Thursday, September 30, 2010

Date Night

We've all seen The Office, right? Completely ridiculous, but all together hilarious! So when I saw Steve Carell and Tina Fey (the ever famous Sarah Palin mocker) paired in Date Night, my first impression was, "Decent comic relief, but not really interested." And so, I made no attempt to rush off to the theatres or even grab it at RedBox for that matter. But my opinion has changed since catching the flick this past weekend with my in-laws.

I must say, for two very goofy, comedic actors, they did an exceptional job with this movie. And I should add, it was not at all what I expected. It's a tale of a boring New Jersey couple stuck in the routine of life. But after discovering their friends are getting a divorce, not because of marital woes, but rather because they are nothing more than "great roomates" the couple decides to spice things up with a spontaneous date night in the city. But a mistaken case of identity leads them on a crazy chase throughout New York city. All the while they realize how much they appreciate their not so exciting life and in the end Carell says to his wife, "I would do it all again (meaning their life). I would choose you everytime." Super sweet ending!

Overall, a good amount of funny without being overdone.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

An Old Favorite

I first baked these tasty muffins ages ago. In fact, they were one of the very first recipes I used from Whole Foods website and they have faithfully remained a regular part of my online recipe box. But like many great recipes, even these muffins have gotten overlooked and passed aside for newer, more exciting recipes. Until this weekend that is.

Before my parents left for their Alaskan cruise last week, my Mom brought over a ton of produce she didn't want to go bad while they were away for 10 days. So there I was, a fridge full of food and not enough meals in the day to consume it all. And that's why I decided to dig deep into my recipe archives and bake up these Carrot Apple muffins. After all, there's not much else I could do with two bags of shredded carrots!

And it's lucky I did because I had forgotten just how much I love these little guys! A truly understated muffin that subtly fills your senses and nourishes your body. They're not too sweet, which I can appreciate for a breakfast item. Plus they contain all whole wheat flour, yet remain perfectly moist thanks to the applesauce. I think this recipe would also make a delicious bread, if you prefer that to muffins.

My favorite way to enjoy these muffins is heated with a drizzle of agave nectar - YUM!

Carrot Apple Muffins
recipe adapted from Whole Foods

1 1/4 cups whole wheat flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon non-aluminum baking powder
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
1 cup grated carrots
1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce
2 large eggs, lightly beaten
1/4 cup milk
1/4 cup canola or safflower oil
1 teaspoon real vanilla extract
1/4 cup raw, chopped walnuts

Preheat oven to 350°F. Butter and flour a 12-cup standard muffin tin or use muffin papers. Set aside. In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, cinnamon, baking powder, baking soda and salt. In a separate bowl, combine carrots, applesauce, eggs, milk, oil and vanilla. Add half the carrot mixture to the flour mixture, stir until blended then add the rest pf the carrot mixture. Stir in walnuts. Spoon batter into muffin cups and bake about 20 minutes or until a toothpick in the center of a muffin comes out clean. Serve warm.


Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Currently Loving: Coffee Table Books

I wanted to share a few books I've been crushing on lately. The truth is, I have a real fetish for books: old, new, to read, to display-doesn't matter!

Naturally, I migrate to them when garage saleing or second-hand shopping, making my collection quite vast. Though because I have recently purged some old books, I can't see how adding a few more could hurt. Enter these lovelies~

Not gonna lie, I love the cover of this book! It's sweet, vintage-esque and just plain lovely!

Pretty much every review on Amazon noted how beautiful the pictures are in this book, as well as the useful and {mostly} practical advice.

Because I LOVE decorating for Christmas and always welcome fresh new ideas!

What about you? Any book crushes?

all images/amazon

Monday, September 27, 2010

Turnips - Not so Much

When I first signed us up to receive Farm Fresh to You deliveries, I had two purposes in mind:

1.) To expand my horizons and try things I hadn't either eaten or cooked with much.

2.) To really focus on eating primarily seasonal produce.

Thus far, everything has been wonderful and tasty. So my expectations were high when this weekend I ventured to new territory with turnips. I went into dinner with a ton of enthusiasm and excitement to try something new. The rule in our house is we have to try something once before declaring we don't like it.

So with that in mind, I found a recipe that sounded fail-proof. Sadly, fail-proof it was not, but I now know I DO NOT like turnips. In fact, for a moment I felt like a kid again, sitting at the dinner table being forced to eat something that smelled horrid. My husband quickly reminded me this was not the case and nobody was forcing me to finish the side dish (thank heavens!). But not all hope is lost as I've been told that parsnips don't quite have the bitterness turnips do. I might give those a try.

If however, you are a fan of the root vegetable, you may want to give this recipe a try. After all, it did get an outstanding rating by other users. Roasted turnips, Sweet potatoes, Apples and Dried cranberries.


Saturday, September 25, 2010

Crazy for Vintage

Remember me sharing about my obsession love for vintage Pyrex? In particular, their Crazy Daisy design? I first shared my amazing garage sale steals and then how I completed my set of mixing bowls at the Alameda flea market, but I was never able to track down a complete (and affordable) set of the charming coffee mugs.

Until this morning, that is! Call it an impulse buy or love for a great deal, but I snagged a set of four mugs in mint condition for only $14 (that includes shipping) on Etsy! I can't wait to receive them next week. And I can know move on to searching for other sweet finds as my Crazy Daisy collection is finally complete!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Flavors of Fall

This cake is by far my favorite way to get my sweet fix in Fall. This weekend I look forward to savoring a few slices, along with taking the pups to the park and enjoying some quality time with good friends.

Enjoy the first official Autumn weekend!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Book Review: The Art of Racing in the Rain

Even with the little free time I have to read for fun, I finished this book in two days flat. I could not bring myself to put it down, meaning everytime Chris picked me up from work (remember we are carpooling right now), between clients, at lunch, before bed, I was reading this book. Aside from being a quick read (which I can definitely appreciate!), it was truly captivating!

You should know, it is written in the perspective of Enzo, the family dog. Sounds a tad unconventional, but it begs the question, "What do my dogs really think?" and "How much do they really understand about what's goin on?". If you are a dog person, you will find it hilarious, intriguing and maybe even a little embarrasing when you contemplate all your pets have seen (or heard) you do!

I would conclude that the story is a beautiful depiction of learning to rise above the countless challenges we face in life with humility and grace. I highly recommend!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Happy Fall!

Hip hip hooray, the first official day of Fall has arrived! So long tanks and flip flops, it's time to bust out the boots and scarves. Get ready for happy posts about seasonal foods like squash, trips to Apple Hill, and of course, everything pumpkin. I adore this season!

What's your favorite thing about Fall?

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Interior Infatuation

What is it about wallpaper that can make a room so happy and magical? I am nothing short of obsessed with this entryway. Actually, with all 750 sq ft of this beautiful home!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Last Days of Summer

Happy Monday, Lovelies! What a weekend we had - Friday I had a good ole' fashioned sleepover with my dear friend Parris because Chris was out of town, Saturday we took a much needed shopping trip for new Fall clothes and Sunday our friends tied the knot. Overall, a delightful few days!

Thought I would share a few pics from the Van Unen's {beautiful} wedding festivities -

{Announcing, for the first time, Mr. and Mrs. Van Unen}

{So much joy}

{Absolutely adore her hair}

{Friends~we're all married now!}

{First dance}

Hope you enjoyed the last official weekend of Summer!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Wedding Weekend!

This weekend we have the pleasure of seeing our sweet friends Dan and Nicole get married! Their intimate outdoor ceremony will take place Sunday morning, followed by a brunch reception. Doesn't that sound lovely (I'm a complete sucker for brunch!)?! Can't wait to celebrate with the happy couple as they become Mr. and Mrs.!

Have an amazing weekend!

image/April Smith photography
Elizabeth Anne Designs

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Planning it Out

Today we are scheduled to receive our wonderful box of local, organic goodies from Farm Fresh to You! Here is our menu for the week, including a new recipe for turnips, which I've admittedly never cooked with. Exciting!

The Goods

2 Bartlett pears
2 Gold Delicious apples
1 cantaloupe
1 bunch turnips
1 bunch chard
1 lb heirloom tomatoes
1 lb fingerling potatoes
1 bunch green leaf lettuce
2 bell peppers, mixed colors
mixed hot peppers

Plan of Action

Saturday: (lettuce, tomatoes, fingerling potatoes, apples)
Grilled lemon garlic chicken
Tossed salad with heirloom tomatoes
Roasted fingerling potatoes

Sunday: (turnips)
Herb crusted pork tenderloin

Monday: (pears)
B) Autumn Oats
Because Mondays are so long and I don't get home until about 8:45 pm, dinner typically isn't planned and is usually an egg white scramble.

Tuesday: (chard)
White bean and Swiss chard soup

Wednesday: (pears, lettuce, tomatoes and peppers for salsa)
B) Autumn Oats
D) Southwestern chicken salad w/ homemade salsa

Thursday: (bell peppers)
Windy City Pie

Date night!


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Hansen Happenings

It seems we've had a lot going on lately. Just thought I would update you on some of our latest happenings:)

Pups ~ While we had a slow go there for the first week or so, Abby has warmed up to Max quite nicely. In fact, they often play like it's going out of style and Max follows Abby everywhere, which we find so cute! We are thoroughly enjoying having two pups around, except when it comes to potty training...I think we forgot how much work it is. And it doesn't help that Max drinks his weight in water and therefore, pees every ten minutes-no exaggeration! But praise the Lord because last weekend it finally clicked for him to bark/jump at the door for us to let him out. Let's hope it sticks!

Chris ~ Since this post about my husband being a guest on ESPN 1420, he was invited back that very week and has had four seperate offers from sports websites asking to link his blog to their site. One of these being Yardbarker! Like I said before, he is amazing! Check it out here! He is Raidersblog:)

Yoga ~ My classes are going really well, though because I am responsible to drum up all of my participants, my class sizes vary. But because of much interest, I have decided to add a Saturday morning class, which will take place right after bootcamp (great strategy, I think!). I'm looking forward to the opportunity to bring in new people!

Schedules ~ Starting next week I am finally going part-time at my job in order to train more! Very exciting news since it will give me a much needed relief from the hectic schedule I've had the past several months. And hopefully more time to market myself, too. As for Chris, he is now working the same schedule as me (6-3). Not easy for my night owl of a husband, but he has adjusted well.

Cars ~ Some recent car trouble has caused us to temporarily be a one car family (thus the reason for Chris changing his work schedule so we can carpool). We knew it was inevitable that our cars would start giving us trouble, but we aren't quite ready to buy a new one yet. So we're holding out as long as possible. Hopefully in the next few months I'll be driving something a little more reliable (and grown up:)

Craftiness ~ This past weekend I went crazy buying fabric and making tons of coffee cozzies! All to get ready to open my Etsy shop and start selling my creations! Though I hadn't realized how much thought I would need to give to things such as my shop name, return policy, shipping, etc. It will probably be a few weeks to get everything in order and a decent supply of my little creations put together!

Fall ~ With football in full swing and the weather sort of cooperating, I am bursting at the seams for Fall to finally be here! Less than a week and I will be making my first pumpkin pie of the season!

So there it is, our lives as of late. Hope you have a lovely Wednesday!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Crushing on Mrs. Meyers

A few weeks ago, desperately in need of hand soap and surface cleaner for the kitchen, I snagged a few of Mrs. Meyers products at Whole Foods. Familiar with the products, but a diehard fan of all things Method, I had never actually purchased any Mrs. Meyers goods. Boy was I missing out!

I've never had any complaints about my Method pink grapefruit cleaner, but the Lavender scented Mrs. Meyers is out-of-this-world aromatic. So much so that when Chris used the hand soap for the first time he couldn't get over how great it smelled. I am definitely hooked!

And a huge plus to these products, they are all natural, scented with essential oils and all liquid products are biodegradeable.

Happy cleaning!


Monday, September 13, 2010

Book Review: My Life in France

This weekend I finished My Life in France, the memoirs of Julia Child and am truly mesmerized by the woman! Her love for all things French, her appreciation for truly amazing food and most of all, her genuine curiosity to learn everything about the wonderful world of cooking make her the lovable French chef we've all come to know and love.

As I read this telling story about Julia's life, I could almost hear her robust and infectious voice jumping off the pages. I would highly recommend this lovely read to anyone who has the faintest affection toward food! I'll leave you with a piece of advice from the master cook herself:

"Learn how to cook-try new recipes, learn from your mistakes, be fearless, and above all have fun!"


Friday, September 10, 2010

It's A Dog's Life

Have you seen Crate and Barrels new line of pet accessories? Blankets, food bowls and collars galore. Though I am partial to that adorable treat jar! The Hansen's just may need to invest in one for our own lovable pooches.

images/stephaniesgettingmarried and crateandbarrel

Thursday, September 9, 2010

Comfort Food

I feel as if I've struck gold with the divine, chilly weather we've had all week! And among making me giddy and energized, it's also got me thinking about comfort food and new ventures I might like to try in my cozy little kitchen this Autumn.

Confession: I've never had homemade mac n' cheese. That must sound crazy since it is among the most popular "comfort foods" known to man. Nevertheless, my extent of mac n' cheese has been the blue box...

So on my list of cozy dishes to try this Fall:

*Homemade Mac n' Cheese
*Roasting a chicken (I have oddly never done this)
*Butternut squash soup from scratch
*Pumpkin waffles, because we have totally mastered the pumpkin pancake!

And I feel sure we will be savoring countless baked apples~one of the Hansen's favorite Fall treats!

What are your tried and true comfort foods?


Wednesday, September 8, 2010

I Made Cozzies!

One sewing project down, only about six to go! But in all fairness, I actually finished these little guys back in May, they were just missing a button to fasten the cozy around a coffee cup. Silly since buttons take all of thirty seconds to attach...

Don't look too close because I am certainly no pro, but I definitely learned a whole lot making these. I played with different sizes and methods and think I came up with a decent pattern to make more.

Oh, and did I mention the inside is a totally different fabric? This will come in handy when I start making them reversible.

I can't wait to bust one of these out at a coffee shop and say, "Yep, I made it myself!".

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Decorate for Fall: Check!

Well it's official, I am ready for Fall! There's no turning back and no changing my mind. Bring on football season, scarves, lots of chilly, evening walks with the pups and most importantly, pumpkin spice lattes!

Take a peek at our festive entry and dining table~

Happy Tuesday!

Monday, September 6, 2010

Quick Office Re-do

There's nothing like a little freshening up of a room to leave you feeling totally accomplished! For a few weeks now I've been dying to switch up our office. And since we hope to be moving in a few months, painting just didn't seem like a worthy effort . So I decided to first create a little asymmetrical photo wall above the desk, and to brighten things up a bit we painted the frames we already had a nice, crisp white. Finally, I got creative and re-purposed existing household items for somewhat uncommon uses.

With the help of a little organization and a trip to Ikea for some finishing touches, I am feeling pretty great about our little den transformation! What do you think?

Instead of filling every frame with pictures of us (since we have plenty of those around the place!) I tried to add some different elements, like the two flower pics I snagged at Ikea for $1 a piece and pictures of Chris and me as kids!

Then I switched out the old inspiration board for this pic I got at a garage sale last week for $2. By painting the black frame white, it goes right along with the brighter, clean look of the room.

Thanks to the $1 spot at Michaels, I have super cute office supplies to top my desk! The pink vase I already owned and is now serving as a pencil holder.

By taking this glass container I had in my pantry and filling it with my ever-growing stash of note cards, maybe I will remember to use them more!

And finally, by purchasing these brown totes for only $11.99 each, fabric, patterns and sewing projects are neatly organized and in an easily accessible location!


So that's what I've been up to this weekend! Hope you enjoyed!

Happy Labor day!

Friday, September 3, 2010

Happy Friday!

What do you lovely readers have going on this holiday weekend?

I know it's a bit early, but I plan on whipping out my box of Fall decor and getting a head start on the season! I have some new ideas for this year so a trip to Michaels and Ikea (and maybe Anthropologie) will likely be thrown in there along with completing those sewing projects I've been trying to tackle. And of course, there are also a few baking ventures I would like to attempt. Cannot wait to have three glorious days to get it all done!

Have a lovely weekend!


Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Autumn Oats

Happy September! We're officially just a few weeks away from Fall and my breakfast this morning represented the many reasons I love the season. Instead of my typical oatmeal with berries, I switched it up with some fresh, seasonal pear slices and cinnamon. An exquisite combo I might add and just what I needed to get me going this Wednesday morning!

*Cooks note-this pears very nicely with a tall nonfat PUMPKIN SPICE latte! Yep, they're back!!

Oatmeal with Pears and Cinnamon

1/2 cup oats (not instant)
2/3 cup water
1/2 cup light vanilla soymillk
1/2 sliced pear
1 tbsp sliced almonds
dash cinnamon
2 tsp agave nectar (optional)

Heat water over medium-high heat until it comes to a boil. Add oatmeal and cook about 5-6 minutes, stirring occasionally, until cooked through. Add soymilk, sliced pear, almonds and sprinkle with cinnamon. For a bit of added sweetness, add 2 tsp agave nectar. Enjoy!

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