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Thursday, October 10, 2013

It's that time of the year for....PUMPKIN BEER!!

Yes, it's true, I love a good beer. Fall beers are funny though- they're pretty hit or miss for me. Last week I was at Kennedy's having dinner with a friend and she introduced me to my new fall favorite- Big Boss Brewery's Harvest Time! It's brewed with just the right amount of spices and served in a cold glass with a cinnamon sugar rim. I am now obsessed!

Looks good, huh? Also, Birdsong is another great brewery- if you get the chance you need to try their jalapeƱo beer!




Tuesday, October 8, 2013

How to make Thai Green Curry

I have to say that I absolutely LOVE ethnic food- especially Indian and Thai! I've been trying to cut down on my expenses (look out for my Coupon post coming soon!) and thought that I would try my hand at one of our favorite meals- Thai Green Curry. This required a trip to the Asian market that was luckily not too far from our house (I went to the Oriental Market on Central Ave). I have to admit, I was a bit nervous about going there (would I even understand what things were??), but it was a great experience and I can't wait to go back! I will also never buy sriracha or chili paste from my local grocer ever again- they were so much cheaper at the Oriental Market! There was an assortment of goodies there- Indian curry powders, dried chiles, Thai curry pastes, quail eggs, fish, green tea ice cream....I walked up and down the aisles taking in everything, and can't wait to go back. So without further ado, here is the recipe to my Thai Green Curry- which my husband said was better than almost every restaurant he's ever been to!


Thai Green Curry (makes 8 servings)

2 cans coconut milk (when you open it you'll notice there is some cream at the top, scoop that out so you only use the milk. It's okay if a little cream gets in the curry, don't worry.)

2 stalks lemon grass, cut into 4" pieces and smashed (see below)

4-6 tbsp. green Thai curry paste

2 tbsp. fish sauce

1 can bamboo shoots (I like the shoestring ones)

2 Kashir leaves (These are essentially a type of lime leaf and give the recipe an extra zing. It's a staple in true Thai curry recipes. Freeze the rest of the leaves in a ziplock bag for future recipes.)

2 lbs cubed chicken breast or thigh, whatever your preference

1 tbsp salt

Jasmine rice (cook to directions)

Optional: Vegetables of your choice- eggplant, peas, carrots, etc. I chose peas.

Note- I didn't use those chiles, the curry paste was hot enough!


Ok, first of all, let me say that the amount of curry paste that you use will determine how spicy your green curry is. If you like your food medium with a bit of heat I would use 3-4 tbsps, but if you're like me and you like things Thai hot you should use 6-7 tbsps. Note**You can always add more curry paste, start with less and work up throughout the recipe!

To cut and smash the lemon grass you are going to take the stalk and cut the bottom 1-2' off and then anything leafy at the top. These parts are very tough, which is why we're cutting them off. My lemon grass already had the top cut off so I only had to cut the bottom.

Now you are just going to unroll the top 2 layers of the lemon grass stalk. It should come off very easily, revealing a fresh, meaty layer underneath:
All of the juices and oils are inside this nice meaty part of the stalk, which is why we are going to smash it. I don't own a meat tenderizer, so I used the bottom of my ice cream scoop. Just smash away and cut into 4" pieces:

Now you're ready to get cooking! In a large pot add the lemon grass, coconut milk, green curry paste, salt, 2 whole kashir leaves, and fish sauce. Stir to combine everything and simmer for a few minutes until you smell that nice curry aroma.

Then, add your cubed chicken to the pot. Let this gently simmer for 30-45 minutes, or until the chicken is tender.
By adding extra curry paste or kashir leaves you can adjust the seasonings and flavorings if needed. I found that one kashir leaf per can of coconut milk was enough for me, but you may want more- taste the curry towards the end to see what you think. If you think it's too spicy or thick you can add water to it (remember to add slowly!).
Once the chicken is tender just add your veggies and bamboo shoots. I steamed a bag of peas since they were frozen and added about 3/4 of the bag and about 3/4 of the can of bamboo shoots. Next time I'm adding eggplant!

Before serving take out the kashir leaves and lemon grass stalks. Or just tell your guests to refrain from eating them. Serve over a bed of rice and enjoy!!



Sunday, March 10, 2013


One of my very favorite things after working out is fresh green juice. The Common Market near my house makes fresh juice daily, and the Supreme Green is my "treat" to myself. I'm not great about eating leafy greens, so I started to think more about juicing and incorporating it into my getting healthy plan new lifestyle. So, after a few weeks of research (wow, had no idea there were so many opinions on types of juicers!) I took the plunge and bought one last week! I decided on the Omega 8006 for two main reasons- one, it's a masticating juicer which supposedly is better for leafy greens, and two, it's not just a juicer- oh no, this baby makes sorbet, nut butter, almond milk, and salsa! Here it is:
Couldn't figure out a way to not be in the photo!
Of course the minute I got it I had to hurriedly unwrap it like a kid on Christmas and put it to use. Never mind that my fridge wasn't really stocked, I was going to juice something! Luckily, I did have a grapefruit, a few clementines, spinach, and a lemon....
Get Up & Go Juice (great for the morning)
1 grapefruit, peeled
4 clementines, peeled
1/2 lemon, peeled
1 handful fresh spinach
Into my juicer they went...and I was pleasantly surprised by how easy it was to use the juicer. It's also very quiet which is a big plus- Bob likes to make protein smoothies in the morning and I swear our blender must wake the neighbors.
In action...go juicer go!
When I finished I had a nice big glass of citrus-y juice. The spinach was completely masked. It was a little tart, so I added just a smidge of pineapple juice to it. Overall, a success!
Way tastier than it looks!
I decided to freeze the pulp for sorbet- I'll let you know how that turns out in another post!

Thursday, February 28, 2013


Sectionals.  Ugh.  It's a dirty word these days- my first thought of a sectional is that big comfy, beat up looking one that one of my childhood friend had in her basement.  You know, the one that the dog sheds all over but is comfy as your favorite old sweatshirt.  That's what I was thinking of when my husband and I decided we wanted to get a sectional for our living room.  The problem is that so many sectionals out there are disasters that they give the good ones a bad rep!

First image that comes to mind when thinking about sectionals....
So I was determined to find one that met all of our criteria: really comfy, durable, classy, lots of seating, had nail head trim, a recliner (Bob lost that battle), and a neutral color so we can change our decor every now and then.  I made a little inspiration board to keep me focused on what I wanted.

Here is my inspiration board! 

I searched and searched, but just couldn't find one that I loved.  I almost went with one that I liked well enough, but decided to wait a bit longer to find something I really loved. After looking high and low, I finally found one that checked all of our boxes.  Here it is in our home!   
Happy days, the search is over!
It's classy, has the nail head trim (soo pretty in person!), is incredibly comfortable (we're currently fighting over the corner spot), and is durable!  Those cushions are the ones that came with it, I need to replace those with my pottery barn ones.  So the lesson today is, stay true to what you're looking for and eventually you'll find it.  So happy that I didn't jump the gun!

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Poached Eggs Made Easy...

If there is one thing that I absolutely love for Sunday brunch, it's Eggs Florentine- similar to Eggs Benedict, sans the ham, with tomato and spinach instead.  I went to bed feeling ambitious last night and decided to try making poached eggs myself.  I was a bit nervous, especially when I learned I only had two eggs left so didn't have enough for a "do-over" if I needed it (and my hungry hubby was patiently waiting with a fork in his hand), but it was much easier than I anticipated!  One thing I learned- don't cook over a gas stove while wearing an oversized terry robe...the arm just may catch fire.  So my tally of fires started in the kitchen is now 5, but don't worry, after a crazy fire dance in the kitchen to put it out I wasn't burned, and my robe will live.  Ready to poach an egg?  Here's how I did it:

Bring about 4" of water to a simmer.  You want that barely-there simmer that comes right before a boil, but you don't want it actually start boiling.  Once it gets there turn the temperature down.  I have a gas stove and even on low it tries to start boiling, so I took the pot off the burner before adding the egg, and then put it back on the burner.

While the water is getting hot add  a splash of vinegar.  This helps the egg whites set.

One of the biggest mistakes in poaching an egg is cracking the egg directly into the water.  Instead, crack the egg in a small bowl or ramekin and then pour the egg right at water level.

Your egg will try to spread out all willy nilly, don't worry!  Just take a spatula and push the egg whites together.  After at least 30 seconds run your spatula around the whole egg to make sure it's not stuck anywhere.  I like to nudge mine to move it just a bit.

Pretty egg in progress!  Cook for 3-4 minutes, not a second more.  I didn't take pictures when I pulled it out, I just didn't have the hands- sorry!  Just take a slotted spoon and gently scoop out the egg, then place it on a paper towel to let it drain.

Place on a piece of buttered toast and voila!

Perfectly poached eggs!

I prefer mine with spinach and tomatoes.  So good, and good for you!

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Healthy Breakfast Egg Cups

When 2013 rolled around I decided it was time to kick it into gear and get healthy!  In the past I've been bad about letting life get in the way of eating healthy and last year was no exception- with Bob practically living in Charlotte before we moved,  packing up and selling our house, moving to Charlotte, and me starting a new job (all within 3 months!).  Now that we are finally feeling settled I've decided to focus on me for a change.  I think as women, we have a tendency to put everyone else's needs ahead of ours...it's the nurturer in us.  The two things I'm focusing on right now as Part 1 of Jamie's New Healthy Lifestyle are eating healthy and portion control.  I've realized that if I don't eat breakfast I can and will eat anything in sight at lunch (don't get in my way!) so I've started making these yummy egg cups on Sundays so I can grab-n-go throughout the week.  They're easy, satisfying, and the best part is that you can tailor them to the veggies you like to eat.  Don't like tomatoes?  Add your chopped veggie of choice!

Healthy Breakfast Egg Cups
6 Eggs
Handful of fresh spinach (thicker stems taken off)
1/3 cup milk
12 cherry tomatoes, quartered
1 cup shredded cheese of choice (I used fat free mozzarella)
salt & pepper to taste

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  I lined my muffin tins for easier cleanup, but if you're storing these to eat throughout the week I would just spray the tins with cooking spray- the liners didn't hold up too well.

Place a small amount of spinach in the bottom of each muffin tin
Divide the cheese and tomatoes between the cups, so that they are 2/3 full
Crack an egg into each one, then add a teaspoon or so of milk and a dash of salt and pepper.
Stir just a little.
Pop in the oven for 14 minutes, or until egg has set.
Enjoy immediately or refrigerate to eat throughout the week!

These egg cups are right around 100 calories.  Feeling adventurous?  Add salsa, avocado, red peppers...even cooked turkey bacon or sausage!  The possibilities are endless!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

From Old to New...

One thing I love to do whenever I have free time is refinish furniture.  I am obsessed, seriously obsessed with Annie's Chalk Paint.  If you've been thinking about painting a piece of furniture but were worried about all the labor involved, then this paint is for you!  It cuts down on the process and has a great matte, shabby chic finish to it.  You don't even have to sand the furniture- just paint away!

So, the night before we were to have my hubby's office over for a holiday lunch I set out to refinish this hutch:

Craigslist find- $100.  I could see the potential!

Months ago I had spray painted the hutch gray, so that when a top coat was put on and then sanded the gray would show through.  So I was all set to paint away, and had chosen "Old White" as my color of choice.  Did I mention that I decided to do this in my dining room?  At 11pm?  Yeah, I love that kind of pressure!  (No seriously, I do.  Weird, I know.  Or maybe lazy.  There was no way I could move the hutch by myself and the hubs was in bed, but I wasn't going to let that stop me!)

In process
Each phase of the facelift
It took me about 2 hours to put two coats of paint on the hutch and then sand it a bit.  The paint is such a breeze to work with!  The last step I started and need to finish is a layer of wax to seal it.  I'll get to that soon.  I love the way it turned out!

Hand Wash Only...

For some reason a number of my favorite tops are "hand wash only" (of course, right?!).  One of my biggest woes with hand washing is that I never seem to adequately squeeze the water out of the piece of clothing...it ends up dripping all over the floor and takes forever to dry.  From hand washing various delicate pieces over the years I picked up a neat trick to help with this.

Drip, drip, drip
We received a salad spinner as a wedding gift that I had only used a handful of times.  So I decided to get more use out of out of it!  

In went that wet shirt
spin, spin, spin!
Water that's not in my blouse anymore!

It's just a small trick, but I feel like a domestic diva when I whip out that salad spinner!  What tricks around the house do you have?

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