside.  
Roll out dough.  Thinly coat with olive oil and a sprinkling of salt.  Bake dough alone at 450-500 for a few minutes until crust is slightly browned.  Top with layers of ricotta, mozzarella, and spinach mixture.  Bake a few more minutes until mozzarella is melted and crust is golden brown.  

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

paris {photodiary}

I was so good about getting the London photodiary up, but I have completely slacked on posting the end of the trip: Paris!

It's been a while (4 months) so I honestly don't remember all the details of what we did. I know we ate tons of yummy food (mostly sandwiches, pastries, and crepes), drank lots of delicious and inexpensive wine, and walked around a whole lot.  Exactly what I wanted!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

baby steps {part 2}

Boom.  New microwave installed.

Keeping an OTR microwave wasn't my #1 choice especially because of how low it hangs, but it's what made the most sense for now.  Even though I'm not a big fan of temporary solutions, I'm glad we did this.  That old guy was made in 1989 and was probably slowly poisoning us every time we turned it on.  RIP buddy.  Here's the before and after (sorry about wonky white balance):

Cara was in town this weekend.  She imparted some family wisdom: to expect projects to be more "2 stones for one bird" than "2 birds with one stone".  Killing this one took 8 stones.  

Saturday, February 23, 2013

baby steps

Step 1, phase 1 of kitchen renovation complete.  The dead microwave is gone. 

I'm loving how open it feels.  Also took off the edging strip for the cabinet on the right.  I think it looks so much better.  Creamy carrot & grape soup on the stove (sounds strange, but was super good!).  New installation tomorrow!

Monday, February 4, 2013

kitchen inspiration {microwaves & hoods}

Last week I unexpectedly returned to kitchen planning and looking for inspiration when our over-the-range microwave broke.  Just completely dead.  We don't really use the microwave much, but I use the exhaust function daily when I cook.  So I immediately began looking for replacements, only to find that most standard OTR microwaves are about 17" tall, while our broken one is about 14".  Wouldn't be a big deal to swap one out quickly, except ours already hangs down below the cabinets, quite close to the cook top.  So of course I tried to research what we'd ultimately like to have there.. and am still undecided.  But here's a mix of what I'm thinking and a collection of inspiration photos. 

The original thought was to have a range hood on a blank wall or between floating shelves, and then a separate microwave.  A bunch of inspiration photos are shown here, but here's another few:

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

cauliflower soup w bacon & parmesan

Check me out!  Already posting a new recipe for the month.  We've tried a few others too, which I'll add if they make it into regular rotation.  This one is for sure going to be repeated.  Soooooo good!

Thursday, January 24, 2013

oh, january

I had all these great intentions of writing a Happy New Year post full of positivity and good intentions for 2013, but that just didn't happen.  And then I thought I could turn it into a happy birthday to me or things to do before I'm 30 post, but I missed that too.  (We did have a lovely dinner at Deuxave though.)

If I had written either of those posts, I would have made some sort of commitment to writing more often.  I'm glad that I wrote nearly twice as much in 2012 as in 2011, and I'd like to continue that trend.  Without writing nonsense, of course.  I know some of you are still checking in (I see the pageviews!) so I will continue to write.  I appreciate your stopping in, I do!

So let's make that some sort of a not-quite-new-year's resolution.  Here are some more / my 2013 to do list:
  1. Write more.  Make it good.
  2. Take better photos.
  3. Try at least one new dinner recipe each month.  (We made chickpea soup last night - already accomplished for January!)
  4. Bring a guest contributor on board.  (Shhh it's a surprise!  More details to come)
  5. Keep that orchid alive.*
  6. Finally actually post about Barcelona and Paris.  
  7. Try rearranging the bedroom sometime this year.
  8. Bring more color into our home.
  9. Spend more time with family. 
I know a lot of that is ambiguous and relative, but I'm ok with that.

Good news: I already have a leg up on #7 - trip next month to Calgary / Banff to visit my sister!   Wee!

*This lovely orchid was a surprise from Adam in early December.  It's doing well so far but I think I was watering it too often.  If you're super perceptive maybe you noticed the print in the background on the left actually moved up to the entry.  The print on the right took its place.  A less-official #10 (or spin on #8): Hang more art!