Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Lentils and roasted vegetables

I saw this recipe on Sacramento Street last week and immediately pinned it.  
I think I've pinned all of Caitlin's "On the Menu" posts and made quite a few of them.  They've all been delicious!

Apparently everyone that I follow did the same because it kept popping up in my feed.
Then I saw it in a few linked posts as well.  I figured I had to try it.  
(I think I just discovered the basic principle of advertising).

While I was making it, I definitely had a few moments where I thought "there's no way this is turning out".  Add to that I was making it for my future mother-in-law who is an amazing cook and I was a bit stressed.

I'm a very good baker, an okay cook, but not a food stylist in anyway. So bear with me here.


I feel like this could be one of those "nailed it" posts on pinterest. But I don't mind because it was delicious - delicious enough that we had it the next night too.

Notes on the recipe:
- 2 cups makes a lot of lentils - a lot more veggies can be added than what's listed in the recipe
- I added herbs de provence on the veggies before roasting and cooked them 20min, flipping them part way through so they browned on both sides and didn't dry out

We served it with an arugula salad that had dried cranberries, parmesan, pomegranate balsamic and a bit of olive oil.  Perfection.


Friday, July 26, 2013

photo editing

I'm not great at photo editing.  I have photoshop on my Mac for work, but it's not completely user friendly.  I've googled tutorials but haven't put enough effort in to really learn it.

So I usually end up using iPhoto for most of my editing. Even without being a seasoned pro I can tell it's very limiting.  I use "Enhance" and then I play around with the adjustments, particularly the contrast and definition.  I know, it's very technical.

But no more!

One of my favorite blogs, lark & linen, recently posted photos from her trip to the amalfi coast (my next dream vacay).  Her photos are gorgeous!  Like I want to move right in.

This week Jaclyn so graciously did a tutorial post on our she edits her photos in photoshop, complete with a link to free actions from WishWishWish.  I feel like it's Christmas! 

I followed the tutorial on a few of my Paris photos and they turned out beautifully!  Since I'm not great at photoshop, I did have to google a couple things in her instructions, but it was fairly easy even for a beginner like me.

Here are the before and afters.

Straight from the camera:
{no laughing! - I have trouble holding the camera straight. I need to stop using the screen and use the viewfinder more.}

iPhoto edits:
Definitely better, but still dark.

Photoshop edits {by lark & linen} :
Amazing.  It's the Paris I dream about.

Thank you Jaclyn and Carrie!  You've made my life so much prettier :)


Monday, July 22, 2013

Dessert bar

Starting the week off right with dessert!

When Dan and I started planning, we each picked something that was really important to us for us to have at the wedding.  Dan wanted to be married in the catholic church and I wanted a dessert bar. No, seriously. I think it says a lot about us. 

Now that we're not having a traditional sort of wedding day and reception, the dessert bar had to go.  But I decided to incorporate it into the bridal brunch.

I wanted to do some sort of favors for my friends as well, but since I'm currently moving, I've come to discover how much stuff we can accumulate.  I decided edible favors would be much for fun and wouldn't take up any lasting space in anyone's home.  Plus I love to bake.

The day before the brunch, we made four types of cookies and some candy. 

Peanut butter dreams (a secret family recipe).  It's pretty much peanut butter chocolate heaven - 100 times better than a reese's peanut butter cup.


1. Salted toffee chocolate chunk (aka crack cookies)

4. French macarons - almond with vanilla buttercream 
Cookie recipe from here. We tripled it twice (I don't know how else to say six times.)
Vanilla buttercream from Miette's recipe book.  Can you tell I love the Miette book?

Note - it was hot outside when we were making these so the batter was a bit more runny than usual - which is how we got some pretty large ones there. After refrigerating the batter for a bit, it was much easier to use with the pastry bag.

Amanda was pretty sure we had way to many cookies (she's not a baker).  She thought we had too much champagne too, but my friends proved her wrong on both accounts!


Monday, July 15, 2013

Brunch for the girls

When Dan and I made the decision to stop planning our large wedding and instead have an intimate 14 person celebration, I knew I wanted to make sure and do something special with my girlfriends to celebrate.

I figured that I wouldn't have a bridal shower since our guest list is so small, but instead decided to throw my own bridal brunch at my house, with the amazing help of my maid of honor (and best friend of 17 years!) and my mom and aunt.  When you want to throw a party, these are the women you call!

The guest list wasn't too large.  I invited 20 of my most favorite people in the world, literally,
from all around the world.

I knew not all would make it, but I wanted them all to know they were wanted there and would be missed (I'm talking to you, Lo!).

We had a lot to celebrate - two friends have babies on the way, five of us are getting married (or got married) this year, and two engagements this year.  There are a few other causes for celebration, but those are still under wraps ;) Plus any day that we can all find a few hours to get together is cause for celebration.

I am not the best hostess.  I get stressed and nervous and want everything to go right and everyone to have fun. I love planning everything and I love having everyone over but the hours just before a party, there's always butterflies in my stomach. 

With the help of my amazing mother and aunt and my best friend, the day was everything I had hoped for.  I've been teary-eyed every time I start thinking about it.  I honestly can't believe that I'm lucky enough to know such wonderful people.

We were so busy eating, drinking and chatting, I never picked up my camera.  I have just a few photos while we were setting up.


I feel so blessed to have such amazing women in my life. 

I've known both these girls for 20 years.

 (I can't believe I'm old enough to say that.)

I got the sweetest cards from everyone and even though I told them not to, some people brought gifts.

The sweetest gift:
Two years ago, my friend received these slipper/shoes as kind of a joke gift at her bridal shower.  I loved them! And may have even tried them on right there in the middle of her shower. She thought they were absolutely ridiculous.  Apparently, she boxed them right up and has been saving them for me ever since.  

These may be my wedding shoes. 
(I'm not kidding.)

My perfect weekend: 
Saturday - arranging flowers and baking all day with my mom, aunt and best friend
Sunday - sitting in the sun all afternoon, drinking a mimosa with some of the most amazing women I know.

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