Thursday, January 31, 2013

Breakfast for Dinner {book review}

I got a new recipe book. :) These sorts of things make me smile.  

I finally got to sit down with it last night and go through it.  I honestly have no idea what I want to make first.  Everything just looks so delicious.  And so different than what I had expected.  This is definitely not just a bunch of frittata and pancake recipes.

Bacon fried rice will be made asap.  
I don't know why I've always been intimidated by this, but this recipe looks really easy!

Egg and chorizo burritos made with sweet potato and spinach with an avocado lime sauce. Yum!

Now I've never really understood the appeal of chicken and waffles (I'm not knocking it, I just haven't tried it); but I can definitely get on board with chicken and biscuit waffles.

Throughout the book, there are easy basic recipes: homemade pizza dough, savory and sweet crepes, homemade pita dough, how to make raviolis, how to poach an egg. Love that.  I've always wanted to make my own raviolis.  Is that on anyone else's bucket list? (hello?)

And lots of sauces: easy marinara, cream cheese and artichoke dip, avocado cream sauce, buttermilk ranch.

When we were in Dallas a few months ago, I had the most delicious shrimp and grits. I had to keep pushing Dan's fork off my plate.

 If anyone knows where to find them in Northern California, I would love to know.  This recipe, with andouille sausage, butternut squash and kale chips. looks amazing.  My Dad's been asking for it, since he saw the book.

Bacon Jam.  At first glance this sounded a bit weird.  Then I read the suggestions - spread on a hamburger, on biscuits, on crackers with stinky cheese.  Look again. Always look again.

Isn't this crepe cake pretty?! I love this idea.

Just in case you can't read this, it says: chocolate peanut butter glazed banana bread cake. 

Mocha ice cream with biscotti crust, "e un espresso per favore", and I'm in heaven.

I honestly don't know which dessert to make first.  They all look so amazing.

They suggest pouring this chocolate maple fudge sauce over not only ice cream, but pancakes too.  Yes!

And of course, who can have breakfast without cocktails (???).

Breakfast for Dinner, From the lovely Lindsay and Taylor of love & olive oil, is on sale on February 12, 2013 but is available now for pre-order here.

Enjoy!  And come back and let me know your favorite recipe!


Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls {recipe}

I admit, this is a completely selfish post.  

I love these cinnamon rolls from Pioneer Woman. Her recipe makes about 40-50 rolls.  My only problem with making 50 cinnamon is that I would eat 50 cinnamon rolls.

So I've taken to making 1/2 a batch.  But for whatever reason, I cannot do the math while I'm baking them and have ended up throwing out way too much dough.

So I'm writing down 1/2 the recipe for myself, and thought I'd share.

Full disclosure - the only thing I've adapted here is the icing.  Her icing is delicious, she uses coffee and maple extract (which I would substitute for high grade maple syrup), but I'm a traditional girl and I love a vanilla icing on my cinnamon rolls.

I made these last weekend for Tahoe and they were perfect for our snow weekend!

{breakfast in Tahoe}

Pioneer Woman Cinnamon Rolls [1/2 recipe]
Yield: 20-25 rolls
 - 2 cups whole milk
 - 1/2 cup vegetable oil
 - 1/2 cup sugar
 - 1 packet active dry yeast
 - 4 cups all purpose flour, plus 1/2 cup extra
 - 1/2 tsp baking powder, heaping
 - 1/2 tsp baking soda, scant
 - 1 tsp salt, heaping

 - 1 cup butter (2 sticks), melted
 - 2 tbsp cinnamon
 - 1 cup sugar

 - 3 1/2 cups powdered sugar
 - 1/4 cup whole milk
 - 3 tbsp butter, melted
 - 1 tsp vanilla bean paste (or 2 tsp vanilla extract)
 - dash of salt


To make dough:
Heat milk, vegetable oil, and sugar on stove just before the boiling point.  Let cool until mixture is lukewarm.  I usually pour it in the kitchen aid mixer bowl to help it cool a bit faster.

Check that the mixture is the right temperature - about 100-110 degrees.  I don't have a thermometer so I test it by putting my finger in it.  If it's too hot for me to hold my finger in it, it's too hot for yeast.  Don't let it get too cool either though.  When the mixture is ready sprinkle is dry yeast and give it a slow stir.  Let sit for about 7-10 minutes until it gets a bit foamy / bubbly on top.  Note - the weather outside and how warm your kitchen is may effect this timing.  I have no idea why.

Add 4 cups of flour.  I use the dough hook on my mixer but you can mix by hand as well.  Mix until incorporated.  Then cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm area.  I turn my dryer on and set the covered bowl on top.  Let rise for about 90-120 minutes.  Again, the timing depends on the weather outside and how warm your house is.

Combine 1/2 cup more flour and baking powder and baking soda.  Stir into mixture.  At this point you could cover the dough and refrigerate for a couple days until you wanted to use it.  When you go to use it again, after rolling out the dough and making the rolls, let them warm to room temperature before baking.  This will make them rise a bit more.

To make rolls:
Melt butter.  Combine cinnamon and sugar in a bowl and set aside.

Sprinkle the surface you will be rolling out the dough on generously with flour. Roll the dough into a 30 x 10 inch rectangle, roughly, no need to be exact.

Pour the melted butter all over the dough. Use a pastry brush (or your hands) to make sure it covers all of the doughs surface. Sprinkle cinnamon and sugar mixture all over buttered dough.

Starting on the 30 inch side farthest from you, roll the dough in a relatively tight roll towards you.  When you get the end, pinch the seam to the roll to seal it.

Because we were traveling the next day, at this point, I wrapped the logs in plastic wrap and refrigerated them.  I stored them in the coolest part of the car for our 3 hour drive.  When we arrived that night, I cut them into rolls and placed them in the baking dish and left them on the counter to rise a bit again overnight.  They didn't rise as much as the usually do but they were still delicious.  See photos below.

baked after refrigerating rolls

baked right away
To bake:
Cut rolls into 1 inch thick slices and place in buttered baking dishes.  Leave some room in between them as they will puff up in the oven.  Let rolls sit for 20-30 minutes to rise.  Bake at 400 degrees for about 15-20 minutes, until the rolls are light golden brown on top.  It took 23 minutes in Tahoe, apparently it's the mountain time, everything's slower.

To make icing:
Combine everything in a bowl and stir until incorporated.  Taste, and add more of any ingredient to your liking.  Too sweet? - add a bit more milk.  Not sweet enough? - add a bit more sugar. You get the picture.  It's hard to mess this part up.

Generously drizzle icing all over rolls as soon as they come out of the oven.  Your house will smell amazing. Make sure to invite friends over so you can button you pants the next day.


Friday, January 25, 2013

Cabo da Roca, Portugal

I had a weird day yesterday.  

January 2007 - Cabo da Roca, Portugal - the most western point in Europe, next stop U.S. of A!

It was one of those days when you realize nothing will ever again be as it once was. 
And for a minute it made me just a bit sad.

For some reason it's so much easier to look back and idealize the past.  
We've been there, we've done that, we know what to expect.

I took a moment yesterday to wander back through the photos of my past, 
beautiful, gorgeous amazing places I've been with absolutely amazing people; 
people who've help make me who I am today. 
People and places and trips that I am so grateful for.  
And photos that make the memories come rushing back.

And then I stopped.  
And I turned my attention to girls night with pizza and champagne 
watching Vampire Diaries (don't judge).

Life is good.


Thursday, January 24, 2013

Easy and delicious chili and bacon cheddar scones {recipe}

I made this in Tahoe last weekend and everyone loved it.  I loved how easy it was.

You know how I know it was easy?  

I made this after an exhausting day of skiing and I had an absolutely awful migraine. 

If I can make this with a migraine, it's got to be easy. (Side note - if anyone has any good cures for migraines or altitude sickness I would love to hear them!)

I did have a little help though.  Dan was my sous-chef and chopped everything up for me. :)



 - 2-3 tbsp olive oil
 - 1 large onion, diced
 - 1 large red bell pepper, diced
 - 3-4 garlic cloves, minced
 - 1 serrano chili pepper, minced
 - 1 jalapeƱo pepper, minced
 - 1-1 1/4 lbs ground beef (optional: substitute ground turkey)
 - 3 tbsp chili powder
 - 3 tsp cumin powder (only 2 tsp if using ground turkey)
 - 1 tsp garlic powder
 - 1 tsp onion powder
 - 2-3 pinches cayenne pepper
 - 2 tbsp tomato paste
 - 1 28oz can petite diced tomatoes
 - 1/2 cup of beer
 - 1 15oz can kidney beans, rinsed
 - 1 15oz can black beans, rinsed
 - salt and pepper to taste

Optional garnish:
 - greek yogurt (or sour cream)
 - cheddar cheese
 - avocado
 - hot sauce (Tapatio)


Heat olive oil in large pot.  Cook onions and bell peppers until tender, onions will be translucent.  Add a bit of salt and pepper.  Add garlic and peppers and cook for additional 5 minutes, until softened.  Add beef and using wooden spoon break up meat into small pieces.  Cook until meat is no longer pink, approximately 7 minutes.

Stir in spices and cook for another minute.  Stir in tomato paste, diced tomatoes with juices, beer and beans.  Slowly bring mixture to a boil.  Once boiling, simmer chili partially covered for approximately 30 minutes, stirring every so often.  If you want thicker chili, let simmer for longer.  Taste, and add salt, pepper, or chili powder as necessary. Serve with any, or all garnishes listed above.

I served it with bacon cheddar scones from annie's eats.  These are delicious!  They are perfect with soup or chili but also delicious served alongside eggs for breakfast or brunch.



Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Weekend in Tahoe

We're back from an amazing weekend in Tahoe.  I don't know how we got so lucky - there was barely any traffic up and back, the weather was perfect on the mountain, and the company was amazing. Oh, and Tahoe was absolutely gorgeous.

I feel so fortunate to have such wonderful friends. So much thanks to these two for inviting us up!

It was mine and Dan's first time skiing together, and I managed not to look like a fool. :)  For which I was extremely happy.

Lunch on the mountain.


Our snowy street.

Morning walk down to the beach.

Homemade cinnamon rolls for a breakfast appetizer. :)

The Chefs.

Even bears like Tequila :)

Playing in the snow / sand.

Have a great week!


Friday, January 18, 2013

tahoe bound!

Gone to Lake Tahoe for a weekend of skiing, snowboarding, sledding, hot tubbing, hot chocolate, great friends, good food, good wine and any other shenanigans we can get ourselves into!

Hope your weekend's lovely!


P.S. One of my very first posts was about our weekend in Tahoe. This year there will be snow though! :)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

savannah, georgia - booked!

We just bought our tickets to Georgia!  Dan's parents have tickets to Augusta in April. We thought we'd make a long weekend of it and visit Savannah too.

Savannah is one of those places where whenever I hear the name, there's a little sigh in my heart.  I have no idea why or how it even started. But I have always always wanted to go there.

Do you have a place like that?
I hope so.

I love the look of the old victorians and the big wraparound porches.

We just started looking at places to stay. 
Forsyth Park Inn looks really nice, but I would love to hear any and all suggestions!

Isn't that the sweetest porch?

I am definitely looking forward to some good southern eats,  so any tips would be greatly appreciated too!


Monday, January 14, 2013

downton abbey {weekend}

I don't have cable.  If I watch tv it's either onDemand at Dan's house or netflix at my parents.  Last year I watched season one of downton abbey on netflix and was hooked.  

Last week I saw this photo on a blog and knew I had to get caught up with seasons two and three.  

This weekend I watched all of season two, which didn't seem that bad until I figured out that that was nine hours of television plus the 2 hour season three premiere.  

I'm not ashamed (well, maybe just a bit).  But it was wonderful.  I sat on my parents couch in my big comfy sweater (a Christmas present from Dan's parents) with a hot cup of tea and fell even more in love with Downton. 

As much as I love the characters and the storyline and the gorgeous clothes, I think what I love most is the gorgeous shots of the english countryside and the beautiful camera angles.  

I don't really know much about "the industry", so I'm not sure who to credit: director, producer, camera man, etc.  But some of the shots are so gorgeous I can't take my eyes off the screen.  The snow scene above is one of my favorites.

And when Mary and Matthew are dancing and the camera is spinning around them.

While watching I was reminded of those award shows, where I always got bored through the awards for best score and best cinematography and best set design. (Maybe I've matured?!)  But those elements add so much to this show.  I don't think I would be as entranced without them.

I love the shots where the background or foreground is blurred.  It's so beautiful and always comes at the perfect time.

via - spoiler!

I'm not sure the exact term for it, but I love the mix of close up and wide camera shots and especially those of the english countryside. 

 Although I think they've exaggerated those blue skies a bit.  I don't remember those much when I lived in England.

If someone could make a planet earth dvd of downton abbey, I would be sold!

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