Wednesday, June 23, 2010

Nothing says lovin' like something from the oven!

There's just something wonderful about a fresh baked chocolate chip cookie...
Maybe it's the childhood memories.  Me with my nose pretty much smooshed up against the oven door, waiting for the cookies to reach the peak perfection of that delicate golden brown.

Maybe it's the delectable smell of them baking.

Maybe it's the slight crunch of the crisp edges and the gooey chewy soft center, melding together for the perfect bite.

Whatever it is...thank goodness we have them!

Temptation too much for you?  Here's my recipe, but be warned, it's 'slap yo' mama' good:

Chocolate Chip Cookies
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1/3 cup margarine or butter, softened
1/3 cup shortening
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup chocolate chips (half milk and half dark chocolate)
1/2 cup chopped nuts (optional...personally I don't put them in.  Smooth, chocolatey goodness is all I really need)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.  Cream together butter, shortening, and sugars.  Mix in egg and vanilla.  Combine flour, baking soda, salt, and chocolate chips.  Add to creamed mixture and stir until just combined.  Drop by rounded teaspoonfuls, about 2 inches apart, onto cookie sheets.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until golden brown.  Cool slightly; remove from cookie sheet.

Yield: About a 1 1/2 dozen large cookies

  • Heap the cups of flour for thicker, fluffier cookies.  
  • Don't over mix!  That's where most people go wrong and end up with flat, sad, albeit still tastey, chocolate chip cookies.  Don't be that person!
  • If you want chewy centers, bake until it looks golden on the edges with a slightly lighter brown in the center.  
Can you tell I've worked this recipe to death trying to create the perfect chocolate chip cookie?  Lol...

Slight tangent: My husband will no longer eat anyone else's chocolate chip cookies, nor will he eat mine unless they are straight out of the oven.  I've created a monster!  (Though, I have figured out that you can throw these babies back into the toaster oven to recreate that just out of the oven goodness, which makes everything right in the world of my husband.  What can I say?  I aim to please.)

Happy Wednesday to all my cheeky little readers!  Go home and bake some chocolate chip cookies.  You deserve it!

The first tomato is here!

It's here, it's here!  It's finally here!  My first ripe tomato!!!  Without further ado...
It's beautiful, isn't it?  Sorry that everything but the tomato is in focus...again small screen=can't see what the true picture will be.  So just take another picture, you say?  Normally, I would have, but my parents ate the tomato last night in their

I've picked two more tomatoes since this one.  Maybe I am cut out to be a farmer after all!  Though I did cry a bit yesterday when I saw that there was a little blister on my finger.  It was really sore!  Okay, so I was kind of being a baby about it.  In my defense, I have delicate girlie hands!  I even put sunscreen on the backs of them to prevent wrinkling and premature hand aging from the sun....but my sunscreen regimen is a whole other post in itself.

Cheers to Formaggio and Fettuccine for all their hard work!  Here's to a bountiful crop of future tomatoes!

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

A little sneak peek...

Let me share my catalog experience with you, so that you may live vicariously through me until the catalog becomes available next month on July 1st:

I gingerly unwrapped the catalog, taking notice of it's crisp clean edges, the sheen of the glossy cover, and the uncracked spine.  Carefully turning to the first page, so not to crinkle, bend, or crease any of the remaining pages, I began my journey into heaven.  Page after page sent me into a tizzy of emotions.  I didn't know whether to laugh, cry tears of joy, or pass out from the sheer beauty that I was witnessing.  

The catalog is phenomenal!  The best catalog that SU! has put out to date, in my opinion anyway.  I even suggested to my husband that we could read the catalog over together and discuss each page over a glass of wine (Which I would not have let him put too close to the catalog...hey I've seen those Brawny commercials.  Husbands are, but he laughed and told me to go on and read it again without him.

Needless to say, I have read the entire catalog, cover-to-cover, for like the third time now...and I'm going to read it again after this post!  Lol.  This time I need to read it and mark what items I need to order and when.  (Yes, I am that least for stamping.  Please don't come to my house and expect things to be organized.  That is a hot mess right now that needs to be tamed for sure!)  Bonus for you all though, the new catalog has me thinking up some great ideas for future classes!  I can't wait to get started!

I don't want to ruin the surprise or anything, but I can't just leave my loyal fans hanging, can I?  **Spoiler alert!  Cover your eyes and click to an older post if you don't want to read this part.**  SU!  has a brand spanking new punch that coincides with my love for fat cartoon birds.  I pretty much had a heart attack when I saw it!

That's all!  I can say no more!  Please don't look at me like that...I can't handle it.

Monday, June 14, 2010

The new SU! catalog is coming soon to a demonstrator near you!

OMG!  I got my demonstrator sneak peak of the new SU! for 2010-2011 this afternoon.  (I'm not going to lie.  Being a demonstrator does have it's perks!)  I haven't even finished reading it yet, but there are so many cute new things.  I just can't believe my eyes!  I think that I am going to faint...or or the other.  Maybe both at the same time!

More tomorrow...

June 27: Star Scrappin'!

This month's Stampin' day will take place on June 27th, which is a Sunday, at 1pm.  Please contact me for information on the exact location.

This month, as promised, we'll be making a scrapbook...and not just any scrapbook, one that folds out into a star!  How fun is that?!?  (Thanks Teri for the cool idea!  You totally rock my socks!)

 Front view of the scrapbook closed
 Front view of the scrapbook open
 Bird's eye view of the scrapbook open

The color combos may vary, so be sure to come early for the best color selection.  I know that it looks complicated, but it's really no stress!

The class fee is $20, which includes your kit with pre-cut pieces, all shared supplies (stamps, scissors, etc.), and a super yummy snack.  Don't forget to bring your own double-sided sticky tape and any other supplies that you think you'll want to use (ie. photos, scissors, punches, etc.)!  Please RSVP to me by Monday, June 21st

Don't be shy!  Encourage a friend(s) to come along.  More girls means more ideas and more fun shared together!  Just be sure that they RSVP to me or you can RSVP for them.  Also, if you are unable to attend, but still want to do the class you can purchase a kit for $25 (which includes the $5 for shipping and handling).  Looking forward to seeing you all!

Stampin' and smilin',

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

No time to cook, but you want to eat healthy? Here's the recipe for you!

I love recipes that are quick and easy to throw together.  Don't get me wrong, the occasional souffle or panna cotta is fun to make, but on most nights I'm lucky just to get dinner on the table before 7pm.  Here's a little something that I threw together the other day:

 (Sorry I ate a lot of it before I thought to take a photo.

Quick and Dirty Veggie Pasta
1-2 tablespoons olive oil
1 small onion, chopped
2-3 garlic cloves, minced
1 green bell pepper, sliced into thin slices
1 container of mushrooms, sliced (you can use less if you want, but I like a lot of mushrooms)
1 16oz can tomato sauce
1/2 cup red wine 
1/2 to 1 teaspoon Italian Seasoning (start with the 1/2 teaspoon, taste the sauce and add as needed)
Salt and Pepper to taste

Heat the olive oil for a bit and throw in the onion and garlic.  Stir, cooking until onion is soft but not browned.  Add in the bell pepper and cook for a few minutes longer.  Add in the tomato sauce, wine, mushrooms, and seasonings.  Taste the sauce and add more seasoning if needed.  Simmer for as long as you have time for.  Serve over whole wheat pasta.

Note: Cook your pasta while you're making the sauce.  That way everything will be done pretty much at the same time.  Also if you want a more saucy sauce, add another can of tomato sauce and a little more seasoning to taste.

Voila!  Dinner is served!

The best thing about this sauce is that it is so basic.  You can pretty much use it as a base and add what you want to it.  I added some steamed broccoli and some Costco rotisserie chicken to my pasta.  (What can I say?  My family likes meat, but I could have eaten it with just veggies and been perfectly fine.)  Even some cayenne pepper or some red chili flakes would taste great in this sauce.

I also topped it with some mozzarella.   For shame!  I know I shouldn't eat cheese, but I can't help myself!  I love it too much.  But it was only a I think it's okay.

Friday, June 4, 2010

My ode to Ms. Carrie Bradshaw

My BFF, Kat, and I went to see the new Sex and The City movie last night.  Totally cute!  Take your best girlfriends out for a night on the town and see that movie.  By the end you'll be hugging and saying how much you appreciate each other. 

(A little background on Kat.  We met in high school....oh all those millions of year  Anyways, the first day that we met she introduced herself to me as Katie Beth.  Being the good friend that I am, I said "Hi I'm Arielle.  Your name is now Kat because Kaite Beth is way too long."  We've been buddies ever since.  Needless to say, the name Kat stuck with her all through high school...and she totally blames me for it.  What can I say?  I'm pushy like that.)

In my personal opinion, the first SATC movie was better.  Mainly because there was more of an emotional connection to the characters, but this movie (SATC 2) was all about the fashion.  Of course there was a story line that involved the girls and their crazy shenanigans, but the main character was definitely the fashion.  (BTW, Liza Minnelli makes a cameo and covers a Beyonce song.  Priceless!  Check it out here.)

Being the fashionista that I am, here is my ode to Ms. Carrie Bradshaw, or should I say Mrs. Carrie Preston?, and her fabulous shoe collection and all around outrageous fashion sense.  I aspire to have as many shoes as you do and hope that I will still be pushing fashion barriers for many years to come.
Enjoy your Friday and have a fashion filled weekend!  I know I will. :)

Wine and dine me!

It's Wednesday night and the hubby and I are both starving and, of course, no one wants to cook.  Did we cry?  No.  We turned it into an impromptu date night.  Par-tey!  I love date cooking, no dishes, no worries, and plenty of wine.  Perfect world?  Check!

I thought it would be fun to show you some pics of what we ate at Formaggios on Wednesday night.  I looked like a total freak taking pictures of the food with my cell phone, but that's just the price I pay to provide you with top quality  

Side note:  If you haven't been to Formaggios in Kailua yet you need to put that on the top of your To Do List.  The food is fabulous, the servers are great, the decor is warm and calming, and the wine...oh what can I say about that?  It's everything that I want it to be.  I would recommend the blind wine tasting.  Super fun because you have no idea what you'll get and you have to guess (don't worry they tell you in the end!), plus you get to try the expensive wines that they have for just $13.  Fun and won't break the bank?!?  Score!

The hubby and I ended up getting the special of the night, which was Lamb T-Bone steaks served over a bed of linguine in a mushroom cream sauce, and shared it since we both weren't super super starving.  Boy am I glad that we shared! 

First up, Shrimp and Scallop Ceviche.  I'm not a huge ceviche fan, but this one was super yummy.  Thanks Dusty for sending this over for us to try!  You are totally my favorite.  We'll miss you when you move to San Francisco!  :(
Next came the Beef Barley Soup and the Warm Spinach Salad with pancetta and strawberries!
 Main course was the lamb.  (A little secret is that I NEVER ate lamb before a few years ago.  I used to tell my husband when he ate it that he was eating a baby animal and that he should feel horrible.  Over the years he's convinced me that the little lambs are raised for it and that the farmers make sure that they have a fulfilled life before they are served on anyone's plate.  I'm sure that's not true, but it does kind of make me feel better.)  Lamb is really tasty when it's done right and this one was done oh so right.  Especially with the pasta!  Ugh, I could have eaten a whole plate of that pasta with the mushroom cream sauce all by itself!  The medley of mushrooms made it taste so rustic and earthy.  It went perfectly with the lamb.
This is La'akea after dinner and a glass of wine.  I believe that's his blue steel look.  Sexy, work it, work it!
Finally, the finishing touch to every good meal, the dessert.  Cinnamon-Rum Bread Pudding.  Yum, yum, yum!  (Though I do think that my bread pudding recipe beats out  Those of you who have had it can attest.  I do make a pretty mean bread pudding, if I do say so myself.)
Here's my hubby again.  He told me as I snapped the picture "This is me eating a cookie." I took one look at the picture and said that it would most definitely be posted on the blog.  He looked at it and said "Oh no, don't post that.  I look like a doof."  Then I said "I'm posting your comment too."  Lol...what can I say?  A girl's gotta have something on her husband, right? :)

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Today on 'As the Garden Grows'

We return with our usual cast of characters...

First up, the growing competition between the tomato twins.  Who will be the victorious winner of first ripe tomato?  We'll just have to wait and see.  At this point they're neck-and-neck with 7 tomatoes each.
Fettuccine is growing strong.  Pretty much busting right out of her bird block wrap.  She has a sweet pair of tomatoes and wants to flaunt them.  I mean if you have them, then why not right?
Formaggio is also getting quite large in size.  All that fertilizer loading is really doing her some good.  She also has a few tomatoes and wants to flaunt them...just not as badly as Fettuccine.  She's the more reserved twin.  (It took a lot of coaxing to get that second picture.)  Let's just say that Formaggio is a little bit more of the "Hello Sports Bra" type rather than the "Hello Bombshell" type.  Hey some of us are a little more shy than others.
Finally the flower bed.  Kind of a Monet if you know what I mean.  ("From far away it's okay, but up close it's a big old mess."  Clueless, anyone?  There I go dating myself again.  Yes I loved that movie and I still do.  Yeah I said it!)  In the flower bed's defense the house was recently fumigated, so gas fumes+dog trampling= dead flowers.  Needless to say she's in the ICU on growth hormones for now.

Oh the suspense!  Tune in next week for more on 'As the Garden Grows'.

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

To paint or not to paint, that is the question...

As most of you now know, faithful blog followers (Hehe...I have you in my clutches now!), I have the attention span of a five year old.  Last month it was cards, last week it was cooking, yesterday it was gardening, and today it's painting.  My inner artist, she longs to be free!  Or at least portrayed on an extremely larger-than-my-husband-would-like-it-to-be

I love abstract mixed media art in large sizes.  Exactly the kind of artwork that my husband doesn't  But that's why I love him.  He likes sleek lines and sharp edges and I like soft curves and sketched lines.  He likes the plain and simple and I like the over stuffed and complex.  Despite our differences, he's my lobster and we'll mate for life.  (Friends reference, anyone?  Maybe I'm dating myself with the lobster

I'm going to try and fight the painting urge for one more day.  We'll see how long that lasts.  I'm supposed to be learning Italian right now, but instead I'm here blabbing on about wanting to paint.  See what I mean about the attention span? 

Italian lesson of the day: Le bambine stanno camminando.
Translation as far as I can tell via the picture on my Rosetta Stone: The girls are walking together.