Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Autumn Dinner

We celebrated our official introduction to Fall with our best friends this weekend. My parents graciously opened their home to us and we took advantage of their beautiful new outdoor deck.
While planning the menu and cooking, I felt like we were celebrating a "friend" Thanksgiving. I know that Saturday night while I was surrounded by my closest friends, sisters and parents, I was immensely thankful.

Monday, October 22, 2012

FUN Friday!!

It was a Friday night and we didn't have any plans... what to do, what to do?  We decided to go to St. Pete for starters.  Then what?
I happened to look up "wine bars St. Pete" and actually found a really cool wine bar that we have somehow always missed on our (monthly, if not more) trips to our favorite city! 
Wine Madonna is the name and it's located in a really cute courtyard surrounded by other little restaurants (from what we saw there was a beer bar - Ale and Owl or something?  And a quick, sushi restaurant) and they had a band playing in the center. 
I love their motto:

We had a great time and I tried a "flight"... 3 different wine samplings... Pinot Grigio, Chardonnay and Sauvignon Blanc.  I liked all but the SB which is very odd for me, since that's usually one of my "go-to" grape varieties.

JD had a delicious Pinot Gris and we will definitely be back!!

After that, we headed over to Cafe Alma for BOGO wine (JD - malbec, Me - Pinot Grigio - shocker) and tapas.  We enjoyed baked goat cheese with homemade marinara and focaccia, spicy shrimp with peppers and a salad with apples and walnuts.  It was light, yummy and perfect.  I also enjoyed our view from the bar...
A trip to St. Pete wouldn't be complete with a stop at my favorite wine bar, A Taste for Wine, where we enjoyed some "bubbly"...

We were able to enjoy at least a half hour there before we jetted across the street to Vue19 at 10:55pm so we could get in free (before 11pm).  We were there for a few hours and it was a lot of fun.  Lots of people-watching, JD danced (I watched), we totally confused the dj with our song requests (apparently if it's not on his computer, he's never heard of it) and enjoyed our view from the 19th floor.
All in all, a great night!!

Friday, October 19, 2012

Friday, October 12, 2012

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Brussel sprouts

Song of the day, Sidewalk Prophets, Help Me Find It

Moment of Beauty:

I grew up in a family that loathed brussel sprouts, so I just always assumed they must be gross.  My sister however left the nest and found new love in brussel sprouts and introduced them to me.  Still though, I was not convinced....
Reading one of my favorite blogs ohsheglows.com, I read that she roasted brussel sprouts with fingerling potatoes - my favorite potato!  So I thought "what the heck?  Might as well give them another try."
Much to my delight, my local grocery store actually had fingerling potatoes which is an everyday miracle on it's own, so I was definitely convinced that I was meant to make this dish.

Pretty blue potato

Sliced brussel sprouts, sliced fingerling potatoes (some I left whole they were so small) and asparagus tossed in evoo, s&p, 5 cloves of minced garlic and rosemary - roast in the oven for about 15 minutes.  Delicious!!  Definitely worth the second try!  JD even liked them.  Score!  :)

We were having a "pickies" night, so I threw together another little treat.  Storebought Naan with sliced pears, goat cheese, dried cranberries, pepper and a sprinkling of balsamic vinegar - Scrumptious! 

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Fall treats

Song of the day:  Gavin Rossdale, Love Remains the Same

Moment of Beauty:

In the latest Food Network magazine, there is a yummy fall recipe for Mulled Apple Cider Cocktails.  In the spirit of forcing fall into my life since the weather is not cooperating (my car said 100 degrees today when I went home on my lunch break... *sigh*), I decided to try them.
They are delicious!!  Definitely a must-do recipe!!  I will be adding these to my fall menu!

The only downpart to this recipe is the price of cinnamon sticks and cloves.  Thankfully the jar of cloves contains so many that I doubt I'll ever use them all before they expire.  Unfortunately though, the $6.99 jar of cinnamon sticks only contain 8, I think and this recipe calls for 3.  Honestly though, it's so worth it!!  One little twist to the recipe is an addition of a splash of dark rum.  We happened to have some lying around (stay tuned for a future post...) and wow!  It took this cocktail to a new level of deliciousness!

Per JD's request, I made a second batch of apple butter, only this time I followed the recipe by choosing different kinds of apples (I think I chose 5 different kinds?).  This batch was so much sweeter that I didn't add any sugar, just a dash of cinnamon and it's perfect!  My dearest sister-in-law, D, received a jar of the first batch and loved it so much that she will be receiving a second jar as a hostess gift Sat. night!  :)

Best part of this cocktail?  Makes your house smell amazing!!

Hawaiian gift

Song of the day: XX, Angels

Moment of Beauty:

Our gift from Hawaii 2006 ~ In bloom for the 2nd time this year